Friday, March 09, 2007

Yes, I said haunted

Ta to all who posted their 'odd property' experiences here. Keep 'em coming, I love reading them. What seemed most interesting to me was the number of people who had the self-same responses I did:

1) It wasn't actually scary at all.
2) It didn't make them believe in that sort of thing.

I still don't. Having said that, 'he' was walking around again last night. Noisy bastard.

Moving on. The Xfire chat. That went well, from my POV. Felt a little like last Saturday in the Epsom store, but on line. Mob rule. But then, I'm a whiny, needy writer, and I have to get my kicks somehow. A few technical problems to begin with (technical problems include - What is this? What? What is it with this PC? It won't cut and paste!)

I'm a Mac person, and Xfire only works on PC. Luckily, my wife stepped in and typed for me (and called me a 'rubber fingered dick'). Still, it was hectic. The moderators seemed swamped. I guess that's a good thing.

Hauntings apart, let's talk about this. I went thirty years without seeing or feeling a 'ghost'. But all my life I have suffered from coincidences, to the point of madness. I have taken to referring to the 'angel of coincidences', presuming that such a being hangs over me. My wife says it's merely 'proof the universe is working the right way', but, then again, she recently told me I was a 'rubber fingered dick', so who knows?

John Inman died today. I have never watched Are You Being Served? Ever. But every clip that came on the BBC news showed Inman playing off Trevor Banister, an actor I met last weekend for the first time. I didn't know he'd been Mr Lucas in Are You Being Served? (sorry, Trevor), but everyone I spoke to afterwards said "ohhh, Mr Lucas? You met him?"

Coincidences? Anyone? Has the angel touched you? Post something and I'll tell you about the Tibetan royal family and the twin towers.

For starters.

The angel and me are like this (makes crossed fingers hand gesture, realises he is on line, stops.)


Dezmo said...

I probably would have broken down in tears seeing the wall of fandom flying at me like continuous shells from a flak cannon.

Glad to see you survived, though!

The only time I've ever experienced something that I would even remotely consider supernatural would be when I had facial-reconstructive surgery to align my bite, I was given Ambien to help me sleep at night. Didn't realize that a major side-effect (if you happen to stay awake) is hallucination. Now, try to imagine that you've just gotten out of major surgery, with blood-crusted gauze wrapped around your entire skull, trying to defend yourself from a clan of evil 'Shadow Children'.

Did I mention I couldn't yell for help? The detached-but-healing-jaw rendered me voiceless for a good week, leaving my only method of communication being a small whiteboard and markers. Don't believe my parents could hear the pleas for sanctuary being scribbled from across the house, as much as I may have perceived them to be audible.


So how about them Brothers of the Snake? Planning on making a series ? Can't relate to you how excited I am!

Saberrox said...

I don't think I've ever experienced something supernatural, though some of the things my ex-girlfriend yelled at me has me convinced that I have had an extraterrestrial experience.


I, too, am curious about the Brothers of the Snake, as it seems to me that a lot of books focusing on Space Marines tend to portray that Astartes as bland heroes. Character development seems to fall by wayside as the authors fall in love with the Astartes' amazing ability. Graham McNeill's books are exceptions, and I'm curious to see how you handle writing about Space Marines, Mr. Abnett. Or, for that matter, if you've got any thoughts to share on how you approach developing said characters?

And, oh yeah, is there a date set for the release of 'Only in Death'? I finished Double Eagle a couple days ago, which means I'm out of Abnett material. Sad, I tell you.

Mr Dreadful said...

Not many interesting coincidences for me... but there was the time when me and the bloke who I'm writing our LRP system's new rules with spotted exactly the same problem at exactly the same time and tried to ring each other to discuss it.

Oh, and "Mac user"? You're weird you are :P

PS what's your best tip for overcoming writer's block? I've been stuck on Chapter Three of the story I'm trying to write for, er, two years.

sredni vashtar said...

being called a rubber-fingered dick is still better than being called a dick-fingered rubber, I guess

Soapy said...

I don't get many viists from the Angel of Coincidence much these days due to the presence of the Lucky Break Fairy (Like a cherub but balding and in his forties with a Brooklyn accent, he calls the Angel "Dat co-inkydink broad with the nice gams")who seems to run my life at the moment.

I think his smell puts her off...

Tim said...

I've personally never had any supernatural experiences of any kind.. yet. I suppose I'm not interesting enough for spirits to bother with :-(

The Xfire chat was great, if hectic. The moderators did a good job of combing through the questions to get some very interesting ones, and I always liked your answers (especially to my own question :P [it was the one about killing off characters]). I also won a signed copy of Ravenor Rogue. Yay.

I don't know how you find time to write between all these public events, family life and ghost monitoring.. Most of my day seems to slip by unnoticed. I have little time left over for being creative. Grr.

Maybe you could work the old spirit haunting your house into one of your novels somehow; an inside joke for the fans! ..No?

Anonymous said...

I've never had any supernatural experiences....i feel rather left out.

I am, however, spending all my free time writing. Christ...

Hehe. I just really found this from the link on BL.Really need to read it, cause its funny.

Anonymous said...

"Moving on. The Xfire chat. "

On that subject, I'm gonna ask a question I asked a fellow warseerer to ask on this, but he didn't. At gamesday, I asked you if there was the possibility of a sequel to Riders of the Dead (I was the guy with the messy hair, two cases and a bag full of goodies), and you said you had an idea for one. Is there going to be a sequel?
sorry if this is sorta hijacking.

Toymachine said...

'Haunted? Well, theres ghosts here, thats for certain.'
-Trooper Brostin

Mark Richard said...

My total experience with absurdity extends to only one real incident where people die all the time, an old folks home. I used to help out around there when I was younger, and while heating up a boiled pot, then turning to walk out I looked back in the corner of my eye and saw the pot whiz past and clatter to the floor.

Nobody else was in the room, there were no other entrances apart from the one I was standing in, and it was certainly on top the hob properly. Stranger still was the speed and distance in which it travelled seemed to indicate it had been thrown. That incident didn’t make me believe in ghosts though.

Matthew Churchill said...

Odd coincidences - Several years ago I used to be involved with the mental health services provided from Ealing Hospital in London. I was doing a random internet search in work the other day to see what the state of its services were like today, and couldn't find any evidence that Ealing Hospital even had a mental health department. Which I thought was a bit odd. Was a month of my life just a dream?

A further search revealed an old consultation document that was proposing Ealing's services move to a different venue, at a place called RAVENOR Park Clinic.

I got a bit of goosebumps from that.

Soapy said...

Oh maybe there is a coincidence after all. I used to work at Ealing Hospital as an Ambulance crewman and later controller. I used to work close to St Bernards (The MHU at Ealing). Small world.

Nick said...

I've never had anything supernatural happen, live in a house that was built like 10 years ago, and my family has been the only owners.

Xfire: My question was about how you developed plot:

Raven(DL): Mr. Abnett, could you perhaps describe some of the proccess you take when creating the plot for your novels? Most of them, especially Ravenor and Eisenhorn have excellent hooks and twists, hard to pick up on... but ultimately add to the storyline and excitement.
Each novel is drawn up to a general plan that the Black Library editors apporve,. I try to shape each one in different ways so as to avoid repitions of circumstance and action. On an ongoing basis, I gather ideas and details that interest me in my notebooks, and I use these to bring colour to the plot, crafting from them the smaller events and steps that will link the broad plan together. Once in a while, one of these little steps will twist a plot in an unexpected way and then I have to make some radical revisions as to where I'm going.

I also won a signed copy of Ravenor Rogue, and I can't wait to read it!

Dan, thanks for the great oppurtunity over xfire, and I'm glad you found someone to type for the rubber-fingered dick...

Adriana said...

What some call paranormal could actually be explained by Quantum physics ! Our physical perceptions are woefully limited, there could be people in another dimension(s) or even universe(!) all around us. Most would live blissfully unaware of that fact. Only an idiot would claim that whatever we can't 'see' must not exist How do you think your cellphone works for starters ?

Eventually our scientific knowledge will extend to the point that we will have explanations for spirits, premonitions and the like. I have had enough experiences to know that those things are every bit as real as 'everyday' things. Once I stayed at an old hotel, the atmosphere was particularly oppressive but I thought nothing of it. Then at night I had my sheets and feet pulled on. I don't know why I reacted the way I did, but I got more annoyed than scared. Then next morning I got shivers when another person in the room told me she'd dreamt of a little boy at the foot of my bed. His face was bisected by a large gash and he looked in fear down the hallway where an evil looking man was standing...

Robert said...

Growing up in Hawai'i, I've always been steeped in the spirit traditions of both Hawaiian culture and the folklore of Asia.

We've got everything here from mass reports of faceless ghosts at drive-in theaters to popular fear of the Night Marchers– processions of dead Hawaiian warriors. I grew up learning to never whistle at night (it calls the "obake," Japanese for ghost) or carry pork across the Pali Highway because it violated the goddess Pele's kapu and might cause a car crash.

Check out Glen Grant's books if you're interested in the lore, I particularly suggest "Obake: Ghost Stories in Supernatural Hawai'i" and "The Obake Files," only if you're very intrepid read "The Secret Obake Casebook." I have friends who refused to finish it because it made them too paranoid.

Strangely, the first time anything actually happened to me I was staying in Cape Cod for the summer. The house was pre-Civil War, and filled with Union Army antiques including a closet full of rifles and a very bloody surgeon's shirt. I was woken up several times by rappings on the bed frame and my legs being tugged, but the most spectacular displays (books being thrown, footsteps) only happened after I started playing an old 19th century pump organ. The second time my books were thrown off the bed after playing the organ, I decided to stop. Strangely I didn't feel very frightened either. Maybe because the books would only get thrown when I was out of the room– this wasn't Hollywood after all.

I would also like to add my vote to those interested in hearing about getting into the writing business. Working on two novels currently, but would pretty much write in any medium that pays. My goal is to tell stories and hopefully get paid for it.

Grephaun said...

I don’t really believe in the supernatural, although I do think there are likely more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in current science mainstream (except perhaps quantum physics, as mentioned by Adriana.)

Even so, I have a few times experienced the feeling of a ‘presence’ nearby, like when you know that someone’s looking at you behind your back, or spot a flash of movement from the corner of an eye only to turn around and find no one there. I am a medical student and work at a hospital, and during those long and lonesome night shifts, walking the quietly desolate hallways, it’s easy to get the feeling there’s someone else walking next to you or peering out from the darkness behind the crack in a door. I think every member of the staff has their own stories about ghosts or lingering spirits, miraculous survivals or unexplained passings.

I think that if there are such places in the world where otherworldly energies accumulate and supernatural occurrences happen, hospitals would be them – every day in a hospital, new life is born, old passes away, and everything in-between; no wonder hospital workers are often a superstitious bunch.

As for the Angel of Coincidence, it’s not an entity I’m frequently visited by. However, I do believe my boyfriend is entertaining a clandestine affair with Lady Luck – I’ve never met anyone as lucky as him. Not in the sense that he’s won the big prize at the lottery, but rather that life seems to provide exactly what he needs when he needs it with no effort required on his behalf. Attending high school exams, he would only read up on a single subject and inevitably be examined in just that subject. When he’s late for the train, the train will be late too. When he’s hungry there are people passing out free food samples in the street. When he applied for a popular job and wasn’t chosen he jokingly complained to ‘the manager’ (of his luck, is assumed) – the next day he got a letter that another applicant had declined his position and the open slot was instead offered him! No matter what, everything always works out to his advantage.

Me, I seem to have to work for everything the old-fashioned way. *Grumbles.*


Stuart said...

Woah, you use a Mac Dan?

I guess it's true what they say, never read your heroes... blog, as you'll only be disapointed. Or something like that.

Toymachine said...

Saberrox is totally right. Authors can protrayed space marines as imortal godlike beings TOO much.
(And as a salamanders player, i must say rightly so, but here comes the point)

Every one dies eventually, and 40k is war on universal scale. This is why i dont mind Characters being killed off (sniffs at the thought of a certain colonel)because it has to happen or the book / magasine becomes unrealistic.

WARNING - LOOK AWAY IF YOU HAVENT READ AOC - This is why I wasn't sad to see Caff go. Was i The only one?

Xhalax said...

I can't say that I've ever had a definite paranormal experience, despite the fact that seeing ghosts and reading tarot cards and all that sort of thing is 'in the family' (my mum's side). Though it might be possible I saw my grandma on thenight she died (she died in the afternoon...but someone came up the stairs and it wasn't either of my parents...or so they say).

Though I have to admit that the house I live in makes me feel very uncomfortable. It's hard to put into words, but it just gives me chills and I never feel totally at ease here. Nor alone, even when there's no one in the house.

And its just this house that I feel strange in. But I think it's just my imagination.

Saberrox said...


Toymachine - I wasn't really expecting Caffran to go, but I had him pegged as someone who'd go out in the next book or two. He was a grunt, basically. A smart, cool grunt, but when you're on the front lines as often as Caffran was, it's likely something gets you eventually. So yes, I approve of him as a guy to be killed off. It's realistic. Doesn't mean I was happy to see him go.

Now, if Domor gets killed, I am going to be rightly pissed.

Anyway, Alaric of the Grey Knights is an excellent example of a personality-less hero Marine that I'm talking about...

Jesse said...

Not exactly supernatural, but very creepy at the time!

To set the scene: The following narrative occurred around 3am, near Baghdad, Iraq, in October 2005.

I was awakened in pitch darkness by pained screaming and sobbing cries of anguish.

'(expletive deleted),' I thought at first. 'We've been rocketed and my buddy 'G' has been hit.' Only after I had bolted from my bunk, bashed my toes and forehead while fumbling about for the aid bag at the foot of my bed, and actually begun assessing 'G' for wounds with the aid of a flashlight did I realize that he was actually asleep and having a 40k nightmare.

I realize now that not waking him up and allowing him to thrash out his obviously horrible dream makes me a bad person, but in my own defense his screaming had drawn me out of a wonderful dream of my wife. But I digress. . .

Amid the random shouting and crying I realized that he was dreaming about trooper Bragg (he had just finished "Guns of Tanith"). So there I sat for the next few minutes while 'G' reenacted the death of Bragg (complete with pantomime of swinging a machinegun), all while totally asleep.

You have to understand that my friend is from the great state of Missouri. In typical southern style, everything 'G' does is slow and deliberate. He is tremendously intelligent but keeps the fact hidden. He is also hands-down the worst rifle shot I have ever seen. Couple the above information with 'G's natural tendency toward hero-worship and you may realize why he felt a certain affinity for the late, lamented "Try."

In hindsight I should have realized he was going to have nightmares when, after finishing "Guns of Tanith," he stomped into our room and threw the book at my head.

I won't bother you, Mr. Abnett with a transcript the stream of vitriolic abuse to which he subjected your name, your editor's name, the names of your pets and Black Library in general after the death of Bragg, but rest assured that he has recovered and both 'G' and myself remain your devoted fans.

Dezmo said...

May I suggest that whenever a spoiler is being mentioned, that someone do something along the lines of



Amidst the Abnett-Xfire chat and reading comments, I've casually ruined the rest of the Gaunt's Ghosts books for myself, without even trying/wanting to. :\

Oh wells.

Toymachine said...

@ saberrox:
Yeah, shoggy rocks! Why doesnt anyone evey do a poll on these sites? like... Whats your favourite character(s)?

Mines in a casing of nalwood right now. (-Sniff-)

Saberrox said...

It's just impossible not to like Domor. :)

@ Toy Machine

He was a good one, wasn't he? Was kind of left with the feeling after Guns of Tanith that you fave character's days were numbered. Cheated death there...

lordy said...

Taking Dezmo's advise

SPOILER FOR Armour of Contempt


Actually, I was surpised at Caff's death. It was the way it happened so abruptly, and with Cridd coming so close to dying as well (I actually thought she was dead until the very end, as I missed the bit it said she wasn't).

I just thought Caff would actually get a more drawn out death.

Anonymous said...

Wow, creepy stuff.

I've never seen anything personally but I've had friends who are not cranks tell me about stuff that was pretty weird. Here's the list of things that I've personally heard of:

1. Next door neighbors moved into their house after an old woman died in it. The door to the room where she kept her dogs would always end up open in the afternoons, even if they made sure to shut it. They would also see wheelchair tracks in the thick carpeting. She had a wheelchair, neither of them did (obviously.) Creepy. The wife also had a creepy time of it after her father died, kept feeling a heavy and unpleasant presence like he wouldn't move on. (they had a bad relationship.) She was making the bed one day when she felt him behind her. "You're dead! Go away!" she shouted. She saw the pillow dent down like someone had punched it. Never felt him again.

2. Friend of my mom's and his dad were gunned down by the psycho ex-boyfriend of his current girlfriend. Both of them were loaded onto the same ambulance. The father died in transit and the son talked to him while having an out of body episode. When he came back he had a lot more knowledge of what was going on in the ambulance than any unconscious person should have, even if you assume he wasn't fully out and his mind was pulling conjectures together based on what he heard.

3. A friend of mine from West Virginia had a handful of creepy tales to tell. The coal mines would always play tricks with your mind. His dad worked maintenance and would often be in abandoned areas of the mine, miles away from active crews. He would see helmets bobbing down the tunnel towards him (all you see of other miners, their headlamps) but they would disappear before he'd be close enough to see the person the light should go with. Other creepy things like seeing a dead friend walk by easy as you please like he was never killed in front of you. Turn around and he's gone. Is it just nerves, hallucinations? Whatever the answer, I don't want to know. Same friend also had some creepy shit happen in an ancestral home in the area. His grandmother's twin sister had died in a fire back when she was little and people would be seeing the ghost now and again ever since. He saw it once when sleeping over and had no idea what it was since nobody ever talked about it. Also lots of unsettling things like footsteps clomping up and down stairs when nobody else is in the house.

I have lots of other weird things I've heard that would take too long to go into. Suffice to say it's creepy!