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Posts Tagged ‘myth’

heidi Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Heidi Hanley. Heidi Hanley says, “There are worse things than living in a world of kings, queens, warriors, bards, and all manner of magical beings. After a life spent burying myself in the imagination of others and lamenting my inability to create such a story myself, I was challenged by my husband and a friend to bust down the barriers to my own creativity and just do it! I did, and The Kingdom of Uisneach Series is the result.

“I have been blessed by careers as a Registered Nurse, an interfaith minister and a hospice chaplain, but ever-flowing beneath the surface was my passion for books and writing. Whether I was writing care plans, weddings or journaling my own personal odyssey, I crafted words in ways that others found… interesting.

The Kingdom of Uisneach Series taps into the core of my Irish heritage, evoking the spirit of ancient myth and legend. I hope you enjoy this story and would love to hear from you.”

Heidi Hanley’s book, The Prophecy, is a novel fantasy fans are sure to enjoy. A quick summary for my readers—For centuries, fairy tales have entertained, comforted and inspired us. They have offered opportunities for adventure and provided hope for a ‘happily ever after’ life. But real life isn’t always as simple as fairy tales would have us believe. Sometimes the Prince doesn’t wake the sleeping princess, or if he does, they discover that they are a poor match. Sometimes the ‘Great Adventure’ requires a great deal of sacrifice and nearly kills the hero along the way. Sometimes a happy ending is a fairy tale.

Briana Brennan, aka Mouse, has a recurring dream that starts her biological clock ticking. So is the clock of destiny, started by a visit from a forest crone at the hour of her birth. While Briana is worrying that she won’t find the man of her dreams, a kingdom is worried that they’ll never see their Savior and the kingdom will be lost. But destiny has a surprise for them both. Following a sound in the woods, Briana finds herself traveling through a tree into the Kingdom of Uisneach. She is met by gnomes who have been waiting for her to come as the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. She is destined to save King Brath from a cursed exile and take the kingdom back from the evil Lord Shamwa and Druid Artanin. With only a magic map to guide her, she begins a journey that requires her to make decisions at every crossroads. The choices she must make at these crossroads pale in comparison to the life choices she will have to make as she meets and travels with her companions, strong and stalwart, Lord Marshall Sigel, the handsome young bard, Silas of Cedarmara and a wolfhound called Dara. Overseeing the journey and mentoring her are a shapeshifting crow and a forest crone. Together they must learn how to use the black medallions each one wears to unlock the curse and release the king.

Magical maps, powerful swords, dryads, fairies, evil druids, good friends, and an Abbess, all contribute something to the journey and to her growth as a woman, a warrior and a queen. She learns the challenging lessons of love, patience, sacrifice, loyalty and commitment. The journey across Uisneach is a great adventure, but one in which she must endure heartache and physical pain, but hopefully in the end, find love and her happily ever after.

heidi book Where did the idea come from for your book, The Prophecy?

The Prophecy: Book One of the Kingdom of Uisneach Series, is my first novel. It is the product of a perfect storm of me being at a place in my life where I was either going to fulfill my lifelong dream of writing and publishing a book, or die with the regret that I didn’t; feeling like magical, swashbuckling books were getting hard to find (not true, I have since discovered); and having the niggling thought in my mind that it would be cool to write an adult fairy tale. Having Irish ancestry, I am also drawn to Irish myth and folklore so creating a world based on that was exciting to me. Someone once said if you’re going to write a book, you should write what you want to read. The Prophecy is a book I want to read.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Asking me my favorite anything is a challenge in and of itself. I have many favorites of everything. Every character in The Prophecy is my favorite for a different reason. But you would like me to pick one, so I will say Briana. Huh? That is not who I thought I was going to choose. Readers have so far either loved Briana or have rolled their eyes and picked her apart. That’s not a bad thing. It means she has made an impression and that is exactly what I like about her. She isn’t ordinary, though she thinks she is. Up until she walked through a tree in the woods near her house and ended up in Uisneach, she lived a pretty sheltered life. On the other side of the tree, she immediately discovers she is the savior to a land of gnomes, dryads, witches, druids and very mythic men and women. She must adapt to this new reality quickly to avoid being a victim of the evil Lord Shamwa. She goes from being a young woman who cries at the drop of a hat and rejects most men because they don’t meet her dreamy expectations, to a woman who makes hard, sacrificial choices for the greater good of a kingdom she falls in love with. I freely admit it is cosmically cliché. I meant it to be. I love Briana’s flexibility and her openness to seeing the world in a new way, but I also like that she is a little impulsive and has a really big heart which she often wears on her sleeve.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

I chose to self-publish for the simple reason that I began writing The Prophecy when I was in my mid-fifties and after several months of query letters with rejections or silence, I realized that time was slipping by and if I hoped to publish, I would need to do it myself. I created my own publishing company, Sword and Arrow Publishing, and learned everything I could about the venture. The obvious advantages are that you get the book out in your own lifetime and you have control over everything. The disadvantages are many and not to be tackled by the faint of heart. The biggest disadvantage of self-publishing is that if you don’t love the business of publishing and marketing and if you don’t have the technical skills to create and promote your book, you will spend far more time and money on the business end of publishing and marketing than you can on writing. I ended up outsourcing things like editing, book covers and formatting and website development and management.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

I love that term—architect. I was taught through the process to be a plotter—forevermore to be known as an architect. When I started, I had a rough outline, based on the hero’s journey, but my editor painstakingly taught me to use chapter summaries which are a blessing and a curse. I don’t love doing them, but I agree they focus the book. However, I am also dedicated to listening to my characters, who often intervene with ideas of their own that I honor as much as possible. I believe that part of the writing process is based on planning and formula, but the fun part is opening to creative mystery.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Oh, that ‘favorite’ question again. I have been a voracious reader since first grade and choosing a ‘favorite’ book would be nearly impossible. I will say that the first books I read multiple times was S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now, when I was about eleven. It was the first time the lines began to blur between reality and fantasy for me. I fell in love with Ponyboy and sort of forgot he was a character. I remember dreaming and talking about him incessantly and being outraged when my mother reminded me he wasn’t a real person. Those books instilled in me a love for characters above all else. My primary goal in my own writing is to create characters that are unique and memorable.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I just finished the first draft of Kingdom of Uisneach’s second book in the trilogy, The Runes of Evalon. Book three is active in my head now as well. I have also been working on some poetry. Having to write song lyrics for The Prophecy was excruciating and it forced me to start thinking about songwriting and poetry. During the summer of 2018 I discovered a lyricist who inspired me to try writing poetry with pattern and beat and maybe a little less exact rhyme. I’m having a lot of fun with that and sharing it on my Facebook page.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

That’s easy. Embrace the editor! My first experience with an editor was excruciatingly painful, but it was also the best and most important thing that ever happened to me. I learned through Jill Shultz, a skilled an compassionate editor, that my work could only get better by listening to and working with an expert on the writing craft. My first draft of The Prophecy was a hot mess. The finished product is something I am proud of. I’ve learned so much from Jill, and would never consider publishing anything without a professional edit.

Want to learn more about Heidi Hanley and The Prophecy? Check out her:  WebsiteFacebook pageTwitterInstagram, and  Amazon Authors Page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of The Prophecy.

Thanks to author Heidi Hanley for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author Bo Balder on March 7, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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rebecca buchanan Whimsical Words welcomes guest author, Rebecca Buchanan. Rebecca is the editor of the Pagan literary ezine, Eternal Haunted Summer. She has been published in a wide variety of venues. She has released two short story collections with Asphodel Press: A Witch Among Wolves, and Other Pagan Tales; and The Serpent in the Throat, and Other Pagan Tales. Her first poetry collection, Dame Evergreen, and Other Poems of Myth, Magic, and Madness was recently released by Sycorax Press.

Rebecca Buchanan’s latest books: Dame Evergreen, and Other Poems of Myth, Magic, and Madness and The Fox and the Rose, And Other Pagan Faerie Tales, are awash in myth and magic. A quick summary for my readers:

r buchanan book The world is magic. The world is stories. Dame Evergreen brings together forty poems of myth, magic, and madness, many original to this collection. Here, a butterfly Goddess weaves the world of her own color and light, a God reaches into the abyss to pull the runes into creation, a red-cloaked witch hunts the wolf who took her daughter, a turtle carries a fragile world upon its back, the doors to fairyland are tragically opened, princely spirits trapped in a briar hedge slowly go mad, and there is no happily ever after for a shape-shifting frog. Journey through a world that is beautiful, horrible, magical, and mad.

The Fox and the Rose, and Other Pagan Faerie Tales is a collection twenty stories, combining elements of classic fairy tales and myths to create a wholly original collection.

Where did the idea come from for your latest books, Dame Evergreen, Other Poems of Myth, Magic, and Madness and The Fox and the Rose, And Other Pagan Faerie Tales?

The idea grew out of my mutual love of fairy tales and myths. Most of the fairy tales which have come down to us are heavily Christianized; the Pagan elements which survive are hidden. I wanted fairy tales which retained their Pagan nature, with very obvious Gods and Goddesses and other Powers as characters. And too many of the old myths treat the Deities like jokes, or present a misogynistic worldview.

So, I started writing. When I was done, I had one poetry collection—Dame Evergreen; and one short story anthology—The Fox and the Rose.

Who is your favorite character in the book—and why?

Oh, tough question. In the case of The Fox and the Rose, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But it’s probably a toss-up between Eirawen (the main character is my retelling of “Snow White”) and the One-Eyed Crow (the messenger of the Goddess of the Underworld) in the story of the same name. I like Eirawen because she is brave and frightened, smart and a smart-ass. The One-Eyed Crow is totally devoted to his Goddess, but he also recognizes—and rewards—friendship when he finds it in unexpected places.

Is your book traditionally published, indie published, or self published?

Dame Evergreen was released by Sycorax Press, a small speculative poetry publisher which is slowly building an impressive bibliography. The Fox and the Rose will be released by Asphodel Press, a Pagan publishing cooperative, right after the new year. They specialize in Pagan and polytheist and fiction and nonfiction, in both print and ebook formats; many titles are published at little to no cost to the author as an act of devotion.

Sandi Leibowitz at Sycorax Press was a delight to work with, and did virtually everything herself, from laying out the interior to creating the cover; it was great to be in close contact with her throughout the publication process. And I love working with the folks at Asphodel Press; one definite advantage is that they understand (and support) Pagan authors. The only real disadvantage with both Sycorax and Asphodel is that neither has much in the way of PR or advertising; that all falls on the author, so sales are entirely dependent on the author getting the word out.

What is your writing process like—are you an architect (planner) or gardener (pantser)?

Both, but it depends on the type of story. In the case of poems and short stories, I usually get a scene or character in my head first. I write the poem over and over by hand, changing it bit by bit until it’s done; for short stories, I write a rough outline by hand, then start typing.

In the case of novellas and novels, I write out chapter-by-chapter outlines and in-depth character profiles. When I have a fairly solid idea of what will happen and why, I start typing. (Well, usually; my current novel project started as a single scene, and I’m working out from there. I have no idea what it will be be when it’s complete.)

What was your favorite book as a child?

Again, another tough question. 🙂 I can’t pick an absolute favorite. Near the very top of the list, though, is Robin McKinley’s The Door in the Hedge and Other Stories. It not only contains my favorite version of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” but also taught me that fairy tales were not just for children. Fairy tales can be dark and sensuous and romantic and filled with strong, intelligent women.

What writing project are you currently working on?

I’m working on several projects right now. One is a collection of poems, tentatively entitled Not a Princess, But (Yes) There Was a Pea, and Other Fairy Tales to Foment Revolution. In this anthology, I twist and tweak traditional fairy tales, looking at them through a more subversive lens, bringing out the elements that encourage independence, strength, and compassion.

I am also working on The White Gryphon, a heterosexual fantasy romance novel; The Secret of the Sunken Temple, a gay paranormal romance set immediately before World War II; and The Cat, The Corpse, The Cursed Ballerina, an urban fantasy novel centered around a mage of mixed Maori and British descent.

What’s the best writing advice anyone ever gave you?

Never submit your first draft.

Want to learn more about Rebecca Buchanan and Dame Evergreen, and Other Poems of Myth, Magic, and Madness and The Fox and the Rose, And Other Pagan Faerie Tales? Check out her: Website and Amazon page.

Or better yet, purchase a copy of Dame Evergreen, and Other Poems of Myth, Magic, and Madness.

Thanks to author Rebecca Buchanan for stopping by. Watch for an interview with author K.G. Anderson on January 17, 2019. Happy reading! – Vonnie

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Beth-Barany_360by270-cropped Author and workshop leader, Beth Barany passed the baton to me on this blog hop. At the same time, she passed the baton to James C. Wallace II And Dan O’Brien. We’re all to answer 4 questions about our writing process. And almost every writer likes to chat about their writing process, so this is an easy post to write.

My Writing Process:
1- What are you working on now? Actually, I have several projects in the works. I know that seems like it would be confusing, but I have a short attention span, so it helps me to move from project to project until I’m nearing the end of the first draft. That said, when I work on a second draft, I focus on one book at a time. I’m currently writing the follow-up book to The Enchanted Skean (a Compton Crook Award Finalist), a YA science fiction novel, a YA urban fantasy, and a non-fiction historical book. Plus, I’m working on illustrations for a picture book.
2- How does your work differ from others in this genre? I think coming from both an illustration and writing background, I “see” the world of my books as I write them. Also, having taught creative writing, especially poetry, for over a decade, I think I bring the poetic emphasis on the senses to my prose.
box of clovers 3- Why do you write what you do? I believe the world around us is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, so it’s natural I’d include those things in my writing. I’ve been in love with myths, fables, fairy tales, and folklore since I was a child, so my writing and illustrations are filled with a sense of wonder. By the way, I found my first 4-leafed clover of 2014 today on a walk with my granddaughter – I’ve already slipped it inside the pages of a book. Once the clover is pressed flat and dried, I’ll add it to one of the jars of 4-leafed clovers I have on my shelves. Magic really is everywhere around us.
4- How does your writing process work? Something inspires me – a word, something I see or hear, an over-heard conversation, a “what if” thought about an ordinary moment. Then, I mull the idea over in my mind. Quite often, I dream parts of the story. By the time I actually begin writing, my fingers can’t keep up with my brain! Editing can be tiresome for me – but I know it’s necessary. I revise, polish, submit the manuscript to publishers, and repeat the process.

If I can wrangle a couple of writers into accepting the baton, I’ll post their bio and blog links here. Until then, keep on the look out for 4-leafed clovers! And here’s a question for you: Fellow readers (and writers), are you interested in a writer’s process?

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Wizard A brand new, myth-focused blog, Mythic Well, is up and running with a wonderful post on – what else? – Sacred Springs. There will be “articles about the myths and legends that inspire us” regularly posted by a group of writers who use myth, legend, folklore, etc. to inspire and season their writing.

So, as you can imagine, I’ll be one of the contributors. When a new post goes up on Mythic Well, I’ll link to it, so those of you who love to read about myths and legends as much as I do will have a quick way to see what’s new.

As for Sacred Springs by Jennifer Allis Provost, it’s a wonderful post filled with photos, facts, and magical information. Jennifer has also included links to some other interesting websites that offer even more information. Thanks, Jennifer, for a great debut article, and I challenge my fellow contributors to keep up the fascinating posts – I’ll sure try to do so.

So here’s the list of contributors – I urge you to check each of them and their writing out: Anthony Francis, April Wood, Darby Karchut, DC Farmer, Jennifer Allis Provost, Kimberly Long Ewing, TJ Woolridge, Sherry Ficklin, and me! 🙂

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author Thanks to Michigan fantasy author M.A. Donovan for stopping by. Hold on a minute, weren’t you promised a visit from author Shelby Patrick? Yes – but they are one and the same. M.A. Donovan uses the name Shelby Patrick when writing horror and thrillers. Now, let’s see what she has to say about fantasy.

Fantasy Meets Reality by M.A. Donovan

Fantasy should have its grounds in reality. Yes, we can totally make up our own little worlds but they fall flat without some truth to them. They need structure and rules. Even magic can’t get by without some sort of organization.

In The Golden Horn, I have created my magical kingdom where dragons rule, unicorns keep the peace, and magic users wield power. It pits my four main characters against dangerous beasts and demonic warlords on a quest to find the ultimate weapon – The Golden Horn. Nations have gone to war over this legendary weapon; treasure hunters have died attempting to locate it; and whole cities have been destroyed to keep it safe. When their kingdom is taken over by evil, my heroes begin their journey that is fraught with deadly traps and hungry monsters. If they fail, they will become enslaved to an ancient wizard with the power of the shadows on his side.

Although my imagination created this mythical world, I still had to pull from history and myth. Anyone can throw a few orcs or wizards in and claim it to be a fantasy realm, but it will lose readers. People want to feel like the place could have existed and their dreams will whisk them away to this wonderful kingdom. To do that, you need to come up with a society which involves villagers, towns, markets, trades, neighboring kingdoms, soldiers, religions, money, nobles, etc.

It helps to map out your world so that the reader can follow along as your characters travel along roads (rocky, dirt, paved) or paths (forests, meadows, rivers) to get to their destination (the next town, the castle, the monster’s lair). Once you have the basics down, how will they be traveling – horses, carriages, on foot, by ship? If you decide to go with horses, make sure the animals become part of the story. They need to be rested, watered, and fed as well. Figure out distances and time traveled depending on the mode of transportation. For example, it will take longer to go by foot than by horseback. What type of equipment do your characters carry? This will affect their travel pace. Who or what will they encounter in their travels?

frontcover When I first wrote my story, I left out a lot of the background information. My editor said I needed to make my world “real”. My characters weren’t situated for a book. Since they went from one battle to the next (in the original version), it was more like a role-playing game. They had to interact with other people along the way and have some down time. Plus, some of the monsters had to be downsized. They couldn’t fight the most intense creatures every day, but if they did, the fights had to be death-defying. The reader had to feel as if the character may not live to survive the tale. Reality check! Not only did the world need to be believable, so did the characters and their actions. That’s what makes a good story – fantasy or not.”

The Golden Horn is available at: http://amzn.to/WHRULe (print edition) and http://amzn.to/YN40FX (Kindle edition) or createspace.com And you can read the first three chapters for FREE at http://bit.ly/XC5pst Visit M.A. Donovan online at http://www.donovanfantasyauthor.com or check out her blog at http://www.freethewriterinside.com You can also find her on Facebook (ShelbyPatrickAuthor) and Twitter (@shelbypatrick).

Special Offer: Want to win a free signed copy of The Golden Horn along with a special gift from M.A. Donovan? Enter her “Letter to a Hero” contest. Simply craft a genius letter to your special hero (can be a fictional character or a real person) and send to her at kariah@donovanfantasyauthor.com with “Letter to a Hero” in the subject. She’ll select a winner at the end of her virtual book tour, on or around March 1, 2013. Please make sure to include your name, mailing address, and email in your letter.

Thanks again to M.A. Donovan for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and my new feature, Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a fantastical day.– Vonnie

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I’m back from a week in the mountains of West Virginia, and I’m filled with both longing for the quiet of the deep forest and eagerness to resume my “normal” life. Coming home after a trip is always like that. I miss the excitement of adventure and travel, but relish the familiarity of Wood’s Edge.

 I think my writing is like that, too. As a writer, I was first a poet. This spring/summer, I worked hard on an essay, “Fairies, Magic & Monsters,” that appears in the latest issue of “Little Patuxent Review,” and on a number of short stories for various magazines and anthologies. By tomorrow noontime, I need to finish my next column for “Harford’s Heart Magazine” and get it emailed to my editor. And before next weekend, I really need to complete an article promised to an editor ages ago. Then, I suppose I’ll write a poem or two. You see, poetry for me is like a faded, well-worn pair of jeans — comfortable and easy to slip into.

 For those who might like to read a couple of my poems, the fabulous new anthology from Maryland Writer’s Association, “Life in Me like Grass on Fire,” contains “Harpers Ferry” and “Venus.” Per usual, I used myth, folklore, and legend in both poems. As a bonus for being part of the book, I got a chance to share “Harpers Ferry” and chat about contributing to anthologies at a meeting of the Howard County Branch of MWA in July. It was lovely to spend an evening with a group of enthusiastic readers & writers.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? Sharing the love of words with like-minded individuals. So thanks, MWA for including my poems and inviting me to participate in several special presentations based on “Life in Me like Grass on Fire.”

Now, back to my column…

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J.R.R. Tolkien wrote: “Little by little, one travels far.”

I believe Tolkien got it right, whether you think about a real trip, or one of life’s journeys. As for me, I’ve been on an interesting journey lately — embracing my love of myth, legend, and folklore, and pursuing publication opportunities in those genres.

Besides my “Fairy Stories, Magic, and Monsters” essay in the forthcoming “Make Believe” issue of  The Little Patuxent Review, I have 2 poems, “Harpers Ferry” & “Venus,” due out in the Maryland Writers’ Association anthology, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire. Both incorporate myth.

Paper Crow magazine just accepted my poem based on a fairytale villian, “A wolf is kept fed by his feet.” My story which features the Daughter of Winter called “On a Midwinter’s Eve,” was just accepted by Tales of the Talisman. And the anthology, In the Garden of the Crow, accepted, “Kingdom Across the River,” a poem of mine that is filled with nursery rhyme and fairytale references.

As part of the process of promoting my collection of fantasy stories, The Greener Forest, I’m attending SynDCon in Rockville, MD on Sat., April 2. And I just attended Mythic Faire a couple of weeks ago where I not only sold a few books, but I got to meet British folklore expert and author of 150 books, John Matthews.

And yes, my geekiness was on full display as I asked a pleasant John Matthews to sign 5 of his nonfiction books for me. I could have lugged along several more, but the volumes were so heavy I risked injury if I loaded them in my backpack. John seems to have happily written about folklore and myth for decades. Me? I’ve just recently gotten brave enough to listen to my heart, and pursue my passion for writing and painting work rooted in myth, legend, folklore, and fairytales.

Finally, I’m taking those little steps with the hope of journeying far, and I encourage each of you, writer or not, to find your passion and pursue it. Deepak Chopra writes: “Listen to our heart, your heart knows.” I believe he’s right.

For those who’d like a peek at the opening poem of The Greener Forest, you can visit poet, editor, educator & mom, Laura Shovan’s March 25th Poetry Friday blog:  http://authoramok.blogspot.com/2011/03/poetry-friday-make-believe.html  Thanks Laura for featuring my poem, and for your kind words about my book.

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