Home    Workshops    Members Only    Contests    Join    Contact us                       RWA Chapter

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Magic

Please welcome guest blogger Cindy Spencer Pape

As a paranormal romance author, I spend all year writing about impossible things. Still, even for me, there’s something about this time of year, October through December, that seems to give me extra license. October is easy to explain—people love vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more around Halloween, and the darker the better. But Thanksgiving? Christmas? What is it about those holidays that makes them lend themselves to the supernatural?

I’d argue that a lot of it goes back to our primitive instincts. There are reasons so many cultures have holidays that coincide with the natural cycles of the Earth. Here in the northern hemisphere, October through December is the time when days get colder and nights get longer. Survival itself became more of a challenge, so of course beliefs sprang up to both acknowledge the darkness and danger, and to encourage hope. If magic/miracles can happen, then maybe we have a chance to get through the winter. From harvest through solstice, we see a strong focus on the inexplicable in both folklore and religion around the world.

I honestly think those same urges and instincts are part of why there is so much of the mystical even in our secular celebrations of the holiday season, and why paranormal fiction gains so much in popularity during the darkness of the year. This isn’t a new thing, either. Dickens, who wrote straightforward contemporary fiction for the most part, gave us a ghost story for Christmas. In modern holiday tales, we have Santa and his elves sharing time with talking snowmen, the Grinch, and flying reindeer. Thanksgiving, our celebration of family and harvest, doesn’t have a lot of magic associated with it, but maybe that’s because the harvest, and the joyous family get-together are considered miraculous enough in themselves.

Face it, as human beings, we crave the idea that there’s more to the universe than just the here and now, and the colder and darker it is, the more we’re comforted by that. It’s the time of year when our distant ancestors huddled around the fire and told stories to entertain each other. Is it so surprising then that we long to curl up with a good book and a blanket? And if that book is something just a little bit out of the ordinary, with maybe a seasonal touch as well, then all the better for whiling away a long winter’s night.

You can find out more about me and my work at the links below. Most of my books are paranormal, and even some of my “contemporary” or “historical” titles have paranormal touches. I have a couple Halloween tales and several Christmas books out with various publishers, all of which have at least a touch of that seasonal magic. One Good Man, which I co-wrote with Lacey Thorn, is a Thanksgiving paranormal mystery. Just the thing to enjoy after a big family dinner.

Whichever holidays you celebrate, may they be full of love and magic!


Author of over thirty popular books and novellas in paranormal, historical, and erotic romance, Cindy Spencer Pape is an avid reader of romance, fantasy, mystery, and even more romance. According to The Romance Studio, her plots are “full of twist and turns that keep the reader poised at the edge of their seat.” Joyfully Reviewed said, her “colorful characters and plot building surprises kept me spellbound,” and Romantic Times Magazine says her “characters are appealing, and passionate sex leads to a satisfying romance.”

Cindy firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty years to her own, sometimes-kilted hero, she lives in southern Michigan with him and two teenage sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets. Cindy has been, among other things, a banker, a teacher, and an elected politician, but mostly an environmental educator, though now she is lucky enough to write full-time. Her degrees in zoology and animal behavior almost help her comprehend the three male humans who share her household.

One Good Man

Co-written with Lacey Thorn

An enduring urban legend is the story of the phantom hitchhiker. Young or old, male or female, in need of help or just needing a ride, the legends vary. A helpful driver offers a ride and the passenger gives directions. When they arrive at the destination the passenger vanishes, sometimes leaving behind a memento to mark their passing. A stormy night, a deserted country road, a blown tire, and a woman on the run from a killer. Is the handsome young Marine here to save her? Or is he just a figment of her imagination?

Casey is caught between a murderer, a ghost and the wounded soldier who could save her life or break her heart. Grant can deal with Thanksgiving snowstorms and determined killers but not his brother's ghost, and not a woman who makes him start thinking about the future. Can Grant let go of the past to embrace the explosive passion he finds with Casey? He's willing to risk his life for hers, but what about his heart?


Lex Valentine said...

The magic of the season makes people want to believe. And the exhaustion from shopping makes them crave a good escape! ;)

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Good point, Lex!

Julia Barrett said...

I agree, Cindy - we like to fill the dark times with creatures, good and bad. Some bring the light, some live in the night - love the post.

Fedora said...

I love holiday anthologies, Cindy! I think I might have some of these electronically already, but I like keepers in print! Happy Thanksgiving!

Paris said...

What a wonderful and insightful post! I'm going to have to look up that story because I'm suddenly getting the urge to sit down and read a very good book:-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

V. J. Devereaux said...

Most of us are also looking for connection. Memories of childhood, of the magic and tradition of the holidays make many people long for that sense of belonging, of being a part of something. So whether it's the 'dark' magic of Halloween, or the 'light' magic of holiday season, we all seek to recreate that childhood sense of wonder, and the close connection to those we love.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Happy Thanksgiving, flchen! Paris, thank you! Julia and VJ, good points!

Katalina Leon said...

Time goes by so fast. I'm always grateful the year ends with a crescendo of holidays. It helps me hold onto the year a little longer, review it and let it go gracefully.
No one can convince me there is no more to this world than the measurable and obvious. I strongly suspect the "paranormal" is just the normal we're not yet acquainted with.
PS Lovely post Cindy!

Janni Nell said...

In the southern hemisphere our October-December days are filled with sun and heat but it's still magical. Lights in the trees on a summer night, breeze whispering across a sparkling harbour...mmmm magic.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Totally agree. I think something in us craves a touch of magic -- a chance to believe there is an "otherness" alive in the world. Imagine if battling other Xmas shoppers for parking spots was all there was to the season!

Linda Leszczuk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Leszczuk said...

Oops, deleted myself.

You missed my favorite mystical Christmas story (okay, it's a movie) - It's a Wonderful Life.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Kat, I think you may be right! Janni, I'd love to experience a holiday season south of the equator, just to see the difference. Linda, GREAT example, and Jenny, you're so totally on the mark!

Thanks everyone for stopping by!

Tina Donahue said...

Love your books, Cindy -hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!! :)