Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Here At Last!

It's finally here! Widow's Peak is available in both Print and E-book Formats from the Wild Rose Press.

To celebrate, I'm giving away three great prizes at our group blog, The Write Direction. You can win a $10 Amazon gift certificate, an autographed Widow's Peak, or a beautiful Welsh pewter necklace. Just go to www.thewritedirection.wordpress.com and leave a comment on my post about what kind of hero you like. I'll be choosing winners at midnight so drop by today and leave your comment.

I'm also today's guest chef at Chatting with Anna Kathryn. Wednesday is Chow Day and I have a medieval dessert recipe that's featured in Widow's Peak. You'll also have a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card and a copy of Cooking in the South with Johnnie Gabriel. It has over 150 delicious Southern recipes from Johnnie's award-winning restaurant. Just leave a comment with your favorite dessert recipe at annakathrynlanier.blogspot.com and you'll be entered to win.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The First Winner

Yesterday's Question: What was the name of Lady Amye's first husband?

Answer: Thomas

Yesterday's Winner: Congratulations to lorrettac.

Today's Prize: An Amazon Gift Certificate valued at $10.00

Today's Question: Name two knights in Lady Amye's service. You can find the answer in one of the excerpts at my website www.hannarhys.com

While you're there, why not sign up for my quarterly newsletter for an extra chance to win.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thirty days has September

But as of today, there are less than thirty days to the official release date of Widows Peak. I can hardly believe the time is so near. In celebration, starting today,August 26th, I will be giving away one of the following prizes every day through the end of September:

A $15 Limited Edition Widow's Peak Visa Gift Card
A $10 Amazon Gift Card
An Autographed Copy of Delilah Marvelle's Lord of Pleasure
An Autographed Copy of Widow's Peak

To enter, all you have to do is go to my website, www.hannarhys.com and sign-up for my newsletter or leave a comment here with your email address. If you answer the daily blog question, you get two chances to win that day. The prize will change daily. One winner will be drawn from those who enter on that day. All daily winners will be entered in my Super Contest to win one of two great art prizes. A cold cast bronze statue or a fabulous art print, both by my good friend, artist Maxine Miller. Check out these two beautiful pieces above.

Today's Prize: A Limited edition Widow's Peak Visa Gift Card valued at $15.00

Today's question for double entry: What was the name of Lady Amye's first husband?

You can find the answer in any of the various excerpts at sites where I've blogged, including today's post at the Night Owl Romance Blog

Good luck to everyone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back to Work

Since the birthday week celebration, life has started to settle a bit and I am well back into the writing life. 

Well sort of. I am in class every night until 10:00pm, plus I came down with a nasty cold. For the first time in several years I actually had to go to the doctor. I ran a fever for the last seven days and have been hacking away the night (probably keeping my neighbors awake as well). However, there was an up-side to this whole affair—more time devoted to writing. 

The little time I spent sleeping was filled with fevered dreams of people who had stories they wanted me to tell. I had to start a line and hand out numbers. Lol. Now I have dozens of ideas for future projects. I’ll let you know whose story wins the next open slot. 

During the time that I was waiting for the codeine to kick in, I was able to sit down and write a few lines on my current projects. I am working toward finishing up Kissed By A Rose, the sequel to Widow’s Peak, before the end of the month. But I am also pulled to get the next project done.

My time-travel paranormal, Footprints in Time, is a finalist in Great Beginnings Contest being sponsored by Heart of the West (The Utah chapter of RWA). My first final ever! So I have been anxious to get into the new manuscript while the excitement is high. Good thing my new critique partner knows how to crack the whip. She has managed to keep me on the path of finishing up what’s in hand, while still getting on with the next thing in line.

She also talked me into joining a group blog. I’ll be joining authors Staci Culver, Jordyn James, Estelle Harte, Scarlett Childs, and Sandra Jones in a new blog called The Write Direction (http://thewritedirection.wordpress.com/). We will be chatting about the goings on in a writer’s life. Each month will have a different theme and a new contest. I will be blogging monthly there, in addition to my monthly blog at Seduced By History (http://seducedbyhistory.blogspot.com).

This month I am having a contest at Seduced by History. Stop by between Noon on Friday, May 22nd and Noon on Monday May 25th.  Leave a significant comment on my post about the history of publishing or on any of the posts on those days and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win a nice prize.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Birthday Surprise

I had a great surprise on my birthday. My next project, a time-travel paranormal called Footprints in Time finaled in the Great Beginnings contest hosted by the Utah Chapter of RWA. I had to enter in the published authors category where all the contestants are judged against each other regardless of category. You can imagine my surprised when I got the e-mail that said I was a finalist. This is the first time I have been a contest finalist, so I am really excited. 


Here's an excerpt:

    Prologue
    Near Scone Abbey, 1296

Brother Ignatius helped Aed Mac Farlane roll the heavy red stone through the mud to the water’s edge. Word came last night that the English marauder, Edward was just a few hours ride from Perth. The lairds knew he was coming after the one thing that might make the Scots kneel to him as their king. The Stone. The Clach Sgàin. 

Scottish kings had been secretly coronated on the stone for nearly eight hundred years. They had put their foot into the mark and sworn their oath to Scotland. Ignatius flipped the stone on its side and rubbed his fingers along the smooth foot-shaped outline of the mark. Most had lived and died by that oath. Now the English bastards wanted to take the power the stone held, enslaving the Scots to the Normans. 
 
Ignatius had been of Clan Dunkeld before he joined the fellowship at Scone Abbey. He knew the way of his kinsmen. To follow him who sat upon the stone. Most of the other clans would do the same. Not that any of the lairds were above a little politics, deceit and backstabbing. He knew of a few who had literally been stabbed to death when they stood in the way of someone else’s plans. 
 
Still Edward’s reign would stop none of that. The highlands were a dangerous and violent place. And the Marches, the borderlands, were even more so. The clans needed a strong Scottish king to keep them reined in, not some weakling of a Norman. 
 
Ignatius helped Mac Farlane flip the stone again. Another turn and the hollow seat faced up. Many a king had sat upon this throne. One more lift and the stone was in the water. It sank down the bank of the river and out of site, but the last thing Ignatius could see was the footprint of the kings. He bent down and felt for the stone. His hand found the indentation and he smiled. The stone would not be going anywhere. It was lodged in the mud of the River Tay.

Chapter One
Old Scone, 2007 

Maggie Alpin pulled on her Wellies and grabbed her hooded jacket before stepping out of the tent. The predawn sky was just beginning to lighten from deep blue to gray. Maggie liked the quiet of early morning. Her eye was drawn to a bright star just below and to the left of a full moon that was settling behind the trees. She took in a deep breath of the cool air. Another reason she liked the morning was she could work on her own. She pushed the button to illuminate the face of her watch. Six-thirty. Almost two hours until breakfast.
 
Yesterday, Professor Douglas told her they had to be close to finding the stone and she was anxious to get back to her dig. Her arms had stopped aching after the first week of digging along the banks of the River Tay and the thought of being the first one to find the “missing” Scottish Coronation Stone filled Maggie with excitement. She pulled on the leather work gloves and grabbed the pick and shovel she had used for the past six weeks before she turned down the path toward the river. 
 
When they did the sonogram of Moot Hill, the coronation mound, the place where the stone should have been buried, there was nothing but dirt. Professor Douglass decided the old tale about the Brothers hiding the real stone in the river must be true. The Earl laughed at them saying that the stone was in Edinburgh Castle, but having taken a hefty amount of money from the University, he told them as long as the tourist season was not interrupted, they could dig all they wanted. 
 
The team had searched every inch of the riverbank, starting at the end of the footpath and moving northwest to the bend at the Stormontfield crossroads. Professor Douglass was sure that was where the monks would have hidden the stone. It was the closest place to where the Abbey had stood. 
 
Maggie thought different. She was sure the path of the river had changed enough in the last seven hundred years that the place she worked had been much closer to the abbey then than it was now. During the day, she worked the sight the professor set out, but in the early mornings and evenings she made the ten minute walk to dig along a spit of land that stuck out into the river like a thin finger. She had no idea how long the protrusion had been there. It was at most a quarter mile long and maybe half as wide. Depending on the geology under the silt, it could have been there for as little as a few years or as much as ten centuries. But she had a gut feeling. Her Mac Alpin blood told her that the stone must be here. This was the place where the stone rested. 
 
Since she was four years old, Maggie had heard stories of how the Alpins had been the first rulers of Scotland. Grammy Epona had spun wondrous tales of Kenneth, Aed, Eochaid, the Donalds, and the Constantines conquering the wilds of Caledonia to form a first Scottish nation. The stories enflamed her imagination and by the time Maggie was ten, she knew she wanted to be an archeologist. 
 
Her grandmother had been so proud when she graduated from Columbia and again when her thesis won a scholarship to study with Professor Douglas at Edinburgh University. Now six years further along she was ready to defend her doctoral thesis, Clach Sgàin, The True Power of The Scottish Coronation Stone. If they could just find the stone, it would make everything perfect. 
 
Maggie was pleased to see that the trench she had carefully dug out over the past three days was still dry. The fact that water had not seeped through told her the place was probably over a stone base rather than an ever-changing bed of silt. She checked her watch. Six forty-five. Good. She had a good hour to work before she would have to return for the morning breakfast meeting. She tossed the tools into the pit and jumped in after. 
 
As she began to dig Maggie thought about her thesis. Kenneth Mac Alpin brought the stone to Caledonia. That was the starting point of her thesis, and it had come to her as if by magic. A smile turned up the corners of her lips. The book where she found the text that sparked the idea had fallen off the library shelf and nearly hit her on the head. She had spent weeks searching out the original document. Her heart still beat fast when she thought about the first time she pulled on the white cotton gloves and slowly unrolled the crackling parchment. She was thankful Grammy taught her some old Scottish Gaelic. Otherwise she never would have been able to decipher the words that convinced her that she was right about the stone. She was sure that the one in Edinburgh was a fake, given to Edward I to keep the true clach on Scottish soil. 
 
“Clank.”
 
Maggie looked down at the sound of her shovel hitting solid stone. She bent to look more closely and her breath caught in her chest. An edge of reddish sandstone poked through the black dirt. The stone found in this area of Scotland was a light gray. Red stone was found further west. 
 
Maggie tossed her shovel aside and fell to her knees. Her hands frantically moved dirt away from the stone tip. She dug until so much earth had been removed that dirt began to fall back into place, but still the red stone went deeper. She reached to get the shovel to remove the impeding dirt and realized she had buried it somewhere in her frenzied attempt to uncover the stone. Maggie stood and walked back toward where she thought she had put the shovel. 
 
How long had she been here? Maggie pushed the button on her watch. Six-forty-five? How could that be? She tapped on the crystal. The second hand moved, but the time still said six forty-five. Damn it. This watch cost a fortune. The salesman at the jewelry store had assured her you could do almost anything and the water resistant, shock resistant watch would keep running. Good thing she sent in the warranty card. 
 
The shovel handle flipped up out of the dirt and smacked Maggie in the forehead before she even realized what happened. As she fell backwards she envisioned the cartoon where the cat chased the mouse around the yard and ended up stepping on a rake. Only Maggie didn’t vibrate like the cartoon cat. She didn't hear birds chirping. She didn’t see stars circling her head. All she saw was black.

I'll keep you updated on the contest news and you'll be the second to know as soon as "Footprints" sells.

I'm kicking off my countdown to the Widow's Peak release party with a Supercontest. Yes, I know there are 132 days to go, but hopefully this will make them go faster. Here's how it works. 

I have made a limited number of special edition Widow's Peak Visa Gift Cards valued at $15.00. Only fifty lucky people will be entered in this contest. There are three ways you can enter. (1) Over the next four months I will give away four gift cards as prizes in regular contests. You never know which week the contest will run so you'll have to stay in touch for your chance to win.  (2) Six cards will be given away at my appearances. Check the website or my new quarterly newsletter for appearance dates. (3) You can purchase a gift card for $15.00. They are Visa Gift Cards so you can use them anywhere(though I'm hoping you'll use it to buy Widow's Peak at the Wild Rose Press website).

For each gift card won or sold, I will donate $5.00 to The Portland Literacy Council, the adult literacy organization that is supported by my local RWA chapter. The Council help adults learn to read as well as providing support for those who want to take the GED test. Our chapter reader's luncheon raised $1000 for this worthy cause and I will add another $250 if all the giftcards sell. So you get to spend your gift card, make a donation to a worthy cause, and enter a contest for one of two fabulous prizes.  


 You could win either a bronze-tone statue of the Welsh goddess Arienhod or a framed art print of the triple goddess. Both pieces are by artist Maxine Miller. 


The Supercontest ends September 22, 2009 at 11:59PM PST. Remember to check the weekly posts for a chance to win a gift card and entry into the contest.  


The winner of my birthday present is housemouse88

Please contact me at brwkrw83@yahoo.com with an address where you would like your present sent.

Thanks,

Hanna

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Year Gone By. How Quickly They Fly.


Well, I have nearly made it through another year. And what a year it has been!

I sold a trilogy. How great does that feel? Dancing on the sidewalk great. Spinning in circles great. Doing cartwheels great (Okay so I didn’t do a cartwheel. Never could. LOL.) I went through rewrites with a fabulous editor, Amanda Barnette, at The Wild Rose Press. Thanks to her, I have a wonderful book, Widow’s Peak, coming out on September 23rd.

 I met a lot of great people. New colleagues. New friends. New family.


I have attended a conference or two, bonding with other authors from around the world. I have joined new groups around Portland, adding friends that I see regularly and I have renewed and redefined old friendships as well. I have added new people to my circle. People who are more like family than friends.


I took a trip to Wales! I couldn’t have been happier than when I was driving around lost in the Welsh countryside. The Welsh were all so friendly, helping an American find her way though rolling hills and ancient forests. 


I saw dozens of castles, including Cilgerran Castle, the setting for book two of my trilogy, Kissed By A Rose. I drove around all day and blogged at night. 




Now, I am honing my writing skills, finishing up Kissed By A Rose, and starting to think about book three, Until the End of Time.



In promoting Widow’s Peak, I have met all of you readers and writers, fans of Romance. You encourage me to keep writing and I promise to give you the best book possible.

On Friday, I will begin another year. I hope it will be as exciting as this year has been.

Tell me about the highlight of your year and I’ll enter you in my birthday contest to win this gorgeous pewter and green onyx Celtic Knotwork Necklace.


 


The Beltane Fire stones have found a home with Staci

Congratulations Staci! Please contact me at brwkrw83@yahoo.com with an address where you would like your prize sent. May your home and hearth be blessed throughout the year.

Hanna

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bright Fire-Beltane


Deprived of root and branch and rind, 
Yet flowers I bear of every kind: 
And such is my prolific power, 
They bloom in less than half an hour

Who am I? 


I have to say this is my favorite time of year. Even if it weren’t almost time for my birthday, and Mother’s Day wasn’t just around the corner, I would still be happy, because it is time for Beltane. 

Beltane is my favorite holiday. It heralds the advent of summer, the time of growth. Beltane is the third of the four major holidays in earth based belief systems. Celebrated either on May Eve (April 30th) or May Day (May 1), Beltane, along with its counterpart Samhain (October 31st), divides the Wheel of the Year into its two main seasons, summer and winter.

There are countless May festivities. The making of May Dolls can be traced all the way back to the Roman celebration of the goddess Flora. The Mummers’ play directly descends from traditions of ancient Greece. In pre-Christian Europe, the crowning of the Queen of the May was the highlight of a young maiden’s year. And as late as the eighteenth century, on the Isle of Man, the Queen of the May and the Queen of Winter met in mock battle for the rite to rule the season. 

 May is the time when magical creatures like fairies and gnomes come out to play and work their magic, growing flowers and fruits and bringing bounty to us non-magicals. Many cultures take the time during the May celebrations to encourage the bounty. Herds of livestock were driven between the Beltane bonfires to bless them and make them fruitful. Taking a bit of the Beltane flame to kindle the fire in your home hearth brought blessings and bounty to your home.

Did you know that the hobbyhorse is a creature of the May? The original hobbyhorse was a man dressed in a stylized horse costume who rode out to greet the summer. This festival usually started at the tavern (as all good festivals do) and the horse rode about town giving his blessing to women. A blessed woman who was single would marry during the year and a married woman would have a baby within the year. 

I suppose the most famous May tradition is the Maypole. 

Deprived of root and branch and rind,
Yet flowers I bear of every kind: 
And such is my prolific power, 
They bloom in less than half an hour.

This is how Jonathan Swift described the Maypole. 

The symbol of the return of the spirit of vegetation and the renewal of life, the Maypole was traditionally topped with a wreath representing the fertile power of Nature. Ribbons, an ancient protection talisman, were attached to the pole to ensure the safety of the new season’s growth. The traditional Maypole Dance is both circular and spiral in nature. Male and female dancers circle in and out crossing their ribbons over each other as they go around. It’s not as easy as you may think (Believe me, I know from personal experience).  

 
In old times, Beltane often ended in a great drinking festival followed by an orgy in honor of the fertility goddess who blessed the land. As Christianity moved through Europe, things got toned down quite a bit. In some places, it even became illegal to put up a Maypole. Yet, in most areas, the customs of May celebrations never died out. In many Celtic lands, the Beltane traditions have been maintained in an unbroken line from ancient days to the present.  

These days, more and more communities in the UK, Canada and the US are holding Beltane Celebrations. If you have the inclination, find a Beltane Festival near you. They are great fun and nearly all are calm enough that you can take the kids along, but check with the coordinating group to make sure. A couple here and there still do end in the ancient style (orgiastic).

Leave a comment about any May experience you’ve had (attending Beltane, meeting with fairies, marching in a May Day Parade, Cinco de Mayo, anything that happened in May) and I will enter you in this week’s contest to win this bag of fiery stones (Amber, Red Tiger's Eye, Citrine, Bifurcated Jasper, Pyrite, and Red Jaspar). 

The winner of the Dragonfly Trinket Box is...

PhyllisC. 

Phyllis please contact me at brwkrw83@yahoo.com with an address where you would like your prize sent.

Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments.

Hanna 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rose City Romance Writers 2009 Reader's Luncheon


Last Saturday, the Rose City Romance Writers, the Portland Oregon chapter of Romance Writers of America, held their annual Reader’s Luncheon. Each year we donate the profits from the event to a worthy organization that promotes adult literacy. This year we chose The Portland Literacy Council.

Our guest speaker was best-selling author, Lucy Monroe. Since 2003 she has published over 40 books with Harlequin Presents, Berkley , Kensington Brava and Samhain Press  among others. She shared with us a moving speech on how Romance is Educational Inspirational and Entertaining. In a year when our industry is shrinking, our genre is not just strong, it’s growing. 

And not just more women are reading romance, but more men as well. Nearly 22% of male readers, now admit to reading romance. (I think they always did, but are more willing to admit it these days.)  

 

In a time when everything is taking a downturn, Lucy reminded us that we don’t just entertain, we give hope. More people are turning to the Romance genre to get the feeling of hope that there can be a happy ending. That’s enough reason for me to keep writing, and I’m sure for my talented fellow Rose City Roses as well.

The Portland Literacy Council helps many of the 12,000 adults in the Portland area who can’t read, by finding and supporting tutors willing to help them learn to read. The Council also has a program that helps prepare newly literate adults to take the GED and a scholarship program to help pay the testing fees if that person is unable. Lucy Monroe graciously agreed to make a considerable donation to the Portland Literacy Council Scholarship fund. Thank you, Lucy, for stepping forward to lead the way in tough times.

I attended this luncheon last year and had a wonderful time, but this was my first year as an actual published author. I was so excited. That's me grinning from ear to ear, sitting next to smash hit debut author Delilah Marvelle. Even though I didn’t yet have a book, I signed my promotional materials and I made a special limited edition $15 Visa gift card with the cover of Widow’s Peak on it. I only made 50 and each comes with an autographed special edition greeting card. For each one purchased I am donating $5.00 to the Portland Literacy Council. If you would like to purchase one of these special keepsakes, please contact me at brwkrw83@yahoo.com.

This week’s prize is a bit special so the contest involves a little bit of research. Name two heroes and their heroines from any of Lucy’s “Agents", "Mercenaries", or "Bad Boys” series.

 

You can find a list of her extensive catalog on her website at www.lucymonroe.com. Leave a comment on this post with any two sets of hero and heroine and I will enter your name in this week’s contest to win this beautiful Jeweled Dragonfly Filigree Trinket Box that I got while I was in Wales. Contest ends at 11:59pm on Tuesday, April 28th.

 

Make sure that I can contact you either through your profile or by leaving an e-mail address. The winner will be announced next Wednesday.

Hanna.

The winner is...

The winner of the Faberge style egg is Kaye Manro. 

The winner of the Dragon Package is Raonaid Luckwell. (I guess being born in the year of the fire dragon does help.)

Congratulations ladies! Please contact me at brwkrw83@yahoo.com with an address where you would like your prize sent.

Thanks for following and commenting at Never Too Late For Love

Hanna

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dragon Lovers










If I could have any pet in the entire Universe, it would be a…DRAGON! As a teen and young adult, I read all of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books and spent many hours sketching dragons during “boring” lectures. I imagined riding at great speed on dragon backs and wrote poems and stories about my own dragon friends. As I became older, my focus turned to business and the outside world and my dragons “disappeared” into the background.

I discovered that dragons have played an important part in history all over the world. In the east, the dragon is a symbol of strength and good fortune. Children born in the year of the Dragon are considered to be specially blessed and destined to do special things. 

The Ming Emperors built the Great Wall of China along a line where a great dragon is supposed to be sleeping. It apparently worked, because China remained unconquered for hundreds of years after the wall was completed. Even today, when building a house in China you might have the chi master come and determine where on your property the dragon sleeps. That’s where you want to build your house.

In Japan, the enchanted sword, Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (The Grasscutter Blade) sprang from the tail of Yamata-no-Orochi, the eight headed dragon, when the god Susa-no-o killed the dragon to save Kushinada-hime, the princess with whom the god had fallen in love. According to legend, the sword from the dragon’s tail has been passed from Emperor to Emperor to this very day.

In the western world, the dragon has represented both evil and good. To the English, St George is a national hero. Every school child knows how George slew the dragon. And St George’s day is a holiday where children go to school in fancy dress (that’s costumes for us Americans) and hold a medieval style pageant. 

Fairy tales told of evil dragon’s who ate children for breakfast and guarded vast treasures. Heroic Knights were able to kill them or trick them into giving away their treasures. But some dragons were wise and helpful if a knight could get up enough courage to ask a question or was smart enough to listen to what the great beast said.

Many countries have chosen to be represented by the Dragon.  Henry Tudor (VII) brought the red Welsh dragon to prominence when he took the crown of England 

and the flag of Richard III was blazoned with three golden dragons. In modern day, the flags of Bhutan and Wales carry dragons, as well as the flags of many of the world’s rulers. Emperors, Monarchs, Barons and Earls all want the strength of the dragon to represent them.

My love of dragons waned over the years, but never really went away. In the eighties and nineties, any movie with a dragon in it got me into the theater. Some were great, others were barely worth the time and money. But in the last ten years, my dragon friends have reasserted themselves. 

Christopher Paolini wrote Eragon and I was totally hooked again. (As a writer, I decided not to go see the movie because it would ruin the image of that world I had held in my head for so many years.) Shows from companies as wide ranging as animation studios to the History Channel have focused on dragons. 

At a local swap meet, I “accidentally” found four dragon friends who just had to come home with me.

And when I got mauled by my insane Bengal Cat, who turned out to be the perfect tattoo to cover the scar that went all the way around my leg? A dragon of course. 

Every so often they appear in my dreams. Hmmm. Maybe it’s time for me to pull out that tale about a dragon shape shifter I started a few years ago. 

Tell me about your experiences with dragons (real or fictional) and I’ll enter you in this week’s contest to win this Medieval style Dragon Pendant and Celtic Dragon Bookmark.

Hanna






Monday, April 13, 2009

I've found it!


Here's this years addition to my spring egg collection. You can win one just like it by leaving a comment on one of the Egg related posts.

Since it took so long to find this beauty, I'm extending the contest deadline to 11:59pm on Friday, April 17th.

Plus check out the new contest starting on April 15th. In honor of my first month of blogging, I am running contests each week in April. Check back to see what I'm rambling about and maybe win a cool prize too.

Hanna  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009





Easter is just a few days away, so I thought I’d chat about one of my favorite topics, Eggs.

Since I was very young I’ve been fascinated by eggs. I can recall at the age of three or four finding a bird’s nest that was blown from a tree during a storm. The nest held two pale blue robin’s eggs.  

They were so beautiful that I wanted to keep them, but my grandmother explained to me that they were somebody’s babies and that Momma Bird was probably sad and worried that they were missing. I climbed up in the tree and grandma handed me the nest to put back safely on a secure branch. Right around Easter time, I heard the high pitched cheeping of newborn baby birds. I thought of them as my babies too. Since then, Easter time has always been my favorite holiday and I started collecting eggs.

Over the years, I have learned a lot about eggs. Nearly every ancient civilization venerated the egg as the birthplace of both gods and men. Whether they called it the Cosmic Egg, the World Egg, or the Womb of the Great Mother, the egg shape represented creation in both Eastern and Western belief systems. To the Egyptians, the golden egg represented the sun, laid each morning by the goddess Hathor (in Western cultures she became the goose).  In the Old Ways, eggs represented rebirth and renewal. 

Ostera, the celebration of the Spring Equinox was an important holiday in the Celtic tradition. The festival not only celebrated the returning light of the sun, but also honored the egg goddess Eostre (after whom the Christians named their spring holy day). Strange though it may seem, it was during the ancient Ostera festivals that bunnies (which I also collect) became attached to eggs. The myth goes that the March Hare wanted to impress Eostre, so he painted a beautiful egg and presented it to her at her festival. The goddess was so pleased with the gift that she wanted all the children to have one also. She put the March Hare in charge of creating the beautiful gift eggs and thus the Eostre Bunny was born.

Decorating eggs can be as simple as dipping warm eggs in natural dies such as beet juice, blueberry juice, or saffron water to create a range of pastel colors. On the other end of the spectrum are the beautiful jewel encrusted Faberge style eggs. I have all kinds of eggs. Crystal. Wood. Paper. Metal. Glass. Ceramic. Plastic, Stone. All kinds. I even have a dinosaur egg that I found on an archeological dig I did one summer. I try to find at least one new egg every year.  Some years they are plentiful and I have to stop myself from buying them all. Other years, like this one, the one that belongs in my collection doesn’t show up until the very last minute. I’m still looking for this year’s prize. But here are a few more from of my current collection.







I love spring because of the sense of renewal I feel when plants start to bloom and birds start nest-building to lay their eggs. Leave a post about what this wonderful season means to you? I would love to hear some of your favorite springtime memories whether they are related to flowers, bunnies, or eggs. Leave a post about spring and I will enter you to win an egg just like the one I add to my collection this year. I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday, April 15th. Someone will have good news on tax day!

Hanna

Thursday, April 2, 2009

And the winner is...



Jessa Slade!

Thanks everyone for taking this wonderful trip with me. I learned all kinds of interesting information about, castles, Wales, the history of the UK...

From now on, I'll be blogging weekly with new posts on Wednesday. I'll share what I found out (historical and more) as well as talking about some of my favorite things. And you never know when a surprise guest might show up. 

As an added bonus of my trip, until I run out of souvenirs from my travels, I will run a monthly contest around some holiday or event in that month. 

So check back weekly to see what I'm musing about. Maybe win a cool prize. Maybe meet someone interesting.   

Hanna
Next Time: One of my favorite things-- Eggs 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home Again!

Okay! After 35 hours of traveling, including a four hour drive to London, a ten hour flight to San Francisco and seven hours of waiting in an airport longue, I am finally home and recovered from jet lag.

At 12:01 am on April 2nd I will select the winner of this cool gift basket. Leave a comment on one of the Welsh related posts and you will be entered to win. Then check back to see if you have a little Celtic luck.