Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meet Angie Richmond ~ Writer, Artist, and All-Around Creative Soul

Back in October, I entered the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction contest run by Anna Meade of Yearning for Wonderland. My entry, Scarlet's Rose Petal Revenge, won the fan favorite contest AND it was chosen as one of the final four winners in the judged contest!! Thank you again to everyone who voted and to Anna for running such a fabulous contest. :)

Of course, the best part about the contest was the amazing prizes. As winner of The Dark Arts Package, I won an original art canvas designed by Angie Richmond (see above) with a quote from my story on the piece! (We chose the quote: "When a hot wind blows through the windows at night, the roses rattle like bones.") I was so excited to receive this prize in the mail and it's hanging in my bedroom now so I can see it every day. :) I've invited Angie onto the blog to tell us a little about her life as an artist, writer, and creativity consultant!

Sophie: What was the first mixed media art piece you created and how did you come up with the idea?
Angie: I suppose in some form or another I’ve been creating mixed media art for many years, but if I had to select one that really kicked off my current work I’d say it was a piece that I created in honor of my step-brother who passed away in a car accident earlier this year. After I found out, for some reason all I could think of was creating a tribute for him. He loved dragons so I started there. It started off as a way for me to deal with the loss. I didn’t put much conscious thought into it. It was all visceral.

Sophie: In your Etsy shop you describe your mixed media art as "combining my love of birds with my love of words." Can you tell us a little more about your love of birds and how they inspire your artwork?
Angie: I first realized that I had a thing for birds when I was working through Julia Cameron's book The Artist Way. Every morning I would get up at 5:00 am, head to my sitting room and write my morning pages. Now I'm not sure what it's like where you live but at 5:00 am it's pretty quiet -- except for the birds. I found myself starting my pages in the same way every morning:
  1. I hate mornings 
  2. I can hear the birds chirping
They always managed to pull me out of my funk at being up so early. Then I started really paying attention and noticed that I unconsciously decorated my entire sitting room in a bird & tree theme. It just seemed natural to incorporate both of these into my artwork. 

Sophie: As an artist and a writer who also works a full time job, do you have any tips for how busy people can learn to live more creative, artistic lives?
Angie: I hear this all the time – I’m too busy! – But when you actually stop and look at how you spend your time, you realize it’s just not true. We all have the same amount of hours each day; it’s just how we choose to spend them. I find the biggest time drain is TV. Most people I know who say they don’t have time to be creative spend at least 3 hours sitting mindlessly in front of the television. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-TV, it’s just that collectively as a society we spend a lot of time plunked down on the couch. So I have two suggestions:
  1. Keep a time log to see where you are spending your time and where you can “trim the fat”. This is a HUGE eye opener! Keep a small notepad and pen on you and just make quick notes – nothing too extravagant or else it becomes too much of a chore. Then after tracking for a few days or a week, you’ll see where you have time.
  2. If TV is integral to who you are then consider multitasking. Yes I realize there is an ongoing debate on whether humans can effectively multitask – but let’s pretend that’s not an issue.  Sometimes I just like hearing the TV and so I have it on in the background while I do more productive things like working on my art. Then again I enjoy being busy so I tend to take every spare moment I have and put it towards creativity J
As for actually being creative, there are so many ways to infuse creativity into your life! The first step is thinking about what interests you and then just going for it – without fear – because in my experience fear is what holds us back from trying new things. But that could be a whole other post ;)

Sophie: You recently started a new business called Creative Living Strategies. Can you tell us a little about it?
Angie: I did! Creative Living Strategies is my creativity & life purpose coaching business. My focus is helping clients in three main ways:
  1. Self-discovery
  2. Creativity infusion & exploration
  3. Career transition (in particular into non-traditional careers or “creative” careers)
But that’s just a starting point! As a coach it’s my job to work with clients to achieve whatever goal(s) they wish to accomplish. I’m there to help them stay focused, challenge them to push past their perceived limitations and uncover all those fabulous strengths they have while fine tuning the ones that need a bit of help. I’m passionate about creativity and doing work that I love - helping people discover and follow their passions – well that’s what I love to do!
Thank you so much for coming on the blog today, Angie! To find out more about Angie Richmond, visit...
Coaching Website: Creative Living Strategies
Website: Write Me Happy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magical Gemstones of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends ~ by Marsha A. Moore

Dear friends,

I'm pleased to welcome Marsha A. Moore, author of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends, onto my blog today. Marsha's series and my Seal Island Trilogy have been linked up on Amazon for a few weeks now so naturally, we started chatting on Twitter. :) I picked up the first book in her series and thought it was a fun, magical read. But what really caught me was Marsha's use of magical gemstones throughout her stories. I have always been fascinated by gemstones and their magical powers, and Marsha has kindly offered to share some of her knowledge with us today! Marsha is also celebrating a brand new release--Lost Volumes (Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three). Please join me in welcoming Marsha and I hope you enjoy her guest post!

Thank you, Sophie, for inviting me to be your guest today. I’ve long been fascinated with gemstone lore, and it seemed natural to include that as a major part of the magical systems in my Enchanted Bookstore Legends. I’m glad to be able to share this with your readers.

Magical Gemstones of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends
by Marsha A. Moore

When my heroine, Adalyra McCauley opens an enchanted book she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save Dragonspeir from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. In my latest release, Lost Volumes, the third book of the series, Lyra learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague at the hands of the Black Dragon. She doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra.
She puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.
In order to overpower his efforts, Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.
Throughout her quests in the Legends, Lyra and Cullen use and encounter many gemstones imbued with magical properties. Learning the properties of these stones is something Lyra must master in order to succeed and survive. I’ve long been fascinated by gemstone lore, and incorporating this into Lyra’s adventures has been a special treat for me. I’ll share a few of my favorite examples:
Obsidian has always been valued for its protective abilities. It has been associated with the inner mysteries of the Goddess, symbolizing entrance to the labyrinth, and the womb or the subconscious self.
In Lost Volumes (book three), a set of Axiolite Obsidian stones, paired by exact banding of their white inclusions, serve as the tool to open the portal to the mysterious underground world of Terza. The Imperial Dragon, Head Guardian of the Alliance, opens the connector for the first time in over a hundred years. Lyra and Cullen must travel there and barter for a black magic cure to the deadly disease plaguing Alliance residents.
When the couple travels into Terza, the walls are dotted with obsidian stones. The magical white inclusions glow, providing dim light as they traverse dank tunnels inhabited with oversized rats, rat-people called Rotters, and undead skeletal people called Vizards.
Moonstone and Onyx Moonstone has been called a visionary stone by some, moonstone brings inspiration, strengthens intuition and sensitivity, enhances creativity, allows the wearer to see situations from different angles, and helps one to see things more clearly. It has even been said that moonstone has the power to grant wishes. Onyx is generally believed to help with objective thinking and spiritual inspiration, which helps the wearer move beyond bad relationships and old hurts.
In Heritage Avenged (book two), a large rainbow moonstone is used as the focal point of an instrument which interprets information hidden in the stars. It is the focal rondure of the Spheres of Sidus. That device helps answer a chosen question from the reader’s past. Three onyx balls are positioned according to current positions of the birth stars of specific ancestors. The onyx balls of the Spheres of Sidus relate to past relationships. When, at last, the moonstone rondure is placed and given sufficient power, it conjures an answer in the form of a hologram-like image.
Ruby has energy that is intense and vivid, helping you see your own strength. It is said that the power of Ruby will encourage you to follow your dreams and bliss, to change your world.  It encourages leadership and increased concentration, with sharpness of intellect.
In Heritage Avenged, Lyra is drawn to a ruby displayed by the Dark Alchemist, Tarom. She is born under the Aries fire sign and cannot resist the powers of the fiery ruby. He knows this and tempts her with a taste of what the ruby’s energy can do to multiple her own powers, eliciting dark qualities of greed to pull her off her path of what is noble and good.

In Lost Volumes, when Lyra travels into Terza, she learns about how the first Scribe also fought against the seductively powerful Emtori Ruby she was expected to remove from the collection of the Black Dragon. Lyra discovers the ruby remains hidden rather than destroyed as most thought.

Heliodor, also called Golden Beryl, has long been cut into spheres for scrying since it enhances the owner’s psychic awareness.

In Seeking a Scribe (book one), Lyra is given a gift from each of the four Guardians—the Phoenix, the Tortoise, the Imperial Dragon, and the Unicorn—the four Chinese sacred animals who balance all of creation through their influences on the elements of fire, water, air, and earth, respectively.

The Unicorn’s gift to Lyra is a scrying stone of heliodor. The golden hue of the stone he matches to the unique color of her visible scribal aura. An aura is an extension of power from the soul of a magical being, which can expand and surround their entire body. To use her heliodor, Lyra concentrates on one single question about a future event. The stone answers with an image she must decipher. Faced with dangerous situations, she’s glad for any guidance, even if cryptic.

Jade has long been revered as a symbol of love. In ancient China a prospective bride would present her betrothed a jade butterfly to seal their engagement. Likewise the bridegroom would give his sweetheart a gift of jade before their wedding. This gem is considered one of the most important symbols of purity and serenity.

In my Legends, once love grew between Lyra and Cullen, it is visibly connected through a gift of lovers’ paired jadestones. Only one set of these powerful stones exists in Dragonspeir. The gems are mounted into two ornate brooches, male and female settings. The two call to each other and bond Lyra and Cullen’s magic, enabling them to locate each other and use their combined magical powers as one extremely strong unit. This proves invaluable in many dangerous situations.

As their love deepens in Heritage Avenged, the gems have more uses, being able to store large quantities of energy. In one horrific moment, Lyra’s jadestone is stolen from her, just when she is depending on it to save Cullen’s life. She struggles to get it back, and when she does, she is rewarded with answers to many of her deepest questions.

Jet wards off dark magic by balancing the emotions of the wearer to protect him/her from possession.

It’s no wonder that a necklace of jet was created for the first Scribe to protect her from being mentally possessed by evil forces of the Dark Realm in Dragonspeir. After the Black Dragon trajects his magic through Lyra in the first book, Seeking a Scribe, Cullen gives her that ancient necklace and initiates its magic once again. In Heritage Avenged, Lyra discovers that jet necklace absorbs and protects her from dark powers shot at her by the Imperial Alchemist and Lord of the Tempestas. However, in Lost Volumes, the powers of the alchemist are so strong that the jet pendant burns Lyra’s skin as it absorbs and protects her from his evil strikes.

Opal is considered to be able to confer the gift of invisibility on its wearer.

A mysterious benefactor sends Lyra a gift of a rare opal invisibility ring at just the right moment at the end of the first book. During Heritage Avenged, a man steals this ring from Lyra along with her jadestone. However, in this case, the joke is on the thief since the gem will only unlock its magic for females.

Sapphire has been associated with divine favor. The Buddhists believed that the sapphire favored devotion and spiritual enlightenment. The ancient Greeks linked sapphire with Apollo, and wore it as an aid to prophecy when consulting oracles. It is worn and utilized in rituals to strengthen the ability to tap and send forth power.

Blue is the designated color of allegiance to the Alliance. The highest magicals in the Alliance each possess a sapphire, including each of the four Guardians. Cullen’s wizard staff bears a sapphire at its apex, which channels his power into sharp streams.

Amethyst and Iolite Amethyst can be used to increase psychic awareness, to sharpen the 'sixth sense.' Similarly, iolite stimulates the wearer’s spiritual awareness, guide him/her to a higher awareness, and awakens inner knowledge. Iolite helps its owner to open the door to the knowledge of the Universe.

Both of these purple gems are worn by several magical residents of Dragonspeir who don’t align their support with either the Dark Realm of the Black Dragon or the Alliance of the Imperial Dragon. Colors are worn to display allegiance, red for the Dark Realm and blue for the Alliance. Purple, an intermediate color, indicates these individuals stand apart. Included in this group are the alchemists for both realms, as well as many of the magical nomadic tribal peoples who are sky readers. These renegades pose as much threat for Lyra as the Dark Realm, pursuing her for her unique scribal aura.

I’ve always enjoyed the legends and lore of gemstones. Their mystical qualities added another layer of magic to my Legends. To see these amazing stones in action, read the Enchanted Bookstore Legends: Seeking a Scribe(book one); Heritage Avenged (book two); Lost Volumes (book three).


To find out more about Marsha, visit...  


Amazon links:
Seeking a Scribe (Enchanted Bookstore Legends One)
Heritage Avenged (Enchanted Bookstore Legends Two)
Lost Volumes (Enchanted Bookstore Legends Three)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Magical Surprise from the Seal Island Selkies!

This week, I'm celebrating the one year anniversary of the release of my debut novel, The Selkie Spell. To show my gratitude for all my wonderful readers, The Selkie Spell will be ON SALE for $.99 and The Selkie Enchantress, will be FREE on Amazon from November 7th - November 9th!

This is my way of saying thank you to every single one of you who have blessed me with your kindness and generosity on this amazing journey. I hope you'll treat yourself to one (or both!) of my Irish fairy tales this week. Because, really, who couldn't use a little more magic and romance in their life? :)
But that's not all!!
Because I'm a huge fan of birthdays and there's nothing I love more than giving presents, I'm giving away a Crystal Journey Herbal Magic Love Candle to one lucky winner!! 
Raffle runs from Nov 7th - midnight Nov 9th
One Winner will be chosen
This giveaway is open to *US Residents only*
All you have to do to enter is use the rafflecoptor below!