Tuesday, May 5, 2015

THE VERY SPECIAL MONTH OF MAY BY CATHERINE LANIGAN

   

                    The Very Special Month of May
                              Catherine Lanigan

       The Month of May has always been highlighted, starred and underlined in my life. Right off the bat is May Day. A lot of people probably don’t remember May Day or its significance. An ancient Celtic holiday to celebrate the arrival of spring, the revelry began the night before on April 30th and continued throughout the next day. In the Middle Ages in England, the peasants crowned a Queen of May and young men and women danced around a Maypole decorated with colorful ribbons.
      In the United States in the 1880’s, May Day was noted for the enormous, long and sometimes brutal battle waged by The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions  for a resolution that from May 1, 1886, which would establish the 8 hour workday.  For the children and adult workers who were working ten to fourteen hours a day under horrendous working conditions, this was a major step toward equality and a better life.
     My mother, Dorothy May, was born on May 19th  in Mobile, Alabama, the heart of the Deep South.  Her birthday was usually our first barbeque outside.  Under Mother’s tutelage, when I was a little girl, my sister and I made cone shaped “baskets” out of construction paper, punched holes in the top and strung a ribbon through the holes to make a “handle”.  My mother then filled the cones with lilacs and apple blossoms, daffodils and whatever was growing in the garden. Then in the early morning of May Day, before going to school, my sister and I rushed over to the houses of the elderly ladies on our street and placed a May Basket on their front door knobs.
     By the time I was in high school, most of the elderly ladies had died and we didn’t make our May Baskets anymore. It saddens me that these gestures of thoughtfulness and quite old traditions have died away. However, in their stead we have new events taking their place.
     In our town and many others around the country the first Tuesday is Primary Election Day. For those of you who have such elections, I urge you to get out and vote.  It is a privilege to live in a country where we can let our wishes be known to the community. I have never taken this right lightly. My mother used to talk about her grandmother who was somewhat of a suffragette fighting for the rights of women to vote. When I mention this fact to young girls today they look at me like I’m nuts. Just a hundred years ago, women were still considered second class citizens.
    That takes us to Cinco de Mayo and yep, I’ll be making those wet burritos! When I lived in Houston, my girlfriends and I went out for very long luncheons and consumed a great many nachos. The city was awash in gaiety.
     For me, May is my book birthday month!  The fourth book in my Shores of Indian Lake Series, KATIA’S PROMISE, is being released.  Here’s the incredible, fabulous, endearing cover!


   The first day I saw the cover art, I danced around the room. Okay, slightly jogged, as I don’t move all that well since I crushed my knee. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy the cover reveals the rest of the authors share with us on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, HEARTWARMING covers BEAT THE PANTS OFF THE CROWD.  We are a unique series out there in the publishing world and these covers really show it. I’m just now getting feedback from my readers and though I should be used to it by now, I’m still surprised at how important the cover is to the reader buying the book. They really want that cover to “be” the characters in the story.
    I also want to announce another fabulous giveaway and this one is for Mother’s Day this month.  Kate James has posted the information on this blog, but we can always use help getting the word out. 

If you are so inclined to let your “world” know about the gift for a spa or brunch for a deserving Mom, and a host of Heartwarming books, here’s the suggested Tweets: #Mothers deserve to be spoiled! #HarlequinHeartwarming
#books, brunch or spa & @HarlequinBooks #MyRewards #giveaway!

Celebrate #MothersDay with #HarlequinHeartwarming #books,
brunch or spa & @HarlequinBooks #MyRewards! #giveaway

What memories do you have that make May more special for you?




27 comments:

  1. Your posts always bring vivid images to my mind, Catherine!

    Not as profound as the events you note, but April showers really do bring May flowers. After a long and harsh winter, it's wonderful to see all the brown transforming to green, and my spring bulbs blooming!

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    1. I was so bogged down at work with patients, I never got a chance to breathe! Thanks, Kate, I agree, SPRING is just wonderment of it's own!

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  2. LOVE this cover, Catherine, and as someone who's also knee impaired, I understand the 'jump for joy mostly in spirit' theory! Can't wait to read this one. And thanks for the wonderful May post! Have a terrific Tuesday!

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    1. Loree, love your books and I'm glad you like my cover. Sigh, I think all our covers are so, well, INSPIRED.

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  3. I love May. Our anniversary is the 29th and the transformation to green Kate mentioned is life-affirming every single year. I love your cover. It's part of a great series!

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    1. Liz,
      WOW...29 years. How wonderful. Thank you for the kind words.

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  4. I don't have any May stories unfortunately to share, but as a lover of the Heartwarming line I agree that the eye catching covers draw me to the books. They introduce the story so beautifully, and of course the content of this wholesome line keeps me coming back for more. Congratulations on your newest release!!

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  5. Catherine, I also made May baskets growing up. My sister and I used old wall paper books that they used to let you take when the new ones came in. We made lovely May baskets and my mother raised spring flowers that we filled the baskets with. We'd dash around and hang them on people's door knobs or set them on the porch, not just of elderly, but of everyone in our neighborhood. The first time I had my own daughters do that, someone called to ask me why. And on TV I heard that May Day had become the day for union protests. A day to march for higher wages or to get fair compensation for over-time. Not that I object to either of those things, but the old May Day was really a great way to usher in the month.

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    1. Roz!!! You are the first person I have ever known who had the same tradition. I love this, love it!
      I'll always cherish those memories.

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  6. May has a lot of memories for me including my mother’s and my daughter’s birthdays. My cousin and I used to make May baskets, and fill them with violets in purple and white pulled from the lawn before it was mowed. We’d run to the neighbors’ houses and place them in front of their doors, then ring the bell and run away in giggles.

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    1. Isn't this great? Marion, you did this as well. What fun!

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  7. Two birthdays in May...my son on the 13th and grandson on the 29th. Also the anniversary of my daughters death on the 4th. May is just always so full of activities at our house. End of school parties, band performances, award assemblies, church activities....and Memorial Day. I too remember the May Day fun. Hope to read your book soon.

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    1. So sorry, Brenda. The day that brought joy to my life, brought grief to yours.

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    2. Brenda, I'm so sorry about your daughter's death on the 4th. May 7th is the anniversary of my sister, Nancy's, death 6 years ago. I try now to think of the lovely garden she lives in heaven. Honestly, I think May is as busy as December. Proms. Graduations, First Holy Communion. The list is endless. Not to mention Memorial Day.

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  8. Catherine - thank you for all the interesting information. I didn't know about it being such a significant day for Labor. My mother and my niece were born in May, and our family anniversary is May 4th. (42 years!) There's a day care up the street called "Shooting Stars" that left little lilac bouquets up and down our block. There's something about coming home to flowers on your porch that makes your day. Congratulations on this book and all the other stellar things about you. Your hero's eyes look ready to ignite. That should really grab the reader.

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    1. Muriel, you are right on. I had this thing about Austin's eyes in the book and when I saw the cover I immediately wrote to Claire and asked, "HOW did they find that guy?" He is so perfect. I love the Shooting Stars day. I should initiate that in my neighborhood.
      I'm still trying to force spring. I've threatened to go outside with my hair dryer and blow dry those apple blossoms into bloom! LOL.

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  9. We made May baskets growing up. By our time, late 60s, early 70s, it was tiny Dixie cups and pipe cleaner handles. Then it was lilacs and little bits of candy (unwrapped~gasp). We went across and down our dead-end street a few houses. Fun times.

    Congrats on May being a book birthday for you.

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    1. I love all this. Isn't this interesting that we have this many of us in our group that know of this tradition. I love the image of the Dixie cups and pipe cleaners, though.

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  10. Joining the chorus here of those who used to make May baskets. I'd forgotten that until I read your post today, Catherine. Thanks for the memory! And we used to decorate our bikes with crepe paper for Memorial Day then ride in the parade. Congrats on your May book. Looks great. I have a birthday this month on the 24th. So sorry, Brenda, about your daughter.

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    1. Leigh! We did the same thing for Memorial Day. Our Radio Flyer wagons were floats and the bikes with the playing cards from my mom's Bridge decks stuck on the spokes with clothes pins. This is SOOOOO FUN!!!!

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  11. I love celebrating Cinco de Mayo!

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  12. Happy May to you, Catherine! May is always a busy time in our house. All three kids have birthdays this month and even the dog was born in May! We have lots of wonderful things to celebrate. May means it's almost summer and school will be out. I always look forward to that!

    And I agree with you - Heartwarming covers are gorgeous. Katia's Promise is lovely!

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  13. May is a special month for several reasons. It's mothers day, so it gives me an excuse to treat mom extra special. Also, it is my mom's birthday month, so celebrating with her twice in a month is a must. Finally...May is the month that I met my husband. May is special, indeed.

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  14. I love May because it's WARM! And the flowers are beautiful. Enjoyed reading all the comments and thinking of all the baskets of flowers you all delivered.

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  15. May is special in our family because there are a lot of birthdays. When I was younger, we'd go to my aunt's house and celebrate the birthdays on Mother's Day. A mini family reunion and a great time.

    Denise

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  16. Fabulous and fascinating post! I went out and planted many flower seeds on May Day. It marks the first 'safe' frost free gardening day in my zone, so the timing is perfect for ushering in spring.

    Congrats on your release and gorgeous cover!!

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