The Witching Hours

Micki Pelusa with a fabulous post on Halloween its origins and how some of the innocent fun has been removed due to commercialism and a growing fear of allowing children to roan freely and knock on strangers doors. However, she also stresses the need for this harmless fantasy and the joy it can bring.



Strange shadows dart stealthily across sparely lit streets, as dusk settles heavily on quiet neighborhoods of tree-lined sidewalks and cheerful well-kept homes. The eerie scream of a screech owl, more likely the brakes of a passing car, echoes deep into the night. Looming ominously from nearly every window is the menacing glare of smirking Jack-o-lanterns, while the often nervous refrain of “Trick or Treat” rings out in repetitious peals. Halloween is here, and with it the shivery remembrance of things that go bump in the night.

Halloween, a holiday once favored second to Christmas, is not as much fun as it used to be. The last few Halloweens have brought tampering scares, such as finding razors in apples and poisoned candy. A sick segment of society has forced many parents to hold neighborhood parties, instead of allowing their children to trick or treat. The tricks have been…

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Shy Guys~

I am cutting out early tonight as friends are coming to supper. Always a pleasure to share the photography of Cindy Knoke. I love my sparrows, blackbirds, starlings and doves.. but how wonderful to look out at your garden and see these beauties. #recommended.

Check out some of The Holler’s shy guys like this very skittish Yellow Breasted Chat.

Black Phoebe’s are some of my favorite birds.

They sleep under our porch roof all year and will not budge from the perch in winter. It’s too cold to move!

They are avid people watchers.

Acorn Woodpeckers are extremely shy and hard to capture because they have large oak groves to select acorns from and rarely bother to visit the feeders.

They always seem to know where I am before I do!

Mockingbirds only visit the bird baths on very hot days.

This Scrub Jay is worse for wear. It looks like something, probably the road runner, grabbed him by the neck.

But he got away and recovered, helped by copious quantities of Holler seeds.

Spotted Towhees are very rare Holler visitors.

And then of course we have very shy Squirrely who thinks he’s a…

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Smorgasbord Reblog – Posts from your Archives – And Now… Kyoto, Japan by Lillian Csernica

As I mentioned in my post the other day. If one of the archive posts submitted, particularly the travel posts, has more than four or five photographs, I will be reblogging here. A couple of reasons. I am happily on the Free platform on WordPress but that comes with limited media capacity. That works fine as I manage it, however when a travel post has 10 to 15 images it requires a great deal space.

I would be grateful if you would head over to the blog in question to read the whole posts and leave a response there. The purpose of the Posts from the Archives is to promote bloggers as well as authors by increasing followers to their sites.

Please give a warm welcome to Lillian Csernica who shares her trip to Kyoto in Japan. There is much more to see and enjoy over on the original post and you will find more details about Lillian and her books at the end of the post.

Kiyomizudera, the Pure Water Temple

Yes indeed, between hospital stays I managed to run off to Kyoto, Japan for a week. Two of those days were spent in transit, but I did manage to do quite a bit in the five days I had to explore one of the most amazing cities on our planet. What made it even better was doing the exploring with my best friend, Patricia H. MacEwen.

It took one car, three planes, a bus, and a taxi to get us from my house to our hotel in Kyoto. I have many stories to tell about what happened to us in transit, both on the way to Kyoto and especially on the way home. I’m going to save those for a later post.

Day One: As we roamed the streets of Kyoto, in search of the nearest Citibank branch and the local post office, we were lucky enough to come across a few of the local Shinto shrines. Most of them were in honor of O-Jizo-sama, the god of children.

The first such shrine we found was on one of the major streets, tucked into a niche next to a big bank building. Most of the time we came across the shrines in what to us were side streets or back alleys.

It was quite impressive to see this shrine, complete with hand-washing station and the bell to ring. The shrine was spotless, well cared for, and clearly maintained with great respect and affection.

A map of the original Bukkoji temple complex

Pat discovered Bukko-ji Temple. This is one of the lesser known temples in Kyoto. The government is working to generate more interest in it, and I hope the project is successful. The temple complex is smaller than some, but even so it possesses that unearthly peace you find only in sacred places.

I have come to learn that my idea of Buddhist monks is based largely on Zen monks. There are at least five different Buddhist sects alive and well in Kyoto. Not all of them have monks in the sense that I recognize. This got more than a little confusing because some Buddhist men who work at the temples will wear a garment that looks like a black scholar’s gown. They also wear stoles which come in different colors. I asked about those, and if I understood the explanation correctly, the stoles indicate one’s home temple. (When we visited Higashi Honganji, there was an older gentleman in a three piece suit wearing a pale green stole of fine workmanship. The stole is what one wears when one visits a temple, much like as an Orthodox woman I cover my head and I do not wear pants when I go to church.)

Please head over and enjoy the rest of this fascinating post on Kyoto and leave your feedback for Lillian there:

©Images Lillian Csernica 2017

A selection of contributory anthologies and books by Lillian Csernica

A review for the Fright Factory

Lillian Csernicas Fright Factory is a must read for people who want to write horror or for those who already do but want to make it even better. Though this is not a very big book Lillian has filled each page with tips and ideas and still manages to make it an enjoyable and fascinating read. My favorite part is her refrences to books, stories, and even films to show you what she is saying unlike other writing books that create an example and you are just suppose to remember it when you write. I am not a writer but I do love reading horror so it was interesting to read because some of the things she brought up as things not to do are actually things I dislike about horror novels so I know how it is.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read other reviews and follow Lillian on Goodreads:

About Lillian Csernica

At age five, Lillian Csernica discovered the Little Golden Books fairy tales. From there she moved on to the works of Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Tanith Lee, and Terry Pratchett. Her very first short story sale, “Fallen Idol,” appeared in After Hours and was later reprinted in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXI. Lillian has gone on to publish over forty short stories in such markets as Fantastic Stories, Killing It Softly, and After the Happily Ever After. Her Christmas ghost story “The Family Spirit” appeared in Weird Tales #322 and “Maeve” appeared in #333.

Lillian’s two nonfiction ebooks, The Writer’s Spellbook: Creating Magic Systems for Fantasy and The Fright Factory: Building Better Horror, provide nuts and bolts instruction in the techniques of writing those genres.

Born in San Diego, Ms. Csernica is a genuine California native. She currently resides in the Santa Cruz mountains with her her husband, two sons, and three cats.

Connect to Lillian Csernica


Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will head over to Lillian’s to read the rest of her post.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – On Listening to Schizophrenia by Robert Wertzler

Welcome back to Robert Wertzler with the second of his posts in his series of four. Today the subject is Shizophrenia and the need by anyone suffering from any mental illness to be listened to and understood. It is fair to say that many of us shy away from both the subject and those that we know or assume are suffering from mental illness. However, most of us will encounter it in one form or another in our family and close friends. This post will definitely give you a different perspective that will guide your approach to disease of the mind going forward.

Source: Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – On Listening to Schizophrenia by Robert Wertzler

EDITING 101: 60 – Deleted Material…

One of my regular reblogs is Editing 101 which is featured on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. Contributed by Susan Uttendorfsky of Adirondack Editing, it provides a down to earth and essential guide to editing your book.. or blog post. This is part 60..if you have missed the rest….head over.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy ofAdirondack Editing

Deleted Material

After you’ve finished your first draft, you may decide it is too long and start cutting scenes, and maybe even whole sub-plots. Do you preserve this material, or do you stuff it into the bin without reservation?

Some writers save several (or many!) versions of their work, thereby preserving previous sections. Along that line, some authors email their book to themselves every night. This also guarantees an earlier (or the current) version isn’t lost.

It might be better, though, to place the cut sections into a separate document where you can easily find them. After all, they might fit in beautifully (with a little tweaking) with the next book you write, or in a sequel to the current book!…

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5 Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

A post from Christy Birmingham on safety for the more mature of our population.. but as we discovered during our storm Ophelia last week, most of this applies to all ages. Being prepared brings peace of mind. #recommended

When Women Inspire

Today’s guest post from Caryl Anne Crowne of Senior Helpers is sure to help many seniors stay safer this coming winter!

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Few people enjoy the unrelenting subzero cold and wind during the winter months. But preparation is doubly important when you have senior family members under your roof. As the temperatures drop, make sure you take all of these precautions before ice and

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Afternoon Video – Three bears and a hammock and one joins the fishing party!

This mama bear is relaxing in the sun whilst her three cubs amuse themselves with a hammock.. the original video was several minutes long so they had plenty of fun.. I have the same problems with these contraptions.

Source: Afternoon Video – Three bears and a hammock and one joins the fishing party!

Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – The Glastonbury Zodiac by Paul Andruss

In 1929, local artist and mystic, Katherine Maltwood was commissioned to illustrate ‘The High History of the Holy Grail’, a French medieval Arthurian romance recently translated into English. While involved in this work she discovered the Glastonbury Zodiac, which she called the Temple of the Stars. It consisted of twelve giant figures, plus the Zodiac’s guardian the Girt Dog of Langport, formed from features in the landscape across an area 11 miles in diameter around Glastonbury Tor.

The High History claimed it was written in Glastonbury Abbey and conflicted with accepted Arthurian tradition. In it, Arthur’s foster brother Kai murders Arthur and Guinevere’s son Loholt and the queen dies from grief. So, there is no affair between Launcelot and Guinevere and no fateful Battle of Camlann, caused by Arthur’s nephew (or illegitimate son of incest) seizing the queen and the throne while Arthur is fighting Launcelot.

Source: Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – The Glastonbury Zodiac by Paul Andruss