WINTER BOOKLOVERS CONTEST hosted by Night Owl Reviews

#NORWinterWonderland  
WINTER 
BOOKLOVERS 
CONTEST
hosted by Night Owl Reviews
ON NOW!

I seldom miss an opportunity to join in the fun over at Night Owl Reviews. They have an amazing site in addition to some of the best hops and giveaways going!


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5 = $100 Amazon Gift Cards

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Runs Nov. 10 to Dec. 10, 2014

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THE GRIM - Legends of the BLACK DOG inspire my Grim Series

In some stories, the Grim protected
the innocent, defending children
and guarding travelers!
"Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread."
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1798

With STORM WARNED, the third installment of my Grim Series releasing soon, I thought it was a good time to share this spine-tingling legend once again!

I love a good ghost story and a ghost DOG story is even better! One of my favorite Welsh folktales provided inspiration for my latest series. The gwyllgi or barghest is a legendary canine with many names: The Black Dog, the Dog of Darkness, Black Shuck, Dog of the Twilight, the Black Hound of Destiny and my favorite name of all: THE GRIM. It’s said to resemble a giant mastiff, a noble animal which I greatly admire. A grim is larger than any living dog however, and its eyes are often red and glowing.

The story is an old one, dating all the way back to Celtic times in Wales. The Grim or Black Dog is associated with the Fae, and acts as the herald of Death itself -- those who see the animal are believed to be destined to die very soon! The dog appears without warning, follows and sometimes even chases people – yet vanishes without a trace. Electrical storms are often associated with the dog’s appearance (and yup, there’s a thunderstorm in every book in the Grim Series -- you can probably tell from the titles, STORM WARRIOR, STORM BOUND, STORM WARNED.)

A Grim is usually a fae herald of death,
but sometimes it's a hero!
This otherworldly beast has counterparts in many parts of the British Isles. For centuries, black dogs have haunted particular towns, roads and forests in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. Sometimes a ghostly canine has haunted specific families! Such a situation helped inspire the 1901 classic, The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Big black dogs continue to pop up in popular fiction. Remember "the Grim" in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling? TV series such as SupernaturalReaper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have all featured monstrous and malevolent hounds. The legend of the black dog is also alive and well in many video games. The Lord of the Rings online computer game features just such an animal.

BLACK DOG SIGHTINGS IN THE USA

Did you know there are sightings of ghostly canines right here in the United States? Black dogs are said to haunt Macon County, Tennessee and foretell death and calamity. US Highway 491 is also said to be haunted by dogs of darkness – which perhaps is not surprising when you find out that the highway was originally named Route 666! Motorists report braking for giant black dogs – only to have them vanish at the moment of impact!

In some stories, the Grim is an
instrument of justice
who hunts down the guilty.
Even Long Island, New York has a black dog legend. Just like its Welsh counterpart, seeing the creature is said to be followed by death within a month. The supernatural canine that roams the hills of Connecticut is a little more forgiving – you have to see that particular black dog three times before writing out your will.

Think you’re safe if you stay home at night? Maybe not. There are also many stories out there of seeing the Grim in a nightmare. As if the bad dream wasn’t enough, it’s said to be followed by dire events and even death. People have also reported the giant black dog appearing inside their home, complete with glowing eyes, only to have it vanish when the light was turned on. The apparition was often followed by a death in the family or other catastrophe.

BLACK DOG SYNDROME

Negative associations with dark dogs seem to be part of our collective human consciousness. It’s a frightening archetype throughout myth and legend, from Cerberus, the dark canine that guards the entrance to the Underworld, to the black Hounds of the Norse god, Odin, to the Hellhounds that follow the Faery Hunt. Plus, a common pseudonym for depression is The Black Dog. (Although anyone who’s ever played with a Labrador Retriever might object to that.)

Such long-held negative associations have sadly contributed to what pet shelters call Black Dog Syndrome. Studies have shown that black dogs (and black cats too) are usually LAST to be adopted. I'm currently owned by three dark dogs that were rescues, and all of them are incredibly loving and devoted to their humans.

THE BLACK DOG AS A HERO

In its defense, the Grim hasn’t always been threatening, at least, not to the innocent. In some tales, the animal is an instrument of justice, hunting down escaped murderers. A few stories recount incidents where the great beast protected children or guarded lone travelers. That truly captivated my imagination and made me wonder – what if the spectral creature had a conscience and a sense of compassion? What if the Grim didn’t mindlessly follow its mission? 

In that moment, THE GRIM SERIES was conceived!



Check out 
STORM WARRIOR, 
STORM BOUND
and the new
STORM WARNED 
on my website or on my Amazon Author Page.

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!