Scary October # 31 The Finale

Welcome to the final post for Scary October on this All Hallows Eve!

Unfortunately, my book trailer is not quite ready for sharing, yet, so I thought I’d share this video for those who enjoy celebrating Halloween. It’s kind of a ‘blast from the past’ set to more modern music. I wonder how many of you will remember it? 🙂

 

And for those who’d like a peek at what Grandson will be wearing tonight for trick-or-treating, here he is.

Our own little Masked Vigilante!

Hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween! 🙂

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Scary October Day #30

Today, I am pleased to introduce Elizabeth Arroyo’s debut novel, The Second Sign. Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? I will be interviewing Elizabeth sometime in the new year, a little closer to her launch date.

Since the excerpt for her novel does tend to fall into the category of ‘Scary October’, I thought I would give you all a sneak peak. Here is the synopsis:

Bred to believe in the war between angels and demons, Gabby has come to the conclusion that love is responsible for war, jealousy, and all the other deadly sins she can think of. So when she’s exiled to the middle of nowhere for getting kicked out of her fifth school for fighting, she doesn’t expect to meet Jake, much less fall in love. But Jake is quickly drawn to the eerie beauty of her violet eyes while Gabby is unsettled by their undeniable connection.

When a demon guardian comes to collect her soul, she refuses to give it up. She’s not a demon. She can’t be. Her father and twin brother are angels. The demon gives Gabby twenty-four hours to decide her allegiance, and then starts killing her short list of friends, leaving a message behind: She is the Second Sign.

As Gabby and Jake begin to unravel the mystery behind the Second Sign, she learns Jake may be the key to saving her soul. But it means a sacrifice has to be made that will change their lives forever.

The following is an excerpt from The Second Sign:

Gabby wasn’t afraid of the dark, but this was something different. It pressed against her flesh, seeped under her skin, and coiled around her. Her labored breathing echoed in the dark chamber, and she forced herself to settle down or risk passing out.

Calm down. She closed her eyes, groping in the darkness for a wall, a hold, anything. She found wet earth that crumbled in her grip. The smooth wall offered no comfort. It wouldn’t hold her weight. She looked up toward the light which opened up to the ridge she had been standing on.

“Stupid,” she muttered, hitting her forehead against the side of the hole. It must have been an old drainage hole. It opened up at the bottom like a flask of wine.

Something scurried behind her and she turned, leaning her back against the wall. At least nothing would spring up on her from behind. The wall was safe. Something hissed, rocks settled, disturbed by something that was inside with her. Under the whispers of movement she heard…breathing. Closing her mouth she held her breath, hoping beyond hope that it was an echo she was hearing. It wasn’t. The breathing continued.

Someone was in the hole with her. Releasing her breath she turned, digging her fingers into the soft mush, scaling frantically up the wall. She couldn’t be here. She wasn’t a demon fighter. She didn’t know squat about demons. She never paid attention to Max. What if whatever was with her was using her to get to Max? Isn’t that what most Hollywood flicks started with? A death of a loved one, a kidnapping, or a ransom? She was collateral damage. Not important. Expendable. The dead sidekick.
Her hand slipped and she fell back down into the hole, swallowed by the darkness.

Oooo, yes, I’d say that certainly qualifies as ‘scary’! The Second Sign will be released on February 7, 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing. It is a Young Adult, Dark Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. If you are interested in learning more about Elizabeth and her debut novel, here are a few links you can check out.

Hope you all enjoyed this frightening little excerpt and stay tuned. We will be learning more about her in a few months. 🙂

Scary October #29

Only three more days left of the month, so you won’t have to read much more scary stuff, although if I were to be completely honest, my ‘scary’ stuff hasn’t been too terrifying, has it?

Today I thought I’d talk about phobias and things we fear. I took several Psychology courses back in university. First, I took Psych 101, the intro to the subject. As an educator, I then took Child Psychology and when I studied to work with Special Needs students, I took Abnormal Psychology. It was fascinating to read about how different people think, how their minds grow from infancy to adulthood and how a fearless child attributes danger to certain things which can eventually grow into phobias.

My mother-in-law and Hubby both have claustrophobia, the fear of tight spaces. This is not a hereditary thing, but a learned behaviour. I’m not sure how my mother-in-law’s phobia began, but Hubby has mentioned an incident as a child where he fell through deep snow and was trapped there for some time until he was dug out. More than likely, his claustrophobia stems from that point in his life. That’s probably why he originally chose the high steel as a career choice – lots of wide open spaces in THAT job! 🙂

We’ve already touched on arachnophobia, the fear of spiders in this post. My daughter used to have this fear to a greater extent than she does now. Her hubby told her he did not want her to kill any spiders because his Cree heritage believes that spiders contain the souls of those who have passed on. His sister died in her teens and he believes that whenever a spider is in the house, she is coming for a visit. Shortly after the birth of their child, Daughter would sit nursing the baby and said she often found small spiders gathering around her. She lives in the house her grandparents’ built (and her grandmother died there), so she is now inclined to believe that both her grandparents and Hubby’s sister came to say hello to the baby frequently during those first few days.

I, personally, have a fear of heights or acrophobia. This is most evident when I have to climb down a ladder and must focus on how far away the ground seems. It doesn’t help that my hips lock up, which makes it difficult to step down without the ladder wobbling.

Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach, Christmas Day, 1979

When we were in Hawaii, just after we got married, we went to see Diamond Head and its military base, Fort RugerBoth Hubby and I had to face our fears that day. The entrance at the time was a long, dark, L-shaped tunnel that ended in a bunker deep inside the dormant volcano. The floor was uneven and because we couldn’t see very well, Hubby’s claustrophobia kicked into high gear. My eyes have little problem with semi-darkness, so Hubby placed his hand on my shoulder and followed my lead until we got to the gun slit.

Through the gun slit, looking out over the ocean

Further in was a room with a metal ladder clamped into the rock wall where we could climb to the flat top of Diamond Head and drink in the beauty of Waikiki and the gorgeous aquamarine ocean. Although I found the ladder tall and a little rickety (Hubby insists it was solid enough), I swallowed hard, focussed on the opening above me and made it up all the way. The view really was breathtaking, I must admit, but when it came time to face the ladder to go back down, I panicked! We let all the other visitors go down first, then Hubby began the descent. I turned around and he placed my foot on the first rung. I clung to the ladder’s sides as Hubby took each foot and brought it down to the next rung. I eventually got to the bottom without having to see the distance to the floor below me. It was a very embarrassing experience, especially when everyone applauded when I finally touched the ground!

The view from the top of Diamond Head

Me, behind the ‘handler’, on my way up into the wild blue yonder!

A year later, we went to Acapulco, Mexico and Hubby convinced me to go parasailing. Oddly enough, I was fine with it. Maybe I felt secure in the knowledge that the parachute I was attached to would not let me hurtle to my death. Maybe it was the fact that I knew which ropes to pull to control my descent – and I didn’t have to climb down a ladder! I enjoyed it immensely and wished the experience lasted longer. It almost made me want to try sky diving – almost! 🙂

The Diving Cliff, Acapulco, April 1981

 

 

One thing I’d never try is this:

See that diver standing on the edge? It’s really hard to determine from the photo just how high the cliffs actually are, but this is certainly not a sport I would be inclined to try – ever! My stomach clenches just thinking about it!

 

 

There are literally thousands of fears and phobias that one might get. Some can be quite debilitating, forcing the phobic individual into a living nightmare when facing them. I’ve only touched on a few here. Do YOU have any fears or phobias you’d like to admit to share? 🙂

Scary October #28 – Sunday Interview

Hello readers! Today, I thought I’d do something completely different. Instead of an author interview I thought I’d do a character one, so it is with extreme pleasure that I introduce Michelle, the main character of my two YA novels, Withershins and Spirit Quest. It’s been 25 years since the end of ‘Spirit Quest’ and, upon the suggestion of one of my readers (thank-you, Diane), we are joined by her daughter, Kristen. 🙂

Me: Ladies, would you please tell my readers a little about yourselves.

Michelle: Certainly! I am . . . uh . . . 40-something. (Smirk!) I live in a small neighbourhood near the centre of Winnipeg, a community known as St. Boniface. I teach Aboriginal Studies at the University of Manitoba. I’m married with three lovely children (glances at her eldest daughter).

Kristen: (squirms uncomfortably) Mom, are you sure you want all this out in the open? (eyes flick to her mother’s face and sighs) Fine! Hi, I’m Kristen. I’m 16 and go to River East Collegiate. My friends and I like going to school football games because the quarterback is really cute. (blushes)

Me: Michelle, would you mind describing your adventures when you were Kristen’s age? What made you decide to go to the St. Andrew’s Graveyard with Kevin & Jason?

St. Andrews Church on the Red River, Manitoba

Michelle: (chuckles) Wow! That was such a long time ago! You probably won’t believe any of this. Goodness knows, Kristen has her doubts about the stories I’ve told her. (She clears her throat) Well, we had a high school history project to do. We thought, or at least, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the oldest church in the area and check out some of the names on the gravestones to inspire my research. I convinced the boys it would be a fun way to do the research. Jason was able to borrow his Dad’s car, so he offered to drive us. We wandered around the graveyard until it closed, then went to eat. Despite the warnings, we went back and waited until midnight, then Jason suggested we do the withershins.

Kristen: (leans forward, insistent) Mom, you said it yourself, you hit your head! You must have blacked out for awhile. You just had a very complicated dream. (She turns to me)Why are you’re encouraging her?

Michelle: Honey, I thought the same thing, at first – that it was all just a dream. After everything I experienced, it could not simply have been a dream.

Me: Michelle, would you please explain what ‘withershins’ means?

Michelle: According to Jason, it was a ritual where a person runs around a church three times at midnight. He claimed we’d meet the Devil or be transported to the Netherworld. I’ve since discovered, it simply means traveling counter-clockwise or ‘contrary to the sun’, and when you do it with all the right elements, you can travel back in time.

Kristen gives a snort of derision.

Me: Why would you participate in a ritual like that, Michelle?

Michelle: For one thing, I didn’t think anything would really happen. For another, when Jason begged me with those puppy dog eyes, I couldn’t say no. I had such a crush on him back then! I’m just glad I didn’t meet the Devil or go to the Netherworld, although there were times I thought I really was in H-E-double hockey sticks, if you know what I mean. 🙂

Kristen: (rolls her eyes) There’s no need to protect me from bad words, Mom. I’ve heard a lot worse at school, you know!

Me: Michelle, what was your first clue that you’d been transported back in time?

Michelle: Once the swirling portal thing stopped and the fog disappeared, everything was so different. There was absolutely nothing around me – no trees, no buildings, no power lines anywhere. In the back of my mind, I knew I hadn’t run that far from the church, but I really couldn’t believe I had actually time-travelled. Would you?

Me: (Chuckle!) No, I suppose not. What finally convinced you it wasn’t a dream?

Michelle: I’ve had vivid dreams before, but nothing compared to the sights and smells of being back in the mid-eighteen hundreds. When I stepped in that horse poo and tried to get it off my runner, I knew there was something all too real about that place! What really convinced me was when Bear brought me to his grandfather and he started talking about everything that had happened leading up to that spinning vortex. That’s when I knew for sure. After all, no one else in that place could possibly have known, unless it was all some huge practical joke, but I didn’t think Lower Fort Garry would have gone to all the trouble and expense of removing a building and replacing it with a log cabin, all for the sake of a joke.

Kristen: Mom, you’d been doing research. All that stuff must have been in your mind when you hit your head, so you simply dreamed it all. It just seemed real.

Me: (ignoring Kristen’s outburst) It must have been hard to live in a time without all our modern conveniences. How did you manage?

Michelle: (with a rueful smile) Faking amnesia helped a little. Anytime someone questioned me about not being able to do things, I just chalked it up to forgetting. I was also a Brownie and a Girl Guide, so I had been camping before. I knew some basic survival skills and when I first arrived at the Lower Fort, I was thrust into a maid’s position. It didn’t take long to learn how to cook over a fire, how to mend clothing and a whole bunch of other stuff. Bear’s mom, Swift Doe, knew where I was from and taught me all kinds of things native women learned when they were young. Also, Owl, Bear’s grandfather, taught me some spiritual stuff and Bear taught me how to hunt.

Me: Kristen, does your mom do any of those things now or when you were younger?

Kristen: Well, she used to make moccasins for us when we were little. We used to go to Pow Wows. I was given a native name when I was 12. Last year, Mom and Dad prepared me for a sweat lodge ceremony.

Me: How do you think your mom knew about all of these ceremonies if she didn’t learn them from the past?

Kristen: Mom knows a lot of elders. Perhaps one of them taught her all that stuff.

Michelle: Sweetie, I didn’t meet those elders until after I returned from the past. Your Auntie Sherry introduced me to them after I told her what had happened to me.

Kristen: (folds her arms across her chest and scowls)

Me: (turning to Michelle) Tell us about some of the people you met in the past.

Lower Fort Garry, NW turret used for baking ‘hard tack’, a bread used by voyageurs and hunting parties

Michelle: Well, I first met the Reverend Cochrane and his wife, Annie. They lived in the original rectory at St. Andrews. They helped me a lot. I was scared and I’d bumped my head and sprained my wrist falling out of the time tunnel thingy, so the reverend took me to the Lower Fort where there was a doctor. Doctor Buchanan had just come to Red River with the 6th Regiment of Foot and had a little office inside the fort beside the trade store, about where the museum is now. He fixed me up and asked Governor Simpson if I could stay at the fort until my head healed.

Oh, yeah, before meeting the doctor, I was feeling a little light-headed because of the bump on my head and I fell into the arms of a rather handsome Scottish stonemason, Duncan MacRae. He was in charge of the St. Andrews Church construction. There were also a couple of girls I became friends with, the Sinclair sisters, Harriet and Maria. Margaret was sort of a friend, but hung around too much with Elizabeth, who hated me the moment she set eyes on me. I think it had a lot to do with her father being with the Hudson’s Bay Company. He was friends with the Chief Factor and his wife, Mrs. Wilson – and a more spiteful woman you’d never hope to meet! There were quite a few others, like Doctor Buchanan’s patients that I helped and Bear’s sister, Fawn, and the store clerk, Ian McNally, but we don’t have time to get into all that, right now.

Me: Now, you went through the withershins ritual not once but twice, is that right? Why would you put yourself through that again?

Michelle: I probably wouldn’t have considered it, as much as I missed Bear – and I missed him A LOT! Missing him, though, was the reason I went to the Manitoba Archives to learn what might have happened to him and my other friends. I came across an old article that talked about a trial that took place after I came home. The article said Owl had been hanged because they thought he had murdered me. You see, when I suddenly disappeared from the past to come home, the nosy Mrs. Wilson claimed she’d seen Owl and I leave the fort late at night, but only Owl returned – with my olden days clothes. She made such a fuss, that the courts decided Owl had killed me. I couldn’t let them hang Owl, so I used the arrowhead talisman that Owl’s spirit guide had given me and went to the church on the night of a full moon. I went back to try and stop them from killing Owl. I had no idea if it would work or not, but I had to try.

Me: Wow! Who would have thought your sudden disappearance would have caused such a tragic event! Did you manage to save Owl?

Michelle: (winks) I wouldn’t want to spoil the story! If you want to find out, you’ll have to read the book!

Me: Oh, you are a sneaky one, aren’t you? From the title, I imagine you learned a lot more spiritual stuff in your second adventure. Care to tell us about it?

Michelle: Well, let’s just say, I found it quite life-changing. There were moments I wasn’t sure I’d make it through the challenges and many times I doubted my resolve would last. If it wasn’t for the faith that Bear and Owl had in me, I don’t know where I would be today or if I’d even be here to talk to you. I owe them my life, body and soul.

Kristen: Mom, don’t you think you’re being a little melodramatic?

Me: They sound like the sort of friends everyone should have. (I turn to Michelle) Do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share with my readers?

Michelle: Only that my appreciation for history has grown immensely because of my adventures. I still don’t like having to memorize dates, but I have a greater love for the people who made up our history, those who influenced changes in our society and helped to make our future better. These are things I hope Kristen will come to appreciate, one day (fondly casts her eyes to her daughter and smiles).

I’m also grateful for some of the progress that’s been made since then, like indoor plumbing, but I have to wonder whether the cost of some of our modern conveniences has been worth the price to our environment. When I consider all the plant and animal species that have become extinct over the past hundred and fifty years, it makes me cry. When I think of all the polluted rivers and landfills that mar the land, these days, I shake my head and wonder whether it’s all been worth it. I see the greed of huge corporations who are responsible for our disposable society and want to shake some sense into them for not finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint and I blame the current governments for not taking a stand and creating a bill to protect the environment from those corporate piranhas. My long talks with Owl and Bear, and all the time I spent in the past, have made me more aware of our shrinking landscapes (shrugs her shoulders and smiles, briefly). Sorry for the rant. I guess I’ll stop now. 🙂

Me: I can’t help but agree with you. Progress does seem to be getting out of hand. What do you think about what your mother said, Kristen?

Kristen: I suppose she has a point regarding the environment. I still don’t see the need to study history, though. A bunch of old dead people – what can studying what they did make a difference to what happened?

Michelle: Sweetie, you don’t get it, do you? There are people in the past who fought for the rights and freedoms you enjoy today. If they had not done what they did, our lives would be very different and much more difficult.

Kristen: People like who?

Michelle: If Chief Peguis hadn’t helped the early Scottish settlers by bringing them down to Pembina before the snow came, your great-great-great-great-grandfather would not have survived the winter and you probably wouldn’t be here. If Louis Riel hadn’t stood up for the rights of the Métis people, you’d still be considered a second class citizen, treated badly just like your great-great grandmother was at the residential school.

Kristen: (sinks lower in her chair and pouts) If you say so, Mom.

Me: (to Kristen) Then you don’t think you’d ever want to go on an adventure, like your mother?

Kristen: Are you kidding me? You believe what happened to Mom was real?

Me: You mother’s adventures were well documented in both ‘Withershins’ and ‘Spirit Quest’. You still don’t think they were real?

Kristen: Haven’t you ever heard of FICTION? That’s all it is, you know.

Me: Then, if you had the chance to do the withershins thing you wouldn’t do it?

Kristen: I may try it, but I certainly don’t expect anything to happen.

Michelle: (smirks) That’s what I thought, Honey.

Me: (I notice something around Kristen’s neck) Is that what I think it is?

Kristen: (touches her chest and groans, then pulls out the arrowhead necklace) Mom gave it to me for my birthday, a few days ago.

Me: That is very cool! 🙂 (I catch Michelle’s eye and she winks at me) Well, I want to thank you both for joining us, today, Michelle and Kristen.

Michelle: Thanks for having me, Susan. 🙂

Kristen: Yeah. Whatever.

Me: Michelle’s adventures can be found in both books mentioned above. Maybe one day you’ll be able to read an adventure about Kristen, too! 🙂

Kristen: Or NOT!

Some of the settings in which Michelle was known to have traveled can be found on my Withershins Facebook page, here. I will also be posting more pictures of St. Andrews Church, the graveyard and Lower Fort Garry on this blog, once I have gone through the hundreds of photos and video clips I took out there this past summer. I can also be found, occasionally, on Twitter and Goodreads.

Hope you enjoyed this whimsical interview, inspired by other bloggers like J. Keller Ford, who have done similar interviews with their characters. 🙂

Scary October #27

Thanks to Amanda at Storyteller in the Digital Age for nominating me for the Liebster. Thank you so much for thinking of me, and I’m sorry I took so long getting around to acknowledging it. I do appreciate getting these awards and I’m always happy to pass them along to deserving blogs, too. Amanda came up with some interesting questions, which I will try to answer. The hard part will be thinking up different questions!

So, to start it all off, here are the questions.

1. What was the first book you read that truly made you love writing?

To be honest, I can’t think of any particular book that I read that made me love writing. It was actually a TV series (Blake’s 7) that ended badly, which made me want to write a better ending. That’s what really inspired my love for writing.

2. Who is the person you go to for an honest opinion of your work?

I trust my writer’s group for picking out problems with any of my work.

3. If the apocalypse took place and you had one book to save before using the rest for kindling, what would it be and why?

My grandfather’s leather-bound volume of Shakespeare’s plays is a treasure to me because it’s old and it’s such a beautiful book – and it’s SHAKESPEARE!

4. Do you believe books should have ratings like video games and television?

Not necessarily ‘ratings’, although language warnings might be a good idea and do they have explicit sex scenes in teen novels? If they do, it might be a good idea to mention that for people buying the books for a young person.

5.  Which would you choose–pen and paper, typewriter, or computer to document your creative ideas?

I began using paper and pencil before I got my first PC. Now, I have a MAC laptop and doubt I’ll go back to the ‘dark side’, again, unless there’s a power failure and my battery’s worn out. As I get older, though, I find I can’t hold a pen as long because my hand tends to cramp up after a while. 🙂

6.  Best fall flavor–apple or pumpkin?

Pumpkin. It just wouldn’t be fall without tasting at least one pumpkin pie with lots of whipped cream!

7.  If you could be one mythical/supernatural creature, what would it be and why?

Probably a fairy because I’d love to be able to fly but don’t want to breathe fire like a dragon – I get enough heartburn as it is! 🙂

8. What time of day do you write best, how does it help to write during that time of day?

Mornings, after my first cup of coffee. Before that, I just walk around with my eyes closed. The images from my dreams are still fresh, then, too.

9.  If you could talk to your favorite author, what would you ask him/her?

I’d ask Kathy Reichs what she thinks of the TV version of Temperence Brennan compared to her book character.

10. What favorite bedtime story would you tell your children when you have them/if you already have them?

‘I Love You Forever’ by Robert Munch is one my kids often asked for, but it’s really hard for me to get all the way through without shedding a tear or two during the part where the grown-up little boy carries his aging mother to bed. I do like ‘Goodnight Moon’, too.

11. If you had only one book/story/poem in progress to finish before you died, what would it be?

That’s a hard choice. I have many unfinished stories and many that need major editing. I suppose I should really concentrate on the book that fans have been waiting for that’s in the same series as ‘Withershins’ and ‘Spirit Quest’, even though it’s not really a sequel, but has many of my previous characters in it.

Okay, on to passing the love around. I think I’ll leave it to my fellow bloggers who want to build up their readership, since this is generally an award for those with less than 200 followers. You know who you are better than I do, so please snag the award pic for your blog and let me know when you’ve answered my questions. In keeping with this month’s theme, I’ll try to make most of my questions relate back to ‘Scary October’. If you don’t want to do a blog about them, feel free just to answer the ones you want to in the Comments section. 🙂

#1 – The trend these days seems to be leaning toward stories base on ancient mythologies, like Norse or Greek/Roman. Is this a genre you like to read/watch/write in and, if so, what type of myths do you prefer?

#2 – When it comes to speculative fiction, what type do you like – fantasy, science based, steam punk, paranormal, horror or something else?

#3 – If you are a writer about to launch your first book, would you consider creating a book trailer to advertise it? Would you hire someone to make it for you, rely on friends to help, or try to do it on your own and would you want it to be scary, exciting or funny?

#4 – What is/was your favorite Halloween costume?

#5 – How do you like your horror – super scary and gory, suspenseful with very little gore, or not at all?

#6 – When you carve Halloween pumpkins, do you prefer to create scary faces/designs or welcoming ones?

#7 – Do you ever read/write about things you are afraid of and, if so, what are some of the fears/phobias that give you a chill?

#8 – If you believe in ghosts, do you think they are benevolent or malevolent?

#9 – If zombies were real, would you be more inclined to run away or chop them into little bits?

#10 – In your opinion, should vampires ‘sparkle’ or be the dark evil creatures of legends?

#11 – Of all the holidays/special days in a year, would you consider Halloween among your favorite? If not, why do you think your favorite(s) is(are) better?

 

If you like reading about things that go bump in the night, check out Amazon‘s or the Reader Store‘s selection of spooky books.

And for those of you who are looking for blog posts that might give you a chill, here are a few that I recommend:

roughwighting‘s ‘A Ghost Story’

Diane Dickson‘s ‘The Grave’ serial

Speculating Canada‘s review of ‘Home is Where the Ghosts Are’. Derek has a few other scary posts so check out his back list to find a deliciously scary topic

Tim Kane‘s post on Madame Bathory from whom we get the term ‘blood bath’

J. D. Ryan‘s post about spiders

I’ll leave you with these for now. Let me know if you come across any others you’d like to share.

Remember, Halloween is only days away, so don’t forget to pick up some treats for those young tricksters and enjoy this ghoulish season! 🙂

Scary October #26

About the only thing scary about today’s post is the number of times I used the word ‘look’ in one of my WIPs  – and maybe this photo!

Matt over at wantoncreation has tagged me for the Look Challenge. I’d seen various other bloggers do this as well, so thought this would be rather fun to try, myself. The challenge requires me to use the ‘find’ feature of my word processor to search for the word ‘look’ in a chosen manuscript in progress, then copy and paste a few srrounding paragraphs. Since I’ve been talking a lot about my books, I thought maybe I’d share a bit of what I have started on the next one in the series, a story I have tentatively called ‘Revolution’, set roughly 25 years after the end of ‘Spirit Quest’ when Michelle has a daughter of her own.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit how many times I used the word ‘look’ – telling, instead of showing – but it is a WIP in its infancy, so I know this is one of the things I’ll catch in editing. Without further ado, here are three instances of the ‘tell, don’t show’:

1) I think it’s all just a phony story to keep me from going to the concert. Well, it’s not going to work! I have some money from babysitting. I’ll go buy the ticket myself!

I stuck the arrowhead in my sock drawer.

I could tell by the look on her face that Mom was disappointed in me for not being drawn into her fantasy. Well, I didn’t care. I stormed out of the house, stalking the neighbourhood streets to work off some of my anger and frustration. My ‘Sweet Sixteen’ was supposed to be the best birthday, ever. Instead, all I got was a chunk of rock.

2) “So, how did this arrowhead transport her back in time? Supposedly,” Savannah added when she saw the look on my face.

“She did something she called the ‘withershins’. She said it refers to a ritual where one runs three times around a church at midnight. The friends she tried it with said they might meet the devil or be transported to the Netherworld. Mom claims that running counter-clockwise sends you back in time, clockwise will bring you back to your own time. Pretty far-fetched, eh?”

“Actually, I have heard of that, some kind of urban legend, but it does sound pretty wild, all right,” Savannah agreed.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a load of bunk,” I pouted.

The kitchen inside the St. Boniface Museum

3) “You are hurt,” the Abbé observed. “Come. The sisters will attend to your injuries.”

I nodded, not willing to say anything more at the moment. He invited me inside the large two-storey structure, which looked suspiciously like the old St. Boniface Museum. Before stepping in, I took a quick glance towards the river. Bishop Taché, he’d said. The street that followed along this side of the river was named for the man – a street that did not exist, yet, I noticed. There was only a mud trail.

Hope you enjoyed this little insight into the next segment of what I think of as my ‘Red River Adventure’ series. Now, I have to challenge a few of YOU! The following are those that I haven’t tagged for anything yet or, at least, not for awhile, so here you are – if you dare!  (hehehe, evil cackle!)

Ravena Guron

eternal Domnation

The Eagle’s Perspective

Wings of Wonder

Stories About My Life, 92% True

You should all pop over to see what they’ve been doing, lately. 🙂

In other news, over a month ago, (I’m ashamed to say), Storyteller In The Digital Age sent me another Liebster Award, which I will address tomorrow. Sorry about the delay, Amanda. Since I’ve dedicated this month to members of my writer’s group and have consistently had excerpts on Fridays, following up with interviews on Sunday, I thought this challenge would take precedence over the Liebster Award. My ‘look’ excerpts today will reflect my character interview on Sunday. Since no one else from the writer’s group responded to my interview/excerpt requests, I thought I would interview my character, Michelle, from my first two books. I’m still trying to decide if I should interview her as if she had just returned from her adventures in the first two books, or if I should interview her as the mother of Kristen, who will be the main character in my next book.

What do you think? Should I interview the teenaged Michelle or Michelle, 25 years later?

Scary October – Day #25

Good morning, everyone (or evening, depending on what part of the world you hail from)! Last evening, my nephew and his wife, an awesome photographer, drove me up to the old St. Andrew’s Church. Armed with our cameras, we wanted to capture a few scary night time photos for the book trailer I am trying to compose. I’m hoping to have the big reveal on the last day of this month because it does look pretty spooky, already, without adding in all the shots we took last night.

My nephew has dabbled in movie making for a few years, now, and seems to have a sense of what is a unique photo angle, or what will invoke the most drama. He and his friends have created some pretty interesting home videos that are more like spy movies! His wife knows a lot about how to take pictures in all kinds of lighting challenges, so I definitely needed her help to get the best shots in the dark. Besides that, she makes a great Michelle – my character in ‘Withershins’.

When I first started to see book trailers pop up on YouTube and various blogs, I got very excited and have been thinking about how mine should look for a long time. I dabble in photography and my MAC’s iMovie program is simply wonderful – and the main reason I wanted to get a MAC in the first place! It may turn out looking amateurish, but that’s okay. I have found the perfect music from one of the CDs I love to listen to while writing the native spirituality scenes, mainly because it has no words that I’ll end up unconsciously writing into my story! The opening scenes take place at the old church and graveyard, the perfect place for magic to happen, the sort of place to find a talisman or meet a spirit guide.

To begin creating the trailer, I visualized the scenes based on how I normally describe the book to people who haven’t read ‘Withershins’. This little blurb became my story board, taking elements from it to create the frames of the video.

The first thing I usually have to tell people is the definition of what ‘Withershins’ means, which is basically “to move in a direction opposite the sun; counterclockwise”. That’s what I chose for my first frame.

Next, was the location – in a church graveyard.

Then, the time of day – at midnight.

I followed this with other elements, such as the spirit guide  and the talisman

talisman

spirit guide

and then the action – running around the church three times. I ended with some brief clips of life at Lower Fort Garry in the mid-eighteen hundreds, where Michelle ends up after her adventure in the graveyard. The finale is a picture of my book cover and name and, of course, the credits.

Once I had the storyboard straight in my head, I wrote out the captions. Then, I began taking pictures and video clips of things that I thought would fit in with my vision. I took multiple shots of things to make sure I got the perfect photo. I discussed the video with my niece and she was very enthusiastic and willing to help. I trust her photographic expertise as she knows way more about digital photography than I do – and my trust in her was not unfounded. I can’t wait to get my hands on her jpegs so I can incorporate them into what I have of the video so far, because from what I saw through her camera’s lens, the photos turned out way better than mine did!

I am getting very excited, knowing that the video is nearing completion. Even though my book has been out for a few years, already, I hope the video will attract a new group of teens (and adults) who will be learning about the book for the first time.

How many of you have thought about creating your own book trailer, or thought about getting someone to create one for you? If you have decided to embark on this video adventure, I wish you a lot of luck! 🙂

Scary October #24 – Spooky Crafty Wednesday

Hello, fellow crafters! I finally downloaded my scrapbook layout pictures onto a new flash drive. I hope this one lasts longer than the previous one! (Warning to J. D. Ryan, if you dare to read this, you will see spiders here – but only teeny weeny ones!)

Although this scrapbook layout can be found on the tab My Scrapbook Pages (above), I thought I’d feature it today, since it fits in with the theme for the month. The layout was done at a Close To My Heart  workshop and some of the stamps, (the spiders, mostly) were from the demonstrator’s set entitled ‘Creepy Cobwebs’ (from the Autumn/Winter 2010 catalogue). On top of each spider, we glued small and larger black beads to make the bodies stand out.

click on photo for a closer look

As you can see, it uses a lot of dark paper and card stock that comes with the ‘Mischief’ Workshop On The Go kit (Autumn/Winter 2011 catalogue). We used white pigment ink for the spiders’ webs and contrasting white/patterned paper with a journalling strip that was stamped with lines. Over on the far right, you’ll see a pocket with a tab that says ‘PULL’. This is what you will find when you pull it:

This was a complicated piece of engineering to get both the top and bottom to come out. The technique involves strips of plastic from a Ziploc bag and some strong two-sided tape. You can place a photo on the dark outside of the pull-out as well as a smaller one on that little white square (see below).

Magic

The ‘Magic‘ book by Jeannette R. Lynton has all the details on how to create this and other fabulous scrapbook features, like the ‘Waterfall’, which can also be found in My Scrapbook Pages.

Behind the ‘BOO’, we stamped the image from the CTMH stamp set ‘Backdrop – Charmed’. The letters were created with stamps from the ‘Posterboard Alphabet’ set – brown ink on orange card stock with partial cobwebs also stamped onto the letters. The word ‘PULL’ was created with the ‘Cocktail Alphabet’ stamp set.

One of the other techniques we used was the shiny embossed spiderwebs along the top of the white strip. First, we stamped the patterns using the Versa Mark sticky pad. After sprinkling on the clear embossing powder, we heat-set it, then smudged gray ink around the area with a sponge so it looks a little dirty. The ink won’t stick to the embossed areas, so the clear white cobweb pattern shows through. Pretty cool, don’t you think?

 

 

 

I finally got around to adding the pictures of my Grandson’s first Halloween to show you the finished project.

 

 

 

“What on Earth is on my foot?”

 

 

As you can see, I filled in the journalling strip with details of Grandson’s first Halloween. On the opposite page is the pull-out section when it’s closed. I love the ‘What a fright’ embellishment. The sentiment was stamped onto orange card stock then stuck behind the felt self-sticking frame. It certainly goes with Grandson’s expression, doesn’t it? 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s the additional picture along with the ‘Boo’ pull-out, which also shows what Grandson is staring at.

 

 

 

Hope you liked my scary crafting! 🙂

Scary October – #23

Here’s a brief excerpt and link to a truly scary short story by Diane Dickson that I wanted to share with you. She’s a member of the Shortbread Stories group that publishes short stories for those who are members, but you don’t need to be a member to read her story. She is currently sharing installments of her latest serial story, The Grave on her website, so you might want to stop by here and see what that’s all about, too.

As for this one, she says it “was originally included in a collection of Halloween stories last year and I thought it might be good to put it on here for this year’s season of fright and freakiness.” Sounds like it will be perfect for today’s post so, here it is:

One Last Look

The dark was viscous, she believed her eyes were open but blinked them to make sure. The flashlight was a good one, huge and heavy and now in her hand about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

She tried to visualize the last thing she had seen…

Read more: Short Story: One Last Look | Shortbread

Please follow the link. It’s well worth it, if you like spine-tingling tales. Oh, and I’m still looking for spooky stuff, if you’re willing to share. 🙂

Scary October – #22

On the weekend, one of the bloggers I follow asked me if I was still looking for ‘scary stories’. Of course I said, ‘Yes!’ There’s still 9 days left in the month, so if anyone else has a story, link, or even pictures to share, please let me know! 🙂

Pam Wight from roughwighting sent me this story. She teaches creative writing and her blog is a way of sharing her love for the written word. She also talks about the road to publication (or not!). She says this story is not as much ‘scary’ as it is ‘otherworldly’. Anyway, I hope you all like it and pop in to tell her so.

 

 

Finally Home

“Belinda.  Belinda.”

I heard the name called once, twice, three times and wondered why Belinda did not respond.  Whoever was calling Belinda was quite persistent in a loving way.

“Belinda. Can you open your eyes?  Come on.  You’re okay now.  You’re home.  Belinda!”

Just for the heck of it, I opened my eyes to see who this Belinda was, and I saw six pairs of eyes staring at me intently.  I had no idea who these strangers were, and felt a little uncomfortable with their stares.  Couldn’t they turn around and keep on looking for Belinda?

“She’s awake!  I knew she’d do it. Belinda!  You’re back.  Alleluia.”

I had no idea which one of the strangers was speaking as I heard these words, because no one’s mouth opened.  Yet, hear them I did, and as much as I wanted to close my eyes and go back to wherever I was in sweet repose, I couldn’t because of their constant chatter.

“The guide said she’d make it back, but we didn’t believe her. The guide was right,” said one soft-spoken voiceless person.

“I knew it could be done, but I worried about Belinda.  Would she have the strength to come back?” commented another.

“She doesn’t quite look like herself.  Do you think it will take long to . . .”

“Quiet!” I thought silently.  Even though they all shut up, I surmised they heard me because their eyes grew wider and deeper in color.

“Who is Belinda?  Why are you all hovering over me?  Where am I? I feel like I’m floating and have no place to tether.  Answer me before I think of more questions!” I pleaded, again silently, because by now I decided I was watching a silent movie in my dream and I might as well play along with the dream-maker.

“Belinda, you haven’t lost your sense of humor.”  Stranger #1 clapped her hands together.  She was tall and wore a long chiffon-like wrap that flowed to her feet.  Her long gray hair was straight and sleek, and she had the nicest smile I’d ever seen: angelic and wise and loving.

“Angela!” I called out in my mind without even thinking.

“It’s coming back,” said Stranger #2, whom my mind was beginning to identify as Max something, maybe Maxine, Max . . .

“It’s Maxwell, Belinda, and I must say, you are looking splendid. You’ve been away for awhile. Floating, as you say, but away from us in mind and soul. You were the chosen one, to see what it was like in the other world, the non-floating one, let’s say for simplicity sake.  You were our guinea pig, and thank God, the pig has survived.”

I gave him a rueful smile and said, “Pig?  I don’t know about here, but in the place I just came from, a pig is a fat slob who does nothing but eat all day.”

All three strangers laughed gaily, though again their mouths never moved.  They thought I was joking!  I slowly raised my head to make sure I hadn’t somehow become a fat pig and noticed with some alarm that I had been lying on absolutely nothing.  I was floating.  I began to sway in consternation, flailing my arms a bit, and Stranger #3, Harvey (!), my loved one, grabbed my right arm and held me steady as I stood on my feet.  My knees buckled, so I leaned on Harvey.  Harvey!  How could I forget the man I love more than my own beating heart!  My soul swelled at the thought of him, and I swooped up and flew around the room as if I was a bird in open air with the blue sky above me, and the ocean below.

My three friends clapped without using their hands, and I returned to stand in front of them.

“Oh, the stories I have to tell,” I began wordlessly.  “But first, let me revel in the lightness of my being, in the song of my soul, in the joy of your love.  Those on the other side rarely even catch a glimpse of this kind of existence. How do they do it?  How did I do it?”

The three of them enclosed me and held me firmly without moving a step.  I was finally home.

 

Thank you, Pam for sending me your story so I could share it with my readers. 🙂

Please take the time to visit her website, as she always has an interesting story to tell. Most recently, she was a ‘princess attendant’, an enviable position to be in, so drop by and read about this wonderful adventure!  🙂