Read The Scent of Yellow Flowers for FREE on Wattpad

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Permanence & Choice, The Scent of Yellow Flowers, The Day The Cows Came Home, Twilight in the Firmament, fantasy, novelette, magical realism, paranormal, fiction, ya paranormalFREE ALERT! I’ve got my first fantasy novelette trio coming out in June, and I just put the first story, called The Scent of Yellow Flowers, up on Wattpad so you can check it out for free. I hope you like it. Please let me know what you think. It certainly has a few surprises in it:

Read The Scent of Yellow Flowers, a fantasy novelette by Laura K. Cowan

Welcome to The Transformations Taproom: Serving Up The Surreal and The Sublime

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Sahib, Victorian sci-fi, Victorian fantasy, steampunk, literature, fantasyI’m happy to announce that I’ve finally created a space for readers and writers of fantasy, magical realism, fairy tales, mythic fiction, high-concept sci-fi, surrealism and related genres to hang out and geek out on their favorite topics. It’s a Facebook group called The Transformations Taproom, and you’re very welcome to join us! I’ll still be here and on my own Facebook pages as well, but wanted to create a place for people to relax and enjoy these genres and find new reads. Hope to see you around the bar!

“Welcome to the Transformations Taproom, a virtual bar so surreal no one is ever sure they’re really there. Grab a drink, kick back, and enjoy the reading. Keep an eye on the lounge wizard, though. He’s likely to stick you with an extra limb if you turn your back.

“The Transformations Taproom, a place to share your love of fantasy, magical realism, high-concept sci-fi, mythic fiction, fairy tales, surrealism and other related genres. Find new authors, say hi to our admins The Three Fates (known in sketchier circles as authors Laura K. Cowan, Carina Bissett, and Erika Harlitz-Kern), meet other readers and writers of these magical genres, and generally have a smashing good extra-limbed time. But play nice. We know extra-nasty spells.”

Check out The Transformations Taproom.

Another Triple Book Cover Reveal!

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Things have been a little nuts over here lately, and I am happy to announce that not only will I be able to release my second, third, and fourth books between April and June–even faster than I originally planned–but that I also have three new books in the works that I can now reveal the covers for! Hope you like them, and thanks for your patience. All of these books will be available soon, and then I should hit my stride a bit more here, with a steady stream of new fantasy fiction coming your way every few months. Eep! What a pace to keep up, but it seems to be easier than slowing down. Here they are. What do you think?

Face the Falling, fantasy, book cover, new fiction, fantasy fiction, young adult fantasy, Laura K. CowanFace The Falling

When the military shuts off people’s dreams so that they can forget the great war, their dreams begin to bleed into the waking world. The houses uproot themselves to dance with the trees. Nightmare creatures roam the streets. Reality itself begins to bend and flatten like the page from a book. Sam and Rosa Roseimer discover the possibility that it was their father who initiated this strange experiment on them and on their town, and set out to put the nightmares back where they belong. But a book appears, into which the phantom Nightshades pull those people who can’t face their darkest dreams. Even after they banish the nightmares to the dreamtime, Sam and Rosa still must find a way to rescue their friends and family from the book, a strange and fantastic world in which people’s nightmares balloon into a new reality of war and despair. Rosa finds a way in and attempts a rescue. But can she find the doorway to get out before the world she is unraveling rolls up behind her? Is there any way to banish the book itself before more people become nothing more than words on paper trapped in their own worst fears?

Elementals, fantasy, Laura K. Cowan, magical realism, contemporary fantasy, mythic fictionElementals

An old gnarled oak begins to sprout gargoyles from its dead branches, and they become a special kind of trouble for a town that is already overrun by forests. The air over a waterfall shifts and comes alive as multiple sentient beings, who drag reality this way and that. Fire takes on a personality all its own. Nature comes alive in Elementals, a collection of stories about the magic of the natural world. A companion volume to author Laura K. Cowan’s speculative fantastic novelette trio Permanence & Choice, Elementals brings the magic from the night sky down solidly to earth. A world of fantasy where everything is alive, not unlike a composite form of Charles de Lint’s Memory and Dream in which even art is sentient, Elementals brings new magic to the word “nature.”

Waking Dreams, fantasy, fantasy fiction, American Fabulist, Laura K. Cowan, magical realism, contemporary fantasyWaking Dreams

Dreaming Novelist Laura K. Cowan is back with another short story collection of reality beyond belief. Waking dreams, lucid dreams, snow dreams prescribed for hot middle-aged women–this new collection of fantasy stories about all the ways we dream and all the ways we might takes the reader on a flight through the dreams of people, animals, even trees. Want to know what dreams dream? What happens not just in parallel universes but in parallel dream worlds? You’ll just have to read this lovely little book and hold on, hoping that you’re not dreaming yourself right now, because it would be a pity to forget any bit of these lyrical and strange stories.

Brand-New Shades of Fear Charity Anthology Hits Kindle Top 100

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Shades of Fear, Kindle bestseller, Amazon bestseller, bestselling anthologies, bestselling short stories, bestselling thrillers, bestselling suspense, D.L. Scott, Tom Deady, Dara RochlinHi guys! I have a story in a new anthology out today called Shades of Fear, the proceeds of which all go to pediatric cancer research and patient care. It just hit the top 100 bestselling Kindle anthologies on Amazon, and I would love to see this keep going. If you’re interested in this anthology, full of stories from thrillers to magical realism all about facing down fears, pick it up today to help us push it up the bestseller lists and make it more visible. We would love to help these kids face their challenges with as much support as possible. Thanks! Click on the photo or here to purchase a Kindle copy.

Announcing The Modern Story Project by Laura K. Cowan

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fairytale illustration, monograph illustration, Laura K. Cowan, magical realism, short stories, imaginative fiction

The new publishing industry is a crazy place full of rapid changes, but it offers indie authors such as myself a huge benefit: we can now control our careers and the speed at which we publish. In the last year and a half since finishing my first novel, which took me four years to write, I have written SIX novels and short story collections. And you got it: I’m publishing them all this year, because I’m no one-trick pony. I’ve got dozens more imaginative books to write for you in the years to come: magical realism, speculative fiction, supernatural mysteries, fantasy–all centered around the crazy dreams and imaginative elements you’ll find in all of my books. To celebrate and take advantage of the flexibility of this new industry, I’m launching The Modern Story Project, in which I will regularly publish short stories I’m working on here on the blog. Maybe you’ll even see some stories from my writer friends occasionally, or compilations of unique stories that have been made possible by this wide-open marketplace in which authors are no longer told what to write.

You see, if I were traditionally published, they would say these stories were no good to them after being published on a blog. They would say I had to save up my stories for two years at a time before releasing each new book, in order to avoid cannibalizing sales. But that’s not how readers consume content anymore. (Anyone binge-watched a Netflix series recently?) And it’s not how I’m going to work. So sign up for email updates here or like my Facebook page to get updates, because these stories will be posted whenever I’ve got something to share. Because you shouldn’t have to wait even months to see new stories you want to read and I want to publish. I’ll still collect them with extra content in new collections, but you’ll see the stories unfold here first, in real-time. Maybe you can help me write a few, like I’ve started doing on Pinterest. It’ll be a fun year. :)

If you have suggestions for The Modern Story Project, hit me up. This is all about flexibility, and we can do whatever we want this time around. Digital disruption ftw!

Triple Book Cover Reveal!

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I only just revealed the cover to my upcoming second novel Music of Sacred Lakes, but things have been moving quickly here, and I am excited to show you my next THREE book covers today, all to be released over the next year. This is the year I’ve been waiting for and working so hard toward (and having fun, finally!): in the next few months I will have modern fairytales, imaginative fantasy fiction, and a psychological thriller with supernatural elements (and a romance) to offer you. Maybe even two more books including a psychological murder mystery (you know I’ll fit some crazy nightmares and supernatural psychological elements in there too) and a more YA fantasy novel about a whole town whose dreams bleed into waking reality. For now, here are the next three books, and I’ll be back soon. These blog tours and releases will go quickly, so I can get back to writing more stories. Stay tuned!

The Thin Places, supernatural fiction, mythic fiction, new fairytales, Laura K. Cowan, speculative fiction, short storiesThe Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen [Coming June 2014]

The prayer poems of a bullied girl come to life when read in front of her class as a cruel joke. A young boy asks his mother why she ignores the customers in a mountain town shop, but she sees no one but him. A boy’s faith literally moves mountains, which destroys the life of the Sunday school teacher who doubted him. Reality doesn’t behave quite as expected in The Thin Places, a collection of short stories that explore the thin places between the physical and spiritual worlds, portals, time juxtapositions, dreams, and other possibilities of the might-be-real.

Lone Cypress, psychological thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, supernatural romance, supernatural fiction, speculative fiction, Laura K. Cowan, ballerina, Half Moon BayLone Cypress [Coming October 2014]

What does it mean to be possessed? By a person, by a dream, and by your demons? Shana knows. Shana was a ballerina. At least that was what her mother told her when she moved them to New York and changed their name so she could pursue the dream. But after Shana was kicked out of school for experimenting with new dance forms that could wreck her ballet-trained body, and escaped her stage mom only to fall into a dangerous marriage, all she has left is a list of things she thought she was. The only thing still alive in her spirit is the ballet she wanted to choreograph, and suddenly it has taken on a life of its own. Shana runs, from her husband, from her life, and from the terrifying dreams that insist she make a change–until she runs out of time and must face not only her husband’s hired gun but the monster in her mind.

Permanence and Choice, supernatural fiction, mythic fiction, new fairytales, animal fable, literary fantasy, Italo Calvino, Charles de Lint, Ursula K. Le Guin, Laura K. Cowan, fantasy fictionPermanence & Choice: 3 Dimension-Shifting Novelettes [Coming November 2014]

A young girl chases down clues in a dream maze, shrunk to a tiny size and running for her life from burning dollhouses and flying projectiles at night, while evading the mob’s watchful eye by day. Some most unexpected family friends help her and her mother finally make a break for freedom. Short, sweet, and unbelievably imaginative, The Scent of Yellow Flowers is a story for anyone who has ever been lost and needed to be found.

In the animal fable The Day The Cows Came Home, the farmer’s wife has died, the farmer sells the farm, and the world falls into war. At the abandoned farmhouse, deep in the Finnish wintertime when nothing ever seems to change, the animals are on a quest to understand if time is at an end and they with it–only to discover time itself is not what they assumed.

The Man in the Moon holds on while the grumpy moon tries to shake him off. His friends the stars urge him to jump, but something holds The Man in the Moon in the Twilight in the Firmament. But soon, the universe begins to change, and The Man in the Moon is off on a fabulous adventure to discover the beauty of the existence around him, and how his choices and those of other beings shape space and time.

Pre-Release Ebooks and Signed Paperbacks for Music of Sacred Lakes!

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book CoverMusic of Sacred Lakes will be available on April 26th, but if you would like to support my effort to get not just this literary supernatural novel but another 2-5 books out this year as well, or you just would dig a pre-release e-book or signed paperback with your name in the acknowledgments, click the book cover above to support my mini Kickstarter project to fund the cover art and fees associated with getting this book into the world. I will be posting separate Kickstarters for each books so everyone can support the books they’re interested in. Thanks again for all your encouragement and support! This is going to be an amazing year.

Blessings,

Laura

Cover Reveal! Music of Sacred Lakes, A Literary Supernatural Novel

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Music of Sacred Lakes Book CoverI’m so excited to reveal today the cover for my second novel, Music of Sacred Lakes, a redemptive ghost story about a young man helped back to sanity by the voice of Lake Michigan and the spirit of the girl he killed. What do you think? A number of you gave me great feedback on this and several other options recently, and I did end up picking the one most of you liked, because it clearly conveyed the tone of the story better than the other choices. Thanks so much for your input, and your support of my work! Music of Sacred Lakes will be available April 26, and I’ll be back soon with info on blog tour spots and local appearances. I will also be making the book available for free for a limited time after launch on Amazon, so if you want to check it out, stay tuned!

Music Of Sacred Lakes

Peter Sanskevicz doesn’t belong anywhere. He doesn’t want the sixth-generation family farm his great great-grandfather unwittingly stole from its Odawa owners, and can’t continue his jobs serving “fudgies,” tourists in Northern Michigan who seem more at home than he is. He can’t seem to take charge of things or do anything but make a mess. Then, Peter accidentally kills a girl.

Seeing his life is at risk, his friend takes him to his uncle, a pipe carrier of the Odawa tribe, who tells him he must live by the shores of Lake Michigan until the lake speaks to him. Peter lives and loves and rages by the shores of the great lake, haunted by its rich beauty, by strange images and sounds that begin to pursue him through his waking and sleeping hours, and by the spirit of the dead girl, who seems to be trying to help him. One day, he finally finds an inner silence. And then, he hears what the lake has to say to him. A story about reconnecting with the source of your life and your joy, Music of Sacred Lakes gives voice to the spirit of the land and lakes that gave birth to us all.

With this second and astonishingly sophisticated novel, Dreaming Novelist Laura K. Cowan cements her reputation as one of the most imaginative new American Fabulists, a writer of spiritually-oriented magical realism, literary fantasy, and visionary fiction in the line of Alice Hoffman, Ursula K. Le Guin, or Paulo Coelho, but characterized by an electric mix of lyrical language, an evocative sense of place, and quick-moving narrative that harkens back to a time when literary fiction was served up raw and ghost stories weren’t told for their sad and scary parts.

Available on Amazon and from booksellers April 26, 2014.

Dreams: A Feast for the Mind

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The Little Seer, Laura K. Cowan, speculative supernatural, Christian Suspense, angels and demons, Dreaming Novelist

In The Little Seer, the main character discovers her dreams are encoded with warnings about danger coming to her community, but they’re not all bad. After the storm hits full-force and angels and demons are warring over her life, God calls a time out and throws a banquet for her, dropping her favorite foods into every container she opens on a table in the middle of a gentle valley in her dreams–by way of a tornado.

Dream symbolism. I’ve been meaning to blog on this topic that’s close to my heart for a long time. As I prepare to publish my second novel Music of Sacred Lakes, I would like to take a moment to touch on this subject that is at the heart of my first novel The Little Seer and that touches all our lives, as well as being the basis of so much of my creative work. Like many people, I have had a wide variety of dreams in my life, some mundane, but some powerful and seemingly symbolic pictures of the future that actually came true, as far as I could see, in my own life. In fact, it was one of these dreams that became the nucleus for The Little Seer.

Here’s what happened, and how I discovered the way dreams were woven into my life in a very real way. I was nineteen, engaged to be married to my now husband, whom I had dated through my teen years. We had met in church, and our parents were friends and leaders in this faith community where we had grown up. There was a lot going on, migraines that were becoming chronic, college, moving away from home for the first time, planning my wedding, a dear friend dying in a car accident the day before I got engaged, and then things seemed to go all sideways. Even as my husband and I prepared for our wedding, a scandal erupted in our church. Now, it had nothing to do with the storyline of The Little Seer, and was based in very different circumstances and very different fractures in the foundations of relationships, but this scandal turned into the slow death of our church, with my parents going one way and his parents and other church leaders another, right on top of our wedding. It was a bad time, one that we both remember with sadness and grief even now 11 years later, when nearly everyone we relied on disappointed us all at the same time. This is important to note, and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Six months before our wedding and the church split, I had a very scary dream. I was in our church with my parents, my fiance, my little sister, and maybe one or two other people, when a huge tornado tore through the church, ripping the entire building to shreds and leaving only the half-wall between the sanctuary and the back room of the church intact, with us huddling behind it. (In reality, this is a full wall, but the only real protective barrier in the building behind the sanctuary.) When I woke up, I was scared. The emotion of the dream really stayed with me. And over the next few months, the dream came true, not literally but symbolically. I began to delve into dream symbolism as a subject of study as I had followup dreams with other tornadoes in which I ran around a barren landscape with other church leaders and members and was warned by a voice from the sky to anchor myself in order to keep from being blown away.

What I discovered when I began to study dream symbolism, and Christian dream symbolism in particular, which draws symbols from the Bible as archetypes for messages God has sent people throughout history in visions and dreams, was that tornadoes were a common dream symbol for upheaval and “the winds of change,” often in seemingly destructive ways. Yeah, that about summed it up. I had always had strange dreams, some of them even literally predicting clips of the future before, but this was new territory for me, and the intensity with which I dove into trying to understand symbolic dreams reflected my desperation. My community fell apart, my parents and my in-laws didn’t speak to each other for the first two years of my marriage, I became more and more sick, and my husband and I set off to start our adult lives feeling pretty much alone.

Dream symbolism is a big topic, so I can only touch on some highlights here. If you have been having dreams that you think might be symbolic in some way, whether predictive or just your subconscious trying to help you work out something about your life, here’s one way you can go about decoding them.

  • What images really jump out at you from the dream? It’s often not necessary to record every detail, but if you wake up from a dream that seems important to you, write it down in basic form, and sometimes that will be enough to help the main symbols jump out at you. Were there any animals, numbers, particular landscapes or buildings? There are many guides to understanding these, but the core of this subject is that the natural world is already encoded with certain symbols, like fire for transmuting or destroying things, storms as destructive or cleansing forces, bears as representing fear or the wisdom of hibernating through hard times, and the number three as a number of the triad, perfection in strength and stability, or emphasis. There is a lot of variety in your individual experience of the world, too, so often dream symbols are a combination of universal understandings of meaning and your own private experience. What, or whom, does the dream remind you of? Often the people in our dreams represent the qualities we associate with those people, not the people themselves. Everything can be a symbol, but don’t get overwhelmed with every detail. See the dream as a whole, a big picture of some simple message or feeling about something in your life.
  • What was the tone of the dream? In the case of my tornado dream, I was terrified, and when a feeling like that stays with me when I wake up, it often means the dream is important. I have had dreams where I felt I was being commissioned, or visited by angels, though, and those dreams often leave me with overwhelming feelings of peace. The tone will tell you a lot about any messages in the dream. However, just because I was scared didn’t mean the dream was telling me to be frightened. It gave me enough symbols to figure out how to handle what was coming. The emotion only reflected the fact that what was coming would be very distressing to me.
  • What was the color of the dream? This is not always a factor, but often when I feel I’m receiving dreams as guiding influences to help me through something, the tone of a dream will be normal color, where if a dream is truly a nightmare, the colors are drained out of it. Also, this can change mid-dream occasionally, which can tell you something about what is going on.

A note of caution: When I said that it was important to note that everyone disappointed us at the same time, here’s what I was thinking of. When I first had this dream, I could see how these forces were conspiring to rip my community apart, but I thought that the fact that my parents were with us behind that wall was a sort of endorsement of their position on the scandal. I no longer believe this. Over the past few years, I have learned more about what happened during the split, which gave me a new perspective on how complicated it all was, and now I understand that their presence behind that wall simply meant that we would face the situation and leave together, which is just a simple fact, not an endorsement of anyone’s behavior or opinions. When you have a dream in which you are with someone, resist the temptation to over-interpret it in order to understand. Your understanding of your dream is likely to develop over time.

As I said, this is a huge topic, and one I love to talk with people about, especially when I hear what strange and wonderful dreams they have had. It’s not really single blog post material, but I hope the above points give you some sense of where to start if you’re interested in understanding your dreams, and where my focus on dreams and the subconscious comes from. I would love to hear about your dreams in comments, if you’d like to share. Thanks for sticking with me for this longer post!

Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, and happy dreaming through the darkest day of the year in this Northern Hemisphere. <3

Titles Coming Soon from Laura K. Cowan

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magical realism, fog and sun, imaginative fiction, contemporary fantasy, Italo Calvino, Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Neil Gaiman, speculative fiction, metaphysical fiction, new fiction, new books

I seem to have a problem. While waiting for a decision from literary agents on Music of Sacred Lakes, I have piled up a backlog of six works in progress. A variety of titles that vary from contemporary fantasy to metaphysical fiction to more spiritual literary work, they are a huge leap forward for me as an author. But, the timing of traditional publishing is giving me a headache and frankly may simply not work for someone writing as quickly as I am now. So, I have made a decision. I will give the agent query process one more month while I finish up a new trio of novellas and edit a novel I wrote last year, and then I will either have an agent or decide to self-publish this heap of titles in quick succession. Some of you have been so eager to read these new stories, so I wanted to give you a preview of what’s coming up next. As I said, several other works are also in progress, but these are the books I will be releasing first to follow up on the initial publication of The Little Seer, which is still available in the meantime in paperback and Kindle e-book if you haven’t yet read it. Thanks so much for your support. I will do everything I can to make these titles free at least for a few days so you can take a peek. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Blessings,

Laura

Music of Sacred Lakes

Peter Sanskevicz doesn’t belong anywhere. He doesn’t want the sixth-generation family farm his great great-grandfather unwittingly stole from its Odawa owners, and can’t continue his jobs serving “fudgies,” tourists in Northern Michigan who seem more at home than he is. He can’t seem to take charge of things or do anything but make a mess. Then, Peter accidentally kills a girl. Seeing his life is at risk, his friend takes him to his uncle, a pipe carrier of the Odawa tribe, who tells him he must live by the shores of Lake Michigan until the lake speaks to him. Peter lives and loves and rages by the shores of the great lake, haunted by its rich beauty, by strange images and sounds that begin to pursue him through his waking and sleeping hours, and by the spirit of the dead girl, who seems to be trying to help him. One day, he finally finds an inner silence. And then, he hears what the lake has to say to him. A story about reconnecting with the source of your life and your joy, Music of Sacred Lakes gives voice to the spirit of the land and lakes that gave birth to us all.

The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen

The prayer poems of a bullied girl come to life when read in front of her class as a cruel joke. A young boy asks his mother why she ignores the customers in a mountain town shop, but she sees no one but him. A boy’s faith literally moves mountains, which destroys the life of the Sunday school teacher who doubted him. Reality doesn’t behave quite as expected in The Thin Places, a collection of short stories that explore the thin places between the physical and spiritual worlds, portals, time juxtapositions, dreams, and other possibilities of the might-be-real.

Lone Cypress

What does it mean to be possessed? By a person, by a dream, and by your demons? Shana knows. Shana was a ballerina. At least that was what her mother told her when she moved them to New York and changed their name so she could pursue the dream. But after Shana was kicked out of school for experimenting with new dance forms that could wreck her ballet-trained body, and escaped her stage mom only to fall into a dangerous marriage, all she has left is a list of things she thought she was. The only thing still alive in her spirit is the ballet she wanted to choreograph, and suddenly it has taken on a life of its own. Shana runs, from her husband, from her life, and from the terrifying dreams that insist she make a change–until she runs out of time and must face not only her husband’s hired gun but the monster in her mind.

Face The Falling

When the military shuts off people’s dreams so that they can forget the great war, their dreams begin to bleed into the waking world. The houses uproot themselves to dance with the trees. Nightmare creatures roam the streets. Reality itself begins to bend and flatten like the page from a book. Sam and Rosa Roseimer discover the possibility that it was their father who initiated this strange experiment on them and on their town, and set out to put the nightmares back where they belong. But a book appears, into which the phantom Nightshades pull those people who can’t face their darkest dreams. Even after they banish the nightmares to the dreamtime, Sam and Rosa still must find a way to rescue their friends and family from the book, a strange and fantastic world in which people’s nightmares balloon into a new reality of war and despair. Rosa finds a way in and attempts a rescue. But can she find the doorway to get out before the world she is unraveling rolls up behind her? Is there any way to banish the book itself before more people become nothing more than words on paper trapped in their own worst fears?

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