Help the Warriors Return the Light: Beta Readers Needed #betareaders #middlegradefantasy

Happy Solstice Everyone!

I was hoping to get this post out yesterday, but it ended up being a rather long and exhausting day. I was called in to sub at the middle school and the day stretched out from there without much time for blogging. So here I am now reaching out with a request to help the “Warriors of Light” repair the lines of light in Earth. I am looking for a handful of beta readers who are willing to journey (back) into The Labyrinth with my six young warriors as they continue their quest together in book two of the series.

I you have not The Labyrinth, no worries. It would be nice to get perspectives from both those who have, and those who have not. Here is a brief synopsis of the plot of the first book and the overall quest of the adventure trilogy:

A mysterious labyrinth appears to six teens, luring them into a magical maze of light broken by darkness. Here they discover they are the chosen ones, tasked to bring back the light in Earth. It is a seemingly impossible quest in a place where danger and otherworldly beings lurk in the shadows. The teens, though, have extraordinary gifts. They are shapeshifters, able to transform into their spirit animals and unleash their powers. It is both a gift and a curse, as the teens come to realize how much is at stake…

If you are willing to help me bring book two in the series into the world by becoming a beta reader, I would be very grateful. You can email me directly at aekehas@gmail.com or respond in the comments. The manuscript will be sent to you as a PDF file formatted to read like a book. At this stage I am looking for general feedback, but welcome typos if you happen to catch them. Many thanks in advance for those who are willing to help me out.

A Magical Walk with a dragon, a coyote, and a blackbird #thousandoaks #dragonlines #lizardrock

I’ve come to the conclusion the best magic is that which arises unbeckoned and fills the soul with joy. During a family trip to California over the Thanksgiving holiday week, I had the pleasure of encountering this type of magic more than once.

We took the path ahead, which leads to Lizard Rock. You can just make out its profile in the tiny peak to the left of the center of the distant hill.

On the second morning of our stay in Thousand Oaks, my husband, daughter ventured to a nearby system of trails and left my sleep son behind in the hotel. A mere ten minutes drive from where we were staying, we were afforded several paths to choose from for our morning hike. After debating between Paradise Falls (which likely had no water to offer) and Lizard Rock, we chose the trail leading to the head of the dragon. We could just make out its profile on the far horizon and it seemed to beckon us. I didn’t know Sue would be waiting for us there, but I wasn’t surprised when I saw her.

Once we reached the head of the lizard/dragon, Sue appeared in the form of a blackbird (possibly a crow) circling above

Call me crazy, if you will, but those who are willing to open their minds to wonder will likely nod their heads in knowing. Life is filled with magic, we simply need to recognize it for what it is. We need to respond to its subtle cue and open our minds to wonder to welcome it through the door. When we do, rarely are we met with disappointment.

The spine of the dragon was guarded by a lurking coyote, but the next morning it was not…

The land we traveled that morning, as all land is on this planet, is ancient. This land, unlike many other places that have been radically altered my humankind, still bears the memories of magic. There was little doubt in my mind that it was once, and perhaps still is, considered a sacred place. A place where people intimately connected to Life had called forth in the energies of the land and the sky to feed the dragon lines. The rocks still hold the stories. As rocks tend to do. They are the bones of Earth. The keepers of memories long stored, waiting to be awakened.

The head of the “lizard” is much larger than it appears here and overlooks the valley and distant hills.

The weather was near perfect, the sky that impossible blue that only comes in autumn. Yet, the ground below our feet was scorched and withered for want of rain. Over to our right, as we walked toward the head of the lizard, a coyote paced the hillside, watching us. If we had wanted to venture toward the spiny back of the lizard, today was clearly not the day to do so.

Not the best photo, but you can just make out the hint of the coyote in the tan speck at the bottom middle of the closest green mound.

It was a little jarring to have our animal guide lurking so close beside us, especially with the knowing that one coyote often belies a pack inwaiting. But it was approaching mid-day and there were other hikers roaming the trails with canine companions of their own. Even if we were being watched, we were safe enough. And the symbolism of the coyote, with the blackbird that awaited us, could not be more fitting for a place such as this.

Sitting on the head of the dragon/lizard rock it is easy to contemplate the vast expanse of Life.

Lizard rock is just over a mile from the parking lot of Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks, and when we arrived at its head we waited patiently for the hikers who proceeded us to take their photos. My daughter and I both wanted our turn, and as you can see, the view is well worth it. When a solitary blackbird appeared overheard circling above us I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt we had arrived at a special place. I could only imagine what it once must have been like to look upon nothing but wild wilderness and feel the rush of energy commence at the head of the dragon upon which I sat.

The honeybees on the few cati that were in bloom brought a glimmer of hope

Sadly, though, I could not ignore the feeling of neglect in its place. Southern California is suffering greatly from the effects of climate change and the land is so thirsty for water even the visiting body aches for it. I felt myself wishing I had the power of my Warriors of Light character, Dell, wishing I could sing the water back to water Earth.

The walls of the cave continued to fill, and Dell did not drown. She had becoming a part of the body of water. Together they moved against the structure of stone, softening its form and urging its pores open to fill hardened veins with life. Up they rose, higher and higher, as the water lifted the weight of time along its way to open air. 

And instead of fear, Dell felt only joy.

Introducing Dancing Jaguar’s Book Club Featuring The Labyrinth! #bookclub #kidsbookclub #spiritcamp #dancingjaguar #middlegrade

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May Selection for Dancing Jaguar’s Book Club 

I’m excited and honored to announce my middle-grade metaphysical fantasy book, The Labyrinthwill be featured this month in Dancing Jaguar’s Kids’ Book Club!

Eva Goulette, the vision behind Dancing Jaguar Inspirations and Dancing Jaguar’s Spirit Camps, will be hosting this virtual book club via Zoom. It is free and open to all, but recommended for ages 8-13. th

During the May series, when Eva and the kids will be exploring the magical world of The Labyrinth, I will be making special author appearances.

There is no purchase necessary to join the Book Club. Kids and their parents are encouraged to explore the book’s companion site, Warriors Of Light Club, for an introduction to its metaphysical teachings and the six young protagonists, Aponi, Shesha, Lupe, Dell, Ari, and Sula. While exploring, visitors who have not yet read The Labyrinth can try to guess what each character’s power animal is.

The hints are in the names…

The thirteen-year-old protagonists in The Labyrinth have a lot in common with the children and teens who attend Dancing Jaguar’s camps and events. Although the six teens do their best to blend into their outer world, each harbors gifts that are not easily embraced or understood by those around them. In the magical world of the labyrinth, though, the rules of the outer world break down and the teens learn to become empowered warriors of light.  Here in this strange and mysterious realm, the nature of their true selves are revealed, as the warriors learn to embrace the strengths of their power animals, work together to repair the broken lines of light in Earth, and save Aponi’s mother who is trapped inside the shadows of her mind.  But first they must save each other…

To learn more about the book club, or Dancing Jaguar Inspirations, and Dancing Jaguar Spirit Camps and events for kids, please visit Eva’s website. Here you can explore the wonderful and nurturing environment Eva has created for kids and teens who are seeking to understand and embrace their true selves. I’m including a brief description from her site, which describes the essence of Eva’s mission and the wonderful opportunity for enrichment she has created for youth through her camps:

“With a holistic approach to integrating mind, body, and spir­it, this camp teaches children how to nurture their inner world.  We live in a modern society that places value on nurturing the mind and body.  Dancing Jaguar’s Spirit Camp teaches children how to nurture their heart and spirit. When children are encouraged to trust their intuition, honor their truth, and speak from the heart, they can develop their inner compass and trust themselves to make choices in high school and beyond that will sustain them.”

I have known Eva for years, although we only met in-person last summer, and have had the honor of following her vision and see it grow and flourish. She is a kindred spirit, with a strong passion for empowering and nurturing young minds and bodies so that they can grow with confidence in a world that can sometimes seen harsh and insensitive. I could not be more grateful that she has chosen to share her wisdom and the beauty of her light while she offers to explore the magical world of The Labyrinth with young seekers.

If you know a child who might be interested in the book club, or in Eva’s spirit camps, which have expanded into the virtual world at this time of social distancing, please share.

 

 

The Labyrinth Featured on Cover Wars

I discovered a fun little competition called “Cover Wars” from a fellow writer and blogger, Ritu Bhathal. The Labyrinth is in the running for this week’s competition of book covers. Take a look if you’re interested. Please vote for your favorite. It’s okay if it’s not The Labyrinth. 🙂 The true credit for my cover goes to Danielle English at Kanizo Art

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The Paranormal Meets Warriors of Light #warriorsoflight #thelabyrinth #fantasyadventure #fantastyseries #visionaryfiction #middlegradebooks

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My booth at the fair

It was a strange day, but I didn’t leave feeling defeated or discouraged. I had made $60. The booth fee for the paranormal convention table was $50. My net profit: $10. I didn’t sell one book, instead I sold some totem figurines, a few “Ghost-Be-Gone” sprays and a chakra pendant. Visitors trickled in throughout the day, but not many of the faces changed. Instead, most people were there there for the long-haul, having paid the ticket to see the lectures that were going on every hour or so.

I think I counted five people under the age of 21, but I may have missed one or two. I didn’t know what to expect, so there was really no reason to be disappointed.

Although I had never attended a ParaCon before, and probably looked a bit out of place sitting behind a booth without skulls or haunted baby dolls, I wasn’t entirely out of my element. I’ve done some ghost hunting in my days. I know what it’s like to be haunted. Heck, one of my main characters is a ghost, and that’s just in book one…but, it makes sense that most of the visitors that day were seeking the dark instead of the light. Or so it appeared on the surface.

There were those that stopped. The trio of teens who lingered in their black garb, flipping through the box of totem animals while eying my postcards and books until my friend in the booth beside me brashly announced, “I think you guys should read her book.”

“Really?” the tall one, who never made eye contact asked as he flipped over the cover?

“Yeah, especially you. I can tell you’re looking for answers. You’ll find them there.”

“It’s in Kindle,” I offered. “And it’s much a lot cheaper.”

“Oh really?” he sighed with relief as he took the postcard with all the information he needed.

Throughout the day I found myself wondering if I should lower my price. If I had, I probably would have sold 1 or 2 copies, but there would have been very little or no profit in return. The Indie writer’s world is not easy, and I am still figuring it out. I’ve written a book geared toward, but certainly not limited to, the younger generations. Kids and teens who rarely hold a book in their hands unless it is part of an assignment. A topic we joked about with the three teens who had lingered at my booth yesterday.

I am realizing how much I have ventured into the unknown, or rather, the undetermined. I am not discouraged, though. One seed planted is enough. And there were, perhaps, a couple planted yesterday. Three (not the teens mentioned above) signed up for my newsletter, a handful of others grabbed cards and postcards…maybe a few will go poking around on my website in a search for some answers. And, me, well, I’ll keep writing and venturing into the unknown when it beckons. I’ll welcome, as best as I can, whatever awaits.

I’m okay with that. It’s what I signed up for, after all.

Following the Broken Lines of Earth to Brentor #leylines #albion #middlegradefantasy

Ari_Sketch“The ley lines, lad. The ley lines. The lines of light in Earth. Some call them dragon lines. They haven’t been right for quite a long time now. Clogged by darkness. Broken by greed. I’m a mess. But then again, that’s nothing unusual these days. The entire planet is filled with broken lines and clogged pores, you might say. But you’re here to help fix that. So much work to be done. You best get started.” — Albion speaking to Ari, Book 2: Warriors of Light

“When we saw the cover of your book, we knew you had to be here,” Sue confided after I arrived for the June 2018 Silent Eye School of Consciousness workshop. The hexagram started appearing to me before I enrolled with the school and even before I met Sue through the wonderful world of blogging. Sue, though, has been my primary human guide as I navigate this sacred symbol and others.

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From the cover of my new book, The Labyrinth. Book 1 of the Warriors of Light series

The mystical hexagram seems to defy time and language, appearing throughout history and prehistory on Earth, as well as in the alignment of heavenly bodies. As above, so below. It unites the male and female aspects of ourselves and the “world” at large. Six years ago, I realized this symbol was asking to take form upon the pages of the book I had begun to write. Appearing in a grove of oaks, it looked like a maze of broken light. As I wrote, allowing myself to be led by the unseen force of the higher consciousness, I came to realize that lines of energy exist in the Earth and within us as the life force energy that is the “Light of Life” itself.

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Ancient symbols predating religion appeared throughout the churches we visited during the June workshop.

And so it was no surprise that I was drawn to the workshop before I even knew why. The hexagram, leading the way. There was the hexagon around the Cerne Abbas giant, which aligned with the stars above. Orion mapping the inner and outer-landscape at each site we visited. Seven churches forming a star with an inner point of light. And, dragon lines running through it all, guiding present and long forgotten footeps.

Sula_Sketch“In the middle of the hexagon is the source of the golden light, but there are a million paths to get there. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. It’s like a spider’s web. There are smaller lines of light, like veins on a leaf, which fill the large star we share, all leading to the center.” — Sula, The Labyrinth, Book 1: Warriors of Light 

I’m not sure I’ll ever be wholly or holy comfortable in a church. Although I admire their outer beauty, there is a rigidness to their structures that constricts my cells. An old church sits atop Brentor in England. Dedicated to St. Michael, it resides along his ley line. Inside the church, which still feels very solid and powerful in form, there is a stained glass window of the saint who is often seen in other churches slaying a dragon. Not so here.

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St. Michael above Brentor

Instead, the dragon lies dormant below him. The mound of earth itself, having erupted with its fire energy thousands of years before. It is no wonder I was not comfortable within these fortified walls. Although the saint here looks a bit wild and paganish with his feathered attire, his visage is fierce as he looks down upon the land with his sword poised for striking. His skirt wears the eyes of the peacock. Is there a bold defiance in this image inside a church that has laid claim to the land?

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Stuart and Sue explore the top of Brentor. Sue blends into the fortification, while Stuart gazes into the landscape.

The gargoyles here do not appear on the roof of the stone building, but in the guardian stone itself, which sits, placed by Nature one presumes, at the base of the hill.

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There is not just one face in this Guardian Stone filled with protective gargoyles.

I like this stone, as I do most stones that feel like there is a living presence within them. They often feel like friends, and when approached with trust and an open heart, they have much to share. Eyes are often drawn to them without always knowing why.

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The restless dragon mound of Brentor

The jagged rock of the guardian stone mirrors the tor it guards. Born of fire and earth, it is a hybrid of forces that feel unbalanced. I cannot help but think of Glastonbury Tor, so different from Brentor with its elegant conical shape, which to me feels very feminine, yet powerfully in control and aligned with the sacred heart. I do not recall seeing a guardian stone when I was there two years ago. Just ewes with their spring lambs dotting the landscape with the energy of rebirth and the promise of a resurrected heart filled with Christ-consciousness for those who wish to ascend its summits.

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My daughter poised for flight atop Glastonbury Tor, filled with exhilaration.

Brentor, in contrast, seems to represent a struggle of forces. As though the the battle between Earth and Man has yet to be won. Its church is largely intact, and dominates its summit, unlike the solitary tower that remains rather elegantly atop Glastonbury. Beautiful and non-threatening. Yet, is there really a victory to be won here?

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Despite the masculine feel of Brentor, it is guarded by Hathor’s animal.

The giant that lies under St. Michael’s church at Brentor may be latent at present, but history has taught us that we cannot conquer forces that are greater than ourselves, because these forces also reside within us, unbalanced. When we disrupt the energies in Earth, as we are doing now, She responds to our unease. When will we learn?

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A sacred stream runs through the body of the land below Brentor.

Water, like fire, runs through the veins of Earth. Nearby the base of Brentor, there is a small stone enclosure that appears to mark a sacred stream. Unlike Glastonbury, this one is mostly hidden, and there is no urging of tourists to gather. Yet, there it is filled with hope, carrying the blood of life through the land.