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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Friday, August 26, 2016

Life in the desert

This morning I saw three gorgeous coyotes in the scrub-filled field below my house. My dog saw them too and alerted me to their presence. I love having them here. This is what they look like: healthy with thick fur and bushy tails--like German shepherds.

What does this have to do with writing, you ask? Everything. Every single experience we have on this earth adds to our repertoire of inspiration. We write who we are and what we care about--unless, of course, we are writers who write to market. (Oh no, not that again!) I won't belabor the point since I don't begrudge anyone their need to make money in this saturated market. I thought I might be able to join this club, but sadly I am unable to do so. My main focus has always been, and will probably always be, exploring what I am passionate about. If this makes me money I am thrilled--if it doesn't, then so be it--fortunately I am not trying to make a living with my writing.

The books I've loved don't quite fit into any normal genres. "The Night Circus" for instance. Have you read it? It is one of my all time favorite books--ethereal and strange and full of magic. And in another category altogether: Shirley Hazard's "The Great Fire", another unusual telling of a war story that is both romantic and mystical. I wish I could write like either one of these authors. But reading them and enjoying their books will have to suffice. What books do you like? What books inspire you? Reading is the best way to become a better writer.

So watch the little things that happen during the day that inspire you. Write down the feelings that are produced by each experience. All of it is fodder--the anger, the laughter, the sadness--the frustration. And the beauty of being alive on this planet. If you want to impact your reader you have to delve deep.

Thanks for reading! And keep on writing!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New beginnings...

Ever feel like you've gotten off on a wrong track and a train is bearing down on you? Good, I haven't either. But I have felt the need to ground myself, to come back from whatever crazy world I've been inhabiting.

That does not apply to my writing, however. The worlds my characters move through could all be termed a bit crazy, or at least imaginative. The more I write the more I can delve into this separate and fascinating parallel universe where my mind takes me--or is it the goddess who takes me? If you are like me and let your fingers do the writing with very little thought to where you're going, you probably feel the same way I do--surprised, and sometimes amazed at what happens. Does it sometimes feel as though you're reading rather than writing? I never have much of an idea where I'm going, and if I try and interfere, the characters turn up their noses and take the story somewhere else. They play games with me, laughing when I spend time trying to sort out plot.

This is one approach to writing, one of many, and I have talked to authors who have their entire plot and story outlined before they begin. Even John Irving knows the ending before he starts his first chapter. If I had to write like that I would be miserable! I never know the ending, although I have a vague idea what I want it to be--but whether or not it turns out that way is entirely up to the whim of my characters.

So, whether you're a pantser or a plotter, keep on writing! Thanks for reading.

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.

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!

Thinking...okay...marketing...is 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 trilogy...fun--wish 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 witch...so, 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!!!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Contest for FREE book!

I am gifting five kindle copies of Bridge of Mist and Fog to the first five who tell me the name of the Norse god who is a character in the story--yes, I know you haven't read it, but make a guess--to play you need to e-mail your answer to nikkibroadwell@comcast.net--anyone who does NOT want to be added to my e-mail newsletter list please say so. And good luck!!!!

Thanks  for reading!!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cupid's arrow

I put down the shears and stalked toward the house. Damn these daisies! Why couldn’t they just grow like everything else in my gorgeous garden? An envelope lay on the step in front of the door and I bent down to pick it up. When had that been delivered? I had been in the garden for most of the morning—surely I would have noticed. As I drew out the deckle-edged paper a familiar lemony scent wafted upward. My heart did a tiny flip-flop.

Diamonds are nothing
Compared to your beauty
I would come forward now
If ‘twas not for my duty

The paper slipped from my grasp and drifted toward the garden. When I went to retrieve it, it had landed in the middle of my forlorn daisies. Apropos, I thought, as I scanned into the distant past.  Duty, my ass! The last time I saw him was on another Valentine’s Day. At the time I thought his gift of daisies was sweet. If only I had known then what I knew now.
A distant shriek brought my attention to the street. “Watch out—it isn’t human!” I heard someone yell and then the sound of running feet. Ohmygod he was here! I ran into the house and slammed the door behind me and then stationed myself behind the sheer curtain in the picture window. When I saw the feathery white wings I was sure.

These silly people and their superstitions, he thought to himself as he approached her house. If it wasn’t for me who knows how unhappy everyone would be. Yes, he thought, I may not be that handsome from certain points of view, but I certainly have had my way with the ladies. And they like it, there is no doubt. Even this one, who I pretended to love so long ago. If only she really was my lost love, he thought sadly to himself, wiping his eyes.  He shook himself to get rid of the memory, making the  feathers on his wings fluff up. As he rounded the corner the garden came into view. The iris were full of ire this morning, he thought, watching their angry purple expressions as their stalks bent and twisted in the breeze. He smiled at the sunlit daffodils dancing in a wild riot from one side of the garden to the other. The lily’s, loquacious as always, all began to speak at the same time.
“Hello, my friends,” he said when their lilting voices had died down. He dug his bare into the soft earth as he turned to take in the garden, sudden horror replacing his smile. “But what has happened to the daisies?” he cried. “My gift has deteriorated and is close to death!” He bent to examine the blackened stalks, the white petals turned drab. A sudden warmth on his back brought his gaze toward the house and he glanced up to see her silhouette in the window. His eyes met hers and he stared until she turned away.  She looks the same, he thought, getting up off his knees and brushing away the mud.

A large knot took up residence in my solar plexus as I watched his approach. The sight of his well-proportioned naked body was nothing new, but I had to admit it had a certain effect on me. I did not want to open the door when I heard the knock but something propelled me there.  I swung it open, surprised as always by the languid expression in those angelic eyes of his.  He pulled the arrow from his quiver and aimed it at my heart. “No, not again,” I cried, but it was already too late. It had pierced the flesh and I was no longer able to resist him. He took me in his arms and I tasted his sweetness as his mouth met mine.
“I love you, Psyche,” he said as he picked me up and carried me toward the bedroom.
His wings brushed against my skin sending shivers up and down my spine. “My name is not Psyche, but if you want to call me that it’s fine with me,” I murmured into his neck. He cradled me against his well-muscled body before he placed me down on the bed. I lay helpless as he unbuttoned my blouse, his eyes staring into mine. He was methodical and careful, his fingers warm against my skin as he helped me out of my clothes. When I lay before him like an opened present, his eyes narrowed, a cat-like smile hovering around his full lips. A blush crept from my neck into my cheeks, the heat making me tingle with anticipation. And then Cupid, in his very adult form,  lay down beside me and I was lost, just as I had been fifteen years before.