Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Old shoes... and a new WIP

Image courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons, Nathan O'Nions
Today I have put aside my other projects and I slipped back into my favourite old shoes, paranormal romance and spent the day playing with words in my favourite alternate reality.

The world in which I write my paranormal romances was created way back in 2008, when I first got the idea for the world in which my debut novel 'Magical Gains' was written.

I got the idea from a TimTam advert, in which a girl gets herself a genie, and wishes for only a box of biscuits (cookies). I couldn't help but think that if that was real, the government would tax magic, or the magical item created... because lets face, the government seems to tax everything here, sometimes even twice.
You can totally see the inspiration for Primrose and Imran!

Hence I started to create a world, a world where all magical and mythical beings were real. I chose to play with Genies, because they'd be badly affected by a 'Magical Gains Tax' because no one could afford to accept the wishes they're cursed to give.

From this initial inception I began to research the mythological creatures that could appear in the world. I'd long had a passion for mythological creatures and had several books on them (now I literally have a library) the Manticore, at the time was my particular favourite - and one day I fully intend to finish a little novella about him.  At the moment, I'm really partial to giants and magicians.

I have always worked hard to make the mythological and magical creatures as realistic as possible, because I dislike weak explanations about how a creature could exist. For example, I was desperate to write about the Thriae, the bee-people from Greek mythology. In the historical texts they are generally considered to have the head of a woman and the body of a bee (a dominant theme in world mythological creatures.) However much I loved the idea of writing about a bee-person. I had to figure out a way that they could actually talk. It wasn't looking too good until I came across the whistling caterpillar.... 

Please excuse the cruel person squeezing the caterpillar. That looks mean doesn't it?

Suffice to say, the fact that an insectivorous creature can make squeaking sounds (albeit through their spiracles rather than their mouths), made it at least loosely plausible that an insect may be able to communicate in some fashion with a human.

In my latest WIP however, I'm focussing more on the the governmental / magical being tensions that are brewing in my fictional world - rather than introducing the reader to new creatures (though, rest assured something peculiar will crop up I'm sure). In 'A Warlord's Lady', you got a glimpse at how bad things were getting in South East Asia - now those problems are moving to Australia and my heroine a finds herself actively involved in a world few realised existed. This one has involved a look at Australian Law and Sedition Acts, which has proven to be rather confusing for the layperson. 

So although the time span between books has increased due to other writing projects, rest assured there are two books coming up, albeit at a slower pace than what I'd hoped.

Enjoy the rest of your week... I know I will.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


So very often the truth is stranger than fiction.

So for tonight's post I'm telling you the odd story of Barry...

Back in 2009, the staff at Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium in the UK, noticed that their corals in one of their aquarium were being were were being destroyed, and fish being eaten - and they couldn't figure out why. Remember, this is all happening in an aquarium - so it was unlikely something was coming in and doing the damage. The culprit had to beliving inside the actual enclosure and doing the damage - but no one had any idea what could be doing it! Not certain what to do, they set traps to find out what was going on.

In the morning the traps were destroyed - and nothing caught.

So they did a stake out and discovered Barry.

 A 4 ft marine polychaete worm.
Quite the fighter, Barry was able to bite through a 20 lb line, and is covered in numbing bristles, and put up quite the defense before being captured.

He was placed in his own aquarium and later became a tourist attraction. I couldn't find whether Barry is still alive at the aquarium, but in my browsing I discovered that it is not at all uncommon for marine aquarium enthusiast to find polychaetes causing damage to their stock - though generally they are inches long rather than feet long. Barry probably came into the aquarium in the coral rocks as a juvenile.

Enjoy your evening :)