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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Celebrating Midsummer with SFR Brigade!

 Click link above for a link list of participating authors.Each will have a post on the theme of Midsummer, along with a prize on offer. And don't forget, each blog you comment on scores you one entry to the grand prize draw, which is open internationally. So what's in the draw?

1st Prize - winner's choice of a Kindle Touch or a Nook Touch

2nd Prize - a library of science fiction romance titles donated by various authors and an Anabanana Gift Card. Most of the books will be in digital format, with one print anthology.

Prize from  Melisse Aires --Drawing from the comments on this blog post for an ebook copy of Refugees On Urloon.
Please leave your email with comment. 

Midsummer is a Magical Time!

I live north of a long hogback mountain. At the top of that mountain is a magical place called Crimson Dawn.

Every Midsummer there is a storytelling event on the mountain and scores of people traverse the mountain meadow and forest to learn about the Emerald Witch and the Blind Minstrel and other magical people. The stories were started in the nineteen thirties by an author named Neil Forsling, who lived with her husband and two daughters in a tiny, isolated mountain cabin on a homestead. The homestead and cabin are now a museum and park called Crimson Dawn.

The evening ends with a bonfire, and participants throw a handful of red earth into the fire with their wishes, saying "Burn, red earth burn." It has become  a popular summer event, which is odd in this unrelenting conservative, religious area of the country!

We took our daughters there, and often visited at other times because the area is so lovely. My daughters always found small mementos--silk flowers, plastic jewels, from the festivities. Treasures!

Looking back on childhood some of my most vivid memories involved festivals with storytelling--Christmas and the Easter Bunny. Even now I love those holidays and they are natural bench marks in life...The first Christmas I was married, the first Christmas with a child, the first Christmas without a loved one.

Festivals give life a richness we otherwise would not have. How bland life must be with no holidays to look forward to.

In my scifi romance Refugees On Urloon, my refugees, who survived a terrifying ordeal in space, are faced with decisions for their future. Will they stay on Urloon? Will they make plans to leave in the future, when a ship finally arrives? Will they undergo water adaption and move into the ocean communities of Urloon? In the middle of all these hard decisions is a festival, the Moonfest.

Here's an excerpt:

Svana waffled between going to the feast and staying quietly in her room. The room was tiny, hardly larger than the bunk she slept in, and had no window. Its dull metal walls seemed to close in on her.
She would go. Maybe not to the feast, but she could view the two moons and the aurora of the night and see the chandolay dance.
Svana put on her only formal dress, a tiered ankle length gown in the style of her homeworld, in a deep brown, suitable for a woman her age. She wound her long hair into a circle of braids on her crown and looked at herself in her small mirror.  The ankle length full tiered skirt was nothing like what the Urloon women would wear—a vest and skirt of chandolay fur with a bare midriff—but it was better then her work coverall. The dark brown color was practical, plus it complimented her light brown eyes and golden blond hair without being flashy.  She wasn’t an ugly woman, and men had often shown interest in her in the past.
Svana hesitated, but then pulled out her cosmetic tray. She hadn’t worn cosmetics since she came aboard the ship. But tonight she dressed her face for a formal event, with shadowed eyes and colored lips.
Her heart beat faster as she walked outside toward the beach. I am not going to participate in the fertility festival, she reminded herself. Still it was the closest thing to a party she had attended for years, the last being a small festivity when her daughter turned sixteen.
Liam would be there. He might participate, with an Urloon woman. Or maybe a crewmember. The thought made her throat tighten. Oh just be honest, she scolded herself. You want him to participate with you—you want it to be an Urloon marriage. Like a romance tale.
She determined deep within to not make a fool of herself. And she was too nervous to have sex in a field anyway. She came from a conservative people.
But deep inside she wished she was a wild exotic woman.
The two moons were just a hair’s breath apart in the night sky. One glowed silver and the other had a blue cast, being covered with ice and water. They gave the night an odd light, not the clear light of day but a soft, magical light. An occasional shard of color filled the night sky, but the aurora wasn’t in full display yet. She walked toward the festival grounds near the beach and saw the Urloon had cleared away the booths and replaced them with a buffet and eating tables. The food smelled delicious. She recognized the crunchy battered fish and spicy sauce that was a favorite of the crew. The food of Urloon was delicious, all the crew were thrilled about the food, after dry tasteless ship’s rations.
Small tube shaped tents made of white chandolay fur dotted the landscape. They looked warm and private and just big enough for two. The tiny tents were in some way reassuring. The festivity didn’t appear to be a spectator sport like Svana had feared.
Liam, hot pheromones and a fur tube tent… her mind skittered away but kept coming back to Liam. He was a beautiful man, tall and lean with strong features, thick silver streaked black hair, now grown somewhat long, exotic tilted dark eyes. Many women, including some of the young, pretty crew found him attractive. He would surely have a passionate interlude with someone. And that was a good thing. A fine man like Liam deserved happiness. And she was just a cleaning woman, after all, doing menial chores for highly trained technicians, only allowed on a ship because of the sparse number of military left toward the end of the war. Liam was a decorated Captain and instructor at the Military Academy. Far above her.
He’s a refugee like me now… everything has changed now. Rebellious thoughts whispered through her mind.


  1. I look forward to reading more of this. Happy Solstice!

  2. Oh, I say. Liam sounds ever so nice

  3. First off, what a stunning blog you have here. Secondly, that's a great excerpt. Thanks for sharing.


  4. Loved you post. What a great way you had to celebrate Midsummer. Enjoyed the snippet from your book.

  5. Occasions to anchor our lives in interesting ways. It was past traditions that helped me move forward when we moved far from family. Fun post and excerpt!

  6. Lovely blog and what a cool legacy for a writer, this Neil to leave, a summer time event of story telling. I loved your excerpt as well. thanks for sharing.

  7. I loved your excerpt and Crimson Dawn must be really magical.
    Thank you for the giveaways!

    artgiote at gmail dot com

  8. Great excerpt! Oh, am i intrigued! Does she start to let her reservations go? Thanks for sharing and for the fun hop!

  9. Thanks for the excerpt and the amazing giveaway!

    elizabeth @ bookattict . com
    GFC: BookAttict

  10. What a great tradition that is! Thank you for sharing it and love your snippet

  11. Loved the excerpt. Will definitely have to read that at some point!

    Thank you for participating in the blog hop and for the giveaway.


  12. Crimson Dawn sounds interesting. I'll have to check out their site sometime. Love the solider hero. I have a few of my own.

  13. Hi First thank you for being part of this hop and second WHAT!! a lovely story. I want to read more now haha. thanks Joannie jscddmj[at]aol[dot]com

  14. Hy world, too, has festivals at the equinoxes and solstices. These are important days for the passage of season on any world with an axial tilt.

  15. I'm hooked! Thanks for the excerpt.

  16. What a lovely custom the Crimson Dawn sounds, it must be a really magical event. I really enjoyed your excerpt too, and would love to read more.

  17. Thanks for sharing! Crimson Dawns sound like a wonderful place to make memories. Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Loved the description of the Crimson Dawn festival. It sounds magical. And I really enjoyed the snippet from Refugees on Urloon. :)


  19. No wonder you loved the storytelling ritual, since you're a storyteller yourself! Svana's internal argument with herself is so true... Happy Midsummer!

  20. What an intriguing snippet. I'd love to read more. Happy solstice and may you have a fabulous summer!


  21. I enjoyed the post and excerpt.


  22. What a pretty blog background. I enjoyed your post, Melisse!

  23. Crimson Dawn sounds amazing. And another vote in favor of your blog background.
    Lisacordes (at) yah00 (d0t) c0m

  24. I LOVE this blog - so pretty!! Crimson Dawn sounds really cool. Thanks for the post and giveaway.

  25. Hi i left a post on the 22 but it did not show and i didn;t know till just now. I might be to late. Joannie jscddmj[at]aol[dot]com

  26. What a great excerpt! Your story looks really enticing!
    Thanks for the contest.

  27. Loved the excerpt, very intriguing.

  28. Nice excerpt! And I'd like to go to Crimson Dawn some day. It sounds like an amazing place.