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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Celebrating Beltane with The Ten Tales Authors--Welcoming Karen Heard

I'm always amazed at how all religions seem to celebrate similar feasts at about the same times. The Jews and Christians celebrated Passover and Easter in late March, just as the Spring Equinox occurred. The Orthodox Christians are in the middle of Holy Week, with their Easter this coming Sunday. I shouldn't be surprised since we're all descended from the ancients who adopted new customs and beliefs as the wheel of time turned.

 Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft was assembled with great care by Rayne Hall to celebrate a varied interpretations of  witches and witchcraft by different authors, some of whom are witches, and others like myself  who know, love, respect, study, and write about them. I've made many friends on this journey to understanding and appreciation of the Craft, and welcome fellow Beltane author Karen Heard to tell us a little about herself and her writing.

With gratitude to Rayne and Deborah for all they have taught me about magic, witchcraft , and writing I wish all of you bright blessings no matter of which ilk they may be.

Most of my short stories can take months to write. However when Rayne told me she needed a final story as soon as possible, I knew I e to produce something of quality in a very short space of time. From contributing to Scared: Ten Tales of Horror, and reading the other work in Rayne’s collections, I knew that she set a high bar for the quality of work she accepts. I knew it had to be something special.

I didn’t have any suitable ideas in my head, and so thought I was going to have to decline the offer. However, as I was walking home along the Southbank, looking at the patterns in the river-side sand, an image came into my head of a strange ethereal girl floating across the sand. She had long white hair and instantly I knew her name would be Alba: a girl with a secret identity. I saw her stumble across a body lying in the sand, but that only Alba, with her secret knowledge, could sense that some unnatural force had killed the girl. I knew instantly that I had to write that story.

Sometimes, it helps with the creative process to have a loose brief. Not only did the theme of witchcraft inspire me, but as I knew the story would be part of a collection, it encouraged me to come up with an idea slightly different to the other stories. I wanted to describe Alba in the language similar to that used for magical realism to evoke the mystical quality she possessed. However, as soon as I saw Alba on that beach - the only person able to see what had happened - I knew she would have to be the one to solve the mystery herself, and so wanted the story to be, at heart, a detective story. I hoped this would be an unusual twist on the witchcraft theme.

I wrote the outline of the story in half an hour, as I walked along the Thames that first day, stopping every few minutes to scribble down another scene whilst the lunchtime workers rushed around me. Rewriting then took me quite another couple of weeks, with the occasional nudge from Rayne to keep me motivated.

I wanted to make the work evocative by capturing the smells and feelings that Alba experiences. However I also wanted to show Alba from an outside point of view, as, with her secret past, she is as much of a puzzle as the murder. In the end I introduced a detective: Sergeant Taylor, to also investigate the murders from an official point of view. The two narratives hopefully complement each other and towards the end, when the two stories combine, they help the reader make sense of what each person finds out.

Part of the joy of writing for a collection is when the finished version comes out and you can read the other stories and enjoy being a part of something. When I read Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft I felt proud to be included among so many other varied and thought provoking tales. I really enjoyed reading them all, and I hope you will give them a chance too.

Amazing story, Karen. It illustrates how authors come up with story ideas--and how our muses make their wishes known. Thanks for sharing.

Be sure to join the blog hop and check in on all the other Ten Tales author's Beltane Blogs. I will post the links as soon as they are live.

Here's the link to my post in celebration of Beltane, both the day and the book!

Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft is available on Amazon  

To read more dark short stories by Karen Heard, check out her Amazon Author Page and  new collection: It’s Dark Inside 

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