Friday, February 18, 2011

The Origin of a Business: Pookatales Press

You know, this is the Pooka's Tales blog, and yet I'm not sure I've ever posted anything much about my miniature book business, Pookatales Press. I should probably remedy that, since Pookatales Press and my writing are connected.

Way back in 2001, I wanted to start a business of my own. I'd learned how to make leather-bound medieval-style books, and as I was interested in 1/12th scale miniatures as a hobby, I thought that the combination of the two would be fun. Plus, I had a couple of short stories that I wasn't currently marketing to magazines, so they were available for an alternative form of publication. I took those two short stories and formatted them into miniature books. This was an unusual niche market, and, inspired by the big 1/12th scale "Cinderella" castle in Chicago, I thought it would be great to make miniature medieval-style books that could actually be read--that had complete stories in them instead of pages filled with unreadable nonsense words just for effect. I also thought it might be fun to get paid for my stories...go figure. And so, Pookatales Press was born.

Pookatales Press has had one of its books, A Perfect Irony, reviewed in the publication "Bloomsbury Review." My books have also been purchased for special display at two libraries, including the University of North Texas Library. This is a photo which includes my books among their smallest in the display. You can see them grouped together in the upper right corner. Photo credit goes to Edward Hoyenski, Assistant Curator of the Rare Book and Texana Collections at this library.

So why did I choose a Pooka as mascot and logo? Because legend has it that the Irish Pooka is a fae shapeshifter who often takes the form of a mystical black horse--a horse that lures an unsuspecting victim traveler up onto his back and takes him or her for a wild, unforgettable ride.

That's my own aim in telling (and selling) you my stories. I want to take you places you've never been before. I want you to read something I wrote and then perhaps even see things around you in a new light. I want to entertain you, intrigue you, and whisk you away from dreary everyday life, if only for the length of time it takes you to read one of my tales.

Those initial two stories of high fantasy from my epic fantasy world of Ondine are still available in mini book form from Pookatales Press. If you like mini books, you can find the link in the sidebar of this blog. As soon as I figure out how to format them for e-book readers, I will most likely offer those stories and possibly others as downloads for sale at Pookatales as well.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Product Review - Journey to Wild Divine

I can't be the only writer who has stress--far from it.  Everybody has a different way of dealing with it.  But one of my favorite ways is the Journey to Wild Divine biofeedback program. Here's a handy link: Wild Divine 4 program bundle: Healing Rhythms, Passage, Wisdom Quest, Grapher Expansion

It is, quite simply, gorgeous.  The graphics are a beautifully visualized magical Asian-influenced faeryland, but there is so much more to it than just great visual effect.  The biofeedback device with its finger sensors provides you with feedback, in real time, of how you're doing with either raising or lowering your energy.  It incorporates teaching about how to control your breathing and heart rate and achieve a relaxed but alert mental state, while your actions in this regard affect and make things happen in the program.  They call these "energy events," and they range from making balls juggle to stacking stones, opening closed doors or making it rain, among many other visually stunning examples.  And unlike so many of the computer games that are out there right now just purely for the entertainment value--those with a storyline which, once you play through it, you really have little or no interest in ever going back and playing again--this is one I return to again and again.  I have never found another product quite like this one, so appealing to me as a lover of fantasy literature, and of a profoundly spiritual bent, both.

There are a few places where characters in the program go into a bit of a spiritual teaching mode, especially in Journey to Wild Divine, Wisdom Quest, which is the sequel program to Journey to Wild Divine, the Passage.  But even though the information presented has a very New Age slant, it touches on some truths that seem universal.  However, even if one has no desire to listen to the spiritual information and prefers to skip those parts, the product is still more than worthwhile in my opinion.  I would never have guessed when I first bought this program several years ago just how much it would help me deal with stress and thereby change my life for the better.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Changes on the Horizon

One of my crit partners is moving to Florida soon, bringing the number of local Moxie members down to two, counting me.  We'll miss her.  I'll hate not having her here with us.  But her husband has a new job and has already moved, and she's going to follow as soon as she can wrap up her affairs locally.

I hate to lose any of my writer sisters.  We've always had each other's backs, and in some sense, we always will.  But in trying to figure out how we might video-conference our meetings using a webcam and Skype, we realize it just won't be the same.  I like technology--without it I wouldn't have contact with some people who are very important to me.  But a video-conference will never beat the face-to-face dynamic that we've always had, just as, for me, an e-book reader will never really beat the texture and smell of paper and the comforting feeling of a book in my hand.

In so many ways, I'm a lot like Star Trek character Jean-Luke Picard; I like my Earl Grey tea, hot, and I like a real book in my hands when I want to curl up and read.  If technology advanced so far that I could only have these things if I replicated them, I'd always be replicating them.  Now, how in the world am I going to replicate the presence of my friend at our crit group meetings?

No doubt, the Huz's phone would just answer, "Droid!"

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Reviewing Others

I've decided to include some book reviews here on this blog, among the other writing-related posts.  It seems like a good idea to post reviews of fiction I've read, but it might also be helpful to new writers if I post reviews of books on the craft of writing as well.  I've read many of them, and some helped me quite a bit in developing my craft and learning the ropes.  Perhaps once a week to start, and we'll see how it goes.