Winter Holidays

Wow, so I’m kicking off the Colorado M/M writers winter holiday blog hop…Not sure I’m up for the pressure. Over the next few days, be sure to check in with the home website for the M/M writers and stop by the various blogs. oicchristmasThere will be prizes at the end. How fun is that? Actually for those leaving a comment here on my blog during the blog hop, you’ll be entered for a chance to win an ebook copy of my urban fantasy, “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky.” This is good timing since the sequel, “Dark Stars of Dallas,” is coming out very soon.
So onto Winter Holidays. Where to start? I guess the beginning is a good place. It was a dark and stormy night—nope, wrong book. Actually it was a dark and cold night. The original winter holiday was the winter solstice, which the ancient Celts and Norse called Yule. It can be traced back to ancient Germanic practices and most of the rituals were incorporated into the beliefs surrounding Christmas when the Christians usurped the old pagan religions of the region. The solstice marks the longest night. Ironically, since the seasons are reversed when you cross the equator, while we celebrate winter pagan holidays in the northern hemisphere, the southern hemisphere celebrates summer pagan holidays. The non-Pagan holidays don’t follow the seasons, so for the Aussies, Christmas is warm and sunny with little chance of snow.
A good number of holidays happen around the winter solstice and most of them have some similarities as if they tried to fill a gap in time where their practitioners were afraid to be left out of everyone else’s celebrations. Although Christmas and Yule are the biggest ones now, there’s also Kwanza, celebrated by African Americans in North America. There’s also Bodhi, a Buddhist holiday, Yalda, a Middle Eastern celebration of the solstice that has an interesting correspondence to the birth of Jesus in Christian mythos, and let us not forget the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.
There are also tons of little, in comparison, days like Boxing Day celebrated in Britain and many of her colonies that originally started as a way to give to the less fortunate. There’s Holy Innocent’s day and a number of other saint’s days that either build up to or wrap up Christmas in the various Christian sects.
Around our house, we celebrate a blending of Yule and Christmas so we keep the various parts of the family happy since we’re a mixed household. Luckily a Christmas or Yule tree is a major common symbol so we make sure to decorate it prettily. So we don’t confuse the kids, we do presents on Christmas morning like all of their friends. We also do Yule logs, which are made from the previous spring’s Maypole, when we have a maypole. There are stockings hung with care because Santa Claus is but one of the many forms taken by the Holly King. We like hay rides since we don’t have access to a nice old-fashioned sleigh. I realize that this might not be the way it is for everyone, but this works for us.
This blog post has rambled, but when you take a good long look at our winter holidays, they have become a bit strange and rambling in their own ways. I fear we are rapidly losing the meanings of many, if not all, of the celebrations this time of year. The simple joy of knowing that the sun is reborn with the dawn after the longest night, and that the promise of spring is renewed (and this carries over in both spelling of sun/son) has been lost in all the rabid commercialism that gets worse each year. Being together with family through the darkest days has been lost to the idea of who bought me the best present.
We now fight over Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Since we celebrate two, I’m all in favor of Happy Holidays, since to us it’s more than just Christmas. But why do we even really care what other people are celebrating as long as they are celebrating? We live in a world that is in desperate need of true, happy celebrations. Not just getting presents, but giving of ourselves to other people. Years ago, the celebrations around the solstice were times that communities came together to see how people were getting along through the winter. It was a time of being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
We need to remember that and embrace the idea that we are not alone in the world. We hurry through our lives, often losing touch with friends and family as we go. No matter what holiday you celebrate this year, remember that these are celebrations meant to bring folks together. Stop standing out by yourself. Set old grievances aside and enjoy your family, whether they are by blood or by choice. Be happy. If my crazy family made up of Pagans and Christians, gay and straight, young and old can all come together, it’s possible for anyone to do so. Embrace your family. Don’t let another year go by, even if all you can afford is a phone call to let them know that you remember them. The world is trying it’s best to pull families apart these days. Use the holidays, no matter what you celebrate, as a reason to come back together.
So I started off talking about different holidays and end up getting a bit holiday mushy. Sorry about that. I get kinda soft this time of year. I know a lot of people feel lonely right now and there’s no need for that. We all have someone who wants to be with us through the longest night and embrace the birth of a new year. Brightest Blessings this holiday season, no matter who is giving those blessings.
Now since this blog hop is going on for several days, don’t forget to stop by the main site hosting the hop, Marie has done a great job getting things set up so you can visit the other sites with a different stop each day. Since I’m the start of things, there’s just the link for tomorrow’s blog. Tabatha Heart
Everyone go out and have a Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Cool Yule, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Bodhi, or whatever celebration you’re having, just go have fun and a happy time. And don’t forget to leave a comment below to register to win an ecopy of “Blood Moon, Yellow Sky” at the end of the blog hop.

Here Comes “Familiar Path”

It’s release day for “Familiar Path” the first book in the “Familiar Way” series.

“Familiar Path” is the story of Lugh McNeal as he discovers family secrets he never imagined existed. Lugh if an only child, and after his father died in a boating accident, his mother moves them from Florida to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. On his fifteenth birthday, a strange dream awakens Lugh. He discovers a new friend, a somewhat annoying cousin, and a strange gray kitten that needs him. But there are forces working toward Lugh’s destruction. Can Lugh and the strange kitten find the answers and power they need before darkness enshrouds them?

Familiar Path200x300“Familiar Path” is available through Silverstream Press.

https://silverstreampress.com/familiar-path-ebook-p-1514.html

 

Congrats Emily

Wow this has been a great blog hop. Thanks to everyone who participated. Emily W. , you’re the winner of the free ecopy of “Hearts Blood Fusion” just respond to the email I sent you and we’ll get that right out. Everyone else, thanks for stopping by I had a great time and I hope you did too.

Out Guest Blogging today

Check out the guest blog today. I’m over at Paranormal Cravings as part of their wer and shifters month.

http://paranormalcravings.blogspot.com/2012/10/guest-post-with-giveaway-by-am-burns.html

We’re even having a give away.

Interview with Sheryl Steines

Please enjoy this interview with Sheryl Steines, author of the action-packed urban fantasy, “She Wulf.” Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of ”She Wulf,” and 5 copies of its companion, ”The Day of First Sun.”

1:When you start a book do you know how it will end or do you create the ending as you go along?

I have a rough idea of what the book will be about and I have some scene ideas and a rough ending.  When I wrote “The Day of First Sun,” I knew that a high profile, non-magical person was going to be murdered by magic.  I wrote out a paragraph of things that I wanted to see in the story and began writing.  I didn’t look at the paragraph again until after the book was published and realized that I didn’t keep to my original thoughts at all.  I tend to work without an outline because I feel tied to the story as if I’m trying to make everything fit.  I prefer to let it flow and change.  I like the freedom and the discovery.  Sometimes I’m wildly surprised.

2. Do your book characters ever visit you in your dreams?

Yes and no.  Not as much when I’m sleeping, but I daydream about them all the time.  It’s how I work out characters and storylines.  It’s almost as if a movie is playing in my head and I can change and add to storylines.

3. What are your favorite authors as either an adult or a child?

When I was a kid, I loved Nancy Drew.  I read every one of them, but I didn’t just want to read them, I wished I had wrote them and started to write my own detective stories when I was seven.  As I grew older, I read Judy Blume and Stephen King.  Both made me feel something and from that I wanted to keep writing.  I still read Stephen King and was very inspired by his autobiography “On Writing”.  It was J.K. Rowling though, that reminded me of what I loved to read and that’s what inspired me to write my own fantasy novel.

4. How do you go about finishing a chapter when you can’t get it right?

I skip it…Just kidding.  No, actually I’m not.  Sometimes, I make a note in all caps reminding me I haven’t finished the chapter and other notes that I might be thinking about for the chapter and start the next one.  Sometimes you just need to move on.  The answer will eventually hit you upside the head when you least expect it.

5. Describe your reaction when you saw and held your first book?

I think I was numb when “The Day of First Sun” was published.  Almost as if I had only done it to satisfy a selfish desire.  It didn’t seem real.  It was when I held “She Wulf” in my hands for the first time that I was overcome with emotion.  This book consumed me for so long and I was so amazed by the final product and it seemed more than just a fantasy.

6. What is your biggest achievement to date?

Writing my first book.  I always wanted to and never gave myself the opportunity.  One day I decided it was time.  It changed my life, gave me confidence.  I lost the extra baby weight, changed my wardrobe, straightened my hair and gave my girls a role model, an example of taking control of one’s life and being the best person you can be.

7. What’s your favorite color?

Pink.  I’ve always been a girly girl.  As much as I’d like to be a sporty girl, I’m just not.  It’s all about the pink, purses and shoes.

8. Favorite sound?

I love the sound of rain on the roof.  Not during the sunlight hours, but early in the morning when it’s still dark out.  I snuggle under the covers.  It makes me happy.

9. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

An interior decorator.  I love being creative and crafty and picking paint colors and getting lost in a fabric store.  It’s almost as good as getting lost in a bookstore.

10. Worst fear?

I fear the alligators under the bed.  Since I was a kid I can’t sleep without something covering my feet incase they come and get me.  Don’t laugh, Stephen King admitted the same thing in an interview once.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the “She Wulf” eBook edition is just 99 cents this week–and so is the price of its companion, “The Day of First Sun”. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

Purchase your copy of “She Wulf”for just 99 cent
Purchase your copy of “Day of First Sun” for just 99 cent

Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity

Visit today’s featured social media event

About “She Wulf” Annie is sent through an ancient time portal with only a prophecy to guide her; she struggles with a new destiny as she tries to figure out a way to destroy an un-killable demon and return home.  Get it on Amazon

About “The Day of First Sun” A vampire, a rogue wizard and an army of soulless zombies are par for the course for Annie Pearce and Bobby “Cham” Chamsky of the Wizard’s Guard. But when the non-magical princess, Amelie of Amborix, is murdered by magical means, a deeper plot unfolds. Get it on Amazon

About the author: Behind the wheel of her ’66 Mustang Convertible, Sheryl is a constant surprise, using her sense of humor and relatable style make her books something everyone can enjoy. Visit Sheryl on her website Twitter Facebook GoodReads

Name a character

Here’s a contest folks can get behind. For those of you who have read “Perfect Trouble,” you know that there are two shorts at the end of the book. One of those shorts takes place a short while after the story ends and the other short fills in what happened to Dusty while he was off doing his own thing in the book. Now at the end of Dusty’s story we get introduced to a new character which at that point has no name. Here’s the contest, I want a good name for the new character. He will be in the supporting cast for the next book “Perfect Aim.” If you haven’t read the book yet, that’s fine, go out and get it. I’ll keep the contest open until August 31st, since I won’t begin actually writing this one until September, due to other things I’m writing at the moment. So post up your comments and give me ideas for names. It will be fun.

Here’s the link to the E.S. Peters books.

If your the first person to suggest a name and I choose that name, you’ll get a copy of the ebook once its published later this year.

 

Blog Hop results

Hey folks, just want to tell everyone thanks for stopping by during the Independence Day blog hop. You guys left some great comments, and I know that myself and everyone around Colorado appreciate all the great energy everyone is pouring down on us right now.

The winner of the contest for the ebooks is Christine Eagles. Thanks for participating Christine, hope you enjoy the books.

For folks who have already bought their copies of “Perfect Trouble” Check back here next week when we will be announcing a contest that will revolve around the next book in the series “Perfect Aim.”

Community

Sorry this post is running so late for the blog hop, the world around here has been crazy for a couple of weeks. If anyone has been watching the news, they know that here in Colorado we’ve had a series of major wildfires. So far I’ve had a couple of them impact me on different levels, but they have helped me find a topic for the 4th of July blog hop. Community.
When you stop and break down the word community, it’s an anagram of common and unity. In my mind it’s coming together for the common good. That is one of the basic principles that this country of ours was build upon. During times of great tragedy we still see it in our fellow Americans. When the going gets tough, Americans, people…humans band together to make it through the rough spots.
Two weekends ago, while at work nearly two hours from home, we got the call that we might need to evacuate due to a wildfire that had sprung up a couple miles from home. We made sure that the critters would be taken care of if the call to evacuate came before we got home. When we arrived home my father in law’s horse trailer was gone, but all the horses were still on the property. He was out helping neighbors that had to evacuate get their horses to safety. Later that evening when he’d done all he could he came home and told us about everyone else who was in the lines at the summer camps and ranches around the area helping to make sure the horses and other critters got out. Over the next week or so we noticed that places that were not in the path of that fire suddenly had new horses, cows, llamas, and other critters on their property. This fire, named the Springer fire, luckily went north and didn’t impact as many people as they were afraid it would. We were informed this past week it is out.
Last weekend, again while at work, we found out about the Waldo Canyon fire. Although this fire was further away from home, it had a much bigger impact on us and our friends and family. Again Bob, my father in law, responded to the call to help get critters out of the way of this very destructive force of nature. We know several families that were forced from their homes as the fire roared into Colorado Springs. Through talking with friends this past weekend, we found out that people we know peripherally actually lost their homes. The amazing thing through all this was watching the reports on the news and hearing from friends about how the community came together to help one another.
Over the worst time of the fire, so far…it’s not out yet and it till it is, it’s not over, there were some 36,000 people evacuated. During this time rarely were there more than 300 people in the emergency shelters. Most of the evacuees found refuge with friends and family. In a world where on a day to day basis we humans appear very self absorbed, this is touching to me. People stopping to think about others and care about others enough to open their homes to them in times of need. And the food banks and other outreach organizations are reporting record donations to help those people displaced by this dramatic display of nature’s fury.
Our country was built on the idea of community and working together for the common good. As we stop and look at how the folks here in Colorado and other parts of the country are working together to make things better in these desperate times, it is good to see that the founding idea that helped us fight for our independence from England over two hundred years ago is still alive. It gives me a hope for the future of our country, if people can just work together and continue to build upon what those founders started those many years ago. Stop looking at the ways to make yourself better, look at how to make everyone around you better. Find the power in the people and lift everyone up, wither it’s in a time of need or just every day. Those are the ideas that this great country was founded on, and those are the ideas that we have shown we can still embrace. Happy Fourth of July folks.


Contest: Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a set of E.S.Peters ebooks, “Perfect Love” and “Perfect Trouble”
Follow this blog and like my Facebook page for additional entries.

Be sure to visit http://thebloghopspot.com/event-page/  for more great blogs participating in the blog hop.

Interview with Tricia Stewart Shiu

Please enjoy this interview with Tricia Stewart Shiu, author of the paranormal YA novel with a literary bent ”Moa”. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $6000 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, 5 autographed copies of ”Moa”, and 5 autographed copies of its sequel, ”Statue of Ku.”

 

1. The Moa Book series has a metaphysical theme. Do you have any expertise in this area?

I am an energetic intuitive and have a talent for creating powerful healing essential oil blends and gem elixirs. The unearthing of these talents occurred as I embarked on a metaphysical journey, which included studies in mediumship, pagan and Huna rituals as well as an energy healing technique called “Crystalline Consciousness Technique.” I also studied a variety of shamanic clearing methods and healing rituals.

You get pretty heavy into the metaphysical. Are you, in fact, a witch?

Like, Hillary, I question who I am on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. For centuries, women have been persecuted and even killed for being labeled a witch. I have studied many forms of healing rituals and magic and discovered that I have talents for using essential oils and crystals for the highest good. Others, who have witnessed the results of my practices, have called me many things: healer, shaman, and yes, witch. I choose not to accept any of these names but to embrace all of them as one growing changing name—wishealer or heshitch—to coin a phrase…or maybe not. As I discover more talents, gifts and unique parts to myself, this unusual word is sure to undergo a metamorphosis and may grow to the size of Moa’s real, and quite lengthy, Hawaiian name.

3. What are your favorite books and how have they touched you as a reader?

Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The books/stories that touch me most echo the theme of humanity and self discovery and include a sense of adventure and wonder. Ray Bradbury’s short story, “Frost and Fire” is a shocking, but tender story about a boy’s journey into a world where people only live eight days. James Joyce’s “Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” inspired me to unleash my inner censor and allow my truth to shine though my writing. If I could wish anything for those who read my books, it would be the gift of self acceptance and self acknowledgement.

4. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?

Good question. I went back into my notes and discovered that it took me exactly three months and ten days to write “Moa” from beginning to end. That seems to be my average writing speed, three months. My aunt Rebecca Gummere is my editor extraordinaire. We have developed a comfortable and productive working rhythm that balances creativity and structure and brings such joy and enrichment to the work.

5. Who designs the covers for your books?

The brilliant and talented Sydney Shiu took the cover photos when she was six during a trip to Hawaii. Scott Torrance brought his years of experience in photographic art and design to the layouts.

6. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The time between stories is the most challenging for me. When I am inside a story and writing I am filled with peace and joy. When I finish and have to leave that world, I mourn the loss of this comforting place–the same is true when I finish reading a great book. Nevertheless, I believe that this sadness brings with it a great opportunity and depth of creativity and I wouldn’t change a thing about the process.

7. Any take-away message you want readers to grasp?

Each of us has at least one divine gift to remember. The moment we wake up and retrieve the memory of who we are and what we are here to do, that’s when the adventure begins.

8. When did you first consider yourself an author?

I was in middle school and read James Joyce’s “Portrait of an Artist” for the first time. About an hour later, I was overcome by an urge to write, an impulse I readily indulged. Time stood still, I still can’t quite remember what happened during that frenzied period of first creation. All I remember is coming to with pages upon pages filled with words in front of me. It felt incredible to express myself so freely. I’ve never looked back.

9. Did you start out writing novels?

No. I started out writing short stories when I was young. Then when I began acting, I wrote one-woman shows and plays, eventually combining my efforts of performance and writing in a piece called “Doing Lunch” which made it’s way into a short film trilogy directed by Hal Trussel. That film won “Best Dramatic Short” at the Houston Film Festival.

10. What was your main source of inspiration for the “Moa” book series?

When I was five, I was visited by a vision. I’ll never forget it, I was running down the stairs and the entity, a girl with dark hair, stopped me in my tracks. The spirit said that I would go through a deeply challenging time in my life, but would resurface, later in life, with unimaginable joy and fulfillment. That vision stayed with me. In middle school, I would sit quietly at my desk adding up the years to figure out exactly when my life would turn around.

And then I forgot. I got busy, my work and the stress of family life took over and I was completely overwhelmed and in desperate need of a vacation. My husband, daughter and I decided to go to Hawaii.

When the plane landed in Honolulu, I remember feeling the difference in the atmosphere as I disembarked. The air made me somehow, remember that there was a part of me that knew…something…what was it?

Never mind, I was in Hawaii it was time to see the sights! So, I sped off to see Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and then headed home for an afternoon nap before an evening luau. As I drifted toward sleep, I heard my name being called. In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful young woman with dark hair, who said her name was Moaahuulikkiaaakea’o Haanaapeekuluueehuehakipuunahe’e—Moa for short.

And then I remembered.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the “Moa” “Statue of Ku” eBook editions have both been dropped to just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing either of these fantastic books at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $600 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of each book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

1

Purchase your copies of “Moa”“Statue of Ku”for just 99 cents

Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity

Visit today’s featured social media event

About Moa:  Eighteen-year-old, Hillary, anticipates adventure as she embarks for trip to Honolulu, but gets more than she bargained for when Moa, an ancient Hawaiian spirit, pays her an unexpected visit. Get it on Amazon.

 

About Statue of Ku:  The second book in the Moa Book Series, “The Statue of Ku” follows Hillary and Moa as they jet to Egypt on the Prince’s private plane to reclaim Moa’s family heirloom, the inimitable statue of Ku. Get it on Amazon.

 

About the author: Tricia Stewart Shiu combines her addiction to the written word with her avid interest in the healing arts and all things metaphysical in her novels ”Moa” and “Statue of Ku” and looks forward to finding new ways to unite her two loves. Visit Tricia on her websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.