Introducing: The Familiar

Title: The Familiar
Author: H.J. Courtright
Publisher: Literary Art Publishers
Release Date: May 28, 2006
ISBN-10: 0974486620
ISBN-13: 978-0974486628
Paperback: 87 pages
List Price: $8.95


Frederick, an artist, attempts to escape the memory of his wife's tragic death by moving to the mountain village of Halo. There he transforms a century old barn into a gallery and studio. He resumes painting, only now, all of the female images he creates are in the likeness of his departed wife. One rendering having an overwhelming resemblance to her is of a half-human lioness.

He pays little attention to stories of slaughtered animals and livestock, until on a hot summer night, while sleeping outside on the front stoop, he awakens to find himself face to face with the beast of his painting, and he soon discovers the tie binding them together is far stronger than mere paint and canvas.

The Familiar, a variation of the beauty and the beast theme, is also an experiment in role reversal, for in this story, beauty is the beast.

About the Author:

Harold was raised as far into the country as one could get in New Jersey in the 1950’s. Some of his favorite memories involve walking or fishing by himself or with his father at a nearby brook. Even though Harold’s father passed away when he was eleven, he never felt alone during his continued explorations, and the woods remained his closest friend. His experiences in nature soon led to an affinity with earth-based pagan religions.

Harold met his wife Rita in 1978 during the course of a previous field service job. Rita introduced Harold to the earth-based Celtic ceremonial religions of Wicca. Harold found that Wicca validated his deeply felt spiritual beliefs. After studying Wicca, Harold felt that there was something missing. He felt the need to reach back further than the early Celtic era and identify with something from our most ancient history. As he searched further, he came across Native American Shamanism. Harold believes, “…shamanic practices are the reason we believe in an after-life at all.”

After years of study, Harold now performs shamanic healings and divinations for individuals. He has also led souls who have passed on to the brink of heaven to be received by the Great Mother. He believes a critical aspect of shamanism, before and during his journeys, is self-study. During the course of a journey, a shaman can see him or her self as no one else can, thus gaining important self-knowledge and confidence. Harold explains, “Shamanic practices require courage to accept what you see.”

The style of Harold’s writing is what separates Soaring Eagle from other books on Shamanism. The lyrical and rhythmic prose of the novel allows the reader to be an intrinsic part of the unfolding story. In contrast to Harold’s left-brain day job as a maintenance supervisor scheduling technicians who repair trains, he delivers ecstatic and poetic prose that soars like an eagle.

His current novel is titled The Familiar and is a recasting of the timeless beauty and the beast theme. Once more his vivid imagery draws the reader into the character's world of loneliness and emotional pain, and once more his unique view of the human experience bonds with his ability to weave a stunning tale in which love lasts forever, and beauty is the beast.

Harold’s wife Rita fully supports his writing and publishing career. Today Harold enjoys his solitude while doing woodworking and taking long walks and country drives with his wife. Harold’s next novel will be released in the spring of 2007 and is titled The Horn of Unyk.

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