My kids loved Halloween. I didn’t. Nights were usually cold, sometimes rainy. The kids wanted to start early and finish late. Instead of a cute plastic pumpkin for their candy, they took pillowcases—more room for their haul. Candy—in many shapes and forms—were strewn on the floor afterward while they picked out the “good stuff.” Sometimes they ate too much candy and…you know.
I think they liked dressing up as much as trick-or-treating. Costumes were usually homemade, or I should say “put together” by them. Some of their friends had elaborate costumes because their mothers could sew. Sewing was not a skill I ever learned, so it was do-it-yourself or find something on a store shelf. That went for me, too, because I usually had to dress up at work.
My best costume was a white nightgown (modest, thank God) under layers of white tulle wrapped around my body. My face was powdered white. I say “thank God” because that was the Halloween I had to leave work and drive to the emergency room of the local hospital. My son had cut his hand while trying to carve a pumpkin with my best chef’s knife and a neighbor had taken him to the hospital. He was okay, but I endured a few raised eyebrows and chuckles from the staff with my ghost costume.
I think my oddest Halloween memory is the year my husband and I visited his sister. It was raining and either she didn’t think there would be any trick or treaters, or she had forgotten it was Halloween. Long story short….one older kid came to the door with his bag. He was given an avocado. The kid looked at it, said thank you, put it in his bag, and trotted off.
In later years, I gave up on trying to find a clever costume and just wore the same one over and over. It was a long black dress with a black pointed hat and a stick-on wart for the end of my nose. Fitting, especially when I told ghost stories.
Years ago I wrote a book called Ghosts and Legends of San Juan Capistrano, my second non-fiction book. Research was fun. Being raised in the fifth oldest town in the state helped because I had relatives who’d grown up with wonderful stories about devil dogs, white ladies, headless monks and weeping women who wandered the banks of the river.
Not all the ghost stories in my book related to the distant past. One story was about a flight attendant who lived in a modern housing development, but who insisted she had a malicious poltergeist. When I told the story while leading a Halloween walking tour, I stopped and confessed that while I had never seen a ghost, many people believed in them, so I didn’t discount their existence. At that point, a woman on the tour raised her hand and said, “The story’s true. I’m the one with the poltergeist.”
As the big day approaches, here’s wishing all of you good costumes, lots of candy, no poltergeists, and an avocado for good measure.
Shadow of the Fox Mission Belles Book 1
War looms in Spanish California.
Sorina Braithwaite, rebellious granddaughter of a prominent California ranchero, has her own battle to fight. Desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a man she despises, she threatens to expose an American spy unless he helps her flee.
Lt. Lance Grainger, intrigued by her audacity as much as her beauty, knows if Sorina disappears, her arrogant fiancé will follow, thus distracting him from the insurgency he’s plotting. But there’s a risk. As the son of a man branded a coward, Lance has spent his entire career rebuilding his family’s honor. If he’s thought to be a deserter, his honor will be in shreds.
As the declaration of war nears, Lance and Sorina set out on a journey of danger and intrigue, but both soon discover their hearts may be in the greatest peril of all.
Author of nine novels and eight history books, Pamela Gibson is a former City Manager who lives part time in Northern California’s wine country and part time in the Nevada desert. Having spent the last three years messing about in boats, a hobby that included a five-thousand-mile trip in a 32-foot Nordic Tug with her patient spouse, she now spends most of her time indoors happily reading, writing, cooking and keeping up with the antics of her gran-cats, gran-dog, and gran-fish. Sadly, the gran-lizard went to his final reward.
Happy birthday, Hywela!
I love October. Not only is it the season of ‘mellow fruitfulness’ and all that, but it is also my birthday month – today in fact! I love the colours of October. The red, gold and orange hues of the falling leaves, red berries, yellow ‘everlasting sunflowers’ in my garden, and of course, red and green apples, either clinging stoically to the trees, or lying on the ground among the fallen leaves, as windfalls.
Of course it’s also the month of Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Samhain, or whatever you prefer to call it. On the 31st October, the children dress up in scary costumes and go door to door, trick or treating. This custom has come over the pond in recent years, and although it wasn’t made much of when I was a child, now it is nearly as popular here as it is in the United States. I always have some Halloween treats handy and have been known to answer the door in a long purple cloak, and a beautiful gold ‘Cleopatra’ masquerade mask, given to me by my dear author friend, the late Sharon Donovan, who loved Halloween. Sadly diabetes type 1 had left her blind, so she asked me to decorate her blog for her, and I used to love telling her about the fairies, witches, black cats, pumpkins and spiders with which I’d adorned her blog. Tragically, she passed away in 2012, but October and Halloween always bring back beautiful memories of how much fun we used to have on-line, although unfortunately we were never able to meet in person.
Having lived most of my life in Wales, I became steeped in Welsh myths and legends, many of which are scary enough to be ideal for telling at Halloween. One of my favourites is the legend of the Ellydan or fire goblins. I adapted this myth for my fantasy novella Dancing With Fate. These nasty little creatures, with glowing eyes and flames at their fingertips, appear as points of light, drawing the unwary into the bog, where the hapless victim vanishes, never to be seen again. I also borrowed the idea for a scene in Starquest, the first of my SF Romance Trilogy, The Destiny Trilogy, where the heroine, on an alien planet, sees strange lights which appear to be sentient and which try to steal the life-force of her wounded companion.
I love horses and used to keep my own at an old Victorian mansion which was reputed to be haunted. One of the ghosts is said to be an old lady, who, on her deathbed, gave her jewels to a maidservant to hide – and it is said she haunts the grounds searching for them, to this day.
I would sometimes stay late at the stables, and in stable yard, in the dark, we would often hear an unearthly screeching sound like ‘the wails of the damned’ as a friend who also kept her horse there used to say. Happily for us, it turned out to be just screech owls.
Wales is full of old haunted mansions. At another one, where the local University held occasional writing weekends, I took a picture in the garden, and when it was printed, there was what looked like a shadowy figure of a lady in a long, old-fashioned dress, shrouded in mist, in the shrubbery. Strangely there was no mist that day, and not everyone I showed the picture to, could see her. Creepy! I later learned that the ghost of a long-ago former owner who had fallen on hard times and been forced to leave the house, came back to haunt it, without malevolence but just because she loved it, which puts a rather sad spin on the story.
October – one of the best times of the year for spinning other-worldly tales.
Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge.
Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret, and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red-haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart.
Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?
About Hywela Lyn
Hywela Lyn is a member of The Romance Novelists' Association (UK). She was born and spent most of her life in Rural Wales which inspired much of her writing, and writes futuristic and fantasy romance for the Wild Rose Press. A keen animal lover she has a 'rescue' terrier called Choccy and a slightly manic but loving mare called T'pau. When not writing or out with her horse and dog she enjoys reading and eating chocolate - often together!
A big welcome to author Reese Ryan who's launching the October event here on LovRRs. Her new book, The Billionaire's Legacy releases TOMORROW! There's a giveaway down at the bottom of the post for a $25 Amazon GC so be sure to enter and spread the news. XOXOXO
When the temperatures begin to drop, the days get shorter, and the leaves turn lovely shades of red, orange, and yellow, I am in my happy zone. Autumn is my favorite time of year. Not too hot. Not too cold. It’s just right. My personal Goldilocks zone.
October is the month that builds toward a celebration of the macabre. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. I don’t need witches and goblins to up my fear factor. I’ve got plenty of fears and phobias of my own. Some I’ve worked hard to slay. Others I work toward conquering every day. That’s why I’m so drawn to stories in which at least one of the main characters must conquer his or her fears in order to get their happy ending.
Perhaps that’s also why Sloane Sutton, the heroine in my latest release, The Billionaire’s Legacy, is one of my favorite heroines that I’ve written to date. She’s strong, smart, determined, and independent. Sloane’s funny, but she can also be a bit of a smartass. (Which made writing banter between the hero and heroine lots of fun.) But in many ways, she’s also quite flawed. Sloane can be quite judgmental when it comes to her own family. And in her blind determination to be completely self-reliant, she doesn’t always handle matters the right way. But she’s also humble enough to own up to her mistakes and admit when she was wrong.
Sloane comes from humble beginnings, and she worked hard for the success she’s achieved working behind the scenes at a Nashville record company.
An Exclusive Excerpt from The Billionaire’s Legacy
A knot tightened in her stomach. She had a good job and owned a cute little condo that she was slowly renovating in one of the hottest neighborhoods in Nashville. But she was in debt up to her eyeballs. Not because she was a frivolous spender addicted to retail therapy, but because she’d sunk every penny of her savings into helping her mother save their family farm. Then there were the bills that had been piling up since her grandfather’s costly heart surgery.”
Her budget was so tight it had practically squealed when she’d purchased the fancy dress she was wearing, despite finding it on the clearance rack at a designer dress shop.
If there was one thing she’d learned from her grandfather, Atticus Ames, it was pride. She’d work three jobs and sell plasma before she’d ask Benji or anyone else in this town for a handout.
Sloane is so close to reaching the next rung on her career ladder when she encounters her best friend’s younger brother, Benjamin Bennett, at a friend’s wedding. But one incredible night together changes everything for both of them.
Sloane’s situation drastically changes and she finds herself in need of the hero’s help, if only temporarily, it’s an extremely uncomfortable place for her to be. Sloane is forced to confront all of those childhood fears and the demons she’s struggled to allay her whole life.
Another Exclusive Excerpt from The Billionaire’s Legacy:
[Sloane] loved being a mother to the twins. Loved growing into this crazy life with Benji by her side. Sloane honestly didn’t think she could blame it on the hormones anymore, but nothing brought her to tears like seeing Benji interact with their son and daughter or watching how they reacted to him.
It was love, in its purest, rawest form.
But nearly as quickly as she was overcome with joy over her life with Benji and the babies, she was gripped by the throat with fear.
What would happen when the novelty of being a father wore off? Would he resent her? Would he resent the twins?
Part of her realized it was an irrational fear. Benji wasn’t her father and shouldn’t be judged by his standard of failure. Still, that fear had appointed itself as guardian of her heart. And it seemed safer to let it do just that.”
I loved watching Sloane grow into her relationship with Benji and as a mother to the twins. Most of all, I cheered for her as she finally slayed the dragons of fear that nearly made her miss out on the happiness she deserved.
What are some of your favorite stories where a character has to face his or her fears? Tell us in the comments below.
About Reese Ryan
Reese Ryan writes sizzling, deeply emotional romances featuring family drama, surprising secrets and unexpected twists. Reese was inspired to become a storyteller by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and there is a little of Elizabeth Bennet and Jo March in every heroine she writes.
About The Billionaire’s Legacy
Tech billionaire Benjamin Bennett can’t resist a steamy weekend with Sloane Sutton—his crush on her goes way back. But when he tracks her down, she’s pregnant—with twins! Now their fling needs trust to survive. Benji wants a wedding; his family claims she’s a gold digger. But Sloane won’t be bought—or married. Can they find common ground…and a shot at forever?
🍼 Secret Baby, Best Friends Younger Brother, Friends-to-Lovers
🍼 Billionaires & Babies
🍼 Release Date: Oct 1
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