My kid did something that I had wanted to do for years and it only took her a month to do it. She decided to watch Doctor Who, all seven seasons of the reboot. I never thought there was time, nor did I realize every episode was On Demand. So the kid got me hooked on yet another show which gets me thinking about time travel. The idea of being able to go anywhere in time and in the case of traveling with the TARDIS, anywhere in space as well.
If time were no longer a linear concept, would you take advantage of it? Where would you go? I might be intrigued and head to the past, my past specifically and visit my seven-year old self. I have so much wisdom I’d like to share with myself. Though changing my past my make my present unrecognizable. Maybe I should go and experience history, the greatest moments when events changed the world.
Since I have yet to see my future self in my present timeline, I can assume time travel hasn’t been invented or perfected in the future. So it remains a science fiction concept and storyline. I can live with that and I can suspend my disbelief that time travel is plausible as long as the explanation makes sense. Think of Terminator. I can believe that Sarah Connor’s protector came from the future and became John Connor’s father. Because in the version of time travel I like to think is possible you can’t go back to the past if you hadn’t been there when the past was actually the present. Think of it this way, if you meet your future self today, because that future self came back to the past, you will be able to do it in the future because you came to this point in the past. If that didn’t make sense than maybe this will, you won’t be able to go to your past because you didn’t meet yourself in the past already. And of course since I don’t know you, maybe you have. In that case, I’d be very impressed and a little jealous.
When writing a series, like Annie and Cham I’m always dreaming of unique storylines that could hold the reader’s attention. And in the middle of falling asleep on the couch and watching a documentary about Beowulf, I began imagining Annie in the past. More specifically, Annie as Beowulf, saving the world from something scary. She Wulf became a story of Annie’s adventures in ancient England during the time of the Vikings. A chance for her to save the world from an indestructible demon, and in return, watch the demon’s extinction. And when things didn’t go Annie’s way, she still remained hopeful. With the demon no longer in the present world, she knew she could resolve the situation and return home because she already had done it in the past. It was just now in her present that she actually remembers experiencing it.
I’m glad my daughter decided to watch Doctor Who. I enjoy the endless possibilities as a watcher, reader and writer. If you could would you travel to the past? Where would you go and who would you meet? Just remember, don’t touch anything, talk to anyone or change history. You might not recognize where you return home to.
You don’t have to battle a demon, vampire or monster for them to have a role within a story. Sometimes they appear for another reason, their purpose merely to prove a point like scaring a character into understanding the world they’ve just found themselves in. In The Day of First Sun I threw Annie into the world of the non magical, similar to what she’s dealt with before and yet different because she’s never worked so closely with the FBI. Making things worse for Annie, is the fact she has to investigate the crime with the eyes of the world watching. She understands the ramifications of keeping her secret from the world, but what about the FBI agent who drags her into the case. He’s never dealt with a magical crime before.
That’s where I bring in the magical creature. Curious, Jack Ramsey finds himself in The Snake Head Letters, the all wizarding book store in which the proprietor illegally sells him a Book of Shadows, the witch or wizard’s heirloom passed on from generation to generation, the book which details the experience of the witch throughout their lifetime. However, the unscrupulous shop keeper, sells a book about the darker side of magic, with fearsome creatures that open the FBI agent’s eyes to a world he never knew existed.
This is Jack’s true introduction into the entire magical world, exposing the worst that can be experienced and as he reads the book, he comes across the Aicha Kandida. I chose to introduce this being because in my basic research, it’s a creature that singles out lonely men and Jack is just that, single and lonely, working late into the night, not even remembering the last time he found himself in the company of a woman.
The monster was perfect. A predatory water demon who appears in the form of a beautiful young woman, killing their prey by luring men to their death. The curious victim seeing the beautiful woman by the water’s edge, the victim saunters over and once within reach, they are dragged into the water and consumed by the creature.
As Jack read the book searching for information pertaining to the mystical Orb of Eridu, he became engrossed by the animated picture of the beautiful woman and horrified when it changed into its true form, murdering the victim in front of him. I didn’t need to bring the monster to life, it was simply an entry in The Book of Shadows, one little glimpse into the magical world and yet it shakes Jack to the core and he’s forever changed by the experience.
Maybe one day I’ll bring the demon to life, but only for a larger purpose. For now it will remain a distant, disturbing memory, reminding Jack to why he must keep their secret. Who would believe him anyway?
What’s your most creepy monsters? Vampires, werewolves, ghosts? Mine is the Weeping Angels. Whovians know what I mean.
Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. I have memories of both sides of my family coming to our house. I always have a sense of warmth. Even as I remember fighting my dad and brother for crispy turkey skin or making stuffing in my pajamas. I have to admit, I don’t enjoy the holiday as much now that I’m an adult. It’s a lot of work and it’s exhausting. But I do hope that when I host it at my house, my children will take away their own special memories of Thanksgiving to pass on to their own children.
I’ve seen people this year expressing gratitude on Facebook. I didn’t participate because some of my things I’m grateful for might not seem as normal as others. But we’re all different and we all have different experiences that make us happy and thankful.
I’m always grateful for my children. They are amazing kids, fairly well-behaved, good students and constant reminders that I should be present in my life, take a little time to stop and enjoy and spent some quality time with them. Sometimes it’s not always easy, sometimes I just have to turn off the computer. Annie and Cham will just have to wait.
I’m thankful for the people in my life. Some you get stuck with, some you let in because you like them. It’s not always easy but they and the experiences you have with them make you who you are whether you like it or not.
I’m thankful for two amazing editors, Kira and Ashley. Not because they edited my books, but because they offered me a level of support beyond what was required and it was that support which kept me writing. For whatever reason they chose to give more of themselves and for that I will always be grateful and thankful.
I may never meet the next in my list but they influenced me in ways that truly shaped me as a writer. I’m thankful all of the writers of Nancy Drew who wrote under the name Carolyn Keene. It was my first time reading mysteries. I loved them and have ever since. To Judy Blume I’m thankful for the lesson in writing about characters you care for. I might not always hit the mark, but it’s always in the back of my head as I try to draw a complete picture of who they are. To Stephen King, I’m thankful for the lesson in imagination, and thinking outside the box. I’m writing fantasy, anything can go, so let it flow. And lastly I’m thankful to JK Rowling for simply writing books that made me happy, but most importantly, reminded me that I wanted to be a writer. Without that little push, I might not have written my own books.
Lastly, I’m thankful for being me. For learning something from all of my setbacks and realizing that with a little belief in myself I might be able to get somewhere good.
It’s always nice around this time to remember what we’re thankful for. I can add so many other things and people and expand beyond my books or career but for now I’ll leave the list where it is. It’s a fluid and ever-changing thing as life moves about.
So what are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!
There’s something about Annie. Rebekah Stoner doesn’t know what it is about the woman who appears at several unrelated crime scenes in The Day of First Sun. But there it was, as the young and observant journalist has discovered, Annie is some kind of investigator, she doubts she’s really with the Chicago Police Department, because why would she be at the murder scene of Princess Amelie? She wonders too, what was Annie doing at the FBI Agent Jack Ramsey’s apartment late at night holding THAT book? And in book two, tentatively titled Heavenly Gifts, why then was she at the scene of the crime on the other side of the world?
Not all of the monsters in Annie’s world are actually monsters or mythical creatures. In The Day of First Sun, Annie deals with her fair share of vampires, but there is something else lurking in the shadows that Annie will need to deal with if she is to survive intact and most importantly, undiscovered.
In many of the shows about super heroes, there is a constant theme that runs through each storyline, that one rule which is required in order for said hero to survive. Never reveal your secret. For Annie, that is hiding her true self, ensuring that the non magical world has no idea that magic exists in the world. When Annie and Cham are called in to solve the magical murder of the very famous Princess Amelie, they realize early on that hiding their secret with the rest of the world watching would be very difficult.
Charmed is a great example of this. On several occassions the sisters find themselves in a situation in which they are discovered or will be discovered. Their final time of being discovered costs their friend his job and they decide to fake their deaths, become other people all in the hopes that they can simply fade into a normal life. But they can’t. They’re still responsible for their magic, for the lives of others and it becomes imperative that they re-enter the real world and finish what they started.
In my creation, if there are missteps, what would the consequences be for Annie and Cham and all their friends and family. Would they be arrested, brought in and poked and prodded, examined to learn their differences? Would they have to fake their own deaths, run away and hide and become someone else. This becomes Annie’s most challenging monster yet, the journalist whose determined to find out who she really is.
In my world, the non-magical world becomes a character. A monster that needs to be controlled because if the non magical world discovers their secret, that would be their downfall. So here’s to that monster and holding it back so Annie may live another day.
Rumors abound that there will be a spinoff of The Walking Dead. Any fan would welcome more of the series we love so much. According to the rumors, the plot and characters would be separate of those we’ve already grown to love that we’d see a different place in the Dead universe. What happened to the government, to Hollywood, to Canada? How is it different, is it the same? Was France really the last to fall and did they find out what caused the virus and do they know how to stop it?
I just read today, that the spin off might actually be a prequel. I’m not sure what the point of a show about the time before the zombie plague started unless its a mini series that shows us who created it and why, but I am curious. I thought I’d have an answer to that question when I read the first The Walking Dead graphic novel. I had hoped it would explain everything, but it didn’t. It was simply put, just the same.
I love science fiction and urban fantasy because it’s so not the real world. But what I need when I read them is to have some basis in the real world. Some explanation of how this might happen if it were reality. If the explanation doesn’t make sense then, hey, I’m not watching, reading or even paying attention.
As I write my own magical universe, I try to make the answers to those questions as real as possible, give the magical answer a scientific explanation. For instance, the magical characters in The Day of First Sun explained to Jack Ramsey, the non-magical FBI agents, that they have an extra chromosome, one that gives them their magical powers. In the book I’m writing now tentatively titled The Gift, one of the characters explains you can’t just conjure items that you don’t own because it’s stealing. But you can summon or conjure items you already own.
Think of it this way, if magic were real, it could solve every problem that exists in the world and if your world contains magic, you could surely cure hunger, disease and poverty. But why then, don’t we do that within these new worlds? Because we also create laws that our characters must obey or they will suffer the consequences.
But I digress. I still want an answer to the burning question about the zombie virus, I need to know where it comes from. Was it created by humans, was it a mutation of something else, and how in the hell did it spread. Because it spread so fast, that there are cars still clogging roads or left out in the open. I was always hoping for a flashback that explained it all. We’ve even discussed this as a family after watching various episodes because we really want to know. My only possible conclusion comes from the idea that where ever the virus was created, it infected the entire planet. We know this from the episode where our favorite group traveled to the CDC in Atlanta, episode 105 Wildfire. My guess, the first person who died after the mass infection turned into a zombie, killed whoever was the closest and so on and so on. It must have happened so fast that it overwhelmed health care workers, the police and even the armed forces. It just became too much.
So bring it on producers and writers of The Walking Dead. I really, really, really want to know if I’m right.
I originally reviewed this book a few years ago and enjoyed it. I’m happy to reshare it with you now that the price has been reduced for your reading pleasure.
I expected chick lit. I expected a love story. The type of books I don’t reach for first. And then a pile a bricks fell on my head. Okay, I wasn’t that surprised, maybe one brick hit me in the face. But when I pulled it off and dusted myself off, I was very pleasantly surprised.
Hattie Cross writes for a tabloid in a world after the worse blight known to humankind. Most men in the world have been exposed to a virus that turned them into zombies. You could laugh here. Zombies unable to communicate beyond grunting, lack any hygiene and are only content when they watch the 24 hour football game. Call it kind of ironic and funny.
So what’s a modern girl in the year 2020 supposed to do? Who do we date when there are only 300,000 real human males alive on the planet? Well date a zombie of course. And Hattie is the expert having written the ultimate guide to dating them, where to meet them, how to care for them, feed them, medicate them.
And then Hattie has the opportunity to meet and interview her idol, Mathilda Stansfield. The brilliant woman who started the drug company which developed the drugs that allowed the zombies to live a “normal” life. You know, drugs to suspend the loss of body parts, the meds which keep zombies from eating human brains, and the fresheners that keep the decomp smell from overpowering the sensed making women pass out. Hattie jumps at the opportunity to meet the woman returned some normalcy back to the world.
This is where I had the most fun trying to beat Hattie to the conclusion. I tried to figure out the secret of the virus, of the drugs, of the woman behind them. I was half right and pleasantly surprised by the ending.
I’m not a fan of chick lit. Why should I spend my time reading about the life I’m already living? I want to read and be entertained which is one of the main reasons I like fantasy. And The Girl’s Guide To Dating Zombies, as awful as a virus that kills half of the world’s population would be, it seems funny in this setting, this particular virus. I couldn’t wait to find for the ending. I hoped Hattie would find what she was looking for and I cheered when she did.
The Girl’s Guide to Dating Zombies $0.99 on Amazon today!
So why are we so interested in the supernatural, shows and books like Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Witches of East End, Harry Potter? The ability to think a thought and move an object, think of a place and be there in seconds, wave your palm and conjure an object.
I was intrigued by the idea that we only use 10% of our brains and wonder if that means we might all be psychic if we knew how to tap into it? Maybe, or maybe it’s all make-believe.
Since I so enjoy the supernatural and was a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, it was only natural that I would eventually write my own Urban Fantasy about witches and wizards, creating stories that utilize their ability to move objects, teleport, create potions or find missing people.
It’s fun to create the character, give them only the skills that I wish them to have. I gave my characters the ability to divine for the location of people. Annie accomplishes this be using a crystal and something that belongs to the missing person. Her magic is channeled through the crystal and which must obey that magic until the missing is found.
So if you could have any ability wouldn’t you like to teleport. Moving from location to location within seconds. This psychic ability is the primary form of transportation for my characters. Though my characters are entrenched in the non magical world and most have cars, they still prefer to move from place to place in seconds. Wouldn’t you.
When Annie and Cham conjure and summon objects, they’re using telekinesis, the ability to manipulate objects with their mind. Though in my world the magic in controlled through the hands. With a wave they can manipulate, move, make disappear, change something about an object all by thinking of whatever it is they wish to do.
They create potions and spells, powerful magical tools that allow them to heal themselves and others, ward off evil spirits, create magnificent light to assist them in the darkness, create magical tracking devices to instantly find Sturtagaard. I can list more but there are so many ways that I can use magic that will assist Annie and Cham in their investigations.
In the future I expect that Annie as a result of future events may end up with other psychic abilities that she doesn’t have yet. In the world of fantasy there are so many ways that you can add the unexpected, because with magic, anything becomes possible.
There are so many more forms of psychic ability, giving the person the ability to see the future, percieve past events, be in two locations at the same time. If you had your choice, what magic power would you possess? I’d like telekinesis. The ability to move objects, conjure objects in order to complete tasks is appealing to me, though honestly, the ability to teleport and miss out on the long commutes in the Chicagoland area, might be far more useful.
So I don’t always create my own monsters. Sometimes I re-cycle from other sources, something I’m not alone in. As I researched creatures for my books, I recognized several from Harry Potter. Because sometimes, the sources for monster and creature ideas can be found in ancient Greek Mythology. Stories rich in character, monsters, places. Timeless stories about the human nature told in the fantastical or grotesque depending on the plot.
I borrowed the idea of Tartarus Prison from Greek mythology. Hades’s underworld, a place where once you enter, you can never leave and Hades’s rules with an iron hand. No one ever escaped. In my Urban Fantasy, the prison houses the worst of the worst in demons, vampires, dark wizards. So horrendous, no one would ever want to find themselves there, a place that could turn a rather normal person crazy nuts. It is magic you know.
Who should guard such a place filled with the mystical creatures? It can’t be the mere mortal, the one who lacks the strength and agility to handle the multitude of beings that pass through the doors. The logical choice could have been Cerebus the three-headed guard dog which defended the entrance to Tartarus. Though it would be borrowing from Greek Mythology and fit in my story, it would be taking from Harry Potter, too new to not be considered stealing.
I ran across the story of the Hundred Handers. The three children of Gaia the Earth Goddess and Uranus the Sky God. Their children so ugly, fierce and frightening, their father tossed them into a pit in Tartarus. They sought revenge against their father, eventually fighting with the Olympians and against the Titans, for control of the universe.
I’ve asserted in The Day of First Sun, that the giant guards were descendants of the Hundred Handers, with less arms and heads, mere giants, big and strong enough to handle the creatures that paraded through the prison on a fairly regular basis.
Greek Mythology allowed the ancient Greeks to explore and explain the world. I wondered, what would vicious fifty headed, hundred handed creatures be trying to explain. Their mother loved them regardless of their hideousness, their father threw them into a pit. Experts suggest that because these were considered the first beings created from procreation, and their parents disagreed on their care, it caused fighting between the Gaia and Uranus. In other words this is the first instance illustrating marital strife.
There was always a reason for the stories, an explanation, a lesson to be learned if you know where to find them.