Beltane - a rich blend of history, ritual, religion, belief and tradition. Beltaine, May Day, Walpurgis, A-Maying, Fire Festival, Roodmas, Spring Sabbat: what do you call yours?
The beginning of May marks the arrival of summer. The sun is re-born to warm the earth and it is the balance to Samhain (Halloween). As we bathe our faces in the morning dew on May Day, eternal youth will be ours. If you are able to, feeling the ground beneath your naked feet is a fine way to start any day but particularly on May Day at dawn it will ensure you are in touch with the earth and sun and you are part of the cycle.
Historically Beltane is for spring-cleaning: to burn the winter bedding and lead the cattle outside, passing them through the smoke to cleanse and purify while killing off the lice and fleas. Feeling the warm air on skin that has been covered through the cold months leads to frolicking and pleasures of the flesh.
Introducing Writer's Wheel. Created by Suzanne Ruthven and Maria Moloney it is the writer's magazine to read.
This link Writers Wheel Magazine Issue 1 Spring FINAL will open the magazine for you to read online or you can download it. Enjoy x
Fake friends fake friends never never make friends!
I have just seen an unhappy post by someone who was sad/cross/confused because someone had unfriended her on Facebook. Spell-check wants to change ‘unfriended’ to unbranded, ungrounded or unrounded. It seems this action for some is the equivalent of a slap in the face while being told, “I hate you”. It’s like being at school where children can swap friends and go from most loved to most hated twice or more during a playtime.
For friends to be important do you need to know them in ‘real-life’? Are social networks now so real that it is hard to distinguish reality from made-up-ness?
There are people who I have never met but would regard them as friends. Last year a girl I had known virtually for five or so years died. Our relationship was emails, facebook and occasional phone calls. I never met her but my tears and grief are the same as if I had. It was for many others too because she was kind and generous with her unconditional love. My example shows that friendships are real even if not in person and they matter and are as important.
But, there are other kinds. There are fake friends.
Left/right brain action is the talk of the moment so I thought I’d share this excerpt from The Psychic way followed by the quiz from Past Life Tourism.
At the bottom I am re-sharing the optical illusion of the spinning lady at the bottom. I first shared her in 2007 which is frankly, bonkers! That is times of yore (Friends).
Excerpt from The Psychic Way ~ Fine-tuning Your Intuition
Your psychic abilities and intuition are freed up and can develop more fully when you are able to use the right-hand side of your brain and not be stuck in the analysis of the left. Your left-brain hemisphere works with reason; you look at something and deduce what it is you are seeing with logic. Your right-brain hemisphere is responsible for your creativity and imagination. We can think of them as separate entities or complete in their own right. The left-hand side is usually referred to as the male, while the right is the feminine or the conscious and subconscious mind. If there is something we don’t quite understand our mind can become very inventive and this is often the way phobias get strong because we over-imagine.
I tend to think of the brain and mind working harmoniously with the focus I require in any given moment in the exact place I need it. A good metaphor for the mind is to think of a theatre; the audience sees the finished production but is not privy to the hard work going on behind the scenes. The conscious mind is the bit on show and everything else that happens beneath the surface is hidden, backstage. There are some experts who insist that the conscious and subconscious do not exist and we are just ‘mind’, but for our purposes I think it is best to think of them as separate but working together. If you were to squeeze a tube of toothpaste would you grab and scrunch (right-brain) or would you methodically start at the bottom and push out the exact amount (left)? What about if you are eating bread and a spread? Would you put the used butter knife into the jam and blob on any old amount (right) or use a clean one to deliver the exact portion (left)? Do you analyse most things that you experience, deliberating with yourself and spending time logically working through a particular course of action, or do you just trust your instincts so that if it feels right you let it happen?
Please welcome Mardeene Mitchell - Co-Director of Write the World in Atlanta and Write in Brazil events with her Anglo-Brazilian colleague in the UK, brings 27 years in the publishing and film industries as a writer, writing coach, publishing/literary consultant, publicity director, inspiring teacher and speaker, and writing collaborator on a selective basis.
Please tell us about yourself
Hmmmm, okay, but since we are all evolving beings “under construction,” I’ll share what might be of interest and relevant. There is a bio on my website, www.VisionariesToLight.com.
By the way, Barbara, it has been such a pleasure to meet you online! I love your 6th Books and Bedroom Books. Provocative.
I started out in Fine Art, a painter who transitioned into photography. I always saw myself as a visual artist. So funny, it was never on my list of things to do to become a writer. Then a job fell into my lap, helping a start-up company, Writers Connection, in Silicon Valley, California. Went from receptionist to Executive Director for Steve and Meera Lester. We put on writers conferences on how to write and sell everything, including the well-known Selling to Hollywood Conference. I became a photojournalist, discovering that just might be my destiny. Not for news, though—too much bad news; but for profiles. I loved finding out the inside scoop on more positive ways to live. As I was writing my own articles and screenplays and a photo story book, writers started coming to me to help them with theirs. That was never on my own list of things to do either, but since they kept being referred to me and I never advertised and it was happening so easily, I figured I was supposed to be doing that. Loved it! Probably the best known in the past is the one I co-wrote with Dr. Sheldon Z. Kramer, endorsed by Deepak Chopra, M.D., called Hidden Faces of the Soul: 10 Secrets for Mind/Body Healing from Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, bought by Paula Munier then at Adams Media. I’m very excited about Warren Woodruff’s children’s fantasy just out, Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton, which we’ve also got now as a major motion picture in development with Ken Atchity’s Story Merchant production company in Beverly Hills.
As someone who likes to help authors ‘birth’ his or her book, what excites you most?
Through the years I found myself asking everyone—not only writers—the question “What is your passion?”
I have been reading and enjoying a self-published book. Well, I was enjoying it until the editing seemed to run out. First a couple of typos and then a sentence that said - we we're there. From then it declined into a mishmash of writing that shouldn't have been available to the naked eye after the first draft. The story was good but not enough to keep reading.
No longer regarded as vanity or last resort, for many authors self-publishing is their first choice.
However, it still has to be edited and if you are unable to do your own, get a professional. Please! When we continuously look at our own work we develop word-blindness because we stop seeing it. I am always boggled when I see the amount of things I've missed on my 'clean' copy.
I recently chatted with Autumn Barlow, the publisher of Top Hat Books and prolific author. Here are a couple of questions I put to her:
What advice can you share for someone who wants to write a book?
You must love it but you must be workmanlike. Also, consider your motivation. Do you want to simply finish it for your own sense of achievement? Or do you want to be published? And if so, why? To change the world? To become rich? Both are unlikely but having a clear reason will influence what path you take. If you want to write as a career, make sure you really understand what that entails. Long, lonely hours. No guarantees. The dizzying terror of absolute freedom. If you want to write books to make your living then you must understand who your reader is and what they expect from your books, and then you must provide what they want. Again and again and again. Write your first book but be thinking of your next.
What are your top tips for anyone interested in self-publishing?
Go into it with a businesslike head on. You might be wanting to self publish because you want to keep the higher royalties and you want control over your book, and that's great. But would you start a restaurant business and not employ any staff at all? Would you grow your own food, cook it, serve, clean and everything? Of course not, yet I keep seeing self-publishers try to edit, format, promote and design. There's a myth of self-publishing being free or cheap. It's not if you do it properly. There's a reason that publishers still exist! I self-publish AND I work in traditional publishing. Everyone is different. Take a good hard look at your skills before you commit to one or the other. And some genres work better traditionally published – many types of romance, for example, due to the Mills and Boon influence. It's so hard to make a name for yourself in an oversaturated market that authors banding together is essential, and doing that under the umbrella of a publisher can be beneficial.
The rest of the interview is here
Once upon a time.
In the beginning.
There was a man/woman/dog.
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome.
Did you hear the one...
Beginnings need to pull you in right from the start. Think of them like chat up lines but less sucky than, ‘do you come here often.’
Authors have told me of the stress caused by those first few words/lines. For some it becomes so crippling they gaze at the screen or sheet of paper and lament on the condition un-lovingly referred to as ‘writer’s block’. Well, I have a secret for you. You do not need to get it right or correct first time. In fact, and here’s the biggie, you do not even have to write the beginning at the beginning. There I’ve said it. My name is Barbara and I write out of order.
They tend to write themselves when the muse is in residence.
Here are a few beginnings:
Misery Stephen King
yerrrrnnn umber whunnnn
These sounds: even in the haze
A couple from Dr Suess
Adele is one of the fabulous authors at 6th Books and here she kindly shares her wisdom on the 6th Books Blog.
People often ask, “Where do you find your inspiration?”
I never know what to reply.
I don’t have one source of inspiration. I go through phases. What remains consistent about my writing is the process.
Whatever I write, I make sure it is honest. This is the secret to good writing.
A reader will always sense a lie. It doesn’t matter if you are writing science fiction, erotica or a school essay, truth speaks for itself. An authentic voice speaks louder than the most elegant prose. It reverberates through time, touching the lives of a new generation of readers.
Classics like War and Peace manage to achieve this cult fame, but you don’t have to be Tolstoy to write well.
Grab Your Pencil
This interview also appears on the Bedroom Books Blog as there is so much useful information.
Maria Moloney is an author, publisher of Our Street Books (children's books) and Dodona Books (divination), and a new YA/NA imprint coming up soon. She's worked for John Hunt Publishing for 5 years as a publisher, publicist, and editor. As an author she has five MBS books in print and a children’s fantasy novel, The Changeling Quest, which is part of series Children of the Fae. Maria is a teacher of creative writing and hold writing workshops and also workshops on spiritual subjects internationally. She lives in Ireland.
Where do you get your writing inspiration?
My fiction writing ideas come from myths, legends and folklore and a close connection with nature. I read and research constantly.
You are able to switch genres – how do you that so beautifully?
Thank you! Switching isn't difficult for me especially if there are links between them. Fiction is my love and always has been and fits right in with my non-fiction writing both of which are often centred around my interest in myth, folklore and nature.
I bring this blog to you from a taverna in Skala Eressos, Lesvos. I am sitting on a comfy sofa looking out to sea with a cat purring at my side and, of course, free wifi.
My day began with a walk followed by a swim in the Aegean and as I bobbed about in the water looking back to the awakening village I felt a wave: literal and metaphoric, of feeling that I was truly in my element.
When I returned to our apartment and gazed out to the mountains across fields, olive trees and flowers I experienced the same feeling. It then occurred to me that when I am at home in the UK: walking barefoot on the cool dew-damp grass in our home on top of the hill, overlooking a patchwork of countryside that resembles a child’s drawing, I am in my element there too.
What’s going on here?
There are all kinds of formulae for working out one’s element. You can calculate numerically using birthdates, you can use your name, star signs, moon position or whether you like cats or dogs. I’m not sure about the cats or dogs but I could probably make a case
I then realized that elements change and that maybe it is all about contentment rather than a set list of rules. I am as content in the sea as I am in a plane. I am happy pretty much all the time. It there a formula for that?
Yes, there is. And here it is – make your choice. If life has thrown you a curve ball don’t break your neck trying to catch it – throw something at it to change its trajectory. If you need help to do that please get in touch.
Because I write and coach others to write plus all my hypnosis related stuff (technical term) I can do these things anywhere and my working element is wherever the wind takes me. Mick and I have had some of our best ideas in the sea.
This blog is written by John Hunt and I am sharing because it has useful information for if you are interested in publishing or being published. Thank you John.
My ideal publishing company
We are about as “author-centric” as you can get, in terms of looking out for author interests. We probably come across with a quite different impression, with our heavy reliance on database systems, automatic email notifications, constant linked references to help copy/user manual rather than emails, meetings and phone calls, the fact that we publish about one out of five of our titles with an author subsidy, etc…
But most of the people working in the business are authors. They’ve “migrated” into the business, starting off with a bit of copy-editing or proof reading, doing some PR on other titles, over a period of what is usually a couple of years some of them becoming publishers in their own right, and the business is built around them. We’ve never advertised for staff within the publishing industry. The balance for us is not so much “author share of income versus publisher/shareholders share of income” as “I as an author want xyz done for my book, but as the person doing xyz on other titles I also want a fair income for my work”. So the idea of a fair reward for work done, a fair proportion of sales income, on both sides of the fence, is in our DNA.
Actually, I don’t think there is a fence. We’re all in it together. Publishers should be authors. And authors can be publishers (though not all of them, and most wouldn’t want to). The function of “publisher” in the traditional sense (controlling access to the market) has gone. And a good thing too.
I probably wouldn’t /couldn’t have started the original O Books paperback list (which has now diversified into other imprints) without having gone through the experience of being an author myself, Bringing God Back to Earth. Back then, 10 years ago, it was a very different market, seems medieval now, virtually pre-internet. But it did help me understand the author’s point of view, the complexity of bringing a manuscript through to a finished book, the highs and lows along the way.
I had a chat with the lovely Jane Alexander. Not only is she cool, she says nice things about me.
Welcome. Please tell us about yourself:
That’s the kind of question I find increasingly hard to answer. I feel as though the older I become, the less I know. On a prosaic level, I’m a word wrangler – I write books, blogs, features...anything really. Although I am best known for my writing on wellbeing, natural health and spirituality, I have written about pretty well everything over the years (yes, even sport). I have a magpie mind and have loved the opportunities journalism and book-writing have given me to meet incredible people, try amazing things and visit wondrous places.
Yet, although I live my life in words, I find words themselves constantly frustrate me and I find myself drawn to more immediate, visceral forms of communication – music, art, touch. I’m very aware that that sounds hideously pretentious!
I live on Exmoor – a stunning place which is my locational muse – with my husband (also a writer), teenage son and two dogs. I’m a Capricorn, with my moon in Pisces and a plethora of planets in Sagittarius which – if you know astrology - makes me an odd mix. I have been drawn to the esoteric since a very early age, have studied many paths and would now – if pushed – probably describe myself as a very humble junior alchemist. When I’m not writing, I love travelling and am lucky enough to review spas and retreats as part of my ‘work’. I play at yoga, have an enthusiastic (if not terribly aesthetic) exercise habit and yearn to return to my first love - painting. I’m also an inveterate muser and haphazard meditator.
You have written many books. Has the process changed for you over the years?
Today I am thrilled to welcome the multi-talented Gemma Birss.
If you meet someone new and they ask what you do, what is your reply?
Ranked in order of penny-pulling prowess, it goes deputy editor of Prediction magazine, yoga teacher, illustrator of children's books and writer of novels. In order of glee levels... I'd put them all together in the same cupcake with a big fat cherry on top. I'm a lucky lass, me. I love what I do.
Where does your inspiration to write come from?
My children's book, Gift, is set in Zimbabwe where I grew up. And I'm currently working on some grown-up fiction that's based in India and Japan, both countries in which I've lived. So I guess it's big ole life that gives me all that juicy inspiration... and what is more inspiring than this bonkers, beautiful, sunny, moony reality, really?
Is it challenging writing in different genres?
I'll let you in on a secret.
Please welcome Maria, multi-tasker extraordinaire. Maria's words are invaluable if you are a potential author.
Please tell us about yourself
I am a Publisher and Publicist at JHP.
My lists are Ayni Books (health and healing) O Books (general spirituality) Mantra Books (Eastern Philosophies) and Psyche Books (psychology). I then manage the publicity for an eclectic mix of other imprints, from political activism, Christianity to Science Fiction. I am a Gemini, I am certain that helps!
I don't really know how I got here! I was passionate about stories and books as a kid, told I'd amount to nothing by someone who had influence on my life, but thankfully I ignored them. I worked damn hard from the bottom up and pride myself on being 'a doer'. I have been working for JHP since 1999. I've watched the business change out of all recognition, along with the entire publishing industry.
Please describe your typical day
I work from home in the middle of nowhere in South West France. You can normally find me behind the lid of my laptop from 8am in the morning. You’ll see me pop up as available to 'chat' on Facebook/Twitter/Google, but I am working, honestly!
These are the most frequently asked questions I receive from potential authors.
Q - I want to be a non-fiction author. Can you tell me what to write?
A - Write about what you know, what you are interested in and what you can research accurately.
Q - I want to be a novelist. What is the next trend going to be?
A - Writing to fit a possible trend is not a good idea. Writing the story that is bursting to be told is the way forward.
Q - I have looked through The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook and it seems such a lot of work to get my work in front of an agent or publisher. Tell me the shortcuts.
A - Writing a book is only one aspect of being an author. If you want to be published you have to put in the work. If you are self-publishing you have to put in the work.
Q - I want to do it all myself. What is vanity and self-publishing?
A - If you use a vanity publisher you pay the company to produce your book. There are usually different packages available and they sell the books to the author. If you are self-publishing you create and/or upload your book yourself. Some authors use POD (print on demand) and this is when the book is printed when someone buys it. Self-published authors tend to succeed when they have a good fan-base and are good at marketing.
Q - What is the difference between those and subsidy publishing?
A - Subsidy works in a cooperative way in that the author contributes a small percentage of costs to the process of the book production. The publisher has the contacts for marketing and the author isn’t left completely alone to do the selling.
Q - I keep hearing that I need a platform. What does it mean?
A - It is a metaphorical term but imagine it as an actual platform that you stand on and tell people about yourself and your book. You can fold it up and take it to where your readers hangout because you know where that is. You make it easy for them to find you.
Q - I definitely want to write. Now what?
A - Be excited that there are no rules or laws preventing you from being an author. If you have trouble writing you can use a ghost-writer and it always pays to get someone else to edit your words. Very few people can edit their own work because we get word-blind after we have looked the same thing for a long time.
Do the work (I say that a lot). Read a lot. Write. Believe in yourself and get writing.
News from the Muse Blog
This blog is about me: hypnosis-stuff, my travels, my back story and the road to recovery. Hopefully it might resonate with others in pain and maybe my discoveries will help.
I share honestly - sometimes too much... you have been warned.
Overall it seems that I prattle.
If you have any questions please get in touch - contact at the bottom of the page.
You are welcome to share any of my posts in full with a credit and link back to me.
Please let me know if you do,