…and the Wheel Turns Round and Round

The Circle WithinTen years ago this month, The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition was published.

I felt that the occasion merited a blog post, even though (obviously) I can’t maintain the blogging habit for more than a couple of days at a stretch.  I sat down with a gigantic chocolate chai and my writing playlist queued up, opened up a Word file, and asked myself, “What do I want to say about that?”

Twenty minutes later I had the two above paragraphs.

I could talk about the book’s history, but I’ve done that already.  I could talk about the process of writing it, but the only people who care about writing process are writers and, well, I don’t think most of them really mean it.

That might just be me.

I could talk about how my life has changed since TCW came out.  I suppose that would be the most honest and interesting direction to head.

As you probably know, I’m no longer a Wiccan.  I’m not even sure how Pagan I am, but it has nothing to do with any inadequacies inherent in the traditions.  I’d love to say I converted to another religion and left Wicca behind, because that would mean I went somewhere, and I could point to specific reasons or incidents that led me away; instead, I was blown off course by a series of storms that sent me farther and farther off my heading, sometimes crashing into a reef and sometimes just drifting in the doldrums, and by the time I corrected my course enough to remember where I was going, I no longer understood why I was making the journey.

I still don’t know.

I am, and remain, immensely proud of the book.  For one thing, it’s awesome.  (How many books on spirituality use the phrase “humping women’s legs like a crack-addled Schnauzer?”) For another, at the time it was written, there were very few books like it on the market.  Wicca was big business in the 90s and Aughts; the shelves of every bookstore ran over with cookie cutter books with the same ten or twelve chapters (actually there were usually thirteen) that went to the same depth with the same subjects.  Elemental correspondences, holidays, moons, the history of Wicca (ranging from feasible to laughable), a chapter or so of rituals, a bunch of spells, and stuck in there somewhere, a chapter on Deity.

TCW was not like that.  I’m still amazed at my own temerity, but 26 is a ballsy age (Yep, 26. Actually I started writing it when I was 24).  I wanted to be part of the future of my religion, which I viewed as young and dynamic and unique – the very lack of provable history so many authors were flailing over excited me.  How many people can say they were part of the beginning of a religion?  You know, without being stoned to death in the streets?

There are a number of things I would change were I to write it now:  I would update some of the theological terminology (the word “panentheism” had barely entered common discourse then).  I would dial back the anti-magic stance, as my understanding of the Craft itself changed over the years.  But mostly what I shake my head over is the anti-Christian tongue waggling; I was merely trying to draw comparisons, but there are a lot of ways to do that without sounding like an immature jackass.

We all go through it, of course; after a breakup we put distance between ourselves and the ex usually with a good deal of bile, but over time as we grow we remember there was a reason we got involved with ol’ Flaccido Domingo in the first place, and some of those negative memories begin to lose their venomous edge, allowing us to remember and cherish the good.  It is unfortunate how many of my coreligionists never grew out of that first stage; it’s difficult to be taken seriously on the world religious stage if your answer to every criticism is “Yeah, well, Christianity sucks!  Nyah nyah nyah!”

But I digress.

I remember the first time I saw TCW in the wild:  it was release day, and my BFF and her then-SO went with me to Borders to see if they had it.  There it was, sitting on a table in the very front of the store.

I had to sit down.

There really aren’t words for how it felt; no matter how many books you publish, only one will be the first one.  There’s actually a better feeling, I have discovered – being offered a two-book contract for your first novels, given writing novels is the only thing you’ve ever truly wanted to do with your life – but very few moments of my life have ever managed to cram so much awe, gratitude, and joy into my body at once that I couldn’t even remain upright.  I’m not sure what it would take to make me feel that way again, but I live in hope that I will one day, if only for a moment.

In fact I would like to invite the universe to take me up on that, or possibly better.  There’s cupcakes in it for you, universe.  Fluffy happy cupcakes delivered by unicorns and made with the finest free-range double rainbows.

With sprinkles.

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Now Available: The Agency, Volume 3

Yep, it’s time for another one – the third volume in my way-back-when series, The Agency, is now available for download in the Amazon Kindle Store for only $4.99, or as a pdf download below.

agency cover 3

“The third volume of Dianne Sylvan’s Agency series features three stories – The Fires of Beltaine, Last Dance, and Altitude.

Now that Sara Larson is a full-fledged Shadow Agent, she expects to find herself in dangerous and weird situations galore, but things in the Agency are about to go from weird to epically strange as her lover and friend Rowan discovers his true identity. Meanwhile Jason, the lead Agent and Rowan’s partner, makes what is either a horrible mistake or a miracle, and brings someone new into everyone’s lives…a creature even stranger than Elves and vampires…a creature with wings.

But something even bigger is coming for Sara. Even with all of the paranormal and dangerous adventures she has had, there’s one adventure she never expected to go on, a fate she never wanted…and the choices she makes in the face of that fate will change everything…for everyone.”

As usual, expect a good bit of adult content in this book.  The first story’s centered around Beltaine, after all.

The Agency, Volume 3 pdf – $4.99 USD

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Now Available: The Agency, Volume 2

That’s right! You can now purchase the second collection of stories from my Agency series.  Click on the image to buy it for your Kindle, or scroll down to the “add to cart” button to get the .pdf.

agency cover 2

The second collection of Dianne Sylvan’s urban fantasy series, The Agency, rejoins young Witch Sara Larson as she continues her training to become a federal paranormal investigator through love, loss, and quite a lot of bullets.

Volume 2 picks up shortly after the events of “Pentecost,” following the courtship of Shadow Agents 5 and 7 – Rowan, an Elven healer; and Jason, lead Agent of the Texas branch, vampire, and violinist. Their romance weaves in and out of Sara’s life and the fate of everyone in the Agency as a new and dangerous enemy arises…Rowan’s own people.

Just to avoid any surprises, Volume 2 has several stories that are rather adult in nature; all of the collections will have some rather sexy stuff, but Volume 2 gets the ball rolling, so to speak, right away.

This collection contains two short pieces that had disappeared from the website back before I took it down:  “Umbrella” and “Anywhere He Wants.”  Some longtime readers will have seen them and some won’t have.  I’m working on all new stuff for subsequent volumes, but this one was already so long I didn’t want to make it even more unwieldy.

Download the .pdf of Volume 2 here:

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Some of my longtime readers may remember that several years ago, before the Shadow World novels came out, I had another fiction series over on LiveJournal called The Agency.  It was made up of short stories and novellas, and took place in an entirely different version of Austin than the Shadow World books.

I had them available here for a while, but the series was never finished, and finally I took them down so I could decide what to do with them.  I loved the stories – I loved the characters, the world I’d built for them to run around in – but since they were written at around the same time as Queen of Shadows, there were quite a few small similarities to the Shadow World characters and situations, and in order to try and publish them traditionally I would have had to substantially rewrite a lot of it.  I hated to do that, though.  I loved them just as they were, even with all of those similarities.  So I debated with myself long and hard over what to do with them.

Well, I finally decided.

Now available from Amazon.com’s Kindle Store as well as here:  The Agency, Volume 1.

Volume 1Sara Larson is a pretty average Witch until her coven starts killing people. She runs far and fast to Austin, where she thinks she’ll be safe, but even a new life can’t protect her from the past–and before she knows it, armed men storm her apartment and she is hauled in for interrogation by a strange young man in a long black coat…a young man who doesn’t seem to have a reflection.

Established as an independent sister organization to the FBI, the Shadow Agency fights the kind of crime normal law enforcement can’t: demon-summoning sorcerers, dealers in illegal magical artifacts, even drug lords selling the kind of Ecstasy that could bring on the Apocalypse.

Sara finds herself thrown into the Agency’s administrative department, but that’s only the beginning for the Witch, whose career trajectory and sex life both spin wildly away from the mundane as soon as she sets foot in the Agency’s base of operations.

In this collection of short stories that first appeared on her website in 2008, Dianne Sylvan introduces Austin’s occult law enforcement: Jason Adams, lead Agent, vampire, and violinist; his snarky twin sister Beck, who goes through more bullets than blood; Rowan, an Elf who was once a sacred prostitute, now scarred inside and out from years of slavery; Ness, the human leader of the Texas branch of the Agency; Frog, a brilliant researcher working to combine science and sorcery; Sage, a Witch and baker whose cupcakes are to die for; and of course Sara herself, who will turn all of their lives upside down as she learns how to use her psychic abilities and discovers the depth of her own strength.

There will be at least two more volumes in the series, and that means yes, the series will be finished – I plan to get on it as soon as I’m done writing Shadow World book 5.

You can either purchase Volume 1 for your Kindle through Amazon (click on the image to head over there) or you can download a pdf of the book here just like my other e-books.  Click the buttons below to purchase the pdf.

Enjoy!  I don’t have an exact date for Volume 2 yet, but as soon as I do I’ll let you know.

The Agency, Volume 1 pdf – $4.99 USD

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Introducing a New E-Book!

I’m quite pleased to unveil a little project I’ve been working on:

A Holy Instrument of Joy: 14 Days of Ecstatic Dance

If you’ve ever wanted to try meditative movement but didn’t know where to start, this e-book is for you.  A two-week program using daily prompts, each with music suggestions and inspirational notes – click on the link or the book cover above to find out more and download the book!

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