Tag Archives: Fantasy

Moonwick: Thirty–Below the Balcony

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Maddie found herself laying across John’s knees with Crip panting at her feet at the bottom of Humbom. The building’s little balconies sparkled in light. Silent walkers tramped around them as if they weren’t there. Cars raced up and down. Orange cabs honked. The air smelled gritty and full of exhausts.

“We’re below the balcony,” Maddie said, her voice quiet.

“It’s just a street,” John replied. “I’ll bet the trampoline is back there.” He stared down the narrow gray road, and Maddie squinted, trying to get a better look into the distance.

Maddie grabbed John’s sleeve. “Gratchan!”

Gratchan, who was on the other side of the street, leered at them. His fat black lips curled into a wide grin. His round eyes glittered.

Crip began to growl.

“Come on over, guys!” Gratchan rasped, his voice very clear in spite of the racket of the traffic.

“No way!” John said and took hold of Crip’s collar.

Gratchan began to laugh. The sound of his voice came from behind them. Crip whirled around, dragging John with him. Maddie span around too. Another three Gratchans, three feet away, were gripping their bellies, rocking with hilarity.

“There are four of them!” Maddie clapped a hand over her mouth.

“Yes,” the nearby Gratchan said. “Below the Balcony I am here, and I am over there, and I am everywhere.” Laughter pierced the air.

Overhead they glimpsed the faces of the humbles gaping down from their terrace.

“Let’s go,” Maddie said. “There’s only one of them on the other side of the road.

John put his hand on her shoulder. “No, Maddie. We can’t escape that way.”

Maddie shrugged free of his hand and sprang from the curb. She dashed wildly across the road. Crip began to bark.

“Maddie,” John yelled. “Get back here!”

An orange cab screeched to a halt barely missing Maddie. The driver honked and smiled. Maddie couldn’t believe it. It was another Gratchan. She stared into the window of a bus that careened around her. It was full of Gratchans waving at her. She didn’t know what to do. “John,” she gasped and stood frozen in the middle of the road.

“Stay there,” John shouted, and he darted through the traffic with Crip limping next to him.

“They’re everywhere!” Maddie said.

“I know,” John said. “We’re below the balcony. Come on,” there was a break in the traffic. “Run!” They hurried to the other side.

It didn’t look any different over here than where they’d just been except that they could better see the humbles above them on the balcony. The Gratchans had disappeared.

“Look,” Maddie said. Humbles were coming out of their apartments and staring down at the street. “There’s Roy!” she said and pointed to one wearing royal blue. He was known for his kindness.

“That’s Jig!” John said, a note of hope creeping into his voice as they watched a brightly colored humble dancing up and down on a balcony two floors above Princess and Duckess.

Out on the balcony at the corner of Humbom, another humble leaned over the rail, his eyes big with concern. “Is that Gent?” John asked.

“I think so,” Maddie said.

The light around them began to get dim.

“The battle with the grrcks is about to begin.” Maddie said and felt her arms go cold. “The humbles must be coming out to watch.”

“They helped us before,” John said.

“But that wasn’t below the balcony, John. That was in the halfmoat. They’re petrified of being down here.”

“So am I,” John said.

The humbles waved their arms and yelled something, but their voices faded to nothing.

Maddie and John began to walk in the direction of the trampoline. John stopped abruptly. “Crottons!” he gasped. What had seemed to be gloom in the distance was an army marching towards them. The trampoline might as well have been a thousand miles away.

John and Maddie stepped into the alcove of a shop. They made Crip stand behind them.

“Maybe, they’ll go by us,” Maddie said hopefully.

“No,” John said. “They won’t. We’re their targets.”

“We have to face them, then!”

Maddie and John stepped out into the open. “Help us!” Maddie shouted at the silent walkers, the people they’d seen from above when they’d first arrived on the balcony. They’d known there was something odd about them. It seemed as if they were unable to see or hear anything or anyone. The increasing crotton-stench didn’t even make them sneeze.

“Prince!” Maddie yelled up to the humble who was now perched on the railing next to Duckess. They resembled two brightly colored balls, one green and one pink. Their webbed feet perched on the narrow bar. “Prince! What are we supposed to do?”

Duckess and Prince waved their arms in the air. “Crottons! Crottons!” they mouthed.

“We know!” Maddie cried. The approaching beasts were marching in columns, their wiry legs moving like one body, their antennae twitching up and down. “Look in the Book!” Maddie shouted to the humbles. “Hurry! Tell us what to do!”

“They can’t hear us!” John said.

“Look in the Book!” Maddie yelled again. The humbles chattered. Crip began to bark. Then they saw Gratchan, bigger than before, behind the humbles.

“Get off that handrail,” John and Maddie both yelled. “Go inside! Get down!”

The humbles continued to wave their little arms in the air.

Gratchan smacked his hands as loud as a thunderclap.

“Oh dear!” Maddie groaned.

The startled humbles leaped off the balcony and dropped like rocks.

Moonwick–Twenty Five: We Want Our Dog Back!

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The water lapping around Maddie’s ankles felt warm but her skin begin to crawl. A cloud seemed to be sinking to earth like a hot air balloon. As it got closer she could see a big red face with a fat nose. Dark eyes beneath black eyebrows watched them. “Hello, my delightful slicks of oil,” it shouted through fat black inner-tube lips. A baseball cap suddenly appeared on its head as if it were a friendly visitor come to cheer on a game.

“It’s Gratchan!” Maddie gasped.

His clunky black shoes clicked onto the nearby pebbles in the midst of the crottons on the beach. He adjusted his black knee socks and smoothed his black tunic. His baseball cap slipped from back to front.

Sade began yapping all around his knees, and other smaller crottons pushed their snouts against his thighs. Gratchan patted their heads and smiled.

John gripped Maddie’s hand tightly in his. But Maddie snatched it free. “I’m going to ask him just what he thinks he’s doing! We called him to help us, and if those beasts are his pets, he needs to keep control of them!”

“Wait!” John cried. “They’re dangerous!”

“What if he has Crip?” Maddie retorted and plunged forward, splashing through the water.

“Pretty little beasties!” Gratchan’s voice grated like a meat grinder. The crottons rolled on their backs and wiggled their legs in the air. Gratchan scratched their stomachs. One crotton puffed out its belly as if it were getting fatter.

“My crottons don’t mean any harm.” Gratchan smirked at the humbles, his eyes full of pleasure.

Maddie jutted out her chin.

“Don’t go near him!” said Duckess, paddling up alongside her. Then Prince sailed in a circle around her. John caught up just as she was about to dodge around them.

Prince gently hooked John’s shoulder with one green finger. “You can’t trust anything or anyone from Below the Balcony.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, humbles,” shouted Gratchan. “I’m not from Below the Balcony. I’m a friend of the everglad and neverbad. You needn’t be afraid of me or my little crottons. They were just playing.”

“I’m not afraid, and they weren’t just playing,” Maddie said. “We want to know what you’ve done with Crip!”

Duckess and Prince paddled all around them.

“Don’t go! Stay back, girls!” Prince pleaded.

John bristled. “I’m not a girl!”

Maddie flashed him a sideways glare.

“Then just what are you?” asked Duckess, swimming alongside him.

“I’m a boy of course,” replied John.

Duckess fluttered her eyelashes and waggled her bright yellow beak. “I really don’t think you ought to go near that thing. I’m sure it is from Below the Balcony. It smells untrustworthy! It will try to trick you into staying Below!”

“But we have to find Crip,” Maddie cried. “What if he’s under the balcony?”

Maddie and John trudged onto the beach, sugary pebbles crunching beneath their feet, water running down their arms and legs. Maddie marched right up to Gratchan who was about the same height as her. Close-up, Gratchan didn’t seem to be either male or female. He was very ugly except for his black clothes which were shiny and pretty. His squat body and his skinny legs and arms and his dark eyes beneath his baseball cap glittered as he watched them.

All the crottons, except Sade, retreated behind Gratchan’s clunky black shoes. Sade leaned against him, fawning on him, sending Maddie red glares.

“We’re looking for our dog!” Maddie said sternly. “If you’ve got him, you’d better give him back!”

“Dog?” said Gratchan. “Dog?”

“Where’s their dog?” shouted the humbles who were floating along the shore close by.

“Do shut up!” Gratchan responded irritably, but then his voice became smooth again, and his black-tire-mouth turned up in what was supposed to be a smile, but didn’t make anyone want to smile back. “Do you mean that large black creature with a crooked face and a lame paw?” he asked.

“That’s Crip!” John cried. “Where is he?”

“We don’t call him Crip here,” said Gratchan. “After I rescued him from the water, I restored him to his proper status of evergladness and neverbadness. We call him His Happiness.”

“That’s not his name,” Maddie said. “His name is C R I P! Crip!”

“Hush Maddie. We don’t mind what you call him,” John said. “We’re just glad he’s all right.”

“Don’t trust him, girlboys!” yelled the humbles.

Gratchan took off his baseball cap and waved it towards them. “Shoo!” he said. “Shoo!” The humbles puffed up on the water and backed up a few feet. Gratchan replaced his hat and turned to the children. “Come along, follow me. I’ll take you to His Happiness.”

“Don’t go!” the humbles yelled. “Come back to safety with us!”

Maddie rushed after Gratchan who was already clumping away with the crottons shuffling along next to him.

“Stop!” Prince cried. “Are you sure this is a wise choice?”

“We have to save Crip,” cried John. He hurried after Maddie.

“Come along!” said Gratchan gleefully. “Come along, and make friends with my little darlings.” He stopped and reached down and tweaked Sade’s pincers.

“Nice boys,” Maddie said doubtfully and reached down and patted the head of one of the smaller crottons. Its skin felt like sticky tar and her fingers stung where she’d touched it. She snatched her hand away. It was all she could do not to turn around and head back into the water for a wash.

“We’ll come with you,” Prince cried, and he and Duckess waddled up onto the shore and began to follow, but Maddie turned around and shook her head.

“We’re all right now,” she said, her chin jutting out stubbornly. “You’ve done enough.”

John groaned out loud and shrugged at the humbles, whose round eyes bulged out of their heads.

“Hmph!” Duckess said and twisted around and waddled back into the water.

“Call us if you need us,” Prince said, and the two swam away.

Moonwick–Chapter Twenty-Four: Gratitude

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Duckess and Prince belly-flopped, sending waves surging across Sade’s back. He shook the water from his shoulders and kept sliding towards Maddie. He was about to ram her when the humbles began to make a strange noise. “Hmmmmmm!” they intoned in a one-note chant.”Hmmmmmm!” It sounded like the humming of an electric motor. They rose high out of the water and danced along the surface.

Sade executed a change in direction. He slid past Maddie and John without touching them. He lunged at Prince who easily ducked out of his path. Duckess hummed loudly at Sade. He stopped laughing and fled towards the shore.

Other crottons, moving as fast as skaters on ice, surrounded John and Maddie. One of the smaller ones ran into Maddie’s ankles. It stung but she managed to side-kick it towards Prince. He flapped his webbed foot and knocked it off balance. It immediately sank with only a few bubbles rising from the depths. The beasts scattered chaotically.

“Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm!” chanted the humbles as they raced after a crotton that accidentally rammed into another. “Hmmmmmmmmmm!” chanted Duckess, her spiky purple hair waving in the air.

The two crottons got astonished looks. Their legs shook. They popped like balloons leaving nothing but a greasy smear on the surface of the water.

The humbles swam after other nearby crottons which had lost all sense of direction. They were milling about with dazed looks in their eyes bumping into one another. The humbles hummed. One by one they popped causing clouds of oily smoke.

“Yey for humbles!” Maddie cheered.

“Way to go, Prince!” John shouted. “Way to go, Duckess!”

At last, Prince and Duckess, flapping their webbed feet and waving their arms in the air, went after Sade who was nearing the shore.

Maddie and John struggled along but couldn’t catch up.

Sade made it to land and crawled onto the beach. The humbles kept on chanting so loud that Maddie covered one ear and then the other. Any minute all the remaining crottons would surely explode, but a few of them managed to claw their way onto the beach. They massed around Sade. Slower ones still in the water burst, caused a stink, and then disappeared.

“We’ve won! We’ve won!” Maddie yelled as she and John finally came abreast of Prince and Duckess. “Hurray for humbles!”

Duckess raised herself out of the water like a goose about to take off in flight. She bowed her head and waved her green hands. Prince shook his round head and smiled kindly at Maddie.

Maddie reached shallow water and stood up, stretching her arms above her head and smacking her hands together in soggy applause. “Come on, John, they deserve our thanks!”

John stopped swimming. Water lapped around his chest. He glanced towards the humbles and smiled gratefully. But he had a sneaky feeling it wasn’t over by a long shot.

Moonwick–Chapter Twenty-Three: Behind the Waterfall

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Maddie found herself perched on a narrow concrete shelf with her back against the wall. A loud roaring sounded from a waterfall on the other side of a pool. There were no trees like had been in the mural, and no blue sky, and no John. Gushing water splashed her soaking clear through Dad’s teeshirt. Her hair got soggy and clung to her forehead.

She pressed her back against the building and tried to keep her balance, but her sneakers soon got wet. Her feet began to slide off the ledge. She couldn’t hold on! She pushed herself away from the wall and dove into the pool. Before long she surfaced. In spite of the spray stinging her eyes, she could see that her only chance was to get to the other side of the waterfall. She yelled John’s name but her voice was muffled by the roaring of the falls.

At last, she took a deep breath, shut her eyes, and plunged into the downpour. Paddling hard and kicking her legs wildly, somehow she got through. To her left and to her right she could see nothing but blue water. This must be the halfmoat. She rolled onto her back and squinted all around. The waterfall actually appeared to be two horseshoe falls joined by a thick central stream.

Where could John be? And Crip? Surely the old dog couldn’t survive any lengthy swim. John was no athlete either. Prince had said trust. But in what? Then she remembered how John had somehow gotten to the balcony before she had. It really hadn’t been fair, but now it seemed a good thing. Maybe John was safe.

Maddie turned over onto her belly and began to swim away from Humbom. Ahead of her, the halfmoat which was a lake stretched forward in an endless calm. Off in the distance she could see a strip of white beach, bordered by big trees like the ones painted in the mural. Her arms ached but she kept on dog-paddling, holding her face above the water. At last her feet dragged along the bottom. It must have taken her thirty minutes to swim from the waterfall, yet she could still hear it rumbling, and when she looked back, she could see silver mist rising in a cloud on the horizon.

She crawled onto the beach. White pebbles crunched under her knees like sugar granules. She flopped down and tasted them. They had no flavor. The nearby woodland smelled as fresh as newly mowed grass. Mossy rocks like velvet-green seats dotted the perimeter of the woods. Sweeps of pink and white flowers, like candy floss, poked up from amongst trailing green ivy. Maddie’s eyes followed the trail of one thick vine. It wound up a huge old tree, draping across massive branches.

Suddenly, crottons shuffled out into the open. Their red eyes gaped towards Maddie. The air immediately began to stink. Maddie wanted to turn tail and flee but it seemed certain Crip and John must have come this way.

The crottons formed a line along the edge of the woods, facing her. Their antennae twitched with excitement. She could see their dark little mouths drooling. Sade ambled out and stared coldly at her. He leaped in the air, and all the crottons did the same. They thumped to the earth, making a loud whistling sound.

Maddie backed into the water. Soon she was up to her knees. She didn’t dare take her eyes off the crottons.

Sade crawled to the front of his troops.

Maddie kept on backing into deeper and deeper water.

All at once, Sade leapt towards her. The crottons followed. At the water’s edge, they crunched to a halt, digging in their feet and showering the air with white granules. Crottons piled on top of one another. Sade shouted directions, and soon they untangled themselves. A few of them dipped their front feet into the water but none came in after Maddie.

Sade plunged into the water, giving them courage and they charged in after him, spreading out over the surface like black water bugs. They twitched their antennae wildly in Maddie’s direction like a silent battle cry.

Maddie rolled onto her belly and kicked her feet and dipped her arms into the water in a fast crawl. She zipped through the water until her arms ached and her legs felt as if they’d fall right off. With her face in the water, only occasionally raising her head above the surface to take a gulp of air, she couldn’t see the crottons, but she could smell them getting close.

Dark shadows glided on either side of her. Their nearness was almost worse torture than if they’d immediately torn her from limb to limb, but she went on determinedly swimming until her ears clogged with water, and her clothes like anchors, she thought she might sink. Their stench made her put on one last feeble effort. She shook her head and her ears popped. The crashing of the waterfall sounded close.

At last, she plunged through the roaring downpour and somehow got her back against Humbom where she trod water.

Crottons burst into the pool.

Soon she was hemmed in by a thick sludge full of dozens of flashing red eyes. She took a deep breath and sank down, trying to stay underwater, hoping that this would be the way back into the building. She soon popped back up.

Sade, towering over the others, was now only a few feet away, water streaming from his gleaming back. He began to laugh, his voice booming like a drum, louder even than the thunderous waterfall.

All of the crottons began to shake with laughter, causing ripples to sweep towards Maddie. She rocked back and forth so hard that it was all she could do to stay afloat. They laughed harder and harder, causing bigger and bigger waves. She sucked in water and began to cough. Her strength failed. She began to go under.

“Maddie!” John’s muffled shout sounded in Maddie’s water-logged ears. “Maddie, hold on!”

Crottons scattered but one of them brushed against Maddie. Her arm felt as if it were burning.

Maddie suddenly felt John’s body beneath hers, holding her up.  He managed to grasp her on either side of her face. He kicked his feet and inched them along taking them back out into the lake.

Crottons slid in close and began lashing at the children with their wiry legs. Maddie yelped and John groaned. The skin, wherever the crottons touched, tingled as if it was on fire. Without help they’d never be able to make it to the beach. When a crotton struck John hard on his shoulders, his fingers opened and he let Maddie go. “Leave us alone!” Maddie gasped and kicked water in the crotton’s face. It whirled around, snapping at their toes. Another skated close and caught Maddie’s hair in its stiff front leg. She screeched and tried to tug free.

Sade, shaking with laughter, floated all around them. “Bite them!” he yelled. “Lash them!”

Maddie knew that on their own she and John were no match for these crottons. She found her voice. “Help!” she cried. “Duckess, Prince, we need help!”

Sade growled. He slid towards them with his front legs extended like spears.

Maddie wished she could cover her eyes, but there was a splash off to her left. She wanted to clap her hands. The humbles had heard her!

Meet Author, Charlene Roberts: Eternal Heiress

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Charlene Roberts always held a fascination for Egypt and its dynasties, including their secrets, and she always wondered what they had discovered or created that would make a huge impact in today’s world.

She’s been writing for over ten years, working on various genres as she didn’t like to limit herself. Most of her stories begin with the “what if?” statement and she goes from there.

She began writing after a friend introduced her to her first manuscript, and she helped her to type it on a typewriter (those were the days). Ever since then, and going to her first writer’s group meeting she’s been hooked on creating stories. She’s done many things in her life (movie Script Supervisor, Book Reviewer for Romantic Times, modeling, and now working as an executive assistant at a consulting company), but she always comes back to writing.

Here are three things she has revealed about herself:

I was in Cuba alone on vacation during the “September 11” disaster, and I was terrified. I had immediately thought that Castro had declared war on the U.S. until I discovered on television who the terrorists were. It was a nightmare trying to get off the island and it took an extra two days, in which time, the hotels took advantage by trying to charge us full price for our hotel rooms. A lot of the tourists only had enough money for their trip and were freaking out, until I and a couple of other Canadian tourists argued that no one was flying in, and to stop taking advantage of the situation. They finally lowered the price of the rooms, but seriously!

I still love 80’s music. I don’t know why, but there’s something about that time when everyone was doing their own thing and making interesting music that to this day, I still listen to it.

 I love Japanese anime, especially Bleach. I prefer to watch it on television than read it, but I am starting to read the manga comics in true Japanese style; back to front and reading right to left.

Read more of what Charlene says about her writing process and how Eternal Heiress came about:

I had done studies on Napoleon and discovered that he obsessed over all things Egyptian, to the point where he had a museum built in France so that he could transport any items found to his home country for further study. Of course, he did all this during his campaign and eventually had to return to winning a war. We all know the results of that. 

The little French general was exiled to the island of Elba, and I have always wondered what happened to him. Did he get married? Have children? Are there Bonaparte descendants amongst us? 

However, with my book being a fantasy, I needed to take things a little further—what would Napoleon do if given a second chance at life and with an army of invincible demons at his beck and call? 

And thus, Eternal Heiress was born. And yes, I have one hell of a crazy imagination!

The novel is an urban fantasy, for readers who like to try something different. But it’s more than just demons and the angels that eventually arrive on Earth to destroy them—I’ve also incorporated the Egyptian elements that Napoleon loved as he searches for an Egyptian artifact that will help him win the war against humanity, and a heroine with direct ties to Egyptian royalty.

There are a lot of characters as you can imagine in an urban fantasy, so I find it hard to pick one absolute favorite. But if I had to, it would be Ashico Sukiyaki, the heroine’s Japanese adoptive father. While he is an old man, he can fight with the best of them, and he also holds the answers to the questions that show up with frequency throughout the book. He is the spider in the middle of the intrigue.

Tari Merytmut, adopted at age five and trained in the arts of swordsmanship, has made it her duty to track and kill the demons that suddenly infest her city. Under the watchful eye of her guardian angel, Tari travels to the remote mountain temple of her adopted father to learn of her past. From glittering cosmopolitan cities to the ancient tombs hidden beneath the hot, arid Egyptian desert, she discovers that a famous French general who sold his soul to Satan is plotting to steal her ancestor’s secret to complete his domination of the planet. Tari will do everything it takes to stop him – even if it means going to Hell.

The story involves solving the puzzle of Tari’s past so that she can understand what to do when she finds her ancestor’s secret, and understanding herself so that she knows how to do it when the time comes.

Buy Eternal Heiress:

Double Dragon: http://www.double-dragon-ebooks.com/single.php?ISBN=1-77115-064-5

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Heiress-ebook/dp/B00BFUJDFW/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379949173&sr=1-4&keywords=charlene+roberts

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Eternal-Heiress/book-qsFk5dQOtE6dCgjng8U-hA/page1.html?s=SbEpqhU1t0-FeFUG5e0y4g&r=3

Moustache on the Moon–d.k.snape

Welcome to d.k.snape. She’s a Canadian, eh! 

Her story is about life on other planets–that is to say, the intersection between them and us when they come to visit.  Yikes! I can imagine Marnie, an average teenager, bored, hanging out with her friends, a pretty good kid, being collected by two intergalactic strangers and whisked away who knows where?  And she’s not the only one. 

It seems that random kids and their moms and dads have also been scooped up and taken to the hidden mountain valley far from their homes. No one knows why they’ve been selected or what’s really going on… 

Buy the book!  Find out more!

Amazon: US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, India

Smashwords

CreateSpace

d.k.snape acts out her characters and has some interesting ideas that are useful tools of the imagination–learn more, read on:

d.k. says, “I grew up in a small town just north of Toronto. I always had a vivid imagination. Ask my mother. It’s not that I don’t like to tell the truth. But isn’t the world a brighter place when fairies and aliens populate the local neighborhood? Being an intelligent, non-girlie girl, I didn’t fit in well with my peers. Instead I found books! I read everything I got my hands on. And I mean everything. I contracted some ugly balance-affecting disease at twelve. Stuck in bed for months, my family and neighbours rallied, bringing me books of all kinds once I finished the encyclopedia and dictionary, cover to cover. They just wanted me happy. And quiet. But boredom struck. You can’t just read all the time, I tried copying some of my favorite stories, embellishing them as I saw fit. And one day, I wrote one of my own, all by myself. Personally thought I’d done a good job. When it didn’t receive rave reviews from my family, I decided to try harder, not give up and leave it to the experts like my parents wanted. I’m finally ready for the world to decide.

I am a method writer. I’m sure everyone’s heard about method acting, where the actor goes out and lives the life of whatever part they’ve accepted, be it hobo, or lawyer, teacher or drunk. Well, I dress myself in whatever I think my main character might wear, up to and including backpacks, boots and heavy winter coats – inside no less. I have a white body suit and two blowup tubes I pretend are oxygen tanks for any space scenes, I have cowboy hats and chaps if I write a prairie scene. I have several wigs, because, you know, not all my characters have my color hair. You get the picture?

I listen to music when I write. I have a large collection of CDs from which I chose my daily background noise. If I am even slightly stuck on a part of my story, I will dip into the collection to find a piece that might help me through the scene. During the writing of Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One, Peer Gynts Suite played over and over as the backdrop for my saga. I love its heavy beat, the suspense it evokes and its soft lulls. Music helps me write the way I do.”

So how do characters come about?  Writers have their own ways of developing real people.  I know of one famous author I will not name, who thinly disguised his characters and got himself into a lot of hot water with them.

Here’s how d.k.snape worked up one of her characters: 

“I based Topher, in Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One, on my second child. He’s tall and lanky, playfully serious, driven to succeed in areas where he feels he has strength, and that scene where he meets Marnie? Well that’s pure and unadulterated, directly from his mouth. Yes, he’d say something like that. And mean it. If Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One and the rest of the series ever breaks into Hollywood, I’d like to see him play Topher on that big screen.”

What does it take to turn an idea into a novel? 

“Kin Ship: Moustache on the Moon – Part One came to me over a number of years. The initial idea sprang from a science show my youngest child and I watched many years ago, about space wormholes and what might make them. Sure, science has many theories, most of them fairly boring, I thought. So why can’t a wormhole in space be made by a space-living creature? Just because we’ve never seen anything that can live in space without protection doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Then I watched the most amazing show about coral reef spawning. Yes, the narrator and the backers wanted this to be a disaster in waiting type show, scaring us into writing our elected officials to start saving the world, and I did get that message. And I used it in the series Moustache on the Moon. But what I mainly came out of that movie with was the beauty of the undersea, the vibrancy of the coral. And it’s drive to spawn, live, travel further through its offspring. That is what I hope I portrayed in my books. Saving our world by looking for new and different answers to pollution reduction is another reason for this book. And I believe in the creativeness of our children. If I can hook even one child into exploring earth recovery through science, I will consider my book a success.”

Who is this book for?

“I wrote my book for children of all ages, really. It is a book of ‘what if’, of growing up with a purpose, a direction, a goal. The book is a dream stream of opportunity and creation, written for the someones who might make changes in the world. I wrote this to explain several scientific facts in a way that might, hopefully, start someone on a path of discovery. And I wrote it for fun, to appeal to everyone’s sense of wonder.”

Stories are ways we get in touch with the deeper mysteries of life, ours, and other people’s, and maybe intergalactic species.  dksnape is a conduit of the imaginative:

“I have always told stories. Every walk I take, every turn of the corner, every new dawn or sunset I watch, tells me a new story. So maybe I can call myself a conduit. Because I don’t know where half my ideas come from, they just are. I’ll be in the middle of some writing and BAM, the words take off in a totally new tangent, creating a new story. I am an eternal child in some ways. I never lost my sense of wonder, my belief in fairies or my taste for the fantastic no matter how unbelievable. I want to be enchanted. I’d love to enchant others through my books.”

 

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Moonwick–Chapter Eighteen: Falling

 

18

A voice boomed, “You’re not going to get away!”

It made no sense. None of it. Thoughts about Mom and Dad and Finnie and John’s stepdad and his mother saying Mom couldn’t sing and Joseph being bossy reeled in Maddie’s brain. It was the darkness that must be overcome by the bigger darkness.

She plunged down and down, remembering how falling objects gained speed until they crashed. She was beginning to feel light-headed. Then without warning her feet touched down on something pliable and strong and she was flung back into the air. There was a loud twang below her and she felt something flash into the air past her.

The darkness began to lift and her eyes began to see. She could hear breathing coming in huffs. Then she realized it was John wheezing. Her own lungs were expanding now as if she’d somehow become used to a new atmosphere. She flew upwards and then slowed down long enough to see Sade.

Soon she was falling again. She caught glimpses of city buildings and a blue lake. It was as if the inside of the moon was far bigger than it had looked from the outside. She touched down again, and up she flew like a gymnast. She passed John as he came crashing down. She squinted after him. That’s when she realized that they were bouncing on a trampoline unlike any she’d ever seen.

This one was square, and the surface wasn’t solid canvas but more like a net. It was perched on sturdy metal poles twenty feet high. When John hit the surface, he was flung back into the air and was soon soaring after her. She wished he’d come close enough so that they could grab one another, but his arc wasn’t the same as hers. He passed her fast, flipped over and dropped back into the trampoline.

Sade, the top crotton, was on the trampoline! John began to jump up and down and managed to fling himself away from the beast. It crawled after him. Maddie landed near Sade, but quickly bounced away. There was a flash of red light, and Maddie saw the beast’s cold eyes close to her face and she smelled its breath. Then it grinned slyly and scrambled off the trampoline and crawled down a pole. “Attention!” it boomed.

A never-ending row of beasts like itself, only smaller, trotted out from nearby woods like trained soldiers. Their sharp wiry front feet looked like swords, and the pincers on the tops of their head looked like daggers. Their teeth resembled shark’s teeth. Maddie felt sick inside because she knew that their card versions represented bites and pain, hate and anger, murder and theft, and many other miseries. Crottons were a deadly enemy and this was a deadly army.

Maddie crawled over to John.

The crotton army swarmed up the poles of the trampoline and prodded their feet with wiry pincers. Maddie’s toes felt as if they’d been stung by nettles. John’s face was pulled in and hurt-looking. That gave Maddie courage. Someone had to be strong. “Run,” Maddie said, and yanked John to his feet, and dragged him towards the edge of the trampoline, forcing them both to leap.

Moonwick–read a chapter a week…discover

When moms and dads divorce or separate, they are not the only ones hurt.  Maddie and John invoke the Gratchan, and enter a strange world, trying to make things right…

Read the fantasy novel: Moonwick–I’ll be posting chapters on a regular basis. 

One

Maddie felt something dark and greasy growling from deep inside of her. “Grrrck,” Maddie mouthed half-heartedly, trying not to be pleased to see Mom’s dazzling face in the glow of the spotlights.

Joseph, Maddie’s brother, nudged her. He was fourteen, only two years older, but he thought he was in charge. They were sitting together in the front row seats at the Paramount where Mom was the opening act for the famous Ike Brothers. Her payment had been six free tickets—their three seats and three seats further back. Joseph, trying to act like a grownup, frowned at Maddie. It tempted Maddie to punch his shoulder. He deserved it! But instead, Maddie said grrrck a little louder, and gazed at Mom’s glittering sequined blouse.

Maddie was dying to ask Mom what it felt like to have all these people watching you. She’d dreamed about her and Mom being a duet like Amy and Susie Lee Jones who came from downtown Ashland and got their start at the Paramount. But now it could never be unless Mom backed off from her threat.

Joseph blew his stinky breath down the back of Maddie’s neck.

“Gratchan!” Maddie uttered the magical name that she and her friend John had chosen for when they needed urgent help. A crisis was looming!

Joseph hissed shut up and tapped his knee against hers. Maddie turned her head pointedly towards him. “Gratchan,” she repeated a second time, invoking Gratchan’s power of darkness to cancel the lesser darkness of her brother. Then, seeing Mom’s mouth opened like a peach-colored tulip on a sunny day, Maddie raised her little hand and waved tenderly towards Mom, the way Mysten might wave. Maybe they could yet be a musical family. Her and Mom. She waved again.

Mom would surely see her and strum an extra chord the way she did at home when she practiced in front of the kids. But Mom’s guitar notes droned on the same as before. Maddie suddenly wanted Daddy to be here sitting between her and Joseph. Of course he would never come to hear Mom. He thought Mom’s wanting to be a singer was dumb.

Maddie began glancing over her shoulder looking for John. But then Mom twanged the guitar strings like a pro and belted out the words from her new song “Bulldog,”

            “I got me my kids, and I got me my guitar,

                        and I got me my song,

            and I ain’t lonely for that mean old bulldog,

                        because there ain’t no doubt that man was

                                    dead, dead wrong.”

 It made Maddie want to puke a fur ball right there and then the way Finnie the kitten did. As if it had been his fault.

Mom smiled bravely at the audience and a tear slipped down her cheek.

Maddie just bet it was fake! She knew Mom’s song was about Dad. As a matter of fact, Maddie sometimes agreed with Mom. Dad could’ve waited until school was out before going to Paintsville to start his new job. “Gratchan!” Maddie whispered the third time—now there could be no turning back. She ignored Joseph’s furious shake of his head.

At last John and his parents came in behind an usher who was using a flashlight to direct them to their seats. They quietly followed the beam of light.

Maddie twisted around and fluttered her fingers at John. Together they would make things right. His eyes gleamed blue and yellow in the flashing lights from the stage. He flourished one of his Moonwick game cards in the air. It was most likely a grrrck since John thought they were the creepiest.

Mom began to belt out the refrain to Bulldog,

            “He can wail and howl like a hound dog

                        tryin’ to fret me, but I gotta be free,

            and I’d rather be a bulldog than his woman.

                        There ain’t no way he’s gonna get me!” 

Maddie stamped her foot. Then she scrambled past Joseph and darted down the aisle with her back to her mother. “John,” she called, ignoring the ssshs from people in the seats she passed. She didn’t look at Mom, but she did glance back guiltily at Joseph. He had slumped down in his seat as if he didn’t know her. An overhead spotlight flashed red across his head. He looked like a a chicken of the sea.

That was what Dad called lobsters when they’d once visited Maine a very long time ago. She’d actually gone swimming in the icy Atlantic when no one else would. She was the gutsy one in the family so Daddy had said. His little girl would be the one to become a football player which was cool except she wanted to play soccer–if only her school would start a team.

Maddie sidled close to John’s aisle. He was in the end seat. She leaned over him and smiled a big friendly smile, but she knew her freshly brushed teeth weren’t curving the way teeth were supposed to in a moon-up look. It wasn’t lack of honesty. It was like a pause in your heart—the kind that didn’t stop you from acting brave, but was actually only outside of your body, because inside–well the mouth turned up, but the teeth didn’t reach the eyelids. John grinned an uh-oh-what’s-going-on-look. John’s mother crossed her arms over her chest and shook her head. John’s stepdad’s mouth was scrunched up in an about-to-tell-you-off clench.

Maddie knew that being a kid meant she didn’t have much time before she would be forced to obey. She didn’t want to be bodily carried back to her seat or thrown out of the theater but she felt her heels digging into the worn carpet on the floor. “John,” Maddie shouted above Mom’s strumming guitar. An older woman three rows back tutted loudly. Maddie pretended not to hear. She raised her voice. “My mother is threatening to get rid of Finnie. They say he has to go to the animal shelter.”

******************************************************************************

Orders of Grrrck  Below the Balcony:  Gratchan, Sade, Crottons, & Snairies 

Orders of Angelgood  Above the Halfmoat:  Mysten, Raina, Eggie, Sejana, Humbles, & Silent Walkers

 

Shadows: Vivien Bewitches Merlin

This is an illustration by Howard Pyle, taken from his book,  The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903.

In my novel, Emily’s Shadow, Viven’s betrayal of Merlin became the seed for a continuation of the legend.  I wanted to know what happened to Merlin?  It turned out to be a difficult time for him, but he did not disappear without retaliating and continuing to have the power to reach through the ether to any who had ears to hear.

 My Vivienne had dark hair and glittering eyes.  She was evil and very clever, but not such a good sorceress–relying more on her ability to steal the secrets of Merlin than on any new sorcery.  Yet, she was able to find the means to escape the spell that had rendered her helpless for centuries. In Emily’s Shadow, Vivienne is seeking a victim.  Along comes Emily and her family.

Emily is a sweet girl, very protective of her younger brothers who she practically raised during WWII after their mother’s death and father’s enlistment.  But a shadow of her personality is her repressed anger about her mother’s death. It might well open her to possession.

The characters in the book began as shadows based on my family.  I have two brothers who are both older than me.  In this story, the girl, is older than her brothers, but she began as me, the youngest sibling.  In a revision, I made her the oldest because well–of course, girls, even if younger in years, are often so much more mature.  My brothers might not agree. 

**************************************************************************************

To read an excerpt and find links for purchase, go to: http://www.christinastclair.com/emilys_shadow_a_supernatural_fantasy

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  Christina St. Clair, award winning author, former shop-girl, chemist, and pastor, is currently a spiritual director, Reiki Master (don’t read too much into the title master!), wife, animal lover, and writer. She says, “Boring life? Let’s not do duty. Let’s do awe! Take a look at your own complexity? You might be amazed. Life leads us into so many interesting and sometimes difficult crossroads where we get to choose what now, what next? As a student of mysticism and spirituality in all its incarnations both religious, secular, and new age, I want to understand what life is about, what is truth? I am still seeking, but I am offering to any who are interested my insights weaved throughout my essays and stories. I hope my writings might add to your already surprising lives.”
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