Jan 15, 2010

Paranormal Inspiration

Mel's Cat Stats:

Reading: Fever, Christine Feehan
Listening to:
Enya & Guns 'N' Roses (depending on scene I'm writing) Watching: The Prince of Egypt (well, miss Two is!)
Making me smile: Miss Two's potty training success!!

Happy day five to our LoveCats DownUnder blog! I am so very happy to be part of this wonderful cat gang - Rachel, Nikki, Tracie, Sharon, Zana and Emily!

I wanted to start my first post with something related to my becoming a Nocturne Bites author. With this in mind I decided to showcase how the dangerous creatures Australians live with on a day-to-day basis, along with our ancient landscape, inspire the darker, paranormal side of my imagination.

We have some of the most venomous snakes in the world, and also lay claim to two of the most deadly spiders - the Sydney Funnel Web & Red Back Spider. Venture into our beautiful oceans and you just may tangle with a Great White shark (cue Jaws music) and in the warmer waters there's a chance you could brush up against a Box Jellyfish *shudder*

But for me it's the Australian 'bush' that really inspires my story-telling: the majestic gums that seem almost to glow at night, the often drought-stricken landscape steeped in Aboriginal culture (I can almost hear the haunting sounds of a didgeridoo), the beautiful snow-capped hills of the southern states in winter, the interior's breathtaking semi-arid desert where the sandstone rock of Uluru juts into the air 1,142 feet. It's a landscape that conjures up visions of the unknown. There are many apparent sightings of the Yowie (Big Foot/Yeti) Min Min lights (unexplained light/s which appear and often bob through the air at night) regular UFO sightings and even the occasional claim to big cats.

It's little wonder I gravitated toward paranormal romance even before I realised it was my true calling! What creatures and/or landscapes inspire your imagination? Has something paranormal ever grabbed your attention? For one person with extra-special 'inspiring' comments, there is a lovely bunch of books up for grabs:

  1. The Earl’s Dilemma, Emily May (in Fate & Fortune, with A Country Miss In Hanover Square, by Anne Herries) Quills / Regency
  2. Stone Cold Lover, Mel Teshco Ellora’s Cave
  3. Single Father: Wife & Mother Wanted, Sharon Archer Medical
  4. Duo of Marriage Reunited: Baby on the Way, Sharon Archer, with Lucy Clark’s Bride on the Children’s Ward Medical
  5. Claiming His Bought Bride, Rachel Bailey Desire
  6. The Blackmailed Bride’s Secret Child, Rachel Bailey Desire
  7. Tonight, My Love, Tracie Sommers Spice Briefs
  8. His Housekeeper Bride, Melissa James Harlequin Romance / Sweet
  9. Tycoon’s One Night Revenge, Bronwyn Jameson Desire
  10. Prince Incognito, Linda Goodnight, including a novella, The Homecoming, Melissa James


  1. Hey, do I get the silver kitty? If I do, I hope he's a bit happier than the one in the pic. That looks like a kranky kitty to moi!

    Mel, I adore the new blog. I'm sure I'll be a regular visitor. Cats and category romance? Great stuff!

    Love your post. I agree with you about the bush being slightly creepy sometimes. Often! I must say the English/Scottish countryside inspires me. And the old houses. And pictures of men in breeches and boots and...

    Yeah, might leave it there!

  2. Oh, silver kitty! This might be the next discussion with the other LoveCats! =)

    And yes, totally agree on the Australian 'bush' at times being creepy. Brings back my very young memories of the movie, Picnic at Hanging Rock. *gulp*

    And I love your inspiration Anna... pictures of men in (tight) breeches and boots (maybe a whip in hand)! I can definately see why you write gorgeous historicals!

  3. Great new blog, Mel. And I agree the Australian bush can be spooky. Particularly the lone skeleton of a blasted gum tree. I always fancy they look like boney arms reaching out of the earth.
    I find inspiration in rusted wrought iron gates and gardens gone to seed, overgrown and neglected. Always makes me wonder what happend.

  4. Yay for Miss Two's mastery of the potty, Mel. A big moment for all the family but especially for you and her! Congratulations!

    While we were travelling around Australia on the motorbike last year, I saw some many awe-inspiring landscapes. We stayed in Broome for three weeks and, even though I was working on book three, we packed in some fabulous sightseeing trips. The one that leaps to mind right now is the spectacular Cape Leveque. Stark white sand, red pindan cliffs, summer blue sky and turquoise water. Just stunning!

    Mmmm, must be time to drag out the photos... again! ;)

  5. Hey Mel,

    Your tortoise shell is almost like Splat (my ts only she has long fur)!

    The bush is definitely the place to be to begin suspecting all things paranormal. I live just south of the Pillaga State Forest, which has legendary tales of the Yowie being sighted by locals.

    I can attest to strange things happening while in the bush. A couple of friends and I were out chainsawing wood for winter in the middle of a thick hillside of bush at the back of a friend's farm. All was going well, we were getting the ute filled. Then we stopped for smoko (cuppa and cake).

    Once the sound of the chainsaw had been cut off the sounds of the bush returned. It was really peaceful listening to the wind move among the trees, the happy jacks cackling at one another, the hum of insects etc.

    THen we heard this really strange, long drawn out almost-howl in the distance. A very weird unidentifiable cry. The three of us looked at each other and began asking what that noise was.

    Cow? Nope, the farm never let the herd go bush, too hard to round them up.

    Wild dog? No dog ever sounded like that!

    Escaped zoo animal? (that was a wild guess and not one of us could accept it)

    Then Ben had to go and suggest it was a Yowie. That he'd heard his farming mate tell tales of how he and the farm hands had heard unexplained sounds on occassion while out in this section of the bush before.

    Just what an over-active imagination like mine needed! While we all laughed and joked about the idea I spent the rest of the time cutting up firewood looking over my shoulder and checking the treeline for shadowy shapes and listening for that sound again.

    The first and only time I've been scared in broad daylight. :-)

  6. Hi Andrea!
    I know exactly what you mean - our gums take on a life of their own!
    And the rusty wrought iron gate leading into an old, neglected gardens - it makes you imagine what it all looked like in its prime - the story behind why it went untended...

  7. Hi Sharon,
    potty training isn't quite mastered yet - but close! (yay!!!)
    I was telling hubby the other night about your trip around Australia on a motorbike - how fun that would be. (probably not the best topic to ooh and ahh about when he's had a knee replacement from motorbike accident...)
    Cape Leveque sounds magical =)

  8. Another great post - definitely worth repeat visits here!!
    Congrats and envy on the potty front Mel. Little mannie just isn't interested.
    Can't go past the Aussie bush for inspiration. It's the wide open spaces and unexplored feel - there's a whole lot of emptiness and unknown out there.
    My brush with unexplained event occurred in my home. While doing some edits late at night i heard the kids' rocking horse (big wooden thing) going on the wooden floor in their room. I stormed to the door with hubby to order the rascals back to bed. They were sound asleep, and the huge wooden thing was still moving. It slowed to a stop before our eyes. I feel scared just thinking about it...

  9. Kylie,
    I got goosebumps reading your post. I too would have been nervous the whole day after hearing something like that (with the added bonus of spooky story telling!)
    thanks for posting...I think! lol

  10. Becca,
    that also gave me the chills! Mind you, I'm all too familiar with that kind of thing - I used to live in a haunted house, and have seen other 'apparitions' (reluctant to call them ghosts) on occasion.
    And you're spot on about the whole lot of emptiness out there. It really does get the imagination going!

  11. Ooh Mel... I never realised you were so inspired by our dangerous nature - lol! I must admit to not being MAJORLY into the paranormal... except those written by friends :) but I actually am a little intrigued by the whole GHOST thing. One of my category attempts even has a ghost as a semi-secondary character!!!

    Congrats again on your contract with Bites!

  12. Hey Mel and the other Lovecats

    Mel - wahoo on almost in the potty department with Miss#2 - she can't be that big already? Where does the time go!

    I have come to love the Australian bush even thought i'm an import to this county...and have leant to spray the red backs, call the snake man for the red-belly black that visited our garden and even treat stingray barbs in hubby's foot when he stepped on one while we were boating. Yip - dangerous animals deluxe here!

    Inspirations for me still comes from Africa, the dryness of the bushvelt, the green waters of the waterholes and the burnt copper sunsets still hold my imagination...and as for scary stuff... I was brought up with the treat of the tokoloshi coming for a visit if I was naughty - and even though I am older now I still think about it and wonder about the watersprite-like spirit with a long penis over his shoulder., who could hurt you..never underestimate the indoctrinations of childhood!

    Love your 'pissed off' looking tortoiseshell in your post - think she is beaut-i-ful!

    Bye 4 now

  13. I refuse to believe in ghosts, because it would just be too scary if they really existed, but I did sleep in a motel room once that almost had me convinced there was a ghost there. I kept on waking up because it felt as if hands were plucking at the sheets or something was running across the bed. The room was always entirely empty!

  14. Hi Rachael,
    I love our Aussie nature - how couldn't I be inspired! I was even inspired by the drought affected paddocks near Rockhampton - made me think about a werewolf story... lol!!
    I like the sound of your ghost story - tell me more!!!

  15. Hi Tina!
    I know - my little princess is actually 2 and a half now. Wowsers! I can't remember her getting this big so quickly lol!!!
    And as for snakes - great idea getting the snake man in - in one year here I had three snakes come inside - one a brown snake who actually tried to strike me when I peered behind the couch to see if I wasn't imagining things, another that got into my hallway storage cupboard - I didn't know it was there, my cat Ginny was attacking it and I dragged her out rather unceremoniously (thought she was scratching up my photos) and out popped a very angry red belly black, he was all puffed up!
    Africa is one place I'd absolutely LOVE to see - though I'd never heard of that water sprite (shudder)
    my gorgeous tortoishelle cat isn't around anymore, lost her last year - found her dead in the paddock. RIP Shandy =)

  16. Not being from Australia and experiencing the Bush firsthand I can't really say for sure if it would creep me out or not. I'm not much of a nature person and I really don't like spiders and snakes. They really creep me out.

  17. Hi Emily,
    that motel room sounds rather freaky! If you didn't believe in them before, I bet you wonder now =)
    I just might have to do a post about this topic soon!

  18. Linda,
    I know how you feel, though for me spiders and snakes fascinate me as much as freak me out =)
    I have to say I love nature, but wouldn't want to give up my luxuries lol (shower, toilet, soap...)

  19. Fascinating post, Mel! One thing that affected me profoundly was an OOBE I had when I was 18 - that was so weird but at the time felt perfectly normal. My m-i-l and s-i-l are mediums and I'm convinced my eldest daughter has inherited the gift. Some of the things she knows are just too freaky!

  20. Ahhh see Mel, I have spent lots of time looking for those scary Aussie animals. I've set spider traps in western Qld as part of research into Redbacks, hunted snakes throughout Brisbane's coastal wetlands as part of a wildlife resource investigation, been the on-site 'snake remover' (amongst other things) for a mine near Mt Isa - just to name a few of the things most people look at me sideways for, lol.

    But I remember being quite young, out on a camping trip and one of the adults on the trip telling us youngsters about Drop Bears!! We were terrified. Needless to say, the vegemite replaced the zinc cream on our noses, and we psnet a lot of time with our eyes peeled on the tree canopy.

    And Mel - Enya and Guns & Roses... talk about extremes *grin* Can only imagine what is happening in your ms to require those two groups.

  21. I just adore the Australian landscape. I love gum trees and beaches and red dirt and the mountains and open blue skies. It's hard not to be inspired when I look out the window!

    Re: snakes and spiders - I live in a small patch of bush, so snakes and spiders are part of our everyday life. My main concern is one of my dogs finding a snake, because they'll attack and--if it's a poisonous snake--both snake and dog could die.

    And in my northern part of Australia, we have crocodiles and sharks too. But I've had experiences like a huge shark swimming by me yet never once been hurt by a native animal.

    Cat scratches? Millions! Puppy teeth marks from rough play? Countless! Deadly native animals? Have left me alone so far...

  22. Hey Mel & the LoveCats Gang,
    There's nothing like Australia. I went overseas many years ago and I remember standing on a Caribbean beach thinking "you guys rave about this? Ours would leave it for dead!" ... and I don't want to think about the poor excuse for a beach in England!!!

    When I lived out west, the ocean inspired my imagination. Now I live near the ocean and it's the outback! Typical "grass is greener..." me!

    Love some of the scary stories you guys have!


  23. Ohhh, Ghosts.
    My house having been built in 1880 has an old man who walks the corridors. Even threw a book at my mother in law once. Very funny, I don't think he likes her. We get a funny smell around the house (old man smell) not to be nasty, so I always know when he's lurking. My youngest son refuses to sleep in his bedroom because of him. Says he stands in his corner. Scary, you bet.

    I love reading paranormal even though I write historical *chuckle*. Just ordered Gena Showalter's latest in the Lords of the Underworld series along with Brenda Joyce's Masters of Time. And now I can add Stone Cold Lover to my TBR pile.

    Congrats on all your sales and a great blog. Meow for now.

  24. Hey Emily... the bad news...? That was probably a ghost :) LOL

  25. Mel - great topic! Working PR in a conservation org I used to get phonecalls from perfectly credible, perfectly intellegent sounding people with the most convincing stories of giant cats (panthers etc) roaming the Australian bush. One guy swore black'n'blue he'd seen a Tasmanian Tiger even though we both knew they've been extinct for 100 years.

    I myself haven't seen anything quite that weird of the natural variety...except... (cue spooky music)...

    Back when I was a film student I was working out at one of our universities on a stormy night and we realised we'd left the spare camera batteries in the car. I sprinted out into the rain to get them and as I galloped around the corner of a building on my way back I skidded to an absolutely terrified halt because standing ten meters ahead of me (I swear to GOD) was a giant, heavily armoured *thing* looking about as though it was as suprised to find itself there as I was.

    It's probably the only time my body literally would not move (I froze like in a dream), and then this enormous, plated head turned straight towards me and I flew out of there back to the car and locked myself in. I must have sat there shaking for fifteen minutes until I finally convinced myself it must have been a sculpture or statue on campus, so I headed sheepishly back to where we were filming.

    When i got to the corner I peeked around like a scared kitten, ready to be mightily embarrassed and find it was a statue and... *nothing*. Not a thing was there. Except a dry patch in the pathway where the rain should have been.

    I wasn't a drinker or a taker of anything stronger than paracetemol or overly tired or under stress. I wasn't even particularly into sci fi/fantasy back then. It was just the wierdest thing I've ever had happen to me.

    And I guess it was kind of natural... in an alien kind of way! LOL.

    Wow, all the secrets are coming out tonight... we need a bonfire and some marshmallows to toast...

  26. Christina,
    I have another friend with a similar experience, I think it would be amazing to astral travel.
    Your eldest daughter sounds gifted, that's for sure.
    Thanks for sharing your story =)

  27. Anita, what a fantastic job! Many experiences to share I bet - and LOL on those drop bears!!
    As for Enya and Guns 'N' Roses - yes, my taste varies =)

  28. Rachel,
    I can vouch for your beautiful part of the country - little wonder you're inspired.
    LOL on the cat scratches and puppy teeth marks - you're right, they're much more likely to happen than any timid snake bite!
    Have to say though *shudder* on the close encounter with a shark.

  29. Hi Catherine,
    I think you do appreciate your own country when you travel elsewhere. I love our wide open spaces - and could imagine missing both the beach and the outback. It'd be nice to have a home near both, eh!!?

  30. Tamara,
    I love your story! Can't believe your 'guest' threw a book at your MIL!! (or perhaps you're really the guest)
    These comments have been so very interesting =)

  31. Hehehe, no really I like my mother in law. But truly, we were sitting in the lounge talking probably about nothing, and a book, came out of the bookcase and landed behind her. It was really strange. I think he's trying to make her a believer, because she's not.
    Maybe I should write a non fiction book about Ghosts *chuckle* I did grow up in Burra after all. Lots of stories I could tell you about that place...

  32. Nikki,
    WOW! I have never heard of anything like that before - hmm, parallel universe?? Was it human or something more alien? That's one experience that would stay with you for a long, long time!!

  33. Mel - great post. I know we have had discussions on scary things and ghosts. I actually don't find ghost scary. I never have. I used to wonder why people would run screaming from them in movies.

    The Australian bush - on dusk - when the curlews are crying. Now that can be quite freaky.

  34. Tamara,
    is she a believer now? (g) - I know I would be!
    And I agree with you on writing a non fiction book - could probably fill it with even just the people who have commented so far! (sure there's lots more happenings than what has been aired so far)
    I think my next blog will focus on the more ghostly paranormal encounters =)

  35. Hi Tracey!
    As you know I used to be one of the ones who would have ran screaming - if my feet weren't planted firmly on the ground in fear! Now - with some help from my friends - I'm overcoming lots of those feelings of terror.
    And you've conjured up quite an image with the dusk and the curlews crying!

  36. Wow everyone,
    I feel like we're around a campfire telling ghost stories.

    When I was young we'd go and stay up at my grandparent's farm. It was so quiet - freaky quiet, really - and then this awfully moaning would start up. Deep bellowing noises, in the dead of the night...

    Now, I knew I was on a dairy farm, and the horrific moans were probably cows, but still... those noises ... and the occasional rustling sounds... with everyone asleep...
    Scared me witless!

  37. Hi Sue,
    it's great isn't it. I'm loving this discussion.
    Actually your comment made me think back to a time when I lived on a dairy farm, the house there was so old - featuring a can toilet - everything creaked and groaned and the wind really did whistle outside. If I wanted to go to the loo I'd simply sneak out to the front lawn - too terrified to make the trip with a torch/flashlight to the building that wasn't even connected to the house!
    Don't remember the moaning though - are you really sure they were cows?? (g)

  38. Hey Mel & the LoveCats,

    What a fascinating conversation. I'm a city girl but I remember we used to cruise as teenagers around the hills and how 'other-worldly' it felt. Whenever I go out of the city, I relish over the landscape's breathtaking view and the ancient 'feel' to it. So many stories it holds just waiting to be told. And the sea to me is always an inspiration - both majestic & powerful. Again with many tales to tell.

    And having been to Greece, I felt a connection with the land & the tales there. Something about being in an old Byzantine fortress looking across the sea having a coffee and just being in the moment. Really magical.

  39. Paranormal inspiration - From the time I remember, myself and my sister used to watch all the "ghost" serials out there - afraid, huddled under the blankets and TV on mute.
    Later, I kind of got terrified of watching anything "horror" and obviously books took a major role for entertainment than television.

    There was a story I read while just starting my graduation.. Acceptable Risk by Robin Cook - a medical thriller..where while researching a new medicine - the story will revolve around the past - where the so-called-medicine growing in some moulds would cause so many side effects that the ladies who consumed were considered as witches and executed.. And modern science will rule them out as side-effects and do chemical alteration to produce the best..and all of a sudden history will repeat itself in modern world.. The atmosphere and the chills it gave along with the suspense - man, it was awesome..and my first interest in paranormal books - started with that..

    I hated the movies where vampires were shown as evils, since they became boring, I got hooked when vampires were shown as heroes in the books... and the romance that came with it and the concept of "eternal" love - really wow'ed me..

    On the cat front, I got curious to check this blog out - since I had also posted some pictures of cats as new year wishes on my blog :) Of course they were sent to me by a friend..

    And I really like this new blog and the more personal approach given by each author :) Congrats and keep it up !!!

  40. Hi Eleni!
    Thanks for dropping by!
    There really is something powerful about the ocean, relentless and unforgiving.
    Other-wordly is a great word - and Greece, the stories there are amazing! Just another country I'd love to visit one day =)

  41. Ju isn't it amazing how fearful we are of the 'unknonwn' yet drawn to it - even excited by the fear =)
    That medical thriller sounds excellent, perhaps a book to consider for my teetering TBR pile (g) and actually my husband would love that one too.
    And thanks for the congrats! Glad you like the cat concept =)

  42. *************************************
    And the winner is: Tamara Gill!
    Contact me with your details Tamara at