2019 New Apple Summer eBook Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing:
‘Rise: A Blood Inheritance Novel‘ was chosen as an “Official Selection” in the Young Adult Fantasy category of the New Apple Summer eBook Awards! You can view the other selections here: www.newappleliterary.com
I created a new T-shirt design to wear to upcoming events and have just added two more Mighty Con’s to the schedule below.
readersfavorite.com will have “Rise” listed as an available prize in the monthly book giveaway. If your interested in winning some amazing books by great authors you can check out the monthly giveaway here: https://readersfavorite.com book giveaway
Upcoming Event Reminders:
Concealed Realms will be at the Quad Cities Mighty Con in Rock Island, IL. This Comic Con takes place March 14th and 15th at the Quad Cities Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave, Rock Island, IL.
Concealed Realms will be participating in the Dupage Mighty Con. This event takes place at the Dupage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Rd, Wheaton, IL on Saturday May 23rd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
We will be returning to The Madison Comic Con! This event takes place Sunday, July 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Exhibit Hall, 1 John Nolan Drive, Madison WI.
“One need not be a chamber to be haunted. One need not be a house. The brain has corridors surpassing material place.” – Emily Dickinson
“Monsters are real, ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” – Stephen King, ‘The Shining’
“Walls have ears.
Doors have eyes.
Trees have voices.
Beasts tell lies.
Beware the rain.
Beware the snow.
Beware the man
You think you know.” – Catherine Fisher
“Stare at the dark too long and you will eventually see what isn’t there.” – Unknown
“There are horrors beyond life’s edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man’s evil prying calls them just within our range.” – H.P. Lovecraft
“Everyone is a moon and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody.” – Mark Twain
“The world outside had its own rules and those rules were not human.” – Michel Houellebecq
“We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.” – Mike Carey and Peter Gross
“Sometimes the things in our heads are far worse than anything they could put in books or on film.” – C.K. Webb
“I’m so curious about knowing the unknown; it can be scary, but I see it as a game.” – Hrithik Roshan
Definition of Folklore:
noun “an often unsupported notion, story, or saying that is widely circulated.”-merriamwebster.com
Definition of Legend:
noun “a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.“– www.dictionary.com
noun “a story coming down from the past especially : one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable“– merriamwebster.com
The winter season is upon us and I wanted to take a look at a small selection of traditions that have taken place around the winter solstice in ancient history.
Cultures around the world have long held celebrations and feasts during the winter solstice. Many Traditions and customs such as the burning of the Yule log, the decorated tree, the hanging of wreaths, wassailing, and even the use of mistletoe can be traced back to these celebrations.
The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year, meaning it has the fewest daylight hours. In the Northern Hemisphere, depending on the year, this takes place between December 20 and 23rd. Officially the first day of winter, the winter solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun.
Being the darkest time of the year, the winter solstice is celebrated by many people as the beginning of the return of the sun and darkness turning into light. Its no wonder that common symbols for these events often include fire and light.
The origin of the word “solstice” is derived from the Latin word sōlstitium “point at which the sun seems to stand still.”
Ancient people didn’t know about Earth’s orbit but they still observed the solstice by noting what was happening overhead in the sky.
The sun’s arc had been steadily dropping lower and becoming shorter since June and is now at its lowest possible arc. During this time, it appears to rise and set in the same place for several days in a row.
Its thought that humans may have observed the winter solstice as early as the Neolithic period.
Archaeologists theorize that Stonehenge (3000 BC), which is oriented toward the winter solstice sunset, may have been a place of December rituals for Stone Age people. It has also been suggested that since the tomb-like neolithic monuments of Maeshowe (in Scotland 2800 BC) and Newgrange (in Ireland 3200 BC) are aligned with sunrise on the winter solstice, they could very well have once served a religious purpose in which Stone Age people held rituals on the year’s shortest day.
Five thousand years ago , ancient Egyptians celebrated the rebirth of the sun at this time of year. They set the length of the festival at 12 days, reflecting their 12-month calendar. It is also said that they decorated using palms with 12 shoots as a symbol of the completed year.
Shab-e Yalda or “Yalda night” is a festival that has been observed on the longest and darkest night of the year since the time of the Persian Empire.
This night was called Yalda which meant rebirth (of the sun), and it was celebrated for the triumph of light over darkness. The festival included customs intended to protect people from misfortune. They built fires at sundown to light their way through the dark and kept them burning until the first rays of sun the following day.
During the night they gathered with family and friends, drank, read poems, sang happy songs, listened to stories about old times, and ate delicious food. Foods common to Yalda celebration include watermelon, pomegranate, nuts, and dried fruit.
Saturnalia, was a week long celebration in the days leading up to the winter solstice. This holiday in honor of the god of agriculture( Saturn) is said to have begun as a single day event. But by the late Republic (133-31 B.C.) it had expanded to a week long festival that began on December 17th.
During Saturnalia, people decorated their homes with wreaths and shed their traditional togas in favor of colorful clothing. Schools, businesses, and courts of law were closed. The normal social patterns suspended.
Instead of working, Romans spent Saturnalia playing music, singing, gambling, feasting, and giving each other gifts such as wax taper candles. These candles signified light returning after the solstice.
In many Roman households, a mock king was chosen. Often a lowlier member of the household, the figure was responsible for making mischief during the celebrations. This leader of misrule would wear crazy clothing, insult guests, chase people around the house, and plan scandalous party entertainment. The idea was that he ruled over chaos, rather than the normal Roman order.
Yule was celebrated primarily by cultures of northern and western Europe. The midpoint of winter was a time to celebrate the rebirth of the sun and the light it would bring to the earth.
In ancient times, most cattle and other animals were slaughtered around midwinter so that they wouldn’t have to be fed during the winter, making the solstice a time when fresh meat for feasting was plentiful.
The Celts of the British Isles celebrated midwinter with brightly colored decorations that would be hung on a pine tree to symbolize the various stellar objects (such as – the sun, the stars, the moon) which held tremendous significance to the Celtic people and also to represent the souls of those who had died in the previous year.
It is said that it was the Druid priests who maintained the tradition of the yule log and cut mistletoe from the holy oaks. The Celts believe Mistletoe possessed healing powers and would ward off evil spirits.
The ancient Norsemen of Scandinavia celebrated from the winter solstice through January. They would decorate evergreen trees with gifts such as carvings, and food for the tree spirits in order to encourage their return in the spring. Yule celebrations also included ritual sacrifices, feasts and gift giving, as well as decorating with holly, and mistletoe. The Norse peoples, who called it Jul, viewed it as a time for much merrymaking.
In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs (usually a whole tree), which became known as Yule logs. They would set one end of these logs on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new piglet or calf that would be born during the coming year.
Odin was celebrated during Yule as well and was often described as a wanderer with a long white beard and a blue cloak. Viking children would leave their shoes out by the hearth on the eve of the winter solstice with sugar and hay for Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir.
Some of these celebrations live on today, although they may have morphed and changed throughout the ages, a lot of similar traditions persist. This was just a small sampling of the many festivals and celebrations that were observed in ancient times during the winter solstice. There have been and are of course, many many more.
Learn more about the folklore and legends of the season:
Check out these sites: