Posts Tagged ‘action’

I’m sitting here pondering whether to have eggs for breakfast. It’s a huge decision for a Saturday morning. Huge. This is the one day of the week when anything goes. There are no rules on Saturday – you can sleep in as long as you want and there’ll be no: ‘Are you up yet?’ You can also stay in your pyjamas until lunch time if you want. I’m giving you my permission.

If you feel like running a movie marathon while your behind is parked on the couch…that’s fine too; equally a marathon run, bike ride or swim. Saturday offers the kind of freedom of motivation and action that is condensed into ouimagesr two day weekends. It’s all the more vital because we know the time is precious…to do exactly what we want.

Shame really. We should be living more deliberately every day of the week. There should be swims and bike rides, and movies and staying up late on all the days of the week, but that’s not how it works is it?

During the week we fall into that haze where the days blur into the next. We work too long and our thoughts focus on the immediacy of our surroundings, rarely straying beyond that funny, unreal cocoon we’ve lulled ourselves into. It’s safe to go to work each day and go through the same machinations. Drive, get in, coffee, check emails, knuckle down, look up and talk to colleagues, knuckle down some more. Perhaps at lunch you chug down a burger and a cap (great nutrition) while at your desk, and muse about what you’ll be doing on the weekend.

Then there’s hump day as it’s known. That’s Wednesday because you’re halfway there; halfway to the golden chalice…the weekend. Then Friday comes and there’s spring in the air, and in your step. More work, more coffee, more stress, but hey you can just about smell the weekend, can’t you?

Imagine how many weeks of your life have rolled by like this. Too many I guess.

I think there should be an inbuilt filter in everyone that triggers an alarm on weekdays when you’re working too hard and too long. It should be connected to a message on your iphone or tablet that says: “Do one thing today that you’ve been wanting to do for years”. That’ll be enough to poke you right out of that working weekday haze and reignite the rebel in you, ’cause when you’re rebelling against what you think you ought to be doing but are not, then you’re living.

Happy days folks and enjoy your weekend.

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One of the characters in my short story collection Evil Imminent is fascinating me still. It’s been six months since I created Sybilla, ghost hunter extraordinaire. I remember creating her as a young, almost arrogant woman who, with the supreme confidence of the foolhardy, takes on one of the most haunted houses in Newtown, Sydney.

Despite the advice of her local paranormal group to stay away from the Mason House, she goes there alone. Well, I won’t give away anymore because that would be a real spoiler. Instead, I’ll satisfy my curiosity about Sybilla by interviewing her.

What attracted you to ghost hunting?

An experience I had as an eight year old girl. My parents moved to Berrima, a little town outside of Sydney. The thing about Berrima is that it’s very old and there are a lot of buildings that are haunted there. I was lying in bed, listening to my MP3 – really loved Green Day back then – and I felt like there was someone in the room with me. We’d only just moved into this house, so I suppose I was on edge a bit. Anyway, I rolled over and tried to ignore the feeling. It was then that it happened. It felt like a cold hand had grabbed my foot. I drew my feet up and started to panic. There was something…someone in the room with me; that much I knew for sure. I started to shake and shiver but then something just clicked. I thought I’ll be damned if I’m going to cower in a bed. So, I got up, and went and got the bible mum kept in the drawer in the hallway. I started to recite the Lord’s Prayer over and over. I put my hand on that bible and walked the perimeter of my room. It just came to be to say “Begone, back to where you came from.” I said that over and over til I couldn’t feel that presence anymore…I felt empowered then, even as an eight year old.

So what was it…the presence you’re talking about?

Oh, that. Yeah…turned out that our new house once belonged to the governor of the local jail. He was one hell of a cruel dude as the story went. He ended up dying in that house…in my room actually…trinity of terror

And you moved out of that bedroom…?

Nah. I enjoyed the suspense after that…and the game. They…spirits think they can scare you but the truth is they’re just dead. They can’t hurt anyone.

Ummm. So why did you join the Newtown Paranormal Society?

Just couldn’t get enough of ghost hunting. I love it and I’m pretty good at it really. I mean why should human beings be scared of the non-living. Just doesn’t make sense. We are way more powerful than them and I enjoy showing them who’s boss…

What’s your next big project Sybilla?

The Mason House of course. Everybody’s heard of it. That’s where Marcus Mason murdered his sister and his parents. He’s one evil son of a bitch and guess what?

Ah…what?

I’m gonna make that dude pay for what he did to his little sister. She was only eight years old.

Evil Imminent is a collection of horror/paranormal short stories and can be found on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QRE42J8. Trinity of Terror featuring ghost hunter Sybilla is one of seven stories in the collection.

I’m almost done with my National Novel Writing Month manuscript, Blood Visions. It’s about Fortuna Cavalieri. After a car crash which nearly claims her life, Fortuna is cursed with a psychic link to evil. When serial killer Brandon Keys goes on his murderous rampage, Fortuna is drawn into the edges of his world like prey to a spider’s web. Every time Keys kills, Fortuna knows. She knows because her sixth sense is activated by evil; she knows because she can see him in what she calls her blood visions. Fortuna is not the only one with a psychic ability. Keys too has been blessed with the second sight since childhood – the ultimate gift for an efficient killer. Here’s an extract of the manuscript which takes place between Fortuna and Keys.

Fortuna headed for her demons. Once again she moved within the red mist and was conscious at some level that this was another vision but different this time. Instead of being taken to his house she was in the midst of the most beautiful countryside she had ever seen. All around was vibrant green with an intensity only Spring can bring. Rolling hills ended in distant blue mountains and a crystal clear sky. The heat of the sun was gentle on the breeze.

She moved towards the nearby lake. At the water’s edge the killer sat on a park bench, as though he’d come out for a stroll that morning to a ready made vista. It was his vision Fortuna was in, not her own, and she approached cautiously.

When she was a few metres away, he spoke. “I’ve been waiting for you. I wanted you to see what I can create. In my mind’s eye it is always this…or the blood house; but you’re here today. That’s good.”

“What is this?” She dared not move any closer.

“Oh come on. Come round and face me. I don’t bring my knife to this place.”

She moved to the water’s edge, still keeping her distance.

“Why am I here?” she asked, trying not to be drawn into his games, but wanting to know the significance of the landscape despite herself.

He smiled, a half smile. With him there was no real happiness in any of his expressions – only cynicism and bitterness. “I know what you think of me. I know that you think that I’m a monster but you can see into the monster. What does that make you?”

She began to turn away. “Look if you’ve got me here to play games…I’ve had enough of that. I am nothing like you.”

“No? Let me tell you about this place…It is only good memory I have. Of a spring day when Walter and my ma took me to the river for a picnic. I remember the way the sunlight fell on her hair. Walter even showed me how to bait my fishing hook. I was four years old and he had left me alone…up til then. I remember my ma’s dress, flowing in the breeze. It was one good moment mixed in with a lifetime of bad moments…some recipe huh? Do you know that when I kill all the bad moments go? They take them off me. The bad moments go into them.”

“You are sick. You know that don’t you? And I am nothing like you. I know what you do to them. You torture them and kill them when they have no hope left.”

“Ah, but you are forgetting that I can see into your mind just as you can see into mine, and I see your darkest moments. Your dark moments are what makes you like me.”

Fortuna turned to him. She had nothing to hide and there was defiance in her when she answered him. “Don’t ever presume to know what is in my head…”

But he persisted in his arrogance. “Did you ever think about why your Uncle Pete stopped visiting?”

She looked away from him, and across the water. Overhead a crow cawed. Yes, she remembered her Uncle Pete, her ma’s brother. She remembered a particular night when he had stayed over, a memory so deep that it felt like a dream, difficult to recall, and blurred around the edges. She could see herself as a five year old, shocked and confused, wondering if what was happening was real. She hadn’t thought about this in a long time but the blood visions were forcing her to remember her childhood and she couldn’t shake the picture of her childhood self. What she remembered most was the way she felt, powerless and forced to go headlong into something she didn’t understand and knew was wrong.

Always the memory of her childhood had been easier to forget it. Up until this moment she hadn’t even realised she had been trying so hard to bury it. She sank to her knees, looking at him through anger and remorse. “You know about that memory?”

He nodded. “It is your black moment, the moment that defines you now. Just as my black moments…and this one beautiful moment define me. When it comes down to it, your blackest hour has controlled you all your life. Tell me Fortuna, when was the last time you had a man. Have you ever wondered why your ma can’t stand you, and why your beloved papa was so kind to you. You were decided a long time ago, just as I was and none of it is our fault.”

Fortuna got to her feet, moving a little closer to him. “Let me tell you something now. It is not what happened to us when we were children that makes us who we are. It is the choices we make every day. You choose to take away life to supposedly ease your pain. I choose to find a way to take back my power without hurting or killing anyone…”

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong. That’s not how it’s going to be. In time, you’ll see this.”

She began walking away from him, leaving him, the killer, sitting on a park bench overlooking his one beautiful memory. But he wasn’t giving up so easily.

“One day you will be stuck in those black memories forever. That time is coming soon. That’s how it’s going to be. And this,” he said, gesturing at the rolling green hills and lake, “doesn’t change anything. I’m coming for you and I’ll kill you. Like those other girls, you’ll take my black moments too. Your luck is about to run out and mine will be the last face you see before you die.”

As the title of this post suggests, I’ll be letting my fingers speed across QWERTY as I rush to get my word count in for the day. National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo): Day 15 (in Australia, that is).

I began my journey with blistering enthusiasm. I’d had my manuscript Blood Vision (or is it Visions) swirling in my head for about 18 months. “Plan my youngest son said. Do a plan for your next novel.” So I did. I managed to squeeze in time to really nut out my manuscript before Nanowrimo began. And I was supremely pleased. I would use the motivational worldwide writing community (mowowrico) to help me get things started and then, following the plan, it would all be apples.

Well…yes and no. As any novelist will tell you, writing a book is sheer hard work. Think of climbing a cliff face, metaphorically and that’s what it is like. Maintaining daily word counts can be difficult some days but not all days. On the good days the words flow, the characters say what they were always meant to say and, as the writer, you sit back and think, “Yes! There is no other place I’m meant to be than sitting here writing this novel. On other days, well snacks do help.

Here are the things that have helped me on my Nanowrimo journey so far:

* Snacks…hahaha

* Tips from other authors: Really good ones like base your characters on people you know (sorry guys, like I explained to may sisters the other day, I don’t model characters on other people, just take snippets here and there of personality traits or experiences gathered over a lifetime. Some characters I draw from, I might have only known for five minutes. So relax…)

* Finish your writing for the day at a scene you will look forwarding to writing the next day

* This one from JK Rowlings: You’ll go through a lot of paper before you become a good writer

* Stay off social media. Leave your best writing, thoughts, creative processes for Nanowrimo – oops I fail on that one

* Learn to like all your characters, even the villains

* No matter what, don’t give up. Keep writing.

I’m at 25,700 words now. I’m hoping for a marathon effort today; to find my way up that sheer cliff face, one handhold and foothold at a time. I have to. Blood Vision (s) is worth it.

You can find my author page on Amazon, and my short story, horror collection ‘Evil Imminent’ will be out in December 2014.

My wonderful 13 year old hero Stevie Vegas is back in Dawn of the Shadowcasters, soon to be released by Lodestone Books in the UK – and for Stevie it is dark days indeed.

Dawn of the Shadowcasters is set the year after Stevie Vegas battles the Shadowcasters (demons), and finds out he’s an Illuminator (lightbringer). Stevie and his family have returned to their hometown, Valley Dale, to try and start a new life. Stevie is really battling with himself because he doesn’t want to accept his powers. He just wants to be like any other 13 year old.

But fate has a different destiny for Stevie because the Shadowcasters turn up in Valley Dale and things go from bad to worse. Not only does Stevie have to accept his abilities like mind reading and being able to ‘make’ things happen, he finds he is almost out flanked and outwitted as the Shadowcasters turn up on mass and begin to hunt him, and his family, djhp52dcea0a69eddown.

It is quite literally ‘always darkest before the dawn’ for Stevie. But to tell you more about the plot, would be to give it away, so you’ll have to wait until 31 May to get your copy.

One of the themes I enjoyed exploring in the book is the notion that there is much power to be harnessed in nature, if we know how. Through his mentor, Aunt Bessie, Stevie is taught how to ‘call’ to the wind, master it, and use its power against the Shadowcasters. The Illuminator or power stones are also a mighty source of power that will help Stevie and his family as the Shadowcasters draw perilously closer.

Skateboarding – movement and action – are also incorporated in Dawn of the Shadowcasters with Stevie making firm friends with a young marshal arts expert and a girl, Mary Lou Nova, who’s the fastest girl on two wheels – well she rides a motocross bike as well as any teenage boy. In fact, she gives Stevie, who is a champion skateboarder, a run for his money.

There are plenty of surprises in Dawn of the Shadowcasters. Stevie finds out things he didn’t know about his family, and his growing friendship with Mary Lou is more of a welcome surprise – so, set amidst the backdrop of demonic danger, Stevie takes his first tentative steps towards romance.

There are plenty of twists and turns in Dawn of the Shadowcasters and readers can expect the unexpected. But just as danger, mayhem and evil incarnate follow Stevie Vegas in equal measure, so too do the bonds of friendship, familial love and loyalty, and the pure light of magic.

How would I describe Dawn of the Shadowcasters? It perhaps sits in the genre of Fantasy/paranormal but also in action and adventure. There are certain spiritual aspects to this book too, as light battles dark: demons against lightbringers. And despite dark days for Stevie Vegas, there is always hope. Just as there is always hope when we battle adversity in real life.

The message is, hold onto hope no matter how dark the days and, above all, believe in yourself.

You can preorder Dawn of the Shadowcasters at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dawn-Shadowcasters-Stevie-Vegas-Chronicles/dp/1782794565

Or find out more about it via Lodestone Books: http://www.lodestonebooks.com/books/dawn-shadowcasters

Shadowscape – The Stevie Vegas Chronicles is the first book in my paranormal/adventure trilogy series for young adult readers. It follows the adventures of 12 year old Stevie Vegas who’s just your average school kid living in suburban Valley Dale, with a passion for skateboarding.

He thinks his life is pretty normal…that’s until he discovers he’s an Illuminator with extra-ordinary mind powers. Then the Shadowcasters arrive and he’s forced into a battle as ancient as time itself, one that pits Illuminator against Shadowcaster: lightbringers against demons.

Weston1 (4) small Sounds exciting. I think so ’cause I sure had fun writing Shadowscape.I wrote it in 2011-2012 for my son who was 12 years old at the time, and a passionate skateboarder. The main character of Stevie is modelled on him. Every night he would read what I’d written and say: “mum you can’t say that” or “yeah, that’s ok” or “yeah, pretty good”. He was my biggest critic and fan, depending on if I got it ‘right’. Thank you Callum.

The most fun I had when I wrote the book was in creating the skateboarding feuds between Stevie and his arch nemesis Jacob Barron. I did my research and under the tutelage of my then 12 year old, I had the characters perform anything from triple kickflips to attempted 900’s. I feel I should say that a triple kickflip is where the rider ollies and kicks his/her foot out and flips the board 360 degrees along its long axis with his/her toes, allows the board to spin all of the way around, and then catches it and lands.

And a 900 requires lots of skill and is very rarely pulled off, but it’s when the skateboard and skateboarder spin in the air with a 2½-revolution. While airborne, the skateboarder makes two-and-a-half turns, facing the other way when coming down than before. It is considered one of skateboarding’s most technically demanding tricks. Let me show you:

 

So with a champion skaterboarder with mind power in Stevie Vegas, I was able to explore the phenomena that had captured my then 12 year old son, and a couple of his friends. Skateboarders are not like football or baseball players. They are the cool players in the sports arena, I believe. Very much individuals, rule breakers even. They have to be to try some of their airborne stunts.

Before I began writing Shadowscape I had campaigned hard for a skatepark in my local town. I wanted to offer the young people something besides the traditional sports. And the skaters needed a place to skate. So, as the then editor of the local paper, I launched a campaign and we got our skatepark. I’m very proud of that particular campaign.

Once I had finished Shadowscape, I began to write the second book in the Shadowscape trilogy, Dawn of the Shadowcasters which is currently in production with Lodestone Books and due out on 30 May 2014. It can be preordered and is available in ebook and print.

Dawn of the Shadowcasters picks up Stevie Vegas’ story a year later and, yes, there are some nice skateboard stunts in Book 2.

There’s also a bit of a love interest for Stevie in Mary Lou who just happens to be a champion motocross rider. I suppose it’s fair to say I have a thing for Xtreme sports. I also have a thing for anything that is out of the box or the norm. Street art, skateboarding, motorcycle riding…it all comes from the same place as skill, creativity and courage. And that’s a good basis for a hero in a book don’t you think?

Shadowscape is available in ebook on Amazon. And Dawn of the Shadowcasters is out via Lodestone Books in May.