Author and Character Talk between Haylee Books

Between Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone and Haylee and the Last Traveler, the author has a conversation with the main character.

Wake up, Haylee.

“Go away Joey, I am trying to sleep.” Haylee flung a warm pillow out from under the covers. With no specific direction in mind, the soft projectile was meant to disrupt the cat’s plan to get her out of bed.

I thought we could talk for a few moments.

“Joey! Come on!” Haylee complained.

This isn’t Joey.

“Huh?” Haylee responded. She cracked her eyes into thin slits and scanned the room. Accustomed to hearing voices in her head, she took a moment to assess the quality of this particular one. It was not totally foreign; she’d heard it before…

Now that she was focusing on it, she understood that it was not Joey or any other animal. Animals didn’t form words and complete sentences. They sent a series of flowing visual images with emotions attached.

It wasn’t a thought from any of her victims either. After being absorbed into her mind during Haylee’s unusual feeding process, they were mere memories. When she was finished with them, they didn’t make new ones.

Re-asserting her tight clamp-down on those, Haylee was suddenly wide awake. She threw back the blankets and scrambled out of bed. Already wearing sweats, she threw on a jacket, slipped into a pair of shoes, and ran a comb quickly through her dark, curly mass of hair.

She was out of the apartment in less than ten minutes. The streets of Berkeley, California were not as busy as they usually were at this time of day, but there were enough people around to make Haylee feel part of something larger. Thinking that the voice was a dream remnant, she let relief trickle down her spine.

You can tell Josh all about this conversation when you see him.

Haylee stopped in mid-stride. A forty-something, dark-skinned man carrying a to-go coffee grumbled, “Watch where you are going, Miss!” He extended his hot cup away from his body while barely avoiding a collision.

“Sorry,” she muttered.

“Who are you?” Haylee asked, looking up and all around. The coffee man, glanced over his shoulder, frowned, and picked up his pace.

I can’t tell you that, but I want you to know that I am someone who cares.

“Are you my mom?”

Not exactly.

“Alright, whoever you are, what do you want and why are you talking to me?”

A pair of female students, seeing the young woman gesturing and speaking out loud, crossed to the other side of the street.

I want you to know that when I kill you, you won’t suffer and that your time here has had a much bigger purpose.

You are going to kill me? I don’t think so. I’m dying because all of the women in my family have some weird inherited thing that happens after they give birth.”

A husky blonde came out of a store with her son. They emerged near where Haylee was standing. The precocious boy pointed. “Mommy, that lady is talking to a ghost.”

The mother shushed him and hurried them toward their car.

That’s right. Why do you think that is?

A suspicious look crossed Haylee’s face. “I don’t know…. Do YOU?”

People are staring Haylee; you should keep walking. Yes, I am the only one who does.

Instead of walking, Haylee began to jog.

“Are you saying that it was your idea that I die at the age of twenty-three?”

You could have lived for a few years more if you hadn’t returned the souls that you stole. But it was the right thing to do.

“Not that I believe you, but did you also have something to do with my time jump to 1849 and…Reece?” her voice broke a little on the last word.

Of course. That is part of the story arc for the women of your lineage and the crystal fragments that you possess.

“Then you know about the Travelers and why they do what they do?”

Yes, and you will too before too much longer.

Haylee who had started running at top speed stopped to rest when she felt the energy of the voice begin to pull away.

“Wait! Are you saying that I’m not real? That my dad, Gori, Josh, and Serena aren’t real either?

You’re real to me and I love you all. You are like my children.

“I don’t accept this.”

I’m sorry.

“If this is true, why do I have to die? I don’t want to die! There’s so much more I want to do!”

I know.

“Josh needs to know about this! He thinks he can help. He’s started a research project.”

That is exactly what he needs to be doing. His work is going to be an important part of what happens next. But you won’t be able to tell him about this conversation because I have to wipe it out of your mind.

“What? Why?”

I need you to go into Haylee and the Last Traveler with no memory of it having taken place.



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Intimacy with Personal Monsters & Un-Monsters

A Monstrous Tree?

Have you ever looked at a tree and seen a monster? When I was five, I was terrorized by thinking that the giant sequoia I was about to drive through would bend over to snatch me from the back seat.

Photo Credit: Mark Crawly, flickr

As an adult, in the middle of a windy night, I was awoken by a sound like a gunshot. My car was totaled when the walnut tree I’d parked under snapped. (The insurance did not cover an ‘act of God.’) A decade or so later, I cleaned-up shattered window glass after an arborist removed a cedar tree that was growing too close to the house. While I appreciate the daily benefits of breathing, I recognize the hazards trees can cause when things go wrong.

For me, the car totaling experience resolved the age-old philosophical question about the sound a tree makes (or doesn’t make) when it falls in the woods. The same debates about the nature of reality and how it relates to experience can be applied to monsters.

Are there really extra large, hair-covered, humanoids hiding in the forests of the Pacific Northwest? Does a diabetic older man enter your house each year with the intent to delight your children? (It’s OK! He’s not a stranger, he knows what they’ve been thinking.)

historic Spanish sea monster
Historic Spanish sea monster

Monsters are grown inside an electrically charged, submerged, gelatin-like structure that everyone carries inside their skull. This magnificent organ has evolved to specialize in pattern recognition. When we see or experience something that doesn’t make sense or for which we have no prior information, our brains concoct stories that seem real and make sense.

Addiction, accidents, rejection, unrealistic expectations, loss, grief and the fear of disappearing

are a few of the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that breathe life into our own personal monsters.

chaos and the sun god
Chaos and the sun god

Because we are social creatures, our monsters can spread like a virus. Screaming fire in a crowded amphitheater or a run on the market because a rumor predicted a crash are examples of monsters gone viral.

Monsters are as adaptable. as we are. Before we understood the stages of decomposition, we thought evil spirits inhabited dead bodies, causing them to move. Every time we drop our kids off at school, we hope that a gunman doesn’t lose his marbles anywhere in the neighborhood. We worry that refugees and immigrants are taking our jobs.

With easy access to a world of information and a bit of discernment, monsters can be vaporized. Yet, instead of doing the work to accomplish this, many of us cozy up to them, inviting them to tea, and letting them share our pillow at night.

Monsters are with us to stay. Many of them are portrayed as hideous and frightful, while others are beguiling. All of them signal some kind of danger and remind us to be alert.

With certainty, we know that tomorrow’s monster will be different from today’s.

Below is a variety of contemporary and classic monster representations and lists of themes they exemplify.

istoric depiction of body parts and monster assembly in Frankenstien
A historic depiction of body parts and monster assembly in Frankenstein

 

Frankenstein

contemporary portrayal of Frankenstein monster running through the woods

  • Parental rejection
  • Grief & loss from children dying (bringing the dead back to life)
  • Love outside of acceptable social norms
  • Weariness of industrial age science

 

The Shape of Water creature

  • Disenfranchised finding a voice
  • Courage to defy authority
  • Courage to fight for justice
  • Love outside social norms

 

 

Haylee and the Travelers Stone and Haylee and the Last Traveler book cover art
Haylee and the Travelers Stone and Haylee and the Last Traveler book covers

 

Haylee in the Traveler’s Stone & the Last Traveler

  • Power of sexual attraction
  • Responsibility for dependents
  • Reconciliation of love outside expectations
  • Acceptance that all wrongs can’t be repaired

 

a lightning strike causes Adeline to stop aging in Age of Adeline
A lightning strike causes Adeline to stop aging in Age of Adeline
contemporary portrayal of a vampire - exploration of immortality
Contemporary portrayal of a vampire – exploration of immortality

Age of Adeline & Vampires

  • Power of sexual attraction/ youth
  • Societal parasite
  • Fear of death
  • Immortality exploration

 

 

P.T. Barnum style poster of Phineas Gage after his TBI
P.T. Barnum style poster of Phineas Gage after his TBI

Phineas Gage

  • Physical deformity and social rejection
  • Loss of expectations for a young life (caused by a traumatic brain injury)
  • Anger from a detrimental, permanent change of circumstances
  • Family response to long-term care requirements
  • Legendary, iconic brain science/psychology touchstone

 

Chinese Railroad Workers’ Jaingshi

  • Conquering nature
  • Facing death, injury & disfigurement
  • Removed from and longing for culture and familiar
  • Racism and social ostracization
  • Fear of being lost & forgotten
graffiti in the Donner Summit train tunnels depicts contemporary monsters
Graffiti in the Donner Summit train tunnels depicts contemporary monsters

Contemporary Train Tunnel Graffiti

Colorful monsters and beasties painted on snowshed walls at Donner Summit tell their own stories.

  • Injustice
  • Disenfranchised finding a voice
  • Addiction
  • Fear of death
  • Self-expression
  • Seizing power
  • Claiming a space in place
  • Fear of being lost and forgotten

 

Un monster collage
Un-monster collage

Lisa’s Un-Monsters

The collage reflects the ugliness and beauty of struggles with self-criticism. Matching an image to feelings allows expression of concepts that seem impossible to say out loud.

  • Unconscious, underwater, unseen, unknown, unheard
  • Exposed
  • Choking with self-doubt

 

a cairn built on top of the center shaft cap for tunnel #6 at Donner Summit
A cairn built on top of the center shaft cap for tunnel #6 at Donner Summit

Like ice sculptures, sand castles, and graffiti, monster varieties come and go. They change with what we are thinking about at a particular moment in time, and they allow us to put faces on our fears.

 

Resources:

KQED – Why Don’t Murals Get Covered by Graffiti in the Mission? – “…you first need to know that there are three groups: graffiti writers, street artists and muralists.”

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Book Giveaways – Something Wicked & Haylee and the Last Traveler

Romantic Paranormal Suspense Books

No purchase necessary to enter for a chance to win Something Wicked by Lisa Jackson and Haylee and the Last Traveler.

This giveaway celebrates the completion of a publishing project, Valentine’s Day, and romance with sinister, unexpected twists.

 

2018 Book GIVEAWAYS

Duration Feb. 11 – Feb. 15th

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/8db1ac9ea346d7d5

Click on the book covers
to enter

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/8f1aeb8932de15fd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out what these books have in common, check out  Your Famous Author Match Helps Target Your Reading Audience.

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Paranormal Book Cover Design – Art Evolution & Indie Publishing Mistakes

Hindsight and fresh ‘enchilada’ wrappers open the door to effective paranormal book cover design.

If a writer’s journey begins with an idea and a few words, it concludes with multiple themes stacked like warm blankets atop a winter bed, bound together with colorful character threads.  The entire package, encompassing thousands of hours and hundreds and pages is wrapped by a thin layer of decorated cover stock that is supposed to, pictorially, represent the whole ‘enchilada.’

Haylee’s story officially began in the 1980’s with vampire myth research at CSU, Sacramento.  It concluded in early spring of 2018 with romance, relationship resolutions, and futuristic environmental concerns.

Looking back, it is interesting to see how Haylee’s ‘enchilada’ wrapping evolved over time.

As the series end approached, considerable attention had to go toward cohesiveness that would communicate the mood, color pallet, tone, and genre reader expectations for both books. This called for a clearing-out of all previous cover art ideas, current market trend research, and starting over with blank screen.

Derek Murphy, a fine artist, book cover designer, and indie author known for renting castles for Nanowrimo, had a significant impact on revised cover design elements with his YouTube video, Why originality in art is worthless.

Haylee Covers – 2018

Haylee and the Traveler's Stone and Haylee and the Last Traveler - paranormal book cover designs.
The cover for the first book, Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone, was redesigned to match the second book, Haylee and the Last Traveler.  Colors, fonts, and images represent romantic, thriller, and paranormal genres.
Evolution of Haylee and the Last Traveler book covers.
The image on the left was an iteration or two before the final design. The center image, above, was used extensively on writers forums while work was in progress. It illustrates a sci-fi genre orientation.
Evolution of Haylee and the Traveler's Stone book covers.
The image, above, at the left, was used as the print and e-book covers from 2014-2018. The two images on the right were initial experiments with color and layout.

 

e-book series that was eliminated due to reader / reviewer confusion
The first book in the series, Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone, was divided into three e-novellas. This marketing strategy was an attempt to attract readers with a quick read and a low cost of entry.

The Traveler’s Stone e-book novella series was a marketing failure. It did not perform as anticipated; what it did do was create reviewer confusion!

Once both Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone and Haylee and the Last Traveler were finished, it was easy to delete those confusing titles from Amazon.

Mood, colors, and fonts specific to the genre should take precedence over too much detail in a cover design. An effective design will appeal to readers, entice them to hit the ‘buy’ button, and accurately represent the contents that the ‘enchilada’ wrapper contains.

 

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