Teachers, parents, preachers, poodles and everyone else: come one, come all! A free teaching guide PDF is available for my debut novel Freakshow Summer. It’s great for classroom and home schools. Just go to this link and look over the PDF. If you want it, it is yours for the low, low price of, well…FREE! Download it and use it whenever you like.
Just a very short announcement. Take a look at my new page that now includes two pieces of flash fiction, “Anatomy Lesson” and “Treasure.” The stories are available as PDFs. More stories will be posted in the near future.
The Anchheri are malevolent mountain spirits, typically the ghost of a young girl who suffered a traumatic death due to murder, disease, or abuse. This would explain their emaciated appearance and the hollow eye sockets. Stories tell of how a group will often come down from the hills or mountains to “play” near water or in meadows. Upon first glance, the spirits seem innocuous and good-natured. Yet, they bring disease and death to those who interact with them. Legends tell that the mere shadow of a Anchheri is deadly. If the shadow falls upon a victim, typically the very young or very old, the person will be infected with a fatal respiratory illness.
A couple of tactics can be used to protect oneself or one’s family from the ire of the Anchheri. The first is to bribe the ghost with gifts such as jewelry, clothing a young girl might enjoy, or a traditional Indian eye ointment called “kajal” (which makes sense considering the ghost’s eye situation). Much like other associations of ill-repute, the ghosts need to be “bribed” on a regular basis to ward off their cruelty. The second tactic is to wear the color red. But like the previous strategy, it does have a drawback. Some believe that wearing a simple red ribbon is enough to keep the Anchheri away. Too much red, however, could cause rage to well up in the creatures, leading them to attack with more ferocity.
Perhaps like many other mythical and legendary creatures, the Anchheri have a basis in reality. Not the creature itself, but the invisible dangers of disease that can sneak up on the vulnerable like a silent shadow. When considering the horrific treatment of women and girls around the world, it makes sense that the Anchheri would represent such abuse and mistreatment. They have been unfairly targeted simply because they were female, so vengeance from beyond upon other innocents is the spiritual response.
Although the Anchheri is a relatively unknown spirit for most people, it is worth further study in a cultural context.
This leads to an internet misunderstanding I have found while researching this entity. For some reason, this creature is also associated with the Ojibwe culture, but I could not find any such creature in their myths and legends. Perhaps there is some ghost/spirit/entity that represents a child and causes suffering, but I was unable to find it in my research. It is unfortunate because one of the creepiest pictures of the Anchheri had its theme based on the Native American form of the creature. You can see it here.
If someone is able to find the connection between the Indian Anchheri and a similar creature associated to the Ojibwe nation, please point me in that direction and I will amend this post. Until then, check out one of my resources: https://www.bestiary.us/bestiary/acheri/en
Freakshow Summer recently won a silver medal for historical fiction at the 2022 Moonbeam Awards! I am so proud that the novel has been recognized. Maybe awards don’t equal sales, but it does validate a writer’s effort when recognized by educators, other authors, and those working in the field of children’s literature. I am very grateful to my publisher, Artemesia Publishing, and the man behind the company, Geoff Habiger.
For those interested in getting a copy of the book, it can be found on most major bookselling sites.
In the hopes of making this novel accessible for teachers and students, I have completed a teaching guide for my debut novel Freakshow Summer. I will provide a digital copy of the guide for free. I have provided a sample of the guide below. For libraries interested in purchasing multiple copies, a 50% discount ($7.98) is available for orders of five or more books. Artemesia Publishing, however, is willing to give a general discount on all school purchases.
I am really proud of the great work Ian Bristow has done for my novel. Geoff Habiger of Artemesia Publishing made an excellent choice for the illustrator. Stay tuned for more looks at the new novel Freakshow Summer. A PDF teacher’s guide is forth coming. A link will be provided when it is complete.
After many years of revisions and editing, my debut novel Freakshow Summer will finally be available July 2022. Published by Artemesia Publishing out of Tijeras, New Mexico, this middle school/young adult novel focuses on such themes as acceptance, family, and friendship. Artemesia Publishing picked up Freakshow Summer in May of 2021, but I had been working on it off and on for nearly eight years. Ian Bristow will be doing the cover art as well as chapter illustrations within the novel. I am really excited to see his work, but you can check out his other projects here and here. Once I am able, I will have some artwork published on the webpage. To give readers an idea of the plot, below is one of several blurbs that will be used to promote the novel, which is set in 1938.
“In a world of freaks, thirteen-year-old Manny Dobra longs to find his place. Orphaned at a young age, he is raised by the sideshow performers of Oliver Neil’s Marvelous Carnival. But even his deceased fortune-telling mother couldn’t have predicted the bully who can’t stand Manny, Oliver falling in love with the bully’s mother, or the return of the Oldies—a group that intends on destroying carnivals. But with help from his friends Nickel, Margot and Penny, Manny begins to traverse the tricky road of life, finding his footing in a world of human curiosities, both the beautiful and the ugly.”
I will also be working on a teacher’s guide as well as an audio version of the novel, both of which will be available on this website. The teacher’s guide will be a free downloadable PDF and will have chapter summaries, vocabulary, review questions, project assignments, and cross-curricular materials if teachers wish to incorporate the novel into their lessons. I am hoping to be the narrator for the audio version. Once I have the first chapter read, I will provide the audio and print sample here on the webpage as well.
As we get closer to the date of release, I will be providing more information and links.