Tag Archives: Paranormal Journeys

The Paranormal in Action: Building a Soundtrack

 

unnamed.jpgHappy Halloween Everyone!  Thought I’d share a true spirit story to help kick this holiday off right.

Note:  Article is long.

The Back Story.  Several years ago – spring 2011 to be exact – while staying at the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas, I ran into a feisty ghost.  He was in our room which is interesting since we’d had to switch rooms in the middle of the night thanks to a raucous party going on next to the original one.

For the next two evenings he and I “chatted.”

He apparently wasn’t interested in my getting sleep.

Car__Ghost_Cartoon.jpgAt the end of the trip he asked if he could accompany us back home.  After discussing it with Aaron and setting a few ground rules, I agreed.

Honestly, could I really have stopped him?

In the ensuing years he and I have become good friends.  He’s been incredibly helpful in so many ways:  My writing, nutrition, helping me research EMF Sensitivity.

As a ghost and a musician, he has a good handle on the subject. 

He helped me figure out it’s the Stratocaster that is instrumental in songs that alleviate EMF Sensitivity symptoms.

On That Note.  He’s very opinionated when it comes to musical tastes.

So am I.

Over the years we’ve had more than a few disagreements on what constitutes good music.

Rude Awakening.  Wanting to see Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument, we drove from Colorado to South Dakota.

This was shortly after meeting the helpful spirit.

We’d gotten in late but talked about getting up early to get a head start on the trip.  We were in a dead sleep when there was a loud crash then the blare of music.  I sat straight up in bed while Aaron jumped out and was standing next to it staring down at the clock radio which had been thrown to the floor.  He started to laugh.  When I looked at him as if he’d lost his mind he pointed to the floor.  “Listen,” he said.

I rolled my eyes as I heard what was playing.

It’s a song my ghost loves – but I don’t, a rare cut of a Neil Young song not often played on the radio – a song he did with his Crazy Horse band.

Both kids started to laugh and crowed, “ET!”

This has been my nickname for him since the beginning.

I just groaned and pulled the pillow over my head.

ET laughed and said, “You did say you wanted to get an early start to the day!”

The Tug of Music War.  Over time the disagreement over music escalated.

I don’t really care for his stuff though there are a couple of his songs I like.

At one point, totally exasperated with my refusal to listen to his music, he took action.

This was in 2012 and we were living in Arizona. 

He proceeded to load several songs from various albums onto my ipod.

He literally created a playlist of his music.

I was not amused.  I had Aaron take a look, see if he could figure out how the songs had gotten into my iTunes library.

I certainly hadn’t put them there.

I will never forget the moment when Aaron – after poking around on the system – jerked back and said, “Whoa!”  He then proceeded to tell me, “There is no way you could have done this.”

I replied, “I told  you, I didn’t put them there.  But why -?”

He pointed to the links and said, “You don’t know how to do this.”

Though the songs were from albums Aaron owned, I had no access to them.  I didn’t even own a Mac at the time and there was no shared network.  I literally would have had to plug in a disk drive upon which Aaron had ripped his music and load the handful of songs myself.

He continued to frown at the screen, shook his head.  “I don’t know how that happened but it’s there.”

It was the artist himself, ET.  

Music Hijinks Continue.  One evening about a year and a half later, while living in San Diego, I was listening to music through my laptop and typing an email to a friend.  The subject of the email was ET.  I was relating a story he’d told me when the song I was listening to changed – to one of his.

One I really really do not like.

I wrote, “Holy sh*t! he just switched to a song he wrote about the story he told me!”

And Now?  Though in recent years we’ve come to more or less a truce about what music I listen to, he continues to exert his influence.  Luckily for me, it isn’t always obnoxious.  In fact, this past week it was downright helpful!

Creating Soundtracks.  Starting with Metatron’s Army I decided to create soundtracks for my stories.

I did this after realizing that Nigel Stanford’s Solar Echoes more or less fit the entire series perfectly.

I decided doing the same for Dragon Core would be helpful.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find music that fit.

I had a few random songs but nothing cohesive.

About a week ago, I plugged in headphones and launched the Music app.  I was surprised and a bit irritated to find that once again, someone had appropriated my music library.

This time,  instead of creating a playlist, the mischievous spirit refused to sync one I’d created to my phone.

I tried troubleshooting for awhile, gave up and asked Aaron to take a look – see if he could figure out what was going on.  Though he wasn’t able to figure it out he did witness a song get loaded onto the list – by someone other than me; someone neither one of us could see.

He literally watched a song pop up that I did not put into the list! 

Knowing I wasn’t going to win the battle I gave up trying to create the playlist.

My spirit friend was obviously expressing his opinion of the music I was “trying” to select.

For the next few days the somewhat helpful and very opinionated spirit maintained control of my iTunes library.  He literally chose songs for me to listen to – at random.

Some of the songs I literally do not own.  I have no idea where he was pulling them from.

Though I eventually identified something of a pattern to the music played, I was baffled by the choices as they crossed genres and styles.

And some of them came from nowhere!  I do not have the albums!

The Truce.   I guess the spirit appreciated that I was allowing him to choose for me because he rewarded me for my concession – by creating a Soundtrack for Shadow of the Gods, second in the Dragon Core Series.

I finished the first draft of Cauldron of the Gods – beta reader is done with it so its a go for an early 2020 release.

34425475.jpgThe story of the Shadow Soundtrack is worth relating on this day…

Knock Knock.  I wasn’t planning to listen to music that day.

I was sitting at my desk, the headphones not plugged in. 

As I was working on the end of Cauldron of the Gods the headphone jack knocked against the desk.  Smiling, I said, “You want to talk to me, huh?”

I knew who was behind the knocking.

I plugged in the headphones, fired up the Music app and proceeded to see what he had in mind for me to listen to.  I quickly realized the music he was choosing was perfect for Shadow of the Gods.  Excited, I wrote the songs down so I could create the playlist.  Not surprisingly, this one sync’d to my phone.

None of the other ones I’d been trying to create for the past week have.

It’s been an adventure, to say the least, but it’s also been pretty cool having such a friendly spirit around.

Even one as musically opinionated as ET.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this strange but true tale of musical madness!

Happy Halloween!

Post Note:  I just tried to add a song to the playlist he created – it won’t work.  I tried twice.  He refuses to accept a song he didn’t select.

Either that or he hates the song.

Post Post Note:  So, I just checked with the web to see if I could fix this sync’ing issue. Followed all the steps here and it fixed one playlist issue but not all.

And not the one created by my feisty spirited friend.

The songs and playlists affected are very specific.

word-of-the-day-01.jpg

 

Someone is definitely having fun with me.

New Series Details

housekeeping-cleaning-bathroomI’m in the process of revamping  my online presence.

Simplifying to better serve readers.

I just finished adding pages that provide details on my new series and invite readers to check them out!

A Universal Change.  Though all my work will be organized through elizabethmaxim.com, I did choose to maintain metatronsarmy.com as a separate site that can be reached with a click.

I have decided to put the single title novels related to the original series on this site.

I also provide information on my style and my take on the paranormal.

Enjoy!

 

 

Work in Progress

24E8972600000578-2920453-image-a-28_1421869300828.jpgThe October 1 release of Adjudication: Book 13 in the Metatron’s Army Series signifies the end of a chapter in my writing career.

 

Though I have multiple books [read projects] open.

I came to really love the sci-fi project that was 35 + years in the making.  I learned so much about myself as a writer including what it is I really love about being a writer.

Hint:  Fiction!

Progress:  As one chapter ends, another begins.

I have several fiction projects in various stages of completion

  • Metatron’s Legacy

Science Fiction.  Single title that takes place 20 years after Metatron’s Army ends.  Will be available late autumn/ early winter 2019.

  • Dragon Core

Urban Fantasy.  The first installment, Cauldron of the Gods, is in progress.  Estimated release winter 2020.

  • Ghost Games

Action/Adventure.  Work in progress.  No estimate for initial release at this time.  Stay tuned.

  • Paranormal Journeys/Port Gallatan

Paranormal Romance.  A number of books in various stages of completion will fall under this banner.  Blue Skye, the next in the series, is in progress.  No estimate for release at this time.  Stay tuned.

More Progress.  My writing career continues to evolve.

I will be focusing on fiction full-time.

In the coming days and weeks readers will see changes to my online presence that reflect this.

Stay tuned!

 

 

Bringing a Story to Life: Writer’s Limbo [is NOT] Writer’s Block

8103856-wooden-foot-bridge-across-the-stream-in-mountain-forest-croatiaThis afternoon I finished slides for the book trailer for Adjudication, the FINAL installment of the Metatron’s Army Series.

 

This book will be released October 1, 2019

The Process.  The trailer is more or less the final stage in a Metatron’s Army installment.

Each installment of this saga is a chapter in the life of the main character(s).

The book cover and back of book description were done weeks ago.

The beta reader has the final draft.

Edit to the End.  I’m probably going to make a change to the final paragraph in the back of book description, which is why the landing page has not been put up.

Now What?  This is an interesting time for me because it’s not just the completion of a book, it’s the completion of a series that was over thirty years in the making. 

A story I honestly never intended to publish.  Best laid plans and all that…

I’ve more or less enjoyed the process.

There’s no doubt I’ve grown as a person, a business owner, and a writer.

I had to become someone I never thought I could be.

Next Up.  I’m always creating so I have a number of projects in the queue

  • Paranormal Journeys
  • Ghost Games
  • Dragon Core
  • Metatron’s Universe

Having a map doesn’t mean putting a foot to the path.

I need a breather between projects.

Rinse. Repeat.  I have to give myself permission to take breaks between projects.

Projects = individual books.

I don’t feel guilty about not putting fingers to keyboard, I feel compelled to get it down because I can.

But as a friend of mine once said, “Just because someone can, doesn’t mean they should.”

I am in a sort of writer’s limbo, which is not at all the same as writer’s block.  

The stories are ready to take their place in the ether.

I spent the past few days writing the rest of the first and the entire second installment of the Dragon Core series.

For this particular project that simply meant listening to music and playing Free Cell while watching the mental movie of the entire story play out on the screen of my mind’s eye.

Balancing Act.  The difficult part now is determining the point at which rest is morphing into something else.

In other words, when limbo turns into a block, an oxymoron given I know what it is I plan to do with the characters and the story they live in.

Really, Now What? 

  • I could spend the break catching up on housework that doesn’t need catching up on.

No, I don’t need to help others take care of theirs.

  • I could start a new hobby.

That I will soon have no time for.

  • I could spend more time listening to music and playing Free Cell.

That wouldn’t be a break. I’d end up writing more novels on my mental screen.

  • I could learn to embrace limbo.

Hmmm.

Stay tuned…

Bringing a Story to Life: The Rhythm of Writing

frtwice

This morning called for a second double shot espresso.

I’m ripping apart a paragraph in Cauldron of the Gods, first in the Dragon Core adventure for the fourth time.

Dragon Core is part of the Metatron’s Universe project.

It’s amazing how many different ways you can arrange a sentence and get the same meaning even as some just sound better than others.

And how many times you can change your mind about what sounds better.

It was while working on this novel that I came to see there is a rhythm to my writing.

It’s been some time since I’ve worked on something totally new.  The Metatron’s Army installments follow one to the next so in many respects it’s like one long novel.

Which is why it’s an Epic.

Soothsayer is connected to Port in a Storm and even though Blue Skye, the next Paranormal Journeys story is separate with new characters, all these novels and others in the queue fall under the P J umbrella.  Cauldron of the Gods– Dragon Core – I’m starting from scratch for the first time in years.

The Ingredients. The concept for Dragon Core, an urban fantasy, took root last fall as I was in the midst of the Metatron’s Army series and pondering what to do with Soothsayer. 

Actually, I was pondering what to do with my writing career.

Intrigued by the concept for this new series I set up a folder and began taking notes and doing research.

As the story has roots in real incidents that took place centuries ago, I quickly saw that research would not only be a big part of the up-front work, it would be a time-consuming part. I needed to factor that in when working out release dates for various projects in the queue.

By the New Year I had all the pieces in place

  • iTunes playlist for the project
  • Photographic images that represent the hero of the story
  • Files containing links to relevant historical data
  • Sample of academic work on relevant subject
  • Solid feel for the story arc that would carry not only Cauldron of the Gods but the follow-on stories in the Dragon Core series

Content I’d done everything I could given I had other priorities – aka other novels to finish and release – I set Cauldron aside and returned to finishing MA and Soothsayer

I trusted that in the ensuing months, as is typical, I would give time to the story while sitting outside observing nature, playing Free Cell and listening to music, or lying awake in the middle of the night.

The Sauce.  I’ve come to see that every book I write has its own pace and style of development.

It had been awhile since I’d worked on something completely new.

Cauldron is spaghetti sauce style.

This means I start at page one and write straight through, getting the main story arc in place, before going back and adding spice – intrigues and subplots – as appropriate.

I coined the spaghetti sauce descriptor  to describe this style of writing early in my career though not every story follows this pattern.

Only the first in the MA series – Advantage– fit that writing style profile.

This style of writing is the most energy intensive because it’s a slower paced style and requires intense focus that can be and often is cyclical.

I alternate rapid free-flowing sessions wherein I’ll get 3 – 6K words in one sitting with methodical and more time-consuming sessions which may yield 2K if I’m lucky.

Another characteristic of this style is the need to go back and reread what I’ve written in the previous session to regain momentum before continuing on.

This style is also cognitively draining relative to the rapid free-flow style that carried most of the Metatron’s Army works.

Free flow is a style where I’m simply the physical go-between for the muse, my fingers typing before I even think what it is I want/need to write.  It’s like being in a trance state, what some refer to as being “in the Zone.”

Understanding the rhythm (or not) has big time repercussions because the variability of the pacing can result in frustration.

It’s been years since I’ve dealt with a spaghetti sauce novel.  I’ve had to repeatedly remind my runaway train of a writing brain to slow down and relax – that it will all come out [right] in the end.

I have no idea at this point when Cauldron of the Gods will be ready for release but I’m enjoying the interesting path it’s taking to get there.

 

Metatron’s Universe and Paranormal Journeys

sunrise-1634197__340I am pleased to announce that Soothsayer, a book that was a year in the making, is now available for purchase.

This books follows Port in a Storm and is a Paranormal Journeys novel.

I am also happy to showcase a new website, metatronsuniverse.com.

The stories here are not (necessarily) science fiction.

There are suspense/action/adventure and urban fantasy novels in the queue.

I have posted a video on the welcome page where I talk about what Metatron’s Universe is and educate readers as to what to expect from upcoming material.

I will be updating the site on an ongoing basis, including providing pages for the new projects I’m launching.

Enjoy!

 

Book Excerpt: Soothsayer

9-hands-on-crystal-ball-and-cryptocurrency-allan-swart.jpgBelow is an excerpt from Soothsayer, the upcoming Paranormal Journeys release.

Available Summer 2019.

I am hard at work on a number of projects.

Stay Tuned

BOOK EXCERPT:

Fountain Hills, Arizona

Seven-year-old Fiona Gladstone knew one thing for certain.  Sneaking out to meet her older brother was one of the hardest things she’d ever had to do.  Why he wanted to go hiking before the sun was up was a mystery, but he was adamant.  By the time they reached the bottom of the Arizona canyon, the sun was rising over the Four Peaks and her chest was heaving.

“Here.”

She took a long drink then looked around, handed back the water bottle.  “What -?”

Puzzled, Connor glanced at his sister.  Fiona talked more than anyone he knew so he was curious why she shut up before finishing her question.  “You see them,” the third-grader said quietly, “don’t you?”

“Who are they?”

“Apache Indians.”

“What are they doing?”

“Living,” he replied simply.

“What is that?” she asked, pointing at a curtain of shimmering air.

In response, Connor reached out.  His hand and arm, all the way up to his elbow, disappeared.

Fiona screamed.