Tuesday, March 31

Superstitions regarding Cats

Today I'm going to be talking about some of the superstition regarding cats. Being a cat lover, I found the topic in general quiet interesting. Below are the most fascinating I was able to find.

As most people know, Ancient Egyptians worshiped cats, and as one of my favorite cat-related quotes go, "Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this." Anyone who owns a cat knows this is true, but, back to the subject. =) Part of the reason why Egyptians worshiped cats were because of the cat’s "glowing" eyes. As I found from one of my sources, "This was because Egyptians worshipped the sun, and they believed that cats could retain the sun's power within their eyes. They believed this because of a retina adaptation called ‘tapetum,’ which is the phenomenon that causes cats’ eyes to appear to glow in the dark; anyone who has seen a cat has probably noted this phenomenon, wherein a cat’s eyes reflect a somewhat green circle of light." That's surprising to me since I hadn't really heard of that idea before doing my research, but it makes a lot of sense.

Another very interesting tidbit is that during the medieval ages just before the Bubonic Plague really started up, there was a lot of cat killing going on. And...guess what? That is one of the reasons why the Bubonic Plague was so devastating. Cats would have been important in killing the brown rats, which spread the black plague.

Another source has this to say about cats in the Middle Ages, "It was largely in the Middle Ages that the black cat became affiliated with evil. Because cats are nocturnal and roam at night, they were believed to be supernatural servants of witches, or even witches themselves. Partly because of the cat's sleek movements and eyes that 'glow' at night, they became the embodiment of darkness, mystery, and evil, possessing frightening powers. If a black cat walked into the room of an ill person, and the person later died, it was blamed on the cat's supernatural powers. If a black cat crossed a person's path without harming them, this indicated that the person was then protected by the devil. Often times, a cat would find shelter with older women who were living in solitude. The cat became a source of comfort and companionship, and the old woman would curse anyone who mistreated it. If one of these tormentors became ill, the witch and her familiar were blamed." That makes more since on why people thought they needed to kill cats at the period of time, but it's still so horrible!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this topic! I'd love to hear what you think about these beliefs as well as share your own. Have you heard of interesting cat superstitions or tidbits?

Interesting Links: http://cats.suite101.com/article.cfm/egyptian_cat_myths

Monday, March 30

Class is over...

I had thought wrote a blog toward the beginning of the month about being involved in the excellent Empowering Character's Emotions class with Margie Lawson, but I guess I didn't. It was hosted by the PASIC chapter of RWA. Needless to say, it has been mind-blowing and intense with all of the great information! Margie is an excellent teacher, so if anyone is interested in taking her classes, which I will so be doing again in May, her website address is www.margielawson.com. Now I'm going to mosey on to bed in hopes of a productive day tomorrow. =)

Friday, March 20

Musical Inspiration

Music has always played an important part of my life. So, it fit that my debut release, Melody of Love, dealt with the music industry. It also was a lot of fun to write. It’s not uncommon in my household for someone to break into song at any given moment, whether human or feline.

When I'm at my computer, I can almost always be found with my headphones on. I rarely write without a "soundtrack" to the novel. Most of the time with a band that seems to portray a mood or emotion that resonates with the novel or even a specific character. I have gotten more ideas from listening to music than almost any other source, and in this way, it's almost like a muse to me. I love all kinds of music. It merely depends on the mood I’m in at the time.

The hero for Melody of Love came through listening to a band I was crazy about at the time called Trapt. Ever since I started going to concerts when I was pretty much in middle school/jr. high school, I've wondered what if I could one day meet my favorite singer, and what would happen if he happened to fall in love with me. The story brewed in my head for several months, while I consumed the band's music, focusing on the lyrics and relating them to my story idea, as if Alex Brown, the hero, was talking to me.

Finally, I wrote out the outline, which happened to be the first one I ever outlined, and the book came together in one month as a steady flow of words. The outlining helped a lot, but I also believe that just having the creative input of music helped ideas to keep soaking into my subconscious.

And to finish up my blog, I want to ask you guys, does music have as much influence in your writing as it does for me? If not, what inspires you while you're writing or pursuing creative endeavors?

Thursday, March 19

Naming characters

Tonight is Supernatural. Woohoo! Last week's episode was really cool, so I'm excited about tonight's. :D I also received a rejection today, but hey, that just proves to me that I'm submitting and have my stuff out there. There's another publisher that is also interested in the story, so here's hoping that they like it enough to contract.

Anyways, recently, I've had the pleasure of naming a new kitten, so it made me think about character names as they are one of my favorite parts of writing. I use name websites a lot to help me with this task. Some of my favorites are: babynames.com, 20000-names.com, and behindthename.com. (For surnames, there is surname.behindthename.com.)

When I name my characters, I almost always choose the names first by figuring out my character's ethnicity and country of origin (or ancestor's country of origin). Then I go about finding a name that matches a certain quality or trait regarding the character. For instance, if I were to have a character that was very much into protecting others, I would go with something like Alexander/Alexandra, which means "defender of mankind."

Sometimes though, a character will emerge with a name, and I don't have to worry about picking out just the right one. I enjoy either path, though it is nice when I do get to go through the lists of names. A lot of the time it gives me ideas for secondary characters, or even ones not related to that story.

How about you? What are your methods of naming characters? I'd love to hear your opinions. =)

Tuesday, March 17

Strange Dreams

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I've last posted, but here I am, poking my head up. And by the way, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Dreams... I'm pretty much known in my household for my wacky dreams. My husband and mother raise their eyebrows at me when I tell them, but I am so serious about what happened because it's beyond belief, but I really do dream crazy things. I guess I'll give you guys a couple of dreams I've had and then y'all can be the judge of what you think.

A few months ago, before I had gone to bed, I'd played peek-a-boo with one of my cats. He was sitting in the tub, and I was outside of the tub with the shower curtain partially closed. I would open the shower curtain and say "peek-a-boo!" and he would sit there and stare at me. Then I'd close the curtain, wait a few moments, and do it again with the same result. In my dream, I was in my bathroom outside of the tub, and I opened the shower curtain and there was a strange monster in the tub that would leer at me and make hissing noises. I opened and closed the shower curtain a few times and it was still there. I attacked it and then I don't really remember much after that. Weird, huh?

My other dream is one I had a few years ago, but I still remember it. I was running through a graveyard and trying to fight these obese zombies, but I didn't have anymore bullets in my gun in the dream or whatnot. I had a spoon though, which I had to use to behead them. I didn't do too bad at it, but it was odd! I was getting overwhelmed with the task and climbed onto a mausoleum, but they could get to me. I have no idea what had brought that dream on.

I don't consider those dreams nightmares. I try to think of them as inspiration and fodder for my novels. For me, a nightmare is something that invokes sadness or pain that stays with me a little when I wake up. I've had a few of those recently, too, but they weren't noteworthy or paranormal in nature.

So, leave me a comment and tell me about your strange dreams. I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 1

It's March!

Hello everyone! It's March, and that means that we're three months into the year. YIKES! It seems like just the other day we were bringing in the year on New Years. Where has time gone? I'm not sure, but with it being the beginning of a new month, I decided to look at my goals I mentioned to all of you at the beginning of the year to see how much closer I am to them.

And well, there's a couple that seem to be moving in the right direction! With my novella for instance, I've gotten a rejection letter and then sent it out again. I should be hearing something any day now on it. *huge grin* I'm actually trying to be patient, but not overly so! hehe

I've been reading more. Hooray! I know, I know... as an author, I should make sure to read a lot, and I have been reading a lot of non-fiction/writing tips, but now I'm finally starting to get back into reading novels more often. And I'm loving it!

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about this year. How about you? =)
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