Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Creating Fictional Beasts

I love creating fictional beasts. Littered around my house are books on Celtic myths, Gods and Goddess, Irish Folklore, and lots more. And I use them. I use them when I’m stuck working on a story that just begs for a fictional beast, one that can sprout wings, breathe fire or trot on all four legs. But as a writer I take liberties. I like to weave a bit of that and a bit of this into my own new one-of-kind beast. For me that’s when they really come alive, develop special attributes and get named.
Take for instance my Ellora's Cave novellas, Love Me Wild and Love Me Tender (and yes I’m working on the third). In those stories I built a new futuristic world and with the construction of that world I really wanted to add something shocking. Hence the development of my Mage Pegcentaurs. I called them Mage because only a Mage Pegcentaur can shift into any creature and I added wings giving the centaur (horse-like creature) the ability to fly. I needed this character to morph into any other beast in my Love Me Tender story because I didn’t want my main character finding him immediately. Let the chase begin, that was my theory behind it.
I’m working on a new novella that will feature Elementals. These are creatures that can become anything, air, fire, and any other living creature. But with all creatures something needs to bind them in place, or work as a poison. I truly feel that no creature should be omniscient, really where’s the fun in that.
I want to hear from you. What creatures have you created? What names do you give them? Do they have any special features? Share, share, share…you never know when it could be used by a writer in a story.
Speaking of sharing – here’s an excerpt from my Cerridwen Press book Rapture that features yet again one of my made up creatures, I named Tartahounds.
Twice in two days an undersea rupture from the bowels of the Earth had spewed forth a dozen of Hades’ legionnaires and their demonic Tartahounds. Close to four centuries ago, Hades had tried to overtake the undersea kingdom, believing it was his right to overthrow Oceanus’ children. It had taken a massive counterattack with all the Titan leaders from the seven seas working together to finally defeat Hades. However the toll had been enormous.
Thousands of Titans and Sirens had lost their souls to Hades. Nothing could be done for them. Every once in a while Hades liked to test their power, and he would send his legionnaires out to try to break through. Hades’ legionnaires had only tried to overtake the North Seas, where his family lived—that was strange. His father had contacted the other leaders and nothing unusual was happening elsewhere.
Like my mardom needs another problem to deal with. Besides trying to find a cure for the illness affecting his people they were also forced to deal with Hades’ tricks, which were always underhanded.

Seth knew it was a puzzle that warranted more attention. He was sure that was why his father wanted to speak with him at half-tide. Today, he made the decision that extra Titan warriors were needed to patrol all the surrounding shields. They were all on high alert.
This morning it had taken him and two other Titan warriors a good hour to destroy the dozen legionnaires and their Tartahounds who had broken through one of the far perimeter shields. The legionnaires were deadly with their vapor assaults, but the Tartahounds were even more lethal. With a body the shape of an electric eel and its three canine heads, Tartahounds were blind and relied on their ability to scent their prey. One bite and their poisonous venom could render a Titan warrior unconscious.
Mikhail, a friend of Seth’s, had come very close to being contaminated by one of the Tartahounds. The fact the beast had attacked Mikhail on his own, without a legionnaire holding him to a vapor leash, unnerved Seth. Never in his years of dealing with Hades’ legionnaires had he seen a Tartahound unleashed. An off-leash Tartahound could just as easily attack its master. The only thing that controlled them was the vapor leash. Quick thinking on Seth’s part had decapitated the beast, and saved Mikhail from a slow, torturous death.
Rapture can be bought directly from Cerridwen Press at http://www.cerridwenpress.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419910760

Love Me Wild can be bought directly from Ellora's Cave at http://www.ellorascave.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419910104

Love Me Tender can be bought directly from Ellora's Cave at http://www.ellorascave.com/productpage.asp?ISBN=9781419912665

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jokes - Why They Are Worth It For Me!

Jokes. I wish I could say I’m sick of them but I’m not. Even when there are four voices competing in my van so the loudest can tell me another one, and another one and another…ahh, you get the picture. So my six year-old son asks me this morning if I can look up even more jokes, this time Holiday jokes, so he can be the “hot” kid on the playground and spout them off. Sure, why not. I’ve got nothing better to do. No need to work on my latest book and novella that are harping at me to finish, no need to do laundry (we can survive, I think) and no need to get my house in shape for a meeting being held at said house tonight. Nay, what the heck. Jokes, jokes and more jokes.

Now, as I was researching Holiday jokes I also found a nice Dr. Seuss (sort of) Passover joke, which is now my ultimate fave. The Q&A’s will make my six year-old giggle for miles in the van, while my almost 12 year-old will absorb the reindeer in the bar joke (secretly tell his friends later on) and it will be my nine year-old son who will learn in a heartbeat the Dr. Seuss rhyme, all to the tune of our three year-old saying “my turn, my turn.” Ahh, the joys of my daily morning routine.

The first reindeer seen in a bar
One evening, in a busy lounge in the deep south, a reindeer walked in the door, bellied up to the bar and ordered a martini. Without batting an eye, the bartender mixed and poured the drink, set it in front of the reindeer, and accepted the twenty-dollar bill from the reindeer's hoof. As he handed the reindeer some coins in change, he said, "You know, I think you're the first reindeer I've ever seen in here." The reindeer looked hard at the hoofful of change and said, "Hmmmpf. Let me tell you something, buddy. At these prices, I'm the last reindeer you'll see in here."\

Question and Answer Christmas Jokes
Q: What do elves learn in school?A: The Elf-abet!
Q: What's the most popular wine at Christmas?A: "I don't like sprouts" !
Q: If athletes get athletes foot, what do astronauts get? A: Missletoe!
Q: What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? A: Frostbite.
Q: Why was Santa's little helper depressed? A: Because he had low elf esteem.
Q: Why does Santa have 3 gardens? A: So he can ho-ho-ho.
Q: Where do polar bears vote?A: The North Poll.
Q: What do you get when you cross an archer with a gift-wrapper? A: Ribbon hood.
Q: Why do birds fly south for the winter ?A: Because it's to far to walk.
Q: What kind of bird can write?A: A PENguin.
Q: What do you call a cat on the beach at Christmas time? A: Sandy Claus!
Q: How do sheep in Mexico say Merry Christmas? A: Fleece Navidad!
Q: What nationality is Santa Claus?A: North Polish.
Q: Why does Santa's sled get such good mileage?A: Because it has long-distance runners on each side.Q: What do you call a bunch of grandmasters of chess bragging about their games in a hotel lobby? A: Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer!
Q: What do you get if you deep fry Santa Claus?A: Crisp Cringle.

Passover Dr. Suess Style
Sam! Will you never see? They are not KOSHER, So let me be! I will not eat green eggs and ham. I will not eat them Sam-I-am. But I'll eat green eggs with a biscuit. Or I will try them with some brisket. I'll eat green eggs in a box. If you serve them with some lox. And those green eggs are worth a try Scrambled up inside some matzoh brie! And in a boat upon the river, I'll eat green eggs with chopped liver! So if you're a Jewish Dr. Seuss fan, But troubled by green eggs and ham. Let your friends in on the scoop: Green eggs taste best with chicken soup!

Special thanks to http://humormatters.com/holidays/passover.htm and http://www.ahajokes.com/christmas_jokes.html

Friday, November 9, 2007

Strange Things That Make Me Write Better

As a writer I have a few weird habits that I use to help me write better or actually simply to make me write. About three years ago I stopped wearing a watch. Why? I didn’t like that constant reminder that time was ticking away, or I had to be somewhere, pick up someone and all that jazz.

What have I learned about not wearing a watch you might ask? A lot. I actually have more human to human contact on a daily basis now all because there are times that I really do need to know what time it is and I usually ask that simple question. “Excuse me, do you have the time?” Now I often thought I’d love to use that line on a gorgeous hunk of a guy, hoping he’d say, “For you baby I’ve got all the time in the world,” but alas that hasn’t happened so far. It’s only been three years, give me another few and we shall see if that fantasy comes true.

What I have discovered is that people love to talk and they want to be heard and listened to. I have learned so much about human behavior and the angst of what’s going on in a complete stranger’s life (sometimes it does get thrown into the story I’m working on) but I’ve also discovered people crave to talk to other people. Asking that simple time question has made me more patient. I do take the time to listen when the people I’ve asked start to talk and I usually walk away with a smile. Why? Because simply by discarding my watch I learn something new every day about someone I don’t know and that thrills me.

I also don’t own a cell phone. Now, I admit that sometimes I do use hubby’s but I hate it and most cases I never remember to even turn the blasted thing on. I’m a bit of a computer nut (not in a good sense) and I find when I’m off trying to write I’m aware that that blasted cell phone is on and I keep getting distracted by it. My fingers ache to type in a friend’s number and invite them to join me when I really should be writing. And I’m one of those people who hate listening in to other people’s cell phone conversations they’re having while waiting in line, because while I try not to listen…I admit I do. And later I’m rehashing a partial conversation in my mind with someone I don’t even know. So when I’m really pressed for a writing deadline, no cell phone for me.

I’d love to hear what tricks of the trade other writers use when they sit down to write, and I’d love to hear what “odd” things you’ve either adopted or dropped in your life. Personally, I think if we all got rid of our watches life would be a lot sweeter and much more relaxed.