The time is finally here. Yes, I am officially wrapped and tangled in the midst of our Malveaux gang's next phase: Dark Galaxy: Breeding Villains. I can see everything so clearly--which has never happened to me before like this with a book. From the plot to the dialogue to the aesthetics of trilogy. I'm even molding the bricks--as they say--for the third book as I write the second.
And you will all get to feast your eyes on this in February, as well as the cover and synopsis reveal in January.
About time, right?
I know. But these things take time, especially within fantasy. There are so many layers to set up. I want to make sure each one stands strong and is more than satisfactory. Each character goes through their own demons and fight in a way--which made it even more important for me to have them damn ducks in a row.
Some of the things that have helped me zero back into the mood for Book 2 have been songs by dynamic women in music.
I'm talkin' Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and Fiona Apple.
"Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac was written by Stevie Nicks after reading a book she picked up in an airport. One of the characters wore the name of Rhiannon and she thought it sounded cool and other-wordly and inspired her to write up the poetic and bewitching lyrics we know and love today.
The beauty in the mythology of this song is that the lyrics match up with the actual legend of the Goddess Rhiannon. Upon creating the song, Stevie held no knowledge of legend. And so, once she learned of it, she felt the song become all the more mystical and divine in a way. Like Rhiannon spoke to her.
I believe she did.
Every piece of this classic song seems tailored for the tale. The melody. The harmonies. The tempo. The chosen instruments. The runs in notes. The lyrics. Oh, the lyrics.
I found myself in a funk, lost in negative thoughts in the middle of one of the worst snow storms I've ever seen. I know that doesn't mean much since I'm a California girl. But the weather of winter has really gotten to me. On days like this, I usually let classic rock circle on my record player. I returned to this remedy and gave Fleetwood Mac a chance to reconnect with me as I write.
I was on the verge of tears. Overflowing with the emotions of a character I've spent 15 years creating and polishing. She felt very real to me in that moment, and right then and there, in that moment, I knew exactly where to take Alexia for the next two books. The song of her heart is so multi-dimensional and complex and in a way, really, only "Rhiannon" can encompass what you will all come to see soon.
Oddly enough, just like Stevie saw her "Rhiannon" match up with the old legend's themes, I see a connection in line with it. All by happenstance, of course.
Lessons of the Goddess RhiannonThe story of Rhiannon reminds us of the great power of female will and determination. It speaks of loving loyalty, clever planning, and dignity in adverse circumstances.
It also gives us a glimpse of how women took command in history. In spite of men 'being in charge', it was possible for women to get their way and to manage money and resources in their own right.
Rhiannon is, above all else, a goddess of sovereignty. She has a voice and is unafraid to speak her truth.
Hers is a teaching tale for women who have yet to grow into their full potential because they have not found and developed a healthy self-respect and assertiveness. We know (or are) women who find it hard to express our own needs for fear we might be seen as 'uncaring' or 'too demanding'.
Take, for example, the people-pleaser who is worn out by always meeting the needs of others but never meeting her own. The goddess Rhiannon encourages her to say, "Sorry, but I just can't take on another project right now" without feeling the least bit guilty about it.
And perhaps the myths of Rhiannon are also, in part, a cautionary tale for those of us who find it natural or easy to walk comfortably in the corridors of 'male power' . . . a message of the value of sisterhood and the need for a sustaining connection to any underdeveloped or rejected parts of our selves, no matter how 'feminine' they might seem.
Above all else, Rhiannon stands for loving loyalty. She is a goddess who remains steadfast, comforting us in times of crisis and of loss.
I've included a video of Fleetwood Mac performing "Rhiannon". It's hands down my favorite version of their live set--even though they had to play the rhythm faster for the live show they were recording for. Lindsey Buckingham's solo is sick and his ability to play guitar the way he does with simply his fingers is mind blowing. Mick Fleetwood's face of approval and pride while drumming is so inspiring--he knew they were in the middle of one of their greatest performances.
And Stevie, the spirit she contains and then releases toward the end of the song. My goodness. Mick Fleetwood used to refer to her energy while performing the song as an "impassioned exorcism". There's a reason why she's a legend and also a queen of rock n' roll.
If you didn't know before, you will now.
Hope you enjoy it.
Maybe you can read into the lyrics a bit and see why I connect them to Alexia.