Author: <span class="vcard">Erika</span>

bavarianhut_2Gudrun Mouw will be in Los Olivos this Saturday morning at 11 am to read from her book From Ashes Into Light. Please join us at the Grange Hall at 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave. Books will be available for purchase, and Gudrun will stay to sign copies. Thanks to the Book Loft and the Los Olivos Library for hosting the event!

In case you missed it, Gudrun was interviewed on the Northern California radio program called “Nancy’s Bookshelf.” You can listen online to the interview that aired on April 22nd. But spoiler alert, if you haven’t read the book, you might want to skip listening to the interview until afterwards.


From Ashes Into Light description:

From Ashes into Light is a transpersonal tale of epic tragedy, spirituality, family, and personal redemption. It is told through three distinct voices: the haunting story of Ruth, a Jewish adolescent during Kristallnacht in World War II Austria, Saqapaya, a stalwart Native American from coastal California during the time of the Spanish conquest, and Friede Mai.

Friede is born during WW II to a Bavarian soldier and an East-Prussian mother. As those around her struggle with the inevitable chaos and paradox of war, young Friede opens her heart to gruesome enemies, at times helping her family members escape atrocities.

With war behind them, the Mai family immigrates to the US, where Friede, her veteran father and ex-refugee mother, struggle with reverberations of trauma, suspicion and prejudice. Upon leaving home, Friede meets her spiritual guide and confidant in her fiancé’s Rabbi, who helps her see that the voices from her past are teachers and the horrors of history also contain beacons of light.

Three electric characters weave a narrative of raw consciousness, a moving example of transforming the ripple of suffering through the incredible strength of vulnerability.

From Ashes Into Light

FromAshesIntoLightBookReadingSolvangBlog Tour

There were some really great posts last week for the From Ashes Into Light Blog Tour. Gudrun visited several blogs and gave interviews and a guest post herself. Check them out:

There are just a few more stops in the coming week, we will keep you posted either here on Gudrun’s website, or at my website: Stayed tuned to a link to Gudrun’s first radio interview, which is playing on the 22nd of April. I hope you have enjoyed following the tour, and learning more about Gudrun and the process of writing her novel From Ashes Into Light. It’s been an honor to help midwife her book into the world! If you’ve finished reading the book, don’t forget to write a honest review on Amazon, it’s a huge help to our marketing goals.

Book Event

You are invited to a book reading, signing and questions and answers with Gudrun Mouw on Saturday, May 7th at 11 am. This event will be held at The Grange at 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave. in Los Olivos, California. This event is cohosted by The Book Loft (Solvang) and the Solvang Public Library. Books will be available for purchase.


German CountrysideI told Gudrun I would do a guest post for her this week. She deserves a rest. I had her read her novel one last time in January, to approve the copyedits. At least a dozen writers and literary types have read From Ashes Into Light in the last year and a half as it has been prepared for publication, and there was still one typo that no one had caught. Thanks Gudrun! It was the old i before e except after c, and it almost got through.

Gudrun has read over her forthcoming novel more times that she cares to count. She has always been a thorough editor, first in grad school (English Literature at San Jose State), then as a college English instructor (during the Vietnam Draft days, her classes were packed with men!), as columnist, and as a poet. She says she has always enjoyed the revision process.

When she is writing, Gudrun likes to get out of the way of her work. Meaning, she let’s what wants to come through come through, suspending any judgment or criticism.  Then when it’s time to revise, Gudrun’s emphasis is how it sounds either reading it aloud or in her head. She uses poetic techniques to shape the effect of her passages, deleting or rewriting until the music of the writing appears. People often comment her work has a strong emotional impact and this might be part of the reason.

Of course, From Ashes Into Light required a lot of research too. As a former librarian, Gudrun was not afraid of the library at the University of California at Santa Barbara which provided a lot of the information about World War II and the time of the Spanish Conquest of California. She spent long hours there and lots of photocopying. Then there was the research trip to Czech Republic, the former East Germany, Germany, and Austria. Gudrun got to spend time with some her cousins and visit in person some of the places her characters visit in the book: Salzburg, Magdeburg, the Bodensee, Dachau.

There’s three weeks left until the publication date, and it’s a twilight time. After one and half years for me, and over 20 years for Gudrun, it’s hard to believe it’s almost here. It’s strange working on something for so long that is only going to take two or three days for folks to read. It’s ephemeral. But like other works of art, the reverberations can last a lifetime.

Thanks for tuning in to Gudrun’s Blog. She will be back, probably in two weeks. She’s working on a few guest posts for her blog tour. Gudrun’s blog tour is starting February 22nd, which just means she and her book will be featured on many different blogs as a way of letting people know about her book. There will be reviews of her book, interviews with Gudrun, and a few guest blog posts written by Gudrun for other blogs. Links to this activity will appear here, or on Raincloud Press’ website.

Forthcoming Work The Process of Writing

Fingers crossed, From Ashes Into Light has gone through it’s last rewrite, and the proof is in hand. Gudrun has worked tirelessly to get this version done in time for an August submission to major reviewers. Thank you to all our test readers, especially a few Native Americans who commented on the Native characters in the book, and led to the latest rewrite.


FrntCvrOnlyNewBlueViolet90Beginning August 1st there will be two copies of the advance copy of the book available in a giveaway from Goodreads. Join Goodreads and enter the lottery for a chance to receive a copy almost 6 months before the publication date. We will be doing giveaways up until pub date, so tell your friends, and keep posted here for the latest. If you know any bloggers, radio hosts or other reviewers who might be interested, have them email me (the publisher: for an advance copy!

Expected publication date is now 2/26/16

ISBN 978-941203-07-1

240 pages, hardcover



Erika Lunder

Raincloud Press

Forthcoming Work




To Sri Swami Satchidananda

By Krishnadasi




You say humans have never seen

their own face

only a reflection,

and in those countless mirrors

lakes, pools and rivers

are pictures that don’t exist.


We smile and dance

to world illusions


glass or water clean and still

and pure mind listening,


awake and quiet;

then, you promise

we may catch a glimpse

quick as the heart of a butterfly


moving across our screen.





This poem was published when I was known by the Sanskrit name, Krishnadasi, which means servant of Krishna. I was living at the Santa Barbara Satchidananda Ashram at the time. Later, Gurudev suggested a change in my name to Krishnaprema, meaning the divine love of Krishna, which someone told me was a promotion. I did not, at first, accept this change with enthusiasm, because I was attached to the intense experience which brought about Krishnadasi.


Gurudev noticed my reluctance and teased me about it. Eventually, he wrote to me and explained how he considered Krishnaprema to represent the best way for me to move forward on my spiritual journey. Fortunately, I had already had a change of heart. I was able to embrace his words and have found them to be an inspiration in my life to this day.



A Poem Personal Updates

Click on Paradise Canyon to watch a reading Gudrun did from her new book at her book release party.



A Video

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