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May 30, 2015

Guest Post by Beth Barany: For a Love of Labyrinths @beth_barany

Hi guys!! Please welcome Beth Barany, author of A Labyrinth of Love and Roses. We have been emailing for a while and thought you would enjoy a guest post written by her about labyrinths, which are featured in her new novella. I have a thing for labyrinths, I think they are magical! Specially those made of grass, flowers and trees. I'd love to play one day in one of those....But anyway, did you know that a labyrinth is actually different from a maze? I learned something new today, thank you Beth!

 Guest Post by Beth Barany: For a Love of Labyrinths

I’ve always been intrigued by labyrinths. There is a beauty and symmetry to them. They exude calmness and are shrouded in mystery. I’m drawn to both qualities. They invite me to find my meditative center. As a writer with a busy mind, I welcome this invitation.

Perhaps you’ve seen some labyrinths: Maze-like series of tiles on a cathedral floor or a small winding path in a park that you can walk.

You can only enter by one place. The pathway takes you a center. You can’t get lost. It’s not a maze, designed to confuse you and scare you.

According to Wikipedia:
“In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur eventually killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.
In colloquial English, labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not difficult to navigate.”

It’s actually a meditative place to find your center, at least that’s what I understand.

When I lived in Paris years ago, I made a point to visit several cathedral labyrinths. The most well known is the one at Chartres. But when I visited there, I couldn’t walk it. Chairs covered the floor. I was disappointed, but there was plenty else to see at that church, including, surprisingly, a Black Madonna.

So I was happily surprised to discover another labyrinth, one I had never heard of, at Amiens, a northern cathedral town in France. This one didn’t have the chairs covering it. I walked the black tiles, surrounded by off-white tiles, and felt a moment of peace as I arrived at the center.

You may be surprised to learn that people have built labyrinths in their back yards and community parks in the United States and other parts of the world. In fact, we have one next to Lake Merritt near downtown Oakland, California. The famous tiled one in our area is the one in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

In my story, A Labyrinth of Love and Roses, a sweet paranormal romance, my hero Brett Barnaby goes to the Amiens cathedral to find traces of his great grandfather who died there in World War I. He stands in the middle of the labyrinth and mesmerized by the symbols he sees at the center. There’s another labyrinth in the story made of nature. This second one I made up and, of course, involves magic, as all my stories do. You can read an excerpt below of the opening of the story to get a feel for my romance. Hope you enjoy it!

About A Labyrinth of Love and Roses novella (Touchstone series #4)

A Labyrinth of Love and Roses by Beth Barany
What if what you wanted got in the way of your destiny?
French MBA grad Lili Grenault needs to succeed at her last pitch meeting to fund her international green tech business. But her grandmother tells her to drop everything, find her one true love, and embrace her magical legacy by Beltane, in one week, or chaos and failure in her life will ensue.
San Francisco investor Brett Barnaby wants to find his great-grandfather’s gravesite in Amiens, France, one of the primary battle sites of World War I. Family legend says that purpose, greater mission, and perhaps even untold riches, will be unlocked when he finds that grave. But his search in Amiens brings up fear, anger, and dire warnings about some wild Green Man. He turns to local Lily Grenault for help.
Can these two independent freethinkers work together to prevent chaos from triumphing and find love in time in the labyrinth of roses?

About Beth Barany

 Beth Barany
Award-winning author, Beth Barany has been making up fantasy and adventure stories all her life. She writes in two genres: young adult fantasy and sweet paranormal romance. She loves creating magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to where magic is real and love is worth fighting for.

In her off hours, Beth enjoys capoeira, walking, reading and watching movies, and traveling, with her husband, author and singer/song writer Ezra Barany.

Beth Barany lives in Oakland, California with her husband, two cats, and over 1,000 books.

When not writing or playing, Beth runs her own company helping novelists as a coach, consultant, and teacher to help them write, market, and publish their novels.

EXCERPT from A Labyrinth of Love and Roses

Chapter One
April 25
Amiens, France

Lili set out the tea and the mismatched fine china they both liked. Her hand shook. Something about Gramma’s voice over the phone an hour earlier made her nervous. Gramma or Gra-mere in French, said, “We need to talk” in her serious voice.

She set out some speculoos cookies from the cupboard and some croissants she’d run to get fresh at the corner boulangerie.

She spun in her tiny but tidy apartment, really more like a studio, her bedroom separated by a curtain. It was all she could afford from her savings and her summer jobs from being a migrant fruit picker in the south of France, outlandish and as horrifying as it was to her upper class French family. She didn’t want to take any money from them.

She wiped down the kitchen counters and glanced around again. Oh, her laptop. She shut it and draped a cloth over it. Her grandmother wouldn’t want her to be distracted by it when she came over, and distracted she was. She’d been working for months on her prospectus for the investor pitch the next day. Despite the gorgeous spring weather in Amiens and the smells of the island gardens calling to her, she’d been holed up with her computer for days—chatting with her team via Skype and instant messaging, exchanging documents, getting everything ready for the big day tomorrow.

She had to get her business funded so she could go international. Her team spread around the world was counting on her. If she didn’t get this funding from the international group of investors in town for the special World War I commemoration, she didn’t know when she’d have another chance like this. She’d have to start at square one. When would there be another chance like this, where people who wanted to invest in local talent and clean tech software companies would be coming around again? She was born and raised in Amiens, well, Paris too. But that city was second in her heart to the river-wound city of Amiens with its gorgeous ancient cathedral and many, tiny farming islands.
A knock at her door interrupted her ruminations. Lili opened the door and smiled at her petite grandmother, shorter than her own five foot five inches. Gra-mere Leonora squinted up at her. 

“You’ve been worrying, dear,” and brushed past her to step into Lili’s apartment.

Lili couldn’t deny it. If she did, Gra-mere would know. She always knew when Lili was lying. So she shut the door and said, “I have my big presentation tomorrow morning, Gra-mere. I told you.”

She set the kettle to boiling, so her back was to her grandmother for the moment. She just had to ask.

“Grandma, what was so important that it couldn’t wait until after my pitch?”

She heard the chair scrape against the wood floor and her grandmother sit. When Gra-mere or Gramma, depending on which language Lili was speaking, didn’t answer, Lili turned around. Gra-mere eyed her intently.

“Sit down, child.”

“But the water—

“Forget about that. The water takes care of itself and so must you.”

Lili wanted to cross her arms across her chest, but resisted the urge. She pulled out the chair and sat. Gra-mere often spoke in riddles. That was one of the things Lili always loved about her. She was so unlike the rest of the stuffed-up family—well, mostly her parents.
Gra-mere watched her intently. Lili squirmed, then jumped up when the kettle whistled. She poured hot water into the teapot. The rich aroma of tarragon and rose hips filled the room. Still Gra-mere said nothing.

She tried again. “Gra-mere, what was so urgent—?”

“Shh. I’m listening.”

“To what?”

“The tea.”

Lili sat back, amused but still antsy. She really needed to do one more pass, check some numbers on her slide deck.

Finally Gra-mere poured the tea into their cups, then spoke. “I came by to tell you about your legacy, dear Lili of mine.”

Lili sputtered her tea that she was sipping. “What legacy, Gra-mere?”

“The one handed down from my mother, and her mother, and all the mothers before, since the time of the Great Calamity.”

“What about Mom? And, what Great Calamity?”

Gra-mere waved her hand. “We’re not discussing your mother. We’re discussing you. And I think you’re ready.”

“For what?”

“For the truth. In seven days, by Beltane, you must go through your Rite of Initiation on the island to formally accept your legacy and find your one true love, not necessarily in that order. Magic finds magic. And yours is to be the Bringer of the Rose and protect the earth and all who live on it, but not with gadgets. With your heart.”


  1. Such an interesting topic! A great post, I love it.

  2. Gaby, Thank you so much for posting this! And I'm glad you love labyrinths -- me too! -- and learned something new.

  3. I have been to quite a few labyrinths of my own in quite a few different countries because it is something me and my family like to do. Getting lost and finding your way to the center is always fun :)

    1. That sounds amazing! I need to check out if there is one close to home, or at least in the same country hehe.