Sunday, April 29, 2012

Z is for Zwerge #AtoZChallenge




Not the smartest Zwerge.  





Origin:  Germany



Description:  The Zwerge is a dwarf that is known to live a myriad of places - the Underworld, springs and wells, caves or ruined castles.  (Zwerge is the German word for Dwarf.)  In the Underworld, they have chambers filled with all kinds of treasures.  They can pass through rock and they can become invisible



Disposition:  Sometimes they are helpful to humans.  Sometimes they give gifts and other times they steal corn and injury cattle.  Like many faeries, there are many facets to their personality.





I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that checked out my blog this month.  I hope you enjoyed the posts.  I know I enjoyed yours. 



I do a Faerie Friday post every week and the occasional post during the week.  Please stop by again and check them out.




Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yara #AtoZChallenge





Origin:  Papau New Guinea



Description:  Water faerie.  I know, another freaking water faerie.  The world is overrun with them. What can I say?



Dispostion:  Lures men into the water using their beautiful singing voices.  (I know I could never be a Yara because I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.)  Surprise, surprise, once in the water she drowns him like she should have done to the lying bastard that murdered her. 



A man can protect himself by wearing a seashell necklace. Catch -  his love most sing into the seashell.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xana #AtoZChallenge







I know. More damned scenery.


Origin: Spain


Description:  Nature spirits a/k/a nymphs.  Pretty young ladies will flowing hair.  Yadda, yadda, yadda.  Aren’t these pretty faeries always the same?


They live in caves and come down during the day a frolic in meadows. Sometimes they “borrow” your horse.  Those pesky Xana!



Disposition:  Insipid.



Sorry. This one is so boring I could cry.  Damn you, Letter X!!!!!! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wild Hunt #AtoZChallenge



Visions of the Wild Hunt by Agostino Musi


Yes, I know I am cheating.  I wrote about this last year, but it's my favorite post.  Humor me.


There are countless common themes prevalent in Western European faerie lore. One of my favorites is the Wild Hunt. I’m researching it now because of one of my WIPs. It’s called many different things – The Furious Host, The Slaugh, Devil’s Dandy Dogs, The Gabriel Hounds, Odin’s Hunt, The Seven Whistlers to name a few. It usually entails a Wild Huntsman (a faerie king, a demonized pagan deity, a damned human, the Devil himself) who rides a wild black steed and is accompanied by a pack of scary black dogs like a demon dog walker on horseback. In some stories, the huntsman is a huntswoman like in the case of Hecate in Greek mythology or Frau Goden in German folklore. Sometimes they are joined by witches or ghosts or faeries. They are hunting the damned, lost souls, the unbaptized or anyone who is foolish enough to be out alone at night.



In some mythologies, the Wild Hunt only comes on Halloween night or May 1st. In others, the specter of the hunter appears any night at midnight. Sometimes they ride through the night air and other times they hover just above the ground. To hear or view the Wild Hunt is almost always presumed a bad omen or a portent of death.



These stories make me think about the gullible peasants that believed that there were beings, be it demons or fallen angels or souls of the dead, that were out to get them. It certainly made it easier for local magistrates to enforce curfews and for priests to ensure that all children were baptized. Who would want to be caught and taken away by the Wild Hunt to hell or wherever they took you?



I can laugh at how foolish this all sounds up until a point. I grew up seven miles outside of a small town in Upstate New York called Whitehall. I still get goose bumps recalling the sound of a pack of coydogs I heard through an open window on a summer night. I had lost track of the time and back in those days I spent most of my time slaving away at my word processor. I must have been sixteen or seventeen. The pack ran along a ridgeline of forest about five hundred yards behind our house. It sounded like they were under my bedroom window. I stopped breathing for a moment, their eerie wails growing louder as they came closer. I am not ashamed to say I almost woke up my father, but instead I climbed onto bed and hugged my pillow close to my chest. In moments like that, it’s harder to judge other people’s fears and superstitions.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vough #AtoZChallenge




A picture of Adrian Paul just because.

I couldn't find a picture of a Vough and I didn't want to put up
another picture of scenery.  When my friends were lusting over Jared Leto in high school, I lusted after Adrian Paul from the Highlander.  I read too many historical romance novels set in Scotland.


Origin: Scotland.  I know. Again. 



Description:  The Vough are one of the Fuath (general term for malevolent water faeries.)  They are always female and are afraid of the light.  They don’t have a nose and they have a yellow mane of hair that runs down their back to the tip of their tail.  Yes, I said tail. To add to the look, the Vough have webbed feet.  And they dress in green.  St. Patty’s day year round! 



Disposition:  Since the Vough are malevolent water faeries my assumption is that they are malevolent.  They do, however, manage to snag a mortal man every now and again.  I pity the man that snuggles up with one of them at night. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Ursitory #AtoZChallenge




 August Xaver Karl Pettenkofen: Gypsy Children, 1855


Origin:  Romany Gypsies of Eastern Europe



Description:  The Ursitory are male spirits that appear before a child on third night after their birth.  There are three of them.  They determine the child’s future.  Once the future has been told, it can’t be changed.



Disposition:  I would assume apathetic.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

T is for Tarans #AtoZChallenge




Origin:  Scotland

Description:  The Tarans are the spirits of unbaptized children.  They are condemned to wander the world crying out until Doomsday.

Disposition:  Like many spirits, the Tarans aren’t particularly friendly and you could very well die if you meet one.  Holy water and shouting a baptismal rite at them might help, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Skrzat #AtoZChallenge




Behold, a wet chicken!

Origin:  Poland



Description:  The Skrzat is a house faerie that looks like a wet chicken that drags its wings and tail behind it leaving sparks.  You too can grow your own Skrzat by carrying a malformed egg under your arm pit for nine days.  He/she hangs out in the hay loft and steals corn.



Disposition:  If you can get over the corn thievery, having a Skrzat is good luck and will bring you great fortune.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for the Red Haired Man #AtoZChallenge





I picture something like this, but less GQ and more rustic.




Origin: Ireland

Description:  Red headed.  I picture him handsome with an even white smile and a spark of mischief in his eyes.

Disposition:  The Red Haired Man lives in faerie and for some reason, likes mortals.  He shows up in all kinds of stories.  He tries to prevent people from eating faerie food.  He prevents human kidnappings by faeries.  He can smuggle you out of faerie.  He can even break a spell or two.  He’s a good guy to have around.

I have a character in one of my WIPs who is based on The Red Haired Man.  His name is Grady.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quiet Folk #AtoZChallenge




Origin:  All over the place. From Germany to Denmark, from Holland to Poland, from England to Russia.  See, all over the freaking place.



Description:  They are small and live in the ground.  They avoid the sun.  I bet they think the world is better with sunglasses on like I do. 



Disposition:  These faeries are very gentle. They are good at stuff like spinning and weaving and blacksmithing.  But don’t ever cross one.  They will make your life a living hell and you’ll get sick and/or go crazy.  Just don’t do it.  Okay?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Padfoot #AtoZChallenge







And before you ask, I’m not talking about Sirius Black; though I’m sure J.K. Rowling used this common tale as the basis for his alter ego. 



Origin:  Yorkshire, England.



Description:  It has many different faces. Sometimes it appears as a sheep with fiery eyes.  Other times it’s a large white dog or a black donkey.  Sometimes it’s invisible.



Disposition:  The creature is called Padfoot because of the creepy noise it makes as it is STALKING you on the moors.  This noise is quickly followed by a horrible roaring sound or the rattling of chains.  This is caused many travelers to die of fright.  Don’t bother to try to hit the creature for you fist (or a weapon) will go right through it.  Seeing a Padfoot is a bad omen.  Not to mention super, super disconcerting.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Oakmen #AtoZChallenge








Origin:  England



Description:  The Oakmen are the most common tree faerie found in England.  Sometimes they are part of the tree like Greek Hamadryads and sometimes they are dwarves with large heads and red toadstool caps.



Disposition:  The Oakmen offer enticing food to humans who pass through the forest.  The traveler shouldn’t eat it, however.  Its poisonous fungi disguised by faerie glamour.  The Oakmen get really mad and dangerous if someone cuts down the their tree. They protect the wild animals of the forest they inhabit and will punish humans that harm them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Neck #AtoZChallenge








Origin:  Scandinavia



Description: The Neck is a water faerie who hang out in rivers and lakes and plays the harp.  He is handsome with blond hair, beard and green eyes.  He wears a red cap.  Like many fae, he is afraid of iron.



Disposition:  He demands a human sacrifice every year.  (What he'll do if he doens't get it is unclear.) It doesn’t matter that he takes pity on young men that have been spurned by their lovers.  He’s still a bit of a shit.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Melch Dick #AtoZChallenge





No, not this Dick...

... though just as cranky.







Origin:  English North Country



Description: Dwarf in peasant clothing.



Disposition:  The Melch Dick is a wood demon who protects the nut trees.  He punishes anyone who takes his nuts with bloating and cramps.  He doesn’t like lazy people and punishes them with pinches.  I know, you really can’t make up this stuff.









Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Laumes #AtoZChallenge


Artist's depiction of a Laume

Origin: Balkans



Description:  Beautiful forest dwelling faeries that are found bathing in pools and or spinning and weaving.  They have power over wealth and fertility.  They give and take at will.



Disposition:  In older traditions, the Laumes were considered friendly.  They likes to converse with humans and they protect children and orphans.  They sometimes kidnap children, but not with the aim of hurting them, but rather they want to mother them. They are hotheaded, but they are very generous and compassionate.  Sounds like a Billy Joel song.



In newer traditions, the Laumes are depicted as hags.  Think Baba Yaga.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kappa #AtoZChallenge




Origin:  Japan

Description:  The Kappa is an unpleasant water faerie. They look like a cross between a frog and turtle with webbed and clawed hands and feet, green skin and round eyes.  They have tortoiseshells on their backs. They have a slight intent on tops of their heads that hold water, their source of power.  In fact, they can’t live long outside of water.  They travel on cucumbers. 

Disposition:  They lurk at the edge of ponds and lakes waiting for a human or animal to come close enough to snack on.  You can defeat it by getting it to spill the water from its bowl-shaped head or you could just toss it a cucumber.  They like cucumbers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jalpari #AtoZChallenge





Origin: Punjab Province, India

Description:  Unknown.  Female water spirit/faerie from India.  I imagine a beautiful woman with long black hair and bright black eyes draped in white and blue silk.

Disposition:  She lures men into her embrace so that she can kill them. You can appease her by leaving lamb meat and flowers.  I can also be appeased with lamb and flowers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Illes #AtoZChallenge



I don't know why this is a hard rule to observe:
Don't follow strangers into holes in the ground!!!



Origin:  Iceland and other parts of Scandinavia
Description: Illes are dark, ugly and hairy trolls.  They only come out at night.  Did I mention they are completely naked?
Disposition: Illes are able to change appearances at will. They play beautiful music and turn themselves into beautiful maidens with the aim of luring the unsuspecting into their underground world.  The mortal will pine away for the beautiful maiden after their real form is revealed.  One should refrain from touching them as well for their skin will make a person sick.

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hey-Hey Men #AtoZChallenge






I can easily imagine strange things like the Hey-Hey Men
could live in such a place.




Origin:  Southern German to the Balkans
Description:  Hey-Hey men are shape shifters that are rarely seen, but when they are, the usually take the form a short man with a wide brimmed hat, red cloak and a whip.  They can be identified by their “hey-hey” laugh.  I don’t name ‘em.  I just write about ‘em.
Disposition:  A person would be foolish to follow the laugh of these dangerous faeries for fear of losing their way.  A person would be even more foolish to laugh at the Hey-Hey Man.  If you do, he’ll kill you.  Simple and elegant.  I like it!


Greta and Goblin King

Cover Reveal!!!




Releasing November 13, 2012, Chloe Jacobs YA novel, Greta and the Goblin King hits books shelves and e-readers everywhere.

While trying to save her brother four years ago, Greta was thrown into the witch’s fire herself, falling through a portal to a dangerous world where humans are the enemy, and every ogre, goblin, and ghoul has a dark side that comes out with the full moon.

To survive, seventeen-year-old Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young Goblin King, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her determination to escape.

But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. The full moon is mere days away, and an ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…

Stop back in September for an exclusive excerpt of Greta and the Goblin King!

Find Greta and the Goblin King:


On Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13260802-greta-and-the-goblin-king


Pre-order from Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/greta-and-the-goblin-king-chloe-james/1040613977


Chloe Jacobs is a native of nowhere and everywhere, having jumped around to practically every Province of Canada before finally settling in Ontario where she has now been living for a respectable number of years. Her husband and son are the two best people in the entire world, but they also make her wish she'd at least gotten a female cat. No such luck. And although the day job keeps her busy, she carves out as much time as possible to write. Bringing new characters to life and finding out what makes them tick and how badly she can make them suffer is one of her greatest pleasures, almost better than chocolate and fuzzy pink bunny slippers.


You can find Chloe on:


Twitter:
www.twitter.com/Jacobs_Chloe

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/ChloeJacobsAuthor

Website:
http://www.chloejacobs.com



Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Ghoul #AtoZChallenge





Can you guess which is the Ghoul?



Origin:  Arabia
Description:  The Ghoul is a variety of Djinn, the offspring is Ibis (Satan.)  They come in a myriad of forms, even as a beautiful woman, but they always have hoofed feet.
Disposition: They dwell in the deserts and attack travelers.  You have one chance to kill a Ghoul.  If you are unsuccessful each blow you deliver will make the Ghoul more and more powerful.  Used as a bogeyman to frighten misbehaving children.

P.S. They feed on corpses.

Friday, April 6, 2012

French Faeries - The Follett #AtoZChallenge




Origin:  Rural areas of Northern France

Description:  Generally the Follett are invisible.  For those who have seen them there are two main descriptions – a tiny old man dressed as a jester or a tiny man dressed in a red coat and britches with long hair and beard brandishing a teeny little sword.  I like that later myself.  Personal preference only.

Disposition:  The Follett are not the friendliest of creatures.  Actually, they are quite nasty.  They invade homes in the French countryside throwing pots and pans and sticks on the residents.  They like to pester spinning women and rub cattle’s skin raw (yeah, weird, but a major concern for a farmer!)  They also like to make crude jokes. 


Now if a person can resist losing their patience and flying into a rage at this vicious little bastard, the Follett will act as a House Faerie, completing chores and tending to the cattle. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

All About Djinns and a Giveaway!!!


And the WINNER is... Dana.  Look for my email, Dana!!!!



Mina Khan, Paranormal Romance Author



We have a special guest this week for Faerie Friday and I couldn’t be more excited.  Mina Khan, Author of A Tale of Two Djinns and The Djinn’s Dilemma, is here to talk about Djinns.  I don’t consider Djinns to be faeries exactly but they are sometimes referred to as such in some of my reference books.  I find that the term faerie, demon or spirit is used almost interchangeably in some texts.  It doesn’t matter what you call them; they are still part of the lore of Middle East and beyond. 


I had intended on writing a post about them at some point, but when Mina said she would be happy to write one for me, I was thrilled.  Who better to talk about them than someone who actually grew up listening to stories about them? 
To add icing to the cake, Mina is giving away 50% of the proceeds of her sale of A Tale of Two Djinns to UNICEF's new Schools for Asia initiative.  So buy a copy for yourself and one for a friend, or ten.  It's for a good cause not to mention a good read!  Check out her reason why this is so important to her on her blog.

Oh, and make sure to leave a comment.  One lucky reader will win a copy of both of her novellas.  Yes, both.  I'm feeling generous.  Contest ends on April 5th at 12:00 pm EST.  Good luck!

Take it away, Mina!


Usually when I mention I write about djinns, people think I’m talking about the liquor (yes, djinn is pronounced gin), so I quickly add “genies.”

Then people smile and imagine something blue and funny…



Or something saccharine cute…



According to the djinn mythology I grew up with, God first created angels, then djinns and finally humans (erm, even the wildlife came before the humans). In other words, djinns are sort of trial beings created before humans and the two have many things in common. Both djinns and humans have free will and can be good or bad, they can fall in love and raise families, or be vengeful and destructive. Djinns live in a parallel dimension with their own governing system, cities and architecture. The only time you’ll find a djinn living in a bottle is if they have been imprisoned in it.

What exactly are djinns? They are supernatural powerful beings created from smokeless fire. They are more powerful and more intense than humans. Catching the attention of djinns is often dangerous for humans.

So the djinns of my imagination tend to be dark and dangerous, sexy and otherworldly. I’m happily picturing Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan here:




Um, yeah…what was I saying? Right, djinns…sigh…isn’t he djinn-licious!
 
Part of the reason my idea of djinns is so different is because once I neared puberty I heard djinn stories that carried lessons and warnings intended for young girls. According to many a story, a careless pretty young girl (yes, she would have to be pretty, and careless…virginhood was implicitly implied) who would unfortunately attract the attention of a djinn. The djinn would fall in love. He’d watch her and surprise her with gifts. All very nice, until the girl tried to have a normal life –like get married to a human.

The powerful and insanely jealous and possessive djinn would react by making her speak in different languages, act crazy, or even violent if a human man approached her. In other words, make her entirely unsuitable for marriage.

Lessons: young girls should not walk around with their hair loose, their laughter should not be heard aloud to attract attention and they should be in the house before dusk. Somehow, I never dwelled on the lessons part.

Maybe it was teenage hormones, but the idea of a djinn lover didn’t scare me. I secretly found the idea delicious, and I still do…except now, I share my djinns in my stories.



You can get your very own copy of A Tale of Two Djinns:




Giveaway Rules:  Leave a comment about the creatures/mythical figures of your childhood that left a lasting impression on you and your email address so I contact you to tell you that you won.  Don’t worry, I won’t use it to sell you Avon products or something. 
I’ll go first:  Bigfoot.  It’s a long story.

About Mina: Mina Khan is a Texas-based writer and food enthusiast. She daydreams of hunky paranormal heroes, magic, mayhem and mischief and writes them down as stories. Between stories, she teaches culinary classes and writes for her local newspaper. Other than that, she's raising a family of two children, two cats, two dogs and a husband.




She grew up in Bangladesh on stories of djinns, ghosts and monsters. These childhood fancies now color her fiction. Her debut novella, THEDJINN’S DILEMMA was published November 2011. A second novella, A TALE OF TWO DJINNS, came out March 2012. She had a lot of fun writing her djinn heroes.




You can find her at:

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/Mina.Khan.Author



Twitter: http://twitter.com/SpiceBites

E is for Each-Uisge #AtoZChallenge



Before I get a get to today’s post, I was to remind everyone that you have until Noon EST to enter to win two of Mina Khan’s romantic novellas.  Check it out here.  The winner will be announced later today.

E is for Each-Uisge






E is for Each-Uisge

Origin:  Scotland.  Name means “Water Horse.” They live in the lochs and sea. (I know another Scottish one.  I'll try better next time.  I promise.  Cross my heart.  Hope to die.   But Scottish faerie names are so wonderfully unpronounceable!)

Description:  They often appear as horses.  They trick people into riding them. (I've mentioned before on this blog that riding strange steeds is a bad idea.)  They drag their victims into the depths and eat them.  With the exception of their livers.  They don’t like liver.  Sometimes they appear as handsome young men in hopes of seducing pretty girls.  A girl can spot him by the seaweed in his hair.

Disposition:  They eat people.  Enough said.  And they have green slimy stuff in their hair if that first point doesn’t turn you off.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Daughters of the Sun #AtoZChallenge




Origin:  Okeefenokee Swamp in southeastern Georgia (USA.)  To be honest, I always thought this was a made up name.  Shows you what I know.

Description:  They live on a mysterious island in the middle of the swamp.  They are smoking hot with pretty faces, dark eyes and musical voices.  Only a few people have ever reported seeing them or hearing their laughter filling the air of the swamp.

Disposition: Unknown.  I have to add that some people entered the swamp in search of these beings and didn’t come back.  Interpret that information as you will.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Church Grimm #AtoZChallenge



Phote removed by author



Origin:  England, more specifically Yorkshire

Description:  Usually appears as a large black dog.

Disposition: Powerful portent of death.  This spectral dog stalks cemeteries at night and in stormy weather to keep the devil and malicious spirits from the dead.  The only person who can see the Church Grimm without dire consequences is the minster. 

Interesting factoid:  There was a superstition that the first person buried in a new cemetery would become the spiritual guardian.  In order for this not to happy, a black dog would be killed and buried first in the cemetery.