Mist and Silence

I longed for this. Mist and silence.
I found it here among the hills where no one lives.
The long roads through farms of hay.
The house windows, like ghost eyes, looking out. I can’t see in.
I am alone here.The sound of birds.
The ripples of dreams in the streams. So much water.
Wandering, whispering, speaking in song.
Fluttering for eternity. Unaware.

The language of magic. Just to be.

Streams to the river.
I have craved this place and yet found little here.
That was the point.
To find nothing. Only me.

I found that.
The hill. So big. My dream come true.
I like them big. But small is so much easier.
Pushing me, I keep going. Keep going. Pull the invisible rope. Breathe through.
I will make it to the top. I always do.
No matter what past or present pulls me back,
makes it hard,
I continue on,
because I am.

I make it to the top and there is air
and a view
and I am well.

Where are you?
I listen for you in the wind. On the road. I can hear you speaking so clearly.
See you and the dark, with such promises of light.
The trees breathe and sway, singing of something.
A story of next. Of before. I can’t really tell. But it is a lovely verse.
And though I can not quite make it out, I know it is right and I know it is now.

And I realize the you I am waiting for is me.
Which is disappointing.

The truth of it.
There is only me on this hill top. Even when I am with you.
Escaped for some time from the tower,
but lost all the same.
Maybe when I go back, I will remember what freedom wanting is.
Then I can focus on dreams.
Here is the limitless nothing of possible, silence and mist.

 

 

Love and the Soul

Through story we emerge. Through story we are created. We create ourselves by the stories we tell. And yet some stories are not ours. We can not control or know the stories of others. In our dreams, in our nightmares we envision stories to fill in the gaps. Sometimes we tell stories to others to hide the truth of ourselves, our real stories. Or we leave things untold to hide from ourselves and everyone else.

Psyche was a mortal woman who was so beautiful men began to forget to worship Aphrodite and instead coveted the girl. Goddesses being as they are, Aphrodite became jealous and bade her son, Eros, to make the ugliest, most horrible man in the world fall in love with Psyche so she would be married and off the market and the men would stop paying attention to her. Eros went to do as he was told, as any man, god or not, should obey his mother. When he laid eyes on Psyche though, he too fell in love with her. He made it so that no man would want her. No man was in love with her. No man pursued her. Instead, he offered himself, hidden, out of sight, and proclaimed as a monster, to her parents who were happy to finally marry her off. Without rights or freedoms, Psyche was compelled to marry a monster. She was forbidden, however, to lay her eyes upon him. She was terrified. No girl wants to marry a monster. But when he came to her the night of their wedding, he made love to her in the darkness and she felt the beauty of him so deeply she doubted he was the monster they claimed. She tried to trust and to accept her fate and yet each night when he came to her bed, physically exalting her into bliss, she fell more deeply in love with him. Her body and soul knew he was beautiful, it did not matter what story he told.

Finally she could control her curiosity no more and one night she looked upon him by the light of a lamp. Psyche was startled at the sight, previously unseen. All along, a gorgeous god had been her lover. At this revelation she jolted and a drop of oil fell upon Eros. He awoke, his woman having disobeyed his command, and he became angry, disappearing from her sight, perhaps forever. Psyche was so dismayed at what she had lost and ashamed of having not trusted that she threw herself at the feet of Aphrodite and begged. She would do anything for her lover to return. Aphrodite compelled Psyche to go on a quest, one of course where she would have to overcome many trials and obstacles before she could ever touch or see her lover again. She struggled. She almost failed. Creatures and friends came to her aide when she thought for sure she was done for. She persevered despite her doubt and shame, because she loved him. And in the end, Eros returned, her beautiful lover, who’d masqueraded as a monster. Psyche was given celestial ambrosia to drink so she too would be elevated to the heavens, where there they live on as eternal lovers.

I am thinking about stories. I am thinking about monsters. Those who believe they are. Those we say are when we are hurt. I am contemplating trust and faith. I am contemplating shame and loss. What story must one tell themselves to persevere through struggle, through doubt, through fear. The story we tell ourselves and to others is the story that is true. Is he a monster? Or a god in disguise? Should you trust? Should you disobey? There is no right answer. That is why we have myths. To console ourselves that even when we have done exactly what we should not have done, even when what we hoped for does not seem to be what we are receiving, it can still work out in the end.

Summer is Writing

Have you seen them? Jupiter and Venus are CLOSE. I love it when I can see in the sky what I read about in my horoscopes! The stars are aligning…

Summer time is here and I am determined to “finish” Cold Spring Fire” by the end of it. I know. I know. Promises. Promises. There has been a lot going on in life and the path has been steep and rocky at times – but the writing calls. I write not because I want to, but because I have to. There are stories to be told or else they will burst me.

So… this Wednesday, July 8th, I am presenting at the Greenfield Public Library an Author Talk. 6 PM. If you are in the western, MA area – please stop by and say hello. I will be reading from and talking about The Nightingale Bones as well as a little about Cold Spring Fire. I will be signing books both brought and bought. I’d love to see you.

AND….this weekend, I believe I am to be featured in The Springfield Republican! Check it out!

Happy Fourth of July – here’s to celebrating the independence to choose, to live, to love, and to write! in the ways that make us most happy!

Ariel Swan

P.S. Happy Blue Moon Month!

Snow, Wine, Books, and More Snow!

wine heart book

It is snowing, again, here in Massachusetts. I consider myself a regional writer, but at this moment, I am seriously connecting with Stephen King’s The Shining. He’s regional too, to Maine, but that one takes place at a snowed in hotel in Colorado. We have about two feet out there right now. My fellow Massachusetts folks further east (it is a large state you know) have more like four feet, because they got a few last week.

In any case, I am going a little stir crazy, but I am looking forward to next weekend when I will be at The Harvard General Store for the rescheduled book event in my home town. Yay! I am so excited to go back to Harvard and see my peeps from there. There will be wine too, and of course plenty of copies of The Nightingale Bones. The Bones, incidentally, takes place in a hot summer in the hills. So, if you are feeling the cold and want a little escape it is a good one.

harvard

Otherwise, I am writing, my WIP is a more wintery story. I have a hike across the ice to the old foam igloo on the island scene percolating in my head. What? Right. You’ll have to read it. But if you were around back in the days when that strange old house was still on that island, you’ll know the one I am referencing. That’s right Harvard folks, remember, the next one is about you! Hahahahahahahahaha. A little scary, I know. I promise that was not a maniacal laugh.

So, stay warm everyone, and come see me next Saturday, February 14th, at The Harvard General Store. Reading is at 4pm. I promise it will be sweet and full of red bliss.

Book Event Postponed! :(

Unfortunately, due to snow, I will not be venturing east to Harvard today. I am very disappointed for this, but I have heard from many that the expected snow is stopping up their plans. I want people to come, so I will attempt to reschedule. The Harvard General Store has been so great in setting this up, I hate to waste the opportunity. But, I am confident that we can make it work even better for a later date, some time SOON

!winter-snow-nature103

Upcomg Events: Book Tour 2.0

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Someone told me recently that for the Chinese New Year the tradition is to 1) clean your house and sweep all the “dirt” out the door (Josephine would be pleased), 2) buy a new outfit to wear on New Year’s Day, and 3) cut your hair. Here’s to new beginnings and a prosperous 2015!

I am busy getting ready for Book Tour 2.0. In January I am pleased to announce that I will be in Harvard, MA on Saturday the 24th from 4-7 pm at the upstairs of The General Store. It is a gorgeous space. When I was growing up there was a camera shop up there. I remember as a 5th grader buying candy after school at the General Store with my friends. We could walk over through the cemetery from school. That was before they paved the walk around path to keep kids out of sacred ground. (Samuel Nightingale would be sad).

Then, I will be in Agawam on the 29th at 7pm. Thanks so much Wendy for reaching out!

In March, which will come fast, I will be at the Springfield Author Fair from 12-4 at the public library. I look forward to meeting my fellow Bell Bridge author Howard Odentz there. Thanks too Howard for reaching out.

And…I have a few other surprises in the works. Hopefully more on those soon. Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Book Tour 1.0

The past few months have been a bit of a whirlwind. The Nightingale Bones was released just as I returned to my day job for the school year. While my publisher has been working the digital end of things, I have been doing what I can to promote myself and celebrate the release of the book locally. I am one of those authors who drives around with a box of books in my car and always has a signing pen in my pocket. Believe me it comes in handy.

Columbus Day weekend I returned to the place from where the seeds of the story grew. The Ashfield Historical Society was thrilled to receive a copy of the book, happy to stock it, and happy to have me sit on their porch for the famous Fall festival to peddle my wares. The historical society features prominently in the fiction of The Nightingale Bones. It was amazing to have people walk by and mouth the words of the title and even more amazing that people stopped in and bought some!

At the Ashfield Historical Society October 11 2014

   At the Ashfield Historical Society October 11 2014

Historical Society Oct 2014

Write Up in The Ashfield News

Write Up in The Ashfield News

In late October I had my first book signing at World Eye Books in Greenfield, MA. A whole bunch of lovely folks turned out, buying two and three books each. This was unexpected and, since being in the small publishing world, I have to supply my own books, I was afraid I was going to run out for the next day’s event. At a favorite local restaurant, we had a book celebration complete with reading. This attracted family and friends from all over. It was a private event, but it was so wonderful to bask in that moment of The Nightingale Bones finally being a reality.

 006                          

008                                                     

Some things I learned in those first three events: Ask people if they want the book personalized or just signed. Some just want the signature, so they can pass it on, or…because it will be worth more some day if I become famous. 😉 Also ask people to spell their names as you write. It is hard to spell anything when there is a crowd and so much going on. And of course, the last thing you want is to misspell someone’s name in the copy of your book they just purchased!

At my fourth event, again in Ashfield, at the town library, was small, but people showed up whispering “see I told you it was her…” They recognized me from when I lived there via the write up the local paper did.  It was great to answer their questions as to how I took tidbits of the town’s folklore and wove my own story. There were even some folks who came that had informed bits and pieces of characters in the story. It was really quite surreal. At this event, half way through reading my seance scene, I realized I needed to give context to the scene before I read it, for those who had not read the book yet. I hadn’t done this at my first reading either. Lesson learned.

I also found myself at an artist walkabout up in the hills of western, MA where I was outside on a farm stationed near a barn as people hiked up and down a dirt road from artist studio to studio. I actually sold quite a few books that day and found that my husband is a great promoter. While I am shy about approaching people and being like: “Hey, check out this book,” he is not. He would prime them and then send them my way. One woman was talking to me for a minute admiring the view of the farm and then realized I was the author that strange man with the lovely eyes had just been talking up. “Is this you?” she exclaimed holding up my promotional post card. She ended up buying a book and I gave an impromptu book talk right there on the cold, sunny hillside.

In a few weeks I will embark on round two of the homegrown book tour. January 24th I will be at the Harvard General Store from 4-7pm. Harvard is the town where I grew up and is fictionalized in my second novel in progress, currently titled Cold Spring Fire. I am SUPER EXCITED TO SEE ALL MY OLD SCHOOL FRIENDS THERE!!!!!!!!!!!  Then on January 28th I will be at the Agawam Public Library for a reading, and in March at the Springfield Public Library for an author fair. Hope to see you there!

Cover & Title: The Nightingale Bones

As social media works, those who have liked my FB page will already know this, but for the rest of you out there, and perhaps for anyone who missed it the first time, I am happy to announce that Distillation has a new title and…most exciting…a COVER!

First, let me say it has been an experience in itself to turn my baby, this book I have been working on in one way or another for a number of years, from first words, to rewrites, to agent, to publisher, over to someone else. This is another step in the long journey to being a published author, letting those who know what they are talking about tweak it for the market. And each step of the way, I have thought, ‘well this part of the journey is the most difficult.’ But not this time. As my agent would tell you, I tend to have an initial reaction, a desire to hold on to what I have thought to be the way it is, and then, without too much fuss, I think, I have been able to see the merit in change. It is amazing, actually, to experience how an outside entity takes the work and shines it into something that both reflects the novel but attracts a variety of readers.

The title process was not too difficult. The publisher tossed out some ideas, we tossed some back, and ultimately, she decided on one that was one I had liked from her first list. So…The Nightingale Bones it is. I would certainly check out a book with this title. It evokes mystery. Is it talking literally about bird bones? I am attracted to things with birds, and bird bones have a certain creepy quality. Or, is Nightingale a person? And are the bones his or her individual bones or are these bones somehow related in another way? Are they human bones, or what? Hmm. Overall then, the idea is evocative and draws in a reader. Great!

The cover was the most exciting part. I feel lucky to have been asked to submit an Art Fact sheet where I could put forward images and ideas I felt represented the book in mood and content. My favorite question was ‘If the book were a color, what would it be?’ Peppermint green was my answer, peppermint being central to the story, and it is that haunting green of the cover that provides an air of both eeriness and beauty all at once, to paraphrase a commenter on my author page. My favorite part, other than the color, are the stones that can just be seen beneath the water. These strike a chord for me from a number of subtle elements in the story…but you will have to read it to find out what those are.

What do you think the cover says? What kind of story do you imagine lies beneath?

And, if you haven’t, stop by Ariel Swan, Author on Facebook and Like it !

I have a publisher!!!!

 

Phew! It has been a whirlwind spring. Sorry I just dropped off the face of the blogosphere there for a while. The last term of school is always the craziest. I was heavily involved in this year’s senior class. I went to prom, chaperoned their senior trip to Ocean City, MD, and spoke at their Farewell. I also became head of the English department at my school. Amidst all that happening, I also received an offer of publication from Bell Bridge Books! This was, of course, extremely exciting.

Since then, I have been working on edits, offering images and ideas for cover art, and trying to brainstorm with the publisher a new title for the book currently known as DISTILLATION. The release date is soon, much sooner than anticipated. It should be some time this summer, though I do not have a specific date as of yet. I will keep you all posted. I have also had a new author photo done. A little glamor shot like, but…it is professional looking. And, I have a Facebook page for Ariel Swan, Author up and running. So, please go on over an LIKE it!

Finding my Stories in Dreams

M.V. Freeman is here today on arielswan.com. M.V. is a best selling author of Romance and Urban Fantasy and a fellow author from the Aponte Literary Agency. When she told me she wanted to talk about her inspiration coming from dreams, I was excited. Welcome M.V. Freeman!

MVFreeman

I have been invited today to be on Ariel’s blog and I must say, I’m excited and nervous. It’s like going to a new school for the first time—do I have my hair just right? Did I pick the right clothes?  You’ll just have to ignore the spinach in my teeth…

Today I’m going to talk about where my stories come from—my dreams. How about you, do you remember your dreams? Do you want to?

I’ve always dreamed.

I can remember dreams I had as a child, some scary, some funny. One of my recurring ones from childhood involved a fire and vampires biting people; I haven’t had it in years, but it is still vivid. The fear associated with it is gone, but I am amused by it; even back then my mind pointed me toward paranormal. The older I get the less I remember so I have started a dream journal to retain some of them. Sometimes my dreams make no sense—Once I dreamed of mashed potatoes –I must’ve been hungry.

Many times, my dreams are a basis of most of my stories. It can be thought, mood, character, or situation. Every once in a blue moon I get a set up for a story—complete with plot, motivation and populated by characters–I take them for what they are – a gift.
I used to hate to dream, because many times they were scary, but once I began to acknowledge my dreams they changed. They became helpful. I find it interesting how the subconscious is there for us—we just have to learn to tap into it and once you do, it begins to work for you. I find if you ignore it—then it does like most neglected things–it becomes a problem (like the bad dreams).

 
I’d like to say I have all sorts of methods I can share to get your dreams to work for you—but I don’t. I’ve taken classes by Kelly L. Stone (who has a fabulous one about awakening your muse) and Margie Lawson (Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors)—both address ways to tap into your subconscious. I highly recommend them for specific techniques.

For me, I usually relax and let my mind do the work. I show up (go to sleep) and write down my dreams when I awake (even before I leave my bed)—I admit sometimes I cannot read my writing, but the essence is still there. I don’t remember all of my dreams. When I am anxious or stressed I tend to not want to recall my dreams because they are filled with disturbing things so I choose to forget them. When I am relaxed things are better—this is when I see more unfold, in vivid color, scents, and sounds. It is like my own personal cinema.

Do you dream in color? I know a few people who only dream in black, white, and grey. The only time I’ve ever dreamed these shades was during a time I was working at a day-job which was making me deeply unhappy. I am not a dream specialist or psychologist, but I extrapolated that my situation was affecting me; I changed jobs and the color came back.

The dreams I love are the ones with the fantastical—I dreamed of dragons in flight, of a man who could control lightening (this became the basis of my first book Incandescent), in another I dreamed of someone coming back to life….

How about you? Do you try to remember your dreams?

I am an intense dreamer. If a dream really strikes me I try to tell it to someone or to write it down so I remember it. I don’t usually write about them, but I feel my dreams are a strong and clear reflection of my brain’s jumbled reckoning with daily life and emotions. I agree that is important to face ones dreams and to see them as a helpful tool for processing. Great thoughts M.V. and insight into how you find inspiration.

Thank you Ariel for having me!

Thanks for joining me. I look forward to your future writing.

Author Bio: M.V. Freeman is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Romance, with a love of strong coffee and cream for late night writing. She adores dark stories with anti-heroes and determined heroines. She’s represented by Victoria Lea, from Aponte Literary Agency.  When she is not writing, she’s reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee.

Where you can find M.V.:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMVFreeman

Twitter: @MVFree

Website: www.mvfreeman.com

Blog: http://paperbacksnpapercuts.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6431724.M_V_Freeman

Linkedin: http://lnkd.in/d_qEGm8

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mvfreeman/

Tumblr: http://mvfreeman.tumblr.com/

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