Friday, December 31, 2010

The Final Cover for Destiny!

This it the final cover for "Destiny". We took a few elements from the most popular covers and tried to merge them.  I am really happy with the result. I can't wait to hold the completed book in my hands. This is my dream come true and a great way to start off 2011!

Happy New Year!

Amazon GC Winner

The winner of the Amazon GC is #205

MangaCruiser said...

Following you on GFC! GoodEnuf4Oats
December 14, 2010 7:32 AM

Thanks to everyone for sharing their opinions on the cover. I have sent the results to the publisher. I will post the completed cover as soon as I have it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Feel the Magic of Nature with Luminous Kitten

I love natural stone jewelry. Not only is it an amazing expression of nature that is beautiful to look at, the stones themselves also hold an unexplainable power. The magic of stones is something that people have harnessed for centuries. Wearing the stones as jewelry or amulets is the perfect way to keep the magic of the stones close at hand. At the Luminous Kitten, an amazing little shop on Etsy, you can find beautiful and exotic natural stone jewelry that you can use to express your own personal style while enhancing the attributes that you may need to work on.

For my review, I chose the Nightmare Earrings.  They are made from two of my favorite stones, onyx and opal. These earrings in particular are designed to help keep away nightmares and negative thoughts. And in the world we live in, we can all use a little help staying more positive. Onyx has a protective energy that keeps you grounded and protected. Opal encourages creativity and imagination which is perfect for me as a writer. The opal stones come in shades of green and brown which are my favorite wardrobe colors. So they are a wonderful way to stay stylish and harness the powers of nature all in one convenient package.

 The Nightmare Earrings are only one example of the beautiful pieces you can find at Luminous Kitten. They provide a wide variety of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets that offer just the right variety of color and magic for each individual. Purchase the opal and and turquoise bracelet to bring out your charisma.  Or maybe you need the amethyst and rose quartz Happiness Necklace to promote self love.  No matter what your favorite stones may be or what area of your life to need to enhance, you can find just the right piece of jewelry at Luminous Kitten. Prices are reasonable and shipping is quick. So check them out today and feel the difference a little piece of nature can make in your life.

***Please note that I received no form of monetary compensation for this post. I did receive a sample of the product to try in order to write a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and were not influenced in any way. **

Monday, December 27, 2010

Music to Write By - Gary Stadler's Fairy Night Songs

When I sit down to work on my novels, I like to have some music in the background. This not only helps to block out the sound of  my kids running around and fighting in the background, but can also help keep the inspiration flowing. Everyone has their own taste in music, but for me, there is one CD in particular that I almost always listen to when I'm writing. Its a CD that is filled with the kind of magic and enchantment that I try to get across in my writing. That CD is called "Fairy Night Songs" and was composed by the amazing artist Gary Stadler.

I came across Gary's music completely by chance. Or maybe it was divine intervention. I was looking for songs with my name in them, and one of the songs that came up on Napster was  "Laura's Hill".  After listening to a clip, I knew the CD had to be mine. That was more than five years ago, and it is still my favorite music.  The CD offers beautiful melodies composed and preformed by Gary with the late Singh Kaur providing vocals that are so inspiring you may think the fairies themselves are singing just for you.

You don't have to be a writer to appreciate the otherworldly aspect of this music.  Anyone who loves the world of fairy will fall in love with this CD.  Listening to it is like lifting the veil that separates our world from the world of magic. Each song brings you deeper into the fairy realm, and this is what helps to make  imagination take flight.  I can, and have, listened to this CD thousands of times and it never loses its mysticism. Check out the video below to hear a small sample of what "Fairy Night Songs" has to offer.

You can learn all about "Fairy Night Songs", as well as Gary's other CDs on his website, Heart Magic. "Fairy Night Songs" was one of his earlier works and since the last time I checked, I see has has a few new releases which I definitely intend on purchasing! For anyone who loves fantasy, new age music, or anything mystical, Gary Stadler is an artist you just can't pass by.

                       ***Please note I received no form of compensation for this post***

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yule - Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Today is December 21st, and like many people from dozens of different spiritual paths, I am celebrating Yule.   Yule is the Winter Solstice and it is a time for magick and celebration. This year, we had the added bonus of Yule falling on a full moon AND a lunar eclipse, so the energy was really flowing. The last time the winter soltice fell on a lunar eclipse was more than 400 years ago.

Yule is one of the oldest celebrations in the world.  From Native Americans to Ancient Romans, Yule has been acknowledged as far back as history has been recorded. Gifts are exchanged and there is often a feast. So in many ways, its not that different from a Christmas party.  We also honor our deities through rituals and offerings which can be as simple or elaborate as the practitioner likes.

Yule is the longest night and the shortest day of the year. But in the heart of this darkness, pagans everywhere find a reason to celebrate. Because soon the light will be returning, a little bit more each day. As the sunlight returns to the earth, the cycle of rebirth will begin.  In many paths, this is represented by the Goddess bringing forth the God, who is symbolized by the sun.

Did you know that many of the traditions observed during Christmas actually derived from Yule? Take for example the wreath.  Yule actually means "wheel". The wreath was originally made as a symbol of the wheel, using holly to represent the female and ivy to represent the male. The two entwined would of course be symbolic of life.  Both ivy and holly were also wards against evil spirits. So by hanging it on the door, people  believed they were protecting themselves. Today's Christmas wreath might be a little fancier, but this the history behind the tradition.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Pentacle

When I first came out of the broom closet, I have to admit, most people took it pretty well.  For the most part, people are curious and open minded and like to learn about new things. But there are always a few people who see me wearing a pentacle, and automatically cross to the other side of the street. This is thanks in part to the magic of Hollywood. They often associate the pentacle with murder, human sacrifice, and in general all things evil.  But this symbol has nothing to do with anything so negative. Of course, there will always be the few who try to pervert something beautiful. There are fanatics in all walks of life. And there will always be people who twist symbolism to suit their own purposes.  But the majority of pagans are earth loving and peaceful.

The pentacle is a simple sign. Its a star in a circle. This symbol can represent many things to many people.  There are so many different traditions out there,  its impossible to say that its the same for everyone. But for most Wiccans , the pentacle is representative of the four elements--earth, air, fire, and water along with the fifth element which is spirit. For many, it is considered a symbol of protection.  Wiccans and other pagans will wear the pentacle as jewelry, in the same way that some people would wear the cross.

While predominately a pagan symbol today, the pentacle has survived for thousands of years and has been used by many different religions. At one time, it was even used to represent the five wounds of Christ.   It is rumored to be a symbol used by the Free Masons, and can be found in traditional tarot card decks. So as you can see, there may be many interpretations of what the pentacle stands for, but the one thing I know for a fact is that no symbol is  evil. The only negative connotations associated with any symbol are the ones that we attach to it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Summary for the Back of "Destiny"

     In the young adult novel, “Destiny”, Gabriella is just trying to be an ordinary teenager.  She wants to have fun with her friends, plan for college, and find a date to the Valentine’s Dance, all while helping her friend Monte cope with his mother’s cancer and come to terms with his sexuality.   But there is another side to Gabriella.  Years ago when her mother was murdered, she buried a secret so deep that she doesn’t even remember it anymore.  Gabriella is a witch, and she will have to learn to let that power break free if she is going to save herself from the warlock who was responsible for her mother’s death.  He craves the power in her bloodline and hopes to recruit her to his coven and turn her to the dark side of magick. 
      The spirit of Gabriella’s mother tries to warn her that she is in danger, but Gabriella is too afraid of magick to let her in. Desperate to help her daughter, she finds another witch—one that just happens to be in love with Gabriella.  Darron takes on the seemingly hopeless task of convincing Gabriella that magick exists, while also trying to defend himself from the stronger and more experienced warlock who is not happy with his interference.
       Gabriella and Darron can’t deny the attraction that is growing between them, but the two young witches have more standing in their way than just an evil warlock. There are also overbearing jocks and snobby rich girls to contend with.  Hurt feelings and jealousies constantly seem to tear them apart whenever they make any progress.  
     Things all come to a head at the Valentine’s Dance when a dangerous situation finally forces Gabriella to accept her powers.  People will die and secrets will be revealed. Gabriella and Darron realize they have been pawns in a game that began long before they were born. Now they will have to destroy the warlock, save their friend’s dying mother, and learn the true power behind Wiccan magick if they will have any hope of fulfilling their destiny.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Wiccan Creed

The Wiccan Creed is a beautiful poem that gives you a very general understanding of the laws of the Wiccan religion, which is the basis of my novel, "Destiny".  There are longer versions, but this one hits the key points. Of course, in my book I take full poetic license and the feats are magick are highly exaggerated. But in all works of fiction you will find a little truth. In "Destiny",  I try express the beauty of this earth based religion ,which is often misunderstood, while still weaving a tale of magick and intrigue.

Small Excerpt from Destiny

Her eyes scanned the room, from the pale blue sofa to the bloody dent in the wall. But she didn’t need her eyes to know Darron was there. Her heart sensed his presence before her eyes saw him lying in a heap on the ground. His body shuttered with occasional spasms, and even though he wasn’t fully conscious, his lips were twisted in a grimace of pain.
     Uttering a gasp of surprise, Gabriella flew to his side. She knelt beside him, and choked back a sob as she took his hand in her own. She saw his chest rise and fall and was glad to know was alive, but she felt helpless as she watched his face contort in pain. She noticed something wet and sticky on her fingertips. She gently titled his head and saw a large gash that looked like it needed medical attention.  The skin around the gash was so deeply bruised it looked almost black.
     “Darron, what happened to you?”
      He didn’t move or reply. Gabriella moved her hand from the cut on his forehead, and her fingers dripped with blood. She bit her lower lip with fear. She knew enough about head injuries to know that the wound could be serious. She grabbed a few tissues from a box on the coffee table, and tried to apply pressure to the wound, but it was useless. The tissues were soaked through in seconds.
     “Darron?” She squeezed his hand, and fought back tears of fear and frustration.  “Darron, please open your eyes. Please be all right!”
     He squirmed and groaned a little in response. Looking at his contorted features, Gabriella felt incompetent and useless. She didn’t know what to do to help him. The cut must need stitches. The blood was gushing through her fingertips, and she was sure his life was slipping away just as quickly.
     More than anything, Gabriella wanted to help Darron, to end his suffering. Her thoughts, her desperation, caused something deep inside of her to stir. Something that had long been napping was awoken. The power she had fought so hard to deny was forcing its way to the surface. This time she didn’t struggle against that power. Her instinct to hide from it was finally overcome by the thought of losing someone else she cared about.

     Gabriella was pulling strength and warmth from the earth, as though her legs were tree roots taking nourishment from the element. A tingling sensation began in the tips of her toes and spread slowly though her body as she breathed in the essence of the element of air.  Her blood flowed and grew warm, the element of water, bringing the power to the surface. She was overcome by a vigorous strength as she envisioned her spirit encircled by the element of fire. She felt so powerful that she thought she could stop the world from churning if that was what she wished. Gabriella focused the power, remembering for a moment her mother’s lessons. She looked down at her battered friend. She willed him to open his eyes and look at her. She demanded it of him.
     Gabriella would have thought it was impossible, but she felt herself grow warmer. Her face dripped with perspiration. The power within her reached a climax. Then finally, when she thought she might burst, she felt the energy release. It seeped through her fingers, and shined with an illumination that only she could see. She heard herself chanting unfamiliar words, and scarcely recognized her own voice.
             “By the power of earth, water, fire and air,
              Heal this man who’s in my care.
              Goddess, hear your daughter’s plea. 
              As I will it, so mote it be!” 
     Gabriella repeated the words three times. Three was the number of power. Then she watched as the wound on Darron’s forehead healed before her eyes, becoming smaller and smaller, until finally it was gone. The blood was still warm and sticky, but beneath the blood, the skin was smooth and unmarred. Even the horrible bruise had vanished. Gabriella stared in open astonishment, marveling at the work she had done.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vote For Your Favorite Cover for "Destiny" and Win a $15 Amazon Gift Certificate!!

Things are moving along and before we know, it "Destiny" will be on sale on book shelves and at Amazon! But first, we have to choose a cover. While the final decision will be up to my publisher, Free Focus Publishing, we still want your input.  There are nine different covers to choose from. So which one do you like the best? Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite cover and you will be entered for a chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Certificate! For additional entries, you can:

1) Follow this blog on friend connect
2) Subscribe to this blog via email
3) Become a fan on face book
4) Follow me on twitter
5) Tweet this giveaway including @authorldeluca
6) Post or share this giveaway on face book, sweepstakes sites, Mr. Linky, etc (1 entry each)
7) Blog about this giveaway including a link to this blog (5 entries)

This giveaway will end on 12/30/10 at 12pm. Giveaway is open WORLDWIDE but please note the gift certificate value will be is US dollars. Winner will be selected randomly from all comment received using a random number generator.

Excuse the Dust

This website is currently being redesigned.  You can still access most areas, but things may look a little strange until upgrades are completed. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Possible Covers for "Destiny"

My publisher, Free Focus Publishig, is working hard on the cover design for my younf adult novel, Destiny. Here are a few possibilites. 

A Dream Realized

For as long as I can remember I have only had only one dream--to be a writer.  I started writing my first novel when I was in eighth grade. By the time I graduated from high school, I had two novels completed and dozens of others outlined.  In 1995, I was fresh out of high school and dying to follow in the foot steps of my favorite young adult authors including Christopher Pike and L J Smith (yes, I actually read the Vampire Diaries back in the nineties BEFORE it was a TV show).  Back in those days, the internet hadn't quite caught on yet and it was a lot harder to know who to trust in the industry. I spend a few years sending queries but was disillusioned by the fraudulent agents asking for reading fees and vanity publishers who would get my hopes up and than dash them when they asked for thousands of dollars to "self publish". 

I stopped sending out my manuscripts and decided to focus on a new novel.  That was the first time "Destiny" received my full attention. I had written the first few chapters in high school and put it aside. But anyone who went to high school with me will recognize many of the names of my characters, most of which have remained the same through dozens of rewrites.  I got about three thirds of the way through the book and than was stuck.  I had no idea how to end it. Then I got pregnant. Two babies and a divorce later and I realized I had put my dream on hold for too long. So after a six year hiatus, I starting writing again.  I spent a lot of time studying the Wiccan religion and in that beautiful path I found the answers that had eluded me. I knew how end "Destiny".

I had to start from scratch because my old word processor was hopefully outdated, but that was okay because it tuned out so much better the second time around. I spent months sending it out to publishers and agents with no luck. In the meantime, I was hard at work on a sequel to "Destiny" and another novel that was spawned from my love of the "Phantom of the Opera". Then I got married and had another baby and again writing got put on hold. But this time it wasn't for long. While on bed rest during my last pregnancy, I discovered blogging. It seemed like a great way to practice writing and build a following.  I never imagined that blogging would lead me to a publisher.

It was only about a month ago that I did a review of a book called "Hannah and the Talking Tree" that was published by Free Focus Publishing. I had linked my review to the publishers website and I realized it was one I had never sent my work to. So I took a chance and sent an email. They responded that they were interested and asked to see a sample. A whirlwind of emails later and we are in the process of publishing my novel! They are a small publisher, but I love working with them. They listen  to my ideas and they aren't going to demand a dozen rewrites that change the whole story until it isn't even mine anymore.  They even asked what I wanted for the cover. My husband sketched out the picture at the top of this post and the publisher is working on some graphics as we speak.  

Its has taken a few decades, but the nerdy little girl who used to sit in the back of the classroom writing stories is finally going to get those stories read! Its an amazing feeling. Its not about money or fame. There are no guarantees either of those things will happen just because you get a book published. Its about knowing that the stories I put my heart and soul into are finally going to have a chance at being seen. That someone out there might learn to care about my characters the way I care about them. That is all I have ever wanted.  So there it is, a dream realized.