Monday, August 14, 2017

C. Rhalena Renee ~ an interview and her novel ~ In the Arms of the Spiral

C. Rhalena Renee

TITLE: “In the Arms of the Spiral”
RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2017
AUTHOR: C. Rhalena Renee
CATEGORIES: Pagan/Romance/Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1543006902
IMPRINT: Craigh Na Dun

C. Rhalena Renee (Lena) writes from the Bardic tradition of teaching stories.   She's particularly committed to teaching psychics, intuitives, empaths and sensitives - what it means to carry their gifts in the world. She weaves her own personal experiences of carrying these gifts into her stories.

Lena's path led from a dreamy poetic young girl to a graduate student in the sciences, to a practical healthcare provider, and finally into spiritual healing, priestessing and teaching. She has found her way to accepting and celebrating all these parts of herself.  She is a wayshower.

Lena lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she loves gardening; healing circles; singing; cooking with family and friends; dogs, seals and crows. Her favorite spots are in a forest overlooking Puget Sound, and on Lion's Rock looking over the 


Q: Tell me one thing about each of the four seasons you like. It can be anything.
A:        Winter = Sharing story or playing games around a toasty fire
Spring            = The awakening earth – I love her surprises in early spring, like purple crocuses suddenly popping through the snow. It’s great anticipation.
            Summer = Getting lost in a farmers market full of crafts, produce and community
Fall = Harvest festivals comes to mind, but I think the one thing would have to be the smell of fall leaves.

Q: If you could morph into any creature what would it be?
 A: A hawk, without a doubt – unless we’re talking mystical creatures and I could be a dragon.
            If you don’t mind me asking, why?   
A: The freedom of flight.  I’d love to experience the power of strong wings propelling me high in the sky, the thrill of soaring with the air currents, and the vastness of the view across the landscape.     

Q: Did you like school when you were a child?
A: Loved it Monday through Thursday. By Friday, I wanted to get out of the rigid structure and color outside of the lines. It’s a challenge for me to play the “good girl or be a high performer. I can do it well enough, but I’m not all that interested in the roles.

Q: Snack of choice – chips, pretzels, popcorn, or cookies, cake, candy? Or maybe you’re a healthy snacker - fruit, yogurt, nuts, raisins?
A: It has to have chocolate! I’ll take dark chocolate drizzled over pretzels, almonds, or maybe tart cherries. I like my snacks best when they’re sweet and salty.

Q: Coffee or Tea?
A: Well, I have to say tea. My characters drink lots of it – and I am very Irish!  I love the smell, holding the hot mug in my hands, and that warm comforting satisfaction of the first swallow of a fresh cuppa.


Q: How did you come to write your genre of choice?
A: I read Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series and was drawn to the characters’ story – not only because it was a good story, but because I found I was learning about myself and my own esoteric talents as I read about their experiences. In the last 10 years, I’ve been working with people who also have these talents. I wanted to give them the same gift I received, but I wanted the story to take place in current times. 

Q: Who's your favorite author?
A: Currently, Elizabeth Gilbert is on the top of the list. I enjoy her willingness to be vulnerable and to share her personal story. She’s very practical and inspiring, especially for artists. I love her perspective about being a co-creator with your projects. It helped me to let go of my own inner critic and to give my characters more expression.

Q: When crafting the story do you go from beginning to end, or do you jump around writing the scenes that are pushing themselves forward in your brain?
A: I follow the story where it wants to go.  Sometimes my head gets in the way and tells me I need to finish one section before I move on – even when the story is calling me to a different place. But I learned early on it’s a waste of time.  It’s like trying to carrying on a conversation with an adult, while your two-year-old is relentlessly tugging on your sleeve.

Q: Which holiday celebrations do you like to incorporate into your stories and why?
A: Wheel of the Year celebrations, like Winter Solstice and Beltane, are key to the story lines in this series. My core characters are Pagans. They live their lives within the rhythm of natural cycles and their major life events are framed within those cycles. The rhythms are practical magic and they use them well.


Q: What are you working on now? Would you like to share anything about it?
A: I’m working on the 2nd   book in the Spiraling Past series. The quest in the first book changed the circle forever. In the 2nd book - Where Are the Beloveds? - Jen, Charles and Lawrence find themselves in new roles within and outside the circle. New characters emerge, bringing opportunities for love. As before, they journey to other times and seek ways to heal the present.

Q: Do you have a new book coming out soon? Tell us about it.
A: I am working on several projects right now. Where Are the Beloveds? is most pressing and will go to my editor in the next couple months.  The other projects are in a different genre and deal with topics for sensitives (people with empathic, psychic and/or intuitive gifts). I anticipate something being released this fall.

The characters are having a lot of fun with me. They In the 2nd book, Where Are the Beloveds?, we get to see Cailleen’s students step into new roles and find their own paths. I had very specific ideas of what those paths would be, but the characters are having their own way about it all. They told me how the book would end and the next begin, before I was just half way through writing the 2nd book.  
Q: How can we find you? Do you have a web page, FaceBook page or any buy links?
A: These are the important ones for finding me:



KEYWORDS: Pagan, Psychic, Empath, Sensitives, Magik, Sacred, Earth Centered Spiritual Traditions

Witch/healer, Cailleen, faces the quest of her life. She must heal her past, save a child's life, and open herself to the uncertainties of love.

At the height of her professional career, the Witch Healer, Cailleen, receives a vision that pulls her into her ancient past. Recurring dreams follow. She must, the dreams tell her, restore balance. She doesn't know how to meet this call, until key past life characters begin to show up in her present life. To complicate matters, a new neighbor makes Cailleen realize there is more to life than her work. She must choose balance not only for the world, but for her own personal life. Can Cailleen allow the help of her closest friends, or will she stand alone, as she so often has. Cailleen must decide if her new neighbor is a distraction, or perhaps part of the key to restoring balance and saving a life.

Still dressed in her wool socks and fuzzy purple robe, Cailleen threw the front door open to give Yvonne a welcome hug and tell her she could just come in when she visited. But when the door swung open, she stopped abruptly. Instead of Yvonne, she stood face to face with a strange man.

Cailleen instantly became aware of her apparel, and closed her robe more tightly around her soft curves. Her hand went to her hair and then to the amulet around her neck. She stood speechless. Before her, stood a man in his early 50’s. His dark, thick hair with silver streaks and a slight wave had been messed by the wind and it softened the hard lines of his face. He was a thinker. She could see that. His face wasn’t beautiful as much as interesting. A tiny scar below his left eye drew her attention and then she saw his eyes and almost drowned. She heard her own intake of breath and then felt Charles’ hand on her shoulder. The stranger’s eyes of deep blue held the depth of the deepest sea. They shifted from her face up to Charles.

He extended his hand to Charles with a smile, but his eyes crinkled with irritation. Charles shook hands and at the same time gave Cailleen a bit of a shake to bring her back from wherever she had gone.

“James McEwen,” the stranger said. “I’ve just rented the bungalow down the road. I think you’re my nearest neighbors. Thought I’d drop by and introduce myself. I understand the bungalow’s been empty for a while. I’m not clear where the boundaries between the two properties lie, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t trespass. Shelly at the post office suggested it might be best if I made my presence known as you have ‘interesting and private goings on up here.’ I’m not sure what she means by that, but she seemed pretty convinced I should follow what she considered basic protocol. I’m new to the area and decided it best to follow her advice with an explanation. I see I’ve called too early. I’ll just go on back to the bungalow.”

“Charles Murphy. This is Cailleen Renae, author, Teacher and Healer. Her work,” Charles explained, “is not particularly conducive to chatty neighbors dropping by on a regular or an unannounced basis. Some of the locals don’t understand the nature of her work. They have unfortunately been turned away when they showed up for a casual chat during a class or healing session.” Charles ended his introduction abruptly and looked askance at James. James nodded and turned on his heal.

“Please, Mr. McEwan,” Cailleen called.

“James,” he said as he turned back to her. She almost lost her ability to speak again when he turned those eyes on her. This irritated her, so she shook it off and focused on his chin.

“James. We’ve actually been up for a couple hours. We had a lot to talk about this morning over tea. Please come in. We’ll make another pot and you can have a cuppa, unless you’d prefer coffee.”

“I really just stopped by to introduce myself. I’ll let you and your husband get back to your morning,” James responded with great formality.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Cailleen almost snapped. “We have no trouble sending away unwanted visitors, as you know. We should know a thing or two about each other as neighbors. Assumptions can be dangerous. My dear friend, Charles, will take you to the kitchen. I’ll be down in five minutes. We were about to make breakfast. You’ll join us.”

With that, Cailleen moved to the stairs with a regal bearing. No stranger was going to come to her home and discomfort her with his assumptions and formality. She’d get dressed and come back to shower him with gracious charm. Then she’d tell him where the boundaries were.

Charles raised an eyebrow as the queen dismissed them. He always enjoyed it when she became irritated enough to pull out the royal act. Unsuspecting mortals were usually slayed by her charm and sent packing before they realized what happened. He was going to enjoy breakfast, he thought. He didn’t much like James’ arrogance or the way Cailleen seemed to feel threatened by him. He wondered why she’d invited him to breakfast.

James watched as Cailleen left them. She glided away with a regal grace, but somehow he had the feeling she was stomping away in irritation. He sure didn’t need this, he thought. He’d come to do a job and to check up on her for an old friend. He sensed her power before she opened the door. Her beauty floored him. Blues eyes and wide impish smile sparkled on creamy skin surrounded by tousled curls. She had such a loving welcome on her face, until she saw him. Clearly she expected someone else. Her eyes went right to his scar and then she looked right through him. He’d felt naked by that glance and his heart had stopped. Then the cavalry came in and he was snapped back into reality.

Charles was more than a dear friend and he made sure James was aware of that. The hair actually stood up on the back of his neck when Charles extended his hand in greeting. Nothing would be casual at this breakfast. He wished he could escape without losing face. But James McEwan didn’t have a cowardly bone in his body. So, he squared his shoulders and prepared to play nice. At least he’d have an opportunity to learn more about this woman healer and her cohorts.

“There’s a hook for your coat by the door there,” Charles pointed. “I’ll put coffee and tea on.”

“I’m happy with tea,” James offered. “No need to make anything special for me.”

“A couple of other guests have a great need for coffee in the morning. So, if you don’t mind,” Charles said, “I’ll go ahead with the coffee.”

Just then Jen breezed into the kitchen in her bathrobe and with a towel around her head.

“Heavens, Charles!” she accused. “You might tell a person we have company!”

“Didn’t know myself,” he muttered. But Jen had already left the room. “She has no manners at all until after her first cup.” Then, without asking James to sit down, he went about gathering things for breakfast. He left the silence for James to break.

James knew he was being deliberately ignored. Charles carried himself well and comfortably. He seemed the sort of man who would be comfortable in a boardroom, a high society social event, or in the family kitchen. Currently he was putting the screws to James to see how he’d handle himself.

The kitchen door opened and a golden retriever rushed at him with tail wagging madly. A large, friendly looking man and the gorgeous woman who’d directed him to the front door followed closely behind.

“Rosey,” Lawrence laughed, “not everyone wants to be your friend. Get down! Didn’t know we had company. I’m Lawrence,” he smiled as he extended his hand. A stocky framed man with red wavy hair and piercing blue eyes, Lawrence left no doubt of his Scottish heritage. He gathered the blonde woman into his left side, a sign that she belonged to him. “This here is Yvonne.”

Yvonne nodded and smiled. “We almost met when I arrived. I’m sorry I didn’t get your name at the time, but I’d just driven for over an hour from the city and finished a large coffee on the drive,” she laughed.

“James McEwan,” he offered. “Nice to meet you both, and you too, Rosey,” he said as he bent down to give her a proper greeting.

Cailleen entered the kitchen in time to see James bent over scratching her dog’s ear. Rosey’s eyes were in the back of her head and her tongue hung out the side of her mouth. At least Rosey liked him, she thought. Then again, Charles was playing guard dog, which pretty much put Rosey out of a job.

James glanced up at the sound of her entrance and then returned his attention to Rosey. She’s nervous, he thought. She was worrying the edge of her scarf. He also noticed she dressed very well for a casual breakfast with friends. She was sending him a message.

So, out of politeness, he took in every inch of her, while pretending to focus on the dog. She wore a soft purple tunic with an ethnic design at the sleeves and hem. A scarf in deep red was draped around her neck in some mysterious fashion that women used. Amethyst and silver earrings peeked out from behind her hair, which she left hanging softly about her shoulders. The same amulet she’d worn earlier hung just above the hint of cleavage revealed by the neckline of her tunic. She wore brushed cotton slacks of a deeper shade of purple. On her feet she wore a sturdy pair of walking shoes instead of the $300 designer shoes he expected.

James smiled to himself. Her message was subtle yet clear: she wore the colors of royalty, the style of a confident, well-respected woman with some flair, and the surprise of functional shoes. “Don’t type cast me” was written all over her. She was complicated, interesting and not to be taken lightly. He began to wonder if the nervous worrying of the scarf was feigned.

“James, have a seat,” she invited with a gracious wave of her hand, then she turned away in dismissal. “Yvonne, so lovely to see you dear.” She gave her the hug she had intended earlier and gave Lawrence a cheeky wink. “I smell coffee and see the tea is just about ready to steep. Everyone sit down. I’ll see what Charles has started for breakfast and give him a hand. Talk amongst yourselves.”

At the sound of footsteps on the stairs, Charles poured a cup of coffee and added milk and sugar. As Jen popped back in, Charles handed her the cup and received a very noisy kiss on the cheek. James got his message. Charles knew these women well and was prepared to take care of them. James deliberately rose and introduced himself. Jen offered her hand. He took it and instead of shaking, turned it and kissed it gallantly.

“My apologies for startling you earlier,” he said with as much charm as he could muster.

Jen curtsied in response. Lawrence raised his eyes as Charles glared and Cailleen quickly turned her back on James. Yvonne giggled nervously.

“I’m Jen,” she said. “I’ll talk more when I’ve finished this cup of morning nectar.” With that she sat down next to Yvonne and leaned toward her in hello.

Yvonne’s thick dark blond hair seemed to reach out and caress Jen’s jet-black tresses. James shook his head at the fanciful idea. These people seemed to be enchanting him. Jen was slightly taller than Yvonne and their athletic bodies seemed to comfortably settle in together. After a brief moment of contact they moved apart. Their actions were very sensual; it suggested a deep comfort and familiarity.

Jen caught James noticing them and lifted her lips in a small smile. James noticed the smile and interpreted it as her believing that he found their actions arousing. But he found nothing sexual in it at all. They were both beautiful women: Jen more lithe and dark, while Yvonne was softer, even though she had a more solid bone structure - a Valkyrie and an Indian Princess. James shook his head again at the fanciful direction of his thoughts.

A brief and uncomfortable silence fell until Cailleen dropped an egg and Rosey barked with glee at her fortune. James immediately rose to assist. Jen and Yvonne nodded their approval. Charles yelled at the dog. Cailleen drew her hand back as if she’d been burned when James accidentally touched her as he tried to grab the shells before Rosey gobbled them up.

Jen clapped her hands with joy. “Isn’t it fun to have guests for breakfast, Charles?” she teased. Lawrence lifted his hand from Yvonne’s shoulder and slapped Jen playfully.

“OK,” she said, “I’ll be good. But it might take another cup of coffee,” she quipped as she pushed her empty cup toward Lawrence.

“While you’re up can you grab plates and silver?” Cailleen requested. “My famous frittata is just about perfect and it looks like Charles has the fruit salad under control. The scones smell like they’re about ready, too. Yvonne, you’ll find cloth napkins in the drawer behind you. Jen, can you grab jellies and jams from the pantry?”

In an amazingly short time everything was on the table and everyone was seated. They’re a team, James thought. They’ve known and loved each other for a very long time. You could tell it by the way they moved together like a well-rehearsed dance. Yvonne was newer to the group. She played but stayed on the periphery – except with Lawrence and Jen. Cailleen reigned here and she’d just made her point abundantly clear. Charming and gracious, but a fortress not easily entered. The boundaries were drawn and acknowledged. Now they could enjoy a delicious breakfast.

An hour later, James left the group with permission to wander the forest at will and an invitation to visit again, if he called first. Rosey walked with him to the edge of his property, then barked in dismissal. “You too, Old Girl?” James shook his head and continued to his bungalow. He’d noticed it was conveniently supplied with an entire shelf of Cailleen’s books and CD’s. He’d spend the afternoon sorting through them. He turned at the sound of Rosey’s bark in the distance. On the hill looking down at him stood Cailleen, her hair and scarf blowing in the breeze. He stood his ground and looked back until she bent and threw the stick Rosey dropped at her feet.


Cailleen could feel the group waiting for her, but she needed a bit of time to herself. She would not spend it considering their breakfast guest. He wanted something, something from her. But that mystery would have to wait. She needed an action plan for the quest that had been laid upon her.


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