Celebrating Indie Publishing with @hosborneauthor #IndieReads

The Quiet Knitter

Whilst I’m taking a few days off for the school holidays I thought that it might be nice to showcase some wonderful indie authors and shine a blinding spotlight on them.

I am delighted to be joined by the lovely Heather Osborne today.

Heather has written several books which are available to buy now on Amazon,  and I would recommend checking them out, I’m keen to check out the Rae Hatting Mysteries series as it sounds brilliant!


Author Feature:

author

Heather Osborne was born and raised in California. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Victimology, as well as coursework in Early Childhood Education. In 2009, she met her husband and moved to Scotland, very much a dream of hers since she was a small child. Heather has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember. She also has written and directed several plays. In…

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Blog Tour: My Dear Hamilton

Review:
fivestars
An exemplary example of historical fiction, My Dear Hamilton keeps and surpasses the standards of the genre, as expected from Dray and Kamoie. I adored this novel, not just for the realism and passion given to historical figures, but the steadfast loyalty to the history being discussed.

Once again, Dray and Kamoie have taken a woman, who so often were depicted as being in the shadows, and drawn her to the forefront of the fight for independence in the United States. I loved reading the letters that prefaced each chapter and I was pleased with the authenticity given to the dialogue, while never shying from the fact that these figures were real people, with all the flaws that come along with it.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone with a keen interest in American historical fiction, and eagerly anticipate what Dray and Kamoie bring to the genre next. Five enthusiastic stars!


Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

Order your copy of MY DEAR HAMILTON today!

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A Founding Father’s wife…

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…


✭✭✭ ORDER MY DEAR HAMILTON TODAY✭✭✭
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Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie’s MY DEAR HAMILTON – Blog Tour Schedule:

April 2nd

Book review Virginia lee – Excerpt

Books A-Brewin’ – Excerpt

Brandy Paige Roberts Blogger page – Excerpt

My Girlfriends Couch – Excerpt

April 3rd

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents – Excerpt

It’s All About the Romance – Excerpt

My Book Snack – Review & Excerpt

Smexy& Fabulous – Excerpt

April 4th

Always a happy ever after –Review & Excerpt

Ficwishes – Excerpt

Movies, Shows, & Books – Excerpt

Quirky Lady Bookworm Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Stephanie’s Book Reports – Excerpt

SJAT’s Books and More – Review & Interview

April 5th

Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt

Literature Goals – Excerpt

Reviews by Tammy and Kim (Rachel & Jay) – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

April 6th

Books After Fifty – Excerpt

History Undressed – Review & Excerpt

Under the Covers Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

True Book Addict – Excerpt

Zili in the Sky – Excerpt

April 7th

3 Degrees of Fiction Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Books According to Abby – Excerpt

Evermore Books – Excerpt

KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt

April 8th

BookCrushin – Interview

Liz’s Reading Life – Excerpt

Smut Book Junkie Book Reviews – Excerpt

Vagabonda Reads – Review & Excerpt

April 9th

Book Bug Blog – Review & Excerpt

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Just One More Chapter – Review

Read-Love-Blog – Excerpt

April 10th

Miss Riki – Review & Excerpt

My Fictional Escape – Review & Excerpt

Oh, for the Hook of a Book – Review & Interview

April 11th

Bound By Books Book review – Review

Sofia Loves Books – Review & Excerpt

April 12th

Denny S. Bryce – Review & Excerpt

Good Drunkard – Review & Excerpt

Ruth Downie – Interview

Margie’s Must Reads – Excerpt

The Voluptuous Book Diva – Excerpt

April 13th

A Bookaholic Swede – Review

Creating Herstory – Review & Interview

Historical Fiction Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Kris Waldherr Art and Words – Excerpt

April 14th

Book Nook Nuts – Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne – Review

Leigh Anderson – Review

Nerdy Soul – Review & Excerpt

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Teatime and Books – Excerpt

Two Girls with Books – Review & Excerpt


About Stephanie Dray:

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into multiple languages, illuminating women of the past so as to inspire the women of today. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital.

 

 

Stephanie Dray Website |Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter | Dray & Kamoie Website

 

About Laura Kamoie:

Laura Kamoieis a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction, and the author of two nonfiction books on early American history. Until recently, she held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction under the name Laura Kaye, also a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels.

 

Laura Kamoie Website |Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter | Dray & Kamoie Website

 

Book Review: The Liar’s Promise by Mark Tilbury

Mark Tilbury - The Liar’s Promise_cover

Title: The Liar’s Promise

Author: Mark Tilbury

Blurb: 

Do you love dark & compelling psychological thrillers? Mark Tilbury’s unmissable The Liar’s Promise is a suspenseful thriller which will have you gripped.

How does a mother protect her child from the unknown?

During a visit to a local theatre, four-year-old Chloe Hollis becomes hysterical. But her mother, Mel, doesn’t realise that this is just the beginning of the nightmare. In the coming weeks, Chloe talks of The Tall Man – Of death.

At her wit’s end, Mel confides in Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works. But what Mel doesn’t know is that Charles is linked to what is happening to her daughter.

Will Mel learn the terrible truth? And can she overcome her own tragic past and save her daughter before it’s too late?

The Liar’s Promise is a story of past lives and future torment.


Review:
4 blog stars

After having read Mark Tilbury’s other novels, and swayed by the masses of advance praise for The Liar’s Promise, I was very curious to read this new standalone thriller. I was drawn to the tease of past lives combined with murder, as well as knowing Tilbury’s writing style.

Other reviewers have said this is a gruesome novel, but I must be immune to literary violence because I didn’t find it overly shocking or morbid (gotta wonder what that says about me!). The novel mainly focuses on Chloe’s experiences, as seen through the eyes of her mother and those around her. She is basically a catalyst for a spirit trying to reach out. Peter King, a twisted theatre owner with an obsession with Shakespeare, is the villain of the piece. I found him to be a very well written, complex individual—one of the more unique serial killers I have read about. Among the never-ending flow of crime novels, he does stand out, which is high praise.

After reading Abattoir of Dreams, there were elements of The Liar’s Promise that fell short for me, not to say it wasn’t a good read. The reader is treated to glimpses of King’s victims, which did intensify the horrific nature of his character, however, after the halfway point, we are left wondering what happened to them as the rest of the action centers back on Chloe. This is solved, but I felt like that emotional connection to empathize with his victims was missing.

Readers who enjoy crime novels and thrillers will find Mr. Tilbury’s latest offering interesting and perhaps even thought provoking about what happens to us after we die.


Get your copy of A Liar’s Promise on all Amazon marketplaces!

Flash Nano: Day #3

Day #3 Prompt: Write a story where something disappears.

Sara groaned audibly as she rummaged through the pile of laundry on the couch. “Where are they, damn it?” She grumbled, moving onto the endless stack of paperwork and bills on the kitchen table. “I’m gonna be late!”

Letting out a scream of outrage, she knocked the latest stack to the floor. A blue envelope spun out and she recognized the shaky handwriting. How had she missed the letter from her favorite great-aunt? Forgetting the search for her car keys, she sat on one of the wooden chairs and opened the letter. She extracted several pages of paper, her great-aunt’s floaty cursive writing covering both sides.

As she read, she smiled at the recounting of daily life, bridge games, and casual conversations with friends. As always, there was the pertinent advice and commentary on how Sara was living her life. She signed it ‘with love’ and reminded her to be happy. A warm, fuzzy feeling flooded Sara’s heart, and she set aside the letter, promising to write back once she returned from her appointment.

The search for the car keys continued, interrupted by the insistent ringing of her cell phone. “Hello?”

“Oh, hi, Mom.”

“What? Dead? When…how…?”

Sara felt her knees give way, and the warm feeling disappeared.


Something sad, but based on a true story.

Flash Nano: Day #2

Day #2 Prompt: Write a story involving water.

His hands wandered up my bare back as the spray of the shower embraced our bodies. There was something pure and wholesome about the way he touched me, as if he was memorizing every inch of my flesh. No words were spoken, the rush of the water providing the only backdrop.

He brushed my hair away from the nape of my neck, placing a gentle kiss at the apex of it and my shoulder. I felt the tears prick the corners of my eyes. The reality of his impending departure caused an ache to build in my chest, culminating in a lump in my throat I couldn’t swallow away.

Arms encircled me. He knew. “Close your eyes.”

I obeyed and the rumble of his voice filled my senses, over the pounding jet of the shower.

“I cannot promise I will come back to you, but I can promise I will always have this moment. It doesn’t matter where I am. I will remember this…naked, no fears or worries.”

When I opened my eyes, he was gone. I turned, remembering his words from six months prior…before the terrorist bomb ripped him from my arms. Drawing in a shaky breath, I dried my tears and switched off the water. Climbing out, I wrapped myself in a towel, making my way into our bedroom. I smiled at his photograph before I heard the shouts of our children. I had to lift my chin, show no fear or worry. Push the tears back, until I could climb in the shower again and feel him.


Not entirely sure I like this one 😛 I may come back and change it later. Anyway, I made an effort to write something different and that’s what counts! 

Flash Nano: Day #1

This year, instead of trying to push to do a novel I know I won’t finish, I decided to participate in Flash Nano, put on by Author Nancy Stohlman. You can find more info here: https://nancystohlman.com/flashnano/. Basically, I have to write thirty flash fiction stories in thirty days based on prompts. Can I do it? Subscribe and cheer me on!


Day #1 Prompt: Write a story that takes place on a school bus.

The classic yellow bus kicked up a smattering of dust as it came to a stop in front of Cara. She glanced nervously back at her mother, who urged her daughter on with a smile. Cara drew in a reassuring breath. Today would be different. Today, she would hold her head high.

Grasping the smallchrome handrail, she climbed the steps. The ruckus didn’t stop, and neither did the driver, as the door squeaked closed and the bus jerked forward, forcing Cara to grab onto one of the cracked green leather seats for balance. Spinning in a less than graceful manner, she managed to sit in the vacant seat, shuffling over to stare out the grimy window.

Mile after mile of rustic farmland whirled past as Cara thought about her life to this point. She would graduate middle school this year and move on to the local high school, and a new bus. Maybe there she wouldn’t feel so awkward and hated. She dropped her head to stare at her backpack placed firmly in her lap. She was smart, her teachers said. So much potential. But what was potential without friends?

No one wanted to be around the gangly girl who knew all the answers. The one who spent her lunchtime in the library, shelving books and diving into her favorite stories of smart girls who did triumph. Anne of Green Gables. Elizabeth Bennet. Pippi Longstocking. If only life could be like that.

The bus stopped and started a dozen times, until the seats began to fill up and the only one left was beside her. No one would sit there, even if it meant squeezing a third person onto one of the already-filled seats. No one wanted to be caught talking to the smarty pants.

Screeching to a halt, the bus door opened. The hushed whispers around her caused Cara to lift her head. In the aisle was a new girl, blonde and pretty. Cara sighed. Another potential person to make fun of her. She dropped her head again.

“Hi, can I sit here?” The collective gasp issued from the kids on the bus had Cara’s heart thumping.

“Umm, sure.”

The girl sat. “My name is Grace. What’s yours?”

“Cara.”

“Nice to meet you, Cara.” Grace smiled warmly, and the ride continued.

Finally, the bus arrived at school and the kids piled off. Grace stood, peering over at Cara. “Are you coming? I’m new and I’d like some help finding the office. Can you help me?”

Cara looked around, trying to figure out if she was talking to her. “Me?”

“Yeah. I don’t have time for silly people and you seem cool. Hey, is that Pride and Prejudice?” She pointed to the book poking out of Cara’s bag. “That’s my favorite.”

Cara’s face lightened. “Yeah, it is.”

“I don’t know anyone who can read that in eighth grade. Can we be friends?”

Cara felt weights lifting. “Yeah.”

“Cool. Let’s go.” Grace turned to leave the bus.

Cara opened her bag, placing Pride and Prejudice more securely in the confines. Her fingers brushed over cool metal, and her heart changed. “Not today.” She hoisted the bag over her shoulder and followed Grace off the bus.

 

Dawn Study Blog Tour!

Hello everyone! I’m proud to host one of the stops for the Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder Blog Tour! This is the last book in the Study series *insert sad face* but we have been told that before, so maybe there is hope! I was chuffed to bits to receive an advanced copy to read as well, completing my collection 🙂 Although, I still need to get Night Study and Dawn Study in paperback (ever a weakness). Anyway, without further ado, my review, and some information about how you can find your way to this amazing series!


9780778319856_ts_smpTitle: DAWN STUDY (Study Series #6)

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Pub. Date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Mira Ink

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, eBook, audiobook

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.

Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that
transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.

Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person’s resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.

With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.


Review:
five star blog
Like all good things, the Study series has come to an end, and what an end! I have followed these books from Poison Study, and it is one of the few fantasy series I have remained loyal to after all these years. It’s difficult to say too much, so I won’t, but pick up these books and lose yourself in the world of Yelena and Valek. So, farewell to this wonderful world, and I wipe a tear from my eye as I say this.


mariaMaria’s Bio:

Maria V. Snyder changed from being a meteorologist to a novelist in 1995, when she began writing to keep her sanity while raising two children. Since then, she has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers, and teaches fiction-writing classes at the local college and area libraries. The classes give her the wonderful opportunity to encourage fellow writers, and to keep improving her craft.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria always had a fascination with big storms. Dreaming of chasing tornados, Maria earned a bachelors of science degree in meteorology at Penn State University. But she discovered, much to her chagrin, that forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. In order to chase tornados you had to predict where they might form. Creating fantasy worlds where she has complete control of the weather was more agreeable to her.

Maria’s research on food-tasting methods with an expert chocolate taster, her husband, turned out to be a delicious bonus while writing Poison Study.

Maria has a brown belt in Isshinryu Karate, and enjoys playing volleyball and the cello. Traveling in general and via cruise ship in particular are her biggest distractions from writing. Maria has traveled to Belize, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal.

Maria lives with her husband, son, daughter and yellow lab, Hazelnut, in Pennsylvania where she is at work on more LUNA novels. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University.

Readers are welcome to contact Maria at the following email address: maria@mariavsnyder.com.

Where you can find Maria:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway Details:

6 Winners will receive finished copies of DAWN STUDY, US Only.

4 Winners will receive finished copies of DAWN STUDY, International.

 

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjUzNA==/?

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

1/23/2017-a GREAT read– Interview

1/24/2017- Books for Thought– Review

1/25/2017- YABC– Guest Post

1/26/2017- Mundie Moms– Review

1/27/2017- Dark Faerie Tales– Interview

 

Week Two:

1/30/2017- Kindle and Me– Review

1/31/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Guest Post

2/1/2017- Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne– Review

2/2/2017- Moonlight Gleam Reviews– Interview

2/3/2017- The Bibliophile Chronicles– Review

dawn-study

Christmas During the American Civil War

Christmas during the 1860s was not unlike the holidays we know and love. However, there was always the ever present damper over families, knowing their loved ones were away fighting in another state. I imagine this is much the same for soldiers nowadays, who will not be able to be with their families for Christmas.

Many of the traditions we have in place (trees, Santa, gifts) were commonplace in the homes, however, some Southern families had to make excuses that Santa might not get through the blockades surrounding Southern ports.

nast-xmas-in-camp

Christmas in Camp – Courtesy of the Civil War Trust

The soldiers made the best of the holidays, with one describing how they decorated a small tree with hard tack and salt pork, instead of cakes and oranges. Letters home were often sparse in the latter years of the war, but some soldiers made journal entries, wishing their families the best of the holidays.

In some camps, the Yankee soldiers received visits from President Lincoln, some even fortunate enough to be gifted a parcel from Tad Lincoln.

Many soldiers, as well as their families, sang carols. The names will be recognizable to us today– “Deck the Halls,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” and Mendelssohn’s “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” (1840), are still sung today. American musical contributions to the season include: “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” (1850), “Jingle Bells” (1857), “We Three Kings of Orient Are” (1857) ,and “Up on the Housetop” (1860).

Christmas cards were not that common at the time, but would become more popular in the 1870s.

Regardless, it was often a sad time of year, as families never knew if their menfolk would be coming home.

Minolta DSC

A husband and wife separated by the war (Nast, 1862)


simple-blessings-coverCheck out my own post-Civil War Christmas short, Simple Blessings, and catch up with our very own Soldier’s Secret family!

Have a very happy holiday season!

Beneath the Skin Blog Tour + Guest Post

beneath-the-skinBeneath the Skin
by Sandra Ireland

Published by Polygon
Paperback – £9.99 Ebook – £4.74
Taking a job in the studio of an Edinburgh taxidermist probably isn’t Walt’s wisest decision. Suffering from combat stress and struggling to outrun the demons from his past, he now finds himself confronted by the undead on a daily basis.

His enigmatic boss, Alys, and her sister, Mouse, have their own uneasy relationship with the past. Someone doesn’t want to let them go. Can Walt save Mouse’s eight-year-old son, William, from becoming the next victim? And can he save himself?

Deliciously disturbing, this psychological thriller peels back the skin of one modern family to reveal the wounds no one wants to see. It deals with the effects of trauma and how facing up to vulnerability is sometimes the only way to let go of the past.


Writing Spooky Fiction
Guest Post by Sandra Ireland

The nights are drawing in, the cold wind is moaning and the shops are stuffed with pumpkins, ‘Scream’ masks and witches’ hats. We’re approaching All Hallow’s Eve, the ancient Feast of Samhain, when the veil between worlds is stretched to its thinnest…

Not surprising, then, that our writerly musings turn to thoughts of ghost stories and all things spooky! But what makes a tale spooky? What is it that thrills us, while simultaneously making us want to hide behind the sofa?

I think we have to start with character. You can add as many scary tropes as you can shake a stick at, but the real terror lies in your character’s reaction to the circumstances they face. What is a ghost, a demon or a villain without someone to interact with? This may seem obvious, but the drama comes from within the protagonist…gut-trembling emotional response is what resonates with the reader. Often writers are afraid of going OTT with emotion, but in teasing out  such reactions, you are inviting your audience to bond with this character, to experience their fear and feel for themselves the darkness, the tension, the danger.

This is perfectly played out in Susan Hill’s acclaimed ghost story The Woman in Black. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is called upon to attend to the affairs of the deceased owner of the decidedly creepy Eel Marsh House. Wreathed in mist and mystery, the house and its eerie setting play a big part in ramping up the tension, but it is Kipps’ sheer mounting terror when he realises he is not alone that sends shivers down the spine.

In the following passage, Arthur, having heard the anguished cry of a child trapped in the marsh, finds himself paralysed with fear (As in all good ghost stories, his torch is broken and it’s dark).

‘For a moment I was as near to weeping tears of despair and fear, frustration and tension as I had ever been since my childhood. But instead of crying, I drummed my fists upon the floorboards, in a burst of violent rage, until they throbbed. It was Spider [the dog] who brought me to my senses by scratching a little at my arm and by licking the hand I stretched out to her. We sat on the floor together, and I hugged her warm body to me…and again and again I heard that child’s terrible cry borne on the gusts towards me.’

Notice how the haunting cry of the ghost child is almost peripheral- there are no mad shrieks, or howlings, or faces at the window. We are totally invested in Arthur’s fear, and even that pares down to an image of this man, vulnerable and close to tears, cuddling his dog for comfort. We’re immediately returned to the seat of our childhood fears; dark nights and monsters under the bed. We can’t help but relive our own fear.

And that, Dear Writer, is my recipe for crafting a spooky story. Keep it simple, keep it emotional, and let the reader do the work!


sandra-irelandAbout the author:

Sandra Ireland is an award-winning writer, poet and artist. Born in Yorkshire, she was brought up in the North East and lived for many years in Éire. Her work has appeared in various women’s magazines and publications such as New Writing Dundee, Dundee Writes and ‘Furies’, an anthology of women’s poetry. Beneath the Skin is her first novel and was inspired by a love of all things curious and unseen.

Web: www.sandrairelandauthor.com
Twitter: @22_ireland


Praise for Beneath the Skin…

“The debut novel from Sandra Ireland is an exceptional calling card.” The Courier

“Sandra Ireland shows an impressive skill at locating her reader’s empathy and drawing it out to make you both emotionally invested and totally hooked on the action.” Becky Hinshelwood, Books etc.

Powerful, unsettling, captivating.” Liz Robinson, Love Reading UK

Sandra is available for interviews and features. Photographs are also available on request.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Sandra, please contact:
Dawn Geddes, Freelance Publicity Officer at Bookish PR
Tel: 07548 710980 Email: dawngeddeswrites@gmail.com Web: www.dawngeddes.co.uk

beneath-the-skin-blogtour-png-file

Very Superstitious!

Upon the release of the last Rae Hatting novel, Blackout, I thought I would write a post about some of the commonly held superstitions by theatre folk. I’ve been involved in the theatre since I was 10, and there are many common (and obscure) things practiced by us actors, mostly to keep terrible things from happening during the course of rehearsals and shows. So, please take your seats. The performance is about to begin!


thomas_keene_in_macbeth_1884_wikipedia_cropThe Dreaded Scottish Play

The superstition goes that saying the word “Macbeth” onstage or off could result in disastrous events. If you say this word, there are a number of rituals you can do to be “allowed” back in and “forgiven.” The main one is: The person is required to leave the theater building, spit, curse and spin around three times, before begging to be allowed back inside.

Why? Some believe it’s because of the witchcraft element. Others, because of the high risk of injury to the actors and the running trend of people dying during the course of the show. Some believe Shakespeare himself put a curse on the play. Another involves how some theatres used the play as a last ditch effort to get them out of debt. Unfortunately, the theatres often went broke anyway.


Whistling

The superstition goes that someone whistling backstage meant someone would be fired from the show, and not always the person whistling.

Why? In the days before technology, stage managers would use whistling to cue actors. If someone else whistled, it could cause an actor to miss a cue or go on too early. Not good!


It’s bad luck to say good luck on opening night!

So says the famous song from The Producers, but why do actors insist you say “break a leg”? There are a number of theories. One involves understudies. The “legs” of the stage are the curtains hanging at either side. “Breaking a leg” meant you went onstage and got paid. Another comes from Elizabethan England, where money was thrown at the actors and you could “break the leg” to get the coins, i.e. leave the stage. Whatever superstition you believe, any actor would rather hear “break a leg” than say “good luck”!


ghost-1175137_960_720It’s a ghost!

Some theatres are known to be haunted. Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but I know ours is! There is a superstition which states there should be one night during the run of a performance where the ghosts are allowed free reign of the stage.

According to one article: “…there is one specific ghost, Thespis, who has a reputation for causing unexplained mischief. Thespis, of Athens (6th BC) was the first person to speak lines as an individual actor on stage, thus the term “Thespian” to refer to a theatrical performer was born. To keep the ghosts of the theater subdued, there should be at least one night a week where the theater is empty, this night is traditionally a Monday night, conveniently giving actors a day off after weekend performances.”

Is it true? Well, from personal experience, when our theatre added in a Sunday show, usually the day we had off, the performances were poorly attended. Lack of interest, or our ghost having a bit a revenge for taking away her night? You decide.


Blue moon!

One of the more interesting superstitions I learned about was how wearing blue onstage was a sure way to a failed play, unless countered with silver. This is because blue dye, in the early days of theatre, was expensive to make. Failing companies would dress their actors in blue to give the illusion of success. Using silver as well counteracted the blue, as it showed the theatre had money behind them from a wealthy patron.


blackout-ebook-cover-with-awardI hope you enjoyed my little foray into theatre superstitions, and be sure to grab a copy of Blackout in paperback or ebook from Amazon!

Kind thanks to the following articles:
Top Ten Theatre Superstitions

13 Theatre Supersitions