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Hello everyone,

I genuinely thank you all for following this blog and appreciating the content. I want you all to know that I have my very own personalized blog at www.yoshay.com and from now on all my posts will be available there. This blog will be laid down in time to come.

Thank you once again for your love and appreciation,

xoxo

Yoshay

Romancing the “Dark”

I thrive in all kinds of stories that have dark, sinister and haunting secrets to reveal. Although I read a whole lot of popular adult fiction and Booker prize winners, my love for the dark keeps bringing me back to the world of paranormal fiction (even better when it’s coated with romance). I absolutely  love watching films that have got everything to do with mystery, horror, suspense, thrills and chills and I can’t even begin to describe the adrenaline rush that sends my guts shooting way high!

Let me tell you how and when the seed was sowed. Where I come from, when I was growing up, it was extremely popular to sit around a fire outdoors during winter holidays  and have an elder relate ghost stories to us. My friends and I loved listening to tales shrouded with mystery and darkness as we huddled together in front of the fire in the early hours of twilight. What, for others was a recreation became an obsession for me. I usually pelted the narrator with hordes of questions for which, after a while I was often reprimanded for being too curious. My desire to hear more of it was fueled by my mother’s penchant for dark tales and being an excellent narrator  and an avid reader she was at the time, she was a powerhouse of ghost stories (she still is). I relished each story  with a very keen enthusiasm that my mother told, and someday I wanted to write stories that spoke of dark places, sinister people and stories with not-so-happy endings. Of course that was a wishful thinking that I am still pondering  upon two and half decades later.
When I was around nine years of age I used to imagine that I had an invisible friend who came from the cemetery below the town, who could read people’s minds and who told me which teacher in school was kind and who wasn’t. Who I even thought helped me with my homework. At this particular time, I was living as a paying guest at neighbour’s house because my mother had to shift to another state due to work. My father was working out of station too and my brother was tucked away at a school hostel run by the Jesuit brothers. A dark time it was for me as I was extremely attached to my family and this stage of my life encouraged me further to fill myself up with even darker stories so that I would not have to deal with longing for my family. I became quite popular among my class mates for narrating ghost stories during lunch breaks. Sometimes I conceived all my stories up as I narrated it, and with a nine or ten-year old creativity I do not remember how convincing they were but I remember those wide saucer like eyes looking back at me as I narrated my stories. Once I remember telling my friends that I’d spent my winter vacation in Australia with a cousin (I have never been to Australia) , and that we were living outside town in a beautiful cottage with only one neighbour. The neighbour was very strange and mysterious and would never come and say hello and their seven-year old daughter was the strangest of the all. She was always dressed in white and would stare from a distance. She would run away as soon as she was caught staring. One morning I happened to wake up around five and upon going out I spotted the neighbour’s daughter sitting in the front porch on an old rusty swing seat but something was odd. I remember getting all excited as I geared up to tell the others what it was that looked out-of-place – on one of her arm rested a huge human leg which she balanced with her forearm entwined around it in a precarious manner! The leg still had shoes and socks on and I bolted back into the house as she turned around to look at me. That was how my story ended with an afterword of how I demanded to be sent back home from Australia immediately after the incident. I still wonder why I chose Australia.

Unable to move back as a family, I was sent to a school hostel to spend the rest of my school years. I spent the most horrific time of my life there with scarcity and ruin and harsh discipline being the order of the day. The school building was on the verge of dilapidation, it was already crumbling at places, some windows had no glasses in them, the beds were so broken that we literally held it in place with our old school ties to prevent ourselves from falling through while we slept. I identified myself with Jane Eyre when I read the book then, but I had this responsibility to myself to make my life a bit more interesting, and I did. I enriched my life by imagining all sorts of crooked tales and evil shadows that lurked in the dark corridors of the school. I often chose cold lonely abandoned classrooms for my story-telling sessions during times when there was no electricity, and when darkness was fast approaching. After dinner when we were all ushered back into our dormitories, a crowd often gathered around my bed to listen to stories that they most wanted to hear – ghost stories. The saddest part however was that, even though I genuinely made up stories, I fabricated them based on stories I had heard elsewhere and even though I narrated them with a good deal of energy, I never wrote them down. I never made it a point to chart down all those eerie stories that I had conceived and nourished in that tender mind

I wrote letters to a certain “page” when at times I was distraught, when home-sickness overwhelmed me but I have no idea where it all disappeared. Having a kind of life that contributed a whole lot on sowing a seed of this particular penchant for dark Gothic tales, I cannot be more thankful to the turn of events in my life during its early phase. The seed has grown into a full-fledged tree and it is nested by all kinds of deep, dark and foreboding fantasies. The fruit is yet to burst out from the over swollen buds but the process has begun. I guess life doesn’t hurt badly at all when you have so much interesting things going on in the depths of your mind, and when you can breathe life into the figments of your imagination. It’s definitely going super great for me specially since the time Twilight series confirmed that there is love  and romance to be found even in a life beyond the entrapment of death.

I sincerely want my lovely boys Noah and Elvin to inherit my propensity for Gothic tales. So far I see a gentle spark of curiosity for it in Noah but he has declared his sense of fear for it, so I won’t nudge him there : ). Elvin is still too young and my husband Jonas has undergone a tremendous change since the days he used to hide behind cushions and pillows during a horror movie session to the days he started suggesting a “horror film” to me. He has turned into one avid reader of paranormal fiction series and that itself is a huge step towards understanding this wife who delights in pulsating shades of Cimmerian fantasies.

Atonement

This is for one of my absolute favourite characters in the House of Night Series, Rephaim  the Raven Mocker. He is half raven, half man who is an offspring  of rape and lust. He and his brothers were created as a result of the fallen angel Kalona’s carnal rampage on the women of the earth. He escapes entrapment from beneath the earth when his father is raised from the depths by the evil high priestess Neferet. Exceedingly evil, he lives to kill and destroy until he is saved by the red vampire Stevie Rae. Physically battered after a battle,  he is found by the red vampire who hides him, tends to his injuries and saves him from dying. When he accidentally imprints with her, he begins to feel an existence of a heart fluttering buried deep inside beneath the thick layers of selfish pride, evil and depravity. Thus begins his long journey of love and atonement.

Atonement

Bird-man, man-bird, a heart malignantly dark,
born from a seed so black and stark.

Vile was his charm, wicked were his deeds,
with murder and mayhem he was most pleased.

First born of the afflicted saint,
led minions of hell, on earth to mar and taint.

With a pair of wings as black as night,
but eyes of a man with keenest sight.

Sliced through flesh with a razor sharp beak,
reeked of death when he overtook the weak.

Half of raven and half of man,
raven mockers was the name of his clan.

Imprinted by chance with the pale red one,
humanity was raised and the deed was done.

Striving to protect the love he felt,
welcomed light and to it he knelt.

Thus Rephaim the son of the cursed,
became a creature in sympathy immersed.

He now walks the earth in a brilliant guise,
turning all enemies into allies.

If he the damned can yet be saved,
purgatory shall no more have souls enslaved.

Images by sydifer3 & HotBlackAngel at www.deviantart.com

Swedish crime fiction writers score sky-high

Have you ever given Swedish crime fiction (translated of course!) a thought? Have you ever gotten a chance to read a mystery fiction by a Swedish writer? No?  Then I must offer heaps of  sincere sympathies to you because you do not  know what you are missing and while there is still time for you to quickly indulge in one of them, you got to hurry dears because once you start reading one of them, you just will have to read more and more from the likes of them.

We all know that British and American criminal fiction have ruled the first place for like a  zillion years.  During the pre-world war period, Swedish crime novels were based on British and American novels, but post world war found Swedish crime writers evolving and moving towards an entirely new direction thus giving birth to the detective novel series Martin Beck which acquired world-wide recognition. Ever since then there has been no looking back for Swedish writers of crime and mystery.

It is now time to hand the sceptre into the hands of these serious, dangerously equipped minds who are the new monarchs of extreme epiphany, who fetch raw violence and vehemence with no restriction whatsoever.

Swedish crime fiction / Swedish mystery fiction has been receiving a vast span of attention all over the world in recent times. What is it about Swedish criminal writing that is so  irresistible? What is it about it that has been creating waves all over the world? What makes Swedish writers lean on to criminal writing when they live in one of the most safest countries in the world?

Perhaps the answer lies in this question itself – Crime rate in Sweden is very low compared to most countries in the world. Owing to its extremely cold and dead clime during winters, Swedish people (or Scandinavian people on the whole for that matter) have been synonymous with depressive nature, being cold, shy and being people having the widest comfort zone between each other. Since it is basic human nature to hanker after what we don’t have (that is an overall a very generic explanation I can derive right now), the lack of criminal infestation in society together with extremely long, dark and mostly thwarting periods of winter of absolute silence  most likely gave birth to writers of this genre. It is yet another human tendency to seek wild and raucous intellectual entertainment when life turns into one long restless anticipation for the end of a winter.

Besides, in Sweden or anywhere in Scandinavia, you don’t have the need to seek silence within the mind as Holly Lisle seeks in her  Mugging the Muse. There is excess silence around already that permeates into the mind whether you like it or not, whether you want it or not. Thus with this incessant morbid affair that Swedish authors continuously seem to have with the term crime, or any idea related to crime, they produce editions after editions of what is bathed in, of what is breathing with, pure gruesome and malignant mystery.

Most say it was the  Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson published internationally between 2005 and 2007 that kicked off a huge international readership, but Swedish crime novels have continuously been translated into other languages of the world, have been read vastly and have been loved over a long period of time. However it is absolutely true that the Millennium Trilogy added fuel to the fire, encouraging Hollywood filmmakers to create an American version of the stories. The trend has been set, and the demand for Swedish criminal fiction is on definitely on the rise.

This increasing penchant for Swedish mystery stories amongst international readers has also been seeded by the writings of one intensely gifted Swedish writer, my favourite of all Swedish writers, John Ajvide Lindqvist. His debut novel Let the Right One In has fetched the most unexpected development within modern pre-teen vampire fiction that is obviously not as glamorous and not as grandiose as Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Series. Set during the eighties, the novel reveals a story played out during the stark, dark and cold winter in the suburbs of Stockholm where Eli (in her pre teens) finds a place in 12 year old-seriously mobbed-at-school Oskar’s heart, thus finding an escape from her elderly guardian Hakan who displays overtly pedophiliac tendencies. The Swedish film based on the book was released in 2008 and the Hollywood version of the book is called Let Me In (they say that the story is tightly woven around the book) and is awaiting release on the 1st of October 2010.

More books by John Ajvide Lindqvist :-

  • Handling the Undead (translated in 2009)
  • Paper Walls (yet to be translated)
  • Harbour (to be released sometime in 2010)
  • Little Star (most recent book, out in Swedish, yet to be released in English)

Swedish mystery fiction has certainly raised the bar for story writing of this genre. Its authentic and unique characters who are deeply disturbing,  a plot set against an exotic backdrop, various climaxes where one leads to another each revealing the most afflicting truth, all contribute to reasons why the world turns its attention to Swedish writers to satiate their hunger for crime fiction and for fiction related to mystery.

Here are other popular Swedish crime/mystery writers.

Images taken from:

http://www.lovelyloey.me

http://iloveboyswhosparkle.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/let-the-right-one-in.jpg

http://assets.news4uonline.com/images/articles/2009/23/Logo%201.jpg

Romancing the Vampire, the Werewolf and the Fallen angel

We fell in love with vampires and werewolves. Are we ready to fall in love with fallen angels?The fallen angel

Needless to pinpoint that Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series gave the vampire an entirely new approach. Earlier, vampires were just blood drinking machines, with absolutely no remorse whatsoever. How could they feel pity when they had no brains? When they had no heart? But Meyer changed it all in a grand way. She gave the vampire a heart. Perhaps not a soul, but yes definitely a heart.

“I may not be a human, but I am a man.” (Edward Cullen,Twilight)

Irrespective of his or her hundreds of years on earth, the vampire was no longer simply a blood drinking machine. He knew how to fall in love, to feel love, to feel pity. In other words, Meyer breathed emotion and sensibility into, otherwise blood chilling beings, transforming them into divine, powerful and humane creatures.

“If I could dream at all, it would be about you and I’m not ashamed to say it”
(Edward Cullen, Twilight)

Then came the turn of the werewolves. Meyer also went to the extent of glamourising the wolves giving their existence a whole new dimension. The wolves and humans existed within each other, phasing into whichever form that was thought necessary.

Another legend claims that we descended from wolves ― and that the wolves are our brothers still. (Jacob Black, New Moon)

Both vampires and wolves have a strong affinity to this frail human girl. The old classic novels/movies’ conception of a damsel in distress has once again been revived by Twilight series. Two equally strong, powerful creatures fighting for the love of their lives who is just a simple, vulnerable and a pale young girl, a normal girl who has the least bit of a notion that she is the crux of the entire chaos in the story.

“I can handle the clouds but I can’t fight the eclipse” (Jacob Black to Bella, Eclipse)

Thus both vampires and werewolves have succeeded in establishing a healthy paranormal relationship with humans. They maybe daunting and even dangerous but they certainly are irresistible and alluring. In future, no matter how many stories maybe written about vampires or werewolves, no matter how many novels maybe published in a similar light, Stephanie Meyer’s perception of the “dark protagonists” shall persist in a long time to come.

Then, in between came the House of Night Series by P.C. & Kristin Cast. Traditionally set in the same mood as the PC & Kristin CastTwilight Series, the protagonist in this series is however a 16 yr old girl, Zoey Redbird who in the beginning is marked by a vampire and is driven to join House of Night, a school for fledglings (budding vampires). Zoey is not just marked, she has also been specially chosen by Goddess Nyx to become the future high priestess. The first book Marked was quite mundane, with irritable dialogues, with way too familiar characters and nothing out of the ordinary happening as expected of your adult gothic fiction. However things start to get heated up from the second book which is called Betrayed. Betrayed covers up for all the action that was missed in Marked. What is interesting about House of Night series is that although it is far-fetched, it is clever and has entertaining insights into the truth about vampires and about vampire fledglings.

“Remember, darkness does not always equate to evil, just as light does not always bring good.” ( Goddess Nyx, Betrayed)

On the whole entertaining and although belonging to young adult gothic fiction genre, it kind of appeals to all gothic fiction lovers. Twilight series bowled me over and I was no teenager. House of Night Series captivated me and I am no teenager.
Betrayed is followed by Chosen, then follows Untamed, Hunted, Tempted and Burned. Which means the characters really grow on you by the time you conclude Betrayed and move on to the other novels in the series.

After everything came to a standstill since Meyer’s whirlwind books, there was some buzz that was initiated by House of Night Series (it still is, here and there).

Paranormal Romances – Our favourite brand of heroin!

Then again suddenly, there is that familiar smell in the air again. The smell of forbidden-cum- transcendental romance. Only this time its humans vs angels! Not the halo-adorned, happy-go-lucky white winged creatures, but dark, cynical, arrogant yet sexy and alluring angels fallen to the very ground!

Young Adult FictionThe fever started all over again when Becca Fitzpatrick’s debut first in series novel Hush Hush was published on 13th October 2009 . From 16th century France to present day in Cold Water Maine, US, our protagonist travels a long way to make sense of his existence.
Upon the teacher’s attempt to change the seats in the biology class, Nora Grey, an awkward, plain girl comes to sit beside the new student Patch. Attractive, sensuous yet arcane and dark, Patch shows his negativity towards Nora when he openly mocks and torments her. But there is indeed more to Patch for things starts to change ever since the day Nora starts sitting beside Patch.

His black eyes sliced into me, and the corners of his mouth tilted up. My heart fumbled a beat and in that pause, a feeling of gloomy darkness seemed to slide like a shadow over me.(Nora Grey, Hush Hush)

She is being watched! She finds Patch everywhere she finds herself! Other than a bizarre scar on his back, Patch can communicate with Nora without speaking and it is up to Nora to find out that Patch is no human. She fears him but is drawn to him nonetheless just like Bella Swan is drawn to Edward Cullen like a moth to a flame. See the similarity? But there is much more than that to be expected out of Fitzpatrick’s debut series.
The sequel is called Crescendo and is being released on the 14th of October 2010 and the excitement continues I hope!

Lauren Kate another debut novelist unveils yet another familiar series of novels about supernatural romance. TheYoung adult fiction first book Fallen typically familiar to Hush Hush, character wise, since it also involves the almost taboo-filled attraction between Lucinda Price (Luce for short) and Daniel Grigori, where Daniel, like Patch goes out of the way to keep his distance with Luce. Luce and Daniel meet in the reform school where she is sent to, after a mysterious death of a boy who is in her company at the time of his death – I don’t intend to be a scene spoiler but since its already out in the open, what the heck!
Luce is mysteriously drawn to Daniel with a gnawing feeling that she knows that she has seen him somewhere before! And where could that be? No more spoilers from me, that’s for sure! The sequel Torment is due to be released in July 2010.

Whether its romancing vampires or werewolves or fallen angels, the desire for impossible romance amongst younger demographic has always topped the list. The need to fall in love with someone who is much more powerful, stronger and unreachable has been innate throughout generations! Initially the terms “powerful” “stronger” and “unreachable” was defined by a middle class female protagonist falling in love with a lord or a duke or even a prince! Or vice versa. Which according to the time was the most desirable fantasy amongst the reading generation. For example classic novels have alway embodied this desire in the most agreeable way. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Elizabeth Glasgow’s Ruth, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights etc. In all of these novels, one of the protagonist is in a higher and in a much more powerful position than the other. But the romances were played out between natural people, under natural circumstances unlike the stories of today.

Today, the desire to fall in love and to be loved back by a higher being has intensified, has been exaggerated to a point that the line between fantastical characters and real life characters have been wiped out– and for that matter be it a vampire or a werwolf or even a fallen angel, all is seen as a higher being than a normal human.
It is that continuously growing desire to taste the forbidden fruit during early youth, that these writers have so well recognized in today’s youth, and they have captured it extremely well with their words that they have left the young wanting for more as if it’s their “own brand of personal heroine” (Edward Cullen, Twilight).

And then there are readers, who do not belong to the generation of teenagers, but they are completely enamoured byreading supernatural romance fiction nonetheless. They have contributed greatly to those numbers of sincere Twilight readers whose ardent passion drove Hollywood to conjure up Edward Cullen and Bella Swan on the silver screen.
They belong to that genre of readers who silently but surely appreciate reading about young romances for many personal reasons. These readers are specially fond of impossible supernatural romance fiction that is extremely popular these days simply because, they still are awkward teenagers at heart that they once were. Despite the fact that most of them have families, have children, are completely immersed into a nine to five harrowing work timings, They haven’t forgotten what it was like to go through the age of storm and stress when, apart from other growing pains, the most desirable object of your attention spurned your advances. Those humongous efforts that one took to dazzle that human being sitting next to you in class, or living next door to you, or that insanely attractive guy who was your brother’s friend or that mind blowing beauty who your sister’s friend, still stays freshly lodged in the back of their minds.

We all have been there, some of us have been lucky to have been popular while most of us were the suffer-in-silence kind of beings, tormented by strong emotional attachment with a person who in turn was attracted to somebody else.
This group of people also comprise of writers of such fiction like Stephanie Meyer herself whose belief in such an implausible romance breathed life into the likes of Edward, Bella & Jacob. We continue to celebrate romance at its most earliest stage, at its purest and most passionate stage where it is a matter of life and death. Now that vampires and werewolves have been awakened, its time for the fallen angels and surprise surprise after that!

A treat for all Gothic genre fans

Its 1980s, Oskar a twelve-year-old boy is constantly bullied in school. Going to school and being cornered in the toilet is his    biggest fear. There is no escape and the only way he seeks solace is by fantasizing a bloody revenge.
Eli a primitive person in child’s body, dirty, emaciated, hungry and lonely. Eli and Oskar are two painfully lonely people and when they meet, a beautiful friendship is born. A friendship   tested through tears, toil and blood. A friendship that comes shining through while the rest of the world around them falls apart.

This was one gripping book I have read in ages. You just had to keep on reading once you started. Since Dracula, I haven’t come across another book of the Gothic genre that unfolds itself with such an eloquent poetic touch. Each and every character in the book is a round one with more than just three dimensions.
It’s about the weak, the helpless with strong overtones of perhaps an unearthly intervention😉

Fantastic book for all those who love to delve into Gothic fiction and at the same time the style calls for a recommendation to all book lovers out there. One feels a genuine empathy for this little “thing” around whom the story revolves. The narration is powerful with vivid descriptions of the ugly. One can actually taste the repugnant, the repulsive nature in which a human body undergoes a metamorphosis. Grotesque would be an understatement here, but at the same time it is about finding beauty and love in the art of the grotesque. I really look forward to reading more fiction from Lindqvist. One cannot help envying him for having such an illusive vision.

About the Author

John Ajvide Lindqvist (born 1968 in Blackeberg, Sweden) is a Swedish novelist and short stories author.

Lindqvist grew up in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg, and his debut novel Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In), a romantic, social realistic vampire horror story published in 2004, enjoyed great success in Sweden and abroad. Hanteringen av odöda (Handling the Undead) was published in 2005 and involved the rising of zombies, or the “re-living”, in the Stockholm area. In 2006, he released his third book Pappersväggar, a collection of horror short stories. In 2007, his story Tindalos was published as a serial in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, and also published as a free audiobook through the newspaper’s website, read by the author himself. His works are published by Ordfront and have been translated into many languages, including English, German, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, Dutch and Russian.

Before becoming a published writer, Lindqvist worked for twelve years as a magician and stand-up comedian. As a teenager, Lindqvist used to perform street magic for the tourists walking on Västerlånggatan in Stockholm.

Besides fiction he has also written the screenplay for Sveriges Television’s drama series Kommissionen, a large part of the material to the television series Reuter & Skoog, as well as the screenplay for the film based on Let the Right One in. The production company Tre Vänner has bought the rights to Hanteringen av odöda and are planning to make a film.

Lindqvist is a devoted Morrissey fan. In interviews he has stated that his debut novel’s Swedish name got its name from the Morrissey song “Let the Right One Slip In”. Furthermore, he has stated that his first thoughts when told that “Let the Right One In” was to be translated into English was that he enjoyed the thought of Morrissey being able to read the book whose name was borrowed from his song.

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