Thank you for stopping by That’s What I’m Talking About for today’s Mistletoe Madness spot. For a line up of all of the authors featured here and at The Book Nympho, and to enter the overall event giveaway for a free book (two chances to win!), please click on the image above or go to the kickoff post on November 26, 2014.
Today’s Mistletoe Madness author is…
Book: The Tears of the Rose
Release Date: November 25, 2014
From Queen Amelia of Avonlidgh
Though the Twelve Kingdoms and I officially look to the Goddess Glorianna, the midwinter Feast of Moranu has always held a special place in my heart. Perhaps partly because it’s only a minor feast day and thus not an official Court celebration, my sisters and I looked forward to the day and the observance of Moranu’s longest night.
Which meant we got to stay up all night, too.
The week before the feast day was always a frenzy of cleaning. Even the youngest children pitched in to sort through toys and clear out the worn and no longer used. Carts in Ordnung’s outer courtyard overflowed with the castle residents’ discards—the worn to be burned in bonfires during the night and the no longer used to be distributed as new bounty on the day after the solstice festival. Out with the old, in with the new.
By sundown on the shortest day of the year, Ordung would gleam with cleanliness and glisten with lights of every kind. Every fireplace held a cheerful blaze kept aflame all through the night. Every window held a candle. The torches on all the walls were lit and every other surface that could hold a flame, large or small, bonfire or votive, shone with light.
For us, we observed the beginning of Moranu’s Night from the tallest tower of Ordnung. Wrapped in our warmest cloaks, fur hats and mittens, Ursula, Andi and I went up with Lady Zevondeth in the late afternoon. Before I was born, our mother Queen Salena, led the ceremony, as there were no priestesses of Moranu left in the castle proper and scarcely to be found elsewhere. I always heard that some led ceremonies at the scattered temples of Moranu in the forests. After Mother died, Lady Zevondeth took over the simple ritual.
Moranu has no elaborate songs or prayers as the Temple of Glorianna does. On the shortest day, as with every other, the Temple bells ring at sunset and the priests of Glorianna send up their song of farewell to her sun and the prayer for it to rise again in the morning. On this night, though, as the last sliver of sun disappears behind the mountain peaks, we light votive candles and take out notes or symbols of things we want to get rid of. Things we feel bad about or wrongs done us that we want to let go of.
We put those things in the firepit, light it, once they’re gone, we hold the candles up to the sky in our cupped palms—toward Moranu’s moon if it’s in the sky that year. As Glorianna’s Temple falls silent we all think of our hopes for the coming year.
All across the valley, as all the people finished burning the old and lighting their candles to the new, points of flame appeared, lighting the ground as the sky darkened. A glorious sight, filled with hope and renewal.
After that, the night was spent in feasting, drinking and dancing. Everyone healthy enough to do it stayed awake until dawn, keeping the fires and candles lit. In the villages and townships, I heard, people would go from house to house, sharing food and good wishes.
At sunrise, we exchanged gifts—something new to start the fresh year with. The most thoughtful gifts showed we knew what our loved ones hoped for in the new year and would be something they needed to make their wishes come true.
Good Feast of Moranu to you all!
~Amelia, Queen of Avonlidgh
Three sisters. Motherless daughters of the high king. The eldest is the warrior-woman heir;the middle child is shy and full of witchy intuition;and the youngest, Princess Amelia, she is as beautiful as the sun and just as generous.
Ami met her Prince Charming and went away to his castle on the stormy sea-cliffs-and that should have been her happily ever after. Instead, her husband lies dead and a war rages. Her middle sister has been taken into a demon land, turned into a stranger. The priests and her father are revealing secrets and telling lies. And a power is rising in Ami, too, a power she hardly recognizes, to wield her beauty as a weapon, and her charm as a tool to deceive…
Amelia has never had to be anything but good and sweet and kind and lovely. But the chess game for the Twelve Kingdoms has swept her up in it, and she must make a gambit of her own. Can the prettiest princess become a pawn-or a queen?
Jeffe is generously donating a copy of winners’ choice of either one of the first two Twelve Kingdom books (THE TEARS OF THE ROSE or THE MARK OF THE TALA). There are two winners – a paper copy winner for US/Canada only and a digital copy available internationally. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form AND leave a comment at the end of this post telling us one of your favorite gifts you’ve received. Note that there are TWO forms – one for US/Can only and one for International. The giveaway is open during the time specified on the Rafflecopter forms. Winner(s) chosen at random from all eligible entries. This contest is open where not prohibited by law. Open to participants, 18 years or older, who are legally allowed to participate in such a contest as allowed by their local laws. All federal, state, local, and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. By participating in the contest, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of the contest sponsor. Prize will be delivered by the author. This blog, its reviewers, and the owner are not responsible for items lost in the mail. By entering this giveaway, participants agree to abide by these terms.
For US/Canada residents ONLY…
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Now, head over the THE BOOK NYMPHO to see today’s feature with Monica Murphy.