Here be Dragons. Day 4 The Worm.

Dragon

Welcome to Day 4 of Here be Dragons.

Today I am looking at the one legend that convinces me dragons live or lived. This dragon isn’t like the mighty flying dragons and it doesn’t spit fire.

This is the Worm, pronounced ‘vurm’.

Legends and recent records tell of the worm. This creature lives in dark caves and has a taste for meat but not always the meat of humans. The worm plunders sheep.

You will recognise the worm as a long snake type creature with scales. It has no limbs or wings but don’t get to close because the worm breathes out a poisonous gas. If you inhale once the breath of the worm it will sweep you beyond the veil and leave your cooling corpse as worm bait.

There are several legends of greedy and wicked worms and each offers a hero his chance to shine. The Lambton worm was one such creature.

This is the tale of Lambton worm.

John Lambton, a young man of good family but with a rebellious nature decided he’d no longer go to Sunday Church. Instead he picked up his rods, tackle and nets and went off a fishing. All morning he cast bait and tried but caught nothing until the Church service was over. As soon as Sunday service was done the fish bit and John Lambton dragged forth a wriggling snake like creature with nine holes each side of its evil looking head.
Disgusted with his catch John Lambton thought better of his sinful ways and decided to prove his faith by going to join the crusaders. Careless of all else he dumped his catch in the nearest well and hurried off to pack his bags.

In the security of the soft water in the cool well the Lambton Worm grew to a prodigious size until it was large enough to poison the well. The villagers knew something was wrong and reports from shepherds confirm their fears. Sheep disappeared from the hillsides or were found gnawed to the bone. One family lost a fair child to the worm and that forced the local master’s hand.

John Lambton’s father attempted to master the wicked beast and offered it the rich cream milk from nine good cows. This offering sedated the worm but had to be repeated daily, a drain on all in the local community. Several courageous villagers attempted to slay the worm as it lay sated on milk. But each time a section was cut from the thick body of the worm it roused, ate the villager and reattached the missing chunk to its body.

Word was sent out for knightly assistance and several knights arrived. Each one was dispatched by the ever growing worm. After seven summers fed on milk the beast’s strength had grown fearsome. In its fury the worm ripped up trees and grasped them in a coil of its tail. The local fields, woods and lands were battered by the worm’s club.
For seven long years the worm held sway in Lambton. The village withered and few were left alive to eke out a miserable existence.

Just when it appeared another winter would see the end of the village and all its souls, the careless but now much learned John Lambton arrived home from the crusade. Guilt overwhelmed him for the destruction on the village lay at his door. Determined to rid his community of this evil John consulted a wise woman who warned him he must cover his armour with spearheads and fight the beast in its lair. The worm had now grown to such a size it spent its days lounging in the river Weir with its tale curled around a large rock.

It is said the witch gave John another warning. Once he had defeated the worm he must kill the first living thing he saw on his way home. If he failed to do this his family would be cursed for nine generations. Shaken by her warning John followed her instructions. He saw his armour covered in spearheads, arranged with his father that on the sound of his victorious horn the family dog would be sent out to greet him, and John went out to fight.
The battle took hours but even though the worm hissed and spat, and curled its mighty tail about John trying to crush him the knight could slash at it. Each slice he cut washed away in the river current so it could not reattach. Weakened, the worm finally succumbed.

Triumphant in his victory John sounded his hunting horn and headed for home, knowing the dog would come to meet him and save the family from the curse. But his father, joyful after so many years of sorrow forgot to let the dog free and ran himself to meet his son.
John greeted his father and could not bring himself to kill the old man. He sent him home to send out the dog. But it made no difference. The curse was set and nine following generations of the Lambton family did not die in their beds.

The tales of young men defeating dragons reverberate through the years and give us some of our best stories. I hope you enjoyed my rendition of this one.
Why do I find this legend so convincing of the existence of the Worm? If you look back on my dragon posts you will find reference to a situation in Wales, where the locals reported sheep missing, carcases found and the slime trail of a worm. I wonder if those stray chunks of the worm found their way into water courses, and many generations after the event they grew strong enough to be the worm once more.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.

Daisy Banks

Ghostly tales for Halloween.

Welcome to my Halloween blog.

Come in, sit down and get comfortable while I put another log on the fire.

heath
Halloween is a time for sharing stories of the world beyond the veil and creatures of the night. Today I thought I’d share a story or two of the haunted places near where I grew up. The things I write here are true as far as my memory recollects, or are reported from local sources if I’ve not experienced them myself. I have no reason to doubt the accounts given.
I’ll just light another candle.

halloween candles

In my childhood, a short walk from my family home there was a local church community hall, built before the Second World War. It stood opposite the oldest cemetery in the area. The church hall was reputed to be haunted. Many local people agreed it was, while others vehemently declared it wasn’t. The only thing I know for certain is that a friend of mine, aged about fourteen, attended Scouts in that hall. After one meeting at this time of year, when the early evening was already closing in with shadows, my friend was the last of the group to leave, or so he’d believed. The scout leader had asked him to turn off the lights in the main hall. Being a caring and careful individual my friend checked both the side rooms and the toilets for any lingering youngsters before he left. All the rooms were clear. Just as he was about to leave the main hall he heard a sound behind him and turned to see a young boy, wearing a grey sweater and a pair of grey short trousers, sitting on the small stage swinging his legs so his brown boots scraped against the wooden beams.
“You’d best clear off now,” my friend told the boy. “The vicar wants to lock up for the night.”
The boy said nothing but stared back with the darkest eyes.
“I’m not fooling,” my friend said. “It’s time to go.”
Very slowly the youngster on the stage faded until he dissolved away.
My friend spoke eloquently about the event when he told me about it. “I didn’t hang around. I switched the lights off and scarpered.”
The old hall is gone now. It’s been demolished for a modern facility but having been inside I know the layout is very similar to what it was, and I wonder if, despite the changes to the building, the young boy lingers still. I wonder too why he was there at all.

Do have a marshmallow.

mashmallows

Or a piece of cake.

halloween cake

My next tale is of trouble from long ago.

If you walk out from the back of my childhood home and stroll a little further away from the church hall, there is a road leading down to our local High Street. On this High Street stands the tiny Town Hall, a park area, and a road leading up to the top of a hill. The hill rolls down on the other side and at the bottom once stood a very famous brewery. Much of the view has changed since I was a child, but the ghosts who ride up the hill still make an appearance now and then.
Cries in the night, the clatter of horses galloping along, and some observers have even heard the clash of swords, for this is a small force of the Parliamentary army of the English Civil War in full flight. The King’s army under the command of Prince Rupert had seized parts of the nearest town and set fire to homes. It is documented those individuals who tried to quench the flames destroying their houses and workshops were killed. In all, fifteen men and two women lost their lives that night.
The Parliamentary force made a desperate dash up the hill and through my home town, at the time a small village, to reach their commanders and regroup with the main army. I didn’t live close enough to the hill to personally experience the phantom troops but knew one or two families who did.

There’s some hot chocolate in the silver jug.

Chocolatepot

My last tale is of the tragic Grey Lady.

If you left my family home and walked in the opposite direction from the hill for quite a way you would find some woods. These are not wild woods such as some of you may know. They are ornamental woods once planted for a wealthy estate. The ruins of the house are a melancholy sight today, but the grounds are beautiful and were made a public park after the local community bought them in 1906.
The trees in these woods are not dense packed but they are close enough for children to have fun scampering around them. Families picnic in the park, have wedding pictures taken there, as did my brother and his wife, and when the sun shines the woods are a wonderful place to visit. However, when the autumn damp, rain and mists arrive, the park takes on a quite different character.
It is then, in the chilly dawn, or the creeping shadows of early evening, that those taking a short cut through the woods report sightings of the sorrowful Grey Lady. Witnesses see her walking from what was the grand front door of her home into the woods. There have been many sightings of this mournful figure, her head bowed under her grey hood, her cloak skimming the turf as she paces slowly through the trees. No one has ever heard her speak, or discovered why she makes her sad journey time and time again.
I hope that one day there will be no more reports of the sorrow of the Grey Lady.

Thanks for joining me this Halloween and reading some of the ghostly tales from my home town. Enjoy your celebrations of Samhain, however you mark the event. I wish you good fortune at the turning of the year, joy for you and those you love, and good memories of those you cared for who have gone on beyond the veil.

Daisy Banks

 

 

Image attributions

Copyright Vadim Guzhva for flaming hearth
Pumpkin candles
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_bloodua’>bloodua / 123RF Stock Photo</a> Sergii Figurnyi candle pumpkin
Mashmallows Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_pxhidalgo’>pxhidalgo / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Pablo Hidalgo
Halloween cake
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_boophotography’>boophotography / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Vilma Bechelli
Chocolate pot
“Chocolatepot” by The Victoria and Albert Museum. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chocolatepot.jpg#/media/File:Chocolatepot.jpg

Paranormal Romance Tour Julie D’Arcy and Whisper of Yesterday.

Paranormal Romance TourWelcome to this week’s Paranormal Romance Tour guest

Julie D’Arcy with her gorgeous book Whisper of Yesterday.

Julie D'Arcy Whispers of yesterday

Publisher–iHeart Publishing
Genre–Paranormal, Ghost, Historical, witchcraft,
Sensual Romance

About the Author
Julie A. D’Arcy – lives in Wangaratta, Australia. Her love of Fantasy and anything Mystical or Magical since a small girl led her to writing. A writer for nineteen years she been published for almost as long. Her first two novels Time of the Wolf and Silverdawn were originally published in 1999 and the year 2002 and Shortlisted for several prestigious awards, including the PEARL and Sapphire, with Time of the Wolf winning the 1999 RIO (Reviewers International, Dorothy Parker Award) in the Fantasy category for Women’s Fiction. Both books were also runners up in the prestigious Australian, R*BY Award run by the Australian RWA.
Julie began writing seriously in 1994, and has been published by ImaJinn Books, Mundania Press, Double Dragon Press, Eternal Press, Noble Romance Publishing LLC, Moongypsy Press, Secret Cravings Publishing, Sweet Cravings Publishing and iHeart Publishing. With several books under consideration by Wild Rose.
Watch for Julie’s Tarlisian Sagas with iHeart Publishing, coming soon. Legacy of the Black Dragon, and Elven Magick, and the re-release of The Cross of Tarlis, Book 1 and 2 and The Realm of the Wolf.
Her single titles include: Silverdawn, and Whisper of Yesterday with iHeart Publishing, and Night’s Eternal Promise, Face of a Stranger, Whisper on the Wind and her short story, The Siam Encounter.” Coming soon with Wild Rose Publishing.

BLURB
Whisper of Yesterday

A cry for help, echoing through the ages, inspires a young nobleman to
rewrite history– and rediscover a passion he had only dreamt of…

Cole d’Morgan is contacted by a lawyer telling him he has been left a castle in Cornwall, but to inherit he must arrive at Castle Thornwood on All-Hallows-Eve.
As he pulls his car to a halt at the castle gates he sees a beautiful red-haired woman clutching the bars in the rain. However, before he can climb from his car she vanishes into the night.

On arriving at the Castle he is told the tragic tale of Aidan and Alyssa d’Morgan …
A love story that spans three hundred years.

Alyssa d’Morgan burned as a witch for refusing to wed her dead husband’s father in 1644 haunts the castle where she was put to death. She has sworn she will not rest until she is reunited with her husband and soul mate, Cai.

Aidan d’Morgan, re-incarnated soul of Cai d’Morgan is reborn in the 1800’s and wins back Castle Thornwood on the turn of a card.

On entering the castle he cannot shake the feeling he is being watched, and soon learns that the castle is haunted by a beautiful red-haired woman who speaks to him in his dreams. However, these are not simply dreams, but a past life, which he is forced to revisit in order to find an answer to an age old curse…

What transpires is an interwoven tale of chilling betrayal and a haunting love story that traverses three centuries…

Buy Links
Smashwords– https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/578942
Kindle http://www.amazon.com.au/Whisper-Yesterday-Julie-DArcy-ebook/dp/B015NE5LZG/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442895680&sr=1-2&keywords=Whisper+of+Yesterday
Kobo https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/whisper-of-yesterday

Print Book https://www.createspace.com/5753201

Excerpt

Whisper of Yesterday-

Aidan stared down into the courtyard. All was darkness. Nothing moved. Not a night creature called. He swung to face into the room. It was lit by only the faintest of moonlight and a low-burning fire.
It had to have been a dream.
Naked; the breeze was cold, but sweat still trickled down his back. He stared down at his hands. They trembled. “It was a dream.” If he repeated the words emphatically enough, perhaps he would believe them.
He ran a hand through his hair. He had been in Cai de Morgan’s body. He had seen what he had seen, done what he had done, and thought what he had thought. It was as if he was a spectator in another time and all had been beyond his control. Yet as incredible as it was, he had been there. And who was Cai de Morgan? What was the man to him? And more so, who was the woman? Why did she remind him so much of the woman in the fire? Countess Llewellyn, the woman who supposed to haunt this castle?
He strode to the dresser, lit a candle, and crossed to the large freestanding mirror in the corner. Critically, he viewed his features. Was it his imagination, or was there the slightest hint of another image superimposed over his own? Did the face look more angular, the jaw harder? He held the candle closer to the glass, and a chill prickled the back of his neck. The hair on the man in the mirror waved and curled past his shoulders, and there standing behind him was a woman. A woman with a riot of deep red hair, brilliant emerald eyes, full lips, and fine brows—a woman with the face of an angel—the woman in his dream. His hand tightened on the candlestick. It felt as if it were frozen; his fingers glued and could not be uncurled.
She no longer wore the yellow gown and headdress, but instead the white shift she had worn the first night he had seen her amidst the fire in the courtyard.
Their eyes met and held in the reflection.
He swallowed, trying to free up his throat, trying to force words that would not come. As he watched, she drifted closer, yet no step could he hear on the polished wooden floor.
“Who are you?” he managed at last, his words a strained whisper. He twisted around. She vanished. He swung back and stared into the mirror. She stood behind him with a look of accusation in her green eyes. It was as if he was a moth and she pinned him with her diamond bright gaze. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But I had to be certain.” He spoke quietly, afraid to raise his voice least she disappear. “Will not you speak to me? Will not you tell me your name?”
She opened her mouth, and just a soft sound issued forth, almost a sigh, as if it was coming from a long distance. “Cai.”
Cai. Had she said Cai? The man in the dream had been Cai. The man whose body he had inhabited for a short time. Inhabited. The thought disturbed him, but he could think of no other word to describe the happening. Was he going crazy? But no crazier than seeing and talking to a ghost. Again he wondered what Cai de Morgan had to do with him. How Cai was connected to the murdered Countess.
“I have so many questions,” he said, holding her reflection in the mirror.
She moved closer, pressed her warm soft body to the length of his back, and encircled his waist.
His mouth went dry. He couldn’t swallow. He had always thought a ghost would be cold, but he had never felt such heat as that which now filled his body and hastened to pool in his loins at the soft caress of her silken hair and the touch of her hands on his sweat-damp skin.
She leaned her smooth cheek against his shoulder, and his body hardened with desire as she tilted her head to the side to watch him for several painful heartbeats through sooty lashes, her eyes dark, intense, wanting.
Suddenly he swung to seize her, but his hand passed through a draught of cold air. Goose bumps raced up his arm. She was gone, and he cursed himself for a fool. He should have known better than to try to capture something as elusive as an angel…
You can find more about the author and her works here:
Website— www.julieadarcy.com
Blog— www.juliedarcy.weebly.com

SNIPPET OF REVIEW
It is always hard for an author to find a creative way to involve a ghost with the limitations of a spirit’s body in the tantalizing, heated love scenes of a romance. Julie A. Darcy’s method is smooth, superb, and original. I found myself so attached to the intriguing, fully fleshed out characters of Alyssa and Aidan that I know they will haunt me for some time to come. Whisper of Yesterday is a page turner from a familiar Gothic beginning, when an American Scientist braves a blinding thunderstorm on Halloween to reach a castle he unexpectedly inherited, to a surprising, thrilling, and joyful twist at the end. Whisper of Yesterday is an enchanting read that should not be missed. This one’s a keeper.
REVIEWER-
CORNELIA AMIRI- Virtual Writing Assistant

Julie A, D’Arcy-Author 16 years, http://www.julieadarcy.com
http://www.juliedarcy.weebly.com—-blog
Whisper of Yesterday-ghost-witchcraft-re-incarnation historical
Legacy of the Black Dragon-Medieval Fantasy Romance-elves, dragons and action romance
Elven Magic-Medieval Fantasy Romance-Elves, witchcraft, action romance
Face of a Stranger-Modern day-time travel, witchcraft fantasy romance
Night’s Eternal Promise-Vampire time travel, crime, vampire romance.
Silverdawn-Urban Fantasy -witchcraft, sorcery, time travel, urban romance.
Whisper on the Wind-Erotic Fantasy Romance.
Siam Encounter-M/M romance
The Cross of Tarlis The Awakening-Book 1
The Cross of Tarlis-The Reckoning-Book2
The Realm of the Wolf

Other participants in the 2015 Paranormal Romance tour are:

http://flossiebentonrogers.com/blog/
https://woodsadrienne.wordpress.com/  
http://www.MargoBondCollins.com
http://princessofthelight.wordpress.com 
http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/
www.pennyestelle.blogspot.com 
http://juliedarcystoryweaver.blogspot.com.au/
http://cassandraulrich.blogspot.com/ 
www.kimkasch.blogspot.com 
http://lindalyndi.com/ 

Tuesday Treat. A little bit of autumn.

nice strawberry eater

Welcome to Tuesday Treat.

Today’s treat is a little bit different. As the autumn is taking hold here I thought I might share some sections where it features in some of my stories. I love autumn. I think it’s the colours and textures I enjoy so much and of course these feature in several of my stories. To welcome the shorter days and longer nights here is a a little bit from some of my stories that feature the season of mist and colour.

AGentlemansFolly_600x800A Gentleman’s Folly
Charles made his way up to his room. A fire warmed the hearth, the candles had been lit, his house robe was put out, and Joshua, looking too tired for talk, helped him off with his boots and jacket and poured the hot water for him to wash. “Go sleep, lad,” he said as he dried his face on a warmed towel. “I’ll be up with the dawn and need you then.”
“Yes, sir,” the youth replied and yawned as he left the room.
Before he climbed into the bed where Joshua had turned back the sheet and warmed the inner surface of the sheets with a pan, he unlocked the door to the adjoining room. Standing in the darkness, he breathed in deep, all his senses alive to the fragrance he knew so well. A race of sensations plagued his flesh in response to the memories he found.
Determination filled him. “Katherine, my wife, you will come home.”

MarkedForMagic-1Marked for Magic
The leaves turned burgundy like his robes. Russet, rose, and gilt, they fell in the cold winds. The berries hung ripe and red, the blackberries grew plump and purple.
Some mornings a paper-thin layer of crackled ice covered the pool. The water, cold beyond belief, would steal her breath, but no matter how she pleaded, Thabit made her swim, even when it rained.
The Mage made her do a lot of things.

To EternityTo Eternity
Sian longed to roll with him in the bed of leaves, but the image in her mind closed under the shutter of his words. Another time. Another day. She focused on the trees, all of them beautiful in the last phase of this year’s leaf. “I’ve never seen such magnificent colors or such shapes.”
“These are probably the oldest oak trees in the grounds. They’ve had lots of time to grow in the way they wish.” Tucking her hand through the crook of his arm, he smiled. “Some of these are century’s old, one or two may be more ancient still.”
Looking up to his smile, she nodded. His need to feel a part of time should be fed. Perhaps she might find a way. Now he’d mentioned it, she’d work hard to try to arrange a visit to Egypt for them. He’d traveled in his youth and could again.

You can read the first chapters of each of these three books on the       My Books page. Take a peek.

All of these stories and others by me are available here

Buy Links
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
iTunes
Kobo

Keep the fire burning.
Two stars shone in the lavender twilight and she sped her steps for night was close. She cut and gathered armfuls of bracken, some of it rust-shaded for autumn. Along with the bracken, she found wildflowers. The last breath of summer would be bound into her bridal bed. Her heart took up a swift and steady rhythm. His wonderful dark eyes had promised tonight she’d see the end of her maiden days. They had no priest to bless them, nor family to shout joyous congratulations, but somehow it didn’t matter. He’d made her his, and after tonight she would be until she trod the world no more.
No one had ever said it would be like this, or explained love would sweep her up in a whirlwind and she’d have no idea where she’d land.
She added some coils of honeysuckle, a few sweet flowers on the length of the vine, and some spindly twigs of lavender to her bundle. When she got back, she’d make the fragrant bracken bed.

At present Keep the Fire Burning is no longer available. I am looking into ways to rectify that. I’ll let you know as soon as it will be available to read.

Thanks for reading.

Daisy Banks

Sexy Snippet from Sexy to Go Halloween 15

snippetsbanner

Click to vist the Nuthouse Scribblers site.

Welcome to this Sunday’s Sexy Snippet. Please be aware this is an 18+ post.

Sexy Snippets is organised by The Nuthouse Scribblers who offer a weekly challenge to authors to showcase a sexy seven sentences from either a work in progress or a published work. My seven this week come from Charity’s Fortune, my story in the ten others published in the   Sexy to Go Halloween 15 boxed set.

STG-Hallowween W corrected

Click to buy Sexy To Go Halloween 15.

Enjoy.

 Not one of the buttons on the front of her dress snapped because Joe opened them so slow and tender.
She could scarce breathe.
He brushed the fabric of her best dress back to reveal the ribbons of her shimmy and lifted his gaze to hers. “Your skin shines like moonlight,” he whispered and traced a forefinger over the curve of the top of her breasts. “But you’re warm, baby.”
Goosebumps chased the wake of his touch. He bent his head lower and she dragged in a raspy breath at the gentle caress of his lips where he’d raised a line of sensations.

Here is the list of other authors taking part in this week’s Sexy Snippet challenge. Do visit them too.

Tuesday Treat Buy 2 and get 1 free.

Welcome to Tuesday Treat.

Today’s treat is notification of a special offer you won’t want to miss.

LSB head

Liquid Silver Books have a special offer that starts today, you can buy 2 of the titles they publish at Kobo and get 1 Free!

Kobo Special offersThis is a fabulous offer and an ideal too stock up on reading material for the long winter evenings or for presents for you friends.

There are two of my titles involved in the sale.

Kobo special

Your Heart My Soul. A ghostly tale of love lasting beyond this world. Two sets of lovers find a chance for happiness.

Valentine Wishes. The novice fairy Poppy grants her first big wish at a Valentine’s Day Party and causes romantic chaos.

 If you were to buy my two books you have the chance to get another book free. Here is the list you can select from.

I know you will want one of these.

A Stranger Within
A Christmas Together
A Clockwork Christmas
A Forever Kind of Love
A Magical Return
A Simple Charm
A to Zane
A Touch of Sin
A Wolfish Scandal
A Wolfish Tangle
Aaron’s Will
Accursed
Alpha Wolf
Alpha’s Voodoo
Angel’s Fall
Angel’s Wolf
Ashfall
Before the Dawn
Before There Was You
Beneath the Blood Moon
Blackout
Blood Reign
Blue Eyes of Texas
Bound By Obsession
Bound By Rebellion
Bring Me to Life
Cairo Nights
Captivated
Casey’s Surprise
Catching Red
Christmas In Cancun
Claimed By Love
Clockwork Kiss
Code Monkey
Cold Day In Hell
Come Hither
Come Yell or High Water
Covenants
Crimson Desire
Cross My Heart
Cursed Fate
Dangerous Beauty
Dark Heat
Dark Moon Rising
Darkest Wolf
Darkfall
Darling’s Desire
Dawning of Light
Deception
Demon’s Bounty
Desire Denied
Desire Disguised
Desire Unleashed
Dirty Deeds
Divine Intervention
Dragon Moon
Drama Queen
Drinking Death
Druid’s Wish
Eddie’s Prize
Ellie’s Wolf
Elorias Tear
Enchanted
Evanescence
Explosive Combination
Eye of the Storm
Falcon’s Angel
Fall for You
False Hope
False Start
Fight Princess
Finding Her Fantasy
Finding Lisa
First Choice, Second Chance
Five Alarm Lust
For the Love of a God
For the Love of Isaac
Framed As a Killer
Geek Love
Go With the Flo
Going Under
Guarding Eden
Hearts In Ruin
How Beauty Saved Beast
Hunter’s Moon Magic
Icarus Unbound
Illusion
Immortal Distraction
Immortal Healer
In Fine Form
Initiate
Into the Light
Into Thin Air
Isolde’s Fire
It’s Only Physical
Justified
Killer Kisses
Kindling the Past
Leading Man
Leashed By a Wolf
Lethal Union
Light Beyond the Darkness
Lone Wolf
Love Entwined
Love Me Not
Lovin’ the Odds
McCallan’s Blood
McCallan’s Heart
More Than Strangers
Nightwalker
No One to Trust
No Secrets
Not a Second Chance
Of Blood and Blessings
Of Magic and Engineering
Once Given Never Forgotten
Orchids for Lila
Perception
Phoenix
Play It Again, Dan
Playing the Part
Pledged
Plotting Mr. Perfect
Power Play
Predator’s Claim
Predator’s Fire
Predator’s Kiss
Predator’s Refuge
Predator’s Serenade
Predator’s Trinity
Promised
Queen of Time
Race Against Time
Reluctant Angel
Remnants
Rhuul’s Flame
Ruled By the Moon
Saved From a Killer
Seduction In Sierra Leone
Selkie’s Revenge
Shadowwalker
Shore Feels Right
Shore to Please
Sin Crossed
Sins of Long Ago
Some Kind of Trouble
Soul Tie Seduction
Spark of Doubt
Spell Bound
Spun
Stealing Luca’s Heart
Sunburn
Sweet Cravings
Sweet Hell
Taken By a Killer
The Big Cry Wolf
The Big, Bad…
The Caretaker’s Lady
The Contract
The Deadly Séance
The Emerald Key
The Fireman and the Ice Queen
The Hunt for Snow
The Order of Chaos
The Ruby Key
The Secret Ingredient
The Selkie
The Shore Thing
The Stand-In
The Stranger Next Door
Three Wicked Days
Tower In the Woods
Traces
Treasure Hunt
Tyburn
Unclaimed
Undercover Lover
Unforgiven
Unplanned
Up In Flames
Valentine Wishes
Vermillion
Virtue’s Lady
Waves of Change
Weather the Storm
What the Duke Wants
Wild and Tender Care
Wild Side
Wild West Succubus
Winterfall
Wishful Thinking
Within Fire
Wolf Reborn
Wolf Tracker
Wolf’s Magic
Wolf’s Princess
Wolf’s Vengeance
Your Heart My Soul

A Blooming Lovely Monday. The Aster.

Welcome to another Blooming Lovely Monday.

As the year moves on my garden reflects the season’s changes. The bright colors of summer are fading fast now and being replaced by the autumnal hues of the turning leaves. However, in one or two places the flowers continue to blossom still. One of the plants that refuses to give up flowering quite yet is the Aster. I have several of these and they are still going strong.

Aster_novae-angliae_-_Raublattaster

Aster’s are part of the daisy family, but they are not quite the same as the tiny field daisies. Another name for aster flowers is Michaelemas Daisies as they flower through and beyond Michaelmas Day which is the 29th of September. This is a date had a huge significance in the countryside in the past as it was when the harvest should be completed, the animals not intended to over winter were selected for slaughter so the meat could be salted, and a goose well fattened by feeding on the corn stubble was eaten by those who could afford to have one.
This was an important day in the year as one of the four annual quarter days, where rents must be paid; servants might be paid or hired at this date too, hence the Goose Fairs and Mop Fairs held on this date.

Hang on, I know you asking, what about the Michaelmas Daisies? The above bit ties in you see, as these flowers are associated with Saint Michael, protector of light and defender from evil. When autumn days become noticeably shorter these flowers offer a lingering goodbye to the warmth of summer.

Of course Saint Michael is not the only association for this plant. The name Aster comes from the Greek word for “star,” and the star-like flowers bloom in white, red, pink, purple, lavender, and blue, with mostly yellow centers.

One legend tells that a field grew asters when Virgo scattered stardust to the earth. Another legend claims the goddess Astraea, whom Zeus had placed amongst the stars as the constellation Virgo, wept in the skies for the earth that had no stars of its own. It is said that asters bloomed where her tears fell. It seems quite fitting that the aster is the birthday flower for those born in September.

The aster represents love, daintiness, and charm as well as patience. In ancient times, it was believed the odor from an aster’s burning leaves could drive away evil serpents.
Medicinally asters have been used since ancient times for a great many ailments, the one that interests me most is the tincture as an asthma cure. This has been researched and seems to have some merit. If you want to read more about that look here.
http://bearmedicineherbals.com/aster.html

And finally in the past asters were used in the dying process to produce yellow though to dark green and gold depending on what process was used.

Whichever way you think about these bright blooms they are a lovely adornment to any garden.

Image attribution.

“Aster novae-angliae – Raublattaster” by Haeferl – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aster_novae-angliae_-_Raublattaster.jpg#/media/File:Aster_novae-angliae_-_Raublattaster.jpg

Soemthing different. Yorkshire Pudding.

The Yorkshire Pudding.

Yorkshire_Pudding
I am posting this as a blog post but it will also become a page to go with the other recipes here.

Please remember I am not a native of Yorkshire. It has been several generations since a Yorkshire bred person was a member of my family, but even so Yorkshire Pudding has been cooked by my mother, both my grandmothers, all my aunts, and me.

I’ve tried to find the earliest historic reference to Yorkshire Pudding I can and discovered it was first mentioned in print by name by Hannah Glasse in 1747, in “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple”.

I am certain Yorkshire Pudding had been enjoyed by people for a long time before the mid 18th century. So what is this dish?
First off don’t be confused by the word pudding. Primarily this is a savory dish, although some will disagree with me and share wonderful memories of Yorkshire Pudding filled with jam, treacle, or golden syrup. A sign of the versatility of this dish. You can eat it sweet or savory, and hot or cold.
I prefer my Yorkshire Pudding hot, cooked in beef dripping as I believe it is meant to be and doused in lashings of gravy.

If you eat in a modern restaurant in England and are served Yorkshire Pudding it will usually as an accompaniment to a roast meat meal. Yorkshires are offered with lamb, chicken, turkey or baked ham. Although this is nice it is actually not traditional. Yorkshire Pudding in the past was cooked in beef fat and juices as part of a roast beef meal.

Some say the traditional way to serve Yorkshire Pudding is before the meat course. A chunk of Yorkshire Pudding with a ladle of gravy was the appetizer before the main meal. A Yorkshire saying is, “Them that eat the most pudding get the most meat.”
You might find the idea a little odd but it dates back to a time when meat cost a great deal and many families couldn’t afford much of it. By cooking the Yorkshire in a roasting tin placed beneath your beef joint all the dripping and juices ran onto the Yorkshire so nothing was wasted. Although we tend to find the idea of ‘fat’as something to be avoided, in the past when people’s diets were so limited and every day activities and jobs were much more strenuous than many of ours they needed the calories the fat provided.
The luscious Yorkshire Pudding helped eke out the small portions of meat poorer people could afford.

The way I serve Yorkshire Pudding is the way my family always has, as a side dish to accompany roast beef. The two, along with roast potatoes, a few vegetables, lots of beef gravy and a dollop of horseradish sauce, are a fabulous meal.

So what should it look like? See the image above. This shows Yorkshire Pudding made as individuals, one or two is sufficient for most people, my youngest son always wanted one more. By cooking them individually you can also, if you wish, indulge in a sweet Yorkshire by adding jam or you any other favorite treat to the cooked Puddings. I’ve not tried them with chocolate sauce but it’s a possibility.

How do you make a good Yorkshire Pudding? This is where the tricky bit comes. It’s a simple recipe as are many from generations past.

A lot depends on the beat and heat, in my opinion.

Ingredients
2 heaped serving spoons of flour
2 eggs at room temperature
Milk
2 tbsp beef dripping
salt

I was taught if you want a good Yorkshire Pudding you make the batter early so the mix can stand and mature. I usually do it with my morning coffee and then place it in the fridge for at least two or three hours before I want to cook it. Don’t make it the night before though as that won’t work.
The proportions for this are something I know by eye alone. I never measure so that makes it a bit difficult to explain to you. I use a medium sized cooking bowl and tip in enough flour to make a little mountain at the bottom of the dish. I add the pinch of salt and make a well in the middle of the flour. I crack in two eggs and give the thing a bit of a stir round to begin to blend the egg and flour. I add about half a pint of milk and stir until the mix is combined and then I beat it hard until I can see bubbles on the top of the mix. Once I’ve got the consistency of pouring cream and those bubbles on the top the mix, I know it is ready to be set aside until I want to cook it.
When my beef joint is cooking I baste it with meat juices and I usually take two or three spoons of this and add them to a separate roasting tin that I am going to use for my Yorkshire Puddings. A square or rectangular one, or one with the individual rounds, any of them will do. The fat should cover all of the base of the tin.
For a good Yorkshire Pudding the oven must be hot, preheated to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
Set the pan with the meat juices near the top of your oven and let the fat heat up until it’s hot.
Beat your Yorkshire mix again for a couple of minutes. Take your sizzling hot pan out and tip your Yorkshire batter in. Get it in the oven straight away, again near the top and in about 30-40 minutes you will have fabulous, crispy, golden, Yorkshire Pudding. It should rise well. If it doesn’t your oven isn’t hot enough.
Serve Yorkshire Pudding straight away with your roast beef meal, or be traditional and serve it first with the beef gravy, or be equally traditional and serve it sweet, or go wild and serve it as a container for roast mushrooms and garlic. If you want to try it cold you will find it will deflate a bit.

I hope if you haven’t ever cooked a Yorkshire Pudding this might give you the idea to try it. If you do, let me know how you served it and how it worked out.

Thanks for reading.
Daisy Banks

Image attribution

By stef yau from Seattle, USA (Yorkshire Pudding) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday Treat. News of the Paranormal Romance Tour.

Welcome to Tuesday Treat.nice strawberry eater
Your treat today is a sneak peek of all the covers of authors who will be blogging here every Thursday starting this week the 1st of October until the 17th of December on the Paranormal Romance Blog Tour.

Paranormal Romance Tour

To get you in the mood do enjoy this lovely book teaser by Carmen Stefanescu.

https://youtu.be/RYmCxuh09bY

Each of these authors will be blogging about their books. There will be give aways too, so make this a spot to visit each Thursday.

MS Dreeams Carmen
last lot

Duggans Daisy Flossie

9 of 12

I hope you are looking forward to finding out more about these fabulous books each week.
Drop by the blog tomorrow to see the new sizzling hot cover for the Sexy to Go Halloween Special and you can read the blurbs and a little snippet from my story in that boxed set. Thursday is Day One of the Paranormal Blog Tour here and I’ll be visiting the lovely ladies at Silken Sheets and Seduction. Friday I am sharing the joys and failures of the classic Yorkshire Pudding with you along with associated legend and lore.
Thanks for reading.
Daisy Banks

A Blooming Lovely Monday and some news.

Welcome to a blooming lovely Monday.

Lady's Bedstraw

The plant I have chosen today is considered a wild flower and has an enticing fragrance. This aroma lasts even when the plant is dried and is one of the things that makes it so attractive. The flowers appear all the way through the summer and for many generations have been collected for colour and for other uses.

The common name for this vibrant bloom is Lady’s Bedstraw. In the past this time of year was when hay bedding was easy to replace and this plant was one of those that went into a bedding mix. It is a natural way to ward off insects like fleas and gave the hay bed a pleasant fragrance.

Hay beds were usually encased in stone or wood box, the hay and floral contents would be put inside the container and then a heavy weave cover tied down tight over the top. On top of that goes the bedding of pillows and covers. I have read descriptions that lying on a hay bed is like floating on a cloud. I’ve never had the opportunity to try such bed and would love to hear from anyone who has.

Like many of the flowers our ancestors used Lady’s Bedstraw has medicinal uses. The plant can be used a styptic to stop minor bleeding, can be used as a wound wash and a sedative depending on how it is prepared. Both Gerad and Culpepper describe it as useful to stop internal bleeding too. An ointment to ease the weary traveller can be made from the plant and the tips of the blooms can be brewed to make a refreshing tea.

This plant also has another very useful quality. It can be used as a replacement for rennet, the ingredient needed to turn milk into cheese. One of it’s other names is Cheese Running. It is said this is the plant that gave Gloucester cheese its distinctive colour.

Not only was cheese coloured using Lady’s Bedstraw but cloth too could be dyed a shade of red from it.

Lady’s Bedstraw was once sacred to the Norse Goddess Frigg, who helped women in childbirth, fresh or dried blooms would be added in quantity to a birth bed. The plant has also been considered sacred to Diana, Minerva and Vesta.

In Romania the celebration of  Sânziene on the 24th of June young women collect flowers and this plant must be part of the posies they pick. Flower chaplets are worn by the young girls who meet and dance with their beloved on that most magical night.

Legend says that Lady’s Bedstraw was originally a pale and drab little flower and was in the mix of plants in the manger where Mary placed the infant Christ. The flower accepted him and formed part of his pillow. In return for this God changed the pale flowers to the glorious golden yellow we know today.

News: Tomorrow you can see the cover of my new book Serving the Serpent here.

I will also be taking part in the Paranormal Thursday Blog Tour taking place through October to December. Dates to follow.

Paranormal Romance Tour

Through the whole of November you will find my Here be Dragons blog posts every Wednesday and Friday as part of my celebration for the release of Serving the Serpent.

 Thanks for reading.

Daisy Banks

Image Credit “CublesuSJ2012 (91)” by Țetcu Mircea Rareș – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CublesuSJ2012_(91).JPG#/media/File:CublesuSJ2012_(91).JPG

The Blog Tour Badge for Paranormal Blog Tour is from Carmen Stefanescu.