Friday, September 22, 2017

Supernatural Friday: If a Vortex Opens in Your Neighborhood; RUN!






What is a vortex? Someone asked me that today. I looked up at Dictionary.com to see how they defined it,
A whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool. A whirling mass of air, especially one in the form of a visible column or spiral, as a tornado.
A whirling mass of fire, flame, etc. (in Cartesian philosophy)a rapid rotatory movement of cosmic matter about a center, regarded as accounting for the origin or phenomena of bodies or systems of bodies in space.

In other words, a whirling mass of something. So, I take Hell wanting to take over the Earth and they use a vortex so they can send demons and other nasty things through it.  Of course, in paranormal circles, they talk about vortexes opening and causing spirits and demonic forces coming through, more than the norm. 
VORTEX: A concentrated yet brief area of high electromagnetic energy often found in photographs taken at paranormally active locations. The often appear as sold (opaque) white or silver tubes, rods, or elongated ovals. They can also appear to be braided like a rope or chain (care must be taken to ensure it is not a rope, chain, camera strap, etc…). A vortex is not an entity. However, some paranormal researchers believe a vortex is a momentary doorway or portal to another realm that allows entities and other paranormal phenomena to come into our world. Some researchers also believe vortexes are linked to the Earth's own electromagnetic field which at least in part help determine when these portals open/close. It is also believed that some locations are more prone to having active vortexes due to the alignment of the Earth's magnetic field and local geological structure.




An excerpt from How the Vortex Changed My Life (beginning of the novel) for your pleasure. Enjoy, and no vortexes were harmed in writing this blog.   :- )

Some days, a girl just can't get a break. I wanted to get married, have kids, and a career that I loved. Instead, I married Jeff, who had an affair with his secretary, and divorced me so he could marry the bimbo. As for the kids, he didn't want any. Of course, last week I got the news from his snide mother that his bimbo was pregnant. Of course, she'd always blamed me for us not having kids. As for that career—working a window at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles wasn't quite what I'd dreamed about.
At age thirty-three my life was boring. Then the vortex opened.
* * * * *
Friday at the DMV bulged with people. I took money for license renewals and fielded the same old questions I've always gotten about why some folks' licenses were revoked. "Next!" I called out, slumped over my counter, little devils jackhammering away at my brain into a growing tension headache.
My eye on the hands of the wall clock as they drew closer to five o'clock, I swore one more person who wanted to know why her little teenaged darling hadn't passed the road test, I would scream.
When five o'clock rolled around, I escaped to my car. I didn't know why I hurried; no doubt it would be another tedious weekend for me.
The cranky old junk heap did its usual old ritual of coughing and backfiring before finally the engine gave up and turned over. I just wanted to get home, soak in a hot bath, and order a chicken mushroom pizza from my favorite pizza delivery.
But just as I was about to turn into my driveway, a gigantic quadrilateral of swirling neon colors—reds, purples, and hot pinks—appeared out of nowhere right smack in the middle of the street. It created a gale that blasted the neighborhood. Trees uprooted and flew into it, along with a couple of cars, a bicycle, and one yodeling cat. People ducked into their homes. That's when my car decided right then and there to break down. My heart pounded so hard, I thought it might break through my chest. I tried to restart the engine, but it remained dead. I leaped out and bolted for my house. Unfortunately, that path happened to be in alignment with the destructive force. I never made it.


Besides available on Kindle a few days ago, it became available in trade paperback. Find that version HERE.



Book blurb:
Cat Viggolone just can’t get a break. She'd gotten married, but that ended when the husband left her for his younger secretary. She'd wanted children. That flew out the window along with the cheating husband. There’s the career, but working a window at the Virginia DMV can’t really be classified as a great career choice. At thirty-three, her life had become positively dull. Then the vortex opened. Sucked up into a corridor just outside of Hell, she meets Connor, a werewolf, and Larry, a demon that looks like a blue-eyed eyeball. They escape back to earth, only to find that the vortex has opened up in downtown Richmond. The town is going to hell, literally. Besides a grayness seeping out and turning all living things into zombies, monsters and demons are invading Cat’s world. Will Cat and her new friends (including an angel named George) be able to stop the vortex before it claims the entire planet? Cat’s life is definitely no longer humdrum and ordinary.



Sunday, September 17, 2017

My Urban Fantasy Novel, How the Vortex Changed My Life is Live on Kindle!

My latest release, How the Vortex Changed My Life,  is now live in Kindle at Amazon! Hopefully, in the next few days, the trade paperback edition will be available too. It is an urban fantasy novel, set in Richmond, Virginia. You can purchase it at AMAZON

Book blurb:
Cat Viggolone just can’t get a break. She'd gotten married, but that ended when the husband left her for his younger secretary. She'd wanted children. That flew out the window along with the cheating husband. There’s the career, but working a window at the Virginia DMV can’t really be classified as a great career choice. At thirty-three, her life had become positively dull.
Then the vortex opened.
Sucked up into a corridor just outside of Hell, she meets Connor, a werewolf, and Larry, a demon that looks like a blue-eyed eyeball. They escape back to earth, only to find that the vortex has opened up in downtown Richmond. The town is going to hell, literally. Besides a grayness seeping out and turning all living things into zombies, monsters and demons are invading Cat’s world.
Will Cat and her new friends (including an angel named George) be able to stop the vortex before it claims the entire planet?
Cat’s life is definitely no longer humdrum and ordinary.



  • ASIN: B075PX4QLW

Friday, September 08, 2017

Supernatural Friday; Myths and Legends About Wind

With people talking about nightmarish winds connected to Hurricane Irma, it made me think, are there myths or legends about wind? Well. . . yes, there are.

The Kamaitachi—Japanese wind spirit—was traditionally classified as a wind yokai ("monster"). It is often associated with a trio of weasels with sharp claws, rides on a gust of wind and cuts peoples' skin on the legs. There are times that the three are described as brothers. Other times, as triplets. Yes, triplets can be brothers, but again, a female can be born among them, or all tree can be sisters.

A person walking in the mountains will be beset by a ferocious wind, and later discovered with deep but painless gashes in their skin as if by some very sharp instrument. The myth goes on to say that the first weasel knocked the unsuspecting victim down, the second cut the victim's flesh and the third applied medication to the wounds. By the time the victim realized what had happened, he/she were left only with painful wounds that weren't bleeding.

Now, Ysätters-Kajsa is a female wind-troll. People in the Swedish province of Närke used to believe in this creature. She was probably the only one of her kind in Scandinavia.

In Slavic mythology, the Raróg, sometimes also known as Zhar Ptitsa or Żar Ptak, is a hawk, falcon, or fiery dwarf, turning himself into a whirlwind. While in Lusatia and the Urals it is believe to throw a knife into a whirlwind, in order to kill the demon that resides inside it. Bulgarians, Russians, and Pommeranians cast themselves face down before a whirlwind, hoping to ward off misfortune and illness. As for Russians, they would shout "a belt around your neck!" in order to strangle the demon.

Shenlong literally "spirit dragon." This is a spiritual dragon from Chinese mythology that controls wind and rain. These giants floated across the sky and due to their blue color that changed constantly, made it difficult to see clearly. Shenlong governed the wind, clouds and rain on which all agrarian life depended. The Chinese took great care to avoid offending them. If the Shenlong grew angry or felt neglected, the result was bad weather, drought, flood or thunderstorms.

There was an Egyptian mother goddess, called the "Hidden One". She is the personification of the life-bringing northern wind, and often portrayed as a snake or a snake-head on which the crown of Lower Egypt rests.


The Anemoi were wind gods in Greek mythology. Each were ascribed a cardinal direction, from which their respective winds came, and were each associated with various seasons and weather conditions. They were sometimes represented as mere gusts of wind, at other times were personified as winged men, and at still other times were depicted as horses kept in the stables of the storm god Aeolus, who provided Odysseus with the Anemoi in the Odyssey. Astraeus, the astrological deity sometimes associated with Aeolus, and Eos, the goddess of the dawn, were the parents of the Anemoi, according to the Greek poet Hesiod.

Of the four chief Anemoi, Boreas was the north wind and bringer of cold winter air, Notus was the south wind and bringer of the storms of late summer and autumn, and Zephyrus was the west wind and bringer of light spring and early summer breezes; Eurus, the east wind, was not associated with any of the three Greek seasons, and is the only one of these four Anemoi not mentioned in Hesiod's Theogony or in the Orphic Hymns. Additionally, four lesser Anemoi were sometimes referenced, representing the northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest winds.

The first peoples of North America considered the wind to be a living force in and of itself. The wind to them is a god - a power that is capable of communicating a larger-than-life language to those who would hear it. Those who were certifiably authorized to interpret these cosmic messages were shamans, medicine men, and the wise and spiritual leaders among tribes.

The Inuit Indians had an Air Spirit among the ranks of their Sila (a term that means Wisdom and Weather). Their Air Spirit controls the seas, skies and wind. Although considered a kind and beneficial spirit, it strikes wrath against liars, beggars and theives in the form of illnesses. It is also blamed for bad weather and poor hunting.

Among the Micmac (a tribe belonging to the Wabanaki Confederacy native to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. They also migrated to Maine, US) there is a story of a hero named (in English) Strong Wind who turned evil people (specifically the nefarious sisters of his beloved) into aspen trees, and to this day he makes them tremble in fear when he comes near the aspen forest.

Outside of the US, the Aztec wind-god, Ehecatle (a facet of Quetzalcoatl), was believed to blow the moon and sun into orbit.

The legendary Thunderbird in North American indigenous peoples' history and culture is considered a "supernatural" bird of power and strength. The Thunderbird's name comes from that common belief that the beating of its enormous wings caused thunder and stirred the wind.

From a Native perspective, the wind seems to be personified as divine messenger, able to manipulate unseen energy.

Next time, bad weather hits your area, or a strong wind passes through, think of how many people long ago thought of these as gods, monsters and spirits.  Maybe a little appeasement on your part might not hurt?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Charlottesville Book Fair Logo

I will be doing a book fair in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 18, 2017 (just in time for those Christmas shopping). The person in charge of the event just sent out the logo for it.  


PARTICIPATING AUTHORS & PUBLISHERS
Betsy Ashton
Patsy Asuncion
PMH Atwater
Marc Boston
Anne Carley
Jayne D'Alessandro-Cox
Kimberly “Kimba” Dalferes
Phyllis Duncan
Pam Evans
Cynthia Fain
James Gaines
Allison Kathryn Garcia
Martha Graham
Robert Haught
Judith Howell
Christine Maria Jahn
Jean Kilby
Annabelle Kim
Pamela K. Kinney
Taryn Noelle Kloeden
Phyllis Koch-Sheras
Linda Layne, Cedar Creek Publishing
Amy Lee-Tai
Joanne Liggan
Margaret Locke
Louise Mitchell
Bryan Nowak
Carolyn O'Neal
Natalina Reis
Sara M. Robinson
Jim & Linda Salisbury, Tabby House
Tamara Shoemaker
Keith Shovlin, AOIS21 Publishing
Zachary Tamer
Leslie Truex
Elizabeth Van Zandt

ENTERTAINMENT:
Gareth Phillips of January Zero
Rich Cohen



Friday, August 25, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Beware of Slender Man



The Slender Man is an urban legend of a mythical creature often depicted as a tall, thin figure wearing a black suit and a blank face. According to the legend, he can stretch or shorten his arms at will and has tentacle-like appendages protruding from his back. Depending on the interpretations of the myth, the creature who seems to be no unlike the men in black UFO stories, can cause memory loss, insomnia, paranoia, coughing fits (nicknamed “slendersickness”), make photograph/video distortions, and can teleport at will.  Where he comes from is as much a mystery as what he wants. All that is known is that there is evidence of him existing for far longer than one would expect. Those who see him often wind up missing or worse, their mutilated bodies are impaled upon a tree, their organs removed, and then replaced in a systematic way.Supposedly sightings of this creature have been seen in many places around the world, including the United StatesNorway and JapanThe story goes that those who have seen him are frequently found to be maniacally writing strange messages, and drawing mad scribbles of a dark, faceless figure. It is advised that one stops investigating too much, otherwise will find that you become the subject of unwanted interest. 

Supposedly, in June 2009, a “’paranormal pictures” Photoshop contest was launched on the ‘Something Awful’ Forums. The contest required participants to turn ordinary photographs into creepy-looking images through digital manipulation and then pass them on as authentic photographs on a number of paranormal forums. Something Awful users soon began sharing their faux-paranormal creations with layered images of ghosts and other anomalies, usually accompanied by a fabricated witness account to make them more convincing. One of the forum users on June 10th had posted two black and white photographs of unnamed children with a short description of “Slender Man” as a mysterious creature who was stalking the kids in the photographs. Another user of the forum reused the Slender Man character for his own story. The original thread, which still remains active today, extends for 46 pages as of June 2011.

The creation of “Slender Man” may have inspired an ongoing series of amateur adventure games titled “Chzo Mythos.” Published by Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw in 2003, one of the main villains is called Cabadath. It is also referred to as “Tall Man.Making his first in-game appearance in Trilby’s Notes, the character was portrayed in the third installment as a tall, thin man dressed in a long, black, high-collared coat with tails that reach to the floor and having a blank face.

But this slender man or tall man has more far reaching stories from old legends. There is Der GroßmannGerman for “The Great Man,” is often translated as The Tall Man, too. It is rumored to be a German folklore concerning a tall boogeyman existing since the 16th century. The Tall man also abducts children, just like the Slender Man is supposed to. There is a horror film about the Tall Man, called “The Tall Man,” that came out in 2012: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1658837/. Even the fiend in the Phantasm movies is called the Tall Man.No doubt, the game developers took this being and using “Slender Man” for the name of their villain, put him into their game.

From what I could find, there is some old legends for the Great Man or tall Man, but I suspect that the Slender Man has been fabricated on more and more in modern times, with help by the Internet, not unlike the Bunnyman of Virginia. 

But just in case I am wrong, if you see a extremely tall, thin man dressed all in black not far from a children’s playground, maybe you should take heed. Especially before you forget. . .


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Supernatural Friday Early: Total Eclipse of the Myths?


Since I have my first cataract surgery this Thursday, August 17th, and doubt I care to post the Supernatural Friday pas on Friday, here it is early, and all about myths concerning eclipses. Enjoy.

On August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be happening. Anyone within the path of totality can see this total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk. To see a 10-foot map of the eclipse, go to 10-Foot Map of the Eclipse. And here is where you can view the Best Places to View Eclipse .

This rare event is the moon passing directly between the sun and the Earth—shadowing the planet. The event of midday twilight is said to even quiet birds, as they stop singing, no doubt confused into thinking night has arrived. This significant occurrence was seen as so traumatic or ‘unnatural’ to humanity since prehistoric times myths and legends, and many reason myths and legends have sprung up.

The ancient Greeks believed they were portents and warnings of disaster. Disruption of the established order was frightening and a sign of doom, especially when mankind depended on the movement of the sun to guide the way.

The sun or moon being devoured by supernatural entities was a common theme in myths. Like those in Vietnam believed that a solar eclipse proved the sun was being eaten by a giant frog.

 

It was thought the sun disappeared due to attacks by gigantic hounds in Korea. Mythical fire dogs called Bulgae were sent by the lord of a dark realm to bite the sun and moon. But the sun was too hot and the moon too cold to bite, only a short time, and the injured dogs returned to their master without their prize.
An eclipse was caused by spirits of the dead trying to eat the Sun or Moon, at least so said Serrano natives of California. Shamans and ceremonial assistants sang and danced during an eclipse as a way to appease the dead. Everyone else shouted in hopes that the spirits would be frightened away.
  

 

The Vikings explained that sky wolves, or warsg were behind the eclipses, trying to chase and eat both sun and moon.


There is a legend about the Hindu demon Rahu, who attempted to sneak a taste of an elixir of immortality. The sun and moon told the god Vishnu about Rahu’s crime, so Vishnu sliced off Rahu’s head as the demon was drinking. Rahu’s head became immortal, though his body died. In rage and frustration, Rahu’s head continues to chase the sun and moon, occasionally catching up to swallow them. Because he has no body, however, the moon and sun disappear only momentarily, and fall out the bottom of his head.
 

There are different traditions and practices still carried out by various cultures to ward off evil during an eclipse, or avoid bad luck. Fasting is still recommended in some countries during solar eclipse. Children and pregnant women are asked to remain indoors as the dramatic darkness is believed to be a danger to them. Other traditions include banging pots, playing drums, and making noise during eclipses in the attempt to scare off evil forces, plus encourage a return of the proper cosmic alignment. In parts of India, people fast during a solar eclipse because they believe that any food cooked during the time will be poisonous, and in Italy it is believed that flowers planted during a solar eclipse have more color than those planted at other times of the year.

The West African Batammaliba’s legends tell that the Sun and Moon are fighting and the reason for the eclipse. The only way to stop the conflict was for people on Earth to settle their differences.

In reality, eclipses happen only happen at the new moon, when the moon directly blocks sight of the sun from certain places in the world. It can take place up to five times a year. But NASA says that only 25 years in the past 5,000 have had five solar eclipses.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Author Appearance/Signing at Suffolk, Virginia Mystery Author Festival This Saturday!

I'll be at the Suffolk, Virginia Mystery Authors Festival this Saturday the 12th, from 1:45-6 p.m at the New Author Expo with my ghosts books, horror fiction, and even a copy of my erotic urban fantasy, The Witch and The Familiar by me under the pseudonym, Sapphire Phelan. http://www.suffolkmysteryauthorsfestival.com/

Schedule of everything at the event(begins at 1 p.m.: http://www.suffolkmysteryauthorsfestival.com/full-festival-schedule.html