Spinning Wheels and Book News

“There’s an old spinning wheel in the parlor.” Never dsc08174thought I’d be singing that old tune, let alone actually being the owner of a spinning wheel. I understand that most people wouldn’t be excited over something like this, but as a writer of historical fiction it makes my little heart go pitter-pat. Coincidentally, I’d been given a set of wool cards a number of years back. Perhaps the universe has ideas for me!

(Again)coincidentally, I have a friend who knows how to spin wool and the plan at the moment is for me to get a little instruction on this. I’m looking forward to it! Who knows I may discover a hidden talent. Stranger things have been known to happen. Or maybe when I sit down to spin I’ll have a flashback to a past lifetime and it’ll all come rushing back to me. My grandmothers both spun wool, as I’m sure many others did. It was a way of life back then. I’ve always said that history is made up of ordinary people simply living their lives the best way they could, doing the things that were before them to do, and yet when we look back we’re totally amazed at some of the feats they preformed.

While we speak about the past as simpler times there was certainly nothing simple or easy about the work our ancestors did. I marvel at how industrious people were one hundred or even fifty years ago and how we take so much in our lives for granted these days. We run to the store for most all our needs or else order it online from the comforts of our homes. What could be simpler? I’ve always felt a connection to the past from the time I was quite young. I suppose that plays a role in my writing life. When I sit down to write a story it almost always seems to end up being set in the past. It’s as if I can’t stop myself. I remember when it dawned on me that Bitter, Sweet was considered historical fiction—actually not until I saw it in the historical section in a book store. For some silly reason 1949 didn’t seem that long ago to me.

As for book news, the edits for the new anthology being put together by Vernon Oickle is moving along. There wasn’t a whole lot to do, actually. The piece I’ve submitted was previously published in The Antigonish Review quite near the beginning of my writing career. I’m looking forward to the book’s release. The works of a lot of talented writers is included in the anthology. And now for the really exciting news, the Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) have arrived at the publishers! I’m hopeful that a copy will arrive for me in the mail one day soon. While it’s not the final version (I’ll have the chance to make some subtle changes to the text) it’s still pretty cool. I haven’t done a cover reveal on my blog yet as there could still be some changes there as well. So I’ll wait until I receive the “official” cover—front and back. Should be soon since the release date is April 30th. That’s coming up quickly. When I look at the calendar I can scarcely believe that we’re so far into January. We’re half-way through winter on February 2nd—or Candlemas Day for anyone with a mind for these things. Before you know it April 30th will be hear and Cammie Takes Flight will finally be released into the world. What could be more exciting?

What has your winter been like so far? Are there any new happenings on the horizon for you?

Candlemas Day

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright
Winter will have another fight.
If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain,
Winter won’t come again.

Candlemas DayOn Facebook this morning people are talking about Groundhog Day. It’s also being talked about on the radio. Bright and early this morning we were being told that we were due for six more weeks of winter, but growing up we always went by what the weather was like at noon on this day. Somehow things get changed along the way without any of us knowing how or why. Who knows, maybe that was just a regional thing?

But Groundhog Day isn’t the only happening thing going on today. The 2nd of February is also known as Candlemas Day an ancient festival that marked the midpoint of winter.  Yay! We’re half-way there. Isn’t that enough to make you shout for joy? Already, you can see a big difference in the amount of daylight hours we have and I find it exciting. I love the way the longer days are becoming more noticeable. It makes me feel happy and hopeful in a way that I don’t feel any other time of the year.

From what I read Candlemas Day was originally a pagan festival called Imbolc which was called the Festival of Lights and focused on lighting fires. The lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the sun over the coming months, and we’re certainly feeling that!

So how did The Festival of Lights become known as Candlemas?

The church turned this pagan festival into Candlemas Day. It was the day when all the candles, that were to be used in the church during the year, were blessed. They were then distributed around and a lighted candle was placed in the window of each home. Sounds kind of nice actually. Of course, back in the day, candles were important, not only for shedding light, but people thought they gave protection against nasty things like the plague and famine. Nothing like a famine or plague to take the fun out of winter I like to say.

So while I did know this day meant we were half way through winter I didn’t know exactly why it was called Candlemas Day. Thank goodness Google can answer all our questions.

While this is totally unrelated to Candlemas or even Groundhog day, I do want to mention that there’s still time to enter a contest over at Lynn Davidson’s blog for a chance to win a copy of Steve Vernon’s YA novel, Sinking Deeper OR My awesome brilliant Questionable Heroic Decision to Invent a Sea Monster. I’ve already read the book and enjoyed it a lot!  Here’s the link if you’d like to enter.

So what am I planning this Candlemas Day? Well, I’m not building any bonfires I can tell you that right away, but I may just light a candle tonight to welcome in the second half of winter. I’m also going to enjoy this sunny day and feel glad that we’re half-way through winter.

Happy Candlemas Day! Do you have any special plans for today?

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