Yule in Southern Hemisphere – Litha in Northern Hemisphere

Yule Blessings to us in the Southern Hemisphere.  It’s cold and wintery, particularly here on the mountain.  I am sitting beside the fire as I type this and the glow of the flames warms my heart.    Keep warm and enjoy the many blessings of Yule. Blessed Be!

Blessed Yule

 

YULE

Yule is a time when the waxing sun overcomes the waning sun. The Holly King, which represents the death aspect of God, is overcome by the Oak King who represents the rebirth of the God. It is the time when you conclude the chapter of your life for the year and prepare for the rebirth of the New Year’s lessons and opportunities.

Celebrations vary from tradition to tradition, but there are some similarities that most people will probably recognise.

The festival is associated with fire, and the Yule log. The fire is the tool that returns all to its beginnings, “ashes to ashes”. And prepares the soul for rebirth, the “rise of the Phoenix from the ashes”.

The season is also represented by the colours red (for the fire) and green (for the rebirth) process. The season includes the cutting of the Yule tree, decorating the home with a holy wreath (nature’s red and green bush) and decorating special cookies for celebrating the sweet joys of the year past and the sweetness for the year to come.

Finally the season includes the reindeer stag to represent the horned God, the Wiccan God of death and the final chapter of the year.

 

Litha – Northern Hemisphere

Litha Blessings to those in the Northern Hemisphere, may you be blessed by the sun as it shines down upon you.  Blessed Be!

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Litha is also known as Summer Solstice.

The Litha Sabbat is a time to celebrate both work and leisure, it is a time for children and childlike play.

It is a time to celebrate the ending of the waxing year and the beginning of the waning year, in preparation for the harvest to come.

Midsummer is a time to absorb the Sun’s warming rays and it is another fertility Sabbat, not only for humans, but also for crops and animals.

Wiccans consider the Goddess to be heavy with pregnancy from the mating at Beltane – honor is given to Her. The Sun God is celebrated as the Sun is at its peak in the sky and we celebrate His approaching fatherhood – honor is also given to Him.

The faeries abound at this time and it is customary to leave offerings – such as food or herbs – for them in the evening.

 

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New Releases – Space Scout Series By Will Macmillan Jones

Here is a new series by my friend Will Macmillan Jones, Scout Pilot of the Free Union is available today.

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On release from 8 June, initially in paperback and ebook direct from Amazon comes an exciting space opera collection.

Starting with Scout Pilot of The Free Union, and quickly followed by Infinity is for Losers and Rogue Pilot, the novels follow the misadventures of Captain Frank Eric Russell. Sacked from a prestigious post, Frank ends up flying a preloved (clapped out) Speedbird scout ship around the galaxy. The missions are exotic, interesting, and considerably unsafe. Danger lurks behind every asteroid, and every new planet offers disaster or death as recreational possibilities.  Brilliant fun with some great chases, said an early reviewer.

Captain Frank Eric Russell is captain/pilot of a Valhalla Class Star Destroyer – until there is an embarrassing incident during a diplomatic mission to the border with the Imperium. Disciplined by being transferred to the Reconnaissance Unit of The Free Union’s Star Fleet, he finds himself assigned to an outdated Speedbird Scoutship. The missions are less prestigious, less rigorously overseen – and a lot less safe. Threats, terror and mortal danger lurk behind every planet and asteroid as Frank tries to survive the life of a Reconnaissance Unit Scout Pilot patrolling the barely defined border between The Free Union and the Imperium during the uneasy truce between the two Galactic Powers.

Frank and his ageing Speedbird are sent on a number of perilous missions around the galaxy, both for the mysterious Colonel Rosto and on normal Space Corps business. On the way he meets a new sentient species, a terrifying space spider, finds himself involved in a deal for new spaceships that goes horribly wrong and finally has to escape the clutches of The Imperium’s Chief Enforcer, the feared Colonel Starker, before becoming involved in a battle as the rivals for domination of the galaxy clash in space.

With everything against him, can Frank and his trusty Speedbird live to run away another day?

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Here’s the first review, from Jim Webster (a fellow sci fi and fantasy writer, noted for his series ‘The Land of The Three Seas)

Just to note that I received advanced copies in return for an unbiased review

The books follow the career (in this case, career as in ‘When the brakes failed, the wagon careered downhill’) of Captain Frank Eric Russell, who becomes a Scout pilot of the Free Union. The stories are told by the good Captain in the first person.

This means that we whilst we see events through the eyes of our hero, we also begin to realise that he is in some things an unreliable observer. It begins to dawn upon the reader that Russell is a far better pilot and far more generally competent than he admits.

The universe is divided between three main powers. The first two that we meet are the Free Union, which our hero serves, and the Imperium, who are the enemy in waiting. There is no war between the two but there is a constant bickering at the outposts and attempts to destabilise the other. Finally there are the Merchant Princes, who happily trade with anybody.

In the first book, ‘Scout Pilot of the Free Union’, each chapter seems to be a separate mission and a separate story. But eventually you start to realise that there is a common thread starting to pull them together, until by the time you get into the second book, ‘Infinity is for losers’, we see that our hero is caught up in something far more complicated and dangerous than he first thought. I have no intention of saying more and spoiling the plot for anybody.

This isn’t hard military SF; similarly we are spared being plunged into some dark angst ridden dystopia, these stories are Space Opera. Admittedly there are times when Russell sees his superiors as a bigger threat to his survival than the enemy, but I suspect many service personnel could empathise with this.

Will Macmillan Jones is a story teller and a fine one. As I read these books I found myself swept along by the story.

At some point it appears the modern reviewer has to award ‘stars’. It’s not longer good enough to describe something as a ‘cracking good read.’ But I am not a number, I am a free man. I will wave my hand airily and announce that these books are undoubtedly somewhere betwixt and between four and five stars.

The far more important question is will I read the rest of the series. Too damned right I will. I’m looking forward to them and when they arrive I’ll tear open the packet and start reading. They’re fun!

Will Rogue Pilot Mockup

 

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New Release – Lost In Time By Tish Thawer

Reblogged from Tish Thawer

This series is awesome and I highly recommend it.

It’s live!!!
My Legends of Havenwood Falls story,
LOST IN TIME is available now.

This novella features two of the three Howe sisters from my Witches of BlackBrook series, and answers some questions regarding their missing time mentioned in The Daughters of Maine.

WHAT EARLY READERS ARE SAYING:

“I finished my ARC last night. Oh my goddess, Lost in Time is amazing!! Congratulations!!” ~ ARC review

 “This was such a magical exciting tale of how the very first protections were put in place at the falls. The author’s imagination knows no bounds when she writes of witches, reincarnation, American Indians, shamen, shifters and angelic spirits. This book had it all. There were bittersweet moments and happy moments and although it was only a novella the author managed to fit so much into it that you aren’t left feeling as the story could have been expanded upon.

This was the first LEGENDS of Havenwood Falls book that I have read and I can’t wait to read the next one.” ~ Goodreads Review

LOST IN TIME
By Tish Thawer
Series: Legends of Havenwood Falls
Genre: Historical Paranormal
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Cover Design: Regina Wamba, MaeIDesign.com

Every town has stories of its past, and Havenwood Falls is no different. And when the town’s residents include a variety of supernatural creatures, those historical tales often become Legends. This is but one . . .

Three sister witches escape the Salem witch trials when the eldest casts a spell that sends their souls forward in time. Separated by unknown forces, their soul journeys place them into new lives, causing them to continually try to find one another each time.

After their second soul journey, two of the three Howe sisters end up in an unforgiving mountain range in the early 1700s, but before they can begin to search for their sister, they come face-to-face with a native tribe living in a secluded box canyon. Forced to shift their focus from their lost sibling, the girls quickly realize they’ve been trapped in a time loop and now must face the tribe whose end goal remains to be seen.

When they discover that magic is being misused, the sisters put a plan into motion that will change the canyon forever, hopefully keeping others from falling into the same trap. But as their deaths loom and their next soul journey awaits, they must decide who will protect this special land and the magic of the falls once they’re gone.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HGiIeB
B&N: https://bit.ly/2GM1eZ4
iBooks: https://apple.co/2kkFoTC
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2KSrcg7

To stay up-to-date with all the Legends and the rest of the Havenwood Falls gang, join us in the Book Club today!
https://www.facebook.com/groups/HavenwoodFallsBookClub/

Re-Release – The Cleansing By Sam Kates

Today I have a re-launch for you of The Cleansing, book one of Earth Haven, by my friend Sam Kates.  For a short time it is at the low price of 99cents, enjoy.

The Cleansing (Earth Haven: Book 1) by [Kates, Sam]

 

The Cleansing (Earth Haven: Book 1) $0.99.

I’ve recently parted company (amicably) with my former smallpress publisher, Smithcraft Press, and am in the process of relaunching the five books previously published by them. The prices will be increasing, but before I raise the price of my best-selling novel, The Cleansing, I wanted to give you the opportunity of grabbing the e-book while it’s still $0.99 (and equivalent).

Description1

 

Apocalypse unleashed. Swift and deadly. Merciless.

Seven billion people inhabit this planet in blissful ignorance of imminent annihilation. Destruction comes, not from meteors or nuclear holocaust, but from a source no one even knows exists.

The architects of doom have long moved among us, hidden in plain sight, waiting for the signal to trigger our extinction.

A handful of survivors—traumatised, bewildered—must come to terms with the new reality. And quickly. For the Cleansing is only the beginning…

 

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Samhain in Southern Hemisphere – Beltane in Northern Hemisphere

Samhain blessings to all of us in the Southern Hemisphere, the days are growing cold as we head towards winter, soon the fire will be on keeping us toasty and warm. Blessed Be!

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How To Celebrate the God & Goddess at Samhain

Posted on October 31, 2014 by ladyoftheabyss

In some Wiccan traditions, by Samhain, the Goddess has entered her incarnation of Crone. She is the Old One, the earth mother, the wise one we turn to when we need advice. She teaches us that sometimes we must let go in order to move on. The God, at Samhain, is the Horned One, the stag of great antlers, the god of the wild hunt. He is the animal that dies so that we may eat, and the grains and corn that once lived in the field before our harvest. We can honor these late-fall aspects of both the Goddess and the God in one ritual.

Begin by casting a circle, if your tradition requires it. Prior to starting the ceremony, place three sheaves of corn or wheat around the ritual space. You’ll also need a statue or other image of the God and of the Goddess at the center of your altar. Around the statues, place five candles — red and black to represent the dark aspect of the Goddess, green and brown to symbolize the wild God, and white for the hearth and home.

Place a plate of dark bread, enough for each person present, near the center of the altar, along with a cup of wine or cider. Circle the altar. The youngest person present will act as the Handmaiden, and the oldest as the High Priest (HP) or High Priestess (HPs). If you’re performing this rite as a solitary, simply take on both parts. The HPs lights the red and black candles, and says:

A pair of candles is lit
in honor of the Goddess.
She is Maiden and Mother throughout the year
and tonight we honor her as Crone.

Next, the HPs lights the brown and green candles, saying:

A pair of candles is lit
in honor of the God.
He is wild and fertile and animal
and tonight we honor him as the Horned God.

The Handmaiden takes the bread and walks the circle with the plate, allowing each person to tear off a chunk. As they do so, she says: May the blessings of the Goddess be upon you. The cup of wine or cider is passed around, and each person takes a sip. As they do, the Handmaiden should say: May the blessings of the God be upon you.

The Handmaiden then lights the fifth candle, for the hearth, saying:

This candle is lit
in honor of hearth and home.
The mother and father, the Goddess and God,
watch over us tonight as we honor them.

The HPs then takes over, saying:

We light these five candles
for the powerful Goddess
and her mighty horned consort, the God,
and for the safety of home and hearth.
On this, the night of Samhain,
when the Goddess is a wise Crone,
and the God is a wild stag,
we honor them both.

The Handmaiden says:

This is a time between the worlds,
a time of life and a time of death.
This is a night unlike any other night.
Ancient ones, we ask your blessing.
Goddess, great Crone, mother of all life,
we thank you for your wisdom.
Horned God, master of the wild hunt, keeper of the forest,
we thank you for all that you provide.

At this time, the rest of the group may also say thanks. If you wish to make an offering to the God and Goddess, now is the time to place it upon the altar.

Once all offerings have been made, and thanks given, take a moment to meditate on the new beginnings of Samhain. Consider the gifts that the gods have given you over the past year, and think about how you might show them your gratitude in the coming twelve months. As the old year dies, make room in the new year for new things in your life. You may not know yet what’s coming, but you can certainly imagine, dream and hope. Tonight, this night between the worlds, is the perfect time to imagine what things may come.

End the ritual in the way called for by your tradition.

Tips:

  • Decorate your altar with symbols of the God — antlers, acorns, pine cones, phallic symbols — and representations of the Goddess, such as red flowers, cups, pomegranates, etc.
  • If your tradition honors a specific pair of male and female deities, feel free to substitute their names in this ritual wherever it says God or Goddess.

By Patti Wigington  Paganism/Wicca Expert

 

Beltane – Northern Hemisphere

Many Beltane blessings to all in the Northern Hemisphere.  May you enjoy the warmer months after your long cold winter.  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.

 A blessed Beltane to you!

New Release – Gas Station Of The Dead By Anthony Renfro

Today I have a New Release for you Gas Station of The Dead, a horror short story by Anthony Renfro.  We also have an excerpt to give you a taste.

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Description1

This short story is about a former tanker truck driver who decides to use his skills to deliver gas to those in need during the Zombie Apocalypse.

Bonus Short Story: Devil at the Wheel

A Joyride in a Chevy Chevelle. The car was just sitting there for the taking. What could possibly go wrong? Vinnie and Mike are about to find out what can and will go wrong once they turn the key. Evil awaits. Ride shotgun if you dare with this short story.

Bonus Short Story: The Dragon

A simple machine. Able to answer requests. Able to play music. Able to turn on lights and answer questions. Fun and enjoyable technology. But what happens when this machine is able to manifest actual things? In this short story two guys worst fears will come to life.

 

Excerpt2

 

Gas Station of the Dead

EXP: Donald Cal, or Cal to those who knew him, sat on top of a flat roof looking down at his two discoveries. The question running through is head was difficult to find the answer to. When so many zombies were shuffling about, how did he get from one place to the other and vice versa without getting bit or ripped apart? He knew that his plan was strong, it could work, it would work, but he wasn’t sure how he could keep himself alive long enough to see it put into action.

He sat back against the faded brick wall (which helped to give him shade), looked up at the sunny blue sky, and then out onto the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. He watched the waves for a while, trying to find some peace of mind as he ate a bit of processed snack food and sipped on a warm bottle of water. He closed his eyes when he was finished eating, and fell asleep, drifting off into the world of pleasant dreams and happier pre-zombie days. This current dream was one of his happiest, a girlfriend, a party, lots and lots of friends out on the beach drinking like idiots by a rip roaring fire.

A sound of thumping tore him out of his pleasant dreams and pushed him back into the harsh world he now called home.

He knew the zombies had found him.

 

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New Release – Nightlight Tales 2 By Anthony Renfro

Today I have a New Release for you, Nightlight Tales 2, a collection of horror short stories by Anthony Renfro.

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Description1

 

 

The Headless Fountain Man: A simple photo. A quick snap shot. One woman’s perfect picture is about to become her scariest nightmare.

Fear of the Scarecrow: This short story is about a desperate man hungry for revenge. Sometimes revenge comes with a price.

It Sleeps at Dawn: This short story is about a Vampire who stalks the Appalachian Mountains. A traditional Vampire who uses fangs instead of guns. He hunts. He kills. He sleeps at Dawn.

The Dead of Winter: This short story is about an apocalyptic nightmare in a crisp frozen landscape filled with winter and living corpses.Two men try to find safety in this dead world. Hoping to ride out the night. Hoping to find warmth and shelter. Hoping not to become food for the zombies.

Gluten-Free: Death by Gluten? One man commits suicide in a most unusual way.

The Lot: A Christmas Tree lot isn’t all it seems to be. It hides evil deadly secrets.

The Dragon: A simple machine. Able to answer requests. Able to play music. Able to turn on lights and answer questions. Fun and enjoyable technology, but what happens when this machine is able to manifest actual things. In this short story two guys worst fears will come to life.

Webs: A pyramid in the deep dry desert. What secrets lie within its walls? One explorer is about to find his greatest desire and his worst nightmare inside this ancient artifact.

Gas Station of the Dead: This short story is about a former tanker truck driver who decides to use his skills to deliver gas to those in need during the Zombie Apocalypse.

A Zombie Christmas: This short story is about three men who risk life and limb in a Zombie Apocalypse in order to bring happiness to surviving kids on Christmas Morning.

A Zombie Christmas 2: A boy lost. A family desperate. It’s Christmas in a Zombie Apocalypse and Mike Beem is once again aiming for another Holiday miracle. His goal this year isn’t toys for the kids in the neighborhood. His goal this time is trying to save one small life so another family doesn’t have to suffer the way he suffered.

Flesh for the Zombies: When Mike Beem’s community is savagely attacked, he must exact revenge on those who wronged him. He must put aside all the good he has ever accomplished in order to become someone else. A man without a moral compass. A man without right or wrong. A man who is a cold blooded killer. Will he get his justice or will he die trying? The answers lie within the pages of this short story.

Zombie Beach: Mike Beem has given it all up and run off to live by the beach. Life down on the coast isn’t all that it should be. Days of lying in the sun are replaced with brutal survival. Mike does his best to not only survive, but to rebuild a life among the ruins of these beach side towns.

 

Excerpt2

EXP: The Headless Fountain Man

 Kim was approaching the annual Canadian Comicon when she was startled by a headless statue sitting inside a large silver fountain. This statue had black Chuck Taylor’s on its feet, red socks on its bare ankles, blue jeans, and was wearing a tee-shirt that read “Water you looking at.”  She took out her camera and instead of taking pictures of the various people in cos play costumes (Star Trek, Star Wars, and Frozen seemed to be the lead choices, Frozen, weird, I know, but hey it is a Comicon), she decided to take a picture of this statue, sitting there on its butt, dressed like it was heading for a skateboarding convention, with no head on top of its body. Its head had been replaced with a large white geyser of water that sailed into the air and splashed all over the headless figure and the ground around it.

Her finger froze before she took the shot, something about this statue felt all wrong, something about it didn’t seem right. She focused the lens, and thought she saw the statue raise an arm and wave at her. She paused, and pulled the camera away from her face, opening both eyes. She looked at the statue in the dusky light. It was still sitting there spewing water from its neck, arms and legs unmoving. She shook off the goose bumps, raised the camera to her eye, and snapped the shot. Then she snapped a couple more because you didn’t know which one would be the money shot, best to have backups.

 

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