Pirating and E-Book “Re-sellers”

How can you tell whether an e-book download is legit? Well, the simple answer is unless an author or publishing company offers you a free e-book direct from their website, then you most likely dealing with illegal material. Most people know that the many “free” pdf download sites are really just sites that are trying to install malware and other nasties on your device/system, but there has emerged a new, more legitimate-sounding con: the e-book “re-seller”.

It’s recently come to many Pagan authors’ attention that there are quite a few sites “re-selling” digital formats of their books. Please note that you cannot “re-sell” a digital format of a book. Every book that is sold is protected under copyright, and may only be used and read by the person who purchased the item.  E-book “re-sellers” sites offer illegal pdf downloads of the works. Some of the digital “re-sellers” have websites that look very authentic, and are even using large well-known second-hand platforms that make you think that what they are doing is legal. But please, make no mistake, a “second-hand” e-book is an illegal version.

Publishers sell licensed versions for Kobo, Nook, Kindle, Googleplay and more, ensuring that with each purchase, the author is getting paid for that sale. These are protected versions of the book to be put onto your chosen device. An e-book “re-seller” selling a pdf is not the same (it is not protected in the same way as the above versions are). What’s worse, once a single pdf is out there on the internet, hundreds of sites can then use it for their own personal gains (with nothing going towards the author).

Pirating of e-books is something that is rapidly starting to undermine the publishing industry. What most people don’t realise is that when they illegally download a book, they are putting another nail in the coffin of authors everywhere who are trying to write more books. Most authors these days can’t even afford to have writing as their sole career: it’s very, very hard to make a living as an author. For instance, did you know that the standard percentage that an author gets per book sold is 10% net? That’s net, not gross. So, after the publishers, the sellers and everyone else has had their share, the author gets 10% of what’s leftover. Sometimes that’s just pennies. The percentage is sometimes higher for an e-book, but it is still very much lower than what authors used to take home ten or twenty years ago. With the illegal downloading of books, this throws the industry into a tailspin and it is the author who suffers the most.

Many, many people are feeling the strain of earning less and working more, authors included. Many, many people can’t afford to buy all the books that they want. For some, illegal downloading seems to be the answer. What people might not realise is that the more they do this, the more likely it is that an author will not be able to sustain themselves and, therefore, will stop writing all those lovely books.

So what is one to do? If you are short on cash, you can always use a legitimate e-library, and if they don’t have the books you want, you can always ask them to order them for you. My husband has used the county library’s e-book department and read hundreds of books through them. Libraries pay for the license, and so you can read the material you want legally. As well, the author gets a crust of bread with her soup.

You can also work as a book reviewer in your spare time, and dedicate online places to book reviews such as a website and blog. Then, once you have a legitimate platform established, you can ask the publisher for a review copy, and then write your review (usually sending an email back to the publishers with the link to your review). I have a couple of publishers that I work with in this respect, who send me info on new book releases a couple of times a year. I email them back with the titles that interest me, and then I after I’ve received and read the book, I write up a review. I haven’t had to pay for the book monetarily, but I’ve devoted my time and energy into helping promote the work on various personal platforms. In this way, I am engaging in a legitimate exchange of services for goods. Plus I get real books to keep and put on my bookshelf 🙂

Help keep your favourite authors going through legitimate retailers, libraries and a fair exchange of services. x

Women in Druidry Conference 2021

Yes, it’s back, and I’m very much honoured to be a panelist again for this wonderful event. This year’s keynote speaker is Eimear Burke, the current chosen chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. This online conference is happening on 6 November, so get your tickets now!

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North River Rapids

Here’s the first of several videos that I shot while I was back home in Quebec visiting family for the first time since the pandemic. It was so good to be back, and I’m glad I got the chance to film these videos to remind me of home 🙂 This is a spot where I spent hours as a teenager, just listening to the river and watching the water flow…

And now for some R&R…

The contract has been signed for the next book, the manuscript has been submitted this morning, this video was made this afternoon from footage I’ve been shooting all month, and now I’m going to take a little rest! See you all in a couple of weeks 🙂

Womb energy? Womb Space? Nope.

I have a lovely book which I’m re-reading, about empowering the wild woman within, manifesting her in all her glory. This book is filled with beautiful poetry and great exercises, written from the heart from a Woman Most Wild. And yet – and yet…

It’s one of many books about female empowerment that talks about working with the energy that originates in your womb space. While this book does state that you can do this even without a womb, it still annoys me, going against the grain of my very feminine soul. Like so many others talking about energetic womb space, many in the Pagan community with feminist goals are still being held back by a woman’s reproductive organs. At least, that’s just my opinion. I’m sure many will disagree.

Maiden, Mother, Crone. Right there, we have the Divine Feminine in a nutshell for so many Pagan paths, and yet it is one that is defined by a woman’s reproductive cycle. We are told that we can feel Her in our own womb spaces, whether we still have them or not. She is defined by her womb that birthed the universe. Is the Divine Masculine defined by his phallus? The Cerne Abbus Giant might say so, but his club is a lot bigger.

His name was Cedric Alton.

Even when I still had a womb, before the hysterectomy that gave me my life back after 30 years of living with fibroids and cysts, even then I never connected to the Divine Feminine through womb energy. I knew from a very early age that I would never birth any children physically. I never wanted to. My dolls were my friends, not children I wanted to raise. Even my Cabbage Patch dolls that I wanted so much (because everyone else had one), even then, after the first day I was tired of taking care of them as children, and they immediately “grew up” to become companions. I have never wanted children in my life. A day spent with someone who has young children reinforces this each and every time. I’m too sensitive, I like quiet and peace and being able to have the freedom to do whatever I wish or need to do at any given moment. My womb was never going to be used for what it was meant for.

Before anyone goes all “Lousie Hay” on me, I will stipulate that I firmly do not believe that my desire to not have children caused my condition. I am a staunch believer that genetics, diet, lifestyle and good/bad luck are the reasons for medical conditions. I think that if we begin to believe otherwise, we are instilling a process of blame and shame for medical conditions. Yes, the body and mind are one, and do affect the other to a certain degree, but I believe that this is taken way too far in many people’s opinions that have absolutely no basis in scientific fact. I am a very practical Pagan. I am happy to dance with the faeries in the moonlight and have a great interest in herbal medicine, but I also feel very strongly about getting all my vaccines and using the benefits that modern medicine can provide. Others may feel differently, and I respect their opinion, though I might not share them.

My womb is like my appendix. It’s a part of me, but if it isn’t working properly, it’s better to have it out. All my life I had painful periods, and was only diagnosed as the womb was being cut out of my body and the real extent of the damage from my condition became known. How much of my life was lived in pain I can only attest to now, because I am free from that pain. It’s like having a whole new life. Sure, I’ve got other problems – don’t we all – and I still ache with arthritis and manage my asthma as best I can. But I’ve got my life back. My womb space caused me nothing but pain since puberty. That’s not something I’m going to celebrate. Like an ancestor who caused you pain, you can acknowledge that they were a part of your life, but you don’t have to celebrate them.

Besides, I am more than my womb.

My womb does not make me a woman. It does not make me what or who I am today, nor did it ever define me in the past. I am more than my womb. I don’t and never have fit into the Maiden Mother Crone categories. I am me, a part of everything and beholden to no one thing.

A poster I had on the wall for many, many years: Light in the Forest by Sue Dawe

Was I a “girly girl”? Yes, and no. Labels never really stuck very well on me. As a child I loved dresses and princesses and unicorns. I also loved knocking the ball out of the park when it was my turn at bat on the baseball ground. I played hockey with the boys at lunchtime at elementary school, and I figure skated by myself in the evenings at the outdoor rink. I adore belly dance and the wonderful costumes, but I wear jeans and shirts or leggings for the most part in the rest of my life. The Divine Feminine roared through my veins, but I also heeded the rallying cry of the Divine Male and everything in between. Baseball isn’t masculine, and unicorns aren’t feminine. These are just “tools” we use to put everything into neat little boxes, just like the terms Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine.

Weapons, a chariot and cats. Who needs anything more?

I have loved The Goddess all my life. It began when I was very young, and had a book about Greek myths. Artemis and Atalanta, these two ladies were my inspiration, my guiding force. Artemis, the eternal maiden, strong and free, what a role model. Running through the forests, standing under the moonlight, beholden to no one. That was The Goddess for me, and still is today, though in many other forms alongside this one. I have always loved independent female deity: Brighid, Freya, Morrigan, Andraste. Give me these ladies over an Earth Mother any day.

Some of these ladies are extremely sexual and sensual. Good for them, and good for me and all women! I’ve always embraced my sexuality and sensuality. Combined with the intimacy of a good, strong relationship there really isn’t anything better. But did I feel Their energy in my womb centre? Nope. Not once. Where did I feel Them? In my heart. Always, in my heart. That energetic centre swells just thinking about these ladies, just as it does when I think about whatever it means to be in the Divine Feminine category. Same for the Divine Masculine category. My power lies in my heart chakra, not my womb space. My love for this planet comes straight out of my chest, filling my soul with a brilliant light that guides me through the darkest of nights.

So each time I read a passage in a book, or attend a workshop that mentions moving into my womb space, I just have to grin and bear it, and shift the energy up higher, to where it belongs: in my heart. I am not my womb space, and no woman should be defined by that, whether they have them or not. Perhaps if we drop the labels we give to divinity, and forego Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, then we will truly see that the energy really does emanate from the heart for both, or All, instead of from Their, and our, reproductive bits.

We are star-stuff, as is everything. You can’t define something like that with any more clarity. Or by their physiology. You just have to accept it, and love from that wonderful energy centre that we all have: our hearts.  

Heart energy centre/chakra. Right there in the middle of all things.