There's No Place Like GNOME... part of the FAIRY TALE MAGIC BLOG HOP

This is Dani Harper's stop on the
Fairy Tale Magic Blog Hop!

See the LINK at the bottom
to over 80 participating sites.
Hi, my name is Dani, and I collect gnomes. There, I said it. (Gnomes aren't the only thing I collect, but that's another story...) The point is, I didn't intend to collect gnomes! I didn't plan to have any gnomes at all. Gnomes were not part of my overall landscape design or my home decor plans or even something to send to my mother (who is obsessed with garden figurines in general).


My mom gave me
my first gnome
And then my mother gave me one. You know the one, the little guy that promises you'll never have to roam alone... Mom had never heard of Travelocity, she just saw him and thought he was cute.

Admittedly, he WAS kind of cute. But he looked so lonely amidst the flowers all by himself. Being a bit of marshmallow heart, I decided to get him a friend. Just one, honest! And then I figured they probably needed some shelter from the sun and rain and so forth, so I got them a big ceramic mushroom. And before I knew it, there were more gnomes. And more mushrooms. And gnomes, gnomes, gnomes. The long and short is that I now have an entire gnomish civilization at the side of my house.  

At first, I was certain that the grandkids would be delighted by the whimsical community of pointy-hatted citizens. Instead, they walked right by them. No guests have ever acknowledged their presence, no visiting neighbors have ever commented. And then suddenly I understood what was going on. NOBODY CAN SEE THEM!!! My innocent-looking garden gnomes have cast a S-P-E-L-L. Why would I come to such a conclusion? Because historically gnomes have both magical powers AND the tendency to use them.
This couple makes me think of my
sweetheart and me


GNOMES IN MYTH AND LEGEND:

Gnomes form one of four groups of Elementals, according to the 16th century writings of Paracelsus. 
A gnome is an earth spirit and immortal, and there are many cultures around the world that have stories of similar mythical creatures such as the tomte of Sweden, the duende of Mexico, and the coblyn of Wales. The word gnome comes from the Greek genomos meaning "earth-dweller."

Said to be able to swim through soil and rock like a fish through water, gnomes come in several types such as Garden Gnomes, Farm Gnomes, Forest Gnomes, House Gnomes, and even Cave Gnomes. 


Most gnomes are benign*. Many are even benevolent and take an interest in the wellbeing of their surroundings --- for instance, ensuring that the soil is healthy, that plants and trees grow strong, that dwellings are clean and tools repaired, and that both wildlife and livestock are looked after.


*Disclaimer: Like humans, not all gnomes are friendly or well-intentioned. But that's a story for another day...

One of my favorite gnome figurines.
The magical powers of gnomes are similar to those of all faery tribes. They can protect or punish at will. A farmer who doesn’t take care of his animals could find himself the target of severe pranks! On the other hand, the aid of gnomes might be solicited by leaving food for them. 

In fact, some wineries in France have been rumored to take gnomes very seriously! Traditionally, the little guys looked after the vineyard soil. 


Cave gnomes are said to be particularly sympathetic to miners, and there are stories dating back to Roman times of gnomes knocking on the rocks of tin mines to warn the slaves of approaching dangers such as tunnel collapses. (Mind you, other stories tell of gnomes guarding the treasures of the earth and trying to lure miners away from them!)


Victorian England embraced
the garden gnome (but still didn't
smile while having photos taken)
HISTORY OF GARDEN GNOME FIGURINES:

Most of us are familiar with garden gnome figurines – after all, they date all the way back to Roman times! But the modern version became popular in Germany and other European countries in the early 1800s.

Replica of
"Lampy"
Victorian England embraced the gnome in the 1840s after Sir Charles Isham brought 21 terra cotta gnomes from Germany to Lamport Hall, his home in Northamptonshire. 

One of those original gnomes still survives today! “Lampy”, as he is called, is on display in the Hall and is considered the oldest garden gnome in the world. He is valued at about £2 million or $3,252,900 in US currency. 



The Griebel family still makes traditional gnomes
Although wooden gnomes had been made in Switzerland much earlier, it wasn't until the the 1800s that a handful of German companies began making them out of clay. One of those companies was started by Phillip Griebel in Thuringia. 

The other manufacturers have fallen to history but four generations later, the Griebel family tradition continues. A descendant, Reinhard Griebel (shown at left), creates gnomes at the very same location. The company boasts an impressive gnome museum too!


GNOME TRIVIA:


The Gnome Knows…
French wine label 
The Royal Gnome!
International Gnome Day is June 21st. The occasion began in 2002 and is now observed by a dozen countries.

The Gnome Knows... is a wine label from vineyards in the Languedoc region in the south of France. 

According to an official list published by Buckingham Palace, Princess Anne of the Royal Family received a garden gnome as a gift in 2013.

The German word for gnome is Gartenzwerg, which translates to garden dwarfCurrently there are about 25 MILLION gnomes in Germany alone, and at this time of year, many people will be starting to take them indoors for the winter. It's traditional (and often considered lucky) to display the gnome in the home if possible, or at least give them a dry shelf in the garden shed. 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST - 

Book 2 of the Grim Series
Book 1 of the Grim Series
The books in my new
Grim Series 
are bringing ancient 
Welsh faery legends 
to modern-day America. 

In my upcoming release,
STORM WARNED,
one character has an unexpected affinity for garden gnomes - lots and lots of them!

Watch for future announcements!

Dani Harper's Giveaway is open to International 
as well as USA entries!

LINK TO PARTICIPATING SITES:

Herding Cats And Burning Soup is the host of this blog hop.
Below is the list of over 80 participating sites, each one with a fun giveaway to enter. Happy hopping!





Summer Magic and a Summer Deadline... Plus, sign up for the Dani Harper Newsletter!

As most of you well know, this has been one HOT summer!  My years in northern Canada and Alaska have left me unprepared for triple digit temperatures. While my mountain man husband bravely sallies forth daily to subdue the garden and the yard (even at high noon - the guy is TOUGH!), I've been grateful that I have an August deadline to meet --- I get to stay indoors during most of the egg-frying-on-the-sidewalk afternoons in front of a big fan in my office!

In the evening, though, when the sun's fire has dipped below the horizon, I take pleasure in watering the many flowers, peppers and tomatoes that grow in pots on my porch (I'm actually a compulsive gardener despite hiding from the heat during the day).  

I water my gnome garden too (After my deadline, I'll be writing a blog post all about the history -- and the addictive qualities -- of GNOMES) And when the chores are done, and the moon is up, I usually sit on the porch for a while and enjoy all the truly MAGICAL things that have given me a heartful of summer memories throughout my life....  

The scent of flowers in the dark. Stars overhead, and a big golden moon emerging from behind a hill. The sultry feel of the night breeze on my skin. The song of crickets, the laughter of children camping out in their backyard, the whirring wings of a hummingbird moth as it sips from my petunias ... and now and then, the heart-stopping sounds of a few illegal fireworks from our neighborhood non-conformists... 

Stories come out on summer nights too, ideas and characters cautiously creep out from the shadows, in hopes of finding a welcome..... 
There's a powerful sense that anything can happen on a glorious summer night!

Wishing YOU some truly magical times this summer too!
Sincerely, 
Dani

The above post was written for my July 28th newsletter. 
Go to http://conta.cc/1kjzjDT to read this issue and view the giveaways!


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Click HERE to do so - it's free and simple. 
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AND DID YOU KNOW that I do a random drawing for a giveaway with EVERY newsletter issue?  
Prizes vary, according to what my  overstuffed giveaway closet has on hand. Giveaways are international unless otherwise stated.  Most importantly, you don't have to do a single thing in order to be eligible
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SUMMER READS BLOG HOP - Dani Harper's Giveaway

First of all, huge thanks to Herding Cats and Burning Soup for hosting this awesome summer hop!

Summer and reading go together as naturally as baseball and hotdogs or movies and popcorn!

Where do you do your summer reading? When I was a kid, I liked to spend my reading time in trees or on the roof! Hammocks are glorious things, but so are recliners in front of the fan when the temperature climbs too high to venture outside....

What's on your summer reading list? 

FINISHED!
FINISHED!
I always have a horror book on the go in the hot weather -- not sure exactly why. My hubby suggested it's because it's easier to handle the scary stuff when there's plenty of daylight! He may have a point....

Anyway, my 2014 summer horror read was
THE STRAIN by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan.
"Was", because I already finished devouring it!
Vampires are scary again, and I absolutely LOVED this book! I was so impressed with so many things in this story, it's impossible to list them all. Gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. (Click here for my review of The Strain)

I've enjoyed science fiction my entire life, and I have one on my summer list of must-reads:  BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest (steampunk, zombies and alternate history -- what a great combo!)  Not only am I hearing great things about this series, but I'm really interested in writing a Steampunk story myself. (What do you think?) Started reading Boneshaker on July 3rd, and so far, I'm captivated!

Of course there's urban fantasy and paranormal romance on my list! PNR is the genre I currently write in, although I hope to move over to UF one day soon. Meanwhile, I have a couple of series to finish reading:

REDEMPTION - Book 4 of the Alchemy Series by Donna Augustine. The first three books have been TERRIFIC and I'm dying to read the last installment. (Plus, the sooner I finish this one, the sooner I can start her brand new KARMA series. 
Already have the first ebook loaded!)

And finally, I'm going to read THE KING by J.R. Ward. I've waited this long partly because I just can't bear to see the Black Dagger Brotherhood series come to an end. I already have it loaded onto my Kindle, but I'm looking forward to getting the paperback when it comes out in late August -- I want a copy to go on the shelf with the rest of my collection. (Have I ever mentioned that I really HATE hardcover books? They look nice, but they're awkward and heavy for reading.)


I'd have a lot more books on my list, but I need extra time to write this summer. Gotta hand in Book 3 of the Grim Series*, STORM WARNED to my editor soon! 
If you haven't gotten a chance yet, I hope you'll check out Books 1 and 2, STORM WARRIOR, and STORM BOUND.

*The Grim Series is bringing Celtic mythology and hot heroes - plus even hotter faeries - into modern-day America!

Meanwhile, be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway.
You could win Kindle Ebooks of Storm Warrior and Storm Bound
PLUS your choice of one of the four books 
on my list above in Kindle Ebook form*! 
THREE ebooks in total. (Already own mine? We can talk...)
Prize will be sent via Amazon.

Giveaway is USA/Canada only this time, folks. 
*Note - For fans who do not have Kindles, there are a variety of free Kindle reading apps 
that can be downloaded to various devices such as iPad, computer or smart phone. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

ALSO check out the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY below for the Summer Reads Blog Hop!


Over 70 authors participating in this great Hop - 
CLICK THE BUTTON FOR THE LINKY LIST!



Summers Spent With Books - and a chance to win a Dani Harper tote bag!


Trees were made for climbing ... and for reading in!
Summer vacation and reading have always gone together for as long as I can remember! I spent as much time as I could in the public pool or the creek, but when it was time to dry off, I was in the shade with my face in a book ... or better yet, walking or biking to the public library and spending a couple of magical hours there.

The high-ceilinged old building had vast oak shelves and a hardwood floor that creaked, and somehow the place stayed cool even on the hottest days. It was an Aladdin's cave of wonders for me, a treasure trove I never tired of. Most of the books were reeeally old, but I didn't mind a bit (and I still adore the aroma of old books!).

Fun trivia --- According to a 2009 study, old books have an unmistakable smell that is as much a part of them as their contents --- "a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness". Sounds like someone describing a unique wine!

Built in 1913 by Andrew Carnegie, this was the library
I frequented as a kid. I spent a lot of time reading 
on top of the broad concrete bannisters 
in the summer because they always stayed cool!
(Of course, by the time I was born, there were lots of
big beautiful TREES that shaded the building!)
My old library today! It's not a library anymore,
but I'm happy it's still standing -- it's like seeing
an old friend when I visit my hometown!
Since I lived in Canada, most of the children's books in my town library were British, and I read a LOT of stories involving faeries that I'm sure have influenced me to this day (and helped inspire my novels, STORM WARRIOR and STORM BOUND). I adored myth and legend (still do!), and poured over collections of Greek, Roman, Norse and Celtic lore.

I feel very fortunate that my reading level was far above my age. Not only could I read fast, but I comprehended and remembered what I read. And my appetite for books was insatiable.... By the time I was ten, I was venturing fearlessly into every section. There was an entire wall devoted to science fiction, another to fabulous old classics -- I read the unabridged versions of The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Ivanhoe, Frankenstein, and everything by Rudyard Kipling. I adored the supernatural, and devoured all the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker. And YES, I definitely remember the day I discovered JRR Tolkien!  Non-fiction was great too -- science and geography and ANYTHING about animals of any kind. I repeatedly dragged home a huge dry book on electricity, but I have to admit, I never really conquered that one. If only Robert Louis Stevenson or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had written it....

New books were few and far between at this library -- I don't think there was much in the way of funding at the time -- but the librarian often saved those precious new books JUST FOR ME to read first, bless her heart! Of course, since I was there two or three times a week in the summer, and at least once a week the rest of the year, no one else was kept waiting for the book for very long!

I was also given the rare privilege of taking out as many books from the library as I wanted -- the limit was usually 3! My personal best was reading 22 full-sized novels in a single week! (No wonder my parents finally installed a huge basket on the front of my bicycle -- the kind that newspaper carriers used!)

One summer in particular really showcased my diverse interests. I remember reading Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell (long before I ever saw the movie), The Cybernetic Brains by Raymond F. Jones, several of Ray Bradbury's works (S is for Space and The Martian Chronicles are within reach on my Keeper Shelf as I write this), Rosemary's Baby, the entire John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolf, plus a huge tome on biology, evolution and Mendal's work on genetics! (And those are just the books I can remember from that season...)

In the summer, though, WHERE you read is almost as important as the books! At the library, there really wasn't any room to sit inside -- the whole place was taken up with bookshelves. But the cement bannisters that flanked the outside stairs were usually shaded and cool in the hottest weather, although a little hard.

Someday, I'm going to have a place on the roof just to read...
At home, most of my literary delights were enjoyed either under or in a tree beside a stream where wild yellow irises bloomed. If the bugs got too bad outside, then I had a corner of the basement with an old kitchen table and chairs. When I wasn't building model airplanes or doing crafts there, I was reading, reading, reading.

My all-time favorite place, however, was the roof. I discovered a way to climb up there when I was about 12 and it was fabulous ---- until my mom found out where I was hiding, and that was the end of that! Darn!

However, ONE thing I rarely had with me when I went to the library was a book bag. It wasn't so bad if I had my bike (AFTER I got the basket put on, that is...), but walking meant holding the books in my arms -- and I lived a long way from the library! So for my giveaway this time, I'm offering FIVE of my deluxe canvas tote bags as prizes. (PS - open to INTERNATIONAL entries)
Happy Summer! 
Happy Reading! 
...................................................................................................
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Sincerely yours,

Dani Harper
Author of CHANGELING MOON, RITA Finalist in PNR
New Release: STORM BOUND, Book 2 in the Grim Series
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