Kingdom of Uisneach: The Prophecy

Dreams of battle. A king offering a crown. Longing for a faceless archer. From a quiet life in Maine, Briana Brennan, landscape designer and bookworm, is led into the woods and through a tree, where she emerges a savior of the mythic kingdom of Uisneach. She must begin the journey through a land terrorized by the evil Lord Shamwa. Guided by the stalwart Lord Marshall Sigel and the handsome young bard, Silas of Cedarmara and mentored by a forest crone and a shapeshifting crow, she must discover how to use the black medallions they wear to unlock the curse and rescue the king.

A magical map, mystical beings and a fantastic world all contribute something to the journey and to Briana’s growth as a woman, a warrior and a queen. Briana’s trek across Uisneach is a grand adventure that will hopefully bring her love and a happily ever after. Or will it?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Word Weavers

Finding my connection with a very special writers group was pure magic. This was how it unfolded:
 My husband read an advertisement in our local paper about a children’s author who was giving a talk on publishing at a local library. I thought ‘Well, I wasn’t writing children’s books but surely I could learn something about publishing from this woman.’ There was nothing in the ad that suggested you needed to pre-register and it was quite literally the day before the event, so I showed up at the library with notebook and pen in hand. There were about twenty aspiring writers present to listen to this woman’s advice.  A library staffer was checking people in and discovered I wasn’t on the list. She didn’t think I could stay. I had already struck up a conversation with a couple of women and they made the case that there was plenty of room and I should be allowed to participate.  After checking with the author, who had apparently set the limit, it was agreed I could stay. I did learn quite a bit from that workshop, but the real value of the day came later. At the end of the talk, a group of people decided to start a writers group that would continue to meet. One woman took responsibility for managing it, but then had some personal conflicts and couldn’t do it so it stalled. A month or so later, I received a call from Pat Hill saying she had volunteered to pull a group together. In the end, it was me and four women, Pat, Polly, Donna and Blanch who comprised what became Word Weavers. A couple of months later, we were in the middle of our monthly meeting in the library when a woman interrupted to ask if we are accepting people into the group. Mary, a writer of young adult fiction, became our sixth, and last member. We have been meeting for so long and are working on the same projects that we decided to close the group.
I was involved with another writer’s group decades ago and I know how useful they can be. There are three things I have found most beneficial about being involved in such a group.
1.       Most importantly is the support and camaraderie of other writers. Writing is hard and lonely work and I know I’m not alone in feeling sometimes that I am misunderstood by people because of the way I think and my incessant need to put my thoughts and ideas on paper. Being with people who get that, even if only for a few hours a month, reminds me that I am not crazy- simply creative.
2.       Encouragement through the long and tedious process of writing is critical to continued writing. It is easy to get discouraged, to lose your way and to feel like you can’t, for whatever reason, keep writing. Word Weavers begins each meeting with a check in portion where we talk about what we’ve accomplished, anything we’ve learned, what we’re struggling with professionally and/or personally and we celebrate even the smallest success. Things like writing one key paragraph, finishing an outline or discovering a technique or tool that has helped us in some are reasons to celebrate and we do.
3.       The largest part of our meetings is the actual review and feedback of our work. We made a pact early on to let the group know if we wanted feedback, encouragement or a complete shredding of the work we present. As far as I know, none of us has left a meeting feeling despondent over the critiquing of the group. We understand two things. One, the work is ours and feedback can be used or discarded at our will and two, our work can only benefit from the insight of others.
The ladies kindly let me take a picture for this blog. Let me introduce you. Bottom from the left: Donna Therrien, who is working on a wonderful story about a princess and trolls and who so generously created the map for Uisneach. Pat Hill is the force behind the Weavers. She keeps us on track and organized and is diligently organizing her literary work. Back from left: Mary Findley, or Steampunk Mary, as I call her.  Her young adult WIP is dark, mysterious and dystopian. Polly Montgomery delights us with the adventures of Lucky, the lost cat. Yours truly completes this picture and you already know about Uisneach. Not pictured is Blanch Nutting, who is on high adventure traveling the United States with her husband. Her sweet autobiography of growing up in Maine in the 1950’s and 60’s reminds us all of the joy of days gone by. I should also give a shout out and thank you to Springfield Central Library in Springfield, Vermont for so generously allowing us to use space for our meetings. 

Magic brought me to Word Weavers, but fondness and appreciation for the talent and friendship of these woman has kept me there. Thank you, ladies, for all your kindnesses and the sharing of your incredible gifts. I am so grateful that I was allowed to stay!