Tags: werewolves

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal week continues with Rob Thurman

Continuing Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal week, I'm pleased to present New York Times-bestselling author Rob Thurman, who likes to take mythology and turn it completely on its flea-bitten ear.  I offered her Cal Leandros series up in the webinar as an example of how you can take something established and completely make it your own.


Myth-information by Rob Thurman

I’m often asked where I get my particular take on mythology. The majority of my readers recognize that I’m intentionally twisting existing myths and a few enjoy pointing out my ‘errors.’

Yeahhh, they’re not errors.

While I do love shoving myths into a wood-chipper to see what comes out the other side, enjoy putting my own stamp on tradition, what I’m actually doing is bringing mythology up-to-date.  If you’re old enough to remember the trash rag, the National Enquirer, then you remember if two celebrities passed in the street, they were instantly emblazoned on the front page as having a torrid (hey, that is the only time I’ve used the word torrid) affair, cheating on their spouses, and destroying their children’s lives. It wasn’t true of course, but that’s what gossip is all about and if your ‘prey’ won’t talk to you, gossip is all you have to go on. Now we have TV trash shows for that, but the practice is the same.

Mythology is the gossip of the ancient world.

Think of the mermaid. One day a horny sailor saw his first manatee. And you’d have to be an extremely horny sailor to envision a gorgeous mermaid out of a wallowing sea cow. But apparently he was and that was the seed of the mermaid legend.

And it wouldn’t stop with mermaids. Every myth, mythological creature, mythological god would be far different than the humans of those times managed to put down on paper or pass along. If your world is inhabited by vamps, weres, fey, and a thousand monsters, do you think that, say, a lycanthrope sat down about 25,000 BC to tell their furry story to any human who came along? That’s not in their best interest to survive. If your vampires existed (as mine did), before the time of Christ, why would they fear a cross, be burned by holy water, sleep in coffins before there were coffins? They probably sat around at the weekly vamp meeting and concocted all sorts of crazy fake legendary weapons to pretend to cower from right before they ate you. Good joke for them, eh? No doubt they’d swill blood from their cups and snort blood out of their nose when the Italian vamp added garlic to the list. Hell, he probably drank his blood with ground garlic around the edge of his chalice of blood—like salt on a margarita glass.

In my universe of the Cal Leandros Novels and Trickster Novels, Puck, Pan, Robin Goodfellow is now a used car salesman (what better job for a charismatic, arrogant, slick and slippery con artist of a trickster?)  And he never had goat legs. They were fur chaps long before they came into fashion. Goodfellow didn't follow the trends, he set them.

 

Elves are worse monsters than demons from the deepest depths of Hell. They are the bogeymen even to other monsters. Their ‘seed’ to elven legend is long white hair and pointed ears—history left out the hundreds of metallic teeth, lava-red eyes, and the insatiable desire to kill. They were the first predators—the first murderers to walk the earth.


Werewolves aren’t werewolves at all. They were once in the same evolutionary line of prehistoric wolf and split off into a species that could turn human if they wished—all the better to infiltrate their prey and gobble them up with those great big teeth, Grandma. They didn’t start out as people who can turn into wolves, they started out as wolves that can turn into people—they are were-people.

 

And it goes on and on. It’s your world, your universe, your rules….different, strange, mythology turned upside down is good. No, hell, it’s great. Your only limits are the ones you set on yourself.

Me? I never liked rules. 

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Wanna hear more?  You can visit Rob Thurman on her blog or listen to her at Binwalla Radio right here (her portion starts at about 33.45).

You can also check out her very cool book videos and get her Cal Leandros widget here.

Halloween Blog Bash with Michele Lang

In case you didn't realize based on my floating head zombie avatar, Halloween is my favorite time of the year, when my inner goth can stretch her fallen angel wings and the dark circles under my eyes say "deep" (or undead) rather than "sleep deprived."  I'm pleased to present the latest guest blog in my Halloween bash from Michele Lang, author of the fabulous LADY LAZARUS, someone who's having as much fun with the holiday as I am.  I hope you'll talk back to her below.  She doesn't bite...much.



To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved by Michele Lang

Whee – Halloween is almost here.  Most writers I know love this holiday because it celebrates the creepy, the sparkly, the fabulous, and the spooky.  Me, I love the endless supply of chocolate, the fun for the kid in all of us, and the array of costumes on parade. 

And for somebody who loves genre fiction, Halloween is also a great time to consider the hero possibilities of the furry, fanged, and winged creatures haunting the neighborhood.

So to help you make your own considerations, here is my top five list of potential supernatural heroes:

5. Zombies.  OK, I know this is a big trend right now, but I have my concerns.  I’m not sure a zombie can really qualify as hero material, at least the way I imagine them.  The last thing you want in a romantic embrace is for body parts to be squishy or rotten, or even worse, falling off!  So I’m open to the idea, but a writer would have to change the visual in a major way for a zombie hero to work for me. 

4. Vamps.  Now, why are these neck-nibbling alphas not #1 on my list?  So many sparkly, brooding, tormented, nocturnal vampire heroes already stalk their lovers.    But that’s the trouble, isn’t it? There are so very many vampire heroes out there already.  To make it work, you must make vampires your own. 

Many writers have achieved this feat, but here’s another confession – vampires scare the daylights out of me!  I’m not a fan of needles, so the thought of some guy inserting his teeth into my neck does not make me swoon in a good way. I might get over my needle-phobia and write a vamp hero someday.  Maybe…

3. Werewolves. The idea of a wild, untamed, savage creature lunging for his mate and protecting her against all danger…I like it.  At least as I imagine them, werewolves are loyal to their pack, run outside society and its constraining conventions, and mate for life.  I know they are furry, they might be sweaty, they rip apart people, but personally I love the idea of a hero with an animal side.

2. Demons.  Talk about your dangerous, misunderstood hero.  I love demon heroes because they are different, they are certainly bad-ass, and they commit a major transgression by falling in love.  Demons are not supposed to love, they are supposed to destroy.  And I love the temptations they dangle.  So go demons!

1. Angels.  But my favorite hero for now is the Angel.  They are the mirror image of the demon hero – they aren’t supposed to love us either, and they risk a lot more than demons if they express that love.  An angel who chooses a human love gives up all of heaven to do it, and I think that is incredibly romantic.  They are strong, they are also badass – look at the creatures they fight! – and what can I say?  I have a thing for big, golden, sheltering man-angel wings. . .

So, who are your favorite supernatural heroes?  And what are you going to be for Halloween? 

Free short story

Here's that story I promised you, "The Problem with Piskies."  This was, in fact, my very first published short story (way back when I was writing as Kit Daniels).  Janet Mullany and I have something in common (see her post of February 19th) in that we both closed lines with our very first fiction.  "Piskies" appeared in the very last issue ever of Quantum Barbarian after placing third in it's competition.  I swear, I had nothing to do with it.  I can't say the same for Bob (you'll see).  For anyone interested, in my mind Vic looks just like Ken Wahl from the old television series Wiseguy.
 
THE PROBLEM WITH PISKIES

 

            The DTs weren’t supposed to set in until after you gave up the booze.  Since I’d been on a bender ever since I’d discovered I was super-freaky—not only “blessed” from childhood with the third eye, but now a lycanthrope to boot after a tussle with our friendly neighborhood werewolf—there was no chance of withdrawal.  Unless the combination of the Sight and The Change had driven me mad, the critter that I was about to smash was much higher on the headache scale than a mere cockroach. 

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You can find the further adventures of Vic and Bob in "Imaginary Fiend" in the anthology Strip-Mauled, edited by Esther Friesner.

Revamped

I've been asked a lot lately when ReVamped is coming out and the answer is (drum roll please): September of this year, the same month as my story "Fruit of the Vein" appears in Esther Friesner's vampire anthology from Baen books.  The anthology title?  Um, do we really have to go into that?  Fine, it's Fangs for the Mammories.  The publisher ran a contest to name the anthology and chose Fangs as the winner.  Don't shoot the messenger.  As far as ReVamped, I should have a cover to show in just a bit.

In other news, I'm also four chapters in to the third book in the Vamped series, Fangtastic.  I will have some news on that to announce very soon!

To tide everyone over while they're waiting (breathlessly, I'm certain, in homage to Gina) for ReVamped, I'll post a free short story later this week, the prequel to "Imaginary Fiend," my werewolf short story that appears in the anthology Strip-Mauled, also an Esther Friesner editing for Baen Books release.  Stay tuned!


If there's any news you're looking for and can't find it here, try my author site: http://www.luciennediver.com/ .

Gargoyles and Shifters and Demons, Oh My! today with Susan Krinard!



Susan Krinard
is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and futuristic romance writer with an impressive resume.  But that's not why I love her. 
I adore her for the choices she makes - the road less traveled, the risky hero or heroine, the conflicts or conundrums that others might shy away from.  A former prostitute?  A hero with a fractured mind?  A crippled heroine?  No problem!  She's got a penchant for portraying them all and making us fall in love along with her characters.


Gargoyles and Shifters and Demons, Oh My! by Susan Krinard

I've been a fan of shapeshifter stories for as long as I can remember. When I was much younger, I was fascinated by the Cheysuli novels of Jennifer Roberson and other fantasy stories about men and women who could change shape into wolves, cats, seals and horses. I was drawn to the notion of attaining the strength, grace and instincts of such animals, the secrets to be revealed in the act of leaving humanity behind. The intrinsic danger in a shapeshifter protagonist, torn between two lives and two worlds, between instinct and intellect, always seemed the perfect basis for a dramatic story.

When I began writing, shapeshifters simply didn't appear in romance novels. During the first flush of  paranormal romances in the early 90's, there might have been a handful of such characters, and when they did appear, they were generally cursed and tragic figures.

In 1993, I began to write my first romance novel, which later became Prince of Wolves. At the time I'd read little romance, and didn't really know what was or was not commercial, so I set out to write what interested me: shapeshifters, werewolves in particular. Because of my background as a SF/Fantasy reader, I wasn't interested in curses. I wanted my werewolf protagonist to be in charge of his shapechanging and to revel in his dual nature. No silver bullets, no painful transformation with the rise of the full moon.

I think I might have been the first romance writer to present such a hero; when paranormal went out of fashion again, I was still one of the few writing shapeshifter characters. It wasn't until the most recent blossoming of paranormal romance that others authors began to explore the theme, to the point that non-cursed werewolves are now very common romance heroes and heroines.

Constantly looking for new ways to approach the ideas that interest me, I considered what I might do next. There are only so many plausible animal subjects: many authors had tried various types of cats, and some had done selkies (seals). I wasn't sure about  horses (at least in romance; there have been several good ones written by SF/fantasy writers, such as The Grey Horse by R.A. MacAvoy.)  But the idea of shapeshifting equines gave me another idea: what about unicorns?

This wasn't as much of a stretch as it sounds. I'd decided a few years ago that I'd like to explore some of the “faerie” myths of the British Isles. After a bit of research, I developed the “Fane” … the Fair Folk of Celtic legend, also known as the Sidhe (pronounced “shee”.)  Though most faerie lore shrinks the Fair Folk to a diminutive size, I decided to go back to the old Irish legends that paint the Sidhe as resembling humans in stature. I placed my Fane in the Land of the Young, Tir-na-Nog, a plane where life is eternal and beauty commonplace.

Like most Faerie folk, the Fane are not always kind to mortals. In fact, my Fane tend toward selfishness, arrogance, and disdain for humankind. There are exceptions, of course: my hero Hern in The Forest Lord, for one. And their half-human children, like Donal in Lord of the Beasts, are often torn between the magical Fane world and troubled earth, between immortality and love.

What better home for unicorns, I reasoned, than Tir-na-nog? What if their king was exiled from the eternal realm and forced to take human shape in a world that had once exterminated his kind?

Arion, the unicorn king, begins by despising the human domain to which he's been condemned, a helpless prisoner of the mortal lord who longs to hunt him as the rarest of game.  But his arrogant heart is slowly awakened by the woman who saves him, Mariah Marron, the  new but untouched bride of the Earl of Donnington. He'll have to decide if he can sacrifice his true nature—even his very life—for the sake of the woman he's coming to love, or abandon her to her own imprisonment. And Mariah will have to make the same choice between captivity, her hidden Fane nature, and her love for the man she calls Ash.

Writing about unicorns is always fun. So is writing about werewolves, and I expect I'll keep doing it as long as they'll let me.


The Fane Series
THE FOREST LORD, Berkley
LORD OF THE BEASTS, HQN
LORD OF LEGENDS
, HQN, just out!

Werewolves
COME THE NIGHT, HQN
DARK OF THE MOON, HQN
CHASING MIDNIGHT, HQN
(more where those came from!)

Gargoyles and Shifters and Demons, Oh My! with Karen Whiddon - giveaway!



Karen Whiddon writes the very successful Pack series for Silhouette Nocturne.  Besides hot, her heroes and heroines are, for the most part, werewolves, though she's been throwing some other things that go bump in the night into the recent books as well.  If you want to see what the Pack series is all about or just want a signed copy of a book you've already loved, just comment below for a chance to win DANCE OF THE WOLF, signed by the author.

Karen Whiddon:
 
The other day, someone asked my how writing my Silhouette Nocturnes was different than writing my Sihouette Romantic Suspense books.  After all, they both have suspense, right?  And love.  True. 
 
But writing shape-shifters and recently, vampires is different in many ways.  First of all, though all my characters are people to me, these two species are not completely human.  The shape-shifters, though they live alongside humans and pretend to be just like them, have a highly developed sense of smell, four-hundred times more powerful than that of a human.  Not only that, but they must periodically change into their wolf self, and throughout my books, the shape-shifter is conscious of their wolf inside of them, waiting.  Oftentimes, the wolf inside will react to outside stimuli in a very non-human way and must be controlled. 
 
One of the most important issues my shifters have to deal with (these are love stories after all) is finding their mate.  Wolves mate for life and my shifters often have no control over who they will choose as their mate.  As sometimes happens, they fall in love with a human.  How that human will react upon learning of the shifter's true nature often makes an interesting story. 
 
Vampires on the other hand, are newcomers to my shape-shifter world.  So far, I've included vamps in two pack books - both Nocturne Bites - ebooks, although one of these stories MATE OF THE WOLF, is included in the book MIDNIGHT CRAVINGS, out in April from Silhouette books.  The other, RETURN OF THE WOLF, will be out as a Nocturne Bite in June. 
 
Now though, I am working on a full length Nocturne and the heroine is actually a vampire.  The hero is a shape-shifter.  This has been challenging to me, the merging of the two paranormal cultures and making them able to co-exist in a completely human world.  It's a lot of fun, actually. 
 

The Perfect Soldier - Silhouette Romantic Suspense - April 2009
Midnight Cravings - Mate of the Wolf (Anthology) - April 2009
Return of the Wolf - Sihouette Nocturne Bites - June 2009
Wild Wolf
- Silhouette Nocturne - July 2009

News

Okay, I know the nation has waaayyy bigger things to celebrate today, but I'm announcing anyway (because I'm excited) that I've sold a werewolf story of my own to Esther Friesner's STRIP-MAULED anthology, forthcoming from Baen Books.  Huzzah!

New sale for the new agency, award news and book trailer!

More good news all around today:

D.D. Barant sold Blood of Monsters and two sequels in an urban fantasy series to St. Martin's Press at auction.  The series features FBI profiler Jace Valchek, who's been yanked into an alternate universe where vampires, werewolves and golems now comprise 99% of the population.  It's a wonderful series, and the author, editor and I are all very excited!

Also, Patti O'Shea reports that
"Dark Awakening" from the anthology Shards of Crimson is a More Than Magic finalist for Best Novella!  She's also got a great new trailer up for her novel In the Midnight Hour
right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rozm4_E2SPI.

(no subject)

Susan Krinard is a USA Today and extended New York Times list bestseller and an all-around fantastic writer.  She's probably best known for her werewolf novels (TO TAME A WOLF, CHASING MIDNIGHT) and Fane books (THE FOREST LORD and LORD OF THE BEASTS). 

Her new novel, DARK OF THE MOON, is out this month from HQN, featuring an intrepid reporter and the love and redemption of Dorian Black, an enforcer for one of New York's warring vampire clans.

Q. Sue, you have a habit of coming up with some very unusual, even risky, heroes and heroines. What inspires you about them?

A. I am inspired by ‘pushing the envelope." I often feel that the genre can use a little push in the direction of a greater variety of plots and characters. These days it really has expanded from when I began in ‘93. Back then, I wrote one of the very first werewolf heroes in romance in Prince of Wolves, and probably the first in the genre who wasn’t the "cursed" kind but had complete power over his ability to change, and belonged to a "pack." Everyone is doing werewolves now, but when I started it was still very new and paranormal was not the major phenomenon it is today.

Similarly, I like characters who have a lot of growing to do. I don’t like "perfect" heroes or heroines. I like characters who have major obstacles to overcome, not only in the area of love, but within themselves as well. It’s sometimes hard to strike the balance between "sympathetic" and "realistic" when it comes to a romance hero or heroine, but I keep expanding the definition as much as I can. Dorian, in Dark of the Moon, has a very dark past; he was a mob enforcer, and though I make clear that he wasn’t a casual murderer, you know that he has done some things of which he’s deeply ashamed. I struggled with his past, trying to decide how much to tone it down. In the end, I worked out a compromise that I felt was successful.

The characters with the darkest, most troubled pasts are often the most interesting to work with, because their redemption (in which I wholeheartedly believe) is that much more satisfying.

Q. Having spent so much time and poured so much into a set of characters, do you have trouble moving on to the next? How do you handle this.

A. I generally have no trouble moving from one set of characters to the next; the problem comes when I am writing a new book and have to return to the old one for editorial revisions. Talk about confusion! Sometimes I have trouble remembering which character belongs in which book! Over time, your memory does begin to blur a bit. But by the time I’m finished with a book, I feel I’ve lived through the journey with my characters and am ready to let them move on.

Q. What aspects of writing do you struggle with (plotting? pacing?) and what comes naturally?

A. Plotting, no question. Now that I’m writing two books a year, I have very little time to plot in advance, which is the method I prefer. I’m compelled more and more to write "by the seat of my pants," which doesn’t come naturally to me. When I’m writing a proposal, I often have very little figured out, so when I get to various points in the manuscript, I have to stop and fill in the details. I also struggle coming up with the initial plot ideas; once I have those going strongly, I generally don’t have trouble with characters or technical aspects of the book.

Q. What's your writing routine?

A. I get up around 6:30 so that I have time to read a few of my favorite blogs, answer e-mails and "wake up." I like to be writing no later than 9, though sometimes I get a later start if I have other projects going. I stop around 11 to exercise (something I’m just getting back into after knee surgery in September), eat, and then return to writing. I keep going until I stop to make dinner, around 5 p.m. My daily goal is eight pages, though sometimes I don’t quite make it or, when I’m really lucky, I manage more. Evenings and weekends are frequently spent doing research or filling in details of my plot, so that I can devote my weekdays to the actual writing.

Q. Do you have any words of wisdom for people starting out in the genre.

A. Read. As much as you can. I never took a course in writing that made a difference; I learned to write by reading and learning by "osmosis." I was inspired by the best! Know if the genre is really right for you. Know what people are writing. Be practical, but never allow that to restrict your imagination.

Secondly, practice. Write, write, write. Most authors don’t sell their first couple of books (I still have two "trunk" books that will probably never see the light of day), and that’s because they need that practice to figure out how a novel works. You must write a little every day, or as often as possible, to get in that practice and produce a viable product.

Thirdly, be persistent. You’re likely to have disappointments, rejections, and all that nasty stuff. You have to keep trying, because if you don’t, you’ll definitely never sell. Luck is a very large part of this business, and that’s something you can’t control. You can control your own work, so try to focus on that when things go badly.

Q. Are you the creator of the original artwork on your website? What other unusual or lesser known things can you tell us about yourself?

A. Yes, I did all the artwork on my website. Way back when, I intended to be a science fiction cover artist. I even went to New York with a portfolio and left it with all the art directors. No one bit, but I’m grateful for that now, since it allowed me to become a writer!

Anyway, most of the art was done twenty years ago or more, so I consider it the work of my "youth."