Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Bear at the Door

Bear Paw by Alison Bruce
For years I had a recurring dream about a bear chasing me. I'd escape into a cabin, then have to hold it off by leaning against the door. In a variation on the theme, I'd go to the door and find a bear there and have to lock the door before it got in.

Being deeply interested in symbolism, I looked up the bear in dreams. One source said, if you dream of a bear trying to break into your house, you feel like you're under attack. (D'uh!)

Later I found out that "A young woman who dreams of a bear will have a threatening rival or some misfortune." (10,000 Dream Interpretations, by Gustavus Hindman Miller) Does that mean that I stopped having the dream because bears only visit young women?

When my cousin Lesley gave me a beaded necklace with a bear claw design, I felt the need to jog my memory about bear symbolism. 

In every nature-based culture that I have come across, the bear is a symbol of strength, protection and fierceness. In Norse mythology, the bear was an aspect of Odin. The Norse and Celts saw the bear as a warrior and wore bear skins into battle. In Greek mythology, bears are associated with Artemis, the Huntress.

In Native American traditions, the bear is a symbol of leadership and power. The she-bear is both a healer and a hunter; protector and warrior. Perhaps all those bear dreams were my spirit guide trying to get my attention.

I went back and looked at dream meanings again.

"In a positive sense a bear represents an inner force of power and strength ready to be used. For instance, dreaming of a bear could mean that your dormant powers are being gathered in preparation. And when you need to act, you can be amazed by the forces you have at your disposal." (Dream-Land, http://www.dream-land.info)

That fits with how my life has been unfolding. I have a bad habit of underestimating myself so, when the time comes to act, I often amaze myself. Whether it's defending myself from would-be rapists or enduring the slings and arrows that life deals out, the bear within has been there for me. Next time she shows up at my dream door, I'll let her in.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's in a name?

By Any Other Name

An author friend of mine has recently had a hard blow dealt her. A prominent romance author has just released a book with her next book’s title. What does she do? How important is it to be unique?

Deadly Legacy started off as just Legacy. Not only were there other books by that title, but one of them was being released by my publisher. No surprise to me. Catherine Astolfo, author of Legacy (An Emily Taylor Mystery) and I bonded over our mutual title. Recently, I checked and found over 2,000 results on the name legacy - which would have included both Cathy's and my books.

You want to stand apart, but doing it on name alone ain’t gonna happen.

I grew up never knowing another Alison, let alone another Alison Bruce. Now I can think of half a dozen without trying. Thanks to social media, a few of us have been mistaken for each other and, as a result, reached out and connected. There’s an Alison Bruce who is a journalist and writing teacher in Toronto, another who is a librarian in Scotland, and a student in California. That doesn’t even include the Australian actress and American physicist who I haven’t communicated with yet.

Then there’s Alison Bruce, author of the DC Goodhew novels. We crossed paths when someone contacted me about her agent. It was particularly confusing because I had also contacted that agency and hadn’t heard back from them. We started exchanging emails and discovered that we both live within 18 km of Cambridge (England for her, Ontario for me), have two kids, and write mysteries.

I am sure that at least a few people in the UK have checked out Deadly Legacy because they thought it might be a book in her series. I know that several people in Canada and the US have checked out her books because they thought I was the author. 

I’ve got the email queries to prove it.

“Did you know...?”

“Yes I did,” I’d answer and share the story of how we “met”.

What’s in a name? Maybe a few more book sales. Definitely a few new friends.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July is Reader Appreciation Month

What's on your bookshelf... besides dust?

I admit, there's a lot of dust on my shelves. Partly it's because I'm a lousy housekeeper. Mostly it's because when I get near my bookshelves, I more likely to start reading than cleaning.

I grew up in a family that loved to read. In the basement, I have a small library (by Carnegie standards) of paperbacks I've collected or inherited from my parents.

There's a bookshelf in the living room for "coffee table books" and photo albums. (The coffee table collapsed under the weight of books - and  my son - some time ago.)

My office is over-flowing. One bookshelf is devoted to reference material. My desk is lined up with dictionaries and the like. Another crate and board unit has over-sized books, graphic novels and my old manuscripts.

Then there's bookshelves in my bedroom which contain my old friends - and some new ones - including my own books. Under A Texas Star leans against a stack of Georgette Heyer historicals. Behind Deadly Legacy is my Terry Pratchett Discworld collection.

What's on your bookshelf? If there's an Imajin Book there (or on your Kindle) you could win an Amazon gift certificate. 

'Ultimate Reader' contest - show us your Imajin Books! Post photos on our Facebook page of you reading one of our titles (book cover must be legible) or a photo of one of our titles on your ereader. 5 prizes of $20 Amazon or Kobo gift cards; plus "ultimate reader" prize of a $100 Amazon or Kobo gift card. Contest open from July 1-31. Photos will be judged by Imajin Books authors. Prizes to be awarded the first week of August. Open worldwide. Void where prohibited by law.