British Legends – Goram and Vincent #Giants #Bristol Myth

The South West of Britain has many striking geological features – The rivers Severn and Avon, the Avon Gorge not least among them. As with many of such wonders there are myths aplenty surrounding their creation (nothing as mundane as ice – ages, glacial flow and tectonic movement). Giants were a common creature often blamed of tasked with the creation of these natural phenomena, and if the amount of myths about them are anything to go by the giants were plentiful, drunken and of a mind to fighting.

Here is the tale of Goram and Ghyston-Vincent – two brother giants who have left their legacy in the culture of Bristol, if not, in fact the scenery.

Goram and Ghyston (Vincent)

The most widespread version of this myth claims the Giant brothers Goram and Ghyston (later known as Vincent) were both enamoured of the lady Avona (who bears the name of the local river – the Avon – which is a story in itself). Avona offered herself to whichever one could drain the lake which once existed between Bradford-on-Avon (neighbouring county of Wiltshire), and Bristol.

Taking up the challenge Goram decided to dig a channel through the limestone hills via Henbury, and Vincent opted for a route just south of Clifton.

Goram, (in one version) finding the work hard and hot downed prediguos quantities of ale (did he take it with him? Do Giants have public houses or make their own?) and fell asleep in his favourite stone chair.

Ghyston-Vincent – the better planner – paced himself and completed his channel – leaving is with the narrow gorge at Hazel Brook, and the Avon Gorge, through which the River Avon now flows. On completion the waters roared into the Severn, leaving only a trickle for the Hazel Brook.

Upon waking the Giant Goram, was upset at losing the affections of the Lady Avona, and stamped his foot in a pit – leaving the Giant’s Footprint in the woodland above the Henbury Gorge, in what is now the Blaise Estate. He was so upset he threw himself into the Severn Estuary, leaving behind Steep Holm island (his head) and Flat Holm island (his shoulder).

Goram’s lake, near Henbury, was supposedly created when Goram stamped his giant foot, and the smaller lake is Goram’s Soapdish. Goram’s Chair is comprised of two flat topped walls of solid rock sticking out from the cliff-face – they look a lot like the arms of a comfy chair.

It’s not surprising he lost – it sounds like he’d been busy creating these other features as well as wooing the ladies.

Ghyston-Vincent wed Avona and named the gorge after her.

In some versions Goram was lazy and stopped for drinkies…

Other versions of the tale

A second version of the legend says the brothers were working together and Goram fell asleep and was felled by an accident blow from Ghyston-Vincent’s pickaxe. A variation of this says the giants were sharing a pickaxe for the work, and Goram was slain when he was resting when his brother threw him the axe. Giants throwing tools and rocks to or at one another are common British myths to explain monoliths.

Ghyston-Vincent then completed the work alone, going on to complete other stone-works such as the Stanton Drew Stone Circles in remorse and later returned to his cave and died from grief and exhaustion.

Yet another version states only Goram built the Gorge and there is no mention of Vincent. Goram, having completed the work fell over an iron-age barrow and plunged into the Severn Estuary.

A similar legend tells of a giant named Gorm threw rocks at his rival, and one particularly large one fell short, thus becoming Druid Stoke.

Goram was buried beneath the barrow tumulus at Charnborough Hill – although there is not much left of the barrow now.

Transmission of the legend

The oldest version known is found in Britannia (1586) by William Camden, later reworked by Thomas Chatterton writing as Rowley the monk. Another version appears in Robert Atkyns History of Gloucestershire) in 1712.

The name Vincent may reflect that at the narrowest point of the Avon Gorge there was an ancient hermitage and chapel dedicated to St Vincent. In another version of the story Vincent is known as Ghyston, which is the name of the whole cliff-face of the Avon Gorge from at least the mid-fifteenth century. Vincent’s cave is also known as Ghyston Cave, or the Giant’s Hole.

The name Goram may have come from Iseult’s father, the King of Ireland, in the early romance of Tristran and Iseult. ‘Gorm’ is Irish for blue or ‘dark-skinned.

‘Vincent’ as a first name arrived in about the 13th Century, and became popular as a result of St Vincent the Deacon, however it is unclear whether the Clifton hermit was called Vincent and became associated with the saint, or that St Vincent became known in Bristol due to trading links with Portugal and Spain (St Vincent is the patron saint of Lisbon and vintners).

Legacy of the Legend

Blaise Castle and Estate use the legend of Goram widely, including hosting a funfair bearing Goram’s name. There is a Giant Goram pub in the area, a smokehouse restaurant called the Goram and Vincent, and even an Enterprise level E-commerce company bearing the name.

There is also a website and collection of kids’ books about Goram and Vincent/Ghyston.

There are walking tours and other tourist attractions based on the myth.

There is a carved Giant’s head at Ashton Gate, and in the Middle Ages a turfwork portrayed Ghyston’s head. Ghyston’s Cliff is in Avon Gorge.

A bit about the area

The Avon Gorge is a mile and half long and runs through a limestone ridge about 1.5 miles west of the centre of Bristol. It’s been used in the defence of the city. It is spanned by the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The gorge spanned 700 feet wide and 300 feet deep.

The gorge is mainly limestone and sandstone – it is believed to have been caused by glaciation during the Anglian Ice Age, and the limestone carries fossils from the Carboniferous Age 350m years ago. The Iron Age Dobunni tribe are believed to have dwelled in the area and there are the remains of three Iron-Age hill forts. (A variation of the myth held that the Giant Ghyst built the forts).

There are over twenty rare plant species that grow in the gorge and two unique species of trees, the rare peregrine falcons have returned to nest there since the 1990s. Much of it is a Site of Scientific Special Interest.

Check out the post from Anthony Adolph – broadcaster who gives a wonderful account of the stories. https://anthonyadolph.co.uk/somerset-giants/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goram_and_Vincent

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/leigh-woods/features/the-avon-gorge-in-medieval-mythology

Contos de Erana – Tales of Erana Portuguese Edition

Em um mundo onde a magia é ilegal, e os elfos escravizados se atrevem a ouvir as histórias da antiguidade? Cinco contos de mito, magia e monstros

A lua na água: o conto do amor entre uma deusa e um guerreiro e a terrível maldição que ele trouxe.

O Conto de Treyna, a Amada: Quando uma mulher mortal é perseguida por dois deuses rivais, até os céus são forjados por magia.

Nascido na Tempestade: Um mágico solitário encontra companhia de uma criatura da tempestade, mas a magia exige um preço, que preço será?

O Frasco Azul: Uma lição para ouvir atentamente as instruções, para que ninguém cometa um erro embaraçoso.

A Lenda de Oeliana: Uma história de ninfa e sapo, magia ciumenta e dívidas pagas.

https://books2read.com/ContosdeErana

TalesErana cover Portuguese

Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Alexandra Brandt #Fantasy #HerebeMerfolk

Brandt

Author name: Alexandra Brandt

Please tell us about your publications, specifically the story in this bundle:

I am a short fiction writer, especially science fiction and fantasy. I have three stories published in the Fiction River Anthology series, and a collection of short stories (plus a bunch of standalones) published independently.

“We, the Ocean” might arguably still be the best story I have ever written. It was also my first professional sale. It was for Fiction River’s No Humans Allowed–the theme wanted a very alien viewpoint–and I decided to write a collective mind, whose only pronouns were “us” and “them,” because I wanted to try things I’d never done before. So I committed grammatical sins. I wrote darker and stranger than I’d ever written. And the story took me in places I hadn’t even begun to anticipate.

Then the series editor of Fiction River singled it out in her foreword, calling it ““inventive, heartbreaking, and wholly original.” I’d never had risks pay off like that before. It was just what I needed.

What first prompted you to publish your work?

It took a long time to get here. Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith taught me that I could. And then that first professional sale taught me that other people might actually want to read my stuff. It still took me until 2016 to work up the gumption to put my other stories out there, but actually being invited to contribute to a “Haunted” bundle provided the push I needed to start publishing in earnest. That same year I also decided to give my mother–one of my biggest fans–a special Christmas present: a five-story collection of light contemporary fantasy stories. It was pretty liberating to stop dragging my feet and finally do something with the stories.

How did you become involved in book bundles? Would you recommend it?

Oh, I guess I jumped the gun on this question when I mentioned the Haunted bundle, didn’t I? The editor, Jamie Ferguson, actually emailed me and personally invited me to it. I’d heard about book bundles in passing but hadn’t considered participating before. And now I love them–sometimes they inspire me to write something new, and other times they are a chance to breathe new life into an old story. Most importantly for me, they offer a chance to connect with other authors and discover new people to love.

What is your favourite mythical creature? Why is this?

I love many mythical creatures. When I was wee, I decided I was a “fairy princess bride angel mermaid.” My friends and family still call me a mermaid, partially because I wrote a story about one (more or less) and apparently also because I love to sing–my roommate, who has had to listen to my singing off and on for years, started calling me that and it just kind of stuck. So now I have a bunch of mer-themed paraphernalia from friends. My favorite is a tote bag featuring a mermaid whose back is tattooed with “Misandrist.” It makes me cackle every time I see it.

All that said, I think my favorite mythical creatures are actually dragons. They can be terrifying and savage, or noble and wise and awe-inspiring, but most importantly they just look darn cool.

What does writing bring to your life?

An outlet for the daydreams and stories inside my head. My childhood nickname was “Wandering Cloud” because I would drift away from whatever I was supposed to be doing and tell myself stories instead. I wanted to be a writer pretty much the instant I discovered that books were written by real human beings. It still took me a really long time to be able to finish anything I started, though–I still struggle with my inner Wandering Cloud, even/especially when I am writing.

If you had to pick 5 books to take to a desert island which 5 would it be?

Assuming this is one of those situations where I am marooned indefinitely rather than vacationing, I would want to bring:

  • A meaty tome like Shakespeare’s complete works, so I’d have plenty to occupy my mind. (I might skip through Titus Andronicus, though. That one gave me nightmares as a teenager.)
  • A really big blank notebook with an attached pencil to write all my thoughts.
  • Something by Stephen Hawking–not sure which one, because I haven’t read any yet (but keep meaning to, which is the point of including it).
  • The Hamiltome so I can memorize all the songs at last. Plus bonus pictures! And treasures from Lin-Manuel, who is one of the best humans alive.
  • K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy because she is one of my all-time faves and I own a single book that includes the whole trilogy plus a novella, so ha! four books in one!

…Or maybe replace one of the above with a nice, detailed book on how to survive on a desert island?

Nah. I stand by my choices.

Sort these into order of importance:

Good plot

Great characters

Awesome world-building

Technically perfect

***

1.) Great characters

2.) Awesome world-building

3.) Good plot

4.) Technically perfect (I mean, does such a thing even exist)

How influential is storytelling to our culture?

We humans live and die by stories, whether we’re avid readers or not. If something has a story, we connect to it. And anything can have a story–if I hadn’t been consuming books my whole life, my marketing job alone would have taught me that. Storytelling can help us understand and process truths about our world, or it can obfuscate and manipulate. It can build or destroy connections between humans. As a writer I believe I have a responsibility to bring good things into the world, to open minds and hearts and promote empathy and compassion, because that’s what reading stories has done for me.

If you could be any fantasy/mythical or legendary person/creature what would you be and why?

I would love to be something very wise and far-seeing. And beautiful in some way–I love beautiful things. So maybe the wise kind of dragon, or a sphinx. No wait, scratch the wisdom thing–I want to be a dryad. I love forests so much, and I would love to learn to connect with both the life and the stillness in them.

Tell us about your latest piece? 

If we’re talking most recently published, the Fiction River anthology Feel the Love just came out last month. “Lifeblood,” the story I sold to them, was initially inspired by a thought experiment–no, let’s call it what it actually was: fan-fiction–where I tried to figure out what kind of mutant I would be in an X-Men universe. But along the way I realized I could ask questions about what it means to love selflessly–questions I still don’t know how to answer. I don’t think the story answers them, and I don’t think it should.

But I sure did enjoy finding a nerdy way to explore them.

What’s your next writing adventure?

I’m working on a story that was originally intended to peel back the layers of some classic fairytale tropes and ask what this would really feel like for the people involved. As expected, the story ended up taking on a life of its own, and now I have four great characters with all these inner conflicts and desires and damages to overcome. I think it’s a novella? Or a trilogy. Or something in between. Who even knows at this point. Anyway, it’s a quest story that will hopefully take some emotionally-resonant twists and turns.

Is there a message in your books?

Oh, probably. Or at least some common themes. Of course, I really want to promote empathy and compassion in my writing, so I always try to dig deep into the emotions and inner lives of my characters. I am still working on writing more diversely, but one theme I’ve noticed in a lot of my stories is “how women relate to each other.” If I have two main characters in a story, chances are they will both be women (and I’ve also been learning how to write non-binary characters, inspired by my wonderful writing partner Rei Rosenquist).

Sometimes there’s a love story, but not always–there are just so many ways to explore deep relationships beyond the usual heteronormative romances. Within the trappings of fantasy and science fiction, of course, because I am just that kind of person.

 

Links

http://www.alexandrajbrandt.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexandraBrandtWriter/

 

Bio

Alexandra Brandt spent most of her childhood dressing up in fairy wings and parading in front of the mirror telling stories to herself. Not much has changed: she still loves a good costume, and tells herself stories every day.

Her short fiction appears in Fiction River and other anthologies, and has made it onto Tangent Magazine’s 2017 and 2018 Recommended Reading lists. “Ellen Double Prime,” her story in Fiction River vol. 28: Wishes, was double-starred and described as “a strong and powerful story” by Tangent Magazine.

When not yelling at her computer, reading, or debating worldbuilding details with her writer husband, Alex functions as a copywriter, content marketer, and graphic designer for a medical practice. She also does freelance book cover design for fellow authors. She occasionally sings in a choir, and always welcomes any excuse to sit down and play tabletop games—from D&D to board games to cards.

OceanStory.jpg

Alexandra’s story can be found in Here Be Merfolk

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/here-be-merfolk

 

Hell Week 2018 – Orpheus/Janet and Chris Morris #HeroesinHell

Welcome to Orpheus

Who are/were you?

I was the Thracian Argonaut, magician, musician, and prophet. Still am, though here I do hell’s bidding, such as sitting in this dank cell with you as my interrogator.

Who is your ‘lover’ in Hell? Eurydice, the oak nymph, my wife; most beautiful and desired of women, lo these many years lost to me – twice sought and once returned to me from Tartaros

Love in hell, isn’t that a contradiction? How does this work? Love is the province of the soul; death cannot faze it nor passion still its rhyme.

Many of the denizens of His Satanic Majesty’s realm have a curse – what is yours? You jest. Do you not see the puddle by my feet, the wet where I sit on your prison bench? Do you cannot hear the dripping from my flesh? All of us who served on Jason’s Argo drown again and again in salty water, and between drownings our skin drips brine continually.

Who are your friends/allies here? Friends in hell? That’s the contradiction. My friends met in hell are my friends met in life; those met in hell who serve my ends let me serve theirs: such men and women, witches and goddesses, and empowered souls like Shakespeare and Marlowe serve the gods of hell from their day and set us tasks that lead us to more curses and misery: in hell, suffering is the only true coinage, and even that be scarce.

Describe your home/environment in Hell.

Home? Environment? I am a musician, part of the pit orchestra in New Hell, a place where all the worst from every day and age gather together and prey upon one another, eon after eon. Sometimes we serve as sea-going mercenaries in Jason’s crew, but with Medea on our track, these days bring only danger, loss, and separation for an infernity that makes lovers weep and the devil grin.

Eternity – that’s a damned long time. How do you spend the endless years here? No, not ‘eternity.’ Infernity – thanks for that to John Milton, who like the Bard of Avon and his lover Marlowe create words to suit their trials and tribulations, words that jump from their lips and torture damned souls the more.

Hell covers all eras and technologies, there are many hells within Hell. How have you adjusted to this strange world? Adjusted to digital damnation? To weapons that don’t work well but take their feet and serve like soldiers; to politicians spouting lies from their umbilicals? From avengers, who stalk one another throughout hells ages and devise punishments more foul the deeper in hell you go. Feel that cold, seeping from the brine that drips from me? The closer to hell’s belly you get, the more you suffer its cold – loveless, lonely, and afraid.

Why do YOU think you’re in Hell? I know what I did, writing my Orphic missives: I called upon hell and it answered, sending a viper to kill my Eurydice and sending me on fruitless quests to find her deep in Tartaros.

What are your greatest fears here? That, once I find her, I should lose her again – only so many times can a mortal beseech Hades and Persephone for manumission. Eurydice is the breath of salvation to me; without her, afterlife is an empty threat.

Love is Hell-FB3

Author Spotlight

*Name and bio:

Best selling author Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. Christopher Crosby Morris is an American author of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a lyricist, musical composer, and singer-songwriter. He is married to author Janet Morris.

Tell us about your story for this edition. For Lovers in Hell, Janet and Chris Morris wrote a novella in three parts which follow lovers as they lose and find one another among hell’s multifarious domains.

What inspired you to use the character(s) you’ve chosen? The characters for lovers include those who have served in other volumes of this series, such as Shakespeare, Marlowe, Sappho, Samael, Orpheus, and some never before met, such as Eurydice,

Writing for a shared world is challenging, how do you meet that challenge? We do a new Hell volume every year or so, or whenever we have enough stories that meet our criteria. In the time between volumes, we discuss with our group of writers story names, themes, and execution. Writing for hell is not easy. At this moment, we have two more volumes plans, so we may never escape hell ourselves . . .

Tell us why you chose this story to tell out of so many possible options? We’ve wanted to do Lovers in hell for years, but we didn’t have the right group of writers for it. This year, all the requirements came together and we called for stories for Lovers in hell. Next will be Mystics in Hell, which suits our current list of characters and invites new ones.

What are you currently working on? An anthology and a new novel by Janet and Chris Morris, as well as some new music.

Name the last two books you’ve read – tell us about them. Aristotle: On Breath, one of the most accessible works of Aristotle in the Loeb edition.

Ghost Stories of Henry James – in which something actually happens during each story, most often in the last two paragraphs. We learn more from James every time we read him, as we do with Waugh.

What are your views on authors offering free books? We disapprove of this generally, and only once in a great while offer books for free, if we’re introducing a new author or reissuing a series.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Don’t comment on reviews if you can possibly avoid it.

Which books/movies/plays have influenced your life? The Black Stallion. Justin Morgan Had A Horse, The Iliad. Hamlet. Henry V. Brideshead Revisited. Lion in Winter. Atlas Shrugged.

In these days of movies and video games are books really influential? I hope so. The books we write aren’t for beginning readers, in any case, and if the casual reader or the various Hater sects are attracted to digital games and other diversions which provide no deeper value or commentary on the human condition, then that’s fine with me: it keeps them off the streets.

What do you think are the top three inventions/discoveries in human history and why? Fire, which allowed the earliest development of humanity. The Wheel, which allowed humans the key to engineering. Early writing (such as pre-cuneiform and hieroglyphs), which created the tools for written history. The Rosetta stone, which showed people the possibilities of comparative linguistics.

 

A Day in The Life of Dorgo the Dowser

#Meetacharacter

A Day in the Life of Dorgo the Dowser.

*Who are you?

Why, I’m Dorgo Mikawber, otherwise known as Dorgo the Dowser. I earned that nickname because of the dowsing rod that I carry with me all the time. This is a rather unique and specialized dowsing rod, because it can detect the ectoplasmic residue of any supernatural presence or demonic entity, and sense the vestiges of any form of magical power used in the commission of crimes, crimes I’m often hired or asked to solve. Without my dowsing rod, I’d be out of work and forced to find other means of employment. I mean, what else can I do? I’ve been a mercenary, a body guard, and even a smuggler. I’m not qualified for much else. Can you imagine me being an innkeeper or a blacksmith? I can’t. And my luck is often so bad when it comes to gambling that I’ve learned to keep my money in my pocket, most of the time. I do gamble with my life often enough and thus far Lady Luck hasn’t left my side. But it would be nice if she’d let me win at dice or cards once in a while. Oh, well. Beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

Tell us about an average day in your life.

On the rare occasion when I’m not engaged in something to do with murder, mystery, magic, mayhem, and the occasional monster, my average life is pretty average. I sleep late, stay awake all hours of the night, drinking, placing the rare bet on a Minotaur wrestling match or centaur race, and spending time with a lovely woman. But as I said, those days are rare, because those who deal with the supernatural and the demonic, and those who follow the Dark Light of Odylic Power, which is commonly referred to as magic and sorcery, are always up to something nefarious. In my city of Valdar, almost anything can happen, and usually does.

Are you a lark or a night owl?

I have to be both in my line of work, because evil never sleeps, demons never rest, and most crimes occur during the darkness of the night. I often have to walk a fine line between darkness and light, in the shadows of a world where life is cheap and souls are always up for sale.

How do you think your ‘average’ day compares to that of other people?

Well, I sometimes get a chance to break my fast, enjoy a bath and don clean but tattered clothing. I may even get a chance to visit with friends. But that’s where all comparison comes to a halt. When there’s a crime committed that involves dark sorcery, demonic entities and supernatural agencies, that when I come in. I’m either hired by some private citizen to help solve the crime, or my friend Captain Mazo of the Purple Hand (the Royal Constabulary in Valdar) will, most reluctantly, ask me and my dowsing rod to lend him a hand.

Do you court danger?

I don’t court it so much as find myself either caught in its grip or trying to keep clear of it. But when I’m forced to deal with unscrupulous men, duplicitous women, practitioners of the Dark Arts, and a criminal underworld . . . well, danger usually courts me. Trouble, as someone famous once said, is my business.

Do you think your life is fulfilling?

I think so. I hope so. I have helped a lot of good people, saved a lot of lives, and have sent many a dark soul to the dungeon or to the gallows. I’m certain Hell is filled with many of my foes who are just waiting for me to get there.

If you had the choice what would you change in your daily life?

Nothing. Not a damn thing. I love my life and enjoy it to the fullest extent of both my ability and my pocketbook. Although it would be nice to have a little more money so I could afford to buy some new clothes. My friends are always chiding me for wearing the same shirt, britches and boots day in and day out. By God, how some of them nag me to no end!

Tell us a little about your home/environment/land – how does this reflect on your day to day life?

I live in an interesting world where lost souls are often resurrected as hell-spawned devils; where entities from the other side of the veil separating the earthly from the unearthly can be conjured into existence; where beings from an ancient land whose borders cross over into other dimensions slip through to my own world. In my specialized line of investigative work I’ve had to confront sentient, gold-eating shadows, malevolent puppets, wicked witches, mad sorcerers, blood-thirsty men and women, plus hungry ghouls and zombies, faun assassins, demented demons, ghastly ghosts, vengeful vampires, raging werewolves, and the most deadly, other-worldly book ever written. Then there are the semi-human races, like the Muthologians, those so-call “mythical” beings and creatures who escaped from your world of ancient Greece and settled in my own world of Tanyime.  Most of them are good souls, and I’m fortunate to call many of them my friends. I truly live in interesting and exciting times, don’t you think?

Are you organised or chaotic? Does this annoy your family/companions?

I’m usually chaotic, although when it’s called for I can be very organized. I have no family, but my habits, the hours I keep, my attitude, and my entire lifestyle often troubles and worries my friends. But they’re all decent folks who, more often than not, are willing to lend me a hand. Our tempers often clash when they disagree with me or try to prevent me from getting involved in something that might cost me my life and perhaps even my soul, but in the end I am blessed to have such good friends looking after me.

Thank you for spending so much of your valuable time with me. I enjoyed our little chat. And remember, if you ever have need of me: “Have Dowsing Rod. Will Travel.” I got that from some bloke whose name, sadly, escapes me at the time.

By the way, you can find my Mad Shadows adventures (volumes 1 and 2) on Joe Bonadonna’s Amazon author page:
https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B009I1KYIK?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review – A Sword’s Poem – Leah Cutter

Review – A Sword’s Poem – Leah Cutter

https://amzn.to/2LuiVmc

#Fantasy #Fairytale #Japanese

When Hikaru’s new husband is murdered by a wicked sorcerer, his soul stolen and forged into a mystic sword she risks all to find her love. Magic, betrayal, courage and love weave an intricate tale in Heian-era Japan; the author spins the world beautifully – as seen by the fox-fairy, and the human heroine. This is a tale of love, sacrifice, revenge and self-understanding – but more than that it’s a wonderful fairy-tale set against a background with which many Western readers will be unfamiliar. Ms Cutter brings this world to life, and its vibrancy and ritualism are everywhere in the story. Poetry features everywhere, and the language is very lyrical. I can imagine sitting around a campfire as someone recounts this as a heroic tale and getting totally caught up in it.

It’s primarily told from the point of view of the female characters – in a largely male-oriented world, which makes a nice change. These women are powerful, resourceful, braver than the men (in many cases), dutiful and self-reliant and such characters bring this sword and sorcery tale to life.

Recommended! 5 Stars

Swords Poem

Book Spotlight – Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – Fantasy/Bundle

Here Be Monsters

Title: Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse

Author: A. L. Butcher

Genre: Fantasy/Mythic/Dark Fantasy/Short Stories

Main character description (short).

“I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.

Synopsis: He who bargains with monsters beware! A hero forges an unholy bargain with a witch and learns magic never forgets.

In a land of forbidden magic, a mysterious cave holds both riches and danger for three adventurers who discover a mighty treasure and a terrible secret.

 

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse Excerpt

© A. L. Butcher

On the nights when the moon rose to its fullest, its light a silver sheen upon the roof of the Great Hall, a terrible monster came. His voice was like the rasping of flesh on a blade, his countenance blighted and ugly, twisted like melted flesh with great weeping sores and a putrid smell. Many warriors had tried to vanquish this foul creature, and now their bones lay with the prince’s in the barrow to the east of Eadsham, the settlement that had been forged by blood and toil by the first king, Aedwin. Widows were aplenty and many children made fatherless from this awful beast. Doors were bolted and barred, and not even the lord himself dared to face it. Such was his shame.

The king grew ever older and wishing to marry a man of bravery and honour to his daughter messengers once more rode out north, south, east and west in search of a hero, one with the fortitude to face this cursed beast, as they had done so many times before. On a night when clouds covered the moon’s light and rain fell in drops the size of marbles, the sky was rent with lightning as a great human warrior rode to the gates of the village. “I am Saelth and I have come to slay your monster,” he announced. His words were bold and his demeanour bolder. Behind him rode the fiercest of his band, axemen and archers, trackers and swordsmen. A mean crew indeed and feared about the land; fur-clad and blooded, they were blades for hire.

“We have slain creatures from nightmare and beasts that made grown men piss their drawers. Your curse will be lifted if the price is right!” His band nodded, for their rates were high indeed so that only lords and kings could afford their blades.

“No weapon forged by man can vanquish it! You’ll simply earn your place in the Hall of the Dead,” someone called.

Saelth looked around for the one who had spoken. “Then I shall go to the Halls of the Dead a hero, not one who cowers behind the table, or beneath the bed. I am no coward, nor simpering woman. Nothing is all powerful, or unable to be vanquished, save the gods.”

Why should readers buy this book?

The Warrior’s Curse is a tale of greed, adventure, monsters and the price of magic, set in a dark fantasy world. But it’s also a tale of people, their weaknesses and what some will do for power. It is a story within a story, as we start with a group of adventurers plundering a cave and learn of dark deeds and unholy bargains.

If you like mythic style fantasy, fast-paced adventure with a twist then you’ll love this.

Warriors Curse

Links etc.

Universal Link – all the major e-book stores)  https://www.books2read.com/WarriorsCurse

Amazon.com audio http://amzn.to/2Ei0EGe

 

Print

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1534782052/

The Warrior’s Curse also appears in Here Be Monsters

books2read.com/HereBeMonstersBundle

boxset Monsters

Random Friday #NightlyBitesII

Some great interviews with the Vampires from Nightly Bites II

Barbara G.Tarn - writer

To celebrate the release of Nightly Bites Volume 2, I present you 5 characters interviews!

Character Name: I am the Aswang, and nobody ever gave me a proper name. Heck, even the dog has a name! But not me.

Which book/world/story do you live in?
The short story “The Aswang Who Ate Stardust” is about me. Well, kind of. It’s also about the people I’m not allowed to eat anymore.

Tell us about yourself:
I was born long before the white men came to the Philippines, and I used to eat little humans still in their mother’s womb. That’s what all Aswang do – but we are solitary creatures, and we can shift our shape. Which is why nobody ever gave me a proper name, I think. Anyway, I had made a human friend long ago. He was the only one who could see me for who I…

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Here Be Dragons Bundle – #Fantasy

Here Be Dragons – Myth, Monsters and Mayhem

Vol III 

They stalk our myths and hunt our past—dragons—humankind’s greatest and oldest foe. Good, bad, legendary and deadly. Dare you enter the dragon’s lair?

Tales of dragons, their friends and their foes.

Available for pre-order now! Released 31st March 2018

Dragons boxset.png

Available on

Here Be Dragons on Bundle Rabbit

Kobo

Amazon. com

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

I tunes

Featuring 13 fabulous dragon-themed stories.

The Crown and the Dragon – John D. Payne

Dragon Writers – Lisa Mangum

Of Blood and Scales – A. L. Butcher

Devouring Light – J.M. Ney-Grimm

Ascension of the Whyte – Karen Wrighton

Of Dragons and Centaurs – Deb Logan

Night of the Clockwork Dragon – Louisa Swann

The Legend of G and the Dragonettes – Russ Crossley

The Dreamweaver’s Journey – Diana L. Wicker

Graybill – Rita Schulz

Star-drake – J.M, Ney-Grimm

Like at Loch Ness – Karen L. Abrahamson

Winter Glory – J.M. Ney-Grimm

Dragon cover FINAL.jpg

 

Dirty Dozen Author Interview J.M. Ney-Grimm

Author: J.M. Ney-Grimm

 Please tell us about your publications. I write fantasy in which the intimate and personal intertwine with the great forces of history and culture. Most of my stories are set in my North-lands, a world inspired by the watercolor illustrations of the Danish artist Kay Nielsen. My novels include: Troll-magic, Livli’s Gift, Caught in Amber, Fate’s Door, and The Tally Master. I also have a handful of novellas (plus a few short stories), among them: Sarvet’s Wanderyar, Hunting Wild, and Winter Glory.

Caught in Amber

What first prompted you to publish your work? In 2007, I re-discovered Maddy Prior’s amazing song ‘The Fabled Hare.’

Listening to her powerful lyrics and expressive voice, I grew suddenly aware that time was passing, I was getting older, and I didn’t have forever.

The imagery of the hunter and hounds closing in on the hare made me feel as though death were snapping at my heels.

If there was something I really wanted to do, something I had not done yet, I’d better get going or I might miss my chance entirely.

I didn’t ‘click the publish button’ in 2007, but that year and that song were the beginning of my publishing journey.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’? I do some of each.

I prefer having a skeletal outline at the start of a story. Doing without —pure ‘pantsing’—feels like walking a tightrope over Niagara without a safety net. Very uncomfortable! And yet…I’ve done it.

Once I awoke in the middle of the night, so afire with inspiration that I got up out of my bed to write the first scene of what would become the novel Caught in Amber. I didn’t work out an outline until I was a third of the way through the book!

More usually, I sort out the foundational plot line before I start writing. I need to know what happens, but (oddly) I need to not know how it happens. I discover the how as I write, and that keeps the story feeling fresh to me.

Even when I follow an outline, I always feel free to ‘have a better idea.’ Sometimes my outline writhes like a river in flood!

 

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey? I’m going to pretend you asked me about my writing journey. 😉 Because there’s a piece of advice that I really, really needed and didn’t get, way back when.

For some reason, I thought that the process of writing was much more cut-and-dried than it ever could be. Why I thought this, I don’t know. Perhaps because I formed the impression when I was very young, at age ten or eleven.

But the result was that, when I sat down in my early twenties to write my great fantasy novel, and didn’t get anywhere with it, I concluded that I must not be made of such stuff as goes into the bones of real writers.

I longed to write novels, and believed I could not. I spent more than two decades believing this and writing poetry and story vignettes and gaming adventures instead.

And then I listened to Maddy Prior’s ‘The Fabled Hare’ and got serious about my creative aspirations. I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, did every last one of the written assignments in the book, and read several of the titles in its bibliography.

That’s when I encountered Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and one of her suggestions set me free.

So the advice I wish I’d gotten? Find out how other writers do it! Not just one or two, but dozens. Ask them. Read biographies. Whatever it takes, find out.

Because if I’d learned that there are as many ways as there are writers, I might not have concluded so wrongly that I was not a writer. I might have been writing novellas and novels (as well as poetry and vignettes and gaming adventures) between 1980 and 2007. I might not have been so unhappy in my creative desert.

 

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews? Do not go there! Reviews are a reader space. What reader wants to write his or her honest opinion and then discover that the author of the book has been peering over his or her shoulder the whole while?

 

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters. Good plot. Awesome world-building. Technically perfect.

As a reader (not a writer), I want them all. If the characters aren’t great, I have no interest. If the plot is stupid, I get cranky. If the world-building is unconvincing, I get thrown out of the story. If there are grammar errors, I’m tempted to email the author with the necessary fix. Gah!

I believe I’m known as what one writer calls a ‘fussy reader.’ That’s being kind!

As a writer…what can I say? I go for all four. One of my writing mentors told me that I need never worry about grammar or word choice; in her words, I’m stellar at that.

My readers tell me that my world-building is so thorough that they feel like they are ‘watching a movie on the insides of their eyeballs.’

Another writing mentor says that plot is clearly one of my strong points.

And yet more readers claim that the relationship dynamics between my characters feel utterly real.

 

How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? A surprising amount! I’ve heard those who don’t write fantasy speculate that fantasy writers need do no research at all: they can just make it all up.

Nope!

Because my world is make-believe featuring magic and fantastical creatures, it is all the more important that I get the details of living there right. Horses better behave like the real beasts. The combination of wet and cold better be appropriately dangerous. Travel attempted under medieval conditions better be realistically inconvenient. And so on.

I’ve researched the horse sandals of the ancient Romans (horseshoes weren’t invented until 500CE), the forging of Bronze Age swords, the details of how fishes’ gills work, and more.

 

How influential is storytelling to our culture? To be human is to be a storyteller. We remember our past with story. We predict and plan for our future with story. We make meaning out of our present with story. We cannot be ourselves without story.

That’s an existential answer to a more grounded question, but I stand by it. 😉

 

Which authors have influenced you the most? I love the sense of wonder present in the fantasy of Robin McKinley. I adore the cultural creativity in C.J. Cherryh’s Foreigner series. The poetry of Patricia McKillip’s storytelling inspires me. And the great characters within the amazing worlds of Lois McMaster Bujold carry me completely out of myself.

 

What is your writing space like? All I need is my laptop! I prefer quiet, but I can write amidst noise and hullabaloo if need be. (I learned how when my kids were still little and would nestle against me while I tapped away on my keyboard.) When I had a badly broken foot (doctor’s orders to keep it elevated and bearing no weight for 10 weeks, so as to avoid surgery), I learned to write while semi-reclining on the couch. I got so used to this position that I use it still!

 

Tell us about your latest piece? My novel The Tally Master released in April 2017. Here’s a little bit about it:

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord—haunt of the desperate and violent—proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Set in the Bronze Age of my North-lands, The Tally Master brings mystery and secrets to epic fantasy in a suspenseful tale of betrayal and redemption.

 

What’s your next writing adventure? I’m really excited about the novel I’m working on now. Its tentative title is To Thread the Labyrinth. Here’s a bit about it:

Ohtavie de Bellay craves safety. Craves obscurity. She seeks solitude and secrecy and shadows. Because only hiding holds death at bay.

But Ohtavie fears that all her care—decades of prudence—won’t be enough. No, she knows it won’t save her.

One day an angry mob will come to drag her forth from her long retreat and stone her. Or pinion her within her refuge and burn it down around her. Or, worst of all, summon the executioner who will hold her unmoving with his enigmatic magic, while his great axe parts her head from her living body with brutal precision.

So Ohtavie lurks and hides and fights her fears alone.

Until that one day arrives, bringing…no mob, no stones, no flames, and no axe.

Just one sweet-faced girl who threatens Ohtavie with something more perilous still.

A gripping story of quiet courage and fortitude.

 

Is there a message in your books? I don’t deliberately include a message, but I suspect my most cherished beliefs seep into my fiction.

There is hope. If the first attempt fails—or the second, or the third—try again. How you do a thing will shape who you become, as well as the ultimate result. You are loved. There is beauty in existence. ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’

 

Links

Website: http://jmney-grimm.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009200970533

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JMNeyGrimm

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/315055.J_M_Ney_Grimm

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.M.-Ney-Grimm/e/B006QRFNAS/

 

J.M. Ney-Grimm lives with her husband and children in Virginia, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She’s learning about permaculture gardening and debunking popular myths about food. The rest of the time she reads Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Lois McMaster Bujold, plays boardgames like Settlers of Catan, rears her twins, and writes stories set in her troll-infested North-lands.