Adventure!

18 01 2010

This year I am making a commitment to my writing. On December 31, 2009, I drove a moving truck into the driveway of my new home on Whidbey Island in the beautiful Puget Sound area of Washington.

Many people look at moving as a burden. I, on the other hand, am looking at this move, like the kid from The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack (ask your kids) as an Adventure!

Whidbey Island is full of  quaint, small towns. The biggest one holds the Naval base, but otherwise the Island is full of hiking trails and farms, including lavender farms.  There’s even a buffalo ranch and a I think I drobe by a llama farm the other day. I’ve lived in a small town before but nothing as isolated as living on the Island. If you want to come see me, you have to pay $14 roundtrip to ride the ferry. I live in a place where you have to get on a boat to get there. As young Flapjack would say, Adventure!

View from my office

I woke up to start 2010 in the perfect place to write. Though I have spent much of the last two weeks unpacking, I have also managed to sit down and write something every day. Maybe not the thousand words per day of my resolution, but I have stuck to the equation butt in chair + hands on keyboard = words on page.

What life-changing Adventures! are you planning for this year?

Hanna Rhys Barnes is one of those people with an evenly balanced right and left brain. She has a BA in English, but ended her career as a high school math teacher. She loves to cook and was a pastry chef in a former life.
A member of RWA’s national organization and of several local chapters, she currently lives on Whidbey Island, but occasionally visits her retirement ranchette outside of Kingman, AZ.

Hanna’s Debut Novel, Widow’s Peak, is currently available from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and powells.com. She is currently working on Book 2 in the series, Kissed By A Rose.





Winners Galore

3 11 2009

The blur that is Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is racing toward us while several of us push forward toward a NaNoWriMo deadline.

We have three winners from the October contest.

WidowsPeak_w1019_680

The winner of  Widow’s Peak is Beth C

GotWolf_w4352_300bunnyb will get a copy of Got Wolf Volume 1

WishForTheMoon_w2712_680

And the copy of Wish for the Moon goes to Judy Cox

 

 

 

We’ll be in touch shortly to get your prizes out to you.





Samhain Song

5 10 2009

samhain1Bet you didn’t know that if you celebrate Halloween, you are part of a history that goes back at least 6000 years. Archeologists have made many discoveries of different celebrations around the Halloween time of year.

Around 4000 B.C.E., prehistoric tribes divided their year into two parts. In what we call spring, somewhere near around the beginning of May, the sun was warm and bright and the earth came alive with greenery. During this light half of the year, domestic animals were turned out to graze and food was plentiful. In the fall, around the time of our Halloween, days were short and the earth died. In the dark half of the year, the animals and food were gathered up and protected against the dangers of darkness with special fire ceremonies to appease the earth spirit so she would return and to ward off troubsome spirits who loved the dark.

samhain2Moving forward, the Early Celts populated the European continent. Around 350 B.C.E. they brought their skill at animal husbandry and their culture and religion to Ireland and Britain. They celebrated four fire festivals, Candlemas, Beltainne, Lughnasad, and Samhain(pronounced sav-en in Scot Gaelic orsow-een in Welsh Gaelic). The Samhain festival marks the passing of the light, but more importantly it is the end of the Celtic year. The cycle of time in the Celtic belief system allowed for two times during the year when the veil between the living and the dead was lifted. Beltainne was one and Samhain was the other. The Celts did not fear their dead and so welcomed the time when those who had passed to Tir na n’Og (the Celtic afterlife), might return.  They left food for their ghostly visitors as a welcoming gesture. This is believed to have lead to the practice of giving out treats on Halloween night. The hope was that those who returned would provide information about the past or the future. By doing this deed for the living, the dead could earn “brownie points” towards moving up the reincarnation cycle. So Samhain was a time of thanks and blessings.

Green-Fairy-absinthe-430052_400_487But what about all the scary stuff associated with Samhain? While the Celtic mythos did not include demons and devils as such, they did believe in the Faery Folk.  Elves weren’t evil, but were best left alone. Fairies, who lived in underground mounds called sidhe (pronounced shee) were thought to feel resentment toward the humans that forced them to inhabit the underground. On the days when these afterlife inhabitants could overcome the veil separating the worlds, faeries were thought to roam the countryside making mischief and even kidnapping a human or two, just for fun. Yet there are a few records of humans that never returned.

The festival lasted for three days. One night and day to honor and thank the Earth for her bounty, one night and day to rekindle the flame and night and day to honor the dead.

So whether you celebrate, Samhain, Halloween, All Saints Day, or Day of the Dead, you are part of a long rich history of late autumn celebrations.

In honor of this Samhain, I’m giving away a copy of my debut GotWolf_w4352_300novel, Widow’s Peak and a copy of the new anthology from the Wild Rose Press Got Wolf, featuring novellas by Helen Hardt and Ria Ellis. To enter just leave a comment on any of the weekly posts throughout the month of October. We’ll draw a winner at 11:59pm on Samhain Eve.





A Family of Heroes

21 09 2009

I’m sure you all know that to us writers, our characters are almost like our children. We lovingly watch them grow and change and become outstanding people. So far the tales of the Scorpion Moon Trilogy have come out as the hero’s tale. I’ve learned that hero can mean very different things in different people.

In Book 1, Widow’s Peak, I started out with a not so shiny champion. Life has not been good to Alaine de la Vierre. This medieval bad boy was one of the best assassins in Europe. Successful as a troubadour, and popular with the ladies at the court of King Henry II, Laine has the perfect cover for his nefarious profession. And the profession provides him a chance for the thing he wants most. Revenge. But like all good heroes, something makes him want out. What, you may ask could turn a deadly assassin into a hero? Why love, of course. Laine discovers that love and kindness have more to offer him than revenge. First he discovers the love of a family, then he discovers the love of a good woman. What more could a bad boy need?

In Kissed By A Rose, Book 2 in the series, my hero is the total opposite of the hero of Book 1. Sir James Barnard has always had everything in life. A member of the Norman nobility, Jamie has been raised in a loving family and given every advantage. When his father is killed in the Holy Land, Jamie determines to become what his father was, a knight of renown.  He is successful in becoming a favored knight in King Henry’s court, but finds he is missing the most important thing his father had, a fulfilling life. I’m in the process of writing Book 2, so Jamie is still making that journey toward finding fulfillment, but I know his heroine will give him what he needs. It is romance, after all.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, from all kinds of backgrounds. Christian, the hero of Book 3, Until the End of Time, is still taking shape in my mind’s eye, but I’m sure that love will find him in the end.

WidowsPeak_w1019_680I can’t believe that the release day for Widow’s Peak is almost here! In just two more days, Amye and Laine (my heroine and hero) finally get to make their debut.  Here’s a short excerpt:

The ride from the glen up the ridge found the hunting party in good spirits. They had taken several animals, including a young boar that had been disrupting the peace of the flocks. Siward made the shot that had taken the pig. Amye liked to reward the most successful hunter with a small prize at supper.

“What reward would an unmarried knight like?” she thought to herself. Her question was interrupted by a great rustling from the trees above her. The party came to a halt as branches and leaves began to tumble to the ground.

Two men crashed through the canopy and landed with a loud thump against the forest floor. Her mount wheeled away, but Amye turned the horse back toward the melee. One of the men had risen and now looked her straight in the eyes. He seemed about to run but suddenly dropped to his knees and fell face forward into the moss of the forest floor.

Amye quickly slid from Jester’s back and hurried toward the fallen stranger. Her men, not far behind, surrounded her before she could get to the bodies. Gervais pulled her away.

“My lady, stay back. These men may be dangerous.”

“They are obviously injured,” Amye tossed back.

Gervais knelt between the men and placed two fingers against the neck of the one who had nearly run away.

“He is still alive.” He turned and checked the other. “This one, however, is dead.”

Amye sighed and made the sign of the cross over her heart. “Well, at least we can help the living,” she said.

“My lady, you know nothing about this man. He could be a thief or a murderer,” Gervais countered.

She studied the countenance of the fallen man. Though a deep purple bruise had begun to swell on his cheek, his face was quite handsome.

“I have seen him somewhere before, but I cannot think where. What if he is someone important?”

Folding his arms across his chest, Gervais looked at her with a piqued expression, but she ignored him and inched closer to get a better look at the man lying on the ground.

“From the looks of him, I don’t think he will be able to hurt us for a while yet. I do know he is injured and he is on my land. That makes me responsible for him.” She gave her old friend the look of resolve that said she had made up her mind.

Finally, he uncrossed his arms, but his face still frowned in disapproval. “William, take Lady Barnard back to the castle. Bring the cart back for them.” Gervais nodded toward the motionless bodies. “Half of you come with me. We shall search the woods to see if there are others. The rest of you wait here.”

****

Laine crawled up out of the darkness, but did not open his eyes until he felt the cool wet cloth covering them. His head ached like the devil and confusion filled his thoughts as he came to realize that he rested on a soft feather bed and not on the hard forest floor. Where am I? How have I come here?

He did recall that when he reached the manor, the gate was shut and the guards had refused entry to a lone stranger. He had returned to the forest that ran along the ridge, hoping to avoid the assassin for one more night.

He reached up, lifted the cloth, and peeked at his surroundings. A lone candle penetrated the darkness of the room. Laine rose up on his elbows to see if he could determine his situation. A bad mistake. His head ached even more and began to spin.

“Wait, lie still.” A woman’s hands reached out and helped him lie back. “You took quite a fall. You were lucky though.”

A beautiful oval face leaned close, as she pulled the bedcover up around him.

“Your companion broke his neck. I’m sorry there was nothing we could do for him. You rest. We will speak anon.”

She turned to rewet the cloth and placed it back over his forehead. The coolness helped to stop the spinning, and he breathed a deep sigh of relief. He had been able to best his opponent.

Laine closed his eyes. At least he did not have to worry about assassins for the moment. It would take some time for them to discover what happened and send someone else. For the first time in many months, he could rest easy, which he promptly did.

In a special release day contest I’m giving away three special prizes. A $10 Amazon gift certificate, an autographed copy of Widow’s Peak, and a beautiful pewter necklace I brought back from my trip to Wales last spring.  Winners will also be entered in the Super Contest that I’m holding over at my personal blog, Never Too Late For Love.

All you have to do to enter is between now and 11:59 on September 23rd, leave a comment on this post about what kind of hero you like best and why.  Do you like a knight in shining armor, or do you prefer a reformed bad boy? An action adventure hero or the nice guy next door? At Midnight on Thursday September 24th, I’ll pick three winners from the commenters.

WidowsPeak_w1019_680Widow’s Peak  Available  Now in Print  from The Wild Rose Press and at Amazon.com

Available in e-book format September 23rd from The Wild Rose Press