is a child in every one of us who is still a
trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit
-- Robert Brault
I hope you have a happy Halloween next weekend!
If you see Andrew, be sure to give him a hug!
Sources for Dyeland Stories
certainly not the most avid horror genre
watcher/reader. However, there are a few
scary/eerie movies, books, etc. that I enjoy and
sometimes those influences sneak into what I
write. Now seemed like a good time to reveal
the creepy talents behind some Dyeland plot
The Green Mile by Stephen King- While I
wouldn't classify it as horror, The Green Mile
is definitely supernatural and, at points,
scary. It also happens to be one of my
favorite books and movies. Unsurprisingly, its
influence on JABB is multi-faceted. First, Ivy's prayer in the
story named for her is the same prayer John Coffey
prays in TGM. Second, Joshua's ability to make
people viscerally experience other's memories when
he touches them was directly inspired by
Coffey. Finally, when I need to put myself in
the mindset of what Andrew would experience after a
brutal assignment, I will sometimes think about how
I felt when I learned what Wild Bill had done.
"20th Century Ghost" by Joe Hill- I read the
entirety of his 20th Century Ghosts and,
trust me, there's some dark, dark stuff in
there. But it's the tender title story that
stuck with me the most. It's a ghost story set
in a movie theater and while I loved the characters,
it was the importance of the theater itself that
stuck with me the most. I cry every time I
read it and whenever I need to summon some love for
St. Genesius' Community Theatre, "20th Century
Ghost" is there.
Dracula by Bram Stoker- So when I started to
really pursue the relationship between Andrew and
JenniAnn with some seriousness, I decided I wanted
them to have a psychic gift of some sort.
However, I didn't want it to be a copy of what
Catherine and Vincent had (which would be
horrifying, anyway, with Andrew's AOD work). I
happened to be reading Dracula at the time
and was struck by Mina's ability to sense Dracula's
whereabouts when she was in a dream/trance
state. I could work with that! I
obviously took some liberties. Whereas Mina's
"gift" was used to slay Dracula, Andrew and JenniAnn
have thus far used theirs to reunite Vincent and
Cora, comfort each other during the Afghanistan
assignment, and save Belle.
Hellboy 2- So I only watched the first movie
because Ron Perlman was in it. But I ended up
really enjoying both films. I loved how the
second movie opened with a flashback to one of
Hellboy's childhood Christmases. So I opened
"I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "The Past, the
Present, the Future" with Vincent-centered Christmas
flashbacks. The next couple Christmas stories
didn't open with flashbacks but the most recent two
did and I plan to make it a tradition going forward.
Moonlight- Well, obviously it brought Mick,
Beth, Josef, Logan, and Sarah into the Dyeland
fold. But in its all-too-brief lone season, it
shook me up! I feel really stupid admitting
this but, up until that show, I'd never seriously
considered all the issues two people would run up
against when one's immortal (or very nearly so) and
the other's not. Without Mick and Beth, Andrew
and JenniAnn would have been far less interesting
and Andrew's decision to age probably wouldn't have
been a plot idea that would have ever occurred to
Tanith Lee- Another one of my favorite books is her
The Silver Metal Lover which, like Moonlight,
forced me to take a realistic look at
mortal/immortal entanglements. What was unique
is that, in the novel, it turns out the "immortal"
is more vulnerable than the characters
realize. It made me think about what JenniAnn
would really believe about Andrew. If asked,
I'm sure she'd say "Well, he's immortal. He
can't die!" but when the going gets rough... would
she continue to believe that? God isn't
supposed to die, either, and yet... Thus, some
of JenniAnn's breakdowns over Andrew can be directly
traced to that book. While it's science
fiction, Silver is also a romantic book and
I really think it played a big part in developing
how I would write romantic scenes (focus on the
emotions, not the acts). Finally, it's got a Romeo
and Juliet homage running through it which, in
turn, inspired the R and J elements in "The
Scientist." I also sometimes draw on Lee's
short story "Red as Blood" which features a cameo by
Snow White's Prince who, in that version, you
may recognize as none other than the Prince of
Peace, white horse and lion/lamb crest and
all! When I need to represent Joshua in a more
regal mode, I think of that story. Plus, that
scene flicks through my mind whenever Joshua does
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- I debated
whether or not to include this. It certainly
has its eerie moments! Those aren't, however,
what I tend to reference in Dyeland stories.
Nonetheless, it was the big mystery that kept me
reading this in high school and, thus, exposed me to
some wonderful quotes that would later work their
way into various Dyeland stories, "Hope and Healing"
"Moonlight" by Stevie Nicks- Yeah, so apparently
it's about vampires. But, like Ivy, my mind
went more towards Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
Unlike popular lore, I believe Mary Magdalene was
not a prostitute but, instead, was mentally ill and
cured by Jesus. While I accept that some of
the demons in the Gospels were literal demons, I
also think some were just their way of explaining
illness. Thus, I believe Mary's 7 demons were
more likely to be PTSD, depression, anxiety, and so
on as opposed to Screwtape and Co. That's why
these lyrics make me think of her: "She’s lonely, lost. She’s
disconnected. She finds no comfort in her
surroundings. Beautiful, insecure, she has
nothing. She moves from situation to situation
like a ghost. Then she sees him: a candle
burning." I hope to share Mary's and Yeshua's
story soon (trafficking story, perhaps) and when I
do, you can bet that song will be running through my
sister really wanted to see Crimson Peak
and I'm up for period pieces. Not so crazy
about horror movies, though...
Nonetheless, I went earlier today. I can't
say I was majorly scared. Although I did
turn away for the gorier parts! I more
just found it sad. Gothic romances are
nice things to visit to get that spine-tingling,
skin-crawling feeling around Halloweentime but,
inevitably, they just make me want to indulge in
romance more to my own liking. So that's
what I'm going to do now! If you plan to
see Crimson Peak, don't read this until
you have. Spoilers ahead!
Andrew wasn't quite sure what had awakened him but
he didn't entirely mind the interrupted
sleep. It allowed him time to appreciate the
hush and warmth of Willowveil at nighttime.
He smiled as he listened to the steady breathing
coming from Belle's baby monitor and envisioned
his little elf and her big sister peacefully
dreaming. The occasional tapping noise told
him that Harvey was also up and enjoying a late
night sip of water. And then there was
Careful not to rouse her, Andrew shifted just
enough to see her moonlit face which was half
hidden by her hair. He hoped she was having
pleasant dreams although he had doubts. The
Thursday before, her cousin Veronica had called
and asked her to see the movie Crimson Peak
with her. JenniAnn hadn't been crazy about
the idea but when Veronica had played the "You
hardly ever have time for me anymore!" card, she'd
consented. After all, Veronica was going
through a tough divorce and if watching Charlie
Hunnam battle ghosts was going to make her feel
better then, of course, JenniAnn would go.
Her commitment to Camelot at St. Genesius'
had enabled her to put the movie off for a few
days but with no shows on Mondays and her classes
ending before lunchtime, her opportunities to
stall had run out that afternoon.
Andrew frowned as he remembered how quiet JenniAnn
had been when he'd picked her up at her parents'
after the film. Once they'd gotten back to
Willowveil, Belle's energetic chirpiness had
cheered her mother. Still... While
Andrew certainly didn't mind how affectionate his
Laja had been that evening... more even than
usual... he had to wonder at the cause. Had
she simply been in a cuddly mood or was it the
after-effects of watching a romance gone horribly
As he pondered this, the angel of death felt his
T-shirt tighten around his middle. Looking
down, he noticed that JenniAnn had a death grip on
The woman shifted so she could rest her ear over
Andrew remained silent for a few moments as she
listened. Once she let out a deep breath, he
JenniAnn sat up and nodded.
"About the movie?"
JenniAnn nodded again before snuggling against the
angel. Finally, she spoke.
"Maybe not even so much the movie itself. Or
maybe just kinda. Just the whole 'Bluebeard'
theme... and the fact that it is a theme.
The ghosts were gross in the movie but it was the
here and now evil that got to me. And maybe
it didn't help that I related a bit to the main
character. She even looked a bit like me
when I was younger. Prettier but..."
Andrew wrapped his arms around her.
"You were pretty when you were younger and you're
pretty now. Or 'pitty' if you prefer."
JenniAnn smiled and brought his hand to her lips.
"Thank you for that. So there was some
physical resemblance and then also her wanting so
badly to be a writer... not that I write much
"You write, Laja. All those notes in Belle's
baby book and the ones to Max when we gave him his
Kindle and you write down the stories from Joshua,
Maryam, Yosef, and John."
"That's mostly just transcribing, my love."
"You sell yourself so short, Laja!" Andrew
protested. "I've read the reflections you
write for the Tunnel kids. That's all you."
"Okay... Well, anyway, the heroine was
strong and smart and coulda been self-sufficient
but still she fell for this guy who didn't have
her best interests at heart a-and allowed her to
be hurt. Veronica was all about the sex
scene and the action but I was just hung up on
that. I mean they had this lovely dance that
they'd shared and I do think the main guy loved
her but not enough."
"He could have at least fixed that roof so the
poor girl wouldn't have been freezing!" Andrew
"I know, right? Buy a flipping tarp at the
very... Wait. How did you know about
the hole in the ceiling of their manor?"
Andrew's cheeks colored.
JenniAnn crossed her arms over her chest as she
studied the angel.
"Where were you this afternoon?" she questioned.
"Well... after you left to meet up with
Veronica for lunch, I dropped Belle off with
Vincent and then I, umm, went to go see Crimson
Peak," he confessed. "I was at the
movie theater closer to your parents'. My
showing ended about fifteen minutes before yours
"Aww, love! If you'd wanted to go, you
shoulda just said something. I didn't even
think to ask because I know how you feel about
that kinda stuff and so..." JenniAnn's voice
Andrew played with a corner of the sheet. He
smiled when JenniAnn nuzzled his shoulder.
"You went because you knew I'd get upset and you
wanted to be able to talk about it with me," she
Andrew nodded and kissed her hair.
"I would never let you live in a house with a hole
in the roof," he whispered into her ear.
JenniAnn caressed his face.
"I know, my love. It's not entirely fair,
though. You saw the horror in my life...
fictional as it is... so you could help me through
but... but I never see the real horrors that you
do. A-and I think that's what makes this
sorta stuff so hard now. I... I always find
myself wandering 'Has Andrew witnessed something
like this? How upset he must have been...'"
"You help me," the angel reassured before kissing
her. "So much, Laja. Yes, I see
terrible things sometimes but then I come back
here and am surrounded by so much love. And
when I wake up from nightmares... I no
longer have to tell myself that it's only a few
hours until morning and that I can go Home in the
meantime. No. Because there you are:
your hair tickling my chin, your head nestled
against my shoulder, your hand over my
heart. You do help me," he reiterated.
JenniAnn buried her left hand in Andrew's hair and
planted a kiss on his forehead. She was just
moving in for a kiss to his lips when the baby
monitor came alive.
JenniAnn smiled ruefully.
"I'll go get her," Andrew volunteered with a
smirk. Belle's timing was becoming
"Belle, what's wrong? Let Mama and Daddy
sleep," Shelby's tired voice commanded.
"Let's go together," JenniAnn decided.
Hand in hand, Andrew and JenniAnn padded through
the room and into the nursery. When they
entered, Shelby was trying to tuck Belle into bed
but it was not going well.
"Belle... It's bedtime."
"No! No eepy!"
"It's okay, Shel. We're here," Andrew
announced. He knelt beside Belle's little
bed. "What's wrong, baby girl?"
Belle grinned and kissed her father.
JenniAnn couldn't help but laugh as she knelt
beside Andrew. She soon received a kiss,
Shelby shook her head.
"I don't know what the deal is," she
pondered. "Belle doesn't seem upset or
"Uhny," Belle blurted.
When the other three didn't catch on, the toddler
lifted up her shirt and patted her belly.
"Ah ha... So you got Mama and Daddy and your
big sister out of bed because you're hungry?"
"Seems to me you had dinner and dessert, Belle,"
"Uhny..." Belle repeated, adding a sniffle.
JenniAnn buried her face in Andrew's shoulder to
hide her laughter.
Shelby openly snickered.
Andrew craned his neck to look at the clock on the
"Well, it is almost midnight..." The angel
turned to confer with JenniAnn. "I don't
want to start something but... I could do with a
midnight snack myself."
"Me too!" Shelby chirped.
JenniAnn smiled and shook her head.
"I don't see how we can avoid it now," she
decided. "All right, Belle, we'll go get a
snack but we're not doing this every night.
Do you understand?"
"Ep!" Belle gave an enthusiastic nod.
Though unsure if she really understood or simply
thought a nod would get her a snack, Andrew
scooped the little one up.
The four made their way to the kitchen where the
adults made up a tray of crackers, cheese, peanut
butter, and apple bits. Once it was
finished, they moved to the TV room. While
Belle and Shelby plopped on the floor, Andrew and
JenniAnn sat together on the couch.
"Well, we don't have fiendish ghosts and murderous
family members but I'd say we have one conniving
toddler," Andrew quietly observed after enjoying a
"It's a good thing she's cute."
"Very cute," Andrew agreed as Belle sidled up to
When her father pulled her onto his lap, Belle
gave the two sticky, sweet kisses. A moment
later, Shelby settled beside JenniAnn and hugged
"Hmm?" JenniAnn asked as she stroked the older
"I know you said we're not going to do this every
night but... do you think we could do it again
sometime? This is really fun."
"They're ganging up on us, Laja!" Andrew teased.
"I suppose sometimes," JenniAnn agreed, smiling
when Shelby hugged her.
When Andrew caught JenniAnn's gaze just before
Belle flung her arms around his neck, he saw that
her fear and unease had melted away. Once
the girls were through being affectionate and
again focused on their snacks, JenniAnn hugged
Andrew's arm tightly and peered into his eyes.
"I was interrupted before I could say what I
wanted to earlier when we were in our room," she
"Oh? And what was that?"
"Just that I will never let you live in a house
without love," she vowed.
Andrew felt tears prick his eyes. He
encircled his arms around his soul mate and kissed
The two smiled at each other and exchanged a quick
kiss before returning their attention to their
happy, laughing girls.
This newsletter is dedicated
to John Dye for making me so gosh darn
schmaltzy. Okay, okay. So that
wasn't totally his inadvertent doing... but
partly. Happy Halloween, everyone!
(Photo Credits: The photographs used on
this page are from Touched by an Angel
and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline
Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They
are not being used to seek profit.)