The Fox Theater – Arizona

This week we are going to take a trip down to Tucson, Arizona to the Fox Theater. This Theater has a very haunted past.

Tucson, Arizona has quite a few ghost stories, but the Fox Theater is the one that people talk about the most. The Fox Theater opened in the 1930s as a Vaudeville and movie house that entertained the town of Tucson. It closed in 1974 as the downtown area began to decline.

The Fox Tucson Theater Foundation started to restore the building in 2000 and then they reopened in 2006.

There are quite a few spirits that are believed to haunt the halls of the theatre. One of them is a man roams around the lobby and entrance of the theater asking for spare change.

 People have said that a man has asked them for change, and for those who went to give him some, would see it simple drop to the floor. 

There is also a young girl who giggles and plays in the upper and lower lobby. There are also some people who have claimed to have seen a shadowy figure lurking around the projection room. Some of the people who have worked in the booth have seen strange movements and experienced unexplained lights and noises.

Unfortunately, this has caused quite a few people to quit their job.

There is one spooky story that has been around slightly longer than the theater. The tale states that a man died in 1929 during the construction of the theater. There is an arrowed stone decor that faces the wrong direction around the stage that symbolizes this accident.

If you are interested in learning more about this haunted theater, or other haunted areas in Tucson, they have regular ghost hunts that you can be a part of the next time you are in town.

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A Question For My Readers

Today’s post isn’t going to be about writing. In fact, I have a question for my readers. Would you like to see blog posts about ghost stories?

I’ve always been a big fan of ghost stories. I’m talking real ghost stories, not just horror books. I’m talking about stories like The Portrait of Theodosia Burr, The Pink Lady at the Grove Park Inn, Ghosts of the USS Constellation, and The Hawthorne Hotel.

I think ghost stories are helpful for writers, especially those of us who want to write horrors or similar genres. Of course, whether you believe they are true or not isn’t relevant. The point is they are fun to read and can give you some clues as to what makes a good spooky story.

I spent a lot of time in high school and college reading books about ghost stories in my state of North Caroline. Trust me, we have A LOT. In the town of Asheville alone, which is about five minutes from me, there are 10+.

My proposition is, would you like a couple (or five) blog posts that share ghost stories from around the world each week along with the regular blog posts. I wouldn’t be replacing my normal writing tips and tricks with the ghost stories. I would simply be supplementing them with some fun spooky stories.

I wanted to get my readers opinion since you guys are the reason I do this. Please let me know what you think if you want me to or not.

If you have your own ghost story, let me know, and I may share it on the blog. With your permission, of course.

“I’ve got quite a vivid imagination and I’m easily overwhelmed by sensations and things that are beautiful or scary. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ghost – I think I’m probably haunted by my own ghosts than real ones.” – Florence Welch

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Get Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles today.

Being True to You

I’ve got another post for you about writing your truth. I told you I had a lot to say about this.

In past posts, I have talked about how to write your truth. Today’s post isn’t going to be much of a how-to. I have something on my chest that I want to share. It was something that hit me when I was getting information together for a book I was ghostwriting.

I freelance write through a company. I ghostwrite books. Part of that requires me to do research on topics because most of what I write is non-fiction books. It’s through this research that I found so many books on Amazon that you can tell didn’t come from a person’s truth.

This post doesn’t have to with my ghostwriting or anything to do with that sort of thing.

What I want to talk about is the sheer number of books available on Amazon that are written for the sole purpose of making money.

Now, you may be wondering how I can tell that there are so many books on Amazon that aren’t written from a person’s truth. I’ll tell you, but first I want you to do something.

Head over to Amazon and pull up a listing of books. More specifically self-help books; weight loss, exercise, mental health, those sorts of things. Now, pull up a few and click on the preview book. Glance through to see what you can glean from it and take a look at the reviews and other information about the book.

You’ll probably start to notice that some books just have a better feel to them than others. There are some that feel like they could actually help you, while others are just ‘eh.’

Now, I don’t know what is in the heart of an author when they write a book, but what I do know is that if they wrote from their truth, from a need to help people or share something, you can feel it in their writing. It comes off as much more honest that fluff writing.

You don’t have to just write novels in order to write your truth. You can write your truth in non-fiction books as well. It means you are sharing truths about you and your passion in order to help somebody else. And this statement is true for fiction and non-fiction because I believe fiction can help people as well.

So many of the books you see on Amazon are books that have been written and published just for the purpose of making money. They weren’t created from a passion deep within somebody. They didn’t come from the heart.

The problem is, though, that all of these books that weren’t written in truth are covering up the books that are written truth. Speaking as an Indie author, there are so many other Indie authors out there that write their truth and have amazing stories to tell through novels and self-help books that get pushed underneath all of these other books that don’t have any heart in them.

I don’t know how these truthless books become successful. (I have my thoughts, but I will keep them to myself.) All I know is, we need to create more books that have heart and truth in them. We need more books in the world that tell stories that help people and entertain people for the sole purpose of helping and entertaining.

There are enough snake oil salesmen in the world. Those of us who truly have a story to tell, who want to share our truth, need to band together and share with the world what it means to love what you do and to love doing it no matter what you get back.

I know there is nothing that can be done about these filler books on Amazon and other sites. They are always going to be there and more will continue to be published. It’s easier today now than it was 20 years ago. You don’t need an agent or a publisher anymore. I’m not trying to start a revolution or what have you to stop these books from being published.

I am here to help and urge those who do have a heartfelt story to share, to share it.

If you are still unsure about what it means to write your truth, you can use these books to help you.

Because trust me, you can tell the difference when you read a book when it has been written from the heart, no matter the genre.

I think I’ll step down from my soapbox for now. I’ve said what I came here to say.

I hope I have helped you just a little bit more when it comes to writing your truth.

“What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.” – Carl Rogers

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

A Pep Talk For When You Feel Like Quitting

This weeks post is a little different than my others. I think everybody can use a pep talk from time to time. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. A dark cloud will come through and dampen your spirits. I have a lot of those days, so does everybody else, but the important thing is that you push through.

For anybody who has chosen a career that requires others to purchase something from you or like you enough to take a chance, those dark days can come along quite a lot. As writers, artists, or entertainers, we don’t get a regular check for the hours we work every day.

Somebody has to pay for the work we have already done if they like it. We are judged for what we do more so than any other professional. If not enough people like what we do, we will be eating ramen. This is a tough reality we have to face, but we do it because we love it.

It’s a little easier (I hope) once you have amassed a decent following of people who buy what you do. So when you are starting out, like I still consider myself, and like most people probably do, it’s a bit harder to pump yourself up.

I’m right there with you. The rough days sometimes seem more frequent than the good days. But if we support each other, we will make it through and see the light at the end of the tunnel. To help with those tough days, especially when it has to do with rejection, here are some fun facts about other professionals who weren’t “overnight success”. (Like those even exist)

  1. William Golding’s book Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times before it was ever published.
  2. Claude Monet, a founder of French Impressionism, was ridiculed for his most famous work “Impression, Sunrise.” He and his family lived in abject poverty until his paintings begin to sell in the 1880s.
  3. Margeret Mitchells’ Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times before it was ever published.
  4. Walt Disney was fired from a job because he “lacked imagination and no good ideas.”
  5. Vincent Van Gogh only sold one painting while he was alive.
  6. JK Rowling was fired from Amnesty International because she spent the day writing stories.
  7. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting poems before any of them were published.
  8. Beatrix Potter had to self-publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
  9. Stephen King’s book Carrie was rejected 30 times before being published.
  10. Madonna was fired from Dunkin’ Donuts for squirting jelly filling on a customer.
  11. Robert Frost had Truman Capote fired from his job at the New Yorker because Capote left in the middle of one of his readings. To be fair, Capote was sick.
  12. Louise May Alcott, the author of Little Women, was told to stick to teaching.
  13. George Orwell was told that is book Animal Farm wouldn’t sell because “there is no market for animal stories in the USA.”
  14. Lucille Ball’s drama instructors tried to get her to follow another profession.
  15. Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language.

So there you have it. No matter how down you feel, you are not alone. Every profession has had some tough times. The success you will have will be all the better.

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

How to Embrace Vulnerability and Write Your Truth

We’ve spoken about writing your truth before. As you have probably noticed, it can get very convoluted as to what it really means to write your truth. The reason for that is because everybody has their own truth.

Today we are going to look at vulnerability, which I believe is the key to writing your truth. If you can bare your emotions on the page, then conveying a truth is going to be very hard to do.

Emotions play a huge role in writing. Not only in the act of writing a story, but in everything that surrounds it; publishing it, sharing it, getting feedback, everything.

I would say that I have only been a true writer for a year. While I have been writing for most of my life, it was only last year that I buckled down and chose this as my life. Last year was when I shared my writing for other people to read. Last year was when I put myself out there to be loved or rejected. Last year I experienced more emotions than ever before. In fact, it feels like it has been longer than a year.

When I first started this blog I said I was going to go the traditional route when it came to publishing my books. I was going to an agent and all that, but I switched to self-publishing. One, because I am a bit impatient. Two, I wanted to get my book out there for people now. That doesn’t mean I have given up hope on getting an agent, it just means I’m doing things on my own for now. Emotions played a huge role in this.

There are weeks where I feel confident and excited. Then I will have doubts and thinking about a back-up plan. But I know in my heart of hearts, writing is the only career that is going to make me happy. (That and acting, but let’s not get started on that tangent.)

The reason I am sharing this is that, as a writer, you can’t be afraid of emotions. I would hazard a guess that most writers are introverts. We don’t do well speaking out emotions out loud, thus we write them. So, if writing is how we express our emotions as introverts, how can we express our self if we don’t show vulnerability.

But What Will Others Think?

This is probably the biggest roadblock in showing vulnerability through writing. Everybody is worried about being judged. I could say, “get over it,” but that’s rude and annoying. You can’t just simply get over things. Everybody has to work through their own problems in their own time. That doesn’t mean that you can’t work through them faster, but you still have to work through them on your own.

Too often people write off these types of issues as just being in your head. They don’t think there is a real issue. But fears are fears. They are all important and everybody has the right to be afraid of things. The important thing is that you figure out what those fears and work through them so they don’t hold you back in life.

I will dedicate another post on working through these types of issues. For now, let’s look at some of the best ways to show vulnerability in your writing.

Be Open

The key to showing vulnerability is to be open. You can write a one-sided story. Even children’s books have a good side and a bad side. You can’t have light without the darkness. There is no good without the bad. A day always has a night.

When you write with openness, you allow the story to guide you. It will naturally show you where it needs to go. I don’t know how many times my outline has changed once I started writing the story because what I had planned didn’t feel right once it was put on paper.

Trust

Writing with openness and vulnerability means that you trust the process of writing. If you can’t trust the process, you will end up holding yourself back and censoring yourself. I’ve already talked about how censoring yourself is bad for writing your truth. You have to trust that the story is going to lead you to where it needs to go.

This could mean that characters you hadn’t planned on killing are going to die. Your story could plummet to depths you never imagined, but as you work your way back out, your story is going to be better for it. Trust is hard, but it’s what makes for a good story.

DO NOT CENSOR

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you can’t write your truth and censor yourself. This is also one of those fine lines. There is a way you can go too far with your writing where it can end up causing a lot of backlash. This, in my opinion, is when you write with the purpose of being mean and hateful. If this is you purpose going into a book, do us all a favor and stop. There is enough hate already, there is no need for any more.

With that said, you can write without censorship and not be mean and hateful. If your story tells you that it needs something that many people would consider taboo, put it in there. It will be a better story for it. It can be written in a tasteful manner as well.

A big taboo subject that people are sometimes afraid of touching on is abuse. This could be domestic, sexual, what have you. It’s a touchy subject, but if stories about these things aren’t shared, then nobody is going to learn about them. People who aren’t afraid to write about these things are people who help to change the world for the better. The same goes for injustice as well.

These three tips are heavy subjects, and I understand that. Being vulnerable isn’t something anybody likes feeling. But it is a fact of life. If you don’t feel vulnerable at some point in the writing process, then you need to take a step back and see where you are holding back. Be vulnerable and change the world with your writing.

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.” – Wally Lamb

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

Short Story – Pelagia’s Fate

The mountains loomed over the large white castle. The sun eased past the horizon, illuminating the yard. Shrubs with little red flowers lined the wall. Shining yellow and white sprites sprinted through the yard watering the flowers, cleaning the pool, and pruning the shrubs. Above them, at the tallest window, stood a man of 120 years, yet he didn’t look a day over 25.

His long black hair billowed in the wind that rushed through the open balcony window.  His bare chest shined in the growing light. His boxers hung low on his hips, showing off his defined body and the slightest ruffle of dark curly hair.

Padraig rubbed his hand over the tattoo on his ribs. The dark blackbird popped from his porcelain colored skin. The only color the tattoo held was the bright red arrow that hung from the blackbird’s beak. Padraig had been part of the first group that Amon had given their fates to. He had thought it was a ridiculous idea. Never believing that one man had the ability to hand out fates to people with only a simple tattoo, but the tattoo had been free. Padraig had lived for several decades with that tattoo without as much of an inkling that it was going to come true. Then one day it happened. And it continued to happen.

Padraig had grown up in a poor elf family. They lived on the outskirts of Inis and scraped by with the scraps of the nobles. When he was told he would become a noble, his family had been ecstatic. They ignored the other half of his fate, but that was the half that scared Padraig. Once he became a noble, he knew he had to be careful. He didn’t want the evil half to come out. He thought he had managed to escape the other half of his fate. He never got married. He made sure all the people that worked for him were men, but then one day he slipped. That was it. That evil side came out … and he loved it.

The door to his room creaked open. In stepped a beautiful woman. Her long red hair was tied high on her head. She wore a strapless green bikini top with matching bottoms. Across her stomach, a purple spider web held a large black spider. The tattoo shimmered from the sweat that prickled across her skin. Adeline was 70 years younger than her husband, but it had been love at first sight.

Padraig’s ex-wife hadn’t been able to handle his lifestyle. She loved the extravagant places they lived and the fact she was married to a noble, but she hadn’t been able to live with his dark side. She couldn’t take the bad with the good. Adeline could. Padraig’s dark side played right into hers.

“Showing off for the workers?” Adeline asked.

“I just got up, wanted a bit of fresh air. How was your workout?”

“Wonderful. I see you had a good time last night.”

Adeline walked over to the bed and began to ease off the ivory white sheets. Starting at the foot of the bed, she rolled the sheets up into a ball, keeping the blood on the inside. She tossed the blood covered sheets next to a lump on the floor, hidden in the corner. A closer inspection would show that lump used to be a beautiful fairy woman. The only thing that was still recognizable on the body was a black and white tattoo of a tombstone with a black cat sitting perched on top.

“Did you have to make such a mess?” she asked.

“I can’t help it if she wouldn’t stay still.”

“I thought I told you to use the sedative.”

“I like it better when they’re awake.”

“The sedative I gave you allows them to wake up but keeps their body immobile. It also keeps me from having to explain to the cleaners why my husband has such bloody sheets.”

“Just throw them away. I can buy new ones.”

“Throw them away? If we threw away everything that you bloodied, then we wouldn’t need cleaners.”

“Honey,” Padraig, cooed, wrapping an arm around his wife, “Are you jealous?”

“I was just hurt you didn’t let me pick this one out. And she was one of our best gardeners.”

Padraig kissed his wife’s cheek. Wrapping her in a hug, he led her over to the stripped bed.

“Let me make it up to you.”

Far below them, in the deepest and darkest corners of the castle, came a penetrating scream. Darcy darted through the nooks and crannies that he knew so well, chasing after a shiny silver elf. He didn’t enjoy chasing elves as much as he did the others. Elves would glow when they got scared or excited, so they made it too easy for him to find them.

Adeline had lured Darcy into their home with the promise that his fate wouldn’t come true. The day Darcy stepped out of the hospital white building with his fresh tattoo, he had lost all hope. He had always been a gentle soul. His entire family was twisted, evil ogres and Darcy had always felt out of place. When he looked down and saw the large chimera on his left leg, he knew how his life was going to end.

The ugly creature was made up of a lion with a tail that grew into a snakes head, and a goats head growing out of its back. Darcy’s tattoo was more intricate and uglier than any others in his family. His packet had told him that the chimera was seen as an omen for disaster. That was it. Nothing else was explained.

For days, all Darcy had done was wander around the center gardens of Inis. He enjoyed watching the rainbow-colored butterflies race through the flowers. He would help the gardener’s plant pink and purple flowers. Every few days, he would see this beautiful woman with long red hair running through the gardens. It seemed like on those same days his family would show up and mock him. Then one day the red-headed lady came up to him.

“You come with me, to my castle, and you can work as a gardener forever. You’ll never have to worry about your fate coming true. I’ll make sure of that,” she cooed the last part in his ear.

Darcy ran home and packed his bags. His brothers had laughed at him when he told them his plan. His parents weren’t home, and he didn’t plan on waiting around for them. He met the lady back at the gardens and followed her back to the castle.

The first few days had been amazing. He worked outside. He had regular gourmet meals. He had free run of the castle. Then one day Adeline asked him to go to the basement. There was something wrong with the boiler, and she needed him to fix it. As he walked in, the door slammed and locked behind him. He shook the door, trying to open it, but it wouldn’t budge. A hum came from deep in the maze of concrete walls, drawing him closer. He continued to wander through the maze, but the closer he got to the hum, the further away it sounded.

He continued to wander through the maze for days on end trying to find that sound until he had learned the maze like the back of his hand. All of a sudden the humming stopped. Meals were slid under the door for him, letting him know the time and day: breakfast at 8 am sharp, lunch at noon and dinner at 6. Then one day the door opened. The light burned his eyes. He hadn’t seen daylight in a few weeks. When the doors shut, he could hear a quiet sob.

He followed the sob through the maze-like he had the hum, but this time he caught up with it. It was a young giant girl, no more than 20. She tried to run away from him, but he grabbed her, pulling her to the little room he had made himself. He forced her to sit and talk to him. Every time she sobbed, he would smack her to shut her up. The next morning she was gone. A week passed, and then another girl was tossed into the maze.

This continued week after week until he grew used to these visitors, and bored with the interaction. Then they started coming more often, and he became more creative in the way he treated them. He would chase them through the maze until they collapsed. They couldn’t hide, he knew where everything was. After a year, Padraig came to speak with him. He offered him the chance to roam the castle again if he so chose if he would continue to “wear down” his lady friends. Darcy agreed, he wanted to see the gardens again, but he also enjoyed his exercise.

Here he was, 20 years later, and he still enjoyed chasing these women. The shining elf darted into a cave that all the women seemed to find. They thought it hid them. If any ole’ monster was chasing them, it would, but not Darcy. He stopped chasing her for a moment and listened to her cries. He crept up behind the wall and peered over. With a soft tap of his finger, the elf looked up at him before letting out a blood curtailing scream.

***

Pelagia rubbed her hand across the lily tattoo on her shoulder. The tattoo had long since healed, but it still itched from time to time. Her long blond hair was held in a braid that draped over her tattooed shoulder. Her casual blue outfit stood out against her family’s power suits.

She sat at the red oak table that her parents used for family meals. When the kids didn’t come to visit, they used the small breakfast nook in the kitchen. It was the Friday night dinner that Pelagia dreaded sitting through each week. The conversation always turned to her fate. Her parents and siblings would start talking about everything they had accomplished at work. The new rules or laws that they had sent to the elders for approval or the new election they were getting ready for. Then they would look over at Pelegai, see her rubbing her shoulder, and then stare at their food for a few minutes. Somebody, usually her mother, would speak first.

“Honey, stop rubbing your shoulder, you make me worried when you do that,” Brigid said, picking at the roast duck on her plate.

“Sorry, it’s a habit,” Pelagia replied, dropping her arm.

“A bad habit,” mumbled Jarlath.

Jarlath, Pelagia’s father, couldn’t understand her preoccupation with her fate, nor did he understand why she just sat around and waited for it to come true. Of course, she wasn’t sitting around and waiting. Pelagia worked, she volunteered at the local hospital, and she was active in her spiritual group. To her parents, she was wasting her time.

“Sorry, Dad,” Pelagia growled.

“I just don’t see why you can’t come work for me. I need a new secretary, and you just might make it in politics yet,” Jarlath stated.

“I don’t want to. I am happy doing what I’m doing.”

“Then why do you look so sad?” Brigid asked.

“I’m lonely.”

“Then find someone.”

“Mom, I can’t. My damn fate won’t allow me to.”

“You can find someone to be with without having sex.”

“The Universe must not feel the same way.”

“Well, at least you’re still alive.”

“Mom! Really? Every time I’m here you have to bring that up.”

“What? You can’t forget the noose around that flower. You are going to commit suicide one day, so you need to get used to it.”

“I understand that will happen one day, but you don’t have to act so cavalier about it. All that does is make me think that you all won’t even morn me when I do die. You’re already comfortable with my fate. That’s the problem with this stupid system.”

“Do NOT refer to the fate tattoos as stupid. The Universe, elders, and nobles all believe that it is an amazing system,” Jarlath yelled.

“Oh, sure, they think it’s great. The Universe doesn’t have to live these fates, and the elders and nobles have the best fate possible. All I’m trying to get at is the fact that these fates make us worry until they come true, and if you have a fate of death, then your family has already gotten over it before you even die. I want people to miss me when I’m gone. I don’t want people sitting around saying things like, ‘Well I saw that coming.’”

“We will miss you,” Brigid said.

“Sure, you will.”

“If you’re going to sit there and insult your mother, then you can leave,” Jarlath said.

“Fine!”

Pelagia pushed herself away from the table and stormed out the door, slamming it behind her. She wandered her way towards the garden, which had become a weekly tradition. Every time she had a fight with her parents she would end up in the garden.

The garden was a gathering ground of sorts. A large circular hedge marked the garden’s territory. Inside, the garden was full of flowers, trees, and protected plants. As Pelagia walked through the large golden gate the elegant scent of the globeflower hit her nose. The garden greeted her with a sea of pink, blue, and yellow. She shuffled her way to her favorite bench in front of the bog rosemary. As she settled into the bench the tears began to flow.

Pelagia sat and cried for several hours. There were very few people in the garden at this hour, but the few that were there didn’t pay her any attention, except for one. If Pelagia hadn’t been crying she would have noticed the fiery redhead that had been watching her for the last hour.

Adeline loved walking through the gardens at this time of night. Only the most desperate and pathetic wander through, giving her the best opportunity to find help. Adeline had noticed Pelagia a few times before, but never felt it was the right time to approach her. Tonight, on the other hand, seemed right. Pelagia was more upset than she had ever been.

Adeline sashayed over to Pelagia’s bench and sat down. Her gentle hand touched Pelagia’s arm. Pelagia jerked at the touch. Seeing how beautiful the person behind the touch looked, Pelagia relaxed for a moment.

“Are you all right?” Adeline cooed.

“Yeah. Fine.” Pelagia sniffled.

“You don’t look fine. Why don’t you tell me what’s really wrong.”

“It’s a long story.”

“I have time.”

Pelagia looked deep into the stranger’s eyes, searching for a reason why she was interested. She couldn’t get past the ice blue color of her eyes. They pulled her into a trance, and Pelagia started telling Adeline everything. Once Pelagia finished her story, Adeline wrapped a long slender arm around her shoulders and pulled her close.

“What if I told you I could protect you from your fate?”

“You can’t do that. Nobody can. It’s fate.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. My husband and I own that large white castle on the east side of town. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. Anyway, we have made it our mission to help innocent people like you stay safe from horrible fates. The work of Amon can be crude and evil, and we believe people should have the opportunity to make their own life.”

“But nobody can possibly keep fates from coming true.”

“If you come live with me, you can work in the gardens there, and you will have a nice little basement apartment all to yourself. You’d have free roam of the property, and not a single person there will cause you any harm. Now, tell me how your fate could possibly come true in a place like that?”

“I suppose it would be hard for my fate to be fulfilled there.”

“Your family won’t miss you either. They’ve already moved on.”

One last tear slipped down Pelagia’s cheek. With a sigh, Pelagia stood and turned toward Adeline.

“I’d love to live with you and your husband. Anything is better than where I am now.”

“That’s my girl,” Adeline said, standing and wrapping Pelagia in a hug.

Adeline took Pelagia’s hand and led her towards the Buckley castle. Pelagia’s eyes grew wide the closer they came. Never in her life had she seen anything as amazing as her new home.

Adeline led her up the huge white marble stairs to the front door. Celtic knots decorated the edge of the iron door. The soft lilt of singing echoed around the corner of the house. The door creaked open as they approached, welcoming Pelagia. The foyer was decorated with gothic accents, red roses, and white candles.  Pelagia eased into the expansive room. Looking up the hall, the lights of the candles disappeared into the darkness. Adeline draped an elegant arm around Pelagia and led her down the hall. The soft echo of their footsteps followed behind as they reached a large steel door.

“Here we are,” Adeline announced.

“Where does the door go?” Pelagia whispered.

“To your room. You get the entire basement to yourself. It’s completely furnished too.”

“Really?”

“Yep. You have free run of the house and grounds as well. Make yourself at home.”

Pelagia reached out and grasped the cold doorknob and pulled the door open. Cool air hit her. A soft whir can from the expansive darkness that unfolded before her. She eased her foot onto the top step. The step was hard. Despite the darkness, she knew it had to be marble. She continued her slow march down the stairs.

Pelagia’s skin started to emit a soft glow lighting the dark stairwell. While she could see where she was going, the glow of her skin casted an ominous shadow along the walls. At the bottom of the stairs, Pelagia ran a hand along the wall looking for a light switch. Her finger slipped over the switch. Lights flicked on overhead illuminating her new home. Pelagia had seen a few basements during her life, but nothing this extravagant.

An expansive living room stood in front of her. A huge flat screen TV hung on the wall. A complete black leather living room suit decorated the floor. Red, purple, white, and pink lilies and irises decorated the tables and walls.

Pelagia stepped through an archway into the kitchen. A cute little breakfast nook was set up in the corner. Marble countertops sat on the cabinets. To Pelagia’s eyes, she had brand new stainless steel appliances. She walked back into the living to the open bedroom door.

A huge canopy bed stood in the center of the room. She found an equally big bathroom to the right. She flopped down on the soft bed and smile up at the sparkling purple canopy. With a sigh, Pelagia started to close her eyes when she heard a low grumble coming from outside her room. She bolted out of the bed and eased through the living room to investigate.

Another growl shook the room; this time sounding further away. Pelagia followed the growl to a large black door on the far side of the room. She slowly reached out her hand to touch the doorknob.

“That doors locked,” Adeline stated.

Pelagia jumped and whirled around to face Adeline.

“What?” Pelagia asked, her heart racing.

“The doors locked. It’s for the boiler room. Nobody ever goes in there except when there is maintenance that needs to be done, but there’s a second entrance so you won’t be bothered.”

“Then why do you have this door?”

“It was put there before we turned the basement into an apartment, and we didn’t take the time to remove it.”

“Oh.”

“I brought you some cookies and milk to welcome you home. I’ll introduce you to everyone tomorrow.”

“Thank you.”

Pelagia took the tray of cookies and milk with a smile. Adeline gave her a small wave as she made her way back up the stairs. Pelagia gave the large black door one last look before taking her treats to the kitchen.

That night Pelagia enjoyed her treats and enjoyed her first night of restful sleep since her 18th birthday. Over the next few days, Pelagia got to know her new home. She made friends with fairies and sprites that worked in the gardens, and the kitchen elf started teaching her to cook. She never once thought of that odd growl she had heard the first night. The large black door didn’t even catch her attention. She was enjoying her life for the first time in a long time, and she didn’t have to worry about her parents butting in. They had no clue where she was, and she wasn’t about to tell them.

The one week anniversary of Pelagia’s move in, Adeline and Padraig threw her a party. They had all of her favorite foods; cookies, milk, honey, several types of berries, and caramel. After she had eaten her fill, and the party started to wind down, Pelagia made her way to bed. She laid for a few moments on her bed and watched the lights around her twinkle. As she started to drift off to sleep a deep growl rocked her bed.

Pelagia sat up. Another growl ripped through her apartment, louder and fiercer. She scooted to the head of the bed with her legs tucked into her chest. As another growl rumbled through the air; a large shadow passed by her bedroom door.

“Hello?” Pelagia called sheepishly.

She was answered by another growl. Goosebumps run up her arms. Easing off the bed, she crept to the door and peered out. The living room appeared as it had earlier. She pushed the door open with a squeak and stepped into her living space. The growls continue in constant succession causing the walls the shake. The closer she walked to the large black door, the louder the growling became. She reached out a shaking hand and grasped the doorknob. The knob wouldn’t turn. The large black door rattled as something hit it from the other side. Pelagia jumped back and ran upstairs.

She ran through the house trying to find Adeline, but she was nowhere to be found. Pelagia hurried into the kitchen, running into Padraig. Pelagia stumbled backward. Padraig stepped back holding a glass of wine in his hand and wearing nothing but boxers.

“You okay?” Padraig asked.

“Yes… No… I mean…” Palagia stumbled.

“Calm down. Why don’t you tell me what happened.”

Padraig sat his glass down on the black marble island and motioned towards a bar stool. Pelagia eased onto the bar stool next to Padraig. With a sigh, she raced through the story of what happened downstairs.

“I’m sure that seemed very scary,” Padraig cooed, reaching a handout and stroking Pelagia’s hair, “But it’s just the boiler room. It acts up sometimes.”

“But something banged on the door.”

“It just sounded like it did. Nobody is the boiler room. Both doors are kept locked.”

“But…”

“Everything is fine.”

Padraig ran a gentle hand down Pelagia’s arm onto her leg. She brushed his hand away and stepped back from the island. Padraig sauntered over to Pelagia, pushing her into the counter. He wrapped an arm around her waist and brushed his hand down her face. Pelagia cringed at his touch.

“You need to relax,” Padraig sighed.

“Let me go,” Palagia shouted, pushing him away.

Pelagia took off to her room. Back downstairs, she ran for her bedroom, planning on locking the door to keep Padraig out, but the door was already locked. She scrambled to find a hiding place, but there wasn’t one. Even the outside basement door was locked where she couldn’t get outside. She turned to look at the large black door again. The growls and banging had subsided leaving her apartment quiet.

The sound of footsteps echoed above her. She ran towards the large black door, knowing it would be locked, but desperate to find a hiding spot. To her surprise, when she turned the doorknob the door easily swung open. Pelagia stepped into the dark, cold room. A sewer smell hit her nose causing her eyes to water. A rumble ran through the room almost knocking Pelagia down. The door slammed closed. Pelagia frantically grabbed at the door, but the door was locked. Turning to face the dark room, Pelagia made her way into what looked like a maze. Another growl ripped through her. She took off running.

“There’s another door,” Pelagia whispered.

The maze shook as Darcy took off. Pelagia ran as fast as she could, trying to get to the other end. The more she ran, the more lost she became. Every wall looked the same. Every turn seemed to lead back to the same cubby hole. The more frightened she became the more her skin glowed.

Out of breath and tired, Pelagia hunkered down into the cubby hole to rest. She hadn’t spotted Darcy. He had learned a while back that the longer his prey went without seeing him, the longer he got to chase him. Nothing was more fun than the chase. Darcy peered around the wall at Pelagia. She sat curled in a ball. Her head pulled into her knees.

Pelagia’s hair swayed as Darcy breathed harder. The smell of his breath caught her attention. Her head shot around and spotted Darcy. With a blood-curdling scream, Pelagia took off again through the maze. Darcy reached out a monstrous hand and grabbed for Pelagia’s shoulder. She shook free and continued her pursuit through the maze.

“I’ve got to stop glowing,” Pelagia whispered to herself.

As she rounded another corner Pelagia tried to calm herself. With thoughts of fruits and flowers, Pelagia’s glow began to dim. Her eyes weren’t used to the darkness, causing her to run into a wall and fall.

Darcy had lost sight of the little sprite when she dimmed herself. She was one of the best victims he had ever chased.

“Where did you go?” Darcy growled.

Pelagia pulled herself up. As she took a step a hot pain ripped through your right leg causing her to scream.

Darcy darted in the direction of the scream. Pelagia limped as fast as she could, but Darcy was too fast and too use to the maze. She could feel his hot breath on her neck. His cool fingertips touched her skin. She jerked away, but her leg gave out sending her tumbling down. Darcy grabbed the wounded girl by the neck. Pelagia kicked and struggled to get out of his grasp, but it was no use. Darcy tossed her against the wall of the maze like a rag doll. Pelagia’s head bounced off the wall sending her into darkness.

***

Pelagia’s eyes blinked open to a searing pain in her head and a blinding light. As her sight cleared a familiar face came into view. Padraig crouched over her. Pelagia tried to move out from under him, but her body wouldn’t move. The only thing she could move was her eyes. She rolled her eyes as far down as she could. Nothing was between her and Padraig. She laid naked under him.

Padraig leaned over her, pressing his hands into the pillow beside of her head. Pelagia tried with all her might to scream, but nothing came out. The only thing she could do was lie there. Padraig continued using Pelagia until she passed out again. That didn’t stop him. For hours Padraig would ravage Pelagia, stopping to rest for a few moments before starting again. Finally, he had his fill and left her.

***

A few hours later, Pelagia came too in the same blinding white room. This time she could move her head and body. She jerked up to a sitting position causing waves of pain to rocket throughout her body. A soft whimper escaped her throat.

“It’s about time you woke up. I was beginning to worry about you,” Adeline cooed from the corner.

Adeline stood at the far side of the room. She wore a long green evening gown that sparkled in the midday sun that shined through the window. Her red hair cascaded around her body. Picking up a glass of water, Adeline glided across the room to Pelagia. Trying to avoid her touch, Pelagia slid across the bed as far away from her as she could get.

“You know, my husband really enjoyed having you. He’d never been with a virgin before. You may have ruined him for any other woman. But the problem is, you’re never going to feel like that again.”

Pelagia tried her best to curl up into a ball, but her leg hurt too badly from her fall. For the first time, she saw what her body looked like. Her thighs held dark bruises shaped like fingers. A stain of red blood covered part of the sheets. Adeline smiled as she watched the fear fill Pelagia’s face.

“Well, I have someplace I need to be. I didn’t dress like this for you. You really should drink some water. You’re probably severely dehydrated.”

Adeline strolled towards the door before stopping.

“Don’t think that can go anywhere. Your buddy Darcy will be watching your every move.”

Adeline left Pelagia alone with Darcy. Darcy stood at the door with his arms crossed wearing nothing but a loincloth. Pelagia accessed the damage Padraig and Darcy had caused. There wasn’t a spot on her that didn’t ache or hurt. The knee she had hurt was black and blue and swollen. Her arms felt like they had 100-pound weights strapped to them. Tears started to flow as she continued to think about what had happened.

She eased herself off the bed and hobbled towards the window. She opened the door to the balcony and stepped outside. The sun was hot on her cold skin and caused her head to pound. Darcy grunted, calling her back inside. Pelagia took one last look outside. She was in the top room of the turret she had noticed when Adeline first brought her to the castle.

Pelagia eased back to the bed and leaned against the post. Darcy stared at the young sprite. He had never been put on guard duty before. In fact, he had never seen what happened to the women he chased through the maze after he immobilized them.

“Excuse me,” Pelagia began, “Where can I use the bathroom?”

Darcy said nothing but pointed towards a bucket in the corner of the room. Pelagia sighed.

“I can’t go in that. Can’t you take me to one of the bathrooms?”

“No,” Darcy grumbled, still pointing at the bucket.

“My leg is all messed up. I’m not going to be able to squat over that. I have a shy bladder too.”

“I don’t care.”

“Please, all I’m asking is that you step outside the door. I’ll manage to squat over the bucket, and you won’t have to watch. There’s no way for me to escape except through that door.”

Darcy growled, shaking the floor. Pelagia pushed herself against the bedpost. Darcy took a step towards her, holding out a hand.

“Two minutes,” he said, raising two fingers.

“Thank you.”

Darcy slipped out the bedroom door, closing it behind him. Adeline and Padraig glided up the white marble stairs. Adeline held a basket of food, Padraig, a bottle of wine.

“She is magnificent. I think I can convince her to be my pet,” Padraig said.

“I’m glad you like her, but what about Darcy? He’s going to miss the maze.”

“We’ll send him someone through from time to time, but he’ll be Pelagia’s guard the rest of the time.”

“That should…” Adeline’s thought stopped when she saw Darcy standing outside of the bedroom door, “What is that fool doing?”

Adeline dropped the basket of food and took off towards Darcy. With a shove of her hand, she sent him flying back into the wall.

“Why are you in the hall?” Adeline screamed.

“She needed to pee.”

“So. You watch her. She gets no privacy.”

“She can’t escape but through this door.”

“You fool. There is a large window and balcony in that room,” Padraig interjected.

“She would fall to her death if she tried to go out that window.”

Adeline grumbled as she pushed past Darcy into the bedroom. Padraig ran in after his wife, looking around. Adeline took off to the bucket, but it hadn’t been used. There was no sign of Pelagia. Padraig tapped his wife on the shoulder and pointed towards the balcony. The doors were open and the white curtains flapped softly in the breeze. Far below them, in the gardens, a screamed rippled up through the window.

Running out on the balcony, Adeline and Padraig looked down to the concrete floor below. A small red stain began to grow as blood rushed out of Pelagia’s smashed skull. Gardeners rushed over to help, but there was nothing that could be done. Her fate had been fulfilled, and all that would remain of her was the stain that would never leave the Buckley’s garden.

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. Make sure you keep an eye on Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles. You never know what kind of sale you might find.

Stop Judging and Write Your Truth

If you have been a writer for any length of time, you have probably heard the saying writer your truth. The meaning of this statement is different for everybody, but in essences, it means to be true to yourself. So much of our lives we have to monitor what we say to make sure that we don’t upset somebody. Monitoring everything is detrimental to your imagination.

I want to preface what I’m going to talk about with this statement. I am not talking about being mean or rude to people. Writing your truth is about getting to the depths of who you are. It’s not about saying things just to be hurtful or mean.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can move on.

Writing your truth is important no matter if you write fiction or non-fiction. When you write, you are bearing your soul for the whole world to see. And if you don’t, then your story won’t be the best that it can be.

Don’t Hide You

When you sit down to write, don’t try to hide who you really are. It doesn’t matter what other people think when you are writing. Writing is a safe space. It’s where you can share your deepest and darkest secrets and fears without any judgment. Spew it all out on paper. When you do, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.

Don’t Worry About Others

So often writers go into a story thinking about what other people want to hear. When I first started writing Loved by Death, I didn’t have that problem. I developed as I started to put my writing out for people to read. The reason I didn’t care when I first started writing my book is that I was just writing to do something.

I had no thoughts of publishing it. I wrote it because my friend told me I should write a book. I went crazy with the world because I wasn’t thinking about what other people would think. Once I tuned into my writing dreams, and I started getting published in Milhaven Press, that’s when I found myself judging my words.

When I started looking for book reviews, I almost went crazy. I was literally asking people to judge my writing, and in essence, me. But we can’t go into writing with this thought process. When we do, we will hold ourselves back. We start thinking about what people want to hear as opposed to what you want to say.

Be Vulnerable

You have to bare your heart and soul on your paper. Non-fiction writers have to share everything about the story they are trying to tell the world, whether their own or somebody else’s. Fiction writers have to be able to get to the depth of their characters. There are going to characters that have actions and beliefs that some people will hate while others like them. That’s why people read books.

They want to feel the characters, and without being vulnerable, you can’t put those emotions in your characters or stories. Being vulnerable is no easy task. I get that. But really knowing you will help you to really know your writing.

I am by no means an expert on writing your truth. I am still learning. But, from my experience, I like learning things from people that is just slightly more knowledgeable than me. I don’t think anybody should feel like they know everything about something. We should all continue to learn.

As such, this is just the beginning of writing your truth. I will have many more posts about it. I will also be creating some videos about it as well. Speaking of video, I will be posting videos on YouTube on a regular basis. I am getting my first video together, so make sure you are on the lookout.

“Honesty if the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

FYI:

Grab your copy of Loved by Death on Amazon. I will be making Loved by Death: Book One of The Wolfsbane Chronicles available for free on Kindle in the coming weeks, so make sure you keep an eye out so that you don’t miss your chance.