Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Guest Blog: The Memories in my Collection of Sea Glass

When my father was still living, we spent many hours on vacations searching for and collecting sea glass. I still have our jar full of weathered “gems” sitting on my writing desk. The title of my latest release, Sea Glass and Sand Memories came quickly, when I had only a shred of the plot and setting in mind. It has a double meaning. To me, the title is all about the memories of those family trips, the wonderful times I had with my father who I miss a lot. The second meaning of the title comes with the ending. When my main character, young woman named Kate, returns to a familiar location in search of sea glass, she finds a surprise in store for her.
Sea glass is glass found on beaches of oceans, bays, rivers, and lakes that has been tumbled smooth by the action of waves, water, and sand. The results are pieces of broken glass, frosted and smooth like gems. In a rainbow of colors, the original source determines the color and texture. The most common are Kelly green, brown, and colorless, mostly from bottles used to sell beer, juices and soft drinks. Less common colors include jade and amber (from whiskey and medicine bottles), lime green, forest green, and soft blues (from soda bottles during the 1960s or earlier). The rarest colors are purple, cobalt/cornflower (Milk of Magnesia and Vick’s VapoRub bottles) and aqua (Ball Mason canning jars).
Dad and I aimed for any color other than clear with equal delight. Many great pieces of our collection came from the setting of my story, the western coastline of Lake Michigan, the dunes area. That area of shore has a relaxed, time-stands-still feeling I think made a good setting to harbor a mysterious ghost story. It’s a quaint artsy area, a quiet place where unusual happenings could pass unnoticed for years…until the right person stumbled in like Kate.

Looking forward to a relaxing week at a Lake Michigan coastal resort, Kate finds much more than the picturesque dunes she intended to paint. Adventures start when her requested room is switched beside an unusual couple – a witch and her lover, a ghost.

During her stay, the handsome ghost, Anson, tries to ensnare her into helping him escape the witch who killed him and then enslaved his spirit. That witch holds him captive on the property of his mother’s resort. Anson wins Kate’s heart and loyalty, but is that enough to set him free?

Warning: This story contains paranormal sex, pagan abuse of a ghost spirit, nightmares, and happy family memories.

A loud knock on my door made us hush.
I held my breath.
I heard metal scraping, as though the door bolt slide open. A shadow moved across the rug in the main room.
My pulse rang in my ears.
Zandra stood in the bedroom doorway, her face ashen. Lover, you and I have something to discuss. Leave her! she commanded.
Anson gathered his clothes and left obediently. With only a chilling look cast at me, she turned and followed him.
What would she do to him? I dressed quickly and quietly, moving to a position under their sitting room window, listening to every noise. Soon, they argued.
I own your soul, Zandra pronounced.
You possess me only by your black deeds.
You are my lover. What do you think youre doing with that girl?
I will never love you. His voice remained composed and assertive.
She declared, Then, you will never love her.
I rose up just enough to peer through a slat in the blind.
She stomped across the room, snatched an amber-colored bottle from a shelf, and yanked out the stopper. She turned toward Anson. Her face looked like a corpse, drawn and white. She proclaimed, Captus anima!
My mouth dropped open as his form vaporized into smoke sucked in by the bottle. When all his matter entered the vessel, she quickly replaced the stopper.
Her lips curled. You will never love again. Then, she looked directly at me.
Horrified, I dropped down. My heart thumped in my chest. Had she seen me? I waited. Nothing happened. Then I heard her footsteps, but they sounded from farther in the apartment. I crept back to my room. I sat on the floor, completely still, listening. Still nothing. A faint glow of dawn shone through the window. What should I do?

Author Bio:
Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Her creativity also spills into watercolor painting and drawing. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transforming into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Crazy about cycling, she usually passes the 1,000 mile mark yearly. She is learning kayaking and already addicted. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and that spiritual quest helps her explore the mystical side of fantasy. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at new stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!
Links to Marsha and her books:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Movie Review: Devil (2010)

Although not considered a thriller, Jean-Paul Sartre’s play, No Exit, shows how tensions can fester when people are forced together in a confined space.

Devil takes this concept and brings it into a world of skyscrapers, cell phones, and CCTV security cameras. But at the core is a story of the human condition and how quickly people can degenerate into querulous behavior.

The story begins with Detective Bowden called to investigate the suicide of a victim who jumped through a skyscraper window several stories up. A widower, he’s still trying to deal with the hit-and-run death of his wife and son.

Meanwhile, five people enter an elevator in the same building where the suicide took place. They are given no names, known only by their description or occupation: Guard, Mechanic, Salesman, Old Woman, and Young Woman. Perhaps the intention to keep them nameless is to keep us from identifying with and sympathizing with them. Indeed, they are not the most pleasant characters. Like Sartre’s doomed trio, they hide sins, some darker than others. And it is these sins the Devil is eager to point out.

The elevator soon stops, leaving the five trapped aboard. At first they’re not too alarmed, being assured by the security guards, Lustig and Ramirez, they’ll be rescued before long.

That is, until the lights go out. When they come up, the others are horrified to see the Young Woman has been bitten in her back. Tensions already on the brink start to spill over into accusations. What’s the best way to defeat your enemy? Make them bicker among themselves.

Injury soon leads to death, the first victim being the smarmy, sleazy salesman. Detective Bowden, at the scene of the crime, is called into the building to investigate these strange killings where elevator occupants are picked off one by one until only three are left: the Guard, the Young Woman, and the Mechanic.

Ramirez insists he’s seen the Devil in the elevator when the lights go off. The others, not prone to what they believe is superstition, write off Ramirez’s religious ramblings and seek to find mundane reasons for the stalled elevator and the motive of one whom they believe to be a murderer. The only question is who’s guilty?

By this time, the Young Woman, Mechanic, and Guard, driven to the point of fisticuffs, are ordered to remain in their respective corners. While Bowden and the guards, along with city firefighters, do what they can to free the others, the Devil claims its prize, leaving its victims to reflect upon a world where their sins are bared.

Although not original in its execution, Devil balances tension, building it as the elevator occupants come to realize one of them is a killer. The film is not particularly horrifying, given the murders happen “off-stage,” that is, in the dark. And it didn’t take me long to figure out who the Devil was. The ending was bittersweet, and yet satisfying, a closing chapter on the lives of two characters. Despite its flaws, the film is watchable, compact enough in its 80 minutes to retain the level of suspense needed. Too much longer and it would’ve felt bloated and lost its impact.

Devil is directed by John Erick Dowdle and written by Barry Nelson and M. Night Shyamalan

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Playing with Book Trailers (For an Unpublished Book)

I suppose you're wondering what would possess me to make a book video for a novel that hasn't yet received a contract. What am I? Arrogant? Presumptuous? Stupid? Crazy?

Well, probably. Maybe not all on the same day but at least one out of four. However, none of those adjectives fit the current description. So why?

I wanted to. Simple as that. I've been taking a short break from writing and decided to work on my drawing and video editing skills. (Note: the drawing is another blog.) For those of you who don't know, I used to shoot and edit a local TV show (that lasted one season). And I like working with video and imagery.

It also gave me a chance to use footage I'd shot years ago on 16mm film (converted to video). In fact, one of the rolls of film I shot inspired a scene in the book. Yes, it may be disturbing to some. Certainly unsettling. Unfortunately, Eastern Cemetery has a reputation undeserved or not. Its history is tragic enough without the vandalism. 

But there it is. Whatever the fate of the book, I hope you enjoy the trailer. If nothing else, it was a fun creative exercise.