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Sunday, November 9, 2014

"What Casts the Shadow?" Virtual Tour (October-November)


"Shadow" and I embarked on my first-ever blog tour beginning on October 27. This was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, and encompasses 30 stops all told. Here I am, as of this writing, at the halfway point. Some content, such as certain excerpts, was recycled on different sites, so I'm including a sampling of the tour covering certain highlights and then rounding off the list thereafter...

Simplispeaking
This features a great, insightful review of the book as well as character interview with Saul Mason.

Beyond Romance
A character interview with the spirited Janie McCabe.

Unabridged Andra 
My guest post here, "Pondering the Muse", touches upon a topic that I (like many writers) probably spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about.

Andi's Book Reviews 
Another guest post, this one describing the genesis of the book and some of its inspirations.

Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
An author interview: Begins with "What are you really good at?"; "What are you really BAD at?"

Deal Sharing Aunt
An author interview with such prompts as, "Do you ever wish you were someone else?"

Our-Wolves-Den
"Any weird things you do when you're alone?" ...

It's Raining Books
Includes the excerpt "First Session with Saul". I was also prompted to talk about my primary inspirations for "What Casts the Shadow?"

Laurie's Thoughts and Interviews
Includes a brief interview ("what part of writing do you dread?" "favorite joke"...) and excerpt.

The Snarkology

MAD Hoydenish
Author interview: "first kiss", "something I've lied about"...

The blog of C.R. Moss
Hosting my guest post "Writing on the Move"

Bunny's Book Reviews
Includes my personal favorite of the excerpts, "In the Studio"

Harps Romance Book Review

Straight from the Library

Coffee, Books and Art
This stop includes the excerpt "In the Studio"

Room With Books
With an excerpt entitled 'An Air of Pilgrimage'

Hope, Dreams, Life...Love

The Book Review

Bookgirl Knitting

Megan's Blog

Welcome to My World of Dreams



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When Partners Share a Vision

It can often be beneficial for partners to begin their relationship with a joint vision of what they want to achieve together in worldly terms. When two people commit to an intimate relationship together, they often have shared goals that serve to tighten the bond between them - at least for a time.

Sometimes these goals will be financial ones, and partners will organize their lives around career and material concerns. Or, the idea of family might be the binding principle, and couples in this case will pour their energies into caring for and raising their children.

These kinds of arrangements tend to work well for a while. At least the relationship will look harmonious on the surface. But what happens when people finally achieve the goals that they've been working towards for so long? They may build their dream house and find that life suddenly feels stifling and dull. Sometimes when children grow up and leave home their parents begin to drift through their days aimlessly, without purpose or reason to stay together any longer.

Our relationships can thrive only so long as the ideals that we've built them upon can last - unless we're able to find a new vision to help us to redefine where we're heading. Our lives and our world both exist in a state of constant change. A partnership that's intended for life but also based upon priorities that are temporary can face a real struggle over the long haul.

In a forever-changing world, the only real constant is our own processes of growth; so the one priority that partners can really rely on to carry them through the years is a commitment to support each other in growing. When lovers are bound by a common goal like this, their relationship can remain strong and steady in the face of life's twists and turns, even if they move in separate circles from time to time or develop differing interests.

This helps people pull away from a cycle of possessive loving and into a kind of love that is much more unconditional.

There's a scene in What Casts the Shadow? where the bond between narrator Brandon Chane and his girlfriend, Janie McCabe, is cemented. This occurs partially because of Brandon's recognition (hard won, throughout the course of his journey thus far) that there is no "final resting place" in existence.

“I guess it’s a feeling of anticlimax,” I told her. “I mean, you pour so much of yourself into your songs, and then you bring those songs to the people… I guess I’d assumed that somewhere along the line I’d feel like I’d arrived, like I’d done it. But really, it’s just that people are entertained for a while and then they get on with the rest of life.”
“But you don’t know what they’re taking away from it,” Janie argued. “Some things really do change our lives, you know. Songs, books, poems – even a conversation you have with someone; it can turn you in a different direction.”
“Yeah, I know,” I conceded. Then I laughed as the inspiration hit me. “It’s like the lottery! Hah! Is that not the definitive invention of modern civilization?”
Janie flashed me the impish smile that I’d grown to know and adore. “Oh, do go on, Mister Chane!”
“So many things revolve around that goddamn notion: Heaven, celebrity worship, nirvana; winning on a scratch-off ticket. You wonder why people hustle about looking distracted all the time? They’re chasing the illusory moment that these cultural stories promise us, the moment when we’ve made it. All questions are settled and all growth is accomplished. It’s the myth of perfection. It would mean death, really, if one could ever attain such a thing. And yet people keep chasing it.”
Janie looked into my eyes for a long moment, as if she was trying to catch a glimpse of something before it scampered away.
    “Then just keep playing for your love of it – and don’t worry about making it,” she said. “If perfection is a myth, like you say, then we’ve already arrived.”



Saturday, October 11, 2014

First Trailer for "What Casts the Shadow?"

This is my first foray into video for THE EDGE OF THE KNOWN trilogy aside from my own readings (links to which can also be found on this blog). The stock image of the musician I thought pretty serendipitous: He does have an image and introspective vibe that, to me, is reminiscent of narrator Brandon Chane.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Healing Our World from the Inside Out

When problems seem to come from the world then it appears obvious that manipulating that environment somehow - through political action, protest, activism, etc. - is the only way to address those problems.

Movements in an inner vein are subtler, and this is why they often seem to lack power. It's hard to see that whenever changes occur in the outer reality they do so in response to inner shifts. I have to work on myself, cultivate growth internally, to witness positive change in the environment that surrounds me.

Believing that I am the creator of my life is no easy feat when practically every message from world around me insists that the opposite is true. And it certainly seems that the exterior was "here first"; so we must all be at the mercy of its whims. Although it's become somewhat fashionable so say, "we create our own reality", and whole schools of thought - such as the law of attraction - have been built around it, it's a difficult concept to fully accept.

Despite all of these stumbling blocks, however, the fact remains that the world changes when human beings change internally. "Facts" arise from inner realities. The world's healing happens from the inside out. The world is created from the inside out.

This means that I am responsible for the triumphs as well as the tragedies that occur in my reality. If I want to change aspects of the world that are causing distress, fear and pain then I have to alter the picture of the world that I'm nurturing with my thoughts, feelings and expectations.

Otherwise one is caught in the trap of revolutionary rhetoric and reaction, where one system is done away with only to be replaced by another one that's just as destructive. This has happened countless times throughout human history.

On the other hand, there have been social movements that occurred because people's ideas changed, and it is these sorts of movements that carry the spirit of humanity forward. We sorely need such an inner revolution at this juncture.

In What Casts the Shadow?, Brandon's mentor Saul, "a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man", puts it this way:

“If we don’t take responsibility for our own lives – or, maybe I should frame that in a more positive way - If we don’t take credit, then our only other options are to either treat everything that happens to us as random accidents or else believe that some other power ‘out there’ decides who thrives and who suffers. It doesn’t make much difference whether it’s a God who plays favorites, a society that’s against us or an aspect of our own psyche that’s bent on destroying us. The result is the same. We feel powerless.”