First, thanks to Siobhan for asking me to guest post today. When thinking of something to write about, I realized it’s already September. This is important because September 22 marks the autumn equinox. The day is variously called Harvest home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair, or Alban Elfed. It’s the first day of Autumn, my favorite season of the year! But what exactly is the equinox, scientifically speaking?
The equinox occurs twice a year, in March and September. The plane of the Earth's equator passes the center of the Sun. When this occurs, the Earth's axis is tilted neither away from nor towards the Sun. The name "equinox" is derived from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night), because around the equinox, night and day are about equal length.
The autumn equinox is a mysterious time of balance between day and night. From this date, until the spring equinox, days grow shorter and nights longer. In ancient times, it meant time to gather the harvest and to prepare for winter. People gave thanks for the bounty of summer, for the gifts of meat, cheese, furs, cloth—all the things needed to survive during the dark times to come. Today, most people don’t even mark the passing, other than to note it’s the first day of fall.
Me? While I’m not an active practitioner of Wicca, the old ways and gods fascinate me. As such, they often play roles in my writing. This is especially true with my new Urban Fantasy series, The Penumbra Papers. I’m often asked what a penumbra is. And here I get technical again. LOL Penumbra: Etymology: New Latin, from Latin paene (almost) + umbra (shadow). Yeah, I copied that from the dictionary to be all cool and stuff. *wink* The important thing is that light and dark fascinate me—whether physically in the change of seasons or emotionally in looking at good and evil within my characters.
In the northern hemisphere, the sun enters the astrological sign of Libra, which is the sign of the scales and of balance, at the autumn equinox. The glyph for Libra represents the sun setting/rising, expressing the balance between night and day. And I discovered something while putting this post together. Sade Marquis, my main character, is a Libra. She is a balance of light and dark, of human and magic, so it’s very appropriate that her astrological sign is the scales of justice.
I’d like to share a snippet from the newly released novella, THAT OL’ BLACK MAGIC. The novella offers a look at the world of Penumbra, where a human FBI agent deals with all the things that go bump in the night.
THIS was only Day One of what was shaping up to be a bloody weird week and the gods had been drinking again. Too bad Sade Marquis didn’t have that option. She was on duty. Dammit. Not to mention it was only ten in the morning. However, if things got any stranger, she might change her mind.
She occupied the one booth that gave her a broad view of the whole place. Déjà Vu. All over again. Back in the early days, right after graduating from the FBI Academy, the New Orleans Field Office had been her first assignment. She’d leased an apartment upstairs from the Déjà Vu. The bar-restaurant combo became a second home. Open twenty-four/seven, she could eat no matter the time of day.
Jax Martine—or as she liked to think of him “a Jax of all trades”—sailed by her table and two glasses of ice water appeared in his wake. He was human, but Sade would bet dollars to donuts there was a witch in his family tree. She glanced at her watch and wondered if she could squeeze in a late breakfast. She was meeting her partner, who had no concept of time. Werewolves were like that.
Catching Jax’s attention, Sade wiggled her fingers through a complicated series of gestures. A plate with eggs, bacon, and French toast—real French toast made from thick-cut slices of crusty French bread—appeared a few minutes later, along with two more glasses of ice water to replace the ones she’d drained.
She was on her third cup of post-breakfast coffee when two girls sitting at the bar stirred. Their attention swiveled to the front door, eyes on the prime specimen of fae male swaggering into the shadowed space. Back-lit by a sunshine nimbus, Ariel made quite an entrance. Sade looked to heaven for a reprieve that didn’t come. Her day just kept getting better and better.
If you are interested in learning more about Penumbra, visit my WEBSITE. And you can buy THAT OL’ BLACK MAGIC at:
To celebrate the Autumn Equinox, I’ll give away a free download of THAT OL’ BLACK MAGIC to a random commenter, in the format of the winner’s choice. Just answer this question: What’s your favorite season? And be sure to leave your email address or some way Siobhan and I can get in touch with you if you win!
BIO: Silver James likes to take walks on the dark side and coffee. Okay. She loves coffee. LOTS of coffee. Warning: Her Muse, Iffy, runs with scissors and can be quite dangerous. She’s the author of the best-selling Moonstruck series and new urban fantasy series, The Penumbra Papers. She's been a military officer's wife, mother, state appellate court marshal, airport rescue firefighter and forensic fire photographer, crime analyst, technical crime scene investigator, and writer of magic and mystery. Now retired from the “real world,” she lives in Oklahoma and spends her days at the computer with two Newfoundland dogs, the cat who rules them all, and myriad characters all clamoring for attention. She writes dark paranormal thrillers, time travel romance, and light contemporary with a kiss of suspense. To find out more about Silver, visit her at www.silverjames.com, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her infrequent tweets at @SilverJames_.