Interview with D. Wallace Peach

Cathleen Townsend of The Beauty of Words was kind enough to interview me earlier this month. She’s a writer of “mostly fantasy, but ghost stories, historicals, and even the odd contemporary.” It was an honor and pleasure to be featured on her site. Without further ado…the interview: 

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Today’s guest is the lovely Diana Peach, whose blog, Myths of the Mirror, I highly recommend. Welcome to the Beauty of Words, Diana.

Thank you, Cathleen, for the opportunity to talk about writing on your blog. I can do that for hours but promise to keep this short.

 

It’s wonderful to have you. Let’s start at the beginning: when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote stories and poems in high school and college, but it never occurred to me for one second to be a writer. I was a theater girl, and that too went by the wayside as the demands of work and raising a family took precedence.

Then, in 2010, my husband took an 18-month job in another state. The kids were already living on their own, so we sold our house and moved. I flipped a house (once is enough, thank you), and with nothing pressing, my husband suggested I write a book. “Oh, okay,” I said, and just like that I became a writer.

I wonder what would have happened if he’d suggested I arrange flowers. Hmmm.

Continue reading at The Beauty of Words

Writing in Pajamas

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Peach pj’s on the line

I just spent 5 days editing without changing out of my pajamas. It seemed a good time to share an old guest post I had the honor of contributing to Seumas Gallacher’s wonderful blog. Thus…Writing in Pajamas.

To me, flannel pajamas are symbolic. Whenever I get the chance, I wear them all day, and in case you were wondering, I’m pj-clad as I type this post.

In my mother’s generation, all-day pajamas indicated a mortifying degree of sloth. Pinch-lipped gossips would roll their eyes toward heaven, conjuring images of beer before breakfast, dust bunnies, and soap operas. If a woman wore pajamas all day, she certainly didn’t chair the holiday bazaar or volunteer at the library. Her kids lacked appropriate moral supervision and, no doubt, roamed the neighborhood like hooligans. Never mind her neglected spouse nibbling TV dinners after a long day at the plant.

My guess is some people still think that way, and now and then, they’re probably not wrong. Yet, I never ascribed to that characterization. My pajamas epitomize the wonderful and rare days when I can slide from bed straight into writing mode. I rouse myself to pour more coffee and toss a log in the woodstove, but that’s about it. No volunteering, no grocery shopping, no babysitting, the house to myself…It’s a bit of creative heaven.

If I’m still in my woolly slippers and snowman pajamas when the clock strikes two, I’m at my peak, fulfilling a mission, playing God. Worlds are being created and razed, characters loved and destroyed. Pathos, humor, desperation, joy, and death tap like magic from my fingertips. Who has time to get dressed with a universe in the throes of chaos?

Sometimes I go a touch far, I’ll admit. I want to hold onto that “this day is mine, mine, mine” feeling. I cling to the illusion that I haven’t surrendered my creative immersion to other tasks. There are days when my pajama-wearing mulishness raises eyebrows.

None of you, hopefully, is shocked by my occasional dash in slippers and assorted-fruit flannels to retrieve something from the car or the shed. You all do that, right? And, you’ve gone to the mailbox and…um, walked the dog? Those are things normal people do in pajamas, don’t they?

Of course, I don’t stop there. Yesterday, I split wood in my slippers and snowflake pj’s, an almost farcical feat for which there are no pictures, thank the stars. Still in my pajamas, I’ve visited my neighbor to pick up my weekly goat’s milk supply, and on occasion, I’ve stopped in at the post office to mail books. I frequently wear my slippers to meetings. (If they want me to volunteer, they can deal with my choice of footwear, right?) And if I feel the need to dress up all fancy, I change the bottom half into jeans and yank a sweatshirt over the green turtles adorning the top.

I live in the northwest Oregon mountains outside a dinky town where everyone knows everyone else. I get away with this peculiar behavior because I’m a fantasy author. I’m permitted to be a bit eccentric. If they don’t remember me for my books, they’ll remember me as a lunatic. I’m fine either way.

To be honest, the real reason for my overindulgence in sleepwear is that once my little forays into the normal world are accomplished, I can return to my chair, my coffee, and my laptop without missing a beat. Wearing my pajamas is the bridge that keeps me connected to the fantastical side of my imagination. I relegate the outside world to a space between two parentheses, so the stories inside my head can continue unabated. That’s where I prefer to spend my time, and pajamas give me permission to dream.

What we leave behind

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This post started as a thank you, a sense of gratefulness as I lay in bed at 4 am. waiting for the alarm to chime. Many of us experience those moments when we reflect on the relationships we have with other humans, the ones who reside physically in our lives and those we know only through their words and images – bloggers, writers, readers – people.

100_0371We leave traces of ourselves behind. For some, these legacies are tidal waves that fill the pages of history books. They’re the catalysts of destruction who leave suffering and hardship in their wakes, or they’re the visionaries who dedicate their lives to nobler human aspirations, to creating beauty or fostering peace and compassion.

For most of us, our wakes are gentler, quieter ripples on life’s pond. We act upon the world in smaller ways, planting metaphorical gardens through our choices, our creative ventures, our stewardship and how we treat others.

100_0378Two hundred years from now, most of us won’t be remembered. But if you are like me, you might believe that the traces we leave behind linger in the firmament, that the cosmos is altered in some small way by each brief presence.

And thus, my sleepy morning musing turns back to you. You out there, my friends in the firmament who have sent your ripples into my little pond; they have filled me with gratefulness for your presence. Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing your time, humor, talent, wisdom, and friendship. My days are warmer for your presence.

100_0377The lovely roses in this post were planted by the woman who lived here before me. Her fragrant garden continues to bloom each spring. She too left beauty in her wake.

 

 

The Child’s Moon

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Pixabay image by Mysticartdesign

In my fantasy tales, the Child’s Moon ushers in a warm world. The land reawakens and whirls into bloom, spattering its treasure of color with an untamed brush. Promises of summer ripeness push through the soil, and markets open on the cobbled squares with honeyed milk and leafy hope. Those who survived the hungry moons molt their winter skins and bare their faces to the sun.

It’s a moon of roses, of bare feet, of rooting for wild strawberries, and newborn lambs bleating on unsteady legs.  The Child’s Moon is the eternal reminder that all of life travels in cycles, that death and birth go hand in hand, that every winter finally rolls to an end.

The full face of the Child’s Moon rises tomorrow night on May 21.

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pixabay

Excerpt from the Child’s Moon, Eye of Sun, Dragon Soul Saga.

Branwen slipped to the bench. The grove spun, consciousness sliding from her skin. She fell from Yula’s white cliffs, terror overtaking her as she clung to her body, losing control. Let go, surrender, the world whispered in her ear, and she let go, unable to stop her fall, unable to sustain her struggle to know the unknowable, to understand the indecipherable mysteries of her life.

There in the garden, her body filled with light and broke apart, sifting into the colors and textures of the grove. She felt intact, her soul complete but without definition and form, merged into sap and soil, wind and water, fire and gold. The world abided, not virtuous or wicked, careful or neglectful. It bore no intent, no desire, no plan. A void, it reflected her infinite possibilities; the massive, unfolding power hers to do with as she willed. She heard the dragons’ calls above Eydis, Morgen’s echo inside her heart, Ena humming herself to sleep, Aedan whispering, soft lips against her cheek.

Alive with wonder, she gazed at her son, the light of him flowing through her and illuminating the grove. Her first love soared there with him, and she gathered him too in her heart, the soft drumbeat she’d lost to a winter gale. Darkness descended and yet the air flared, bright with flameless fire. The faces of love held her son and his father aloft, embraced them, their song filling her.

Little fire, starry light, guide me on my path tonight
On waves of dreams, as you sleep, ‘cross the seas, calm and deep
Farewell to troubles, lay them low, sing the seamaids, soft and slow
Little star, flame above, sail away the night, my love

Boundless and unfettered by fear, she expanded, flowing down the thousand steps like water to the sea, swaying across the waves. On the horizon where sea and sky merged, she beheld a wondrous world, smiled, and returned to find herself.

Sunwielder Gets a Makeover

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As part of my conversion to indie publishing, my books are getting new covers. Once again, Jennifer Munswami of Rising Horse Creations has done her magic. This was a much more difficult cover because finding an image of Gryff as I pictured him in my head was impossible. Isn’t that funny? Writing and reading is so visual, and we become hopelessly attached to the pictures in our heads!

Now, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t try to hook you?

Prolog

The warrior rode in silence. Black oaks and silvergreen, dark with summer leaves, swathed the trail in shifting shadow. Shafts of sunlight speared the forest floor, altered only by the graceful sway of branches in the heated wind. She directed the mare with her knees, an arrow nocked in the recurve bow, a full quiver hanging from her pommel. A short sword with a breath of a curve rested in its scabbard at her belt, the ornate guard and curling quillon studded with moonstones.

Even this far from the battlefield, the land of Aldykar was riddled with brigands, deserters, and the soldiers hunting them. Yet she wore no armor, only the leathers of her homeland, tawny jerkin and breeches, soft-soled boots laced to the knee. Her hair, the red of old blood, flared in the filtered light, brushing her cheeks. Slanted gray eyes, pale as winter clouds, scanned the dark recesses of rock and fern in the hollows beneath the trees. The meeting place lay in a foreign wilderness, a place not unknown to her for she’d traveled the roadways and trails between Edriis and Mastrelle before, as maiden and warrior. Why the old woman chose the woods of Casbonny caused her wonder and filled her with wariness.

An owl’s solemn voice hooted in the moving shadows. The clearing lay ahead through columns of black bark, the round glade sunbathed and thick with fine grass. A young silvergreen grew in its center, branches filigreed steel in the pool of light. Her grandmother stood before the tree, arms at her side, gray hair plaited at her back. An odd expression imprinted her smooth face, a blend of relief, hope, and terrible resignation. “I am alone, Estriilde,” she said.

Songbirds quipped and called in the trees, offering no warning of predators. Estriilde relaxed her bowstring and slipped the arrow into her quiver. A long leg swung over the saddle, and she landed lightly at the shadow’s edge. “We live today, Grandmother,” she said in greeting.

“We live today.” Again the sorrow.

“Why all the trouble to meet at this place?” She tethered Morning Dove to a branch at the glade’s rim. “I ride to Angefell in eight days.”

That she’d received her grandmother’s missive at all seemed a toss left to chance, though she knew better. The old one glimpsed the endless arrays of time, how each moment unfolded like a fan with infinite future possibilities. She traveled them, followed their paths, tracked the splintering of lives, chose and chose through the moments to see where they wended and died.

“You know I bear a vision, my little one.”

Little one? Estriilde smiled. They were Edriisan, statuesque compared to the women of Aldykar, and she stood a hand taller than her grandmother. “This place is part of a path?”

Clasping her hand, the woman drew her into the glade’s light. “Every moment is a path. Yet this is the only one that will save you. The only one I could find. You have died a thousand times.”

Estriilde sighed. “Only today exists.”

“Only now exists, Estriilde. Only now, but I cannot help seeing what I see.”

“What will happen here?” She withdrew from her grandmother’s grasp and walked the edge of the grass in a slow circle, her right hand fingering the hilt of her sword.

The old one’s reply laced the air with ice, “The stranger will come when he hears you scream.”

“Am I to die today?” Estriilde slid the blade free, sunlight glinting on watery steel.

“It is the only way,” the gray woman whispered.

“You invite me to my death, Grandmother.” Estriilde gazed at the forlorn eyes, so like her own. “I will not die easily.”

“You will scream.”

Eyes closed, Estriilde raised her face to the cloudless sky. “Will you stay to see me fall?”

“I cannot, my child. But I will sing for you when you’re dead.”

The birds stilled, their calls frozen in the thick air. The debris of the forest floor rustled and snapped beneath the soft thud of approaching hooves.

“It comes now?” She cast a sideways glance through a wisp of blood red hair to find her grandmother gone.

Bearing weapons of war, the riders reined their mounts at the rim of the glade and slid from their saddles.

Then the screaming began.

Thanks for reading!

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Writing for the audience of…me.

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pixabay image compilation

Days before Sunwielder first hit the press in 2014, my publisher emailed me a question. “Sunwielder has a little of everything: war, romance, love, friendship, violence, and humor. What audience did you write it for?”

Good question.

It’s a blessing she and I communicated by email, or she would have seen the clueless, dumb-ass look on my face, my mouth forming my snappy, cutting-edge reply, “Uh…Oops.”

Without a doubt, the inquiry got me thinking, and to be honest, it wasn’t the first time I’ve contemplated the idea of writing with an audience in mind. I suppose many authors do, and from a marketing perspective, having a target consumer in mind is…um…what’s the word…imperative?

But I can’t write that way, at least not intentionally. My stories feel more organic than that, coalescing in the puny nutshell of my brain and suddenly cracking open into consciousness. I can only write from the inside out, and therefore, I wonder, is the audience…me?

The answer in a way is “yes.” The stories and characters compel me to put them to paper; the themes invade the little globe of my life. They can’t help but reflect elements of my worldview, my real and imagined experiences, my despairs and hopes. If I consider this question logically, why would any artist put heart and soul into a work of art she or he didn’t like?

As a person entering the last third of life, I spend a portion of my idle minutes musing over past choices and the myriad shifts they prompted in the winding path of my own story. This sunny-afternoon, garden-gazing pondering definitely informed Sunwielder. Those who most “get” the book, it seems, share this stage of life with me and the accompanying tendency toward reflection. So, yeah, the audience is probably “yours truly.” Thankfully, I’m a fairly run-of-the-mill human being to which a few souls out there can relate.

So, why does Sunwielder have a little of everything? I suppose because that’s how I perceive the complexity and poignancy of an authentic life. What human life isn’t a conglomeration of different bits, a pie chart of multiple, disparate wedges forming a whole? Gryff Worden, the Sunwielder, needs to be relatable, and though the details of his story may differ from ours, I’d argue that the reality of the way choices sculpt his life is universal to us all.

Sunwielder will be reissued within the week as a self-published book. Stay tuned.

The Quest – 55 Word Story

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compliation of images from pixabay

Slayer’s sword splits the night, lightning sharp, severing the troll’s head. Other monsters flee the blaze, bloodied, dying, howling in terror.

Silk hair swirling, blade singing, Slayer spins. He strikes, lean, beautiful, emerald eyes flashing, screaming, “I shall know my secret, beast!”

Trolls cower, break before him. “Alas, revealed,” one wails. “You are the monster.”