Gong Xi Fa Cai one more time!

As the lady says: “Gong Xi Fa Cai one more time!” (And one step nearer Ireland)

Writing From the Right Side of the Stall

This is it, New Year’s Day on the Chinese calendar.  Two more pretty images for you:

one more year of horse

one more again

(Yeah, the last one is an ad … but I liked the image enough to conveniently overlook that.  Maybe Horseware Ireland will show its appreciation by magically turning up and monetizing my blog.  The shameless link is for their benefit, really.)

Happiness and prosperity to all today and for the rest of the year.  Myself, I could use a little prosperity … 

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Alethea Eason: author of imagination and humour


Today I am pleased to be interviewing fellow Spectacle author Alethea Eason. She is the author of the fantasy novel HERON’S PATH, (Spectacle PMG), a novel set in an alternative history setting of Northern California circa 1908.  The story focuses on the clash of cultures between the mostly white settler and the Nanchuti, the native people, in the wilderness area along the Talum River.  Two sisters, Katy and Celeste, are caught amidst this conflict, while they discover that they are an integral part of the legends that are unfolding in the midst of the seeming disintegration of Nanchuti culture.


Heron’s Path has been classified as a young-adult novel, yet you’re finding that it’s not so young adults who are its primary readers.  Why do you think this is the case?

Novels who have young protagonist are often classified as young-adult.  I believe there is an audience of young people out there who would love Heron’s Path.  It is written in a style that I loved to read as a young person.  I believe one of the strengths of Heron’s Path is that it is a character driven novel.  I worked hard to create vivid characters and in using imagistic language to carry the story through.  My readers, mostly women but also several men who have written to let me know how much they appreciate the story, have loved the plot, especially as the setting is very grounded in the natural world, yet unexpected forces are at play throughout the book.  But it’s not a seat-of-your-pants kind of book.  It’s quiet, which I think makes the climax hit that much harder.

Why did you create your own native culture?

As I’m not Native American, I knew that I could not do justice to any culture that I was not part of.  I got the idea for the book after a camping trip along the Klamath River while reading a wonderful memoir called In the Land of the Grasshopper Song which was about two East Coast society matrons who come to work with the Kurok Indians at the turn of the 20th century.  I based some of my ideas on what I read about the Kurok/Yurok culture, along with information I received from a friend, Annie Smith, who is Pomo.  I created my “alternative” wilderness, the Talum, instead of the Klamath, for example to accommodate my own people, the Nanchuti. The character of Sarah Price was a conflation based on Mary Ellicott Arnold and Mabel Reed, the writers of In the Land of the Grasshopper Song.

Klamath River ~ Linda Tanner

Klamath River by Linda Tanner

You created legends and also a language for them. How did you do this?

These were the easiest parts of the book to write. I suppose I latched on to the power I felt in the Klamath River area, the beauty of the both the river and the land, and the stories just spilled out.  I wouldn’t say I have a complete language, but I tried to follow some rules as I wrote the dialogue that was in Nanchuti.  It was fun.

Tell us a little more about the story.

The narrator is Katy Farrow, the practical 12 year-old daughter who struggles to find attention from her parents.  Her sister Celeste is more compliant (when with them) and prone to strange “fits” and disappearances.  Their surrogate grandmother, Olena, was the common-in-law wife of their grandfather.  As she practices the “old ways,” their father does not approve of the girls relationship with her, but it is this relationship that the riddle of Celeste’s strangeness is eventually solved.  There is light romance, coming-of-age themes, a self-defense killing, and a dangerous trip where the girls encounter rapids in a small dugout as they go deeper into the wilderness to save Celeste.

You had a new novel come out on January 16th.  Tell us about it.

Starved is a sequel to Hungry, which was a Washington Post KidPost Book of the Week in 2007. It is a much different book than Heron’s Path.   It is irreverent, funny, and could be classified as “horror” lite…a book a fifth grader could read without their parents getting upset, but one the parents would enjoy along with them.  The premise is that Deborah has been raised as a typical California girl, but she and her family are really aliens in disguise preparing Earth for the invasion of her planet.  She’s is in conflict with loving Earth and its people and wanting to be loyal to her species.  I guess the theme of the conflict of cultures is in both Hungry and Starved and in Heron’s Path.

Many thanks Alethea, I find it inspiring that you are writing in what some would call two genres and yet, as you point out, have managed to subtly link them in terms of theme. Further details can be found here. All three books are worth a visit Amazon to get a taste of your engrossing style of write.

Amazon link for Heron’s Path: http://www.amazon.com/Herons-Path-Alethea-Eason-ebook/dp/B007P5ZD0A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390673069&sr=8-1&keywords=heron%27s+path

Amazon link for Starved: http://www.amazon.com/STARVED-The-Hungry-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00HXHHP60/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390673153&sr=8-1&keywords=starved+alethea


Energy and Action in the Year of the Horse

An inspirational read as we approach the Year of the Horse.

Mommy Mystic

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.”

–       Shakespeare, Henry V

January 31st is Chinese New Year, ushering in the Year of the Horse, and it is followed one month later by Losar, the Tibetan New Year. As I’ve done the last few years, over at BellaOnline I’ve offered an overview of some of the traditional interpretations of the Year of the Horse, drawn from Chinese astrology. Here at Mommy Mystic I’m doing my own take, based on the symbolism of the horse in various cultures and time periods. This is part intuitive read, and part symbolic play.

I hope you enjoy it and feel inspired by the energies available this year, because if there is one prominent theme in…

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Followers to Flyers: discovering what works


This is my contribution to the first ever Online Marketing Symposium!

One month into my debut novel release and the word success is not on my lips, yet. But I remain optimistic because there are still promotions in the pipeline. ‘Spiral of Hooves’ was released on December 9th with an online party on Facebook, which was well attended. However, there was a slight delay, of a few hours, with the book appearing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Since then it has been promoted to my followers and friends in a low key way on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and here. But I have not spammed cyber-space. Apologies if I have been in your faces for the last few weeks. I still need to learn the secret of keeping my followers happy. Treats?

The most useful marketing tools, so far, have been the two five star reviews that have appeared on Amazon. One has even been re-used, by the reviewer, to garner additional coverage on Facebook and an online equestrian site. There are some other reviews in the wings as the novel went out to some of my journalist friends, contacts from when I covered equestrian sports. As the novel is a thriller set against the sport of eventing, the forthcoming coverage in the sports main UK magazine, Eventing, could be key to the spring campaign. Use your contacts but don’t lose their friendship.

Cover credit: Danielle Sands

Cover credit: Danielle Sands

I have also sent the novel to some rider friends, including an Olympic rider, in order to get some useful quotes, and to spread the good news about the book being out. As one journalist friend said, ‘getting the word out in the lorry park will boost sales”. With that end I intend to produce some A5 flyers quoting the reviews and the name riders, and linking to my website and where to purchase a copy. Unable to hand these out at shows myself, being wheelchair-bound, I have some good friends that will get them in the right places. Despite being stumped from pressing the flesh in person, flyers might help spread the word at the grassroots. I have no previous experience of using flyers to promote books, so I will be interested to see the results for ‘Spiral of Hooves’. Later today I will check out the other blogs and see how others have fared with similar marketing techniques.

However, when I was in the film industry we used flyers quite often, although these were usually A4 glossy hand-outs that we used at film and TV conventions, including Cannes. We attracted interest, but not as much as we needed to fund a movie. Some were used for selling short films but it is hard to say how successful the leaflets were. All the sales were via a Distributor so our production company was last in line, having paid everybody else. Flyers do work for some producers and, from my observations, it was the hook plus pitch, the cover and elements like cast that were key selling points. But the flyers mustn’t have too much information. And that has to apply with book flyers as well. What are your thoughts on flyers? No better than random advertising? Destined for the recycle bin? Another useful tool in spreading the word?

For links to other participating Blogs and information on the first ever Online Marketing Symposium! please visit here.

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Symud i Cymru!!!!!



Well here we are another new year and I have been very lazy, or maybe I just haven’t been able to fine the motivation to write. Very bad for someone who wants to write a blog…….Maybe when things in my life settle down I can get back into writing but for now you will all have to suffice with what is here for the time being. A lot has been going on since I last traipsed these halls which I call The Duskweald.

Roland and I started to talk about what we wanted to do with our lives and where we wanted to live and we ended up doing some serious soul searching. We realized that living in the park home we currently have was not going to work for either of us. We did have the en suite redone so it would be easier for him to shower a…

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Two Futures: Facts or Fiction

What is the best way forward for this blog?

Ever since I wrote my post Eight Headless Chickens I have been wondering what the most important next step is.

The clear priority has to be our move to Wales, and – Beware Cliché – fingers & toes crossed, that is proceeding smoothly thanks to my wife and special friends, but no thanks to immediate family. By the end of February, I should be blogging from a new desk with a view of Harlech, the sea and mountains in Snowdonia.

But even with the inspiring view what will I blog about?

I have two, or is it three futures that are churning around in my mind.

  1. Facts: the simplest way forward. I continue posting my usual observations on my experience of the writing process, interspersed with thoughts on issues of the day. As a relative newcomer to writing, at least in getting published, I feel unable to offer great insights on good writing techniques. There are far better sites/blogs for that, some in my Links.
  2. Fiction: tasters of my writing. Should my blog become a means to release short fiction strategically over time?  Since the start of the year, I have been working on short stories and now have seven at various stages. They are loosely connected, in that they are set in the same world, one akin to the game Gossamer Steel, so that is their collective title.
  3. Dual carriageway: a mix of both Facts and Fiction. So when a story was written and edited it would be available, and when I was inspired to supply concrete Facts that would be the post.

Which do I choose, 1, 2, or 3? What would you the readers of this Blog prefer? Why do you tune in here to what I write?

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Of course life is never simple, especially here at Writing Wings where there are challenges.

There is another element, a Newsletter. It’s an option that I have given serious thought to. The factual blog would continue to share my thoughts and experiences as a writer, and as a retiree with MS. The tasters of my fictional worlds would continue, whether as interviews or as extracts.

However, for those of you that sign up to my Gossamer Wings Newsletter there would be treats: the tasters would become short stories for free. In that way you could see how the Gossamer Steel universe evolved. I would also be extremely grateful for your comments and feedback, as they would contribute to the ongoing story, providing an invaluable asset in developing the world.

As part of the ongoing creation, I am using Aeon Timeline to construct a Chronology into which the short stories fit. In the same universe, I also have two novellas that I intend to self-publish and release later this year so everyone can experience the world of Gossamer Steel.

Should newsletter subscribers benefit with the novellas in some way? Is having a pre-taste of the world enough? There would be other news and fictional snippets in the newsletter as well.

What about a life of crime? Have I abandoned my criminals and their victims? Never.  As well as a stand-alone psychological thriller, there is the cyber-crime novel, ‘Wyrm Bait’. This is the first of a series that has the gaming world of Gossamer Steel as its background.

Plus there is the sequel to ‘Spiral of Hooves’ that I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013. ‘Tortuous Terrain’ the second part of the Chasseur series has to have a future as well. The reviews on Amazon and elsewhere have been five star, so I have a lot of positive thoughts looking ahead.

So what do you feel is my future? Please, gaze not into your crystal ball but into the past at what you enjoyed. What do you want next?

Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)


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On Monday I will be taking part in an exciting blogfest and sharing my experiences, so far, on marketing. Do I dare mention my past in the film industry?

What Works…

The first ever “Online Marketing Symposium!

A blogfest with information you can use.

The event happens on Monday January 20, 2014.

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