Out Of Control

Relinquishing creative control can feel like the end of the world. One cannot simply do everything and have a successful book launch.

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  • Let your editor edit. You’re paying them to do so. Give them space. Let them work. And if they don’t meet their deadline, let ’em have it. All hell will break loose. Be easy on your editor who’s focusing on the substantive editing. They need to pick apart your story and ask questions. Don’t flip out on them. Take a chill pill.
  • Unless you’re designing your own cover, you’ll also need to take a step back and tell yourself: “I’m not the expert.” Give the designer what they need, info-wise. Maybe a little more. Be realistic in your feedback and don’t get irrationally angry if they don’t follow your original request. They may have a marketing tactic or two behind their reasons why. Just ask.
  • If you’ve hired PR to help with your marketing, then you need to lay out your terms and conditions to a degree. Once again, you’re paying this person to do a job for you. They’re the expert. Not you! They will treat your upcoming work with TLC and sketch out a marketing plan tailored to a genre and audience. If they don’t, something isn’t being done right. Ensue virtual yelling.

Think of this time away from your work as a vacation. Go to the beach, go for a hike. Drink a nice, cold pina colada. And when you’re notified from any of the people you’ve hired about your book…

Panic.

The Cannibal Monster

This is one of the last two areas of the world we are traveling too. So, let’s venture into the deep woods of the Americas to start the beginning of the final countdown!


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WendigoAlgonquian Tribes

Cannibalistic beastly humanoid, possibly once human.

  • This creature is aligned with murder, insatiable, and cultural taboos against “normal” behavior. They’re also associated with the winter, the north, coldness, famine, and starvation.
  • The Wendigo is bigger than a human, and whenever it feeds on human flesh, it grows! It never gains weight and will always appear thin. They’re always hungry so watch out!!
  • There’s also an explanation as to why they may have been human once before turning into the Wendigo. When they were human, they may have been incredibly greedy. Or if the human was in contact with Wendigos for too long, they would become one.
  • Powers include: mimicking human voices, possession, controlling weather, manipulation of darkness (sunset), control of forest creatures, healing, and incredible strength and speed.
  • Believe it or not, there is a psychological disorder called the Wendigo Psychosis. People diagnosed crave human flesh even though they have access to normal food sources.

The One, The Only: Sphinx

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Androsphinx Egypt

Living statue with a lion body and human head, tells riddles.

  • Although labeled from Egypt, the sphinx as a whole can be found in many other countries, one being Greece. Since we’re so accustomed to the Great Sphinx of Giza, we tend to forget there are others out there.
  • This particular interpretation is symbolized as the incarnation of the Sun God, Ra.
  • More commonly seen with a lion’s body, it can be found to have a ram or even a hawk’s head. They each have different names and different origin tales!
  • The sphinx is seen as the protector of the land it watches. The body of the sphinx never changes but each head resembles that of what it protects. So, the androsphinx, compared to that of a Pharaoh…watched over the people.
  • Depending on where you are or which one you’re researching, the sphinx can be seen as a monster or keeper of knowledge. You choose which interpretation you decide to pursue

Tickle Monster

You read that title correctly. We’re talking about a mythological creature who tickles his victims to death…not a way I want to go. We’re traveling to West Asia, and for the next four weeks, this is where we’ll stay.


 

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Şüräle Turkey

“Horned, woolly humanoid that tickles people to death.”

Basic Facts:

  • The Şüräle has long fingers (used for tickling), a horn on its forehead (like a unicorn), and a woolly body (similar to that of a sheep.) Somehow, this terrifying sounding creature lures people into the thicket of the forest it resides in and tickles them to death.
  • It can transform its body, usually into a human. The human will almost always have glowing eyes and wear its shoes backwards. Lo and behold, this may or may not be how they lure their victims in.
  • If you’re lucky enough, you can befriend the monster and learn the secrets to magic. People will make deals with it and gain the creature’s protection of livelihood and animal stock. Beware though…if the Şüräle doesn’t like you, they’ll make you ill or force you to get lost.
  • In a lighthearted way, the Şüräle can be a jokester; there’s a myth about them taking the axes of woodcutters and hiding them.
  • In order to get the Şüräle off your back if you come across it, you have to turn your clothes inside out and wear your shoes backwards.

Woman of the Mountain

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Maria Makiling Philippines

“Nymph guardian spirit of Mt. Makiling in Laguna”

Basic Facts:

  • She is considered a fairy or forest nymph, who is guardian to the mountain and helps the villagers and townspeople who utilize the resources the mountain provides.
  • The reason the guardian of the mountain is a woman and not a man resorts back to what people see when they look at the mountain: a woman’s face and two breasts, with long hair going down her back.
  • When spotted, the woman is seen to be young and doesn’t age. She’s usually surrounded by a white fog and her clothes are radiant.
  • There are a variety of superstitions when it comes to Maria…she’s not exactly pleasant all the time and will steal men to live with her in the mountain. Ladies, you’re safe…for now…
  • Her powers include: immortality, magic, nature control, conjuration, and invisibility.

Sea Spirit & Alcohol

Welcome back to The Write Nook and HRM’s place to splurge on random information!

With a new year comes new formats and new topics. As always, we’re excited to share our list of recent publications (in the audio department) and talk about whatever aspiring writers and published authors are dying to know. Or we’re ready to sit down with a cup of coffee and talk writing. Whatever the case may be, we’re excited to share this new year with you!

Even though we’ll be diving into new things, don’t think we’re going to abandon our weekly mythology lesson. This week is our last week in Japan (metaphorically…not physically!) So, keep reading if you’re interested in spirits who like to drink!


 

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Shōjō | Japan

“Red-faced sea spirit with a fondness for alcohol.”

Basic Facts:

  • Shōjō is also used to refer to someone who likes alcohol.
  • There is a Noh mask for the shōjō. Noh is a well-known form of classical Japanese musical drama. The performers use masks, costumes, and props to tell the story at hand through dance.
  • A shōjō is also a term for an orangutan!
  • There are legends surrounding the shōjō drinking the beer brewed in breweries. Watch your beer, friends!
  • They’re described to look like apes (hairy, too!) And with bright red hair and blushing faces. They wear clothes made from seaweed – and no surprise, you’ll usually find them by coasts, islands, and shallow waters.

Ragnarok

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FenrirScandinavia

“Monstrous wolf destined to devour the world.”

Basic Facts:

  • Fenrir is the son of Loki and the giantess, Angrboda.
  • This huge wolf was chained up because the gods knew how powerful he was. He was only going to break free when Ragnarok occurred, which is Doomsday. And no, we’re not going to start talking about the Marvel movies.
  • Fenrir has made more appearances in modern culture than people realize, mainly references in video games but has made an appearance or two in movies and on TV.
  • He’s a father! He has two sons: Skoll (meaning ‘treachery’) and Hati (meaning ‘he who hates’ or ‘enemy’) with the giantess, Hyrrokkin. Though this is just an assumption. Also, like father like son.
  • His other name is “Fenris.”

 

A Dragon Mule…?

If you haven’t already noticed, this week’s mythological creature doesn’t have a photo. The reason behind this is mainly…there weren’t any paintings drawn up about this legend – more word of mouth. So do what you want with the information provided today! Or you can look up this creature to gather an idea of how modern adaptations portray this creature!


La Guita Xica | Spain

“Green, serpentine dragon that protects the people of Catalonia.”

Basic Facts: 

  • La Guita Xica was brought into Catalonia legends in 1890. It began as a demon but morphed into a protective entity over the villages.
  • More known as La Guita Xica, there are MANY names given to this serpent.
  • Labeled as a “dragon,” this creature is half-mule! Mainly because mules were prominent in the nearby mountains.
  • Because La Guita Xica is considered a protector…there are festivals to celebrate the dragon, where the handcrafted dragons shoot fireworks.
  • The neck of the dragon is compared to that of the Loch Ness monster. I think we may have solved something here…

He Lives!

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Art by Bernie Wrightson

Remember when Mary Shelley wrote one of the most well known monster tales of all time?

I sure don’t because that was 1818. But that being said, Mary Shelley created a man no one would ever forget.

Classic monster literature takes on several themes, some of which cross over into other. Most of the classic literature, like Frankenstein, Dracula, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…they all seem to carry the weight of these themes.

The biggest one is enlightenment and science. Since these works were written during the Age of Enlightenment, pretty much moving away from the influence of faith to the influence of science, the emphasis on science and how it impacted those who practiced was reflected in literature. Each of the main three works mentioned earlier each show signs of science and enlightenment.

The other themes shown in these types of works are isolation, loneliness, and duality. Most of the characters embody the feeling of being isolated, being lonely, being helpless. Duality is mainly mirrored through Dr. Jekyll when turning into Mr. Hyde and in the idea of vampires, resting during the day and running amok and causing destruction when the night comes.

Do you have a favorite monster or work of monster literature?