Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wishing you a Blessed Samhain & Happy Halloween!



Hello,
Well our 3rd annual Gothic Halloween party has come and gone and tomorrow is the sabbat of Samhain. Today I cranked out the last of the annual articles for Llewellyn and now its just me and book number 15.  Hooray! From the day after Samhain my total writing attention is devoted to the next book. Period.

I have one author event left this year and that will in November be at The Witchery, in Galveston Island Texas. www.witcheryonline.com  I will be teaching three separate classes and doing readings over a three day period. I am really looking forward to going to see Clyde and the fabulous folks in Texas.

Our 3rd annual Gothic Halloween party was our biggest one yet! My daughter and I went out the afternoon of the party and had our hair done for our costumes. So when you see the pictures of my hair to the right- I had that done. I could not pull that off myself. I was Bellatrix LeStrange and my husband Ken did a Gentleman Ghost.

This year we had some very creative costumes. From Bob Ross and a Happy Tree to  Beetlejuice, to Assassin's Creed characters, Gypsies, Zombies, Vampires and of course some very fine Witches.

My adult kids rocked out some Arkham City Characters. Namely Harley Quinn, The Riddler and Bane. Here they are. They even got their friends to come as Catwoman, Twoface, and a Lady cop. Here are my trio below.
Folks gathered around the fire pits in the garden, gobbled up food, had a few drinks and eventually starting posing in the coffin. The black lit garage turned out better than ever and yes we managed to squeeze five Witches into the coffin for a group picture below.

Tomorrow will be a quieter night. For the family and a few close friends and of course the neighborhood trick or treaters.
I wish all of you a blessed Samhain.

Happy Witches' New Year!
Ellen


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Samhain! A Kindle & Nook Sale For Seasons of Witchery!

Good Morning,

I have some news to share! My new book "Seasons of Witchery" is part of a Special Halloween e-book Sale only $1.99 for a limited time... follow the link just below and go get a copy for your Kindle while it's on sale!
Kindle Sale for Seasons of Witchery


Also it IS on Nook as well for the same sale price here is the Nook link.  Nook Sale for Seasons of Witchery   
Remember that this e-book sale only lasts for a week or so- so don't delay go snag a copy now!

I was contacted this summer by Llewellyn and asked if I would be interested in taking part of this Halloween sale. They had nominated Seasons of Witchery for part of the sale and them Amazon and Barnes & Noble chooses which best selling books they want. To my delight, it was chosen. So go get a copy and enjoy the sale price! 

Here is the banner the folks up at Llewellyn made for me- for Samhain and with a quote from my Seasons of Witchery. I pinned it to my Pinterest and put it up on a couple of my Facebook pages.


Here at home things are busy. We are gearing up for our annual Gothic Halloween Party.  I have a Samhain article and ritual to finish for the 2014 Sabbats Almanac. And it is the perfect time of year to do it- as I'm all in the mood! 

Here is a picture of Six-foot Stanley, our Scarecrow guarding over the front yard at dusk. I just took this the other day.  

Looks like I will have to rake many, many leaves this week as all of the pin oak leaves are falling... a cold front is due to slide in and the temperatures will snap back to autumn which I actually prefer. I have had enough of the heat.

That's it for now- I hope you will enjoy reading Season's- Samhain chapter and remember to relax and enjoy the Samhain/ Halloween  festivities. 

Blessed be and Happy Samhain, Ellen

 Visit me on Pinterest!
http://pinterest.com/ellendugan/

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Never Tick Off your Muse....

Hello,

Lately I have been battling with book number 15. Why you may ask? Well, because I actually started writing this particular book last year. (As in Fall of 2011.) I was working full time outside the home as a floral designer last year for about 6 months... so I was not able to devote all of my time to writing. Then just when I thought it was safe- the book had to be put aside to work on the tarot deck. I grumbled about it, but did what was necessary. I worked on book #15 off and on while the art from the deck trickled in... and then the book had to be put aside a second time for the mad-dash-to-the-finish writing marathon that happened when Mark turned the last of the art in mid-April 2012.

After that I promptly got a sinus infection and was sick for a while. Once I got over that I put my nose the grindstone and sent in a proposal for book #15. Then I was busy with author events for Seasons of Witchery and surprise! the Witches Tarot was released a month early. And all my plans of quietly writing in the early fall- went straight out the window.

So as I could, (in between writing several Llewellyn annual articles and teaching classes)  I kept chipping away at the newest magickal book over the past few months. Now, finally I am writing and working on it exclusively full time. And you know what? There have been days I feel like I am chipping away at concrete with a toothpick.

Apparently, my inner Muse is one pissed-off-cranky-bitch.
Seriously. She makes me work and sweat for every freaking page I manage to put on paper. I don't think I have ever worked so hard at getting back into the flow of a book in my life. And to be honest I have never had a book get derailed so many times either.

The good news is this book will be more magickally in depth than any I have written before. It is deeper and and has made me stretch and grow as a writer. It has become more than I thought it would be when I first outlined it. So that makes me happy. Even while I bust my ass.

Anyway, I am chipping away... the deadline is March of next year and I need to have it done by mid-February as I will be a guest speaker at Convocation 2013 in Detroit, February 21-24. So yeah, no pressure or anything. My husband just went to second shift at his job and now he is home during the day and puttering around and making noise while I battle this book.  Which is going to take some adjustment.... on my part.

Because honestly, if I can hear anybody breathe right now it's just annoying. So lately I have been playing my iPod and singing while I write. It drowns out background noise and helps me stay on point. Since the last thing I need is another distraction.

Yes, that's new for me. The loud music and belting out songs while I write. But it seems to be helping... So it's "Butt in chair-hands on keyboard time", as my author friend Jeanne Adams says.

Are you listening Muse? You and book #15 have my full and undivided attention. Lets rock and roll.

Blessed be, Ellen

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Bewitching Project for Halloween

Good Morning and Happy October!

I have begun decorating the house for Samhain over the weekend. I swear we have more Samhain / Halloween interior decorations than most folks do for X-mas! It took me most of the day on Sunday to put everything in place with a lot of help from my husband and daughter. And it's not even all up yet. The really intense decorations go up about a week or so before Samhain. No room is safe- not even the bathrooms, as we prepare for our annual Halloween party. I wrote about this in my new book, Seasons of Witchery. Check out the Autumn Equinox and Samhain chapters for more information.

For the past three years my husband and I have thrown a Gothic Halloween party. And every year it gets bigger and more elaborate. Last year he built a toe pincher coffin and everyone had their picture taken in it out in the garage. Here is one of the pictures from our "Photo Shoot" last year. This is Noir, me, Ember and Draco. I wish you could see the garage when it was black lit, but alas when the camera flashes you loose the black light and the creepiness.
2011 Coffin Photo Shoot.
In a couple of weeks I will get started in the garage and transform it once again into a Gothic lair.  Also, my husband built a lid for that big toe pincher coffin.

Imagine my 24 year old walking in the house back in early September and casually asking when she hears the buzz of the saw, "What's Dad doing out in the garage?" And my equally casual response of, "Oh, he's building a lid for his coffin."

She didn't even blink. 

We are planning to use more backdrops this year in the garage. This year we have black fabric and yards of grey and black tulle to drape the walls with- for the background of the coffin set up. (To cover the walls I snagged some flat black sheets on sale.) Much more economical than buying yards of black fabric and its wider!

This summer I found via Pinterest, some directions for making "candles" out of PVC pipe, hot glue, and battery operated tea lights. I couldn't wait to try it out.
This idea appealed to me for many reasons. First of all when I have a garage heavily decorated with spiderwebs, pumpkins, a coffin, a wine bar, and it's all lit with only black light... and you have lots of folks laughing, dancing and partying- the LAST thing I want to worry about is an open flame.

So I thought this was a fabulous idea. I showed the directions to the Hubs and off he went to the hardware store and came home with 6 feet of PVC pipe for about 5 bucks. Here are the pictures of the PVC Candle project in progress.
First he got out his big chop saw and cut the PVC pipe into various lengths. To start, we chose 8 inches, 5 and 3/4 inches and 3 and 1/2 inches. Then I took blue painters tape- (because I had it lying around) and made a sling across the top of the PVC pipe deep enough for a battery operated tea light to fit inside of.

Once we had that done I took my low-temp glue gun and made "drips" down the side of each PVC pipe. Totally covering the tape. This was done in layers so it would build up, and look like a real meting candle. This takes some time AND you will go through MANY glue sticks. So stock up before you begin, otherwise you will find yourself stopping to run to the arts and craft store- (Like we had to do).
For the long drips I started at the bottom and ran the hot glue up the side of the "candle". Then I would let it pool a bit at the top.              Be careful NOT to let the glue drip inside of the pipe. If you do, you may have a tough time getting the battery operated tea-light in and out of the "candle".  So keep the inside clean and clear of hot glue.

We let the hot glue harden up, and then we used acrylic craft paint in black and brushed it over the "candles". Be sure to paint inside of the pipes and if you have white battery operated tea-lights paint around the top of the tea-lights. (Be sure to wipe any paint off the "flame.) See the picture I took on the right- for the painting in progress.

Then we let the paint dry. Just below and to the left is a picture I took of the candles and tea-lights drying.
Ellen dry brushing the "drips".
 Once the candles were completely dry, I used white acrylic paint and dry brushed the "drips".
Dab the paintbrush on paper so it is almost dry- like stenciling before you start brushing the candle with it.
Starting from the bottom of the candle and then brushing up, I highlighted all of those simulated candle wax drips. This really makes it pop against the black. And it made the candles look more realistic.

Variations: I have seen PVC candles done in black with red drips or purple drips, but I really like the white against the black. To me it looks the best. Plus it looks creepy. White candles with red drips would be pretty nifty. But we wanted to stick with black.

Finally we gathered them up turned on the tea lights and took a few pictures. They looked amazing when they were all grouped together. As a matter of fact they looked so good that we went and made about a dozen more the next weekend.

Oh, and also if you look around the Halloween stores you can find black battery operated tea-lights. We snagged some of those too, and at last count I think we have about 20 or so of these PVC Halloween candles for the party.

For display purposes they do look better when you group them up in groups of 3 or 4 candles.
These PVC candles would be great for outdoor rituals as well if there was a concern for wildfires or if it was windy outside. I bet you can think of lots of uses for these. Red candles with sparkly white drips would be pretty for Yuletide as well.

Use your imagination and see what you can conjure up.
As for me... I am on the lookout for the next big Halloween decorating idea. Enjoy the month of October and Blessed be,
Ellen