Tag Archives: curses

Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you interviews with the characters you love.

I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is Tisha, a dancer and mage from the dark land of Skaythe. Prepare to be enchanted! “Welcome to the show, Tisha.”

“Well met, friend.”

“What can you tell us about your brand of magic?”

“I belong to a small band on minstrels who draw upon vitalis, a power born of the sun and life itself. By movement and dance, I focus vitalis into my casting. Ever since I was very young, my drive has been to heal all sorts of wounds. That is why I travel with the other minstrels. My dance draws the people away out of their sorrows and gives them hope for the future.”

“I love how you draw power from dancing. I’ve known a few girls who would be pretty powerful after Saturday night.”

“But, Lisa, I have to ask how you are feeling? As a healer, I sense the flow of energies within all living things. But from you there is no such light. Have you hidden it, somehow?”

“Oh, don’t worry about me. I’m not like regular people. I’m a robot girl. All my ‘power’ comes from the outlets on the wall.”

“A robot? I have never heard of such a creature. You don’t behave as though you are ill, though.”

“No, I’m perfectly fine. This isn’t about me, anyway. My bio says you are involved in some sort of mess with an oppressive regime. What can you tell me about that?”

“Alas, Skaythe is beset by many ills. The evil mage, Dar-Gothull, trains his followers to use lethentros, the power of death and destruction. He demands that people fight for everything they have. Lethentros warps their spirits, and that’s why they think it’s all right to behave the way they do.”

“Wait, I know that name. I interviewed Zathi a few months ago. She works for Dar-Gothull as a hunter-guard.”

“Dar-Gothull has many squads of hunter-guards who roam the land, looking for renegades like me and the other minstrels. We can never know when we’re being followed or spied on. It’s a good thing for me that I’ve never met Zathi’s squad!”

“Then what did you do to run afoul of the regime?”

“I saved a man’s life. Cylass was one of Ar-Dayne’s personal guardsmen, until Ar-Dayne accidentally hit him with a lethal power bolt. The guardsmen left Cylass behind, but I was able to restore his health. Ar-Dayne was furious. First, because he thinks every other mage is a rival to be crushed, and second, because saving the weak offends him.”

“That’s horrible. You help someone and get in trouble? I have a hard time with that. My programming is to help people.”

“I agree, but as far as Ar-Dayne is concerned, we both deserve to die. Cylass and I are fleeing from him. Unfortunately, I can’t really trust Cylass. He’s been a mage’s guardsman for years. The easiest thing would be for him to prove his loyalty by turning me in.”

“Ouch! What about gratitude?”

“Gratitude is also a weakness, or so they say.”

“If all mages are that twisted, it seems like you have a lot of work a head of you.”

“That’s true, but I know of a place where Dar-Gothull cast a terrible curse long ago. It still grips the land in Seofan Valley. My goal is to learn if that curse can be healed, like any other injury. If I can do that, then I know eventually Dar-Gothull himself can be defeated.

“I don’t know if Cylass will try to stop me from getting there. It’s my hope that as we travel together, he will learn a better way. But I can’t make that decision for him.”

“I hope Cylass comes out on your side. He owes you one, and if he has any honor at all, he’ll realize that in the end.”

“I hope so, too. He’d be a good man if he can let go of Dar-Gothull’s warped ideals.”

“Thank you for visiting with us today, Tisha. On behalf of our listeners, I wish you all the luck you can find.”

“Thank you for having me on, Lisa.”

“If you’d like to learn more about Tisha and Cylass, pick up the book Dancer in the Grave of Ghosts, by Deby Fredericks. I’ll put all the deets on the website after I log off today.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. I’m sure Deby and Tisha would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Blurb

“He’s dead. He just doesn’t know it yet.”

Mortally wounded, Cylass is abandoned on the battlefield by comrades who would just as soon have him out of the way. But as he waits for death, a strange savior appears. The dancer, Tisha, heals him with her forbidden magic, but also draws the wrath of his cruel former lord.

Soon guardsman and renegade mage are on the run. Will Cylass help Tisha, as she helped him? Or will he do the smart thing, and turn her over to the vicious Count Ar-Dayne?

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZXLHC62

D2D: https://draft2digital.com/book/496360

(formats other than Amazon’s Kindle format)

Social Media

Newsletter sign up: http://eepurl.com/geV_nX

get a free e-book when you join

Author website: http://www.debyfredericks.com

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDebyFredericks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebyFredericks

Blog: http://wyrmflight.wordpress.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/debyfredericks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debyfredericks/

Biography

Deby Fredericks has been a writer all her life, but thought of it as just a fun hobby until the late 1990s. She made her first sale, a children’s poem, in 2000.

Fredericks has six fantasy novels out through two small presses. More recently, she self-publishes her fantasy novellas, bringing her to 13 books in all. Her latest is Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts. Her short work has been published in Andromeda Spaceways and selected anthologies.

In addition, she writes for children as Lucy D. Ford. Her children’s stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as Boys’ Life, Babybug, Ladybug, and a few anthologies. In the past, she served as Regional Advisor for the Inland Northwest Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, International (SCBWI).

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Kinda quiet around here lately

Must be summer. Everywhere I pass through on the internet has been pretty quiet. This includes blogs and social media too. Summer is usually like this, but it’s pretty noticeable this week.

It’s the work week right now, so I don’t have a ton to say. I did a bit of interesting research. It may not make its way into the current story I’m writing, but it might. If it does, I may change it up do one degree or another. It’s fiction, I’m allowed to do that.

The topic was black magic in Sri Lanka. I’ve dug into voodoo, hoodoo, and witchcraft over the years, but nothing from the Pacificish area.

Most of their practice seems to center around curses. These are more public than I expected them to be. Basically, you go to a temple, tell the priest what you want, and he sets you up.

Research indicated blessings and curses run about 50/50. There is no stigma against someone who would cast a curse. In Sri Lanka you should expect to be cursed fairly frequently.

It involves saying words upon a coconut, that’s been affixed with a burning thingie, similar to a candle. (More research is required.) Then the curser has to go outside and throw the coconut, with the flame, on the ground and smash it.

Most temples have a special rock in place for smashing coconuts. Throwing them into sand likely doesn’t produce the required result.

I’m assuming they remove the husk for this process, or it would never smash.

I had to stop to sleep, like I said, it’s still the work week. The last bit I found said there is no counter cursing. Apparently the coconuts won’t rebound upon the caster. You have to go to the temple and have it blessed away.

Honestly, it sounds like a good racket for the temple. Sell both curses and blessings, and keep that line moving.

I designed some characters once who worked upon this principle as a kind of con game, but I’ve never found a home for them. She sells curses, he sells cures… I’ll figure out something for them one day.

It’s possible to weave in some tiki masks, a flaming coconut smash and cast some kind of spell. Like I said, it’s fiction, so I can massage it a bit.

Or I could break out my old blender and some rum and invent something called a flaming coconut smash and curse myself.

Looking forward to Friday where I might find a bit more writing time.

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Get it while it’s hot, Macabre Macaroni

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve tried to post some spooky themed stories in October.

I make them all micro-fiction so nobody has to panic about finding part two, or missing one in the middle.

There is a style of micro-fiction called creepy pasta. Someone eventually glommed onto that name and started a website to host stories, the whole works. I know you can’t copyright a name, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes either. Maybe someday, that person will become a friend.

That’s why I call my stories Macabre Macaroni. And here we have the lovely Lisa Burton bringing us a platter right now, so everyone dig in.

The Woodworker’s Dilema

The tiny bell above my shop door jingled. It was early in the day for tourists to be wandering. I sat down my tea, checked my face in the antique mirror, and walked into the front. “Good morning, and wel–” I crossed my arms at the sight of Reverend Whitaker. “What do you want?”

He held up his palms. “I, I come in peace. I want to discuss something with you.”

“Like closing my shop down and running me out of town? Three years now you’ve been trying to put me out of business.”

He glanced at the apothecary section, then quickly looked away. He moved a hand-blown glass vase off the table, and sat down. I suppose he never noticed the furniture and the vase were for sale.

“I hope we can put all that behind us.” He placed a small cardboard box on the table. “I’ve come to the conclusion that… Well, that maybe there is more to this world than I know.” He gestured to the seat across from him. “Please.”

“I’m just having tea. Would you like some?”

He glanced again at the apothecary section. “No, I um. Thank you.”

I slid into the chair and adjusted my apron. I waited for him to speak, not wanting to invite the condemnation papers or whatever he was up to this time.

“I have a hobby, you see. When I’m not preaching, I have a life just like everyone else. One of my parishioners knows I’m a woodworker, and asked me to remove one of her trees in exchange for the wood. She seemed very upset about the tree, so I agreed to help.

“It turns out it was a huge maple, hundreds of years old. I had to get some of the other members involved to help remove it, and haul the trunk to my farm.”

“What does this have to do with me?”

“Right, um, it turns out it was all curly maple; lovely stuff really. I make knife handles, mirrors, brushes, duck calls, that kind of thing. I have so much of it, that guitar makers and violin makers are calling me.”

He placed a block of wood on the table before me. It was breathtaking. The lines and swirls had a kind of reflective quality that was mesmerizing. I looked up and pushed a hair out of my face. “It’s beautiful. I might be able to sell a few pieces for you.”

“Yes, well, that wasn’t what I had in mind, but perhaps. I was, was, am hoping you could lend a special kind of assistance.” He removed a second piece from his box and turned it towards me.

“I, um. I don’t know–”

“Please. I need to know if this is demonic, or, or witchcraft.” He loosened his collar and wiped his brow. “I can’t let anyone else have this if it’s going to, to, to curse them.”

I lifted the piece and turned it in my hand. I detected nothing evil about it. “I think it is exactly what it appears to be; a cry for help.”

“But from whom, and what kind of help? Can you tell me anything?”

I tossed the wood between my hands to get a reading, but got nothing. “Are there any more messages?”

“Not so far, just this one. Can you help?”

“Perhaps, but we’ll have to work on it together. You find a way to count the tree rings. That will tell us what year it was planted. Figure out what age the message came from too. Then find out who owned the property at that time. Search also for news from those years; tragedy, missing persons, unsolved crimes, a reason to ask for help.”

“What will you do?”

“I’ll try some divinations. I will also interview the woman who owned the tree. She may have dreamed something, or noticed strange things. Together, we may be able to figure out something. Right now, do not discount that this message came to you. It is your help being sought. It looks like whoever sent it knew how to write, and they chose not to use cursive script. Possibly they were too young to know it. That is all I know today.”

“Thank you, and – this is hard to admit, but I may have been wrong about you.”

“Your culture has been wrong for centuries. Perhaps you and I can change that.”

***

You guys know me, I’m always trying out new things. This time it was pictures to enhance the story. What do you think? Did the pictures help more than a lengthy description would?

Just a couple of quick announcements. Both of my Experimental Notebooks contain short stories and micro-fiction. Many of those have a paranormal bent to them. If you need something to keep you awake at night, maybe one of those would do the trick.

This week is also the free week for my novel Panama. If you like historical fiction with some creep factor involved, this might be the story for you.

 

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The Idea Mill #22

It's been a while since we visited the old idea mill, and to be honest with you, it's because there haven't been that many interesting articles coming through.

I finally have three, and let's see if we can spark your imaginations.

This first one involves a bunch of old Egyptian papyrus scrolls that were discovered over a hundred years ago. Someone finally got around to looking at them, and found out they contained spells. They are written in Greek, so it must have been after some transportation entered the world.

One instructs the caster to burn some offerings in a bathhouse, and write on the bathhouse walls the desire for the Gods to “burn the heart” of a woman who scorned the caster. Men have been writing on bathroom walls ever since. Ladies, you've been warned.

The other spell tells the caster to scratch out some magical words onto a small piece of copper. Then a fix the plate to the clothing of the target victim. The victim will be forced to obey the commands of the caster. This article is silent as to what the words are, but I'm betting the word is “Imperio.”

I used a kind of Roman curse/prayer in Panama. This one involved turning a grinding stone while praying. I am aware of scratching out curses in lead, but copper is a new one.

How about it authors? Do you have any characters that need cursing? Maybe a woman scorned your character and he needs to get even. This could be even more fun because they are written in Greek. This means fraternities and sororities to me. I get an idea of a magical version of Animal House, where the locker room substitutes as the bathhouse, and Needermyer has to obey Bluto's bidding. Here is the link if you want a tiny bit more info: Curses.

The second article involves stalagmites and Neanderthals. Stalagmites are the ones that grow up from the floors of caves. Somewhere around 170,000 years ago, Mr. Neanderthal decided to kick down a bunch of these and build some stone walls. This may not seem like much, but 170,000 year old human construction is kind of impressive. They look kind of like nests to me. Check them out here: Neanderthal Construction.

Maybe these guys were so primitive they competed to actually build the best structure to impress the ladies. This is similar to nesting behaviour in other creatures. As a fiction writer, they could be anything though, including what remains of an ancient portal to another time or world. Some science cadet might figure it all out and recreate it, or predict some looming disaster. What would you do with this?

Finally we have what's being called a brain-to-brain interface. This involves wearing a fancy hat, while your friend wears another fancy hat. The lead researcher is able to control the other guy's movements by thinking about the motion. There is some interesting result with animals as well. Read a better, but longer, description here: Megamind.

I've kind of been in science fiction mode and this one gets me going. I remember a cuteish old movie called The Doberman Gang, (and one sequel) where the main character trained dogs to pull off a bank heist. This would be so much easier if I could skip the training and control them via brain-to-brain interface.

I have to admit, controlling my enemy via a curse scrawled on copper sounds a lot easier. Although, I dig a good hat, so I'm torn.

What would you do with this one? Here is your chance to mix in a little of The Fly, in an experiment that exchanges part of the mind when it goes wrong. Now you have your very own Gorilla Grod. Maybe you want to split out the good character and the bad character. The good one winds up in a Chimp who can't talk and tell someone what's wrong. The bad one goes on a rampage.

Part of this shtick is that I rough out a story using all of these elements. This is going to be a tough one, because the items are so far apart. Here goes nothing…

A sorority girl scorns a fraternity boy. He uses the whiz-bang fancy hat from the science lab to make her pay. There would certainly be towel snapping shenanigans in the girl's locker room, as verified by the geekiest of fraternity brothers and some kind of pervy spy hole.

Our heroine is mortified, and isn't participating in the dig inside the cave. She's spent most of her college career working on Neanderthal studies, and is blowing the biggest chance of her life. Fortunately, the Sorority sisters catch on.

They make her scrawl a curse onto a copper disk and slip in into the guy's underwear. Now under their total control, they make him don the fancy hat once more, and force the instructor to change her grades to something more acceptable. Maybe they also force him to streak the alumni banquet, because it is a college story. Ultimately, they force him to fall for the wallflower sorority sister that he wouldn't have spoken to otherwise.

I never said these were good stories, but I think I hit all three elements. What would you do with these?

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