Kudos for “I Was, Am, Will Be Alice”

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I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is the winner of the A Woman’s Write competition for 2015!

Here’s what Barbara Bamberger Scott of A Woman’s Write had to say about Alice:

Elise, who hails from Canada, has composed an elaborate time-travel fantasy based on Lewis Carroll’s world-famous classic “Alice” books. Her book is entitled I Was, Am, Will Be Alice. Starting with her mysterious role in a school shooting, we follow the heroine as she grows up, seeking the identity of the shooter, traveling back and forth in time to encounter characters reminding us of a modernized conception of Wonderland. Well conceived and cleverly carried through. Congratulations, Elise Abram!

In I Was, Am, Will Be Alice

When Alice Carroll is in grade three she narrowly escapes losing her life in a school shooting. All she remembers is the woman comforting her in the moments before the gunshot, and that one second she was there, the next she wasn’t.

It’s bad enough coming to terms with surviving while others, including her favourite teacher, didn’t, let alone dealing with the fact that she might wink out of existence at any time.

Alice spends the next few years seeing specialists about her Post Traumatic Stress as a result of VD–Voldemort Day–but it’s not until she has a nightmare about The Day That Shall Not Be Mentioned, disappears from her bed, is found by police, and taken home to meet her four-year-old self that she realizes she’s been time travelling.

Alice is unsure if her getting unstuck in time should be considered an ability or a liability, until she disappears right in front of her high school at dismissal time, the busiest time of day. Worried that someone may find out about her problem before long, Alice enlists her best friend (and maybe boyfriend), Pete, to help her try to control her shifting through time with limited success. She’s just about ready to give up when the shooter is caught. Now more than ever, Alice is determined to take control of her time travelling in order to go back to That Day, stop the shooting, and figure out the identity of the stranger who’d shielded Alice’s body with her own.

I Was, Am, Will Be Alice is scheduled for a summer 2016 release.

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Complications: Mild-mannered Doctor goes Commando

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Jason O’Mara stars in “Complications”.

Thank you so much to Callum at Cultured Vultures for posting!

Complications, Jason O’Mara plays Dr. John Ellison, a mild-mannered ER doctor who goes commando when he witnesses a drive-by shooting in a park. Grieving the loss of his daughter to cancer the year before, he’s on his way to the vet to save a mauled squirrel when he realizes the animal has died. This most recent death brings back the emotions experienced during his daughter’s illness and death. Overwhelmed, Ellison stops the car in front of a park only to witnesses the boy being shot…

To read more, check out my review at the Cultured Vultures site!

I’m a Cultured Vulture!

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Revenants are Real!

image from: http://goo.gl/OW5oPG

image from: http://goo.gl/OW5oPG

On 19 June 15, the Ancient Origins website published an article by Mark Miller entitled “Ancient Greeks apparently feared zombies so much they weighed down the dead“.  In his article, Miller says ancient inhabitants of the island of Sicily feared zombies so much they used large boulders to weigh down the bodies of the newly buried dead. This, apparently, was the result of the fear of revenants held by the Ancient Greeks. Miller defines revenants as existing in a state between life and death, in which the undead would be able to “ris[e] from their graves to haunt the living.”

Both Miller and an article published by Richard Gray on Mail Online quote heavily from a Popular Archaeology article which confirms that “necrophobia, or fear of the dead…has been present in Greek culture from the Neolithic period to the present.”   These articles are the result of the excavation of a site in Sicily yielding close to 3,000 bodies. Two of the burials found were covered with heavy amphora fragments and rocks, presumably “to trap [the bodies] in the grave.”

In her article, Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver defines revenants as “reanimated corpses [who] rose from their graves, prowled the streets, and stalked unsuspecting victims, often to exact retribution denied to them in life.” She goes on to explain that  the Ancient Greeks believed that “even those who could not physically leave their tombs posed a threat, because mediums could easily invoke restless spirits and cajole them into committing heinous acts…[N]ecromancy, the purposeful invocation of the dead,” was another of their practices for which there is evidence in the archaeological record.

There are two revenants in The Revenant. Zulu is thrown from his horse on his way to elope with his sweetheart in nineteenth century Toronto. Raised from the dead by a necromancer, he has walked the earth for more than two centuries, searching for his beloved Alma. His lifelong companion has been Morgan, a seer with the gift of longevity. Together, they save the people Morgan sees in his dreams from certain death. Malchus, the other revenant in the story, also seeks closure, but in his relationship with his brother. Raised in spirit form and inhabiting the body of a local teen, Malchus believes his brother, Morgan, is responsible for his death, and he intends to exact retribution. The Revenant is a young adult paranormal thriller with zombies that pits brother against brother in the archetypal battle between good and evil. Will Zulu and Morgan survive, or will Malchus emerge victorious?

Buy The Revenant wherever eBooks are sold.

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Glints of Light on Broken Glass: the Art of Showing in Writing

"Broken Window" by Angie D. https://www.flickr.com/photos/51119016@N04/5976540021

“Broken Window” by Angie D. https://www.flickr.com/photos/51119016@N04/5976540021

Some of the first things new writers are told is to write what you know, and to show, and not tell. Russian playwright and author Anton Checkhov is credited with having said “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass,” underscoring the latter. Showing can be a powerful tool when used with discretion, but all too often new authors forget to do this, preferring instead to paint their word pictures with broad strokes rather than choose a finer brush.

I’ve often written about how writing is a construct, something artificial made to seem real. Everything authors do, from creating and recreating setting, penning plot, and/or developing character and dialogue is not real. Everything about any given scene is there for a purpose; the trick is to add them subtly so they seem happenstance .

One mistake many new authors make is in how to express the physical appearance of a character. Having the character stand in front of a mirror and take stock, making note of his or her own hair and eye colour, and the shape of his or her jaw, lips, and nose doesn’t work. How many times have you looked in the mirror and taken stock? When I look in the mirror, the bow of my eyebrow is only important to me if it’s time to get a waxing. I notice my eye colour if my clothes make them pop. I may make note of my hair colour, but only if it’s time for a dye job.

Here’s another mistake. When I flip my hair back from my face, I don’t think that my hair is brown with red highlights as I’m doing so. I might be cognizant of the fact that I’m flipping too many times in a day and am due for a cut. I might get frustrated and sweep it back into a ponytail, but I don’t take note of the colour. Your characters shouldn’t either.

When you get into your car to go to work in the morning, do you take time to contemplate that it’s a 2010 slate grey, four-door Toyota Camry?  Isn’t it more likely you might think that it’s a beater, or that it’s nearly half-a-decade old and still looks like new? Might you think it needs a wash? Would you rub at a patch of dirt to make sure it wasn’t a scratch? Be annoyed that the neighbourhood kids wrote “Wash Me!” with their finger on the trunk again?

If I describe the car, my reader will know a lot about the make and model of the car, but little about the driver. If I get into the driver’s head and show what he’s thinking, I’m building character. If my reader drives a middle-age Camry, s/he might find a small point of identification with my character. If I show my character as either taking pride in the car or neglecting it, I’ve given my reader a more precise point of connection.

The next time you show detail, consider narrative viewpoint. If you describe something your character wouldn’t normally see, think or hear, then change tack.  For example, if I smile, I can’t see my white teeth gleam in the sunlight. I might feel my cheeks ache, the cold air I let in when I part my lips might hurt my overly-sensitive teeth, or I can imagine I must look like a grinning idiot (but I can’t know for sure).

Never forget your job as a writer is to construct an immersive version of reality.   Paint your word pictures with fine detail, and texture with character, dialogue and setting, using only the palette colours limited by your narrative point of view.

Have you noticed these errors in the books you’re reading? Maybe you’ve made some of these errors yourself? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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