Childhood, bedtime, bedtime stories and… The Well!

Childhood, bedtime and stories are three things that if not always go hand-in-hand…

They darn well should.

Growing up, my nephews were two loveable scamps who just loved to be read to. To this day I remember curling up with them, and reading to them one of their favorite books as I settled them down for the night. Then reading it to them again…Then “once more”, cause once was never enough.

I look back on those long-ago nights, with the sentimental fondness born of cherished memories. I remember the excitement of the boys as we selected a book from their shelves, I remember the coziness of a good bedtime snuggle, and I even remember the stories. And speaking of those stories? There are definitely some that stuck with me far more than others.

The question of “why” got me thinking. Why is it, HOW is it, I can remember certain stories that I read fifteen years ago, and recall them line by line, to this very day, and not others? What makes these particular stories stand out?

Quite simply?

It’s not the subject… It’s the beat. Their rhythm…Their rhyme.

There is an abject rhyming majesty in their simplicity in stories devised for bedtime reading. And because there is… I remember them. And remember them long after I should have forgotten them.

According a study by the Journal of Psychology it’s the repetitive nature, in beat and lyric, which makes a SONG a “hit”. It is because once heard, once connected with the song? Our brain understands it, and is drawn TO it. Craves it.

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Why then, one must ask themselves, wouldn’t the same apply to writing a piece that is read? Especially if beats and lyrics, are repeated enough in the written piece to cause a “Mere Exposure Effect”?

Answer is: It would.

Our brain longs for that which it recognizes. Ever heard a song that sounds “familiar” to you, though you have never heard it before? If you have, you will also know that very song will become an instant, and a forever favorite.

The same can be said for that which you read.

My desire, as an author, was to try to recreate this instant recognition, connection and acceptance with my story Penny Willan and the Well.

If it’s a task accomplished? Well, that would be up to you to decide…

Penny Willan and the Well, Excerpt:

The Demon Envy said, “Girl, I remember well,
ye, who I flung from Hell,
and not a day has passed, I haven’t missed
the loss of your soul that I mourned,
I’ve been bereft and forlorn,
for the sweet taste of your flesh I’ve yet to kiss.

But no worries—bygones,
that’s the past—long gone,
I don’t hold a grudge, no, in no way.
And though your family they did swindle
my joy of flaying ye on a spindle,
I begrudge ye not a little, so let’s play.

So, merely toss your token in my well,
and all your dreams I will unveil,
for ye alone, them I’ll grant.
Come closer, little Penny,
your hands I know are not empty,
ye have something I truly want.”

 

The March 10th, worldwide release date of Penny Willan and the Well creeps ever closer.

I hope you are as excited for it as I am.

In the meantime, stay tuned for more excerpts…

The Well is coming!

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The Waltz Beckons… With A New “Penny Willan…” Excerpt!

When was the last time that you read a book, a section of a story, and had to pause your reading out of sheer appreciation for what you just read? A time where you caught that special rhythm, that majestic beat, that flow of words that dances through your head like an operatic symphony? It is the rare author who can, not only capture this magic, but convey it.

There can be true artistry in the written word, if a story is written with passion. Words should be felt, not merely read. They should be sung in your head like a song, while you gasp out in awe, with a whispered gush, at the vision they convey.

Good writing is enjoyed, but great writing? It should be an event… A moment mentally experienced, and one that will henceforth impress upon you, like a long-held cherished memory, etched forever into the fabric of your being via a reality from an author’s inspired, composed creation:

“As he approached the stream, his heart began to thump; he summoned up, however, all his resolution, gave his horse half a score of kicks in the ribs, and attempted to dash briskly across the bridge; but instead of starting forward, the perverse old animal made a lateral movement, and ran broadside against the fence. Ichabod, whose fears increased with the delay, jerked the reins on the other side, and kicked lustily with the contrary foot: it was all in vain; his steed started, it is true, but it was only to plunge to the opposite side of the road into a thicket of brambles and alder bushes.

The waltz begins

The schoolmaster now bestowed both whip and heel upon the starveling ribs of old Gunpowder, who dashed forward, snuffling and snorting, but came to a stand just by the bridge, with a suddenness that had nearly sent his rider sprawling over his head. Just at this moment a plashy tramp by the side of the bridge caught the sensitive ear of Ichabod. In the dark shadow of the grove, on the margin of the brook, he beheld something huge, misshapen and towering. It stirred not, but seemed gathered up in the gloom, like some gigantic monster ready to spring upon the traveller.” ~Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hallow

Anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming an author, aspires to this. They want to create, conduct, with their imagination something so great as to leave a lasting impact on their readers, long after they’ve read it. And, if their passion is great enough, their desire strong enough, they will find success in the lyrical flow of words they inscribe. These authors will touch you, move you, with the musical cadence of words that pours from their hearts, spilled out on to the page, with the hope that you will enjoy the waltz that they have devised for you, as much as they enjoyed composing it .

Simply this: My great hope is that from Penny Willan and the Well, you will find a waltz worth dancing to.

Excerpt:

“Separated from man,
alone does it stand,
a wishing well aged by time.
Made of hoary stone,
dead weeds ingrown,
dirty and covered with grime.

It sits in a dale,
a sinister vale,
amongst a shroud of trees.
Detached from society,
long had it the notoriety
of dark magic, an evil disease.

There’s those who know,
when into the forest they go,
avoid the wishing well.
‘Tis a place full of evil,
one that feeds on upheaval,
and all at the avarice of Hell.

So, dare not you heed,
the insidious need,
to drop your penny inside,
for Hell it will lash,
your wishes ‘twill cash,
dark torments to never subside.

The wishing well depends,
on your soul for its sins,
to trap you in Hell’s snare.
And with them ‘twill hasten,
your soul to damnation,
passersby ye beware.”

The Well waltz beckons… March 10, 2015.

More excerpts to come. Stay tuned!

Freedom Is Coming: Click here to read a “Penny Willan and the Well” Excerpt!

I have always gloried in/at the written word, and for a very special reason.

When I was younger, I stuttered. Badly. I have long since outgrown the worst of that malady, however there are still times I struggle to make the words come out exactly the way I want them to. When I’m overly tired, or stressed about one thing or another, it’s like my tongue swells in my mouth and decides, “Nah, I don’t feel like working anymore today. I’m going to go take a nap.” Grrr.

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At times like these it can sound like I have downed a fifth of Jack Daniels, while never having had a drop.

Depressing.

There are moments when it seems like my brain is this large, open end of a funnel, and my mouth has this tiny, tapered opening. I have so much I want to say (all the time, or so my family says), but when speaking aloud, it all gets jumbled when I try to get them to pour out. Clogged. More often than not, speaking for me, even to this day? Can make me feel like an embarrassed idiot.

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To say my often inability to accurately translate what it is I want to say out loud is frustrating, doesn’t begin to describe it.

At any given time, I have what seems to be a hundred thoughts rolling around my head at one time. Thoughts filled with things I have recently read, current news stories, or just random “Hello—where did you come from?” thoughts. I want to share, to discuss, I love to debate, but I can’t. Being unable to communicate all the thoughts in my head often leaves me with the feeling of being trapped, confined.

Caged.

I suppose that is why writing is so very magical for me.

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Every word, every single one I want to use, while writing, is at my disposal with an easy press of a key. They’re just there, the words flow as fast as my fingers will allow. Any tongue-twisting combination, any word difficult to pronounce because of weird letter placement, any word at all… I can write them and say exactly what I want to say, every time. Writing for me, is a gift. My ability to write is one I never take for granted.

Ever.

Writing is my escape from the trap, my early release from confinement, the bars ripped free from my cage. Reading, writing, words on a page…

What I see when I look at them?

I see my freedom.

And so saying? I always try to enjoy said freedom to its highest degree. With my new book, Penny Willan and the Well, coming out on March 10th, 2015…

I tried to do just that.

Gothic Novella... Coming soon to Amazon, March 10th!

Gothic Novella… Coming soon to Amazon, March 10th!

Excerpt:

Envy
I.
There exists a place,
full of disgrace,
a small town of a few hundred people.
A place of magic,
where the tragic,
is hidden underneath a fallen steeple.

No one really knows,
how the true story goes,
or where the curse had started.
But the curse is one,
forever darkening the sun,
damning the dearly departed.

Thy know no rest,
for the best,
are taken as payment for wishes,
from a magic so dark,
it fills one’s heart,
and the very soul it bewitches.

‘Tis by the old church,
that something there lurks,
deep in the wishing-well.
There something hides,
on its insides,
ready to damn you to Hell.

So drop in your penny,
whenever you’re ready,
and wish for all you could dream.
Wishes come with a price,
so please, think twice,
Envy will tear you apart till you scream.

II.
On this dark night,
a mother walks with no light,
to the old well out by the steeple.
With a wiggling bag,
this aging old hag,
plans to make quite the ripple.

Within the well-water,
in order to foster,
her dream of regained beauty & youth.
To revive love ‘twill cost her,
her very own daughter,
for this showing of faith takes great proof.

Her young daughter Penny,
shivers and shimmies,
from deep in the heart of the sack.
She knows her own Mother,
unlike any other,
‘twas a mother’s love she did lack.

A family you see,
wasn’t to she,
all Mother hoped it would be.
So, Mother plotted to end it,
and to her benefit,
“Well, why wouldn’t she?”

Being a mom had taken a toll,
Mother had grown weary and old
of this life she had chosen.
Mother plotted and planned,
through night’s caravan,
to get rid of what was broken.

Her little girl,
who was her Father’s world,
will soon be a problem no longer.
Envy will take her this night,
then Mother’s dreams would alight,
she was already feeling stronger.

Mother approached the well,
that would see her in Hell,
the penance for her dark faith.
‘Twas then Mother heard a whisper,
“Come closer. Come hither.”
A hissed voice from a cursed wraith.

Dead tree branches rattled,
the cold wind seethed, it prattled
of abominations about to unfold.
A lone wolf howled,
the full moon it prowled,
ready for evils untold.

Mother stopped by the well,
which was only a shell,
for a demon devil incarnate.
She only said this,
“Take the girl for my wish.”
And dropped her daughter into the heart of it.

Down Penny screamed,
part of a hellish dream,
she fell into the jaws of Hell.
Mother dusted her hands,
she had done what she’d planned,
though now she was feeling unwell.

Then Mother looked at her hand,
the gleam of her bridal band,
from the hypnotic light of the moon.
She smiled when she saw,
her dreams had become all,
youth and beauty returned, her boon.

It was worth the price,
she could get back to life,
being the beauty she’d once been.
Mother cried and she laughed,
whilst through the night she passed,
back to her house, since when

she decided to take
her own damned fate,
like a devil she grabbed by the horns.
Mother wouldn’t be acquitted
for this act she committed,
if revealed, her demise ‘twould be borne.

If you liked this one?

Stayed tuned for more excerpts to come!

Tell me, do you crave… A balladic narrative with power?

I’m a reader. It’s my passion. There is something so enjoyable, so relaxing, about immersing yourself in a good book. The experience takes you away from yourself for a while, and allows you to become something else for a time…

An observer.

An observer whose world has turned inwardly and its continued existence are wholly dependent on every turn of the page. It’s a world that is singular, and unique, to each individual reader, because every reader takes in the information differently to their life experiences, expectations, culture and understanding.

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It’s just you, your eyes, the steady beat of your heart, your calm, steady breaths and your mind as it creates for you a world so far removed from the world where you live, you escape every worry with every single word you soak in.

For me, the books can romance, horror or science-fiction. They can be poetry, self-help, crime thrillers, old literary classics or biographies. They can be comic books, physics books or philosophy books. They can be classical tragedies, hysterical comedies or complex political narratives. Heck, I’ve even had a strange affection for reference books, for a time or two. The point is, for me? To read. To find something that engages and satisfies my most pressing, often varying, literary appetites.

Only those of you out there, who love reading as much as I do, will understand when I say, that for me? Reading is an addiction for my mind.

I crave it.

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I will be honest when I say that I hit a very dissatisfied point as a reader last year, when the market was flooded with dystopian first-person knock-offs, which seemed like every other book, not to mention the creepy flood of “mom porn” published works (which just made me feel dirty every time I tried to read one. Ick.) that I found myself starving for…

Something else.

Something different.

Something so far removed from the norm, nothing liked existed. What can I say? I am not a fan of the ordinary.

Understand, I had no clue about what it was I was looking for exactly, but I knew that when it came to satisfying my addiction, there had to be something more. I desperately wanted a change from the norm, the common, the everyday, but no matter how studiously I searched on Amazon, I couldn’t manage to find the right book I was looking for.

I wanted an epic, an adventure, a story that would still be with me long after I read it. I wanted a story suited perfectly for a late night campfire. I wanted a story that would dance with the flames and battle with the shadows as I huddled closer to the fire, so anxious to read that next word. I wanted a story far removed from our time, a story that could easily pass as a relic of the oral traditions of old, while giving the illusion of presence. I wanted a grand tale, a fable and a ballad. A ballad short on words, but long on meaning. I wanted a story full of beats, full of music, without one note every being played. I wanted story with rhythm, a story with magic…

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A story with power.

So, what the heck, I figured,”If I can’t find the story I want. I’ll just write it myself.”

And you know what?

That’s exactly what I did.

Penny Willan and the Well

To be released, March 10th, 2015

Excerpts coming soon!