Monday, 29 October 2012

Guest Post: Writing Mythically By J.S.Watts

  Writing Mythically
  By J.S.Watts

Myths, legends and fairy tales have always enchanted me. As a very small child I loved the stories my mother made up. They were a mix of genuine history (at a young age, I was already inappropriately fascinated by the bloody deeds of the past) and lighter tales of the fairy Mustard Seed and her chums. When my father sang to me I always wanted more of “The Mermaid With The Rusty Tail” – a song he made up to entertain me and then regretted because, having wanted more, I always wanted more again.

Once I was old enough to read stories for myself, I methodically worked my way through the “Myths and Legends of the World” series in the children’s section of our local public library. Then I discovered Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” and there was no looking back.

Given all of this, I guess it is hardly surprising that myths and fairy stories, and all the enticingly mysterious things that flutter in-between, feature with some regularity in my writing.

Many of my poems carry shadows of myths and legends at their core; likewise, my short stories. My tale of “The Last Dragon” is traditional, but original, myth and fairy story combined. When the time came to put together the manuscript for my first poetry book, it seemed a very natural thing to base it around my fascination with legend and fantasy and thus “Cats and Other Myths” was born - a collection that finds contemporary relevance in the echoes of myth and legend and the mythic in the day to day world around us.

In a similar vein, when I first put pen to paper (I always write original drafts longhand, it helps me to think) to begin the process of writing my first novel, it was hardly surprising that my contemporary tale of a man’s obsession with the unknown mother who abandoned him as an infant took on dark mythic tones. The psychological narrative at the heart of the story melded with legends from the Judaic Apocrypha and “A Darker Moon” began to emerge from their union, but of that, more later.

Over the years I have attempted to analyse my fascination with the mythic and have come to this conclusion: the act of creating fantasy, producing something out of nothing, beginning with a totally blank page, screen or canvas and putting absolutely whatever we want on it, can allow us to project ourselves, the core of our humanity if you like, onto our brand new creation. In other words, what we make-up reflects an element of ourselves back at us. Let me give you two examples to illustrate the point.

Example one: American SF B movies of the 50s and 60s – total fantasy and yet psychologists now tell us that at these films’ heart lies not the fear of “ little green aliens”, but fear of a more imminent other, The USSR of the Cold War period.

Example two: my own poem, “Way Lin and the Dragon” (from “Cats and Other Myths”) where each speaker describes the mythical dragon in his own image, mirroring his own preoccupations. Here are the first two verses to give you a flavour:

“What colour are the eyes of the dragon?
Asked Way Lin of the old man under the tree.
They are as cold and white as death:
White as a shroud, as the flesh of a corpse,
White as the bones of the dead that he feeds on,
White as ash.
Now ask me no more.

What colour are the eyes of the dragon?
Asked Way Lin of the young warrior.
They are as hot and red as blood:
Red as battle and the torn flesh of men,
Red as the claws of the hunter and his bloodied prey,
Red as fear.
Now ask me no more.”

And so back to my novel, “A Darker Moon”, which weaves echoes of myth and legend with literary fiction and psychological mystery to create “a dark, psychological fantasy”.

The main story focuses on the anti-hero Abe Finchley, who is struggling to come to terms with his own existential darkness, a strangely ragged memory and a revealed dark and violent family history that spans generations into humanity’s deepest past. I also like to think that it touches upon, however indirectly, the nature of humanity, because human memory, per se, is a thing of patchy darkness. Sometimes the blackness lies in what we remember, sometimes in what we cannot help but forget. Hopefully, no one has issues as dark or as complex as Abe’s, but few of us is totally without shadow. The old myths and legends that “A Darker Moon” draws on, as well as its newly created fantasy, illuminate Abe’s story, but maybe reflect a little bit of light back on ourselves. I probably ought to point out by way of gentle warning, though, that the promotional tag line to the book is: “A mythical tale of light and shadow and the unlit places where it is best not to shine even the dimmest light.”

About the Author

J.S.Watts is a British writer. She was born in London, England and now lives and writes near Cambridge in East Anglia. In between, she read English at Somerville College, Oxford and spent many years working in the British education sector. She remains committed to the ideals of further and higher education despite governments of assorted political persuasions trying to demolish them.

Her poetry, short stories and book reviews appear in a variety of publications in Britain, Canada, Australia and the States including Acumen, Envoi, Mslexia and Fantastique Unfettered and have been broadcast on BBC and independent Radio. She has been Poetry Reviews Editor for Open Wide Literary Magazine and, until its demise, Poetry Editor for Ethereal Tales. Her debut poetry collection, Cats and Other Myths and a subsequent poetry pamphlet, Songs of Steelyard Sue are published by Lapwing Publications. Her novel, A Darker Moon, is published by Vagabondage Press Further details of her books can be found on her website: . You can also find her on Facebook at

Monday, 22 October 2012

Review: Hidden (House of Night #10) by P.C. Cast , Kristin Cast

At last, Zoey has what she wanted: the truth is out. Neferet's evil has been exposed, and the High Council is no longer on her side -- but she's far from done wreaking havoc in the vampyre world. First, a mysterious fire ravages the stables. Then, Neferet makes a devastating move that will test them all.
With the seeds of distrust sown and Darkness breeding chaos at the House of Night, everyone must band together -- but that's proving to be more difficult than ever before. The twins are barely speaking and the House of Night's former enemy, Kalona, has now become their warrior, pushing their trust to the limit. To top it off, Zoey is pretty darn sure she might be losing her mind. She saw something when she looked at Aurox through the Seer Stone that she can hardly explain to herself, let alone her friends. Is it possible that Heath has come back in a different form? Is that why Zoey's so intrigued by Aurox, when it's so obvious that he's dangerous? And who would believe her if she told them? Zoey knows that following her instinct about Aurox might be just what they need to defeat evil . . . but if she's wrong, it could cause the destruction of those closest to her.
With the tension at a breaking point and friendships on the line, can the nerd herd come together to stop the spread of Darkness before it's too late?

My Opinion:

This is the tenth book in the series..!! yep..! TENTH BOOK..!
This series is turning out to be a real drag..!
I guess the only reason I am still reading it is because I want to know the conclusion..! Not that it isn't predictable...but still..! Call it my guilty pleasure..*shrugs*

So...since the authors couldn't come up with any new twists and turns (Not that I blame them...10 books..!!)...they have started transferring the people from one group to another (the groups being : good people group and bad people group..!)..all in the name of  'people change' ! Apparently, Nicole is turning into a new leaf...while Erin is turning into a dark wild child.

The story hasn't progressed much. I feel rather sorry for Erik whose character has suffered soo..much at the hands of the authors...from a cute, strong, understanding a weak guy who has always taken the easier route. (Well,if it really were so...why would he ever take Zoe's side even when he knew it was fraught with danger?? Why opt to support Zoe even after they broke up..?? Doesn't sound like taking the easy path to me ! )

Kalona has finally chosen the path of the goddess...and well...since the authors work on the logic 'eye for a eye' , Erebus is turning into a nasty, jealous character.

The only progress in the story other than those mentioned above (if you can call them...progress!!) that Zoe finally figures out that Health's soul resides in Aurox.

In conclusion, this book isn't much of a read..!

So, well...that will be all from my rant counter today.  :P

My Rating:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Cover Reveal : The Last Witch By Debbie Dee

      Cover Reveal : The Last Witch By Debbie Dee 

For generations the Incenaga Witches have been forced to use their power to fulfill the wishes of others until they are drained of their magic and left to die. Desperate to protect his infant daughter - the last surviving witch - Emmeline’s father escapes with her to the forests where he vows to keep her hidden from the world and from the truth.

Sixteen years later, Emmeline is discovered and finds herself in the grip of a traitor who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if it means abusing her power until she dies. She is taken to a distant country and told she must marry the Crown Prince or her own country will be overtaken, its people slaughtered. But what sort of prince would marry a witch? And why would she be the difference between war and peace?

As she fights to regain her freedom, she is faced with a choice between a prince who offers a lifetime of security and a common gamekeeper who has no idea of her power, but offers his heart.

But who do you trust when your power can be used against you?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Cover Reveal: Forbidden Forest By Tenaya Jayne

         Cover Reveal: Forbidden Forest By Tenaya Jayne

Born in shame. Cast from society. Shape Shifter/Elf hybrid, Forest must fight for any respect she can get. Targeted in her youth by a vampire noble who placed an illegal slave mark on her, she is forced to obey him, no matter what.
Slipping the grip of her master and abandoning the prejudice of Regia, her native world, Forest takes a job on Earth, guarding the portal, using her skills as a warrior to enforce Regia's laws. Now, called home for a black ops mission, Forest must put aside her own prejudice to transport the vampire prince, Syrus, through enemy territory in a time of war.
Prince Syrus, mage and master of the Blood Kata, wants Forest more than he's ever wanted anything. In spite of their mutual mistrust, their attraction cannot be denied. Through the danger of their mission, and the secrets they both keep, it doesn't matter what they feel. Forest is forbidden.

 Excerpt :

  Forest pressed her back against the cool concrete wall, wanting to remain aloof from the entity of the crowd. She chose her position in the shadows, out of the paths of the roving, multi-colored spotlights. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the feeling of the undulating human pheromones flying around on the air. At the beginning of every shift, she allowed herself a few minutes of this alien/human experience, though she didn't fully comprehend the combination of dancing, drinking, and ear-breaking sound waves. They loved it, however, and never seemed to deviate from the recipe.
These were the people she was sworn to protect. She had developed a light affection for the human race and considered them a benign, if not slightly silly, bunch of creatures. Her religious passion for her job was rooted in hatred of that which harmed the humans, not a superhero tendency to protect the weak.
Forest opened her eyes and focused all her senses to sniff out the illegal suckers that tried to sneak through the portal. She was in the zone tonight, and not for the first time did she feel that hers was the best job in existence. It was a shame she couldn’t legally kill suckers in her native world.
Over the next two hours, Forest didn’t move from the wall. She monitored the light traffic through the portal: two shifters and one elf, each of which nodded to her respectfully as they passed. Yawn. The shifters left the club to enjoy the delights of Austin’s nightlife elsewhere.
The elf would have been breaking Regia’s law had he left the club, but he dutifully seated himself at the bar and ordered a fuzzy navel. He wore a plaid, porkpie hat, pulled down over the tops of his pointed ears. Forest didn’t know him personally, but she had seen him in here before. The bartender surveyed him with narrowed eyes as the elf nervously tugged his hat down further and ordered a few more girly cocktails.
Intent on making sure that not one sucker was able to sneak past her, Forest was blindsided by the drunk bubba who had been trying to catch her eye for the last twenty minutes. He had finally decided to stagger over to hit on her.
“Hey babe, you’re too beautiful to look so lonely. How’s ‘bout I buy you a drink?”
“How’s ‘bout I call you a cab instead?” Forest mimicked his drawl.
“Only if you share it with me, Darlin.” He leaned in closer, and Forest’s throat began to sting from the noxious fume of booze mixed with his natural musk.
“While I appreciate the offer, Jethro, It seems only right to inform you that I’m not actually attractive at all. If you leaned in a little closer, you’d see that you’ve fallen victim to the effect of beer goggles. A hag like me can’t take advantage of a stud like you.”
As he leaned in, Forest instantly enlarged her nose, pockmarked her skin, evaporated her front teeth, and added a large black mole with a long hair sprouting from it for good measure.
“You’re no hag, baby! You’re the sexiest little thing in…I…uh… ” He stumbled backward. “Good grief! Sorry, sorry…” he stammered, retreating. “I’ve gotta quit drinking,” he mumbled as he turned away. Forest chuckled to herself once he absorbed back into the crowd. Being a shape shifter sometimes had unusual perks.