Paying It Forward Foreword

If you kn578c827c7aec8437a27134929c53d118_originalow me, you know that I’m a believer in Paying It Forward.  I’ve been the fortunate recipient of the generosity of someone else who believes in that same philosophy–fantasy author Brian Rathbone–and I want to tell you about something you can do to Pay It Forward, too.  So consider this a Pay It Forward Foreword.


A few years ago, Brian and I became friends via Twitter.  I knew immediately that he was a kindred spirit, and the more I got to know him, the more he affirmed my gut instinct was on target.  We did finally meet in person at Balticon, and over time, we’ve become good friends.  When Brian approached me to write a prequel novel that would be set in his World of Godsland fantasy world, I was shocked and thrilled and humbled.  I admire Brian for his imagination, and I love the characters in his books.  He asked if I’d take on the prequel story about one of those characters: Gwendolin Ahlgren.  I enjoyed Gwen in Inherited Danger, and I had wanted to know more about her.  Brian gave me that chance.


Now, Brian and his publishing company, White Wolf Press, are running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund hardback versions of Gwen’s story, entitled Ascension, as well as that of a new writer, Jack McCarthy, who has penned the first novel in a trilogy of prequels, this one entitled Onin.  The third book in the Kickstarter is one of Brian’s own, Dragon Airways.  It’s a marvelous steampunk romp that takes the World of Godsland into a whole new territory.  As a beta reader for that novel, I can tell you it will make you laugh and cry and fall in love with dragons all over again.


Brian has Paid It Forward to me and Jack by giving us the opportunity to contribute to the World of Godsland series.  I’m humbled and inspired by his generosity.   As of the time of this article’s publishing, the campaign is nearing the 50% mark, and it’s only on its second day!  It’s hit #15 in the Popular chart for Publishing on Kickstarter.  I hope you’ll join me in Paying It Forward to Brian by contributing whatever you can to the Kickstarter.  Together, we can get this campaign to the top of the Popular chart for ALL categories.  Let’s do this!!


Countdown to Full Moon Blog Tour

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It’s coming!

More than 30 authors writing about the full moon.

Gift cards, ebooks, and individual author giveaways!

Watch this space, and check out the pre-tour announcement at Broad Universe!

What Good’s a Full Moon?

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 Welcome to Broad Universe’s Full Moon blog tour, offering you a selection of the very best speculative fiction. Whether your taste is paranormal, space opera, high fantasy, gothic horror or something else altogether, please visit the participant’s sites for a taste of moonlit magic – and a chance to win some great prizes.


What Good’s a Full Moon?

Most everyone I know loves to look at a full moon. There’s something almost mesmerizing about it, and many would claim that full-moonwatching leaves them feeling serene. But aside from that and obvious romantic applications, what good does it serve?

Full Moons Are Pragmatic!

We’ll set aside the scientific roles, like regulating tides, and focus, instead, on how humans might have used the full moon. Ancient humans lived practical lives. Practical purposes for full moons among ancients would include hunting, marking time, and serving as an environment for community rituals.

Hunting was a primary means of survival for ancients, particularly during the cold, winter months when local plants couldn’t provide food. Nighttime hunting could be particularly fruitful, but without natural light, animals would have been alerted to the smell and light of fire from torches. Moreover, because most game animals have better night vision than humans, the full moon offered an equalizer for the human hunter. The light of a full moon allowed hunters to see and track prey.

Prior to the advent of calendars, full moons designated cycles, roughly what we today would call a month. And because their pattern of appearance could be linked to seasons (roughly three to four per season), they helped mark the time of seasonal changes. Those four seasonal changes added up to what we call a year before the pattern repeated itself, and ancients would have noticed that because their lives depended on knowing when to stash food and collect firewood. Keeping track of the four seasons and predicting when a season would end and the next would begin was grossly simplified by tracking the number of full moons that had passed. After all, carving lines for 365 days on a cave wall is much more difficult than hollowing out lines for thirteen full moons!

They also gave rise to seasonal celebrations for important aspects of survival, such as harvests, the beginning of a growing season, and pre-winter hunting/gathering. Because they marked activities that sustained the community, these celebrations evolved into community rituals. And because survival depended on perpetuating the species and training the young to be effective hunter/gatherers, communities also used them to acknowledge age-related transitions into manhood and womanhood. Later, these rituals included spiritual elements, some of which survive today in pagan rituals that link spirituality with nature.

Full Moons Are Pragmatic Fantasy Fodder!

In fantasy literature, full moons serve about the same purposes as they did for ancients, with a couple of notable exceptions. Werewolves couldn’t exist without full moons, which are the catalysts for transformation from human form to wolf form. In addition, full moons serve as environments for extraordinary happenings, such as hauntings or the appearance of a god/goddess. They also provide a medium through which the past, present, and/or future collide to give birth to a “real” world that doesn’t function according to the rules of time/space as we know them. In a sense, these “uses” of full moons are pragmatic, for they facilitate the story’s making of the “unreal” into the “real.”

Aside from a handful of exceptions, full moons in fantasy serve the same purposes they did for ancients. In my own fiction, for example, I use full moons to denote the ages of characters since most of the worlds my characters inhabit have no calendars. It works out well that 100 moons is about age seven (close to the age of reason), and 200 moons is about fourteen years, which not only is roughly the age adolescence is fully onset, but also would be a transition period in a young person’s life if s/he lived in a medieval setting. Teenagers were considered young adults and took on many of the responsibilities of adults by the time they’d lived through 200 moons.

Though we sometimes think of full moons as romantic and eerie (and hey, they are all that and more!), they’re actually quite pragmatic, whether in “real life” or in fiction.


In addition to the Broad Universe prizes listed below, I’ll be giving away a Kindle Fire 6 to someone on my personal mailing list.  You can sign up in the box at the top of the right-hand column on any page on my site.  If you’re already on my mailing list, you’re automatically entered for a chance to win the Kindle Fire 6! 

Tell your reading friends!

Now for the Full Moon Raffle!

Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box below to enter for a chance to win our prizes!  Be sure to head on over to the other blogs on this tour (see the list at the top of the page), read their posts, and enter on each site for more chances to win!  If you get lost on the tour, you can always find a full list of participants at Broad Universe.

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Writing Cave Displacement

dust-monitoringAs we enter the death throes of the most comprehensive stage of remodeling our 100 year-old house, I’m preparing to evacuate what has become my “office” during the project and temporarily squat (in the property sense, not the knee-bending kind!) in the newly remodeled “library alcove” of our living room, which will continue to remain empty of its normal belongings until the official writing cave is finished. Then, we’ll move our furniture and JUNK back into the house and begin the process of paring down and relocating STUFF.

For the next few weeks, the library alcove will house me and my makeshift office. Despite its temporariness and its slapped-together-like-a-Dagwood-sandwich aesthetic, the large bedroom we deemed would be my office has been home for my muses and me for almost two years.

In a sense, I hate to uproot the refuge my ragged office has provided. It has a lovely view of the back yard with perennial gardens, wisteria, and droopy tree limbs in full view. And I can see that view from my desk if I choose to open the shade and drapery; I can even look at it through various layers of fabric filters, so even when Nature isn’t moving at a quick enough pace for me, I can choose to see it differently. I’m going to miss that. On the other hand, the sycamore in front of our house will be in full view from the library alcove. It’s older than the house by at least 2 decades, and it’s magnificent. How I do love that tree and watching its seasonal changes.

Change really is the theme of this entire remodeling project, but change for the better despite the inconveniences of breathing (and sweeping up) plaster dust, listening to power tools all day, and constantly shifting materials and necessities from one room to another.

I’ve thought a lot about what the change might bring. Some tension about whether my muses will like it there has crept in, but overall, they’re a fairly flexible lot, so I’m sure they’ll adjust. Once I’m in my new writing cave, we can always revisit the library alcove if my muses or I want to commune with the sycamore. Have laptop. Can Relocate.

The room I’ve been working in will undergo a transformation in more ways than one. While there’s value and satisfaction in restoring a space that deserves restoration, there’s even greater value in the change in energy. While I’m enjoying watching the sycamore and the neighbor’s gorgeous maple, my office space will metamorphose from our former tenants’ destruction into a warm, comfortable, and creative space . . . sans the negative vibes of people who need a lot of counseling and an intensive course in personal accountability.

The space feels what’s coming, and the energy in the room is already improving.