Dragons of Challon series

Dragons of Challon series
Dragons of Challon

21 September 2018

A Welcome to Autumn's Long Nights




Welcome 
to
Autumn's First Day

Autumn's first day comes quickly, like the running of a hound 
across the moorland. 
–Scottish Adage



Equinox literally means equal night.  We are told the autumnal equinox is a day of perfect equilibrium, a cycle split neatly into twelve hours of light and twelve hours of dark.  That's not exactly true.  In lands distant from the equator, the sun can take longer to rise and set; closer to the equator, the day lasts a little more than twelve hours. The real even split between day and night doesn't occur until later in the fall.  After the autumnal equinox, the nights will get longer and the days shorter until the Yule Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.




Depending on your spiritual path, there are many different ways you can celebrate Mabon.  Typically, the focus is on either the harvest, or the balance between light and dark.


In Medieval Times, in Britain and Europe, small children were put to work as crow-scarers.  It was their chore to dash up and down the rows in the fields, clapping blocks of wood together to frighten away birds from the precious grain until harvest.  After the Black Plague, which killed millions, villages saw a shortage of children to serve this purpose, so instead they created faggots—false men—stuffing old clothes with straw to create a body, and place a neep (turnip) or a large gourd in the place of a head, and then mounted the figures in the field.  They quickly saw this worked rather well, and even today you will find scarecrows throughout the world.




In Scotland the celebration of Alban Elued —Light of the Water— is observed at this time.  Ancient ancestors believed the setting sun begins its decent into the deep water surrounding the isles.  The male king god is merging with the goddess Annis, and their son, Prince of Light, will be summoned at Yule.



One of the decorations you might see in homes this time of year, is the Clootie Tree.  Each ribbon has the name of a person and a special blessing on them.  This is much like the Clootie wells that are through out Britain, which are sacred springs ruled by Annis, one of the oldest Celtic deities, Goddess of the Water--likely the origins for the legend of the Lady in the Lake.  Wishing welcome came from Clootie wells.  Even today, you will see rags tied to trees beside ancient and sacred wells.  It is believed if you offer a token to the goddess, and she is pleased with it, she would grant you a wish.  The rags were bits of cloth from a person often ailing, and the wish was for good health





Autumn Mead

1 Gallon Water2 1/2 lbs Honey
1 Lemon1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 pkg Ale or Champagne yeast

Boil the water and honey. Add lemon juice and the nutmeg. Boil, skimming the foam that rises to the surface, until it stops foaming.




Let cool to room temperature, then add the yeast.

Store and ferment for 18 days.  Then bottle.  Let it age another two weeks before imbibing
Store in refrigerator or you will be sorry!!



Tha an fhoghar a 'tighinn mar a tha an solas làn...

Autumn comes, as the light ebbs...




©  Deborah Macgillivray

September 21st 2018

17 August 2018

One Snowy Knight excerpt


cover image by Jon Paul Ferrara

Turning back to the man on the ground, she once again had to wipe the gathering flakes from his face.  She attempted to tug him to a sitting position, thinking she could wrap her mantle around them both, and lend him what little body heat she still had.  When she went to lift him, she realized he still had his broadsword lashed crosswise over his back.  Finding the strap’s buckle on the center of his chest, she released it.

Then, froze as the howl came. 

It was close by.  The man groaned as she urgently rolled his dead weight, enough to drag the sword out from under him, and then dropped the leather sheath as she freed the blade.  Holding the sword in her right hand, she used her left to release the clasp of her mantle.  She would need her arms free to swing the sword.  Keeping her eyes fixed upon the trees, she dragged her woolen cape over the man’s unmoving body.

The deep growl sent a chill to her marrow as the threat of the snowstorm had failed to do.  Low tree limbs rustled and then parted as the set of glowing yellow eyes peeked through the wintry foliage.

Swallowing hard, Skena brought the sword up, preparing to swing, and praying she had strength enough to wield the mighty sword true.


Skena stood trembling, from the cold, aye, but more so from dread.  With the specter of famine looming across the land, she feared wolves would soon be a threat they would face.  Foolishly, she had hoped the menace would not come this early in the season.  Swallowing to moisten the dryness in her mouth, she watched the feral eyes narrow on her, judging how much a threat she presented holding the sword.  Plainly, she posed nary a concern to the creature.  Shoulders lowered, teeth bared, he edged forward, a low growl of intent rising deep in his throat.  The animal scented her fear.  Her weakness only emboldened him. 

Keeping her attention on the black wolf, her eyes quickly scanned to see if there were others coming up behind him or circling around.  Where you found one, usually there lurked a small pack.  Her luck holding, thus far no other pairs of bright eyes appeared; no dark forms skulked through the unmoving undergrowth around the dense pine trees. 

“Oh, please let him be a lone wolf,” she offered her wish to the Auld Ones, before whispering dark words to weave a Charm of Protection, drawing upon what little powers she possessed to sustain her through this ordeal.

 Not a small woman, her Ogilvie blood showed in her tall body and strong bones.  Even so, to hold the heavy broadsword—which took years for a man to master—was tiring.  Her arms vibrated; tremors racked her muscles.  A mix of terror and cold.  The winter storm slowly leached all the strength from her body.  She fought against the quaking, still the sword wobbled in her grip.

Baring his fangs, the wolf crept slowly forward, more daring with each step.  Skena had trouble keeping her vision clear.  Falling flakes and those kicked up by the spindrift continued to stick to her long lashes, adding moisture to the tears she valiantly labored to hold at bay.  It was vital to see the wolf when he leapt, in order to time her swing.  She sucked in a hard breath of terror.  The creature was so much bigger than she expected!


“Off with you, evil foal-chû.  You shall no’ be making a meal of this warrior or me.”  She spoke false courage, hoping the sound of her voice might frighten him into backing off.  Instead, his body coiled, preparing to spring.

So intent upon the wolf, Skena hopped slightly when long arms enclosed about her.  Startled and yet unwilling to take her eyes off the black creature, it was several heartbeats before she comprehended the stranger had awakened and was on his feet.  Suddenly, in his strong embrace she was not so scared.

“Be still, my lady.  I lend my strength to your swing.”  The warrior’s cold hands closed over hers.  He leaned against her back; his powerful muscles caused her shaking to lessen.

Skena had little chance for the details of his nearness to filter through her thoughts, for with a feral snarl the wolf leapt at them.  Frozen in terror, she was unable to move, yet she felt the warrior wielding the sword.  Bared teeth snapped close to her throat.  She cried out and then flinched when the great blade caught the beast in the neck.  Blood splattered across her clothing and her face.  Its heat shocked her.  Numb with the horror, she stared at the animal writhing on the ground.  In the gathering darkness, the pooling blood oddly appeared black upon the pristine snow.  The coppery smell set her stomach to roiling; revolted, she choked back rising nausea.  Her grip slackened about the hilt.  

            The knight’s fingers closed tighter around hers.  “Nay, my lady, never leave a wounded animal alive...sometimes, not even a man.  ’Tis when they are most dangerous.  They risk all for they have naught to lose.” 


 

One Snowy Knight, Dragons of Challon, Book 3

Coming July 19 2018  - Print
July 12th for eBook


eBook and Library Quality Tradesize print

Prairie Rose Publications

#DragonsofChallon #ScottishRomance #MedievalRomance  #Historical Romance




09 August 2018

My birthday fund raiser on Facebook -- Blind Cat Rescue and Shelter



Facebook is running a fun when you sign up for your birthday.  They give you $5 to kick off the campaign, they collect the money and see the charity gives it.


I chose the Blind Cat and Rescue Shelter, which I have supported for a long time.

There is another way you can help this shelter -- when you buy nearly anything on Amazon.com
you can create a special URL called SMILE.  Each time you buy from Amazon a percentage will go toward your charity.




Happy National Book Lovers Day!!








30 July 2018

Busy working....


working like mad to get both books edited and to Prairie Rose Publications

Candy is so excited to see one of Dawn's book out.


27 July 2018

Help Blind Cat Rescue and Shelter win!!


Vote: BLIND CAT RESCUE AND SHELTER LLC
hashtag

 **Bissell Pet Foundation Contest** This Contests ends August 1st!
Please help the blind, FIV & Leukemia positive cats win $30K


23 July 2018

Mental Floss article on One Snowy Knight's strange secondary pricing




http://mentalfloss.com/article/551530/why-readily-available-used-paperback-selling-thousands-dollars-amazon

Mental Floss picked up the story from the New York Times about One Snowy Knight
on the secondary market. 


22 July 2018

Writers Digest mention

                 https://twitter.com/WritersDigest/status/1020705218290470914


Writers Digest picked up the NYTimes story

20 July 2018

A happy birthday to my mum


After the fire, I was faced with devastation of losing many things -- my laptop which had my books and WIPs on it, all my clothes, my jewellery -- my cats.  One of the most haunting was I lost every photo I had.  I was left no image of my mother.  Recently, I found a cousin has posted on, and suddenly, I had an image of mum.

She was born on July 19th, suffered crippling manic-depression, which went untreated most of her life.  She died when she was 52, after a long battle with cancer--way too young, so much of life still to live.

So for the first time in years, I am able to post a picture of her.

Happy Birthday, Mama 

She was fifteen, and the photo was for the high school yearbook

Happy dancing at Big R's and Shannon's


Still happy dancing over my release of One Snowy Knight.


had a stuffed bake potato - with cheese, BBQ brisket and cheese....yum


We were st
Was at supper at Big R's and Shannon's
to help kick off the Mayor's race for La Grange

Go Shannon!!




19 July 2018

Kentucky Book Festival invitation


I got news today I was invited to Kentucky Book Festival in November. It is juried and by invitation.
One Snowy Knight was the book I entered, so I am thrilled to be invited.
Trying to work things out so I will be able to go.

Honored and excited!