Monday, July 16, 2018

S'up with the Sup Authors

Woman Warrior With Tiger by James Britto
Hi Everyone,

For my post this month, I wanted to do a bit of an update on all of us Sup authors to give you an idea of what's next for some of us, as well as a taste of the writer's life. There's a bit of diversity, but I confess, the first three words that came out of all our author's mouths when asked what they were up to was, "Writing. Writing. Writing."

Let's start with Amanda Arista


Amanda is currently working on a new Paranormal Mystery series and teaching creative writing through SMU. She is currently experimenting with new writing and life practices through her series on the blog called #2018YearOfTheNew.

You can chat with her on Twitter @Panterista and the Supernatural Blog on the 3rd of the month.

On to Helen Lowe

One thing I can tell you about Helen is, she's insanely busy, so much so, we should whisper when we speak her name, so as not to disturb. 

For example, she's working tirelessly on the fourth and final novel in The Wall Of Night series, and as any series writer will tell you, by the time you are on to number four, there are so many loose ends to tie up, so much history and worldbuilding to keep in place, and so many characters that all want to be the star of the final scene that it takes incredible focus and concentrations. 

Helen is also a conservationist, recently saving more than 1500 trees in New Zealand from destruction, including a 160-year-old weeping elm. She's also a poet and academic, writing posts regularly for her “…on Anything, Really” blog, and here at the Sup on the first of every month. You can chat her up on Twitter -  @helenl0we

Terri Garey's News


We're going to hear a lot more from Terri soon, but in her own words, she's ecstatic. Here's why: 

"I finally got the rights back to most of my books, and have some gorgeous new covers to share! Here's an example.

I’m actually REALLY excited by these covers, as they’re what I envisioned all along, and what gives the “Nicki Styx” series a consistency that the old covers never had."

"Healthwise, Terri's faced some challenges out of the blue and handled them with grace and wisdom:

I know it seems like I dropped off the face of the earth the last couple of years, but I’ve had multiple eye surgeries (including a detached retina), moved, and done a bit of traveling. Almost losing sight in one eye made me much more eager to get out from behind the computer and see more of the world!"

Here's her Amazon page where you can check them all out as they become available.  You can also follow her updates on Twitter  -  @TerriGarey


T. Frohock's Happenings

T.'s been busy as well!

In her recent update she said, "Last year, Harper Voyager purchased three novels in my Los Nefilim series. The first novel, WHERE OBLIVION LIVES, will be published in February 2019. 

The cover art just blew me away. It captures the surreal effect of Diago's nightmares, which are an on-going theme in the story. The striking imagery encompasses angels and broken nefilim and the dark sounds that follow them all.

I've been so MIA from the Supernatural Underground and not by choice. Between my full-time job and working on the novels, I've simply been pushed to the max in terms of time. I'm hoping to be back around soon with more posts. 

If you want to keep up with me, the best place is on Twitter,
@T_Frohock  or at my Blog."  Look's like T's also the 2018 Pitch Wars as a mentor! One busy Sup writer. 


News from Merrie Destefano


When I caught up with Merrie, she said:

"On July 21st, I'll be speaking on a panel at Comic-Con International about my self-published novel, Shade: The Complete Trilogy. Afterwards, I'll be signing books. Info about the panel is below and I hope to see y'all there! 

This upcoming Halloween, there will be an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. And with that comes a plethora of books and movies rejoicing this occasion. At this panel, listen to authors talk about the influence that Mary Shelley's writing had on their works and why people still obsess over Frankenstein. And watch as they talk about the monsters that never die in their own novels. 



Good luck sleeping that night! Panellists include me (Merrie Destefano - Shade series), Leslie S. Klinger (The New Annotated Frankenstein), Jonathan Maberry (Glimpse, V-Wars), Kiersten White (Bright We Burn and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein), and Carrie Sessarego of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books."

Follow Merrie's adventures on @MerrieDestefano. Very Exciting!

And Finally, Moi?


Sin - named for the Sumerian Moon God
I'll be brief because, oh yea, #amwriting to a #deadline! 

You already know about the crazy-ass editing I'm doing right now, and the shift in Entangled's release date for The Bone Throwers

Yes, still changing the series over form 3rd person to 1st. I'm on page 410 of book two of three, so that's progress. ETD to my editor - October 2018. 

It's yoga, winter gardening and cat-walks in between hours of intensive work. I like to mix it up, to stay sane. Also, loving the keto diet (basically no sugar, grains or processed foods) so that's a great support too.

And, it's probably old news that the Amassia
Ra - named for the Egyptian Sun god
 series is under a pen name, AK Wilder. This story world is a collaboration after all so, A for Aaron, K for Kim and Wilder for our California family, one of the first settlers in Santa Cruz, my original home and heart.

You can keep tabs on the AK Wilder pages, or mail me, follow AK Wilder on Twitter and if you like cats, digital art, astrology and organic gardens, follow my @a.k.wilder on Instagram.  My two cat boys, Sin and Ra, feature heavily. :)

Now it's your turn. Let us know what you're up to, reading, eating, thinking, doing. We're all ears!

* * *

Kim Falconer's latest novel is out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel.

Kim also runs GoodVibeAstrology.com where she teaches the law of attraction and astrology. 

Kim posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month, hosts Save the Day Writer's Community on FB and posts a daily astrology weather report on Facebook. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Checking things off the list

2018 Year of the New: Eliminate My To-Watch list.

I can't believe its July. I'm just not ready. I have so many things to do.

Though May was a great month where I accomplished most of my writing goals, June sort of, well, sucked.  Not going to sugarcoat it. June was a wickedly horrible mental health month confounded by migraines, tension, illness, and a birthday to just make sure and hammer in that I am mortal. Fun Times.

So for July, I'm going to focus on something I know that I have talked about before and I know will get me on the straight and narrow: feeding my muse. Though most writers don't really believe in a muse, I do. I believe there is a creative spirit  in the back of my head that is responsible for inspiration, and sometimes, she gets pissed at me and scampers off to go play with the wood nymphs that live in the backyard. 

To lure her back and take a bit of a rest, this month I'm going to focus on watching movies, documentaries, and TV series that I promised myself I was going to watch. Things that sparked my interest, things someone recommend, things that won awards for best screenplay, or were just on a list as the best horror movies on Netflix.

I have a lot of lists in my life. To-Do lists, grocery lists, honey-do lists, goals lists, edits lists, scene checklists, and some days I feel that I honestly will never accomplish any of those things on any of my lists. The guilt that comes along with all those lists is like a wet blanket on any creativity. I've been told that I need to stop "should"-ing on myself, but I can't help it.

To help out myself and my Netflix account, I'm going to start wading through the NEW programs that I have saved and try not to just listen to the same things over and over again (I'm looking at you DAREDEVIL). Watching things that I might not normally gravitate toward just to shake things up a bit.


A few currently in the queue are:

Set it Up-(movie) a rom-com about two people who fall in love after setting up their bosses. Who doesn't like a strong rom-com?
Queen of the South- (TV Show)  a female takes over a drug ring. Strong women, hello?
The Keepers-(documentary)  a nun takes on a priest accused of abuse.
Black Mirror- (Season 4) sci-fi tales of morality that have won several awards for writing
Coffee for All- (documentary) about free coffee around the world. Strong coffee, hello?
Ugly Delicious- (TV Show/Documentary) about a man who just loves food.

I feel like just knocking a few of these titles off my list will help feed the muse. And once she is feed, she will begin to question the world again, wonder about everything, and in that wonder is where the stories live, in the spaces between.

Those I suspect I might also need to NOT turn into a couch potato, so I'll be employing a few of these as well.

Please let me know if there is something that you found fascinating and I'll be tweeting away about what I thought of my a-muse-ing treats.

Thank you, gentle readers, and Carry On.

Amanda Arista
Author





Sunday, July 1, 2018

'Here Be Dragons' — Sailing Off The Edge Of The Map

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"Here Be Dragons";
art by Antonio Javier Caparo
Last month, Kim Falconer gave us a wonderful post on the origins of dragons, including how our innate terrors may have been one driver for the presence of dragons in myth and legend.

Kim mentioned several other great reasons for the power of dragons over our imaginations. However, I've found myself returning to the association with fear, but also with awe and danger, that is encapsulated by the phrase "Here Be Dragons."

These three potent words appeared (in Latin: Hic sunt dracones) reputedly on a 16th century globe (the Hunt-Lenox Globe ca. 1510), and have since become a popular catchphrase for those regions where a mapmaker's knowledge runs out.
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From The New York Public Library: Hunt-Lenox Globe

In this sense, the phrase was a synonym for the unknown and all the potential dangers that went with it—when exploration meant navigating perilous oceans in small and fragile vessels. For a very long time, too—until the last 250 years, in fact—such voyages were made without any accurate means of measuring longitude. On land, travel also meant going beyond the known, not only in terms of terrain but also of people, language, customs and cultures.

A tale of Shangri La
Yet the payoff for the dangers and fears that went with venturing the unknown was the hope of wonders: whether encountering dragons, discovering the fabled city of El Dorado, or happening upon a Shangri La of the Ever Young. For when the voyager passes the edge of the mapmaker's knowledge, she sails the ship of adventure into territory that is confined only by imagination...

The territory of dragons, indeed—but also of Fantasy fiction, both in Children's and Adult literature.

As early as the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, from Greek myth, the heroes sail to the mysterious land of Colchis to recover a magical golden fleece, which is guarded by a dragon.

In CS Lewis's children's classic,  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the ship sailing to the world's end has a prow that is carved (rightly we feel) into the shape of a dragon.

Perhaps more than any other author, Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea novels capture the sense that isolated and unknown terrain, 'beyond the known world', is the territory of dragons. These are powerful, awe-inspiring, but also frightening beings such as Orm Embar and Kalessin.

Such tales are not restricted to children's literature, however. Robin Hobb's Liveship Trader series (Ship of MagicThe Mad ShipShip of Destiny) involves voyages to unknown and dangerous waters—inhabited by sea serpents that have their own connection to dragons. Although the most perilous terrain of all of may be the hearts and minds of the protagonists...

In Guy Gavriel Kay's The Wandering Fire, the ship Prydwen is almost destroyed by the giant sea serpent called Soulmonger—an unknown peril lurking in the deep ocean.

Sometimes the boundaries that must be crossed and the dangers encountered are more metaphysical in form. For example, in Elizabeth Knox's Dream duology (Dreamhunter and Dreamquake), the dreamhunters must pass a mystical border to capture and bring back dreams. Yet not all the hunters survive and not all the captured dreams are benign...

At one time, too, the words for 'dragon' and 'demon' were close to synonymous. Courtney Schafer captures this overlap in Labyrinth of Flame (Shattered Sigil #3). Here, the remote deserts are inhabited not only by physical dangers and unfamiliar peoples, but the working of magic has intersected the unknown power and danger of demons.

These are only a very few examples and I'm sure you can point to many more. But as on the Hunt-Lenox Globe, so too in Fantasy fiction: when the protagonist and reader sail off the edge of the map together, they enter the territory of 'dragons', where fear, awe, and danger; treasure, wonders, and magic, may—and almost certainly will—all be encountered.

~~~
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Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, and blogger whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night, Book Three) is Helen's most recent book and she is currently working on the fourth and final novel in The Wall Of Night series. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Origins of Dragons



A dragon statue in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Wikicommons)
I can't leave the theme of mythical creatures and paranormal others behind without discussing the bedrock of some of the best fantasy series ever written -- enter the dragon!

From Tolkien's Smaug the Calamitous to McCaffery's Mnementh, a bronze dragon in the Benden Weyr, Eon's mirror dragon to the Hungarian Horntail faced by Harry Potter, some of the best stories feature the mythologies and histories of dragons. 

Friend or foe, dragons are usually ancient, sentient and wise, but also dangerous, a deadly beast of enormous strength and power. Some have a penchant for gold or young maidens, others a telepathic link to a bond mate or extraordinary powers of luck. No matter the role they play, you have to wonder where in the world they all came from. 

I mean, what corner of our ancestors' minds created dragons? Or, were they once real?

The Archetypes


According to Jung, the notion of dragons is archetypal, ie. it appears in all places, all peoples, and all times.  

Archaeopteryx fossils
For example, we have the European dragon, derived from folk traditions that filtered down from Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies. Then there's the Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries. 

Of course, the Americas have their feathered, winged serpents, Australia the Rainbow Serpent. Dragons of Africa include the Great Healing Serpent Masingi to the dangerous Wadjet, who ate the souls of the unjust. It's hard to imagine every culture in the world thinking up these creatures long before there was any kind of trade, exchange or internet to share ideas.

The Theories


One theory behind the global myth of dragons is based on dinosaur remains. If an ancient shaman or storyteller came upon the fossil of, say Qijianglong, they could have understandably mistaken them for dragon bones. 



Another theory, detailed in the book An Instinct for Dragons, by anthropologist David E. Jones, states evolution "embedded an innate fear of predators in the human mind." Just as monkeys exhibit a fear of snakes and large cats, Jones thinks that fearing large predators—such as pythons, birds of prey and elephants—has been selected for in hominids." 

"These universal fears have been frequently combined in folklore and created the myth of the dragon. "

Maybe, but that doesn't explain why many stories, especially from the Eastern myths, are of dragon companions, dragons as healers, or the luck and benevolence one receives from befriending one.

Our stories

Whatever the origins, dragon stories are some of our richest in the speculative fiction genre, including films like How to Train Your Dragon to Game of Thrones, and many other narratives we know and love.

Do you have a favorite dragon story? I'd love to hear about it in the comments. I think mine has to be The Dragonriders of Pern

* * *


Kim Falconer's latest release comes out in 2019 - The Bone Throwers, book one in the Amassia series, writing as A K Wilder. Find her new page on Facebook - AKWilder Author and on Twitter as AKWilder.

Her latest novel is out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel.

Learn more about Kim on Facebook and chat with her on Twitter. Check out her pen name, @a.k.wilder on Instagram, or visitAKWilder on FB and website.

Kim also runs GoodVibeAstrology.com where she teaches the law of attraction and astrology. 

Kim posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month, hosts Save the Day Writer's Community on FB and posts a daily astrology weather report on Facebook.