Tag Archives: Halloween

Happy Halloween from Sarah Morgan!

My lovelies, let me wish you a Happy Halloween! I love candy, so this is a good day. 😉 [Actually I’ve never been big on Halloween and haven’t dressed up since well before elementary school was over… but I enjoy the festivities.] More to the point, I’m thrilled to welcome Sarah Morgan to ALBTALBS today! <3 She’s a fantastic author, and I’m crushed I didn’t get to meet her this past summer. She had a new book release just this past Tuesday (Sleigh Bells in the Snow), so I’m tickled we get her so close to the big deay. 😀

She and other authors are also very tricksies, getting around my interview rule by interviewing themselves. 😉 And here are hers.

An Invitation to SinBiggest fashion mistake?
I once went to a fancy dress party dressed as a tiger. The theme was ‘wild’ and I wore a tight stripy leotard, theatrical cat mask, face paint and whiskers. I travelled on the London underground. Ever been on the London underground? It’s like the New York subway. A tiger stands out. And a commuter sat on my tail.

Something you said and wish you hadn’t?
Yes of course I can write the book by next week.

Favorite Halloween film?
Harry Potter.

Which book of on your shelf is in the worst condition?
Northern Lights by Nora Roberts. I love that book. I love stories set in cold, snowy places and her characters are always real and interesting. My copy is almost falling apart.

The Forbidden FerraraSecret addiction?
Henry Cavill and peanut butter. But not together. Well, maybe together…

Secret Talent (I’d like to hear that … youtube video, perhaps? *angelface*)
I sing Soft Kitty beautifully.

If you weren’t you, who would you like to be?
Iron man (or girl). That would be so cool. No airport queues.

What are you really bad at?
Keeping quiet.

What will you be doing on Halloween?
Trying to finish my next Cosmo Red Hot Read. There’s not a GHOST of a chance that will happen. And I’d eat the Halloween chocolate if I hadn’t already eaten it.

Lost to the DeHee! That’s her “Halloween Themed” one. Sarah was such a great sport, she re-wrote her post when I mentioned she’d be guesting on this spooky day. She also had one more book themed, considering the title is Sleigh Bells in the Snow, the following are some of her her original questions that I definitely think should be shared as well.

A film you’d have to be paid to watch again?
Disney’s Up. I think it should have been called Down. Visually it’s pretty but I found it miserable viewing. And now I’m going to get a million comments telling me why I’m wrong.

Best Christmas gift ever?
A diamond ring. I had a very romantic proposal!

Worst Christmas gift?
Flu. Thanks a lot.

Now back to today: Sarah is offering one lucky commenter a copy of her newest book Sleigh Bells in the Snow! Whee!

Sleigh Bells in the SnowOnce upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green’s favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O’Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family’s resort—it’s in his blood, and he can’t let it fail. Now that he’s got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she’s out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it’s terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?

Sounds good yes? To throw your hat in the ring, just answer this question: Sarah wants to know “What is your favorite Halloween food?” (Sarah’s is tomato soup!). So tell us your favorite Halloween food – and candy – and offer a warm welcome to Sarah please! (And congratulations on your newest release!)

Oh and?! All the other books by Sarah I’ve included in this post are only $1.99 for kindle right now! So snatch those babies up!

Birthday Girl Alexandra Hawkins

Hi friends! We’ve got Alexandra Hawkins back visiting us today … on her birthday! Whee!! I love birthdays so much, and it’s always fun when we have author/reader friends visiting with us on her special day. 😀

CupcakesOctober has always been my favorite month.  Cooler weather, autumn leaves, Halloween—and, of course, my birthday.  As a kid, I loved having an October birthday.  Although schools have more or less done away with celebrating Halloween, I was fortunate enough to attend elementary school when my birthday “week” included a costume parade, craft projects to decorate the classroom, and a class party to celebrate Halloween and my birthday.  The party continued at home with my family, and the pay-off at the end of the month was Halloween and tons of candy.  Oh yeah, no doubt from a kid’s point of view, birthdays close to Halloween are the best!

My birthday must-haves haven’t really changed over the years.

Halloween decorations—Definitely.

The No Good, Irresistible Viscount TiptonCandy—We always have a huge bowl of candy with all of our family’s favorites.  I have a weakness for Twizzlers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Almond Joys.  Suffice to say, I’ll be doubling my workouts at the gym in November to appease the calorie gods.

Costumes—I no longer dress up for Halloween.  Instead I channeled my creative energies into making costumes for my kids.  Selling my first book pretty much put an end to my fledgling career as a seamstress.

Cake—German chocolate.

Good food—My husband has a “no cooking on your birthday” rule that I heartily approve of.

Scary movie—Family time with my little ghouls.

The Scandalously Bad Mr. MilroyI’ve been on deadline for my last few birthdays, but this year, I’m working on proposals and looking forward to the releases of my three November books.  Before I sold my Lords of Vice series to St. Martin’s Press, I wrote nine books under the pseudonym, Barbara Pierce.  SMP picked up two of my earlier books and I’ve updated them to match my sexier writing style.  The No Good, Irresistible Viscount Tipton and The Scandalously Bad Mr. Milroy will be released as $2.99 ebooks on November 1.  Then, the final book in my Lords of Vice series—Frost’s book—will be available in paperback/ebook on November 26.  I’m sad to see the series end, but I’m thrilled I had the opportunity to write all seven books.

And… Just to whet your appetite, here’s Frost’s cover and book blurb. 😀

Twilight with the Infamous EarlLord Chillingsworth’s reputation precedes him—the infamous “Frost” is as legendary on the field of honor as he is in the bedroom. Which makes it surprising that young Emily Cavell has taken up the cause of closing Frost’s favorite gambling hell. Who does this brazen, flame-haired beauty think she is?

Emily’s vendetta is personal: She is determined to take a pound of flesh from Frost, who ruined her sister. But the man she meets is not the cold-hearted devil she imagined—and is twice as handsome to boot—and soon Emily finds herself falling for him. Their battle of wills quickly ignites into blazing desire. Could it be that the most jaded Lord of Vice is finally willing to risk everything and gamble on her heart? Or is true love only a fool’s game?

Good yeah? Alexandra has also very generously offered one of you a present on her birthday! Your choice of one of her earlier Lords of Vice books! So – what do you think of historical romances? Or Halloween? Favorite memory or costume? And remember to wish Alexandra the happiest birthday ever!

Guest: Michelle Willingham

Hi everyone! We’ve got lovely author Michelle Willingham with us today! She’s got a very seasonally apt post. 😀

Scary Movies and Happy Endings

“I want you to take me to Howl-o-scream, Mom,” my eldest son informed me. He has reached that age when scary things are cool, and boys want to watch movies like “Nightmare on Elm Street.” Gone are the days when he wanted to dress up like Yoda for Halloween or a Power Ranger. No, my boy wants to be a ninja, complete with a double-edged axe.

And this ninja thinks I want to take him to an amusement park, complete with scary people jumping out from the bushes with chainsaws. There’s also a haunted house and any number of terrors awaiting unsuspecting guests.

This is not my idea of a good time.

I am a self-professed wuss who was traumatized by a Disney production of “The Watcher in the Woods.” Bette Davis was terrifying, and it was only four years later that I attempted to watch one other scary movie (“The Exorcist“). After that, I was done.

I think it comes from having an overactive imagination. While a part of my brain realizes that this is not real, and my children’s heads will not spontaneously spin around, being scared is not something I enjoy. Halloween, for me, was always about the candy and not about skeletons, ghosts, or deadly things that go bump in the night.

Another reason might be that I prefer happy endings to gory ones. I want to read about and be entertained by people falling in love. The scariest direction I’ll venture is being kidnapped by a hot Viking. Because, let’s face it—given a choice between an axe murderer jumping out at me and a gorgeous guy sweeping me away, there’s no choice at all.

In just a few weeks, at the end of November, Harlequin Historical is releasing a new book connected to my MacEgan Brothers series: Warriors in Winter. I always wanted to do a Christmas anthology, and I’ve written three stories about second generation characters. It gave me a chance to revisit the brothers as they’ve aged, and see how their happy endings turned out. Their children each face different challenges with their love stories, and I wove the tales together with each of the MacEgan Brothers putting in cameo appearances.

And yes. There happens to be a really hot Viking in there. I hope you’ll enjoy curling up with him on a winter’s day with a mug of hot cocoa. Or perhaps some leftover Halloween candy, if there is such a thing.

Today, I’m giving away a copy of one of my backlist MacEgan Brothers books—your choice! Just leave a comment and tell me—do you like horror movies? Or are you like me and can’t bear to watch them? Got a favorite or one that traumatized you?

2010 RITA® Award Finalist Michelle Willingham has written over twenty historical romances, novellas, and short stories. When she’s not writing, Michelle enjoys reading, baking, and avoiding exercise at all costs. Visit her website.

So I’m really curious about your answers to Michelle’s questions too! (If you missed it…)

Just leave a comment and tell me—do you like horror movies? Or are you like me and can’t bear to watch them? Got a favorite or one that traumatized you?

Guest Katharine Ashe Discusses Spooky Tales

Hi everyone! We’ve got lovely author Katharine Ashe visiting with us! She’s super nice and patient (I had a flub and she was incredibly gracious about it). <3 I’m also fascinated by this newest release she has out – and this post tells us more about it. I hope you enjoy!
(And please, ignore the HORRIBLE image sizing :\ I changed the pixel size, but it’s just not agreeing to show up as such.)

Haunted

Some books take months to develop. Others percolate in my imagination for a bit longer. The ghost story in my new Regency novel, Captive Bride, got its start thirty-six years ago.

The journey to this book happened in four steps. Care to hear the short and spooky tale of it? Well, pull up a camp chair and cuddle together. And that howling you think you’re hearing in the trees beyond the fire’s glow? It’s just a chilly fall wind. Probably . . .

First stop: Mrs. Kierstead’s 4th-grade music class set me on the path to spooky. Music was my favorite class, and Mrs. K really did Halloween proud. That year she played for us Franz Schubert’s “Der Erlkönig,” translated as “The Alder King.” Composing in Austria during the same years as the Regency and early reign of George IV in England, Schubert based his hauntingly intense piece on a poem written in 1782 by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose poem itself drew on a much earlier Scandinavian legend.

It is a simple yet horrifying tale. A father rides home with his beloved young son in his arms, only to become prey to an otherworldly demon “with crown and with tail.” The boy tells his father that the Alder King is following them, but the father cannot see the king and tries to comfort his son with happy thoughts, as parents are wont to do when little ones are frightened of their rampant imaginings. But the Alder King is real, and he snatches the lad’s soul while his father still clutches him close.

Chilling, tragic, and it gripped my nine-year-old heart completely. The cold, cruel otherworldly creature stole that boy’s soul right out of his father’s loving embrace. There was nothing more frightening to me.

Second stop: Andy Warhol’s 1974 film “Blood for Dracula” put the sexy in my spook. When I saw it I was still quite young and powerfully affected. In the film, Dracula must drink the blood of virgins, but he’s already drunk them all up in Transylvania, so off he goes to Italy where virgins abound. Too many virgins for the young, earnest hero of the film to protect, it turns out; Dracula feasts. But not on all the girls. One pretty young thing has her virginity— er— um— shall we say?— nullified by our valiant hero. Urgently. In a stairwell. Standing up.

I haven’t seen the film since. My memory may be wholly inaccurate. But it made a strong impression on me. Alder King or hungry vampire, young lad or maiden lady, it was the same story: unearthly creature of evil seeks to steal the soul of an innocent while loved ones watch and suffer.

Terrifying.

Third stop: Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey added romp and Regency to my ghostly imaginings. Austen’s critique of the Gothic novels that were popular during her time is wit extraordinaire. It is also a story of sincere friendship and true love making villains simply vanish. Poof!

Fourth stop: A misty emerald hillside in Wales, the ruins of a medieval castle, and a romance I’d been dying to write for years all came together. I had written a novel in which a minor character, a girl of fifteen, Bea Sinclaire, spoke to me quite clearly. Bea’s exact words: “Give me him. Please.” (She is unfailingly polite.) “Him” was a young gentleman whose acquaintance she had just made and who immediately stole her heart. I couldn’t blame her. At nineteen Peter Cheriot was a baron and deliciously handsome with dark hair and green eyes. He was also wonderfully kind and adorably attentive to her.

But she was far too young, and in any case I wasn’t quite clear yet on how exactly I was to give her him. I told her I had to ponder it.

Fast-forward six years to me and my sister in Wales for the express purpose of wandering through medieval castles. Otherworldly villains and the lost souls of innocents were still on my mind. Pure of heart and exceedingly virginal, Bea seemed the perfect candidate for such a tale. And dashing, noble Peter was the ideal hero to save her. I only needed the right setting . . .

Wales is a castle lover’s dream. We visited splendid and stately Caernafon, and solidly gorgeous Harlech. I adored them. But I still didn’t have a story for my young lovers.

Then I saw Criccieth Castle.

In the rain on that chill winter morning, Criccieth simply screamed HAUNTED CASTLE! And in a wild rush, like the fog that rolled off the towering gateway walls of the 13th-century ruin, Bea and Peter’s story came to me: An ancient castle. A tortured ghost. A curse that preys upon innocence — virginal innocence. And a love so powerful, so deep and so true that even the wickedest villain cannot destroy it.

So there you have it. Four steps and nearly four decades later, I finally wrote my own spooky tale.

What’s your favorite spooky story this time of year? One randomly chosen commenter to answer the question will win a copy of Captive Bride.

Katharine Ashe is a professor of medieval history and the award-winning author of six Regency romances and one novella from Avon Books.

In fact – you know what? You need to know more about the book. You can read more on the inception of it here, but the blurb is fantastic too!

Sensible, practical Beatrice Sinclaire has two secret passions: gothic novels and Lord Peter Cheriot, the man her beautiful sister left heartbroken years ago. When Bea’s scapegrace twin brother begs her help to rescue a maiden from a haunted castle, Bea seizes the chance for real adventure. If only Lord Cheriot didn’t insist on protecting her! How can she maintain a clear head in the face of terrible danger when all she wants is to be in his arms?

Lord Cheriot may be the catch of the London season, but he has only ever loved one woman, Bea Sinclaire. And he’s determined to have her. He doesn’t count on a meddling ghost whose demand for a virgin bride threatens Bea in the direst manner. But the specter has a deadline, All Hallows Eve, and it’s fast approaching. In the race to capture the heart of one daring lady, it’s every man—and ghost—for himself.

See?! And one of you has the chance to win a copy today! You lucky ducks!