The Call

Happy Halloween everyone!!

https://satanicmagic.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/satanic-witches-dancing.jpg?w=676

The Call

She walked through the dark forest. Her limbs were shaking, not from fear, but from excitement. She had been fast asleep when she heard The Call. Though the stories scared everyone else, she always found them fascinating. Instead of cowering, like she knew she should have, she decided to follow. After all, the stories always ended when The Call was heard. Curiosity provoked her into finding out an ending no one else knew about.

Her bare feet softly crunched the dead leaves, her toes nearly frozen, as the hemming of her skirt trailed in the hard dirt. Her breath came out in small frozen clouds, she trailed her fingers along the rough bark of the silent trees.

The Call was beautiful. The voices were melodious, but there was something slightly different about them. It wasn’t the words, she couldn’t distinguish what they were saying, and to her untrained ear, they didn’t sound off key. But still, it was somehow different. Maybe The Call itself wasn’t different, maybe she was somehow.

She continued to walk on in silence, her stride unhurried. She felt no rush to get where she was going, but her heart began to beat faster as her excitement climbed. Her head felt slightly foggy, as if she wasn’t completely in control, but the idea seemed stupid to her. Of course she was in control, it was her body after all.

After a short time, she came to a clearing. The trees leaned towards the clearing, creating a natural canopy over the area. The moon shone brightly down upon the scene though it had been absent behind the clouds outside the forest. And there, in the middle, were at least a dozen women. Some were naked, some wore only underclothes, and some were as modestly dressed as her own grandmother. But they were all dancing.

It wasn’t like any dancing she had seen before. Their hips gracefully swung in time with the music coming from their throats, their hands twirled in the air above their heads, and most of them had their eyes closed. They seemed oblivious to her arrival.

Mesmerized, she stepped forward. She had only taken three steps when everything stopped. She stopped moving as all the women, in unison, turned to look at her. She looked back at them, unable to take her eyes off of their beauty. The silence seemed to last an eternity when a single women, her head dressed in a crown made of twigs and flowers, stepped from the middle of the ring.

“Welcome, Sister. We’ve been expecting you.” The woman’s voice rang through her ears like bells chiming in a chapel. She looked at the woman, perplexed by her statement.

Suddenly, she broke into a grin, and with a gleeful giggle, she ran at the woman and wrapped her arms around her, greeting her like a long lost friend.

She now knew what The Call was for. Now, she was home.

Happiness flooded her heart as her Sisters cheered in triumph and began to dance feverishly around her, the moves more erratic, the throaty sounds more guttural. As the music grew louder, she began to move her own hips to the music, her hands making their way up her body, her own head thrown back. She knew deep in her soul that she was not raised to be like this. Her family were devout and would lock her up forever if they saw her dancing. But in that same part of her soul, she knew that her part in that life was over. She knew she would never be going back. She knew she wouldn’t be wanted back.

The woman grabbed one of her wrists and pulled her closer to the raging fire in the middle. Without a word, the woman faced her and placed her hands on her cheeks. She stopped dancing.

They stared deep into each other’s eyes, the fire blazing in the chilled night, the Sisters thrashing around them. Without a word, but with full understanding, they broke contact and the woman stepped away, disappearing in the ring of women.

She began to dance again.

She gave over everything. Her life. Her family. Her friends. Her soul. She knew she wanted this. Perhaps she had always known. Her feet continued to move.

She danced closer and closer to the fire, unsure if she would feel any pain. When the music was at its highest, she twirled right into the flames, the tongues of fire licking her skin.

She felt nothing but warmth. The warmth went deep into her soul as she continued to sway in time. With her eyes closed, she smiled as the fire enraged around her. She felt her clothes and hair burn off, she felt her skin blister. She felt herself changing.

A slight curiosity came over her as she felt these things happening. Looking down, she saw her skin bubble. She laughed and pinched a bubble on her arm. She continued to laugh as she pulled her skin completely off, revealing brand new pink skin underneath. Her laughing abruptly stopped as she held the melting skin in front of her eyes. A wiggling thought in her head tried to understand what was going on, tried to talk her out of the situation, but she pushed the thought away and flung the skin in the air. As it dropped on the ember coals, she fervently began to peel off all of her skin, it had suddenly grown quite itchy, and that was a feeling she couldn’t stand.

In a matter of seconds, she was completely naked and her new skin shone brightly pink. She gracefully stepped out of the fire, fully feeling the power that had been stowed upon her.

Her Sisters stopped dancing around her. Now they looked at her with love. She smiled at them as cheers flew into the air once again. She felt her hair shoot out of her skull and push down her back. She looked down in amazement as her once flawed skin now shone pearly white in the fire’s light. A single lock of curly bronzed hair fell in front of her eyes. She loving clasped a curl and bounced it in front of her face. Her body was now womanly, curves meant to entice and lure, before she had looked like young girl. She felt taller as this new power surged through her.

With a flick of her finger, she cause a twig near her to burst into flames. A laugh burst deep in her throat. Flaming twigs soon littered the ground, the Sisters paying no heed to them as they rejoiced in the membership of their new sister.

She soon gave up the little game she was playing and began to dance with them once again. They began their call, her own call adding to the mix. They only had to wait a few minutes.

The snapping of a twig echoed behind them. The music and dancing stopped as they all turned to stare at her.

She recognized her at once. It was her birth sister.

Stepping forward, she reached out for her sister’s hand as her sister stared at her in amazed horror. She smiled at her, knowing she wouldn’t get one in return.

Clasping her hand, she encouraged her sister to dance as she maneuvered her to the fire. Soon she would join Them. Her sister did not dance. Nor did she smile. But she did not care; she kept on dancing and singing her call.

She felt her sister’s hand twitch in her own, the other’s nervousness biting into her happiness.

She glanced at her sister, slightly frowning when she failed to see her smile. Her grin broadened as her dancing became more erratic.

With a force of twenty men, she pulled on her sister’s arm, forcing her to twirl right into the fire.

The fire had felt warm to her, like a thick blanket. But this was not the case for her sister.

Her sister’s screams soon filled the air. Yet, they kept on dancing.

The smell of burning flesh filled their nostrils. Yet, they kept on dancing.

Their feet pounded the air, their call more rugged than before, and no one smiled.

The sister’s screams slowly faded from the night as she joined Them, her body a pile of ash.

Yet, they kept on dancing.

Lessons I’ve Forgotten (and You Probably Have Too)-Part 2

https://mockingbirdbook.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/wheresidewalk.jpg?w=676Do you remember the first time you read that book? You know which one. The one that made you laugh when a joke was told. The one that made you cry, either when the hero won, or when the hero lost something dear. The one that, for a small amount of time, made you forget about everything else. Do you remember how it made you feel?

For many in my generation, that book is most likely Harry Potter. Filled with love (of all kinds), loss, and the pains of growing up, that book, even as an adult, still seems extremely relevant to this day. It was (and still is) easy to tumble into the wizarding world. The superb writing made me feel as if I were one of the characters and I felt everything they felt.

A good book will always do this to you. But for first books, it’s different. It has a sort of magical sheen to the whole thing. First books have this thing about them that, no matter how many flaws you see as you grow, will always be perfect in every way. I’m kind of hoping that this book will be The BFG for my daughter.

Children’s books carry subtle lessons with great sentences that should be carried throughout life. But do they?

We all remember the rules from when we were younger; don’t hit, play nice, sharing is caring, and the best rule of all, treat others how you want to be treated. But it’s extremely apparent that not all of us follow these rules now that we’re adults. Is it because we’ve become cynical? Maybe the surge of technological advances in the last 20 years is to be blamed? Or have we simply forgotten?

I’m sure there are many small factors that make up for the evilness of the adult life, but I’m choosing to see it as a simple case of forgetfulness. So I shall remind all of you by sharing what I’ve learned.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it.

 

“Giants isn’t eating each other either, the BFG said. Nor is giants killing each other. Giants is not very lovely, but they is not killing each other. Nor is crockadowndillies killing other crockadowndillies. Nor is pussy-cats killing pussy-cats.

‘They kill mice,’ Sophie said.

‘Ah, but they is not killing their own kind,’ the BFG said. ‘Human beans is the only animals that is killing their own kind.’

‘Don’t poisonous snakes kill each other?’ Sophie asked. She was searching desperately for another creature that behaved as badly as the human.

‘Even poisnowse snakes is never killing each other,’ the BFG said. ‘Nor is the most fearsome creatures like tigers and rhinostossterisses. None of them is ever killing their own kind. Has you ever thought about that?’

Sophie kept silent.

‘I is not understanding human beans at all,’ the BFG said.’ You is a human bean and you is saying it is grizzling and horrigust for giants to be eating human beans. Right or left?’

‘Right,’ Sophie said.

‘But human beans is squishing each other all the time,’ the BFG said. ‘They is shootling guns and going up in

aerioplanes to drop their bombs on each other’s heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.’

He was right. Of course he was right and Sophie knew it. She was beginning to wonder whether humans were actually any better than giants. ‘Even so,’ she said, defending her own race, I’ think it’s rotten that those foul giants should go off every night to eat humans. Humans have never done them any harm.’

‘That is what the little piggy-wig is saying every day,’ the BFG answered. ‘He is saying, “I has never done any harm to the human bean so why should he be eating me?'”

‘Oh dear,’ Sophie said.

‘The human beans is making rules to suit themselves,’ the BFG went on. ‘But the rules they is making do not suit the little piggy-wiggies. Am I right or left?’

‘Right,’ Sophie said.

‘Giants is also making rules. Their rules is not suiting the human beans. Everybody is making his own rules to suit himself.”

― Roald Dahl, The BFG

 

I swear, that’s the last BFG quote I’ll put in here. I love this one. It’s lengthy, but it carries a powerful message. While I doubt that we’re the only creatures in the entire world that kills its own kind (the black widow spider anyone?), we are certainly the most enthusiastic about it. Now, I’m not going to say we should never go to war and people should never kill other people or anything else like that. It would be nice, but it’s unrealistic. You will never get everyone on the same page in any book. That’s just part of being human. So I want you to look at the quote on a more shallow level. Think, the comments section on Facebook. You’re a very lucky person if you’ve never seen the comments section and I envy you. It usually only takes about 30 seconds to find someone being just awful to someone else for no reason at all. Or at least no good reason. Why? Do these people get excited by purposely hurting someone else? Does it somehow improve their life? I would venture a no. What they probably do, is rant and rave, pounding on the keyboard until the keys go flying off, rant and rave, yelling at their spouse, their children, their parents, family, and friends, and have their entire day ruined because someone online had a slightly different opinion than them and they thought it was stupid. There’s something to be said about holding your tongue, and children’s books explore this one in full detail. In those stories, the effects of the silver tongue is felt immediately. They lose a friend. They make someone cry. They know that they have done something wrong and [usually] someone is there to tell them what it was that they did and how it affected the other person. Don’t lash out at people you may or may not know just because mom and dad aren’t there to tell you no.

Value the important things

POOR ANGUS

by Shel Silverstein

 Oh what do you do, poor Angus,

When hunger makes you cry?

“I fix myself an omelet, sir,

Of fluffy clouds and sky.”

 

Oh what do you wear, poor Angus,

When winds blow down the hills?

“I sew myself a warm cloak, sir,

Of hope and daffodils.”

 

Oh who do you love, poor Angus,

When Catherine’s left the moor?

“Ah, then, sir, then’s the only time

I feel I’m really poor.”

 

I love Shel Silverstein. I read Where the Sidewalk Ends to my daughter after we finished Matilda (which we read after we finished The BFG). Reading the poems is where I got the idea for this blog series from. I have a handful of favorites from this book. But because I lost my list, I had to go by memory, and I know for a fact, this was one of them. It’s simple, pretty, and I feel Angus is an older man with worldly wisdom. In a world of big house, big rings, and everyone wants to be a ‘Jones’, we tend to forget what really matters. In short, society has learned to love material objects more than each other. While Angus is obviously financially poor enough that he’s eating clouds and wearing hope, he still values the most important thing in his life above everything else, his dear Catherine. This is a lesson that is hard to avoid if you’re reading to a child. Which is good, because it’s probably the most forgotten lesson that is learned. Thankfully, minimalism seems to be catching hold and people are learning to let go of things to allow love and life to happen. Time will only tell if this will last. This poem reminds me of an ancient Greek mythology story that I read in a book once. The story is called Baucis and Philemon. Its main point is hospitality, but I see this message in there as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if this lesson is in a few of the Holy books as well.

I’ll be back next week for the third (and final) installment in this series. Probably with more Silverstein. Missed the first part? Click here to read it now.

Let me know in the comments section if there are lessons that you had forgotten from your childhood.

 

MAGIC

by Shel Silverstein

 

Sandra’s seen a leprechaun,

Eddie touched a troll,

Laurie danced with witches once,

Charlie found some goblins’ gold.

Donald heard a mermaid sing,

Susy spied an elf,

But all the magic I have known

I’ve had to make myself.

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Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baucis_and_Philemon

http://shelsilverstein.yolasite.com/poor-angus.php

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1249788-the-bfg

Lessons I’ve Forgotten (and You Probably Have Too)-Part 1

story

I read to my daughter every night. I’ve done this since she was a baby. It was really awkward at first and I would read as quietly as I could. For whatever reason, I thought I would be laughed at. I eventually got over this.

I am decently selective in what I will read. I have my childhood favorites, most people do, so when she started preschool, I noticed they were reading newer books. I wanted my child to learn a love for the classics (a little bit in hopes that they wouldn’t bore her in high school), so I started picking out specific books. Grimm fairy tales, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, Shel Silverstein, Little Golden Books, and others that I can’t think of right now. Last spring I had bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the illustrated version, because I love that series and she showed a huge interest in the story. Got as far as the snake at the zoo and we were done. I think it scared her too much when it escaped. That was the only dud I’ve run into and I can proudly say that my daughter loves good books and was able to see the magic in Dahl and the hilarity in Silverstein. What I hadn’t expected was what I found.

Children’s books are filled with lessons. We all know this, it’s nothing new to us. But how many of us can honestly say that the stories we loved as children, have stuck with us through time?

The Fantastic Mr. Fox was the first Dahl book I read to her. She loved it. She raved to everyone she knew about how good the book was. She was only 4 at the time and I feel compelled to remind everyone that Dahl books are chapter books that don’t have a whole lot of pictures. It took us a few days to get through, but when we were done, she begged me to start over. I didn’t though. We had borrowed about 6 books from the library…again. And my mouth needed to re-hydrate. But it did get my wheels turning. I didn’t catch anything other than humor from that book, but I did get to thinking about more chapter books. My daughter, in a way, challenged me to give her something other than brightly colored story pages.

And then The BFG hit theaters.

The BFG was absolutely, by far, my favorite book when I was a kid. Other than that book, The Witches (also by Dahl), Harry Potter, and the Fear Street books, I can’t remember loving any other books nearly as much as these favorites.

I wanted to take her to see that movie so bad. I wanted to share that love with her.

Her dad beat me to it, and I didn’t know until well after the fact. I was crushed. But I had something he didn’t. I had the book.

I have a couple of small boxes of the books I owned as a kid. Now, I was by no means a gentle kid when it came to my things, but my kid is worse. It took a long time for me to get her to stop ripping and coloring on her books. So there was no way I was going to give her this one. But I still wanted to read it to her.

Thanks to the movie, all of Dahl’s more famous books are in print again. I bought The Fantastic Mr. Fox (we borrowed it before), The Witches, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The BFG. You would not believe the amount of money I have invested in books during my adult life. I was so excited and so was she.

As soon as nighttime came, I tucked her in and pulled out The BFG. Normally I let her choose what she wants to hear, but not this time. I wanted to be a kid again and fall into giant country head first. It took us about two weeks to read it. It’s lengthier than Mr. Fox, so I did lose her a few times during slightly heavy scene setting, but I usually had her attention.

She loves to ask questions, she’s very curious. A lot of ‘why’s’ and ‘what does that means?’s. To be honest, when I’m tired, her constant questioning annoys me, but I try my best not to let it show. At first, her questions were ruining the experience for me. I was having to remind myself that the movie is never just like the book and she was probably hearing bits that she didn’t see. After a short bit though, I learned something.

She was learning magic. The story was creating an entirely brand new world to her where precocious children with glasses like her were learning how to be brave and smart and kind and everything else we all want our children to be. A world where the scary-looking weren’t necessarily the ‘bad guy’ and where the ‘dumb sounding’ weren’t necessarily the least intelligent. A world where kindness and hard work almost always pay off, but is still worth it in the end. She was learning, in a way, lessons that I have forgotten as I’ve gotten older.

And I’m willing to bet some of you have too. Denial won’t get you anywhere either. You have to be truthful with yourself.

With story magic comes questions.

“Mommy, why did the BFG take her?”

“Mommy, what’s an orphan?”

“Mommy, where’s London?”

“Mommy…?”

The questions never ended. But she was learning. I explained what an orphan was (I explained foster families the other day, she has a foster child in her class), I told her where London was and explained how big the world is, and I had to tell her, again, that there are people in this world who are just plain mean and cruel. I hate that I have to teach her that horrible people exist, but I would much rather frighten her, than lose her forever. She’s far more accustomed to that conversation than I am, I always tear up.

During the whole book, she asked questions, we laughed, and we hung to edge of our seats. And when it was over, she asked me to read it again. But I didn’t. I wanted to share more with her.

You see, after the initial onslaught of questions and my first thoughts of upset with how the reading was going, I found another kind of magic in the book.

I found the gift of sharing the magic. With children’s picture books, I just read words while I hold up the book for her to see the pictures and hope she gets the moral of the story. It’s usually not very fun for me if the story doesn’t contain any humor. This book was different. She didn’t have colorful pictures for her imagination to fall back on and the lesson in the story is more complex.

Reality shows her how life is, these books show her how it could be, and I get to be the one to show her the possibilities.

So, no, I didn’t get to get lost in giant country, but I got to watch my child make friends with a big friendly giant.

“The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.”

– Roald Dahl, The BFG

Come back next week for part 2!

Quarterly Goals for the Fourth Quarter

I didn’t post a story about sirens. I sat down to write something, and couldn’t think of any plot lines that I liked. So no siren story. That’s okay though. October is here! Which means we’re in a new quarter for the year. Woo!

My third quarter goals:

  • Finish rough draft…… nope. I think I can safely leave this at that and just hang my head in shame.
  • Join a writing community. I technically did this, but I never get on. I don’t know if a writing community itself is the right fit for me due to time alone, but I did make a new writer buddy (hi Valarie!) so I’m counting this as a win. Yay!
  • Join Patreon. I joined, but I haven’t launched anything. I am having such a hard time filling out the stuff. And they encourage videos. Cue the anxiety. I will eventually do this…. when I figure out how to talk about myself without feeling like I sound arrogant.
  • Find an editor. Still haven’t done this. And it’s not going to be on my list for this quarter either. Maybe I’ll look while I’m in the beta reader phase.
  • Create a book club on Goodreads. Didn’t do this either. I’m not so sure I will either. At least not yet.

My goals for this quarter:

  • Finish rough draft. Because of the holidays (and my track record), I’m not positive I’ll be able to do this. This quarter is going to be hectic.
  • Send stuff to my critique partner. Heyyy buddyyyy! :}
  • Finish Patreon. Going to have to just do this. Maybe I’ll work on it when I’m done with this. 

That’s it. I’m going to be too busy with the holidays to do more than that. I have crochet projects planned for Christmas presents so I’m probably already overloaded. Ha!

I’ll blog you next time!

Monster Monday – Qalupalik

Qalupalik

Origin: Inuit

Appearance: The Qalupalik is described as being human-like with green skin, ling hair, and long claw-like fingernails. Qalupalik wears an amautit and lives under the icy waters.

This monster is the type parents use to keep their children from wandering. It’s similar to stranger danger, if you think about it. The Qalupalik hums as disobedient children near their hideout to lure them in. Once they are within reach, it lunges out of the water, grabs the child, throws them in the amautit, and brings them back to their water dwelling. I didn’t find anything that stated that they ate the children, but I did find a source that said the children were kept asleep and the Qalupalik used their youth to stay young itself.

There really isn’t a whole lot on this monster in general, not even in books and television. But the information that is on it is enough to create a slew of fun stories to scare the pants off of someone.

Want to see a certain monster featured in my Monster Monday? Or want to see a flash fiction piece done on one? Just let me know in the comments!

Resources:

Image: http://warriorsofmyth.wikia.com/wiki/File:3-female-Qalupalik.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qalupalik

Evil Inuit Mermaid – Qalupalik

 

Monster Monday – Sirens

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I had life going on. This week’s Monster Monday isn’t so much a monster and a mythical creature. Although, I would argue that they could be monsters because only Odysseus and his small crew survived the sight of them.

Oh, Odysseus, you arrogant cheat, you.

Sirens

Origin: Greek mythology. Depending on who you are reading, the stories of the sirens changes. To Ovid, the Sirens were given wings by Demeter to aid in the search of Persephone when she was abducted. The Fabulae of Hyginus shows that Demeter cursed the Sirens with wings for not intervening in Persephone’s abduction. However, no matter what story you read, these beautiful creatures live on small islands surrounding by lethal cliffs and rocks and they sing to a sailor’s heart so that he may draw close and drown. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus orders his men to tie him to the mast and plug their own ears with beeswax. He wanted to boast that he was the only man to have ever heard their call and survive the attack, and, obviously, he didn’t want his crew to hear and kill them all. If I remember right, some of them didn’t do a very good job and jumped into the water anyways. If you haven’t read Homer’s Odyssey, I highly recommend that you do.
Appearance: Sirens are not mermaids, though many depictions through paintings and the word will combine them, not that I’m complaining. The Sirens are a combination of woman and bird. Most paintings show them as women only, but the earliest editions show them as half bird, half woman. There are usually only two or three of them as well, so good luck randomly running into one.
I chose Sirens this week because it seems like they exist only to kill. They don’t search for love or peace or happiness. They kill. I love them.
In my imagination, they are curvy, naked women with voices of velvet. They are able to swim through water as slick as an otter and change into birds at will. They torment men by becoming half breeds; sharp lips, piercing black eyes, feathered hair, enormous wings, and clawed feet and hands. They shred the skin from the limbs of men, peck their eyes out, and rip out their tongues as they scream.
If you want to watch/read more on the Sirens, you have plenty of options. The Odyssey by Homer. Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius. The Silence of the Sirens by Franz Kafka. Metamorphoses V by Ovid. Anywhere on the internet. And I swear they made an appearance in the cartoon movie Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. (I love that movie).
Come back tomorrow for a short piece on Sirens. (I haven’t written it yet so I don’t know how long it’s going to be).

All About That Genre

See what I did there? See it? I am so proud of myself. Hi. My name is Krysteen. I’m a writeaholic and I sometimes make bad jokes. It’s been 30 days since my last meeting and I…

Seriously though. Genre is the base, well part of the base, of writing. If you don’t know what category your piece of gloriously crafted fiction falls under, then how the hell are you going to market it? How do you expect anyone to find, buy, read, and pass on your clever and brightly colored Cthulhu fanfic if you don’t know to label it as horror? No one. That’s who. And you will die penniless.

To be fair, even if you’re the next Rowling and your genres are on point, you could still die penniless. Look at Poe. Poor bastard had no idea we all would love him so much. *sigh*

But are genres the be all and end all of fiction? Do you need to know that your future manuscript is going to fall under fantasy romance adventure before you’re even done with the outline? Even when your done, are you going to know exactly which categories best suits what you’ve create?

Not necessarily. Genre is important and can sometimes be the difference between low sales and best sellers, but they aren’t needed in the very early stages of your writing, so don’t stress it too much. You’ve got time and you have options. For example, when I first started envisioning Bugs and outlining it, I thought it was going to be pure horror and nothing else. But now that I’m halfway through it and I completely redid the outline, I’m not so sure. It’s still horror, but it’s also a thriller, a suspense, and some might even say paranormal but I will probably never label it as such.

Ok. So picking my genre isn’t important if I’m still starting out, but what if I still can’t pick just one when it’s all done? Well, writing a novel takes quite a bit of time to do and I’m not even talking about all the rewrites, the beta reading, editing, and finding a publisher (if you go traditional), so you still have a lot of time to figure it all out. But if you can’t, refer to your beta readers. A simple ‘do you feel that this is a romance or do you think it’s more of a mystery?’ will work. And they may surprise you, it may be both! If you have written a murder mystery that needs to be solved by a duo that happen to fall in love, or already were in love, then you very well may have written a romantic mystery. A mixture of genres can actually help you when it comes to being discovered.

You could also have the complete opposite problem where your plot is a mixture of several genres and then you have a few subplots that bring their own baggage. First off, drop the subplot genres. They’re not the focus of the story so they shouldn’t be the focus of your marketing. So that leaves your plot. If it falls under, romance, mystery, thriller, suspense, and a little bit of horror, you kind of need to narrow it down. No one wants to surf through the horror genre and end up with something that has more face kissing than blood dripping. Focus on your main plot points and decide which ones reign over the others. If you have trouble with this, again, refer to your beta readers. They can, and will, help you out a lot. Critique partners are good to have too.

Now the big[gish] question. If my first MS is horror, am I stuck to that genre forever? I’ve personally been struggling with this one. The short answer to this is, no. The long answer is, it’s a little more complicated than no. Here’s how I feel about it, and I doubt I’m the only one. My first MS, Bugs, is horror. But I also have plans for more horror, fantasy, and some that I can’t even pick genres for. Some of these non horror plans I’m actually pretty excited for and I can’t wait to write them. But I’ve been marketing as horror, because that’s what I’m currently writing. What if I’m creating a following of just horror lovers? Do I need to start over when I write the fantasy? I sure hope not. I know that several authors write in several genres and do it successfully, but it still worries me. Nora Roberts is well known for her romances, but she also writes mystery under the pen name J.D. Robb. Sure a pen name would work and certainly help make it distinguishable for my readers, but that’s also a lot more work. That seems to me to be double the work, new social media accounts, different websites, different followers, different everything. Plus, I don’t want to have a pen name. I guess with this, I’ll just have to find out for myself what will work best.

Do you have problems with picking a genre either because you have too many options or not enough? Do you have experience with writing in several genres and the marketing problems that come with it? Let me know in the comments!

Monster Monday – The Jabberwock

I’m just going to outright state, I freaking love the Wonderland universe. Every single aspect of it. It’s all amazing and nonsensical. And that is one reason why I chose the Jabberwock as the monster for this Monster Monday. I know I didn’t do my mythical creature last Monday. The Friday before, I found out that I had an interview the following Wednesday for a promotion I had applied for and I spent my entire three days off preparing for it. So, no blog post.

 

THE JABBERWOCK

Origin: The Jabberwock came from the brilliant (though slightly twisted) mind of Lewis Carroll, or the man who wrote Alice in Wonderland, though that was not where if first appeared. The first stanza of the poem was written in 1855 when Carroll was still a child; he published it in a periodical of his own making for his family. The rest of the poem was written while he was staying with some relatives in Whitburn (near Sunderland on the coast of North East England). This, of course, was later included in his sequel to Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.

Appearance: The Jabberwock isn’t ever really physically described in the poem, his terrific level of fearsome is described. But he does have a look. The illustration of The Jabberwock was the work of John Tenniel. It is believed that his illustration reflects the Victorian times’ obsessive focus on natural history, paleontology, and geology; both of the later were making giant leaps of progress in the sciences at that time.

So why The Jabberwock? To this I say, why NOT The Jabberwock. Look at him. He’s large (far larger than any young girl according to the illustration), he has claws for feet and hands, he has a long tail (while not really purposeful, it’s still impressive), I highly doubt his skin is soft, his teeth are large and something to avoid, a long ass neck, bulging eyes, and little bit of ugly looking hair/fur. And on top of all that, the fucker flies. You can’t even outrun him. Oh, and by the way, you have to use the vorpal sword to kill him. Good luck finding that in your adventures in a land that makes no sense.

I mentioned that I love the Wonderland Universe in the begging, so it only makes sense that I list some of my favorite Wonderland books. I do need to say I’m quite picky when it comes to these because they tend to fall into the YA category. I’m not adverse to the genre itself, but I do tread carefully because I could care less about characters with empty heads who are only concerned about themselves and which boy to love (Twilight, I’m looking at you). Click on any of the pictures to go to the book’s listing on amazon.com (yes, they’re affiliate links).

Splintered by A. G. Howard

This is the 1st book in the Splintered series. I have read all three full sized novels in the series, but I have not had the chance to read the companion novel yet. I know that I said that I don’t like love triangles, and I meant it, but this series does have one. The only reason I found it tolerable is because Alyssa (a descendant of Alice) never wavers in her opinion on which man she loves, but she does have a responsibility to Wonderland and the other main guy is more like a ‘have-to’ than a ‘want-to’, although it could be argued that he falls under both. Either way, I love how Howard wraps up this little love complication in the last book. You’ll have to read it yourself, seriously, READ IT. I loved this series from start to finish. Plus, she creates artwork with the dead bodies of insects and her own blood. She’s only a little messed up.

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Also a series. Now, I have to admit, I have not read this…. yet. But I did just buy it yesterday; halfway because of the cover (isn’t it pretty?!). So instead of posting my opinion on it, because I don’t have one, I’ll post the publisher’s summary. (Pssst, Oakes did a Peter Pan book on Wendy too!)

The first novel in Colleen Oakes’s epic, imaginative series tells the origin of one of the most infamous villains—the Queen of Hearts.

This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.

Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.

*I don’t care for the fact that the MC’s name is Dinah; Dinah was the cat in the movie, you can’t do that. *angry glare*

Insanity by Cameron Jace

This is the first book a series as well (almost every book these days has a place in a series). And I haven’t read this one either, though it’s been on my TBR list since I first read Splintered. Summary!

After accidentally killing everyone in a bus accident, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum in Oxford. No one doubts her insanity. All but a hookah-smoking professor who believes otherwise.

Professor Carter Pillar believes he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and finding Wonderland’s real location. He persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals.

In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford University student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that ‘nonsense’ is an actual science.

References for The Jabberwock:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jabberwocky There is some pretty awesome stuff said by Carroll in here

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Through_the_Looking-Glass

http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html This is the poem

My Halloween Story

halloween-ghost-clip-artSo this story isn’t really about Halloween. It’s not even stated that it’s set in that time of year. But I have called it this because of when I was written and “published”. So when I started high school at the ripe age of 13 (my high school started with 8th grade), I decided to join the school newspaper called 20/40. For the Halloween/October issue, I wrote a scary story called “Who’s Following Me?”. Now, to age myself a little bit, I either wrote this before the invention of flash drives or when they had just started coming out and were so expensive only CEO’s could afford them. Either way, I didn’t have a digital copy of it anywhere, so I had to type it out. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO NOT EDIT SOMETHING SO BAD? Very difficult…. in case you didn’t know that (I did zero editing or rewriting). So, for this weeks post, I am going to show everyone just how bad I was 14 years ago. Spoiler alert: the only horror in this story is the grammar, structure, plot, character depth, and word choices.

Good luck!

*Interesting fact, according to a poll also published in this issue, in my school in 2002, Haunted Hill was the most popular scary movie followed closely by The Ring. Fatal Attraction got one vote by the principal.

 

Who’s Following Me?

 

Sarah-Marie hurried to get her house keys.

“Where are they!?” She looked in her purse, again. Not there. She ran upstairs, knowing that the bus had just turned on the block. She ran in her room and started looking frantically. Nowhere. Where could they be? She thought as she heard the bus honk hurriedly out front. Oh yeah. Now I remember. They’re in the key cupboard. She thought angrily to herself. How can I be so stupid?!

She quickly poked her head out front and yelled out to the bus, “I’m coming1 Just let me lock the doors.” She ran back to the door, pushed it aside, and grabbed the keys from the hook. She grabbed her school things and dashed to the front door. She hurriedly tried to lock the door which she could have done if she was patient. She calmed down and locked the door, but just as she turned around she thought she heard a creak on the porch just behind her. She turned around hoping she hadn’t accidentally let out her cat Fifi. Weird, she thought. She had started to think what could have made such a sound when somewhere in the distance in the back of her head came the sound of the school bus honking loudly. She turned around slowly. Then she ran to the bus as quick as a flash when she had gotten back to her senses. She sat with her friend Jane on the bus.

“What took you so long?” Jane asked Sarah-Marie awkwardly. “I couldn’t find the keys.” Sarah replied. Jane went on as though why her friend couldn’t find her keys was so important to hold up the entire bus.

“Oh. Well anyways…”

 

“Sarah-Marie will you pay attention!” Snapped Sarah’s English teacher. Sarah had been busy day dreaming about the ford she was going to get in just two weeks. “Now as I was saying,” droned on her teacher. “Your essay is to be exactly four pages long. You can type it if you want, but the font can’t be any bigger than 12 and it has to be double-spaced.”

The class groaned at the very thought. How in the world could she get her paper done if its 12 font and four pages long?!

 

“Sarah hurry up!” Urged her boyfriend, Allen.

“Ok… done!” Replied Sarah after a moments second or two. Ding, ding, ding. The Riverside High School bell rang. Sarah and Allen walked out of the school talking about the car Sarah was going to get in just a couple weeks.

“Blue or red?” Allen asked Sarah.

“Uh… blue.” Replied Sarah. They got into Rick’s, Allen’s brother, car.

 

“Bye Sarah. See you tomorrow.” Allen gave his girlfriend a kiss on the cheek.

“Boy I can’t wait until you get over your cold!” groaned Sarah. “Well, bye.” She slowly got out of the car hoping her boyfriend would pull her back in, but he didn’t.

As she walked to the house, she fumbled for her keys in her bag. She looked to see if there were any messages on the answering machine. When she pushed the play button, all it said was “No messages.”

Why are all the clocks flashing? Sarah thought mysteriously. The power must have gone out. She headed for the kitchen. Was that a creak I heard? She thought to herself. She entered the dark, clustered kitchen. Are those footsteps in the hall? Sarah thought as she spun around to see if her parents were home. No one. She shrugged as she sat down in her chair at the bar.

She had just started her math homework when she felt a chill run down her back. She looked at the window. It’s not even open! She started to panic. She shook her head and told herself to get real and to get working on her homework. Just as she got to number 5 on her math homework, her cat Fifi, leaped in her lap and started rubbing her back against Sarah’s stomach. “Hey Fifi!” Her cat purred as she rubbed Fifi’s belly with her forefingers. She finished her homework, then ran upstairs to call Jane.

“But Jane it was weird!” Sarah said to her friend frantically.

“I know Sarah, but you could have imagined it!” Jane yelled back to her friend.

“Do YOU think I’m going crazy?” Sarah had barely gotten the words out of her mouth when she heard a creak loud enough for the neighbors could have heard it. And if they could hear it then her friend most certainly would. “Did you hear that?!” shrieked Sarah.

“No,” Jane replied slowly.

Later on, when Sarah was lying in her bed, she kept on hearing the loud creak that she had heard when she was on the phone with Jane, and the curious response when she asked Jane if she had heard it. She got out of bed in her overlarge T-shirt and her flannel pajama bottoms. Sarah quietly crept down the stairs and went into the kitchen for some water and crackers. As she sat down into one of the spindly chairs she heard a whisper in her ear. It was as cold as ice and it chilled her body as though she had stepped into a large freezer. She ran out of the kitchen. She ran out of the house knowing that the culprit was right behind her. She had had enough. She was going to the police and see if he followed, and if he didn’t, she would just tell them that someone wouldn’t leave her alone.

Sarah decided to take a shortcut though the alley, and turned left. In case he doesn’t follow, I need to see his face so I can describe him to them. She turned around as she thought this. No one was there. She slowed down until she stopped. Then what made her run again frightened her so much she couldn’t move for a moments flash. She heard footsteps pounding loudly on the concrete, but didn’t hear two sets of them. She turned her head for a second to manage to get a glimpse of him. Still no one. She had finally gotten to the police station.

“May we help you?” asked the officer behind the desk.

“Someone….. keeps…. Following….. me,” Sarah replied, only able to get one word out of her pale lips with every breath she took.

“Who?” asked the officer, looking around her to see whom.

“I don’t know, but someone.” Sarah explained to him like she couldn’t understand why he didn’t believe her.

“Look kid, it’s not funny to make it look and sound like someone’s following you.” he told her furiously in his southern accent.

“But there is someone!” she replied angrily at the officer, shaking her head.

“Hey maybe I can give you a ride home,” the officer said, with a look of sympathy in his eyes.

Sarah thought about it. “Ok,” she said after a while.

“So no one was following you?” Jane asked her the next day at school.

“That’s what he said.” Sarah replied, satisfied.

Just as when she was going to get onto her bus, she heard a voice.

Hello Sarah!