Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Carolyn Balbi

Author Name: Carolyn Balbi
Best Known WorkPsychic Witch
Where Can You Find Her? Facebook, Website
Top Writing Tip: The only tip I can offer is this – do not force yourself to write.  I know a lot of authors say the opposite, that you should try to write every day.  But, if I’m not feeling it – I don’t do it.  The work is compromised.  When I feel it and I am in the mood to get in that space, ready to work and lay down those words…they flow and I won’t stop.  That’s when inspiration takes over and what you write is so on point; it’s beautiful!

Hi Carolyn, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I began writing at a young age.  I have journals that span from age 7 to now.  I have always loved writing short stories and poetry.  Words seduce me.

When did you realize you were Pagan? 

I realized I was Pagan at age 18, but I’ve always felt witchy.  Out of all of my siblings, I am the only one who never received communion or confirmation.  In fact, the religion teacher basically told my Mother that I was a disruption in class because I, “asked too many questions.”  As a child, I played mostly in nature and mainly alone, I was a bit of an introvert and liked being alone in the quiet.  I enjoyed watching my father work in the garden and I would gather herbs, put them in small jars and pour olive oil on top.  I saw the magick in everything, anything that seemed mundane in the world can and would be magick. To me this was real, not just imagination; fairies, unicorns, elves, witches, trees that spoke to me and being psychic opened me up to so much more, that it only sparked my curiosity. Looking back, I think I have always been a witch in many lifetimes.  I had met my first witch at 18 and she brought me to my first coven meeting – it was there that I knew I was home.

What are your main life experiences that have led to this book? 

I was born and raised on LI, New York and came from a large family of seven.  I had a wonderful childhood – I was very lucky.  I come from a long line of psychics and witches, on both sides of the family; you can read about that in more detail in my book!  My father was raised Catholic but my mother was the spiritualist, so it was all very hush hush.  When my mom passed, I vowed I would write a book about our abilities and our connection to witchcraft.  I wasn’t in the broom closet about it, but my mother was and I just felt pulled to share my experiences regarding my psychic ability and my devotion to witchcraft.  It has truly shaped who I am today.

Is this your first published piece, or have you had work published before? 

This is my first published piece, but I working on my second now.

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience with the process? 

I am self-published.  Came very close to being published with Llewellyn but it never manifested.  It didn’t deter me from publishing because I knew I had to, regardless if it was successful or not.  I am proud to say that it is doing well and continues to sell.

Tell us a bit about your story. 

My book discusses my life as a child psychic and how I dealt with it, good and bad.  It also discusses how I got into witchcraft while guiding the reader on how to unlock their own psychic ability while using witchcraft.  It has lesson plans to follow within each chapter, spell work, what steps are needed to find balance in one’s spiritual path and my own personal stories regarding angels, ghosts, spirit and my spiritual gifts.

How did this topic come to you? 

Since I was a child, I was psychic and my earliest memory of my ability was age 2!  Witchcraft helped me to understand my abilities more and even amplified them.  Putting my own experiences, but adding lessons within the book for others to learn while integrating the craft, seemed like a great topic.

Do we see some of you in your book?
Oh absolutely!  Perhaps too much.  It is very personal and holds a special place in my heart.  There are a lot of experiences based on the earlier part of my life, up until I left NY to come to FL.  I wrote it in my mid-thirties and I am now 45.  By the next book, I will have garnered more experiences and new material to write!

Do you suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?
When I suffer from writer’s block, I do anything else that is creative to get the juices flowing.  I’m also an artist – so I will do artwork, or crafting.  I used to make gemstone jewelry and still do sometimes.  But, once I get creative with anything, I bring myself back to my computer and try again!  It always works for me.

Who encourages/inspires you? 
In all honesty, I kind of carve my own path.  My biggest inspiration is my son though.  He encourages me to be the best and try in all that I do.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?
Nature and anywhere there is silence.  I need to ground usually, but all the elements in nature balance me. Earth, Air, Fire, Water.  So, for Earth – you may find me in my garden, for Air - standing outside on a cliff by the sea, Fire – sitting at a fire pit on the beach staring at the flames, Water – the beach or maybe just soaking in the tub.  

What or who do you enjoy reading?
I have my own metaphysical library so some of the greats are among my collection.  Books on esoteric knowledge, spell work, divination tools, chakras, auras, Native American, Kabbalah, crystals, herbs, oils, candle magick, magick in general, psychic work, etc.  There’s a list and I can’t really say I have a favorite author.  They are all wonderful.  My two favorite books are Reflections on the Art of Living, by Joseph Campbell and as far as fiction, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  My favorite pagan work is The Spiral Dance by Starhawk.

If you could pick one book you wished you had written, what would it have been?
I would have written Mists of Avalon,  that was on the NY Times best sellers list for months!

What are your future plans for writing? 
I’m working on my second book now and it’s going very well.  My goal is to get at least 1 bestseller!  Either way, I’ll keep writing.  We need more metaphysical writers out there, so when I see new writers cropping up – it makes me happy!  It’s the same thrill I get when a witchy shop opens up.  We need to keep moving forward. 


Thank you, Carolyn, for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your experience! We wish you the best of luck with this book and your future work!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Author Name: A.Hanson
Best Known Works:  A Dream of Unknowing
Where Can You Find Him? Amazon, Tumblr
Top Writing Tip: My top tip would be my own mantra: don’t stop. Writing can be mind-numbing, exhausting and sometimes soul destroying (especially when you get negative feedback). The trick is to write for yourself and not worry about what other people think.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with us!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I started writing poetry as a teenager and it just developed from there. The reasons why, I am not sure. Perhaps because I wasn’t really able to articulate what I saw and felt to myself, so it needed writing down, rearranging and made real in the world, for me to be able to make sense of it. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan? 

In my 20’s I came back to the UK and went to live on the Isle of Mull. There I tried to research as much as I could about Celtic paganism and spirituality and realised many aspects were in tune with my own personal beliefs. I met some folks from Findhorn, made pagan friends, and together with a person who became very important to me spent a lot of time over that two year period camped out on wild beaches or on hilltops ‘looking for that little bit more’. 

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I was born in the UK but because of my father’s job, I grew up in the Middle-East, Africa, India and the Caribbean. I was always interested in writing and began writing poetry at an early age. This developed into wanting to tell stories that, a bit like poetry, offered more than just a good yarn.  

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

A Dream of Unknowing is my first published work. However, when I was living in India I published a collection of poetry which was read by about six people (I had to buy the other 94 copies from the publisher at cost to keep him happy) so doesn’t really count. Hopefully, sales will be a bit better this time.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters, and plot. 

A Dream of Unknowing is basically four separate tales detailing events that took place in and around the villages of Osikovce, where I now live, and Konkusova Dolina in the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia over a 400 years period. My stories are reworkings of older tales from the region, and bits of legend that I have stitched together to suit the purpose of the book. The region where the book is set has a long history of paganism/witchcraft which still exists to this day; and the essence of my book is about how this traditional paganism, rather than the reinvented paganism, survives to this day. The title story, the first of the four, is said to be a parable and there were quite a few people in Osikovce who did not want it written down or published.  

How did the topic of your book come to you? 

I moved to the Carpathian Mountains of Slovakia about 9 years ago and the rest...well, it’s in the book. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?

Self-published. A couple of smaller publishing houses offered me a contract, but they always wanted me to subsidise the process. If I had the money I probably would have taken them up on the offer, but as I don’t...

Who encourages/inspires you? 

My eldest son is nine years old and loves listening to old stories. We are fortunate to live next to a beautiful forest and on long walks, we tell each other tales of what might be happening just around the next bend or over the brow of the next hill. He is my greatest inspiration in all things, not just writing. 

Where do you go when you need to recharge? 

About a fifteen-minute walk from my house there is an old abandoned spring called Marta’s Well. This place features quite prominently in one of the tales but is not nearly so…disturbing. The spring is dry now, but it’s still has a cool dampness about it which still makes you think of it as a watery place. There are thick ferns, violets and beautiful mosses all over the old stonework. During the summer it’s one of the best places I know to while away the day.

What are your future plans for writing?

My next book, The Fall of Petarov, is almost finished. This is a more personal look at my time in the Carpathians, how I came about the stories in A Dream of Unknowing, and how the book itself got written. It’s not a biography, but more like a fictionalised telling of what I’ve been up to in Osikovce. The events, people, and places are real, but I’ve added a bit of padding to make it more readable. It also looks at some of the traditions, rituals and pagan goings-on that happen here. 


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process! We wish you the best of luck with this book and your future work!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Freya Wilde

Author Name: Freya Wilde
Best Known Works: Oldfolk Tales
Where Can You Find Her? Amazon
Top Tip for New Writers: Write the stories you would want to read.

Hi Freya, thanks for taking the time to talk with us!

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

I’m 56. I knew when I was 14 I wanted to be a writer, and gardener. The day I discovered I wanted to be a writer, I stayed up manically writing the whole night, did not sleep a wink, and was astonished at the morning light that I had done that. No one but I knew that I had done that, it changed me. I now had a passion, a religious experience that was intense and private and liberating for my young mind.

When did you realize that you were Pagan?
I’m ignostic, with pagan-heathen leanings. Paganism/heathenism, is liberating to me, because you make it what you will with no threats of damnation. And of course I love the natural part of it, the wheel of the year, the forest/fairy picnics of it. The power and majesty of the green man, the stag, the protector. And the history of paganism-heathenism. It’s my family history down the generations of Samhain, juleboking and Jul/Yule, and so many more historical wondrous celebrations and feasts.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

My paperback/ebook Oldfolk Fairytales, available on Amazon, is my most currently self-published book. 

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?

I’ve been published thrice with online publishers TwistedShift, and two others I can’t remember right now, with some modest success. It was working with their editors that was wonderful though, priceless really. 

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

Oldfolk Fairytales is a book of nine fairy tales, rewritten with the protagonists being elderfolk for the most part, enduring and adventuring despite their being older. The world is aging, as am I, I thought it would be fun to write some stories with old folk as the main characters, and how that would be different. It was fun to write them. And I’d keep writing them, except I’m finishing up a young adult novel, hopefully to be published by Christmas. And also finishing up a science fiction space opera novel, hopefully to be finished before spring 2018. Both of which are the first books in their own series.

Do you have an excerpt? 

Poison Apple

Trailing her fingertips on both sides of the wall for balance down the narrow winding stairs to the dungeon, at the bottom of the stairs the girl’s dress had dragged through decades of accumulated dirt, soiling the tips of the dark red silk gown.  Cobwebs and skeletons shackled to the stone walls and floor contrasted jarringly with the beauty of the girl with her long golden hair falling down the lace of the red gown.  Drifting through the dark, she lit a torch to light her way through the endless stone subterranean passages.

Opening a heavy wood door, its black rusty hinges moaned as she passed through.  The walls and ceiling of the long, long chamber were round, completing a half circle overhead.  On each side there were tables running down the full length, overflowing with vials, beakers, scores of mortars and pestles of all sizes, glass slides, microscopes, scales, tubing, Bunsen burners, distillers, and many other devices and contraptions known and unknown.

Seemingly gliding without moving her feet, across the chamber to the end of the long, long narrow room, the girl lit all the candles, kerosene lamps, whale lamps, and torches available there at the end of the room.  The floor to ceiling length and width gold framed mirror reflected herself as clearly as if she was outside at noon on a cloudless day.

“Mirror, mirror.  Does Snow White still live?”

Nothing happened.  Standing expectantly before the mirror, she waited for something to happen, for the mirror to speak as it had for her mother so long ago. Still nothing happened.

“Mirror, mirror.  I am the daughter of the queen. By my mother’s blood, I command you to obey me.  Tell me if Snow White still lives!”

Originating from far, far away, a rumbling could be felt within the walls and air.  Gray fog puffed out and over the surface of the mirror, roiling over it like tiny storm clouds. It suddenly smelled of death and ashes in the chamber.  An invisible wind blew over the mirror causing the strange fog to roll away.  A masked face appeared in the mirror. Its deep voice booming, “Snow White lives.”

Paling, the girl demanded, “Where?  Where is Snow White?”

“In the forest, in the cottage of the dwarves, deep, deep in the forest does she still dwell.”

“Where my mother eventually died,” uttered the girl to herself.

Fingernails digging deep into the skin of her clenched fists to the point of drawing blood, her face flushed red with anger, the girl looked as if she would smash the mirror.

“Is Snow White the queen? Or am I?” asked the girl, her voice trembling.

The mirror did not answer.  The gray fog rose again, swirled over its surface stormily.

“By my mother’s blood, your mistress, answer me mirror,” demanded the girl imperiously.

“You are not queen,” stated the masked face through the fog in a smug tone.

The mirror began to shake as if it was in an earthquake.  A crack appeared on one corner, then suddenly the mirror shattered, all the tiny pieces smashing and exploding onto the stone floor, walls and wood countertops of the dungeon chamber.

Screaming as she stumbled backward, the girl covered her face with her arm.  “Oh my god!” she exclaimed in shock.

Searching her skin for wounds, she discovered none. The mirror shards had not harmed her.  After a moment she collected herself, “Time for me to take the reins mother.”  Slipping on a work smock to protect her beautiful gown, she lit a Bunsen burner and picked up a small pair of tongs.  “I have a present for you queen.” She spat the word queen as if the word was as poisonous as the Death Cap mushroom she was picking up with the tongs.  Her lip curled and a cruel glint shone in her eyes, transforming her beauty into the visage of a monster.

What are your future plans for writing?
My future plans are to never stop writing and creating.

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process Freya. We wish you all the best with your future books! 

Friday, 31 March 2017

Merlyn Fuller

Author Name: Merlyn Fuller
Best Known WorksThe Merlinian Legend
Where Can You Find Her?: Website, Website, Facebook
Top Writing Tip: Just DO IT. No matter what. Set a plan. Set a writing schedule to accomplish (my goal generally is a chapter every 2 weeks). Then edit, edit, edit. Get your friends to help you edit. Ask your smart family or friends or people who like the subject matter to help you edit. Stick with it. Do it even when you don't want to, but stick to your schedule. Then all of a sudden, one have a BOOK in your hands!

Hi Merlyn, thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

Tell us a little about yourself, what are the main life experiences that have led to this book?

As a feminist, eclectic spiritual person, writer and Arthurian legend freak from way back, I have finally done what needed to be done. I wrote the book I desired to read when I was 16 years old and when I was first waist deep in fairy tales, myths, magic and fables.

With my book The Merlinian Legend,  I can finally face my 16 year old self and say “Here, hon. Read THIS.” And she will devour it, thank me for finally fixing the misogynistic Arthurian legends and in the same breath find that it relates to today and what she can do to fix the world 

When did you realize that you were Pagan?

Hard to say, I think when I went "church hopping" with my mom to many churches when I was 11 after she left the Catholic church. She was trying to find answers to some deep questions about life...brought on by the fact that we lived on the same road as a serial killer, but that is all in my first book, "Fairy Tales & Horror Stories: A Memoir" as well as many funny stories about me being a Renaissance faire minstrel around the country. I remember welcoming in Spring with my little sister on the Spring Equinox at the exact time and shouting "Welcome Spring!" together and dancing around. So that was probably the unofficial date.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I first grabbed a pencil and pretended to be a newspaper writer when I was little. I wrote stories and tried to sell the stories to my family, friends and neighbors. This was back when there was triplicate carbon copies and I didn't type yet, so I had to hand write everything. The copying got tiresome. Gods bless medieval monks who copied manuscripts. But if I don't write, it will squirt out some way, some how!

How did the topic of your books come to you?

My first book, Fairy Tales & Horror Stories: A Memoir is one that I had to write to sweep out of my psyche. It is a wild ride filled with amazing stories, all true. There is murder, religion, spirituality, magic, sex, drugs, rock'n'roll, and music in it and also hilarious stories about being a mother and being on the road.

My second book, The Merlinian Legend as I said, is the book I wanted to read, as I am a Merlin freak. My stage name "Merlyn" is a spin off of my given name "Marilyn" which was given to me 40 years ago or so, in high school because of my devotion to the subject matter. The name "Merlyn" and is under my senior pic as my nickname there.

My latest book A Rose By Any Other Name: Shawna Rose & her Family's Story of Down Syndrome is the book I needed to read when she was born, but I couldn't find. It is a comprehensive book about what we went through, what we learned, how we coped and how we all thrived. She is an amazing person and I wanted to encourage other families who get thrust into this new demographic of insight and abilities.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

It's the story of Merlin, but redone with more emphasis on the Divine Feminine. In olden Arthurian legends, folklore and tales, (which my work is based on), Merlin traditionally got screwed out of having a love relationship with an equal, was punished for being magical, and was delivered a fate worse than death. In all fairness to him, and my female sisters, I have reworked the tale to include more of the Goddess, strong female characters, a HOT Merlin, true love found, winsome magic and real hope for the future. Traditionally in Arthurian legends, women were either young, beautiful and daft or evil, old and ugly. I wanted to change that up!

As with the tales of olde, the characters remain basically who they are. Of the former character names, Ninianne and Vivienne, I have combined the two names instead, and I call this new character, Nivienne. She is unlike her former incarnations, in that she is not conniving, but rather, she is a strong, earthy, pagan leader who is a match for Merlin and who is devoted to him (unlike her historic, literary counterparts who only used him and entombed him). She loves him totally and in the story, both she and Merlin together advance humanity towards the Divine Feminine. This is a new twist.

Have you ever met one of your characters in real life? 

Many, especially at Renaissance faires! But I hold out hope that women will find their own Merlin man for a paramour who is as mercurial, stable and magickal as my Merlin character is.

Do you plan out your stories before you begin?

Absolutely, at least my book outlines are done and set in stone. These show me the direction I need to go from chapter to chapter. The chapters, how'ere, have a life and an agenda of their own. I don't always know what the finished chapter will actually look like, but I have had a plan for what I want to accomplish within it. As long as I accomplish my outline needs, the rest is gravy on top. 

Do you socialize with other writers or are you a solitary writer?

The answer is both. Writing by its nature is a solitary thing. We create with just our thoughts and a blinking screen and a keyboard. How'ere, I am supported by going to poetry nights or open mics for writers and can listen to their works and their thoughts. They inspire me with their creativity and bravery to keep going and speak up myself. Letting out your inner voice onto paper and then into a mic is one of the best feelings ever.

Who encourages/inspires you?

My mate, Harry and my daughter Jesse and my fans encourage me. Their words and their reactions to my words and writings keep me going. Life experiences, and old folk tales inspire me.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

The Merlinian Legend is my second book. I now have three books out with my latest book just being released this week.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?

I am self-published mostly because I am also already a traveling renaissance faire musician with the duo, Merry Mischief and have a website, fan base, blog spots and mechanisms in place to sell all kinds of product. I also do not possess the time, patience and willingness to submit all the queries, gather the traditional rejection letters that all authors must receive, nor did I want an editor to change main characters or decide my cover art. I love self-publishing because I can do what I want, when I want and how I want. My finished product is what I dream it to be.

What are your future plans for writing? 

My plan is to keep cranking out books. My goal is to be at festivals and faires, with patrons finding that one of my books is just right for them, and my booth is having something for everyone.

There will probably be a children's book, a pirate book, a self help book, mayhaps a book about magick. I don't want to get pigeon-holed into any particular genre. I'd like to try them all on for size and continue new ways of expression! I'd like to continue writing until I can't do it anymore, Gods willing and the creek don't rise.

Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process Merlyn! We wish you all the best with your future books and your musical career! 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Devyn Quinn

Author Name: Devyn Quinn
Best Known Works: Echoes of Angels
Where Can You Find Her? Website, Facebook

Hi Devyn, thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing in my teens to battle an ongoing issue with depression. Having a place to vent my frustrations with daily life helps keep me calm. 

When did you realize that you were Pagan?

I realized early in life that organized religion did not work for me. I am a skeptic and want to see it to believe it, and am not one to take things on faith alone. The idea that so many believe in religion(s) created by man simply because someone a long time ago “said so” didn’t set well with me, and I began to look toward nature and its cycles to determine the course of my life. I am a hardcore pagan, and refuse to be swayed by the arguments of Christians— and others— that I am “going to hell” because I do not believe the way they do. This is lunacy at its finest and I refuse to give credence to any fanatic who judges me based on archaic texts that belittle women, alternative beliefs and lifestyle choice.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?

Published many times through the last 25 years.

Do you plan your stories before you begin?

I usually have a rough idea of what I want to do and where the story needs to go. The rest of the time, I let the characters move the action.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.

Echoes of Angels (# 1, Keepers of Eternity) introduces the idea that cultic beings live and move through the human world, as well as other dimensions adjacent to our own. I use many common themes, touching on Druidism, Celtic lore, magick and ritual witchcraft, giving old legends a unique twist as dictated by my imagination. My main character, Morgan-Saint Evanston is not only an immortal, he is a great-grandson of the Celtic goddess Cerredwen (my spelling) and is moving from immortal to god. His journey has been a difficult one, as he learns to accept what he really is and the destiny fate has written for him.  It’s really an exciting series, and I love creating my own unique vision of demons, vampires, werewolves, Djinn and other supernatural beings.

Do we see some of you in your book? 

Most definitely. My main character also suffers from depression, and it is an ongoing battle for him to keep sane.

Has your style changed over the past five years?

I can tell a difference. Where I used to be verbose and over-describe a setting, I have cut back to allow the reader to use their own imagination to visualize a scene and characters.

Do you socialize with other writers or are you a solitary author? 

I am solitary and prefer to keep to myself.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

Yes, I do, and I have quit writing many times through the years. I usually end up coming back and finishing another book when the images in my mind become too annoying to ignore.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?

I have been published by New York (Kensington and Signet/NAL) as well as independent presses. I have to admit I do not enjoy the New York process at all. The deadlines, slow payment and competition among authors to continually sell, sell, sell really turned me off and destroyed my enjoyment of the creative process. I presently publish through a small independent press and the control given to authors is awesome. I control my work, not the other way around.

Do you think eBooks have changed the publishing market for better or worse?

Of course, eBooks have changed the market. In one way, they make books more accessible to readers, as they give instant gratification to those who prefer to buy online. On the other hand, they have made books so much easier to pirate. It isn’t hard to download a book, strip the DRM and then re-upload it to a pirate site. I am afraid the advent of technology has caused writers to lose a lot of lost sales. This, in turn, impacts their bottom line and, often, affects their ability to keep on writing.

How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?

I read reviews, but don’t pay them much mind. Everyone has a right to state their opinion, and even if they didn’t like my book, they still read it.

Do you ever dream about writing? 

Yes, I do. Especially when I am working on a book.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?


What are your future plans for writing? 

Currently I am working on book five of my Keepers of Eternity series, Ashes to Ashes.


Thank you again for sharing your experience and your process. We wish you all the best with your future projects!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Mary Lane

Author Name: Mary Lane
Best Known Works: Meena: The Fiery Story of a Heroine’s Initiation, Reclaiming Her Authentic Sexual Nature and Her Relationship with the Great Mother, Divine Nourishment:A Woman’s Sacred Journey with Food
Where Can You Find Her? Meena, Divine Nourishment
Top Writing Tip: If there is a story within you, do whatever it takes to write it and share it. If it is soul driven, there will be times when you don’t know if you are writing the story, or the story is writing you. Allow it to be a vehicle for your own healing, and let the characters call the shots. They will come alive, and they can have a strong opinion about who they are and who they want to become in the story. It is the journey, not the goal that is crucial for the soul. Get as much out of the process as you can, and don’t rush through it. I would give the same tip if I was teaching a student about sexuality. Ride the waves, and enjoy the ride. Don’t rush it! 

Hi Mary, thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

When and why did you begin writing?
I actually didn’t realize I was a writer until after I wrote my second book. My first book, Divine Nourishment, A Woman’s Sacred Journey with Food, was non-fiction. Writing this book was merely a way to offer support to nourish ourselves aligned with the earth’s wisdom, and heal the feminine aspect of ourselves so we could live and eat in this alignment. This book was just a vehicle in which to offer information. I didn’t imagine myself writing another one.

It didn’t take long before Meena, began stirring in me. I needed to write another book. But, I had no interest in writing another non-fiction. Never mind that I didn’t have a clue how to write a novel! I did nothing with the stirring for awhile, until it felt like it would turn toxic and make me sick if I didn’t bring it out into the light of day. I couldn’t sit on it any longer, and I didn’t know how to move forward. I started taking writing classes. That didn’t do it. I took a whole semester in creative writing at the college. That helped, but my fiction writing still sucked. 

I hired the teacher as a mentor I could turn to. He confirmed my fiction writing sucked, but he was determined to turn me into a writer. We went through two years of him throwing my passages back at me, and telling me what was wrong with them. He was unforgiving, which I am on knees in gratitude for— now. After story development, character development and layering, I used him as my line editor. Again, he used the time to teach me. 

The writing of this book, Meena, became a five year journey. Not only did I learn writing skills, I experienced what it was like to pull something from the depths of my soul that would force me to do whatever it took to bring into form. Whew! This is the book I share with you today. And, I am starting to consider myself a writer, now.

When did you realise that you were Pagan?
Many years ago I went through a two-year education in five element nutrition taught by a Taoist master. This opened the door for me, and a recognition was ignited. The stirring within was palpable. Shortly after this schooling I landed on the top of a mountain in North Carolina. The combination of my studies fresh in my mind, the silence, and the symbiotic relationship I developed with nature as a result of spending my time hiking, and gathering wild food and medicine was a turning point.

The plant spirits communicated with me. The elements revealed themselves as self similar to my inner landscape. I no longer could feel myself as separate. I dropped into a deeper relationship with the mountain in which I lived. 

One day I was overcome as I gathered wild berries. I had become just another animal amongst the birds and bears. I watched them doing the same thing that I was doing—gathering and eating berries. It was one of those moments when I realised I was so held by the Mother, surrounded by more food and medicine than I could possibly gather, and I was woven into the fabric of her world. I sat and sobbed as I wiped my face with berry stained fingers. In that moment I stepped through a doorway that if I were to put a sign on it, it would read, ‘Pagan’s World.’

What are the main life experiences that have led to this book?
As a sixty-six year old woman, do I see a woman who’s hopes, dreams, passion, and self worth diminished by life when I look into a mirror? Or do I see a woman who has garnered the wisdom of a life lived through many trials, transitions and transformations? Have I succumbed to the belief that an elder woman has no value to our society? Or am I an elder woman who is rightfully taking her seat at the council table, reflecting an authenticity that some seek and recognize deep within themselves? 

If I was to share a bit about myself and what has influenced my latest book, Meena, I would have to say that somehow I have managed to walk through many transformational fires and can stand before the mirror and see an elder who has distilled her journey into a valuable harvest to nourish the next generation. I have entered the autumn of my life and I am doing what nature intended for this season. I have let go and let die what no longer serves, and I am dropping my seeds to support the next cycle of evolution.

I have lived a journey that has enabled me to turn experiences, insights, and teachings from the natural world into art through the written word. I have become conscious enough about transformational and evolution of the soul that I can take the reader on a ride that has the potential for them to honor and garner the wisdom of their own journey.
I have come to realize this is success for me. It has nothing to do with how much money I have made, how many credentials I have racked up, or how I am recognized by a society with very different priorities. I am authentically unique and aligned with my own soul’s contract. And, I can say that it took all the courage I could muster up over many years to be able to see this reflected in the mirror as I stand before it. My new book, Meena, is a novel that supports the same appreciation and respect for the reader’s journey.

Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.
The two main characters of the story, M, who lives in ancient times, and Meena, who lives in the modern world, journey through the heavenly existence that once was, and the hell it became, riding the waves of transformation through the light and shadow of death and rebirth. Their multi-dimensional reality allows them to receive guidance, wisdom, and healing from the natural world, as they embrace their symbiotic relationship with the Great Mother. Through her guidance they discover their authentic sexual nature, love, sisterhood, belonging—and the consequences of feeling cut off from her. Without giving the story away, there is an ending that brings deep meaning and understanding to the journeys of women who are carrying ancient wisdom—and wounding.

Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?
Divine Nourishment, A Woman’s Sacred Journey with Food was published in 2010
Meena: The Fiery Story of a Heroine’s Initiation, Reclaiming Her Authentic Sexual Nature and Her Relationship with the Great Mother, is launching Dec 1st, 2016.

Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?
I write out of the box. What I write has no category that it fits into in the mainstream genres. I discovered this dilemma when I attended a writer’s conference years ago. Meena, is in the visionary fiction genre, which didn’t exist then. 

I don’t want to spend the rest of my life reading rejection letters because someone from the mainstream publishing world is scratching their head wondering what the heck I am talking about. I decided to self-publish. I would rather let my books find the readers who recognize and embrace a perspective that is controversial. I want to lead them through a doorway they are stretched to enter. Considering I have never fit into the mainstream, I have not been able to see how my books would. I would rather push the edges and open doors in my writing, than entertain the masses. I may not sell as many books, but I know my books will be a treasure for those who resonate with what I share. 

How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?
I noticed the few people who previewed, Meena, zeroed in on something in the story that touched them, according to who they are. No two reviews have focused on the same thing. With a story that is multi-layered there is a good chance the reader will find themselves in the story. That is exactly what I wanted. No matter if it pushed their buttons, ignited a deep knowing, or reflected a similar experience, their review was more about themselves in relation to the story than the story itself. That realization has freed me from being thrown all over the place at the mercy of someone’s experience reading the story. What a relief! I get to read a review and see how the story affected them, instead of whether or not the story was good or bad. 

What are your future plans for writing?
For me, the journey of stewarding my books in the world so they get into as many hands as possible is as much a part of writing as comprising the written word. I found writing fiction was fun, and a new frontier for me. However, my desired affect of this story is to facilitate a healing and reconnection with our Mother Earth, which is so badly needed. So, my immediate plans are to follow up the journey in the story with a program to participate in, and bring it to life. That will undoubtedly include writing articles that inspire people to read my new book, Meena. I trust that the stirring will return to write another book after I have properly escorted Meena into the world, and she can stand on her own.


Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process. We wish you all the best with your future projects! 

Jeri Studebaker

Author Name: Jeri Studebaker
BookBreaking the Mother Goose Code: How a Fairy Tale Character Fooled the World for 300 Years
Where Can You Find Her? Facebook, Website
Top Writing Tip: Write about things you’re passionate about.

Welcome Jeri, thank you so much for talking to us!

When and why did you begin writing?  
When I was five I drew a cartoon about a girl getting her hair cut too short.  I remember the frustration of trying to write something people would want to read, and feeling I’d failed miserably.

When did I realize I was Pagan?  
I’m not sure.  I read When God Was a Woman when it first came out, and that ended whatever lingering spiritual connection I had with Christianity.  I remember being furious that Christians had hidden from me a giant body of information about hundreds of goddesses that people actually used to worship.  

What main life experience led to this book? 
Writing my first book, Switching to Goddess.  In Switching I wrote about my suspicion that Mother Goose was a goddess in disguise.  I did a workshop on the topic at a local Pagan gathering, and it generated a lot of excitement.  So I began digging around for further evidence that Mother Goose was indeed a kind of Halloween costume hiding an outlawed deity. 

How long does it take you to write a book?  
For the two I’ve had published, a year. 

Tell us a bit about your book. 
Breaking the Mother Goose Code presents evidence that Mother Goose was actually the ancient European Great Goddess in disguise, and that her fairy tales and nursery rhymes contain secret, coded messages about the mind and soul of this Goddess, about the way she wants us to live our lives.  

Is this your first published piece or have you been published before? 
My previous book is Switching to Goddess: Humanity’s Ticket to the Future. 

How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?  
I scour the internet for every review I can find.  Reviews increase book sales, so I like to post them on my author’s FB page.  Also I think all writers possess a strong desire for feedback about their writing -- especially, of course, the positive, but the negative too helps you improve your writing.  

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?  
It depends on what I’m writing.  When I’m working on my Portland, Maine, Native American manuscript, I spend a lot of time roaming around Greater Portland, which is where I live.  So my home is the perfect place to write this manuscript, since the river that provided food and transportation for my subjects lies a mile south of my house.  

For Breaking the Mother Goose Code, I wish I could have lived in an Alpine village in perhaps Western Austria, where people still practice ancient rituals connected to the goddess Holda/Perchta, who I believe was a major prototype for Mother Goose.  Another Mother-Goose prototype is the Greco-Roman Aphrodite/Venus, worshiped right across the Alps from Western Austria.  At some point after the fall of the Roman Empire, Holda/Perchta and Aphrodite/Venus merged in the minds of Medieval Europeans into one and the same deity.          

What are your future plans for writing?
I’m working on a book about female fairy tale characters, another about the original Native Americans who lived in Portland, Maine, and a fantasy novel about ancient Minoans. 
Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and process, Jeri. We wish you all the best with your future projects!