SOMETHING WICKED STRIKES BLOG HOP -- Welcome to Dani Harper's page!

“Rainy

Certainly one of the best things about October is the advent of Halloween. But our interest in ghost stories doesn't end when we put the orange and black decorations away. With the shortening of daylight hours, something primal in us awakens. It's time for GHOST STORIES. Did you know that the Victorians made the telling of ghost stories an integral part of their Christmas celebrations?

I'm pleased to announce that one of my own ghost stories is enjoying a "resurrection" this year:

Bigger.
Better.
Badder...

Watch for it during the Christmas season, 2014
Dani's Christmas Ghost Story is BACK!
The Holiday Spirit returns with all-new material. The characters from this popular PNR novella have haunted their author into resurrecting the popular story, expanding it with additional scenes and details. (And don't forget that HAWT new cover!) Watch for it on Amazon, just in time for Christmas 2014!

BLURB:

All she wants for Christmas is a ghost...

Writer Kerri Tollbrook spends her free time counseling the newly departed, but the tall, dark and handsome spirit she meets at the shopping mall claims he’s not dead. Is he just in denial? Or is there something more sinister at work?

Firefighter Galen McAllister has felt like The Invisible Man ever since a malicious spell separated him from his still-living body. Kerri is the first person he's met who can actually see him. Now if only he can get her to listen … because the nightmare creature that trapped him between two worlds isn't finished!

Kerri’s got until Christmas to solve the riddle and free Galen – or lose him forever.

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LINKS TO OTHER GIVEAWAYS IN THE HOP




LITERARY ADDICTS OCTOBER BOOK HOP --- Welcome to Dani Harper's Stop!

There are are many things to love about every season but the month of OCTOBER is pure magic to me.

The tang of burning leaves in the air, the slow blaze of colors in the trees, the appearance of Halloween decorations, and best of all, GHOST STORIES!

This year, I'm thrilled to announce that one of my own ghost stories is returning from the netherworld:

Bigger.
Better.
Badder...

Watch for it during the Christmas season, 2014
Dani's Christmas Ghost Story is BACK! 
The Holiday Spirit returns with all-new material. The characters from this popular PNR novella have haunted their author into resurrecting the popular story, expanding it with additional scenes and details. (And don't forget that HAWT new cover!) Watch for it on Amazon, just in time for Christmas 2014!

BLURB:

All she wants for Christmas is a ghost...

Writer Kerri Tollbrook spends her free time counseling the newly departed, but the tall, dark and handsome spirit she meets at the shopping mall claims he’s not dead. Is he just in denial? Or is there something more sinister at work?

Firefighter Galen McAllister has felt like The Invisible Man ever since a malicious spell separated him from his still-living body. Kerri is the first person he's met who can actually see him. Now if only he can get her to listen … because the nightmare creature that trapped him between two worlds isn't finished!

Kerri’s got until Christmas to solve the riddle and free Galen – or lose him forever.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Click HERE to be take to the hop's GRAND PRIZE entry site, or
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LINKS TO OTHER GIVEAWAYS IN THE HOP

There's No Place Like GNOME... part of the FAIRY TALE MAGIC BLOG HOP

This is Dani Harper's stop on the
Fairy Tale Magic Blog Hop!

See the LINK at the bottom
to over 80 participating sites.
Hi, my name is Dani, and I collect gnomes. There, I said it. (Gnomes aren't the only thing I collect, but that's another story...) The point is, I didn't intend to collect gnomes! I didn't plan to have any gnomes at all. Gnomes were not part of my overall landscape design or my home decor plans or even something to send to my mother (who is obsessed with garden figurines in general).


My mom gave me
my first gnome
And then my mother gave me one. You know the one, the little guy that promises you'll never have to roam alone... Mom had never heard of Travelocity, she just saw him and thought he was cute.

Admittedly, he WAS kind of cute. But he looked so lonely amidst the flowers all by himself. Being a bit of marshmallow heart, I decided to get him a friend. Just one, honest! And then I figured they probably needed some shelter from the sun and rain and so forth, so I got them a big ceramic mushroom. And before I knew it, there were more gnomes. And more mushrooms. And gnomes, gnomes, gnomes. The long and short is that I now have an entire gnomish civilization at the side of my house.  

At first, I was certain that the grandkids would be delighted by the whimsical community of pointy-hatted citizens. Instead, they walked right by them. No guests have ever acknowledged their presence, no visiting neighbors have ever commented. And then suddenly I understood what was going on. NOBODY CAN SEE THEM!!! My innocent-looking garden gnomes have cast a S-P-E-L-L. Why would I come to such a conclusion? Because historically gnomes have both magical powers AND the tendency to use them.
This couple makes me think of my
sweetheart and me


GNOMES IN MYTH AND LEGEND:

Gnomes form one of four groups of Elementals, according to the 16th century writings of Paracelsus. 
A gnome is an earth spirit and immortal, and there are many cultures around the world that have stories of similar mythical creatures such as the tomte of Sweden, the duende of Mexico, and the coblyn of Wales. The word gnome comes from the Greek genomos meaning "earth-dweller."

Said to be able to swim through soil and rock like a fish through water, gnomes come in several types such as Garden Gnomes, Farm Gnomes, Forest Gnomes, House Gnomes, and even Cave Gnomes. 


Most gnomes are benign*. Many are even benevolent and take an interest in the wellbeing of their surroundings --- for instance, ensuring that the soil is healthy, that plants and trees grow strong, that dwellings are clean and tools repaired, and that both wildlife and livestock are looked after.


*Disclaimer: Like humans, not all gnomes are friendly or well-intentioned. But that's a story for another day...

One of my favorite gnome figurines.
The magical powers of gnomes are similar to those of all faery tribes. They can protect or punish at will. A farmer who doesn’t take care of his animals could find himself the target of severe pranks! On the other hand, the aid of gnomes might be solicited by leaving food for them. 

In fact, some wineries in France have been rumored to take gnomes very seriously! Traditionally, the little guys looked after the vineyard soil. 


Cave gnomes are said to be particularly sympathetic to miners, and there are stories dating back to Roman times of gnomes knocking on the rocks of tin mines to warn the slaves of approaching dangers such as tunnel collapses. (Mind you, other stories tell of gnomes guarding the treasures of the earth and trying to lure miners away from them!)


Victorian England embraced
the garden gnome (but still didn't
smile while having photos taken)
HISTORY OF GARDEN GNOME FIGURINES:

Most of us are familiar with garden gnome figurines – after all, they date all the way back to Roman times! But the modern version became popular in Germany and other European countries in the early 1800s.

Replica of
"Lampy"
Victorian England embraced the gnome in the 1840s after Sir Charles Isham brought 21 terra cotta gnomes from Germany to Lamport Hall, his home in Northamptonshire. 

One of those original gnomes still survives today! “Lampy”, as he is called, is on display in the Hall and is considered the oldest garden gnome in the world. He is valued at about £2 million or $3,252,900 in US currency. 



The Griebel family still makes traditional gnomes
Although wooden gnomes had been made in Switzerland much earlier, it wasn't until the the 1800s that a handful of German companies began making them out of clay. One of those companies was started by Phillip Griebel in Thuringia. 

The other manufacturers have fallen to history but four generations later, the Griebel family tradition continues. A descendant, Reinhard Griebel (shown at left), creates gnomes at the very same location. The company boasts an impressive gnome museum too!


GNOME TRIVIA:


The Gnome Knows…
French wine label 
The Royal Gnome!
International Gnome Day is June 21st. The occasion began in 2002 and is now observed by a dozen countries.

The Gnome Knows... is a wine label from vineyards in the Languedoc region in the south of France. 

According to an official list published by Buckingham Palace, Princess Anne of the Royal Family received a garden gnome as a gift in 2013.

The German word for gnome is Gartenzwerg, which translates to garden dwarfCurrently there are about 25 MILLION gnomes in Germany alone, and at this time of year, many people will be starting to take them indoors for the winter. It's traditional (and often considered lucky) to display the gnome in the home if possible, or at least give them a dry shelf in the garden shed. 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST - 

Book 2 of the Grim Series
Book 1 of the Grim Series
The books in my new
Grim Series 
are bringing ancient 
Welsh faery legends 
to modern-day America. 

In my upcoming release,
STORM WARNED,
one character has an unexpected affinity for garden gnomes - lots and lots of them!

Watch for future announcements!

Dani Harper's Giveaway is open to International 
as well as USA entries!

LINK TO PARTICIPATING SITES:

Herding Cats And Burning Soup is the host of this blog hop.
Below is the list of over 80 participating sites, each one with a fun giveaway to enter. Happy hopping!





Summer Magic and a Summer Deadline... Plus, sign up for the Dani Harper Newsletter!

As most of you well know, this has been one HOT summer!  My years in northern Canada and Alaska have left me unprepared for triple digit temperatures. While my mountain man husband bravely sallies forth daily to subdue the garden and the yard (even at high noon - the guy is TOUGH!), I've been grateful that I have an August deadline to meet --- I get to stay indoors during most of the egg-frying-on-the-sidewalk afternoons in front of a big fan in my office!

In the evening, though, when the sun's fire has dipped below the horizon, I take pleasure in watering the many flowers, peppers and tomatoes that grow in pots on my porch (I'm actually a compulsive gardener despite hiding from the heat during the day).  

I water my gnome garden too (After my deadline, I'll be writing a blog post all about the history -- and the addictive qualities -- of GNOMES) And when the chores are done, and the moon is up, I usually sit on the porch for a while and enjoy all the truly MAGICAL things that have given me a heartful of summer memories throughout my life....  

The scent of flowers in the dark. Stars overhead, and a big golden moon emerging from behind a hill. The sultry feel of the night breeze on my skin. The song of crickets, the laughter of children camping out in their backyard, the whirring wings of a hummingbird moth as it sips from my petunias ... and now and then, the heart-stopping sounds of a few illegal fireworks from our neighborhood non-conformists... 

Stories come out on summer nights too, ideas and characters cautiously creep out from the shadows, in hopes of finding a welcome..... 
There's a powerful sense that anything can happen on a glorious summer night!

Wishing YOU some truly magical times this summer too!
Sincerely, 
Dani

The above post was written for my July 28th newsletter. 
Go to http://conta.cc/1kjzjDT to read this issue and view the giveaways!


Have YOU signed up for my newsletter yet? 

Click HERE to do so - it's free and simple. 
I send out one a month, occasionally two if there are special announcements and events. So your inbox won't be crammed!

AND DID YOU KNOW that I do a random drawing for a giveaway with EVERY newsletter issue?  
Prizes vary, according to what my  overstuffed giveaway closet has on hand. Giveaways are international unless otherwise stated.  Most importantly, you don't have to do a single thing in order to be eligible
 --  if you're an email subscriber, you're already entered!

SUMMER READS BLOG HOP - Dani Harper's Giveaway

First of all, huge thanks to Herding Cats and Burning Soup for hosting this awesome summer hop!

Summer and reading go together as naturally as baseball and hotdogs or movies and popcorn!

Where do you do your summer reading? When I was a kid, I liked to spend my reading time in trees or on the roof! Hammocks are glorious things, but so are recliners in front of the fan when the temperature climbs too high to venture outside....

What's on your summer reading list? 

FINISHED!
FINISHED!
I always have a horror book on the go in the hot weather -- not sure exactly why. My hubby suggested it's because it's easier to handle the scary stuff when there's plenty of daylight! He may have a point....

Anyway, my 2014 summer horror read was
THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan.
"Was", because I already finished devouring it!
Vampires are scary again, and I absolutely LOVED this book! I was so impressed with so many things in this story, it's impossible to list them all. Gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. (Click here for my review of The Strain)

I've enjoyed science fiction my entire life, and I have one on my summer list of must-reads:  BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest (steampunk, zombies and alternate history -- what a great combo!)  Not only am I hearing great things about this series, but I'm really interested in writing a Steampunk story myself. (What do you think?) Started reading Boneshaker on July 3rd, and so far, I'm captivated!

Of course there's urban fantasy and paranormal romance on my list! PNR is the genre I currently write in, although I hope to move over to UF one day soon. Meanwhile, I have a couple of series to finish reading:

REDEMPTION - Book 4 of the Alchemy Series by Donna Augustine. The first three books have been TERRIFIC and I'm dying to read the last installment. (Plus, the sooner I finish this one, the sooner I can start her brand new KARMA series. 
Already have the first ebook loaded!)

And finally, I'm going to read THE KING by J.R. Ward. I've waited this long partly because I just can't bear to see the Black Dagger Brotherhood series come to an end. I already have it loaded onto my Kindle, but I'm looking forward to getting the paperback when it comes out in late August -- I want a copy to go on the shelf with the rest of my collection. (Have I ever mentioned that I really HATE hardcover books? They look nice, but they're awkward and heavy for reading.)


I'd have a lot more books on my list, but I need extra time to write this summer. Gotta hand in Book 3 of the Grim Series*, STORM WARNED to my editor soon! 
If you haven't gotten a chance yet, I hope you'll check out Books 1 and 2, STORM WARRIOR, and STORM BOUND.

*The Grim Series is bringing Celtic mythology and hot heroes - plus even hotter faeries - into modern-day America!

Meanwhile, be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway.
You could win Kindle Ebooks of Storm Warrior and Storm Bound
PLUS your choice of one of the four books 
on my list above in Kindle Ebook form*! 
THREE ebooks in total. (Already own mine? We can talk...)
Prize will be sent via Amazon.

Giveaway is USA/Canada only this time, folks. 
*Note - For fans who do not have Kindles, there are a variety of free Kindle reading apps 
that can be downloaded to various devices such as iPad, computer or smart phone. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

ALSO check out the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY below for the Summer Reads Blog Hop!


Over 70 authors participating in this great Hop - 
CLICK THE BUTTON FOR THE LINKY LIST!