Supernatural Sunday: Inspiration for the Levels of Hell in my Watchtower Series

I’ve always considered hell to be a place where nothing lives and nothing grows. Not the fire and brimstone of Christian belief, more like the place Howie Mandel’s character went to in his near death experience (when he met the rapist terrorizing St. Eligius. Remember that?) It a grey place where nothing grows, where there’s no sunlight and there is nothing and no one else around. Nothing. Just you wandering around a dead landscape for the rest of eternity.

That is my idea of hell.

When I started writing my paranormal series, I didn’t want to use that idea. The plot didn’t allow for such a dismal place. It had to be scary; a place you didn’t want to go. I came up with a new idea based on what I grew up with and had an idea of how I would depict this Hell, but nothing solid. Not until I found a site on Dante’s Inferno.dante

If you’ve never heard of it, Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It’s followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It’s a metaphoric telling of Dante’s journey through Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. As I read it (or more precise, read the English translation as it’s written in Italian) and learned of the different levels, I realized it would be perfect for my series. This is also why – if you’ve read the series – you’ll know there’s a painting in the lobby of Terin Global that depicts Dante’s Inferno.

I’ve written a couple level’s into the books, as to whether or not I’ll write any more, that’s to be seen. One thing is certain, his poem has sparked my imagination and has been a great place to create in.

Supernatural Sunday: Demons of The Watchtower – Poltergeists

coollogo_com-772150In PROPECIES OF MORTALS (book five of my paranormal series), two characters come in contact with the poltergeists chained up in the sub-basement of Terin Global. I first mentioned these creatures back in book three OF COVENS AND PACKS…

The basement and sub-basements housed all kinds of gateways and dangerous creatures, not to mention the two nasty poltergeists chained down with spells and other magical charms.

When I first wrote that sentence, I didn’t think much about it, but as the story for book five progressed, the idea came back about what lurked in the sub-basement, and I decided maybe a character or two should check out what’s down there. Like the other creatures that I’ve created, I wanted these to be based off a real entity.

In my books, poltergeists are physical creatures that can pass through just about any material except for iron. It can make duplicates of itself and surround it’s victim or make a prey thing they are outnumbered. They feed on the life-force of humans, or will absorb a ghost or spirit. They are telepathic and can read what frightened their victim and then assume that fear. Once trapped, these poltergeists memorize their prey, allowing them to slowly feed.

Because they are a solid creature when docile, my poltergeists can be physically attacked, which is about the only way you’re going to get away from them.

A true poltergeist, some say, is a manifestation of negative energy. I found this concept interesting. The idea that our negative thoughts could, over time, produce an invisible entity strong enough to move things, is frightening and fascinating at the same time.

Supernatural Sunday; Demons of THE WATCHTOWER—Scraylings

I love putting a new twist into an old monster, but I also like creating them. Now-a-days it’s hard to come up with something original; all the monsters are pretty well known, so that why I was really excited when the idea for a scrayling came to mind.

In my paranormal novels, scraylings are the grunts of Hell. They’re incredibly tall with a stalky, muscular build. They’re strong as hell and can fly, with each wing almost as long as their body. Muscular arms and legs give strength to sharp talons on their hands and feet, and they can rip the flesh of anything. They are completely obedient to their masters, and will carry out their order even if it means their death.

I got the idea from watching Scooby Doo! Seriously. Just picture this guy more…you know scary.

scoobydoo

Another difficult thing is naming said creature.  Again, most monsters are named and using a variations is always good to put your own personal mark on it, but this name just jumped out on to the paper. I was sure I’d heard it before, but when I Googled the name, I found nothing.

Does this mean I’ve created a new monster? Probably not, but it’s nice to think I did, so look out world, scraylings are on the loose, and you don’t want to run into one of these bad boys in a dark alley.

Supernatural Sunday: Werewolves of THE WATCHTOWER

Never has there been a monster so versatile as the werewolf. Out of all the monsters, I think these are the most dangerous; the most frightening, not because they transform into snarling monsters, but because they can look, act and live just like regular people. They are literally a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Other monsters cannot blend into society as well as a werewolf; something always gives them away, but a werewolf, you wouldn’t know one unless you saw him transform.

When I brainstormed my werewolves for The Watchtower series, like everything else, I wanted them to be unique. I don’t care for the idea that they could not control the beast within them, but I wanted to show that they were just as dangerous. The werewolves that live in the forest that surrounds the Spire, are more dog like; there is an Alpha male and the pack does what he says, no arguments. They’re a fun loving bunch, a simple folk who enjoy the company of their pack and don’t get all hung up on the how’s or why’s of how their species came to be.

They know their ancestors were cursed for helping the vampyres escape from the wrath of the old Gods. They live peacefully next to the vampyres, looking out for them and keeping them safe from the world at large. It’s only when they transform into huge, hairless demon creatures that they become scary, and it’s a side of them they don’t hide from, and will use to get what they want.

Paranormal Sunday; Vampyres of THE WATCHTOWER

When I decided to add vampires to my novels, I wanted them to be traditional, but different. I thought for a while about how they could be original so I made a list of character traits found in many vampire stories, and went from there.

Vampires are an old monster. Myths about them have been around for centuries. I’ve always thought that creatures that old would be arrogant, but not in a mean sort of way. Living for thousands of years gives you a unique perspective on humanity. Something that a mortal person wouldn’t understand. I think they would feel detached from the century they were living in, which might come off as being cold, especially when it came to other beings.

How to tie them into the story? That was another problem. I had to include the main characteristic of a vampire-their need for human blood, so I looked up some myths about blood online. Blood has always been a mystical substance in all ancient cultures. Whether it’s the colour, texture or the fact it is within us and we need it to live. Also, I needed a way to relate some backstory. I remember watching a movie about a vampire that was actually Judas. His punishment for betraying Jesus was to be turned into a vampire. Same with Dracula-for renouncing God after the death of his wife. Turning humans into vampires would be a good punishment so that is how my vampires came to be. Punished for betraying the Gods.

As for why they were punished, well, you’ll just have to read and find out.

Paranormal Sunday: The Watchtower Monsters: Zombies

One thing I love about writing paranormal, is envisioning a new take on creatures and trying to make them more my own. With my paranormal series THE WATCHTOWER, I have the traditional paranormal beings, but I’ve tried to give them a new twist.

The first monster I worked with was zombies. Modern zombies have become a horde of starving creatures produced from some unknown virus, roaming the world eagerly searching for humans to feed on. They probably feed on other wildlife, but I haven’t heard it yet. One thing I could never understand about these mindless hordes is how they can find humans. Do they still retain their senses? Or maybe just a one? Why do they need to eat human flesh? Questions I think I’ll leave for another day.

Traditionally, zombies were created by Voodoo priests to be slaves. Some of these poor souls weren’t dead, but alive and yet not aware they were under the control of the priest. When I looked at putting my twist on it, I decided to go back to its traditional roots and again make them compliant slaves. In THE WATCHTOWER, I’ve combined the two. My zombies are created by sacrificing someone, then through dark magic, binding the soul of the deceased to their body. Because the body is dead, it will decompose, but because the soul is still within it, it’s also alive. My zombies feel pain and are aware their bodies are used against their will, and even though I haven’t written a scene with it yet, they can talk as well. Although I would assume they would sound drunk or under the influence of something. Between forced to do things against its will, and feeling the pain of the body dying, I think I’ve made a creatures one could sympathize with.

Paranormal Sunday: The Cremation of Sam McGee

I’m adding a few new features for my Sunday blog posts. My goal for this blog has always been to reflect who I am and what I write, and as I’m interested in so many genre’s and want to write in them all I decided that on Sundays I will do a post about something small about each. I’m not sure how I’m going to work this, but it should be interesting.

At this moment, the paranormal/ supernatural is a big part of my life. This week I want to share a poem I hear on the radio a few weeks back. I thought it was wonderful. It is eloquently written and the imagery is very well done. If you don’t feel like reading it all, it’s narrated by Johnny Cash and you can view it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJNZwuamwj0

The Cremation of Sam McGee

 

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold;

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

I cremated Sam McGee.

 

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.

Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.

He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;

Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

 

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.

Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.

If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;

It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

 

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,

And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,

He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;

And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

 

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:

“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.

Yet ’tain’t being dead—it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;

So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

 

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;

And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.

He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;

And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

 

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,

With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;

It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,

But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

 

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.

In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.

In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,

Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

 

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;

And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;

The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;

And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

 

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;

It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”

And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;

Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

 

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;

Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;

The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;

And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

 

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;

And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.

It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;

And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

 

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;

But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;

I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.

I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.

 

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;

And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: “Please close that door.

It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm—

Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

 

There are strange things done in the midnight sun

By the men who moil for gold;

The Arctic trails have their secret tales

That would make your blood run cold;

The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,

But the queerest they ever did see

Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge

I cremated Sam McGee.

 

Original link: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174348

%d bloggers like this: