Did You Know…About the God of Chaos

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In Greek mythology, Chaos was the first primordial god—according to Hesiod—who formed the initial void of the universe, or the gap between heaven and earth. In his version, Chaos was the first thing to exist, and from it came Gaia, Earth; Tartarus, the Nether Abyss; and Eros, Love. When personified, he fathered Erebus, Darkness; and Nyx, Night. Yet, this personification didn’t keep him from being known as a far away, underground, or gloomy place beyond Tartarus.

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The Abrahamic belief systems reference Chaoskampf, or a cosmic battle between a sea monster that represents the forces of chaos and a creator god or a cultural hero that imposes order by force. Judaism refers to this chaotic creature as Leviathan (or more modernly as the “great whale.”) Christianity refers to Leviathan as the image of Satan, who threatens God’s creatures by trying to eat them and with the attempted upheaval in the waters of Chaos. This version demonizes him as envious and one of the seven Princes of Hell.

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In Zoroastrianism, hymns presented the two sides of existence as the mainyu, or the mind, spirit and otherwise abstract energy, and the angra, or the destructive, chaotic, disorderly, inhibitive, and malign, etc. manifestations. It also refers to the angra mainyuas “absolute antithesis.” The mythological story portrays a back and forth between good and evil with the personified Angra Mainyu planning to dry up the earth, urging hero Zoroaster to turn away from the good religion for sovereignty of the world, and battling Spenta Mainyu for possession of khvaraenah, or divine glory and fortune. Utlimately, Angra Mainyu is assigned to the nether world, one of darkness, to reign over the daevas, demons or opponents.

Anient Egyptians embodied chaos as deity Apep or Apophis. As Ra was the solar deity, bringing of light, his greatest enemy was the “Lord of Chaos.” As the personification of all evil, Apep was seen as a giant snake or serpent that stretched sixteen yards in length and had a head made of flint. Although, he has been similarly depicted as a crocodile, like modern Judaism has shown the Leviathan. Myth has suggested, however, that Ra’s birth was a consequence of Apep’s primordial force, thus suggesting that evil is merely the consequence of an individual’s own struggles against non-existence.

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In the native Caribbean cultures, the deity of chaos and disorder was believed to control the weather, particularly hurricanes, called Juracán. Taíno mythology, these storms were spawned and controlled by the goddess Guabancex, or “the one whose fury destroys everything,” as the Taínos were aware of the hurricane’s spiraling wind patterns, which they used when depicting the deity. When Guabancex’s volatile temper unleashed these hurricanes—or juracánes—she would interrupt the balance of rain and drought, rotating her arms in a spiral to pick up the ocean water and land and force it violently back over the Taíno settlements. She threatened the other deities to coerce them into joining the chaos.

As for my depiction of the Goddess of Chaos, Meleia—although she is much more the goddess of fate and destruction as well—I gleamed a bit of her position from reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series with Acheron, the harbinger of destruction, and his mother, Apollymi, the Goddess of Life, Death, and Wisdom and daughter of Chaos. I particularly liked how the duo were shown as the destroyers.

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Meleia does not destroy all, as shown in her recent mini, she only has say over her own people. Well, sometimes good people must do bad things. It creates balance. This is reflected in Ria and her phoenix, making an amalgamation of power that will change the universe.

I like thinking of Meleia, and other creatures normally seen as evil, as individuals who do what they do out of necessity. This has a heck of a lot of cultural connections. Make the ones you will. All seen as purely evil have some sense of humanity to them. Some sense of mercy and good.

I know where Ria’s mercy lies. Meleia’s seem to reflect them. This makes me excited about learning about her, and getting to see pieces of her life as she becomes a more an integral part of Ria’s story.

Who knows, maybe after these next two books, she’ll have intrigued me to give her voice a story all its own.

Let’s see what happens.

Check out these related posts:

Gods of Chaos, a Meleia Mini

Did You Know…About the Hybrids & Chaos?

Did You Know…About the Phoenix?

Did You Know..About the REPpers?

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Demons make up a large percentage of the police community in Lily’s world; however, other creatures filter through them as well. Their responsibilities are large and wide-spreading. And at the head of it all, sits Lily’s mother.

I don’t want to give it all away, but the war over heaven never ended. Power has exchanged hands a few times. During this, Adam has worked beside Lucifer since he was cast out of the Garden of Eden, which is why Adam is sent to babysit because he’s one of the few who can protect her. And, well, not only is she an important bargaining chip, she’s inherited Lucifer’s rare powers.

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But what she’ll do with it all? I hate to say that I’m not sure. I think some type of special task force—my favorite in the detective genre on television, a guilty pleasure—but that’s not coming for a few books, so I don’t feel too pressured to know what the specifics are any time soon.

I trust my characters and their stories to add up to something in the long run. They haven’t let me down yet.

So, even though this doesn’t say much about what her future job will entail, her first semester does, and she’s not sure if she’s up for the profession by the end of it.

I’m afraid she doesn’t have much of a choice. As she says often, she’s the product of scientists, the FBI, and an arch angel.

“How old are you?” 

“I’m the product of scientists and the FBI, so fifty?” 

She was made for this. Literally.

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Since I still know little, I may as well highlight a few of those moments below:

From Chapter Six, The Person-to-Person Checklist:

Starr linked her arm with mine. “My friends and I are going to practice spells if you want to come along. You might not be a witch, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself…especially with your studying.”

Wow. The school’s Snow-White-look-alike might make this place seem a little less lonely, but I wasn’t ready for a coven of witches conjuring spells. “The fear of sounding like a complete dork noted when I mention that I have homework. I need to catch up on, well, everything.”

“Probably for the better. Most groups don’t get along well with REPpers.”

Slang for my major in REP, Rule Enforcers of the Paranormal. REPpers punished their own. They punished everyone. They enforced the rules. At least, that’s what I gathered so far. Maybe I watched too many cop shows.

“Do witches?” Did this mean Starr and I wouldn’t get along?

“Depends.” Her slender shoulders reached for those delicate gold swoops dangling from her lobes. “Black magic witches don’t really care for you guys, and some white witches are still holding onto this, like, century-long grudge. Personally, I prefer the person-to-person checklist.”

“Checklist?”

“Honest. Sarcastic. Quick. Sweet. You know, there are others, like personal taste, but it’s so hard to dig that deep right off the bat. I’ll let you know next time.”

 

From Chapter Seventeen, The Mandatory Test Question:

A lot of us split into our own groups on our free time in school—in the halls and at lunch—otherwise, we get along in class and other activities. In fact, I hang out with a witch and a chimera. I watch her flirt-fight with a vampire in Art. I was the product of intermingling.

“It seems to depend on the individual. We stick to our own in larger groups, but when we’re in smaller ones, we mix together just as well. We’ve created sub-groups because of it.”

Adam nodded in approval and stood again, hands linked behind his back. “We were once segregated, and therefore, do have a tendency to be attracted to certain other species. In the same way, we fight. Shifters are territorial as are vampires, fey, and dragons. They tend to fight more with each other than others. Muses, ghosts, witches, and sirens are less territorial and used to migrating as needed or possible. Demons and angels sit somewhere between, more concerned with their position within their own society rather than a physical location in the cosmos.

“It becomes rather odd to have most species squashed together in one place for so long, but the experiment has proven useful in our government, our cities, and our relationships with human governments.

“That’s not to say problems don’t arise. We’ve had a few major incidents but not in a while. People start disappearing, and it’s usually a sign that something’s coming.”

I leaned forward again. “What kind of something?”

“Historically, various spells and sacrifices, cleansings, terrorist attacks. They’re typical of secular groups, human cults, and whack jobs. Most of us get along just fine.”

But when they disappear…like these three…bad things do happen. Were there more students gone, and I didn’t know about it? Maybe, I could get Starr to write me a little spell and Evan to teach me a few ins-and-outs of the school’s office and filing system.

A plan seeded in my brain, and before it could bloom, Adam tapped my desk, refocusing me like he was used to my going off on tangents of thought. Did a lot of REPpers do that? My dad and uncle did as links formed for them.

 

From Chapter Twenty-One, Running on Sugar:

“How do you stand the condescending coldness?”

A soft shrug. “I’m used to condescending, and I think it’s more of a tonal problem. One of my dad’s students was a really smart guy. Like put my dad to shame smart, and Dad is brilliant. Mensa brilliant. And the guy rubbed everyone the wrong way. Fact-driven. To the point. Always madsounding. He taught me how to read someone’s eyes and facial expressions with their words rather than their tone. Tone is too easily faked.”

“Man, you sound like a bonafide REPper.”

“I am a product of my upbringing.”

 

From Chapter Thirty-Nine, Stick to the Plan:

“Don’t patronize me. You pretend to care because you think I took those kids. That because of your mom, you’re enlightened. Made to be a REPper, better than the rest of us, but the world will burn because of you and your blood.”

 

Have I interested you enough to make you click on the cover? It magically transports you to the discounted e-book. It’ll be a fun ride; I promise. Just be sure to hold on.

Alisha Chambers.The Lily Graves Series.The Girl with the Glowing Hair.ebook

Editing Advice: Over Describing

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Yes, I’m treading into dreaded territory again. Our favorite axiom as writers: show, don’t tell.

Well, I hate to make it more complicated, but sometimes, showing too much becomes telling.

I could show this to you in a lot of ways, but let’s hone in on one: dropping too many details all at once.

Now, it’s easy to admit that I have issues with scene development. I’m not a fan of dumping all of the spatial information right up front unless it directly connects with the tension. Instead, I like to suggest filtering details through a scene so that the characters can interact with what’s around them rather than being told what’s where.

This is part of stylistic preference, and I don’t want to tell anyone that theirs is wrong. It’s just the way I prefer to both write and interact with the story as a reader.

But let me delve even deeper to one of my giant pet peeves—something that affects the trifecta of writer, reader, and editor. I’m serious; I skim past this stuff when it’s in a book, and I hate the waste of words.

That’s the uber-detailed depiction of a character. Eye color, hair color, skin color, height, weight, clothes and the way they fit, shoes, nail color, their half-hearted smile and cupid lips, the button nose…are you getting sick of me listing details yet? I’m sure sick of it.

My feelings aside, I’ve read some interesting research and heard theories from countless writing professors that say the same thing. Too many details like this all at once creates a blank spot in our memories for the character because we can’t remember them all. They get jumbled together with all of the other characters and their giant lists of features.

The best way to circumvent this is to pick and choose which details set the character apart from the others.

A character with rainbow eyes? Sure, mention those. That’s not typical.

A scar on their lip. Go for it.

Are they always flipping their hair from their eyes to no avail?

Got a ring on their finger that they turn when they’re anxious or nervous?

Their height make them loom over everyone?

Always tugging at the cuffs on their shirt?

See how these create images, props as they were, to identify a character without the whole shebang? Pair these with their distinct attitude as described by their dialect and general actions, and this is an excellent way to develop character without relying on over description. But be sure to use them with purpose.

Besides, readers are smart and fill in a lot of the blanks themselves. The way I imagine Boden isn’t the same as the way every reader I’ve come in contact with does. And you know what, I’m okay with that. Their version involves them in my world. I’m honored they want to spend time there.

My last note, over description can happen in action as well. Something I often refer to as step-by-step action. The needless description of every movement a character makes to be sure we see it exactly as the writer does. Let’s just say, it becomes telling real quick.

Let me know if you want a full review of this in a future post. I’m sure I can go on about it for a while.

Got a way you love to identify your characters? Share them in the comments below!

Gods Fall to Chaos

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Yellow and orange bloomed across my vision, wisping at the blues of the morning sky. The diamond blue water spanned the horizon past the marbling stone archways; warm air shimmied up my white sarong. Blonde hair swam across my torso when I turned toward a man.

“Markandeya, what are you doing here?”

Bright cobalt eyes and scruffy dark hair and skin, this god dressed like a warrior, but he mimicked his twin brother without needed to. He stepped forward abruptly, a single step, wanting to reach for me.

“We’re in trouble.”

“You and I?” I step diagonal to him, seeming to get closer but keeping an equal distance between us.

“No. Us. All of us. All of Atlantis.” Markandeya turned with me, and I must have misread what his eyes showed me. Not a shard of kindness lived in him or his twin.

“So why come to me with this news? Why not Crehon?”

“Because, Meleia, if I perish, I’d rather have your voice in my ears.”

I laughed. “Me? The little play thing you love to call on to help send people to your realm?”

“I’ve only ever asked for you to do what you were made to do. People’s choices only allow them so much freedom. You have final say on their fates.” Markandeya stepped closer again, and I worked to resist the charm. Something of the true terror inside him lured me in.

“And what do you ask of me now?”

His gaze caught the way I moved around him, his chest expanding against his breastplate. “To stop Phea from destroying us.”

I shook my head. The ocean called to me, and I would soon sink into it with the rest of my family. “Nothing can be done.”

Markandeya invaded my space before I took a new breath. “You’ve already sacrificed us to this fate?”

Wobbling, the strong masculine scent of him intoxicating. “Fate may be my responsibility amongst our people, but I do not control the cosmos. I have no say what happens to our pantheon. If we perish, we will return—as many times as necessary.”

Fingers finally finding the back of my arm, touch warmer than I’d imagined. Kinder. His mouth brushed my ear, rough hair on his face prickling my cheek. “Then I hope in one of those lives, you won’t find me so repulsive.”

The shift of air captured our scents, and Markandeya disappeared.

My throne room shifted over the harbour.

Destiny singing our destruction as a lullaby from its depths.

Release Day & Birthday Sale

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If you haven’t heard of my new release, THE GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR, are you living under a rock?

This book has kept me excited for YEARS. Granted, I only finished writing it back in April, but my characters and I had to have a conversation half way through IMPRINTED about how they were next and to calm down until I could get to their book.

Well, now that it’s written, now that beta readers have given me positive feedback, now that the book is out in the world with its beautiful cover and crazy characters, I am still OBSESSED.

Yes, it’s cliché and bad form to be so in love with what I create, but the most fun thing about this book is that the characters really had a mind of their own—even though as I’ve said before, Evan is the closest to my husband as any character I’ve written.

I’ll do my best to reign in my squeals.

And I’ll get to my point.

The book is final here. You can buy it right now on most of the major retailers, but we have it on sale at the press store for 25% off because…drum roll…it’s my birthday. And I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate getting older than sharing this with you.

Okay, I’m almost done.

I’ve been talking about Lily and the gang for months, so if you want to know more, check out these Ethology lessons, this excerpt and this one and this one, and the official book trailer.

Here’s to being thirty-four and all that will come in my next rotation around the sun.

Much love, my lovelies.

Alisha Chambers.The Lily Graves Series.The Girl with the Glowing Hair.PRINT

Buy on AmazonKobo, or Nook.

New Excerpt from THE GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR

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After Art, I perused the flyers plastered between the lockers. Two more days until I had to officially declare my extra-curricular activities. I pulled a poster for fencing to carry around with me. I liked the physical activity, and learning how to use a sword against an opponent intrigued me. Then again, I might get enough defense from my REP training.

I stuck it on another board.

Exhausting the possibilities, I made my way to the basement. My only time down there was for Biology, which I barely made it to before the bell and ran from for lunch. But I vaguely remembered at least one wall of fliers.

Most of these were more science based: computer coding, robotics, potions, and…I stopped. A plain white paper stuck out from the others—something that fit me better than the rest.

A blanket volunteering program. Meet with an advocate every week to fulfill twenty hours of volunteer work a month. Variety. I needed it to stay sane. I pulled it off the wall when someone’s curse from the end of the hall echoed down to me.

The banging and reverberation of metal against cement drew me closer. The curses grew louder and more creative as I breached the door’s edge. Inside, water pooled under the metal lab table. Scratching scrambled over the tops, and a boy’s voice ground out curses I didn’t understand before he beckoned the beast back to him.

“Come on, Moon. Here, girl. I’ve got a nice little piece of lamb for you.”

Evan crept into view, making kissy noises and holding out a red chunk of meat.

It dropped me into a fit of giggles.

His back sharpened like I’d thrown something at him before he peeked at me over his shoulder.

The fear in him shoved me into his room rather than away from it.

He closed the door behind me and pushed me against it, miming to stay quiet as he returned to his hunt.

Or it seemed that way.

Until the petite gold and purple dragon doubled in size.

“Shit.”

An eight-inch flame spit from the dragon’s mouth.

She doubled in size again, crinkling the metal under her claws.

I ducked, crawling under the lip of a table as fire rebounded off the door where I’d stood.

Stomp-creak. Stomp-creak.

The metal above me crumpled, pushing me scampering back under the chemical sink—a fire extinguisher rattling behind my hips.

Stomp. Stomp.

The dragon followed my movements, bending low over its haunches, neck extending to shoot flame at me again.

Grabbing the extinguisher, I pulled the pin and sprayed. Flames licked my skin around the foam.

Bong.

Clear air.

I paused.

Evan threw a tray of lamb steaks on a far table, distracting Moon long enough to pull me off the floor. Shoved over the crunched metal, I rolled to my feet just before Evan landed behind me.

Moon slammed her tail against the door, keeping us trapped in the lab.

Blocking my view, Evan gestured my stillness as he assessed his dragon’s progress eating. The cringe of his mouth didn’t give me much hope.

He stepped us forward together, a foot at a time, his hand clasped around my bicep. Firm without hurting me, Evan signaled me to move silently. My uncle had done this to me once, skirting me out of a 7-Eleven as a kid pulled a gun on the cashier. I hid around the corner while he went back in to talk the kid down.

It was the first time I saw him work. The first confirmation of my trust in him. He was a badass.

Uncle Henry got shot that day, too, in the shoulder, but he kept the kid from hurting anyone else.

We’d stopped.

An empty plate clattered to the floor, and the dragon smacked its chops.

Her long narrow face turned our way. A screech slammed me against the concrete wall. Evan’s chest pressed into mine, his arms barring my sight of the dragon.

“Stay still.” He said through his teeth.

A sheen shimmered between us, and fire surrounded us.

I tensed, hands gripping his shirt as I waited for the pain, but the flames curled around Evan’s back, which bowed from the force.

My breath crackled with the heat.

Wide shoulders, the scent of grease and metal and orange blossoms.

His grunt made me jerk.

The fire backtracked.

Evan retreated enough for his dark eyes to examine me for a second before the flame pushed him back into me. So close that I could feel his strain, whatever he had that left us untouched took the damage.

Teeth grit, the warm metal of his lip ring scraped my cheek. “She smells you. I’ll distract her. You run.”

I met his gaze and nodded my confirmation.

Sucking in a deep breath, he pushed back, a small, shiny nugget appeared in his hand. “Go.”

Evan lobbed it into the flame, making the fire transform into a fog. Wet clung to my skin. My palms slipped on the door, twice, before I slithered out.

Close the door.”

I slammed it shut, ducking below the window.

Pulse beating in my ears, I sank to the floor, hand tapping a rhythm over my chest—willing it to slow down.

A rolling chirp pierced the silent air. And the door opened with a puff of smog.

Green hair and a sly grin appeared within it.

“Safe to come in, now.”

Curiosity got the best of me. Dragging myself off the floor, I waved the smell of atmosphere and pine nuts from the air, and the cloud rolled out of the room.

The lab was trashed but not demolished. Two of the tables maintained their ninety-degree edges, but another five could be set outside as sculptures. Glass littered the floor from test tubes and beakers.

I couldn’t speak for the other equipment in the room. I’d never seen anything like most of it, which surprised me. Growing up in my father’s lab exposed me to an ever-changing line of machines.

“Where’d she go?” No cage stood out. No purple movements. Nothing to indicate a habitat.

“Under her tarp. She needs to calm down.” He pointed to a white rectangle on the far wall. Bent to snatch something, he held my gold scarf out to me.

My hand patted my hair, yanking it free of the disarrayed ponytail. “Right. Thanks.”

Hands on his hips, he surveyed the room before he gauged me. “I’ll fix it tomorrow. Are you hungry? Let’s get out of here. Come on.”

That was the most normal thing he’s said to me since I sat next to him in class. It freaked me the hell out, but I followed him out of the lab, which he locked. His silence seemed to suck in extra energy when he normally deflected it.

What type of chimera was he?

 

 

Check out the official book trailer:

THE GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR launches October 1st!

Alisha Chambers.The Lily Graves Series.The Girl with the Glowing Hair.ebook

The Official blurb:

Lily is the daughter of Lucifer, a mother she’s never met.

When she’s laughed off the soccer field, Lily’s delivered to her FBI uncle and a new, paranormal, high school where she’ll be trained to keep other creatures in line.

Gaining few allies under the thumb of her obsessive mentor, she struggles to prove that something more is going on in their little town than anyone wants to admit.

If you like the innocence of Twilight, the snark from Buffy, and the wit of the Lunar Chronicles, you’ll be engrossed by Alisha Costanzo’s new dark and satirical YA series.

Read THE GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR and fall into a world worse than hell—welcome back to high school.

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Chimera

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We’re closing in on the last few ethology lessons, so I’ve saved my favorites for last. The chimera. These guys are those unpredictable anomalies, much like the creatures described in my hybrids and chaos post a little bit back.

Unfortunately, Lily’s ethology book doesn’t explain their natures and behaviors well, listing examples and explaining that guessing their natures is just as accurate, so she’s had to rely on her surly mentor for information:

“They come in two forms, the genetic chimera that exhibit the physical characteristics of their combined lineage, and the blue-blood chimera that possess a single line’s traits but hold both internally—much like two creatures inhabiting one vessel.”

Like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde.

“The book only mentions the first kind, so I thought we’d explore the blue-bloods, thusly named for their abilities to blend in with their dominant species. The most common combines one of us with a human, like our shifters. In fact, they are so common that we don’t call them such anymore.”

“Blue-bloods are hard to decipher unless they reveal their genetic makeup or undergo a series of tests, none of which are fun or kind. But they are often inhabited by more than one creature, creating what can be called a fractured personality. They’re both conscious and present. They interact with each other, and often share control over their limbs. This is not always to their advantage.”

Adam descended into examples, like the book. And what I pulled from it was that they tended to be more aware of their surroundings, seemed to have conversations with themselves, and have high reactionary skills. But apparently, they weren’t good with other people.

Essentially, as her bestie, Starr, explains, they’re rather mythological, even for the paranormal community.

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Originally, the chimera was a monstrous fire-breathing Greek hybrid composed of the parts of more than one animal, usually depicted as a lion with the head of a goat growing from its back and a tail made of a snake’s head. They were the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, sibling of monsters such as Cerberus and the Hydra. Often, the sight of such a monster foreshadowed disaster.

Other cultural chimeras are: the Mesopotamian monster, Anzu; the western dragons; the Ancient Egyptian, Griffin; the Assyrian deity, Lamassu; the Japanese, Nue; the Greek, Pegasus; the Chinese mythical creature, Pixiu; the Iranian flying creature, Simurgh; the Jewish griffin-like bird, Ziz; and etc.

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In reality, a genetic chimera is a single organism composed of cells with distinct genotypes: an individual derived from two or more zygotes, with differing sexes and sex organs, and are created by merging multiple fertilized eggs. This can also occur from organ or bone marrow transplants.

Can’t wait to explore more of the chimera in book two, especially since one of my favorite characters, Evan, is the rarest of them all. And as he is the representation of my husband as a teenager, I based the chimera on his psychology and behaviors. Believe me, the oddities and paradoxes run deep.

 

Stay tuned for a new excerpt this Friday from one of my favorite chapters.

And guys, I cannot wait until this is released for y’all. The responses I’ve been getting from my ARC readers prove the promise of this being a good read. Oh, the happiness this brings me.

Editing Advice: Do Verses Don’t Do

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Oh my, yes, that title does make one pucker, doesn’t it?

Well, it’s not quite what you think. I’m not here to provide a long list of things you should or should not be doing. Instead, I want to talk about making characters act (do) rather than telling the reader what they didn’t do. See? Super simple.

Dialogue, or a lack thereof, is typically where I find this problem creeping up, often to indicate silence. Like so:

“I’m pregnant,” she said.

He said nothing.

Or He didn’t reply.

This is telling because if we don’t see him say anything, we know he didn’t say anything. This is a wonderful opportunity to create character and drop a detail, which I have a habit of referencing. In case you didn’t notice, it’s one of my favorite pieces of advice.

Let’s revise:

“I’m pregnant,” I said.

Blank shock widened his eyes before his brow crinkled and the worries I’d been holding instead pinched his features in a frenzy.

I hope the difference is evident, but I want to point out how we both see the emotion on his face as well as get an internal reflection from the POV character. An active interpretation of his reaction creates more depth for them both.

Now, let me clarify. Every so-called rule has an equally valid reason to break it.

This also comes with creating an internal reaction by allowing reflection to pause between pieces of dialogue. For example:

“I’m pregnant,” I said.

 I expected him to swear, to ask me if it was his, to call me a whore and stomp away, but he reached for my hand instead.

“Just tell me what you need from me.”

Besides the cheese, this creates expectations from the POV character and sets up the shock of reality when he actually responds.

Less commonly—although commonly enough—we see this happening in action, too.

Anthony even drew me this lovely reference picture during one of our meetings with:

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I think it’d been the fourth or fifth story we’d seen this happen in that night.

And the example was something along the lines of: She didn’t spare a glance backwards, running with long, practiced strides. (Sorry if this is from your story and I butchered it).

Of course, we’d edit it down to: She ran with long, practiced strides.

If we don’t see her look back, we know she didn’t do it.

One of the others that creates a similar show/tell issue is silence. Man, this one gets a lot of authors.

They were silent. He remained silent. There was nothing but silence.

I’ve seen it in a lot of ways, and we have plenty of options to transform this into showing instead. My favorite, of course, is personificationEvery second of silence sliced another layer of confidence away.

But any form of dropping in sensory details or an internal reaction will improve on this silence.

So, there’s an editing tip from the Transmundane Press style book.

Got any don’t do scenarios in your WIP? Show me your changes in the comments below.

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Shifters

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Like vampires, I have shared a few different versions of them on here, and I’ll list them below, but the shifters in Lily’s world aren’t quite the same as what I’ve written before.

According to Lily’s Ethology textbook:

Shifters build packs as they bond, traditionally with the alpha, whose goal it is to create a cohesive unit that cares for and protects each other. Litters are encouraged to express themselves openly both verbally and nonverbally, making their bonds stronger than most.

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I’ve been fascinated with how other authors create alphas and packs; how some alphas create such dominance that others plot their overthrow or flee the oppression on their free will; how some rile up their followers for war and keep secrets; how so many of the strongest seem to also be the meanest; how many are bullies and animals.

Granted, they are animals, but hey, we all are. And that seems to be a running theme in Lily world as she noted:

My ethology book weighed down with post-its, connecting what I read with what I saw and what Adam taught me. 

Vampires and shapeshifters were strangely like their mythologies, but like not. 

Demons and angels were less opposite than they’re depicted in religions, but like not. 

All of them weren’t exactly as people had noted, how they had noted each other. But we were all strangely…human. Whatever that meant. 

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Instead of focusing on the negatives, the ethology strips that away and allows Lily to see them in a neutral light, which is important. As Lily is meant to be a part of the police force—a REPper, more on that soon—neutrality is a necessity, and something far lost in the tiny town of Saint Siena.

In that light, shifters of all varieties aim to create community and peace, because more often than not, they want peaceful lives instead of violent ones, they want families instead of enemies, they want love instead of rivalries.

Essentially, shifters are who have the most common with humanity in general.

 

Lily’s book, THE GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR, has its full cover and a publication date: October 1st, my birthday!

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Alisha Chambers.The Lily Graves Series.The Girl with the Glowing Hair.PRINT

 

Want to learn more about different types of shifters, check out some of my previous Did You Know… posts.

Did You Know…About the Jackal People?

Did You Know…About the Berserker?

Did You Know…About the Navajo Shapeshifter?

Did You Know…About the Portuguese Werewolf?

Did You Know…About the Japanese Werewolf?

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Witches

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Okay, we’re delving into a seriously deep well here. Witches span history and cultures, and heaven forbid, we sink into the black hole of witchcraft in fiction.

They embody scar-faced saviors, spiteful young women, idealized youth, and green-skinned villains.

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As Lily’s Ethology book explains: Witches derive their power from their passion. Although encouraged to indulge themselves magically, pride can hinder their performance, so witches often remind their young to humble themselves.

With that in mind, let me introduce Starr Black, head witch from a formidable founding family. She’s strong, she’s sassy, and she’s smart. Essentially, Starr is a force to be reckoned with. And she becomes Lily’s bestie as traditions break down. Starr couldn’t be more ready for it.

Quickly, we find that tradition exhausts Starr as she has her own way of doing things—drawing instead of spell-casting, chants, or chemistry—and she rants about her wish for freedom, mostly from the expectations of her society, but I’m sure being the eldest of five isn’t doing her any favors, either.

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However, her family is an interesting one, as this Snow White look-a-like has a younger sister with rare abilities. Mary is a bloodhound, meaning she can track magical origins with the depths and ease historians would envy, but she’s also strong-willed and strong-minded—more immune to magic and spells and trickery than the rest, which comes in handy for Lily’s investigation and helps save some lives. I don’t know much about Mary yet, but she creates a hell of a lot of implications about the magical world these teens occupy. The largest is hierarchy, exactly what Starr feels buried under.

In fact, she can say it better than I can, so here are a few excerpts from this sassy spitfire—and one of my new favorite characters:

If you could use a spell to transform into another person for the day, who would you be and what would you do?

Her smile made me giddy, reminiscent of adolescent sleepover secrets. “Don’t laugh at me, but I’d be Henrietta Yukon. She’s this magic guru down in Oklahoma with her highly-watched YouTube channel. She mentors youth around the world on magic and creativity. The first time I met her at a convention, she blessed my fountain pen for clear lines and intentions. It’s the only one I use. She inspired me to keep working on my craft the way it felt right for me. No one else had ever done that. So, what I’d do is make a video about my own style of spell-weaving and let it domino through her viewers. I’ve got a guy who does computer hacking on my payroll. I can get it up there, believe me. I want to show people that the traditional way isn’t always the right way or the only way.”

She sighed the same way my friends sighed over hot guys when she talked about her magic.

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She pulled her rose gold phone from her bag and tapped through to a picture of boy with a naturally dark tan. And man, he was pretty. Chiseled jaw, cheekbones, chin, and arms. And that’s because it was all I could see of him. Pretty sure everything else was chiseled, too. “Yeah. I know. He’s perfect. Beautiful, strong, princely even.”

“But…” I supplied the not so implicit segue to her problem.

But, he’s boring. Goddess, he’s charming and agreeable and thoughtful.”

“And boring.” That all sounded nice to me.

“Where’s the intellectual foreplay, since when did that go out of style? Pride and Prejudice suffers on its shelf while women ask for Disney. It’s revolting. What is an educated young woman to do without debate and lively conversation?”

“What do you talk about?”

“Ugh.” The eye roll she gave me could have sent me back to kindergarten. “Whether we should go to the vineyard for the summer or Aspen for the holiday. Whether the function served the right food and who deserved the best cigars, or if the matte chrome or shiny chrome made the best flask. Highbrow, stuffy, boring stuff. Sports and tradition and society. Do you know what society does? Huh? Do you? It tells you not to be original or different or to encourage change.”

Her perfectly manicured nails matched the red of her lips as she signed her overwhelmed frustration. “I don’t want to be some clone automaton repeating the same existence to ensure that existence continues. I want fire.”

“Well, you know magic. Why don’t you make some fire?”

“I shouldn’t have to make my own fire.”

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Prior to breaking into the school:

Starr appeared in one of the spotlights on the sidewalk, sauntering in heels, skinny jeans, and a long, billowing shirt. Somehow, her heels didn’t echo or clink like I expected. She stopped between us with a flourish.

“Oh, don’t give me that look. They’re enchanted to be silent. Please.”

 

 

Oh yeah, she’s a fun outlier, and I hope y’all like her as much as I do when she gets here this October!

And stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.