I grew up in Wisconsin, so winter for me is always about snow. My favorite memories of snow are standing out in the moonlit night in the warm, misty fall of snow. It’s warm enough to be comfortable, and the snow falling brings a certain silence.
Once, when I was young, we had a really heavy snowfall. It was about midnight and my dad was working second shift, so my mom went outside to shovel the driveway so it wouldn’t get so filled up that we couldn’t get out. I put on my snowsuit and went out with her. I discovered that the pine tree in our back yard had gotten so weighted down that the boughs of the tree touched the ground. I crawled inside and discovered…yes! A perfect fort!
I can think of so many other nights I just stood out in the falling snow, loving the peace of that silence.
Years later I was watching an episode of ER. It was part of the series of episodes involving the Bishop and the doctor, Luca. The Bishop, very ill, signs himself out of the ER to go and preside over the ordination of a priest. As he grows more ill, he tells Luca of the moment he decided to become a priest. How he went out into the snow and asked for a sign from God. How he looked up into the falling snow and saw every perfect, falling snowflake.
While it wasn’t the falling snow that made me follow my own calling to serve the Pagan spiritual community, that story always reminds me of the absolute mystery of nature, the power, the beauty. Reminds me of all those nights I spent out in the snow, filled up by the peace of that sound, that silence. The poems I wrote to that perfection of snow.
Or even the times I would spend the night of New Years Eve writing instead of partying. There was this beautiful peace–the Christmas tree was up, I’d turn all the lights off except for the tree lights, there was snow outside, and I’d watch whatever New Years bonanza was happening on TV while I worked on writing fiction.
Still later, I went out to a cabin in the woods with some friends of mine. We weren’t quite a coven, though we were talking about it. Unfortunately, our group didn’t last long beyond that Yule weekend out in the woods. As so often happens in small groups, there was one person in the group who was cheating on their partner not only with one, but with two of the people in the group…and a third had a crush on that person. Small group dynamics; they are so complicated sometimes. People are people, regardless of religion
Finding the Magic
When I began writing the story of Tristan and Amber for my novel A Winter Knight’s Vigil, I wanted something far more uplifting than that. I wanted the magic of what that group could have been. Truly, it had been so beautiful out there in that cabin in the woods. The fireplace was warm, and I had found myself connecting to other spiritual seekers. For the first time in a long time, I had felt like people really”got” me, understood me.
Years later I attended a women’s spiritual out near Lake Geneva in February. It was the full moon and we were on the shores of the lake, and I don’t have the words for what I saw. That snowlight, the moonlight on the ice. Stunning.
I wanted to write a story about a group like that, but yet a group that was stronger and healthier. I also wanted to realistically portray the types of rituals that modern Pagans might engage in, instead of the more high fantasy/metaphysical powers that is more common in paranormal romance involving Pagans, Witches, and Druids.
For me, magic is a subtle thing. It is looking into the mirror deep inside ourselves. It is becoming who we wish to become, it is reaching toward the divine and making that connection. And that divine can have many names and many forms. For me sometimes it’s a Goddess, sometimes it’s a specific deity, and sometimes it’s just the magic of that silent snowy night, the stars in the sky, or the snow reflecting of the cracking ice. Sometimes it’s just that magic of sharing mulled cider next to a roaring fire with friends.
Snowy Nights and Romance
And of course, sharing that with a new lover would be magical indeed. Tristan and Amber are both part of a small coven called Kingsword, named after an Arthurian song from one of my favorite musicians, Heather Dale. Their coven has a rule that covenmates aren’t supposed to date, specifically to avoid difficulties and dynamics that are unique to very small groups within any subculture.
However…as you might expect, love doesn’t really stop just because there’s a rule, and Amber and Tristan end up together during a very hot winter night, and then have to face the consequences of their actions with their coven.
Blurb: When the coven heads to a secluded woodland cabin to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Amber finds herself closer than ever to her sexy kilt-wearing covenmate Tristan. As the Longest Night approaches and their group’s ritual workings intensify, the pair realizes that they can no longer hide from their feelings.
Excerpt (PG-13) | Excerpt (Spicy hot)
I’m hosting a giveaway including one hardcopy of the Wild Shifters anthology, one ebook of A Winter Knight’s Vigil, several pieces of handmade jewelry, three gently used Sherrilyn Kenyon books, one set of 4 handmade cards, and one small painting. Click the link to enter by liking my FB page, following me on Twitter, and a host of other ways to gain additional entries. 9 winners will be chosen.
Winter Solstice Blog Hop:
Check out the other blogs on the Pagan Writers Press Winter Solstice Blog Hop by clicking the link below.
Seasons blessings to you!