Thursday, February 02, 2017

Groundhog Day February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhog Day! This holiday started in Europe. Originally, February Second was Candlemas, a day when priests blessed and gave out candles to last all winter. Celebrants looked to the sun and shadows to predict an early spring or a lasting winter. Later, people watched the reactions of sacred bear or a badger to shadows or cloudy skies, yet the guidelines stayed the same—if the sun cast shadows, winter was supposed hang around. When immigrants arrived in America, they found that groundhogs were more plentiful than bears or badgers and so the animal they watched changed.

According to the History Channel, the first official Groundhog Day happened in 1887 on a hill called Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
Then as today, if the groundhog peeks out of his burrow and sees his shadow, winter continues; however, if it’s cloudy, the groundhog risks coming out to play and spring starts. To find out what season will reign over the next six weeks, you can text “Groundhog” to 247365 and Punxsutawney Phil will get back to you with his prediction.

If today, follows the National Climate Data Center statistics reported in the Huffington Post, the changes that Phil will give you an accurate weather lowdown are about 39 percent. Phil’s Punxsutawney fans claim he’s always correct.

I don’t really care if he’s right or wrong. I like the holiday because it’s about conquering fear and putting yourself out there. You know, taking a risk. This year in particular I can relate to the shadow-shy groundhog. Just days ago, after spending years as a hopeful aspiration, Other Than, my paranormal romance, became available to readers.

I’m going to share more about that soon, but first I want to mention Groundhogs Day, the movie. Bill Murray stars as a weatherman who is stuck reliving the holiday over and over again. Eventually he stumbles on the notion that if he gets things right, he’ll be able to move on. And of course, he explores all kinds of humorous possibilities of what “right” might be.

I love the idea of trying to fix previous life choices. My heroine in Other Than is trying to do just that. When unfortunate decision claims her life and she lands on an island purgatory, she vows to let nothing stop her from returning to the living. Yet her only hope of escape rests in the hands of the island’s Lord, both the man of her dreams, and her darkest nightmares. He is equally determined to see her fail and spend eternity at his side as his undead bride.
Here’s an excerpt:
He materialized in the inky shadow.
Or rather his apparition did. His ghostly frame hovered before her, sinuous and lithe. Against his shadowed form, the string glimmered like liquid silver. Slowly he unwrapped her, tossing the spectral bands to the floor until a coil lay between him and her.
Something inside her chest fluttered. “You followed me.”
An accusation.
He nodded. With a slight shrug, he spread his hands. “You shouldn’t be alone.”
She wanted to turn, giving him her back, but her betraying gaze remained fixated upon him. When he paced around her, she waved him away. “Don’t.”
He caught her hand and placed an insubstantial kiss in her palm. “Let me help you…please.”
A gallant gesture, perhaps, but her skin-slider sensitivity noted the rigidity of his stance, the twitch along his jaw, and the slight narrowing of his eyes. How could he think of helping her when he was in so much pain?
Ordinarily, she might be grateful. Might…if loss hadn’t hollowed her.
She ripped her cooling flesh from his spectral arms. “I don’t deserve kindness.”
“Good.” He gave her a rakish smirk. “Because I’m not kind.”
She shook her head, biting back the emerging smile that had no place on her countenance. She couldn’t be civil, couldn’t risk the involvement. “I can’t go on like this—stuck betwixt life and death.”
“You must. Don’t you see, sweet dove? You’re beyond both. You’re immortal. Like me.”

I wish you all a happy Groundhog Day! May we have the courage to follow our dreams.

Mia Jo Celeste Mia.Jo.Celeste


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