Samhain in Southern Hemisphere – Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

Blessed Samhain in the Southern Hemisphere as we move towards winter.  The days are cold here, one of the cats is curled up on my lap in the warmth, the other is draped across the heating vent as I type this. Blessed Be!

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Samhain (pronounced sow-een) is the Witches’ New Year, and it is from here that the Wheel of the Year is traditionally counted. It is a time for fireworks, sparklers and night-time celebrations, and a time to both say farewell to the old year, and to welcome in the new. Thyme (associated with departed souls), rue (the flower of repentance), and rosemary (for remembrance) are traditional herbs burned at Samhain In Australia, smudge sticks of eucalyptus leaves are also burned, and homes are ritually cleansed and purified.

Samhain is associated with Shadowfest (Italy/Latin/Strega), and Martinmas (Celtic/Scottish) and is commonly known as Halloween. The veils between the worlds of the dead and of the living, and of the realm of faery in between are very thin, and that at this time souls that are leaving this physical plane can pass out and souls that are reincarnating can pass in.

At Samhain, the darkness increases and the Goddess reigns in her powerful aspect of the Crone. The God, as Dark Lord, passes into the underworld to become reborn again at Yule, and his presence all but disappears for a time. It is common for Witches and common folk alike to prepare a Feast for the Dead on Samhain night, when offerings of food and drink are left for the spirits. Candles or lanterns are traditionally burned at each window of the house to guide friendly spirits home and keep away unfriendly souls.

Samhain is a time to reflect on the mortality that inevitably confronts us all, and to learn to deal with the fears that surround death. It is a time to reflect that life is cyclical, and that change is the natural order of things. It is a time to confront our own inner demons, and learn to face fear, and to grow stronger by acknowledging the fears that we have.

Wreaths are commonly found on Witches’ doors at Samhain, as a marker to wise ones that a Witch dwells within. Wreaths at this time traditionally contain eucalyptus leaves and rosemary spikes. The powers of divination, the Sight, and supernatural communication are strengthened on Samhain night, and it is considered a powerful but dangerous time to communicate with lost loved ones.

For altar decoration, Jack-o-lanterns, gourds, and autumn foliage are ideal, as are the barks of trees that are awake (non-deciduous/native Australian trees), and the resins and oils of trees that are awake during this time of the year.

In the Southern hemisphere, Samhain in celebrated on the 30th of April and the 1st of May, and in the Northern hemisphere it falls on the 31st of October.

Photograph by Jenwytch (me) and Samhain information from: Akasha Witchcraft (website no longer available)

 

Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

To all in the Northern Hemisphere Blessed Beltane.  After your long cold winter I hope you are enjoying the warmth of the Spring days.  Enjoy them as you head into summer. Blessed Be!

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Beltane Festival is held in honour of the god Bel.

In some modern traditions he is also known by the names, Beli, Belar, Balor, or Belenus.

In the myth of many modern traditions of wicca/witchcraft, Beltane marks the appearance of the Horned One, who is the rebirth of the Solar God slain during the Wheel of the Year. He then becomes consort to the Goddess, impregnating her with his seed, and thereby ensuring his own rebirth once again.

Beltane marks the beginning of summer’s half and the pastoral growing season. The word “Beltane” literally means “bright fire”, and refers to the bonfires lit during this season.

It is also a time of beginnings, the beginnings of many new projects.

Beltane is a fertility festival, concerned with Nature enchantments and offerings to wildlings and Elementals.

The return of full-blown fertility is now very evident.

The powers of elves and faeries are growing and will reach their height at the Summer Solstice.

The celts respected faeries, active at this sabbat, and were sure that these Little People would come to the celebration disguised as humans to ask for a part of the fire, which, when freely given, would give the faeries some measure of power over the giver.

Beltane is the cross quarter holiday between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice it is the time when the abundance of flowers and green is a welcome relief from winters drabness; it was traditionally a day for leaping the Beltane fires, which were lit to honour the sun god, and for celebrating fertility.

Beltane celebrates the blessing between Mother Earth and Father Sky and honours all life.

Both are times when the “veil” between the worlds is thought to be thinnest, and therefore magik can happen, such as visits from faeries or similar other-worldly occurrences.

This is a good time for invoking our spirit guides to help us.

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New Release – Cursed Heart By Jade Kerrion

Today’s New Release is Cursed Heart, book four in the Daughter of Air Series, by my friend Jade Kerrion.  This is a totally awesome series.

Cursed Heart

 

Description1

Before aliens became gods and reality became religion, the war began. It’s time for it to end–one way or another.

Pandemic sweeps the earth while humanity’s ancient protectors watch helplessly. Societies and governments crumble before the advance of Nergal, the god of pestilence.

The mermaid Ashe possesses the power, the passion, and the audacity to challenge Nergal, but she is trapped in the underworld. Engineering her escape forces Varun, the marine biologist, to seek out unlikely allies, but freeing Ashe is only the first step.

The only weapon that can slay Nergal is a cursed dagger forged in a demon’s heart from the core of a fallen star. And that dagger is buried in the depths of a living volcano…

Revel in the shattering climax of this “genre-blending masterpiece of urban fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, and mythology.” ONE-CLICK to dive under the sea today!

 

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New Release – Confessions of The Underworld Boater By Jade Kerrion

This New Release is going to be a monthly serial.  It’s an awesome read and I can’t wait for each episode.  It’s called Confessions of The Underworld Boater, Season 1, episode 1, by my friend Jade Kerrion.

Confessions

 

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Losing my job wasn’t the problem…
Being recalled was.

No one believes in the Greek gods anymore, which leaves me with nothing to do at the banks of the river Styx.

Boredom isn’t an excuse for bad judgment, but I should have known better than to hang out in Fort Lauderdale.

The nightclub owned by my elder brother Thanatos—Death—is the hottest destination on the beach, until mortals inexplicably sicken and die—

—and show up at the Styx.

The displaced mortals are the first pawns in the long-overdue war between the gods of Olympus and the offspring of the Titans—the children of Nyx, my siblings and me.

My name is Charon, and my only power as the ferryman is to travel any path between Point A and Point B.

Unfortunately, that power isn’t going to be enough to escape—or avert—the apocalypse headed my way…

 

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New Release – Computer Security for Authors or Anyone with a Personal Computer by Linda Walker

I have a New Release for you, Computer Security for Authors or Anyone with a Personal Computer by my friend Linda Walker.  I look forward to reading this, we authors need all the help we can get.

Computer Security for Authors: Or Anyone With a Personal Computer by [Walker, Linda]

 

Description1

Computer Security geared toward authors but for anyone running a small business on a personal computer. If you are an author, you are running a small business. A plain English discussion of computer security for non-technical people so they can know what to do to save their files/data on their personal computers.

 

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Author Interview – Maggie Plummer

Today’s Author Interview is with my friend Maggie Plummer.  She has just released a new book called Bell-Bottom Gypsy, the first in the Jessie Morgan series.

gypsy front cover paperback (333x499)

Author bio: Maggie Plummer is a multi-genre author based in northwest Montana. Along the winding trail to becoming a novelist, she has worked as a journalist, school bus driver, Good Humor ice cream girl, fishing boat mate, and race horse hot walker, among other things. Bell-Bottom Gypsy is her third published novel.

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A photo of Maggie as she looked in the 1970s

Book Synopsis:

 In this galloping departure from her previous novels, author Maggie Plummer takes the reader on a wild 1970s ride – an adventurous coming of age journey along back roads in far-flung corners of the United States.

At twenty, Jessie Morgan is fed up with just about everything. It’s September 1971 – time to drop out, tune in, and turn on. She leaves college and Detroit in the rearview mirror, hitting the road in her 1965 yellow Volkswagen convertible. Wandering America’s byways from Kentucky to Key West to Montana, Jessie is out to test herself and experience everything.

She didn’t count on meeting a man like Twisty.

Bell-Bottom Gypsy is recommended for mature readers due to plenty of 1970s-era sex, drugs, and cussing.

 

Author

 

Hi Maggie, tell us a little about your book? 

Bell-Bottom Gypsy: A Jessie Morgan Novel is a 285-page novel LOOSELY based on real 1970s experiences I had on the road. Much of the novel is pure fiction, embellishment, and wishful thinking. For years, I have told my various travel stories to friends. I’ve been thinking of writing them down for a long time, and it feels great to finally have done that. My real stories provide only a framework for the novel, which is about 1970s-style self-discovery via travel adventure.

 

Can you tell us how you came up with the title?

Imagining a book about my 1970s travels, I thought that the title would be “Tales of a Volkswagen Gypsy.” Then I wanted it to be simply “Volkswagen Gypsy.” I was set on that title, but then learned that Volkswagen does not allow use of their name or logo without specific permission. I tried and tried to get that permission, with no results. It was time to re-think my book title. I decided that, given the main character’s love of bell-bottom pants, the new title should be Bell-Bottom Gypsy. Many of my friends and critiquers like the new title better than the old one. The subtitle is “A Jessie Morgan Novel” because this is the first in a four-book Jessie Morgan Series.

 

And can you tell us what inspired you to write this book?

At this point, at my “ripe” old age (ha!), I am tired of hearing myself tell my stories from the road. I kept telling myself to shut up and write them down. So I finally did. In order for the novel to work, though, I had to add many fictitious elements. For example, Twisty is pure fiction. (My real life boyfriend in Key West, Florida was nothing like Twisty, although he did play guitar and sing, and was into black and white photography…) Anyway, my main inspiration to write this novel was to preserve my wacky stories, which are unique to the early 1970s.

 

How much of the book is realistic?

The book’s main plot, in which Jessie travels America’s back roads and works seasonal jobs, is based on real life adventures. Along the way, some of the travel narrative is fiction. And, like I said, the edgy, dark aspect of the Twisty character is also pure fiction.

 

What process do you use for your writing?

I approach writing a novel by listing scenes. It’s not a true outline, but a scene list. That seems to help me zoom into the action and figure out where things are going. Meanwhile, I create Word files for character studies, and do research that often helps drive the plot. For me, writing first thing in the morning is the best. I find that I have my best energy then, thanks to my strong, black morning coffee.

 

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Bell-Bottom Gypsy was a challenge to write. I think that’s because it is based on real experiences, some of which were emotionally charged. As I wrote it, I found myself feeling “triggered,” at times. But I am so happy to have written it.

 

How long did it take to write your latest release?

It took four and a half years. I am hoping to learn how to be a faster writer.

 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? 

I began keeping a journal when I was about sixteen years old, so I think it was about then that I began thinking of myself as a writer. I was drawn to reading and English and languages, in high school. Also, my grandmother was a writer in the 1920s and ‘30s, in Missoula, Montana. So maybe she is where my interest originated. In the early 1980s, I finally went back to college and earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. After that, I was a journalist for about 25 years. But I always wanted to write novels.

 

Have you published anything else? 

Yes, I have two previous novels, both of which are historical fiction set in the 1650s. The first one, Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, was a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards as well as a quarterfinalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Competition. It has 225 Amazon reviews. Daring Passage, my second novel, tells the rest of the story begun in Spirited Away. Delighted readers call it “a stunning sequel.” I’m also the author of a nonfiction book entitled Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation. Find out more about me and my books at https://maggieplummerauthor.weebly.com/

 

What’s next for you? / What is your next project?

Next up is Book Two of the Jessie Morgan Series. Then Book Three, and then Book Four. I have my work cut out for me, following Jess as she continues testing herself, facing plenty of adversity as she grows into the woman she wants to be.

 

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New Release – Bell-Bottom Gypsy:A Jessie Morgan Novel By Maggie Plummer

Today’s New Release is Bell-Bottom Gypsy:A Jessie Morgan Novel, which is book one in the Jessie Morgan Series by my friend Maggie Plummer.

gypsy front cover paperback (333x499).jpg

 

Description1

A wild 1970s ride – an adventurous coming of age journey along America’s back roads.

At twenty, Jessie Morgan is fed up with just about everything. It’s September 1971 — time to drop out, tune in, and turn on. She leaves college and Detroit in the rearview mirror, hitting the road in her 1965 yellow Volkswagen convertible. Wandering byways from Kentucky to Key West to Montana, Jessie is out to experience everything.

She didn’t count on meeting a man like Twisty.

WARNING: BELL-BOTTOM GYPSY is New Adult Fiction recommended for mature readers due to 1970s-era sex, drugs, and cussing.

AUTHOR BIO:

Maggie Plummer is a multi-genre author based in northwest Montana. Along the winding trail to becoming a novelist, she has lived in far-flung corners of the United States and worked as a journalist, school bus driver, Good Humor ice cream girl, fishing boat mate, and race horse hot walker, among other things.

Bell-Bottom Gypsy: A Jessie Morgan Novel, Maggie’s latest work of fiction, is a departure from her previous novels – both of which are historical novels set in the 1650s. This one is set in the early 1970s, taking the reader down memory lane in a story baby boomers (and wanna-be baby boomers!) are sure to love.

Maggie’s first novel, Spirited Away – A Novel of the Stolen Irish, was a 2013 finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book Awards as well as a quarter finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Competition. The book has 225 Amazon reviews.

Daring Passage, the author’s second novel, tells the rest of the story begun in Spirited Away. Delighted readers call it “a stunning sequel.”

Maggie is also the author of a nonfiction book entitled Passing It On: Voices from the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Find out more about the author at https://maggieplummerauthor.weebly.com/

COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR:

My own 1970s experiences on the road inspired me to write Bell-Bottom Gypsy. The novel is loosely based on those real life stories, with a loud emphasis on the word “loosely.”

Much of Bell-Bottom Gypsy is pure fiction, embellishment, and wishful thinking.

It feels wonderful to get these stories written — to breathe new, vibrant life into them. They are the framework for my planned four-book Jessie Morgan Series.

Happy reading!

 

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New Release – Cursed Flame By Jade Kerrion

Today’s New Release is Cursed Flame, Book Three in Daughter of Air by my friend Jade Kerrion.  This is an awesome series and just keeps getting better and better.

Cursed Flame

 

Description1

When gods battle, worlds shatter. Now it’s the Earth turn…

The queen of the underworld has stolen the mermaid Ashe’s most treasured possession. To reclaim it, Ashe must unravel ancient mysteries to find the doorway to hell.

She doesn’t need or want the marine biologist Varun tagging along. There is no safety for a mortal in a war between elementals and vengeful gods, but curiosity is one of his greatest vices, second only to his love for Ashe.

Love does not guarantee access to all her secrets. Without the facts, Varun cannot possibly understand the risks, especially when the queen of the underworld is convinced that Ashe is far more than she pretends to be…

…a goddess in hiding–the queen of heaven and earth.

“You will be swept away by this genre-blending masterpiece of urban fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, and mythology.” ONE-CLICK to dive under the sea today!

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