Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guest Post: Author Scott Nicholson (& Giveaway)


Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, As I Die Lying, Burial to Follow ,and They Hunger. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers. His Web site is Haunted Computer.

 
 Rabbit in a Midnight Graveyard

Many Appalachian folk beliefs came from the British Isles, and one of the prevailing cultural theories is the Scots-Irish came into New York and then kept heading south until they found something that looked like home. That would be the highlands of North Carolina, Kentucky, and Virginia, what is commonly called “Hillbilly Country.”

Stereotypes often contain a footing in truth, and there is still quite a bit of clannishness in the mountains and a distrust of outsiders. That’s why the mountains were largely left alone during the Civil War and why escaped slaves often headed for the hills where they would not be bothered as long as they didn’t bother anyone else.

The popular image of the barefoot hillbilly tending a moonshine still had a lot of basis in cultural history. Not only was whiskey making a proud family craft, the distrust of government that drove unhappy subjects from the King of England’s rule led to a distrust of government and its liquor taxes.

The Jack Tales, of which Jack and the Beanstalk is probably the most famous and benign, featured a clever Jack pulling a fast on over on the wealthy royalty, usually through industry and cleverness. While the oral tradition is dying out, those tales are still passed down through generations.

Plant lore was also carried over, as people were dependent on the environment for their goods, food, and healing. Four-leaf clovers, now popular as good-luck symbols, originally were considered charms that allowed the owner to see ghosts and evil spirits. My novels Creative Spirit and The Red Church draw on a little mountain folk magic as part of the foundation for supernatural activity.

I used the idea of “poppet magic,” a type of mountain voodoo doll, in my short story “Apple Head Dolly,” which appears in the anthology Appalachian Winter Hauntings and my forthcoming collection Gateway Drug. Shriveled apples were often used as the heads of dolls, because facial features could be cut into a wet apple and then dried into a creepy, wizened likeness.

Of course, ghost stories occur in most every culture and the Appalachian settlers certainly brought their superstitions with them. Even the Cherokee who inhabited the area had their tales, as I utilized in my novel They Hunger. One of the members of a rafting team is on a vision quest, enduring hardship in the hope of seeing his spirit animal. Of course, his animal turns out to be a hallucination induced by the drugs he is taking.

One of my favorite tales told by my grandmother involved a witch who couldn’t pee because someone stuck a broomstick up her chimney. My adult self can see the symbolism of it, but as a child, I was lost in the magic of a world where items had control over people. Similarly, glass had the power to catch ghosts or witches, or provide barriers through which ghosts couldn’t pass.

Rabbits, owls, rain, moon signs, and more affected the way mountain people looked at their world. And still do today, at least in my little hollow.

If you want more Appalachian folklore, I have a list of weather, death, healing, and supernatural listings at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/scottst41.htm


For more about this author, please visit:


Kindle 3 Giveaway [CLOSED]


To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy The Red Church and put me in the Top 100 and I’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm

---------------------------------------------------------

Many thanks to Scott for stopping by on his tour! I really enjoyed learning more about Appalachian folklore! I've always found folklore to be an interesting genre - on the surface, the stories seem simple, but if you take a closer look they often have deeper sociopolitical significance. You can learn a lot about a culture that way.

101 comments:

Zoë said...

great post and giveaway! definitely want to be entered :)

strandedhero(at)gmail(dot)com

Tina said...

Great post and thanks for the chance to win!

melodiousrevelry (at) gmail (dot) com

debbie said...

I love learning about folklore. I even just ordered all the old foxfire books, because I find it very interesting.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Gadget Girl said...

Defintely enter me in the contest. I am from the Appalachians and still am very interested in where all our ideas come from. For me, they have just been a way of life and those ideas are just presented as fact.

Inspired Kathy said...

Thanks for the giveaway. Please enter me.

Neal Hock said...

I love learning about folklore, especially that of the Appalachian mountains. I went to college in the mountains and even took a couple of classes that included a lot of the region's folklore. Loved it!

-Neal

Jeff said...

Debbie - I love the Foxfire books! I think they would be hard to enjoy on my little Kindle 1st generation though.
Scott - Those little apple-faced dolls are really cool and definitely one-of-a-kind.
I am drawn to Appalachian ways even though I was born and reared in the western Ohio flat land, among the corn and beans. Envy, most likely.
I like the tour, but it is taking chunks of time out of my admittedly boring daily routine! Read you tomorrow!

Jeff White whitejw@ameritech.net

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

One of the reasons I love your books is that you incorporate such interesting elements of Appalachian folklore. I would like to find out more about the sources, but the supernatural listing link above doesn't work. Could you fix it? I grew up in Switzerland listening to and reading local lore and Grimm's folktales - not the cleaned-up Disney versions but the real thing. Some were pretty nasty and delightfully scary. I remember one where skeletons were playing ball with skulls.
Christa
cpolkinhorn@msn.com

byonge said...

The folks of Appalachia have influenced lifestyles all around the west. Debbie mentioned the foxfire books. We've had them (1-4) in our home since the 70s. I only recently learned they're up to vol. 12.

byonge@lonepinetv.com

Bibliophile said...

Good post - I love to read about folklore for different parts of the world. By the way, I get a 404 error when I click on the link.

lingeorge said...

I love good rich folklore and find the Appalachian stories fascinating. Will follow up on your site. I read the Foxfire books years ago -- need to revisit.
troublelore @ gmail .com

Paul McMurray said...

Scott, those runaway truck areas in the hills worry me.
Keep on blogging!
Paul
mrluckyATcharterDOTnet

Cathy M said...

Great background for your stories.



caity_mack at yahoo dot com

chey said...

Great post!

chey127 at hotmail dot com

Candace said...

Appalachian Folklore is fascinating!

candace_redinger at yahoo dot com

Rabid Fox said...

Speaking of moonshine, I recently discovered there is a perfectly legal moonshine distillery on Prince Edward Island. Legal shine? Weird. :)

rabidfox[at]ymail.com

Inanna said...

I'm still with 'em on the distrust of government! ;)

inannajourney at gmail dot com

HODGEPODGESPV said...

i have kindle on my mac and last night noted they had some scottish and celtic folklore listed for free so promptly down loaded them. what i most love is the music of the hills...sometimes i think they might last longer than the stories. spvaughan@yahoo.com

lorraine_lanning said...

I've always loved folklore and myths, they're good stories and always have a lesson.

I'll have to investigate the Foxfire books, I hadn't heard of them before.

Interesting post - thanks!

lorraine_lanning[at]yahoo[dot]com

lorraine_lanning said...

I've always loved folklore and myths, they're good stories and always have a lesson.

I'll have to investigate the Foxfire books, I hadn't heard of them before.

Interesting post - thanks!

lorraine_lanning[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sharon S. said...

I've lived in NC my whole life, mainly in the RTP area. I grew up hearing the mountain ghost stories.

sstogner1@triad.rr.com

Monster A Go-Go said...

Scott,

I find it brilliant that you take the legends and folklore from your area, expand on it and turn it into the bases for one of your novels. Bravo.

Of course, the most fascinating part of the process is how you elaborate or expand on the story. For example, you wrote: "The popular image of the barefoot hillbilly tending a moonshine still had a lot of basis in cultural history."

Of course, that image IS ingrained into our culture---but you had to go and put your own spin on it to make it more gruesome and horrifying. Instead of being a barefoot hillbilly, you just went and shucked all of your clothes and became a bare nekkid hillbilly! EEEK!

I don't know what sort of story you are working on with the nekkid hillbilly imagery, but it must be epic as you've been carrying out your "research" for years and YEARS now, scaring tourists away and causing untold financial destitution (loss of tourist dollars), pyschological damage (once people have seen you naked, they can't "unsee" you--try as they might) and plummeting property values!

Of course, there are endless rumors going around that you have "writer's block" and that your nude hillbilly story just isn't coming to you. People are upset. After all of these years (DECADES!) of putting up with your bare behind (and other unsavory nekkid parts) to help you with your "art". An area's generosity can only be stretched so thin...even for you!

Don't be surprised if you wake up one day and, like your grandmother's tale, find someone has "stuck a broomstick up your chimney" out of sheer frustration. If that's the case and the book writing gig has dried up, you can always get a job as a maid.

(Ignore me again today... I am sooooo tired. I'm literally falling asleep at my desk. Zzzzz...)

Cheers!

Estella said...

I enjoyed learning about folklore.

kissinoak at frontier dot com

monapete said...

Great post and great contest

monacart32 at hotmail dot com

Randy said...

Wow Scott. Your Grandmother was awesome to tell you those types of stories. I wish my Grandparents would have told me things like that. I could have grown up and became a writer just like you. :-)

Thanks again.

randymir@gmail.com

coriwestphal said...

Back again for another entry Scott! So excited! Thank you!!

coriwestphal at msn dot com
@coriwestphal

Janice Gable Bashman said...

Folklore yields a wealth of information for the writer to use.

Great post.

janicebashman at yahoo dot com

Weston said...

I live in the heart of the mountains too and have seen first hand how difficult it can be to fit in. If they can't link you to a family and people they know, you will never fit in, but your great, great, grandchildren might be accepted if you stay there that long. The stories and tales are a great start and do exhibit the mistrust they have for government and authority. Even to this day, you can find moonshine makers if you gain the trust of the right people, but it is incredibly difficult. They might give you a taste, but don't ask where they got it. They are incredibly giving, but don't trust outsiders and even have feuds that last so long they have forgotten what it is about, like the Hatfields and McCoys most people are familiar with. It is certainly an experience I will never forget.

Wakincade AT gmail DOT com

sohamolina said...

I am a newsletter subscriber

eddiem11@ca.rr.com

Anonymous said...

Sob...could not get enough contrast to read black print on dark gray, or is it my pc acting up? But enter me for today please!

Nadine stacypilot at yahoo dot com

Melody Wilson said...

Ooh, I'd love to win this one!!!
melodyawilson [at] gmail [dot] com

Thanks for the opportunity!

Douglas Dorow said...

Waiting for that email to tell me I won. Love the regionality of your stories!

Dwdorow@gmail.com
ThrillersRus.blogspot.com

booklover0226 said...

I enjoyed the post and look forward to the others.

Thanks,
Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Ali said...

I love reading about different parts of the world. I enjoyed reading this post, thank you :)

aliciaeflores1 @ yahoo.com

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Anonymous - I think your PC is acting up. The background shouldn't be gray but a very light off-white.

I'm glad everyone is enjoying the post!

author Christa Polkinhorn said...

Monster A Go-Go: You missed yesterday's post!! It's not just goats, it's aligators. Just saying...
Christa

Monster A Go-Go said...

Christa,

I DID make it to yesterdays... (Unless it was deleted?). Look on the 2nd page of comments. It was too long, so I had to cut it down to three separate entries.

On second thought---don't waste your time looking for it. It was less than inspired...

I hope you are well. Has it cooled down any down there? We are roasting again up here. UGH!!!!

Cheers!

Eric said...

Interesting information about folklore in our mountains here in the US. I hadn't realized where a lot of it had come from.

calseeor (at) gmail (dot) com

sailorwind said...

Hello!

sailorwind@gmail.com

sailorwind at gmail dot com

Lori A. said...

Interesting! Thank you!
ljatwood at gmail dot com

Ashley said...

Great post! Thanks for the giveaway!

ashleysbookshelf[@]gmail[.]com

Also don't forget to check out my amazing giveaways located at the top of my blog posts.

Ashley's Bookshelf

YzhaBella (aka Kate) said...

Lmao Um..."One of my favorite tales told by my grandmother involved a witch who couldn’t pee because someone stuck a broomstick up her chimney."

I think I'd like your grandmother! Woot Woot!

Cheers!

Icedream said...

I have my old weathered collection of Foxfire books that were handed down to me.
I also grew up with a superstitious mother and even though I know better but I still cringe when I hear an own hoot in the day or if a bird flies into the house. Knock on wood that doesn't happen often.

waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

Jason Fedelem said...

Thanks for the tour, Scott

Candy's Creations said...

Thanks
Candy
draognfly1976@gmail.com

Horror Books said...

Hey Scott,

I too would love to win a Kindle. Right now reading print is difficult because my eyes blur the letters of the alphabet. Lately I've been relegated to reading only by audio book (both books bought from Audible.com and audio books borrowed from my library's Overdrive eMedia Collection) and a few non-DRM items that I can load up on my borrowed Kindle.

I really need a Kindle of my own. One that will allow me to purchse Kindle books and download them to a portable light weight reader rather than leaving them on the computer. Sure the Kindle PC app works fine but it's a pain to carry my computer out to the bus stop to read my new copy of The Red Church while I wait.

Say, if I had a Kindle of my own, could I buy and dowmload Creative Spirit and your other UK releases or will I have to wait until the copyright reverts back to you?

Thanks for the chance to win,
Greg the Undead Rat

theundeadrat (@) gmail (.) com

Diana said...

Great stories.

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Scott, I am still following you. lol I love the title "Rabbit in a Midnight Graveyard". Really sounds spooky and a little crazy. Thanks for stopping by to chat with us.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Julie said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

juliecookies(at)gmail.com

Linda Kish said...

Please include me.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Carol said...

Still following...

crljqs1@gmail.com

Kippoe said...

Nice post on the root of story telling

Nickname unavailable said...

Thanks! Great post.

canadell@bellsouth.net

author Scott Nicholson said...

Christa, there is a period on end of link for some reason. Copy and paste http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/scottst41.htm

@sharon I've lived in RTP area a few years, mostly school at UNC and a couple years hanging around

@weston one of the subthemes in my book is the change in the mountains. As a society we are really becoming homogenized. I don't think that's all bad, as hopefully it will lead to world peace, but right now outsiders are buying up the mountains and clear-cutting the trees so everyone can see what great big houses they live in two weeks a year.

@greg there's a $139 kindle if you live in an area with good wireless. You can adjust the font to your liking, one of the great advantages of Kindle over print. I'd bet this basic Kindle is $99 at Christmas.

Scott

deanna said...

I would LOVE a Kindle DX. Thanks for the opportunity to win one! :)

P.S. Click on my name for my contact info. ;)

stacythemagnificentmommy said...

cool! I didn't know the stories came from the British Isles! Very interesting.

hancoci_s at msn dot com

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

I think I've fixed the link, so it should work now!

Hank Brown said...

Broom up the chimney? Eeeeewwwwwwww!
That's just WRONG!

Twitter: MachineTrooper
machinetrooper at gmail dot com

Wanda said...

I'd love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

Kaitlyn (Kaitlyn in Bookland) said...

I'm loving all of these posts!

kaitlynkline[at]gmail[dot]com

Michael L. Martin Jr. said...

A broomstick up her chimney? Sounds dirty. I want to hear the rest of that story!

michaellmartinjr[at]gmail[dot]com

Margay said...

The witch who couldn't pee - that's hysterical!

Margay1122(at)aol(dot)com

linz said...

I love that you use different lore for your stories! Thanks for the giveaway!

dancer_gil76(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

Brenda said...

I enjoy the Appalachian folklore incorporated into your stories. I couldn't get the folklore link to work. varbonoff22 at cox dot net

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

I find myth and folklore so interesting... I don't think we have a lot of it in Canada, which is too bad.

amorrison916[at]hotmail[dot]com

Teawench said...

Great post. I didn't know that about the folklore of the Appalachian area. I'm going to try to remember to look up that story about the witch that couldn't pee!
teawench at gmail dot com

Pink Panther said...

Thanks for the lovely post!
You can reach me at luvpinkpanther@gmail.com

Kimberly K. said...

I am enjoying following your Blog Tour. Thanks for the giveaway.kellysydow@yahoo.com

May said...

I believe I didn't miss a day yet \o/

Stalking Scott...

mayarend -at- yahoo.com.br

Kristie said...

Interesting about Appalachian folklore. I'll have to reseach it some more.

kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com

Betty: Reflections with Coffee said...

I went to a lecture by Sharyn McCrumb who said the Appalachians were actually part of the British Isles -- but then the Continental Drift split them apart. Makes sense ... when I visited Ireland, it felt so much like HOME (we live in the foothills of the Appalachians).
Also heard the Jack Tales at the annual national Story Telling Festival.
Good post, Scott.
bmcbroom @ gmail dot com

ylime1981 said...

Thanks!

Emily ebdye1(at)gmail(dot)com

Stefanie said...

... A broomstick stuck up her chimney.... Bwa ha ha ha!

Is this the same grandmother who hid food in the attic when someone died? She sounds like a fun lady!


Stefanie647@msn.com

Doreen said...

Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful giveaway!! :)

hendy said...

I think there is probably a little bit of hillbilly in all of us.
hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

stacey said...

Wow you realy study alot before writing a book you most be a busy man to have done all that you have done.
sasluvbooks(at)yahoo.com

Regge Ridgway said...

scott rocks.

jessica said...

Wow. I didn't know about the four leaf clovers. Thanks for the information.

jessangil@gmail.com

JerryGilreath said...

Having grown up in the south, the folklore is actually very interesting to me. Tennessee foothills are gorgeous, and filled with interesting people with even more interesting stories!!

jerry at jerrygilreath dot com
or jerry.gilreath at gmail dot com

author Scott Nicholson said...

@betty, Sharyn is awesome, she gave me my first ever book blurb.

@stefanie yes, same grandma, 92 and crotchety as heck

@jessica a lot of the Good Luck charms were originally from deep superstitious fears--horseshoes over the door, rabbit's foot, etc

@jerry every culture has its lore, which is why it's so much fun to learn and share

OK everyone don't forget Red Church rush to Top 100 to get that extra kindle, thanks for your help

Scott

Ima said...

Hey Scott - luvin the blog tour! What a fun way to check out some new blog sites. Now I am going to go check out The Red Church.

dreamer dot ima at gmail dot com

EVA SB said...

I love the posts about the Appalachians and folklore.

eva.s.black[@]gmail[.]com

vindel said...

Wonderful idea!

ivechosendarkness[@]gmail[.]com

brik said...

Another nice post! Another great blog...

briank68{at}gmail{dot}com

Kim said...

I remember apple head dolls:-)lol

skeltons3 at hotmail.com

Tom said...

Thanks Scott! Keep it up! Great posts.

Tom
tztomfromcali _at_ gmail _ com

Katie said...

Very cool...thanks for the chance to win!

kt1969 at comcast dot net

Lilk13 said...

Great giveaway, please enter me.

kkappleby at msn dot com

Karen/lilk13

Dee Martin said...

Love love love myths and folklore incorporated into fiction. You do a great job of it and now I'm off to that blog link for more :)

deedeekm@gmail.com

gnostalgia said...

Love those southern myths and legends. I don't know what it is about southerners and tall tales.

Barry
http://gnostalgia.wordpress.com

sohamolina said...

My contact info:

eddiem11@ca.rr.com

fickleinpink said...

i love folklore and legends, i think they are so roamntic.


hi!

this is fun!

glad to be onboard the tour! A kindle Dx would be cool!


please include in the draw.


rowan_angel7(at) yahoo (dot) com

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Scott, Wow but you gave us a ton of info about folklore that I never knew. Thanks for the interesting facts and can't wait to read your book.
Thanks for stopping by to chat.
and I am still following you. lol

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

bluefrog said...

I almost missed this one.

bluefrog62@yahoo.com

author Scott Nicholson said...

Thanks for entering and good luck, everyone. Entries here now capped at 94 (minus repeats and my posts). Thanks for hosting, Casey, and I hope everyone "follows" her blog.

@Ashley there's probably some good French fur-trapper legends in Canada to be explored!

Kim, I have apple-head dolls in Creative Spirit and also the story "Apple Head Dolly" upcoming in the Gateway Drug collection.

Don't forget to spread the word because the bigger the tour, the better it is for YOU (to win stuff!)

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your bog tour! I.pearson@comcast.net

A.P. Fuchs said...

Child perception and adult perception are two vastly different worlds.

I remember living and breathing the Christopher Reeve Superman movies growing up. then there was a time when I did watch them for years. I watched it again as an adolescent and sat there amazed, my first thought being: Wait . . . there’s an adult story to this?

It thrills me that literature can accomplish the same thing as movies and play to both child and adult audiences and convey the same scenes and situations on two different levels. That’s essentially two stories/experiences for the price of one.

It’s one of the reasons why I love this business so much.

Coscomentertainment [at] gmail [dot] com

www.canisterx.com

BLOOD OF THE DEAD and ZOMBIE FIGHT NIGHT available for the Amazon Kindle. Grab your copies here!

Jay said...

Only just spotted your comp, great idea.

dummiesanddeathrays@gmail.com

Dale said...

Scott very interesting information. I have always been interested in traditions and folklore.

dalelmurphy(at)gravesidetales(com)

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by! And thanks especially to Scott for taking the time to come by and comment!

Karina said...

hufflepuffgrl13@yahoo.com

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