The Lunatic and the Queen…

Good evening, Sin here.  Well, it’s evening where I am?  It quite possibly isn’t where you are.  Time is playing yo-yo with all our lives and tossing time zones about for us to scramble at like children to the outpoured guts of a piñata.  Anywho.  I had a wee visit earlier from one Freia Titland.  She’s an actress, teacher and much more.  She hung around enough for me to have a wee chat with her.  Say hi!
What’s your name?
Freia Titland… Queen of the Norse Goddesses.
A queen?  I wasn’t aware.  It’s not often we get royalty in here.  Actually, we don’t.  There’s one or two who prance around like kings under the guide of orderlies, but we won’t count them.  Where are you from?
I’m from New York… the city that never sleeps. Kinda like me.
And did they name you twice?  I’ve always wanted to visit New York.  Unfortunately, they don’t do day release and, even if they did it and I could get there and back in time, with a little sightseeing, I’d be too worried about what might happen.  I’ve only ever flipped a two pence coin.  I don’t know what might happen if I get my hands on some of that funny money you lot use.  Do you like living there?  If not, where would your favourite place to live be?  Is yes, where would you least like to live?
Yeah… I like a good crazy on the subway time and again. But, if I could live anywhere else it would definitely be Oslo, Norway.
You have Scandinavian yearnings?  That sounds cool.  I would love to visit such places, if only to see the Northern Lights.  One day, before I die, I’m going to see the sky on fire.  As you’re a film-maker, is this your ‘day job’?
Well… I’m a ‘film-maker’ but on the other side of the camera. I’m an Actress. Originally a theatre actress but I dabble in film and TV as well. My ‘day job’ is Acting Teacher and Concept artist. I own an entertainment production company called Wiseland Entertainment.
My story has been with a US based production company, but they didn’t quite get it.  You certainly seem to have a busy life!  Tell me about your latest project.
Me personally, I just finished filming an episode of Orange is the New Black. Wiseland, however, is working on a creative arts series called ‘Shakespeare’s Magical World’ where we explore the magical and ‘unnatural’ elements found throughout Willy’s body of work.
Orange is the New Black?  I didn’t expect to like that show, but I do.  It’s funny and well scripted and you do come to like and feel for the myriad characters.  One of my favourites is Crazy Eyes, for some reason…  The ‘Magical World’ series sounds interesting too.  Magical creatures abound in some of his work.  But, how do you feel about bacon?  A crazy person once said it was the food of the gods.  OK, I admit that person was myself…
Ha! I love bacon… but I’m trying not to eat animals anymore because it makes me sad. I guess that makes me the crazy person now?
Absolutely.  Bacon is like… yum!  So, giving you the chance to redeem yourself, what is your favourite film?
Persona by Ingmar Bergman. That should tell you a bit about my personality…
Very interesting choice!  It’s a classic film, though somewhat surreal.  Much like a Sunday afternoon in here.  People who do nothing but speak, chatting to those who will potentially never utter a word.  Have you always wanted to be an actress, or is it something you found yourself doing one day?
I don’t know if I ever wanted to be anything else. My mom was an Actress so ever since I was in the womb, theatre and art have been a part of my life. It wasn’t until I had to start thinking about college did I find myself going “oh, I guess this is what I’m going to do with my life.”
You had a good introduction then, with your mother being part of that world.  I wonder if you think it was inevitable.  You seem to be very happy with it, though.  Do you have so many ideas they dribble out of your nose if you don’t get them down, or do you have to hunt around the floor and the back of your sofa to find where your Muse is hiding?
Oh, I’ve got things so dark bursting from my insides that even you might run from them. The ideas are always coming, always burning, always growing… it’s the execution that drives me nuts. Expressing your vision to someone else and trying to get them on board with you is the hard part.
Erm…  Well…  The dark things which grow in me result in people dying on the toss of a coin.  You can keep your bubbling cauldron of imagination to yourself, thanks very much!  If you were in an asylum, what would your particular delusion or psychosis be?
I’d have some strange bad mother complex. I’d be very child-like, collapsing in on myself and seeking love. And, when there is no one to give it to me I would explore in murderous screams, thrashing my body about violently until I’ve tired myself out.
That’d keep the staff entertained.  They like it when the residents kick off.  It gives them something to do with their needles.  What genre(s) do you perform?
I’m really into theatre of the absurd and avant-garde stuff. I also enjoy a good political or social piece of theatre.
Sounds good.  The theatre of the absurd is what keeps us alive in here.  It’s never normal, so absurdities are our conventional.  What genres(s) do you read?
Fantasy… adventure. I’m really into Harry Potter and Tolkien.
Ah, great stories.  I’ve read lots of fantasy, loving Eddings and Brooks.  Tolkien was a master and Rowling created a host of characters and a world which millions wished they could be a part of.  That’s talent.  If these are the same, what attracts you to them.  If they’re different, why do you think that is?
I think they have overlapping elements. I mean, the whole Harry Potter series is a poetic essay on Nazi-ism, racism, classism, etc. but placed in a magical setting. I think the difference is that one is more raw and in your face and the other allows you to take a step back and be more of a bystander.
I suppose you could think of Potter in that way.  I tend not to see or look for underlying themes, like the religious undertones of The Golden Compass etc.  I just enjoy the story at face value.  But, bacon – just cooked or crispy?
Crispy. Oh god the piglets!! No!!
Oh, of course!  Piglets are cute!  Especially between a couple of rounds of bread…  Now you’re in the asylum with me, how do you aim to get out?  Do you have an escape plan?
Mommy will take care of everything sweetheart.
Mommy is off to change her vowel for a ‘u’ so she fits in over here.  She’ll be gone a while.  Best make yourself comfortable.
Freia M. Titland is a NYC based Actress and Model. Currently pursuing a M.A. in Theatre, Freia received her BFA in Acting and Religious Studies from Pace U. Freia is currently shooting a documentary that will be released later this year. To learn more, please visit www.freiatitland.com 
Twitter: @TitlandF
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Zo and the Lost Vowel…

Zoe arrived on a Thursday.  It was early afternoon, maybe a little after 1pm.  We’d had our delightful serving of slop-a-doodle-dandy washed down by a lightly chilled, full bodied, vin de pigswill and were relaxing in the conservatory.
For conservatory, read recreation room and for recreation room, read the place where they could keep us contained with minimal fuss and attention.
Zoe was brought in, nicely tucked up in a rather fetching strait jacket.  The colour of the straps and buckles really brought out her eyes.  She was quiet, a subdued bundle of silence which, for three days, remained restrained and sedated.  On the fourth day, she, effectively, woke up.
The jacket, as lovely as it was, had been removed by day two.  When the drugs began to wear off, the orderlies were standing by with another, this time in a slightly different shade of maniac.  I wondered why that would be.  It wasn’t rare for new arrivals to be sedated when they were first brought into the asylum.  What was rare was to have someone in such a state for so long.  It was useless to ask anyone anything.  Why would they share with us lunatics?  As long as we watched the TV, took our meds and ate the disgusting mess they served up for our three square (ish) meals a day, they were fine.
If we had what one might call an ‘off day’, things were far from fine.  Hunky-dory changed to Humpty Dumpty faster than a fly could puke on your lunch (though I think ours would be safe), and we were the eggs all the doctor’s horses and all the doctor’s men could be bothered to put together again.
Anywho.  Zoe.
I just happened to be sitting next to her when she finally surfaced from the needle induced slumber she’d been in.  She was asleep, after a fashion.  The conversation wasn’t up to much, granted, but at least she wasn’t constantly poking me or drooling on me or having me needing to wipe snot off my clothes.  She startled me when she awoke.  First there had been silence, then she said:
“Hi.”
You don’t need to be in a darkened, falling down house where the dead are buried in the basement and their ghosts are said to be haunting the halls to be made to jump.  You can just as easily be sitting in a bright room, watching MTV, surrounded by all manner of neuroses and psychoses and a startle will take a bucket full of steroids, work out in the gym for a bit and then slap you in the face.
Once I had recovered and my heart had found its way back into the cradle of my chest, I responded.
“Hello,” I said.
We spoke at length about our lives before our residency.  I made up most of mine.  She didn’t need to know of my childhood and she wouldn’t believe most of my adulthood.  Her own life had been much different.  She’d grown up in a loving home and always been around friends and family.  It was very pleasant to hear.
Then she told me why she was in the asylum.
“My name is really Zo,” she said.  “Everyone keeps putting an ‘E’ on the end, but I reckon that’s just a waste of a good syllable.”
Having discarded my own surname some time previously, I could relate.  For me, however, if someone didn’t realise and added it back on, I forgave their mistake.  They weren’t to know and just didn’t ‘get it’.  Why would they?  They didn’t have to grow up with the taunts and bruise coloured talismans I’d carried.  Zoe, or rather Zo, wasn’t so forgiving.
The first person to make such a mistake was a man.  Her postman, to be precise.  Brian.  He was a boring man, but she’d chat to him each morning when he delivered the letters, bills and junk.  She was pleasant and chatty and cheerful, especially in the morning.  It was as if the sun rose in her as well as in the sky.  When Brian called her by her given name rather than the one she accepted as her own, she invited him in for a coffee.  It was a miserable day and Brian was looking a tad wet and weary.  He happily accepted.
He never walked again.  Wheelchair bound because of the permanently damaged kneecaps and pelvis, he was also never again a postman.
Zo had kept Brian with her.  At first, he’d shouted and cried and fought.  Once she’d removed his tongue, he stopped that.  She fed him, toileted and washed him, but she didn’t let him go.
The second person was a police woman.  Brian had been missing for a few days and the authorities were looking for him.  Apparently, his neighbour hadn’t seen him for a couple of days and, when she used his spare key, hidden under the yucca plant pot in the front garden, she’d discovered an empty house, a pile of mail and a washing machine full of stale smelling coloured clothes which the inclusion of a ‘colour catcher’ had prevented from everything being turned pink.
At first, the police weren‘t interested, but Mrs. Johnson, the neighbour in question, told them he wouldn’t even go to the local supermarket without letting her know where he was and how long he expected to be.  She was the leader of the local neighbourhood watch and was insistent on making sure the whole street kept informed of their movements.  For many, this was an unnecessary intrusion in to their lives, but Brian didn’t mind.  He humoured her.  He interpreted it as someone bothering and caring.  Deep down, I’m sure he knew she was simply interfering, but he was single and lonely – hence being so happy to agree to the coffee.
The police woman was Denise.  She was tall and probably slim beneath the bulky uniform.  She was official but friendly.  She was happy to be offered a coffee too, but I’d guess not so happy when she woke up with a serious headache and blood trickling from her nose.
“Why does it matter so much?” I asked.  “I just pass it off.  They’re not really to blame for what’s effectively a habit.  Your name normally comes with a vowel tagging along on the end.”
“I know,” she said.  “But the Djinn told me it was wrong.”
“The gin?  I prefer vodka.”
“No,” she said, “a Djinn.  Like a genie sort of thing.  One kept visiting me at night, hovering over my bed and giving me freaky dreams.  It said it just needed the ‘e’ from my name and it would be gone.”
“And did it go?”
“Not really.  I didn’t see it again, but I still had the weird dreams.  I kept dreaming I was Meatloaf and in living in some sort of rock opera.”
I could relate to the name thing but, even for me, non-alcoholic supernatural spirits and dreams of singers were just too weird.  I made my excuses and moved away.  Timmy Trumpet (so called because of his constant flatulence – I don’t even know if his name was actually Timmy) sat next to her.  I figured, by the attack and the blood streaming down his cheek from the gash below his eye, he called her ‘Zoe’.  I also figured, by the reaction of the orderlies, the donning of the strait jacket and the needles entering her arm, the Djinn hadn’t quite left her.

She’d lost a vowel and she’d lost her mind, but she hadn’t lost the Djinn.  I supposed two out of three ain’t bad.
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Deltaville – The 34 Seconds Tour by Stella Samuel #IndieMinons

Welcome to the tour hub for the 34 Seconds Tour, a debut novel by Stella Samuel. Setting is everything when I’ve written my stories in the past, so Stella is here to talk about Deltaville…

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Much of my new book is set in a little town called Deltaville, Virginia. If you’ve never been to Deltaville, put it on your bucket list. It’s a must see.

With only one road in and out of Deltaville, few just happen upon the little town unless that are under duress in the water.

Legend tells a story of Captain John Smith coming across Deltaville’s point in 1608. While exploring its beaches and coastal waters, John Smith was stung by a stingray. He told his crew to dig a grave as he thought he’d die right there on that point. He didn’t, of course, but he did leave a name for the point, Stingray Point.

Residents of Deltaville still say the little ‘town’ is a fishing village. People travel from miles around for the seafood caught in the area waters. Folks living there will say they are lucky to be in the most beautiful village around.

Though my book takes place in Deltaville, and I’ve taken many liberties with the village by creating roads and places that are indeed fictional, many from Deltaville will know where my mind was while writing.

Nikki is a small town girl who felt she had to get away and live a full life in a city with sidewalks and coffee shops. I chose to use Deltaville, Virginia as Nikki’s small town backdrop because it’s a place where I spent my childhood. My father lived there for more than thirty years. He’s buried in Deltaville. When my father passed away in 2012, I knew I’d never have a reason to go back. Sure, I have family nearby, but I could visit family and never get real close to the actual village of Deltaville. I may never go back. Using Deltaville in 34 Seconds gave me an opportunity to honor a place I love as well as gain closure I needed on a place I may never see again.

Stella Samuel

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Stella Samuel is a debut author who reads multiple genres.  Her first book, 34 Seconds, talks about the moments where life changes suddenly, and the choices we make in those moments where the people that hold parts of ourselves from the past meet.  A literate and lyrical view at love, life and fate, this story is both uplifting and satisfying. Stella is a debut author who loves nothing more than connecting with fans on social media.  Her blog bio is: Stella Samuel – Writer, Butterfly and Singer of Silly Songs. Smiles under sunshine but dances in warm rain. Silently wishes to winter in Phoenix.

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Nikki and Will fell in love a lifetime ago in Deltaville, Virginia. Now living in Colorado with her family, Nikki is invited to attend Will’s wedding back in Virginia where she finds her past staring her in the face. Will never wanted a wife, and he broke Nikki’s heart long ago. Nikki knew what she wanted: a strong, happy marriage and children, a future. She found those things when she married Chris, and she and Will managed to grow their friendship after heartbreak. A year after the wedding, Nikki is faced with her painful past again. She soon discovers she must find the strength to help Will on his own personal journey. In thirty-four seconds, she sees him slip from her life forever. Watching Will cross over to his fate, her past collides with her present, and Nikki learns she’s never been in control of her own destiny. Her own journey back to her family in Colorado becomes one of self-discovery. With the help of Will’s voice to carry her across the country, Nikki must decide how she will move forward.

Buy 34 seconds here

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You can follow Stella on various social media platforms and her blog.
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