Archive | April 2013

The Raven

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The Raven

by V. L. Murray

 

 

I heard your voice today.

It pulled me from my

Somnambulance

And jarred my brain

Awake.

 

I’ve had no sleep.

The road crews work all night.

Sometimes,

It seems the sound will

Never end.

 

But I heard

Your voice

Today,

And it stopped me

In my tracks.

 

I felt the trees

Move in

Closer,

In sheltering

Comfort.

 

I felt the clouds tumble

Above me

And the tap of rain

On my head.

 

Your sound

So distinct,

Like a guttural

Crow’s caw, but one of

Power and

Force,

Of beckoning and

Demand.

 

I looked everywhere.

At first only the giant fir

Was visible,

And then you called out

Again,

And my eyes were pulled upwards

To your throne.

 

You floated on the

Point most high,

Connected to the greenery

Like a trampolinest

Who bounces

Again and again,

But without ~

Disconnect.

 

Your voice summoned the winds,

The sound you made ~

Notes of creation,

Like torrent and storm,

Thunder and sleet,

Dirt ~

And spit.

 

It was as if you had tried

The others,

The Word of Genesis,

The Om of Vedanta,

But none of them had worked

The magic you needed

To sing

The grey crystal rainforests,

The hundred foot trees, and

The almighty rock of

The Creator of All ~

Into being.

 

No,

Only your gravel of sound

Could produce this

Tumult of land you call

Home.

 

I felt the Ocean’s power

Move through me.

I felt the Earth shudder

And shift,

And then relax into

Stillness,

Like a wolf’s ~

Dissolving growl.

 

You called once again,

Your Mayan nose nodding

Up and down.

As the four winds

Butterflied their respects ~

At your feet.

We moved on,

The dog and I,  as

Once again the sound of

Man began to

Assault my nerves and

Ears.

 

I glanced back, and up,

But you were gone.

Disappeared into the

Churning grey of mist and cloud:

Heaven rolling past

To scoop you back and up ~

Into the heart of

God.

Copyright V. L. Murray

October 22, 2010

 

 

Interview with Author Tammy Lowe

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Today’s guest is author Tammy Lowe, a new member of the MuseItUp author alumni. Here is a biography of our visitor.

Tammy lives in Cambridge, Ontario, with her husband of twenty years and their teenage son.

From September to June, she is surrounded by preschoolers and covered in glitter and glue.

Once school is out, she grabs her hubby and son and takes off on some grand adventure. They’ve explored pyramids in Egypt and sailed down a river in rural China on a tiny raft,  slept in the tower of a 15th century Scottish castle, searched for the Loch Ness Monster and have even dined at a Bedouin camp in the Arabian Desert. She’s part Mary Poppins, and part Indiana Jones.

Tammy loves to explore this amazing world of ours.

As a kid, she loved to read books and watch shows like Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables.  She loved anything set in the “olden days”.

When she was about ten years old, Tammy began to wonder about time travel. Her biggest wish was to end up back in the pioneer era. She wanted to go and hang out with spoiled Nellie Olsen. When asked, Tammy can’t recall why she wished for Nellie over Laura Ingalls, but thinks it may have had something to do with the fact that Nellie’s parents owned the candy shop.

Tammy realized she didn’t want to live in the 18th or 19th century because she’d miss her family too much, and also she knew she can’t live without modern comforts but wanted the freedom to travel back and forth through time.

So strong was her wish to time travel, she even dressed the part, as much as possible, without raising anyone’s suspicions. She wore dresses to school every day, when all her friends wore jeans and t-shirts. She had to be prepared just in case it worked and she was whisked through time. One summer, Tammy even begged her mom to buy her a bonnet.  She did. Tammy wore that white bonnet everywhere.  If she had ended up in Walnut Grove or Avonlea, she was ready.

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By the sixth grade she was old enough to realize that time travel probably wasn’t going to be a reality for her, so she decided that when she grew up, she’d write a book about a girl who could travel back and forth through time.

N&R: And so I guess that is where we should start. It’s obvious I don’t have to ask you how much of The Acadian Secret has you and your childhood desires in it, so, I am going to ask, what did you want to cram into this book that you managed to succeed in doing?

TL: I wanted to include the tale of the Oak Island Money Pit. It is the longest running, the most expensive, and the deadliest treasure hunt in history…and it’s right here in Canada.  The discovery of the mysterious pit, by three teen boys in 1795, is a huge storyline in The Acadian Secret.

N&R: I’m into time travel as well. Did you contemplate other ways to get your heroine across the years besides using a necklace?

TL:  It was always going to be with a quartz crystal.  I learned about the electronic wonder of a quartz crystal watch and that sent my imagination into overdrive.  I find it amazing that a crystal can send off a vibration used to measure time.  I imagined what might happen if I had a quartz crystal bigger than one in a watch. I put it on a chain and gave it to Elisabeth.

N&R: Tell us more about the beginnings of this particular tale. Where did it spring from? Were there any specific catalysts?

TL: That is hard to answer.  The Acadian Secret is almost two stories in one and you don’t know how they tie together until the very end.  In a sense, it was written in layers and woven together over several years. There was no specific catalyst.

I felt as if I was following a trail of breadcrumbs. Doing research, something unrelated would catch my attention and I knew I had to go with it. I was never sure how it would tie in, but I knew to follow my intuition.

Many curious things happened during the entire process. For example, many of my characters were real people in history. There was one young lady I needed to include in the story, but I was having trouble finding her real name. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah kept floating around my brain, so I called her Sarah, with the intention of changing her name once I discovered it in my research. When I finished writing, and I couldn’t imagine my Sarah being called anything else, I discovered her real name. It was Sarah. That gave me goose bumps.

Everything seemed to happen that way, even after I finished the manuscript. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard back from the content editor who had taken on my book.  As fate would have it, she had also spent years researching the Oak Island Money Pit and knew all about it.  She was the perfect person to help me polish The Acadian Secret.

N&R: Wow, that’s pretty interesting. Even though you have traveled to Scotland and seen the place or places like the ones described in your book, how much research was required to turn out a convincing story of the time period described?

TL: There is a lot of research involved. Not just with Scotland, but with Nova Scotia’s mysterious Oak Island Money Pit as well.  I don’t want to give twists in the plot away, but the research goes beyond Scotland.  It’s taken me years to put it all together and lay the foundation for the follow up books.

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N&R: How about giving us a short write-up on the story to entice our readers?

TL: THE ACADIAN SECRET is a Tween/YA Paranormal Action-Adventure about a young girl who can…time travel.

Here’s the tagline: Elisabeth finds she can play in the past; when bosom friends, treasure hunters and tormented alchemists are still the norm.

BACK COVER:

Elisabeth London is keeping her new friends a secret from her parents.  Not only do they live on the other side of the world in the Scottish Highlands, they lived more than three hundred and fifty years ago. Her mom and dad would never allow her to go gallivanting about seventeenth century Scotland.  They won’t even let her go to the mall by herself yet.

Twelve-year-old Elisabeth is old enough to know there is no such thing as magic, but when her quartz crystal necklace has the power to transport her back and forth in time, she no longer knows what to think.  The only thing she is certain of is that she loves spending carefree days with Quinton, the mischievous nephew of a highland warrior, and sassy little Fiona, a farmer’s daughter.

However, Elisabeth’s adventures take a deadly turn when she is charged with witchcraft.  At a time and place in history when witch-hunts were common, those found guilty were executed, children included. Elisabeth must race to find her way back home, while trying to stay one step ahead of the witch-hunter determined to see her burned at the stake.

N&R: Can you share an excerpt from the book?

TL: Sure, let me just tie on my bonnet and get into the mood.   *clears throat*

“As the afternoon sun began to travel behind the mountains, it cast an emerald glow across the glen. The valley was littered with boulders, while a small river twisted its way toward a distant forest.

Malcolm Craig was stalking his prey. He was a tall, strong man with piercing blue-green eyes, a short beard, and wild black hair that gave him a crazed look. He smelled the boar before he saw it. Talbot, his hunting dog, lunged into the brambles after the wild pig which began to grunt in anger. That was when something to the right caught his eye. A young girl lay motionless in the heather.

“What the devil?” Malcolm said as he jumped down from his horse. While still keeping his hearing attuned to Talbot and the boar, he walked over and bent to peer at her. He breathed a sigh of relief to find she was fast asleep. Malcolm scooped the sleeping girl into his arms. “You’re lucky I found you, lassie, before that beast did.”

With a sigh, she rested her head against his chest and put her arms around his neck. “Daddy…” she said in her sleep.

Malcolm laughed. “Daddy? I’m nae your daddy. No daughter of mine would be dressed like this, wandering around barefoot in the middle of…”

Elisabeth’s eyes popped open and she let out an ear-piercing scream. She bit Malcolm’s shoulder and he dropped her.

“Och, child! You bit me!”

The silence in the valley broke as Talbot howled, the boar squealed and Elisabeth jumped to her feet and wailed in horror.

“Dinnae move, lass!” Malcolm yelled to be heard over the pandemonium. He reached for his dagger. It was almost time for the kill.

The enraged boar deserted his hiding spot in the brambles and charged toward the dog, its lethal tusks ready to kill. Talbot was well-trained so, instead of turning tail and running, he danced backward, facing the pig, luring it away from his master. With the boar now in pursuit of the dog, Malcolm did what was natural to any man born and bred in the Highlands: he ran at the beast as if he were a wild animal himself. Jumping on the boar from behind, he grabbed its ear, yanked its head up and slashed its throat.

Elisabeth continued to scream. Malcolm jumped off the boar as it fell limp at his feet and cleaned the blade on the carcass before putting it away. He walked toward Elisabeth, his bloody hands held in front of him.

“Enough, lass. It’s all right now.”

Her wide eyes fixed on the enormous man dressed in a skirt. “You’ve got a knife!”

“Aye. And a sword.” He smirked as he pointed to it.

“You’re armed!”

“I’m nae going to harm you, though. I was hunting.”

“Hunting what? Little girls? Where am I?”

Not waiting for an answer, she ran from Malcolm and toward the forest, her bare feet slowing her great escape.

“That lass is completely mad,” Malcolm grumbled while rubbing the shoulder she had bitten.

Malcolm mounted his horse; he couldn’t leave the terrified girl alone out here. It wasn’t safe and would soon be dark. She would be easy enough for a blind man to find again because she hadn’t stopped screaming. For some reason, he hadn’t stopped smiling.

His black warhorse was as large and intimidating as Malcolm was, and the animal’s powerful legs kicked up tall grass and thistles as it barreled along. The sound of its hooves seemed amplified as it raced toward Elisabeth. Malcolm caught up to her. Without needing to slow his horse, he reached down, scooped her up into his arms, and placed her in the saddle in front of him.

“There. Now be a good lass. I promise, I’m nae going to hurt you.”

And with that, Elisabeth fainted.

“Well now, that certainly makes things easier,” Malcolm muttered under his breath as he wrapped her in his plaid and nudged his horse on.”

N&R: That looks great. I love your humour, it’s wonderful. Great action and descriptions, too. So, I have to ask, has Diana Gabaldon had any influence on your work?

TL: Diana Gabaldon and Karen Marie Moning have been huge influences on me. They both write fabulous Time-Travel/Scottish Highland books that I can’t put down.

I remember thinking my young son would love the adventure of their stories, but I couldn’t read them to him because they’re definitely not PG-rated. However, those authors, and Julie Garwood, made me fall in love with Scotland and want to begin Elisabeth’s journey there. It was my way of letting children fall in love with the magic of the Highlands too.

N&R: Tell us a little about your profession: Pre-schoolers—how did that happen? When did you start this career? What are your favourite ages to work with? What issues do you think our country needs to address more carefully in the instruction and care of our children? If you were in charge, what would you change?

TL: I actually run a successful daycare for teacher’s children so I am only open during the school year. I used to work for the school board with Special Needs Children, but it was never a secure job. I only had contracts for weeks at a time. About ten years ago I opened up my own business and it’s been wonderful. I have a two year wait list for spots.

I love kids of all ages, but have rock star status with the two and three year old crowd.  Kids jump into my arms in the morning and fuss when they have to go home. I’m all about playing, imagination, and teaching kindness.

What I notice the most, and would love to change, is that many kids today have less and less imagination. If I put Lego out so they can build something, half the time is spent explaining why we are going to use our imaginations and we are not going to copy the picture on the box showing how it’s “supposed” to be built. You wouldn’t believe the anxiety this causes some of them.  To me, imagination is everything.  As Albert Einstein said, “it is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

N&R: Well said. Are you working on any new projects right now? If so, can you tell us a bit about them without giving too much away?

TL: I’m working on Elisabeth’s next adventure.  The Acadian Secret has a great ending and doesn’t leave you hanging, but it is the first of three books. I’m really excited about the next one, set in Ancient Rome.

N&R: What other things do you like to do in your spare time when you aren’t wrangling pre-schoolers, writing or traveling the world?

TL: I like to think I am a domestic goddess.*grin*

I love baking, gardening, home decorating, entertaining etc. I’m most comfortable nesting.

One thing I’ve learned from all my travels is there truly is no place like home.

N&R: I agree with you there. How supportive of your childhood fantasy is your husband, and dare I ask, teenage son?

TL: My husband and son are the best!

The three of us are extremely close-knit and will do everything to support one another’s dreams and goals. We help each other shine.

N&R: Can you share the links to your work and your own sites, please?

TL: The easiest place to find me is at http://www.tammylowe .com

I’m on FB: http://tinyurl.com/brsfrpa

The Acadian Secret is found at:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ca7hk67

Amazon Canada: http://tinyurl.com/ccudxjp

B&N: http://tinyurl.com/cfruuxt

Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/c3nkg7u

MuseItUp Publishing: http://tinyurl.com/bpwgku9

iBookstore: http://tinyurl.com/ce5pudc

N&R:  Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers today?

TL:   I’d just like to thank you and everyone else for their time.  Have a great day.

N&R: Thank you so much for stopping by. We wish you well in your future endeavors, whether teaching, writing or traveling.

TL: Thanks so much for having me here today.

N&R: You are more than welcome. It has been fun and I am really looking forward to reading your book.