Holiday Novellas by Dawn Marie Hamilton

One of the things I love about the holiday season is the abundance of wonderful holiday novellas.  Holiday novellas are sometimes part of an author’s on-going series, or part of a collection with other authors, or stand alone. What ever the case, they bring the joy of the season.

I just finished reading a fun, contemporary romance by Roxanne St. Claire from her Dogfather series–Bark! The Herald Angels Sing. Loved it! Made me cry! Made me laugh!

I have a Christmas novella from my Highland Gardens series on sale. Just in Time for a Highland Christmas is $0.99  through the end of December… 

Cover for Just in Time for a Highland Christmas

Can a determined brownie craft a perfect match in time for Christmas?

Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, or Kobo.

And…

Twelvetide: Twelve Nights of Highland Magic is exclusively available at Amazon for $0.99!

Twelvetide-200

He has twelve nights to gain her love.
She has twelve nights to save his soul.

Get it at Amazon.

 

~Dawn Marie

 

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Celtic symbology and the holly maze in Twelvetide by Dawn Marie Hamilton

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.

A post card from the 60"s of The Governor's Palace Maze Williamsburg
Postcard available at  CardCow.com.

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.

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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.

Enchanted Highlands
99 cents or free with Kindle Unlimited

Twelvetide is available at Amazon in the Enchanted Highlands collection from authors April Holthaus, Victoria Zak, and Dawn Marie Hamilton.

 

~Dawn Marie

 

 

Winter Solstice and Twelvetide by Dawn Marie Hamilton

In 2015, the Winter Solstice takes place on December 21st at 11:48 P.M. EST—the shortest day of the year and the longest night of the year.

To many, the Twelve Days of Christmas fall between Christmas and the Epiphany. To others the festival of Yule begins on the eve of the Winter Solstice and continues for twelve nights ending on Twelfth Night—New Year’s Eve.

“During this time of Yule, we honor the beginning of the sun’s return and the breaking of winter. Let the evening’s feasting begin.”

~Lachlan Og, Chief of Clan MacLachlan

Excerpted from Twelvetide: Twelve Nights of Highland Magic,
an Enchanted Highlands novella by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Twelvetide-1200

Twlevetide: Twelve Nights of Highland Magic, one of three novellas in the Enchanted Highlands collection, begins on the eve of the Winter Solstice with the dark moment climaxing just prior to Twelfth Night. Twlevetide—the twelve nights of Yule.

A variety of celebratory diversions were enjoyed by the well-to-do during Yule, and perhaps shared with their people or clan: feasting, storytelling, masking, music, and dance, along with other revelry,

‘Twas also considered a time when supernatural forces roamed freely—when the spirits of the dead returned to earth.

“Every year on the winter solstice the veil between realms thins and then tears and as Twelvetide progresses the breach between the earth and the otherworld allows all manner of supernatural creatures, including the spirits of the dead, like me, to travel through and roam the earth.”

“Aye. During the twelve days, the fiercest of spirits—men, horses, hellhounds—follow their leader on wild hunts, riding the stormy night skies, causing havoc and mayhem.”

~Caelan Innes

Excerpted from Twelvetide: Twelve Nights of Highland Magic,
an Enchanted Highlands novella by Dawn Marie Hamilton

 

Enchanted Highlands

 

 

 

 

Enchanted Highlands is available at Amazon for 99 cents or free with Kindle Unlimited.

 

 

 

 

~Dawn Marie