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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...

Interviewing Your Characters

Interviewing Your Characters

Upon inspiration of the essay by Tina Jens in ON WRITING HORROR, I have created a character sketch I am using much like an interview sheet. In my mind’s eye I invite my fictional characters into my office for an interview. So far it has worked like a charm. My questions are pretty much standard but the difference is it is not me who is answering the questions. They are.  My approach is that this is their story and I want to know them as I would an old friend from high school (per suggestion by Tina Jens.)

I had created a list of characters using my previous method of simply coming up with them as I wrote my new novel but the process was tedious and boring. Following Tina’s suggestions, I created a new character sketch to get to know my characters for who they are, separate from me. My protagonist, who I had previously named Sandy, was a middle aged woman and I had given her blond hair with gray streaks and gray eyes much like my own, was all wrong.

The woman who walked in my office was entirely different, even her name. She was younger, tougher with dark hair and eyes. Her entire persona is one of a lonely but self-assured widow on her own and looking for a change. While Sandy was also looking for a change she was married and more dependent upon her husband.

My second “interview” was with my evil, sadistic antagonist. I was nervous about the interview because this character was to be the epitome of evil complete with horrific appearance and behavior. The “man” who entered my office was again, very different. I found him compelling and alluring with a definite darker side concealed beneath his attractive appearance. At the same time, he was forthright with a definite sense of humor about the story that is to come.

I have four more interviews to do with my previous version of this story still in the back of my mind. What will become of this story? I have no idea. It’s truly in the hands of these fascinating new characters. One thing for certain, I won’t be bored!

Thanks for visiting my site. I would love to hear your thoughts…

Getting to Know Your Characters

Getting to Know Your Characters

Another tidbit from a few years back that has changed my writing life forever….

In between the required reading in ON WRITING HORROR, I’ve been studying the various essays by the gifted writers enclosed within its pages. The latest nugget of wisdom came from Tina Jens titled “Such Horrible People.” Ms. Jens describes characterization in such a creative and entertaining way that not only have I soaked up her insightful words, but I do believe they have changed the way I write forever.

Within her essay, Tina Jens describes getting to know your characters as well as you would your high school buddies. Their ins, their outs, their quirks, fears, flaws and successes. What makes them tick? Getting to know your characters so well that they are sitting there beside you writing your story for you. Your job as a writer is merely a stenographer, they are in control. After all it’s their story, right?

Yes, I’ve read lots of articles on developing characters but never in such a clear, open manner where it is not only practical, but brings the knowledge down from my gray matter to application. Thank you, Tina Jens, for such an intelligent and entertaining essay.

So to put into practice this new-to-me character-creation process, I’ve interviewed one of my main characters for my current work-in-progress. As it turns out she is nothing like the puppet I created. I got her name, hair color, age and even personality totally wrong. The character that arose from this interview is stronger, more dynamic and a complete improvement over what the puppet-master (me) had created.

Rather than feeling the pressure of creating this novel purely out of my own tedious, task-oriented agenda, I am excited to see what she and the other main characters will show me as their story unfolds. I have more interviews today. One I am particularly nervous about, my villain. He’s a dark, angry creature whose fiery home was recently disturbed. Wish me luck….I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you, Tina Jens and the Horror Writers Association…and to you, thanks for reading!

THE FOREST HOUSE by Marion Zimmer Bradley

THE FOREST HOUSE by Marion Zimmer Bradley

I recently finished The Forest House, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s prequel to The Mists of Avalon. What a compelling and fascinating read, both for recreation and research.

While writing my novel, My Father’s Magic, I did a great deal of research into the history of Goddess-based spirituality as well as the Roman expansion through what is now France, Germany and England. So, upon reading The Forest House with its priestesses and Druid priests at a time when Rome sought to conquer the last remnant of Britannic resistance, I felt like a par

Esme Bohlin Suspense Bk1

t of me had come home.

 

Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon has long been on my “to read” list. Looks like it will be moving up!

 

My Father’s Magic – now available

My Father’s Magic – Sneak Peek!

My Father’s Magic – Sneak Peek!

Hello! and thank you for visiting my page,

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…” 

Esme Bohlin Suspense Bk1

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

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