Magic- part 2: LET THEM BELIEVE

I'm working on a Sacred Land story about believing in legends. It got me thinking about how we can believe in magical stories or creatures to the point where they affect our lives and the lives of those we care about. Is it healthy to believe in such things? When others believe, does it make us believe? Why?

Is it possible to believe so hard, we make it real?

When I was in the hospital, and the nurse asked me to tell her about Whisperers, she countered with a story about a fairy that lives under her deck. She was as serious as could be, too. So serious, I believed her.

I had a reader tell me it was amazing I could write so well about Gabe in Petrified, when he isn't alive yet. Um... he's a fictional character, he won't ever be alive... "Well, not for another hundred years!" she snapped.

When my daughter was around seven she came up to me in her need-to-know-the-truth-about-everything attitude and demanded to know if Santa was real. She had her arms crossed and looked ready to debate anything I was going to say.

Now... it felt like a dare. I could have said he was real or not real, but I figured I'd let her reach that conclusion on her own. So I said, "Do you believe that a jolly man in a red suit flies all over the world in a sled pulled by magical flying reindeer, delivering toys his elves made? Do you believe that such a man could sneak into not only our house and leave gifts but houses all over the world? And do this in one night? Despite storms or weather, or whatever? Do you really believe such a thing?" Skepticism dripped from my voice.

She looked me square in the eyes and answered, "Yeah."

Okay then. What more could I say? She looked relieved I wasn't going to challenge her beliefs.

It was not at all where I thought we were going with that conversation so I left it at that. It never came up again until we were walking in a mall many years later and a guy walked by us. He had a long grey beard and was dressed in a work shirt. He had suspenders and was walking on a mission to find something in the mall. My first reaction was that he was in pretty good shape for a plump guy. By this time, I'm sure both my children knew the truth about Santa yet...

She nudged her brother, "Did you see that guy."

He smiled. "Yeah. Santa shops here, too."

I took a second look. Geepers. It might be Santa!

Have you ever witnessed such a strong  belief in something magical that it gets you to question your own beliefs?

A Peek into your Life-- Teresa Cypher

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

Teresa is not only a great blogger, she's a warrior. And well, I love warriors. I find her posts not only inspiriting but they motivate me to get out and write. Check our her blog, Dreamers, lovers, and Star Voyagers to see for yourself how talented this woman is! We met when she stopped by my blog way back in 2011. We've shared a few laughs over the years, and now a few tears.

Welcome, Teresa!
So how did you become a blogger?
Back in 2006, I joined a Q&A forum. I read comments left by others about their blogs. I didn’t even know what a blog was. So I investigated. The blogs were called livespaces and they were powered by MSN. That’s where I cut my virtual blogging teeth. It was fun, and I found friends aka followers pretty fast. Some of them are still on my followers list and vice versa.

Looking back, I have to smile at that experience. What it was when viewed through the simplifying rearview mirror was a bunch of bumbling, late-middle-agers working together to figure out a new technology. When one of us learned something, we all did. I still recall the thrill of adding music to my blog, and a guestbook. We did okay for old folks. ~Laughing~
That's awesome! We didn't even have Internet around here in 2006. lol.

What rewards have you found from running such an intriguing and diverse blog?
I'm still so glad I jumped into blogging—head first. It is such a marvelous thing. The best part has been the people. Incredibly talented writers, creators of stories, crafts, and advice. But more than anything, it’s how the people all reach out to each other, offering support, virtual hugs, a pat on the back or a kick on the behind when others desperately need one. I’ve had low days when a comment on my latest post just lifted me right up. And I like to think I’ve done that for others upon occasion.

What are you currently working on?
I am working on a novel titled Across the Night Sky. It’s a SciFi Romance. One day in 2005, the writing bug hit me hard. I’d written poetry before, but never fiction, let alone a novel. Yet…there I was. I knew the story I wanted to tell, but was still unsure about how to write it. I talked with my daughter who has a BA in English—I’m running on high school English classes. My main boggle—that I didn’t identify until months later, was that I was falling back on “How to write a research paper.” It’s okay. You can laugh. I do. (lol). It was what my formal education had taught me. We’d never even covered short story writing or fiction at all. Sad, huh?

Back to my boggle: It was half POV, and half fiction vs. research. Yikes! I know. So how on Earth did I EVER manage to write a book? I asked my daughter this: “Should I write it so that the readers know what the character is feeling, thinking, doing?” In retrospect, I think I was asking if I should step back and tell the story in a clinical, detached sort of way, or should I wade into it, emotions and all—because it could get messy. My daughter made it genius-simple for me. Her answer, “If you don’t empathize with the characters, the reader never will.”

The rest is history. Four months later I was writing the final lines in a 700 page, tear-jerking tome.

My mom loved it. She kept asking me when I was getting it published. ~laughing again~. She thought the sender of the first form rejection letter was completely off his rocker. (He wasn’t). It was so far from being ready to be published. This October will mark 10 years since I started penning that book. It had so many problems that if I hadn’t promised my mom I’d get it published, I would have walked away from it.

My mom was admitted to the hospital in Oct 2010 with trouble breathing. She turned 83 the day she was admitted. The last time I spoke with her was a few days later, I was leaving her hospital room after visiting her. I’d almost reached the door when she asked, “So, what all is involved in this publishing process? Because I am getting a copy of the book for Christmas, right?” (I’d decided to pay to have a couple of copies printed as the book stood—so she’d stop heckling me about getting it published).
The question stopped my exit. I turned around and went back to my chair beside her bed. And I delved into what was involved with self-publishing. She really loved the story—and I’d written two more books in the series—for her. I never really thought they’d see publication.

The really important thing about that question she asked me was that I spent 20 more minutes with my mom. And I got to hug her and tell her one more time, “I love you mom.” And that I’d see her soon.

She had a massive heart attack while still in the hospital. Her DNR never made it to her chart. They resuscitated her, sort of. She never
fully came back. On her best day, she was childlike. But she couldn’t swallow, and her stomach rejected the liquid through the feeding tube, and then she’d try to throw up, but she couldn’t swallow and she’d end up choking and struggling. And she had intense pain and…and… Her kidneys failed. They put in a port for dialysis. Two days later the port failed…

We stopped all aggressive treatment.

She went into hospice. My daughter and I took the night shift, keeping vigil at her bedside. During the day, I hastily typed the ending to the series and I read it to her while she lay wordless, expressionless, dying one moment at a time. For ten days… And I promised her, again, through tears, that I’d get it published for her.

And that’s it. The book I’m working on. The book I’ve been working on since I finished writing it. I really think it’s getting close. For my mom. I don’t know where my writing will go after I get this one out there. But the journey has been incredible.

And you know what got me this far? Other writers. Writers I’ve discovered through my blog, through Twitter, Facebook, and weekly writing memes. They’ve offered endless advice, crits, and encouragement. So, back to the answer about the best thing to come out of running a blog. All the people I’ve met.
I am a tough cookie to get crying, but I have to admit to a few tears on this answer.

What book would you recommend as "this is a book every writer should read”?
Definitely, Stephen King’s “On Writing”.
Loved it.

Do you over-write or under-write
Ha! Can’t you tell from these answers, Tanya. I’m long-winded, so I lean toward overwriting. I’m trying to cure it. I do better now. A professional editor who read ATNS as a favor to a friend of mine commented that there was some overwriting.

What amazes you about being a writer?
There’s nothing remarkable about me. But when I tell people I’ve written a book, they all think I’m semi-famous, or my life has suddenly become incredibly interesting to them. And I find that kind of fascinating. Has your experience been anything similar, Tanya? I live in a world where I don’t actually know any writers. My husband tells me that just finishing writing a book—even if it’s never published, is amazing.
I know what it means to work on a book for ten years. You are remarkable to me. As for how others see us... we'll talk. lol. I have stories.

What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my children. I think all three of them are good human beings. I think they’re kind to other people. Nothing can top that…

What one thing did you learn that you wish to pass on to other parents? Or writers? Or adventurers? or star voyagers? Almost everyone will offer advice to you. Take it all with a grain of salt. But be grateful for every bit shared. It comes well-intended, even if it won’t work for you. That goes for writers, parents, and adventurers. Other star voyagers? The sky isn’t the limit. It’s endless. It’s a dicey place. Keep your ray-gun primed and your dagger sharp. Never offer your hand for a handshake--you could end up missing fingers. And when you’re tempted to give a big, old, human smile, remember that in some alien cultures, baring your teeth is a challenge—a risky one.

Ha! Thanks for such an emotional peek into your life! I am SOOOOO happy you stopped by!

Can't Dream Without You

Exciting announcement!

Dreaming is the easy part in the first novel from Tanya Reimer’s Dark Chronicles  In a haunting ritual performed by his father, Steve’s soul is linked to Julia, an innocent. To protect her, Steve haunts her dreams, but it has the opposite effect and now he can’t dream without her. 

DARTFORD, KENT – 18 May 2015 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the signing of a deal with Canadian author Tanya Reimer for her post-apocalyptic supernatural fantasy Can’t Dream Without You, a novel from the Dark Chronicles.

Legends say that tens of thousands of years ago, Whisperers were banished from the heavens, torn in half, and dumped on a mortal realm they didn’t understand. Longing for their other half, they went from being powerful immortals to lonely leeches relying on humans to survive. Over the years, they earned magic from demons, they left themselves Notebooks with hints, and by pairing up with human souls, they eventually found their other halves. Humbled by their experiences, they discovered the true purpose of life and many were worthy of returning to the heavens. But many were not.

The Dark Chronicles are stories that share the heartache of select unworthy Whisperers on their journey to immortality after The War of 2019. Can’t Dream Without You is one of those stories, in which we meet Steve and Julia, two such heroes.

Steve isn’t a normal boy. He plays with demons, his soul travels to a dream realm at night using mystical butterflies, and soon he’ll earn the power to raise the dead. Al thinks that destroying him would do the world a favour, yet he just can’t kill his own son. Wanting to acquire the power that raises the dead before Steve does, Al performs a ritual on Steve’s sixteenth birthday. He transfers Steve’s dark magic to Julia, an innocent girl he plans to kill. But Steve is determined to save Julia and sucks her soul to Dreamland.

From the dream world, he invokes the help of her brother to keep her safe. Five years later, Steve can’t tell what’s real or what’s a nightmare. Julia’s brother wants to kill him, a strange bald eagle is erasing memories, and Steve’s caught in some bizarre bullfight on another realm with a cop hot on his trail looking to be Julia’s hero. All the while, Steve and Julia must fight the desperate need to make their steamy dreams a reality.

According to Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, the post-apocalyptic world of the Whisperers that Tanya has created is “recognisably contemporary, yet with a rich and deep mythology distinguishing it from our own world while at the same time making it much more credible. These are characters you might expect to meet, but really wouldn’t want to!”

Tanya has previously published Petrified, a young adult story from the world of the Whisperers, but Can’t Dream Without You is the first of the Dark Chronicles and is written for adults.  It will be published early in 2016 by Elsewhen Press in both digital and print editions.  

Magic- part 1: DON'T RUIN IT FOR THEM

I had to teach  a magic class to kids. Now, I am in no way a magician. But! I can learn anything, even magic. Excited, I set to the task and worked hard at it. I studied several tricks, mastered them (I use that word lightly. I got okay with them would be a more accurate statement) and then I captivated my audience. Okay, maybe not captivate, but it was cool.

"How did you do THAT!?!" Even though I am not very good and my tricks were oh so simple, they were astonished. So I did it again, slower, in case they could catch what I was doing. They tried to figure it out and couldn't.

Then I did something horrible. I showed them HOW I did it. It was a magic class, I was supposed to teach them how... right?

The blank looks I got had lost all excitement.

The magic had died.

Did they want to practice to be able to do these tricks? Nope. Well... one did... there is always one.

Anyway, fast-forward.... same kids, during a summer camp, I thought I'd give them a little magic show. I have these okay abilities, I might as well put them to use. Magic is hard, and if you don't practice it in front of a crowd, you will not get better at it. Plus, I knew they would be very forgiving since they knew the tricks.

I was expecting them to say, "I know that trick." And come up and do it for us. Because they did know them all.

They did not offer. Well, that  one did... the others sat and gaped like I was magical. They were captivated and demanded I show them how I did that.

I already had... but I said "Nope, it's magic." I learnt my lesson. Never ruin the magic for others.

This can apply to all forms of art. I remember my daughter being captivated by a piano player. She couldn't believe how great he was. I know what it takes to be that good so I brought her up to the young man and asked how often he practiced. "Four hours a day. Everyday." Was his non-magical answer. The excitement she had faded. The magic was gone. He had to work to be that good.

Magic is an illusion we enjoy because we want to believe.

Have you created this for others or ruined it for them?
In what magical things do you believe?