Saturday, November 8, 2014

ANNOUNCEMENT, GUEST POST, & GIVEAWAY >><<>><< Anon, Sir, Anon by Rachel Heffington

I'm so honored to be announcing Rachel Heffington's Anon, Sir, Anon mystery novel, which became live on the 5th! I've also had the privilege to read it before it came out. It's a thrilling yet cozy novel set in rural Europe, complete with fog, plenty of rain, and long walks in the countryside. She's created a cast of dynamic characters with intriguing personalities and idiosyncrasies. And I guarantee you'll fall in love with Vivi and Farnham right off the bat. If you don't, you're probably reading it wrong. But I'm sure I'm not doing her novel justice, so here's a bit more information:
BACK COVER BLURB: The 12:55 out of Darlington brought more than Orville Farnham's niece; murder was passenger. In coming to Whistlecreig, Genevieve Langley expected to find an ailing uncle in need of gentle care. In reality, her charge is a cantankerous Shakespearean actor with a penchant for fencing and an affinity for placing impossible bets. When a body shows up in a field near Whistlecreig Manor and Vivi is the only one to recognize the victim, she is unceremoniously baptized into the art of crime-solving: a field in which first impressions are seldom lasting and personal interest knocks at the front door. Set against the russet backdrop of a Northamptonshire fog, Anon, Sir, Anon cuts a cozy path to a chilling crime. 
If you haven't heard of Rachel, goodness you're missing out on knowing one of the wittiest, most sincere, engaging, and all-around grandest kind of person you'll probably ever meet. She is a novelist, nanny, and people-lover living in rural Virginia with her really wonderful family (I've had the immense pleasure of meeting them all) and her sable cat, Cricket. Her first novel, Fly Away Home, (which I've also had the privilege of reading) was independently published last February. You can find out lots more about her through her blog, INKPENAUTHORESS.BLOGSPOT.COM

And without further ado, let me present you with this wittingly eloquent guest post by Rachel on the Alchemy of Words. Do enjoy!

      We’ve heard it said that writing is a form of magic.

It is.

Word-crafting is the alchemy for which many have searched. While scientists work to achieve teleportation, writers enchant mere paper and ink to convey millions of common-folk to the places of their dreams. While some men work to the ends of their minds to earn money, we spin wealth from twenty-six spider-legged characters. We are magicians, we writers. What are only words—slipshod, simple arrangements of letters—become beauty under our fingers. We’re people, like you, but we take what had been wordless, fathomless emotion and we give it a sound to be spoken. An ache becomes a noun, a verb, two adjectives, arranged into that wrenching feeling. Joy becomes a strand of syllables bright and luminescent as bubbles in a glass of champagne. We take your hearts and we name them names to be whispered again and again and again in the moments you least expect.

We’re writers.

It’s what we do.

Anais Nin once said, “We write to taste life twice.”

I say we write for three-fold effect: we taste life, we want to taste it again, we want you to taste it with us. Words give birth to communities. I can take your heart and make it mine with a clever rearrangement of a few meager words. You never know what I’ll say, but I’ll mean every syllable, for I’ll have arranged every syllable. It is craftsmanship that must be learned. Everyone uses words; everyday; everywhere. Words aren’t special in the way most people mean special. Words are…common. But their very normalcy makes them the perfect in-road to the element of surprise. If you know how.

I would go work, for it was raining.
Raining was work. I would go for it.

Same words, Curiously different meanings. Magic, like I said. But you wouldn’t have guessed what things could be made from eight simple, commonplace words anyone might overhear on a busy street.

Not that it is easy.

Heavens, it’s not easy.

Have you ever seen an artist at work, and heard them say, “Thank you, but it comes naturally?”

Babies come naturally. It isn’t easy, having a baby.
It isn’t easy rearranging words to make sense. I could feel things all day, and yearn to make you feel things as well, but unless I make some sort of sense in the meantime, nothing will come of my wooden-block towers. Gustave Flaubert had it that, “I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
Wordlessness is the worst fear of a writer.

It is crippling. We live by words. We move by them. Have you ever thought of how it would be if you could no longer speak? Or breathe? If oxygen disappeared and you were left in a hostile world that once loved you? Sometimes we get a clog somewhere and the words won’t come. It is suffocating. It can terrify you. But real writers, those of us who have grasped the point of our apprenticeship, cannot afford to remain wordless. We struggle through and we overcome. The artistic temperament, as G.K. Chesterton reminds one, “is a disease that afflicts amateurs.” The professional writer knows words will return if he has but a mind to knock over his wooden towers and begin again. The work is painful. Splinters will come. But the next sentence will snap with vividry.

“If you write one story,” Edgar Rice Burroughs said, “it might be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”

Of course words aren’t all there is to our magic; they are simply materials. Story—the over-arching plot and characters, and happenings—must be given thought. Because all stories reflect one Story: the Story that is truer than true because it is stark Truth.

Story is that thing that spears your heart during a particularly magnificent sunset. It is the thing that sees a loved one die and knows it can’t be the end—not the end. Not The End for which we have all yearned in our fair-weather way since birth. True writers take this Story, throw a saddle upon it, and try to ride it onto the page. It likes to escape and few writers have managed to truly, honestly capture it. Most of us content ourselves with snips from its mane, thrust into our story in a subtle way like the red streaks in a crocus’ throat. But we do try. And some succeed. And that is why you cry, or laugh, or wish for it not to end.

Because we’re magic.

The Story is magic. The best kind. The only kind.

Story is the language anyone can understand, though they be mute, deaf, an infant, an idiot. Story is our blood and our souls and we writers are the prophets through which it speaks.

So the next time you pick up a book, remember it is magic. Read our words and let yourself feel the enchantment. Lend your books, drink tea with your books, leave crumbs in your books, for magic is strongest when used.

And when your lives have been touched by our spell, remember—always remember—that the Story itself is realer than real.

We’re magicians, but we scarcely understand the magic. It’s rather too strange to fully grasp.



I really hope you all enjoyed that fantastic piece by Rachel on words. Words are a very precious and cultivated commodity, a prized possession we should never take for granted. 


Also be sure to enter into Rachel's grand Cozy Quagmire Party Pack giveaway! She's giving away a bunch of fantastic items to help you have a very Vivi and Farnham evening, including:


All text © 2014 Footprints in the Sand | All Images © 2014 Charity Klicka Photography

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