Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thankful Reads: Sarah Gives Thanks by Mike Allegra

We all have Thanksgiving Traditions but do you know the origins of how Thanksgiving became a National Holiday?
In this book we are introduced to Sarah Hale a young woman who lived in the 1800's.

Sarah had a great thirst for knowledge, and a passion for writing. She published many articles in women's magazines and even wrote the poem Mary Had A Little Lamb.

After her husband died, Sarah began writing full time and became a noteworthy voice amongst women. If Sarah loved a book or a product it was guaranteed to be successful. She even was one of the first recommend that women engage in physical exercise which was thought unladylike at the time.

Thanksgiving was one of Sarah's favorite holidays and she campaigned for it to be a national holiday for over 36 years. Every presidential election was an opportunity for Sarah to petition the president to make Thanksgiving a National Holiday. None listened until Abraham Lincoln. With the nation in turmoil due to the Civil War Lincoln thought a day of gratitude would help heal the nation.

I really enjoyed this book. The art was really lovely and I was touched by Sarah's passionate determination. It is so easy to get caught up in shopping and entertainment that we forget that the day is meant for reflection and gathering together with friends and family.

A lovely read!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Guest Post: Anne M. Pillsworth Author of Summoned & Fathomless

I'm really excited to step into the world of Elder Gods and dark magic that Anne has created. Thanks to Tor Books I have a guest post with her today, enjoy!

Guest Post:  Let's Get Familiar(s)!
Working on the third book of my REDEMPTION'S HEIR series, I realized that familiars are a big part of my fictive world.  That makes sense, because in my opinion, one of the best parts of being a magic practitioner would be having a magical pet!  Familiars might object to the "pet" label, though, so I officially beg their pardons and request they don't flame me.  Perhaps literally, in the case of dragons, dragonets, wyverns, salamanders and other fire-generating species.  Oh, then there's Smudge the fire-spider, from Jim Hines's MAGIC EX LIBRIS series.  I wouldn't want to get on his wrong side, either.
Familiars abound in world mythology and weird literature.  They're generally defined as demons or spirits that attend magicians and obey their orders.  There's also an interesting obscure definition for familiar:  a person who renders certain services in a bishop's or pope's household.  There's a potentially unfortunate collision of definitions!  Anyhow, our kind of familiar will often take animal form, though human or semi-human forms also occur.  Fairies are sometimes considered familiars, like Peter Pan's Tinkerbell of huge pop-cultural fame.
The witches in Macbeth call upon Graymalkin and Paddock, probably a cat and a toad.  The young witches and wizards of Harry Potter have "pets," owls and cats, toads and rats.  Count Magnus in M. R. James's eponymous tale has a particularly nasty companion, known for sucking the faces off his enemies -- what exactly it looks like, we're free to imagine, shuddering.  Lovecraft contributes Brown Jenkins, a rat with disturbingly human face and hands.  The last two examples aside, most "historical" familiars appeared in highly naturalistic guise.  How convenient for the witch-hunters, who could consider any old cat or rat or bird a demonic spirit, and any odd mole on the supposed witch a teat with which she had been nourishing her wicked servants with her own blood.  And Royalist Prince Rupert must have been a secret wizard, because his poodle Boye accompanied him into battle during the English Civil War.  The Parliamentarians apparently credited poor Boye with supercanine powers.  After the war, he was shot.  Maybe with a silver bullet.  Well, that would have been fitting for a royal dog! Or weredog?
My own familiars -- that is, my characters' familiars, ahem -- range from natural to way out there.  Alchemical pharmacist Solomon Geldman has a genuine (and very chatty) African pied crow named Boaz.  Protagonist Sean Wyndham is supposed to summon a harmless ethereal familiar for his first act of magic.  Being Sean, he does a variation of the spell that calls up a blood-spawn or Servitor.  It is not even close to harmless, being the gift of Lovecraft's profoundly alien Outer Gods.  In the second book, we finally do meet an ethereal familiar, the aether-newt Raphael.  He has no mouth but lots of eyes and tails and suction-cup feet.  That is, when he's not invisible or slipping from dimension to dimension as aether-newts do in their spare time.  In the third book, two new familiars will appear.  One is a spirit-animal "born" from Sean's own spirit, hence good-natured but troublesome.  The other may be diminutive, but it is very bad news nevertheless.  Its name is Hungry Tom, and it's always hungry, rather like its mistress, the undead witch Patience Orne.  Leave it to her to conjure a familiar from the bone of a long-dead wendigo!
Myself, I guess I'd go with an ethereal.  And a nice traditional cat. And maybe one of those Outer God Servitors, if it would just behave.
I wonder if municipal law puts a limit on the number of familiars you can have in a single household....
Enough of this familiarity.  Thanks to Kai and FICTION STATE OF MIND for the opportunity to ramble on!

Quote- Tastic :Forget-Me-Not A Floral Treasury

This is a fantastic book that shares with the reader the lore of flowers and plants. In this book I learned that that flowers have been gifted with certain attributes over the years for example the Periwinkle is meant to represent Friendship and Pleasure of Memory.

The quote I'm sharing today is associated with the Lilac that resonates with the energy of being forsaken:

Here is the Quote:

"How Slowly through the lilac-scented air Descends the tranquil moon "

Happy Reading!