Originally posted: January 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM

A new Pagan author was born this week here in Michigan and I was privileged to communicate electronically with an ecstatic Puck Shadowdrake this weekend and I had a few questions about his first (but certainly not last) book;Magickal Manners: Guide to Magickal Etiquette, available on Amazon.com now!

Puck Shadowdrake is a Georgian Witch and High Priest of Ann Arbor's Circle of the Samhain Moon. Some of you may know Puck as a teacher at Convocation and a Tarot reader at Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor. He has also helped out with the occasional ritual hosted by the late great Federation of Circles and Solitaries and was once a member of the local council of the Covenant of the Goddess. This week he added to his vitae with the publishing by Dark Moon Press of his first book Magickal Manners.

It was researching for the “Pagan Etiquette” class he was teaching at Convocation a few years ago that led to the realization that there was no centralized source for information on the subject. “Wouldn't it be nice to have something like this in a book? ” he thought. When he mentioned this to his friend, fellow teacher and author Dorothy Morrison, she said "If anyone could write it, you can!" and, thus encouraged, he did!

The actual writing of the book took 10 years. There were times when he felt burned out and the project fell by the wayside, but his wife, Star and his mother helped him stay on track even though he sometimes becomes so absorbed in writing that they occasionally have to remind him to eat! Puck says that when he writes he surrounds himself with piles of research books and will write for 6-8 hours a day and sometimes, if he's on a roll, up to 14 hours, despite the pain in his hands, wrist and back from sitting at the computer that long!

Puck says he's a natural storyteller and he especially enjoyed sharing personal anecdotes in the book. He hopes that his experiences and advice will help make life a little easier for seekers new on a Pagan path. The book, Magickal Manners begins with information for those new to Paganism with tips for contacting groups and what to expect at your first ritual as well as how to be a good student (and teacher) and how to blend different aspects of ritual. There are also sections pertaining to specific paths including Asatru, Druidry, Reconstructionist, Goth, Vampyr and "Satanic" groups and sections dealing with politics, the media, parenting issues and more! It sounds like Puck worked hard to make Magickal Manners a truly comprehensive guide to etiquette touching on all aspects of the Pagan community!

While Puck enjoyed writing the book, he encountered many challenges along the way. Simply stating that he despises editing his own work is probably an understatement. But he says his wife, Star, is an excellent editor and she and some friends helped him out a great deal. In fact, he credits many people for helping him along the way. The Georgian Tradition for getting him started, the Convocation staff for letting him have the experience of teaching, his mother Phyllis, coveners Sibyl and Tala, friends Dame, Copper, Alex and Michigan's Pagan community at large for being so supportive.

Finding a publisher was also a challenge. In fact, he first submitted his book to Llewellyn and was rejected, dispite some promising early conversations. The book was accepted by Dark Moon Press and Puck says that Corvis Nocturnuum, who worked personally with him on the project, was incredibly helpful.

As a writer, I asked Puck what advise he had for other aspiring authors such as myself. He replied: "Don't let ANYONE tell you that it's a waste of time! WRITE! Write every day! Read books on writing and see what speaks to you. Talk to other writers, and get advice and encouragement from anyone and everyone! Above all, don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do it!"

Puck tells me he has already signed contracts for two more books. A book of guided meditations and a Pagan humor anthology. He is also working on a mystery series based on the Tarot. He is also planning to be at ConVocation again this year, signing books and teaching a class in "Magickal Manners" and plans to teach a Tarot class later on in the year. He invites you to contact him at moc.oohay|ekardwodahskcup#moc.oohay|ekardwodahskcup if you would like him to appear at your shop or event.

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