Regine Allison Claire: Author of YA Fiction

Welcome to Regine's literary world!


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Books by Bloggers Giveaway Event!

Parenting Healthy (www.parentinghealthy.com) is hosting the Books by Bloggers Giveaway Event!

I’m pleased to say that I’m taking part, along with other authors who will be giving away a copy of their book or even something else.

Giveaway starts: January 15, 2015 (TODAY!)

Giveaway ends: January 31, 2015

As my contribution, I’m giving away an eBook copy of my young adult novella, Four Sisters. Haven’t read it yet? Join the contest. The winner gets it for FREE from yours truly!

FS-Underwater-Goodreads

 

About Four Sisters:

Celebrate the New Year with this modern myth. Join Fallow in his greatest task during his strangest winter. A story of self-worth, confidence, and finding the courage to do what’s right, even when everyone else casts a doubt.

•••

Fallow Glyph daydreams during class, asks too many questions and pushes the rules. Even worse, he is haunted by strange nightmares and is fascinated by the Border, the monstrous black wall that all villagers in Wyndeswytch must avoid … or face punishment.

When his feet lead him to the Border, Fallow is determined to find out what is on the other side. What he discovers is nothing like what he anticipated. Caught in the middle of a violent feud between two families of elemental spirits, Fallow finds he must resolve the conflict if he wants to stay alive.

Can an unremarkable teenager become a hero?

 

* Available only as eBook from Amazon (US, UK, Canada), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords!

Textured ice blue frozen rink winter background

 

Participate in the Giveaway!

The winner gets a copy of the Four Sisters eBook. Open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older.

To sign up: click on ENTRY FORM below (since I can’t get it to onto this page) and you’ll be taken to the giveaway widget to fill in your email address and name!

 

I’ll contact the winner when the event has ended (aka. the end of the month!)

 


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Post #001: What It Means to Be a Reader

“You, like so many of us, know the value of words, the weight that they can carry. They can melt you down, they can freeze your blood, they can soothe. But words can hurt you, too. They can leave scars, they can break your heart. Maybe you turn those scars into tattoos. Maybe you write down those seven magic words and tape them to your desk. Or maybe you just lock them away and keep them as a treasure for yourself. That’s fine, too.

Whatever the case, you’re a reader. You’re one of us.”

I loved this article. So many great things in it to think about and remember!
♥ to readers everywhere.
– RAC

November Notebook: A YA Lit Blog

Post #1: What It Means to Be a Reader

By Grant Goodman, 9/21/2014

You get it. You’re in on the big secret. You know the password.

You have an active imagination. You know how to tune out the noise around you. You’re a page-turner, you have ink on your fingers, your homepage is set to GoodReads.

To be a reader, of course, means everything.

It means that you’re willing to jump into other people’s shoes. You’re okay with exploring a new world. You understand that it’s fine to feel like fiction can surpass reality. You spend so much time surrounded by reality, anyway. So you open up a little door to somewhere else, you test the waters, and when you come back to your own world, you see things a little differently.

Being a reader makes you a magician. You make something out of nothing. You bring life to…

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Celebrating the First, A Year Later: the Grind, Tragedy, and Celebrating Baby Steps

Happy “Bookversary” to my first publication, Four Sisters.

41258-91ixwpsyc6l-_sl1500_

It has been a full year since the novella was released. And while for some it may not seem like a big thing, it really is for me. Until this point, I had tinkered with short stories, novels, and poetry between classes and jobs but didn’t go forth and publish. To tell the truth, most of it was because I got so caught up in the grind of school-work-volunteer-family-school-work-school-life. What very little time I had left was not spent writing, even though I wanted it to be. I found myself becoming a 9-to-5 schedule zombie, scraping together minutes for creativity. Often the outlet was sewing (by hand, to boot) or random things here-and-there, but the writing was lacking. Big mistake. Apparently I get very grouchy and the void lurking within makes itself known.

Tragedy & the (Re)birth of the Self

And then it hit me: my mother’s very sudden, very shocking, very depressing death. In the middle of June 2012, I remember waving goodbye to her and my father from the concrete walk of the train station. I had spent several days with them as I usually would, but needed to get home to my work. At the time, one of the projects my colleagues and I had worked diligently on had just hit the fan and we were feeling grief from losing individuals we were trying to help. I was not in the best of moods.

Then in the middle of the night on June 30, 2012, my partner and I received the dreaded phone call. Mom had passed that morning in her sleep. Her heart just stopped. No warning. No chance to say goodbye. Just… stopped.

Everything that was important at the time went out the window. Family became the everything. And mourning took over. I found I couldn’t focus. It was really apparent when I received a very simple, straightforward email from a colleague and read the first sentence 15 times before realizing I had no idea what it said. The email was in perfect English. It was a simple sentence. My eyes saw everything; my brain processed nothing.

And that’s when I turned to writing. Why?

It was the only thing I could actually do.

Reading emails, news articles, reports — all of it went over my head. But the creative writing thing stuck. It’s funny, almost as if when I’m stripped down to my most basic parts, the storytelling is at the core. And to tell the truth, it isn’t a huge surprise. This isn’t the first time writing has been associated with death in my life. It’s the second, at least. The first was when I was 6 years old and wrote my very first story (or so I remember). It was a story about a boy who lost his mitten. I wrote it because I was killing time at my babysitter’s house, waiting for my parents to pick us up. The day just got longer and longer; the night darker and darker. By the time my parents arrived, the story was done.

Then I found out my grandfather died earlier that day.

Now the story, his death, and the birth of my writing are forever linked. Incidentally, it’s the same story that my 1st grade teacher submitted to the regional Literary Guild program, then I was chosen to read the story to my peers at the event.

 

Bringing Life to Death

At the time of dealing with my grief, I just wanted to be productive, not curl up into a ball every day and let time pass. So I left the work behind and focused on writing. I spent most of my time on an adult novel I had started years before, letting my subconscious take the story to the next level.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to branch out and see what else the world had to offer.

Peddling back a bit: by the time I was twelve, I knew I wanted to be a published author. One of my schoolmates swears I knew this way before then and, now that I think about it, she’s probably right. Maybe I was 9 or 10. In any event, I spent so much time speed-reading and writing as a kid that I wanted to be like those people I admired. I had ideas, too, and an active imagination. When I was about 14, I gave publishers a go. My mother, bless her heart, helped me prepare proposal packages and we sent them to a few publishers I had pulled from my copy of Writer’s Market. They were all rejected, but nicely. After that, I put the queries aside and focused on improving my skills in school.

But then jump to the more recent past of 2013, where I was toiling in thoughts and my head felt like I was stuck in a snow globe someone had shaken over and over, blocking out everything from my sight. I was checking out agents and publishers and what 2013 had to offer. So much had changed since 1997! Now things were at my fingertips in a matter of kb/s.

That’s when I discovered submission calls that caught my interest.

Two novellas: one adult romance and one that said simply “12 Days of Solstice”. It could have gone anywhere, but something about the Solstice call screamed YA to me. I also loved the idea of writing something for a publishing house called Pagan Writers Press. The calls were for shorter stories — not novels — so I dove right on in and worked on both at the same time. I hadn’t written a short story in a long while and had been working on a novel up until that point. I thought it would be a great time to do something new. Spread my wings. Get some experience in this new, technological, eBook-devouring, Indie and small-publishing world.

 

How It Begins Isn’t Necessarily How It Ends

The solstice story didn’t come as easily as I had hoped. The original idea I had for it didn’t work out in my soul as much as my head thought it would. The premise was about a girl who discovered her Norse spirituality while on vacation with her parents, a trip she didn’t want to take. There was something about her leaving the cabin and getting lost, then getting found by… something. I don’t what anymore. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t happening. The days dwindled. The deadline crept up.

Then something hit me. I don’t remember exactly what, but it smacked me in the head. Something about a fairytale-like story. A myth. Fantastical, which is my default genre; my home. I started thinking about this boy who ran into elementals and had a problem.

This is what my notes looked like:

 

fsideas

Then I just kept going. I pulled out photos I had found while browsing social media and other websites and started pulling together characters.

 

Fun fact #1: Originally, Fallow’s name came from thinking about one of my friends, Fallon. Her name is fabulous and fits her so well. I didn’t want to totally steal it, though. Then the “ow” end came to mind. I’m pretty sure it came from the recesses of memory, after I’d heard it in passing or came across it in a story. I was certain it was a real word. When I looked it up, I nearly fell over laughing. The name suit perfectly in its own way. So it stuck. Thanks for being an inspiration, Fallon. The first time but not the last.

Fun fact #2: The appearance of all of the sisters in the story are derived from photos I particularly loved. I can’t share them because of copyright, but they’re from photo shoots, costumers, stock… wherever. I scoured my options and threw collages together for each family, setting up sister after sister. They came together pretty easily. Even their names weren’t a far stretch. Then again, I love the naming process.

 

Let the Nail-biting Begin

The story did not start with ease. It took me a little while. I had to switch rooms, positions, and approach just to get it. Then a creepy image took over. Once I got through the first few paragraphs, the rest of the scene flowed. Then the rest of the story. It took some patience, believe me. But by the end, I was confident and thought I had pulled something fun together.

The editing process didn’t kill me half as much as I thought it would, and I’m still learning even now. But I did the best I could and submitted it.

The waiting was worse. Would the publisher hate it? I was no stranger to rejection, but I’d hoped for something positive. I finished the other novella at around the same time. Ugh x2.

The next month, I checked my email late at night.

Hello acceptance.

I freaked out. Blinked. Blinked some more. Checked the submission manager. Sure enough, I wasn’t going blind or delusional. The first thing was to email the publisher back. And call my partner with an “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God”.

After so long of being out of the game, and scrambling to catch up, it couldn’t have made me happier. A complete stranger took something of mine on.

Then the edits came around. I hadn’t dealt with an editor in the professional capacity before so it was a new experience. Not as painful as I thought. Then the proofreading. Again, not as painful. I think waiting for the cover art was the scariest part. I put my faith in the lovely Angie Mroczka (owns PWP) that she’d come up with something amazing. The ideas I had for the cover weren’t as helpful as I’m sure they could’ve been. I’d never had to worry about cover art. Plus, visual art isn’t my strong suit. Neither was sifting through stock photography for something that’s awesome. Though I’m trying to get better.

So when Angie sent me the file, I didn’t know what to expect. Opening the file, I held my breath…

Gorgeous. Loved the cover from the first moment. So much better than I originally had in my head.

Then Release Day happened.

Again, another first. Of course, it was December 20. And I was supposed to be traveling by train that day, visiting family. Needless to say, it was a very busy day. I couldn’t stop checking social media sites and the internet in general. Or Amazon. I can’t even begin to count how many of the hits that day were from one of my computers. It’s no better now.

It was alive.

And so was Regine Allison Claire.

 

Where Does It Go from Here?

That was how I said farewell to 2013. This was the very first, traditionally published story of mine to be picked up and put out into the world. Since then, I’ve had other novellas and short stories picked up for this pseudonym and my two others.

But this — this — is the one that started it all. The one that gave me that boost of confidence. The one that suggested complete strangers who owed me absolutely nothing could be willing to take a shot on something I wrote. I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a major struggle with confidence and self-esteem, but I won’t say that I’ve been a stranger to them. We meet somewhere in the middle. I was always that annoying kid in school who the teachers praised for the great work, but that didn’t go to my head. I’ve always wondered what the rest of the world would think. I still do. Each new story is another test of my nerves and hope.

So, when something like this — after being out of the storytelling thing for so long — gets picked up after what I considered a long shot, it does some pretty cool things. And I’m sure so many of my fellow writers know exactly what I mean.

This is a good time for us to give life a smile and pat ourselves on the back. Just because we need to celebrate the firsts. Our little steps in the big world. Our risks and those times we doubted ourselves meanwhile someone else was willing to take it on, no matter what they saw in it.

But there’s just one thing… now that the foot’s in the door, you either yank it back out or inch the rest of your body through.

Inch is right. Though even shorter since I’m Canadian. It’s more like centimetres. But I can’t make a verb out of that.

Unfortunately, this year hasn’t been about YA. I have several ideas for new YA stories, and a few NA, but it’s mostly been adult stories that have won out. Except there are 2 things that are true about my next steps:

 

1. I have 4 YA flash fiction stories being published in 2015, all in anthologies through Pagan Writers Press (PWP). That’s another post for the new year.

2. I will be working on a trilogy. The first book, Family Secret, is semi-outlined. It needs work, as much as the rest of the trilogy does. The ideas were flying out of my head in 2014, and they made it to paper. They just haven’t come out in story form yet. But in the spring, I intend to get on it. I know enough about the characters get started and their school will be based off my alma mater. At this moment, it is called the Within series. Book #2 is Possession and book #3 is facing an identity crisis. Though it seems to have been seriously pondering Unbound for a title. The titles are significant, but again… another post for another day.

 

And that’s how we celebrate around here, with thanks to Angie, PWP, both my parents, my partner for putting up with the long nights and crazy creative moments, and most of all everyone who takes the time to read and review my work.

Happy Firsts!

 


Click here to find out more about Four Sisters, including links to where it can be purchased.


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#CyberMonday #BookSale from Pagan Writers Press

Pagan Writers Press logo

Pagan Writers Press is having a huge sale for Cyber Monday! Almost all the books in the catalog have been discounted. Here are just a few of the Young Adult (or YA/NA friendly) selections, though there are titles available in almost every genre!

 

Young Adult Fantasy

Stains on the Soul cover
Stains on the Soul by Jamie White – Reduced to $.99

Morrigan cover
Morrigan by Laura DeLuca – Reduced to $.99

Four Sisters cover
Four Sisters by Regine Allison Claire – Reduced to $.99

Young Adult/New Adult Romantic Thriller

Dark Musicals cover
Dark Musicals Trilogy by Laura DeLuca – Prices reduced on the entire series!

#1 – Phantom ($.99)
#2 – Demon ($2.99)
#3 – Hyde ($2.99)

And after those, pick up Scrooged for only $.99 to round out the set!!

 

Historical

HerStory cover
HerStory – Edited by Tara Chevrestt -Reduced to $3.99

To The Other Side cover
To The Other Side by Julianne Chadwick – Reduced to $1.99

Science Fiction

Guardian Series cover
Guardian Series by Andrew P. Weston– Reduced to $2.99 each


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Four Sisters: New Promo Material & Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale Price

And the snow has sprung. Er, dumped. With that, it’s the perfect time to share new promotional material for my debut, Four Sisters!

Released last year (December 20, 2013, to be exact), the novella is perfect for the cold, wintery days some of us have been experiencing in the northern hemisphere. It takes place in the fantastical town of Wyndeswytch during the winter, and fifteen-year-old Fallow Glyph is at the centre of the story. But why babble on when I can just post the blurb?

Fallow Glyph daydreams during class, asks too many questions and pushes the rules. Even worse, he is haunted by strange nightmares and is fascinated by the Border, the monstrous black wall that all villagers in Wyndeswytch must avoid … or face punishment.

When his feet lead him to the Border, Fallow is determined to find out what is on the other side. What he discovers is nothing like what he anticipated. Caught in the middle of a violent feud between two families of elemental spirits, Fallow finds he must resolve the conflict if he wants to stay alive.

Can an unremarkable teenager become a hero?

Since I started blogging after its release (and haven’t given it the love it deserves since), I’ll be posting all about the story in December, with some insights and background. For now, I thought I’d share the promo stuff I worked on recently. After seeing so many of the quotes and pictures other folks have been posting, I thought I’d give it a go. Out popped these, which I’ve started sharing on Twitter and Facebook and will continue posting for the next few months, and whenever they feel like popping up during the rest of the year … realizing that, yes, stories about the snow are bound to be unpopular in the likes of July than now, when so many of us are bundling up and freezing our toes off.

 

FS-Underwater-Goodreads

FS-Under ice-Twitter

FS-Ice-Facebook

FS-Wall-Goodreads

I love the first one the most, but shhhh, don’t tell the others. It could start a riot in my folders…

 

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Sale Price!

Guess what? The eBook  is on sale! $0.99 @ Amazon, from now until Tuesday, December 2 (or $1.11 @ Amazon.ca).

It’s also available at Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. Or stop by my Facebook or Twitter and drop a line!

 

1st Anniversary in T-22 days.


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Why Amazon Reviews Aren’t As Meaningful As We’d Like to Think

I’m certainly aware of this happening, though it has yet to happen to me personally. It irks me, too, Joseph Mulak. Thanks for putting it out there. We all love positive reviews but the negative ones keep it real. Not that I’m saying I want a flood of “I hate your work” reviews. But I’m in for honesty. Even “the greats” have scores of negative reviews.

But that’s the thing about art. Hello subjective. Goodbye one size fits all.

– RAC


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Generation Dead: YA Fiction and the Gothic

YAY! YA courses are awesome. Interesting course list.

Open Graves, Open Minds

After much deliberation I’m excited to reveal that my ‘Generation Dead: YA Fiction and the Gothic’ course list is finally complete!! Choosing the final list has been tricky. Phillip Pullman once said ‘There are some themes, some subjects, too large for adult fiction; they can only be dealt with adequately in a children’s book’ (Carnegie Medal Acceptance Speech, 1996). This is even truer of YA fictions. The novels I have chosen are strangely affecting and deeply questioning, and they explore undeadness and difference in surprising and interesting ways. There are those who will ask ‘why study YA fiction in universities?’ I will seek to respond to some of these criticisms. I am no stranger to sneeriness having taught taught vampire studies at MA level at the University of Hertfordshire and introduced the undead into the academy via my own research. We  first began to discuss the importance of YA fictions…

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Poetry Post: Platform

Platform

In a blink
you are gone with the whistle
and today’s glory drowns
in my heart’s sadness
as the metal rattler
full of willing
bright-eyed prey
whisks you away
into adventures unknown
claiming independence
driven by insatiable curiosity
and leaving me behind
with what once was ours


 

I wrote this poem last night as the extended form of the poem I wrote specifically to be shared on Twitter, thanks to inspiration from Heart Soup. On July 12, 2014, their prompt was #128, “Gone”, which sparked inspiration for a few poems, all very different!

This took a few turns along the way, evolving from a quick writing session that lasted a few minutes to an edited, clipped, 140-character-friendly version to what it is now: a poem that’s a few lines longer and more accurately captures what I was hoping to communicate. That 140-character thing is killer, but a great challenge which forces writers to be quick, succinct, and clever.

This was the original:

In a blink,
you are gone with the whistle.
My day drowns in the darkness
overtaking my heart
as the metal snake
whisks you away
into adventures unknown
claiming independence.

This was what I ended up posting:

You are gone with the whistle
and today drowns
in my heart’s sadness
as the metal rattler
carries you away
into adventures unknown

And above … well, that’s what I’m the most happy with. The previous versions lacked something for me so I put it in, now that I’m not restrained by character limit.

Although, this isn’t my first time with this sort of imagery. In high school, I took OAC (grade 13) Writer’s Craft, which I loved because I got to exercise my creativity instead of just writing essays. As part of it, we touched on poetry and one of my poems was this:

Pushing forward
the snake finds the tracks
to where the meal awaits

I suppose my subconscious decided that it just wasn’t done with this concept. Instead, this time, it wanted to infuse emotion (in this case, sadness of loss) into it.

(And just to clarify: I do, in fact, like snakes. It’s worms and larvae I can’t stand!!! If I start spouting poetry about them, someone stop me! Ughhhh.)

But this is all in the eye of beholder and while I prefer the longer, I know the shorter has its merits. Preferences, anyone?


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Journeys with Flash Fiction: Whoosh, There They Go

Booyeah.

4 flash fiction stories down, each significantly different from the next and all within the 1,000 to 2,500 word count. Boom, baby!

So let’s back it on up. In May, I wrote about diving into writing flash fiction despite not having done it for 14 years or so. Kind of intimidating but I was willing to meet the challenge. I suppose it’s like getting back on that bike, once you get the wibbly-wobbly part out of the way and the body goes, “Oh, yeah, THAT.”

Out of the five anthologies presented to our group of authors, I thought I’d whip up a little something for four – the more YA-friendly themes. Almost immediately, the ideas began to flow which was great. Even better, they seemed like small ideas that could be expressed in a teensy space. Two ideas came more easily than the rest; the other two eventually came around after some deep thought and random bits of fluff in the middle of the night.

The first week of June was a bit of a bust on the writing front, unfortunately. Something about not getting much sleep and feeling tapped. There’s a good reason but that’s a different story and a completely different pen name.

On the other hand, the next week was kinder and allowed me to catch up. I finished them on a Saturday night. I spent the following Sunday night and Monday morning taking the ever unkind and never sorry “red pen” to the pages. Choppity chop chop. Submitted by Monday 10am then I threw the red pen out the window and dragged my zombie-brained body off to bed. Oddly exciting even if overly tiring. And that’s not the craziest thing writers do. Oh, no.

(And if any fellow writers have crazier stories, feel free to share! We’re all in the same boat.)

Now that I’ve had sleep and some recovery time from the intense focus, I thought I’d share a tiny little bit about each since I love talking about what I’ve been working on. But no spoilers! 😀

 

Shift
This was the first one to be written, mostly because it was the first, fully-formed concept that came to me thanks to musical inspiration. Most of the story was written to 2 versions of the same song by Conjure One, “Center of the Sun”: the album version and Solarstone’s Chilled Out Remix from the compilation album, “Relax Music”.

I gushed in the previous post about how brilliant I think the song is, so I won’t this time. Let’s just say that it helped immensely, keeping everything on track. Not just because of the delicious, dark sound but the lyrics tipped me off to the original concept: the idea of being in a dark market where the girl is poorly treated and there’s a boy who cares about her.

So how did that translate?  Almost literally, actually. There’s a dark market, catering to the needs of the thirsty patrons of the paranormal world, and a human teenage girl who needs rescuing. There’s the shifter boy who loves her, desperate to free her by the means available to him as a teenager. And then there’s the man standing between them: the Head of Human Resources … except not the type of HR we’re used to.

One of my favourite things about this story is the title, which I had a bit of a time with until the word “shift” got stuck in my head. I wasn’t sure about it but grabbed my paperback dictionary and did some looking. Jackpot. Almost every definition works. Double-checked with The Free Dictionary (my favourite go-to site for wordsmithing!) and made up my mind. It feels so awesome when a story has a title.

 

Burden
This one I’m equally happy with and it’s a bit creepy, at least in my head. Hey, it says “dark” in the anthology theme so I went there. It’s thanks to a matter of timing, really. In the previous post, I talked about the boy locked up in a bedroom for up to 2 years. That’s pretty dark stuff. I was taken with the story – which isn’t the first, by all means, nor the last, sadly – and was intrigued with the concept that this couple would allow their daughter freedom and not their nephew. My inspiration was pulled to it.

Except I wanted to explore a little more than that, leaning into a bit of further darkness. I can’t get into it without spoilers but I took it into a new direction from the real, live story. It revolves around Keldie, a young girl in high school who has a family secret she’s too scared to keep. The story is about her struggle to do the right thing … even though the result is far from what she expects.

My thanks to Conjure One and Poe, again, though there were two other songs which provided great inspiration for what ended up on “paper”: Florence + the Machine’s “Heavy In Your Arms” and Within Temptation’s “Dog Days“. Without these, the feel wouldn’t have been quite the same. Rawr.

 

The Flying Dead
This story took a while to come around. I had originally kicked around a more somber idea, catering to the serious side of Samhain as the Celtic celebration of our dead.

Yeah, no. Wrote that idea off. Instead, I wanted to write something fun. And funny. Shift and Burden are dark so I wanted something amusing!

The idea came around when I was trying to get back to sleep one morning: the concept of the Ouija board. I’ve been around one once and we had an interesting experience for the rest of the day, so I’ve got something personal to work from and not just TV shows like Charmed. Except I wanted it to be about something more than that.

Enter fantasy; my love, my sanity.

There always has to be something that happens in the story which the main character has to resolve. I dipped into the fantastical world for this one to give it some spunk. The protagonist is Kurt and his family is different: they’re pledged to protect the dead. Samhain is a huge to-do for them with all the dead who cross the Veil and this Samhain isn’t any exception.

I also gave Kurt a bit of something special to make him even more amazing: he’s a transgender youth. He knows who he is and has courage, throwing off the mantle of “Katie” to be himself. This is important to me, not just because I love diversity of all sorts, but because it’s real and something worth putting out there in a way that isn’t derogatory or unkind. There are a lot of kids (not just adults, like those I know and love) who go through this and aren’t as supported as he is, but they need it. I believe gender shouldn’t determine whether you’re a hero or not, just like it doesn’t determine whether you’re a good person or maybe need some help in that department.

It’s not a long, in-depth story but this one’s for all of you. You know who you are. ♥

 

Words Needed
And the fourth flash fic. Arg. This one gave me a right good run around. To tell the truth, I don’t find as much inspiration in writing “real world” stuff, unless it’s urban something-or-other where magic, other dimensions, or something spices it up. (I’m so completely about speculative fiction!) But this one had to stay real.

Best remedy? Personal life.

I was thinking about one thing, which led to another, and then another. Finally, I gave into the concept of a girl discovering paganism very much in the same way I did. Some of the details changed but the essence remains the same. So you’d think it was easy, right, writing from precisely what I know because I lived it?

Nope. Not even close.

This was the most difficult of the four to write! The editing went a bit more smoothly. Still, laying it down … not as easy as I thought. I couldn’t even get the soundtrack right for it – and that’s strange, considering I always manage to find something to play over and over. It’s also the shortest of the bunch. I tried not to ramble. We’ll see how it fares.

 

And that’s how my journey into flash fiction has fared. Right now, they’re in queue for consideration and I’m busy doing some other things. It’s been a thrill, though. I’ll have to try this again sometime.  New worlds to explore and all.


Writer’s Resource: Giants, Monsters, and Dragons (Carol Rose)

 

Encyclopedia of monsters2

Giants, Monsters, and Dragons:
an encyclopedia of folklore, legend, and myth

Carol Rose (2000)

Buy @ Amazon

 

What lay within the bounds of human knowledge and was relatively familiar could be reasonably and comfortably accommodated, no matter what its size. But that which lay outside the bounds of human knowledge was monstrous and awesome. Explanations for the chaotic, precreation nature of the world and the universe, the vast fissures, the threatening geographical features of the earth, the unexplored regions, and the disappearance or transformation of those who ventured into the unknown were accommodated in the concepts of the monstrous. Those beings that existed beyond the human realms of order were the constant threat that challenged the human world and had to be appeased, controlled, banished, or defeated.

– Carol Rose, “Giants, Monsters, and Dragons” (2000), pg xxv

 

I can’t remember when exactly I got this book, or from where, but it’s been sitting on my shelf for a few years. My partner says I received it as part of my Children’s Literature class when I was in university, which isn’t impossible since I received a huge box of books for that one class alone!

In any event, I finally pulled it out to consult it. Originally, I was looking to get some ideas for one of the flash fiction stories I’m working on, Shift. The intention was to obtain a little extra information on werewolves. While I found it, there was more. I came out with the idea to explore the ideas of a were-bear in another flash fiction story, Burden.

And then I couldn’t stop looking. It’s been hanging around my desk while I’ve been working on these short stories and every couple of days, I can’t help but pick it up and skim over it.

I love this book.

Other than discovering that “were-bears” are a thing (despite the fact that I giggle because it’s way too close to sounding like Care Bears), this book is packed with useful information, names, geographical references, and other info. In the introduction, Rose reveals that material was drawn from a variety of sources: encyclopedias, dictionaries (of mythology), ancient and medieval texts, classic literature, folktales and folklore, chronicles and annals of historic events, fables, chapbooks, nursery rhymes, and surveys (genealogical, heraldic, anthropological, topographical). Way cool. It makes me want to have been there writing it with her. Then again, I’m a sucker for research projects … especially any that include ancient texts. YAY!

Reading it reminds me of watching the TV show, Charmed, or Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (the Robert Tapert/Sam Raimi version with Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hirst Hurst) – which is cool because I enjoy those shows. And there’s gorgeous artwork included, taken from a variety of sources, just to give your eyes a break from the text. It’s also easy-to-read and accessible, good for everyone.

It’s a big book and offers a little on everything, including monsters like Champ, a cryptid who is said to live in Lake Champlain between Québec, Canada and Vermont, USA. (A fun little tidbit for me, since I live in the province next door.) And I’m happy to see the likes of Grendel (and Grendel’s Mother) from the ancient tale Beowulf  included. Tolkien‘s Ents and Shelob are in it, too, along with Lewis Carroll‘s Jabberwocky!

In the back are a “Selected Bibliography” for further reference and Appendixes categorizing the beings, including “Beings associated with weather”, “Beings from literature”, “Heraldic beasts”, “Beings by country, realm, or people”, and a long list of others. Useful.

Though I think my favourite thing is how it touches on so many different areas of interest and subjects. History, anthropology, linguistics, geography, religion, spirituality, mythology, literature … it’s a little bit of a lot of things rolled up in one nice, pretty, neatly bound volume that fits well on any shelf without feeling like a brick. It has an international feel, taking the reader on a journey to peek inside all of the different human cultures. This book is one that ties us all together; for as different as we may seem, our monsters aren’t all that different. Dragons, giants, shifters, and similar creatures are everywhere! They might have different names but they share a lot in common. It’s a gentle reminder that while we fight each other and believe we’re completely different, we’re actually very much the same.

Now, I might be terribly biased because I fell in love with cryptozoology as a teenager, but I’d recommend this book to anyone – everyone – in the speculative fiction world who writes about creatures and beings, whether you pen fantasy, horror, paranormal, science fiction … whatever. You know, just in case you need a little help or inspiration. Or if you just like looking at the pictures and awesome names.