Seafoam – An Excerpt From Under The Glistening Surface…

Seafoam e-book beta cover

Seafoam e-book beta cover

The story goes that when I was born my mum wanted to name me “Seafoam” but dad wasn’t up for that. I love that mum had that very 1970’s notion, though–and being such a water baby who’d cry to be put back into any body of water I was around, I’ve often thought mum’s first instinct was bang on. She went with “Fiona” (after a feisty heroine in a novel she’d read) and, with almost psychic perception, she suspected I’d be a writer.

That name, “Seafoam”, has always stuck with me and captured my imagination. Might there be a girl out there called Seafoam? What would she be like? All these years later, I finally sat down with a word document and asked those questions… And Seafoam’s story began to unfold. Much to my delight, I found myself back in the oceans and inlets around South East Queensland where I grew up, under the surface in a place between worlds that suits me just fine, telling a tale about a Deep Water Nymph a tad too curious for her own good.

“Seafoam”, my next short story e-book, may be the first in a series of stories inspired by her and the magical, mysterious water world she and her kind call home. I’m working on final edits and the cover design and hope to release her into the digital wild–on Amazon for Kindle– in the coming weeks. Here’s a first look at the start of her story… I hope you like it!

“Seafoam” – an excerpt

Once upon a time–just the middle of last week, actually–a small, weathered fishing boat was enjoying the friendly slap of the warm Pacific Ocean as she drifted with the tide off the coast of southeast Queensland. She was just far enough out to have lost sight of land. Nets whistled as they flew through the air, hit the water with a smack and sunk dreamily down into the big blue. Up on deck, a fisherman rubbed his beer belly with satisfaction and unscrewed his thermos lid. Happy at the thought of a strong cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, he turned up the volume on his iPod and sang in falsetto, “Like a virgin… woo! Touched for the very first time…” The music filled his hairy ears. He was smiling and thinking about a girl he’d known in high school, so he didn’t notice the ripples around his starboard side, the two very large sea-green eyes that glinted in the sun then dipped below the surface, or the silvery fins that flicked the fiberglass hull.

“Are you awake? Are you awake? Or are you dead?” came a petulant voice bubbling with youthful impatience and silky as the salt water enveloping it. It was lucky for the fisherman that he didn’t happen to possess any super powers, like X Ray vision. His clogged arteries and this much reality would not be a good mix. Under his little boat, where only barnacles and boringly predictable currents hang out, something like a girl was swimming like a fish, and asking a lot of questions like a woman.

“Where are you guys going? Where did you come from? “Byron?” “What, do you come from Tug Boat stock, the strong, silent type?” Seafoam fired away. She even tickled the duckboard with a flurry of bubbles, hoping the smelly old boat would warm up to her.

If you could hold her still long enough, closer inspection would reveal Seafoam’s over sized eyes held a permanently dreamy look. Her pale, oddly colored skin was like the luminous inside of an Oyster shell and her long, dark hair was a burnished mahogany. Her mother said Seafoam’s hair was the color of the deck of that wooden ship, The Endeavor, that sailed by the year Seafoam was born. But her crowning glory had fiery red streaks here and there that she was quite proud of. “It’s like little sparks of fire under water!” “Fire under water… How delightful and impossible!” she’d think to herself. She used to think it was from thinking too much, but the red was actually inherited from her grandmother who was the hottest summer day on record. This particular day was indeed “a good hair day”. Shiny tendrils drifted around her slippery, human looking arms and torso and licked her perky breasts with their nipples like peaks of caramel. She’d heard they tasted like caramel as well. But who knows what that is, and who can believe anything Groupers say?

Anyway, on this particular day, below her finned forearms, around each of her delicate wrists, Seafoam was wearing her favorite seaweed bracelets. They trailed beside her like streamers she’d seen on bicycle handles. She wished she had a bell to ring, too. Like the ones she’d seen little girls dinging as they zoomed down the boardwalk at the Marina where the Land Lovers did their peopling or whatever it is humans do. In lieu of a bell to ring, Seafoam made do with a purple topped Cowrie shell strapped on with more seaweed and some fishing line she’d unknotted from around a seagull’s leg. It didn’t ding but it looked cool. Where her hips sloped down into thigh and luscious butt cheeks her skin turned shades of silver, like the choppy ocean’s surface just before an afternoon thunderstorm has a good cry.

Where a standard issue Mermaid’s tail would normally begin, Seafoam instead had long, muscular legs that tapered to powerful webbed feet–permanent flippers you could say. From a distance, if the light was right and the remnants of last night’s magic mushrooms had them fooled, a Land Lover lucky enough to catch sight of Seafoam could mistake her for a Mermaid. And sure, she could do a great mermaid impression, swimming lazily with her legs together, but a deep water nymph never got anywhere keeping her legs together. She’d laugh at the truth in that, and with a flick of her ankles, launch herself high into daylight, plunging in a beautiful sun kissed arch the shape of a whale’s spout. She did love to prove a point.

If she were here right now, and if you could speak Ocean–as many people used to–Seafoam would explain with pride that she is a Deep Water Nymph. Like many other supposedly mythological creatures, Deep Water Nymphs are most at home in the open ocean, so they’re rarely seen and, therefore, not well understood. They’re related to Mermaids and Sirens, yet are considerably smaller in stature, and of course they have those aforementioned lovely, long legs descending to flippers that forests of Sea Kelp just love to play and sway with. Mermaids are jealous of that by the way. Furthermore, while Sirens are downright devious, and Mermaids are famous for lying about on rocks, brushing their hair and pining for impossible loves, Deep Water Nymphs are, simply put, jovial. Like their Irish cousins, Silkies, Deep Water Nymphs love a good fight and are, obviously, closely related to Fresh Water Nymphs–like the ones John William Waterhouse captured in his famous painting “Hylas And The Nymphs”. It may be helpful to know, too, that Deep Water Nymphs find Land Lovers compelling and scary at the same time­­–kinda like a ferry crash.

Speaking of which, Seafoam loved to watch Land Lovers jostle around together on the deck of the tourist ferries to that “boom, boom” sound. Was it called “dancing?” Seafoam thought so. She clearly remembered the look on one’s face as she shuffled in time with her mate–or “husband”–Seafoam believed they were called. Saggy skin and pitiful lung capacity aside, those two Land Lovers radiated pure bliss. Memories like those got under Seafoam’s skin and soon she developed an inconvenient longing to dance. She was shunned by her sea-faring brethren for voicing such a desire. Surface frolicking, plunge diving, attack circling, bottom cruising–those were all respectable past times to the Oceanic Community. They could after all be considered survival practice or hunting techniques, but dancing? Ridiculous. You see, for thousands of generations Underwaterlings (they call each other Undies for short) have all felt far superior to humans. So a pointless desire to dance, to stumble around upright sucking down toxic air would certainly be, pardon the pun, “a step backwards”. As time passed and the ocean grew warmer and shipping lanes got busier, it was generally held there were more important things to think about. The Undies in her area forgot about Seafoam’s wish, or simply laughed it off. Yet her dream persisted as only a dream can. She’d watch the occasional dinner cruise with its swarm of floppy tourists swaying gleefully, their wrinkly faces lifted to the moon. She’d catch those rare blissful looks, the rays of inexplicable happiness and keep them–a memento in her ageless psyche. That would be enough, wouldn’t it?

But back to the tale. Not a fish tale or a mermaid tail. The story tale. Seafoam had long been a fan of speaking to strangers and had learned a lot from the vessels Land Dwellers rode around in. But this little, old fishing boat–aptly named “The Grumpy Crab”– it wasn’t saying anything! It lolled from side to side and seemed almost bored. Tired of trying to strike up a conversation, Seafoam back flipped into a drop off in frustration. Stupid old floater, she thought to herself and laughed again.

Late that night, Seafoam was snuggled up to a Spanish Dancer sea slug, with its silky frills against her neck, just drifting with the tide in a symphony of moonbeams when a strange, muffled breath yanked her out of a dream. “Shhhhhhh.. gggggggghhhhhkkk!..” came the snorting sound again. Near the entrance to a Rock Fish cave, two black figures loomed…

***

To see what happens next and how this story ends check back here for news about “Seafoam” – a short story e-book – coming soon to Amazon for Kindle! 

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Fiona Kernaghan

Fiona Kernaghan

To check out more of my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store link click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

 

Seafoam And Some Island Inspiration…

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front because I’ve been away in my own land of enchantment–Hawaii. Ah, yes I know. It IS hard work but somebody’s gotta do it. All that communing with Madam Pele, frolicking with dolphins and exploring the mysterious embrace of the gorgeous big, blue Pacific…

Speaking of which, the Pacific Ocean and the Eastern seaboard of Australia happens to be the setting of my next magical realism short story, to be released soon to Amazon for Kindle. “Seafoam”, is a light hearted tale with a dark twist or two, and is all about a Deep Water Nymph too inquisitive for her own good. It may be the beginning of a series, too–something new for me!

Here’s a quick look at the early stages of the cover art by Digital Artist, Mirella Santana.

"Seafoam" e-book cover art in progress

“Seafoam” e-book cover art in progress

 

More from me soon- and here’s hoping you too are are having a delightful, enchanted summer!

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To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store link click here.

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking visit my web site by clicking here.

SCHEHERAZADE TAKES ON THE KARATE KID: HOW CROSS DISCIPLINES FEED EACH OTHER

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This week I’m thrilled to welcome Stephen Weinstock to Create An Enchanted Life. He is the author of this week’s blog post- and certainly knows a thing or two about following your bliss, creating an enchanted life and faithfully doing the work that often demands! I hope you’ll check out his work and links below. For now, on with the show–or blog st least!..

SCHEHERAZADE TAKES ON THE KARATE KID: HOW CROSS DISCIPLINES FEED EACH OTHER

by Stephen Weinstock

Like my talented webhost, Fiona, I have crossed between musical and fictional worlds in my career. This combination goes hand in hand with an affinity for magical realism. Literature and poetry of the magical realists often has a musical flavor, and a magical piece of music conjures real narratives in our imaginations.

Let me share what I’m writing now, because it will inform how my musical work informed my current work in surprising ways. I have published 1001: The Qaraq, Book One of The Reincarnation Chronicles, the first novel of a magical realist series where a group of souls (the qaraq) presently in suburban New Jersey, discovers its ability to recall past lives. They have been traveling from lifetime to lifetime together, from Carboniferous era dragonflies to 4th Century Persian harem dwellers. The whole insane series (11 books, thank you!) is a giant puzzle of their karmic relationships.

In crossing between the two disciplines, I have grappled for years with the same questions: do I focus on one field at the expense of the other? do I work at one until I am discouraged and then switch tracks? do I just relax and enjoy the abundance of creativity in my life?

I have tired of this dialectical struggle, and recently realized these are the wrong questions. They are perfectly fine questions for day-to-day planning, but they have no ultimate answers. What’s way more interesting is how music and literature feed each other, from writing while listening to tunes, to adapting novels for music theater projects. I have received other benefits from my performing arts work, which have guided my novel writing in unconscious ways. Now that I see them more consciously, I cannot condemn any creative work I have ever done as ‘on the wrong path,’ but rather I thank the Infinite Intelligence for moving me through many spheres of influence.

Back to The Qaraq. Structured after The Thousand and One Nights, the book has a modern Scheherazade story set in the present, from which the characters recall and narrate their past life tales, just as Scheherazade told a part of a story every night to the King. Each chapter has a present day frame that transitions into a past life tale about, say, two atomic particles in a love spat. Again, the insane part is that the series contains 1001 chapters, with 1001 past life tales, just like the 1001 Nights. Oy, how to keep it all straight?

Back to the music vs fiction thing. As a composer for the theater, I wrote and taught new musicals and operas. I invented curriculum at the first musical theater writing programs in the country (in San Francisco and at NYU). Doing this work, I learned that in the traditional Broadway musical, the basic unit is the scene-to-song. If you don’t like musicals, this is the form where people are talking and then some idiot breaks into song. For the Broadway lover, this form is as complicated as a Sondheim show, where characters elegantly glide between spoken scene bits and the next verses of the song. I learned from teaching this form that you find it everywhere: recitatives leading to arias in opera, pantomimes leading to pas de deux in ballet. I analyzed dozens of them for my students, critiqued hundreds of them in our workshops, and desperately tried to improve on them in my own works. It was a grand adventure, but did it help me write Reincarnation Fiction? Well, yes.

A decade later, when none of my half dozen musicals and operas had been produced, not even the promising Rock and Roy (with writer Barry Jay Kaplan), based on the double life of Rock Hudson (so politically important, too!), I slowed down this work and started my past life series. Facing the problem of not boring my readers with each chapter having the format of present day frame into past life story, I played with possible variations: starting a chapter in the present, going to a past life tale, then processing the past back in the present; starting with a mysterious tale from the past, coming back to the present to understand it; going back and forth between present and past so they informed each other; embedding a second tale inside the first and proceeding accordingly. There weren’t too many possible forms, but each had its own variations, and the form successfully moved the action forward.

Just like in Oklahoma! OMG, I was re-cycling the scene-to-song as a present-frame-to-past-life-tale form. And I thought it was a neo-Arabic literary device. It was Score Doctor Stephen to the rescue, creating as much variety of this form in my novel. Looking back, I’m put in mind of that scene in the first Karate Kid film, where the master makes the kid with attitude wash his fence. Wax on, wax off, is the drill, using his two hands in the same repetitive way for hours. The kid’s pissed but does it, and then at the next sparring, the master gets the kid to make a karate move, and he sees that the wax on/wax off drill actually trained his muscles to do the move perfectly. Same deal, here: years of working in scene-to-song prepared me to structure and vary each chapter of my magnum opus. Did I do my musical theater work so I could write the series? Or was I unconsciously influenced by that work to re-invent it in my book? Whatever.

As I moved on from musical theater, I did one of those career guidebooks, and realized that the work that had brought me the most fulfillment in my past life was accompanying dance classes. The goal of each class was for the music to bring the dancers to physical and emotional ecstasy: what more do you want? A decent wage, for one, since accompanists are the lowest paid in the music biz. But the point was clear, and so I went back to beating a drum and piano for dance. After a bunch of years free-lancing, I ended up at LaGuardia HS, the “Fame’ School in New York, where the kids are the most appreciative of dance music in any studio I’ve experienced. And the wage was decent.

I play for modern dance, which means that I must improvise everything, although within a fixed structure. Being a self-taught musician, accompanying for dance was my daily practice, my piano lessons, and my performing opportunity rolled into one. When Martha Graham says “And!” you play whatever’s in your head. You trust your first instinct, and build on whatever comes out. Being an organizer and a structurer from my other endeavors, dance exercised another part of my creative brain, and taught me to take whatever material you start with, and elaborate, energize, and make it work. To bring everyone to ecstasy.

For my series, I have to come up with 1001 stories. I have a simple rule: any idea that pops into my head is welcomed and put into the series somewhere. There’s no time for picky judgment. Even if it’s a ‘mediocre’ idea, like a seven-inch plant squashed into a chunk of coal, I can use it somehow, elaborate, energize, and make it work. Hey, where did I learn that? That’s right, you’re catching on, by improvising for dance I learned to improvise for fiction. Not that I don’t plan to a fault: there are eleven hidden structures in The Reincarnation Chronicles, woven into each chapter. Structural puzzles come from my work as a composer of non-improvised scores, but that’s another story, and another gift from my musical work.

The norm is no longer to land a job and keep it until you retire. First of all, nobody’s retiring anymore, and secondly it’s cool to fluidly move between career options. Juggling two or more fields is something you may be dealing with on a daily or yearly basis. I’ve learned that sweating the decision about which field to follow is important for basic time-management issues, but don’t sweat it too much. I dealt with the stigma of changing paths, and failed to see how my energy in one place was feeding my energy in another. Now I believe this is why I made all the path choices I did, or why those paths opened to me, to keep replenishing my creativity and suggesting new ways to approach a task. If I hadn’t waxed on and off, I wouldn’t have been able to handle a modern day Scheherazade.

Stephen Weinstock

Stephen Weinstock

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STEPHEN WEINSTOCK’s bio and links:

STEPHEN WEINSTOCK has created scores for theater companies (Magic Theater, Eureka Theater), choreographers (Margaret Jenkins, Adam Barruch), and dancers (the Merce Cunningham and Martha Graham studios, Juilliard, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts).  His musical Rock and Roy, about the double life of Rock Hudson, has been performed at New Dramatists in New York and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.  Mr. Weinstock is author of the series 1001, based on the Arabian Nights, about a group of people who discover they have shared 1001 past lives.

Find 1001: The Qaraq, Book One of The Reincarnation Chronicles at his website:

www.qaraqbooks.com

on amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615908373/ref=ox_sc_act_image_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

or goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20708397-1001

 

 

The Whispering Muse

the-whispering-muse

I was enthralled and excited to hear about this enchantingly titled novel, “The Whispering Muse”, on KCRW’s “Bookworm” last week! This author is also a songwriter who’s written lyrics for Bjork! Talk about my cup of tea. Michael Silverblatt began his chat with Sjon by referencing Magical Realism (yay!) so I had to share this wonderful interview linked below!

http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/bw/bw140529sjon_the_whispering_

Overview

“An extraordinary, powerful fable—a marvel.”—Alberto Manguel

The year is 1949 and Valdimar Haraldsson, an eccentric Icelander with elevated ideas about the influence of fish consumption on Nordic civilization, has had the singular good fortune to be invited to join a Danish merchant ship on its way to the Black Sea.

Among the crew is the mythical hero Caeneus, disguised as the second mate. Every evening after dinner he entrances his fellow travellers with the tale of how he sailed with the fabled vessel, the Argo, on the Argonauts’ quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece. En route the heroes happened upon the island of Lemnos and discovered to their astonishment, and considerable delight, that it was inhabited solely by women.

An ode to storytelling, The Whispering Muse evokes a time gone by with wit and verve, from the rogues and oddities among sea-faring types to the long-lost romance and mystique of ancient mythology.

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1962, Sjón is a celebrated Icelandic poet and novelist. He has won the Nordic Council Literary Prize and Best Icelandic Novel in 2005 for The Whispering Muse. His novels have been translated into twenty-five languages. Sjón is the president of the Icelandic PEN Centre. Also a songwriter, Sjón has written lyrics for Björk, including for her most recent musical project, Biophilia.

***

About me, Fiona, this blog’s founder and author:

Many of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store link click here.

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking you might like to visit my web site by clicking here.

 

“Nightfolk” – A Web Of Mythic Tangents

NIGHTFOLK cover Holly S. KINDLE

 

As part of Create An Enchanted Life’s new occessional book review and recommendations feature, today I’m sharing a 4 star review of Holly Saknusseneouw’s “dreamy labyrinth” of a novel, “Nightfolk”. Happy reading!

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There’s no point in saying that Nightfolk isn’t a vampire novel, but
with the exception of one slip of the tongue, the word is never used.
The preternatural people at the heart of the story are clearly that,
(whether described as “Nättfolk,” or “Travelers,” or even “Nox
Viatori,”) but where Ms. Saknusseneouw is offering an expansive and
extremely impressionistic historical narrative, vampires with their
long lifespans and contagious memories make for a nifty vehicle. Mind
you, I’ve never come across any previous nosferatu lore that involved
shedding memories, but it’s a flexible metaphor, promising nocturnal
locales and predatory glamour, although in Nightfolk the vampires are
far less predatory than some of the mortals and movements they come
across over the centuries.

This is a point made right from the prologue, a journal entry by a
boozy old codger named Richardson, whose florid prose style veers
between H.G. Wells and H.P. Lovecraft. Sitting out the Depression in
an Adirondacks hotel, Richardson sets the story in place, recounting
the tale of Emily and Jack, a destitute couple that could be out of a
Frank Capra film. When Emily is transformed from a chambermaid into an
otherworldly ingénue, her mousy, everyman husband Jack also changes,
his puritan instincts curdling with repulsion and desire – turning him
into a Paul Bunyan-like recluse.

Transformations abound in Nightfolk. This is clearly where Ms.
Saknusseneouw’s fascination lies, for the central character, Fran
Avery, is in a process of metamorphosis throughout the novel. Fran
starts out a seething upper-middle class WASP who has just ditched her
crunchy boyfriend during the summer of 1979. Fran is only too ready to
put the liberal seventies behind her. She is craving reaction if not
outright tyranny, her instincts aligning with Sylvia Plath’s lament of
“women adore a Fascist.”

So when Fran meets a still very-young Emily, and is lured into her
universe with it’s invasive memories, she will indeed get to meet
Fascists, among them Jack. One can picture Fran evolving into a kind
of Ann Coulter if she made it into the Reagan Era-if she stayed on in
what the novel calls “the Natural World.” But upon being transformed,
Fran passes through a succession of memories and consciences,
effectively becoming a time traveler. Along the way, Fran finds a
conscience of her own, and tries to forestall morphing any further by
becoming a Rip van Winkle. During her long, long sleep, she glimpses a
number of periods, some iconic, such as the French Revolution and the
London Blitz, other eras are obscure, involving long-forgotten
revolutions, pogroms, and cocktail parties – with the Nightfolk
forever watching from the sidelines. A few of the Nightfolk that Fran
encounters are indeed quite dangerous, while others are discreetly
hapless, or have simply seen too much. More often it’s the mortals of
the daylight hours who are out of control, especially Emily’s ancient
husband Jack, whose crazed pursuit of redemption over the years
assumes monstrous proportions. Jack is a complicated fellow. He starts
fires, fights fires, and then embraces a homegrown Fascist group in
the early `30s only to kill hundreds of Germans when war comes. As
hard as Jack tries to purge himself, he can never shake off his
attraction for Emily – a fact that Richardson, even as a ghost,
repeatedly teases him about.

History, for Ms. Saknusseneouw, seems to be an ongoing process of
waking up a relic, no longer relevant, while the people who have
stayed on have changed beyond recognition, possessed by events,
ideologies, and misguided piety. The result is a web of mythic
tangents, as Nightfolk plays out like a dreamy labyrinth – making for
a rather cracked morality tale.

 

**

This review originally appeared on Amazon as:

4.0 out of 5 stars
The Passage meets Outlander. Master storytelling! October 26, 2013
By Belle Struck
Format:Kindle Edition

 

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For more about Holly, you might like to check out her Amazon bio by clicking here.

 

***

About me, Fiona, this blog’s founder and author:

A lot of my songs are available to preview and purchase on iTunes worldwide. For the U.S store link click here.

To check out my magical realism short stories, cruise by my Amazon Author Page here. 

For more about me, my songwriting and avid pleasure seeking you might like to visit my web site by clicking here.

Do What You Love. Then What?

 

 

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“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Joseph Campbell wrote about it in “The Power Of Myth” and Deepak Chopra is a fan of the idea. I am, too. Yet no one ever talks about the downside. Love makes you do crazy things…

It makes you turn your life upside down, say and do things you never thought you would, trash your safety zone. All in the pursuit of another “high” on that thing you love so much. I know because I’ve done all those things, and still wake up every day perversely looking forward to doing them again in small and big ways. For me, it began with a dream of being a signed songwriter in Nashville (where I believed the best songwriters in the world hang out.) I flew away from a record deal and and a support network of Australia’s most respected musicians because that dream kept whispering to me like Tolkien’s gold ring. I ruptured my close-knit family and headed into America’s urban wilderness.

There have been times I’ve wondered “what the hell am I doing?” and “is this worth it”? But the heat of those emotions only serves to better distill the thing that is essentially me, what I came here to Earth, and America, to do. So now I feel a bit like the crazy witch in the woods who has quested with the best of them (Your Highness style, lol, see the movie to get that joke) and now I live in a magical encampment of my own design, deep in L.A.’s tangled labyrinth, with my wordy potions and mythically minded tribesman. I’m proud to be here with them drumming up enchantment, specks of stardust in the dream machine’s eye.

If that’s all getting a bit too Grimm, let me put it this way. In the pursuit of a glorious life and an idea you just can’t put down–be it the idea of what your life could be or just how this particular scene should play, phrase should rhyme, or how a brush stroke could swim…  your bliss will be a pain in the ass. Forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning (for like, six months), leaving your keys in the freezer, and the kitchen full of dirty dishes is only the beautiful beginning. See the mess and love it anyway.  Stay faithful to that vision you’re drunk on. Let some ideas fly and some break your heart. Even after you’ve birthed something you’d let define you, who knows where it can end up? Even your best intentions can end up looking like a tattered Tibetan prayer flag someone’s taken and used for bunting at a second hand car yard.

Like Sonny says in The Exotic Marigold Hotel, “Everything will be alright in the end… if it’s not alright, then it’s not yet the end.” Meanwhile, I really do believe you can learn to love the “battle”, and thrive on the hazards of following your bliss.

Know I’m always wishing you many victories on the way to yours.

 

***

 

 

 

The Guardian’s Wildchild by Feather Stone

Fiona Kernaghan:

Feather

 

I was taken by Feather Stone and her author bio recently. It’s pretty intriguing…

“I have experienced the paranormal since I was a child. Therefore, I don’t think of these events as odd. They’re gifts and I treasure and hold them as sacred. I met my spirit guide when I was about seven. Later, when I was drowning in a lake and laying on the sandy bottom, accepting death. My guide whispered, “If you stand you can breathe.” I did as he beckoned and survived, obviously (LOL). Many times my guides have spoken to me, including my father a few years after he died. Now that was unexpected! I believe everyone is visited by his/her guide though we are often too busy to notice the stranger offering a moment of comfort or assistance. We are all capable of experiencing the paranormal, if you so choose. Sit in silence once each day, even if only for five minutes. Empty the chatter in your mind. Enjoy the bliss.”

***

So today I’m re-blogging an excerpt of My Little Book Blog’s review of Feather’s urban fantasy, “The Guardian’s Wildchild”, with big thanks to Lizzy Baldwin for the excellent review. Here it is below. Enjoy!

As always a quick over-view of the plot to begin; her Guardian Greystone knows Sidney Davenport as a ‘wildchild’; this is due to her radical love to rebel, and to break the rules. Sidney is gifted with a set of supernatural powers; however she must carefully conceal her abilities from the world. Even in difficult situations, that have the potential to change her life forever, she must be careful otherwise her enemies might discover the truth of who she really is, and then use this against her and have the Guardian destroyed. Sidney must call upon the spirit guides Celeste and Seamus to guide her through.

To start her mission Sidney leaves her sweet home on Hawk’s Island, to stop the evil malice of two characters that want to wreck havoc worldwide. However Sidney does not hold the skills in espionage needed for the mission to be successful and after being caught and imprisoned she is sentenced to death. In an odd turn Sidney cannot help but feel an attraction towards the man that is calling for her execution; the tall, dark and handsome Captain Waterhouse. Strict, determined and meticulous in every detail; however in the arrival of the female prisoner he finds his world being turned upside down in a nature he could never have imagined. Waterhouse is about to scrap all his morals and put his life in danger due to the connection between them. Through stunning imagery, an intricate and adventurous plot, and a strong cast of characters, Feather Stone gives readers a fast paced story woven with murder and magic.

So the first comment to make is if you were looking for a strong, strident and determined, female protagonist, look no further! Sidney as a main character is incredibly well characterised and appealed very strongly to me as a reader. She has a really sense of strength and flame and as a female reader I could not help but fall for her sass and grit. Even in the most difficult and stressful situations, she manages to not only ride the storm and stay tough and driven, but she also manages to fascinate and please the reader! I could not help but feel an instant connection to her and that is a real credit to the author. Too often in books we are given wishy-washy characters that are so easily vanquished, I often think it is due to the ’50 shades effect,’ that has left us with female characters that don’t appear to be able to stand on their own two feet. I must therefore pause here and salute Stone in the fact that that doesn’t happen here. (Yes!) Additionally the strong characteristic written into the book makes Sam an extremely diverse and exciting character; at first we see him stony faced and demanding however he shows just the right of compassion when needed. He is slightly harder to warm to, in terms of characterisation, however this allows the reader to fully understand his character, which is a nice touch.

Another strong point is in the fact that the setting is mostly located on the Navy ship. This allows for a large amount of description that ends up having an overall magical quality. The description is strong much like the characters and this allows a stronger diffusion of information into the reader’s imagination; I really felt immersed in the story and felt myself being drawn more strongly into the story as a whole. I also really liked the way that the author played with the emotions of the characters and really managed to change Sam’s perception of his own life. The scenes that play out throughout the book between the two main characters were made extremely special and they felt extremely genuine and at times, as a reader, I felt I was intruding on scenes that were just plain lovely. I found myself rooting for their relationship, despite my first viewing of their relationship due to Sam being such a dark and brooding character; at first I thought what is Sidney thinking! However, he grows so significantly into his own character it ends up being extremely genuine and honest.

A final remark is that the author has a definite understanding of how to make the readers mind race; the book was extremely fast-paced meaning that it makes it very easy to read and fun to read as well; at no point did I think why has this part been include which is a big compliment. Additionally by leaving an epilogue it allows the reader to ponder their own thoughts and then read the resolution; by doing this it allows the reader some room to breath and recuperate before sinking their teeth back into the plot. One thing to note for me as a reader is that I felt it held more of a mystery feel than a paranormal/fantasy, which I originally thought was the main genre of the book and although for me that was fine due to not being the biggest paranormal fan, for others it may slightly disappointing in that respect.

It will come as no shock (from the above comments that I really enjoyed this book) with the strong characters, a real understanding of plot pace and a memorable love story this book really sang for me as a reader. The genre is not my stereotypical favourite however I can see myself definitely reading books from this author in the future!

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TheGuardian'sWildchild

Available at:
Twitter:  FeatherWrites https://twitter.com/FeatherWrites
Facebook:  FSauthor https://www.facebook.com/FSauthor
Read more of Lizzy’s reviews at her lovely My Little Book blog.

 

Originally posted on mylittlebookblog:

Firstly I must thank the author profusely for sending me a copy of this book; it always means a lot when I receive a book from an author. When I set up the ‘review requests page,’ I had no idea that it would gain such a response from the readers of my blog. I have since received a wide genre of books, from children’s books, thrillers, indie novels and sci-fi, to today’s fancy, a paranormal/romantic fantasy. I love reading books and being able to read such a wide range of books is a complete privilege as a reader. So, this is yet again one of these reviews, so thanks again to Feather Stone for sending it over and trusting me with such a special review; so, onto the review!

As always a quick over-view of the plot to begin; her Guardian Greystone knows Sidney Davenport as a ‘wildchild’; this is…

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What Is Magic? by Matthew Krajewski

ModernMagicbookcover

 

What Is Magic?

I often ask myself, what is magic? I usually find people have preconceived notions about rabbits being pulled out of a hat, or worshiping the moon and casting spells. Many people believe this is magic, and there is nothing wrong with that. But what if magic was something greater, something that anyone had access to? And what if  once embraced, magic could bring a sacred spark into your everyday life? I believe this is true magic. In my first book, Modern Magic: Reclaiming Your Magical Heritage, I define it as something much more user-friendly than everyone previously believed. Put simply, magic is anything that defies what we thought was reality. It is changing perspective. Believing in magic in the world instead of explaining it away with “rational” explanations. Reclaiming your magical heritage is about acknowledging and exploring a wider vista of human experience, possibility, and magic.

I experienced a shamanic awakening in 2012 that upended everything I thought I knew about reality. I had always cultivated a spiritual life, but everything changed when I started seeing, interacting, and being instructed by energetic reality. Shamanism was not something I went looking for, it was something that bloomed into my life, demanding attention, and requiring me to investigate deeply the nature of spiritual experience. Being a voracious reader, I read everything and anything I could on mysticism, spirituality, diverse cultural traditions, psychic abilities, shamanism, ancient civilizations, and diverse spiritual modalities. In my research, I realized there was a unique story emerging, and a unique guidebook that I documented as my first book, Modern Magic. I needed a guide and toolbox to explore my own energy, my own magic, and my own divinity. While books on specific traditions helped, I consistently saw they were not getting to the root, the base foundation that supported and was a part of all spiritual experience. This is what I articulate in my first book Modern Magic, and the recently published sequel, The Golden Sherpa. I aim to empower anyone to understand this base magical spirituality, not to turn anyone onto a specific spiritual path, but to help them understand and explore their own unique magic. All reality is energy, and in all energy is the potential to dazzle, amaze, and excite us. In short, to show us magic!

Everyone is magical, we are just trained not to embrace these natural qualities. Being magical is not about being special, for anyone really can do it if they wish. But magic is an exciting term to describe it since it strikes to the core of the emotional experience spiritual seekers experience when turning toward the magic in themselves and in the world around them. All you have to do is change your perspective. Instead of turning away from coincidence and synchronicities, turn toward them, and open yourself to the possibility of authentic magic.

 ***

To learn more about author Matthew Krajewski, you can go to www.magicalheritage.com. He has published two books on magical spirituality: Modern Magic: Reclaiming Your Magical Heritage and The Golden Sherpa: Ascending Into Magical Spirituality.

Modern Magic flyer

Ghosts, Shape-Shifters And Revolution.

The Lieutenant of San Porfirio

 

I recently connected with Joel Hirst, who has worked for more than fifteen years in countries such as Uganda, Pakistan, Venezuela, Chad, Honduras and Costa Rica. His first novel is, The Lieutenant Of San Porfirio: Chronicle of a Bolivarian Revolution”. I asked Joel about the connection his novel has to Magical Realism and he explained…

“As part of traditional Latin American Magical Realist genre, ‘The Lieutenant’ weaves difficult political realities accentuated by magical realism; making the story both a serious critique and a darkly humorous story. Dona Esmeralda pines away for her lost influence, locked in her mansion with her dead husbands ghost; while the Lieutenant hires a shape-shifting spy to help root out discontent among the splintered student movement. Above it all sits El Comandante – managing the conflict like a chess master. The Lieutenant is the story about the search for freedom and prosperity and the conflicts that naturally arise when politics goes awry.”

I love how Joel grapples with very intense, social and political subject matter while still allowing room for the seemingly unknown in the form of ghosts and shape-shifters! In all, making for a very complete and human story telling experience.

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Joel’s novel was was recently reviewed by Han Fischer for The Pan Am Post. To read Hana’s entire piece, here’s a link. 

For more about Joel and his work: visit his Amazon page and his web site. 

There Is Always Something Left To Love

Marquez painting

 

 

My thanks to The Latin Times for the following round up of quotes from the late and great Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of our beloved fathers of Magical Realism. Indeed, “there is always something left to love”.

 

1. “There is always something left to love.” — “One Hundred Years of Solitude”

2. “He was still too young to know that the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and that thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.” —  “Love in the Time of Cholera”

3. “The adolescents of my generation, greedy for life, forgot in body and soul about their hopes for the future until reality taught them that tomorrow was not what they had dreamed, and they discovered nostalgia.” — “Memories of My Melancholy Whores”

4. “You can’t eat hope,’ the woman said. You can’t eat it, but it sustains you,’ the colonel replied.” —  “El Coronel no tiene quien le escriba”

5. “He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.” —  “Love in the Time of Cholera”

6. “It’s enough for me to be sure that you and I exist at this moment.” — “One Hundred Years of Solitude”

7. “They were so close to each other that they preferred death to separation.” – “One Hundred Years of Solitude”

8. “Be calm. God awaits you at the door.” —  “Love in the Time of Cholera”

9. “Disbelief is more resistant than faith because it is sustained by the senses.” — “Of Love and Other Demons”

10. “Humanity, like armies in the field, advances at the speed of the slowest.” —  “Love in the Time of Cholera”

11. “Fame is very agreeable, but the bad thing is that it goes on 24 hours a day.” — Gabriel García Márquez

12. “If God hadn’t rested on Sunday, he would have time to finish the world.” — Gabriel García Márquez

13. “Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood.” — Gabriel García Márquez

14. “A person doesn’t die when he should but when he can.” — Gabriel García Márquez

15. “Necessity has the face of a dog.” — Gabriel García Márquez

16. “People spend a lifetime thinking abouthow they would really like to live. I asked my friends and no one seems to know very clearly. To me, it’s very clear now. I wish my life could have been like the years when I was writing ‘Love in the Time of Cholera.'” — Gabriel García Márquez

17. “Everything that goes into my mouth seems to make me fat, everything that comes out of my mouth embarrasses me.” — Gabriel García Márquez

18. “I don’t believe in God, but I’m afraid of Him.” — Gabriel García Márquez

19. “The heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good.” — Gabriel García Márquez

20. “Fiction was invented the day Jonas arrived home and told his wife that he was three days late because he had been swallowed by a whale.” — Gabriel García Márquez

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Fiona Kernaghan

Fiona Kernaghan

I'm a songwriter, singer and dedicated pleasure seeker. When I'm not writing and recording songs I write screenplays and short stories.

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