Showing posts from December, 2021

A Special Shout-Out to ‘The Dark Is Rising’ Book Series

A few days before Christmas, I impulsively asked fellow urban fantasy fans on Facebook whether they had read The Dark Is  Rising books. The Dark Is Rising is an award-winning children’s fantasy series written by British author Susan Cooper that was first published between 1965 to 1977. I was taken aback by the enthusiastic response to my post. It turns out that there are many, many fans of the series out there. Some fans re-read the series every year. There is even a Facebook group that hosts an annual worldwide readathon of the books starting around the end of November. In addition, I found out that there is a 2007 film adaptation of the series— The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising . However, I was informed by quite a few fans that the movie can’t hold a candle to the books. So what are the books about? I won’t give anything away except to say a group of kids get caught up in the fight between the forces of Light and Dark. The series incorporates Authurian legends and Celtic and Engl

Celebrate the Wild Hunt With These 10 Horror Movies

It’s almost Christmas. What better time for horror movies than the Yuletide? After all, Yule originally was a pagan mid-winter festival celebrated by pre-Christian Germanic peoples. The early Germans believed that the “Wild Hunt” occurred during the 12 nights of the Yuletide (Dec. 21 to Jan. 1). That was when a host of ghostly hunters rode the night skies led by Odin, whose many roles included the god of the dead. The hunters would mimic the sounds of howling wind and storms as they swept up the souls of the dead as well as any unlucky people and animals that crossed their path. The Yuletide feast was thought to be a sacrifice to secure blessings from Odin and the other gods for abundant crops and livestock in the coming spring. Yule was adopted and adapted by the Christians. However, even as Yuletide became Christmastide, some of the older traditions and customs were retained, such as wassailing and the burning of the log. In the spirit of the Wild Hunt, I have suggestions for ho

'The Geomancer's Apprentice' Series: So What Is a Geomancer?

In the fantasy world, Chinese geomancers may be the closest equivalent to wizards such as Gandalf (from Lord of the Rings ) or Albus Dumbledore ( Harry Potter ). An image of the geomancer from Chinese pop culture is that of a man dressed in long robes and armed with a wooden sword. See, for example, geomancers fighting the undead—or “jiangshi”—in the Hong Kong Mr. Vampire movies from the 80s. He immobilizes the walking corpses with his paper talismans. So what exactly is a Chinese geomancer? It’s basically a person skilled in the ancient art of feng shui. It helps if you first know what feng shui is. Feng shui literally means “wind, water” in Chinese. The phrase reportedly originates from The Book of Burial written by a Taoist mystic named Guo Pu (AD 276 – 324). Feng shui principles, though, are believed to have been practiced in China for more than 4,000 years. Feng shui has its roots in Taoism, which is a Chinese philosophy and religion that emphasizes living in harmony with “th

Explaining the Setting in ‘The Forgotten Guardian’

In this post, I thought I’d explain why the second book in my urban fantasy series is set in a Chinese temple. To be clear, the Heavenly Bridge Temple in The Forgotten Guardian is wholly fictional. There is no temple at the far edge of Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown, as far as I’m aware. I thought it would be an ideal site for Joe and Junie’s next adventure because I’ve always regarded Chinese temples as mysterious places. Where better for magic and mayhem to occur? I’m not particularly religious. However, when I was young, my mother took me with her when she prayed in temples in Singapore. She wasn’t particularly religious either, but she visited certain temples at certain times of the year (usually during Buddhist festivals or Qingming, which is the day people of Chinese descent pay their respects to their ancestors). I can still remember how hazy the temples were inside. The smoke from the candles and incense was so thick it made me cough and my eyes tear up. My fictional temple

Interview With Feed My Reads

Please check out my recent interview with the Time To Feed My Reads  blog: I discuss when my love for books began, why I write, and what it took for me to become an author.