What is your favorite time of the year? Mine is October, but October, in southern Africa—where I grew up—was not like it is here in the northern hemisphere. Firstly, it heralded the beginning of our summer, otherwise known as the rainy season. The welcoming downpours transformed the parched plains into a lush carpet of green, swelling the rivers and watering holes where wildlife gathered to drink their fill.
This was the time of year when days grew longer, and the ear-splitting screech of cicadas shattered the peace of the savanna. We did not celebrate Halloween. Perhaps a few people might dress up in costume as an excuse for a party, but trick or treating was pretty much unknown to us.
I had been in the United States less than a year when I realized October was my now favorite month. It was fascinating to me to watch the trees as they transformed into vivid scarlets and golds, and enjoy the crisp, cool air of an autumn evening by a fireside. I loved the apples, the cider, and most of all, the pumpkins. Carving pumpkins was so much fun, and it was the first time I had seen such enormous, orange gourds. Our African pumpkins were smaller, white on the outside, and no one ever thought to carve them.
Most of all, though, I enjoyed the spooky aspect of Halloween. I’ve always been a sucker for the eerie, the unexplained, and the paranormal. You can clearly detect this trend as you read the novels in my Ialana Series. My tendency to “go there” is evident, because my characters live in a world where the spooky and frightening is real and, unfortunately for the characters, also common-place: monsters, shape-shifters, wizards and sorcerers.
And there in Ialana, as it is today in our world, these aspects and conditions are badly misunderstood, except by a certain shape-shifter, perhaps, and an assortment of bad guys who use the ignorance of the populace to their advantage. It is just the shape-shifter’s luck though that now he must now teach a group of six green and disbelieving youngsters what it all means.
So, in my opinion, we celebrate Halloween in our modern world as our buffer against the scary stuff. We reduce it to funny costumes and crazy decorations. Most of us will never have to deal with the unknown, the frightening, or the reality of monsters, but we sure do enjoy a good story. Here is where the good news comes in.
Over Halloween this year, from October 29-31, I will be giving two of my ebooks away FREE on Amazon: the first in the Ialana Series, “The Six and the Crystals of Ialana”, and also the second, “The Six and the Gardeners of Ialana.” If you enjoy reading these first two books, remember that there is a third, “The Six and Anwyn of Ialana”. Also, it would really help me if you left a comment on Amazon to say how much you enjoyed this gift, or even if you did not. All comments help.
I will send out a reminder on the 29th so that if you have not had the opportunity to read my books, now is your chance. Please feel free to share this blog with your friends who love fantasy and stories of adventure, with some spooky stuff thrown into the mix. It is my Halloween gift to my readers, and my future readers!