Monday, March 28, 2011

Baba Jaga and Eastern European mythology.

[Image courtesy Wikipedia, "Baba Yaga" by Ivan Bilibin (1876/7 - 1942)] 

I'm dedicating this post to all my Russian, Polish and other Eastern European regulars who pop by my blog. Yes, I've noticed you!

As a person with Polish heritage myself, I've always held a fascination with Eastern European mythology - particularly Baba Jaga. Every culture seems to have a hag, a crone, or something similar in its mythology, and Baba Jaga literally means "Old Hag".

She is a particularly fascinating character because all though she is generally deemed to be quite malevolent, she can, at times, offer help to those in need.  In some stories, Baba Jaga  is awful to children and keeps them as servants. She is also said to have an enormous appetite and has often been used to terrorise children into behaving under the the threat of "Baba Jaga will eat you."
In some stories, however, Baba Jaga is approached for assistance and help. In these cases, great care must be taken when approaching her, as good manners and purity of intention are essential. It is said that Baba Jaga is often reluctant to answer questions and give aid because for every question she answers, she ages one year... hence her haggard and ancient appearance.

Physically, Baba Jaga is quite ugly - a twisted form of an "earth mother" with enormously long breasts (which she hangs up on a wooden rail at night). With few redeeming characteristics, she is mostly described as a weathered hag, with iron teeth and greasy hair. She lives in isolated forests, alone or with a cat and a dog (both of whom she treats quite poorly).
Her hut is a strange thing, seemingly alive and balancing on chickens legs. In some Polish myths, however, she lives in gingerbread huts.

Baba Jaga doesn't tend to walk anywhere as she has one ordinary leg and the other of bone or wood. Instead she tends to fly in a magic pot or mortar, pushing off the ground with the pestle or a large spoon, then wiping away her tracks with a broom she holds in the other arm. Her appearance in a forest is heralded by a "thump" "swish, swish".

There has been some discussion on whether Baba Jaga is the remnant myth of a fertility goddess. Golden Baba was a deity of fertility who laid eggs and could take the form of crows or birds (something Baba Jaga is apparently capable of). It makes sense that Baba Jaga then may be a warped derivation of this.

A facinating mythological being, Baba Jaga gets a mention in both "Magica Gains" and "Magical Creations" - and probably will again. :)

If you're interested in reading more about Baba Jaga, here are some of the link's I've used to garner information.

Interview with Dubravka Ugresic
Baba Jaga Laid an Egg by Dubravka Ugresic

Monday, March 21, 2011

Red Shoes - dressing to impress...

[Image courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons Miss Karen]

Dressing your characters.

Is your heroine decked in Dolce and Gabana and spinning on those sweet Jimmy Choos? Or is she hunkering down in torn faded denims with a moth eaten T?

Dressing characters is marvellous fun. Particularly because it doesn't cost the author one penny! In your imagination you can give her the Gucci boots that you'd never dream of spending money on, or you can get her to flash that saggy, greying bra without a touch of embarrassment to yourself. What characters wear, gives that extra drop of insight into the ocean of their personality. Clothes can help build your world, they can hint at class hierarchy, suggest inner rebellion or express a desire to 'fit in'. There are so many different connotations that a reader can take from the what your character will or will not wear.

One character that instantly jumps to mind when I think of clothes, is Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton. In the early stages of the series she prefers to wear black and red, despite the fact her boss thinks they're too dark. Through her choice of clothing, we instantly we grasp an understanding of her personality.

 So whether your character lingers with doe eyes at the window of a Chanel store, or squeezes into jeans with an unfashionable rise. Fashion  - or lack there - of is a tantalising and visible marker in the world of fiction and one well worth noting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Temptation the Romance Bookstore

If you like romance - any kind of romance, and you're in Perth, Western Australia... You need to visit Temptation the Romance Bookstore.

The lovely (and lucky!) ladies who work there are stocking Magical Gains, and it will be available from the 29th March.

I urge anyone in the vicinity to visit this magic little store, so here's the link; Temptation the Romance Bookstore. It's well worth the visit!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sexy, sleazy Satyrs...

Satyr's they're interesting aren't they? As discussed in my post "Good Girls don't talk to Satyrs", the appearance of a Satyr varies from source to source. In my writing, I tend to use the appearance as sketched (rather poorly) above.

There is one characteristic that remains the same throughout all descriptions of the Satyr - their insatiable appetite for human women. This makes the Satyr a fun character to write, particularly in a contemporary setting. How would a Satyr fit in our society?  Fairly badly, I'd imagine.

In "Magical Gains"  the Satyrs live in a colony in the "Free Zone" (a place where magic is unregulated and Magical Beings can behave as they wish, with minimal interference from humans). In the Free Zone the Satyrs live and worship the God Dionysus with a monthly Revelry at the full moon.

Here's an excerpt from "Magical Gains" - when Primrose, my awkward heroine finds herself the unwilling "guest" at a Satyr Revelry.

“You are in the Satyr Colony, obviously,” a snide feminine voice growled.
Several of the Satyrs turned to face the speaker. It was a heavily pregnant woman who, by the looks of it, was human.
“Eloise, remember yourself,” the Stag retorted swiftly and sensing a fight, clip-clopped between Eloise and Primrose. “Eloise is the head Maenad. She is bearing my Satyr child,” he said. “She forgets herself.”
Eloise rubbed her protuberant stomach restlessly, evidently annoyed by Primrose’s unexpected presence.
Primrose looked from the Stag to Eloise and back again. “Well, I’d rather not cause domestic unquiet, so I might as well just leave,” Primrose said hopefully and stood, noticing with dismay her favorite skirt had torn and split up the thigh, revealing a suggestive amount of leg.
The Stag uttered a rich masculine laugh. “Leave before we have even been properly introduced? How rude!” He moved closer to Primrose and the surrounding Satyrs. “Bring our guest a drink, Priapus.” He winked at a younger Satyr who was repeatedly glancing covetously at Primrose’s exposed thigh.
“Now, as you await your drink, I beg you tell me your name, sweet lady.”
Primrose could barely contain her blanch at his lame endearment. “Primrose Brasco,” she replied stiffly.
The Stag smiled broadly. “A beautifully pure and chaste name! I hope you taste as sweet as you sound.” He grinned again. “I am Silenus and as you may or may not have guessed, I am the Stag of this colony. You are very fortunate to be our guest this evening...Tonight is a night of Revelry.”
Primrose stared blankly at him. “This is supposed to make your kidnapping of me okay? Some Revelry?”
A flash of annoyance was visible for only a moment on Silenus’s handsome face, before he smoothed it away with a nonchalant flick of his curly auburn hair. “We follow the ancient ways of the god Dionysus in this colony. It is our law that every full moon, we partake in the Revelry.” Several of the other Satyrs’ eyes lightened with excitement.
“Let me guess,” Primrose began with much more confidence than she felt. “This Revelry has something to do with drinking and sex?”
Silenus grinned. “Of course! Everything about Satyrs has to do with drinking and sex.”
Primrose winced...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Paperbacks are available!

Paperback copies of "Magical Gains" are available now!

Buy HERE for Amazon or HERE for Barnes & Noble!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Officially Released

"Magical Gains" is released!

You can buy it in e-book form from the following stores and many more besides!
Paper back will be available in the coming weeks.

Library Thing

All Romance e-books



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Release is nearing...

So my release date draws near, and here's what I'm up to;

Tomorrow I'm being interviewed by Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz, and you can read my interview here:

"Magical Gains" is due for release 12:01 am Tuesday 8th March (Pacific Standard Time) which is 4:00 pm Tuesday 8th March, Perth time.
I will be popping into the Eternal Press chat board around 7:00 am on Wednesday Morning (perth time) which is 4:00 pm Denver Time.

You can chat with me here:

I will also be dropping by the Wink Girls Blog next week to talk about one of my favourite subjects....can you guess? Yes, that's right... GENIES! So check it out!

The e-book will be available right away and I'll put up the buy links asap, but you'll have to wait until the 14th March to get your hot little hands on a paperback.

I'm excited!