"Samhain marks the end of summer and the preparation for winter. To many, Samhain is merely Halloween, but to Pagans, it is a day when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and we can reconnect with our beloved deceased. Samhain is a joyful celebration where we invite the spirits of our loved ones into our homes to remember and honor them."
Author: Various Authors / Anthology
Pages: 174 pages
Publisher: Pagan Writers Press
Published: October, 2011
Form: E-book (provided as part of a tour for an honest review)
Noble Romance: Buy / $8.04
Samhain Anthology is full of great short Articles, telling of the origin of Trick and Treats (from Foreword), embracing death instead of fearing and battling with it, making your own divination runes, and my favorite the history of Jack O’ Lanterns (With October So Near)! All the articles are short, but very well but together to convey the spirit of the Sabbath/holiday, the mood of it, the celebration of it. Samhain Anthology’s articles are a perfect introduction and manual for the Sabbath of Samhain, with stories about food, making wreaths and Samhain decorations, crafting runes, honoring our ancestors or setting up rituals with beautiful incantations.
The Poetry sections I loved! Elements by Julienne Lee got me from the very beginning, it was a gorgeous homage to mother nature in all the elements. Cordelia Deeter’s Whispers was another favorite even though more solemn, yet hopeful. Piona Hutton’s poem staid within me the longest really bringing me to the state of appreciation for the season.
The Short Stories were great, of course with any short stories they leave you wanting more when they are good and most of them I would have not mind at all reading more of! From celebrating Samhain in a hollowed asteroid in the future (Webs by Marlene Dotterer) to ghost haunting to gain justice for unpunished crimes.
Here are reviews on three Short Stories from the book, don’t miss my Interviews with the authors on Sunday 27th, Monday 28th and Wednesday 30th of November!
Webs, A Future Samhain by Marlene Dotterer
Sandy works in a hollowed out asteroid that had been converted to a miniature Earth, with forest and farm land hovering in space. She can feel spirits, but what she can’t feel is the presence of Gaia, mother earth in The Carson. But Samhain is coming and as everyone takes to celebrating it’s good to remember what lead them here.
I loved the idea of nature based religion taking hold of humanity and the idea of having an asteroid colony where they try to create new life that can be sentient on its own.
Evening Out by Rosa Sophia
Betty Lou got fired and staying cooped up at home isn’t her idea of a good time so a walk in the cold and cloudy evening with a friend sounds like a great idea. As they pass the graveyard talking about how their personal lives are experiencing draught they spot a girl, a familiar looking girl sitting on a gravestone. There’s something odd about the girls the way she talks, acts and the fact that she’s dressed quite poorly for such cold weather. It is a month later that they meet Jennifer again as their car breaks down and they are forced to cut through the graveyard as they witness a brutal assault and escaped the two men guilty of it. Who were the attackers, why did the attack the man and just how does Jennifer know them?
Loved Rosa Sophia’s writing, it was like talking with a friend, and as the mystery grows you get a nice feeling of eeriness without the thread. I liked it a lot!
Sorrows End by Stephen B. Pearl
He’s lost her. She’s lost him. A dead spouse drives both Richard and Sally to seek the lay lines of the forest nearby to ask the god and goddess to unite them with their loved ones for just one day. What they receive is a chance meeting with each other, not having seen each other in ages they remember old feelings and talk of the lost loved ones, freeing them from being bound to linger with them.
You can’t go wrong with a love story with two broken hearts, finding each other to mend and heal, and take another chance on love. I definitely wanted to read more of this. I bet a whole book could have come out of this and it would have been great!
I’ll be reading this book again before next Samhain, you can be sure of that!
Absolutely worth all the 5 Stars I’m giving it!
Marlene Dotterer, the author of Samhain Anthology’s Webs and the novel “The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder”.
Niina : Welcome to For The Love of Reading! I’m glad you could make it. Can you tell my readers here little about yourself?
Marlene Dotterer : Thank you Niina, I’m excited to be here. The usual information about me is that I’m a middle-aged woman, married, with five children, one step-child, and seven (so far) grandchildren. I teach natural childbirth classes, cook a lot, and write science fiction and fantasy. I’m drawn to the nature aspects of paganism, feeling that it teaches us the best ways to live in harmony with our planet. I do the best I can in this respect, considering I live in the suburbs and don’t know how to garden.
Niina : What did you most enjoy about writing for the Samhain Anthology?
Marlene : I really loved the idea of taking part in something with other writers and other pagans. I’m pretty solitary in my practice, if it can even be called that, and this my first chance to really get involved with the pagan writing community.
Niina : On your website you say your story in the anthology is set on a spaceship in the future, do you see Paganism still present at “space-age”?
Marlene : Absolutely. I could write an entire essay on this question, but in general, I think that in the future more people will understand how fragile our ecosystem is. Science can solve a lot of problems, but the long-term solutions will happen when people live closer to nature. This is the heart of Paganism.
When we move out from our cradle to settle on other planets, moons, or space stations, we’re going to have to know how to listen to, and be attuned to, the environment. Computers will monitor things, but people are the first and last failsafe.
Niina : What drew you to write science fiction? And what keeps you writing it?
Marlene : I read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when I was eight. Every word resonated with me. I felt as if I could live in that book. I never looked back - science fiction gave me hope for a good life and a better world. I was a child of the sixties, too - moon landings and space exploration were a standard part of my formative years.
For me, writing SF happens as naturally as reading it. Even though my first book was about the man who built the Titanic, during the Edwardian era of the 20th century, I had to make it a science fiction story. This was pretty easy - time travel and the Titanic seem to just go together.
Niina : Why do you see people being informed of Samhain at Halloween time important?
Marlene : Uh, oh. I may step on a toe or two, here.
All of our sabbats have long, ancient histories, with deep meanings. But so much of the meaning and reasons for these festivals has been warped by Christianity, nearly destroying them. This was the end result the Church wanted. I think it’s amazing that we’ve been able to hold onto them at all, and I’m thrilled to see the true history being rediscovered and introduced into our modern life.
Christianity teaches that people (men) have dominion over everything, and that philosophy, along with our hectic, modern lifestyle, has nearly destroyed our world. Paganism reminds us that we are just a part of a bigger picture. The more people who understand this, the healthier our world will be.
Niina : Thank you for that, we are all part of a bigger picture. :) What about, which character in your story became your favorite?
Marlene : The characters and setting of this story are part of a larger WIP I’m writing, so there’s far more than what is seen in this short story.
There’s no doubt that my favorite is my heroine, Sandy. Sandy is one of those people with so much compassion to offer, but she’s trapped by shyness and doubt. On the spaceship, Rachel Carson, she’s found people to trust and love, and she’s coming out of her shell. Plus, she has the exciting job of helping to establish a living ecosystem on a hollowed-out asteroid. She has a special talent that helps with this: Sandy can sense the life-spirit of a planet, and can tell when that spirit is sentient, and she can communicate with it. This is a lot of fun to write about.
Niina : Were any of the characters/events based on real life characters/events?
Marlene : No, they all have their own beginnings.
Niina : Now little about how you write… What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Marlene : It’s probably the fact that I actually get anything written. Most of the time, those words fight me tooth and nail.
Niina : What is the biggest “no-no” when it comes to writing for you?
Marlene : Noise. I simply cannot concentrate if there’s any noise at all. This - from the woman who used to do calculus homework while her five little kids ran around the house. That’s a talent I’d love to get back.
Niina : How do you write, chapter here and there or follow from beginning to an end?
Marlene : Totally haphazard. I’m lucky to get an entire chapter at once. Sometimes I just have pieces of scenes from all over the book.
Niina : What’s the worst advice for writers you’ve received?
Marlene : There’s not any one thing, really. But a lot of people are very quick to insist that a writer “must” do one thing or another. “All writers must write poetry,” or “never use multiple POVs.” These might be good ideas, but what works for the one giving advice might not work at all for the one receiving it. A new writer can waste a lot of time trying to do something that’s never going to work for her.
I guess my favorite worst advice is, “don’t do (fill in the blank), because it’s really hard to do well. Only the really good writers can get away with it.”
Honestly. How can you get good at it if you don’t do it?
Niina : And now before we say goodbye some Quick Fire Questions:
Marlene : Oh no! It’s so hard for me to choose just one thing! But I’ll try.
Cats or dogs? Cats
Coffee or tea? COFFEE!
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Dark - 70%
Cake or donuts? Donuts
Rocks or flowers? Can’t make that choice. They each have their place. I have a degree in geology, so I know that rocks have an important story to tell. But flowers are essential for life on this planet.
Night or day? Night... no, day...
Beach or forest? Forest
Brunettes or Blonds? Couldn’t care less
Romance or erotica? Can’t I have both?
Women: Opinionated or wallflowers? Oh, please! Speak up, ladies!
Beer or Wine? Wine
Delivered pizza or Restaurant? Homemade, unless it’s Cheeseboard or Zachary’s
Movies: Romantic comedy or Horror? Never horror. Never, never!
Halloween or Midsummer? Halloween.
Times New Roman or Courtier? TNR
Crayons or markers? Um... colored pencils?
Pens or pencils? Ha! Pens.
Books or e-books? Books, unless you expect it to stay at my house. There is no more room.
Kids or pets? I’m not touching that one.
Niina : Thanks for visiting the For The Love of Reading, Marlene! Glad you came by!
Marlene : Thank you, Niina. It was fun!
Don’t miss my other two Interviews with the on 28th and 29th of November!
Originally aired on my blog "For The Love of Reading" @ http://niinas-reading-and-reviewing.blogspot.com/2011/11/review-samhain-interview-with-marlene.html on Nov. 27th 2011