Monday, November 16, 2009

NEW: Family Folktales Workbook

Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories
Workbook Captures Treasured Memories

ISBN 978-0-9822888-2-5
124 Pages, $11.95

Family heroes, prized heirlooms, and memorable gatherings are among the many folktale motifs presented in the newly revised Family Folktales: Write Your Own Family Stories workbook ($11.95) released this fall by Folkheart Press.

The 124-page workbook was written by Karen Pierce Gonzalez. This award winning writer and writing workshop facilitator introduces writers of all levels to the world of folktale motifs and offers easy to follow writing instructions for anyone interested in preserving family stories.

“The workbook is laid out in a very simple, easy to follow and easy to understand manner, and gives the reader the confidence needed to write,” said Nancy Reid, Big Blend Magazine editor. “I can see this bringing families together and helping anyone interesting in writing, getting a good start.”

A member of the Western States Folklore Society, the author has also added a sampling of contemporary, original folktales written and information about folktale podcasts and scrapbooking techniques as well as other resources for those interested in other creative approaches.

Folkheart Press was established in 2007 to celebrate the art of folktales. Publishing credits include several e-books, including Family Folktales: What Are Yours? by Karen Pierce Gonzalez and Spanish Cuisine One Region at a Time: Catalonia by Barcelona chef Eduardo Balaguer. 2010 releases include Folktales You Can Eat and a collection of Original Jewish Folktales.

The workbook will be available December 10 on and To place an advance order visit

Monday, November 2, 2009

Makahiki: A Time of Thanksgiving

November is a month of celebrations. Around the world people are gathering together to acknowledge and share an abundance of crops and good will. Here's what's happening on the Hawaiian Islands:

The ancient God Lono is honored on November 7 with a Makahiki Festival.

The word "Makahiki" in Hawaiian means "year." In ancient Hawaii the year was calculated by the rising of the seven stars we know as the Pleiades. The Makahiki period started on the night of the first new moon after the Pleiades appeared on the eastern horizon while the sun was setting in the west. This took place around mid-November and lasted about four months. Throughout the islands it was a time of peace, thanksgiving, sharing and preparation for the new year. It was a time filled with games and contests, dancing and feasting.

Many religious ceremonies happened during this period. The people stopped work, made offerings to the chief or aliʻi, and then spent their time practicing sports, feasting, dancing and having a good time. War during those four months was kapu (forbidden).

In Hawaiian mythology, Lono is a fertility and music god who descended to Earth on a rainbow to marry Laka. In agricultural and planting traditions, Lono was identified with rain and food plants. He was one of the four gods (with Kū, Kāne, and his twin brother Kanaloa) who existed before the world was created. Lono was also the god of peace. In his honor, the great annual festival of the Makahiki was held.