How I Create my Creatures and Magic

Sorry about the radio silence for the last couple of weeks everyone! As you can imagine, with a blog run by writers, the bloggers involved are often wrapped up in multiple projects and sometimes hiccups happen.


I know most of us are constantly writing, typing out the words, slashing them with a red pen and refitting plot points every day. But we’re back now!

During this segment on the blog we’re discussing supernatural creatures, magical systems, preternatural beings and all things spectacular!

For myself I have yet to create my own supernatural creatures, simply because there are just SO MANY to choose from if you do your research. I love to delve into Celtic mythos for inspiration. In my soon-to-be released book, Spirit – Book 5 in the Elemental Series, my main character is thrown into the Celtic underworld, The Outlands.

In this land of perpetual shadow she is battling against The Slaugh, The Hunt. A band of restless spirits, consisting in part of those cast out of our world and rejected by heaven and hell, oath breakers, kin slayers and kin betrayers. If you are caught by The Hunt then you, in turn, become part of The Hunt, condemned forever to ride, seeking out others to capture.

But it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more nightmarish creatures to exist in this world. As a lifelong C.S. Lewis fan I have always been intrigued by the nonsense poem, The Jabberwocky. Many studies have been done, dissecting the wondrous words contained within this poem, many of which have defined the creatures Lewis invented. The frumious bandersnatch, the Jubjub bird, the manxome foe and of course, the Jabberwock with the jaws that bite, the claws that catch.


In previous books my characters have battled Hell Hounds, Sylphs, Nymphs, hoobyas and even humans and vampires. I’d like to think I could create my own creatures that go galumphing in the night, but there is a treasure trove of magical creatures that already inspire me and I want to explore them, giving them a nightmare twist.

But I like to make up my own magical systems. In this I can let my imagination run wild on the page and figure out what my characters are capable of. I wanted to know what it would be like to feel the pulse of the earth pounding through your body. I wanted to know what it would be like to become part of an ancient tree, feel my roots sinking into the world below as my body stretched to feel the heavens above. I wanted to know what it would be like to breathe under water and set my hands on fire, the heat never eating away at my hands.

And in my new adventures with new characters I wanted to know what would happen if I added this herb with this extract in the bubbling brew over an open flame. I wanted to know what would happen if I charmed a talisman, commanding it to do my bidding. I wanted to know what would happen if you gave the wrong person a potion mixed for someone else.

These are the things you get to do when you create your own magical systems. But you have to be careful to do your research. Even though this is paranormal and supernatural and fantasy, you have to know the kernels of truth, the core facts that these things are based upon because if your readers can spot holes in your facts then they won’t believe your fantasy. You have to earn your readers’ trust before they’ll suspend their sense of reality and join you on this fantastical ride.

That Thing Called Resolve

I am bad and missed my post yesterday.

Would you believe one of my resolutions this year was to be more organized?


I started this year with a lot of resolve and not a huge amount of resolutions. There are the classics, like losing the flub round the waistline and getting out of debt. There are stranger ones like meeting an elephant and more career-oriented ones like getting my book published.

A little over a month into the year, and I’ve learned a few things about life and its tendency toward chaos.

Monkey surprise

1. Life Catches You By Surprise

You can make as many plans as you want. Decide you’re going to go to the gym every day or bead fifteen new necklaces a month to sell on Etsy. But there will always be unexpected moments that catch you by the scruff of the neck and try to drag you away from the things you want to do.

For instance, I’ve been planning to go to New York for a conference since last January. I started saving, squirreling away little bits of my tips in a box and watching the little stack of money grow into a nice wad.

The unexpected? The car needs new tires. And those tires cost about the same as the ticket I’d been saving for. I had to fork over the money I had saved and start from scratch — but I picked up three shifts at work in a week and managed to buy my ticket already.

There are good things as well. So far this month I’ve had two tremendously good pieces of news fall into my lap this month — both of which I will share in good time. 🙂

2. Resolutions Mean Nothing Without Resolve

So often, I’ve treated resolutions like a list of things to do. Maybe. If I felt like it.

We make lists of them, tell them to our friends, joke about how stupid they are on Facebook, and tend to ignore them after a couple of months. But the thing about that is, resolutions do nothing if you don’t actually muster up the resolve to see them through.

Last January, I got an email from my mother-in-law. She had decided that 2012 would be the year she lost weight and got healthy. I nodded along and said “me too” when expected, but she had something I didn’t. She had resolve.

A year later, she and my father-in-law have lost at least sixty pounds each. They look fabulous. They look happier. Healthier. They accomplished what they set out to. They did it because they understood that resolutions need a foundation of resolve to be anything more than a fantasy to fail at.

Alka-Seltzer Plus dissolved in water.
Alka-Seltzer Plus dissolved in water. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Sometimes The Best Intentions Dissolve

Today’s post is the perfect example. I knew my day was coming up and even had an idea I wanted to write about. But then that idea became impossible for external reasons, and when today rolled around my brain went poof like an Alka-Seltzer tablet in water.

Even though I’d even had a post semi-planned, I completely forgot to write it. It’s my own fault. It happens. I got distracted by some big personal news as well as a doctor’s appointment I had to attend with my husband and then had to go into work an hour earlier than I thought I did.

In spite of the intrusions of life and the chaos that can sometimes happen, with enough resolve, you can still make things happen.

My mother-in-law literally changed her life last year.

My life is dramatically different today than it was a year ago.

While there are aspects that still need change, I did achieve a lot of my resolutions for last year.

Going into this one, there are a lot of things I want to do. A lot of goals, a lot of dreams. But they’re just dust in the ether until I find the resolve to make them a reality.

What do you want to make into reality this year? How are you going to find the resolve you need to get there?