A Perfect Square by Isobel Blackthorn

A Perfect Square is a great story! I’ll have a review on my website soon as well: http://www.patricialeslie.net

ISOBEL BLACKTHORN

“The Seventies, that accursed decade when the hippies took hold of the occult and turned it into fairy floss.” That line tickled me! “They were three difficult years. Harriet call…

Source: A Perfect Square by Isobel Blackthorn

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Time to consolidate

I have too many pots on the stove and have decided to consolidate my online hot spots to just the one roaring bonfire… well, that may be a slight exaggeration but I may as well plan big.

All future posts will be at www.patricialeslie.net. I’ve just uploaded a new blog post – A line in the sand

I invite you to follow the links and have a look. You’ll be greeted by music (scroll down to watch the trailer for The Ouroboros Key) and will have the opportunity to sign up for my newsletter.

See you there!

A Non-Definitive History: the Cathars of Southern France

The Sidhe characters in The Ouroboros Key are based on a mix of the Albi and the Annunaki. In essence (or in theory whichever you prefer), the Albi or the Albi-gens, were the Elvan bloodline descended from Tailltu, Celtic Goddess of the Earth. In The Ouroboros Key, Tailltu is presented as Tiamet. Tailltu and Tiamet are dragon goddesses/queens and they are often symbolised by a serpent holding its tail in its mouth – the Ouroboros.

Tiamet is often depicted as a multi-headed dragon. this image from http://www.mmogames.com/

Tiamet is often depicted as a multi-headed dragon. this image from http://www.mmogames.com/

The Ouroboros symbol is also known as the Ring of Unity.

I often say that The Ouroboros Key is derived from Celtic, early Christian and Sumerian mythology, and so it is. The symbology I describe is seen in the history of each of these religions/cultures. Which is, of course, what hooked me in the first place. How can similar symbols and myths be in a religion such as Christianity, which opposes all other religions? How can the gods of one religion be reflected in another? And, how can each religion say in turn that they are the one true faith (or words to that effect)?

It’s a deep and murky hole filled with scholarly works, fantastic tales, and conspiracy theories. Naturally, I decided I needed to add to it.

The Ouroboros Key doesn’t delve too deeply into the whys and wherefores. I prefer to deliver an entertaining story to a semi-academic piece, but I did have to do a lot of academic reading and research in order to present a story line that travelled relatively smoothly.

As my research continued, I discovered that the defenders of the Albi-gens were the Cathars, Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, and Gnostics (and probably a few other groups as well).

The Cathars (Pure Ones) have an interesting story. They were a sect or a denomination if you prefer, of Christianity from the 1100s to the 1300s who believed in two gods; one good, one evil. Enki and Enlil. These two also figure in legends of the Annunaki.

Oh, it’s a very tangled web.

Back to the Cathars. The Christian hierarchy at the time called the Cathars “Albigenses” (they were generally from the region of the same name in Languedoc and I don’t think the elvish theory was much touted in those days) and the Cathars called themselves, Christians. Aside from being dualist, Cathars did not believe in holding observances in churches, considered men and women equal, were happy with questioning faith and thinking for themselves, and were against the taking of life and eating meat. Their belief system was quite popular in the Languedoc area among the commoners and the local nobility.

The Cathar doctrine was about love and compassion. They rejected the idea that bad things happened because God was trying them. It was the perpetual war between good and evil, and the shifting balance between them that caused the “shit to fly”.

There were several other tenets of the faith and practices of the people (such as not paying tithes to the Catholic church), which in the end proved their downfall. Neither side liked each other and when a campaign of propaganda didn’t work, the Catholic Church started the Albigensian Crusade. I’m sure you all know what that means – holy armies marching on the “unholy” and killing everybody.

The quote, Kill them all. God will know his own, comes from this period and is attributed to the Cistercian monk, Arnaud Amaury. Fairly gruesome stuff, but then that was the crusades for you (all of them).

Catharism belief reached far and wide, and though the Cathars were eventually wiped out, traces of their influence can be seen throughout history in other religions, cultures, and of course, in the remains of former strongholds in the Languedoc region.

There are many references to the Cathars in The Ouroboros Key some are obvious others merely whispers. For instance, the discussions on Tolosa in France (fairly obvious), the esoteric language and the Sangreal (bordering on fairly obvious), and the underlying theme of service and sacrifice, and the importance of the quality of a life lived.

A few of the quotes that I came across during my research, and that really stuck with me (enough to contribute to theme and storyline) were:

… the whole point of Catherism was their conception that Christianity is a life lived, not a doctrine believed in. The Albigensian Heresy by HJ Warner

And these, which I’m fairly certain came from The Cathars and Reincarnation by Arthur Guirdham (please correct me if I’m wrong. My notes, written a long time ago, are a tad messy).

The spirit is born, lives and never dies

Time has no significance – the past, present and future are blended

I feel I am dreaming… [but] I know I am wide awake

I researched The Ouroboros Key some 10 to 15 years ago and my notes come from books I found in my local library or that I procured through inter-library loans. Then along came the internet… if you’re interested in the Cathars (they truly are fascinating) then I refer you to:

http://www.cathar.info/ (a history) and http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_autor_whenry04.htm (which makes many connections with the Annunaki)

If you prefer to hit the books, I would be happy to give you a list of everything I’ve read on the subject.

Contact me by leaving a comment here, my Facebook page or via Twitter. I also haunt LinkedIn and Google+

ouroboros and book covers

The Ouroboros Key is published by Odyssey Books and is available from all online book stores such as Amazon, Book Depository etc. Click here for a few links and to view trailer: https://patricialeslieauthor.wordpress.com/my-books/

 

 

A new project is underway!

I’ve spent a lovely day writing, planning, outlining and researching a new story. It will be my second located in Sydney, but that is all just about all it has in common with the novel due to be published later this year.

I’m keeping with the urban fantasy genre a little longer as the new project has mysterious incidents and what better way to explain them than with magic? My love of history is also being satisfied with strong connections (across time) to the 1800s.

And that’s all I’m telling you for now.

In the meantime, I have a lot of reading to do and would appreciate a few steampunk recommendations to break up all the history I’ll be devouring. If you have a fave author, please pass their name along, especially if they also happen to be Australian.

 

 

Marketing your novel: Content creation and sharing

I’ve just spent the last few hours (not all in a row) looking for interesting articles to share on Twitter and include in my free online newsletter: Just Write.

just write

I’ve also been researching how to determine the target market and readership for my novels (current and future). Considering that I only recently “discovered” the genre of my writing (while researching the different categories that make up fantasy fiction), I thought having the correct label would make it easier.

Silhouette-Readers-11

Did you know that 1: the categories of fantasy fiction are confusingly varied and 2: knowing more about its many classifications does not help much. Previous to all this research, when asked who are my readers, I would vaguely answer: anyone between the age of around 15 and dead, male or female, and people who like a mix of fantasy, contemporary stories, mysteries, and action.

Now that I know that The Ouroboros Key (and my upcoming yet to be titled novel too just quietly) can be classified as “urban fantasy”, I may confidently answer any readership queries with: anyone between the age of around 15 and dead, male or female, and people who like a mix of fantasy, contemporary stories, mysteries, and action.

There will always be

Modern-day heroes find links to an ancient past in secret tunnels under the Rocky Mountains.

 

Hmmmmmm…..

Links to a few of the articles I’ve been reading will be in the next issue of Just Write. Click on the link to read for yourself or catch up on all my tweets by following me on Twitter @patricialesliea.

Another topic I’m interested in is how to improve readership and engagement of my blog and Facebook page.

Here are the top tips I’ve brought away from all my wanderings around the Internet.

  1. Blog posts should be clear and not too long.
  2. Facebook posts should be to the point, include a hook, and short.
  3. People are visual: use lots of pictures.
  4. Videos are really popular. Use as many as possible and if you’ve got the time and capability, make your own.
  5. Posts should help people. Tips, how-tos, diagrams, and sharing of journeys and processes.

Here is what I’ve concluded for myself:

  1. Maintaining and keeping a blog current and interesting can be hard work and requires a lot discipline.
  2. Facebook is great for catching up on all the latest news and keeping in touch with family and friends. Getting your voice heard when you are just one note in a vast chorus of people sharing their stories and promoting their endeavours is not so easy.
  3. Twitter is easier to manage and can be worked in quickly and in between other activities like travelling from home to work on the train. However, to keep your voice above a whisper it must also be fairly constant.
  4. Researching new ideas, improved ways of communicating, and changes to social networking sites needs to be a regular activity.
  5. Collecting images, videos and quotes and keeping them in a handy place (like Dropbox) is a great way to decrease time spent on individual posts and stir the creative juices when you’re feeling a little dry.

Finally, I’m very aware of copyright on images, videos, and words, and the grey area this often falls into when it comes to blogs and social media. I’m working on a separate article concerning that issue as well as the sharing of memes.

If you have some experiences or thoughts on That subject I’d love to hear them. Comment here or DM me on Facebook or Twitter.

 

When writing is not writing: preparing the way

I spend a lot of time on research and marketing, which means less time on putting words to paper (or to keyboard). I feel like I’m not writing at all yet without research, I have nothing to write about. Without marketing, I have nothing to write for.

Research gives me storylines, descriptions, and information while marketing gives me readers and the all important publishing contract.

Soon though, the research will slow down as characters emerge and start to share their stories with me. At some point, in the next week or so, pen will finally meet paper and my next manuscript will be on its way.

Marketing never stops though so while I’m still in the research phase, I’m attempting to really push myself and get out there. Most of it is through social media as it’s the easiest to squeeze into my packed schedule. It can also be pre-programmed though I could automate far more than I do – I prefer a more personal touch. For my online journal, Just Write, I personally source most of the content (which means I’m also learning a lot as I go).

The next step on my story writing path (research phase) is to visit locations, museums and galleries. In these places I will find descriptions, atmosphere, and backgrounds. Here, I will come to understand touch, sight and sound so that while I’m writing I can draw on my experiences to flesh out the world my characters live in. Just writing about it is exciting. I can’t wait. And neither can my characters!