Tag Archives: mythology

Summoned by Rainy Kaye: Giveaway and Blog Tour


http://www.rainyofthedark.com/summoned-tours-giveaways/

Author Interview


What preconceived notions do people have about being an author?

Some people seem to think coming up with concepts is the hard part. Telling me I should write about a guy who does this one thing is not, in fact, “half the work done already”. Now I just say “Great idea!” and bust out with the plotting charts, scene outlines, and character development papers. That usually stops the little hamster in its wheel mid-spin, and I can go back to eating unhealthy amounts of chocolate and making weird faces at the monitor.

What is one piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t mistake terrible writing with “voice.” I would like to elaborate on this, but that pretty much covers it. If nine of out ten people in the critique group say they have no idea what’s going on in your story, and the tenth person is fascinated with their fingernail dirt, chances are you need to pop open an energy drink and get back to work.

What process do you go through before writing?

Step 1. Do the dishes because that won’t happen again for a while.
Step 2. Stock up on caffeine like beer for a frat party.
Step 3. Apologize to the significant other that for the next few weeks, he will be known as Person Who Doesn’t Let Me Starve.
Step 4. Say farewell to the sweet bliss of sleep.
Step 5. Make an awesome playlist.

Did a character or plot in Summoned take an unexpected twist?

Silvia Walker. She started out as just a logical piece of the world building—of course the master would have an heir—but once she stepped into her first scene, it was on. He role became so fundamental to the story, I can’t believe she wasn’t part of the original outline.

How did you decide on the cover?

Ha, the cover. That’s a topic all on its own. I actually wrote a post about it, and it turned out two pages long. The short version: I tracked down the model for the concept photo, then drove my graphic designer insane until the cover was perfect. Hey, that was less than 140 characters! I knew all that Tweeting would pay off.

Cover Design: Kris Wagner https://www.facebook.com/digitalgunman
Model: Adam Jakubowski https://www.facebook.com/LadyJakubowsky
Photographer: Marcin Rychły https://www.facebook.com/karrdepl


More About Summoned


Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Find out more at http://www.summonedtheseries.com


Excerpt

 

I halt in the doorway, taking in Syd’s body. Unbelievably, she is back for round two. More unbelievably, I let the little crook into my house again. I still have no idea what I would tell Karl about a hotel charge, though. I will just have to keep an eye on her this time.

“You’re lying.” She turns to face me. “There’s no downstairs. Is your mom that type who shows up every week to do the cooking and cleaning?


“Can you stop asking stupid questions?”


She blows air through her teeth. “You suck.”


“Oh, be quiet.” I bat my hair out of my eyes. “Want some wine?”


She drops her purse on the floor next to my bed. “That’s more like it.”


“Red or white?”


“Didn’t realize I was in the presence of Dionysus.” She perches on the edge of the mattress. “Red, please.”


I consider skipping the drinks altogether and just taking her right there. So many beautiful things await under those clothes, ready to be explored all over again.


Instead, I turn around and cross the house to the kitchen. A half bottle of Malbec waits in the fridge. I pour a glass, think better of it, and pour one for myself too. Then I return to the bedroom.


She has her shoes off, sitting cross-legged on the bed, but hasn’t removed anything else. Thankfully. That’s part of the fun.


I knock the door shut with my foot and hand her a glass.


She sips her wine, looking oddly sophisticated for someone with Ozzy Osbourne eye makeup and enough silver in her ears to take down a werewolf.


She peers up at me. “Is it a celebrity?”


I stare at her, dumbly.


“The person you protect, is it a celebrity?” Her eyes light up. “Oh! Is it Stevie Nicks?”


“What? No.”


“Linda Ronstadt?”


“No.”


She bounces a little on the mattress. “Is it Jenna Jameson?”


“Good god, Syd.” I move forward and take her glass, then place it with mine on the nightstand.


She says, “You didn’t drink any of your wine. Did you—”


I interrupt the chatter mouth with a kiss.


Author Bio


Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at http://www.rainyofthedark.com>RainyoftheDark.com and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter (@RainyoftheDark). She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Vestal Virgins: The Mythology Series

Vestal Virgins



The Vestal Virgins are part mythology and part historical fact. They did exist, but the reason behind their existence and their purpose is entirely mythological. Well, religious, at the time, but apparently religion turns into mythology when those gods are discarded. Tough gig.

The Vestal Virgins were the six priestesses of Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth fire. They were chosen from noble families, were aged between six and ten when selected, and served for 30 years. During the term of their service they were required to preserve their virginity. As becoming a Vestal Virgin was considered a ‘marriage’ to the city of Rome, sex with any of its citizens was ‘incest’. Interesting argument… This incest was also treason, and punishable by death.

The Vestal Virgins were unusual because in Ancient Rome a woman’s place was considered to be the home, while the Vestal Virgins held positions as some of Rome’s senior religious leaders. Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing…

It was the responsibility of the Vestal Virgins to keep the sacred fires burning and to preserve the ‘soul’ of Rome. As long as the fires burned, it was believed that Rome would endure. Of course, the corollary to this was that if something bad happened, it must be the Vestal Virgins’ fault! Military defeats meant these women were accused of incest or failing to properly tend the fire, and it seems some of the Vestal Virgins were convicted on the strength of an accusation and little evidence. If the fire went out, this itself was considered to be evidence of the responsible woman’s impurity.

Early 18th-century depiction of the dedication of a Vestal, by Alessandro Marchesini
Harming a Vestal Virgin was believed to attract bad luck, and so Vestal Virgins condemned to death were sealed in a tomb with a little bread and water and left to starve to death. By some convoluted logic I can’t follow, apparently burying someone alive and leaving them to starve to death isn’t ‘harming’ them. I’m also not sure why they left them any food or water to be honest – surely that just prolonged the whole matter? If you’re going to engage in that kind of barbarity, you might as well get it over and done as fast as possible…

The Vestal Virgin Marcia was killed in this way after being accused of taking a lover. Minucia was convicted of incest on the basis of ‘improper dress’ (because what you’re wearing naturally means you have a lover….) while others were convicted on the testimony of temple slaves.

This seems a significant risk, but life as a Vestal was much easier outside of times of military conflict. They enjoyed the best seats in the Coliseum, received a significant pension upon retirement, were entitled to be buried within the city of Rome (a privilege reserved for a chosen few) and were not considered the property of their fathers or husbands. Upon retirement they were permitted to marry, although it appears most chose not to do so. Those that did apparently still retained personal freedoms and independence, including the right to make their own will (which ordinary women could not as property of their husbands). 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter. Check out my March Newsletter if you missed it.

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New Blogging Schedule – Scotland, History, Mythology and More!



Whew! The A – Z challenge was fun, but boy am I glad it’s over – it was getting a little gruelling there towards the end.

In the wake of the Challenge, I’ll be returning to my usual bi-weekly posting routine with a few changes. So here’s what you can expect going forward: 

  • Mondays  – The usual Monday Morsel feature, but as I’ve just started writing Stalking the Demon, the sequel to my novella, Confronting the Demon, I’ll be alternating morsels from In the Company of the Dead and Stalking the Demon.
  • Fridays:
  • In 2016, I’m returning to Scotland! It’s been six years since my last visit, and this next one is so close I can taste it. To share the experience with you, every second Friday I’ll be posting about one of our planned destinations on the trip. Come tour Scotland with me!
  • Once a month I’ll be posting an historical feature on medieval arms and accoutrements;
  • I’ll be reviving my mythology series, with a twist – instead of looking at mythological creatures, I’ll be looking at various aspects of European mythology. This feature will also be appearing once a month; and
  • If there’s five Fridays in a month you’ll get a special feature post, or otherwise from time to time I may make additional posts at a time of my choosing.


I hope there’s something in the new feature to interest you, and I hope to see you soon. 

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my March Newsletter if you missed it. 

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this. 

Thanks for stopping by and visiting!

Valkyries – Special Edition of the Mythological Creatures Series


Welcome to this special edition revival of my mythical creatures series.

The valkyrie comes to us from Norse mythology and were believed to be female virginal warriors. They were usually depicted as blonde, blue-eyed and fair-skinned. The word ‘valkyrie’ literally meant ‘chooser of the slain’ and so it was believed the valkyries decided which warriors on the battlefield would live and which would die. Six, nine, or thirteen valkyries would await above the battlefield as the battle was fought, and afterwards the valkyries would choose half of the slain to bring with them to Valhalla, ruled over by Odin, while the rest went to Freya’s Folkvangr. Anyone not taken by Freya and judged unworthy of Valhalla went to the goddess Hel and her underground realm.

In fact, it was Freya who led the valkyries, and Freya had first choice of the fallen, so the better way to express it is to say the chosen went to Folkvangr while the balance were escorted to Valhalla by the valkyries, provided they were judged worthy. Freya was the goddess of love, fertility and beauty, and was sometimes also attributed as the goddess of death and battle as well. She possessed a cloak of falcon feathers which allowed her to take the form of a falcon.

Arthur Rackham‘s illustration to The Ride of the Valkyries
Some valkyries could assume the form of white swans, but if such a valkyrie were ever seen by a mortal in her womanly form, she was doomed by Odin to mortality and could never again walk the halls of Valhalla.  At this point the legend of the valkyrie seems to have fused with that of the swan maiden. Swan maidens were believed to possess a cloak of feathers, and if a mortal found and kept the cloak, he could possess the maiden – similar to the legends of the silkies.

The origins of valkyries are uncertain, and a multitude of storytellers and poets has contributed to the lore, muddying the original core substance of the valkyrie. In the very dim past, the valkyrie in its first form may have been similar to the Celtic warrior-goddess, the Morrigan. They were also possibly influenced by Germanic paganism, and may have in the early days been viewed as demons of the dead (a theory posited by Rudolf Simek).

“The Ride of the Valkyries” by the German painter William T. Maud.    
In this guise, the souls of the dead would have ‘belonged’ to the valkyries, as contrasted with their later role of conductors of dead where they merely escorted the dead to Odin. As the view of valkyries changed, they became more human and less demonic, and it was then that tales of valkyries falling in love with mortals began to emerge.

Hilda Ellis Davidson theorises that the valkyries may have originally evolved from the concept of priestesses to a god of war. Such priestesses may have overseen the putting to death of captives after a battle. Who would die was usually chosen by lot (to send a message to the enemy and demoralise his forces) and may have involved the concept that those who were to die were chosen by the god, and the priestesses would preside over the sacrifice. I rather like this notion… now which book can I use this in!

References

Davidson, Hilda Roderick Ellis (1990). Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-013627-4 

Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer ISBN 0-85991-513-1 

This is an A to Z Challenge post. If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or sign-up to my newsletter. Check out my March Newsletter if you missed it.

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Thanks for stopping by and visiting!


Zombie Mythology: Walking With the Dead

A more traditional rendition of zombies

Where does the zombie myth originate? Where did we come from to this point in time and the modern day zombie? The last two months we’ve looked at the origins and werewolves and vampires (part of my larger series on mythical creatures – previous posts  can be found here – dragons, fantastical horses, mythical creatures of the sky, saltwater spirits – Part 1 and Part 2freshwater spirits, and spirits of the desert), and today we do the third installment in the origins series. The origin of the zombie myth appears to be far more recent, and therefore also less complicated. 

Zombies are linked with Afro-Caribbean lore and Voodoo. Without going into the origins of voodoo itself, suffice to say there are many variants, and it came out of Africa with the peoples carried away by European slavers. Voodoo as a religion therefore flourished in the plantations where the slaves were sold, in the Caribbean, the West Indies, South America, and parts of North America. 

Zombies had a role in many voodoo-related ideas. It was illegal under Haitian law to use zombies, which were understood as men without wills rather than dead men, in the cane fields, or to exploit them as cheap labour. There were constant whispers about blood sacrifice, usually cockerels and the like, and tales of other strange practices. However, in 1863 a riot threatened when a dismembered human torso was found in the house of an alleged voodoo practitioner, at which point talk of human sacrifice flared up. 

Tales of dark voodoo practices had circulated for about 8 years prior to this incident. One ‘voodoo queen’ was put on trial for, among other things, attempting to raise a corpse. Another was accused of murdering a prostitute by means of a zombie – although in this context it was less clear if the traditional ‘man without will’ was meant, or if it was a reference to reanimated dead. Another tale involved ‘voodoo dolls’ made of human skin and bone.

One of the most important voodoo practitioners of the time was Dr. John Croix. While he conducted his voodoo dealings far more privately than some, it was believed he had a legion of zombies to do all the house and yard work, and to dig up corpses for parts. Similar rumours abounded about other ‘doctors’ of the time. 
Zombies as depicted in I Am Legend
Although the zombie as a shambling dead man controlled by a voodoo practitioner is a recognised symbol of voodoo, it actually does not exist in this form in traditional voodoo – instead, a ‘zombie’ was only a mindless servant. In one form of voodoo, the ‘Le Grand Zombi’ is one of the incarnations of Damballa-wedo, one of the voodoo pantheon, but as it is the most dangerous and unpredictable form, it is rarely summoned. In the Petro variant of voodoo, the meaning changes slightly, and refers to someone possessed by the Damballa-wedo. The spirit is controlled by the practitioner, which in turn controls the possessed person. From this may have grown the traditional idea of the zombie.

The modern notion of the zombie may also have been influenced by various African and Caribbean folk terrors – the Ghanaian Dodo, a shambling creature hiding in trees to drop on unwary travellers; the Modulo, a humanoid blood-drinking creature of Zulu lore; and other living dead creatures that would attack slave encampments. 

Thus, the voodoo origin of the zombie supposes the reanimation of the dead via magical means. This has evolved, more recently, into less sorcerous and more scientific means of creation of zombies, in particular the notion that ‘zombies’ could be the victim of a transmissible disease which creates shambling creatures of horrific strength and near-indestructibility which, while not dead, and not resurrected, are no longer ‘human’ in any meaningful sense of the word. This has given rise to the latest craze of moves: 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, Zombieland and others.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

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Source Material: A Field Guide to the Creatures That Cannot Rest In Peace – Encyclopedia of the Undead by Dr. Bob Curran