Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Youthful Frights vs Adult Fears

As I considered all things frightening for this month's blog hop, I realised it is not the supernatural that scares me. There is a supernatural God who is bigger than all of that. No, here in Queensland, it is the natural world which leaves me gasping and cringing:  Opening the pantry to see a master cockroach scurry away; walking through a clinging spider web and not knowing EXACTLY where the spider is; watching a grass snake make its way toward my back step. These are what send chills through me. And so for this month's blog hop I thought I'd share a humorous piece about something perfectly natural and something which could be potentially horrific: an overseas holiday.

Mort blew the formaldehyde from his nostrils and breathed deep of his new location. The consequences of a quiet night at the morgue hit him completely now. Twenty five words or less had moved him from the clinical, orderly and dead to this seething mass of life. The woman leading a cow, the man on his bicycle selling coconuts, the snake charmer playing his hypnotic tune, vibrant fabrics and the smell of parrotha bread cooking. It all became a single jostling and colourful entity around him.
Twenty-five words or less was also the full extent of his Hindi vocabulary. Someone pushed him; another shoved something exotic and unexplained in his face yelling ‘Arey, Dost. Arey Dost.’
Mort shook his head, palms up, ‘No.’

‘You are English.’

The little merchant repeated the word and became animated. He continued to repeat it as he dragged Mort into a shop. ‘Australi. Australi.’

The fellow gestured and called people to him. They came as swarthy spectres to envelop Mort. He remembered a nightmare that felt like this. All the bodies in the morgue had risen to threaten him. Like swirling zombies they pulled at him, drawing him to their side of eternity.
Someone picked his pocket. He saw them dash away and dissolve into the dust of the market place. Mort wriggled his way to the door gesturing and pointing. ‘Dekkho. Dekkho. That kid took my wallet.’

His futile chase ended when the culprit, and one by one, the surging shadows, disappeared. Alone in the marketplace, the colours about him blurred and the smells were replaced. A new miasma filled his nostrils as the monsoon arrived to mock him. If he ever made it home, he would cancel his subscription to ‘That’s Life.’

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Spectacular Settings

When I first began my story, I created a hand drawn map and searched for images that would fit with my fantasy.   It is three years now and I am still working on the Kingdom of Asteros.  Some of my ideas have been discarded but others have become well known and well loved places.  
 There are three main settings in the story.  It opens in the Ecclesian Forest in Spring.  In the Ecclesian forest there is the Chapter House where the Healing Order lives.  I particularly enjoy this setting because a remote, stone castle at the edge of a forest captivates my imagination. I've added wood panelled Dining halls and Meeting rooms as well as secret trap doors.  Vines grow on the outside.  Also this is where the Weaver's workshop is - a room dominated by a large weaving loom and with a full glass ceiling.  
Also in the Forest is the village of White Oak which supplies the House with staff and food. 

To the North is the city of Rhaegaard, the administration centre of the Kingdom.  It has tall buildings and a river running through it.  It has more advanced technology than the Chapter House. 
My original idea for the Chapter House was that it was remote and if you look hard in the bottom right picture,  you might see a building in the left of the picture.

The southern kingdom of Calaren is where the king lives in a castle above the town nestled into the side of the hill.  (top left).  Here there is a harbour for trade with the rest of the Kingdom.  I love the idea of houses nestled in the hillside like that.   

I recently attended an author talk with Tina Marie Clark who talked about how we can make settings iconic and how they become characters themselves.  Settings ground the reader and bring the world of the story to life.  Readers can fall in love with settings as much as they learn to love the characters who live there.  

All that is true as I continue to live among my characters and enjoy the settings I have created for them.