I hope everybody's been having a wonderful summer! Here's some of what I've been up to over the past few weeks--at least the parts that don't involve me being glued to my computer writing, writing, writing, sometimes gleefully, sometimes in :::headdesk::: misery, or, alternatively, engrossed in somebody else's novel. Since these activities do not make for the most thrilling blog post topics, I will spare you, dear reader. Instead, here some of the highlights of the OTHER stuff I've been doing! :)
My Summer Fun So Far
In Writing News
Some folks have been wondering when the next Moonlight Square is coming. Just to let you know, it's still on deck, just running a bit behind due to SECRETS OF THE DEEP coming out to be such an epic fantasy sized tome. That set the schedule back a bit, and then I had to finish my part on Harmony Falls, Book 1: DREAM OF ME. That, too, took me somewhat longer than expected because writing contemporary romance is still a brand-new skill set for this ol' historical gal. What a learning curve! But it's exciting to be expanding my abilities, so I appreciate your patience. Good books take time, and my readers deserve my best.
I can tell you one thing, though -- between Harmony Falls and Moonlight Square, it's going to be a busy autumn, book-release-wise! (Is that a word?) There are cover reveals coming soon, but all in due time. Just wanted to let you know, never fear, the mysterious Duke of Rivenwood is still waiting in the shadows for his rendezvous with you, my dear reader! (Sign up for my mailing list if you'd like to receive an email alert as soon as it's available. That will save you the trouble of having to check back, plus you get a free gift, my info-packed 52-page Regency Glossary.) That's all for now!
Enjoy the final month of summer, friends! I hope all you moms out there get a little well-earned me-time with the kiddos back in school, Teachers, of whom I know there are many in my audience, best of luck with your new classes! Thanks for visiting, everybody ~ more to come soon! xo, Gaelen
Earth Day is coming up this Friday, so my contemporary co-writer and dear sis, Jaz Kennedy, and I decided to drop in for a visit to Harmony Falls!
With all the farms, forests, mountains and rivers that surround our fictional small town in Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands, we decided it would be fun to see what some of the outdoorsy heroes and free-spirited heroines in our upcoming small town romance series have got going on for the big event!
Read on for a peek into everyday life at Harmony Falls...
She tingled a little inside, hoping her efforts to get the whole town involved would prove to be successful.
Retirees, teenagers, single dads, preschoolers, farmhands, sorority sisters, doctors, painters and firemen packed into the Knickpoint Brewing Company for a hearty breakfast before setting out.
“Come on in, everybody! You’re gonna need lots of energy before you get working. We’ve got a beautiful brunch spread here for all our dedicated volunteers!”
The Knickpoint was an old speak-easy-turned-brewpub, owned by Jules’ good friend Jack Brand–and the giant ex-Marine was a bit of a hometown hero. After his last tour of duty, he’d bought the abandoned pub and refurbished it with his bare hands, right down to its original mahogany carved panels.
Now the town’s preferred watering hole would serve as Earth Day Festivity Headquarters, and it was already getting crowded. Folks lined up at the buffet table nestled by the jukebox, chatting excitedly as they loaded their plates with waffles, scrambled eggs and bacon, getting fueled up for a day of honest work.
Jack placed a gentle but calloused hand on Jules’ elbow. “Hey, red, make sure you let everyone know to report back here for free pints when they’re finished. We’re tapping a keg of Happy Planet Pilsner at fifteen-hundred hours.”
“Yes, sir!” Jules replied, pulling a pen from behind her ear. A strand of ginger hair flung down below her chin as she reviewed her list.
“Where are my garbage pickers?” Regina DuPont bellowed from the doorway.
“Reggie!” called Jules, waving. “You made it!”
One of Jules’ best girlfriends, Reggie was a petite yet regal blonde with ice-blue eyes. As an EMT medic, she was absolutely unflappable—with an occasionally wicked sense of humor.
At the moment, she had her hands full, balancing boxes of trash bags and rubber gloves, and a stack of yellow safety vests ready to distribute to the roadside cleanup crews. [CLICK READ MORE BELOW THE PICTURE TO CONTINUE!]
A little lighthearted fun in honor of St. Patrick's Day! One of the biggest celebrations of the year in my family.
BTW, if you have any funny superstitions to share, please tell us about them below! Forewarned is forearmed, after all! ;)
Now here's a fun thing! I was recently doing research for a Regency historical romance that will take place in 1816, and I was struck by all the similarities I kept noticing to our current time. I am personally of the belief that, for good or ill, humanity never really changes. Tell me below if you agree or if not, why not? :)
PS: Please let me know if you have any trouble with these flip cards! They were fun to make, but it's my first time making them on Playbuzz. :) These are really just for fun, but if you're looking for an in-depth article on, say, economic conditions of early 19th c. England, this one from the Peel Web will knock you off your chair with the stunning similarities between 1816 and 2016. History may not repeat itself, but as Twain allegedly said, it does rhyme.
Also, I'd like to give a tip of the hat to Nancy Meyer, Regency researcher extraordinaire, who inspired me to do this blog when she shared her list of big events of 1816 with the Beau Monde Regency specialty chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America). If you love learning about the Regency, definitely bookmark Nancy's site, www.RegencyResearcher.com! This Lady of Distinction knows her stuff! She is THE most knowledge person I know on all things Regency, and her site is a treasure trove.
So here they are ~ a few tidbits from current events of 200 years ago that do seem strangely familiar...
So... What are YOUR Predictions for What 2016 Will Bring?
“ ‘Heard of the Twelfth Night merry-making in Tom Shakeshaft’s barn, of course? Twelfth-cake — spiced ale — fiddling — dancing — all kinds of fun and frolic.’ ”
(from: William Harrison Ainsworth, The Life and Adventures of Mervyn Clitheroe, 1858 / Illustration by Hablot Knight Brown via Wiki Commons)
On January 6, Christians celebrate Epiphany, the arrival of the Three Magi (or Three Wise Men or Three Kings) with presents for Baby Jesus (though what a baby is supposed to do with myrhh and frankincense is anybody’s guess). In the English tradition, the evening before is referred to as Twelfth Night and marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.
For centuries, it was a fun, festive day, and even though by the Regency period, festivities had become much tamer than they were in, say, the Middle Ages, there was still plenty of fun and partying.
But what would a party be without cake? And not just any cake! (Click "Read More" below picture to continue.)
Her little--well, big!--dog character is based on her family's lovable German Shepherd, who is descended from police dogs, and always getting into scrapes--like the time he tried to play with a rattlesnake! He found out the hard way that that fun little shaking nose they make isn't actually a dog toy after all!
Of course, this story has nothing to do with rattlesnakes, but follows Rosco and his family along on their annual visit to a Autumn Farm Festival (which I just love going to at this time of year!). It's perfect for kids who are making progress with their independent reading, or for a read-along for younger kids. If you'd like to read my full interview with Shana, (writing under her married name as Shana Gorian) please visit E.G. Foley website here. Or visit her website at www.ShanaGorian.com. Thanks for dropping by!
From ancient times, the Western world has celebrated spring with a festival at the end of April and starting into May. The Romans called it the Floralia because Flora was the goddess of flowers and as you'll notice, things these days are starting to bloom!
In German regions, it's known as Walpurgis Night, but to the Celtic peoples of Ireland and the British Isles called their celebration Beltane. It ran from April 30 to May 1 or even extending to May 3rd or so, though they based it on astrological movements in the heavens, not on the calendar. (They waited for the sun to enter Taurus.)
Beltane is the spring fire festival and you can think of it is as the opposite in feeling from Halloween (which these ancient peoples also started in the form of Samhain). If Samhain was dark and scary and oriented toward death and the approaching winter, Beltane was colorful and flirty, all about joy and life and ensuring the fertility of crops, livestock, and human families, too.
Of course, in the most ancient of pagan times, there was also a little human sacrifice involved in Beltane celebrations--! Probably not so joyful for that guy, whoever got chosen to end up getting burned on the Beltane fires. Over time, thankfully, the human sacrifice died out (ha, ha, pun intended) and morphed into smaller-scale brushes with the "sacred fire."
For example, it was considered good luck to jump over the Beltane bonfire if it was small enough. Or they would build two fires and the daredevils wanting good luck would have to run between them. In other regions, they contented themselves with simply baking a bannock cake over the "lucky" fire and that way, they could consume the good luck. Not all places celebrated the same way.
However, if there is one enduring symbol of May Day, it is the charming sight of people dancing around the May pole. Below you'll find a video from an elementary school in England where the little girls from the school demonstrate dancing around the May pole. The video is a little long but if you scroll ahead you'll enjoy, I think, seeing the parents and the rest of the community join in this merry, ancient tradition. It's really pretty adorable.
Below that, if you're wondering what the boys were doing on May Day while the girls were dancing around the May pole, it's called Morris dancing! (Nowadays, Morris dancing is for both genders, but originally it was a war- or sword-themed dance for men.) I love seeing modern people committed to ancient traditions handed down to them from centuries worth of their ancestors! Happy Beltane ~ and Enjoy! ~ G.
To find out more details about old Beltane practices, check out this link on Bartleby to this excerpt from Sir George Frazer's 1922 book, The Golden Bough, Ch. 62.
And one more video for my romance readers, here's a group of Englishmen singing an old May Day song at a pub in Padstow, Cornwall in exchange for a round on the house. (Not included on the kidlit site because alcohol is shown.) Great voices, and doesn't that look fun! The Padstow May Day celebrations are internationally famous and very old. First written mention dates to 1803, when it would've already been traditional, so known to our Regency-era people.
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