International Mountain Day is celebrated on December 11 every year. Towering, majestic, and beautiful. Mountains are some of the most beautiful of nature’s structures, stolid and regal they stand against the sky, of such a size that they can catch entire countryside’s in their shadow, and turn back the ravages of storms against their unflinching sides. They are the source of recreation and resource, with snow covered sides providing ski slopes to enthusiasts, and minerals in abundance to those brave enough to delve into their stony sides.
In certain areas of the world they are also a source of unique agriculture, providing ample space for the production of those products that grow best on their slopes. Coffee, Cocoa, Herbs, Spices, and the form of handicrafts that spring from the minds of those who live in the unchanging protection of these towering edifices to geology. International Mountain Day is your opportunity to head out and appreciate these unique landforms, and all they have to offer.
History of International Mountain Day Established in December of 2003, the United Nations General Assembly created this day to help bring awareness to all of the things we rely on mountains for. Whether it’s all of the glories mentioned above, or how necessary they are for the health and well-being of the flora and fauna that call them their home, International Mountain Day promotes them all.
How to Celebrate International Mountain Day International Mountain Day can be celebrated in a cavalcade of fun and educational ways. Head out to your local mountain to discover all the things it has to offer. Whether it’s a day in the numerous parks and hidden places that can be found in their craggy terrain, or amazing tourist towns like Leavenworth, WA, get on out there and explore.
Hiking enthusiasts will find the many trails and secret places a joy, as well as being able to enjoy the far flung places that so few ever visit. Due to the challenges of developing them, there is almost always an opportunity to enjoy nature in all its glory. Even better, once you’ve hiked your way into the far reaches of untouched wilderness, you can settle down to camp away from the light pollution and noise of city life.
Or maybe you prefer to drive, the twisting winding roads that navigate the mountainsides have some of the most beautiful country that can be found, near or far. Snugged down between the rising cliff-face and the sheer drop into the valley, the view is simply unmatched, and such a thing can be refreshing to the human soul. International Mountain Day is a call to get out into the wild and see what it has to offer!
I was born in the Shenandoah Mountains in a little town called Winchester, Virginia. We had no family there. My parents were "hippies" twenty years before it was fashionable. They lived on a leased farm across the bo14 as part of farming Catholic commune which was part of Holy Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker Movement. Shortly after I was born, (I'm actually mentioned in Dorothy Day's Autobiography "On Pilgrimage" as the baby of Alma and Leslie who would be bornin August) It didn't last. Most communes don't. Soon we were headed out of the mountains and into lowland Virginia, for my Dad to return to school and our family to embark on new adventures. Going back to the mountains was always a thrill for me, even though I was raised mostly near the ocean or on the prairies. I loved going to them on vacation, when I studied in the mountains of Guanajuato, Mexico, and eventually to a vacation home in northeast Tennessee. "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from the musical "The Sound of Music" was a long-time favorite song I had learned to sing.
One of my favorite places to visit as a child and even when I took my own children was Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. It's a tourist area famous for its "Mile-High Swinging Bridge" where those who are brave enough can walk between two peaks and dare themselves to look down. The picture doesn't do the height justice, unfortunately. The drop is actually two or three thousand feet and the bridge is often shut down on windy days because it DOES swing. Do you have a story of a mountain in your life? Message me through the Facebook Page or through e-mail and I will post your story next week.
Last week I interviewed A. M. Rycroft and learned about the Cathell novel series. Today let's meet a character from the series.
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
My name is Thystle Moran.
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
In a really small town outside Cira, in the winter of the Year of the Wolf, 224 in the Age of Aephis.
3. How would you describe yourself?
Sword for hire, vampyre, occasional troublemaker. Or not so occasional…
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
As I said, it was a really small town. Everyone knew everyone else. Most of us were related in one way or another. Most of us were farmers and ranchers. My parents were farmers. I didn't like the work, though, so I left my brother to it and I spent a lot of my time helping tend the horses on the Revner’s land.
5. How old are you?
Ha. Let’s say old enough to know trouble when I see it, but not too old to get in the middle of it.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
For a while. Then I had some troubles when I was about 14, 15. And I left.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
I've had a couple bad relationships in my life. One really bad one. But then I found Lilla, or probably more accurate, Lilla found me. She's kind in ways I didn't think anyone could be and puts up with more from me than she probably should. She makes me want to find trouble less.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
My friends, Lilla. It's hard to know who you can trust in the world. Cathell is a dangerous place. So when you find those people you can trust, I think you should do what you can to hold onto them. I'd do anything for my friends.
9. What are you obsessed with?
Finding a good barkeep. One who keeps up with the drinks, but won't talk your ear off or get too interested in your business.
10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
Well, I believe in loyalty and honesty, to a point. I'd say the benefits to my friends is pretty obvious. Since I take care of them, they take care of me. If you're talking about belief in a particular god, though, well,
they haven't done much for me, so I can't say I've been terribly loyal to them. Now that might come back and bite me in the rear someday. But I'll take my chances.
11. Biggest fear?
Losing a friend. As in dying. I had that almost happen recently and I still think about it. It wasn't a good time for me.
12. What line will you never cross?
I don't kill people for money. As I said, I'm a sword for hire, but I'm no mercenary or murderer. If I kill a man, it's because he did something to deserve it, not because someone paid me to end that man's life.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
Probably meeting Lilla was the best. She saved my life in more ways than one. I don't talk about the worst thing that happened to me.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
Being thrown headlong in a muddy pond by the horse I was breaking in, right in front of a bunch of the Revners’ ranch hands. Those boys had one hell of a laugh over having to fish me out of there.
15. Biggest secret?
It's not one I can share, I'm afraid. Sorry.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
17. What is your current goal?
Mostly to keep my head on my shoulders -- I mean that literally -- and keep myself out of trouble enough that Lilla won't decide she's had enough and leave. Small goals, really.
At this point there is usually a new author introduced, but no interviews have been turned in by the folks who received the questions. No blame...I'm behind on my interviews too. Stuff happens. Still, the blog must go on and so I'm posting my own mountain-themed excerpts. in addition, two authors stepped up with some updates.
and Mark McQuillen
Although my Series Children of Stone isn't about mountains, there is a range of mountains in the distance. The hero Marai and his family begin living in an oasis in the wilderness below what he calls Sin-ai or what we think of as Mount Sinai. Here are two descriptive excerpts from Book 1 Voices in Crystal, one in the POV of Houra his half sister and one in Marai's POV. The illustration is of Marai's view from the foothills of Sinai, looking out over the empty wild land.
The wet season was coming to an end. On days like this Houra often saw rain hanging like a gray mantle draped over Sin’s dark arm as it stretched along the hills around the southern stronghold Sin-Ai. It seldom rained for very long where they lived, but the pond where the ancient riverbed or wadi ran, would magically fill with water from beneath the earth again. If they were unlucky, water might come out of the hills. Even with a flood like that, the pond would be dry in half a season.
Eerie calm fell over the stretch of wasteland on the way to the open arms of rock at the mountain foothills. A glint of silver snow shone back at the moon from a high peak in the distant range of blue-black mountains. It was the mount of Sin; Sin-Ai. For many years it would be a place of gathering for his people and later it would be a place of law.
One of the best things a writer can do, in my opinion is co-writing or "live-writing". I've tried both. The Live Writing experience was about 50/50 so I'll talk about that first. In a live write meet-up a picture is passed around a . A picture is posted on a Facebook Group Page. Authors (either alone or in groups) write a poem, short-short or beginning of a story about the picture in a limited amount of time. At the end of that time the story is presented.
In the Facebook Groups, a picture is posted and two authors battle for 30-60 minutes, creating a story. What's great about this is the unpredictability of a tale. I participated in one with an idyllic setting of a tree swing and a book in a fresh summer setting. I began with a story of a young woman coming home. The other author took a step into the dark and had a dark memory surface. From that I followed the lead and let it grow into a family tragedy. This morphed into a hidden memory of murder, which then became the young woman's memory and ended in her own dreadfully gruesome suicide. Another attempt was less successful. I was the veritable deer in the headlights over a picture of a particular goddess for half of the session. What's good about these kinds of writings is the extemporaneous nature of the challenge. The next step is Co-Writing. I've mentioned before that I am creating a story called Healings with two other published authors: Mark McQuillen and Davina Purnell. It shares many of the qualities of a "Live Write" but shares many features of RPG's (Role Playing Games) in that the author has a character or a set of characters that meets another authors characters. Together they have an adventure which may or may not have the same canon as each author's original work. I took Marai from Children of Stone and eventually other characters from the series and had them meet his former arch-villainess Malice from the Valkyrie Series. Davina created a new mythical character: a cat/sphinx/human shifter named Saleah to add to the mix. How do you get Aesgard (as an alternate dimension) and the Ancient Middle East/Egypt to mix? I had Marai still alive, (immortal, after all) and tired of being a hero and Malice, no longer evil but enslaved by evil entity called Pathen making a break and seeking healing. They compare notes and realize that despite major memory gaps they've known each other when he was Zeus and she was Nemesis. So...why not go to Eleusis and party with his son Ausar who's been portraying Dionysus AKA Dio. Here's a clip from the WIP when they are all in a hot tub and "Dio" is convincing them to come to a no-holds-barred bacchanal--- Note: this is raw and unedited, with only spelling corrections when needed.
"My, my Nemesis trying to take my job?" Ari asked as her fingers traced the black climbing roses that ran up the sides of the Valkyries body. She tiptoed to peer over or around Djerah's shoulder. "You know I haven't ever figured out if a woman makes those sounds, because it feels that good or hurts that bad. The idea does give me the tingles though." she whispered to him as she slid against his side. "Is that a good thing or bad thing do you think?" "We want to dance again" Dio bent into Mal's face and kissed her long and hard. "You come with us...all of us, a night of no regrets." he moved back, seductively, an expression of desire on his ever-youthful face. "Come with us, to the mountain!" A cry rose from dozens of women and furry legged pan piping men. Dio backed up and assisted Mal from the pool. "You coming?" she asked Marai and Ari and then turned to Djerah and Saleah "Sounds excellent." she began to move as soon as she had risen from the water. "Clothing optional?" she asked."We'll be along"
Marai smiled, looking more content than Mal remembered. In fact, he seemed as if he was about to laugh. "Later for us too," Djerah nodded , snuggling Saleah. "I'll take her flying first. We might just parasail in." And clothing is always optional....Most of us like to decorate ourselves with fruit and flower and vine... but your black roses are indeed delish....Dio found a rose on her torso and began to tongue the stem of it in a tease... "To the Mountain!" the populace shouted, encircling Dio and Mal in fancy steps. that swept and led them. Mal saw Dio's eyes flashing gold and wondered if it was the effect of the ambrosia that swept her along or if it was something more like the warrior spirit that came upon her and her sister Valkyrie as they sang and drank on the eve of battle...And who was Dio really? Who was Marai or when it came down to it was she Malice, Nemesis or something that transcended all of those women. "To the Mountain!" she grabbed Dio's pinecone topped and ivy-wound thrysos and began to lead everyone else in the madness of the dance!
Interested? Follow us athttps://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=the%20black%20rose-%20tales%20of%20the%20petals and look for publication of these and other adventures in 2018. One more thing. There are several other authors (and their characters) looking for "mash-ups" on this site. Read, bring your game and WRITE!!!
Guy Donovan told me this would not be a Christmassy interview, but I thought it would be a good one as we are moving from fall into winter. Before Christmas was celebrated or any of the Christian holidays were transposed over existing pre-Christian celebrations, autum and winter were about death and coming renewal in the spring. What survives or this is Halloween followed by All Saints day. In the first novel of Guy's Dragon's Treasure Series, The Forgotten Princess of Mona the young heroine has visions of a pig demon. Today we interview this demon.
Q: Good evening. Your name is Yr Hwch ddu Gwta, correct? I hope I didn’t mispronounce that, but I’m afraid my Brythonic is weak these days.
A: You simpering twit, it is Welsh, not Brythonic! And its proper pronunciation is “Err Hook (like ‘fluke’) the Goota.” It means “The Black Sow.”
Q: Excellent. And what exactly is your connection to Halloween?
A: Hallowe’en? Gaah! Scottish-derived trash, that! The Welsh refer to the last night of autumn leading into winter as “Nos Galan Gaeaf.” It is the night when the veil between the worlds of the living and dead is at its thinnest. People all over the countryside light enormous bonfires and dance around them. Many write their names upon rocks, which they then throw into the fire. Any who do not find their stones the next morning are fated to die during the following year. While many believe that I will claim the soul of the slowest of those who run away home when the fires begin to die, the truth is that I will take any and all I come across in my wandering.
Q: Do you like your job?
A: <angrily> What kind of stupid question is that? Of course I do…I am an evil, black, tailless sow, you know! That wretched Ladi wen put you up to that one, didn’t she?
Q: Who is that? Your wife?
A: <snarling now, and beginning to spit a little> My wife! What part of “sow” don’t you understand? The Ladi wen is the simpering, moaning girl who insists on accompanying me on my quest for souls. <thinks for a moment> Of course, I’ve never quite figured out how she manages to moan so…having no head and all.
Q: I see. So, one last question? If you could do anything else…what would it be?
A: <appears about to fly into a rage before sighing and slumping back in her director’s chair> All right. Fine. You know what I’d really like to do? <pauses> I’d really rather be a writer, but I’ve got piglets to feed.
I recently interviewed Mandi Jourdan, but she contacted me, when I asked for some emergency material, about a new novel she has released called The Silenced:
“Johanna and her friends on the high school’s scholar bowl team have never been popular, so when their classmates begin to ignore the team’s existence completely, no one is immediately suspicious. It isn’t until her teammates start to disappear that Johanna realizes something is very wrong.
Can she determine what’s happening to her friends before the dark figures haunting her nightmares come for her, too?”
Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Silenced-Mandi-Jourdan/dp/1981284907/
Here's the excerpt:
The road in front of us seemed to frost over within the span of a millisecond.
I seized the armrest with a death grip, and my head whipped toward Xander.
“How did that happen?”
“I have no idea.” He stared forward, watching the road carefully with a practiced calm, but I knew him well enough to see the fear in his eyes.
“Be careful,” I said in a small voice.
“What the—?” The façade shattered, and the fear was now very real, very visible in Xander’s sharp features. Swallowing hard, I looked out the windshield—the edges of which were covered in a frost that crept steadily inward—to find that the icy road was not the worst of our problems.
On either side of the car, the horizon had turned black. Completely black, with no hint of sunlight piercing through.
The blackness appeared to be spreading, dashing across the landscape and moving at a sickeningly rapid pace to close the distance between its halves and consume the world in front of us.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076DY2RY6/ref=pe_1884310_258187700_pe_re_csr_ea_title Loving Two Dragons (The Dragon Curse Book 2) Kindle Edition
A closing word about interviews.
I'm all out of interview material for the coming weeks and I am waiting for several questionnaires to be returned. I know we just finished NaNoWriMo and the holiday busies are co-opting everyone's time, but I need you to ask for the questions, or just to send me word of your latest works
(and maybe an excerpt or a recent review)
The blog is small, but growing. It's nice and a little different.
It's also regular.
Now I could just keep posting my OWN excerpts but you want some promotion too.
JUST MESSAGE ME.
YOUR POST COULD BE UP NEXT WEEK
So here's a coming holiday wish from all the beautiful sentient crystals of Children of Stone
Be well Send love into the universe We know it needs some