Werewolves, Changelings & the Moon (Lunar Love Giveaway Hop)

You know the story: The hapless human turns into a ravening beast during the full moon. But did you know that the idea came from Hollywood? Until filmmakers wrote the moon into the early Wolf Man movies, there’s very little mention of lunar influence in the old legends.

Traditionally, if you were a werewolf you could change form whenever you wanted to. In Sweden, men became werewolves by drinking magic beer and chanting a spell. The oldest legends have humans putting on a whole wolfskin to cause themselves to change form. This is similar to the skinwalker legends of Native Americans, where a pelt was placed against the skin. In some stories, only a belt made of wolf fur was needed. The moon was never mentioned.

In the Balkans, all you had to do to become a werewolf was drink the water from a wolf’s footprint. Or drink from a body of water where a wolf pack had just satisfied their thirst. Some rivers and streams were said to be lycanthropic – enchanted so that a single sip of their water would turn you into a wolf. If you could't find any magical water, you could simply eat the brains of a wolf (eeyeeew!) in order to gain the ability to shapeshift. But again, no moonlight was necessary.

The moon did prove useful in one European story. In Germany, Italy and France, it was said that both men and women could become shapeshifters by sleeping outside and allowing the full moon to shine on their faces for the entire night (especially on a Wednesday or a Friday). The story didn't mention if the spell was permanent or perhaps only lasted until the next full moon.

The moon didn’t matter a bit, however, if you were one of the unlucky folks to be made a werewolf by someone else. Often, the person doing the hexing was not a witch but a priest! From Russia to France, if you didn’t go to church or offended God in some other way, you could be officially cursed to become a werewolf.

In 14th century Normandy, the varouage was an excommunicated person who became a werewolf between Christmas and Candlemas or during Advent. During this time, the sinner was either redeemed – or doomed to belong to the devil and run as a werewolf forever. In Finland, if you were lucky enough to break the spell, you were still stuck with a wolf’s tail for the rest of your life! But at least you didn’t have to fear the moon.

As a paranormal romance author, I have a passion for wolfen shapeshifters, and my new series revolves around a family of them, the Macleods. Driven from Scotland when wolves were being exterminated there, they found sanctuary in the wilds of northern Canada. They call themselves Changelings, and they’re extremely long-lived. Able to become wolves at will, they spend most of their time as humans in a human world, hiding in plain sight.

However, there is ONE occasion in a Changeling’s long, long life that the moon has power over them. Their very first Change always occurs on a full moon! And because a human can become a Changeling if they’re bitten by one, the moon becomes a serious complication in the first book of the series:  CHANGELING MOON

He roams the moonlit wilderness, his every sense and instinct on high alert. Changeling wolf Connor Macleod and his Pack have never feared anything — until the night human Zoey Tyler barely escapes a rogue werewolf’s vicious attack.

As the full moon approaches, Zoey has no idea of the changes that are coming, and only Connor can show her what she is, and help her master the wildness inside. With her initiation into the Pack just days away and a terrifying predator on the loose, the tentative bonds of trust and tenderness are their only weapons against a force red in tooth, claw … and ultimate evil.

As part of the Lunar Love Giveaway Hop, I’m giving away a signed copy of CHANGELING MOON (and a tote to put it in). Details below!

(PS – This book was designated a Top Pick and nominated for Best PNR of 2011 by The Romance Reviews, received the Reviewers Choice Award from Two Lips Review, and garnered many 4 and 5 star reviews. Read excerpts of the book at http://www.daniharper.com/CHANGELING_MOON.html)
Lunar Love Giveaway Hop

Over 170 BOOK-RELATED BLOGS ARE PARTICIPATING (including this one). Every blog on the list hosts a giveaway and all hosts are linked up so you can HOP from one blog to another!  (You don't have to visit them all - each has their own giveaway that is separate from all others - but it would be a whole lot of fun to try!)  MANY THANKS to the hosts of this hop, I AM A READER NOT A WRITER, and BOOKWORM LISA.

For my giveaway, I'm offering a signed copy of my shapeshifter romance, CHANGELING MOON plus a Dani Harper TOTE BAG to put it in!  


Congrats to the winner, Rae M. ! 

HOP LINK - This will get you back to the list of participating blogs:

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SHAMROCKS, CLOVERS AND LUCK (Feelin Lucky Giveaway Hop)

When I was a kid, I used to hunt for four-leafed clovers in the belief that they brought good luck. I didn’t know then that one was only considered lucky if you found it by accident – the clover was useless if you looked for it on purpose! No wonder I didn’t get the pony I was hoping for….

It’s said that Eve carried a four-leafed clover out of the Garden of Eden (probably figuring that she and Adam were going to need all the help they could get). And the ancient Celts of Wales carried sprigs of clover as a charm against evil spirits. A four-leafed clover worn inside your shoe would lead you to either love or treasure! (If you put one in each shoe, did you find both?)

Druids esteemed the four-leafed clover as a source of protection, because holding one would allow you to see fairies and other supernatural creatures. A salve was sometimes made of four-leafed clovers and applied to the “third eye” area of the forehead, to bring out psychic abilities. Or the clovers might be sewn into a tiny bag and hung around the neck. This would reveal the fairy folk to the wearer – but it would only work once for each clover that was in the bag.

Common White Clover,
Trifolium Repens 
The four-leafed clover is a symbol of good luck in many countries, but is most associated with Ireland. The Irish claim that they have more of them growing there than anywhere else. Maybe, since both the Irish shamrock and four-leafed clovers are said to come from the same plant:  Common White Clover, also known as Dutch clover (Trifolium Repens). That’s right, it’s the same stuff that sometimes takes over the lawn on this side of the Atlantic.  True, there are some potted plants sold around March 17th that claim to be official shamrocks, but they’re usually oxalis or wood sorrel. Pretty, but apparently not brimming with good fortune.

St. Patrick with shamrock
St. Patrick made the shamrock famous by taking an ordinary clover leaf (which has just three leaves normally) and using it as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity which is the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. This is a prime example of Christianity adopting – and changing – the symbols of pagan faiths. The three leaves had previously been known as the three phases of the Goddess – Maiden, Mother and Crone!

So if the three-leafed “shamrock” (clover) came to represent the Christian Trinity, what did the four-leafed clover come to mean? Early Christians saw the four leaves as creating the sign of the cross. Some maintained that the fourth leaf stood for God’s grace and it was a sign of favor if you found one. Others have named the four leaves as Faith, Hope, Love and Luck.

21-leafed clover
So why are there four-leafed clovers when clover naturally has three leaves? Long thought to be a simple plant mutation, scientists have now found a recessive gene for the anomoly. In fact, there are no known limits as to how many leaves a clover can have. According to Guinness, the world record for the most leaves on a clover stem has been held by Shigeo Obara of Japan since 2002 when he discovered a clover with 18 leaves. He bested his record a few years later with a 21-leafed clover. And in 2009, he was credited with finding a clover with no less than 56 leaves!!!

How lucky is a clover with more than four leaves? In Ireland and a few other places, it’s said that it brings nothing but bad luck. In other places, there’s a different meaning for each clover according to leaf number:
     Two-leafed clover = love
     Four-leafed clover = luck 
     Five-leafed clover = attracts wealth
     Six-leafed clover = fame
     Seven-leafed clover = long life

Clovers with more than the standard three leaves are said to be lucky because they’re rare, and estimates place them at about one in 10,000 when naturally grown. They’re not evenly distributed, though – some patches of clover produce many of them (I found dozens in my yard as a kid), and others grow very few of the multi-leafed variety. 

Because the four-leafed clover is such a well-known symbol of good fortune, an entire industry has sprung up around them. You can buy genuine four-leafed clovers pressed between glass, embedded in resin, made into jewelry or just about anything you can think of – and to do it, some horticulturalists have refined the clover plant using the newly-discovered genes. In their specialized plots, four-leafed clovers occur about once in every 41 plants! How much luck these contain, however, is anyone’s guess.

One last word of advice:
  Never iron a four-leafed clover. You don’t want to press your luck! 




100 BOOK-RELATED BLOGS ARE PARTICIPATING!!! That means lots of FUN and plenty of chances for YOU to WIN! Each blog on the list hosts a giveaway and all hosts are linked up so you can HOP from one blog to another!  (You don't have to visit them all - each has their own giveaway that is separate from all others - but it would be fun to try!)

For my giveaway, I'm offering a signed copy of my shapeshifter romance, CHANGELING DREAM plus a Dani Harper TOTE BAG to put it in!  BTW, although this is a series, each book is designed to stand alone. You don't have to have read the others in order to enjoy this one!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my blog and leave a comment.

Congrats to the winner, "DBookWhore"

MANY THANKS to the hosts of this fun and fabulous hop,  I SMELL SHEEP and FICTIONAL CANDY ! Hope you'll visit these terrific review blogs!

HOP LINK: http://www.fictionalcandy.com/2012/01/feelin-lucky-giveaway-hop-sign-ups.html This will get you back to the list of participating blogs.  Happy hopping and good luck!

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