Articles, Blog

Savouring The Tears In The Writer

tears in the writer source: claudia dea
Photo: Claudia Dea @Flickr

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

― Robert Frost

This famous quote has pushed many an aspiring writer to improve their work. It is a perennial piece of writing advice, simply because it’s true: you can’t impart on others what you don’t feel yourself. Even a liar must be convinced of his own lie if he is to persuade others to believe it. And what are fiction writers but professional liars?

A convincing story is delightful because it feels real. But that conviction comes at a price – for both the writer and the reader.

Blog, Character Interviews

Cat Fox: Interview with A Kalbrandt Psychic

The Author Interviews. This week: Catherine ‘Cat’ Fox, the agent responsible for the Kalbrandt Institute archives file F/44197/FCT as featured in Book I: Hauntings.

Cat Fox Interview psychic

When I meet Cat Fox outside the café, her long black hair and ditto leather coat make her instantly recognisable. She arrived just before I did, she says, and quickly finishes her cigarette before we head inside. I ask her what she wants to drink.

“Just a quick coffee,” she says. “Black, one sugar. I’m off to the airport in half an hour. Catch my flight to Montreal. They called me in to investigate a haunted office building.” She doesn’t know much more than that. “The less I know, the more accurate my work,” she explains. “That’s why I make it a point not to be briefed beyond the absolute essentials.”

While we wait at a corner table for our order, I launch my first question.

You’re a psychic at the Kalbrandt Institute. How did you end up there?

Articles, Blog

Taming Dragons: Jealousy

Our dragons lurk in the darkest parts of our mind, heart and soul. They go by many names, take on many different forms. But while they may be fearsome and dangerous, they needn’t be our enemies. Today’s dragon is called: Jealousy.

jealousy taming dragons
Photo: Carlos Andres Reyes @Flickr

We all know how those birthday parties go. Someone asks: “So, how is business going these days?” and immediately your cousin tells about their new car, that promotion they got, and the tour through South-East Asia they will be going on next month.

You listen, dreading the moment they will ask: “And how about you?” Because your car is ten years old, you’ve had to put in extra shifts to increase your wages this month, and your summer holiday will be a camping trip.

Your innards churn, your throat constricts. “Why them, and not me?” whines a voice in the back of your head. Life isn’t treating you badly. Not at all, and you know it. Still, you feel sick at heart.

That is Jealousy for you. She is a vicious dragon, but you needn’t put up with her antics.

Articles, Blog

Omnipresent Ghosts: Even Your House Is Haunted

ghosts and hauntings
Ghosts and hauntings are like climate change. The facts that indicate its existence are omnipresent, and denying them won’t make it go away.

When it comes to subjects we don’t understand, humans are a cowardly species. We rather deny the existence of elephants entirely than acknowledge the one in the room with us.

So it is with ghosts. Even so, chances are that while you read this, one is reading over your shoulder.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Hauntings are more common than you think. Once you learn how to recognise their presence, ghosts are every bit as apparent as elephants.

Articles, Blog

The Monsters You Never Recognise

Dark Monsters - Frenchy25 via Flickr

Picture yourself in a dark alley. There, in the shadows, the glint of bloody jaws. Something moves, its disfigured limbs crawling too fast to be natural. What is that?  You freeze, back up. Then, nothing. Did you imagine it? You listen, you watch, until you see something in the corner of your eye and—!

What makes monster stories so appealing? And why are we so inapt to recognise those very monsters in real life?