Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Fictional Fun: If You Say My Name 3 Times

I won't show up on your doorstep. I won't haunt you. I promise. 

When one thinks about demons in Young Adult literature, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Paranormal romance? Alluring fallen angels?

My current wip, not so much. I'm working with a spin-your-head-in-circles, foul-breath, risen from the darkest depths of evil, possession kind of demon. It's not pretty. Naming the entity presented an issue for me. 

Remember the crude, yet hysterical Betelgeuse (aka Beetlejuice) from the 80's flick? In the movie, if you repeated his name 3 times, he appeared.

(We have a family friend who's sort of like Betelgeuse.)

I began researching demon names for my entity, and whoa! I came across some freaky sites. One in particular, (they were serious as all get out) mentioned to summon a demon, all one had to do is continue to repeat its name. Now, as you can imagine, I slammed on the brakes, and thought, I refuse to hit that tree head on.
 
So instead of using a real demon name, I did what any fiction writer would do. I made it up. Creating names for people, places, and things are one of the joy rides of writing fiction. At least I think so. 

Here are a few demon names I crafted:

Belzarith
Abbalot
Lizenth
Jezarene
Jezawon

No matter how many times I have to type it, think it, say it, or have my main character shout it when she's banishing, I'm playing it safe. 

Do you ever get freaked out by creating an evil character in your fiction?

Have a writerly weekend, y'all~

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Writerly Wednesday: SCBWI Volunteer, Little A. Postcards & Signing Books

I'm going to try something new on my blog. The usual day for my weekly posts is Wednesday, where I often post about something writerly. Writerly isn't a word, but I like it. So, I'm sticking with it. 

Here's where the new comes into play. I'll also post on Fridays. Fridays will be fictional fun days. Maybe it's the inner-kid in me, but who doesn't love Fridays? Fridays will feature all the super-cool things that rock my fictional world. I'd like to think it'll add some flavor. Personality. 

For my first Writerly Wednesday, I'd like to share a few exciting things. 

Recently, I agreed to write for our regional SCBWI blog. One of our local authors had been writing the entire blog by herself. Of course she's fabulous, but what a huge task for one individual. So now I'm helping. I know! *squeals* Exciting right?

This morning, I led the monthly schmooze for our regional SCBWI meeting. *double squeals* This month's topic: Promise and Fulfillment: Novel Beginnings and Endings. We had a fabulous discussion today, and I'm quite confident everyone ran home to check out their wip's beginnings and endings. I did.

I signed five copies of LITTLE ACORN'S BIG FALL today. Five! *triple squeals*

And last, but certainly not least, one of our regional SCBWI members had these adorable postcards made up
for me! I'm pretty sure this member doesn't blog, but Mary, I'm so deeply humbled. You're gift means the world to me. 

(I won't quadruple *squeal* the sound would remind me of the movie Psycho's theme song.)

That's it for my writerly Wednesday. If you have any writerly news, be sure to leave it in the comments below.

Have a writerly week. See y'all Friday~

Friday, May 24, 2013

Writing Scary: Thoughts on Plotting Creepy Scenes

This week while working on a new wip, I attempted to write a scary scene. When I read back through what I'd written, it sort of fell flat. Mediocre macabre. My flimsy attempt at spooky wasn't my subject matter, it was more about honest writing, writing from my gut. Needless to say, I'll be rewriting and rewriting until the scene scares the bejeezies out of me.

Author Christina Lay talks about writing what scares you in this blog post. Her post resonated with me, and gave me a few pointers to consider during my rewrites.

What did I learn from this week's writing? I realized writing scary isn't merely typing out the words or telling a creepy story. It's about reaching down into the depths of my own fear pit and extracting my honest reactions, thoughts, and feelings. It's about writing from the very place that scares me the most. It's creeping down the basement stairs and investigating the horrid underbelly of a haunted house. Opening the closet door and facing the demons lurking inside. Hiking through a dark forest even though there are monsters behind every tree. It's about exposing raw fear and allowing the reader to experience every choking moment along with me.

If you write horror, please feel free to share how you reach your sweet scary spot.

I recently signed up to follow the Horror Writers Association Young Adult Fiction blog called Scary Out There. The author of the ROT & RUIN series, Jonathan Maberry, features interviews with young adult horror authors. LOVE IT!

Here's a song from my wip's playlist. Enjoy and have a writerly weekend.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tara Tyler's POP TRAVEL Cover Reveal & 7 of My Own Travel Confessions

Drum Roll please... I'm thrilled to reveal the cover for POP TRAVEL by author Tara Tyler (the uber-creative mastermind behind many blog headers around the blogosphere, like mine!). Can you say, multi-talented?

How cool is her cover?


POP TRAVEL by Tara Tyler
Cover Reveal: May 13, 2013
Release Date: July 7, 2013
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Back Cover:
Private Investigator J. L. Cooper always knew pop travel laser teleportation was too good to be true. Finding video proof of a disintegrating traveler is the stomach turning “I told you so.”

Cooper can’t broadcast the video on the nosy, government monitored Qnet, so he digs around, revealing more suspicious traveler disappearances, the death of his client, and threats to his political little brother, who is in jeopardy of turning to dust anyway for disregarding Cooper’s warnings not to pop. Cooper has to do everything himself.

To stop the disappearances and save his brother he must shut down the ruthless mega corp Pop Travel International (PTI). And that means convincing Hasan Rakhi, the celebrity Creator of pop travel, to publicly admit the deadly flaw. No problem. Under constant surveillance, Cooper will have to be unpredictable, facing his fear of popping to crash a party at Hasan’s well-fortified plantation compound. Yes, the laser fences are real. As long as he survives his next pop, Cooper won’t let anything distract him from getting the job done. Not the android security guards, who aren’t as bright as they look, or even Southern Comfort in a purple dress, Geri Harper (an undercover Agent). Nothing Coop can’t handle.

 
Tara's Bio:
Math teacher by day, sports mom by night, when does she have time to write?
Good question, but the Lazy Housewife makes time! Tara Tyler writes sci fi, thriller, and fantasy, with dabs of romance and humor and tips for efficient living. Something for everyone.

Congrats on your upcoming publication, Tara!!

***





Last week I was nominated by Tonette dela Luna (Yay! and thanks, Tonette!) for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! You know me, I'm terrible with blog awards, but I thought it'd be fun to announce this one in conjunction with Tara's cover reveal. The rules are: link back to the blogger who awarded you, reveal 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 bloggers (here's where I suck at awards). Anyone and everyone reading my blog, I nominate YOU! If you visit here, you must rock & inspire, right?!

To keep in the spirit of POP TRAVEL,  here are 7 of my travel confessions (all true):

1. I despise (fear) flying (even though since the age of 4, I've flown from Houston to Chicago 2x per year to visit my father).

2. When I was young, I could always convince one of the flight attendants to play the Crazy 8 card game with me.

3. Chewing gum (or swallowing) does NOT work when you have sinus issues.

4. For some odd reason, I like to use airplane bathrooms. Part of me thinks it helps pass the time. But there's another part of me that just wants to get up and be nosy, observing all the passengers.

5. Nowadays, I have to take an anti-anxiety pill or stop by the terminal bar before boarding.

6. I perform a visual pat down of every passenger, searching for bulged pockets or anything out of the ordinary. Then I watch any suspicious folk like a hawk during the flight.

7. And the funniest was two years ago when I thought there was an issue with the cabin pressure of our plane. I hit the button for the flight attendant twice. She pretty much looked at me like I was freak, assuring me nobody else on the plane was having problems. My daughters teased me when we landed. They said, "Mom, if you wanted to play cards with her, why didn't you just ask?"

Have a writerly week, y'all and watch for POP TRAVEL on July 7!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Final Day of May Monster Madness -- It's Been a Howlin' Good Time!

This is day 7 and the final day of May Monster Madness hosted by Annie Walls , Something wicKED This Way Comes, & Little Gothic Horrors. I hope you've enjoyed my Texas monsters this week! Many of you have commented about the number of monster legends around Texas. 

Texas is HUGE with a population of 26 million and growing. There are ten different climate regions in Texas and eleven different ecological regions. There are vast areas with little or no civilization. So I guess IF monsters exist, Texas would be an excellent place to hide! 
My notebook

These were the seven most exciting monsterly stories from my Texas supernatural notebook. There are more where these came from. O_O 

I've learned about many of these legends from a creeptastic book called WEIRD TEXAS.  I've went on many road trips inspired by the stories in this book.

Aaaaaa-oooooo!! Let's chat werewolves today. It seems there are many legends of werewolves around the world. These are a few stories of werewolves in Texas. The story I found most bizarre was the legend of a baby girl in Marshall, Texas back in the 1950's, abducted from her crib allegedly by a large dog or wolf. She was believed to have survived and turned feral, and raised by the pack of dogs or wolves. She's still known today as the Wild Woman near those parts and is said to still roam, sometimes seen on all fours through the dense forests. The last known sighting was in the 1990's. Is that weird or what?

photo from WEIRD TEXAS
In Kimble County, legend has it a Native American Shaman could shape shift into a large wolf. According to the legend, which you can read in full  HERE, a tombstone carver carved a representation of the beast into a limestone cliff in Bear Creek. It's known as the "Cleo" face. To date, there are no known images of the Cleo face. It supposedly sits on private property and there is no public access.

We also have the legendary Converse Werewolf story from the 1800's. You can read the longer version HERE. Here's the short version: A young rancher's son was sent out to hunt. He never returned. When a search party found him, a large wolfman was bent over, devouring him. A few of the men shot at the creature, but it escaped. 

Well folks, it's been a monsterly romp these past few days. I've enjoyed reading your posts and meeting some new friends! Thank you so much to our hosts. See y'all around!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 6 May Monster Madness -- The Texas Big Bird

Welcome to Day 6 of May Monster Madness, hosted by Annie Walls, Little Gothic Horrors, & Something wicKED This Way Comes.

photo credit American Monsters
I've been featuring reported monsterly sightings from around my home state of Texas. Today I'm introducing you to Texas' Big Bird. No, not the canary-colored, neighborly pal, but a monstrous winged beast. 

Many of Texas' accounts began in the 1970's in the Rio Grande Valley area. American Monsters website wrote a detailed post you can read here. It features several eyewitness accounts. One man's story claims the creature mutilated some of his cattle.

Some believe the beast to be the Native American legend of the Thunderbird. Here are a few stories of the strange creature.

Many creature-seekers dedicate their lives to proving the existence of creatures like Big Bird. I owe heaps of gratitude to some of these folk. They've provided me with information, sparking my inspiration for many of my stories. One of my favorite crypto-hunters is a Texas Cryptozoologist, Ken Gerhard. He has written a book about the giant winged beasts, BIG BIRD! MODERN SIGHTINGS OF FLYING MONSTERS.

Of course, Texas also has a few species of birds, some endangered, which have large wingspans. Is it possible that the sightings were merely mistaken identities of a Bald Eagle, vulture, crane, or the Great Blue Heron?

Most recently (2008), there have been a few eyewitness accounts of the Texas Big Bird in the San Antonio area.  This man's account refers to a large flying creature with a 10-12 foot wingspan and bat-like or pterodactyl features. 

Wikipedia
The Quetzalcoatlus was a pterodactyloid pterosaur, from around 66 million years ago. The first Quetzalcoathlus fossils were found in the Big Bend National Park in west Texas in 1971.

Do you think it's possible a prehistoric bird-like creature still exists? Logic tells us no, but sometimes, I wonder. 

I've visited the vast, west Texas deserts several times. I'll tell you this, out there, the barren and harsh landscape whiplashes the imagination into high gear. And then anything is possible.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 5 May Monster Madness -- Creepy Black Eyed Kids

Today is day 5 of May Monster Madness, and I've been featuring monsters known around Texas. May Monster Madness is a bloghop hosted by Annie WallsSomething wicKED This Way Comes, and  Little Gothic Horrors. 

Today will be short & creepy. Wednesdays, I meet with my writing partner for coffee. So no sketch. Boo!

Introducing, the Black Eyed Kids, first known report (1988), you guessed it, Abilene, Texas. Brian Bethel retells the event here. a.k.a. the BEKs.

After numerous accounts of these creepy kid encounters across the nation, David Weatherly wrote about book about them. This is a fabulous review by Horror Talk.

Here is Two Crows Paranormal, David Weatherly's excellent blog.

Never invite them into your home!

Are they aliens? Vampires? or some weird hybrid?
 
Insidious threat or myth? I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not taking any chances! Muah! Ha! Ha!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 4 May Monster Madness--El Cucuy

Yay, it's day 4 of May Monster Madness hosted by Annie Walls, Something wicKEd This Way Comes, Little Gothic Horrors! As you can tell, I'm having a Texas, two-steppin' blast with this blogfest. Mucho kudos go out to the hosts!

Now for the El Cucuy...Dun, dun, dun!

Considered the south Texas' official boogeyman, the El Cucuy is one of the creepiest of the Texas monsters, pronounced "el koo-koo-ee".  

More of an urban legend, El Cucuy (Coco, Cuca, or Calaca) is a goblin-like creature with glowing eyes, razor sharp claws and fangs. Attracted to the disobedient and ill-mannered child, El Cucuy is known throughout many cultures, especially in Spain and Latin America. In the San Antonio, Texas area, El Cucuy has appeared on more than one occasion. Some believe he is a shape-shifter and can morph into other creatures. He can hide almost anywhere, and is notorious for lurking under the beds of misbehaving children.

My husband's deceased grandmother was from Mexico. They moved to south Texas when she was a small child. She recalled El Cucuy as more of a "you'd better be good or else El Cucuy will get you" legend. Which is still make-your-hair-stand-on-end freaky, especially when you see an image of the impish creature. I would NOT want it lurking under my bed!

Here's a wicked little lullaby from the Latin culture. "Duermete niño, duermete ya...que viene el cuco y te comerá (sleep child, sleep now...or else comes the coco to eat you)."

Of course, my MMM posts wouldn't be complete without a sketch. I've included one after my excerpt from a Middle Grade story I wrote last year. Because I'm afraid of the dark, I sketch my creatures in a sweet sort of way. I'm a forty-something-year-old baby, and it helps conquer my fears. :)

***

Here's a scene from a MG story I wrote last year.


Turn Out the Light... Night, Night

Hiding under his bed covers, Sergio heard a thump from somewhere in the dark room. Something scurried under his bed, waiting, watching. Visions of the El Cucuy, plagued his mind. The creature preyed on children who wouldn't go to sleep. It abducted them straight from their beds, and they were never seen again.
Something pressed up into the mattress from below, poking him in the back. 
He froze. Close your eyes. Count sheep. Anything! Sergio tried to scream out for his mother, but nothing happened. Fear gripped his throat, choking him.
Thump!
Something tugged at his blanket from the foot of the bed. He grabbed his end, yanking it up over his eyes. 
Well, at least there was one positive side to being slaughtered by a goblin in the middle of the night; At least he'd get out of not doing his homework.
***

See? Not so scary. Maybe my El Cucuy would make a cute character for a picture book!





Monday, May 13, 2013

Day 3 May Monster Madness - Bigfoot!

For Day 3 of May Monster Madness I'm introducing you to Bigfoot, Texas style. He's known as the Caddo Creature, Monkey Man, Wood Ape, and many other names throughout the state. Creeping through the swampy, big thicket of east Texas, there have been umpteen-thousands of sightings over the years. East Texas is very "squatchy".

 
The Gulf Coast Bigfoot Reasearch Organization has tons of information about their research and sightings. Texas also has the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy, who's main goal is proving Bigfoot's existence with proven scientific research.

There's even a town called Bigfoot, Texas.

As a child, I was obsessed with Bigfoot. I grew up in the 70's and I was a huge fan of the famous Patterson-Grimlin video. I'm still fascinated with watching shows like Finding Bigfoot, and I'm still waiting for them to prove his existence. If I could get paid "squatch-watching," I would.

***

 And last, but not least, I've written two stories for kids featuring Bigfoot, one picture book and one MG. But my Bigfoot is more of a fuzzy woodland creature. Think Harry from the movie Harry and the Henderson's. Here's a sketch I did last summer for my picture book.





Sunday, May 12, 2013

Day 2 of May Monster Madness: Lake Worth Monster

Day 2 of May Monster Madness hosted by Annie Walls, Little Gothic Horrors, and Something wicKED This Way Comes features the wild legend of the Lake Worth Monster, aka the Goatman of Greer Island. I first read about this story in the Weird Texas book. Here's a link to their site and the story: Weird Texas - Goatman.  

I doodle, especially when I'm inspired with a new character or story. Here's my doodle from my story The Beast Under the Bridge.

I had a blast researching this Texas legend. I discovered a half-man, half-goat creature is also known to roam in a of couple other states. 

This year, I'll be attending the Lake Worth Monster Bash hosted by the Fort Worth (Texas) Nature Center and Refuge. Can't wait!

The late Sallie Anne Clarke, a well-known researcher of the Lake Worth Goatman self-published a book The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island in 1969. She claims to have seen the creature three times over her years of research. Southern Fried Bigfoot, which aired on the Documentary Channel, features an interview with Sallie Anne Clarke about the encounters.

Nick Redfern, a ufologist, cryptozoologist, and author wrote a great blog post here about the Goatman.

Stephanie Erb, a local Texas author wrote a picture book, Cam the Man Hunts the Spooky Goatman .

***

 Here's a blurb from a story I wrote for my MG creepy Texas monster collection:


The Beast Under the Bridge

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Sutter never walks across Goatman bridge. He runs. But there comes a time when a boy must conquer his childhood fears. While out fishing, Charlie decides to cast his line from the center of the bridge, even though he's secretly freaked. And for good reason. There, lurking behind him is the infamous Goatman. When Charlie whirls around and discovers the creature, he realizes he's trapped and there's nowhere to run. 


***

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May Monster Madness Day 1: Chasing the Chupacabras

May Monster Madness is hosted by Annie Walls, Little Gothic Horrors, & Something wicKED This Way Comes.

Day 1 entry for May Monster Madness is in two parts. The first is an introduction to a legendary monster who's made itself known right here, in a tiny Texas town. The second is a post from last year, featuring a middle grade character from a short story I wrote about Chupacabras. 

Part I: Meet the Chupacabra. 

 After several DNA studies, the results still lean toward a hybrid creature, possibly a cross between a coyote and a Mexican Wolf. Dr. Phylis Canion from Cuero, TX has studied the beast for several years. Although she does not get paid for her dedicated years of research, Dr. Canion continues to search for concrete, scientific facts surrounding the creature's mystery. 

I traveled over one hundred miles to visit the small town of Cuero. I met a woman who showed me pictures of a beast her friend found dead in her barn. The creature must've entered the barn to kill a newborn calf, where it met its demise from a ticked off mama cow.  

In the end, I never happened upon my own siting of the beast, but I did end up with this cool t-shirt. In case you decide to skip the story stuff below, thanks for your visit. Hope you enjoyed the post.

Part II: Chasing the Chupacabras

The name's Sealy Dixon, and I'm from the small town of Cuero, TX. 

Here's a tidbit of my story: Summers are generally borrrriiing at Gram's ranch, but not this one. Have you heard about the recent creature sightings in Cuero? Well then, let me be the first to tell you about the Chupa-freakin'-cabra.

Gram refuses to kill it even though the thing has eaten six of her baby calves. Yup, sucked the blood right out of them. I think she's flipped her lid, but she claims everything needs to eat. Blah, blah, blah. 

So anyways, the Sheriff over in DeWitt County videoed one running in front of his patrol car. I saw the tape. Creeeepppy! The thing looked completely bald, had a gigantic head, protruding fangs, and it had skin like an elephant. When it turned back and glared at the camera before scampering off the road, I thought, sheesh-louise!

Since I'm so amazingly techie, here's a video of the beast running from the patrol car.
 

Some say it's a hairless coyote or a cross of a Mexican Wolf and a coyote. But whatever it is, it's freeeeaky. I've seen what it does to livestock, and it ain't pretty.

As if this wasn't enough excitement for one summer, the neighbor boy, my old tree-climbing buddy, had to go all gorgeous on me over the past school year. I'm talking, drool-all-over-him cute. Stutter-when-I-speak, slam-dunk, hot.

Candilynn might want to change the title of my story from Chasing the Chupacabras to Chasing a Boy & the Chupacabras.

So, if you see my author lurking around your blog, tell her Sealy Dixon's looking for her. 

Thanks ~Sealy D.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

May Monster Madness, Texas Style

I'm so super psyched about the May Monster Madness blogfest!  For those of you who don't think I can blog everyday for a full week, just you wait! A monster mash-up is my creepy cup of tea. *rubs hands*

May Monster Madness is hosted by  Annie Walls, Emma at Little Gothic Horrors, and Ked at Something wicKED Comes This Way

So get ready! Starting Saturday, May 11, I'll be featuring my monsterly posts for May Monster Madness, Texas style! 

If you're up for some spooky fun, join us!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

IWSG & Kelsey Macke's 6 Lies We Tell Ourselves

It's the 1st Wednesday of the month and time to acknowledge our writerly insecurities or offer up support for those who need it. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh. A HUGE thanks goes out to Alex and this month's helpers, Mark Koopmans, Lynda R. Young, & Rachna Chhabria!

This morning, I emailed my new & improved manuscript to my agent. I've worked the past month on major rewrites, and after receiving help from two new CPs, I'm satisfied. I'm in love with it again. Fingers crossed my agent will be all smiley when she reads it! 

I'm also in the final revising stages on my short story submission for SUCKER LITERARY ANTHOLOGY. Yeah, I have about 10 hours to finish them to make the deadline. I. Will. Succeed.

I'm too busy today to feel insecure, so I thought I'd share with you the latest Kelsey Macke video, 6 Lies We Tell Ourselves. I follow her on You Tube, and every Friday, I get a dose of inspiration. In my opinion, she's the Goddess of writerly wisdom. Not to mention, she's a hoot and 1/2. 

If you're struggling with writing, and you're thinking of tossing it all away, throwing in the towel, waving the white flag, washing your hands of it, bailing out, weaseling out or chickening out, pay very close attention to lie #6. 

 May the writerly force be with you!