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Posts Tagged ‘my writing’

 

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Yes, this is a photo of me! At long last, I’m revealing my face. Photo by my husband.

If you follow my instagram, you saw my cryptic post yesterday that I had a secret about my novel River Magic, but I couldn’t share it yet. Well, now that it’s official, I can! Shadow Spark Publishing is going to bring River Magic to life! You can see my official bio on their author page here! I am so excited to join a team that is enthused about my manuscript and shares a similar vision for publication. I want to thank everyone who has supported me so far, especially my family and readers. I have so many emotions and thoughts swirling around my head about this, but I’m too excited to stitch them all together. Stay tuned for updates as I enter the next phase of my journey as a writer!

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My publisher’s announcement on Twitter! It says, “We’ve signed another one! Please welcome M. A. Phillips to Shadow Spark Publishing! Her Magical Realism Novel, RIVER MAGIC, had us staying up late at night to finish reading, and we look forward to bringing it to the world soon! @ditzydruid, Welcome Home, lady!”

 

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How to Make a Spider Your Ally

Text reads: “A new short story by M. A. Phillips: How to Make a Spider Your Ally – Featured on the Adirondack Center for Writing.”

The Adirondack Center for Writing decided to inspire its members and supporters with weekly prompts to help us get through this alarming time in our history. When they posted this week’s prompt, “How to make a spider your ally,” it immediately spoke to me as an animist. I had so much fun with this project, and it helped me work through some sadness experienced from the social isolation. You can read it for free on The Adirondack Center for Writing! Don’t forget to check out the other amazing entries! I’m enjoying them between housework, and I hope you appreciate them as much as I do!

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Once more, I’m squishing three mini blog posts together into a big one for your viewing pleasure! Here you’ll find some musings on the Spring Equinox, an activity for you to do with the little ones during isolation, and a new excerpt from an upcoming short story!

Growing Food

 

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Lettuce I’m regrowing. The CSA I got it from included the root ball, so I just plopped it back in a pot and watered. Now it’s regrowing! Photo by M. A. Phillips, 2020

My seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds arrived a couple days ago, promptly followed by the grow lights I ordered to improve my success. With everything shutting down, the shortages, and uncertainty, growing some food at home seems more important than ever. Each little seed is a packet of hope for the future. I enjoy blessing the seeds and planting them as part of our family Spring Equinox observations. If you’re new to gardening, there are plenty of resources online, but some of the easiest plants to grow in my experience are lettuce greens, peas, and chives. Chives will flourish year after year as they are self-seeding  (and quite invasive if you let them have their way). They’re a harbinger of spring in my garden, and even thrive left in pots left out over the winter. I enjoy snips of chives in my salads, potatoes, soups, and stews.

An Equinox Scavenger Hunt

Equinox Scavenger Hunt

My daughter is sad that she’s not able to celebrate the spring with our grovies. She always enjoyed doing an egg hunt and running around outside with the other kids. When the news reported that the virus reached the West Coast, I started buying one treat each grocery visit to ensure I had a basket for her. I also plan to do a scavenger hunt. I made a graphic using free clip art on Canva.com and am including it here for you if you like! I designed it for either hemisphere, and I emphasized the three realms in a kid-friendly way. It’s meant to be open-ended. Your child doesn’t have to find a bee, for example. It could be any insect flying in the sky. Any water will do – whether you go on a nature walk, look out your window, down from your balcony, or search for pictures and videos online. The important thing is you’re having conversations with your children and reflecting on seasonal changes.

A New Excerpt

Invasives excerpt

I push down the urge to utter a curse. My mind is too rattled to fuse words coherently without causing more harm than intended.
Invasives
by M. A. Phillips

I shared a sneak peek into an upcoming short story called “Invasives” on my instagram. I’ll talk about it more as we approach Bealtain, but I’m really excited for you to see it in issue three of Stone, Root, and Bone magazine! As always, I like adding excerpts to my Three Things Thursday posts since not all of my readers use that social media. Speaking of Stone, Root, and Bone, issue one is available for free this month! Just enter the promo code SRB1FREE when you check out. You’ll be able to read my short story “Lemon Balm Tea!” Let me know what you think.

Stay well everyone.

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  • Take Care – 
    Although “self-care” has become entangled with commercialism, I still find value in the original essence of the concept. Pausing to make time for ourselves and our spiritual, creative, or physical needs is important, especially when so much weighs us down. Between the news, some stressful situations at work, and such, I left my exercises on the back burner. Tonight I decided to fit in some belly dance and yoga, and I’m so glad I did. I feel much better, and I’m energized to practice more.
  • Feral Witchcraft
    I mentioned some stress at work. I love my job, but I definitely had to unleash my inner mama bear this week! When I got home, I learned that a very generous person gifted me with access to the upcoming Feral Witchcraft Course from Althaea! My dear, anonymous benefactor saw a tweet that I’m interested yet unable to afford it this time around. I am simultaneously shocked, humbled, and extremely grateful for the present! This is a timely gift given how I’m digging my feet in to stand up for those who need it in my community, and bringing my dreams to fruition on my own terms. There’s still time to sign up if you’re interested! Althaea is an amazing witch and teacher. I. Am. Hyped!
  • Writing Update – 
    I decided to join in with another writing challenge on instagram. Just one this time. Two became a bit much for me some days, especially once February break ended. I do so enjoy these, though. They spark inspiration and I appreciate an opportunity to share and connect with other writers and readers. Here’s the latest excerpt I posted featuring Lacey’s want as the story opens.

    ch 1 Lacey excerpt (1)

    “The old kayak dream is back,” she wrote. “I wish I could steer my dreams with a paddle and figure out where to go from here.” Lacey tapped the end of a pen against her lips. “There was a tune this time. I recognize it from somewhere.” From RIVER MAGIC by M. A. Phillips

     

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Lacey

“Woman in White Lace Crew-neck Cap-sleeves Top” -by Valeria Boltneva (free use from Canva, slightly edited to include character’s name)

Those of you who follow my Instagram know that I’ve been sharing excerpts from my RIVER MAGIC manuscript. Expect to see more and more about my novel in the coming months. I know many of you who follow this blog initially came here for information on Druidry, Paganism, and related topics, but I promise you have nothing to worry about. Just as with my short stories published in Stone, Root, and Bone, the main characters are contemporary Pagans!

I will post more about this soon, but for now, as part of the #darkandlightauthorchallenge over on Instagram, I’m going to share the story behind my main character’s name because it’s part of my Pagan genesis*.

Lacey is a clairvoyant young woman. To be specific, she has prophetic dreams, but only about those closest to her. She doesn’t dream about major world events or strangers unless they directly impact her, her family, or dearest friends. When we meet her in my story, she is fresh out of college and trying to figure out why an old dream has returned to repeat night after night. Her visions, and their elusive meanings, are a major draw to the metaphysical. Since her powers budded in adolescence, she’s delved deeper and deeper into Paganism.

Many of us come to polytheism, witchcraft, and the occult when we are teens, myself included. I spent my childhood going to mass with my family, but as I learned more about the world, I grew curious about mythology and esoteric subjects. Like attracts like, and I found myself with an equally curious circle of friends. I went to a lot of sleepovers in middle school, and one friend was particularly fond of activities born out of the Spiritualism movement. We had seances, explored tarot, and, yes, played “light as a feather, stiff as a board.”

During one such gathering, a girl named Lacey joined us. My character doesn’t look like her, but the name and our attempts to commune with the Otherworld stayed with me all these years. I never met another person with that name, and when I was considering what to call my character, Lacey instantly came to mind.

(As an aside, Lacey shares the maiden name of one of my Irish ancestors.)

So there you have it! My beloved character was born out of my own early dabbling and a chance encounter with a kindred spirit. I hope you’ll get to learn more about Lacey in the future.

*Pagan Genesis should totally be a band name.

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Hello lovely readers! It’s Thursday, so I have three tidbits for you. Three is a magic number, after all!

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White tea in my china cup. Photo by M. A. Phillips, 2020

  • Reading the Leaves:
    I mentioned last month that I’m interested in learning tasseomancy, and I finally tried my hand at it! I used Nilgiri white tea some family gifted me. I went with this because it has a mild flavor and won’t make the water too bitter while drinking. Others with more experience suggested I try mint or rooibos because of the smaller leaves, and this really appeals to me because of my gardening and my addiction to rooibos at night! My research and experimentation will continue. I’d like to make it a weekly rite.

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  • Getting Organized:
    Now that I’m researching publishing options, I’ve noticed a lot of writers keep track of the business end of things using a planner. Since I often feel overwhelmed keeping track of bills and doctor appointments, I decided I needed more than my calendar app. I’m a visual person, and I write myself a lot of to-do lists that flutter about my desk. I’ve actually started to use it to help me plan my blog posts, too! I have a list of ideas to write about. If there are any topics you’d like me to explore, please comment!

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  • A New Excerpt From My Novel:
    I know some of you have seen this, especially if you follow me on Instagram. I’ve been taking part in a couple writing challenges, and it’s been such a fun excuse to share snippets of my novel! After several years of keeping my manuscript hidden in my heart, publishing other short stories gave me the boost of confidence I needed to share more. I really enjoy getting feedback from others, and it’s exciting to know people want to read my book! Thanks to everyone who has liked, commented, and encouraged my posts. As I type this, I’ve finally finished my latest round of edits! Stay tuned!
ch 33 excerpt

“An eerie melody drifted into Lacey’s mind like tendrils of incense smoke. Every hair on her scalp shivered.’Do you hear that?’ she hissed.
Cian squinted at the air. ‘Um… you mean the ducks?’
‘No! Wait…’ She tilted her ear toward the water. Three bubbles rolled out of the gloom like otherworldly marbles. The siren’s tune had shifted from that of a weeping mother to a huntress. ‘She’s calling me.'”  – River Magic by M. A. Phillips

 

 

 

 

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Here’s another installment of Three Things Thursday – three mini posts nestled together in one for your viewing pleasure! Three is a magic number, right?

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Offerings at an outdoor shrine in the backyard. Photo by M. A. Phillips

 

Keep Making Offerings: The sun is shining, but if you go outside, the bitter cold will slap you in the face. Still, I felt compelled to put some offerings at the shrine. It’s important to listen to those urges as it helps us build and maintain relations with our spirit allies. I kept sensing a hunger from my closest magical companion. Sidebar: my husband helped me make that weathered sign for a local Faery festival. It now sits proudly by the shrine, adding a touch of whimsy to what is otherwise a half barrel filled with snow this time of year.

Writing Update: Since I’m on vacation this week, I’ve spent a lot of it editing my novel. I’m really proud of my progress as a writer, and sharing excerpts throughout February is both a testament to, and a balm for, my confidence. I’m glad that a story about contemporary Pagans is resonating with others.

River Magic _Famous Quote

An excerpt from my novel, RIVER MAGIC:
“What should we do?” he asked. “Make an offering?”
“We shouldn’t leave anything. ‘Leave nothing but footprints,'” she quoted.
He winced at his own folly.
“But I think a little drop of our water wouldn’t hurt.”

Slow Seeing: I loved this NPR article called “A Photographer’s Guide to Slow Seeing the Beauty in Everyday Nature.” I think many polytheists and animists will relate to the poetry of it, and those who are interested in this spiritual path should consider it. Along with editing, I plan to take my daughter outside to do some slow seeing today!

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