The Mysterious Mill

Somehow even though I posted this up on all my social media feeds, I never got around to posting this map of Thomas Farrell’s Mill here on my blog. So today I’m remedying that!

When I was asked by my publisher to create maps for my novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta, I knew I had to include the mill. It stands as both a valuable resource for Kanta, but also as an intimidating monolith. What happens behind its powerful walls is both gruesome and bloody, and Thomas Farrell himself is an enigma.

Thomas Farrell’s Mill:

When Thomas Farrell inherited his father’s mill, there was only a single grinder, and it was human powered. The hard physical labor meant a high turnover rate, and the mill was anything but profitable.

See the full map and learn more about Thomas Farrell’s Mill

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Exploring a Flawed Family

Putting together the family that makes up Dahlia’s life is a complicated process. You really can’t help but put pieces of yourself into each character, and as you consider the overall family dynamic, you start to understand where each of them fall into place. Knowing that they had to choose to be in this position is also telling of the parents’ personalities. It’s also taken a toll on their children of course. I didn’t want them to be the typical cookie-cutter families that I usually see. I wanted them to have depth, to have made mistakes, to not be perfect, but always striving to do good. Which is of course what has led them to this point, whether good or bad.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the town of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Current Word Count: 8,053

New Words Written:
10/10 – 1,147

Progress:
A serious talk with Mother that has probably been years in coming, and the realization that things were not always like this. Already Dahlia is learning so much and she has a lot left to discover and learn before this novel is done.

Next Up:
Talks with Dad, a family tradition, and an explanation of the family’s history. Then preparing for the Seeking to begin.

Commentary:
I wrote part of this by hand, but ran into a snag when I couldn’t recall the names of the family members Dahlia was going to be interacting with. I can’t just use placeholders. I’ve tried before, and the placeholder I chose ended up coloring the name I felt was appropriate for the character, so I try to steer away from them now. I did draw out a family tree, but it was on paper and wasn’t handy. #writerproblems

It’s been difficult trying to find time to write this month. I’ve been belatedly participating in Inktober (see my posts on Instagram) because it doesn’t take as much intensive focus like writing does, but it sure did feel good to dig into this story again. Between cleaning up the house for our upcoming Halloween party, meeting up with friends to visit Haunted Houses, and helping family members move, I don’t think it’s going to get easier either! I want to get our Halloween decorations up outside but it’s been raining hard down here in Georgia and the humidity takes your breath away. Still hoping to carve out some time again this week though!

The Angry Woman

Check out the scary ghost story that got posted up for HWA’s Halloween Haunts today! I may or may not have been the author for it, and it may or may not be based on a real experience that my friends and I had in New Orleans years ago.

“The Angry Woman” by Marlena Frank

If you liked this piece, hopefully you’ll consider adding my upcoming YA dark fantasy novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta, to your To-Read list on Goodreads.

Every day in October, blog posts will be posted by horror authors on HWA’s blog. They’ll be showcasing their love for Halloween, maybe with a snippet from their novels or a giveaway or two. So if you dig scary stories, be sure to check back each day!

Happy Hauntings, friends.

Trapped_WilliamsMeigs

“Trapped” by Darion on Flickr

In the Mood for Halloween

It’s finally October, one of my favorite months of the year! We’ve been busy getting our Halloween decorations up today, which of course meant cleaning up the mess that remained after convention season came to a close last weekend. I also forgot that we got a big bag of miniature skulls to put around the house. So those are going everywhere.

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What I also like about October is how everyone expresses their love of horror! All month long, the Horror Writers’ Association will be showcasing the work of its members in Halloween Haunts. Horror authors will be talking about Halloween, posting snippets of upcoming books, or even hosting book giveaways. Last year I gave away a copy of Not Your Average Monster Volume 2. My post will be up on the 10th titled “The Angry Woman” about our eerie visit to New Orleans and the frightening haunting we experienced.

I also just sent off the final round of edits for The She-Wolf of Kanta! Fortunately the second round of edits weren’t nearly as difficult as the first, but I always enjoy putting together some nice background sounds that make me think of the piece. Usually it’s best without lyrics so that the words don’t interfere with my thoughts. A wonderful app that I like to use is called myNoise. I first got introduced to them as a way to help concentrate at work, but since then I use the app constantly. I bought the full pack to access all their songs, so I can get new sounds as they release them. The great part about it is that you can overlap up to 6 noises at once, all set to their own individual settings. Below are the sounds I mixed to get the feel I liked for She-Wolf of Kanta.

The Huu chant gives some nice low melodic sounds mixed with wordless vocals that give the mix an ethereal quality. The Autumn Walk literally has a person’s footsteps going through dried leaves which I really love since I associate Mercy with that scent and sound. I also really like the cawing crows occasionally with a few cheerful birds, like an idealized view of the woods that Mercy wishes she could visit. Finally the Twin Black Lodges has a nice mysterious/spooky sound that’s hard to describe, but was apparently inspired from Twin Peaks. If you have the app, give this mix a listen and let me know what you think!

 

Finding the Voice and Mood

Life has been crazy lately. Between loads of work to do, unavoidable tragedies taking place, and just a general awful feeling in the world, diving into this book has been an excellent escape for me. Though escape isn’t quite the right word because Dahlia’s story is quite grim. Her problems are ones I can control and solve though. Or, you know, ones she can solve.

Speaking of, Dahlia is quickly fleshing out to become the survivor, lover, diplomat, sister, daughter, prisoner, and rebel that I always hoped she would be. Her voice has been easier to find than many protagonists I’ve written before. I think this story and the environment of Carra really taps into the mood of the world lately, for better or worse.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the town of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Current Word Count: 6,906

New Words Written:
9/22 – 1,213

Progress:
The tension rises as the day comes to a close. Dahlia rescues someone she doesn’t expect. The smell of apple pie is everywhere. And finally, the dinner table is ready.

Next Up:
The High Family, an important discussion, and hope for the future.

Commentary:
The story took a turn I didn’t expect it to, and I let it lead me wherever it wanted. I got inspiration on what could happen with a particular person and ran with it. I had more fun describing High House than I expected too. Carra seems so peaceful at first glance. I also had to start writing down family trees because this is a small town and family relationships can be complex. I’ll probably plan to include them as an appendix.