Guest Blogger: Yasmine Galenorn
I like to sit at Starbucks, at the downtown Barnes & Noble and think, iced triple soy latte in hand. Sometimes I journal, other times I just sit there and breathe -- let myself rest while I watch the world around me. These moments bring to mind the autumn, for some reason. Even when it's sunny out, sitting with a journal or book in a coffee shop reminds me of the days in mid-August, each year, when I feel the first tinge of coolness in the air that heralds the beginnings of autumn.
Starting with a faint tang, autumn presages itself early here with the slightest of hints -- the scent of bonfires on the wind, the scent of graveyard dust swirling from the past, and the promise of chill, damp nights clouded in mist. It might be something as simple as a smell -- or a touch of sharpness to the air. Maybe it's catching a glimpse of a leaf just starting to turn. Or sometimes, it's when I wake up and realize that the summer covers aren't enough to keep me warm at night.
Autumn in western Washington is rife with rain and wind storms, mist rising from the ground, and fat, striped argiopes in their webs -- their strands glistening with dew. They stretch their webs across the sidewalks, so much so that I always carry a stick with me when I go out the door, or use my husband's cane, to bring down the webs before I catch myself in their snares. I am frightened of spiders -- even though I find them fascinating. I don't begrudge their catching flies outside, as long as they leave the walkways to me.
During the autumn the leaves begin to fall early and they're seldom the brilliant reds of drier climes, but instead dull bronze and spotted yellow. If you're out in a park or the woods, the light dapples on the grass when the occasional sunbeam breaks through the latticework of leaves still hanging heavy on the trees. The scents of cedar and fir are thick in wooded areas, and moss and ivy cover the tree trunks.
I wake up during the autumn. Summer is long a long, lazy dream even if I'm busier than I want to be (and I'm always busy). But when autumn hits, it brings with it new beginnings, busy-ness, passion and tales and adventures. I write better when the mist and rain are swirling. Even though I love the warmth of summer, the shrouded nights call to me, the gloomy days set me at a melancholy ease, the rain reassures me. I watch it pound down outside my office window, and it sweeps me away to magical lands, to dark and fantastical forests, to the first steps of long journeys.
In the mists, I see Smaug, and the distant fires of Sauron. I catch a glimpse of dragons flying in the sky, fighting Thread. And there -- there walks a man with living tattoos that cover his body. And delving further, I'm inundated with visions of the Fae from my own worlds, as they fight their unearthly battle and rip apart the worlds during the Great Divide. Demons hide in the mists, and trolls, and Fae Queens who are so beautiful they terrify. And through the fog, I hear the murmur of drums from the African veldt, the song of the siren, the wail of the Bean Sidhe. Pan pipes call to me from the shadow the trees, and the very real elementals I sense in my life on a daily basis present themselves as models so I might create their fictional versions -- the Autumn Lord and Grandmother Coyote and the Moon Mother and Old Shag.
Yes, my life is steeped in autumn mists, and has been for many years. With my mother's death, with seeing friends pass through the veil, with almost thirty years of working magic under the Moon, how can I avoid my fate -- which is to walk in the shadows, occasionally crossing into a warm and sunny meadow for a stay? And why would I want to? Read The October Country by Ray Bradbury and tell me it doesn't set your heart pounding. I know it does mine.
As of the first of July, I saw Dragon Wytch, my 20th published book hit the shelves. I’m a ‘bestselling author’ now, and while I write as a professional and from a business stance, I still write from love. From passion for the genre. From the heart of the magic that exists both within my actual life, and within the depths of my imagination. Autumn haunts me, yes, and I long for it even though I'm crying out for some sun by February, but the days preceding it -- the two or three weeks in late August -- early September that lead up to it, are days of excitement and the sense that the Wheel is about to be put in motion again.
So Dragon Wytch is available now. Night Huntress will be on the shelves as of January 6th, 2009. Demon Mistress hits the shelves in a year -- July 2009. And Etched in Silver, a Camille and Trillian novella will be coming out in Inked, an anthology I'm writing along with Eileen Wilks, Karen Chance, and Marjorie Liu on January 10th, 2010.
Meanwhile, I'm about to start Bone Magic, Camille's third book. It's set around the autumn equinox, so for the rest of this year, I'll be walking in the mists, walking in the shadows, and seeking out the magic of Otherworld.
Tell me, what would you like to find waiting in the mists? What visions do you see? Would you rather go rambling through the woods for a picnic, or prowling through them at night?
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