Tag Archives: Tom Brown

WAKE UP! RISE AND SHINE!

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Have you missed us? We have sure missed you. And I can’t tell you how glad I am to have The Pagan and the Pen back on the map!

I am more pleased to announce that we have some awesome things on the horizon. It’s almost like the vision we had years ago is in full bloom! Scratch that. It IS like that. We are in full bloom!

While I am still signing Authors up and working out the details of Columns, I’d like to give you a short sneak peak of what we have so far.

Of course we will be posting the Ancient Calendar, daily, but we will also include Modern Day Pagan Holidays as well.  We have added Magical Moon Phases and All Things Paranormal.

I have new articles coming up interviewing people and their experiences with the Astral/ Shadow Spider/People Phenomenon.

We have new interviews being set up as we speak with Pagan Artists, Musicians and Authors. Once a month or so, our very own Nimue Brown will be giving you the latest on Pagan Authors and Books. She will also be taking us on a journey to meet all these Artists we have coming and fabulous Musicians. I can’t even begin to list the things Nimue has in store for us.

But also, real quick, I’d like to thank her husband, Artist Tom Brown, for constantly feeding our blog with his very talented Art. Without him, our Graphics would be so very lacking.

New Columns on the horizon. We have Modern Minoan Paganism and Circe’s Circle, just to name a few. Please click on those to find out their descriptions. You will NOT be disappointed.

We have with us, D. Ryan, who will head up Circe’s Circle, who happens  to have first hand knowledge in the field of Education and LGBT issues.

Laura Perry will not only educate us concerning Modern Minoan Paganism, but she is an Artist who has published her own set of Tarot as well.

We have a new Facebook Page, GIVE US A LIKE HERE, please, and we have a NEW TWITTER ACCOUNT. We also have a Forum in the works, which will be coming later, but soon.

We have Debi Gregory,  who will also be bringing us a Column. Debi heads up Pagans with Disabilities .which is affiliated with the Pagan Federation. They have an online Midsummer Festival event coming up so PLEASE check that out!

We have Folklore (Mountain Lore) and Remedies coming, Historical information, Metaphysics, Herbs and Gardening, Bath & Body, Kitchen Witchery, Recipes, and  SO MUCH MORE!!!!

There is so much on the horizon, I couldn’t possibly list it all here. So please, find us on Facebook, Twitter, follow or join the blog… whatever you need to do to stay posted and as always….ENJOY!

Seeing the Opportunities

And so I continue with the project of trying to milk meaningful thoughts and reflections out of the current mess of my life. There is that piece of wisdom, ‘when life sends lemons, make lemonade’. I’ve seen it amended in a number of ways lately. ‘If it doesn’t also send you water and sugar however, your lemonade will be vile.’ ‘Ask for salt and tequila’. There’s a truth here, and it pertains a lot to what scope we have for happiness. It does assume that there can be good in any situation.

One of the key notions in Buddhism is that life is pain and the only way to transcend that is to learn not to want. That philosophy allows a certain kind of contentment with very little, and a way of getting through hard times by trying to want and need less. I’ve tried that as a way forward, and I’m not going to recommend it. Learning to make do with less, can enable you to tolerate all sorts of things that it would be better to fight against. It can lead to a paring down of soul and self that is neither happy, or noble.

So, my challenge for today is to see the potential for good in what is happening to me. To stop drowning in pain and dismay, and try to find a way of relating to things that not only makes it easier to bear, but helps me move forwards.

There is always scope for learning. Whatever is going on, where there is life, there are things to be learned, even if they are things we have no desire to know. Accepting that possibility and looking for the lessons within experience can soften the stings.

I’m personally inspired by Brendan Myers work on heroic virtue (see ‘The Other Side of Virtue’ which is brilliant). Even if we have no apparent choice about our fate, there is always the choice of how to face it. Heroic cultures, pagan cultures, favoured facing your fate on your feet, with a weapon in hand. Certain doom can be faced with style, panache, courage and honour. Sometimes, it turns out not to be certain doom after all, because the insane, desperate attempt against all odds does work out sometimes. There is a solace of sorts to be found in taking a heroic stance, willing to accept whatever blows honour or passion demand. Celtic love stories are seldom happily ever afters, but they are epic, wild, and love burns very brightly in them. And so I will take it as a challenge, a chance to shine, not as a setback.

There’s scope for looking at accidental benefits that can be caused by challenges. The changes and demands of hard times can set us in new directions, creating new opportunities. Looking back at previous setbacks, some of them turned out to be blessings in disguise, most made me stronger, there were often unexpected ripples.

What do I have here? No shortage of opportunity to learn, grow, become stronger. I have a challenge to face, and it is going to take courage and determination. So be it. I have the chance to demonstrate to the love of my life, how far I would go for him, how much I would do and give to be with him. And he has the opportunity to do the same for me. Watching his eyes as we talked yesterday, seeing the fierce passion, the fire and determination in him, has affected me deeply. It is inspirational. Out of the pain we craft something stronger, deeper. Most people do not get chances to fight monsters and risk everything for the sake of their beloved. Life for most people most of the time is unremarkable. But I am caught up in something huge, shattering, hard, and I will have to fight, and so will Tom. My life is an epic romance. Seeing it in those terms makes it a very different thing to deal with.

We have this, now. We have moment to moment the breathtaking reality of living with a love that will cross oceans and do battle with bureaucrats. And I also see how this is touching all the people around us. Friends and family who are stepping up to help, and who are investing in our struggle. And so you too become part of this story. We had best make it a good one. Something worthy of remembering and repeating. A tale that in future years, people will look back on and say ‘I was there, I saw.’

Who knows what that might bring into the world?

Life and story

Dear friends, your support over the weekend has been tremendous. Tom and I are both deeply moved by how everyone is responding to our plight. For the time being, this blog is likely to be more personal than philosophical, because I’m struggling to think about anything else much. Neil Gaiman says ‘We have a duty to tell each other stories.’ It is also a way of having some control, some ownership over experience. Sharing our stories is often the basis of relationship, it shapes community and collective identity, and in times of anguish, it’s about the only thing that reliably helps.

So I will tell you my stories. Tom and I have been involved for six years, ish, first as friends, and creative partners, and now as lovers. He’s my inspiration, and my soul mate. It took both of us a long time to realise how we felt might be requited. Somehow, online, we managed something akin to love at first sight (well, emails, technically). This last year, has been a journey, the unfolding of an epic romance, a more profound love affair than I could have imagined before. I did not know love could be like this, or that I could feel like this, or that anyone could value me so highly and adore me so completely.

I’m quite aware that one of the conventions of romance fiction is the torturing of the characters, such that even though everyone knows it’ll work out ok (that being the main rule of romance) you start to believe it won’t. But this is not a romance novel, and we have no certainty of a happy ending. There is an ocean between us, and all the rules and regulations of countries who don’t really like folk moving around. We are not rich enough to have an easy ride of it. Officialdom is much more sympathetic to wealthy folk who want to change country for love.

 This morning I woke up, heart thundering, headfirst into full on panic. Yesterday was the same. I’ve got to try and get that under control, because my digestive system can’t take it, and it’s making me ill. Which is not going to help in the slightest. I sat with a lock of Tom’s hair in one hand, and my pentagram in the other – left to me by someone I think of as a craft parent, but that’s a long and complicated tale in its own right. Generally speaking, my druidry is more about communion, service and celebration than asking for help. I tend to assume I’m on my own for most things, I am not much of a god botherer. But right now, I need all the help I can get. I am praying for courage and strength. I am praying for a way through this, and not to be eaten by despair. Above all, I am praying for help. Never before have I felt so keenly that my life is in the hands of the Gods. I do not know what they want of me.

There are moments when I feel I am not alone, when there seems to be support and comfort from some external source. Moments I cannot explain. I’ve had them before in times of extremis. I survived those. But I want to do more than survive this, I want to win. I want to get my lover to the UK, marry him, live with him, have one life, one future, one story.

Today is my birthday. I am thirty three. I have never been more sure of what I want, and less sure of where on earth my life might be taking me, literally. So I dry my tears, and do the only thing I can do. I will tell stories.

Please, keep us in your prayers. I am thinking, when we get through this, there will be a handfasting. I’m considering Avebury, because it is huge, and I can invite everyone.

Lost Bards and Dreamers Art

I have a poetry collection just come out at Alpheratz Press. It’s very druidic, inspired by nature, the seasons, ritual, and philosophy. Much of it was written with the intention of being able to use it in rituals. So, I shall be talking about it over the coming days. I thought I’d start with the cover art.

When I first considered putting together a collection, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find a publisher, and thought about self publishing. Tom offered to do me a cover (because he is very lovely) and we went from there. Other opportunities arose, and Alpheratz were very happy indeed to get a Tom Brown cover, so that worked well.

The image on the cover has a longer history than just this book, however. More than a year ago, I’d talked with Tom about the possibility of him designing a tattoo for me. At some point I’ll get that sorted. I want a purple poppy on my hip. Poppy seed was traditionally used to make sleeping potions, and of course opium induces strange dreams and hallucinations. It’s a flower with considerable personal significance. Thinking about Tom’s poppy sketches, I thought one of those would make a lovely cover for my poems, and asked if I could do that.

Tom, being both incredibly generous and something of a perfectionist, was not at all keen on the idea of me using the poppy sketch for my cover, and insisted on doing a fresh image. He was familiar with the poems, because I’d read most of them to him while I was putting them together. The background is full of lovely details – trees, standing stone and water. I love the colours, they’re so rich and vibrant.

 I’ve been blessed with some fine cover art over the years. Tom’s work on Hunting the Egret is gorgeous, and the artist I had for The Shifting Heart was awesome. Dawne at loveyoudivine does excellent work with photographs, I’ve had some very stylish covers from her over the years. But even so, there isn’t another cover on a book of mine that comes close to this one. Tom has excelled himself. I’m looking forward to having the original in the house, its destined for a frame and some wallspace.

I am blessed, having such a talented partner. He understands what I do, and being a fellow druid had an intuitive grasp of what was needed, artwise. I am going to try and arrange print versions of the cover art, and will make it known once that’s sorted out.

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR JUNE 2010

We have loads of new stuff coming your way at The Pagan and the Pen. First, let’s get the regular goodies out of the way, shall we?

I am very excited to announce that we have an interview today called:

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

This concerns a Lifestyle that is very controversial because many people write or say they live it, representing it wrongly. So, as we took on a new writer sometime ago who actually lives the Lifestyle of BDSM, I was very happy when she decided to correct the wrongs, throw us some rights, and even a little glossary by allowing our FABULOUS Rie McGaha to interview her.

BIG BIG NEWS–Dena has agreed to do a monthly column with Pagan and Pen. Think Taboo with Dena C.

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If you dig the (Free) Desktop Wallpapers, then June’s is ready!

Free Desktop Wallpaper Calendar June 2010

AND AND AND!!!!

Free Desktop Wallpaper by Tom Brown

Don’t miss June’s Pagan Artist of the Month either that Brandi Auset did the interview for. I am thinking Brandi has a true talent for this…

June: Pagan Artist of the Month: Willow Arleana

Now, some announcements & free stuff from our Authors:

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Angela Brown has a new release HERE. The title is Forever and it’s a Paranormal erotic, not erotica, romance short story.

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Ancient Blood releases on May 31, and there’s still time to get in on the contest and win copies of Blood Line, Ancient Blood, an Ancient Blood T-shirt, and poster signed by the author! Go to Rie McGaha’s Website for an excerpt, contest rules, and how to enter!

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Lost Bards and Dreamers s

Brynneth has a poetry collection coming out – very druidy in tone – Lost Bards and Dreamers. Cover art by Tom Brown, and it’s coming out very shortly with Alpheratz as an ebook first, and then on paper.

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Noble Wyntress Nyght 200x300

C.H. Scarlett’s book Wyntress Nyght’s Supernatural Crack: Exes & Hexes (Book One)is set to be released on June 14th, 2010 by Noble Romance Publishing. The book is a zany, supernatural shot for those who need their Paranormal fix. If you adored shows and characters like The Addams Family, Munsters, Elvira, Buffy the Vampire Slayer– then this series may just be for you. I warn you, though, no two bones about it…Wyntress Nyght can be a handful…and she knows it!  For more information click the title or check out C.H. Scarlett’s Website!

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Now, for some more good stuff concerning the blog!!!!!

Because so many readers have contacted us or have posted , we now have COLUMNS!!!! BASED ON THE SUBJECTS YOU WANT!!!!

Writers have set out to bring you the articles you crave, concerning the issues you desire, and hopefully, in the end, we will leave you happily stuffed!.

  • Daily Columns

    

  • Bi-Monthly Columns

  • Monthly Columns

  • Click on the links above to discover what to expect from those Columns. We are trying to cover all of the issues–Ancient celebrations, Women, GLBT, Pagan, Druid, Divination (Dear Spirit), Movies, Religious, Abuse, Controversial, the life experiences of William Maltese (who can entertain the masses easily), Men and Women relationships/differences, etc–  that you find interesting. If we are missing one, then please, by all means, let us know and we will see if we can find an Author to cover it.

    Free Desktop Wallpaper by Tom Brown

    Hopeless wallpaper 2preview

    The above is a preview…please do not right click and save as because it won’t your screen.

    However, above is a FREE wallpaper for your desktop by one of our FAVORITE artists Tom Brown!!!! We did an interview with him, if you would like to check it out: December: Pagan Artist of the Month : Tom Brown

     

    Every now and again, Tom throws us something FABULOUS!!! And of course, we eat it right up. Today, Mz. Brynneth let us know he had a NEW WALLPAPER up for grabs, though, so we just HAD to offer it up to all our Pagan and Pen followers!

    To get updates on all of Tom’s cool, darkly, fab stuff, you can find him at: Copper Age

    Wallpaper at Photobucket—just right click and SAVE AS!

    ENJOY!!!!! AND THANK YOU TOM!!!!!

    Writing Sub-Cultures

    I heard on an egroup yesterday that Steampunk is the new big thing, publishers are asking for it. Assorted rom-erotica authors commented on it seeming interesting, and pondered if it was worth trying to get in on the action. I buried my face in my hands. (And then I wrote a somewhat shorter version of what I’m going to post here. It was grumpier as well.)

    I remember a few years back, when everyone seemed to be doing pagan deities, things stolen from Greek mythology (satyrs, dryads etc) and there were a lot of druid and witchy characters turning up in excerpts posted to egroups. No doubt a few publishers had decided that paranormal was the new buzzy thing, and that writers should be encouraged to cash in.

    My partner Tom recently did a panel at the Steampunk’s World Fair, where he was talking about paranormal. He told me he pointed out to people to tread carefully, that one person’s ‘paranormal’ is another person’s belief.

    As a pagan, it’s painful, irritating and depressing watching our deities, myths and superficial contemporary practice being appropriated by people who really don’t know the first thing about our lives, but who have heard that paranormal sells like hot cakes. I can usually tell from a book blurb if the author is a pagan or not. It’s exactly the same for the BDSM crowd, I gather from friends. The frustration of getting books where the writers clearly don’t have the first clue what a genuine BDSM lifestyle looks like. There are huge and hungry niche audiences for kink. The thing is, they don’t want kink written by people who haven’t got the first clue how it actually works. It’s not just about having the right slang and knowing who ought to put what where. This is a lifestyle choice, these are subcultures, just as paganism is.

    The same is true of Steampunk. I know enough to know that currently I do not know enough to write it. Steampunk is not just a fiction genre, it embraces art, music, clothing and innovation in all kinds of ways, and it has a growing community. Steampunk enthusiasts can and do have complex heated debates about what is, and isn’t, proper Steampunk. A person who is outside that, would struggle to catch the attention of true Steampunk fans.

    I’d be the first person to say that writers shouldn’t restrict themselves to purely writing from firsthand experience. However, if you want to write in a niche and for a specific market (whatever that is) you can’t just appropriate some surface details and imagine that people will lap it up. They won’t. At the very least, you need to know your niche, read other writers who are part of it, go where the communities of real enthusiasts are, get involved, find out what it actually is and how it actually works.

    I’ll offer an example – British author Phil Rickman is not a pagan. He’s said as much, being interviewed in pagan magazines. His occult mysteries, with a central character who is an Anglican exorcist vicar, who has a pagan daughter, are hugely popular with pagans. Why? Because he’s done his research well and writes things that are good representations of us, and the kinds of world views we hold and experiences we have.

    Just as setting your erotic fiction on a spaceship doesn’t make it science fiction that sf readers will lap up, so giving a girl a corset and goggles does not make your book and instant hit with steampunks. It is not ok to exploit communities, ripping off what you can of their culture, with no respect for who they actually are, just to make a quick buck out of the next buzzy genre. Like most ‘get rich quick’ schemes it doesn’t work anyway. There is money to be made catering to niche audiences, but it tends to go to the folk who give those niches what they actually want, not dodgy pastiches.