Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Week Guest Blog and Giveaway: Magic on a Winter's Night by Carol Berg

UPDATE: The winner of a signed copy of FLESH AND SPIRIT by Carol Berg is Sandy Shin! Congrats! Please send your physical address to contests(AT)

First a little bit of introduction, and then onto Carol Berg's awesome post! This week we're celebrating the holidays with a line-up of guest bloggers, including Carol, Michele Lang, Michelle Celmer, Twila Belk and a very special mega-blog on Friday featuring New York TImes bestselling authors Marjorie M. Liu, Rachel Caine, Christie Golden and Nalini Singh! As part of the celebration ALL of the authors are giving away signed copies of their books and TKA is hosting a special scavenger hunt!

There are TWO ways to win. Each day this week (Dec. 14 - Dec. 18) a guest blogger will give away a signed book to one person randomly chosen from the comment section. Also, at the bottom of the post there will be a scavenger hunt question. The answer can be located somewhere on the author's website. Send in all 5 correct answers* to the scavenger hunt questions, and you will be entered in a drawing to win the TKA Suprise Christmas Stocking overflowing with books and holiday treats!!!

Magic on a Winter's Night
People often ask me when I became a storyteller, and I tell them I didn't even begin writing until halfway through my software engineering career, when my kids needed less of my off time. But a few nights ago when the moon was full, bright enough to cast shadows, and I stood at my bedroom window looking out on the foothills of the Rockies, I realized that the roots of storytelling went back a lot farther, back to when I was a kid. It wasn't something that happened during the day. That was time for school and playing outside, family business, and reading, reading, reading - my favorite pastime. No, this other thing happened at night.

Nighttime always had a magical feel to it back then. In a Texas summer when the weather was hot, my sisters and I would lie out on quilts in the back yard to catch the breeze and watch the stars, wondering what it was like "up there." And we'd watch the planes go over and wonder who got to ride on them, where they were going, and what it was like.

Autumn brought Halloween, the night we could take off down the street on our own, wading through the dry leaves. We'd scare ourselves with ghost and goblin sightings as we raced between porch lights.

In the spring, it would rain at night, and I'd raise the bedroom window as far as I could, because nothing smelled better. I'd breathe in the rain smell, along with the scent of gardenias and roses, and I'd feel the breeze and think about how it would be to live out there in the wet with nowhere to go. Rain changed things. Rain was like a magical curtain. I felt adventurous on those nights, because the house was dark and everyone else asleep. Sometimes I would get my doll and play with her beside the window because that was the time when she seemed almost real.

Winter nights were the best, especially clear nights with the moon so bright the trees cast shadows. Those nights were so bright and so quiet, and our street was so deserted that I could imagine fae creatures who came out only when the rest of the world was sleeping. Maybe they were people who lived with wild animals or who had the power to keep themselves warm on such cold nights.

Everything changed in the moonlight. Our yard - the big oak trees and the shrubs - looked so different at night. I was sure that if I were to venture out into the neighbor's back yard it would be an entirely different place than I saw in the sunlight. A long time later, when I first read Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising", I understood immediately what Will Stanton felt when he opened his front door and looked out on a world entirely changed.

By far the most exciting of those winter nights came at Christmas time, when I was half scared I would SEE fantastical creatures (because I had several years' solid evidence that they came) and I was half scared I wouldn't. So I pulled up the quilts and cracked open the window so I could smell the cold air. . .and listen. I imagined I heard sleigh bells. I imagined I heard whispers. I imagined I heard footsteps on the roof. I imagined. . .

That was the beginning, of course. Storytelling is not the process of setting words on paper.

Storytelling is wondering. It is asking how would it be if. . .? It is opening the window and imagining people who not oneself and who inhabit places that are strange and unfamiliar. It is seeing people and events in a light that makes them look real. Storytelling is heeding the scents and smells and sounds of the world, and allowing them to whisper a story in your ear. Imagine. . .

Author's Note: Mythopoeic Award-winning book BREATH AND BONE featured a race who danced in the moonlight on the winter solstice.
SCAVENGER HUNT QUESTION (1 of 5): What is the name of the main character in THE LIGHTHOUSE DUET series? Click here to visit Carol's website.

Also remember that you can win twice! Collect the scavenger hunt answers, and also leave a comment to enter a random drawing for a signed copy of FLESH AND SPIRIT! The winner of Carol's book will be announced in this post tomorrow morning.
*Please note, that the correct answers to the scavenger hunt questions must be sent in at one time. You must collect all 5 answers and send them in one email. Entries for the scavenger hunt will be accepted from Friday, December 18th thru Sunday, December 20th at midnight ET. The winner will be announed on this blog Monday, December 21st, 2009. If you have any questions about this contest, please contact contests(AT)

Labels: , , , , , ,


Anonymous Mary Nucci said...

I think it is in the dark that we allow ourselves to think of stories that hide in our own hidden spaces, buried away till we are ready to set them free in the light. thank goodness, Carol, you found the time to write your stories for us!

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 10:00:00 AM EST  
Blogger Nicole H. said...

We are very appreciative that you imagined! Authors help open our imaginations to the impossible and we are better for it!

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 10:26:00 AM EST  
Blogger LSUReader said...

What a wonderful column! Thanks so much for sharing.

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 11:34:00 AM EST  
Blogger tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post, glad to have you hear!

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 11:41:00 AM EST  
Blogger Rashda Khan said...

Love your text crumbs blog!

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 1:25:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great post. Nighttime is the best time for my story ideas as well.

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 4:40:00 PM EST  
Blogger JJ said...

When I was little, my father would turn out all the lights in the house, light some candles, and sit at the piano and tell scary stories (he'd play spooky music to go with them). Some stories he'd make up and others would be classics. It had a huge impact on me as a kid, and it's one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer.

Thanks so much for your post!

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 6:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger Beth C. said...

You captured a bit of that winter nighttime magic in this post. Thank you for sharing.

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 8:05:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deborah Blake said...

I love your books for their magic and imagery and for the way you capture the essence of things. I can't believe you can even do it in a BLOG!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 9:32:00 PM EST  
Blogger donnas said...

Great post. Thank you!!

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 9:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger Marcella said...

Since I was a child, I've done some of my best and favorite storytelling as a way of putting myself to sleep. At night, with the curtains drawn and the lights out, I silently tell myself stories of fantastic places and complex people until a slide into dreams.

I've been a longtime fan of Carol Berg's work, and always enjoy her blogs and writing. I'm looking forward to many more years of reading and rereading her fabulous stories.

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 9:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger Pamk said...

great post and i'm off to learn more about your books.

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 10:30:00 PM EST  
Blogger Linda Henderson said...

I enjoyed your post very much. Your book sounds great and I will look forward to reading it. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 14, 2009 at 11:24:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! I loved your The Bridge of D'Arnath series. You have a wonderful way with words and characters. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 2:31:00 AM EST  
Blogger Pam P said...

Nice insights into your imagination, shows your creativity, Carol. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 6:16:00 AM EST  
Blogger carolwriter said...

May all you readers and writers have happy and magical winter nights!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 9:56:00 AM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home