The whole landscape was a riddle, I thought bemusedly. A puzzle. A trick. Hiding something, maybe, or trying to reveal something. I hadn’t a clue which. What could a weedy field or a dying rose tree say? Or a great house with all the life in it forced into two mean rooms? What had happened to all its grace and loveliness, all its tales and memories?
This is an old favourite I return to again and again. Urban fantasy at its finest.
To ring in the start of 2017, what is better than a book related beverage? (Lots of things probably, but I can only help with the drinks.) If you are less a bookish beer person and more of a wine fancier, this post is for you. I’m highlighting just a few wines that have in one way or another been inspired by literature.
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Australian winery Some Young Punks uses book covers from the pulp fiction of the early 20th century as inspiration for its wines. Passion Has Red Lips, a Shiraz-Cabernet blend, borrows the cover of Lauren Beauchamp’s Sin on Wheels.
Or perhaps you prefer more classic literature. In that case, you can pick up a bottle from Quixote Winery. Inspired in part from Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, these Cabertnet Sauvignons, Petite Sirahs, Malbecs, and more all have a touch of…
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Anything I’ve read by Maria Popova from her blog, “Brain Pickings” has given me pause and made me think. So I want to share her “16 Overall Favorite Books of 2016”.
These books range from essays to myth but all contain wisdom, knowledge, and inspiration: thoughts and ideas that provoke emotion and change. If there’s just one book here that catches your eye or tugs at your heart, it’s worth the read.
I’m leaning towards The Gutsy Girl by Caroline Paul, and Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver. But who knows? I may journey into the realms of science or time travel or love.
In the veils between the worlds, I remember the fairy folk who guard the ancient places. May we walk lightly and with courtesy upon the earth, may no being stay their progress or block their path, so that the hidden household of the earth may be peaceful.
A prayer written by Caitlin Matthews, author, shaman, and Celtic folklorist. This is reprinted in her forward to The Real World of Fairies: A First Person Account by Dora Van Gelder, 1999
Originally from Caitlin Matthews, Celtic Devotional (New York: Crown, 1996).
Since I write novels that revolve around a coven of witches who solve murders, I think it only fitting, that I sign up for this reading challenge through Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf. I will try to read at least ten witchy books and write one, as well.
If you are looking for a novel that includes a witch as a character, To Charm a Killer features several; as well as, rituals and spells, and a scattering of magic realism. This is the last day to download it for free at the Amazon kindle store.
Winter Solstice Blessings ~Wendy
CLICK THIS LINK TO SIGN UP FOR THE CHALLENGE!
Winter is here. We, in the northern hemisphere, feel her enfold us. She is the Ice Queen. Cloaked in black frost, exhaling snowflakes in a great rush of crystal, she ushers us inside and bids us remember who we are. We, humans, are vulnerable to her whims; cannot control her, though, in our technological frenzy we arrogantly believe we can–right up until she pulls the plug.
Today we begin winter here on the Pacific coast. This is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. This morning, the sun did not rise until 8:05 am, and too soon will set at 4:16pm, leaving us with a mere 8 hours and 11 minutes of daylight.
But like the yin and yang, this darkling queen brings more to us than inclement weather. She brings the promise of lighter days. For solstice is a turning point. The climactic dark night ends with the birth of a new dawn, and from this time forward, days grow longer.
Winter Solstice is a Festival of Light, which many of us celebrate by decking our halls with lights and greenery, connecting with our spiritual selves through meditation, or gathering outside at sacred sites.
In the Valley of the Kings at Brú na Bóinne in Ancient Ireland, our Neolithic ancestors also celebrated the new dawn of Winter Solstice.
Brú na Bóinne translates to something like abode or palace of the river Boyne. It is the mythical home of the god, Dagda, his wife, Boann, and their son Oengus, the love god. They are of the faerie tribes, the Tuatha de Danaan. The stone walls are engraved with symbols we now consider Celtic, though this tomb was built well before the arrival of the Celts to Ireland.
Five thousand years ago, these ancient indigenous tribes built passage tombs from rock. One has been excavated and restored. Built with keen intelligence and divine insight, this stone temple, consists of a roof-box above a portal and leads down a nineteen-metre passageway into a cruciform chamber. It is capped with a corbel roof that seems to defy gravity. As the sun rises on Winter Solstice, its beams enter the roof-box, creep down the passageway, and finally illuminate the chamber.
Her builders were Neolithic farmers who understood the cycle of birth and death. And so, the tomb is much like the womb of the mother earth. For seventeen minutes on Winter Solstice, an elemental union occurs as the beaming light of the sun enters and impregnates the Earth. Gestation follows over the darkling winter months, and if all is well, new life bursts forth again in spring.This is the sacred dance of death and rebirth.
The Boyne Valley really is spectacular. I stood inside the stone chamber, while the guide simulated the experience. It’s one for your bucket list. But, if you can’t travel there, you can still read about Newgrange in detail and tour the tomb via virtual reality via Voices From the Dawn.
Witches in Scotland? Methinks I’ve heard that somewhere before…
What are these,
So wither’d and so wild in their attire,
That look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ earth,
And yet are on’t? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? . . .
First, religion was interwoven with the land and the people. Winter Solstice was a time to celebrate a return to light from the frosty dark of winter.
Then, there were killings prompted by greed and a surge of Christianity.
Now, we see a resurgence of pagans in Scotland.
How do you celebrate this festival of light?
It’s that time of year when we clear out the old to make way for the new. Here’s some practical advice from Kristen Twardowski on culling your books.
How do you choose which books to get rid of?
My joke answer is that you don’t. You keep them all. You have a home with an extra room to store them. You rent a storage shed to keep them all. You build a fortress out of them.
Of course those options aren’t entirely realistic.
Sometimes keeping every book you have ever purchased simply isn’t an option. Read It Forward just published an article for circumstances like that. Dee Williams, the author, recently moved into an 84 square foot house, which is about the same size as an 8 x 10 foot bedroom. As you can imagine, she had to cut down on her book collection a great deal. (Along with her collections of furniture, clothes, cooking equipment, and a dozen other things.)
Though never to the same extent that Williams did, I have culled my book collection in the…
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Congratulations and best wishes to author Kristen Twardowski on the release of her novel!
Today is the day that I can officially say that I published a book. When We Go Missing, my debut novel, is live and available for purchase in print and e-book form on Amazon. (The e-book version is…