21st December One Day Blog Hop - Casting Light upon the Darkness

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Myths and Truths about the Moon

One of the things I love about writing is research. It always amazes me where an idea can take you, and what new and interesting (to me, anyway) facts, or not-so-true beliefs are out there. Of course, research, much like casting light upon the darkness*, is a chicken and egg thing – which one comes first?

The other thing about research is it’s an iceberg, or should be anyway. As much as any writer knows (or finds out) about something, only the bare minimum of that knowledge needs to find its way into the story. But enough of that, this isn't a story but myths and truths about the moon - some of which may, or may not, find their way into a story, at some point (probably in the next Spellcrackers book! *teases*) :-D

The Myths and Truths!

The Dark Side of the Moon (when we're not talking about Pink Floyd) - Myth

Like the Earth, the moon rotates on its own axis, so, like Earth it has days when it’s facing the sun, and nights when it isn’t. But, as each of the moon’s rotations take the same amount of time as it takes to orbit Earth, we on Earth only ever see the nearest to us side of the moon, making it seem as if the far side is dark. Of course, to actually see the far side, we’d have to take a trip into space (which doesn’t happen too often) so all manner of dark things could be going on up there, and we’d never know! :-D

Pic from here with thanks!
The Man in the Moon - Truth!

Eugene (Gene) Merle Shoemaker (April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997), was buried on the moon on 31st July, 1999. Gene was a geologist and co-discovering the Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with his wife. His ashes were taken to the moon by the Lunar Prospector space probe, in a brass capsule, inscribed with this quotation from Romeo and Juliet:

 "And, when he shall die
Take him and cut him out in little stars
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun." 

So, truth . . .

Okay, I’m probably stretching it a bit here, since 'the Man in the Moon' is actually dead, but hey, his ghostly spirit could be having a lot of fun up there, otherwise why go all that way to get buried! *g*

The Moon is Perfectly Round - Myth

Full moons look round to us but the moon is an oblate spheroid which is more like the shape of a slightly flattened ball/crossed with a bird’s egg. Only the smaller end of the ‘bird’s egg’ is on the far side of the moon, so looking from Earth, we can’t see it. Hopefully, no large alien with a super-huge spoon comes along and has a go at cracking it! The moon has eight phases – True!

Image from here with thanks: http://space-facts.com/the-moon/ 

And I just love the word gibbous! Now I want to use it to describe a character! :-)

The dictionary definitions are:

1 a : marked by convexity or swelling
b of the moon or a planet : seen with more than half but not all of the apparent disk illuminated
2 : having a hump : humpbacked
Origin of GIBBOUS Middle English, from Late Latin gibbosus humpbacked, from Latin gibbus hump
First Known Use: 14th century

Full Moon Madness (aka Lycanthropy) - Myth!

Yes, ’tis a myth! What? Of course it is? Shapeshifters don't exist, right? Right! :-D

The full moon doesn’t cause any of the bizarre or crazy events! It’s a proven scientific fact that the moon doesn’t have any physical, gravitational pull on people, and so it’s not responsible for any upswing in violence and crime, or mild-mannered Americans turning in to werewolves. Though there are some statistics that seem to show that this does occur when there’s a full moon (Not the werewolf bit, but the excess of crazy and violent bits), but we all know about the truth of statistics*, don’t we? So, sadly, that werewolf I saw loping through my garden last full moon was just a figment of my imagination . . . *looks shifty* 

Blue Moon’s aren’t Blue – True!

A blue moon is when the werewolves get a second chance at running amok— umm, sorry *curbs imagination* *resumes* A blue moon is when we get a second full moon in a calendar month, which happens every two or three years. It’s called a blue moon because it’s a rare occurrence, hence the saying ‘once in a blue moon’. And while a blue moon isn’t named for its colour, the moon can, in fact, sometimes look blue, which is down to atmospheric conditions (volcanic eruptions/large fires). So, we now have the chicken and egg conundrum – did the saying come first, or the monika? Answers on a postcard of the moon, please! (aka in the comments) *g*

*given enough massaging of selected data, statistics can tell us exactly what we want them too. And, yes, since you ask, I can be that cynical ;p

*or is it the darkness swallowing the light ...  And hey, I got the theme in. Sort of. Right? Right! *g*

And talking about the theme, and the blog hop - check out all these fabulous blog hop posts below!

  1. Helen Hollick : A little light relief concerning those dark reviews! Plus a Giveaway Prize
  2. Prue Batten : Casting Light....
  3. Alison Morton  : Shedding light on the Roman dusk  - Plus a Giveaway Prize! 
  4. Anna Belfrage  : Let there be light!
  5. Beth Elliott : Steering by the Stars. Stratford Canning in Constantinople, 1810/12
  6. Melanie Spiller : Lux Aeterna, the chant of eternal light
  7. Janet Reedman   The Winter Solstice Monuments
  8. Petrea Burchard  : Darkness - how did people of the past cope with the dark? Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  9. Richard Denning The Darkest Years of the Dark Ages: what do we really know? Plus a Giveaway Prize! 
  10. Pauline Barclay  : Shedding Light on a Traditional Pie
  11. David Ebsworth : Propaganda in the Spanish Civil War
  12. David Pilling  :  Greek Fire -  Plus a Giveaway Prize!
  13. Debbie Young : Fear of the Dark
  14. Derek Birks  : Lies, Damned Lies and … Chronicles
  15. Mark Patton : Casting Light on Saturnalia
  16. Tim Hodkinson : Soltice@Newgrange
  17. Wendy Percival  : Ancestors in the Spotlight
  18. Judy Ridgley : Santa and his elves  Plus a Giveaway Prize
  19. Katherine Bone   : Admiral Nelson, A Light in Dark Times
  20. Christina Courtenay : The Darkest Night of the Year
  21. Edward James  : The secret life of Christopher Columbus; Which Way to Paradise?
  22. Janis Pegrum Smith  : Into The Light - A Short Story
  23. Julian Stockwin  : Ghost Ships - Plus a Giveaway Present
  24. Manda Scott : Dark into Light - Mithras, and the older gods
  25. Pat Bracewell Anglo-Saxon Art: Splendor in the Dark
  26. Lucienne Boyce : We will have a fire - 18th Century protests against enclosure
  27. Nicole Evelina What Lurks Beneath Glastonbury Abbey? 
  28. Sky Purington  :  How the Celts Cast Light on Current American Christmas Traditions
  29. Stuart MacAllister (Sir Read A Lot) : The Darkness of Depression
Thank you for visiting - wishing you light and laughter for the Winter Solstice!

    Authors for Philippines - Auction Lots!

    The fabulous authors Keris Stainton, Keren David, and Candy Gourlay have set up the Authors for Philippines Auction to raise money to help those in need after the devastation of Typoon Haiyan.

    I have two lots in the auction:

    Lot 1: All 5 Spellcrackers books (matching paperbacks. 1-4 will be sent now, and 5 - The Hidden Rune of Iron - when it's published in 2014. Winning bidder will also receive an eARC of #5 as soon as it's available), signed and personalised, for yourself, or as a book'ish Christmas pressie for someone! :-)

    Lot 2: Want to be a character in my next book, The Hidden Rune of Iron? Your character may or may not die horribly!! *g* 

    So why not go and bid, and treat yourself, or a friend! And if you don't fancy either of my lots, there are hundreds more, all in aid of a very deserving cause, so go check the auction out. :-)

    Thank you, and Happy Bidding!!

    From the Authors for Philippines website:

    "Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines on Friday (8 November), causing catastrophic damage. It is the strongest storm ever to make landfall, hitting an area where thousands of people are already homeless after an earthquake in mid-October. 

    The 300-mile wide typhoon – locally known as Yolanda – has left a trail of destruction with thousands feared dead. The full extent of the damage will become clearer in the next few days as rescue teams reach the more remote areas. 

    Philippine Red Cross volunteers have been on the ground since before the storm hit, helping with evacuation plans and warning communities. Now, they are getting aid to the people who are most in need and preparing to help thousands more." 

    The auction is now live and you can bid on the items via the comments on the individual posts. Once the auction has ended (Wednesday 20th November), the winning bidder will be contacted and ask them to donate the funds directly to the Red Cross and send the confirmation of payment to us.

    When we’ve received the confirmation, we’ll ask the relevant author to contact the winning bidder. (In other words, we are not dealing directly with any donations. All donations are to be made directly to the Red Cross appeal.)

    TALES OF EVE anthology!

    "Tales of Eve", edited by the lovely Anne-Mhairi Simpson, and published by Fox Spirit Books, features lots of fab and different stories by these awesome authors: Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ren Warom, Paul Weimer, Andrew Reid, Fran Terminiello, Juliet E McKenna, Alasdair Stuart, Colum Paget, Rob Haines, and ME*!! *g*

    Weird Science, Stepford Wives, that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer… 

    Genre fiction abounds with tales of men creating (or attempting to create) the perfect woman.

    Now it’s the woman’s turn. But being female, she’s flexible. She doesn’t just want to create the perfect man. She wants the perfect companion, be it man, beast or washing machine.

    My story is - Mother Knows Best - and Mhairi says of it in her introduction: Mother Knows Best had me laughing out loud. Suzanne McLeod's magical story of one woman trying to live her life while dealing with motherly machinations is brilliantly entertaining and I'm sure most readers, of either gender, will be able to relate. (Thanks, Mhairi!)

    I had a lot of fun writing this, and I hope any readers have as much enjoyment with it as I did!

    (p.s. It's not a Spellcrackers story, but a stand alone set in a different world :-)) Available to buy in various e-formats here and at Amazon UK and Amazon US in print and Kindle

    Kindle US is available but I can't link to it because I'm in the UK :-)

    I'm going to be here, here, and here . . .

    Tomorrow, Sat 13th, I'll be here at EDGE-LIT 2 - science-fiction, fantasy and horror day, at the QUAD, Derby.The Guests of Honour are these wonderful three - Mike Carey, Stan Nicholls and Tricia Sullivan.

    My panels:

    11am – Fear Today: What Scares Us in 2013? Tom Fletcher, Suzanne McLeod, Sarah Pinborough, Niki Valentine, Conrad Williams

    5pm – Urban Renewal: What Makes Urban Fantasy so Popular? Suzanne McLeod, Lou Morgan, Emma Newman,Gaie Sebold, Freda Warrington

    Full schedule of events is here.

    If you're going then don't forget to say hello and have a chat.

    Monday 15th I'm heading up to London with a bag full of my all time favourite books*, because the awesome Charlaine Harris is doing a signing at Waterstones, Gower Street! Woot!! *HUGE FAN GIRL SQUEE* :-D

    *Books are already packed - though not sure if the store has a limit on how many Charlaine will be able to sign, so if you're going too (don't forget to say hello :-D) best check first before taking a pile. *makes note to follow own advice*  *books are heavy* *g*

    And if you can't make London, then the rest of Charlaine's UK tour details are here.

    And on Tuesday 16th I'm delighted to be a guest of the Storyslingers writers' group in Shaftesbury, Dorset. I'll be appearing with good pal and fab SFF author Jaine Fenn at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre at 6.30pm. We're planning on doing short readings then a fairly informal Q and A. We'll do our best to live up to this impressive poster! More details here.

    Birthdays and Books - Meridian Six.

    It's my Birthday today! I'm *cough* 21 and a bit, again *cough*, and as usual I'm treating myself to some books (Best Presents EVAH! :-D)

    First up is this awesome novella - Meridian Six - published today by the awesome Jaye Wells, in honour of my birthday*!! (Read on for a giveaway!)

    Woot!! Happy Book Birthday, Jaye! 

    So here's the skinny . . .

    Meridian Six remembers the days before the Troika enslaved humans. She also remembers her mother, a freedom fighter who was murdered in the final battle between humans and vampires. But it is her mother's final words that have haunted her: 

    Never stop fighting, Carmina. Red means life.

    In the years since her mother's death, Meridian Six has been used as both a propaganda tool and a blood slave by the Troika. She's withstood their indignities because they were better than breaking her back in a labor camp or bleeding our in a blood camp. But when the abuses finally go too far, she decides to run towards freedom and her mother's red light. 

    On the other side of the light, she finds the Sisters of Crimson. They help her like her mother promised, but they also hand her to the human rebels, who have their own plans for the daughter of the race's famous freedom fighter. The vampires used her famous name to keep human slaves biddable, but now the humans want to use it inspire a revolution. 

    Meridian Six is about to learn that when the world is at war, freedom is a luxury paid for with blood.

    Sounds THRILLING, right? And it is! Everyone's gonna want to read this one! :-D

    Check out the excerpt here on Jaye's website.

    Buy from:
    Barnes and Noble


    And to celebrate my birthday and share my love for Jaye's new release I'm giving away 6 copies of Meridian Six!
    2 copies on the blog - to enter leave a comment on this post. Ends 6pm (GMT) 13th June 2013

    2 copies on Facbook - to enter this one Like my page and leave a comment on the giveaway post. Ends 6pm (GMT) 13th June 2013.

    2 copies on Twitter - to enter Tweet this: Happy Book Birthday to @jayewells for e-novella MERIDIAN SIX! RT on 6/6 4 chance to win (details here http://suzannemcleod.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/birthdays-and-books-meridian-six.html
    ETA: Twitter winners have been notified :-)
    (Ends midnight 6th June (everywhere))


    ~Meridian Six is an e-novella and available for Kindle (US and UK) and Nook. So the giveaway copies will be one of those versions. If you don't have a Kindle, Kindle files can be read on any device by downloading the Kindle app from Amazon.
    ~You can comment/Tweet on all three places (blog/FB/Twitter) which = 3 separate entries. So three chances to win.

    ~Giveaway is open to any, so long as the winner can accept a gift e-novella from Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.
    ~Winners drawn by Random.org.

    *Kidding! Jaye might be my crit partner but Meridian Six is published today because it fits the story, and also 'cos it's such a brilliant date! Plus, it's easy to remember; I should know, it's been my 'date' all my life *g*


    Getting my scary on early!*g*
    GingerDead Men and Voodoo Curse Cookies!

    Recipe from here (First one that's worked for me; I doubled up on the spice :-))
    Cookie cutters from Amazon.com

    My Keeper Shelf: Charlaine Harris

    This is the brilliant book that started it all!
    My original signed copy (I have another, newer one for re-reading :-))
    And here's the fab one I've just read!

    Every one of Charlaine's books is on my Keeper Shelf (be it physical or digital :-)). She's one of my ALL TIME FAVOURITE AUTHORS, and any story she writes is an autobuy for me. I discovered her Sookie books back in June 2003 through Laurel K Hamilton (who mentioned the Sookie books in an interview), and my love of vampires. As soon as I read the brilliant Dead until Dark I was hooked, and I've been a massive fan every since.

    I'm a little sad, for me, that there are no more Sookie adventures to come, but so happy for Sookie that she triumphs in this last one, and that she's got the 'Happy Ending' I think is absolutely perfect for her! And even though Dead Ever After is the last Sookie book*, I know Sookie and all her wonderful friends are at home on my Keeper Shelf any time I need to get me another Sookie fix.

    Of course, Sookie's not alone on my Keeper Shelf. Right next to her are Harper Connelly, Aurora Teagarden, and Lily Bard. Charlaine sure knows how to write AWESOME STORIES about AMAZING WOMEN, but then Charlaine is a truly AMAZING WOMAN* herself, so it's no surprise. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! Thanks so much, Charlaine, for being a true inspiration, and for many, many wonderful reads, re-reads, and future re-reads!

    *After Dead: What came next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse

    With characters arranged alphabetically—from the Ancient Pythoness to Bethany Zanelli—bestselling author Charlaine Harris takes fans into the future of their favorite residents of Bon Temps and environs. You’ll learn how Michele and Jason’s marriage fared, what happened to Sookie’s cousin Hunter, and whether Tara and JB’s twins grew up to be solid citizens.

    This coda provides the answers to your lingering questions—including details of Sookie’s own happily-ever-after…

    *I've been super lucky enough to meet Charlaine twice: once in 2010 *HUGE FANGIRL MOMENT*, and again last year at Romantic Times in Chicago (where, along with BFF Paula, we all had a lovely ice-cream tea - with hot tea, of course - Brit here!! *g*), and Charlaine is a lovely, classy, down-to-earth, and very funny lady, who is always a pleasure to squeee at . . . err, to chat to. :-D

    Oh, and as to all the horrendous other stuff about the ending of this book . . . well, we authors LOVE our readers and fans, we think YOU ALL ROCK, BIG TIME, and it saddens me no end that there are some folk out there who call themselves 'fans', and think that gives them the right to behave extremely badly. But enough! As Charlaine says here: 'let's go with the love!' (okay, paraphrasing a bit, but you get the picture :-))

    Nothing Is Forbidden . . . except guilt

    I know, I'm sorry, I've been AWOL for a while, for lots of non-writing/boring reasons :-(.

    But I'm popping back in to tell you that my fabulous friend, Kate Eden, has her debut paranormal romances out! Book 1 and 2 of The Murdoch Vampires! Woot!! So why not go check them out! I mean, hawt vampires in cool kilts, what more could any romance reader want? *g*

    Book 1 is The Hot Scot!

    Logan Murdoch hates complications. All he wants to do is work in his lab and create products to help vampires blend into mortal society. But when his mother begs him to get her painting back from the museum, he discovers a very attractive complication in the form of curator Sydney Worth. She buys his lie that he’s the descendant of the man in the three-hundred-year-old painting, but refuses to give it to him. What’s worse? She’s immune to his mind control.

    Sydney couldn’t believe her eyes when the spitting image of the Hot Scot walked into the museum. But her attraction to Logan Murdoch suffers a huge blow when he demands the painting. Losing the piece could threaten her job and she senses Logan is hiding something from her. But this vampire who hates complications and the ambitious curator with trust issues are about to learn the fine art of love.

    BUY NOW!

    And Rebel Child is book 2!

    Raven really doesn’t see what all the fuss is about. All she did was kidnap a mortal and try to sabotage one of the most important developments in the history of the vampire race. For some reason, though, her father, who is the leader of the vampire race, is seriously pissed. He gives her an ultimatum: Spend 200 years in exile or submit to a last ditch crash-course in vampire etiquette.

    As the poster boy for upstanding, modern vampires, Callum Murdoch stands for everything the rebellious Raven loathes. He’s also the brother of the man Raven recently targeted. But this very odd couple is about to find out that opposites don’t just attract— they smolder.

    BUY NOW!

    Happy Book Birthdays!

    Happy Book Birthday to two fabulous books by my awesome writerly friends!

    Queen of Nowhere (Hidden Empire #5) by Jaine Fenn 

    When paranoia is a way of life, trust doesn't come easily. The Sidhe look like us. They live amongst us. What they lack in numbers they make up with their fearsome mental abilities and the considerable physical resources at their disposal. And their biggest advantage? No one believes they exist. 

    Almost no one.

    Bez, the best hacker in human-space, is fighting a secret war against them. Always one step ahead, never lingering in one place, she's determined to bring them down. But she can't expose the Hidden Empire alone and when the only ally she trusted fails her she must accept help from an unexpected quarter.

    Just one misstep, one incorrect assumption, and her Sidhe trap - her life's work - could end in vicious disaster. Worse, if Bez fails then humanity may never have another chance to win free of the manipulative and deadly Sidhe . . .

    The Trouble with Fate (Mystwalker #1) (UK Edition) by Leigh Evans

    WHAT SHE DOESN’T KNOW MIGHT KILL HER: Hedi looks normal. Yet that’s taken effort. Her fellow Starbucks baristas don't see her pointed ears, fae amulet or her dark past, and normal is hard for a half-fae, half-werewolf on the run. Hedi’s life changed ten years ago, when her parents were murdered by unknown assassins. She’s been in hiding with her loopy aunt Lou since, as whatever they wanted she’s determined they won’t get it. 

    Things change when wolves capture Lou, forcing Hedi to steal to free her – for if she can offer up a fae amulet like her own they may trade. But it belongs to a rogue werewolf named Robson Trowbridge, who betrayed Hedi on the night of her greatest need. Over forty-eight hours, Hedi will face the weres of Creemore, discover the extent of her fae powers and possibly break her own heart in the process.

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