Yule Blessings Blog Tour

Today, I’m delighted to be hosting poet Colleen Chesebro on her blog tour for Fairies, Myths, & Magic II – A Winter Celebration.

Thank you, Liz for the opportunity to share the news of my new book, just in time for the winter solstice and Yule.

You’re welcome, Colleen. I’m happy to help launch books into the sea of receptive readers. What can you tell us about your latest release?

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II – A Winter Celebration, is the second book in the series. The first book featured the summer solstice, and this book features Yule & the winter solstice.

I started from Samhain (Halloween) and moved forward into the darkest days of winter. It’s a blend of darkness and light.

What poetic forms did you draw on for the poetry in the book?

This was new for me, but I wrote a mixture of syllabic and free-style poetry. Don’t get me wrong, syllabic poetry will always be my first poetic love. However, in the last year or so, I have discovered the beauty of writing free style poetry. I’ve learned to create poetry by not being afraid to identify my inner voice, humor it, and set it free. It’s a wonderful feeling to write in this way. I’ll be experimenting more by mixing styles and forms. I like that blend in poetry and hope my readers will enjoy it, as well.

How did you come to write the poems?

From the ancient Greeks comes the term furor poeticus to describe poetry as a frenzy sent by the gods. I can identify. Many of these poems seemed to write themselves.

Here is one of my favorites:

Jack’s Frost Fairies

Frost fairy white, frost fairy bright
pixies carve magical snowflakes at night
inside ice caves of considerable height.

King Jack rules over his frost fairies—
they must follow all his commands,
or they’ll become bitter adversaries
delegated to live in other lands.

“Blanket the windows and cover the fields,”
old Jack demands.
“Leave not a blade of grass untouched,”
his breath, a veil of cold he wields.

Frost fairy white, frost fairy bright
scatters hoarfrost with all their might
until all things glitter under the moonlight.

Jack’s frost fairies kissed us this winter night.

I wish you all the best for Fairies, Myths, & Magic II. I am confident readers will enjoy it!

About the Book:

In this second book in the Fairies, Myths, & Magic series, step into a world where dark fairies, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by winter and the celebration of the winter solstice.

From Autumn’s scary fairies to the forgotten female characters of Yule, prepare to embrace the magical winter solstice myths from around the world. Meet Frau Holle in the Wild Hunt, Befana—the Christmas Witch of Italy, and the Japanese goddess Ameratasu who controls the springtime. Prepare to embrace the Scottish trows, The Irish Goddess of Winter—the Cailleach Béara, and Snegurochka—the Snow Girl.

Learn how to make Yuletide rituals part of your celebration by embracing the symbols of Yule by decorating with evergreens and crystals.

My Review

Colleen Chesebro’s Fairies, Myths, & Magic II celebrates the Pagan perspective on the winter solstice (the shortest day and longest night of the year) and its associated yuletide myths and traditions. As I reflected on the book in preparation for writing this review, I was immediately struck by the fact that “pagan” is still a negatively-freighted word in Western culture and “yuletide” is now used to refer to the Christmas season, despite the Yule’s predating Christianity by centuries.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II is well-organized in sections by subject, each of which includes a research-based introduction: the Pagan development of celebratory traditions for the winter solstice; fairies associated with the Yule; myths inspired by the winter solstice; and the magic of the Yule in the form of contemplation and self-examination. A list of Works Cited is included in the back of the book for readers interested in learning more.

In each section, Chesebro has given herself free rein to explore, reflect upon, and, at times, play with the subject matter through free-style poetry, syllabic poetry, short fiction, and various forms of life affirmation. She even includes an historical microfiction piece, “The Long Walk,” which was my favorite in the collection.

Also included in the book are short stories with fairies and myths in a modern setting, which I greatly enjoyed, from a “what if?” perspective. “The Changeling,” in particular, raised the question in my mind about the role of fairy tales and myths historically and whether they still have a role in our own time.

Through Chesebro’s research, I learned just how deeply symbolic some of our current traditions are, even though the origin of the tradition and its symbolism may have largely disappeared from our cultural consciousness. At the same time, however, as the book’s final chapter attests, these traditions have not become hollow rituals but are now meaningful traditions associated with family. “How to Make Yuletide Rituals Part of Your Celebration” provides suggestions for strengthening the connection between family traditions and their Pagan roots.

What surprised me most upon completion of Fairies, Myths, & Magic II was the universal nature of winter solstice myths and traditions across cultures. This suggests that at a fundamental level, cultures across the globe have more commonalities than differences. Shared myths and legends are not just amusing trivia to pass the time until social media diverts our attention elsewhere; they have something important to teach us.

Fairies, Myths, & Magic II Links

Colleen’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Colleen-M-Chesebro/e/B01N9MV2RX

Amazon Universal Link: https://mybook.to/FairiesMythsMagicII

About the Author:

An avid reader, Colleen M. Chesebro rekindled her love of writing poetry after years spent working in the accounting industry. These days, she loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction.

In addition to poetry books, Chesebro’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of her writing community on Word Craft Poetry.com by organizing and sponsoring a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called #TankaTuesday, where participants experiment with traditional and current forms of Japanese and American syllabic poetry.

 Chesebro is an assistant editor of The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology & Gitty Up Press, a micro-press founded by Charli Mills and Carrot Ranch.

In January 2022, Colleen founded Unicorn Cats Publishing Services to assist poets and authors in creating eBooks and print books for publication. In addition, she creates affordable book covers for Kindle and print books.

Chesebro lives in the house of her dreams in mid-Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes with her husband and two (unicorn) cats, Chloe & Sophie.

Find Colleen here:

Word Craft Poetry: https://wordcraftpoetry.com

Colleen M. Chesebro, Author, Poet & Unicorn Cats Publishing Services: https://colleenmchesebro.com

Facebook Page: Colleen M. Chesebro, Poet & Author: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100085941528913

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/colleen-m-chesebro-6b856b237

217 thoughts on “Yule Blessings Blog Tour

  1. Liz, thank you so much for your time in helping me spread the word about Fairies, Myths, & Magic II. I appreciate your thoughtful review. I was shocked to discover how these early myths influenced our current traditions, as well. Also, I had no idea almost every culture celebrated the winter solstice in one form or another. Happy Yule. 🌲

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s all very enlightening on how our traditions changed through the years. Later in the tour, I show how Scotland has embraced the myths for their tourist industry. I think this is where the myth becomes more of a legend as people truly believe the stories.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Liz, for showcasing Colleen’s beautiful collection. It rests on my kindle, and though I’ve snuck a peek or two, I’ll be focused on it in another week. My heartfelt congratulations to Colleen. ⭐✨⭐

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you for another wonderful review! I’ve always been interested in the pagan culture and two of my closest friends are pagan. I can’t wait to show this to them and to read it myself. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I find it harder to let go now that I have been counting. But being free opens up another part of our soul. Fun to be able to write poetry in many different ways!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I experimented with free-syle and syllabic together. It works well together. Did you know most free style poetry has a count of 8 to 10 syllables per line? We’ll be experimenting with the different styles this year for my #TankaTuesday challenge.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Freestyle is all the rhyme, something I never felt comfortable with until the last year or so. Free verse always reminds me of purple prose. But I’m learning that all forms have a place in the heart of a poet. The iambic meter drives me crazy. I’d rather count syllables than beats. LOL!

              Liked by 1 person

          1. With free verse I go by how it feels. I didn’t know that, I will have to go back and check. It must be a natural part of poetry. I always love to explore. Xo

            Liked by 2 people

  4. Like you, Liz, I like to look at books from a “What if?” perspective. Colleen, your cover is stellar, and December is the right time to launch a Yuletide book with fairies and crystals. Congratulations, Colleen, and thank you, Liz!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. That is AMAZING! My husband created the cover for my next book My Checkered Life. He is also formatting the interior, and I wrote the text. I know how much TOIL is involved in all three endeavors, so kudos to YOU for doing all this work: a TON! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve long been fascinated by the topics this book explores through both research and creative writing. And I agree with Marian: great cover.

    Also, your review is quite thoughtful, Liz; I think we could have a lively discussion around your question whether fairy tales and myths still have a role in our own time. (Spoiler: I think we unconsciously live by fairy tales and myths every day, and society surrounds us with them even when we don’t recognize them as such.)

    Delightful-sounding book, and I’m off to check into it further. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m so glad the post struck a responsive chord, Ranee. I attended a writers’ conference several years ago at which Gregory McGuire’s keynote address called for the necessity of fairy tales in troubled times. I’m glad you will be checking out Fairy Tales, Myths, & Magic II!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Ranee, I’m so glad you recognize myths have a place in our modern lives. So many of the myths and legends have become ingrained within our different cultures. The winter solstice rituals surprised me the most. Almost every culture recognized the solstices. I’m sure it has to do with the movement of the seasons and our agricultural roots. Happy Yule! 🌲

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A very interesting concept, Liz. I’ve been reading about Colleen’s poetry challanges on other blogs but your review and author interaction got me interested. Subscribed to the blog. I would love to explore her poetry.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sonia, it’s so nice to meet you. I sponsor a weekly syllablic poetry challenge on wordcraftpoetry.com if you’d like to join us. We start up again January 3, 2023. And many thanks for your wonderful comments. The best thing about these book tours is meeting new friends. Happy Yule. 🌲

      Like

    1. Hi Eilene. The best part about solstice rituals is you create what is special and magical for you and your family. It could be simple or elaborate, it’s all up to you. I think there’s something deeply spiritual when we connect to nature and the seasons. I send you many winter solstice blessings! 🌲

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great review, Liz. I love how much thought you put into your recommendation. I had many of the same impressions – how “pagan” practices and beliefs are integrated into modern celebrations, the deep symbolism of many of our traditions, and the global nature of the myths. It was a wonderfully creative and informative (and magical) read. Thanks for hosting, and congrats to Colleen!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Diana. After my research, I felt like our world was connected in ways we never thought about. I tried to share the lesser known myths. Today is December 6th and St. Nicholas visits many children tonight. He’s well known, so I didn’t add him. Look at the impact on our societal norms these Yule/Christmas figures have given to the modern world. Christmas shopping starts in October!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A nice review. The origins and symbolism of our traditions are always fascinating for me to read about, and surprising to some people. I see you were an English major. My daughter is soon to graduate as one too, a BS in English, which when she tells people they try to correct her to BA! No, her university has both.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wonderful review! You have a gift with these reviews, Liz! You find the magic in each and every book, and then you sprinkle the page with ‘fairy dust’. (You did a marvelous dusting with this one!) 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Dear Liz thank you for hosting Colleen!
    There is much to be said for the similarities of celebrations from the earliest of times to modern traditions.

    May we all continue in the light of success and enjoy a wonder filled New Year.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Awesome review, Liz.
    I love furor poetica. I’m glad colleen is more open to free verse which lets the soul express itself but I completely agree that the power of syllabic poetry is irreplaceable.
    I’m also especially happy to see the dark side of things represented in her book. Darkness is so prevalent in reality and I strongly believe that as poets, in one way or the other, we can reconcile it with light and make our works more relateable.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Jude, this is why I love fantasy and mythology so much. There is no light without the darkness… it’s the ultimate battle for good vs evil, but also its about balance. There’s a been a few of “my” poets that have taught me the beauty of freestyle poetry. The rhyming is still hard for me but I keep working on it. I want to work with some free verse this year too. But, you know my true poetic love is syllabic poetry. LOL! Happy holidays to you, my friend. ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I adore the sound of this book! I know I commented at least once, somewhere. These blog book tours really get around.
    Congrats, Colleen!
    I love that you’ve uncovered so much about female characters in the myths.
    A perfect interview and review, Liz!
    Happy winter Solstice to both of you….. 2 more days!

    Liked by 1 person

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