Welcome to the first day of Thea Harrison’s seven days of Winter Solstice giveaways! The Elder Races have their own Christmas celebration called the Masque, which culminates in a masked ball on the winter solstice. For the next week, join us in celebrating the Masque with seven days of giveaways. Every day you’ll have a chance to enter to win a gift pack that includes one copy of Lord’s Fall, a bookmark, dragon soap made by Thea Harrison, a coupon for the Elder Race novellas, and a holiday card from Thea. To enter, comment on the daily posts and then input your information via the Rafflecopter form (embedded in the post or click on the link). You can get extra entries by signing up for Thea’s newsletter and tweeting about the giveaway.
Once again, thank you all for your interest in Thea’s novels and happy holidays!
What Happens In Venice Stays in Venice
In True Colors, the first of the four Elder Race novellas, the Festival of the Masque culminates in a masked ball at Cuelebre Tower. If there’s any place and event famous for its masks in the real world, it’s the Venetian Carnevale. In centuries past, the Venice Carnival was similar to our modern-day Las Vegas in more than one way.
- Anonymity–During Carnevale, people who went out in public wore masks, and the anonymity the masks afforded extended to everyone from tourists to the lowliest beggar to the Doge himself. People could do things without any social consequences. Peter Ackroyd writes in Venice: Pure City, “There were assignations. There were betrayals… Pleasure is addictive.”
- Gambling–It’s said card games were invented in Venice. While that’s probably a legend, it is true that Venice was Europe’s first mecca for gambling, with the first modern casino: the Ridotto.
- Tourism–Venice has had a tourist-based economy for centuries, ever since Carnivale started in the 12th century. People from all over Europe and Asia would come to see the event.
- Vice–Prostitution was common in Venice; in the 17th century, Thomas Coryat estimated there were twenty thousand prostitutes in Venice. As in Nevada now, prostitution was perfectly legal in Venice and used as a selling point to attract tourists to the city. Prostitutes had their own guild and paid taxes to the state.
- Geography–Like Las Vegas, Venice is a city that shouldn’t, geographically speaking, exist. Venetians turned a lagoon into a maze of buildings and bridges by sinking wood posts into the Adriatic and balancing their buildings on top of them.
As you can probably tell, Venice was a place where nearly every vice and sensuous pleasure could be found. It was a city where everything was a commodity, and Carnevale gave people an excuse to behave with impunity.
Stay tuned tomorrow to find out more about the Venetian Carnevale. Today, to enter the giveaway, tell us what first comes to your mind when you think of Venice!
Remember, you MUST enter using the Rafflecopter form. Winners will be randomly selected and notified December 23rd. All contest entries close December 22nd at 11:59 MST. This contest is open internationally.