Happy Beltane!

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Today is May 1st, making it the traditional day for Beltane, a Pagan festival. (Or, okay, well, my traditional day for Beltane.)

In the Neo-Wiccan Wheel of the Year, Beltane is one of eight sabbats (solar festivals; the others are the solstices, equinoxes, Imbolc, Lughnasadh, and Samhain). It is based off older traditions from various parts of Europe and the British Isles, but its modern-day celebrations are a mishmash of these traditions. Like Wicca, today’s Neo-Pagan Beltane is new.

Celebrations of Beltane can include jumping the fire for fertility (of any sort; not just baby-making), dancing around the May-pole (which, yes, is supposed to be a phallus), making lewd motions with ritual implements (or perhaps that’s just me), candy shaped like genitalia, getting married or handfasted for a year and a day, and unbridled coupling in the woods. Or your bedroom; whatevs.

Beltane is also known as the sex holiday, and for good reason. 

For me personally, Beltane is sacred to Morrigan, who is so much more than a “goddess of war and death”. She’s the goddess of sovereignty, which is inherently tied up with sexuality and being a warrior. (For more on my take on the Morrigan and many other topics related to paganism, check out my writings under the name Morag Spinner at Innocence and Immanence.)

Also, the sex celebrated at Beltane is, to me, more than just what I do with my boyfriend (though that is quite awesome, don’t get me wrong). If you were to ask me to define “The Force” or the divine source of life pulsing through the universe, I would say “sex”. Sex is what makes us; sex continues the cycle of life. The earth is teeming with the life force, and it’s inherently sexual — if you do energy work, you may know what I mean. There’s a thrill that comes with really great connection during ritual or magic.

What am I doing for Beltane this year?

I’ll be doing a small ritual re-affirming my bond with the Morrigan and re-opening my connection to the land and its life-force. I’ll also be writing, hard at work on The Jade Star of Athering.

If you want to do something to commemorate the day but you’re not sure where to start, you could consider downloading Bellica on the Kindle. Today is the last promo day for Bellica, and it’s full of pretty sexy prose. (Check out my SSFSat snippets if you don’t believe me.) Besides, what better way to celebrate a pagan holiday than by reading some pagan fiction?

If you’ve been waiting for Bellica to come out on other formats, today is your lucky day! My Kindle select period ends tomorrow, and as soon as possible I’ll be releasing Bellica through Smashwords (I’m working on the file right now). I’m also working on the proof from Createspace, so if you prefer a paperback version that will be available this month as well.

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Wishful thinking

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I recently got an iPad (the newest one) for various business reasons — mainly to see how ebooks look on it, and to eventually play around with creating books as apps (even though I’m not sure of the long-term viability of that idea, it’s my job as a publisher to, you know, keep on top of this kind of stuff).

So, I now have no less than three ebook reading apps on my iPad and a growing number of book apps. As there are a lot of free books in the iBooks store, I’ve got a huge collection of classics now.

And I find myself wishing that I could connect my GoodReads account directly to my ebook-reader apps so that I wouldn’t have to do anything to update my currently reading list.

There it is. The call of the incredibly lazy overwhelmed.

I just have trouble remember to update that I’m reading a book. Also, I read a lot when I travel, and a lot of times I’ll finish a book before I have a chance to get online again. Or be too jet-lagged to log in.

It’s difficult okay. 

The ebook of Bellica is complete

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Complete and on Kindle already!

I’m pretty excited. I was super excited about getting print copies done too, but I’m even more excited about this — because Kindle is a wider audience. Even if people don’t own an actual Kindle, the option to get Kindle apps is across most platforms. And free.

While I am aiming to make a living with this book (as I can’t work anymore, with my spinal injury, writing is now officially my job), mostly I just want people to read it. Which is far more possible with it being on Kindle.

Future plans include putting Bellica on CreateSpace as well, so that those of you who don’t want to or can’t use ebooks can get a copy of Bellica in paperback.

(I currently sell paperback copies of Bellica through my site, but shipping is expensive and thus only available to residents of US and Canada. I’m hoping to get away from direct long-distance sales and let CreateSpace and Amazon do all the work for me. Also, chances are shipping will be cheaper, which means y’all will save too.)

So, yes, that means that if you’re not in the US or Canada you will be able to buy a paperback of my novel in the next month or so. (Give me time; it’s slow work.)

And you can get it right now if you want the ebook. 

*happy-dances*

Bellica’s new cover

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So, I released a cover a while back that was still tugging at me, saying “No, no, I need more, preciousssssss.”  (Yeah, I don’t just have characters telling me what to do — I have covers as well.)

I realized it was missing green. I’d always envisioned Bellica as a green covered book, and then I designed this cover with no green on it (aside from some really dark shades of it in the picture on the front). Either I was high, or I was just so eager to get a cover out I didn’t take my time with it.

Now I have. And I have a new cover to show for it. Really, the same cover, just with some green. Behold:

This is just the front of the book. The black band that is behind the picture continues around the spine to the back cover, where it forms the background for the…synopsis. I think that’s what the thing on the back of the book is called.

Info on the picture: my model, Dana Kagis, is playing Yarrow, the main character. She stands resolute, her hand on her sword. We can’t see her eyes, but we know they are looking off into the distance, fixed on a future she may not wish for. The light through the trees suggests twilight — a liminal space, where anything might happen. She is on the threshold — after this moment, everything changes.

I’m pretty excited. I have just under 200 people requesting the book on its giveaway on GoodReads. By the 10th I should have the layout all done. And I’ve just discovered a really easy way to create eBooks! No more futzing around with the devil that is InDesign (ID is awesome for design for anything but eBooks — then it’s like living on the Hellmouth) — I can do eBooks directly from Scrivener. And they look pretty damn good, if I am careful with the formatting.

Now. Back to planning for November. I’ve got an outline for my NaNo novel — will wonders never cease for this hardcore pantser?