Winter Solstice

winter solstice3The returning of the sun in the northern hemisphere at Winter Solstice has been celebrated by various religions for thousands of years. Over that time the holiday has evolved into what we recognize as Christmas or Yule today.

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BOOKAPALOOZA 2017

 

 

 

Only two weeks until the WCDR’s massive book launch and sale.

Pen BOOKAPALOOZA! into your calendars! Meet the authors, get your books signed and attend dynamic panel discussions with authors of various genres. There’s something for everyone at Bookapalooza!

Books make fabulous Christmas gifts. There will also be other craft vendors at the sale.

Come and join us for a fun day!

BOOKAPALOOZA

 

Samhain

 

 

SamhainSamhain (Scots Gaelic: Samhuinn) means “Summer’s End”. It is generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st . It marked the first day of winter. Crops had been harvested and the grains, fruits and nuts safely stored for the winter. Hay was brought in for the animals. The cattle, sheep and goats were brought down from the mountains to either be kept safely in the barn or slaughtered and salted to keep the family fed for the cold months. Wood was chopped and stored to bring heat to the home. It was a joyous time of celebration before the long dark days set in. On October 31st the fire in the home was put out. Bonfires (originally bone fires as bones were thrown into them) were lit in the villages. Offerings of symbolic objects for healing, abundance in the coming year, thanksgiving etc. were also tossed into the fire to be blessed by the Druids. When the fire died down, brands were lit that were taken home to light the fire in the family hearth to bless the home. Ashes from the bonfire were scattered on the fields to bless them and to pray for abundant crops the next year.It was thought to be a time when the veil between the worlds is suspended and the dead walk the earth again. It was a time to honour the ancestors, particularly those that had died in the previous year. These ancestors were welcomed by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”. Candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of loved ones home. Extra chairs were set at the table and around the hearth for any unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths to provide for spirits who were lost or had no descendants. Turnips and gourds were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits. Candles were placed in them so they became lanterns to help them on their journey. It was also a time for the faeries and other “wee folk” to come out of hiding and play tricks on unsuspecting humans. When Christianity came to the Isles, these practices were denounced as evil. Although the Celts eventually accepted Christianity, they did not wish to give up their own customs. So, in order to win more converts, in the 7th century c.e., Pope Gregory reaffirmed November 1st as All Saints Day and October 31st as All Hallow’s Eve. All Saint’s Day became Hallowmas – a mass to honour the dead and All Hallow’s Even has morphed into Hallowe’en. It was meant to be a day of quiet prayer and contemplation, but the Celts wished to keep their own ceremonies. The Church’s teaching that the Beings walking the earth this night were evil and to be feared gradually took hold and people began to dress up in costumes to fool the “ghosts” and such that were roaming abroad. The food that was laid out was gradually turned into “treats” that were given to the children and the hollowed out turnips and gourds that were the lights to guide their loved ones home became the Jack O’ Lanterns of today.

Samhain marks the beginning of the “Dark” or “Dream” time and hunkering down for the winter. It is a good time to reflect on the last year and to prepare for the new one. Think about the last 12 months. Have you accomplished what you wished to do? Has your personal “harvest” been bountiful or have you left things undone that you had planned? Now is the time to see what you can do to complete anything that is unfulfilled and to contemplate what seeds you will plant come Spring.

Today’s intreview – Author Karen Millie-James

Two envelopes. Two holocaust survivors. Two anonymous bearer bonds each worth one million pounds. Corporate forensic investigator, Cydney Granger, with help from beyond the grave, enters a world previously unknown to her to unravel the truth behind a web of secrets, lies, corruption, blackmail and hidden Nazi loot as new horrors of the Third Reich come to light.

Still struggling to come to terms with the apparent death of her husband, Captain Steve Granger, five years’ earlier Cydney puts her personal feelings to one side and is determined to bring to justice an escaped Nazi criminal, Adolf Weissmuller, living under the assumed name of Albert Whiteman, whose son is about to run for the US presidency. Can Albert ever make amends for his crimes against humanity, or are some actions beyond forgiveness …?

Will Cydney, along with her trusted and tough protector, former sergeant, Sean O’Connell, also uncover the truth surrounding her husband?

The consequences of Cydney’s investigations, stretching back before WWII, are far reaching with the potential to bring down a banking dynasty as she faces insurmountable odds from which there is only one final solution.

The dramatic follow-up to The Shadows Behind Her Smile, a compelling debut which takes the reader from the heart of Cydney’s corporate world to the ruins of war-torn Damascus and where men will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Continue reading

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY A.B. FUNKHAUSER

NEW BOOK RELEASE BY MY GOOD FRIEND:  A.B. FUNKHAUSER

Book Description:
 
Carlos the Wonder Cat lives free, traveling from house to house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Known by everyone, his idyllic existence is jeopardized when a snarky letter from animal control threatens to punish kitty owners who fail to keep their pets indoors. The $5,000 fine / loss of kitty to THE MAN is draconian and mean, but before Team Carlos can take steps, he is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of eccentric Pilsen Güdderammerüng. Stakes are high. Even if Carlos escapes their clutches, can he ever go home?
 
The third novel in the UNAPOLOGETIC LIVES series, SHELL GAME follows SCOOTER NATION (2016) and HEUER LOST AND FOUND (2015) this time, with an eye on a seemingly pastoral community with a lot to hide. More than a cat and mouse story, Shell Game is an examination of community—who we are and how we relate to one another in a questioning world. Written with tongue firmly in cheek, it asks us to open our eyes, see better, and have a little more patience.

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Feature Author – Geoff Nelder

 

When Reece and Zita become lovers, past and present collide as the spirits of their ancestors force them to relive one of the greatest battles of the 16th century.

Xaghra’s Revenge follows the fate of a sixteenth century abducted family, and of two contemporary lovers thrown together by the ancients. Reece and Zita are unaware that one descends from the pirates, the other from the abducted family. While ancient Gozo spirits seek revenge, so do the Ottoman Corsairs, who intend to roll back history, and this time win the siege of Malta.

The history is real. The places are authentic. The tension and excitement are palpable.

Praise for Xaghra’s Revenge:

“A gripping tale, full of energy and mystery, keeping you wanting for more with every line you read.” John Bonello, First-Prize Winner of the Malta National Book Award

“I liked it. There’s a foreground of interesting characters combined with a skilfully fed-in hint of weirdness.” Jaine Fenn – Hidden Empire series.

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5 STAR REVIEWS FOR MURDER AT MOTHER’S

I am absolutely thrilled to receive three 5 Star reviews for Murder at Mother’s on Amazon.com.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Enjoyable
on August 20, 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
Murder and a ghost trying to figure out who in a dysfunctional family killed her make Murder at Mother’s the perfect story for someone who, like me, loves both mysteries and the paranormal. Add to this the victim stumbling over lessons she should have learned in life, and Maighread MacKay’s latest novel kept me reading late into the night. If this weren’t enough, some of Ms. MacKay’s settings and characters struck familiar chord—these were places and people I’d grown to like in her first novel. I, for one, can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next.
on July 7, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

“Death couldn’t visit tonight!”

I hope that Author MacKay had fun writing this story, because I know I had a marvelous time reading her latest book. I have been looking forward to the release of Murder at Mother’s ever since the Author announced the title. Isn’t it the best? This book is a delightful hoot, that also gives you plenty to think about.

Mother is Martha, a matriarch in every sense of the word. She has gathered her somewhat odd family for an important meeting at her lovely estate. Can’t you already guess the problem? You’re right- Martha is changing her Will. And soon, Martha finds herself dead.

Martha is met by a Being, who is charged with bringing Martha “home.” Gladys is from a soul group, a team. No way is Martha going anywhere until she solves her own murder, so Gladys is a good sport and stays to help, too. Solving the murder involves lots of surreptitious spying on family members. “Martha and Gladys, cloaked as orbs of light, took up their spots in the drapes.”

Martha and Gladys are a hilarious team, but you will also be laughing at the antics of the family members. Most of the mystery tropes are here- the son who has married beneath him, the relatives who scheme for more money, the grandson who is a non-working Creative, and the hard-working grandson who loves his Grandmother. One of my favorites, was Vanessa, who appears to be a dim klutz, but who ends up being the most loving and perceptive. There are also the typical detectives. All the characters are given fresh and vibrant roles in Ms. Mackay’s care and they add to the enjoyment of the book. There is a hilarious scene in a walk-in closet. And just as I was thinking that this seemed to be a classic Agatha Christie story, one of the characters said that!

In addition to the humor and fun of trying to solve this mystery, we are also given some life lessons. Thanks to Gladys, Martha gets to review scenes from her past and she learns from these visions.

The mystery is solved in a satisfying manner, mostly due to Martha’s efforts to assist the detective. “Martha if that’s you can you bob up and down?” (that line still makes me laugh.) And at the end, Martha is given a new name to replace her title of “Mother”.

Gladys ends the book with the best line of all, “Sheesh! That’s all it took?”

The author explains that this novel is a work of Visionary Fiction. VF enlightens and encourages readers to expand their awareness of greater possibilities. “Love and hope are there, ready for anyone who will accept them.”

I know you will love this book as much as I did. Author MacKay- we want more Martha and Gladys.

on July 15, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful light weave of mystery, family drama, metaphysical and psychic threads …with a dark strand of greed added to the tapestry. I loved it.
Obtain your copy from: http://mybook.to/MAM

 

Murder at Mother’s

 

 

A killer lurks at the Bancroft estate and the Matriarch, Martha Bancroft is murdered. Royally pissed, she hangs around to see what happened. When she doesn’t go immediately to the light, a member of her soul group, shows up from the other side. Gladys is adamant Martha needs to come with her, but Martha has no intention of going anywhere until she helps Detective Ian “Mac” MacKellar and Coroner Dr. Cecilia “Cissy” Walsh find the murderer. Gladys joins Martha and the two set out on their quest.

 

I am delighted to share the news that my second novel has been released. You can find it here on:   Amazon

A fun mystery set in the Visionary Fiction genre, will be a great read for relaxing in the sun this summer.

 

Visionary Fiction:

Besides telling a good story, VF enlightens and encourages readers to expand their awareness of greater possibilities. It helps them see the world in a new light and recognize dimensions of reality they commonly ignore.

 

 

Ostara/Spring Equinox

Ostara

 

The welcoming of Spring has been celebrated in ritual for over 12,000 years by many cultures around the world. As the sun appears to cross the earth’s equator on the 20th or 21st of March, (in 2017 it will fall on Monday, March 20th @ 6:28 AM EDT) entering the Zodiacal sign of Aries, day and night will be equal in length.

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Imbolc – Festival of Brighid

Brighid:  Beloved Goddess of Imbolc

The Goddess, Brighid

The Goddess, Brighid

Great Lady, Exalted One

King Maker, Bright Arrow

We call on you;

Brighid of the Eternal Flame

Brighid of the Sacred SpringsBrighi

Mistress of poets, healers & Smiths

We invite you to our circle;

Enter and give us your blessing

 

 

Brighid was a much loved and primary Goddess of the Celtic people.  She has been known by many names depending on where you were located and the time period you were in.  Her festival, Imbolc, is held each year on February 1st or 2nd and is seen as welcoming the first vestiges of Spring.  She is known by many names including Bright Arrow, The High One, The Bright One, Lady of the Sacred Flame & Healing Waters and Brighid of the Green Mantle.

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podcast symbol Click here to access my podcasts on interviews with authors and artists from the Durham region, plus reading of my work.

My Latest Book:

Murder at Mother's boxshot 235

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I am delighted to announce my new book Murder at Mother's was published in June 2017 by Stones Throw Publishing and is available in hardcopy and on Kindle at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Read Murder at Mother's reviews on Goodreads.


Murder at Mother's has been featured on a number of book blogs. Find them here.

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Maighread Mackay is a Member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance.

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