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Astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz enjoys an intellectual debate especially over beer, but recently he has had doubts he will ever find a passionate love as his relationship with Liz went from girlfriend to friend. Meanwhile the only person he loves, his pregnant Elena begs him to be there when she gives birth as she is frightened having lost a newborn three years ago. Gabriel would do anything for Elena so he promises to come to Belgium where she lives.

However, his sibling's need vanishes form his brain when he meets Kamilah. She challenges his intellect with debates on good and evil and what is justice. Instead of going to Belgium, he accompanies Kamilah to her home in the Turkish mountains overlooking the Black Sea. Once in Rize, Gabriel loses his cell phone and becomes very sick suffering from nightmares that make sleep horrendous and he suffers even worse hallucinations when awake. As an increasingly paranoid Gabriel fears for his mind and wonders if somehow Kamilah is behind his descent into insanity and overall ill health, a panic stricken Elena keeps wondering where he is as he never failed her unlike their parents and she cannot believe he will fail his soon to be born niece.

This is a terrific horror tale that hooks readers who in spite of knowing that Kamilah is malevolent from almost the first siren meeting with Gabriel wonder what her her motive is and who she is. Fans will assume due to Gabriel's descent into paranoia and Elena's increasing manic panic attacks and anxiety-depression that borders on bipolar that this is a psychological thriller; but the Turkish locale and Kamilah make it so much more. Mayra Calvani will have fans hooked in a one sitting read as the author's appreciative attentive audience will want to know is it madness or something more paranormally chilling.

Harriet Klausner, Alternative Worlds

The Origins of Halloween

 

Bonfires or Bonefires?

 

Halloween is not only a colourful night of fun, frights, sweets and costumes. It is a full-blown industry, with more than $14 billion spent each year on costumes, decorations, party supplies, candy and other paraphernalia.

 

How did it all get started?

 

The origins of Halloween are quite dark, and go all the way back to 2,000 years ago, to the Celtic Celebration of the Dead, or Samhain (Sah-ween), in what is now Ireland, the UK, and Northern France. The Celtic Festival took place each year on the eve of November first, which marked the end of summer and harvest season, and the beginning of their New Year and winter, a time associated with cold and death. Samhain festivities lasted for a couple of days, until about November 2nd.

 

The Celts believed that on October 31st, the last day of summer and New Year’s Eve, the boundaries between the living and the dead became blurred and thin, and spirits, both good and evil, roamed about on the streets and countryside and did as they wished. The Celts were especially frightened by the prospect of these evil souls harming the crops.

 

On this night, Celtic priests called Druids dressed in animal masks and skins and performed sacrifices to placate the gods and “ward off” spirits. Bonfires represented the sun, the power to fight dark forces. The Druids lit huge bonfires and burned animals, crops, and sometimes even humans. In fact, the word “bonfire” comes from “bonefire,” literally! (It’s interesting to note that the practice of burning humans continued as late as the 1600s).

 

Besides the Druids, people also performed their little “rituals.” To ward off spirits, they carved turnips and lit them with embers. To “fool” them, they wore animal masks or scary disguises. To placate them, they left fruits and nuts at their doorstep as a gift or offering, thus preventing future bad crops. This is the origin of “Trick or Treat.”

 

Around the 7th Century the Celebration of the Dead spread to Europe, but it became known as “All Hollows Eve,” or “Night of the Dead.” In parts of Britain and Ireland it also became known as “Mischief Night.”

 

Around the 800s the Christians moved to the Celtic lands and tried to eradicate all pagan beliefs and celebrations. In an attempt to placate the Celts, Pope Boniface IV designated November first as All Saints Day as an attempt to replace the pagan “All Hollows Eve.” Thus he “transformed” the Celebration of the Dead into a Christian holy day.

 

It is believed that later the Irish brought the tradition of carving turnips to America. However, they soon found out that there weren’t as many turnips there, and that pumpkins were a lot bigger and better to carve scary faces on.

 

Eventually “All Hollows Eve” came to be known as Halloween.

 

The traditional Halloween symbols we know today, like witches, black cats, ghosts, pumpkins and candles appeared in the US around the 1800s. Entrepreneur minds no doubt realized the marketing potential. The whole concept of Halloween gradually became commercialized.

 

Today, in spite of its dark origins and although some religious people consider it an “evil” festival, Halloween is mostly regarded as a spooky yet harmless, fun, family celebration.

 

©2005, 2007. Mayra Calvani / All Rights Reserved. This column may not be copied nor printed in any form without permission from the author.

 

Astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz enjoys an intellectual debate especially over beer, but recently he has had doubts he will ever find a passionate love as his relationship with Liz went from girlfriend to friend. Meanwhile the only person he loves, his pregnant Elena begs him to be there when she gives birth as she is frightened having lost a newborn three years ago. Gabriel would do anything for Elena so he promises to come to Belgium where she lives.

However, his sibling’s need vanishes form his brain when he meets Kamilah. She challenges his intellect with debates on good and evil and what is justice. Instead of going to Belgium, he accompanies Kamilah to her home in the Turkish mountains overlooking the Black Sea. Once in Rize, Gabriel loses his cell phone and becomes very sick suffering from nightmares that make sleep horrendous and he suffers even worse hallucinations when awake. As an increasingly paranoid Gabriel fears for his mind and wonders if somehow Kamilah is behind his descent into insanity and overall ill health, a panic stricken Elena keeps wondering where he is as he never failed her unlike their parents and she cannot believe he will fail his soon to be born niece.

This is a terrific horror tale that hooks readers who in spite of knowing that Kamilah is malevolent from almost the first siren meeting with Gabriel wonder what her her motive is and who she is. Fans will assume due to Gabriel’s descent into paranoia and Elena’s increasing manic panic attacks and anxiety-depression that borders on bipolar that this is a psychological thriller; but the Turkish locale and Kamilah make it so much more. Mayra Calvani will have fans hooked in a one sitting read as the author's appreciative attentive audience will want to know is it madness or something more paranormally chilling.

--Harriet Klausner

Hi everybody!

The Voice in the Dark Halloween Special is ready for your reading pleasure!

This month:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editor's Note
Fictional Character Interview
--Interview With a Ghost
Featured Interviews
--Interview with Jonathan Maberry, Winner of the 2007 Bram Stoker
Award
--Interview with Heather S. Ingemar
--Interview with James Richard Larson
Book Excerpt -- From Dark Lullaby, by Mayra Calvani
Gladiator's Arena--by Mayra Calvani
"On the Marketing of Dark Lullaby"
Short Fiction
"Harvest," by Circe Acosta
Articles
"The Editor from Hell," by Ghost Writer
"The Responsibilities of A Writer," by R. J. Barker
"What is a Horror Writer?" by Elizabeth Peake
Whodunit? -- Columnist Billie A. Williams
Seedlings -- Aaron Paul Lazar
Reviews
Notes
Events
Resources

The link is
http://www.mysteryfiction.net/Voiceinthedarknewsletter.html

Cheers!

Best,
Mayra Calvani

My Interview at Paranormal Watch

Hi,

I was recently interviewed at Paranormal Watch. Check it out at http://www.paranormalwatch.com/2007/10/10/interview-with-mayra-calvani-author-of-dark-lullaby/

Thanks!

best,
Mayra

The Story Behind Dark Lullaby...

 Does the end justify the means? Is the idea of a ‘higher good’ ethical? Can a good man commit murder? These were some of the questions that obsessed me while I wrote Dark Lullaby, a paranormal horror novel just published by Whiskey Creek Press.

Besides these controversial moral questions, which are an essential part of the theme, I had various others sources of inspiration. The protagonist, 26-year old astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz, was inspired by my brother, who also happens to be a scientist. They both share the same physical traits as well. In addition, I lived in Turkey for four years and this was a major influence in choosing the setting and adding an exotic flavor to the story. Many Turkish people believe in fairy-like supernatural beings called jihnn. While living there, I listened to many stories, some intriguing, some plain scary. The folklore was so appealing; I just knew I had to eventually include those supernatural beings in one of my books.

Dark Lullaby is an atmospheric horror story set partly in Baltimore, partly in the Turkish countryside. It is a scary, bizarre story that doesn’t fall into the bloody-gory kind of horror.

To learn more about Dark Lullaby, visit the following links:

Excerpt: http://www.mayracalvani.com/dark_lullaby.html
Synopsis: http://www.mayracalvani.com/index.html#books
Reviews/Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593749074
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZgbg5wk5Ug

My Interview at "The Book Connection"

Hello all,

Today I'm over at The Book Connection.

To read the interview, you may visit  http://www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/

Cheers!

Mayra

Marketing Books During Halloween


Just like Christmas is a wonderful time for children’s book authors to market their Christmas picture books, Halloween is the perfect time for horror authors. There are many events you can plan ahead of time to sell books during the spooky month of October. For instance, you may do book signings at normal bookstores, or, better yet, at horror specialty bookstores. You may host a Halloween party and invite all your friends, co-workers, relatives and neighbors. If you’re a children’s author with a Halloween-theme title, you can host a party for your children’s classmates, as well as do readings in schools and libraries.

 

The important thing here, however, is to make the event fun and ‘spooky’ for everyone. At singings, why not wear a costume? If your book is about witches, why not disguised yourself as one and arrive with witch’s fingers cookies and a caldron with dry ice for a special effect? If your story deals with vampires, why not dress up as one and offer glasses of a deep red drink? The same goes for zombies, monsters, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures. The idea is to play out the ‘theme’ of your book, and to get plenty of attention. Decorate your table with spider webs, bats, rats or black cats, and other paraphernalia. Be friendly and always look at visitors in the eye when you talk to them. Offer them something to eat or drink—anything that will make them want to stay by your table and look at your book. Your imagination is the limit. It’s up to you to make your book signing a success, and although it’s not easy, it is certainly an advantage for a horror author to sell books during this time.

 

I once heard of an author who hosted a Halloween party at his home and sold over two hundred copies of his book in one night. He sent out invitations one month in advance to his relatives, friends, and neighbors. He also posted flyers in local libraries, bookshops, and around his neighborhood. Of course, he went all the way with decorations, food and drink. His house became a ‘real’ haunted house, complete with props, creepy music, candelabra, dry ice—naturally, his books were beautifully displayed at various locations throughout the house. Most guests were more than happy to purchase a copy of his book before leaving.

 

For book signings and readings, don’t forget to plan the event and contact the coordinators at least five months in advance, as they may have tight schedules during the Halloween season.

 

Remember that booksellers, especially specialty shops, are more willing to consider horror titles for shelf display during Halloween. So if you want your book to be sold in these shops, contact the owner or acquisition clerk several months ahead. You may approach them with an attractive brochure of your book, but preferably with a copy of the book itself accompanied by a brief cover letter. For a list of about thirty booksellers that specialize in horror, please check this link: http://www.horror.org/horrorlinks.htm

 

 

My Interview at "Beyond the Books"

 Today on the first day of my October virtual book tour I'm over at http://beyondthebooks.authorsabode.com/ 
If you have a chance, stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my book, DARK LULLABY, on Halloween day!

Cheers,
Mayra

 

To promote the release of my horror novel, Dark Lullaby , I'm going on a virtual book tour during the month of October... the perfect time for a dark, scary read! The event will culminate on Halloween, when I'll be giving away one autographed, print copy of my book to a lucky winner! All you need to do is leave a comment at the bottom of my posts during the tour. The more comments you leave, the higher the chances of winning that free copy! 



October 2007 Virtual Book Tour for Dark Lullaby

 Oct. 1 – Beyond the Books -- www.beyondthebooks.authorsabode.com

Oct. 2 – Buzz the Book -- www.buzzthebook.blogspot.com

Oct. 2 – Caridad Pineiro -- www.caridad.com/blog/ 

Oct. 3 – The Book Connection -- www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com

Oct. 5 – The Story Behind the Books -- www.thestorybehindthebooks.blogspot.com

Oct. 8 – The Writer’s Life -- www.thewriterslife.blogspot.com

Oct. 10 – Paranormal Watch -- www.paranormalwatch.com

Oct. 11 – Book Marketing Buzz -- www.bookmarketingbuzz.authorsabode.com

Oct. 15 – Storycrafters -- www.storycrafters.blogspot.com

Oct. 16 – Independent Book Report -- www.independentbookreport.blogspot.com

Oct. 17 – Inspired Author -- www.inspiredauthor.com/v3/node/12

Oct. 19 – Melanie Nilles -- www.melanienilles.com/blog1  

Oct. 22 – Details with Nikki Leigh -- www.detailwithnikkileigh.blogspot.com

Oct. 21 – KS Augustine -- http://www.ksaugustin.com 

Oct 22 - Details with Nikki Leight -- www.detailwithnikkileigh.blogspot.com 

Oct. 24 – Patricia’s Vampire Notes -- www.patricias-vampire-notes.blogspot.com

Oct. 25 – Chit Chat and All That -- www.rebecca2007.wordpress.com

Oct. 26 – First Chapters -- www.firstchapters.authorsabode.com 

Oct. 29 – Blogcritics -- www.blogcritics.org 

Oct. 30 – Publishing Success Stories -- www.publishingsuccessstories.authorsabode.com