Tag Archive for: celebrate

Celebrating the Longest Night

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (or Chanukah if you
prefer), Happy Kwanzaa (Habari Gani?), and Yay for the Solstice! What are you celebrating this month?  

If you live in the Pacific Northwest like
I do, the passing of the Solstice is a reason to be especially thankful. I know I’m looking forward to more than a few hours of daylight. While the recognition of the shortest day probably goes back a lot further, many of the Christmas traditions come from the pagan rituals – yule logs, evergreen wreaths, candles, and evergreen yule trees.    

Western cultures draw many of these winter holiday traditions from Saturnalia, an ancient Roman solstice celebration dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture and time. Initially a one-day celebration earlier in December, like many Roman holidays, it later expanded into a weeklong party stretching from December 17 to 24. Scandinavia honors St. Lucia, one of the earliest Christian martyrs. This holiday was folded into earlier Norse solstice traditions after many Norsemen converted to Christianity around 1000 A.D. As a symbol of light, Lucia and her feast day blended naturally with solstice fire traditions. Of course, we owe the red and green Christmas colors to ancient Celtic traditions.

Moving into other international traditions, the Chinese celebrate Dong Zhi (which means “Winter Arrives”) to welcome the return of longer days and the corresponding increase in positive energy in the year to come. The holiday also has roots in the Chinese concept of yin and yang: after the solstice, the abundance of darkness in winter begins to be balanced with the sun’s light. While it is no longer an official holiday, it remains a family occasion to join together and celebrate the year that has passed and share good wishes for the year to come.

An ancient Persian festivalShab-e Yalda (which translates to “Night of Birth”) celebrates the triumph of Mithra, the Sun God, over darkness. According to its tradition, people gather on the longest night of year to protect each other from evil, burning fires to light their way through the darkness, and performing charitable acts. 

In Peru, like the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice is celebrated in June. The Inti Raymi (Quechua for “sun festival”) is dedicated to honoring Inti, the sun god. Before the Spanish conquest, the Incas fasted for three days prior to the solstice. Before dawn on the fourth day, they waited for the sunrise on a ceremonial plaza and offered sacrifices, using a mirror to focus the sun’s rays and kindle a fire. After the conquest, the Spaniards banned the Inti Raymi holiday. (Shocker, right?) 

For the Zuni, one of the Native American Pueblo peoples in western New Mexico, the winter solstice signifies the beginning of the year, and is marked with a ceremonial dance called Shalako. Once the Pekwin, or “Sun Priest,” announces the rebirth of the sun, four days of dance begin, starting with 12 kachina clowns in elaborate masks dance along with the Shalako themselves—12-foot-high effigies with bird heads, seen as messengers from the gods. 

The Anasazi left no written records, so we can only speculate about their winter solstice rites. Placement of stones and structures in their ruins, such as New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, indicate they certainly took a keen interest in the sun’s movement. The Hopi, descendants of the Anasazi, have an all night ceremony that begins with the setting of the sun (beginning the longest night).

In Japan, the winter solstice is less a festival than a traditional practice centered around starting the new year with health and good luck. Like many of the traditions mentioned above, the practice has its roots in agriculture. While bonfires are also a tradition here, I’m interested in a different practice – taking warm baths scented with yuzu, a citrus fruit, which is said to ward off colds and foster good health. 

I’m wishing all of you good health in the upcoming winter (of our discontent. Sorry, couldn’t resist). Covid anxiety, and then flat-out covid fatigue, have taken a toll on
many of us. I know my productivity plummeted, but I do have a book releasing in January (Malbec Mayhem). 

As this crazy year winds down, take time (maybe on the longest night) to reflect on what the new season and new year will bring you. 2020 is almost behind us, but don’t give 2021 a chance to say, “hold my beer.”


PS Y’all were so helpful this summer with reviews from the Advance Reader Copies of Calling for the Money. I hope some of you will be interested in ARCs of Malbec Mayhem. Here’s the link: https://bit.ly/MalbecReviewCopy 

An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.  Visit her at http://cperkinswrites.com or on Facebook  

Sign up for her new release announcement newsletter in either place.

She’s hard at work on the sequel to The Body in the Beaver Pond, which was recently presented with the Claymore Award. 

We Just Want to Celebrate!

by Sparkle Abbey

What did you do to celebrate Independence Day?

Here in the Midwest, there were small-town parades, fireworks, and cookouts. We decorated bikes, ate potato salad, and listened to Yankee Doodle Pops. Other parts of the country may celebrate in other ways. But whether you celebrate at the beach or in the backyard, poolside or at the park, it’s a chance to pause to commemorate our country’s Independence Day with family and friends. 
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of our busy lives that sometimes we forget to pause and celebrate. Holidays remind us to do that.
We’ve had a couple of months of celebrations. There have been birthdays, graduations, dance recitals and weddings. 
Milestones. It’s so important to pause and really celebrate those milestones. To take a moment and thoroughly enjoy them and tuck the memories into the corners of your heart.
Lately, we’ve also had some writing milestones. Book #9, Barking with the Stars, came out. this year and book #10, The Dogfather is slated for an August release. Wow. Book Ten. Of course, we’re crazy busy and working on more books and so we have to remind ourselves to pause and celebrate our Book #10 milestone.

What about you? What milestones big or small have you had recently? Did you take time to pause and enjoy the moment?

Guidebook to Murder Releases April 17th

And I’m celebrating.

What’s it like to be an author? What wild and crazy things do we do when one of our books is finally out into the world?

Wild authors at the Michael Hauge workshop-St. Louis

April 17th is a Thursday. So I’ll be getting up at 5am, working out for 30 minutes, playing around on the computer for another 30 minutes, then getting ready for work.

The 30-45 minute drive is made tolerable with an audio book playing in the cd player. Probably a mystery. Or a romance. Maybe I can find a Heather Graham mix up for the week.

Then I do my thing for 8 hours at a local leasing company. And, no, I won’t pick you up.

Drive home – more story. Whoever invented the audio book, I’d like to buy you a beer. Or two.

Walk the dogs, make dinner, write 1000 words on my WIP, and play on social media for a few hours, including checking out my blog tour posts.

And, since I’ll still be on Lent, I’ll dream of chocolate peanut butter eggs and eating bunny ears.


How do you celebrate a special day?

In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all
Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store–Coffee, Books, and More–open and
running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?

When Jill’s elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of
pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her
dilapidated old house. But Emily’s gumption goes for naught when she dies
unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill–along with all of her problems. .
.and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list
of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is
determined to uncover the culprit–especially if it gets her closer to South
Cove’s finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she’s on the
case–and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently. . .

Lynn Cahoon’s a multi-published author. An Idaho native, her
stories focus around the depth and experience of small town life and love.
Lynn’s published in Chicken Soup anthologies, explored controversial stories
for the confessional magazines, short stories in Women’s World, and
contemporary romantic fiction. Currently, she’s living in a small historic town
on the banks of the Mississippi river where her imagination tends to wander.
She lives with her husband and four fur babies.

Hours in the day….

by: Joelle Charbonneau

I’m not sure who decreed that there shall only be twenty-four hours in a day, but at the moment I need to have a serious talk with that person. I mean…there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done. Housework. Cooking. Shopping. Errands. Pre-school field trips. Playground adventures. Writing. Lessons to teach. Reading. Family stuff. Friends. Etc… Etc… Etc…

This week I’ve felt the lack of time more keenly than any other. With one set of type set pages needing to be proofed and two other manuscript needing copyedited along with lots of writing to be done, blogs to write, a tot to race after, a holiday to shop for and enjoy family during…..there just isn’t enough time in the day.

What’s a girl to do?

During weeks like these I find myself wishing that I was addicted to chocolate. Instead, I find that I keep reminding myself to breathe. In. Out. This is where my singing training comes in handy. If there is one thing I am good at it is deep breathing. Then I instruct myself to remember that I can only do one thing at a time. Like many of the Stilettos, I have taken to making lists and I am telling myself that if I cross one thing off the list in a day the day is a success.

So today, I mail back the copy edits to THE TESTING. I will cross that item off my list and call today a success.

How about you? What item on your list have you or are you planning on crossing off today? Let’s celebrate these victories together!