Friday, July 7, 2017

Night Writer - Miguelina Perez


I'm thrilled to have author Ms. Miguelina Perez today to talk to us about her gothic series based on the Seven Deadly Sins (how cool is that?!) and pass along some really great writerly advice.


Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer, and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

Several of her poems have been published in anthologies, and she was named “Poet of Year in 1995”. She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins.

Currently, she is working the sequel to the Vicar’s Deadly Sin, “Angel’s Lust” from her Seven Deadly Sins series and “A Hero of Her Own” a contemporary romance thriller, about a serial killer terrorizing New York.





The Vicar’s Deadly Sin

Lady Jane Bartholomew and Miss Margaret Renard have been friends since the age of twelve.  Together they share their dreams, hopes and love for reading.  However, it is their wild imagination and a love for solving mysteries that would test their sleuthing abilities when the Vicar of Dover is found murdered.

The young ladies are joined by two gentlemen, also eager to find the murderer in order to prove to the ladies that detecting is a man’s job, though the gentlemen find their beauty, wit, and pride more troublesome than solving a murder.






Was there anything specific that drew you to this genre?

In freshman year in high school I developed a love for reading romance mysteries. My first romance mystery writer was Victoria Holt and then Phyllis J. Whitney, who was dubbed the Queen of American Gothic Romance. Their novels had an almost gothic element in them; such as horror and death.

What is your favorite Dark/Gothic novel? 

While I did read Ann Radcliffe’s the Mysteries of Udolpho. I am going to have to say Phyllis Whitney’s Spindrift.

What is your favorite Gothic motif/theme/element

I love the fog, the mansion, the heroine’s isolation, the pained hero, the villain. These elements bring suspense. I believe gothic romances take suspense to a psychological level. I love that these elements instill fear in the reader.

Any particular reason why? 

I think psychological fear is terror that comes from within. It paralyzes the reader. While this may sound negative the reader really loves it. The fear of turning the page in anticipation of what is going to happen next.

Which resource/s help you the most when researching for or writing your series?

I think for a writer one of the best resources is reading in the genre. Stephen King would agree. One of his best advices to writers is to read, read, and read.

Do you have plans to continue writing in this genre? If so, is there anything you would be willing to share about it?

I will always love this genre. I hope to continue to write in it. But I also want to expand and do some contemporary romance thrillers and some science fiction. Who says you can’t implement some of the themes of Gothic in other stories.

And finally, is there anything else you would like to share with others who write or are looking into writing Dark/Gothic Romance?

First, if one is interested in writing they have to commit to it. Set time aside each day to write. Even if it is 15 minutes a day. Writing is work and can at times be fun. It will be rewarding when they see the final product. Never give up nor let anyone else tell you, you don’t have what it takes. You do need a support system. This system can be other writers and readers, who would love to be the first one to read your book in exchange for their thoughts, they are called Beta Readers. There are groups on Facebook, Twitter who talk about Gothic Romance. Find them, join them. Join the Romance Writers of America. Each state has a chapter you can join. These chapters give workshop and can help you with your writing career. The best advice I got from Robin Carr, “If you think you are going to make a living out of writing, you are wrong.” So, please don’t quit your day job. 

Where can we find you on the internet?


I can be found at www.miguelinaperezauthor.com and can be reached at miguelinaperez@miguelinaperezauthor.com or twitter at @mperezauthor and finally on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/miguelina.perezauthor



Thank you so much for sharing!

☙ Shadow ❧


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Litha/Midsummer - Summer Solstice


Litha/Midsummer - Summer Solstice - June 21


I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of Summer. My husband often jokes that sunlight makes me burst into flames. Ha, ha. Though he isn’t far from the truth, besides burning easily, I was a heat casualty as a teenager, and my internal thermostat has never been the same. Tip: make sure you bring sufficient amounts of water if you ever decide backpack the Appalachian Trail in the heat of summer. 

But here we are, the earth is spinning and it is the summer solstice, also known as Litha or Midsummer. This is a holiday high on testosterone, a holiday about the virile god. The Goddess is pregnant and the god is at his zenith. Sun worshiping and fire dominates this holiday. And though it is the longest day of the year, as well as a celebration of light, there is still some darkness to be found.

I’m visiting The Wheel of the Year (as they occur in the Northern Hemisphere), the eight seasonal festivals or pagan holidays, also called Sabbats. A lot of rituals, symbols, and folklore revolve around these pagan holidays, and several of the elements, symbols, and themes can be used in Gothic storytelling. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration.

Here are some of the dark themes, symbols and story elements conjured by the Summer Solstice, aka Litha or Midsummer.

Themes:
War
Famine and drought
Forest fires
Anything involving Fairies
Knights fighting Dragons
Magic
Greed over golden treasures
Dragons guarding treasures
Being burnt at the stake

Symbols:
Fire and Bonfires
            Trial by Fire
            Forges
Blacksmithing
Welding
                        Tempering steel and iron
Armor
Swords and weapons
Protection [bon fires were kept burning through the night to ward off evil spirits and the ashes kept in the home for protection throughout the year]
            War – Cannons and firearms; “the heat of battle”
A spit over an open fire  [Grills]

Lemons
Bitter
Acidic
Cleansing
Gold
            Greed
Bells [people wear bells to ward off fairies and evil spirits]
Horses
Steed
Mustang
Horse Shoes
Bees
Honey
Cactus
Earth circles
Fairy circles

Places:
Deserts
Forests
Beaches

Weather:
Sunny
Hot
Extreme Heat
Arid

Mythology, Folklore, and Fairytales:
Apollo(sun god), Ra(sun god), Midas (king cursed with the golden touch), Aries(represents fire, god of war), Pan, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream [fun fact: Shakespeare mentions the pagan holidays in three of his plays all of them are regarding the summer solstice]; The Oak King – God of light, hands over, or loses his battle to the Holly King –God of darkness; At summer solstice, the ancient Mesopotamians held a six day funeral for the god of plants, Tammuz. Their mourning ushered in the god of war and pestilence, Nergal, for what they called the “dead season”; the christian St. John’s Day also falls on this day.

How do you feel about Summer? Did these spark other related images or motifs? If so, share them in the comments and I’ll add them.

As always, stay beautifully haunted!

♥ Shadow

If you are interested in exploring this holiday further, check out the reading recommendation.


Reading Recommendation: Midsummer: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Litha by Deborah Blake 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Gothic Journal




As a ravenous bookworm growing up, trips to the library were never often enough and I would often sneak books from my mother's collection. This was like entering the restricted section at the Hogwarts library, except I didn't have an invisibility cloak, and had to read many of them under my bed or in the closet to keep from being detected. I made many discoveries this way and among my favorite were the gothic romances by Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier, to name a few.

So, I'm tremendously excited and honored to have avid gothic romance supporter and Publisher of Gothic Journal, Kristi Lyn Glass, share her insights into the world of gothic romance, its history and what it has evolved into today.

Short Bio of Introduction. 

I am Kristi Lyn Glass, Publisher of the Gothic Journal. For more information about me, see this link.

What is the Gothic Journal? 

From 1991 through 1998, Gothic Journal was the only news and review magazine for readers, writers, and publishers of romantic suspense, romantic mystery, and gothic, supernatural, and woman-in-jeopardy romance novels. Volume 8, Number 3, October/November 1998, was its final issue published.
Although you may no longer subscribe to this magazine, you may download its extensive Author Profiles and purchase its valuable back issues while supplies last.
Gothic Journal continues to provide reviews and lists of recommended new titles in its genres via its website GothicJournal.com and its amazon.com book store.

What specifically drew you to gothic romance? 

I fell in love with gothic romance novels in the late 1960s, particularly the works of Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, Mary Stewart, and Dorothy Eden. At that time, it was difficult to find gothic romance novels by other authors, and I didn’t frequent used book stores. My exposure to my favored books was primarily limited to hardcovers offered by the Literary Guild book club, which offers its members access to upcoming books at reduced prices before they are available elsewhere.

I soon became frustrated by typically having to wait a full year to read the next books by my favorite authors. I decided there must be a shortage of people writing such novels. (Keep in mind that there was no internet at that time with which to research the book market or its history.) With a degree in English and journalism, I set out to write my own historical gothic romance. After researching and completing my novel, I sent it off to publishers and received 13 rejection slips. Confident that my manuscript was not the problem, I decided that publishers were just not interested in publishing gothic romance novels at that time. I attended some romance writer conventions and confirmed that was exactly what was happening.

I learned that, before my time, when the novels of my favorite authors became popular, numerous hack writers tried to emulate them, flooding bookstores with similar books. Unfortunately, most were not well written and thus were not as well received by readers. Publishers’ relationships with booksellers at that time allowed booksellers to tear off the covers of unsold paperback books, discard the books, and return the covers to the books’ respective publishers for refunds. When readers quit buying the gothic romance knock-offs, publishers were hit with floods of booksellers’ refund requests. As a result, book publishers quit publishing gothic romances and quit putting “Gothic” on the spine of their paperbacks, assuming that word would guarantee the book would not sell.

I remained convinced that there were other readers, like myself, who loved good gothic romances and were having the same problems I was having finding such books to read. This led me to launch the bi-monthly Gothic Journal magazine to connect such readers, writers, and publishers and champion the genre. Gothic Journal also sponsored a reader/publisher-donated 3,400+  volume Gothic Romance Lending Library some of which is now available via inter-library loan.

Publishers (rather secretly) were still publishing gothic romance novels at that time. However, for marketing purposes, they were disguising them as other genres, such as romance, historical romance, mystery, romantic mystery, supernatural romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and woman-in-jeopardy romance. Gothic romance lovers were thus faced with searching for needles in a huge haystack, again with no internet to help them find their desired books or authors.

Gothic Journal met the needs of gothic romance lovers during this period. Using its own definition of a “gothic romance novel” as “a novel that contains romance, life-threatening suspense, and a puzzle or mystery,” Gothic Journal published book lists of upcoming and recently published novels that fit that definition. The book lists provide each book’s title, author, publisher, and publishing month, and designated each book’s setting as either historical or contemporary.

Publishers sent new titles to Gothic Journal who then sent them off for review by a staff of over 20 volunteer reviewers who submitted their typed reviews by mail in exchange for keeping the reviewed books. Authors and lovers of the genre submitted articles and columns. Publishers and authors paid to advertise their upcoming titles. Each issue featured an extensive author profile of a popular gothic romance author including a biography, a chronological list of published novels, and book covers and short synopses of representative works. The cover of each issue featured a pen-and-ink drawing of a “great gothic setting,” such as a castle or mansion, often perched on a sea cliff. I created much of the cover art myself.

In the late 1990s, the growth of personal computers and the internet gradually eclipsed the need for Gothic Journal’s efforts. Publishers and authors created their own websites. Book lovers and booksellers connected online. Gothic Journal therefore ceased publishing a physical magazine and created its own website and Amazon bookstore, as described above.

Discuss the differences of gothic romance versus the supernatural/dark fantasy romance (vampire, werewolf, etc.) and the evolution that has occurred. As well as, how you feel the gothic romances of 1960's and 1970's differ from the gothic romances being published today. 

The gothic romances of the 1960s and 1970s were typically sweet, with sex occurring behind closed doors at the book’s conclusion. The heroines relied on their heroes to save them from dire straits. The stories were typically character-driven, rather than plot-driven. The heroine’s challenge was typically deciding whom to trust, and there were often two men for her to choose between.

Later gothic romances tapped into the rising feminism of the age. Their heroines became smarter, less trusting, and more self-sufficient, but still longed for romance and a happy ending. Publishers’ marketing efforts spawned new categories of books and authors, such as romantic suspense (typically contemporary), paranormal (including much more than just ghosts), and woman-in-jeopardy romance (typically contemporary). Historical gothic romances became few and far between, hidden among historical romances on the book shelf.

Over time, gothic romance stories generally became less character-driven and more plot-driven. Romance in today’s “gothic novels” either takes a back seat to, or is overwhelmed by, the needs of the plot and its vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, and other paranormal entities. Publishers redefined “gothics” as novels that contained such elements and a dark tone. These new “dark gothics” became popular as perhaps-disillusioned feminists (fed up with reality and with trying to be super women) sought to escape into otherworldly reads. Bedroom doors have now not only swung open wide, they also typically include increasingly graphic details; the characters engage in sex whenever and wherever imaginable, reflecting current morality. Plots in today’s gothics are more sex- and shock-driven. Note that they are no longer referred to as “gothic romances.” They are often filled with angst, unreal characters/situations and head-spinning plotting. The gothic novels of today are a far cry from the sweet gothic romances of the 1960s and 1970s, and their audiences are greatly different.

Lately, I have noticed a slight reemergence of new sweet gothic romances, though they are, again, hard to find in a very bloated internet. Their primary audience of Baby Boomers, like me, is aging and often distracted by surfing Facebook in search of family and grand-baby news. I cannot imagine Millennials reading and enjoying gothic romance novels. They simply could not relate to them, so serious publishers are unlikely to publish many, if any, of these.

What gothic romance novel/author would you recommend a reader new to the genre start with?  

For readers interested in experiencing a true sweet gothic romance novel of the 1960s, I recommend starting with Mistress of Mellyn, by Victoria Holt. If that strikes a chord, continue with the rest of Holt’s works and those of Dorothy Eden. The settings in these books are especially interesting to the armchair traveler who wants to escape to the Victorian or mid-nineteenth-century past. Those interested in more edgy and (at that time) contemporary examples of the genre will enjoy the works of Mary Stewart and Phyllis A. Whitney. I find particularly refreshing the absence of cell phones and the internet in all of these books.



Are there any current gothic romance novels or authors you would recommend? 

I recommend Amanda DeWeesBlair BancroftJulie KlassenJanis Susan MayLinda Gillard, and Lisa Greer. Some of these authors also write in other genres, so check out the plots on each book. An Amazon.com search for “gothic romance novels” will bring up a plethora of gothic romance novel possibilities, many of which are available as e-books. Check out Gothic Journal’s amazon.com book store for the latter search plus recommendations by Gothic Journal.   Searching Amazon for “gothic novels” will not guarantee you a happy ending, which is generally preferred by a gothic romance lover. Using that search, you will be shown more literary works and dark gothics instead of gothic romances.

Links to follow or subscribe to the Gothic Journal

You can no longer “subscribe” to the Gothic Journal magazine, as it no longer is published. I do publish an email newsletter at least annually that contains news and links of interest to gothic romance novel enthusiasts. Use the links below for more information.
·         Gothic Journal website
·         Gothic Journal book lists
·         Gothic Journal back issues
·         Gothic Journal author profiles (digital downloads)
·         Gothic Romance Lending Library
·         Gothic Journal newsletters
·         Other links recommended by Gothic Journal

Thank you so much for sharing!!

I discovered so many great books and stories from the Gothic Journal's book lists and amazon.com book store, you should definitely check it out!


♥ Shadow.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Rose Symbolism


"But he who dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave the rose." - Anne Brontë




The rose is the queen amongst flowers and her influence on our psyche is ever enduring.  From the ancient to contemporary, she has represented everything from the sacred to the sensual. It is no wonder that one symbolic meaning of the rose is immortality, for she truly is.

This is by far a favorite flower of mine and I love to receive them (wink wink, nudge nudge, to my husband, "Gomez"). Their imagery and symbolic meanings are also amongst my favorite and a source of inspiration for my current work in progress, working title Fresh Cut Roses. The dark red rose echoes the color of blood and the thorns, invoke dark feels. Inspiring beauty and pain, really, what's not to love?



Different color roses have different meanings. More meanings can be found in my Language of Flowers post.

Red - Sensual/Passionate, Immortality, Undying Love, Courage, Health
Pink- Beauty and Innocence, Gentility, Sympathy
Lavender/Purple - Majestic, Mystery and Unattainable, Enchantment and Magic
Turquoise(Green) - Prosperity and Rejuvenation
White - Purity, Spirituality, and Mysticism, Virginal/Youthful
Yellow - Happiness, Friendship, Maturity, Good Luck, but could also mean Infidelity.
Orange - Congratulations, Pride, and New Beginnings
Black - Yes, there is such a thing. Most black roses are really dark indigo/purple or maroon, but a true black rose variety does grow in Tibet. They can mean tragic romance, black magic and hatred, death, mourning, and farewell, but also can be used to mean rebellion and mutiny.


Here are some other Gothic associations and references regarding the rose.

Sacred/Spiritual
  • Rosary
  • Rose windows in Gothic cathedrals
  • Christ's blood and some say the blood of the stigmata smells like roses
  • The Virgin Mary "a rose without thorns"
  • Crown of thorns - Sacrifice
  • White roses at weddings "I am worthy of you"

Rose Window


Mystery/Secrecy
  • The rose on the Tarot card represents balance. Namely, the Magician, Strength, Death and Fool cards of the major arcana.
  • Secrecy - Roses suspended over tables in Roman times meant secrecy, and that what was said there was kept there. Roses were also painted on Roman ceilings to represent this secrecy and are where the meaning of "sub rosa" came from. This practice was mimicked in medieval times and placed on confessionals, even the Tudor Rose of King Henry VII is painted in his personal chambers where decisions made there were to remain secret.
  • Alchemy where the unfolding rose petals represent the unfolding of wisdom.  The rose cross is a symbol of the Philosopher's Stone of immortality, the ultimate goal of alchemy.
  • Harkens to Secret Societies like The Rose Cross and Freemasonry.
The Rose and The Cross

Love/Passion
  • The bud or flower denotes the feminine and the thorn the masculine
  • Aphrodite's sacred flower. Running to her mortally wounded love Adonis, she cut her feet on thorns and the blood formed roses on the thorns or she bled on white roses turning them red. In the Roman version, it was Venus and it was her tears over Adonis' death that created the rose. A rose bush is said to have grown from the pool of blood where Adonis died. Aphrodite also gave her son, Eros a rose to give to Harpocrates, the god of silence, to keep her sexual indiscretions secret, so the rose became the symbol of love and desire, as well as, of silence and secrecy.
  • Love poetry and prose mentioning the Rose too numerous to mention.
    • I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys; As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. - the Song of Solomon.
    • A rose by any other name will smell as sweet. - Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
  • St. Valentine - Valentine's Day is a day of love and roses have become its official flower. This is mostly due to the language of flowers created during the Victorian times. It isn't the holiday that is gothic, but the tragic story of St. Valentine that urges me to include it here. In short, the Emperor decreed that young men couldn't marry, as they made better soldiers if they remained unmarried. Valentine continued to officiate marriages between young couples in secret. When discovered, he was ordered to death. In jail, Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter and his last letter to her was signed, Your Valentine, a sentiment still in use today.
  • Cleopatra's seduction of Marc Anthony included layering floors with rose petals and adorning the walls with rose garlands. It is also reported that her bed was covered in rose petals. I call that invoking the power of Aphrodite.
The death of Adonis,  a painting by José de Ribera, 1637


Other favorite references.
  • Morticia Addams, of The Addams Family, cuts the heads off her roses, displaying only the thorny stems.
  • Playing cards in Alice of Wonderland paint the white roses red.
  • The enchanted rose of Beauty and Beast.
  • The hedge of thorns in Sleeping Beauty, where many princes died a sorrowful death. But then turned to roses after a hundred years, which parted for the young man who came and kissed her, awakening her kingdom. She was also named Brier-Rose.
  • Grimm is a treasure trove of stories depicting roses,  like the two rose bushes, one white and one red in Snow-White and Rose-Red and so many others. I highly recommend researching them for inspiration.


Has your storytelling ever been inspired by the rose or any of its many associations? Are there other rose references you would include?


Stay beautifully haunted.🌹 


♥ Shadow.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Poisonous Flora A-Z




"One man's poison ivy is another man's spinach." - George Ade



April showers bring May flowers. So, this month I'll be focusing on . . . you guessed it, Flora.

Now, I'm a black thumb, through and through, with only the ability to keep cactus and bamboo alive for any length of time. Most other plants save themselves the long, gruesome death and just shrivel upon my looking at them. But, during this time of year, I can't help but dream cherry blossom dreams.

I imagine what it would've been like to stroll through botanical gardens and the iron and glass mammoth greenhouses of the Victorian era. Like the Royal Botanical Society Gardens at Regents Park or The Conservatory Garden of South Kensington. Plants and flowers were all the rage during that era, as a gardening boom took hold, giving birth to exotic and tropical wonderlands.

However, amongst the beauty and romance of the blooms and foliage, there are the poisonous plant species that lie in wait, like wolves in sheep's clothing ready to be plucked and used to add mystery and perhaps a method for murder in some dark tale. So, while I'm digging in the dirt this spring, I've listed, from A to Z, some poisonous flora for your darker side. Welcome to my garden of Bane!





Aconitum
Other names: aconite, monkshood, leopard's bane, mousebane, wolf’s bane, women's bane, devil's helmet, queen of all poisons, or blue rocket.
Poisonous effect: severe gastrointestinal upset, slowing of the heart rate is often the cause of death
Interesting fact: Hunters in the Aleutian Islands coated the heads of their harpoons with an extract of this to kill whales

Adenium
Other names: Desert Rose
Poisonous effect: nausea and vomiting, larger doses will result in a fatal heart attack

Angel’s Trumpet
Poisonous effect: ingestion can include paralysis, confusion, tachycardia, dry mouth, diarrhea, migraine headaches, visual and auditory hallucinations, and death

Anthurium
Other names: tailflower, flamingo flower, laceleaf
Poisonous effect: The sap is irritating to the skin and eyes

Azalea
Poisonous effect: low blood pressure and heart rate as well as irregular heart rhythm. Can be life threatening. Honey resulting from azaleas and rhododendrons have a slightly hallucinogenic and laxative effect, often called “Mad Honey”
Interesting fact: receiving a bouquet of azaleas or rhododendrons in a black vase was once a well-known death threat

Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade

Belladonna
Other names: Deadly Nightshade
Poisonous effect: dryness in the mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, blurred vision from the dilated pupils, vomiting, excessive stimulation of the heart, drowsiness, slurred speech, hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, delirium, and agitation
Interesting facts:

Bloodroot
Other names: sweet slumber
Poisonous effect: causes drowsiness leading to a coma and death

Black cohosh
Other names: squaw root or papoose root
Poisonous effect: headaches and larger doses can lead to vertigo, impaired vision, pupillary dilatation, nausea, vomiting, and bradycardia, may cause delirium tremens and miscarriages.

Castor oil plant
Other names: Palm of Christ
Poisonous effect: stomach pain, dehydration and destroys the main internal organs and is more poisonous than cyanide

Cerbera Odollom
Other names: suicide tree
Poisonous effect: paralyzes the heart
Gloriosa

Crownvetch
Poisonous effect: can cause slow growth, paralysis, or even death

Daphne
Poisonous effect: Headaches, delirium, and convulsions

Datura
Other names: devil's trumpets (not to be confused with angel's trumpets), moonflowers, jimson weed, devil's weed, hell's bells, thorn-apple
Poisonous effect: dry mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, warm flushed skin, dilated pupils, blurred vision, vomiting, urinary retention, tachycardia, drowsiness, slurred speech, auditory, visual or tactile hallucinations, confusion and disorientation, delirium, agitation and combative behavior, and in severe cases there may be hypertension, coma, and convulsions

Doll’s Eyes
Other names: White Baneberry
Poisonous effect: cardiac arrest and death 

Dracula’s flower
Other names: voodoo lily
Poisonous effect: releases an extremely pungent odor akin to rotting meat, all parts of plant are poisonous if ingested and touching the plant may result in skin irritation or an allergic reaction

Gloriosa Lily
Other names: flame lily, fire lily, glory lily, superb lily, climbing lily, creeping lily
Poisonous effect: nausea, vomiting, numbness, and tingling around the mouth, burning in the throat, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea, dehydration, respiratory depression, altered mental status, seizures, coma
Interesting facts: has been used as a means of committing suicide

Hemlock Water Dropwort
Poisonous effect: violent and painful convulsions, nausea, vomiting, cramps, muscle tremors, and death can occur within hours of ingesting

Henbane
Henbane
Other names: black henbane or stinking nightshade
Poisonous effect: dry mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, warm flushed skin, dilated pupils, blurred vision, vomiting, urinary retention, tachycardia, drowsiness, slurred speech, auditory, visual or tactile hallucinations, confusion and disorientation, delirium, agitation and combative behavior, and in severe cases there may be hypertension, coma, and convulsions
Interesting facts: Henbane was historically used in combination with other plants, such as mandrake, deadly nightshade, and datura as an anesthetic, as well as for its psychoactive properties in "magic brews". The smell of the flowers can cause giddiness.


Horsenettle
Other names: radical weed, sand brier or briar, bull nettle, tread-softly, apple of Sodom, devil's tomato and wild tomato
Poisonous effect: fever, headache, scratchy throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, abdominal pain, circulatory and respiratory depression, or even death

Larkspur
Poisonous effect: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscular spasms, death is usually due to respiratory collapse or cardiac arrest


Lily of the Valley
Poisonous effect: abdominal pain, vomiting, reduced heart rate, blurred vision, drowsiness, and red skin rashes

Manchineel
Other names: poison guava
Poisonous effect: severe allergic reactions, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and seizures, smoke from this plant can cause blindness

Larkspur
Mandrake
Poisonous effect: dry mouth, thirst, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, warm flushed skin, dilated pupils, blurred vision, vomiting, urinary retention, tachycardia, drowsiness, slurred speech, auditory, visual or tactile hallucinations, confusion and disorientation, delirium, agitation and combative behavior, and in severe cases there may be hypertension, coma, and convulsions

Naked Lady
Other names: Amaryllis belladonna
Poisonous effect: gastrointestinal symptoms convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, multi-organ failure and blood clots forming in many places around the body, muscular weakness, and paralysis, respiratory arrest. The effects have been described as very similar to cholera leading to a slow, agonizing death but consciousness remains to the end.
Interesting facts: Murderer, Catherine Wilson, is thought to have used it to poison a number of victims in the 19th century

Oleander
Poisonous effect: nausea and vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea that may contain blood, irregular heart rate (racing heart then slows), skin pales due poor or irregular circulation, drowsiness, tremors or shaking of the muscles, seizures, collapse, and even coma that can lead to death

Opium(Poppy)
Poisonous effect: contain chemicals that suppress the nervous system and can cause death

Philodendrons
Poisonous effect: increased salivation, a sensation of burning of the mouth, swelling of the tongue, stomatitis, dysphagia, an inability to speak, and edema

Poinsettia
Poisonous effect: diarrhea and vomiting if eaten, Sap in the eye may cause temporary blindness

Poison Hemlock

Poison Hemlock
Other names: devil's bread or devil's porridge, poison parsley, spotted corobane, spotted hemlock, the killer
Poisonous effect: respiratory collapse and death
Interesting facts: The poison hemlock was a common ‘assassin’s choice’ in ancient Greece, and is believed to be responsible for the death of the philosopher Socrates

Pokeweed
Poisonous effect: death due to respiratory paralysis

Red Cherries (okay, so I know that this isn’t exactly a flower or plant, but I thought it was interesting enough to belong here anyway)
Poisonous effect: The fruit of cherries is not toxic but the cherry pits, damaged leaves, and pruned limbs of the tree do contain cyanide compounds

Veratrum
Poisonous effect: Rapid cardiac failure accompanied by a long list of other symptoms leading to death


Have you ever used poisonous plants or flowers in your stories to add mystery and/or used to murder one of your characters?  

Stay beautifully haunted!

♥ Shadow