Monday, December 15, 2014

Dark Moon Stars

Christian Schloe - Austrian Surrealist Digital painter - Tutt'Art@ (7)
Christian Schloe - Surrealist Visions

From Kim's 11th House Blog.

Hello Supernatural Underground readers! How fast did 2014 go?

It's the Dark Moon now until December 21st/22nd, the perfect time to reflect on the power and energy about to shift with the final New Moon of 2014. Dark moons are for rest, recuperation, meditation and quietude. Find a place, inner and outer, that represents peace to you and go there.  

New Moon 0 Capricorn 06'
LA - Sunday - 5:35 pm
NY - Sunday - 8:35 pm  
Lon - Monday - 1:35 am  
Syd - Monday - 12:35 pm

New Moons are perfect for setting intentions, pre-paving desires and focusing our energy on what we want, but often we're too busy to get in touch with how we really feel. As the dark moon deepens this week, we can look back over 2014, asking what came to be. What could use some tweaking? Is there any dead wood that wants pruning?

Aligning with the current Astro can help you find the answers now, before the New Moon, and turn that knowledge into powerful transformations.   

These tips are also excellent for setting intentions for a most fabulous and fulfilling 2015.

Key elements in upcoming New Moon are:

1) Uranus direct - think back to March/April 2013. What was set into motion then? You have a chance to make major adjustment there now, and move forward in new ways.

 2) The Uranus/Pluto square - It's been in orb since 2010 but coming to its final exact alignment. What challenges have you faced? What strengths resulted?

 3) Saturn leaving Scorpio to enter Sagittarius - What have you been working hard towards since late 2012? The fruits are about to ripen!

4) New Moon on the 0 degree Aries Point. What is it you want to be 'known for'? Make sure that is part of the intentions you set on this auspicious New Moon.

Remember you get to decide how your respond to everything that comes your way. Be it old family dynamics, new romantic interest, brilliant creative dream or a job/living situ that has to change, you set the stage by how you think of it.
Cappy_NM_2014
Click to Enlarge - New Moon Chart December 2014

Sign by Sign Horoscopes for the New Moon and the New Year 2015!


AriesARIES: This New Moon is a laser focus on your career, mission, profession. It's not enough to just get by. You want to express your capabilities out into the world. Ask what it is you represent and be that every time you step outside your door. Career Action time! Make a move.

TaurusTAURUS: Think new horizons as the possibilities for expansion present themselves in the new year. The focus for you is on new experiences - going places you have never been before. Travel, meditate, learn, teach, wander beyond the beaten path. Expand your awareness now!

 GeminiGEMINI: The New Moon activates your house of shared resources, collaboration and the desire to transformation. It helps if you let go of old ways of thinking about yourself and embracing the new. Include the art of receiving in this renaissance self. Abundance through joint endeavors. 

  CancerCANCER: The New Moon rises in your 7th house of relationships and the intentions you set now will pave the way for your all of 2015. Hint: Begin with yourself. That's the partnership that counts! Be there for yourself, and shower your life with LOVE, appreciation and reverence. 

  LeoLEO: Time to address any health or healing areas. Everything you do in your day to day routine counts - exercise, nutrition and the thoughts you think! The key to manifesting the life of your dreams begins with the basics, with soap and water and the kitchen sink. Appreciate every little thing.


VirgoVIRGO: The focus for you is creative self-expression, your art, craft and recreation. What is it you love doing? More of that is in order! Your homework is to have the time of your life through play, creative practice, music, dance, theater, film . . . whatever lights you up. Romance doesn't go astray either!


LibraLIBRA: This New Moon is in your house of secret feelings and it's going to awaken all kinds of magic in your life. Eyes open. Be ready! Any and everything you do to improve the home right now improves you too! De-clutter, and spruce up the Feng Shui. Dreams and synchronicities light the way!

 ScorpioSCORPIO: For you, the New Moon rises in your 3rd house of 'mind' and it's your thoughts and how you direct them that are most empowered. This is where your communication skills come in to play. Use them! Focus on what you want most, speak it aloud, and watch dreams come into being.

  SagittariusSAGITTARIUS: The New Moon in Capricorn can make it easy to get distracted with pragmatic concerns. This isn't 'bad' though if you look deeper at your 'resources' you'll see your true wealth is your core values. Use them. Meanwhile, sort your finances, make a new plan, and expect abundance in 2015.

 CapricornCAPRICORN: This is your personal New Moon so take a moment to reflect on how your life is progressing. What have you accomplished in 2014? What goals do you want to set in 2015? Care to raise your sights? The sky truly is the limit, so start blasting through those set-points now!

 AquariusAQUARIUS: The New Moon rises out of the land of dreams and the chaos of the unconscious mind. It's about letting go and allowing for what you want as opposed to trying to force things to 'make it happen'. The more you relax, let go of control and allow your intuition to guide you, the better. No resistance!

 piscesPISCES: The Capricorn Moon lights up your house of friends and like-minded others. You are opening to new connections and also, perhaps, some friends are starting to drift away. Just go with the ebb and flow, releasing the urge to grasp and cling. 2015 brings leadership roles! Be ready!

 Comments always welcome.

Have a wonderful NEW MOON and a safe and warm holiday season!

 Namaste all!
 xxxKim
Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at GoodVibeAstrology.com,  KimFalconer.com or on the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Martyrs and the Mistletoe season

Year of Living Heroically: The Resurrection

Okay folks. We are here. The big moment. The final ordeal. If is sounds like I'm being epic, I am.
Our Heroine has come so far down this journey and yet, she needs to do one more thing: sacrifice herself.

It is the key moment of our hero proving she is a hero. The last step in her journey is to face something she knows will kill her. She knows this because she has lived in this special world for so long that she already knows the dangers she is going to face AND SHE GOES TO FACE THEM ANYWAY.

Why you might ask?  For the greater good.

See, the hero has been through the flames before, the Supreme Ordeal, but that struggle was only for the betterment of her alone. The resurrection of the story is the hero realizing that she is the only person who can do this, and using the knowledge of the world so far, fights an evil that has been plaguing the whole world (or their special world). The resurrection of the story is the hero changing from warrior to martyr and in that change, healing the world around her.

What comes out of it is an elixir that is going to make the entire world a better place. Now, this elixir might be a peaceful nation, a healing potion, or knowledge that the entire village (and the reader) gains for the hero's sacrifice. And if Black Friday taught me nothing, its that everything has a price. The hero's willingness to sacrifice is the price paid. Don't go thinking that she has paid with their life. No! She is still kicking at the end of the book (most of the time).

Now, everyone's dragon/witch/beastie is going to look a bit different. For example: one of the best resurrection scenes I've seen in a comedy is the end of ACCEPTED, with Justin Long and Jonah Hill. Bartleby has to stand up to a school board wanted to shut down his college to defend his right to a passion-filled education and he wins, allowing his school to stay open and for all students to be able to fulfill their own dreams. Its a pretty awesome elixir for a very funny movie.

 Not everyone has to face down Sauron, but there are so many ways to be a hero in today's world, even if your sacrifice only changes a few people's lives, you've done something truly heroic.

I've been watching a lot of John and Hank Green videos and I think this holiday season is the perfect time to throw down a little gauntlet. I challenge you to be heroic and decrease world suck! You can start small, with small sacrifices, even our heroine had to build-up to dragon fighting.

But who knows, maybe this time next year, you'll be writing a blog of your year of living heroically.

Until next year my friends,

Amanda Arista
_____________________________________________________________________


Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther
www.amandaarista.com



Monday, December 1, 2014

Inside Middle Earth: Visiting Hobbiton

.
With the third and final Hobbit film upon us I thought I'd share a few fun photos from inside Middle Earth—Hobbiton in fact.

Starting with the view to Bag End and "the tree":


A close up view of Bag End:


And the famous green door:


As well as an interior view of the Green Dragon:


And the green dragon itself (very topical!):


Regardless of whether or not you see the movie: have fun in December and all the best for the forthcoming holiday season. See you all again in 2015! (Scary!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!


Congratulations to Nancy of Missouri for winning this month's contest! Thank you all for your wonderful comments!  Please come back Dec. 25th for the next contest, when I'll be giving away Love at Stake books 14 & 15 (Dougal and Zoltan).  Happy Holidays!

I'll make this quick since I bet you are as busy as I am as the holiday season begins. So much to do! And so much to be thankful for!  I hope you all know how grateful I am for my readers.  The Love at Stake series was originally contracted for only two books, but thanks to you and your enthusiastic support, the series will soon be celebrating its sixteenth book!  Crouching Tiger Forbidden Vampire releases Dec. 30th.

There's a contest to enter and an excerpt from Crouching Tiger Forbidden Vampire on my website at www.kerrelynsparks.com. If you haven't liked my author page yet on Facebook, please do, so you can catch the occasional random contest there. On my website and the About page of my Facebook author page, you will find info on how to get the latest Love at Stake bookmarks and postcards.  I will be posting future appearances (both online and live) on my Facebook author page and website, so please check those pages in the next few weeks as I get them updated.  Most of my online appearances will have a chance for you to win a signed book.

Launch party for Crouching Tiger Forbidden Vampire will happen Dec. 30 at Katy Budget Books.  If you're not in the Houston TX area, you can always contact Katy Budget Books to purchase a book (any of my books) signed by me that night.  I'll be in the Seattle area the first weekend in December, dropping by several bookstores to sign books. If you want to meet up with me, just email me to let me know!  In January, I'll be in Dallas the weekend of the 24th, and then in Sarasota, Florida, Jan. 31 for a KissCon event.

For today's contest, I'll be giving away a signed copy of Wanted: Undead or Alive and Wild About You.  To enter, just leave a comment here. International entries are welcome. Winner will be selected at random. If you leave your email address, it makes it much easier for me to contact you.  If you're not comfortable doing that, no problem, just remember to check back here in a few days to see if I'm looking for you.  Good luck and wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Giving it Voice


Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany
With #NaNoWriMo in full swing, I’ve seen more than a few questions pop up in the social buzz about #VOICE. For example, a post yesterday questioned writing multiple characters. It had everyone talking.

The smartest answer?

Make it sound real.

This reminds me of ​Tatiana Maslany's incredible delivery of - what is it now, twelve -  cloned versions of herself? The writers give each character a different personality, back-story and voice, and Tatiana delivers in a way that feels authentic. Not forced.

And those accents!

Editor Ariel Hahn says voice is the absence of artifice. It’s what comes out when you have just yourself. She says not to worry though; it will develop on its own if you keep writing!

China Mieville
China Mieville puts it like this: Every book I write, the first thing I have to do is get into the voice, and the voice varies from book to book - that's part of what's interesting to me . . . Of course, who you're writing for is part of the decision about the voice of the book . . . but the person you're writing for is (sorry to repeat what is a cliche, but it's true) yourself - though yourself at different times and in different moods. So when I wrote Railsea, I was very much wanting to write a story for myself at a certain age. I tried to inhabit the voice that would excite and win over and appeal to and interest that me, rather than thinking "now to write to appeal to children". I wouldn't know how - but I do know how to tell younger-me a story he would like, I think and hope.

It takes self-reflection for a writer to pull this off. Les Edgerton suggests that the best way to find your voice is to write autobiographically. "Writers will never find a powerful, evocative voice until they learn to be bone-deep honest with themselves, open and vulnerable”.

As the saying goes, if you’re a writer, who needs therapy?

Here are examples of voice in two different projects I’m currently working on:

Black Tuesday (w/t) - NY, 1926 Paranormal Romance

The secretaries were like birds on a hot wire, all a chatty flap. Hammond’s door was open, the man shouting on the phone.
    “What happened?” Charlotte asked the receptionist.
    “He was actually here!”
    “Who?” Charlotte knew perfectly well who. It was all she could do to keep from running after him.
    “Leon Marcottie!” the office girls said in unison.
    “Him?” Charlotte managed to shrug one shoulder. “I hear he’s a real cake eater . . .”

The Blood in the Beginning (w/t) - 2020, LA Urban Fantasy

The detective and I went way back, not in a cozy, family friendship way, hell no. He’d set me straight when I went a little wayward.
    Okay. A lot wayward . . .
    Rourke kept me out of juvie, for the most part, and though there’d been no luck finding decent foster care, he started me in the LA-MMA junior circuit, and that saved my life.
    “You want to fight, you might as well learn how not to get killed.”    
    When I showed up for my first class, he was leading it. Yeah, we went way back.

VOICE is like a fingerprint - if you listen closely, you’ll find the writer’s unique signature. Do you have a favorite voice in film, TV or novels? I’d love to hear more! Comments welcome. :)



Kim Falconer is a Supernatural Underground author writing paranormal romance, urban fantasy, YA and epic science fantasy novels.

You can find out more about Kim at kimfalconer.com or on the 11th House Blog, and on FaceBook and Twitter. She posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month. Her latest release is"Blood and Water" in Supernatural Underground: Vampires Gone Wild.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Difference between survival and living

Year of Living Heroically: the Road Back.

So you are all rested up after your Supreme Ordeal, you've got a nice shiny object to covet lovingly, you're a hero now, right? You survived your deepest fear and got something amazing as a reward. This is the end of the road, right?
This post got a bit heavy on me-- here's a cute squirrel!

WRONG! Did you think it was going to be that easy? That's not heroic, just giving up in the middle of the journey.

The Road Back is the moment in the journey when the hero hikes up her pants and gets back on with the Journey. She makes a choice to head back to her ordinary world as this new changed person (surviving the SO changes all heroes, for better or worse). Well, it might look like less of a choice and more of a chase from the antagonistic forces that she pissed off in the Supreme Ordeal-- think dragon wanting its gold back. But she makes the choice to go home, to be with her people again.

She has survived; now she wants to live.

For me, this really hits home that our hero is really a hero. Instead of just enjoying the relaxation that comes with the Reward, she gets back on her feet and keeps going. After the Ordeal, she sees the bigger picture of what is really going on in the world and she wants to make it right. She's got this special accessory, or talent, or insight, and she wants to give back.  That for me is a hero. Heroes keep fighting even though they know its not going to get easier.

Helen Lowe in her last post mentioned fashion as an important part of a characters experience, and it is totally true and especially hits home in the road back. The reward was the accessory that you get to take with you that proves you did something amazing.

In the wake of October's Breast Cancer Awareness month, I don't think I need to explain the scars that people carry with them after a major life ordeal. In the light of our veteran's coming home, I don't think I need to mention that all scars aren't on the outside. In the road back, a hero will take those scars and carry them forward as a survivor.

Heroes will make the choice to live and share that life with others.

************************************************************
Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther series
www.amandaarista.com


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Supernatural Couture

Gorgeous "Da Vinci" couture
Recently I've been thinking about supernatural couture, which is one of those "background but essential" aspects to Fantasy.

In part, the thinking was sparked by Rebecca Fisher's column, Big Worlds On Small Screens, in which she looks at SFF TV shows and films---most recently, Da Vinci's Demons, in which she wrote:

"...there’s also very little attempt to adhere to history accuracy — although you only need to glimpse the astounding outfits of the women to realize that."

As the pic shows---very outstanding and drop-dead gorgeous!

In books, too, attention to couture detail is often part of the background fabric (he-he) of the storytelling.

In Laini Taylor's fabulous Daughter of Smoke and Bone, for example, Madrigal goes to a ball, and the ball feels so much more real because she is wearing this:

"...it was midnight-blue shot silk. a form-skimming sheath so fine it felt like a touch could dissolve it. It was arrayed with tiny crystals that caught the light and beamed it back like stars, and the whole back was open, revealing the long white channel of Madrigal's spine all the way to her tailbone. It was alarming..."
When Blue goes on her first date with Adam, in Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys, she dresses a little differently:

"She wore heavy boots she'd found at the Goodwill (she'd attacked them with embroidery thread and a very sturdy needle) and a dress she'd made a few months earlier, constructed from several different layers of green fabric. Some of them striped. Some of them crochet. Some of them transparent."

Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson is a motor mechanic, so overalls and a monkey wrench are part of her essential everyday attire and off-duty she's more of a a cropped T and jeans kinda gal.

In Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive series, noble women like Sharran always go out in public with one handthe "safehand"—covered by a special sleeve or glove.

In The Heir Of Night, a young Malian attends a feast in "an elaborate black velvet dress" with her hair "bound into a net of smoky pearls." 

When the Prince first meets the newly woken princess at the end of Thornspell (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the prince's perspective), she is also "richly dressed": 

"Her gown was velvet over silk, and there was a golden fillet around her brow, a net of jewels and gold wire lying across her hair."

From the sumptuous, to the zany, to the practical—supernatural couture is an essential part of the Fantasy milieu.

But perhaps you have a favorite outfit associated with a book or character? Feel free to share here if you do. :)