Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

The first Thanksgiving was held in the fall of 1621, sometime between September 21 and November 11, and it was a feast held over three days. The Pilgrims were joined by about 90 members of the local Wampanoag tribe including their Chief Massasoit, to celebrate a successful harvest season, something that was a matter of life or death to them.

While most of us ply the aisles of a grocery store with a shopping cart to collect the makings for our feast these days, the idea of taking time to sit down with family and friends to share our joy has stuck with us through the centuries. Mostly.

There were gaps in the celebration of Thanksgiving, even though George Washington declared it a national holiday in 1789. The woman who wrote the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" spent four decades of her life trying to get Thanksgiving to become an annual national celebration. Her name was Sarah Josepha Hale. She and Abraham Lincoln connected on the idea of bringing the nation together for healing during the Civil War. In 1863, Lincoln proclaimed that the last Thursday in November was to be a day of "thanksgiving and praise."

While you have feasting on your mind, you might want to think about those who are hungry this and every day, and do something about it. 

When you go around the table saying what you're thankful for, you might want to add Abraham Lincoln and Sara Josepha Hale. It wouldn't hurt to lift up your voices and sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" too. Make the feasting and the giving thanks last three days, as in 1621.

My Thanksgiving Wishes to you!
(Click above)
It would be wonderful if you'd share a high point from this Thanksgiving or one in your memory with me and other readers of Supernatural Underground.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Being Thankful

The winner for this month is Mary Chen! Mary, please email me at, so I can get your mailing information. Many thanks for everyone who dropped by to comment.  It looks like we share a lot of our favorite authors!  It's an honor to be included among them. Thanks again for all your support, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Can you believe it's the end of November already?  Where did 2013 go?  This is the time of the year to be thankful and count our blessings, and I wanted you to know you are all blessings to me.  You keep buying

the books.  You spread the word to family and friends.  You continue to come here every month, or email me, or stop by Facebook, Goodreads, or Twitter to give me encouragement and support. I am thankful to you all!  To give thanks, I'm giving away my two latest releases.  One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of The Vampire with the Dragon Tattoo and my latest historical, Less than a Gentleman!

I am also thankful for other authors, who do so much more than entertain me. They amaze me and inspire me. I recently saw some of them in Dallas at the Buns and Roses event, and I asked them to sign the Autograph Keepsake booklet. This booklet has author photos and signatures from authors like Donna Grant, Darynda Jones, Lorraine Heath, Sophie Jordan, Cathy Mawell, myself, and others. A total of 22 autographs!!  So this month's winner will
receive the two books mentioned above, plus the Autograph Keepsake!

To enter, just leave a comment about which authors you are thankful for. The winner will be chosen at random. Please check back here in case you have won, and I'm trying to get in contact with you. International entries are welcome.  Happy Thanksgiving and wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

December 1 approaches...

Photo courtesy of
Can you believe it's only two weeks to winter/summer? Depending on where you live, of course.

Here in Australia, we're actually having a bit of a hard time believing it's almost Summer. We're in the middle of a bit of a cold snap at the moment, and the Spring rains have been more 'deluge' than 'refreshing' in some parts. All this just a few weeks after horrific bushfires.

Weather, huh?

On Twitter, I've seen people staring to talk about the build-up to Christmas. In particular, parents commenting on how the stupid end of year whirl has begun, with their relationship with their kids being reduced to little more than a bus driver. There's also been the now traditionally whinge about how early the shops get all the Christmas gear out. Actually, I think they were a little more laid-back this year - it was early to mid-November before it was really noticeable.

Do the shopping centres start decorating for Christmas that early in the US, or does Thanksgiving hold it back?

Lotsa folks have been saying December 1 is the day that Christmas observances can start. It's the earliest day that you can put up your Christmas tree, they opine. It's when the shops should put up their decorations. Anything earlier is a waste.

When you look at that depository of all wisdom, Wikipedia, it turns out December 1 is actually a pretty cool day. Here's some of the holidays/observances from around the world:
Personally, I love the idea of a Good Neighborliness Day - particularly as the stress of the end of the year grows. We all know that for some people, this is a really difficult time of the year, so a day put aside to being a good neighbour sounds awesome.

Christmas and everything just rushed at me last year. Work was extremely busy in December and I just didn't have a chance to stop and think about it and by the time it arrived, I wasn't ready and it was a bit of a dud, quite frankly. This year, December at work is going to be much calmer, so I am DETERMINED that I'm going to give Christmas and the end of the year the attention it deserves. It's going to be a party, my friends.

How about you? Are you looking forward to December?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Take a Holiday from Stress

With Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday just around the corner, it's a good time to ask "Is there  too much stress in my life?"

To find out, check in with your emotional guidance! Here's how:

Feel good = stress free.

Feel bad = stressful.

The idea is to bring awareness to the situation so we can let go of what's not supporting us. Indicators of stress include:

  • Fatigue, yawning, dozing, spacing out, depression  Aches and pains and symptoms in the body 
  • Nervous tension, anxiety or apprehension 
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Lack of enthusiasm for life  

Reducing Daily Stress Where is the relief? Where is the liberation? Four quick ways to let go of stress: • Burn off the adrenaline! Find a feel good exercise!

  • Remove the source of stress by reassessing plans and restructuring goals. 
  • Eliminate ‘tolerations’. Let them go, or find a new way to think about them. 
  • Learn to say no, delegate, and entrust others.
  • Nurture mind/body/spirit. Exercise and meditate! 

Stress Reduction Through the Zodiac

The signs of the zodiac can alert us to authentic needs and modes of stress reduction. We each have all twelve signs in our charts, although some will be emphasized more than others. Looking at the natal signs of the Sun, Moon, Ascendant and Ascendant ruler(s) offers a good starting point.

 AriesAries need to express through assertion and action. Stress accumulates when physical restrictions are imposed or there is a lack of independence, authority and self-direction. Effective stress relief includes defining goals, regular exercise, and focusing on the areas of life where you CAN be in charge.

TaurusTaurus need to express sensually. Stress can accumulate when there is physical isolation, deprivation of intimacy or lack of comfort and security in the environment. Stress relief may come from healthy physical contact, bodywork, regular meals, intimacy, and good financial planning.

GeminiGemini need to express through communication and multitasking. Stress builds up when there is no one to talk to, too little to do, or no way to disseminate ideas. Stress relief comes with the right amount of activity levels, new projects, cultivating friends, study, and varied types of playful exercise.

 CancerCancer need to express through emotional bonds. Stress can arise from discordant surroundings, moving house, loss of nourishing family ties, minimal creative and emotional outlets and financial insecurity. Stress reduction includes building self-nourishment and love, creativity, domestic security and emotional ties.

 LeoLeo need acknowledgement, distinction, and an audience. They like drama! Stress can arise from lack of recognition, humiliation or a feeling of insignificance. Anything that adds sparkle and specialty will help reduce stress, as will exercise, playful joint activities, romance and creative or
Ryan Kwanten - True Blood
dramatic self-expression.

 VirgoVirgo need to categorize, refine, plan and examine. Stress can arise from emotional or environmental chaos, inactivity and lack of order or meaningful tasks. They need to feel their work reflects a valid contribution, great or small. Control over diet, exercise, communication and the day to day environment is critical.

 LibraLibra need to harmonize, share, beautify and relate socially. Stress can arise from imbalance, injustice, harsh environments, social isolation and lack of image control. A stressed Libra needs to talk things out, sharing feelings and experiences with a caring other. One of the people pleasers, they stress about having to say NO.

 ScorpioScorpio need to interact intensely, get behind the scenes and live on the edge. Stress can occur when life is too sedate or lacking in emotional intimacy. Some risk or danger can be nourishing for Scorpio, as is fortifying personal relationships and allowing time and space for passionate expression. Dramas and upheaval are allies = healthy transformation.

 SagittariusSagittarius need to explore, find meaning, direct others and adventure. Stress can arise when life is too confining and predictable. There is a strong need for social contact and a longing to lead the group. Physical exercise in natural outdoor settings is a must, as is spontaneity.

 CapricornCapricorn need to assert their own authority, build structure and gain achievement and results. Stress augments when this sign lacks control, security, plans or power. Self-sufficiency, planning, and wise time management reduces stress, as does exercise that builds, strengthens and

 AquariusAquarius need stimulation, challenge, knowledge and freedom. Stress can arise when life is banal, restrictive, subdued, or routine. Linking with like-minded others, making sudden decisions and daring to be different can reduce stress. Exercise is vital as mental focus causes this sign to forget the needs of the body.

 piscesPisces need to imagine, commune, restore and escape. Stress builds when they ignore physical needs, lack emotional bonds, feel pressure to perform or have no outlets to create and/or escape. Pisces thrives on an active and imaginative inner world where they can retreat to regain balance. Must have a sanctuary.

Have a wonderful family gathering this holiday season, and remember everyone, stress free bliss is best. xK

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, November 1, 2013

All Hallows Eve

by PJ Fitzpatrick*
Samhain - All Hallows' Eve - Halloween; we celebrate the festival in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but the trappings of the contemporary celebration—dressing up in scary costumes, jack o’ lanterns, trick-or-treating—are all activities that speak to the gathering dark of autumn nights, far more than the long, light-filled, evenings of the southern spring.

A quick look at the festival's origins also points north. Halloween derives from the Celtic festival of Samhain, which was associated with harvest end and the passing of the year from summer into the dark and cold of winter. From what I have read, it also had elements of a “day of the dead,” when “the hungry ghosts” had to be placated with offerings of food. Even the bonfires of Guy Fawkes, a few days later, echo the bonfire tradition of Samhain…

In the Christian era, Samhain became the festival of All Hallows Eve, comprising first All Saints' and then All Souls' Day—but whether a harvest festival, a celebration of All Souls, or a feast of the dead, Halloween clearly belongs to the dying season of the year rather than to spring.

In that spirit, one of my all-time favorite Halloween stories is the Scottish tale of Tam Lin, and my favourite retelling is found in Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Armourer’s House (Oxford Children’s Library, 1951), in the Chapter titled “A Tale for Hallowe’en.”  Here’s a small sample to give you a feel for why, even though it’s very much a kids’ retelling, I think it’s well worth a read:

… Oh, but it was wild and lonely up there, with the larks singing in the wide skies, and the whaups crying, and the land dropping away from her feet to the blue hills of the Border Country. And all at once Janot was afraid, and just for a moment she thought that she would take the gold pin from her gown and leave it for a gift to the Fairy Kind, and go home quickly, as she had come. But she was not one to turn away from a thing because she was afraid; so she bent forward across the well-curb, and broke off a long wild-rose spray that arched above it. There were two pink blossoms upon the spray, and as she broke it off, the petals fell from one of them, as is the way of wild roses when their branch is shaken. She leaned forward to watch the five petals floating in the dark water, and there was her own face looking up at her from the depths—aye, and another face looking over her shoulder! A thin face it was, and dark enough to startle any maid.

For the time that it might take your heart to beat twice, Janot never moved. Then she turned slowly from the well-curb, still holding the rose-switch in her hand. Close beside her on the green-sward stood a brave young gallant, clad all in green, from his close-fitting hose to his feathered bonnet. And oh, but he was bonny, despite his black hair and his wan, dark face; there was a cleft to his chin and a quirk to his eyebrow, and the eyes of him were bright and grey …

… I am called Tam Lin,” said the young man, and, as he spoke, he doffed his bonnet to her so low that it swept the fern …”

So that’s a very small excerpt from one of my favourite Halloween stories. What 's yours?

* The etching in Jaransor, from The Heir of Night, from a series of images done by PJ Fitzpatrick who drew the Heir map, but the "feel" also suits the description of Carterhaugh: a "wild and lonely" place.