Over here on my Pagan/leadership/ritual blog, I thought I’d post my “Acknowledgments” from my book Werewolves in the Kitchen.
What does a smutty werewolf romance have to do with Pagan leadership and community?
There’s a few reasons. The first is that my story takes place at a Pagan retreat center, and the characters are all Pagan. While I don’t go in-depth into that in the book, I find myself fortunate to live in a time–and to be working with a Pagan-owned publisher–where my characters being Pagan doesn’t mean I can’t get published. Or for that matter, me being Pagan and out doesn’t mean I can’t get my fiction published.
The other reason is that my primary inspiration for the SpiralStone retreat center is the experience that I had living out at the Diana’s Grove retreat center in Missouri. Diana’s Grove as it was is now gone, and SpiralStone is a very different place in some key ways from Diana’s Grove, but without the time I spent there, I’d never have had the inspiration for this story, and I don’t know that I’d ever have become a published author.
Over at my blog focused on my fiction writing, I’ve posted an excerpt for my novella, Werewolves in the Kitchen if you want to read more of the story.
It is still very much a Paranormal Romance with magical powers and werewolves and hot sex, and I hope that this brings some acts of love and pleasure for those that enjoy reading something sexy from time to time.
I tried to weave in just a little bit of what it’s actually like to live at and work a retreat center like this. The hard work. The loneliness and isolation. And even though most of what I write is pretty hetero M/F (this particular story is M/F/M) I tried to offer at least the idea that there are many genders, many sexualities. I also reference a bit of sexual ethics regarding staffers and teachers and people in a position of power, and what are some ways to handle that.
I struggled for a bit writing this story, wanting the characters to be true to how they would act, but also to uphold my own ethics and integrity around what I believe is ethical leadership and responsibility, and what effective group agreements might be for a retreat center like SpiralStone. I hope that this story helps to plant more seeds of the idea of retreat centers like Diana’s Grove, like SpiralStone; places that we Pagans can call home, that can be our spiritual centers. That, perhaps as time goes on we’ll get better at running organizations like this so that we have sustainable land for the next generations.
Acknowledgements: (from Werewolves in the Kitchen)
This story, and others that take place at the SpiralStone retreat center, owe a special debt. While this is work of fiction, the retreat center was inspired by my time living in a cabin in the woods at Diana’s Grove. Unfortunately, however, there certainly were no werewolves there, nor flashy magic.
The magic I learned there was far more subtle, the magic of personal transformation and community connection. I want to thank all the friends and community members from that community, because you shaped who I am today. I could not have become a published author without the education, experience, and friendship that you offered to me. You took a lonely, socially awkward girl, and helped her to find her way.
You helped many lonely people find their way.
I want to especially thank the people who have taken up the vocation of bringing that transformative work out into the world. Though the Diana’s Grove retreat center no longer exists, there are many people bringing those philosophies and that magic out to the world.
A special acknowledgement out to The Grove in St. Louis; all of you who come together to do that work have found a way to bring that special magic that I thought was lost.