Tuesday 22 September 2015

Monday 14 September 2015

Poem: She is My God

My religion is found in love.
My church rests peacefully under this fig tree.
My rituals are found in the change of the winds, the phases of the moon, the rise of the tides, and the whispers of night.
My prayers are sent to the sun, and my priests are amongst the branches of this old tree.
I confess to the roots, and they lend me their wisdom.
My strength is found flowing from sacred springs of living water.
My hymns are in the song lines of this beautiful earth.
My communion is found in my lovers embrace.
My Bible is written neatly within the constellations.
My soul finds peace in the rhythms of nature- she is my God.

Brooke Hampton is the guardian of three wild and wonderful little earth warriors. She is a defender of light, Mother Nature, unconditional love, magic and beauty. Author of the Waldorf-inspired children's book Enchanted Cedar: The Journey Home. She considers herself an earth warrior, living food lover, organic gardener, wolf mama, wild water huntress, plant Goddess, love's mistress, book reader, home apothecary/kitchen witch, tea addict, love-maker, naked moon dancer, sun gazer, herbalist, barefoot mama. If you would like to get to know her better, you can visit her cyber-tribe online or on Instagram.

Tuesday 2 June 2015

TNA Logo Competition - Book Prizes

We've had a request from The Northern Antiquarian for help designing a logo. 

The Northern Antiquarian (TNA) is an educational nonprofit organisation which engages people of all social backgrounds on the rich diversity of prehistoric and early Christian remains in the British Isles, from Mesolithic times (c.7000 BC) until the coming of the written word in the Dark Ages... In these ever-changing times, TNA believes that it is important to preserve our ancient heritage for future generations, and to work with organisations around the world to find out how our little piece of history links in with other ancient monuments and cultures across the globe. - (read full description)

They are looking for a logo for their website and letter heading and we're inviting you to send in designs by July 10 2015.

The top five designs will be put to a public vote here on PWC and the winners will win beautiful books!

1st Prize

The Folklore of the Scottish Highlands by Anne Ross and The Twelve Apostles Stone Circle, West Yorkshire by Paul Bennett

2nd Prize

The Silver Bough by F. Marina McNeill

To enter, scan your drawings or produce them in .jpg or .tif format and e-mail to: info@paganwriters.net by July 10 2015

By entering you give permission for TNA to use your design if selected.

You can find The Northern Antiquarian online, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Marion Grace Woolley - Q&A

Marion Grace Woolley is a multi-genre author published by Ghoswoods, Netherworld and Green Sunset. She currently lives in Rwanda and is the Manager of Pagan Writers Community.

Her latest release, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandarn is due out on 14th February 2015. 

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, via her blog and website. She also has a bi-monthly newsletter. There is a Facebook page for Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran.

This month we're shining the spotlight on PWC Manager, Marion Grace Woolley, ahead of her forthcoming release Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran on 14th February 2015. We've put your PWC questions to her and demanded honest answers!

Who is the girl on the cover of Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran?

That's actually a photograph called To The End by Iranian photographer Babak Fatholahi. He's incredibly talented, as is Hungarian cover designer Gábor Csigás, who put everything together. I'm not entirely sure who she is, but there's an article online all about how they made the cover. To me, she is the perfect depiction of my main character, Afsar.

Have you ever been to Iran?

No, sadly not, though I feel as though I have. The closest I ever got was a job in Armenia, which borders Northern Iran, and once, on my way to East Africa, I flew directly over Sari where the book is set. I was so excited, I took a screen shot of the flight path!

I've heard this is about Phantom of the Opera. What made you choose this subject?

The inspiration for Rosy Hours did come from Phantom of the Opera, but you don't need to know that story to enjoy this one. The Phantom of the Opera was originally a serialisation by French writer Gaston Leroux, for a daily newspaper. Within the story, Leroux hinted at another story involving the Phantom, one in which he spent his youth travelling the world and eventually ended up in Mazandaran, Northern Iran, as the playfellow of The Little Sultana.

People have written about this before, perhaps one of the best know is Susan Kay's 1990 novel Phantom. However, I wanted to take a different approach. I wanted to tell it from the Sultana's perspective. She shared the future Phantom's lust for darkness, and I wanted to explore what could make a young girl, born into ultimate privilege and power, so twisted.

In so doing, the novel became a historical intrigue which stands alone in its telling, but which links to many of the characters and events hinted at in Leroux's original.

What is your writing process? Do you plan your novels?

No, my writing process is fairly haphazard. I like to be surprised by what happens.

With Rosy Hours, I've actually blogged the entire process from writing it to finding a publisher and all the pre-release work that goes into launching a novel.

What was the hardest part about writing the book?

Writing Historical Fiction is always hard, knowing when to stop cramming facts and start writing a story. Thankfully there are so many helpful resources nowadays, such as picture archives, YouTube documentaries and academic articles available online. I like to spend the first few weeks immersing myself in the culture and history of the time, then let my fingers start tapping.

Another part that was difficult was recreating a half-told story by a cult author. Phantom of the Opera has a large following, and it is a delicate balancing act trying to remain true to the original characters whilst taking them to a place and time many might not imagine to find them. As with any story that has a large following, readers feel a strong sense of ownership over those characters. Some will follow you to fresh territory, whereas others prefer to remember the characters as they were first told. I'm prepared for mixed reactions from Phantom fans, but I hope that the book hits its mark with new readers.

In your guest post, you talk about the religions of Iran whilst you were researching. How influential is religion on this book?

Religions are as influential on this book as they have been on the history of Iran. Though, for me, the book is more about the stories of religion, the folklore. All religions are built on stories, on heroes and villains, creation myth and colourful retellings. The history of Persia is particularly blessed on this count, with Ferdowsi's Shahnameh.

I'm a writer, I love stories and the way stories affect psyche and shape nations. Many of those stories have found their way into Rosy Hours, and hopefully they add a certain richness to it.

What is your involvement with Pagan Writers Community?

I took over PWC in 2013, after its original founders at Pagan Writers Press felt they didn't have enough time to administer it. I'd been a Facebook moderator for a while, and it was an honour to be offered the chance to take it on.

For some reason the Facebook algorythms favoured us, and with a group of volunteers we took the page from 14,000 likes to over 62,000 in a matter of months! Then the pace slowed down and we've rested at that number for a while now.

I also added this blog, plus an author spotlight and book review section. I love Pagan Writers Community, but we could really do with some more volunteers to help manage it. 


If you would like to know more about Marion, check out her guest blog The Day of Chaos.

We will be launching a writing competition to win a signed copy of Marion's novel Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Marion Grace Woolley in January

This month at Pagan Writers Community we are celebrating the release of Marion Grace Woolley's novel Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran on 14th February 2015.

Marion is a multi-genre author published by Ghoswoods, Netherworld and Green Sunset. She currently lives in Rwanda and is the Manager of Pagan Writers Community.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, via her blog and website. She also has a bi-monthly newsletter. If you'd like to keep up-to-date on the release of Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, you can join this Facebook page.

In honour of the occasion, we are bringing you a whole heap of goodies :-


Have a read of Marion's guest post

Do you have a question for Marion? 
E-mail it to questions@paganwriters.net by Friday 30th January 2015.


We will select the best of the questions and publish Marion's answers.

Marion has agreed to give away a signed copy of her book and two ebooks! We will be holding a writing competition to select the winners.


At the end of the month we'll announce the winners of the goodies and publish their entries online.

We'd really like to thank Marion for being a guest author at Pagan Writers Community and for generously donating her work.

Guest Post: Marion Grace Woolley - The Day of Chaos

Marion Grace Woolley is a multi-genre author published by Ghoswoods, Netherworld and Green Sunset. She currently lives in Rwanda and is the Manager of Pagan Writers Community.

Her latest release, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandarn is due out on 14th February 2015. 

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, via her blog and website. She also has a bi-monthly newsletter. There is a Facebook page for Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran.

Ahead of the release of Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran on 14th February 2015, Pagan Writers Community is turning the spotlight on Marion, to find out more about her work and interests.

We are starting with a guest post, looking at the influence of Persian history on modern Paganism.

If you would like to ask Marion a question, e-mail us at: questions@paganwriters.net before Friday 30th January 2015. We will be putting the best questions to her, and demanding answers!

My forthcoming release, Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, published by Ghostwoods Books, has perhaps been the most demanding I’ve ever written in terms of research. It’s set in 1850s Northern Iran, exploring the world of The Little Sultana, a character first mentioned in a classic novel by French writer Gaston Leroux.

When I start to write historical fiction, I tend to spend the first few weeks immersing myself in the time. I flick through picture archives, listen to music, watch documentaries on YouTube, and scour Wikipedia for information.

It’s less of a fact-finding mission, more a way to set the tone.

Most of the real fact-checking comes in later, as I start to write. If you become too obsessed with facts and historical accuracy, you start to lose the power of your story. Once I have a sense of time and place, I tend to look up the rest as questions arises: What did people wear? Which languages did they speak? What did they eat? Who was in power?

Sometimes the question you ask simply leads to more questions. This happened quite specifically with Rosy Hours in relation to Paganism.

The mid-1800s in Iran was a time of huge political and religious turmoil. A sect had arisen called the Bábí, followers of a religious leader called the Báb, claiming to be The Gateway to Truth. The  Báb was executed on the orders of the Shah in 1850. It was a significant event that eventually led to the expulsion of the Bábí from Iran and the establishment of the Bahá'í faith. It was such a significant period in history that I knew I had to include something of it in my story.

Okay, so what did the Bábí believe? What did they look like? What did they wear?

During my research, I stumbled across a talisman that the Bábí wore to distinguish their faith. It is called the haykal, and I’m sure you can understand why it piqued my interest. The word is borrowed from Arabic, meaning temple, relating to the Temple of Solomon.

Whereas this was interesting to me, as it is a shared symbol, if not a shared meaning, between modern Paganism and Persia, there was another avenue of research that quickly became utterly absorbing.

Those Rosy Hours is steeped in folk stories and legends from Persia. This steered my awareness to a much older religion called Zoroastrianism. Established in the 6th century BCE, it is thought to have influenced the iconography and theories of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. A crossover point between neolithic beliefs and modern worship.

The more I researched, the more my eyebrows started to rise.

Throughout Persia and much of Transcaucasia, New Year is still celebrated on the Zoroastrian date of the Spring Equinox, Nowruz, when light returns to the world. Their altars are made to the seasons, representing the four elements as well as humans, animals and plants. Eggs are painted, as in the Easter tradition, The Guardian of the Fire, the Hajji Firuz, dances with his face blackened like traditional morris dancers, and people jump the fire, casting their sickness into it and taking its strength, much like Beltane.

Painted Eggs for Easter
Then there is Sizdah Be-dar, the Day of Chaos. This is the thirteenth day after Nowruz, and is considered to be the day between years: the old year has finished, the new has not yet begun.

On this day it is said that the only way to stay safe from chaos, is to create even greater chaos yourself. People stay outdoors so that the chaos does not come into the house, they lie to each other in the fashion of April Fools, and create all sorts of noise and mayhem.

This is perhaps where the idea of 'unlucky number thirteen' comes from. What struck me was how much of European Paganism shares its roots with Persian Zoroastrianism. It seems far greater than mere coincidence. Having grown up with Pagan tradition all around me, I felt as though I had perhaps stumbled upon an ancient ancestor, the grandmother of all that is familiar.

Those Rosy Hours, quite unintentionally, yet perhaps auspiciously, has thirteen chapters. A tribute to the chaotic forces which play out within its pages.