For this I have imagined one of my characters, Ryder, from The Curse of Time Book 1 revealing a snippet of a story which I might use in future books.
It began with a rocking horse, a child’s toy.
Ryder discovered this antique treasure in a quirky street window, down ‘the lanes,’ in Brighton. He strolled along, with his rocking horse in hand and joined the queue for the busy student bus back to campus. A couple of ladies stared at his greediness, his decadence, taking up two empty seats on the bus. Undeterred he smirked, patting the rocking horse’s head. The ladies glared.
When he arrived back at his flat his flatmates exchanged knowing glances, cataloguing Ryder and his rocking horse in the oddity section. Only Olivia gave him the benefit of the doubt. He appreciated that and made a mental note to reward her later. A midnight kiss perhaps.
The perhaps became a definite. The midnight kiss became much more. When he left the embrace of slumbering Olivia the moon lay heavy in the sky, its orb a perfect circle of complete mysteriousness. Ryder hung out his bedroom window staring, pleading with the moon to notice him. He dangled precariously, goading the moon to come closer. The pumpkin moon glowed blood red, a bleeding heart, surrounded by an uncaring sky. The rocking horse began to move slowly absorbing the moon’s vital energy. The moon continued to bleed until it could bleed no more. Instead it became darker and darker until Ryder could see nothing but darkness.
Beyond the darkness Ryder heard the sound of an ice cream van, its tune winding its way towards him. He hung further out of his window wondering about this strange phenomenon, an ice cream van in the middle of an eclipse of the moon.
He hesitated for a moment wondering whether to chance rushing outside into the darkness to catch the van before it disappeared. In the end he only wavered for a moment, his senses overflowing with midnight promises, a feast of darkness consumed by sugary ice-cream. But, no van appeared. Instead he waited, displeased.
Again he heard the jingle of the van teasing him, laughing at his foolish, childlike desires. The music grew louder and louder, a jarring cacophony. He covered his ears about to turn away, now desperate to escape. The van came to a screeching halt just as he took his first departing step. Ryder smiled. The hatch opened, and a man peered out. He had a round face, the roundest face that Ryder had ever seen, vanilla white, pock marked, hair as black as the midnight sky. There were no signs to indicate what kind of ice cream he sold. So Ryder waited for him to speak.
“Well, I haven’t got all night, what do you want?” asked the man scowling, as his creamy white face turned a surly red.
“I’m not sure,” replied Ryder. “What ice creams do you have?”
“Ice creams? What? No ice creams here young man.”
“But you’re riding in an ice cream van, playing an ice-cream jingle.”
“That’s true, but that’s not what I do.”
“What do you do?” asked Ryder, frowning.
“Hop aboard, ride the van and you might find out,” said the man, his face returning to its original brilliant white.
Ryder hesitated. This was strange, but Ryder thrived on strange, so he agreed.
The man opened the back of the van and Ryder climbed in. Inside the van Ryder could see only darkness. Blackness drifted towards him filling his senses with a bleak sense of loss. The man handed him a tiny torch that gave off a brilliant light.
“Come,” the man said.
The van was motionless, yet Ryder could swear that he felt movement. They walked and walked further into the darkness. Suddenly they stopped. A bright light shone from the torch on to a patch of turf. How curious. The van’s opened doors revealed a vast land which stretched its tendril-like fingers, shadows extending everywhere.
Ryder recognised the land. He sighed. “Home,” he said.
“Yes,” said the man. A note of melancholy filled the air.
“Why have you brought me here?”
“It’s nearly Halloween, lad. A time to visit the place of your birth.”
Ryder heard the sound of the fairground, the laughter, candy floss and excitement, but behind it all he knew there was the ride. There was no point in pleading with the man, asking him to take him back. He had to accept his fate, whatever that might be.
“Come,” said the man.
Ryder lifted his heavy feet, a ghostly chill settling in his bones.
The prompt words this week are destination, and guide. I chose to use the synonyms haven and guiding spirit. I created the above Tanka which leads to a short, but oh so relevant excerpt…
An excerpt from my YA/Paranormal Fantasy the Curse of Time – Book 1 – Bloodstone.
A hazy image materialised into a multitude of glistening sparks which transformed into a vibrantly glowing object. I heard the pounding hearts from each of us becoming louder and more distinct as we gazed at the object. The sparks coalesced, no longer separate entities they’d joined to form a spirit or a ghostly apparition. The specter sparkled like a million candle lights, speaking to each of us, in a wisp of a voice that drifted like the wind.
The spirit addressed me, knowing I possessed the gift to understand the crystals. ‘You have called me forth to open your heart to the truth. You must accept who you are and not be afraid. Embrace your true self. Encourage others to do the same. Then you will be a truly magical person, able to rekindle your family’s happiness. Beware those who want what you possess.’
The spirit turned and pointed at Joselyn. ‘Joselyn, you must move on from your past and accept the challenges of the future. Don’t be fearful. Your confidence will grow the more you follow your dreams.’
The phantom floated above us on invisible currents and pointed at Ilaria. ‘Ilaria, you have no more to fear from the children who taunted you. Your laughter protects you from their wickedness. Heed my words and use your skill wisely.’
Jade was last, and the spirit hovered near her face. ‘Jade, you possess the skill and craft of working with animals. You must cherish and nurture it. Be faithful to your friends, and most of all, beware of those who may lead you astray.’
When the spirit finished speaking, the ghostly form drifted toward the candles and hovered above them. Slowly, the flames were extinguished one after the other, and we found ourselves sitting in total darkness. The phantom had vanished. No one spoke. We were shocked into a stunned silence. Ilaria switched on the light, and with one glance, we all knew things between us would never be the same again. That night signalled the beginning of our own personal voyages toward self-discovery.
Welcome to Kyrosmagica, Shadow – the black cat who features in my book – The Curse of Time: The Bloodstone. I’m so glad you agreed to this interview opportunity today to help me promote my book which I hope to release this summer. You are such a handsome fellow and quite the gent I hear. Today, we’re going to discuss all manner of things and we will also have a #mentalhealthawarenessweek discussion about anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders.
Tell me about yourself…
Purrrrr.… Thanks for being so welcoming Marje not everyone is so kind to cats. Luckily, I have a lovely owner Amelina who cares for me. I discovered her one day when I was playing in her garden; I peered in the window and I knew she was a special person so I stayed. I’m persuasive that way, one purr, and a stroke of my sleek black fur and humans can’t resist me!
When you say not everyone is so kind to cats does that mean you have had a rough life?
Oh, to answer this question I have to think back in time. The strangest thing happened to me one day. I felt this abundant change in my spirit. One minute I was chasing birds, playing with the mice in a field and then kapow, it hit me. I felt this overwhelming feeling of change. I felt different, overcome with these overwhelming feelings of goodness. But, the goodness felt alien, like it belonged to an earwig or something! The weird thing is in rare moments I feel like I’m someone else entirely and that someone else isn’t nice at all. One day, I experienced this intense moment of evil flooding my poor furry body, it only lasted a second but it shook me up real bad. I’m still trying to recover, my fur is all matted and ruffled. Shadow shivers…
Oh, my goodness that sounds horrible!Perhaps we better change the subject. Could you tell me why you’re called Shadow?
That is a very perceptive question. Shadow twitches his whiskers while considering it. I think it’s because I arrived in the Scott’s house when something good happened that revealed something bad. I represent yin, (shady side,) and yang, (the sunny side,) light and dark, but I am more yang – of sunny disposition – than ying. My tiny moments of ying disturb me…
Yes, life can be full of perplexities and this story is a fine example of that. I prefer the simple things in life… exploring, enjoying the sunshine, lying on the grass, hanging out in my garden, chilling, eating, playing, cuddling, purring, and looking adorable!
What is it like living in the Scott’s household?
Challengingggggg! They are such a strange family. The dad is half dead; the mum is stroppy and Amelina has this sister called Esme whose not a sister but behaves like one. Esme always seems to be up and down in her emotions. Her ying and yang are out of control. She is one confused girl and behaves like a prisoner to her own reflection. I listen to them nattering on… They all have a tragic story and mum, dad and Esme inadvertently tell me their individual stories. More about that in the book…. no spoilers! I know all of their secrets. I’m a snoop! Oh, and I nearly forgot to say Amelina has an aunt Karissa who owns a dog… UGH… a critter called Toby – most unfortunate. The bloody thing comes to stay, breaks things, eats all the time and causes havoc. The aunt drinks, tea, and alcohol too, and eats a lot, mainly chocolate unless she’s dieting. She’s always losing her glasses. Toby and her are quite a pairing!
My goodness sounds like you have to put up with a lot. Getting back to the stories – they sound shocking. Did one confession shock you more than the rest?
The dad’s and Esme’s are the worst. The dad because something has happened to him that is out of his control, (and seems to have impacted upon the whole family,) and I relate to that (after my weird overload of goodness episode,) and Esme because she self harms or did.
Self harm… that and other mental illnesses like anxiety, and depression, are a rising problem in our young people. What’s your opinion about it?
Kids nowadays have a lot of problems and it’s not their fault. I sympathise, I really do. The word pressure sums it up. Pressure to succeed, pressure to look good, (on Instagram, and other social media,) pressure to be thin, pressure to be popular, pressure to have the best-looking boyfriend/girlfriend, pressure to have money, pressure to get to the best Universities… the list just goes on and on.
There’s bullying too, and it isn’t just face to face like it used to be now its via social media too. It’s like there’s no escaping meanness, and rudeness. It’s so immediate, one little tweet, or nasty message via an Instagram shot can go to masses of your ‘friends’ in a mere second. So it’s not surprising that our young people often have mental health issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, depression and self-harm. In the worst case scenario some resort to suicide and that makes me so sad. No one should ever feel that way, there is always help out there. Talk to your mum, dad, a close friend you can trust, a sibling, a counsellor, an aunt, anyone who loves you. Just don’t bottle it up that’s the worst thing you can do.
All youngsters should own cats, Meowwww, cats are good for you. We have superpowers. Truly, we lower your heart rate, boost your immunity, help you relax – we release a calming chemical called oxytocin into your body, and that helps induce love and trust and make you smile. We increase your sociability, yes having cats makes you more sociable, and stops you feeling lonely. Purrrrr. We have a stack load of medical health benefits too: we reduce the risk of heart disease, and heart attacks. We lower your triglycerides and cholesterol levels.Hey, we even reduce your chances of having a stroke. See we cats are superheros! Oh, and top of all that we reduce the carbon footprint, not like doggies like Toby who eat a ton. We eat small morsels, fish, and catch our own prey.
Is there anyone in Amelina’s life who has an eating disorder?
Yes, there’s this girl called Emily, who struggles with her desire to be thin, and to be loved. I don’t have that problem – I know that Amelina loves me. Also, I take a lot of exercise to keep fit and trim. But, I have a huge heart so I cry real cat tears when I think about poor Emily and others like her.
Does Amelina have a lot of friends?
No, not loads, she’s smart that way, she knows it’s not the number of friends but the quality of friends. Though, not all of them are to my liking… Except me, of course… (I’m her best friend.) She has three close human friends: Jade, Joselyn, and Ilaria. Jade is Amelina’s best human friend. She is arguably the prettiest but the most spoilt. She has this huge house, owns horses, and gets everything she wants. Joselyn is the worrier, (this girl needs a cat!) and Ilaria is the joker, but I sense the jokes hide something deeper. My favourite is Ilaria because I like a laugh. The four of them play in a band and write their own music. It’s pretty cool.
What about guys, does she have a regular boyfriend?
There is nothing regular about Amelina! She stumbled upon this guy called Ryder down a scary river pathway. I tried to follow her, but she shooed me away. The guy’s dangerous I don’t know why I know but I do. He has too much ying in his soul. I don’t trust him. He dresses all in black and has one green eye and one black. But sometimes that green eye looks red to me, like it is bleeding. Creepyyyyyyy. But, Amelina thinks he saved her, from what I can’t imagine, some prank probably.
Is there anyone else you’ve met through Amelina that has left a lasting impression on you?
Oh, yes, Kyle. Love him, he is Ryder’s best friend. He’s so snuggly and nice, I love to sit on his lap and purrrrr. Ohhh….
If you could sum your owner Amelina in words what would you say?
She’s poetic, artistic, musical, kind-hearted, magical and brave but makes mistakes. She is a flawed human, poor thing! Miaowwww.
Thank you so much Shadow for coming on to my blog today and telling us all about my forthcoming new book, The Curse of Time: The Bloodstone. I really appreciate it.
It is my pleasure my dear. Any time… Oh, before I go can I be cheeky and ask one question?
Yes of course you can Shadow.
It’s about Lily who models for me, can you set me up with a date? She looks real cute!
Of course I can Shadow, will do! I chuckle… imagine a date between yourself, (Shadow,) a fictional cat and a non-fictional cat, (Lily,) it could only happen in a writer’s life. Next time, (as long as Lily is willing,) we’ll have the date on Kyrosmagica… and she can tell us all about herself!
Shadow purrs a rich note of contentment in reply.
All above photos of Lily (our black cat model,) courtesy of my lovely blogging friend Samantha Murdoch – photography credit her son Alex Marlowe.
This week Ron’s words are Life and Give. I was struggling with these two words but this morning I had a eureka moment, which was quite strange considering I had a few too many glasses of wine last night and I didn’t expect to wake up full of ideas! Amazingly I didn’t have a hangover, in fact I felt quite clear headed, strange indeed. I made myself a cup of tea and then I looked at my birthday cards sitting by the windowsill, and my friend Christine’s card caught my eye, with these cheeky words:
Typical Christine she likes to have a giggle! Well I’m grateful for her funny card reminding me that I’m getting on a bit, as it has given me an idea for this week’s haiku words, Give And Life. Her card is very appropriate too as I happen to love bananas, but having said that there is nothing quite as unappealing as an overripe banana. This squirrel knows he’s munching away at a very tasting looking banana, but could it be his last banana? Do any of us know when our time will come? So enjoy every mouthful of life that’s what I say, don’t just nibble half hearteningly go at it with a big bite!
Give me one big bite
Before your jaws clench honey
Adios sweet life
Poor squirrel I hope I didn’t knock him off his happy munching spot, he looks pretty healthy so I’m sure he will munch his way through many more tasty bananas.
The next haiku is not cheery in nature perhaps its the result of my reading The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King, my current read.
If you’re interested in writing a short story here’s a link to the Stephen King Guardian Short Story Competition, closing date is 18th December, 2015.
This Monday I thought I’d do a review of Frozen Charlotte for #MondayBlogs. Why not start the week with a bit of scary bookish fun…..
We’re waiting for you to come and play. Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.
This month I joined the Stripes publishing #redeyereadalong and I’m so glad I did! Just finished reading Frozen Charlotte. This novel is very good, definitely one to devour, that’s the right word. A fast paced, exciting, and at times gruesome read.
Warning: if you have a fear of needles, dolls, knives, ghosts, freezing, drowning, burning to death, or falling of cliffs, I wouldn’t pick this up!
I don’t normally read horror, but this month I’m doing a Halloween type theme on my blog, with spooky books, poems, short stories, etc.
Sometimes it’s good to try new things!! I snatched whatever time I could find to read Frozen Charlotte during the day, this wasn’t bedtime reading for me…. That way I kept the nightmares at bay.
What did I like about it?
Lots and lots of things.
The little creepy poems in italics at the beginning of each chapter are awesome.
Such a clever idea to have a Ouija-board app, and to introduce the ghost of Rebecca that way.
The prologue sets the tone for sinister goings on engaging the reader right from the very start.
Then you have the Frozen Charlotte dolls themselves, there is nothing nice about these dolls and it makes me wonder why anyone in their right mind would have them in their house! Or wear them as a necklace! That’s asking for trouble! That’s the Scots for you, I’m not slating the Scots, I’m half Scottish, we may be a bit dour at times but we like to live dangerously!!
The characters all so well crafted.
The main protagonist, Sophie, I definitely have a soft spot for her. She’s so brave, it is almost suicidal! With one scary thing happening after another, she turns out to be quite the heroine. Respect! If it was me I’d be out of there lightning quick! But Sophie thinks of others before herself. Sophie feels particularly protective towards her youngest cousin Lilias, who has a horrendous fear of bones, knives have to be hidden, so she doesn’t cut herself, and when I say cut I really mean cut.
Jay sounds such a cute guy, a best friend who could possibly have been a love interest if his young life hadn’t been cut down right at the start.
Piper’s another favourite of mine! She starts off all sweetness, preparing food and seeming to be the perfect hostess welcoming her cousin to Scotland. But is Piper as sweet as she seems or is this all an act? You’ll have to read Frozen Charlotte to find out!
And Cameron appears to be a bit distant, and unwelcoming to Sophie when she arrives, intriguing the reader some more.
In my opinion Frozen Charlotte starts of well but becomes even more and more engaging, spooky and gruesome with each passing page…
The book ends with an epilogue, a final tease. This is one of the main strengths of this novel it teases and plays with the reader’s emotions offering apparent sweetness on one hand, and dire creepiness on the other.
My recommendation: Go read this!!! Highly recommended for readers of Horror, YA, Paranormal, Dark, Thriller, Mystery.
DISCLAIMER: “As of 13th September 2017 we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”
My opinions are my own and any reviews on this site have not been swayed or altered in any way by monetary compensation, or by the offer of a free book in exchange for a review.