Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Lamiae

In this painting by Henry James Draper, Lamia doesn’t look particularly vicious, just cold.  

This post is actually a cross between a post for Vampire Faerie Month and a post for next month’s theme – “I’d rather be single than have you as a lover.”   I’ll feature four different Faerie lovers over the course of the month in honor of Valentine’s Day.  And before you start thinking that’s sweet, remember Faerie lovers can be callus, cruel and capricious (and other words that start with C.)  Kind of like that jerk you dated your sophomore year of college, but instead of sleeping with your roommate he causes your untimely death.  Faerie love isn’t for the faint of heart!

The story of Lamia is a sad one and starts very much like a lot of Greek and Roman myths - Zeus getting his dick caught in something and Hera doing her best to cut it off.  In this case, the something was Lamia, a Libyan princess (sometimes Queen depending on the version of the story.)  Zeus falls in love with her as he often did and she bears him a couple brats.  Instead of kicking Zeus’ ass for his infidelity, she gets revenge by kidnapping and killing Lamia’s offspring.

Stricken with grief and anger, Lamia retreats to a cave where she eventually goes bat-shit crazy and turns into a half beautiful woman (upper half) and half serpent (the lower regions) monster. Zeus feels bad for Lamia and gives her the ability to remove her eyes from her head.  It’s just what every round the bend, grief stricken woman needs.  Thus starts her child killing, blood sucking, man seducing rampage.

That was the first Lamia.  The term lamia means “she who swallows up” (yeah, I know!) and it has come to have a few different meanings.  Generally, it’s a horrible beast that is half serpent and half woman.  Lamia has referred to a Roman nursery bogey (a deterrent of bad behavior), a vicious Greek Faerie and monsters that stalk the North African desert.  In medieval Europe, witches were referred to as Lamia.  In most of these legends, the Lamia is a vampire.

Like a succubus, Lamiae have been known to seduce men.  In some stories, it’s the only way to make her beautiful again.  She sleeps with man after man trying to regain her youthful beauty.  I bet you know a few people like that.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Turkish Honeymoon and Fairy Chimneys

 My husband and I honeymooned in Turkey.  I know that sounds like a strange place to honeymoon.  I can’t tell you how many times I was asked why.  It was as is if I told people we were going to Mars.   Some people assumed my husband is Turkish.  He isn’t.   People couldn’t wrap their brains around it. 

This truth is I’ve wanted to go to Turkey since I was 13 or 14.  When my husband and I were trying to figure out where to take our honeymoon, I threw out the idea of Turkey.  I was surprised that he was amendable to it.  In fact, he seemed as excited about it as I was.  So there started the planning of our two week long trip.  I did most of the planning.  I knew we were going to go to Istanbul (no brainer) and to the Roman city of Ephesus, but there was one more location that I wanted to see – Cappadocia.

This meant that we were going to stay in a cave hotel.  Yes, you read that correctly – a cave hotel. 

Our Hotel.  Let me tell you, all of the stairs were freaking horrible for my legs after all of  the hiking we did.  It was torture.

Me and the Hubs.  A storm coming in the background.

Cappadocia is located smack dab in the center of the country.  It hot and it’s dry, but the land is very fertile.   There is a plethora of vineyards and farms.  The landscape is unique, almost otherworldly.  

Truly gorgeous!

The area is famous for its "fairy chimneys.'

I know.  They look like giant erect penises protruding from the earth.  Everyone thinks so.  And I didn't even get good pics of the ones that really look like penises.

Earlier settlers to the area believed that faeries lived below these rock formations hence the name "fairy chimneys."  The reality is they were caused my lots of volcanic activity and then seeping water.  The result is breathtaking.

Here’s a picture of me during one of the before mentioned hiking trips.  I can’t remember if this is before or after I fell down and cracked my knee open.  I suspect it was before.  

Vampire Faerie Cats

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I have been a very bad blogger.  I’m going to try to make up for this in the coming weeks.  I’ve got a couple of interesting posts planned.  I hope you enjoy them.

I’ll start by actually writing Faerie Friday.  I know it is Sunday.  I promised an entire month of Vampire Faeries and I’ve only delivered two.  Here is the third.

Ieles are vampire faerie cats from Romania.  They walk on two legs and skulk about at crossroads waiting for an unlucky traveler to cross their path though they can’t enter the middle of the crossroad.  Once the Ieles have someone their sights, they suck their blood or remove a leg bone and replaced it was a wooden wheel spoke.  What they want with the bone and why they replace it with a wheel spokes is beyond me, but if the traveler returns to the same place a year later, they get their leg bone back.  Strange medieval security deposit?

Vampires lurking at crossroads are a common Eastern European superstition and crossroads in many folklore traditions are the haunts of faeries and magical creatures.  In many of these traditions, in-between places have mystical qualities.  I guess crossroads are extra special in-between places.

I need to learn more Eastern European folklore.  I would love any suggestions from readers about books that I should be reading.  I’m a book dork and I can always find more space on my bookshelf for a good volume on folklore.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This weeks Faerie Friday

This week's Faerie Friday post will be delayed.  We can call it Faerie Saturday Morning/Saturday Afternoon.  Author is busy working on a project.  Besides she can't decide between Vampire Cat Faeries from Romania or Greek Vampire Snake Sirens/Demons.  I'll keep you guys posted!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Pitch for The Dark King's Lover

UPDATE: I found out this morning that one of the editors requested my manuscript.  Yay, for me!!!!  

Check out all of the winners here.

Hey, in case you missed it (I mean, I think I tweeted about it every day for a week) Jami Gold is hosting a pitch session over at her blog with Entangled Publishing.  One more hour to go.

I thought I'd show you guys my for the  pitch in case you were interested:

Title:  The Dark King’s Lover
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Word Count:  14,500 words

Two-Sentence Pitch:

Immortal witch, Darby Cross, knows better than to trust a faerie, especially the Dark King himself, but she accepts his bargain knowing full well he may take her life.  When Black Duff finally gets three days with Darby after years of seducing her in her dreams, he realizes three days might not be enough.

First 100 Words:

Even in her dreams, he hunted her.

Darby Cross couldn’t remember the last time she had slept, really slept, without him crawling inside of her mind and lying down beside her.  A month.  Maybe two.  She couldn’t even remember what day it was.  Was it August or September?  It must be September she thought as she started to drift with the lull of the Greyhound bus.  Apples.  She had seen signs for pick your own apples in the last town they stopped.  She was sure of it.  As sure as she was of anything since the night Black Duff murdered her sister.

So what do you guys think?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Away to fair Sardinia!

Hey, folks!  Before I get onto Faerie Friday, I’d like to remind everyone that Jami Gold is hosting a pitch session with Entangled Publishing over at her blog.  The session continues to January 16th.  You know what the means?  You have all weekend to get a pitch together.  They are looking for short pieces between 10k and 60k words with strong romantic elements.  Yes, that means that they are looking for a happy ending.  Well, isn’t everyone?  So if you have a short piece that you think they would like, get your butt over to Jami’s blog and check it out.  I left mine on Tuesday. 

Okay, now back to Faerie Friday!  It’s the second week of Vampire Faerie Month.

Writing Faerie Friday is probably my favorite part of every week.  I get to sit in my home office, listen to music and do this weird dance-while-sitting-indian-style thing.  Sometimes I bring a cocktail.  I have ten or so reference books scattered around and my blog notebook.  I’m in a pretty happy place.

Now, that we’re comfortable, today’s Faerie Friday takes us away to a beautiful island in the Mediterranean called Sardinia.  (The name makes me think of sardines which makes me sad, but that’s irrelevant.)

Behold Sardinia’s beauty. 

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I think I could be happy there.

Dwelling in caves in the hills of Sardinia, lives the Giane.  These faerie creatures started out as pretty standard wood sprites.  They were tall, about five feet tall (that is tall by Faerie standards) and stunningly beautiful with exception of their long breasts that they would fling over their shoulders.  I guess that’s one solution for tummy tits. 

The Giane would spend their time spinning and embroidering.  They were so adept at spinning they created veils that could cover entire valleys (i.e. the mist.)  They had the power to tell the future and to find treasure.  This was not enough for the Giane. 

Alone in their caves with no suitable mates to be found, the Giane grew bored and horny, but like any intelligent creature, they adapted.  They learned to sing and those songs would lure men into the caves. The Giane would pounce on the men and suck their blood.  They would do other things to them as well because, low and behold, three days later the Giane would give birth to half-breed with a penchant for raw meat.

Did I mention that they had steel finger nails and were reported to eat human flesh? 

This is the older version of the Giane.  Like most faerie creatures, they have been sanitized and now they are elf-like creatures that weave and sing and are generally well behaved.  I’d take the vicious kinky sex having vampires any day over their meek decedents.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Post of Vampire Faerie Month

I had this brilliant idea while packing to visit my parents for Christmas.  I would bring about 10 or 12 volumes from my library and get a jump start on this month’s Faerie Friday posts.  I had a list of a dozen or so creatures I could write about already jotted down in the official Pixies Don’t Have Wings blog notebook (title proudly written in black permanent marker on the front cover.)  I just had to pick out four and write about them.  Easy Peasy.

I gathered all of the books in my favorite tote bag, and then I tried to pick it up.  The freaking thing weighted a ton.  I managed to cart it down the stairs and out to the car.  My husband, the dear he is, carted the thing into my parents’ house.  There is sat, untouched, until we left two days later.  My husband had to bring it back out to the car and then back into our house.  He left it inside the front door for me to deal with.  The man’s a good guy, but he’s no fool.

So the thing has been sitting on my living room floor since the day after Christmas.  I swear it has been mocking me.  Tonight I lugged it back upstairs and tomorrow you guys get Faerie Friday.  All’s well that ends well, but I learned a valuable lesson.  I won’t get any work done while visiting family.  I should just come to terms with it now and save my husband’s back in the future.

So, back to Faerie Friday.  In honor of January being National Blood Donor Month, this month’s faeries are vampiristic little suckers.  I hope you enjoy them.

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Yeah…. Not that kind of Vampire Faerie.

I’m going to recycle a faerie that I spoke to in an earlier entry, Are you a good faerie or a bad faerie?   In this post, I explained the real difference between Unseelie and Seelie faeries and I gave some very good examples of the Unseelie.

My favorite is the Baobhan Sith.  I described them as follows:

Baobhan Sith – A female faerie succubus with goat feet that sustain themselves on human blood. Usually, they travel in packs of four like rabid teenage girls.

That’s a pretty fair and accurate description with one caveat.  They don’t have goat feet, they have deer hooves.  I hope you will forgive me. 

In Scottish Gaelic, Baobhan Sith means “Faerie Women” or “Women of the Sidhe” just like their Irish cousins, the Banshee.  They aren’t anything like the Banshee, however.  The Banshee wails and weeps and warns.  The Baobhan Sith kills people.  In other words, the Baobhan Sith are cooler, much cooler.  

The Baobhan Sith do travel in packs.  They attempt to seduce young men.  They are partial to huntsmen out alone on the Moors.  Let’s face it, who isn’t?  They dance with the young man and just when the guy is sure he’s gonna get laid, they drain him completely (and not in the good way.)

In Judika Illes book, Encyclopedia of Spirits, she postulates that the Baobhan Sith are deer goddess punishing those hunters foolish enough to kill without conducting the proper rights.  Or maybe they are just dancing vampires.

Oh, and they always were green.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I’m Going to Talk About Myself Today

I’m not apologizing.  Just stating a fact.   Here it goes:

I realized that I needed something more in my life shortly after my 32nd birthday.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a pretty good life.   I had a cute little house, a job that I didn’t hate most of the time and a wonderful fiancĂ© (the BEST!) I had hobbies that kept me busy, reading and gardening.  Even with those things, I needed something else to challenge me besides planning a wedding which would be over in a few short months anyway.  I need something creative to fill the void.

My mind kept coming back to what I used to love doing more than anything else – writing.  When most teenagers were out having fun and causing trouble, I was at home reading or in front of my Brother word processor, my most prized possession after my romance novel collection.  During the weekends and breaks from school, I stayed up late into the night and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning typing away.  (I was the only person I knew my freshman year of college that could type 90 words a minute.)  During those late hours I wrote about love, mystery, murder, places I had never been to and probably never would.  I wrote thousands upon thousands of words.  I was a writer.

Somewhere in my twenties, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment though I’ve tried, I gave up on writing.  Maybe it was because I was sure all my writing was utter crap or maybe I was tired of schlepping old manuscripts from apartment to apartment, but one day I just threw it all away, all of those old printed sheets of paper, all of those crumpled legal pads full of scribbles.  I would give almost anything to have those back again.  Not because it was really great writing. Actually, I’m pretty sure it was awful writing, but it represented who I used to be and who I could be again if I dared. 

Sure, I resurrected the old writing bug every now and again and bought a few books on the craft.  I even managed to jot down a page or two, but as quickly as the bug came, it left, and I moved on from that dream again.

So in May of 2010 (yes, I’m 33 and a Taurus) I had an inkling of an idea for a novel and some determination that I would write this time.  Even if I just wrote for me.  I had thrown that part of myself away before.  Never again.

I decided to put my writing project off until after the wedding.  I knew I was going to write about Faeries so I bought all of the books I could on the subject.  I discovered Katharine Briggs and Brian Froud and Peter Dubois.  I devised a plan.  2011 was going to be the year.  I was excited as I was terrified.

Now as we arrive at 2012, I have to say I’ve come a long way. 

Last night I finished the first draft of a short story (15,000 words) that I started over the summer.  I know that’s not much, but I finished a draft of something.  I haven’t done that since I was 18 years old.

I’ve written over 150,000 words in 2011 between blog posts, my NaNo project and a few failed drafts.  For someone like me, that’s a lot of freaking words.  They may not be the right words or in the right order, but they are my words.

I’ve learned a lot about the craft of writing this year. Some of it has come through trial and error, some had come from my friend, Nina Alvarez, and some has come from the great writing blogs I read weekly. Thank you Roni Loren, Janice Hardy, Jody Hedlund, Jami Gold, Chuck Wendig and many others.

I started my own blog which I vowed I would never do.  I always assumed blogging played into society’s narcissistic tendencies.  Maybe it does, but I love writing Pixies Don’t Have Wings.  Thank you to all of you that take the time to read my posts and follow my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you.

My husband and I both participated in NaNoWriMo. We were both winners though we are still working on our manuscripts.  50,000 words do not make a novel, but it’s a damn good start.

Last night I asked my husband what his New Year’s resolution was.  He told me he was going to make better use of his time.  It was a brilliantly simple resolution that carried a great deal of power.  I decided I was going to steal his idea. 

My name is Buffy and I’m a New Year’s resolution thief.

So was does “Make better use of my time” mean to me? 

·       It means that must put aside time every day to write.  I have time to sit down on the couch and watch a mindless hour of Storage Wars.  I don’t even like the show.  I can make time to do something I love.

·       It means that I take the time to make myself healthy meals instead of eating out or ordering take out. Cooking isn’t hard and I’m good at it.  I have no excuses.

·       It means doing something physical three times a week.  I leave four doors down from a freaking park.  Enough said.

·       It means spending quality time with my husband.  He’s the love of my life.  It’s the least thing I can do to show him that I appreciate him every day.

Specifically, my writing goals are as follows:

·       Finish revising and editing The Dark King’s Lover, a short of approximately 15,000 words.  I will try to find a place to publish it.

·       Finish the first draft of my NaNo book, Enlightened.  If I think it has enough potential, I’m going to revise and edit.  Maybe there is a publisher out there for this work.  If not, it was a great learning experience and I can always release it as a serial on my blog.

·       Finish the first draft of Darkness Peering, the first in the trilogy I have been dreaming of since May of 2010.  I will tell Greer’s story if it kills me.

·       Continue with Faerie Fridays and add more quality posts to my blog.  I have a lot say about faeries.  Well, I do!

What did you learn from 2011 about yourself?  What are your goals in 2012?