Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amphitrite - Poseidon's Wife

Poor old Amphitrite doesn't get much press as the wife of Poseidon. She's not even mentioned in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. If she was, I missed it. In the Seven Adventures of Cadida, Amphitrite appears, but she doesn't get a lot of page time.

Here's the Encyclopedia Mythica writeup:


The queen of the sea, variously given as the daughter of Oceanus and Tethys or of Nereus and Doris. When the sea god Poseidon wanted her as his bride, she declined the honor and hid from him in the Atlantic Ocean. A dolphin not only located her, but also brought her back to him, and he married her. The dolphin was awarded a place in heaven. Their son is the fish-man Triton. Amphitrite was portrayed on Greek mphoras together with her consort, riding in a chariot pulled by sea creatures, or sitting on a sea creature, surrounded by Tritons. She is decorated with the attributes of a queen, her waving hair covered with a net, and sometimes with the pincers of a lobster attached to her temples.

The Romans referred to her as Salacia.

The name means something like "The third one who encircles (the sea).

The Mashup

In the "Seven Adventures of Cadida," Amphitrite shows up in "Cadida and the Sea Beast - In Over Her Head," when Dolph, the merhunk, must battle with his wicked uncle, Terrapin, in a dual to the death. Of course, Amphitrite wants her son to win, but she's not so big on the the obvious fact that Dolph is falling for Cadida. Amphitrite appears with a high-pitched voice (dolphin squeaks) and has a crown of crab claws.

This story shows Cadida helping out the merboy, Dolph, find his true meaning. Nasty old uncle, Terrapin, got a witch to toss Dolph out of the sea. He doesn't remember his background, but Cadida, Bascoda, and Poltrice (the pool demon) help him recover his memories and win his true place as Prince of the Sea.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Three Stooges

I used lots of Persian mythology in Quest for the Simurgh. If you’d like to know more about the three boys and Faiza standing up to the gods and demons, you can get the Kindle version on Amazon for a paltry 99 cents.

As always, the Encyclopedia Mythica provides the source material.

The Three Stooges (Daevas) of demons in Quest are minions of Dev, the war god.

Aesma is the demon of lust and anger, wrath and revenge. His wrath is mainly directed towards the cow (go figure). He is the personification of violence, a lover of conflict and war.

An ancient Persian demon of laziness who tries to prevent people from working.

An archfiend. Nanghaithya is the personification of discontentment.

My Mashup

Dev (the little devil) wants war to usher in Armageddon. Why? Because war is his thing and wiping out all humankind is on his to-do list.

To that end, he sends three daevas (demons, if you will) to turn Faiza’s companions on the quest to the dark side (sort of a Darth Vader thing).

Aesma appears to Parviz in the form of a bear with a serpent’s tail. Parviz was a slave and has a mile-wide chip on his shoulder. Aesma fuels that anger and convinces Parviz that the others are his enemies, not his friends. He’s told to wait for Dev to call him into battle. And, of course, keep his mouth shut about the little meeting.

He sends Buyasta in the form of a giant spider to Bahar, who has always dreamt of becoming a warrior. The demon takes advantage of that dream to make Bahar fall asleep (laziness) and dream of himself as a mighty fighter in a huge battle. The good part: Bahar is kicking major butt. The bad part: The butts he’s kicking are those of his best friends.

Nanghaithya has a little un-pep talk (he’s a voice-over character) with Harib claiming that his friends all laugh at him and only keep his company because his father is rich. The demon attempts to make Harib discontented with his relationship with the others. Harib, however, is having none of it. He’s the only of the three boys who stays true to Faiza.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Let the Gods into the Fray

"Quest for the Simurgh" is available at:

Print $7.95

Large Print $8.95

Kindle 99 cents

Quest borrows mostly from Persian mythology, but the gods pretty much match up to the Roman and Greek gods. Essentially, every civilization re-uses the same gods, but give them different names and their own special flavor.

The heros are often the mighty warrior types: Hercules, Gilgamesh, Samson. Since I’ve written this books for kids, my heros are teenagers, not at all like the legends, but might become legendary themselves. But they’re not in mythology, so you’ll just have to read my book to find out about them.

As usual, the "real" info is from the Encyclopedia Mythica.

Ahura Mazdah

In Persian belief, Ahura Mazdah ("Lord Wisdom") was the supreme god, he who created the heavens and the Earth, and another son of Zurvan. Atar, his son, battled Azhi Dahaka, the great dragon of the sky, and bound it in chains on a high mountain. The dragon was, however, destined to escape and destroy a third of mankind at the final reckoning, before it was slain. Ahura Mazdah was the god of prophetic revelation, and bore both Ahriman and Ormazd.

As leader of the Heavenly Host, the Amesha Spentas, he battles Ahriman and his followers to rid the world of evil, darkness and deceit. His symbol is the winged disc.


The ancient Persian water goddess, fertility goddess, and patroness of women, as well as a goddess of war. Her name means "the immaculate one". She is portrayed as a virgin, dressed in a golden cloak, and wearing a diamond tiara (sometimes also carrying a water pitcher). The dove and the peacock are her sacred animals.

Anahita was very popular and is one of the forms of the 'Great Goddess' which appears in many ancient eastern religions (such as the Syrian/Phoenician goddess Anath). She is associated with rivers and lakes, as the waters of birth. Anahita is sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra.

My Mashup

I use Ahura more or less as described in the mythology book. Because he was the leader of the Amesha Spentas (the good guys), I decided to portray him like Zeus or Thor, just another god amused at the foibles of humankind, but rarely steps into the action. He is also equated with Mithra, so I have him married to Anahita (see below). Ahura shows up in only one chapter ("Demons and Deities") and he chats with Anahita about the progress of the heros. He claims to have set up the whole situation (just like a man).

Notice that I liked Azhi Dahaka so much, I gave him a major role in "The Seven Adventures of Cadida." See Azhi's post here.

I made Anahita my main character’s supporter. She appears to Faiza hovering over a lake. She tells the girl that one or more of her companions (three boys, wouldn’t you know) will be seduced to the dark side by demons. In typical godly fashion, she can’t give Faiza a straight story; she only hints at what might happen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lesser Known Mythologies and Folklore 2

Returning to the Seven Adventures of Cadida:

Kazikli Bey

Most of you have heard of Vlad the Impaler, right? Count Dracul, the model for Dracula? Well, Kazikli Bey is the middle-eastern translation, something like "The Impaler Prince."

In the "Seven Adventures of Cadida," I thought that giving ol' Vlad a different face would be a nice twist. What if Vlad didn't really impale anybody? What if he was trying to gain peace between the rampaging warlords that messed up good ol' Romania? It's all in the PR. If he puts himself out as the baddest mother in the valley, wouldn't you think it a bad idea to cross him?

So, my gal Cadida tries to go off on a cruise ship and ends up in a slave market. Lucky for her, an ancient crone pretty much forces her to buy a pendant. It's Kismet! The Kazikli Bey happens to be in the market for slaves and, noticing that Cadida is wearing the locket stolen from his mother, he purchases her. He turns out to be a really nice guy. He's not thrilled he has to act the badass, but it's the only way he sees to bring his country together in peace.

The story is titled "Cadida and the Kazikli Bey - A Bottle of Djinn."

Read all the stories in The Seven Adventures of Cadida. Purchase at The Genre Mall or give me a shout out for a copy.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Review for "Quest for the Simurgh"

Clayton Bye reviews books for The Deepening. He just posted a nice review of my juvenile fantasy, "Quest for the Simurgh." Visit the review site for lots of good, thoughtful reviews by Clayton. You can also ask him to review your book!

Four teenagers discover their magic teacher, Wafa, has disappeared. The condition of his home suggests he didn’t leave willingly. On a table, his teaching book lies open at the section devoted to the mythical bird known as the Simurgh. Someone has chalked a large X across the open pages. Some of the youngsters think he has been kidnapped by mountain raiders. Others feel the X means they are to go in search of the Simurgh. All agree they must go after their mentor.

So begins a quest that takes the young adventurers from their small desert village into the mountains and, with the aid of a strange little man they encounter, right through one of the mountains into an enchanted land, a place full of natural beauty, life, mythical creatures, demons, gods and spirits.

Read the rest of the review at The Deepening.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lesser Known Mythologies and Folklore

Do you ever get tired of the same old fairies (fey), dragons, norse gods, greek gods, roman gods?

I try to find stuff that's not completely shopworn. Yeah, I do use some of the good old standards, but I also try to bend and twist them a bit. Other writers more famous than me do the same. Otherwise, nothing would ever be fresh and new. Sometimes I disagree with certain re-interpretations, but I appreciate that they're trying to change it up.

I thought I'd post some tidbits of mythologies that I've used in my books.

The Seven Adventures of Cadida

Throughout the seven (that's a magic number, you know) tales, I've tossed together a mixed salad of middle-eastern mythologies and just some plain old nonsense. However, things I have appropriated from the real mythologies include:

Azhi Dahaka

From Encyclopedia Mythica:

A storm demon from Iranian mythology. He steals cattle and brings harm to humans. It is a snake-like monster with three heads and six eyes who also personifies the Babylonian oppression of Iran. The monster will be captured by the warrior god Thraetaona and placed on the mountain top Dermawend. In a final revival of evil, it will escape its prison, but at the end of time (fraso-kereti) it will die in the river of fire Ayohsust.
My Mashup:

The Great Vizier (now entombed, waiting for something interesting to happen) had used Azhi Dahaka's blood to create a flying, fire-breathing horse. Excellent for combat, I'd imagine. Unfortunately, the Franken-Horse could only levitate a few inches and puff a wimpy flame when startled. However, Azhi escapes his imprisonment (see above) and knows this horse named Baakir is his umpteen times grandson and wants to find him.

Our erstwhile heroine, Cadida, tries to protect Baakir from the dragon only to learn that Azhi just wants a family reunion.

Azhi is mentioned in "Cadida and the Sultan's Horse - Horsing Around" and "Cadida and the Dragon Demon - Blood is Thicker."

More to come:
The Kazikli Bey
Bascoda the Djinn
The Kraken

Read all the stories in The Seven Adventures of Cadida. Purchase at The Genre Mall or give me a shout out for a copy.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Karen Newman - Mistress of the Dark

An update: Karen's poetry book, "Toward Absolute Zero," has been nominated for a Stoker award. Congratulations to Karen and all other nominees. I thought it a good time to re-run my interview with Karen.

Today, we're talking with Karen L. Newman: poet, editor, evil mind. Karen has the perfect combination of talents to succeed in the strange and dark world of horror poetry. She has authored two poetry collections, Eeku and ChemICKals, in addition to over 150 of her poems and short stories have been published, both online or in print in places such as Dreams and Nightmares, Star*Line, Cthulhu Sex, Aoife's Kiss, and The Sword Review. She won the 2005 Mary Jane Barnes Award, been nominated for a Dwarf Star, and received two honorable mentions in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror.

ChemICKals is available from Naked Snake Press.
EEKU is available from The Genre Mall.

Find Karen at MySpace and her website.

Karen is a busy lady. She's an editor at Sam's Dot Publishing for the poetry journal Illumen and Appalling Limericks. She's also an editor for Afterburn SF.

Marva: Thanks for dropping by, Karen. How is a nice girl like you involved in all this dark stuff?

Karen: I always liked horror movies as a child because of the wide range of emotions that were brought out. I feel "dark stuff" is easier to work with because of these emotional responses it evokes.

Marva: Your new collection, ChemICKals, is based on actual chemicals, with poems for several of the common household products, metals, gases, and drugs. Here's an example for the readers:


As emphysema ate her lungs,
Faye chain-smoked
while being
constantly connected
to an oxygen tank.

Thin and bedridden,
she huffed and puffed
until she lit herself up,
forming a human cigarette
that left a long cylindrical ash,
as the flaming tank
torpedoed the house.

Yup, that's not exactly romantic poetry. Tell us a little more about ChemICKals. What sparked (haha) the idea for the collection?

Karen: I have an MS in chemistry and I used my chemical knowledge to write the collection.

Marva: Well, that explains it. Going back in time, when did you start writing poetry and, more specifically, the dark poems and stories?

Karen: I wrote my first poem as a senior high school English assignment for entry in a local poetry contest. I won honorable mention for a poem entitled "The Prisoner", about a man awaiting execution. I wrote some poetry in college, but never tried to publish them. I quit writing until late 2003. My first sale was the poem "Atomic Mistress" in Scared Naked Magazine in March 2004.

Marva: I included some of your biographical information at the top of this post. Is there anything else you'd like to add? Home, family, pets?

Karen: I live in Kentucky and have two cats, Fluffy Buddy, a 14-year-old girl, and Tri-Paw, an 11-year-old boy with three legs. I write and edit full time. I started, sponsor, and judge the Speculative Poem Award for the Kentucky State Poetry Society Contest.

Marva: Here's the spot where I leave it entirely up to the interviewee to say anything you want to my blogreaders. 500 words or less. Go for it.

Karen: My current projects include a third poetry collection, Toward Absolute Zero, which contains over forty dark mainstream poems. I’m looking for a publisher for that. I’m working on a horror/science fiction novel, tentatively titled No More Lawn Mowers and set mostly in Kentucky. My short story "Red Leather Jeans" will appear in the next issue of Cthulhu Sex Magazine and I have poetry upcoming in Star*Line, The Written Word, and Beyond Centauri. On the editorial front, the next issue of Afterburn SF will go live around July 14 and contain eight action-packed science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories. I’m currently reading for the September issue. Please stop by. There are four great stories in the current issue and many others archived. I’m also reading for the spring 2008 issue of Illumen. Visit Sam’s Dot at for guidelines and to read and order their other fantastic magazines. Thanks for the interview, Marva, and to everyone for reading it.

Marva: Thanks for stopping by, Karen. See you on the dark side.