Sneak Preview: Tilly Greenway series Book Two – The Hidden Hand

We apologise for the delay in publishing book two of this series. Unfortunately the book was delayed due to illness and move of residence on the author’s part.

The book is ready. We are waiting for a funding grant decision and while we hoped this would be in place for December, unfortunately it is not and the book cannot be released in advance of this decision.

Tilly as you know is a beautiful production and so is time and cost intensive. However we feel it is worth the wait.

We are really sorry for the inconvenience caused by this further delay but the author has promised that Book 3 will follow very quickly as he is working on both at the same time.

Thank you for your patience.

Release date….

TBA

Cover illustration: The Rowan Tree by Laura Tolton

Danger grows. Disorder rules…

As the mysterious tree on Glastonbury Tor exerts its powerful effects on the world, it buys time for Tilly and Zack to disappear.

Back in the world of power and politics, the layers of hidden history begin to unpeel and the most powerful and dangerous force of all begins to reveal itself.

Meanwhile, Tilly and Zack are on the move. They are working fast to uncover the second key. But what they have to learn in order to succeed, might just be as dangerous as failing…

If you haven’t read Watchers – Book One in the Tilly Greenway series – yet then there’s still time to catch up before this exciting sequel is released in 2015!

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Cover Art: The cover image is from a painting called The Rowan Tree by Laura Tolton. The see more of Laura’s art visit her site at laurajanetolton.wordpress.com
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Available for Pre-order from Amazon

amazon.co.uk      amazon.com

Bookshops can order via Central Books London Ltd    

www.centralbooks.com

Orders can also be placed via Gardners and Bertrams.


Book Signings – Cork, Ireland

Organico Cafe, Bantry, Co Cork

Organico Cafe – Serving delicious (mainly vegetarian) organic food.  Fair trade coffees and tasty cakes…

During the West Cork Literary Festival and at certain times during the summer, both Essi Tolling and J.M. Hurley will be doing pop-up lunch time book signings at the lovely Organico Cafe in Bantry.

 

 

 

 

Whyte Books, Schull, Co Cork

On July 19th Essi Tolling will be doing a reading and book signing at Whyte Books in Schull. He may even read a short extract from the forthcoming Book Two – The Hidden Hand!

Whyte Books is an oasis of calm and beauty for book lovers. A trip to Schull is worth the effort. You can see the seals that hang around the harbour hoping that you’ll give them a nice fresh fish or eat french crepes in the creperie, (where they also do gluten free crepes!) or just enjoy the ambiance of this lovely seaside town.

Waterstone’s, Cork

Waterstone’s Cork
Click this pic for a map

On August 9th, Essi Tolling will be in Waterstone’s, Patrick Street, Cork signing copies of Watchers and generally interacting and chatting with customers. Come and say hello!

What’s the s-TOR-y? A scene from Watchers appears in the Olympics Opening Ceremony!

One of the key scenes of the rural England centerpiece of Danny Boyle’s 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony is said to be that of Glastonbury Tor with a tree emerging where the iconic tower now stands.

Glastonbury Tor is a well-known landmark of the British countryside, a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of years. But the Tor is famous not just for the hill itself, but for the striking silhouette of St. Michael’s Tower on its peak. This is the image that everyone is familiar with. The Olympic Opening Ceremony, however, apparently will feature the Tor with the tower replaced by a fully-grown tree: an image that has never been seen before, or has it?

Actually, a magical tree emerging on Glastonbury Tor is exactly the key closing scene of the 2011 young adult fantasy novel Watchers by Essi Tolling.

According to this report in the Daily Mail:

The set will include a recreation of the Glastonbury Thor [sic] and an enormous fake tree, which will appear in the first scene, entitled ‘green and pleasant land’

Illustration from Watchers – Glastonbury Tor by Meraylah Allwood

In addition, the book opens with London in the grip of an emergency evacuation brought on by a fake flood warning made believable by heavy downpours coming from man-made rain clouds!

Also according to the Daily Mail: “Boyle, who directed the multi-Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, said the aim of the ceremony was to create ‘a picture of ourselves as a nation’, and to ensure it is authentic there will even be giant fake clouds which will pour with rain.”  Read more

Like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, Watchers blends fact with fiction and uncovers dark secrets and hidden histories that have huge contemporary relevance. The magical history of the British countryside features prominently in the story.

Without giving too much away for those of you who have not yet read the book, here is the paragraph that describes the event:

“Up thrust the tree in a mass of flickering silver and grey. At first its slender trunk grew inside the walls of the tower, but as it got taller its branches pushed outwards, cracking the tower to pieces. The top stones fell first, cascading away down the Tor. Then the rest gave way until even the foundation stones, deep-set and strong, fractured and crumbled to dust.

“In an instant the tower had gone and there in its place stood a majestic tree.” (Watchers p. 528)

Tolling would not be drawn further on the significance of the tree’s appearance on the famous landmark. “I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the thousands of readers who are buying the book, but it’s fair to say that the scene where a tree grows on the Tor is pivotal to the plot, not just for book one but for the whole series.”

Maybe Danny Boyle or someone working with him read Watchers and was inspired by elements of the story or perhaps it’s just a case of wonderful synchronicity. In either case we are delighted, as it affirms that the great response we are getting from readers may be in part because the book is capturing a new and emerging zeitgeist; one which is leaning towards beauty, nature and the desire for unity in the face of world policies that seem hell bent on destruction, control and decay.

Essi Tolling comments: “To say it is Glastonbury Tor and then replace the tower with a tree is interesting to say the least.  Why not use just a regular hill and tree surrounded by England’s green and pleasant fields? Maybe Danny Boyle is tapping in to a deeper mystery; the same mystery that inspired me to take up the pen in an effort to expose hidden truths? I would be fascinated to find out!”

Watchers, the first book in the Tilly Greenway and the Secrets of the Ancient Keys series, was published in 2011 and is available in most Waterstone’s bookstores and from amazon, as well as from several outlets in Glastonbury and Avebury. Book two The Hidden Hand will be released in spring 2013.

Essi Tolling: Book Signings & Store Visits 2012 UPDATED

May 27th Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway  11am, – 3pm

June 2nd Waterstone’s Southampton (West Quay)  11am – 3pm

June 9th Waterstone’s  Swindon  11am – 2pm

August 18th Waterstone’s Wells   11am – 3pm

August 25th Waterstone’s Camberley   11am – 3pm

Sept 1st  Waterstone’s Haywards Heath 11am-3pm

October 6th  Waterstone’s  Swansea 11am-3pm

October 20th Waterstone’s Salisbury 11am -3pm

October 27th Waterstone’s Woking 11am – 3pm

November 3rd Waterstones Trowbridge   11am – 3pm

November 10th Waterstone’s Bristol Galleries 11am – 3pm

And now for something completely different… One Good Turn by Emma Newman

A warm welcome to the lovely Emma Newman who is guest posting a story here this week from her very innovative Spilt Worlds project. From Tuesday November 1st 2011 to Thursday November 1st 2012 a new story set in the Split Worlds is posted on a different blog/website every week, and leads up to the launch of ‘The Split Worlds: Between Two Thorns’ on November 1st 2012.

Emma is the author of 20 Years Later, a dystopian YA novel and describes The Split Worlds, her current work in progress, as an urban fantasy setting with gritty noir, fantastical magic, evil faeries and people just trying to drink their tea in peace!

The idea of a story slowly building its own new world by popping up on various websites all around the web-world struck us a pretty ingenious so we are delighted that a little part is bubbling up today on Katy Press. So without further ado…..Here’s Emma…

 

This is the twenty-third tale in a year and a day of weekly short stories set in The Split Worlds. If you would like me to read it to you instead, you can listen here You can find links to all the other stories, and the new ones as they are released here.


One Good Turn

She saw him from a café across the street as she finished her coffee. White faced, eyes squeezed shut, his arms were wrapped around a lamp post. He was dressed in loose dark trousers and a quilted wine-coloured jacket like one from the awful period dramas her mother watched. Ten people walked past him, eyes fixed ahead in true London style. “Heartless gits,” she sighed and grabbed her bag.

By the time she got across the road he was still clinging to the lamp post like it was a ship’s mast in a storm. The afternoon sun was warm, but not enough to make him sweat so much, and his breath came in short, rapid gasps. He looked about forty, with only a few grey hairs scattered amongst the dark brown.

“Hello,” she touched his arm gently. “Are you alright?”

One eye opened, the other still squeezed shut. It was a pleasant, unusual green and very bloodshot.

“No,” he whispered. “Everything’s changed.”

She looked around. “What do you mean?”

“All of those… things…” He looked at the road. “I just wanted to see the blue sky, that’s all, but it’s too much. Nothing makes sense.”

“My name’s Amber, what’s yours?”

“Archibald. Archie.” He took a couple of deep breaths and held out a hand. She offered hers, but instead of shaking it he pressed his lips to the back of her hand. She tried to ignore the dampness left by his upper lip. “How do you do?”

She discreetly wiped her hand on the back of her dress. “Archie, would you like me to help you?”

“Yes please,” he replied. “I feel quite unwell. I’m so frightfully embarrassed.”

“Okay. You need to let go of the lamp post.”

“Yes, of course.” He eventually unwrapped his arms, keeping his back to the road. “May I take your arm? I… I’m not…”

“That’s fine,” she smiled. “My Mum gets these attacks, I know how scary they can be. Have you found it hard to breathe?” He nodded. “I’ll take you to the hospital, it’s very close.”

“I’m not certain that’s a good idea, I’ll be missed soon and they’ll come looking for me.”

“Who?”

He swallowed with an audible gulp. “My family.” A discarded drinks can clattered along the road, pushed by the breeze. He gasped, horrified. “They’re already trying to find me! I just wanted some time in the meadow, but it’s not here anymore!”

“Meadow? This is London, you need to go about ten miles that way to get to a field. And it’s alright,” Amber slipped her arm around his and held it in the crook of her elbow. “That can’s just a bit of rubbish, it doesn’t mean anything.”

He looked at the pavement around them with frantic eyes, then calmed. “I do beg your pardon.” He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed it over his face, holding her arm tight. “You’re most kind. I’m terribly sorry to be a burden.”

He allowed himself to be guided. Amber thought of the last time her mother had a severe attack in the lingerie section of a huge department store. She couldn’t remember which one, only the fact that there were no windows and the layout made it impossible to see the exit easily. She’d had to steer her wheezing mother to the escalator, all the staff and other customers watching dumbly. The memory still made her teeth grind.

Archie clung to her arm very tightly, he twitched at every piece of litter that moved near them, but other than that he was easier to manoeuvre. They were at the hospital in less than five minutes, he said nothing as she guided him to the waiting area and left him to speak to the triage nurse.

“Ask him to fill in this form,” the nurse said once Amber had explained the circumstances.

She took it over to Archie who was gripping the sides of his chair. “It smells so strange here.”

“All hospitals do,” Amber said, sitting next to him. “We need to fill this form out, then they’ll check you over but there’s quite a wait. Do you want me to help you fill it in?”

When he didn’t answer she looked up from the form to see him staring at a pen rolling towards him. “I don’t want to go back,” he said, tears forming. “It’s so grey there. And empty. No green, no blue, nothing but mist. I can’t bear it any longer.”

A nurse picked up the pen and hurried on. “Archie,” Amber said, resting a hand on his shoulder. “It’s going to be okay. Really. It feels horrible now, but it’ll pass, I promise.”

“How do you know?”

“My Mum suffers from depression. She said when it’s at its worst, it’s like there aren’t any colours anymore. She said life turns into a black and white film that she watches and can’t take part in. And she gets panic attacks too. They pass. You’ll feel better soon.”

“I doubt it. I’m too tired and too old to care about anything anymore.”

She raised an eyebrow. “You’re… what, forty years old? You’re handsome. You’ve got strange taste in clothes, but that’s nothing to panic about.”

She hoped it would make him smile but he shook his head. “I’m over three hundred and fifty years old. And I’m very tired.”

Amber snorted, thinking he was trying to tell a joke but he looked serious. He wasn’t just depressed, he was a complete loon.

Another pen was rolling towards them, then she saw another and a pencil, a dusty ball of scrunched up paper and a lone earring, all heading for Archie. He saw them too and grasped her hands tight. “Thank you for your kindness. Promise me that on every sunny day you’ll go outside and enjoy the sky?”

“I promise,” she said, not meaning it, but wanting to soothe him.

“Archie!”

They both looked at the entrance to see a man dressed like he was about to go to a wedding heading straight towards them.

“Damnable seeker charms,” Archie muttered and let go of Amber’s hands. “I won’t forget you. And I won’t tell my family about you either. It’s for the best.”

Amber watched him leave then took the untouched form back to the desk. By the time she went outside Archie and the man who’d collected him had gone.

She looked up at the blue sky, watched a rabbit-shaped cloud morph into a dragon and then got her phone out, dialling the number from memory. “Hi Mum, it’s me. Just wondering how you are.”

Thanks for hosting Katy Press!

I hope you enjoyed the story. If you would like to find out more about the Split Worlds project, it’s all here: www.splitworlds.com – you can also sign up to get an extra story and get each new story delivered to your inbox every week. If you would like to host a story over the coming year, either let me know in the comments or contact me through the Split Worlds site. Em x

 

 

 

 

A big thank you to Waterstone’s!

Our author Essi Tolling has been having fun these past few weeks visiting branches of Waterstones.

It’s a real pleasure to spend time in these lovely stores and we cannot compliment the staff at Waterstone’s highly enough. What a warm, welcoming and book loving team they are! It’s so refreshing to meet people who so obviously love what they do and who display such a knowledgeable and keen interest in all the books they stock.

Thank you also to the lovely Sarah Tippelt from Waterstone’s Dorking, who unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of on the day.

Here are a few more photos from our latest signings:

Essi Tolling (right) with Simon Monfredi, Waterstone's Cribbs Causeway
Essi Tolling (right) with Bethan England, Waterstone's Abergavenny

 

Essi Tolling (right) with Angela Timmins, Waterstone's Hereford

Essi Tolling: Book Signings & Store Visits 2012

Essi Tolling will be visiting these branches of UK Waterstone’s bookshops.
Come and visit to chat, have books signed or maybe even catch a reading..

March 10th Waterstone’s Dorking 11am-3pm
March 18th Waterstone’s Cribbs Causeway 11am-3pm
March 23rd Waterstone’s Abergavenny 11am -3pm
March 24th Waterstone’s Hereford 11am-3pm
April 14th Waterstone’s Newport 11am-3pm
April 28th Waterstone’s Ipswich 11am-3pm
May 5th  Waterstone’s Plymouth  11am – 3pm
May 12th Waterstone’s Abergavenny  11am – 3pm
May 27th Cribbs Causeway  11am, – 3pm
June 2nd Waterstone’s Southampton   11am – 3pm
June 9th Waterstone’s  Swindon  11am – 2pm
August 18th Waterstone’s Wells   11am – 3pm
August 25th Waterstone’s Camberley   11am – 3pm
Sept 1st  Waterstone’s Haywards Heath 11am-3pm
October 6th  Waterstone’s  Swansea 11am – 3pm
October 20th Waterstone’s Salisbury 11am – 3pm
October 27th Waterstone’s Woking 11am – 3pm
November 3rd Waterstones Trowbridge   11am – 3pm
November 10th Waterstone’s Bristol 11am – 3pm

 

We will update this list as and when additional dates are confirmed…

Self Publishing Success Stories…And the Future of Publishing…

Self-publishing has never been easier. Now that e-reader platforms, such as Kindle, have grown in popularity, publishers and writers alike have a whole new way of reaching audiences and testing their ideas before having to commit to costly print runs.

But self-publishing has always been an option for talented authors. Look at this list of very famous writers who began by believing in their own work enough to go to print without the support of a mainstream publisher:

Alexander Pope
Alexandre Dumas
Anaïs Nin
Beatrix Potter
Betty J. Eadie – Embraced by the Light
Carl Sandburg
Christopher Paolini – Eragon
E. Lynn Harris
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Ernest Hemingway
G. P. Taylor Shadowmancer
George Bernard Shaw,
Helen Exley (now Exley Publications)
Henry David Thoreau
Irma S Rombauer – The Joy of Cooking
Jack Canfield  – Chicken Soup for the Soul
James Joyce – Ulysses
James Redfield   – The Celestine Prophecy
Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way.
Lewis Carroll
Louise Hay  (now Hay House)
Marcel Proust
Mark Twain
Richard Nelson Boles – What Color is Your Parachute?
Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Rudyard Kipling
Sandra Haldeman Martz – When I Am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple,
Roddy Doyle – The Commitments
Shakti Gawain – Creative Visualization
Thomas Hardy
Upton Sinclair
Viggo Mortensen
Virginia Woolf
Walt  Whitman – Leaves of Grass
Wendy and Richard Pini –  Elfquest
Zane Grey

There are many more, but this list alone should be enough to inspire aspiring authors to not only hold the dream but also to take action by working at their craft, to ask for critical feedback and then to get their work out there when they feel it is ready.

Good presentation, editing and spell-checking are vital of course, as is a focused plan. Are you setting out to attract a publisher or to develop as a publisher in your own right?  Many of the authors in the list above went on to be snapped up by large mainstream publishers.  However Louise Hay became Hay House, now a mainstream publisher in the mind-body-spirit genre with a vibrant and active internet radio channel and series of “We Can do It” conferences and seminars.  Or what about Helen Exley whose first little book of inspiring quotes went on to found Exley Publications? Now in business for 28 years, their website states: “We have sold over 47 million giftbooks in 40 languages worldwide.”  Not bad for a lady who had an idea which she developed at her kitchen table!

From wikipedia here is an interesting account of Marcel Proust’s first journey into the printed word:

Volume 1: Du côté de chez Swann (1913) was rejected by a number of publishers, including Fasquelle, Ollendorf, and the Nouvelle Revue Française (NRF). André Gide famously was given the manuscript to read to advise NRF on publication, and leafing through the seemingly endless collection of memories and philosophizing or melancholic episodes, came across a few minor syntactic errors, which made him decide to turn the work down in his audit. Proust eventually arranged with the publisher Grasset to pay the cost of publication himself. When published it was advertised as the first of a three-volume novel (Bouillaguet and Rogers, 316-7).

In early 1914, André Gide, who had been involved in NRF’s rejection of the book, wrote to Proust to apologize and to offer congratulations on the novel. “For several days I have been unable to put your book down…. The rejection of this book will remain the most serious mistake ever made by the NRF and, since I bear the shame of being very much responsible for it, one of the most stinging and remorseful regrets of my life” (Tadié, 611). Gallimard (the publishing arm of NRF) offered to publish the remaining volumes, but Proust chose to stay with Grasset.

Volume 2: À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (1919), scheduled to be published in 1914, was delayed by the onset of World War I. At the same time, Grasset’s firm was closed down when the publisher went into military service. This freed Proust to move to Gallimard, where all the subsequent volumes were published. Meanwhile, the novel kept growing in length and in conception.

In essence, it is for every writer to decide their own route. Self-publishing is rewarding but also very time consuming as now you are not just an author…’Oh, to be able to take off to an ivory tower and create in peace!’ That luxury is no more for the self published author, as to self publish successfully you must become a salesperson, print buyer, publisher, designer, marketing and advertising expert and more. So it is very understandable that often very successful self published authors choose to accept offers from the mainstream publishing houses. They are not selling out, they are being pragmatic and acknowledging that, for them, time to write is being eroded by time to market what is being written.

However, as the self publishing arena becomes even more saturated it may be that the way of doing business in this field also changes.  It may be more effective for groups of authors to pool skills and talents and work together. If a group can share skills and time then it just might become a win-win situation, where everyone gives time to do a little promotion without  having to lose big chunks of valuable writing time.

Also, if literary agents remain as inaccessible as they currently are, they might find that they are pushing themselves out of business altogether. It would seem that more and more, the mainstream publishers are using the indie sales charts to observe the market and pick their new writers from there. It is more economical after all to take a risk on someone with a proven sales record than it is to effectively bet on an agent’s hunch – however good that agent may be. And, as self-published writers become more experienced, they may also prefer to negotiate direct contracts with the mainstream publishers, further cutting out the middlemen. Why pay 10-15% to an agent after all, when you can negotiate for yourself?

Finally look at the statistics. Self published writers and indie publishers (such as ourselves!) are having a pretty successful time in the charts. Most of the serious self published authors we have looked at are pretty happy with their sales figures. Compare that with a comment from one mainstream publisher we have met who said: “The market is terribly tough at the moment…even well established authors’ books aren’t selling right now.”  This is not the experience of the top ranking self published authors who, after all,  if this market trend is correct, shouldn’t be selling at all considering they are not at all well established!

This just shows that somewhere along the way, many mainstream publishers have lost touch with what the ‘man on the street’ wants to buy, while many of the self published brigade and small indie publishers seem to have their collective fingers on the pulse.

We say it’s time for all sides to work together. It’s time to join forces and recognise that the new breed of self published writers may have something to add to the conversation and if the establishment – namely mainstream publishers and literary agents – want to survive, then it may be time they start to listen to what readers want to buy rather than focusing on what they want to sell to them.

Ultimately it is a story telling business. Sometimes the stories are told with a use of language that is poetic, literary and masterful and sometimes the story is just told as a block-busting page-turner that has no pretensions or aspirations to literary greatness. In that respect, it’s not that different to the movie industry, some will become classics some will just achieve good box office sales. It doesn’t matter which and ultimately the reader will decide. As the reader becomes even more e-reader based, it is without doubt that the market forces will move and change and be further shaped by that trend.

But most importantly, it is up to us, the story tellers to fulfill an ancient role, which is to recognize that what society most wants to is to learn and to experience and to heal. We meet our audience’s needs by exploring, questioning and offering solutions to our greatest dilemmas through the power of story. That maybe why the self publishing industry is doing so well, as it seems to be in touch with this need while the mainstream industry seems to have lost touch with it completely.

Here are some more stories from other sources about self-publishing successes…

How I became a best selling author.

Wall Street Journal article reveals the secrets of author Darcie Chan.

December 2011 by keithogorek

In December 2011, the Wall Street Journal ran a cover story in their Friday Journal section about author Darcie Chan and how she became a best selling author. The reason the Journal gave so much space to the story is Darcie had been rejected by 12 publishers and more than 100 literary agents before she self published and sold more than 400,ooo ebooks. Part of her marketing strategy included pricing very aggressively to gain a following. Here’s the link to the full article in the Journal that tells her story.

via How I became a best selling author. Wall Street Journal article reveals the secrets of author Darcie Chan. « The Indie Book Writers Blog | Self Publishing | Get Published | Author Solutions.

Self publishing writer becomes million seller

An entrepreneur has turned the writing world upside down by becoming the first author to sell more than a million electronic books without a publishing deal.

By , and Richard Alleyne

John Locke, 60, who publishes and promotes his own work, enjoys sales figures close to such literary luminaries as Stieg Larsson, James Patterson and Michael Connelly. In the last year John has had four of the top 10 books on Amazon/Kindle at the same time, including number one and two   Read full story Telegraph.co.uk

Self-Publishing Revolution: Man Makes $100,000 in Three Weeks

Self-Publishing on Amazon’s Kindle

“This has now become the best way in the history of mankind for a writer to earn money. It may be one of the greatest ways to ever make money, period.”

It is a great time to be a self-published writer. Joe Konrath, the author of the above quote, should know, he has made $100,000 in three weeks, a record for self-published writers.

At this stage almost everyone knows about Amanda Hocking. But here’s an update on her from the Guardian.co.uk!

Amanda Hocking, the writer who made millions by self-publishing online

A couple of years ago, Amanda Hocking needed to raise a few hundred dollars so, in desperation, made her unpublished novel available on the Kindle. She has since sold over 1.5m books and, in the process, changed publishing forever.

    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 January 2012 20.00 GMT

When historians come to write about the digital transformation currently engulfing the book-publishing world, they will almost certainly refer to Amanda Hocking, writer of paranormal fiction who in the past 18 months has emerged from obscurity to bestselling status entirely under her own self-published steam. What the historians may omit to mention is the crucial role played in her rise by those furry wide-mouthed friends, the Muppets.

Read full story here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/12/amanda-hocking-self-publishing?newsfeed=true

Make 2012 the year where we dare to dream..

From www.dance-with-life.com

 2012 has been surrounded with so many different energies; those who promote it as a year of doom and chaos, those who say it is a new beginning, those who say it is a year much the same as any other.

So which is true? They all are. Because what we imagine things to be is what they can become. How we react to change shapes our ability to influence outcomes and ultimately our life is only ever limited by the limits of our own imagination.

What is it we all want really? I would say it is peace. Peace in our own hearts, peace in our communities and peace on the planet. The problem with peace is that we are very clear on what peace is not, but no one ever really sits down and gives real time to imagine what a peaceful world might actually be like.

As my teacher often says, there are hundreds of paintings of hell (just think of Bosch). Every kind of horror is imagined. It’s gruesome yes, but it’s very varied and generally shows tremendous detail.  However when it comes to heaven what do we get? Generally some fluffy clouds, green fields, angels and cherubs, girls in pretty dresses with flowers in their hair and that’s about it. It all looks a little bit samey and deep down, if people are honest, they are not quite sure that wafting around in fields of flowers or fluffy clouds forever is really going to be that interesting or exciting!

This might sound amusing, but actually, if you look at it, whether we are aware of it or not this is quite an entrenched thought, deep down in many of our psyches. And if our lazily imagined peace is not really what jazzes us then how can we really expect that we can create peace on our planet?

So historically we haven’t been that good at putting effort into imagining peace. And if we don’t imagine something we have little hope of creating it.

Dare to Dream

So my challenge for 2012 is to forget the resolutions about what you are not going to do any more and resolve to do one thing – Dare to dream, dare to imagine a worked out version of peace. It will take effort, because it’s a new territory.

Someone once said that there are no new ideas any more just recycled versions going round and round. That is true. There is very little new on the planet except for this one thing, there are absolutely no worked out imaginings of a peaceful world that also manage to stay interesting, stimulating and rich with innovation and creativity. Just think about it, there are no books, no movies, no songs – it’s a whole new concept that collectively we need to dare to imagine and dream into existence.

So maybe we can make 2012 the year where we really begin to dream a whole new way of being into existence. We can ask ourselves these questions:

What is peace for me in my own life?
What can I do to contribute to peace in my own family and social network?
What would an interesting world of peace look like to me?

Wishing everyone a year filled with love, light, laughter, joy, strength, good health, peace and prosperity and I leave you with a prayer and a song …

A Prayer for 2012 
Guardian Angels of all creatures, 
protect us all; 
teach us to love, 
to pray, 
to respect the world we live in 
and to be kind to every living thing, 
so that one day we may understand 
that all we do now 
will be a part of us forever. 
Angel Prayers & Messages by JM Hurley & Rosie Ismail
(verse from the Prayer to all Guardian Angels for Balance and Peace in the World)