Showing posts from September, 2023

A Festival for the Moon Goddess, Mooncakes and Lanterns

Today, Sept. 29, is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival. This traditional holiday falls on the night of a full moon that coincides with the fall harvest. The moon on this night is believed to be at its brightest and fullest for the year. The festival is associated with the moon goddess Chang’e, who also is the goddess of immortality. Chang’e was the wife of Hou Yi, a legendary archer. According to one version of the myth, there was a year when 10 suns rose in the sky, which led to disaster and great suffering. To save the people, Hou Yi shot down nine of the suns, leaving one. The archer was made king after this heroic feat. Hou Yi’s ego grew, and he became a tyrant. He eventually approached an immortal and asked for the elixir of immortality so he could cheat death. Chang’e, fearing that her husband would rule forever with an iron fist, stole the elixir and drank it. Hou Yi shot at his wife to stop her. She escaped by flying up to the moon, where

Start Off the Spooky Season With Fantasy-Themed Horror Movies

Happy first day of fall! It’s still a little early for Halloween, but I start gearing up around now by watching horror movies. If you’re looking to do the same, here are 10 horror movies with an emphasis on fantasy. None of the movies is super scary. The list may be a little heavy on witches, but hey, who doesn’t love witches?! In no particular order: 1. Practical Magic (1998) A tale about good witches who must battle a psycho lover returned from the dead. This quirky movie boasts beautiful visuals (a gorgeous Victorian mansion with its own conservatory; a picturesque town located on an island) and photogenic stars (Sandra Bullock and Nichole Kidman, among others). And the last scene, where the townsfolk gather on Halloween to watch the witches “fly” down from the roof of their mansion? Pure magic. 2. Sleepy Hollow (1999) Tim Burton’s dark retelling of the adventures of Ichabod Crane sets just the right mood for Halloween. As the headless horseman stalks Crane, you can almost f

The Spirit Houses of Southeast Asia

One of the things I like about urban fantasy is finding magic in the most unexpected places. Well, what if magic were everywhere? It is in some places. I introduce you to … the spirit houses of Southeast Asia. Many Asian cultures believe nature and places are rife with spirits who may interfere in human affairs. These spirits can be good or evil, good-natured or bad-tempered, helpful or mischievous. In Southeast Asia, this animistic belief is so strong that many people erect actual accommodations for the spirits outside their homes and businesses. Spirit houses come in all sizes (some are large enough for humans to enter). They are most often small, mounted on pillars or daises and located in an auspicious spot on the property. Some people place little figurines in these structures. They also place gifts—usually flowers, fruits, food and drink—in or near the houses. Anything to keep the spirits happy. Spirit houses are especially popular in Thailand and Cambodia. They were startin

New Novella 'Offerings for the Dead' Now Available

I'm excited to announce that my new novella  Offerings for the Dead  is now available for download. It's exclusively for my newsletter subscribers.  The novella is a bonus adventure to my urban fantasy  Geomancer's Apprentice  series.  Here's the blurb:  ******* Treasure. Betrayal. Death. A tomb hidden in a remote mountain in China, filled with treasure. This should be an easy job for grave robber and art thief Pearl Tham. However, things go wrong from the start. A storm springs up, forcing Pearl and her team to seek shelter in an abandoned village. She discovers before long that the village isn’t abandoned after all. The things there have been around for hundreds of years and they’re hungry. Very hungry. Pearl has her Dragon powers, her katana and her gun. Will they be enough to save her life, let alone the lives of her lover and her friends? Offerings for the Dead  is a bonus adventure to  The Geomancer’s Apprentice  urban fantasy series. This tale is for you if you l