“No One Has Lifted My Veil…”

Mothman Empress. Author image, by permission of the artist, Kevin Ewing.

Until now, that is. Well, here I am referencing the famous interpretation by Plutarch of an inscription he claimed existed upon a statue, lost to time, of the goddess Isis, within a temple in Sais, Egypt.

I am all that has been and is and shall be; and no one has ever lifted my veil.

The broader and very cool cross-cultural mythological interpretation of this idea speaks to the Mystery with a capitalized “M” or the mystery of Nature, likewise regarded in its formal sense. Namely, that there is and always will be something about the nature of things – life, the cosmos, existence itself, what have you – that will always remain a mystery, at least to us. It’s a compelling mythic motif because, of course, it evokes both light and dark energies – divine solace versus existential angst, for instance – that are present and oftentimes warring within us all.

The veil of Isis is a metaphor and allegorical artistic motif in which nature is personified as the goddess Isis covered by a veil or mantle, representing the inaccessibility of nature’s secrets. It is often combined with a related motif, in which nature is portrayed as a goddess with multiple breasts who represents Isis, Artemis, or a combination of both.

wikipedia.org, “Veil of Isis,” retrieved 5.2.2022
Isis, Goddess of Life, by Auguste Puttemans (1866-1922)

Isis wears a veil, a symbol of the mysteries of life. Her right hand carries the torch of life-its three flames represent the past, present, and future. Her left hand holds the key of life.

U.S. National Park Service https://www.nps.gov/places/statue-of-isis.htm

Now, the Mothman Empress or The Empress as she is referred to in the novel, instead of possessing multiple breasts (the sources of life, sustenance, etcetera) indeed possesses what I call “quad-vision” – namely, multiple pupils (which happens to be a real life physiological condition termed Polycoria) but in her case it implies hyper-dimensional sight – she can “see” in multiple dimensions including the past, present and future. And into other minds, too.

She also possesses multiple arms (four to be exact) which is a nod to Hindu iconography. All this is rendered in the image of the Empress appearing in my previous post. Which merely communicates the fun of syncretizing, perhaps shamelessly but certainly intuitively and wholeheartedly, the power of myths and mythic images.

In her original incarnation, the Empress possessed formidable psi-powers, namely telepathy, in association with her oracular or divination abilities. Her tools included the yarrow stalks and coins of the I Ching tradition. However, post-pupation, she has employed (or rather evoked) the ancient and forbidden mothman power of metamorphosis and now possesses (or is feared to possess by, say, Mr. Z.) the ability to seize and control every mind in the cosmos. “No one is safe…” declares a member of the Scarab Cult. Cue maniacal laughter, right?

Meanwhile, I had promised to reveal the original art for the Empress, illustrated in Prisma Color pencil by Kevin Ewing, and here it is. It will form the basis of the final Empire & Oracle book cover, under development as we speak by Kristy Gilbert at Looseleaf Editorial & Production https://looseleafep.com/

Kristy is also responsible for the professional editing and and typesetting (interior formatting) of the novel and after I post this post I am determined to return to my task of proofreading the damn thing so we can finally get put the manuscript to bed, as it were. Below are some images showing what the printed proof looks like, all good, very snappy inside (the cover is a mock-up).

We’re getting there, folks. It’s a ton of work and time and money to indie publish a novel. Don’t let anyone tell you that somehow traditionally published novels are better edited or better produced or better written, either, just because a publishing house is supposed to have bigger and better resources. No. Discard your preconceptions of how automatically terrible and unaccomplished and unprofessional an indie novel has to be and embrace the idea of evaluating a book on its merits wherever it has come from. Because that’s the state of things, these days in the publishing world; namely, that anything goes and it’s a good thing.

As such, I’m not going to be arrogant enough to declare that I’m the best writer in the world and my books are game-changers and they couldn’t be improved but I am confident enough to believe that the Time Crime series deserves its place on playing field. It’s in the game. The hard work, modicum of talent on my part (go ahead and call it merely skill if you must) and wholehearted professionalism is there to be seen and read if I do say so myself.

I’ve spent years writing drafts of each manuscript (the third novel in the series, entitled Maw of the Netherworld is in second draft), a solid year editing this one, 18 months or so getting the art and the design for the book cover nailed down and we’re right at the finish line. Proofreading and final cover design, then, is what’s left. And I’m guessing that within another two weeks, maximum, the work will be done and I’ll have it up on Amazon and soon after, everywhere else via Ingramspark distribution.

“No one has lifted my veil…” she said. Well, here within the Time Crime series, we’re doing our best…!