Wednesday, December 14, 2011

River Monsters - a muse

I will merrily confess that I am avid watcher of Jeremy Wade's "River Monsters". Yes it's melodramatic, sensationalist and filled with some gory re-inactments. However, it is also steeped in mythology.... and I love that. Basically, Jeremy Wade  - biologist and fisherman - travels the world searching for the truth behind some of the world's 'river monsters' and ends up catching some pretty big fish in the process (and don't worry, he always lets them go).

So today, I'm flicking through my mythology book and looking at two mythological river monsters. I've alluded to river/swamp monsters in two of my books, but never actually used one. Maybe I will one day.

 
The Miengu


The Miengu - (singular Jengu) is an African water spirit or deity from Camaroon. The Miengu is a beauitufl mermaid-like creature, distinguishable from other 'mer-creatures' by long woolly hair and a gap-toothed smile. They are  found in both rivers and the sea, and are said to be kind. If honored by a person, they will transfer messages between the human and spirit world. TThe Miengu also have the ability to cure illnesses and bless their devotees with good luck, protection from epidemics, good weather and sucess in competitions.

[image sourced from Goddesses&Gods]




The Kappa


The Kappa is a particularly interesting river monster from Japanese Mythology and  they are sometimes still held responsible for the drowings of children in rivers. The Kappa is described in various ways, most commonly as a child-sized creature with reptilian skin, human like hands.The progeny of a human and Kappa (as you would imagine) is apparently quite repulsive to see.  The Kappa at times can be considered benevolent, and aid people. They are apparently able to speak and understand Japanese but there are legends of Kappa's raping women. It is said that the Japanese Giant Salamander may actually have been the genesis of the Kappa myth.[Image sourced from Wikipedia]   

Giant Japanese Salamander! Soooo cool. [Image sourced Jacksword]

Anyway, I was going to describe a few more, but time has, as usual, escaped me, so I'll leave it here.

I'll be up doing a giveaway on 22nd December on the "DARKSIDE DOWN UNDER" - one e-copy of my latest release,  'Mimosa Black' so be sure to enter!!

I hope all my readers have a super Festive season and stay happy and safe!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mimosa Black - officially released

Mimosa Black is officially released and ready to buy!
Even though it's a novella, you can actually by as a print book to add to your enviable
Nicola E. Sheridan Collection!  


I seriously hope you enjoy Mimosa Black - I did, and will confess the scene in the park makes even me blush. 

FUN FACT about 'Mimosa Black'The hero,  Bo Elliot is actually the doctor mentioned as the Magical Being Specialist in Fremantle Hospital near the end of "Magical Gains".

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mimosa Black - sneak peek II




"Mimosa Black" coming this week! 7th December 2011

Mimosa felt her blood begin to heat up. Some  logical part of her brain told her she had no right to feel jealous about Bo. He had never once led her on, or so much as suggested they might have a relationship other than the very platonic one that already existed. Still, despite this knowledge, her jealousy rose like a leviathan from deep within her. She needed to act.
“Mim, hey, Mim,” Harry yelled, resting his hand on her thigh.
She swivelled her stool to face him and felt him run his hand down her wing. He had been flirting with her all night. “Why do you look so sullen all of a sudden?” he asked with a wink in Bo’s direction.
The Weimaraner girl raised a fake-nailed hand and tucked a lock of Bo’s hair behind his ear in a flirtatious, overly familiar gesture. Mimosa saw red. She hesitated a moment, throwing an angry, jealous glare at Bo, which he didn’t seem to catch. Without further thought, she leaned over toward Harry and kissed him thoroughly. She poured the anger she felt at the blond girl into Harry. He tasted good, like gourmet beer and spicy potato wedges, but it was his reaction to her that was most pleasing. He kissed her back with wild enthusiasm. For a moment, the bar ceased to exist, and all that Mimosa could feel, taste and hear was Harry’s passion for her.
Abruptly, the kiss was cut short.
“What the fuck?” Bo grated. “Harry? Get off her!”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Magical Creations" - booktrailer

So.. .I have hobbies - too many in fact... One of them is drawing, another is playing piano. Put these two together with my writing and you've got a ready made book trailer!

And here it is.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Naga - naughty or nice?

[Image of Devika, the Naga in "Magical Creations" drawn by me]

A strange creature stood before her (although standing didn’t correctly define the stance). The head and torso of the creature was an immensely beautiful woman, draped in a woolen pashmina. Antigone’s gaze followed down the woman’s body. She stared curiously for a long moment before her brain could accept what her eyes were seeing. The woman’s torso disappeared into the tail of an enormous snake. Antigone blinked, the creature’s skin glittered with a diamond-like sparkle under the dull fluorescence of the warehouse lighting, and her eyes, serpentine slits in an impossibly perfect face, studied Antigone with shrewd intelligence. The long greenish tail flicked and twitched, drawing Antigone’s attention to the guard of dull-eyed Hunters behind her. Antigone recognized the creature as a Naga, part human, part snake, capable of great benevolence or great malevolence depending on the mood.

[Excerpt from "Magical Creations", available now.]

Allow me to introduce you to another of my favourite Mythological creatures. The Naga (click on the link if you want to read the Wiki entry). There are many various types of Naga throughout history, so naturally I chose the type that most suited my book. In general however, all Naga's have some similar characteristics irrespective of their origins. They are all large, intelligent and snake-like.

[Naga Kanya statuette from Nepal, guardian of riches from the Deep]

Naga's can be found in Hindu and Buddhist mythology and folk law. Some are described (like Devika) as being human from the waist up and serpentine from the waist down. Other depictions give them seven heads, or describe them as simply massive snakes.
Carved stone Naga's can be found in many Hindu temples in India and Southeast Asia, and the balustrade leading to the main entrance of Cambodia's Angkor Wat is composed of stone Nagas. The Ancient Cambodian kings claimed to be descended from the union of a banished Hindu prince and a serpent woman. Which is a pretty cool claim to fame, if I do say so. 

Personality wise, again, the Naga varies. Some are considered to be kind and benevolent protectors, whilst others such as in the Hindu epic Mahabharata are the venomous persecutors of other creatures. In Tibet it is said that Naga's dwell in the lakes and underground streams, and guard magical gems/precious stones. They are also said to protect the purity of the water and natural environment - and fiercely retaliate against any who disturb it... I think we could do with some of these Nagas in Western Australia! 

If you're interested in Naga's there are some interesting sites out there;

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

The breath of death...

[image courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons; AlishaV]

Welcome to my ramble of the week!

Halitosis, morning-breath, garlic-breath, onion-breath, coffee-breath, cigarette-breath, beer-breath, boozer's-breath, fish-breath... the list is as endless as it is stinky.

I tormented my character Primrose, from "Magical Gains" with the unfortunate odour of fish, and I have to say that smell plays a fairly large part in my writing. However, it has come to my attention that many novels neglect breath. Breath and particularly bad breath is a reality of life and it's a neglected reality in most genres.  I've read of characters passionately kissing first thing in the morning... I don't know about you, but that seems to be asking for trouble, especially if you're a mouth breather during the night. Dry, stinky morning breath is not endearing on anyone, and is in reality an unfortunate side effect of sleeping. So when considering writing a pre-coital pash at sparrow fart, it's worth remembering dribble encrusted lips and sour breath and re-evaluating the whole scenario. Now I have also read about a couple lost for several days lost and starving in the wilderness. This couple used frayed sticks to 'brush' and 'freshen up' ala Bear Grylls. Hmmm,  I know the romance characters weren't chowing down on worms, maggots or squeezing elephant dung to drink, but their lack of food and general hygiene would have made them high on the pong stakes, and as a reader I simply couldn't get over it. However, the worst I've heard of (a friend read this!) was a kiss, *gasp* after a vomit, with only a squirt of mouthwash. I'm serious! This is wrong on so many levels. A quick swill of mouthwash just won't do it after a vomit. Firstly, when you vomit, you're sick and you're not going to feel like a passionate snog marathon. The thought of swapping saliva and sumo-tongue wrestling is seriously going to be the very last thing on your mind, and will only help to start the second wave of nausea. Secondly, 9 out of 10 vomits result in some nasal spewing - and you're going to need to blow your nose, gargle, snort and otherwise try to dislodge those pesky bits of 'carrot' that seem to get trapped in the throat and nasal passages. There is nothing sexy about having a vomit and then having a pash. Unless of course you're on the Jerry Springer show and have a fetish you want to talk about... and seriously, that was the last time I ever watched Jerry Springer.

Now there is the argument that you're reading fiction, and therefore there doesn't have to be any bad breath - because  the story isn't real life... This is a fair point, however, I've spoken to several people and asked "have you noticed that in movies/books no one's breath ever stinks?" or "You know what? People never crap in movies/books." The resounding answer is "Yes, I know!" and an amusing example usually follows. So people do notice these things, it's not just me!  I did read one criticism of Harry Potter (and I do not abide with any criticisms of Harry Potter) and someone stated that during the whole seven years, Harry only has one bath... and that's during the "Goblet of Fire" (when he was attempting to decipher the meaning of a screaming egg.) The argument put forward in support of Harry was; that the novel didn't need to go into Harry's bathing details, because it wasn't pertinent to the story, and the scenes worth focusing on did not take place during bathtime. Maybe the same could be said about bad breath.

Well, I think is that breath a little different. Most people consider breath and notice it, and when an erotic kiss happens just after ciggy, and the kiss is described as 'sweet', most readers get a little jolt and think... No it's not, it'd be smoky!  This then take the reader out of the story if only for a second, which is not what an author wants (nope not even a second). So I think it's important to make the kisses somewhat smell and taste realistic.                                                                                                    OK, enough of the rramble.... But as an after thought I'm adding a link to one of my favourite video clips by Cyrine Abel Nour, of her song 'Law bass fi aini'. Something not so sexy takes place... and I'm not talking about the scene with the cut throat razor. Watch it now. Yep you got it, they're squeezing a lemon over a can of fish!Maybe I'm missing something, but fish isn't sexy (unless you're Troy McLure from The Simpsons), and if he ate it, he wouldn't smell so sexy either. Unfortunate, because it's one of my favourite songs ever. Anyway, enough is enough. Edits await and "Magical Redemption" won't write itself.



[images courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons; Joost-ijmuiden, and Pink sherbet ]

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The lovely Lucian - teaser

If you've read "Magical Creations", then you've read about Lucian.


[I love this photo of Jay Byars, so I thought I'd throw it in there!  ]

For NaNoWriMo, I'm planning on getting my current WIP (third and final in the "Magic Series") mostly complete. To celebrate (I like to celebrate!), I'm posting a teaser.

 WIP Stats:
Working Title: Magical Redemption
Current wordcount; 43,000
Heroine: Jinx - Genie
Hero: Lucian - DemonSpawn
Locations: London, KualaLumpur, Kuching, Perth (they get around!)

And here's the Teaser....

Jinx’s head shot up, and a horrified gasp collected in her throat. Above her, strung up by his wrists – a man hung from space.


He was dressed only in frayed black trousers. His body was lean and wiry, the muscles pulled taut by the constraints on his wrists. He had a nasty looking burn on his chest and a slowly oozing cut on his abdomen. He looked down at her, his brown eyes cold and set in a grime covered face. He smelled. Bad.


Jinx gulped determined to be professional and prepped herself for her spiel.


“Hello, my name is Jinx.” She began, and noticed the man’s arched eyebrows shoot up in surprise. “I am your Genie for the duration of three wishes. I am currently registered in both Australia and the UK. Please note that any wishes for financial advancement are likely to be investigated and are illegal in most countries...”


Jinx was about to continue when the man’s voice stopped her.


“You can quit the spiel,” he said, his eyes piercing down on her.


Rather than his words, a waft of his gut curdling stench shocked her. Almost unthinkingly she covered him with a light rainbow cloak of smoke and uttered the velox purgo spell. When the smoke dissipated, the man was clean and dressed in jeans and a soft grey jumper.


“I don’t think anyone should smell as bad as your manners.” Jinx said sharply, waiting for a word of thanks.


She was disappointed. The man was dangerously handsome now the grime was gone, and he merely barked “Get me down.”


A tight coil of dread tightened in Jinx’s chest. He was a control freak. This was not going to be a fun assignment. Stiffening her shoulders Jinx cut the man down with a hot smack of smoky magic.


The arrogant man fell the two metres and crumpled, groaning on the transparent floor.


That’ll learn ya, she smothered a smile.


After a few more moments of groaning, rubbing wrists and swinging his arms around the man looked up, and caught Jinx’s eye. A scuttle of shock marched crab-like up her throat. The eyes that met hers were cool and assessing, but the face that held them was flawless. Jinx momentarily couldn’t breathe for the unexpected and unwanted swoop of attraction she felt as they held her gaze.


For an instant his eyes flashed, recognising the attraction. His sculpted lip curled into an ugly snarl. Painfully forcing himself to stand he towered over her.


“When you’ve quite finished,” he began. “I want to get out of here.”

And now I'll get back to writing.... hope you liked it



 





Friday, October 28, 2011

Out and about....




To celebrate the release of "Magical Creations" and to prepare for the release of "Mimosa Black" - I've been guest blogging and doing interviews. from the 3rd November, you can find me;

Thusday: Magic Thursday at the Dark Side (give away)

Friday: Four Strong Women - where I'll be discussing "Foot in Mouth" syndrome.

29th November; Penny Ehrenkranz - I've been interviewed by Penny - and I'll be giving away a copy of Magical Creations to a commenter :)







"Mimosa Black" ~  a Novella  ~ coming December - Eternal Press

Book Stats: approx 20, 700 words

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Mythological Beings: Harpies & Demons

Heroine: Mimosa Black

Hero: Bo Elliot

Setting: Rockingham & Fremantle, Western Australia.



When nature rules your head, can you follow your heart?

Blurb

In a world where magical creatures are as rare as a spotty teen at a supermarket checkout, being one quarter Harpy shouldn’t be a problem.


Unfortunately for Mimosa Black, this is not the case. Combining her failed marriage, inability to fly, and unrequited crush on her childhood friend, Bo Elliot – Mimosa’s existence is less than idyllic.
Things however, are rarely as they seem. Bo has a secret and when Mimosa falters, his secret is revealed. Yet in their darkest moments, where bad magic lurks, love is never far away. Mimosa and Bo do have a chance at happiness, if they're selfless enough to find it...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DemonSpawn - are they as bad as they sound?

[True form DemonSpawn, drawn and poorly coloured in by me.]


The man who stood before her was handsome in a slick, dangerous way. He had dark chocolate hair, smoothed back from a high, clear brow. Antigone studied him for a moment—his eyebrows (almost certainly manicured), hovered over his interested but assessing light-brown eyes. He was tall with broad shoulders that nipped into a narrow waist. His long legs were clad in darkcolored
trousers, but startlingly his feet were bare.
“Dobreden?” Antigone asked after a long moment, “Who are you?”
The man had little time to reply before Rio muttered his explanation.
“Tiggy, this Lucian, he will be your handler.” He sounded displeased.
A hot bubble of irritation swelled within Antigone. “Handler? What am I? Some sort of animal?” she retorted angrily but suddenly stopped. It was then that Antigone noticed something about Lucian that wasn’t at all normal, slick, or handsome. Her brow furrowed, and a deep crease appeared.
“Keep looking,” Lucian smiled.
Rio sighed, and sank down on one of the pale green sofas that rested by the window.
Antigone stared, blinked, and stared again. Lucian, was a black void, not one rainbow hue was visible where his soul should have lain.
“What on Earth are you?” she murmured and stalked around him, like a cat around a new and scary toy. “You’re not a Magical Construct,” she added warily.
“No, definitely not,” Lucian replied, seemingly enjoying her intrigue.
“Are you a Nephilim?” she asked, knowing that the soul of a Nephilim was not visible to others.
“No, try again.” A wicked smile grew on his lips (which absurdly, Antigone now noticed were rather sexy). Antigone stared blankly at him, although her mother had put considerable time and money into her education, she simply could not guess what Lucian was.
“I give up,”
“DemonSpawn, you stupid cow,” Rio grumbled.
 
Excerpt from "Magical Creations" - Available now!
 
DemonSpawn are, (in the world of "Magical Gains" and "Magical Creations") the offspring of a human and demon, most notably the Incubus. I've written about two DemonSpawn characters, Lucian, the character from "Magical Creations" and another from "Mimosa Black" (coming December!)
 
 DemonSpawn have the capacity for great good, or great evil depending on their inclination. Powerful beings, who can change to 'true form' at will, the DemonSpawn (of an Incubi) gain control over people (particularly women) through sex.   They can travel via dreams, and have metaphysical relationships with women in sleep. Demons and DemonSpawn are the only creatures who can control a Hellcat. At times of heightened arousal or anger, a DemonSpawn's eyes will flash red.
 
Clearly depending on the temperament, being DemonSpawn is not as bad as it sounds... at least not in my books!
 
If you loved Lucian in "Magical Creations", you'll love him even more in "Magical Redemption", my work in progress which I really must get back to writing.
 
 



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Magical Creations - available now!

...As a kindle and e-book. You'll have to wait a little longer for the paperback, a week or so perhaps.


Amazon (and you can read the first two chapters here)

And... I also got a lovely customer review on my release day, posted to my FB group.

Nicola, you are going to have to write faster - I am devouring your books. I loved Magical Creations, I especially loved Antigone and her fiesty personality. Keep up the great work x
Emma via Facebook.

Its so good to know readers are enjoying what I'm doing - it keeps me inspired to write more. So thank you once again!






Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Magical Creations" Release Day & Live Chat


"Magical Creations" release day! 7th October!

I will be chatting live in the Eternal Press chat room to celebrate!


(You don't need to 'log in' to use the chat room)

I will be chatting on Friday October 7th at 7PM Eastern Time, US, (5PM MDT).

For those of you south of the hemisphere (like me!) it will be 7 am Saturday 8th October (West Australian time). I know it's early in the West, so I'll appreciate your presence EVEN MOREIf you're living over East you can chat at a much more civilized 10 am (I think!)

OK, so if you're elsewhere in the world and not at all sure what time that will be, here's a time zone converter - http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converted.html?day=7&month=10&year=2011&hour=12&min=0&sec=0&p1=80&p2=196

I'd love to 'see' you there!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Hellcat - "Magical Creations"


[image courtesty: Flickr, Creative Commons, greenmelinda]

The beasts radiated heat, their coats more like flickering flames than fur. Twin sets of blazing
red eyes narrowed and focused. They stalked towards them on crouched legs... One of the flame-furred beasts snarled, an eerie, hollow sound that made Antigone freeze where she stood. Its teeth were the color of ebony. They flashed as its lips curled and it hunched as if about to pounce.

  ~"Magical Creations" Eternal Press - 7th October~
The count down is on...

These are my Hellcat's - you'll find them in "Magical Creations" and my WIP "Magical Redemption". If you're at all interested in the mythology behind them, feel free to check out an older blog of mine "Searching for a Hellcat".

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Six Line Sunday III - "Magical Creations"



Antigone looked again at Omar, now studying his orange glowing soul. A trill of anticipation caused the hairs to prickle on the back of her neck. Touching and taking a soul was something she had always forbidden herself to do. Antigone hesitated. Omar’s soul, though broken, was as gorgeous as he was physically. It shimmered with hundreds of orange hues. It called to her. It sang a siren song that seemed to beckon her irresistibly.

How have I ignored this all these years?


MAGICAL CREATIONS - COMING 7th OCTOBER

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When the pants just don't fit - the unconventional hero.

 [Image title; "Jeans that just don't fit,"]
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your hero just doesn't fit the mould. Just like sometimes, that pair of jeans just won't button, no matter how hard you squeeze.

I've written a flash fiction version of my proposed novel, "Good Girls Don't Talk to Satyrs". The flash fiction will be available as a free read today on the billboard of
mum's lounge; http://billboard.mumslounge.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57%3Agood-girls-dont-talk-to-satyrs&catid=8%3Asample-8&Itemid=4

To try and enrich my knowledge of Satyr's in modern literature, I read Elizabeth Amber's "Nicholas", the first "Lords of Satyr" novel. Well, uh, Ms Amber did succeed in making Nicholas the novel's hero, but his errr, assets and unique abilities don't fit with my type of Satyr, or genre. None-the-less it was an extremely enlightening and engaging read, but let it be said that I will never think of Harry Potter's position of a 'seeker' in quite the same way! Haha.

So what makes an unconventional character heroic? Is it charm? Loyalty? Cleverness? Devotion? What exactly?

My character of Priapus in "Good Girls" isn't an anti-hero by any means, but he certainly doesn't look, or come across as a cookie cut hero either. For starters, the mythological Priapus (on which he is loosely based) is a minor Greek fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his absurdly oversized, permanent erection which gave rise to the medical term priapism.  I would put an image of him here, but frankly, it's a wee bit obscene - actually make that outrageously largely obscene. If you're burning with curiosity, you can view it HERE. Now, I feel I must clarify, my Priapus is not that well endowed, and nor does he suffer from Priapism... Just so you know. He is however, not your conventional hero.

So if you get a chance to pop over to the mums lounge (http://billboard.mumslounge.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=57%3Agood-girls-dont-talk-to-satyrs&catid=8%3Asample-8&Itemid=4) today and read my  flash fiction about him, I'd love your opinions on whether he's desireable, likeable and heroic and if not, why not? Because I do want to write a novel about him and would love to have some general imput!

Cheers, and have a great Friday :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Six Line Sunday II - "Magical Creations"

Coming 7th October!

“I saw you today,” she said softly with a watery sniff.

“You what?” he asked, a quizzical eyebrow floating high on his brow.
“I had a daydream about you, and, I don’t know... I saw you.”
“What was I doing?” he asked, amusement tugging the edges of his lips up.
“Push- ups and sit ups.” Air rushed from her lungs at the memory of his body, hard and pumping.
“And?” he pressed gently.

[excerpt is subject to editing]








Hope you enjoyed it!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Is that a Dwarf or a Gnome?

He was dressed well, in a charcoal-gray miniature suit. His hair was white, and pulled into a braid down his back, and his beard, which hung long and thin to his portly belly, was braided also. His eyes were small and a bright-yellow hazel but he barely reached Omar’s thigh in height. What he lacked in height, however, he made up for in power...

Magical Creations - coming next month!

[Image courtesy; Brenda Rosen, The Mythical Creatures Bible pg 253]

If you're wondering what the above creature is - it's a Gnome!


As I've said before, and will say again, I have an enduring love of magic and mythological creatures in whatever form they come. So todays post subject is Gnomes and Dwarves - in honour of the many German vistors I get to my blog (yes, I see you there).

Do you know the difference between Gnomes and Dwarves?No? Allow me clarify for you!

Gnomes were first described by a Swiss physician/alchemist named Paracelsus. They are described as being earth elementals, that typically dwell in caves and other subterranean abodes. They are rather unattractive little humanoid creatures about 30-45 cm tall. There is some discussion as to whether they are magical or not, but as an elemental they have the ability to vanish by dissolving into trees or soil. They are the guardians of precious minerals and metals. They can be either helpful to humankind or tricky and malicious until someone has won their trust.  Unlike the Dwarf they do not possess any particular skill for metal work.[Rosen, B. 2010, The mythical  Creatures Bible, pg 253]

The Dwarf generally used in literature is of Germanic origin (though Dwarves are also noted in Native American mythology and several other folk tales). Commonly known as "Little People" they are said to be larger than a Gnome. The mythological dwarf appears as stocky old men with oddly shaped noses and feet. They are generally described as creatures of the earth. Dwarves of this ilk are expert metal workers - who fashion metal into magical objects (rings, swords, helmets etc). The Dwarves of Germanic myth are divided into three groups.
White Dwarves -  gentle and peaceful dwarves who spend time making beautiful gold and silver objects throughout the winter, and in summer frolic in meadows and woodlands.
Brown Dwarves - (similar to the Brownie) are considered more malicious and have been blamed for stealing human babies (I think Rumplestiltskin may be based on one of these). They also apparently play tricks on a chosen household and bring bad dreams to those under its roof.
Black Dwarves - can't you guess? These are are the seriously dangerous dwarves. They create false lights to lure ships onto rocks so they can plunder cargo and also use their metal working skills to create deadly weapons  that they strengthen with magical curses.
[Rosen, B. 2010, The Mythical Creatures Bible, pg 272]



A household spirit in Germanic tradition,  loosely related to the Dwarf is the Kobold, these are quite benevolent and help keep houses clean and tidy. Clearly, my own Kobold goes missing for days at a time!!

If you're into Gnomes, and quite frankly, I'm not - be sure to visit Gnomesville in Western Australia. I've been there, and found it weird and a little freaky... but if you like garden gnomes, you'll be in heaven. There are thousands of the things, heck they're even in the trees.

Anyway, is one last thing I'd like to show you about Gnomes and Dwarves and this is a youtube clip of a "real life" Gnome. It was taken by a bunch of young guys in Salta Argentina. It makes me laugh - the guy's reaction as he zooms up on the Gnome is priceless. It's pretty poor quality footage though (as is to be expected!!) none the less enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0fPoH2gWzc

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Enter the Sandman - "Magical Creations"


[Image courtesy: Gaiman, Neil The Sandman]

It was through the dim glow of the alarm clock that he saw two strange and monstrous beings. Thin and pale, they were human in form, but their faces were pointed, with impossibly slanted eyes. No thicker than a large twig, their arms ended in hands with grotesquely long fingers that clasped around his arms, pinning him to the bed. The air around them smelled dusty...

Yeah baby - they're Sandmen!

 [Magical Creations, coming 7th October]



In the next few weeks, I'll be highlighting some of the magical beings you're going to encounter in my latest release, "Magical Creations" and today I'm focussing on Sandmen.
The Sandman, which is a relatively innocuous title, has a sinister edge I think. Traditionally speaking a Sandman is a benevolent character who brings good dreams particularly to children, and the 'sleepy dust' or 'sleep sand'  in your eyes in the morning is evidence of his visitation. However, the sandman has also been depicted as malevolent. In E.T.A. Hoffmann's novel 'Der Sandman', the sandman is quite frankly hideous, he throws sand in children's eyes, which makes them fall out. He then collects the lost eyes and feeds them to his children on the moon. Gross isn't it? Neil Gaiman's famous depiction of the Sandman in his comic series (of the same name) also has a sinister edge. This depictions seem to have tainted the 'good sandman' image somewhat. Additionally, Metallica's song "Enter Sandman" has a strangely threatening, if not exciting air to it and thus, for me, the negative imagery of the acutual Sandman has stuck.
 
If you want to read about the Sandman the wiki site is fairly informative and if you haven't heard "Enter Sandman" you can listen to it here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY3LAFJbKyY&feature=related. (I grew up listening to this as my brother was a massive Metallica fan!)
 
I won't go into to much detail about how and why the Sandmen appear in "Magical Creations" because I don't want to give to much away. Suffice to say they're there, and even in dreams, someone may be watching you!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A body as hard and hot as worked iron... enter the simile!

[photo courtesy; FlickrCreative Commons; ell brown]


I love using similes and metaphors as descriptors in writing, it adds interest and colour to the story.
For those of you who aren't familiar;

A simile is a figure of speech that directly compares two different things, usually by employing the words "like", "as", or "than". Even though both similes and metaphors are forms of comparison, similes indirectly compare the two ideas and allow them to remain distinct in spite of their similarities, whereas metaphors compare two things directly [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simile]

A metaphor therefore is; a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels". Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor]

You'll find similes and metaphors peppered through almost any story, whether fiction or non-fiction. They make an image instantly recognisable and engaging.

In my latest WIP I've been playing with a really ugly character. He's ugly in and out and quite powerful. So I've been having a lot of fun making him revolting. To do this I've been using similes and metaphors and thinking of interesting descriptors. Thus far, this charactere has a toad-like appearance, with a fat pink tongue that slimes its way over swollen lips (hmmmm kissable huh? Not!) He shrouds himself in orange most of the time, but occasionally mops rivulets of sweat from his neck with it. Its a lot of fun.

Using descriptive similes and metaphors helps the readers imagination, create the scene, and I confess I spend a good deal of my time imagining cool descriptions - what can I say? I'm a nerd.

Anyway, one of my all time favourite similes, is the one that I've titled this post with. "A body as hard and hot as worked iron..." You can really see and feel how masculine and powerful the imagery is. Has anyone out there got a favourite simile or metaphor that they've read or created? I'd love to know.

Alas, I must leave this post a short one, edits, housework and a starved rescue cat are beckoning. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm on Twitter!

Ok, so I'm on Twitter without forceful coercion but the gentle urging of my friend and fellow author Shona Husk.

I'd always avoided Twitter, simply because twitter has the word 'twit' in it... and that reminds me of Roald Dahls hideous characters. None the less, images of grotesquely dirty morons aside, I have now joined to help with promoting my new new book due for release in October!

So please come and follow me, you're guaranteed to receive my sparkling wit, outrageous humour and golden nuggets of useful information at any time of day... how can you refuse?!

http://twitter.com/#!/NicolaESheridan

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Guest Author - Penny Ehrenkranz!

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to author Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz!



Penny's new novelette "Love Delivery" was released this month and she's come to tell us a little about it - and will give away a free e-copy of one of her short romantic stories to anyone who comments!

So...without further ado, let the interview begin!


 Hi Penny, and welcome to my blog! First of all, can you tell us a little about your latest release?
Sure. Love Delivery, is a novelette published by MuseItUp Publishing. It is a contemporary romance.



Blurb;  A waitress in a donut shop, Ann is happy with her single life and her cat, Mittens, until she finds herself interested in Tom, the handsome man who makes deliveries to the shop. Unfortunately, Tom comes with some baggage, including five cats; Maria, his vicious ex-wife; and Maria’s adorable daughter he calls Kitten.
When Maria is hired at the donut shop and learns Ann and Tom are beginning a relationship, she does everything she can to tear them apart. Will Ann and Tom’s love prevail, or will the evil ex-wife win in the end? Love Delivery is a sweet romance, which will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your lips.

Short Excerpt; Ann pushed open the door, and the bell jingled like an added alarm to wake her up. Sometimes she wondered how she could function this early in the morning, but a job was a job. At least waitressing in a donut shop was honest. Maybe someday she’d go back to finish college and do something rewarding with her life. Then again, maybe the man of her dreams would walk through the door this morning and sweep her off her feet. The closest thing to a dream man in her life was Tom, the delivery guy, looking like God’s gift to women. She sighed. It didn’t seem fair. He would never find her appealing with the figure she inherited from her mother. The only attractive thing she could find when she looked in a mirror was her startling green eyes.


 Was there anything particular that inspired you to write "Love Delivery"?
Life is always an inspiration to me when I write. I love to people watch and see how they interact. While the story in Love Delivery never occurred, it could easily have. The people have real hopes and dreams and obstacles to overcome.


How would you describe your writing style?
I am a “panster.” I don’t outline and I don’t plan much beyond knowing a general idea of the story I want to write. For instance, with Love Delivery, I wanted to write about blue collar workers in relatively low-paying, yet worthwhile jobs.


 Are you a plotter?
Definitely not.


Can you tell us a little about some of your other works?
My first novel is a middle grade paranormal mystery, Ghost for Rent. It is currently in transition to a new publisher. My second novel, Ghost for Lunch, is under contract with 4RV Publishing. They are also publishing three of my picture books: Boo’s Bad Day, Funny Dog, and Many Colored Coats.

MuseItUp Publishing will release two more romance novelettes this year for me: Lady-in-Waiting, and Mirror, Mirror.
My collection of short fantasy and science fiction stories, A Past and A Future, was released by Sam’s Dot Publishing in January of this year.

My other work is primarily short stories and non-fiction. People can see more about what I’m doing on my web site at http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com/


 Do you write for yourself, or for your readers?
I probably write for both. I write what I enjoy reading, but I also want my readers to find relaxation, entertainment, and release from reality.


What do you think makes a great hero/heroine in fiction?
I think they need to be real in the reader’s eyes. They can’t be perfect. They have to have flaws, but flaws which they realize and want to correct. I don’t always want my characters to be beautiful people. I would rather have them be ordinary. Maybe the heroine’s hips are too wide, or the hero’s ears are too big…


 Do you get any inspiration from real life actors/models? If so who?
No, I don’t think so. I do watch movies and t.v., but I would say my character inspiration comes more from people I’ve watched when I’m out and about, or people I know who have influenced my life in some way.


 Do you have any favourite authors?
My current favorite authors are: Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and Devon Monk, although I greatly admire others such as George R. R. Martin, Terry Brooks, Stephen King, Anne McCaffery and others.


 Do you have any more novels/novellettes in the pipeline?
Oops, guess I answered that above, but here are some links to where they can be found:

A Past and A Future
http://sdpbookstore.com/anthologies.htm
Dragon Sight
http://sdpbookstore.com/storybooks.htm
Love Delivery, coming August, 2011
Lady in Waiting, coming November, 2011
Mirror, Mirror, coming December, 2011
https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2
Funny Dog, coming May, 2012
Ghost for Lunch, coming September, 2013
Many Colored Coats, coming October, 2014
Boo's Bad Day, coming June, 2015
http://4rvpublishingllc.com/Childrens_Books.html

Nicola, thank you for the opportunity to visit with you today.

No problem, Penny!

If anyone would like to see what Penny is up to, she's currently very busy on a blog tour, and here's where you can find her!

August 17 -- Nicola E. Sheridan, http://www.magicalgains.blogspot.com/


Celia Yearly, http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com

Long and Short Reviews: http://www.longandshortreviews.com chatting on their forum

August 18 -- Su Halfwerk, http://www.suhalfwerk.blogspot.com

August 19 -- Lin Holmes, http://linsownblog.blogspot.com/

August 20 -- Janice Seagraves, http://ladyjanice.blogspot.com/

August 21 -- Joylene Butler, http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com/

August 22 -- Roseanne Dowell, http://roseannedowellauthor.blogspot.com/

August 23 -- Tina Donahue, http://www.tinadonahue.com/blog/

August 24 -- Grace Elliott, http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com/p/guest-blogger-spot.html

August 25 -- Marva Dasef, http://mgddasef.blogspot.com/

August 29 -- P.L. Parker, www.plparker.blogspot.com





Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Bishop Fish - fact or weird fiction?

[Image: Brenda Rosen; The Mythical Creatures Bible]

The Bishop Fish is a delightfully random mythological beast - and to be frankly honest if I saw it whilst snorkelling, I'd probably have a heart attack. These beasties are seriously odd.

According to my well thumbed copy of "The Mythical Creatures Bible" by Brenda Rosen (pg143), the Bishop fish (also known as the 'Sea Monk' or 'Sea Bishop', looks like an enormous fish, but the tail fins resemble legs wearing fisherman's boots and the pectoral fins are similar to clawed fingers. The head of the bishop fish is cone shaped just like a Bishops Mitre (hat). The creature was first pictured in a work by naturalist Konrad von Gesner, entitled "Historia Animalium" (1551-1558). This work depicted the history of animals, and their place in art, literature and history. He based a lot of it on folklore and mythology. So in amongst the rhinoceros and other real life creatures there are Unicorns and of course the Bishop fish.There was extreme religious tension at the time Historiae animalium came out. Pope Paul IV felt that Gesner's religious convictions (he was Protestant) contaminated any literary truth or merit of the book and thus it was added to the Catholic Church's list of prohibited texts!

Anyway, I digress! According to legend, a Bishop fish was caught of the coast of Poland and shown to the King of who wished to keep it. The creature was kept alive and when shown to a group of bishops, the fish pleaded to be released with it's claw-like hands. The bishops all agreed and the creature then made the sign of the cross and disappeared into the sea. [Rosen, B. The mythical Creatures bible, 2010, pg 143]

[photo courtesy: Wikipedia;]

According to Wiki, another Bishop fish was caught in 1531 off the coast of Germany. This one apparently refused to eat and died after three days.
Then in 1546, one was apparently caught off the Danish Island of Zealand, and was described as looking like a 'monk' (hence the other name for the Bishop fish, the Sea Monk.)

Over the years there seems to have been speculation about what exactly the Sea Monk/Bishop fish actually was. Danish Zoologist Japetus Steenstrup (1850's) claimed the Bishop fish was most likely a giant squid, and he published drawings illustrating the likeness.

[photo courtesy: Wikipedia, Japetus Steenstrup].

Current discussion speculates that the Bishop Fish was really an angel shark or a disfigured walrus or hooded seal.


Could this be a Bishop fish? Freaky isn't it?!

The fact is, that there are so many fish in the ocean, the Bishop fish legend could be drawn from anyone of them.  I always wonder where the actual myth comes from, and in this case I seriously doubt any deep sea fish could stay alive out of deep water, plead for its freedom or make the sign of the cross. Not without the use of some psychodelic drugs anyway.

 None the less, the Bishop fish is a pretty cool cryptid, and although I don't intend on using one in my writing, I thought it definitely worth sharing!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sneak Peek - Mimosa Black

Are you desperate to read about Harpies? Who isn't?!  Over the weekend I had intentions of posting a six line sunday, alas time escaped me. So today as kind compensation, I'm posting a short excerpt from "Mimosa Black" which will be out 7th December!

Here's another look at my super hot cover! (Thanks again Dawne`)


In a world where magical creatures are as rare as a spotty teen at a supermarket checkout, being one quarter Harpy shouldn’t be a problem.



Unfortunately for Mimosa Black, this is not the case. Combining her failed marriage, inability to fly, and unrequited crush on her childhood friend, Bo Elliot – Mimosa’s existence is less than idyllic.

Things however, are rarely as they seem. Bo has a secret and when Mimosa falters, his secret is revealed. Yet in their darkest moments, where bad magic lurks, love is never far away. Mimosa and Bo do have a chance at happiness, if they're selfless enough to find it...

Now here's the excerpt!

 

[be warned this excerpt is subject to change during the ongoing editing process!]

On the half an hour drive home, Bo said little. He fumed inwardly and cursed the Floccus Inviolatus for punishing Mimosa for simply being more human than Harpy. He also cursed the fact that she so blindly accepted their words of disparagement.

He took a surreptitious glance at her as they halted at the traffic lights. Mimosa’s head was low, her gaze blankly directed somewhere around her knees. Her mussed long dark hair cast shadows over her face, and Bo felt something in the region of his heart squeeze.

He closed his eyes for a brief moment, wishing fervently that things were different. His hand itched to hold hers, but it stayed resolutely on the steering wheel. He wanted to speak words of comfort, but his tongue remained silent. His lips burned to feel hers beneath them, yet he stayed still and distant, waiting sombrely for the lights to change. It was not Bo’s place to do such things and he knew it never could be.






Friday, July 22, 2011

Skinny jeans - testing the metal.


[photo courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons; Vivianna_love]

I have recently done some thing different. Well, different for me, anyway. I bought a pair of skinny jeans.  I'll be the first to admit that I've remarked on more than one occasion that the skinny jean is a fashion that really should not be revived. So why did I buy them? Well I had a discussion with a friend about doing things that are just a little bit different. Doing something you wouldn't ordinarily do can spice up your life - even it it's just a fairy step like buying a new style of jeans.
Every story is about challenges of some kind. From Cinderella and her struggle to get to the ball, to Harry Potter, a wizard orphan in the midst of a great prophesy. Challenges, tests, and how characters react to them make the story.

I once heard that you should force your characters out of their comfort zone at least three times within a novel. I don't know how many times I 'test' my characters within the average novel, I've never counted and I don't plot so I couldn't say. However, understanding that the central conflict and the smaller subsequent difficulties the characters face within a story are a type of challenge, enables the writer to create believable and interesting reactions to them. This in turn engrosses the reader and creates an engaging read.

In comparison, we organise our real lives to generally be as comfortable and easy as we possibly can. Buying the dishwasher so you don't have to wash up, driving to shops (two minutes away) instead of walking or riding a bike - we have made a cultural habit of avoiding discomfort - maybe that's why we like reading and watching tv so much!

Anyway, that was my thought for day!  - And by the way, the skinny jeans actually look ok :)