It, my exsanguinated friends, is October. You know what this means. Fashion that involves being wrapped up head to toe in fun prints and fabrics thick enough for you to emulate a marshmallow, every sort of food is now pumpkin-spiced and you really don't mind at all, cider (kid-friendly or otherwise) is fully in vogue, and everywhere
E V E R Y W H E R E
you are faced with vampires, ghosts, witches, zombies, clowns, werewolves, spiders, and all sorts of...how does that Scottish prayer go? Ah yes...
"From ghoulies and ghosties
This month's Round Robin topic was as follows: Do you believe in angels, spirits, ghosts, demons or other ethereal beings or locations? What do you think when they appear in stories? Have you used them in your own stories?
Um, this one genuinely took some thought. I'm twenty years old, "too old" by society's definition to furtively check under my bed for the bogey man. Angels, I would admit to believing in. Would I strap a cardboard sign to my chest and write ANGELS ARE AMONG US across the front in Sharpie? Absolutely not. But I wouldn't shoot someone down for saying they'd felt/saw some divine presence while in a sacred place. Ghosts? Yeah, I've had some conversations with people who think all ghosts are tricks of the imagination. For me, I've been in old houses where a specific room felt all too full behind me even though I was the last one out of the exhibit, complete with that feeling between your shoulder blades you get when someone is staring at you. I've seen the Youtube videos and TV shows where, I'm sorry, some of the stuff cannot be explained. It also makes sense that places where people were massacred or put to death or all manner of atrocious things took place are locations I do not want to be by my lonesome. You would probably have to bar every door and window to make me stay in a haunted house/asylum/hospital/what-have-you overnight in the dark, and I'd be in a corner praying the entire duration, just to be safe.
On the other hand, I L-O-V-E to be terrified in stories. I'm such a big mouth about horror stories/movies. It's not my soul on the line. The more disturbing, the better. I read Say Her Name by James Dawson this past February; it revolves around the Bloody Mary legend and my goodness, when I had to go to my work study job in the student union until midnight, I went into an older bathroom in the building and literally kept my eyes from the mirror as long as possible, terrified I would see a girl out of the corner of the reflection. If I end up covering my head in sheets so I can go to sleep, the author has succeeded.
As for my writing, I've used angels (or their physical attributes) in two very different stories: in Shubiao's Girls, a paranormal novel coming out tentatively next year, Phenex is a young guardian angel whose mistaken trust ended in his charge's soul being taken by a demon. During the book he is banished to Hell for a bit, sort of like a suspension so he can do penance for his error. He's just a side character, but he comes complete with a silver halo you can only see when the light hits it; his wings molting a bit from his Fall and the demon overseeing him plays with a lot of ironies (they infiltrate a Halloween party and she dresses him as a Crusader, for example). In Serpents and Flame, however, the main male character is given wings by a goddess to help him escape a vengeful god. They're gold, the color of his hair, and by physical definition he's an angel (he is also generally good and fights for the right thing, and aren't angels the soldiers of heaven in most accounts?) However, the Christian definition of an angel doesn't really apply there because he lives within a world shaped by Greek mythology.
Shubiao's Girls offers its main ethereal being as Shubiao, a mouse spirit created in the twentieth century by a Chinese woman named Lei, in revenge for her son's murder. By day she is a black mouse; when night falls she steals the breath of the main character, Cara, while she sleeps and so gains enough of her life to transform into a human--albeit one with translucent skin, thin pointed nails, and all-black eyes. The aforementioned demon is named Astuta. She prefers to appear as a Latin American woman with clawed feet like a cat's, furry pointed ears peeking out from curling black hair. There is a bar in the story where all sorts of spirits gather, appearing as women/men in white, skeletons, scarlet-skinned and fork-tailed, or merely as black clouds that speak with the sound of rattling leaves.
Other characters appear as enchantresses, gods, depravti (sort of zombies, more of possessed people. It's a word I concocted from Latin's pravus or "depraved" and something else I can't recall because my Latin dictionary is at home and I'm in the UK until December), and Titans. I've realized I enjoy writing urban fantasy, not something full-out magical. I don't know if I have to skill to do something like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Shubiao's Girls has the main characters take to Wikipedia, church websites, and Google to figure out how to protect themselves from demons, and even the crew from Serpents and Flame compare mirrored contact pendants to Skype and visit Athena's Library to try and figure out what the heck is going on around them.
What about you? One of my English teachers told me how she and some friends ran through an abandoned mental asylum on Halloween night, once, and I couldn't imagine how terrified I would be. Have you ever played with a Ouija? What's your favorite ghoulie or ghostie?
X--and a happy Halloween!
Follow the links to these other ooky spooky authors to dredge of up tails of the creepy and macabre :)
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/blog1/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-wU
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Helena Fairfax http://helenafairfax.com/
Hollie Glover http://helenafairfax.com/
Connie Vines http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Skye Taylor http://www.Skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com/
Heather Haven http://www.heatherhavenstories.com