Sunday, January 22, 2023

Gung Hei Fat Choi 2023

 The year of the Rabbit (it's your year, Bugs!) begins on January 22nd, the western calendar. Read everything about the year at The Chinese New Year site.

This is a great year for one of my animal characters in the Witches of Galdorheim series. Name, Teddy the Rabbit. Katrina Galdorheim is a witchy Doctor Doolittle. She can talk to the animals and the animals can talk back to her. One of Kat's animal buddies isn't very talkative, but he understands what Kat says and communicates his feelings about events in his own way.

Teddy is Kat's Familiar. He's also a little brown bunny. We first discover Teddy when Kat, the klutzy witch, is attempting a transformation in her class. Each student has a familiar, of course. They are witches after all. The lesson is to use the transforming spell to change their Familiar to something else. It doesn't go as planned, of course. Kat also has to contend with Merrie, another student witch, who'd easily make the top of the Mean Girls list in any school. In a school for witches, Merrie can not only be a bully, but she can also inflict magical grief on anyone she doesn't like. And, for some reason, she absolutely hates Kat.

Excerpt - Chapter 1, Bad Spelling

The younger students practicing their first transformations looked to the board where, under Miss Mariah’s control, the chalk drew a practice pentagram stopping short of completing the last of the five points. She tapped the board. “An unattended pentagram can cause all sorts of problems, the least being a tusser or tomte taking advantage of an open gateway. They’re harmless for the most part but like to play tricks. So be prepared with your spell before completing the pentagram.” More than one kid smudged an opening in their already drawn star.

“Children, you must focus. Don’t let yourselves get distracted.” Miss Mariah adjusted a child’s grip on his wand as she walked by.

Merry curled her lip and hissed, “You’d better not screw me up. If I can’t work this spell right, it’ll be your fault.”

“Tough luck, Merry,” Kat snarled. “If you’re such a great witch, my being here shouldn’t make any difference.”

Turning away from Merry, Kat finished the final leg of her pentagram and set the bunny in the center. “Stay right there, Teddy,” she whispered to her little brown rabbit, setting a chunk of carrot in front of him. He made a dash for the edge of the desk. Kat hauled him back. “Cut it out. You’ll smear my chalk lines.” She stroked his soft fur for a moment. “Hope this works.” He twitched his nose twice, closed his eyes, and hunkered down.

Kat checked her spell book one last time, took a deep breath, and completed the spell with a loud “Fullgerður!” and a dramatic sweep of her arms, just missing Merry’s head with her wand.

Merry shrieked and jumped out of her chair. She glared at Kat while wiping green goo off the side of her face. “Your rabbit stinks. Just like your spellcasting!”

Kat’s mouth hung open for a moment; then she clamped it shut when she glanced down at what was left of Teddy sitting in a pool of slime dripping onto the floor. Merry was right about one thing. The goo smelled like pond scum.

Teddy looked up at his witch with sad, bulging eyes, the top half of a frog’s body floating in the green glop. Kat groaned. Poor, long-suffering Teddy. Green and slimy—that was the good part. The pink nose and floppy ears—not so good. If she couldn’t master transformation and the other mid-level junior spells, she’d be left behind again.

* * *


All the books in the series are available on Amazon and Smashwords. All five books are included in a single volume, The Compleat and True History of the Witches of Galdorheim.


Bad Spelling (Book 1 The Witches of Galdorheim). 
Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

Midnight Oil (Book 2 The Witches of Galdorheim). You set the price!
Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brush-off. When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe.  The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Scotch Broom (Book 3 The Witches of Galdorheim). 
Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.

Spellslinger - A Witches of Galdorheim Prequel Story.
What does a teenage half-warlock, half-vampire do to have fun? Why build an old west town on a glacier in the Arctic. There he can play at being the good guy sheriff up against mean old Black Bart.

Blood Ties Tested - A Witches of Galdorheim Story
Unfortunate events lead Rune, Katrina's half-vampire brother, into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?


Saturday, January 21, 2023

AI Conversation



A friend of mine on Facebook used an AI to ask about herself ("who is ....). It turned up a ton of information, but most of it was somebody with a similar name, not her. Foolish me, I decided to give it a shot. My reign as the Cellophane Queen continues unbroken. You probably don't know what that means (if you accidentally got to this blog post), but the conversation with the AI might clarify why this is my chosen soubriquet. 

Me: What books were written by Marva Dasef?

Ans: I'm sorry, but I couldn't find any information about a person named "Marva Dasef" who has written any books. It's possible that the person you are asking about is not a published author. Without more information, I can't confirm if any books exists by this person.

Me: What books are listed on Amazon written by Marva Dasef

I'm sorry, but I couldn't find any books listed on Amazon written by a person named "Marva Dasef". It is possible that this person is not an author, or that their books are not available on Amazon. Without more information, I cannot confirm if any books exists by this person.

Me: Did Marva Dasef write "Tales of a Texas Boy"?* 

Ans: I couldn't find any information about a person named "Marva Dasef" who has written a book called "Tales of a Texas Boy". Without more information, I cannot confirm if this book exists or if this person is the author. It's possible that "Marva Dasef" is not a real person, and the title is made up.

Me: "Tales of a Texas Boy was written by Marva Dasef. What editions are available?

Ans: I apologize, but I couldn't find any information that confirms that "Tales of a Texas Boy" was written by Marva Dasef, nor any editions available for this book. It's possible that this book does not exist and the information provided is incorrect. It would be best to check with other sources or verify the information from an official website of the publisher or the author if the book exists or not.

Notation by me:
* Tales of a Texas Boy was published in 2007 and exists in ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audio formats on multiple sites.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

A Time Travel Conversation

Since Renee Duke and Marva Dasef both have Native American/First Nation characters in their books, we thought it would be nice if they had a chat. Here's Mitch from "Eagle Quest" and Skwkwwilp (pronounced Skookaweethp) from "The Spirit Rose."

Bear Friend: Hi, I’m Mitch, also known as Alisoqualvdi Unalii. That’s in Cherokee and kind of hard to say, just call me Bear Friend. I didn’t know what it was until long after the events we’re describing here.

I couldn’t tell my friends the whole story of my encounter with the bear in the Wildlife Refuge. What I could tell them is in the book, “Eagle Quest” by Marva Dasef.

There are a couple of reasons I haven’t told the whole story. First off, Fiona, Hap, and Billy wouldn’t believe I sort of spoke with the bear in my mind. They let that go, figuring if I wanted to believe it what was the harm.

The main reason, though, is a lot weirder than that. To explain what happened, I needed to have a special person here to help me out. Someone you can read about in another book, “The Spirit Rose”, by Renee Duke. I didn’t quite know how to ask this person here. I mean, it’s not like I could call her up on my phone. But she must have known I wanted her help again because she talked to me in a dream. She said, if I sat real quiet, and really concentrated, she’d come through to my mind. So that’s what I’m going to do…Are you there, Sk…um,,,Skoo…?

Skwkwwilp: I am here.

Bear Friend: Can you help me pronounce your name and then explain what went down when I met the bear in the clearing?

Skwkwwilp: My name? Hmm. You would perhaps find it easiest to say Skook-a-weeth-p. It is good to be with you again, Alisoqualvdi Unalii.”

Bear Friend: You pronounced my name right and everything, but maybe just call me Bear Friend or Mitch since this is in English. Could you tell the readers who you are, where you’re from, and, for that matter, when you’re from?

Skwkwwilp: If by where I come from, you mean a location, I am from what people of your time know as the Okanagan Valley. As to when…just think of it as long, long ago. Millennia ago.

Bear Friend: Before you describe your part in this incident, I’ll set up the situation. Basically, my friends and I were wandering around the wildlife refuge when we come to a clearing. There’s a huge tree fallen in the way. Before we could even get to it, a big black bear looked up over the log. It scared all of us. The others took off, but I heard, maybe that’s not the right word, I felt something that made me stay. That’s when you showed up, out of, like, nowhere, which was a really good thing because, otherwise, I think that bear would not have listened to reason. I didn’t hear you say anything, but the bear sure did. Right after you talked in its head or whatever you did, it came right up to me, sniffed a bit, and looked me right in the eye.

Skwkwwilp: The bear was wiser than you think. And not there by chance. It was looking for you. Your spirit guide, the friendly spirit which now protects you and seeks to help you find your way, required a living form. I had asked the bear to allow it to take its form.

Bear Friend: Yeah, when the bear talked in my head, it said we’d be connected from then onward. All other bears would recognize me and think of me as their friend. It just about blew my mind!

Skwkwwilp: Through your spirit guide, all bears are now indeed connected to you. This is because the manner in which a bear lives its life is one you, too, should follow. A bear is strong and fearless, but not constantly active. Just as a bear goes off to hibernate, you, too, should withdraw from others from time to time, to contemplate your life’s path.

Bear Friend: Cool. I wanted to learn more about spirit animals when we met, but you said you had to leave to help some other kids from this time. Did you have a bear go to them, too?

Skwkwwilp: Yes. Though it was not, like yours, a black one. A bear and other creatures protected Paige, Dane, and Jack from the disruptor, thus enabling them to reach me and claim the power of the golden circle long held for them.

Bear Friend: The disruptor?

Skwkwwilp: He who sought to interfere with their destinies. And still so seeks.

Bear Friend: So, they’re not through having trouble with him yet?

Skwkwwilp: Alas, no.

Bear Friend: Too bad. He must be a really bad dude if it took a lot of spirit animals to see him off. I’m glad I’ve got a bear for mine.  I’ve got a lot to think about. I hope we can connect again sometime in the future. See you later.

Skwkwwilp: Past, present, and future are as one, Bear Friend. Until the time of our next connection, farewell.

 
SPIRIT ROSE Buy on Amazon and Visit Renee's Author Page on Books We Love and Renee's Web Page

The discovery of an old book provides more information on the medallion, but Paige and Dane will soon be returning to Canada and know it will be several months before they can make another time trip with their cousin Jack. Then, amidst all the preparations for Grantie Etta’s one-hundred-and-fifth birthday party, strange things start to happen. As a result, Jack, too, must go to Canada. Once there, it soon becomes apparent that the only way for the Time Rose Travellers to stop the increasingly distressing alterations to their modern-day lives is to venture far into the Okanogan Valley’s past and locate the Syilx girl who has the legendary Arcanus Piece.

Check out all of the Time Rose books. They're great fun to read and you learn some history as well.

EAGLE QUEST (free on Smashwords)
(Free on Amazon with the Kindle Unlimited membership
Free audiobook with coupon - ask Marva for a one-use code
A Vision Quest turns deadly when four friends confront eagle poachers in a wildlife refuge.

Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual junior high school crowd as they are from each other.

Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest, a Native American rite of passage. He and his three friends get far more than an overnight campout as they encounter a black bear, a retired forest ranger living in the refuge, and a pair of eagle poachers. Bringing the poachers to justice, they test their courage and gain confidence in themselves and each other.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

SciFi Kickass Heroines

Most of my books are fantasies suitable for middle-grade and older kids. I also delve into other genres. If you like Science Fiction, you might enjoy one of these books. They are essentially the same plot, but "First Duty" is a nice PG-rating, while "Ultimate Duty" has adult material. Not erotica by any means, but stuff you could watch on British TV.

Free at Smashwords (you need a .MOBI file for Kindle, .EPUB for B&N Nook, .PDF is for Acrobat reader):
First Duty
Ultimate Duty

Both of these books are also available in audio format. Ask for a coupon code to get either for free. How do you ask for the freebie? Send me an email at mgdasef@gmail.com - Specify which book you want and someplace I can send you the code. Replying to your email would be easiest for both of us.

Tall, redheaded heroines kick ass. 

Yes, they do. But mostly only in fantasy and science fiction. When I wrote a redheaded heroine in my books "First Duty" and "Ultimate Duty," I used as my model a real-life person I had known years ago. She was a natural redhead, close to 6' tall (and more in her Frye boots), and she kicked every single ass while barely moving a muscle.

ULTIMATE DUTY:  A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Facing a life of drudgery on a repressive factory planet, Remy Belieux longs to escape. Her only option for release is to enlist in the Space Service, becoming a soldier for her own world’s oppressors.

She receives her first assignment: guarding a charismatic rebel leader being transported to a prison planet. When rebel troops surprise them, Remy fails to thwart the ambush. Despite a commendation from her Captain, she feels she must redeem herself by recapturing the handsome fugitive.

Shocked by what she learns during the pursuit–her own family’s past involvement in the rebellion–Remy faces a dilemma: remain loyal to the oath she swore as a soldier or join the rebel cause and condemn herself to a death sentence for treason. What is her ULTIMATE DUTY?

FIRST DUTY: Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life.

When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. 

Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds. What is her FIRST DUTY?

Friday, January 06, 2023

New Audiobooks Now Available!

 THEY'RE HERE!


A Vision Quest turns deadly when four friends confront eagle poachers in a wildlife refuge. 

Fiona, Hap, Billy, and Mitch make an odd set of friends, as different from the usual junior high school crowd as they are from each other. Mitch, the oldest of the four, is a half-breed Native American, adopted by white parents. Troubled that he doesn't know his tribe, he avidly studies Native American history and lore. Learning the nearby Bear Valley Wildlife Refuge is a bald eagle nesting site, he wants to add an eagle feather to his medicine bag and explore the refuge as a site for his Vision Quest.



A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties. Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.


Message me on Facebook or write to mgdasef@gmail.com for promo codes for any of my audiobooks.




Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Now That We've Got The Holiday Mishmash Out of the Way

Folks hellbent on making Christmas about Jesus have almost every aspect of the holiday wrong. 

First off, it was a rip-off of Saturnalia which was a Roman holiday of debauchery dedicated to the god Saturn. 

When Christians were trying to convert the pagans, they had to 1) get rid of those pagan holidays, and 2) replace them with the more sedate and holier-than-thou holidays of which Christmas is the most full of lies...I mean mistaken history.

They had to clean it up, so they took a few rumors, odds, and ends to at least trade the fun party of Saturn for another reason to convert those pagans to Christianity. So, they made up this whole myth by combining some of the pagan stories and put their guy in the starring role.

First, Jesus was not born in December. That is just their excuse to replace the fun times with their own sorry state of a lie to fool the local yokels.

Things stolen from pagan tradition: 

  • Virgin birth
  • God being born as a human in the dead of winter
  • Gift-giving
  • Christmas trees and decorations

Much of this has been debunked elsewhere, so I'll leave it to Cracked magazine to give us this theft of a perfectly good pagan party to celebrate the Solstice and to confuse the gullible into thinking their god had anything at all to do with the pagan celebrations.

Six Things People Get Wrong About Christmas

They do mention that the replacement for the pagan Saturnalia wasn't really the start of the whole mess. Saturnalia was a multi-day party held from December 21st to 23rd. Quick! Let's invent a pagan holiday that they can then replace with their own myth. Thus Sol Invictus was born and quickly trashed for their own purposes. 

Why December 25th? That has to do with Hippolytus of Rome. He figured it by starting with March 25th, the accepted date of Jesus's death since at least A.D. 200. Add in the fact that, according to Jewish Talmudic tradition, all righteous men died on the same day they were conceived, and Jesus' conception must have also taken place on March 25th. Then basic biology tells us that nine months after conception comes the birth: December 25th.

Did I mention that the Jesus story is derived from a number of precursor heroes who happen to share a number of characteristics?  Note that all of these godly sorts lived years (centuries and millennia) before the Jesus story was mashed together. Interesting similarities no?












This is getting too long for anybody to read, so I'll stop here. There is more to say about Christmas trees, wreaths, gift-giving, and (most importantly wassailing). But I'll leave that as your homework. Surely, if you can research COVID to the point you'd rather die than be vaccinated, you can research the holiday you thought you knew. You really don't know jack about it.

Here are some links from actual reliable sources you can begin with. Consider it homework.

https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/articles/when-was-jesus-really-born.aspx

https://haquil.com/blogs/viking/why-did-odin-hang-himself-his-everlasting-quest-for-wisdom

https://www.cracked.com/article_15719_pagan-orgies-to-human-sacrifice-bizarre-origins-christmas.html

https://www.newsweek.com/christmas-tree-origin-story-pagan-tradition-1254178

https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees

https://www.britannica.com/plant/Christmas-tree


Sunday, December 25, 2022

Happy...Um...Whatever You Want to Celebrate

MERRY SatPanHanKwaXAth


Tis the season, as they say. Say what? Yeah, I made up that combo-holiday greeting. Covers just about everything celebratory throughout the winter doldrums. So, no matter what persuasion you follow, there's got to be something to brighten the soggy/cold season.

YuleA Norse mid-winter celebration of the turning of the days from shorter to longer. Yay, we made it halfway through winter! Woot! Of course, the word gave us the tradition of the Yule log, a big chunk of wood burned in the fireplace and something large and meaty being roasted over said fire. It originated from the mid-winter celebrations (see Saturnalia) and applied to the Wild Hunt and Odin. We can blame King Haakon I for deliberately co-opting a perfectly good pagan celebration and dedicating it to the fictitious birth of Christ. That was a big miss regarding seasons since everybody knows shepherds watch their flocks at night only in the Spring and Summer, certainly not in the dead of winter. Skoal to Odin orJölföðr. See how this alternative name for the Norse god being applied to the celebration?

Saturnalia: The Romans liked mid-winter to celebrate something, so Saturn got the festival. This one was usurped for the Christmas myth. Don't get all twisted. Christmas is not a celebration for Jesus. It's a way to get the Pagans to sign up.

Besides Saturn, other pagan dieties are celebrated for much the same reason. Mithra, Horus, Zeus, even Hercules. Christians didn't steal the celebration until 400 AD. Historical accounts have Christ born in the spring, but that would have interfered with the theft of Oestra, the spring festival of fertility.

Pancha Ganapati: The Hindu solstice celebration lasts five days (the Hindus really know how to party). The celebration is in honor of the elephant god Ganesha, who is the patron of arts and guardian of culture. Each day is celebrated by a different color which have special meanings for Ganesha. Golden Yellow creates a vibration of love and harmony within the family, Royal Blue for love and harmony between neighbors and friends, Ruby Red for harmony with business associates, Emerald Green celebrates art and culture, and the last day (which happens to be December 25th) is Brilliant Orange for love and harmony for all. The holiday is celebrated with lights and tinsel, but with a nice picture of Lord Ganesh rather than a tree.

Hanukkah: This year, the beginning of Hanukkah fell on December 18th. What a perfect time for the Festival of Lights for those of the Judaic persuasion. Since the Jewish calendar is based on different dates than the western one, liberal Jews can have their Hanakkuh, and still celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa with their friends. Anyone want a convertible Hanukkah bush? Everybody can party like it's 5775.



Kwanzaa: Created in 1966, Kwanzaa was made up by a California guy to highlight African-american culture. Cool thought, but I'd just as soon we'd say: "What? Obama is black? Wow, I didn't know that." Keeping separate ensures separateness. Hey! Doesn't that look like a Menorah?

More recently, Kwanzaa is celebrated in conjunction with Christmas since many African-Americans are Christian. I suppose those of the Muslim faith can also celebrate Kwanzaa since the major winter holy day for Muslims was way back in November.


Christmas: A usurpation of the mid-winter Saturnalia Festival and Jule. St. Patrick was big on keeping the frolicking holidays, but bending them to his own purpose. Historical records seem to place the actual birth of Jesus in March or April. Facts don't get in the way of the commercial spending binge. All hail the Almighty (dollar/euro/pound/yen).

The big bruhaha every year in the US was all the stores who decided that Thanksgiving was a great day for their employees to not be with their family in a celebration of thanksgiving. So, they opened their doors and let the crowds rush in. Christians don't have to worry about atheists having some pretend war on Christmas. Christians are their own worst enemies. Ask the Pope.

The godless like holidays as much as the next person. They just don't have an official date for the FSM's birth celebration. FSM, you ask? Flying Spaghetti Monster has become the avatar for folks that think the FSM is just as realistic as any other god.


So, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, enjoy, be happy, and don't drink too much then drive around endangering others. Stay home and get smashed.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Festivus! The Holiday for the Rest of Us!

 Festivus is a secular holiday, normally celebrated on December 23rd. It is mainly meant as an alternative to the pressures and commercialization of the Christmas season.

The usual holiday tradition of a tree is manifested in an unadorned aluminum pole, which is in direct contrast to typical holiday materialism. Those attending Festivus may also participate in the "Airing of Grievances" which is an opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed you in the past year, followed by a Festivus dinner, and then completed by the "Feats of Strength" where the head of the household must be pinned. All of these traditions are based upon the events in the Seinfeld episode, Strangely enough, our Festivus traditions also have roots that pre-date Seinfeld, as it began in the household of Dan O'Keefe, a television writer who is credited for writing the Seinfeld episode.

Some people, many of them inspired by the Seinfeld episode, subsequently began to celebrate the holiday with varying degrees of seriousness. Allen Salkin's 2005 book Festivus: The Holiday for the Rest of Us chronicles the early adoption of Festivus. Rabbi Joshua Eli Plaut's 2012 book A Kosher Christmas: 'Tis the Season to Be Jewish' references Festivus. Martin Bodek's 2020 book The Festivus Haggadah fuses Passover with Festivus. Others have adopted Festivus as a way of engaging in a non-religious celebration over the traditional holiday season, such as by showcasing winter festivities. Some decorate using secular figures, like snowmen and snow angels, hang fairy lights to highlight their decorations, share traditional holiday food with loved ones, such as hot chocolate, gingerbread men, and candy canes, and may exchange small gifts.

The traditional greeting of Festivus is "Happy Festivus."

If you want to learn more about Festivus can check out the Wiki article on its "traditions."



Monday, December 19, 2022

Hans Trapp and Krampus - Christmas Boogey Men

 Credit to Tony Lagarto for the story of Hans Trapp

This is Hans Trapp, a legendary boogeyman from the Alsace and Lorraine regions of France. He accompanies Santa Claus to punish naughty children at Christmas. While Santa delivers presents and gifts, Hans Trapp delivers beatings.
The Christmas legend of Hans Trapp is based on a real German knight, and begins with a wealthy man stealing people’s money and partying so hard that the Pope ex-communicates him. The story goes that Trapp then sells his soul to the devil to pursue a life of sin, which naturally forces him into a hobby of eating human flesh, as such a one is wont to do. Banished from society for being a skeevy creep, he lived alone in the woods and dressed as a scarecrow, stuffing straw into his clothes and at times wearing a black cloak. He spends his time trying to lure children into the woods so he can eat them.
One day after roasting a shepherd boy over a fire (or just getting ready to, the legend goes back and forth on this one), God decided enough was enough and struck Trapp down with a lightning bolt that split his head open.
But that didn’t stop this cannibal – he got a new gig helping Saint Nicholas out by keeping naughty kids in line.
Some accounts of Hans Trapp paint him in a rosier light (could there be any that are darker?), saying that he regrets his life of sin. In these versions, he visits misbehaving children dressed as a scarecrow and tries to persuade them to be more virtuous than he was, usually by scaring them into it.
But other stories, in classic creepy Christmas fashion, say he goes around marking the children he wants to eat on Christmas Eve.
The German knight this legend is based on was named Hans Von Trotha and was born in 1450. Apparently, he didn’t really do any of the stuff mentioned in the legend, except get into a war against an abbey, which led to him being ex-communicated by the Pope. But who really cares about those pesky factual details when you can just scare the crap out of your kids on Christmas instead?

Krampus

Of course, we all love Santa Claus (or Santa Claws from "Nightmare Before Christmas"), but leave us not forget the adorable Krampus. After all, without Krampus, bad children wouldn't just get coal in their stocking, but they'd also be kidnapped, thrown into a sack, and eaten by the lovely Krampus. The Grinch ain't got nothin' on Krampus.

Here's some stuff from Wikipedia:

In folklore, Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure described as "half-goat, half-demon", who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.

Krampus is one of the companions of Saint Nicholas in several countries including Austria, Bavaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, South Tyrol and parts of Northern Italy. The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists have postulated its pre-Christian origin.

In traditional parades and in such events as the Krampuslauf (English: Krampus run), young men dressed as Krampus participate; such events occur annually in most
As evil as jolly Saint Krampus is, his role of getting naughty children to behave has worked wonders in the Slavic areas of Europe.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Smashwords HUGE End of Year Sale!

 DECEMBER 15TH THROUGH JANUARY 1ST!




All of my books will be on sale, many of them free! The sale books (everybody's) can be browsed at Smashwords End of Year Sale.

Smashwords is requiring books to be priced at a minimum 99 cents, but if the books was pretty darned cheap to begin (e.g., .99 or 1.99), it might be priced as a freebie. It's a mystery to me, but all I know is that many many many books will be free during this sale.

My books are listed under Ebooks on Smashwords on this blog.


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

HolOddities #3

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment.
 Kallikantzaroi
  • Latvia: A group of "mummers" travel from house to house where they are given a treat in return for their blessing. This sounds more like Halloween to me.
  • Guatemala: Folks sweep out their houses and put all the dirt in a communal pile with an effigy devil on top which is then burned. This must be an "out with the evil" gesture.
  • Cuba: Every December, Cuban city Remedios hosts the Parrandas Festival. The city splits in half, with each side building the biggest, baddest, fanciest light sculpture display ever. My husband does this by himself every year. No competition so far.
  • Bavaria: Bavarian Highlanders dressed in lederhosen fire mortars into the air. Sure, why not? 
  • Greece: The evil goblins, the Kallikantzaroi, lurk in the depths of the earth until Christmas Eve, when they spring up to create havoc. I wonder if anybody has seen this. It seems it'd be a great tourist draw.
  • Slovakia: The most senior man of the house takes a spoonful of loksa pudding and flings it to the ceiling. The more that sticks, the better. What is it with weird things to do with pudding?
  • Japan: Christmas cards are also a Japanese tradition, but they never ever are red. Red, of course, is the color for funerals. I suppose that means the cards could have lots of black, making them dual purpose for Halloween as well.
  • Canada: The Canadian postal service recognizes the address "SANTA CLAUS, THE NORTH POLE, CANADA HO HO HO." Letters addressed this way are opened and replied to by the well-known Royal Canadian Mounted Elves.
  • Finland: Holiday cards have tributes to the dearly departed. Finnish Cemeteries are lit with Christmas lights, making them a lovely sight on Christmas night.
  • Iceland: The kids leave a shoe on their windowsill for the 12 Days of Christmas. Each night, some Finnish elves fill the shoes with candy and other goodies. I like the Finnish elves. They're a generous lot.
  • England: Stockings are hung by the chimney with care with hopes St. Nicholas doesn't just leave a lump of coal.
  • South Africa: A little rotter named Danny ate all of Santa's cookies, the legend goes. Granny wasn't happy about this and killed Danny for being a greedy little punk. This is far worse than getting a lump of coal.
  • United States: In many cities, the Running of the Santas, draws a large crowd of spectators as the Santas rush from pub to bar to tavern getting as drunk as they can on the free drinks provided by the owners of the establishments. Of course, they sell a lot of drinks to the folks who want to watch the Santas get smashed.
That's all the weird stuff I have for now. If I find more, I'll most certainly add it to the lists. In the meantime, consider books as the perfect gift for any friend or member of the family.

How about some Science Fiction? These two books have the same plot. One is not the sequel of the other. Here's the difference: Ultimate Duty is R-rated and has some additional space battle scenes. First Duty is PG if you're looking for the same fantastic plot but without the sex.

Ultimate Duty $2.99 at Amazon8.99 Print, Audiobook coming soon
and First Duty $1.99 at Amazon7.99 Print, $7.49 Audiobook at Audible or free with subscription to Audible.com

FYI: Tall, redheaded heroines kick ass. 

Yes, they do. But mostly only in fantasy and science fiction. When I wrote a redheaded heroine in my books "First Duty" and "Ultimate Duty," I used as my model a real-life person I had known years ago. She was a natural redhead, close to 6' tall (and more in her Frye boots), and she kicked every single ass while barely moving a muscle.

ULTIMATE DUTY:  A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Facing a life of drudgery on a repressive factory planet, Remy Belieux longs to escape. Her only option for release is to enlist in the Space Service, becoming a soldier for her own world’s oppressors.

She receives her first assignment: guarding a charismatic rebel leader being transported to a prison planet. When rebel troops surprise them, Remy fails to thwart the ambush. Despite a commendation from her Captain, she feels she must redeem herself by recapturing the handsome fugitive.

Shocked by what she learns during the pursuit–her own family’s past involvement in the rebellion–Remy faces a dilemma: remain loyal to the oath she swore as a soldier or join the rebel cause and condemn herself to a death sentence for treason. What is her ULTIMATE DUTY?

FIRST DUTY: Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life.

When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. 

Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds. What is her FIRST DUTY?

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Santa Was a Shaman

Article from Ancient Origins Magazine - Check It Out  A wealth of factual information on --- ancient origins.

Christmas is just around the corner, so we couldn’t let December go by without shining a spotlight on the ancient origins of an occasion celebrated by an estimated two billion people every year. Christmas preserves our roots as we live out the traditions our forebears started so long ago – gift-giving and feasts from the Romans; wreaths and evergreen trees from the pagans; cooked turkey from Native Americans; Santa Claus from an ancient Greek saint; and the Yule log from Old Norse traditions.

From the Celts to the Christians and the Vikings to the Victorians, they have all added traditions to the rich tapestry of the holiday we call Christmas.

And while we are talking about the endurance of old customs, we also turn to a particular luxury item beloved by many – chocolate. A rich concoction created in South America over 3,000 years ago, and once seen as a gift from the gods, chocolate has made its way from the hands of Aztec nobles to the pockets of children across the world.

Along with beliefs and rituals, ancient wisdom has been passed down through the ages to help make the wintertime a little more bearable. We’ve included some easy-to-do traditional remedies that have been used since time immemorial to help you beat those winter bugs.

You will also find a feature on a very unique Australian town, where 80 percent of residents live underground. Plus, we examine the bizarre and unexplained phenomenon of raining objects, from frogs to fish, snakes, rocks, and even money! No matter how you observe or relive ancient traditions, we hope you will enjoy our last issue for 2018 and join us in celebrating the season of new beginnings.

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

HolOddities #2

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment.
Mary Lwyd of Wales
  • Estonia: The whole family hits the sauna on Christmas Eve.
  • Wales: Someone is chosen to play Mari Lywd who walks through town with the skull of a horse on a stick. I'm baffled by this one.
  • Iceland: I like this one. If an Icelander doesn't get new clothes before Christmas, the killer mountain Yule cat eats them. 
  • Czech Republic: Desperate for marriage it seems. Czech ladies throw a shoe over one shoulder from the door way. The direction the shoe is pointed determines if they'll be married in the coming year.
  • Sweden: Authorities in the village of Gävle decided to install a straw goat statue in the town square. Every other year, somebody burns it down before Christmas. Both are fine traditions.
  • Sweden (again): Rice pudding is standard fare for dessert. The Christmas special has an almond buried somewhere in it. The lucky person who finds it will supposedly get married within a year. I assume only single folks of marrying age have a go at the pudding.
  • Great Britain: Speaking of puddings, tradition calls for each member of the household to stir the pudding in a clockwise direction while making a wish. I guess that's better than a lump of coal.
  • Italy: A witch named Befana is the deliverer of presents to children (not that stodgy Santa). But the kids have to wait for the blessings of Befana until January 6th.
  • Ethiopia: Christian Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Everybody wears white and the guys play ganna, a fast pace game of ... hockey?
More weird stuff coming here in the next couple of days.

How about a complete series about the Witches of Galdorheim for a Christmas present? The compendium of the four books and one short story of Kat's adventures learning her witch powers is now available in a single ebook. However, all the separate books are also in print. All are available through:

Amazon, of course

The books and stories are:

BAD SPELLING (Book 1): A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

MIDNIGHT OIL (Book 2): Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

SCOTCH BROOM (Book 3): A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

BLOOD TIES TESTED (Book 4): Written by popular demand of readers who want to know what happens to Rune after the Book 3 conclusion. Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Spellslinger (Prequel Short Story): Written by popular demand of readers who adore Kat's smart-aleck brother. It's a short story prequel to the Witches series is dedicated to Kat's brother, Rune. A super speller, he's plagued with his half-vampire heritage. This story gives a bit more of his trials growing up on the Witches' Island.