Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday's Myths--Epona

Today's Monday's Myths is brought to you by Jaleh Dragich (bio below).

Horse lovers and writers of horse-centered fiction may wish to pay a nod of respect to Epona. This goddess is the only Celtic deity to be revered by the Romans and adopted into their religious calendar. This may be because, as the patron of horses, donkeys, and mules, she appealed to the Roman cavalry, who spread worship of her all across Europe and erected statues to her in their stables. She is also considered the patron of fertility, with the prevalence of cornucopia, ears of grain, patera (a shallow dish), and foals being featured on her statues and reliefs.

She is often depicted as a mare or woman seated side-saddle on a horse, often accompanied by a bird, dog, or foal. The British Museum has a 7.5-cm high Roman bronze of Epona sitting with a small foal and stallion on either side. Large ears of grain rest on her lap, on the patera in her right hand, and in the mouths of the horses flanking her. A yoke sits over her left arm, rising above her shoulder.

One legend tells that she was the daughter of an unusual pairing. Stellos hated women. For some bizarre reason, he mated with a mare, which bore a lovely maiden given the name Epona. Other stories compare her to the Welsh goddess Rhiannon and the Irish cult of Macha, sharing many of the same traits.

Epona has served as inspiration for modern creative works. Morgan Llywelyn features her as a Celtic woman with Druidic powers in The Horse Goddess. Link, in the Legends of Zelda games, rides a horse named Epona. Enya, Omnia
(a Dutch PaganFolk Band), and Heol Telwen (a French folk/black metal band) each have a song in tribute to her. Scottish author Patricia Leitch features her in the “Jinny and Finmory” children’s book series.

Even science and science fiction have paid their tributes to this Celtic goddess. Irish scientists from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth named an experiment after her
(the Energetic Particle ONset Admonitor), which was part of the European Space Agency Giotto Mission to Halley’s Comet.

The Epona Project, a world construct presented to the Contact Conference in 1995, took three years to develop. It was later written about in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine and used in a science special on TV.

Acorna is referred to as Epona by many of the children in the first book of Anne McCaffrey’s co-written Acorna series. She blends traits of both Epona and many of the unicorn legends. Though the focus is on the unicorn traits, I think it interesting how well the two legends dovetail.

So whether writing fantasy or science fiction, you can create your own variant of Epona or one of the related goddesses. She may take you somewhere unexpected.

Jaleh Dragich is an avid reader and aspiring author of fantasy and science fiction. Her interest in the genre covers more than the written form to include music, movies, games, and visual art. She is now sharing her passion for the subject on her blog, Ex Libris Draconis.

Thanks, Jaleh!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Short Little Update

As I hinted at on Friday, my normal schedule (for the time being) is going out the window. In order to be done with Aurumenas by the end of the year, I need every single moment I can get for writing. And unfortunately, the research for Monday's Myths typically takes all my spare time.

For any who are interested, everything is coming along on schedule--due greatly to the fact that I do very little else but revise (and play with my kids, of course). The two short stories I've submitted for publication have been out for over thirty days--a very good thing, I gather, from what I've read on the websites concerning response times. One of these magazines happens to be SFWA approved. *crosses fingers*

Not much other than this. For the time being, I'm keeping all of my attention on Aurumenas. In January, I'll polish up my query and send it out. I'll also begin work on a few shorts that I've been wanting to start as well as a new novel (this one's a little hush, hush).

So, my friends, have a loverly day! I'll give you another update on Friday.

~Emily White

Friday, November 20, 2009

Writing, Writing, Writing...

With my goal to be completely done with Aurumenas by the end of the year, you better believe I'm super busy lately! There are days where I'll sit at my computer to work on my book only to reach 2:00 in the afternoon and realize I have not yet showered. Yeah, not good. With that in mind, I realize that I haven't been the reliable blogger that I should be. But it's all for good reasons, my friends!

I have goals that must be kept and my master plan is coming along beautifully! In January, I promise, everything will be back to normal. Maybe. I'll keep you updated! ;)

~Emily White

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh Happy Days!

Yes, dear friends, Emily is very happy this morning. Why? you ask. Well, there's really many reasons for a happy Emily, but the main reason is that I am truly excited about my writing.

I've been a member of the new Writer's Digest Community for a few weeks now and recently, while critiquing a fellow member's first chapter, I realized that I had truly grown in my craft since I started writing Aurumenas just a little over a year ago. While trying to explain voice (something I just recently grasped) and the different ways to use it for different POVs to this member, my progress was glaring me in the face. Let me show you:

"Susan gave a smirk before walking out the door. Jared picked up a vase and smashed it against the floor. (No distinct voice)


Susan gave a smirk before walking out the door.

Dammit! Dammit! He wanted to kill her. He wanted to wring her little neck! How dare she walk out on him. He picked up a vase and threw it against the floor, imagining all the broken shards were her fragile, shattered skull. (Third limited)


Feeling quite pleased with herself, Susan gave a smirk before walking out the door.

Jared gave a good show by throwing a vase against the floor, imagining all the little pieces were her shattered skull, but the action was laughable and brought him no closer to getting her back. (Omniscient)

The funny thing is that up until a couple months ago, I would have thought the first example was perfectly fine! I mean, I am showing what happened rather than just saying that Jared was furious. But now I realize that it is rather blah and doesn't give the reader a chance to really connect with the narrator, whoever he/she may be.

Having tangible evidence that I am improving makes me excited to see what my writing will be like in the future, because to be honest, I really don't see an end to my growth. I know that some day I'll look back at my first works with the same horror that I look at my creative writing pieces from high school, but that's okay because that will mean that I've come a long way. Maybe some day I won't have to look at a novel by Card, Heinlein, etc. and think "boy I wish I could write like that" because I will.

How about you? Any startling epiphanies for you lately? Feel free to share!

~Emily White

Friday, November 13, 2009

Author Review--Jenn Lidster

One of the great things about joining a writing community is that you get to meet a lot of fascinating writers. A few months ago, I didn’t even know there was such a genre as paranormal romance, but today’s author not only introduced me to it, she sparked in me a love of reading it. And that author is Jenn Lidster.

In her blog, Jenn talks about her life as a writer. And she takes writing seriously. She has been a member of the Romantic Writers Association since June of 2009 and the Ottawa Romantic Writers Association since this past September. Yup, you read that right, Jenn is a Canadian. But don't hold it against her. She's actually a very wonderful person. ;)

A mother of two little ones, a five year old daughter and a two year old son, Jenn somehow finds time to revise her superhero romance, Topaz Skies. She hopes to be ready to send it out to agents by the end of the month. But she's not done there! She's also got two upcoming paranormal romance projects, tentatively titled Badge of the Sentinel and The Hidden.

She just finished reading A Perfect Darkness, by Jaime Rush and admits that her favorite authors include Carrie Vaughn with her Kitty the Werewolf books and C.E. Murphy with her Walker Papers series. Jenn highly recommends everyone check out the latter author's awesome blog.

When asked what she hoped for the future, Jenn kept it simple. She would love to write full-time, but would be willing to settle for part-time employment just as long as she could devote more time to her writing career. In order to get that, she's crossing her fingers for an agent/book deal. We're all crossing our fingers with you, Jenn!

If you would like to learn more about this author, check out her blog and become a follower today!

I'd just like to send a big thank you to Jenn Lidster for allowing me to talk about her today! I love doing this and I hope she enjoyed it as well!

~Emily White

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And the Winner is...

Jenn Lidster!

Let's give her a big round of applause!

Although, I must say that you guys are really good at these trivia questions. I need to find some harder ones next time. ;) And not save the pictures with the answer as the title. :0 Haha!

And because Jenn is the winner, you all will be treated to a wonderful post all about her on Friday. If you've ever wanted to know more about Paranormal Romance, this would be the day to check in.

See you there!

~Emily White

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia!

Described briefly in Homer's The Iliad, this Greek mythological creature was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. Today, the name of the monster has become a term that means an impossible or foolish fantasy.

The first person to answer correctly in the comments section of this post wins a blog post all about them! What you're writing, reading, listening to, and anything else that you might want an eager fanbase to know.

Good luck!

~Emily White

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday's Myths--Not today

So, I've been sitting at my computer trying to research a mythological creature and a question for tomorrow all while I have screaming children in the background. Not that I'm complaining. Hey! I'm a writing momma! I can handle it! However, I have decided that on the weeks when I'm going to post Tuesday's Trivia, there will not be a Monday's Myths. I'm sorry to all of you who were eagerly awaiting the next installment. Don't forget to stop in tomorrow, though, and try to win!

~Emily White

Friday, November 6, 2009

Let's Talk

So I haven't been feeling 100% for the past few days (one of the reasons I didn't post anything on Wednesday). Don't worry, no flu for me, but I have been feeling a bit stressed out. I don't exactly know why, but the feelings are there and my body is being affected accordingly. So I thought it might be nice to have a bit of a breather post where I catch all you lovely people up on what's going on with me.

Things with Aurumenas are going well. I have plans to be completely finished with it by the end of the year *crosses fingers.* Yes I know, that may seem ambitious, but if I allow myself an undetermined amount of time to revise it, I'll never finish. I'm going to give it a thorough once over and send it out. And to whom might I send it, you ask? Well I haven't spoken of it much, but I'm in a talkative mood, so I'll just let you guys in on a secret. My number one agent of choice and who I've been researching for a little over a year now, making contact with, etc. is none other than Nathan Bransford himself. Yes. Him. I've gone through a lot of agents' blogs and researched the books they've taken on already and have decided that Nathan is most suited to my personality and my book. So that leads into what I'm doing next...

Creating the most spectacular query letter the world has ever seen! Haha! Now that I think about it, maybe this is why I'm stressed out. I could use the help. Yeah, this is definitely what is making me stress out because Nathan is the only agent I want. I don't just want to be represented, I want to be represented by him. So what happens if I don't get him? Well there are plenty of other spectacular agents out there, but this is a business and I want to work with someone I will be comfortable enough to really talk to. Nathan exudes that type of personality. However, should luck not befall me, I still need the most spectacular query letter the world has ever seen to get an equally talented agent! Yes. Stress. Much stress.

I also have a few short stories out that I'm hoping and praying will find publication in the markets I sent them to because... they are markets approved by SFWA! And gaining admittance into SFWA will help me create the most spectacular query letter the world has ever seen! Are we getting the pattern yet?

So this is what's going on with me. I'm also trying to network with other writers and potential readers because, guys, I need this blog to look as equally spectacular as the query letter I will send. And how do I do this? With your help. If a white girl might be so bold to say, you guys are my peeps. I love that you follow me and I appreciate every comment you leave. Seriously, if I didn't have your pretty little pictures or faces smiling at me whenever I signed on, I might give up on this whole blog thing. But instead, I'm excited to do it! So thank you! I have master plans and with your help, I will see them through! :)

By the way! Next week we'll be having Tuesday's Trivia! Woohoo! But before that, of course, will be Monday's Myths. Don't forget to check in!

~Emily White

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday's Myths--The Vampire

I'm sorry, but I just couldn't resist. This picture is classic!

Moving on...

Mankind has always been fascinated with the idea of the un-dead rising from their graves to come and feast on the living, and I'd have to say that the vampire has typically been at the head of the pack. And there always seems to be new stories coming up with new variations of the myth. While I've heard some pretty staunch opinions concerning the matter of sparkling vampires in sunlight, there are actually tales of the un-dead not burning to a fine crisp under the Sun's glow.

For example, modern-day vampires are usually fashioned after the Australian myth of the Pink Vampire. Yes, this variety does sound cute and cuddly from its name, but its description may sound familiar to you. These vampires have cold skin and fangs and when angered, their eyes turn to a bloodshot red color. Where modern myth has deviated is in this area: the Pink Vampire is not harmed by daylight and it cannot be killed. Period. Not so cute and cuddly now! Is it? Ha ha ha! Sorry, couldn't resist.

There are tales from all over the world concerning this creature. One that particularly caught my eye (and let's not read too much into this, please!) is from Brazil called Lobishomen and it turns its victims (all women) into nymphomaniacs. Interesting...

There are far too many tales for me to go into in this post, so I'll just send you to Mythical Creatures Guide. I really wanted to go over at least a dozen more, but I haven't yet gotten to the origins! So go and check out that site. If you've wanted to write a story about vampires, but didn't want it to be cliche, use this site. Already, my little wheels are cranking!

And now on to origins... Yes, there are probably as many different origins stories as there are tales, but this one seems to be the dominant one in Europe, parts of the Middle East, and amongst Jews.

According to Jewish apocrypha texts (not the Torah), God had originally created Lilith for Adam, but she rebelled against the man's attempted dominance over her and disappeared when she uttered God's holy name. It is said that angels went to retrieve her, but that she made a bargain with them to be allowed to live free of Adam. This bargain said that she would become the mother of all the demons. Now I don't know why they agreed to this, but according to the texts, they did.

The texts also say that when God cast Cain away for killing his brother, the first murderer upon the Earth found Lilith during his travels and fathered children by her. These children are said to be the first vampires/demons. This origins story is even partially recorded in Beowulf, "the oldest surviving epic in British literature."

Whatever the history and however we interpret it in our writing, the tale of the vampire seems to have a very bright future. Ha ha ha!

~Emily White