Ciao, amici! I’m happy to welcome back to my corner of the blogosphere one of my first online writer buddies. We “met” oh-so-many years ago and connected over our love of fiction. Since then, we’ve bonded over so much more. She’s a talented writer, a Story Empire collaborator, and a dear, dear friend. Let’s give a warm hello to Joan Hall and give her a moment of our time while she chats about her latest release, Cold Dark Night. Take it away, Joan!
Cold Dark Night: Legends
Thank you for hosting me today, Staci. It’s always a pleasure to visit you and I’m excited to talk about my new book, Cold Dark Night. It’s the first novel in the Legends of Madeira series. Each novel begins with a historical event that ties to modern day.
I’ve long since had a fascination for full moons. Several years ago, I learned Native Americans had names for each of them. Before finishing my Driscoll Lake series, I thought it would be fun to write books based upon a particular full moon. That’s how the idea for Legends of Madeira series began.
Can’t have a series with legend in the name without including a piece of folklore. I searched high and low before I found something that would fit Cold Dark Night.
In the following excerpt, my female lead character Tami first learns a legend when the month of February has no full moon. When that happens, it’s sometimes referred to a Black Moon, although there are varying definitions of that term.
Tami walked to the doors leading to the deck. The moon had risen high in the sky, illuminating the area, and reflecting off the nearby snow-capped mountains.
A fire burned in an outdoor chiminea. Frances Walker stood beside it, looking toward the heavens. She wore a bright colored jacket with a Navajo design. On impulse, Tami opened the door, then walked outside to join her. Her sweater, though thick and warm, wouldn’t provide protection from the cold for long, but even a few minutes outdoors would be worth it.
“Mind some company?” she asked.
Frances smiled. “Not at all. I’m admiring the view.”
“Beautiful. As much as I loved looking at the night sky back in Texas, I don’t remember the full moon looking this lovely.”
“It’s actually not full until tomorrow night. That will be the Wolf Moon.”
“There’s a name for it?”
She nodded. “Native Americans had names for all full moons. They vary according to tribe and region.”
“I’ve heard of the Harvest Moon but not about others.”
“Most people aren’t aware. The names signify the month and season. For instance, most berries ripen in June, hence the Strawberry Moon. April is the Pink Moon because of budding flowers, and so forth.”
“Interesting. What’s behind the Wolf Moon?”
“In January, it’s common for packs of hungry wolves to gather. But this year has a rare event, as both January and March have two full moons. There won’t be one in February.”
“I thought all months have full moons.”
“It only looks that way, but a full moon lasts only a few seconds. It’s possible for February not to have one since the lunar cycle is a little over twenty-nine days.”
“I’ve learned something new tonight.”
“When February passes without a full moon, it’s sometimes called a dark or black moon. There are many superstitions and legends about them. It only happens every nineteen years, depending on the time zone and leap years. The last one was in 1999.”
Tami moved closer to the chimenea, inhaling the fragrance of piñon. Coyotes howled in the distance. She smiled. “Not wolves, but appropriate wouldn’t you say?”
“I always wanted to study the moon and astronomy but never took the time. You mentioned legends. I’d be interested in hearing about them.”
“Some believe a black moon brings out our darkest feelings and everything we keep hidden. Negative emotions such as envy, hatred, or revenge will surface.”
“That doesn’t sound good.”
“My people have told several tales about such events for generations. I gather you’re interested in folklore.”
“I enjoy learning how the stories came about.”
“I’ve often heard a February without a full moon signals a bad year for crops. Others say it brings death.”
Tami shivered. “Death? Let’s hope that’s not the case.”
New husband, new house, new town… and a new mystery to solve.
Tami Montgomery thought her police chief husband was going to be the only investigator in the family when she gave up her journalism career and moved with him to Madeira, New Mexico.
But after the historical society asks her to write stories for a book celebrating the town’s history, she becomes embroiled in a new mystery. If she can’t solve this one, she could lose everything. Her research uncovers a spate of untimely deaths of local law enforcement officials. Further digging reveals a common link—they all lived in the house she and Jason now share.
Tami isn’t a superstitious person, but the circumstances are too similar for coincidence. Then she unearths an even more disturbing pattern. And if history repeats itself, her husband will be the next to die.
Connect with Joan:
I love that lore, Joan. Anything having to do with the moon fascinates me. And the excerpt certainly amped up the intrigue-factor.
What do you think, folks? Are you as interested in lunar legends as I am? Let’s show Joan some new-release love and click all those like, share, and purchase links above. Then leave her a congratulatory note in the box below. Grazie!