Did You Know…About the Paranormal War?

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I have two distinct groups in my Broken World series, the Celampresians and the Assetato, who fight for rule over the paranormal world.

First, the Celampresians are named after the queen of the vampires, the first one in existence: Phea Celampresian. She’s vain, so she named her army after herself.

I chose that name after some research about Altantis and what type of surnames may have come from their culture. “Celam-” means the noble, and Phea was part of Atlantean nobility as her stepfather held a high-ranking government position. This also plays into her heritage: she was born of an Atlantean human woman impregnated by the primordial god, Chronos; therefore, making Phea the granddaughter of the Earth Goddess, Gaia. I infuse this mythology in her story, “Maiden of the Underworld.” In any case, I’m going off on a tangent, as I do. The second part of the name, “presian,” came from my tweaking two other names: Ampheresian, which means unsophisticated, hardy, and enduring, and Diaprepesian, which means ambitious, untrustworthy, and sly, all of which describe Phea’s personality not long after she becomes a vampire.

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Essentially, the Celampresians are the bad guys, an evil coalition that aims to kill off most of the shifter races because Phea wants a dictatorship with all paranormal creatures under her control. This stems from her birth as the first paranormal creature, the mother of all vampires and the grandmother of all shifters.

Second, the Assetato have a bit simpler of a back-story. I knew that Rosalie, the head of the Assetato, was Italian royalty before she was stolen and changed by one of the Celampresians. Once she freed herself from their reign, she banded with important allies and founded the organization in order to undermine Phea’s hold on the paranormal world so that vampires, shifters, and humans can live together. Simply put, I named them the Italian translation for “The Thirsty,” as they work not to kill humans in order to survive.

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The Assetato are supposed to be the good guys, but their means of fighting don’t always seem so pure. They combat Phea’s control over them and want to live more peacefully, although they also battle their natural impulses to consume human blood and flesh. They are mostly good-doers in the U.S. but are more aggressive in Europe, as I will explore in an upcoming spin-off novel THE SISTER WITH THE STOLEN POCKET WATCH about a mermaid-unicorn, but that’s a whole new tangent.

This is why they create safe houses, like seen in LOVING RED and “The Mark of the Phoenix.” To house their brethren away from the Celampresians, to protect humans, to let their soldiers heal, and to safeguard humans against their base natures.

The last note I want to make about the Assetato as an organization and all of the links between the two groups is this—Anthemos Romulus Celampresian. You may or may not recognize that name from book one and the short story “The Mark of the Phoenix,” where I give hints of his role in this world. Anthemos, or Mumu as his mother likes to call him, is the Atlantean god of beasts, the only god remaining from that pantheon, and the father of shifters.

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To put it bluntly, he’s both Phea’s son and the real driving force behind the organization that combats her. Besides all of the Atlantean threads at play in Ria’s tale—my current perspective, Anthemos’s function is far more strictly tied than I’ve let on. He is, after all, his mother’s son, and their relationship affects a lot more than a few camps of creatures.

Looking forward to revealing more about this magickal place!

 

Want to know more about Altantis? About Phea? Check out Did You Know…About Phea and James, my interviewwith Phea, the vampire queen, and my free download of her creation story, “Maiden of the Underworld.”

 

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Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Ghosts

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As Lily investigates the missing kids at her school, she encounters corporeal ghosts, a group that pretty much hates everyone but their own. They’re lively and have a flair for drama. They’re my punk kids, my conspiracy theorists, my gang for making mischief. They skirt the line of playful and illegal.

But most ghostly legends and mythologies are tackled individually—a particular being has reason to stick around after death—be it a grudge, a wrong-doing, a broken heart.

That’s what makes them the most fun to play with. They can be anything: the cold that bleeds fear into a room, the knocking in the attack, the flash of eyes in the dark.

Most often, they’re just stuck.

I thought it might be interesting to explore some of the particular cultural mythologies they embody.

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Like the vanishing hitchhiker legend in the US, where people traveling encountered a normal passenger who’s left something behind or asks to borrow protection from the cold. Often, the loaned garment is found draped over a local gravestone.

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Close to home in Rochester, NY, comes the White Lady, who haunts Durand-Eastman Park. She’s also been noted as the Lady in the Lake, wandering the park and obsessively looking for her daughter’s body, who’d been slain by a boyfriend. The mother, the White Lady, died of heartbreak.

Another version of the White Lady comes as a murder or suicide victim that died before she could share the location of a hidden treasure in the UK. In Germany, the wife of a prince was caught cheating. The lover drowned in a moat, and the prince locked the princess up behind a wall with some food and water. He died in battle, and she died in the manor.

In Brazil, they are the victims of honor killings. Yet, for the Netherlands, she embodies the banshee, abducting babies and women, punishing people who treated them badly.

The White Lady burned in a castle farm on her wedding day in the Schinveldse Bossen forest. And in Malta, a young bride jumped to her death, wearing her gown, the day before the wedding.

The White Lady is such a popular ghost tale that she’s found a home in a slew of pop-culture shows, like Supernatural, and movies such as, The Grudge, and Scary Movie 2, etc.

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The Mononoke, from Japan, are vengeful, dead, and live spirits in their classical literature, who possessed individuals and made them suffer, caused disease, and sometimes death. They are often referred to as changed beings.

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One of my favorites is the Filipino Aswang, a shapeshifting monster who combines the vampire, the ghoul, and the witch. The creature was meant to frighten the people and discourage mobility in the sixteenth century. The story of dwelling in the outskirts of forests spread quickly between towns.

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Another interesting ghost comes from Chinese Buddhism and traditional religion: the hungry ghost. As most become a regular ghost when die then slowly weaken and die a second time, a hungry ghost occurred in unfortunate circumstances or evil deeds. They exist in perpetual emptiness, aching for fulfillment or relief.

All of them suffer for something that happened in life, by their own doing or not, something that cannot be denied any version Lily may come across.

 

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.

 

Got a ghost story to share? Tell me about it in the comments below!

 

Getting my Camp NaNoWriMo on.

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I’m doing it again. Trying to write a complete project in a month. But this go around, my word-count goal is so much smaller than my last four attempts at a measly 20k.

Yes, I just put measly before 20k, but on average I aim for 40-50k in a NaNoWriMo session, and I’ve only hit that goal twice.

Finally, I’m getting to work with my LOVING RED characters again. This one will be a prequel, outlining both Kaia’s background with Dev—the bear and ex—and the circus incident with the Scarlet Queen, whose just appeared in Ria’s world. I am so excited to continue this story thread. If you don’t know anything about the LOVING RED gang, their storyline jumpstarted with Facebook roleplaying…which is why many of my characters have their own profile pages.

Anyways, I don’t so much want to talk about their story (but I’ve done that here, here,  and here if you want to know more). Instead, I wanted to set y’all up for the NaNoWriMo advice and exercises I’m going to be throwing at you over the next few months.

Now is the time for planning…even though I may have outlined this story at the end of last year, it’s nice to review and remind myself what the hell I’ll be doing.

Originally, I used Harmon’s Plot Embryo to develop my ideas and create more symmetry in my stories. I tend to lean toward the cliff-hanger and don’t want to be a one-trick pony. My notes on that below, and an excellent YouTube post I took these notes from.

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From this process, I teased out the major plot points and decided on an alternating point of view. Like in LOVING RED, I will use first person for Dev—as he is the character I created and played in roleplaying, and third person for Kaia, who was played by a close friend.

That let me create my current outline, which I’ll sneak peek right here.

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For the rest of this month, I will be reading this over, working through details as best as I can, and will probably start the opening scene(s) before July hits. Yes, I know that’s cheating, but I’m doing this to get my first draft down, not to win anything. Besides, I play by my own rules!

And that’s it for now. I’m set up, finishing another story, hopefully giving myself a week break in between, and jumping in to this novelette.

Are you using the summer to complete some writing goals? Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Let me know what you’re working on, what your goals are, how you plan to meet them, and if you want to hear about keeping on track, catching up, and adapting to real life as you craft.

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Vampires.

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Vampires. I love talking about vampires. I have a ton of Did You Know…postsabout them, but if I’m honest, I’m not quite sure how the vampires in Lily’s world behave because she’s only had passing interactions with them.

Here’s what she knows so far:

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

And they’re goth. Yup, that’s all they’ve given me so far.

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In the spirit of the process—yes, I really just said that, hold back your cringing—I thought I’d work it out here.

My vampires so far have been fast, strong, and more animal than human. They’re derived from primordial gods with a lot of Roman and Greek influence. The gods in the Lily Graves series aren’t quite the same, shifting and satirizing the religion I grew up with—Catholicism.

Instead, I was thinking of a more traditional Dracula vampire—pale, romantic, dangerous type—mixed with typical teenager emo/goth. The inspiration comes from a few YA series, like The Morganville Vampires, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, Cirque Du Freak, House of Night, and standalone, The Silver Kiss.

They all remind me of the distinct style that I’m flirting with, a shift that was both fun and terrifying for me as a writer. I like to dabble in the darkness, in the battle between sin and instincts, and of course, conformity. But I also like to kill off characters and smother them in sex…I couldn’t do that all willy-nilly as I’m typically inclined to because, yeah, young adult.

In any case, these guys are all way cooler than I was at that age. Smarter, too.

Wrap all of that up in dyed-black hair, white powder, thick eyeliner (for me it was sparkles), and dark lipstick. Let them have ridiculously weird inside jokes that feature llamas and bunnies and have banal taste in music.

Aim I painting the right picture here? Because this may hit a little too close to home. I once got accused of sacrificing babies and worshipping Marilyn Manson, but I loved the Backstreet Boys—and every single other boy band if I’m being really honest. Goth teeny bopper. Yup.

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Okay, quirky picture drawn. Let’s move on.

I do know that I want them to have an aversion to sunlight. Does this mean tunnels or magic to get around town, and especially to school? I mean, they attend regular hours, so it must not make them that sleepy, right?

They obviously drink blood, but is it just human? Can they drink demon or angel or dragon, etc? Where do they get it? Blood-mobiles? Snatching up citizens? A designer drink? Volunteers? Man, the options are limitless. Maybe they’ve used Alchemy, which will be a growing element of the series as we dig deeper into Lily and Evan’s friendship.

It’s a start.

And religious symbols. Again, the possibilities… I love the Anita Blake series for the faith behind the object making it work, or the idea of the object needing blessed to work, like in Dogma. The one vampire I’ve had contact with painted a picture of Lucifer, so in a sense, he shouldn’t have an aversion to all religion.

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This also relies on the heavy leans and leeways I’ve taken with the Biblical stories and mythologies—rather than the organized religion itself. I say this because I grew up with a lot of stories that other denominations went without, and some certainly were not anywhere in the books. I was raised as a Roman Catholic, in case anyone’s curious.

Let’s just say, I have a lot to play with: reasons for the differences between the god in the Old Testament and the one in the New Testament; why Jesus needed to come to Earth and die for our sins; and the real story behind the war in Heaven and what became of Lucifer.

I have a lot of nuances yet to figure out to say the least, but what I’ve discovered so far has me amped for book two. I can’t wait to plot it out at the end of the year.

 

 

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.

 

If you’re interested in knowing more about different kinds of vampires, check out my top five Did You Know…posts:

  1. Did You Know…About the Scandinavian Vampire?
  2. Did You Know…About the Chinese/Korean Vampire?
  3. Did You Know…About the Mexican Vampire?
  4. Did You Know…About the Aboriginal Vampire?
  5. Did You Know…About the Ancient Roman Vampire?

 

A Not-so-Nice Dose of Reality

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Today, I had a Did You Know…post planned about a mythical way to become immortal.

Instead, this is going to be more personal.

A reality check.

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I’m the kind of person who has lofty goals, constantly pushing myself to do more—if not obvious from my recent post about having a full plate. And I always overbook myself.

This year, however, I’ve been successful in keeping to many of my goals—a consistent four blog posts a month, a consistent word count for creative projects, a consistent editing schedule.

But working from mid-morning until eight or nine in the evening has its downsides. I grow exhausted after a few super-productive days and find that my focus becomes an elusive and slippery frienemy. Which means a lot of naps.

More than three a week lately, y’all.

And that scares me a little.

Progress means back tracking and side steps. I know this. But when this happens, I often feel discouraged. Why can’t I do more? I did all of the things yesterday, and today, I can’t.

I simply can’t.

And although I don’t often admit to it, anxiety consumes me. I don’t have the debilitating kind of anxiety or depression. I’m too much of a control freak.

So, I force myself to get out of bed. Pick away at some project. Because if I don’t, I will get depressed. My anxiety will win.

I choose to let it fuel me instead.

But I am reminded to give myself a break. Work on self-care.

And it’s hard.

Ain’t a lot of good that comes out of easy, so I guess I’m on the right track.

Well, thanks for sitting through my mini-therapy session. I hope y’all take care of yourselves.

 

Feel free to tell me how you manage stress and an overly-full plate.

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Muses.

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Much like Lily, muses are high up on my favorites list—just behind the chimera. This may be because I possess a living muse, my husband, whom influences so much of my writing without being acutely aware of it. And man, did he inspire the hell out of my Lily Graves series, more specifically, Evan Walker, my leading chimera.

In Lily’s world, they’re not so much gods or goddesses like in Greek mythology. Rather, they’re like the fey or elementals—immortal so long as nothing kills them—but their powers are limited to shaping others’ minds.

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According to Lily:

Muses were by far my favorite to observe and read about. How they could gather a group of artists, share time with them, and inspire such variations of themselves and their stories. They were creatures that could be found within most characters in assorted story types. Others talked to everyone about anything, spreading seeds on the wind to hope for germination. 

I see my husband do this ALL THE TIME. It’s fascinating.

Lily even gets to experience this:

Starr’s far-off look made me wonder if she whispered to the squirrels outside. Her hand fell to the piece on her easel before her attention followed, like a muse directed her.

I searched the room as casually as I could muster, which I had to admit, wasn’t much. A boy with a blue and purple fade and a flop of curls in front of his left eye moved his lips silently, but the cadence had energy, the kind I felt more than heard. He smiled around his words and a wave hit me.

My pencil hit the paper, scribbling before my mind caught up.

A flower.

With tear-drop petals.

A waterlily.

Floating.

I nabbed a pack of pastel sticks.

Water emerged around the pad.

Green, one dimensional under the lily.

I highlighted it with the blues and greens. Lightly. As the energy swirled and died around me.

I sucked in a breath as I set down the pastels.

Starr laughed at me. “You are funny.”

The elegant coloring of the flower struck me. I wasn’t being humble when I said I didn’t have any talent. But this…was one of those moments you get blessed with every now and again—that one when you’re in the right place at the right time and stuff works out perfectly.

“How am I funny?”

I got a shake of the head for an answer.

It’s how I’ve often experienced getting hit with inspiration, so it only made sense to reflect that in my version of the muse.

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In fact, they seem to combine the current culture’s depiction of muses with the Ancient Greek variety. The mythological muses are often seen as nine goddesses, the daughters or Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the arts and sciences, becoming both their symbols and their protectors.  Essentially, they were inspirational goddesses and embodied poetry, history, music, tragedy, hymns, dance, comedy, and astronomy.

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In any case, these are some interesting folks, and I can’t wait to discover more about them.

 

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.

Full Plate: A New Novel and Three Shorts.

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I’ve been talking about a lot of upcoming projects lately, THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE, coming this summer; GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR, coming this winter; and my on-going writer’s workshop, officially launching in June via Patreon.

Well, I also have two anthologies coming this year, which means two more of my own stories, too, and neither of these are canon. The first will be in TRANSCENDENT, our Dreams, Nightmares, Visions, and Hallucinations anthology, whose cover is AMAZING! Thank you, Dean. The second is IN THE AIR, which is our new elemental anthology to go with ON FIRE and UNDERWATER. Coming next year, an earth-related call.

So, I wanted to set up my thoughts as I brainstorm my untitled TRANSCENDENT story.

Currently, I’ve dubbed it Sin-Eaters because that’s the base of my concept. I got this idea from one of my students, who wrote about being an Eater, or one who will do anything to succeed. They live for it.

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My twisted brain went to satire and dystopia, two of my favorite niches. Think a more broken version of our world, where a select few become martyrs around puberty, typically eleven. These youth wander through cities, homeless but not hungry. They’re well respected and feared in the community. Their basic needs taken care of by the people they serve. All they have to do is eat their sins, literally consuming them and taking the karmic hit points rather than the sinner. This is why most of them die before they’re thirty.

As I plan to make this a serial, this first story will follow Jace as he meets his first female Eater, who’s running from the authorities. Soon after, he moves to the capitol and is dropped into a sick and twisted world where his life expectancy halves.

I’m unsure of the ending struggles, so I won’t pretend to know the specifics of where this is going, but I do know it will be dark. I don’t tend to write happy endings.

So, yeah. I hope you stay tuned as I write and edit for TRANSCENDENT, for the beautiful cover, and for the peeks into my new and repeat authors as they weave magical stories for us to enjoy.

What are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear about them.

Gregory L. Norris, a Featured Spotlight

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If you haven’t heard of the On Fire anthology, this mini-interview and excerpt series will showcase the amazing authors I get to work with and their writing. And here’s our final author. Meet Gregory.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to interview Gregory for this series, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate his contribution to the anthology with an excerpt.

From “The Arsonist” by Gregory L. Norris:

1.

His name was Ray McCandless, and he was an arsonist.

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 Sonny McCandless, Ray’s stepdaddy, gave the boy his last name when Ray was only ten. The same year, on a miserably humid Sunday, Stepdaddy Sonny also gave Ray the first of several scars on his arms with a line of cigarettes.

Ray screamed when the embers seared his skin as though the sun jumped down from the sky to feast upon his flesh.

Stepdaddy Sonny laughed.

“You tell anyone, I’ll burn you worse,” Ray’s stepdaddy said. “I’ll burn you real bad.”

Ray wore long sleeves after that, even on hot summer days.

He got good at keeping secrets.

3.

 He set fire to the Big Woods near their house.

Curlicues of crisp smoke drifted up from the pine needles. The flames spread, conquering whatever green things it encountered. They leapt onto branches, sipped the oily pinesap, spread indiscriminately to hemlock and paper-white birch. The hungry, hissing music sang to him as knots in the wood blew apart.

Smoke billowed into a cloudless sky. The blaze did not last long before discovery, but the match was struck, the message sent.

Ray soon grew high on the dense smell of burning forest. He couldn’t break away until the man in the devil costume stepped out of the inferno.

A man in a silly, cheap Halloween costume, shiny red satin cape, with a plastic pitchfork in hand, and fake horns on his head. His face was thin and average with one of those slender mustaches applied with eyeliner for a bad community theater production.

“There you are, Smoky,” the devil said, his voice infused with a soupçon of British accent.

“My name’s not…”

The man moved beside him, planted his plastic pitchfork like a farmer or Poseidon with his trident. Together, they watched the forest fire spread, its hunger expanding with shocking speed.

“You know, Smoky, you’ve done an impressive job here. Do you hear all those wild Lady Slipper orchids screaming out as the flames reduce them to carbon?”

“I’m Ray, not Smoky. And orchids don’t scream.”

“Just because you can’t hear them doesn’t mean that they don’t. Still, I’d like for you to aim higher.”

“Higher?”

The devil leaned closer and whispered. “Sonny.”

 

 

Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime January 2016). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager. Two of his paranormal novels (written under his rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line—the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. He judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his stories have notched Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best-of books. In May 2016, he traveled to Hollywood to accept HM in the Roswell Awards in Short SF Writing. In 2017, Norris was hired to pen the novelization of the classic made-for-TV movie, The Day After Tomorrow: Into Infinity—which he watched when he was eleven. Follow his literary adventures at www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com.

ON FIRE is available now: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, and the Transmundane Press store.

Anniversary Sale, Broken World Edition!

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Hello, lovelies!

It’s been a year since I published BLOOD PHOENIX: IMPRINTED, the third book in Ria’s saga. As I jump into plotting out BLOOD PHOENIX: INFERNO and drafting THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE, I thought I’d slash some prices to celebrate my Broken World series.

BLOOD PHOENIX: REBIRTH, book one, is now free (MOBI on Automated download since Amazon isn’t a fan of free), Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!

BLOOD PHOENIX: CLAIMED & BLOOD PHOENIX: IMPRINTED are both just 99cents on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo!

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Coffee addicted vampire, Ria, has more than her hands full with wonky powers, lovers, and enemies.

Made without her permission by a man that says she is his long, dead wife, she must pass the trials of their queen to remain one of the living dead.

But her physical makeup makes her and her allies question what they already knew about vampires, shifters, and the rules for mating with humans.

Now, this free-thinking and sassy hybrid must pave her own way under the thumb of a demented and power-hungry woman.

Can she survive? And what will become of their world if she doesn’t?

 

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My vampire creation story, MAIDEN OF THE UNDERWORLD, is always free (EPUB,MOBI,PDF).

Atlantis sinks, gods fall, and the first vampire is born.

Forced to sacrifice those she loves, Phea swears revenge on the gods responsible for their deaths.

Escaping from the Underworld, she must find a way back to its center and usurp the Death God’s and his wrath. The struggle for power feeds her new-found hunger, and she fears more pain and destruction.

Will she save her people or doom them all?

 

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And THE SHOEMAKER’S APPRENTICE is coming this summer, sign up for your free ARC copy now.

Long ago, the death of his little sister broke his family apart.

After a close call left him blind in one eye, Boden must return to the home he fled as a young leprechaun.

For hundreds of years, he has feared facing his family and punishment for his sister’s death.

Boden needs to make up for his mistakes before he can fight a war for the woman he loves.

 

I can’t wait to see how this Broken World expands as I finish Ria’s last two books, bring her world crashing into the LOVING RED saga, and pick up a few side stories along the way.

Did You Know…An Ethology Lesson on Sirens.

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I’ve just finished reading my initial draft of GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR, and those sarcastic characters could seriously win the snark Olympics. Still absolutely in love with them.

Today, I wanted to focus on the siren.

According to Lily’s ethology book:

Sirens are nocturnal, prone to water, and travel in groups of three. They’re characterized by their smooth talk and pride—often challenging muses to musical competitions without much success. Most importantly, they’re dangerously tempting in a way that denies reason, allowing them to be dealers of destruction and death.

Lily experiences their power early on as one quiets her first class and subdues their teacher. His eventual disappearance sparks her investigation. Later in the novel, she also meets Thorn, another siren who’s flirty and smooth demeanor puts Lily off. Still, he’s more than willing to verbally spar with my protagonist as a member of the debate team.

My sirens come in the form of regular teens, but most mythology shows them as chimera, typically associated with the mermaid, or further back as a half-woman, half-bird. However, all mythology shows them as using hypnotic music to lure others to danger and death.

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Older depictions of the siren come from Greek mythology, like Homer, the Ovid, and the Odyssey. Typically shown as three women who enchanted men with their beauty, one using her voice, a second using a flute, and the last with her lyre, and they lured these men to watery graves.

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In Christianity, they’re symbolic of dangerous temptations and some Jesuit writers asserted their actual existence, who described such a woman as having the glance of a basilisk, an enchanting voice, and beauty that defies reason—a “voice and sight alike deal destruction and death.” Some argue that they were built aboard Noah’s Ark.

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In Russian mythology, the Sirin were portrayed as wearing a crown or with a halo. She sang to the saints of future fortune but was dangerous to humans. Often, men fought their hypnotic spells by shooting cannons, ringing bells, and making other loud noises to make them fly off. However, the Sirin was seen as positive, symbolizing eternal joy and divine happiness—only happy people could hear the Sirin.

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In modern literature, Margaret Atwood depicts a contemporary siren in her The Robber Bride as “the alluring and evil from both [traditional mermaid and mythical siren] into one devastatingly fearful and desirable woman. Judging by the marketing copy for The Robber Bride, Zenia, seems to be the modern exemplar of this mermaid siren/creature. She seduces and steals the men of her best friends, defrauds a substantial amount of money from one of them, blackmails another, and fakes her own death” (Trigg). She is also compared to a wolf, feral, fearsome, and brilliant, which furthers the connection to other half-animal creatures, like the mermaid. Trigg has compiled some nice references in her publicly-posted thesis, here.

It seems that as a whole, sirens depict manipulation, danger, and death.

 

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.

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