Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fiddlesticks by PD Allen - Interview | Dark Fantasy

Sixteen year old Ojibwa Rene DeClaire is disillusioned and alienated from the modern world in which she lives. She would rather play her fiddle, inhabiting the backwood of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, practicing the old ways and learning to be a shaman like her Grandma Rena. Her older brother Stephen lives in the forest, hiding from the government and the Eater of Souls. Her mother Judy worries about her children and their inability to compromise with the dominant civilization. But Grandma Rena knows how important it is that the siblings and their mother find the right path. She has dedicated her remaining days to helping all three of them to open their eyes.

Soon the younger DeClaires will find themselves in the World Under the Flesh, locked into a merciless battle to save the Heart of the Wilderness and the Land Between the Sky Waters from the Horde, the Blight and a powerful and corrupted shaman known as the Ogimauh.

Along the way, they will have many adventures, joined by other characters first introduced in the Tales of da Yoopernatural, as well as new friends of myth and legend. They will find this struggle for the World Under the Flesh is also a struggle to awaken the world from which they came, the World of the Flesh. And it all revolved around the Heart of the Wilderness, a magical fiddle, and a fiddlestick.


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EXCERPT

The Ode’imaa Bagwaji

The bridge in the World of the Flesh cast a shadow spanning Gichigami to touch the Land Between the Sky Waters. The Manitou knew when this bridge was completed the trolls and ogres and all the Corrupted Hordes would rush across to invade their sanctuary. There was no way the Manitou could stop the humans from building this bridge. All they could do was prepare to defend themselves.

The Corrupted Ones were drawn to the bridge by the scent of fresh meat and the promise of new treasure. And when the bridge was finished, they raced across to meet the marshaled forces of the Manitou. The numberless horde was held back by the strong and the powerful, whose many acts of heroism remain unsung. The Manitou fought while the weaker among them fled, many of them retreating to distant lands beyond this world where the Corrupted Hordes would never tread, far beyond the touch of humans.

The heroes of the Manitou fought valiantly and prevailed for a time. Yet in the end their efforts were doomed. The numbers of the Manitou had dwindled since humans first set foot in the New World, while the ranks of the Corrupted Ones were swollen inversely. The conclusion of this battle was foregone when the first troll set foot in the Land Between the Sky Waters. The defenses were overrun, and the invasion of the last refuge of the Manitou began in earnest.

As the defenses crumbled, the Lady Aki-ikwe called Waub-oozoo, who was neither strong nor powerful, out of hiding and made him swear to preserve the Ode`imaa Bagwaji. Standing only two and a half feet tall, his dark skin covered with a fine fur, Waub-oozoo was the most furtive of the little Manitou. He passed his life without leaving any sign of its passage, staying hidden in the secret places only he knew, ever alert for trouble with his bug eyes, round furry ears and his fine sense of smell.

Few had ever seen Waub-oozoo, and only one person knew his true name, the Lady Aki-ikwe, who knew everyone's true name. And, knowing his true name, she could call him to her and place upon him the duty of keeping the Ode`imaa Bagwaji safe. Waub-oozoo was terrified of taking on so important a charge, but he could refuse the Lady Aki-ikwe nothing.

She called him to her gardens, lush with exotic blossoms, tended by butterflies and hummingbirds. Waub-oozoo had never been so close to the Lady Aki-ikwe before. She was a vision of beauty, soft, radiant and light. Her long hair was a rich red, the color of the Earth and the good red path, and her skin was the color of pale ivory. She was dressed in white flowing robes, and between her breasts shone a warm, healing light.

"Waub-oozoo," she said to him, "you must hide the Ode`imaa Bagwaji where it will never be found by the Horde. So long as it is safe, they can never completely destroy this land.

"Some of us will survive in the shadows and the remote places. And there will be hope that our world will one day be restored. You must keep the Ode`imaa Bagwaji safe until that day."

"I will try, m'Lady," Waub-oozoo's eyes popped large with concern. He politely held his cap before him in gnarled hands. "But how will I know when that day has come."

Lady Aki-ikwe had the gift of distant sight. "It is for a human to restore our world."

"A human, m'Lady?" Waub-oozoo quailed at the very thought. "Are you sure?"

"The humans have taken this world from us," Lady Aki-ikwe said in a distant voice. "It is for a human being to return it to us."

"As you say," Waub-oozoo still had his doubts, "but humans are so shortsighted!"

"One day there will come a child of the first people," the Lady Aki-ikwe proclaimed. "She will be looking for her voice, and you will know her by her song. The Ode`imaa Bagwaji will respond to her, and your duty will be fulfilled."

"Yes, m'Lady," Waub-oozoo bowed before her.

"Arise, Waub-oozoo, and take your charge," the Lady Aki-ikwe clasped her hands over her chest and drew them away, opening them before Waub-oozoo to disclose the light that had shone between her breasts.

Waub-oozoo held up a hand to shade his eyes, so bright was the light. Looking at what she held, he saw a large glowing crystal. As he watched, it was transformed first to a shining white blossom, and then to a large acorn.

"Take it," the Lady Aki-ikwe urged him.

Waub-oozoo wiped his hands on his vest and reached out to take the seed. In his hands, it became a large piece of black obsidian, warm to the touch. Waub-oozoo worried his unworthy grasp had damaged it.

"It changes form depending on its surroundings and who is holding it." The Lady set his fears to rest. "That should aid you in hiding it. But do not take chances. Don't let anyone see it."

The sounds of battle drew close to the garden. The Lady's attendants were agitated. It registered with Waub-oozoo that the Lady Aki-ikwe sounded weary, and she had lost her former glow.

"Put it away," she told him. "Keep it close to you until you have found the right hiding place, and guard it with your life."

The battle spilled into the garden, as defenders sought with their last breath to hold back the invading hordes.

"Now go, Waub-oozoo," the Lady Aki-ikwe urged him. "Flee!"

Waub-oozoo hid the Heart of the Wild inside his vest, next to his own heart. "I will not fail you, m'Lady," he promised as he vanished into the undergrowth.

"Farewell, Waub-oozoo," the Lady Aki-ikwe whispered behind him. "All our hopes go with you."

At the edge of the garden he paused, pretending to be a dead stick, and looked back on the Lady Aki-ikwe. The Lady dismissed her court and stood to face the oncoming attackers. A large ogre reached her first. He held her with one hand while he brought a war club down on top of her head, smashing her skull open. Waub-oozoo stood frozen in horror as the ogre ate the Lady's brains. Then he was gone, fleeing for his life and the future of his people.

INTERVIEW


Tell us about your current release.

There are several.

Complete Tales of da Yoopernatural was released in December. It contains all of the tales in one volume. These stories are, by turn, creepy, enchanting and disturbing. They are all set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a remote backwoods with a strong regional flavor and a rich history. The tales are comparable to Lovecraft in atmosphere, to King in execution, and China Mieville in content. All of the tales are woven together by their setting in Michigan’s UP. Several of them involve Ojibwa shaman Grandma Rena and the DeClaire family.

Also released in December was Strange Attractors. This is a collection of weird, humorous and literary fiction. The stories in this volume explore the frontier of the imagination, from the poet who seeks the darkest shadow, to the comic superhero Captain Will Powers, to outlaws imagined and real, to the wandering hunter stalking the secret of the universe.

Fiddlesticks is fresh on the market this January. It is a novel of a high fantasy quest, involving several characters first introduced in Tales of da Yoopernatural, most notably Grandma Rena and the DeClaire family. The action takes place in the World of the Flesh and in the World Under the Flesh, where Rene DeClaire seeks a magick fiddle that is the key to her shamanic abilities, and where little Manitou Waub-oozoo seeks the help of certain humans to protect the Ode’imaa Bagwaji (Heart of the Wild) from the Ogimauh and the horde of Corrupted Ones. It is an enjoyable fantasy adventure written with a certain lyricism, incorporating a mythology with unusual parallels to the world that we inhabit, the World of the Flesh.

Tell us about your next release.

My current work is entirely different from these fictional stories. Quantum Meditations is a nonlinear, poetical exploration of reality, incorporating Quantum Physics, Chaos theory, transpersonal psychology, new biology, Taoism, Alchemy and many other disciplines. The first volume of Quantum Meditations will be published this spring by Balboa Press, a division of Hay House.

I began composing Quantum Meditations in January of 2011 after a very traumatic period in which I relived severe traumas from my past and underwent a trial of personal annihilation and rebirth. The fundamental philosophy of QM is that we inhabit a world of our own design, in the fullest sense of these words.

So far, I have composed over 3,000 Quantum Meditations, which have received acclaim by literary critics, quantum physicists, shamans, and philosophers. The first 358 Meditations, composed between January 13th and March 22nd of 2011, are contained in volume one. Several more volumes will follow in the months and years ahead. You can sample the Meditations on my website, pdallen.com.
The next year or so will also see the release of two fiction trilogies, Under Shattered Skies and Giants in Their Steps. The former is about the small town of Heater, Arizona as the world stands on the eve of an environmental cataclysm. The latter is about a number of mountainmen, Indians and convicts in the wilderness prison of the Canadian Rockies, set about fifty years from now.

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

No, I have no set formula. My process is organic. I conceive of a story idea, and then I let it roll around in my subconscious for a period of time. Usually, by the time I begin writing, I have the first couple of lines, and the idea of where I want the story to go. Then I sit down and begin writing. If it is a complex story with many characters, I will keep a character list as I go along.

I write all of my fiction and poetry with pen and paper. Back when I started writing, in the 1970s, it was just easier that way. Now it allows me the intimacy that I need with my characters and story. I just couldn’t do that on a keypad, in front of a computer.

After I finish a story, I sit down with the handwritten manuscript and begin typing. While typing, I focus on consistency and minor revisions. Then I print the entire work and read through it with a critical editor’s eye.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

Morning is my favorite time to write, fresh from sleep. When I am working on a fictional story, I will write for two or three hours in the morning, and then another hour or two after lunch.

Most of the Quantum Meditations come to me in the morning as well. Though many come through the course of the day, while I am performing Chi Gong and T’ai Chi, while I am playing music, often when I am driving.

When's the last time you played that musical instrument?

I play the fiddle and the guitar daily. On the fiddle I play old time fiddle tunes, Irish tunes, and old blues and jug band pieces. On the guitar I play classical, Latin and fingerstyle. I also practice clawhammer banjo four or five times a week. The mandolin I play less often, because of lack of time. And there are several other instruments I toy with, but just don’t have the time to play regularly.

When I have stirred up excess creative energy in my writing, I will pick up the fiddle or the guitar and play it out.

Does your significant other read your stuff?

Yes, Elizabeth is my major proof reader. She is also my biggest supporter, who stood by me when no one else did. And she was the person who helped lead me out of my nearly fatal crisis of disempowerment, and onto the path of spiritual recovery that resulted in Quantum Meditations. For this reason, Quantum Meditations, in its entirety, is dedicated to her.

What is the next big thing?

I guess I have already covered that. There will be more fiction to come. And QM continues to break new ground. I am ready to take this show on the road, performing music, telling stories, and helping others to empower themselves.

Do you have a Website or Blog?
Yes, http://pdallen.com/. Quantum Meditations are posted there daily, along with occasional other pieces. And I am quite active on Facebook. Just do an fb search for PD Allen. I welcome all new friends.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


PD Allen is a novelist, a poet, a musician and a geologist. He is a writer of high (or true) imagination, metaphysical fiction, alchemy and new thought. He is also a student of enlightenment, inching his way along the path as it is revealed to him. Currently, he divides his time between Michigan and southern Indiana, living with his lovely wife, Elizabeth.
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