Monday, November 28, 2011

An Interview with the Authors of "Spellbound 2011"

Once again, for your bloggy reading pleasure, I offer you a totally random question interview with most of the authors of a recent anthology from Melange Books. Ok, not totally random. Since Christmas is just around the corner, all the questions will relate to the holiday season.

For inquiring readers, Spellbound 2001 is a collection of eight stories from nine authors. I haven't read it yet (but will very soon), so here's the run-down.

Buy it HERE!
Spellbound at Midnight by Isabelle Kane & Audrey Tremaine
In the sultry Big Easy, Viole Godin is hired to restore Magnolia Place, an antebellum mansion which is crumbling under a mysterious curse. Marie Verret and her dangerously attractive grandson, Lucien, believe Viole is the key to ending the curse one magical Halloween night.
Room 1309.5 by John M. Mecom
Inspired by the works of Poe and Stephen King, Room 1309.5 is a story of revenge and despair. It is the author's first story to be published and received honorable mention in the Fifth Annual Writer's Digest Popular Fiction Awards.
Mansion of Nightmares by Walt Trizna
A mysterious mansion, long abandoned, harbors a past that claims those who enter. Then one day, by a stroke of luck, an intruder survives and uncovers its secret.
Ghost Taxi by Joanna Foreman
A man drowns heading for freedom in America, but his ghost is trapped. Washed up on the beach, the ghost is an illegal alien, not allowed to cross the street into Miami. A homeless man and a vacationing tourist search for his wife so the ghost can possess her.
Uncle Vernon by Jenny Twist
There's something very peculiar about Uncle Vernon. Nobody knows what he does in the cellar. But he's quite harmless, really. Isn't he?
Half Seen, Half Hidden by John Steiner
Nine dead. One missing. No suspects and no leads. What happened in the cabin outside Wilson Wyoming? Where and who is Mason Oliver? Deep within ourselves rests a greater mystery. Half Seen, Half Hidden traces the last three days of Mason Oliver and nine hitchhikers. Offering them shelter, Mason takes them to a secluded cabin. There they all sense the others aren't quite the strangers they seemed, and that they hold something extraordinary in common.
Telltale Signs by Tori L Ridgewood
Don't stay in the Dark Lake Museum after sunset! But Kate Elliot has a deadline to meet. Working overtime, she realizes she's not alone in the creepy old mansion...
The Origin of Fear by Tara Fox Hall
Four college friends mount an expedition to Latham's Landing-an abandoned island estate infamous for mysterious deaths-to gather pictures and inspiration for a thesis on the origin of fear.

Let's get on with the show!!!

Isabelle Kane--What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?

My favorite Christmas movie of all times is A Christmas Story. The movie is completely hysterical. I think that most of us can recall from our childhoods that one gift that we wanted above all others. Whether we actually got it or not doesn't really matter. What does stand out in our memories is the desperate longing for our own "Red Rider Bee Bee Gun." This movie is about how Christmas's very rarely turn out exactly as we want them to. And yet, the holiday is often richer for the mishaps and tribulations. This movie is about family and loving each other despite our idiosyncrasies and quirks, and how those are the very things that make the holiday special.

Mysti: That's my hubby's favorite too. We usually end up catching an "A Christmas Story" marathon on TV while we wrap presents or decorate.

John M. Mecum--Did you ever (or do you still) sneak around the house looking for the hidden Christmas gifts?

I was a slow child and  didn’t realize there were gifts hidden around the house until they were wrapped and under the tree. I did shake the packages in an effort to find out what they held but I never did guess correctly.

Walt Trizna--What's your favorite Christmas candy or dessert?

As far as candy goes, I don’t eat much.  My wife thinks that is abnormal, especially when it comes to chocolate.  For dessert, I am definitely a pie guy. I have never met a pie I didn’t like.

Mysti: While I must question whether someone who dislikes chocolate is normal, I must concur that I also have not met a pie I didn't like!

Joanna Foreman--Is there something you make for your loved ones during the holiday season that they can't wait for?
Joanna's Eclairs!! *drool*

My family and friends have grown to expect éclairs, not only during the holiday season, but anytime we celebrate anything! Birthdays, weddings, baby showers—you name it. My first éclair experience came when I was about eight. I’d spotted the delicacy in a bakery case and asked my mother if she’d buy one for me. I was hooked so we routinely stopped each week for my favorite treat.

The bakery closed and I searched diligently, but every éclair I tasted was lame by comparison, with sickeningly sweet whipped filling and imitation chocolate icing. I thought I’d never experience a “real” éclair again, until one day, when I was looking through my mother-in-law’s cookbook, the recipe jumped out at me! I pulled assorted pots, pans and ingredients from her cupboards and made magic!

I tweaked that original recipe and sold them through a restaurant one year. They always sold out by the end of lunch. I have never grown tired of making them, although the routine is somewhat complicated, but I’ve got it down to a science by now.

I wouldn’t dare show up at a friend’s gathering without éclairs. I chill them after they’re all put together, but they can be eaten at room temperature with the same delicious effect. The one special ingredient is Yanncy Mexican Vanilla. I bought it originally in Texas while on vacation, but that’s miles away so I usually order it online. Email me at for the recipe if you’d like to have it. My website address is:

Mysti: Joanna, I think I love you. :) 

Jenny Twist--In your locale in Spain, is Christmas celebrated differently from your homeland in the UK, and if so, how?

I imagine Christmas in England is pretty much the same as in the States. Santa Claus arrives on a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer which lands on the roof, and he comes down the chimney to deliver the presents. Children leave a stocking hanging from the mantlepiece or at the end of their bed and we always used to leave a glass of whisky and a mince pie for Santa. Some people also leave a carrot for Rudolph. Sometimes we could quite clearly see Santa's footprints in the ashes near the fire.

Santa Claus is beginning to make an appearance in Spain. He climbs up a rope to the balcony of your apartment. But traditionally it is the three Kings who bring the children’s presents. In the olden days the children left their shoes outside the bedroom door and the Kings put presents in them. They still come every year to my village on 5th January, Epiphany, which is when the Kings were supposed to have brought gifts to the baby Jesus. In Spain they ride donkeys, not camels. They come riding in procession along the village streets, throwing sweets (candy) to the crowd. At the main square they dismount and sit on the steps. Each King has a helper who finds the right present for each child. If our grandsons are staying with us, we take them to see the Kings and one year as we came away from the village we looked out towards the sea and saw the mountains of Morocco so clearly it was as if they were just a few miles away, rather than on the other side of the Mediterranean.

Mysti: Jenny, your village sounds like such a magical place. I'd love to see it!

John Steiner--What's your favorite outdoor activity when the snow starts to fly?

Embrace! Yeah, it's vague, but the sensation of a really brisk snow storm and the wind preceding it is something that is to be accepted and used to empower oneself. I commute to work on foot regardless of the weather. I've gotten a good handle on knowing what the weather's about to do. A strong wind, slightly elevating temperature, change in humidity and cloud texture tell me I'm about to get a huge dumping on of the white stuff. Yet that sense is so invigorating! I feel the growl in my chest before it's vocalized. The storm is my power. Whether it's bracing against the wind or tromping through deep snows, that I'm prevailing against rough and tumble weather makes me feel intensely alive!
In a twist of the old Hopi Pollen Path saying: Natuture in front of me, and nature behind. Nature to the left of me, and to the right. Nature below me, and that above. I am one with nature. I AM nature.
Mysti: I like the snow and cold much better when I'm watching it from under a warm blanket. But it IS quite fun when I can share a good snowfall with my kids.

Tori L. Ridgewood--What's your favorite Christmas song?

As soon as I thought of that, "Winter Wonderland" popped into my mind.  It's one of the few pieces of holiday music that will not make me cry!  I enjoy most holiday music, though I must confess a preference for novelty songs like "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and "There's Something Stuck up in the Chimney".  Being Wiccan, I connect to the emotional songs like "O Holy Night" and "Silent Night, Holy Night", but more because they make me remember the lovely holidays when I was little and all was right with the world.  Heck, I cry when I'm watching "A Christmas Story".  

I love singing, though my voice is not very good; I will walk along the road to work, singing along to my iPod or from memory, and usually the first one I belt out at this time of year is "Winter Wonderland".  I love the cover done by Anne Murray, it's usually the one playing in my head when I'm singing or thinking about the tune.  I also love her rendition of "I'll be Home for Christmas".  And then, because I think in connections, my head brings up "Driving Home for Christmas".  

I remember almost peeing myself with laughter when I heard "Jingle Laugh" -- I think that's what it's called, the one with the guy laughing along to Christmas music.  And listening to my dad sing along with "The Mysterious Toy".  Jeff Foxworthy's terrific "Twelve Redneck Days of Christmas" makes me recall going to get a Christmas tree at a farm when I was five or six, and my parents had just bought a copy of "Bob and Doug's Christmas Album".  That's a Canadian classic, I have to say, including their version of Twelve Days, involving beer and doughnuts.  "The Muppets Christmas with John Denver" -- it's not Christmas until I hear Piggy doing her "Christmas is Coming" and freaking out over piggy vs figgy pudding.  And the whole crew of Muppets contributing to the traditional Twelve Days.

And now I have go and dig out my CDs from the bin of decorations.  Talking about the music has made the songs play themselves in my brain.  Just one more, though -- "Greensleeves", covered by Loreena McKinnit.  

Happy Solstice, everyone, in whatever way you celebrate it!

Mysti: Ooo, some of those are new for me. Thanks for the great playlist!

Tara Fox Hall--Are you one of those early or last minute Christmas shoppers?

I am an early Christmas shopper. As of late November, the list is made of gifts to buy, and half are already purchased. The others will be purchased by the end of Black Friday. The only exception is I'm buying copies of an anthology I've contributed to, Wicked Christmas Wishes, and that doesn't publish until 12-4-11, which will make me later than usual in completing my shopping!  But before you hate me too much, hugely in my favor in this is having only a short list of people to buy for. We're talking single digits here, people.

But I am a last minute crafter/sewer, and easily inspired. I guarantee I'll be trying to finish some last minute gift for someone either the night before Christmas...or early the next morning. That's happened now every Christmas I can remember.

Mysti: This year, I'm later than usual, but it's good to know I'm not the only one scrambling at the last minute for those homemade gifts!

Great interview everyone!! Thanks for stopping in, and readers--buy your copy of Spellbound 2011 now, plus look for more holiday inspired posts all month long. And...the 10,000 hit giveaway will be right around the corner as well. Stay tuned!



  1. That was so interesting. I have never seen 'A Christmas Story' but I shall certainly look out for it. You're right about Walt. He's not normal, but he IS fab. And I would kill for Joanna's eclairs. Thank you so much for hosting us, Mysti
    Loads of love

  2. You needn't kill for my eclairs. I could send you the recipe and you can make them too.

  3. I enjoyed the question/answers. I truly want that recipe, Joanna. I'll email you for it.

    It's amazing how different countries celebrate the same holiday.

    Thanks, Mysti, for the links.

  4. Another hilarious song is, "The Twelve Pains of Christmas." That's a must-hear at least once during the season.

  5. Every day the world gets fuller of things I've never heard of. Now I have to find The Twelve Pains of Christmas.
    Email coming you way for the recipe, Joanna.

  6. I've screwed up (again) and listed the wrong vanilla name. The actual name is Danncy. Where did I get Yanncy? Who knows. I can't live without my Danncy Vanilla.
    Joanna Foreman. The recipe requests are pouring in!

  7. I was lost at eclairs. It's that time of year when all I think about is sweets. Email coming your way, Joanna. :) Thank you for hosting us, Mysti!

  8. I have got the recipe! It's fabulous. You will not see me now for several days as I test them.

  9. Fantastic post...really fun! Spellbound sounds wonderful. So glad no one had to die over the eclairs... :)

    Um, Joanna, being a donut girl, myself...if you want to send that recipe my way, that would be great! (

    Christmas Movie? I still like A Christmas Carol. There are quite a few versions of this one.

  10. I like the cartoon version. It's all pen and ink drawings, not a funny cartoon. And it is without doubt the scariest version I have ever seen


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