Is It Magic Realism or Is It Fantasy?

News and Musings From Violet Hills Productions

I write across multiple genres. Recently, my Contemporary Western Romance, Western Song was published by Solstice Publishing. Straight forward. Not a hint of magic, magic realism, or fantasy anywhere there. I greatly enjoyed writing Western Song, and am so appreciative of Solstice. And here’s the best part. They publish multiple anthologies throughout the years, so multiple opportunities for their authors to create new work. Their newest anthology is Fantasy.  I wrote a short story for that one, and wow! What fun it was to be back in the “magical” realm again.

I love working with that “sixth” dimension in my writing. It causes my imagination to soar.  Working again in that realm, I ruminated anew on the differences between Magical Realism and Fantasy. Writers live in a word of categories arguably more now than ever before. So how do you know whether what you are writing is Magical Realism or…

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Is It Magic Realism or Is It Fantasy?

I write across multiple genres. Recently, my Contemporary Western Romance, Western Song was published by Solstice Publishing. Straight forward. Not a hint of magic, magic realism, or fantasy anywhere there. I greatly enjoyed writing Western Song, and am so appreciative of Solstice. And here’s the best part. They publish multiple anthologies throughout the years, so multiple opportunities for their authors to create new work. Their newest anthology is Fantasy.  I wrote a short story for that one, and wow! What fun it was to be back in the “magical” realm again.

I love working with that “sixth” dimension in my writing. It causes my imagination to soar.  Working again in that realm, I ruminated anew on the differences between Magical Realism and Fantasy. Writers live in a word of categories arguably more now than ever before. So how do you know whether what you are writing is Magical Realism or Fantasy?

Bruce Holland Rogers writes in “What Is Magical Realism, Really?”  Magical realism “is not speculative and does not conduct thought experiments. Instead, it tells its stories from the perspective of people who live in our world and experience a different reality from the one we call objective. If there is a ghost in a story of magical realism, the ghost is not a fantasy element but a manifestation of the reality of people who believe in and have “real” experiences of ghosts. Magical realist fiction depicts the real world of people whose reality is different from ours. It’s not a thought experiment. It’s not speculation. Magical realism endeavors to show us the world through other eyes….As a tool, magical realism can be used to explore the realities of characters or communities who are outside of the objective mainstream of our culture.”

Can be and often is used just this way. Think of the introduction to Columbian and South American culture and everyday life the granddaddy of Magical Realism Novels One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez gave to the rest of the world. Or Like Water for Chocolate? What an elegant, mystical, and poignant gateway both of these pieces provided. Beautiful and so very painful, more so because of the beauty and simplicity of the writing. I believe the impact would have been nowhere as compelling or powerful without the use of Magical Realism because it was through this use that the very culture and the people were conveyed. Many argue Magical Realism was, in fact, born in these regions.

If you are writing Magical Realism you are making the ordinary miraculous and the miraculous ordinary. You are writing about real people living in real time, going about their real lives, but one that is very different from the “mainstream,” and you are showing us their experience, their life through their eyes.

So what is Fantasy? Fantasy often takes place in an imaginary universe (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) but can have “real” locations, events, and even humans. Most, if not all fantasy has supernatural or surreal or magical elements and may employ magical creatures as well. It can even take place on Earth but in an unknown world such as underground or in a secret forest. There are hard and fast rules as to how the “magic” can be applied as opposed to Magical Realism where the ordinary can explode into the miraculous but goes unnoticed or is simply a part of the daily experience.

Some argue that Magical Realism is the “deeper,” more “serious” form. And indeed, there is much compelling Magical realism literature: The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, Beloved by Toni Morrison, and the Tin Drum by Gunter Grass in addition to the others already mentioned to name just a handful—books that have all impacted my life. But did these tomes have more impact than Dune by Frank Herbert; Watership Down by Richard Adams; or A Wizard of Earthsea by the incomparable Ursula LeGuin.

Some may consider Fantasy silly or escapist. But in my working with Fantasy—both in reading and writing, I have found the power of the creation of these new worlds compelling and inspiring. And at the heart the values remain the same: the triumph of good over evil; the unchangeable desire for justice to prevail; and, of course and always, the unquenchable search for love.

Different tools, different pathways, the use of different methods, lead to different genres. In the end—what do you want to express? What world do you want to create?

The initial questions will lead you to the answer—is it Magic Realism or is it Fantasy?

This blog is part of Zoe Brooks’s annual Magic Realism Blog Hop. Please click on the blue frog where you will find links to all the other blogs. Happy reading!

2017 bloghop

That Summer Day

That Summer Day Vol. 1

Summer Solstice banner (2)

A day where the sun seems to shine forever, spring gives way to summer and everyone is celebrating with picnics, playing on the beach, and just having fun. Stories about this day are yours from eight very talented authors.

That Summer Day Vol 1-001

 

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B072VTJKD7

Fun in the sun turns into a nightmare after a murder.

A summer reunion ignites romance.

City vs Country: which one will prevail?

Goldilocks and Baby Bear like you’ve never seen them before

A promise leaves them wondering about the future.

Summer Solstice on a distant planet provides adventure, romance, and mystery for two, star-crossed lovers.

Can a stranger save her?

The fate of the world lies with a conflicted angel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfdwG2q0LBE&feature=youtu.be

The longest day of the year. Fun in the sun. Renewing friendships. Continuing traditions. Adventures of all sorts. K.A. Meng, Debbie De Louise, Stephy Smith, Justin Herzog, K.C. Sprayberry, Candace Sams, Margaret Scott, and Alex Pilalis bring you stories to entertain on this very special day.

And a very special story…The Cusp of Magic banner

 

In a split second, the future Keaghan Graham dreamt of shattered into a million pieces, along with the remnants of his broken heart.

He escapes in search of an end to the inconceivable pain he feels after an unimaginable loss.

Will a chance meeting with a triad of Magical beings give his life purpose again?

He learns that nothing happens, simply by chance.

https://bookgoodies.com/a/B072VSYCL6

Every twist in fate will reveal his destiny in the exact preordained moment in time it was meant to.

They are preparing Keaghan to become one of the twelve warriors of the Zodiac Illuminaries of Ravenokh.

Will he rise to the challenge and accept the call of the universe?

Enlightenment awaits just beyond the Cusp of Magic.

The Cusp Of MagicOption 2_2-001

Magic is the World and it is Ordiniary

blog hop 2016

I miss Magical Realism. My last novel, Western Song, is a contemporary western love story which features a bull-riding ranch owner and Thai immigrant mail order bride and nary an alternative world view in site. Pretty gritty and down to earth these two as they struggle against their circumstances which include falling in love against their best instincts. And just recently, I’ve developed a book proposal for a new publisher of historical fiction for schoolkids grades 3rd through 8th. The company has a very interesting premise that includes alternatives—but alternative paths and choices—not alternative world views where, as Bruce Holland Rogers writes in his article “What is Magic Realism, Really?”  “..angels really do appear and to whom God reveals Himself directly…”

I’ve had a very interesting journey with Magical Realism.  Like many authors, I have books that don’t quite seem to fit neatly in those categories the markets and publishers want us to fit into. I understand why they desire this from writers. Sales. Bottom lines. Our world has become about sales and bottom lines. A series I have that follows the story of a psychic tracker and his nemesis a black magician did not seem to fit anywhere. Were they mystery? Fantasy? Thriller? Sci-fi? A case pro and con could be made for each category, but not a single case strong enough for one.

And then I found Magical Realism.

I’d been acquainted with the genre, of course, through college and then my master’s program. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and One Hundred Years of Solitude is required reading wherever you go to school. So, I suppose I should say, I became re-acquainted with the concept. And I dug deeper. And Eureka! I found my answer! This is where my Stone Quest series belonged!

Only…once re-acquainted, and acquainted with Zoe Brooks and her web site and her blog hops, and delving ever more deeply, I found my further education revealed a deeper truth. Revealed to me the very center of what, again as Rogers asks: What is Magical Realism, Really? Because the core tenant of Magical Realism is: the magic is ordinary. To the people who inhabit the world of a magical realism novel, their world is filled with enchantment and mystery and to them that is as ordinary as being thrown by a bull or caught in a snowstorm high on the range is to my Wyoming Cowboy. He may curse a little at his goldurn luck, but this is his world and he fully accepts it.

Whoops!

In the first book of the Stone Quest series my tracker Luke Stone is endowed with psychic gifts which he describes vehemently as dropping down upon him from out of the blue, and all of which he tries as hard as he can to push away.

Yikes.

There goes that category!

But what a wonderful education! Lose a category, gain insight. Not such a great loss.

And then…comes the fourth book…

Much of it is already outlined. Scribbled down—usually with notes I can barely read, but there on paper;  the rest rumbling around in my head, characters jumping out at me at night, jabbering away at me, at each other, forcing me to get up, write their declarations down.

But this is the thing. By the fourth book, Luke has fought sundry battles, he has studied under erudite masters, and with each triumph, with each illumination, he has edged closer and closer toward a greater and greater peace with that constant source of mystery, confusion, and pain he has carried since  youngest childhood. By the fourth book Luke has already slid towards an alternative world view that “includes miracles and angels, beast-men and women of unearthly beauty…” (Rogers); he has, in other words, already slipped into the acceptance of the magical as…ordinary.

The entire Stone Quest series contained metaphysical/psychic elements; contained elements of magic. I have pieces that deal with Native Americans that are true Magical Realism. My blog last year was about the Cahuilla Indians and Magical Realism.

But now, finally, I will be able to bring that element, construct a the full world, to create a universe of magical realism where “the realities of characters or communities… outside of the objective mainstream can be explored…and miracles are right around the corner…” (Rogers).

I cannot wait to embrace the totality of this world.

I cannot wait to see where it’s contours will take me.

This post is part of the Magic Realism Blog Hop. About twenty blogs are taking part in the hop. Over three days (29th – 31st July 2016) these blogs will be posting about magic realism. Please take the time to click on the links below to visit them and remember that links to the new posts will be added over the three days, so do come back to read more.

 

MAGIC REALISM AND THE CAHUILLA INDIANS OF SOUTHERN CALIFRONIA

wash_photos_bill_003_(402x519)Sometimes categories feel like gilded cages. Sometimes they feel like steel traps. In todays’ literary world, largely thanks to Amazon, the lid has blown off the publishing world, and anyone now has access to what once were the forbidden gates. Of course, now along with the profound, we have much profane, but that’s another story.

Now, for the Indie Writer/Indie Publisher it is incumbent upon us, and not our publisher/agent as we are they and they is us, to decide into what category our books fall.

Sometimes this is easy—if we are a strictly category writer.

Sometimes this is pure unmitigated torture and no matter what we chose, we get it wrong.

I have struggled with this placement with most of my books.

When I first discovered Magic Realism,  I heaved a heavy sigh and shouted, “Eureka!”

But as I educated myself on the parameters of this beautiful and ephemeral genre, I realized I was mistaken. Just cuz you got magic don’t make it Magic Realism.

Looking back over my work; thinking back over my years as a writer, and pondering my schooling in just what Magic Realism is as I have read about it and as I grew to understand it, I find it quite interesting and fitting that the work I have crafted about Native Americans is the work that can be truly classified as Magic Realism.

The Mexican critic Luis Leal wrote “To me, magical realism is an attitude on the part of the characters in the novel toward the world or toward nature.”

Further, he explained, it’s an acceptance, without comment, without wonder or awe, of magic in the real world.

One of the first times I experienced this type of acceptance was when I was interviewing Dr. Katherine Siva Saubel for a play I would eventually write about her and the Cahuilla Indians of Southern California entitled WE ARE STILL HERE.

I was speaking with her brother, Alvino as we were sitting at the gathering site on the Morongo Reservation that was just behind Katherine’s home at one of the many Cahuilla Festivals I had been invited to attend so that I could gain more understanding of Katherine and her People. Alvino was pointing out the craggy hills that surrounded us, dotted with jagged and rounded rock and scrub pines that bent and twisted as if wheezing for oxygen.

“See that over there?” Alvino pointed with his hand raised at eye level. “See all those marks– those indentations in the hillside? If you go up to there, walk around, you’ll see those markings are all gathered in three distinct sets. That’s because those are all places Temayawat sat down to rest. So you’ve got one place where he rested his bottom; and two places where he set his ….you know…” he indicated around his general private area. “He had big ones, of course. He was one of the Creators. Round. Heavy. So they’re gonna make big marks. You go up there. You’ll see them all over the hillside.”

Katherine Saubel was a devout Catholic. The first day I met her, she sat with me for over five hours. She told me the Creation Story of the Cahuilla Indians. She told me about the twin creators Mukat and Temayawat; about the Moon Maiden, who taught the People how to be men and how to be women, and how to wash. She told me about the death of Mukat, killed by Temayawat, and about how the people mourned and wept and rolled in the ashes.

And as she told the story, as if these people were her kin, I could see that Katherine believed every word as absolute truth.

She believed every word as absolutely as she believed every word of the story of Jesus. For Katherine held Jesus closely to her heart.

Two distinct belief systems. Some might say opposing. But she wouldn’t. Never. She held them securely at the same moment in her heart and in her mind.

She also said that Jesus, in the Bible, spoke directly to the Native People.

“He spoke to all the Nations. It says so in the Bible. And we, the Native People, Indians, are a Nation. Jesus spoke to us.”

One of the greatest gifts I was ever given was the gift of Katherine’s story. Her brother told me she gave it to me because she trusted me to tell it truthfully. And with respect.

The Cahuilla Creation Story—when the People tell it, gathered around the fire once upon a time, now more often than not at a Community Center or even at someone’s house—takes over 12 hours– overnight to complete.

I, of course, had to pick and choose which parts to re-create in the play.

At one of our early performances in Southern California close by the Morongo Reservation and Katherine’s home, Alvino was seated next to me afterwards. He leaned in close to me, but this time he was not talking about craggy hills. He was expressing displeasure with me. There was a part of the Creation Story I had left out that he felt was very important and that I needed to put in. It was a part about Coyote stealing Mukat’s heart and eating it before he returned to the People. “You need to put that in there. That’s very important that Coyote did that. And from the blood of that heart, the tobacco tree grew.” I promised I would make the amendment. When I told the cast, they were thrilled, and the changes were added for the next performance.

When I next saw Alvino, it was at the September Harvest Festival. He crooked his finger as the Indian/Cowboy band struck up, and we kicked up our heels pretty good, so I wager he’d forgiven me.

The re-enactment of the Cahuilla Creation Story is I believe one of the purest examples of Magical Realism I have ever seen.

Not written, you understand.

For I did not write it.

Great God, no.

I was merely the vessel of – as I was told – ten thousand years of the passing down through the generations of the story of this wondrous indigenous people—born—not crossed over from some land bridge up there in Alaska someplace, as Alvino told me many times– but born right here in Southern California.

And Alvino and Katherine and their brother Paul did not believe in the Creation myth– this was their story, their history. This is their truth.

This post is part of the Magic Realism Blog Hop. About twenty blogs are taking part in the hop. Over three days (29th – 31st July 2015) these blogs will be posting about magic realism. Please take the time to click on the button below to visit them and remember that links to the new posts will be added over the three days, so do come back to read more.   

Follow this link to enjoy all the other blogs!

  http://new.inlinkz.com/view.php?id=547485

blog hop 2015 dates

DESERT CHIMERA FREE @ CHOOSY BOOKWORM

Jay at Choosy Bookworm is offering a brilliant program for readers and writers. Through a selection process, he offers several books at bargain prices or for free. Readers get to sample new wares, and writers get new audiences. The price of admission– reviews.

Right now, DESERT CHIMERA, Book One of my psychic mystery series STONE QUEST is available at Choosy Bookworm.

DESERT CHIMERA introduces the reader to Luke Stone, recluse, tracker, and reluctant psychic visionary, and to his paranormal universe. Luke has been sequestered in the serene woods of Northern Michigan under the tutelage of Cherokee shaman Shadow Wolf, whom he calls, Grandfather. But when Grandfather suddenly dies, Luke flees on a desperate cross-country quest that heads him into the heart of Death Valley.

There, Luke is assaulted with terrifying visions of the apocalypse. While praying in agony for release, a shimmering specter arises from the sands to stand beside him. This is not the one Luke has sought. Instead, this is the One from whom Luke had thought he;d escaped seven long years before — the black magician, his nemesis, Armand Jacobi.

Now Luke is confronted with the full horrors of his past. The battle that ensues, with the lives of fellow travelers, including the lovely Consuelo Arroyo with whom Luke has fallen in love hanging in the balance, will culminate in either Luke’s total destruction or his ultimate redemption.

You can find out more about Choosy Bookworm and all their offerings:

http://choosybookworm.com/product/desert-chimera/#sthash.Xk7JfSmJ.I2XHY1oA.dpuf

Be the gatekeepers

Angela M Caldwell

While doing some research online, I discovered an article that lumped all indie authors and their books into one category: a waste of money. The author’s goal was to inform the public on how to avoid buying a horrible indie book. No, I will not share the link because there was only a dash of truth in his rant. He was wrong for the most part because he forgot about so many writers who invest in their work.

This blog got me thinking about creativity in general and how much creative people struggle in silence.

credit: mollyflatt.co.ukcredit: mollyflatt.co.uk

Writers and Artists pour their souls into their projects for months or even years. Sleepless nights become common as their minds continue to spin wanting to make their creation the best it can be. They are dedicated souls and most people have no idea the angst creative people go through to…

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OURAY’S PEAK- by LEIGH PODGORSKI

Check out Author Brian Wilson’s latest Hidden Treasure Books for a blurb on OURAY’S PEAK & NEURI SHAPE-SHIFTER. Thanks to Brian! Also– stop by AMAZON to check out Brians’ BUMPY ROADS!

Hidden Treasure Books

leigh

Ouray’s Peak

Chief Jack knew: whenever the red man wars against the white, it is always the red man who loses.
But which was she?
Jamie said his mother’s blood flowed in his veins.
Just so, her father’s blood flowed in hers.
And so it had been husband against wife.
Father against daughter.
Brother against sister.
Whenever the red man wars against the white, it is always the red man who loses.
And what if the red man is you?
And what if the white man is you?
And what if the red man and what if the white man both together, mixed together, flowed freely together in the same veins and those veins were you?

Ouray’s Peak is the journey of heroine Kristin Tabor that takes her cross country and deep within the Rocky Mountains in search of her mother, leading to the discovery of her Ute Indian heritage…

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OURAY’S PEAK PROMO & A TALE FROM O’REILLY’S PORCH

News and Musings From Violet Hills Productions

“… gripping, thrilling, touching, ..perfect…The only reason this book got put down were things I couldn’t postpone any longer- supper was already late, the errands were put to the last minute… I couldn’t stop reading. You won’t either. Read this book. B.R.A.G.H OURAY’S PEAK 5 out of 5 stars.
“[O]ne of the best novels I have read…Leigh Podgorski paints a scenic picture of the Colorado mountain country and the Indian reservation in this beautiful, memorable, coming of age story… unique storytelling…[I] look forward to more from this author. Thank you Ms. Podgorski, I didn’t want the story to end! Jacqueline Bryant reviewed Ouray’s Peak 5 out of 5 stars…

Chief Jack knew: whenever the red man wars against the white, it is always the red man who loses.
But which was she?
Jamie said his mother’s blood flowed in his veins.
Just so, her father’s blood flowed in hers.
And…

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