[00:00:02] Speaker A: Welcome back to Plot Pit, the show where we forge fiction from fact and folklore. On the phone here is Justina Luther returning for gotta be the third time on the show now. Justina, how are you?
[00:00:14] Speaker B: Yeah, I'm good. How are you guys?
[00:00:16] Speaker A: Oh, it's going to be a blast. We enjoy having you on the show. And I'm sitting here across the table in studio with John Lemay, and we are going to get into some cryptids. So, before we begin the descent, justina, how have you been over the summer between the seasonal breaks?
[00:00:32] Speaker C: I have been good.
[00:00:33] Speaker B: Just busy with Caretaker life and all that fun stuff. Been writing a little more just for the fun of it because the last time that I was really focused on author life, things got a little crazy. So I'm getting back to the love of writing before I try to get back to the business of it.
[00:00:50] Speaker A: Now, to that end, the last time we spoke, you were working on a sequel to BioLife. I've actually got an email question here for you from a Robert out of Washington. The question is, Justina, loved your book, BioLife. Can you give a description of what your day to day writing life was like during the time period that you wrote that?
[00:01:12] Speaker B: Oh, goodness.
Well, first of all, thank you so much for the question and taking the time to ask it. BioLife was actually the final book that I worked on at the end of an eleven book year in the middle of Caretaker life, in the middle of some of the worst of my dad's recovery. So it was literally if I wasn't working with my dad, I was on my computer. And the only time that I really took a break from writing was to work with him. It was a lot of 27 hours straight stints of just working just at my laptop break to do therapy with dad or nursing stuff or whatever he needed back to my laptop to write.
[00:01:58] Speaker A: So 27 hours at a stretch. I'm not kidding, I believe it.
[00:02:04] Speaker C: No.
[00:02:05] Speaker B: Oh my gosh.
I remember I turned on, there was this cover artist who did heavy metal covers of Disney songs, and I just had that blaring in the background at like 03:00 A.m., trying to keep myself awake.
[00:02:22] Speaker A: Sometimes I'll listen to techno when I need to just keep a groove going at a certain pace. John, do you listen to music when you write?
[00:02:28] Speaker D: Yeah, absolutely. Typically I'll pick a soundtrack that matches whatever it is I'm trying to write in terms of the mood, that sort of thing.
[00:02:35] Speaker A: I actually was telling my students the other day that one of the tips and tricks of actually being successful in academia that I learned for me was to listen to a particular genre of music dependent upon the subject I was studying. And when I was going to class for a particular test, I would listen in my headphones this is back in the day, just after Walkmans when we had CD players.
[00:02:57] Speaker C: Right?
[00:02:58] Speaker A: But they're still bulky. But I would be listening to the genre of music or the artists that I was listening to while studying for that exam to help recall that information. It's really interesting that your senses, like smell and audible senses, your ears and your sights will just instantly bring back memories for you, obviously either good or bad, depending upon the situation.
[00:03:19] Speaker B: Yeah.
[00:03:20] Speaker A: To that end, Justina, you mentioned that you are getting back to the love of writing. Can you give us an idea of what that entails right now?
[00:03:28] Speaker B: For me, that just kind of entails writing without my usual goalposts. And by that I mean I'm not thinking about will this sell? I'm not thinking about word count, I'm not thinking about genre, I'm not thinking about any of the constraints that come with writing. Once you're writing to publish.
BioLife sequel is still coming along, but it's sort of at the back of my head, whereas anything I'm writing right now is just sort of for myself for the moment. I've only been doing that for like, a month or so. So, yeah, it's just writing, getting back to words, getting back to the fun of it, getting back to the daydream aspect of it that got me into writing when I was a kid. When I was little, I would constantly daydream, and that's why I wrote so much. I had to get these daydreams down on paper. But once you start writing for publication, it becomes a little bit different because you end up with that voice in the back of your head of, oh, there's a deadline. Oh, there are readers waiting for this. Oh, your publisher's waiting for, like it comes with this sort of sinister pressure that you can put on yourself.
[00:04:38] Speaker A: John, you're nodding your head. Are you?
[00:04:40] Speaker D: Yeah, I just totally agree with that. Because when I used to write for fun as opposed to a career, the fun writing flowed a lot easier and turned out.
[00:04:51] Speaker B: And I'm not saying I wasn't proud of anything that I put out last year, because year before, whenever it was, I was absolutely proud of every single book that I have put out so far. But my head just kind of got into this sort of almost sideways view of writing to where it became for deadline. It became for something other than, I love what I'm doing. And so even though I did love every single story that I did, it came with this sort of almost panic attack, deadline mentality. And I'm having to retrain myself to get back to the love of it first and then pay attention to everything else in edits, so to speak.
[00:05:36] Speaker D: Wouldn't it be nice to just be like George R. R. Martin with The Winds of Winter and take, like, 20 years to get it perfect?
[00:05:45] Speaker B: Yes and no. Because my brain, I don't think I could focus on something that long. Good grief. My brain does not work that way.
[00:05:53] Speaker A: I suppose the question then is how much was he actually working on it for 20 years or just riding?
[00:05:58] Speaker D: Yeah, and I was kind of just joking when I said 20 years. I mean, it's been probably eight years or something. A long time.
[00:06:05] Speaker A: Well, what was really interesting about the Game of Thrones series, from my perspective, is I didn't even know it existed until the HBO show.
[00:06:12] Speaker D: Me, too.
[00:06:13] Speaker A: It was just one of those things. And that's kind of a shame. There's so much talent out there in so many universes that authors have just poured their soul into, and they're incredible, but for whatever reason, they just don't see the light of day from the public's perspective. And let's just be honest, if they all did, we would just be so inundated, we wouldn't have time to eat, sleep, or do anything else. Like write our own.
[00:06:40] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:06:41] Speaker B: Yeah.
[00:06:42] Speaker A: Okay, so, Justina, we are diving now into the pit, and you brought to us the Loveland frog and Dober chu.
[00:06:52] Speaker B: Yes. Which one do y'all want to start with?
[00:06:54] Speaker D: I'm feeling the Dobert Chu just because I have it pulled up on my phone for reference if we need it.
[00:07:00] Speaker B: Okay.
[00:07:01] Speaker A: And, folks, that's not cheating.
[00:07:03] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:07:04] Speaker A: This is part of the prep work of the show. Yeah. All right.
[00:07:09] Speaker B: You have to keep information about these kind of cryptid creatures in front of you because 90% of it is unknown, 90% of it is imagination until proven otherwise.
But that's what makes these creatures so much fun.
[00:07:24] Speaker D: And the other problem is, the more you write, the more information gets packed into your brain. And it's like a computer hard drive. So I can retain a lot of past stuff, but dilbarchu is pretty new to me and different. So even if I read it an hour before the show, I wouldn't retain it. It's just not going to happen anymore.
[00:07:42] Speaker B: I have, like, nine different windows open in my brain at all times. One of them is playing music, and I can never figure out which one.
[00:07:51] Speaker A: All right, so let's begin the descent. Dobra true.
[00:07:57] Speaker B: All right, so first of all, I would love to know how to actually pronounce this thing. And to anybody who's listening, who actually knows, I apologize because I know we're probably not doing it right, but Dover Two is a water dog from, I believe, Ireland is what I read. It's the water dog or the king otter. It has protective fur. It comes from their word for water, which also means whiskey, which to me could take it in an interesting sort of hallucinatory. You see it coming out of a bar type thing.
And there is also a myth connected to it that it killed a woman in the 18th century named Grace Connolly. Her husband claimed to have heard his wife screaming while she was out by the river cleaning clothes and came out to actually find the king otter on her, the dobarchu.
And it had killed her and he killed the creature who was like calling to its mate to run. And so to me, you could take this in so many different directions. You could go a horror direction, you could go a fantasy direction, you could go more realistic. It's thriller fantasy. You can do anything you want with these scriptas and that's why they're so much fun.
[00:09:14] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:09:15] Speaker D: And did we mention its images etched onto the tombstone of that Grace Connolly who died 1722?
[00:09:22] Speaker A: Now, you mentioned the term whiskey. If we were to go kind of a more realistic thing, the thing that jumps into my head instantly is your book, Whiskey Haze justina and then having this mental battle with the monster, the demon inside from an alcoholic's perspective, but Dobr chu right? The dobra. Dobar, however you're supposed to pronounce this thing, the legend as I picked up on it does come from Ireland. It is this king otter or an otter about the size of a large dog. So we're talking like a wolf size. And you have this legend of the lady that was killed at the river and it's etched on her tombstone. I'm thinking lycanthropy and werewolves. I don't know if that's really where to go, but I could see like a 1950s sort of john we've been down the 1950s monster movie a few times, black and white and everything. And I think that that would fit here pretty well. Or we could even rewind it and do like an immigration story from the Irish immigrating over into the States and then it coming into New Mexico because that's largely where we have the Lincoln County war with Billy the Kid and stuff. Here in New Mexico is a lot of Irish influence. Irish stuff.
[00:10:40] Speaker D: Yeah, that's right.
[00:10:40] Speaker B: So where my mind goes is actually sort of a combination of the two of your ideas in that perhaps she was one of these dobarchus herself, fled her family. Perhaps she was meant to marry the leader, fell in love with the human, fled. And the one that killed her is actually the one that she was betrothed to.
[00:11:01] Speaker D: Oh, I really like that. That's cool. And that gets into William's werewolf thing too. Her were.
[00:11:08] Speaker B: It sort of pulls the immigration and the love story and the Lycanthropy pulls all three.
[00:11:15] Speaker A: Now, correct me if I'm wrong, John. Skinwalker ranch is not terribly far from Four Corners area.
[00:11:21] Speaker D: Yeah, it's in Utah.
[00:11:22] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:11:22] Speaker D: Skinwalker Ranch is in Utah.
[00:11:24] Speaker A: So Skinwalker Ranch isn't particularly far from Four Corners area. So that's Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. Right. And we've got quite a bit of Irish influence in New Mexico. There's other areas in the United States. We're talking about the Irish immigration coming over here.
[00:11:41] Speaker C: Right.
[00:11:42] Speaker A: We could be building a story, if you want around the origins of Skinwalker Ranch.
[00:11:47] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:11:48] Speaker D: And then something else I'd like to throw in is Alaska has a lot of legends of wear seals and where otters, too. So that's kind of interesting. So I think we got a lot to play with. I think all three of us are going to come up with our own story because that's what we did last week with Adrian, and it worked pretty well. So maybe we should all three just come up with our own story pitches, and then towards the end, we'll do the final version and see who wins. But I'm really liking Justina's, because Justina Do, I get the impression you kind of want to stick in Ireland and make a love story kind of out of it?
[00:12:22] Speaker B: Not love story, but like, yes and no, because you're talking about the desert. And to me, if she's trying to get away from these water creatures that she's a part of, what better place to go to than the desert if she's trying to get away from them? I don't know. Just as you're talking, my brain keeps kind of shifting focus.
[00:12:41] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:12:41] Speaker D: So I don't really have a big thing on where we set it. My contributions to this story so far that I feel strongly about are I love the idea of the tombstone as a MacGuffin of some sort, because the tombstone has the image of the monster on it. So I'm thinking maybe since that's Grace's tombstone and, you're know, in your story, she was the monster. So maybe it's one of those things where she can't be resurrected from death because the tombstone is magical and it has that etching on it because that can tie into the old Wolf Man movies with Jr. You know, it was pretty easy to resurrect him from the dead whenever they wanted in a sequel. So I'm thinking maybe her magical tombstone with the etching on it does something to keep her from being resurrected or something. Or I just feel like the tombstone should be a MacGuffin in the story. And then what also should be a MacGuffin is Grace's husband killed the Dobarchu in the story with a special type of dagger or knife. So I think that should be a MacGuffin as well. So those are my contributions. I don't really care where we said it, but I just feel like those two things need to be some MacGuffins, perhaps.
[00:13:47] Speaker A: I'm really liking the idea of pulling the tombstone in.
[00:13:50] Speaker C: Okay.
[00:13:51] Speaker A: I like that and kind of going with the idea. Do we have a photo of the actual tombstone?
[00:13:58] Speaker D: There is one somewhere online. Let me see if I can find.
[00:14:01] Speaker A: So where I'm going with this is all right. There are no written records of the Dobartu since its legend has relied heavily on oral storytelling and tombstone. So where I'm going with this is what if you've got the Dobarchu's actual history in a textbook that's buried with.
[00:14:23] Speaker D: The tombstone or the dagger?
[00:14:25] Speaker A: Yeah, buried with the dagger or in two separate spaces, but one of them either the dagger or this history of book, right. Which gives you all of that written legend and everything that is missing, right, from the historical record, from inside the tomb. Or you crack open the tombstone. So there's the MacGuffin, right?
[00:14:43] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:14:44] Speaker A: So you have this mystery.
[00:14:45] Speaker B: What if Grace's human husband that she married was the local barkeeper? What if he owned the tavern? And the history of these creatures is buried somewhere within the original tavern in Ireland?
[00:14:59] Speaker C: Cool.
[00:14:59] Speaker A: Because it ties whiskey into it.
[00:15:01] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:15:02] Speaker A: Okay, so let's see here. I'm thinking then that the setting is, say, mid 18 hundreds, Ireland. So it's about the time or just after Grace's death. You've got the bartender and his family, let's say, are werewolf hunters or lycanthropy hunters. Right. And they have owned this bar for generations, and they have been keeping track of all of this information. And this woman was one. So Grace was one of these Dobar shoes, and the family that owns the bar killed her. So we have a murder mystery going on, and they have been keeping written records of all of this from all of the tales and everything that people come through. And they've been doing this for generations, and they think they finally got the last one, and so they're putting it all to bed, hoping that it's a done deal. We don't have to deal with this anymore.
I'm trying to make extinct a verb.
[00:16:05] Speaker B: Extinguished.
[00:16:06] Speaker A: We have extinguished. Thank you.
[00:16:08] Speaker C: Yes.
[00:16:08] Speaker A: We have extinguished the species of Dobarchu.
[00:16:11] Speaker D: So I want to take a page from The Quiet Man to give the character an additional you know, the Quiet Man is where John Wayne is an American boxer who has Irish heritage, and his family dies, and he moves back to Ireland when he inherits their ancestral home. So now I'm thinking the monster hunters have all died, and there's this American who inherits his ancestral home, which includes the bar. So the American of, you know, comes into Ireland completely blind to the situation, and he has to learn about it, so therefore the audience and the reader can learn about it as the story unfolds. So that's maybe what?
[00:16:52] Speaker B: And another twist that I think would be a really cool thing to throw into a story like this is what if Grace's husband didn't know what she was, and he and his family are out on a hunt one night trying to get rid of these creatures, and she gets caught in the middle of it? She's in her dobar form. He doesn't know it's her, and he's the one who actually takes the shot.
[00:17:16] Speaker D: Cool.
[00:17:17] Speaker A: That would be like that heart wrenching moment of act two, right?
[00:17:23] Speaker B: Yeah. And we don't know about that. Maybe even towards until toward the end of the book, when the American who is kind of putting together this whole story and learning about it finds maybe a journal entry from the husband about that night. And then you get the big reveal of, oh, my gosh, that's who Grace was. That's what it was. And that's why the family fled. That's why blah, blah, blah, that's why the family came unraveled.
[00:17:50] Speaker A: I like this. And where my head takes it from here is the offspring. The child between the husband and Grace now is like a half dobre, right. And this child, along with a father, leaving behind the old life immigrates to the United States. And now you have the generational situation where we're 1920s.
[00:18:15] Speaker C: Okay?
[00:18:15] Speaker A: So that's like, all act one. Act two, act three of book one. Now we are coming in middle story with this American boxer in the New York underground.
[00:18:27] Speaker D: And he doesn't have to be a boxer unless you just want a review. That was just the quiet man.
[00:18:31] Speaker C: Sure.
[00:18:31] Speaker A: But I actually like I do because.
[00:18:34] Speaker B: You'Ve got because if he's not entirely human, he's going to be really strong. So it makes sense for him to do something like that.
[00:18:40] Speaker A: And with the animal instincts, you could be playing on the idea that maybe he's not particularly bright and intelligent. And so he's not like this professor, law student, or medical person. Right. He has like, flashes of brilliance or something from strategy. So he's more soldier like. Okay. And it would make sense because his father was a I'm not I'm not getting the idea that the family has this professional aspect, that they're legitimately blue collar, worker type folks. And with the family history being in alcohol, whiskey, specifically the ownership of the bar, it would make sense that when they got to New York on the immigration bus, the immigration ship right. Or whatever, coming through the harbor and seeing the Statue of Liberty and all that, what would end up happening is the father would very likely take on ownership of a bar or management of a bar or something because it's familiar. And if he's killed his wife, not realizing who she was until after the fact, and he's now in emotional turmoil, he would become an alcoholic and turn to whiskey himself.
[00:19:51] Speaker B: Oh, absolutely. And all of his perhaps when he's drunk, he spills the whole story, but he's drunk, so his son doesn't think anything of it. He thinks it's just his father's wild ramblings until he inherits the bar, until he finds the journals. And then that throws him into total chaos because this crazy story that he'd heard his father sobbing his entire life is actually true, and his father killed his mother, and boom, all this internal struggle for him. Now, is he human? Is he not? Where is his place in society?
[00:20:26] Speaker A: And so what we have to be able to do is then connect. After he's come back to Ireland, after he's inherited this family bar, he walks in. It's dusty, it's dank. It hasn't been used in 35, 40 years or whatever. He needs to discover this concept of the history of the doberchu and these werewolf hunters at the bar, which then leads him to go dig up the mother's grave and exhume the bones. So what would that trigger point be? Because here you are. You're an individual. You've come back, you're stepping into old family legacy. What would trigger you to go exhume what you now know as your mother's bones to dig up the grave?
[00:21:10] Speaker B: There's some part of the legend that says they can be revived, even if it's just for a night or something, something to do with the full moon. If we want to lean a little more into taking from a werewolf perspective. What if you can do something with the bones on the night of the full moon and he wants to know if his dad was crazy, he digs up the bones and is able to speak to his mother for a night or something and find out that, yeah, she was, and, yeah, he did kill her. And yes to all of this stuff. But what if, in doing so, it actually alerts more of her kind that he's back and they didn't get them all? So then he is now running for his life because the royal bloodline of that family wants the half breed gone.
[00:21:57] Speaker D: Yeah, I like it. That established the conflict because we kind of needed the conflict and the bad guy. So that works.
[00:22:03] Speaker A: And where I'm getting the idea that he's kind of put two and two together between father sob stories. And then this idea of, hey, I can still talk to my mom under certain supernatural conditions is, say, an old Irish Sea shanty where they're talking about the spirit world and the physical world coinciding kind of in a situation like what we have the Mexican holiday. What is it, the Day of the Dead.
[00:22:32] Speaker C: Yeah. Day of the Dead.
[00:22:33] Speaker A: And then, of course, that's also kind of part of that legend with the pirates.
The octopus face guy from Davy Jones.
[00:22:44] Speaker D: Yeah, right.
[00:22:45] Speaker A: Davy Jones.
[00:22:46] Speaker C: Yes.
[00:22:46] Speaker A: Pirates of the Caribbean. So, yeah, what we've got is the possibility of, say, like on Halloween, when Halloween coincides with full moon night. You have to use the dagger thank you, Justina, to open the coffin of the werewolf, and then you can bring the spirit back for the 24 hours period or whatever, or maybe totally revive. I don't know which we want to do. But you would then potentially say with the conflict. Right, let's presume for a moment that indeed the family had wiped them all out, but as soon as he rips the veil between the spirit world and our current world, they all come rushing back and they're angry.
[00:23:28] Speaker C: Yes.
[00:23:31] Speaker B: Okay. Oh, here's an idea. What if the mother, because she wasn't the highest in the clan, the highest in the pack, whatever it is, she can only be brought back for 24 hours. But in doing so, he brings back the king permanently because he had the power, because he had the higher magical ability, which then puts this very angry, been dead for a long time, festering in his anger, supernatural creature hot on his heels with who knows what kind of power he brought back from the other side.
[00:24:08] Speaker D: Yeah, I think that's great. That actually almost even sounds like that could be the end of the story and that would be the sequel set up. I feel like we've got a lot going on.
[00:24:16] Speaker A: Oh, yeah. So, Justina, why don't you take us out with a story summary and we can pick this up as a two parter for the next episode.
[00:24:26] Speaker B: Very cool. Okay, so our story starts off with perhaps a flashback, a terrible night in which a woman screams and is found dead. Her husband finds her. We don't know more than that. Flash forward 1920s. We're in New York. The boy is a young boy. He comes down to his father's bar, sees his father just crying hysterically, whiskey in front of him, just drunk as a skunk and talking about how he killed the dobar, chew how he loved the dobachu. And he's just going nuts. And the boy doesn't think anything of it. He gets his father up to bed, tucks him in, goes to bed, thinks nothing of it. Later on, the boy is an adult, he's a boxer. He inherits his father's bar and finds out that that's not his father's, only bar. There's more in Ireland. Which he then has to go and take care of his father's affairs. Finds the book talking about the whole history of the dobarchu and the history of his father's family and how they were lycanthropy hunters and the story unravels. From there, he learns about the one day of the year in which he can bring his mother back. And in doing so, he brings back the king of the Dobar two. And he is mad and he is out for blood.
[00:25:39] Speaker D: Yeah, I like it.
[00:25:40] Speaker A: Nice, clean, neat. Well, at least the story feels like it.
[00:25:44] Speaker B: The details of the story that there's.
[00:25:48] Speaker A: Nothing clean and neat about a werewolf story.
All right, folks, we've been on the phone with Justina Luther, author of BioLife, as well as the book, which was mentioned in the earlier part of the show, whiskey Haze. You can find this on Amazon. This is the blurb. Trevor O'Toole knows what it means to live in the darkness and hide his troubles from the world, to drink himself into oblivion just to forget the monsters of his past. That's all behind him now, though, or so he believes. With one hard earned year of sobriety under his belt, he receives a letter from the last place he ever expects his estranged father's estate lawyer, claiming he is the sole heir to the liquor store his father chose over him. Wow. DA DA DA DA. That sounds so close to what we just came up with, doesn't it?
[00:26:39] Speaker B: I think it was close and yet so far.
[00:26:42] Speaker A: Yeah. So not that we put this in the Whiskey Haze universe, but Justina no, there you go. That's a plug for your book, Whiskey Haze.
[00:26:51] Speaker B: Thank you.
[00:26:52] Speaker A: Really enjoyed having you on the program. We've got you scheduled for our next episode as well, which I believe we're going to try for a two parter and get the sequels to this story.
[00:27:00] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:27:00] Speaker B: And if it's very cool, I'm looking forward to it.
[00:27:02] Speaker C: Yeah.
[00:27:02] Speaker D: If it fizzles out too quick, we'll throw in another topic, though. That can be our plan.
[00:27:07] Speaker A: That'll work.
[00:27:09] Speaker B: I have ideas. I have a feeling this one's not going to fizzle.
[00:27:11] Speaker C: Okay, cool. All right.
[00:27:12] Speaker A: Excellent. So, folks, stay tuned for the next episode. In the meantime, Justina, give us your socials.
[00:27:17] Speaker B: You can find me on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, all the places justina Luther or author justina Luther Excellent.
[00:27:26] Speaker A: Folks, if you want to interact with Justina, you can on our discord server. We will have a link in the description below for you to join the community that we are growing there. We are converting the studio for video and I know I've plugged it before. Twitch is coming. We do have the account set up. John.
[00:27:44] Speaker D: That's something.
[00:27:45] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah, it is a start. That is a start. All right, folks. Well, on the admin side of things, we are releasing season two episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Otherwise, I think that's about it. All right, folks, for now, goodbye from Rosal.