Saturday, December 8, 2012

Witch Way to the Christmas Sleigh?

Christmas traditions, every family has them, and every family around the world appears to have some very different ones than those we are used to in America. As you’ve probably guessed from my last Christmas post, I happen to be enthralled with Krampusnacht. Yes, that horny beast that follows Saint Nick around in the hinter lands is a favorite. But have you ever heard of Le Bafana the Christmas Witch, or the Holly King? It seems that Europe is rife with interesting creatures running around in December.
          If you are into Halloween, then Italy may be the place you want to spend your holiday vacation. Le Bafana is the crowning Christmas queen—and she is a witch.  So when you look up in the sky and expect to see a sleigh and reindeer, think again as you do a double take and notice a gaggle of flying broomsticks loaded with sacks carrying presents and the fun-loving witches who deliver them to all the good little Italian chitlins below.  But don’t fret, Le Bafana is a good witch, unlike Krampus, her broom is for delivery purposes only—not smacking the living tar out of naughty boys and girls. Supposedly, Le Befana comes around after December (January 5th), but apparently the celebrations start much sooner.

          In keeping with the pagan theme (and for those of you who don’t know what the origin of the word pagan means: it means ‘country folk’ aka peasants—yup, that’s right, the beliefs of the country folk, not Satanist or crazy people), I shall introduce you to the Holly King. The Holly King garners his strength Midwinter, December to be exact, and he is brother to the Oak King who reigns summer. He is known to be associated with many names such as: Cronos (father time), the Green Knight, Santa Claus, and several others. When you see a depiction of a woodsy Santa, you are seeing the Holly King. The earth goddess is the prize between the two brothers who battle each other every year for her love and continual respect, otherwise we might not see another winter/summer. Here is an interesting tid-bit about the Holly King posted on

Through these early mythical legends, The Holly King begins his battle with his twin brother the Oak King at the Summer Solstice. As the year is wanning the Holly King prevails and begins preparations to save and maintain his people through the cold winter. In order to accomplish his mission, he travels the land to hunt, fish and harvest. Transporting these life saving items in a wagon or sled pulled by eight deer. These 'gifts' of life are provided to all his people, and in exchange they provide care and comfort to his team of deer.

There is also suggestion that the 8 reindeer plays pagan significance. Just follow along here, it comes together in the end. Even in those ancient times the number 9 was an important spiritual number. 9 witches often made up a coven. 9 feet was the diameter of a perfect circle. And maybe that's why "the whole 9 yards"; which refers to the 9 yards of material for a Great Kilt worn by many Celtic highlanders is so important. When we think of Santa we think of Santa and his 8 tiny reindeer. And most people focus on the 8 reindeer. Well now add Santa. 9 souls traveling through the winter sky to bring presents for the rebirth of the year. It's a stretch, but there are those who believe this is where the 8 reindeer got their start.

          In the Nordic countries they wholeheartedly believe in elves. Before roads get built in some places, they have to first make sure the elves aren’t living there and going to get thoroughly pissed that people are intruding on their lands. Roads have actually stopped construction and had to be moved because the elves were messing with the construction. I kid you not. Don’t f#*ck with elves, or you may not get any Christmas presents, or a new road. In Iceland there are no fewer than 16 Santa’s (elves) known as the Jolasveinar (Yule Lads), and they pack some spooky folklore. Typically though, they mostly like to be peeping toms, play tricks, and their mothers like to eat children.

           Perhaps we should start adopting some of these Christmas traditions ourselves, as I see more spoiled brats each year being brought up to believe the world owes them everything without so much as lifting a finger off their iphones.

           As far as my own Christmas traditions go, I just love being with my family and gazing on the tree all spruced up with trinkets and sparkly lights. I like to laugh, drink hot toddies, and cozy up with everyone I hold dear to my heart. And secretly think those naughty thoughts of a Krampus with his chains and whips coming to get me *wink*.

            Have a wonderfilled Christmas, a safe, happy, and warm holiday season!










Saturday, October 6, 2012

Autumn Having A Brew

Autumn Having A Brew
©2012 By Nishi Serrano

Autumn gazed past his transparent reflection in the window. The people beyond the glass walked briskly by as they gripped umbrellas and tightened scarves snug to the neck. Ah … another rainy November day in Portland, perfect weather for a finely crafted brew. In front of him the pint’s tiny bubbles surged upward and disappeared. It amazed him how the carbonation kept appearing as if by magic at the bottom, never ending, at least not until the last drop of cider slid between his lips.

            A freckled hand wrapped around the drink, the rivulets of condensation interrupted. He fingered the wetness, anticipating the excitement of flavors to soon douse the palate. This was his drink, the fruits of his and Summers’ labors. Yet, Summer hadn’t partaken with him for at least a century. A flurry of white beyond the warmth of the café caught his attention. Oh, my. And here he thought he would be drinking alone.

            A woman entered followed by a freezing wind that chilled each one of the patrons, and brought with her a smile that froze every look directly on her. Autumn smirked. The lady flicked her long tresses away from her face impatiently and set about removing her light-weight coat and scarf as she floated to Autumn’s table.

            “Well, I should have known you’d be here. I ignored my gut instinct and started in London. Thank goodness you’re a creature of habit,” she said, plopping onto the seat opposite him.

            Autumn sighed and glanced at his cider, a tad miffed he wouldn’t get to savor it in full bloom. “You’re early.”

            Red lips pouted at his accusation. “No, love, you are late.”

            He grimaced. “Blame it on Spring.”

            Tattoos and black appeared beside the table, dominating their view. The waitress appraised the newcomer nonchalantly and asked, “You need a drink?”

            It was scary how large Winter could stretch her smile. “Why yes, what a tasty little morsel you are! However, I guess I’ll just have to settle for bourbon on the rocks.”

            The server’s cheeks colored. She mumbled something and quickly exited. Of course bourbon, after all, it was the new cool, despite it being around for decades.

            Winter pinned her attention back to Autumn. “Out of all of us, you have the best hair. I’m positively jealous. I tried to dye mine that same color of sparkling red, but it looked hideous on me.”

            He grinned. The wintry season would be longer this year, she seemed a less frigid incarnation than usual. “Surprising, you’re quite pale.”

            “Yes, yes, rub it in. If only I could be as lusciously dark as Spring, she gets all the fun!”  

            “Oh, but you get invited to the best parties.”

            “True. Did you know Summer and Spring are off having a fling? I suppose that’s why you got bunked. It’s not the first time they’ve done this, but it does mess with the flow of things.”

            Autumn ignored her for a brief second, raised his glass, closed his eyes, and took a swig. When the taste effervesced, his green eyes opened. He licked his lips. Winter gazed at him, entranced.

            “So, why are you here?”

            Surprise and hurt wrinkled her normally smooth face.  “To talk about the end of the world.” A cocktail napkin and glass plunked down in front of her, the smile returned.

            “You ready to order food?” the server asked.

            Winter couldn’t stop her boisterous mouth. “Only if you’re on the menu, dear,” she replied, and winked. The server glared and walked off.

            He rolled his eyes. He’d had to listen to that bit of gossip for the last seven years incessantly. There was always some faction or other going on about the end of the world. It just so happened the Mayan’s were the star record holders for the longest held theory, thanks to modern gadgetry. “Do you really believe that schlock?”

            “Where have you been hiding that pretty ginger head lately? Humans aren’t the only ones talking. It’s been reflected in deeper pools if you catch my drift.”

            He gazed longingly at the cider and sighed.  “What makes this year so special?”

            Winter gave him a hard, squinty stare. She drummed her fingers against the rocks glass and said, “The Bat.”

            “Come again?”

            Her usual frigid self returned. He hated it when she looked at him as if he were a child. “Mayan folklore. Man’s downfall from greed and corruption. C’mon, just look at who’s running for the presidency in your beloved USA, not to mention the rest of the hoopla. Anything could happen. And, apparently it’s about to.”

            He rolled the cider around his tongue, and swallowed. If this was the end, what would it mean? What would happen to him and the others? No more finely crafted brews? He shuddered. “Why are you telling me this now, Winter?”

            She guffawed, pounded the amber liquid, and then patted the corners of her mouth with a napkin. “Oh, you really are priceless. Don’t you listen to the news? “

            He shook his head, brow raised.

            “You’re date dear, and that means you’re responsibility.” She threw up her hands and sighed. “Really Autumn, are you that daft?”

            Perpetuated by her words, a moment of sheer, chilly terror traveled up and down his spine. Impossible—he hadn’t been out of the loop that long, or, had he? “No, no … this is a mistake, maybe a joke by the Fates,” he said, gaze searching for something far beyond the window of the café, a means of escape perhaps.

            “You can’t blame anyone else. If you weren’t off hiding all the time, you’d have known sooner,” she accused.

            Autumn was speechless. A thousand thoughts swirled inside his head like a gale of skeletal leaves. If the responsibility of stopping the end of the world landed on him, then it needed to prepare for doom.  His hands tightened around the pint. This unnerving change of the wheel caused an unfamiliar feeling, that of being truly alone for the first time. Lost … everything would be lost.

            When he raised his gaze to meet hers, he was ashamed to see pity written plainly across her features. Winter sighed. “My poor, poor Autumn. I never thought it possible for you to become further melancholic, but you have. Fear not, you are my favorite, and I plan on helping you.”

            He felt like he should hate her, but Winter had always been a close friend, even though she was a bit high maintenance, and snarky. He cocked his head in wait for her clarification.

            “Start at the orchard. You know—the original orchard. I can’t come with you though, they hate me. Plus, they get righteously jealous whenever I’m with you. They practically worship you and Summer. Anyway, I hear an old friend of yours might have some information.”

            Autumn blanched. That old haunt was the last place he desired to visit. This end of the world nonsense was happening far too soon. He would be forced to relive the beginning of events all over again. Bloody fumpkins! His mind went on a cursing rampage as the ice queen continued to stare.

            She broke the silence. “Don’t I at least get a thank you?”

            Angry, he gulped down the remains of his brew, smacked loudly, and said, “Gee, thank you for bringing me high tidings, do you want a big hug to go with it?”

            “You’re not the hugging type,” she said and huffed.  She pulled a rumpled wad of money from a pocket and dropped it next to her empty drink. Both hands on the table, she leaned over it with her face close to his. “I’ve got your back, I’ve always had your back, and stars know I’d love to see that front, so stop moping and get to it. I’ll keep my ear to the ground and meet up with you down the road.”

            He grimaced at the finished cider clutched between his numb fingers.  Winter donned her scarf and breezed out the cafe without another word. She paused outside the window and tapped a nail on it. A smudge of frost appeared. She held her hand out, palm up in front of her face and puckered her lips. Kiss, kiss blew a blush of Winter. Autumn shivered.





            Have a fabulous fall! ... N










Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Halloween Tree Review By William Brian Johnson

The Halloween Tree By Ray Bradbury
Review and Guest Post By William Brian Johnson
They thought of All Hallows' Night and the billion ghosts-a-wandering the lonely lanes in cold winds and strange smokes.

Looking for a good creepystory for Halloween?
It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state. There wasn’t so much wilderness around you couldn’t see the town. But on the other hand there wasn’t as much town you couldn’t see and feel and touch and smell the wilderness. The town was full of trees. And dry grass and dead flowers now that autumn was here. And full of fences to walk on and sidewalks to skate on and a large ravine to tumble in and yell across. And the town was full of…Boys.
And it was the afternoon of Halloween.
And all the houses shut against a cool wind.
And the town full of cold sunlight.
But suddenly, the day was gone.

Eight boys are on the search to find their sick friend, Pipkin. 

A strange, tall man, Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud is their tour guide for the night.  This creepy ferryman takes the boys through time to distant civilizations that marked the changing of the seasons and the cycle of life.  In this journey, the boys find the true meaning of Halloween and the spirit of the season. 

This book shows the history of Halloween and provides it in the packing of a children’s book. Originally Bradbury wrote this for Chuck Jones to produce as a cartoon, but it was not animated until 1993.  Ray Bradbury won an Emmy for the script, but was unsatisfied with the movie. 

Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Halloween Tree’ is a book I will reread as the maple leaves begin to dye blood red, as the wind grows cold, and as night realizes its victory against the ailing sunlight.  This is a book to be read aloud to not only bring the season, but sooth the ghosts that haunt us and surround us.

William Brian Johnson is a writer, storm chaser, and an evil version of Robert Fulghum.  You can follow his misadventures at  and his storm chasing at  Mr. Johnson’s novel ‘Hell to Pay’ is available through Amazon in e-book or paperback:

The unreleased Chapter 0 is available for free:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Mile Below Resort Under The Sea!

If there were ever a story I’ve had more fun writing, it’s ‘Mile Below Peep Show’. The above picture is a fun interpretation of two characters in MBPS, the peacock twins. I really stretched my imagination on this one, as there are no underwater resorts of this scale anywhere in the world, unless you count The Poseidon Resort, which is still under construction (in the real world). Anyway, I had no idea it existed while I was writing MBPS. So, you see, there are quite a few treats waiting for you under the waves in this labyrinthine luxury of erotic steampunk adventure. And there will be more to come. I’m currently working on the third installment of the ‘Mile’ series, and the third book will be a novel, and it’s going to be one brassy adventure!

            You’re summer vacation doesn’t have to end. Pick up your e-book copy of Mile Below Peep Show and explore a world unrestrained by the walking world, and dive right in to what awaits: Delicious mermen, exotic peep shows, cocktails, a lusty labyrinth, and all manner of sexual follies wind themselves into a mouth watering novella that is sure to put a blush on your cheek.


Nishi Serrano

“Creating fantastic worlds imaginative enough to hold the unexplored…”

 MBPS Blurb:

Lady Rose fears her best friend Abigail Bertram is growing lonely and embittered by her life as heir and sole proprietor to her family’s business. After experiencing the pleasures and induction to the Mile High Airship Club, Rose and her husband William devise a plan to hopefully cure their friend of her prim ways and introduce her to a new, freer world, of carnal desires.
Taking Abby on their special vacation, the three friends embark on a steampunk carnival soiree under the sea brimming with mermaids, a cast of lusty characters, and of course—exotic peep-shows!
Will their adventure open Abby’s eyes to what she’s been missing, or will her heart stay chained to business as usual?
However, a surprise none of them intended shows up to test Abby’s brass, and possibly melt her heart.

Mile Below Peep Show can be bought here:

I adore friends:
To go back to the giveaway and hop page click here:

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Most Important Object in the Universe

It’s no secret to my friends that I’m a sucker for all macabre things pertaining to the genres of horror and dark fantasy. So there’s no surprise one of my things is classic cars (and scary coaches, they make me drool). Stephen King had ‘Christine’, ‘Evil Dead’ had the 1973 Delta Olds 88, and television has the 1967 Chevy Impala on ‘Supernatural’.  What is it about cars that fascinate us, especially in horror? Perhaps it is the subconscious fear of the ever present possibility of a car accident. After all, we ride around in our little cages of love practically every day. I can’t even fathom how many hours in our lives we spend driving.

                Then there is the ever present spookiness of driving along a deserted road in the dead of the night—add some fog into that, and wah-lah!—the perfect moment to get your imagination conjuring the direst of fates. Where will the road take you? And, who’s that sitting in the back seat?! Oh, it’s just me … mwahahahaha!

                I had the pleasure of meeting some really rockin’ folks with the Cinema Classics Car Club, and they are a club I would be proud to be a part of (if only I had a classic movie car). Here is their link:

                They boast an impressive list of cars in their club: The Nova from Tarantino’s ‘Death Proof’, and the Mustang, and the ‘Supernatural’ Chevy Impala. How cool is that! So here you are folks, my photo opportunity to scratch off my bucket list:


Death Proof:

Thank you Tod, Julia, and Vincent for a superb day with new friends!

...And I can't keep this photo out, 'cuase as a kid, I was a fan too:

Don't Hassel the Hoff


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Zoo Promenade 2

Well, hello there, fancy meeting you on this trail! Nature’s great chandelier in the sky is sparkling all around us, and the breeze is hinting for us to follow it. Would you care to join me on a magical walk? Look there … do you see that vine covered arch? Just beyond it awaits an adventure. Come on—don’t be shy, the cute and wondrous inhabitants of the forest are always happy to have company, and to teach us a thing or two about life.

There are many wise eyes watching us from the treetops, but don’t fear, I’m right here with you.

Have you ever wondered what Yoda’s uncle might have looked like?
Yoda’s Uncle says: “Blind we are, if creation is destroyed by humanity.”

Oh, I almost forgot, handsome ‘Hairy’ promised me a photo shoot today! He’s the perfect gentleman, and so photogenic!

Hairy wanted me to add this photo of a very important message:

Do you know who Ganesh is? Ganesh is an elephant deity from India, who has a way with opening doors and eliminating obstacles. Let’s go see if we can find him!
Ganesh thought I should share this information:

Birds of a feather prey together …

Where did the wood go?

Boared …

Not amused …

Is it just me, or is nature’s art imitating life (look closely and you will see!) …

Ah, water, refreshing on a hot day, and teeming with surprises …


Which way should we go now?

Helping hooves …

*Yawn* I think it’s nap time …

Time to wake up!

Wow, what a wonderful day it has been. I’m so glad you could take a walk with me. Will you join me again sometime? Who knows where I will head to, but it will always be an adventure! 

Thank you Portland Zoo for an amazing and educational visit: