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                            Welcome to My Website and Writing Blog: Blog 2 

My name is Rachael Pruitt and in this second blog I will be looking at the story of how DRAGON’S HARP was born–trust me there’s more than a little bit of magic involved!

BRIEF ANNOUNCEMENT:

BEFORE YOU READ FURTHER, I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE THE MOST RECENT LINKS ON MY WONDERFUL BLOG TOUR, DO MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THEM OUT ON THE EVENTS PAGE….I am thrilled to say that DRAGON’S HARP is receiving wonderful reviews from bloggers & our amazing, awesome, & funfilled giveaway tour continues until April 30…..COME ALONG & PLEASE DO SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK & COMMENTS AS YOU VISIT…

I’m also proud of my “GUEST POSTS, the most recent being for Marcie’s fantastic blog at “2Read or Not 2Read”. I address where I get my inspiration–and where you can find yours as well!

A HUGE HEARTFELT THANKS TO ALL THE WONDERFUL BLOGGERS WHO ARE PARTICIPATING ON DRAGON’S HARP’S BLOG TOUR. Please check it all out on the EVENTS PAGE.

I also will be offering you 2 new blog posts this upcoming weekend (April 14th)–one here & one about teaching workshops (“next door”). HAVE AN ENCHANTED DAY!!!

SCHEDULE BLOG TOUR URLs March 7-April 30
http://hfvirtualbooktours.blogspot.com/2012/03/rachael-pruitt-on-tour-for-dragons-harp.html.
http://www.facebook.com/GwenhwyfarEraofDragonsSeriesbyRachaelPruitt

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In my upcoming website blog (right here in mid April), I will be sharing writing tips & resources & a closer look at the reality of ancient Celtic Goddesses & women–this last is a subject I’ve been blogging about a great deal as I travel on DRAGON’S HARP  blog tour (Please see my Event page here & on FB for links).

For those of you who do not know me yet: I am a writer, teacher, and storyteller passionate about many things which I will share here with you.  I also believe that–as with any good story or novel—it is readers and listeners who make the story “come alive”.  So I would love to hear from you, either via the comment section on my website, my Facebook page, or Twitter.  I will look forward to including many of your suggestions for topics of interest on this blog.

As many of you already know, I am delighted to announce the publication of my first novel.  It is a work of Arthurian historical fantasy, first in a 5 book series: Era of Dragons: The Lost Tales of Gwenhwyfar. This first book, The Dragon’s Harp, is set in northern Wales during the 5th century CE and follows the coming of age of the young Gwenhwyfar.  Merlin appears in the third chapter and will remain through the series. He is, after all, Gwenhwyfar’s Uncle!  

Dragon’s Harp is rooted deep into the soil of my research of Welsh mythology and what little is known about Welsh history of the time. Druids, priestesses, dark forces (both human and unseen) abound.  There is also a very special dragon, Cymry, whom I suspect many of you will come to love as much as I have.  I also assure those of you who care about history that, much as I love mythology and fantasy, the world I have created for Gwen also reflects the historical reality of a very dangerous and bloody time period.  My book is written with adult and mature teen readers in mind, it is not a book for children.  Please feel free to enjoy the sample chapters, testimonials, & reader reviews I have included here for you.

Event Update: Telesummit for Dragon’s Harp Thursday March 22 at 8 pm Eastern

This will be posted on my events page as well, but if you’d like to listen in to Dragon’s Harp cover artist, Jo Jayson & me on our very first telesummit   8 pm (Eastern) March 22.  I will also be announcing my new writing coach-consults offer: Here’s the FaceBook link:

Cecily MacArthur

Join us on on Thursday, March 22nd, at 5:00pm PST/8:00pm EST to meet the author Rachael Pruitt and her cover artist Joy Jayson as we talk about the book, Celtic legends, and Goddess Power
http://www.facebook.com/events/386327774725543/

*****************Updates on My Wildly Successful Blog Tour 🙂 March 7-April 30**************
See all my blog tour posts & links (including  my recent one about Celtic Dragon Lore on Booksessed) on My Event Page:
THANKS TO Lisa (3-26)”Casual Readers Blog” and Andrea (3-19) “A Chick Who Reads” for 2 more excellent reviews 🙂

March 26 Lisa at “Casual Readers’ Blog:  http://ellsey.blogspot.com/2012/03/dragons-harp-virtual-book-tour.html

March 19: Andrea at Book Review at A Chick Who Reads http://achickwhoreads.blogspot.com/2012/03/historical-fiction-book-tours-review.html

AUTHOR POST ON CELTIC DRAGONS: THE MUSINGS OF A BOOK JUNKIE, HOSTED BY ALLISON (March 14).
Most recent reviews and interviews this week:
March 22: Book review at Musings of a Book Junkie by Allison http://themusingsofabookjunkie.blogspot.com/2012/03/dragons-harp-by-rachael-pruitt.html

March 21 Author Interview with Jenn at Booksessed http://completelybooksessed.blogspot.com/2012/03/qa-with-rachael-pruitt-author-of.html

March 20 Siobian at the Book Owl BlogSpot… http://siobianthebookowl.blogspot.com/2012/03/book-tour-review-dragons-harp-by.html

Thanks to Jenn , Allison & Siobian for their wonderful reviews!

 

Goddesses, Queens, & The Writing Process:

How DRAGON’S HARP Came to be Written: part 1 

 

Given the number of times I’ve been asked about writing & how DRAGON’S HARP came to be, I thought it would probably be fun to devote this second blog to the story of how I was inspired to write HARP (later blogs will describe the actual route I took to publication).  As I told readers in my initial blog, I’m happy to share my story & lots of tips about writing and self-publishing here on my website.  But I’ll be doing this to inspire you–not just to “brag on” about myself. There’s enough of that elsewhere!  Here it’s just you & me–and if you’re like me, you’ve got plenty of dreams & might like some help bringing them to life.  I certainly did–and still do!

The idea for DRAGON’S HARP actually came to me several decades ago when my daughter was still a toddler and I, a young mother sitting on rocks overlooking the Pacific, watching as my little girl toddled over driftwood into an early morning mist. We were encased in fog, the waves sounding soft & muffled, & suddenly, the first paragraphs of HARP came to me, literally as if they, too, were  a part of the mysterious yet beautiful dawn fog that surrounded us:

Men  have called me beautiful.  But the gods men worship now have cursed beauty.

My name is Gwenhwyfar, born daughter to Cadwallon, Ordovician King of Dinas Emrys in the North.  As a young woman, I married Arthur, High King of all the tribes of Albion. I am no stranger to the ways of sovereignty.  I know much of pride and stature. Yet I am old now, I see my past and shudder.

I stand, barefoot, on my favorite beach at dawn, a bit dizzy  with the joy of escaping my small cottage before Mica can rise, dress my hair properly, and insist I behave like the queen I once was.

Strange how this small forgotten island feels like the grit of home beneath these old toes. For it was in the hills and not beside the sea that I first tumbled out of bed and saw the stars….       (Dragon’s Harp, Pruitt (c) 2012)

The prologue of my novel came that dramatically. I do not exaggerate!  Yet it took me close to 25 years to “get serious” about giving this haunting voice that had found me a true home–a book all her own.

Perhaps you are like me–for procrastination is my middle name!  Yet it was more than procrastination that kept me from trying to finish HARP sooner.  I believe, I truly had to “grow into” this amazing character called Gwenhwyfar (Welsh spelling of Guinevere) and I also had to develop the skills to take her story further–to turn it into a book worth reading.        

During my next blog post (two weeks from now), I will address the actual writing journey that unfolded as I grew and developed as an aspiring author and the research that went into the writing of DRAGON’S HARP. I will also be providing you with writing resources, strategies, and reference books that I have personally found very useful. Tonight though, if you will allow me, I wish to comment further on the actual mystique of writing–and share a truly magical story about how my cover artist Jo Jayson & I met.

We will fast-forward to a time, towards the end of last summer (2011), when I was struggling with just how to create–or find–an artist who would develop a cover for DRAGON’S HARP. For you see, I had finally made the decision–after years of hearing “we really like this, but…” from agents—to go the more risky route of doing it myself.

But a book cover? I was exploring a few alternatives when I happened to pick up a magazine at a friend’s office.  Ordinarily, it was the kind of local publication that I breeze through quickly &/or file away and forget about (My closet, I fear will bear witness to this “filing” tendancy of mine.  It’s filled to overflowing with stuff that should have been recycled first time around! Can anyone else out there appreciate this? )    

For once, however, my packrat tendencies proved to be a goldmine.  While absent-mindedly glancing through the magazine, an image caught my eye. It was a stunning painting and there was something unique about it. Beyond the image of the woman herself, there was a power that seemed to radiate off the paper. I was intrigued enough to go to the artist’s website.  There, as I explored, I saw glorious scarves as well as paintings and oracle cards. Jo Jayson, the artist, (http://www.jojayson.com) was clearly a very talented lady–yet it wasn’t until I explored further that I saw it–the wondrous image you see on the cover of DRAGON’S HARP. Here was the image I had dreamed of–a strong powerful, sexy, mysterious young woman–clearly coming into her power, self-confident and assured.  Here was “my” Gwenhwyfar.  She even had the red-gold hair that my character had insisted on!

Can you imagine my shock when I looked closer at the painting & saw that it was actually named “Guinevere–The Queen” by Jo Jayson. That did it, I called Jo–and the rest is “herstory”!

It gets even better, for Jo tells me that the day before I called she had gone to a healer who informed her that she needed to “pay more attention to Guinevere”. I, for my part, had also heard from a friend two days befiore that she sensed some beautiful Goddess energy around my novel & its cover!

Whether you believe in such things or not–I certainly do–and Jo & I are firmly convinced that Gwenhwyfar, the glorious, mysterious, much-maligned, archetypial lady that I love to call “The Once & Future Queen” had a hand in it all!

We are both honored and blessed to have found each other as artists & creative collaborators. More importantly, as Jo and I look at the mystical world & Queen we have both been called to interpret in our different art forms, we cannot help but shiver at the ever-present magic of Camelot.  From the ancient British Isles to the beaches of Oregon to the streets of New York, there still lives an extraordinary Queen–a strong, fascinating, profoundly-romantic woman who dwells not far beneath the regal surface of her legend. Priestess, lover, queen: it’s time to hear her story at last!

  • Sister Fionntulach on Writing Blog Post 2Blessings upon your book, Rachel..! I began my spiritual journey forty years ago because of my deep appreciation of the Arthurian tales; they affected me greatly - and always will - on an archetypal level... Because of this there is a sweet poetry to your inclusion of one of my early verses at the opening of your story.. I am grateful for that, my way of giving thanks to Merlin et al! Thank you Rachael, for nourishing the Celtic group soul. Le beannachdan ....
  • admin on Writing Blog Post 2Thank you so much, Sister Fionntulach! I am delighted to “meet” you, in cyberspace at least! I thank you for allowing me to use your beautiful poem at the beginning of HARP & for sharing your own passion for the magic of these beloved tales. I am so glad that this presents a completing cycle for you–I suspect Merlin holds you in his heart as well! It is a true delight to meet you…bless you for stopping by 🙂 (And if ever you feel like sharing a bit of your wise poetic magic on my FB page–I would be deeply honored indeed..)

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Welcome to My Website and Writing Blog 

My name is Rachael Pruitt and in this first blog I will explain what you can expect to see here in the future.  I am a writer, teacher, and storyteller passionate about many things which I will share here with you.  I also believe that–as with any good story or novel—it is readers and listeners who make the story “come alive”.  So I would love to hear from you, either via the comment section on my website, my Facebook page, or Twitter.  I will look forward to including many of your suggestions for topics of interest on this blog.

As many of you already know, I am delighted to announce the publication of my first novel.  It is a work of Arthurian historical fantasy, first in a 5 book series: Era of Dragons: The Lost Tales of Gwenhwyfar. This first book, The Dragon’s Harp, is set in northern Wales during the 5th century CE and follows the coming of age of the young Gwenhwyfar.  Merlin appears in the third chapter and will remain through the series. He is, after all, Gwenhwyfar’s Uncle!  

Dragon’s Harp is rooted deep into the soil of my research of Welsh mythology and what little is known about Welsh history of the time. Druids, priestesses, dark forces (both human and unseen) abound.  There is also a very special dragon, Cymry, whom I suspect many of you will come to love as much as I have.  I also assure those of you who care about history that, much as I love mythology and fantasy, the world I have created for Gwen also reflects the historical reality of a very dangerous and bloody time period.  My book is written with adult and mature teen readers in mind, it is not a book for children.  Please feel free to enjoy the sample chapters, testimonials, & reader reviews I have included here for you.

Amy Bruno of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (Passages to the Past) will be organizing my blog tour beginning March 7, 2012.  We have 19 bloggers onboard and I’m very excited! Interested readers:  I’ll be sharing the tour with you as it unfolds. Please stay tuned for details!

Dragon’s Harp is currently available as a Kindle and KOBO eBook.  By the first of March (2012), it will be available in print to UK readers as well as US readers.  Check here, my FB, and Twitter for updates. 

                                                                                  ***

                                                                FUTURE BLOG TOPICS

For any of you who are teachers or parents most interested in my storytelling and personal mythology workshops & classes, please zip over to the dragon welcoming you to the “Workshop” door. There is definitely some overlap with everything I do, and writers and teachers may certainly be interested in both, but here we will be concentrating on the following topics (at least for our starting place! )

We will be looking at:

1)      Creative Writing in general, including tips, resources, and recommended websites for aspiring writers & authors. This will include info for young adult writers as well as those of us who somehow feel we’ve passed the threshold into adulthood (Sometimes I wonder! Do you?!).

2)      My Personal Writer’s Journey.  This will be offered not because of my ego, but as inspiration for those of you who really dream of writing a book—or a poem or a memoir– and would like some advice and resources on just how to go about doing it.  Big and most important tip of all: Ignore the naysayers.  They will only depress and confuse you.  If you are really determined, you’ll manage!

3)      Arthurian Legends: ‘Nuff said

4)      Ancient Celtic Cultures of Wales, Ireland, and Europe

5)      Dragons in Celtic and World Mythology: Have fun exploring this fascinating topic with me!

6)      Celtic Romance

7)      Gwenhwyfar, Ceridwen, The Lady of the Lake, Brighid, Boudicca and other Celtic Goddesses and Queens

8)      Merlin

9)      Arthur in History and Mythology

10)   Lancelot’s Mythology

11)   Medraut (Mordred): When is a Villain really a Villain?

12)   Druids: In History, Myth, and Modern Life

13)   Women and Goddesses in Celtic Culture

14)   The Power of Fantasy

15)   Readers’ Choice: Here’s where you get to contribute your suggestions and ideas.  I’ll be happy to follow up on any suggestion that I feel will be of interest to readers.

For a sample of my blogging, please join me at the guest blog I authored this past May 2011 on my friend “Alexa Grave’s” blog site.  It addresses the importance of fantasy, including some of my all-time favorite fantasy authors.  It also includes the opening paragraphs of Dragon’s Harp. Enjoy!

This guest blog was initially written as a launch for Seton Hill’s wonderful writing anthology, Many Genres, One Craft, which has gone on to be named as one of the Top Ten Terrific Writing Books of 2011 by none other than Writer Magazine.  I was honored to have contributed an article, To Dream a Dragon, about fantasy writing to this fantastic collection of down-to-earth how-to articles.

Please enjoy my guest blog at:

http://alexagrave.blogspot.com/2011/05/mgoc-series-on-fantasy-rachael-pruitt.html

I have also included on this site (or will include shortly!)  my two Arthurian poems.  Both were published by that wonderful magazine of historical fantasy, Paradox, edited by Chris Cevasco (The magazine is now retired, sadly, for it had many fans!).

My poems first saw print in 2008 and 2009 respectively, and were written from Merlin and Arthur’s perspective.  As you can tell by now, the Arthurian legend has been a passion of mine for a very, very long time—ever since I was a little girl discovering Glastonbury Tor and the so-called tombs of Gwenhwyfar and Arthur for the first time!!

Please enjoy yourselves on these pages!  I look forward to hearing from you and will be back in touch with my first blog the first week of March 2012!  In the meantime, readers, wherever you are, may your lives be filled with magic, sweetness, creativity, and grace… .with just a touch of mystery…..whispering of other world realms…

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  • Andrew on WelcomeTerrific book!
  • admin on WelcomeThanks a million, Andrew! So glad you enjoyed "Harp". I'm working on the sequel and hope to have it completed winter--spring 2012-13 :)Have a magical day 🙂 Rachael
  • Michelle on WelcomeRachael, so happy to get on here and see what is in store for us! I will have to read your poetry. It is always sad when traditional magazines retire, perhaps they are moving online? I want to congratulate you on the beautiful website and your new book! Best wishes for success!
  • admin on WelcomeYou are so welcome, Michelle!! Thank you so much for your best wishes. Can't wait to hear what you think of DRAGON'S HARP! I'm looking forward to future conversations about Gwenhwyfar, Merlin, & Avalon 🙂 I'm also gearing up for my blog tour next month--it's all very exciting. I'll be posting details next week. Would be great to have you come along! Thank you again--and have a magical day! Rachael
  • Persia Woolley on WelcomeWhat a wonderful site, dear lady--gentle, mysterious, enticing, curious-making. Can't think of a more appropriate way to present your subject and "Dragon's Harp."
  • admin on WelcomeDear Persia, This is high praise indeed from one of my most beloved mentors! For those who do not yet know, Persia Woolley is the esteemed author of the "Guinevere Triology" beginning with CHILD OFTHE NORTHERN SPRING. Her triology has recently been re-released & is now available on Amazon--her many fans are delighted!! Visit Persia's website at "http://www.persiawoolley.wordpress.com" And, in the meantime, dear lady, welcome to my blog--I look forward to sharing all things Arthurian & "Gwenhwyfar--Guinevereian" with you!! Thank you so much for your visit & kind words 🙂
  • Merlin on WelcomeMerrie Meet, and thank you for this information, I will take a look around and come back to you soon. Blessed Be Merlin
  • admin on WelcomeThanks for stopping in, Big Guy! Feel free to read the sample chapters 🙂 May your day be filled with magic....
  • Kia on WelcomeCongratulations, Rachael, Your website is great. I loved reading parts of your chapters. As I read them I hear the wonderful voice of yours. I feel like you are reading to me. Many blessings on your journey as the world experiences You. aloha kia
  • admin on WelcomeBless you, Kia, for your warm wishes and precious feedback! Your opinion means a great deal to me. So glad you are enjoying Gwenhwyfar & Merlin's story. If you are not an eBook reader, I'm thrilled to announce that the printed version of "Dragon's Harp" will be available later this week (by March 7) on Amazon & book stores should be able to order it by mid-March! Thank you again, Kia, for your gracious comments--all bright blessings to you! Anyone interested, Kia is an amazing healer, do please check out her website at http://www.rainbowheart.net Aloha, sweet lady!
  • Ms Max on WelcomeRachael, who did the artwork for your cover? And, have you read Evangeline Walton's Mabinogion Tetralogy? You're book was recommended by Sharon Penman, btw. It looks wonderful.
  • admin on WelcomeGreetings Ms. Max, So glad to hear from you! Dragon's Harp's wonderful cover artwork is a combination of Jo Jayson's fantastic painting of Gwenhyfar (Guinevere--The Queen) & Marilyn Hager Adelman's cover design. Jo's website is "http://www.jojayson.com" & Marilyn's is "http://www.purplefishmedia.com'. Marliyn's husband, Andrew Adelman also designed my website. Yes, I have read Walton's Tetralogy. I personally love it--it's a bit "old-fashioned" in terms of writing style, yet very poetic & evocative of ancient Wales. If you are a fan of the Mabinogion, you will probably really enjoy it. It's just been re-released, I believe, on Amazon. So glad you are interested in "Dragon's Harp"--please feel free to enjoy the sample chapters on my website and if it proves to be your "cup of tea"--it's available as either an eBook and as a printed novel on Amazon. We hope to have it available in bookstores in the UK & Australia, as well as the US in a matter of a few weeks. Also, I am currently on a blog tour beginning March 7-April 30. I'll be posting links to my blogs & reviews on my event page & it would be wonderful if you would like to "follow along"--I hope to be posting about many aspects of the Arthurian tradition. Sharon's recommendation means the world to me. Yes, I am her friend, yet, if you know Sharon, integrity & high writing standards are very important to her. It is a true honor that she recommends my novel--she would not do so if she did not believe it was worthy of reading!! Thank you very much for your comments and questions, Ms Max. Please do stay in touch--it would be great to have your imput on my upcoming blogs.
  • Monica Elaine Spence on WelcomeHi Rachel, You have a beautiful website. Congratulations on the publication of your new book! I can't wait to read it!
  • admin on WelcomeThank you, Monica! As a historical novelist yourself, I am especially interested in your feedback! So glad you like our website. I'm working on a new blog about writing to be posted this weekend--hope you enjoy! Have a fantastic day!
  • Theresa on WelcomeRachel, I love your website and am looking forward to reading your book!!
  • admin on WelcomeThank you very much, Theresa! Great to have connected with you 🙂 All best!
  • Patti on WelcomeRachel, I love your book. I find myself lost in the passages. I have always enjoyed your storytelling. I miss seeing and hearing your stories in person. I wish you the greatest success. You have inspired me to follow my dreams.
  • admin on WelcomePatti--I am so happy that I have inspired you to fulfill your own writing dreams! That makes my day--and, as far as I'm concerned--that's what writing & reading are all about, to inspire ourselves & each other and to help make sense & add dignity & understanding to our often mysterious, sometimes challenging, always wondrous world 🙂 Please do join me on FB as well. A new post is coming on my website & FB pages today--in honor of St. Patrick's Day! And, Patti, so many people have been requesting this, that I have added a writing consulting tab on my website. If you would ever like me to consult with you about your writing projects either in person or over the phone or internet, please don't hesitate to contact me 🙂 In the meantime--thank you so much for your gracious feedback on DRAGON'S HARP & for allowing me to know that I've inspired you too! Have a magical day! Happy St. Pat's!
  • Cecily MacArthur on WelcomeCongratulations, Rachael! Just loved your book! Couldn't put it down, and have recommended it to everyone I know...
  • admin on WelcomeThank you so much, Cecily! I am deeply honored & moved that you enjoyed HARP & are recommending it! I cannot thank you enough & do tell any new fans you connect with to visit us here at the website & on FB or Twitter 🙂 All bright blessings & thanks again 🙂

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