Magical Beasts & Creatures

It’s been a while since my latest blog. Obviously I’ve been busy with promoting The Empath, but unfortunately I also took a nasty spill of my horse and completely smashed my right foot.


Thankfully surgery went well, but it does mean I’m home bound till early August, at the very least. 

So, plenty of time to write book III of The Fire Trilogy, but also time for something else. 

My cousin, Tom van der Vlies, is a poet as well, so we decided to take on a project together. Inspired by JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we’re in the process of creating twenty poems.

Tom will handle the magical beasts and I will take on ten magical creatures. Some may be familiar to you from the books or the movie, others may not. 

It may take a while before we have it published, but eventually you will be able to buy the complete collection. 


To give you some incentive, here are the first two of Magical Beasts & Creatures!

Magical Beasts ( part 1 of 10 )
Unicorn

My bedroom slowly fades

Into the darkest of shades

My heart expectantly awaits

The galopping of dreams
I enter a realm of legendry

Wonder, magic , mystery

Genteless and also purity,

A horn appears, silver gleams
A flash of light so bright

Sprinkles stardust unto night

Like a comet in full flight

A whinnying of starbeams 
Their is a unicorn at play

Just going his own way

I wish that he would stay

Untamable, so he seems
He will roam forever free

In that place I cannot be

Untill I graze eternity

I’ll ride you in my dreams

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2017

Hello new year, what will you bring?
Will you bring us joy and happiness or pain and sadness?

I am what you make of me, the new year replies
I am not responsible for who lives and who dies

What I can give you is twelve months time to shape my year
It is up to you whether I’ll become something you love or fear

I’m always off to a great start
With champagne and fireworks lighting up the sky
Remember that feeling and carry it with you in your heart

That way, when my successor 2018 arrives
I will have brought only joy and happiness in your livesimg_6518

 

Rambling of a modern druidess – B&B – Beltane and Booktrope

I’ve had a weird couple of weeks, with amazing ups and downs. My ‘American family’ came over for a visit and I was so happy to see them again and spend some quality time with them. I showed them around Loevestein, Gorinchem, the Deltawerken and Middelburg. We went for pancakes, shared a bun of smoked eel, had some stroopwafels (obviously) and they even tried our famous raw herring. Well, some of them tried 😉


Healthwise it was also ups and downs. I was told by my doctor my blood pressure was way too high (we found out purely by routine check, I came for a frontal sinusitis), so I was put on medication straight away.Thankfully the little pill helped. I just went for my first check-up and it was just perfect. Mind you, stuck with the stomach flu, but that should pass within 48 hours, the good doctor told me. It did. I felt much, much better this morning. Until I opened my mail.

My publisher, Booktrope, is going out of business by the end of May. I still can’t believe it. So many authors, editors, designers, proofreaders, managers, all out of a job. So many books, now in limbo. We’ll be given a more detailed update this Monday and I really hope this will bring some other options for the future as well. 

This night the bonfires will burn, as it will be Beltane night. A time of fertility, of fire, of passion. I’m going to reach for that fire and passion inside of me to make sure my books will survive. I know I can, I know I’m not in this alone. How it’s all going to turn out, I do not know yet, but that’s okay. I have faith. In my own abilities and in that of others.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people who have helped me at Booktrope and are still helping me. Elizabeth Flynn, Marisa Chenery, Pam Elise Harris, Rhianna Davies, Lisa Gilliam, you ladies rock! Most of them have their own company and I highly recommend their services!

If it’s up to me, The Empath will still see the light of day Halloween 2016. Come hell or high water, I’ll make it work! Wishing you al a magical Beltane night, may it be filled with love, hope and passion.

As the World Falls Down

Today David Bowie no longer walks among us. One of my facebook friends asked – rightly so – whether or not I was really sad about this or is it just people pouring their hearts out because they can? Her timeline feed showed almost nothing else and mine is showing pretty much the same. 

So it made me wonder, what does it mean to me? Does it really affect me? Does it have an impact on my life? 

I’d heard of David Bowie before I saw the movie Labyrinth in 1986 through my parents obviously, but after I saw that, I was hooked. He was the first man I had a major crush on. Jareth, the goblin king, was the epitome of romance to me and I could not understand why Sarah would ever want to go home. Save the bloody baby, sure, but why leave? Sigh. I watched that movie over a hundred times and could quote it by heart from beginning to end at one point. I kid you not.

I mean, could you leave him behind? Sigh

 
I loved them all, wanted to party with the Wild Gang, hug Hoggle, play a game of wits with Sir Didymus and his trusty Ambrosius and be friends with Ludo.

Let’s Dance was one of my favourite albums and yes, I do realise he’d released fourteen albums before that, but these were my teenager years, so obviously very important. 

China Girl – David Bowie

 
I’ve never seen him in concert and that makes me sad. I think it would have been a magical experience. Even now, not in his prime. That chance is gone now. With the release of his former album I had small hopes of him returning to the stage, and alas. 

So I’m left with my memories. Which are good, very good. No, it doesn’t shatter my world and it won’t affect my daily life as I did not know him personally, but it does leave me with a sad feeling. My first crush is no longer here. He was my inspiration when it came to the concept of romance and he will remain being just that. Safe travels, great beautiful man. You’ll be missed by many and loved by even more.

Labyrinth

Beneath Paris I Sleep

Last weekend we went to France. Hubby wanted to check out an exhibition in Thiers to see if it would be worth his while to sell his things there next year. 

We stayed in the lovely village of Villegenon. Quiet and surrounded by fields with lushes green. We had the whole house to ourselves. Miss Ginger, our dog, had the time of her life chasing mice and causing the farmer’s cows to stampede across the land. She was so proud! I don’t think they ever saw a dog. They responded only to her bark. I think she would make an excellent cow-herder. Must check how she does with sheep.
   

The last day we went to Paris. We never went to the catacombs. The queue is so long. It was this time as well, but we persevered. If you’ve never been there, like me, you’re in for an ‘in-complete-awe-moment’. It is shocking to realize how many people are buried there. Literally millions and millions and they’re all piled up. 

Also the size of the place. The part where we were allowed in, is 1/800 of the entire place! Yes, you read that number correctly. It’s immense! The catacombs run beneath the entire city of Paris.
Let me tell you, not the place to take your ouija board. It’s all very fascinating and interesting when the lights are on and you can read the historical signs. It’s another story when they have power failure and you’re stuck down there with your iPhone running low on 20% and you’re trying to save your batteries because you don’t know how long it will take. I’m just saying.
  
As a writer, I have a way too imaginitive mind, which is usually a good thing. Who knows, there might be a ghost story in there somewhere along the way.
If you’re ever visiting the city of romance, it’s well worth the wait. Not very romantic though, but it will be interesting. And who knows, you might get lucky. They might have a power failure! Just to get you in the mood, I’ll leave you with a little trailer.
Sweet dreams folks!

Ramblings of a modern druidess – Samhuinn and other stuff

It’s been a while since you heard some actual ramblings from me. I’ve been featuring a lot of book releases and their authors, and it’s been great fun. I feel very fortunate to know so many authors and it has certainly expanded my range of reading. With all the reading however, my work on The Empath is a bit behind schedule. Hopefully, November will give me a boost as I’m doing my best to participate in the #NaNoWriMo and produce 50.000 words. Mind you, if I achieve that goal, The Empath will be nearly finished. In all honesty, I’ve never written so many words in one month. I have good days, but if I have one of those, I feel really pleased with myself and fall back into this false sense of accomplishment and bumb around for a couple of days, quite annoying actually.

For me the new year has just begun. Samhuinn has come and gone and a very intense one it was. It is a time to let go of old things which aren’t useful anymore or are holding you back and a time to love and honour our ancestors. It is also a period of being reborn, new beginnings. Something even my muse picked up on, because he finally released his long awaited book ‘Selected‘. Perfect timing, though I doubt he’s aware of that, but it was a nice coincidence. And perhaps I’m not giving him enough credit, something I tend to do on more than one occasion. Not fair really.

Usually we celebrate Samhuinn between two burial mounds, guided by the Goddess Cailleach. This year, however, we invoked the Dame of the Dead, Santa Muerte. She has a very different energy and it was the first time I worked with that energy. It has left me with a mounting interest in her cult and so I leave you with a bit from the all-knowing Wikipedia. I wish you all a happy new year with blessings of Samhuinn xxx.

IMG_1473.JPGNuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte or, colloquially, Santa Muerte (Spanish for Our Lady of the Holy Death), is a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. Despite opposition by the Catholic Church, her cult arose from popular Mexican folk belief, a syncretism between indigenous Mesoamerican and Spanish Catholic beliefs and practices. Since the pre-Columbian era Mexican culture has maintained a certain reverence towards death, which can be seen in the widespread commemoration of the syncretic Day of the Dead. Elements of that celebration include the use of skeletons to remind people of their mortality. The worship is condemned by the Catholic Church in Mexico as invalid, but it is firmly entrenched among Mexico’s lower working classes and various elements of society deemed as “outcasts”.

Santa Muerte generally appears as a female skeletal figure, clad in a long robe and holding one or more objects, usually a scythe and a globe. Her robe can be of any color, as more specific images of the figure vary widely from devotee to devotee and according to the rite being performed or the petition being made. As the worship of Santa Muerte was clandestine until the 20th century, most prayers and other rites have been traditionally performed privately in the home. However, for the past ten years or so, worship has become more public, especially in Mexico City after Enriqueta Romero initiated her famous Mexico City shrine in 2001. The number of believers in Santa Muerte has grown over the past ten to twenty years, to several million followers in Mexico, the United States, and parts of Central America. Santa Muerte has similar male counterparts in the Americas, such as the skeletal folk saints San La Muerte of Argentina and Rey Pascual of Guatemala.

Ramblings of a modern druidess

Another one bites the dust. Robin Williams, bringer of smiles extraordinaire, is no longer among us. By choice. Yes, he had a choice, we all do, but more and more often I’m beginning to wonder if having a choice makes any difference to our state of mind. What if both choices are bad? At least from your own point of view. Do you automatically choose the lesser bad? What if death is the lesser bad? How do we decide?

He, like so many before him, struggled with depression. I know people in my inner circle who are depressed. It’s hard. Not just for them, for everyone around them. Sometimes you see glimpses of the person behind the depression, those are the good days. The days you believe in recovery, believe they are also happy, clear-headed, that life is worth living. Then there are the other days. When nothing you say seems to make any difference, whether it is a pep-talk, a comforting shoulder to cry on, a kick in the butt, or just being there for someone, sitting beside them. It has little to no effect. That’s the scary part. The part where you start to lose hope. And so do they, I think.

I’ve never been depressed. Not in the way people are diagnosed with ‘depression’. So it’s very hard to understand what’s going on inside their mind, because I haven’t been there. I’ve had my share of bad days, sure. Who hasn’t? But that’s not really the same, now is it? Obviously I didn’t know Robin Williams personally, but he seemed to have a pretty good life. Good career, which he more often than not enjoyed a great deal, loving wife, loving children, financially stable, those are pretty important indicators for most people. Apparently it had no effect, or at least, not enough. The demons inside your head are stronger. How does that happen? What goes wrong inside the mind? And is it something we can ‘fix’ with medication?

I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against medication, I just think it should be a means to an end, not the cure itself if at all possible. There will always be people where this is not the case. Both physical and mental. Sometimes you have to learn to live with your medication. Could that be the problem? That some people don’t know how to live with their medication? Is our focus perhaps wrong? I think many people who are diagnosed with depression also receive some form of therapy, with or without medication. But is depression related to events in our life or is it a state of mind, not related to any event whatsoever? And if it’s the latter, will it really make any difference to try and work through someone’s ‘issues’? Or will the depression remain? It looks that way.

Needless to say I don’t have the answers, I hope that someday, someone does. Because how bad does the other choice have to be, when choosing death has become the better option?

Rest in peace, Robin Williams. I will miss your smiles. You made me smile, a lot. What dreams may come? I hope they will be good ones, ones that will make you smile.

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