Welcome to my place in the blogosphere!
feel free to explore the Flight Deck and check out my books and website.
Then fasten your seatbelts, sip a glass of something sparkling and let's chat awhile!
I hope you'll stop by again for 'Snippet Sunday' every week and guest authors and spotlights from time to time.

Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Snarkology Paranormal Blog Hop

Snarkology Paranormal Blog Hop

Welcome to the Flightdeck.  We've dressed the place up with spiders webs and pumpkins just for Halloween and The Snarkology Paranormal Bloghop! So ... help yourself to something strange and sparkling from the replicator and prepare to be scaaaaaeeeeerd.  (Manical laughter is heard from somewhere behind one of the control panels and red eyes glow in the semi darkness - the starship has pretty good sound effects -  or is it really haunted?) 
 scary red eyes
 An eerie glow lights up the bulkhead and a glittering message gradually forms - it says:
 
 (And there will be news of prizes to follow, so read on...)

As often happens when I take part in this type of event, my thoughts turn to my homeland, the Principality of Wales, so for the  Snarkology Paranormal Bloghop, I thought I'd tell you a little about the origins of the traditional Welsh Halloween in days gone by.

All Hallow’s Eve, also known as Ysbrydnos (Spirit Night) or Halloween, has its roots in the pagan tradition, called Nos Galan Gaeaf,  which is Welsh for 'the first night of winter', or Samhain, which is a Gaelic word meaning ‘Summer’s End. November 1st was considered to be the start of the New Year, the date on which the herds were returned from summer pasture and land tenancies were renewed. The Welsh word for November is Tachwedd  which means 'The month of slaughter' because on the 1st November, after the harvest, it was also time to cull the livestock. The prime animal stock were selected and would remain to be wintered over to the forthcoming spring. The remaining stock were slaughtered to supply the meat over the coming winter months.
 
The Celts dressed in animal skins and made Jack O lanterns from turnips (pumpkins were unknown until brought to Britain from America) to ward off evil spirts. Sometimes they wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the spirits believed to be present. In time witches, fairies, hobgoblins, and demons came to be associated with the day.


Halloween, was a time to remember the dead,  when their souls were believed to return to visit their homes.  In folklore these spirits were believed to congregate at crossroads and stiles and these were strongly avoided. On this night, gifts of food were left out for the dead, or a place laid at the table for them.

Bonfires, or Coelcerth, would be built on hilltops, to frighten away evil spirits, and from which each villager would light their  hearth fires  for the winter. Stones with names on would be cast into the fire, and if someone found the theirs the following day, it was considered good luck. However, if the stone with one's name on was missing it was a portent of death! As the fire burned down,and the darkness returned, the villagers would run back to their hearth to escape  the nwch ddu gwta, a demon in the shape of a black, tailess sow.

Halloween was thought to be favourable for foreseeing such matters as marriage, and death.An unmarried girl would throw the peel of an apple over her shoulder and whichever letter it most resembled would be the initial of the one she would marry. Another custom involving apples was 'bobbing for apples' where young folk would try to grab an apple from a tub filled with water, using their teeth.

Another tradition connected with the end of the harvest at Nos Galan Gaeaf,  was the 'harvest mare' or caseg fedi. This was a 'corn dolly' formed from the very last sheaf of corn, and  would eventually take pride of place above the fire hearth as a sign that all the corn was gathered in. The women would have been preparing the harvest feast as the harvest finished. The men would throw their reaping hooks at  The Mare and the one who was first to hit it would have the honour of bringing it into into the house with much merriment and jollity, past the women who would attempt to prevent its entry by trying to soak the mare with water, while the men did their best to keep it dry until they had entered the house with it. If successful, the reaper who had brought down the mare and carried it in would be rewarded with beer, if not he would have to sit at the end of the table in disgrace.

These days most of these customs have largely died out, replaced by the more modern ways of celebrating Halloween, although some, like 'bobbing for apples' still remain.

Because Halloween is associated with spirits and demons, I thought I'd end with a short excerpt from my fantasy novella 'Dancing With Fate', which is set in 5th Century Wales and features the scary Ellylldan, Goblin Fire.



The glowing red sparks appeared a few hours before dawn. Terpsichore looked across to where she could just make out Myrddin, lying close to the fire, apparently asleep. She stood and wrapped her brat around her shoulders. What unearthly lights were these? In the name of Hades, she had never seen anything like this before. She watched them as they advanced and retreated, advanced and retreated. They seemed to beckon to her. She walked forward a few steps. 
This was not natural. She sensed evil, but of a kind she had never come across before. 

She tried to turn her head, to look away and move back to the fire. Some force compelled her to keep staring at them, to move forward. Further and further from the campfire she wandered. The air grew chill and she pulled her brat more closely around her. The flickering lights gyrated in a wild dance, inviting her to follow them. Dawn was approaching. In the dim early morning light, she could make out demon faces, red glowing eyes, hands outstretched, with flames at their fingertips. 

She recoiled in horror. Somewhere in her subconscious, she knew she was in deadly danger, but still she moved forward. They summoned her to follow and she could not help but obey. She tried to call to Apollo, and her father, but her mind was numb. She could reach no one on Olympus. 

“Myrddin!” No sound came from her lips. Still, a strange unearthly power obliged her to walk forward toward those eerie, mesmerizing points of light.

The ground grew soft beneath her feet. Cold mud oozed between her bare toes. The further she walked, the deeper the mud became; eventually, she realized she was up to her waist in chill, muddy water, and she was powerless to turn back, or even to move any more. 

“Zeus, oh, Father, please help me...don’t desert me now.” For the first time in her immortal  life, she knew fear. These creatures of nameless evil had her trapped. They would drag her down to the underworld and she would never see Olympus or her family again.


Then strong arms encircled her, swung her round. 

“Cora, look at me.” She gazed into two pools of azure blue, filled with concern, and a pale face set in resolve. Still she had an irresistible urge to look at those weird, flickering lights. She turned her head, and at the same moment, there was a flash like lightning. The ground behind her burst into a wall of blue flame. It blotted out everything, engulfing the demon lights and the hideous forms that a moment before had lured her onward. 

“Look at me. Look at me...don’t look back again.”
 Before she could reply, he swept her up and carried her back toward the campfire.

Eos in her chariot had started her journey across the sky and the pearly light showed their camp and the two horses grazing nearby. Never had anything looked so welcome. Never had Terpsichore felt so safe in a man’s arms.

He set her down, near the fire, and wrapped his own brat around her. He wore only his truis, and was bare-chested. “You’re trembling, you’ll catch your death of cold...but that would be better than the fate which almost befell you.”
DANCING WITH FATE - Available from AMAZON  or SMASHWORDS
http://www.hywelalyn.co.uk  


YOU CAN FOLLOW THE OTHER BLOGS PARTICIPATING IN THIS EVENT BELOW:

     CONTESTS     

BLOGHOPWIDE GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY IS A $60 AMAZON GIFT CARD 
Rafflecopter entry below
a Rafflecopter giveaway and my this is my Halloween 'trick or treat' prize:

Black cats are synonymous with Halloween, and when I saw this gorgeous pair, I just couldn't resist them! These delightful Charm Drop Round Black Crystal Cublic Zirconia Sexy Cat Bead Dangle Sterling Silver Earrings are perfect for Halloween but nice enough to wear on other occasions too.

To be in with a chance for winning please follow my Blog then leave a comment mentioning that you are following me  and at the end of the Blog Hop I'll put all the comments in my witch's hat.  Because these earrings will be quite light to post, the contest is open to everyone wherever the live! If you already follow my blog, just leave a comment to that effect and I'll make sure you're entered too.  I had to re-do my blog a month or two back, so I'm hoping to regain some followers since all my other ones disappeared!


Good luck!

And if you're still in the mood for blog hopping, don't forget to visit http://kmnbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ where I'm featured today on Karen Michelle Nutt's blog with a short story specially written by me for Halloween - and you could win a $10 Amazon Gift Card just for leaving a comment.

31 comments:

  1. Thank you for your part in this hop. I signed up by bloglovin felicia sidoma I think the cat earrings are so cute

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  2. I loved your post! I just can't get enough of Halloween lore and legends!
    And your cat earrings... I love them! I'm a big cat lover! kmnbooks at yahoo dot com

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  3. Thanks for sharing :)
    I'm already a follower by email:
    lorih824 at yahoo dot com
    Happy Halloween!
    Lori

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  4. I loved the post; I enjoy learning about other cultures, as well as about how traditions began. The earrings are gorgeous. Wow! I follow on Bloglovin' and I hope I am following via email, as well. michelle_willms(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. Hi Felicia, Karen, Lori and Michelle, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, glad you enjoyed the post and like the earrings - you're all in the draw, thanks again!

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  6. Those earrings are adorable! I really like them! Thanks for participating in the hop and I follow your blog via email: mestith at gmail dot com

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  7. Hi Meghan, thanks for visiting and following! Glad you like the earrings, they're in the draw. (Winner will be posted on 1st November)

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  8. Lyn,
    What a lovely post. (Not just content but visually.) I envy your magical touch for getting blogger to behave. I loved all of the Halloween history.

    Thank you for being a part of the Snarkology's Halloween hop. :-)

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  9. I always love learning more about the history of this holiday! Thanks for a great blog (loved the eyes!) and PLEASE put my name in the hat for the earrings - gorgeous! I'm following - come visit me on the Snarkology Blog Hop at Quill or Pill at www.quillorpill.blogspot.com - thanks!

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  10. omg, those are adorable! Followed, GFC - smiles :)

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  11. Hi Melissa, so glad you enjoyed the post - I have to admit the air is sometimes blue when I'm wrestling with Blogger, and it's not just the colour effects! :)

    Thanks so much for organising this Blog Hop, so happy to be part of it!

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    1. Blogger started doing this "thing" this week where text is moving around/jumping while I'm trying to format it. It's just driving me nuts. I wonder if it's haunted this week. *G*

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  12. Hi Kat, Smiles and Lisa. thanks so much for stopping by and commenting - you're all in the draw!

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  13. Enjoyed reading the post, those are cute earrings.
    Follow via GFC JeanMP
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

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  14. Hi Jean. Thanks so much - glad you like the earrings, you're in the draw!

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  15. Loved the post, Lyn - much of it sounds quite similar to our Scottish Halloween and it was a great dressing up time when we were children!

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  16. Love the Welsh Halloween traditions and your book sounds great. Love the earrings. Followed by GFC Thanks for sharing the hop and your giveaway. Happy Halloween! evamillien at gmail dot com

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  17. Hi Rosemary, thanks so much for stopping by - yes we Welsh,
    Scots and Irish are all Celts by heritage, so I think it's natural that our traditions are very similar.

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  18. Hi Eva, so glad you enjoyed hearing about the customs, glad you like the sound of my book an d the earrings. Thanks for following, you and Rosemary are both in the draw!

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  19. Turnips? That's interesting. I haven't bobbed for apples in ages.

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  20. Hi M Pax - I haven't either! :) Personally I prefer pumpkins at Halloween but in the olden days in Britain, before pumpkins were introduced from the US, turnips were the best thing available!

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  21. Thanks for the little history lesson! It's so interesting to see what traditions die out and which ones adapt to the modern era. I'm a GFC follower.

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  22. Great post! It was fun reading! Halloween is quite fascinating, huh? I love it! :D Thanks for sharing! Happy Halloween! Thanks for the fun and goodies! :) Awesome earrings!
    GFC: shadow_kohler
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. Hi again Melissa, I just saw your post about Blogger. I know what you mean, but I thought it was just 'me'. I've found if you get out of Blogger and leave it for a while it will settle down, but it is very frustrating. Perhaps the Halloween Gremlins live in Blogger all the year round!

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  24. Hi Mer and Shadow. Thanks so much for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for following, you're in the draw!

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  25. Thanks (rafflecopter as Sunshine Rays)

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  26. Great post and the earrings are beautiful.
    GFC - Sherry S.
    Bloglovin - Sherry Strode
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

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  27. Those are beautiful earrings I follow by email and I just signed up to follow with GFC(thought I was before). Enjoyed your post. Happy Halloween.
    Sue B

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  28. Hi Sue, thanks so much for your kind comment and for following - I lost all my followers when I had to re-do this blog! Happy Halloween to you too!

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Thank you SO much for commenting - I LOVE comments and value each and every one. If you could also follow this blog that would be great - just leave me a comment to tell me you've followed, with your own blog addy and I'll happily follow you back!