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Introducing Sheila R. Lamb, author of Once a Goddess.

Two tribes battle for control of ancient Ireland, and Brigid must find her place among them, trapped between the will of her people and the desires of her heart. Set in a time when myths were reality, Once A Goddess brings the legend of Ireland’s magical Túatha dé Danann to life.

~*~

I stood with my people, trembling. I was terrified. In less than a day’s time, I would live with the enemy, go into their homes, eat their food. I would be the wife of their next chieftain.

I snatched glimpses of Bres, and of the Fomorians. A dark and robust stock, they stood in regiment rows on the other side of the albino hide. Bres was no exception. They returned my open stare. Some faces seemed kind, some curious, with half-hearted smiles, others hard and angry. A flicker of blue in the tapestry of brown…one of the men, in the back of the rows, had blue eyes. I glanced again and he was gone.

My people, the Túatha dé Danann, were gathered behind me. We were the embodiment of airiness, a small, pale race, eyes of blue or green. My chameleon hair could be golden or red, depending on the light. My gown shimmered with Danann magic as it soaked up the colors reflected from the sky.

I caught Bres’s gaze and drew back, intimidated by the sharpness that pierced the air around him. His fitted tunic and knee-length boots of coarse leather and wool defined every lithe muscle he possessed.

Nuada and Elatha left the white deer hide as the divider between the tribes. Bres and I would stand on the sacred deer hide when we vowed our lives together. The Danann ritual was the only farewell my people could give. My father preformed the marriage ceremony.

Bres took my hand in his and I flinched at his grip. He steered my steps to the albino hide, where we would end the bloodshed between our tribes. His hands were solid and brown as stout tree limbs, whereas my hands mirrored the pearls found within the sea. It seemed as though I clasped a young oak.

“Danu, we thank you for your presence. As your children, we stand before you. We ask for peace.” Father diverged from the traditional mating words of magic that called upon the earth and the sky to bind us as one.

“Danann and Fomorian ask for your blessings as we share the earth.” Power should have surrounded me. It should have surrounded Bres. Instead, in the face of blank, empty words and talks of peace between tribes, I felt nothing.

My father’s incantation had ended and it was our turn to speak quietly to each other.

Danann couples spoke sacred words of magic at this point in the ceremony, words to bind them for a lifetime. Of course, I had been warned not to use those words, our secret. My promise was simple: to uphold the treaty.

Bres spoke first. “Brigid, our joining will be new to both our people and to this island. If you can’t bear the pressures that will be put on us, then you may walk away now.”

He knew I couldn’t walk away. He knew we were trapped together.

“There will be pressures,” I said. “However, the purpose of our union is peace. Not for my personal gain.” I paused. “Nor yours.”

Bres smirked at my implications and our eyes met, each daring the other to turn away first.

So, this was how it would be. I knew in that instant that I couldn’t let him catch me off guard; I would have to think carefully before I spoke and always remember that cunning motivation hid behind his words. I would protect our gifts, our knowledge of the elements that surrounded us, with my life. The Fomorians would use that information to take the earth, the source of our strength, from us. And as mine was to protect, I believed that Bres’s mission was to discover.

With sickening clarity, I understood why Father and Mother had chosen me. I, Brigid, was quiet and reserved, able to turn to stone. Stone is what they wanted to give to Bres and the Fomorians.

Bres studied my face as though looking for fractures in my expression. I would not give in to him. Instead of showing my trepidation, I smiled and touched a forelock of his black hair that escaped the tight leather band that kept its length pulled back. He grinned and brought my hand to his lips, biting lightly. His gesture sent a chill down my spine.

Visit Sheila R. Lamb on her on her blog / Twitter, and snag the eBook or Paperback of Once a Goddess today!

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I write fiction and I love it. In the spring, when I began writing Come the Shadows, all that pounded in my head was “I want to write books and I want people to read them.”

The statement still rings true but only now am I really understanding what comes in the middle of two simple desires and there’s a LOT of middle.

A huge

Gaping

Cavernous

Canyon

Of a middle.

Writing a book and suddenly having thousands of people read it would be the literary equivalent of winning the lottery. It doesn’t never happen but it’s so close to never that it might as well be never.

The main problem is that my existing sphere of social influence does not a reader pool make, which is true for any new author. I have to grow that sphere to grow my reader and fan base and that’s where that Grand Canyon comes in. It must be filled.

There are lots of ways to do that. I could fork over money (which I don’t have) for PR and ads. I would probably get lots of short term sales and maybe even make my money back. But the reader to fan ratio may or may not pan out and fans are the ones who keep coming back.

I can do interviews, but how many times do people want to hear me answer questions about what my books is about, my writing process, or my upcoming work? They are good to do, but they cannot be all an author does to reach out to fans. It’s just gets boring for the reader too easily if that’s all you’re putting out there.

Self-published authors have to rely heavily on modern social media and one of the core staples of that is blogging. Blogging is like grown-up tweeting. You’re forced to have a real conversation about something. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard but it always helps the author and reader connect over an idea. I would call it a virtual “let’s get a cup of coffee and chat”. I’m not sure why I call it that, since I don’t even like coffee, but it has the same ideas of sharing knowledge and companionship. It’s less preachy than an essay (dinner speaker) but more formal than a tweet or Facebook thread which is often the equivalent of crashing on someone’s couch in your PJs.

Some blog on their own, and some blog for others. Authors frequently do guest blog posts, which is an area I’m just starting to explore. I’ve done a few interviews already and my guest posts will soon start appearing. I’m exited to reach readers in new ways but I also must admit that I’m struggling with it.

Why? It’s just writing, you say. I have written two full books and another one that’s a nearly complete first draft plus countless other articles, poems, songs, scripts, and so forth. This should be cake, right?

No.

The difference is that all my fiction, articles, etc, are focused outward. I write about other people’s flaws, emotions, and lives. Now I’m delving into a whole new arena where all the attention is focused on me and that’s a bit strange for this Lone Writer Girl. If I could, I would write books and shove them out the door of my little writer’s closet. Then I would immediately start on the next one. It’s not that I don’t want to connect with people or (God forbid) think that anyone out there is less important than me – quite the opposite in fact – but putting the attention on me is so viscerally opposed to my nature that it is almost frightening at times.

What I lack in extraversion I make up for in spades with determination, however. If I can write fiction that is enjoyable, surely I can do this too. While these types of writing are agonizing in their differences to someone like me, they have one thing in common: the readers. Most readers want to know more about the person behind the words and guest posts give important insight into the mind behind work. So, while I groan and strain against my desire to return to my little cave I will remember that, and keep pushing myself forward on this incredible and rewarding journey and with each new guest post I intend to grow as a writer and author AND to further connect me with my readers.

In light of this I have started two new pages at the top:

The Interviews

Guest Posts

Keep checking back in the next few weeks – both pages will grow!

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