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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
[Today, we sit down with Juli D. Revezzo. Author of short stories, novellas, and novels, Revezzo is an eclectic Celtic Pagan who favors both the dark and creepy and the sweet and romantic in her tales. Here, she discusses how her spiritual path influences her writing, the writing process itself, and her latest fantasy and mystery publications.]
 
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BookMusings: If you could correct any common misconception about modern Paganism/polytheism, what would it be?
 
Juli D. Revezzo: I'd think I'd say that we all have the same belief. We don't, of course. 
 
BM: How do you describe your personal spiritual path? Do you follow a particular tradition, or are you more eclectic in your practices?
 
JDR: It's a little Celtic in nature, but mostly it's centered around my writing ... I guess you could call it bardic though more in an open to the muses kind of way than any strict Celtic bardic tradition. Although I wouldn't call myself a recon, I am a lore lover. 

BM: How much do your spiritual beliefs and practices inform your writing? Do you find yourself including the Deities or heroes you honor, or basing your characters’ experiences and practices off your own?
 
JDR: Some. In the case of my Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, I'd say the lore I've studied formed the basis of the overall stories. Particularly as pertains to Ruth and Stacy's battles in the CSC books, they are directly based on the myth of the Second Battle of Mag Turied (a battle fought between the Tuatha Dé Danann and their enemy Balor). 
 
BM: Your Celtic Stewards Chronicles focuses on a family responsible for the protection of sacred land, specifically Ruth (in the sixteenth century) and Stacy (in the twenty-first century). How thoroughly did you plot out the characters’ genealogy, and do you plan to tell the stories of any of Stacy’s other ancestors?
 
JDR: Their genealogy goes back more than 70,000 years. As Aaron (the hero of the first book, Passion's Sacred Dance) says there have been many battles, and many the heroines don't even know about; while they do try to keep records, some are just simply lost.
 
BM: While Ruth lives in sixteenth century Catholic Ireland, she and her family secretly honor the ancient Gods and Goddesses. Ruth is worried that she will be accused of witchcraft, despite the family’s friendship with the local priest. Is there evidence of the worship of the Old Gods in sixteenth century Ireland? Were there witchcraft trials there, too, like there were on the Continent?
 
JDR: Evidence of pagan worship? Well, there is the ever present belief in the fair folk, and the remaining stone monuments. But don't you suspect there was some worship of the gods going on, despite what the church hoped? :)
 
Were there witchcraft trials in Ireland? Oh, yes. According to Irish Witchcraft and Demonology by St. John D. Seymour, there were at least examinations of accusations of witchcraft, from the 13th century up through the 19th. In chapter three he lists a statute from 1586 says: "1. That if any person or persons after the end of three months next, and immediately after the end of the last session of this present parliament, shall use, practise, or exercise any witchcraft, enchauntment, charme, or sorcery, whereby any person shall happen to be killed or destroied, that then as well any such offender or offenders in invocations and conjurations, as is aforesaid, their aydors or councelors . . . being of the said offences lawfully convicted and attainted, shall suffer paines of death as a felon or felons." I just fudged the history a little and moved the possibility of it up 73 years to give my heroine Ruth something  else to worry about. :) Not that she needs much more, what with the war and the harshad warriors and monsters wandering around, and Balor out to get her.  That's the great thing about fantasy writing: You can sorta kinda get away with playing with timelines. :)
 
BM: What sort of research went into the Celtic Stewards Chronicles? Lots of trips to the library? Hours surfing the web? Piles of books on your desk?
 
JDR: This book took me roughly two and a half years to write -- just to get the first draft correct enough to send to my beta readers. I made many  trips to the library and spent hours surfing [the internet]. I read through lots of "life in the middle ages" type books, lots of web pages. I have a whole word document full of links I referred to. All fun! :) Also picked the brains of some friends who study the era and some who'd been to Ireland. I even learned how to knit! :)
 
BM: Murder Upon a Midnight Clear centers around psychic witch and police detective, Helene Collias. Please tell me you plan to return to Holly and tell more stories about Helene. Pretty please?
 
JDR: Funny you should I ask, as I do have a story rolling around in my brain that, if nothing else, might take place just outside Holly. Helene and I just haven't found the right crime for her to wrap her head around, yet. 
 
BM: Bicycle Requiem is described as a “zombie novelette.” It is also super creepy. Where the heck did you get the idea for this story?
 
JDR: From time to time, unfortunately, you hear stories about these kinds of hit and run accidents on the news. One day I was emailing back and forth with a fellow horror writer and somehow the little girl just popped into my head. I figure there must've been one of those news stories running on tv in the background. She didn't appear quite as creepily as she does to poor Teddy, but there she was.
 
BM: Many of your stories straddle the line between fantasy and horror. What do you find so appealing about those genres, separately and together?
 
JDR: I've always been in love with fantasy, mystical, magical stories, which are always so much more intriguing to me. I love the layers of meaning you can work into a fantasy story that you can't quite get elsewhere. The darker stories ... that was my brother's fault. He always loved horror stories, and I guess some of that bled into the mix, particularly where the heroine of my Antique Magic series is concerned.
 
BM: Where can curious readers find your books?
 
JDR: They can visit my site at: http://julidrevezzo.com/ and find all of my books, as well as my blog. As for retail sites, my books and stories are at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, and Createspace. Some are in the Amazon-exclusive Kindle Unlimited program, but not all.
 
BM: You have self-published a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, in both digital and print format. What advice can you offer other writers who are considering the self-publishing route?
 
JDR: Proofread. Get your books as clean as you possibly can. Nevermind worrying about what other readers will say, I say think of it this way: You want to put out something you'll be able to look back on and be proud of, not something you wish you'd never released. If it takes an extra copy or an extra few weeks to re-read over it, what's the harm?
 
Also, get a good cover. Have a look at the covers in your genre and make notes of what works for you and trust your cover artist. If she says, "Hey that girl shouldn't be in polar fleece" when your book is set in Medieval France, she's probably right. :)
 
Also, read, study. You can write all you want, too. All of it is a part of the learning process, but I think I'd hold back on publishing until you're confident you've got all the bugs out of whatever manuscript it is that you're thinking of publishing. Think of it not only as a little (emphasis on little) money in your pocket, but your legacy. On the other hand, the editing has to stop one day; don't waste so much time editing that one book that you never write another, and never send anything out.
 
BM: What other projects are you working on?
 
JDR: 2015 was a pretty productive year for me, in terms of getting first drafts down. Right now, I am working on getting the follow up to Druid Warrior's Heart out to beta readers. I just released my first steampunk Victorian romance so I'm busy trying to get my marketing ducks in a row for that, and meanwhile, I've got the follow up to my short Gothic supernatural story House of Cards about ready to release here. Possibly for a Beltaine release or somewhere thereabouts, if the gods are kind. Also, I'm getting to work on some edits for the next installment in my Antique Magic series.
 
Those are all my "varying stages of editing" projects, I'm just trying to organize the release dates, really. And (yes, I am not done with the list!)  I'm also working on plotting what I hope will be the fourth installment in the Celtic Stewards Chronicles. It looks like 2016 is going to be all about releases, but who knows? I never can tell what else my muse will throw at me. :) She's like a raven with shiny stuff, sometimes. 
 
***
 
Druid Warrior's Heart (Celtic Stewards Chronicles, Book two) -- available at Amazon.

Passion's Sacred Dance (Celtic Stewards Chronicles, Book one) (PNR) -- available at AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords, and Createspace.

Changeling's Crown 
-- (New Adult PNR)--available at Amazon
Barnes and NobleSmashwords, and Createspace.

The Antique Magic series -- available at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Smashwords 
 and in paperback from Amazon.
 
Murder Upon a Midnight Clear -- available at Amazon.
 

 

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  • Rebecca Buchanan
    Rebecca Buchanan says #
    Anytime! I'm always happy to provide a space for Pagan authors.
  • Juli D. Revezzo
    Juli D. Revezzo says #
    Thanks for hosting me today, Rebecca! I enjoyed our little chat.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Open Call: Novel Gnosis

Readers of this blog have seen me write about "novel gnosis," insights I learned through writing my unpublished behemoth Some Say Fire. Talking with other writers about novel gnosis showed me that this experience is fascinatingly different for everyone. So many people were excited about the idea that it's turning into a book. I'm editing an anthology of essays about novel gnosis. 

Open call for nonfiction essays

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Deadline extension: Deadline is extended to the END of June 2016.
  • Jenn
    Jenn says #
    Hi Erin, Does one's novel have to be completed at the time the essay is submitted or the book is released? I am 35K words into m
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Hi Jenn, Your fiction doesn't have to be finished, as long as you learned something from it. Erin

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
5 Magical Novels of 2015

This is my list of novels published in 2015, which I acquired for publication, of interest to pagans, heathens, and witches.

 1. The Rishis: The Book of Secrets by Robert Delgado

(Also available in Spanish: Los Rishis y el Libro de Secretos)

Contemporary young people discover the secrets and powers of the Rishis, and the mystery of what happened in Gonur 3,500 years ago, while battling the Rishis' enemies the Mantris.

2. Jane by Rose Montague

(sequel to Jade)

Jane and Jade hunt evil before it hunts them.

3. Lucidity by Ray S. Kent

Lucid dreams can lead a boy to love, or evil.

4. Caloric by Trisha Barr

Four young people discover they are the elements bound in human form, and an ancient society plans to kill them and steal their powers.

5. Iona Kyle series by Ian Jarvis
Book 1: Dark Equinox
Book 2: Here by Dragons
Book 3: Witch Hunt

Iona Kyle uses her psychic powers to foil evil, and evil tries to foil her back.

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My first book signing!  Photo by Chiri Peterson.  Used by permission.

My first book signing! Photo by Chiri Peterson. Used by permission.

Updated from Between the Shadows, November 22, 2014:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I love to write, and, like many writers, I submit my work for possible publication in a wide variety of venues: print journals, digital journals, poetry and fiction anthologies, blogs, you name it. More often than not, my work is rejected, not accepted. I'd say I have something in the range of a thirty percent acceptance rate.

Even though rejection is the norm, it still hurts. When it is a story about which I feel particularly passionate, it really hurts. Such was the case recently when I submitted my first-ever complete novel -- and I got back an automated "This isn't for us, thank you anyway" from the publisher.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
My Glamorous Author Life

This is a photo of my campsite at Pagan Spirit Gathering in 2010, the year it was in Missouri. Pictured: my solar clothes dryer, strung between a shady tree and my truck, and socks that I washed in ice chest melt-water. That year, my book Asatru For Beginners finally had a print edition, after 8 years as only an ebook, so I went on a book tour.

I met a lot of wonderful people along the way. I had some truly awesome spiritual experiences at the festival, and some weird unplanned experiences too (one was: my truck decided I needed to be off the road at a specific place and time and broke down; the next morning's local paper showed a highway accident with a pickup truck exactly where and when I would have been.)

I spent a lot of time in the river at Pagan Spirit Gathering. I knew before I left that it was going to be hot, and I thought I was used to heat because I live in the Las Vegas valley. Ha. It is not the same at all. I started spending my afternoons in the river because of the heat, but when I took up current riding, it became something more. Current riding is floating down the river with no flotation device but my body, my lungs filled like a fish's swim bladder, arms and legs positioned to maximize contact with the water surface, which supports weight through surface tension. I learned what "going with the flow" really meant, both literally and figuratively.

I boondocked as much as possible. Boondocking is camping in a vehicle in an undeveloped area. Some of the vast tracts of empty federal land in the American West are approved boondocking areas. These can be located on maps by looking up boondocking. One of my planned boondocking overnights was the US Army mountain infantry winter training camp in the Rockies, which is approved for boondocking in the summer, but I ended up staying in a hotel in Colorado because of needing to fix my truck, waiting over the weekend for a part to be sent up from Denver. That was after the last stop on my book tour, and by that time I had totally worn out a purse, 5 hair clips (well, 1 of them I lost), a straw hat, 3 bathing suits, a tire, a camper shell strut, the truck's AC, and then, that part, too, all of which had to be replaced along the way.

I was on the road long enough to need to dye my hair again; I waited for one of my splurges on a room with running water to do that. No matter how tired I was when I stopped driving for the day, I always checked the truck's oil (to be checked with the engine hot) and checked the coolant in the morning (to be checked with the engine cold.) I carried hoses and belts with me just in case. For driving directions, I was depending on printouts from Google Maps that I printed before I left. I stopped and hiked in several places to take a break from driving and to connect with the land I was traveling in, and also did a lot of swimming.

People ask me once in a while if I was afraid to travel by myself because I'm a woman.  Whenever I camped in the back of my truck, I was sleeping with my hand on the hilt of my Viking longsword. On my book tour stops, I displayed it as a heathen related cultural item, but I was fully ready and willing to use it for self-defense, too.

When I arrived at PSG, I built a small stone land spirit altar in my campsite, and managed to get along well with the local wildlife. I was there when Mama Gina wrote the PSG song. Lots of people attended my Rune Seminar. There was a ritual in which people were invited to honor the sun in the manner of  their tradition, and I raised a toast to Sunna. Hearing "Hail Sunna" echoed back by what had to be a thousand people was one of the peak experiences of my life. Although I made a bit of a joke with this post by titling it "glamorous" and then talking about covering my gray roots in a motel bathroom before one of my public appearances, the spiritual experiences I had and the wonderful people I met on my trip were worth every moment of the not so great times.

This year I'm going on a book tour again, although with only 2 scheduled booksigning appearances. Tom N. and I are traveling to the last Ravenwood, a Northern California heathen festival we used to go to. I haven't been back since I moved from Sonoma to Las Vegas in 1995, and I'm looking forward to seeing old friends. I'll be signing my latest nonfiction book, American Celebration, as well as the new fiction anthology I edited, No Horns On These Helmets. I'll have copies of Asatru For Beginners along to sign as well, and some back issues of Berserkrgangr Magazine.

I'll be signing No Horns On These Helmets at WorldCon, the World Science Fiction Convention, which is in Spokane, Washington this year, where I will also be visiting family. My brother says he's going to rent a fog machine to hide his raspberry bushes so I don't eat them all. I told him I'll bring along a fan.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thanks and you're welcome!
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Gosh, if only most realized how decidedly UNglamorous it is to be a Pagan author... Thank you fo r sharing your experience with u

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Back in 2013, I wrote a column on self-publishing. In the year and a half since, I have read quite a few more self-published and small press books. And, I am happy announce, I just released my first story collection, A Witch Among Wolves and Other Pagan Tales, through Asphodel Press. Based on my own experience, I have a few more suggestions. 

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