Monday, December 27, 2021

Now That We Got That ChrisMishMash Out of the Way

Folks hellbent on making Christmas about Jesus have almost every aspect of the holiday wrong. 

First off, it was a rip-off of Saturnalia which was a Roman holiday of debauchery dedicated to the god Saturn. 

When Christians were trying to convert the pagans, they had to 1) get rid of those pagan holidays, and 2) replace them with the more sedate and holier-than-thou holidays of which Christmas is the most full of lies...I mean mistaken history.

They had to clean it up, so they took a few rumors, odds, and ends to at least trade the fun party of Saturn for another reason to convert those pagans to Christianity. So, they made up this whole myth by combining some of the pagan stories and put their guy in the starring role.

First, Jesus was not born in December. That is just their excuse to replace the fun times with their own sorry state of a lie to fool the local yokels.

Things stolen from pagan tradition: 

  • Virgin birth
  • God being born as a human in the dead of winter
  • Gift-giving
  • Christmas trees and decorations

Much of this has been debunked elsewhere, so I'll leave it to Cracked magazine to give us this theft of a perfectly good pagan party to celebrate the Solstice and to confuse the gullible into thinking their god had anything at all to do with the pagan celebrations.

Six Things People Get Wrong About Christmas

They do mention that the replacement for the pagan Saturnalia wasn't really the start of the whole mess. Saturnalia was a multi-day party held from December 21st to 23rd. Quick! Let's invent a pagan holiday which they can then replace with their own myth. Thus Sol Invictus was born and quickly trashed for their own purposes. 

Why December 25th? That has to do with Hippolytus of Rome. He figured it by starting with March 25th, the accepted date of Jesus's death since at least A.D. 200. Add in the fact that, according to Jewish Talmudic tradition, all righteous men died on the same day they were conceived, and Jesus' conception must have also taken place on March 25th. Then basic biology tells us that nine months after conception comes the birth: December 25th.

Did I mention that the Jesus story is derived from a number of precursor heroes who happen to share a number of characteristics?  Note that all of these godly sorts lived years (centuries and millennia) before the Jesus story was mashed together. Interesting similarities no?

This is getting too long for anybody to read, so I'll stop here. There is more to say about Christmas trees, wreaths, gift-giving, and (most importantly wassailing). But I'll leave that as your homework. Surely, if you can research COVID to the point you'd rather die than be vaccinated, you can research the holiday you thought you knew. You really don't know jack about it.

Here are some links from actual reliable sources you can begin with. Consider it homework.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Santa Was a Shaman

Article from Ancient Origins Magazine - Check It Out  A wealth of factual information on --- ancient origins.

Christmas is just around the corner, so we couldn’t let December go by without shining a spotlight on the ancient origins of an occasion celebrated by an estimated two billion people every year. Christmas preserves our roots as we live out the traditions our forebears started so long ago – gift-giving and feasts from the Romans; wreaths and evergreen trees from the pagans; cooked turkey from Native Americans; Santa Claus from an ancient Greek saint; and the Yule log from Old Norse traditions.

From the Celts to the Christians and the Vikings to the Victorians, they have all added traditions to the rich tapestry of the holiday we call Christmas.

And while we are talking about the endurance of old customs, we also turn to a particular luxury item beloved by many – chocolate. A rich concoction created in South America over 3,000 years ago, and once seen as a gift from the gods, chocolate has made its way from the hands of Aztec nobles to the pockets of children across the world.

Along with beliefs and rituals, ancient wisdom has been passed down through the ages to help make the wintertime a little more bearable. We’ve included some easy-to-do traditional remedies that have been used since time immemorial to help you beat those winter bugs.

You will also find a feature on a very unique Australian town, where 80 percent of residents live underground. Plus, we examine the bizarre and unexplained phenomenon of raining objects, from frogs to fish, snakes, rocks, and even money! No matter how you observe or relive ancient traditions, we hope you will enjoy our last issue for 2018 and join us in celebrating the season of new beginnings.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

HolOddities Part 3

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment.
  • Latvia: A group of "mummers" travel from house to house where they are given a treat in return for their blessing. This sounds more like Halloween to me.
  • Guatemala: Folks sweep out their houses and put all the dirt in a communal pile with an effigy devil on top which is then burned. This must be an "out with the evil" gesture.
  • Cuba: Every December, Cuban city Remedios hosts the Parrandas Festival. The city splits in half, with each side building the biggest, baddest, fanciest light sculpture display ever. My husband does this by himself every year. No competition so far.
  • Bavaria: Bavarian Highlanders dressed in lederhosen fire mortars into the air. Sure, why not? 
  • Greece: The evil goblins, the Kallikantzaroi, lurk in the depths of the earth until Christmas Eve, when they spring up to create havoc. I wonder if anybody has seen this. It seems it'd be a great tourist draw.
  • Slovakia: The most senior man of the house takes a spoonful of loksa pudding and flings it to the ceiling. The more that sticks, the better. What is it with weird things to do with pudding?
  • Japan: Christmas cards are also a Japanese tradition, but they never ever are red. Red, of course, is the color for funerals. I suppose that means the cards could have lots of black, making them dual purpose for Halloween as well.
  • Canada: The Canadian postal service recognizes the address "SANTA CLAUS, THE NORTH POLE, CANADA HO HO HO." Letters addressed this way are opened and replied to by the well-known Royal Canadian Mounted Elves.
  • Finland: Holiday cards have tributes to the dearly departed. Finnish Cemeteries are lit with Christmas lights, making them a lovely sight on Christmas night.
  • Iceland: The kids leave a shoe on their windowsill for the 12 Days of Christmas. Each night, some Finnish elves fill the shoes with candy and other goodies. I like the Finnish elves. They're a generous lot.
  • England: Stockings are hung by the chimney with care with hopes St. Nicholas doesn't just leave a lump of coal.
  • South Africa: A little rotter named Danny ate all of Santa's cookies, the legend goes. Granny wasn't happy about this and killed Danny for being a greedy little punk. This is far worse than getting a lump of coal.
  • United States: In many cities, the Running of the Santas, draws a large crowd of spectators as the Santas rush from pub to bar to tavern getting as drunk as they can on the free drinks provided by the owners of the establishments. Of course, they sell a lot of drinks to the folks who want to watch the Santas get smashed.
That's all the weird stuff I have for now. If I find more, I'll most certainly add it to the lists. In the meantime, consider books as the perfect gift for any friend or member of the family.

How about some Science Fiction? These two books have the same plot. One is not the sequel of the other. Here's the difference: Ultimate Duty is R-rated and has some additional space battle scenes. First Duty is PG if you're looking for the same fantastic plot but without the sex.

Ultimate Duty $2.99 at Amazon (Free Ebook at Smashwords, 8.99 Print) and First Duty $1.99 at Amazon (Free  Ebook at Smashwords, 7.99 Print)

FYI: Tall, redheaded heroines kick ass. 

Yes, they do. But mostly only in fantasy and science fiction. When I wrote a redheaded heroine in my books "First Duty" and "Ultimate Duty," I used as my model a real-life person I had known years ago. She was a natural redhead, close to 6' tall (and more in her Frye boots), and she kicked every single ass while barely moving a muscle.

ULTIMATE DUTY:  A military officer must choose between her sworn duty or her rebellious blood ties.

Facing a life of drudgery on a repressive factory planet, Remy Belieux longs to escape. Her only option for release is to enlist in the Space Service, becoming a soldier for her own world’s oppressors.

She receives her first assignment: guarding a charismatic rebel leader being transported to a prison planet. When rebel troops surprise them, Remy fails to thwart the ambush. Despite a commendation from her Captain, she feels she must redeem herself by recapturing the handsome fugitive.

Shocked by what she learns during the pursuit–her own family’s past involvement in the rebellion–Remy faces a dilemma: remain loyal to the oath she swore as a soldier or join the rebel cause and condemn herself to a death sentence for treason. What is her ULTIMATE DUTY?

FIRST DUTY: Nyra Hutchings, a young woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life.

When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. 

Now, she must decide what to believe, where her first duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds. What is her FIRST DUTY?

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Universal Holiday Specials

 Use this code at checkout: DF55P

Most of my books will be free, except a multi-book volume which is more than half off. Find all my books here: 

December 15, 2021 thru January 1, 2022

Snooze and you might very well lose out on the biggest book promotion of the year. 

If you want to see every book on Smashwords in the promotion, check out this page on Smashwords to browse for your favorite genres or authors.

HolOddities - The Truth About Santa

Yes, I can use a movie still without
copyright notice. This is from "Bad Santa."
I know, I know. Yule (you'll--get it?) have dozens of posts related to the inception of Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Joulupukki (yes it is, look it up), Ded Moroz, Sinterklaas, Julenissen, and even Odin, etc. Many cite Saint Nicholas, the Greek Bishop who supposedly gave gifts to the poor. All this is set around the time of the winter solstice (also called Christmas, Solstice, Midwinter, Saturnalia, Letha, etc.).

It really doesn't make any difference since, of course, Santa is a delightful fiction for children to believe until their six or seven (some are duped for longer periods, some less).

When writing my Witches of Galdorheim series, I envisioned Santa as "that fat elf at the North Pole." the witches' complaint being that the dive bombing sleigh left reindeer manure all over their houses on the arctic island the witches made home. The result was a war between the witches and the Fat Elf until a truce was asserted.

Other than the mention of the fat elf, none of this side story made it into the series. Since I believe deeply (as much so as I believe in fairies), I wanted to resurrect this missing piece of the manuscript. It's too late to include in "Bad Spelling," since it's been published umpteen times. Still, I like it and I want to share it with you as a Holiday Gift. My writing unsullied by an editor's hands.

From the original (almost lost) text of "Bad Spelling"

The fat elf living at the North Pole flew his reindeer-driven sleigh over the island once too many times. Aunt Thordis had enough of reindeer manure sprinkling the rooftops.  The fertilizer mixed with the grain the reindeer ate sprouted a fine crop of grass on their traditional thatched roofs.  It was almost impossible to clean off.  Magic could clean up after real reindeer, but the enchanted ones left droppings that the villagers had to remove by hand.

The supposedly jolly elf just sneered at Aunt Thordis when she asked, ever so politely, if he’d take a different route. She returned to Galdorheim swearing revenge.  She got it on the next December’s flyover.  Blasting the sleigh, the elf, all nine reindeer, and a huge bag of gifts out of the sky gave the witch tremendous satisfaction.  She chased the red-suited little twerp all the way back to the North Pole and the coven got a good supply of reindeer meat.

The fat elf retaliated, of course.  He’d fly his reindeer sleigh over on the off season and encouraged them to let loose right over the village. The war escalated for several months.  Finally, each side sent emissaries to settle for peace.  Fatso (who went by a variety of aliases), promised to take a different route and not fly over the island.  Aunt Thordis promised she wouldn’t kick his fat butt to the South Pole: an equitable agreement in Thordis’s eyes.

* * *

You can get your very own copy of "Bad Spelling" and the rest of the books in the Witches of Galdorheim series. Or you can just buy "Bad Spelling" then work up from there.


BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

In Paperback (Amazon enjoys discounting this book without telling me, but it's discounted at the time I wrote this post).
Audiobook (Also on Amazon)

Monday, December 13, 2021

HolOddities Part 2

Continuing the Weird Christmas Traditions for your entertainment.
Mary Lwyd of Wales
  • Estonia: The whole family hits the sauna on Christmas Eve.
  • Wales: Someone is chosen to play Mari Lywd who walks through town with the skull of a horse on a stick. I'm baffled by this one.
  • Iceland: I like this one. If an Icelander doesn't get new clothes before Christmas, the killer mountain Yule cat eats them. 
  • Czech Republic: Desperate for marriage it seems. Czech ladies throw a shoe over one shoulder from the door way. The direction the shoe is pointed determines if they'll be married in the coming year.
  • Sweden: Authorities in the village of Gävle decided to install a straw goat statue in the town square. Every other year, somebody burns it down before Christmas. Both are fine traditions.
  • Sweden (again): Rice pudding is standard fare for dessert. The Christmas special has an almond buried somewhere in it. The lucky person who finds it will supposedly get married within a year. I assume only single folks of marrying age have a go at the pudding.
  • Great Britain: Speaking of puddings, tradition calls for each member of the household to stir the pudding in a clockwise direction while making a wish. I guess that's better than a lump of coal.
  • Italy: A witch named Befana is the deliverer of presents to children (not that stodgy Santa). But the kids have to wait for the blessings of Befana until January 6th.
  • Ethiopia: Christian Ethiopians celebrate Christmas on January 7th. Everybody wears white and the guys play ganna, a fast pace game of ... hockey?
More weird stuff coming here in the next couple of days.

How about a complete series about the Witches of Galdorheim for a Christmas present? The compendium of the four books and one short story of Kat's adventures learning her witch powers is now available in a single ebook. However, all the separate books are also in print. All are available through:

Amazon, of course

The books and stories are:

BAD SPELLING (Book 1): A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

MIDNIGHT OIL (Book 2): Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?

SCOTCH BROOM (Book 3): A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

BLOOD TIES TESTED (Book 4): Written by popular demand of readers who want to know what happens to Rune after the Book 3 conclusion. Unfortunate events lead a half vampire boy into indulging his vampire side, leaving him with regret and sadness. Can dear old Dad help him forgive himself?

Spellslinger (Prequel Short Story): Written by popular demand of readers who adore Kat's smart-aleck brother. It's a short story prequel to the Witches series is dedicated to Kat's brother, Rune. A super speller, he's plagued with his half-vampire heritage. This story gives a bit more of his trials growing up on the Witches' Island.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

HolOddities Part 1

Christmas, Noel, Jul. A pagan holiday preempted by Christian monks to make their story more palatable to the heathens. Well, Christmas is even weirder than that. Check out Christmas traditions around the world you might not know. Then, look at the bottom of this post to get the links to my book which is the absolutely most fantastically wonderful present you can buy for cheap. Trust me. Aunt Mabel will love it. So, on to the weird with this from Faux Channel. TALES OF A TEXAS BOY is just the right present for that hard-to-shop-for relative.
    Mattak from Greenland
  • Greenland: Their own version of a Turducken is a Mattak. That's raw whale skin served with blubber) or Kiviak: 500 Auk birds stuffed into a sealskin and fermented for 7 months. I think I'll skip Greenland's Christmas.
  • South Africa: Sauteed caterpillar of the Emperor Moth is a Christmas treat.
  • Austria: Krampus! See my previous post on the esteemed Christmas guy worse than the Grinch.
  • Catalonia: The Nativity scenes includes a picture of a pooping man. Um. Along with the pooping guy, they have a pooping log. Now, I don't know about you, but I think Catalonia got too much bug spray sometime in the past.
  • Norway: Brooms are hidden away so witches can't claim possession. What's a witch without a broom? Kelly Conway?
  • Japan: The dine-out place of choice is KFC. Makes sense to me.
  • Venezuela: The religious go to Mass on roller skates.
  • Germany: They hide a pickle in the Christmas tree. The kid who finds it gets an extra gift. Also, kids leave a sneaker outside to be stuffed with candy. Bad kinder get a twig instead.
  • New Zealand: Not so weird, they use a Pohutukawa tree rather than the standard Douglas fir. They're actually kind of pretty with red flowers.
  • Portugal: The Deceased are invited to dinner and have places set at the table for them. What the heck? They don't eat much.
  • Ukraine: Trees are decorated with an artificial spider and a bunch of spider web. Sounds like the Trump Whitehouse decor.
  • Czech Republic: Desperate for marriage it seems. Czech ladies throw a shoe over one shoulder from the door way. The direction the shoe is pointed determines if they'll be married in the coming year.
More weird stuff coming here in the next couple of weeks.

Now, back to my book, which is much more important.
  • It's nostalgic
  • It doesn't have any sex (well, there is that thing with the jackass)
  • It's in LARGE PRINT
  • It's funny
  • It's poignant
  • It has lots of animals
  • It's a bargain in the books section
Buy the Large Print at Amazon for only $8.99 and make everybody happy. Now isn't that a better gift than a necktie? Oh, you can also get the book for your Kindle or for your listening pleasure in audio format. Gotcha covered for Christmas.

Amazon Kindle Ebook $2.99 Free 12/7-12/11
Also free at Smashwords
Large Print Paperback $8.99 at Amazon
Regular Print Paperback $6.99 at Amazon
Large Print Hard Cover $13.99 at Amazon
Audio Book at Audible - Free if you're a subscriber

Little Eddie tells some almost true Tall Tales set in West Texas of the 1930s. Guess what's true and what Eddie fudged on. Was it about the bear? Cage McNatt's prize sow? The skunk in the corn patch? Guaranteed for a chuckle and maybe a tear here and there.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

In TALES OF A TEXAS BOY, I included stories up through my father's high school career as the star quarterback and President of the student body. He was trying to decide what to do next, so he and his best buddy, Red, decided, as teenagers will, to go on a road trip instead. I wrote this poem, which is not in the book, to commemorate my father's decision to defend his country as a soldier just as his father had. This poem was published in a magazine written by and for veterans. It's particularly appropriate for Pearl Harbor Day commemoration.

Signin' Up

"Free school" the sign said. I never heard of such a thing.
But Red and me, we moved on. We picked tomatoes in the fields.
We drove from place to place, seein' what we could.
Across Highway 66, we seen a lot along the way.

My brand-new Ford ran smooth, but after a while we heard the news.
Germany didn't look too good. Pa said there'd be war.
So, we went off to Denver with those two blonde-haired gals.
I handed them the keys and told them take the car to Amarillo.

Me and Red joined up, but Pa said don't sign 'til they told me what I'd do.
Red signed ahead of me and he went off and peeled potatoes.
Me, I just hung around 'til they said, how about San Antone?
That was good with me, so I signed on the line and got the uniform.

I ended up on a ship, heading out to Manila Bay.
But, it was December 7th and the ship turned round along the way.
Nobody said what was goin' on, but they give me a coupon for the train.
I headed up to Seattle and, along the way, I heard the news.

I might've got to the Philippines and been killed on Corregidor.
As it is, I watched for the Japs along the Pacific shore.
And that girl seemed just right to marry.
I ended up in Oregon workin' the big trees.

If it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor, where would I have gone?
Maybe that free school down in Fresno.
Maybe I'd signed up to ride fence down at a ranch.
Maybe I'd worked the oil fields like my uncle John.

But the world was what it was and I married that Oregon gal.
I saw the big trees and I liked the logging.
I stayed and sent money to the folks. Come on up, I said.
Where would I have gone, if it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor?

* * *

Great Book for Dad or Grandpa - 
Surprise them with a Gift of Old-Time Humor

Amazon Kindle Ebook $2.99 (Free December 7th-11th) 
Large Print Hardcover $13.99
Audio Book  free if chosen as the first book when joining

How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Happy Any/All Holidays

Tis the season, as they say. Say what? A surprising number of holidays celebrated around this time of year. So, no matter what persuasion you follow, there's got to be something to brighten the soggy/cold season.

Milad-un-Nabi: Sometime in October Muslims celebrate Muhammad's Birthday. A bit too early for this post, but it's also a winter holiday and needs mention along with all the others. The holiday is celebrated by exchanging gifts and giving to the poor.

YuleA Norse mid-winter celebration of the turning of the days from shorter to longer. Yay, we made it halfway through winter! Woot! Of course, the word gave us the tradition of the Yule log, a big chunk of wood burned in the fireplace and something large and meaty being roasted over said fire. It originated from the mid-winter celebrations (see Saturnalia) and applied to the Wild Hunt and Odin. We can blame King Haakon I for deliberately co-opting a perfectly good pagan celebration and dedicating it to the fictitious birth of Christ. That was a big miss regarding seasons since everybody knows shepherds watch their flocks at night only in the Spring and Summer, certainly not in the dead of winter. Skoal to Odin or Jölföðr. See how this alternative name for the Norse god being applied to the celebration?

Saturnalia: The Romans liked mid-winter to celebrate something, so Saturn got the festival. This one was usurped for the Christmas myth. Don't get all twisted. Christmas is not a celebration for Jesus. It's a way to get the Pagans to sign up.

Besides Saturn, other pagan dieties are celebrated for much the same reason. Mithra, Horus, Zeus, even Hercules. Christians didn't steal the celebration until 400 AD. Historical accounts have Christ born in the spring, but that would have interfered with the theft of Oestra, the spring festival of fertility.

Pancha Ganapati: The Hindu solstice celebration lasts five days - December 21st to 25th (the Hindus really know how to party). The celebration is in honor of the elephant god Ganesha, who is the patron of arts and guardian of culture. Each day is celebrated by a different color which have special meanings for Ganesha. Golden Yellow creates a vibration of love and harmony within the family, Royal Blue for love and harmony between neighbors and friends, Ruby Red for harmony with business associates, Emerald Green celebrates art and culture, and the last day (which happens to be December 25th) is Brilliant Orange for love and harmony for all. The holiday is celebrated with lights and tinsel, but with a nice picture of Lord Ganesh rather than a tree.

Hanakkuh: This year, the beginning of Hanakkuh falls on November 28th and ends on December 6th. What a perfect time for the Festival of Lights for those of the Judaic persuasion. Since the Jewish calendar is based on different dates than the western one, liberal Jews can have their Hanakkuh, and still celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa with their friends. Anyone want a convertible hanakkuh bush? Everybody can party like it's 5775.

Kwanzaa: Created in 1966, Kwanzaa was made up by a California
guy to highlight African-american culture begins on December 26th (like the British Boxing Day). Cool thought, but I'd just as soon we'd say: "What? Obama is black? Wow, I didn't know that." Keeping separate ensures separateness. Hey! Doesn't that look like a Menorah?

More recently, Kwanzaa is celebrated in conjunction with Christmas since many African-Americans are Christian. I suppose those of the Muslim faith can also celebrate Kwanzaa since the major winter holy day for Muslims was way back in November.

Christmas: A usurpation of the mid-winter Saturnalia Festival and Jule. St. Patrick was big on keeping the frolicking holidays, but bending them to his own purpose. Historical records seem to place the actual birth of Jesus in March or April. Facts don't get in the way of the commercial spending binge. All hail the Almighty (dollar/euro/pound/yen).

The big bruhaha every year in the US was all the stores who decided that Thanksgiving was a great day for their employees to not be with their family in a celebration of thanksgiving. So, they opened their doors and let the crowds rush in. Christians don't have to worry about atheists having some pretend war on Christmas. Christians are their own worst enemies. Ask the Pope.

Atheist/Agnostic/Pastafarian: The godless like holidays as much as the next person. They just don't have an official date for the FSM's birth celebration. FSM, you ask? Flying Spaghetti Monster has become the avatar for folks that think the FSM is just as realistic as any other god.

So, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, enjoy, be happy, and don't drink too much then drive around endangering others. Stay home and get smashed.

If you're staying home, as many of us are, then you might need some reading material. Find all of my books in all formats on Amazon (and Audible for audio books).