Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dreams come tumbling down

I'm sure I have mentioned my foray into trying to have The Wolf Moon made into a movie--well, here's the thing:

As I have written in previous  blog posts I had stars in my eyes and was hasty and not well-informed when I decided to rewrite the book and incorporate book 2 into book 3. (spent oodles on editing, new cover, promotion, etc) Months later I published the new version with new cover and unpublished the first two. (Saille, the Willow and old Wolf Moon) I have had little to no sales for the new version--maybe because of the cover, which I'm told doesn't fit the fantasy genre.  And maybe because people have already read the first version, maybe because...blah blah blah--you fill in the blanks... I also paid to get  the #1 best seller status, another bugaboo I wish I'd never done. To get this status my marketing person put it into at least one category where it doesn't fit! It is not contemporary British literature! And the little badge on the cover has done NOTHING for me! And so I've been struggling about whether to republish the older versions, which includes Saille, the Willow and The Wolf Moon, and un-publish, or rename version 2. What do you think I should do? Here are the covers of version 1 and version 2: which one do you like better? (left is new version--right is old)

And to make matters worse, I've been searching my soul about 'writing to market'--do you know what that is? I didn't until very recently. Apparently it is the only way to make money with one's writing. And I am inclined to believe it. This doesn't preclude having a book go gangbusters, but it does speak to the reading public. From what I'm hearing they want to know by the covers we use and the tropes we employ that the book they decide to buy will fill their expectations. Is it the end of anything remotely unique? According to Chris Fox it is only the beginning and has nothing to do with unique or not unique--there's a lot of room for creativity within the bounds of writing to market.

At first I was skeptical about the concept, thinking that it meant writing formula. Now I'm not so sure. It seems to be more about having your covers and your writing match with others of the same genre--and these can be sub sub sub genres, by the way. I'm thinking it's worth a try, especially since sales have been so dismal. But do I try and fit the books I've already written (twelve to be exact) into the genres they belong in and try and get them moving, or do I just start another and 'write to market'? I guess the latter is probably most prudent. What I didn't know about marketing when I began could fill a football stadium!!!

And so, older, and hopefully, wiser, I am continuing on my writing journey--Hope my many mistakes can help others avoid them!

Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

What about me?

Early this morning I had a vivid dream. I was in the desert, but not like where I live--this was Sahara-like--sand everywhere. In the distance was kind of a fog that had lights in it--very strange. As I got closer things began to clear and out of the fog I could see a very high hill and the city that covered it. Next thing I knew my group (never knew exactly who they were) were on horseback riding toward the city. In the meantime I'd been left behind. "what about me?" I called, but no one turned. Two other riders and a horse that was saddled but had no one on it came by--"what about me?" I called out again, expecting them to stop so that I could get on the horse, but again, it was like they didn't even hear me. I tried to run to catch up to the first group but they were already heading up a verdant hill, a city of gold on either side. And then I woke up.

I didn't know what this dream meant until my husband said, "It's about your books." Of course he's right. Authors are on horseback riding away from me, up into the golden city while I'm on foot trying to keep up and not doing well at all. This  imagery is strong. The fog in the distance, the sand that stretches everywhere--the lights that shine through the fog, mysterious and alluring. And then the city is right in front of me, the golden buildings against the green of trees and grass. My voice is not even heard as the riders disappear up the mountain trail.

I have to say the image captivates me and I plan to make it into a story. What do you think of this beginning?

My pony struggled through the thick sand, his muscles taut, his neck dark with sweat. "It's okay, little guy, we're almost there," I whispered, leaning forward to encourage him.
In the distance I could hear muffled shouts, the distinctive voices ringing out in the call to prayer. the sounds of the city. I could almost smell the water cascading down the mountainside, the loamy earth filled with roots that ran deep. I had been riding for nearly as many days as it would take me to reach that oasis. Because this was no earthly paradise, this was something mystical, magical, a shangri-la that just might be an illusion. But I wouldn't know that until I reached it, would I?

I looked around at the sand stretching far and wide--nothing to break the monotony and the intense heat rising in waves from the desert floor. I wiped the sweat from my brow and pulled my turban down over my forehead. It seemed that the mountain receded as I moved toward it. "Is it real, little pony?" I asked. But he didn't answer me and I knew if I didn't find water soon neither of us would live to find out. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

coming soon: A Witch in Time saves Nine

Pre-publishing publicity here! This book will be out in a couple of weeks! I had a lot of fun researching the Salem witch trials and the Wampanoag Indians who lived in or near Salem in 1692.
Here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite:

I gathered my dark wool cloak around me and pulled the hood up before heading away from the gruesome scene. I didn’t want to take the chance of being noticed by those searching for others to execute. The town square was filled with gawkers, young and old, who had come to see Nettie hang.  I could hear them even now, their cries of ‘death to the witch!’ making me feel sick. According to the court’s findings, Nettie was doing the devil’s work.
She still hung suspended, her swan-like neck broken, long blonde hair in filthy tangles down her back from the time she spent in the dungeon, her body limp and swinging. I ran, only pausing before the bridge to catch my breath, wondering if my stomach would turn on me, but the feeling subsided.
If they wanted a real witch they should have picked me. If they knew I was able to travel through time I would have been burned or hung along with her. But I’d taken care to stay out of sight as much as I could.  As it was they had chosen the sweetest most innocent person I’d ever come across, a young woman who wouldn’t hurt a fly. If she hadn’t been associating with the likes of me this never would have come about. I swept away tears with my sleeve and started across the bridge, but when I was half way across a hand clamped down on my shoulder.
“Emeline Chase, why are you here?”
Over my shoulder I stared into the face of Nettie’s original accuser, now my neighbor, Jonas Hale. He was the one who’d reported her to the authorities and kept up with his accusations until she was tried and found guilty. Nettie had done nothing but show me how to turn herbs into oils, the pungent odor of these bringing Jonas running from his house a mile away. He was sure we were brewing up some kind of potions, his cry of “witch!” carrying on the wind and bringing others to our door. When Nettie was dragged away I begged and pleaded with the ones who took her, but their stares of hatred made my blood run cold.
His skin was florid as though he’d been running, probably to catch me. He was overweight and probably forty years of age, his fine waistcoat straining over his protruding stomach. I shook free and faced him. “You bear all the responsibility for killing an innocent young woman.”
He let out a low laugh. “I only took her to the court, nothing more. She had the mark of the devil on her cheek. We both know who the real culprit is though, do we not? I had hoped you would come forward to save her, but instead you decided to save yourself.”
“Why did you never accuse me, then?”
His piggy eyes narrowed even further. “I have told them of how you vanish as though taken by the wind and then return dressed in odd clothing, and yet they never come for you. Why is this, Emeline?”
I stared at him, surprised that he’d actually seen me disappear. I’d been sure my comings and goings from the twenty-first century were done in secret. This was not good. “I merely came here to see if there was a way to save an innocent woman. You hang the ones who never did a thing wrong. Look to your own kind if you want to find evil.  I hate you and all you stand for.”
“Remember, Emeline, it was Goody Putnam who gave Nettie away, not I. Hate me all you want, but I will eventually bring you to justice. You and the others.”
“What others?” When I shook my head my hood feel back, revealing my dark hair filled with red streaks. But that was not where his focus had gone. The breeze had come up, blowing the thick bangs off my forehead and revealing the tiny blue spiral tattoo.
Jonas’s eyes went wide and he crossed himself. “You bear the mark of the devil,” he hissed, backing away. “Be assured you will come to justice.”

I laughed and hurried across the bridge, leaving him to his religious nonsense.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lucifer, the bringer of light

During the course of researching 'Lucifer' for my latest book: A Witch in Time Saves Nine, I've discovered that it was the early Christians who made his name synonymous with the devil. The word 'Lucifer' actually means 'bringer of light' or 'bringer of truth'. He is associated with Venus. Lucifer is a pre-Christian term and is only mentioned one time in the Bible. My fascination grows. I found a wonderful article that I am reprinting here:

One of the most slanderous, ignorant, and utterly false accusations that has been repeatedly directed at H.P. Blavatsky and against Theosophists in general over the years is the claim that Theosophy is a form of satanism and that Madame Blavatsky was a devil worshipper.
To a Theosophist, such an assertion is as laughable as it is ridiculous and nonsensical.
Those accusations and condemnations originate primarily from the realm of Christianity and from those of its adherents who believe in a personal anthropomorphic God and a personal anthropomorphic devil, the supposed enemy of that God.
Considering the fact that Lucifer and Satan have come to be viewed as synonymous terms and names for the same entity, it is not too hard to see why our Christian friends have jumped to such a conclusion, seeing as the Theosophical magazine started in England in the late 1880s by HPB was titled “Lucifer” and that in her masterpiece work “The Secret Doctrine” she speaks of Lucifer in positive and glowing terms.
But there are several important points which need to be understood…
#1. Christianity does not have a monopoly on the term “Lucifer” nor on its definition. The Christian concept and definition of the term “Lucifer” is merely the latest in a long line of definitions and interpretations of this pre-Christianterm.
#2. The word “Lucifer” occurs only once in the entire Bible. This is in Isaiah 14:12, which says: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” Those who read this verse in its actual context will clearly see that the sentence is applied specifically to a certain Babylonian king who was an enemy in war of the Israelites. The original Hebrew text uses the word הֵילֵל which literally means “bright star” or “shining one,” a term applied sarcastically or mockingly by the Israelites to this particular enemy of theirs. The translators of the King James Version of the Bible – one of the chief of whom was the well known Rosicrucian initiate Dr Robert Fludd, a fact which will no doubt shock and horrify many Christians – chose to translate this word with the Latin word “Lucifer.”
#3. “Lucifer” literally means Lightbringer, Lightbearer, Bringer of Dawn, Shining One, or Morning Star. The word has no other meaning. Historically and astronomically, the term “Morning Star” has always been applied to the planet Venus.
#4. Since the only occurrence of the word “Lucifer” in the Bible is that one verse in Isaiah, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible which says that Lucifer is Satan or the devil. It was Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) who was the first person to apply that passage of scripture to Satan and thus to equate Lucifer with Satan. But even then this notion didn’t catch on in a big way until the much more recent popularisation of John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” in which Lucifer is used as another name for Satan, the evil adversary of God. Also, such luminaries of the Christian world as Martin Luther and John Calvin considered it “a gross error” to apply Isaiah 14:12 to the devil, “for the context plainly shows these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians.”
#5. Thus the Christians who claim that Lucifer is the devil actually have no Biblical basis or authority for such a belief. Though they may claim to be “Bible believing Christians” whose faith is built solely on “the Word of God” they are actually followers – in this and many other respects – of Christian religious tradition and not of the Christian Bible. Or have they quietly conferred divine infallibility upon the Pope and Milton without informing the rest of the world?
#6. H.P. Blavatsky was never at any point in her life a Christian, gave no credence to Christian theology and did not believe in any type of personal or anthropomorphic God nor in any type of personal or anthropomorphic devil. She believed and taught that there is but ONE Infinite Divine Life which iseverything and in everything and that It has no adversary or enemy, since there is nothing but That – the boundless, impersonal, omnipresent Principle of Absolute Existence Itself. She was against the notion of worshipping or praying to anyone or anything. She taught that evil is really imperfection, which is the automatic and inevitable byproduct of the existence of matter.
Now let us take a look at some of the statements HPB made about Lucifer in “The Secret Doctrine”…
* “Esoteric philosophy admits neither good nor evil per se, as existing independently in nature. The cause for both is found, as regards the Kosmos, in the necessity of contraries or contrasts, and with respect to man, in his human nature, his ignorance and passions. There is no devil or the utterly depraved, as there are no Angels absolutely perfect, though there may be spirits of Light and of Darkness; thus LUCIFER – the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought – is metaphorically the guiding beacon, which helps man to find his way through the rocks and sandbanks of Life, for Lucifer is the LOGOS in his highest, and the “Adversary” in his lowest aspect – both of which are reflected in our Ego.” (Vol. 2, p. 162)
* “In antiquity and reality, Lucifer, or Luciferus, is the name of the angelic Entity presiding over the light of truth as over the light of the day. In the great Valentinian gospel Pistis Sophia it is taught that of the three Powers emanating from the Holy names of the Three Tριδυνάμεις, that of Sophia (the Holy Ghost according to these gnostics – the most cultured of all) resides in the planet Venus or Lucifer.” (Vol. 2, p. 512)
* “It is but natural – even from the dead letter standpoint – to view Satan, the Serpent of Genesis, as the real creator and benefactor, the Father of Spiritual mankind. For it is he who was the “Harbinger of Light,” bright radiant Lucifer, who opened the eyes of the automaton created by Jehovah, as alleged; and he who was the first to whisper: “in the day ye eat thereof ye shall be as Elohim, knowing good and evil” – can only be regarded in the light of a Saviour. An “adversary” to Jehovah the “personating spirit,” he still remains in esoteric truth the ever-loving “Messenger” (the angel), the Seraphim and Cherubim who both knew well, and loved still more, and who conferred on us spiritual, instead of physical immortality – the latter a kind of static immortality that would have transformed man into an undying “Wandering Jew”.” (Vol. 2, p. 243)
* “The Fall was the result of man’s knowledge, for his “eyes were opened.” Indeed, he was taught Wisdom and the hidden knowledge by the “Fallen Angel,” for the latter had become from that day his Manas, Mind and Self-consciousness. In each of us that golden thread of continuous life – periodically broken into active and passive cycles of sensuous existence on Earth, and super-sensuous in Devachan – is from the beginning of our appearance upon this earth. It is the Sutratma, the luminous thread of immortal impersonal monadship, on which our earthly lives or evanescentEgos are strung as so many beads – according to the beautiful expression of Vedantic philosophy.
“And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon, the “Lord of Phosphorus” (brimstone was a theological improvement), and Lucifer, or “Light-Bearer,” is in us: it is our Mind – our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism. Without this principle – the emanation of the very essence of the pure divine principle Mahat(Intelligence), which radiates direct from the Divine mind – we would be surely no better than animals.” (Vol. 2, p. 513)
So we see that in the teachings of Theosophy – which are at times deliberately symbolical, allegorical, and esoteric – the Lightbringer or Bringer of Dawn (Lucifer in Latin) is our Mind Principle, our individual self-consciousness and spark of intelligence, which was awakened in mankind around the middle period of the Third Root Race, also known as the Lemurian Epoch. Our mind can either be our adversary (which is what the word “satan” literally means) or it can be the lightbearer (the Lucifer) of spiritual Truth to us, the knowledge of which brings about our liberation from ignorance, including spiritual self-ignorance.
Jose M. Herrou Aragon, in his book “Primordial Gnosis: The Forbidden Religion,” writes…
“According to Gnostic legends and myths, the great Unknowable God sent Lucifer, angel of indescribable fire and light, to show man the light and to help him wake up and see his true origin, the origin of his Spirit, which has been perversely imprisoned in this impure matter called body-soul. He is an uncreated being, who came to the created world to bring Light: Liberating Gnosis. The saving knowledge which can wake man up and help him free his imprisoned Spirit. The knowledge which allows him to know who he truly is, why he is here in this world and what he has to do to liberate himself and fulfil his Spirit, which belongs to another uncreated and unknowable plane.
“We have said that Lucifer came to the world to wake man up, to help him remember his divine origin, the divine origin of his Spirit, and to help him free himself from the body-soul in which he is trapped, and from created time and matter.”
Theosophy interprets all these allegorical Gnostic teachings as referring to “the lighting up of Manas” (Manas is the Sanskrit word for Mind) which we mentioned above. When we bear in mind that “The Secret Doctrine” teaches that the Lemurian Root Race was born under the influence of Venus and received its “light and life” from the Planetary Spirit of Venus, it all becomes clearer, since Lucifer has been an accepted synonym for Venus – the bright and morning star – since long before the days of Christian theology and millennia before Lucifer was first ignorantly equated with the devil.
In “The Secret Doctrine” we read that “Venus, or Lucifer (also Sukra and Usanas) the planet, is the Light-Bearer of our Earth, in both its physical and mystic sense.” Venus is said to be the “spiritual prototype” of Earth and “the Guardian Spirit of the Earth and Men.” It is “the most occult, powerful, and mysterious of all the planets; the one whose influence upon, and relation to the Earth is most prominent” and every change that takes place on Venus “is felt on, and reflected by, the Earth.”
Since it would take too long and also be out of place here to try to explain all of this to the reader unfamiliar with Theosophy, we can sum up by saying thatwhat H.P. Blavatsky has to say about Lucifer is entirely esoteric, symbolical, and philosophical. Those four excerpts quoted above are virtually the only specific statements and explanations she ever made about Lucifer, although fanatical Christians and half-crazed conspiracy theorists like to give the impression that she spent almost all her time ranting and raving about Lucifer, which is simply not true.
As for the reason her magazine was named “Lucifer,” she wrote in its very first article – titled “What’s in a Name?” – that “the first and most important, if not the sole object of the magazine, is expressed in the line from the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, on its title page. It is to bring light to “the hidden things of darkness,” (iv. 5); to show in their true aspect and their original real meaning things and names, men and their doings and customs; it is finally to fight prejudice, hypocrisy and shams in every nation, in every class of Society, as in every department of life. The task is a laborious one but it is neither impracticable nor useless, if even as an experiment. Thus, for an attempt of such nature, no better title could ever be found than the one chosen. … No fitter symbol exists for the proposed work – that of throwing a ray of truth on everything hidden by the darkness of prejudice, by social or religious misconceptions; especially by that idiotic routine in life, which, once that a certain action, a thing, a name, has been branded by slanderous inventions, however unjust, makes respectable people, so called, turn away shiveringly, refusing to even look at it from any other aspect than the one sanctioned by public opinion. Such an endeavour then, to force the weak-hearted to look truth straight in the face, is helped most efficaciously by a title belonging to the category of branded names.”
But as she was later to remark, the ignorant and erroneous belief that Lucifer = Satan “has struck its roots too deep in the soil of blind faith” to allow many people to bravely, boldly, and unashamedly reveal the true origins and true nature of what the so-called Lucifer actually is. Those who attempt to do so are always bound to be immediately labelled as “satanists” and “devil worshippers” by a certain class of Christian, those whose trademark characteristics invariably tend to be wilful ignorance and mental laziness. It has indeed become a “branded name,” one which still automatically conjures up the image of an anthropomorphic devil even in the minds of the most hardened atheists.
Yet who can deny that even Jesus is portrayed as boldly proclaiming his identity with Venus the Lightbringer in Revelation 22:16, where he says “I, Jesus, am the bright and morning star.” If the translators had chosen to translate this verse using Latin just as they did with Isaiah 14:12, it would read “I, Jesus, am Lucifer.”
Theosophists are not afraid of public opinion or misguided prejudice, nor of the claims and threats of Christianity, that most arrogant, ignorant, and impudent of all the world’s religions. “There is no religion higher than Truth” – and eventually, as always, the Truth will prevail.

Monday, May 30, 2016

when in doubt...

Last post was a mess of ramblings with no focus except to complain about blogspot and google! Today I'm not worrying that they have an e-mail address for me that hasn't existed in five years--instead I am going to get right to the point--which is:

Writing is what's important! If you spend too much time worrying about how many sales you've made it brings your energy down and makes you other words it keeps you from moving forward along your path. There are several other things that also get in the way, and for what it's worth, here's the list and my advice:

1. Formatting--I know a lot of authors who pride themselves on knowing how to do this--I don't know and I don't want to know. I have a good formatter who doesn't charge me much and also finds typos that have escaped unseen. His name is Rik Hall.

2. Cover art--there are many cover artists out there and there is also Shutterstock where you can find your own images and then have them worked into a cover by a professional. Perry Elizabeth Designs is just one of many but I do recommend her.

3. Marketing--This is HUGE. How many of you spend hours every day attempting to do everything you can to get people to buy your books? This includes searching through sites that do reviews, putting your book on their blogs, etc.(for a sizable fee I might add) giving your books away and actually PAYING hundreds of $ to do it--this is the one that gets me the most. It also includes reading posts by other authors on FB sites and blogs, attempting to repeat the claims they've made that they've sold a million books by doing X. Well, X may have worked for them, or, just maybe, they are lying--did you ever think of that? And even if they are telling the truth you know they've left out Chris O'Byrne who not only does the marketing piece but also edits, formats, and answers stupid questions. (and puts up with occasional hysterics) He has worked on my keywords, a concept I could not seem to get despite buying several books on the subject.
some tiny detail that holds the key. I have now turned over my marketing to

4. Angst--another piece of a writer's day in which he puts his head is in his hands and can't seem to put one word on the page. Angst comes from #1, 2, and 3. If you delegate these extra hats to people who actually know how to do them your mind is clear to move forward on your writing--and isn't that what you want to be doing???

Thanks for reading and: KEEP ON WRITING!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

google craziness

I just spent nearly an hour trying to get into my blog--it is under an old e-mail account that doesn't
exist anymore, but when I TRY AND CHANGE IT THINGS GO TOTALLY AWRY!!!

Why is everything so damned difficult? And I LOVE it that there is no phone number listed ANYWHERE to call a human being in order to solve these damn problems that come up OVER AND OVER!

Okay, rant over, although my blood pressure is still too high...Back to blogging--isn't that why I'm here? Can't even remember what I'd planned to blog about! anyone using either Twitter Jukebox or Manage Flitter? I've been working with a marketer who has been setting up automatic tweets (twitter jukebox) that cost nothing and go out something like 5 times a day? They are in the form of picboxes with images of my books and either some little word teaser or just a wolf image to go along with The Wolf Moon I knew how to do them because I love this kind of stuff--would have to buy a program and learn it. Do I have the time or patience for this?

I just uploaded the 3rd book in my Summer McCloud paranormal murder mystery series (Black and White and Red all Over only .99) and the Createspace copy should be out in a day or two. I am also working on a book (Return of the Wolf) that fits in between The Wolf Moon and Bridge of Mist and Fog--it fills in some of the sixteen year time gap between the two and follows Maeve and Harold into....I would tell you the storyline but if you haven't read The Wolf Moon it would be a major spoiler alert!

Also beginning a book about a time-travelling, probably don't have the time to do the picboxes. On to manage flitter--it's a way to quickly follow a lot of people and hopefully many will follow back--I guess it's important...still undecided about Twitter since I've been tweeting my books and not getting many sales as a result. How about you? Does it help?

Keywords, a subject I've read about but have no patience for, has now been taken over by my marketing person, Chris OByrne. It is too early to tell, but I'm hoping my readers will find my books because of all the work Chris has done.

I highly recommend getting help in these areas--even if it costs it frees an author up to concentrate on
what they love, which is WRITING. I've noticed I have a less anxious demeanor since I hired Chris.

Thanks for reading!!!