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Midsummer nights

Midsummer. Long days, bright nights, a play by Shakespeare, the fabled White Nights in St Petersburg, where people don’t bother going to bed. A brief chance to party before the sun recedes for another year. It’s all based on the Earth’s angle of inclination and the point of its path around the sun.

Stonehenge, the famous stone circle on the Salisbury Plain in England, is the site of one of the best known midsummer celebrations. On the day of the solstice it is claimed that an observer in the centre of the ring will see the sun rise over the heel stone. But actually, that isn’t true.

More than one person has pointed out that ancient people were less likely to care about the summer solstice than the winter solstice and indeed, it seems Stonehenge was set up to record the mid-winter event. This rather good article gives more information. Why? Because winter was a time of freezing cold and biting hunger. The nights were long and dark and people prayed and made sacrifices for the return of the sun. That’s why we celebrate Christmas in the way we do – many ancient traditions are mixed into the Christian myth.

Needless to say, lining the sun up with geological objects has made its way into science fiction and fantasy, too. One that springs to mind is Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. Thread would return when the red star was bracketed in the star stone. The creation of the warning sign was part of the plot in Red Star Rising (Dragonseye in the US).

Mid winter isn’t always so awful, though. It depends on how far you live from the equator. It’s mid winter for me right now but in the sub-tropics it isn’t a real hardship. To those of you in the frozen north, enjoy your time in the sun.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something to read on the beach, and you like science fiction with a bit of romance on the side, you might like to download one of my books. Please come inside and check out the selection. Leave me a comment and be in the draw to win an ebook of your choice from my titles.

What’s more, you’ll be in the running to win one of TWO GRAND PRIZES!

1st Prize – a Kindle Touch or Nook Touch
2nd Prize -a library of science fiction romance titles from over 20 authors (these will be mostly ebooks with one print anthology), and an Anabanana Gift Card.

For more chances to win pop along to the blogs listed below and comment on as many as you want (only ONE comment per site will count as an entry). Each time you comment at a stop, you’ll earn one entry into the grand prize – so the more sites you visit, the greater your chances of winning. The winners will be drawn at random on the 24th June and announced on this site. The list of participating authors can be found at this link.


Photographing Brahmani Kites

Flying brahmani kitePictures of this majestic raptor always brings oohs, aahs and wows from people. Yet in many respects, they’re the easiest of my targets. The reason is two fold.

1)      I know where to find them

2)      They’re not shy

Our part of the bay supports a pair of Brahmani Kites. I’ll often find them on the tidal flat near Tooan-tooan Creek, where they’ll perch on driftwood or an exposed rock – anything where their tail is clear of the ground. Unlike the sand pipers and the white egret, they’ll let me get reasonably close. As they’ve got to know me, that’s increasingly close.

Brahmani kite on driftwood with snake

They’ll fly off if I intrude too much – especially if they’re protecting dinner.

Brahmani kite flying with snake

If they’re not on the tidal flats, they may be at a favourite roost in the mangroves above the creek.

Brahmani kite in mangroves

Or they may be up the other end of the beach, where a line of rocks is exposed at low tide. In fact, I got my bestest pictures of the pair together at that spot. You can see them here and here. If you want those you’ll have to pay for them.

And because they’re so big, they flap their wings slowly and glide so the camera can stop the motion. It’s much harder to get a clear picture of a small bird or an insect in flight because they move so fast and their wings move so fast. For flying shots, the camera is set to ‘sports’ mode, which means maximum shutter speed. That means you sacrifice the amount of light you get in the camera, and depth of field, so for the best shots, I need a bright day.

Share the pictures on this post by all means – just credit me the copyright.

Born in Ice

Today, my guest is Linda La Roque who is stopping off on her blog tour of her new book, Born in Ice. Over to you, Linda.

This futuristic romantic suspense story grew from a dream, one of a woman frozen in a block of ice and found by fishermen from an undersea world. She’s taken to their home and with the help of advanced medical technology, she recovers. In time she learns she must learn to fit into their social system, one different from what she’s known.

Blurb:

Pulled from an icy grave…into a world of doubt and danger.

Frozen in ice for seventy-five years, Zana Forrester suffers the agony of rebirth to learn her son is dead, and her daughter’s whereabouts is unknown. The year is 2155. A man’s soothing voice and gray eyes haunt her drug induced dreams. When she recovers, she meets their owner and finds her heart in danger. But, a relationship isn’t a consideration; she must find her daughter.

Brock Callahan is drawn to the beautiful woman taken aboard his salvage ship. He’s determined she’ll be his wife and a mother to his young daughter, but he vows not to love her. All the women he’s loved died. While Zana searches for her daughter, Brock must protect Zana from the evil that threatens.

My editor for Champagne Books has graciously given permission for me to post the Prologue and Chapter One of Born in Ice, so for 10 days I’ll be sharing another instalment.

Prologue – part 1

2080 A.D., St. John’s, Newfoundland

You don’t love me else you’d take me too. Nana can watch Jonathan. You just love him more.”

That’s not true, honey. You know that.” Zana tried to cuddle the girl, but she’d have none of it.

Her daughter shoved away and screamed, “I hate you.”

Zana looked up and pleaded with the heavens for help. As she stood, she heard Gran’s soothing voice from the other room. “Child, you know you don’t mean that. You’ve got to be big and help Mama. She’s doing all she can to provide for us all by herself.” What would she do without the older woman?

But… Jonathan always gets to go.”

I know honey, and that’s my fault. I can’t keep up with the little bugger. You’re my big girl. You can help old Gran get around when Mama’s not here.”

Leaving Katy at home always made Zana feel guilty, and today was no different. But no way could she manage both kids at the store. At six years old, Katy wasn’t a problem for Nana to watch. Jonathan was a different story. He was too active and wore the older woman out. She worried the child might suffer from serious emotional problems. Not that she blamed her. After losing her father to an avalanche, having every moment of her life dictated by the elements had to be hard on an energetic child.

How had they come to such a sad state and would it continue to get worse before it got better? Since the 1990’s, alerts had been issued about global warming. Suddenly, in 2045 warnings became fact. One of the sea’s conveyer belts stopped working, causing a chain reaction, affecting others and throwing the Earth’s weather patterns out of balance. Would nature be able to reset the ocean currents back on a normal course or were they in for even worse conditions?

Not knowing what was in store for them terrified her. It was all she could do to keep the four of them fed. Fortunately she worked from home as a computer programmer, but if she were to lose her job… she shuddered.

Don’t buy trouble, Zana.

Tune in tomorrow for the 2nd installment. I’ll be on Linda Kage’s blog at http://www.lindakage.com/index.html

Please leave a comment today to be entered into a drawing for an ecopy of A Way Back, my time travel set in the 1930s oil fields of Texas. Your name will also be entered in the GRAND PRIZE drawing for my blog tour—a KINDLE. A name will be draw at the end of my tour on December 16th.

I also have a release contest going. Sign up for my newsletter by emailing me at linda@lindalaroque.com with Born in Ice in the subject line. Your name will be added to the drawing for this rhinestone frog pin. For each of my releases I try to find a piece of jewelry significant to the story. After reading Born in Ice you’ll understand why I chose this frog.

Thank you, Greta, for having me here today, and thank you readers for stopping by. Good luck in all the give-a-ways!

Happy Reading and Writing!

Linda

Linda LaRoque is a Texas girl, but the first time she got on a horse, it tossed her in the road dislocating her right shoulder. Forty years passed before she got on another, but it was older, slower, and she was wiser. Plus, her students looked on and it was important to save face.

A retired teacher who loves West Texas, its flora and fauna, and its people, Linda’s stories paint pictures of life, love, and learning set against the raw landscape of ranches and rural communities in Texas and the Midwest. She is a member of RWA, her local chapter of HOTRWA, NTRWA and Texas Mountain Trail Writers.

www.lindalaroque.com

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