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Inktober Day 12 – The Kappa

The Kappa – Yokai of Japan

Today’s Inktober is based on a Japanese demon known as The Kappa part of the Yokai demons, he lives in embodiments of water, rivers, lakes and ponds.

Kappas are renowned for their obsession and passion for cucumbers and therefore locals often give offerings of cucumbers at festivals to the kappa’s to keep them from becoming harmful to the villagers.

Kappas have a naturally forming dip at the top of their heads which constantly hold water, if the water was to be accidentally spilled out, the kappa can become extremely weak or die.  It is said, if you are by an embodiment of water and you see a large aquatic humanoid which represents a human, frog and tortoise mixed together, sometimes they may seem like half duck and turtle that is a kappa and that if you do not have a cucumber to hand, this creature will either rape you anally and steal a part of your soul or tear your limbs apart as their second favourite form of food; So what do you do to ensure you are safe from this creature if you can’t give it an offering – you bow, these creatures are awfully polite and will bow back at you, spilling the water from their heads and rendering them helpless until they can top the water back up in its head giving you enough time to scarper!  Despite how evil all of this sounds, it is also thought that Kappas aren’t always malevolent, in fact often times they can be benevolent and help people who go fishing, particularly if they have been appeased with a cucumber or two.

In old Tokyo many people believed that if you ate cucumbers before going fishing you could prevent an attack, but then this act was banned by law because it was seen to be provoking the kappas to attack all the more!

 

 

 

 

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Myths of the tailless four arm mers

Every mermaid is expected to drown in her own tears

For the dreams she’s had for years, of walking on hot sands like a lady for a man

A thousand myths and legends tear at the mermaid’s heart

Myths of the tailless four arm mers

She has seen them in her people’s art

How she wished to be an explorer of their sands

Witnessing the dry green scape and touch them with her hands

How she wished she knew, what it meant to be dry

Dry from all her tears

 

The foregoing poem was written rather quickly and the quality has surprised me, usually I think everything I do is useless, but I like this piece.  In fact I like it so much, I feel a story coming on, whether it will be short enough for me to want to post that eventually on this blog, I don’t know, but it is inspiring me to do more and there are other poems creeping into my head of a similar theme too!

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Bananas and minions

Bananas are magic in more ways than you know and the minions from despicable me must be onto something, so what?  Read on to find out more…

Minions are more than just adorable little yellow beings that help Dr Gru from the movie Despicable Me in my household; they are creatures that have opened doors to getting my son eating healthily because of his little yellow friend obsession!

My little boy, Henry loves to collect minions of all types, even the purple ones.  They are funny, cute and should exist in reality to my mind and his.  But also because of their existence the minions have also assisted in healthy eating.

I am not the only parent to notice the change in their offspring in regards to eating fresh fruit.  Minion’s all-time favourite food is bananas but also they love apples too!  Since watching some minion shorts on YouTube my son has wanted to find banana recipes.  I tried to bake him banana bread, he kind of liked it but the rest of the family hated it.  Then I remembered when Henry was a small baby into being a toddler, he used to love banana sandwiches (a favourite of his grandmother’s), but then he grew out of it.  Recently though, on Henry’s quest for banana recipes I have got him back to eating banana sandwiches again, a firm favourite of his now.

Way before the minions existed however, it is strange that I used to have a weird habit of randomly saying the word “Banana” just for fun at times I couldn’t think of anything else to say… it became my little quirk for years, this started around 2001 and I kind of grew out of it in late 2008 because an ex-boyfriend of mine made me uneasy about being so free with the word “Banana”.  He was a stickler for having things in context and when I said the word “Banana” it was always out of context and he made me feel silly and immature.

Bananas have always been important to me for more reasons than just my weird little habit and loving the minions so much… they have always been part of my daily diet, on days I don’t have a banana I feel listless and lacking in physical energy compared to days I have a banana. 

My favourite milkshake of all time is banana flavour; I prefer homemade milkshakes though – especially since I have been diagnosed lactose intolerant last year.  Banana milkshake is still tasty with the lactose free milk though!  I now make my banana milkshake with Nesquick banana mix and moo free milk and lactose free ice-cream, I then mush up an over ripe banana and blitz, it’s very scrummy and far outweighs anything McDonalds could give me.

Before I got ill, I regarded myself as very sporty and active, lunch would always contain a large banana.

Bananas are all clones of each other and potentially a disease that would affect one will affect all the bananas in the world, meaning we are so close to losing bananas forever… a worrying concept for me and my son as we are more than a little obsessed with the tasty snack!  Did you know as well that a banana is actually a berry and it is a sterile mutation?

Bananas are also sacred to the Hindu God Vishnu and there are many stories about why it is so important to Hindu faith.  Along with Hinduism bananas are also sacred in Buddhism as it is the favoured plant for Buddha.

Gurus from India believe that the banana tree is a portal to the other realm, the realm of the gods and they call the tree the talking tree, because there are many tales that the Gods spoke to mortals through the tree.

The banana also assists with two chakras, the solar plexus and the sacral.

Two banana trees grown outside of a building are spiritual protectors of the residents within.  It is also believed that if you carry a banana with you when travelling the banana will protect you from harm.

It is also widely believed that if you dry a banana and rub it on a man’s body that he becomes more sexually energetic and longer lasting carnally!

Bananas are the symbols of masculinity and it isn’t hard to see why!  Bananas used in magick will help with monetary spells, spells for protection and sexual potency.

So there is more to the banana than first meets the eye!

So the next time you hear a minion shout “BANANA” there are many reasons why they are so obsessed with the wonderful yellow berry!

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Casey’s Crown

There are some distant church bells chiming across the foggy moors, ghostly songs are being sung, songs of a thousand years.  Casey is chilled to the bone; her grey shredded shawl flaps clumsily around her, making her image seem fragmented in the distance.  The ghostly song soon turns into evil menacing laughter and in the distance, a carousel spins, the decorative horse eyes that surround the carousel in their beautiful jewels and golden poles are aglow.  A demonic voice beckons Casey to go forwards, towards the carousel, welcoming her to the fair, welcoming her to sights never seen before, welcoming her to yield to the desires of them from the unknown.

Tentatively she steps forwards towards them, compelled by their magic.  Her footsteps are soft and delicate like tiny faeries dancing on the petals of roses so softly that the petals are unharmed.  Casey soon notices that her grey and brown rags are changing, but she doesn’t care, she just carries on towards the demonic fair, tip toeing like a ballerina in jade silk slippers.  Her clothes are turning into beautiful jade and gold coloured silks and white laces, her muddy hands are transformed to the hands of a beautiful clean lady, her fingers slender and rich, her nails polished and long… she is not Casey any more, she doesn’t know who she is turning into, but the feeling is glorious.  The demons at the fair cannot be seen nor heard any more.  There is a strong looking soldier standing by the carousel on guard – but Casey is not sure of what he is guarding.  He salutes Casey and a fanfare then erupts around them, an unseen army is marching she senses, not far behind the carousel, playing a robust brass band as they go along. 

A smell of roses accentuates the air around her.  Then, in the clearing of the fog, as she walks around the carousel, she sees them, the marching brass band and their soldiers in tow of a beautiful gilded litter carriage.  Peering into the window of the litter carriage Casey saw a beautiful young woman, in a golden gown with jade jewels bestrewed around her, her hair is unseen for it is covered by a beautiful jade scarf.  The woman, of which Casey presumes to be a queen, waves her hand towards a man presumably a steward to open the carriage door.  He does so, he calls to the soldiers in the band to halt and abruptly the music stops and all is still.  The Queen descends her carriage gracefully and on tippy toes walks elegantly towards Casey and takes hold of her shoulders, smiling sweetly down at her.  She is a pretty lady, very sweet and tender looking, like a mother attending to her infant.  Slowly the Queen stands aside and gently pushes Casey towards the opened carriage door and placing her crown upon Casey’s head, then walks away from Casey, slowly turning into a rag ridden young urchin and disappearing into the fog.  Confused Casey stays looking back into the fog for the queen, tentatively feeling for her crown, it felt strange upon her.  

The above story is a shortened version of a novelization I am working on and have been working on since May 2017. 

I wanted it to be a series of horror books, because Casey will have adventures and will lead into adventures of new characters along the way.  The thing is, I am not sure how many books this will potentially be or whether or not they will ever be completed, so I felt that it would be relatively safe to post this up on the blog.

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1st draft vs 2nd draft

I would like to know as a reader which of the two opening paragraphs below makes you want to read more?

1.            The explosion could be heard for miles and the scent of smoke from the fading buildings tainted the air for days afterwards.  Maud, a nine year old little girl was found in the nearby cemetery, huddled by the cemetery wall shortly after it happened, she was discovered to be the daughter of the local priest, Father O’Hara and his wife Mildred O’Hara, they were killed in the blast and half the church had gone too. 

2.            Smoke and dust filled the air and sirens deafened all around.  Her eyes filled with tears as she saw her home being bombed by the unknown attackers of her city; a little girl no younger than nine was holding onto her ears with her eyes closed crouching by a tombstone in the local cemetery nearby.  It was an awful sight; it was an awful noise, much more awful for a little girl like Maud.  After a while somebody found her crouching there all alone.  They asked her name, they asked where she lived but all she could do was cry and point at the pile of smoking rubble that was her home.

This is based on the novel I was writing for NaNoWriMo, the first paragraph is the absolute first draft of this story, and the second paragraph is the revised second draft.

Would you keep either of the paragraphs or revise again?

A little information here, I never completed NaNoWriMo or this novel, the story is on hold until after Christmas.  I managed to write approximately 37,000 words towards this and I didn’t consider it to be a half way point. 

 

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Rediscovering Vampires

I love fantasy and yes, there are many popular fantasy TV series and books I have never ever experienced in any format; they include ‘The Game of Thrones’, ‘Season two of Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Shannara Chronicles’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and episode four and beyond of ‘The 100’ to name but a few of those missed experiences.

Along with those television series there are several books I have never read too and they are; all the above that have novelizations.  Book four and beyond of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, the third book and beyond of Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, ‘The DragonLance Series’ and ‘Goosebumps’ to name but a few there too.

Now, I am currently trying to make amends for all of that.  I am currently re-reading the first book of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ by Anne Rice with the aim to read right through all the chronicles by this time next year – next week this will be put on hold right after I have finished ‘Interview with a vampire’ because I have ordered from my local library a trilogy from Michael Moorcock ‘The Eternal Champion’ because I am curious about a symbol I am rather fond of which apparently originates from these novels.

I am also watching some of the above mentioned television series, back to back, one to three per night – the ones I have started with is the box-set I have bought of ‘The Vampire Diaries’.  You are probably wondering why I have bought something that expensive if I have never watched one of the episodes first.  Well, it’s about vampires; I know I will love it.  Its touch and go in regards to Twilight but I guess because it has vampires I might find it tolerable, who knows… Twilight is another vampire movie I have never watched and I am a die-hard vampire fan, go figure.  Well I was too busy to keep up to date with my vampires for about a decade, so I am forgiven right?

The vampire Diaries has me hooked by the way; I have watched five episodes this week so far.  I am scrutinising the whole thing because I specialise in vampires in my novels and I don’t want to clash too much with anyone and I was nervous at first because something in the vampire diaries has clashed with my novels (the corvid) and the fact that a few of my vampires have the ability to roam the day too.

I am also hooked because Damon gets my hormones going… but let’s not talk about that, we’re talking about vampires in general and fantasy, not my hormones on some women’s health site. 

So, yes, I am happy to find that this series hasn’t brutalised vampires too much for me like True Blood has, I feel True Blood went too far in de-romanticising vampires.  I was distraught about that.  In the True Blood series you couldn’t tell the vampires apart from anything you see in a normal human to human slasher movie, werewolf movie or zombie movie, vampires in my opinion are much more far removed than those other movie types and I found it hard to chew.

Although being a horror fan I did love the brutality, but I was too angry that it was caused by vampires drunk on blood, dripping with blood and acting like psychotic corpses.  A lot of people will argue with me that vampires are just that ‘psychotic corpses’ but I will deny that is what vampires are, vampires to me, love very deeply and have a gentle demeanour about them, they are not rabid animals.

So, yes, I am returning to vampires.  I am returning to my love for them and with this reunion come rediscovering my hidden identity again.  I feel like I am filling up the hollowness in me and I am feeling more like who I was meant to be, rather than some obscure faint shadow.

I don’t do short stories of vampires unfortunately.  I linger too much on my vampire novels that I am ashamed to say they are epic sized.  I can’t stop adding things to them.  I think ‘War and Peace’ will have nothing on one of my vampire stories.

So that’s it for today, more to come tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and do post a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NaNo No No No DON’T DO IT!

I do not recommend NaNoWriMo to any writer who has been writing for a while, whether published or unpublished to partake in NaNoWriMo unless they are used to writing more than 1700 words per day under pressure.  In fact I would even stretch to say, unless you are used to writing at least 2000 words per day, because when you do NaNoWriMo you become obsessed with having certain amount of words rather than good quality work.  This can be especially true for those writers out there (and I am one of those writers) who are highly competitive outside of writing in every other thing – this feeds my competitive nature far too much.

The work I have done on NaNoWriMo is shockingly awful; it is the worse stuff I have ever, EVER done.  It will take me much longer to edit the first draft than would have been usual for me.  I am dreading to re-read what I have done and for the record, no, I haven’t won NaNoWriMo and I will not by Wednesday, simply because I stopped writing the novel altogether last week at 37,504 words.  I am disgusted at myself for the quality of work I have done; I am not used to creating that kind of garbage.  With that said, the novel in itself isn’t too bad an idea; there are many wonderful things that have happened during the NaNoWriMo challenge, some of which are pleasantly surprising and helpful to enhance the richness of the plot as a whole, but in practise, the story is unemotional and I missed several key points in my plot because of the word count. 

I suppose the speed of NaNoWriMo assisted mainly in the brainstorming phase of my writing; I certainly had a brainstorm for something interesting to happen in the novel outside of my key elements as often as once every ten paragraphs approximately.  However, simply sitting back and doing my daily journal does that if I concentrate purely on the current novel I am working on; something of which I hadn’t had the energy to do throughout the challenge.  I had no energy to do any other form of work in writing or art; it was starting to burn me out.  I had no energy to read books or even update my personal diary and morning pages. 

The entire challenge zapped me; it absorbed me and ultimately slowed me down.  I wrote less per day than I would normally, ironic because of the word count obsession, but it did indeed; slow me down by 800 words per day.

I think I could have kept with the challenge despite the shoddiness of work, if there was more support.  However, my region seems to be a ghost town, hardly anyone has been seen on any of the forums or the chatrooms provided, the only support I had got were from people who were not doing the challenge and were writers who look at the challenge with a sympathetic eye.  I spent ages sitting around waiting for someone to talk to from the NaNoWriMo site, even trying to seek out NaNoWriMo writers from twitter and other places to come up against a social brick wall.

NaNoWriMo although was a terrible experience for me, was still fruitful in its way.  I brainstormed through the toil and was provided with small gems to make my plot as a whole sparkle.  But I have a lot of extra unnecessary work to do, when editing comes around.  Let me put this into plainer terms… The first chapter of the novel will be completely deleted and replaced with only a nice, neat three paragraphs and that is only the first chapter.  Something I am not used to doing, I am not used to creating that amount of rubbish.

I am bored with the novel at the moment, I won’t continue with it perhaps until way after New Year.  Meanwhile I will start reviving my blog again and work on the other two novels I wanted to do during the challenge, without the panic that I shall be a failure unless I reach 50k for just one novel in 30 days.

As I said before, I wrote more outside of the challenge, than I did within it.

So, will I be taking up NaNoWriMo challenge 2017?  You must be joking?  Of course I won’t.

 

 

 

 

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Plotter to Pantser

Despite it being crappy as I said in my last post I have persevered with my NaNoWriMo novel.  I have now added a further two thousand and odd words to my story and that totals to 18931 words all told.

So I haven’t given up yet and hopefully I won’t.

However, my story isn’t developing how I wanted it to be, I have gone from what NaNoWriMo veterans would call a plotter that is now turning into a pantser.  The new developments however are more exciting than my original plans, I am very happily surprised at what is happening in the story, in spite of hating how badly written it is as a whole.

Wish me luck!

 

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NaNoWriMo & The Monster

I needed a pep talk on the NaNoWriMo website tonight, because I have never written thousands of words down towards a novel without revising each paragraph for weeks at a time.  I am not used to word vomit.  But I am doing that with NaNoWriMo because the motto there is to ‘just write’ and that’s what I am doing and I am finding that my story is unemotional and non-descriptive and generally trashy I have to say.  But, fellow Nanos told me, it’s meant to be like that initially, you’re just piecing things together, it’s not meant to be perfect first hand.  It’s supposed to be a little more than planning stage, it’s still part of the planning, and it doesn’t start to look like the story until draft two or three or four.

So this got me thinking.  I started to think that you know what?  If they are right and professionals do write like this on a consistent basis then a novel is like Frankenstein’s monster.  You get an arm, a leg, a hand, etc. and you sew it all together and then with each new draft you make after NaNoWriMo you are trying to find the secrets to life, eventually you will get to the grand finale, you will get that lightning bolt of life you need for your monster, the story and he shall come alive!  I hope my monster comes alive by the end of this anyway!

Good Luck to all who are doing NaNoWriMo this year!

 

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snippet 2

It was midnight and Sophie was brushing her lush brown hair that she had just taken out of her beautiful bun and her eyes became heavy, ready for sleep, when she caught a glimpse of a little girl in a cobalt blue dress at the corner of her eye reflected in the mirror in front of her.

Sophie started for a moment and looked behind her, but the little girl had gone.  She shrugged this off as a sleepy hallucination and continued brushing her hair.

Crash went the vase at the other end of the bedroom, smashing into pieces on the floor making Sophia stand up in a start.

What on earth caused that?  She thought.  She started to become anxious, alone in the house with no children of her own and no pets for the cause.  She decided to get downstairs fast to phone her husband who was on his nightshift at Donaldi’s a restaurant in town.

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