Saturday, November 30, 2013

Supernatural Friday: Better Watch Out; Krampus is Coming to Drag You to Hell!

Christmas is not just a time of joy, gifts, and goodwill, it’s also a season of dark myths and legends. 
In the olden days gone by in Finland, they believed in Joulupukki. That word means Yule buck.

In December, pagan people had big festivals to ward off the Joulupukki. These spirits of darkness wore goat skins and horns. In the beginning this creature didn't give presents but demanded them. It was an ugly creature and frightened children. It is unclear how this personality was transformed into the benevolent Father Christmas. Nowadays the only remaining feature is the name. The process was probably a continuous amalgamation of many old folk customs and beliefs from varied sources. One can speak of a Christmas pageant tradition consisting of many personages with roles partly Christian, partly pagan: A white-bearded saint, the Devil, demons, and house gnomes. Nowadays the Joulupukki of Finland resembles the American Santa Claus. While most gift givers around the world deliver their presents in the middle of the night while everyone is sleeping, children in Finland get to see Joulupukki in the act of delivering the presents.
This reminds me of Black Peter and the Krampus, both being Santa’s “evil twin.” In many areas of the world, it is said that St. Nicholas has a companion. This companion is Krampus, though another version is Black Peter, or Zarte Piet or Zwarte Piet. Black Peter is associated with the Netherlands and has dark skin. Krampus isn't a man though. He has horns, goat hair, hooves, and claws. Just like a demon. His job is to accompany St. Nicholas and to warn and punish bad children. He is said to carry a basket on his back where he will place the bad children and take them to Hell to be tossed into the pit. It puts a frightening twist on “have you been naughty or nice!”
Krampus originates from Krampen--meaning claw. Krampus is the dark companion of St. Nicholas, the traditional European winter gift-bringer. This fiendish being is usually seen as a classic devil with horns, cloven hooves and monstrous tongue. Unlike American children who get coal if they’re bad, instead the Krampus beats them savagely for their misdeeds and then drag them down to hell. Born of a pre-Christian, Alpine Pagan tradition, he is identified by matted-black hair, along tongue that snakes out of his maw, and cloven hooves. He also sports a large wicker basket on his back, filled to the brim with thorny, unbreakable birch sticks for those beatings he delivers. He always comes with St. Nick who brings presents, but before the gifts are handed out, those who are bad is given what they "deserve" by him. Also, taking part in this Krampus legend, are young men that dress up in goat skins and masks they spent two weeks making and on December 5th, head out to scare all, and carry out "birching," mainly on young girls. Krampus makes the Grinch before his heart went several sizes bigger look good!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Supernatural Friday: About Those Other Angels: Guest Blogger Jean Graham

Today, I have a guest blogger for Supernatural Friday who also happens to be an old friend (we bought met each other for the first time in 1973), Jean Graham. She is blogging about vampires. She also has two vamp short stories in two anthologies.

Blame it on Bram Stoker, Barnabas Collins and a guy named Nick Knight. I love vampires. Always have, whether they’re in books, on the big screen or on TV. I love them in all their forms and nuances, from cape-twirling fiends to dentally-challenged love interests, and I’ve written short stories about them since grade school. Over the years, a number of those stories have made their way into print, though it hasn’t always been easy to get around those ubiquitous rejection slips.

You’d think, in this age of Twilight and a dozen other best-selling book series about vampires, that editors would be eager to publish vampire stories. Alas, most are not. “Tropes!” they cry, callously labeling our favorite undead characters cliché and unwelcome in their pages. Some will, however, hedge a bit and add, “Not unless you do something really new and different.”

Hmm. Well, how about something very old and different? In centuries past, vampires were believed to be demons – you know, those other angels – who possessed and reanimated the dead. In Stoker’s Dracula, the Count could transform himself into a mist, a bat or a fly on the wall. Combine those two supernatural milieus, and you have the critters that inhabit my own vampire stories.

Jean Graham

My vamps’ most recent appearances have been in two paperback and e-anthologies published this year. “Nightcrawlers” is in Arcane II and “Turning Worms” in Dying to Live.

Here’s an excerpt from the latter:

“Matt, sweetie.” Betty’s long eyelashes fluttered innocently. “Didn’t you tell me once you knew someone who knew someone who could ‘take care of’ a problem like this, you know, permanently? Well, why don’t you tell that Janice bitch about those friends of friends, too? Just rattle her cage, okay? Shake her up a little. But get her off my back!”
Oh, this was delicious. Lovely, naked, unabashed hatred. The demon drifted still closer, savoring the moment. And in that moment, Betty Boyle began to realize that something was amiss.
The half-empty cola can tumbled from spasming fingers, bounced off her 60-inch thigh and sploshed onto the carpet.
“Hang on again, Matt.” Betty clicked HOLD again, pressed a fist to her considerable cleavage and belched loudly. “Damned indigestion.”
“I’m afraid,” the demon said, “it’s a great deal more than that.”
His sudden appearance in human guise startled Betty enough to send the keyboard on a short flight from her knees to the detritus-encrusted floor.
“Who the hell are you?” The question came out in a wheezing gasp.
“Precisely.” Proteus always found it so amusing when mortals answered their own questions.

If traditional vampires are more your cup of tea (er... cup of blood?), you may want to check out my Dark Shadows and Forever Knight fan fiction at where you can find info on my other pro sales.

Jean Graham's Bio:
Jean Graham is a San Diego native (still lives there), founder of the science fiction organization S.T.A.R. San Diego, and is an “original Trekkie” who lives with five cats, 6000 books, 1000 DVDs, and a very indulgent husband. Feedback on any of her fiction is always welcome. Besides her website, also find her on Facebook.

Find Dying to Live anthology in Print PRINTand on KINDLE

Arcane II in print PRINT and on Kindle 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Doing World of Ink's Cyber Monday Nov. 26th

I'll be part of this Cyber Monday Call In Tuesday, November 26, 2013 on World of Ink Blogradio – I'll be the third person in 5:45 p.m. group. I'll talk about some of my books and where to get them in 3-5 minutes.

To speak with the host this is their phone number: (714) 242-5259.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Supernatural Friday: Every Child Needs a Pet

An original story of mine-please don't copy and paste it elsewhere to share; share the link of my blog so others can come here. The story is copyrighted. Thank you.

Every Child Needs a Pet
Pamela K. Kinney

The little boy, John took what remained of his hot dog and fries to the edge of the pier and threw it all into the water below. An old man who’d been fishing nearby snatched him by the arm and brought him over to his mother. She was busy texting someone on her Smartphone.
“Madam, if you would quit texting or playing a game or whatever you are doing on that damn phone of yours, you might have noticed your child tossing his lunch into the ocean.”
She looked up with a frown. The man pressed his face closer.
“Hello, lady? Did you hear me? Your son just polluted the sea.”
“He didn’t pollute anything. John was just feeding his new pet. Every child needs a pet, and his father—God rest his soul—and I found this one when we all came on vacation here last summer.” She returned to the screen and began tap-tapping again. The sound grew louder, even overshadowing the nearby scream of gulls.
This infuriated the old man. He knew people were rude nowadays. No wonder her son did what he did. No supervision or morals from a mother who thought more of her phone than what her kid did.. He let go of the boy and grabbed the hand holding the phone.
“It’s people like you who have their kids grow up to shoot innocents at schools and theaters. Too busy with their Twitter and Facebook accounts to give their children the time of day or keep them from getting into mischief. In my day—”
The mother blew through her nose in irritation. “—you walked to school for miles, played outdoors and helped your mother around the house. Yeah, I’ve heard it before.” She slipped her phone into the purse propped against her thigh. “John, can you show the nice man your pet? You can even feed him.”
The boy wiggled with excitement as his eyes danced. “Wanna see my pet? Levi’s cool.”
The old man looked around. “Levi? I don’t see any dog.”
“Oh, Levi’s not a dog,” said John with a giggle. “Come on. Mama’s right. I know Levi is still hungry.”
The old man followed him to the edge of the pier. The boy pointed down at the water. “Levi lives down there.”
The old man peered over down, looking perplexed. “Are you trying to tell me your pet is a fish or a dolphin? And what are you going to feed it?”
Something arose from the ocean, sea water raining off its dark green scaly skin and the massive twin horns that sprouted from the top of its gigantic head. It stared at the man and opened a giant maw of frighteningly sharp fangs. The old man tried to screamed but found he couldn’t. He couldn’t move either, just stood there like a statue. A hot wetness on his pants at the juncture of his thighs told him he had peed.
A forked tongue whipped out and snaked around the man. It sucked the man inside. The jaws snapped shut. The monster sank back into the water.
John skipped back to his mother. “Mama, Levi was fed.”
The mother smiled. “Isn’t Leviathan the best pet ever? Better than that dog or cat you wanted. And he’s easy to feed too. He even stopped Daddy from hitting and screaming at us like he kept doing all the time. With all of that nice insurance we got for Daddy, we were able to buy a house right near here so you can be near your pet, too.” She stared down at the phone’s screen and began to text her sister. “Now go and play with Leviathan.”
John laughed as he headed off the pier and down to the beach beneath.
John’s mother typed: Leviathan ate another person today. LOL.  Such a perfect pet for John.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Supernatural Friday: Winter is Coming, That Mean's It's Soon Hunting Season

(Another original poem of mine--please just share the link for others to read it here, not shre the poem on your site. Thank you. )

"Winter is Coming, That Mean's It's Soon Hunting Season"

Winter’s not here yet, 
It's just autumn
But the leaves are dropping
And winter's cold fingers touches my skin.
Nothing to fear,
Except freezing to death;
But the coldness
Brings the monsters
They want to play;
Play with you
In so many ways.
Less people in the woods,
It’s Sasquatch’s time.
Werewolf is drawn
To towns more.
Ghosts don’t feel
So they hunt, cold or hot
They can eat anytime!
As for vampires
They’re icebox cold too.
So who told you winter’s safe?
It’s just another hunting season
For monsters!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Supernatural Friday: Día De Los Muertos, or the Day the Dead Come Home

Día de los Muertos is “Day of the Dead” in Mexico, coming right on the heels of Halloween. Festivities are abundant in death. The typical Halloween festivities have death as something to be feared. But in the Día de Muertos, death — or at least the memories of those who have died — is something to be celebrated. It is one of the biggest holidays in Mexico.
During the time of the Aztecs, a month long summer celebration was overseen by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, ‘the Lady of the Dead.’ When Spain conquered the Aztecs, Catholicism became the dominant religion and the customs became intertwined with the Christian commemoration of All Saints' Day on Nov. 1. Sounds not unlike what had been done with Samhain.
Specifics of the celebration vary with each region, but one of the most common customs is the making of elaborate altars to welcome departed spirits come back home during this time. Vigils are held. Families often go to cemeteries to fix up the graves of their departed relatives. Festivities also include traditional foods such as  sugar skulls and pan de muerto (bread of the dead), usually concealing a miniature skeleton.

Before the day happens, an area of the house is cleaned up and the furniture removed to make room for the altar. The altar consists at a minimum of a covered table, and usually a few crates or boxes are added to it and covered to create open shelves and other raised display areas. The coverings used can vary from plain to vibrantly colored oil cloth. The altar is then set up with the appropriate ofrendas (offerings). The offerings placed on the altar usually consist of a wash bowl, basin, razors, soap, plus other items the traveling spirit can use to clean-up after the journey. Pictures of the deceased are also placed on the altar as well as personal belongings for each person and any other offerings the deceased may enjoy such as a pack of cigarettes or a bottle of tequila. Candles are used to help light the way for the spirits along with other decorative items such as papel picado (tissue paper cut-outs) wreaths, crosses, and flowers. Certain Dia de los Muertos dishes are also placed on the altar to help feed and nourish them too. Some of these offerings can consist of the four main elements of nature — earth, wind, water, and fire. These are represented by movable or light-weight items such as tissue paper cut-outs (wind,) a bowl of water, candles (fire) and food (crops, earth.)

To have your own Day of the Dead, here is a recipe to make your own the Pan de Muerto.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup water
6 cups flour
2 packets dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons whole anise seed
2 tablespoons orange zest
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
Glaze (see below)

Bring all ingredients to room temperature (except for the water which should be very warm) before beginning.
In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, anise, salt and 1/2 cup of the flour. In a seperate bowl combine the eggs and the water. Add the egg/water mixture to the first mixture and add in another 1/2 cup of the flour. Add in the yeast and another 1/2 cup of flour. Continue to add the flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms.
Knead on a floured surface for about 1 minute. Cover with a slightly damp dishcloth and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Bring out dough and punch it down. Remove about 1/4 of it and use it to make bone shapes to drape across the loaf (see below.) Or divide the dough into smaller pieces to create other bone shapes. Let the shaped dough rise for 1 more hour.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes for smaller loaves and up to 45 minutes for larger loaves.

GLAZES (After glaze is applied you may decorate with additional colored sugar.)
Bring to a boil- 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice. Brush on bread and then sift some additional sugar over the top.
Mix 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate and 1/3 cup sugar with 2 egg whites. Brush on bread during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Bring to a boil- 1/4 cup piloncillo, 1/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup cranberry juice and 2 tablespoons orange zest. Brush on bread after bread has cooled.

BONES: The most common bone decorations are very simple. Sometimes it's just a matter of forming ball shapes and pressing them into the loaf in a line. You could also take a piece of dough, roll it into a long cylinder and place a ball at each end. You can get much more detailed if you like, but even a slighly "knobby" looking loaf will get the idea across.