Saturday, March 31, 2012

Turning an idea into a novel, one man's method

"Picking the Paranormal," my article about this author's method of expanding an idea to a premise to a concept and finally to a novel, is posted on fellow horror author Catherine Cavendish's BLOG. Take a trip over there by CLICKING HERE. Be sure to look around when you're done with my article. It's a great BLOG, and it provides a way to take a peek at Catherine's novellas.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Demonic Divas by Catherine Cavendish

I'm pleased to introduce a guest blogger today. I recently read Catherine Cavendish's novella, The Demons of Cambian Street, and I enjoyed it so much, I asked if she would come here and shed a little light on the dark world of demons for us.

Please give Cat a warm welcome and feel free to ask questions in the comment thread. Links to her novellas and ways to learn more about Cat are included below. Treat yourselves and take a look.

Demonic Divas

I love a good demonic diva, don’t you?

I have created a few in my time too and you’ll find two of them in my novellas, ‘Cold Revenge’ and ‘The Demons of Cambian Street’.

I’ll let you discover them for yourself but for now, I’d like to concentrate on some from the scary and mysterious world of legend and fable. There’s no shortage to choose from.

Let’s start with the Queen of them all—Lilith. She appears in just about every creation story covering most, if not all, the ancient traditions.

In Jewish tradition, she was the first wife of Adam, created, like him, out of the earth, to be his equal. But Lilith was sensual, refused to be subservient to him and was unfaithful with the Archangel Samael (who was a heady mix of both good and evil and, as the angel of death, on a par with Satan).

It may even have been Lilith who tried to tempt Adam with the apple. It all depends on which tradition you read. From Hebrew to Babylonian, Mesopotamian to Sumerian, they all have their Lilith legends.

Sexy, predatory, using men for all she could get, Lilith is frequently depicted as an irresistibly gorgeous-looking woman, with a heart as black as the night she favours. A template for evil divas everywhere, Lilith is irresistible.

But she is not alone. Don’t forget the infamous Gorgon, Medusa, of Greek mythology, her head a mass of writhing snakes (so you think you’re having a bad hair day!). She, or either of her two sisters, only had to glance at you and you were turned to stone.

Also from Greek tradition, we have Lamia, the half-woman, half-serpent vampire demon who preys on children, while, from Tibet, comes Palden Lhamo with her blue body, red hair and three eyes. Her favourite tipple was blood which she drank from a human skull. She was a feisty one who claimed that, if an image of her was erected, she would protect the Tibetan king’s shrine. It was, and she became known as the principal Protectoress of Tibet.

Then we should remember the Japanese Yuki-Onna whose irresistible beauty and misleading serenity are associated with snowstorms. She also enjoyed her pint of blood and beguiled unsuspecting young men to lonely and remote places where she then drank them dry or froze them into a block of ice…Delicious!

Yes, for power, irresistibility and sensuality, there is nothing like a demonic diva. They can keep many a paranormal writer—and reader— entranced for years.

Long may they reign!

A big ‘Thank you’ to Keith for allowing me to ‘hijack’ his blog today. If you would like to find out more about my demons, ‘Cold Revenge’ and ‘The Demons of Cambian Street’ are both published by Etopia Press and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, and other online booksellers.

Come and connect with me on my blog: Catherine Cavendish and on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads (as Catherine Cavendish).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Finally, a new hero of the treadmill

It's been a long while since I posted a hero of the treadmill song, but there's a reason for that. And no, it's not because I've become a lazy bum who sits around all day eating bonbons. We sold our treadmill when we moved to Tucson, and I run outside year round now. But today, just a couple days short of spring, Tucson looks like..Well, I took the picture to the left this morning. That's tiny hail, not snow, but's raw out there. 

So, being a fair weather runner, I gathered up my iPod and headed to the gym for a treadmill run and workout. I recently modified my iPod's "workout" playlist, and when a newly-added Stevie Wonder song came on, I fell into a groove. The beat was perfect, and within seconds I forgot I was panting and sweating and pounding along without going anywhere. My only problem was remembering not to dance while running (dangerous on a moving treadmill) or nod my head around too much to the beat (people tend to point and laugh).

I didn't hurt myself dancing, but I won't reveal whether or not I entertained the gym with my head nodding. Regardless, here's today's Hero of the Treadmill.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Billboard and the foot mouse -- fun with dreams

Dreaming runs in cycles with me, and I've had a very active dream life these last several months, maybe one of the most active periods since I was young. Some mornings I wake and can recall two or three vivid dreams.

I find it interesting that these recent dreams have been overwhelmingly positive. It's not that I have a lot of nightmares. I did as a child, but not many as an adult, although I definitely have frustrating or negative dreams, many of which are recurring. I suspect many are familiar. I know I've heard folks discussing the dream where they discover they're naked or in their underwear in public. I had that one for a long time, but not in the last decade or so. But here are a few recurring dreams I still have from time to time. See if any are familiar to your dreams.
  • Variations of a frustrating dream where I desperately need to run but my legs are so fatigued they barely move and ultimately stop responding at all. 
  • Variations of a panicked dream where I remember I haven't been attending a college class I must pass. Often if I don't pass, I'll either lose my job or I won't graduate. The final exam is about to begin, and I plan to take it even though I have no clue what's been covered in the course, but I can't even find the right building or classroom.The more I search, the more frustrated and panicked I become.
  • Variations of a dream where I'm ostracized for no reason I can see, usually by people who were my close friends or co-workers at some point in my life. Sometimes it's a social situation, but usually it's at a job. I have nothing to do, and no one will give me anything to do when I ask, even though everyone else is very busy. I can keep coming in and doing nothing and getting paid, but I hate it. Finally I quit the job.
  • One of my most recurring dreams is one where I must pass through a tight space in the dark. Often it's a rocky cave that gets tighter and tighter the farther I progress. Sometimes it's a small opening in a ceiling, and I have to pull myself up and through the opening. The space is so small, it doesn't seem physically possible to get through, but I know I've done it before by twisting my body just right at just the right time, and I know I must do it again. (Usually I succeed before waking.)
My current phase of active dreaming has had none of those old standbys. Instead of frustrated or panicked, I wake feeling positive and supported by friends who appeared in my dreams. Or I achieved something, and I'm satisfied and pleased. I dream of happy relationships and fun times. Some of my dreams are a bit mundane, but that's usual for me, and even the mundane ones these days are pleasant.

I've had one bad dream that I recall in this cycle. It was a few nights ago, and I don't remember ever dreaming anything like it before. I was overseeing a construction project. I climbed on a crane to be lifted a short distance to get something, but the crane went higher and higher. I looked down and saw that the men on the ground weren't paying attention. I had nothing to cling to but a rough cut out in metal that was cutting my hands, and when the crane started moving forward, it rocked me, and I knew if I fell, I'd die. I tried to yell to the men below that I was up there. Stop! I'm up here! Let me down... but the words only come out in breathy whispers. I was still rising higher, and if I were to get their attention, I had to yell now, before I was out of earshot. I concentrated on yelling one word: HELP. And boy did I yell it. And not just in my dream. I woke myself, my partner, and the dogs. Ha.

Last night I had a fun and odd dream. Actually, it was only one part of one dream (they morphed around a lot last night). Two mice came out from under my bed. The first one was white, with huge protruding ears, and he liked to sit on my foot. The second mouse to emerge was more aloof. He was brown with even bigger ears than the white one. Someone told me his name was Billboard and he was famous. I suspected his name and fame came from letting folks advertise stuff on his huge ears, but I wasn't sure.

Then the dream morphed, but the mouse part was the most vivid part of it. I don't know what the heck that dream could mean, but if I wrote children's stories, I think I'd write one titled "Billboard and the Foot Mouse."

Friday, March 02, 2012

The San Diego Excursion

We took a car trip to San Diego this week. We've been meaning to since we moved to Tucson and realized it was a mere 6 hour car ride away. The weather tried to discourage us, turning cold and wet the day we arrived and never warming up (although it did dry out after day 1), but we had a great time anyway. We just did it while wearing jackets.

Our hotel was right on Pacific Beach, so we had great ocean views. One sunset in particular was spectacular. I watched instead of photographed, because the sun sets so quickly once the leading edge starts sinking into the ocean (or so it appears). But we did manage to snap some pictures -- interesting and very expensive homes in La Jolla, beach pictures, wild animals, San Diego Zoo animals, gardens, sights in Balboa Park, and more beach pictures. Here are a few.

Fountain in Balboa Park
Polar bear in SD Zoo

Me on the beach
Jack in front of Lath House

Giraffes in SD Zoo
Inside the "Lath House" in Balboa Park

Beach and cliffs
Orangutang in SD Zoo

Giant Panda
Beach hideout