Sunday, June 23, 2013

Scary Research

When I began writing the paranormal series, Legends of Winatuke, I knew that I would have a witch so wicked and vile that even the demons and creatures over which she ruled would be terrified to gain her displeasure. Well first, I had to know something about magic...and I don't mean the kindly white witch kind. I had to delve deep into the black arts. So I shopped around for a book that might give me the information about spells and ceremonies enough to write about the witch, Mahara, without getting involved with something dark and evil for myself. I came upon a book about witches from Writer's Digest that seemed to fit the bill and began browsing the pages for some helpful information.
Just when ya think a thing may be benign and simple, look out. I read what real witch covens do, like stealing babies, sacrificing them and I cannot bring myself to tell you what they do to them. It gave me nightmares and brought down a cloud of darkness on my day. Even the terrible Mahara could not do these things. So I snapped that book shut and that was the end of my research into the dark arts. I burned sage and walked through my house saying blessings just in case I had brought something evil into my home just by reading or by thought.
After that, I kept my research into the healing arts, herbs, accupuncture and only white witch spells.
Mahara makes her first appearance in DARK ISLE, a story about the world of Winatuke where evil exists and special beings with unique wings battle with humans against the malignant creatures of the Dark Isle.

           The legend begins when love and evil collide.


The Legends of Winatuke series begins with Dark Isle when the Nimway prince, Gabriel, shows up at Mahara's castle door. Naturally, she throws him into the dungeon and plans to torment his parents by sending them bits of their son just for fun. Jade is attracted to Gabriel and wants to save him, but Mahara's power is much greater than hers. Jade risks her life to go to Valmora where her enemies live and plead with Gabriel's borther, Raphael and his parents to trust her enough to save Gabriel's life.
Prince Raphael uses the magical Rock of Ages to travel to the modern world in another dimension to get help from their human friends and face his own dilemma in the form of Rose McKnight, the only woman he ever loved, but who wants nothing to do with him or the world of Winatuke.
Dark Isle has just released in digital format and will soon be available in print as well. Here are the BUY LINKS:




Have you ever gone to a weird place in researching for a work in progress? Maybe you've read a book that scared you or made your hands burn just touching the pages. I hope you'll share your experiences with me.

I'm going to give away a digital copy of DARK ISLE to someone who comments on this blog. Remember to add your email address in your comment for a chance to win. I'll announce the winner next Sunday on June 30.




Cheryl Pierson said...

Hi Sarah,
EWWWW. Yes I would have done the same thing as you--shut that book and burned sage and said prayers and blessings...then I probably would have burned that book. LOLLOL Lots of scary stuff out there,and I though I write some evil villains, I have a limit as to what I will write because I know I have a limit as to what I can bear to read (if I don't want it haunting me morning noon and night.) LOL I think you'll do fine with making Mahara evil enough without doing the scary research. Your characters are always so realistic!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Hey Cheryl! Once I went to an Emergency Nurses' Conference and there was a workshop on "Ritualistic Child Abuse." It turned out to be about children who were used (usually by their own parents) for witchcraft. It scared the liviing hell out of me to think this stuff really goes on right here in America.
They had a satanic bible there and, I swear to you, it had such an evil aura around it, I couldn't bear to touch it.
I wanted convey that kind of horror through the witch, Mahara, but I couldn't even take myself that far to create such a witch. Mahara is evil all right, but it's scary to think there are actually worse people in our world.
Thank you for the compliment. I love your villains as you know. And thank you so much for coming by my blog.

Unknown said...

Sarah--I think you were wise to change to the healing arts instead of the witch's crafts. Me? I call myself a Natural Born Scaredy Cat and have even written a blog about it. Now, insects, spiders, snakes, etc. don't scare me. I'm a biologist by education, and I've handled many of these, including snakes.
However, I have a long list of things that "scare" me, such as one of my grandsons getting hurt, etc., you know, the usual things.

But fears--those are more serious to me, and yes, I have a real fear of....water. I never learned to swim, and even tried again as an adult, and still sank to the bottom. Or so it seemed. The thought of being covered in water and not breathing air is a real fear.

Another huge fear--strokes, that seem to plague so many people. I know it's horrible because you've survived cancer, but honestly, I'd rather have cancer than a stroke.
We all have our fears and foibles.

Anything to do with hurting a child in any form or fashion just make me quiver with fear and anger. I just cannot stand it. People who hurt children should rot in hell..that's how strongly I feel about it, and I'm a Christian. I should be more benevolent, but cannot be when it comes to this.
Good question, and it makes us stop and think.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Celia, fear is a funny thing, isn't it? What scares one person, may be fun for another. I love swimming and water, but I can't go on glass elevators, glass escalators or humping bridges because I'm so afraid of heights. BTW, the hero in my western WIP is afraid of water.
I understand your feelings about strokes. Many of us are afraid of losing our ability to think, reason and take care of ourselves. Of course, cancer can do that too.
I feel the same way about people who mistreat children. Children are so innocent and vulnerable. It seems that we hear terrible things about child abuse on the news more and more. I don't understand what's causing our society to victimize kids.
Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your fears, Celia.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Hi Sarah,

Evil is such a scary place to go.
I cannot research anything too dark. It scares the bejeebers out of me and I'll have nightmares. Using sage to cleanse the house would be a must then. lol

Your book sounds fantastic. My kind of genre. The book cover is perfect! A Mysterious spine-tingling cover for your dark tale!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Karen, my thoughts exactly about scary evil research. If I wrote murder mysteries, I could not research the minds of serial killers. They are just too far out there in terror land to me.
I'm so glad you like the cover. Laura Shinn created it. You are such a great cover artist yourself. My favorite of yours is LUCCA. Great story, too.
Thank you so much for coming by and commenting.

Victoria Roder said...

I had to research Ouija Boards. I kept looking over my shoulder as I read the information on the web. Then, I made friends of ours get rid of the one they had in the attic, even though no one had even looked at it in 20 years.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I only used a Ouija Board once, Victoria. I was 16 years old and my husband, who was my best friend back then, and I used it. It creeped me out. It said I would die before I was 35. I didn't die. My parents died by the time I was 33. But I guess part of me did die with them. It seems so innocent to use a Ouija Board, like it's just a game or entertainment, but maybe it does invite those spirits in from the other side or even from the darkness into our lives. All I know is, it felt creepy and I never wanted to do it again. Maybe I would rather just let my life unfold. I don't need an advance knowledge of anything.
Thank you for coming by and commenting, Victoria. Love your name. You forgot to enter your email address. Did you want to enter the contest to win my new release?

Sarah J. McNeal said...

The winner of Dark Isle is Karen M. Nutt. Congratulations, Karen. I'll contact you with the details right away.