Welcome to the Cloudwalker Portal!

YOU HAVE ENTERED THE PORTAL TO THE CLOUDWALKERS

Welcome to the official WordPress website for the exciting new series of books by Linda N. Merryman.

Here is an excerpt from Book 1 tentatively titled Seven Lamps Were Burning:

Chapter One

Anghellan

So many people yearn for immortality. Eternal youth, flawless minds, freedom from pain and suffering. The concept has grown through literature and the arts, both light and dark. Those of us who have it know that it comes with its own set of limitations and liabilities. Indeed, the drive for what we do not have is often as strong in us as a mortal’s is for life everlasting. So strong, that some of my brothers gave up everything only to regret gaining that which they should not have.

We have existed since the beginning of time. How long that is, even we have forgotten and the Great Creator has not seen the need to remind us. And so, we carry on through endless days fulfilling our purpose – that of caring for his younger children. They, so short lived, require a lot of care. For millennia we have guided and nurtured, protected and disciplined the wayward ones. They are curiously beautiful, in their way – free in a sense we cannot be.

Some of my brothers, though–so long ago–could not contain their urges. Enchanted by the fragile humans, they took it upon themselves to take human form and interfered in the lives of men. The delicate bodies and perfumed blood of humans was intoxicating, and my brothers abandoned their duties to follow their desires. The Creator, in his wisdom, decreed that, as the fallen ones wished to override his laws, they should have that which they craved for a specified time. They would be condemned to dwell amongst those they could not resist, leaving behind the lives they had known. For most, the infatuation faded, and the realization of what they had lost caused them to despise that which they had loved too much. They blamed the humans for their downfall and shame. In time, disgust turned to hatred, and yet still, they did not see their own transgression. Now, they punish the innocent.

The rest of us have intensified our commitment to our office. We labor to counteract the atrocities committed by our former brethren. We are Immortal – We are Guardians – We, who are called Angels.

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NEW WEBSITE AND COVER REVEAL FOR SEVEN LAMPS!!

quest*DRUM ROLL PLEASE!!*

Well, now, are y’all as excited as I have been about the cover to Seven Lamps Were Burning? It’s been a crazy and emotionally exhausting process, but I must say I’m truly happy with the results. I even had a little fun creating “extra” covers that won’t be used, well, because I could and it allowed me to use some of the many images I liked but decided against for the final cover choice.

A few of those images were declined because I was unable to get permission to use them. Copyright infringement fines are not on my list of “things I want for Christmas” this year. I’ve tried to be very careful where the official cover is concerned, but I don’t think there will be a problem showing y’all some of the pictures in a non-commercial environment, so I will be posting some of them later — with the proper accreditation included where possible. So check back on the Gallery link in a week or two for some nifty image and tidbits about how they would have fit into Seven Lamps.

You ready? I know I am. So without further ado, I present to you, THE OFFICIAL COVER FOR SEVEN LAMPS WERE BURNING!

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Option #1
book-cvr-3
Option #2
book-cvr-full
Option #3

Well, which one is it? Hmmm… Tell you what… Why don’t you vote in the comments below, then go check out lindanmerryman.com to see which one I chose. Who knows, your vote may change my mind!

As Publication Draws Near

blk-featherI have been overwhelmed.

Have you felt that way lately? Like there isn’t enough time in the day to do all that needs done, much less get to that book you’ve waited weeks to read, the special recipe you’ve wanted to try, a play date with the kids you’ve been putting off, or the romantic night out with your special someone?

Yeah. That’s where I’ve been. After finally deciding that I would self-publish my first novel and perhaps, with it’s undoubted success, let the Big Five publishers come to me for the second (So it is written, so let it be!), I have immersed myself in the self-learning that must be done to ensure some level of success. This blog is part of that journey.

socialAlong with all the tweeting, facebooking, blog touring stuff that is practically a requirement to launch an indie book, I have also been writing music and getting video together for a book trailer. Oh, it’s gonna be a juicy one with fog and eerie bells, eyes in the dark and quick glimpses of the characters. It’s been time consuming. And the small jags of time I’ve been able to dedicate to it have been squashed between getting my grandson off to school, taking him to football practice, getting his mother up and off to work while I get him ready for bed. Making sure they have quality time together and seeing to it my younger son has a ride back and forth to work pulls my day apart a little more.

Evenings I’d like to be making this… fancy

dinner ends up this…                        bolognacheese

“So, how did you overcome it all and make time for yourself to write?” you ask.

The answer is simple. I didn’t.

But I have pledged to do one thing. One small and seemingly insignificant thing, yet oh, so difficult to accomplish until you start.

I stopped worrying about it. Just, gave it up. Now, I sincerely wanted to hang onto that worry – had to bite my lip if I didn’t tweet, broke out in a sweat if I didn’t get a notification that I had ONE new follower on something. How was the book ever to prosper if I didn’t get the word out?!

But, you see, that is where faith comes in. Faith in my talent to tell stories, faith in the reader to know a good tale when they heard it. Once I realized that if I had just ONE friend or follower left, just ONE who believed in me and Seven Lamps Were Burning, then the potential for the word of a good story to spread was just as great as if I tweeted all day and posted to Facebook a dozen times. Because, you see, my faith is also in YOU. The reader who takes delight in a tale well told, the same as I do, and who will share it with others.

Crazy thing – as soon as I really and truly decided I wasn’t going to worry any more, this small space in time came open for me to write this blog. In addition, I now have about an hour I can dedicate to the book. Something, huh?

So go on, do what you do best, when you can do it, and let go of your future concerns, because worrying is taking TOO MUCH OF YOUR TIME!

quotes-about-worrying

 

 

Indies In The Eye Of The Storm

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In spite of Hurricane Matthew’s sweep across South Carolina, we decided to brave the storm and forge ahead with Aiken’s first Indie Author Day Event. Though debris littered the roads, work crews were vigilant and kept a clear path open on most highways. Winds were kicking with gusts up to 50mph, and I felt that the little Civic I was driving might achieve liftoff at any moment, but luckily, I saw no cows or old ladies on bicycles fly by.

wiz

We ended up with a decent crowd, all things considered — about 35 guests joined us for the day. The event began with a lively discussion by planning committee member, Linda Ryals-Smith, who is an Independent Book Reviewer and all ’round fun gal. I learned much from her!

linda-smith-closeup-6
Linda Ryals-Smith

Another Linda (she spells her Lynda with a Y), whose public name is Sasscer Hill, has self-published, gone through small press and has a new book coming from one of the BIG FIVE publishing houses next. She filled us in on the pros and cons of all three.

sasscer-hill2
Sasscer Hill

After lunch break, during which I chatted with several authors and some hopefuls like myself, it was time for my panel to speak. I was so nervous!

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Our panel. I’m on the far left, followed my Arthur Turfa, poet, Bettie Williams, romance author, and Steve Gordy who edited an anthology for South Carolina Writer’s Association.

panel-3

 As the newbie of the group, I wondered if anything I had to say about the mass confusion I experienced when I decided to try to publish would be of use to anyone. To my delight, even an award winning author came up to me afterwards and stated how pleased she had been to hear me address certain pitfalls. Writers who hadn’t gotten as far as I have came to me after the break too. So this is what it’s like to have a taste of celebrity!

indie-day-my-talk2

Interspersed with the features were readings from authors Mary Beth Gibson (our anchor on the planning committee and president of the local South Carolina Writer’s Association), Marti Healy and Arthur Turfa. Storytelling at it’s finest!

readers

The day wrapped with book signings by a slew of talented storytellers and succulent music by independent songwriters, Cathy Benedetto and Will Jones.

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It was a great time and I met so many wonderful new people. Events like this are the best for making connections and you better believe I did just that.

Many thanks to the Aiken Public Library staff especially Janet Robinson and the Friends of the Library. Also to Rose O. Hayes for keeping the snack table stocked and the hot coffee coming and for her valuable input on the planning committee, as well as to Fred Sollars for all his help and for keeping us grinning through it all!

Indie Authors Event

indie

I am SO excited to announce the FIRST ANNUAL INDIE AUTHORS EVENT is happening all over the nation including right HERE in Aiken, SC! I’ll be joining Book Reviewer Linda Ryals Smith, Best Selling Author Sasscer Hill, Novelist Bettie Williams and Poet Arthur Turfa and many other fine writers.

While there will be presentations specifically targeted to writers, readers are encouraged to join in the fun, meet and chat with local authors, and enjoy the book signing event. Be enchanted by readings from some of South Carolina’s finest storytellers and learn how your favorite books go from the muse’s touch to your tablet, bookstore or library!

When You Don’t Want To Hang Out With Your Characters

THIS FACE. We’ve all seen it, It’s plastered all over social media everywhere. This is the face I’ve been feeling while dealing with my characters — and writing in general — for about a month.

phelps

It’s not that I don’t love them; I do. I’ve been in a very intimate relationship with Sasha, Anghellan, Fen, Fay, Fianna, the Earthbound and the Cloudwalkers for about six years now. There have been days when I was devoted to them, seeing and interacting with virtually no one but my beloved creations. And that was fine.

I also love my friends, family and shrimp with broccoli, but gosh-darn-it, sometimes I wish they’d go watch a movie, get off the phone, take a cruise or ANYTHING that would get them away from me and let me concentrate, or not, as I needed. And shrimp? I had the opportunity to eat it — all I wanted — for weeks and finally, I just had to say “Ya know, Shrimp with Broccoli, we have a special thing, but, I need some space. I’m going to be seeing Beef with Asparagus for a while.

  asparagus

Maybe even hang out with Chicken Florentine. It’s nothing personal. I will be back.”

sexy chicken

The point is, even though I LOVE writing, can’t imagine never writing again, there are times I need a break in order to better appreciate the joy it gives me. This has been one of those times. So, I apologize. If you’ve been reading along, I have been neglectful. I have been revisiting an old alter-ego, one I have missed. The great news is, this diversion has allowed me to feel less burdened by the pressures of grandchildren, kids, money, marketing and writing, and allowed me to clear up some blocked creative passages. (Whoever knew Everquest was a decongestant?)

EQ2_000000

In closing, I thank you for your patience. If you’ve stuck it out, know you are appreciated and I promise I will be writing more soon. After all, school starts MONDAY!

New Opening for Seven Lamps

5 pagesSending out queries to agents is an eye-opening experience. Most agents ask you to include five to ten pages of your double-spaced manuscript in your query. Now, five to ten pages might sound like a lot, until you separate it from the body of your work and it stands alone, like a phalange missing its skeleton.

After a few very kindly worded rejections, I reviewed exactly what those five pages were saying and I realized they read like a romance novel.

Now, romance novels are fine, if that’s what you’re aiming for. But Seven Lamps, while it has a luscious anti-hero, is not a romance.

brad    I mean, look at Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black. Gorgeous paranormal visitor? Yes. Love interest? Yes. BUT the main story line is not a romance!

So, I rewrote the opening of Seven Lamps. I hope that this tiny fragment of Sasha’s story can portray better now, the true essence of the tale and that it is not just a love story.

PLEASE comment! I love feedback and honestly, NEED it. Take a peek behind the clouds…

 

PROLOGUE

Anghellan

So many people yearn for immortality. Eternal youth, flawless minds, freedom from pain and suffering. The concept has grown through literature and the arts, both light and dark. Those of us who have it know that it comes with its own set of limitations and liabilities. Indeed, the drive for what we do not have is often as strong in us as a mortal’s is for life everlasting. So strong, that some of my brothers gave up everything only to regret gaining that which they should not have.

We have existed since the beginning of time. How long that is, even we have forgotten and the Source has not seen the need to remind us. And so, we carry on through endless days fulfilling our purpose – that of caring for his younger children. They, so short lived, require a great deal of care. For millennia we have guided and nurtured, protected and disciplined these wayward ones. They are curiously beautiful, in their way — free in a sense we cannot be.

Some of my brothers, though — so long ago — could not contain their urges. Enchanted by the fragile humans, they took it upon themselves to take human form and interfered in the lives of men. The delicate bodies and perfumed blood of humans intoxicated them, and my brothers abandoned their duties to follow their desires. The Source, in his wisdom, decreed that, as the fallen ones wished to override his laws, they should have that which they craved for a specified time. They would be condemned to dwell amongst those they could not resist, leaving behind the lives they had known. For most, the infatuation faded, and the realization of what they had lost caused them to despise that which they had loved too much. They blamed the humans for their downfall and shame. In time, disgust turned to hatred, and yet still, they did not see their own transgression. Now, they punish the innocent.

The rest of us have intensified our commitment to our office. We labor to counteract the atrocities committed by our former brethren. We are Immortal — We are Guardians — We, who are called Angels.

CHAPTER 1

Sasha

There is a dripping plunk that echoes around me. I imagine it is the sound of my tears, so recently cascading from the burning sockets I call eyes, but it is only the run-off of a stalactite, warmed by the friction of Pandora’s jars. They thrum with a heavy beat that matches the rhythm of my heart. Their strobing orange-red lambency is hypnotic in the manner of coals in the bottom of a bonfire.

The ache of loss floods me: loss of innocence, loss of a loved one — it is the loss one feels when knowledge strips away the cocoon of ignorance from within which we feel safe. This knowledge has granted me a power, but it has torn asunder something within me that was precious.

We think we know so much. We pat ourselves on the back for the “discoveries” of things which existed long before we were even a concept. We pride ourselves on each finding as if it were new. But there is nothing new under the sun, isn’t that how the saying goes?

Gods and demons, angels and monsters. Tags we assign to things we don’t understand. We expect them to look and act a certain way, so that is how we see them, if we see them at all. Oh, they are as real as you or I. But then, how real are we?

The drip and thrum are soothing here. But the battle is outside the Corycian Cave, and it is my battle. This power, this knowledge has left me no choice. How I wish I could return to simpler times! I remember when . . .

 

Horror Story: Writer Without a Computer

It was early February. One of the best times to submit to agents because the holidays are over and they’ve had time to wade through the “just after the holiday” submissions. I’d been keeping a sharp eye out for tweets announcing a clean slush pile/mailbox. Then, disaster struck in the form of a blue screen.

Okay, no problem. I used to train technical support for AT&T internet customers. I tweaked and sure enough: Voila! back on the WWW.

But wait, what’s this? ANOTHER blue screen within a few days? And another and…

deadpc 1

Well, at least I still had my laptop. Now, to charge that up and… now where is that dadgum cord?

Back to the desktop until a new power cord arrives.

So awful to have to resort to this:

repair-pc-fix-computer

So there I was, late February, with a manuscript that was dying to be sent out (OK, I was dying to send it) and no computer. One can do only so much on a cell phone. Neighbors, or even family, do NOT appreciate you tapping away at 1a.m. with the excuse that your main character is feeling particularly chatty right now and if you stop you’ll lose the muse.

A sad time, indeed.

rest-in-pc

I am happy to announce that I have a new member of the family – a little Asus octacore with 2T of space for my little writings.

LET THE QUERY SUBMISSIONS BEGIN!

 

 

The 5th Annual Augusta Literary Festival

A great chance to meet some of the authors I’ve read.

Natalie D Wilson

I hope you will be able to come out to see me and all the wonderful authors at the 5th Annual Augusta Literary Festival on Saturday, March 5th beginning at 10:00 AM.  The ALF gets better every year and there are so many excellent writers in attendance each year.  See the list below:ALF

The event is held at the Augusta Public Library at 823 Telfair Street. For more information please click here: ALF Website

If you can’t make it to the ALF, I’ll also be at the Columbia County Public Library – Evans Branch with several other local authors on Feb. 20th from 10AM – 2PM for their Local Author Event.

I hope to see you at one or both of these events.

Natalie

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An excerpt

mistyforest2To the right I thought I saw a flash of brightness and I snapped off the light switch. The room plunged into darkness. I strained my eyes to identify what I had seen, but mist lay on the inky night like an opaque negligee that only teased. Nothing appeared to move, and after several tense minutes, I figured I simply had a case of nerves. Sometimes, the boondocks get creepy.

An excerpt from Seven Lamps Were Burning – Coming in 2016