The Marmota monax, also known as a woodchuck or whistlepig, is a rodent. Yep, Punxsatawney Phil is a rodent who happens to get very popular every February 2nd for seeing or not seeing his shadow. The legend goes like this: “If it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early. If it is sunny, the the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will persist for six more weeks.” *
“The groundhog is like most other prophets; it delivers its predication and then disappears.” – Bill Vaughn
“To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring.” – W. J. Vogel
“Every mile is two in winter.” – George Herbert
(This quote reminds me of my dad in Florida whenever he called hubby and I in New Hampshire)
“Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” – Kin Hubbard**
The exciting, romantic and adventurous life of an author
How exciting it is to be an author! We travel all over the world, have fantastic adventures, work out intricate plots on how to kill people and not have our heroes get killed themselves, go on stake-outs with police and FBI, maybe the CIA while we’re abroad… um… well, okay, maybe not.
I’m very sorry to say that authors are ordinary people. We have families and live ordinary lives, wiping our children’s noses in the cold, shoveling snow (this week in particularly if you live on the East Coast of the US), and spend hours slumped over our computers working away.
In our minds, however… well, that’s where we travel. That’s where we go on those stake-outs and fantastic journeys. We go there, so that we can take you there as well—through our novels.
The trouble with a writer’s mind is that it’s frequently some place completely different from where our bodies are. (My poor beleaguered husband tried to show me that he’d shaved off the beard he’d been sporting since the holidays, except that I didn’t even notice. Although I saw him, I didn’t really see him, my mind was elsewhere, and so I didn’t notice. He was very disappointed).
We live, perhaps too frequently, in the world of our books, in the minds of our characters—for to write truly believable characters, of course, we have to live their lives right along with them.
We try to stop and enjoy our real lives every so often (I’ve had a lovely break for the past week while I did some travelling in Brussels, Belgium—that’s where my pictures are from). But it is too often that we’re simply, mentally, not there.
On the other hand, should you ever want to engage an author in a deep, meaningful conversation, be sure it’s on the topic of one of their books. This is not because we’re vain and only want to talk about our own work. It’s simply because that’s where our minds are—caught up in the fantasy world of our own creation.
So, should you meet an author, don’t get discouraged if they seem absent minded. Nor should you expect them to have a life similar to what they write. Expect them to be an ordinary person, like you, only… not quite entirely there.
The magic they wield is in their pen and their fingertips as they type on their computers and that is where their mind can be found as well. Enjoy the fantasy!
In Celtic symbology, the labyrinth, or maze, represents pathway(s) leading to the center of one’s spirit. ‘Tis said one should release burdens on the way to the center of the maze then accept what is needed most on the way out . For Twelvetide, I used a holly maze to unite the heroine, Ashley, with her destined mate, Caelan, her other half, and thusly combine their spirits. Or at least, that is what I hope the book’s readers take away from the symbology.
The holly maze in Twelvetide was modeled after the maze depicted in this sixties vintage postcard featuring the holly maze at the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg on sale at Cardcow.com. I imagined the Twelvetide holly maze as more expansive and with only one tree, an ancient oak, at its center. The spot where Caelan awaits Ashley, first when she was seven and later, more importantly, when she was a grown woman.
Unfortunately, it is my understanding the maze at Williamsburg is now privet and shorter.
An excerpt from Twelvetide:
Ashley raced across the car park. The flame in the lantern flickered, its beam of light dancing crazily over the snow-covered, icy gravel. Slipping, she teetered, but regained balance. Hurry. She hadn’t come this far only to be too late. She slid to a stop at the gate and fumbled with the key. Dammit, her hands shook. Hurry. Hurry. She inserted the key and twisted. Crap. It didn’t fit quite right. With firm jiggling, she forced the key into position. The locking mechanism finally clicked. With a relieved sigh, she pushed the grille open and stepped within the ancient garden.
The maze wasn’t there. Was she too early or too late?
Precipitation no longer fell and the storm clouds slid away on a south-easterly wind. A bright half-moon cast silvery illumination over the landscape, diminishing the need for the lantern. She strolled toward the dolphin fountain. A dazzling light flashed in the sky, blinding her for a moment. When Ashley’s vision cleared, everything had changed.
The garden was as she remembered.
Bright sunbeams shimmered down from a cloudless cerulean sky. A warm breeze carried the mingled scents of roses and honeysuckle. Ashley parked the lantern on the edge of the fountain and dropped her wool coat to the ground as she had as a child. Pulse racing, she walk-ran over the stepping stone path to the holly maze.
With the key clutched in a firm grip, she hesitated at the entrance, swallowed hard, and entered the winding twists and turns. On her last visit, she’d had the blond-headed boy to follow through the maze. Where was he now? Would Cael be at the oak tree, if and when she found it?
Close your eyes and trust in your heart.
“Who said that?” The androgynous voice sounded corporeal, but no one was there. Was it a ghostly voice? Was Cael haunting the maze, trying to spook her with a disguised voice?
Why would he do that? He’d made her promise to return to him.
Believe in the magic and find your heart’s desire.
Ashley shivered, spooked by the voice in her head. Get a grip, Ashley. You’ve been waiting to return to the garden for what felt like a lifetime. She inhaled a deep breath and closed her eyes. Ignoring mounting anxiety, she groped with her hands like a child playing blind man’s bluff, and walked straight into a prickly holly hedge.
“Ouch!” She popped her eyes open and stuck a stinging finger into her mouth.
Damn. This wasn’t working and time was wasting away. She didn’t know how long she’d have with Cael before the magic expired. She shoved the key into a jeans pocket and took the first right. Hung a left. Another left. Turned right and hit a dead end. Grrr!
“Cael, where are you?” she shouted.
No response. With fisted hands, she retraced her steps then went right again. Left. Left. Left. Ending at a T-juncture. Ashley jammed her hands in her pants pockets and blew out a puff of air. Should she go right or left?
“Please, Cael, help me find you.”
Close your eyes. Believe in the magic.
That strange voice again. She swallowed uneasily, wary of such potent magic. Well, she’d just need to get over her apprehensions if she wanted to find Cael. And she did want to find him.
Okay. She closed her eyes, waiting, listening to silence.
Hmmmm. A faint humming. Should she? Slowly. One step at a time. Twisting and turning. She followed the hum through the maze. Astonishingly, she managed not to walk into the shrubbery walls. After taking a countless number of turns, the droning sound rose in pitch no longer mellifluous. She popped her eyes wide. The irritating noise instantly died.
In the center of the square clearing, the large oak tree stood proud as she remembered.
Her heart plummeted. He wasn’t there. Cael wasn’t there. Her shoulders drooped. Moisture pricked the back of her eyes.
Cael stepped from behind the tree, sporting a sexy grin. Damn, the man, the real man, was hotter than her dreams.
Ashley’s insides turned to mush. She ran toward him and stopped just short.
Twelvetide is available at Amazon in the Enchanted Highlands collection from authors April Holthaus, Victoria Zak, and Dawn Marie Hamilton.
The authors here at Supernatural-Superlatives want to wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and brighter 2016.
We would also love you to read lots of books, leave honest reviews, and visit author websites and blogs.
Medieval Redemption, a four author boxed set, was released November 13th and includes over 1.000 pages. It is available atAMAZONfor only $.99 (Free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers) The titles include: