21 April 2019

Join Jon Paul Ferrara on Instagram and win copies of One Snowy Knight

Jon Paul Ferrara
is relaunching his website for
 Jon Paul Studios
 showcasing gorgeously beautiful cover art.

One of the dreams I had even before I sold was to have
 a Jon Paul cover on one of my books, and the model would be John de Salvo. 
That dream became real when Jon Paul allowed me to use this amazing cover
 for my third book in the series of the Dragons of Challon.  MY DREAM CAME TRUE (with a little nudge...lol)  I have liked or loved my covers before, but when I saw
 this image I knew it was PERFECT for 

One Snowy Knight
So, to get the word out about his new Instagram account and his coming website, he is showcasing "our" One Snowy Knight this
Easter Sunday 8pm EST on Instagram.

Call it my DREAMS COME TRUE contest.

Click to ENTER:

Go over to his Instagram  page and follow him

like and comment
And just post "I want a copy" to the thread and from the posters over the next week I will pick three to received the beautiful trade size paperback of my book (and his cover!)

So, give Jon Paul a little following love and you could win a copy!

Jon Paul on Facebook

and on Instagram

14 April 2019

My tornado adventure!

April 12, 2019
Time (EDT) - 6:45 am - 6:54 am
Path Length - 8.3 miles

Guess who was silly enough to accidentally lock herself out in a tornado?

Well, to give credit where it was due, I received no warning form the national weather service.  They called and texted three times saying high winds and a thunder storm was moving into my area.  I went outside to collect Mamadoodle, Munchkin and Maisie so they would be out of the storm.  They were already in their igloo and were not coming out.  I was rushing around finding something heavy to anchor the sleeping bag that covers the igloo.  In one of those trips the deadbolt knob shifted and locked me out.  There I was--barefoot and couldn't get the door open! 

I looked out and saw the whirling mass coming cross the church parking lot.  Then, I recalled I had my husband's keys on a chain around my neck--aware that I do get locked out and he is no longer there to open the door for me.  The second key worked and knob turned.  Only by then, I could not pulled the door open.  The force of the wind was so strong, it pressed against the security door and I simply couldn't open it.  I was getting drenched by the rain.  Then came golf ball sized hail.  Fortunate for me I have a huge porch and I got that much protection.  

It was EF1 tornado.  The scary thing only last about five minutes, but that was SCARY five minutes.  As it got past the church, it turned and went down my street and really did some damage, as you can see in the photos above.  The first house is only 10 houses away from me.

All in all, I think I came through it all barely scathed.  For those not familiar with tornadoes,  they are not measured the same as hurricanes.  Hurricanes are ranked by the wind speed.  Tornadoes are ranked by how much damage done.  This tornado was ranked EF1, the  second lowest.  Only it was over 100 mph wind speed, which would make it on the level with a Cat 3 hurricane.


04 April 2019

Sadly over...

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

He is home. Candy and I went this afternoon and picked up the ashes, It;s bigger than it looks in the picture. The artist's box is even more beautiful than I recalled. So it is done. I put the Charlie Brown and Snoopy statue on top, because he was very much like Charlie Brown and I am very much like Snoopy. The snow globe that Allie Lanois sent me the Christmas before she died is there to the side. The angel looks very much like her when she was young. So Angel Allie can look after him for me. The books on either side are Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels that were his. He must have read each one a half a dozen times.

I cannot say enough good about Stoess Funeral Home in Crestwood.  They made very step easy and were so supportive.   They were just so kind.

The box is unique, a one of a kind, and yet beautiful in its simplicity--just like he was.

03 April 2019

Sad news

Some of you have been following my husband's battle with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer on Facebook.  I wish to thank the many people who answered questions about their experiences, and tried to help me on this dark journey.  Something happened, maybe his heart gave out, but he passed quietly this past weekend.  Right now I am going through various phases---shock, numbness, disbelief.

One of the last things he said to one of his doctors that how desperately he was just to sleep.  It had been months since he slept a full night through.  He sleeps now. No more pain.

This will take some time.  He was a solid presence in my world for almost 50 years. 
 That leaves a very big hole.

01 April 2019

Haint Blue and its intriguing meaning

The Haunting History of Haint Blue Ceilings

(my veranda with Haint Blue Ceiling)

Since early childhood, I have been fascinated by words and their meanings.  We accept things, repeat them, generation after generation without ever stopping to wonder why we do it.  One example of this is Haint Blue Ceilings.

If you have ever traveled through the South of the USA, and even into parts of the Northeast, you might come upon a curious phenomenon and its even stranger name.  As you marveled at the beauty of these long verandas, which harken back to an era where once ladies sat all afternoon sipping their sweat tea or lemonade, you might wonder at the terrace’s color scheme.  No matter what hue the house was painted—white, pink, yellow—if you looked up you might be surprised to see a green-blue ceiling on these graceful porches.  They are called Haint Blue Porches.  The original idea came from the word haint—a bastardization of the word haunt.  It was often used in the context of a haint being a ghost or spirit that might try to haunt a home.    

The Picts and Celts of Scotland considered the color blue sacred.  Why Pict warriors would paint themselves with blue woad before going into battle.  Blue held a power to these ancient people  as they considered it the color of the sky—the home of the Auld Gods.  The ceiling to the world, you might say.  Long before it was popular to wear white, brides often wore pale shades of blue, because they were wrapping themselves in the protection of their deities.  This also is a part of the wedding tradition we still say even today—something borrowed, something blue.  If the bride didn't wear blue, she most certainly would have carried a blue kerchief, wore blue ribbons in her hair, or her garters would have been blue.  When starting a new life, she would've wanted all the blessings she could gather.  

A lot of the South was settled by immigrant Scots, second or third sons seeking to make their fortune, and with them came many of the traditions, lore and superstitions.  Over the centuries, these customs and their meanings faded from memory.  Brides now view white as the color of choice for weddings—but they still carry that bit of blue for good luck!

In that same mindset of bringing luck to your home, they painted their veranda ceilings a pale sky blue, essentially seeking protection for the entrance to their home with the blessings of blue.  Ghosts were considered spirits doomed to wander the earth, and not allowed to move on to the peace of the heavens.  Thus, when some restless spirit might try to enter a home, they wouldn't cross a porch protected by ancient deities.  Such lore faded.  Yet, those threads of blue bringing protection and good luck linger.  Though the intent in painting the ceilings this shade passed away with long ago generations, people continued to paint their ceilings in this manner.  If asked, the rare knowledgeable person might know some variation of the reasoning.  Some mention blue is the color of water, and ghosts were thought to be unable to cross water.  The blue stopped the spirit from crossing the porch to enter the home.  I think that explanation is an example of how lore changes through the ages—and loses its true meaning.  Similar purpose, though the logic behind has changed from sky to water.  Why I still believe the sky was the origin of the blue ceilings—if they were imitating water to scare ghosts away why not paint the floors blue?  The painting of the ceilings harkens back to old beliefs that transcends centuries and centuries of oral lore.

Even later, the explanation of the blue ceilings changed to a more current view—people sitting and rocking on the veranda on long summer days, could enjoy the shade and yet have a feeling of being out in nature.  You only have to sit in a wooden rocker and gaze upon the blue ceiling to get that sense you are sitting “outside”

Behr Haint Blue Paint Hues

The haint became so attached to the blue ceilings that they were called Haint Blue Ceilings.  So wide spread was the term, that paint companies actually manufacture the precise hues with the Haint Blue name to this day.

When I bought  my current home after fire destroyed the former one, the seller stood on the veranda and spoke about the blue ceilings and how they were painted that way to make the older folk feel they were under a blue sky.  I smiled.  I think she was surprised when I called it a Haint Blue Ceiling.  I was saddened when I moved in, to discover they had very nicely done some spring cleaning before we went to contract, and painted over my Haint Blue Ceiling and made it white.  It was a hurried job of one coat, so the Haint Blue shimmers through the thin covering of white.

So, the next time you cross a porch, and glance up to see a blue ceiling, you can smile to yourself and know you are staring at a piece of history and the lore behind it—not an odd choice in paint pallets.  

Deborah Macgillivray
Internationally Published Author of the Dragons of Challon series

 and the Sisters of Colford Hall