Mr. Darcy with a James Bond Edge...

Strange title to be sure, but not when you consider that this is how author C.S. Harris describes her Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. Ms. Harris' books have been on my "to read" list for quite some time, but it was only after a trip to the library today that I was finally able to pick up her book What Angels Fear.
As it happened, I had taken the kids to the local drive in for dinner and I started reading the prologue aloud to them. (They are used to my eccentricities). Somehow reading it aloud enabled me to really focus on the brilliance of the words. Within a few paragraphs Ms. Harris managed to set theme, tone, character and station and all with incredible tapestry of textures, emotions and senses.
I've been very lucky this year, I've discovered some incredible mystery authors. Deanna Raybourne and C.S. Harris are new to the top of my list. A debt of thanks goes out to you. You make me want to be a better writer.

Check out http://www.csharris.net/ for more on her mysteries...

More themes, past life, secrets and writing genuine stories...

I was listening to a podcast tonight that covered reincarnation from the Pair a Normal Guys. It was an interview with Rebecca Anne Locicero who is a psychic medium. I tune in quite often to these podcast since I find them great inspiration for myself and my writing. But this interview touched something in me about the recurring themes in my own life.

I've already talked about grief. But one of the things that I have really talked much about are the impossible connections that have been made in my life. If I'd ever been a skeptic when it came to fate then these instances in my life have made me a believer. My theory has always been that we are brought into this life to learn lessons and that if we don't learn those lessons then we are "doomed" to repeat them. I also believe that there are those people who we will make a connection with despite all obstacles because they are meant to be in our lives. This is much about what Rebecca touched on in her interview.

If you read my stories I have a tendency to add family secrets into the stories. Not because I think that they are essential to a story, but because this is what I grew up with. There were so many secrets in my family that it's a wonder they didn't buckle under the weight of them. Some of them were mentioned in whispers because my mother insisted that certain people didn't need to know our business. The worst part was that none of these secrets was enough to damage anyone. But by making them secrets they were given the power to change, interrupt and even impair our lives. By keeping up a good front those secrets became the "ghost" in the room. It was there for holidays, birthdays and just plain old everydays.

I've been thinking a lot about writing books that I call "genuine". This is going to sound as if I'm knocking the work of other writers and I'm truly not. But the stories that resonate, that touch the soul are the ones that are "genuine" and "true". The good, the bad and the sometimes tragic are all presented realistically. May I always be able to write a "genuine" book. And may they always resonate with hope. Because without hope even the "genuine" would become boring and everyday.

I've skipped a round a bit on this post, but there are a few nuggets of inspiration here. I hope you can discern from my rambling and that they give you a bit of guidence both in life and writing.

Recurring Themes...

It seems as if there is one particular theme that seems to come into just about all that I write. It doesn't matter what I set out to put to paper (or computer screen), but somehow it becomes a base of my stories. It's grief. Perhaps, it's because I've had such a personal relationship with this emotion, or that it's something that seems to revolve and evolve with greater intensity with each generation in my family, but either way, I seem to embroider this emotion into my stories with greater intensity.

Some would think that this denotes a sense of depression, but I actually think it's a way for my mind to evaluate and deal with the emotion. Even when I was involved with Maine Ghost Hunters I found that the cases that had the greatest pull on me emotionally and physically were the ones that involved a family's sense of grieving. To have that need to react and reach out to those that have passed can bring a family or loved one to the greatest of efforts to continue the bond.

Yesterday, two of the younger people that work with me, a brother and sister, lost their mother suddenly. I grieve with them, though I hardly knew their mom. But I do know about the emotions they are experiencing. Grief affects everyone differently, but the sense of loss is the same. That difference is in how our minds handle the emotion. The seven stages of grief are 1) shock and denial, 2) pain and guilt, 3) anger and bargaining, 4) Depression, reflection and lonliness, 5) The upward turn, 6) Reconstruction and working through it, 7) Acceptance and hope.

Very few will experience these stages in order. Some jump right to anger and bargaining, others with work in a numbed shock until the body can no longer deny what it needs to assess. But it's important to remember that just because someone doesn't experience a certain stage it doesn't mean that the emotions aren't real.

This past summer we lost my dad-in-law. He was an incredible man who is greatly missed. Each of the 9 children and my mother-in-law... not to mention the daughter and son-in-laws an assortment of grandchildren, have all experienced the grief in their own way. Each plays a role with the process and each has to find that way that works best for them. Sometimes, as in the grief of losing my own mother, it doesn't ever go away. It's the same for my husband's family.

This kind of emotion is among the strongest that any soul will ever experience. This speaks to others when it's written well within a story. I guess for now, the journey and the inclusion of grief within my stories will continue. 

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