Friday, December 19, 2014

The Twelve Nightmares Before Christmas with Courtney Alameda: Nightmare Seven + Giveaway

Hello, nocturnal readers!

Today I am beyond proud to welcome the wonderful Courtney Alameda to The Library! Courtney's debut novel, Shutter (coming from Feiwel & Friends in early February 2015) scared the living daylights out of me, but at the same time, the depth of characterization and her marvelous worldbuilding absolutely thrilled me.

Courtney's far more eloquent than I am, so I'll leave you in her very capable hands.

Hi! I’m Courtney Alameda, author of the soon-to-be published YA horror novel, SHUTTER. I love Christmastime and all things scary, so I wanted to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite Christmas beasties with everyone this year—twelve of them, to be exact! Join me and a few of my blogger friends every day from December 13 – 24, as we feature different holiday nightmares . . . if you dare!

So without further ado . . .


I was planning to write about Perchta today, but honestly, I needed a break from most Christmas beasties’  naughty-or-nice shtick. Our Krampuses and Grylas and Yule Lads have been dreamed into existence to scare children into being good during the darkest time of the year, in which weary parents couldn’t possibly stand to hear, “Mom! Belsnickel’s touching me!” ONE more time, or else they might strangle barricade their children outside. Permanently.

Ergo, I bring you MARI LWYD, the Zombie Christmas Horse.  (Okay, it really translates into Grey Mare, but “zombie Christmas horse” is WAY more fun). She’s a real Welsh tradition, but she kind of reminds me of the White Walker king’s horse in GAME OF THRONES:

I'd ride that
No Christmas tradition is more gruesome than Mari Lywd, in which a dead mare rises from the grave and wanders the streets. And it’s just about the creepiest puppet you’ve ever seen, because the creature is made from a mare’s skull on a stick, a white sheet, and streamers:

Yay! First prize!

Drunken men parade the Mari Lywd down the streets with one goal in mind—to get into your house. To keep the zombie horse out-out-out, revelers engage in a battle of wits called the pwnco, which was a versifying contest between the Mari Lywd’s bearers and the house’s inhabitants . . . in Welsh, no less. Traditional and improvised verses are sung back and forth, insults are exchanged; and if the Mari Lywd and her “undead” bearers win, they must be invited inside for refreshments (and sometimes, bribes).

Despite the Mari Lwyd’s macabre visage, she’s actually a symbol of rebirth in Wales, and rides to remind others of what it really means to be alive. If you have to open the door to any beastie this holiday season, I really hope it’s the Mari Lywd . . . just be ready to rhyme in Welsh!

Thanks to the wonderful Maja for hosting this post! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a pre-ordered copy of SHUTTER, a “Reaper” necklace, and a signed bookplate. Please note that the giveaway is US only, and we promise prizes will not be a horse’s skull on a stick.

Happiest of holidays, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I have never heard of this but even though it seems scary I like the idea of a dead mare! I don't think I have heard of anything like that. So great post and thank you for sharing :)

  2. This is awesome! I love deviating away from the sugary Christmas stories and getting into the darker myths of the holidays:-D

  3. Oh wow, another Xmasy monster I had never heard of before but what an interesting tradition! Rhyming in Welsh, wow, I guess it would get easier to make sure the "dead" riders and the horse-ish would be kept out of your house once they have had a pair of "refreshments" in other houses, so they might trip over words...
    Fantastic guest post Maja, I cannot wait to hear your review of Shutter!

  4. Ack those horses! I will never look at them the same way! :P

    Okay I need to read this one but I have to work myself up to it because I am such a chicken!

  5. Happy Holidays and thanks for the giveaway<3

  6. I received a copy of this one and I am so looking forward to it. Zombie horses? Who knew that is way creepy.

  7. Okay, am I weird for liking that skull horse thing? I don't really want it or anything, but I still think it is pretty cool. Oh and they would totally win with me by asking me to spell anything in Welsh. LOL

  8. That's awesome- I'd never heard of that! I'd want to be the last house on the block, after the revelers are seriously toasted. Gives the wit advantage, and all that. :)

  9. Ahhh I LOVE the sound of that Christmas tradition. Something to keep you up at night on Christmas Eve! :DDD I am weird like that.

    Also I feel like I want to know the entire story now and have someone read it out loud to me. :')

    Thanks so much for sharing Maja and Courtney!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

  10. The cover of shutter scared me! hehe I like to celebrate all holidays by watching corresponding movies to them :)

  11. I love reading legends. I'm just full of curiosity about legends.

  12. I'm so psyched to read Shutter! It feels like everyone wants to read this book and now I want to as well! ^_^

  13. That horse is freaking scary! Considering Alameda's book terrified you, I have a feeling that I might be too chicken for it. I actually haven't heard much about Shutter but will add it to my wishlist for now (and hope that it's not too terrifying).

  14. Thanks so much for the giveaway, I can't wait to read Shutter.

  15. I love the premise for Shutter, and I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the awesome post!


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