Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ANNALISA CRAWFORD: WHY I DON'T CONSIDER MYSELF A PARANORMAL AUTHOR

Just a quick note: Annalisa will be my last guest this summer. I will be back in September with guests. Other than Monday Musings, I will be taking off July and August to focus on some personal issues. I will still be visiting here and there, just not as often. 


My guest is UK author, Annalisa Crawford. She likes to tantalize readers by writing intriguing stories that touch on the unexplained. 
The paranormal genre is hugely popular in today's writing and viewing market. Lines get a bit blurred with all the sub-genres. The bottom line is the paranormal genre encompass happenings beyond the normal human experience and can't yet be explained by science. 
Annalisa's topic is why she doesn't consider herself a true paranormal author but is compelled to add she does utilize elements of the paranormal. Fascinating.

What do you think of when you hear the word paranormal?

Personally, I think of demons, werewolves, zombies, vampires… especially vampires! More than that, I think of grave peril; whole towns in danger of being burnt to the ground by rampaging demons, or being sucked into a vortex.

I don’t write about any of these things, and yet I’m compelled to add the words with elements of paranormal, shades of paranormal, hints… to my chosen genre.

The term paranormal, to me, means there’s been a certain amount of world-building –a world where these characters are out in the open, and non-paranormal characters are aware of them. You could be walking down the street and meet a vampire. You might not be that concerned; you might even flirt or fall in love. You would not run away screaming; they would not be altogether hideous.

My paranormal tends to be more internal. You won’t meet a werewolf, but you might meet a man who thinks he is one. You might stand behind a woman, in a queue for the bus, who’s left the Devil back at home, in the form of her cat. You might share a coffee with your boss who’s listening more intently to the voice in her ear than you. And the voice will be very real.

In one of my short stories, a girl splits in two. It could be literal or a metaphor, and what I really like doing – what my mum really hates – is letting the reader decide for themselves. I always know what I believe, but I want readers to make up their own mind. After all, that’s what people do daily, isn't it? They choose whether to believe they’re looking at a picture of a ghost in the newspaper or not.

I think the power of the human brain is the most paranormal -the most unexplained - subject of them all. We have no idea what we are truly capable of, or what really exists outside our realm of consciousness. One of my favourite books when I was younger was a collection of unexplained stories: telekinesis, time slips, the Bermuda Triangle, spontaneous combustion. And I plan to write about all of them.

And if I can completely baffle my mother in the process, all the better!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Sia for letting me blog here today.


                                                                                                                                                      

Three women. Three stories. One pub...

“The Boathouse collects misfits. Strange solitary creatures that yearn for contact with the outside world, but not too much. They sit, glass in hand, either staring at the table in front of them, or at some distant point on the horizon.”
… so says the narrator of Our Beautiful Child. And he’s been around long enough to know.

People end up in this town almost by accident. Ella is running away from her nightmares, Sally is running away from the memories of previous boyfriends and Rona is running away from university. Each of them seek sanctuary in the 18th century pub, The Boathouse; but in fact, that’s where their troubles begin.

Ella finds love, a moment too late; Rona discovers a beautiful ability which needs refining before she gets hurt; and Sally meets the captivating Murray, who threatens to ruin everything.

                                                                                                                    

I live in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of beaches and moorland right on my doorstep to keep me inspired. I live with my husband, two sons, a dog and a cat.

Despite my location, I neither surf nor sail, and have never had any inclination to try. I much prefer walking along a deserted beach and listening to the waves crashing over rocks. For this reason, I really love the beach in the winter!

Links:




Monday, June 23, 2014

MONDAY'S MUSINGS: LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.





I know I've mentioned I live beyond the back forty. My little flyspeck town is 8 miles away and boasts a little over 3000 and that’s not counting the population of the maximum prison facility three miles outside of town (which still ticks off half of the district’s residents fourteen years later and some still have protest signs in their yard). It has the basics, like groceries, gas; a couple of feed and farm stores, a couple of caf├ęs and banks, etc. Anything else you need is sixty mile round trip. If you want a mall it’s about two hundred and twenty-five mile round trip. Beautiful area but short on amenities.

Much of what I need isn't available locally. I either buy online and have it shipped in, or make a list and a 60-mile trip. I tend to make do with what I can make. Places to work out are 60 miles and I can’t justify the fuel to go there. Hubs works out on the army post but then he’s there everyday so that makes sense. 

(Click on any of the pictures for full size)

Standing beside the barn looking
down to the pond embankment
I got to thinking, some years back, if I can’t get to a place to work out why not make something to suit my needs here? So we cleared a half a mile of trails down to the last hay field several years ago. We keep it mowed and it’s drivable. Takes you right down past the large farm pond. Very pretty. The ground here isn't flat. We have several hills and this year my husband has created some nice little meandering trails through the woods on NW side of the house.  

Looking up the grade to the barn

It added another quarter mile. Better.  I don’t like walking back and forth. I prefer walking a loop. So we’re adding another half a mile loop to join the existing section. When it’s done it will be about a mile and a quarter. I’m ecstatic.

From the naked tree looking
down
New path on the NW a wood
pile and a naked tree









I’ll never be able to run again but I needed a good walking work out to burn calories and tone. The hills and grades provide that. This track will give me the workout I need. In heavy snow I won’t be able to walk the loop—I’m lucky to make it to the barn and back in that weather (which is a workout in itself). But most of the year it should be walkable. I have an area outside where I can use hand held weights. Inside in the winter. Nothing elaborate but suits my needs. I've had to modify a lot of core exercises to accommodate my physical limitations—get the same results without hurting the body.

You’re probably thinking, as several of my friends have, why not invest in a good treadmill or elliptical. My husband LOVES the elliptical and puts in 15-20 miles a week on it. He has contacts that would have provided a professional gym quality unit and at a reduced price.

There is a small problem with that.

See, I absolutely loathe treadmills and ellipticals. I can’t think of anything more boring and consequently I wouldn't really use them. I don’t like watching TV so forget that as a distraction, music is good but not enough to consistently use the equipment. Waste of money. I'd rather be outside.

So the walking trail is the answer for me. It challenges me daily and I like that. June has been the month to consistently walk on a daily basis. It’s kicking my butt but I love it. I love the clear mind and the rev of energy I get. I sleep well. The release of endorphins gets rid of any vestiges of depressed feelings. I’m getting rid of the blah exhausted feeling. It counteracts all the daily sitting with my job. It readjusts my thinking because I concentrate on what I can do, which is considerable, and not what I used to do, which is a waste of brain matter. Stay in the now. Challenge it. Make it work for you.

Another benefit is I get to interact with my animals and my environment. I can’t think of anything better than feasting my eyes on the wildlife, hearing the joyous symphony of birdsong and the counterpoint hum of insects, the crescendo of the katydids, and the bullfrogs keeping the beat. The rich smell of wooded areas and fresh scent of the fields and flowers. I love watching the rabbits, the armadillos, ducks, turkeys, and quail with babies and the hawks and eagles drift on eddies of wind. I love seeing the matriarch of the small deer herd that rests here every night and graze on the other side of the water each morning and watch me go by. Love to see the herd babies’ jump and play and race around their mamas. I like catching sight of the coyote and her pups—so long as she stays down near the horseshoe stream that meanders three sides of our property, we’re golden.

I choose to make my life the best I can and work with what I have. I've determined that this summer is Project Sia. I won't be the bionic woman when I'm done but I will be better and more refreshed. More balanced and centered.

When I consider all things in my life…it really is a good one. I’m blessed in so many ways. I choose to remember that.