Thursday, November 16, 2017

Supernatural Friday: What are Legends, Myths and Folklore?

I'm sorry I blogged for the past couple of weeks. Here is a post for Supernatural Friday, though one day early, as I have things to do on Friday.

Everyone participates in the reading of legends, myths, or folklore at some point in their lives. Who hasn’t read Greek mythology in school, or the folklore of Paul Bunyan, or tall tales of famous, real people like Calamity Jane or Johnny Appleseed? And what about urban legends? Urban legends are myths told in modern society, in cities or online, unlike many of the old tales set in the countryside. Even now, these get passed around in emails or are posted on the Internet—stories about the serial killer with the knife hanging around Lover’s Lane, Bloody Mary, the terrible smell under the bed in a hotel room or even the computer virus story that may have been true three years ago, but is still sent out as a warning.

A legend (Latin, legenda, "things to be read") is a narrative of human actions told about someone that existed in reality, once upon a time, but the true events have been twisted, making them more fascinating. Legend includes no happenings that are outside the realm of "possibility,” defined by a highly flexible set of parameters. These may include miracles that are perceived as actually having happened. There is the specific tradition of indoctrination where the legend arose, and in which the tale may be transformed over time, in order to keep it fresh, vital, and realistic. It is like that game you played with your classmates in school. You are part of a back to you, that story has changed drastically from what it began as.

A myth is a sacred or traditional story that concerns the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to be in their present form. Myths serves to unfold a part of the world view of a people, or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. Parables and allegories are myths. Nothing is supposed to be real about it at all, even if someone mentioned in the story is a real person, like some famous Virginians in this book. There are stories told about their habits or life that are not true. 

Folklore is the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, transmitted orally. It is popular, but unfounded beliefs. Or, as Merriam-Webster says: “traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances, or art forms preserved among a people.”

The flavor of people and their culture, all interwove with day to day life when settlers came to the New World. They brought with them their folk tales and beliefs, and founded new ones in the new country. Some old stories mutated into different ones. There were older tales told by the Native Americans who were already living in Virginia before the white man came. Then, when slaves were brought to the New World, they brought with them tales from Africa and changed them, molding them to fit their new home. 

Today, in modern times, we continue this with urban legends. Who hasn’t heard of the killer with the hook in lover’s lane? Or who hasn’t said, “Bloody Mary” while staring into the mirror, hoping to make a ghost appear? There’s the hitchhiking woman dressed in an evening gown that is picked up and climbs into the back seat, giving directions to an address to the driver. Once they arrive at the house, though, the driver discovers that she has mysteriously disappeared. When he goes to the door, he is told that his hitchhiker is the daughter of the owner of the house, who had been killed just after she left a party several years before, never making it home. But stories like the hitchhiking ghost existed long before they ended up as urban legends. I know I’ve read stories when it was a buggy or wagon being driven, not a car. So how many urban legends started as folk tales by those who colonized America? 

Many of the legends and folk tales told by our ancestors have some type of moral attached to them. These may be warnings. Watch your womenfolk and children, so that marauding Indians could not kidnap them. Don’t dare approach some old woman living in the woods for a much needed potion to rid one of an unwanted pregnancy, for she may conjure a spell and convince you to crawl into her oven to be cooked. 

All of the above is the start of human storytelling, most likely around the campfire at night and told by the village shaman or official storyteller. What stories do you remember and still like to tell?

Author Appearance at Charlottesville Book Fair Saturday, November 18th

I will be selling and signing my books at the Charlottesville Book Fair this Saturday, November 18th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p..m. It will be held at the  City Space, 100 5th Street N.E., Charlottesville, Virgina 22902. Spectre Nightmares and Visitations will be on sale for $5.00, $2.50 off its normal price. And for every copy of How the Vortex Changed My Life sold and signed, the person will received a stuffed eyeball. Three have blue irises so you might get a Larry (character in the novel). 

The Market Street parking garage next to it at 550 Market Street E, will be free for customers to the event, so come and shop for signed copies of books for Christmas gifts. The forty participating authors live in Virginia but the scope of their books is global. In addition to local authors, three Virginia-based publishing companies will be at the fair. There will be music, children’s story times, and refreshments. Admission is free. 

A M Carley
Allison Garcia
Amy Lee-Tai
Annabelle Kim
Betsy Ashton
Bryan Nowak
Carolyn O'Neal
Christine Maria Jahn
Cynthia Fain
Diane Fanning
Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
Elizabeth Van Zandt
J.M.R. Gaines
Jayne D'Alessandro Cox
Jean Young Kilby
Jenna Harte
Jim Salisbury
JoAnn Meaker
Joanne Liggan
Judith D. Howell
Keith Shovlin
Leslie Truex
Linda Salisbury
Louise M. Mitchell
M. K. B. Graham
Marc Boston
Margaret Locke
Milton Jones
Natalina Reis
P.A. Duncan
Pamela Evans
Pamela K. Kinney
Patsy Asuncion
Phyllis Koch-Sheras, PhD
PMH Atwater
Robert L. Haught
Sara M Robinson
Tamara Shoemaker
Taryn Noelle Kloeden
Zachary Tamer

AOIS21 Media
Cedar Creek Publishing
Chenille Books
Tabby House

Gareth Phillips of January Zero
Rich Cohen

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Supernatural Friday: A Dark and Terrible Thing is Coming!

"A Dark and Terrible Thing is Coming!"

It’s coming,
Like a terrible thing
It’s scary,
Dark, and with a toothy grin.

So you better beware,
Have everything ready
Decorate appropriately,
For the end is near.

Just remember one thing,
It only comes but once a year
Halloween, costumed in orange and black,
A mask upon its gruesome face
Ringing your doorbell with persistence,
Innocent child or demonic being
Feed it candy, just to be safe.
Trick or Treat.

I hoped you enjoyed this poem I wrote, "A Dark and Terrible Thing Is Coming!" It's an original poem and copyrighted to me, so do share the link with friends, not the poem, please. Thank you.

Appearance on TV Talk Show, Virginia This Morning

I was interviewed because of my new book, How the Vortex Changed My Life, on Virginia This Morning TV talk show earlier today, October 30th. You can see the interview at Richmond author Pamela K. Kinney’s spooky area thriller

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Countdown to. . . HALLOWEEN! (Legend of Stingy Jack}

Halloween is fast approaching. People are purchasing pumpkins at the store or from a nearby pumpkin patch , so they can make jack-o-lanterns to peer out from porches and doorsteps in the United States and other parts of the world. Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating “jack-o’-lanterns”—the name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack—originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities. 

Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who loved playing tricks on anyone and everyone. One dark, Halloween night, Jack ran into the Devil himself in a local public house. Jack tricked the Devil by offering his soul in exchange for one last drink. The Devil quickly turned himself into a sixpence to pay the bartender, but Jack immediately snatched the coin and deposited it into his pocket, next to a silver cross that he was carrying. Thus, the Devil could not change himself back and Jack refused to allow the Devil to go free until the Devil had promised not to claim Jack's soul for ten years.

The Devil agreed, and ten years later Jack again came across the Devil while out walking on a country road. The Devil tried collecting what he was due, but Jack thinking quickly, said, "I'll go, but before I do, will you get me an apple from that tree?"

The Devil, thinking he had nothing to lose, jumped up into the tree to retrieve an apple. As soon as he did, Jack placed crosses all around the trunk of the tree, thus trapping the Devil once again. This time, Jack made the Devil promise that he would not take his soul when he finally died. Seeing no way around his predicament, the Devil grudgingly agreed.

When Stingy Jack eventually passed away several years later, he went to down to Hell to see the Devil, but the Devil kept the promise that had been made to Jack years earlier, and would not let him enter. 

Thinking, Ah, Heaven will surely let me in then!, he wandered up to the Gates of Heaven, but was refused entrance because of his life of drinking and because he had been so tight-fisted and deceitful.   

Jack went back to Hell to see the Devil.

"Where can I go?" asked Jack.

"Back to where you came from!" replied the Devil. "You doomed yourself to roam the earth, a restless soul who can find no rest ever." Lucifer tossed him a turnip and a ember straight from the fires of Hell itself. "Here, hollow out this turnip and place this ember inside. Use its light to find your way through eternity." 

And to this day, Jack wanders, never stopping in one place, a hauntingly lost soul, who learned you never ever really beat the Devil at his own game.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Did a Black Cat Cross Your Path Today?

I own a black cat. Love her.  I can’t ever see her as devilish or evil. And yet, black cats are in the United States considered bad luck if one crosses your path. Plus they are associated with witches around Halloween. What started this for our furry black felines?

These obsidian felines were not always feared or a part of superstitious lore. Dating back as far as 3000 BC in Egypt, cats of all colors, including black ones, were held in high esteem. To kill one was considered a capital crime. One of their goddesses had a cat head, Bast.

The Nordic goddess, Freya was also a fierce warrior as shared with us by Ethan S. One of the many names by which she was known was the Mistress of the Cats, and it was said that the chariot in which she sat was drawn by a pairs of great cats with fur blacker than the midnight sky.

Then around medieval times, cats taken care of by old women who practiced healing and lived alone were considered familiars if the old woman (and sometimes man) were accused of witchcraft and convicted, burned at the stake. As for why particularly black cats, it seem to superstitious people, once the cat went out into the dark of night they appeared to disappear, except for their yellow or green eyes. The same would go for black dogs too. Of course, we know that the animal having black fur and the night being pitch black, well, yeah, they seemed to vanish.  Plus black cats born in May seemed to be strongly associated with witchcraft and were often drowned. It is bad luck to discuss family matters when a black cat is present, lest it be a witch in disguise.

Evil omens and harboring the ability to change into human shape to act as a spy or messenger for witches or demons are some of the mostly widely known legends of black cats (in the US). When settlers arrived in the Americas, they already had a deepening suspicion of anything associated with the devil. Due to the sisterhood of witch and black cat, anyone caught with a black cat was severely punished or even killed. Similar superstitions led people to kill black cats during the Middle Ages, increasing the rat population and the spread of the bubonic plague.

A legend in Wales tells about one black cat. When people arrived in this town that had been ravaged by the Black Plague, the only living creature they found was a single black cat. The black cat is now the traditional mascot of Kidwelly!

In Great Britain and in Ireland, black cats are considered good luck. One way this might be so, English monarch Charles I held a belief that when his treasured black cat passed, he claimed that his luck was gone and he was arrested the very next day and charged with high treason.  Also, in the UK, a black cat crossing your patch is a sign of good luck.

Some bad luck a black cat might deliver:

If you are driving and a black cat crosses in front of you, you should turn your car around or receive bad luck.

The gambling world holds the belief that as you are driving to a casino, if a black cat runs across your road or path, you should not go to the casino. Most players believe that black cats bring bad luck.

Crossing paths of a person is considered an omen of misfortune and death—kind of like the banshee’s scream heralds death for the person who hears it. Things are a bit more complicated in Germany. In Germany though, if a black cat crosses a person’s path from right to left, that is a bad omen, and yet, if done from left to right the cat is granting favorable times.

Pirates in the 19th Century believed that if a black cat walks towards someone, that person will have bad luck. But if it walks away from someone, that will bring good luck to that person. If a black cat walks onto a ship and then walks off it, the ship is doomed to sink on its next trip.

Sailors often sought out a black cat to become a ship’s cat, as it brought good luck. Fishermen’s wives kept black cats at home in the hope that they would be able to use their influence to protect their husbands while at sea.

In Japan, black manekineko (beckoning cats) are a wish for good health.

Dreaming of a black cat us considered lucky for the dreamer.
Black cats protect their human’s house from evil spirits, and it is said, take away the bad energy in the house.

From Scottish lore, a strange black cat on a porch brings prosperity to the owner.

It is believed that a lady who owns a black cat will have many suitors. So, for those looking for a boyfriend, get a black cat!

Not just black cats, but all:

Cats should never be bought with money. Doing so means they will be bad mousers. (Shelters looking to get their cats adopted, this might be a good ploy to use.)

And last, but not least, a story about a black cat by Edgar Allan Poe.   Black Cat

Sunday, October 22, 2017

How the Vortex Changed My Life Now Available at Barnesand

The trade paperback edition of the urban fantasy novel, How the Vortex Changed My Life, is now available online at Barnes and Noble. Which means you can order a copy to be delivered to your home or into the store. Which also means is if you have their membership card and even get coupons in your email you can use, you can use them to save money when ordering the book, too.

Cat Viggolone just can’t get a break. She'd gotten married, but that ended when the husband left her for his younger secretary. She'd wanted children. That flew out the window along with the cheating husband. There’s the career, but working a window at the Virginia DMV can’t really be classified as a great career choice. At thirty-three, her life had become positively dull.
Then the vortex opened.
Sucked up into a corridor just outside of Hell, she meets Connor, a werewolf, and Larry, a demon that looks like a blue-eyed eyeball. They escape back to earth, only to find that the vortex has opened up in downtown Richmond. The town is going to hell, literally. Besides a grayness seeping out and turning all living things into zombies, monsters and demons are invading Cat’s world.
Will Cat and her new friends (including an angel named George) be able to stop the vortex before it claims the entire planet?
Cat’s life is definitely no longer humdrum and ordinary.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Winner of the #TherearenoeyedropsinHell Blog Tour

I drew the winner and drum's Cathleen Marshall! She will be contacted as she left her email on the blog she commented on. Congratulations to her!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Last of #TherearenoeyedropsinHell Blog Tour for How the Vortex Changed My Life

Today, is the last stop for the #TherearenoeyedropsinHell blog tour for my new urban fantasy release, How the Vortex Changed My Life

I want to talk about why I felt Richmond and nearby Chesterfield County made a good area for this new fiction novel of mine. It’s a very paranormal loaded spot. Just as all of Virginia is. After writing five nonfiction ghost books, I learned a lot. Where else would a serial killer who dresses in a white bunny costume and brandish a hatchet at a bridge in Fairfax? Forget that man with the hook—Bunnyman is creepy, downright creepy. Ghosts seem to be just wanting to haunt the Commonwealth. Especially in Virginia’s haunted Historic Triangle and Petersburg and its Tri-Cities area.

Richmond has a vampire connected to the train buried under the hill in Churchhill, and his tomb is located in Hollywood Cemetery. Does he wait for his next victim, maybe the last to leave as dusk settles over the tombstones? People talk about seeing a werewolf in Henrico. I wonder if like the old classic Universal monsters, if the werewolf battles the Richmond Vampire?

Most of all, Poe may not have been born here, but he was raised here, went to college in Charlottesville and had his honeymoon in Petersburg, so Virginia must have been dear to his heart (his beating, telltale heart). He is considered Richmond’s native son.

So, where else would Larry and all those demonic beings, plus that vortex, come to, but Richmond? At least, Larry can get eye drops from any drugstore in town.

Leave a comment,  telling me if you agree Richmond is very paranormal or not, leaving your name, to be entered in this short blog tour’s giveaway, where one winner will win a gift certificate of $20.oo from Amazon, where you can buy the paperback copy of , or the Kindle version, plus stuff on Amazon (you might think about one of my books even). Check this blog, this coming, Monday,  October 16, 2017, at Noon, Eastern time, to see if your name is picked. If it is, you will need to leave me a comment with your name and email (don’t worry, I must approve comments and I won’t post it on my blog, just email you, so we can get you your prize).

Pamela K. Kinney

Buy the book:

You can visit the past three blogs I stopped at:
    October 8, 2017: I Smell Sheep Reviews:
    October 9, 2017:  KMN Books:

Cat Viggolone just can’t get a break. She'd gotten married, but that ended when the husband left her for his younger secretary. She'd wanted children. That flew out the window along with the cheating husband. There’s the career, but working a window at the Virginia DMV can’t really be classified as a great career choice. At thirty-three, her life had become positively dull. then the vortex opened.

Sucked up into a corridor just outside of Hell, she meets Connor, a werewolf, and Larry, a demon that looks like a blue-eyed eyeball. They escape back to earth, only to find that the vortex has opened up in downtown Richmond. The town is going to hell, literally. Besides a grayness seeping out and turning all living things into zombies, monsters and demons are invading Cat’s world.

Will Cat and her new friends (including an angel named George) be able to stop the vortex before it claims the entire planet? Cat’s life is definitely no longer humdrum and ordinary.

Connor and I arrived at some stone steps. We clattered up them and into the Richmond Public Library. After we stepped into the foyer and passed the circulation desk we looked around, unsure of where to go. I saw a room to the left of us, pointed at it, and we slipped inside. Rows and rows of books in shelves lined the area like soldiers marching behind each other. A portly man in khaki pants, white shirt, and a blue, flowered tie sat behind a desk. He looked up and smiled.

"Can I be of assistance?" His smile faltered as he stared past me.

He's seen Larry. This won't be good.

He stood, his forehead wrinkling. "That's pretty life like. What is it? A balloon? I can't see any string attached to it."

Deciding not to beat around the bush, I blurted, "He's not a balloon. He's an eyeball—actually, he's a demon."

The man said, "Are you trying to say that whatever it is, is alive?"

"Kinda. I guess demons are sort of alive."

The librarian walked over to us and poked at Larry. Larry didn't like it and started that weird bleating noise he could make and bumped against the man. He bumped him so hard, he almost knocked the librarian over. The man managed to stay on his feet, and took a couple of steps back as he wiped the finger on his pants as if Larry had given him cooties.

Connor grabbed the librarian by the same finger and squeezed hard. The man cried out.

Connor let go. "Larry doesn't like people poking at him." He glared. "It's rude. Besides, how would you like it if I poked at you?" Connor proceeded to do just that.

The librarian stumbled back. "Okay, okay. But what is that thing? The lady called it a demon, but demons aren't real. Right?"

Connor snorted. "That thing is a demon like the lady said and if it wasn't for him, I'd been dead within hours after I got trapped in Hell." Larry bumped against Connor and made another noise I never heard before, like a cat's purr. "I find Larry is a lot more 'human' than you humans are."

"Well, you look as human as the rest of us," said the librarian with a snotty attitude, "and that eye beastie definitely doesn't." He narrowed his eyes. "This library is for humans only. I mean, non-human things can't get a library card issued to them." He saw Connor give him a glowering look and inched away. "Well, I'm pretty sure that's the rules."

I spoke up. "We're not here to borrow a book." I snuck a look at the front entrance. "We needed a place to hide in. You see, a monster is after us. A very big monster. And there are others outside like it and Larry here. A vortex opened not far from here and downtown Richmond is turning gray and I don't mean Confederate gray either. Richmond's new address is now a part of the Hell dimension. The whole world is doomed. And I don't think it really matters whether Larry can be issued a library card, or what species can use this library."

The librarian's mouth opened and shut in shock, his eyes bulging and looking like tennis balls. He sputtered, "You're nuts." He cut a glance at Larry who hovered closer to him. "I think you guys are pulling something on me. That thing has got to be fake."

I grabbed him by his ugly tie. "Look, Hell is taking over Richmond, and soon, Virginia, not long after, the U.S., and from there, maybe the world. So, get over it.Larry is not fake. He's a demon, plain and simple, but maybe you can't comprehend it. I know I couldn't at first. That means no more people checking out books, no more Christmas, cute fluffy kittens, no more anything good and right for humankind. Just demons, Hell, and the end of life as we know it."

The librarian ripped his tie out of my hand and looked at me like I'd sprouted horns and a pitchfork myself. I must have been tougher on him than I thought.

A growl reached my ears, along with an awful miasma slamming up my nostrils. I reeled around. With an African American lady librarian clasped in one clawed paw and a patron speared by the claws of the other, the monster that had been chasing us stood by the circulation desk. The patron kept screaming while the librarian hung unconscious and limp like a wet noodle.

I watched with horror as the monster snarled and slurped the patron's head into its mouth, effectively cutting off the screaming. The librarian with us took off, yelling something about monsters not being in his job description.

My Book Signings on Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th

I have two book signings this weekend. Friday the 13th, I will be reading from How the Vortex Changed My Life, and signing copies afterwards from 7:00-8:00 p.m. at Chop Suey Books in Carytown. The address is 2913 SWest Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia 23221. For directions or more information: 804-422-8066.

Saturday, October 14th, from No0n to 1:00 pm. I will be signing copies of How the Vortex Changed My Life, plus any of my five nonfiction ghost books at The Little Bookshop in Midlothian. The address is 1318 Sycamore Square, Midlothian, Virginia 23113. For directions and more information: 804-464-1244.