The Lioness is featured in L&M Hospital’s Online Magazine, First Hand.

The first book in the Urwelt Chronicle series
The first book in the Urwelt Chronicle series

This recent article was written by Bill Hanrahan, L&M writer and photographer, as a personnel profile for First Hand, the L&M Hospital’s internal online magazine.  

Marian Lee, an L+M Hospital Chaplain, is also a weaver – a weaver of themes and cultures and ideas, all of which thread together in the words on the page of her first book, a fairy tale saga set in Wales, in a place called Brumley Hall, where a loving grandmother sometimes morphs into a lioness.

The 219-page book for “Tweens,” or middle-grade children, is titled The Lioness of Brumley Hall; And Her Most Unusual Grandchildren. On sale in the L+M Lobby Shop for $9.95, the self-published work stems from a lifelong literary passion, says August Pearson Benners (that’s Lee’s pen name on the book).

“Ever since I was in fourth grade I just had to write,” Lee says. “I kept journals with words and phrases, and I’ve always been fascinated with word play. I remember writing stories and having my teachers read them and give me feedback.”

That passion took flight one recent summer as Lee tried to decompress after a semester in Tampa, Florida working on a doctoral degree.

“I needed a break from academia,” she said. “Working on my Ph.D. was very intense. I was writing about five papers a semester, all academic writing, and I was reading a couple of books a week. So, over summer break, I just wanted to relax, but I couldn’t not write. I had had this book idea in my mind for a couple of years and it just suddenly all came together.”

While the book is aimed at kids grades 9 to 12, “It’s written sort of on two levels,” Lee says. “It’s a story about a magical family that works together to fight the evil king in the fairy world, so for kids it’s an action-fantasy-adventure. Then, I wrote it for my generation, too, with references that the kids might not necessarily get. So it’s a good read for grandparents and maybe parents as well.”

Themes woven through the chapters include environmental preservation, Celtic mythology, a touch of Buddhism and cultural diversity. There is a boy from a Jewish background and another character who is half Japanese, Lee says.

And, while Lee is a chaplain, “The book is not religious, although it does have spiritual concepts throughout,” she notes.

New to L+M in July, Lee has previous experience as a chaplain in Tampa, Florida. She moved back to the New England area in part because her son is stationed as an officer at the Submarine Base in Groton and because she missed the seasons and family nearby in Maine.

Lee says the work of being a chaplain is something that rivals her enthusiasm for the written word. Like the themes in her book, her work at L+M combines an appreciation and understanding for different cultures, religions and approaches to life.

As for the grandmother who turns into a lioness, that character is partly based on Lee’s own grandmother, an inspiration in Lee’s life. “She’s very present in the book,” Lee says. “My grandmother was a very straightforward, down-to-earth woman, but she often told me of her interesting mystical experiences, too, so she was open to the unseen world of spiritual experience.”

Lee will hold a book-signing at the New London Public Library at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. She is also looking into the possibility of holding a signing event at the Lobby Shop.

And, for those who read and like The Lioness of Brumley Hall, there’s good news. “It’s going to be a series,” Lee says. “I’m already three-quarters of the way through the second book.”

My Book For Sale During Wee Faerie Village Exhibition

FGM-WeeFaerie-VIllage-Flyer1_Page_1-1024x806

Wee Faerie Village 1My book, The Lioness of Brumley Hall, is being carried in the Florence Griswold Museum gift shop during the Wee Faerie Village exhibition. The museum is located in Old Lyme, Ct for those of you who live nearby.  I took the Wee Faerie Village tour last Saturday. Sweet miniature faerie story settings (from Harry Potter to Cinderella) located throughout the beautiful grounds. Many of the kids dress up as you can see. Fun innocent times still exist! If you live near the area, go see this sweet exhibition and give your little ones, kids and WeeFaerieVillage Faeriegrandkids, a wonderful time.

Musical Soundtrack For Your Reading Pleasure! Enjoy The Lioness’s Preface and First Chapter!

Booktrack large

Booktrack allows an author to create a soundtrack for their book.  I created one for The Lioness of Brumley and Her Most Unusual Grandchildren.  Now you can enjoy the preface and first chapter by reading along with a musical soundtrack and audio effects.  Click on the link below and enjoy!

https://www.booktrack.com/embed/04e0973922c14819a38243765fc74b4b

Join in on the fun at Brumley Hall.

“A colorful cast of characters illuminates every page…fantasy in the C.S. Lewis tradition…”  Beloit Magazine

Loness CubEnjoy my new family oriented action fantasy adventure about a magically gifted family pushing the limits of their powers to battle against dark magical forces with surprising results – all in the service of protecting the Faerie Queen and her daughter of the faerie realm of Urwelt. My first book in this middle grade (8 to 12 years) visionary fiction book series, The Lioness of Brumley Hall and Her Most Unusual Grandchildrenintroduces you to the world of Brumley Hall and the Lioness (grandmother matriarch) who oversees the magic, mystery and mayhem.  Grandparents will also find the book an entertaining read, especially to share with a favorite grandchild (yes, I know, every grandchild is your favorite). Gran’s eldest ten year-old granddaughter, Azalea, will keep you “in the know” as she knows everything there is to know about Brumley Hall, except what will happen next!  Join in on the rollicking misadventures at Brumley Hall. Order your print or Kindle book here.

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Visionary Fiction Guest Post on Magical Realism

Magical Realism Art by Tomek Setowski
Magical Realism Art by Tomek Setowski

Revealing the Magical

Today’s post, Revealing the Magical,concludes last week’s post, The Visionary Perspectivein which I attempt to distinguish between the genres of visionary fiction and magical realism—how they differ and where they may overlap.

Magical Realism

The genre of magical realism blends the supernatural or what is typically unseen by human consciousness with the natural and familiar world by using the existence of fantasy elements in the real world. This is not done by inventing new worlds as fantasy books do, but in revealing the magical in this world.

The magical is a common and ordinary occurrence in my book, The Lioness of Brumley Hall, and harnessing these magical elements is one of its key themes. Political critique is often a main focus or subtext used to challenge the reality of established viewpoints. Cultural clashes are part of this critique. The Lioness does this by briefly highlighting the political/cultural clashes between China and Tibet and accessing the Celtic mythology of the Faerie. Continue reading “Visionary Fiction Guest Post on Magical Realism”

My Visionary Fiction Guest Post on Visionary Alliance Website

The Visionary Perspective

The Visionary Perspective

I suspect many of you, like me, struggle to define visionary fiction, not to mention how it differs from magical realism.

In today’s post, The Visionary Perspective, and next week’s post, Revealing the Magical, I will make an attempt to distinguish between the two genres—how they differ and where they may overlap.

An Accurate Place to Land

For me, an integration of visionary metaphysical and magical realism seems to be the most accurate place to land—a combination of the embrace of esoteric wisdom emphasizing the human transformative capacity and the hidden mystery of the magical elements breaking through into ordinary “real” life.

This type of fiction, according to Italian writer, Massimo Bontempelli, attempts to change the collective consciousness by “opening new mythical and magical perspectives on reality”.

The Unseen Within the Visible

Visionary FictionI knew exactly what I wanted to write about for my book, The Lioness of Brumley Hall, but struggled with how to explain it and where to place it on Amazon, Goodreads and even in bricks and mortar bookstores.

I knew the book was not pure children’s literature or fantasy.  My story takes place in a real world setting but with some unusual occurrences.

My main character, Gran, possesses a spiritual consciousness and attitude towards the daily world and tries her best to maintain this perspective in response to the unseen within the visible.

However, I thought it would be more interesting for children, particularly if they lived in the everyday world where magic was a part of their existence and used to achieve a deeper understanding of the transcendent.

Both visionary fiction and magical realism speak to the notion that reality is more than what is seen by what I call consensus consciousness. Continue reading “My Visionary Fiction Guest Post on Visionary Alliance Website”

Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Snowdonia Waterfall
Snowdonia Waterfall

 

 

The Summit of Snowdon
The Summit of Snowdon

Snowdonia National Park is the setting (referred to as the Snowden Reserve in my book) for Brumley Hall and the surrounding parkland, as well as, the faerie realm of Urwelt.  The Faerie especially love the lush green forests and plentiful waterfalls wherein they dwell.  Snowdonia National Park lies on the northwest area of Wales and covers 823 square miles of diverse landscape from the highest mountain in England and Wales to woods with lush waterfalls and natural lakes.  The park is home to over 26,000 people, more than half who speak Welsh, and picturesque villages such as Betws y Coed and Beddgelert.  Snowdonia offers many outdoor activities along with natural wildlife and a strong cultural heritage.  Activities include: hiking, mountain biking, fishing, gliding, ballooning, climbing, water sports, local festivals with Celtic music, poetry and dance, and a trip on the mountain railway.

Snowdon Mountain Railway
Snowdon Mountain Railway

The Lioness took all of her grandchildren on an outing on the Snowdon Mountain Railway train to the Summit of Snowdon, Eryri, Land of the Eagles.  This is also the land of the Faerie, giants and Welsh kings who once held council in these ancient mountains. Soon after the train left the Llanberis station the track crossed the first of two viaducts over the Afon Hwch river with a wonderful view of the waterfall plunging into the gorge below.  Bumbles thought it was a bit too wonderful and had to be yanked back into the train by Azalea before he tumbled through the window.

Ascending by Rail
Ascending by Rail

Soon the grandchildren saw their first “peek of the peak” of Snowdon as it poked its head above the ridge to the right of the train. The train soon passed Car Esgob, Bishops Field and the ruined Hebron Chapel before starting its ascent to the summit through spectacular countryside before finally revealing one of the worlds great panoramas on top of the summit.  Schuyler informed Gran that King Arthur had vanquished the giant ogre Rhita and he is now buried under the mountain.  As long as the giant was truly buried, Gran didn’t mind.  She didn’t need any more intrusions at Brumley Hall to deal with, especially vanquished giants.

Snowdonia Landscapes
Snowdonia Landscapes

Although the Lioness lives nearby with her grandchildren and other assorted guests, I have not been so lucky to visit Wales and this beautiful park.  A visit is on order before the next book in the series is published, the Faerie Queen willing.