Samain. All Saints Eve. Hallowe’en. A night to be wary of, a short moment in time when the thin veil that separates the living from the dead can be breached, when restless souls wander the dark in search a new abode. Well, assuming you believe in stuff like that, right?
I’m not sure I do. No, wait; I’m sure I don’t. I’m quite certain the deceased generations that precede us have little interest in us, the living. I seriously doubt that they go traipsing around in the cold and wet of a late autumn evening, hoping to run into someone still alive to strike up conversation with. After all, the probability of meeting people out for a brisk walk is very low if you restrict yourself to the last night in October. No, the dead have other things to do – hopefully mainly to remain at peace.
In Sweden, until recently the celebration of All Saints was a sedate religious affair. All over the country, we set lit candles on the graves of our dead ones – we still do, and in the dark of the October night the candles flutter and gasp, throwing elongated fingers of moving shadows over the silent graveyards. Ghosts? I think not. Remembrance? Absolutely.
Nowadays, many Swedes have embraced the US Hallowe’en traditions. Pumpkins are cut into jack o’lanterns (but we’re still pretty crap at making pumpkin pie), houses are festooned in synthetic spiderwebs and paper cut out ghosts. Our stores sell Hallowe’en cakes (bright orange marzipan replaces our traditional green marzipan), our kids want to dress up – but we don’t do any trick or treating, as every Swede knows that trick or treating is an Easter tradition. (Go figure; maybe I should elucidate you, but not now, maybe around Easter.)
Despite our national aversion for trick or treating this time of the year (it’s too cold, it’s too dark), I do feel that a Hallowe’en Blog Hop without a treat is like celebrating your birthday without a cake (impossible!) Besides, our fearless leader and blog organiser, Francine Howarth, has urged us all to be generous. One should not disregard the instructions from a fearless leader…
So, without more ado, let me reveal the treats I have in store for you, dear reader:
I am giving away one copy of The Prodigal Son. If you’re interested, leave a comment with your e-mail address and let me know if you’d prefer to meet a witch or a wandering soul should you be abroad on Samain.
I am also giving away a copy of my latest release (due out November 1) A Newfound Land. But this treat comes with a caveat; I give you my book, you give me a review. Sounds fair? If yes, leave a comment and your e-mail address.
And guess what? The winners get to choose if they want a Kindle or a paperback.
Give away open until Nov 3, after which we must really start focusing on Guy Fawkes!
UPDATE, NOV 4.
THE GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED AND THE WINNERS ARE GORDON LEVINE AND CAROL MCGRATH. CONGRATULATIONS!
While you’re at it, why not visit all the other bloggers participating in the hop?
Hallowe’en Blog Hop Participants
25 thoughts on “Get ye gone, ye evil spirits”
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What a lovely tradition. Both witches and souls are intriguing. mpaxauthor at gmail dot com
re: Prodigal Son contest…think I’d like to meet a wandering soul. I’m 80, at a stage of life wondering about the hereafter, if yes or no, not a firm believer. Was trained in engineering so only believe what I can see/prove. It’d be interesting. Now witchcraft,magic? still unproven. (but fun to read) been a voracious reader for 70+ years.
Those eternal questions hang big at times, don’t they? One very old lady once told me that it was her conviction that we would “be taken care of in accordance to our needs” once we were dead. She had strong faith, but she laughed herself silly at the idea of wandering souls and the concept of heaven as a place of rolling green meadows and all that. She didn’t need that. All she needed was the certainty that she wouldn’t be abandoned after death. Thanks for entering the contest!
Can my heaven be a gigantic library? 😀
Absolutely. With polished floors, a lingering smell of dust and drying paper. To one side the ancient Medieaval folios, to the other an endless set of shelves, containing all those books you never had the time to read while alive. Can i come too, to this library in the sky?
Oh those folios my mouth waters over, and all the books I missed in life. Now we’re talking!
Re: A Newfound Land
It’s aways interesting to read both fiction and non-fiction about the “early” days.
My parents came over from Europe around 1900. Just reading about that short time back and hearing their stories was fascinating. It’s amazing how misperceptions creep in to what’s written as “history”. Example: I grew up in NY, western history was Cisco Kid, Lone Ranger stuff. Moved to Arizona in 1947…my Mom expected to see shootings daily in the streets and Indian raids. The further back you go, the less information on the actual day to day life and some of the important then but now considered minor quirks of that period. I did run across the autobiography of Ben Franklin on Gutenberg and will read it one of these days. I’m a pathological book accumulator, I’m always hundreds of books behind.
I’d like it on Kindle and of course I’d put it on top of the pile for review.
Ooooh, I’m thinking a witch would be too scary. I’ll opt for the wandering soul.
I’d say the soul is the scarier…
I’d rather meet an interesting wandering soul.
Thanks for taking part, Anna, my ECWN heroine’s namesake! I do sometimes think the commercial aspect of the American “Trick or Treat” rather stole some of the more traditional customs associated with all Hallowe’s Eve. Either way, a great post, dear lady. As I have the PS, and a lovely book it is, I’ll cast my hat into the ring for A Newfound Land: email@example.com
Except that your Anna is drop-dead 😉 And thanks for setting up the hop!
Anna- I’d definitely opt for the wandering soul. That way I’d maybe have a chance at having a nice conversation. With a nasty witch on Samhain?- no way would I go into that. A friend of mine would probably say White witches are to busy healing t0 be out on cold and inhospitable night. (BTW I’m Scottish and it’s quite cold out tonight.) Either book sounds great but reviews would need to be swap for swap! 🙂
I would love to meet a witch!
Trick or Treat and Happy Halloween!
And I’m open to either – a review is a lovely thing!
Count me in Anna. I would love either.
I, dear Anna, would like to meet a witch, preferably a white one. Although like Alex, I probably already have met one, since I am convinced my mother qualified, and not entirely in a bad way.
And my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will of course write a review of New found Land if I am lucky enough to win, and I will write a review of it even if I am not. I am so hooked on this series. I cried for James in Chaff and then I said out aloud, “Anna Girl, you really know how to pull the heartstrings!”
Yeah, I cry for James as well – and I’m thinking you’d like Mercedes, afflicted soul that she is.
Wonderful how you give us just enough of a glimpse of Mercedes in Veil and Chaff to make us want more of her…
Trick or treats at Easter. That is different. At the turn of the 20th century the old tradition in the US of Halloween included teenagers running around and vandalizing stores and peoples homes. They wore mask so no one would know who they were. After suffering losses year after year, some retailers came up with the idea to offer costumes and candy as treats. It stuck. Less vandalism and more fun.
Congratulations on your new release, how exciting.
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