Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights
I've always been fascinated by the menorah. According to Jewish tradition, the yearly lighting of candles commemorates the miracle when a single night's portion of ritual oil kept the Temple lit for eight full nights. (The ninth, central candle is used to light the others.) I love the idea of lighting the candles not just to provide household light -- personal appreciation -- but to share the miracle with the whole world.
Of course, there have been times and places in Jewish history when lighting the menorah could be dangerous, even deadly. Even the dreidel, that seemingly innocuous spinning top, comes from a time when studying the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) had to be hidden. When the Greeks outlawed such study, young men gathered secretly to learn the tenets of their faith. If observed by Greek soldiers, the scholars would take out their dreidels -- spinning tops -- and play with them. The soldiers would assume the men were gambling and move along.
Festival of Books
For the next eight nights, I've joined with several other indie authors to bring you a selection of great indie offerings. I'm also offering a Paranormal Gift Basket and gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. All you have to do is either purchase a copy of Death Wish: Book I (The Vamp Saga) OR tell me what holiday lights -- the menorah, the Christmas tree, or something else -- means to you personally. Each comment will give you an entry into the drawing, which will take place on 12/29. The winner will be chosen by random.org.
You can also check out several great indie authors:
Last but not least, fill out the form to be eligible for the Grand Prize Drawing (Click on the Festival of Lights symbol right across from this blog post to do that)!