Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy Holidays from misterio press

No post this week, just a video of Little Drummer Boy (being sung a cappella by Pentatonix) to help get you in the holiday spirit. We will be on hiatus until mid January.

Have a wonderful holiday, everyone!!

From all of us at misterio press

We blog once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Tis the Season of Magic!

Two of our authors use elemental magic in their stories, so we thought, in honor of this magical time of year, we would give you a little insight into how this magic works in each world.

First up is Kirsten Weiss discussing the magic used in her  Riga Hayworth Paranormal Mystery series:

Here’s an issue I confounded one of my editors with in my upcoming book, The Elemental Detective. What’s the difference between magical elementals and elements used in magic?

Elementals are mythical beings or nature spirits that have an affinity for an element. And in certain types of magic, the magician may embark on a pathworking, journeying through an inner landscape to interact with these elementals. It’s considered higher level magic, because elementals can be capricious and dangerous.

As to the elements in magic, that story begins with the ancient philosophers, who divided the matter of the universe into four elements: earth, wind, air and fire. It really got going in the 3rd century, when Plato proposed a fifth element: spirit. These elements were seen as the building blocks for everything in creation.

zodiac

Book illustration from “Quina Essentia” by Leonhart Thurneisser zum Thum. Depicts the correspondences between the four humors, four elements, and zodiacal signs from an alchemical perspective.

While this elemental philosophy developed, Renaissance philosophers explored the concept of correspondences – that everything in heaven corresponded to something on earth. For example, they saw a hierarchy in the skies. Heaven was just beyond Saturn, the planets forming a sort of descending staircase of increasingly dense matter, with earth in the lowest, most coarse position. This hierarchy was reflected in the hierarchy among humans – from king to commoner. The planets had many other correspondences. E.g. the moon (considered a planet) corresponds to water, to cycles, to change. In turn, the water element had its own correspondences, such as the emotions and intuition.

So in magic, you could use an element that corresponded to your intended effect and help charge your spell. For example in a love spell, which affects the emotions, you might use something that symbolized water, like a sea shell.

(Kirsten works part-time as a writer and part-time as an international development consultant. She writes the Riga Hayworth paranormal mystery novels. Her fifth book in the series, The Elemental Detective, will be available December 21, 2013.)

In Shannon Esposito’s Pet Psychic Mystery series, the main character, Darwin Winters, is half water elemental. Her human mother fell in love with an elemental magician. They had three daughters, who each wield one magick element–water, fire, earth. In the newly released book, SILENCE IS GOLDEN, you get to meet her sister Willow, the earth elemental.

Esposito-Silence-Is-Golden-EBOOK-small

Darwin’s connection with water was the easiest to imagine because water is such a necessary component of life. Humans are made up of 60% water, and water covers over 70% of the earth’s surface. Add to this the fact that at the basic level everything is energy, including our thoughts, and it’s not hard to create magic.

Darwin’s gift allows her a higher level of concentration, compressing the energy of her thoughts and allowing her to feed that energy into the water molecules. By doing this, she can control the water or add specific energy patterns to it–like love and happiness.

But, like everything in life, practice makes perfect and Darwin has only recently begun to embrace her gift instead of shun it. This means she’s also trying to figure out the ethics involved in using her gift. In this recent book, she gets into a bit of hot water with her hunky homicide detective boyfriend when she gives him magic-infused water without his knowledge.

One man, Dr. Masaru Emoto, has dedicated his life study to the effects of our thoughts and words on water. He has some pretty interesting ideas about water taking on the resonance of the energy directed at it. Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, his photos of water are beautiful and give one hope that we do have some control over our fate in this crazy world.

If you had the gift of elemental magic, would you use it without your friend’s consent? Or is that meddling with the natural order of things?

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Good Guys (and Gals) with Guns

back of woman at shooting range

I’ve been asking myself a question lately, and I’m not really coming up with an answer. So I’ll put it out there and see what you all think.

I am a pacifist by nature. Perhaps this is because I came of age during the Vietnam War era, or perhaps that would have been my nature anyway. Regardless I believe people should avoid violence as much as possible.

However, as someone who has been the victim of violence in the past I also feel strongly that we have the right to stand up for ourselves. And the reality is that there are lots of people out there who are violent. They may have no qualms about doing me harm to get what they want. Therefore, I have no qualms about defending myself against a physical attack.

But I truly am a pacifist by nature. I’ve come to terms with this seeming contradiction in real life. I’ve taken self-defense classes. I own a gun and I know how to use it properly. I would never, ever start a violent confrontation, and I believe that I would only use whatever force necessary to protect myself (or other innocents present). But I would protect myself, and I don’t think I’d feel guilty about it afterwards.

So what exactly am I feeling angst about?

Most of my fictional characters carry guns these days!

My series didn’t start out that way. In Book 1, Kate Huntington and her friends are ordinary people forced to face an extraordinary situation when someone develops a murderous grudge against them. They are so unused to physically defending themselves that they have to hire bodyguards to keep them safe as they attempt to solve the mystery. For the most part, the cops and bodyguards are the only people with guns in that story.

silhouette of woman at sunset

(photo by Nevit Dilmen CC-BY-SA 3.0)

(This is how I originally envisioned Kate!)

I started writing mysteries because that’s the genre I like to read and therefore know best. I didn’t really stop to think about the implications for me as a pacifist. I also didn’t realize back then, when I was a novice author, that stories and characters have a tendency to take on a life of their own. They don’t always go in the direction you think they will.

The last few weeks, as I’ve been putting the final polish on Zero Hero, Book 6 in my series, I’ve been contemplating this reality. Most of my characters now carry guns! Kate and her friends, the Franklins, are the only ones who are rarely if ever armed. And Kate’s now sick and tired of being attacked by bad guys and having to depend on others to protect her. So she’s taken up martial arts and has become a good bit more kickass herself.

I started out saying I don’t have the answer. Now I’m not real sure what the question is.

I guess I’m wondering why a pacifist is attracted to good guys with guns? So much so that I’ve populated my books with them (plus a couple of gun-toting gals) — books that were originally supposed to be mysteries solved by an unarmed amateur sleuth.

I know I’m not alone. If I were I’d have no readers. 🙂 Why are we attracted to good guys with guns?

Is it about empowerment? Balance? Fairness? We humans need to believe that good will eventually triumph over evil. Ask any producer of a super-hero movie if that ain’t so!

There is certainly plenty of evil in the world. And the good guys don’t always win in real life. So I guess I’ll let my fictional good guys keep their guns. I just wish there was another way.

What do you think? Are you attracted to good guys with guns?

Let’s try to avoid the issue of gun control, please. I want to hear how you all feel about violence in self-defense. How far would you go to defend yourself or others? Would you feel guilty about it afterwards?

P.S. The new book will be officially launched on Thursday, but it is live on Amazon already, so I’ll give you all a sneak preview.

cover of Zero Hero

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the media replays the videos of that day’s devastation, and a national hero’s life begins to unravel.

When the first responder, already struggling with delayed PTSD and addiction, is accused of murdering his former drug dealer, psychotherapist Kate Huntington finds herself going above and beyond to help him. As she and her P.I. husband set out to clear him of the charges, they are thrust into a deadly world of drugs, prostitutes and hired killers, and end up questioning who they are and what it means to be brave.

On AMAZON now!!  Introductory sale price ~ just $1.99

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)

Bah Humbug Deux

Most of us here at misterio are running around like crazy, doing last minute tasks required to launch new books before Christmas. So I thought this would be a good time to re-run a post from last year. It’s about how to cope with the holidays if you are a bah humbug person who really doesn’t like Christmas.

I hate to say it since I love the holiday myself, but Christmas is not for everyone. Some people just barely tolerate it, some flat out hate it and some find it incredibly depressing. And the fact that everybody else is so gleefully looking forward to it just makes their lack of pleasure in it that much more pronounced.

Is blue your favorite color for Christmas lights?

If you dislike Christmas, or know someone who does, here are some tips for handling the Christmas Blues.

#1: Stop feeling bad about not liking Christmas. And especially stop feeling bad about yourself for feeling that way. First of all, you can’t control how you feel, only how you act (I know I do harp on this idea, but it’s true!)

Secondly, I am quite sure you came by your negative feelings about Christmas quite honestly. Perhaps you’re not as fond of Christmas as you once were because the people you once shared it with are gone. Even though I still love Christmas, I don’t get nearly as excited about it as I once did. It’s never been quite the same since my mother died. I didn’t realize how much her enthusiasm was the driving force behind everyone else’s pleasure, not until after she was gone. I’ve had to adjust to the new normal for the holidays, that I am now the matriarch of the family. *shudder*

Or perhaps there are unpleasant associations to it because of experiences from your past. You are not alone. There’s a reason why “A Dysfunctional Family Christmas” is one of Saturday Night Live’s all-time favorite skits.

#2: Establish new holiday traditions that feel right for you and your family.

This really helped a friend of mine overcome his bah humbug reaction to Christmas. He grew up with an alcoholic and abusive father. The holidays were just an opportunity and excuse for his father to get more drunk, more often which totally tainted all the Christmas traditions for my firend.

When his children were young, my friend and his wife started a new tradition. The family would go together to a nearby cut-your-own tree farm to pick out a tree. It became quite a ritual. The kids would spend an hour or more running around, trying to decide on just the right tree. Once it was cut down and paid for, while the tree farm staff tied it to the roof of their car, they would huddle around drinking hot cider and trying to decide if this year’s tree was better than last year’s.

Now the decorated tree didn’t remind him of his parents fighting anymore. It reminded him of the fun his own family had picking this tree out.

If you don’t have a family and/or it’s impractical to be with family who live far away, this may very well be why you aren’t all that into the holiday. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, you are being bombarded with images of happy families celebrating, while you’re looking forward to a lonely day.

#3: One approach can be to think of the Christmas holiday as just another day or two off from work, like Memorial Day weekend or Veterans’ Day. Breathe a sigh of relief that you have the time off and do what you would with any other day off. Lay around the house in your jammies and read a good book, or even catch up on household chores or gardening.

#4: Travel. If you’re part of a couple but neither of you feel strongly about Christmas with your extended families, give each other a nice vacation, like a four-day cruise (or longer if you can afford it) to the Bahamas. If you’re single, find a friend or acquaintance in the same boat (no pun intended) and take that cruise, or go skiing in Colorado for a long weekend.

#5: An old standby is to volunteer at a senior center or soup kitchen serving Christmas dinner to those less fortunate. This can provide a sense of camaraderie and belonging with your fellow volunteers as well as a sense of satisfaction in the altruistic task.

#6: If dealing with extended family is what makes Christmas so hard, you can do one of several things. One option, if you’re not up for a family scene because you just didn’t show up, is to officially declare either Christmas Eve, or maybe the weekend before or after Christmas as your Christmas. Then Christmas Day itself becomes just another obligatory visit with the annoying relatives. (You may notice that nowhere in the Bible is the date of Christ’s birth mentioned. Biblical scholars don’t believe Jesus was actually born on December 25th; this date was chosen by the early Church of Rome because it was a pagan holiday they were trying to supplant.)

If you’re single, perhaps you have a circle of friends with whom you are closer than you are with your family? Then make them your ‘family of choice’ to celebrate the holiday with. Again, you may want to do this on a different day, so everybody can appease their biological families by showing up for turkey. But in your mind, make the day you gather with friends your “real” Christmas.

#7: Keep in mind that it’s one lousy day out of the year and this too shall pass! Again, it’s okay to not like Christmas.

#8: Adding a new item this year. If you hate to shop and that is bumming you out this time of year, here are some ideas to make life easier. Focus on online shopping; it’s still shopping but without the crowds and you can do it in your jammies. 🙂 Also consider taking a friend or family member out to lunch or to a fun event as a present. Gift cards may seem impersonal but if it’s to the person’s favorite day spa, or for books for an avid reader, that can make it special.

Think about gift ideas that are easy for you and yet the person will indeed enjoy the gift. I have a friend who hates to shop but she’s a fabulous cook. I asked her to bake me something yummy this year since I’m not much of a cook. A win-win!

If you happen to have mystery or pet lovers on your list, we can make life easier for you. Check out these two posts: Shannon Esposito’s Five Holiday Gift Ideas for Pet Lovers and K.B. Owen’s Cyber Monday for Mystery Lovers (and check out our boxed set below; it’s on sale this week!)

Women of Mystery boxed set cover

 

Three great mysteries, just 99 CENTS for a limited time.

Available at AMAZON, BARNES & NOBLE, and KOBO

Volume 2 will be out NEXT WEEK!

 

 

Are you a bah humbugger or do you love Christmas? Do you know someone who struggles with depression or loneliness over the holidays?

Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington Mystery series.

We blog here at misterio press once (sometimes twice) a week,  usually on Tuesdays. Sometimes we talk about serious topics, and sometimes we just have some fun.

Please follow us so you don’t miss out on any of the interesting stuff, or the fun! (We do not harvest, lend, sell or otherwise bend, spindle or mutilate followers’ e-mail addresses.)