Gohaldinest – the ancient city

Here’s a little story you might not know about Gohaldinest.

In Quest for the Three Books, I needed a name for a place whose streets were supposedly paved with gold. The line, “The streets are paved with gold, but I seek a richer treasure,” kept going through my head. The streets of where? 

So, of course I went about naming this city by doing what I always do: starting with a letter and seeing where it goes from there. As you are probably thinking, the name became Gohaldinest. 

The streets of Gohaldinest are paved with gold, but I seek a richer treasure. If you’ve read the Sacred Knight series, then you know this is a line from the oath of a dominus. But Gohaldinest was never meant to be a real city. It was supposed to be an imaginary place, the setting of a fable. 

We have cities like this in our own history, those that seem to have been swallowed by time. As our archaeology and technology improves, we realize that sometimes the rubble of one city becomes the foundations for another. Many towns are built from the very stones of the buildings of fallen cities. 

This is what happened to Gohaldinest. It literally wasn’t until the third book, To Birth a Destiny, when Steigan is in Dubinshire that he discovers that Gohaldinest is real and that Dubinshire was built from the rock that had once formed the older city.

Now to have walked through Gohaldinest in the shoes of three different characters (Steigan: Quest for the Three Books, Rivic: Tangled Magic & Walk the Path, and Cirvel: Palladium) just for starters is pretty amazing and wondrous. The further back I go into the history of Gohaldinest (since for some reason I have to be writing these books pretty much backwards — it doesn’t quite count since I still need to write books 5 and 6 for Sacred Knight), the more of an amazing place this city becomes. 

I am so glad this city is mine to write about.

Alexander’s Den – the audiobook

Come across the sands to a place where some people want their stories told and others don’t. You never know what you will find at Alexander’s. For Thomis, this storyteller’s days grow short and he merely wants some peace.

Find it on your favorite audio distributor or start your search here. While it is available in several places, I also noticed that it is still working its way to some platforms, so if it’s not on your favorite platform currently, keep watch for it as it should be soon.

Audiobooks can be the perfect option for people who think that they don’t have time to read or who might struggle with reading a book. I find time to listen to audiobooks while I’m taking my daily walk, doing dishes, or while commuting to work. It’s not just for long trips. (grin!) I know many people who tell me they listen to audiobooks while at work — lucky dogs!

Happy listening (or reading!)

Rousing of ideas

I wrote about how ties and carpets have inspired ideas before, but here’s another thing that spurred an idea. You may actually recognize him from the cover of Mystery of the Stardust Monk.

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This little monk statue was in the courtyard at the Anchor in Lincoln City, Oregon. Look at him closely and you’ll notice that he’s been cleaved in two it looks like. I always wondered how the split came about and what was holding him together. I think that’s why he sat in the back of my imagination.

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Progress postponed for an important message

In the wake of what has happened today in Las Vegas, I have chosen to postpone my usual Monday progress post to share a message with hope.

We are not taught how to have hope in a brighter tomorrow. Truly, this is something we have to learn. Television shows like Star Trek and Stargate (because sci-fi is all about the “alien among us” and that “humanity survives”) are great teachers of this lesson. I wrote Broken Smiles earlier this year as an exercise of “write what scares you” and I barely touched on my fears. Society crumbling and this becoming a dystopian world after an apocalypse totals scares me to paralysis. I can’t even let my mind go down that far. I fear about what I would touch upon. To try to imagine what the shooter in Las Vegas was thinking, to look for his motivations, I can only say that he had some darkness and no longer believed in hope.

I feel we must learn a true lesson from this. We must not only send our love, support, and prayers to the families that have lost loved ones today, but we must figure out what must be done within ourselves and the lives of those around us so that something like this never happens again. That is a monumental (and quite impossible) task. But, we must begin and believe in the quest that a Utopian world can be achieved; otherwise, why bother living at all?

I feel I must step back and take a moment to go into a deeper explanation. I have often told people that from the years of 1996-2010, I was not doing much writing. Yes, this is the period of my life where I lost a lot and I grieved the loss of my writing very hard. Writing had been what I had always done. It is also true that this is the time when the art came into my life, but that wasn’t until about 2002.

It seems that everyone alive during 2001 remembers where they were on September 11th and they heard the news about the plane attacks. I remember watching on live television shots of people jumping from the towers and the collapse of the buildings. I was an extreme pessimist at the time and had been most my life. I’d rarely seen anything go right, let alone the way I wanted it. I figured this was the end. For weeks, I listened to news reports, hoping more survivors would be found and not surprised when when hopeful emergency personnel just recovered more bodies. I knew I had to pull myself out of that misery I was feeling. I went to my office and turned on my computer to write. I sat there until I cried.

I cried in silence for a good half an hour or so. I cried for all the lives that had been lost. I cried for the world that I had birthed my children into. I cried for no longer believing humanity was any good. I cried because that was the day I lost all my stories. What in the bloody blazes was the point of telling them to a world that was a waste?

I died within those tears.

I’m glad I did.

It took me a decade to pull myself out of that, a ten year span where I, like a phoenix, felt myself getting reborn and growing up.

Because the world didn’t end on September 11th, I had become optimistic. Over time, I learned to seek joy. I became a self-development junkie. I realized we are not put here on this planet for tests and trials! We are here to enjoy our lives and to share that joy with others. When someone breaks that natural law, we have a tragedy and everyone feels it. Check your history; it has been like this from the very beginning of time. Only now, does the radius of pain spread so much further because of the smallness of our planet.

But when does hearing about tragedy ever make you feel better about yourself? Never. When do you feel good? When you are sharing love and joy with your family.

That was a lesson I learned during that decade. I turned off the news stories. I now read headlines to keep myself informed about what is going on in the world, but I actively ask myself before clicking a link to read an article if I really want to bring that “news” into my life. I filter. I decide what stories I want in my head. And, when I do read a “news” story, I judge how accurate I believe it to be. History is always told by the victors, and there are always two sides to every tale. See my Sacred Knight series if you want to see the development of that theme in my life! BINGO!

You need to do the same thing (cutting off the non-joyful news) if you haven’t already.

From the biggest tragedy of my time on this planet until now, I have spent writing and painting for myself first. I “follow my passion” for myself and my own enjoyment. I write for my own entertainment, getting to play around in my own head, and tell stories that make me feel more encouraged about life. I paint so I can make the world a more beautiful place. When I am done with my play, then I share with the world. I take my adventures and visions and give them to the world. I always hope that like-minded individuals find them, such as with this message too.

It is my biggest belief that we need to share good stories. I’ve seen studies done where kids who did not have enough mythology classes in school end up being the ones who read about the celebrities. They follow the Hollywood and musical stars because they need a mythological structure in their life and these people fill that need.

Guess what? Celebrity status means exactly nothing to me. Whatever! They are people too. They put their pants on one leg at a time and they create their own drama and problems just like everyone else.

But then again, I write about a god. Several of them, I guess, actually if you count Odin, Thor, Anubis, Hel, etc.

Now I digress.

My point is that we need to share good stories with those that we love. We need to seek them out, bring them into our lives, make them part of our mythology. Stories become our friends after we share that world in an author-reader relationship. We have taken an adventure, and, if it’s good, we long to share it. Do that! This is my message of hope to you. I share stories with my children that I believe had value and my kids do the same with me. They don’t even have to be stories told in a book, but I believe that those are the best because they engage the imagination better than something that is set all out on a platter for you like a television show. Yes, people need to read in order to engage their imaginations.

Read what you enjoy. Start there.

That is what should be the instruction in school, not forcing someone to read something then be forced to dissect it. That can come later (with the acknowledgement that there really are no right or wrong answers because everyone comes to the story with different life experiences and can interpret the story in another way from someone else).

We need to be taught how to enjoy first. So share the stories you enjoy with the people you love. Share, share, share. Share your joy, share your enthusiasm, share you life experiences. Start now, for it is never too late.

You might just save someone’s life. Or, you might give someone else a reason to live.

Death of a princess

I admit it: when I was growing up, I loved to imagine that I was Princess Leia. Strong, yet also a damsel in distress who needed just a little bit of help to be rescued. In the romance genre world, it would be called the “meet cute,” which is just as it sounds: the character meets the cute guy or gal who steals their heart. Fortunately at the time, I was too young to realize the ick factor of Luke being her brother, but that was probably all right since I always liked Han Solo better anyway. Yeah, that was life growing up in the ‘70’s.

By the time I learned that Carrie Fisher had had a heart attack, she was in stable condition at the hospital. It was the same reaction I had when I heard about Harrison Ford’s plane crash: thank goodness they are okay.

To learn that Carrie Fisher had left his world feels like a piece of my childhood just got put away into a music box as if it were a precious memory too painful to wear any more, not to dissimilar than putting away a necklace given to you by a boyfriend you adored but broke up with. I had the same sense of loss when Leonard Nimoy died.

Star Wars and Star Trek… two shows that influenced my childhood so greatly.These shows taught me to use my imagination and let me be free to run and play as I chose. I didn’t have to be bound to earth in our present time, but could go anywhere through space and time that I wished. I played in these worlds on my father’s ranch and it transported me far beyond my little town. Once I discovered this power, there was no stopping me. I could be anywhere.

I’m sure I’m no different than thousands of other people growing up at that time. But let us take a moment to really consider what these stories were trying to tell us and why they remain so popular today.

I personally believe that it is because they both had the underlying premise of a better world. In Star Trek, earthlings were exploring and trying to establish friendly contact with other races. It showed that we could all get along if we tried and those that were truly bad or bullies were always defeated. Who doesn’t give a little that-puts-you-in-your-place smile when they think about the Romulans getting a shipful of Tribbles? Yeah, that’s karma, baby!

With Star Wars, we had people rising up to overcome evil. So maybe they weren’t perfect, like Han, who was rough around the edges and running barely ahead of his debts. But when it counted, they came together with the hope of making the galaxy better.

As we approach the new year, let us reflect on the things that have influenced our lives. And in memory of Carrie Fisher, let’s be honest with ourselves and see if there’s any aspect of our lifestyle where we might be cheating others of our presence so that we can eliminate it in the new year. As Wayne Dyer, another soul lost from this world, said, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

That “music” might just influence the lives of a generation or two.

 

Is your life sad?

Last week, I was talking to a reader who is very excited about the next books in each series and was wondering when they were coming out. She asked me how I find the time to write while also working full-time. I laughed and told her it was because I didn’t have a life.
She looked at me and said, “That’s sad.”
Suddenly I was taken aback. I could see how someone might consider that a sad condition.
The truth of the matter is that we all get 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no “do overs.” And, there is an expiration date on the package and none of us can be exactly sure when that will be. But when you and your neighbor each have 168 hours in a week, the two of you can spend that time in radically different ways.
Now as I stood there in this moment, I realized that yes, there are some choices I make consciously so that I can have the time I need to create. I quickly explained that there was nothing I’d rather be doing than telling stories. I trade the hours of my life to do that so that I hopefully can bring joy and entertainment to people. If that means I miss out on many of the things that other people do, I can live with that. All I’ve ever wanted to do was to tell stories. Even when I was younger, I was trading all my “free time” to do that. I was always writing.
Now my stories have expanded into other mediums when I have the time (here I’m talking about painting and drawing mostly, but I am trying to also squeeze in time to produce my stories as audiobooks — yes, it really is happening!) and I am grateful that in do so I’m chasing other dreams I had as a child but that I didn’t realize I’d had until I was older. That could probably expand into more explanation, but I’m going to keep it short and sweet here. Suffice to say that art and audiobooks aren’t on orbits far out from what I was thinking about when I was growing up. The more I review my life, the more links I see.
My challenge really is getting all the tracks of my life to line up rather than being like LEGO pieces scattered all over the floor. I’m still working on getting it all snapped together, but each day I feel closer.
So how do I find the time to do what I do? Fifteen minutes a day on some projects. Deciding to make time for others. And lately, a calendar to make sure I really do make the time. You do only have those 24 hours in a day and you have to know how you will spend them. If you don’t decide, someone will decide for you whether it’s a spouse, your children, your TV, Facebook, etc. It is your life. Do you really want to hand the reins to someone else? When you reach the end of your life, will you be happy with what you traded your days for? That’s a question only you can answer.
For me, dedicating my life to my stories, to my creativity, to my imagination, is the most valuable thing I can do. I love every moment of it.

The balance in spring

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

I found this quotation in my thesaurus this morning. Unfortunately, it didn’t say who it was from. I’m sure I could Google it, but that seems like “work.” That’s how my weekend has gone. I’m the stone that’s come to a stop and is gathering moss now. Truth be told, I hate this feeling!

I’ve now had three weeks of inactivity, or close to doing nothing. Granted, I’ve been sick with this stupid cold that everyone in the valley has had. I do hate it when I come to a stop.

Where is the wind that will get me going again?

How much longer must I be imprisoned in the “real world” to “take care of myself” when I want to get back to my imagination and run free again?

Sigh.

Spring comes tomorrow. The days and nights will be in balance for the equinox. Maybe I will find my own balance once again.