Loving Spirits

Supernatural is our thing, right? So I thought I’d relay a different kind of love story for you this February. My grandmother (Momma’s mother) lived with us until I was 12 years old, and she had recently passed away.

I was in bed and heard something in the formal living room. Now the living room in my parent’s house was roughly a quarter of the house and as kids we were only allowed in there from December 15-31 each year. But there was a television in there (we were probably the first house in our town to have two televisions–Daddy sold them). My grandmother sat in the large living room every evening while the four of us were stuffed into a small alcove to watch the smaller TV. Anyway, I knew nobody should be in that room, but I was so sure I really heard something that I got up and woke Daddy to tell him. My hearing was very good, so he got up and checked. Nothing, no one else was in the house besides the family, so I went back to bed.

But the sound woke me up again and when I opened my eyes, my grandmother stood at the foot of the bed. I panicked big time, slamming my eyes shut. When I dared open them she was gone and again I made off for Daddy. Fortunately I had the world’s best Daddy and when I told him what was going on, he nodded. “That’s probably who you heard in the living room. She checked on you every night after you went to bed. What’s the problem?” His words put it all in perspective and I went back to bed. Did I tell you he was cool?

Anyway, that led me to write Wraith’s Heart all these years later–a ghost story from the perspective of the ghost. Boy, can I see Daddy’s influence there. 

I have another one I’ll share next month, but I’d love to hear about your real-life paranormal experiences. Most of the people I talk to have some sort of unexplained happening in their memory. Please share!

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Happy Valentine’s Day

romantic read

During my dating years, I dreaded Valentine’s day. When the day arrived, I’d smile bravely at the gals who received flowers at the office from their significant others. More often than not, I didn’t have a guy in my life because I worked too much. Or the guy in my life wasn’t into sending flowers.

My way of enjoying Valentine’s day was with a romantic book.

Now that I’m married to my hero, I don’t worry about receiving flowers on a specific holiday. We celebrate our love every day of the year. But I still enjoy a romantic read on Valentine’s Day.

This year I’m reading A Royal Christmas: Featuring Waiting for a Duke Like You and A Prince in Her Stocking by Shana Galen.

What are you reading?

If you haven’t decided on something yet consider a book from the Highland Gardens series and travel to the Scottish Highlands—a place where faeries and brownies and other fae creatures dance through time. And on occasion, so do mere mortals.

HG-Series-Teaser no text 1000

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

~Dawn Marie

February Means More Than a Groundhog’s Shadow

groundhog and shadowFebruary means more to me than the celebration of a groundhog’s predictions on the 2nd. Whether winter continues for six more weeks or not, February has a lot more going for it than 28 days.

For instance, the days are getting longer. I like that! Did you know the 3rd is called Feed the Birds day? (note to self: time to buy more bird seed at Home Depot). Valentine’s Day is coming on the 14th and the stores are filled with boxes of chocolates and lovely flowers. George Washington and Abe Lincoln have birthdays, although we will celebrate them together on the 18th. The whole month is considered Black History Month in the US and Canada. The 26th is Tell a Fairy Tale Day. Lots of writers enjoy that as much as the kids!cat under rug

 

My favorite? Love Your Pet Day on the 20th. I am sure all pets are looking forward to getting out from their warm cubby holes to welcome the Spring…except for that darn groundhog!

Whatever day you choose to enjoy and celebrate, we all know that February is generally cold, damp, and dark. Brighten your February by reading a book, such as the ones I have published HERE.

such as… Heaven-sent Warrior   and coming in April….  Heaven-sent Highlander

 

Resolutions

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Do you make them? Not me, not anymore. I did pretty good last year without them, so I’ll continue that way.

I have to admit when I get to the gym every January, I have to laugh. It’s always so crowded and the people are dressed so nicely, like they all got new exercise clothes from Santa. But after a couple of weeks, they all disappear and we have room again. Those of us that have been in Water Zumba for going on two years just squeeze together for those couple of weeks. I like that some of the regular participants I see weekly are in their 80’s and they’re in the pool moving like a boss to the music. I hope that’ll be me someday.

I lost 33 pounds last year between Weight Watchers (they call themselves WW now) and exercise, but I started before the beginning of the year. I like their mind set at WW, it’s not a diet, it’s a life style. So again, resolutions don’t help me. I will admit that I have friends that attend exercise and WW with me, so I feel a responsibility to show up. That helps me more than knowing the year has turned.

Even with writing, it is a job (the best I’ve ever had!) and I’ve always had a job so I don’t need a resolution to decide to write X number of pages a day. That’s the best part of my day.

Speaking of writing, thank you for helping to make the launch of Don’t Look Back my best seller of all time (so f ar). Book 2 of the Conall Clan – Family Ties comes out February 1.

But that’s my experience. What about you? Do resolutions help you? Do you set them, keep them? What works for you?

don't look back    family ties final

 

 

Supernatural Birds from Dawn Marie Hamilton

After singing its heart out, a wren joins the cardinals, titmice, and chickadees at the feeders. Juncos (also known as snowbirds) swoop in from the mountains and mingle with sparrows and doves foraging within the garden beds. Herons wade in the creek.

Birds–symbols of power and freedom–have often been featured in the mythology and folklore of many countries. From prominent figures in creation stories to messengers of the deities to mediators between humans and the supernatural world, birds represent, strength, love, and wisdom.

Perhaps that is why so many of us enjoy watching birds. Birds have uncanny smarts. If you’re lucky, you can observe supernatural bird behaviors in your backyard.

Many birds build elaborate nests without ever getting lessons. They just know how to do it through instinct.

hummer

Some birds are born knowing how to navigate by instinct. Hummingbirds hatch during the summer in North America then fly solo a thousand miles or more to their wintering habitat in the tropics, without the guidance of a parent or a flock. In the spring, a hummingbird may return to the place where it began its journey, using its amazing memory. Perhaps you might see one in your backyard hovering around the spot where your sugar feeder previously hung, even though you haven’t put the feeder out as of yet. I’ve seen this occur in my backyard. When I do, I rush to get the cleaned feeder hung. I want to keep the hummers coming to my backyard.

raven2

 

 

Members of the crow family–jays, ravens, magpies, etc.–have incredible memories. They excel at hiding things and then finding them.

 

 

green heron

 

 

Green herons dine on small fish. They’ve been seen dropping pieces of bread or other bait to lure fish to the surface. Amazing. Right?

 

 

 

I enjoy writing birds into my romance stories…

From Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon, Book 2 in the Highland Gardens series:

She marched across the ridge, her hair blowing in the wind. A loud, rapid kek kek kek kek kek sounded before the whish of wings and the large bird landed on her outstretched arm.

“Trystan, you’ve returned to our mountain. I’m glad to see you, my friend.”

The peregrine falcon murmured close to Caitrina’s ear.

“Ah, you want to feel the sun on your face again. Aye, I imagine the northern tundra was verra cold.”

 

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

What happens when a twenty-first century business executive is expected to fulfill a prophecy given at the birth of a sixteenth-century seer? Of course, he must raise his sword in her defense.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

 

~Dawn Marie

Plan-Act-Do! a Suggestion from Nancy Lee Badger

plan-act-do signA new year means a new hope and a chance for new beginnings. Only you can decide how the next 365 days will unfold. Did you have a bad year? If you want 2019 to bring better days, may I offer a suggestion?

Write down what you want to happen. A trip? Finish writing a novel? This is the year I will put aside more money toward retirement? Whatever it might be, sometimes simply writing it and seeing it in black and white can light a fire beneath you!

And…if you pencil in time to relax, consider reading  one of my books. You can find paranormal romance, contemporary, time travel, and much more HERE  

Heaven-sent WarriorMost of my titles are available in ebook and print. Check them out and add ‘read a book’ to your New Year’s resolutions.

Nancy Lee Badger

 

The Wren, the Wren, the King of all Birds by Dawn Marie Hamilton

It’s that time of year again. I so love the Christmas season. One of my favorite things is the Christmas music. We have a large collection that we start listening to the day after Thanksgiving.

Again this year, while listening to The Chieftains’ The Bells of Dublin and the Wren in the Furze song, I wondered aloud how the wren became the king of all birds. My husband jumped on it and did an internet search. He found a site, The Little Brown Wren, which explains via folklore. It seems the world of birds decided they wanted to have a king same as the humans. But how should they choose who among them should be king. They decided to hold a contest…whichever bird could fly the highest would be the king of the birds. On the day the contest was held, the eagle climbed ever higher into the sky. After the other birds gave up and fell to the ground, he smugly began his decent, believing he was the king of the birds. But above him, a wee wren fluttered her wings and sang a beautiful song. Having hidden within his feathers, she’d ridden into the sky on his back and became king through cleverness.

There is more to the story. Check it out at The Little Brown Wren.

There is a tradition in Ireland to ‘hunt the wren’ on the feast of Saint Stephen, which is celebrated on December 26th. On Wren Day, the wee bird is secured to a decorated staff and paraded through the village with music and dancing and much celebration. Fortunately, in our modern times a fake bird is used.

I’ll think of this tale every time I watch the wren in our backyard flutter from the shrubs near the house to the suet feeder.  Or when it sings its beautiful song mid-winter.

wren cutout

The Chieftains, The Bells of Dublin (1991)
Wren in the Furze

The wren, oh the wren; he’s the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen’s Day he got caught in the furze,
So it’s up with the kettle and it’s down with the pan,
Won’t you give us a penny for to bury the wren?

Well it’s Christmas time; that’s why we’re here,
Please be good enough to give us an ear,
For we’ll sing and we’ll dance if youse give us a chance,
And we won’t be comin’ back for another whole year!

We’ll play Kerry polkas; they’re real hot stuff,
We’ll play the Mason’s Apron and the Pinch of Snuff,
Jon Maroney’s jig and the Donegal reel,
Music made to put a spring in your heel!

If there’s a drink in the house, would it make itself known,
Before I sing a song called “The Banks of the Lowne”,
A drink with lubri-mication in it,
For me poor dry throat and I’ll sing like a linnet!

Oh please give us something for the little bird’s wake,
A big lump of pudding or some Christmas cake,
A fist full o’ goose and a hot cup o’ tay (Tea),
And then we’ll all be goin’ on our way!

The wren, oh the wren; he’s the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen’s Day he got caught in the furze,
So it’s up with the kettle and it’s down with the pan,
Won’t you give us a penny for to bury the wren?

 

gorse

Furse is another term for gorse; a yellow-flowered shrub of the pea family, the leaves of which are modified to form spines.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

~Dawn Marie

*images from Pixabay