Monday, October 28, 2013

A Halloween Potpourri: A Combination of Incongruous Things

Giveaway ~ $25 Amazon Gift Card
The winner is Ash Wolf!
Thanks for your comments, everyone.
If you think Halloween can be scary now, step back in time about 2,500 years when Halloween first
started. People believed things like this:

"Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win"). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life ..." -

I'll be right there with a basket of candy for the little princesses and superheroes and preteens with fake knives embedded in their heads when the doorbell rings this coming Thursday night. I swear, one of these years I'm going to give those big groups of teenagers who come around before their parties some dental floss, but it would probably just get my house teepeed.

Relax, I can deal with it.
It's those overlapping boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead that have me worried. With my luck, my house is probably built on a major fault line.

In keeping with the subtitle of this post, A Combination of Incongruous Things, here are some Celts doing something odd with a dead man and a dead pig. Plaid was popular then.

Bloody good!
Vampire Cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
approx 1/2 cup red jam (raspberry/strawberry)

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and extracts.
2. Add flour and salt to the bowl and mix them into the butter-sugar mixture at low speed until dough is just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 325F.
4. Divide dough in half and keep the portion you are not using in the refrigerator.
5. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out 2-inch rounds.
6. Place rounds on a baking sheet, put a teaspoon of jam on each of them and cover with another round of dough. Press edges down lightly, pinching the edges onto the cookie sheet. Use a toothpick and poke two small holes (like a vampire bite) in the top of each cookie.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set.
8. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
9. Dip a toothpick in some extra red jam and re-insert in the “bite” holes you made before baking to emphasize them, if not already red. Draw a blood trickle down from one of the bites with the jam, if desired.

How about a virtual trip down Amazon's aisles with a $25 gift card clutched in your hand? Just leave a comment below letting me know your favorite paranormal character from a book, movie, TV program, or cartoon (didn't want to exclude Casper the Friendly Ghost). Please make sure I have some way to contact you if your comment is drawn as the random winner. I'll do the drawing on the opening of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Friday, November 1, 2013. Then this lovely card will belong to one of you!

Remember, demons are a ghoul's best friend! (groan ...) 


Everybody knows the lines:
Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Want to know all the icky ingredients in that cauldron? If so, click "more" to read the entire (long) passage from Macbeth.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween sales!!

This month's winner is Samantha Hodges!! Congratulations, Samantha! Please email me at and let me know a mailing address. Meanwhile, for those who didn't win, you can still get those two books on sale for only $1.99!  And thank you all for the wonderful comments! See you Nov. 25 for the next contest! 

Better late than never!! Yes, I am running late today. Why? Because Zoltan was keeping me tied to the bedpost...I mean computer. (Sigh, wishful thinking).  Revisions on his book were due today, so I had to get that done first.  I'm happy to say all 466 pages are revised, and How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying) is still on target for its release date of April 29, 2014. Here's the cover for Zoltan's book! Just look at that handsome rascal, leaning back and relaxing while I work so hard!
The print version is already up for pre-order online.  E-book version will follow. Can you believe his book will be number 15 in the series?!

Who would have thought the series would last this long?  And here is where it all started-- How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, book one in the Love at Stake series.  If you missed it, or you would like an e-book copy to go along with your print one, you are in luck!  The e-book version is on sale right now for only $1.99!! And what if you want a print copy?  You're in luck again!! Today's contest prize will include a signed copy of How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire!

Also on sale for the Halloween season-- the e-book version of the anthology, Vampires Gone Wild!  For only $1.99, you can read four fabulous vampire novellas!  Mine is called 'V is for VampWoman' and stars Mikhail and Lady Pamela. And what if you would like a print copy?  I'm giving away a signed one!  So be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Vampires Gone Wild and How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire.  International entries are welcome. Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

When seasons cause us pain...

In theory, the idea of seasons and the changes they bring are wonderful. Here in Canberra where I live, for example, we have wonderful seasons. Spring brings Floriade, our annual flower festival. In Autumn, the whole city is painted in shades of brown and gold as the foliage turns. Winter is icy and chilly and perfect for cuddling indoors, and summer is bright and shining and the days are long and lazy.

But sometimes it's easy to forget that the change of seasons can bring great dangers. For the elderly and the poor, both Summer and Winter can be very difficult times. In Canberra, Spring brings immense winds that can cause huge damage (although luckily nothing like the tornado season that hits parts of the US, or the cyclone season they deal with in Northern Australia).

As I write this, bushfire season has begun in a horrendous way here in Australia. There's dozens of bushfires burning across NSW, several of them still out of control. More than 200 homes have been confirmed lost, and that number is sure to rise. There's only been one reported fatality so far, but with the weather set to deteriorate over the next couple of days, the worry is that it won't stop there.

And this is only in October. Bushfire season here lasts until March. How much worse could it get?

Oftentimes in our books, we write about the darkside of humanity - both within our human characters, and also using our supernatural friends to showcase what humanity can be when devoid of all emotion or connection to others, or when we let the animal loose.

I'm hard pressed, however, to think of books where the darkside of nature is used as part of the terror and threat our characters are put through. Can you think of any?

Perhaps it's because we still have this idea that maybe, just maybe, we can understand and change what people think, feel and do. Whereas we've really got no control over nature, as much as sometimes we believe we do, and from time to time we get reminders just how much we are at the mercy of our surroundings.

My thoughts are with everyone who has lost a loved one or their home in a bushfire. And I admire and am overwhelmed with the courage of the firefighters who every summer risk everything to keep us safe.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Trick or Le Chocolate?

Le Chocolate
As we roll along to the month's end, we near the witching hour, the night of the living dead, samhain, AKA Halloween. What we actually celebrate these days is an ancient pagan ritual with a modern twist. All the ingredients are there - food, family, friends, mumming, divination, spirits and . . . chocolate.

In honor of the night, I thought it would be fun to 'guess that book quote'. Here are some one liners from books that all share a certain bend toward the Theobroma cacao shrub. How many do you recognize? (I threw a film in there too. Couldn't resist!)

1)  “Will looked horrified. "What kind of monster could possibly hate chocolate?”

2)  “Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.”

3)  “Can I come back and see you sometime?"
     "Long as you bring me some chocolate," Gramma said, and smiled. "I'm partial to chocolate."
      "Gramma, you're diabetic."
      "I'm old, girl. Gonna die of something. Might as well be chocolate.”

4) “Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”

5)  “Chocolate says "I'm sorry" so much better than words.”

6)  “A Kiss is a terrible name for a piece of chocolate shaped like a water droplet, because kisses are  hot and would melt chocolate—even if it is wearing an astronaut suit made out of tinfoil.

7)  “Like magic, she felt him getting nearer, felt it like a pull in the pit of her stomach. It felt like
hunger but deeper, heavier. Like the best kind of expectation. Ice cream expectation. Chocolate expectation.”

8) ...Seashells. Chocolate seashells, so small, so plain, so *innocent*. I thought, oh, just one little taste, it can't do any harm. But it turned out they were filled with rich, sinful...

9) “Don't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty. Chocolate isn't like premarital sex. It will not make you pregnant. And it always feels good.”

10) “ . . .(she) opened the box of chocolates. The dog looked at them longingly.
      "Would you like one?" she asked the little dog.
      "Yes, please," whispered the dog. "Only not toffee ones. They make me drool."
      "I thought chocolates weren't very good for dogs," she said, remembering something Miss   Forcible had once told her.
      "Maybe where you come from," whispered the little dog. "Here, it's all we eat.”

Recognize any? Have one of your own? Pop them in the comments please!

And, if you need a permission slip to indulge, remember, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, anti-aging properties and hormone regulators. It keeps your heart and cardiovascular system running smoothly, lowers blood pressure, lowers orchestral, and slows down the clotting cascade (prevents stroke). It also stimulates endorphins and increases seritonin, the happy brain messengers. Seriously, what's not to love? Enjoy, everyone!

Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at or on the 11th House Blog. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.    

Friday, October 11, 2013

Halloween Contest Winners!

Sorry about the delay in announcing the winners of my Halloween-themed Birthday Contest. I was up to my eyeballs in de-tangling a mess I managed to make.  But I have winners!

The winner of Angel's Ink is:  JWilli

The winners of Blood by Moonlight are: Dawn Wigand, Dreams, and Melissa (Books and Things).

Winners, please email me at: JocelynnDOTDrakeATgmailDOTcom

I will need to know:

1. Do you want a paperback version or e-book?

2. If you choose paperback, I need your mailing address.

3. If you choose e-book, I need to know Kindle or Nook version.

4. If you choose e-book, I also need to know which email address to send it to.

Thanks to everyone who participated in my giveaway.  My next one will probably be in December.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Halloween-Themed Birthday Giveaway

I love October.  October brings cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, Halloween costumes, and MY BIRTHDAY.  Yep, I'm officially another year old today and I'm giving away some presents to you.  That's a pretty good deal in my opinion. 

Help me celebrate my birthday by entering my giveaway!  What's up for grabs?  I am giving away a copy of ANGEL'S INK, the first novel in my Asylum Tales series about magical tattoos, warlocks, elves, trolls, werewolves, and the grim reaper.  You can win either a Kindle or Nook copy of ANGEL'S INK or I can mail you a signed copy (US only for this contest).


Looking for a tattoo -- and maybe a little something extra: a burst of good luck, a dollop of love, or even a hex on an ex?  Head to the quiet and mysterious Gage, the best skin artist in town.  Using his unique potions -- a blend of extraordinary ingredients and special inks -- to etch the right symbol, he can fulfill any heart's desire.  But in a place like Low Town, where elves, faeries, trolls, werewolves, and vampires happily walk among humanity, everything has a price.

No one knows that better than Gage.  Turning his back on his own kind, he left the magical Ivory Towers where cruel witches and warlocks rule, a decision that cost him his right to practice magic.  If he disobeys, his punishment -- execution -- will be swift.
Though he's tried to fly under the radar, Gage can't hide from powerful warlocks who want him dead -- or the secrets of his own past.  But with the help of his friends, Trixie, a gorgeous elf who hides her true identity, and a hulking troll named Bronx, Gage just might make it through this enchanted world alive. 
To add to the fun, I am also giving away 3 copies of the Halloween-themed anthology BLOOD BY MOONLIGHT.  You can win a Kindle, Nook, or print copy (US only contest).
Blood by Moonlight

Just in time for the scariest season of all, three popular paranormal authors come together to tell original tales of romance where anything can happen under a Halloween moon . . .
Tempers flare and passions rise in Jocelynn Drake's Of Monsters and Men as the local werewolf pack clashes with the Winter Court's Wild Hunt . . .
In Terri Garey's The Ghoul Next Door, a witch and a warlock battle it out for possession of a haunted house, but the ghost may have her own agenda . . .
And, in Trick or Treathen by Caris Roane, a master vampire struggles to stay away from the mortal woman who enflames his very soul.
I will pick and announce the winners on Thursday, October 10.  What do you have to do to win one of these awesome books?  Leave me a comment telling me: If you could dress up as anything or anyone for Halloween, what would your costume be?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tis the witching hour: The one irrational fear of Amanda Arista

As you know, we are a blog dedicated to the sexy things that go bump in the night. So it really shouldn't surprise you that most of us aren't really afraid of the dark. We have demons, vampires, werewolves, and fey running through our heads most of the time. And those are the good guys. Each year, I take months to plan what scary little devil I'm going to be for Halloween.

With this new series that I am still working on, I've discovered that it takes a lot to scare me. If you've read the blog before, I grew up on a steady diet of serial killers and exorcism movies growing up. I'll take a good haunting any day. Doesn't phase me much.

Even it comes to the real world, I'm pretty much the same. No fear of flying. Heights don't bother me. I'm the girl who picks up the bugs in the office and takes them outside. I used to be squeamish around needles, but working in a hospital for eight years got me over that. I love deep water, have no problem with pitch black rooms, and don't mind being in a big crowd.

However, Hollywood has finally revealed to me what I am afraid of:

At least I can say it outloud now.

I had nightmares after seeing the first trailers of World War Z.
And its not that I don't love the zombie craze right now. I've watched every episode of The Walking Dead. Seen 28 Days Later. Read a few outbreak books including the book that the movie is named after (seriously, check out Cordyceps by Ian Duncan). Nothing stuck with me like the clip from the trailer of the zombies piling up on each other like ants.


It just freaks me out. And I don't know why. Its not like its actually going to happen. And if it does, I'll be the first to admit that I'm zombie bait. So why worry, right?

I have no idea!!

Just the thought of a horde of them, running after me, filling the street behind me as they stumble and crush others to get at my sweet meatiness just creeps me out!!

So there you have it. Hordes of Fast-Moving Zombies. Thank you Brad Pitt for showing me exactly what I'm afraid of and that even an alpha male like yourself can barely out run the threat (at least according to the trailers, 'cuz I'm never seeing that movie, or even reading the Wikipedia page).

Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther series

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Legend Award Round-Up Fun

Last month, I was thrilled to share with you that The Gathering Of The Lost had made it to the final shortlist for the David Gemmell Legend Award for Best Fantasy.

Although voting for the winner -- and the battleaxe! -- closed yesterday, I thought I'd some of the links to fun Legend related features around the interwebs since the shortlist was announced.


My "Official" Gemmell Award finalist's interview:

Find out the answer to this question: "Your books to date have made a real impact, with your characters in particular being praised. How do you go about creating and developing your characters?"

Finalist's Interview

A conversation between Kristin Cashore’s Bitterblue and Malian of Night from my own Wall of Night series, which is currently featured on Kristin’s blog:

Kristin Cashore's Bitterblue Talks With Malian Of Night


Do you love magic systems? Then you might enjoy this post on genre site, RisingShadow, where I talk about the magic in the Wall of Night world for the very first time -- yes, that's right: everz!

Magic In The Wall Of Night World


Kate Forsyth
I was also delighted to be interviewed by YA author, Kate Forsyth:

Interview with Kate Forsyth


What, you’re still waiting around? Go take a look—and enjoy!