Book Love 2020

Book Love

Book Love – © zaie – Stock.adobe.com

It’s the season of love. Wine, chocolates, flowers, and those little candy hearts. Feel the romance.

Meh. I prefer a deeper passion that’s pure and true. Book Love, of course!

Here are a few of my FAV recent reads.

Non-Fiction: Good Juju: Mojos, Rites & Practices for the Magical Soul by Najah Lightfoot

Mystery: Why Didn’t They Ask Evans and Endless Night by Agatha Christie

Spooky Love: Inside by D.M. Siciliano and The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates

What about you? Are there books you’ve read recently that you love? Please share in the comments.

Are you Prepared for the Spooky Season?

Frost encases the pumpkin in its brittle embrace. Creatures of the night draw closer to your home, crunching dead leaves and dying grass beneath their feet. Horrified, you realize the front door is unlocked. Too Late! You stagger away from the window as they press their drooling maws against the pane. Oh wait. Those are the neighbor kids. You’ve bought another mega bag of chocolate bars, right?

In a scary mood yet? I know. It’s only October 1st. You’ve got plenty of time to prepare for All Hallows Eve. BUT the Spooky Season is more than just one night of trick or treating and a costume party. Sinister specters of malevolence hunting the not quite so innocent. Haunting stories of the restless dead (or undead). The season can be so much more if you allow yourself to succumb to the darker side of literature (bwahaha).

I’m a round faced, happy little lady who enjoys gardening and making gluten free muffins. Most folks can’t believe it when I tell them I write Horror (I write Fantasy too, but it’s pretty dark). I love to feel the sensation of being on the edge of your seat, not knowing what’s coming next. Pitting a flawed person against unbeatable evil and giving them hope enough to see their journey through. Feeling the overwhelming sadness of a haunted soul who is trapped within the structure of a world they no longer belong in. Horror teaches us about those hidden places within our own hearts. Sometimes you look and can accept what you see. Other times, you must turn away.

Take advantage of the season and pick up a story that gives you a glimpse into the darkness. I have a few classics to suggest: The Shining by Steven King or The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

For more ideas visit the experts: Horror Writers Association (HWA).

Villains – Part I: I Love it When You’re Bad

stock-illustration-9769453-villain

There’s nothing like a good, bad…um, gripping villain. The best ones (in my opinion) are flawed and complicated. They have perfectly rational reasons for destroying a country’s economy or inflicting turmoil upon the Earth. We almost buy their rationale. Almost. If it weren’t for the murder of innocents or their utter disregard for everyone else, we’d actually feel pity for them.

Strong motive is a key element to creating a great villain – A character’s back story is a valuable tool in a writer’s kit. After putting the rough draft of a story to paper, I take the time to summarize each of my major character’s lives. It could be one page or thirty, depending on how much fun my mind is having inventing that fictional person. Ninety-seven percent of what I write in a character’s back story will never be seen by anyone else but me and the cat (and he’s not very interested anyway). Why go to so much work? The back story helps me answer the burning question readers will expect satisfying explanations for:

  • What drives the villain? What traumatic event in their life was the turning point to push them over the edge?
  • Why do they want to conquer and/or destroy that particular (world, business, school, fill in the blank)?
  • Why are they set on capturing, stopping and/ or killing the hero?

One of the best current century examples of a sympathetic villain is Professor Snape from the Harry Potter Series.  J. K. Rowlings masterfully created this embodiment of spite and resentment. Snape left no doubt he loathed James Potter and poured a little of that acid out on Harry as well. It’s no wonder. Snape was horribly bullied as a child by Harry’s dad. We are convinced of Snape’s evil just as Harry is and share his concern when Snape is welcomed as part of their secret rebellion. What we don’t find out until the end of the series is how much Snape loved Harry’s mother. He becomes the tragic hero of the series in his love for her.

Final Thoughts – What about the villains that are just bat crap crazy? Take the classic Bond Villains. Can anyone really relate to Dr. No and Goldfinger? I love each and every one of the 007 flicks, but the movie makers took a few liberties with the original storylines from the book series. Dr. No is a frustrated scientist who suffered a terrible accident. Goldfinger is all about the greed. Both of these are powerful motivators. If you read about the bat crap crazies (the memorable ones anyway), you’ll find they have recognizable motives too.