Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Something Furry This Way Comes

Don’t you just love old books, especially ones that deal with magic or ancient stories? I’m more of a fairytale nut myself, but I can’t help answering the occasional yearning for something spooky. Hence, my fascination with two books my sister got from our local library’s discards. WITCHES, PUMPKINS, AND GRINNING GHOSTS was orange and the other, MY FAVOURITE BOOK OF WITCHES AND WIZARDS, was rich purple. Both were teeny-tiny hardbacks with their edges taped and their worn covers ripped, but the pages had managed to hold up with minimal wear and tear.

I delved inside and discovered a magical world that breathed life into an idea I was in the midst of concocting. One whose first ingredient had been a tale about Charlemagne shooting an arrow to find the answer to the plague ravaging his lands. A small picture tucked in at the bottom of the page sparked a way for me to sprinkle in my favorite tale, CATSKIN, among the magical goings on.

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The darling, feline image flared to life in my mind’s eye as the newest furry addition to my family. A small ball of fur I’d dubbed Puff. Colored dove gray and calico orange with a hint of white, she had the mannerisms of a person. Not only did she greet me each morning on my way to the bathroom to get ready for work, but she’d also sit and watch me then mew as if she had a secret I ought to know.

She became the Familiar version of my heroine Gwynan Kadin who was born in France and died by accidental circumstance, but got a second chance at life because of her powers. Born to a woman who dabbled in earthly potions and charms, she’d somehow managed to walk unscathed through plague-ravaged cities. Having bowed to life as a thief robbing from the dead, she knew what she’d done carried a heavy price. But she never believed it would come due at the hands of the Ancients—mystics who control the elemental parts of existence including Wind, Water, Fire, Earth, Spirit, Time and Knowledge. As a non-believer herself due to pagan scorn, imagine Gwynan’s surprise when she’s given the daunting task of safe-guarding a man who’s bloodline makes him the sole guardian to defeat Evil—and then discovering that Kendron Valdemar is a practicing witch.

Then boil the mix with an ever-growing flame of love that flickers wildly when Gwynan is given the chance to take human form. JUST ONE LIFE was founded on all things magical but also showcases the importance of love and how far it’s power of belief can take someone. Imagine you’re Kendron teetering on one of the Egyptian pyramids battling a priest hell bent on using your family’s Book of Shadows to destroy the world. Your untrained powers are no match for Evil incarnate, yet when the thing you’ve come to treasure most is taken…you become the person you were destined to be. All because of a life saved...and a new love that defies the bounds of reality.

As a writer I strive to breath new life into old plots, to give them a spit shine until they gleam, and to make my readers see beyond what lies right in front of their eyes. Including far reaching themes that resonate with the common man, no matter how many heebie- jeebies, hair standing on the back of your neck moments they cause. My musings don’t rival the King of Horror (who’s take on life gives me the willies at times) but something profound can be discovered in the smallest of things. As Kendron says, “Never way lay your gifts. The smallest grain of sand can be just as mighty as a fist in battle.” Maybe we both should’ve said creatures that go meow in the night?

As I sit here on the sofa with the wind whooping spookily in the skeleton trees outside, I can see my two beleaguered sources of inspiration safe and snug in a hallowed place—my keeper’s bookcase. And Puff is perched on the armrest to my right, always on the lookout for trouble. Or perhaps she’s hunkered down just close enough to get a scratch behind the ear for her good works. Either way, I’ll give her a treat for summoning such a great trick out from my sleeve.

The Ancient Ones consider the Cosmos their mystical playground, because they’re not above sticking their noses in other people’s problems. But they’re not the only one’s conjuring to fuzz the line between the here and now. To check out what Kendron, Gwynan and their cohort Kass are doing to get the upperhand against Evil, click here for a special Halloween treat.

1 comment:

Lynda K. Scott said...

Excelent post,Skylar! And I loved your excerpt!