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

Catching Up! Plus a BRAND NEW Blackout teaser!

Hi everyone!

I know most of my recent blog entries have been promoting others, but I’m going to take a moment to catch everyone up on some of the things coming up for me!

First of all, Bitter Bonds is DONE! Yay! It’s off to the editor *bites nails* and then it will be released on Friday, May 13th (spooooooky!). It is currently up for PREORDER at 99 cents/99p for the duration of release week, and then it will go up in price, so grab a copy while you can!

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Next, I’ve just started sign-ups for my NEWSLETTER! *puts on her big girl author pants* When you sign up, you get a FREE copy of Hubris, Luke’s Story, AND when I send out my first newsletter, I’ll be giving away a signed copy of The Fairest of Them in paperback with the shiny new cover! Squee!

Hubris blurb teaser


Finally, I’m working on Blackout, the next (and possibly final) Rae Hatting novel! I know, I know, sad times, but I want to move on to some other crime novels with new, awesome heroines. I know it’s a long wait, but Blackout will be out this October. I would have had it sooner, but…I’m going to California for three weeks in July and I plan to do NOTHING!

Blurb:

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely…dead.

Reeling from their time in New Orleans, all Special Agents Rae Hatting and Luke Thompson want to do is recover, and try to understand their budding attraction. However, there is no rest for the weary. New York calls this time, with an incipient serial killer enacting horrible vengeance on the thespian community. As bodies drop onstage, audiences are none the wiser that they are witnessing murder. Will Rae and Luke discover the culprit, before it’s ‘curtain down’?

Blackout Teaser 1


So, as always, happy reading, please sign-up for the newsletter, and I can’t wait to share Bitter Bonds with you all!

Iron Mike: Blog Tour Post

A few months back, I met a lovely woman on one of my book groups. She had a partially finished novel, but wasn’t sure where to go from there. After reading it, I was blown away and determined to help her publish this awesome book. Editing, formatting, book covers, blurbs, and teasers followed, as well as countless messages of reassurance, going both ways. In the process, I gained a life-long friend. I’m pleased to present the promotional blog tour post for Patricia Rose’s Iron Mike!

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Amazon Purchase Link: http://amzn.com/B015ELC31S

Iron MikeTeaser

Blurb:

They came, but not in peace. They came to destroy us. Our cities crumbled. Our people died by the billions. Their weapons were sophisticated beyond our worst nightmare.

But they didn’t count on our stubborn tenacity or our will to live. We fight back, and we fight dirty.

Mike Sanderlin survived the first attack … but could he survive the war? How will he keep his sister safe in a world where terror swoops from the sky and looters claim the streets? Law and order are as forgotten as the bodies that rot in the sun.

To keep his sister alive, Mike changes. He becomes Iron Mike, a man unafraid of making the hard decisions, a man unafraid of war, of killing or being killed. Iron Mike isn’t afraid, period.

Iron Mike is a survivor.

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Excerpt:

She’d driven about ten miles from Malik’s house, wending her way between wrecked vehicles and making it all the way through both of the Shepherdsville traffic lights before the car had started sputtering. Kari had been paying attention to Shepherdsville, not the fuel gauge. She’d been shocked at the state of the small town. None of the businesses had opened, and a lot of the store front windows and door frames had been shattered, contents from the stores strewn about the parking lots. People had already started looting? What the fuck was up with that?

She kept the Sig Sauer in her unzipped pocket, within easy reach. She had gone through Malik’s gun safe and now had three extra magazines in the back pocket of her jeans. She figured if she needed them, she was dead. If eleven rounds of 9mm weren’t enough to protect her, the extra magazines would be no better than paperweights.

Nothing to be done for it. Kari stepped out of the jeep and pulled out her heavy backpack, adjusting it over her shoulders and snapping the straps in front to balance the load. It wasn’t bad, she told herself. She’d seen plenty of soldiers jogging around post in full rucksacks, and a lot of them were women, too. If they could do it, so could she.

Kari squinted at the town of Shepherdsville behind her, then back up State Road 44, which she knew was at least half the mileage she needed to travel to Knox. Once she hit Dixie Highway, it was about another twelve to fifteen miles to the front gates on Brandenburg Station Road. She didn’t even consider cutting through the woods. Kari was a city girl, and she intended to arrive on the post alive, not wander in circles through unfamiliar terrain until she froze to death or got eaten by coyotes. If she stuck to the roads, she would get there eventually.

She walked for more than an hour, almost totally uphill, before hearing the first vehicle. Kari cautiously stepped off the side of the road, her legs backed against the guard rail. S.R. 44 was a two-lane cut-through to Dixie Highway, and it was twisty; with the light layer of snow, it would also be slippery.

The red pickup’s engine roared as the driver downshifted, and passed right by her. Kari pushed off from the guard rail to start walking again – stopping abruptly as she saw the brake lights and backup lights. She leaned back against the guard rail and waited.

She made her decision instantly when the passenger window rolled down, and the man leered at her with what he probably assumed was a pleasant smile. His eyes moved up her body from her heavy boots, jeans, to the shapeless heavy coat she wore and the long braid of brown hair covered with a thick stocking cap.

“Need a ride, sweet thing?” the driver asked, leaning forward so he could see around the passenger.

Kari smiled politely, but it was stiff. The man was smiling, but there was a meanness to his smile that made Kari’s radar go off. His red hair was greasy and unkempt and he looked like he hadn’t showered in a week. “No, thanks,” she replied. “I appreciate the offer, but I don’t have far to go now.”
The passenger spoke, his voice making Kari’s skin crawl. “Aw, you really should come with us, miss. A pretty lady like you all alone in this crazy world, halfway up Martin Hill – it ain’t safe.”

“I’ll be fine,” Kari said politely. “Thank you again for the offer.”

She watched the crazy as it happened. The passenger’s pleasant leer fell from his face, and his eyes clouded with fury. “Bitch, you don’t know a good thing when you hear it,” he said, and opened his door, putting one foot on the snow.

Kari drew the Sig and aimed it right between the man’s eyes, thumbing the safety off in one smooth motion. He froze for a moment, his eyes narrowing as he assessed her. “You’re a cute little thing,” he said, a malicious eagerness in his voice. “Mine’s bigger.”

He moved his eyes to the gun rack on the back wall of the pickup where three large shotguns rested. Kari knew he wanted her to look at them, for her eyes to leave his so he could jump her. She didn’t oblige, keeping her eyes dead level on his.

“First shot takes out your rearview.” Her voice was oddly calm and quiet. Maybe all of Dad’s lectures and target practice hadn’t been wasted on her after all. “Second shot goes between your eyes and takes out you. Third shot the driver, if he’s still here.”

For a long moment, it was stalemate.

“Come on, Hank, let’s just go,” the driver whined. It was the wrong thing to say, because Hank was full of crazy, even if the driver didn’t know it, and his friend’s cowardice fueled his bravado. He shifted his weight so he stepped out of the truck.

Kari shot, the sound thundering down the ravine, echoing back to her. She was almost certain the man named Hank felt the bullet pass next to his head. It was a lucky shot. Not only did the rearview mirror break, but it broke cleanly in half, the wiring inside leaving both ends of the mirror dangling impressively and a neat round bullet hole in the windshield. Hank looked back, looking into Kari’s eyes again, his own narrowed meanly.
Kari didn’t react at all. She didn’t let victory or fear show on her face. “That’s one, Hank. Either get back in your truck, or come at me for number two.”
The driver, fortunately, kept his mouth shut this time. With a snarl, Hank shifted his weight back inside the vehicle and pulled his door closed with an angry slam. “I’ll find you again, cunt,” he sneered. “And when I do –“
Kari didn’t get to hear the rest of his threat because the driver peeled away before Hank could finish it.

Kari stood, adjusted her backpack and headed out with quick, confident steps.

She was her father’s daughter. She was nobody’s goddamned prey.

Iron Mike1

Review:

Dystopian/end of the world books are not my typical genre, so when I was asked to edit this novel, I went in with an open mind. Boy, was I absolutely blown away! Iron Mike is the story of a teenager, Mike Sanderlin, who is forced to grow up before his time when an unknown force wipes out nearly all the people on the planet. Those remaining must fight for survival against an alien race, determined to “harvest” planet Earth.

Wow doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt reading this novel. Instead of focusing on the details of the alien invasion, Patricia Rose brings you into the lives of the people directly impacted. You’ll laugh, cry, and love right alongside these wonderful characters, including an awesome dog named Hershey.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to try something a little different. I couldn’t put it down, and I’m begging for more! I see many great things coming from this author in the future!

Winter road

Winter road

Author Bio:

Author picPatricia Rose was born a bookworm, and has never outgrown it. Her love of stories started with The Bobbsey Twins when she was five and continues today with the best offerings of science fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. An avid animal lover, she shares her home with her husband, her spiritual wife, two dogs, four cats, a snake, and a tarantula. Her husband, Kevin, has strongly advised her to put down her hammer, chisels, and stone tablets and come into the digital age!

Connect with Patricia Rose on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPatriciaRose

The Secret King: Lethao Release Blitz!

Sci-Fi / Fantasy
Date Published: September 30, 2015

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Kendro, King of the Aonise, can do nothing to prevent their sun from collapsing, consuming their home planet Letháo in a single fiery blast. Running out of time and options, he evacuates the entire population, setting off into the unknown galaxy in four crowded ships. Under constant danger from their ancient enemy, the Zefron, treasonous dissent seeps into his inner circle. Threatened inside and out, Kendro struggles with who to trust, until a mysterious vision finally brings hope to the distraught King. A new home awaits the Aonise, if Kendro can only unite them long enough to survive the journey.


EXCERPT
From Ch 2:
“I can’t help but worry.” Chace’s hands shook as he locked eyes with Octav. “You know we don’t have a destination.”
“You’re privy to that information.” Octav shot him a glare.  “Do not speak of it.”
Chace stepped backed, “I’m sorry, Sir.”
Octav stared at Chace’s shimmering forearm where his birthmark betrayed his fear. Wearing their traditional uniforms had been Kendro’s idea. He’d hoped to bring calm to everyone, as their open birthmarks reflected their emotions. Winter wasn’t the time of year to be showing bare skin though, the chill Octav felt inside was almost un-bearable, not all of it from the weather.
Chace’s emotions were there for everyone to see, from the flicker across his striking facial mark, to the swirling pattern of his arm. He was terrified and more.
“Listen to me,” against his better judgment Octav reached for Chace. Pulling his own croex to the surface, Octav allowed it to trickle through into Chace’s skin. “Trust me. We might not know where we’re going, but we will find a new home.”
About the Author
Dawn Chapman has been creating sci fi and fantasy stories for thirty years. Until 2005 when her life and attention turned to scripts, and she started work on The Secret King, a 13 episode Sci Fi TV series, with great passion for this medium.
In 2010, Dawn returned to her first love of prose. She’s been working with coach EJ Runyon who’s encouraged her away from fast paced script writing, to revel in the world of TSK and Letháo as an epic prose space journey.
She’s had success with a web series, co-written with ‘Melvin Johnson’, produced by Nandar Entertainment, and a short film Irobe, also co-written. This year her experience of working with Producers/Directors from the US and AUS has expanded. From Drama, Sci Fi to Action, Dawn’s built a portfolio of writing, consulting and publishing.
Contact Links
Twitter: @TeamSecretKing
Purchase Links
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Rip Current Release Blitz

Title: Rip Current
Series: Grayton Series #3
Author: Jill Sanders
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Cole is used to fame and has had his fill of women who fall at his feet, but the one woman he desires the most shows nothing but disdain for him and his reckless ways.
 
Wendy can’t stand Cole, at least in her head. Her body and heart, on the other hand, desire him beyond anything else.

Her breath hitched when she played those words over in her mind. Dating. Was she really thinking about getting into a relationship with Cole Grayton?

She glanced at him again as he leaned closer to her, and his arm tightened around her shoulders. “What?” He leaned closer.

“Hmm?” She turned her eyes back to the screen as he chuckled.

“You keep stealing glances.” His finger went under her chin as he turned her head towards his. “What are you thinking about? Because obviously you’re not really into this show.” He nodded towards the television.

She sighed and glanced at his lips and decided she didn’t want to make up her mind about Cole just yet. Not until she’d had some fun. Who could blame her? It had been months since she’d had any fun. “You did mention something about making out like teenagers.”


“It’s just that I really want stability in my life.”

“I know,” he said again and took her hand in his. “But sometimes what you want and what you need are two different things.”

She couldn’t stop the burst of laughter from slipping out of her lips. “What makes you believe that?” She stopped in front of her door, her keys in her hands.

He smiled and leaned against her front railing. “Invite me in and I’ll tell you.”

She chuckled. “That’s probably the worst idea I’ve heard yet.”

His smile grew. “Won’t know until you give it a try.”



Jill Sanders is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Pride Series, Secret Series and West Series romance novels. Having sold over 150,000 books within 6 months of her first release, she continues to lure new readers with her sweet and sexy stories. Her books are available in every English speaking country and are now being translated to 6 different languages, and recorded for audiobook.
 
Born as an identical twin into a large family, she was raised in the Pacific Northwest, later relocating to Colorado for college and a successful IT career before discovering her talent as a writer. She now makes her home on the beautiful emerald coast in Florida where she enjoys the beach, hiking, swimming, wine-tasting, and of course writing.
HOSTED BY:

Let the Countdown Begin!

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In ten days, ARCs of The Fairest of Them will be going out to bloggers across the web. As a side note, there is still time to sign-up here!

As this time approaches, I’m finding myself freaking out! This is the first time I’ve done this type of promotion package. I don’t know what to expect, and I feel a bit vulnerable putting my novel out there in this way. In the past, I’ve relied on my own marketing skills, word of mouth, and just plain luck. I suppose it’s on par with sending your kiddo off to school for the first time. You want to laugh, cry, scream, and smile all at the same time!

I have some AMAZING beta readers and editors who assure me my book is good, but there is still that niggling doubt. Will I disappoint the readers of Crushed Gardenias, who begged and begged for more Rae Hatting?

Bookmark RaeOn a more positive note, bookmarks! I’ll be giving away a chunk of signed ones at the Fairest release!

So, from all my readers, please wish me luck! This is a HUGE GINORMOUS CRAZY step for me in the direction of becoming a successful self-published author.

Happy reading and I hope to see you at the release party!

Female Soldiers During the American Civil War

“I could only thank God that I was free and could go forward and work, and I was not obliged to stay at home and weep.” ~ Sarah Emma Edmonds

When commercials for the United States military branches flash onto our televisions, it is not uncommon to see female recruits and officers amongst their male counterparts. As of 2012, women make up a little over 14% of the U.S. military. However, it was not until 2013 that the ban on women serving in combat roles was lifted. It is no surprise to learn, though, that women have been serving in combat for as long as there have been wars on U.S. soil.

In my newly published novel, The Soldier’s Secret, I explore the roles of women fighting during the American Civil War. My main character, Emma Mansfield, chooses to dress as a man and go off to fight alongside other men (and women) in the Army of the Potomac, a branch of the Union army. There were many reasons women chose to break social norms and descend onto the dangerous battlefields of the time. In Emma’s case, she desires to seek out information about her missing brothers. For many women, the reasons were much simpler.

There are many documented cases of women participating both on and off the battlefield. The Confederate Army estimated that approximately 250 women served in their ranks, but modern historians suppose it was anywhere between 400 to 750 women total serving on both sides of the conflict. Women were needed as nurses, primarily as the modernization of weaponry inevitably lead to graver injuries. Both sides used women as spies, their gender allowing them to slip behind enemy lines and deliver crucial messages. CushmanOne of these women was Pauline Cushman. A former stage actress from New Orleans, Miss Cushman would travel around the states performing in the theatre. Dubbed a Confederate sympathizer, Cushman found herself out of work until a new opportunity presented itself in the form of Union spy. From that point, she posed as a “camp follower,” a woman of ill-repute who followed the regiments around providing comfort to the men. As if we need much imagination to know what that required! With her new role, Cushman was able to glean information and report it back to the Union commanding officers. A dangerous profession, Cushman faced hanging on several occasions. At the end of the war, she was awarded the rank of Brevet-Major by General Garfield as well as gaining commendation from President Lincoln.

But this is meant to be about women dressing as men and fighting, right? There are many notable examples of women serving in the ranks of the military during the Civil War. Countless others have probably gone unnoticed or undocumented. EdmondsSarah Emma Edmonds, also known as Franklin Flint Thompson, enlisted as a male field nurse with the 2nd Michigan Infantry. She participated in several major battles, including Antietam, both battles of Manassas, and the Vicksburg Campaign. It is rumored she also served as a Union spy, but there is no conclusive record of this. When Edmonds developed malaria, it put an end to her military career. She went on to write about her experiences in a memoir entitled, Nurse and Spy in the Union Army. Edmonds’ reasons for fighting were to escape an abusive father and forced marriage, legitimate reasons to seek out a better life. She did go on to marry and have children. In addition, she was awarded an honorable discharge and government pension for her service, the only woman to gain such recognition from her service.

While Edmonds fought to escape abuse, many women entered the military ranks for excitement, adventure, money, or to follow loved ones (much like Emma). Jennie Hodgers, known for a majority of her life as Albert Cashier, enlisted in the 95th Illinois Infantry in 1862. Her regiment fought in over 40 engagements.Cashier What I find particularly fascinating about Jennie Hodgers is she continued to dress and act as a man long after the end of the war, even participating in elections at a time where women were not allowed to vote. It was not until November 1910 that her secret was uncovered. Having been hit by a car, Hodgers suffered a broken leg and was taken to a hospital. Although the doctors agreed not to reveal her gender, mental health issues forced Hodgers into an institution where they forced her to wear a dress. Although surprised, her former compatriots protested this outrageous treatment and when she passed away, was buried in full uniform with honors. The story is heartbreaking as well because Hodgers probably felt she was born in the wrong body. To be forced to live as a woman for the remainder of her life was most likely devastating.

How did women not get discovered unless they were injured? While many recruiters were meant to give thorough physical examinations, they often only looked for visible deformities or impediments to service. Once enlisted, men rarely changed out of their uniforms for sleeping and bathed in their underwear. The loose fitting uniforms and long hair of the time made it easy for women to slip into the ranks unnoticed. Many learned to talk and walk like men. Latrines in camp were cesspools so a female soldier would not go amiss if she chose to attend to her needs in the woods or bathe in private. When it came to fighting skills, many voluntary recruits had never fired a gun before so the women learned right alongside the men.

Today, we can look back on these incredible women with awe and respect. Along with their predecessors, they paved the way for women’s rights across the United States, bravely defying all the cultural norms of the time.

ebook_cover_The_Soldier_39_s_SecretBe sure to check out my new book, “The Soldier’s Secret,” available now on all Amazon Marketplaces (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TONSRTU). Kind thanks to the following sources:

Wood, Jennie. A History of Women in the U.S. Military. Retrieved February 22, 2015 from http://www.infoplease.com/us/military/women-history.html.

Blanton, DeAnne. Women Soldiers of the Civil War. Retrieved February 22, 2015 from http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1993/spring/women-in-the-civil-war-1.html.

Civil War Trust. www.civilwar.org.