Watch it here! https://youtu.be/Kgb6F6LNjLI (Fast forward through the opening credits, to about the 5:30 mark:) Happy Samhain, everyone! Don't forget to comment with your own ghost stories and spooky happenings!
“In that sleep of death, what dreams may come…” I’ve only had one recurring dream. I was a child, overtired and emotional. My mother—likely as exhausted with me as I was the world— carried me to my room to tuck me in. Behind her, the shadowy figure of a man stood. I woke up in my bed, shaking. Wandering through a dozing home, I found my mother in the dim light of the den. Her work lay scattered around her on the floor. The cool buzz of late night news hummed of war and politics still many years from my comprehension. She offered a warm hug, then sent me to the kitchen for water. Glass in hand, I submerged myself in the darkened hall, bound for my room. There, again, he stood. A shadow. I woke up in my bed. Time and time again, the figure found me. He found me on walks, in my home, or in the woods. Always present. Always following. Always, I awoke back where I began. When I finally dragged myself from the tar pit of these dreams, I spent the day on a razor’s edge—watching and waiting—but the shadow never came. He did not return for many years. When I was a teen, he trapped me again in a seemingly endless loop of nightmares. Then again in college. And again, and again, throughout the years. Always present. Always following. Where does a story come from? Wild Things Will Roam, at least, was born of many things. It’s rooted in the buried pasts of people I’ve loved and nightmares I’ve witnessed. I designed the entire series to traverse the hellscape of life and expose the kind of light that grows only in those dark days. More importantly, it’s built to illuminate the special glow of those people around us burdened with sad eyes. My grandmother came from the Philippines, a world where Catholicism and Superstition intertwined. My fear/fascination with demons began as a child, when I first began experiencing the symptoms of what I now know to be narcolepsy—sleep paralysis and hallucinations. I was certain that the things which hovered over me at night meant me harm, and that the faces which I saw were, in fact, evil. As I grew, so did my obsessive interest in all things religious, mythological, and magic, as well as the thin, flexible line which separates the three. The Collapse, then, is a story about belief. It follows the evolution of three people’s belief systems as they develop through the fires of tribulation, and the growing importance of human connection. As Ander notes in the upcoming sequel, Run, You Hunted Things, this series is “a love story the way war stories are about love.” What follows... Now, Liv, Carian, and the Farrow brothers scramble to pick up their pieces in the wake of Wild Things Will Roam ’s devastation. Aid from the Priestess may have come at a dark cost, and their ill-fated journey propels them straight into militant Patriota territory in search of the Overseer —a rumored oracle with the ability to find lost things. The shadows that follow are more than just tricks of the light. Armies amass in the distance, while the horrors of the past taunt Ander, Lash, and Liv as they attempt to cope with an increasingly harsh reality. How many of their decisions are really their own? And can they get to the Overseer before destiny–past, present, and future–devours them? “When everyone is prey, Run, You Hunted Things. ” Run, You Hunted Things , the second novel in the Collapse series, is estimated to debut on Episodic Reading in 2021. I appreciate everyone taking the time to join me on this journey! Did you enjoy Wild Things Will Roam ? What were your favorite parts? What do you hope to see in the upcoming sequel?
A brief history of Halloween. 'Fires dotted the hillside. Dancers in masks adorned with blood and ash, sketched a living wall between burning men and the dead. On Samhain, empty eyes watched from silent shadows... craving a break in that bright mortal line.' -- 'The Innisfail Cycle', by L.M. Riviere. The Dark What's the first thing that pops into your head when you think of Halloween? Candy? Parties featuring skimpy clothing and copious libations? Neighborhood kids dressed as Thor or Wonder Woman, cruising the block with pillowcases and manic grins? Maybe you see houses draped with black and orange streamers, peppered with ghoulish lawn decorations and grinning jack o'lanterns. Perhaps, instead, you're the type to focus more on the chill in the air, the flash of red and yellow foliage. If you stop to think about Halloween seriously, you'll realize all of this seems like a hot mess of death worship, monster fantasy, naughty treats and thrills, and yes... sex. How does any of that remotely fit together? Well, pull up a chair. To begin, one must understand where this crazy 'holiday' came from. Ireland during the Dark Ages, was just that... dark. Picture a world cloaked in clouds most of every day, battered by inexplicable summer frosts and freezing autumn rains. The land was often stony and hard, unyielding for crops in most places and inundated by rich, menacing forests from shore to shore. In this place, the only lights shone from a frequently absent sun, or the blaze of a torch or campfire. Shadows stretch tall in such a world; the darkness, deep. Ireland and the British Isles, after the last Ice Age. The Ireland of 2000-1000B.C. lacked much of prehistoric Doggerland, but featured much narrower seas and inlets than our modern waterways. The English Channel, for example, would not grow to its present size and depth until the last warming period of the Celtic age, around 750 B.C.- 200 A.D. By the time of the Vikings, from 900-1200 A.D., Doggerland, with its hidden lakes, rivers, and grasslands, had been entirely forgotten. Thousands of years ago, Northern Europe was in the grip of a receding ice age. At the time, the British Isles and Ireland were largely one landmass, divided only by narrow channels and inlets. Indeed, much of Scotland and Ireland were once connected by a swath of plains and swamps, while the bulk of the English Channel held large tracts of hearty grassland. What was also true, was the cold. Winters were long and brutal and summers were short, mild, and often unproductive. To live during such a time would be a challenge for our modern societies, regardless of our conveniences and comforts. For our ancestors, it must have been harrowing. The ancient Irish divided the year into seemingly equal parts: the light half, and the dark half. Though, at the time, is important to note that the light 'half' of the year truly lasted a mere three months from thaw to frost, allowing the dark half free reign for nearly nine. Can you imagine? You and your family would have just three months out of each year to sow and harvest the crops you needed to survive, three months to build shelter or improve your land, and just three months to ensure everyone was set for nine months of blistering cold and deprivation. Now, also imagine, you did most of this in the dark . It should come as no surprise that the average lifespan during this era was about 38 years of age. If you spent a brief, brutal life shivering and starving alongside a creepy forest, you might also develop an inordinate fascination with death. So much so, that it could become an omnipresent god to be flattered and appeased. With regard to this subject, the Irish have always been fine storytellers. Thanks to a meticulous oral history passed down through countless generations, some of their ancient myths and fables have survived. According to the tales, Irish gods were cantankerous, greedy, and fierce... and death ruled the land with an iron fist. '"I'm not ready," Gael Said. Malan patted a bound wrist. "You were born for this." Gael's kinfolk gathered around his bier-- torchlight leaping from zealotous eyes. His heart bled. "To burn for the ungrateful?" "Born to die a hero, rather than starve in the mud, my son," Malan replied.'-- 'The Innisfail Cycle', L.M. Riviere Sacrifice How do you please the god of death? There was only one gift a god loved more than mischief-- LIFE . Though lesser spirits could be mollified by meager offerings-- animals, precious metals, or sworn oaths-- human lives served the gods best. When a harvest went hard or an illness swept through a village, there was only one cure the druids proposed to appease divine wroth; sacrifice . The tribes often paid for turnips and grain with human blood. Blood that would then be combined with ash and bone and scattered over fallow fields. To them, this was a fair exchange. For that was the bargain the dark-fearing Celts made with their gods and the spirits of the otherworld: blood, for lives. During Samhain great bonfires might be glimpsed upon a hillside, into which living men and women were fed. Their families would dance and writhe beneath that unearthly glow, exalting the immolation of life. Revelers would regularly consume spirits or mind-altering herbs in order to commune with the gods, beg forgiveness for their wrongs, or receive blessings upon a civil union (most marriages occurred at Samhain). That someone often had to die to achieve the gods' favor, proves only how very seriously the ancients perceived the connection between life and death. Indeed, the victims of these sacrificial rituals were more often than not willing . The festival of Samhain falls on the one night each year when the veil between worlds is thinnest-- when the light half of the year fades into the dark. On this night, the dead and all manner of evil spirits, were free to roam and claim what treats they might. Sometimes these spirits merely sought to make mischief. Sometimes... worse. To remain on the spirits' good side, smart villagers would leave offerings on their doorstep or windowsill. Some might fill a bowl with milk and lay it on their stoop with a hunk of bread. Others, who maybe had had a bad year or had committed some grave sin, would hang a slain rabbit or a hank of mutton from their lintel. The Sluagh (the dead, or wicked), loved nothing so much as fresh blood. The very wise understood that to keep the Sluagh at bay altogether, one must frighten them off. Turnips and gourds (pumpkins are native to North America) would be carved into macabre and monstrous shapes. Then, little candles would be placed inside them. A leering facade, lit from within, would have shone brilliantly upon a starless night. If one's personalized demon failed to dissuade a ghostly intruder, the light it bore surely would not. For all cultures know, there is very little evil fears more than warmth and light. For thousands of years, the Irish clung to these traditions until monks from what would become England, penetrated their forests with ideas about the 'sanctity of human life'. Many practices that had been in place since prehistory were set aside: human sacrifice, bacchanalian ritual, and bloodletting-- to name a few. Though certainly, not all pagan habits were abolished. In fact, the old gods stubbornly maintained their grip on the Isle for centuries. Some might even say, they still do. The festival of Samhain for example, became 'All Hallows Eve' to appease the domineering Church, then was later anglicized further to 'Halloween', preceding a hastily coined 'All Saints Day' on November 1st. Additionally, festivals like Beltane and Ostara, became 'May Day' and 'Easter', respectfully. The Church had foresight enough to glean that the Irish would more readily turn from their fatalistic faith, if many of their traditions were allowed to endure-- albeit, tamed. Many centuries later, at the height of the English Invasions, the Crown appropriated the majority of viable farmland in Ireland. Vast tracts of the fertile Midlands were granted to English warlords and settlers, displacing thousands. Most free Irish people were remanded to less hospitable, stonier corners of the island. Crops didn't grow as readily in many of these places, and blight was frequent. In regions controlled by the king, whatever a farmer or fisherman was able to produce would be divvied up by their landlords or the English army, leaving the dregs for Irish families. Hostilities bristled. Time and again, war and rebellion raged. Famine and poverty became the newest Irish gods; equally as merciless as the old. In the Irish consciousness, the Sluagh stirred anew... and no wonder. During the English Occupation, Halloween saw a strong resurgence throughout the isle. It would never again bear the fearsome rights of human sacrifice and bloodletting, but it did however speak of a collective heritage and its sense of misplaced identity. Between 1845 and 1848, over one million Irish people died in the infamous 'Potato Famine'. A million more, desperate for a better life, emigrated to America-- thinning Ireland's population by nearly 30%. The Irish poured into cities like Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, bringing their culture and superstitions with them. Initially, the Irish were reviled by the majority of American cities, their traditions considered 'heathen' or 'hedonistic'. Perhaps that's why they caught on. No fruit tastes half so sweet, as the forbidden, no? By the 1930's, Americans from all walks of life (not just the Irish!) would roam the streets of every city and neighborhood in costume, ambling from house to house or party to party, begging for goodies. Children would don the most frightening garb they could find; unbeknownst to them, in homage to the roving Sluagh of legend. Adults tended to gravitate toward revels of their own, seeking suggestive social engagement and inebriation, even, oblivion-- just as the ancients had beneath their bonfires, so many eons ago. Heritage Halloween has come a long way from its dark roots, though not too far. We still honor our traditions, even when we don't fully understand them. We are still enamored of the shadows, nearly as much as we fear them. We still long to hold each other close through the hard times and we still face that long dark together, as our ancestors once did. After all, what are we, if not the rituals that made us? L.M. Riviere is the author of 'The Innisfail Cycle'. Book One: 'The Sons of Mil', is available now HERE . Book Two: 'The Southernmost Star', is coming soon. Author's website: www.lmriviere.com Social: IG: www.instagram.com/lmriviere_author FB: www.facebook.com/LMRiviereAuthor TW: www.twitter.com/LM_Riviere