Cate: Daisy Banks is here today! Welcome, Daisy! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Daisy: I am a writer. I’m interested in history. I love to visit antique fairs and shops when I’m not writing. I have two sons and am very proud of them both.
Cate: Nice! Have you ever had an unusual experience you couldn’t explain?
Daisy: Yes, several. I grew up in a family home where unusual events such as things disappearing and then reappearing in strange places were said to be the work of the fairies. I must have been about six when one of my smallest doll’s shoes went missing. I remember being very cross about it. The tiny shoe was gone for weeks, and then one day it was discovered in full view on the arm of a chair. Things like that happened all the time. As I got into my teenage years the odd things continued. My favorite recollection is the light switching itself on for me when my arms were full of a large bundle of clean laundry and I couldn’t reach the switch. No one else was present to put the light on and I have no explanation for how it happened.
I also recall seeing two young children staring out of a window in a very large Elizabethan house in a park I visited. Somehow I knew they weren’t what might be described as real. Much later I discovered the sighting of the pair of children is well known to local ghost hunters and the old house has had a sad reputation for many years.
A little later in my life when I was on vacation in Devon I was woken in the middle of the night by the sound of a drum. This wasn’t someone doing a spot of band practice but someone walking up the lane by the cottage beating a drum like the sort used to call up support hundreds of years ago. If any of the readers have been to reenactment events they will know the kind of drumming I mean. If you aren’t familiar with reenactments this u tube link will give you an idea of the sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G24_1FbBrbg My husband didn’t wake at the noise and I knew if I looked out the window I’d see nothing, so I simply let it pass and went back to sleep. I do wonder about that lonely drummer though, perhaps there is a story there I might get to write one day. This list is getting rather long and I have not shared all the things I could but I’ll stop here.
Cate: Oh my goodness! That's scary. What frightens you the most?
Daisy: I could say I truly don’t like large spiders. I am terrified by them, even if it might sound a bit silly, the fear is very genuine. On a more serious note the thought of serious illness or something bad happening to a family member is something I dread.
Cate: You're not alone, lol. Ever gone on a ghost tour? Or ghost hunting on your own?
Daisy: A little while ago I went with some friends to a hotel in Dudley, the Station Hotel, which is a known ghost hot spot. A séance was scheduled and a ghost hunt took place that evening, with a walk through the cellars. I couldn’t do that as cellar air always makes my asthma bad. I didn’t mind waiting for the other members of the group and I sat in the lobby with a cup of coffee where I enjoyed the ambience of the place, including the aroma of cigar smoke, which was rather odd as being a public building there is no smoking allowed inside the hotel. I happened to mention the smell to the member of staff who came to take my empty coffee cup and she reassured me everything was fine. The cigar smell was merely one of the regular ghosts making their presence known. So even though I skipped the cellar tour I was gifted the experience of a ghostly visit.
Cate: Very cool. Any favorite Halloween recipes you’d care to share?
Daisy: I live in the UK and can pretty much guarantee that Halloween night will be cold, damp and misty. There may well be rain too. Therefore I’ve chosen a spicy soup recipe, just the thing to keep people warm if they go out on Halloween night.
Spiced Red Lentil Soup
1 red pepper
2 sticks of celery
8oz of courgettes/zucchini
4oz of red lentils
1 tablespoon of oil
1 teaspoon each of paprika, and turmeric
A pinch each of cayenne pepper, cinnamon and turmeric
1 can of chopped tomatoes
One and a quarter pints of vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
A teaspoon of basil.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Chop all vegetables finely.
Heat oil and fry the spices in a deep pan. Add the vegetables and lentils to the pan. Stir well so spice mix coats the ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Open can of tomatoes and tip them into a large jug, add enough stock to measure two pints and add this to your pan of vegetables.
Sprinkle in the basil and add the bay leaf.
Bring the pan to the boil and let the soup simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and soft.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot with some crusty bread. Delicious. After that you’ll be ready for a cold night outside and I expect the children would still have plenty of room for sweeties.
Cate: My mom always loved lentil soup! So for the real goodies... tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Daisy: I have two new releases with Liquid Silver Books, one currently out is Christmas Carols, a sweet Victorian Historical romance, and my forthcoming release due out on 23rd November is Serving the serpent, a sweet fantasy romance involving fashion conscious dragons and their young servant. However, the story I have chosen to showcase here is the one that appears in the Halloween Special for Sexy to Go. Buy links at the bottom of the page.
Cate: Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Daisy: This is from my story Charity’s Fortune that appears in the Sexy to Go Halloween Special Compilation. Do be aware Sexy to Go is 18+ but I’ve made sure this excerpt suitable for everyone.
Blurb: Halloween is a time the young people of the county can get together without too much attention from their elders. This night the courageous will find out their future. Charity Burbage isn’t brave but she is willing to let Joe Anderson help her discover all she might need to know.
“You go first, Kathleen, it must be you for you’re eldest,” Charity said to her sister.
“No, it doesn’t go with age, but with name. Matthew told me so. You’re next. I’ll wager they call you by name,” Kathleen spoke loud enough to cause a rash of laughs among the six other girls who stood next to the apple bobbing barrel.
“Don’t,” Charity scolded. She glanced at the dim lit hay bales and again wished she’d refused to come to the Anderson’s Halloween party. If Mama knew the goings on here in the barn she’d be furious with the Anderson boys, and the Riley lads, as well as Robert Fisher, and even angrier with all the girls. No doubt about it, Mama would order her and Kathleen to a week of early nights abed after a bread and water supper so they could atone for such an adventure. “I think we should go home, Kathy,” she said and took her sister’s arm. “All this is wicked sinful.”
Kathleen shook her head. “Don’t be a baby. How else are you supposed to find out if you’ll be wed? Or rich? Or an old maid?”
“Da has said he will see us both wed well, you know it.”
“Piffle. Da’s idea and mine of well wed are two very different things,” Kathleen whispered. “Joe and Matthew are doing the soothsaying using paper symbols and the icy hand. I’m staying for my turn. I want to know.” Kathleen leaned a little closer. Her breath warmed Charity’s ear. “I want Matthew to tell me himself while we are all alone.”
Charity gasped. “Dear Lord, all alone? Why Matthew would have to marry you after that.”
Kathleen gave a smug smile and a tiny nod. “Exactly.”
“You won’t,” she whispered. “Promise me, Kathy, please? Swear you’ll not.”
“You little goose. Do you think Matt and I don’t kiss?”
A lump settled in Charity’s chest and she couldn’t speak. Her beautiful, angel faced sister had sinned in such a way? She glanced at Kathleen’s perfect profile against the darkness beyond the lamplight. Her sister was a wicked sinner, and yet, somehow she’d got away with it so far. Maybe retribution came later? An agony of curiosity swept through her. “Tell me what happened?” she murmured.
“As if I’d tell you anything about what goes on between me and Matthew? You listen to Ma too much and you’ll blab like a toddler if she pushes you to talk. It’s time you did some thinking of your own. They’ll be calling you next. I wager you my best pink ribbon it will be Joe who calls your name. He’s a hankerin’ for you so Matthew says.”
Even Joe’s name made Charity’s stomach roll. Each fear she had melted at the edges as she dwelt on him. Her skin tingled and heaven help her, the thoughts of kissing with him, his mouth on hers, blotted out many of the warnings of sin, but not all.
“Don’t look so po-faced,” Kathleen said. “I know well enough you like him above all others. I reckon he knows it too. You’re both of age to wed. If you promise each other, then where’s the harm?”
She craned her head toward the dark curtain the boys had hung up between a pair of towers made by six fat sacks each side. The voice came from within its folds. A deep voice, but she would darn well know it anywhere. That was Joe calling and it was her name he called again.
Kathleen gave her a gentle shove and a smile. “Go on.”
All Charity’s thoughts tumbled around. The Anderson men were said to have the second sight. How often had she heard that? They were good men, honest and true to their word. No one in the county said otherwise. They could tell fortunes. They read palms, and any girl would be happy to wed one of them because—she shivered at the memory of grandma’s words. “Anderson men have a way with women. Get yourself an Anderson man and if you can hold him you’ll find you’re a happy wife.” Was Granny right?
She stepped over and stood before the curtain and even though her hand shook she moved a little of it aside.
“Enter, seeker of the truth.”
She recognized Matthew. She knew his voice almost as well as Joe’s. She glanced back over her shoulder and her sister’s gaze met hers.
“Go on,” Kathy mouthed. “Go and find your way to happiness.”
Swallowing hard Charity stepped through the gap in the curtain into a deeper darkness than that in the rest of the barn. Her breathing cranked up another notch. Here, only one tiny glazed lamp flickered. Three black garbed, hooded shapes stood at the back of a seated one at a table. On her side there was a chair so she could sit opposite the fearsome masked figure.
Her knees sagged like she had the ague. She pulled the chair out and sank down on to it.
Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Daisy: Memories of Halloween parties in childhood and all the lore and legends I read about soothe saying. When I was a teenager my friends were interested in the prediction games, apple peeling, corn scattering and things like that. We had a lot of fun with apple bobbing and a game where little objects were put in a black bag, each had a meaning in the same way the paper symbols in Charity’s Fortune have a meaning, the one that always intrigued me was why the button meant a bachelor life for a man. I guess it meant he’d have to sew on his own buttons as he’d have no wife to do the task.
Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Daisy: I have a lot going on this side of Christmas. During October I’ve been showcasing different authors each Thursday on my blog as part of the Paranormal Tour organized by Carmen Stefanescu and that continues right through into December. My newest sweet story Serving the Serpent, published by Liquid Silver Books comes out on the 23rd of November and from the first of November there will lots of posts about dragons on my blog. There will be more about my stories and those of other authors who contribute to the Sexy to Go monthly collections, as there is a Halloween Special as well as the usual monthly compilation. There will be specials for Thanksgiving and Christmas too. In December I’ll be offering a free read on the blog as a part of the Daisy Banks Christmas Cracker. I will have some more exciting news to share in January too.
Many thanks for reading and I’d like to wish you and all the readers a fabulous Halloween.
Find Daisy Banks here
Daisy Banks is the author of:
Serving the Serpent out on November 23rd
Marked for Magic
A Perfect Match
A Gentleman’s Folly
Your Heart My Soul
A Matter of Some Scandal
Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations.
Cate: Thanks for sharing in the Halloween fun, Daisy!