Review of Catch the Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters

FELIX THE FOX MYSTERIES

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One of the joy of being an Indie Author, is discovering the works of fellow indies. These are books you are unlikely to find on the best-seller shelf at your local soulless mega-store. No. These are exceptional works with literary merit, books that will make you feel, expose you to new worlds and make you look at the horizon rather than at your feet.

I’ve previously reviewed Dan Buri’s Pieces Like Pottery. While Catch the Moon, Mary is quote different on the surface – paranormal aspects, angels, focus of music – there is a certain resemblance in the underlying themes of redemption and the astute observations on the human condition. Just goes to show, that a good paranormal fantasy can go far beyond vampires and sword fights.

Here is the full review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s 5 Stars,  if you haven’t guessed:

A unique tale of…

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Let’s Talk About Mental Health

GUEST BLOG – Wendy Waters

Hi all!
This week my guest blogger is Australian author Wendy Waters, whose debut novel Catch The Moon, Mary was published last year.Anyone interested in guest blogging about their own experiences with any mental health problem or know someone who is, please get in touch with me via Twitter – @letstalkmhealth or Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/letstalkaboutmentalhealth/

Wendy Waters is an Australian writer/lyricist/librettist who’s first published novel Catch the Moon, Mary was launched in London at Questors Theatre and Cellar Door in September 2015.
She is currently adapting the book into a play with playwright Jemina Macedo and composer Shanon D. Whitelock. Wendy and Shanon are also writing a musical called The last Tale based on the life of Scheherazade, storyteller of The Arabian Nights 1001 Tales.
The constant themes in Wendy’s work are music, magic and the power of the imagination.

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with their song unsung.”
– Henry David Thoreau
But those who sing out loud may be revered as celebrities or reviled as crazies.
CRAZY as defined by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
1.Full of cracks and flaws; impaired, liable to fall to pieces.
2. Broken down, frail, infirm.
3. Of unsound mind; mad; insane. Often in the sense of mad with excitement; perplexity 1617. Showing derangement of intellect 1859
DERANGEMENT definition
1. To disturb or destroy the arrangement of. To throw into confusion; to disarrange.
2. To disturb the normal state, workings or functions of known habits; to act abnormally 1776.
IMAGINATION definition
1. Existing only in the mind or fancy, not in reality.
2. Forming a mental concept of something not actually present to the senses.
3. The mental consideration of actions or events not yet in existence.
4. The power which the mind has of forming concepts beyond those derived from external objects.
5. The creative faculty. Poetic genius.
We live in a time of numerically quantified absolutes. Global communication is instant. Anything we need to know we can Google. No need for imagination. No need to think for ourselves. For every situation or problem there are solutions we can freely quote and faithfully rely on. There is no need to question absolutes like the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, the value of energy – E=MC² (Energy = Mass x the speed of light squared), the evening news or the price of housing. Other people have done our thinking for us and supplied us with all the answers.
We live in a world run on information overload. Quiet reflection is unnecessary and time is money. Sitting around pondering events not yet in existence is wasting time. Our understanding of ourselves, our world and our universe is built on numerically sound, rock solid absolutes. Rock solid?
Hmm …
it seems some quasars have been caught travelling faster than the speed of light. Are they crazy? Don’t they know that light’s velocity –186,000 miles per second – marks a cosmic speed limit? For those of you not particularly scientific a quasar is a superluminal stream of light shining so brightly it eclipses the ancient galaxies that contain them and some of these renegades dare move faster than the speed of light. Quasars are powered by black holes a billion times more massive than our sun and they shoot through our galaxy at ridiculously disruptive speeds.
In short, these renegades are singing their own song! Poetic genius? Or just plain crazy?
And what to do with this rocking of the absolute? Ignore it? Explain it away? Or considerevents not yet in existence. Come now, that would be crazy! We have a whole field of science based on relativity supported by absolutes that have no business altering on a whim.
Crazy, full of cracks and flaws, maddened with excitement and perplexed by rules, filled with a sense of what could be, shining brightly, dancing through space in defiance of gravity –social and weighted. How dare these quasars fly through space at breakneck speed and dance for no apparent reason beyond joy.
My God, they’re as pointless as artists. Creative people and quasars simply don’t understand how disruptive they’re being when they defy gravity for the sake of it. But for the artist, the misfit, the quasar and God chaotic disruption is the precursor of creation. Nothing new springs from order. Absolutes must be “disarranged” to facilitate the arrangement of imagined events not yet in existence.
“I put my heart and soul into my work, and I have lost my mind in the process.”
– Vincent Van Gogh.
But today we celebrate his genius. Why not? The crazy man is dead and no longer bugging people with requests for money or offers of love. Now that the pesky progenitor of the Irises and Starry Starry Night is safely silent we are free to rhapsodise over his legacy and romanticise his suffering. But would we have lent him money for paints had he come knocking? Would we have spurned his rather excessive love? Probably. Passionate people are difficult to be around. They make poor partners and demanding co-workers. They have this pesky dedication to excellence that makes the non-achiever look slack and incompetent. Who needs it?
We do. If we are to find meaning and purpose in life we need to set ourselves challenges and goals that defy gravity and follow paths so narrow they can only safely accommodate one traveller at a time. The roads less travelled lack signposts and charts. They are steep and invariably offer no shelter. But oh, the view.
I have depression, anxiety and a mild form of Asperger’s that manifests as excessive dedication to my work and a need for precise order. I get panicky if things have been moved on my writing desk, anxious if routines change. My life is ordered around the chaos of my imagination upon which no boundaries or restraints are placed.  My imagination travels at any speed it likes, stumbles map-less into worlds of its own and leads where it may, even into hell. And I follow. Why? Because I trust it. I trust my imagination in a way that I don’t trust reality. And herein lies the key to the myriad triggers that contract my consciousness into despair, anxiety or depression.
Like everybody else I live in a world of rampant insanity. Daily I am bombarded with images of death, corruption, war and natural disasters on television. The media-induced panic proliferated every hour on the hour keeps me in a constant state of low-grade fear. When will I be
a) struck by a car
b) attacked by terrorists
c) murdered by a psychopath
d) killed by a tidal wave, earthquake, fire, volcano, hurricane?
The odds are strongly in favour of something dreadful happening to me. After all, it happens to other people every single day. It’s a numbers game, surely? I am also subjected to a negative stream of numerically conjured defeatist mottos by well-meaning neighbours, friends and caring family members.
Examples being: the odds of you being successful are zero to none, have you any idea how many other writers are out there, get a normal job and be happy, why should you be different from your Uncle Joe who wrote lots of books that never sold, what makes you think you’re so special, why do you keep persisting when it’s obvious you won’t make it?
And then there’s the worst one of all – You’re too old to succeed now, you’re a failure just accept it.
Is it any wonder my panic triggers are
1) loud noises
2) silence
3) ticking clocks
4) low rumbling sounds
5) waking up each day
6) the news jingle
7) a ringing phone
8) checking my emails
Get the picture? EVERYTHING is a trigger because I have been indoctrinated into a belief that I live in a dangerous world full of psychopaths and terrorists and only the lucky few succeed by virtue of nepotism, genius or a lottery win.
No bloody wonder I’m depressed.
No bloody wonder I’m anxious.
No bloody wonder I doubt my very right to exist.
Don’t you? It’s all right, I know.
Now let’s return to the farthest reaches of the universe where those quasars are out-pacing light and out-shining galaxies. They are the flotsam jettisoned from a darker force of rampant accumulation – the insatiable and apparently starving black hole, which consumes everything around it – ingesting and hording entire galaxies for its own sustenance. The black hole regards its surrounding magnificence – stars, planets, comets and light – as its due and raids freely. Black holes are at the heart of almost every galaxy. They will be their destruction. However, before the greedy sucker gluts the feast we are treated to a stream of exuberant light that outpaces anything known. The by-product of rampant consumerism is exquisite apposite light. I would posit that this insane consumption is fear-based. I would also posit that society has a black hole mentality. The super-rich amass more than they can consume in a lifetime and are lauded as high achievers. While the poor are dismissed as losers. Do we feel inadequate by comparison? We’re supposed to.
People who do well are generally regarded as successful.
People who own nothing and have low-paying jobs are generally regarded as losers.
Van Gogh and Mozart were both losers by that measure. And yet they sang their songs out loud and shone spectacularly brightly. We still admire the light they left behind.
In fact, when the dust of past civilisations settles, art, music and literature is all the light we see. So bright is this by-product of consumption that it defines the culture it outshone. Galleries, bookshelves, walls and minds are illuminated by Art, Thought, Wisdom and Love.
These are the values we acquire at a distance but the progenitors suffer the pangs of non-acceptance at close range. In our own time those of us who are different are crazy – mad with excitement and perplexity as we follow the uncharted paths of pure imagination.
Not everyone is born with genius but rest assured it is acquired at the apex of the road less travelled.
Wendy Waters
Author Catch the Moon, Mary”

Writer’s Wednesday: Author of Catch the Moon, Mary, Wendy Waters

This was a superb interview! Thank you Amanda Blount for asking all the right questions!

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

Wendy Waters - Personal Pic 2

This week, as promised, Writer’s Wednesday explores the careers and writing paths of two different Australian author’s. 

Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary, is not only a writer, she is also an award winning composer, lyricist, and librettist. Her latest work wonderfully combines both her love of music and writing.

AB:  Thank you Ms. Waters for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.I see that you have a vast musical background and you’ve spent time volunteering with musically gifted children. Did these experiences have an influence on your story? What other life experiences have led to the stories you write and/or enjoy reading?

WW:  Thank you for acknowledging the music! Music is probably my religion and certainly my drug of choice. That a good bottle of red! Whenever I’ve needed calm and reassurance, a song or piece of music has had the…

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Writer’s Wednesday Preview – Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

A two-for-one Wednesday! The second author we will present today is Wendy Waters. Ms. Waters is the creative writer behind Catch The Moon, Mary.

Catch the moon, Mary

This tale of abuse, love, lost dreams, and redemption, will have the reader questioning the very values they hold so dear. Many people say they love others enough to kill for them, but is that really love or obsession?

Be ready for the roller coaster of emotions as you become invested in Mary’s future.

“Award winning author, singer and lyricist, Wendy Waters writes prose that soars with breath-taking beauty.

A magical story about a gifted, vulnerable girl who is both saved and damned by an angel who falls in love with her music and claims it in a devilish pact. With Mary in his thrall, he ruthlessly kills all those who threaten his grand plan to bring Mary to Carnegie Hall where her talent will be…

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Writer’s Wednesday – We’re Headed Down Under!

Lovely Amanda Blount interviews Aussie authors Assaph Mehr and Wendy Waters!

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

This Wednesday, April 20th, I have the honor of interviewing two published authors from Australia.

Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia and Wendy Waters, author of Catch the Moon, Mary. Both authors have graciously offered their valuable time and experience answering a few questions about their path to creative writing and ultimately publishing their stories.

Each journey in writing is as different as the sands on the beach, yet many new writers never start because they fear their personal stories aren’t as perfect as the famous writers they know by heart. They fear they aren’t good enough, they aren’t interesting enough, they aren’t smart enough, rich enough, and so on. These fears paralyze their creative minds and they never publish one word. All the stories are locked away forever, never allowing anyone to see these new worlds and adventures.

My goal is not only to introduce wonderful authors to new fans, but I also…

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Writer’s Wednesday: Author of Sin Eater, Jessica West

Grits, Hugs, and Sweet Tea

Jessica West 2 Jessica West, Independent Author & Freelance Editor

Today we feature Jessica West. Mrs. West has graciously allowed us to interview her for today’s segment, Writer’s Wednesday. She’s talented, witty, and has provided a wealth of information for new authors.

AB: Thank you Mrs. West for allowing us to interview you for this week’s segment of Writer’s Wednesday.

JW:  Thanks for featuring me at your blog today. I’m happy to offer my perspective to people who are considering a career in self-publishing. I’m just getting started myself, so still very much in the learning phase. But I’ll share what I’ve learned so far

AB:    Which book or written work has proved to be most successful?

JW:     So far, my most successful work has been Sin Eater, an Urban (Paranormal) Fantasy serial I co-wrote with author P.K. Tyler. Marketing Sin Eater was my first real experience with advertising sites. Previously, I’d…

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Featured Friday | Meet Lynn Michell

THE FEM

unnamedToday we feature author and publisher, Lynn Michell. Check out our interview with her to learn about her latest novel and her indie press for women:

Fem: What is it like running a press? Are there any challenges?

Lynn Michell: I laughed at this first question, especially the “Any challenges?” I set up Linen Press with no experience of publishing, and I run it myself with help from one freelance colleague and two superb interns. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life. If it wasn’t, it would go under because the book trade is a tough place right now with competition from the Big Five conglomerates who put out their crowd pleasers in tens of thousands and with Amazon’s price slashing. What I do is right up the other end of the scale  – working with new and innovative authors and publishing their writing in…

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INTERVIEW WITH SHANON WHITELOCK

HOME GROWN SPOTLIGHT: A THOUSAND TALES


Home Grown Song Spotlight

Every two weeks the Home Grown Spotlight will shine the followspot on one of the Aussie originals available for purchase on the Home Grown website. Featuring fun interviews with writers and performers to give everyone some backstage insight into what it takes to create new Australian musical-theatre.

This week we’re talking with . . .

Song: A Thousand Tales

Composer: Shanon Whitelock

Where to find it:http://www.homegrownaus.com/store/7pie83qngwxg0r5kioz5bwsd443l7i?rq=a%20thousand

Question Time with Shanon Whitelock

Scheherazade sure had a lot of tales! What are the challenges and benefits of writing a piece based on a pre-existing story?

Certainly a challenge is finding a new and different angle on an old story, but what has attracted Wendy Waters and I to this project are the characters involved in the original folklore. And whilst we’re basing The Last Tale on Scheherazade, her stories and the people around her, we’ve set the show 10 ten years later; Scheherazade has become a beloved, larger-than-life political figure (sort of like Princess Diana) and the King is powerful, but hated. It’s created a fascinating dynamic to play with.

As a composer, writing for the lush soundscape we know of the Middle East has been my favourite part. I’ve been “toying” with all of these ethnic rhythm beds and locational instruments; creating a sound that is somewhere in between traditional Arabian music, the Arabia that Hollywood created through the epic film scores of the 20th century and contemporary musical theatre.

Tell us about working with your collaborator, Wendy Waters! What does your show look like and what is your spin on your source material?

Every collaboration is different. Usually I write music and lyrics and the other person creates the book and dialogue, but Wendy just has this way with words – as though she’s creating a poetic work of art. And it’s perfect for the project! Especially when Scheherazade is singing. You can imagine that a character with such a creative mind would have a fairly specific (and eloquent) voice. 

Setting the show later than the original story has given us a lot of license. The song “A Thousand Tales”, which is sung by Scheherazade, is from the perspective of a brilliant woman who has imagined a thousand adventures as she’s told each story, but never lived one – never fallen in love – never left the palace. As the lyric suggests, it’s like a bird in a cage watching the world and singing about it, but never flying through the air and experiencing it.

What is your favourite piece of advice that you have been given about writing?

I’ve received two pieces of advice that I take with me into every project. Firstly, Lynn Ahrens (of Ahrens & Flaherty) told me in a workshop to “tell the story that you can tell.” She meant that as writers we can’t just tell ANY story, we have to find the stories we understand and can realise and portray, that way we’re still using our own voice and the finished project will have “heart”. And secondly, Stephen Schwartz once said about lyric writing to “be as specific as you can, because it’s the songs that define the characters – when the song starts, I think, ‘oh NOW I’m going to learn about this person.’” I’ve found both of those rules have served me well and certainly changed the way I write. 

Find the sheet music to A Thousand Tales at www.homegrownaus.com, along with many more Australian songs from some of the country’s top writers. See you in two weeks!Shanon Whitelock