Wednesday, October 31, 2018
So what is it that makes us crave being spooked at this particular time of the year? It’s not by accident that Halloween—All Hallows’ Eve—falls when it does. This descent into the darkest days of the year for the Northern Hemisphere has affected our psyches since we crawled out of the swamps. All around us, living things are dying. In Celtic tradition, the veil between the living and the dead is thinning.
But it isn’t only the Celts who felt this way. The Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead follows closely on the heels of Halloween on November 2, but the timing is still thanks to Celtic influence, via Catholicism. As with many Christian holidays supplanting pagan ones, the Catholic Church established All Hallows’ (Saints’) Day and All Souls’ Day as a means of subsuming the Celtic celebration of Samhain.
The Norse tradition, too has a “day of the dead” around this time of year, known as Álfablót, or a sacrifice to the elves. Perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch to call this a day of the dead, but there is some evidence that the concept of elves encompassed the souls of the dead. At any rate, in Nordic lands, by this time of the year, it probably seemed as if the world itself were dying, as almost every living plant returned to the realms under the earth. Another Norse celebration, Dísablót, followed, held during the “Winter Nights,” commemorating the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter and in honor of the female spirits, such as underworld goddesses Freyja and Hel. This is also when the Wild Hunt, or Odin’s Hunt, begins to ride (which sets the stage for my book, The Dragon’s Hunt, in case that tickles your fancy).
Regardless of its cultural origins, some sensitive folk believe they can feel this seasonal thinning of the veil. People who believe in ghosts report more ghostly activity and visitations at this time of year. And although the jury is still out for me on the existence of a spirit that lives on after the body dies, I’ve always felt some “ghostly” energy around this time. Around my house recently, out of the corner of my eye, I’ve begun to see what I at first take to be my cat. But then I realize he’s outside or in another room. The “cat” shadow slips about at foot level and between rooms, and I find comfort in thinking my other cat, Urd (named for one of the Norse fates), who died last year, is visiting me.
Are ghosts on your mind this time of year? Do you watch scary movies? Or maybe hold a good, old-fashioned séance and commune with a spirit or two?
Jane Kindred is the author of the Harlequin Nocturne series, Sisters in Sin, and the epic fantasy series The House of Arkhangel’sk, Demons of Elysium, and Looking Glass Gods. She spent her formative years ruining her eyes reading romance novels in the Tucson sun and watching Star Trek marathons in the dark. She now writes to the sound of San Francisco foghorns while two cats slowly but surely edge her off the side of the bed.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
A nightmare of galactic proportions...
One normal day turns into horror when Earth is attacked. Now ER nurse Alexandra Bock is imprisoned aboard an alien slave ship with no way out. She deems all aliens untrustworthy, including the handsome blue-skinned Matiran captain who shares her cell.
A betrayal from within… One night of treachery leaves Senior Captain Gryf Helyg a prisoner of his enemies. Because of him, Earth’s inhabitants face extinction and his home world is threatened. But his plans for escape are complicated by his inexplicable draw to the Earth woman imprisoned with him. A chance to save both their peoples… One ancient prophecy holds the key to free Alexandra and Gryf’s war-ravaged worlds. Can two wounded souls who have lost everything learn to trust and forgive in order to fulfill the prophecy, and find a love that will last for eternity?
Monday, October 29, 2018
I'm Late Again...The Story of My Life... @meganslayer #gayromance #gay #writing #meganslayer #late #iamwriting
That used to be the case.
Then life got involved. Oy. It's not been my month. I'll admit it. This has not been my month. If it can go wrong, it has. If it can go sideways...you guessed it. I won't go into details, but every time I think I'm getting ahead, I'm behind.
Which is why this post is going up, but later than I wanted. I can say this. I've been writing. I have. I've gotten good words on the document and I'm happy for that. I'm writing about dogs, which I love, so that's good, too. I'm competing in NaNo. I love that event. Maybe it'll help me get back to on time? I hope so.
So since we're just upon Halloween, here's a hot treat. My book, Craving His Roar. Check it out!
Jesse’s never stayed in one place for very long. Being a lynx shifter, he enjoys a solitary life. Then, like a bad joke, the lynx shifter walks into the bar to listen to a cover band. The singer isn’t anything he expects, but everything he desires. But can a human and shifter make a relationship work?
Colin knows two things: he wants a life beyond the Mad Dog bar and for his band, the Full Collins Experience, to play more than just Phil Collins cover songs. The moment he sees Jesse, he’s smitten. He knows nothing about shifters, but his heart craves Jesse. There’s no guarantee the twosome will go beyond the bedroom, but Colin’s willing to try.
Can the loner really find a mate? Will his mate be everything he craves? Or will the human run the other way?
Sunday, October 28, 2018
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Thursday, October 25, 2018
When I sat back with the notes I’d taken, Ophelia Brady came to life in rich detail with a full-blown life before page 1, motivations and a cast of supporting friends and family. From that point on, with its in-depth exploration of the Hero’s Journey, Tarot interpretations and various spreads geared toward specific answers, Arwen’s book became a must keep handy for me alongside my growing collection of decks.
Monday, October 22, 2018
|Sketch by Nyssa Juneau|
Saturday, October 20, 2018
In earlier history, shapeshifters were most commonly deities (gods or goddesses) with the magical ability to transform. In Japan they have Kitsune, a fox shifter who is typically benevolent but often a trickster. Korea and China have similar fox shapeshifter myths. In Africa, deities shift into lions or leopards. In South America they transform into jaguars. Some gods/goddesses in Greek, Roman, Norse, etc. mythology can choose their forms.
Another frequent myth seen for shifters in earlier history is humans who were transformed into something by a god or goddess as a punishment. In Greek mythology, Arachne was transformed into a spider. In Roman myth and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, King Lycaon was changed to a wolf by Jupiter (some attribute this as the beginning of werewolf mythology). But in these cases, the person changed had no power to return back to human. This theme continued in later European folklore. The Frog Prince and Beauty and the Beast both involve transformation into animals as a punishment.
Enter the Middle Ages where the werewolf mythology became prevalent. Most of the people executed for being werewolves in this time period were later found by historians to be serial killers. The werewolf mythology also closely follows witch folklore and persecution. In fact, shifter mythologies were not all that prevalent in North America until brought over by European colonists at the same time as they brought their fear of witches.
Based on what I could find, not a lot seemed to change about shapeshifter folklore for quite some time. Up to the 1940s (and even later) they were truly seen as monsters eliciting terror and revulsion. Early books and movies about werewolves have the happy ending being the death or defeat of the creature.
In my research, I couldn't find a specific trigger for the change in perception of shapeshifters and werewolves as monsters to the view of them today as sympathetic and even heroic. Even books written in the mid- to late-1900s still use a more classic example of shifters. For example, in C.S. Lewiss The Chronicles of Narnia, Eustace is shifted into a dragon but more as a learning moment or punishment, not at will.
I would argue that shapeshifters we see today both in literature and movies, unlike their earlier counterparts, become the hero of most stories in the last 10-20 years by changing these aspects:
- ability to change at will (rather than being trapped in the animal form)
- more reasoned thinking (more human attributes, previous monsters went total animal)
- usually good and are solving the problem (even if the problem stems from them)
- frequently have an entire subculture to support them / live with in peace
- more often than not, shifting/were-hood is not a punishment, but a lifestyle