L Is For… Lamiae!

2015-04-14 LWhen writing, one needs a plausible reason for one’s plot.  If there’s a culture that does something particular, maybe reveres kittens for example, one needs to have a reason for such kitten reverence.  It needs to be convincing enough that the reader doesn’t question it, but instead thinks, why, yes, of course they revere kittens because that’s what you do in Kittenlandia.  Maybe a beloved child-queen Myleigh adored kittens but died of childhood leukemia and her last wish was that kittens would be sacred from that day forth.  Or, maybe the goddess Nephreini decreed that her sacred animal was the kitten and you could tell her devotees by their scratches.  Whatever the reason, the fact that kittens are revered becomes as obvious as the fact that the sky is blue and just as unquestioned.

When Rachel and I wrote Sealed by Fire, we needed a plausible reason why male relationships would be common and accepted in the subculture we created.  Rachel settled on the lamia myth, which is about a half-woman, half-snake creature.  There are no myths of male lamiae that we could find, so we decided that lamiae had to come from somewhere; what if male lamiae weren’t half-and-half creatures but all one, and all the other?  Meaning, they were either snake, or man; never both.  Only the women had the snake-person form.  Furthermore, the two groups kept separate from one another except at breeding time, so they lived in gender-segregated communities by tradition.

What about you, Dear Reader?
What’s your favorite fantasy book or myth?

I Is For… Ivan – or, Russian Naming Conventions

The main character in Sealed by Fire is Ivan Demidov, but he goes by Vanya.  I love using Russian naming conventions because they’re so different than the ones that I grew up with in my culture of origin.

In the old days, in Russia, one would have three names.  The first is the public, formal name.  It was the first name, what’s called a “patronymic,” and the family name, or what we call in the States the “last name.”  So, Ivan Mikhailovich Demidov.  The “ov” or “ev” at the end of the family name generally means “of,” and the rest of the name refers to something – perhaps an ancestor, or a river, or something else.

The patronymic refers to the father:  “patro” for father, “nymic” for name.  It’s literally the father’s name.  Boys take the suffix “ich” and girls “ovna,” so Vanya is Mikhailovich and his sisters are Mikhailovna.

And finally, we come to Ivan:  it is “John,” in Russian, and the use-name, or short-name, or nickname, is Vanya.  In the old days, no one would call him by that name except family and very intimate friends.  There are suffixes to indicate endearments; yuchka to indicate beloved, which would be used by a wife or close, older, family members; and yuckenka, which means “little beloved one,” which would be used by much older relatives like grandparents.  So, Vanyuchka or Vanyushka, and then Vanyuchenka.

Clear as mud, eh?

What about you, Dear Reader?
Did you, or do you now, go by a nickname?

Writer Wednesday with Noon and Wilder

Yes, dear, I know you don’t like your picture taken.
©2015 A. Catherine Noon

Why do you want me to smi-
©2015 Rachel Wilder

2015 is shaping up to be a busy year.  We’ve sent off Sealed by Magic for consideration; finished first and second rounds of edits on Emerald Keep; made a deal for Book 3 of the Chicagoland Shifters, called Cat’s Cradle, and it’ll be out in the summer of 2015; and we’ve worked out the order of the Persis Chronicles series for the next four years.  Rock on.

I’m not sure I have two brain cells to rub together at the moment, though.  ~grin~

We are redesigning our websites this year, and my website will be up shortly.  We’ll launch the new Noon and Wilder site in the next month or so, before April’s A-Z Blog Challenge.  And yes, I’ll be doing the Challenge – with more than one blog, too, thereby proving the theory that I am, in fact, mad.

In Noon & Wilder news, I’m excited to say that we’ll be holding the 2015 Keepsake Tour right here on the blog for 31 days starting March 8th.  It will celebrate the release of Emerald Keep, the long-awaited sequel to our popular book Emerald Fire.  The Keepsake Tour will be a little different than blog tours I’ve done in the past – for this one, Rachel and I are literally making keepsakes for you, Dear Reader, to collect.  Rachel is crocheting a scarf, I’m making a lace scarf, we’ll have hand-made bookmarks and other bits and bobs.  I can’t wait.  I’m booking the stops on the tour now, but you can always check in here during the tour because I’ll leave little breadcrumbs for you to follow.

For now, it’s time to put my nose back on that grindstone.  We’re almost finished with Sapphire Dream, book 3 in the Persis Chronicles, and know what comes after it – which is sometimes half the battle.  We hope to be done with Sapphire within the next month or two so that we can send it off for consideration – so keep your fingers crossed!

Happy Wednesday, Dear Reader!

Tuesday with the Tauruses

Rachel and I are hard at work on the edits for EMERALD KEEP, which is coming soon from Torquere Press – release date is April 8th.  So exciting.

Edits, though, means our brains dribble out the bottom of our heads.  We’re also finishing up the submission packet for SEALED BY MAGIC and will send that off on the weekend.  And I’m planning the blog book tour for EK.

It’s a full week.

And it showed today.

But I walked to work.

And that, Dear Reader, is what a writer’s brain on edits looks like.  o.O….

A to Z Challenge, Day 26: Z Is For Zen Garden Collective

Woot!  We have made it through the challenge.  This picture is actually two summers ago, but the sentiment still stands.  Hammock, knitting, a relaxing cup of tea – YOU’VE EARNED IT!

But before you go, here’s a parting thought:  Rachel and I have been hard at work, behind the scenes, with several of our cohort at the Writer Zen Garden.  We’ll be launching the non-profit Zen Garden Collective later this year, a place for people to collaborate, create, and grow.

In the meantime, we hope you’ve enjoyed this ride on the interwebs with me, A. Catherine Noon, and my partner in crime, Rachel Wilder.  You can follow us by clicking the “follow” link on the left panel, visit our other blogs, and even join Writer Zen Garden.  The Meetup group is free, and so is the online forum; if you’d like to join the forum, please email me at a.catherine.noon AT gmail – we manually approve new members to cut down on spam accounts.  (We had a rash of Viagra ads one day and just decided, “Enough is enough!”  🙂

The Writer Zen Garden: The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Meetup
And finally, keep your eyes peeled for our forthcoming release from LooseId LLC and the paperback release of TIGER TIGER from Samhain Publishing.  We have more books planned (EMERALD KEEP and Mitch’s book are coming together nicely) and will announce those when they’re done.  Thank you to each and every one of our readers who have made our blogs a pleasure to write and who buy our books:  we love you all!
Thank you for visiting, and happy blogging!

A to Z Challenge, Day 25: Y Is For Yes

Yes is a lovely word, especially when it’s from a publisher with whom you want to work.  Rachel and I have been fortunate enough to work with three awesome houses so far in our career and we’re tickled pink, purple and blue to be among their authors.

What affiliations in your life make you grateful?

A to Z Challenge, Day 22: V Is For Vanya

We are working on edits of our forthcoming book from LooseId LLC and are super excited about it.  In fact, when you’re talking to an author, it’s probably a good idea not to ask, “So, what are you writing?”

Because we’ll tell you.

Our main character is Vanya Demidov and I wanted to say a few words about the name, Vanya.  Vanya is short for Ivan; which, contrary to popular opinion, is not pronounced “AYEvuhn.”  It’s “ee-VAHN,” somewhat like Yvonne.  It means, John.

Oh, come now.  You know translations yield odd results, don’t you?

John is also Johann, Jon (pronounced “YAHN”), and Sean (pronounced “SHAHN”) and also, Shawn.  Same pronunciation.

There.  Aren’t you glad I explained myself?

What’s the most unusual name, either for a character or a person of your acquaintance, that you’ve ever heard?

Fool for Love Blog Hop with Just Romance.Me!

Welcome to the Spring 2014 Fool for Love Blog Hop! If you haven’t participated before, click the banner at the top of this post and check out all the amazing authors we have for you this weekend. The grand prize is an ereader and there are a host of other prizes, including a copy of Noon and Wilder’s latest release, TIGER TIGER.

Since our theme this hop is “Fool for Love,” I thought I’d share something totally new – a scene from our upcoming release from LooseId (which is, coincidentally, the theme of Friday’s A-Z Challenge, with “D for Domovoi“).  Read on, MacDuff!

Excerpt

“I’ve wanted to ask you.” Vanya turned to Ari. “Could you show us your snake form?”

Ari frowned and gazed at him, his clear green eyes quizzical. “Are you serious? Why?”

“I’m curious how your transformation differs from what I’ve read about shifters.”

Vanya kept to himself King’s rant on how dangerous lamiae were when he caught Vanya reading the battered book about them.

Ari shrugged. “Sure.”

He leaned over and set his beer in the holder on the table nearby and stood watching them for a moment. A shimmer appeared in the air and a giant Burmese python sat coiled on the seat and the side of the boat where Ari had been. His tongue tasted the air and he undulated forward to drape himself around Vanya’s shoulders.

Vanya froze, eyes wide. “Um…”

Crap, he’d been curious, but not that curious to see Ari again up close in snake form.

“Don’t move quickly, or you’ll spook him.” Mike smirked as he walked up and sat down. “Don’t scare the kid, Ari.”

Ari’s tail looped around the edge of the boat behind Vanya’s perch and he slithered onto the boat from Vanya’s body, moving with a soft hissing of scales. His head, even with Vanya, wove back and forth with the gentle movement of the boat.

Only one problem. His tail slipped backward off the slanted edge of the boat, dropping toward the water whizzing by below. He didn’t appear to notice it, either, intent on mesmerizing Vanya by weaving his head back and forth in front of Vanya’s face.

“Um, Ari?”

“Hush, now. Don’t interrupt.” Mike’s voice held the flavor of a laugh and he regarded Vanya with twinkling eyes. “He wants to show off for you, let him.”

Nash took a sip from his bottle, hiding his smirk behind it.

“But…” Vanya trailed off, helpless to do anything as more of Ari’s body slithered backward off the edge of the boat. “Do snakes get drunk?”

“All the time.” Mike sounded smug.

“Ari, your tail!” Vanya blurted.

Ari’s eyes widened and he turned to regard his body, but his bulky mass slid with increasing speed off the side of the boat. They hit a swell and bounced and, with a loud splash, Ari disappeared over the side.

Be sure to visit the other authors of the Fool for Love hop and share your love; comments will enter you in the drawing for the grand prize and other prizes.  Enjoy!


— 

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.

Book 2 TIGER TIGER, available from Samhain Publishing. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Persis Chronicles:

Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out “Seeking Hearts“, available from Torquere Books.


Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.
Check out “Taking a Chance“, available from Torquere Books!

My links: Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | LinkedIn | Pandora 

Knoontime Knitting:  Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Ravelry
Noon and Wilder links: Blog | Taurus and Taurus (NSFW) | Website | Facebook
The Writer Zen Garden:  The Writers Retreat Blog | Forum | Facebook | Twitter | Meetup

A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 4: D Is For Domovoi

“Domovoi” by Ivan Bilibin, 1934

In our upcoming release from LooseId, we feature a creature called a domovoi.  Small, generally male, domovoi are a boon to a good housekeeper and a plague to a bad one.  In Russian, the word dom means house.

One of the best parts about writing is being able to incorporate our favorite elements in our stories.  I love mythology and finding references to faeries, the fey, and other folklore.  I adore Russian folklore, full of strange creatures like rusalkas, Baba Yaga and her house on chicken legs, and domovois.

What are your favorite folklore or faerie tales?