Friday, April 6, 2018

Where are the Myths and Monsters?

Today I'm delighted to welcome author A.F. Stewart to my blog, celebrating her novel, Ghosts of the Sea Moon, book 1 in the saga of the outer islands. It's such an enticing, mythical title--kind of a surprise since the first books I read by A.F. Stewart were the much more starkly (and scarily) named Chronicles of the Undead, and Killer and Demons. I have read lots of her amazing short stories and poems too, and I was intrigued to learn that Ghosts of the Sea Moon is based on one of those shorter pieces. A.F. Stewart knows how to say a lot in a few words, how to bend those words into lyrical wonder, how to evoke emotion, and... well, how to make myths and monsters real I guess. So read on for an excerpt to entice you to read. And thank you, Ms. Stewart, for visiting my blog. Now... over to you!



Of Myth and Monsters
by A. F. Stewart

I love myths. I love ghost stories. I love the idea of sea monsters. So when I decided to expand my original piece of short fiction and create my novel, Ghosts of the Sea Moon, I wanted to combine those loves into the plot. I wanted big and grand, and well, mythic. And, as the original story was loosely based on tales of ghost ships with a sprinkling of Greek myth, I thought had a good start.

For me myth and epic fantasy are a excellent fit, both often utilizing the hero quest archetype and the classic protagonist battling monsters scenario. Ghost stories and sea monsters also play their part in fantasy and even more so in the other genre I write, horror. It seemed to be the perfect idea to write a mythic fantasy saga at sea with a bit of a dark side.

It didn’t exactly turn out like that.

First, my gods. I based my pantheon on the Greek Gods (one I even named Cylla in homage to the Greek myth of Scylla and Charybdis). I dreamed of powerful creatures doing epic battle across the sky. However… As it happens epic battles between gods can be quite destructive and I didn’t want to lay waste to my world (I ended up writing a series and I needed my world intact). That wasn’t the only problem.  Most of my gods seemed disinclined to involve themselves in mortal affairs, only making brief appearances. And the two main deities? They behaved—gasp—more human than god, just an average pair of warring, dysfunctional siblings, albeit ones with magical powers.

 But that left the darker aspects, right? The sea monster and the ghosts? Not quite. Because Ghosts of the Sea Moon isn’t all that dark (surprising considering my previous books). The ghosts decided they were regular average people, mostly shipwrecked sailors, stuck in the world of the living for unresolved emotional issues. That is if they weren’t eaten first by the sea monsters, creatures who did turn out as I first envisioned. Yes, my sea monsters are suitably ferocious and threatening (a Kraken even makes a fleeting appearance in the novel). But that still left me with a semi-mythic mishmash of squabbling gods, creatures and ghosts.

And then the Nightmare Crow showed up. (This is also when the novel turned into a series. That crow was sneaky and wanted more story.) Somehow he turned the novel into a whole, pulled all the loose bits tight and made the plot come together. And when I finished, maybe I didn’t have what I intended, but I had a book.

So instead of a dark epic quest, with a stalwart hero battling frightening monsters amid threatening gods, I wrote a sea-faring adventure fantasy. A conflict involving a roguish captain and his crew, against a mad Moon Goddess partnered with a sinister crow, and the fate of two worlds hanging in the balance.  I guess the best-laid plans of myth and monsters just have a mind of their own.

Ah, those best-laid plans. I'm so glad there's a series, and I'm eager to follow it.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the Outer Islands, gods and magic rule the ocean.

Under the command of Captain Rafe Morrow, the crew of the Celestial Jewel ferry souls to the After World and defend the seas from monsters. Rafe has dedicated his life to protecting the lost, but the tides have shifted and times have changed.
His sister, the Goddess of the Moon, is on a rampage and her creatures are terrorizing the islands. The survival of the living and dead hinge on the courage and cunning of a beleaguered captain and his motley crew of men and ghosts.
What he doesn’t know is that her threat is part of a larger game. That an ancient, black-winged malevolence is using them all as pawns…

Come set sail with ghosts, gods and sea monsters.

WHERE TO FIND IT:

Books2Read link (all non-Amazon retailers): https://www.books2read.com/u/ml5GvM

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A steadfast and proud sci-fi and fantasy geek, A. F. Stewart was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada and still calls it home. The youngest in a family of seven children, she always had an overly creative mind and an active imagination. She favours the dark and deadly when writing—her genres of choice being fantasy and horror—but she has been known to venture into the light on occasion. As an indie author she’s published novels, novellas and story collections, with a few side trips into poetry.

WHERE TO FIND HER:

Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/OGrTT



AND NOW FOR THE EXCERPT:




The Captain


Captain Rafe Morrow paced the quarterdeck of his ship, Celestial Jewel, the signs of an oncoming squall setting him on edge. Blustering wind rattled the sails and the crew’s nerves, their usual jaunty hubbub reduced to grumbling and snipes. Trouble travelled on that wind. Rafe could smell it woven in the air, and his blood prickled with a sense of worry. The ship trembled as if with warning. He glared at the sky and its darkening clouds painted amber and crimson from the setting sun. A storm sky coming ahead of a full moon meant dark magic and sea monsters would prowl the waves this night.

The Moon Goddess will hold sway tonight.

A trickle of blue energy raced across the back of his hand at the thought.

Damn her…and her beasts.

On the breath of a sigh, he whirled to face his crew. “Storm’s coming, boys. Doesn’t bode well, not with the moonrise tonight.”

“How long, Captain? Will we be in the thick of the weather or just what comes after?” A rough-edged sailor, Pinky Jasper, spoke up, but all ears of the deck crew listened for an answer.

“It’s coming within an hour or two, out from Raven Rock, by my reckoning. After nightfall by certain. We’re heading in, boys, but we’ll likely hit the edge of it.” He heaved a breath, exhaling. “It’ll be a bad one even for this crew so expect trouble.”

A shiver of tension settled over the deck. Some of the crew cast worried glances at the sea and each other. Others shivered, and a few more whispered prayers. Storms brought bad memories and nervous anticipation to the sailors of this ship.

“Which port then, Captain?” The mariner at the ship’s wheel chimed in. “Might make Abersythe if we head north.”

“We might, Anders. But we head east. We’ll race the edge of the tempest, but it’s closer and the ship will find better shelter anchored at Crickwell Island.”

“Aye, sir. Laying in course to Crickwell Island.” One-Eyed Anders turned the wheel and the ship’s bones groaned. Others of the crew adjusted the sails, and the Celestial Jewel leaned into her new bearing headed east.

Instafreebie preview (download the first four chapters free): https://www.instafreebie.com/free/cu9nx


1 comment:

Uvi Poznansky said...

Love the post and especially the excerpt!