Friday, October 9, 2015

Skeptics, Dreamers, and Limits

Posted by: Cindy Spencer Pape

I think my colleagues have pretty well covered some of the delights and difficulties of writing about psychics. It's so much to play with powers we only wish we had, and yet they can so easily take over a story. My solution? Limit the powers. In my Gaslight series, Jamie has prophetic dreams that come true--most of the time. But the characters never know what might change or trigger that outcome.

In Sea Change, a paranormal romance, just now available in print,Heidi knows her best friend isn't dead, and sometimes has a warning sense wen trouble is coming--but sometimes just not quickly enough. Also, because she's a scientist, she's reluctant to trust her own gifts. Putting limits on powers helps us keep the characters from having too easy a time solving their problems.

Also a scientist, I was trained to be a skeptic, but I like to keep an open mind, mostly because the romantic dreamer inside me likes the idea that there are powers out there we haven't yet explained through science. One of my few experiences was the night my oldest son was born. They'd taken him off to intensive care with very little explanation, so of course I was frantic. But I knew something else was wrong--really wrong. I found out the next day, that while I'd been in Philadelphia having a baby, my older brother in Detroit had been in a catastrophic car accident.

They waited until the middle of the night, after they'd chased my husband from the hospital, to put the baby in intensive care. The poor man was exhausted and didn't hear the phone until the third time I called. He finally talked me through it and I was able to breathe again. At 3 am--after having a baby at 4 am the morning before, I finally got to sleep.

The next day, I spoke with my mother-in-law. She and I have always been close. She said she'd felt something was wrong and had stayed up praying. (Our beliefs aren't the same, but I respect hers.) At 3, she'd sensed that all was well and had gone to bed.

I don't know if that was a psychic link or not, but it was sure comforting. I know that if someone near me is in pain, I sometimes feel it as if it were my own. That part isn't so much fun. So the rational, scientist in me will say that psychic powers are at best highly developed intuition. The dreamer in me isn't so sure.

My story in Into the Flames  doesn't have any psychics, but since today is the last day to get the set for 99 cents, I wanted to mention it. My newest story, Beltane Lion, in the Entice Me  boxed set, features an empathic healer who also has a bit of precognition. The next story I have coming out is called The Devil of Bourbon Street, in a set called (not so coincidentally  Here be Magic) and the heroine is a street singer who sees auras. I hope you enjoy my explorations into the unknown.

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