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Lumise: The Goddess of Healing

The youngest of the Gods and Angels, Lumise, the Goddess of Healing, was created by the breath of a prayer for help. She guided the First People to healing herbs, and even imbued a sliver of her own power into the Nadmilise, allowing them to access the ability to heal others.

Lumise is best known for ending the plague that swept through the Old World, revealing herself to the early Nadmilise. She is the only God or Angel that showed her true face to the people, instead of shrouding herself with godly light. As such, there are many statues of her likeness across the Old World, and quite a few in Jacqueline.

She is deeply connected to the springtime, rebirth, and the herbs that grow after the frosts. She is therefore celebrated during Bulalae, the holiday in the springtime.

Her direct descendants are the healers, who wear gold leaf jewelry to honor her. They often feel a surge of power during Bulalae. Because of that, many people go to healers during the celebration, to seek treatment for ailments that would otherwise seem impossible to heal.

The Goddess of Healing is soft-spoken and generous, and has a gentle beauty.

The Vine Yard: Chapter 4

We held auditions for The Vine Yard! (Pause for applause)

That Saturday morning rolled around and I dragged myself out of bed (we’d had a late night the night before), woke up a hungover Josh (who had lost his phone sometime in the night and messaged me from his computer at three in the morning asking for a wake-up call), and made some coffee. I printed out the necessary copies of the script we would need, made sure our moral support friend was ready for me to pick her up, and wrote a note for our friend Jared, who was still fast asleep on our living room floor. After making him some coffee and making sure he had a key to the apartment, Josh and I left.

We arrived at the audition site with twenty minutes to spare. Josh set up the room, moving some chairs out into the hall, while I texted my actors and went upstairs to meet them. Once Century Tower chimed noon on the dot, I took my three actors down into the basement of Turlington Hall to begin.

I felt a little let down, honestly, that only three people showed up (out of the 15 that originally replied). A couple had emailed me to tell me they couldn’t make auditions, and would be emailing me their audition videos. But still. When one of the actors asked if they were the only ones coming, I was really disheartened. I didn’t want this to look like it wasn’t a real production, even though it didn’t feel real to me. I mean, we were filming this thing with our cell phones. These were actors that were going to want to use this footage for their resumes. I didn’t want to let them down! Yet, at the same time, I was proud of this writing, of this show. Either way, I was a little upset.

Auditions, themselves, went well, though. We had each of the actors read their parts, and Josh filmed, while I took notes. At the end of the day, I was pretty sure who I was going to cast as Joshua L. Glass. After reviewing all the video auditions I received, I was also pretty sure of who would be Alexis, the best friend/love interest. But we didn’t have enough actors to fill all the roles. Josh and I even considered changing one of the characters, Roger, from a male to female role, seeing as we had so many women audition.

So, Josh and I took to social media. I posted in my UF Class of 2017 site, the short film group I was a part of, and on the Chabad Board group, while Josh posted in groups he was a part of. (Shout out to Sam Iachello for posting the info in her improv group site, too!)

Within three days, I had seven people email me, interested in the project. I sent them the audition material from the second day of auditions, and gave them a little less than a week to send in their video auditions. A couple people got back with me right away, but, since the internet was out in my apartment, I didn’t have the chance to review them right away.

I was still thrilled, though. These actors were fabulous!

Book Spotlight: The Shady Side: Shortcut to Uneasy Street

In an attempt to broaden my reading horizons, as well as connect with other authors, I reached out to people in writing Facebook groups I belong to, asking if anyone wanted to guest blog on my website. That was how I was introduced to this book and I have to say, I was not disappointed.

Noble does a fantastic job of weaving the supernatural and macabre into a suburban-esque setting. Her characters are compelling, and each story (this is a collection of six short stories) is as interesting as the last.

I want to spotlight my two favorite stories here. The first is "Defensive Driving." It follows the story of a man who cannot, for the life of him, stay calm behind the wheel of a car. It certainly doesn't help that his truck is named The Beast, either. When he's gifted a hula dancer to put on his dash, things seem to look up. But, of course, the peace doesn't last for long. Noble manages to create an interesting story in just a few short pages, keeping the readers guessing as to what the insidious factor of the story will be.

My second favorite is "Wrath," simply because it's told from the point of view of a crow, and there's a hippie woman who reminds me a lot of Cosima from Orphan Black. It's seriously one of the more interesting stories to unpack, but I won't give any of it away.

Noble has 160 published works ranging from poetry to nonfiction. And I bet each story is as artfully crafted as the last. I thoroughly enjoyed reading these stories; they reminded me of the ghost stories I used to read in summer camp as a kid, the ones where you'd put a flashlight under your chin and try to frighten all your friends.

Do yourself a favor, if you're into horror and suspense, grab yourself a copy of this book. The nostalgia, alone, should be enough to compel you. And if not, Noble's artful writing surely will be.

You can get a copy of the book on Amazon, grab the eBook, or visit her online at www.shannonraenoble.com.

World Building

I recently drafted a blog post about world building. As I was putting my thoughts down on paper, I realized it was a bit difficult to put everything down about world building that I knew. It’s such a person-specific topic that it’s hard to give general advice. So, rather than post that jumbled mess, I figured I’d break down how I do world building and try to give some advice along the way.

First, I want to preface this by saying I got a minor in history when I was in school. I focused on holocaust studies and histories pre-American Civil War. All of this plays into my novels.

Most of my books have historical settings, likely as a result of my love for history. But also, because it’s much easier to modify a setting/time period that already exists. Let me explain.

When you write an alien civilization or create a world that doesn’t currently exist, you MUST ground your new world in something human. If your world, your characters, even your names are too alien, your readers cannot connect and will therefore lose interest. Think of it like you’re a scientist trying to explain your new discovery to a room full of high schoolers. Some will understand the complexities you’re talking about, but the majority wont.

It’s great to have things that are otherworldly, and alien, and manifestations of your incredible imagination. But at the same time, there must be something recognizable embedded in there. Which is why I like to use historical settings in my novels.

You can take something that already exists and change it to suit your needs. For example, in my standalone novel I’m working on, I have an alien civilization that lives on a watery moon in a made-up solar system, but their town is inspired by Colonial Williamsburg. That way, the world isn’t too overwhelming to understand for my readers. (Plus, I really LOVE Colonial Williamsburg.)

Another thing to remember when building a world is to let your imagination run wild. The best example I have of this is the short-run TV show Defiance. It took three humanoid races (the grounding aspect for watchers) and added incredible intricacies. Sometimes, the best world building is rooted in culture.

I do this in my Anastasia Series. There are 10 races, each one with their own dimensional world. And each race is based on a culture that exists/once existed. There’s Hinduism, Victorian England, ancient Scottish and Irish, Native American, Renaissance… They form the basis for my characters, upon which I can build and create and give them all intricacies. That way, they’re just recognizable enough for my readers, and yet different enough to cause intrigue.

The best thing to take away from this is to simply have fun. World building might seem overwhelming, but it’s most often the best part of novel writing. Do what you love and the rest will follow.