BETWEEN- A New Urban Fantasy…coming soon

 

As one of her beta readers, I’m proud and thrilled to make this following announcement:

*Magic, dreams, and dragons (along with the odd penguin)- Kerry Schafer’s debut urban fantasy, Between is arriving at bookstores in January 2013.*

In anticipation, this week the cover is being revealed.   Each day a different portion shall be shown on a different website until it is displayed in its entirety on Ms. Schafer’s own site.

To view each picture and find out more about Between and related contests, please visit the following links:

Monday Sept 17th:  http://www.marleygibsonauthor.tumblr.com/

Tues, Sept 18th on booksmakemehappyreviews.com

Wed, Sept 19th on   faithhunter.net/wp/blog

 Thurs, Sept 20th on qwillery.blogspot.com

 and the B-I-G reveal on http://www.kerryschafer.com/ Friday, Sept 21st.  *Ms. Shafer is giving away three prizes: 2 twenty-five dollar Visa gift certificates and one query critique from literary agent Deidre Knight*

The Dragon Year Approaches

Wait.  Didn’t I just write my post, “The Year of the Rabbit”? 

Granted, I have no sense of time, and I can’t even wear a watch since my electromagnetic field kills them all.   But really.   How did we so quickly go from:

to:

Incredible or not, it is Jan 1, 2012.  (talk about sci-fi-ish sounding).  And we are now heading into the year of the dragon.  (Jan 23rd)

So, just like last year, I am continuing to work toward things.   I don’t like to make concrete goals.   Instead, I’m always seeking,  Always wanting to learn more.  Explore and expand my inner and outer worlds.

That said, in this- the year of the magestic dragon I shall continue to write every day (for the most part), continue studying that fascinating but infuriating language German, and being true to myself.

May everyone do what is best for them!

Here’s to the year of the dragon!

Published in: on January 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm  Comments (13)  
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On this Full Moon

“>“When I shall have departed from this world,
Whenever ye have need of anything,
Once in the month, and when the moon is full,
Ye shall assemble in some desert place,
Or in a forest all together join
To adore the potent spirit of your queen,
My mother, great Diana. She who fain
Would learn all sorcery yet has not won
Its deepest secrets, then my mother will
Teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown
. And ye shall all be freed from slavery,
And so ye shall be free in everything;
And as the sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also.”

-from “Aradia, or Gospel of the Witches” by Charles Leland. 1899

Autumn Night
“The moon is as complacent as a frog.
She sits in the sky like a blind white stone,
And does not even see Love
As she caresses his face with her contemptuous light.
She reaches her long white shivering fingers
Into the bowels of men.
Her tender superfluous probing into all that pollutes
Is like the immodesty of the mad.
She is a mad woman holding up her dress
So that her white belly shines.
Haughty,
Impregnable,
Ridiculous,
Silent and white as a debauched queen,
Her ecstasy is that of a cold and sensual child.

She is Death enjoying Life,
Innocently,
Lasciviously.”

-Evelyn Scott. published 1919

“><a

The Night – Wind by Emily Bronte

In summer's mellow midnight,
A cloudless moon shone through
Our open parlour window,
And rose-trees wet with dew.

I sat in silent musing;
The soft wind waved my hair;
It told me heaven was glorious,
And sleeping earth was fair.

I needed not its breathing
To bring such thoughts to me;
But still it whispered lowly,
'How dark the woods would be!

'The thick leaves in my murmur
Are rustling like a dream,
And all their myriad voices
Instinct with spirit seem.'

I said, 'Go, gentle singer,
Thy wooing voice is kind:
But do not think its music
Has power to reach my mind.

'Play with the scented flower,
The young tree's supply bough,
And leave my human feelings
In their own course to flow.'

The wanderer would not heed me:
Its kiss grew warmer still:
'Oh Come!' it sighed so sweetly;
'I'll win thee 'gainst thy will.

'Were we not friends from childhood?
Have I not loved thee long?
As long as thou, the solemn night,
Whose silence wakes my song.

'And when thy heart is resting
Beneath the church-aisle stone,
I shall have time for mourning,
And thou for being alone.'

Witches, artists, and writers have always held an affinity for the moon. On this esbat, as you struggle along with first drafts, revisions, and edits- allow yourself to go free. And if you start to worry, remember this from Shakespeare:

“Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;

Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,

And loathsome canker lies in sweetest bud.

All men make faults.”

Muses and Writing

(Thalia by Jean-marc Nattier)

(Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
“I pray to Mnamosyna (Memory), the fair-robed child of Ouranos (Heaven), and to her daughters [the Mousai].

Sappho, Fragment 103 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric I) (C6th B.C.) :
“Hither, holy Kharites (Graces) and Pierides Moisai [come inspire a song].”

The nine Muses of Greek mythology: Calliope of epic poetry, Clio of history, Erato of lyric poetry, Euterpe of music, Melpomene of tragedy, Polyhymnia of sacred poetry, Terpsichore of dance and song, Thalia of comedy, and Urania of Astronomy. They granted boons to the poets and artists of the ancient world.

Dante, cried out in The Inferno:
O Muses, O high genius, aid me now!
O memory that engraved the things I saw,
Here shall your worth be manifest to all!

Long after wide- belief in them had died out, some artists still sang their glories.

From Wiki: “Many Enlightenment figures sought to re-establish a “Cult of the Muses” in the 18th century. A famous Masonic lodge in pre-Revolutionary Paris was called Les Neuf Soeurs (“nine sisters”, that is, the nine Muses), and it was attended by Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Danton, and other influential Enlightenment figures. One side-effect of this movement was the use of the word “museum” (originally, “cult place of the Muses”) to refer to a place for the public display of knowledge.”

Flash forward to the 19th century when Emily Bronte depicted her muse like a lover:

“What I love shall come like visitant of air,
Safe in secret power from lurking human snare;
Who loves me, no word of mine shall e’er betray
Though for faith unstained my life must forfeit pay.

Burn then, little lamp; glimmer straight and clear-
Hush! a rustling wing stirs, methinks, the air;
He for whom I wait, thus ever comes to me;
Strange Power! I trust thy might; trust thou my constancy.”

In today’s world, many scoff at the idea of muses. Perhaps this stems from the many would-be writers who bemoan not being able to write due to not feeling “inspired”. And they wait and they wait and they wait.

Confession time: I have a muse. But here’s the things. She isn’t a sweet, angelic thing who waves a magic wand over my head. No, she watches over me as I regularly type away. Sometimes the words and ideas come easily. More often, the words are crappy, and silent cursing is going on in my head as I try to figure out another plot snafu.

But then, sometimes when I’m still struggling at the netbook, but more often, when I am drifting to sleep, she comes to me and whispers the answer.

The Muse award those who work diligently.

Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 7:27 pm  Comments (19)  
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Character Interview from PORTRAITS OF THE LIVING: A GHOST TALE

Thanks to Ralfast, for suggesting a character interview challenge.

*Pours two cups of coffee.  One black, and one with lots of cream and sugar.  Authoress knows by now that this particular character has quite the sweet tooth*

*clears throat*

“Well hello, dear character.  you and I have known each other for a few years now.  But for those who have not met you, could you please introduce yourself?”

I would be happy to.  My name  is Anne Durrant. 

Do you have any nicknames?

My brothers used to call me a mouse when I was a kid.

What do you look like? Eye color, hair color, ethnicity, distinguishing marks or features, clothing, jewelry, and gear…

Oh, it is awkward talking about oneself!  Let’s see.  I’m very small, hence the above mentioned nickname.   I have carroty-colored hair, and was cursed with the freckles of a redhead at birth.  A parasol is, thus, of little help.  Also, I’d walk into a wall without my dreaded spectacles.   As for dresses, I prefer a pretty, but unfussy style.  I do have a fondness for lace and ribbons.

What are your hobbies?

Books!  Especially “shudder” stories.  I love to be thrilled.  And I love trying to solve mysteries.   Lately, due to discovering I have the “sight”, I have started studying the occult.

Who and where is your family?Where are you from?

We live in Boston on Beaon Hill.  It’s a very busy street with all the carriages and pedestrians coming back and forth.  I’m a city girl at heart, but am glad to be visiting my relatives in the backwoods for a change of scenery.

Do you have any secrets, and what are they? Why do you keep them?

Of course I have secrets!  Someone without any secrets must have led a rather dull life, don’t you think?  But it’s improper to pry in one’s private business, so please don’t ask again.

Sorry!  You are quite right about that.  Let us move on.  What do you believe in?

I am open-minded.  There are a lot of new ideas circling around Boston right now.  Transcendentalism.  Spiritualism.   It’s all very fascinating.  I’m not sure exactly what I believe in, but I am keen on learning different things!

What is the setting of your story?

I am staying with my relatives in the backwoods of New England.   They live in a tiny backwater village that isn’t on any map.   This is my first visit out here, and I am finding my cousins to be all rather… odd.  And there’s also a dead girl.

That is all I shall say for now.

Thank you, Anne for your time.

Thank you for having me.  It has been  a pleasure.

Before I leave, if I may mention a delightful interview I read at http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/464/

Published in: on May 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm  Comments (24)  
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Marginalia and the Heart of Writing Inside Books

A few years ago, I picked up an old copy of a biography on Emily Bronte.   Inside the front cover, a woman had inscribed her name and dated it over thirty years ago.  And throughout the book, she’d underlined her favorite passages.   I don’t know anything about this woman except she shared a love for the Brontes.

Books of mine are filled with my own underlines, and flashes of ideas that have come to me when I didn’t have any other paper on hand.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines marginalia as,  “marginal notes or embellishments (as inside a book) “.

However, this succinct description does not dwell into the heart of the practice.

Coined by Samuel Coleridge,  the first known use of the term is found in a 1819 edition of Blackwood’s Magazine.   He wrote once, “”A book, I value.   I reason & quarrel with as with myself when I am reasoning.”

At times, Coleridge even  drolly criticized his own, earlier lines he came across.  “Hang me, if I know or ever did know the meaning of them.”

  Years later, Edgar Allen Poe titled many of his own articles, Marginalia.

However, the practice of scribbling comments inside books goes back much further.  Arguably, the most famous example is Fermat’s last theorem.  

The most common form of marginalia are the underlines, scribbles, and comments a reader makes.  While marking the book, they inadvertently reveal little aspects of themselves.  What lines of dialogue made them laugh, what bits of prose affected them emotionally, or made them think.

Other readers debate the writer’s theories with their own points of view on a subject.

Besides commentary,  the sides of pages have been used by writers to scribble their own works.  Whilst in prison, Voltaire used the margins of a book to pen his play, Oedipus.  

On the eve of his execution, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote this poem inside his bible:

“Even such is time, which takes in trust
    Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us nought but age and dust;
    Which in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days!
And from which grave, and earth, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust.’
Many are aghast at the thought of writing inside a book.  It’s almost an unsaid taboo.  Yet for others, it is a way to collect their thoughts, to share, and to express. 
  Voltaire

A Gypsy’s Plans for the New Year

First, Happy New Year to everyone!

I was just checking last year’s post:  https://gypsyscarlett.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/plans-for-a-victorian-in-the-new-year/, in which my goals were to read 12 German novels, keep up my daily writing, and find Sput a new hobby so she would stop regaling me nonstop about her city.

Let’s see how I fared.

I did indeed read 12 novels in German.

I wrote almost everyday, and in doing so revised PORTRAITS several times, and completed a few rough drafts.

And I did find Sput some new hobbies!   She’ll thank me one day. 

So, onto this year’s plans

1.  Rewrite, revise, edit, etc one of my rough drafts into a lovely, polished piece ready for submission

2.  Continue my German studies.  But while I’ll still be reading German, this year, I intend to concentrate on improving my listening skills.  (my weakest point, I fear).  So I shall intensely listen to German for at least one hour a day.  No eating, or writing, or knitting, or anything else but paying close heed to the sounds of Deutsch for that hour.  Let’s see if 365 hours of intense German listening has helped by the end of the year.

3.  Read at least one novel in French.  Yes,  the bug known as Francophilia has overtaken me.  Goodness, help me!

So, what shall you be working on this year?

– Ishtar’s Gate inside the Pergamon Museum

Published in: on January 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm  Comments (23)  
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Quotes on Acting… for Writers

 

Here are some quotes on acting from various theater actors and teachers which can also be applied toward creative writing

1.”Each action of the actor on the stage should be the visible concomitant of his thoughts. ” Sarah Bernhardt

2.  “He who is incapable of feeling strong passions, of being shaken by anger, of living in every sense of the word, will never be a good actor.”- Sarah Bernhardt

3.   “Permanent success cannot be achieved except by incessant intellectual labour, always inspired by the ideal. ” – Sarah Bernhardt

4. “There is all the difference in the world between departure from recognised rules by one who has learned to obey them, and neglect of them through want of training or want of skill or want of understanding. Before you can be eccentric you must know where the circle is.”- Ellen Terry

5.  “Imagination!  Imagination!  I put it first years ago, when I was asked what qualities I thought necessary for success on the stage.”- Ellen Terry

6.  “Vary the pace.  It is the foundation of all good acting.”- Ellen Terry

7.   “Imagination, industry, and intelligence — the three I s — are all indispensable to the actress, but of these three the greatest is, without doubt, imagination.”- Ellen Terry

8. ” “He never adheres to the first image that appears to him, because he knows that this is not necessarily the richest and more correct. He sacrifices one image for another more intense and expressive, and he does this repeatedly until new and unknown visions strike him with their revealing spell.” — Michael Chekhov

9.  “The inner life of the [imagination], and not the personal and tiny experiential resources of the actor, should be elaborated on the stage and shown to the audience. This life is rich and revealing for the audience as well as for the actor himself.” – Michael Chekhov

10.  “You have to get beyond your own precious inner experiences. The actor cannot afford to look only to his own life for all his material nor pull strictly from his own experience to find his acting choices and feelings. The ideas of the great playwrights are almost always larger than the experiences of even the best actors.” – Stella Adler

11.  “Whatever you decide is your motivation in the scene, the opposite of that is also true and should be in the scene.” – Michael Shurtleff

12.  “One way we can enliven the imagination is to push it toward the illogical. We’re not scientists. We don’t always have to make the logical, reasonable leap.” – Stella Adler

13.  “We don’t live for realities, but for the fantasies, the dreams of what might be. If we lived for reality, we’d be dead, every last one of us. Only dreams keep us going…When you are acting, don’t settle for anything less than the biggest dream for your character’s future.” – Michael Shurtleff

14.  “Work for the actor lies essentially in two areas: the ability to consistently create reality and the ability to express that reality.” – Lee Strasberg

15.  “Talent is an amalgam of high sensitivity; easy vulnerability; high sensory equipment (seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting intensely); a vivid imagination as well as a grip on reality; the desire to communicate one’s own experience and sensations, to make one’s self heard and seen.” – Uta Hagen

16.  “When an acting teacher tells a student ‘that wasn’t honest work’ or ‘that didn’t seem real,’ what does this mean? In life, we are rarely ‘truthful’ or ‘honest’ or ‘real’. And characters in plays are almost never ‘truthful’ or ‘honest’ or ‘real’. What exactly do teachers even mean by these words? A more useful question is: What is the story the actor was telling in their work? An actor is always telling a story. We all are telling stories, all the time. Story: that is what it is all about.”- Stella Adler

17.  “When an actor is completely absorbed by some profoundly moving objective so that he throws his whole being passionately into its execution, he reaches a state we call inspiration.”
– Stanislavski

18-  “Put life into the imagined circumstances and actions until you have completely satisfied your sense of truth and until you have awakened a sense of faith in the reality of your own sensations.”- Stanislavski

19.  “Acting is the ability to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances.”- Sanford Meisner

20.  “Less is more!”- Sanford Meisner

21.  “Your talent is in your choice. “- Stella Adler

Another Quick Meme: Oh My!

Ahem.  Interrupting The Neverending Writing Meme for something not-so-entirely different:  another meme.

Yes, that’s right.  I’ve been tagged.  Again.  By someone else:   Steven

Okay, here we go:

1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?

Shapeshifting!   I love to change forms in creative meditations.  It would be so amazing to shift for real on the physical plane.   Just transform into a bird and take off.   That’s freedom.  🙂 

*and as an extra, if somewhat nefarious reason, there are a few jerks I’d want to perch on top of*
2. Who is your style icon?

This one is difficiult to answer.  I’ve never thought of emulating someone’s style.  I admire Cain’s terse style, his rawness.  But I also really admire Wilkie Collin’s highly descriptive prose and his deep character portraits.   I’m probably some weird mix of all the different types of writers I enjoy.

Recently, a beta told me I reminded her of Iris Murdoch.  That was pretty cool to hear!  🙂
3. What is your favorite quote?

This quote by Goethe is always good to keep in mind:  “An unused life is an early death.”

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“That I’m my own person.”
5. What playlist/CD is in your CD Player/iPod right now?

Actually, nothing.  I’ve been enjoying the beauty of silence.
6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

Both.  I love the fresh, somewhat inspiring feeling of dawn.  Yes, I’m an optimist.  😉  And night, because it’s so peaceful.

It’s the afternoon that I’m quite happy to sleep through if possible.
7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

Dogs!  

Cats are cool, and they fascinate me with their meditative poses.  But dogs bring out the maternal side in me.  Uh, yeah.  I react the way towards canines the way other women supposedly do toward human babies.  What can I say?


8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Ah, this one is easy.  (and probably obvious).  I’ve been interested in gypsy culture since I was a little kid.  Of course, in the years since, I’ve learned the true plight the Romany have suffered.  But that romanticized image remains.  And when I hear the term, “gypsy”- I think of a carefree person living by their own terms.

Published in: on October 17, 2010 at 9:01 pm  Comments (11)  
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William Butler Yeats and the Golden Dawn

“A line will take us hours maybe; Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought, our stitching and unstinting has been naught. “-  Yeats

“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame! “- Yeats

Born with both his Ascendant and Moon in  Aquarius, it is little wonder that William Butler Yeats grew up with both a love for words and a desire to transform  Irish theater and poetry.

As a child he’d been attracted to ghost tales and  fairy myths which led him into the esoteric works of Swedenborg, Blake, and Jacob Boehme.  At the age of twenty-two, while living in London, he became acquainted with Madame Blavatsky, author of The Secret Doctrine, and founder off the Theosophical Society.  While enchanted with the ideas she brought forth, he was disillusioned by the society’s resistance to attempting magic, and quickly withdrew his membership.

In 1889, he met Maud Gonne, a fiery Irish revolutionary worker and member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.   While disturbed by her belief that the means justified the end, he was so otherwise taken by her  that  he declared, “If she she said the world was flat…I would be proud to be of her party.”

Soon thereafter, she introduced him to Moina Bergson Mathers and MacGregor Mathers, the celibate husband and wife who worked together as Priest and Priestess of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  Yeats not only valued their intellectual pursuits, but their willingness to put what they learned to practical use.  He said that after attending their rituals, he “formed plans for deeds of all kinds”.  Whereas after attending Theosophical meetings, he “had no desire but for more thought, more discussion.”   Furthermore, he discovered that the concentration needed for lengthy rituals and prayers influenced his writings, “making it more sensuous and more vivid.”

On March 7, 1890 he became an initiate of the Golden Dawn, assuming the magical name, Demon Est Deus Inversus.  Which, although literally meaning, “The Devil is in the inverse of God”, might have been in reference to his personal daimon.

I DREAMED that one had died in a strange place
Near no accustomed hand,
And they had nailed the boards above her face,
The peasants of that land,
Wondering to lay her in that solitude,
And raised above her mound
A cross they had made out of two bits of wood,
And planted cypress round;
And left her to the indifferent stars above
Until I carved these words:
i{She was more beautiful than thy first love,}
i{But now lies under boards.}

-poem written by Yeats for Maud after dreaming of her death

A CRAZED GIRL

THAT crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, ‘O sea-starved, hungry sea.’

-poem by Yeats

*article source and for further reading:  Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses by Mary K. Greer