Tag Archives: Windsong

Welcome, Author Allison Knight

Allison Knight began her writing career like many other authors when  she read a book she didn’t like. Her children scoffed when she said she was also going to write a book.  After lots of rewrites and the support of her husband, she garnered a three book contract for her first    historical romances.

Today, with her husband’s continued support and to the delight of her children, she writes the genres she loves, musing about her writing life on her own blog or as a guest blogger and eagerly praising the growing digital and the convenience of an e-reader. Watch for Allison’s first contemporary romance for Champagne Books, “Betrayed Bride” coming in May of 2013.

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ALLISON’S STORY

   Christmas is a special time of year and a great time to share memories, so I’d like to share the memory of one of my special Christmases with you.

   First though, I must tell you I was born at 8:20 in the evening on December 25th, and no, I’m not going to tell you the year. I will say I was born in one of the worst blizzards ever to descend on our state. But that’s neither here nor there.

   One wonderful Christmas memory stands out among so many and occurred several years ago. My DH took me to Hawaii, the big island for the week of Christmas. We stayed in a brand new condo on the west side of the island where the living room and patio looked out over a brilliant Pacific ocean. The apartment was so new that when I tried to bake something, the oven wouldn’t work. Maintenance arrived immediately. They had to remove the paper and tape obstructing the temperature gauge because we were the first to occupy the unit.

The next day, we went shopping and that evening when we attended a lavish Luau, I wore a beautiful muumuu, my DH a matching shirt. And, no I wasn’t impressed with poi.

But it got better.

The next day we drove along the coast, to visit a house of orchids. I saw blooms that were spectacular and nothing like the simple little orchids we have here in the US mainland.  After all that beauty, we took a side trip into the valley where they grew the taro roots for their poi. The trip down into that valley scared me to death. We were in a jeep type vehicle with no sides and nothing to cling to but my poor DH, who may still carry the scars of my nails as I hung on for dear life.

On Christmas day we went to Church to attend the services. The priest reminded us during his sermon that this was a special birthday and then asked if anyone else was celebrating a birthday with Jesus. My husband poked me and after a lot of prodding, I finally stood. I was the only person in that packed church who stood. I was wished a happy birthday by everyone around me while the rest of the congregation applauded. For the first time in my life, I got hundreds of birthday wishes. Believe me, if your birthday falls on Christmas, chances are great it will be forgotten in the excitement of the day.

However, my day only got better.

After church we drove to Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park. During our visit I got to walk on an actual volcano. The pungent smell of sulfur permeated the air, and steam rose from countless vent around us. I stood on hardened lava not many feet from the edge of the crater of an active volcano. Wow!

But there’s more.

I’d already purchased a small standing rib roast to fix for our Christmas dinner. We learned long ago not to trust that restaurants would be open on holidays. On the way back from our visit to the volcano we passed a road side stand selling flowers. My DH stopped the car, got out and returned with the most gorgeous arrangement for our dinner table. In the center was a huge bird of paradise and surrounding it were twelve perfect orchids.

To make the day even more perfect, the rib roast was one of the best I’ve ever cooked and the sunset was magnificent. The perfect finish to a perfect day.

May y’all have many Christmas memories that are as wonderful and memorable as mine.

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WINDSONG

  Windsong cover sm (140x210)Martha Alwyn ab Brynn Ffrydd wants revenge against a powerful Baron without losing his king’s support. What better way to exact revenge than to kidnap the Baron’s long time mistress. But she is not what he thinks she is.

Shy, unworldly Milisent Mortimore has been confined for nine years by a brother who now demands she agree to wed a cruel, heartless man. Thanks to her father’s will, she has the right to choose her mate or her spouse will lose her inheritance.

When Alwyn kidnaps her desires flares and together they must struggle against the treachery of Alwyn’s current mistress, her brother and the man he wants her to marry.  In defying all three, Alwyn places his life at risk. Milisent saves him from certain death and together they celebrate their life of love.

Check out more of Allison’s stories at http://www.allisonknight.com/.  Tomorrow, Author Nikki Andrews.

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Allison Knight Presents Christmas in the Middle Ages

Many thanks to award-winning and multi-published author Allison Knight for contributing to Rita Bay’s Holiday Celebrations with her blog on Medieval Christmas. Allison is the author of the outstanding Song Medieval series from Champagne Books. WINDSONG is the latest in the series.

First, no one knows exactly on what day Christ was born. Pope Julius I selected December 25 way back in the 6th century. It might have been a play on words for the Druids celebrated the “Birth of the SUN” at that time and Julius declared the day to be the “Birth of the SON.” Since I write about medieval England, I’ll concentrate on their traditions. It’s not surprising to learn most of their traditions were influenced by the Druids.

Let’s start with the Yule log, a tradition in every castle and manor house in England. The Druids had a great reverence for trees, especially evergreens which you’ll see later. All trees were special and had spiritual meaning for the pagans. During the winter solstice, they’d selected a big log and keep it burning for the entire 12 days of celebrations which also included a lot of food, drink and games.

Back to the English Yule log. In the middle ages, the men of the household went into the woods searching for the perfect tree, then dragged it home and kept it burning for the twelve days of Christmas. If it burned for the full 12 days it brought good luck to the household. 

The English also followed the tradition of feasting and drinking. The host would toast his guests with Wassail, a strong hot drink of ale, honey and spices. Caroling came much later because the Church, which played a central part in everyone’s life, didn’t approve of it.

Even the breads they ate can be traced back to a pagan religion. The Druids baked bread to honor the God of the Harvest. At Christmas in the middle ages, they called their special bread the bread of life and inscribed it with a “J” for Jesus.

Gift giving had nothing to do with Christmas back then. This was a religious time and the peasants loved it. The food of the day was mince meat pies and yes, those pies had shredded bits of meat along with fruit and spices. They were much smaller and looked nothing like our pies today. The days involved all kinds of religious dramas played out in Church. In fact, the original Christmas tree did not come from Germany. Remember the evergreens I mentioned that the Druids held in such reverence. On the 24th of December, a big fur was place outside of Church and decorated with apples, hence the first Christmas tree. The play on the 24th was all about the fall of man and the part the apple played in his downfall.

The nativity crib was first constructed in Italy by St. Francis of Assisi in the early part of the 13th century, but it wasn’t part of the medieval Christmas tradition in England.

I’ll add one final note. December 28th was considered a day of extreme bad luck. You didn’t go any place or do anything if you could help it. Did I mention there was a lot of superstitions in the middle ages?

 Whatever your traditions, may I wish you all a Happy Christmas!

Award winning author, Allison Knight claims she’s married to the world’s greatest husband because he’s her greatest supporter and works with her on all her projects. The mother of four children, she retired from teaching to move south to warmer climes. She has written and published nineteen romances for both paperback and digital  publishers. Her third medieval romance from her ‘song’ series and a short story are available from Champagne Books, Inc.

Because she can never quite step out of teaching mode, she blogs often sharing the knowledge she gained writing and publishing in the romance genre. She also loves to talk  about the growing digital market.

You can find her at:

http://www.AllisonKnight.com

http://www.AllisonKnight.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAllisonKnight

She blogs once a month for The Writers’ Vineyard, http://thewritersvineyard.com

Thank you again, Allison. Tomorrow, the oldest surviving free-standing nativity scene.  Rita Bay

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