Monday, December 10, 2018

The Truth Behind The Title

I have all the butterflies in the world in my stomach right now. Valiant released last week. This YA Sci-Fi is a book that I love so much, because it's about an average girl who's been given an impossible task—she must save the world. Despite the fact that it's impossible, she's continues to try because she's doing it out of love—the love for her younger brother. 


So, average girl + impossible odds + a motive of love = anything can happen. 


I think this is how we all succeed in life. Yes, we have impossible tasks and, yes, we must do our best to try and succeed. But the success comes when our motive is born out of love.

Love conquers all. 


It chases away the shadows. It heals the sick. It gives hope when there is no hope. 


In Valiant, love is that 'extra' characteristic Sara has. It gives her the ability to lead a group of teenagers in a war against invading aliens. She isn't the strongest girl, or the smartest girl, or the prettiest girl. 


Still, she's the girl who's going to win because she'll never give up. She loves her brother and she'll do whatever it takes for him to survive. 


Yes, this is an action-packed apocalyptic tale, yes, there is fighting, and yes, it is heart-breaking at times. But in the midst of it all, there is hope and there is love. 


This is life. 


In the midst of the chaos and the darkness, there is a single candle that can guide you to safety. I hope you get a chance to read this story and I hope that you see Sara the way I do—and I hope you enjoy the story. 💖💖💖




Also, I have something extra for those of you interested in this book. Click on this link for a free short story prequel to Valiant.



Also, if you're in Southern California, I'd love to have you join me and three other authors for A DARK HOLIDAY GATHERING at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. Join JONATHAN MABERRY (Broken Lands, Rot & Ruin), SARA WOLF (Bring Me Their Hearts, Leave Me Never), RACHEL MARKS (Darkness Brutal, Fire & Bone), and me (Valiant, Shade) for A DARK HOLIDAY GATHERING at MYSTERIOUS GALAXY BOOKSTORE.

DATE & TIME: 2 p.m., Saturday Dec. 15th.
LOCATION: Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, 5943 Balboa Ave., Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92111

This event is free and seating is first come, first serve. To get a book signed during this event, a copy of the event book must be purchased through Mysterious Galaxy.



And last but not least, I'm taking part in an Instagram event, Dec. 10 - 21. 18 YA Entangled Teen authors are giving away 18 books. Follow me on Instagram for details!






Monday, December 3, 2018

2018 was the Year of the New

Hello my Supes!

2018 was the year of a lot of new things. Mostly stressful. We got up early, we wrote out goals, we made lists, we watched new stuff to feed our muse. Some worked. Some didn't. Some messed me up for an entire month! (looking at you August).

Last month I missed my post because every word I wrote, I wanted to count towards my NaNoWriMo goals. I didn't make 50K, but I did something else that I haven't done in a while- WRITE.

See all of these new things, new practises, new philosophies finally kicked me into gear to write a NEW BOOK! After a year of editing and batting around a manuscript like a cat with a ball of yarn, I have finally cleared off my desk and de-cluttered my brain enough to start on another book.


From scratch.

Blank pages.

Beginning again.




And I'm not panicking because this 2018 Year of the New actually taught me a lot about my process, what I can keep and what I can't. What I can really do with out and what REALLY distracts me from writing.

One of the things I learned this year is that I still love learning and I have lots of things to learn about my craft and my process and the world. I'll be taking more classes to hone in on what I need to work on or just to stir the cobwebs off. I know I don't know it all, but I do know enough to be dangerous.

One of the other things I learned was that I am a hybrid author- both a plotter and a panster. I need to know where I'm going, but I don't want to know how to get there before I sit down to write. I still need the journeying. AND THE POST-ITS!!!

One of the things that I didn't love was getting up early. Yeah. Not happening. I am a devoted night owl so lets make #10pmwriteclub a thing.

I didn't get a chance to dress my muse or do some of the other stuff that Elizabeth Gilbert said to do in Big Magic, but I'm still writing, so I've got some time to keep exploring

And I hope you will keep exploring the paranormal writing life with me.

Carry Onward, dear readers,

Amanda Arista
Author and Night Owl
www.amandaarista.com

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Color Blue – And All Of You!


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Recently, Thanksgiving was celebrated, and although it’s not a festival “where I come from”, I think we can all benefit from pressing pause from time to time, in order to take stock and reflect upon what we can point to on the “giving thanks” side of our personal ledger.

Last year, the Skiffy and Fanty blog did this in another way by designating January as their Month of Joy. In it, they asked authors and others in the speculative fiction community to aspects of life (the universe and everything that bring them joy.)

When reflecting on Thanksgiving and looking ahead to this coming year’s Month of Joy (yes, Skiffy & Fanty are doing it again, and again I hope to take part) I thought Supernatural Undergrounders might be interested on what I had to say last year.

I haven’t posted it in full, but there’s a link to the compleat post at the end. If you do check it out, say “hi” to the Skiffy and Fanty crew why you’re over there — I’m “pretty sure” they’d love to hear from you. ;-)

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“Helen Lowe’s Month Of Joy: From The Color Blue To “The End”


“These I have loved:
White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust;
Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust
Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood…”

 ~ from The Great Lover, Rupert Brooke, 1887-1915

This excerpt from Rupert Brooke’s poem,The Great Lover, captures how seemingly small things can encompass joy. I recognize many if not all of the items contained in The Great Lover—from “the cool kindliness of sheets” to “blue-massing clouds”—but of course I have a list of my own…

River, Ocean, Sky…
The color blue informs it, because I love the changeable blues of ocean, rivers, and sky, a love that spills over into the blue dart of a dragonfly and the flash of a kingfisher by a summer river. The blues of lapis lazuli, turquoise, and sapphire also beguile, just as the contrast of blue-and-white—whether white caps on the ocean, or a Hokusai print, or Cornish kitchenware—is an enduring delight.

Blue on blue; blue-and-white
I’ve begun with blue since it’s so ubiquitous because of sky and water, but quickly realized that I love all color in its many manifestations—although the predominant colors of the natural world, the blues and the greens, are probably my favorites. Nonetheless I do find it difficult to pass by any vibrant display of color, whether in nature or art, in a book on the subject, or a fabric display—not unlike Garfield encountering a patch of sunshine, although generally I remain awake. :D

A vibrant display of color
From the colors of the natural world to the natural world itself: it’s not just the blues and the greens, but the sounds of water flowing and the crash of ocean waves, a dolphin in the sea or bird cleaving the sky, the sound of bees in lavender and the spiky flowers themselves, with their dusty scent of summer.
Bumblebee on hebe
From a thunderstorm rumbling across land or ocean, to the acrid scent of earth when the first raindrops fall after a long dry spell, to dew glittering on a spider’s web, the natural world is full of a beauty that provokes delight and brings joy. I know I am not alone in feeling this, because Gerard Manley Hopkins is another poet whose work speaks to these emotions:

“Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow
For rose moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’wings”
~ Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844 – 1889 …”

To read the post in full click on: Helen Lowe's Month Of Joy


I’ll be doing another Month of Joy post for 2019, so if you enjoyed this post, keep a lookout here on Supernatural Underground, on Skiffy and Fanty, or on my own blog, for when that goes live. 

Just by the way, though, something else that’s on the positives side of the ledger will always be “all of you” in the Supernatural Underground community: the authors, for sure, but definitely the readers and blog followers. Y’all rock: but then again, I’m sure you already know that.  J


Helen Lowe is a teller of tales and purveyor of story, chiefly by way of novels and poetry; she also blogs and occasionally interviews fellow writers. Her first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. The second,The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012, and the sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood (Book Three), was published in 2016 and Helen is currently writing the final novel in the series. She posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog, monthly on the Supernatural Underground, and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Tricksters Afoot in Fiction

Image by Maroczna Postac

Fantasy fiction is rich with archetypal figures, characters that appear in all cultures, in all places, in all times. Think of them as the wise old man, the hero, the mentor, the villain, the innocent, the witch/shaman, the enchanter, the messenger, the ally, the ghost, the bad place... So many. But the figure I want to focus on today is the wily, enigmatic Trickster.

No matter how storytelling changes over time, through centuries and millennia, the Trickster remains one of the most beguiling and disturbing characters of them all. She, or he, goes by many names, the fool, the clown, the jester the disrupter, the rebel, but all describe a single entity with a powerful purpose.

Spike may be the most honest of all the BTVS characters.

What is the Trickster energy?


At the core of the Trickster is disruption, the intention to pull on the threads of order so the old rule will unravel, allowing for insight, growth and change. The Trickster presents the hero with a new perspective, one that might both excite and terrify. It certainly provides the opportunity for contrasting views.

“The Trickster’s function is to break taboos, create mischief, stir things up. In the end, the Trickster gives people what they really want: some sort of freedom.” — Tom Robbins

Take Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As a villain, he never hides his intentions to do as much harm as possible. But he loves his evilness so much, his joy in it becomes contagious, an act only a Trickster can accomplish. He laughs at the rules and invites the reader/viewer, and Buffy herself, to consider an alternative perspective.

Why we Need the Trickster
Bob the Skull in the Dresden Files

Tricksters come along when the hero, or the story, is stuck. They tip the apple cart, tell the truth, blow the roof off the house and crack open the windows, setting everything upside down. The dust stirred up by the Trickster restores the hero's vitality, returning to flow of the creative life force. Where once there were walls, gates and thick forests, a pathway opens.


Tricksters in Fiction

Some Tricksters are obvious, Mr Nancy in Neil Gaiman's American Gods, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Matilda by Roald Dahl, Fitz in Robin Hobb's the fool, Bob the Skull in the Dresden Files.... but one example that strikes me as more enigmatic than most is Tom Bombadil in LOTH. 

He's a Trickster from the start and knows the way's of nature, has command over Old Man Willow and his entire forest, yet  Frodo's ring has no power over him. He speaks in riddles and rhymes and seems to exist outside the rest of the story. So far outside that Peter Jackson deleted his scenes to make room for more vital characters. Fortunately, Tom Bombadil remains in the books.

As Trickster, Bombadil allows the reader to wonder, giving a breathing space to see the larger picture in the history of the Ring. In him, we meet a character who exists beyond the constructs of the story, which shows us, and Frodo, that even for a moment, we can stand in that space too. 

“‘…even in a mythical Age there must be some enigmas, as there always are.  Tom Bombadil is one (intentionally).'” (Tolkien, Letter 144, p 174)

Salia concept art by Anna Campbell
A favourite Trickster character in my own writing, found in The Blood in the Beginning, Blood and Water and in the upcoming The Bone Throwers, is Salila. She's much like Spike in her disregard for the natural order of things, for rules and morals and codes. She blasts into scenes with the irreverence and evil of a demon, all while capturing the readers' hearts.

How about your favourite Tricksters? I'd love to hear about them.

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Kim Falconer's New YA Fantasy Series is out in 2019 - The Bone Throwers. Also check her urban fantasy out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel and the SFF Quantum Enchantment SeriesYou can find Kim on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Kim also runs GoodVibeAstrology.com where she teaches the law of attraction and astrology. 

Catch her here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Summer Is A Comin' In...

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Now doesn't it seem odd to write (and read!) that title on the day after Halloween, which is not only all about "ghosties and ghoulies, long-leggetie beasties, And things that go bump in the night" (and also books that do the same!) but also about autumn and the year closing in.

That's because the origins of Halloween are strongly centered in the cultures and traditions of the Northern Hemisphere, but here in the Southern Hemisphere (as I explained in last month's post, Halloween Is Coming) 31 October is the cusp between spring and summer.

Hence the title of this post, because right now summer "is" a coming in — and to prove it, here are a few photos from my garden:

Poppy splendor
First artichokes of the season
Wisteria in bloom...

But there's still a place for 'books that go bump' in the lengthening summer twilights, so north or south, we have that goodness to share...



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Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, and blogger whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night, Book Three) is Helen's most recent book and she is currently working on the fourth and final novel in The Wall Of Night series. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we






Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Happily Never After: Do Fairy Tales Really NEED to come true?


I've always been a "fairy tale" kind of girl. Anything by the brothers Grimm captivated me as a child, especially if it involved castles or darkened woods, kind-hearted maidens, fantastic adventures and loyal companions. As I grew, so did my reading range, my imagination expanding to devour the fantasy worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, Mary Stewart and Anne McCaffrey. Most fantasy novels usually seemed to involve some type of historical setting, whether real or imagined, which led me to an abiding love for historical fiction of all types. Georgette Heyer's THE BLACK MOTH and DEVIL'S CUB then led me to discover historical romance novels, where I really hit "fairy tale" pay dirt! I devoured tale after tale of fair maidens both stolen and rescued by manly warriors who found strength in weakness, brought to their knees by the power of true love. It was a fantasy, but as with any good fairy tale, it was a fantasy that I wanted to be a part of. I needed to believe that if good and evil both must exist, evil could sometimes be vanquished and good could sometimes win. Sometimes in life, everything comes together just the way it should, and you get to finish that last chapter with a happy sigh, knowing that "they all lived happily ever after".

Sometimes.

In the real world, sometimes things don't work out. Sometimes you fall in love with someone who lets you down, or doesn't love you back. Sometimes a person isn't who you thought they were, or maybe you weren't exactly what they were looking for, either. Sometimes... well, sometimes, there's someone else, someone you can't forget.

This is the premise behind my latest novel, HAPPILY NEVER AFTER, Book #5 in the Nicki Styx paranormal mystery series. For the first four books in this series, Nicki has been head over heels in love with one man, but there is another man who haunts her dreams, someone who walks a fine line between a fallen angel and a devious devil. Nicki wants to live happily ever after, but is she strong enough to shun the Darkness and live in the Light, knowing how easily the dangerously devilish Sammy Divine can turn her dreams into nightmares?

I hope you read it and find out,

Terri

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A Southern girl with an overactive imagination, Terri Garey writes award-winning and critically-acclaimed urban fantasy. Her novels have been described as "smoldering" by Publishers Weekly, and "sultry and upbeat" by Library Journal. Even though she's a big scaredy-cat who can't watch horror movies or visit haunted houses, she loves moonlit graveyards, moss-covered headstones and the idea that life goes on even after it's over. You can visit her on the web, friend her on Facebook and occasionally find her on Twitter.




Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Alchemy of Horror

Magic Realism Art of Rusty McDonald
Halloween, as Sup author Helen Lowe explains in her post this month, comes from Samhain, the Celtic day of the dead, where the spirits of those passed are placated with offerings of food. It makes me wonder what else we are placating when we welcome ghosts, ghouls and demons into our lives. I mean, we do welcome them, don't we?

I know I do.

Three of my favourite series off the top of my head are iZombie, Lucifer and The Vampire Diaries.

Three books that I've read or reread recently are The Southern Vampire MysteriesAnna Dressed in Blood and the Sandman Slim.

All deal with supernatural and horror themes.

I certainly don't need the excuse of Halloween to immerse in these genres. Heck, I write the stuff myself - Books that go bump in the night.

The question is, why?

Why would anyone want to have Horror as a pastime, a career, as entertainment?

You can google it and find explanations like dealing with fear, power and control, an adrenaline rush in a 'safe' environment, living on the edge in the comfort of your own home... Sup author Merrie Destefano has written on this topic and covers it well.

But I can't help but wonder, is there more to it?

Musing on it, up popped a single word: alchemy.

Yes, I mean the exploration of consciousness handed down to us from medieval times.

This alchemy is "...a living form of sacred psychology... the projection of a cosmic and spiritual drama in laboratory terms, an art, both experiential and experimental. It is a worldview which unifies spirit and matter..." - Iona Miller, 1986

Simply put, alchemy reflects the process of personal transformation in the metaphor of turning lead into gold.

So, what does this alchemy have to do with books that go bump in the night?

Everything.

In the alchemical process, there is always a container, a vessel of some kind, real or imagined, that that provides the space for transformation to occur. When reading horror, the story becomes a container for the prima materia, the raw psychic urge for growth and transformation that lies within us.

Think of it like this: Every time we are moved to the heightened emotions and extreme fear of a scary story or film, we switch on a powerful psychological process that shakes us out of complacency. Within the alchemical container, we may learn to remake ourselves, transcending judgments, social conditioning, unconscious patterns and beliefs.

And then, abracadabra, we create a chance to live more authentically, in full awareness of the present moment.

It's a theory in progress, but the next time you pick up your fav fiction or switch on that scary show, you may notice the mystical fumes bubbling up from the cauldron, engaging you on the next step of your own, inner transformation journey.

And with that, happy Halloween!

xxKim

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Kim Falconer's latest novel, an urban fantasy, is out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel. You can find Kim on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Kim also runs GoodVibeAstrology.com where she teaches the law of attraction and astrology. 

Kim posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month, hosts Save the Day Writer's Community on FB and posts a daily astrology weather report on Facebook.