The fabulous Heather Rivera and I talk about the writing process.
The fabulous Heather Rivera and I talk about the writing process.
I know Philip Kerr from his children’s novels and didn’t realize he wrote stories for adults. While searching for another book, I came upon his Dark Matter, a novel written in 2002 and it immediately caught my attention. It’s 1696 and Christopher Ellis has just taken on a job assisting Sir Isaac Newton at the Royal Mint. As Warden, it’s Newton’s job to hunt down counterfeiters. A challenging enough job but when mysterious murders start happening, Ellis plays Watson to Newton as an earlier version of Sherlock Holmes. Clues and body counts rise as Ellis and Newton face personal danger in the politically volatile back streets of London. Throw in a mix of alchemy and codes and we’re off on a most puzzling case. Turns out that more than the economy of the realm is threatened. A century’s old massacre pits Huguenots against Catholics in a revenge plot only the brain of Newton can piece together. This is a thoroughly fun historical thriller. Kerr excels with this one!
Author Maighread MacKay talks about her novel, Stone Cottage.
I just finished Maighread MacKay’s fabulous novel, Stone Cottage. I believe it falls in the category of Visionary Fiction. It is a classic ghost story, but so much more. Tragedy rocks Rebecca Wainwright’s world. Searching for a private sanctuary she finds a stone cottage that draws her back to another time. The novel explores how we construct our reality, wounding and potential healing, and how our life connections transcend time and place. I’m happy Maighread agreed to discuss her work.
I’m interested in your writing process for Stone Cottage. Did you construct the modern story with Rebecca first or did you first create Annie’s (the ghost) story?
I am a “pantser” more than a “plotter”, so I had the main characters in my mind and worked on them simultaneously. The first draft of the story was done in three sections: Rebecca’s Story, Annie’s Story and Together. When I showed it to my editor, she felt that the story really started in the third section and advised that I restructure the novel starting with where Rebecca finds Stone Cottage and meets Annie and then integrating the back story. Whew. Major rewrite, but it did work better.
What sort of research did you do for the novel? I suspect your own spirituality and/or experience came into play for the parts of the book that examine life after death. Can you share some background on this?
The research was quite extensive. Since Annie’s story is set in Whitby (Canada) and the surrounding area in the mid 1800’s, I visited our local Pioneer Village which is set in the time period. I was able to see the housing setup, clothing and utensils used at the time. The Director was kind enough to let me spend time viewing their records and correspondence from the time period. I also visited the Archives of the main library and reviewed letters, newspaper articles, family records and other important documents of the area. I also searched online for important information such as when the railroad was extended from Toronto to Whitby, and what road was used to transport goods from Port Perry to the harbor. It was fascinating. For the spiritual side, yes, a lot of the experiences of my life’s search came into play, such as the clearing of the land or house for negative energy. I also spoke with a Medium, who sees and smells ghosts and I had a past life regression session specifically for the book so that I would get the tone for that scene correctly.
Do you feel there’s a growing demand for books (like yours) that bring up questions about the nature of reality and move it more into the mainstream?
Yes. All life is energy and while at this time on our planet there is a great deal of negative energy, there is also an abundance of positive energy and new discoveries. Research in the areas of quantum physics, parallel universes, the changes in water when spoken to in a harsh or loving manner, how we are literally all connected – these and more are opening people’s eyes to the wondrous lives we live and new and exciting ways to view our existence on this planet. Even schools recognizing the benefits of meditation and incorporating it into the curriculum is moving spirituality into the mainstream. This would never have happened in my childhood. It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
What would you like readers to take away from experiencing Stone Cottage?
Whether or not they agree or disagree with the principles in the story, I hope they like it. I do hope, though, that it will make the readers think, “Huh, never thought of life like that.” What I have written is not a definitive look at what life is all about, but rather, a concept that might or could happen. I hope it will help readers to reassess their paradigm of life and death, and look at other possibilities that could be at play. In my own experience, a lot of what I was taught was handed down from generation to generation and I just accepted it as truth. Perhaps it is truth for another, and that’s perfectly fine, but I needed to explore my life’s purpose from different angles to find out what my own truth was and what sat right with me. The whole concept of God, existence, birth, life, death and beyond is so much bigger and more than we’ve been taught and exploring new ideas about them is fascinating to me.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a mystery with the working title of “Murder at Mother’s”. It is from the point of view of the deceased’s ghost (you can tell I like ghost stories.). Again, I am at the research stage and have several chapters done, but there is still quite away to go. It will have a spiritual component, but again I want the readers to enjoy the story and have that satisfying feeling you get at the end of a good read. I am an avid reader as well as a writer and enjoy nothing more than a good book.
Thanks, Maighread for visiting with us today! For more information about her work, please visit her website and social media platforms.
August 11, 2PM: I’ve drawn 4 winners for the print copies of Into the Land of Snows. Thanks to everyone who entered. The winners are: Sue S., Finally Florida, Alessandro, and Paronson. Congratulations!! I hope you’ll like the book. I will be contacting all of you to get your shipping addresses. If you see this, you can shoot me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open new doorways and celebrate by reading!!! And don’t forget to enter my book contest by commenting on the post below.
After Jupiter Gardens Press went belly up, I struggled with whether or not to do the self-publishing thing. Turns out, it was easier than I expected. I am excited to announce the launch of my first self-published book! I worked with the fabulous Anna Spies at EerilyFair to create a cover I truly love. Thanks, Anna! Now it’s time to share the love. I will be giving away 4 signed paperback copies of Into the Land of Snows using a random drawing (US residents only, since I have to mail them). The contest will run from today until noon Aug. 11 (next Thursday). Enter by leaving me a comment about something fun you did this summer.
About the book: Visionary Fiction
Sixteen year old Blake travels to Base Camp on Mt. Everest to spend time with his physician father. When a deadly avalanche occurs, Dad is forced to rethink things and sends Blake away. Now accompanied by a Sherpa guide, and in possession of a mysterious camera, Blake undertakes a journey that will challenge everything he believes. In the magical Himalayas, he will be forever changed by what he experiences.
Available on Amazon: https://goo.gl/6HUnDX
ebook ($4.99): https://goo.gl/mbHZsr
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
“Well-written with engaging and believable characters, this story has it all: adventure, mystery, magic, and wisdom.” Naomi C. Rose
“Into the Land of Snows is a eminently readable YA novel that moves quickly and adeptly through many mystical twists and turns. A very fast and enjoyable read! I recommend it highly to YA audiences, but to adults as well.” Rea Nolan
“Into the Land of Snows takes the reader into a world so different, so beautifully challenging in its vision of life that the reader is drawn-in completely. So strong is the vision presented in this book it may even change the being within you.” Karin DeMer
A Woman’s Space: The Power of the Female Body by Kimberly Harding, PhD
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly Harding, PhD, a while ago. Then she joined us to talk about her art and poetry. Now she’s back to discuss a new project. Kim has used her talents to explore the power of the female body in her new book. In a beautifully illustrated, gentle book, Kim guides the reader on a journey of discovery examining our perceptions and beliefs about our bodies.
I know as a teacher of anatomy at the college level, you have pointed out that language used to describe the female body often involves a sense of lack. Can you give us some examples? Was this realization the starting point of your thinking about creating this book for women?
You are correct. I think one of the reasons I wrote the book is that I am so disturbed by the mixed messages women receive in regards to their body. As I write in the book, we want the miracle of childbirth, but not the “messy” uterine lining each month that makes this possible. Or, we do not mind seeing breasts displayed in advertisements, but some are bothered by breast feeding in public areas. What do all of these messages mean for a woman and her sense of self and her sense of power in the world? For in my mind, a woman’s body is a source of innate power and if she is disconnected from her body, she is disconnected from her power in life.
My thoughts on this are definitely tied to my career as an anatomy and physiology college professor. A book by Emily Martin showed me that even textbooks are not immune to the mixed messages given about women’s bodies. Martin did a study comparing the terminology used in the standard reproduction chapter common to most college anatomy and physiology texts. Terms used in the section on male reproduction included “sheer magnitude, amazing, abundant” (as I have said elsewhere, you almost want to build a monument to it ), while terminology associated with female reproduction included “degeneration, lack, leaking, deteriorate”.
Students see the textbook as the “gold standard” of information, so the use of this terminology is particularly disturbing.
Why is a women’s body seen as threatening or untrustworthy? Is this a cultural perception we can change and if so, how?
I think it is the power contained within a woman that causes some to perceive women as threatening. I realize women, normally, have a smaller physical stature, but this does not in any way detract from the innate power in women to create, produce, destroy, manifest, and maintain the world. Women not only manifest the world, but we sustain it as well.
As for being “untrustworthy”, I feel for centuries, women and their bodies have been viewed with a sense of distrust. Often, this likely resulted from women’s projected place in society and culture as the “Other”- something foreign and unknowable. For ages, women were not even included in clinical medical trials as their menstrual cycle apparently made them “too confusing” to serve as subjects.
I think the change of this perception does not happen on the cultural level first, but rather within each and every woman. Within our power, we, as women, have the ability to heal ourselves. When we heal ourselves, we have the ability to heal the world.
In my mind, I believe if you heal a woman, you heal the world. When a woman heals herself, she heals the generations to come.
In this age of information, do women have adequate knowledge of their physical bodies?
I think this depends on the woman. Those of us who are blessed enough to have access to items such as books, the internet, and supportive medical care, likely have adequate knowledge of our physical bodies. Many women in the world do not have these resources.
I will also say, though, and this is the point of my book, knowledge of the physical body is not enough. We must learn about and embrace the power contained within the body’s tissues. It is one thing to speak to a young woman about the mechanics of her menstrual cycle. How much more powerful does it become, though, when we speak about what the menstrual lining represents- “the potential of the world”? What would it do for a young woman to understand she literally forms the potential of the world within her being every month?
That is the type of message I feel is lacking.
How does a modern woman reclaim her body and her power?
It is the work of each woman to do so. Women can not kid themselves about this important work. There is no other way for a woman to come in to her true power except through understanding the power of her own Being. Certainly, we can assist one another on this journey and we should do so, individually and collectively.
At the end of the day, though, it comes down to each woman confronting what she has been told about her self and what she believes in her self. When one woman raises her self up, she sets the path for all others.
Is there a need for rituals or rites of passage to help women claim their power? I’m wondering about the roles of maiden, mother, crone (borrowing from pagan tradition).
Oh certainly! Rituals and rites of passage can provide a physicality to the internal psychical changes a woman undergoes. These can serve as a source of grounding and a reference point that enable a woman, alone, or within the collective to mark her awakening.
How do the images and text of your book work together to help women explore and reclaim their bodies?
For me, and this is difficult to say from an unbiased perspective as the artist, the images complete the text. I find myself, when I read the book, that the words are engaging, but then I will look at the image and the message is understood on a completely different level.
I purposely put images and text on each page, as for myself, the image, more so than the words, is the trigger to return to the idea. I see the image and immediately associate it with the concept.
I really hope others resonate in a similar manner.
Thank you so much for this opportunity.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and work concerning this important topic! For more about Kim’s work, please visit her website and check out her books on Amazon.
Amazon link: https://goo.gl/TVmsaI
Watch Kim’s fascinating lecture on Female Embodiment- A Woman’s Place (22 min) https://goo.gl/nPLMC2
With Jupiter Gardens closing its doors, I’ve decided to re-release INTO THE LAND OF SNOWS. I’ve had an amazing time working with Anna Spies of EerilyFair (https://www.facebook.com/eerilyfairdesign/). She is a talented and imaginative cover designer and here’s a peek at the new cover design. Freakin’ awesome job!
As part of the process, I got to view photos of teenage male models and choose one for Blake. Somehow I accidentally sent some of those images to my son via Facebook. That provoked a few awkward questions!!
The Search for Omm Sety by Jonathan Cott
“After all, it is no more surprising to be born twice than it is to be born once.” Voltaire
I’m not sure how I found this book. It was mentioned in some reading I was doing and luckily although it was first published in 1987, I was able to get a copy. This is a reincarnation story with a big twist. The New York Times once referred to Omm Sety as “one of the Western World’s most intriguing and convincing modern case histories of reincarnation.” And it is.
Dorothy Louise Eady (1904-1981) at age three fell down a flight of stairs at home and was pronounced dead by a doctor. The doctor left to make arrangements for the body and upon returning had quite a shock finding Dorothy sitting up, awake in bed. Over the next few years, the child started talking about wanting to go home. She was kicked out of Sunday school for comparing Christianity to an ancient religion and fared no better in regular school. Eventually, a priest visited and told her parents to keep her away from Catholic services. It was on a trip to the British Museum’s Egyptian rooms that things fell into place for Dorothy. There she saw a photograph and exclaimed, “There is my home!” She seemed to recognize the temple of Seti I. After that, she made frequent trips to visit the Egyptian collection eventually meeting E.A. Wallis. He taught her to read hieroglyphs.
From an early age Dorothy Eady was consumed by the desire to learn all things Egyptian. At 15, she described a nighttime visit by Seti I (in mummy form). She had vivid dreams of ancient Egypt and saw herself as a young girl. Troubled by her behavior and sleep disturbances, her parents placed her in sanatoriums but no real answers were forthcoming. As a teen, Dorothy began collecting Egyptian antiquities and, while performing with a theatre group, she played Isis in a production of the story of Isis and Osiris. In her twenties she went to work for a magazine that advanced Egyptian public relations and support for an independent Egypt.
In 1933, Dorothy married an Egyptian teacher and moved to Cairo. She reported that she felt that she was finally at home. It was here that she began to entertain the presence known as King Sety I. He came as a physical being that Dorothy could touch. Her mother who visited at one point also saw the form of the king, but mistook him initially for Dorothy’s husband. After the birth of her son, Sety, Dorothy’s behavior grew more concerning. She would get out of bed in a semi-trance state and sit at a desk and write fragmentary hieroglyphic messages.
Over the year that followed, Dorothy transcribed the story of her previous life in Egypt. The being who related the story was known as “Hor-Ra”. The work ran about seventy pages written in hieroglyphics. In the Egyptian lifetime, Dorothy was known as Bentreshyt. She came from humble beginnings and was placed in the care of the temple at Kom el-Sultan. As a teenager, she took the vows to become a temple virgin. Eventually, she met Sety I and they began an affair. Bentreshyt was pregnant by the time the temple authorities became aware of the situation. In order to save Sety I from the shame of the affair, Bentreshyt committed suicide. Upon learning her fate, Sety I was inconsolable.
By 1935, Dorothy’s marriage had crumbled and she relocated to a town near the Giza pyramids taking a job as a secretary and draughtswoman for an archeologist. She also dedicated herself to writing articles and books about Egypt. Her work here made her a valuable asset and she later moved on to work with Ahmed Fakhry at Dashur. While there, she was known to make offerings to the gods of ancient Egypt and spend nights in the Great pyramid. Dorothy’s work there ended in 1956 when Fakhry’s project ended. She was offered a well- paid job in the Cairo Records Office or a low paying position in Abydos. After consulting Sety I, she moved to the small town of Arabet Abydos and lived amongst the Egyptian people at a subsistence level. Dorothy now became known as “Omm Sety” (mother of Sety) as was the custom of villagers to refer to women by the name of their oldest child.
Omm Sety’s current incarnation was now living where Bentreshyt had lived during the Sety I reign. Her visitations with the king continued here and much more is disclosed. Two tests of Omm Sety’s reincarnation story happened here. In the first, she was asked to locate a particular wall painting at the Temple of Sety in the dark. She accomplished this during a time period when no publication had yet to divulge where the particular painting was in the complex. The other test concerned the location of a garden at the temple. Omm Sety had insisted from childhood that there was a garden at the temple and it was while she was living in Abydos that a garden matching her description was excavated. Omm Sety lived out the rest of her life pursuing her Egyptological studies, integrating into the local community, and practicing her ancient religion. She garnered the respect of the Egyptologists she worked with for her knowledge and integrity.
The Search for Omm Sety is a fascinating read about a woman who lived her life passionately believing she had once lived as an Egyptian priestess. There is much more to the intimate story of her and Sety’s relationship in this life for those wishing to pursue it. It’s a curious tale more powerful than many fictional stories about reincarnation.