Days of the Dead—Get Ready for Ice Forged!

Welcome to my annual Days of the Dead Online Event. As always, I’ve got lots of treats—excerpts (from my own stuff plus some of my friends), audios, and even some giveaways for your first chance to get an advance copy of Ice Forged three months before it’s in stores!

For any fan of the supernatural, this week is the best time of the year.  Samhain, All Hallow’s Eve, Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos all in one week—what’s not to love?

What’s up this year?  For starters, Ice Forged—the first book in my new Ascendant Kingdoms series—will launch January 8.  It’s available now for pre-order, but you can read four different excerpts for free on my Days of the Dead partner sites—and three sites will be offering giveaways where the lucky winners can get their hands on a copy right away!

I’ve also got two new short stories in two different UK anthologies, Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane (from Solaris Books) and The Mammoth Book of Women’s Ghost Stories.  And even better, I’ve got free excerpts!

Drawings for signed copies of Ice Forged, so make sure you enter—you can’t win if you don’t play!

What are you waiting for?  You can get in on all the Days of the Dead fun on a treasure hunt/Trick-or-Treat just by visiting these sites.  And please, “like” my TheWinterKingdoms page on Facebook when you visit to get the goodies!

Here’s where the action is:

Remember—each partner site with an excerpt from Ice Forged has a different excerpt!

I’ll end with my favorite childhood blessing:  “From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night—good Lord, deliver us!”  (Even better, deliver the books so we can read all about it!)


Why We Love Scarred Heroes

For me, people who have sailed through life to adulthood without any scars are not lucky, they’ve been deprived of life’s most valuable lessons—how to get back up again when you’ve been knocked flat on your ass.

The trick, of course, is to come to an understanding with your scars so that you learn from them but they don’t control you.  Depending on what caused the scar, that can be trickier than it sounds.

I believe everyone who lives past infanthood gets a few scars along the way,  but some people really do seem to live a charmed life, affording them no more than the emotional equivalent of a scraped knee, while other people end up in body casts.  You might think that the people who have coasted through unscathed are the lucky ones, but in my experience, folks like this often lack a level of empathy, making them incapable of really identifying with other people’s traumatic experiences.  That kind of pain, because it’s outside their personal experience, even by extension, seems impossible for them to understand.  Without being able to identify with someone else’s pain, loss or suffering, it’s impossible to truly care.  At best, these charmed-life folks are a little clueless.  At worst, they’re unsympathetic or judgmental—or indifferent.

All my heroes have scars—deep ones.  Without those scarring experiences, they would not rise to become heroes.  They wouldn’t have been prepared by the same life experiences, they wouldn’t have had to face their own shadow-side, and they wouldn’t have gained the courage that comes from knowing what you’re truly capable of withstanding.

Under extreme circumstances, some people collapse.  Others take an every-man-for-himself approach.  Heroes find something in themselves that will not give in, and resolve to leave no one behind.

Real heroes aren’t the people who get themselves out of danger.  They’re the ones who go back into dangerous territory—real or emotional—to bring others to safety.  In real life, they’re the fire fighters or soldiers or police officers who go into a dangerous situation when everyone else runs the other way.  They’re the grief counselors and coordinators of battered women’s shelters and safe houses for abused children who are willing to stare evil in the face to save someone, because more often than not, they’ve lived the battle themselves.  They’re the suicide hotline people, the AA leaders, the people who are there to call when there’s no one else to turn to. They’re credible because most of the time, they faced the dragon and lived to tell the tale—and then they turned around and went back into the fire to make sure others also get to safety.

My heroes have paid a high price, and they’ve earned their scars.  But their personal survival isn’t what makes them heroic.  It’s that, when given a choice, they turn around and put themselves in danger to save others.  Those are my kind of heroes.

Please enjoy this excerpt from “The Low Road,” my short story in the Spells and Swashbucklers anthology:

And an excerpt from “Buttons”, my short story in the Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane here: