Tag Archives: Jodi Lee

The Lion Roared

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I’m just sneaking this under the wire for my day at the blog… family issues came up and I’ve only just arrived home. Still, I wanted to get this story up for you all, and I certainly hope you enjoy it!

It has some disturbing and violent pieces, so I’m placing it behind a cut, if you’d rather not read a creepy-kid horror story… 😉
Continue reading The Lion Roared

All That Dies Shall Be Reborn

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Hoof and horn, hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn
Corn and grain, corn and grain
All that falls shall live again.

I never thought I’d be saying those words for a close friend who was not that much older than myself. James passed through the veil on January 17th at the age of 41. A healthy, active man for most of his years, it came as a huge shock to all of us who knew him.

I met James in December of 2003 on the advice of a mutual friend. He and I hit it off and began a relationship that never quite might it into fully romantic. We shared some common interests but the spark just wasn’t there. I was still hooked on someone else, really, and thankfully James was understanding about it. He helped me get through that loss by listening, by being there with a shoulder to cry on, by making me dinner and helping clean out two huge closets that contained a lot of miscellaneous crap from my marriage and past relationship. He helped me move on, just as much and in some ways even more so, than anyone else. He was the first one to step up and put paid to my never-ending divorce by rounding up some others and holding a ritual the night before I was to appear before the judge.

I introduced him to another friend, Mel. Despite a slight difference in their ages, they did hit it off, and she moved to BC when he got a job out there. They married secretly in 2006, a ceremony performed by a Justice of the Peace with only the secretary and a passerby as witnesses. Swept her off her feet, he did. Mel has always said (and I tend to agree) that their spur-of-the-moment elopement was extremely romantic. The pair of them introduced me to S. not long after and that began a complicated long distance relationship that to this day I still hold very dear and still haven’t quite figured out.

Later that same year James, Mel, S. and myself formed a writing circle under the pseudonym Rhada McKai. At the present time we have one novel and a handful of short stories that were in the ‘Work in Progress’ file. When Mel is ready, we’ll talk about continuing our work in James’ memory. For now, Rhada’s only appearance will be in Courting Morpheus (currently in progress for publication with Belfire Press).

The wake and passing ritual were held Sunday night, and memorial service on Monday. S. recited a poem by Mary Frye used at both pagan and Christian ceremonies alike:

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

As I lit my candle last Monday after receiving word of James’ passing, I spoke the following words, which began the healing process, and I hope helped give comfort during his passage to the Otherworld.

Nephthys, carry James swiftly and gently to your realm. Hold him as dear to your heart as we here have held him as dear to ours. Give him the strength to meet the next life with happiness and health. So Mote It Be.

James’ favorite novel was Watership Down. I ended my personal blog with this same phrase, finding it fitting for one such as he.

My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.


Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project. Her writing has appeared in several recent anthologies as well as magazines on and offline for the past decade. Having shelved her first novel for the time being, she is currently working on two (or three) novels set in the fictional town of New Bedlam.

Christmas Past, Yule Present

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It was less than a week following Samhain, in 2000. My girls were clamoring for the Christmas tree to be put up, and presents to be put under it. Amazingly enough, once told that it was still seven weeks before Christmas and that was a long time to wait and not open those presents, they relented. Just a little…

I didn’t want to think about Christmas yet – I have a huge extended family, and we try to get everyone together at Christmas. That year, it was mine and my mom’s turn to coordinate the festivities, and I frankly hadn’t wanted to think about it since the year before (don’t ask-long story). It was always somewhat difficult explaining my differing beliefs to some of the cousins and their spouses…and pointing out pagan practices in modern Christmas traditions just doesn’t go over. So, we three say our blessing, and those that understand do, those that don’t…well, they are a tolerant bunch. That’s maybe why I love em so much.

I also didn’t want to think about Yule, which also meant trying to work in celebrating our wedding anniversary, as well. Little piece of advice for people considering marrying at Yule. Don’t. Just…don’t. It’s insanity, I tell you! (It may sound cynical, but I’m really glad most times, that I no longer have to work in an anniversary around Yule circle and Christmas preparations, LOL)

The second week of November was chillingly cold here. That Monday, both girls woke feeling a little under weather, and Rhia didn’t have a fever, her sister had a slight one and some mysterious marks on her face. I had been up all night getting some articles done and working on formatting a novel for editing. I was tired, my eyes were terribly sore from staring at the computer for six hours, and I was just slightly grouchy, too. Care ended up in tears as her temperature rose and her tolerance for anyone dropped. Rhia had (and still has) little patience for anything in the morning, and decided she was going to school to get away from her sister. Sibling rivalry overcomes the blahs of winter.

We got her off to school, and waited to hear from the nurse’s office as to whether or not we should take Care in to be checked out. When 10 AM rolled around and they hadn’t phoned I figured I’d go to bed, and Care and her father could fend for themselves. I wasn’t too worried about her – she’d had two mild cases of Chicken Pox before that, and that’s what this looked to be as well. But why did I leave Daddy in charge of a little girl who knows how to pull the sympathy strings? Lack of foresight perhaps. Or exhaustion. I claim holiday insanity!

My alarm rang at 2:30 PM, and I stumbled from the bedroom rubbing the sleep from my eyes and mumbling something about coffee. A further lack of foresight kept my eyes closed – after all, I could navigate the room in pitch darkness, why not with my eyes closed? Something prickly hit first my legs, then my face as I made intimate acquaintance with our tree. The two Yuletide culprits were sitting silent on the chair, hoping I wouldn’t notice them or the slightly guilty looks on their oh-I’m-so-innocent faces.

Goddess knows where I summoned the smile from, but I managed.

While the two of them washed the ornaments and garland (they’d met with a nasty accident involving a hot water tank, a broken pipe, and a wrench thrown in frustration against the low table they were stored on), I made myself extra-super-strong coffee, sat down with Yule – A Celebration of Light and Warmth by Dorothy Morrison. I hoped that would inspire some warmth and holiday spirit within my own spirit, and it did. After dinner that night, as the girls decorated the tree with the shiny clean ornaments, and lamented the loss of the musical lights (note: water and musical lights don’t mix; no, I was not disappointed in the least LOL), I sat writing an entire gift list for my family, with ideas from said book. The crafts and activities in the book are wonderful, and I highly recommend them for those celebrating Yule with families that generally celebrate Christmas…

* * *

What a difference almost a decade makes! My grandparents are both gone now, and our family has scattered to the four winds, it seems. The girls have grown up and as of today (December 16th) we still do not have a single decoration up to indicate it is approaching Yule, let alone less than a week away.

In our defense, we are awaiting arrival of a particular tree – The Nightmare Before Christmas Tree – featuring Jack Skellington and all his little friends. Still, we could have at least made a start on the decorating with lights and other ornaments. It seems as though the girls have, for the most part, lost interest in the holiday. They are at that age, you know the one. Mid-teens. Everything is just ‘too much work’ or ‘stupid’ and Goddess forbid they spend time with their family! How uncool!

I think we’ve finally hit on a mutual agreement. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this time of year since I was a mid-teenager, too. I love seeing some of my family, but I hate crowds; I love shopping for gifts, but hate crowds; I love seeing the Christmas lights in town, but hate crowds – I think you’re getting the picture. This time of year has been filled with guilt and uneasiness for me since I was a teenager, due to maternal influences I still to this day, am trying to shed. For the years of my relationship with my now-ex-husband, it was a battle between choosing between he and my family. They rarely extended an invitation for him to join us, and even though I took it upon myself to do so every year, he refused to go more often than not, because they made him feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. I dreaded the yearly fight, and it wasn’t fair – our wedding anniversary was also Yule, and not once was it acknowledged by my family. Christmas, Yule and the anniversary, marred yearly by an immature family unable to release control of anyone else’s life.

This year, my daughters have the opportunity to meet their paternal grandmother, aunt and uncles for the first time. They are both looking forward to celebrating the season with a family that is hopefully less dysfunctional than the one they’ve known all their lives. Honestly, I’m hoping that will be the case, despite and regardless of my mother’s reaction to the news that she may have to share her granddaughters at Christmas. She was livid. Too bad. For the second time in 16 years, she does not get to dictate when and where, and I will not allow her to guilt the girls into changing their minds about spending time with their other family. It should be a happy time for them, not made uncomfortable by a guilt trip from grandma.

My one respite from this has always been Yule with my grove. Glas Celli was formed at Litha in 2001, but we knew each other for a year prior. This will be our ninth Yule as friends, and eighth as a grove. It’s always been a happy celebration for us, just a sense of togetherness, celebrating the rebirth of the God, the battle between Oak and Holly kings. A warm and happy time.

Home and heart. That has always been our focus with Glas Celli at Yule, and I think it should be the focus of this holiday season universally. As long as there is food on the table, love in our hearts and friendship to share, who needs baubles, bangles and bobs?

Exactly.

Happy Yule, everyone!


Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project. Her writing has appeared in several recent anthologies as well as magazines on and offline for the past decade. Having shelved her first novel for the time being, she is currently working on two (or three) novels set in the fictional town of New Bedlam.

Interested in some horror for the holidays? Pre-order Courting Morpheus, the anthology set in New Bedlam! Featuring the works of MR Sellars, Camille Alexa and more, the stories explore the insanity that builds as Morpheus is busy elsewhere…

Tell us you read about us here, and we’ll refund your shipping costs!
(Offer only valid until December 21st, 2009)

Courting Morpheus

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I know this isn’t one of my usual days, but as it’s listed as a free day and I’m practically exploding…here goes. Forgive the giddy! 😉

It’s been three years since the Courting Morpheus anthology was conceived, two since it was supposed to be in print and has been through two publishers. Finally, Courting Morpheus is being published!

Featuring stories by Geoffrey Girard, Camille Alexa, and Louise Bohmer, a novelette by Rowan Gant Investigations series author M.R. Sellars and introduction by Alethea Kontis, Courting Morpheus is a collection of 13 stories centered on the writing/artistic community in the town of New Bedlam.

Insomnia plagues the townspeople, and the monsters they usually contain within the pages of their books are now loose on the streets. Morpheus, the god of dreams, takes his revenge on those that make their living from their nightmares.

“Courting Morpheus is a creepy anthology filled with a lot of strange new voices shouting from the graveyard. It tears through genre walls and mingles horror, humor, and spec fic into a chimerical collection of chills..”
Jonathan Maberry –multiple Bram Stoker Award winning author of Patient Zero and Zombie CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead

“A small town full of horror writers where nightmares come to life? What a concept! And Counting Morpheus delivers. From ‘What You Know’ to ‘The Word Inside,’ this is some impressive collection. New Bedlam is one place you don’t want to call home.”
Nate Kenyon, author of Bloodstone and The Reach.

Limited edition hardcovers are available for pre-order only at the Belfire Press website; no more than 250 copies will be produced, and it will only be available until January 5th. Shipping is included in price. For more details, please visit:
http://www.belfirepress.com/main/?page_id=98


Jodi Lee is publisher and editor in chief of Belfire Press and The New Bedlam Project. Her writing has appeared in several recent anthologies as well as magazines on and offline for the past decade. Having shelved her first novel for the time being, she is currently working on two (or three) novels set in the fictional town of New Bedlam.

Excerpt – New Bedlam

bloodiedquill

My NaNoWriMo project is well behind, right now I believe I’m sitting somewhere just past the 12k mark. I should be finishing up at 30k at the end of today, were I on target. Oh, what a month to have launched a company and taken on four editing projects! Not to mention our family was hit with the curly-tail flu, keeping both girls at home for two weeks, and of course they just had to share the happy-germs.

I sometimes think NaNoWriMo and I just shouldn’t be on talking terms. Nevertheless, this project is dear to my heart, and as I’ve already posted the prologue (yes, I did a dreaded prologue >.<) I've decided to share the first chapter with you. I've put it behind a cut, as it's rather long and I don't want to completely cover the main page. I hope you enjoy it! Continue reading Excerpt – New Bedlam

NaNo, NaNo – It’s Off to Write I Go!

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Every year since 2005, I’ve participate in NaNoWriMo, or for those acronym-challenged folks out there – National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write at least 50,000 words (actually this puts it at large-scale novella) for a novel in 30 days. If the writer wins, they don’t get a prize other than a glowing feeling of self-achievement, a banner for their website and, in the last year or so, order winner-specific t-shirts and get a free proof of the novel from CreateSpace as well.

NaNoWriMo started small in 1999 with a handful of writers, and has grown into a huge phenomena encompassing a similar script-writing month, and the Young Writer Program and over 100,000 participants. They’ve even relaxed a bit and allowed a forum for folks who don’t want to write fiction, but want to ‘rebel’ and write non-fic, or poetry or short stories instead of long. The community is simply wonderful.

It’s amazing. Everyone starts out strong, and watches as the over-eager finish in three days (I’ve often wondered about those people… o_O) while they see their own plots drop out, their muse take long coffee breaks or they sit fantasizing about vacations on sunny beaches. Eventually they either pull it together, or give up to try again the next year.

Danserak NaNoWriMo Royal

I won the first year. I was thrilled, I had a novel that was absolutely not finished – only half the story was told – but I had made it over 50k. I participated in the forums the entire month, mostly in a thread that involved horror writers and ‘adopted’ fornits*. My fornit’s name is Danserak, and he used to live in my old computer. My friends and family thought I was crazy, but I was grabbing hold of the fun side of it and making him my mascot. I even bought him a antique Royal typewriter to live in, where he and my muse have since set up house and much to my chagrin, have produced a gaggle of really ugly munits.

NaNo that year was cathartic for me. Things had gone bad in several ways and it felt like my world was crashing in on me. I was fired, I was having legal issues revolving around family court/divorce/custody, I was beyond broke with an ex-husband that refused to pay child support and a daughter who seemed to be having a nervous breakdown. My former bosses and some of the other staff, my ex-husband and his new family, and one or two other people died horrific, nasty, splattery ways in that novel.

I had no problem churning out 1667 words or more per day.

A weight was lifted at the end of that month and I was free of most of the anger I was feeling towards the universe in general.

And then I tried the next year only I was far more cocky. I figured if I could do it with one novel, I was going to do my second year with two novels. I was wrong. I managed to finish one of them, but didn’t have the file formatted for verification in time and just missed the deadline to verify. The sophomore year curse bit me, and bit me hard. I was humbled. Year three saw another win for me, but I celebrated in far more subdued ways, and didn’t share it around too much. Last year, publishing drama had me quit before the end of the first week.

This year I start NaNo with an outline – maybe. With characters and plots and sub-plots and… well, maybe. Like many others, I’ve been through numerous ideas and plots and outlines and I never know if I’ll just ditch it a the last minute. I don’t know if my muse and my fornit are going to be there to share their wisdom and fornus—gifts of sparkly things and bread crumbs will be left out nightly, I’m sure.

So, if you have nothing better to do, or just want to add one more challenge to your day, why not give NaNoWriMo a try? Trust me… you’ll like it. If you are already a member or join this year – I’m Jodi-Lee if you want to buddy up. Good luck!

Jodi Lee

* Fornits are a creation of Stephen King, and made a starring appearance in the short story “The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet.” They are described as ugly little gnome like creatures. Personally, I think Danserak is kinda cute….

Art Imitates Life

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More often than not, my life ends up in my words.

It’s not that I’m deliberately writing Mary-Sue. It just happens that things or people from my life end up in my work. I’m sure it happens to most writers, if not all at some point.

For me, I kill people in messy, sticky, very bloody ways. That shouldn’t be a surprise, as I am for the most part, a horror writer. Even in my romance writing, though, there is a dark ending, someone has died a slow and lingering death. I’m not sure any of the folks these characters are based on would a) actually read my work and b) recognize themselves. That’s probably a good thing; some of them might take my words the wrong way.

I’d much rather write them dead, and leave them there, than have continued interaction that will only hurt both sides in the long run. I’d rather write them out of a fictional existence, than curse or bind them. My freezer is nearing capacity with jars that have slips of paper or pictures of people with a binding written in Dragon’s Blood Ink over all, tied up with black silk thread and frozen suspended in water. They’re frozen out of my life, before I write them out. The connection is broken and they are gone.

My ex has been in the freezer, as have/are my brothers’ exes. Former friends and co-workers and even some family members have had or have cozy little spots on the shelf. Some may die more than once, sometimes once is enough.

I do that to cover myself and them with protection. I was told once, a decade ago now, that words are intent; every bit as much as a curse or binding is spoken, if it is written with an image of someone in mind, it’s just as harmful. Considering the things my fictional killers get up to when unobserved by fictional heroes, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Sometimes they are done with, and I take them from the freezer, release the binding on them and set them free.

Some are going to be in there for the remainder of their days.

Writers are natural observers, and I like to think most of us are naturally emotional as well. Hardened from years of rejection on the outside, but soft and occasionally vulnerable on the inside. Big hurts can tempt us to find the darkness within ourselves and give in to it. Writing it out is second nature to us, and frankly, any bit of protection we can put in place is good for us in the long run. Superstitious one, aren’t I? 😉

I’m not sure if I’ll get back today in time to do a second posting today, but I may. If not, feel free to stop by my regular blog and check out guest blogger, Michele Lee (author of Rot, recently released from Skullvines Press). I’m also running a poll, and there’s a link to the guidelines for my new anthology project, Dead Bells.