Thursday, November 29, 2012

Research – expanding your ideas – by J.E. Taylor

It's my pleasure to welcome J. E. Taylor back to my blog today. Not only do we have her thoughts on ideas and research, but we also have the first chapter of her new release, Saving Face.

She is a writer, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a contest judge, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order. J.E. first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked if she could do anything what would it be. From that moment on, she hasn't looked back.

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Research – expanding your ideas – by J.E. Taylor


I have to say, the research I’ve done for my books has always uncovered some fun stuff, like how to make cocaine, what kind of blood splatter patterns result from certain wounds and how fast someone will bleed out from different injuries.

This time around, I had the pleasure of looking at a different belief system. I have to say, thank God for Google because I hadn’t had the chance to get to a library and I’m not certain my local library would have extensive information on Wicca, certainly nowhere near as expansive as Google. And Celtic Wicca would be harder to research. Researching this religion was an eye opener. Especially to someone who is at a crossroads where beliefs are concerned.

My books carry a great deal of supernatural influences, Angels, ghosts, demons, reapers, fate, death and werewolves are highlighted. The Games Trilogy actually alluded to heaven and hell and the power of redemption, all of which is from a Christian viewpoint, which matches my upbringing.

For those that don’t know or understand Wicca – it’s a nature based religion and the basic moral code is Do No Harm. The similarity between the principal code in Christianity of Love thy Neighbor is the same. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Of course, the Wiccan religion also focuses on utilizing spices and herbs and symbols in their requests to the elements to instill health and happiness and protection in the same vein Christians use prayers.

I still have a great deal to learn about this particular religion, especially since the new character is going to be a long term staple in the Williams/Ryan household. It should provide for some thought provoking scenes when the differences between Christian beliefs and Wicca beliefs clash on the home front.

But until then, I’m certainly intrigued.

Thank you for having me on your blog today!

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And thanks to you for the interesting post, J.E.

For more information about J.E. Taylor and her novels, visit her website. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Saving Face is available on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Kobo books

The Windwalker Serial Killer stalks the inlets of southern Maine for the next beauty to advance his collection and Special Agent Steve Williams is frustrated with always being a breath behind the slippery psychopath. Escalating the pressure, Steve’s adopted sons, CJ and Tom Ryan, take teenage rebellion to an entirely new level, leaving Steve in an explosive situation.

When the Windwalker slaughters Tom’s ex-girlfriend, taking her face as a macabre trinket, Tom is found on the scene covered in her blood, with her scalped body draped across his lap. Damning evidence against him is unearthed, his father's secret identity is about to be exposed, and he's charged with Tanya’s traumatic murder.

To prove his innocence, their only hope is the worst-case scenario; for the Windwalker to harvest a new face.

EXCEPT: Chapter 1

The trees swayed in the breeze, dry leaves rustled, and the stars disappeared behind a bank of clouds, drawing out the already dark shadows. Shadows he hid within, watching, waiting, frozen in place by his obsession, his bloodlust.

Testing the air with a sniff, he tried detecting a trace of her perfume but came away with only the distinct scent of fall. Crisp. Clean. Carnal.

His edgy hands begged for action and he clenched them, dropping his arms to his sides. Tilting his head, he caught a rhythmic pulse, like that of his heart, but accented with crunching leaves. She was coming and his hand shot to the worn handle of his hunting knife.

Patience.

His fingers stroked the soft wood like a lover and he stared at the jogger-beaten path. The bounce of her headlamp filtered through the thick brush and he blew a slow stream of air through his lips, calming his pounding heart.

Patience, he told himself again. He didn’t want to give her enough time to react, to bolt in the opposite direction. Instead, he counted her steps, watching as the light approached, bouncing with each of her long-legged strides.

It wasn’t her lithe frame he was after. It was her face, her scalp. She had passed by him at the store, catching his fancy and fueling his desire. A fine specimen. An excellent addition to his collection; with fragile features stretched into a scream—forever captured in his art.

He crept closer to the path, crouching and ready to pounce the moment she crossed. The light drew closer and now he could smell the mixture of Poison and sweat, a sweet concoction that aroused his hunger and almost uncoiled his predatory posture. He inhaled deeply, relishing the scent. Her footfalls brought her close enough to make out her dark form behind the bright light.

He waited, and when the twig he placed in the middle of the path snapped, he sprang. In one leap, he caught her, wrapping his arms around her as he tackled. The yelp of surprise brought a smile to his face and he unsheathed the knife, plunging it into her chest before she could regain enough oxygen to produce a blood curdling scream.

Her eyes widened, blinking at him in the light of her fallen headlamp.

The thrill of the hunt, of the capture, fueled his blood; pumping it frantically through his veins, throbbing in his temple, producing little spots of red in the edges of his eyesight. Ripping flesh accompanied each of his thrusts, along with muffled cries of pain that gave way to an airy wheeze.

He grabbed her hair, pulling her head forward and slicing the base of her hairline with surgical precision. Sliding his fingers under the gaping wound, he peeled the scalp from the back to the front, separating her skin from the bone.

She did scream then, a high gurgling wail that died moments later, when his knife separated the mass of skin and hair and lips that he peeled from her bones, severing her carotid artery in the process. With the prize pelt in his hands, he stood, sheathing the knife and taking off toward the river.

9 comments:

Angela Brown said...

That is one wicked excerpt and a twisted character indeed.

And I agree, research can be extremely importantly because it helps in building upon the suspension of disbelief for many a story.

JETaylor said...

Thanks for commenting Angela.

Dean K Miller said...

Often the research can be as much fun and instructive than the writing itself.

Now I've just got to shake the image of the "pelt" being carried off before I go back to work!

Julie Luek said...

For my current WIP, I had to do a little nosing around on how someone might be killed on a power line, geocaching, and gas gauges on small planes. I'm always so amazed (and grateful)by how willing people are to talk to me.

That chapter, whoa. Engaging!

JETaylor said...

Thank you Dean and Julie.
I'm amazed at the willingness of people to share information as well.

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks very much for hosting JE.

JE - I couldn't agree more with you about the way doing research can end up opening one's eyes. And it adds so much to a book. And I've found precisely the same thing you did. Most people really do enjoy sharing their expertise and they appreciate one's respectful interest in what they do.

JETaylor said...

Margot, thank you for swinging in and commenting.

Laura Eno said...

Oh, the strange Google searches one finds on a writer's computer. :)
Great concept for this - and Jimmy Thomas on the cover is a bonus!

JETaylor said...

Laura - thanks for swinging in and yes - Jimmy Thomas is always a bonus. :)