4 Thieves: Combating Early Summer Fatigue

It’s been raining a lot where I live despite it being the beginning of the summer. I honestly can’t complain, I simply have to settle on a good book to curl up with. It’s been ages since I’ve read an actual book, I just get so sucked in I can’t focus on my own writing for at least a week after (if it was good) which is very frustrating. With reading and watching, I tend to have to keep the things I know I love at arms length, lest I loose myself in my own enthusiasm and emotion. As I am still currently brain-dead from finals and a mixture of work and extracurriculars, I think it will be safe at this time.

Usually after log periods of stress or fatigue, when you finally have time to rest, one has a tendency to get sick. Fate is cruel. A favorite way of mine to combat getting sick is taking a shot of vinegar. I recently found a recipe for 4 Thieves Vinegar, a fabled recipe used by four grave robbers to keep the Black Plague away when robbing its victims. In reality, it does have many anti-virus herbs in it.

For the recipe and ingredients check out:

Vinegar of The Four Thieves Health Tonic

I still prefer regular vinegar as this tonic is how I found out that I don’t like apple cider vinegar, though my boyfriend does. It is strong smelling and a bit bitter but it dies down after a couple weeks in the fridge. If you still can’t stand it, I’ve contemplated pouring it on an enemy’s lawn for that same reason.

The beast known as finals has been defeated.

Thus, I am back. I’m looking forward to the summer and having time to build my portfolio and finish off my second book. I’ve pretty much finished editing all I can so its time to start writing again. In the meantime, I decided to share part of my Graphic Design final. I think I’m going to make a series of them because it was rather fun but it’s harder than originally anticipated.

00337422_HH_Poster
Poster

Description (provided by teacher):

Prince Hamlet is depressed. In fact, Prince Hamlet was depressed before it was cool. Depressed is something Prince Hamlet does better than anyone. You see, Hamlet is a Hipster. Young and brash, Hamlet is better than everyone any anything- unless of course it’s what everyone else is doing.
The depression strikes when Hamlet returns home from backpacking to attend is father’s funeral and finds his mother engaged to his uncle. Sulking in his room Hamlet hears the ghostly voice of his father speaking from vinyl spinning on the record player. The dead dad tells Hamlet that Uncle Claudius is to blame and revenge must be had. Ghosts are too mainstream theses days, but at least revenge is old fashion and Hamlet takes up the mantel to bring his father justice.
Come join the cast at the Grove Amphitheater in Mulberry to watch Hipster Hamlet and his stylish mustache descend into madness and mayhem in this year’s ‘Hamlet in the Hamlet’.

00337422_HH_Tshirt
Promotional Shirt: #rottenindenmark

Berthe Bovary and a Sense of Self

the_cradleWith Mother’s Day approaching, I decided to write a bit about one of my characters from The Case of the Blue Lady, her name listed above. As you may already know, she is from Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. In the novel she is an incredibly minor character but one which I pondered upon greatly after reading (perhaps because I disliked her mother, the main character).

***below are spoilers from 1856

Before she was born Madame Bovary very much hoped Berthe would be a boy, someone who she could live vicariously through as one of the book’s underlying plots is her struggling as a woman. When Berthe is born a girl, her mother sees no use for her and for the most part ignores her (hence her minor character status). Her father too, pretty much ignores her, though he does dote on her, and sees the three as a loving, happy family. I believe that he ignores Berthe because he is more interested in his wife and Berthe he dotes on because she serves as a proven connection between the two. He still dies distraught clutching a lock of his wife’s hair when he finds that she is gone and was unfaithful to him. No thought is truly given to his daughter and the astounding debt his wife left behind. Poor Berthe is sent to work in a factory.

“She didn’t like me or rather, she didn’t want me. I think she was angry at me for not being born a boy like she wanted. She really liked male things in general.” -Berthe Bovary in The Case of the Blue Lady

Obviously, this is an innocent character with a sad ending. However, I wondered what would have happened if her father hadn’t found out about his wife’s adultery and lived. It would make sense to me that he would dote on Berthe more as his last connection to his dead wife. Would Berthe want to be like her mother? Would she go along with it just to please her father? If she lived simply to act as a ghost of her mother, what would become of her sense of self? In The Case of the Blue Lady she goes along with this, though it weighs on her considerably. Berthe ended up being a very interesting character with a strong moral dilemma: to live for herself or to live for her father.

“She has chosen to pretend to be like her mother. In truth she doesn’t have to do anything.” -Victor McGill in The Case of the Blue Lady

To find out what happens to Berthe, check out Curious Cases Dime Novel: The Case of the Blue Lady  or the full book, Curious Cases: The Adventures of Victor McGill and Daniel Fernandez

Literary Characters Turned Hollywood Part 4: Werewolves

Final Post of this series!

Technically, like vampires, werewolves don’t really have a very accurate legend to book crossover (unless you count printed legends) but I do find that the most popular myths have been made up about them in movies. Werewolves are from a surprisingly wide range of cultures.

The Armenian werewolves were women cursed for their deadly sins. They became ravenous wolves for several years and ate their own children. In the 5th century a Greek philosopher reported on meeting a tribe of shapeshifters that change into wolves once a year for several days at a time. During the infamous Witch Trial era, werewolves were seen as people who made pacts with the devil to shapeshift. Werewolf_and_victim

Although A Werewolf in London can be seen as the first Hollywood werewolf movie, the more successful Wolf Man movie is were many popular myths come into play:

  • the silver bullet
  • mark of the pentagram
  • werewolf-ism as an infection (bitten by another werewolf)

In legends involving violent werewolves, a person bitten wasn’t infected (they rarely survived). Werewolves became werewolves out of divine punishment or by making a pact with the devil. The use of the full moon also wasn’t in many werewolf myths until Wolf Man.

This legend to Hollywood transformation in particular I actually don’t have as much of a problem with as violent werewolf myths seemed very closely associated to vampires and/or witches depending on the culture. In a way, Hollywood helped to give werewolves a bit more of their own image, though they still seem to remain rather underrated monsters in my opinion.werewolf

This documentary is what made me aware of this particular set of myths and is very interesting to watch if you have the time.

A Wonderful Gothic Birthday

Sorry for the small hiatus, it’s likely to continue for another week because I’m reaching the end of my school semester (and I just turned 21 yesterday, Huzzah).

I leave you with a piece of writing from my second book which I have been editing recently. I am particularly fond of this case and its characters. The Ushers, basically human ghosts, are very fun to write and I’ve always loved the imagery of gothic works. I’m sure their character pictures are soon to follow when I have the time.

The manor looked as though at one point it had been a stately one, with lovely gothic architecture and general old fashioned grandeur, but which over time had been gradually overrun by vines and weeds that sunk into the structure like wrinkles on an aged but dignified person. It didn’t necessarily take away from its original form, but simply stood as a haunting reminder that age comes to take all classes. It was still foggy out in the bog and the sky, meanwhile, had turned gray with the promise of a storm. The faint watery glow coming from the house’s windows was now the only thing keeping the young detectives from losing their way.

“Come on, we’d better hurry.” McGill said, glancing warily at the sky.

After trudging through the bog a little while longer they began to make out a glowing figure in the distance. As they approached the boys saw that the glow was that of a lantern which held a very tiny, pathetic sputtering flame, giving off just enough light to make out in the fog. Its owner, however, looked even more tiny and pathetic. He was a wondrously pale and fragile looking young man with wiry gaunt features, pale blue eyes that sat deep in their sockets, and a shock of white hair that seemed to have the fluffy consistency of feathers on a newborn chick.

“Hello, Roderick.”

Literary Characters Turned Hollywood Part 3: Frankenstein Monster

Frontispiece_to_Frankenstein_1831The Big Guy: I’m not just referring to the commonly know issue of the name Dr. Frankenstein vs. Frankenstein’s unnamed monster, I’m surprised by the vastly lowered intellect of the monster itself. Unlike Dracula, who has gained depth throughout the years, I think that Frankenstein’s Monster has actually lost depth (or at least speech), which may be why its not as popular.

 

The monster described by Mary Shelley, to me, is everything people seem to love about vampires nowadays before it was cool. The creation is sensitive, cultured (he can speak 3 languages fluently), and disgruntled by his lack of companionship. He wishesbride only to find acceptance and companionship. In both the novel and movie sequel Bride of Frankenstein, he asks for a wife to fulfill this dream, in the novel the doctor refuses to create another damned being while in the movie he creates the bride, who quickly rejects her groom (even as a friend). In his frustrations, the monster has a violent streak, one of the only characteristics that was retained from the original story. His emotions are still there as well, but he has no real way of communicating them as in the first Hollywood movie they make the creature almost infantile in his speech patterns.

I can understand that this may make a little more sense given its actual age (less than a year old) but as a character I’ve always found the monster more interesting when it is smart enough to contemplate its own existence. I believe that it drives the character in the actual classic novel and that a lot more people would be able to appreciate and relate to him if he could articulate his struggle of understanding his purpose.

Dime Novel

cc_10I’ve decided to start a “dime novel” version of my book since they’re all short stories. Sadly, I can’t actually make it for $0.10 under Kindle so their going to be $0.99. The first is going to be on a free promotion starting tomorrow, the full book (with 4 cases and a preview to book 2) is $1.99.

Curious Cases Dime Novel: The Case of the Blue Lady:  In an alternative past where leather corsets and steam powered engines are all the rage, two young boys have taken up detective work as an after school job. How do they manage to get any cases? By picking up the ones the police deem to strange to touch of course!
In The Case of the Blue Lady: Who is kidnapping children at night and leaving them dazed in the graveyard the next morning? McGill and Fernandez will have to be quick in apprehending the villain… for the dead travel fast.

The Case of the Blue Lady was the first of McGill and Fernandez’s adventures I wrote and I had a lot of fun going into the gray area of life and death. Do you believe in the undead?