Thursday, December 1, 2011

SAMHAIN ANTHOLOGY INTERVIEW #1 - MARLENE DOTTERER

"Samhain marks the end of summer and the preparation for winter. To many, Samhain is merely Halloween, but to Pagans, it is a day when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and we can reconnect with our beloved deceased. Samhain is a joyful celebration where we invite the spirits of our loved ones into our homes to remember and honor them."

Author: Various Authors / Anthology
Pages: 174 pages
Publisher: Pagan Writers Press
Published: October, 2011
Form: E-book (provided as part of a tour for an honest review)
Genre: Non-Fiction/Poetry/Fiction
Noble Romance: Buy / $8.04

Samhain Anthology is full of great short Articles, telling of the origin of Trick and Treats (from Foreword), embracing death instead of fearing and battling with it, making your own divination runes, and my favorite the history of Jack O’ Lanterns (With October So Near)! All the articles are short, but very well but together to convey the spirit of the Sabbath/holiday, the mood of it, the celebration of it. Samhain Anthology’s articles are a perfect introduction and manual for the Sabbath of Samhain, with stories about food, making wreaths and Samhain decorations, crafting runes, honoring our ancestors or setting up rituals with beautiful incantations.

Articles :

The Poetry sections I loved! Elements by Julienne Lee got me from the very beginning, it was a gorgeous homage to mother nature in all the elements. Cordelia Deeter’s Whispers was another favorite even though more solemn, yet hopeful. Piona Hutton’s poem staid within me the longest really bringing me to the state of appreciation for the season.

Poetry :

The Short Stories were great, of course with any short stories they leave you wanting more when they are good and most of them I would have not mind at all reading more of! From celebrating Samhain in a hollowed asteroid in the future (Webs by Marlene Dotterer) to ghost haunting to gain justice for unpunished crimes.

Here are reviews on three Short Stories from the book, don’t miss my Interviews with the authors on Sunday 27th, Monday 28th and Wednesday 30th of November!

Webs, A Future Samhain by Marlene Dotterer
Sandy works in a hollowed out asteroid that had been converted to a miniature Earth, with forest and farm land hovering in space. She can feel spirits, but what she can’t feel is the presence of Gaia, mother earth in The Carson. But Samhain is coming and as everyone takes to celebrating it’s good to remember what lead them here.

I loved the idea of nature based religion taking hold of humanity and the idea of having an asteroid colony where they try to create new life that can be sentient on its own.

Evening Out by Rosa Sophia
Betty Lou got fired and staying cooped up at home isn’t her idea of a good time so a walk in the cold and cloudy evening with a friend sounds like a great idea. As they pass the graveyard talking about how their personal lives are experiencing draught they spot a girl, a familiar looking girl sitting on a gravestone. There’s something odd about the girls the way she talks, acts and the fact that she’s dressed quite poorly for such cold weather. It is a month later that they meet Jennifer again as their car breaks down and they are forced to cut through the graveyard as they witness a brutal assault and escaped the two men guilty of it. Who were the attackers, why did the attack the man and just how does Jennifer know them?

Loved Rosa Sophia’s writing, it was like talking with a friend, and as the mystery grows you get a nice feeling of eeriness without the thread. I liked it a lot!

Sorrows End by Stephen B. Pearl
He’s lost her. She’s lost him. A dead spouse drives both Richard and Sally to seek the lay lines of the forest nearby to ask the god and goddess to unite them with their loved ones for just one day. What they receive is a chance meeting with each other, not having seen each other in ages they remember old feelings and talk of the lost loved ones, freeing them from being bound to linger with them.

You can’t go wrong with a love story with two broken hearts, finding each other to mend and heal, and take another chance on love. I definitely wanted to read more of this. I bet a whole book could have come out of this and it would have been great!

I’ll be reading this book again before next Samhain, you can be sure of that!

Absolutely worth all the 5 Stars I’m giving it!

Rating :



My first of the three interviews is with Marlene Dotterer, the author of Samhain Anthology’s Webs and the novel “The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder”

Niina : Welcome to For The Love of Reading! I’m glad you could make it. Can you tell my readers here little about yourself?

Marlene Dotterer : Thank you Niina, I’m excited to be here. The usual information about me is that I’m a middle-aged woman, married, with five children, one step-child, and seven (so far) grandchildren.  I teach natural childbirth classes, cook a lot, and write science fiction and fantasy.  I’m drawn to the nature aspects of paganism, feeling that it teaches us the best ways to live in harmony with our planet.  I do the best I can in this respect, considering I live in the suburbs and don’t know how to garden.

Niina : What did you most enjoy about writing for the  Samhain Anthology?

Marlene : I really loved the idea of taking part in something with other writers and other pagans. I’m pretty solitary in my practice, if it can even be called that, and this my first chance to really get involved with the pagan writing community.

Niina : On your website you say your story in the anthology is set on a spaceship in the future, do you see Paganism still present at “space-age”?

Marlene : Absolutely. I could write an entire essay on this question, but in general, I think that in the future more people will understand how fragile our ecosystem is. Science can solve a lot of problems, but the long-term solutions will happen when people live closer to nature.  This is the heart of Paganism.
When we move out from our cradle to settle on other planets, moons, or space stations, we’re going to have to know how to listen to, and be attuned to, the environment. Computers will monitor things, but people are the first and last failsafe.

Niina : What drew you to write science fiction? And what keeps you writing it?

Marlene : I read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time when I was eight. Every word resonated with me. I felt as if I could live in that book. I never looked back - science fiction gave me hope for a good life and a better world. I was a child of the sixties, too - moon landings and space exploration were a standard part of my formative years.
For me, writing SF happens as naturally as reading it. Even though my first book was about the man who built the Titanic, during the Edwardian era of the 20th century, I had to make it a science fiction story. This was pretty easy - time travel and the Titanic seem to just go together.

Niina : Why do you see people being informed of Samhain at Halloween time important?

Marlene : Uh, oh. I may step on a toe or two, here.
All of our sabbats have long, ancient histories, with deep meanings. But so much of the meaning and reasons for these festivals has been  warped by Christianity, nearly destroying them.  This was the end result the Church wanted.  I think it’s amazing that we’ve been able to hold onto them at all, and I’m thrilled to see the true history being rediscovered and introduced into our modern life.
Christianity teaches that people (men) have dominion over everything, and that philosophy, along with our hectic, modern lifestyle, has nearly destroyed our world. Paganism reminds us that we are just a part of a bigger picture. The more people who understand this, the healthier our world will be.

Niina : Thank you for that, we are all part of a bigger picture. :) What about, which character in your story became your favorite?

Marlene : The characters and setting of this story are part of a larger WIP I’m writing, so there’s far more than what is seen in this short story.
There’s no doubt that my favorite is my heroine, Sandy. Sandy is one of those people with so much compassion to offer, but she’s trapped by shyness and doubt. On the spaceship, Rachel Carson, she’s found people to trust and love, and she’s coming out of her shell. Plus, she has the exciting job of helping to establish a living ecosystem on a hollowed-out asteroid. She has a special talent that helps with this: Sandy can sense the life-spirit of a planet, and can tell when that spirit is sentient, and she can communicate with it.  This is a lot of fun to write about.

Niina : Were any of the characters/events based on real life characters/events?

Marlene : No, they all have their own beginnings.

Niina : Now little about how you write… What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Marlene : It’s probably the fact that I actually get anything written. Most of the time, those words fight me tooth and nail.

Niina : What is the biggest “no-no” when it comes to writing for you?

Marlene : Noise. I simply cannot concentrate if there’s any noise at all. This - from the woman who used to do calculus homework while her five little kids ran around the house. That’s a talent I’d love to get back.

Niina : How do you write, chapter here and there or follow from beginning to an end?

Marlene : Totally haphazard. I’m lucky to get an entire chapter at once. Sometimes I just have pieces of scenes from all over the book.

Niina : What’s the worst advice for writers you’ve received?

Marlene : There’s not any one thing, really. But a lot of people are very quick to insist that a writer “must” do one thing or another.  “All writers must  write poetry,” or  “never use multiple POVs.”  These might be good ideas, but what works for the one giving advice might not work at all for the one receiving it. A new writer can waste a lot of time trying to do something that’s never going to work for her.
I guess my favorite worst advice is, “don’t do (fill in the blank), because it’s really hard to do well. Only the really good writers can get away with it.”
Honestly. How can you get good at it if you don’t do it?

Niina : And now before we say goodbye some Quick Fire Questions: 

Marlene : Oh no! It’s so hard for me to choose just one thing! But I’ll try.

Cats or dogs? Cats
Coffee or tea? COFFEE!
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Dark - 70%
Cake or donuts? Donuts
Rocks or flowers? Can’t make that choice. They each have their place. I have a degree in geology, so I know that rocks have an important story to tell. But flowers are essential for life on this planet.
Night or day? Night... no, day...
Beach or forest? Forest
Brunettes or Blonds? Couldn’t care less
Romance or erotica? Can’t I have both?
Women: Opinionated or wallflowers? Oh, please! Speak up, ladies!
Beer or Wine? Wine
Delivered pizza or Restaurant? Homemade, unless it’s Cheeseboard or Zachary’s
Movies: Romantic comedy or Horror? Never horror. Never, never!
Halloween or Midsummer? Halloween.
Times New Roman or Courtier? TNR
Crayons or markers? Um... colored pencils?
Pens or pencils? Ha! Pens.
Books or e-books? Books, unless you expect it to stay at my house. There is no more room.
Kids or pets? I’m not touching that one.

Niina : Thanks for visiting the For The Love of Reading, Marlene! Glad you came by!

Marlene :  Thank you, Niina. It was fun!



Don’t miss my other two Interviews with the on 28th and 29th of November!


Originally aired on my blog "For The Love of Reading" @ http://niinas-reading-and-reviewing.blogspot.com/2011/11/review-samhain-interview-with-marlene.html on Nov. 27th 2011

SAMHAIN ANTHOLOGY INTERVIEW #2 - ROSA SOPHIA

"Samhain marks the end of summer and the preparation for winter. To many, Samhain is merely Halloween, but to Pagans, it is a day when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and we can reconnect with our beloved deceased. Samhain is a joyful celebration where we invite the spirits of our loved ones into our homes to remember and honor them."
 
Read my 5 Star Review of Samhain Anthology & Interview with Marlene Dotterer here!

My second of the three interviews is with Rosa Sophia, the author of Samhain Anthology’s Evening Out and the novel “Taking 1960”.
 
Evening Out
Betty Lou got fired and staying cooped up at home isn’t her idea of a good time so a walk in the cold and cloudy evening with a friend sounds like a great idea. As they pass the graveyard talking about how their personal lives are experiencing draught they spot a girl, a familiar looking girl sitting on a gravestone. There’s something odd about the girls the way she talks, acts and the fact that she’s dressed quite poorly for such cold weather. It is a month later that they meet Jennifer again as their car breaks down and they are forced to cut through the graveyard as they witness a brutal assault and escaped the two men guilty of it. Who were the attackers, why did the attack the man and just how does Jennifer know them?

Loved Rosa Sophia’s writing, it was like talking with a friend, and as the mystery grows you get a nice feeling of eeriness without the thread. I liked it a lot!


Niina : Welcome to For The Love of Reading! I’m glad you could make it. Can you tell my readers here 5 little fun facts about yourself?

Rosa Sophia : Hello, and thank you for having me! Five fun facts, eh? I guess that depends on your definition of fun! I live in south Florida and I work in a library. Some people consider it a fun fact that my hair reaches about four inches past my knees, and that rather than go to school for writing or English, I am working on an Associates Degree in Automotive Technology.  I also have at least twelve unpublished novels that are either complete or half-written.  That about sums it up!

Niina : What did you most enjoy about writing for the  Samhain Anthology?

Rosa : More than anything, I feel very proud to be a part of Pagan Writers Press.  Previously, my biggest accomplishment was my novel, Taking 1960, which was published last summer.  So it is nice to see my name in print again, as both an author and an editor.  I am also very proud of the mission statement of both PWP and Pagan Writers Community, and I enjoy helping the organizations as best I can, so that we can continue to unite writers and readers of alternative faiths. 

Niina : So, how important is it to get Samhain out there at Halloween time?

Rosa : Very important.  Samhain is important to Pagans, and this anthology, Pagan Writers Presents Samhain, is a wonderful way to make this information available to those who are curious.  I believe that it is important for Pagans to try to be open about their beliefs.  After all, people tend to fear or dislike what they do not understand.  If we open up a bit, perhaps people will at least try to understand.

Niina : What drew you to writing paranormal mystery?

Rosa : It just kind of happened.  Since I was a child, I have had the ability to see spirits—ghosts.  My Sight is an important part of my life; naturally, it makes it into my writing.  However, Paranormal Mystery is not all I write.  I also like to write historical pieces, fiction, and poetry.

Niina : What is the biggest “no-no” when it comes to writing for you?

Rosa : I cannot say that I have one.  When it comes to editing, though, my pet peeves include run-on sentences, and characters that have a tendency to nod and smile constantly, much like bobble-head dolls!

Niina : LOL! Yeah that would be no good. :) What about, which character in your story became your favorite?

Rosa : In “An Evening Out”, which is in the anthology, my favorite character is Betty Lou.  And, of course, Jennifer.

Niina : Were any of the characters/events based on real life characters/events?

Rosa : Yes and no.  I did not truly base the characters off anyone.  However, Betty Lou is the name of a very good friend of mine.  My friend is a wonderful person, totally fun to be around, and she is also a writer.  But she and the character are not similar.

Niina : Now a little about how you write… What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Rosa : My eyes glaze over and I become somewhat zombie-ish.  If I have contact with any actual human beings when I am still thinking about my writing, even after I have stopped writing, someone usually asks me if I am okay, or tells me that I look depressed, or that I look ill, or something of that nature.  It used to irritate me, because everyone always thought I was upset about something—I was just deep in thought.

Niina : How do you write, chapter here and there or follow from beginning to an end?

Rosa : From beginning to end, generally straight through.  I usually know the title, the beginning, and the end, before I even start writing.  If I do not know what happens in the end, it usually stops me from starting in the first place.

Niina : What’s the worst advice for writers you’ve received?

Rosa : You can’t make any money doing that and I don’t think you should do this so much; I think it’s unhealthy.  You can make money doing this, and it’s very healthy.  Good for the soul!

Niina : What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Rosa : I enjoy traveling, photography, running, yoga and walking.  I like to go to the beach, and I like to go fishing.  Most of all, my “thing” is cars.  I love to work on cars.  As I always say, there’s nothing better than the smell of fresh coffee and engine grease in the morning!

Niina : And now before we say goodbye some Quick Fire Questions:

Cats or dogs? Cats.  (I’m practicing to be an old cat lady.)
Coffee or tea?  Both.
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Dark.
Rocks or flowers? Both.
Beach or forest? Ah, both!
Night or day? Night.
UF (Urban Fantasy) or PNR (Paranormal Romance)?  Urban Fantasy.
Bad boys or good cops? Both.
Brunettes or Blonds? Er, both!
Vampires or werewolves? Neither. I just think this entire fad is quite silly.
Romance or erotica? Erotica.
Mystery or Thriller? Mystery.
Men:  Alpha-male or submissive? Submissive. 
Male POV or female POV (Point Of View)? Both are important to a good story.
Pick-up or Mini-van? Pick-up—Chevy, to be specific.
Beer or Wine? Neither—Whiskey!
Pizza or Restaurant?  Either one is fine by me. Who’s buying?
Cake or Donuts? Neither.  Too sweet!
TV or DVD? Neither, I prefer to read.
Movies: Romantic comedies or Action/Adventure? Action / Adventure, and just comedy.  Like Mel Brooks, for example!
Winter or Summer? Summer.
Times New Roman or Courier? Times New Roman.
Crayons or markers? Markers.
Pens or pencils?  Pens.
Kids or pets? Pets.

Niina : Thanks for visiting the For The Love of Reading, Rosa!

Rosa : Thanks again for having me!



Rosa Sophia is the author of the Paranormal Mystery Taking 1960.  Her next novel, Check Out Time, will be published soon; the release date is as yet undecided.  Rosa Sophia is an editor and has worked for various online magazines, including Pagan Writers Community and Wild River Review.  Currently, she edits for both Oaklight Publishing and Pagan Writers Press.  Rosa resides in south Florida and is attending college for Automotive Technology.  Please visit her website and her blog for more information about her writing and her editing services.




Originally aired on my blog "For The Love of Reading" @ http://niinas-reading-and-reviewing.blogspot.com/2011/11/interview-with-rosa-sophia.html on Nov. 28th 2011

SAMHAIN ANTHOLOGY INTERVIEW #3 - STEPHEN B. PEARL

Read my 5 Star Review of Samhain Anthology, 1st SA interview with Marlene Dotterer here, and 2nd SA interview with Rosa Sophia here! My third of the three interviews is with Stephen B. Pearl, the author of Samhain Anthology’s Sorrows End and the novel “Tinker’s Plague”.

Sorrows End
He’s lost her. She’s lost him. A dead spouse drives both Richard and Sally to seek the lay lines of the forest nearby to ask the god and the goddess to unite them with their loved ones for just one day. What they receive is a chance meeting with each other, not having seen each other in ages they remember old feelings and talk of the lost loved ones, freeing them from being bound to linger with them. You can’t go wrong with a love story with two broken hearts, finding each other to mend and heal, and take another chance on love. I definitely wanted to read more of this. I bet a whole book could have come out of this and it would have been great!


Niina : Welcome to For The Love of Reading, Stephen! I’m glad you could make it. Can you tell us 5 fun facts about yourself so we can get to know you better?  

Stephen B. Pearl : Five whole facts, oh my, you do know I write fiction don’t you?  ;-) By the by, thanks for having me on For the Love of Reading.    Well I’ll start with things about me. I am an Egyptian path Pagan. I only mention it because this interview came via the Samhain Anthology of the Pagan Writers Press. Interestingly enough my blood line is Celtic / Saxon but Ra taped me on the shoulder. Ultimately it doesn’t make much difference because I believe there are only a few gods administrating the archetypal rays of the universe’s nature, but each has been given many names and faces by the various cultures of man. Okay side step into metaphysics there, sorry.    I am also a writer with three novels published and a forth coming out in May. Tinker’s Plague is my flag ship then Slaves of Love and the Hollow Curse with Nukekubi coming out in May and of course my story Sorrows End in the Samhain Anthology, hint hint. You can learn more about these and find buy links at my website: http://www.stephenpearl.com/.    I worked as a lifeguard for a very long time but had to leave it behind because I developed arthritis in my knees that the eggbeater kick was aggravating. Eggbeater is the only kick suitable for bringing in a deep water spinal  victim, and I just couldn’t recertify my National Lifeguarding sertificate, which in Canada must be done every two years, without it. I still do some teaching on the side.    I was in the Society for Creative Anachronism for nine years and know how to use a long sword and shield, bastard sword, saber and epee. I’m rusty but I know the basics. I also made my own suit of armour.    I’m a good general handyman and backyard mechanic. I based the skill set for my Tinkers, Doctors of General Applied Technology, in my post-apocalyptic novel Tinker’s Plague on a vastly exaggerated version of my own skill set.    

Niina : I’m an Isis girl myself. ;) Now, what did you most enjoy about writing for the Samhain Anthology?  

Stephen : It let me touch on issues of loss and moving on. I could also just cut loose and not have to worry about the story appealing to the main stream because the target audience are fellow Pagans who share a similar knowledge base and set of expectations. I didn’t have to explain things like why we cast a circle or the fact that the beloved dead hold no fear they were just givens. It was also nice to give something to my community.  

Niina : So, how do you bring out pagan beliefs in your books, if in any way?  

Stephen : This varies from book to book. In Slaves of Love I practically ignore religion all together.    

In Tinker’s Plague I paint the world as a religious mosaic with all sorts of faiths getting cameos mostly in people’s swear words. My Leads Brad and Carla are both Pagan but aside from their basic moral stance it doesn’t factor in much. When you’re up to your butt in plague victims you aren’t likely to set up for ritual. Carla is a Herbalist and she and her Grand Mother Meb are very Witchy in the modern sense but not so it unbalances the book. I think that is an important point. If you rub peoples’ noses in it when it isn’t appropriate to the nature of the story you come off as having an agenda and their defenses go up. If you just let it be a casual part of the character they come to accept it. Pretty much like in everyday life. I have a friend who coined the saying, “it is one thing to wear a pentacle openly on your chest, it is another to wear a hubcap openly on your chest.” There is wisdom for all minority groups here if you think about it.   

The Hollow Curse is very Pagan. Two soul mates are cursed in a previous incarnation to be forever distance by a gulf of years and social norms until they live a life and raise a child together. The two souls are on a Pagan path and the mending of their relationship, over several lives, becomes entangled with the mending of the archetypical sword and cauldron representing the balance of the projective, masculine, and receptive, feminine, forces.  The story is really about how unbalanced society has become. I will warn folk, if they at looking for a wyman good man bad read I don’t do that. The imbalance has messed everybody up and everybody has to work to fix it.   

Nukekubi is probably the most Pagan of my soon to be available works. Ray a modern day Pagan wizard/priest must neutralize a nukikubi that is feasting on the people of Toronto. Nukekubi are a  form of Japanese goblin that looks human during the day. At night they separate their head from their body and fly around scaring people to death to feed of the energies released.  Ray has a working system that is based on the principles of Pagan mysticism and really exemplifies a modern Pagan mystic in a world where ‘Magic’ is just a little more demonstrative than it is in our own.   

Of course my story in the Samhain Anthology, Sorrows End, is just all out Pagan. The venue called for it.  

Niina : I really like the idea for Nukekubi, sounds very interesting. :) So, what drew you to write more futuristic romantic fiction?  

Stephen :  I’ve always loved the speculative fiction generas. If you look at it you can tell any type of story, romance, action adventure, horror, ext in a Speculative Fiction setting.  Note: I say speculative fiction to include fantasy. What you also get to do is explore big ideas. What will happen when we have to stop burning fossil fuels if we don’t have alternative energy supplies in place? What could be the consequence of a world where people cannot commit a direct act of violence. So much of the science fiction genera is cautionary and says open your eyes, look at the consequences of our new abilities both good and bad. As we learn things and gain new skills we change our world. A simple example is medical advances. We mitigated the infant mortality rate at a global level, good thing babies live. We now have mass overpopulation; Hmmm. Things like this is what the SF writer explores before they blow up in our face, so we act as an early warning system. The genera also reflects the Pagan moral stance of personal responsibility, Karma, there are no get out of jail free cards what your characters set up in the story they have to live with.  If you use nuclear energy you have to deal with the waist and so on. In this sense SF is probably the most morally challenging of the generas. I also love taking an idea and turning it over and over to explore its consequences and seeing how my characters react to the idea.   

Another aspect of sf is you can take an old idea, let’s say a tough as nails detective, and set it in a new setting that forces the archetypal character to adapt and take on a new form. Now your tough as nails gumshoe also has to know how to plant a listening device, hack a computer, or maybe his girlfriend can do that part of the business thus empowering her and making her more his equal in the business.  The point is a worn out idea can be made new again by putting it in a SF setting and allowing it to change to suit the setting.


Niina : What about, which character in your story became your favorite?
 
Stephen : Hmm, Favorite to date. Astra from Slaves of Love, she has a sweetness about her and I adore smart women and she is that. Doesn’t hurt that she is hot enough to melt your fillings. I have a Y chromosome I make no apologies for it. ;-)     Favorite character over all would be Brad from Tinker’s Plague. He chose a profession where he could make a difference despite the fact that tinkers after their first ten year stint doing a wrought fall into three categories. Rich, crippled, dead in roughly equal numbers.  Brad doesn’t take crap from anyone but is also the most determined and loyal friend you could ever have. I like him, though he is a bit of a ladies’ man.
 
Niina : What do you think makes a good story?
 
Stephen : Everything. Not overly helpful I know. As I see it stories are more woven than built. Character leans on and reflects setting, setting is the result of the actions of characters. The conflict must grow logically from the circumstances of the book. If a plague was released today there would be an effective quarantine, hazmat teems a whole organized response. If it happens in a post-apocalyptic setting those go by the wayside. Taking action must be in the characters’ nature and the action they take must grow naturally from their nature. Jim Kirk isn’t going to pass up the chance to save the pretty woman, it’s not going to happen because it isn’t in his nature.
 
Niina : Now little about how you write… What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
 
Stephen : Gods a process question.  For starters my process is more like Role Playing Gaming than anything else. I set up the world first. Then I populate it with characters that have the right personality to take the actions I need and the skill set to be effective then I’ll throw the characters into situations and let them deal with it while I record what happens. Often the first few pages, that the audience never sees, are garbage. It takes a little while for the characters to come to life and start directing their own actions. After that I just play Game Master setting the scene and tossing up challenges and my characters take control.    Going in I’ll know where I’m starting and where I want to finish, though that can change, and I’ll have an idea about some scenes I want to do along the way but my system isn’t very formal. I tried to write to a plan a couple of times and what came out stank.    This of course is how I work, other folk work to a plan and it’s great for them. People need to find their own method and not let other people tell them there is only one way to do things.
 
Niina : What is the biggest “no-no” when it comes to writing for you?
 
Stephen : Forcing a character. If I make a character do something against their nature I’ll get along ten or twelve pages and the whole process stalls. Character action grows from character nature.     Another one would be making people too good. Darkness adds spice. Wolverine of the X Men is a great character because there is darkness in him that compliments honor and nobility. The fact he can be vicious makes his kindness stand out in stark relief.


Niina : What book, if any, do you read over and over again?

Stephen : Lord of the Rings I’ve probably been cover to cover 11 or twelve times. Other than that it’s rare for me to reread a book. I’m dyslexic and read at about half the speed a person with my level of education, university, should to compensate I have four times the average retention of what I read. Rereading a book tends to bore me because of this. Besides, my to be read pile is threatening to fall over and bury me. ;-)

Niina : The Lord of The Rings! Well that’s just my favorite, and the reason I met my hubby and got married. :D Oops, hoggin’ page space here, back to you… What’s the worst advice for writers you’ve received?

Stephen : I tend to forget it as quickly as I can but there was one person who felt I should front load scene description at the start of a story. Another thought I should show off more vocabulary by using ten dollar words where a two dollar word would do just as well. You’ll always find people telling you things the trick is to sift the wheat from the chaff.

Niina : Flirting with the idea of bringing a new mythological/paranormal creature to page, what would be exciting to write about?

Stephen : There are so many. My advice is pick up a copy of the Dungeons and Dragons monster manuals. Leaf through them then use the name of anything that strikes your fancy to find some real information in books like the Encyclopedia of Fairy Lore and the like. See if your initial interest is sustained by the actual lore.    A specific, how about a love story. A widower moves into a house built in the forest and encounters a beautiful mysterious woman trespassing on his isolated property. He doesn’t know it but this woman’s secret is she is a Dryad, the spirit of a nearby oak tree. Add some conflict with an unscrupulous lumber baron who is trying to cut down the forest despite the fact that it protects the nearby town’s aquifer recharge zones and place the oak just off the lead’s property to make the threat to the Dryad personal and immediate.     That’s just one example but there are loads that spring from even a cursory study of the old lore.

Niina : Hey, I’d read that! :D And now before we say goodbye here are some Quick Fire Questions!   

Cats or dogs? Cat’s three at present.  
Coffee or tea? Coffee except medicinal.  
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? I’m allergic to cow’s milk, so since I’m still breathing.  
Rocks or flowers? Why limit the expression of beauty. Rock gardens.  
Beach or forest? Depends on my mood. I live on the shore of Lake Ontario so I can have both.  
Night or day? Day.  
UF (Urban Fantasy) or PNR (Paranormal Romance)? UF, hay I still have a Y chromosome. ;-)  
Bad boys or good cops? Good Cops.
Brunettes or Blonds? Brunettes, Claudia Black be still my heart.  
Vampires or werewolves? Both over done and done poorly. Going back to the original skin walker myths werewolves.  
Romance or erotica? It depends on your definition.
 Mystery or Thriller? Mystery  
Women:  Talkative or wallflowers? Wallflowers but it is an unclear question. My wife speaks when she has something to say she just doesn’t clutter the air with noise.  
Male POV or female POV (Point Of View)? Who cares as long as the character is interesting.  
Pick-up or Mini-van? Pick-up, a Mazda B2200 series to replace my recently departed steed.  
Beer or Wine? Dependent on quality beer though I drink both.  
Pizza or Restaurant? Restaurant.  
Cake or Donuts? Cake.  
TV or DVD? DVD, no commercials.  
Movies: Romantic comedies or Action/Adventure? Action/Adventure.  
Winter or Summer? Summer. Times New Roman or Courier? Times New Roman the industry seems to like it more.  
Crayons or markers? Markers.  
Pens or pencils? Pens.

Niina : Thanks for visiting the For The Love of Reading, Stephen!

Stephen : Thanks for having me. And remember folks you should check out the Samhain Anthology at the Pagan Writers Press: http://paganwriterspress.com/ and check out my work at http://www.stephenpearl.com/ . Looking is free and you just might find something you really like.


Gandalf taught me how to be a spirit wrapped in flesh. Aragorn taught me how to be a man. Frodo taught me of perseverance, and Samwise of loyalty. Along the way I learned of the power of the written word, the gift it could give by slipping past our defenses to show us the best and the worst in ourselves. So who is Stephen B. Pearl? He is a lifeguard, husband, mystic, science enthusiast, home handyman, backyard mechanic, and writer. Like most of us the face he wears changes with the company and the season. His three cats now him as pride alpha, I like to think so, though servant might be more accurate. Who am I kidding? My wife runs the pride; I just try and stay out of her way. At any rate, I am a man of middle years who lives in a house in Ontario, Canada with three cats, a wife and a sincere hope that you will enjoy my book.


Originally aired on my blog "For The Love of Reading" @ http://niinas-reading-and-reviewing.blogspot.com/2011/11/samhain-anthology-interview-3-stephen-b.html on Nov. 30th 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

PORTALS - ASTROLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS!

From: Michelle Karen's Newsletter this morning...

The New Moon in Scorpio, yesterday on October 26,
The end of the one before last cycle in the Mayan Calendar on October 28,
The Full Moon in Taurus on November 10,   
11.11.2011.

The New Moon in Scorpio which occurred yesterday, October 26, 2011 at 12:56 PM PST (3:56 PM EST)  may  help reveal in the next two weeks old emotional responses that are not supporting our highest good. As light is spreading all over the planet, we shall find the transformation of denser energies easier than ever before.

We could have noticed that certain numbers kept showing up, on our digital clocks, on license plates, on objects, as the number of our friends on Facebook… These numbers contain deep messages, particularly the reminder to monitor our thoughts. Let us focus on what we DO want and trust in our ability to manifest what we need for our next level of evolution. The more positive and in faith we remain, the more miracles are likely to occur in the most unexpected of ways.

The astrological chart of this New Moon reveals the importance to own our power in a balance of the masculine and the feminine: heart and passion, light and love. It is a time when  we are all changing at profound levels, reconnecting more truly with our power, our ancestral wisdom and our emotional/spiritual needs. Our love relationships, our sexuality could also be undergoing intense transformations as we become more fully aware of the deeper energetic implications of physical intimacy and only wish to share ourselves with one who matches us vibrationally in heart, mind, body and spirit.

Solidarity with others, sharing, helping each other out in times of need, are also conducive to higher growth and prosperity for all involved. Supporting each other in loving ways provides efficient creative solutions to each other's challenges.

Valuing all our resources, material and spiritual, leads to great healing and increased financial abundance. If we focus on what we do have, work on manifesting the ideas that come to us, and recycle what we no longer need, we might be quite amazed at how wealthy we already are. When we follow our bliss, do the things we love and are good at, money follows.




October 28, 2011 ends the one before last underworld in the Mayan Calendar that began on January 5, 1999. The last 11 year cycle ruled by ethics, required of us to come in right alignment with our truth and all of life. It is no accident that people around the world are rioting and manifesting against the lies that have infiltrated our society. It is no accident that all the structures that have gone down in the past decade and the places that were hit by major earth cataclysms, were places of corruption. It is a law of life that what is not of the light, is now bringing upon itself its own destruction. On Friday we are connecting directly with the Central Sun. A most powerful time to place all our wishes, and highest visions in alignment with the divine plan and step into a heightened reality of peace, love and abundance.

As we transition from one dimension to another, we could find ourselves alternatively thrown into a whirlwind of activities followed by a sense of stagnation in seemingly empty pockets of nothingness. These places of void are actually highly important as they are evidence of our ability to connect directly with the divine, allowing us to tap inter dimensionally into what has never existed before.


click, for a bigger picture
October 29, 2011- 12.21.2012, the last cycle of the Mayan Calendar, is devoted to co-creation, dreaming our new reality into being. We may find that time speeds up even more during the last 13 months separating us from 12.21.2012. Many lifetimes will be lived. We may have feelings of bi-location, as if we are dreaming several lifetimes simultaneously. It may be challenging to differentiate what is real and what is not. But in the end, everything is real that we can see, imagine and feel. This is why the cycle ending tomorrow, on October 28 required of us to be in absolute integrity. Without honesty, we would only create chaos.

Some of us may be called to move to a place that is more supportive of our gifts, more appreciative of our talents and where we are surrounded by people we love and who love us back. Exciting, unusual people with original ideas are likely to walk into our lives, opening our minds to wider horizons. Our intuition is enhanced. We could become creative in ways that connect us globally to others.


The Full Moon in Taurus on Nov.10.2011 (12:16 PM PST) is another important portal during the October 26 - December 10 dimensional transition. Circumstances may force us to take a different course. Compelling forces may trigger changes in our attitude towards life. We could question our direction, our potential, our values. We are being asked to purge ourselves of what is non-essential. As we become more powerfully aware of our individuality and independence, limiting attachments to binding situations and/or people who are not choosing enlightenment, naturally resolve themselves.

The clearer our motives, the more protected we are against religious or political fanatism, sexual black magic and mass manipulation. We can create the better life we long for, by using our imagination productively. Even though complex, evasive obstacles may be trying to block our efforts, maintaining the highest level of integrity, helps us evade darkness' ploys.

Previously stable situations could now suddenly dissolve, opening new possibilities for our dreams to come true. By letting go of the old, we can achieve our ideals and inspire others by stimulating their vision. Our hard work is now coming to fruition, leading to great rewards. Our values could unexpectedly shift, leading to a whole new understanding of who we are and what we need.  Sudden changes in our affairs feel exciting and stimulating.


11.11.2011. is a very magical portal numerologically. It signifies the importance of paying attention to our thoughts. It is also about manifesting our uniqueness and knowing that in relationship it is two beings who have each achieved independence and completeness in their own right, who can positively relate to each other. We are not co-dependent. We are each responsible for our own experiences, strengths and weaknesses. Between the two pillars of the temple, life can flow.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Okay, survival of the fittest, do you believe in it?

What would happen if societies all over the world stopped taking care of people who do nothing but lie in front of the TV all day, eat tons of processed foods and drink alcohol to numb their minds?

I'm not a cold person, very far from it, but I cannot help but to wonder would Darwin's theory take place, would the weak take themselves out of the equation?

Finland has its fair share of problems, the one that easily comes to my mind is drunks in public places, just few months ago two drunks got into a knife fight 500 yards from where I live and one died. Now - if you gave two smart, active, motivated people knifes and got them rattled up I doubt they would go at it like the drunks, right? I mean imagine your two smartest most decent friends, the other says f-you to the other, is a fight to the death gonna break out? Most likely your answer is no. Well -- so is mine. So this brings me to wonder about this...

If one were to believe in the malevolent illuminati and their desire to control, then wouldn't this sort of cross with it? If humanity was still in the survival of the fittest full-mode then people probably would be less likely controlled because smart people tend to think for themselves, they tend to try eat better go organic, be active, stay motivated and get less depressed and stuck in front of the TV. Perhaps I'm rambling and in my defense it is only 6 a.m. and I've been up since 4 a.m. thinking about stuff as I cannot sleep ( due to flu ).

I'd really like to get feedback from anyone crossing by this, what do you think about the survival of the fittest concerning where spirituality is going and how you see it tying to 'nwo'?




THOUGHTS ON ILLUMINATI - ARTICLE

I was checking out the new Spirit Science Website and noticed this article in the News. I'm sharing it because I have yet to see an article as sane about The Illuminati! ;)

Here is a teaser:

... The question I would like to ask is, in the maze of information/disinformation about potential secret societies, how are we to react to them? The best reaction for one possibility is the wrong reaction for another. For example, if it turns out the Illuminati is actually benevolent in nature ( and I’m not saying that is or isn’t the case ) the resisting them and trying to expose them will only create problems for us. If it turns out that they are malevolent in nature, however, and we choose to just ignore them, then we play into their hands and their status quo is maintained.
What we need is a strategy that address all of the possibilities, and I think I have a general idea what we as a society need to do. 

1. Focus on values first, not organizations, names or slogans - Whether they’re in cahoots or not, the existence of a power elite is undeniable. Do you in general value love and freedom over fear? Then oppose the governmental policies that use fear to control you. All humans need a certain measure of safety, but know that fear is the #1 instrument of any control system. That should be your first tip off. If a policy takes away your rights, freedoms and privacy by promising to make you safer, then you should know what the true danger is. Avoid the T.V. , avoid factory foods and anything that dulls down your awareness. If you annoy the secret societies while you’re at it, more power to you.


 


Saturday, September 10, 2011

SCIENCE + SPIRITUALITY = VIDEO

As I spoke with my husband earlier this morning I ended up communicating why I think spirituality and science are trying to join at the moment.

To say it shortly I expressed  spiritual desire of people to be One. This desire for Oneness wants to envelope everything in it, just like our body is made of atoms, protons and quarks all interconnected to produce a functional, walking, talking, feeling human beings, so is everything on earth interconnected, the people, animals, material, plant life to produce a functional earthbody.

And why we are so desperately trying to unite science and spirituality (and come up with a lot of made-up stuff in the process - which is sad to see people just reprint without looking to see if it's actually true or not. Trust me I've fallen for that as well...) is because eventually it'll all be explained and we will understand Oneness - now this is going to be way far in the future after we have evolved enough to have the capacity to understand it (in general level we may have ideas and intuition, but not yet the capacity to understand it). I compared this to baby steps, envision a track with a top notch sprint runner set up against a baby taking its first steps, there really isn't a comparison. And this is how I see science-spirituality... we are beginning, the top-notch athlete is what we will become...

Here is Nassim Haramein's take on Unified Theory (Oneness)

 

This is Part 1, the other parts are located on the youtube page on the right sidebar, from 2 to 7.
You can also see the next part come up after the video ends.

Update : To make it easy here are the rest of the Parts
2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

FREE INNER-EASE TECHINIQUE FROM HEARTMATH

Peace is an inside job...

International Peace Day is on September 21st. Please forward this message on to anyone you think would appreciate it.

"On Peace Day 2011 remember that world peace starts with personal peace, from every individual. Let's open our hearts this Peace Day and take responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings and choices. Collectively, we can amplify self-generated peace into the world."

"To help more individuals create inner peace the nonprofit Institute of HeartMath is sharing the Inner-Ease™ Technique. This free technique is explained in its full integrity through a short e-book provided by IHM at this link Download: State-of-Ease."

"View Peace Quotes at Peace Quotes Website."



About the Institute of HeartMath:
The Institute of HeartMath (http://www.heartmath.org) is an internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with their minds at home, school, work and play.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A MESSAGE OF HOPE

Most wonderful video I've seen in ages, beautiful to watch, powerful and creates so much hope...
"We aren't outside of nature..."
"United we stand... Divided we fall..."
You have to watch this if you haven't already, to feel connected to humanity in a profound way...

 
From youtube:
BE THE CHANGE - Join the Choice Point facebook community https://www.facebook.com/choicepointbethechange

WORLD MEDITATION DAY : GET INVOLVED :-)
DATE: First sunday of every month.
TIME: Anytime during the sunday will be fine, but the core time is 7 -- 8 in the evening, your time.
http://www.worldmeditationday.com/

There is no time left to be complacent. The world is changing now. Not tomorrow. Be part of the change for good. The love. Not the fear. Let go your attachment to the old world and embrace the new.

If anyone wishes to download this vid feel free - just go to keep vid.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

SHIVA REA: YOGA FOR BEGINNERS

I purchased Shiva Rea's Yoga Trance Dance early this year, and have enjoyed it enormously, the freedom and energy it gives me, tha calmness that Hatha Yoga in it has made me feel.

I've been so focus on work lately, and this truly has been mandatory, that I have given part of my spirituality stay in the backburner... as I feel energy has been drain from me since work started (I won't go into it too much but I have to say 5 new small children to our group at once is a lot) - after a workday I just want to escape, and I do that by reading.

You might have not noticed that during the summer I opened another venture, another blog that is fully dedicated to book reviews. I you might recall one of my only vices as I've already let go of coffee, alcohol and sugar - paranormal romance novels. ;) The blog is called "For The Love of Reading!" The reason I mention it is because I finished a book called "Where Demons Fear to Tread" just yesterday and the ending of it was a reminder for me to feel my creative energy again! But it did more than that, the main character is an angel, she's a guardian who is teaching yoga to her assignee, and it made me put my Yoga Trance Dance video back in rotation to feel the spiritual high I get from the little yoga I know.

But more than that it made me finally actually purchase the Shiva Rea: Flow Yoga For Beginners to actually learn yoga, dip my toes in the pool I've been dying to swim in.

I'm pretty sure yoga and me are meant to be together, as soon as I just create my way to it.

Buy the European Region version @ Amazon.co.uk for £07.99 / €10.53

Buy the American Region version @ Acacia Lifestyle for $12.74

Now a preview of the Flow Yoga for Beginners


* 40 minutes of preview later, I feel amazing. <3

Friday, September 2, 2011

UPDATED! SPIRIT SCIENCE #12 - HUMAN HISTORY - PART 5

The Fifth and final part of Human History is here!

Visit Spirit Science Episode #12 for all 5 episodes in one...

...and here is Part 5 on it's own!


In the conclusion to the human history story, we look at the events of Ancient Egypt, leading through to Akhenaten and his pivotal role in the Essene Brotherhood, and ultimately Jesus Christ. We also tie up some loose ends about the Mayans and what happened to the Martian Bloodline. Enjoy this 16 minute finale to Spirit Science Season 1!

Here's an awesome place for Spirit Science Discussion!
http://occultjournal.sinisterpost.com/?page_id=145

Essene Brotherhood
http://www.essenespirit.com/who.html

Morals and Dogma - Albert Pike
http://www.sacred-texts.com/mas/md/index.htm

Illuminati
http://www.illuminati-news.com/

The Lords Prayer Sacred Geometry
http://www.livethepromise.net

Keylontic Sciences
http://www.azuritepress.co.za/understanding_keylontic_sci...

The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life (Free PDF's)
http://www.mediafire.com/?c59c4qf95qkagv1

The Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean
http://www.crystalinks.com/emerald.html

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