Seven Days of Winter Solstice Giveaways-Day 1

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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

71 Responses

  1. Pam P says:

    Thanks for letting us celebrate with you and the Elder Race, Thea. That’s a really cool tree, never heard of one made from glass.

  2. Andrea says:

    I love Venice it is one of my favourite places in the world to visit. I love the glass shops and the tiny alleyways leading to canals.

  3. Linda Thum says:

    Venice makes me think of gondola rides, canals & romance!

    I am a newsletter subscriber.

  4. Julia says:

    It’s impossible not to get lost in the romance of Venice’s past. I loved looking through windows and gates, trying to glimpse the hidden gardens and shadowed rooms of the past.

  5. Angela says:

    I have never been any where in my life. Never flown in a plane. Never seen an ocean or stepped foot on a beach. It would be wonderful to see something as wonderful and exciting as Venice..

  6. myrandaroyann says:

    The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Venice are the canals!

  7. June M. says:

    The first thing I think of when I think of Venice is romance. Gondola rides, picnics,

  8. Cassi Keller says:

    I love learning interesting facts!

  9. Elizabeth H. says:

    I agree with Linda! When I think of Venice, I think of gondola rides and romance! Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!!

  10. Sabrina says:

    Water…that was the first thing that popped into my mind! Thanks for the very interesting history lesson on Venice…I’m a bit of a nerd and love learning interesting tid bits like this!

  11. Mary Jo says:

    Gondolas/Gondoliers/water shushing up against building foundations in the canals….

  12. Elva C. says:

    I never been to Venice but would love to one day. First thing that pop into my head was gondolas and water 🙂 thanks for the giveaway

  13. Ebone says:

    To echo one of the other commenters- I always remember the beautiful glassware and gondoliers!

  14. infinitieh says:

    Glass and mold?

  15. Michelle Tan says:

    Venice makes me think of masks. thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Irene says:

    water! canals and gondolas, there was a James Bond film set there that I remember.

  17. Aly P says:

    Water, romance lovely glass ornaments and jewelry 🙂

  18. Viki S. says:

    Venice makes me think of romance, canals and my daughter-in-law (she wants my hubs to take us all there ;)).

  19. Nietra Stroman says:

    Moonlight gondola rides and lyrical Italian conversation.

  20. Sheryl Nyary says:

    The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of Venice is the Venetian Glass. The post about Venice was really interesting.

  21. Erin says:

    I think about the canals of water and all the lovely art there.

  22. Kim Novacovschi says:

    Thanks for allowing us to celebrate with you. I’ve never been to Venice but the 1st thing I think of is the romance of the gandolas on the canals.

  23. What a pretty tree. I read True Colors and would have loved to attend Festival of the Masque at Cuelebre Tower. Sounds unforgettable.

  24. Holly says:

    The canals. I’ve been to Venice twice without setting foot on a gondola (too pricey) but I loved walking over tiny bridges, admiring the architecture and enjoying the play of light off of the water – it’s a great place to practice your photography.

  25. Amanda Grinstead says:

    Carnevale sounds wonderful and I’d love to see it. I have to say though that when I think of Venice, I think of the smell of mould since a lot of the buildings show where different waterlines have been over the years. Not a very romantic image I’m afraid.

  26. LynnL says:

    I enjoyed Venice .

  27. mandy says:

    I think of the movie Dangerous Beauty about the life of poetess/courtesan Veronica Franco. It is very visually stunning and set in Venice.

  28. Keslynn says:

    I think of the canals and how Venice is sinking. For some reason, I always picture people walking around in Renaissance getup.

  29. Karen Reyes says:


  30. Diane says:

    Hi Thea!!! What a way to celebrate Christmas!
    Venice makes me think of rides on the water, where here in Canada they will be skating on our canal very soon!

  31. Julie D L says:

    And the movie, Chasing Liberty

  32. Elizabeth Z says:

    I know it’s funny, but I think of books when I think of Venice. I’ve read so many stories that take place there or have a strong reference to the city of canals. And since I’ve never been able to visit myself, it’s the books that come to mind first.

  33. Karin Anderson says:

    I have actually been to Venice, and I loved it! Well, except for the six course fish dinner. I collect Venetian masks, so it was heaven for me. 😀

  34. Joanne B says:

    The first thing I think of are gondolas and canals.

  35. I have to think of the masked balls they used to have there and the canals of course.

  36. Alexandra G. says:

    Love. I was there a few years ago with my boyfriend, it was super romantic and fun.

  37. Sumiyati E Monoarfa says:

    I have been to Venice and absolutely loved it. It is one of my favorite Cities. Also a very romantic city. Learned some interesting facts today. Thank you Thea. Really looking forward to Rising Darkness~

  38. Alaina says:

    soo awesome thank you!!
    venice.. i think of the water!!

  39. Renate says:

    I have been to Venice once as a teenager. The first thing popping into my mind is St. Marcus’ Square full of pigeons. And that tiny black cat we saved from drowning.

  40. Raonaid Luckwell says:

    One of these days I want to travel. May never do so but it’s good to dream. But I can live through pictures!/RaonaidLuckwell/posts/478575398860415

  41. Holly says:

    I know this makes me a reading nerd, but when I think Venice, I think Count of Monte Cristo.

  42. Gonza says:

    Venice stinks in summer, otherwise it would be the best city in the world after Rome, of course!

  43. sonona says:

    when i think of venice i think love romance gondala rides through the canals and the book THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO

  44. A. Harel says:

    Venice – Makes me think of the gondolas and the beautiful architecture.

  45. DBReynolds says:

    The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Venice is old, old buildings sinking beneath their own weight into the water, while giant floats try to keep them alive! What a concept! And the tree is cool, too. 🙂

  46. Sabrii.S says:

    That’s very interesting!
    Thanks for the giveaway! <3

  47. Thecrazygranny says:

    Venice I think of all the history in the city.

  48. gamistress66 says:

    the water & boats 🙂 pretty tree, interesting info 🙂

  49. Kristina Parmenter says:

    Gondolas….I have always wanted to go to Venice….

  50. Timitra says:

    Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is the first thing that comes to mind I don’t know why maybe it’s because I’m a Literature student!

  51. Julie says:

    Gondoliers are what come to mind when I think of Venice. I’d love a chance to chat with one, actually.

    Thanks for this contest!

  52. erinf1 says:

    romantic 🙂 Thanks for the fun event!

  53. Northwoman says:

    I think of the lovely couple from Venice, sitting at a table next to ours at a restaurant in Rome, my dad and I met. We kept pointing to what they were having and saying – we want that.

  54. L. Blanchard says:

    Huge fan, love the series. Dragon Bound blew me away, and I re-read it more times then I can count. Oracle Moon is my second favorite.
    I’ve been to Venice, would love to go back. The glass tree is gorgeous.

  55. Kellie F says:

    Frescoes! I would love to see all the art and blown glass.

  56. JenM says:

    I love Venice. The Grand Canal and all of the boats are the first thing that comes to mind for me.

  57. Sienny says:

    i always remember rivers and gondolas first when i’m thinking about venice

  58. bn100 says:

    I think of masks.

  59. Danielle E. says:

    I’ve always loved glass art but that tree is really lovely. I think of water and even more water

  60. Ellen Wortham says:

    My first thought was Romantic.
    Love this series.

  61. Jess says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Venice, though I admit I think of the canals and gondolas rather than the legal prostitution LOL

  62. donnas says:

    A ride on the canal with a gondolier.

  63. Sabine W. says:

    I never heard from a tree made of glass, too. But I think it’s a very cool idea and it looks great! Gondoliers, doves and a lot of water are what come to mind when I think of Venice. Thank you for this great giveaway.

  64. hilly says:

    For Venice, I think of the charming movie: “A Little Romance” (based on the novel “E=mc2 Mon Amour” by Patrick Cauvin).

    It’s exactly the opposite view to the portrait that you’ve painted of Venice in this post, but there it is: Romance and Innocence.

    Your dark description of the city here, however, connects (for me) with the images from the “Vampires of Venice” Doctor Who episode written by Toby Whithouse.

  65. Tina Wheatley says:

    When I think of Venice I think of Romance. I would love to visit Venice one day.

  66. Samantha R says:

    When I think of Venice, I think of lots of water and the ever-present threat of a city sinking into the sea… Not quite as romantic a thought as one might expect, but that’s the first thought!


  67. Chelsea B. says:

    The first thing that comes to mind is romance!

  68. Well, I’ve actually been to Venetian carnival and it’s just the most beautiful and sad thing ever!

  69. Anna says:

    Definitely gondolas! I mean when I think of Venice that’s the first thing to come to my mind and then all those beautiful masks 🙂

  70. Damaris says:

    I think of venetian masks. Thanks for the giveaway.

  71. Michelle K says:

    I think of sinking buildings with air-inflated floats in the basement to help keep them upright