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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween with Ms Stuart and giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS TO HELEN HOLLICK who is the winner of a copy of SECRETS IN TIME. Thank you to all blog hoppers who came trick or treating at my door!

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

In Australia, Halloween does not have the deep seated tradition that it has in the USA or in the UK.   It is really only over the last ten years that I have noticed Halloween displays creeping into supermarkets and the occasional smart alec kids who don’t really get it, knocking on the door.  As 99% of householders would not be entering into the spirit at all, the pickings are slim!

The origins of Halloween are lost in the commercial world of pumpkins and spectres but it was originally the festival of “All Hallows Even” - the night before All Hallows Day.   Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day.
The carving of jack-o'-lanterns springs from the souling custom of carving turnips into lanterns as a way of remembering the souls held in purgatory.  The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but immigrants to North America used the native pumpkin, which are both readily available and much larger – making them easier to carve than turnips!

Through the magic of the “Interwebs” we are now global citizens and when my friend, English writer Francine Howarth, proposed a Halloween blog hop, I put up my hand to join her.

Francine’s idea is to encourage readers and writers to try reading something outside their comfort zone. 

So as my “treat” I am offering a Kindle copy of ‘SECRETS IN TIME' - dashing cavaliers, time travel and, most importantly, a witch…Is there anything more appropriate for Halloween?

Can love overcome time itself?

When Nathaniel Preston stumbles into Dr Jessica Shepherd’s garden, she is reluctant to believe he has crossed more than three hundred years to seek her help. He must help her understand why he has travelled from the midst of civil war to the quiet English countryside of the twentieth century.

But is falling in love with him destined to end in heartbreak? Jessica knows he must return to his own time and face certain death in battle.

Why has Nathaniel been sent to find Jessica? Can their love survive a bloody battle…and overcome time?

SECRETS IN TIME is currently hovering around the best selling lists on Kindle.

Meet my witch, Dame Alice

Dame Alice stood back to allow me to enter first. Bunches of drying herbs hung from hooks and little round clay pots crammed the shelves between stoppered flagons. My nose twitched. The room smelled of sage and rosemary with the tinge of something sweet, such as honey. We had touched on the history of medicine in my studies and here was an opportunity to study it at first hand. My professional curiosity overcame any reservations I may have had about Dame Alice.

“This is extraordinary,” I said.
She shut the door behind her and indicated a heavy, leather bound volume on the table. “That is my book of receipts. The sum total of my knowledge.” She looked up at me with her grandson’s clear eyes. “It would be wonderful to be born in your time, to have your knowledge.”
“What do you know of my time?” I challenged.
“What I have seen, Doctor Shepherd. Extraordinary machines that do the work of men and horses. Magic lights and water that comes from the walls, but I have also seen unhappiness and poverty. Those things are universal to any age.”
“How do you see?” I looked around the room, wondering if she kept a crystal ball or some sort of bowl with magical divining liquid in it.

TO EARN YOUR TREAT…  Tell me what halloween costume you are wearing/ would like to wear for Trick or Treat this year (even if you are Australian and don't believe in the Halloween stuff...dream a little!)

And don’t forget to hop over to Francine’s blog, ROMANCING THE BLOG, to find other opportunities for a trick or treat.

Ms. S. in Halloween costume...the city had to be scoured to find something suitable!
Visit the other Blog will be in for a treat!
Hallowe'en Blog Hop

1. Francine  9. Denise Covey  17. Susan Hanniford Crowley  
2. Marie Laval  10. Grace Elliot  18. Stephen Tremp  
3. NancyJ  11. Gilli Allan  19. Hywela Lyn  
4. N. R. Williams  12. Alison Stuart  20. Iyana Jenna  
5. Alison Morton  13. Mary Pax  21. Vala Kaye  
6. Karen Aminadra  14. Natalie-Nicole Bates  22. Yolanda Renee  
7. Lori Crane  15. Douglas Boren  
8. Derek Birks  16. Anna Belfrage  


  1. Hi! Happy Halloween! Im not wearing any costume this year. I hope your having an awesome time! This hop is a blast! Great post! Thanks for sharing and for the awesome giveaway!

  2. I went to a party on Friday dressed as an American Indian in full feathered headgear. Not very scary at all, I'm afraid. Great excerpt!

  3. Thanks for calling past! The best Halloween I ever had was an invite to a proper Halloween Ball put on by the American Chamber of Commerce. Americans really do know how to DO Halloween. I had to scour town today to find my little witchy fascinator which is about as Halloweeny as I am every likely to get1

  4. Hallowe'en greetings! Love the sound of your book (time travel and witches, what could be better!) I usually dress up as a witch for Trick or Treat, but now I've moved from London to Devon I doubt there will be many Tricky Treaters coming 1 mile down our lane to our farmhouse. So not a lot of point in getting out my costume. Oh what the heck .... I'll dress up anyway!

  5. Thanks for taking part, Alison. Lovely write-up, and a fascinating excerpt. Sounds like a great time-slip novel and, venturing to my favourite period in history. Ah, costumes, well, my outfit is not unlike the gown on the blog hop banner. The broomstick as always in readiness and hanging in the porch: literally! ;)


  6. I dressed up my 2 year old granddaughter as a pumpkin today, instead of me dressing up - but if you hop over to my blog you'll read about my costume back in 1967(Hallowe'en thespian style in Scotland) Your book sounds very interesting! Please add me to the Trick or trat list. :-) Happy Halloween!

  7. Fun post! We had a 'Roaring 20's Mystery Dinner last weekend - I dressed as Madame MeMe, the successful brothel owner. Tee hee. So fun! I tweeted your post as well!

  8. I will be wearing my 'grumpy old woman' costume. *winks*. I love finding out about the history behind events. Interesting post.
    Grace x

  9. Thank you all for knocking at my door...I had very few visitors last night which was a bit sad because now it means I have to eat all that chocolate!
    Lana...I LOVE those murder mystery parties. They were all the rage in the early years of our marriage. Any excuse to dress up and be someone else for the night!

  10. I'm late since I had two blog hops and not enough time on the designated days to visit all.

    I loved you excerpt. Your description of the cottage was given with economical word use while not sacrificing any of the necessary components to let your reader enter with your character.

    I'm too late for the drawing but will share that my Halloween costume doesn't exist. We outfit the grandchildren instead.

  11. Thanks, Nancy. I am afraid my DH (darling husband) has eaten all the chocolate!

    Ah...grandchildren...yet to experience that particular joy but given the family propensity to dress up given any excuse, I am sure the little dears will have no choice.