Out Now: Secret Desires

Secret Desires, by J. Troy Seate, from “The Locked Door Series”

Available online Friday, February 8, 2013

 from MuseItUp Publishing.

Order your copy at:

http://tinyurl.com/b55je5g

SECRETDESIRES

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INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR V. L. MURRAY

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Supernaturalsnackbar would like to welcome author V. L. Murray. She is a writer of spooky tales in varying genres. Here is a brief biography: _____
Bio: Lynne Murray (V. L. Murray) is a published author, poet, composer and editor. She hails from Oshawa, Ontario and spent the first half of her life playing with music: teaching, composing, arranging and performing. She has an undergraduate degree in music instruction from the Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Toronto.
Somewhere in the midst of all that sound, Lynne began to reach into alternative realms to explore the Medicine Wheel, Hatha, Kripalu, Astanga and Bhakti Yogas, the Vedas of ancient India, Buddhism, nature religions, New Age thought, Meditation, spiritual growth, psychic healing and awareness, and Herbal Medicine, to name but a few.
The result was years leading classes, workshops and now writing books on those topics and more. Lynne loves to write stories that intertwine the mystical and divine into everyday life and seeks to remind her readers that the other side is only a breath away.

She is a content editor and member of the staff of MuseItUp Publishing, a Canadian publishing house, out of Quebec. She loves the sound of the spoken word and believes that form and punctuation are just other ways to make it sing.

SSB: Hello Lynne and welcome aboard.
V.L.M.: HI Troy! Thanks for the invite.
SSB: What do you enjoy in addition to writing? ______
V.L.M.: I love animals and have a dog and two cats. I’ve had as many as seven cats and two dogs at the same time. That’s pushing the limit though. I have had three cows, a sheep and a horse. Most lived well into their old age. I also just love to read and so have books all over the house which I am reading at the same time. Occasionally I lose track of the plot but not usually for very long. (Yes, I know that sounds insane.) I love nature, going for walks in the forest, and long drives in the country. Both my husband and I are big history fans so we seek out museums, old buildings, cemeteries and the like. I spent a number of years working as an amateur archaeologist. That was great fun!
I love learning and teaching and was a piano teacher for over 27 years. I also taught spiritual and psychic development classes for many years. That was a really cool experience. I worked at psychic fairs as well, plus did ghost rescues and such.
SSB: Sounds like you’re successful in many endeavors. ______
V.L.M.: I’m not sure how successful I’ve been, but my parents both died in their 60’s and it deeply affected me. My dad was six months short of retiring. Since then I’ve tried to pack as much adventure and experience into my life as humanly possible.
SSB: How did you get into writing and the genres you prefer? ______
V.L.M.: I started writing when I was very very young. My parents were big readers and encouraged literature and poetry as part of our daily lives. I love Edgar A. Poe and so he was the one who could scare me. I was intrigued by mystery and how people could get away with things. Combine that with an affinity for the supernatural and next thing I knew ghost and paranormal stories were coming out of my mind.
SSB: Tell me a little about your current projects? ______
V.L.M.: I am just finishing up a short story with Native American themes and have two novels on the go and a novella. Plus either a series of short stories that follow A Hallowe’en Tale or are in fact a novel. Not sure yet.
SSB: What is it like working and writing for an e-publisher? ______
V.L.M.: It’s fun. I love meeting all the neat authors and I have learned so much and continue to learn daily. It really satisfies all my obsessive compulsive needs. That is pretty handy, lol, plus it’s very much like teaching as well. Something I miss doing full time.
SSB: The old question. What advice would you give to a writer just starting out? _____
V.L.M.: 1) Write every day to keep your hand in. 2) Go to conferences and take workshops. It opens your mind to new things. 3) Keep reading. Don’t keep your head in only your own work. 4) Offer to edit your friend’s writing—if they will let you—or edit work you see around you in the newspaper and such. It teaches you to see writing from a completely different perspective. 5) Nothing is sacred. Don’t be married to your writing. It’s hard to let go of bits of it when it doesn’t work. Don’t take corrections and advice from an editor personally. They are seeing it objectively and it’s important you do the same thing.

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SSB: Would you like to share something from one of your stories? _____

Excerpt from A Hallowe’en Tale:
“The path appeared to be darker than Olivia had imagined, especially on this full moon night. There seemed to be a lot of eerie shadows, and the occasional hoot of an owl or cry of some other wild creature coming from the woods.
“Wow, it’s hard to see.” Artesia clung to Olivia’s arm. “Whose idea was it to come through the fields again? Didn’t your mom tell us not to take this route?”
Olivia’s stubborn character refused to allow her to even contemplate she may have made a poor choice, but her friend wasn’t going to let it go.
She stopped to fix Artesia’s green fairy wing. It was hanging at an unusual angle and she hoped it hadn’t broken when they both crashed into that tree.
Olivia wished she had brought a flashlight. I’m such an idiot! How could I come this way and not even bring a light? She was having a bit of trouble negotiating the terrain. Her floor length, heavy black skirt was certainly warm enough for this slightly chilly autumn evening, but it dragged on the ground and so she kept tripping on the hem.
She was excited about the party, and especially the costume she had chosen, or rather, the person she had chosen to portray. Olivia had finally decided late that afternoon to go as an eccentric artist, someone like her mother’s mother had been. She was going as her own grandmother.
She smiled as the memories flooded into her mind.”

   SSB: We’ve seen Kevin Lucia’s series of articles on the importance of horror at Kristen Lamb’s blog.
How does horror/fantasy impact you and your writing?
V.L.M.: It’s funny, but I don’t see my writing as horror or even scary. I see it as a situation which must be moved through in a certain way to achieve a specific result. I tend to view things like Detective Murdoch does on the TV show. To me it’s a very analytical process. I certainly don’t start out to scare people. That seems to be a byproduct.
SSB: I’ve tried to develop that approach through a series of investigative stories at http://www.overmydeadbody.com/fiction.htm. But since we’re at a supernatural blog site, tell me a ghost story.
V.L.M.: Before my husband and I were married, he was a good friend of the family. His grandmother died and his parents sold her house a week after she died. They also emptied it of all her furniture. He came over and told me there were a number of aloe vera plants in the house which needed new homes and was I interested. I said of course and off we went to get them.
I was studying at the Spiritual Science Institute and we were doing ghost rescue at the time. When Arlen and I arrived at the house and he unlocked the front door, we were met by a frigid ice-like presence in the doorway which made the hair on the back of our necks stand on end. I realized it was most likely his grandmother and whispered to him the possible situation and that he should introduce me to her as if she were alive and then follow my lead.
He did so and we felt her step back to let us in. To make a long story short, I sent him off to find plants and proceeded to talk to her. Knowing it would be a shock, I started by bringing her back to the memory of her illness, hospitalization and then sudden return home. Then I told her gently that she had not survived and was in fact not of this world anymore and needed to move on. I felt her acknowledgement of the situation and then explained to her why we were there.
Arlen had located a basement full of plants by then and filled the car trunk. I asked her if there were any others and she took my elbow—I could feel it distinctly—and pushed me back into her kitchen where she shoved my chin upward when we arrived at the window. I saw a tiny aloe baby plant being rooted on the top of the wooden window frame in a little container.
I asked her if there were any others and she once again grabbed my elbow and pushed me toward the door. I said to Arlen, “I guess we’re going outside.” And off we headed out into the back yard. All the way around the far-side of the house, she pushed my arm. There, stacked on boards, on the TV antenna were several potted plants which we loaded into the car. I asked her once more if there were any others and there was a distinct feeling of quiet and peace which I took to mean no.
When I told her she needed to leave then, she flatly shook her head no. I could physically see her on and off. I explained this was not where she should be now and called in her relatives and friends from the other side to stand behind me to get their assistance. I could feel the heat of their presence. But she said she had a few things to do yet, so I told her she could have three or four days and then we would be back, and if she didn’t leave willingly, I would throw her over myself. We are taught to wrap the entity in white light and send them to the other side to their relatives and friends who await them.
So we said goodbye and then left. When we came back a few days, it was obvious she had left as the house was completely clear.
There’s your ghost story.
SSB: Wow! That’ll give me something to think about tonight. Thanks, Lynne. Let’s do this again.
V.L.M.: Anytime.
Links:
To purchase the story on Muse: http://tinyurl.com/n5wnpxc
My facebook author/editor page is http://www.facebook.com/vlynnemurray
Twitter is @vlynnemurray
My Amazon author page is http://www.amazon.com/author/vlmurray
V.L. Murray’s website. http://www.vlmurray.ca/
My editor/author blog is http://natterandreview.wordpress.com/

And the Winner of the Halloween Flash Fiction Contest is…

And the Winner of the Halloween Flash Fiction Contest is…

Posted by Matt Molgaard on October 28, 2013 in News

Before I do a little name dropping, allow me to speak on this contest as a whole. Things went well, but… interesting for this little writing challenge. We took in more than 80 submissions – plenty from established and quality authors – which is a solid submission rate for a contest that went live 10 days prior to deadline. There were quite a few really, really enjoyable stories (far surpassing the quality of any contest we’ve run previously) that hit the email, but there were even more rushed, last minute entries that suffered from time constraints. It was a bit disheartening to see so many hastily crafted tales, but it’s got to be said that the strong efforts far outshined the weaker tales. And understand that not every short was fantastic or outright wretched. There were a number of solid but not stellar pieces (always tough to sort through) to manage, and it did indeed create a conundrum when attempting to select the winner of this contest.

But I’ve done quite a bit of reading over the last few days, and I’m confident in my selection. And to this authors’ credit, the top of the heap was rich with talent. Terry M. West, Chris Thorndycroft, V.E. Hunter, John Paul Davies, Ian McCain, Mark Allan Gunnells, Alexandra Corinth and Michelle Tvete are just a few (I say that in all sincerity) of the authors who turned in kick ass stories. Any one of those authors could have walked away with the prize. But in the end, it was J. T. Seate who left me really, really stunned. I’m not too familiar with Seate’s work, but I’ll be damned if the story I received, Cactus Berries, wasn’t wildly enjoyable. Of course, when you’re beating out authors like West, Gunnells and McCain, the quality of your writing doesn’t need a lot of hyperbole. It speaks for itself, and Cactus Berries left me pleasantly surprised and a little speechless to boot. It’s a story worthy of victory, and that’s why Seate is going to take home $50 and a bunch of cool horror treats.

Congrats J.T., I loved the story and you did one hell of a job in separating yourself from a very strong pack. Your package (I’m still waiting on a few mail arrivals) will head out the moment I’ve got the final piece of your hearty swag bundle in hand.