Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Supernatural Class

The course was called, 'The Supernatural and Everyday History.' I wasn’t supposed to take it but I did anyway. With a title like that, who could resist?
link to original here
It was a folklore class and our objectives included learning about how folk belief impacts our everyday life, how folklore reflects cultural attitudes, and how likewise our cultural attitudes have shaped historical events.

Historical events like the Salem Witch Trials, where the dialogue between Susannah Martin and her inquisitor included this excerpt:

INQ: What ails this people?
SM: I do not know.
INQ: But w’t do you think?
SM: I do not desire to spend my judgm’t upon it.
INQ: Do not you think they are Bewitcht?
SM: No. I do not think they are.
INQ: Tell me your thoughts about them.
SM: Why my thoughts are my own, when they are in, but when they are out they are anothers.

So while others asked her what she thought of the ‘possessed girls,’ she was never accusing. She refrained from judging them. Still, Susannah was convicted of being a witch and executed at the age of 70.

Folklore is defined as: 

1. The unwritten literature of a people as expressed in folk tales, proverbs, riddles, songs, etc
2. The body of stories and legends attached to a particular place, group, activity, etc: Hollywood folklore ; rugby folklore

There’s a lot of folklore out there about witches. There’s a lot of folklore out there about faeries. About ghosts, dragons, mermaids, and I could go on. I think it’s very interesting where our legends originate, and how they adapt. Why did our ancestors come up with this intricate story about a god in the clouds hammering away during thunder storms? (side note -- obviously it had little to do with Chris Hemsworth and a huge population of females getting their swoon on, but that’s a nice example of how folk belief impacts our everyday life now too, no?)

But I think it’s even more interesting what we do with the stories.

Do I accuse others of doing things they may or may not have done? Purely based on what I think I saw happen? Or what I’ve heard happened as reported by such-and-such media corporation? Yes. I have been a ‘possessed girl.’

I would rather be a Susannah Martin, though. I would rather hold back my judgment and allow for multiple sides, multiple opinions, to be right. Even if it means giving up on the idea of being honored and respected by mankind.

And yet, perhaps letting go of our need for Man's respect is how we open the gate to the supernatural again.We become like children in all the 'right' ways, allowing for multiple possibilities. Perhaps? I don't know. There's more to be thought out here...

What do you think?

I do know that I hope there was an angel to hold Susannah’s hand in her last moments. An angel, or an elf, or a whole legion of supernatural beings to welcome her home again.

Likewise, I hope you have an angel, or an elf, or a whole legion of supernatural beings to hold your hand and walk with you throughout your day. I hope you can feel their joy and laughter, and that you can have at least one – if not many – moments of magic today. 

Here’s someplace to start:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Food for Thought

First of all, let me start off by saying that regardless of the fact that I’m not very tall, I don’t have an overly-large truck. 

Does that suggest anything about me?

Now you might be tilting your head and looking at me suspiciously, saying, “Uh, Deb. You don’t have a truck, do you…?”

And I would say, “You’re right, I don’t. It’s just the same ol’ me.”

But if I did have a truck, I don’t think I’d be overly-concerned about its size. 

link to original here
I purposely didn’t carve our pumpkins last month because I thought we might try splitting them open, cleaning them out, and actually cooking them up this winter. My heart lurched into my throat this morning when I saw they were no longer sitting on our lowest step. 

Can you imagine me spinning in a circle and shaking my fist at the sky? Eyes cinched shut, howling at whoever the scoundrel was who kyped our pumpkins in the cold cover of night?

That’s what played itself through my mind as I just stood there, glowering at the spot where they’d been last evening. I thought it was far enough into the season they’d survived the onslaught of kids who laugh at stealing people’s pumpkins and smashing them in the street. 

But when I checked, there were no gourd guts splattered all over the road. 

There was, however, a garbage can pulled up to the curb. 

No. Hubs wouldn’t…

Yes. Apparently Hubs would.

I’m not one to pull things out of garbage cans, usually. But these were two gorgeous globes of orange and yummy goodness. How could I not retrieve them? How could I just leave them, I ask you?

And now they are washed, cut up, and turning golden in the oven. Oh, my. There is a divine smell of pumpkin in the background hovering, lovering the air, as only baked goods know how to do.

Which leads me to think about will o’ the wisps. Which leads me to think about turnips vs. pumpkins. Which leads me to think about trucks and the size of various things. Compensation, and all that. What are we compensating for? 

Maybe the better question is: Who are we compensating for?

If this is your food – your baked pumpkin slathered in butter and salt with a hint of sugar (or however you prefer to eat your squash) – what are your thoughts? I’d love to read them in the comments.

Moment of Magic:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Feedback Please?

There are definitely times when it's best to apply the saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

But this is not one of those times.

I'm putting up my query blurb, and I'd very much appreciate if you could give me your thoughts. All I ask is that if you don't have anything nice to say, please explain your feedback. Likewise, if you have positive things to say, don't just leave it at, "Great job." Why? What works for you? What doesn't work?

Pass this post along at your whim and discretion. I feel like the more feedback I can get, the better. Thanks for all your help.

link to original here
Aimee Mortemer was born into a family of assassins so she’s used to being the hunter, not the hunted. But the demon she made a deal with a few years ago is ready to make good on their agreement. Aimee is not. Impatient to escape, she just has one more mark to hit before she can skip country. Warned against the Stromburgh Case, she takes it anyway, unwilling to run when the contractors have threatened her sister’s life.

Underground Warlord Wynn Stromburgh has his own primordial prey: his diabolical and seemingly unstoppable brother. As the urgency to kill his brother increases, Wynn is distracted when he’s alerted to a profile of Aimee in a warrant. Though he doesn’t recognize her face, he knows her eyes, because somehow they belong to his long-dead wife. His confusion is complete when Aimee corners him in an alleyway, pulling out a wicked little blade to accompany her sweet little grin. 

The Underground has rules of its own, though, and Wynn proves harder to deal with than Aimee initially planned. For one, he is already dead. For two, even the thought of his ethereal hand touching her skin makes her glow; literally. And three, his brother’s far-reaching game of death and power has now extended to entangle Aimee as well, along with the people she loves most. 

So much for her plan to run.
QUIET AWAKENING is complete at 83,000 words and is an adult contemporary fantasy. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Author Interview: Iris Blobel

I'm so excited to have another author willing to sit down and answer some questions. Iris Blobel already has two published books, but her third was recently released in September of this year. She's blog-hopping and was gracious enough to stop in to discuss her new book, her writing process, and give away two free (PDF) copies of Innocent Tears. So if you're interested in one of those, let me know in the comments. Meanwhile: 

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990's. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada, where she actually met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

1. Have you always wanted to be a writer? 
Funny enough, I have to admit not really. In fact until only recently I never even thought about writing til one night, bored and not tired, I started to jot down a couple of paragraphs I had in my head. It kind of snowballed from then on. A friend of mine helped me with a couple of hints how and what to write, and another friend liked what she read – the rest is history so they say. With English being my second language I would have never thought to be writing stories – but now I love it!

2. What made you sit down that first day and begin to write your book?
I dream vividly and I’m also a believer in dreams. So when I looked through the notes I had made about my dreams, I came up with my first story. Since then, I write down ideas wherever I am – with my desk sometimes covered with “Post-it” notes. It’s quite a sight.

3. What challenges did you have in the beginning, and how did you push past them to continue?
Time. Definitely time. Then as well as now. But I think I’ve found a healthy balance. I was like “on a roll” after my first book was published and my family was somewhat neglected. Nowadays family comes first no matter what – second the pile of little notes on my desk ;-) 

4. How do you balance writing and being a very busy person? 
Tricky question! I think after the initial humble success of my first book I wanted to write like all the time. Nowadays I feel more content with what I have achieved and I know if I don’t write today, there’ll still be a tomorrow. Family comes first and should I have some spare time at the end of the day and I feel like writing, then so be it. It’s the old saying, it’s not about quantity but quality. Yet, having said that, as already mentioned above, I have lots of little post-it stickers all over my desk with ideas and small paragraphs for one of the WIP's. 

5. When did you know your writing was good enough? 
I still have doubts. But it’s wonderful when readers tell me how much they have enjoyed reading the story. It’s worth more than any money in the world! I once wrote a blog post about the difference between a storyteller and a writer. I’d consider myself as a storyteller, needing lots of help from an editor to polish my book. 

6. What gave you the courage to make your writing public? 
My husband! He’s been supportive from the very first moment suggesting the idea of having my first story professionally critiqued. And I’ve been very lucky that my readers have been very kind and encouraging as well. It’s always a big step for me to submit a story to a publisher (which sounds exaggerated since I’ve ‘only’ published three books – LOL), and for others to judge “my” words, but I’ve learned to accept that everyone has different tastes. It helps! 

7. How did you manage rejection? 
I’ve been extremely lucky to not have had many. Can I say I receive them, read them and move on. If they include advice, I try to take them to heart. 

8. Who do you write for primarily; yourself or your readers, and are there some pieces you work on that are for your eyes only? 
I mainly write for myself. It’s like a TV set up in my head and since it was turned on a few years back it just won’t stop.

9. What would the top three pieces of advice be for those who are working towards getting published? 
B – Enjoy the ride, don’t ever let it turn into stress.
C – Stay true to your voice – but take on valid advice or critique.

Many thanks to Iris Blobel for her great insights as well as her time in answering some of our questions. Don't forget to let me know if you're interested in winning one of the copies of her new book. If you'd like to contact Blobel, here are her links:


Friday, November 2, 2012

NaNo Day 2: Meditating? Not so much...

I find myself sitting a lot over the last couple of days. Sitting in what looks to be a very meditative, restful state. Mind tranquil and at peace.

Link to original here
Why are the dishes sitting in the sink still? The laundry piling up in the stairwell (hey, now, at least it's made it half-way down to the washer)? And do the children still have residual food at the corners of their mouth from breakfast?

Where's Deb?


 At least that's what it looks like. Of course day two of NaNoWriMo brings anything but.

There is a sandstorm in my mind and I'm trying to see my way through it. This takes a lot of thinking, thinking, which is easiest to do when I'm sitting, sitting. Face blank. Comfortable with legs crossed. Against the dark screen of my closed eyelids, I'm pretty sure I saw my character run that direction. And in my mind, I'm off to follow him.

How are things with all of you? Here's some magic to hold on to in your own struggle with dust devils...

Moment of Magic:

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