Archive | May, 2013

Guest Post From Vonnie Winslow Crist: The Wisewoman Archetype

20 May

Today my guest is Vonnie Winslow Crist, the author of a YA fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, 2 speculative story collections, The Greener Forest and Owl Light, and other books. A firm believer that the world around us is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, Vonnie celebrates the power of myth in her writing.

The wisewoman archetype character has its roots in the myths, legends, and folklore of many societies. She’s attuned to nature, knowledgeable about animals and plants, and a healer. She’s both midwife and dark angel who opens the doors of birth and death. Usually, she’s been apprenticed to an older wisewoman or is a member of a loosely aligned society of wisewomen. She’s also the owner of a diary, journal, or book of recipes given to her by a now-deceased mentor.

In my fiction, the wisewoman archetype is a respected member of the community. Loved by some, feared by many, she seems to possess supernatural knowledge. My wisewomen are observant, intelligent, intuitive, and empathetic. Using the same information available to the other characters plus her experience and special book, she’s able to find a solution to the problems facing her or another. Does she use magic? Maybe. I usually leave that up to the reader to decide.

In my eshort, For the Good of the Settlement, Auntie Rue and her pet squirrels must decide whether or not to commit murder. They’re basically “good,” but will they choose a dark solution to their problem? In my collection of speculative stories, The Greener Forest, the wisewoman character appears in several of the selections. One of my favorites, Rona, sits beside her niece as they await the arrival of a draugr (a type of zombie). She’s used traditional folklore methods of preventing zombification, but knows there’s still a chance that Gunnar will return.

In my new YA fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, there are several wisewomen who interact with Beck (the main character) as he journeys from his hometown of Queen’s Weather to Ulfwood and back. All of them are healers, have special books, a favored animal, and words of advice for my hero. These women, along with an ancient wisewoman we meet later in the book, belong to the Alywyn Sisterhood – but I was careful to make each of them an individual. They differ in appearance, speech, animal companion, and abilities. All of the wisewomen he has dealings with seem to help Beck – the question is, do they assist him out of kindness, for money, or for some ulterior motive?

The longest tale in my next collection of short fiction, Owl Light, features a diviner and her assistant. In this story, the reader witnesses the transferal of power and position as an older wisewoman fulfills her pledge to protect the people of her village and is killed in the process. Her assistant then steps into the role of diviner.

Since I use this archetype frequently in my fiction, I’ve been asked: “Are your wisewomen witches?” My response is: no and yes. If you mean devil-worshipers, the answer is: no. If you mean broom-riding hags out to do evil, again the answer is: no. But if you’re asking if my wisewomen might’ve been accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts 250 years ago ago because they were different from most of the New England villagers, the answer is: yes.

Many of the women accused over the centuries of being witches were nothing more than healers. Their power over disease was viewed as magical. If a woman was able to cure an illness, some people suspected she might be able to cause illnesses. So a wisewoman healer was often called a hedge witch, and though a part of a community was set apart from that same community because of her oneness with nature.

Wisewoman, village elder, healer, diviner, or hedge witch – I like nothing more than to toss into my fiction a powerful, mysterious female character. The question is, do readers like to read about such characters?

Here are links to read a 3-chapter excerpt of The Enchanted Skean: http://vonniewinslowcrist.com/books/the_enchanted_skean_excerpt and to take a look at The Enchanted Skean’s book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-8C9OkyJCU

To learn more about Vonnie and her books, visit her website: www.vonniewinslowcrist.com , blog: http://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com , Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WriterVonnieWinslowCrist , Goodreads page: www.goodreads.com/vonnie_winslow_crist , or follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/VonnieWCrist

And to purchase her books: http://tinyurl.com/Vonnie-Winslow-Crist-Amazon

Advertisements
Image

A New YA Fantasy Adventure!

20 May

A New YA Fantasy Adventure!

Image

And Now, the Cover

17 May

And Now, the Cover

Here’s the cover of the new novel I discussed in my last post (five minutes ago). My next goal is to get text and illustrations in the same post (I may have just figured it out; cross fingers please)

The New Novel is For Sale On Amazon!

17 May

After many interesting surprises, The Seal Queen was releaded yesterday.

This book is a first for me in many ways: my first journey into fantasy writing, shapeshifters, Irish mythology and inter-species romance.

Or, as the back cover blurb tells it:

Drawing on Irish folklore, The Seal Queen tells the story of Briah, an escaped slave who finds sanctuary, for herself and her unborn child, on an enchanted beach. There her life is filled with contented solitude, the joys of motherhood, and even the possibility of love with a merman whose song haunts her dreams.

But Briah’s magical world is shaken when she discovers that her son is the long-awaited savior and future king of the roane (shape-shifting seals, and gentler cousins of the selkies). Briah wants to help these magical creatures, but  is unwilling to see her son become a pawn in their deadly schemes. When faced with the choice between sending her child to battle his diabolical father or allowing the roane to be exterminated, Briah insists on finding a third option.  

I hope any of you who decide to buy it have as much fun reading it as I did writing it!

New From the New Server

4 May

Hi Everyone, and welcome to my first post on WordPress.com.  I finally got all my old posts trasnfered, and with help from the nice folks at Hover, was able to keep my original URL.  Hopefully that means that if you typed in sandrasaidak.com, you arrived here.

There’s been a slight delay in the publication of THE SEAL QUEEN (so what else is new, right?  I’ve never felt more like a real author than when I started sweating over deadlines:))  Hopefully, you can have it on your Kindle in less than two weeks.  Paper editions will probably be out in June.  And I hope everyone had a happy Beltane, even without my new book.

I will be at the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Science Fiction Convention (BayCon) over Memorial Day weekend.  I hope all of my readers who happen to be in Northern California at that time will come to the Santa Clara Convention Center for a great convention.  Check out their website at http://www.baycon.org/2013/

I will, for the first time, be selling my books in the dealers room this year, along with some other amazing local authors.  I hope to meet some of you who’ve read my books, or dropped by this website.