November 11th is Veteran’s Day in the US, but some Americans may not know that it was originally called Armistice Day and celebrated the end of WWI. Hostilities of World War One, also known as the Great War, ended on Nov. 11, 1918. In 1954, the US changed the name of the holiday to Veteran’s Day.
The difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day is the former began in 1865 to honor the fallen of the Civil War, and later the fallen of all our wars. Veterans Day honors our vets, whether living or dead.
Poppies are handed out by veterans on Nov. 11. The fallen of World War One were buried where they died in France and Belgium, on muddy battlefields. Later poppies grew in these fields and became associated with the holiday.
Canadian soldier, John McCrae, wrote a famous poem entitled “In Flanders Fields” which he discarded due to dissatisfaction with what he wrote. His friends saved the poem and later that year it was published in the British Punch. This photo shows the entire poem.
Inscription of the complete poem in a bronze book at the John McCrae memorial at his birthplace in Guelph, Ontario. Photo by Lx 121 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8455795
I’m glad his friends recognized the worth of the poem.
My father and brother both served proudly in the US Air Force. I’ll be thinking about my dad today.
Two more days to pick up your copy of Ilona’s Wolf, free at Amazon through Nov. 1!
For your Happy Howloween reading pleasure, I’ve delved into my research notes for a little werewolf lore I discovered while writing my paranormal romance, Ilona’s Wolf.
When I was a kid, werewolves were villains of horror movies, not heroes in romance novels, so why the change? I wonder if it has something to do with restoring wolves to wild areas, like Yellowstone Park, and the resulting awareness of these beautiful, magnificent animals.
Yes, they are predators, but they have proven immensely useful in controlling the deer population and in some areas the ecosystem has benefited from the re-introduction of the wolves.
But back in the Middle Ages and earlier, people were terrified of wolves and of the idea that some humans could transform themselves into wolves and attack. Hence, the popularity of the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, inspiration for Ilona’s Wolf. Wolves were hunted relentlessly in Europe and to extinction in the British Isles.
Some of the ancient beliefs about werewolves are…
Lycanthropy is the term for transforming from man to wolf and it dates back to Roman times, probably no surprise since the brothers who supposedly founded Rome, Romulus and Remus, were said to have been suckled by a she-wolf, a lupa, as babes.
During the Middle Ages, people believed that witches practiced lycanthropy. Alternately, witches were charges with riding werwolves during their rituals, and thus were werewolves associated with magic, a fact I took advantage of in Ilona’s Wolf.
We’ve all heard of the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries, but did you know there were also werewolf hunts in the same time period? In France, there were over 30,000 cases of supposed werewolves. Some were executed; others confined due to insanity. For more information and possible real causes of werewolf-like symptoms, see http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/werewolf5.htm.
Werewolf means “man-wolf” though there are varying theories of the evolution of the term. In Old English, the word wer(e) meant man and not in the general, human sense. In Norse, the term varg had two meanings: a wolf or a godless man. Each country had a different term. In France, werewolves are loup-garou; in Spanish hombre lobo; and in Italy lupo mannaro. And there are many others.
In the Middle Ages, people believed that the werewolf’s hair grew inward and the skin reversed during transformation. Talk about itching under the skin! I don’t think I’d like that.
Werewolves are known to have superior strength, nocturnal vision and a preternatural sense of smell, just like real canines. In addition, thanks to the transformations undergone, they are immune from aging, and thus nearly immortal, except when in their more vulnerable human form. My hero, Sir Rolf, usually shifts into wolf form when danger threatens.
The notion that werewolves transform at the full moon is attributed to medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury, and is now an almost immutable fact of werewolf lore. I chose to ignore it for my book in favor of letting my hero shift at will. (Much more useful, plot-wise.)
Blurb for Ilona’s Wolf:
Princess Ilona is rescued by a wolf that transforms into a handsome, naked man. Cursed by an evil wizard, Rolf was trapped in wolf form until he tasted the blood of a royal. Now he must escort the princess on a hazardous journey to the castle. Passion flares between them, but both know there is no future for a princess and a werewolf. Or is there… in a world where magic and passion combine?
Ilona’s Wolf is free at amazon.com running through Nov 1! If you’re looking for a hot read on for Halloween night, this story is for you!
Bonus: The second installment of the Kingdoms and Legends story, Tova’s Dragon, is currently marked down to 99 cents!