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Category: Urban Fantasy

Defining My LIfe – Defining Moments Don’t Have to Define Your Life

Defining My LIfe – Defining Moments Don’t Have to Define Your Life

Defining My Life

Defining my life fell into two separate and distinct periods of time; life before my daughter was born with a terminal disease and the path life took after. The single defining moment for me, was that second, that single moment before she was born (via C-section) and that long moment when I realized she wasn’t crying, that something was very wrong.

It sticks with you, these defining moments. Sometimes you can find yourself as a victim of the moment and let it drag you under, or you can use the moment to step forward and redefine your life and your dreams.

I fell somewhere in between. I found a way to move on, to raise my other daughter, have another child. While moving on, I seemingly found myself a victim of my circumstance, stagnating and letting that single moment define who I was.

Re Defining My Life

I read Harry Potter. I loved Harry Potter. It did more than entertain; it woke up a passion in me that I hadn’t realized was there.

That, coupled with a meeting of a former classmate at a twentieth class reunion, forced me to look at my life and the choices I made and something inside of me changed. I no longer wanted to let life and the bad things define how I lived my life. It was time for me to take control.

I remembered for the first time in years, that I had a dream. One that I cultivated since I was seven years old. I wanted to be a writer.

Writing That First Book

I tried over the years to write a book. I stopped at chapter 1 or paragraph 1, never completely understanding how to craft that story. Never really understanding what it was that I even wanted to say.

But this time, the jealously that my classmate was a published author and my sadness that had accumulated over a lifetime, forced me to open the book and really think about what story I wanted to tell.

It wasn’t very good or very long and it took many attempts to reach the published versions I have online. I look back at the first time I typed “The End” on that very first draft and I can’t help but be proud, I can’t help but realize my life is no longer defined by one single event.

Now I’m Defined

Now I’m a writer, who is a mother, one who lost a child. I write about the loss and how it affects me, but not as a single defining moment. It happened and it makes me sad and it always will. But it won’t always make a victim of that circumstance. I finally found the confidence to truly move on and I now weave those emotions and memories into my writing to give it depth and meaning. I’m no longer defined by it, I define how I use it to motivate and move on.

 

 

 

 

Gracie Madison Feels the World – Chapter 1

Gracie Madison Feels the World – Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Even though Mom and Dad no longer live in the same house or even the same state, they still can’t communicate with each other. Mom screams through the phone; her shrill voice vibrates through the vents. I don’t know if she realizes that even as she hides herself in the bathroom, cocooned by the shower and the walls and the doors, we can still hear her half of their latest argument. I can only imagine what Dad’s voice sounds like through the phone.
I take a deep breath and text my best friend, Molly Malone, even though it’s 10:30 p.m.
Dad must be mad and shouting back at Mom, because now I hear her sobbing. Screaming and sobbing. It’s not so different than when they were married. Only now we hear the one side, and the aftermath is cold and lonely.
When Mom and Dad divorced, Dad took a job in another state, found a new girlfriend, and moved in with her and her kids, leaving us behind to deal with his mess. I know it’s hard for Mom to raise us by herself; she’s often too exhausted to deal with us, with me. Much of her time she spends hiding in her room.
I hate when they do this.
Molly texts me back.
I’m so sorry sweetie, she writes.
My ten-year-old sister, Shay, is huddled in her room, rocking herself on her bed. The squeaky coils on her mattress are loud. I should go and see her, but I have my own way of dealing with Mom and Dad’s fights. And right now, I’m hiding under my covers behind my closed door, wishing the fight would just stop.
You can call me if you want, Molly writes without waiting for me to reply. I can barely speak; this fight is one of my parents’ most intense. At least it seems to be going on longer than normal.
Though these arguments and the tension never seem to bother my brother Jake, he’s up. Maybe he’s listening to music to drown out the phone call. I hear the pleather of his beanbag chair squish when he adjusts himself in his seat. He normally appears as though he can easily slip inside his oasis of dirty socks and wadded up garbage that never seems to make the waste basket when he takes a shot. He never seems to emerge from his room tired or even affected at all by the fight or the rant or a punishment.
I click on Molly’s phone number and listen to the phone ring and ring.
Maybe she fell asleep.
Whatever they were fighting about is nothing more than hiccoughs, sighs, and whispers through the wall right now. Anxious, I wait for the other shoe to fall. The finale of their fight always comes, and Mom is always frustrated in the morning, yelling at us as if this is our fault.
It probably is.
It comes in waves, the arguments they have. Mom complains and whines about something; Dad makes quips that piss her off. They push each other’s buttons. I have no idea why they even married or what drew them to each other in the first place. I can barely remember what it was like before the fighting.
“Hi,” Molly says when she finally answers the phone.
She’s groggy, I just woke her up, and now I feel guilty for bothering her.
“Sorry. I shouldn’t have called,” I whisper.
Mom is quiet before the big finale, and my stomach roils in pain at the stress of it. I pull the covers up around my head. It’s hot and stuffy under the blankets, but at least I hear only whispers of the argument.
“No, Gracie. You can always call. I’m so sorry.”
Molly Malone, my best friend since second grade, always finds a way to be there, even when we should be sleeping. Sometimes her overbearing personality is annoying, but sometimes, I just need to reach out to her because she cares—and it sometimes feels that no one else does.
“Are you okay?” she yawns into the phone.
I shouldn’t have called.
“They’re fighting again.” I sniffle and choke. I didn’t want to cry in front of her. I can’t help it. This time is just too much, and lately this seems to be the only thing I can talk about.
Molly must hate when I bring it up.
A new wave of the argument starts. Mom is loud, confident, angry.
“I’m so sorry they do this to you. Doesn’t she know you can hear it when she hides in the bathroom? They’re not being good . . .” Molly’s now awake and indignant, but she refrains from finishing that sentence.
They’re not good parents.
She doesn’t want to say it, to make me feel worse then I already do. I can always count on her to be on my side.
“I should just tell her we hear everything.” I cry out. Across the hallway, Shay climbs off her bed.
“You need to speak up for yourself. Parents just don’t get it,” Molly says. I find it funny because Molly and her mom are close and always have been. Molly sometimes doesn’t get it. Tonight I don’t care.
“I try, but they don’t hear me. I have to do all this stuff, and they don’t listen. It’s not fair. I’m only fourteen. I shouldn’t have to do the dishes, cook dinner, do my homework—and when I’m trying to sleep, I get this!” My voice is whiny. I’m so tired. I’m so angry.
“Gracie. I’m so sorry. This really sucks,” she says. “We need to do a sleepover. You need to get out of there.” Molly’s voice is reassuring. Before the divorce, when it was still tense in the house, I would hide at her house whenever I could. Whenever I didn’t have to babysit. It was safe at Molly’s house.
My bedroom door squeaks open. I poke my head out of the blankets; my bedroom light blinds me. Moving over, I hold the blankets up and make room for my sister, who snuggles in beside me.
“Thanks, Molly, but I’ve gotta go. It’s late, and I’m so sorry for calling.”
“Call me any time. And get out of there. Come over this weekend.”
When we hang up, I toss my phone on the bedside table, switch off the light, and let Shay sleep beside me.
Sometimes I wish I were her age so I had someone that I could nestle up to when it got really bad. And I feel badly for her because all she has is me.
“Why do they fight?” Shay asks in her little-girl voice.
“They don’t live together anymore and don’t see each other, so I don’t know why,” I say because I really don’t have an answer. I used to think Dad hated Mom so much and that it was why he abandoned us. I never really connected with Mom.
She grew up pretty and popular, a cheerleader and good student. I’m just me, with no special interests or skills; we really have nothing in common. Dad always understood me, and he would talk to me. But now he’s no longer interested or he’s too busy with his new family. I no longer blame Mom.
“He doesn’t love us anymore,” she sighs. I wish I could tell her that isn’t true.
When I look up, Jake leans against my doorway, his shadow accentuated by the streetlamp outside my bedroom window. This time the fight affects him greatly; he too doesn’t want to be alone.
“You can sit here with us,” I say to him. I feel his skinny little thirteen-year-old-boy frame sit beside us; the mattress barely moves. All three of us haven’t been close in a very long time, but tonight we are equally paralyzed, sad, unable to do anything to make this fight stop. I recognize the look in his eyes. They’re the same as mine and as Shay’s. We do nothing more than stare at each other as the last of the fight rolls through the house.

****

EH . . . EH . . . EH . . .
The alarm clock buzzes, cutting through the darkness; I tremble from the intrusive noise waking me from a dream. My fist slams the off button, and I stay under the covers enjoying the last bit of silence before I realize that Shay must have left my room long ago.
Her footsteps pound down the hallway and the stairs, through the kitchen until I hear whistles blowing from the television in the den. The nautical tune wafts up to my bedroom through the air ducts—and just like that, Shay has started her day as if nothing had happened the night before.
Like clockwork, Mom enters her bathroom, and within minutes, the shower springs to life. Water crackles softly against the stone floor like a spring rain does against the roof. My eyes flutter closed. I have to force them awake as the shower shuts off.
Damn!
Knowing that I’m running late now, I throw off my blankets. Cold morning air nips at my exposed skin. Once I click on my bedside lamp, I jolt awake before I hide myself back under the covers and pretend this day hasn’t started yet.
I shuffle to my dresser and pull on the fake crystal handle, which comes off in my hand, when it pulls apart from the screw. Not in the mood to deal with the fourth broken handle this month, I toss the plastic bauble on my bed and shove my hand into the completely filled drawer.
I need to clean this out!
I tug and pull, loosening the items in the drawer and whipping them out until half of my belongings are strewn across the floor and bed. The jeans I want aren’t here.
They must be in the laundry!
I glance at the clock and panic. Running out of time, I throw on the next clean pair of jeans, a skinny pair that slips down around my hips. As I see myself in the mirror, I sigh. I hate this body. It’s too thin and bony, though according to Molly that’s a good problem to have, and I should be a model.
Ugh!!!
In another drawer, I find a clean yet slightly wrinkled T-shirt and stretch it over my head. My eye spies a stray thread, and of course I yank on it until most of the hem is gone.
“Crap!” I toss the string on the dresser, grab my favorite hoodie, and run to the bathroom.
My hand shakes as I pull the brush through my frizzy, unmanageable hair and frown at my pale, make-up-less face wishing I knew how to fix myself up. Even if I did, there’s no time this morning. Barely brushing my teeth, I find myself with just enough time to pull my mop into a ponytail. I grimace in my mirror; overnight, a new pimple broke out on the tip of my nose, and my hair is still a mess.
A model, right . . .
I sprint down the stairs.
“Hurry up!” Mom shouts from the kitchen, probably impatient from her lack of sleep. Sliding across the wood floor, I grab the breakfast bar she holds for me. She grimaces and sighs. The dark circles under her eyes make me think she didn’t sleep at all last night.
When her phone rings Mom glances at it and runs off to take the call. Her response is terse, the conversation quick. It’s probably the boss she hates, or maybe Dad is calling for a second round.
With breakfast hanging between my lips, I thrust books and last night’s homework into my backpack and zip it shut.
“I’m going to be late tonight,” Mom prattles on behind me. “You’ll need to make dinner.”
I always do! I scream in my head as Jake saunters in, his hair mussed perfectly, his white shirt untucked and slightly wrinkled, looking casual and easy.
“Why are you wearing that?” Mom asks.
“It’s clean.” He shrugs as the bus honks.
“Gracie, don’t forget dinner!” Mom calls after me as the three Madison children run for the school buses.
****
“Here.” Molly hands me a muffin. It’s misshapen, not like the ones you get at the grocery store all nice and packaged. This is homemade.
“Thanks,” I say and place it neatly in my backpack. We’re not allowed to eat in class. Molly sits beside me. Her mouth is tightly shut, and her jaw is clenched.
As Mrs. Fowler, our math teacher, writes out a new formula for us to remember and soon forget, Molly turns to me.
“Can you come tonight for dinner?” she whispers before she pulls away to take notes.
“I have to make dinner,” I say. I start to copy the new formula, but it’s confusing and fuzzy, so I take to doodling pictures instead.
She starts to say something. I know she wants to say, “What, again?” but she doesn’t because Mrs. Fowler turns around to watch the class—as if by studying our faces she can tell if we understand what she just said. Molly means well by offering support. She just doesn’t understand because her parents are married, and her mom works part time. I sigh and force my attention on Mrs. Fowler whose eyes meet mine. They warn me to pay attention. This material is important and on the test. When she turns back to the board, I glance at Molly. Her worry is palpable, especially around her mouth, which purses shut. I offer a wan smile before digging into the newest math.
****
Normally Molly and I eat lunch together, but today as I leave math class, Mrs. Fowler hands me a note strongly recommending I see her at lunch. My math grade is so bad that I’m not even failing math. I have something lower than an “F”—a “G,” maybe?
Starving, I munch on a candy bar and open the door to the math department office, a smallish space shared by six math teachers. Their desks, three in a row, face each other. It lacks privacy, it lacks intimacy, it’s a little depressing.
I’d hate to work here.
Mrs. Fowler sees me and smiles—not too big, not too small, just enough for me to see her perfectly white teeth. It’s a nice smile, and I’m less nervous when I sit down beside her.
“Hi, Gracie. Thanks for heeding my message. Is everything all right?” she asks when I place my bag at my feet.
“Yeah. Everything’s fine. Why?”
I know my teachers know about my parents’ divorce, whether they heard from me or my mom. I’ve never been asked about it before, though.
“I know it’s been hard, since . . . well, you know. I just want you to know we’re here for you. The teachers. We want to make sure you have what you need to succeed.” She pulls out the file—the real reason I’m here. I see my grade sheet. I was wrong. I have more than an “F,” but still, a “D” isn’t great either. She hands me the report. “Gracie, I know things have been rough at home. And sometimes freshman year is tough. So I recommend you come for tutoring. There’s still plenty of time to get your grade up. Sometimes it’s hard when things at home aren’t great. But you are smart. I’ve seen your other grades. They’re good grades. I know together we can do this!”
No we can’t! It sucks at home. I hate math! I don’t want to be here anymore!
I say nothing but nod my head as if I agree. I can’t handle the condescension, the pity. Parents get divorced all the time.
Isn’t it hard on all of us kids?
“I’ll study more,” I murmur and avert my eyes and I review the grade sheet. It hurts my head; my stomach tightens up.
“If you don’t, I will recommend summer school,” she says, matter of fact as if she hadn’t been so caring just five minutes ago. “You’re excused,” she finally finishes.
I trudge away, tired and hungry as I head out for my next class.
****
“I missed you at lunch. What did Mrs. Fowler want?” Molly asks over the phone when I am back at my house. I hear the paper wrapper of her Pop Tarts crinkle as she opens it up. Her mom bakes all the time, so I find it funny she likes the store-bought stuff. But that’s her act of rebellion, and it makes me chuckle.
“Summer school if I don’t get my grades up,” I reply and punch the temperature on the oven. At least Mom made it easy; all I have to do is heat dinner tonight.
“If you need help, get a tutor. You know, Adam’s really good at math,” she says. I hear her bite the tart, and my mouth waters. I’d love one right now.
“Ew. Ick. No,” I say. Molly and I might be best friends, but I don’t like Adam Striker. They’ve been friends longer than I’ve known Molly. We’ve been to her birthday parties together, and I’ve sulked through lunch with him, but I have never liked him. If you ask me why, I can only remember he said something to my brother Jake when Jake was six. It was just stupid, nothing that a seven-year-old should be so angry about. But it simmered and stewed for so long. Ever since that incident, all we manage to do is spar like it’s a sport. Either way, being tutored by Adam is just . . . Not. An. Option!
“Suit yourself. Summer’s school’s only six weeks long. That’s not much time.”
I grimace and shove in dinner, a frozen dish from the grocery store. “You’re very funny,” I say and close the door.
“Are you okay?” Molly asks when I sit down to start my homework.
I sigh because I’m sick of the question. It’s just easier to lie and ignore my feelings rather than to admit that I’m mad my parents are divorced and my dad doesn’t live here anymore.
“No, but I will be when I pass math,” I say. At least with Molly I can be glib. She really knows that I’m not okay. I push the math homework aside and opt for English because it’s my best subject and doesn’t hurt my head when I complete my assignment. “Call Adam,” she persists.
“No. I gotta go. We’re breaking up . . .” I pretend to make that warbled sound as if we’re driving through a tunnel. Molly starts laughing. I think that’s the only thing I offer to this friendship. Sometimes I’m funny.
“Call me. If you need to . . . you know, talk,” she offers one last time before hanging up.
I begin to read Shakespeare but stop short and glance at my math book before returning to Romeo and Juliet for some tragic fun.

Reversed The Curse!

Reversed The Curse!

cubs_2I’m not superstitious and yet when I say something that could, you know, jinx my favorite sports team, or bring myself bad luck, I knock on wood.

So what makes a great curse? Start with a truly engaging story of a stolen artifact or an innocuous act that results in death and destruction or in some cases, 108 years without a win.

But as my daughter has told me on several occasions, the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern never said he was cursing the Cubs so that they would never win again.

Okay, so the curse never really happened and yet as a Cubs fan, we can’t get that thing out of the back of our minds, the idea that the curse is real because why else would the Cubs lose over and over and over and over again for 108 years?

I love curses. The stories behind them are fascinating, and the fallout of owing a cursed object or breaking into a cursed tomb is interesting in itself. That’s why the curse of the Hope Diamond and the curse of King Tut’s tomb have lived on for as long as they have.

I wish I could say I wasn’t superstitious but I kinda am. I refused to write this blog post until the Cubs actually won and I refused to wear my favorite Cubs shirt during the playoffs because I wore it during the first two losses of the World Series. What I did do was, wash the shirt and hide it in my closet.

You see, the curse gives us order and a reason for why something happens and hope that if we can only reverse that curse all will be well.

So as I hung out in Grant Park with 5 million of my closest friends at the Cubs rally, after they won the World Series, I just sat back and smiled in relief; THEY FINALLY BROKE THE CURSE!. Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that they were the best team in the MLB with the best record. Nah, it couldn’t have been that.

Journey – Star Wars An Epic Fantasy Tradition

Journey – Star Wars An Epic Fantasy Tradition

Re-written from July, 2013

I speak of a journey. Whether it’s the one we take from the minute we’re born to the day we die or the smaller journeys in the in between. The stuff that makes up our life, our legacy. The journey with an end goal, working toward an accomplishment of a dream.

I’m drawn to stories about these journey’s to find oneself because I undertook one of those when I finally decided to honor my seven-year old self and write my first book.

And luckily one of my most favorite epic fantasy journey’s has been featured on-line, in Facebook, and I just finished watching it.

Star Wars – Luke’s Journey

I was nine years old and I still remember my dad asking if we wanted to see a movie called “Star Awards”. It was so new, I had no idea what he was talking about.

It was one of those experiences that from the minute the opening scrolled across the screen with the musical background, that a smile grew across my face. One that didn’t leave, long after the final credits.

Star Wars just happens to be one of those movies that I can watch and re-watch, always entertained, always amazed by this simple epic fantasy.

I will always contend the story is an epic fantasy, that just because the story is filled with blasters, light sabers, the X-wing fighters, it’s so much more than Science Fiction. It is at its core, a story about a boy who unbeknownst to himself, is about to take a life changing journey. And just like every epic fantasy, he will learn of his royal heritage, he will become the reluctant hero and he will discover his true self and what he is capable of. All this accomplished in a strange new world, with characters and creatures unlike our own, in a place with rules that are unfamiliar to life as we know it. 

My Own Journey

It’s much like my own life, my own journey. From the moment I opened my first document and wrote Chapter 1, and let the words pour from my head to my fingers, as I typed variations of twenty-six letters that became 100,000 words, I to find myself in an unfamiliar world, discovering jus what I am made of .

Star Wars, a simple, elegant story, rough and primitive, that is almost as old as I am. The nine-year old in me still watches with a smile on my face, simple joy at a story worth re-telling. And in honor of May the 4th be with you, may you all find yourself and your own journey.

 

Everything in Moderation – So Say the Sages

Everything in Moderation – So Say the Sages

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In an effort to teach my teenage daughters how to love and except themselves, I really try not to complain about my body or my weight as I desperately try to impart years of trial and error type of wisdom on to them. One thing I always tell them “Everything in Moderation.” Basically, don’t be afraid to eat the cookie, just don’t eat six of them.

I’m always intrigued by the idea of moderation. Sometimes its a bad thing when you work so hard for mediocrity, to find yourself stuck in the middle of the pack but oftentimes, moderation, the idea of not too much of anything, allows you to experience a wider variety of foods, or travel destinations, people or a host of other rewarding experiences.

Or it’s a great idea for a story. I wanted to write a book about the lost library at Alexandria and wrote a story around finding the answers to the problem at this library. And yes, I know the original library was destroyed, still its, fantasy and in my story it still exists. Anyway, not the point. So I came up the idea based on Pandora’s Box and the Seven Deadly Sins, that questions the idea, of fixing the ills of society, (the sins), with magical boxes were filled with love, diligence, charity etc. And what happens if those magical spells imbuing society with good things, backfire? Too much of the goodness will lead to something bad. Think of it this way, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

As I was doing research on ancient locales I happened across the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. I had heard of it before and of the Oracle Pythia who got her gift of prophesy from breathing in the gases coming from the chasm nearby. Curious, I read more about the former temple and it’s ruins and learned that carved into the temple were three sayings, “Know Thyself”, “Make a Pledge and Mischief is Nigh” and lastly, the one that got my attention, “Nothing in Excess”. Huh? I thought. Excited, I threw out the idea of the answers at the library. I was going to Greece.

These sayings were attributed to some or all of The Seven Sages, seven wise men, scholars, politicians, philosophers of the ancient world. They preached these ideas, carved them into stone to make their point. And though I fully agree with Everything in Moderation, I haven’t yet decided for certain the fate of the Seven Sages. They may be evil, misguided or good and saintly characters, but for now, I find them intriguing and worth a look at, because their advice is sound. The idea of making the time to do all the things that I want to do so that there are no regrets. I’ve been attempting to live my life like that consistently for the last four years. At least for now, its how I eat, exercise and work. I just need to add the fun.

The Monday Monster isn’t so much a monster as it is an idea, a way to live. Work but give yourself time to enjoy the results of your labors, play but don’t spend all your earnings in one place, assist and pay it forward but not to the cost of everything else. We can do it all, maybe not all at once and not everyday, but if we branch out we can experience and enjoy and that makes it all worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

Abominable Snowman and Yeti and Big Foot Oh My (And don’t forget Sasquatch)

Abominable Snowman and Yeti and Big Foot Oh My (And don’t forget Sasquatch)

 

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My children like all things supernatural,bizarre, impossible. In a weird sort of way, they challenge traditional thinking by believing anything  is possible. My oldest enjoys aliens, ghosts and Big Foot and spends a lot of time watching documentaries discussing the possibility these things truely exist. One of her favorite shows is Finding Bigfoot. The premise of the show is a group of investigators travel to various locations searching for evidence that Big Foot exists. While most of the team believes wihtout a doubt that Big Foot is real, the lone biologist spends most of her down debunking whatever evidence they discover.

The quest to prove the existence of the Yeti, Abominable Snowman or Big Foot has been a part of Western cultural since the 19th century but because of the lack of conclusive evidence proving an apelike homenid lives in the mountains, the scientific community regards these creatures at mythical or legends.

With all that we know, with every piece of modern technology that researchers have at their disposal, is it really possible in the year 2013 to not have discovered a large humanlike creature roaming through mountain ranges and forests across the world? Yes because think of the massive amount of acreage you would need to trek through. And no, you need to have more than one creature to reproduce. How can nature hide so many? For me that’s what it always comes down to. There has to be more than one for the entire creature population to survive. How can we not find a tribe, a flock, a village?

Is there really a difference between the Yetis, Abdominable Snowmen, Big Foot or Sasquatch? Not really. They are all said to be humanlike ape creatures, all spotted by indigenous people in varying regions. The Yeti, are said to reside in the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet. The term Abominable Snowman was created in 1921 by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury who led a journey up Mount Everest. After discovering unique footprints in the snow, (he believed were the grey wolf), the sherpa guides suggested the footprints actually belonged to The Wild Man of the Snows called metoh (man bear) kangmi (snowman). Henry Newman, a contributor to the The Statesman in Calcutta coined the term Abdominable Snowman when he mistranslated the word “metoh” as “filthy”, substituting the term “abominable.” And lastly, Big Foot or Sasquatch are similar ape like hominids inhabiting the Pacific Northwest region of North America.

 

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I love the mythical creature. Whether I believe they exist or not, they add a little fun to any story especially when in the created made up world, they are actually real creatures. Since it would be awfully crowded to have every creature in every book, I can glance over it by giving Dave Smith, Annie and Cham’s best friend the love of mythical creatures, so much so I gave him a job at the Wizard Zoological Society as a field researcher. He is sent to Colorado to investigate a new Yeti colony recently discovered. It’s on the fringe of the story has no real value to the story but to add richness and history to the character. But it’s there as a building block to the world I created. If you can suspend your disbelief that is.

Whether or not they do exist, I have no issue with the desire to find out. I am curious and a part of me would love to know for sure. What is your favorite mythical, mystical creature?

 

 

Aicha Kandida – The What Now?

Aicha Kandida – The What Now?

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You don’t have to battle a demon, vampire or monster for them to have a role within a story. Sometimes they appear for another reason, their purpose merely to prove a point like scaring a character into understanding the world they’ve just found themselves in. In The Day of First Sun I threw Annie into the world of the non magical, similar to what she’s dealt with before and yet different because she’s never worked so closely with the FBI. Making things worse for Annie, is the fact she has to investigate the crime with the eyes of the world watching. She understands the ramifications of keeping her secret from the world, but what about the FBI agent who drags her into the case. He’s never dealt with a magical crime before.

That’s where I bring in the magical creature. Curious, Jack Ramsey finds himself in The Snake Head Letters, the all wizarding book store in which the proprietor illegally sells him a Book of Shadows, the witch or wizard’s heirloom passed on from generation to generation, the book which details the experience of the witch throughout their lifetime. However, the unscrupulous shop keeper, sells a book about the darker side of magic, with fearsome creatures that open the FBI agent’s eyes to a world he never knew existed.

This is Jack’s true introduction into the entire magical world, exposing the worst that can be experienced and as he reads the book, he comes across the Aicha Kandida. I chose to introduce this being because in my basic research, it’s a creature that singles out lonely men and Jack is just that, single and lonely, working late into the night, not even remembering the last time he found himself in the company of a woman.

The monster was perfect. A predatory water demon who appears in the form of a beautiful young woman, killing their prey by luring men to their death. The curious victim seeing the beautiful woman by the water’s edge, the victim saunters over and once within reach, they are dragged into the water and consumed by the creature.

As Jack read the book searching for information pertaining to the mystical Orb of Eridu, he became engrossed by the animated picture of the beautiful woman and horrified when it changed into its true form, murdering the victim in front of him. I didn’t need to bring the monster to life, it was simply an entry in The Book of Shadows, one little glimpse into the magical world and yet it shakes Jack to the core and he’s forever changed by the experience.

Maybe one day I’ll bring the demon to life, but only for a larger purpose. For now it will remain a distant, disturbing memory, reminding Jack to why he must keep their secret. Who would believe him anyway?

What’s your most creepy monsters? Vampires, werewolves, ghosts? Mine is the Weeping Angels. Whovians know what I mean.

 

Whatever Wednesday – Psychic Abilities

Whatever Wednesday – Psychic Abilities

psychicSo why are we so interested in the supernatural, shows and books like Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Witches of East End, Harry Potter? The ability to think a thought and move an object, think of a place and be there in seconds, wave your palm and conjure an object.

I was intrigued by the idea that we only use 10% of our brains and wonder if that means we might all be psychic if we knew how to tap into it? Maybe, or maybe it’s all make-believe.

Since I so enjoy the supernatural and was a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, it was only natural that I would eventually write my own Urban Fantasy about witches and wizards, creating stories that utilize their ability to move objects, teleport, create potions or find missing people.

It’s fun to create the character, give them only the skills that I wish them to have. I gave my characters the ability to divine for the location of people. Annie accomplishes this be using a crystal and something that belongs to the missing person. Her magic is channeled through the crystal and which must obey that magic until the missing is found.

So if you could have any ability wouldn’t you like to teleport. Moving from location to location within seconds. This psychic ability is the primary form of transportation for my characters. Though my characters are entrenched in the non magical world and most have cars, they still prefer to move from place to place in seconds. Wouldn’t you.

When Annie and Cham conjure and summon objects, they’re using telekinesis, the ability to manipulate objects with their mind. Though in my world the magic in controlled through the hands. With a wave they can manipulate, move, make disappear, change something about an object all by thinking of whatever it is they wish to do.

They create potions and spells, powerful magical tools that allow them to heal themselves and others, ward off evil spirits, create magnificent light to assist them in the darkness, create magical tracking devices to instantly find Sturtagaard. I can list more but there are so many ways that I can use magic that will assist Annie and Cham in their investigations.

In the future I expect that Annie as a result of future events may end up with other psychic abilities that she doesn’t have yet. In the world of fantasy there are so many ways that you can add the unexpected, because with magic, anything becomes possible.

There are so many more forms of psychic ability, giving the person the ability to see the future, percieve past events, be in two locations at the same time. If you had your choice, what magic power would you possess? I’d like telekinesis. The ability to move objects, conjure objects in order to complete tasks is appealing to me, though honestly, the ability to teleport and miss out on the long commutes in the Chicagoland area, might be far more useful.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday Monsters – Hundred Handers

Monday Monsters – Hundred Handers

hundred handersSo I don’t always create my own monsters. Sometimes I re-cycle from other sources, something I’m not alone in. As I researched creatures for my books, I recognized several from Harry Potter. Because sometimes, the sources for monster and creature ideas can be found in ancient Greek Mythology. Stories rich in character, monsters, places. Timeless stories about the human nature told in the fantastical or grotesque depending on the plot.

I borrowed the idea of Tartarus Prison from Greek mythology. Hades’s underworld, a place where once you enter, you can never leave and Hades’s rules with an iron hand. No one ever escaped. In my Urban Fantasy, the prison  houses the worst of the worst in demons, vampires, dark wizards. So horrendous, no one would ever want to find themselves there, a place that could turn a rather normal person crazy nuts. It is magic you know.

Who should guard such a place filled with the mystical creatures? It can’t be the mere mortal, the one who lacks the strength  and agility to handle the multitude of beings that pass through the doors. The logical choice could have been Cerebus the three-headed guard dog which defended the entrance to Tartarus. Though it would be borrowing from Greek Mythology and fit in my story, it would be taking from Harry Potter, too new to not be considered stealing.

I ran across the story of the Hundred Handers. The three children of Gaia the Earth Goddess and Uranus the Sky God. Their children so ugly, fierce and frightening, their father tossed them into a pit in Tartarus. They sought revenge against their father, eventually fighting with the Olympians and against the Titans, for control of the universe.

I’ve asserted in The Day of First Sun, that the giant guards were descendants of the Hundred Handers, with less arms and heads, mere giants, big and strong enough to handle the creatures that paraded through the prison on a fairly regular basis.

Greek Mythology allowed the ancient Greeks to explore and explain the world. I wondered, what would vicious fifty headed, hundred handed creatures be trying to explain. Their mother loved them regardless of their hideousness, their father threw them into a pit. Experts suggest that because these were considered the first beings created from procreation, and their parents disagreed on their care, it caused fighting between the Gaia and Uranus. In other words this is the first instance illustrating marital strife.

There was always a reason for the stories, an explanation, a lesson to be learned if you know where to find them.

 

Whatever Wednesday – Dreams

Whatever Wednesday – Dreams

I believe dreams represent the purest form of fantasy we unleash through our subconscious. They represent the truest freedom we can experience. Totally unrepressed and totally creative.
Miguel

I know there are a lot of people out here who don’t enjoy science fiction or fantasy because they prefer stories that are grounded in reality rather than in the make-believe. This idea fascinates me because the fantasy is all around us. We start reading with books from Dr. Seuss, we watch Sesame Street or read Harry Potter. And in our personal lives, we dream. The dream, the ultimate fantasy in which  we create worlds that often times make no sense are completely scary and odd and are not in any way based in reality.

Did you know that we have on average, about five dreams a night. We would then, on average, dream for about six years of our lives. We do our dream in REM sleep which can last as little as five minutes or as long as two hours. During this period our brain waves are more active while dreaming than when awake.  We spend so much time dreaming and many of us don’t even remember what we spent the night dreaming.

So what is the purpose of our dreams? Might they be a reaction to our daily lives, a way for our brain to sort through the images and experiences of the day and put them in some order that makes sense to us?

I have a recurring dream. It’s not uncommon, I know others have had a similar dream. But it always appears at times in my life when I’m searching for a career or ready to make that move from stay at home mom to career woman. It started when I graduated college and couldn’t find a job. It took me two years to find a permanent job with benefits and in that time, I spent much of my dream state reliving that dream when you show up to class for a test and realize you haven’t been to class all semester. You find yourself scrambling to learn the material in the next five minutes so you can either write that 50 page paper or take that final. It’s stressful as you look at your eminent failure. I usually wake up realizing that in my waking life, there’s something more that I’m looking for. I stopped having those dreams after finally getting that first job and it’s rarely showed up again. I must be more satisfied in my life or maybe I’m more confident and finding a job isn’t as stressful. I can’t say for sure.

Other visions and dreams appear to me at times. They’re far more mysterious as I haven’t found a source for what they mean. I’ve had that dream that I’ve been running without shoes. Though the more common version is dreaming about being naked, my stops at the shoes. You know how difficult it is to run through the forest without shoes on? I do know it has something to do with feeling vulnerable. Do I feel that way? Along with nudity there’s the dream about loosing your teeth. Also about vulnerability. Since I’ve had that as well, I must feel vulnerable at some point in my life.

How about the dream that I’m being chased by a lion, alligator or some other wild animal. I’m guessing it means I’m running scared from something. What that is, I’m not sure.

Here’s a quick list of the common dreams. Have you ever had any of them?

Naked/Nudity – This can mean lack of freedom or vulnerability. Feeling exposed or baring your soul.

Flying – You’re finding a way to move beyond your limitations or soaring above your problems. It may also mean feeling carefree and weightless, represent success or your amibitions are being achieved.

Lateness – Missed opportunity, disappointment or the inability to make a connection.

Teeth – Dreams about teeth can represent decision that need to be made. Debating both sides of an argument. If you loose your teeth maybe yo feel a loss of control.

These are some of my most interest reoccurring dreams. What are yours?

Thanks for the information at http://www.dreamanity.com/all-about-dreaming/dream-facts.html

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