Transforming Seattle into a Fantasy Setting

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My first two novels took place in cities I have never visited or resided. And I read articles about becoming familiar with the places where stories are set, even if that meant looking up places in guidebooks.

Then slowly, I set my short fiction in the Pacific Northwest and then my fourth and fifth novels take place mainly in Washington State. And recently, I took a class on world-building for mainly speculative fiction even though authors build worlds for all genres.

This morning I woke up with the idea of presenting my version of Seattle in 2020 where I had set my fifth novel, Enter 5-D featuring Greek gods and other metaphysical characters. Using Seattle as a setting was perfect since I had lived there for 21 years from 1986 through 2007. This gave me inspiration to transform iconic locations into the landscape of my slightly dystopian fantasy based on the Greek story of Orpheus and his bride, Eurydice. And then I added the comical element.

Here are three of my transformational makeovers for Seattle:

The Public Market (aka Pike’s Place Market)

I used this location as an actual farmers market but also this is where I locate my grotto with the oracle stellar jay who is both the animal version of the Oracle of Delphi and the storyteller narrator (Greek chorus).

The story launches with Eurydice visiting the grotto and learning about her fate.

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The Gate to the River of the Dead (and to the Underworld where the musicians hang out), is located in Pioneer Square. And this is the location where Orpheus nearly connects with Eurydice to take her to the 5th Dimension but then his body is drawn back into the higher realm leaving Eurydice gaping. This is the conclusion of a dramatic set of scenes.

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And at any point in the novel, you will find angels and ascended masters driving their electric cars or zooming by on their silver-indigo bicycles on the downtown streets. It’s similar to the movie Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders where the angels were also hovering above or traveling through a major city (Berlin, Germany).

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And I will leave you with photos of Fremont even though Eurydice stayed with her friend Persephone in nearby Wallingford. And some dramatic scenes take place in the University District (I don’t have any photos).

 

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So How is this for world building from an existing city?

 

Photos and text by Patricia Herlevi, All Rights Reserved

Literary Essay: The Unexpected Path

MaryMagdalene PixabayMy fifth novel, Enter 5-D begins with “For Eurydice Dukakis, it wasn’t supposed to happen the way that it did.” So, I thought about this line and the way that it speaks for the current era.

Often I have told people that my life was not supposed to turn out the way that it has. I wasn’t supposed to end up back at my parents’ house in a town I despise. I wasn’t supposed to still be renting apartments and houses after the age of 45. I was supposed to own my home, have published my novels, and feel empowered.

I wasn’t supposed to be sick, be tired, or feel disappointed with the road that I walk.

And others who live in vans or cars could say the same thing. People going through a divorce after once saying the words, “Until death do us part,” also wonder where life went wrong. And yet, a hero’s journey always begins with an unexpected challenge which is actually a calling to expand one’s worldview.

Still, my current life circumstances hardly feel expansive. As I type these words in a room the size of a walk-in closet, I don’t see my outer life going anywhere. As I raise funds to relocate and the money drip into my life rather than pour into it, I just feel frustrated. I relate to my character Eurydice whose life just took an unexpected turn for the worst.

Imagine if your entire life shaped and formed you to become an opera diva and then a draconian government bans all musical expression outside of the political State. Imagine if you also lose your home and are banished to the underground. And this is only within the imagination since I’m talking about a novel.

However, in real life many people are living the implausible because they feel that they did not sign up for their current circumstances. And yet, what is life without an adventure that tosses in the wrench? If we find ourselves always walking on Easy Street, then we cannot grow as people and Easy Street is actually pretty boring.

And yet, many of aspire to the safe middle road, which might not even be the right path for us. In fact, someone else, perhaps the media, prescribed the middle road. And we just went along with the program until…until something happens.

And that’s how all great novels begin with an insight or an incident. Authors know that they must use some kind of gravitational force to get their characters moving in a different direction. And while we’re not looking for a rollercoaster experience, we do need to write peaks and valleys.

So, whether the character starts out the story living in a car or watching his wife pack her suitcase as she prepares to leave him, what seems like a restrictive beginning later leads to expansion, but only after all the deep inner work has been accomplished. And so it is with real life too.

As with all my novels, my characters do much soul work. And I’m reminded of the lines from the movie French Kiss where Kate tells her former fiancée that when she walked around the streets of Paris penniless, she did some deep thinking. And she came to the realization that there is never a relationship that is safe enough, etc… Life only brings us constant change and it’s a matter of getting with the program of transformation. A story without transformation or metamorphoses is not a story. Rehashing one’s circumstances is also not a story. It is cheap drama. Boring. Draining.

And it’s the same with our “real” lives. Without change we die and even death is transformation from the physical into the ethereal. Think of the rocks that become sand due to the friction of the sea.  Think of the worm becoming a butterfly. None of this is easy and all of it is painful but we find value in sand and with butterflies.

Even though we sit in our rooms lamenting the shape and form of our current lives, know this. If we do the soul work and if we read the hero’s journey often, we’ll know that life forces are shaping us so that we find our true paths and then, and only then, we expand into the vastness of the Universe.

There are no happy endings. We experience happy moments. And life always churns out more circumstances that shape us. And as life shapes us we feel poised for the next chapter in our lives. It’s best to approach life circumstances with an open mind and an open heart.

While my character’s story begins on a tragic note it ends with transformation. She ends up living a life she would have never imagined. And Eurydice would never have met intriguing people or learned of her courage had she not traveled down the unintended path. And she only had two choices–to go with the program or to fight it every step of the way and not transform.

I am an author, astrologer, and creative coach. Learn more about my spiritual work at Metaphysics 4 Everyday Living or Whole Astrology. Sign up for a session at Whole Astrology.

Write It–Geeks for Greeks

Orpheus

When I was around ten or eleven years old, an elementary school teacher bravely introduced our class to the pantheon of Greek gods. I’m pretty sure this was done through the telling of Greek myths. However, with my obsession for superheros or humanoids with special powers to shape-shift and transform, discovering the Greek gods and goddesses felt heaven-sent.

Then when I was a bit older, I saw my mother digging through an old steamer trunk that held her mementos from her childhood and young adult years. A collection of Catholic saint cards fell out of the trunk and captured my attention. Again, I learned that these humans also had “special” abilities in that they created miracles. So, as I grew into an adult, my subconscious mind started mashing saints, superheroes, and Greek gods into a creative stew.

So, when the ideas for “Super-Natural Heroes” and “Enter 5-D” drifted into my conscious mind, this all felt familiar to me. Without getting too astrological on you (the reader), I was born with my Moon in Pisces–the dreamy sign that is most likely to gravitate towards speculative fiction of the more fairy-unicorn-superhero variety. While I have never worn a superhero costume or even T-shirt as a child or an adult, I enjoy humans stepping out of any limitations or as they say in the spiritual communities, stepping outside of the Matrix.

Sure, people could say that super humans don’t exist until they meet a shaman who can shape-shift into a creature. Shakespeare’s Hamlet also spoke of the extraordinary experience we can experience on Earth.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

So, what’s the point of my blog post? Sorry, I’m having another one of my this is your brain on Neptune moments. Greek gods bring magic to my writing. They bring hope that there are other worlds still worth exploring. They also show us the wreckage caused by power-hungry ones which provides cautionary tales for our political elite who some times act like the Titans residing on Mount Olympus.

I revisted the Greek pantheon and its victims because they mirror the world we currently reside. And I chose to take a humorous approach simply because I’m so tired of this dead seriousness which has taken the planet hostage. Don’t you know that humor raises the vibration? And that scientists have proven that we are all made up of vibrations. So, if this makes me a geek for Greeks, so be it. I’m having a good time learning from human errors too. And I’m also a geek for Shakespeare.

Watch my latest narrated chapter from Enter 5-D.

An Author’s Itchy Feet (Writing Hiatus)

Orpheus

In September I put my 5th novel away, with the idea that I would return to it by the beginning of October. However, I’m still living in a temporary housing situation and I don’t have the space to work on the edits and rewrites of that novel, Enter 5-D. It would help if my Patreon campaign attracted patrons as that would allow me to at least spend more for housing while I write.

I have also looked into renting a room from a professor by circulating notices around the university campus. I try not to think about my novel because when I do I’m hit with writer’s remorse and other gremlins.

If you are an arts patron type and looking for someone to support, either contact me via this website or go to my Patreon campaign page and make a pledge. And tell your friends and colleagues too. Enter 5-D has commercial potential, unlike my other novels. And who knows, maybe some day you’ll say that you got in on the ground floor. Shooting for the moon.

http://www.patreon.com/BelleAuthor

Progress for Enter 5-D

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I’m still plugging away at my 5th novel Enter 5-D which is basically an ascension story featuring ancient Greek gods and characters set in contemporary Seattle. I’m calling it magic realism, but really it falls into urban fantasy light. I also think of the novel as a Harry Potter for adults due to the romantic elements.

I would like to say this is my first time at writing spec fiction, but in 2005, I began writing another novel in this vein, Super-Nature Heroes that featured ancient saints and holy people with the story set in modern Manhattan. You can find the synopsis in the tabs above.

Since the planet is shifting and since I am a metaphysical practitioner it seems fitting that I write metaphysical novels on the lighter side. I even poke fun at Pluto and Hades. While I find the novel entertaining thus far and I promise a snappy ending no one will forget any time soon, I embed sacred geometry and spiritual messages to awaken readers.

The due date for the rough draft is October 4 or thereabouts. At that time, I will look for beta readers and take a month break from the novel. Then I will go back and do rewrites and edits. In the meantime, I still accepting patrons for funding on Patreon. I encourage you to support this future best-selling novel. Your name will appear in the acknowledgements. And depending on how many people support the novel on Patreon, I’ll send you a signed copy of the book upon publication. I can do up to 10 of those.