Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Take Home Tuesday Hosted by Jessica Andersen

UPDATE: The winner of signed copy of DEMONKEEPERS by Jessica Andersen is KID LIT WRITER. Congrats! Please email your physical addy to contests(AT)knightagency.net
Burn, baby, burn!

One of the buzz phrases for writers of urban fantasies and paranormals is (say it with me!) world building. The stories center on the characters, but they gain added cool points from the details of world—not just the physical setting, but the cultures, myths, rituals, and symbols of the world’s inhabitants.

In ‘our’ world, as we step into spring in the northern hemisphere (yay!), there’s no shortage of rituals and symbols to draw inspiration from this time of year.

Here in New England, we plant the first seedlings of the year in our gardens, do the St. Patrick’s Day thing, slog through mud, and balance eggs on end at the moment of the vernal equinox (if you haven’t tried that one yet, I recommend it for ten minutes of silliness!).

The ‘spring break’ rituals of the doomsday 2012-fighting warriors in my stories are based on those of the ancient Maya, who leaned more in the direction of blood sacrifice and serpent gods.

(See how the serpentine shadow on the staircase leads to the snake’s head carving at the base? This shadow undulates throughout the day, making the giant serpent come alive—but only during the equinox.)

But they’re not alone in having somewhat destructive rituals to usher in spring. From Annapolis Maryland comes one of my favorite spring celebrations: the burning of the socks.

In this ritual, the local boat owners and dockworkers toss their socks into a bonfire to symbolize the end of winter and the beginning of boating season, and then don’t wear socks again until after the season is over.

Some say this ceremony comes from older maritime traditions, when crew members would have worn the same pair of socks all winter, and captains would enforce a burn-and-replace policy to cut down on the funk. Others claim it came straight from an incident with a sick-of-winter Annapolis dockworker, an empty paint can, a pair of socks and some kerosene in the 80s.

No matter where it comes from, I can totally get behind this. Because, you see, I have this wool hat. Now, it’s not a bad wool hat—it’s soft and non-itchy, and it’s a very nice color blue that goes with my eyes. But I wore it pretty much All. Winter. And I’m ready for it to be spring now.

So, to celebrate new beginnings, warmer weather, greener grass, and the impending release of DEMONKEEPERS on April 6, I’m cyber-burning my blue wool hat … and I’m asking you: What are you going to add to the Knight Agency’s first annual Burning Of The ____?

All comments are entered to win a signed copy of DEMONKEEPERS today on Take Home Tuesday! The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon.

For more information on DEMONKEEPERS and the other Nightkeeper novels, please check out

To get a signed copy of DEMONKEEPERS delivered to you the first week of its release, please visit
http://store.radcliffbookstore.com and click on ‘virtual signing.’ As a bonus, you can also order a signed copy of JR Ward's LOVER MINE, which will be out later in April!

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Blogger Natascha said...

I have been wearing my black ski jacket all winter long and I am sick of having to use it any longer. There is some mysterious hole in it somewhere where tiny white feathers keep leaking out of it. I basically leave a trail wherever I go. So, for Spring, I will be cyber-burning my ski jacket. Good riddance!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 9:51:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm going to cyber-burn my boring black winter jacket. I'm so tired of wearing the bulky thing.
I love Spring!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 9:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger kewlmom said...

I hate wearing shoes! When it is warm I am a flip flop girl. You can't wear flip flops in 12 inches of snow. So I'd like to cyber burn my old tennis shoes! Bring on the heat!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger INCiDeNT (Kayleigh) said...

Cyber-burning my black, snug Bench fleece. I've worn it since the beginning of Winter and now it's time to roast it goodbye. I hate that it makes me feel so confined. ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:20:00 AM EDT  
Blogger LSUReader said...

I'll be adding gloves to the burn pile...Winter is over. Great column. Thanks also for the pictoral reminder of Chichen Itza; we had a wonderful time visiting there several years ago.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jennifer K. said...

I'm going to add my black hoodie to the pile. It kept me warm, for sure, but it's time for us to part.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Martina Boone said...

Every pair of fat pants I had to buy over the winter -- just as soon as I can squeeze myself back into something else....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:58:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mujerluminosa said...

Hey Dr. Jess
I'm "burning a hole in my pocket" as I get ready to buy all the good April reads! Happy spring!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:59:00 AM EDT  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

I am cyberburning my wool socks and scarf. I am ready for summer. Would love to read DemonKeepers. Love this series.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:16:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh, some excellent additions to the bonfire! Seems like lots of black going in there, too.

@ Natascha- LOLOL on the leaking down. I have one of those, too, and the feathers always seem to appear at the most inopportune times!

@ Amber- ditton on loving spring!

@ kewlmom- Okay, one pair of tennies added to the pile. May you have flip flop weather ahead!

@ incident- Absolutely! One fleece roast, coming up!

@ LSU- love me some ruins. And wave goodbye to the gloves :)

@ Jennifer- Farewell, faithful hoodie. May you meet again as a cute tank (or the summer wear of your choice).

@ Kid Lit-- I'm feeling you. I was thinking of burning the, er, 'winter' jeans too. But then I feared I would end up nekkid for a month or two yet!

@ Mujer-- Hey Stephanie (waves)! Good books ahoy! (to mix our metaphors)

@ Crystal-- socks and scarf it is!

Okay, I'm getting a distinct woolish feel from this bonfire, so I'm going to toss in a little variety. In go my knee-high, insulated lug-bottomed and extremely non-sexy snow boots.

Not sure burning rubber is an improvement in the smell-o-vision department, but those suckers sure make a heck of a smoke signal!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Tere Kirkland said...

Ugh, the wool tights I've been wearing all winter!

At least today looks more like Spring here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Christina Harrison said...

Can I toss in my whole bathroom? It flooded in December from a frozen pipe. I know it isn't the kitchen sink but I want a bathroom sink that's more stylish and a bathtub with some jet action. I seriously want to get rid of the ducks in there since my kid put them all over in 1992 and left then in 1994. Goodbye blue and yellow ducky theme and hello adult urination station.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 12:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kat said...

I'd like to burn something winterish, but since I live in Los Angeles, the warmest thing I've had to wear all winter was a long-sleeves sweatshirt. But I'll be happy to toss in a ratty pair of running shoes that saw too many mud puddles which seeped through the mesh and made a completely mess of things.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 12:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cybercliper said...

I'm so ready to burn my blue sweater and my fuzzy house shoes. I'm usually bare feet and short sleeves but this winter has required layers - feelin' like the Michelin man here - so I'm ready to torch the two things I've been stuck with all winter!!! :-(

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 1:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Armenia said...

I'm cyberburning my ever-constant companion....red wool vest.

I'm sick of it, my family is sick of it. Its been so cold, I find I've worn it to bed at times. Gagh..not so sexy lingerie.

I am so looking forward to warmer weather where I can wear t-shirt and shorts with my flops.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 1:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Karin said...

I'm going to add my red running pants to the pile. I've worn them all winter when going to my volleyball matches and I'm completely sick of the sight of them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 2:48:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NOW we've got a bonfire going!

Tere's Tights, check.

Christina's bathroom, check, and you have my total sympathy on the flooding... and on the ducks for that matter.

For the longest time as a teenager I slept in a room that house's prior owners had done up for the baby, complete with Pepto pink rug and trim, and manic looking duckies stenciled along the floor. Yeesh.

Moon- check on the running shoes! Mud counts. It's way messier than snow (well, perhaps not, depending on where the snow winds up...)

Cybercliper's sweater and fuzzy shoes, check!

And let's burn the Michelin Man self-image while we're at it-- I'm thinking a bunch of us have been channeling the overstuffed-clothing-sausage feeling this winter. I know I have!

Karin's red running pants, check! You get points for a) exercising regularly, and b) doing it in a cheerful color ... but yeah. After a while, even the funnest winter clothes start to grate!

I'm adding in the microwaveable bean bag things that I heated up twice a day for the outdoor kitties, along with their heated water bowls. I'll be glad to see the last of them for a while!

Oh, and I'm toasting marshmallows over the bonfire :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 3:41:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Steph said...

My umbrella--I hate having to carry one around every day just in case (okay, so this is perhaps not the best thing to burn). Ah, Melbourne weather.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 3:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger elaing8 said...

I would like to burn anything to do with winter..coat,hat,sweaters,mitts.As I type this its snowing.I want summer.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 4:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Rain Maiden said...

My white hoodie needs to take a hike...it's not so white anymore. It will feel like sheding new coat. I could burn a lot more then the ol hoodie. A good spring cleaning of the closet sounds great!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 4:08:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lisa N. said...

I agree with burning the winter gear. I'm ready for spring. It was getting nice, but we had snow last weekend, and it's going to get colder again later this week. I want sunshine!!

rocket_kay at hotmail dot com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 4:46:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will be burning my brown boots. They are trashed and I need/want a new pair next year.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 5:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger mariska said...

I’m cyber-burning my neon jacket..jus tdon't like the color anymore !

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 7:54:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amelie Markik said...

I'll be burning my kids' jackets. I'm tired of bundling them up every time we have to leave the house... "First, grab the bottom of your shirt sleeve so it doesn't bunch up. Okay, first one arm. No, not that one. The other one. Now that one. Come back here. The hood's tucked underneath. Okay, zip it up. Yes, you can do it on your own. Well, at least try it. Fine. Here, let me zip it. Gah! Would you stand still? Just one more... there got it! Wait a minute. Why are you taking it off?!?!?! No, you don't need it off to go to the bathroom..."

This is my life. I need some more Final Prophecy to alleviate the misery. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Christy said...

Gonna toss my tattered brown sweater into the fire. *cough cough* Got a little smoke in my face.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:31:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Chelsea B. said...

I'll be adding my tennis shoes--hello flip flops!
And WOW! This book sounds fantastic!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Paula R said...

Hey Doc Jess, I made it. I am so ready for summer...spring is a nice little bump, but the sun is where it is at. Can't wait to get my hands on DemonK! Love that Nightkeeper world.

As for burning stuff...I really don't have anything to add to the pile...sorry. I love all my warm stuff. Oh, wait I got something...my winter boots. They are old and tired, so I think I will cyber burn those. It's time for a new pair anyway...LOL!!!

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger YzhaBella's BookShelf said...

BURN THE BOREDOM! I'm sick of being stuck in side! I figure since we can "cyber-burn" stuff, then I can burn my winter blues too!

I am a follower
Kate Leger aka YzhaBella
mleger0546 (@) rogers (dot) com

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 9:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm going to burn the old to-do list. If it didn't get done and doesn't get written on a new list, it probably wasn't that important in the first place.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 9:52:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots more clothes on the pile (lol on Amelie's kids), along with a few pairs of shoes, a brolly, BOREDOM (love that), and a to-do list. I'm thinking I'll add my list to that pile!

Thanks so much for hanging with me today, folks. Good luck with the drawing, and may you all find wonderful new books (and replacements for your cyber-burned items) this spring!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Paula R said...

I am glad I was able to come and play today Doc Jess. Have a wonderful evening.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 10:53:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Linda Henderson said...

I've got some gloves that make me mad every time I have to wear them. They are thick and lined and the lining is always getting messed up in the fingers and I have a hard time getting them on. So on to the pile they go. Bring on spring where I don't need any gloves.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pam P said...

It's the clunky shoes and boots and heavy socks with cold winter and snow for me. Soon as it's warm, bring out my comfortable sandals, or barefoot.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 2:49:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Beverly S. said...

I would have to say I would like to cyber-burn my pants. All of them! I am totally a capri/shorts wearing girl - and I am sick and tired of wearing pants. Come on Summer!!! I can't wait till I can go for a bike ride wearing shorts!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 5:56:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats, KID LIT! Hit me up, and I'll hook you up :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 10:29:00 AM EDT  

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