Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Magic Is Reality, Reality is Magic: The Element of Air

Magic is Reality, Reality is Magic is a series that highlights aspects of religions, particularly Paganism. We pull things from everyday life to use in our fiction. Magic is one of the key attributes of fantasy. Why not explore the realm of magic that many people already have in their lives?


Graphic By Luigi Chiesa
Another of the four classic elements, air's cardinal direction is east--this is the direction a magic practitioner will call the spirit of air from when casting a circle. Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are the astrological signs associated with this element. In most instances, the color yellow represents air, but white is also a possibility. Air is a mental element, strongly associated with intelligence. Communication and divination are also related. Some consider this an element of the soul as well, connected to giving life--there are always many interpretations as to what an element represents.

As a side note, if I were to desire both focus and creativity in my writing projects, I would combine the elements of air and fire in my spellwork. Other people might choose a different route, but for me these two elements that I have touched on so far in this series are the perfect combination for me as a writer!

As with fire, there are many great websites that discuss the Element of Air. All you need to do is a quick Google search. To start you out you can visit Air Folklore and Legends and The White Goddess--The Element of Air.

Further Reading Suggestions:

Cunningham, Scott. Living Wicca. St. Paul: Llwellyn Publications, 1993.

I hope you found this tidbit interesting! If you would like me to touch on a particular topic that fits in this series, please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions.

NEXT UP: Monthly Update!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

SFFS Snippet - 8/25/12

He returns to the door and feels a tickle between his shoulder blades. The sense of eyes watching him, many eyes, overwhelms him, and he leans on the door. The eyes listen, but there are no mouths for them to speak.

A bird bolts out of the eaves of a shuttered tower, and a feather drifts past the Traveler and settles on the doorstep at his feet. It shimmers in the light of a moonbeam. A wind picks it up and takes it away--a ghost's soft, silent exhale.

Excerpt from "A Little Bit of Magic", which can be found in the anthology Hazard Yet Forward.

Does anyone know the poem "The Listeners" by Walter de la Mere? That poem inspired this story. Read my speculations as to why no one answered the Traveller's knock.

All proceeds from sales of Hazard Yet Forward go to a wonderful friend and writer to help with her expenses during her fight with breast cancer. There are over 70 stories (that's over 700 pages to read), some by award winners (Contributors), spanning numerous genres. It can only be purchased as e-book via Amazon.com. It's well worth the read!

Please visit Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday (SFFS) to read more great snippets!

NEXT UP: Magic is Reality, Reality is Magic - The Element of Air

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Orleans - Some Things I Did and Saw (A Lot of Pictures Included!)

Clicking through my pictures as I prepared for this post, I longed to be back in New Orleans. When I step in that city, I feel like I've come home. This was my fourth visit, and I intend to visit several more times in the future. Heck, if I ever win the lottery (my husband keeps reminding me we have to actually play it to win it), I'm buying myself a house in the Garden District!

New Orleans has been an inspiration to many writers, and it is for me as well. I already have the stirrings of a short story idea set in the bayou--it's such a gorgeous place! As you can see in the picture on the right of Manchac Swamp. We saw a lot of alligators and some cute little 'coons on the swamp tour, and we even got to hold a baby alligator.

This was also the first time I had the chance to visit some plantations while in the area. And I'm glad I did! Just walking around the plantation houses, I felt like I was in another world. We visited Oak Alley (pictures above), as well as Evergreen (pictured to the left). Evergreen actually still has some of the original slave cabins. I'm hoping my visit to these plantations will help some later scenes in Dead As Dreams come alive more when I revise.

My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. It's a gorgeous hotel with a lot of history, supposedly haunted, and has had many famous writers as guests, including Ernest Hemingway (there's actually a suite named after him--if only we could have afforded it). I did make sure to have a Hemingway Daiquiri in the famous Carousel Bar (pictured at right).

There are so many other things we did while in New Orleans and so many pictures I'd love to post, but I don't want to bore anyone with the details. Of course we spent a lot of time in the Quarter, enjoyed a lot of great food, drank a bit on Bourbon Street, and visited some of the Cities of the Dead. I also had the chance to meet up for lunch one day with my lovely crit partners, J. Gunnar Grey (and her wonderful husband) and Melanie Card (and it was mere coincidence, originally unplanned, that my husband and I vacationed down there when they happened to be in town as well).

Oh, and I did eat beignets at Cafe du Monde (twice), took some awesome shots of Jackson square and the St. Louis Cathedral, drank a Hurricane at Pat O'Brien's, and avoided a real hurricane (although I was a drowned rat from a storm one day, and we witnessed Bourbon Street turned into a river).

Right before we left, we did manage to catch part of the Red Dress Run. If we didn't have a flight that day, we would have gone to watch the parade, but it was at least nice to see the revelers on Bourbon Street in their Red Dresses (men and women alike). The Red Dress Run started out mainly to raise money for breast cancer research.

As I mentioned in a past blog post, one of my friends is undergoing breast cancer treatment. All proceeds from the anthology Hazard Yet Forward go to her, so please consider buying it! There are a lot of great authors that participated in this anthology. This Saturday, I'll be posting an excerpt from my story "A Little Bit of Magic", which can be found in the anthology.

NEXT UP: SFFS Snippet - 8/25/12

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dizzy

Seems I brought back an unwanted souvenir from New Orleans. I have a nasty cold and a fever (my husband didn't escape from the sickness this time either).

So, I will have to delay my intended post on what I actually did in New Orleans until next week. Apologies, but I fear if I attempted to put a post together in my feverish state, I'd just embarrass myself, and I do that quite enough normally. :p

NEXT UP: Really, honestly, seriously my post on my New Orleans trip. With pictures!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What I Am Likely Doing In New Orleans Right Now

This week I'm in New Orleans for a much needed vacation! I also don't have any internet access. Yikes! No, I am not posting this telepathically (although that would be awesome), just have it set on a timer. ;) So, here is what I'm probably doing in New Orleans right now.

Eating beignets at Café du Monde. Yum!

Taking in the sights of Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral.

Sipping on a Hurricane at Pat O'Briens. So cool and refreshing!

Hiding from a REAL hurricane. Eek! Let's hope the rain doesn't turn into one while I'm there.

Jealous?

NEXT UP: What I Actually Did In New Orleans

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Still Trying to Beat the Heat

Today's title should say it all. It's still HOT here. July was not a fun month for the heat, which means I didn't get as much writing done as I wanted to. That doesn't mean I didn't may any progress though. ;)

I managed to revise or edit four of my short stories. One has wracked up two rejections already, one just received a rejection today, and another is at my invaluable critique partner.

The fourth story, "A Little Bit of Magic", which originally appeared in my undergrad literary magazine, Century, was heavily revised and sent off to a very important anthology. One of my writer friend's, Donna, was diagnosed with cancer in July. Some of her friends banded together and sent a call out for submissions. And I gladly accepted that call and sent over "A Little Bit of Magic".

The anthology is titled Hazard Yet Forward, the motto of Seton Hill University. All proceeds earned from the anthology sales will go directly to Donna to help her with the costs of her medical treatment.

So, if you're interested in reading over 70 stories, including "A Little Bit of Magic", in a range of genres by some awesome writers that have come together to help a friend out, please consider buying this anthology. You can find more information about the contributors and Donna on the Hazard Yet Forward website. It will be available for purchase on Tuesday, August 7, and it's worth every penny!

That's my big news from July, and August will be another hot month by the looks of it. I'll be away for a full week, and I'm not allowed to work on writing or my husband might dig out a pitchfork and go "Rabble, rabble, rabble!" We're finally taking a honeymoon, after over ten years of marriage. I am going to sneak in some research on the sly, though, since we're going to visit a couple plantations!

As always, don't forget about Writing Quest! There's a lot of activity posted for August already. It's sure to be a lively month!

NEXT UP: What I'm Likely Doing in New Orleans