Saturday, 28 February 2015

Jamie White

Author: Jamie White
Best Known Works: Trembling Souls: A Stains Novella
Where can you find her?: Twitter and Instagram  and Pintrest and Website 
Top Writing Tip: Write because you love it, not because you want to get rich. Most likely, you will end up disappointed and uninspired. Also, write what you truly love.




Hi Jamie, 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?

I’m a blogger, author, pet servant, and paranormal junkie. I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal, so I’ve gravitated toward a lot of New Age things, which play a big part in the Stains trilogy.

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

It came mostly from a dream that inspired an image of a girl burning at the stake. I started with that image and it flowed from there. By the time I was done, I ended up adding in a little of my experiences with prophetic dreams and other New Age things.

What, or who, do you enjoy reading? 

I really love Christopher Pike books. He’s a huge inspiration to me and actually helped start me on my spiritual path. I also love Laura Deluca, Michelle Cornwell-Jordan, Marni Mann, and Eric Swett. Mostly, I like paranormal stories although I also read erotica, non-fiction, and other stuff. 

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

The key character of Stains is Fiona Stevens. Her journey begins with a dream that she begins to think may be a warning of the new guy in town who has been showing an interest in her. She’s attracted to him, but she’s scared of him at the same time. As the stories continue, Fiona begins to learn that her dreams are dealing with previous lives. Certain themes and dangers are returning to complicate this life. Now, she has to work to break free of the cycle she’s been caught in.

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

I have written the majority of my work during NaNoWriMo challenges, but I also write short stories and other things outside of that. So, I usually write the draft in a month. After that, I like to take time to let the work sit before I get back to it. Once I start revisions, it depends. The Stains trilogy took several re-writes over months before I ended up submitting them.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?

I love getting out in nature, taking walks, meditating, and listening to music.

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

Hmm. Somewhere quiet, for sure. Either a lake or ocean setting.

Has your style changed over the past five years – how and why?

I think the biggest change has been in fleshing out the work more. I worked on the emotional and scene-setting aspect a lot during the editing of the first Stains book and it’s stuck with me. Now, I have to keep myself in check to avoid going too far.

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

I’m both.  I am planning to self-publish at some point this year as well as my PWP releases. I think the experience with the publisher has been a great one, because it’s a community that supports you. You get a lot of support on the editing end and cover design, which is something you are on your own with when Self-pubbing. Self-pub is great because it gives you complete control over release dates and other aspects. I’m lucky, though, that my publisher has been so collaborative with covers and editorial decisions. 

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

I think it’s definitely been a good change. People like to say “anyone can publish a book now” like it’s a bad thing sometimes, but I welcome it. We need as many stories and ideas to choose from as possible. Not everything will be great, but every story will touch someone and I like people have the freedom to put those ideas out there without someone saying they can first.

What are your future plans for writing?


I have two anthology pieces contracted, have submitted to a third and will be working on pieces for two more. They are mostly in the paranormal/New Age genre. I’m also working on preparing a Full length work for submission.

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Jamie, thank you for sharing your process and your passion with us! The best of luck with your short stories and future novels!




Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Pegi Eyers

Author: Pegi Eyers
Best Known Works: Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community
Where Can You Find Her? :Stone Circle Press and Facebook
Top Writing Tip: My recommendation for new writers is to pay attention to your backstory, and do your research.  The best fiction is solidly grounded in either an extremely plausible fantasy world, or grounded in solid reality if the setting is in historical or contemporary times.

Hi Pegi, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

What are the experiences that led you to write this book?



I am lucky to be living in a part of Canada where there is a strong First Nations presence, with sacred sites, thriving communities, an Indigenous Studies department at the local university, and other cultural markers, caring circles, activism and activities.  For many years now I have noticed that finding our own Pagan (or neo-indigenous) identity as non-native folks on Turtle Island has been somewhat of a convoluted process, with errors being made such as cultural appropriation and cultural insensitivity. There are some commonalities with Turtle Island First Nations in the resurgence of our Pagan lifeways, but for the most part our cultural recovery is completely different.  First Nations wisdom keepers have been my teachers, and it is the political and spiritual themes  most important to our native/non-native relationship that have prompted me to examine the ideas in this book.


When did you realize that you were Pagan?

I have always been a “flower child” (LOL) and luckily did not have much in the way of Christian conditioning to overcome in the pursuit of my love for nature.  I have been engaged with self-rewilding since my late teens, and have had many animistic and eco-mystic experiences at sacred sites and other natural places.  I love sacred geometry, constructing and walking labyrinths, communicating with the other-than-human world, wildcrafting, gardening, Goddess Spirituality, and exploring the Earth Mysteries. It is the earth-honouring aspects of contemporary Paganism that I am drawn to, plus the Celtic Reconstructionist process of recovering spiritual and cultural traditions from my ancestral Scottish and English roots.

When and why did you begin writing?

At age six I became an avid reader (!) and since then have always written poetry, short stories, journals and altered books, with longer articles and book reviews for community publications and BBI Media in recent years.  I stepped up my writing practice in a huge way about eight years ago when I started writing Goddess Tales, and then began work on Ancient Spirit Rising

How did the topic of the book come to you?

I noticed that there were aspects in the interface between First Nations and the Settler Society that people were not talking about, and I wanted to explore those themes in my own life and the wider society.  Where have we been finding our identity as Pagans? How do we re-indigenize ourselves to the land, to be Pagan or Celtic Revivalist without “leaning in” to First Nations?  I start off with an examination of cultural appropriation, move quickly into all that we can be doing in solidarity to assist First Nations with their social justice work, and finally, how to reclaim our essential eco-selves, rejuvenate our love for the land, practice holistic principles for sustainable living,  and bond with the places we call home.

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

This is my first full-length book, but I have had articles, poetry and artwork published in magazines and books, and have scholarly essays published in a number of anthologies.

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

I think the non-fiction process is much easier, as there is no shortage of research material to provoke and stimulate one’s own critical thinking process.  Writing fiction engages more of the imaginative abilities, and seeking out images, textures or ancient narratives work for me as a way to get the story moving.    I don’t actually experience writer’s block, but when I’ve reached my limit on analysis or whatever it is I’m writing about, I go work on my bibliography!  I should have been a librarian.

Who encourages and inspires you?

In the Pagan world I am inspired by Starhawk, who blends social activism and spirituality so effortlessly, by the books and music of UK-based Carolyn Hillyer and Nigel Shaw of Seventh Wave, and by the work of Montague Whitsel in contemporary Celtic Spirituality. 
I am also informed and inspired by a wide range of authors and activists in animism, eco-psychology, eco-feminism, social justice and apocalypse studies; as well as many brilliant First Nations academics, intellectuals, activists, change-makers, artists and visionaries.

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

Definitely a complete tour of the sacred sites of England and Scotland, taking the same trails the ancients took, sketching the stone circles, creating impromptu rituals, writing next to hedgerows, sacred wells, under the Fortingall Yew or in pubs, and staying in little B&B’s along the way!

If you could choose any era to live in, what would it be?

I would love to live at the time of the pinnacle of Stonehenge (and environs) culture and achievement - I really want to know who built the megalith circles, what relationships they had with the other-than-human world,  and what their sacred practices were!

Are you published or self-published, and what has been your experience of this process?
          
In the interest of releasing material quickly into the world, I have embraced self-publishing.  I love the fact that I can have my own publishing imprint, and that I have total control over the final editing and design. The only down side I can see to self-publishing is the marketing support and distribution network that a major publisher provides, but I’m willing to take on those aspects as well.

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

E-books are part of the seismic shift to digitization in all aspects of the publishing world, and the pace of change in this industry has been unbelievable!  There are many of us who actually remember life before the internet, can you imagine?  The connectivity, access and immediacy of e-books is marvellous, but I wonder if at some point in the future we will miss the more leisurely intimate relationship we used to have with the written word.  I am somewhat of a Luddite, and am happy to see that published books are still keeping pace with e-books (for now).   Spending hours and hours each day multitasking at a glowing screen has been completely normalized, but how is this “continuous partial attention” changing human behaviour?

Tell us a little about the community you’re building through your blog and social media.

My book and social media offerings appeal to those on the path of Earth Spirituality and seekers of the Old Ways in Pagan, Reconstructionist , Druidic, Wiccan and Goddessian practice.   People are looking for alternatives to Empire, and it is an exciting time to be involved in the conversation about authentic identity and re-indigenization for all peoples, and to embrace social activism as a necessary component of our lives today.


What are your future plans for writing?

My next project is to take up Blessings in Her: Goddess Tales where I left off a couple of years ago.  I want to highlight a magical or pivotal moment in the lives of different Wise Women, Priestesses, Matriarchs or Goddesses from history or myth in a series of short stories, each one accompanied by my original illustrations.


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Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process, Pegi. We wish you all the best with your scholarly non-fiction, your short stories and your art!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Sunbow Pendragon

Author: Sunbow Pendragon
Best Known Works: The Black Knight of Avalon Chronicles, Books 1 - 7
Where You Can Find Her: Sunbow Pendragon on Amazon
Top Writing Tip:  Just keep writing, even if you think it isn't good enough to be published! It's good medicine, to exercise your imagination by being creative. Everyone likes a good story!



Hi Sunbow, thank you so much 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?

I was born in the summer of 1957 in the Pacific Northwest, the middle child of five. As a result of that, I was always and continue to be somewhat inclined towards daydreaming and shyness. When I was the age of 12, I discovered the stories of Greek and Roman mythology. At 13, I discovered the tale of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table and fell under the spell of the legend. I would retreat to the woods behind my parents' house and play at knights and ladies, all by myself of course, until one of my older siblings was sent to fetch me back to reality and household chores.

As I entered my later teens, I continued to be fascinated by the story, especially the part concerning the relationship of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot. I picked up any fantasy novel having to do with Arthur in any way. One was The Crimson Chalice, which introduced me to the fact that Arthur may have been the offshoot of Marcus Aurelius. Certainly, the great king was raised in a world influenced by Rome. I began investigating older books written about the warlord Arthur, such as Le Morte de Arthur, and how the legend might have began and been spread. As I grew older and found other sources of information concerning the legend, I became more interested in the mysteries behind the story: the tales of Merlin and the Ladies of Avalon. I wondered if they could be in any way true at all, and began investigating that aspect. This led me to many books on modern Magick, and finally I read Marian Zimmer Bradley's book, The Mists of Avalon. Her writing captivated me.

Along my way, I kept encountering the tale of the elusive Black Knight, painted in most versions as a terrifying individual who appeared at the most opportune moments to test the Knights of Camelot. The character enchanted me with his elusive nature and I was bound and determined to find out what he was all about.

In time I married, home-birthed two children and went about raising them until one night I had a most startling dream. In this dream, I was given an overview of the time of Camelot through the eyes of the Black Knight, the champion of Cerridwen. At the time, I had only a vague knowledge of the White Goddess and so was taken aback by Her dominance in the dream. When I awoke, I knew I must write down this story and so I began with pen and paper. I read the story every night to my mate when he returned from his labours of the day; every day I wrote until my fingers were sore and numb, so powerful was the impulse. Finally, I finished the first segment of the story and began the next, and onto the next. At last, some three years later, I finished the entire story and began my revisions.

Now some twenty years later, due to financial setbacks and other obstacles, the first two books in the series have been published. There are seven yet to come. I hope it speaks to you as it did to me; however, as you read, I beg you to remember that it is only a story. I make no claims to it's being a true representation of history. It is meant merely as a source of entertainment. And also, remember that the story was inspired by a very vivid dream. Who knows where dreams come from?

When did you realise that you were Pagan?

I think I always knew I was different, but I tried all throughout my childhood to conform so as to "get along" with others.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing in my early teens to combat loneliness. In my writing, I could create my own world, a world that made sense when the world I was living in didn't.

Are these novels your first published pieces or have you had work published before?

No, these seven books are the only ones I have published to date. I am working on a new series right now however

How did the topic of your books come to you?

In the most startlingly vivid dream I have ever experienced, a dream that lasted an entire night. In this dream, I was allowed to hear, touch, smell and see things, as if I was standing right there.

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

My book is based on the Camelot legend, as you can tell by the title. It centres around the character of the Black Knight, who appears in the traditional tale as an evil character. In the dream he was presented as the Goddess' Champion, one who worked in the shadows to protect the people and test the Knights of Camelot on their virtues.

Do we see some of you in your book?

Perhaps some of my humour has been incorporated, but then I think there should be moments of humour even in the most serious of books.

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

Oh  yes, every author suffers occasionally from writer's block. I take the time and get away from my desk. I get out into my gardens and get dirty. That takes my mind off of everything except what I'm doing. After a few days or so, I find that I can get back into the rhythm and that my work flows properly.

Who encourages and inspires you?

My husband! He is my biggest fan, and if he hadn't encouraged me to start writing down the dream while it was still fresh, I don't think the books would have ever been written.

Where do you go when you need to recharge?

I like to go somewhere beautiful to recharge. I prefer the beach. There's a special place I go as often as possible for two or three days, just to let my cares slip away. It's rustic and there's no Internet, so I'm off the grid except for the pay phones. It's so healing!

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

I am a Kindle author now, but I went with a self-publishing firm first. It was not a pleasant experience.

Do you think e-books have changed the publishing market for better or worse?

I love being a Kindle author! Without such a medium, I would still be trying to get a publisher to take my work! I still would love to have my books printed someday, when the finances are there.

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

I think that reviews are very important, especially as a Kindle author! Yes, I read every one of them and try to comment on them. I think people like an engaged author.

What are your future plans for writing?

I plan to just keep writing. I have so many stories to tell running around in my head. I have at least one book of short stories to write about the Black Knight, and there are other characters in the book that have life stories to tell as well. I am also now two books into a new series, the first of which I am editing right now.


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Sunbow, thanks again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process. We wish you the best of luck with your new novels and short stories!



Saturday, 21 February 2015

Christy Jackson Nicholas


Author Name: Christy Jackson Nicholas
Best Known WorksMythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland
Where can you find her?Facebook and Website
Top Writing TipWrite!  Write every day. Even if it’s terrible. Write and write some more. And when you stop,write. Don’t edit until you’re done with your first draft.




Hi Christy, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!

What are the experiences that led you to write this book? 

I am an accountant, artist, author, and acrobat. OK, perhaps not
that last one – but I needed another ‘A’ occupation! 

I enjoy the life and beauty that surrounds us all. I have travelled many times to the UK and Ireland, and find them absolutely fascinating. The history, the people, the very land itself has always called to me. When I am in Ireland, I feel as if my soul has come home, and I ache to remain there the rest of my days. I want other people to experience this epiphany, so I have written a guide to help them plan their own trip, within a budget.

When did you realise you were Pagan? 

When I was 14, I had been confirmed in the Presbyterian church and found the comparative religion classes fascinating. I started doing my own research, and found that Wicca spoke to my soul far more clearly than any other religion. I continued in my research, which was much more difficult in 1984 than it is now, and followed my path.

What do you enjoy reading? 

Right now my great love is historical fiction, but I grew up on science fiction and high fantasy. Diana Gabaldon is a favourite, as are Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novak, Sharon Kay Penman, Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, Mercedes Lackey, and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

When and why did you begin writing? 

I’ve always loved writing. However, I was never particularly good at it. To this day, I still cringe at the horrible Dragonriders of Pern fan fiction I wrote when I was twelve. Over the years, though, I wrote travelogues whenever I journeyed. I would write down notes about who I met, what I drank, which rocks I tripped over – and it seemed to work. Now I believe I’ve found my voice and my level of craft. I use writing to share my own impressions, beliefs and experiences. I’ve even begun writing novels! I’ve written four, though they are all still in the editing/publishing stages.

How did the topic of your book come to you? 

I always loved writing travelogues, and so many people asked me after my trips to help them plan their own journey. Eventually, I wrote an article on how they could do it themselves. That article sort of grew into the book.

Do you plan your stories before you begin? 

I am a very methodical, planning person, so I love the Snowflake Method. It helps me plot out the story, the characters, the arcs, etc., before I start page one. 

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

I’m a fast writer. I try to write at least 2000 words a day when I’m ‘in novel’. The fastest novel I’ve written was in six weeks. That doesn’t mean it was the best, mind you!  The first book I wrote took six months (the Ireland book). The editing process, however, takes me longer than the writing, as I detest that part of the process.

Tell us a bit about your travelogue.

It contains a section on the myth and history of Ireland, and then a good chunk of practical tips to help you plan your trip. It helps you figure out what time of the year to go, which lodging style best suits your needs and budgets, how to buy a round at the pub, and a list of discount websites to help with your planning. Then there is a huge section of hidden places, sites off the beaten path. There are some popular ones as well, but I prefer the little places, where the other travel guides aren’t taking you, such as Brigit’s Prayer Garden, or Ballynoe Stone Circle.

Who encourages and inspires you? 

My parents, my husband, my best friends (who are probably sick of reading my WiPs by now) and my publisher. In fact, my parents were the reason I started writing novels. I wanted to document their love story (it is very romantic) in novel form. 


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

Absolutely Ireland. In fact, I can tell you exactly where – County Donegal, right near Sliabh Liag cliffs. 900 feet up above the Atlantic Ocean, where the Gulf Stream hits the land. An incredibly inspiring, stunning place!



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

Mystical Ireland is my first non-self-published book. I previously had two photo journals self-published via Lulu, one on Ireland and one on Scotland. The Scotland one was picked up by Barnes & Noble online. Now I am published by Tirgearr Publishing, a small ebook publisher based in Ireland. Tirgearr has been incredibly helpful, but brutally honest when it was needed.

Do you think e-books have changed the publishing market for better or for worse? 

I think both. 

Better, as it allows more authors to be on the market, expanding the options. Authors that don’t necessarily think outside the box, and cater to what an editor thinks the public will like. It lets books get published with a much lower cost of entry.

Worse, in that it allows more authors to be on the market – authors that don’t necessarily go through the editing, proofreading, and beta reading process.

What are your future plans for writing? 

I’ve written, as I mentioned above, four novels now. Three of them are in a series of historical fantasy called The Druid’s Brooch series. I hope to continue this series back into history, to find the origin of the brooch. The novel that isn’t part of that series is my first one – my parents’ love story.

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Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process, Christy. We wish you all the best with your travelogues and look forward to reading your novels!