Hair-raising tales from the dork side

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Versus--by Linda Kozar

COZY MYSTERY MAGAZINE: The Versus--by Linda Kozar: Like many writers, I enjoyed creative writing projects as a child. I wrote a story in second grade about a little girl who fancied living wi...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Growing Up Haunted--by Linda Kozar


Linda's Testimony (Parts 1-5)


Let me start with a little proviso to this true story. I am a Born-Again Believer, a Christian and I do not believe in ghosts or that they inhabit homes or people. I do however, believe that demons (fallen angels) exist--also that they inhabit homes and sometimes people. My husband still finds it hard to believe that I grew up in a "haunted" house. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe, but it's true. At the time, my family and I were unaware of the danger. And that's when our troubles began. . .

Growing Up Haunted
(Part 1 of  5)
New Orleans, LA
July, 1965

The fad of the day--Ouija Boards (pronounced wE-ja) seemed to turn up everywhere--on the shelf right next to the Monopoly and Scrabble games. As a child, I can even remember playing the game with friends during school recess in public elementary school.
If you've never heard of them, Ouija Boards, also known as spirit boards or talking boards have been around since 1848, and in other forms long before. The boards became wildly popular--associated with the birth of modern spiritualism. Supposedly, the name Ouija, either means "yes, yes" in two different languages (French oui and German ja), or was given by a "spirit" consulted on the board and is a close approximation to an ancient Egyptian word meaning "Good Luck." Others theorize the name came from the Moroccan city of Oujda (also spelled Oujida and Oudjda).
My family and elementary school friends thought it great fun to ask a question and have the planchette (French for "little plank"), move of its own accord to answer. "Will I be married? What year? To whom? Who will be the next president?" The planchette would move from letter to letter, number to number to answer each question--sometimes at a maddeningly slow pace, other times with rapid precision. How it worked--none of us knew. Maybe our minds moved it with mysterious telekinetic powers? Or maybe we answered our own questions subconsciously. Maybe ghosts moved it?
Nobody ventured much of a plausible guess. And though the main game piece actually moved on its own, nobody stopped playing. Crazy.
An aunt introduced my mother to the game. Of course, the word "game" is key. A game is all the Ouija Board was to my mother, to my aunt, to kids like me, to most people who played. In fact, I viewed the game as another version of the 8-Ball. Remember the black ball you would propose a question to, then turn over to to small window on the underside and the answer would appear from the cloudy murk of fluid inside the ball?
But the Ouija Board was something different. Words, names and entire sentences seemed to form out of thin air, whether bidden or not. Yes, sometimes the planchette would suddenly move whether or not anyone laid a hand on it. How spooky is that? Yet, as I said earlier, none of us really stopped to consider what manner of "toy" we were tampering with. I wish we had.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Follow that Dream. . .by Linda Kozar



When asked how to get to Neverland, Peter Pan answered, "Second Star to the right, and straight on till morning."

Peter Pan decided he preferred being a boy to being a man. He refused to grow up or grow old. But the rest of us haven't much choice in the matter.

Authors especially.

As an author, I hope and pray things never change, that I never run out of steam or the dream, and that a story will forever stir in my head as I stand at the stove stirring a pot of sauce or soup. But if change is inevitable, let it be in a positive direction.

At the moment, I'm sitting in my favorite chair multi-tasking some writing projects, hoping I don't cross-contaminate characters or plots, and praying I choose the right assortment of words to adequately describe what I see in my mind.

And I do see some incredible things in there:)

In my mind's eye, I see settings in exquisite detail. I know what each character looks like and what each would say or do. I translate these descriptions to my laptop as fast as I can because there are voices and songs and the fragrance of certain flowers to attend to as well. Sometimes I can't get them all down fast enough. My fingers don't type as fast as the neurons fire.

Well, not always. Some days, I can't seem to write a single sentence. Which brings me to a question. . .

Do authors ever get tired of writing?

I'm guessing some do, especially if they're writing something they aren't passionate about. I always ask fellow authors what they would secretly like to write and I'm often surprised by the answer. A romance author wants to write speculative fiction. A mystery writer wants to write nonfiction. A children's author want's to write romantic suspense. But do they? Will they?

Branding isn't a bad thing for authors--it's a strategy for achieving goals . If you write in a certain genre with any element of success, you will probably continue to get more contracts based on that track record. But an author who wants to leapfrog to a different place on the bookshelf, will have some hoops to jump through first. The desire to change, to write something in a different genre might be met with opposition--probably from an agent or editor or both and likely from readers who are always looking for your latest greatest next book in the genre they love and follow. The fear with a loyal reader following is, if you leave them they might leave you.

Which is a risk an author must be willing to take.

But why would an author want to take a risk like that?

Back to passion. If you are passionate about what you write, it seeps into the writing. In fact, such writing is infused with the author's emotion and intent. There's a lot of love in that kind of book. And a book like that is a pleasure to read.

If you want to break out of your little gilded cage, you're going to have to do it and do it well. You're going to have to turn in a stellar work in the rogue genre you chose--a work that will win over your regular readers and inspire new ones.

Given the choice, I urge you to decide early on what kind of writer you want to be and follow that dream. Not someone else's dream. Your dream.

Find your own Never Never Land. I know just how to get there.

"Second star to the right, and straight on till morning."





Cozy Mysteries by Linda Kozar

Gate Beautiful Radio Show--November 21, 2013

Family Reunion--Oregon 2012

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Meet The Christian Authors--2011

Meet The Christian Authors--2011
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