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