Several More Chapters

The Risen God      I got in several more chapters of The Risen God today (here’s the facebook page). It’s up to 58,000 words and looks like it’ll end up being around 150,000 by the end of it. I’ve really heard when people have said that certain books weren’t developed enough. I had always thought I was “way too wordy” so I was actually relieved by the “negative” comments that allowed me the freedom to be as wordy as I feel I need to, in order to get the story across as fully as I desire to!

This is the beauty of negative book reviews (although I can say that I rarely get any genuinely horrible, mean ones, thank goodness)… you can learn from them if the person giving the review is willing to take the moment to explain why they gave them. It’s a gift, even if right in that moment you don’t feel like it is.

I still remember those negative comments, most of which centered around my Guardian of the Abyss book. They are very freeing, as odd as that might sound. I loved the book, but I, myself, actually felt disappointed because I didn’t feel like I could go into everything and develop the characters as I wanted to!

So, to fellow writers… don’t be afraid of negative comments. Let go of the desire to win with everyone–no one can. Look at the criticism and ask yourself, “What is the gift this person is trying to give me?” or “How is this person trying to help me so that more people will enjoy my books?”

Questions like these are very freeing. Remember, you’re a story teller. So tell yourself whatever story you want to about that negative review. Tell yourself “this person hates me!” if you want to… or tell yourself, “This person wants to help me, so how does this do that?” if you want to. YOU get to choose what story you tell yourself about anything that anyone says to you.

And readers… please, take a moment to write a review. It matters. It matters so much more than you will ever guess at. It encourages the author. If you like his or her books… comment. Because the more motivated we are to keep writing, the more likelihood you’ll get more books to enjoy!

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Review: Death Lies Between Us

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I got the wonderful opportunity to review the YA Book Death Lies Between Us by Jody A. Kessler!

First, THE BOOK!

Cover_Death Lies Between Us

Saving the life of someone you love should not be the worst thing you have ever done, unless you are an Angel of Death.

Disgruntled with his position in the afterlife and conflicted by his feelings toward his new client, Nathaniel Evans forgoes the rules and saves nineteen year old Juliana Crowson from being hopelessly stuck in Forge Creek. This alters Juliana’s destiny and she finds herself in a series of near death accidents.

In the mountains of Colorado, Nathaniel comforts Juliana as she struggles to understand her paranormal abilities while coping with her brother’s drug addiction. When an ill-tempered Native American Shaman teaches her the difference between ghosts and place memories, she decides she wants nothing to do with the supernatural world. Too bad she doesn’t know that Nathaniel is part of it.

Will fate bring these two together, or has Nathaniel made the biggest mistake of his afterlife?

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Excerpt

I can help it feel better. Trust me. Just one more second and… there.” I place her foot down on the grass and lean back. “Feel any better?”

She covers her foot and ankle with her hands. “Yes, much. It’s not even cold anymore.”

She looks at me with a clear question on her face. I turn away and watch the water meander downstream. “You should be more careful out here. What if I hadn’t shown up?”

I could’ve died from hypothermia.”

You don’t sound disturbed about it,” I point out.

You did show up though, and I didn’t die.” The next thing she says into her lap, but I hear it clear enough and I am surprised by the words. “It wasn’t totally unexpected.”

Did you just say you were expecting death?”

Does that sound crazy? It’s just — I had a feeling something really horrible was going to happen today.”

Do you get that feeling often?” I ask. Maybe behind those delicate green eyes is someone who is missing a few marbles. I don’t really believe it from the short amount of time I’ve been with her, but it’d make things less complicated right now if she was mental.

Not often, no. But one time something really bad did happen, so I take it seriously.”

I remembered her black pen scratching, the words “when will it be my time” and her sullen face in her room. Is she psychic or something? She sits still, her eyes focused on her lap. Her fingers are busy shredding blades of grass into miniscule pieces.

It ended up not being too terrible after all. You came, and now I’m fine.”

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The Author

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Jody A. Kessler enjoys writing paranormal novels and is a member of Pikes Peak Writers. She is a yoga instructor, Reiki Master, and a graduate from the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy. When she took an extended leave from her massage practice to stay at home with her newborn she returned to her first true passion —writing. She spends most of her time being a mother, writing, and teaching yoga, but also likes going to concerts, hiking, practicing herbal medicine, and reading anything that catches her interest. Jody lives in the mountains of Colorado with her family.

She welcomes visitors to her website www.jodyakessler.com

Buy a copy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Death-Lies-Between-Us-ebook/dp/B00BLMYLUG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362021443&sr=8-1&keywords=death+lies+between+us

Or connect with her here:

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

Pinterest

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My Review

Okay, so there were two things I didn’t like about the book, and I take a few points off the top because of it. I don’t like first person writing, and I pretty much detest two-person first person writing. I decided to keep reading the book, but I admit that this did bother me through the whole thing. That’s personal taste, though, of course; and I think that today’s YA readers rather like that, so those are personal points taken off, not “writerly” points. 😀

What I did like about the book, however, was that I felt that Nathaniel was NOT your average YA hero. Ms. Kessler managed to make him both that brooding, dark hero that YAs these days enjoy, without giving him the cliche “emo” feel that so many of them express. He acknowledges his difficult upbringing, but it doesn’t become “the thing” that defines him. Too many novels these days follow the trends and ride on the laurels of other books, but Death Lies Between Us is a hero who has his own personality, his own experiences, and his unique view of life. This very much endeared the book as a whole to me.

I liked Juliana, too; although some of her appeal is just in her abilities. But she is a relatable heroine for YA, and her loyalty and bravery made her likeable. She had her moments, but over all I feel that Ms. Kessler managed to make a heroine in a YA novel that was someone you wanted to cheer on rather than strangle; and for a YA novel, that is a remarkable feat in and of itself.

Now, most of the points I award are for storytelling. Does the author deliver? Because that’s who the majority of the book review reflects upon. It’s also information for other readers. So I will say that Ms. Kessler delivers in the storytelling. I also must give another bit of kudos here for the editing and proofreading staff, who also delivered! The book is sound in the ‘kicking the tires’ department as well as the storytelling department.

Over all, Thank You, Ms. Kessler, for the excellent read! I enjoyed it, and I will recommend it. 🙂

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RAFLCOPTER! How could I forget!

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Blogger’s Note

PS, I must apologize for being late yet again. Naturally, because that’s the way this has trended for the two times I’ve done Goddess Fish Promotions posts… I had a major issue that made me late yet again. Yesterday’s Windows 8 update became the Windows 8 reformat from the pits of hell. Therefor, I lost my original review, which I wrote something like two or three weeks ago, because I liked the book enough to read it in one sitting. I’ll do my best to remember what I said, and I might add onto what I write after I scan the book again today. Thanks Windows! /sarcasm

Pagan Blog Project: G: GABCE

Friday’s Pagan Blog Project post.

So that’s just a series of letters, right? Well, I at, if you strip away everything beyond the utter basics, a pantheist. So my discussion today is The Great All-encompassing Being who Created Everything.

When I was a young child, I had multiple experiences during which I died. During some of these events, I had experiences that they call “Near Death Experience”. I don’t know why it’s called “near” death experience, since at least two of the times I was clinically dead with no brain activity, but I digress…

During these events, I walked with a being that I generally call “God”. This, however, isn’t really a good word, because it has more baggage than a fleet of fully-packed 747s.

So for this G day, I’m going to call it GABCE.

I walked with GABCE during these events. First, I would meet what you might call a guide, or a guardian, or an angel. This beautiful, loving Being would then take me ‘flying’ in the Universe, where I would, in essence, walk with GABCE.  I learned that this incredible, over-arching presence is in all things, through all things, and it is within this ultimate presence that we live and have our being.

As years have passed, I’ve come to understand that, within that GABCE presence, there are so many more spirits and beings. There are those who are here in service to us, who assist us, and are our “god/desses” in some cases.

I remember the amazing, loving being who would first greet me upon my body’s death, and a specific conversation that we once had. I asked it, point-blank, “What are you?”

The answer was cryptic, and dissatisfying to me as a child. It was, in essence, that it was whatever label I wanted to give it… and many more. Some label it an angel and stop there. But its purpose, it informed me, was to serve human beings. All of them serve human beings as we struggle in this life we’ve chosen (on a spiritual level, not a “The Secret” level).  That being human is a very hard work, a heavy spiritual labor unlike any other. Because of that, we need help, assistance, and support while we do it.

Each of these “beings” are part of the whole, like we are. That to try to say that this or that pantheon is The Right One is like saying that only people who live in given a small town in Russia are human beings. The rest are… well, wrong. Or are something else.  It’s illogical and unrealistic… and the same goes for trying to claim one deity real and others nonexistent.

The GABCE needs no name, because yes, there is only one of It. There is only one sky, so we’ve never named our sky, either… we don’t need to know one sky from another. We don’t need to know one GABCE from another because there’s only one.

But like the sky, we can often come to relate better to GABCE by seeing a part at a time and knowing that part thoroughly. We see one part of the sky at a time, because our vision is too limited and the sky too vast. This is why I have begun to get to know various deities on their own merits. Because they are both individuals, and part of the whole that is All That Is.

Their love is as real as the love of the GABCE. But sometimes, it can be easier to sense directly and relate to personally, as seeing part of the sky is more possible from our limited perspective, than seeing all of it is.

Good day to all. 🙂

God/dess in the Garden

This week’s letter for the Pagan Blog Project is G.

Before I begin, I must point out that I’m sort of an unofficial pantheistic polytheist, which is not exactly pagan in the polytheistic meaning. But it’s as good a label as anything, I suppose, and I’m content with the appellation and the company. 🙂

That being said, my discussion here will make more sense in that light, I hope. I believe that God, better known to me as The Infinite, Loving Intelligence that created everything and is in and through all things, is what brings forth life in everything. This infinite force IS Life, and Love. And it is in everything, as everything… and life yearns for itself with a deep, abiding longing.

This, to me, is no more apparent than in the garden, where each plant has its own personality and its own penchant for passing forth its own life.  Seeds, runners, tubules, tubers… everything in the garden yearns towards life.

It is time in our state to begin thinking of and planning the garden. Soon planting will begin, as well. It is the way life is, this cycle of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.  Before the great fires of Beltaine come the indoor planting and the nurturing of the seeds from a glimmer of life to a seedling.

Gardening is not for the faint of heart, and you must be prepared for the seedlings to die sometimes. It’s an art, or perhaps a science–neither my forte. I imagine sometimes that this must be what it is like for the Divine force that created us. There is such great pleasure and hope when we flourish, such an eagerness to assist when we flag, and a tender sorrow when we must be composted back into the great Earth from which our various minerals, proteins, fluids, and the like sprang.

In the essence of gardening I find the whisper of spirits. Nature spirits, gods and goddesses, or the Divine Creator Itself, I know not… and it matters little. For these whispers are meant for me, from the garden to my heart.

When it is time for you to begin gardening and growing the seedlings in your house, may you find yourself also in a place of such joy. Take the time as your hands are sunk into the brown soil to feel the joy and wonder of the lives, both great and small, all around you. For in giving life, we reflect the Divinity within us that is reflected back at us from everything around us. In living, the things around us reflect our own natures and our own souls, that we might know the truth of our intrinsic nature.

God, or that being within whom we have our life, is in everything. But there’s a special connection in the garden, even for those of us who bumble and fumble about in it like fools.

I’m ready, spring. I’ll kill a few seedlings and I’ll screw some of it up, but I’ll still feel the life that comes from gardening, and the magic and wonder of when it works out right.

The Risen God by Shannon Phoenix

The book I’m currently working like mad on is currently called The Risen God.

So far as I know, my background is English or Irish. Possibly Scottish. Either way, with what little I know of my family history, at least some of my ancestors are from that area. I’ve always felt a pull towards that area, and thus I have decided to begin my ‘gods’ series with one of the most compelling ones from that area. I suspect that many of them will be from that area.

Something that is not talked about at all is how many of us white people have also lost our own heritages and backgrounds. I am not out to demonize Christians or their religion, I am simply stating a fact when I say what I am about to: Christianity in its early incarnation wiped out multitudes of other cultures–and many of them were white cultures.

The Irish, the Welsh, the English, the Scottish… they all had their own religions, their own culture, even their own writing. The Christians tried at that time to claim that they brought writing to the Isles, but this is not true. The druids (the ‘educated’ of the Isles) had a form of writing called Ogham well before the Roman Christian conquerors came.

So my first book in the Gods and Goddesses series centers around Gwyn ap Nudd. This ancient God was the Welsh God of the Hunt. His job was that of a psychopomp… meaning that he led forgotten or lost… or evil… souls to the Afterlife.

In The Risen God, the first in the series, Gwyn is found buried in a pasture by Terry. Terry is an average woman. There’s nothing special about her. She’s not psychic, she’s not the reincarnation of someone he loved. She’s just a typical American woman going about her day…. when she finds something extraordinary.

Now, Gwyn must find his Horn, fetch his horse and his hounds, and ride again. The fate of mankind rests upon the psychopomps being found and being able to do their jobs again. The gates to Annwyn (paradise) are degrading, and soon souls will be entirely unable to return home between reincarnations. And there will be no more choice in reincarnation thereafter–all souls will be trapped eternally on what will rapidly become a desolate planet upon which only a few will appear to thrive–even as the evil that rots their souls grows.

But that evil has had a lot of time to plot and plan. And even as Gwyn begins to search for his Horn, his Horse, and his Hounds, he continually finds himself stymied by the long-term planning of an encroaching evil.

The resurrection of Gwyn ap Nudd is symbolic, certainly; as he was not dead. Yet it is symbolic on two levels, for the resurrection of Gwyn ap Nudd into common culture is past its time. All of us whose cultures were destroyed have a right to our heritage; to pride in that heritage, and to resurrect that heritage.

So I welcome back Gwyn, God of the Hunt, God of the Dead. May you once more, in the minds of mankind, usher the dead home.

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