Lake Monsters ... so vague but so intriguing. An author, who for now wishes to be anonymous, has tackled this creature and given us some input on why they were fascinated:
Ladies and gentleman, now slithering to center stage … please welcome our next creature!
What would any anthology of mythic beasts be without a lake monster? From British Columbia to Vermont, from Argentina to Africa, these creatures have been reported in lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and marshes.
They may be green or humped, sea serpents or giant eels. Others take the form of an enormous fish. Lake Superior’s Mishipeshu monster has a panther’s head and claws, plus an aquatic spine and scales. Many are reptilian, sporting lengths of twenty to forty feet, suggesting a relationship between lake monsters and the traditional dragon. No surprise there. These creatures appear in folk tales and ancient myths across the globe, from American Indian legends of a deity with curves like flowing water to the Greek Hydra, the many-headed serpent that guarded an entrance to the Underworld beneath a lake. A creature with so many faces would have to inspire another story. Look for it in Fantastic Creatures. You never know where it might be lurking!
Another reptilian entry is the wyrm. Unlike dragons they don't have wings ... or legs ... being essentially giant snakes.
Author Morgan Smith talks about her take on this creature in her tale Skin Deep.
The inspiration for “Skin Deep” was an old Scandinavian folk tale. It had been rattling around in my brain for a few years, because it had all the elements I love: an archetypal theme, the potential for strong characters to flesh it out, and a beast that embodies some of our deepest fears and inner aspirations. When the idea of an anthology with fantasy beasts or creatures as the theme came along, it seemed the perfect opportunity to play with it. The version I first heard set it in the very late medieval/early modern period around 1500 AD, but I rather liked the idea of updating it and giving it a bit of Regency era spin.
Another shifter, better known but with an awesome popculture history, is the werewolf.
Author D. G. Driver focused on this beast for her horror inspired tale, Mothers' Night Out. Let's find out why ...
Wolves are pack animals. They roam in families of 7 or 8, which usually includes an Alpha male and female, siblings and offspring. The Alpha female often chooses where the den or hunting grounds will be. Pups are mature enough to hunt on their own around 10 months old.
Back in the olden days, werewolf stories were about a person who has been bitten by a werewolf and the frightening metamorphosis he goes through every time the full moon shines. They were usually depicted as solitary creatures. Think of An American Werewolf in Paris. However, more modern spins on werewolves have taken the pack animal aspect of real wolves into account. Twilight, True Blood, and The Originals are all good examples of werewolf packs living and breeding together. However, even in these stories, the wolves tend to separate themselves from regular society by living in the woods where they can change into wolves and live free from harm (or perhaps doing harm to others).
What if the Alpha female werewolf is a modern woman and doesn’t want to hide out in the woods? She knows when her “time of the month” is coming and lives her life accordingly. When she’s not threatened by the changing of the moon, she has a job, perhaps even runs a business. She knows how to plan ahead. What if she has children and they aren’t mature enough to hunt yet, but she still wants her freedom to be out in the night air with her equally independent sisters? Does she hire a babysitter? Does she arrange day care? Just some things I wonder from time to time, you know, if werewolves were real…
Are you excited for this story? You can read it when the Anthology launches 11/17.
While many of our creatures come from Western mythologies, we do have some from around the globe, including a delightful tale based on Japanese Mythology, The Kappa, by author Lelia Rose Foreman.
Here, in her own words, we discover why she chose this creature.
When I lived in Japan, I enjoyed reading about a mythology that had nothing to do with Western history. In Japan, dragons are considered to be good and generous, frogs a symbol of wealth, bats a symbol of good luck. Another symbol of good luck is the Maneki Neko, the little waving cat you see in nearly every store window in Japan. The black version symbolizes protection. The kappa on the other hand is not lucky. The kappa is not as large as the European troll, but is just as mean. The meanness is balanced by its politeness. The sort of turtle, sort of amphibian, nasty water creature has a depression in its head that holds the water that gives it strength. I cannot think of any European mythical creatures that are its parallel.
You can meet Lelia's Kappa when the Fantastic Creature Anthology launches, November 17th.
While our writers fought over dragons, we also managed to work in some less common mythical reptiles.
For his story, The Mage and the Spotted Wyvern, author Craig A. Price, Jr. chose to focus on one such mythical beast. Let's find out why ...
I chose a wyvern as my mythical beast for this anthology. There are a few reasons that sparked me to choose this particular creature. For one, a wyvern is generally in the shadows when everybody who loves fantasy is leans toward dragons. Wyverns get cast aside, and often forgotten about. However, they are just as important as dragons. If there is a land of dragons, why wouldn’t there be smaller dragon creatures with only two legs as well? Most stories don’t talk about them, but they are just as beautiful of a creature. When you think about the massive size of actual dragons, and how big they can get according to stories and folklore … wouldn’t it make much more sense for riders to use wyverns instead? The way I think of it is, a human riding a horse verses an elephant. The wyvern would be the horse, and the elephant would be the dragon. It’s more practical to ride the smaller animal; it’s faster and can maneuver much easier. Another twist I put on the creature, when compared to most the commonly thought of dragon folklore, is instead of fire, I gave it ice. I’m partial to ice myself. I do have a wyvern in my full length novel Undiscovered Origins, which has started my interest toward the creatures.
You'll be able to read about Craig's Wyvern in the Fantastical Creatures Anthology!
The noble centaur ... half human, half horse. Known to be fierce warriors and brilliant teachers.
In the Fantastic Creatures Anthology, Reviving the Sword, by Kandi J. Wyatt features a centaur heroine. Let's find out why she chose a centaur to write about...
My main "character" was a sword. I needed a creature who could use it. I wanted a humanoid to wield the sword. The centaur had the ability and the right characteristics to match a sword that gives the owner foresight and wisdom.
As I decided on a centaur, I tried to figure out more about my character. Was it a male or a female? My daughter wondered why it mattered. So, my centaur became a female, red-headed creature. Red-hair for a student of mine who loves horses. It was her who suggested an Appaloosa. Another friend suggested an Arab. So, I blended the two and she became an Arab/paint.
I've always loved horses, Pegasus and unicorns; so a move to a centaur wasn't too difficult.
Are you excited to read about this centaur warrior?
Shifter stories are incredibly popular and most cultures have their own version, be it wolves, foxes, or ... jaguars ...
For his story, The Adventures of Zero: The Quest for Wormsroot Fellowship of Fantasy author, Vincent Trigili, takes on these mythical monsters.
When the opportunity to write for this anthology came along, I knew that everyone would jump on the more well-known creatures, such as dragons, so I decided to try to find a lesser known create to pull into the spotlight. Through random Google searching, I discovered the legend of the Werejaguar. They grew out of the myths and legends of the indigenous people of the Americas, those that were here before Europeans came. Being a descendant of those people, I felt it would be good to highlight our story of the Werejaguar.
During my research of the Werejaguars, I also came across similar legends from other cultures around the world and decided to add Weretigers into the mix. Since I had very little hard information to work on for either, I built a culture around the Werecreatures, and the story draws on that deeper backdrop.
You can read about Vincent's werejaguars when the anthology goes live!
While most of the creatures you'll meet in the Fantastic Creatures Anthology have centuries, if not millenniums, worth of history, this little guy is a fairly new addition to "Mythology."
The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus was invented for a late 90's internet hoax ... at least, that's what they want you to believe, but come on, wouldn't the world be a better place with these little guys swinging from the trees on their agile tentacles?
At least, that's what author H. L. Burke thinks. Here she explains why she chose this apocryphal cephalopod to feature in her short story Absolutely True Facts about the Pacific Tree Octopus.
I've always been fascinated by childhood innocence ... as well as the quirky twists and turns of internet mythology. Modern humans don't really have campfire tales and traveling minstrels/story tellers. But dang it! We have message boards (message boards are still a thing, right? Darn, I feel old)! When I read about how the Tree Octopus site is used to in internet literacy classes, I really wanted to play with the concept of a young child taken in by the hoax who decides to prove she's not as gullible as people think she is. Plus, dang, these little guys are adorable.
Here at the Fellowship of the Fantasy we know how much you guys love dragons. In fact, Dragon's won our Mythical Beast Tournament.
Because of this, when we put out a call for mythical creatures stories, a lot of authors wanted to write dragons, but we flat out said we needed a variety rather than "ALL DRAGONS ALL THE TIME" so we allowed two authors who submitted to take dragons as their main beast and told the others to try and get creative ... a bunch of authors still sneaked in dragons as secondary characters, though.
Why do we love dragons so much? Is it that they can fly and breathe fire? Is it their love of riddles and shiny things? Who knows, but dragons are clearly near and dear to the readers and writers of the Fellowship.
One of our two Dragon story writers is Lea Doué, who penned the delightful tale Snapdragon. Unfortunately, you're going to have to wait for the anthology to go live to read the story, but here she told us a little bit about her particular brand of dragon...
Dragons. The ultimate fantastical creatures. But what if they weren't? What if dragons existed alongside people, as common as squirrels and wolves, snakes and birds? The characters in Snapdragon, a stand-alone story set in the world of The Firethorn Chronicles, encounter a variety of dragon species in their everyday lives. From tiny butterwing dragons who like to grub in gardens for insects, to walnut-sized honeysucklers who become a nuisance when their namesake vine is in bloom. Other well-known but less encountered dragons include giant black dragons who live near volcanic vents and vicious razor-tails, who are best avoided at all costs. In swamps and deserts, under the ocean and on the beach, anywhere you look, there be dragons.
Other stories that include dragons are:
The Very Last Dragon by Katy Huth Jones
An Adventurer's Heart by Nicole Zoltack
The Golden City Captives by Julie C. Gilbert
For some time, our all consuming group project has been an anthology of mythical beast themed short stories. We are finally finished with writing, editing, and proofreading them, and (barring all of us being eaten by the dragons we have written about, or other such tragedies) the collection of twenty-one stories will be released on November 17th, 2016.
Here we have the glorious cover!
Leading up to the anthology's release, we will be doing a series of blog posts detailing various "fantastical creatures" who will be appearing in the stories. We have kappas and krakens, dragons and demons, glatisants and griffins, and so much more! I hope you'll stay tuned.
If you'd like to receive email notification when the anthology goes live, you can sign up through the form below.
A blog about all things fantasy from the elements we all love to how to write it. Posts are from our very own Fellowship of Fantasy authors.