Author Archives: Catie Rhodes

Roots of Anger

Howdy folks. Today’s post is sort of an “I think” topic. I’m going to tell y’all what I’ve learned about anger over the course of my life.

headshot of Catie RhodesDisclaimer

I’m not a therapist or a psychologist. Hell, I’ve never even been to one. I learned this stuff through reading and thinking and living life. What I say here is not intended as medical advice…or anything close. If you need a mental health professional, go see one!

(Note from Kass Lamb, mp’s resident psychologist: Ditto what Catie says about seeking professional help if you struggle with anger issues. But I gotta tell you, she is spot on with this post; sometimes the school of hard knocks is better than any graduate school program!)

The Roots of Anger

In my experience, most anger is rooted in fear or hurt. I know that sounds simplistic, but fear and hurt are both broad terms.

Fear can be related to:

  • fear of rejection
  • fear of humiliation
  • loss of income
  • loss of possessions
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of losing control (of others, of self, of events)
  • relationships (loss of OR committing to)
  • a million other things

Hurt can be related to:

  • social isolation
  • abuse
  • powerlessness
  • victimization
  • rejection
  • loss of loved ones
  • feeling ostracized over personal appearance or some other difference
  • a million other things

Much fear and hurt can be traced back to baggage. I use the term baggage to refer to previous hurts and wrongs. Most of us lug this crap around like that heavy old Sampsonite luggage.

I’ve found, if I analyze carefully, I can find the root of my anger…and it’s usually fear or hurt.

How I Use This Information

The information here is stuff I use both in my real life and in my writing.

In my real life:

Analyzing the roots of my anger and figuring out why I feel the way I do gives me a chance to calm down and think things through before I lash out. And, believe me, my lash-outs are nothing anybody wants to see. I’m downright nasty.

Learning to analyze my anger has given me a great deal of peace. I can untangle the way I feel and understand what, if anything, I can do to feel better.

Sometimes, the answer is nothing more–or less–than removing myself from a situation or person. Other times, it’s a matter of attempting to change the way I allow myself to feel about something.

Responsibility for my Feelings

Notice I said “allow myself to feel.” One of the biggest and best life lessons I’ve learned is that I am responsible for how I feel. Even if somebody else did me wrong, I am still responsible for my feelings (and what I do about them).

Here’s why: my anger, my outrage, and my angst have more power to make me miserable than anybody else. They have more power to get me into trouble than anybody else.

But That’s Not Fair!

Nope. It ain’t. But life is not fair. Trust me on this. Often, it sucks.

Some of the suckage is stuff I can control. But the large majority of it is stuff I cannot control, no matter how I wiggle and dance. No matter how pissed off I get.

Sometimes–no, oftentimes–I have to say “just forget it” and walk away. That never, ever means I let people run over me. But I’m training myself to know which battles are winnable and which ones are not.

I suspect we each come to a point where we analyze our lives the same way as the narrator of this song:

It’s good to know how we got to where we ended up and why. And to know how we want to handle the next onslaught of crap.

In my writing…

I use what I’ve talked about here to analyze what my characters are about, especially the things that piss them off. I ask myself “Where is the root of this anger?”

Doing this helps me:

  • write deeper characterizations
  • develop fatal flaws
  • figure out upcoming plot points
  • put my characters in greater peril
  • make my characters hurt worse emotionally

Now it’s your turn. How do you handle anger? OR What’s one of the greatest life lessons you’ve learned?

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

Belle Grove Lives Again…Sort Of

a portion of Bell Gorve plantation house

Belle Grove Plantation (circa 1936; public domain)

There’s Something About Old Houses

I live in a newly developed area. The subdivisions are filled with thousands of homes based on maybe five exterior styles and maybe ten floor plans.  When I first moved down here, I drove up to the wrong house fairly regularly. They all looked exactly the same (and still do).

I’ve always loved old houses, but living here has given me a new appreciation for them. Old houses have character and presence newer homes just don’t have. One old house might have original stained glass windows. The next might have hand carved molding or unique tile work in the kitchen or bathroom.

Yes, the newer homes are more energy efficient and have fewer (expensive) age-related issues. But I still like old homes better. The uniqueness and the attention to detail simply can’t be matched. This might sound weird, but I sometimes think I can feel the history of a place speaking to me.

My Fascination with Belle Grove

The grandest of old homes are, of course, the plantation homes sprinkled throughout the South. I’ve toured quite a few in Louisiana. The juxtaposition of the plantation homes’ beauty and the horror of their role in history is both fascinating and repellant.

(Those who know me know I have a lurid interest in repellant things.)

One of the grandest plantation homes ever to exist was Belle Grove. Built in Iberville Parish, Louisiana between 1852-1857 for the cost of $80,000, it is said to be the largest mansion ever built in the South. Its seventy-five rooms were spread out over four floors.

front of Belle Grove

Even neglected and falling down, she’s impressive!

Belle Grove was abandoned in 1925 and burned in a mysterious fire in 1952. In its place now sits a neighborhood of modest homes, much like the one I currently live in (and sometimes mistake for other houses on other streets).

Belle Grove

( all pictures circa 1936, public domain)

Belle_Grove_Plantation_06 pub domain

 To learn more about the Belle Grove, check out its website or Facebook page. Click here to watch a really neat You Tube video featuring pictures of Belle Grove Plantation set to music.

The Connection to Black Opal

I first encountered Belle Grove in a book called Ghosts Along The MississippiLooking at the pictures awakened my imagination. That this beautiful place no longer existed made me sort of sad.

So, when I hired Kimberlee Ketterman Edgar to paint the cover of Black Opal, I asked her to include a plantation house based on Belle Grove. Here’s the cover art Kimberlee created:

 

BlackOpal_Ebook for BN
My series heroine, Peri Jean Mace, ends up stuck at the huge house on the cover after charging off to confront her boyfriend because she thinks he’s cheating on her. She ends up getting into more trouble than she ever imagined possible and discovering secrets she never wanted to know. But that’s the norm for Peri Jean.

Download it today at:

Amazon

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Interested in trying out my Peri Jean Mace stories but aren’t quite ready to purchase anything? Well, today is your lucky day.

Subscribers to my newsletter can read a brand new, exclusive 14-page Peri Jean Mace short story titled “Peckerwood Bocephus.” This story takes place twelve years before the events in Forever Road and is the story of how Peri Jean got the tattoo on her arm.

Click here to sign up.

After you sign up, look for instructions on downloading “Peckerwood Bocephus” in the Final Welcome Email.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Are there any fellow admirers of old houses out there? Which ones have you visited and which one was your favorite?

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of Forever Road and Black Opal, of the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

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.)

Slenderman’s Coming For You

Howdy, folks. This is the first post I’ve written expressly for misterio press blog, and I’m excited to share it.

Today, we’re going to be talking about an Urban Myth called Slenderman. The unique thing about Slenderman is that he got his start online. Every evolution of him can be traced back to something that originally appeared in cyberspace.

Before we start, let me make one thing clear. This article is not intended as a definitive post on this topic. It’s merely a starting point for those brave enough to venture into the world of Slenderman.

Firsthand Experience

The best way to introduce y’all to Slenderman is to share the experience of someone who saw him:

As to personal stories, when I was four or five, we were driving home from my grandparents’ house through a dark part of the city. I saw a tall, slender man walking toward the car as we rolled slowly by. He looked eerie to me so caught my attention. As we came parallel to him, he happened to enter the glow of a streetcorner light and I saw that his face was like ashes. It looked as if it would crumble at a touch, all dark grey, wrinkled, and papery. I was startled and said, “Mummy, look at that man.” She craned around and said, “What man?” He was gone. No sign of him. Had he merely turned the corner we would still have seen him. No idea what that was but it fits the meme.

~By Gene Stewart

Find Gene online: Facebook, Website

Who is Slenderman?

This is a list of Slenderman descriptions I’ve collected:

  • Unnaturally tall and thin figure who wears a suit and has no facial features
  • A fairy from the Black Forest
  • A boogeyman who lives in the woods
  • A shapeshifter who assumes the form of trusted adults to lure his victims (usually children)

What Does He Do?

The following is a list of Slenderman’s interactions with his victims:

  • Can extend his arms (tendrils, tentacles) to trap his victims
  • Able to appear and disappear at will (teleport)
  • Has the ability to brainwash his victims and control their actions
  • Kidnaps children
  • Starts fires
  • Causes sickness
  • Mutilates victims

First Mentions

Slenderman began on The Something Awful Forms in this 2009 thread as “paranormal pictures” contest. Forum users posted photos to which they had added supernatural images. A user named Victor Surge posted the following two images with accompanying captions.

The Pictures

Picture Number One:

Licensed on Creative Commons

 

Click here to see Senderman Picture Number Two

The Captions:

Caption 1:

We didn’t want to go, we didn’t want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time

~ 1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead.

Caption 2:

One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as The Slender Man. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence.

~1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.

These two images and their accompanying captions spawned all sorts of discussion and stories. The idea of Slenderman later morphed into fiction, videos, and video games.

The Fiction

Creepypasta, a website where readers are invited to contribute creepy, shocking stories, has a whole sub-genre of scary stories which center on Slenderman. Click here for the Creepypasta Slenderman Tag.

The Games

Slender: The Eight Pages and Slender: The Arrival

Slenderman’s Shadow

Slenderman for IOS(The linked game is one of several. Go to the iTunes Store and do a search on “Slenderman” to see what I mean.)

The Videos

Marble Hornets

The Slenderman phenomenon/story morphed into a You Tube Video series called Marble Hornet.

The story on which the You Tube videos is based is that of Alex Kralie. A film student, Alex stumbled on “something troubling” while shooting his first full length project Marble Hornets. Click here to read a longer version of this story.

If you just want to watch the videos, go to the You Tube Channel for Marble Hornets.

The Documentary

There is an Irish Slenderman Documentary on You Tube. Click here for Part 1 of 5.Look for subsequent installments in the “recommended videos” section.

Slenderman’s Origins

Mythology from all over the world seems to support the existence of Slenderman (or something like him). Here are two of my favorites:

Der Ritter or “The Knight” — Germany

418px-Der_Ritter

This is a 16th century woodcut by Hans Freckenberg. The woodcut was re-discovered inÊHalstberg Castle in 1883.

“The Faceless One” — Wales

Hush, thy childe, do not stray far from the path,
or The Faceless One shall steal you away to Fairieland.
He preys on sinful and defiant souls,
and lurks within the woods.
He has hands of ebony branches,
and a touch as soft as silk.
Fear The Faceless One thy childe,
for he shall take you to a dark place.
And what shall become of thou?
Noone knows, so be good, thy little one-
Alas! He is here to take thou away!

This lullaby dates back to the 18th century. Like many lullabies of the time, it was didactic in nature, intended to teach children not to go near the forest.

Have you ever heard of Slenderman? Ever seen him? Tell us about it in the comments section.

Sources:

Special thanks goes to Gene Colwell. He gave me more information on Slenderman than I dreamed possible.

Special thanks to Gene Stewart for providing an “up close and personal” experience with Slenderman.

Slenderman on Know Your Meme

Slenderman in Mythology and Culture

The Abilities of Slenderman

“Why Slenderman Works: The Meme That Proves Our Need to Believe” by Patrick Dane

Posted by Catie Rhodes. Catie is the gal your mama warned you about, the one who cusses a lot and never washes her hands after petting the dog. She’s the author of Forever Road, Book 1 in the Peri Jean Mace paranormal mystery series. Peri Jean sees ghosts, a talent she often wishes she did NOT possess.

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.)