Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Caturday!



Finally Honey the cat poses for a great pic.

Just in time for Caturday!


Monday, September 3, 2012

Posts from Oceania


Look up there. Where my pages sit at the top of the page. See something new?

Posts From Oceania

It's another blog that will feature the fantasy story I hope to have out with in a year.

Here are some quick FAQs.

1. What's it about?
A traveling band of Minstrels.

2. Who is in it?
Grail, bagpipe player. Rand, cittern player. Drake, drums. Jena, Drake's girlfriend. In the novel there is another character named Carey, but you will have to wait to read about him.

3. Does it have vampires?
Mentioned, but not seen.

4. Is it like... ?
Not like any fantasy book I have read. I am sure someone with a larger knowledge than me could find one. But I have read many fantasy books, but it doesn't remind me of any.

5. Magic?
Yes. Quite a lot.

6. What about the Coiree Guardians?
The fourth book is on the final rounds, but I have a new editor. Things got a little backed up, but it will come out.

If nothing happens on this blog, check out Posts from Oceania. There should be one a week.


by Mari Miniatt

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sometimes Writer's Block is a Good Thing

To tell the truth, the fourth book of the Coiree series has hit a road block. I was steaming along and suddenly couldn't write anymore.

Well, I couldn't write that story anymore. I worked on my fantasy novel posts (coming soon). I got inspired to write the beginnings of a zombie story. But for Ogden's story, nothing. I would open the page and nothing would inspire me. I knew where I wanted the story to go, but I couldn’t get the characters to move.


What happen?


It struck me a few days ago the reason I lost interest. I was bored with Ogden. In the last few books I have hinted at what he can do. And then I give him a tale that he could sleep walk through.
That's not to say there are not twists and turns, or surprises, but nothing to make the main character sweat.


That’s the important bit, keep your protagonist hoping. They should be in the dark as much as your readers will be about what is going on. That’s important to remember: YOUR ANTAGONIST IS THERE TO CHALLENGE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER. The antagonist is not there to be like Wild E Coyote, throwing obstacles in the way, that your protagonist can easily get around (unless you are making the antagonist a comic character). He or she should be like Moriarty, staying one step a head of your main character, until your main character figures out how to beat them.


You need a good antagonist or no matter how unique your main character is when you came up with them, they will seem flat without the protagonist.


Now having writers block has allowed me to rethink the antagonist. He or she wasn't a challenge. I have brained stormed a few ideas. A few I can work in with minor rewrites, a couple of ideas will require me to redo entire sections. But at the end I hope I can put Ogden up a tree and set fire to it.


Will it be worth it?


I think so. Because if I am not excited about the character, why should I expect my readers to be?

by Mari Miniatt

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A teaser

Other than working ten day stretches (ugh), the reason I have not been posting much is while the Coiree Guardians series is being wrapped up (4th book is in beginning editing stage), I am getting ready to launch another book. This one is a fantasy road trip. Not your typical "heroes" either. All of them are musicians with interesting pasts.

This is a short story I wrote as a background on one of the characters. This is only a tease, the first 1,100 words. If enough people are interested, I will make the completed story available for free on smashwords. And maybe put some other short stories set in this world out as well... while you wait for the novel.



Dunach Ruins
By Mari L Miniatt




It was a nice day to take a break from the march. The minstrels had gathered together after getting their tents set up, and started a dice game. But nature called and Grail had to take a break. He heard someone sob, Grail buttoned his pants. He leaned so he could see around the tree. Sitting by the stream on a fallen log, the newest mage had her head down. Her body shook. The warm day would not have caused a chill.
He knew about her. A new recruit. Schooled somewhere in one of the southern countries. He had been close enough to the mage corp to have notice her before. She hadn't complained once, she kept her mouth shut. They had been on the march for seven days, not once did she act like any of the other mages. She kept her distance from them too.
That's why I noticed her, Grail thought.
“Recruit,” Grail said.
She wiped her eyes, using her robe. “Sir.”
“Novice... Sorry what was your name?” Grail asked.
“Morvana Van Rijn.”
“Van Rijn? Royalty?”
She shook her head. “Our family lost our lands generations ago. Royal only in name.”
“May I?” Grail asked. He motioned to the log.
Morvana moved over. He sat down, moving his bagpipe so it didn't hit her.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
“Fine, sir.” Her lower lip trembled.
Grail took off his hat, wiping his black hair away from his face. “I know you are not assigned to me, but that doesn't bother me. If you need to see a superior officer about anything. I'm more approachable than the stuck up ones.”
She gave him a small smile. “Thank you, but this is something I have to take care of myself.” She stood. “Thank you for asking.”
Morvana pulled her hood over her head and headed back to the camp. Grail watched her leave. He heard someone walking in the brush toward him.
“How long are you going to be?” The voice belonged to his friend Reggie.
Grail opened his sweet root pipe bag. “A few more minutes.”
Reggie leaned against a nearby tree. “You’re holding up the game.”
Grail lit his pipe. He blew the smoke away from Reggie. “What do you know of that new mage, Morvana?”
“She's cute.”
Grail chuckled. “Other than that.”
“She came with a recommendation from Captain Coyle.”
“Did she now?” Grail smiled. “That is impressive. He rarely hands those out.”
“That is why Van Philip put her with us and not with the new recruits.” Reggie gave him a knowing look. “You have your eye on her, don't you?”
“She was distraught, but wouldn't tell me why.”
“Talk to Mattias, he's in the mage corps.”
“I think I will.”
“How many of the women in this squad have you bedded already?”
Grail shook his head. “One, none of your business. And two, my interest in her has nothing to do with that.”
“Prove it.”
“You are an ass, Reggie.” Grail stood up. “The only reason I got those women, is because they were crying over how you treated them.”
“Bullkop.”
Grail laughed.
Reggie shook his head. “Let's go finish that game.”
Grail walked back with him to the camp, finishing his pipe. The musicians had gathered in the behind the cook’s tent to play dice. The smell of dinner cooking drifted through the trees.  In the circle of minstrels, Leon threw the dice on the ground.
“Damn.” he pointed to Grail. “Good you're back. I have to win my pay back.”
“Like you could.” Grail sat down on the ground. He grabbed the dice and tossed them. They landed. “Not today.”
“Pult.” Leon spit.
Grail and Reggie laughed.
Leon threw the dice. He grunted when they landed. Then he stood and walked away. Another musician took his place. Someone shouted. Grail picked up the dice and shook them. A noise like meat sizzling on a fire, but much louder, made Grail turn to look. A young mage hung upside down in mid-air. Morvana held her staff out in front of her. She moved the staff and the mage bounced in the air. Reggie chuckled.
“What the fenn?” Leon asked.
Grail walked over to the mage camp. Other soldiers came closer, forming a ring around the tents. Mages rarely fought amongst themselves, this was unusual. Mattias, the commander of the mages, ran over to the camp.
He shouted. Morvana lowered her staff. The suspended mage grunted as he hit the soft dirt. Mattias pointed to his tent and ordered Morvana to meet him there.
“What do you think all that is about?” Reggie asked.
Grail shrugged. “Lets find out.”
They walked over to the mage camp. The one that had landed on the ground, glared at them as they approached.
“Learning to fly?” Reggie asked.
“Go beat your drum somewhere else,” the mage said.
Grail sighed. Another arrogant one, he thought. Why do so many of these mages have sticks up their asses.
“I will beat my drum,” Reggie grinned. “On your head.”
“Now, now, Reg,” Grail said, smiling. “I think he needs a refresher in spotting a superior officer.” Grail pointed to the rank insignia on his shoulder. “Recognize this?  Color Sergeant. Out ranks you.”
The mage brushed the dirt off his robe. “Doesn't matter, when I get out of here, I will go home to my estate and employ someone like you to clean my horse barn.”
Reggie grabbed Grail's arm. Grail snorted. “Really? First you have to get out of here, puck. Do you think we are marching because we like the view?”
“The civil war is over, we are at peace,” the mage said. “Nothing is going to happen.”
“Your name.” Reggie commanded.
The mage scoffed.
“Your name, you worthless pile of kop!”
For a brief moment, the arrogance had been replaced by fear in the mage's eyes. “James D'Abor.”
Grail and Reggie shared a glance.
“D'Abor?” Grail asked. “No wonder you didn't want to give your name. How do you like working for the people your family lost to?”
James eyes narrowed. “It’s in the past.”
“Leave it there.” Grail crossed his arms. “So why did that other mage hang you upside down?”
“A misunderstanding.”
“What sort of misunderstanding?”
“Grail. Reggie. What are you doing here?” Mattias asked. He placed himself between them and James.  Morvana stood to the side, glaring at James.
“We saw there was some trouble-” Reggie said.
“It's been dealt with.” Mattias motioned Morvana to stay. “But I am glad you are here. I want to send a small squad ahead.”
“Reason?” Grail asked.
“A little look around, that’s all. I was hoping you would go. The musicians rarely go on these trips. Besides I think Morvana could do with a bit of time away from the army's main body.”
Grail tried not to smile when he saw Morvana’s surprised look on her face.  “I'll do it,” he said.
Reggie chuckled. Grail stomped on his foot.
“Good,” Mattias said. “Come to my tent for a briefing. You will be leaving after supper.”
He turned. Morvana glanced at James, then followed Mattias.




by Mari Miniatt

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don't know much about history

I am a history buff. A title I wear proudly. I love learning about history, especially the bits that don’t normally make it into the dry educational books.

Thankfully with the internet, if you are looking to expand your historical knowledge, or trying to get a child interested in the past, there are many great ways to do so. Most of these you can find samples of on youtube and some on netflix.

Horrible Histories:

The best sketch comedy show on TV. Wait, its an educational children’s show, really?

What is it? Horrible Histories started as a series of children’s books written by Terry Deary.

From Wikipedia: Deary commented in interview, "if I had it my way, I wouldn't have schools at all. They don't educate, they just keep kids off the streets. But my books educate, because they prepare kids for life...It's outrageous, why don't we start telling children the truth about history? I hope my books do just that."

The books present history in an entertaining, yet factual fashion. They became two television series, the first one did not fare too well, but the latest one..

Backed by great writers, musicians, and actors (many of them fill one or more shoes) the show is a great example of how entertaining a children’s show can be, without talking down to the kids. Americans around my age will remember School House Rock, same concept, but an half an hour long.

The shows show many different historical periods, feature one song, and move very quickly. It is hard to choose just one example. If you go on youtube, you can find hundreds of clips of the show. But I will shut up now and give you two examples.


Thanks to this skit, I finally got it.



Viking metal? :D

The Historyteachers

Speaking of music. From Hawaii comes The Historyteachers.

Actually two teachers, one teaches history; Amy Burvall. She was looking for a way to get her students interested in the subjects that she was teaching. She uses pop music parodies. The songs and videos are amazing.


I think this is better than the orginal

Crash Course

Prefer your history taught more like a lecture? But one that is fun? Then watch Crash Course. Actually, Crash Course teaches two subjects; history and biology. The hosts presents the subjects in a fun matter, with a bit of animation and a wry sense of humor.

Not impressed. They managed to sum up most of Russia’s history in just over ten minutes:



Terry Jones

Yes that Terry Jones, from Monty Python, not the other one that likes to burn things.

If you are not a Monty Python fan you might not know that Terry Jones is a historian, mainly medieval history. He has done many documentaries on different periods of history, including the history of the number one. No, seriously. But here is his take on the role of the knight, full episode.



The Supersizers

Want to get to the meat of history (pun intended)? This series produced in 2007 and 2008 presents history via the food we used to eat. Think of it as if the History Channel and the Food Channel had a baby.

Food is an important part of history. The French Revolution would not have happened without the lack of grain. Potatoes, found in America, became one of the staples of food worldwide. The presenter live the lives of people of the time period, eat the food, and explain what was going on around the time.

This clip is from the beginning of an episode. All of them start with a visit to a doctor. Because some of historical diets were worse than ours.



There you go, jump in and get interested in our past.

Leaving you with one more Horrible Histories, just because.

by Mari Miniatt

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Update

So I haven't updated my blog in a while,  but that is okay. I have been prepping a new series of posts.  I am going all out, photos, videos and all that fun stuff.


More after my ad.


Did you know that you can get some of my book for free?  Right now! Head to Smashwords. Until July 31, 2012 you can get:
For Free

Half off


end of ad


So what am I working on? It might surprise you, not vampires or werewolves. While I was putting my vampire series together, I also came up with another series idea. 


What to expect: minstrels, thieves, dragons, magic, and bagpipes.




by Mari Miniatt

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What the Heck Have I Been Up to?

Busy, Busy, Busy.

First:
Patriarch is finally ready!!
Amazon (softcover right now)
Smashwords (ebook)

What is it about?


Blood and secrets
Vampires survive on both.
Steopa Rodovitch has been a vampire for long enough to know that in order to survive you must keep secrets.
One secret, some of his descendants become a vampire after suffering a violent death, he has kept for almost as long as he has been undead. Someone has found out and has targeted him for elimination. He must share his past to protect his future. Even with a prophecy, old friends, and vampire hunters appearing, he will find a way.


For those of you familiar with the series: This book focuses on Steopa. More of his past comes to light, his future is prophesied. Which of course, Steopa won't believe. Blood, love, and a wildman make an appearance.

Second:
Two book signings coming up. Both in Syracuse, NY.
First one is at The Enchanted Bazaar, May 31, 2012 from 3pm to 9pm.
Second one TBA.

Third:
Expanded my creative forces and have started to make games. You have to thank my youngest for this. He came up with a solo RPG card game idea and asked me how to publish it. After some great help on Google Plus, we have everything in place to publish his game.
I started to come up with my own. Right now a card game and a board game. We are currently play testing them. I will have them up for sale in a few months, if they pass the play testing.


Well that is up with me.
If you are looking for me online. I have dropped my Twitter and Facebook (my hubby is still sort of running my main author page on Facebook), you find me mainly on G+

by Mari Miniatt

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 27

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

A few weeks later Teodor went back to Steopa's lair. He found Steopa in a large empty room, practicing his swordsmanship.

“You still practice?” Teodor asked from the door.

“It is something to do,” Steopa said swing the sword down, then he laid it on a table. “Are you still hiding from the police?”

“No, I went down and talked to them. They could not pin the murders on me,” Teodor said. “Besides Amanda, Gunner and Trucker all backed me up.

“I see.”

Teodor walked into the room. “I have something to ask you.”

“What?”

“Where did you find all that loot?”

Steopa chuckled. “It was here. I think they used the vault to store personal items.”

“So is that where you have been getting that money?”

Steopa shook his head. “I have not touched anything in that vault.”

“Ah.” Teodor ran his fingers through his hair. “Did you see the house for sale outside the old loading docks?”

“What about it?” Steopa asked.

“Amanda wants to start a family. We just can't seem to save any money, you know.”

Steopa leaned against the table. “I see.”

“Why didn't you tell me about the money before?”

“Because you wanted to try to fit into human society,” Steopa said. “Do you think that having access to that amount of money would have been good?”

“It would have helped.”

Steopa shook his head. “Humans define too much of who you are by what you do. If you did not need to work, you would have drawn more attention than working.”

“I could have said I was an artist,” Teodor said.

Steopa raised his eyebrow.

“Except I can't draw.” Teodor sighed. “What about now?”

“You only have to ask, it does not belong to me.”

“Just enough to get the house, that's all. Amanda and I can work at the Pit for any other cash.”

“What about that child?”

“Trucker? He wants to live with Amanda and I.”

Steopa shook his head. “Bad idea.”

“What do you mean? He's a great kid.”

“I have heard stories of humans raised by wolves, and perhaps being raised by werewolves would not be any worse than what he has known.” Steopa faced Teodor. “But, if you start your own family, what would his feelings be?”

Teodor thought. “Werewolf children can be vicious without meaning to be.”

“I am sure there is a better solution.”

“I don't want to see him in a foster home, he ran away from the last one,” Teodor said.

“Think about it. Do what you feel is correct.”

Teodor scoffed. “Thanks.”

Steopa straightened up. “Follow me,” he said.

Teodor shrugged. He followed Steopa out of the larger room. Steopa led him back to the small vault with all the valuables.

“I did sort through all of the items,” Steopa said. “I found Amanda's packet. And I found this.”

He handed Teodor a large envelope. On the its outside were written the words “Specimen 1759”. The weight and the shape that bulged through the envelope was familiar. Teodor opened it.

The black cross had pearls and rubies inlaid. No silver, but gold and copper wire worked its way around the small crucifix. At the base of the cross were two wolves, under them was his family's name: Navarro.

“I thought I had lost this on the Bering Straight,” Teodor said.

“I never understood why you kept it,” Steopa said.

“To remind me why my family was the way they were. Father's whole life revolved around this.” Teodor rubbed his thumb over the golden wolf's head. “He still believe in this, even after the church turned against us.”

“You know my feelings.”

Navarro nodded. “Yeah.”

“But an antique, that is an impressive piece.”

Teodor scoffed. “I just can't turn away like you did.”

Steopa shrugged. “There is something else.”

He pulled out a box. This one had Amanda's name written on it. Steopa opened it. Teodor looked down.

“Would she want any of these items back?” Steopa asked.

A couple of uniforms, both her nurse and dress ones, a box of jewelry, and other personal items. Teodor placed the cross on top of the items, then closed the box.

“I'll take it back to her,” he said. He stood up with the box under his arm. “Did you find the cells?”

Steopa shook his head. “I think they should stay buried.”

“Yeah, me too.”

Steopa held out his hand. “Good luck, Teodor. I think you will make a far better father than you father did.”

Teodor shook Steopa's hand. “You will be the godfather, you know that.”

“You expect me to go to a church?”

“Will you burn up?”

“No, but I would find it hard not to laugh.”

Teodor chuckled. “Have any of your victims tried to shove a cross in you face?”

“A few.”

“What did you do?”

“Crushed them in my hands.” Steopa smiled. The points of his fangs glistened. “But more grab their guns. The old beliefs and superstitions are disappearing.”

“Maybe that's good.”

“If we had forgotten, how would have we fought the Hag?” Steopa asked. “There are reasons those stories are handed down.”

Teodor shrugged. “As long as people don't see me as a werewolf, it will make my life easier.”

“Yes, for you it would be.”

Teodor gave Steopa a hug with one arm. “Don't be a stranger,” he said. “That house is not far from here.”

“I will come over as much as I can,” Steopa said.

Teodor left the room. He walked back to one of the hidden entrances. As he left the old base, the rays from the full moon hit his face. Teodor looked around. The street was empty. He threw back his head and howled.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 26

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

Amanda did not let go of Teodor for a long time. She held him so close that he had to breath through her hair.

“I need to breath,” Teodor said after a few moments.

Amanda loosened her hold on him, but still held him close. “I was so worried.”

“It's okay she's gone,” he kissed Amanda's lips.

Trucker ran out of his room and wrapped himself around Teodor's waist. “You're back!”

“So am I,” Gunner said. He walked by messing with Trucker's hair.

“Is she gone?” Trucker asked.

“This time, yes,” Teodor said.

Amanda pulled away. “I will make you some breakfast. Pancakes? Gunner?”

Gunner nodded.

“I got some beef.”

Teodor's mouth watered. “Sounds perfect.”

Amanda busied herself in the kitchen. Teodor sat down on the couch. Trucker sat down next to him. He nudged Teodor in the ribs.

“What?”

“Can I stay with you?” Trucker asked.

“Well I will have to ask Amanda,” Teodor said.

“Why don't you?”

“Are you sure you want to stay with us?” Teodor asked. “You are supposed to be scared of werewolves.”

“Like the ones on the movies? They don't scare me.”

“I have a friend that is a vampire.”

“Really?” Trucker's eyes went wide. “You're kidding me.”

“Yeah, he's really big too.”

Trucker sat back on the couch. “He won't scare me.”

Gunner passed through the living room to the bath room.

“Do you know any mummies?” Trucker asked.

“No.”

“Zombies?”

“What?”

“You know zombies, they eat people.”

“I stay away from anyone that eats people.”

“Cool.”

“Teodor!” Amanda called from the kitchen.

Teodor went over to her. Amanda pulled back the curtain in the kitchen. In the street in front of the Pit were four police cars.

“Are they still looking for you?” Amanda asked.

“They would-”

A loud knock on the door made Amanda jump. Teodor turned to open it.

“Don't.” Amanda whispered.

“Steopa says if we really want to fit in like humans we have to behave like them all the time, including now,” Teodor said.

He walked over to the door and opened it. Three police officers stood on the other side. Teodor studied their stances. The tall one in the back, he was the muscle. But not a dumb one. He stood back a foot from the two in the front. He had not taken a threatening pose, but could in an instant.

The dark hair one in the front, looked Teodor up and down. It wasn't hard to figure out what he was thinking. He already made the assumption that Teodor was not strong, but was fast. The dark hair officer moved to block any chance of Teodor bolting down the hall.

The last one had sandy hair. He wasn't looking at Teodor. He looked behind him. Where Amanda and Trucker stood. Teodor heard the bathroom door opened. The sandy haired one glanced over into the direction of the bathroom, then to Teodor.

“Teodor Navarro?” the dark haired one asked.

“Yes,” Teodor said.

“We have to take you down for questioning.”

“Good, I was about to go down myself,” Teodor said. He heard Amanda breath sharply. “You will not have to hand cuff me?”

“Not if you don't give us any problems,” the tall one said.

Teodor did not turn his head. “Amanda, can you get my coat?”

She came over to the door way, and held out Teodor's jacket. “Thanks Babe.”

The tall one moved aside. “Lets go,” he said.

He walked ahead of Teodor. The other two followed. They hadn't thrown cuffs on him, but it felt like he was arrested. As they walked downstairs a police dog barked.

The German shepard stood by his handlers side. He wagged his tail when he saw Teodor, but stopped when his handler looked down. They led Teodor out to one of the cruisers waiting in the street. A small crowd had gathered.

The tall and dark-haired police officers drove Teodor to the station. They didn't try to talk to him and he stayed quiet in the back.

Inside the station. Teodor was lead to a small room. They locked the door behind him, leaving him alone. So far not too bad, he thought.

The minutes ticked by. Teodor sat at the table, studying the wood grain pattern. He sighed, but resisted the urge to tap his fingers. He also did not yawn. He wanted to. His body had been through a lot in the last twenty-four hours. He needed his rest.

He glanced at the mirror in the room. He could smell the people on the other side. They were watching him. The door opened. Two officers in business suits walked in. One looked at a clipboard while he sat down. The balding one stood at the side of the table.

“Thank you for coming today,” the clipboard holder said. “I am officer Lutz and that is officer Parker. We just have a few questions.”

Teodor nodded.

“Have you ever been around the workhouse site?”

“Yes, Trucker showed it too me,” Teodor said.

“Trucker?”

“He's a street kid that latched on to me and my girlfriend.”

“Why did he show you the workhouse?”

“Because that's where he was living, with some other children.”

“A couple of nights ago, about six of those children were brutally murdered. Did you hear about that?”

“I saw.”

“You saw?”

“I made the phone call.”

“What were you doing there?”

“Trucker wanted some of his things back,” Teodor said. He never took his gaze off the officer.

The officer returned the look. “Why didn't you stay and help the children?”

“I saw a large dog approaching. I thought who ever had kill those kids was still around.”

They continued to question him for a long time. Teodor could tell they were trying to get him to change his story. They would switch the questions around and try to trick him. But Teodor had spent years having his father do the same thing, he knew all the tricks.

Then he was left alone again. He felt his exhaustion building. Either arrest me or send me home, he thought. The door opened. A young uniformed police woman held the door open for him.

“I just have some paperwork for you to sign, then you can go home,” she said.

“Thank you,” Teodor said.

He signed the paperwork and left. They didn't have evidence. Teodor knew it. His stomach growled. Teodor rubbed his stubby beard. Time to go home and spend time with Amanda, Trucker and Gunner, He thought. Then he laughed. Almost a real family.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 25 Part 4

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

“You have no right!” she screamed.

“It is not your choice.”

She screamed.

“You can leave willingly, or we can destroy you.”

Teodor snarled. The Hag focused her hollow eyes on him. “Creature, you cannot harm me.”

“You killed those children. You had your child killed in front of you and you still killed other children,” Teodor said.

Gunner shined the light on her. While the light passed across her face, Teodor could see her eyes.

“Elizabeth Swift, we know the truth. We know that you did not kill your infant,” Albrecht said. He picked up the skin.

She tried to attack them. But she could not pass over the circle. She pounded her fist against the unseen barrier. “My baby!”

“You want your baby?”

“Give me my child!”

“Then leave. Promise us that you will finally rest.” Albrecht held up the skin.

“I don't believe you,” she said.

Albrecht knelt down and opened the box with the baptismal gown. “We found your baby's gown too.”

The hag back away from the circle. “Where do I go?”

“You have to cross over,” Albrecht said.

“But-”

“Elizabeth, you have to take your baby and leave. That is all.” He picked up the box with the gown. “Do you agree?”

The blackness that surrounded and filled the hag, became lighter. Her eyes returned to the empty sockets. “I agree.”

Albrecht placed the skin inside the box on the gown. Teodor caught a look that Albrecht gave Bilge. Bilge tightened his grip on the rock salt. Teodor stepped aside as Albrecht approached the edge of the circle.

He held out the box. “Here is your baby.”

She reached out and took the box. The monster appearance melted away from Elizabeth. Instead she became a black haired, young woman wearing a long blue gown. She ran her fingers over the skin.

“My sweet baby,” she said. Her voice had changed. She spoke in a soft whisper.

“Will you leave?” Albrecht asked.

Elizabeth wrapped the skin in the gown. She nodded.

“Then leave,” Albrecht said.

Her feet, then her legs disappeared. The shadows swallowed her. Traveling up her body. Her face was the last to disappear. She smiled.

The darkness replaced by bright moonlight, it streamed into the room. Without the shadows, the living room looked comforable with faded wallpaper.

Bilge sighed. “That went well.”

“Is she gone?” Gunner asked.

“Yeah.”

“I thought we would do more fighting...”

Bilge scoffed.

Teodor turned around. “You wanted to fight her, after you saw what she could do to me.”

“Good point.”

Albrecht rubbed his forehead. “Bilge could you close off the rest of the house. We should leave this place in peace.”

Bilge nodded. He stepped outside of the circle. For a moment Teodor thought something would jump out at them. But nothing did.

Albrecht grabbed Teodor's arm. “Sorry, I think I need some help.”

Teodor let Albrecht lean on him. “No problem.”

Gunner turned off the flashlight. Teodor and Albrecht walked outside. The eastern sky had turned red, but the sun had not broked over the horizon.

“Nice day,” Teodor said.

Gunner sighed. “Finally.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 25 Part 3

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

She had had a girl, he thought. Then he remembered. At that time, all infants would have worn the same type of gown, regardless of sex. He placed the cover on the box. He tucked the box under his arm and left the room. He saw Albrecht leave one room then enter another. Bilge and Gunner came up the stairs.

“What do you have there?” Bilge asked.

“A baptismal gown.” Teodor went into the next room.

The bed had been built into the room. The four tall columns rose from floor to the ceiling, the bed frame had fallen apart and laid between the post. A set of double doors caught Teodor's eye. He opened them.

“Bilge, Albrecht!” Teodor yelled.

He held the doors open until the rest of them came into the room. What should have been the closet had been made into a small prayer altar. The crucifix had been attached to the wall. Inches of wax covered the table along the edges. A raise platform sat in the middle.

“This better be it,” Teodor said.

“Any sign of the remains?” Gunner asked.

Teodor got on his knees to look below the table. The bare floor had been covered with wooden tiles. It was doubtful there was a loose floor board. He ran his hands along the bottom of the table, looking for a false bottom, there was nothing.

Bilge, holding another bunch of herbs in his mouth like a cigar, tapped the top of the closet. “Nothing up there either.”

Teodor stood up. “What would it have been?”

He stepped back. Albrecht stared at the table, rubbing his chin. “There is something missing here,” he said.

The unseen baby cried. Gunner moved the flashlight around the room. “She's coming back, isn't she?”

Bilge waved the herb bundle. “She can't come in here.”

The broken bed frame shook.

“I could be wrong,” he said.

One of the metal pieces of the frame rose up and shot across the room. Teodor pushed Gunner out of the way. The piece of frame stopped at the wall, burying itself into the wall, next to the altar.

Gunner stood up, he shined the flashlight into the bed frame. “Knock it off!” He yelled.

Another piece of the bed frame flew through the air toward them. Bilge dropped to the floor, at the same time he dropped his knapsack on the floor. The metal piece embedded itself a few inches away from the first piece.

Bilge unzipped the knapsack. He pulled out a small bag of salt. Biting the end off like a grenade. He threw it into the middle of the bed frame. The salt hit and fanned out over the floor.

The baby cries stopped.

Teodor stood up. He swatted one of the pieces in the wall. It fell out, leaving a a large hole. He shook his head. “At least she hasn't tried to kill us out right.”

Gunner nodded. “That's true.”

Teodor pulled the other piece of metal out of the wall. The wall crumbled around the two holes. A corner of a large book could be seen.

He used his claws to rip the hole in the wall larger. The plaster crumbled too easily. The area over the large book, had been patched with a different type of plaster than what was covering the rest of the wall.

He pulled the book out. It was a large, leather-bound, family bible. His nose caught the scent. He dropped it.

“What is it?” Albrecht asked.

“I can smell human on it,” Teodor said.

“I am sure a human scent is on it.”

“No, human skin.” He pointed to the leather on the cover. “I think we found the child.”

No one moved or said anything for a few moments. Gunner shined his light on the bible.

“You mean that bible was bound with the baby's skin?”

With the light on the bible, Teodor could make out where there had been repairs to the leather cover had been done. Albrecht knelt down. He ran his finger along one of the new seems.

“Nylon thread. The skin was recently added,” he said.

“One of them sewed the skin onto the bible.” Bilge shook his head. “They could have left it in full view and she would not have been able to touch it.”

“Now what?” Teodor asked.

Albrecht picked up the bible. “Time to make her play by our rules.”

In the living room, the sweet smelling smoke had almost cleared out. Teodor placed the box in the middle of the floor. Albrecht took out a pocket knife and cut the new stitching off the cover of the bible. When he pulled the skin off, Teodor's stomach turned.

“You can see why Bilge and I no longer wanted to work with Robert and Peter,” Albrecht said, laying the skin on top of the box.

The room darkened.

Bilge lit four candles. He instructed Gunner to place one in each direction. Then Bilge took out a piece of chalk and drew a circle around the box.

“Stay inside the chalk,” he said. “No matter what happens.”

Albrecht laid the bible on top of the fireplace. He returned to the circle. Gunner and Teodor stood by each other. Bilge finished drawing the circle.

“Turn the flashlight off,” Bilge said.

Gunner clicked it off.

Albrecht raised his hands. He chanted in Latin. Bilge opened another small bag of rock salt. He nudged Gunner and pointed to the fireplace.

All of Teodor's hair stood on end. He tried to stop the growl that rose up in his throat. But he raised the sides of his mouth. Around the fireplace the shadows darkened. Teodor leaned forward and growled. Albrecht moved his hands as if he was pulling a string toward him. The shadows darkened as he moved his hands. The shape of the Hag formed in front of Teodor.

Her eyes were the hollow holes in her head. She screamed and scratched. But her claws could not enter the area where the circle had been drawn. Albrecht stopped his chanting.

“Elizabeth Swift,” Albrecht said. “We are here to send you back to the grave. To give you the rest you deserve.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 25 Part 2

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

The pages flipped until almost to the end. Teodor read the page. The handwriting with the first entry was elegant and neat, but the last entry the writing had changed. The letters had been written with an angry hand. Ink spotted most of the page. T's had been cross so hard that the paper was ripped.

There were no more sounds from inside the house.

“It says here,” Teodor said. “That she had been expecting Thorson to come that night. They had been talking about leaving for Europe. Oh.”

“What is it?” Bilge asked.

“She was raped. By her father's assistant, Ian.”

“The man that her father forced her to marry?” Albrecht asked. “No wonder she went insane.”

Teodor flipped the pages until it mentioned the birth of the baby. “The rumors were wrong about the child too. She says here, Thorson was the father and was making arrangements to take the child away. Ian found out and-”

Teodor paused. “Hit me in such a rage that it cause me to enter into labor early.”

“Did she kill the child?” Gunner asked.

Teodor read on. “Ian found out that Thorson had made plans to take his son. Ian refused. He beat me, until I could no longer stand. Then he took the child and bashed it's head on the fireplace.”

The wind shook the house. Bilge sighed. “It seems generations of people owe her an apology.”

“But if she did not kill her child? Why did she become the Hag?” Teodor asked.

“Guilt. She may have killed herself,” Albrecht said. “Suicides are good candidates for becoming a ghost. The rumors started, the ghost changed to fit the rumors.”

“But that still doesn't answer why she tried to attack us, just now,” Gunner said.

Teodor put down the book on a windowsill next to the fireplace. He felt the mantel. He never thanked his parents for much, but at least they let him live as an infant.

“So Peter and Robert find her child remains and tease her with them. But why couldn't she have found the remains herself.”

“Concentrated ground,” Albrecht said. “If she had been a suicide, they would have not buried her in a church cemetery.”

“So she could not have entered one either.” Teodor nodded.

The sounds of the crying baby began again. Bilge turned a flashlight on and shined it into the next room. The Hag appeared. Then she was gone. But Teodor saw her eyes. Every other time that he had seen her, her eyes had been gone.

Bilge handed the flashlight to Gunner. “I have to get something.”

Gunner held the light with a shaking hand. “She didn't attack.”

Albrecht walked a little further ahead, but he did not leave the room. “I think when she is here, she is closer to Elizabeth than the Hag.”

At first Teodor thought Bilge had a thick cigar in his hand. Then he saw it was a bunch of herbs and grass bound together. Bilge lit them, and blew on them until a sweet smelling smoke filled the room. The smell made Teodor's eyes water.

“What is that for?” Teodor asked.

“Cleans the room,” Bilge said. “At least for a little while, she won't be able to come in here.”

Albrecht went into the next room. Gunner followed. Teodor waited until Bilge left the burning bundle in the fire place, then he followed Bilge into the next room.

This might have been a dining room. A large hook for a light, possibly a chandelier hung from the ceiling. There was a cupboard off to the side. The doors on it had mouse holes chewed through them.

Albrecht stood still in the middle of the room. He raised his head and stared at the ceiling. His eyes had turned white, again. “I feel the child is close.”

“I can see Peter or Robert getting a kick out of hiding her child closest to where she haunts,” Bilge said.

“But it would have to be somewhere she couldn't go,” Teodor said. He looked around the room. He could make out the faded shape of a crucifix on the wall. He pointed to the shape. “My family had their own altar.”

“Do you think the Swift's would have?” Gunner asked.

“If not an altar something else concentrated,” Bilge said. “We are looking for something big enough to hide a child's remains in.”

Teodor opened the cupboard. Nothing was inside.

Gunner shined the flashlight around the room. No other pieces of furniture. But there were two more exits, one look like it went into the kitchen. The other lead to a set of stairs.

Albrecht walked to the staircase. He turned his head to look up.

The Hag screamed.

Albrecht dove back into the room. Her iron nails sliced furrows in the wood where he had been.

“Shine the light on her!” Bilge yelled.

Gunner swung the light around. It landed on the Hag's features. She screamed and dispersed in a black cloud.

“Why does she keep attacking us?” Gunner asked. “We are only trying to help.”

“If you could reason with her, your friends would be alive,” Bilge said. He lit another bundle of herbs.

Albrecht motioned to Teodor. “Follow me.”

Teodor followed Albrecht upstairs.

“We will have to separate,” Albrecht said.

“Is that a good idea?” Teodor asked.

“She can only attack one of us at a time. We can take her on our own. Gunner should stay with Bilge.”

At the top of the stairs. Albrecht motioned Teodor to head down one direction in the hallway. He went the other way. Teodor went into the first room he found.

The pipes in the walls, hinted that this had been the bathroom. The tiles on the floors were cracked and broken. As Teodor walked on them, the cracking noise his feet made sounded as if he was walking on bones. A floor to ceiling mirror hung off the wall, it had one large crack running from the top to the bottom. A marble knob was stuck to one side of the mirror. He pulled on it. The mirror pulled away from the wall. It covered a tall thin door. A small dark crawlspace was behind the door.

Teodor could not smell anything, but decay. On one side of the crawlspace were shelves built into the wall. Teodor could not see anything on the shelves, because of the darkness. He would see well in the dark, but this darkness was not normal.

He ran his hands along each of the shelves. As he stood on his tip toes and touched the top shelf, his fingers brushed a box. Teodor stretched. He pulled the box off the top shelf.

Teodor took the box out into the bathroom. He opened it up. Inside, in almost perfect condition and smelling of mothballs, laid a baptismal gown. Teodor touched the layers of lace. It did not feel as if it had been stored for decades.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Patriarch Update

This weekend is final book formatting time.

Here is the cover, as it is now, not the final version.

By Matt Miniatt
So what do you think?
Either post your comments below or add to this post on G+.

by Mari Miniatt

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 25 Part 1

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

Gunner held the door open for Teodor. He grabbed his clothes and jumped out of the cab. After changing his shape and dressing, Teodor joined them at the front of the truck. Bilge had parked the truck a few hundred yards away from the visitor center that was being built. The sky lightened above the horizon.

Albrecht pointed to a deer path. “Down there.”

Bilge helped Albrecht along the path. Teodor followed behind Gunner. The sun broke over the horizon, Teodor felt the temperature drop. He paused.

“Did it get colder?” he asked.

Bilge stopped, gripping Albrecht's shoulder so he would not wander ahead. “Yeah, I felt that too.”

Gunner rubbed his arms. “It's still dropping.”

Teodor turned around. The sun rose behind him, but instead of the woods being lit by the early rays. The woods had become darker. His hair rose. His teeth lengthened.

“She's here!”

The claws emerged out of the darkness. They slapped him across his face. Teodor spun and landed in the snow. Gunner flew through the air a short distance after she struck him in the chest. Bilge shoved Albrecht behind him and took off his necklace.

Teodor shook his head, changing into his hybrid form as he did. The shadows and darkness formed the Hag. Bilge swung his necklace in his hand then threw into the Hag as she rushed toward him. The necklace hit her in the chest.

The Hag screamed. She dispersed like fog.

“What did you do?” Teodor asked.

“It was iron. She'll be back,” Bilge said.

Gunner stood up, rubbing his neck. “What the hell? I thought she wanted her dead baby.”

“Maybe she thinks we will use it like they did?” Teodor said.

Bilge shook his head. “Some other reason.”

Albrecht stopped. “Here, somewhere around here.”

Through the trees, Teodor could make out the shells of the homes of the old village. He could see the top of the house, that he had talk to Perun in. He looked around. More buildings came into focus. It was as if the town was emerging from the fog.

“She killed herself, right?” Gunner asked.

Teodor and Bilge nodded.

“How?”

“The article did not say,” Teodor said.

Teodor watch as more of the small village appeared around them. He could make out what type of buildings surrounded them. He recognized the shape of a livery stable. Teodor walked ahead. “Her family owned the tannery,” Teodor said. “The tannery would have been outside of town.”

“What are you doing?” Gunner asked.

“Where would she have killed herself? Her home? The tannery?” Teodor asked.

Albrecht moved his head back and forth, as if he was searching for something. His eyes were still solid white. He pointed to the edge of the now fully visible village.

“I can't pinpoint the body,” Albrecht said. “But there is something that way.”

They continued their walk deeper into the village. Teodor glanced at Perun's house. Though one of the windows he saw Perun look out. He held his finger to his lips. Teodor nodded, careful not to let the rest of them see.

He sniffed the air. The crisp air made the smells more intense. Decay filled most of the outer smells. The scent of the Hag became stronger. She had come this way before.

“She killed the baby at the tannery,” Gunner said. “But was found. I bet they took her home.”

Teodor nodded. “She was a woman that had been high enough up in society they would want to hide any more embarrassment. They would not have taken her to the hospital.”

Albrecht pointed to a large Victorian home. The top towers had collapsed and fallen inside. Even though the moon had lit up most of the village, the inside of the home was black. Teodor stopped.

“That is it,” he said.

“Bilge, did you bring your bag of tricks?” Albrecht asked.

“Of course.”

“We're going to need them.”

Albrecht covered his eyes for a moment with his hand. When he lifted his head again, his eyes were back to normal.

Teodor shook his head. “That house, something is really wrong with that house.”

Albrecht nodded, he turned to Gunner. “Stick close to Bilge and do exactly what he tells you to do.”

“Got it.”

Bilge slapped a bag into Teodor's hand. “Rock salt,” he said. “If nothing else you can use it on the walk.”

Albrecht approached the house, holding his one hand out as if he was feeling for something ahead of him. “No barrier."

“That's good,” Bilge said.

“Perhaps. Or Peter and Robert messed this house up.”

Teodor saw a name written in stone above the main doorway. It read Swift.

“This was her house,” Teodor said.

Albrecht laid his hand on the door knob. He turned it, but did not push the door open. He stepped back and the door opened.

The inside of the house was as dark as if it was no light could reach it. The moonlight had hit the rest of the woods with so much brilliance it seemed unreal. But the inside of this house was pitch black.

“Shit,” Gunner said.

“You feel that too?” Bilge asked.

“Like something is pushing me out of the house,” Gunner said.

Teodor sniffed the air. He could not smell anything. Then he heard a baby cry.

“Please tell me the rest of you heard that,” Teodor said.

Albrecht nodded. “It wasn't a bird either.”

The baby cried again. The cries worked up into the screaming that babies would do if they were scared or extremely upset. Then the sound of a woman's voice. She screamed something. Teodor could not make out any of the words.

The sounds of the screaming and crying bounced around the walls of the entry hall. Teodor looked inside the large living room. Along the opposite wall sat a large fireplace. The ornately carved marble had vines growing along its sides. The vines had come in through the broken window sitting next to it.

The baby screamed. Teodor thought he heard the noise coming from the other side of the living room. He walked into the room, with Albrecht behind him.

“I think the temperature dropped in here,” Albrecht said.

A book flew at them. Teodor swatted it out of the air. He picked it up after it came to a stop, sliding across the floor. There was no writing on the spine. He opened the first page.

“It's her diary,” Teodor said.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 24

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

Teodor watched Bilge escorted the last drinker out of the Pit. He locked the door and turned around. Teodor took a deep breath. “You ready?”

Bilge lit a cigar. “I have to get somethings. Albrecht will be here soon.”

Gunner came downstairs. He spun a knife in his hand. “Can I come?”

“Why?” Teodor asked.

“Because she killed a lot of kids I care about. I want to pay her back.”

Teodor glanced at Bilge. “I don't think that's a good idea.”

Bilge tapped the end of his cigar into a full ashtray. “Why not? He's not a child anymore.”

“Because it's a Hag, not some crazy woman,” Teodor said.

“So I went after my first demon at his age,” Bilge said.

“But you-”

“Teodor, you can be born special like Albrecht or like me, learn,” Bilge said.

“I want to learn,” Gunner said.

Teodor shook his head, but he said, “Sure, you watch him.”

Bilge motioned to Gunner. “Come with me.”

Teodor took a seat at the bar as Bilge and Gunner went back upstairs. Amanda squeezed by them, as she came downstairs. She came over to Teodor and rubbed his shoulders.

“I want you to be careful,” she said.

“I will. You watch Trucker.”

“Just let her try to hurt him.”

“I hope we can find her child.”

Amanda stopped rubbing his shoulder. “How could she do that? Kill her own child and in such a horrible way.”

“How?”

“Trucker said she skinned her baby.”

Teodor squeezed her hands. “Sometimes after an animal has her litter, she will kill them. It's the same with humans.”

“Some people don't deserve kids,” Amanda said.

“We never talked about it,” Teodor said.

Amanda sat next to Teodor. “I know.”

“Do you think this town could handle a pack?”

Amanda smiled. “You serious?”

“Yeah, Having Trucker around has kind of made me want to have our own kids,” Teodor said. “or puppies.”

Amanda hugged him. “Thank you.”

“This place is too small for a family,” Teodor said.

“I know we will get our own place.” Amanda kissed him.

He kissed her back. The phone at the bar rang. Amanda sighed. “I'll get it.”

She went behind the bar to answer the phone. Bilge and Gunner came back downstairs. Amanda hung up the phone. “That was Albrecht, he will meet you at the workhouse.”

Bilge grabbed the truck keys off the hook behind the bar. “Then let's go. Amanda, there's rock salt-”

“In the mop closet, I know. I'll spread it around.”

“Good.”

Teodor kissed her, then followed Bilge and Gunner outside.

The stars filled the sky above, there were no clouds, and the temperature had not dropped. Teodor took in a deep breath of the crisp smell of the air.

A night like this would have been the type of night his family would have released a few prisoners to make a run to freedom. None of them ever made it. But now Teodor could see why they picked a night like this one. The lack of wind would keep the scent in the air longer. The full moon would shine down and the snow would reflect the light, making the woods as bright as a cloudy day. If you had to hunt, a night like this one would be perfect.

In the cab of the truck, Gunner sat between Bilge and Teodor. He held a metal pendulum above his other hand. It swung back and forth, then changed direction and swung in circled.

“This is neat,” Gunner said.

Bilge turned on to the main street. “It will help us find dead people.”

“Do you think Trucker is gonna be alright?” Teodor asked.

Bilge nodded. “He will be.”

A while later, He pulled into the side road that lead to the workhouses. He drove the truck in a a few yards and parked it next to a red sports car. Albrecht got out of the car as soon as Bilge turned off the engine.

“I don't think we will staying here long,” Albrecht said.

“I want to start at the cemetery,” Bilge said.

“Amanda said most of it was unmarked,” Teodor said.

“It is, but Bilge and I have already found most of it.” Albrecht pointed to the tree line to his right. “That direction.”

Albrecht lead them into the snowy woods. He climbed down a small hill, then stopped.

“I think this was the spot,” he said.

Bilge asked Gunner for the pendulum. He held it with his one hand. The pendulum swung back and forth, then stopped.

“Point to me,” Bilge said. The pendulum swung out to one side, pointing to Bilge.

“Point to Teodor.”

The pendulum swung to the middle, then pointed to Teodor.

“How are you doing that?” Teodor asked.

“Anyone can do this with enough practice,” Bilge said. “Find Elizabeth Swift's child's grave.”

The pendulum swung in a circle, then began to swing back and forth. It rose up, pointing to the south. Albrecht smiled. “I knew this was the right place.”

Bilge walked ahead of them, checking the pendulum as they walked into a wooded area. Teodor felt the hair on the back of his head rise up. He paused.

“What is it?” Albrecht asked.

“Something's not right.”

“Just warn me if you are going to change.”

“I'll try.”

Albrecht gave Teodor a strange look. Teodor sniffed the air. “I don't smell anything odd, but I feel it.”

“Then we must be close,” Bilge said.

The snow on the ground covered any clues of a disturbed grave. Bilge stopped. The pendulum swung in a circle, then back and for the changing directions.

“Here?” Bilge asked.

The pendulum stopped and the chain went taunt. Bilge pointed to the ground. “Here.”

Albrecht walked around the spot. He held his hands out in front of him. After he closed his eyes, he said. “Yes, they came here in the spring. Found the grave the same way.”

He raised his arm and pointed back to the road. “They left that way.”

“Anything else?” Bilge asked.

“I can't make out their conversation.”

Gunner sighed. “So we came all the way out here to find out what we already know,”

“We have to follow the trail from the beginning,” Albrecht said.

Teodor stared into the dark woods. He could feel a presence like another predator had come too close to his place of rest. “I feel her. She's watching us.”

Gunner looked around. “Where?”

“She could be anywhere,” Bilge said.

Albrecht pointed in the direction of the river. “I saw where they went, come on.” He walked in the same direction.

“Shouldn't we go back to our cars?” Bilge asked.

“No need, there is a short cut.”

Bilge grabbed Albrecht. “Are you sure?”

Albrecht rubbed his head. “Sorry, I forget. I can get disoriented.”

They went back to the cars. Teodor fell behind, he could still feel the Hag in the woods. He couldn't think of referring to the Hag as Elizabeth. Using her real name didn't see fitting. The way she killed those kids, she would always be the Hag.

Bilge guided Albrecht to the truck. “You better not drive.”

Teodor got a good look at Albrecht's face. His eyes were white. Bilge sighed.

“Not enough room for all of us in the cab.” He motioned with his head to the truck.

“Give me a minute.” Teodor went behind the truck and took off his clothes. He changed into his wolf form, grabbed his clothes with his mouth and padded back to the rest.

Gunner chuckled. He opened the door to the cab. Teodor jumped inside, dropping his clothes on the back of the seat. Bilge helped Albrecht into the truck. Teodor laid down on the floor, next to Gunner's feet.

“Where to now?” Bilge asked.

“Go to the river, by the Lower Bridge,” Albrecht said.

That's the way to Greenwoods, Teodor thought. Perun felt her there too. He felt a growl form in his throat. But if she was there, she would not be after any other children.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In Defense of Violence

Some people have raised their voices in concern about the level of violence in The Hunger Games. As a young adult book, they feel, the plot of kids killing kids for entertainment*, might be taking it a bit too far. My reaction. Instead of hiding the violence, use it as a way to start a discussion of violence perpetrated and brought upon children.

Fiction has always shown us what happens to children in violent situations.

One of the oldest examples comes from the Kalevala, the Finnish national epic. Kullervo was born to the only survivor (he thinks) of his tribe's massacre. His uncle caused the death of his people because of a dispute with Kullervo's father. When Kullervo is three months old, he is uttering vows of revenge. His uncle tries to kill him three times, but each time Kullervo is saved by his magic powers.
Kullervo Cursing by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1899)

His uncle waits for Kullervo to grow up and sells him to slavery to Ilmarinen. Ilmarinen's wife enjoys tormenting Kullervo. When she gives him the job of sheep herder, she gives him lengthly instructions about how to protect the herd, and a loaf of bread that she has baked stones in to. He breaks his heirloom knife on the stones, loses his temper, and makes a cow she was milking turn into a bear. He escapes.

Kullervo goes on to more adventures, each one becoming worse for him. Finally he orders a magic sword to kill him. Vainomoinen (one of the central figures in Finnish mythology) hears the tale of Kullervo. He gives the warning that children should not be mistreated. Or they will grow up to be evil and without wisdom.

This was one of the few myths that discussed child abuse. Kullervo could have been a great magician, but because of the treatment he received he became a violent adult. It stands out because it shows how abuse can affect the way someone grows up.

But Hunger Games is children killing children. One of the first books I read that dealt with that was Lord of the Flies. The British school boys who were survivors of a plane crash, try to survive on a deserted island. Through the course of the book, the boys become more savage. Until one of them is killed when he is stabbed to death by most of the other boys, during a "war dance". Another boy is killed with a boulder. When the boys are rescued, they are chasing another boy through the jungle to kill him.

In The Lord of the Flies, the boys revert to a savage nature. At first they try to live in a civilized way, but as the novel progresses, the stronger and more violent boys take over. Is it a book that shows that children need adults to keep them in line, or is it showing us, that we are not far from our violent nature?

But the kids kill for entertainment? The Long Walk by Stephen King (under his pseudonym Richard Bachman) is a similar story. One hundred teenage boys take part in an annual walking contest. They are given a set of rules, failure to follow the rules will result in them being killed by soldiers. Like Hunger Games, The Long Walk is a spectator event run by a dystopian government.

The violence in Hunger Games is an old tale. Instead of complaining about the level of violence. Use the story as a way to open a dialog with the young adults about how violence affects them. Discuss how reality TV shows can affect people that watch them. Discuss what "bread and circuses" means.

Is it alright to be entertained by such stories? Yes, as long as it leaves you pondering the questions brought up by the story.



*That is an oversimplification of the plot.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

#WerewolfWeds The Hag - Chapter 23

Please check my #WerewolfWeds page for an overview of this. Thanks.

Teodor hammered on the side door of the Pit. Bilge opened the door. Teodor shoved pass him.

“I thought you were laying low?” Bilge asked.

“Where's Trucker?” Teodor asked.

“Upstairs, you need some clothes?”

Teodor started pass Bilge. Bilge stopped him. “I got customers.”

“I'll go to the mop closet.”

Bilge nodded.

Teodor waited inside the mop closet. It smelt like hops and puke, but he didn't care.

Bilge opened the door and threw in a pair of sweat pants. “Why are you so upset?”

“I don't think the Hag is gone,” Teodor said, pulling up the pants.

“I know that.”

Teodor opened the door. “Peter said that he had her child.”

Bilge hit the wall. “Dammit, I should have realized it.”

“That's bad, right?”

“Bad?” Bilge cracked his knuckles. “No one is safe, if she knows that her child's body is somewhere. Damn Peter. Damn Robert.”

“Trucker is upstairs?”

Bilge nodded.

Teodor ran into the bar, only a few customers were inside. He ran over some broken glass. As he hopped up the stairs, he tried to pull the glass out of his heel.

He opened the door to his apartment. Amanda hovered over their small table with a sauce pan. Gunner glanced over to the door, with a mouth full of spaghetti. Trucker stopped spooning the sauce over his pasta.

“Teodor?” Amanda asked.

Teodor hopped over to the table. He sat down. “I think we are in danger,” he said. He pulled the glass out of his foot

Amanda got up and brought back a kitchen rag. “The Hag is gone.”

“No, she's not,” Teodor said. He wrapped his foot in the rag.

“I thought you took care of her last night?” Gunner asked.

“So did I, but I ran into an old friend. He is sure that she is around. Bilge thinks so too, after I told him about-” Teodor stopped.

Trucker eyes had grown wide. The fork shook in his hand.

“About what?” Amanda asked.

“You are eating.”

Amanda glanced over to the boys. “I think these two can handle anything you say.”

“Peter had said that he had her child,” Teodor said. “That means somewhere there are her child remains, and she will keep looking for him or her. If she can't find her child, she'll take another.”

“So what are we supposed to do?” Amanda asked.

“I want to make sure these two are safe,” Teodor said.

“They are.”

“How safe?”

“If you are suggesting that we go into that underground-”

“No!” Teodor took Amanda's hand. “We have to find those remains.”

Amanda took his hand. “We don't.”

“Amanda-”

“Teodor. Let Bilge and his friends handle it.”

Teodor took the rag off his foot.

Amanda sat back. “I am surprised Steopa told you that.”

“It wasn't Steopa.”

“Who?”

“Perun.”

“I thought he was asleep.”

“He is, but you can still talk to him. He's worried,” Teodor said. “He can feel her in Greenwoods.”

“Why Greenwoods?” Gunner asked. “I thought you went to the cider warehouse last night.”

“We did.”

“But that's not in Greenwoods.”

“It's across the river,” Amanda said.

Trucker put his fork down. “How did they find her baby?”

Teodor glanced at Gunner and Amanda. Gunner knitted his brow together. “Yeah, how did they find her child. We don't even know who she was.”

Amanda curled her blond hair around her finger. “Gunner, do you still have those notes from the library?”

“Yeah.”

“Go get them.”

Gunner left the table. Teodor cleaned his foot. “What is it?”

“One of those women we researched. Something is almost making sense now,” Amanda said.

Gunner returned he handed Amanda the papers. She read through them quickly. “It has to be Elizabeth Swift,” she said. “Her father ran on of the tanneries.”

“So?” Teodor asked.

“So? What happened to Peter last night? His skin was tanned.”

Teodor slapped the table. “She skinned...” He didn't finish when he saw Trucker's expression.

“I wonder if Swift Tannery was in Greenwoods?” Amanda asked. “I can't remember where it was.”

“Why wouldn't be near the meat packing area?” Gunner asked.

“The smell, but it would have to be close enough to take delivery of the hides and urine,” Teodor said.

“What?”

“We are talking the 1800's, right? In my village it was the smelliest place. They used the urine to cure the hides.”

“Gross,” Trucker said.

“Yeah, gross,” Gunner said.

Someone knocked on their door. Amanda got up to answer it. Bilge stood outside, with a thin cigar in his mouth. “Amanda could you watch the bar for a moment?”

“Sure,” she said.

After she left, Bilge sat down in her vacant chair by the table. “You still think the Hag is around.”

“We think we know who she is,” Gunner said.

“Who?”

“Elizabeth Swift,” Teodor said.

“You mean 'Beth, Beth, the wife of Death?'” Bilge asked.

“Huh?” Gunner asked.

Trucker swallowed his food. “Beth, Beth, the wife of Death. Had a crying baby. She tanned his hide, and she cried; 'now he's ready for Daddy'.”

Bilge put out his cigar. “It's a game.”

“Didn't you ever play it?” Trucker asked.

Gunner shook his head.

“It's like tag, who ever is caught when you say the word Daddy, they become it,” Trucker explained.

“I never heard of it,” Teodor said.

“Me either,” Gunner said.

“I played it when I was Trucker's age,” Bilge said. “I think only kids from Deerbow know it.”

“I came here a couple of years ago,” Gunner said.

“It would fit. Her child was buried in-” Bilge's face turned white. “The workhouse cemetery.”

“That's why she attacked us?” Gunner asked.

“She was looking for her child. Peter and Robert weren't controlling her, they only released her.” Bilge slapped the table. “Idiots!”

“Would they have moved the body?” Teodor asked.

“More than likely.”

“We have to find it.”

Bilge stood up. “I'll call in some favors.”

He left the apartment. Teodor motioned to the plates of spaghetti. “Eat up, it's getting cold.”

“All the kids are gone from the workhouse, so they are safe,” Gunner said.

“Yeah, they should be,” Teodor said. “Just to be safe, I want you two not to leave Amanda or mine's side, you understand?”

Gunner nodded.

Trucker slurped up a noodle, splashing sauce on his face. “Okay.”