Monday, February 27, 2012

Exploring Connections

Sometime around 2006-2007, I watched a movie titled What the Bleep? Down the Rabbit Hole.

It introduced me to quantum mechanics and the idea of quantum entanglement. 

Quantum entanglement is a phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more objects have to be described with reference to each other, even though the individual objects may be spatially separated.


The idea intrigued me, and I thought it romantic.  (Yes, I'm such a romantic that I can even infer romantic things from science.)


Then in 2009 I read The Shack by William P. Young.  I read it in three hours one Saturday morning; I couldn't put it down.

Within the book is the idea that man's choice of independence - both from each other and from God - is what causes pain and suffering.

A light bulb went off in my brain.  The idea for Entangled was born, for at its heart, Entangled is about connections.

Specifically,
  • Our connection to others
  • Our connection with a higher power, whatever you may conceive that to be
  • Our connection to nature
Being a romantic, I put these ideas in the context of a romance.  When the heroine, Cassie, travels to a parallel world to help the hero, Alex, save his people from natural disasters, she must explore and accept her relationship on each level stated above in order to save his people.

Here is an excerpt from Entangled, where Cassie begins her journey of discovery.  This occurs just after she has traveled from present day earth to Alex's world.


The door to the living room stood ajar, and Cassie sensed Alex on the other side of it. She walked through the garden with the intent to join him, but when she stepped closer, she heard voices. She pressed her body against the wall to listen to the conversation.

"Where will we say she is from?” Alex asked.


“I have thought upon that,” Gareth said. “I believe we shall say Cassie is from the other side of the Manisan Mountains. The people there are reclusive. I doubt any in Belvoir have ever encountered a Manisan.”


“That will explain Cassie’s pale skin. No one will believe she comes from any region around the sea.”


She glanced down at her skin and frowned.


“How do you plan to teach her?” Alex asked.


“Like I would a new apprentice. She has thin boundaries. She is open, but ignorant. Did you see the way she behaved in the forest?”


Huh?


“Cassie is a product of her world, Gareth.”


“Tell me of it.”


“Her people are more advanced than we are with their inventions, yet in many ways those inventions encourage their separateness from each other, from nature, and from the Creator.”


“How so?”


“They socialize through machines. They try to conquer nature, rather than live as one with it. They live outside of the natural cycles of day and night, even of the seasons.”


“You have spent time with her, Alexos. Do you believe Cassie can change her beliefs?”


“She stands just on the other side of the door, listening to us. You should ask her that question.”


“Come in, child,” Gareth called out to her.


Cassie entered the living room. Alex stood by the fire, his forearm braced on the mantle. Flames snapped in the large stone fireplace. Gareth sat in a deep red, high-backed chair next to a small wooden table. Both men looked reproachfully at her.


She lifted her chin in defiance.


“Would you like some wine?” Gareth pointed to the carafe on the table beside him.


“Please.”


Gareth moved to pour, but Alex gestured for the old man to stop. “I am in need of a refill.”


She watched Alex pour the wine into a new goblet and refill his own. As she still stood near the doorway, he walked over to hand her the wine.


She sniffed the red liquid, approving of the fruity fragrance. She sipped the wine and allowed it to stay on her tongue for a moment before she swallowed it. Not too dry and not too sweet. She took another sip, not above using liquid courage to face these two powerful men in this strange world, and of all things, in a dress. Somehow that, more than anything else, put her out of sorts.


She looked at Gareth. “Why do they call you Master?”


“Would you care to sit by the fire?” Gareth indicated the chair across from him.


She crossed the room to sit in the second high-backed, red upholstered chair. Alex had returned to stand by the fire just to her right. She ignored him. Payback for talking about her behind her back.


“Master is an ancient title,” Gareth said. “I am really a teacher.”


“What do you teach?”


“I teach the higher laws of the universe.”


“What are those?”


“The ones you cannot see.”


“Like gravity?”


“Of a sort.”


She frowned. “What does ‘of a sort’ mean?”


A look passed between Gareth and Alex. She resisted the urge to storm out and leave them to their secrets. If they needed her so bad, why keep secrets?


“Gravity is a type of force, aye?” Gareth asked.


“Yes,” she said.


“There are other forces that exist,” Alex said, “ones that work on a different level than what we experience in our physical world.”


“What are these forces?” she asked Gareth.


“Emotion. Beliefs. Intention.”


“Those are forces?”


“Aye. Our emotions and beliefs influence our interactions with the universe.”


Philosophy. He spoke of philosophy. “What does this have to do with why I’m here?”


“Everything. If you do not understand how the universe works, you cannot fully participate in it.”


Cassie gripped the armrest with her free hand and thought that this must be what Alice experienced while talking to the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. “Define fully participate.”


“When I say fully participate,” Gareth said, “I mean to be a part of the creation of the universe.”


“Isn’t the universe already created?”


“Creation is an ongoing process of cause and effect.”


She finished her wine and sat back in the chair. Her mind tried to wrap itself around what Gareth wanted her to understand, but it couldn’t.


Gareth stood up. “I have given you enough to think about tonight. It is time for this old man to retire.” He nodded to Alex and bowed to Cassie. “I will see you in the morning.”


Intrigued by his view of the universe, her eyes followed Gareth out of the room. She couldn’t dismiss his words, as her being in this new world defied any beliefs she’d previously held.


She looked up over her shoulder at Alex, and found him watching her with an intense expression. “Please don’t look at me as if I’m a puzzle you have to solve.”


His gaze did not waver. “You are.”


“You don’t believe I can help, do you?”


“No.”


“Then why waste your time bringing me here?”


He looked into the fire. His jaw flexed as he ground his teeth together. When he spoke, his words were so low, so reflective, that she barely heard him.


“Because I do not know what else to do.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Supernatural Heroes

Supernatural beings have fascinated humans since before the written word. One of the earliest known is from the Assyrians, approximately 4,000 years ago, later adopted by the Babylonians. The Ekimmu is the ghost of an unburied person - and in some cases a spirit who does not receive enough offerings - who dwells underground and emerges at night to feed off the living.

Then there were the Strix, which were chronicled in the Saxon capitulary of Charlemagne in 781. The Strix was a night demon, who happened to be very fond of internal organs. Ovid described them in Fasti.

In the time of Shakespeare (1564-1616) there was a strong belief in the supernatural. Two of his plays, Hamlet and MacBeth, feature the supernatural as an integral part of the plot. One of my favorite lines from Hamlet is, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Croatia was the site of one of the first vampire epidemics of the modern age. In 1672 Giure Grando, from the village of Kringa on the Istrian peninsula, is said to have returned from the grave to terrorize the villagers. He is the first documented classical vampire.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Count Dracula. In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, to wide acclaim. Set in Transylvania, the book immortalized the vampire myth. Even the church declared it as one of the best ever romantic novels.

Ooh… a supernatural being and romance. Now we’re talking! Demons, vampires, ghosts, werewolves, wizards, demigods, superheroes – all have been used as heroes by fantasy and paranormal romance authors. Why? Supernatural heroes are strong, dark, tortured, dangerous, suspenseful, and flawed.

A hero that possesses supernatural abilities adds another layer to the odds that lovers must overcome to be together. Plus, as an author it is a heck of a lot of fun to imagine what I would do if I could fly; be immortal; become invisible; or put mere mortals under my spell (which my husband is very glad I can’t do).

So. Seeing that today is Valentine’s Day, what sexy supernatural hero would be your perfect Valentine?