Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Laura Perry

Author: Laura Perry
Best Known WorksAriadne’s ThreadJaguar Sky
Where you can find her: Website / Facebook / Goodreads / Blog
Top Writing Tip: Never give up. That’s the hardest thing, especially when you get negative feedback (and believe me, we all get plenty of it). But if you keep believing in yourself, and keep working, eventually you’ll reach your goals.

Hi Laura, we know that you're an avid reader of the Spotlights, so thanks for taking the time to do one yourself.

Can you start by telling us a little about yourself? 

My most recent book, Ariadne’s Thread: Awakening the Wondersof the Ancient Minoans in Our Modern Lives, is an outgrowth of work I began about 20 years ago in preparation for earning my second degree as a Wiccan priestess. Part of the requirements for that degree involved choosing a pantheon and constructing a set of rituals around those deities. The Minoans have always held a special place in my heart, so I chose Ariadne and her tribe for that assignment. Over the ensuing two decades I enacted most of the rituals – a year’s worth of seasonal rituals and a lifetime’s worth of rites of passage – with the groups I belonged to at the time. I tweaked the rituals and edited them based on my experience in ritual, also taking into account the occasional ‘thump upside the head’ from the gods, who had their own ideas about how those rituals should go.

When did you realise that you were Pagan?

I knew what I believed and how that connected with the world around me – the cycles and seasons, the natural forces of the universe – in high school, though at the time I had no idea what it was called. My introduction to Paganism came through the world of art. In 9th grade I took an art history class that began with works of art from the ancient world – the Venus of Willendorf, the colorful frescoes from the Minoan temple-palaces, the beautiful paintings from Egyptian tombs. These creations touched something in me that resonated on a very deep level and I began to search for their meaning. I discovered the worldview of their creators, the idea that everything is holy, that there is no separation between ‘mundane’ or secular and sacred.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?

The Appalachian mountains are my haven. I have a few favorite places in north Georgia and western North Carolina – small towns, tiny hamlets and wilderness areas – that let me get back in touch with the rhythms of nature that have so much meaning for me.

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

I would love a tiny cottage in the Lake District of Britain or the corner of southwestern Scotland that faces Ireland. My ancestors come from that area and I have found a connection there that feels magical and sacred. I’m sure it would inspire my writing in ways I can’t even imagine.

How did you begin writing?

I guess I’ve always been a writer. A watershed moment for me came early, in 4th grade, when I wrote and illustrated a story as a class assignment. The teacher told us to create a tale that included some sort of miracle or amazing event. At the time I was steeped in the pioneer world (Little House on the Prairie was my favorite book) so I set my story on the American frontier, telling the tale of a boy my age who saved his family from a pack of ravenous wolves by miraculously managing to hit nine of them with a single bullet. The title of this gripping three-page long tale: Nine-in-a-Row Johnny. At that point I realized that writing was a way to express my imagination and build a world of adventure. It took many years and a lot of ink and paper to hone my skills to the point that other people were willing to pay for what I wrote, but that little story was the beginning of it all.

What do you enjoy reading?

My favorite fiction takes me out of the ordinary world and into a magical place, generally with a bit of humor involved. I love The Dresden Files and everything Neil Gaiman has ever written. I’m a longtime fan of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett; I dearly wish I could write like they do. Another one of my favorites is not so well-known: The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea. It’s a delightful bit of old-fashioned storytelling and adventure that centers around the deities of Ireland.

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

I’ve done it both ways. My three non-fiction books are conventionally published and overall I have enjoyed the process. I guess I’ve been lucky to be able to work with experienced  professionals who made the process relatively pleasant, if not painless. Though I have a literary agent to represent my interests, I chose to self-publish my first novel, Jaguar Sky, due to concerns about timing. My agent was shopping my novel, which has a Mayan theme, to publishers a couple years ago and discovered that their contract lists were already full of Mayan-themed works by big-name writers, so they weren’t interested in anything from little ol’ me. As I recall, this was leading up to the big Mayan end-of-time circus in December 2012. So I decided to put Jaguar Sky out there for my readers as a gift. I posted it on my blog, one chapter every Friday, ending on December 21, 2012. Several readers demanded a single-source version of the novel so I self-published it via Kindle and Smashwords, but it’s still up on my blog as well.

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

In addition to the three non-fiction books and the novel, I have had articles published in a number of magazines, both Pagan and mundane, over the past 20 years.

How did the topic of your books come to you?

My first two non-fiction books – Ancient Spellcraft and The Wiccan Wellness Book – were subjects the publisher wanted, and I was happy to write them because they were right up my alley. As I mentioned above, Ariadne’s Thread is an outgrowth of spiritual work I began many years ago. Jaguar Sky was inspired by a trip to Belize; instead of hanging around the coast and snorkeling with the other tourists, we spent the whole trip visiting Mayan temples and sacred sites. I have actually been to the places the characters visit in the novel.

Do you plan your stories before you begin?

I do. I have to know where the story is going before I start writing it. I’m what’s known as an ‘outliner’ – I like to have the framework of the whole book completed before I plunge into the details, whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction. Of course, sometimes I end up changing the outline in the middle of the project when I realize it isn’t working as well as I would like, but I do feel the need to have it there in the first place.

Who encourages you?

My husband and daughter are both very supportive and I have a group of friends who keep me going. Something that really inspires me is hearing stories from other writers about how they stuck with it until they became successful, like the number of times J.K. Rowling’s books were rejected by publishers or the long list of novels Jim Butcher wrote before he became successful with The Dresden Files.

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

Jaguar Sky is the tale of a young woman, Maddie Phoenix, who travels to Belize on a college archaeological expedition. She accidentally ‘wakes up’ the energy at a Maya sacred site, and her own Maya ancestry draws her deeper into that world. Being young and inexperienced, in the process she manages to wreck the archaeological mission, fall in love with her professor and almost get deported. In the end she lands with her feet on the ground, but not everyone is happy about that.

What are your future plans for writing?

My next novel is in my agent’s hands, ready for the right publisher to take it and run with it. It, too, is a mystical adventure novel, but it’s set in the north Georgia mountains instead of Central America. And I’m working on another one as well, a tale that has required me to delve into the world of grimoiric magic in order to flesh out the adventures of an Atlanta-based artist and entrepreneur.


Thank you once again for taking the time to talk to us, Laura. We look forward to your next novel.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Juli D. Revezzo

Author: Juli D. Revezzo 
Best Known Works: The Antique Magic series 
Where you can find her: Website / Facebook / Google+ / Goodreads / Twitter 
Top Writing Tip: My top tip for new writers? Write. Every day - as much as you can. Write down whatever fragment of stories your mind suggests. You never know what may turn into a full-blown novel one day. Also realize that your first finished draft probably isn’t as good as you think it is. You might want to set it aside and start something fresh before you try to find a publisher.

Thank you, Juli, for sharing a little bit about yourself. We always love to hear from writers! 

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

 I live in Florida so have a tendency to set my stories there and around the southeast. My Paranormal Romance novel Passion’s Sacred Dance takes place, for instance, in a fictional town on the west coast of Florida, while Drawing Down the Shades takes place in Gulf Breeze Florida. People tend to think of Florida as some sort of cliché: a retirement and/or vacation spot, but since I was born and grew up here, I like to show what it’s actually like to live here (no, no one I know makes sand snowmen at Christmas). I’ve also always been a solitary practitioner and a seeker so it was easy for me to lead Caitlin, the heroine of Drawing Down the Shades, down the solitary path she sometimes (despite being part of a coven) must take from time to time in her stories. 

When did you realise that you were Pagan? 

I’d always had a love of Fantasy tales and Arthurian Legends, especially of Merlin and the various magical versions of the Arthurian Legends. When I was in college, I got the inkling to try writing a novel based on those Legends. I’d discovered Joseph Campbell, about the same time, and delved into the Marion Zimmer Bradley classic, The Mists of Avalon. Something sparked between them, I suppose, because I went to a friend of mine and started asking questions—purely for story research. The more I listened to her, and the more I read some of the books she loaned me, the more it clicked. Then I read the controversial book the White Goddess and delved into the Mabinogion and the Irish myths, The Tuatha dé Danann battles, the shapeshifting gods, The Land of Youth, and the story of the Voyage of Bran. I fell in love with the stories, particularly that of Bran. Here was a “mythos” and way of life, especially the Celtic realm, that spoke to me. It really seemed to explain not only why but that I’d always been in love with stories and storytelling for a reason. 

When and why did you begin writing? 

In some ways, I’ve always been telling stories. In junior high and high school, I started writing songs that told stories of ancient, mystical kingdoms, of knights and honor. J Under the influence of Isaac Asimov and Marion Zimmer Bradley, I turned to prose. 

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

Both. My experience has taught me that…it’s not easy to become that overnight success that we all want to be! Far from it. It’s also taught me to grow a thicker skin, when to learn to stick up for myself, and when to shut up. 

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

Drawing Down the Shades is the third instalment in my Antique Magic series, but I also have a paranormal romance novel out, (Passion’s Sacred Dance) with small romance publisher The Wild Rose Press. I’ve also had several short stories published by a fine pagan-oriented zine, Eternal Haunted Summer, and by pagan publisher Bibliotheca Alexandrina. 

How did the topic of your book come to you? 

It stemmed from the series. In the last two instalments, my heroine, Caitlin Fulmer has opened an antique shop. She’s also been charged by the goddess Arianrhod to help her corral the “imps” plaguing Florida. That branched out and suddenly ghosts started popping out at Caitlin with their stories of supernatural woe and begging for her help. ;) The idea that these ghosts transcend time and the nature of an antique shop, gave rise to all sorts of possibilities to play around in various eras. 

Who encourages you? 

My path encourages me of course and my family. Even from (and this might sound weird) but beyond the grave. The whole fact that Caitlin deals with ghosts came from my little brother who was really into the paranormal. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago. When I started working on Caitlin’s story this ghostly Civil War soldier popped into it, insuring her involvement with the Otherworld. I’m also encouraged and inspired by my friend, author Jolene Dawe. She was integral in setting the spark for what became the first novel in the Antique Magic series, The Artist’s Inheritance.

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

In Drawing Down the Shades, Caitlin is helping her husband Trevor with his new antique shop when this old man walks in and presents them with a statuette. He claims it’s a lost piece by famed sculptress Margarete Volere. Margarete went missing in the 1960s. But rather than take the piece to Sotheby’s or Christie’s, no. The owner wants Caitlin and Trevor to have it. Then bizarre things start happening in their antique shop and a woman’s ghost appears to Caitlin, crying and begging to be set free. With the help of her coven, Caitlin sets out to discover who this woman is, why she’s begging her help, why she’s even here, and how she can set her on the right path to the Otherworld where she obviously belongs. But a pesky trickster gets in her way…. 

Here’s the official blurb: 

Business can be hell...
Life is good at Starfort Collectibles until the owners, Caitlin and Trevor Fulmer, acquire a beautiful statuette with a murky past. Shortly thereafter, mysterious hauntings wreak havoc on the couple when a ghost in the attic threatens retribution. Caitlin presses her coven for help before the ghost succeeds in meting out deadly punishment—on Trevor. 

What are your future plans for writing? 

Right now, I am writing the next instalment in the Antique Magic series and hope to have it out by next Christmas. *knock on wood* Meanwhile, I’m also revising the next title in my Celtic-inspired paranormal romance series, The Harshad Wars. Should your readers be curious about forthcoming novels and short stories, they can always find my books on Amazon and more information about them on my website

Do you ever dream about writing? 

Yes, frequently, actually. If I don’t have a dream about a book I’m working on, I know I’ll never finish it. Nine times out of ten, that intuition’s always been right. 

What do you enjoy reading? 

I’ll read just about anything, but my first love is fantasy. 

How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer? 

Generally, I am a fairly fast writer. Once the idea really takes hold, I can get it down in 6-9 months. If the story requires some research, it could take longer. 

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

I do. I have several author friends I have lunch with once a month, and many more I speak to all the time via email. 

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

I would love to visit Ireland. 

Has your style changed over the past five years? 

I think it has. With the death of my brother it’s definitely gotten a little darker. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find that happy ending! But on the other hand, sometimes writing darker is, darn it, just fun. 


Thank you for taking the time to share yourself and your book with us. We hope you have every success with your series and future projects.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Paulie Rainbow

Author: Paulie Rainbow
Best Known Works: The Goddess of Denver
Where you can find her: Website / Facebook
Top Writing Tip: I advise you to write, right now. Every day. Write fragments, write plots, write down conversations that struck you as funny, or poignant, or profound. Confess your fears or else have a character take them on for you. Pose challenges to yourself: what is the scariest thing, the best thing or the most comfortable thing? Find other writers and form a little group. Read to each other, accept criticism, keep writing. The theme of the last NaNoWriMo was “The world needs your story.” This is true.

Thank you, Paulie, for sharing a little bit about yourself. We always love to hear from writers!

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

I am a long-time member of the Pagan community in Denver, Colorado and the founder of a small, private Celtic Women’s Circle. As a life-long learner and a priestess I want to open the path to those who seek it and share what I have learned. I feel so blessed to live in such a magical place and in a city with so many opportunities for community. I love my community; its idiosyncrasies and its diversity. I have been energized by the magic of the Celtic path and the strength of the images for contemporary women. As much as I believe in magic, in the Goddesses and the Gods, I believe in the power of love and friendship.

When did you realize that you were Pagan?

I realized that I was a Pagan when I was 13 years old. I had experienced myself as magical and had experiences of being psychic, but when my best friend gave me a silver and gold rune on a silver chain as a birthday gift, and I read on the little gift card about the runes being given to Odin, a Norse God, I suddenly realized that there were other Gods, other faiths; and the whole world opened up for me.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have been telling stories and writing since I could speak and form letters. I’ve written poetry and journals and short stories my whole life, but when a friend introduced me to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month I was ready to meet the challenge and to try out the amazing process of noveling.

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

I am self published through Create Space. I sent off inquiries to agents, but got nowhere. This story is about contemporary, modern paganism. It’s Wicca 101 in a novel. I couldn’t find an agent who wanted to represent that, but I knew that local booksellers would be interested. The process was quite simple, but the quality of the outcome depends a great deal on how well you are able to understand and follow current printing conventions. It wasn’t hard, but trying to self-produce something of quality took focus and patience.

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

I have had poetry published before, even internationally, but I didn’t have a strong enough portfolio to entice an agent.

How did the topic of your book(s) come to you?

I have had a small, private circle for a number of years. Not surprisingly, one warm summer night the entire ritual just fell apart and I found myself sitting in the grass around the altar with my sisters who entreated me to tell a story. The story I told formed the heart of this book and I used that story in a chapter where the character Isis follows the Goddess through the night across the many spaces that are Denver.

Who encourages/inspires you?

I believe firmly in the Muses, both the classical Greek Muses and the spirits of my own Celtic path that long to be expressed in this current time. We are so blessed to have the Goddesses and Gods around us, so incredibly accessible, right now.

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

Practical Kathleen Sullivan is the gracious hostess of a small, struggling, Celtic circle in Denver, Colorado which has a tradition of taking on a question at Yuletide and working with it throughout that year; but this year holds an adventure that no one expected.

Kathleen has three desires; to host perfect rituals and perfect feasts, to make it to Ireland, and… James, the local magician-rock star who prefers to entrust his own desires to nameless groupies. But her first responsibilities are to guide her circle and seek her Goddess. She keeps the Circle book where she has carefully gathered all the information needed to keep the little group running smoothly. She is the teacher of two young priestesses chaotically bursting into adult lives. She is the best friend of a thoughtful mother who is opening up a magical heritage for her young daughter. In the end, with books at her fingertips, a loving heart and a quick wit, it is Kathleen who gathers members of the group to build magic strong enough to counter an impulsive and dangerous spell cast by someone whose life is now on the line. When a real threat breaks through and stalks a beloved friend, magic races against mayhem to the final end.

What are your future plans for writing?

I have a new novel that I will publish this year called The Redemption of Jelzie Talon. After that, I will continue working on other novels that I have begun.

Do we see some of you in your book?

There’s a little bit of me in a lot of the characters in my book. I write from the inside of the characters and so I have to be able to experience their desires, flaws and challenges. In particular, I have ambitions similar to Kathleen and I have walked the alleys of my city as a young woman like Isis. I have backpacked in the wilderness area that I describe in the chapter where Inéz goes into the mountains with her daughter and I have met the witch I describe as the Magisterium, and I love her.

How long does it take you to write a book, are you a fast writer or a slow writer?

I started The Goddess of Denver in 2007, as a part of NaNoWriMo and finally published it in 2011. The first fifty thousand words were the easiest, writing with a community is helpful. It was harder to write the ending of it, alone. Also, it was challenging to learn what I needed to learn to self-publish in a way that had the level of quality that I wanted to achieve. It was important to me that the book look right, feel right. The tough part about writing is just doing it.

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

I love being a part of the madness of NaNoWriMo, but I also get a lot out of writing with a small group throughout the rest of the year. It provides me with support, structure and encouragement.

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

I retreat to the mountains and the forests. I recharge and find inspiration in the places you can only reach under your own power, in places where the eyes can rest on the things of nature and not be interrupted by the things of man. However, I would love to go on a writing retreat to Ireland, to stay somewhere in the company of other writers, wholly removed from my regular life and write and share for a week, or maybe two, to write as though it were meditation, breaking for meals and walks.

Thank you for taking the time to share yourself and your book with us. We hope you have every success with your series and future projects.