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Book of the Month > The Midnight Land: Part One: The Flight --SPOILERS ONLY -- Open Discussion group

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message 1: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
Two winners this month. Let's all support both of these books.

message 2: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Awesome! My book is available via Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Lending Library and I will be happy to send anyone a .mobi, .epub, or .pdf version via email.

message 3: by Piper (new)

Piper Gee (pipergee) | 1 comments E.P. wrote: "Awesome! My book is available via Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Lending Library and I will be happy to send anyone a .mobi, .epub, or .pdf version via email."

I would love to get a .mobi to read, if you could send it to thepipes AT yahoo .com

message 4: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Great, I have just sent you a copy!

message 5: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
Hi E.P.,

After some issues with getting your book on my Kindle (100% of which was my fault), I've started reading your book.

So far, I find it intriguing with great writing and character development.

Things I especially like so far:

1.) The introduction and pronunciation guide. (I'm not sure how much I will retain of it, but i like the style in which it was conveyed.)

2.) That this is a matriarchal society, and that men leave the reading for the women as it's too "fiddly".

message 6: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Thanks! Unfortunately I think the Kindle format makes it more difficult to flip back and forth between the main text and the intro, which is what you would really need to do if you wanted to keep track of that stuff. Creating a believable (to me) matriarchal society was surprisingly difficult, BTW!

message 7: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
I think the difficulty we all have as writers with that concept can (and should) be blamed on society. Logically, women are natural leaders, empathetic prone more to compassion and compromise than conflict.

In my first book, the (spoiler alert) alien entity admitted that humans were created thusly:

"Your husband will do it," said Plethanis. "Isn't that your
planet's custom? That the men of your world perform all of the
manual labor, while the women perform dignitary tasks and
fulfill the leadership roles."

"Well," said Bernie, laughing a little. "That's not completely how..."

Plethanis' face went soft. “I'm confused,” he said. “That's how you were designed. Men were given the brute strength, and the women the ability to multitask and use forward thinking. To take charge. To lead. This seems to be the predominate
dynamic at least in your household."

Melody liked this conversation. "Historically, men have served both roles on this world."

"Incredible. I hadn't anticipated that they would even be
smart enough to use their strength to so dominate. So, this is
not a matriarchal society as intended?"

"Okay," said Bernie, putting up his hands. "I will go and
change the tire."

Lonnie turned to him, with a worried smile on her face. "Do
you want me to go out there with you?" she said, and placed
her hand gently on his knee.

He looked at her, hopefully.

"You know,” she continued, "to supervise?"

Bernie growled, and opened the door. "I got this," he said.

message 8: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Gosh, now I need to read that book!

Yeah, I think we as writers lack an appropriate language/code/whatever to write about matriarchal societies, so attempting to do so is surprisingly difficult and prone to error.

message 9: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
I need to step up my game, I know. I've been having sync issues between my phone app and my kindle not remembering my last page read.

Although, I've used the phrase "Send them to the mines" several times when referring to jerky men, so just so you know it's having an effect on me.


message 10: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments :)

message 11: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
well, I've been trying, but I'm not going to finish by the end of the month (I'm currently a little more than a third of the way through) -- However, since we're keeping these "SPOILER ONLY" Groups open essentially forever, I hope that's not too much of a problem.

Oh, let me explain that this is not to say that I am not liking your novel, or am finding it difficult to get through. On the contrary, I'm loving it. It's world building and impressive and involving -- and the writing is rich and professional -- I've just been trying to get my next book completed (since I've been touting it on Twitter.)

E.P. I am loving this book very much. I do have some questions that could start the ball rolling in this discussion.

Is any of this real Russian mythology? The living trees? The cabins in the mysterious dark woods? Or is it all Fantasy. I admit I don't know much about Russian culture beyond its great composers.


message 12: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments I totally understand! I'm definitely aware that it's super-long and also how the new book takes priority (my document is currently sitting open and glaring at me balefully, reminding me that I've only written half a page so far today!). But in answer to your questions, let me see if I can come up with some answers that will make sense of the stew I concocted.

1) Aspects of Russian mythology/fairy tales: The wood spirits (talking trees; leshiye), house spirits (domoviye), and helpful talking animals are all taken from Russian superstitions, myths, and fairy tales. The main difference is that I made the leshiye and domoviye feminine instead of masculine. Gray Wolf (I don't know if you've gotten that far yet) is a major character in one of the most important Russian fairy tales, Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf, also known as The Firebird. I also briefly mention firebirds and snow maidens somewhere, I think, which are all fairy tale characters. The frightening wise women/healers in the woods are based off of Baba Yaga: The prayer trees/prayer ribbons tied to trees are based off of shamanic practices in Siberia.

2) Aspects of Russian culture: The names are based on the Russian first name-patronymic naming style, except that I reversed the genders and gave everyone matronymics instead. The last names all have meaning in Russian, as do the place names. I preserved the gorod/grad North/South distinction in speech (these are all things that probably only a Russian linguist would care about, but I thought I'd throw that out there in case people were wondering). The mysterious dark woods are a major feature in Russian culture, as is the snow, as you might imagine! The cabins are my own invention, but the waystations where you could get fresh horses are not: Pushkin mentions them in his story "The Station-Master," for example. I don't have a lot of descriptions of clothing, for the most part, but the clothing is based off of traditional Russian clothing--if you want to see some pictures of it, you can see actual photos here: and the fairy tale illustrations of Ivan Bilibin: Note in particular the elaborate headdresses the women wore! The references to the Hordes are also based on the Mongol-Tatar invasion and the Golden Horde. The unification of Zem' ("Earth; Land") could be seen as a reference to change from the loose confederation of princes in early Kievan Rus' to the rise of a unified Muscovy under the strong leadership of Ivan the Terrible.

3) Russian literature: I throw in little references to classical Russian literature throughout the text. For example, the "Somewhere far to the South--perhaps on the Middle Sea" that is repeated at both the beginning an the end is a reference to Pushkin's "Stone Guest," where one of the characters says "Somewhere far to the North--perhaps in Paris."

Then a lot of it is just me making up things out of the whole cloth. The actual gods and their interactions with humans are something I just made up: we don't actually know much at all about pre-Christian religions in Russia, although we do know that there are matriarchal societies there.

message 13: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Oh, and these are the pies that the characters are always eating:

message 14: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
Oh excellent. I know loosely of Baba Yaga from Mussorgsky's Pictures on Exhibition, and from Stravinsky the Firebird. (Most of my favorite composers are Russian.)

How wonderful that you also changed the mythology to the feminine as well. This simply adds to the world overview and makes me want to live there all the more.

I enjoy the names, and I'm glad my assumptions were correct that the longer versions hold deeper meanings. What a rich culture you have in this world!

I also imagine the more one gets involved with all the inner meanings and learns the cultural history that multiple readings of this book would each be a treasure trove of nuance.

message 15: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Thanks!!! And I totally love ballet, by the way, although I am grossly ignorant of the music side of things.

Also by the way, when is your next book supposed to come out? I was planning on reading and reviewing the first Melody Jackson book at some point; maybe I could time it just prior to the release of the next book to help generate a little extra buzz.

message 16: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
I'm hoping about a week or two. That would be excellent.

message 17: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Awesome! I'll try to do it next week.

message 18: by B.M.B., melody jackson (new)

B.M.B. Johnson | 45 comments Mod
Yikes, now the pressure is on.

message 19: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 18 comments Well, sometimes there's nothing like a deadline to get things going!

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