Meanwhile, back in lalaland

Finally, editing for The Empath is done. Well, at least my part. My dear editor Pam is finetuning as we speak for the final round. Next up is my proof reader Lisa Gilliam to let me know if it’s any good or complete and utter crap. Always a nail-biting moment for me.

Working on The Empath made us realize we would have to make some changes in The Elemental as well. In theory, you should be able to read them both as a stand alone book. During the editing process, that came back to bite me in the arse. Pam and I had a whole discussion on how to explain some things more properly. 

I really think you should change the dialogue.

That’s what Pam said to me and I actually agreed, but I couldn’t change the dialogue because of this tiny little detail; the conversation is also in The Elemental. So, what to do? After several back and forth emails with my publisher, Dragon Moon Press, they gave the okay to go ahead and revise The Elemental. Yay!

Come February The Empath will be released and the revised edition of The Elemental. For those of you who’ve actually read The Elemental, nothing shocking will be changed, but I wanted to avoid those fanatics out there who would rub my face in any inconsistencies. I know I would πŸ˜‚

Right now I’m very busy working on the new book trailer for The Empath and the revisions in The Elemental. Oh, and did I mention the cover is absolutely stunning? It is! You’ll have to wait till Midwinter to actually see it, be patient. I’m also very proud to have found the perfect person to model for the front cover, but I promised him to remain anonymous, so I’ll keep my promise. If you recognize him on your own, I’m not to blame πŸ˜‰

Between writing and editing, I hardly have time to listen to my favourite band and inspiration, Placebo. Thankfully they’re coming to Holland this November and I’m very much looking forward to that. 

Samhuinn is coming up, another year has come and gone. I have so much to be thankful for. I found another publisher, I have an amazing team and very loyal fans, even in Japan. There have been times of doubt and you all helped me remember why it is I write. To share some of my world with you, to make the supernatural natural. To always remember, life is beautiful and so are you. Thank you!

Placebo blues – Ramblings of a modern druidess

What exactly is Placebo blues? Well, it certainly doesn’t involve Placebo making a blues album (now that would be something!) and I’m not talking about some fake blues either.

No. Lately I’ve been in a bit of a slump when it comes to my favourite band. I’ve always liked Placebo’s music, but it wasn’t until Battle for the Sun that they changed my life. Their lyircs provided me with so much inspiration, I wrote an entire book. Then came Loud Like Love and I was just ecstatic. My second book had enough fuel to go on, though I’m still in the process of writing that one. It’s still Placebo, but instead of just embracing the dark, they now also embraced the light. It made me happy.
Then Steve Forrest left the band. At first, after the initial shock, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. And to be expected, really, when you think about it. Steve is young, talented. It was only a matter of time he spread his wings and took off on his own. By the way, his new Planes album Hotfoot, is absolutely awesome! A real must have.
But I can’t help but wonder if it’s a coincidence that my book took form only after the release of Battle of the Sun or if it had something to do with the energy, those three combined, created. Brian and Stefan seemed…. happier. I’m sure there were vexations and the urge to stuff each other behind the wallpaper, but in general… Yes, they seemed happy.
So my Placebo blues comes from a feeling of uncertainty. Uncertainty about how the new album is going to sound. Uncertainty whether or not they’re going to perform in The Netherlands (so far a big no) and a slightly bad taste in my mouth about the break-up. They’re being very professional about it. All members, Steve included and the management. Not a peep and only well wishes for Steve’s solo career. But I’m not an idiot. The UK tour was just around the corner and it would have been the perfect moment to say his goodbyes, symbolically hand over the drum sticks to the new drummer and have a smashing farewell party in London. It did not go like this. So something happened. Something not right. And it is not my place, nor should it be my concern, to make presumptions about what happened. But it leaves me feeling blue, just a bit.
Funnily enough I think Steve is going to make it just fine. Planes is a great band with a solid sound. I do wonder, however, if Stefan and Brian will continue on for long. Stefan is busy with his own projects. Brian released a lyric book and was quite clear about a few songs on Loud Like Love being his own, before putting them through the Placebo roller-coaster. So things are shifting. What it will hold for the future? I can only guess.
I hope to hear many, many more songs. Brian is still and will always be my muze. His lyrics will be there forever. But Placebo during the Battle for the Sun and Loud Like Love era? That was just pure light, full-colour, the hills are alive with the sounds of Placebo. I wonder if they will still have that. I hope so. They need of bit of Light. And their own personal sunshine has left the building.

Ramblings of a modern druidess – Brian…

I neglect to retrieve my mail. It happens. Quite often actually. So it wasn’t until today, on a Sunday no less, that I discovered the long awaited book had arrived. Selected, by Brian Molko aka my muse.

First surprise was the size, I thought it would be bigger, but it’s the same size as my other little poetry books and it oozes the same vibe. I like it. Granted, after a first quick glance I was a bit disappointed to discover it’s just the lyrics, except for the introduction, which is just lovely. No explanations what the lyrics are about, why it is special to him or when/where it was written.

But then I realized, that is not fair of me. Not fair at all. Placebo rarely publishes full lyrics. Of course there are many fan sites who have taken up this task with a passionate and fanatic gleam in their eyes, but even they get it wrong. And quite regularly, if my muse is to be believed. So he’s setting the record straight. And without the aid of the music, the words come through more clearly, they are stripped naked, as is he, for all the world to see. It must have been quite a nerve-wracking experience to actually go through with this.

Maybe you’ll think me mad as a snake, but I already started to make it my own by adding notes and words of my own, highlighting some parts, words that give me new ideas for my book and reading lyrics of songs I never really liked. Suddenly they have an entirely new meaning. How refreshing!

There was an option to have it signed. I did not take it. Don’t get me wrong, if you ordered a signed copy, more power to you, but it just didn’t appeal to me. I did sign my own book for him, as well as for Stefan and Steve, but that was different. Their music inspired The Elemental, so naturally they deserved to have a personalized copy.

If our paths cross and the moment is right, I might ask him to sign it. But if it’s not in the cards, it’s not. For now, I’m perfectly content to snuggle up next to the fire, with my coffee in one hand, Selected in the other. Thank you Bee, for giving the perfect Yule gift xxx


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 SeΓ±ora 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

The Summer Solstice is almost upon us. I feel very fortunate and blessed with the weather this year. We had so many lovely nights, outside on our rooftop terrace, talking with friends, as the sky only began to darken after eleven, it’s rare in Holland. Most years we have a pretty good Spring and September is usually a good month, but a real Summer? Not so much. We still have to begin of course, which always strikes me as odd, as the days get shorter after June 21, but I have high hopes for a good Summer.

As a Summer Solstice gift, my book The Elemental will be free for download at Amazon on this day. If you go to my website, you’ll find the UK and US links there, but it’s also available in other countries.

As I’m jotting this down, waiting for a friend to arrive, I’m surrounded by trees and heather and I feel close to nature, looking forward to greet the morning Sun, beating my drum to celebrate the Light in all its glory. Each celebration reminds me of the circle of life. It is a moment of reflection, which is good, as so many things are changing, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, in the blink of an eye. Suddenly I’m an OBOD alumni, having just experienced the most beautiful, magical camp one could ever want and I ran my second Nike ‘We Own the Night’ run. The only thing missing is a concert by my favourite band. Unfortunately my muse is doing an excellent job of being somewhere I’m not, because there’s no way it can be my fault, as if πŸ˜‰ So even when I’m visiting London, Sweden, Belgium, France or Russia, it never coincides with one of their concerts, how annoying. Oh well, one has to have something to dream of, right? πŸ™‚

I wish you all an amazing Summer Solstice. May the turning of the wheel bring you many blessings.

Love and Light,


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Ramblings of a modern druidess

So this week I had another interview with a newspaper for my book. It turned out I actually knew the interviewer from the past, so it was nice to see her again.

She’d done her research and asked me several pretty deep and personal questions. Which made me wonder, what do you keep to yourself? Where do you draw the line?

My friends and family are all familiar with the more colourful part of my life, so to speak. And even professionally, when I worked somewhere for more than a couple of years, most colleagues had some inkling of what it was I committed my free time to.

My book is about people with special powers, gifts if you will. So naturally I should have expected questions about how the book relates to my personal life. And even though I was prepared for that, it still left me thinking: “What the hell am I going to say?”

I didn’t want to lie, but I didn’t want to be portrayed as some fruitcake either πŸ˜‰ So I did tell her some things, how I view the world and the people in it and how that works for me, mostly. I hope I was articulate enough.

Tomorrow it will be in the papers and it’s always hard to figure out what someone’s angle is going to be.

So here’s hoping it will be an okay article and I won’t have to hide under a rock for the next couple of decades πŸ˜‰ How do you deal with tough questions? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next week folks!

P.S. Oh, and can someone please ask Placebo to confirm Pinkpop? Thank you so much for your trouble xxx

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Ramblings of a modern druidess

Today I decided to answer one question that has been asked quite a few times and can’t be answered with just a few words. So especially for Susan from California, Carlos from Brazil, Petra and Kimberley from the Netherlands and Meg and Caroline from England (god, I hope I didn’t forget anyone. If so, my humble apologies!), today the answer to the question:

“How did Placebo become the inspiration for The Elemental and what do they mean to you?”

Well, as some of you may have found out already through my website it began at Pinkpop 2009. Placebo were headlining and the weather was lovely. When they began to play, the sky started to turn a pinkish purple, it was really pretty. Brian said the next song came to him in a dream, while they were on a tourbus. I think his exact words were “I bullshit you not” πŸ˜‰ And they started to play Come Undone. The beginning has an almost dreamlike quality and looking to the sky, images floated before my eyes and I was in another world for a couple of minutes. I don’t think I heard a single word Brian sang of that song. That came later.

I think, looking back, those were the first seeds of The Elemental. The images were of a group of friends based in London. Years later I dreamed the same images and that moment at Pinkpop came rushing back to me. That’s when I decided to change my life and become a writer. As I started to write the outlines of The Elemental, I listened to Battle for the Sun. I did that for weeks and weeks, driving my family and friends, not to mention our dog, completely insane. I swear, whenever Miss Ginger hears Placebo, she raises her head, gives a big sigh and looks at me accusingly. I think she likes them secretly though, because whenever I have a live performance on, she wants to watch it as well.

Anyway, that’s how they became my great motivator and inspiration for things in the book. Not just the lyrics, but Battle for the Sun has a great mood-changing vibe to it, musically. Which created great scenes in the book.

The final editing was done when Loud Like Love was just released (which I love, by the way, I don’t care what the critics say) and that’s how Scene of the Crime got a special mention at the end of the book. I actually rewrote one of the last scenes because of that song.

As for the what do they mean to me part. I think it’s fair to say, a lot. To me, they are The Healer, The Anchor and The Sun. You figure out who is who πŸ˜‰ I see them, maybe Brian in particular through his lyrics, as a sort of muse, who inspire me to write books, so that’s pretty important.

I used to work in the music industry and while I loved many things about that world, it happened just a bit too often that a band I liked, were, well… complete arses, to be frank. That didn’t matter much professionally, but I did notice me liking a band, has a lot to do with how they present themselves to the world as well. And once I had worked with them, I stopped buying their music. I just couldn’t listen to it anymore without thinking ‘you’re a complete diva’ or ‘what an arrogant arse’. It spoiled my listening experience, so I just stopped listening to them.

So that’s why I’m a bit wary of actually getting to know Placebo. Real life is always different and I’m realistic enough to realize Brian most of all, isn’t actually the epitomy of an easy-going, sociable person. So I think it’s safer to admire their qualities from a distance, if you will. That way I won’t be let down and they can remain my source of inspiration. In short, they are too important for that.

Otherwise there might not be a book two and three and we can’t have that, now can we? πŸ˜‰

Well, I hope this answer was to your satisfaction. Looking forward to answer your questions on Valentine’s Day. You can tweet them to me or comment here on my blog. You can also post them on my facebook page. Be sure to mention your name and the country you live in, so I get it right and thanks for all the support so far. Love you guys!

Until next week peeps!

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