Sunday, June 22, 2014

What's Up with Denise?

Insane Author Person


Okay, I promised not to drop off the face of the Earth, but right after that I received edits for the Crazy Duck Press edition of My Fearful Symmetry. After I finished those, I had to do some re-writes on Cara Mia, which I should be done with tonight.

Happy Dance!




All that being said, I'm looking forward to a July release of My Fearful Symmetry from Crazy Duck Press. I hope to have copies of this new edition at Confluence in Pittsburgh.

In addition to all these new editions of the Immortyl Revolution books, I've been doing research for a fantasy novel set in an 18th century-esque, South Seas culture.  A lot of this has been on exotic diseases and archaic medical practices. A serious yuck factor, but it's interesting stuff. Yes, I'm one of those crazy people who read the CDC and NIH sites for fun. 

For the urban fantasy novel I finished last summer, it was bugs that had me obsessed. Giant centipedes to be exact. Have you ever seen a centipede fight? If you haven't, look at this video on YouTube

Seriously, you'll never sleep tight again.








Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spotlight Summoned by Rainy Kaye



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.

Buy Summoned on Amazon

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

Author Bio

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at 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.






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Monday, March 10, 2014

Elves



In one of the novels I've been working on, I deal with elves and assorted fae.  I thought it might be fun to discuss some of the folkore and literature surrounding elves.

In folklore, elves are usually extraordinarily long-lived or immortal beings that often possess magical powers. They've become common fixtures in fantasy literature, entertainment and popular culture.


 We've seen them in commercials baking cookies in hollow trees, in film and fantasy literature as bad ass warriors, on TV as would-be dentists and even as video game characters. But where did the legends of these beings spring from?


In Folklore, the term elf and fairy are generally interchangeable. The word elf comes from the Germanic languages (aelf) whereas fairy derives from Latin (fata). Elves and fairies are generally thought of as nature spirits and stories of them are found all over the world. They are also referred to by the terms faery, fairie, fay, fae, Wee Folk, Good Folk, People of Peace or the Fair Folk.


The elves that we are familiar with in fantasy and pop culture stem from the folkloric traditions and mythology of the Germanic and Norse peoples as well as the Celts.


The Norse believed that there were both “light” and “dark” elves, the first a benevolent, shining race of beings and the latter as malevolent creatures bent on harming humans. Stories of the two races of elves appeared in the Prose Edda, but it is unclear whether the distinction between the two types was a creation of the author or a result of the importation of the Christian belief in angels.


J. R. R.Tolkien was influenced by the Norse concept of elves when he created Middle Earth. The light elves of Norse myth inspired the elegant, mysterious inhabitants of Lothlorien and Rivendell, where the dark elves became the orcs. The word orc is derived from the Latin term for monster (orcus), which is also the root of the name of the Killer Whale (orca) and the term ogre.


Tolkien was not a fan of industrialization. He was repelled by the harshness of his experiences during WWI and romanticized the “simple life” of an earlier age. But he wasn’t the first to do so.


In the Victorian age, many adults became caught up in a “fairy craze”, which some scholars believe was partly influenced by the Industrial Revolution. Fairy paintings and stories of the time were rich in nostalgia for a vanishing way of life. The Pre–Raphaelite school of art, in particular, depicted pastoral and woodland scenes from romance, legend and myth, many of which featured elves and fairies.


In Celtic mythology, fae fall into two categories derived from Scottish folklore: the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court. Seelie are the benevolent fae and unseelie malevolent. The term seelie is thought to be the origin of the English word “silly”. The Seelie court and unseely court fae are similar to the Norse division between light and dark elves. Later, William Butler Yeats, in Irish Fairy and Folk Tales, divided the fae into Trooping Fairies and Solitary Fairies. The Celtic tradition includes many fairy-type creatures, from pixies and brownies to ogres and giants.


Baobhan sith (pronounced baa'-van shee) are femme fatales found in Scottish Gaelic oral tradition. These siren-like creatures waylay male travelers and insist they dance with them. They are similar to Banshees and the Rusalka and Wila of Eastern Europe as well as the sirens of ancient greece. Wila is sometimes spelled as Veela. Fleur Delacourt in Harry Potter is part Veela.


Folkloric and mythological traditions throughout the world feature their own versions of elves and fae. In classical myths we find nymphs, fauns and satyrs.


Dryads are a type a nymph, considered to be the souls of trees. In The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, dryads fight alongside Aslan and the Pevensie Children. A Dryad named Juniper appears in the 
 Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
So how did elves become bound up in the Santa Claus legend? Elves have long been associated with Scandinavian and German gift-giving customs, but much of the belief in the USA surrounding Jolly Old St, Nick has evolved largely out of popular culture and advertising.

Back in the sixties, my family used to have a plastic elf who allegedly reported back to Santa when we kids were naughty. Imagine my surprise when I learned of that there is a book now called The Elf on the Shelf. And I thought my Dad invented the custom. Talk about your zeitgeist. Or is that zeitalp? Did all parents get the same idea about these creepy plastic and felt figures at the same time? Not my favorite custom surrounding elves.


It’s not really clear where and when Santa’s elf army cobbled their way into the mythos. Perhaps, like many Christmas customs we observe today, the presence of benevolent elves is a reminder of an earlier time, when people drew together in the shortest days of the year and feasted and made merry in hopes of dispelling the cold and gloom of winter.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Paranormal Creatures A-Z

Greetings! Lots of news to share!  

I've been absent from the blog for some time, but I've been busy moving, taking on another job, working on revised editions of the Immortyl Revolution books, as well as completing an entirely new urban fantasy novel and other projects.  

Sadly, my former publisher, L&L Dreamspell, closed its doors after the tragic loss of one of the owners, Linda Houle.  After my rights reverted back to me, I started a search for another small press that would pick up the series. 

That being said, I have some exciting news to share.  

Crazy Duck Press has picked up the series and a new edition of My Fearful Symmetry will be available later this year, followed by Cara Mia, Twilight of the Gods and Servant of the Goddess.  
Since MFS can be read as a stand alone novel, we decided to go ahead and release it first, while I finish revisions on the prior two books in the series.  Cedric, of course, will not be silent, so I'm developing the next installment of the Immortyl saga, which will be called the Immortyl Assassin series. The books will be narrated by Naveen, a century-old child vampire, introduced in MFS, who becomes Cedric's sidekick. Look for a short tale that intros Cedric and Naveen's upcoming adventures in this year's Vampire News!

Last year, I made the decision to change the focus of this blog to mythological and folkloric topics rather than author interviews and promos. Also, Cedric was clamoring for his own saucy corner of cyberspace, so we launched Sexy Cedric.  

I had started a feature here, called Paranormal Creatures from A-Z, which relates to one of the PowerPoint presentations I do for libraries, schools and conventions. The series began with three posts on Angels and Angelic Beings.

Yes, I am crazy busy!  My apartment is still in an unfinished state, and the dust bunnies are growing larger than my grey parrot, but I'll be adding additional posts in the series in coming weeks.

Please stop back.  I promise I won't disappear again!


 Annals of the Immortyls

*Although the Immortyl Revolution novels are currently out of print, my short stories, Annals of the Imnmortyls, are still available.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sidekicks: Editor Sarah Hans on a Quest for Diversity




I’m really thrilled to be writing here on Denise Verrico’s blog, my very first attempt at guest blogging! Denise asked me to talk a little about the process of selecting stories for the anthology I just put together, a discussion of the genres represented by the stories I chose, and my personal quest to include diverse stories about characters of many genders, races, and sexual orientations. So here goes:

The hardest part of being an editor is deciding which stories to buy and which to reject. While rejecting an author you’ve never met is not fun, it’s truly difficult to reject a story from someone you know and like, and whose work you enjoy.

This is the position I found myself in during the story selection process for my editorial debut, an anthology called Sidekicks! As you’ve probably already guessed from the title, the anthology is about...that’s right...sidekicks. When I say the word “sidekicks” the first person you think of is probably Robin of “Batman &”. If you didn’t think of Robin, you probably still thought of a superhero sidekick (and if you didn’t, have a gold star for Thinking Outside the Box). Most likely, he’s a white male sidekick working for a white male superhero. It’s not your fault that this was your first instinct. White males make up the vast majority of comic book content creators, even in 2013. So naturally a lot of their stories, and the subsequent movies, reflect this. Our culture is permeated with images of white male heteronormativity.

It’s paramount for authors, however, to fight against the tide and write about the idea that is not the most obvious one. So in general, unless you’ve been writing for many years, it’s a good idea to toss the first and maybe even the second idea you have. Work with the ones that come after that. The obscure ones. The unique ones. The ones that make you really excited.

That, as it turned out, was the key to having a story published in Sidekicks! I asked for stories from a variety of settings, about characters of color and LGBTQ characters. I received a number of these, and I’m proud to say that the book contains three stories with gay or lesbian protagonists (we would have had four, but I asked one of my authors to change their protagonist to a male--more on that in a minute) and three stories with protagonists of color. Sadly I didn’t receive any stories about trans characters, and I think that six total stories out of twenty is not really enough total representation. So while I’m proud of this first anthology, and the broad spectrum of characters it represents, I have a personal goal to do better in future where minority representation is concerned.

I was also interested in stories outside of the superhero genre. I wanted a range of good guys and bad guys, settings and locations, themes and styles. So I purchased only a handful of superhero stories and filled in the rest of the anthology with tales from other genres. Those who sent me science fiction, westerns, fantasy, etc. had an edge. Their stories stood out in a sea of superhero tales. Even so, some stories just weren’t the right fit for one reason or another. And two stories were submitted about characters based on Igor, that most classic of sidekicks. Both were good, but again, diversity won out: I picked the one with the gay romance.

That’s right, Igor gets his gay romance on in Sidekicks!, courtesy of author Kathy Watness. Am I making you want to read it yet?

Anyway, you get the point I’m making, right? Should I beat you over the head with the DIVERSITY SELLS STORIES stick some more, or shall we move on?

Interestingly, after the first wave of submissions, I had a gap in the anthology. I had 18 stories and not a single one was about a male sidekick with a female...we’ll call it a “dominant” person, because not all of the characters in the book are good guys, making the term “hero” inappropriate. (Let’s just get the “OMG dominant, that’s kinky” snickering out of the way, shall we? I’ll wait.)

I asked one author to change the gender of a particular protagonist to male (I’ll give you a cookie if you can guess which story) and commissioned three other stories with male protagonists and female dominants, two of which I purchased, rounding out the anthology with a tidy 20 stories, and giving me three with male protags and female dominants. One of these has an alien protagonist, which still makes me grin--thanks go to author Neal Litherland, who deserves a gold star AND a cookie for really stepping it up.

I hope that after reading this you’ll give Sidekicks! a try--it’s on sale at Amazon.com right now for less than $10!--and also consider reading (and writing) more diverse fiction. If you’d like to hear Sidekicks! authors read their work live, we have events coming up in Dayton, Ohio at Epic Loot Games and Comics (4:00-6:00 pm on Saturday, April 6) and in Madison, Wisconsin at A Room of One’s Own (6:30 - 8:00 pm on Wednesday, April 24). If you’d like to discuss the contents of this guest blog post, you can find me on my blog, twitter, or facebook! Thanks for reading!



Monday, April 1, 2013

Dark Salvation by Katie Salidas Launch



Book Launch 
Dark Salvation by Katie Salidas





A gathering storm of violence is on the horizon. Whispered threats of the Acta Sanctorum’s return have the supernatural world abuzz. Only recently aware of the other world hidden behind our own, Kitara Vanders has barely scratched the surface of what being supernatural truly means. A special woman in her own right, she possesses unique telepathic abilities, gifts that have recently come under the scrutiny of the Acta Sanctorum, a fanatical organization whose mission is to cleanse the world of anything supernatural. Targeted and marked for death, Kitara’s only hope lies with the lethally seductive yet emotionally scarred warrior Nicholas.
Knowing full well the atrocities of which the Acta Sanctorum is capable, Nicholas is all too eager for the battle to begin. Fueled by pain and rage from the loss of his mate, he’s itching for a fight, but one thing stands in his way: Kitara, a beautiful dark-haired woman with unique psychic abilities and an unusual link to the Saints. Despite his resolve to remain focused on his mission, a purely physical relationship binds them together in a way neither of them expected. And when her life hangs in the balance, Nicholas finds his own is teetering on the edge too.

 Excerpt:

“You really don't care about human life, do you?" Though her heart pounded erratically with fear, there was none in her angry voice.
“Nope.” Nicholas was not about to get into a morality war with this woman. He pulled out the dead man’s wallet and tossed it aside. “Nothing good here.”
“You’re an asshole, you know that?”
He’d been called that by so many people, but somehow hearing her say it struck a chord with him. “I’ve been called worse.” He tried to sound as if he didn’t care, but for some strange reason, he did. He opened his mouth to say something, but found the words escaped him. Humans never understood. Perhaps it was better off she thought him a jerk.
“I can’t believe you. Human life has to hold some meaning.”
“It does. If humans weren’t around, I’d have to eat animals.”
“You’re nothing but a monster, just like Jeremy said.”
That hurt. He had saved her life, and she hated him for it. He turned on her, anger setting his heart pounding. How dare she talk this way to him after he’d saved her? “He would have killed you without a second thought. That’s what the Saints do. They are the real monsters, not me.”
Perhaps it was his suddenly sharp tone, or maybe she realized he was telling the truth; whatever it was, Kitara paused. He heard her take a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that. You did save me. I’ve... I’ve just never witnessed a murder.” Her body was still trembling, and her heart thumped so erratically that he wondered if she might pass out. The tang of her fear wafted up to his nose. “You tore that guy’s throat out, in front of me. You killed him. You drank his blood.”
Nicholas attempted to temper the anger in his voice with patience in the hopes of getting her to relax. "Vampires drink blood, sweetheart.”


Kobo 


Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkins off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons.  She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, She still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.
 And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…
Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.
Publisher




Friday, March 29, 2013

Paranormal Creatures A-Z: Angelic Beings in World Mythology


Greetings!  This weekend I'll be at Marcon in Columbus, OH.  One of the panels I'll be on concerns the popularity of angels in fantasy.  Since I'm currently writing an urban fantasy featuring an angelic being, I thought this panel would be fun, especially since I've been doing research on the topic and sharing my findings here at the blog.

In the previous posts I discussed angels in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  Today, I'll touch on angelic beings from other cultures and religious traditions.





Angelic Beings in World Mythology

Beliefs in beings similar to angels are found in many cultures throughout human history.  The idea of representing spirits as winged figures is thousands of years old. Ancient Egyptians portrayed the sun god Horus as a winged disk.  The Assyrians believed in the Shedu or Lamassu, a protective spirit or deity often depicted with a man’s head, a bulls body and eagle’s wings that may have influenced the Israelite’s view of angels.  Winged beings can be found in ancient Greek and Roman art, such as the depiction of the god of love Eros and his consort, the personification of the soul, Psyche. 

Indian mythology includes several beings that act in a similar way to angels. Devas are gods and goddesses whose name literally means “shining ones”.  They are also referred to as Sura.  Evil spirits or demons that embody baser instincts are called Asura.

In the retinue of the chief of the gods Indra are also beings called apsaras and gandharvras.   Apsaras are beautiful, seductive female dancers and gandhavras are handsome male musicians.  Apsaras are often the wives of gandhavras.  The apsaras are guardians of fallen heros, like the Norse Valkyrie and like the muses in Greek mythology they represent various forms of art.  Gandhavras may be warriors as well as performing artists. Both apsaras and Gandhavras are said to fly and act as intermediaries of the gods.

Dakini are female spirits in Buddhism, Hinduism and Tantra.  The word Dakini means essentially a “woman who walks in the sky”.  In India, dakini are the attendants of Kali and sometimes inhabit battlefields and cremation grounds.  In Tantric Buddhism, the dakini is seen as the embodiment of enlightened energy.

Tennin are female heavenly messengers in Japanese Buddhism.  They are depicted as beautiful women who wear exquisite feathered kimonos and have the ability to fly.  They sometimes are companions to Bodhisattva, enlightened beings that are looked upon as angels or gods by some.  The term Bodhisattva, however, also means anyone on the path to enlightenment.

Some Central African tribal groups, particularly in Gabon, believe in Ombwiri.  These are ancestor spirits similar to guardian angels.  

Orisha are spiritual beings in the West African religion Yoruba that have been compared to angels.  The Yoruba believe that the Orisha were once human beings who led notable lives and became Gods at death.  Orishas are also important in Santeria.

The Norse believed in the Valkyrie, female spirits that could either take the form of swans or Amazonian warriors, depending on the source.  “Light” elves are fair, beautiful beings with supernatural powers, similar to angels.  However, surviving tales depicting these elves may have been somewhat be influenced by the Christian belief in angels brought into Scandinavia.

As I've said before, this particular topic is vast.  I've barely scratched the surface in these posts.  If any of the readers would like to contribute to the discussion, please feel free to mention your findings in the comments.

My next post in the series will be on BANSHEES.  

Have a great day!