Thursday, August 22, 2013

Writing Contest for The Bewitching

Writing contests are a fun way to get your work seen by others. It’s also a great way to come up with ideas of your own when your faced with the torturous struggle of writers block. Focusing on a short story for someone else helps me when I start to struggle on my own writings. I believe part of it is because it helps to quiet the mind. Some of the decisions are already made for us because of the writing contest rules. Fan fiction has the same allure. We already know about the characters. We are allowed to place our favorite characters into our own fantasy situations.

When I started writing The Bewitching I had several things in mind. First, I wanted it to be a trilogy where each chapter would make a good movie and appeal to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight fans. My second goal was to write it in a way that there would be multiple ways to turn it into a television show. The way the book’s written it can be made into a Buffy the Vampire like series in the modern time. I also had a second idea in mind. When I was younger I was a fan of the television show Sliders and Quantum Leap.

These shows were written in a way that the possibilities were endless in where each show could go. In Sliders the characters would jump to different dimensions, worlds that were only limited by the writer’s imagination. Quantum Leap revolved around the lead character taking over bodies of different people in different time periods. For instance, in one episode he found himself as the body-guard of Marilyn Monroe. In another he found himself in the body of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the famous sex therapist.

I left those possibilities open with The Bewitching in a similar way. There are little bits and pieces of the character’s past lives. While writing about their past lives I researched some of the attire from those periods, what was going on in certain time periods with wars, or the routes people traveled and places they populated. While the first book didn’t go into a lot of detail, the second and third I hope to include more of that research.

I believe there are a lot of possibilities in a writing contest for the past lives part of my novel. I’m sure there are ideas I haven’t even thought of with ways to incorporate real history with The Bewitching characters. With some of the stories I’ve seen on Wattpad I’m sure there are those who can come up with some amazing possibilities. So here are the rules for the first ever The Bewitching writing contest.

Writing Contest Rules

  1. The characters used must either be Dantes, Elyssa, Annette, Alicia, or Tobias in any combination together or by themselves
  2. Remember the last time Elyssa and Dantes were together was during the Salem Witch Trials. If your story has both of them after that time period, but before the present, they must not be aware of one another
  3. The story must be no shorter than 2,000 words and no longer than 4,000 words.
  4. Bonus points if you can incorporate any type of ancient or spiritual symbols that fit your story
  5. More bonus points if you can mix the story with an event in history and place the characters in that setting
  6. Multiple entries are allowed
  7. You can email me your entry on FB at The Bewitching Fan Page or to and put The Bewitching Writing Contest as the subject
  8. The contest ends September 30th and winners will be posted by October 14th.

You can find an example of one of the past lives in chapter 13 of The Bewitching – Memories of a Lost Love. While that chapter deals with a flashback of a past life, for the writing contest feel free to write the story as if it’s actually happening.

I’ll post the top 5 stories on both of my websites at,, along with several social networks I have set up on the web. If you’re on Wattpad I’ll give you a shout out there so all my followers can find you. For those who haven’t noticed, in the last week alone my followers have gone from around 13 up to over 250+. I have some things I’m working on currently that should increase that number even more, along with a feature spot that’s been mentioned by the Wattpad managers. That’s a lot of possible followers that will be able to find your work through me.

If you’re up for a writing contest then I’m up for checking out all the great stories you can write. I’ll be posting updates for the writing contest on The Facebook Bewitching Fan Page and The Google+ Bewitching Fan Page for those who’d like to follow me there. You can also follow on my personal fan page on Facebook at Martin Douglas or on Google+ at Martin Douglas.

For those who may have missed it, besides the writing contest we still have The Bewitching character contest that is still open for entries posted here!

Writing Contest for The Bewitching

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Bewitching Character Contest

The Bewitching Character Contest with Example pic of Madison Rockwell as Elyssa

The Bewitching character contest is now on! Anyone who’s read The Bewitching and checked out the website will have noticed the character page has pictures of how I envisioned my characters. Let’s add some more! The pictures used were from those who I knew that resembled The Bewitching characters both physically and personality wise, in some cases because I based them loosely off of friends.

While the demon character isn’t a main character per say in the first book, he does play a larger role in the following books based on what I have in mind for the story. What I’d like to do is add some pictures of the sub characters. Currently we have the 3 demons mentioned in Chapter 8 that have yet to have pictures I can place on the site.

For the women, have no fear! While for the time being this leaves them out of the contest, there will be two more characters introduced in the later chapters. Both have small parts in this book, but will have larger stories in the second, and possibly third book. This means that both male and females will have a chance to have their pictures featured as a character on the website. If pictures aren’t your thing I have a few more ideas for future contests that revolve around writing too!

With that said, here are the rules for the contest! Check out the character descriptions in Chapter 8 of The Bewitching. If you’re a guy, and you fit the description of one of the demon characters, take a picture. Make sure it’s a clear shot and not fuzzy. Send it to or send a message to our The Bewitching Fan Page on Facebook. Feel free to use makeup or whatever else you can think of to make yourself resemble the character, including the style of dress you see the character in. Include the name of the character you believe you most closely resemble in the subject line. Also include your own name so we can give you credit if the picture is chosen.

If you’re a female you can still participate. Do you know a friend who you think would be perfect for one of the demon characters? Get a picture and send it in. Include one of yourself so we can share who helped us find the perfect character to match the ones in the book! Also ask the guy you took the picture of to give us a like on our Fan page just so we know we have his permission to use his picture if it’s chosen.

We’ll list the winners and runners-up on our blog. The winners will be put into the slide show of characters for The Bewitching novels on our website. Since we’re still in the process of marketing the book, and we’d like to give everyone a chance to be included, we’ll likely pick the winners around the end of August or beginning of September. That gives everyone a nice amount of time to be included and to find out about the contest. So spread the word and become a character in The Bewitching Novels!

The Bewitching Character Contest

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hidden Bits in the Character Designs

Design was something that was important for me in my novel. One of the interesting things with putting together The Bewitching was when I had to come up with a website and the graphics for the characters. Pulling off a dark website is difficult enough. The character graphics and design were even more of a challenge. One of the things I wanted to do when designing the character graphics was to incorporate some of the spiritual things I had read about colors and symbols. Like the book itself, I attempted to mix the fantasy with some real world things.

In designing the graphics for each character I decided to use bright colors to contrast the dark colors of the website. I also wanted those colors to have meaning. For those who know a bit about colors, and how they relate to the spiritual world, you may notice that the colors used are representative of the characters emotional. In the case of one of the characters, the color used represents their material or wealth in the first book.

The colors weren’t too difficult to figure out. I did try to take into account the negative and positive meanings of them, usually leaning with the positive meanings for most of the characters. The symbols on the other hand were not as simple. They’ve changed meaning so much over time or as different groups have picked them up. For instance, people might be surprised to find out that christians and catholics garner a lot of their symbols from the Wiccans. The Wiccan’s are not much different in their approach to religion than the indians with their stories of nature and nature like gods. Even symbols like the Swastika have changed meaning over time. Where we usually associate the Swastika with evil or the Nazis, it actually originated as a symbol of peace in Australia. One particular symbol I used, while resembling others from history, is quite new. It has been adopted by different groups as though it does have a history older than it is.

There is so much contradicting information on symbols that I wouldn’t be surprised if this particular symbol appeared before then or with a different meaning. With the colors, I attempted to research the origins and meanings. I then matched them to the characters. I found some additional meanings to them later on that oddly enough more strongly coincide with the characters. I also attempted to keep them based off of Wiccan/Pagan, or Celtic lore which also seem to crossover quite a bit and borrow from one another.

I may change those symbols and their design over time as I write more of the next few books to coincide with the growth of the characters. In the meantime, I’m going to leave it up to the reader to see if they can figure out the meanings of the design on their own. I’d love to hear what you all think each symbol or color mean based on your own beliefs. Who knows, maybe someone will come up with something I can incorporate into the design for later stories.

A Special thanks to Madison Rockwell, Anne and Alice Pickard, and Les Belbot for allowing me to use their pictures in my design which so closely resembled my idea of the character’s looks. Also a special mention to Toby, pictured as Tobias, who sadly passed away recently. Our best wishes and prayers our with him upon the Rainbow Bridge.

Hidden Bits in the Character Designs

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Bewitching, How it Started Part 3

By this time Twilight had come out. There were also a few great films I had watched that focused on relationships. One of my favorite TV shows at the time was the first season of Nip/tuck because of the dynamics of the relationships between the characters. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had also just ended not long before. While I had hated Spike in the earlier seasons, his love and hate relationship with Buffy was interesting.

There’s something about good or evil characters that have that duality of struggling with their other side that I enjoy. The bad guy trying to do good, or the good guy struggling with the dark side of himself, always catches my attention. I found that dynamic in Buffy with those two characters amazing. My favorite scene was in the last episode where Buffy tells Spike she loves him, and the straightforwardness in his response was gut wrenching yet honest. You could see in his eyes he wanted it to be true even though his words said the opposite. Buffy’s words were in the same vain. That duality was something I wanted to explore, not only with acting, but with writing. There were so many thoughts and “what if’s” that could be going on in a characters head. Another film that hit somewhat close to home was the Notebook. There were parts very similar to that first relationship I had been in with the differences in social status and a relationship ending so abruptly.

With the nice response to my first erotic story I decided I wanted to write another one. Part of my want to write another was a result of what I was seeing in those shows and films. What drew me to those films and shows was the push and pull dynamic of the relationships. The wanting of one another, yet the pushing away for another reason. It was a whole range of push and pull with love as we all experience. I wanted to see if I could write not only the event but all the anticipation, intensity, and worries that lead up to such an event. I wanted the story to be something people could relate to in their own lives. Within a few days I had written a beach scene. There was nothing erotic about it. It was merely a short chapter about a girl and her desire to find the one…to find love.

At that point my life had gotten a bit hectic. I had started going back to school for a drafting and design degree. The degree focused, not only architecture and engineering, but also included classes on Photoshop and 3D modeling programs. I thought I could later use these programs not only for a decent job, but in my spare time to incorporate into any filmmaking I wanted to do. Most of my time was spent working a job. When I wasn’t working I was at a coffee-house studying for school. I didn’t have a lot time to do any writing until a few years later when I finally graduated.

Afterwards with the economy crashing, jobs for drafting and designers had almost disappeared. Architects were jumping for the lower end jobs just to make income which made them difficult for someone new and not as knowledgeable to compete. Knowing some web coding, and having my design degree, I started up an online business. I began to teach myself programming along with taking a few classes in MySQL and PHP. With the internet business being less time-consuming than actually learning to program I found myself with time to return to writing. I missed seeing shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Twilight had become a huge success. I thought it might be fun to write a show that I could imagine being filmed in that manner. I wasn’t sure where to start though. That’s when I thought of my beach scene from what was supposed to be an erotic novel.

What I had written resembled an opening romance scene. With just a few tweaks to the end of the chapter I had my first chapter written. I wanted something that would intrigue, not only some older Buffy fans, but that of a younger crowded. The vampire thing seemed to have been over done at that point. I thought changing the vampires to something such as angels might be a little more appropriate. I included a bit of the paranormal into the story. I also added quantum physics, eastern and new age philosophy, and the premise of how we’re all connected through energy. That would be my explanation of witchcraft used to create the world. Finally, for the characters I could draw a little from personal experiences and my writings on relationships. I even used the personalities of some friends to make them a bit more extravagant. The writing just kind of flowed for the most part, with each part I wrote creating ideas for the next.

That’s how I started. A little under two years later I had my first fully written novel. What started off as blogging about life and relationships evolved to the start of an erotic story. This then changed to a young adult story of love and betrayal, set in a world where we’re all connected through energy and surrounded by paranormal possibilities. Life has a strange way of weaving to and fro as we journey through it…

The Bewitching, How it Started Part 3

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Bewitching, How it Started Part 2

At some point it seemed I had written all I could think of in terms of relationships. Maybe I just became bored writing about the problems I saw in those relationships. I wanted to apply it to film, or to the scenes I use to write in classes, with my new understanding of human nature. I wanted a challenge and to see how deeply I could affect someone with what I wrote. I believe it was the famous actress Uta Hagen who once said that it was easy to get applause as an artist. To actually touch or connect with someone when performing in a way that you can bring tears to their eyes was a whole different challenge. When you do, that’s when you know you’re doing something right.

Writing of course has the same challenges. In my eyes it’s what separates a good writer from a great one. It’s what I hope I am, and what I hope to be. I wanted to do it differently though. Most of the scenes I had written for acting classes were sad. I asked myself what would be another indicator of affecting people emotionally. At the same time, what would be a challenge to write? I wanted to do something I’ve never done before.

I thought it’d be interesting to write a short erotic story. I can’t remember exactly why that came to mind. Maybe it was through some of the relationship discussions I had with women that wandered lightly into that territory, and a few of them mentioning having read such stories that they enjoyed. To have an effect on someone in that way, through words alone I thought would be quite a feat. It was also something I hadn’t attempted before. It would be a challenge to write something for women that was erotic and yet not vulgar or offensive. The idea intrigued me as it’s such a difficult balance to find with women.

Several days later I had completed the story. I hesitantly posted it on a blog. I can still remember cringing as I posted it. I was afraid of looking like a deviant in some of my readers eyes even though it wasn’t as graphically descriptive, or pushing the limits, as some similar writers do in their books. I can’t begin to explain how hard it is to think of non-vulgar sounding words that describe human anatomy in a way that’s attractive. Although, my wording was likely tame by todays standards with books such as 50 Shades of Grey.

Even though it was only a few pages long, I actually received a few great comments on it. I also received a few emails that told me the effect I was wondering if I could create through words had actually done just that. Surprisingly, there was no hate mail or mention of being a deviant to my relief. I sometimes wonder if I had started writing it at this point in time with 50 Shades of Grey being so popular, if I would have had the same cringing worries or carefulness in wording with the story. It’s odd how the openness and acceptance of society to such writings changes so quickly over time. Like acting, I would encourage any writer to write about what makes them uncomfortable. It opens so many doors in becoming comfortable in ones own skin and realizing that society isn’t always as harsh as we think it is. With that comfortableness comes confidence and awareness which is one of the most valuable assets to any artist. Between that and the positive responses, I began thinking more about the possibilities of actually writing a longer story.

The Bewitching, How it Started Part 2

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Bewitching, How it Started Part 1

When writing or doing anything creative, one of my odd curiosities with people who are successful has always been to wonder, “How did they get started?,” or “Where did the idea come from?” I think to some extent it might be normal for most of us, but particularly for those of us wanting to be actors and writers, or for any of us interested in the more artistic forms of expression. Maybe we’re wondering how to get started, or we’ve struggled for years and can’t seem to get anywhere so we look to how others began their careers. With the arts, and those who are well-known, their lives are out there for us to read through, and to see how they made a name for themselves. There’s that hope in us that maybe through them, or there experiences, we can discover a path there for ourselves to copy or modify in our own way.

When I started The Bewitching I had already been writing for several years. Originally it was scenes for theatre classes where we were encouraged to write characters different from ourselves. As an actor it helped in seeing the quirks of characters and understanding how our written characters possessed traits we did not. Somehow this lead to some interesting philosophical discussions between myself and others from the class. Later it evolved into spiritual discussions not much different from ideas brought forth in the film The Secret, or even talks about time and space. These were things I had found interesting long before then. Talking to those who had a bit more knowledge only lead to making it all the more intriguing to me.

It wasn’t long after that I fell into what I’d consider my first real relationship. When that relationship ended, as most do, I found myself moving from writing scenes for an acting class to writing blogs. With relationships, particularly ones we hold closely, when they end we begin to question the “why’s”. We ask ourselves the “what ifs,” we begin reading, or find some outlet or way to understand. Life experience opens so many doors into these questions when we care to learn the answers. It’s one thing to read about something, but to live it and begin seeing how these things relate to life is amazing.

You start seeing those relationships in films. If you’re a little crazy like me you start thinking of all the ways it could have played out, or the motivations behind it. Good becomes evil. Evil becomes good. All these layers start materializing in terms of the different reasons people do things. It’s not much different from a painter who will paint the same color over and over to build up a piece of work, or musicians who’ll layer music over and over. You start realizing that as much as each creative work in a particular area is done in a certain way, that almost every area of life is composed of the same elements played out in a different fashion.

More importantly, we may start to see the ripples and effects these thoughts and actions have on others. This is what I wrote about. For each difference I’d see in people, for each discussion I may have overheard that gave me ideas, I also began to see the many similarities. I saw how people were drawn to each other through these experiences. The fun thing about writing blogs was that I began getting readers and people commenting which opened up even more discussions. It wasn’t much different from the high one can get on stage when people began to express what they “felt” while reading your work. That is the most amazing feeling…

The Bewitching, How it Started Part 1