Wednesday, December 29, 2021

New Years And Old Years In Romance

 The 2022 New Year will soon be upon us.

I thought it would be nice per nostalgia to show you how my 2010 New Year Blog Post began. 

Happy New Year, I hope the holidays were happy for everyone.

I have a great blog for you, it begins with the information on my next release, in February for All Romance E-books 28 Days of Heart series to benefit the American Heart Campaign. 

All Romance will release one title each day, for 28 days, during the month of February. They also will compile them into 5 anthologies and Charlain Harris is writing the foreword. All proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association. My 28 Days of Heart story is Timeless Voyage, it will be released 02/20/10, and here's the blurb. 

BLURB: Off the mist-shrouded coast of Ireland, a pagan lady-pirate, Anwen, captures the enemy, a Roman, Titus Rufius Kaeso. The Celtic warrior woman presses her hard iron dagger against Kaeso's throat, but her arm does not obey the will to slay him. From time out of mind, memories of fated lovers, druids, and sacrifice, stay her hand. Kaeso is also captivated by dreams of the woman he loved in a previous life, the mirror image of Anwen. But in this lifetime they are foes, Roman and Celt. Can Anwen and Kaeso steer their timeless voyage to a happy destiny or will they be robbed of love once more? 

QUOTE OF THE MONTH: "The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power." Toni Morrison 

WORDS OF THE MONTH: Lake Superior State University released the 35th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use, and General Uselessness


NEW REVIEW: Queen of Kings: 

Macha Mong Raud by Cornelia Amiri Reviewed by Penny Ash at Night Owl Romance Reviews "I found Queen of Kings well written and very close to the original legend. If you like the ancient Celtic world you'll enjoy this book."

Both books have been reprinted by me, long hence, with new covers.

A lot more than my covers have changed since 2010. Neither of the original publishers are still open. The only publisher I had that is still operating is Lyrical Press which sold and is now part of the Big 5. But the books are still here and so am I. I now have full rights for them and all my books and now I have over 40 published books. And, I'm still going strong and writing more at age 64. There is progression every year, which makes every year a good year, a happy year. I hope 2022 is a progressive year for all of you as well. After 2020, and 2021, the whole world deserves a wonderful year. 

Over the years the publishing industry and the Romance genre have changed so much. My first book came out in the New Year, January 2001 fromAwe Struck Ebooks.  The title then was - The Fox Prince. Here is the cover then, and here is the cover of its sequel—then titled—The Vixen Princess—when it first came out. 

When I wrote my first romance in 2000, The Fox Prince, it was contracted the same year. It was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to. The romance genre has changed so much. At that time all the heroines had to start out in the book as virgins. And also, dark scenes were out. I remember going to a panel at the Romantic. Times Convention in Houston, TX in 2000, and there a prominent New York agent said, "Now when righting historicals, a lot of sad things happened with native Americans and other dark things but you don't want to include any of that in your books. It's just too depressing for the readers and they don't read romance for that." - That's pretty close to what he said though I can't vouch for every word as it was 21 years ago. But now there are so many romances that are dark and the virgins are pretty much gone except for the clean and wholesome romances. 

Do you have any predictions for changes in the romance genre or the publishing industry in the coming year, 2022? Feel free to post them are anything else you want to comment on below. And here's wishing all my readers and fellow romance authors a Happy New Year from me, Cornelia Amiri 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

All About The Solstice


It’s All About The Winter Solstice

It’s that mystical time of the year when the shortest day and the longest night fall in the Northern Hemisphere. In Welsh, they call it Alban Arthan (Light of Winter), but most English speakers refer to December 21st to 22nd as the Winter Solstice.

To the ancient Celts, this day signified the battle and defeat of the Holly King (ruling from Midsummer to Midwinter) by the Oak King (ruling from Midwinter to Midsummer). The Holly King, also seen as a wren bird, symbolized the old year and the shortened sun, while the Oak King, also seen as a robin, stood for the new year and growing sun.  The Celts would act out the battle of the Oak King defeating the Holly King during the Winter Solstice celebration. 

Wren hunts also signified the death of the Holly King. In Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Man, Lá an Dreoilín, (Wren Day) was celebrated on December 26.  Wren-boys dressed in masks or straw suits, and usually rode a hobby horse covered in a sheet. Strings controlled the hobby horses, when pulled, their mouths closed, and their legs kicked. Wren-boys were led by a boy dressed as a male captain and a boy dressed as a female captain. These boys hunted and killed a wren as a tribute to the light for overcoming the dark. They’d lay the dead wren in a box decorated with evergreens on a pole and go from house to house asking for food and good cheer. The wren was buried at the end of the rounds. Nowadays they use a fake wren instead. 

In Wales, both the Holly King and wrens were associated with the Welsh god Bran. Holly and Ivy are also linked to Bran. For the Winter Solstice, Yule logs were brightly decorated with holly and ivy.  Ale or mead was sprinkled over the log before it was lit. It was kept slowly, yet steadily burning for 12 days in the fireplace. To pass the light on from one year to the next, the ancient Celts kept part of the unburned log safely to one side to use for lighting the next year’s Yule log. Also, they stashed the log’s ashes away until spring, at which time they mixed them with seeds, and scattered them on the fields, spreading the blessing contained in the Yule log over the land.

Mistletoe and oak were sacred to the ancient Celts. As an evergreen plant, Mistletoe symbolized continued life over the dark cold winter. That is why druids picked it from oak trees five days after the new moon following the Winter Solstice. One druid climbed the tree and cut the mistletoe with a sickle, while others held an open sheet beneath him to catch the sacred plant since it was taboo to let it touch the ground. The druids handed out sprigs of mistletoe to tribesmen who hung them over entranceways for protection. Mistletoe is also believed to be an aphrodisiac, so this might be where the holiday tradition of ‘kissing under the mistletoe’ originated.

And last but not least, a highlight of the Winter Solstice was a grand feast. The Celts’ livelihood depended on what they could raise, grow, or hunt. So, the long, cold days of winter were hard on them. Since they didn’t have enough grain to feed all the cattle during winter, many were slaughtered at this time. This meant fresh meat for the winter solstice feast. Also, ale and mead brewed during the year fermented by this time and were ready for drinking.

We can draw on these ancient traditions and create our own modern Winter Solstice adventures and celebrations for our families and friends. Some simple ideas are:

  • Bake a yule log cake 
  • Serve your family dinner by candlelight
  • Wake up early on the longest day of the year to watch the sunrise
  • Take a moment to reflect on what the sun means to you and what that sun gives to us
  • Decorate your home with greenery and light with your choice of a Christmas tree, evergreen branches, pinecones, holly berries, mistletoe berries, or candles
  • Serve up a warm solstice drink: wassail or mulled wine or hot apple cider
  • Make a Wreath
  • Bake round shortbread Solstice Cookies in the shape of the sun. Or other great Solstice treats like Yule Kinship cookies or Christmas cookies
Or read a Winter Solstice book. 
In the Bear and the Druidess, Cornelia takes her readers back to a Celtic Iron Age celebration of the Winter Solstice.