Sunday, April 13, 2014

Deep Peace by Fiona Macleod

Deep peace I breathe into you,
O weariness, here: O ache, here!
Deep peace, a soft white dove to You;
Deep peace, a quiet rain to you;
Deep peace, an ebbing wave to you!
Deep peace, red wind of the east from you;
Deep peace, grey wind of the west to You;
Deep peace, dark wind of the north from you;
Deep peace, blue wind of the south to you!
Deep peace, pure red of the flame to you;
Deep peace, pure white of the moon to you;
Deep peace, pure green of the grass to you;
Deep peace, pure brown of the earth to you;
Deep peace, pure grey of the dew to you,
Deep peace, pure blue of the sky to you!
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the sleeping stones to you!
Deep peace of the Yellow Shepherd to you,
Deep peace of the Wandering Shepherdess to you,
Deep peace of the Flock of Stars to you,
Deep peace from the Son of Peace to you,
Deep peace from the heart of Mary to you,
And from Bridget of the Mantle
Deep peace, deep peace!
And with the kindness too of the Haughty Father Peace!
In the name of the Three who are One, Peace!
And by the will of the King of the Elements,
Peace! Peace!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Queen Mab Wins!

McDougall Previews Award for Best Fantasy Book of the Year


1st Place Fantasy Book - Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards


I am so pleased to announce that Queen Mab has been named the best fantasy book of the year, coming in first place in the Reader Views Reviewers Choice awards and winning the McDougall Previews Award.  I feel this occasion calls for a tiara and a sash.  

*singing* Theeere sheee isssss... Miss McDougall Previews Award for Best Fantasy Book of the Year... Theeeere she issss...  *breaks down into tears while waving in the elbow-elbow-wrist-wrist-wrist fashion*

Queen Mab is available exclusively on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow it for free!


When Faunus, the god of daydreams, breaks the heart of Queen Mab, revenge can be the only answer.  Using the most powerful families in Verona, they wage their war against one another, and place their final bets upon the heads of two youths, one named Romeo and the other named Juliet.

But when Queen Mab falls in love with a gentleman named Mercutio, everything changes and she will do anything, even if it means destroying the world, to save him.  Will it be enough to stop the tragedy?  Or only spur it forward to its terrible end?

Weaving Shakespeare's original text into a dark, epic fantasy, fans of The Woodcutter will love this latest retelling by USA TODAY bestselling author Kate Danley. Experience the romance of Romeo & Juliet from a different point of view - through the eyes of the bringer of dreams... Queen Mab.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

April 2, 1013

After a filling breakfast of all the five major food groups of Cadbury chocolates, I'm off to 221b Baker Street and then the London Library to see if I can check out an original Folio.  Will check in this evening!

Love you lots!

xoxo

-------

Checking in to say I had a lovely day!  Just got back from seeing Rufus Sewell (Zen) on the West End.  Phenomenal performance.  Also hit the Sherlock Holmes Museum (they decked out a townhouse with all of the details of Sherlock Holmes's apartment in the books), saw Kings Cross and Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter books, strolled through Regent Park and hit the London Zoo (best tiger exhibit I've ever seen and made it just in time to catch their birds of prey show.  I guess a whole lot more people out here hang out with falcons), went to the London Library and took a gander at a Shakespeare First Folio, the Magna Carta, Jane Austin's diary, and scores handwritten by Mozart, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven (sloppy handwritting, that Beethoven).

I have not seen Selfridge, but I'll put it on my "to find" list!  I saw a crazy supernatural murder mystery on the BBC last night starring Ab Fab's Patsy and Green Wing's blonde doctor (whose lived with Caroline) in serious roles.

The only internet connection I have is down in the hotel lobby and I haven't found a Starbucks.  I'm sure there is one here somewhere.  But I'll be back Friday afternoon and will call you then.  It is practically here!  Time is flying!  

Anyways, time for me to head to bed.  Grand adventures for tomorrow!  Love you!

xoxo

------

I hopped onto the Tube from Paddington to Baker Street to see what my old chum, Sherlock Holmes was up to.  If you are going to be in London, you have to at least see what odd little building stands at 221B Baker Street.


It turns out that it was a museum.  A Sherlock Holmes museum!  Some enterprising soul bought out the townhouse which stood there and turned it into Sherlock's home.  If an object was mentioned in the books, it was in the apartment.


I lined up with the masses and was happily snapping pictures when a girl in front of me asked if I would take her picture in front of the 221B.  And I asked her if she would take mine.


And then we struck up a conversation.  She was from Spain, visiting for two weeks, traveling by herself, and suddenly, we were friends.  We walked through this crazy little museum taking pictures of each other and oohing and aahing and going through the gift shop and figuring out how many pounds were in a dollar and Euro.  As we left, she asked if she could kiss my cheeks.  I was so European!

I ate a terrible panini sandwich consisting of some tasteless cheese and four olives on some flat bread.  Then decided to hunt down Primrose Hill, which is evidently this hill that gives you a spectacular view of the city.  It said on my map it was on the other side of Regent's Park.

I did not really understand how big Regent's Park was.

But halfway through, there was a little old church which had been converted to a coffee shop and featured "brewed coffee".


I walked through the park, the warm cup in my hand as joggers raced by and couples sat beneath winter trees.  There was a water fountain from ancient days.  Both weather and acid rain had taken their toll.


By the time I got to the far end of the park, I decided to scrap my Primrose Hill idea in lieu of checking out the London Zoo.


Only after arriving home would I find out the reptile house was the one from Harry Potter.  The tiger exhibit was the best I'd ever seen.  There was a birds of prey show, and none of these birds were injured and taken in.  No, this is just what people do here.  They falcon.  I sat on a grassy hill and watched as the birds dove.

It seemed rather silly to spend so much time at a zoo when you can see a penguin anywhere.



But he kept coming over to say hello.  And what can you do?  Be the jerk who blew off a penguin?  There was something lovely about it all... the winter... the happy families..

There was a tall brunette man by himself at the zoo, too, and we were on the same exhibit path, running into each other again and again, sharing a smile and a polite word.  We might have been timing things just so that we would keep meeting at every other exhibit.  Sometimes you play these games with strangers.

As I left, I decided to catch the bus back to the tube station and a mum with her pram asked me for directions and was surprised to learn I was American.  Me!  Mistaken for a local!  I helped her onto the bus and to find her way back to Baker Street Station.

I didn't know what to do next, so I just walked, and discovered King's Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4.

 

Then I realized I was next to the Library.  Everyone had told me to go to this library, but I had blown them off.  Pfft.  I had seen a Gutenberg before.  I had seen an original Folio.

I had no idea.

 

I saw music penned by Mozart's hand, and the sloppy mistakes of Beethoven.  I looked upon the Magna Carta with the only existing seal.  Yes, there was a Folio there.  And drawings by Michelangelo.  And notes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  It was a wonder.

I headed back to my room to get ready for my West End show that night.  Rufus Sewell was performing with Lia Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas in Pinter's Old Times.  I have been a Rufus Sewell fan since Dark City and Dangerous Beauty and was so excited to see him perform life.


I had bought myself one of the best seats in the house.  And my god... the play.  OH THE PLAY!  It was like a dream.  I walked out of there unable to comprehend what I had just seen.  I wandered Picadilly Circus for a half hour in the dark not wanting that feeling to end.  It was like flying.


I heard other people on street corners discussing the play and wanted to shout to the world, "ME, TOO!"  When theatre is great, you fall in love.  The lights are gentler, the colors are brighter.  You look at the world through the filter of the playwright's words.  The performances were exciting and nuanced and subtle.  There were moments... oh those delicious moments... when they fell into each others eyes and time stopped.  Everything existed in the pause.  I picked apart the moments and reassembled them in my head as the layers kept going deeper and deeper.

In Los Angeles, actors don't do theater because they love theater.  They do it because they're hoping some director or casting agent will see them and hire them for a film.  I say this as guilty as anyone. That sort of thinking seeped into my own pores.  I stayed in long running shows for ages, not because I enjoyed doing them, but for "exposure".  It creates this cultural wasteland, this world of faux art that is no more real than a backlot facade.  I was a voter for a big awards show in LA and saw 50 plays a year, and was lucky if two or three were good.  And here!  My first show in London!  After twelve years in the desert, to see a play where the play really and truly is The Thing!  I felt like a starved woman gulping the sweet waters of an oasis.  Theater could be wonderful and profound and heart-wrenching and complicated!  It wasn't just the hazy nostalgia of days which had gone by.  This feeling was real.  The power of theater was real.  There were places in the world where audiences were smart and could be trusted with heavy words, and they craved more.  I had seen it!

And in that moment, I knew I couldn't keep doing what I was doing.

And that my time in Los Angeles was done.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Enter to win a FREE KINDLE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take a global excursion with bestselling authors Kay Bratt, Karen McQuestion, and yours truly in this Rafflecopter giveaway!  We're giving three pint sized suitcases full of worlds to explore with three books from each of us authors.  AND one lucky grand prize winner will win A NEW KINDLE!  Enter to win!  And share it with your friends!

Monday, March 3, 2014

M&K Tracking NOW AVAILABLE!

For all of you who have been waiting with bated breath, start breathing again.  Book IV in the Maggie MacKay: Magical Tracker series is NOW AVAILABLE!  Ladies and gentlemen, may I present... *drumroll* M&K TRACKING!  WOOO!  *arms flail like a Muppet*


M&K Tracking

Book IV: Maggie MacKay - Magical Tracker Series

M&K Tracking is finally up and running, but business has been the pits for Maggie and Killian… that is until someone tries to open a portal to the pits of the Dark Dimension via Father Killarney’s church.  When it comes to vanquishing evil, who are you going to call?  M&K Tracking.  It is a hell of a job, but someone’s gotta do it.

WARNING: This book contains cussing, brawling, and unladylike behavior.  Proceed at your own risk.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Visual Aids and Dumb Writers’ Tricks

Mark T. Barnes, author extraordinaire, very kindly hosted me over on his blog and let me run wild... erm... I mean... discuss whatever topic I felt might be most useful to new and upcoming authors.  So, head on over where I spill all my secrets about organizing creativity in: Visual Aids and Other Dumb Writers' Tricks.  Now, if you'll excuse us, Mark and I have some very important author items to discuss.  *giggling and hiding the rolls of TP behind our backs as we run off towards unsuspecting blogs*

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hopping on the blog: writing plans and processes

I have been tagged by the lovely Sara Foster in a blog hop about writing and writerly things.  If you've read From the Indie Side, she's responsible for that great story "Cipher".  Check out her post here to read about what she's working on and her plans for the coming year.  She tagged a bunch of authors from the Indie Side project, including Jason Gurley and Mel Hearse.  So if one of them wrote one of your favorite stories, today is your lucky day!  Check out her post and follow the links through to find out about each author!

But to the questions!

What am I working on?
Right now, I am chewing my way through the final edits of M&K Tracking, which is book four in the Maggie MacKay: Magical Tracker series.  Last year was a fantastic year, but in looking at the lessons it taught me, I have decided to stay focused on my series in 2014.  Diversity is fun, but writing all of these standalone projects does a disservice to you, my loyal readers, who have stuck around through both thick and thin to see what Killian & Maggie and Clara & Wesley have been up to.  I have listened as you have sent me messages about how much you love my series and how excited you are about finding out what happens next.  There are a couple other stories whispering in my ear, but they are going to have to get in line.  This year is the year of Maggie and O'Hare.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?
I had a reader point out to me that Maggie is a book with zero male-gaze.  Male-gaze is an idea from the feminist movement back in the 1970s in which a woman's worth is defined by how men perceive her.  I didn't even know I was embracing this concept.  Although Maggie has a male sidekick, her value is her own and whether they end up together or not has nothing to do with her journey.  When I wrote Maggie, I was rebelliously pushing back on a theme I was seeing in the urban fantasy genre: that in order for a woman to be successful, she had to end up entangled romantically.  The urban fantasy women (at the time) were always being saved by some guy.  They were incompetent and stumbling upon victory.  They were smooching vampires and dating werewolves.  They were unable to overcome evil unless there was some big strong someone there to fight the monsters for them in the final battle.  What I decided to do with Maggie was to have a heroine who was really good at her job, who really liked what she did, and who didn't need to be saved by anyone.  And, sadly, this is kind of unique in my genre.

Then I have my more serious titles (The Woodcutter, Queen Mab, Queen Joanna, Spirit of Krampus).  These are darker and sparse.  With these books, I was focused on crafting each sentence, creating poetry in every paragraph.  I wanted these books to be a little creepy at times.  But at their heart, each of these stories examines different forms of love and duty.

And then there is my O'Hare House Mystery series, which is a hybrid of the two.  I was so tired of the ghost stories where the ghosts ended up just being someone behind a curtain.  I wanted the ghosts to be real, I wanted the danger to be real.  I wanted the fun of a drawing room mystery with a true supernatural threat, not just Col. Mustard in the library with the lead pipe.

Why do I write what I do?
Spite. I write out of spite.  Wait.  Did I say that out loud?  Okay, here's the deal.  I love to read.  I read a lot.  And I get so frustrated sometimes when a story goes the wrong direction, or an author is so close to getting it right and then goes off the deep end.  But you can't be mad at a stranger for not telling the story in your head.  That is your story.  And I realized I needed to start putting my money where my mouth was, otherwise I was a hypocrite.  Rather than stewing in anger that someone I didn't know was doing it wrong (do you hear how ridiculous an expectation that is?  And yet...), I needed to write the stories the way I thought they should go.  It is easy to pick people apart.  It gives you a whole new view and appreciation of what an author goes through when you pick up your pen, instead, and try to wrestle a world into submission.  Each book starts out of spite, and ends in a lesson of humility.

How does my writing process work?
This has been changing recently.  In the past, I would just sit down and write.  Whatever came out, came out.  But this past year I was introduced to a book called 2K to 10K that changed my focus.  Now I write with outlines.  I am more organized.  I do all of the blood, sweat, and tears in a condensed three day period, and the rest is cake (as opposed to blood, sweat, and tears all over every page I write for six months).  I also co-oped the idea of dream boards into my writing.  Picture is worth 1000 words, right?  So, I have a bulletin board with pictures of my characters and their world.  I hang it where I can see it regularly and let my imagination draw the lines between the images until I have a story.

And now it is time for me to tag someone!  I'm going to kick it over to 47North peep Mark Teppo, who you probably know from the hugely successful Mongoliad series, the Foreworld Saga, the Codex of the Soul Series... oh the list goes on and on.  Go check out his blog and see for yourself!  I'll post a link here to his hop answers!