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Summer Solstice & Event Planning for Authors June 7

If you are an author wanting to organize extraordinary events but don’t know how to start, we’ve got a free author talk for you!

Come to Washington County Writers Forum Thursday, June 7, 7-8 PM for an open, free workshop on how to plan, publicize, and execute fun book events! Details at the Facebook Event page.

sun energyOn to Solstice talk!

The summer solstice is about the height of the sun’s power. Things are growing in the earth, nourished by all our efforts to plough the field, plant the seeds, and lovingly cultivate our seedlings, as well as the gifts of sunshine and rain.

I’ve been having my own little celebrations with friends since Imbolc, and we’re starting to feel some esprit de corps, which feels great. I am also starting to tune in better to moods, influences, reactions, disturbances. I’m loving it!

So what is in store for the Summer Solstice? What are some of the symbols associated with this yearly ritual?

 

For the ancient pagan observances, stone circles were often used to determine the exact position of the Sun and Earth so that seasons could be calculated, which aided the survival of the tribe.

stone circle northern ireland

High summer is a time when a lot is happening: both back then, and now. Back then, it was a time to travel without worrying about snowstorms, a time to sell animals for profit at market, a time to celebrate weddings, a time to raise a new barn.

Today, we’ve got the season of construction, too, with a vengeance (oh, just me this is getting to?), time off from school, and therefore, family vacations, and the feeling that we need to take advantage of the good weather, and any free time (the very little of it) we are allowed.

Some motivation for pleasure is good, but the type of anxiety I see in some situations is too much. FOMO, it’s called, as my WDS peeps know well. Or trying to do everything, as I know well.

This year, because of scheduling, I will have my celebration the day after the solstice, when the Holly King has defeated the Oak King as he annually does.  And this has me thinking about the top of the mountain, and the long, long descent back into darkness.

On June 22, the descent is only starting, as the Holly King has only just won out and begun to grow in strength. But what if we took that moment, that short suspended moment in time, to examine what has us so anxious to do everything?

summer solstice fire

We can take another powerful symbol of the solstices–Fire–and meditate on its power. While flowers and crops may be growing under our feet, what is burning in our hearts?

In novel news, I’ve turned in a new direction for my current manuscript–changing the starting date, the background of a major character, and one of the locations! Upsetting to a scheduler, yes, but it seems much more cohesive which gives me a fluttering courage to keep at it.

That’s my creative spark, being waved into a flame, that I hope to keep going all summer long.

So how are your creative projects going?

And don’t forget! Workshop on Events for Authors Thursday at 7 PM in downtown Hillsboro.

 

Images via 123rf, Island of the Setting Sun, & Barefoot Farmer

Beltane Fire & Money Session May 6

Another pagan holiday is coming up!

Before I go into Beltane Fire, here is your reminder that I am giving a workshop on Money & Writing, Supporting Your Dream & Making it Pay at Vintage Books in Vancouver, WA on Sunday, May 6, 3-4 PM

Hope to see you there, Portlanders!

goddess beltane flora rainbow pagan

Beltane! May Day! Fertility! Lust!

Lots of things going on at the moment, both in the world and in my life. You, too? Must be the turn of the Wheel… 😉

With the celebration of Beltane, I want to bring up the wild orgies of nature: bees and buds and fawns and ewes. And people.

There is nothing wrong with sex. It is the force of creation! But for a lot of reasons, our culture has been obsessed with making it secret–shameful, even. I’m trying to let go of that part of me.

I am ritualizing this different understanding of healthy living through my pagan celebrations. Beltane is about fertility and new life. And human! Sexuality! Is natural! (Sorry if I seem shouty. I’m countering lots of old Voices.)

I love the way that the pagan Wheel of the Year is rooted in cyclical changes of the earth. There is always something new coming, and something old fading away. There are always opportunities to reflect, and recommit, as my friend Elizabeth from Washington County Writers reminds me.

As a writer, I end up needing a lot of creative Fire. Since Beltane focuses on fire for purification and health, I’ll share a meditation from Green Haven Tradition to invoke the energy of the elements–for whichever type of fire you feel the need of.

“I call upon the East and
the Fire that lives in Air,
the starfire that shines beyond
the atmosphere that shelters us.
Join us in our ritual now;
hail and well met!”

I call upon the South and
the Fire that lives in Fire,
the quick tongue of the balefire
that cleanses with its blazing light.
Join us in our ritual now;
hail and well met!”

I call upon the West and
the Fire that lives in Water,
the bubbling cauldrons of hot springs
which boil away all contamination.
Join us in our ritual now;
hail and well met!”

“I call upon the West and
the Fire that lives in Earth,
the magma that builds the stone
which becomes walls to protect us.
Join us in our ritual now;
hail and well met!”

 

Image available as a print! via Goddessandgreenman

Birthday, Indie Bookstores, and a Money Workshop

shook twins album butterfly

My anthem lately, from the Shook Twins’ Shake:

“What are you gonna say when they ask you why
You chose to live this way in your short short time?”

Short, short time is RIGHT! What we do with our time shows what our priorities really are. Ahem. March and April sped right by me, and the day and a half I spent editing my current book in Tillamook, OR seems a lifetime away. However, I did get a few lines of research going for Remnants 3 since then, including reading:

British Colonial Government after the American Revolution, 1782-1820

and Booze: A Distilled History

Flummoxed? Good! Keeps you guessing… 😉

All my spring doings have pushed me right up against a birthday. I’ll be celebrating this weekend by going on a comping trip, which I haven’t done since, oh, high school?!?! Looking forward to it, and 2000s Night at the Crystal, which is going to be my follow-up. (SO good, right??)

Then Taste Life Twice will be taking its show on the road again (not far), for the following events:

bookstoreday indie logo 2018 modified litsyIndependent Bookstore Day:

Saturday April 28th, 11-6 PM

This is the day to support your #local independent bookstore. Please know that these are mostly precarious operations hanging on by the skin of their teeth and the strength of their convictions.

Part of your community. Payers of local taxes. Donaters to local schools.

Please acknowledge that cheapest, fastest books aren’t always best for the world: support your local #indie shops.

In Portland, stop by where I work! Another Read Through (3932 N. Mississippi Ave), 11 AM -6 PM! There will be free swag, there will be refreshment–mental and culinary–and the community spirit that all indie bookstore owners are striving for will be there for all.

So come on down, buy a book and meet your neighbors.

🍰☕️🍾❤️💛💚💜

I’m up next for Sunday Sessions:

Sunday May 6th, 3-4 PM

I’ll be back at Vintage Books (6613 Mill Plain Boulevard) in Vancouver, WA! I did a setting workshop for them last year which was really fun. This year I’m giving a workshop on Money & Writing: Supporting Your Dream & Making It Pay. I’ll talk about three different modalities of writing I’ve experienced, and touch on budgeting while writing (sounds kind of like Driving While Intoxicated, doesn’t it?).

I’d love to have you join me across the river for a strategy session!

Let’s see…Birthday, Bookstores, and Money… let me see if I can think of another way those three themes intertwine…LOL!

Walking into Spring, Springing into Writing Inspiration

Sometimes, we Authors & Artists can get discouraged.

  • No call-backs
  • Stuck in a rut
  • Feeling uninspired
  • Feeling unheard
  • Feeling depleted
  • Feeling snowed-under

snow walk pdx winter wonderland cherry blossom sun

Maybe we put a good front on it, with chirpy social media posts and devil-may-care tosses of the head, but inside we’re really howling with doubt and dismay about our life’s calling.

nw pdx walk spring moss architecture contrast

Perhaps you’ve been there.

Perhaps you’re there now. If you are, take heart!

And take a walk.

In Portland, it’s been a crazy few weeks of weather, but spring is butting its head through. I take my urban walks and delight in these little turnings of the tide.

snow pdx nature walk purple snowdrop closed

Not that I hate winter. It has its role to play. (kill off those nasty bugs!) But the transition from winter to spring is a good time to take stock. Instead of seeing the failures, we’d be happier with ourselves if we also noticed the growth, the color, the character.

snow walk pdx winter wonderland condo driveway print foot

When we have this bigger picture in mind, it’s easier to see:

  • the new good habits we’ve adopted
  • the harmful things we’ve let go
  • the personal relationships we’ve nurtured
  • the art we’ve created
  • the effort we’ve put into making our dreams a reality

And with all that filling up our hearts, we can smile and allow the transition to roll off us. Onward!

selfie feet marguerite ave se pdx sidewalk

 

Find your voice and continue to use it, Artists!

 

Images via Author

Realistic Detail

woman standing backstrap weave loom

I’ve just finished Dies The Fire, a dystopian thriller set in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. In it **mini-spoiler alert** something causes all electricity to stop working at the same moment. Lots of reactionary, ‘worst-of-humanity’ debacles follow this event called the Change, but the book got me thinking about realistic detail.

Not a few of the Goodreads reviews criticized the book for its unlikely cast and heroes. I can see some moralizing, some exposition, and some God-playing, for sure, but it doesn’t bother me too much because the premise is fascinating, and the band of unlikely renegades band together in a rather Firefly-like way to beat back the tide of evil, which I do appreciate in today’s times.

What details does the author include in his end-of-times action-packed plot?

  • Wicca and pagan religious practices
  • Gaelic speech and sayings (S’math sin!)
  • Pacific Northwest landscape
  • Survival needs
  • Engineering & Construction
  • Archery, Weaponry, & Warfare

last chance to breathe deviantart archers

I’ll be honest. I allowed my eyes to glaze over when the engineer-wizards starting talking about how to weld this and that together or cobble a horse wagon out of a flatbed. Blehhhhhh.

But most of the other stuff was completely fascinating, and intensely unknown to me.

Does the unknown intrigue you?

For a writer intrigued by the unknown, it can be a fun but uphill battle to wade through the details of a certain specialty in order to be able to write knowledgeably and convincingly about it for a paragraph. Some of the things I’ve had to research are:

carriage mail coach 1835

  • Types & classes of carriages used in 18th ad 19th century Britain
  • Collapse of the kelp industry in western Scotland
  • Breakdown of shillings & pence in Victorian Britain (Errrrg)
  • History of the herring industry around the British Isles
  • History of canal & railway building in the UK & Canada
  • Various Secession movements in Church of Scotland (OMG)
  • How mail was delivered in the 1820s and 1880s
  • Which holidays were celebrated, how, and where
  • How a loom works for a home weaver (h/t to Steven at Alpaca By Design in Sisters, OR for the mini-tutorial!)
  • How to harvest barley and oats by hand
  • Makeup of virgin forest in Nova Scotia
  • How blackhouses were laid out and furnished

Some of these topics were more enjoyable to read about than others (see editorial comments above-ha!), but you can’t cut corners on things and expect people to continue to believe you once you’ve demonstrated laziness or inaccuracies.

It’s a lesson that is well-learnt the first time. We all learn as we go!

What discrepancies have you stumbled on while reading that took you out of the book?

 

Images via BackstrapWeaving, DeviantArt, and Google/Public Domain