Monthly Archives: January 2011

Can’t Finish My Little Breakfast

  I”ve been staring at the other half of my beloved bagel; but my body says “No more.”  Wrapped in a blanket in front of my monitor, I sit coughing on the keys.  As a matter-of-fact you might want to wipe down your own keyboard, just incase this bug has traveled though the spindly filaments of the web to your fingers. Maybe some more herbal tea will help…

  Seriously, though I work from home (mostly) I still need to work when I’m sick.  Just like everyone else. I have a goal and if I don’t reach it The Jar of Shame looms in the back of my mind. What is this Jar that grips me in such fear?  It’s the rainbow tissue-papered jar with frills and lace that demands a dollar if I don’t meet my goals.

  “A dollar?” You might say.  “That’s all?”  Well, yeah.  But the smiling faces of my friends as I put that dollar in are more of the deterrent. You see, The Jar of Shame lives at Sassy Scribes, my beloved critique group. At the end of each meeting we set a goal, and if we don’t meet even a tiny part of that goal we must deposit the dollar. And my goal this month?  Well, lets just say it’s a little lofty.  But if I make it, I feel I will have moved forward a little more, instead of letting this cold hold me down.  No, irritating chest cough, you will not win this time!  *Gulping down more herbal tea.* 

  Have a great Monday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flow of Life

The Cursed Monkey’s Paw

  I first heard this tale through a Japanese anime called XXX Holic (the XXX doesn’t mean the same thing in their culture as in ours!) Epasode 8 entiled “Contract.” 

  A young woman comes ito possesion of the mummified Monkeys Paw.  Knowing that the legeneds of it are evil, she disregards them, believing she has a strong character that cannot be influenced.  The Paw’s finger’s break each time a wish is made, giving the owner five wishes.  One of her wishes comes accidentally when she almost misses her subway train. A woman throws herself on the subway tracks, stalling the train due to the woman’s suicide.  Another wish comes when she asks that her term paper might garner attention and respect from the proffesors.  The Monkey’s Paw switches her paper with that of the classes genious. She is then accused of theft and plagerism, and dismissed from the class. This is the most current version of the story I’ve found so far.

  When I did the research farther I was surprised to learn The Monkey’s Paw is actually a short story written by English author W.W. Jacobs, published in 1902.  In this original version the story involves Mr. and Mrs. White and their adult son Herbert. The parents wish for money, and are given it as a compensation for their son’s accidental death. A week after the funeral, Mrs. White’s grief is so great she wishes for her son to came back to life.  And he does, as a zombie, pounding on their door.  Read the full story here at-   http://www.americanliterature.com/Jacobs/SS/TheMonkeysPaw.html

It was also retold as an Alfred Hitchcock special in 1965, and has been feature in several other venues. For more informatin I highly recomend http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Monkey’s_Paw.  This is a fascinating bit of fiction and I hope it can influence other writers imaginations.

Have a great weekend everybody!

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Japanese Tid-Bits, Paranormal Fiction

Biblical Curses

  Continuing with our curse theme of the week I have chosen curses of the Bible for the non-fiction page today.  I must tell you I started off thinking I’d just pick one out and focus on it… but there’s too many!  So I’ll just give some quick highlights and you can go to your Bible if you’d like more information.  If you don’t feel like leaving your computer I highly suggest http://www.blueletterbible.org. You can choose from a variety of different versions of the Bible, and it will jump straight to the verse you put in.

  The first one I’d like to point out is how curses can come back to bite you.  In Genesis 12:3 (NLV) the Lord tells Abraham:   “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you.”  And who knows who’s a descendant of Abraham?  If you wish to curse your enemy and they’re of that bloodline- watch out!

  Many of you might know the name Goliath.  Just before (roughly) a twelve-year-old David killed him with a stone to the forehead, Goliath yelled many curses at the young man.  1 Sam. 17:43 “Am I a dog that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. (NLT) Yeah, didn’t turn out so good for him. 

  There are also curses for those of us who are stingy- “The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessings will be on the head of one who sells it.” Prov. 11:26 (NKJ)  So share people!  The Bible doesn’t specify as to what exactly these curses will entail, but there are mention of all kinds- from death and disease, to boils and illness.  It’s all in there. 

The only place a “curse” is mentioned in the New Testament in the Gal. 3:13 (NLT), where it tells how curses have been (or can be) dealt with- “But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law.  When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our path.”  So, the way out of a curse is through Christ.  And since I’m a christian I’d say that’s a pretty amazing deal!

3 Comments

Filed under Non-Fiction Paranormal

The Cursed Muramasa Sword

  The katanas of Japan are legendary. But one sword stands out in their history; the cursed swords of Muramasa. 

  Sengo Muramasa was a skilled sword-smith and founded a school of sword-making in 1501.  But, Muramasa had “a violent and ill-balanced mind verging on madness, that was supposed to have passed into his blades….”   One-hundred years later Muramasa’s swords were banned by the Japanese government when Tokugawa Ieyasu became shogun. Ieyasu had lost many friends and relatives to Muramasa blades.  He also, had been injured by one of these razor sharp blades and forbade his samurai to wear katanas made by Muramasa.

  This only fed to the legend and stories of the common people.  Opponents of the Shogun would often struggle to acquire Muramasa blades, believing the blades held a special significance for the Shogun to ban them.  

  The current standing legend is that once a Muramasa sword has been drawn it must taste blood before it can be returned to its scabbard.  If it does not it will turn on the wielder, forcing them to injure themself or even commit suicide. It is considered a demonic, cursed sword that forces the wielder to drown in blood lust.

  I wanted to thank Takeshi Shimano of Japanese Traditional Blog for all the info.  On a side note this phenomenon is so widely spread in Japan that there is a manga (Japanese comic) called MURAMASA and the anime Bleach did an entire arc on the blood thirsty Zanpakuto- Muramasa.

3 Comments

Filed under Japanese Tid-Bits, Non-Fiction Paranormal

What’s New in Books?

  Today’s topic for the Writing World is “Curses.”  It’s something I ran into yesterday at the library.  I don’t get to go with my children too often because my boys don’t have a volume switch.  But, we tried. 

  Leaving the kids in the good graces of their therapists I darted over to my mother who was standing behind the counter. (yes, my mom’s a librarian) And I asked, “What’s cool, what’s hot, what isn’t staying on the shelves for Young Adult?”  She shrugged and said “Nothing.”

  That was a little difficult for me to believe.  There’s always something that’s moving.  So, she walked me over and pointed to the top of a case where all the new books were.  I was able to pick up three and read the blurb on the back before my kids demanded my attention.  But, they all had a common theme- curses. One claimed to be a horror, while the other’s were more of an adventure. 

  Later I asked my mom “What about the vampires, werewolves, demons and angels?”  She wasn’t sure.  I heard from author Rebecca Zanetti “When one agent or publisher thinks something’s hot, they all do.”  But, in this case these books aren’t catching the eyes of the readers.  These stories seemed geared more towards a male audience, or those looking for something spine-tingling. But, before it was the Paranormal Romances that caught more attention. 

  While curses may seem cool, they may not have the same “escape” factor that most readers are looking for.  Perhaps the readers aren’t as tired of the previous market as the publishers are? So, if you’re working on a story with the curse theme be prepared to advertise, cuz it’s a tough market out there!

5 Comments

Filed under The Writing World

What’s on the Floor?

  Hi! It’s Monday and that means it’s the Flow of Life entry for today.  I wish I could say there was some deep, poetic meaning behind the title; What’s on the Floor?  Alas, it means just what it says.  One would hope only carpeting, rugs or the fine sheen of hardwood would stare up at you from beneath your feet.  But for me?  No such luck.  This weekend there were two things that made me growl in frustration.  And those things were liquids, to be exact. 

  The first to grace the bottoms of our tender feet was pancake syrup.  Yes.  Syrup.  At least it was in the kitchen this time, and not the carpets.  My daughter and I found three scattered bowls that held the remainder of the contents that didn’t coat the linoleum.  A little time on our hands and knees fixed that up pretty quick. The next was a brand new, opened only once, bottle of vegetable oil.  “I’ll clean it up!”  My daughter volunteers happily.  That is, until she jumps onto the middle of the floor, goes sailing several feet, and lands on her backside after catching some almost-comical air.  She made quite the “crash” as she slid into the cupboards.

  Who could have done this?  Do I have magical trolls, or a ghost haunting my kitchen?  No. That would be my two totally adorable boys.  Though neither of them are of toddler age, they both have the mind-set of one.  They have both been diagnosed with PDD, a form of severe autism.  Every day is an adventure with these two!  And I’m sure their antics will grace the monday page often!

Leave a comment

Filed under Flow of Life

It’s About Time

  I’m author Shelley Martin, and friends in the writing world have been telling me to get a blog for a while now.  “But I have nothing to say,”  I’ve been telling myself.  Actually, I have quite a bit to say.  It’s just my husband that usually gets an earful of it every night!  Poor guy. 

  This site is dedicated to all things paranormal, either on the fiction pages or as happens in everyday life.  There’s that saying- “Life is stranger than fiction.”  That’s one of the things I want to share.  Why?  Because I’ve had my fair share of  “fictional moments” in my otherwise normal life. 

  Also I’ll touch on other favorite things such as Japanese culture (that includes anime) , the flow of life,  and writing in general.  Thanks for hopping on this wagon ride with me.  Hope it’s a fun time!

3 Comments

Filed under Flow of Life