Category Archives: Natalie Wright

Writer Wednesday: 3 Masters Speak About Show, Don’t Tell

In search of inspiration for today’s Writer Wednesday post, I opened my “Little Black Book of Writers’ Wisdom” and don’t you know it opened to a page of quotes that artfully and succinctly address the matter at the heart of excellent writing.


Show, don’t tell.

I first heard the phrase at my first writer’s conference back in the summer of 2009. I admit that I hadn’t a clue what the phrase meant. And though I heard it repeatedly over the years, it seemed that people had a difficult time explaining what it meant.

Now that I’ve completed three novels and penned a fourth in draft, I’ve come to understand the phrase “show, don’t tell.” That’s not to say that I never slip into telling. It’s just less frequent now and on revision I *most of the time* catch it.

Showing not telling is such a vital requirement to writing a story well that I’ve chosen three quotes today to get the conversation going. First, from Anton Chekhov, a lovely example that explains the phrase perfectly:

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov

Have you ever heard a more perfect example of show? The “glint of light on broken glass.” So many of us writers would have a tendency to say, “The moon was shining.” Flat, passive and a tell, not a show. A more adept writer may say, “The moon shone on the glass.” Better, but still fairly simple and uninteresting.


With attention to craft, a master such as Chekhov comes up with “the glint” on “broken glass.” In just a few words, he shows us so much. The choice of words matter. Showing matters. And it’s the difference between a novice and a master of craft. Do this in every sentence for an entire novel and you’ll writer a novel that readers are excited to read.

But wait, here’s another one to hit the point home.

“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” – Mark Twain

Sometimes we talk about “on camera” and “off camera.” Novice writers often “tell” us what happened “off camera” rather than bringing it “on camera” and showing the reader the action. I’m guilty of that. And it’s a writing style that can quickly bore the shit out of the reader rather than engage the reader.

Anyone call “tell” stories (even your Uncle Fred who rambles on and on at family get-togethers). Anyone cal tell, but it takes practice, failure, re-writing, writing, and more practice to learn how to “show” a story (and if everyone could do it, then even your Uncle Fred would be a best-selling author). If the action is worth mentioning, considering putting it “on camera” rather than telling the reader what happened off camera.

The last quote today (remember I promised your three) is from E.L. Doctorow:

“Good writing it supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” – E.L. Doctorow

Take a moment to let that sink in.

“. . . the feeling of being rained upon.”

What does it feel like to rained upon? And when he speaks of feeling, does he refer solely to the physical sensation of rain upon the body? Or is there an internal emotion that arises upon being rained upon? Take a moment to consider how you can show both a physical feeling and an emotional response of a character in reaction to an event.

Have you even read a poem or a part of a novel that made you feel as if you lived what the character(s) experienced? If you have, chances are that the writer did a great job of showing rather than telling. The writer made you feel the rain. Wasn’t it wonderful?

Have you found it difficult to see in your own writing when you tell rather than show? Do you think there are times when it’s okay to tell rather than show? Do you have a quote or example of show, don’t tell?
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Manic Monday: What’s Up Natalie?

I’m not sure if I actually have any regular faithful readers of this blog who read what I post here. Or if the thousands of “hits” each month are bots.  But I’m writing this post in faith that there are some actual human beings who read what I write here.

So if you are a human being reading this and if you have read my blog for a while, you may have noticed that over the past year or so (*scratches head and says “Has it really been that long?”*) I have been inconsistent in posting. Yeah, I’ve posted Writer Wednesday spotlights of other writers. Sure, there have been some Sci Fi Friday posts. And yes, there have been posts about my most recent release (Emily’s Heart).

But when is the last time I wrote a Manic Monday post? I can’t remember.

Anyway, I have reasons (numerous) that I’ve been lax in my blogging. Some are lame, like feeling like since no one comments much on my blog that I may in fact be visited solely by Internet bots rather than real people so what’s the point in writing? Or that I was busy – blah, blah, blah.

But mainly I’ve been lax with my blogging because I’ve been dealing with some heavy shit in my life.

“What kind of heavy shit?” you ask.

First, there was my retirement from the practice of law in June of last year. You may be thinking that such an event should have freed up time for me to blog my brains out. And that’s logical.  But in truth, saying good-bye to my profession was a major life-change event which I’d wanted for sooooo long and was glad for but when it actually happened sort of took me by surprise at being sad about it. In recent years I had worked (very) part-time at being a lawyer and had stopped taking litigation cases so I wasn’t in court. It had become a small part of my life taking third seat to being a mom (always first) and my writing. But still, it had been a major part of my life – and my identity – for over twenty years (saying that makes me feel fucking old).

My very wise husband who knows me sometimes too well warned me. “Give yourself six months, Natalie.” I rolled my eyes and let his words of wisdom go in one ear and out the other (as I do too frequently). “Whatever,” I thought. 

Guess what happened? He was right. (Don’t you hate it when your mate is right?) It indeed took me about six months to fully release the old job and identity and to get into a new routine and be okay with the whole thing. It was like for the second half of last year, I’d get up and get my kid off to school then sit at my desk and play at being a writer, all the while feeling guilty that I wasn’t really “working” or having anxiety that somehow I was neglecting some serious shit that needed done, and then feeling worse because I was feeling down about retiring to write full-time when so many writers I know don’t have the opportunity to do that though they want to, so get over yourself all ready and be fucking happy! I wasn’t happy and then felt guilty about not being happy.

But wait, there was more. And this is the heavy stuff that as I writer I feel I should be writing about and talking about but mainly I want to just ignore it and hope it goes away. At the end of the summer last year, my mom was diagnosed with cancer.

For the fifth time.

And it’s bad. Really bad. Like the oncologist using the word “palliative chemo” kind of bad.

As if that weren’t heavy enough, on the heels of us finding out about my mom’s cancer, my dad had a stroke. He has been in and out (mostly in) a nursing home ever since. He’s alive, but extremely diminished.

My mom is only 73. My dad 76.

They aren’t that old. And I’ve had to face the fact over the past six months that it is more likely than not that neither of my parents will make it to the age of 80. In fact, it is quite possible that one of them will be gone before the end of the year.

I just typed that without crying. For months I could not have.

The story of my mom’s cancer is actually one of hope and of sort-of miracles and of human strength and endurance. It’s a story of pain and relationships and love and family. It’s a story that could educate others with the BRCA1 gene (my mom is BRCA1 positive). It’s a story that many may relate to and find interest in.

But I’m not able to write it. At least not now.

When I first found out my mom’s dire diagnosis, my writer friends said “write about it.” It was good advice. And I tried.

Some people can wrest poetry from pain. I’m not one of them.

Grief shuts me down. Sorrow makes me withdraw to the within. And try as I might to exorcise it through words, it does not work.

I was able to complete my third novel and maybe I did channel some of my pain into the prose. Emily’s Heart is, after all, an Apocalyptic story that tends to the darker side of things. But *spoiler alert* the end is a happy one and I was stuck for months last year, unable to wrest that happy ending out of myself because I did not feel happy. The fact that it finally came out of me at all is a sort of small miracle that I can’t explain.

Over the past nine months or so, my writing was filled mainly with anger and angst, heartache and unhappiness.

So I spared you all of that and kept my blog a cancer and sickness-free zone. 

The good news is that as this year progresses, I’m feeling more and more able to write without it being filled with misery. The shadowy veil of sad feelings is lifting and I’m more focused on the here and now – on the living – than on things past.

I’m in the mood to celebrate. I wrote three books!! Can I hear a woot, woot?! I completed a whole series (The Akasha Chronicles). *Does happy dance*

I am an incredibly blessed person to be able to devote my working hours full-time to doing what I love to do. I get to write the stories that fill my head. And I get to go out to book events and meet readers and chat story with them (one of my absolute favorite pastimes).

I have a wonderful daughter, husband and three furry critters that I share my house and life with. And I am alive, and this is no small miracle.

So as I move with more hope and optimism than I’ve had in a while into the middle of this year, here is what’s coming on my blog and in my writing:

Natalie Wright, Manic Monday
1. Manic Monday will return! I don’t promise that I’ll have a Manic Monday post every week, but I am feeling the itch to speak my *manic* mind so stay tuned for my rants, ravings, musings and Monday weirdness.

2. Writer Wednesday is here to stay. In the past, I have devoted Wednesdays to featuring other writers and occasionally to posting writing tips. Both of those things will continue to happen on Wednesdays. (If you are a writer and would like to be featured on my Writer Wednesday, please shoot me an e-mail to NatWritesYA (at) gmail (dot) com and we’ll speak of it).

But I also have a new feature that I’ll add to Writer Wednesday in upcoming weeks that will appeal to writers of all makes, models and types – and will get the writerly conversation going.

3. Sci Fi Friday continues. For any of you paying attention, you may have noticed my new Friday feature, Sci Fi Friday. These posts are about scientific discoveries that I come across that strike me as having science fiction implications. I also reserve that time to review science fiction books or movies, OR generally to post anything science of science fiction related.

H.A.L.F., by
Natalie Wright
Arrives Spring, 2015
I’ll continue to devote Fridays to all things science and sci fi as I gear up to release the first book of my next series, H.A.L.F., a young adult science fiction series. While my last series was (mainly) fantasy, I’ll be writing science fiction (mostly) for the foreseeable future AND science stuff fascinates me. So if you, too, enjoy hearing about science fact that seems more like science fiction, then make sure you hang out with me on Fridays to discuss new technology and scientific discoveries. 

So that’s what’s up with Natalie. What’s up with you? Drop me a line in the comments below or you can reach me by e-mail at NatWritesYA (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thank you for reading to the end 🙂

Sci Fi Friday: Our God Complex Gone Wild: Man-Made DNA

Human beings seem hard-wired to tinker with the natural world in an attempt to mold it to our will. We domesticated animals. We hybridized plants. We mine the Earth and in the process tear down mountains and create a new terrain.

The genetic code may be the final frontier of man’s exploration of, and manipulation of, the Earth’s biology. It may also be the scariest frontier.

Whether you believe that an almighty, all-knowing god created us, or that human life is a beautiful accident of millions of years of evolution, the genetic code that makes it all possible is design perfection. Just four chemicals bond into two pairs that form the basis for all life on this planet. 

So why do we feel the need to tinker with it? Maybe the answer is this: because we can.

Geneticists have been dicing and splicing DNA for quite a while now. But the idea of creating artificial DNA? Many scientists said it could not be done.

But it has been done. On May 7, 2014, The Wall Street Journal ran a story with this headline: “Artificial DNA Breakthrough Could Lead to New Treatments.” The report stated that, “Researchers for the first time created microbes containing artificial DNA, expanding the universal genetic code that guides life.” The scientists created two additions to the normal genetic code and prompted bacteria to incorporate the new man-made DNA with “few ill effects.”

The story contained this graphic:



Is it just my fiction-wired writer brain or does this technology scare anyone else? I mean GMOs are frightening enough and clones are creepy. But this is the kind of stuff that fuels a sci fi writer’s wet dreams of freaky, dystopian, futuristic fiction. Imagine the implications for these bionic bacteria to find their way out of the lab and into the wider world. Or maybe the technology advances to the point that scientists tinker with human DNA and create a new species, one that is perhaps stronger, smarter and better than us in every way. 

Does this freak anyone else out? What implications do you see in this technology? 

SAFECon 2014 a Huge Success

I had a great time this past Saturday, March 20, 2014 at SAFECon in Prescott Valley, Arizona at the public library. For a smallish town, Prescott Valley turned out a nice crowd for this first annual event. It was a free event geared to teens, but people of all ages showed up. I particularly enjoyed seeing the creativity and hard work that the teens put into their cosplay. SAFECon provided me yet another opportunity to meet and talk story with wonderful tweens, teens and adults as well. I love my job!!

A special shout out to Jamie. She’s a mom with a young, budding artist. Jamie’s eyes got moist in the corners as she talked about her daughter’s art – an obvious pride in her voice. What impressed me was Jamie’s devotion to her daughter following her dream and doing what she loves. So often, parents and other adults try to steer their children away from careers in the arts. It’s understandable. Living the life of an artist can be one filled with rejection, pain, and poverty! It is (often) not an easy life.

But Jamie is a mother who recognizes the joy that creating art brings to her daughter. And her daughter won second place in the art contest at SAFECon! Congrats!

I also got to chat with reporter and writer Patrick Whitehurst who was kind enough to mention me in his news story that appeared Sunday, 3/20 in the Daily Courier. Here’s the whole story:

3/30/2014 6:03:00 AM
Sci-fi, Anime, Fantasy, Etc. convention for teens draws fans, authors, artists 
Patrick Whitehurst/The Daily Courier
Assassins Creed cosplayers Geoff Schoen and Joe Ashton show their skills during Saturday’s SAFECon at the Prescott Valley Public Library.
Patrick Whitehurst/The Daily Courier
Assassins Creed cosplayers Geoff Schoen and Joe Ashton show their skills during Saturday’s SAFECon at the Prescott Valley Public Library.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Joel Adams slinks by the audience dressed as Slenderman, a malevolent phantasm.
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Joel Adams slinks by the audience dressed as Slenderman, a malevolent phantasm.

Patrick Whitehurst
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY, Arizona – Darth Vader walks into a room next to Princess Daisy from Mario Brothers.

That isn’t the opening line of a joke, but a description of Saturday’s Sci-Fi, Anime, Fantasy, Etc. Convention (SAFECon) at thePrescott Valley Public Library. Crowds dressed in a variety of costumes, and some participated in a “cosplay” costume competition. The event, geared toward teens in the quad-city area, featured workshops, panel discussions, a martial arts exhibition, art competitions and refreshments.

Artist and illustrator Samantha Violette attended to share her anime and comic art with those in attendance. She traveled to the con from her home in Tucson. She produces her art primarily in watercolor and pencils. Her art can also be seen online at http://www.samanthaashleyviolette.com.

As a fan of comics and anime, Violette attends conventions throughout the state.

“It’s for work, but it’s also a hobby of mine too,” she said. “I think conventions are great. It’s a chance for like-minded people to get together, to make new friends and find common interests.”

While small compared to other conventions she’s attended, Violette said she enjoyed meeting new people at SAFECon.

“I was very impressed by how well-organized it was,” Violette said.

Other attendees for the event included comic book artist Dave Beaty, graphic designer Alec Kozak, and Natalie Wright, author of the popular Akasha Chronicles trilogy that began with the book “Emily’s House.” Wright chatted with a number of fans during Saturday’s SAFECon and made a few new ones along the way.

“I like meeting people, so I enjoy talking to everyone. I especially enjoy meeting young people who use their creativity to express themselves,” Wright said. “This convention is particularly cool because it’s devoted to teens.” Wright’s novels focus on teens. A complete list of her books can be found at http://www.nataliewright.net.

Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier

Emily’s Heart Release Celebration and February Book Giveaway

The Akasha Chronicles
by Natalie Wright
As you know, my third book, Emily’s Heart, *officially* released on February 1. And what better way to celebrate a new release than with a giveaway? What’s up for grabs? How about a copy of Emily’s Trial, book 2 of The Akasha Chronicles (*see details in the Rafflecopter below). And a gift card. And a swag bag! I’ve given you lots of ways to enter and the easiest is to leave a comment here on this blog post. 

And to increase your chances of winning the giveaway, you can stop by other blogs hosting me this month and comment and tweet to increase your odds 😉 I’ll update this list all month to add additional blog links, so check back often.

As always, thank you for stopping by my blog. Happy Reading!


Emily’s Heart has Arrived!

Emily’s Heart by Natalie Wright
Book 3 of The Akasha Chronicles
Emily’s Heart, Book 3 of the Akasha Chronicles, has arrived!!!!! *happy dance*

Before I share links and all that, I want to send a HUGE thank you to family, friends, followers, fans and readers all over the world who have supported me and my writing! For any of you who are writers, you know what a wondrous yet solitary path the writer walks. And during the novel-writing process, there is always a period of time when the writer is quite certain that the entire novel is a pile of camel dung. When I arrive at the camel dung period in my writing process, my interaction with readers helps lift my creative spirits.

Emily’s Heart was a challenge to write. If you’ve read book 2, Emily’s Trial, then you know that I painted myself into a pretty tight corner! So much had gone wrong. So much to set right. “How will Emily set this right?” readers asked.

That was a good question, and one that I did not have an answer to during most of the writing process. That’s right, I began writing without knowing how it would end! But I trusted that if I wrote long enough, the end would figure itself out. And it did, but it wasn’t without a couple of months of crying, screaming, pouting, ignoring, writing and tossing, many chocolates, and sleepless nights. Then one day, the ending came and life was good again ;-D

Advance readers report that Emily’s Heart is my best book yet. I hope you all agree.

Emily’s Heart is now available on Amazon worldwide and paperback on Barnes & Noble, Amazon and CreateSpace. It will go live on iTunes and Barnes & Noble on February 1. Links for all retail are below.

If you are new to the series, I now have an Amazon exclusive boxed set available which contains all three books in the series. It is 30% OFF of the cover price for the individual titles if purchased separately. Boxed Set on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HY474BS


Thanks again and happy reading!


Barnes & Noble – Both Paperback and E-Book
CreateSpace – Paperback. Use Coupon Code 5RW292Y5 for 25% off
Powell’s  Paperback
E-Books at Amazon:
U.S.          DE          CA          IT          MX        JP
U.K.          ES          AU          IN          BR       FR



When Fact is Stranger Than Fiction: Insect Drones and Big Brother

What the … Insect Drones? Is this for real?

Here is the story that I saw floating around the internet:


“No. It’s an insect spy drone for urban areas, already in production, funded by the US Government. It can be remotely controlled and is equipped with a camera and a microphone. It can land on you, and it may have the potential to take a DNA sample or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology on your skin. It can fly through an open window, or it can attach to your clothing until you take it in your home.”


As a writer of speculative and science fiction, I was like “Wow! I can use that in a story!”


But the non-writer part of me was creeped out. I mean, what kind of “Big Brother” kind of bullshit could this be used for?


But a bit of poking further into the story gave me a bit of relief. But only a bit. 


According to Snopes, “One of the current areas of research reportedly being undertaken in the scientific/military field is the development of micro air vehicles (MAVs), tiny flying objects intended to go places that cannot be (safely) reached by humans or other types of equipment. One of the primary military applications envisioned for MAVs is the gathering of intelligence (through the surreptitious use of cameras, microphones, or other types of sensors); among the more extreme applications posited for such devices is that they may eventually be used as “swarm weapons” which could be launched en masse against enemy forces.”


“The specific mosquito-like object pictured above is, however, just a conceptual mock-up of a design for a MAV, not a photograph of an actual working device “already in production.” And although taking DNA samples or inserting micro-RFID tracking devices under the skin of people are MAV applications that may some day be possible, such possibilities currently appear to be speculative fiction rather than reality.”


While no government official or agency will admit to currently having such technology, there are anecdotal accounts of dragonflies hovering over protesters at rallies and even at the Republican National Convention.


Let’s hope that, for now, spy “bugs” remain fiction.


What say you? Do you think these “bugs” already exist? Or is it the work of overactive imaginations? Chat about it below in the comments section.

*     *     *     *     *


In other news, ONLY 8 MORE DAYS until Emily’s Heart officially launches! *squee* Make sure you come back often as I’ll have lots of announcements, launch news and giveaways galore all through February 😀


A tiny teaser from Emily’s Heart:


From Emily’s Heart by Natalie Wright


Writer Wednesday: What’s Your Sign?

Writing flows...

How much time do you spend on character development? Is it an integral part of your pre-writing planning? Or do you wing it as your write?

When I first started writing novels, I spent very little time on character development. I knew rudimentary things about my main characters but mainly focused on plot.
But as my writing grows, I find that I spend more time musing about characters than I do thinking through the plot. Perhaps it is a natural outgrowth of the learning process. While writing my first book, I was just trying to get a handle on creation of a beginning, middle and end. Once you’ve tackled a few plots, you’re ready to take on more.
Or maybe I’m spending more time on character because I’ve now had the experience of feedback from readers. Reader feedback has helped me understand how important characters are to them. The books that we love – the ones we tell our friends about and are sad then they’re over – such books are filled with characters that we love. We love Harry and Katniss. Or at least I do 😉
As I prepare to begin writing a new book series, I find that I’m planning differently. I’m spending more time with the characters than I have before.

While developing my new set of characters, I’ve been having fun playing with the zodiac.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Working on your character’s astrological chart can be an fun and interesting tool for character development.

Whether you believe in astrology or not is irrelevant for your use of the zodiac in creating your characters. The point is that the zodiac provides twelve ready-made personality profiles.
Here’s how I’m using the zodiac for my current project.
Step 1: Peruse a site like Universal Psychic Guild or Astrology.com. Scan the one paragraph descriptions of each sign. Does one stand out as belonging to your main character? What about your supporting cast of characters? And don’t forget the antagonist. What signs are your characters?
Or, if you have already determined your character’s birthdate, does your character’s personality match the zodiacal sign for their birthdate?
Step 2: This is where I think the personality profile of the zodiac can help you deepen your understanding of your character (and add complexity to her or her personality). Have you thought about what kind of mate your character is attracted to? How does he or she deal with rejection? Have you considered what kind of friend your character is?
These are just a few of the questions that you’ll find information on when searching for clues about your character’s sun sign. You may or may not use the pre-made character profiles in full. But the different aspects of personality touched upon can help to stimulate your thinking about your character.
Erika is the female protagonist of my next series. I determined that Erika is a Taurus from looking at the short profiles of each zodiac sign. Here’s Erika in a nutshell:
Taurus 
Your element: Earth
Your ruling planets: Venus
Symbol: The Bull
Your stone: Emerald
Life Pursuit: Emotional and financial security

Vibration: Determined energy

Taurus Secret Desire: To have a secure, happy and wealthy life/marriage.

Description:
Underneath their cool, calm and collected exterior, Taureans differ greatly from all the other signs of the zodiac. Taureans manage to discreetly stay apart from the crowd, even though they have a well-earned reputation for being socialisers. They will let others get close, but only so close as they want them. Some claim that trying to get your point across to a Taurean, should they not want to hear you, is rather similar to talking to the trees – they simply won’t budge. And, there is no such thing as an open-book Taurean. Their feelings, fears and desires often run far deeper than anyone around them would guess. Like the butterfly that chooses to remain hidden in its cocoon until it is ready and prepared to emerge, so the true Taurean spirit remains hidden behind a veneer of day-to-day activities. That’s why Taureans are sometimes regarded as snobby, withdrawn, boring, or even sulky.

The truth is, when Taureans manage to operate very adequately on their own form of automatic pilot, they can switch off from the world around them very efficiently. And when they do switch off, they are actually gathering in their inner reserves to deal with the outside pressures. This sign is also very closely connected to ‘feeling good’. Most Taureans like their creature comforts and hate change because it takes them out of their automatic pilot condition of separating themselves from the world around them.

Because they hate to be put in jeopardy of any kind, this is the sign that strives to create tomorrow in advance, rather than leave it to fate. In love, Taureans are regarded as extremely sensual beings. An earth sign, they deal well with the personal, physical senses and consequently all the pleasures associated with what they can see, touch, smell and taste, add up to a special delight to them. Often nature and pet lovers, Taureans are closely associated with all things off the earth and nature.

A fun way to waste, oops, I mean creatively use your time is to search for your character’s sign on Pinterest. I’ve pinned some things to the board I’m curating for my next project. You can take a look here. This gives you an idea of how I’m using the zodiac as just one tool for character development. If you peruse the board for H.A.L.F., you’ll learn quite a bit about Erika.
This exercise of delving into Erika’s sun sign has broadened my understanding of her – and given me some ideas for how I can express her personality and give her a quirky trait or two. I especially like the pin that says “If a Taurus smells even the slightest bit of insincerity coming from you, they will walk far, far away.” (Via ZodiacMind, Tumblr). And this: “Taurus is satisfied with the simple things in a relationship.” (Via Celia G.) These little tidbits have helped churn the flow of creativity. It has me thinking about how I can create scenes to make these ideas come out.
Of course there’s more to a character than their sun sign. But I have found it a fun way to delve a bit deeper into the psyche of my characters.
What about you? Have you ever created a zodiac profile for your character? What tools do you use to develop your characters?

Manic Monday: Life Through the Lens of a Smart Phone and Facebook Feed

Day of the Dead Procession
Tucson, Arizona
Every year, people of my hometown of Tucson, Arizona gather for a strange, wonderful, event unique to the area. It’s the Day of the Dead Procession. Thousands of people don skull makeup and elaborate costumes and march in a non-motorized procession in honor of dead ancestors. The procession culminates in the lighting of a giant cauldron hanging in the air, filled with prayers and letters to the dead.
Day of the Dead Procession
Prayers Take Flight to Heaven in the Smoke of the Fire
My daughter & her friend
All Soul’s Day, 2013
The stage is filled with amazing dancers and mariachi. Drums pound as acrobats climb high and light the cauldron. It’s colorful and loud yet thoughtful and somber all at the same time.
At the most recent Day of the Dead Procession, I was struck by the odd way in which our culture has become glued to our devices. As I stood in a sea of thousands, I observed how very few of the people at the event were in fact present and in the moment. Virtually everyone had their smart phone out, held up in the air and set to record. Instead of actually watching the event firsthand, people were instead watching the event through a four inch screen.
A few days after the event, I came across this article about a person quitting Facebook and how it impacted her life. It has me asking this question: By plugging in, are we missing out?

Here’s the article:
https://medium.com/better-humans/325436c2976f

And here’s a video that I came across that I just love. It seems to capture exactly what I experienced at the Day of the Dead Procession.
What do you think? Are we missing out when we’re trying to record all of our life’s events with our hand held computers? Or are our experiences made richer by our tiny screens? Does Facebook give us richer, more full relationships? Or has Facebook (and other social media) given us a false sense of connection?

Happy Halloween, Samhain and Day of the Dead!


~Halloween

~Magickal Graphics~


SamhainIf you follow my blog, you know that Halloween is my favorite time of the year. And I made sure to have both of my first two books take place during this spookiest of seasons!

In Emily’s House, Emily and crew traipse around an old, Irish graveyard at night during a full moon with ravens squawking. And Emily’s timing is perfect. She attempts to open a portal to the Netherworld on October 31 when the veil between the worlds is thinnest.


Emily’s House may have a chapter titled “Things Go Bump in the Night”, but if you really want to get your scare on, check out  Emily’s Trial. In Emily’s Trial, Emily and friends once again lurk in a graveyard on Halloween. But when Emily tries to open a portal, things don’t go as planned. Emily’s Trial is set in a world of terrors where worst fears come to life.



Emily’s Trial, Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles
by Natalie Wright

In the upcoming third book, Emily’s Heart, I didn’t set the book during Halloween. Instead of focusing on one spooky day, the entire novel is set during an Apocalypse. Terror is Emily’s ‘new normal’.

Emily’s Heart, Book 3 of the Akasha Chronicles
by Natalie Wright, Launches Feb 1, 2014

In celebration of Halloween, let’s get some scare on. Please enjoy the trailer and just after it, an excerpt/teaser of Emily’s Heart, launching February 1, 2014.

Happy Halloween, Samhain and Day of the Dead!

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Here is an Excerpt from Emily’s Heart, Coming February 1, 2014!


The Apocalyptic
World
Isabella ran swiftly.
Her long, sandy brown hair swung from side to side as she gained distance from
it. She was surefooted, not a wobble in her step. She’d make it to her house
and safety. A hundred more yards to go. The shadow that followed her was quick,
but she had been quicker. Today, anyway.
Fifty
yards from the door. Her mother waited on the other side of that door, ready to
embrace her, smooth her hair and tell her, “It’ll be okay, baby.” Fifty yards
to go.
Her
choice to run had been pure instinct. A cold, clammy feeling overcame her. The
shadow seen out of the corner of her eye. A small but powerful voice inside
beckoned her to run.
But
less than fifty yards from safety, Isabella’s curiosity made her turn her head.
She had to see. Her mind had to understand. A casual look behind her to see
what could create such a long, wide shadow.
In an
instant as fleeting as one flap of a hummingbird’s wings, she saw it. The
shadow, darker than any she’d ever seen. A shadow that was not just a product
of the light from without but something that came from within. And the shadow
was connected to a man.
The
moment Isabella glanced behind her, her eyes met his. She had wanted to see,
and she saw. The man’s eyes were completely black and devoid of light. His thin
lips were pulled back in a terrible smile that revealed perfectly even, white
teeth.
In
that moment, Isabella knew. She knew that she had looked into the face of a
devil. Maybe not the devil, but into
a face as evil as any human has ever seen. Into the face of the demons that she
had worried might lurk under her bed at night. Isabella looked into the face of
the bogeyman and into the face of death.
She
knew she would never reach the door. She knew that she’d never see her mother
or father or her dog, Smarty, again. She knew that she’d never again kiss her
baby brother’s soft, downy head.
Before
Isabella could scream, cry or utter a single protest, the shadow was all around
her. It enveloped her. She felt as if the air had been forced from her lungs,
her screams unable to take flight in the airless void. She heard her backpack
fall to the ground, but it was muffled, as if in a dream. She knew her eyes
were open, but she saw nothing but darkness. She was smothered by a black so
complete that she was suddenly unsure whether she was standing up, lying down,
or floating in a dark cloud.
Her
skin prickled as she felt the shadow caress her. She knew a person couldn’t
feel a shadow. Her brain told her it was a dream. Shadows don’t kill people.
But as she thought this, the squeezing of her lungs increased. The soft caress
of the dark shadow gave way as it pinched and pulled and slapped at her.
Dread
spread throughout her tiny body like a supersonic cancer. The fear cut through
her like icy knives. As her terror grew, so the shadow’s grip tightened. It was
in her ears, her nose, her eyes and her mouth. She swallowed the shadow like a
pill, and it dug deep, deep, deep into her.
The
shadow filled her. She was so cold, bereft of warmth.
The shadow will kill me, she thought. As the cold spread and took
over every cell of her body, she prayed for death. She prayed to God to let her
join her grandpa in heaven.
Her
small body could take no more. The shadow had used her energy. Her prayers were
answered. All was done. Her tiny, cold corpse littered the ground as the shadow
swept down the sidewalk in search of another filled with light.