Happy Halloween 2020

The dark history behind Halloween

(Source: Business Insider.com)

The word ‘Halloween’ was first popularized in a poem.

Scottish poet Robert Burns helped to popularize the word “Halloween” with his 1785 poem of the same name.

So where does the name itself come from? According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it’s actually two words smushed together. “Hallow” — or holy person — refers to the saints celebrated on All Saints’ Day, which is November 1. The “een” part of the word is a contraction of “eve” — or evening before.

The day’s morbid traditions go back to ancient times

Historians have linked Halloween to Samhain, the Celtic festival of the summer’s end celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

According to Celtic mythology, the veil between the Otherworld and our world thins during Samhain, making it easier for spirits and the souls of the dead to return.

People would make offerings of food in order to get on the good side of these spirits and departed ancestors, according to the Mirror.

Allhallowtide, which includes All Saints’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and the subsequent All Souls’ Day, was initially celebrated in the spring, during the early years of the Church.

Pope Gregory IV switched it to the current date in 837, according to Britannica. His reasons were unclear, although influence from Celtic factions of the church and the fact that it makes sense to commemorate death during the fall are possibilities.

Bobbing for apples used to be more than just a splashy party game.

Halloween has come to be most closely associated with the pumpkin, but apples have played an important role in its history.

After all, apples make numerous appearances in Celtic mythology and are often connected to the Otherworld.

Bobbing for apples remains a popular party game.

The reason? Well, the practice used to be considered a form of divination performed around Halloween, according to NPR. That’s right — people would dunk their heads in a vat of water and try to bite into floating fruit in a quest to figure out their future spouse.

Ladies would mark an apple and toss it into the tub. The thinking was they’d be destined to whoever pulled it out of the water.

Jack-o’-lanterns symbolize a fateful deal with the Devil.

Otherwise, you might end up like Irish folk figure Jack O’Lantern.

Modern day, intricately designed pumpkin creations certainly make for impressive decorations. But back in the day, folks in Ireland dubbed their carved, fiery turnips “jack-o’-lanterns” thanks in part to an ominous legend.

One night, a conniving local drunkard named Jack trapped the Prince of Darkness in a tree by hacking a sign of the cross into the bark. In exchange for letting Satan climb down, Jack had him vow to never claim his soul.

Jack proceeded to act like a jerk his whole life. When he died, he sure as heck was not allowed in heaven. So he tried to return to his old pal, the Devil. But Satan upheld his end of the deal, hurling a piece of coal from hell at the dead man for good measure.

Left without anywhere to go, Jack placed the blazing coal in a turnip to use as a lantern. The dead man then set out, doomed to wander until he can find an eternal resting place.

Trick-or-treating has ancient precedent — but the candy part didn’t come about until much later.

Modern day trick-or-treating is a confluence of various traditions.

Ancient Celts dressed up as evil spirits in order to confuse demons, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

In medieval England, “soulers” would go around begging rich folk for “soul cakes” on Halloween. Instead of threatening to play tricks, however, they’d pray for peoples’ souls in return for the cake, according to “The Compleat Teacher’s Almanack.”

Throughout medieval Europe, mummering — dressing in disguises and visiting neighborhoods while dancing, playing music, and doing tricks — was popular on major feast days.

TIME reported Irish and Scottish immigrants brought “souling” to the States in the 1800s. But modern day trick-or-treating didn’t catch on in the US until the 1920s.

The practice was pretty controversial into the 1950s, though. According to the American Journal of Play’s “Gangsters, Pranksters, and the Invention of Trick-or-Treating,” many adults raised “stern objections” to trick-or-treating over the decades, as it was often viewed as a form of extortion.

The “Bloody Mary” ritual has unclear origins (and various practices).

Late folklorist and UC Berkeley professor Alan Dundes wrote an article titled “Bloody Mary in the Mirror: A Ritual Reflection of Pre-Pubescent Anxiety” about the various origins and practices of the “Bloody Mary” ritual, also known as “Mary Worth” and “Mary Whales.”

Many versions of the ritual include the elements of a girl peering into a mirror (often in a bathroom), darkness, blood, chanting, and the appearance of the cursed “Mary.”

Black cats have been associated with the supernatural for hundreds of years.

Black cat costumes are particularly popular on Halloween.

“In the Middle Ages, black cats were often portrayed as the famliars of witches, which is likely to be the origin of the distrust with which they are regarded in America, where early Puritan settlers rejected anything associated with the Devil and witch,” Chloe Rhodes wrote in “Black Cats and Evil Eyes: A Book on Old-fashioned Superstition.”

According to History.com, it was also believed in the Middle Ages that witches transformed into black cats to conceal themselves.


After this interesting and fascinating information about ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ I wish you and your loved ones:

Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 

Realistic and Unrealistic Injuries In Your Books

The ones of us writing fiction might have come across the one or other injury our characters are experiencing within the story. Depending on your genre of fiction (most significantly probably in crime stories, SiFi, occasionally fantasy, or mixed genres), these injuries might be more severe than a paper cut. (Even though they really hurt and nobody ever believes it, but that’s for another time.)

We all had the situation we watched a movie or read a book and our hero took a blow to the head or a bullet to protect his beloved… In movies, it’s normally quite simple. We watch the beloved carefully dab a tiny cut (where does that come from?) on the hero’s temple, most likely with a part of her clothing, and he comes around, pitifully whining and groaning. After three minutes he tells her they have to flee, jumps up, and with three bullets in his body, saves the situation and the girl. My hero…

One of my favorite examples at this point is the ‘Die Hard’-movies with hero John McClane. ‘The Week’ has taken a closer look at John McClane’s injures with a professional back in 2014. You can read the article here. )The poor man fights all by himself (mostly) against groups of criminals, using all his wit, experience, – and a handgun. Generally, he wins the fight by a hairsbreadth, with his, once white, undergarment dark gray and blood-soaked, cut feet, cuts, and lacerations all over his body, limping, and somewhat between two to five bullets in his body. Admirable – and completely unrealistic. So what? Hollywood has a monopole for explosions, fake catastrophes, bullets, freak destructions, and unrealistic injuries… But what’s good for Hollywood is not necessarily good for a debut writer.

Let’s have a look at a few examples in books and movies and analyze their grade of realism.

  1. Head Injuries

A human taking a blow to the head and collapsing is better off in the lateral recumbent position anyway, but that’s only a detail. If the blow was hard enough to keep the victim unconscious for more than three minutes, the chances are high that there is a concussion, or even a more severe injury, like brain injury, bleeding within the brain, or brain swelling. Jumping up and running around after several hours of unconsciousness won’t be possible. The victim would most like just helplessly stumble or have problems with the eyesight and orientation.

 

2. Dismemberment

You are writing fantasy and your victim gets dismembered? Losing an arm or a leg is no laughing matter. In such a case we look at a severe injury that, in real life will end fatally, if the victim does not get help within the shortest time and the wound is professionally taken care of immediately. The heart would still pump blood through the exposed arteries, which would splatter the blood all over the place in remarkable fountains. The would would have to be carefully secured. The blood loss would weaken the victim severely. After the fast loss of approximately 1/3 of a gallon (1 liter) of blood, the victim experiences rapid heart rate, confusion, weakness, shallow breathing, blood pressure difficulties, and medical shock. There is no ‘continued’ fighting with only one arm.

 

3. Broken Bones

If your character experiences broken bones, the victim will face horrible pain. Depending on how bad the break is if it’s clean or dangerous multiple fractures, the pain can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and finally pass out from shock. The limp with the broken bone won’t be able to move, a possible numbness could start if the break involved nerves. The healing of a broken bone can take between six weeks and six months, depending on how severe the bone is broken, if it was a leg or an arm, hands, joints, feet, and wrists are usually taking longer. If the bone is older the healing takes longer too.

 

4. Bullets & Stab Wounds

They are generally called ‘puncture wounds’. We are, at this point, talking about an object ‘entering’ a human body, injuring the body in the process. From what my research showed me, there are low, medium and high energy puncture wounds, caused by, for example, spears or knives (low), arrows, or crossbow bolts or handguns (medium) and high-powered rifles (high). Puncture injuries are described as sharp pains, often stinging, occasionally burning. They might take up to six months to heal and very often result in late consequences. These wounds are never harmless. There is no place in the body where it’s not dangerous. Puncture wounds can turn into massive blood loss and death within only a few minutes. (Getting up and solving a case after two days is not going to work, oh Hollywood, city of illusions).

 

5. Some Other Injuries

Of course, there are other injuries. Burns, cuts, slashes, even toxic influence on the body, or in rare cases, decapitation. Buns and cuts can be treated and, depending on the severeness, can heal quite quickly, within ten to fourteen days. Unless the burns are more severe, then they will need far longer. Slashes most likely need stitches. As for the toxic influence of substances on the body, that depends on the situation and I won’t go deeper into that subject. There are too many toxic substances and I suspect, some research would be needed in such a case. Decapitation ends fatally to humans, period. There’s no way out. If the injury happens to supernatural creatures, the writer does have some freedom with the recovery process.

 

I hope, this list helped a bit to keep the injuries in your books on a realistic level. Your readers will appreciate your sticking to reality in this case.

Picture courtesy of TheWeek.com

 

Fall Hope – 2020

The current year has been a struggle

for many people that I know.

Life has been massively changing

and adjustments had been very slow.

**

The heat of summer, it was warming

the cold that crept inside of me.

And still, it was not enough to help

give me calm and let me feel free.

**

So many times I have been lucky

to enjoy the sun, water, and a swim.

Without my generous, golden friend

life to me would have been grim.

**

As the year progresses past this summer

and slowly will become our fall.

I wish and hope for true improvement

for everyone out there, and y’all!

**

Lord,, thank you for sending us your angels

to every first-responder, cop, and  firefighter

Dear Lord, I kneel, I pray, and beg you,

Please help our future be a ‘lil bit brighter.

**

As the seasons’ turn and autumn starts

where the heat wraps up and becomes mild

where the shine and bright turns into colorful

and the softest breezes become wild.

**

Let these colors of the fall be an omen

for us to wrap up the bad things of this year

to search and find the lost hope again.

It was never gone… it was just hidden behind the fear.

*****

(Copyright Aurora Jean Alexander, September 2020)


 

 

 

Sundance – A New 5-Star review

I am so proud to discover that Sundance, the second book in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series got a new 5-star review. This is wonderful.


Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2020

Following ‘Soul Taker’, ‘Sundance’ is the second book in the Council of Twelve Series.
The book is less a simple sequel than a parallel story to the first part, which first surprised me, but then I was enthusiastic about that fact. I found it fascinating to read the story from a different point of view and to find the skillfully orchestrated connections to the first book.
One of the things I love about this book is to see Sundance grow up into a strong woman. Also interesting is her education. Even though the book shows many known characters and places, the book still allows the reader to re-explore the world, AJ Alexander created masterfully.
I look forward to reading book number three in the series.
———————————————————————————————-

Promote On Writer’s Treasure Chest

It’s 2020 and ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ is five years old.

I am very proud to have this blog up and its success and progress are significant. I thank all followers and readers for making this such a pleasurable experience and great adventure for me.

There is, however, one thing that I’d like to extend even more: The chance for many other writers to use “Writer’s Treasure Chest” as a promotional platform.

Do you feel like trying how it is to publish blog posts?

Do you have anything important to say?

Would you like to show up on this blog?

Do you have a book to promote?

Use “Writer’s Treasure Chest” and contact me for

a Blog Tour

a “Featured Author Interview”

a “Guest Post”

So many things are possible, and I’d like to give you a chance to introduce yourself and your work here!

For once I used the contact form within a blog post and hope you will use it!

 

Generally, ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ does have a contact form on the right side, as a widget.

It is always there! Check it out and contact me, I’ll be delighted to work with you on your plans, your guest post, your blog tour or send you the sheet with the interview questions!

I will be proud to have you as a guest on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’.

A Loyal Friend – A Riddle


As a baby I’m so cute

I don’t come with a button that says ‘mute’.

I’ve got four legs, no wings, no beak

And when I’m a baby I still ‘leak’.

**

As most of us, we got a tail

We can whine and growl and also wail.

No matter how we look, we all are stark

We can roll over, give paws and also bark.

**

We can have mix or pure in our blood

We can be high class elite, or simply ‘mud’

We can be the size of a tree or a tiny sprig

or by all means, a pony, or a guinea pig.

**

When we’re little our owners are often dizzy

They’re on their toes, we keep them busy.

When we grow up, the stress will end

And we’ll become a ‘man’s best friend’.

**

We can protect, support, or we can ‘stop’

we work in avalanche, in narcotics or become a cop.

We’re your true jack-of-all-trades

Even though we never got grades.

**

Maybe you have one of us in your home

Let them sleep in your bed and freely roam.

I’m sure my secret’s not anymore ‘in the fog’

You already guessed – I am a dog!

*****

(Copyright Aurora Jean Alexander – October 2020)

Picture courtesy of Pinterest.com

Interview With One Of My Characters V

Hello Zepheira. It’s so great to have you here.

Hi AJ. It’s nice of you to invite me. I love your little office. And the kitties, of course. *laughs*

 

Now, Zye. You met your husband, a while ago. We all read how you two fell in love and got married. How is married life?

Well, it’s more or less what Katie told me it would be. Of course, I’m still a Demon Tracker, working for the ‘Council Of Twelve’. I love what I do and I’m very proud they haven’t ‘reduced’ me to be a ‘housewife’ at this point. But additionally my regular work I had to take over quite a part of my work as a consort. And these tasks are specific.

 

Can you tell us what is expected of an Archangel consort?

Consorts aren’t just glorified Archangel groupies. We ladies are a part of our husbands. We are their connection to their troops, to their commanders, and their subordinates. We are expected to take care of them, look out for their wellbeing, function as their point of contact if there is a problem. And we aren’t talking about a military strategic flaw, we are talking about personal problems. Often we function as psychologists, we help, advice, comfort and they know they can count on us. Of course, there has been the one or other case when a subordinate has tried to befriend us, hoping he’s getting chances to be promoted. But that’s not what we are there for. Often we organize our husband’s meetings, training, calendars, management, guards, and many more things…

 

We can read about you and your husband’s romance in the ‘Demon Tracker’ book. Will you tell us just a little about it?

Of course. My hubby’s Big Seven have demanded my services as a Demon Tracker after one of them has been killed and disappeared. They needed to save her soul, otherwise, it would be lost to the evil side. I helped them to find her, and during that process, I met Archangel Uriel. He is an enormously strong Archangel, one of the oldest Archangels in existence. The case was quite difficult to solve and during my research, another problem came up. I took a great risk to finish my assessment and solve that problem…

 

Do you recommend reading the book?

*laughs* I definitely do. It’s an interesting adventure and also, Uriel and I meeting is quite romantic, actually. Read the book. And keep in mind – there’s more to come!

 

Get Demon Tracker here:

Amazon US Ebook
Amazon US Paperback
Amazon UK Ebook
Amazon UK Paperback
Amazon DE Ebook
Amazon DE Paperback
Smashwords
Apple Books
Barnes & Noble 
Kobo

 

 

 

An Unexpected Antagonist


‘The Council Of Twelve’ series is at a critical point at this moment. With the number of books, the tension between Good and Evil grows. The stories aren’t as innocent and romantic as they used to be. Of course, there is still a lot of love involved, after all, we are looking at the Good Side, Heaven,…

But also, there is the other side, and the tension in Hell has grown… Book 9 in the series delivers chaos, shows that there isn’t a mess mainly in the eternal fight, even Hell has its glitches and one of them is directed towards their ruler.

And here I need an Avenger… Alastor, the warrior with the golden spear. The Fighter for his master.

Alastor is a demonic evil spirit, very dedicated to the one who gives him a chance and entrusts him with a task that combines fighting as well as satiating his bloodthirst. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten, that this demon, as civilized as he can act, is still hard to assess.

Unknown and hidden he wandered among his fellow demon siblings, acting submissive and obedient, hiding his true nature and looks, protected by his master and commander.

He is not a fallen angel, like the Hellish Noblesse… he is a pure demon, but recognized by his Master, he is a secret weapon, for an emergency such as the situation that has occurred within the ‘Council Of Twelve’ series at this time. War… a war, worse than anyone on Earth will ever know.

Do humans know there is a war being fought among them? No

Do humans know there is the fight Good versus Evil still going on? No

Do humans feel there is something happening at this moment? Yes

They can feel the calamities, they experience the tsunamis, the earthquakes, the volcanoes, the hurricanes, tornadoes, the heat and cold, the fire, the temperature craziness…

In the meantime, the war goes on, the Archangels and Divine Warriors are fighting the darkness, the fear, the horror, the fire waves, the demonic influence, the legions of Hell with all their might.

There might be hope… but at this moment the odds aren’t good.

Do humans know that the Good side is fighting for them? No

Do humans know that their Creator, their Father, their Lord is sending them His angels to protect them?

Only the Believers… – only the believers…

9/11 – Tribute

It has been 19 years since the horrible day, September 11, 2001.

That day when the world crashed, when the U.S. was on fire, when people were killed, safety seemed to be an illusion, when cops, fire fighters, rescuers, medics and every first helper were working together to help, to search, to rescue!

Do you remember what I remember from that day? I remember the words “UNITED WE STAND”. I remember that everybody helped, all helped everybody – AMERICANS helped each other!

Let’s not forget the hard times Americans went through. Let’s not forget the victims, the helpers, the ones who suffered through the time and after… Let’s not forget how to be united!

Picture courtesy of https://www.bagpipeonline.com/opinions/2019/10/4/the-legacy-of-911

Where were you when the world stopped turning

(by Alan Jackson)

Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
That September day?
Were you in the yard with your wife and children
Or workin’ on some stage in L.A.?
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
Risin’ against that blue sky?
Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry?
Did you weep for the children, they lost their dear loved ones
Pray for the ones who don’t know?
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below?
Did you burst out with pride for the red, white, and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The diff’rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
That September day?
Teachin’ a class full of innocent children
Or drivin’ down some cold interstate?
Did you feel guilty ’cause you’re a survivor?
In a crowded room did you feel alone?
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her?
Did you dust off that Bible at home?
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?
Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages
And speak to some stranger on the street?
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun?
Did you turn off that violent old movie you’re watchin’
And turn on I Love Lucy reruns?
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some strangers
Stand in line to give your own blood?
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love?
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The diff’rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
I’m just a singer of simple songs
I’m not a real political man
I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you
The diff’rence in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love
And the greatest is love
And the greatest is love
Where were you when the world stopped turnin’
On that September day?

 

 

 

The Famous ‘House Special’ – Guest Post on Juliette Kings’ Vampire Maman Blog

 

The Famous ‘House Special’

Written by A. J. Alexander

A while ago, back in Europe, when I was traveling with a friend, I went for dinner to a restaurant that belonged to a very nice Italian couple. It was in Rome.

You know, when you go to European restaurants, there are these eight-to-ten people tables for tourists, where they place you on, and unless the table is filled up, you won’t get served.

My friend and I had a lot of fun. I don’t belong to the people who always want to eat steak and fries or fish and chips wherever they go. I’d like to know what a country has to offer me. And here it was the same thing.

Confidently I told the waiter, I want to have the ‘house special,’ no matter what it is. He was a bit surprised and asked carefully, “Are you sure?” I confirmed that I was, indeed, very sure.

He brought us soup and salad ahead; then, the entrees were served. My friend got steak and fries, and I got the ‘house special’… it was a bird, a tiny bird. It was lying there, all by itself, on a small white plate.

The little head hung halfway over the plate; one of its eyes was open, one closed, beak, feet, and claws were still entirely there.

So far, I have always taken on every challenge I had accepted, even the ones to myself. But in that particular case, the question was not, would I really go through with this? The question was, “How?”

There is something we all can learn from American ‘Haute Cuisine’… One can eat everything imaginable on Earth, no matter what it is, provided it fits in a bun.

CONTINUE READING HERE