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Friday, October 26, 2012

GUEST POST: Halloween In Bulgaria by Harry Markov


Today, I have decided to speak a bit less about Tales to Terrify, Volume 1, because if I continue to speak about it, I may end up with an inflated ego and as far as my itinerary is concerned 'dealing with a giant, swollen ego-head' doesn't make an appearance. Instead, I want to talk about Halloween. Since Tales to Terrify, Volume 1 is a Halloween launch, the holiday itself is pretty darn hard to avoid.

Halloween for some is what Christmas is for others, a reason to go wild with decorations and have one hell of a good time. It's a Western holiday meant for everyone and anyone. Small children, parents, teen horror fanatics, the Wicca population and TV junkies (Halloween specials anyone). From what I have observed so far (because I'm always the one peering in from outside), Halloween gets people excited to the point I have seen posts dedicated to it since September (especially dedicated to decorations).

Although Halloween rules over the world with affordable, sometimes color-challenged merchandize, Eastern Europe isn't all that impressed with the commotion surrounding Samhain. Call us pretentious (I dare you), but Bulgarians lack the enthusiasm once pumpkin season comes on the horizon. Sure, some of the businesses decide to hang witches and bats, because why not. Any sort of diversity is welcome, but I have yet to see much excitement over the holiday.

Trick or treating has never caught on (considering the rates of extreme poverty in the country, I doubt a household would willingly subject themselves to buying candy for strangers) and decorating the family home is reserved for Christmas only. What did catch on, however, are the Halloween parties. As with all Southern nations with a pinch of Mediterranean in our blood (even though we aren't geographically quite there), we love a reason to open the bottle and celebrate something (anything), so dressing up and gathering to drink booze sounds just about right for us.

It might sound quite as exciting, because I'm sure Halloween parties are run-of-the-mill, but what I find more fascinating is the parties' place within their cultural context as well as the process of cultures leaking elements into other cultures. For instance, drinkers, party animals and colleagues enjoying an office Halloween party share similar memories and positive experiences from their childhood Halloweens, so the Halloween party is the natural evolutionary step for adults to enjoy this holiday. In Bulgaria, this emotional back story is missing and so serves different purposes.

Currently, malls all over the city I live in host Best Costume events with prizes and promises of a good time and drinks. In this instance the Halloween party becomes a promotional tool. My office will have an in-office event, which has been organized so that we grow closer to each other and create a spirit of community. In this case, the Halloween party acts as a team building exercise, where you have one sole object and that is socialize. I'm sure there are more examples, but I'm not going to run on and on.

Let's see what you have to say. Will you attend a Halloween party and what's your stance on them?

GAME: You can be one of the lucky 10 people to win a PDF copy of our anthology. All you have to do is find us on Facebook or on Twitter and answer the following question: What scares you most? The most creative responses will receive the coveted PDF copy and will be featured in our second November show.

The game will end on October 31st, the book's official launch date. A like and a follow will be appreciated, but are not a prerequisite to enter the competition.


ABOUT TALES TO TERRIFY: This Halloween, October 31, 2012, fans of the chilly dark and terrifying will have yet another reason to cower beneath the sheets as the stories that are voiced weekly on the internet’s scariest horror spinning site rise up to haunt the pages of “Tales to Terrify, Volume One.” “Volume One” is the Parsec-nominated, horror podcast, Tales to Terrify in book form.

At a generous 284 pages, “Volume One” gathers the best of the best--both titans of horror and fresh blood—and features 23 blood-curdling, nightmare-fueled tales. The book features work by Joe R. Lansdale, Gene Wolfe, John Shirley, Weston Ochse, Gary McMahon, Kaaron Warren, Margo Lanagan, Felicity Dowker, Angela Slatter and Christopher Fowler.

Tales to Terrify, Volume One” will have readers on the edge of their sheets as the candles burn low.

 You can follow the Tales To Terrify blog tour on the following dates and sites:

October, 22nd: Innsmouth Free Press
October,23rd: Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews
October, 24th: Kaaron Warren
October, 25th: Sci fi & Fantasy Lovin' News and Reviews
October, 26th: Fantasy Book Critic
October, 29th: Wag the Fox
October, 30th: Angela Slatter
October, 31st: Graeme's Fantasy Book Review


AUTHOR INFORMATION: Harry Markov has difficulties writing biographies in third person, but he follows this venerable, ancient tradition. What he has no difficulty is devouring written words, only to sit down and create some himself. He is a former child-author wannabe, who has settled for patience in order to gain at least a moderate understanding of the secret lives of novels and short stories.

A devoted (junior) connoisseur of the weird and the surreal, Harry won’t judge a book just case it has a muddled genre genealogy. On the contrary, the Markov prefers a rich blend of genres. Fantasy, weird, horror, science fiction, fiction or fairy tales, everything works.

When not writing fiction, Harry Markov reviews and writes articles for Pornokitsch, The Portal, Beyond Victoriana, Innsmouth Free Press and World SF Blog among others.

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