“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup.
October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins.
O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!” --Rainbow Rowell, Attachments

Hi all,

Happy Halloween!  A bit early but next week is an off-week for us.

I know I probably sound like a broken record but I'm still not finished with my trafficking story.  However, I'm taking some time off work coming up so I hope to get that finished very soon.  Thus, as much as I would have liked to have written a Halloween story, instead I've compiled a list of Halloween-themed tropes that appear in Dyeland stories and came up with some character costumes.  Unfortunately, I have a cold that got way out of hand so I'm sending this as is but hope to add more costumes over the coming week.  Until then...

God bless,

Halloween and Other Spooky Tropes in Dyeland Stories

Below are some tropes that appear in our Dyeland tales.  They may be spooky or simply supernatural.

Halloween Episode- Naturally.  Andrew may not love Halloween but I do so Dyeland has several Halloween-set stories.  A couple of my favorites are "Mysterious Ways" and "Safe."  Beyond the fun of putting characters in costumes, they became a good way to show Andrew's growth.  He's gone from scowling into a candy bowl to actually enjoying bonfires and seeing his family and friends dressed up.

For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself- Joshua can do whatever he likes on Halloween (and every day) and certainly doesn't need to dress up to go unnoticed.  After all, he spends most of his time appearing as your average fellow.  But there was the year he went as a talking lion...  Probably not something he can easily do on a whim on, say, March 3rd.

Blue-Collar Warlock- While he hasn't figured into stories recently, Cliff is this.  He can do magic, particularly portal-making, but otherwise lives a pretty mundane life.  If you ran into him on the street, you'd merely see a somewhat bumbling older gentleman.  While Joshua is definitely NOT a warlock, he usually appears to be blue-collar and unless one knew who he was, they would never guess he controls the spin of the cosmos and, well, everything.

Dark World- Andrew winds up in a dark version of Willowveil Castle during his stay in Sheol.  Joshua's portrait is defaced, cobwebs are everywhere, and Nen is in JenniAnn's bed.  ::shivers::  The other situations Andrew finds himself in (i.e. the one in which he accidentally kills JenniAnn) would be examples of Psychological Torment Zone.  To a lesser extent, Nen and Tzila inflicted that sort of torture on Violeta when JenniAnn was hospitalized.

The Dead Can Dance- Dancing is important to a lot of the Dyeland characters so why should it change after death?  Sophia makes occasional returns to cut a rug with Eli and you better believe Chava and David are swing dancing in the Great Beyond. 

Fridge Horror- This happens to me a lot when I go back and reread something, particularly something I wrote years before.  Something that seems pretty tame at the time I wrote it, may later seem really horrible.  For example, in the early Dyeland stories I didn't think a whole lot about the impact of what Andrew sees during his AOD stints when it comes to his Dyeland friendships.  Think of all the times Andrew probably had to deal with date rape or campus violence and then ponder how a casual reference by one of the girls to going out with some guy they barely know or some edgy jerk in class might play in his head.  Eeek.

Friendly Neighborhood Vampire- Is the character a vampire?  If yes, then they are this... albeit of varying degrees.  Josef can be a bit rough around the edges but would do anything for the Dyelanders and others of his friends.  Mick's done some things he's ashamed of but nowadays you're more likely to find him at Bible study than sulking around blood banks.  Finally, there's Logan.  Logan is adorable and sweet and the most harm he's likely to cause is making the Internet run slow because some game he's playing uses a lot of bandwidth.  And then there's this...

Monsters Anonymous- While they don't have anything as formal as AA meetings, the vampires and the AODs are often seen counseling each other in the Dyeland stories.  From war-related trauma to angst over relationships with mortals, the two groups help each other to make the most of their time with their loved ones.  From an author's perspective, making a mental tie between vampires and AODs is hugely responsible for how the Dyeland stories involved.  It was Moonlight's one lovely season and the drama between Mick and Beth that really encouraged me to pursue what became the anam cara twist. 

Never Sleep Again
- Thankfully, the Dyelanders and Friends avoided this fate but I'm sure it was tempting to guzzle caffeine after the demons' nightmares struck in "Shadowlands." 

Not-So-Phony Psychic- In "Be Thou My Vision," JenniAnn has her fortune told by a psychic at a Renaissance Faire.  JenniAnn's not buying it but when the woman, Myrna, touches Andrew she has a flash of him looking unwell and unkempt.  Not long after, the events of "House of the Lord" unfold...  Myrna also happens to be related to Hope, one of Andrew's past assignments who was condemned as a witch. 

Psychic Powers- A handful of the Dyeland characters have them.  Vincent is an empath when it comes to Catherine.  He also has the occasional prophetic dream.  Andrew and JenniAnn have also had prophetic dreams and the latter can occasionally see Andrew even when he's in angelic form.  She's also been able to travel in her dreams to wherever he is and see what he sees.  Naturally, Joshua has loads of powers but it's not really this since all his powers come from being God.

Resurrected Romance- Without a version of this trope, the entire anam cara idea
would fall apart.  While "neither married nor given in marriage" is an oft-repeated Bible passage in Dyeland-verse, it doesn't necessarily rule out a version of romance.  Maryam and Yosef still interact in a romanticized fashion.  The same can be said for Sophia and Eli.  Without this continuation of affection and love beyond the grave, human/angel pairings would be particularly fraught.  For example, Andrew would have gotten used to seeking solace by dancing with JenniAnn, hugging her, etc.  After her death, he will still have to cope with seeing terrible things and may very well want to deal with it in the ways he's become accustomed to.  It would be cruel for God to have taken away JenniAnn's capacity and desire to get cozy with Andrew.  So He doesn't!  Further, the relationship between the mortal realm and the afterlife in Dyeland stories is really just Resurrected Relationships.  Joshua still views his parents as his parents and interacts with them as such.  John still considers himself to be Joshua's cousin.  Jamey and JenniAnn never even met on Earth but still interact as cousins.

Self-Inflicted Hell- While not as arbitrary as the description makes it seem, Dyeland's cosmology is reminiscent of this.  This particularly comes into play when Andrew gets to Sheol and finds himself in the very spot where Yosef waited for Yeshua's resurrection.  What Andrew and Yosef experienced as a clean, warm carpenter's shed was viewed as a dismal shack by the demons and shades.  (Thank you, C.S. Lewis.)  Because Hell is self-inflicted, it's not necessarily permanent.  Thus, Yehuda and Eben are able to leave once they forgive themselves for their betrayals.

Dyelanders and Friends... in Costume

Max and Rose won't be able to attend the Halloween festivities since they're in Germany as part of an internship for Max.  However, I'm sure they'll find time to slip into their Hogwarts robes and watch or read some Harry Potter.

Having realized that her interests tend to dominate her and Andrew's costumes, JenniAnn came up with the idea of going as a Rockford Peach with Andrew as Jimmy Dugan.  Belle will dress up as a Racine Belle and Shelby, being the good big sister she is, will be her personal cheerleader.

Kemara's family will be celebrating in a Dr. Seuss-theme with Ian and Joy as Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Sean will be the Cat in the Hat and Kemara will be Fox in Socks.

By request, Josef will dress as a Fairy King.  Trust me.  It'll make sense eventually.  :-)

With Aiyla in the throes of a Disney Princess obsession, she'll dress up as Cinderella, convince Omar to be her Gus-Gus, talk her parents into being Snow White and the Prince, and their new baby, Aurora, will, of course, be her namesake, Sleeping Beauty.

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for inspiring so many stories here and thus making sick days not quite so bad.  I enjoyed doing a little rereading whilst waiting for my right ear and throat to stop throbbing.  Chicken soup helped, too.  :-)

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