I Can Hear Bonnie Tyler Now…

total-solar-eclipse

Today most of North America will be plunged in at least partial darkness during the middle of the day, but thankfully the majority of us will be looking at the eclipse of the sun in awe (and wearing proper safety glasses – protect your eyes people!) rather than panicked frenzy.

Solar eclipses have caused fear, inspired curiosity, and have long been associated with myths, legends and superstitions throughout history. In some cultures, they are still considered bad omens, even today.

Of course today we know that a solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, momentarily blocking out the sun’s light. Ancient civilizations, however, understandably struggled to find an explanation as to why the sun temporarily vanished from the sky, resulting in many myths and legends behind the astronomic phenomena.

Illustration of Ancient Peruvians Worshipping the Eclipse

In many cultures, the legends surrounding solar eclipses involve mythical figures eating or stealing the sun. For example, in Vietnam, it was believed that a giant frog devoured the sun, while the Vikings blamed wolves. The word for eclipse in Chinese, chih or shih, actually means “to eat” and the ancients there believed a celestial dragon was to blame.

dragon eclipse

If you hear pots and pans banging together today, you might be in Korea (or your neighbours could be Korean) because in ancient times there, people believed that mythical dogs were trying to steal the sun so they banged their pots to scare the canines away.

sunandmoonloversSome cultures have a more romantic take on solar eclipses. Both Australian Aboriginals and the Tlingit people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America, believed that the sun and the moon were a man and a woman who were in love and eclipses darkened the world when they came together in order to give them some privacy. Boom-chicka-wa-wa!

Other crazy myths associated with eclipses have to do with what happens rather than why. In Transylvanian folk tales, the dew formed during an eclipse was thought to be toxic. Even into the 19th century, some people believed that you shouldn’t breathe outdoor air during an eclipse and laundry left out to dry would be contaminated. Today a quick internet search will result in warnings about “eclipse rays” harming unborn children and people in India fasting due to their belief that food cooked during an eclipse is poisonous and unpure.

Eclipses have also played important roles in literature. Shakespeare mentioned them as bad omens in King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra, John Milton compared the fall of Satan to a solar eclipse in Paradise Lost, and Mark Twain used an eclipse as a pivotal plot point in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, when the time-traveling Yankee saves himself from execution by making a medieval court believe that he can darken the sun. Even horror writer Stephen King connected two of his novels, Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne, through the solar eclipse that was visible over Maine on July 20, 1963.

Throughout recorded history, eclipses have been blamed for tragedies, wars, disease outbreaks and the deaths of prominent people. In 2009, a financial behaviourist named Gabriele Lepori even discovered that stock prices tend to fall on eclipse days.

Thankfully we are not the Aztecs, who attempted to stave off the end of the world (which they believed would be caused by an eclipse followed by an earthquake) by performing a human sacrifice once a year on the day they expected the solar eclipse. These days we don’t try and prevent eclipses, nor do we have to make up wild stories about their cause. Instead, some die-hards go to great lengths to experience them. Like Alvin Peterson, a navy photographer who spent two hours on top of a flying dirigible with his movie camera to film the eclipse over New York on Jan. 24, 1925.  The most impressive and literal example of eclipse chasing occurred on June 30, 1973. Scientists who chartered a supersonic Concorde traveling at 1,250 mph over Africa managed to stay in the path of totality for 74 minutes, at least 10 times longer than anyone could ever see a total solar eclipse from the ground.

crazy eclipse

Why do people go to these extremes to see an eclipse? Ask ten people you’ll get ten different answers, but for many it’s for the sensory experience and the rare opportunity to see the solar system in motion. It’s that desire to experience the eclipse that will spur millions of people to flood parks, roads, trails and towns along the path of totality today, many traveling for hours or days and paying jacked-up hotel rates to put cardboard glasses on their faces and spend a couple of minutes staring at the sky. I guess maybe eclipses do still make us crazy.

Odds and Ends

Beach Dog

Yay! It’s almost summer.  For some, that means time to slow down and relax, others, it might mean things are just ramping up to get busy. For me, it means cottage season. The cottage on Lake Winnipeg is my favourite place to relax. We have limited access to the internet out there, so I may not post very often, but don’t worry, I’m still hard at work writing book 5 in Harry’s adventures.

summerreading

Summer is also a great time to read, so in honour of that, I decided to lower the price of Harry’s second book, Tooth and Claw.  If you started reading Harry’s adventures in Dead and Kicking and just haven’t had a chance to get to the next book, now’s a great time to take advantage of the new low price.

yippee_big

I’d also like to congratulate Tina C. who won the latest gift card draw. Tina was randomly selected from all the names on my mailing list and has been sent a $25 gift card just for signing up.  Remember, I will make another draw the next time I get one hundred more signups, and once you’re signed up you are automatically entered in the draw every time. If you haven’t joined the list, you can still do so by clicking Yes! SIGN ME UP back on my home page.

May the Fourth…

…Be With You

star-wars-new-hope-coaster

I became a Star Wars fan completely by accident. The summer that Star Wars arrived in theatres in my hometown, I was just a young punk, my age not even in double digits. Too young to go by myself with my friends (who were a year or two older and had less parental supervision) to see another movie that just arrived in theatres, a movie that had less than acceptable themes like smoking and sex.

No, instead I was given the choice of staying home or going to the movies with my older brother who was off to see some stupid space movie with his friends. It goes without saying that neither my brother nor I were pleased with this arrangement, but he was stuck with me, and I was stuck with Star Wars.

So there I sat in the balcony of the King’s Theatre (by myself, two rows back and several seats over from my brother and his buddies because heaven forbid he be seen with his kid sister) unaware that my mind was about to be blown.

And then the words started scrolling on the screen.

a-long-time-ago-in-a-galaxy-far-far-away-free-star-wars-printable-sign

With those now famous words, I was hooked.

Raised on a steady diet of movies such as The Rescuers, Benji and Herbie Rides Again, Star Wars was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was starry vistas and barren planets with three moons. It was hyperdrive, lightsabers and robot “droids”. It was awesome. It was epic. It was good vs. evil and had freakin’ Darth Vader.

princess leia darth vader

Best of all, it had Princess Leia.  A princess that didn’t need to be rescued (well, she did, but then she quickly put her would-be rescuers in their place). A princess who was feisty and tough and perfectly capable of keeping up with the boys. A princess this tomboy could actually identify with.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Happy Star Wars Day!

 

 

Sláinte!

pubpersonalizedlisa

Welcome to my stop on the Pub Crawl (Blog Hop) and welcome to The Lodge. You should count yourself lucky because very few outsiders, especially norms such as yourselves, are allowed entry to the Werewolf Pack’s party headquarters.

For newcomers to my blog, I would like to invite you into the world of Harry Russo, a twenty-something witch with a peculiar affinity for the dead that gets her into all sorts of trouble.

The Lodge figures prominently in book one, Dead and Kicking, when Harry and her friends are invited to the infamous bar and, at first, it’s not quite what they expected:

The Lodge quote 2

But there’s a secret hidden behind the tired facade of The Lodge, which it turns out is merely a front for the real party central – the Ice House.  A place where you can let your proverbial hair down and party like an animal, the Ice House has something for everyone: Cheap booze, top forty dance tunes, billiards, darts, and a clientele that just wants to party.

nightclub

So, step into Harry’s world and enjoy her adventures. There are four books currently available in the series (number five is in the works). And, while you’re visiting The Lodge don’t forget to try the famous stew and to drink, I’d recommend the Blood Red Moon (recipe below).

HRD series header blog

Hell to Pay, the newest release in the Harry Russo Diaries, and all of Harry’s other adventures are available at your favourite online retailer.

Amazon   Kobo   Apple iBooks   Barnes & Noble

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Don’t forget to leave your comment below and JOIN THE TOUR by visiting the rafflecopter page.

April 24th: Romarin Demetri– Seven’s Pub and Plundery
April 25th: Lesley Donaldson— Bath and Barrel in London of The Queen’s Viper
April 26th: Debbie Manber Kupfer– Victor’s Dining Hall in London P.A.W.S.
April 27th: K. L Roth– K.L.’s Pub in The world of Royal Lies
April 28th: Lisa Emme– The Lodge and Ice House
April 29th: Lilly Luchesi– Crowley’s Pub in the Paranormal Detectives Series

VISIT THE EVENT PAGE for more information.

Join me on the Facebook event page on April 30th for the Hangover Party. I’ll be taking over the page between 12:30pm and 1pm (EST).

You can send tweets through the rafflecopter form every day until the contest closes for extra entries. Any link you need will be posted in the description of the main image in the Facebook event. You have until May 1st to visit all of the daily stops. Hope to see you there!

Join the Pub Crawl

Apubpersonalizedlisa

Join me as I help fellow author, Romarin Demetri, celebrate the release of Wanions of the Wicked, the third book in her Supernatural London Underground series, with a virtual pub crawl/blog hop.

There are six great stops, a new one each day, including one with Harry and the gang. Romarin is also giving you the chance to win a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card so make sure to maximize your entries.

The tour starts today so make sure to JOIN THE TOUR by visiting the rafflecopter page and then stop by the first pub on the tour. And don’t forget to check back here on April 28th for my stop on the hop!

April 24th: Romarin Demetri– Seven’s Pub and Plundery
April 25th: Lesley Donaldson— Bath and Barrel in London of The Queen’s Viper
April 26th: Debbie Manber Kupfer– Victor’s Dining Hall in London P.A.W.S.
April 27th: K. L Roth– K.L.’s Pub in The world of Royal Lies
April 28th: Lisa Emme– The Lodge and Ice House
April 29th: Lilly Luchesi– Crowley’s Pub in the Paranormal Detectives Series

VISIT THE EVENT PAGE for more information.

You can send tweets through the rafflecopter form every day until the contest closes for extra entries. Any link you need will be posted in the description of the main image in the Facebook event. You have until May 1st to visit all of the daily stops! Hope to see you there!

Tsundoku

No, you don’t have to say “Bless you” or “Gesundheit!” I didn’t just sneeze. I’m not sick. I’m just a book-a-holic, or as I prefer, a bibliophile. Turns out the Japanese, being the civilized people that they are, actually have a word for it: Tsundoku, the act of stockpiling more books than can be consumed. Read the full article here.

not hoarding