Category Archives: Interviews

Interviews by our authors or about our authors.

An Interview with R. Phillip Prince, author.

As a publisher of Pagan/Heathen eBooks via Wyrdwood Publications, I have the pleasure of publishing the children’s author R. Phillip Prince. In his eBook, The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard, he writes in the style of the old story tellers and brings to the children of today, a wonderful mixture of magic and mayhem.

For this months column, I though you would enjoy learning more about this light-hearted author and the path that led him to write this endearing eBook.

*Please note that for EVERY copy sold a tree is planted in a deforested area of the world!*

Welcome to The Pagan and the Pen, Phillip.

Thanks for having me, Edain!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you found your path in the Norse tradition or it found you.

Hmmm….well, I could start at the beginning…First, the earth cooled, then came the dinosaurs! LOL! Ok, that might be too specific for this article and really it has nothing to do with me. Look, I’m just a guy originally from Indianapolis Indiana, born in ‘56 and winding my way down to today via life’s little highways and forks in the road. Just a “semi normal” guy who one day decided to write a Norse short story to make kids smile. ;-D

What events led you to write ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’?

No events to speak of for it. I think the idea simply popped into my head one day a couple of years ago. I think it was wintertime…I frequently use my brain more during that season, since I’m usually locked in the grip of cabin fever!

Your eBook is written in a lovely old-fashioned storytelling style, what inspired you to write it this way?

That’s the only way I felt it would work. Those were always the kind of stories I enjoyed my parents reading to me as a kid, it’s a simple formula that works. Kids don’t have time for a whole heck of a lot when they are real small, as far as the written word goes, so I’m all about keeping it short, sweet, simple and as entertaining as possible.

Also, it’s fun to create a read where parents have an active role in the reading of a short bedtime tale like mine. Making it fun for both the adult reader and the child is what it’s all about…that’s quality time the kids will never forget!

I will always remember my dad reading to me Jules Verne’s, 20,000 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. He must have read it to me a dozen times…and he always read it with enthusiasm and vigor. That was the fun part! I loved it and him for doing it so often. Those are the times your kids will cherish and remember…and hopefully, learn to integrate that sort of story telling skill set into their own parenting situation.

How do you incorporate the ideals of your Norse tradition into your everyday life?

Well, I have always had a very keen interest in all things medieval and only recently became interested in Norse living history. I can’t say I’ve been able to indulge in this new hobby as much as I’ve liked, however, the fun comes from the study of it for me.  They were a simple people living in not so simple times. Many getting the bad rap of historical stereotyping, like the Vikings. Most were farmers and merchants and only a very few did the raiding and attacks they are credited for.

As for as how it helps me in everyday life I’d have to say that when you study an ancient society you come to realize it for what it was and to always remind yourself to stay humble, since our ancestors had it FAR, FAR worse than we ever will…stay humble and true to the values of old.

I’m a real believer in Chivalry and think that it has certainly become a lost art form. More young men of this generation have no clue what it is and that is a sad fact. I think it should be taught in school. The earlier the better. All the skills are laid out and I do think young men should learn what true Chivalry is all about.

I understand you participate in Norse Living History re-enactment, does this give you a connection to your spirituality or is it just recreational?

Purely recreational for me.

What items, either in this modern-day world or in the old heathen one, give you the most inspiration for your writing?

The time, the place and the setting. Swords, axes, tough men in a tough world. There is a plethora of real and imagined images from that time period from which to draw inspiration from. Plus, a little dash of contemporary silliness never hurts! Imagine a very aloof and sometimes cocky talking mouse loose in the Viking Dark Ages! That’s about as silly as it gets.

If you could be any one of your characters in ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’, which one would you be and why?

The mouse of course! He gets all the cheese the Viking drops into his beard! Not mention he has the most unique perspective of his world.

Will there be another tale with the characters from ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’? If so, can you give us any hints as to what it may be about?

I’d like there to be. I have an idea I’m mulling about now that I’ll attempt to flesh out over the winter. I can tell you that once again our little friend, the mouse, will be having another adventure in the land and times of the ancient Vikings and getting into all sorts of trouble, I’m sure!

What other writing projects are you working on at present?

Just another instalment with our rodent and his friend!  I have a one-track mind! Lol

Thank you for being with us today, Phillip.

This was great fun, Edain! Thanks for letting me yak on about myself. ;-D

As Yule is just around the corner and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the little, or indeed big heathen on your list, I believe The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard would satisfy everyone. For more information on how to order this book, as well as others exclusive to Wyrdwood Publications, visit the website at: www.wyrdwoodpublications.com

Remember! A tree is planted in a deforested area of the world for EVERY copy sold.

A Review of ‘The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard’:

Reviewed by Brynneth of The Druid Network

Publisher: Wyrdwood Publications

Subject: Fiction – mythic/ancient

Bjorn the Viking has an enormous beard. When a talking mouse moves into it, all kinds of chaos and adventures ensue.

This is a charming little story, ideal for young pagan readers (and non-pagan children as well). It’s an ebook, so you need to be willing to read from the screen, or print a copy, but that’s no great hardship. There’s humour, action, mead and magic.

Given the length, it would lend itself to being retold by story tellers as well – its written in that style.

I thought it was delightful.

To purchase a copy of The Mouse in the Viking’s Beard please go HERE.

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.



Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

An Interview with a Warrior Poet

In my other role, as a publisher of Pagan and Heathen eBooks via Wyrdwood Publications, I have the pleasure of publishing the Asatru author, Robert Allard.

In his eBook, Warrior Poet ~ Musings of an Asatru Warrior, he has written a collection of fifteen evocative poems and kennings, in the style of the poetic Eddas and brings to a modern day world the excitement and atmosphere of the ancient warrior ways.

For this months column, I thought you would enjoy learning more about this author and how his chosen path of Asatru led him to write this engaging eBook.

Welcome to The Pagan Heathen, Robert.

Thank you for inviting me.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you found your path of Asatru.

It all started a few years ago during an overseas exercise in the north of Germany with the 433 squadron, a CF 18 tactical squadron of the Canadian armed forces, we were stationed in Scleshvig Holstein close to the remains of the old Viking settlement of Hitabu. I found that I had the time to visit the site, see all the artefacts in the museum and it led me on the path I’m now travelling.

What events led you to write the ‘Warrior Poet ~ Musings of an Asatru Warrior’?

The world of today does not recognize the warrior ethos as the old ways portrayed it and as such, a great imbalance is created. The every day hero of our time should have a chance to enjoy his accomplishments, boast if you will and have a voice in our time, as well as the time of our ancestors. I hope that my eBook is a testament to those that fight every day for their family and for a better life.

Your eBook is written in the Old Norse style of the Poetic Eddas. The Asatru tradition finds these writings; the Poetic and Prose Eddas, the Sagas and the Hávamál of great importance. Could you briefly tell the readers what they are?

The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends.

They are written in the old skaldic metering and are a great influence in the Scandinavian literature of the early 19th Century. The Prose Edda is, as it says, a prose version of the Edda written by Snorri Sturluson, who had a monumental part in the revival of the old scripts, which were almost forgotten at that time.

As for the Sagas, they are the accounts of heros and the lives of the settelers of Iceland, Greenland and also Vinland.
Do you feel that these ancient writings are still relevant to our modern day society?

I believe that the essence of them is very much relevant in this day and age. They’re a beacon showing the old values, which are not often shared in our time, like respect of our elders, honour in life, standing by your actions and living with their outcome and this, in my opinion, will never be outdated nor unwarranted in any age.Which of the Old Norse Sagas would you like to have been written about you, and why?

Actually, there are some Sagas that I do identify with. One of them is The Saga of Grettir the Strong. Grettis saga tells of a man that lived his life following his own destiny, making his own choices and living by them to his end.

What items, either in this modern day world or in the old heathen ways, give you inspiration for your writing?

I have some battle ready swords that I have been using in medieval re-enactment, they are notched and broken from the countless tournaments I have fought in during the past 10 years or so. They are living proof of the old ways, the extreme power of the sword and the terrible outcome of it, when used to resolve conflict. The naked and terrible truth, of the use of force, should not be used lightly and is the warrior’s burden of responsibility.

What other writing projects are you working on at present?

I’m working on an Asatru science fiction novel called the ‘Saga of the Nine Worlds’, which portrays the Asatru nation of the future on an exploration of space to find the nine worlds of the Edda. This is made a reality by finding space maps hidden away in the old scripts.

Obviously, you live your path 24 hrs a day; into what other creative pursuits do you channel your path?

The living study of how they lived through re-enactment, also leather working and photography.

If you could be remembered as a modern Asatru Warrior, what deed do you feel you would be remembered for?

As a herald showing that the old ways are not forgotten and can be integrated in our life. Warrior glory can be found through making the grades at school or getting that new job or improving yourself to be ready to win in any challenges of your life.

Thank you for being with us today, Robert.

Thank you.

*To read more about this eBook and to purchase it, please go HERE.*

Review of Warrior Poet ~ Musings of an Asatru Warrior

Review by Crystal Allard
Editor In Chief
Building Bridges Newsletter

(…)

He [Robert Allard] gives his reader a glimpse into the heart of his creativity and does it with passion. His use of Kennings is profound and authentic. Robert has captured the essence of a warrior, wrapped it in chain mail and served it to his reader with the nine noble virtues as his shield.

Yule is just around the corner and if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the heathen on your list, I believe Warrior Poet, Musings of an Asatru Warrior would satisfy even the harshest of critics. (…)

To read the entire review, please go HERE

Blessings to your Hearth,

Edain
Edain Duguay.com
Paranormal/Fantasy Novelist, Best Selling eBook Author and Award Winning Blog Writer.

Author of the blogs:
English, Pagan and in Canada
Worlds Of My Own Making
Gramarye, The Magical Homestead

Contact Edain @ Facebook Twitter YouTube Blogger

Interview with Michel Daw

I recently met Michel Daw through facebook. Michel posts philosophical comments on a daily basis, and I rapidly discovered that he is a stoic. Very taken with the ideas I’ve seen from him, I thought an interview for Pagan and Pen was in order, and he agreed. So, here we go…

Bryn: Can you tell us a bit about your spiritual background and path?

Michel: I would be happy to.  I hold a B.A. in Psychology and Computer Studies. Following this, I was drawn to Seminary where I received my Diploma in Pastoral Care. Before re-entering the secular workforce, I obtained 4 College Certificates, focused on computer and office productivity. I also received a Diploma as a Teacher of Adults from St. Lawrence College, Cornwall, ON. I have been teaching Adult in business and classroom settings for over 2 decades now. I continue my education and professional development, sometimes through seminars and training. I am certified in Instructional Delivery and Curriculum Design by Langevin Learning Group, Ottawa, ON. I currently manage an international Training team for a software firm.

Nevertheless, I am not a fan of labels and denominations for myself. If anything, I am a Seeker. I have explored many facets of Christianity, (including some very contemplative forms), and have examined it closely. I have also looked at Buddhism (a little), Atheism and both Secular and Religious Humanism. I have studied and participated in pre-christian religious reconstructions (mostly Hellenic in nature), due to their focus on nature. I have been part of neo-pagan groups, both local and international, for almost 30 years now. My wife and I sometimes participate with the Unitarian Church in our area. They claim to have no final answers, and do not ask us to accept any.

I find though that I achieve the greatest and most consistent elevation of soul when I observe, contemplate and consider this amazing universe in which we live. I echo Carl Sagan’s sentiment. I find it elevating and exhilarating to discover that we live in a universe which permits the evolution of molecular machines as intricate and subtle as we. The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. The cosmos is also within us for we are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

I actively recognize our biological connection to each other, our chemical connection to this planet and our atomic connection to the cosmos. I celebrate those connection in ways that seem appropriate to my wife and I.

I first came across Stoicism in late 2000 when reading Volume 2 of the Harvard Classics, which included The Last Days of Socrates, The Golden Sayings of Epictetus, and The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. I then found Stoicism again in the first volume  of the Penguin Great Ideas series, On the Shortness of Life, by Seneca. Since then, I have read literally dozens of books on Stoicism, some dating back hundreds of years, some published as late as last year.  This philosophy intrigued me, and this started me on the  decade long (so far) quest to live a Stoic life.

To be a Stoic is to live conformably to Nature, and thus experience our true place in this vast universe, to grow into our full potential, to truly flourish. It is to express the promise of excellence that is within each of us, living rationally in accordance with science, reason, and as a contributing part of the global community.

That being said, I have taken to heart the advice of Epictetus, noted Stoic teacher from the Roman period. “Never call yourself a philosopher [or in my case a Stoic], nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them… So that if ever any talk should happen among the unlearned concerning philosophic theorems, be you, for the most part, silent. For there is great danger in immediately throwing out what you have not digested. And, if anyone tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have begun your business… Do you likewise not show theorems to the unlearned, but the actions produced by them after they have been digested.”

So my Stoicism is more than a study, it is a daily Practice. Each morning, Pam and I read a passage from a Stoic writer, and consider their advice. We often note that advice, or our opinion of it, on Facebook and our blogs. We then seek to implement or strengthen that practice in our daily life. These ‘spiritual exercises’ are having a definitely having an impact our flourishing and serenity. When faced with challenges that once frustrated us, we now examine them for what is in our control, and what is out of our control. We then pour all of our energies in the tasks over which we have influence, and release the rest to the workings of the universe. 

Our practice also takes on longer term spiritual exercises. For example, during Halloween, a time of year reserved by many traditions to recognize our debt to those  who have passed from our lives. Pam and I recognize our past mentors and family using Marcus Aurelius’ example, as written in the first book of the Meditations.

I consider myself a student of Stoicism. Thus when I fail to act according to Stoic principles, I do not bring the philosophy into disrepute, but highlight how much more I must learn. I continue to study to obtain a still clearer and more solid foundation in Stoic Ethics, which I believe can best be achieved by first learning, then practicing, then teaching. I teach Stoic principles seeking opportunities to live out Stoic theory and Practice as part of a greater community.

Bryn: Which piece of stoical writing has influenced you most?

Michel: There are two ideas that have struck me.  Stoics have a kind of catch phrase that can be roughly translated as ‘Living according to Nature.’ The word used for Nature is Phusis. It has several layers of meaning. Phusis is more than the natural world of plants, animals etc. although it does include it. It also encompasses the entire natural order to the universe, from the birth and death of stars, right down to the subtle interactions of sub-atomic particles and beyond (in both directions). You can think of phusis as the process that turns an acorn into an oak, carbon into diamonds, start-stuff into people.  Phusis is also the limiter, that says that a particular oak will be so tall and so broad, if the conditions exist for it to do so. In human terms, Phusis urges us not only to live according to, and in harmony with, the Natural realm, (which I feel is in perfect attunement with the Druid’s focus on the earth and its inhabitants) but to explore our own personal Phusis as well. In other words, part of experiencing fulfillment is to Fulfill the Promise of Your Nature.

The second is from Epictetus. Some things are in our power, and others are not. In our power are the opinions we hold, and the choice of what to pursue, what to prefer, what to avoid, and what to reject. In a word, whatever are our own acts. Not in our power are our body, property, reputation, offices, and in a word, whatever are not our own acts. Only choices are up to us, results are out of our control. If we therefore pour our energy into those things that we actually can control, and release those things that are not in our control, we will be able to give the energy we have to things that make a difference.

 Bryn: What would you recommend as reading for someone new to all of this?

 Michel: Hmmm that is a good question. It all depends on what you are looking for from Stoicism. 

Pop-Culture Stoicism: Both The Stoic Art of Living (Tom Morris) and Guide to the Good Life (William Irving) provide a general introduction for some Stoic ideas by bringing out popular themes into a modern context, leaving out any real rigor or challenging life adjustment.

Academic Stoicism: If you are interested in the history of Stoicism, a good introduction is John Sellars’ Stoicism. Information without application.

Scientific/Atheist Stoicism: Lawrence Becker’s ‘A New Stoicism’ dispenses with the now unpopular ‘spiritual’ aspect of Stoic practice and attempts to reinvent it for a post-modern scientific society.

Practical Stoicism: If you are interested in learning about Stoicism as a personal practice, Keith Seddon’s ‘Stoic Serenity’ is a great place to begin if you want to work on your own. Originally conceived as a correspondence course, this book includes some history, some philosophy, some practical work. 

TheStoicLife.org: My personal website, where I am slowly developing a course to guide students through understanding and adopting a Stoic Life. As Stoicism was created as an Art of Living, this course will offer six months worth of weekly lessons to allow for a gradual adjustment to Stoic thought and practice. The aim is transformation, as opposed to only education or information. This is at its very beginning however, with only the first two lessons up. Whether it is successful or not remains to be seen.

Bryn: Thanks for sharing this. Fascinating stuff, I shall be browsing your website at the very least.

The BDSM Lifestyle: An Interview With Author Dena Celeste by Rie McGaha

Rie McGaha interviews Dena Celeste

Warning: This article is Adult rated (as so is our site) and may not be suitable for all audiences, particularly those under the age of 18.

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Rie McGaha: Welcome to The Pagan & The Pen Interviews, Dena Celeste. I am thrilled to be able to chat with you and get the low-down on this whole BDSM lifestyle. First, let me apologize if my questions seem silly, but this is new to me and I find it quite fascinating!

Dena Celeste: Thank you! No question is too silly, honestly, and everyone starts at the beginning. *smiles*

Rie McGaha: What is BDSM?

Dena Celeste: BDSM is an acronym that stands for a few different things: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance/submission, and Sadism/masochism. It’s really a catch-all term, an umbrella that covers everything from light bedroom play, to 24/7 power exchanges.

Rie McGaha: Most books that include BDSM make it seem like a violent act of abuse. What’s the difference between fiction and reality?

Dena Celeste: The difference between BDSM and abuse involves consent from all parties. There are two acronyms in the Lifestyle: SSC and RACK. Safe, Sane and Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink. I prefer the latter acronym because everything in life has risks, and acknowledging them is better than thinking everything is perfectly safe.

Rie McGaha: How old were you when you first “knew” this was something you wanted to try?

Dena Celeste: I was 16 when I first discovered BDSM as BDSM, but some parts of it went back further than that. The thoughts and urges as I discovered myself confused me for a long time. I didn’t do much about my discovery besides research it voraciously, since learning new things was something I loved to do, and I didn’t want my age to get anyone else in trouble. I also knew that I wasn’t ready to do more than just research. After I turned 18, I joined a variety of websites and began to get involved in the wider Lifestyle community.

Rie McGaha: Did you meet someone who introduced you to BDSM or did you look it up on the ‘net or is there a listing in the phone book? LOL

Dena Celeste: *grins* I read a book, actually, and it really made a light-bulb go on in my head. “So that’s it! That’s what I’ve always wanted and haven’t been able to put into words! And there are other people who need this too. I’m not alone!”

My experience has been guided by a few different people who I came to know and trust. I was recently released by my Master of 5 years, but my connections in the community do go beyond him. I am grateful for the gifts of love and knowledge that he gave me while we were involved.

Rie McGaha: You were released from your “Master”, what does this mean?

Dena Celeste: This means that he released ownership of me and dissolved that aspect of our relationship. He’s still my friend, but we are no longer together that way.

Rie McGaha: Earlier you mentioned “lifestyle,” can you explain that?

Dena Celeste: For many kinksters, BDSM is more than just play in the bedroom. It becomes a Lifestyle, one which permeates everything else. Those with Dominant or submissive tendencies tend to know from a young age that they’re different. Goodness knows, even I had that knowledge at a young age. Discovering the wider community is a tremendous gift. Still, even those who only like one aspect, even spanking, can include it in their lives. It becomes a Lifestyle.

Rie McGaha:  It sounds like something you live everyday, does that mean you are constantly dressed in a leather bustier, tied to the door waiting on your partner to spank you?

Dena Celeste: LOL! No, it doesn’t mean that. I am a slave. It’s something I am every day, something I’m always aware of, the same way I’m always aware of my gender or my heart beat. It’s a part of me. But that doesn’t mean I’m a doormat, nor does it mean that life halts for kink. When I am with a Dominant who I consider worthy of owning me, I can show my submission in a variety of ways. Do some include being tied up at the door? Sure! But life doesn’t always cooperate with those plans.

Rie McGaha: I’m sure you know there a lot of misconceptions about the BDSM lifestyle. What do you think the biggest false belief is?

Dena Celeste: Probably that Dominants are abusive, selfish assholes, and that submissives and slaves are doormats just waiting to be walked on. There are some who fit those definitions, but they are the exceptions. There are all kinds of people in this Lifestyle, with all different kinds of energies and personalities. There are demure Dominants and sassy slaves, as well as demure slaves and bold Dominants, and every other shade in between!

Rie McGaha: In your opinion, is this because people are afraid to explore their sexuality?

Dena Celeste: I definitely think that’s part of it. The explosion of the Leather and BDSM communities has helped with many misconceptions, and has helped to educate many people about what the realities of the Lifestyle are.

Rie McGaha:  You mentioned to me earlier that someone you knew heard a radio personality talking about BDSM as something a person needed psychological help for. What do you think about that comment?

Dena Celeste: I think that there’s nothing wrong with therapy. Do some people need it, or would they find it beneficial? Absolutely. But the kind of needs that BDSM can fulfill aren’t a disease, and the APA has even gone so far as to remove those urges from the list of mental disorders! Maybe some people try to use BDSM as a bandage for a wound that needs some kind of psychological help, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who practices BDSM does that. And it would be a temporary bandage at best. The kind of relationship where BDSM flourishes is a STRONG relationship.

Rie McGaha: I know you belong to LAC. What is this and what are the benefits of belonging?

Dena Celeste: I do belong to the Lifestyle Alternatives Center of Palm Beach in South FL. It is a non-profit organization that seeks to create community for kinksters, and to educate those who wish to know more about the Lifestyle! The benefits of belonging are knowledge and fellowship with people who respect the rights of others to choose their own lives.

Rie McGaha: I have to go back to the term “lifestyle.” Isn’t this just really about having rough sex?

Dena Celeste: Hehe, rough sex can be part of it. That’s great too! But it’s not just about that. It’s about exploration, pushing limits, acceptance and self-knowledge. We are who we are!

Rie McGaha: And aren’t the people who participate in this activity sexual deviants and perverts looking for a willing accomplice to allow them to live out their demented fantasies?

Dena Celeste: If so, there are lots of us out there! These needs and fantasies are natural, and we find consensual ways to fulfill them with as much safety as possible. Some people will always think that this is wrong, or perverted, or demented. That’s their right. But I own who and what I am, and I’m not ashamed. I will continue to learn about myself as life goes on, and help others learn to accept who they are.

Rie McGaha: What would you like people to take away from this interview?

Dena Celeste: I hope they take some knowledge and acceptance, for themselves or someone they know. I hope they come away with questions and feel free to ask them.

Rie McGaha: Is there a place where they can contact you personally with questions?

Dena Celeste: Absolutely! They can email me at DearDenaC@gmail.com, or leave a comment on here with an email address.

Rie McGaha: No matter the subject or misconceptions, education and knowledge is the key to understanding. Do you have any plans toward this end?

Dena Celeste: Well, apart from becoming even more active in the wider BDSM community (Just this year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Beyond Leather [an internationally renowned event!] and present at the Fetish School during Fetish Factory’s 15th Anniversary weekend!), I plan on answering questions on this column here. I will also write about all different kinds of aspects of BDSM, such as different dynamics, what consent is, the differences between the terms used in the community, and much, much more.

Rie McGaha: Thank you, Dena for your time and for putting up with all my questions. Now, where can people find your books and other information about you?

Dena Celeste: People can find me at:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Myspace

Also, for anyone who is interested in learning more about LAC, they can go to http://lifestylealternatives.org

And just for fun, I’m including some terms people may be interested in knowing.

Glossary of Terms:

BDSM:

BD Bondage & Discipline, D/s – Dominance/submission, SM Sadism/masochism. Can also be referred to as “the Lifestyle” by many.

Collar A formal collar may take the form of neck, wrist, ankle, and other kinds of jewelry (like piercings). It may be metal or leather or even cloth. It denotes that a person is under training or owned. It is also a fashion statement for those who are not into BDSM at all.

Safe wordA word not commonly used during a scene, play or sex so that one can protest (say no, or stop) without play ending. A common version of this is to use traffic light colors. Red means stop right now, yellow means to slow down.

SceneA scene is a formal play atmosphere where the roles have been pre-negotiated.

Play May involve two or more people, where BDSM activities such as bondage, spanking, use of toys such as floggers, whips, rope, etc. can occur. Does not necessarily involve sex!

House A House is a formal BDSM family. Started by one or more persons, it can extend protection, mentoring, ownership, and a variety of other things to those who request it. Rules and requests differ from House to House.

Protection Often a more experienced person in the community will take someone of less experience or of a submissive role under his/her wing. This person may vet out play partners for safety, provide an anchor for support and advice, and teach a variety of skills in the role as protector. It differs depending on the relationship.

ConsentA person who can consent is above the legal age limit, and not mentally impaired drugs or alcohol, or some diseases that can affect the ability to give consent.

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Books by Dena:

MastersGiftFinal WinterKissesFinal (2)

Review of Her Master’s Gift:

This is easily one of the best BDSM stories I’ve ever read.  I love the way the characters are developed, and…read more:

Reviewer Top Pick: Her Master’s Gift by Dena Celeste

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February: Pagan Artist of the Month: Neil Geddes Ward

Interview by Bryn Colvin

neilB&W

Neil Geddes Ward is an artist whose work has inspired many a Pagan along the way. Talking to him raises some interesting questions about how we use ‘Pagan’ as an artistic definition. There’s a great deal of spirit in his creations. Is it the artist, the audience or both who decide what any given image means?

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Bryn : Tell us about the Pagan that lives inside of Neil and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?

Neil: There is no pagan in me, haha! I tend to think that I read a lot, and think a lot, and then have an opinion. That does not make me Pagan, I think, but more a person who is interested in paranormal things and where that might take us, and I think if you say you are a Pagan it can limit your experience, and I would rather say, I have a common interest in things that folks who call themselves Pagan might have. I do not worship any Goddess or God, but tend to think more of the overall picture. If that makes me Pagan for some people, then that is fine with me, but I am not totally saying I am!! Now that, that has confused you!!! But I do get ideas of what I want to do in my art through Pagan channels and also other areas too, and also I am inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites too!

Bryn: You describe yourself as visionary – it’s even in your email address. Can you expand on what that actually means for you?

Neil: Now what do I mean by visionary?? Well hard to explain but I would say, going beyond what we see to expand our minds a little more, open to more possibilities etc, to see things in new ways and to try to think outside the box a little more! Better to think like that than just accept the world the way it is!


Bryn: So is it more about giving people opportunity to find their own meaning and resonance in your work?

Neil: My work tends to be cryptic, some of it is very clear to me, and others are more like dreams that fade with mornings first light! So a lot of people find their own meaning in my work to an extent, I certainly don’t send out explanations with every print I sell!  Some people just like the look of something, some people choose a certain image because it reminds them of a spouse or something, and some like it because of the moon or the owl or some other element that my paintings contain. We all free drawn to something special that resonates and I guess many of my paintings resonate with some people to some extent or another.

Bryn: When did you first discover your talent?

Neil: It was not a case of me discovering my ‘talent’ but more of discovering other people in my class at school could not do what I did! So I guess I took it for granted that everyone could draw or paint! But not so, and I guess others with other talents would say the same thing. I did know something different from others, in the fact that when I was at school, when I was very young, I would always paint the sky all the way to the horizon whereas other kids my age just painted a blue band at the top of the paper. I guess I was actually looking out of the window! In fact I tended to look out of the window a lot at school! I was told I was too much of a day dreamer! haha!

Bryn: What is the process behind most of your art? What mediums do you use? Gallows wake for the web

Neil: I paint in Oils and also draw in pencil. I find Oils are very flexible and a lot easier to use than water colour or other paints. Oils have a slow dry time which helps me greatly in blending colours and tones! I also take many reference photos of models to help get the look just right!

Bryn: What artists and or musicians–and songs– if any, inspire you and why?

Neil: Brian Froud, for his vision of faeries, the Pre-Raphaelites for their genius and ability! I admire Rush, the Canadian rock group for their excellent songs and musician ship. I play bass guitar too, so I know what standard they are!!!

Bryn: If the world was created in the image of your imagination, what would it be like when we woke up tomorrow and seen it with new eyes?

Neil: Oh blimey!! Well there would be no money to argue over and no wars and no murder, pollution, or wrong doing. Hmm, is this called Heaven?? I think we all blame everybody else sometimes and sometimes, you have to take responsibility for your little corner of reality, whatever reality is, if there
is a real world out there at all!! More acid Vicar??

Bryn:  If someone would like to commission your talent, where can they find you? What are you open for—Book covers, Graphic Novels… what?

Neil: People can view my art on www.neilgeddesward.com and email me at neil@geddesward.co.uk and also find me on Facebook, Neil Pagan Artist . I do take commissions, so long as are serious ones, in the sense that people will really want them!! I will be happy to consider most projects, books, portraits, etc so give me a call!

Bryn: Any new projects in the future or plans?

Neil: Currently working on a children’s novel proposal for publication, me doing the illustrations and also basic plot lines. Will be featuring Elves and Orkney! Aim to get that to an agent in the New Year! fingers crossed!! Plan to do more pagan conferences, so if anyone needs a speaker, please email me, and I would be happy to discuss. neil@geddesward.co.uk

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A huge thank you to Bryn Colvin and Neil Geddes Ward for putting together a fabulous interview. And don’t forget….we will be featuring some of Neil’s art with our Pagan Holidays throughout the month. So be sure to check his web site out and consider him for any ‘art needs’ you have in the future!

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Walter William Melnyk – Interview

I first encountered Walter William Melnyk through his collaboration with Emma Restall Orr in The Apple and The Thorn. Hearing he has a new book out – The Marsh Tales, I was keen to read (they are great, proper review at www.druidnetwork.org)

Bryn:  First up then. This is your second book (that I know of) set around the marshes that once surrounded modern Glastonbury. From the way you write, it seems to be very much in your blood, so I wondered what your personal experience of it has been? Given it’s a landscape that isn’t strictly speaking there anymore.

Bill: I first visited Glastonbury in July of 2003 when I led a ritual for Christians and Druids at Stonehenge.  I had recently become a Companion of the Chalice Well, so my wife and I stayed in the new lodge and spent much time in the gardens in the quiet of the evening.  I was impressed by the bold power of the Tor, but was even more moved by the quiet power of the springs, and felt an immediate kinship with the surrounding Somerset levels.  As I began to visit the ancient marshes through the eyes and memory of Eosaidh during the writing of The Apple and the Thorn I began to feel a sense of “coming home,” although I had never lived there before. In this life.  The dark mystery of the old marshes sank deep into my heart and touched something that certainly was already there.  I have to believe that some old part of me once knew the marshes as home.  Perhaps there is a memory of ancient worlds in all of us.

Bryn: And what drew you to Eiosaidh? Is it that he is stood between the Christian world and the Druid one, or are there other things in his story that speak to you?

Bill: Eosaidh and I are not the same person, but there is a great deal of autobiography in his character.  He is very much a product of his own traditions, yet he has seen enough of the wide world over many years to know that truth is broader, deeper, more profound, and much more elusive than any one person, or any one people, can imagine.  But, more importantly, he knows that human relationship is more deeply important than matters of dogma or ideology.  This is certainly true in his relationship with his crucified nephew, as well as with the woman who lies beneath the persona of the Lady of Affalon.  In my best moments I hope I am a little like Eosaidh.

Bryn: Was The Apple and the Thorn your first foray into fiction writing, or have you done other books before?

Bill: The Apple and the Thorn was my first novel.  I’d published some poetry previously (and “The Promise of all Living” is a book of poems currently available on Amazon.)  It was originally intended to be a non-fiction exploration of the connection between early Celtic Christianity and pre-Christian Celtic spirituality.  But I thought no one would read that, so I decided to tell a story instead, and invited Emma to join me in the project.

Bryn: Are you working on anything at the moment?

Bill: Now that “Marsh Tales and Other Wonders” is in print, I am beginning work on adapting “The Apple and the Thorn” into a screen play.  It’s my first venture into that genre, but I think the tale would work well on screen.  I have four outlines for novels, but haven’t yet decided which one to go with.  Right now I’m spending a lot of time walking in the woods with Rudy, our Schnoodle.

Bryn: That’s a very exciting prospect. I can also imagine it working well on radio, there are such strong voices there. Who do you like to read?

Bill: Thanks for the kind words.  Of course I love reading my collaborator, Emma Restall Orr.  JRR Tolkien and Marion Zimmer Bradley have been great inspirations for me.  Also Diana Gabaldon (The Outlander series), and Terry Pratchett.

Bryn: Where can people find you online?

Bill: www.TheAppleandtheThorn.com Also on Facebook under William Melnyk and Walter William Melnyk.

January: Pagan Artist of the Month: Kelley Heckart

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Interview with Kelley Heckart

C.H. Scarlett :Tell us about the Pagan that lives inside of Kelley and do those beliefs inspire your fabulous art?

Kelley says: Well, I was raised Catholic so I was exposed to crosses/crucifixes at an early age. Later, when I decided I didn’t want to be a part of the Catholic Church, I was still drawn to the symbol of the cross. So I did some research and I found out that these ancient symbols were around long before Christianity as the most cherished of religious symbols. It is believed that the ancient cross symbolized the earth’s four directions and the divine center.

Spaniards saw Indians worshipping the cross. The Peruvians and Babylonians had the Maltese cross. The druids were believed to have made their cross out of a stem and two branches of the oak tree. Buddhist crosses are common throughout the East. The Thor’s hammer cross is a well-known Pre-Christian cross and several deities of ancient Egypt hold a cross in their hands. Wheeled crosses are seen on some Pre-Christian stones, possibly as symbols of solar worship. Ireland is known for its many ancient crosses. The ancient faery people of Ireland, the Tuath-de-Danaan, had crosses that were adorned with snakes, birds and other animals. In the Scottish Highlands, the Fiery Cross, when dipped in goat’s blood and flaming, was a message of alarm among the wild tribes. A serpentine figure was often twisted around the Fiery Cross.

This information inspired me. I wanted to create crosses, but with a pagan influence.

C.H. Scarlett : When did you first discover your talent & what inspired you to make these crosses?

Kelley says: When I was a kid, I started picking up shells, driftwood, feathers and interesting rocks. I never knew what to do with all of that stuff until I decided to start making my crosses. My first cross was small and simple. I made it for my mom who was critically ill in the hospital. I don’t know if it was my cross that made her well, but from then on I decided to keep making them.

C.H. Scarlett : What is the process behind your art?

Kelley says: First I go through my Canadian driftwood and match two pieces together to make the cross. Then I stare at the wood for a while, deciding what style to make—Southwest, Goddess or Rune. Then I stare at the wood some more envisioning what crystals, shells and other decorations will work with the piece of wood. If the wood isn’t smooth enough for me to burn in symbols, I have to use something else like strips of leather. Each piece of wood calls for something different and the wood speaks to me.

C.H. Scarlett : What artists and or musicians–and songs– if any, inspire you and why?

Kelley says: My favorite art is faery/fantasy art like Amy Brown, Jessica Galbreth and Nene Thomas. I also like Susan Seddon-Boulet. Her artwork is so dreamlike with titles like Seven Moons Passing and Playing with the North Wind. Her art is inspired by Native American art and Greek mythology, which inspires me as an artist and writer.

I love all kinds of music, but my favorite bands right now are Icelandic metal bands like Apocalyptica and Nightwish. The music is very energetic and dark with haunting melodies. I also love Flyleaf, Evanescence, Loreena McKennitt and Blackmore’s Night.

C.H. Scarlett : If the world was created in the image of your imagination, what would it be like when we woke up tomorrow and seen it with new eyes?

Kelley says: All the men would be wearing kilts and they would have long hair. LOL Seriously, I think we live in a beautiful world. Where I live in Arizona we have gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. The Colorado River flows through the canyon, a bright turquoise color that is so striking to the eye. There are beautiful red painted rock formations in Sedona, AZ that are incredible—nature’s artwork. I don’t think I would change that. I just think we need to take care of the world we have and stop polluting it.

C.H. Scarlett : *note: I want to live in Kelley’s kilt wearing world!!!!! M-m-m-yummy*

If someone would like to commission your talent, where can they find you?

Kelley says: On my main website at http://www.kelleyheckart.com I have a page on there called Kel’s Cool Crosses (direct link is: http://kelleyheckart.com/kels-cool-crosses.html) I have instructions on there on how to buy my crosses. My crosses can be found on eBay under the category of ‘wall crosses.’ Put wall crosses in
the ‘find’ box, put home and garden in ‘in’ box. Click on ‘refine search’ to specify seller
and enter havasukelley. For custom work, email me at
kelleyheckart@yahoo.com with Kel’s Cool Crosses in the subject line.

C.H. Scarlett :  Any new projects in the future or plans?

Kelley says: I am just going to continue doing what I am doing now–keeping my work available on eBay. I will see what happens in 2010. Maybe I will try to get my work in more stores.

Thank you for the interview and the opportunity to showcase my art.