Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Knock on Wood

"Wow, another hundred!" I say as I watch free copies of my ebook A THISTLE IN THE MIST 'fly off the shelf'. But I instantly regret saying it aloud and feel compelled to reach over and rap my knuckles on the wooden table. Have I just jinxed my downloads?

And yesterday when I told my mom I have never experienced writer's block, she grabbed my hand and forcibly marched me over to her dining table to 'knock on wood'.

Mom and I come by our superstitions honestly and so it is natural for me to include them in my writing. As a child I remember my wee Scottish great-grandmother scolding me for opening my umbrella before I stepped outside. She told me I would poke someone's eye out with the tip but I knew by her darting eyes and wringing hands she felt it was just plain bad luck.

My kids know they are not allowed to open umbrellas in the house - at least not in front of their eccentric mother. Another thing we are all deathly afraid of (okay probably just me) is breaking a mirror. SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK! SEVEN! That's a lot of bad luck and the only way to get rid of the curse is to put the broken pieces in a paper bag and throw them into a river. I've never had to do this and I hope I never do because I pity the person who has the bad luck to step on jagged pieces of my broken mirror when they are
peacefully wading in the creek. 

And watch that salt shaker. Oh my God! Did you spill it? Is it the left or right shoulder? And killing spiders? Good Lord!! Do you want it to rain for days? What are you trying to do to me?

Okay, I'm not completely crazy. Some superstitions are just silly. Is walking under a ladder really asking for something bad to happen? Well I have walked back and forth under ladders and nothing bad has ever happened. Climbing up a ladder, however, seems to be a more hazardous undertaking. Have you ever missed your footing, slipped down a ladder with a loaded paint can, dumped the blue paint on your beige carpet and skinned your nose on a rung? No? Me neither.

And how about black cats? I had a beautiful black cat named Toby when I was a kid. He must have crossed my path hundreds of times and I had a wee kitten that was black as midnight. Neither one of them brought me anything other than a few scratches and lots of cuddles. But the little guy did get hit by a car - maybe I brought him bad luck.

As I wrote A THISTLE IN THE MIST, I came across a Scottish culture steeped in superstition. For instance it is bad luck to have a black cat in a room where a wake is taking place, or to see a funeral procession on the way to your wedding or to cross two knives on a table. On the flip side, it is good luck to place silver in a newborn baby’s hand as it will bring great wealth to them in later life and you must touch iron if you see or even hear evil and if you are a bride you should put a silver coin in your shoe and wear a sprig of white heather.

I am having a lot of fun researching Scotland and its superstitions for my second book but in the meantime I am going to obsess over my free downloads for the rest of the day. Hey look at that! Another hundred - gone for free! FREE! That's right, folks - twelve years of hard work - FREE! At this rate this independent author is going to be loaded in no time!

Seriously, folks, free or paid for, I am grateful to each and every person who takes the time to read my story, send me comments and messages and leave me reviews. After all, that is why I write.

Knock on Wood!

PS Did I mention A THISTLE IN THE MIST is FREE? (May 22 - 24 then it's back up to $2.99!) Download your FREE copy right HERE from or HERE from or HERE from


  1. I used to have a couple of magpies lives round my way, which was great, because two is good luck, right? Well one of the buggers has disappeared in the last year. Dead, marital disagreement, decided Norwich wasn't for him... I don't know why. Now I have to say 'Good morning Mr Magpie' every time I see the remaining one, crazy fool that I am.

    1. Ha ha, funny I did read that superstition that you must greet a lone magpie! If I ever visit, I'll try not to stare at all of you chatting with the birds:) I included a magpie in A Thistle in the Mist - the Scottish superstition is that a lone magpie was a portent of Death and carried a drop of the Satan's blood beneath it's tongue. Hope yours isn't a Scottish import!!

  2. Hi Megan, hope you are well.
    I’m nominating you for the Liebster award. The rules are posted on my blog in the link below.

    Wish you all the best :)

  3. Great post!
    The one superstition that is the dearest to me is the idea of 'knocking on wood' in order to not jynx oneself. Additionally, I find it hard to stop believing in superstitions once one has started. It is molded into the person in questions behavior, thus difficult to give up.

    On another note, as I was glacing through the pages of Paulo Coelho's book '11 minutes', in one of the pages, the protagonist of the novel, explains that according to Brazilian superstition: "When you visit someone for the first time, you must not be the one to open the door when you leave, because if you do, you will never return to that house."
    Again, I am just amazed by how powerful superstitions can be on human psychology.