Today I have a post from guest-blogger, Karen Heard on writing and research. Karen’s short story, Alba, is also in Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft (as is mine!). I loved her imaginative take on elemental magic and witchcraft in the story’s murder mystery plot. Spooky and fun!
When Debra invited me to write a blog post on my new story ‘Alba’ she suggested I mention the research I’d conducted. When I told her that actually I hadn’t done any, I felt a little like a fraud. Research for me usually involves spending months beforehand background reading or visiting the locations to touch the walls, smell the air, find places to hide bodies. The first draft of Alba had only taken half an hour to write, in a flash of inspiration, and I had drawn only on facts I already knew. But then as I looked over the story again, I realised that I had actually done lots of research – only not initially for this story! Continue reading →
Perhaps your mind conjures up a memory of fairytale book illustrations. My childhood books always showed the witch as a hunchbacked hag with long-nailed gnarled fingers and warts on her big nose. Even as a child I wondered why the witches didn’t simply magick those warts away.
However, the image stuck with me. There was an old woman in the neighbourhood, her back crooked with age, her fingers knobby with arthritis. We children were sure that she was a witch.
Perhaps your mental image of a witch is more inspired by a Halloween fancy dress character with a black pointed hat, swathed in layers of purple chiffon? Or the sexy siren with the wicked cleavage? Continue reading →
I belong to a writer’s research group on Yahoo, hosted by the fabulous Rayne Hall (I reviewed her book here). Even when I don’t have an open question for the group, or the topic isn’t one I can contribute knowledge to, I still read the posts. That’s how I came across the following story, courtesy of Pedar Bloom.
An author had asked about details concerning rat hunting, and Pedar posted a true tale so amazing that I repeatedly pulled it up on my smart phone and read it to people. Everyone loved it. Thanks Pedar, for letting me share:
Imagine thousands of these. . .
“My wife’s cousins used to hunt rats for bounty. Their city had a problem with
rats in the sewers and paid per rat killed. They were given access to the sewer
system, vests, hard hats like miners wear with a flash light in them, and were
otherwise expected to bring their own gear.
The first time they went they brought 22 caliber repeating rifles. They entered
at the access point. The access point was about two blocks from where the big
rat colony was, and was used because it gave the hunters a way in and out away from
the main colony. They could hear the rats down the pipe even two blocks
away. Continue reading →