Friday, February 03, 2023

The Gods Make Their Own Rules: A Pagan Twitter Thread from 2020

I've been going through and curating my twitter archive over the last few months, wanting to reduce my public digital footprint, but this is a thread that I feel like could use a better platform. On Twitter, I've talked A LOT about my paganlife and my relationship to Thor. "Come for Thor, Stay for More!" has been a defining element of my brand for a while. Some of those threads really should have been blogposts from the start, probably, and I'll be moving a couple over here for reference now that I've dug them out again!

--

I have been spending a lot of time thinking and praying and engaging spiritually about my relationship to Thor and the genesis of it and I want to share a truth that I think gets drowned out by Heathens/Norse Pagans and the emphasis on Ancestor Worship.

What matters is this:
Are you having a spiritual experience/resonance/engagement with these gods?

If the answer is YES, then EVERYTHING ELSE is secondary. It does not matter who your ancestors are or where your family came from.

One thing has become REALLY clear to me in the last few months:
My relationship with Thor predates my awareness of him. My engagement with Thor predates my awareness of him.

I don't know how it gets decided, who ends up in which god's "house" (so to speak), but I was ALWAYS his.

It was always and ONLY just a question of me waking up to that realization--that he was there (and I'm coming to a realization, more recently now, that he was ALWAYS there, in shapes and forms that protected me from crisis before I had the vocabulary/context to understand.)

That ANY god is speaking to you on ANY level is the critical heart of the matter.

EVERYTHING ELSE is window dressing and entirely subjective and could very well be completely meaningless to your personal spiritual journey.

Maybe it is fate or maybe it is choice--maybe it is just some kind of inevitable ineffable universal mathematical equation, I don't know. But. It seems to me the gods make their own rules, and our job is just to choose if we want to say yes or no when they make themselves known.

This is not to say that community does not matter or play an important role in parsing our experiences of the divine, because of course it does--your community in the NOW matters. The people you choose to surround yourself with matter.

My Catholic Italian-American ancestors? They're still a part of my spiritual life. But who they are plays no part at all in defining my relationship to the divine--that's between me and Thor, between me and my gods.

I'm not saying this because I think it is an ABSOLUTE for any other community to accept--I'm saying it because it is MY truth, and if it is my truth, it is POSSIBLE it could also be someone else's, but they felt like it couldn't be because there's so much emphasis on "ancestors."

If you needed someone to give you permission to embrace whatever experience you're having with Thor or Freyja or whoever, REGARDLESS of where you were born and what your family culture might be historically, then this is it. Right now.

I'm giving it to you.

--

Disclaimer: I do not believe this gives anyone a right to speak over indigenous voices or to impose their interpretation of their spiritual experience with any divinity over any existing culture's truth.

What is true for one person is not necessarily true for ALL people.





 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Dillin/Theresa on Goodreads

 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Carosella on Goodreads

Amazon | Bookshop

Monday, December 19, 2022

2022 Release Wrap-Up!

I released a few titles in 2022!

COST OF LIVING

Exclusive to Patreon, available to read in full on the web for as little as a dollar a month, or in a handful of downloadable ebook volumes for as little as 5 dollars a month! (Watch Patreon for news of an extremely limited edition paperback/full ebook release in 2023.) This is a wild adventure, one part billionaire romance, one part medical drama, one part science fiction/fantasy, with some extreme mafia romance vibes because this billionaire’s money is absolutely ill-gotten, and he doesn’t pretend otherwise. First two chapters are FREE to read!!


BLOOD OF THE QUEEN: HARDCOVER EDITION

I took another pass through the book itself, spiffed it all up again, and created new chapter headers exclusive to the Hardcover edition interior. Plus! A pretty new cover to match the HONOR AMONG ORCS Hardcover design!


OF GODS AND JOTUNS: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES

all my non-Fate of the Gods short stories in one slim volume, available only in paperback (because digitally, most of these stories are available to purchase or read for free elsewhere as individual titles) UNLESS you are a Patreon Patron, in which case--you can still grab the exclusive ebook edition at the $5 level!
Get the paperback on Amazon or Bookshop or ask your library to order it or Whatever!
 

SETTLING UP: A PLAYING TO WIN NOVELLA (PtW #2.5)

Want to know how Nic and Kate became friends after their rocky start as romantic--well, I hesitate to even call them rivals, to be honest, because Nic wisely stepped aside and offered her best wishes. BUT. You know that their earliest hangs once she started dating Will must have been Hella Awkward! AND THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW THEY GOT OVER IT! (Ebook only! Available wide!)
 

WINTER GAMES: A PLAYING TO WIN HOLIDAY SPECIAL (PtW #4)

in Paperback and Ebook! Come home to Heron Lake this holiday season and spend Solstice with Nic, your favorite pagan, Will, Kate and Sully at Abe and Violet’s new digs! (Their house has a phenomenal lake view!) Then stick around for Christmas, too! If you’re looking for a pagan inclusive holiday read, this one is FOR YOU! (And PLAYING TO WIN, book one in the series, is FREE across all your favorite e-tailers, too, if you just want to dip a toe in to my contemporary romance world first, before committing.)

*phew*
Anyway, come find me on Patreon and uh, buy my books, too!!!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Revisiting Forged by Fate, and Show vs. Tell

I'm revising FORGED BY FATE right now, for... well... reasons, and this book--there is so much of this book that I still love desperately, but in coming back to it twenty years after I started writing it, I've noticed some things that my baby authorself was doing, thinking it was THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE that, well. Were kind of the opposite of helpful in getting my points across.

Let's talk about Show vs. Tell.

As a baby author, I was clearly determined to show everything! Instead of telling people how a character was feeling, I used physical responses. He hesitated. She closed her eyes. He tightened his jaw. She shifted away.

Listen. These kinds of small physical movements are all well and good--but there's a problem with relying on them as the sole means by which you communicate emotion. And that problem is this: By themselves they don't actually communicate the underlying emotion at all.

In Chapter Eight of FORGED BY FATE, there's a moment when Eve is still new and still struggling to understand the world and the people around her. She's with Adam in a cave where he and the other residents of the Garden have taken shelter, and he is--well, imposing himself on her, really.

 Eve shivered at his touch, and that seemed to please him. He raised his hand to her face, cupping her cheek and drawing his thumb along her cheekbone. She forced herself not to look away. Not to move. But everything inside her twisted. She wanted to crawl away into the darkness, but there were no shadows now to hide her. His face was so close she could feel his breath on her lips.

“Lord Adam!” She jumped, though the voice was familiar. Reu.

Adam closed his eyes for a moment, then turned his head slowly. “What is it?”


Now, Eve is new, so there's a certain amount of grace I need to give myself here, because trying to write someone who literally was only just created and is still in the process of understanding literally everything around her is AN UNREAL CHALLENGE to start with. But. Read that last line again:

Adam closed his eyes for a moment, then turned his head slowly. 

What is it actually telling us about Adam's response, emotionally? I mean, we might guess, as readers, what past me was trying to convey. Maybe he's tired. Maybe he's annoyed by the interruption. Maybe he's actually angry. Maybe he's just power-tripping, making Reu wait on principle. You, the reader, cannot actually know. BUT. Eve does. And the reason she knows is that he's touching her, and we know already from the text that when Adam is touching her, whether he realizes it or not, his feelings and thoughts bleed through the contact.

So why was baby author me holding back? 

Because of the age old mantra: Show, don't tell, a rule I was foolishly trying to live by to my detriment.

But showing, by itself, is IMPRECISE. I'm not communicating effectively what's happening, I'm leaving my readers to guess. And while there's nothing wrong with that, in the right circumstances--when the point of view character is guessing too, for instance--in this one, I was letting a mantra get in the way of clarity.

Eve shivered at his touch, and that seemed to please him. He raised his hand to her face, cupping her cheek and drawing his thumb along her cheekbone. She forced herself not to look away. Not to move. But everything inside her twisted. She wanted to crawl away into the darkness, but there were no shadows now to hide her. 

His face was so close she could feel his breath on her lips.

“Lord Adam!” She startled, though the voice was familiar. Reu.

Adam closed his eyes for a moment, then turned his head slowly, his body stiff with impatience. “What is it?”

Impatience. Now you, the reader, know precisely what emotion is motivating Adam's physical response, just like Eve. His patience is reaching a limit. Time for her is running out. Am I telling, by including that word? A little bit. But in telling, in giving that word to the reader, I'm making the passage STRONGER. My writing is clearer and more effective and Eve's response afterward, is given more support.

(And yeah, I changed Eve's jump response, too, because she didn't jump. Her response was small, a start of surprise. But baby author me hated the word startle and bent over backward to avoid its usage--again, to the detriment of clarity.)

Show, don't tell is a valuable piece of advice for writers. ALL TELLING is boring as heck! We all know that! But it isn't a hard and fast rule that we need to contort ourselves to accommodate. Let it be a MODERATOR, sure, but when it gets in your way, like almost every other "Rule" of writing--it's okay to throw it out.

--

Glad Yule, friends!

Tune in next year for some fun announcements regarding what's coming down the pipe--or join me over on Patreon, and for as little as a dollar a month, you'll find out before the year is up :)



 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Dillin/Theresa on Goodreads

 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Carosella on Goodreads

Amazon | Bookshop

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Winter Games is here!!

I should have posted this on the blog last month, but I'm slow about updating--honestly, I count myself lucky that I managed to get it out in my newsletter in a timely manner! BUT!!!! 

WINTER GAMES IS FINALLY HERE!!!! You can get it in paperback or ebook from pretty much anywhere--or request your local library to order it in for you, even! Order now and get your copy in PLENTY of time before the Winter Solstice, so you can celebrate along with Nic!

Winter Games is available from all your fave E-tailers!

I am so so so thrilled to share this book with you all. At least those of you who are enjoying my Amalia Theresa offerings, anyway!!! And if you haven't dipped your toe into my contemporary romances, I can hope that having a delightful winter holiday special to look forward to might encourage you to join in on the fun! (And as you may or may not remember, book one, PLAYING TO WIN does have some fun Halloween Costume Party adventures also--so now is a great time to grab your FREE copy for some seasonally appropriate sexy romance!)

A lot of love went into the design of both the ebook and paperback editions of this book, and I hope you'll all be as pleased with how it came out as I am. Patreon Patrons got a peek at the interior designs and chapter header avatar images I created, and non-patrons can read the first two chapters of Winter Games for free right now over yonder--so go forth and try before you buy :)

If you want to know more about WINTER GAMES or any of my other Amalia Theresa books, including content warnings--I've got a series page for that!




 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Dillin/Theresa on Goodreads

 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Carosella on Goodreads

Amazon | Bookshop

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Winter Games is Coming!

I am SO EXCITED about WINTER GAMES! It CANNOT be overstated at this point, and I'm saying that while in the midst of my least favorite part of the book production journey, too, so you KNOW this is something special! 

So to celebrate and get you all ready for WINTER GAMES, book one in the series, PLAYING TO WIN is currently FREE across all your fave e-tailers!

Because the only downside of WINTER GAMES is that you'll really want to have read the first three books in the series to get the most enjoyment out of it! It doesn't matter what order you read those other three books in at all--they all stand alone! But you'll want to have read them and given yourself the chance to know these three couples individually before they all come home for the holidays this season!

HAPPILY, Playing to Win is ALSO a perfect fall read, so you can low-key gear up for spooky season and join Kate and Sully on a Halloween Costume Party adventure while maintaining a cool, blue, it's-still-summer, no rush, exterior. If that's how you roll, anyway. (Just don't pollute Sully's coffee with Pumpkin Spice--he is opposed to flavored coffees of all stripes. Pure unadulterated brews or bust! He is not, however, above sipping the Spooky Juice at said Halloween party, which is one of the greatest mysteries of his character.)

But I'm not really here to talk to you about Playing to Win, or Kate and Sully and their... foibles (content warnings on my other blog!). I'm here to tell you more about WINTER GAMES! So!! 

COVER COPY:

With Abe and Violet’s engagement uniting the Fowler and O’Sullivan families, Kate and Sully, and Nic and Will are coming home for the holidays to new dynamics they didn’t exactly anticipate. Starting with Violet’s plot to host them all under her own roof in the lead-up to Christmas Eve in order to give her new sister-in-law Nicole the pagan Solstice celebration she deserves.

But big holidays are never easy: Will and Violet’s dad is still holding a grudge against Nicole for stealing his son away from Fowler’s and their mom is strong-arming Violet over where she spends Christmas going forward; Will isn’t quite sure how to feel about his sister’s sudden engagement to his best friend’s big brother after missing the entire lead-up of their whirlwind romance and is starting to regret his big cross-country move; and nearly four years into their marriage with no plans for grandchildren, Kate still struggles to feel like she belongs among the close-knit O’Sullivans--especially now that Violet’s marrying in--even while Abe faces the limitations of his injury and what that means for his participation in family events.

One thing’s for sure: there’s no shortage of emotional overwhelm to go around this holiday season, but if Violet has anything to say about it, there’s going to be even more love.

A heartwarming return to Heron Lake, Winter Games takes place just a few months after the epilogue of Playing House.

For the month of August, you can pre-order WINTER GAMES for just $2.99 (ebook)--but the price goes up September 1st, and at release it'll be $4.99, so don't miss out on a great deal for a holiday special filled with all kinds of love and warm fuzzy delights!

If you're a paperback reader like I am, HAVE NO FEAR. I'm hoping, fingers crossed, to have the print edition available by mid-September. And depending on how my next print proof turns out, this might be my prettiest interior ever. We'll see!

Last but not least, all my Patreon Patrons will get early access to the first two chapters of WINTER GAMES in early September! (And they've ALREADY gotten a peek at one of my favorite scenes, as well as a glimpse of what else is in store for this contemporary romance series!) Come join the fun for as little as a dollar a month!

This month is a particularly good time, because New Patrons at the $5 level are getting almost 18 dollars in ebooks (if they don't already have SON OF ZEUS and SETTLING UP already--nearly $10 in the patreon exclusive ebook editions of COST OF LIVING and OF GODS AND JOTUNS, regardless!) and ALL patrons get access to a huuuuuuge archive of goodies, including:

  • The Serialized Chapters of SON OF ZEUS (in full!)
  • The Serialized Chapters of COST OF LIVING (in full! AND digitally exclusive!)
  • Refuge: A Short Story (digital exclusive)
  • The Rule of Fate: A Short Story (digital exclusive)
  • Frost Bitten, Twice Shy: A Short Story
  • The Foundation of Rome: A Short Story

And a WHOLE LOT MORE bonus content and sneak peeks of what's in progress, including:

  • Orc3
  • A Cinderella Retelling set in the Orc Saga world
  • My Trojan War book (formerly known as Paris of Troy)
  • The Original First Three Chapters of HELEN OF SPARTA from when the book was still part of the Fate of the Gods series and Helen was Eve
  • More than One Fate of the Gods novella/side-story
  • The first chapter of the sequel to SON OF ZEUS
  • A taste of my Heracles book
  • A look at the next Playing to Win pairing
  • Winter Games Teasers, too!!

 SO! Definitely check it out if you're a patreon type!  

(Yes this was a lot of graphics in this post and a lot of information and I am sorry/not sorry, but it's been a VERY BUSY SUMMER and I just want you all to know everything!!!)



 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Dillin/Theresa on Goodreads

 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Carosella on Goodreads

Amazon | Bookshop

Monday, June 27, 2022

Summer 2022 Continues!

I announced all this in my newsletter last week (and if you aren't subscribed already, I highly recommend that you do so!) but I'm thrilled to announce that both Blood of the Queen in hardcover and Of Gods and Jotuns in paperback have launched into the world! If you were waiting on either one, go forth and grab your copy!!

I'm also BEYOND excited to tell you all about what's coming next in my Playing to Win contemporary romance series, writing as Amalia Theresa! And it's kind of a lot!!!

First up, on July 28th, I'm releasing a novella that takes place between the last chapter of Playing it Safe and the epilogue inside that book! 

Settling Up is written from the perspectives of Kate and Nic and explores how they got through the awkwardness of having both been involved with Sully and ultimately became friends with one another. 

Add it on Goodreads!
But it isn't JUST a story about their friendship. It's also a story about how sometimes the Happily Ever After that comes after a true commitment requires a little bit of massaging. Both Will and Nic AND Kate and Sully are working through the practicalities of what being together really requires, up to and including how they'll navigate things socially. 

Yes, Kate and Sully did back me into the spanking corner again. (I can't take the two of them anywhere without it becoming some kind of foreplay.) And yes, there is no shortage of sexiness in this little novella. So don't worry, if that's what you're looking for in an Amalia Theresa read, I've definitely still got you covered! (Over on my Amalia Theresa website, I've got exactly what scene you'll want to skip if spanking isn't your thing, too, along with content warnings for the rest of the books if you need them.)

NOTE: If you're a patreon patron at the $5 level, you're getting access to this novella on July 7th! A downloadable epub edition coming right at you, if you're already patroned-up! If you're NOT, well, I still have a deal for you--you can pre-order for $1.99. But do it now! The price will go up to $2.99 before release day!

But of course that's not all. I also have a holiday special for you coming this fall!! 

YES!!!
I have finally finished Winter Games, at last!!!!

More details on that book coming soon--but for now, go find it on Goodreads! And do make sure you're all caught up on Playing to Win books 1-3 before October!! You are definitely going to want to have read at least a couple of the first three books to get the most out of Winter Games, which picks up just about 6 months after the conclusion of Playing House

If you're a patreon patron, you've already gotten a couple peeks at Winter Games, and there's definitely going to be more to come in the lead up. And there's also two whole other serialized novels over there if getting a jump on Winter Games isn't enough of an enticement! Including the EXCLUSIVE TO PATREON FOREVER, Cost of Living, my billionaire romance. You can click over and read the first two chapters for free, patron or not, if you like!




 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Dillin/Theresa on Goodreads

 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Carosella on Goodreads

Amazon | Bookshop

Monday, May 09, 2022

Summer 2022, Go!

I'm a little early, I know, but I wanted to give you all a little progress update!

First: the BLOOD OF THE QUEEN hardcover print proof has arrived and it looks extremely pretty! 

I'll be doing one final read through and then I'll be hitting publish either this month or early in June! Hooray!!!

Second: I'm also going to be releasing OF GODS AND JOTUNS very shortly (again either this month or early in June--whichever thing gets done first is what I'm hitting publish on even though I know I just said I was going to release OF GODS AND JOTUNS this month for sure over on Patreon, like yesterday! I'm living a wild life right now, what can I say? In my defense though, OF GODS AND JOTUNS is MOST LIKELY To be first since the proof I'm waiting on is just to double check the cover and story headers, not the text itself.)















This short story collection will be PAPERBACK ONLY, unless you're a patreon patron, in which case later this summer you'll also get limited time access to a patreon exclusive ebook download also at the ThorsBFF tier ($5/month). 

The flash stories are all already available online to read for free either here on the blog or elsewhere, and the short stories individually are either for sale in wide release or exclusive to patreon--but this collection brings everything together in one place in a nice little paperback (as requested by my mom), along with an author's note giving readers a little bit of context for each story!

Cover Copy:

One Novelette, three flash fiction stories, and five short stories, previously digitally published or otherwise released independently, but collected all together in print for the first time, including:
Favor of God
The Foundation of Rome
Imaginary Friends
Frost Bitten, Twice Shy
A Norse Lullaby
I am Europa
The Rule of Fate
Ned Thrall
Refuge
Encompassing subjects from Samson and Delilah and the founding of Rome, to the thread of myth and even the experience of the divine in our present day, and onward to the far future of advanced science and its role in how we make sense of the limits of our DNA and the ramifications of genetic modification, there’s something for everyone in this story collection: fantasy, historical fiction and mythic retelling, romance, contemporary fiction, and even some sci fi!

THIRDLY:
I have one more semi-secret project tentatively planned for release in July--it'll release first to Patreon Patrons, who will get a limited time ebook download at the ThorsBFF tier, and then go out into the wider world, after, if everything goes according to plan. More on that next month! 

If you want to stay super on top of all this stuff (and get first dibs on my shorter works as well), I definitely recommend coming on over to Patreon where I share all this stuff first, now! You can patron up for as little as a dollar a month and still get access to a TON of content, including the entirety of COST OF LIVING and SON OF ZEUS!

Which reminds me of a fourth item:

I'll be doing an EXTREMELY limited print run of COST OF LIVING which will ONLY be available directly through me--if you want to be absolutely sure you get a copy, you definitely want to be on Patreon which already has a tier ($25 ThorLover) for signed paperback copies of anything I release! Patrons get first dibs and this book is going to be limited to a maximum of 50 total copies EVER. This book is never going to be for sale through other outlets--it will remain an exclusive Patreon serial, digitally, and the physical editions won't be distributed via any other outlet that isn't just me at a table somewhere, probably.

Here's a peek of that book, too, which looks mighty fine also, even if I do say so myself!

I haven't set a date yet for this but I'll let you all know when I know when it's actually happening and I'm getting ready to place the paperback order. But again, Patreon is your best bet to make sure you hear about it, since patrons get the news delivered directly to their inboxes.




 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Dillin/Theresa on Goodreads

 
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Amalia Carosella on Goodreads

Amazon | Bookshop