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Journey to the Town of Ten Peaks

I’m so excited! All of the work for Belphegore comes to fruition tomorrow with the release of my novella and the debut of my new pen name. Right now, I am “rush and scurry” mode, like I’m trying to prepare for the arrival of a very important guest. The thing is, that guest arrived well over a month ago, and my head is still reeling from his visit!

Although my story for him is done, I find Belphegore still frequently on my mind. The soundtrack I created for the novella remains on my phone, and it seems like the shuffle function brings its tracks up over and over during my morning walks. Through their lyrics, I feel like my main characters are still interacting with one another—aching for one another. I can only hope that desire made it onto the page. Is that what every romance writer wants?

One thing I definitely want: to return to the setting of The Altar of Belphegore someday. I don’t mean by setting another story there, either, though that is a possibility. The town of Ten Peaks is based on a real place, a beauty of a vacation spot nestled in the Canadian Rockies. It attracts thousands of tourists every year thanks to the glacier-fed, startlingly blue lake at the center of its nearby valley. The little hamlet itself if no secret… but I will let you figure out its true name yourself. All the better to preserve a little of Ten Peaks’ mystery.

Yet the Valley of the Ten Peaks is more than just a tourist spot. Before white men renamed the summits of the Rockies, those around the great blue lake were known only by the numbers one through ten by the Stony tribe indigenous to the area. They rode their horses in the shadows of these great silent giants, paying homage to them and the rest of nature. Even today, you can still hear the spirit of these immense beings of stone if you take the time to listen. Their voices are in every gust of wind coming down the mountains, in every drop of rain. May your life be full of their blessings!

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Make sure to like and follow my new pen name, Delilah Black, on FaceBook to keep up with all her latest news and publishing releases!

Transitions!

Williambriar.com has become Brassvessel.com!

If you’ve come to my old page, you should be transferred shortly — hopefully with all of the old bells and whistles still intact. The new site remains under renovations, with a deadline of mid-June. For now, I wanted to make sure the domain was transferred.

Delilah is a sassy lady. She’s interested in the Daemonic, like me, but she prefers to pay homage to these spirits through fiction. She’s also my new pen-name, and I look forward to sharing more about her upcoming books very soon.

Who knows? Delilah may end up with a couple more friends as both my writing life and my publishing imprint, Brassvessel Books, continue to evolve. The terrain feels rocky at the moment, but I’m taking advice from friends who have walked it before.

 

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April Domagick Days 29 & 30 – Work In Progress

I fell off posting for a couple of days, even on Instagram. I got a new pair of glasses, and this time the transition has been rougher than usual. I avoided as many screens as I could over the weekend, especially my phone and computer. I continued Belphegore’s invocations and offerings, however. I made a promise to myself to keep them up until the end of his rites on May 13, even though my Domagick challenge officially ends today. That is also the deadline I have given myself to revise his story. After receiving some editorial critique, I realized I have to fix the last section to tie up loose ends and give the character true resolution. (Thanks again, both of you!)

Working with Belphegore has certainly given my career a kick in the butt in other ways too. It looks like this story has produced an entirely new pen name for me—and that demands I finally get around to restructuring my website and coming up with a marketing plan/schedule, two tasks I have been putting off for some time. I’ve already taken a baby step in the marketing department, and I have a feeling that I will have to get this all done in small increments. Otherwise, I’ll swamp myself and never get any writing or magick done. Belphegore has emphasized time and again that true strength requires both balance and stability. I not only need to spread these tasks out over time but keep up my regular writing routine.

Having talked to a trusted friend today, I realized that working with Belphegore has indeed given me some of the emotional strength I was looking for too. It was just hard to see it during the period of transformation and self-alchemy. The issues which were bothering me when I entered the challenge aren’t nearly as troublesome to me anymore. In some cases, I feel I won my battles. In others, I had to figure out it wasn’t even my battle to fight. I was wasting my energy for people who didn’t need or want it. I’ll only make myself stronger by reserving it in the future.

For those interested in my Belphegore-specific Instagram-posts, here are a list of links:

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A Schedule for Me: April Domagick Days 12 – 23

This Domagick challenge is a success! We were supposed to concentrate on self-alchemy, so I chose to invoke Belphegore and work with his energies daily to strengthen myself personally and professionally. In thanks, I said that I would write him a story. I finished that story last Friday. I handed it over to a trusted friend and editor the same day to see what she could make of it. I usually let stories sit for a while before I edit them and then hand them off to someone else for critique and polishing, but this is a different sort of project. I want her fingerprints clearly visible beside mine in the clay of this finished piece. I’m not entirely sure yet what it will become. Regardless of how much work is still required on the story, I need to keep writing fiction the way I have been the last three weeks. It will keep my mental muscles in shape. That way I’ll be ready to go whenever a story idea strikes. I already have a few plot bunnies that need attention, but I can always turn to writing prompts if necessary. The point is to keep my mind limber so switching back and forth between fiction and nonfiction isn’t so much of a problem anymore. There are additional ways I could be strengthening myself as a writer, but if I don’t maintain this base level of “exercise,” none of that will matter. I can only add those other things to my schedule once I get this fiction habit down.

As I mentioned last time, it is far more difficult for me to determine whether I am gaining emotional strength by invoking Belphegore each day. I admit, the issue that was bothering me when I first started this round of the Domagick challenge rarely crosses my mind anymore. However, I’m not sure if I should thank Belphegore for that, or if it was simply a matter of time. There is a lesson in this, of course, and one that has been presented to me many times before: all things are transient, especially emotions. This includes the painful ones, although it may not feel so at the time. Perhaps the strength I have gained was not the type I originally thought, one where I would be able to bear more, or feel less. Instead, it is one of hindsight or endurance.

In my personal life, I have definitely felt Belphegore pushing me to take better care of my health. I had a number of appointments I needed to make, all of which I had been putting off simply because my schedule was too busy. There never seem to be enough time with all that I needed to get done. Strangely enough, as soon as I started making these appointments and committing to looking after myself, my schedule began to thin. It’s not perfect yet, and just like I have to commit to writing fiction on a regular basis, I must commit to only taking on one appointment per week. Otherwise, I will overwhelm myself.

If nothing else, maybe the strength I gained during this Domagick challenge is realizing how much I require I schedule to thrive—plus figuring out how much my current schedule had been out of whack. My new one is quite different, favoring my real priorities and what I want to do over the priorities of other people. I know that there will be some backlash because of this, but I’ve also been reminded that such things don’t last forever.

Today, I invoked Belphegore, meditated in his presence, and made my daily offerings to him. The stones that I hold sacred for him grow darker each day, and I look forward to taking them outside on the last day of Belphegore’s rites.

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The sigil of Belphegore, altered for the day I had an optometrist appointment.

To stay up to date with my day-to-day work, make sure to follow me on Facebook!

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Digging for Belphegore: April Domagick Days 5 – 11

Every day this month, I have been invoking Belphegore and drawing his energy down into myself. This has been an attempt at self-alchemy. I have wanted to transform myself into someone stronger, both emotionally and professionally. In thanks, I am writing a piece of fiction for him.

I always find the success of these workings in the emotional realm hard to judge, especially when I am in the midst of them. I continue to have my bad days and my good days, with stress getting to me on some far more than others. Isn’t that the case for everyone? On the other hand, I’ve also realized that there are certain factors in my life that I currently can’t change. Writing or trying to get any concentrated work done is impossible for me on the weekend, yet I keep trying. Come Sunday, I haven’t gained much ground and I’m much more frustrated than I was before. It’s just not worth it anymore. I have to surrender to the situation.

The same could be said for the story I am writing for Belphegore. I started on one plot, got about 3500 words into it, and knew I was going the down the wrong path. I had the right character (mostly), but this was the wrong story for her. If I kept going, the result would feel forced and lackluster—nothing I’d want to offer to Belphegore. Even if I could salvage what I’d written for another project later on, I knew I had to start his story again. So far, I’ve written 4500 words of it. I’ve been keeping record of my invocations and offerings in brief on Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook during that time.

Really, it’s fitting that Belphegore is an earth daemon because this story feels like being on an archeological dig. I started in one direction, thinking I knew where the buried treasure was, only to discover I’d been traveling the wrong way. Once I got back on track, the route to the treasure remains strewn with rubble. Each day I clear away a bit more, revealing another glimpse of my characters, and I have to take notes on what to go back and edit to keep it in line with what I discovered. I usually am a planner when it comes to writing, but I am “pantsing” this one. Neither is better—either way, my output remains painfully slow.

Be that as me may, I promised I would share snippets from what I am writing. As the story is meant to honor Belphegore, I’ll start with this:

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April 2018 Domagick Days 1 – 4

It’s the fifth day of the current Domagick challenge, this one focusing on self-alchemy. As I mentioned before, this month I’ll be invoking and drawing down Belphegore’s energy to strengthen myself both personally and professionally. In thanks, I will write three pages of fiction for him daily—or try my best. So far, I’ve recorded my efforts on my Instagram, but here is a summary of the last four days work:

Apr 1 / Day 1 – Today’s Domagick work involved invoking and drawing down Belphegore for personal/professional strength, then writing him three pages of fiction.

Apr 2 / Day 2 – Daily divination before my Domagick work: pulled 7 of swords with the Tarot, which I see as thoughts becoming actions, intellect moving into manifestation. Invoked and wrote my daily three pages for Belphegore.

Apr 3 / Day 3 – Work today: invoking and drawing down Belphegore’s energy to armor myself and my friends. Strength includes extending defense when necessary. Wrote his three pages.

April 4 / Day 4 – Today’s domagick was a struggle and the Knight of Wands sums up my day well: scattered energy/focus, frustration – especially at work. Drew down Belphegore but could hardly write three pages. Managed to get out a couple of pages of notes in the wee hours, but I’m still not sure I know where this story is going.

It’s hard to judge the results of this self-alchemy so far for a few reasons. First of all, I’m only five days along in the project, hardly far enough along to see any real results. I know I should get discouraged with my fictional efforts yet. Secondly, I have split my focus, so that will decidedly slow the effectiveness of any results. (Maybe I should have concentrated on personal or professional growth, not both?) Lastly, both art and personal transformation go through ugly stages. I may feel better about certain issues today and awful about them again tomorrow. Likewise, I may think this story sucks today and be happy with it after a little progress. However, while I can finish the story, I may never concretely resolve all the issues tied to some of my insecurities. It can be difficult to judge that except in hindsight.

Also, I know that I haven’t shared any writing snippets yet – I’m just not at a stage where I’m comfortable!

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April Domagick: Strength Through Belphegore

And what else have I been doing besides finishing Daemonic Dreams?

Well, to be honest, I’ve been having mixed feelings about this blog. To start with, I haven’t been treating it very well. I may not have posted here in over a month, but I have been seen other places, notably FaceBook, Tumblr, and Instagram. I don’t think I would ever give up having a blog for one of those places entirely—I simply like owning my own content too much—but I love their convenience compared to that of self-hosted WordPress. They make cross-posting and sharing to other forums easy and intuitive while WP does not. I’ve figured it out an everything, but I hate how much work it is, still, after all this time. It feels so damn clunky and a waste of effort if I am just spitting out a few paragraphs about my daily Domagick work.

That’s all my entries have been for months now, and it is boring the crap out of me. On the other hand, whenever I think about writing about something far more in-depth, I end up staring down at my hands on the keyboard instead, my heart hammering in my ears, hardly able to type a word at all. I am an author, mainly of occult non-fiction. When I tackle the Domagick challenge, I have to post about it in a compelling way if I want to maintain and draw more readers. People come here to read about my writing and my spiritual and magickal journey. I have to put something of myself in my entries to do that.

Yet uneasiness keeps me from doing so. I maintain an uneasy relationship with the internet. Despite the fact this is an open blog, I’m not comfortable sharing most of the details of my life. I’ve struggled for months now with how to write about my spirituality and give the writing meaning without that context. If I don’t find “laundry list entries” for the Domagick challenge interesting (i.e. “meditated for fifteen minutes, talked to Asmodeus, madean  offering), how can my readers possibly do so?

I tried to handle the problem differently in February, when I focused on love and kindness while working with the daemon Asafoetida. During that time, whenever I felt anxiety about sharing too much of my private life on my blog, I tried to extend loving kindness to the people I preferred not to read it. If I couldn’t, I tried to send loving kindness toward myself instead. While I found the process calming at the time, I do not find it helped my anxiety about my blog in the long-term—maybe because I didn’t disclose my full motivation up front. I simply said I wanted to feel better about myself, not why.

This Domagick challenge I am attacking the same problem again, from a different angle, and this is explicitly why. Some people like to be coy about why they blog, but I see no point. I am a writer, and writing helps give me joy and put money in my family’s bank account. I need to conquer my anxiety over this blog for my happiness and my financial welfare. I doubt that I will ever be a superstar, everyday-without-fail blogger, but I want to have a regular routine that I don’t dread. What I have right now is just bullshit.

So.

Today is the first of Belphegore’s rites. I had always planned on working with him during this challenge because he is the feature of my next non-fiction book, but had been vague exactly how. I am tired of letting fate shape me. As a magician, I know that I can shape myself like the iron in the forge. Therefore, each day this month I will invoke Belphegore in his role as Master of Weaponry and Armor and draw down his energy in an effort to strengthen myself,  not only emotionally but as a writer. My offering to him will be a selection of writings that I will offer to the flames at the end of his rites. During that time, I will share something in his honor each day. More than likely it will be a photograph with a brief selection of writing. That means I will more than likely be posting it on FB, Tumblr, and Instagram daily and summing up the posts here once a week.

 

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Daemonic Dreams – Coming Soon

Hey there. Long time, no post! I’ve been busy writing and editing my next book, Daemonic Dreams. I’ve taken a new editor on board, and she pointed out several places where I could expand my original ideas. I had to go back to my original notes! Even so, her advice plus my usual line editor’s keen eyes are truly helping bring Daemonic Dreams together.

By working through the exercises in the book, you can learn to recall your dreams better, plan what you want to dream about in advance, and even control the very fabric of your dreams themselves. More importantly, what your dreams are about need no longer puzzle you, as you’ll have figured out how to interpret them without a dream dictionary. I’ve included rituals involving dream deities from ancient Sumeria, Egypt, and Greece, all in a Daemonolatry context, as well as dream daemons from The Ars Goetia, The Grimorium Verum, and Dukanté Hierarchy. I have also provided nightmare protection and creation rites for those who either suffer from such horrible dreams or wish to terrify their enemies.

Daemonic Dreams is in its final editing stage and should release on the Kindle by April 7, with paperback to quickly follow. I’ll say it then and I’ll say it now: a hundred thanks to those of you who helped get the book to market. I couldn’t have done it without you.