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My children do not fear the Bogeyman, good parenting or bad?

Hi everyone, another ‘re-run’. My hordes go back to school next week and I hope to get back into some serious and new blogging then! Today’s blog post was originally featured and the rather sultry and sensual VampChix blogsite. How could you not like a blog when they describe themselves as ‘Exploring new worlds, one bite at a time’? Seriously, go check them out.

My children do not fear the Bogeyman, good parenting or bad?

Besides being a fan of the supernatural, there is another genre I enjoy – crime fiction. And when it comes to TV crime fiction, it is a rare gem that blends both crime and supernatural together so well. One of these rare gems is the UK TV series Whitechapel where modern day detectives and their flunkies seek out the earthly, sane answers to some pretty weird and gruesome things happening in the heart of Whitechapel… that haunt of Jack the Ripper just a century or so before. It is a great series, shame it was eventually axed, but it was the right blend of spooky, creepy, crime, horror viewing I liked.

My only desire is that they didn’t put it on so late at night when I’m home alone with the kids in bed and all those strange noises outside. Yes, I am a bit of wimp too. But Whitechapel has that right edge that Doctor Who had when I was a child. I’ve not yet watched Whitechapel from behind the couch with a thrill of ghoulish curiosity… but I’ve come close.

So what has this to do with Bogeymen and my children some of you may be asking? If you’re still actually waiting for me to get to the point. Good question, thank you for asking.

The Whitechapel I was watching last week was about the Bogeyman and had the team reciting all threats and warnings they remembered from their childhoods about the Bogeyman and how their parents had used this fear to control them. And I realised something shocking… I’d never used this fear, this threat of the Bogeyman on my own children to ensure they behaved. Was that good, modern day parenting? Or losing some of our verbal traditions and tales?

All is not lost though as it’s not as if my children don’t know about the Bogeyman. Oh, trust me, having me as their mum they know all about all sorts of supernatural folk from the fae to the far out there. Dinner time discussions are about things like this all the time. A good example is the time I explained the after death rituals of the ancient Egyptians. I had them so hooked that night, as I was explaining the role of Ammut (crocodile headed god who weighs the heart of the dead before making judgement), that when I clapped my hands together as the snapping of his jaws… they leapt off their chairs in fright and I needed to check under their chairs for puddles. Yeah, I tell a good story.

So it’s not as if I’ve raised my children in a lack lustred world where what they see if all of what they get. No, I do my best to weave a little magic and unreality into their lives whenever I can. See my eldest’s pen pal – A faerie who looks after horses. Or the fact that the Christmas wrapping elf Bryony comes to see us each Christmas Eve. She leaves a special gift for my kids… as well as a card containing three strips of sticky tape. Magic happens, let it live on in others even if we may have forgotten its touch in our own lives.

Back to the Bogeyman and my children’s lack of fear. They know the Bogeyman exists, along with ghosts, zombies, spirits, djinns, demons and the whole kit and caboodle. But did you know the way to get rid of the Bogeyman is to lift off his hat and laugh at him? That’s what I was taught as a child, if he ever came for me, and it’s what I’ve taught my children too. And now he knows we know how to get rid of him, he doesn’t come here. Knowledge being power and all that.

Ghosts, djinn, spirits? Oh, the secret salt circle we have lining the outside of the house and the iron reinforcements in its very walls keep them out. Oh yeah! Zombies… well, we’ve had a bit of an issue with zombies for a while now with our eldest. But we have found the best fix for them is magical pixie dust. My eldest came up with that solution when she was five and still sometimes needs a little these days when she’s feeling unwell or a little worried. It’s a wonderful cure all I tell you! And it’s amazing what a few drops of yellow and red food colouring gently swirled in full cream milk can do too… if you know what I mean?

Then we have binding circles… my kids play with chalk out on our concrete verandah a lot. As well as the words to dispel demons and, all in all, I’m pretty sure I have some pretty well rounded kids. So they’re not afraid of the Bogeyman. They still believe in him and know he’s out there… so the narrative history will live on. But I don’t use him to scare my kids into being good; I use him to feed their hunger for knowledge.

It’s working too. Eldest, now nine, plans on being the world’s leading expert in Sifaka (a type of lemur – the primate, not Roman ghost). Middle child, seven and a budding artist, is undecided as to whether she’ll be a basic entomologist, a graphical entomologist (one who draws the bugs) or an archaeological entomologist… to study what part bugs played to ancient civilisations. My youngest, aged five and a little… special… Well, right now I’m pretty sure he’s going to be a farmer, a gardener or Sheldon Cooper. He’s five, he has time to decide.

So, should we keep our children in check by passing on a fear of the unknown? Or should we use these old myths to train them into being fearless explorers of the unknown and then letting them loose on the poor unsuspecting world? I know which one sounds more fun to me!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2015 in Writing

 

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Why Urban Fantasy?

This post originally appeared as a Guest blog at Mythical Books as part of my Bewitching Book Tours.

I’m doing it as a re-post here today as I’m ‘on holidays’ but still wanted to give my readers something to look at. I hope you like, and don’t forget to check out all the great things over at Mythical Books and Bewitching Book Tours.

Why Urban Fantasy?

 This is a question I’m asked a lot. Not just as a writer, but as a reader. And I can honestly tell you that people don’t like it when you simply answer “Why not?”

Then again, I’m often asked to explain what exactly Urban Fantasy is as sometimes the lines blur between it and other genres such as speculative fiction.

Well, to me, Urban Fantasy is a story set in our world (or a world almost identical to our own) where fantastical things can happen. Vampires and ghosts are proven to be real and will come around and give you a hard time if you keep saying they’re not. Urban Fantasy doesn’t have to be set in the here and now, it can be historical and it can even be set slightly into the future. In some cases it’s set in a time like our own, but with a slightly different history to our own. See Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series and beware the tomatoes. 😉

I think the reason I enjoy reading (and writing) Urban Fantasy is it’s close to real life, but the way we wish it could be rather than the hum drum it really is. That whole ‘What if…’ scenario of escapism through fiction. Where ‘everyday meets the unexplained’, except Urban Fantasy lets you explain it without having to stick to anything as dull as actual reality and proven facts.

When I write Urban Fantasy, I set it in times and places similar to the here and now as I write in the first person narrative and I want my readers to believe the characters more by being able to relate to them. I do obscure technology, times, dates, etc a little to allow some time to pass in the hopes my stories won’t become dated too quickly. But it will happen and, who knows, someone in one hundred years may look back on what I did with mobile phones in Bonnie’s Story – A Blonde’s Guide to Mathematics and guffaw at the thought of such technology. Having that fantasy element there hopefully gives me just enough credibility to still allow the story to be believable.

Urban Fantasy isn’t the only genre I enjoy to read and write, but it seems to be the one I’m most comfortable in. I do enjoy a good historical crime fiction story too, ones that were actually written in the times they are set, or ones that are created from researching the era. I don’t mind, as long as it’s a good read and the killer isn’t too easy to suss. And even in some of those there’s a bit of fantasy seeping out, as the unexplained has been with us a long time now. Some stories then go on to explain it in reasonable tones using logic and pointing out the strings and wires used to get the effect, while others happily throw such things as logic in the bin and point out it was a ghost or demon after all. And why not? Demons and ghosts got up to so many fun things in our history, why not let them have their five minutes of fame too?

Why Urban Fantasy? Well, maybe because my imagination has allowed me to never truly grow up and I still enjoy a good fairy tale. Not a happily ever after, not always, but one where the bad guys are truly bad and do gruesome things and there is a good guy there to sort it all out. That play of Darkness and Light I use in my The Other World series. Just because we’re now adults doesn’t mean we don’t like stories about regular people, like ourselves, getting up to all sorts of fantastical things before heading back to work on the Monday. A perfect example of this is Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Perfect piece of Urban Fantasy and one I really enjoyed as the ‘What if…’ opened up so many awesome ideas within my own imagination. In a similar vein see Roofworld by Christopher Fowler. I read this story before Neverwhere and so that seed of ‘What if…’ had already been planted. However, Neverwhere sprouted a totally new series of ideas and situations for me to consider. Still, that whole society within our own scenario is one of my favourite ‘What if…’ and probably where my Other World came from.

Is Urban Fantasy just another type of Young Adult or New Adult? Um, no. Not to me anyway. Although Urban Fantasy can be a sub-genre of both Young Adult and New Adult, it can just as easily fit into the ‘Adult’ section of books too. A lot of Urban Fantasy has adult themes, and not simply because it has overly raunchy sex scenes or drips with blood and gore after a misunderstanding between a vampire and a werewolf. Some Urban Fantasy simply has adult themes as it’s about life as an adult. The trials and tribulations of marrying, having a family, losing the family, etc. Youth don’t want to read about all that. That’s still to come for them and so they can’t always relate. They’d much rather the adventure of a young person like themselves doing daring things, getting the cute guy (or girl) and possibly living happily ever after, but with no true commitments in case someone else comes along in the next book. Well, that’s really just a quick cookie cutter approach to some Young Adult and New Adult Urban Fantasy, but you get the idea, right?

What Urban Fantasy books would I recommend? Well, besides the ones I’ve already mentioned, I enjoy something that has a bit of humour and sarcasm in it as well. But that’s mainly because that’s what I’m like. I often have people ask if I was being sarcastic as I use it so often that it does sometimes get a little hard to tell if I’m being serious or not. Some may see this as a bad thing, but meh. 😉

Really, I just say go to a library and check out what they have. If you like a bit of paranormal in your Urban Fantasy, then authors like Kim Harrison, Katie MacAlister and MaryJanice Davidson are highly recommended. For a bit of Young Adult Urban Fantasy, check out Robert Westall or even some of Terry Pratchett’s work. I have to say one of my favourite Robert Westall Young Adult books is Urn Burial though do feel that one is heading more towards Science Fiction than Urban Fantasy. All the same, a good place to start.

What advice would I give to someone who wants to write Urban Fantasy? Read it first. I give this advice to someone who wants to write in any specific genre. Don’t just think you can do it as you’ve heard about a couple of books and seen a few things on the TV, read the genre. I once thought I could write a romance novel. What I ended up writing was quite a good Young Adult story that was an introduction to Romance… but it did not even scrape the sides as to truly being part of that genre. Why did I fail? It’s because I’m not such a great fan of Romance novels and just felt I could write one as I knew how to write without having to read any first. This won’t cut it. You have to research the theme, learn the flow of the story and the tones to use. And you have to have an open mind and a willingness to learn the theme too and not just dismiss it as beneath you. The same goes for Urban Fantasy.

If I wasn’t such an avid reader and prolific collector of Urban Fantasy, the supernatural and the paranormal, I seriously don’t think I could pull it off. Some people already don’t like my idea of the supernatural as I am avoiding the twinkly ‘Disneyfied’ version so common today and going back to the roots of it all. I liked the old stories, the old ways and the old creatures. And so one of my aims with my Urban Fantasy is to bring them back and let the loose in a new generation’s imagination. The origins of demons, the types of soul collectors and reapers, the difference between a ghost and a wraith. This sort of research is how I spend my writing days. And boy am I going to have fun sharing it! 🙂

Until next time,

Janis Hill. XXOO

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Writing

 

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I’m on tour with Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My!

So it’s been a week since Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! was let loose into the world and so far so good. In the mean time I’ve not been sitting there waiting for the money to roll in as, well, that’s not how it works for an emerging Author and not what I set out to achieve. I write as I enjoy it and I share my stories in the hopes others will enjoy it too. And, so far so good! 🙂

What I have been doing this week is a virtual book tour with Bewitching Book Tours, and I’m loving it! I highly recommend any emerging Author wanting to get their books noticed (whether paper or an eBook) to invest in a virtual book tour. And I highly recommend Roxanne at Bewitching Book Tours if you’re writing in the paranormal or urban fantasy genre.

Yes I know a virtual book tour doesn’t physically take you anywhere and it’s not as glamorous as being able to swan in and out of a book store smiling for pics and signing autographs… but let’s face it fellow emerging Authors – that isn’t going to happen for the majority of us, no matter how good our books are.

Don’t poo poo the virtual book tour as it is a fantastic way to get exposure to your work. Throw in a give-away to entice the readers and you can double your following of fans on social media. Now you have their attention though, it is up to you to keep it. The tour has done its magic and it’s now time to do your own.

A virtual book tour is definitely a worthy investment – if you find the right one that best matches your work – and shows your book off to far more people interested in that genre than an ad on say Facebook ever could. Go the virtual book tour! 🙂

As for me, what am I doing on my tour? Well, below you will find my schedule. I technically should have blogged about this last Monday when it started but my sharing and caring hordes have passed on a couple of different winter bugs to me and so I’m a little behind in my asset shaking. Still, the links to where I’ve already been are still valid so please feel free to go check them out. Not just for my work but for the other awesome Authors out there shaking their assets just as hard.

My tour schedule:

September 1 Guest blog
Mythical Books
http://www.mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/

September 2 Spotlight
Cassandra M’s Place
http://www.cassandramsplace.com/

September 3 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair.  
http://www.pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/isis-vampires-and-ghosts-oh-my-by-janis.html

September 4 Spotlight
3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy,Sissy. Too!  
http://3partnersinshopping.blogspot.com/

September 5 Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt
www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com

September 8 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books
http://www.lisasworldofbooks.net/

September 9 Spotlight
Jodie Pierce’s Ink Slinger’s Blog
http://www.jodiepierceauthor.blogspot.com/

September 10 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm 
http://www.roxannerhoads.com/

September 11 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books
http://www.fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com/

September 12 Guest blog
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom
http://www.creativelygreen.blogspot.com/

September 15 Interview 
Bewitching Book Tours Magazine
www.issuu.com/bewitchingbooktours

September 16 Top Ten List
Darkest Cravings
www.darkestcravings.blogspot.com

September 17 Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt
http://www.dealsharingaunt.blogspot.com/

September 18 Spotlight
Soaring Eagle Publicity 
http://www.soaringeaglepublicity.com/

September 19 Interview
Eclipse Reviews
http://www.totaleclipsereviews.blogspot.com/

September 20 Spotlight
Cover Reveals 
http://coverreveals.blogspot.com/

September 22 Character Interview
Author Karen Swart
http://authorkarenswart.blogspot.com/

September 23 Spotlight
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews 
http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/

September 24 Top Ten Comfort Foods
Review
Cabin Goddess
http://www.cabingoddess.com/

September 25 Spotlight
Share My Destiny
http://sharemydestiny.blogspot.com/

September 25 Review
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
http://www.pratr.wordpress.com/

September 26 Spotlight
CBY Book Club
http://cbybookclub.blogspot.co.uk/

September 29 Guest blog
VampChix
http://www.vampchix.blogspot.com/

September 30 Interview and review
happy tails and tales 
http://magluvsya03.wordpress.com/

**Please note: I have been having difficulties with WordPress actually REMEMBERING the links in the list. I have added them repeatedly and they work… and then they stop working. It is a WordPress fault. So if a link is not working, please just copy it and paste it into a new browsing window. Sorry about this, but as said – this is a WordPress fault.

There you have it, my virtual book tour. I hope to see you around the sites and there is always the option for you to come and say hi to me on my Author page on Facebook or to tweet me on Twitter.

I’ve really enjoyed the interviews and blog posts I’ve done so far and I send out a big thanks to Roxanne and all the people who opted in to host me on this tour. You are all awesome and emerging Authors appreciate your help… well, this one does anyway. Thank You!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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An asset shaking moment – updates to Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My!

Hello everyone, taking a step back into ‘look at me, I’m an author!’ mode with this post as I have some pretty exciting news to share.

Firstly, the first four chapters of Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! are now available over at Hague Publishing here. If you find them as interest as I hope, you can pre-order the book. You save money on doing a pre-order and everyone loves a bargain, right?

Secondly, if I’m going on about pre-ordering… it must mean I have a publication date, right? I DO! Hague Publishing are proud to announce their 7th book (2nd by me by the way) is to be released on Saturday August 30. It coincides with a book launch at the fabulous Mount Barker Community Library. I can promise the catering is good. 😉 When we have fine-tuned the details of the launch, I will post them here.

As Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! is currently looking for reviewers, anyone interested is to please contact Hague Publishing directly where, if they qualify as a reviewer, will be given access to the story via Netgalley. Seriously, to qualify I think you just need to be an honest reviewer who will actually take the time to review the book, not just sneak a read for free and post nothing.

I’m also taking Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! on book tour in September! Well, virtual book tour. The sort I can do from the comfort of my own home while still getting a chance to horde wrangle and Haus Frau. Again, as the fine-tuned details arrive in my inbox, I will pass them on to you here. Who knows, you may even get to chat or Skype to me on tour. Scary, I know. 😉

And as this is a short blog post today I’m going to end it with a bit of awesomeness. The trailer for Isis, Vampires and Ghosts – Oh My! Yes I know, a trailer for my eBook, and done so very cleverly. I hope you enjoy it and are getting as excited about its release date as I am.

Pretty cool, huh? I would love to see any questions or comments you have on it so please post away.

Okay, that’s it. I will try and come up with a new topic to blog about soon. Trying to restrain myself from making it a cooking blog, especially as we celebrated the Winter Solstice today and so I went a tad cooking crazy.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Writing

 

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