Category: A Writer’s Life

A HOME FOR ROSE – A Dark Desert Tale

A HOME FOR ROSE – A Dark Desert Tale

One of the things that attracted us to moving to the desert, was the lack of grass to mow. But, likewise, we also quickly noted that with no grass or ground cover, everything living or buried within the sandy earth was hard to hide.

So, as we began our gardening adventures, we found things that the desert had long ago claimed. In my office, I have a lion and a small dragon. Both are made of brass and both were found buried in the crusted dirt around our home.

But when my husband presented me with the dragon, it occurred to me, “What if he found something that was actually best left buried?” What if the object he unearthed only appeared to be treasure, but was actually so much worse?

And so, in the tradition of creepy stories everywhere, I wrote my second dark desert tale, “A HOME FOR ROSE.”

FRESH MEAT – A Dark Desert Tale

FRESH MEAT – A Dark Desert Tale

While living in a small town in southern Arizona a few years back, I was out walking my dog around our apartment complex when I spotted, high in the sky, a flock of large black birds. They were circling a grove of cottonwood trees.

My imagination, being a sometimes strange and dark place, began to wander, to form the “what ifs.”

What if someone lived in that grove of cottonwood trees? And what if that someone were to feed those large black birds much like one might feed the wrens and cardinals? 

…and so, Fresh Meat came into being…

“Do you want to feed my birds?” A soft voice broke through Timmy’s thoughts as the old woman turned toward him. – Copyright – Ingrid Foster 2015

 

Confessions of a Dark Fantasy Writer

Confessions of a Dark Fantasy Writer

In 1994, I had a horrific car accident almost ending my life, since that fifteen-day stint in the hospital I have vowed to live my life fully which includes facing my fears. My first confession, I am afraid of things that don’t go bump in the night.

Seriously, I can handle the occasional “bump.” Like when you hear a click in the night that wakes you up only to hear the next sound being the heater starting up. Or the loud thud that scared me so bad I caught my breathe and wanted to wake my sleeping husband. No, he was not in bed beside me and yes, he was the originator of the thud as he moved around the house in the dark.

These things have explanations and I can handle them. What I can’t handle are the noiseless things that move in the night or the unseen things that a part of you senses, but you cannot physically see or hear them. These are the things that totally freak me out. Sure, they may be part of my overactive imagination, but what if they’re not?

My husband has spoken a few times about going to California for a week on business. I would be left home alone to write to my heart’s content. My second confession, I really don’t want to be alone at night in this big house. Because of the design of this room I call my office; I must sit with my back to the doorway. Last night when I couldn’t sleep and sat here diligently working at my desk, every once and while I would look up at the open door leading to the rest of the house. Just in case. You never know what lurks silently in old houses.

My third confession is that when I was a child and yes sometimes still, I would fear cars and trucks Car Grillescoming up the road by my home.  Don’t ask me the origin of this phobia; it really makes no sense. All I can think is that the grill on the cars from the 1950s and 60s left a deep, tortured impression upon my psyche. Anyway, to this day I sometimes fear a vehicle “sneaking up” on me.

So why do I love scary stories enough to write them, am I in some subconscious way a masochist desiring to scare myself into insanity? No, probably not.

I think it’s for the same reason that as a child I use to love reading ghost stories or as a teenager babysitting my niece I read the THE AMITYVILLE HORROR in one setting. Reading horror does for me what other books don’t. It entertains me and at the same time forces me to face my fears.

And so I continue writing my own dark fiction, The Gathering, based on a place I once lived. My last confession, I am so glad we moved because in a certain point in the story my heroine, who is roughly based on me, has a near fatal fall… Yes, my own writing really does scare me!

Sharing Our Hidden Secrets, The Ultimate Vulnerability

Sharing Our Hidden Secrets, The Ultimate Vulnerability

Our secrets, the ones we keep hidden too afraid to reveal to even our closest friends, can be our greatest stumbling blocks. There’s a part of us that yearns to be free from our emotional pain, if only a safe, empathetic avenue of exposure could be found. But reveal our secrets to friends and, even worse, strangers? Surely that is the hardest act of bravery an author could ever do! Be Original

I applaud those who are that brave, unafraid to expose their deepest, most life-shattering revelations. But what about the rest of us? We need that release just as much. We need the knots to become unwound. We need the wound to be open to fresh air and in doing so, we too can heal.

To poor souls like me, I say one word…FICTION.

If our secrets are too profound, if our memories are too hurtful to ourselves or others, why not write in such a manner that allows us to reveal the pain, yet not expose our reality? That is the path other authors have followed and for them it has been most healing….and just between us, it is the path I took while writing my novel, My Father’s Magic.

My-Fathers-Magic-minThough Esme and her world are not direct reflections of my own, I used my personal memories of childhood trauma, separation anxiety and rape as fodder for the more traumatic parts of her story. Also, my own deep desire to be closer to my mentally ill mother was a key component in Esme’s relationship with her mother. The path I took in writing this novel allowed my inner pain to be handled in smaller doses and to expose my own memories at a safe distance rather than up close and personal.

Regardless of your choice, nonfiction or fiction, to all of my fellow writers I offer a warm smile and an empathetic, “Peace be with you.” And remember, we are all on this journey together and though revisiting our memories can be a dark and scary place, please know that with the love and comfort of friends, we can get through it and be the better for it on the other side.

As always thank you for reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

We are all in this together...

The Definition of Closure

The Definition of Closure

I just finished the first draft of The Gathering (working title) the horror novel I started writing before My Father’s Magic took over my life.

The story first came to me while living in an apartment in a small town south of Tucson. Our many walks around the complex were often interrupted by what I can only believe were ghosts. Patches of cold air to be followed by “things” hurrying up behind us, “things” only I could hear, and were not there when I turned to confront them.

The place was eerie with its long-filled lake bed, memorialized only by a small aqueduct and a group of resilient cat tails. Our apartment never ceased to give me a restless uneasiness, a feeling that something or someone was forever watching me.

I wrote the story in starts and stops over the years. Perhaps I was never ready to finish it, or maybe, the evil entity that pervades the story was not ready for his tale to be over… Either way, the first draft is now done; the last two characters in a cast of so many have now finished a journey that, for this writer, began seven years ago.

Hmm, it’s nice to finally know how the story ends…

When Writing…. A Good Rule of Thumb

When Writing…. A Good Rule of Thumb

When writing a story, you are your own best immediate gauge of how good it is. Does it excite you, hold your interest and keep you on edge? Are you emotionally invested in your story to the point of potential embarrassment?

If not, then you need to either change it or start over. If you don’t have an emotional reaction to your story, your readers won’t either.

Here is one of my favorite quotes, one I keep on the wall of my office, and what I try to live by when writing my stories…

My Father’s Magic – Sneak Peek!

My Father’s Magic – Sneak Peek!

Hello! and thank you for visiting my page,

On a side note, I have more on my old blog, Ingrid Foster’s World, and we’re in the process of moving…but that’s not why you’re here… 

One of my favorite quotes, by Arthur Miller, “The best work that anyone ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always,” has never been truer for me than with this book. So much of me is poured into its pages.

During the process of writing of My Father’s Magic, I laughed, I cried, I felt embarrassment and pain, and even elation… My entire goal in this process was to write a book that I would enjoy reading.

So with that in mind, I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it…

Thank you, again, for visiting my site. 🙂 I hope you’ll come back often…

“Albion, where strangers become family and “family” turn psychotic…and it all starts w an old key…” 

Prologue

He took a sip of amber liquid as his eyes shifted once more to the report. I should have known, he scoffed. The warning signs were all there.

But as the words of a former mentor returned to haunt him, Drake Hermanus set the glass down on his leather-capped desk. After all these years, could the old wizard have been right? Could I really have been such a fool?

“Father?”

Shielding his thoughts, he looked across the dark expanse of his office at the young woman silhouetted by the hallway lights. My God, in this light she could be her mother. “Yes, Esme?”

“I was just about to go home. Do you need anything before I leave?”

Tell her, Drake. Tell her. “No. Thank you. I’ll see you in the morning.”

She remained there, another second, two.

“Was there something else?” He grimaced as his words hung in the air.

“No. Good night, Father,” she said and turned away.

As he watched the door close, there was so much that needed to be said, but, as usual, the timing was wrong. With a sigh, Drake opened a hidden panel in the front of his desk and extracted a small brown envelope labeled, “Hermanus House.”

After emptying its only content, a skeleton key, he wrote, “Highway 13 to FR 190, right on Hermanus Lane,” on the front of the envelope. Then, replacing the key, he laid the envelope inside his center desk drawer.

His backup plan now in place, Drake removed several sheets of private stationary from a side drawer. It’s time, he decided. This can wait no longer.

* * *

The grandfather clock in the front hallway chimed two o’clock when Tom Delaney, dressed in a velvet bathrobe and corduroy slippers, led his friend into his study.

“How about a drink to warm you up?” he asked as he headed for the cherry hutch he used for a bar.

Drake sat down on the burgundy leather sofa and placed his briefcase on the coffee table in front of him. “No thanks, Tom. I’ll need a clear head tonight.”

Stopping in mid stride, the middle-aged lawyer turned to face his friend of more than twenty years. “Drake, what the hell is going on?”

Drake allowed his briefcase to fall open. “What do you mean?”

In an effort to steady his hands, Tom picked up his pipe from a nearby ash tray and began stuffing it with tobacco. “First, you call me this late at night, something you haven’t done in what, eighteen years?”

Drake paled, but allowed his friend to continue. “Then you show up, frazzled, something you never are, and with a five o’clock shadow, again, something you would never allow,” he paused to light his pipe. “So, tell me, Drake. What is going on?”

A pensive smile curved Drake’s full lips as he rubbed the coarse stubble on his chin. In answer, he pulled a folded paper from the inside pocket of his tailored suit jacket and laid it on the coffee table. “I think you need to read this.”

Taking a seat in a leather armchair, Tom returned his pipe to the ashtray and read the paper. Seconds later, he handed it back. “You need to tell Esme.”

Without pause, Drake slipped the paper back into his pocket. “You read the report, Tom. It’s pure speculation. Someday, I will retire leaving Esme and Geoff in charge. My planting unproven accusations inside her head would not make that any easier, for either of them.”

His lips pressed together, Tom reclined in his chair. There were many arguments he could have given, but as he looked at his friend he knew it was pointless. “So, what are you going to do?”

Drake’s eyes took on their usual cold semblance of steel. “When I leave here, I will return to the office. I have it on good authority that my apprentice and future son-in-law will still be there.”

Tom grew more uneasy; his pipe forgotten. “There’s nothing I can say to talk you out of this?”

“No, but there is something I need you to do.” Drake removed a rectangular, wooden box from his briefcase and set it on the coffee table. “In the unlikely event of my death, I need you to give this to Esme. There are a few letters, a copy of my will, and some other things I want her to have. But this box and all it contains is for her eyes only.”

“Drake, this is foolishness.” Tom said as he leaned forward. “If there’s any possibility that Geoff could retaliate or harm you in anyway, you must tell Esme. You must warn her.”

Drake smiled. “Tom, the boy is my apprentice. I will simply confront him. If I don’t like what he has to say, I will order him to resign and refrain from all contact with my daughter. Geoff is not foolish enough to cross me.”

“And what if he does?”

“I’m a master sorcerer, Tom,” Drake said as he leaned back against the sofa. “You worry too much. Now, if you’re still offering that drink, I’ll take it.”

Chapter One

Breathe, Esme, breathe. I willed myself to calm down as I wrapped the blanket around me. “It’s a dream. It’s only a dream.”

A quick glance at the bright numbers on my alarm clock, 5AM, he should be up by now.

I reached out telepathically, expecting one of two responses, both instantaneous. Either I’d hear my father’s voice, finding him awake and well into his day. Or I’d feel a wall, my father’s mental version of a “do not disturb” sign. Instead, I got nothing.

Nothing? What the heck? My telepathic connection with my father, something we shared genetically, had always been consistent. But now that connection was just a big, empty void.

As a wave of panic threatened the edges of my concentration, I reached out again. “Nothing?! No. That’s not possible.”

I grabbed my cell phone from the nightstand and jumped up from my bed. With a deep, calming breath, I told the phone, “Call Father’s mobile.

“Please answer. Please, please answer,” and pressed the phone harder against my ear.

As the call rang out and went to voice mail, I tried to think of a message, any message. But as I heard the loud beep, all I could say was, “Father, please call me.”

Still holding my now-silent phone, I started pacing. I need to go over there. I need to check on him.

But still, I hesitated. What if I’m wrong? What if I go over there and he’s pissed because I interrupted his morning routine. No. There’s got to be another way. I continued my pacing.

Wait. What about Geoff? Maybe he knows… Calling my temperamental fiancé at five in the morning was not my idea of fun. But we were both business partners with my father, so maybe Geoff knew something I didn’t.

And my sense of intuition, one of the few things my father prided me on, told me to call him. So, braced for whatever nasty reaction Geoff might give, I told my phone, “Call Geoff’s mobile.”

Three rings later I got, “Esme. I’m glad you called.”

What? If it weren’t for my dream, that felt more like a nightmare, I would have died of shock. But priorities being priorities, “Geoff, I can’t reach Father. Do you know where he is?”

“Yes,” he said as he lowered his voice. “I’m at the morgue. Your father had a heart attack.”  Long sigh, “He’s dead, Esme. Drake is dead.”

As his words registered, the first of many tears began to fall. “Please tell me I’m dreaming and that this is all part of a nightmare.”

Silence, and then, “I’m sorry, Esme. For your sake, I wish I could.”

* * *

According to the coroner, my father had died earlier that morning and according to Geoff, they had both been at work. I had thought to ask him for more details. Like why was my father, who seldom worked past midnight, pulling an overnighter?

But at that point, it didn’t matter. Father was dead and no amount of questions would bring him back. Apparently, even a master sorcerer can’t stop a heart attack.

Two days after his death, we had my father’s funeral during the morning. It all seemed so quick, so hurried. But I had asked Geoff to make the arrangements, so I had no right to complain. Besides, with my father gone, I was lucky to still have my fiancé.

That afternoon, I was on my way out of Cascadia, the large, sprawling city we all called home. “A much needed bit of time off,” my now very-much-in-charge fiancé had called it. On some level I knew Geoff was getting me out of the way, but I didn’t care. One of my other gifts, my ability to read minds and emotions, was in complete overdrive.

In truth, I was a basket case. I was so drained from my father’s death that being able to block other people’s thoughts was impossible. As much as reading Geoff’s mind might have answered some of my questions, I was grateful that he had finally mastered the ability to keep me from reading him. At least I didn’t have to worry about his dark thoughts.

I needed some time alone and wandering around Hermanus Enterprises, the company my father started, and Geoff and I had inherited, wasn’t helping. So, after finding an old key labeled “Hermanus House,” inside my father’s desk, I decided this unknown house bearing my father’s family name was as good a place as any to start.

But first, I needed to tell my mother that her husband was dead.

My Father’s Magic

My Father’s Magic – The Birth of a Story

My Father’s Magic – The Birth of a Story

 Now Available!

Many years ago…

Well, let’s say six, I was thinking how my father’s death had such a profound impact on my life, my reality…

Then I thought, “Wow, that could be a story.” 

Only, let’s make it about a young woman whose entire planned-out existence is thrown into chaos by her legendary father’s sudden death…

Then we’ll add suspense, fantasy…and don’t forget romance…

Mix it up with a few magical “creatures” and unusual characters…add a strange old house in a fictional, fantastical, and sometimes creepy, setting… 

And that’s how MY FATHER’S MAGIC was born!

My Father’s Magic – on Amazon – Now available