Category Archives: Emily’s House

A New Award for Emily’s House: Pinnacle Book Achievement Award

I got notice this week that my first novel, Emily’s House, received a Pinnacle Book Award in the Juvenile Fiction category! The Pinnacle awards recognize excellence in Independent Publishing. I’m thrilled, of course, to receive a recognition for my “first born” book and labor of love. 

The award feels almost as good as the Reader’s Favorite 5 Star award that it received earlier this summer.

Awards are nice but nothing compares to happy readers. The nearly 2 Million reads of Emily’s House on Wattpad as well as the votes and comments – that’s what it’s all about. Readers that enjoy the adventure, the mysticism, the action of the book. The readers who “get it.” That’s what keeps me writing.

But I’m happy to accept the awards too 😉

If you’d like to read an excerpt of Emily’s House, you can do so here on my blog. Just click this link.

Thanks to all of my readers and blog followers for your support! 😀

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Sci Fi Friday: The Science Story of the Century You Probably Have Heard Nothing About


EmDrive, illustration by Elvis Popovic
I scratch my head as to how how journalists decide what’s newsworthy. Why do people living in caves know about Justin Beiber’s legal troubles yet few have heard about NASA’s recent success with a new propulsion system that could take a manned ship to Mars and back in eight months?

I heard about this a while back when the Chinese announced that Prof Yang Juan had successfully shown that British scientist Roger Shawyer’s so called “EmDrive” created thrust without a propellant. The system uses electricity to generate microwaves that bounce around a closed space and generates thrust. The implications are huge. Panels could convert star energy into electricity – perpetual space travel fueled by the stars.

But scientists in the west seemed less than excited by China’s news. It was less than a blip on the radar of mainstream media.

This is how Wired.co.uk explained Shawyer’s system and what critics have said about it:

Shawyer claims the EmDrive converts electric power into thrust, without the need for any propellant by bouncing microwaves around in a closed container. He has built a number of demonstration systems, but critics reject his relativity-based theory and insist that, according to the law of conservation of momentum, it cannot work. (wired.co.uk, “NASA Validates Impossible Space Drive,” July 31, 2014, David Hambling.)

EmDrive, Image: SPR Ltd.

Fortunately, an American, Guido Fetta, had a similar propulsion system that was pitched to NASA and they finally ran the tests on the Cannae drive. NASA’s test of the engine they called “impossible” showed that not only does it work, but it would allow humans to travel freely about the solar system without the necessity of carrying a liquid propellant.


Here’s a bit about going to Mars: 

The Nasa paper projects a ‘conservative’ manned mission to Mars from Earth orbit, with a 90-ton spacecraft driven by the new technology. Using a 2-megawatt nuclear power source, it can develop 800 newtons (180 pounds) of thrust. The entire mission would take eight months, including a 70-day stay on Mars. (wired.co.uk, “10 Questions about NASA’s ‘impossible’ Space Drive Answered“, Aug. 7, 2014, David Hambling.)

What the what?

Here’s something that really gets me about this story. Scientists believe that Shawyer’s science defies commonly understood laws of physics. But they have yet to prove that it doesn’t work! 

So multiple experiments by different organizations are able to create a machine that defies the current understanding of physics yet it’s still “not proven”?! And as far as I can tell, getting little attention in mainstream media (but being talked about in the science world).

It seems to me that scientists should be excited about this. Physicists were jumping up and down (literally) when CERN announced that they’re “almost positive” that they’ve discovered the Higgs Boson, one of the holy grails of physics (and the main reason they spent billions on the LHC). Don’t get me wrong. The work being done at the LHC is cool stuff (so awesome I included it as a plot point in my first book, Emily’s House).

But come on guys. You have a few (relatively) tiny experiments which defy your current laws. That means there is new physics to understand here. And in the grand scheme of human existence, potentially finding a viable way to propel ourselves off this dying rock and into space in search of a new home is pretty fucking exciting. And useful.

What do you think? Am I celebrating prematurely? Do you think this could be the answer to our question of how to get to space?

SAFECon 2014 a Huge Success

I had a great time this past Saturday, March 20, 2014 at SAFECon in Prescott Valley, Arizona at the public library. For a smallish town, Prescott Valley turned out a nice crowd for this first annual event. It was a free event geared to teens, but people of all ages showed up. I particularly enjoyed seeing the creativity and hard work that the teens put into their cosplay. SAFECon provided me yet another opportunity to meet and talk story with wonderful tweens, teens and adults as well. I love my job!!

A special shout out to Jamie. She’s a mom with a young, budding artist. Jamie’s eyes got moist in the corners as she talked about her daughter’s art – an obvious pride in her voice. What impressed me was Jamie’s devotion to her daughter following her dream and doing what she loves. So often, parents and other adults try to steer their children away from careers in the arts. It’s understandable. Living the life of an artist can be one filled with rejection, pain, and poverty! It is (often) not an easy life.

But Jamie is a mother who recognizes the joy that creating art brings to her daughter. And her daughter won second place in the art contest at SAFECon! Congrats!

I also got to chat with reporter and writer Patrick Whitehurst who was kind enough to mention me in his news story that appeared Sunday, 3/20 in the Daily Courier. Here’s the whole story:

3/30/2014 6:03:00 AM
Sci-fi, Anime, Fantasy, Etc. convention for teens draws fans, authors, artists 
Patrick Whitehurst/The Daily Courier
Assassins Creed cosplayers Geoff Schoen and Joe Ashton show their skills during Saturday’s SAFECon at the Prescott Valley Public Library.
Patrick Whitehurst/The Daily Courier
Assassins Creed cosplayers Geoff Schoen and Joe Ashton show their skills during Saturday’s SAFECon at the Prescott Valley Public Library.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Joel Adams slinks by the audience dressed as Slenderman, a malevolent phantasm.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Joel Adams slinks by the audience dressed as Slenderman, a malevolent phantasm.

Patrick Whitehurst
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona – Darth Vader walks into a room next to Princess Daisy from Mario Brothers.

That isn’t the opening line of a joke, but a description of Saturday’s Sci-Fi, Anime, Fantasy, Etc. Convention (SAFECon) at thePrescott Valley Public Library. Crowds dressed in a variety of costumes, and some participated in a “cosplay” costume competition. The event, geared toward teens in the quad-city area, featured workshops, panel discussions, a martial arts exhibition, art competitions and refreshments.

Artist and illustrator Samantha Violette attended to share her anime and comic art with those in attendance. She traveled to the con from her home in Tucson. She produces her art primarily in watercolor and pencils. Her art can also be seen online at http://www.samanthaashleyviolette.com.

As a fan of comics and anime, Violette attends conventions throughout the state.

“It’s for work, but it’s also a hobby of mine too,” she said. “I think conventions are great. It’s a chance for like-minded people to get together, to make new friends and find common interests.”

While small compared to other conventions she’s attended, Violette said she enjoyed meeting new people at SAFECon.

“I was very impressed by how well-organized it was,” Violette said.

Other attendees for the event included comic book artist Dave Beaty, graphic designer Alec Kozak, and Natalie Wright, author of the popular Akasha Chronicles trilogy that began with the book “Emily’s House.” Wright chatted with a number of fans during Saturday’s SAFECon and made a few new ones along the way.

“I like meeting people, so I enjoy talking to everyone. I especially enjoy meeting young people who use their creativity to express themselves,” Wright said. “This convention is particularly cool because it’s devoted to teens.” Wright’s novels focus on teens. A complete list of her books can be found at http://www.nataliewright.net.

Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier

Celebrate Read an E-Book Week and Deep Discounts on The Akasha Chronicles

Hey, did you know that it’s Read an E-Book Week? To show my support of the event, I’m offering DEEP discounts on the e-book versions of my books at Smashwords.com. Click on the link to download all three books of the Akasha Chronicles in the e-book format of your choice (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, etc.). 

Emily’s House is FREE! (usually $2.99)
Emily’s Trial is $1.50! (usually $2.99)
And Emily’s Heart is $2.00 (usually $3.99)
The coupon codes are shown on the book pages.

But hurry. On 3/9/2014 the prices will return to normal retail.

Hop on over to Smashwords and enjoy the great deals authors and publishers are offering for one week only 🙂 And thank you for your support of this event.

Happy Halloween, Samhain and Day of the Dead!


~Halloween

~Magickal Graphics~


SamhainIf you follow my blog, you know that Halloween is my favorite time of the year. And I made sure to have both of my first two books take place during this spookiest of seasons!

In Emily’s House, Emily and crew traipse around an old, Irish graveyard at night during a full moon with ravens squawking. And Emily’s timing is perfect. She attempts to open a portal to the Netherworld on October 31 when the veil between the worlds is thinnest.


Emily’s House may have a chapter titled “Things Go Bump in the Night”, but if you really want to get your scare on, check out  Emily’s Trial. In Emily’s Trial, Emily and friends once again lurk in a graveyard on Halloween. But when Emily tries to open a portal, things don’t go as planned. Emily’s Trial is set in a world of terrors where worst fears come to life.



Emily’s Trial, Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles
by Natalie Wright

In the upcoming third book, Emily’s Heart, I didn’t set the book during Halloween. Instead of focusing on one spooky day, the entire novel is set during an Apocalypse. Terror is Emily’s ‘new normal’.

Emily’s Heart, Book 3 of the Akasha Chronicles
by Natalie Wright, Launches Feb 1, 2014

In celebration of Halloween, let’s get some scare on. Please enjoy the trailer and just after it, an excerpt/teaser of Emily’s Heart, launching February 1, 2014.

Happy Halloween, Samhain and Day of the Dead!

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Here is an Excerpt from Emily’s Heart, Coming February 1, 2014!


The Apocalyptic
World
Isabella ran swiftly.
Her long, sandy brown hair swung from side to side as she gained distance from
it. She was surefooted, not a wobble in her step. She’d make it to her house
and safety. A hundred more yards to go. The shadow that followed her was quick,
but she had been quicker. Today, anyway.
Fifty
yards from the door. Her mother waited on the other side of that door, ready to
embrace her, smooth her hair and tell her, “It’ll be okay, baby.” Fifty yards
to go.
Her
choice to run had been pure instinct. A cold, clammy feeling overcame her. The
shadow seen out of the corner of her eye. A small but powerful voice inside
beckoned her to run.
But
less than fifty yards from safety, Isabella’s curiosity made her turn her head.
She had to see. Her mind had to understand. A casual look behind her to see
what could create such a long, wide shadow.
In an
instant as fleeting as one flap of a hummingbird’s wings, she saw it. The
shadow, darker than any she’d ever seen. A shadow that was not just a product
of the light from without but something that came from within. And the shadow
was connected to a man.
The
moment Isabella glanced behind her, her eyes met his. She had wanted to see,
and she saw. The man’s eyes were completely black and devoid of light. His thin
lips were pulled back in a terrible smile that revealed perfectly even, white
teeth.
In
that moment, Isabella knew. She knew that she had looked into the face of a
devil. Maybe not the devil, but into
a face as evil as any human has ever seen. Into the face of the demons that she
had worried might lurk under her bed at night. Isabella looked into the face of
the bogeyman and into the face of death.
She
knew she would never reach the door. She knew that she’d never see her mother
or father or her dog, Smarty, again. She knew that she’d never again kiss her
baby brother’s soft, downy head.
Before
Isabella could scream, cry or utter a single protest, the shadow was all around
her. It enveloped her. She felt as if the air had been forced from her lungs,
her screams unable to take flight in the airless void. She heard her backpack
fall to the ground, but it was muffled, as if in a dream. She knew her eyes
were open, but she saw nothing but darkness. She was smothered by a black so
complete that she was suddenly unsure whether she was standing up, lying down,
or floating in a dark cloud.
Her
skin prickled as she felt the shadow caress her. She knew a person couldn’t
feel a shadow. Her brain told her it was a dream. Shadows don’t kill people.
But as she thought this, the squeezing of her lungs increased. The soft caress
of the dark shadow gave way as it pinched and pulled and slapped at her.
Dread
spread throughout her tiny body like a supersonic cancer. The fear cut through
her like icy knives. As her terror grew, so the shadow’s grip tightened. It was
in her ears, her nose, her eyes and her mouth. She swallowed the shadow like a
pill, and it dug deep, deep, deep into her.
The
shadow filled her. She was so cold, bereft of warmth.
The shadow will kill me, she thought. As the cold spread and took
over every cell of her body, she prayed for death. She prayed to God to let her
join her grandpa in heaven.
Her
small body could take no more. The shadow had used her energy. Her prayers were
answered. All was done. Her tiny, cold corpse littered the ground as the shadow
swept down the sidewalk in search of another filled with light.

The lovely Abby Flores is featuring me and my novel, Emily’s House, today on her blog, Bookshelf Confessions. It’s part of her month long anniversary celebration. Happy Anniversary Abby! She has a lovely blog and does tons of great giveaways. So be a good bunny and hop over to visit her where you can enter  to WIN a copy of Emily’s House.
Bookshelf Confessions

Happy Mother’s Day!


Mother's Day Comments

~Magickal Graphics~

I remember (vaguely!) the days before I had a child. Back then, fear for me came in the form of the things that go bump in the night. I was afraid of the things I couldn’t see. I’d bring down the blinds on the windows promptly at nightfall for fear that I’d see beady red eyes looking back in at me (thanks to the movie The Amityville Horror).

But as soon as I held that dear little baby girl in my arms – no, even when she was still inside me – fear took on a new meaning. It’s not even that fear doubled – now fear for my own safety as well as hers – but that what I was afraid of changed.

Before I had my daughter, I didn’t spend much time being afraid of other people. But I recall clearly the first time I took her to a park to play and seeing a lone man loitering about and having my “mother alert” go into high gear. If I had been by myself – before child – I probably wouldn’t have given that guy a second thought.

Germs, pools, electrical outlets, driving in the car. Before a child, none of these things were on my radar as a daily danger. After a child, these common daily things became fuel for daily nightmares of “what ifs” and cautious safeguards.

It wasn’t like I was cavalier and reckless with my life before I had a child. I’m not one to skydive, bungee jump and generally throw caution to the wind with massive risk-taking behaviors. But after I had her, the meaning – and importance – of my own life took on a whole new meaning.

And with each passing day of her life, my fear for the loss of my own life grew. What would happen to her if she lost me?

It was in fact out of that question – that nagging fear always present in some part of my brain – that inspired my characters and some plot points for my novel Emily’s House. You see I didn’t lose my own mother as a child (my mom’s still living large at age 72). But I imagined what it would be like for my daughter who loves me so much that sometimes it makes her cry with joy (she’s a sensitive emotional little soul, just like her mamma, and not yet a teenager!).

My life took on new meaning for me when my daughter was born. I mattered to her, more than anything. I was important to her, more than anything. And because she mattered to me, more than anything, I began to matter to me more too.

I know as she grows older I will become less the center of her world. She’ll always love me big of course. But in time her peers and then boyfriends and perhaps some day her own sweet child will take over that place in her heart where once I lived – big and warm and all of everything.

And someday maybe she’ll look into the eyes of her own sweet baby and see in the love there a new meaning to her own life. And she will treasure it all the more.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 5 Tips for Celebrating Spring as the Ancients Might Have


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Fantasy Comments & Graphics

The bacchanalian holiday celebrating all things green and Irish is just around the corner. But did you know that St. Patrick’s Day traces its origins to an ancient rite of spring known as Ostara? Long before there was green beer, Leprechauns with pots of gold and crockpots full of corned beef, ancient peoples paused in mid-March to celebrate the coming spring.

St Patrick's Day Comments
Because the ancient Celts passed on their traditions, histories and stories orally, little is known of the ways that the Celts honored the passing of the seasons. But the coming of spring is a reason to celebrate and our penchant to party this time of year may well be a rite of spring going back thousands of years.

If you’re tired of green beer and cabbage, here are five tips to help you connect with the ancient roots of Ostara and celebrate the coming Spring the way our ancestors might have:

 1. Sweep and Rake: Get out your broom and sweep away the leaves and dust blown in by the winter winds. Rake up the old leaves mushed onto the grass by the snow. Clear away the dead things left from fall and winter to make room for the new growth of spring.
 2. Tend Your Garden: Roll up your sleeves, grab your spade, and get your hands dirty. Even if your garden is a high-rise patio, tend to the plants in your part of the world. Snip the dead blooms, prune, feed, water and show the green things in your world some love.
 3. Take a Hike: Preferably with your sweetie. Enjoy a stroll through the neighborhood park or hike into the forest or desert near you. Take in the signs of the change from cold, dead and dreary to warm, blooming and colorful. Who knows, maybe the time together in the great outdoors will kindle the fires of romance.
 4. Create a Feast of the Season: Make an outing to a local farmer’s market or, if there isn’t such a market near you, check out the produce at your neighborhood grocery. What’s in season? What’s fresh? Collect your bounty of the season and cook a Spring Feast.
 5. Party! Share that feast that you lovingly prepared with your friends and family. If it’s warm enough, take the feast outside and party in your garden. End your evening with a fire to warm the hearts of your guests. It doesn’t have to be a bonfire. Build your fire in a fire pit, chiminea or fireplace. Or if none of those options are available to you, light some candles. The warm glow of the fire’s embers call to mind the warmth of the coming season.


Fairy Comments & Graphics

~Magickal Graphics~

Emily’s House, Book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles, with its setting in both modern and ancient Ireland, is the perfect read for the St. Patrick’s Day season.

Emily’s House, Book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles, by Natalie Wright


The Celtic Origins of a Modern YA Quest

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My first book
series, The Akasha Chronicles, incorporates ancient Celtic mythology and magic
into a story about a modern, teenage girl. I’ve been asked how I researched the
Celtic aspects of the series and came up with the magical elements. Here’s the
story of how The Akasha Chronicles acquired its Celtic flavor.
When I first
conceived of Emily’s House (Book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles), I was not a
writer yet! It was during hypnosis that was supposed to help me lose my baby
weight that I had a vision of a golden armlet hovering over rolling green
fields. (BTW, hypnosis does not help you to lose weight. Apparently, sitting in
a chair, half asleep does nothing to boost your metabolism 😉 I couldn’t get
that golden arm bracelet out of my mind!

I began scouring the
Internet for pictures of the golden object I’d seen. Before long, I came across
a photo of a torc – the golden armlet! And from there, I began reading all that
I could find about ancient Ireland and the pre-Christian Celts.

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Though I wasn’t
actively writing fiction at that time, the more I researched, the more a story
began to develop in my head. My research about ancient Ireland led me to
Brighid, an ancient Goddess.
I came across a
story of an order of women that were the keepers of the flame of the goddess
Brighid (pronounced BREE – id). The story goes that these Druid women
worshipped the goddess Brighid, whose symbol is a column of fire. It is said
that no men were allowed into their cloister, and any men who ventured into
their grove were cursed. I loved this idea of women with powerful magic.
Interestingly, once
Christianity displaced Druids on the Emerald Isle, the group of women who once
worshipped the goddess, Brighid, became a group of Catholic nuns who honored
the Saint Bridget. They kept that sacred flame going for many generations. But
during the Reformation, it was decided that tending to the fire was too pagan
and it was ordered that the flame be extinguished.

I had the opportunity
to visit Kildare, Ireland and the ancient foundations of the original abbey
still exist – the place where the ancient flame was kept alive! It is one of
the oldest, continuously used worship sites in all of Ireland, and has a legacy
as a sacred site dating back into the Celtic times as well. In 1993 in the
Market Square in Kildare, the fire of Brighid was re-lit by Mary Teresa Cullen,
the then leader of the Brigidine sisters. Since then, the Brigidine Sisters in
Kildare have tended the flame. Here is a photo of the ancient foundation at St.
Brigid’s Cathedral in Kildare.

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The story of the
goddess Brighid and the order of women who worshipped her inspired me greatly.
I took the ancient Celtic mythology – and the story of the women who kept her
flame alive – and tweaked it to fit my needs. When you read Emily’s House,
you’ll recognize The Order of Brighid as a reference to this ancient order
rumored to have existed prior to the modern Christian times in Ireland.

In addition to
hundreds of pages of Internet articles and Wikipedia pages, I also read a lot
of books that inspired the Celtic aspects of the series. Here are a few of
them:



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Despite pages and
pages of research and information, much of the Celtic mythos in my novels is of
my own imagination – a melding of some of the juicy facts mixed with my own
creations.
For example, my
character Lianhan Sidhe (pronounced SHEE) is based on a mythical Celtic
creature. In the ancient myths, Lianhan Sidhe is a beautiful fairy with a
dreadful power. It is said that most men cannot refuse her, a beautiful muse
who offered inspiration but at a price – most men who become her lover go mad
and die prematurely.
I tweaked the myth
quite a bit in Emily’s House to create my own version of Lianhan Sidhe, a
beautiful – but deadly – creature.
And you may have
heard of a Banshee. I came across research that suggested that Bian Sidhe
(Banshee) and Lianhan Sidhe were sisters. Two beautiful, but potentially deadly,
faerie sisters of ancient Ireland. I had to use that in my story!
But the Celtic
influence didn’t stop at just the ancient backstory portion of the book. I
wanted to use it in the modern story as well. Much has been written about the
connection between Druidic practices and philosophy, and ancient Vedic
tradition of the Brahmins. West meets East. The Vedic tradition of India can be
traced back over 10,000 years. During my research, I found the parallels
between the ancient philosophies of India and the more modern Celtic thought
fascinating. The combination of the two philosophies led to the chapters where
Emily receives training in the Netherworld.
I spent over three
years reading books, articles and Wikipedia pages while writing Emily’s House!
Despite countless pages of research, a small fraction of what I learned was
used. As you read Emily’s House and Emily’s Trial, you may wonder what is real
and what did the author create?
 



Emily’s House is FREE this Week!

St. Patrick’s Day is coming, its emerald green putting us in the mind of Spring and all things Irish. What better way to celebrate the season than with a Celtic-inspired read?


My Spring gift to readers is to offer Emily’s House, Book 1 of the Akasha Chronicles, FREE for the next five days 🙂


Click on this link to go to Amazon where you can download it gratis. And pass it along! 


Oh, by the way. Reader reviews make authors squee 😉 So please, after you’ve read Emily’s House, please be kind and leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and anywhere else where book stalkers lurk.


Thanks so much and Happy Spring!


P.S. Click this link to go to a page with my latest Giveaway 🙂