Magic

February Magic!

You know what I find magical? Birthdays! My Dad always gave me grief as a kid for decorating for my birthday about a month ahead, LOL! While I don’t enjoy them quite as much now (they’re just not as fun as a grown up!) we have an almost double-birthday this month. My eldest daughter and my dad’s birthdays are just four days apart (my daughter was supposed to have been born on his birthday…but apparently she had her own ideas.) I find it fascinating some of the similarities between them as Aquarius babies. Do you think the day that you’re born is part of what determines who and what you’ll be?

Years ago, by chance, my husband and I came upon this book, The Element Encyclopedia of Birthdays. Looking up the birthdays of those we knew, we were rather surprised to find some of the personality similarities in those we knew listed according to their birthday! I think my husband was the most surprised, since he’s definitely a skeptic when it comes to things like horoscopes and predictions.

Each of the birthdays is also given a name, a greatest challenge, a dark side and what that person is at their best. Mine is “the birthday of expectation” and even I was surprised and laughed a little to find that my greatest challenge is listed as “knowing how to relax.” Why is this amusing? Because I forgot about the reminder – but definitely didn’t forget that it’s still a challenge, LOL! There are a lot of other elements though that definitely fit who I am.

What about you? Do you think that the day you’re born has any influence on your personality or who you are?

News and author-stuff, Writing

Finding Joy Amidst the January Blahs

We are well into the January and mid-winter “Blechs,” aren’t we?

I think this year it’s feeling worse for probably almost all of us since there’s the usual dull-dark of January – especially if, like me, you live in the northern hemisphere with snow and generally less light and sun at this time of year – but this year brings us still more special stresses, doesn’t it? With Omnicron and the news, etc, etc.

It’s started to feel like there’s a lot of “etc, etc” isn’t there? As in, just when we start to feel more positive about things, there’s something else. Granted, I think the media generally latches onto that “something else” as newsworthy, so perhaps it gets more attention, but nonetheless… there it is.

I hope whatever you’re doing, you’re doing something that’s helping you find some joy and light in these dark days. You deserve it.

Me? I’ve been writing, or in some cases, writing about writing. 😉 I’ve been working on Shade to Measure, the second full-length Shades of Beckwell book. This one is about Ash and Jessie, princes and female-owned-and-led construction firms. And, as I’ve recently discovered, music and sound. I often wish that I’d figure out some of these strange extra details BEFORE finding myself well into the book and sometimes a bit lost… but sometimes the draft just doesn’t work out that way.

I’ve also been crafting, mostly making miniatures still for my craft of choice. After finishing Santa’s House in December, I’ve been working on a grocer’s and connected post office, all still in quarter scale. I’ve decided to start making what will amount to a little town, which I think is kind of the direction I’ve been thinking since the start – as in, all of these buildings / structures while not obviously connected, are part of the same magical world. Kind of like my writing is, I suppose. It’s been interesting, and I’m getting a little closer every day to more assembly.

Next up (and a 3D file from a company called Infinite Dimensions) is a full, five story medieval hotel! I’ve been drooling over that building for awhile, and while some people might say 3D printing is cheating, I’d compare it more to getting a kit. Yes, the walls and floors are attached, and each floor is broken into 4 pieces. It still needs to be prepared with sanding / primer, etc before it’s painted and then fully decorated and furnished. That’s how most 3D printed objects are, both the ones you purchase and the ones I design: while yes, the 3D printer helps manufacture the actual object, it’s just another tool that helps bring it into being – BUT the work isn’t just done at that point. I adore my little 3D printer and I’ve come to enjoy learning 3D design too (on a simplistic scale at this point, but still.) It feels a bit like something between sculpting and drawing, so I really enjoy it. Therefore, I’m a bit defensive when it comes to anyone calling it “cheating” or “simplistic.” I challenge them to actually try to do all of those things and experience what it’s actually like. But, I’ll get off my soapbox before I really get into it. 🙂

The other light I’ve been finding in the dark is reading.

I read a great book called The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. Officially classified as horror, it’s twisty, mysterious, at times creepy…but ends on such a hopeful, optimistic note, that in itself was quite a feat. Plus, this is the first book I’ve really felt sucked into for a long time, so if you have a chance to read it, I highly recommend you give it a try. The paperback edition is on its way (I read the big old hardcover that I was lucky enough to get for Christmas.) 🙂

Anyway, that’s pretty much been the sum of my January. Writing, reading, and crafting are my light in the dark. I hope you’ve been able to find light and hope for you, too.

Take care, and as always, I wish you the joy and ability to find the magic in our everyday world.

Sincerely, Shelly

News and author-stuff, Writing

We made it!

Well, we made it to December and the end of the year – hooray!! While this year may not have had quite the sticker-shock that 2020 did, I still wouldn’t give it a five star rating, would you? Sometimes that’s made it a lot harder to see the magic and humor in our world. But it’s still there, whether we’re able to see it or not.

And now here we are, barrelling into the holiday season (which I always picture somewhat like a trip in a barrel down Niagra Falls. Just me? 😉 ) Now that I have kids, I find this month more stressful than ever, what with the school’s never-ending list of “fun activities for parents to discover 15 minutes before the bus arrives.” 😉 But I also do it to myself, applying pressure to somehow keep a work and production schedule as though this were just any other month that didn’t include extra social activities, baking, everything-else-ing. And honestly, I love the holidays. It was one of my grandma’s favorite holidays too, and that’s where the magic is.

When I bring out all the Christmas decorations that seem to accumulate with a life of their own, I don’t just see the little shiny red ornament. I remember that red apple the year Grandma decorated her whole tree exclusively in them. I remember the excitement of Christmas when I was a kid, whether that was the weeks leading up to it – yes, probably enjoying those school activities. Or, eating waxy cheap advent calendar chocolates that tasted extra good with each growing number. I hold onto the wonder and memories of Christmas Eve, out with my family and visiting my great-aunt, often with both sides of the family there, a crazy fun evening of food and laughter and drinks. Every ornament, every holiday brings back those ghosts of the past, hanging around and over us for better or for worse. There’s something magical in those echoes of past laughter and memories, as though they’re all gathered around us, helping us celebrate the current holiday simultaneous with the past.

That’s the kind of magic I want to bring my girls every holiday season. That’s why I’ll plan our advent calendar full of activities like decorating stockings for the new kitties, or going out to see the lights, or wrapping gifts. These are the memories that I hope bring them that sense of magic and wonder in the years to come, maybe many years from now, as they still do for me.

Of course, the holidays can also bring back the not-so-good memories too. The stress, the anxiety, the depression that many fall into, some of it having to do with the holidays, some of it with the ending of the year. Which is why I think being able to see that humor and magic becomes both harder and more essential. I have two things for you that I hope might help.

First, an early gift for you! Here’s a printable adult coloring book (click here to download yours) that I made with images and quotes related to Shade for Love. If you color any of them, please share – I’d love to see them! I also hope that in even a small way, they give you that moment of quiet and peace you deserve.

I’m also sharing a picture of our own personal “tree-cat” in hopes he offers you a smile. Cats and decorations can be a fairly catastophic combo, can’t they? This year I suspected that would be the case, especially with three kittens, so I stuck strictly with plastic ornaments. I hadn’t expected that a) one of the kittens would literally knock the ornaments out of my hands and off the branch as I tried to hang it, LOL! or b) that another of the kittens would attempt to curl up and sleep IN the tree. That’s Loki, and yes, he is VERY aptly named. 😉 If the tree goes down, you know who’s name I’m probably shouting. 😉

Anyway, as we end this year, I just wanted to thank you so much for joining me here. I wish you and yours all the best this holiday season, whichever holidays you may celebrate, and here’s to a very wonderful year ahead in 2022! See you then.

Uncategorized

Magical World

I write this post sitting in my living room using only the light of the windows since the power is out due to a snowstorm, and I can’t help but think: we live in a pretty magical world. And I don’t mean magic like witches and wizards and the paranormal (though those are definitely cool too!), but just this world. Nor do I mean to say we live in a perfect world. But even still, I think we can still take moments to remember that there is magic around us in so many amazing forms.

I’m inside my house, and though the heat is out and it’s just below freezing outside, I’m safe and warm. I mean, technically if the power’s out for any longer, I can light a fire like our ancestors used to have to, but it’s still an option here. Although I live in the country, I can still easily and quickly travel into nearby cities for whatever I need in relative speed and comfort. A tiny device like my phone or tablet can hold entire libraries worth of books and resources, at my fingertips. Although my phoneline is technically down, I can still contact the outside world using my cell.

Heck, thanks to this modern world, we’re being introduced to new ways to publish, share, and make our mark on the world. I no longer have to slave over handwriting versions of a very limited book, nor do I have to seek out a printer, nor a publisher. You don’t have to know me to buy my book, to find out about it. It exists in a nebulous realm of the electronic world where you can push a button, it will be printed, and someone will get it to you, not even at great expense. Think of all those options we have, how much easier our lives have been made with these conveniences and modern marvels, because while we might barely give them any thought, they really are marvels.

I’m using the last of the juice left on my tablet (already used up my laptop’s very sad battery), and I’m writing something that could be seen by someone miles away, in different countries, just minutes after I post it. Before the invention of the telegraph, the fact that you had to physically get something in front of someone for them to see / hear about it was just the way life was. Now, think how much the world has changed even since the prevalance of smart phone has changed our lives and society forever? News can be shared the moment it happens. People I’ve never actually met can hear about me, my little book, my little life so easily via things like social networking, and then there’s the entire world of possibilities that the internet opens up. 

Indeed, yes, there is a darkside to the speed and connectedness our modern society has and the world we live in. But just right now, I want you to imagine the magic. I want you to look for it. Yes, there are terrible things happening in our world all the time, and sadly, there probably always will be. And we need to try to alleviate suffering and do our best to make that world better. But I also believe that means we need to sometimes step back and look for the magic, look for the joy this world has to offer. Because it’s there too, if you remember to look for it. 

So I’m asking you now: what magic can you see in the world around you right now? I love comments. 🙂 

Thanks for reading. And hey, want more magic? I’m starting a newsletter where each month I’ll share 5 magical things I see in my world, and I invite you to share those too. Come visit me at shellychalmers.com to chat, sign up for the blog or my newsletter, or just share some of the magic of the world.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember: there’s always magic in the world if you look hard enough. 

The Paranormal

Potential Magical / Pscyhic Abilities

Hello there! So, thinking about gaining some supernatural abilities? Or, you know, making up a character who has them?

Either way, here’s a list to choose from. Enjoy! 🙂

  • Astral projection – out-of-body experiences
  • clairvoyance / future sight / precognition
  • levitation
  • mind control
  • prophecy
  • remote viewing
  • telekinesis – ability to move things with your mind
  • telepathy – read minds
  • clairsentience – pick up sensations and relate messages through this.
  • clairempathy – to feel emotions from beyond the natural realm
  • combat sense – martial art of sensing what a combatant’s next move will be.
  • empath / sensitive – taking on other’s emotions, feeling them as your won.
  • genethlialogy – astrologically predicting the destiny of a newborn.
  • phyllorhodomancy – slapping rose petals against the palm and judging the future by the loudness of the clap (or the sound of the clap). Ancient Greek practice.
  • sortilege – medieval term for sorcery or one who divines
  • aerokinesis – ability to control or general wind and air
  • atmokinesis – control and mentally affect the weather
  • chlorokinesis – control plant life
  • solarkinesis – produce solar energy or heat; can be used like the sun (wouldn’t this make an awesome vampire-hunter?) 🙂
  • omnilingualism – ability to decipher any language
  • psychometry – gather details about the past and / or future of an object, person, or location, usually by being in close contact with it. Otherwise seen as gathering information / impressions from physical objects.
  • stichomancy – random opening of a book in hopes that the passage will reveal the future. (related to rhapsodomancy, which is divination by randomly opening a book of poetry specifically for the same reason, or bibliomancy.)
  • technopathy – control technology with your mind (I’m going to do this so I can actually make my electronics do what they’re supposed to!) 🙂
  • absorbtion – absorb various forms of energy and release it either as a similar effect or altered with other powers
  • echolocation – determine the location of objects in an environment using reflected sound waves (I’d like to see a non-bat character do this.) 🙂
  • temporal stasis – ability to slow down (or “freeze”) the molecules in an object until they stop moving.
  • photographic reflexes – ability to mimic any movement (athletic / martial arts) after seeing it once.
  • transmogrification – changing shape or form, even into inanimate objects.
  • aeromancy – divination from the air and sky, such as cloud shapes, comets, or sky color.
  • augury – interpreting signs and omens, but also fortune-telling in general.
  • margaritomancy – pearls under a pot (it’s said they bounce if a guilty person approaches.)
  • oomantia (also ooscopy, ovimancy) – reading eggs for omens and signs; fairly ancient divination technique
  • tiromancy – examining cheese for omens and signs
  • And my personal favorite divination tool:
  • geloscopy: divining the future from laughter. (Sounds like a fun way to live life, doesn’t it?) 🙂

So, any magical powers I really should have on my list? Mostly I’ve just listed the unusual or those that especially intrigue me. What about you?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. Oh, and hey, like the post? Why not sign up to follow the blog?

Have a good one. 🙂

 

 

The Paranormal

Why Paranormals Are Awesome, Pt 5: Ten Reasons Paranormal Heroes Rock

It isn’t fair to look at paranormal fiction and what’s awesome about it without considering the heroes. Yes, the butt-kicking heroines are awesome – and I’m all for girl-power.Scotland2007 544

But the guys? Come on. Paranormal heroes put their non-supernatural counterparts to shame.

Here are my ten reasons paranormal fiction heroes rock:

  1. Power. Nothing says power like the ability to throw pianos across the room, or move faster than light. Paranormal heroes are usually the ultimate alphas. And these guys need to be strong if they’re going to be an equal partner to the butt-kicking heroines.
  2. Magical / supernatural abilities. This is what sets them apart from “normal” heroes. Perhaps it’s their species (vampire, demon, werewolf, etc). Or perhaps it’s an ability they’ve been born with (wizards, psychics, etc). These abilities both form and trap the hero, can be something they embrace or despise – but definitely not something they can ignore.
  3. Supernatural Sexual Abilities. Not all paranormal heroes possess these magical abilities to be the best lovers, but many do. Like vampires who’s bites bring erotic pleasure. Or extremely flexible spines and special, *ahem*, “appendages.” (Check out Cheryl Brooks’ “Cat Star Chronicles” if you don’t believe me. Very unique, lots of fun, very sexy.)
  4. Knight in Dented / Rusted Armor Tendencies. Many paranormal heroes also have a bit of the protector in them, whether they bond together to form societies and protect humanity (like J.R. Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood”) or play the lone-wolf. These are the heroes who do the right thing even when no one is watching, and no one ever gives them credit. There’s something admirable and lovable in that.
  5. Ultimate Bad-Boy Fantasy. These heroes are bad-boys (i.e.: vampires DO bite and sometimes kill people, even if it was ‘just a phase’). They’re sexy with an edge of danger. The heroine risks her safety and her world stepping out with these guys, and often, there’s no going back.
  6. A Chance at Forever. Life is riddled with risk and danger, with death and aging. But some of these paranormal heroes offer a way out. Immortality. A way to escape daily life and see everything from a bigger perspective. They’re stronger, heal-faster, and aren’t as vulnerable to simple dangers as most of us – and our loves – are.
  7. Myth and Connection to History. So many of us live our lives barely knowing 6+ generations of family history. But these heroes are often connected to long, complicated, and well-remembered histories, myth, and legend. They’re a living, breathing piece of history – and so much sexier than a textbook.
  8. Dare to Fight Harder, Be More. These heroes are rarely satisfied with the mundane, or standing back from a fight. They dare those around them, and readers, to fight for what we believe in as strongly as they do. They force others to face the truth, even if it’s ugly, and use what power you have for good.
  9. Proof There’s Someone For Everyone. Sometimes it’s the “destined soul-mates” trope, sometimes it’s that these heroes – scarred, wounded inside and out, hidden in plain sight – these heroes could be out there, and who knows, maybe they’ll show up on your doorstep one day. Or the reason you haven’t met “the one” is because he’s actually a 500 year old vampire, and he’s in Italy this year. These heroes and their love stories suggest that no matter what you’ve done, where you’ve been, what you must overcome, you will find love, sometimes when you least expect it.
  10. Vulnerability and Humanity. It seems like a contradiction, but it’s actually the weakness, the flaws of these heroes, which form the cherry-on-top. While paranormal fiction heroes can be ultra-powerful, possibly immortal, deep down they have very human, and normal needs. They need love, hope, a sense of safety and home, gentleness to balance their power. Sometimes they find these things in their heroines, sometimes within themselves – and the ability to be strong enough to admit they aren’t all-powerful.

So, that’s why I love a good paranormal fiction hero. What about you?

What is unique and special about a paranormal fiction hero? Is there something “more” about them than other heroes? What are they capable of that non-paranormal heroes aren’t? Have I missed anything on my list?

Thanks for stopping by and reading, and I hope you have a great week! Oh, and if you liked this post, why not sign up for the blog? Come on, you know you want to … 😉

The Paranormal

Paranormals are the Best (Pt 4): Magic and 5 Ways Paranormals Rock It

Magic - like what I'd have needed to have ever fit into these gorgeous vintage boots.
Magic – like what I’d have needed to have ever fit into these gorgeous vintage boots.

 

I love magic.

Not the pull-a-rabbit-out-of-your-hat tricks, but the idea of REAL magic. Like Tinkerbell making the Disney castle sparkle and glow. Or Cinderella being transformed by the fairy godmother. Or the idea that a human could shift into an animal or another form. Or that stories, legends, whispers in the night really could be true … and we have a chance to share in them.

Magic is the possibility that anything is possible, that rules – ALL rules – can be broken, and things can still turn out okay. And paranormal fiction is rife with magic of all kinds.

  1. Magic as rule breaker. Now, while I say that magic can break the rules, good paranormal fiction also establishes new rules. And I think magic shows up in almost all paranormal fiction even if there aren’t fairies, beasties, or fairy dust per se. Consider time travel, where the rules of time and space as we understand them are broken, allowing characters to travel through time either on a one-way journey, or potentially a round-trip. The author then establishes for us 1) how this happened, 2) the repercussions, and 3) how this establishes a new pattern for their fictional world and the future. Poof! Magic.
  2. Magic in the traditional sense. Here be fairies, beasts of legend, fairy godmothers, wishes coming true. Magic is usually possessed in the traditional sense by magical creatures (ie: witches, wizards, fairies.)
  3. Magical for everyone! Here perhaps the entire world is so rife with magic, even non-magical beings can encounter and use it. (As a non-magical myself, I find this particularly appealing – the idea that perhaps I, too, could somehow “become” magical.)
  4. Love as magic, or the magic of the Happily Ever After. I think that the magic of the happily ever after and love against odds deserves to count as part of the magic I love in paranormal fiction. Because magically, even different species can find ways to co-exist and love each other while in the real world, humans have problems co-existing with their own species, let alone others. Besides which, there is something magical in two strangers somehow coming together and finding a greater intimacy and depth of connection they may never experience again – whether they’re the same species or not.
  5. Magic as embodiment of “what if.” Paranormal fiction allows readers to delve into the ultimate what-if scenarios, and prove everything is true. Loch Ness monster? Sure, I have tea with him on Friday. Vampires? Some of my best friends are vampires. Whatever the “real” world has decided is “fiction” can become a slippery, sliding puddle in paranormal fiction. Best of all? If the [insert supposed myth / untruth / legend here] is true, why couldn’t this story be true? Why can’t I achieve / discover / become my own greatest dreams, too?

Okay, so that’s why I love magic in paranormal fiction.

What about you? What do you love about magic? And for that matter, what are some of your favorite elements of paranormal fiction? Share, and who knows? Your idea could become the next post. 🙂

And if you like this post, why not follow the blog? Have a great week, and thanks for reading.

The Paranormal

What is Magic?

Magic. So, what is it? What makes some things “real” magic, while other things are magic “tricks”? What separates magic from the rest of the supernatural and paranormal?

Personally, I like magic, or my idea of it. I believe magic is anything that defies understanding and explanation via science and current understanding. It encompasses myth, legend, creatures that shouldn’t exist, the impossible that happens. Magic exists in that place that brings us back to a time in childhood when everything really was possible – it didn’t have to follow the rules science and knowledge ingrain in us.

I’d like to say that magic is without limits, but does it? Or are those limits only placed on it because we have to make it able to fit into our highly limited world? If gravity works on everything on our planet, then gravity must work on magic, right?

Or maybe not. Maybe true magic is the breaking of all those rules, something which defies all of those rules – and that’s what defines it, because it can’t be explained. Action lacks the expected reaction. It’s why there really could be pots of gold at the end of rainbows, or creatures exist who are entirely defined by this defiance of the “rules” we define our world with. Maybe these creatures don’t need to break all of the rules – they may be subject to gravity and require sustenance, like the rest of us – but what if they broke lots of the other rules? What if they weren’t bound by time and space? They could somehow see and manipulate these things?

Hmm … does that make aliens magic? Or does it make magical races alien to us?

What do you think? Are werewolves only one step away from little green men with bug-eyes?

Thanks for reading. Have a great week.

The Paranormal, Writing

Do You Believe in Magic? : 15 Ways Magic Rules Supreme

I confess that recently I’ve been focusing a great deal more on my post-apocalyptic writing (if you’re interested in that, check out my other blog: ebfeir.wordpress.com). It very much depends on a mundane and non-magical world, and I’m guessing that between the diaper changes, bottle warmings, and endless Cheerios, I haven’t been feeling magic at all.

So, in celebration of magic – particularly in fiction – and to help remind myself and you why it is I love magic in writing, encompassing the magical, mystical, and fairy dust, here are:

15 Ways Magic Rules Supreme

  1. There is nothing mundane about magic.
  2. We too often lack magic in our real lives, so we definitely need it in our fiction.
  3. Magic is a marvelous problem solver. Not sure how that character did something or arrived? It was magic!
  4. Magic is fun. Magic can be silly, light, dark, and all the shades in between, especially when in so many ways the most literal interpretations of magic can be downright ridiculous.
  5. Magic connects us with our mythological roots and ancestral histories.
  6. Magic taps into ancient beliefs, fears, and ideas about how the world works.
  7. Fairytales – those timeless, moralistic, prolific teaching tools – are encompassed and defined by magic, and playing with the familiar and putting your own twist on it is foreign and familiar at the same time.
  8. Magic can and will lead to the unexpected and adventure for characters and readers alike.
  9. Magic takes us places and creates peoples and places sprung directly from our dreams and nightmares.
  10. Magic can make characters more heroic, sexier, stronger, more of a fantasy.
  11. Magic unleashes the possibilities of fantasies and playfulness in worlds where there are less limits on the possible.
  12. The belief in magic can return us to our childhoods where anything was possible, in real life or otherwise.
  13. Magic can bring new dimensions and possibilities to familiar ideas, like new possibilities for battle scenes, love scenes, struggles, etc.
  14. For a little while at least, while reading or writing the book, we can pretend to be magic, too.
  15. Magic frees our imaginations and dreams from the constraints of reality where we can create and rule worlds where good always wins, and there is always a happy ending.

Have I missed any reasons why magic does and always does reign supreme? Please let me know. Otherwise, I hope you have a magical week, and thanks for reading.