I love my readers and I love my NOOK. What better way to say Happy Valentine's Day than to bring them together?Read More
Welcome to my giveaway for the Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop! In addition to chances to win at over 50 blogs in the hop, the Grand Prize from the core author sponsors is a brand new Kindle Fire along with ebooks from 14 authors!
If you're familiar with my House of Arkhangel'sk series, you know that it's set in modern-day St. Petersburg, Russia, as well as in a celestial city called Elysium patterned after Imperial St. Petersburg. And if you're a Twitter follower or Facebook fan, you also know that I'm totally obsessed with all things Russian.
So it should come as no surprise that my giveaway for this blog hop is Russian-themed as well: along with signed copies of the first two books in my Arkhangel'sk series and a signed Fallen Queen cover flat, I'm giving away a gift sampler of Kusmi Russian Blend teas (includes my favorite, Prince Vladimir, as well as their Earl Grey blend, Anastasia, and their Troika, St.Petersburg, and Bouquet of Flowers teas). (This giveaway is international.)
You can skip to the bottom now to enter via the Rafflecopter, or read on to learn a little about holiday traditions in Russia.
While Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrate Christmas, it isn't the big to-do it's become in the US and Western Europe. Instead, Russians have a large celebration on the New Year—Novy God—with a decorated yolka (fir tree), and instead of Santa, a similar figure named Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) delivers presents with his assistant Snegurochka, the Snow Maiden. This secular holiday became more popular during the Soviet era, but has been a Russian tradition since the time of Peter the Great.
And as a bonus holiday treat, here's an awesome Russian cartoon about a tech-savvy Ded Moroz and a plane-flying Snegurochka:
And if you haven't entered the other hops yet, hop to it!
Welcome to my giveaway for the Entangled Under the Mistletoe Blog Hop!
The pagan origins of many of the rituals around this time of year have always been my favorite: kisses under the mistletoe, decorated trees, and pretty lights at the darkest time of the year. (At least for us Northern Hemisphere folks!) The season, to me, is about ancient magic and the wheel of the year, no matter what religion—or none—one happens to follow.
That same magic is encapsulated in the tarot, and the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg, in particular, adds to that magic with beautiful paintings depicting the Fool's Journey, which echoes the wheel of the year itself: beginnings and endings all wrapped up in an ever-returning cycle.
To kick off the season, I'm giving away signed copies of Books One and Two of The House of Arkhangel'sk: The Fallen Queen and The Midnight Court, along with a gorgeous Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg deck and an accompanying book that discusses the Russian-specific meanings of the cards.
Arkhangel'sk Trivia Note: Several scenes in Book Three, The Armies of Heaven, due out in May 2013, were actually written with the help of the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg.
Enter via the Rafflecopter below. And don't forget to check out the rest of the blogs on the hop!
Today is Russian Midsummer, or Ivan Kupala. On this pagan holiday sublimated by the Orthodox Church into the feast of John the Baptist, young people jump over bonfires, play tricks with water, and float candles in flower garlands with their wishes for the coming year. And if they're lucky, they may find the elusive flower of the fern. (Belphagor would tell you it's a euphemism for getting laid, but he's jaded. Don't listen to him.)
In honor of Ivan Kupala, I'm giving away a $10 gift certificate to B&N or Amazon, along with the flower of the fern itself. That's right, at midnight last night, Tvorila Night, I was traipsing through the woods and I found the flower of the fern, which I'm offering to you.
Okay, so I may have slightly exaggerated the part about the woods. It's actually an original art necklace from Gray's Crafts Etsy store, made of polymer clay, aventurine, jasper, premium Japanese seed beads, and copper wire. According to the Etsy store:
In Slavic mythology, fern flower is a magic flower which only blooms for a very short time on the eve of the Summer Solstice. To the one who finds it, fern flower gives the gift of clairvoyance, ability to understand animal speech, and to see all hidden treasures, no matter how deep they were hidden. The flower is believed to be guarded by the hordes of evil spirits, and those seeking it can pay with their lives for the attempt to take the flower.
And all you have to do to win it is enter via the Rafflecopter below and tweet about the giveaway once per day until the giveaway ends on July 11, 2012. The winner of the FOTF (flower of the fern) will be announced next Wednesday on my cover reveal for The Midnight Court, where you'll have another chance to win (not the FOTF; there can be only one). No nechysta syla (evil spirits) to worry about. Plus, this piece should help protect against any nechysta syla or rogue Seraphim who might be skulking about.
And now an Ivan Kupala treat for you: