The Ostara Sabbat marks the end of the dark half of the year. In the Anglo-Saxon calendar, Eostremonath was named after Eostre (Ostara in Old High German). Eostre is maiden goddess of dawn and the spring. At the equinox a feast is celebrated in her honor, replete with offerings of colored eggs. Exchanging eggs was thought to ensure abundant crops in the coming autumn and Saxons exchanged colored eggs as a talisman representing new life. The eggs were consumed in Eostre’s honor.
A favorite way to celebrate the holiday is by dying eggs. If you feel adventurous, skip the dye kits available at the grocery store and use vegetable dyes. It’s a fun way to connect with our ancestors and lets kids of all ages feel like a potion master in their own kitchen!
My most recent article, “Viola: Here, Gone, and Coming Back” appears in the March 2023 issue of IDAHO Magazine. The article contains Viola history, ghostly run-ins, and interviews with current businesses and residents, along with a little hope for the future. Locally, IDAHO magazine is available at BookPeople of Moscow.
The trailer was created by Damonza and is absolutely amazing. You definitely don’t want to miss it!
In addition to the trailer, there’s a video describing the project, my project budget, images of the map and the calendar created for the novel. You’ll even get a peek at the initial inspiration for the novel. (Hint: It started with a song!) I even posted the first editorial review . . . and it’s good. Really, really good!
Kickstarter allows you to pre-order both ebooks and paperbacks. Books will ship the last week of May. As a bonus, all paperbacks will be autographed before they’re shipped.
*Janelle Molony is Martha’s great-granddaughter.
**Jodi Nasch Decker is Martha’s granddaughter.
Poetry, Insanity, and a New Religion
In 1927, Martha H. Nasch underwent a secret medical procedure. Cryptic family notes and correspondence refer to her operation but never give details. As she recovers, Marth complains that she has lost her appetite and food has become tasteless. These events coincide with the discovery that her husband, Louis J. Nasch Jr., was having an affair.
With no more wrong with her than “a case of nerves” and a signature from her adulterous husband, Martha was committed to an asylum. For nearly seven years, Martha was patient-inmate #20864 at the St. Peter State Hospital for the Insane. The real shocker is, Martha wasn’t insane. Continue reading →
Early Germanic calendars were lunisolar, meaning they combined both lunar and solar aspects. In the Runic calendar, the New Year begins with the first full moon after the winter solstice. The first month of the year is Aefterra Geola (After Yule). The last month of the old year begins with prior full moon and was called Aerra Geola (Early Yule).
Multiple sources attest to the importance of the winter solstice in determining the New Year. However, it’s less clear as to whether or not Yule was celebrated specifically on the solstice. Since the Germanic calendars were set according to the timing of the solstice, there is a good argument in favor of holding Yule in conjunction with the solstice. However, there are other traditions to consider. Continue reading →
My favorite stories have strong sense of place. I absolutely love when an author pulls you into the story so deeply that you’re startled to find there isn’t six feet of snow outside when you put the book down. This is achieved though worldbuilding.
Most people think worldbuilding is easy. Science fiction and fantasy writers get told it’s easy because they can just make stuff up. Historical fiction writers get told it’s easy because they can just look stuff up. Writers who use contemporary settings are told it’s easy because it’s just the real world, duh. Savvy writers know worldbuilding is anything but easy. Continue reading →
Every autumn folks become enamored with “witchcraft.” When the annual autumnal uptick is accompanied by the release of a popular book or movie like Hocus Pocus or Harry Potter interest in the occult skyrockets.
A surprising variety of traditions fall under the umbrella “witchcraft,” which encompasses everything from Sami Shamanism to Haitian Voodoo. You can see lists of the various religions HERE and HERE. To the best of my knowledge, Halloween isn’t a holy day for any of them.
Fictional stories, like the Harry Potter series, bear no resemblance to actual pagan religions. Sure, pagans enjoy dressing up and handing out candy as much as our Christian brethren. But that’s generally the extent of our participation. The influx of folks seeking admittance to “secret Halloween rituals” are left confused and disappointed. The only hocus pocus they’re likely to find on Halloween will be playing in theaters.
Few people realize Halloween’s origins are purely Christian and its customs uniquely American. Continue reading →
Writers get a lot of terrible advice. Among the worst are phrases like “follow your passion” and “believe in yourself.” This type of advice sounds inspirational—in reality it’s just nonsense. Meaningless platitudes won’t make you a better writer or increase your word count.
Another equally useless piece of advice is “find your muse.” I’m all for seeking inspiration, but there’s a glaring problem with this advice. Most people don’t know who the muses are. Worse, they have no idea how each of their domains aligns with the different genres. Continue reading →
Meet the Feral Five: Little Bit, Ghost, Bruiser, Adventure Cat, and Hissy Kitty! They herald from a large a large feral cat colony that spans the border between Potlatch and Onaway, Idaho.
Kasey Kampster’s home is practically at the center of the feral colony’s range. She has a tender heart and a cat-killing dog, which is a rather unfortunate combination.
This summer two mama cats had litters on Kasey’s property—within reach of the dog. She managed to catch the sole remaining orphaned kitten from one of the litters. This time of year, both Helping Hands Rescue and Animal House Ferals are overwhelmed with kittens. She knew both organizations were already begging for fosters, so no help would be available there.
Not wanting the orphaned kitty to become a snack for her pooch, she posted a picture on Facebook asking for help. I told myself I wasn’t going to do it; I’d just lost a cat and wasn’t eager to take in another. Besides, Tabby is territorial and doesn’t like other cats. (Both Tabby and Storm were feral rescues from the same bloody colony.)
By the time I got off work, there still weren’t any takers for the orphan kitten. Sighing I got in the car and drove up to the Kampster’s, prepared to do my civic duty. I thought I was only picking up ONE kitten. I came home with FIVE!
I arrived to find Kasey’s husband on his knees, drill in hand, removing boards from the breezeway between the house and their deck in an attempt to catch kittens from the other litter. That litter was obviously sick. Between the three of us, we managed to catch all four of the tiny balls of fluff. I figured that if I was going to take one, I might as well take them all. That probably wasn’t one of the better decisions in my life.
There is big difference between nursing one kitten back to health, as I had done with Storm, and nursing five kittens back to health. I had Terramycin to treat the conjunctivitis in their eyes and kitten formula is readily available. But keeping 5 kittens clean is a never-ending nightmare, especially now that they are wallowing in the soft cat food before they eat it.
Over the past few days, the kittens have begun to sneeze and the oldest, Hissy Kitty, is congested. The vet thinks they need to be seen. I’ve contacted the two rescue organizations in the area. Animal House Ferals has generously offered to get the kittens spayed/neutered prior to them going to their forever homes but lacks the funds for veterinary care. Helping Hands Rescue hasn’t responded to either of the emails I sent–they are based in the LC Valley, not up here on the Palouse. That’s where you come in! Continue reading →