Research today and yesterday


In today’s world of the internet if we want to learn something most often we go right to Google and pull up links on whatever topic we are interested in. There is a lot of crap out there and a lot of wrong info but if you dig deep enough you find gems.

You hear constantly that research was better and more accurate in the days before the web. Take it from me that is not true. There were tons of books, written with a slant that was that of the ruling attitude of the times. But there were also a lot of interesting books to be read.

When I was a kid I was really interested in the stories of before times. Of how other cultures thought of how the world began, would end and of other creatures. In seventh grade I had one of the most amazingly dry history teachers of all time. His delivery of information was almost ponderous up till he started telling us about Egypt. Then he came alive with burning eyes. It was like being taught by a mummy that had come unwrapped to tell us all about the legends of his people. It was then I decided I wanted to be an Archaeologist.  This was long before I learned the difference between archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, archivists, etc. I believed until I was in my senior year of high school if I wanted to study the tales of other long gone cultures I would have to be an archaeologist. But in my senior year I was disabused of the dream of becoming one. First by teachers and counselors who pushed me into business classes and then by my mom telling me that college was too expensive and that I needed to make a living.

Now I know that there were a lot of scholarships, grants and loan systems out there that would have helped me go to school but no one at the time mentioned them to me. Now I know it was because I was both from the projects and a girl. They didn’t think I was right for the college world and that it was best I go to work right away. Or if I was to take classes it should be data entry (yes that was a field of study back then) or bookkeeping courses. I worked for years as a bookkeeper and did data entry but I continued to pick up books on whatever subject interested me.

For the types of books I was interested in going to the local library was really useless. As wonderful as the Nashua Public library was, it was lacking seriously in books on ancient cultures belief systems and the fiction I liked to read. So I turned to places like the new age book store that I found in western Mass when I was visiting friends. I got a lot of books that would be considered white light nut job stuff by some of the people I know back then. They told thing from a nontraditional slant which is just what I was looking for at the time.

Thankfully now we have many more ways to do research and cultures to research. Any of you who have actually read the stories and books I have put out will see the basis in ancient stories of my work. Everything from Celtic to Japanese to some of the native cultures of the North American continent.

Now what started this rambling blog post is I was sitting down reading a novel I downloaded from Amazon on a free offer.  Like my Death Walks Through stories this had a different take on the incarnation of Death. You don’t realize it through most of the novel because it is written richly with lots of understanding of the Navajo culture to it.

I was drawn into the take by the detail and the feel of the story. Unlike many other Urban Fantasies written in the 21st century this one was gentle in pacing and very respectful of both the Navajo and the white people in the story. While there was a pair of MIBs trying to get the mysterious item in the story, they were really the only cliche in the entire novel.

Research and an open mind gave this writer a novel that was quietly amazing. I plan on reviewing it up on Amazon later today. If you are interested in reading my reviews of books over there just look for Lisa Williamson. Though that can be confusing as there are two of us with that name who are publishing. I am NOT the one who wrote the book about a young woman, The Art of Being Normal. That is NOT mine. I write fantasy, etc.

 

Just some fun


See one of the things great about being a writer and a sorta artist is seeing stories in everything that exists. Over Christmas we had moved my more expensive dragons into a safer place. At the same time we had lego sets set up. I couldn’t resist taking photos of course. At the angles there were some fun images to be had. Stories that would almost tell themselves don’t you think?

I am still alive


i could say it was equipment (it was), i could say it was health (it wasnt), or i could say ant number of things but to be honest I have been sucked into a game since the end of January. But since I found this ap I will now try to post what I can here much more often. Thanks for still reading.

Hello once more


Well as you know it has been a while since I wrote anything at all. Lots of reasons but the biggest for this blog is that I just haven’t had the drive to write. Generally I write something but for months now I have been unmotivated.

While my own personal work, books, stories, poetry, drabble and dribbles, etc are on the back burner but my mind keeps going. So how about we do more analysis of trends in fiction of all kinds.

As a fan of good characters I have been enjoying the current takes on Sherlock Holmes. In the past decade there are three different takes on This classic character. Yes I am talking about all three today. From Robert Downey Jr’s movie take to Benedict Cumberbatch’s British Sherlock and Johnny Lee Miller’s American take on the same character.

In each we see a different face on the classic character.  The modern takes are in many ways so much better because the character has become very three dimensional. He is no longer the two dimensional character of the 1800s. He no longer is just the cold, ex druggy with just one drive. Now we see the reasons behind how he became who he is. Why he had the drug habit, why he only seems to trust a very small amount of people and why he is willing to go to extremes.

Plus one of the best parts is that they have, in this current century, started to make the female characters three dimensional. The recent takes on Sherlock’s paramore, on Doctor Watson’s wife and on Mrs Hudson has been so very much fun to watch. No longer in modern fiction can we have half the population under explored and that makes for fine watching.

Now as a writer I have done my best to explore characters in many ways. Sherlock is not one I have tried other than in a video game. The Great Detective is of course the basis of many of the detectives we read, watch and play to this day.

 

 

Bits and pieces of Letters to the Dead


Under another name I putp  ua letter to my birth father after he died. It was my way of dealing with the empty piece of loss inside my chest. After I wrote that one I realized that I have lost a number of people in my life but I never got to say what I felt and what I thought about their effect on me. Since I wrote that piece I have been working on letters to others of the dead who I wanted to finish my thoughts of.While these may never see print I felt I needed to put them somewhere. So here is part of the letter I started to my Nana.

***

As I have reached the second half of my life I have started to lose those who were pillars in the development of who I became. Fifteen years ago I was lost inside myself, wondering why I was here and then I got the call that you were gone. That call devasted me but it also brought me more into focus.

The years since then have been filled with highs and lows as I tried to be as strong as I believed you had been.

Looking back I realize that my earliest memories are not of my mother or father but of you, my nana. You taught me to sew by making outfits for my teddy bear. That ragged blue and white friend looked both silly and so fine to my childish eyes. You taught me to like flavor in my food and to find the absurd in the printed word.

One of my fondest memories was sitting and cutting out stories from the trash rags about spacemen and monsters. I believe you helped me discover what I would find as a life long interesting in all things not mundane. You were a writer in your own right. Everyday you would sit down and write something and being published in the paper was so cool to me.

Before you passed I thought you had told me all your stories but in the past few year I have learned things that saddened me, shocked me and yet convinced me that while some things made you seem selfish you were and are still my idea of a strong woman.

Though for a long time we weren’t sure exactly how old you were it amazed me that you were in your nineties when you left us. Now I wish I truly knew your full story. From raising you son alone in the depression to losing a child to having my mother too early, life was hard.

And it is how you and my mother were together that confuses me. She was your only daughter. A delicate child who should not have survived yet she did. Doggedly fighting to thrive even though she had so many issue. Was it her outwardly timid personality that bothered you? Was it the physical weaknesses or her desire to be what other wanted? Was it her constant babble or was it that she didn’t stand up for herself that kept you from getting close?

I know now that inside you had to have been lost. You were so beautiful that men flocked to you but I think that didn’t help you. Did you ever find yourself for yourself or just through the eyes of the men you dated or married? You came from a different time but women have always had ways of being themselves.

I miss you, missed you even before you left us. I tried to stay in contact with you but in the months and years before you passed you had gone away. Dementia is a horrible thing. It takes away the person you were and leaves in place a different face. You forgot you had a daughter some days and other days thought I was that daughter. The saddest moment was when I last visited and you told me how much you disliked the woman who married your son. You had thought that Al was your son and that mom was the woman who took him from you. The only daughter you had and you forgot her. It broke my heart.

The day I stood at the funeral home and listened to people talk abut you I realized I didn’t know you at all and sadly I never would really know the true story of you. I miss you Nana, every day and every way I miss the woman who had time to teach me little things. I miss simpler times we spent together and I miss you.

 

 

Too hot to write


How about I just give you guys one of my fragments. This is from one of my paranormals that I hope to finish someday

***

592 AD

Somewhere in the mountains of western Europe

“We have to spread out. Too many of us in one place will cause talk and the secret will come out.” The tallest of the men gathered in the big dark cavern turned toward his bretheren. “The humans have decimated our numbers in their unholy war. We need to spread out. Increase our numbers.” The piercing golden eyes of the last lord of a forgotten country went from man to man in the cavern. “Spread out to all the known lands, take lovers but do not let them remember your face or name. Watch the children from these unions. Let your brothers know if you can not stay.”

“You want us to just run like dogs?” From the back came a deep, musical voice. Pushing through the mass of tall, dark warriors the objector stopped in front of his lord and king. A half span shorter than the king with eyes of startling green, the younger man growled low. “We are the last of our blood. What good would trying to breed with the humans who have killed our futures be?” The contained anger and grief in his voice touched each of the men deeply. Brother to the king and chief of the bards, he could use tricks of his training or magic to sway anyone to what he wanted but he was using no tricks. The pain was true as each and every one of them knew. This man had lost everything but his brother in the endless war of extinction that had been fought for decades.

Anwar placed a light hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Not these humans, no little brother. We must each leave this place, go to where our kind are not known and then wait for times to change. Wander from place to place.” Turning back to the gathering he continued. “I have been sent a vision. It will be years but our people will survive. You will each find a woman who you can find peace with. Be careful, follow the old ways and return to this place when the stars realign each time. May peace be with you all.”

As the brethern responded to that blesssing, he kept his hand on his brother’s shoulder and spoke softly. “Stay at my side Constantine. We must speak after the others have left.” He then stepped forward and accepted the oaths of fealty and promises of his men, giving them his blessing and sending them out on their way. When all but his core knights had left the cavern he nodded to those who waited to step away so that he coudl speak privately with the last of his faily and men.

Constantine had moved into the shadows. Sitting on a camp stool, he was softly strumming a sad aire on a lute. Anwar listened sadened by the soft words he could hear. The song was one that he had written for the woman who would have been his life mate. She had been killed when their castle had fallen to the invaders. Constantine had barely survived that day. The sword thrust that had taken away Cerise’s life had cut his brother deep in the belly. It would have killed him had not the tiny, powerful witch not dived in front of her betrothed. The sword sank into her back, bursting through her belly and into his. He held her to him she see passed, thinking only that they would be going to the gods together that night. But with her last breath she cast a final spell that kept him in this life.

The shaggy head, lowered over the lute as fingers stilled the strings. Without looking up his spoke, “So you wished to speak to me?” His voice lost all emotion, again.something that happened more and more as the months passed. He slowly started putting the instrument back into it’s case, fingers lingering on a soft faded ribbon that rested inside.

“Yes, Constantine, I wanted to speak to you more than the rest.” He knelt down in front of the younger man. “You are important to me little brother.

Researching shape shifters for fiction


I have been reading a lot of urban fantasy. The shape shifters we find in these tend to be werewolves, were big cat, and were bears. While these are a lot of fun to read about, I have wanted to read stories about other types of shifters.

Yes I have found stories about Selkies and other shapeshifters but I am finding myself wanting to write about other types of shifters for a while now. It seems like all the other writers out there will only write were predators. Why not stories about non predator species? Or lesser known species of predator…or even the tame versions.

So trying to do research can get both difficult and interesting when deciding to do a tale about shape shifters. This weekend while dealing with the heat all I could think bout is leading into the dog days of summer. Those hot and sticky days that come from the middle of July and through August. Well that led me to thinking about dogs and why aren’t there any dog shape shifter stories? Why don’t I write one?

Well then I decided that I need to do research on bloodhounds. Yes I said bloodhounds. Those incredible dogs who are used by law enforcement to find missing people. What about a story about a shifter bloodhound who is just trying to find a peaceful place to live where they are not bombarded by the man made scents of the city. Of trying to find a bit of peace and quite and then having a mate who is of another species of dog shifter. This could be interesting.

The thing is writing a story that would be a paranormal is a bit out of my wheelhouse. Yes I have written one before. Where Angels No Longer Tread took me ages to write. So while I am going to try to do this, dont expect it too soon. Here is the opening that I have been tossing around.

***

The heat of summer is the favorite time for many, but me? Well I prefer the cool of the autumn. The world in the heat of the summer is filled with the stench of sweat, tar and rotting meat. Yeah like I said, rotting meat. I thought when I moved into the north country people would leave me be but word got around that I had another form. So when kids started gong missing the local police came out to my farm and told me that I would either help them find the kids or I would be brought in as a suspect. So of course I agreed, with a few little caveats.

So now I am snuffling my way from field to forest, looking for the latest of the missing kids. A ten year old boy who was last seen riding his bike over by the train station. The fields are mostly tame over there so even your basic human should have been able to find him if he was there.

***

Just a start that might go somewhere. I hope

 

The difficulty of picking a title


All writers know that we need a good title to catch the attention of our readers. After an eye catching cover, the title really brings people to at least take a moment to look at your book.

Now as many of you know I have been writing for a long time. Coming up with titles is a real pain. There are thousands of books out there, all using titles that you just might have wanted to use. What to do right? Searching every single e-retailer would make any author throw up their hands and just give up. Thing is you just can’t do that with every story you write. Think about it folks. The average novel writer might just put out one book every year or two, but those who write shorter fiction like I do would be going back and forth, changing their title a thousand times before they could publish.

As an example one of my earliest online stories was a Ranma 1/2 fan fiction that I titled Sins of the Father. Go to Amazon and you will easily pull up 20 pages of work with similar titles, 15 on the first page alone. They come from every single genre out there for sure.

Now I could go on and make a chart of how many other titles that I can used would have multiples but it would be depressing.

Random thoughts and babbles while having allergies


Well last night wasn’t fun. Like so many I have allergies. Woke up in the morning with congestion which moved on to a half head of pressure, then pain, nausea, light and sound sensitivity and lethargy. Made me not want to do much. Then when I finally gave in and took an allergy pill before bed, while the mind would not shut down! Lots of very weird and funky stuff would not stop till I got up and wrote them down. Here is what goes on in the mind of the Mad Writer when she can’t sleep.

###

First a really bad poem

Summertime
sniffles abound
Alergies to what
Everything it seems

Restless
Can’t sleep
sun up too long
missing long cool nights
Can’t wait for fall

Lying in bed
pain in my head
tasting alergies
go to sleep you said

Wishing it was easy
only slightly less weezy
meds aren’t even helping
making me too cheesy

###

Then this dribble

Bloody Annoying

I told him back off, leave me alone. If he had listened then I wouldn’t be watching as his blood pooled beneath him. Never say I am doing nothing and to make you a sandwich when I am writing. Really, just get up and do it yourself, stupid. Sorry dear.

###

Then some various story ideas. From this one I am gonna call Zombies, Viruses and Mad Men

***

It’s been ten years since everything collapsed. The old world ended pretty messily.
There were monsters of mankind’s making, both living and dead. Things were pretty bad for a long time, but nothing can last forever.

While the big cities had turned into wastelands or war zones, there were still places out in the world that were barely touched by the madness that had descended. Places that had been hidden so well that they looked like a part of the natural world around them. There were pocket valleys high in the mountains or small islands shrouded by mist on the big lakes. Small enclaves deep into the desserts where few went and even underground caverns that held groups who knew how to hide.

When what ever it was that animated the dead ran out, bodies covered the streets and fields where humanity used to be the thickest. Then came the year of disease. Those who had not succumbed to the viruses let loose by the governments and those thinking they would overthrow those governments changed. There were good, bad and truly evil left, but the numbers of humans dropped from seven billion to just under a million world wide.

I imagine there were places never touched by the plagues, places that the militias hadn’t risen or that the mafias hadn’t taken. I was young when it all went down, a mere child if you want the truth. Recounting how I survived the city after my mother had hidden me away before she had been taken by the gang is another tale, one I try not to remember. It took me a long few weeks to get past the men with guns during the day and the monsters at night.

Before it collapsed there were all kinds of theories. The most popular was of course the whole zombie/virus thing. So many thought they could just blow the heads off and they would survive.

###

To the beginnings of a possible YA story

***

I wanted to be a good daughter and support my parents, but the idea of switching school into a private academy one hundred miles from all my friends was bad enough. Being forced into wearing a uniform with knee socks and a little skirt? Well let me tell you I argued with my parents.

“Mom, come one! This is ridiculous!”

My mom just smile and shook her head. “It isn’t ridiculous persay, sweet heart.”

I tolled my eyes as I tried to tug the skirt down to show less leg. “Really, Mom? You would have never wore this…this!”

My mother chuckled even more before reaching behind me. “Well, I wouldn’t know about that.” She opened what I thought was just some boring old book and turned it toward me. “Open up to page 65, Sara.”

Out of curiosity I did and I swear my eyes near popped out of my head. There in living color was a picture of a much younger version of my mother dressed in the same uniform. She wore it with more style than I thought she had. I mean come on this is my mom. She usually was found dressed in jeans and a tshirt, yet she made that uniform look like something straight out of my favorite manga.

###

You never know what might come out of my head at night. There was another bit but I dont share erotic content. Nope I write it down and sell it! Now here is hoping one of those two story bits turns into something more than a few paragraphs in a folder. Back to the salt mines

 

How about some drabbles?


With the god awful heat and humidity I could sit at my desktop computer and write new stuff or I could sit over by the fan and blog on the netbook. Can you think which I decided to do?

Drabbles are of course fun to read and I need to sit back and write more of these short glimpses into the world of my mind! Enjoy

###

Birth of a Familiar

I sit upon this cold gray stone and ponder the world around me. My brothers are green and my sisters are brown but somehow I am different. Black is the soft skin that covers my limber body, as black as the heart of evil. Scattered across my skin are odd shapes. They glow with an odd purple light that has frightened away my siblings. I look up and see the face of a man and suddenly I understand the odd croaking of his voice. “You are my familiar now. What is your name?”

I open my mouth and answer. “George.”

###

I haven’t titled this one yet but here goes:

The fire burns slowly, melting the snow on the ground. I move closer, shivering from the cold. This night is the one I have waited for, for so long. Watching the skies for that single sign that will tell me that it is time. Winter has gone on to long, stretching out for longer than any living can remember.

There above the slowly brightening sky I see it. The bright tail of light racing across the sky makes the time of change. Soon we will be free of this never ending cold, soon spring will return. Will she be gentle?

###

Stepping into the light

For so long I lived in the darkness, the bars of my cage all I could see. Whether they were there to keep me in or keep things out, I was never sure. As I rested unaware the door opened. I opened my eyes to a golden glow, at first I was afraid, but then I stepped out. There before me was a slender branch, a path to freedom. Taking a deep breath I placed my bare foot on that branch and walked so willingly into a future unknown. The golden light caressed my skin as the world dropped away.

###

Next week who knows I might do poetry or quickie fictions or something else…we will see.