The winter solstice is upon us, the official beginning of winter and the shortest day of the year. Of course, that means it’s also the longest night of the year. A great set-up for romance if ever I heard one.
This solstice occurs in the Northern Hemisphere each year between December 20 and 23, though most often either on the 21st or 22nd. It is the day when the Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun, causing total darkness at the North Pole and total sunlight at the South Pole.
The solstice was also known as Alban Arthuan by the ancient Druids. Their ritual for the beginning of this season, held at Stonehenge, has become very popular with both pagans and the merely curious. The standing stones at Stonehenge are aligned with the sunlight on both winter and summer solstices, creating an eerie and spectacular effect in the morning light.
Below is the winter solstice as seen at Newgrange–an ancient burrow in Ireland created to be lit only at the time of the summer and winter solstice. I’ve actually visited there, though not at the solstice. And when they turned the lights out and the simulated solstice sunrise lit up the burrow, well, it was a total mixture of creepy and awesome.
As I said earlier, the set-up for this ancient holy day at either Stonehenge or Newgrange, is just begging to be the setting for a romance–ancient or modern. Perhaps that project will find its way onto my list of New Year’s Resolutions.
This year, however, I celebrated both solstice and Christmas early, as I did three years ago with the original release of Almost Perfect. This year I’ve released An Almost Perfect Christmas, a short story about Pam and Roger’s first Christmas.
Pam and Roger are the hero and heroine of Almost Perfect, which is now up for pre-order on Amazon pending a January release as my independently published novella. And although neither book has anything to do with winter celebrations, An Almost Perfect Christmas is a sexy romance that will warm the cockles of your heart. It’s FREE at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.