Tag: paranormal

paranormal

An Interview with Carol Pouliot

Is Time strictly linear, or can it be bent or twisted? The answer is well beyond my mental capacities, but the idea of time travel has always fascinated me. Today I have the distinct pleasure of interviewing Carol Pouliot, author of the Blackwell & Watson Time-Travel Mysteries featuring 1930s Detective Sergeant Steven Blackwell and present-day journalist and researcher Olivia Watson. Steven and Olivia share the same house in a small New York town—eighty years apart!

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The Book Baby Blues

Debut author Laura Kemp joins us today on Missdemeanors to discuss her reaction to the publication of her first novel, Evening in the Yellow Wood, and her approach to getting back to writing.  December 12th was a big day for me. It signified the birth of my Book Baby. I’d spent months, even years on perfecting my manuscript so that a publishing house would pick it up, and when they did I spent another chunk of time editing and re-editing so that the finished work would meet their standards.  Needless to say, everything was leading up to a point in time, a proverbial Mount Everest and when the day came the flurry of activity was intoxicating. My adrenaline took a serious hit as friends sent well-wishes, tweets were re-tweeted and posts shared. I watched my Amazon sales climb and shared my excitement with those closest to me (middle schoolers).  And then the next day came and a heaviness settled over me, a feeling of… what’s next? The adrenaline had crashed and real work began.  But what was this phenomenon? It’s was almost like post-partum depression without the baby.  And then I started researching.  Other writers have experienced this- in my own publishing house and beyond, the feeling that the real work was just beginning and the excitement was going to wane and then… gasp I might have to start writing ANOTHER novel.  What would my first novel think?  Going behind their back and toying with another manuscript? I’d invested so much in my first novel that writing its sequel almost felt like infidelity. However, what I learned from my research says different.  The overwhelming solution to the Book Baby Blues was to start writing again.  And soon. I can get so caught up in promotion and sales and trying to hit my ‘target audience’ that I forget what makes me tick… putting words on paper.  That’s why I appreciate blogs like this one, it’s a place for me to get my thoughts down in a quick and easy format.  Novel writing is tedious, and I often spend just as much time editing as I do writing.  Stream of consciousness projects help,  as does poetry, and sometimes short fiction, or going rogue and writing a scene for my novel that hasn’t been written into its proper sequence yet.  I just need to sit down and do it.   And after that, I need to remember that publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.  Which is hard for this OCD, solution-focused girl to do.  I want results! And NOW! But the results come slowly- in my blog posts and poems and (gasp) other novels.  All that together makes up the tapestry of what a writer’s life looks like. And it’s all okay.  We’re allowed to experience all these things, even if we don’t want to talk about it for fear of feeling ungrateful (you’ve published a book, what do you have to complain about?) And the full landscape of these emotions is what makes us good writers.  So feel the Book Baby Blues for a bit, then shake it off and get back to writing! How do you bounce back after finishing a major project? Leave a comment or join the discussion on our Facebook page.   Author Bio- Laura is a teacher who loves to write about her home state of Michigan. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University where she studied under Stuart Dybek, and has had her short fiction and poetry published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Word Riot, Tonopalah Review, SaLit and SLAB: Sound and Literary Art Book. “The Pursuit of Happiness,” – a short story she wrote while at WMU, was chosen as a finalist in the Trial Balloon Fiction Contest. When not writing, Laura enjoys musical theatre, hiking, swimming, reading and performing with her Celtic folk band- Si Bhaeg Si Mohr.  She also enjoys spending time with her husband and children as well as her dog,  four hamsters, ten chickens, two horses and eight  (and counting) cats. Laura loves to connect with readers on her blog: laurakemp.author@wordpress.com (Sea Legs on Land), as well as on Facebook, Twitter (@LKempWrites) and Instagram. (lkempwrites)(woodys_book_tour)

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Crime and Speculation

 I turned in my first round of edits on book four in the Gethsemane Brown series last week. I needed to reset and recharge after I hit “send” to my editor, so I did what many in need of a reality break do. I grabbed my smartphone and navigated to Netflix. Having been immersed in crime fiction, I browsed the streaming service’s myriad offerings for something different. I binge watched Season Two of “Queer Eye,” which reminded me that good people who love others exist. Then I started scrolling through Netflix’s speculative fiction (which I’m defining broadly as sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and paranormal) offerings to find titles to add to my queue. Turns out, “different” wasn’t that different after all. As I browsed Netflix this weekend, I noticed something about the movies that most interested me. While they were billed as speculative fiction, they all contained a strong crime element. Instead of being labeled sci-fi (or horror or paranormal) with a mystery, they could have been labeled crime fiction with a futuristic (or fantastical or paranormal) spin. “Altered Carbon,” “Bright,” “Ascension,” “Hotel Beau Sejour”—all involve a mystery that must be solved and/or a crime that drives the action. Movies “Alien Nation,” “Blade Runner,” and “Minority Report,” series “Twin Peaks” and “Scream,” and novel “The Space Merchants” are other works that combine crime with speculation. Barnes and Noble posted a couple of listicles on their blog about sci-fi crime novels. “5 Genre-Bending Science-Fictional Crime Novels” lists several sci-fi noir mysteries and “10 Fiendishly Clever Sci-Fi Locked Room Mysteries” lists some classic mysteries that just happen to take place on space stations and in space ships. Some crime writers, like John D. MacDonald and Chris Brookmyre, also wrote science fiction. It’s not surprising that crime blends well with speculative fiction. Mystery and intrigue are page-turners and speculative fiction is often set in mysterious worlds. Both genres often involve a protagonist trying to bring order to chaos or solve a puzzle. And the stakes in both genres are often high—life or death, good or evil. What are some of your favorite speculative crime novels and films?

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Things that Go Bump in the Night

  I held a book signing last night to celebrate Death in D Minor’s official release day on July 11. Ghosts play important roles in my novels but none showed up for the party. Their loss. The shrimp and grits and the brisket were to die for. In honor of my second book’s entry into the world, I posed a paranormal question to my fellow MissDemeanors. What’s your favorite ghost/scary story?(Alternate question for those who don’t like spooky stuff: Why don’t you like spooky stuff?) Cate Holahan:First off, I will admit that I believe in spirits.  My mom is Jamaican, a culture in which the belief in “duppies,” aka ghosts, is pretty prevalent. As a result, I don’t feel that strange about it. According to family lore, I could see them as a kid (though I might simply have enjoyed telling stories, even then). Plus, I was raised Catholic and believe people have souls that pass on to another plane of existence, so why wouldn’t one or two occasionally drop in?  All that said, I LOVE a good ghost story. I read R.L Stein’s Goosebumps religiously growing up and in a Dark Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz. The one that freaked me out the most was definitely the girl with the ribbon around her neck… let’s just say I wish she didn’t untie that ribbon.  As for present day, my new favorite ghost stories would have to be yours Alexia. I like to think that if any ghost talked to me today, I’d handle it with as much aplomb as Gethsemane.(AG: I didn’t put her up to saying that) Susan Breen:My favorite ghost story is “Afterward” by Edith Wharton. I love that story so much that for years I had my students read it, though I have to confess no one liked it as much as I did, except for one woman, who became a dear friend. I’ve never seen a ghost myself, but I can believe that a person torn away from this life suddenly might leave a part of himself behind. Often I’ve put some sort of supernatural thing in my writing. Michele Dorsey:Generally, I don’t like spooky stuff. Years ago, I read ghost stories to my daughter’s overnight camp companions and scared myself more than them. Then I had the unfortunate experience of reading a very good book while I was bedridden with the flu and was pleasantly distracted by good writing and a great plot. Until I reached the last few pages and the hero walked through a door. I mean through a door. And then some weird twisted ending took place as I threw (and this time I do mean “threw”) the book across the room. I felt cheated by the author who gave no warning of this dimension of the story and it has had me creeped out about fantasy, etc. ever since. But if fairly warned, I’m okay with ghostly stories, and yours, Alexia are gems.       I admit I have had a few “spiritual” moments where I’ve felt the presence of someone no longer with us. Interestingly, the two times I have traveled to Ireland I have felt a presence when I am near ancient stone formations. Another time was during shivasana  (the corpse pose) when I was on my yoga mat. Paula Munier:I admit that ghost stories scare me. But I like them anyway. I had an idea for writing my own ghost story once–long forgotten now–and so I read several. I remember the ones that scared me the most were Stephen King’s Bag of Bones and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. So much so that I abandoned ghost stories altogether until I read Alexia’s work. Now I’m hooked on ghost stories again!(AG: I didn’t put her up to it, either) Tracee de Hahn:I’ve never liked scary stories but that may be because my early grade school baby sitter used to watch the Friday night horror movie with me. I apparently didn’t have nightmares (although there was the unfortunate one about the bodies buried under the house and the ghost looked EXACTLY like my mother. When she came in that night to check on me I was frozen with fear. I never told her since I didn’t want to get my sitter in trouble for letting me stay up late and watch TV).  Growing up I didn’t believe in the paranormal but I also didn’t object to people believing in it/them. That changed when, during a visit home from college, I saw an apparition in my childhood home and it scared me literally stiff for hours. Since then I won’t discount anything. Your Gethsemane books may convert me to being a ghost story reader…. can’t wait to dive into book two this week! Robin Stuart:I love ghost stories, reading them and writing/telling them. The Shining by Stephen King is one of my all-time favorites. I read it in one sitting when I was 12 or 13, much to my parents’ dismay – I stayed up all night to finish it, too scared to sleep. That made a huge impression on me. I wanted to be able to do that, to evoke such strong reactions from my words alone. Hunting for ghosts in machines is one of the things that drew me to cyber forensics. It often feels like a real-life episode of Scooby Doo, an early ghost story influence, where my team and I unmask villains pretending to be something or someone they’re not. What’s your favorite scary story?   

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