Join Prism Book Alliance® as CJane Elliott goes Outside the Margins today.
Well, it’s 2:40 a.m. and I have insomnia. I’m depleted. I’ve finished a work week from hell which has been part of a work month from hell which has followed several other work months from hell. I actually love my day job but it is draining even when it’s normal, and the last several months have been anything but normal.
So it’s the middle of the night and I’m depleted and trying to figure out what to write for my Outside the Margins post this month. What can I dredge up from my dry and dusty well?
I haven’t been writing anything new. For me, writing is connected to an underground spring of creativity. I draw on it without even knowing what’s going to arise. But the current has dried up, and my muse tends to run away when she’s thirsty and neglected. This muse of mine is kind of shy and gets easily spooked. She needs a place to play and I’m having a hard time these days finding the place where she feels safe.
It’s the world and all the crap that happens every day to destroy beauty and goodness and decency. It’s having to work fulltime in order to live and send our son through college, and ending each day drained. It’s getting older and losing my father, losing my son’s childhood, losing the mother I used to have even though she’s still alive. So much loss, every single day.
One of my favorite astrologers is Rob Breszny. This week’s horoscope seems fitting to what it going on with me:
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): “How prompt we are to satisfy the hunger
and thirst of our bodies; how slow to satisfy the hunger and thirst of our
souls!” Henry David Thoreau wrote that, and now I’m passing it on to you
just in time for a special phase of your long-term cycle. During this
upcoming interlude, your main duty is to FEED YOUR SOUL in every way
you can imagine. So please stuff it with unpredictable beauty and
reverent emotions. Cram it with mysterious adventures and rambling treks
in the frontier. Gorge it with intimate unpredictability and playful love and
fierce devotions in behalf of your most crucial dreams. Warning: You will
not be able to rely solely on the soul food that has sustained you in the
past. Be eager to discover new forms of nourishment.
New forms of nourishment. My muse needs sustenance or she’s not going to put out.
The excerpt below is from my short story, Stepping Through, that came out of a similar dry period in my life and my writing. I took a week off and went to stay with a friend in LA, and my muse perked up. I found myself writing an urban fantasy, which is not my usual genre. This story remains precious to me. The beauty of Paul Richmond’s cover art blew me away. It captures the story’s essence perfectly.
Have a good month and here’s to soul-nourishment for all of us!
Title: Stepping Through
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: 08/20/2014
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cameron Wheeler’s life is all mapped out: he’ll finish business school, return home to Vermont, get a job, and marry his high-school girlfriend. He’s packed away what he really wants—a career as a musician—because he knows it’s never going to happen. But Cameron’s well-planned life is turned upside down when he walks into a musty jewelry shop in LA and meets the mysterious Apollo, who tells him to “follow his soul, not his past.” Apollo’s magical presence spurs Cameron to discover and follow his true path, in life and in love.
Cameron grabbed the ornate handle and pushed open the door to a jewelry shop that someone had told him about last week. He paused as the door shut softly behind him with a tinkling sound, feeling like he’d just stepped into a different world. The shop was tiny—dark and cool after the brightness of the LA sunshine. Gauzy curtains floated from ceiling to floor, diaphanous blues and purples shot through with silver glints. Jewelry-laden display counters ran the length of each wall, while at the back stood a service counter with an old-fashioned cash register. The stillness of the place was complete. No one appeared to be there, either customer or employee.
Cameron ventured farther in to look at the jewelry in the display cases. Intricately carved and fantastical pieces gleamed, even in the dim light—rings, necklaces, earrings, and pins made with peacock feathers, beads, silver, precious gems of purple and dark blue. Stars, skulls, and mermaids lay scattered alongside more abstract shapes—curved, sensuous, and mysterious. Cameron was staring at a striking enameled and jeweled brooch of a fish when a soft, musical voice spoke behind him.
“May I help you?”
When Cameron turned, he forgot to speak. Standing there was a man—a beautiful creature, whispered a voice in Cameron’s head. He didn’t quite look of this world. He was tall with dark hair swept off his face, its highlights of turquoise and green reminding Cameron of the peacock feathers he’d been looking at earlier. Dressed all in black, he was adorned with silver earrings, necklace, and rings, and his eyes were lined with purple. And what amazing eyes they were: sea green, ocean gray, ancient, wise, and warmly regarding Cameron as if the man knew him well. His generous mouth curved in a small smile. He looked to Cameron like some fantastic nobleman from the eighteenth century.
After staring at the man far longer than was considered polite, Cameron cleared his throat. “Yeah, hi. I’m looking for some rings and was told to come here.”
The man continued to watch Cameron with those unusually compelling eyes. “Told? By whom?”
Cameron hesitated, remembering the stranger he’d met in a music club last week after another frustrating day of business school.
“Uh, I don’t know his name. Some guy I met in a club, and when I told him I needed ideas for wedding rings, he said to come here.”
That guy had been kind of unusual looking too, come to think of it. Nowhere near as exotic as this man, but there had been something different about his pixie-ish appearance and the jeweled pin he’d worn on his lapel.
“Ah. Very good, then.” The man smiled, and Cameron felt his fingertips tingle as warmth and a strange sense of relief filled him. “Come with me.” He turned and walked toward the back of the shop while Cameron trailed behind him. At the service counter, the man indicated a stool and went around to the other side. “Sit and let’s talk. I’m Apollo, by the way.”
Apollo? Oh, well, it’s LA. “Cameron.”
“Nice to meet you, Cameron.” Apollo extended his hand. Cameron took it, then gasped as an inchoate longing surged through him; vague images of sunsets and ocean waves drifted by, accompanied by the whisper of a melody, the taste of deep, slow kisses, and such a sense of wholeness and peace that Cameron wanted to cry. He pulled his hand hastily out of Apollo’s.
About CJane Elliott
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
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