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Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 Fun Fact About Snowflakes by Laura Kaye - Guest Author

Admin Note*  Ms. Kaye has generously offered the following prizes for today's giveaway. To be entered you MUST leave an email address along with your comment.
  1. 1st prize: An e-book copy of North of Need. The contest is open internationally. 
  2. 2nd prize: A set of snowflake ornaments (photo included)! Contest is open to US & Canadian residents. 

10 Fun Facts About Snowflakes
By Laura Kaye
Snowflake Prize

Huge thanks to Brynna for hosting me today! It’s the one-month book birthday of my contemporary fantasy romance, North of Need, which features a long-exiled snow god falling in love with a grieving widow. Just in time for the birthday, Paperback Dolls recently named North of Need THE romance read for holiday gift-giving this year! Woot!

Since snow plays such an integral part of North of Need’s story, I thought I’d share some fun facts about snowflakes. Individually, snow seems big and homogenous—just picture a huge white field of the wintry stuff in your head. But, in reality, snowflakes are incredibly varied. Read on:

1) There are literally thousands of different shapes of snowflakes. In 1954, a Japanese scientist named Ukichiro Nakaya created a classification scheme dividing snowflakes into 41 major shapes/types.

2) Some of the most common snowflakes are known as “Irregular Types” because they don’t form fully or symmetrically, and instead often form clumped together.

3) Artificial snow possesses none of the structural elements of real snow.

4) An individual snowflake is called a snow crystal. A snow crystal is not the same as rain that freezes, which is known as sleet. A snow crystal originates as ice and is totally comprised of ice.

5) The most common shape of snowflake is hexagonal (six-sided), but snowflakes can also be tubular, needle-like, three-sided, or twelve-sided.

6) Physicists who study snowflakes posit that it is unlikely that any two complex snow crystals, out of all those made over the entire history of the planet, have ever looked completely alike.

7) Physicists’ study of snowflakes has had useful applications in physics, chemistry, and materials science

8) The first scientific treatise on snowflakes was written by Johannes Kepler in 1611. In 1635, René Descartes published the first accurate description of snowflake types—at least as accurate as could be without a microscope.

9) The largest snowflakes ever recorded fell in Montana and were 15 inches in diameter.

10) The snow capital of the United States is Stampede Pass in Washington State. Each year, the average snowfall is 430 inches.

As this post reveals, I’m kind of a weather nerd. I like knowing about the weather. I check it everyday, and I watch the Weather Channel. I even took a course on Meteorology in college! So, this series featuring wind/weather/seasonal gods makes a certain kinda sense for me! Any other weather nerds out there? *winks*

Thanks for reading!
Laura Kaye

About North of Need:

Her tears called a powerful snow god to life, but only her love can grant the humanity he craves...

Desperate to escape agonizing memories of Christmas past, twenty-nine-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she once shared with her husband, realizing too late that she's recreated the very thing she'll never have.

Called to life by Megan's tears, snow god Owen Winters appears unconscious on her doorstep in the midst of a raging blizzard. As she nurses him to health, Owen finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body, and vows to win her heart for a chance at humanity.

Megan is drawn to Owen's mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things. But this Christmas miracle comes with an expiration--before the snow melts and the temperature rises, Megan must let go of her widow's grief and learn to trust love again, or she'll lose Owen forever.

About Laura Kaye:

A multi-published author of paranormal, contemporary and erotic romance, Laura Kaye’s hot, heartfelt stories are all about the universal desire for a place to belong. Laura is the author of the bestselling contemporary romance and award-nominated HEARTS IN DARKNESS and the bestselling and award-winning paranormal romance FOREVER FREED (NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011), as well as an erotic romance novella, JUST GOTTA SAY. Her fourth book, contemporary fantasy romance NORTH OF NEED, is the first in the 4-book Hearts of the Anemoi series. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

NORTH OF NEED - Excerpt 
Out of the darkness, from the heart of the howling snowstorm, a hunched-over man staggered up Megan’s front steps. She wrenched back from the door, her heart pounding in her chest. Panicked, she skittered behind a couch.

Who the hell could he be? Nobody could have walked or driven here in this weather. Her breath came in fast rasps. The lights flickered again, then again. Her eyes trailed to the fireplace tools on the hearth.

Maybe she should grab the iron poker. Just in case.

 The lights wavered, struggled to hold on. From outside, a solid, deadweight thump startled a gasp from Megan.

Help him.

The words were so quiet they might’ve been a thought, but in her current state she still whirled, fully expecting the impossible—that someone else was crouched next to her behind the sofa. Of course, she was alone. She peeked around the corner of the couch, her panic subsiding into a feeling of absurdity.

Help who? The man. Just a regular, ordinary man. Who must be in trouble. She remembered how he seemed to stumble on the steps and the thump. He’d fallen. She rushed from her hiding place like a sprinter at the sound of the gun. Peering through the sidelight, she whispered, “Oh, shit.” She was right.

She tore open the door. Jesus, he was big. No one she knew from the neighborhood, though there were always tourists renting surrounding cabins to take advantage of Deep Creek Lake and the Wisp Ski Resort.

God, he wasn’t dressed to be out in this weather. No coat. No shoes.

What the hell was she going to do with him?

Cold wind buffeted her and nipped at her skin, making her nearly frostbitten cheek tingle uncomfortably. Her hesitation wavered, then dropped away completely. What choice did she have? She couldn’t leave him out in this blizzard.

The bitter wind sank into her bones as she stepped shoeless and coatless—like him—onto the porch. She didn’t have to check for a pulse. Each shallow breath sent up a small fog from his mouth. Megan crouched behind his shoulders and wedged her hands underneath. Two fistfuls of red plaid flannel in hand, she pulled. He barely budged as she grunted and tugged. She tried two more times.

Shit, but it was mind-numbingly cold. “Come on, dude. Work with me, will ya?” she muttered, her hair whipping around her face.

Megan rethought the problem and stepped around to his bare feet. How could someone walk to this cabin without shoes? She shook her head and crouched, back facing him, between his legs. Securing an ankle under each armpit, she cupped his heels and pushed herself into a standing position. This time, when she moved, he moved. The guy was so big and heavy, she felt like Rudolph pulling Santa’s sleigh without the help of the other eight reindeer.

The warm air from inside the cabin embraced her body, its comforting tendrils drawing her over the threshold and into the slate-covered foyer. The lights flickered again, sending out a quiet electrical hum that raised the hair on her arms and the back of her neck. She tried to drag the man carefully, but his head still thumped as it crossed the shallow ridge of the doorjamb. She winced. “Sorry.”

As soon as he was clear of the door, she set his feet down and ran to close it. The indoor temperature had probably dropped twenty degrees while she’d been outside figuring how to lug his sorry butt in.

She engaged the dead bolt, and the lights died. She gasped and pivoted, flattened her back to the door. He lay, right where she left him, melting snow all over her hardwoods.


Laura Kaye said...

Thanks so much for hosting me!

alainala said...

that is so awesome to know!! i like looking at clouds, like watching snow, but never really thought too much about it.. i actually have 2 snowflakes as a tattoo (different shapes of course) so i found this especially interesting! thanks!

alainala said...

ohh yea email Addy..
alainala At hotmail DOT ca

Tamara Hoffa said...

Cool facts. I've already read Norht of Need, and it was fabulous!

Tamara Hoffa said...

Cool facts. I've already read Norht of Need, and it was fabulous!

daydrmzzz said...

I'm from California and we don't get a Ron of snow where I'm at. 2 years ago was the first time I'd ever been in snow when it was falling and I loved it I played all morning in it then sick for 3 days lol. Books sounds great and would love to win it :)

Chrisbails said...

What a great post. I like snow, but hate it when it is on the road. I live in Iowa and get a ton of snow. I learned a lot about snowflakes, and now going to share with my daughter. The Christmas ornaments are cool and would love to win this book. I loved the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win.

Sophia Rose said...

I enjoyed what you shared about the many true shapes of snowflakes. I live in the Midwest so I see a great deal of snow. My favorite snows are when its coming down lightly with no wind. You can see individual flakes then.

Your book looks fab and thank you for the giveaway opportunity.


Laura Kaye said...

:) Glad you guys enjoyed the post--it was fun to pull together! Good luck and thanks for all the comments!

Victoria said...

Yes, I have to admit that I am a weather nerd too. Thanks for the fun post.

Laura Kaye said...

Victoria--weather nerds unite! :)