Tag Archives: archaeology

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter L




is for Lyric




A lyric is a song-like poem meant to express the thoughts and feelings of a person. Shakespeare’s sonnets are a form of lyric poetry.

In the short story “Aliens’ Waltz”, Josef Scheliemann describes his alien sighting using lyric prose:

Slowly move, quick box step, twirling round, open, turn. One-two-three, two-two-three. Shoulders rise. Fall again. Moving on single plain, tall and completely poised. Triangular faces showcase ovular eyes. Smoky and luminous in celestial moonlight. Fabric of dress gowns shine twinkling in the night. One-two-three, two-two-three, weightlessly promenade. Steam buoys from the wheat stalks forming nebulous mist. Feet barely skim farmland in a spiraling glide.

Though admittedly not perfect, the prose in this passage is meant to sound like a waltz. Effort was made to ensure stressed and unstressed symbols and pauses approximate the one-two-three-one-two-three time of a waltz. Ideally, because it is lyric, it should sound as if it were meant to be paired with music, such as (my favourite) “The Blue Danube Waltz”.

What do you think? Does it sound like a waltz when read out loud, or am I asking too much of the reader? Have you ever tried something similar? Was it as mind-numbingly difficult to execute as my sample lyric text?


A to Z Blog Challenge – Brought to you by the letter H




is for Hyperbole




A hyperbole is an exaggeration used to emphasize a point.

In the tentatively titled,  I Am, Have Been, and Will Be Alice, Alice is depressed and has taken to her bed for comfort when her mother comes into the room:

She digs my head out from under the blankets, brushes my hair from my forehead and brings her cool lips to them. “You’re cool as a cucumber,” she says for about the millionth time in my lifetime.

The hyperbole in this excerpt is Alice insisting her mother has used this phrase about a million times over the past 14 or so years. While it’s theoretically possible for someone to achieve this goal, it’s not very likely, which is what makes it a hyperbole.

When Suzanne leans over Palmer during a sarcophagus examination in The Mummy Wore Combat Boots, he says,

As she spoke I was enveloped in a haze of her perfume. Her scent was sweet and distantly floral.  It brought back a slew of memories—not all of them disagreeable—in a dizzying flood.

While Palmer’s memories make him neither physically dizzy, and his memories would not carry the same force as a flooding tsunami, I’m sure it would feel as if they did to poor Palmer who can’t escape Suzanne’s unwanted advances in such close quarters.

Do you use hyperbole in either speech or writing? Which ones do you use most often? Which ones have you written that you’re most proud of? Whatever they are, share them in the comments below.

Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter D




is for Doppelganger





A doppelganger is a character’s double. The two characters have identical looks but different personalities and agendas.

Both The Talisman and it’s sequel, Bleak House, by Stephen King, feature doppelgangers. In The Talisman, a boy discovers his parents are doppelgangers of the king and queen in another universe. Mistaken for the prince, he is drawn into a life or death adventure to restore order to the duplicate world. In Bleak House, the boy, now a man, must once more return to the other universe to impersonate the prince and put things right in the doppelganger universe.

The notion of duplicate universes is also used in Phase Shift. In Phase Shift,  Molly McBride, an archaeologist, discovers an artifact which is the key to the other world. In this scene, Molly meets with Reyes Prefect and she realizes she’s actually traveled to a doppelganger Earth:

“And where exactly is ‘here’?”

He looks confused. “Why, Theran Prefecture, of course.”

That’s not what I meant. “I mean where, geographically?”

“Theran Prefecture resides on the mass of Selene.”

I continue to look at him, trying to process this information.

“On the planet of Gaia,” he offers.

It’s nothing new, nothing I haven’t already read in Prescott’s memoirs, nothing I wasn’t anticipating in the event our experiment worked. Still, I can’t help but wonder: is this actually happening? Am I really to believe I’m on another world?

“You said you were expecting me.”

“Not you, precisely.” He picks at the upholstery on the padding of his chair. “Perhaps someone like you.” He looks up at me. “We knew it was only a matter of time before someone discovered how to bridge the gap from the other side.”

“The gap? I don’t understand.”

“Between our world and yours.”

I must still look confused because he takes it upon himself to explain further: “Every living thing, from the smallest insect to the largest animal, has a life force that sustains it through its existence. It is the phase pitch at which a life force resonates that binds it to its earth.

“And this ‘gap’ you speak of?”

“Our clerisy posits at some point in time, a cataclysmic event ensued on our planet, forcing a shift in the phase of all living things.

“History tells us at the time of the cataclysmic event our world spawned a doppelganger, an exact duplicate. Your world.” Reyes’s explanation was a lot like chocolate: it tasted good, but did nothing to sate the appetite.

“So the ‘gap’ refers to the difference in our…broadcast frequencies?”

“In the pitch of our phase resonances, yes. Your world and mine co-exist, occupying the same space-time, only slightly out of phase. Here, yet not here.

“We have known of your world for some time now, known how to travel between the two worlds as well. In the interest of science, this technology has been banned until your world could discover our existence, learning how to bridge the gap on your own accord. Our clarists posited the coming of this day.”

What doppelgangers have you read about in fiction? Watched on television? Did the trope work? Post your comments and observations about doppelgangers in literature below.

“The Curse of Oak Island” is must see TV!

A curse. Pirates. A treasure. Booby traps.

It has all the trappings of the next “Indiana Jones” or “National Treasure” movie. The main difference? This is for real.

Oak Island, Nova Scotia. Three boys discover a pit (“the Money Pit”) on and begin to dig. As they get deeper, strange artifacts begin to pop up. Flagstones. Wooden platforms. Small metal artifacts. And then, at around 27 metres (that’s more than 80 feet), they find a stone cipher that when translated says, “Forty feet below, two million pounds are buried.” The boys dig a little more, and then leave for the night. When they return, the shaft is underwater. They conclude a booby trap has been triggered by their digging, which flooded the shaft to protect the treasure from plunderers (oakislandtreasure).

In modern times, Dan Blankenship and his associates dig a shaft parallel to the Money Pit (called 10X), fortifying it with steel. He takes some video in which he insists he can see a body, a treasure chest, and other buried  items. 10X eventually floods as well. Due to disagreements over land ownership, digging on the island ceases until brothers Rick and Marty Lagina buy a controlling stake in the island’s tourism company and are able to resume excavations.

I saw the first episode of History’s “The Curse of Oak Island” yesterday; I haven’t been that excited since seeing “In Search of Noah’s Ark” when I was a kid. The premiere episode explains the history of the Money Pit and 10X and documents the Lagina brothers’ excavation of the pits as they search for the fabled treasure. Viewers get to see the Blankenship video and meet Dan Blankenship (now 80 and just as obsessed as ever) and his son who are active members of the Laginas’ team. The first thing they do is send a camera into the Money Pit, but the footage comes back inconclusive and the files mysteriously disappear from the computer midway through the viewing. Perhaps this is part of the curse, they wonder.

Next, the team drills into the hole while one of the brothers searches the fill. They find bits of blue transfer ceramic, but not much else. Lastly, air is pumped into the shaft in an effort to remove the water. They jerry-rig a sediment holding tank and use a shovel to start mucking about, but turn up only a single metal artifact. Later, the team takes a boat ride to see the island from the water. They hypothesize the presence of five box-drains, used to draw sea water into the shafts and plan to dive at a later date to confirm or debunk their existence.

In “The Curse of Oak Island,” the Laginas and the Blankenships document their real-life adventure as they search for pirate treasure. The curse promises that seven will die before the secret of the Money Pit is revealed, which only serves to bolster the excitement which makes this an hour of tv worth watching. What I like about “The Curse of Oak Island” is that, unlike other salvaging shows, the Laginas do things legally. They let us know the credentials of the team members, as well as the permits needed and the legalities and cost of the dig and that the task they have undertaken is dangerous, with the implicit message not to try this at home.

“The Curse of Oak Island” is not only exciting television, it’s also responsible television. And that’s good archaeology.

Did you see “The Curse of Oak Island”? What did you think?

(Former) Archaeologist’s Lament Addendum

Excerpt from THE NEXT COMING RACE (as yet unpublished).

Pot hunters held rave-type, secretive, pic-nic-style parties, complete with bar-b-ques and beer, on little known or overlooked archaeological sites. They socialized, ate a good meal, and then broke out the shovels, leaving behind a landscape so littered and cratered you’d think you’d landed on a mock-up of the moon.
I suppose what happened next was my fault. Goaded by the wealth of my online data mining and the voracity with which we’d hatched the previous night’s plan, I emailed the others with my findings, urging them to follow through with our stratagem.
It got exciting two months later. One of the pot hunters suggested they get together and investigate an abandoned and soon to be demolished property south of Stouffville. They used SurveyMonkey to determine the best date and settled on having a tailgate-style dinner prior to the dig. Undaunted by the sheer gall of what the pot hunters had suggested, I emailed every one of the original archaeologists. None of us had the slightest clue as to how to proceed. We knew that prosecuting the buggers would be a difficult task—to date, there had been only one case of successful prosecution documented. The solution, we all agreed, was to be on hand to disperse the rave and then hightail it to the Ministry of Culture to register the site.
So we’d have some official capacity, we’d enlisted Michael’s assistance whose job it would be to flash his badge and look menacing, no grand feat for Michael who had the physique of a well-padded football player and the sombre, stoic gaze of a Terminator on a mission permanently tattooed onto his face.
On the date in question, we caught the looters with their metaphoric pants down, munching on ribs and chicken, guzzling beer and Coke by the cans-full. We drove up the dirt access road at dusk, circled them with our vehicles and parked with our brights on. Mesmerized to paralysis at first, the looters presently scrambled, Hibachis and shovels clanging as they were thrown into the beds of their pickups. One by one they snaked between our cars and drove away.
Our group had participated in no less than three such raids since.
To have that power, to be able to do something to protect our passion from marauders, was exhilarating, if not entirely legal. To that end, we swore each other to secrecy, vowing only ever to meet clandestinely, and only when dictated by the slightly lesser legal activities of our pot-hunting nemeses.
The ghost town of Ballycroy in the northern GTA was our first failure. I’d been monitoring online chatter for weeks, trying to pinpoint the message containing the exact date and time of the party. Once I’d found it, I’d marked it on my smart phone’s calendar. Busy at school, I hadn’t gone back to check for revisions. At some point between entering it into my calendar and the scheduled date, the pothunters had changed their meeting and I’d missed it.
After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence between us I said, “I fucked up big.”
“Come on, Moll,” Palmer said, “you had no way to know.”
“Hindsight is 20/20,” Michael said.
“Really, Michael?” I said. “Platitudes? Now?”
“Say, is there any cream?” Michael asked. He left the table and took his coffee with him.
“You need to calm down, Moll,” Palmer told me. “Stop beating yourself up.” I looked deep into his dark eyes and saw the calm I sought. How was he able to slough off what had happened so easily? Probably because he wasn’t on point for plan-making. “Crestwood means well, you know he does.” Palmer reached out and pried my hand from the near death-grip it had around the coffee cup, and squeezed.
When Michael returned to the table I apologized.
We agreed I would be the one to go to the Ministry office first thing the next day and register the site. Not that it would stop future looters from spoiling the archaeological record, but if we were ever going to see these guys prosecuted, it was the first step.
About the Author
Elise Abram, English teacher and former archaeologist, has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until she was asked to teach Writer’s Craft in 2001 that she began to write seriously. Her first novel, THE GUARDIAN was partially published as a Twitter novel a few summers back (and may be accessed at @RKLOGYprof). Nearly ten years after its inception Abram decided it was time to stop shopping around with traditional publication houses and publish PHASE SHIFT on her own

(Former) Archaeologist’s Lament

imageZero Hour, another adventure/thriller television series with archaeological roots was cancelled last week after only three episodes. The pilot episode saw Anthony Edwards (of ER fame) as the editor of a sceptics magazine whose wife is kidnapped after she purchases a historic clock. When he takes the clock apart, Edwards finds a diamond upon which a map has been etched. He follows the map to a buried German submarine in the arctic, where he is pursued by a man who was somehow genetically engineered by Nazi scientists.

Though all of this sounds spectacularly interesting as a series concept, the idea was poorly executed as it suffered from less than believable dialogue and unusual casting. In spite of this, though Zero Hour had potential, it was more than likely doomed by its affiliation with archaeology.

Movies with archaeological ties generally do well at the box office.  Consider Stargate, Indiana Jones,Tomb Raider, The Mummy, and National Treasure. The same cannot be said for television shows of the same genre which are few and far between. Two of these are Veritas: the Quest, and  the British Bonekickers. In Veritas, a team of people search the globe for artifacts that piece together Earth’s great mystery, though what that may be is not revealed in the show’s short run. All that is known is that it somehow involves the group’s leader, and his son and deceased wife. In Bonekickers, archaeologists participate in episodic digs, some with ties to popular legends or high profile historical eras. The only other archaeology-types around are those on Bones, and that’s more forensic anthropology than archaeology per se. I dreamed of seeing the Primeval cast hunker down to an archaeological dig when they found modern artifacts in a dinosaurian era, or modern people digging up the remains of the Terra Nova settlement (though that apparently took place in a different timeline than ours) but, alas, that was never to come to pass.

Many play fast and loose with the term “archaeology”, such as in “Antique Archaeology”, the shop ran  by the American Pickers, for example.  Even worse is the Savage Family Diggers/ American Diggers franchise which sees ex-wrestler Rick Savage knock on people’s doors asking to dig on their properties for a percentage of the profit. While they may “save” artifacts from being destroyed or remaining forever buried and decomposing, they are, in effect, destroying archaeological sites. And while I readily acknowledge that laws in The States differ from those in Canada, the fact that they do they painstaking research to find the sites then do nothing to save the subtleties of the sites’ historic occupation, does little to elevate them from pot-hunting status. Yet they have been awarded their own series of shows which creates the illusion that what they are doing is lucrative and not at all deplete of morals.

Archaeology as a discipline is in danger of extinction. Even when I practiced it, the threat of satellite imagery and ground penetrating radar to document sites threatened to render those of us who saw it as a noble pursuit, obsolete. In his article entitled “Archaeology Is Not a Strong Brand”, Martin Rundkvist takes the profusion of available archaeology-named domains  to indicate that the word no longer packs significant punch. He avers that the “little regional bits of the past and archaeological practice” have rendered the word, and the discipline by default, unexciting. I maintain the reason for this could be the dearth of local archaeological projects in North America (certainly in central Ontario). I got out of the discipline because, though I loved it dearly and could imagine doing nothing else with my life, I could not make a living at it. I began my career making enough money to live comfortably, had the position remained opened twelve months of the year. Each year I returned to the field being offered fewer and fewer dollars per hour until I was earning little more than minimum wage 6 months a year (if I were lucky) and UIC was breathing down my back to get re-trained in order to dump my hard-earned degree and get a year-round office job. I chose, instead, to go back to school and complete teacher training. It took some time, but I have come to terms with perpetuating archaeology through my writing. I always fancied returning to the discipline in retirement, but I doubt I will be able to tote buckets of wet dirt at that advanced age. No, I must remain content with fanaticizing about fantastical archaeology, rather than practicing actual archaeology, barring my winning the lottery, that is.

About the Author

Elise Abram, English teacher and former archaeologist, has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until she was asked to teach Writer’s Craft in 2001 that she began to write seriously. Her first novel, THE GUARDIAN was partially published as a Twitter novel a few summers back (and may be accessed at @RKLOGYprof). Nearly ten years after its inception Abram decided it was time to stop shopping around with traditional publication houses and publish PHASE SHIFT on her own.

Download PHASE SHIFT for the price of a tweet. Visit http://www.eliseabram.com, click on the button, tweet or Facebook about my novel and download it for FREE!

Works Cited

Rundkvist, Martin. Archaeology Is Not a Strong Brand. Aardvarchaeology. 2 Mar 2013. < http://scienceblogs.com/aardvarchaeology/2013/03/02/archaeology-is-not-a-strong-brand/>. 12 Mar 13.

Behind Every Story is a Kernel of Truth

The desire to own a part of history is probably as old as man himself. Reality television is replete with shows—Canadian/American Pickers, Pawn Stars, American Restoration and the like—that attest to this. The Victorians were obsessed with all things Egyptian. It wasn’t uncommon for the wealthy to purchase and display mummies in their own homes or host mummy unwrapping parties (History), the craze for which continues and was documented in the short-lived television series Treasure Trader. Anything ancient, it seems, is worth collecting, even fossilized dinosaur feces, which was recently sold at auction on Auction Kings (discovery).

The problem with procuring artifacts such as these (though technically, the dinosaur poop cannot be called an artifact as it was not manufactured or modified by people—unless you call the turning of the fossil into a commodity a modification) is that it is regulated. There are laws in place regarding who may legally excavate these materials. And make no mistake about it, picking an artifact up from the ground knowing it is from a potential archaeological (or paleontological) site is considered excavation, even if it the item lay on the surface when you found it.

I can remember in the early days of the Internet finding a bottle collector’s website. Though he posted some amazing diagnostic tools, his site read, primarily, like a how-to for bottle hunters. As a practicing archaeologist, I engaged the man in a digital debate that I had no expectation of winning. Though I tried to educate him on the evil of his way, the man relied on his pot hunting to make a living. One has to look no further than SpikeTV’s American Digger to see how to do this for a living.

I was an archaeologist for about a decade of my life, and though I can say that in those ten years I never worked on a site that had been vandalized, I was sickened at the stories I heard from my colleagues. Most of my work was on public archaeological sites. This meant the sites were open to the public with the intent to educate them on the importance of the archaeological record. Unfortunately, most people didn’t get the lesson we were trying to teach. In PHASE SHIFT, the main character, archaeologist and university professor Molly McBride laments,

On archaeological sites someone always comes around and asks if you’ve found any gold yet.  It’s inevitable.  Tell me something, I’ve always been dying to say, when you move house how much gold do you leave behind?  Instead I smile, and try to educate them on the fact that archaeology is not about the money.  What’s more valuable is the information artifacts give us about what went on while the site was occupied all those years ago, regardless of their material of manufacture. 

An observation that’s altogether too true. When I worked on The Trinity Bellwoods/Gore Vale Site in downtown Toronto, almost once a day someone would come by and ask if I’d found anything valuable yet. My own grandfather used to tease me about this each and every time he saw me, something which exasperated me to no end. In case you’re wondering, I never did find any gold and any of the coins I found were too old and too damaged to have been worth much of anything.

The nugget for this blog was mined from an article published on the LiveScience website about a fossil dealer who was prosecuted for smuggling dinosaur remains. The article reminded me of the stories I’d heard regarding plundered Ontario archaeological sites and how powerless archaeologists felt to do anything about it but to hire round-the-clock security guards on an already stretched budget (something Molly does to protect the TTC site in the as yet unpublished THE NEXT COMING RACE). Prosecuting looters is a difficult task as it is tough to prove in court as it often happens under the cover of night and without witness. In 1985 the July/August issue of ArchNotes carried an article by William A. Fox documenting the first case of the successful prosecution of looters to a site, but that case involved witnesses and police involvement. Had the looting been carried out by a stranger rather than a neighbour of the property owner, the case might have ended differently.

When I read the LiveScience article, I thought of the first chapter of THE NEXT COMING RACE, the book to follow the recently published PHASE SHIFT.   In it, protagonist Dr. Molly McBride enlists local archaeologists to participate in cyber-stalking to determine when local bands of pot-hunters will loot abandoned sites in order to conduct raids to scare them off in an attempt to protect the archaeological record. As this is the first chapter in the novel, it sets into motion the main plot and the threads of two sub-plots that (I promise) eventually come together and make sense in the long run. The main plot supposes an archaeological site is found during the excavation for expansion of Toronto’s subway system. The sub-plots are the raids on the looters and Palmer’s involvement in a case of forensics with the police department. Please click on the link to read, and enjoy.

If you like Molly and Palmer, you can download PHASE SHIFT, my first published novel featuring these characters from my web site, eliseabram.com, for the price of a Facebook post or tweet. Molly and Palmer are also featured in two novellas available at KoboBooks.com or Amazon.com entitled THE MUMMY WORE COMBAT BOOTS (largely about Palmer and DC Michael Crestwood), and THROWAWAY CHILD(featuring Molly, Palmer and Michael). Happy reading.

Note for Once Upon A Time fans: I cast my characters when I write in order to help me imagine the scene as well as to keep my character descriptions consistent throughout a work. As you read this chapter from THE NEXT COMING RACE, try to imagine OUAT‘s Robert Carlyle in the role of Dr. Palmer Richardson and (not an OUAT alumni, but he played Lois Lane’s father on Smallville and has been a favourite Canadian actor of mine since the first V series) Michael Ironside in the role of DC Michael Crestwood.

Works Cited

Discovery. Auction Kings: Dino Poo. 2012. <http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/auction-kings/videos/dino-poo.htm&gt;. 30 December 2012. (Video)

Fox, William A. The Freelton/Misner Site Looting and Prosecution. ArchNotes. July/August 1985. <http://www.ontarioarchaeology.on.ca/publications/AN/an85-4.pdf&gt;. 30 December 2012. (Newsletter)

History. Mummy Unwrapping Parties. 1996-2012. <http://www.history.com/videos/mummies-mummy-unwrapping-parties#mummies-mummy-unwrapping-parties&gt;. 30 December 2012. (Video)

Parry, Wynne. Dealer Pleads Guilty to Smuggling in Largest International Dino Case Ever. LiveScience. 29 December 2012. <http://www.livescience.com/25879-dealer-pleads-guilty-tarbosaur-smuggling.html&gt;. 30 December 2012. (eZine)


Here is the Prelude, the first chapter of my  novel PHASE SHIFT.


I am laying in the dark listening to my husband’s raspy almost-snore, unable to sleep.  To keep myself occupied, I try to remember when I first knew I wanted to be an archaeologist. 

After seeing the first Indiana Jones movie as a teenager, perhaps? No, Indy merely served to bolster my interest in the field.  The real turning point came while watching a documentary called “In Search of Noah’s Ark” when I was no more than twelve, back in the time before the super cinemas.  It was then, I knew.  Wood decomposed to nothing but dark shadows in the soil, aerial photographs of well-fed vegetation, and measurements approximating those in The Bible—I still shudder in awe at the thought of it. 

My first real taste of archaeology was in the middle of a conservation area  almost an hour’s drive north of the city: dark soil dampening trouser knees and buttocks, dirt rammed under fingernails, blowing out a peppering of dust mixed with snot on the Kleenex—man!  I was hooked. 

A few years later I was near graduation and looking toward grad school.  Dr. Richardson, the head of the Archaeology department, offered to be my faculty advisor and I accepted without hesitation. He assigned me a site, the remains of a carriage house behind a restored clapboard house, built nearly two centuries ago.  The planning, supervision, excavation and analysis of the site over two years’ time would earn me my Master’s degree. 

My assistants and I arrived at the house, to find Dr. Richardson sitting on the stoop reading Scientific American, anissue featuring an article about a cache of Peruvian mummies. Dr. Richardson is a forensic anthropologist. That means he gets off on dead people and figuring out how they died.  He works extensively with the police, to give them clues as to what decomposed bodies and skeletons might have looked like while they were still living and breathing. 

We approached the stoop and he stood to greet us.  I had to crane my neck and shield my eyes from the sun in order to meet his gaze.  He smiled at me, said hello and squeezed my shoulder.  My stomach lurched.  Dr. Richardson is what we used to call “a hunk”.  The first time my mother met him she called him “a dreamboat” and said she wouldn’t throw him out of her bed for eating crackers.  The way things turned out, that comment was so many different levels of wrong. 

The house was converted to a living museum sometime in the late eighties.  The side entrance, added on around the same time, smelled of new carpet and fresh paint.  Pictures of the house in various stages of disrepair and renovation hung on the walls like windows into the past.  Dr. Richardson gave us the grand tour:  men’s parlor, women’s sitting room, dining room, upstairs ballroom, and nurseries.  A narrow staircase took us up to the third floor servants’ quarters. 

Back downstairs, Dr. Richardson showed us the kitchen.  The walls were of unfinished wood made dark by soot.  At the centre of one wall was the original hearth, complete with bake ovens.  A single wooden table stood in the middle of the room, deeply scarred through use and over time, and in the far corner, the kitchen pantry, converted to a small storage-cum-utility closet after the restorations.  Near the ceiling Dr. Richardson pointed to a series of wallpaper layers.  He recited each occupation and era by rote and I was in awe of him. 

He finished his lecture and ushered us out of our cramped quarters.  I chanced a glance up at him and he smiled at me.  A perfect three-toed crow’s foot appeared to frame the outer edge of each of his eyes.  The solitary, unshaded light bulb that dimly lit the room shone in his dark eyes—a girl could get lost in those eyes.  I blushed, embarrassed at the lust I felt for him at that moment, chastising myself for falling for my faculty advisor.  But then I reminded myself that Dr. Richardson was a good sixteen years’ my senior, and everyone knew he was seeing Suzanne Pascoe, the Egyptologist.  Dr. Richardson was safe, like a movie star.  Like a movie star, he was unattainable, and consequently, not entirely real. I told myself the crush would pass, and it eventually did.


Palmer’s snoring again. I nudge him, tell him to roll over, then roll over myself, wedging one hand between his rib cage and the mattress and one foot arch-deep between his thighs. He doesn’t protest. 

Sleep has eluded me this evening.  Pretty soon my bedside alarm will begin to shriek at me, signifying the start of yet another day.  I need a drink.  Tea would go down good right about now.  Hot tea with honey and lemon. 

In the kitchen I fill the kettle and plug it in. While I wait for the water to boil, I stroll into the living room and take a peek out the front window.  Two black sedans are parked on the road, each facing opposite directions, waiting for me in case I decide to take it on the lam.  Inside each car sits a pair of officers—which officers are out there tonight is anybody’s guess. The possibilities read like a who’s who for law enforcement:  CIA, CSIS, OPP… It’s funny how quickly things spiral out of your control:  yesterday I was an archaeology professor considering earning my doctoral degree. Today I am the prime suspect in a murder investigation.

The kettle begins to boil.  I unplug it.  Sometime between eying the sedans and thinking about the death I may have expedited, I’ve lost my appetite for tea.

I return to bed, drawing my body close to Palmer’s, more for security than warmth.  I find solace in the fact I was right about one thing when I was struggling with that crush on my faculty advisor all those years ago:  Palmer Richardson is safe.

My Biography

English teacher and former archaeologist Elise Abram is proud to announce the release of PHASE SHIFT, her first fiction publication. Abram has been writing ever since she can remember, but it wasn’t until she was asked to teach Writer’s Craft in 2001 that she began to write seriously. Having to research writing and the writing process gave her the confidence she needed to actually put proverbial pen to paper. Her first novel, THE GUARDIAN was partially published as a Twitter novel a few summers back. Nearly ten years after its inception Abram decided it was time to stop shopping around with traditional publication houses and try to publish PHASE SHIFT on her own.

PHASE SHIFT documents the adventures of archaeologists Molly McBride and her husband, Dr. Palmer Richardson after they are given an unusual artifact with the ability to take them to a doppelganger Earth. Palmer Richardson, forensic anthropologist and head of the Archaeology department at the University of Toronto, is a character Abram first conceived in 1987 when taking a Science Fiction English course at The University of Waterloo (Clinton Johns, co-star of THE GUARDIAN was also conceived at that time). Writing a short story as the final assignment for that course was the first time she’d melded her passion for archaeology with storytelling.

Abram continues to write, no easy task, given the demands of teaching three English courses each semester, and raising three teenagers simultaneously. Currently, she is working on another Molly McBride adventure, tentatively called THE NEXT COMING RACE, and inspired by Edward Bullwer-Lytton’s classic “The Coming Race”, which melds known pseudo-scientific and paranormal phenomenon in a race to save the world from certain destruction after a device left behind by aliens in the future is activated by construction in the present. Also in the works is THE REVENANT, a take on the current young adult vampire craze, and CHICKEN OR EGG: A LOVE STORY, revolving around a time travel love triangle.

Look for the publication of eBook novellas THE MUMMY WORE COMBAT BOOTS, which follows Palmer Richardson in a case in which he consults for the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department to figure out the origins of an errant mummy found in the Royal Ontario Museum’s holdings, and THROWAWAY CHILD, in which Molly joins with Police Constable Michael Crestwood (also starring in THE MUMMY WORE COMBAT BOOTS and THE NEXT COMING RACE) to investigate a child’s skeleton found beneath a historic house.

Amazon author’s site: http://www.amazon.com/author/eliseabram

I’m Published!

My hands were literallly shaking as I entered the information on the Kobo Writing Life web page. I have resisted self-publishing for many years, but I resolved myself to give it a go. My first book, Phase Shift, is now officially published as and E-book at KoboBooks.com (at least it will be within the next 24 to 48 hours). I decided that this was not a venture about money, but one about building an audience. The more books I sell (at a moderately priced CDN$6.99), the more people will purchase and read and then then I can go to a publisher with my next manuscript and audience in tow.

The synopsis of this book goes like this:

Two planets, Earth and Gaia, co-exist in the same space-time though slightly out of phase. When archaeologists find an artifact allowing them to travel between the two worlds, they discover that environmental issues on both planets have caused the planets’ phase variances to grow more alike. Upon exploring Gaia, they realize trade between the planets has been ongoing for decades, and the act of traveling between the worlds only serves to bring the phase variances closer together.  It’s up to the archaeologists, together with scholars from Gaia, to do what they can to stop the impending disaster.

I will post again with the ISBN number once I get it (in 3 – 6 business days) and a link to the page so you can purchase it if you wish. I appreciate any and all feedback. In future novels, I have cast Robert Carlyle in the part of Palmer Richardson, though for this one, it was another actor. I’d love to hear your opinion of how Mr. Carlyle might bring life to this role.

This is exciting. The first glimpse of My Own Little Storybrooke will soon be published. Unlike the OUAT Storybrooke, all visitors are welcome!