Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Beaumont Children Disappearance

The last day and last Wednesday Weird of 2014! So let's get to it.

In 1966 in the suburbs of Adelaide, Australia nine-year-old Jane Beaumont and her siblings, seven-year-old Arnna and four-year-old Grant disappeared into seemingly thin air.

The kids took a five-minute bus ride to Glenelg Beach, a place they often visited, including the day before. That evening, they never returned home, turning into one of Australia's biggest mysteries and infamous cold cases even today.

What we know:

  • Witnesses claimed to have seen the siblings on the beach playing with a tall, thin, blond man in his 30s.
  • The children, and especially Jane, were considered shy, so it was out of character for them to be seen with a stranger.
  • Jane Beaumont was spotted buying snacks (including a meat pie, which the children had never purchased before) with money she did not have when she left the house that day. The shopkeeper knew the children well from previous visits. 
  • A mail carrier who knew the family saw the kids walking in the direction of their home a few hours later. They stopped and spoke with him and seemed cheerful, which is strange because by this point they were 3 hours late for their 2pm curfew.
  • Several months after the disappearance a woman would come forward and say that on the night of their disappearance she saw a man with two girls and a boy enter a house that she thought was empty. Later she saw the boy walking alone until he was chased and roughly caught by the man. The next morning the house appeared to be deserted again.
Related Case:
in 1973 11-year-old Joanne Ratcliffe and 4-year-old Kirste Gordon vanished from Adelaide during a football match after Joanne's parents and Kirste's grandmother let the girls to go to the bathroom.
They were seen multiple times in the 90 minutes they were gone, apparently distressed and with an unknown man. The police sketch of the man resembled that of the man last seen with the Beaumont children.
Possible Suspects:
Bevan Spencer von Einem
  • In 1966 von Einem was 21 years old. Between 1975 and 193 the bodies of four young men and teen boys would be found badly mutilated or subjected to "surgery". Von Einem was arrested and charged for one of these murders.
  • Known as the Family Murders, there was evidence to show that in actuality 4 people with up to 8 associates were involved in the murders of the teens.
  • During von Einem's trial, testimony was given that alleged he was involved in both the Beaumont children disappearance as well as the Ratcliffe/Gordon disappearance.
  • One of the witnesses said von Einem boasted of having taken 3 children from a beach to conduct experiments on them. He said he "connected the children together", but that one of the children died during the procedure so he had to kill the other two.
  • von Einem somewhat resembled the sketches
  • He was known to frequent Glenelg beach to watch the changing rooms and was fond of children
  • The witness said that von Einem also told him that he had taken Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon and killed them.
  • The murders he is associated with, though, bears little resemblance to the Beaumont and Ratcliffe/Gordon disappearances
Arthur Stanley Brown
  • In 1998 Arthur Stanley Brown was charged with the murders of 7-year-old Judith and 5-year-old Susan Mackay in Queensland who disappeared in 1970 on their way to school and were found later, strangled.
  • He was never tried due to suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's after he was charged.
  • With von Einem he's considered one of the best suspects in the case because he bears a striking resemblance to both sketches.

Brown in the 60s
  • Brown's appearance barely changed in the 30 years between the Ratcliffe/Gordon disappearance. In fact, one of the witnesses in that case recognized him as the same man just from a picture on TV after the Mackay murders.
  • Additionally, at the time of the Ratcliffe/Mackay disappearance she had reported that the man she'd seen with the girls had been wearing horn-rimmed glasses. Brown was known to have worn horn-rimmed glasses.
  • Mostly, he's considered a suspect in the Beaumont case because he's such a strong suspect in the Ratcliffe/Gordon case, though he would have been in his 50s during the Beaumont disappearance
Thoughts? Theories?

Monday, December 29, 2014

My Holiday Table Blog Hop

Today is the Holiday Table blog hop, where we see what everyone eats for the holidays. And I like food so I signed up.

I'm showing our Christmas Eve meal, since it's the best one of the year, I think.

We start off with clam chowder around noon (stoopid me forgot to take a picture of this because I was just sooooo hungry. But believe me when I tell you it's good)

A few hours later the poté needs to be made.

Poté is a family dish we make. It's French in origin and you fill a pot with bread dough and then stuff that bread dough with browned meat (traditionally rabbit, but we use pork and chicken). Some of the meat ends up all embedded in the gooey bread when it's done cooking. (those are the best pieces).

Besides poté for dinner we also have snow crab legs. YUM. Then we'll have sides that vary each year, depending on our mood (except for olives. We always have olives. Pitted if we can find them). This year it was corn.

Then, after dinner we'll take a break (usually in the hot tub) and dessert this year was my dad's crème brulee.

And that's my holiday spread!

Monday, December 22, 2014

In Which It's The Holidays

I'll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging because of the holidays.

Have a great week, friends!


Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Fun

Ape-friends. APE-FRIENDS!

We are less than one week away from the wonderfulness of getting presents.
Presents make everything better.

Now that we've shaken hands, I need my presents

Onto the fun!









Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday Weird: Rongorongo

Easter Island is well known for the giant moai statues and the mysteries surrounding them.

But the moai are not the only mystery found on Easter Island.

Rongorongo is a mystery written language found on tablets on the island. Known as Rapa Nui to the island's inhabitants the language is strange on multiple levels.

The first being that it didn't appear until the 1700s. Some scholars think the language came about when the islanders first saw written language from the Spaniards who hade traveled to their island, but there's just as much support that it could be one of the very few instances of independent inventions of writing in human history.

So the language suddenly appeared in the 1700s and in just two centuries it would be gone again, leaving the mystery as it is today.

Rongorongo is a pictograph writing system. It was found on wooden tablets and other objects, such as a chieftain's spear. Writing was unknown in any of the surrounding islands, which makes its appearance confounding to anthropologists. If no one around you writes, how do you come up with this system on your own?

Despite its recent birth, though, no archeologist, linguist, or scholar has ever been able to decipher the language. The closest any have come is discovering that one of the tablets referred to a lunar calendar.

The problem was that the island's population when it was first discovered was around 4,000, but the ecosystem was suffering and the island was overpopulated. Add to the mix western disease and the slave trade and shortly after that Easter Island would be reduced to a population of 110 by 1877. And the colonizers would decide the strange language was too pagan and would forbid it as a form of communication. Finally, missionaries would destroy the tablets with Rongorongo inscriptions.

Since then, scholars have tried to decipher the text, but any remaining inhabitants would refuse to translate, and the best help they ever got was when one islander, drunk, looked at a tablet and sang a song about fertility.

Only 25 texts survive, and what they hold will continue to be a mystery unless someone, someday, manages to decipher the mystery language. Maybe when that happens, we'll have a final understanding of the more well-known mystery of the moai statues.


Monday, December 15, 2014

In Which The End Of The Year Is Near

I always like when the year comes to the end in regards to blogging, because it sets me up for some easy posts in the new year (best books I read, goals I met, new goals, etc). But the end of the year is kind of a pain because I'm not sure what to talk about.

Mostly I'm just gearing up for my January Residency for my MFA. I'm really excited for it, and so pretty much I just feel like I'm biding my time until residency. I'm really hoping this week we get our workshop assignments so I can see which students I'm workshopping with (really hoping I get some of my classmates this residency) and which faculty. And then diving into everyone's workshop submissions.

And I'm working on my sequel. It's slow going, which is frustrating, and I think it's because I'm just waiting for residency. But I really need to nip that in the bud and buckle down and get to work. Especially now when I don't have any homework for my MFA or other demands on my time.

I just need to NaNo that book, I think. And it was my plan to write a lot of it during NaNo but edits interfered so that plan didn't get off the ground. But, what can you do? Just keep going forward.

How about you? Gearing up for the end of the year? Or the Holidays? Working on a new project?

This has nothing to do with anything. Just thought it was cool

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Fun

Here we are, ape-friends, another week gone by and one week closer to when we get presents!

So let's get this weekend started off right, with some fun!









Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Immortal Count Saint Germain

Saint Germain was a count born in the late 1600s (though records on this are still unclear) and who seems to have unlocked the ability to live forever.

Born the son of Francis Racoczi II, Prince of Transylvania, he was supposedly an accomplished alchemist and also claimed to have discovered eternal life. Between 1740 and 1780 Saint Germain, who was quite famous, traveled throughout Europe – and never seemed to age.

Let's break down this mystery man.

He spoke 12 languages
He could play the violin like a virtuoso.
He was an accomplished painter.
Wherever he traveled, he set up an elaborate laboratory, presumably for his alchemy work.
He seemed to have great wealth, but was not known to have any bank accounts.
He dined with friends frequently, but was rarely seen to eat food in public. He subsisted supposedly on a diet of oatmeal.
He had recipes for the removal of facial wrinkles and hair dye.
He was linked to several secret societies, including the Freemasons, the Illuminati and Order of the Templars.

So all of that is pretty impressive, but not, say, impossible for a man of means.
So let's get down to the weirdness.

Officially Saint Germain died in 1784, but he would continue to be seen throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century.

In 1785 he was seen in Germany with Anton Mesmer, the pioneer hypnotist.

Official records of Freemasonry show that they chose Saint Germain as their representative for a convention in 1785.

In the French Revolution in 1789, the Comtesse d’Adhémar said she spoke with Saint Germain. He allegedly told her of France’s immediate future, as if he knew what would happen.
In 1821, she wrote: “I have seen Saint-Germain again, each time to my amazement. I saw him when the queen was murdered, on the 18th of Brumaire, on the day following the death of the Duke d’Enghien, in January, 1815, and on the eve of the murder of the Duke de Berry.” The last time she saw him was in 1820 – and each time he looked no older than mid-40.

C. W. Leadbeater claimed to have met him in Rome in 1926 and said that Saint Germain told him that one of his residences was a castle in Transylvania.

Thoughts and theories?

Monday, December 8, 2014

In Which 2014 Was Awesome And Is Almost Gone

I can't believe we're already into December, and that Christmas is only a few weeks away.

Where did 2014 go? Wasn't it just summer?


But 2014 was a killer year for me. I landed and agent. I got a book deal. I started my MFA (which, honestly, was one of the best decisions I've ever made)

I'm officially done with my second semester. My next residency is in January and that will launch my third semester, which is when I have to write my critical thesis, a 30 page paper examining an element of craft.

I'm both looking forward to it, and dreading it. Looking forward to it because I want to write about monstrous characters.

Dreading it because I'm not actually looking forward to writing the paper. Or presenting it in the summer.

But, once it's done, that means no more paper writing for me! So that's another bonus.

But, also, my MFA is going sooo fast. Too fast, actually. I feel like the end is in sight, and that makes me sad because I love it so much.

So, what's up with you? Are you ready for the holidays? Utterly shocked that there's only a few weeks left in 2014?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Fun

Woo! First Friday in December, ape-friends!

Also, can you believe that we're already into December? What happened to 2014?

Did I nap through it? I must have napped through it

Well, we've still got some time left, so let's get down to some fun!









Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: This Time Last Year

This time last year, my life was already on a new course. I just didn't know it yet.

I had started querying my YA fantasy ALL THAT REMAINS on Halloween. I continued querying through November, and then I stopped in December.

And that would be it. That would be all the queries I would send.

I didn't know this of course. My plans were to start querying again mid-January, after my first MFA residency. But I never reached that point.

The agents who would later offer me representation already had the manuscript. Some of them were already reading it. And then reading it again. And maybe again (agents are awesome).

Later in December I would get 4 R&Rs. And a few weeks after that, I would get my first offer of rep. Then 6 more. I would sign with my lovely agent.

And 4 weeks after that I would have a book deal with HarperTeen. Everything would be different.

But back in the beginning of December, everything felt the same. I didn't yet know what was coming, the gears that were already turning to put my life on a new course.

So today, since it's Insecure Writer's Support Group, that's what I want to point out.

If you're still querying, trying to get an agent, sending out your book to big and small houses, hoping someone will pick it up, you could already be there.

Someone could be reading your query or your partial or your entire manuscript right now, and that could be it, the first moment that changes everything for you.

OR, maybe you're not even sending things out yet. Maybe you're drafting a book, or revising your  manuscript and it will be the exact thing an agent or editor will be looking for.

OR, maybe you self-publish, and you could be writing something, or getting ready to publish something that will be exactly what a brand new audience will be looking for.

The gears in your life could already be turning, too. Your life could already be changed, you may just not know it yet.

Today's IWSG co-hosts are:

Heather Gardner
T. Drecker
Eva E. Solar
Patsy Collins

Monday, December 1, 2014

In Which I Was Tagged

I was tagged by the lovely Vanessa Eccles to participate in the Liebster Award Blog Hop about my current WIP. I'm working on more than one thing right now, actually. Edits and revisions for ATR, the ATR sequel and tinkering a bit with my WIP (I finished the first draft a few weeks ago) so I think I'll focus in my YA fantasy WIP, tentatively titled MONSTERS WITHIN.

1.  Where did you find the inspiration for your WIP?
I really don't remember. I know for a long time I was thinking of it as Sherlock Holmes meets Howl's Moving Castle, but outside of that, I'm not sure. I like bromances (who doesn't amiright?) and horses and demons and magic and impending wars and I just kind of mixed that all up until I had something.

2. What is the setting and how important is it to the story?
It's a second world fantasy, so not set on earth as we know it. It has a bit of an 1800s feel, in regards to technology. And it's set in the middle of winter which isn't important to the plot, per se, but definitely sets the mood. The setting isn't crazy important, at least, not as important as my last book, but it wouldn't work if it was set somewhere "real", mostly because there's a giant split in the land that tempts people to jump to their death. And also may spit out demons.

3. What is your MC's most likable quality?
I think it's that he's steadfast. He's the type of guy you can count on, who will help you for no other reason than that it's the right thing to do. It's these traits, though, that cause him such problems when he's tasked to do something he doesn't morally agree with.

4. Does your MC prefer coffee or tea?
Tea, though I think he'd probably be a coffee drinker if there was such a drink in his world

5. If you met your villain in real life, would you run away, slap him (or her), stop for a chat, or ask for an autograph?
There are multiple villains in MW (I'm a huge fan of multiple antagonists) but for 2 out of 3 I'd either run, or move away quickly. The third could use a well-placed slap.

6. What are three words that best describe your MC?
Dedicated. Honor-bound. Steadfast.

7. If your MC could have anything in the world, what would it be?
Tough question. If we're talking material items, he'd probably really like a nice, serviceable saddle that will last for years. But if we're talking more in the abstract, probably something more like somewhere he could just be himself, be able to relax.

8. What's your favorite line in the WIP so far?
Oh man, I have so many favorite lines in this one. It's going to be hard to pick but maybe:

And I couldn’t help but remember his voice, there in the darkness, asking who would ever love him again. Who would love a monster. But I looked at the people surrounding his bed and wondered how he could not be drowning in the love they shared for him.

9. What is the overall tone of the novel?
Hmm. I'd say sad and violent with a little bit of kissing. None of those are tones, really, but there you go.

10. If you had to compare your novel to any fairy tale, what would it be and why?
Holy crap, this is a hard question. I mean, assuming neither Sherlock Holmes nor Howl's Moving Castle counts. I spent a long time trying to come up with something but really couldn't find anything, probably because my knowledge of fairy tales is hit or miss. I'm a lame-o

All right! So I get to tag some peeps and I'm going to choose:

Your questions are:
What is your WIP About?
How long have you been working on your WIP?
Who is your MC?
What are some of the themes you're exploring?
What song would represent your story or MC?
If you were casting your story as a movie, who would play your main character?
What is your favorite line in your WIP so far?
If your MC were to have a pet, what would it be?
When do you think your WIP will be "done?"
Who's your favorite side character in your WIP and why?
What's your MC's favorite food?

Friday, November 28, 2014

In Which It's Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the US. I hope you had a great day!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Weird: La Bête du Gévaudan

I really thought I had done a Wednesday Weird on this topic before, but I checked all my posts and I couldn't find one, so proceed I shall.

La Bete du Gevaudan (the beast of Gévaudan) was a real wolf-like monster that prowled the Auvergne and South Dordogne areas of France 1764 -1767, killing people often in bizarre circumstances. Many men and professional hunters would try to kill the beast, but almost all of them would fail.

The first recorded attack was a young woman in 1764. The beast approached her as she was tending oxen. Her dogs fled, but the oxen drove the beast away. Shortly after the beast would kill 14-year-old Janne Boulet.

After that, the beast would spend two years hunting and killing men, women and children. Most often it would attack single people as they tended their animals in fields or in the woods, but on more than one occasion it would attack larger groups of people, sometimes succeeding in killing multiple victims. Often times only pieces of victims would be found, if their bodies were found at all.

The number of attacks vary, depending on the source, but it killed somewhere between 60 and 113 adults and children, and injuring another 30-49. Many of the victims killed were partly eaten, and it frequently focused its attacks on the throat or head.

Descriptions also vary, but what most people agreed on was that it was reminiscent of a wolf, but the size of a calf or a donkey. It had a strange red coat, square head with small ears and white chest. It had a strangely long tail, like a cat.



On more than one occasion peasants or professional wolf hunters would shoot the beast, and the bullets would not kill it. There were also rumors that perhaps the beast wasn't alone, because more than once attacks happened at almost the same time.

Many wolves were killed in the attempt to put an end to the beast. Louis XV offered rewards and sent hunters to help, but though one hunter did kill a particularly large wolf (5'7" in length) it would prove to not be the beast, as the killing continued a month later.

The man credited with finally putting an end to the beast is Jean Chastel, a 60 year old man sent to hunt the beast. He shot the beast with his shotguns and his dogs finished the deed.
Upon examination, witnesses would stand by the fact that the beast was not a wolf, but by the time the body arrived in Paris it was so putrefied that it was buried immediately.

Nowadays many people think the beast was a wolf, perhaps deformed, or a wolf-dog hybrid, or something else entirely. Unfortunately we'll probably never know for sure what it was. But regardless, it did indeed kill many people, an act that would be strange for any animal, monster or not.

It is still a famous bit of strange history and occasionally shows up in pop culture

If you haven't seen this movie, you should. It deals directly with the beast and is also pretty good

Thoughts or theories?
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