Uncommon Fantasy Creatures

February Fantasy Month Banner

Good morning, dear Reader! And welcome to today’s post about Uncommon Fantasy Creatures. AKA: Fantasy Creatures I’d Like to See Appear in More Books and/or movies…

Earlier this week we talked about some of the more common fantasy creatures we see in fantasy-fiction. Today, I’d like to chat a bit about all the fantastical creatures that tend to get overlooked. Okay, not ALL of them, because there are a lot, but how about just a few of my favorites?

Selkies

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A twist on the mermaid-concept, selkies are creatures of the water – who generally look like ordinary seals. However, they have the ability to shed their seal-skin and take on human form. A tragic figure, selkies are never content. When they are on land, they have a deep longing for the sea, and when they are in the sea, they experience a great desire to walk on land. If they do take human form, they often form an attachment to a human and gift them with their seal-skin for safe-keeping so that they can return to the sea if they want to.

There is just such a beautifully tragic air about selkie lore that absolutely fascinates me. I’m sure one will make it into a story of mine at some point in the future.

The only thing I’ve ever really seen Selkies appear in is the movie The Secret of Roan Inish, and a short story in the Fantastic Creatures anthology, both of which I enjoyed.

Enfield

Enfield

This one is cool because it really just started out as a heraldic symbol – a crest on a family shield in Ireland. It is a creature that boasts the head of a fox, the forelegs of an eagle, the body of a lion, and the hindquarters/tail of a wolf. A symbol of cunning, fortitude, honor, nobility, and a fierce nature, the story goes that this mythical creature appeared over Tadg Mor when he fell in battle and protected his body until his kin could retrieve him for a proper burial. The idea of this creature inspires my imagination…

Qilin

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In addition to being a fabulous word you can use in a game of Scrabble, the Qilin is another chimerical-class creature, an amalgamation of various different animals. A hooved, horned serpent, whose body is said to be surrounded by flames, the qilin is generally depicted as a good creature with a gentle and quiet temperament.

The phoenix-like flames and the docile nature mixed with a draconic look make this a truly interesting creature who really ought to feature in more stories.

Starting to see a trend here… what can I say? Chimera in general are pretty epic.

Leshy

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The Leshy may be where Tolkien got his idea for Ents. Unlike the slow, quiet ents, however, the leshy is a bit of a trickster who protects the forest by leading travelers astray. An imposing figure in his true form, the leshy can shift his form to take on just about any appearance.

Other than Ents and an episode of Grimm, I haven’t seen these in much.

Roc

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An enormous bird of prey, the Roc is a truly awe-inspiring idea. Their size and ferocity would serve them well in battle, or as servants of some villain.

I’ve seen the Roc in the book A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. And I feel like I saw it in an older movie somewhere… but I can’t remember which one.

Shape shifters

I really like the idea of creatures who have the ability to shape shift. They break the bonds of rational science and truly plunge a story solidly into the realm of the imagination, and I appreciate those sorts of stories. This is one reason I gave my myth-folk characters the ability to shape shift in The Minstrel’s Song series.

Original Fantastical Creatures

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One of my favorite things about fantasy is the creativity it generates. I absolutely love it when I see something in a fantasy story that I’ve never seen before. This is why two new races show up in Minstrel’s Call that I sort of made up. They are creatures based on real animals, but they are much larger, extremely wise, and have the capacity for intelligent speech… though they are a class of myth-folk who do not possess magic or the ability to shape shift.

I also really liked the Crystal Foxes in The Last Jedi, as well as all the talking animals in the Chronicles of Narnia.

What are some fantasy creatures you wish were featured in more stories? Do you have a favorite? Have you read any books or seen any movies/tv shows that feature any of the creatures I mentioned above? 

~ jenelle

Worth of a King Cover Reveal

There are just so very many exciting fantasy-related things going on this month! Today I am pleased and excited to help out with the reveal of the next book by my author-friend, Kendra E. Ardnek, WORTH OF A KING. I’ve read Kendra’s Bookania Quests and absolutely loved them, she writes endearing characters and entertaining plots with a whimsical flair that I just adore. I am looking forward to reading more of her stories!

Worthreveal

Princess Obsidia’s father was killed the night she was born. Since there was no male heir, the crown went to the man who killed him, by Dialcian law. This never bothered her, growing up, and when it comes time for Obsidia to choose her husband, she chooses Prince Delaney, the son of that man, with little hesitation. Only then does her life start crumbling around her.

Adrian expected to live a normal life, taking his father’s place at the print shop when his father retired. But, on his eighteenth birthday, when the princess’ engagement is announced, his world is ripped out from under him when he learns that his life was a ruse, and he is the twin brother to the princess – and expected to take back his father’s throne.

Delaney knows that his country is hovering on the brink of war – and that his father may harbor murderous intentions towards his intended bride due to her Zovordian blood. He wants nothing more than to protect Obsidia and his people, but as merely prince, he has little power against his father.

The ancient war between the Dragons and the Immortal King and Queen is nearing its climax, and the three are already caught in it.

That sounds epic and intriguing! I’m excited about this book!

Kendra has been kind enough to post the FIRST CHAPTER of this story on her blog, if you’d like to whet your appetite a bit.

And here is a snippet that you can only find here, on my blog today:

“What’s wrong, Sidi?” Delaney suddenly asked. “Does the current trend in belts have you that concerned?” His tone was light, but there was concern underneath.

Obsidia forced a laugh and dropped her hand to her lap. “Oh … it just occurred to me that I have to talk to a crowd of strangers very soon.”

Nadilynn giggled unhelpfully, poking Obsidia. “Oh, poor Sidi! Whatever shall she do, Del?”

What’s that?

You want to see the cover?

Just a moment…

Because I also wanted to let you know that this book is being released on AUGUST 27th, 2018! Mark your calendars!

Want to see some of the images that inspired Kendra as she wrote this book? CHECK OUT THE PINTEREST BOARD!

Also, add the book to you goodreads WANT TO READ list HERE

Okay, now that we’ve covered all of that… who wants to see the shiny new cover?

TA-DA!

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Isn’t that pretty? I think of all Ms. Ardnek’s covers, this one is my favorite so far!

Kendra E. Ardnek loves fairytales and twisting them in new and exciting ways. She’s been telling or acting them out for her dozen plus cousins and siblings for years. “Finish your story, Kendra,” is frequently heard at family gatherings. Her sole life goal has always been to grow up and be an author of fantasy and children’s tales that glorify God and His Word.
Find her online at: Website || Blog || Goodreads || Facebook || Twitter || Amazon 

You can find more snippets and tidbits on these other blogs who are helping out with the cover reveal today! There are unique snippets from the story on each of these, and apparently, Kendra has a special prize for anyone who comments on EVERY blog participating in the reveal today! So

Knitted by God’s Plan - this is Kendra’s site, so make sure you swing over and tell her how lovely the cover is! Also, she posted quite a nice sneak peek into her process of how this cover came together!

Savannahjaysworkshop

Dreams and Dragons

Unicorn Quester

Kiri Liz

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke

Read, Write, Laugh, Dance

Elvish Pens, Fantastical Writings

Books, Baking, and Cowgirl Boots

Jenelle Schmidt

Reality Reflected

Jessica Greyson

The Music of a Story

The Flowering Vales

The Rambling Rose

Written Rest

The Labyrinth

Bible and Books

Jaye L. Knight

~ jenelle

Common Fantasy Creatures

I hope you are all enjoying February is Fantasy Month as much as I am so far! I have so many fun things planned and going on… I feel a bit like a juggler! Which is especially fun, because I’ve never been able to juggle for real.

As I mentioned earlier, this first week is supposed to be all about Fantastic Creatures. So it’s high time I wrote a blog post about them, don’t you think? Today is a quick run-down of six of what I believe to be the most common fantasy creatures I tend to see in the genre, and tomorrow I’ll post about some less common ones that I’d like to see more of!

Dragons (sub-class draken, wyverns, fire-drakes, etc)

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Dragons are probably the most common fantasy creatures of all, and why not? The possibilities are limitless. With their size, strength, fire-breath, and potential for magical abilities, dragons can be an extremely versatile addition to any fantasy novel or fairy tale. They can be mentors, protagonists, heroes, or villains. They can be beasts or highly intelligent. Dragons add that spine-tingling shiver of anticipation… that sensation of “pull the book closer and snuggle down into the covers, because this is about to get good!”

Book Depictions:

Dragon of the Lost Sea by Lawrence Yep, Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede, Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, Dragon Friend by Marc Secchia, Lord of Snow and Shadows by Sarah Ash, The Oath by Frank Peretti, The Magic Kingdom series by Terry Brooks, Dragon and Scholar by H.L. Burke, and The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen. There are also many dragons in all the books of the Minstrel’s Song series.

Movie Depictions:

Reign of Fire, The Hobbit movies, Merlin (the BBC TV series), The Neverending Story, Dragonheart, and the new Pete’s Dragon

 

Gryphons

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A legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, and the front legs, wings, and head of an eagle, gryphons (or griffins, depending on how you want to spell it) inspire images of nobility, ferocity, and majesty. They do not feature in nearly as many modern-day tales as dragons, but they are instantly recognizable.

Book Depictions:

Orphan’s Song by Gillian Bronte Adams, they show up in a few books by Diana Wynne Jones, and they feature in my own Minstrel’s Song series at various times.

Movie Depictions:

Quest for Camelot, Spiderwick Chronicles, the newer Chronicles of Narnia movies

 

Unicorns

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Unicorns are another staple of fantasy fiction, and they tend to bring a fairy-tale feel along with them. Enigmatic, usually shy creatures of great power, unicorns are more than just horses with horns.

Book Depictions:

Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce (this one also has gryphons), Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl has some of the most unique unicorns I’ve ever read, The Black Unicorn by Terry Brooks. In my series, unicorns are healers and shape-shifters. They feature in Second Son and Yorien’s Hand.

Movie Depictions:

I have to admit, I really enjoy the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series with my kids!

 

Pegasus

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The winged horse. Who wouldn’t want one, really? Though I haven’t seen these in tons of modern-day stories, Pegasus is another creature from mythology that most people have heard of. While other fantasy creatures tend to be wary of humans or a bit offended at the thought of having a human ride them, Pegasus are usually depicted like horses. Though they sometimes have the capacity for speech, Pegasus tend to be on friendly terms with humans and willing to ferry them places in fiction.

Book Depictions:

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Minstrel’s Song series

Movie Depictions:

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon, and I remember a sort of Pegasus creature in the 2003 A Wrinkle in Time movie.

 

Centaur

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Another horse variation, the centaur has the body and legs of a horse and a torso/head/arms of a man. I’ve seen quite a few centaurs in literature lately. They are usually depicted as either extremely wise, or extremely violent (sometimes both in the same story). They tend to regard humans as young or foolish.

Book Depictions:

The Darksword Trilogy by Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman, Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

Movie Depictions:

Other than in the film adaptations of some of the above books, and a cartoon episode of Phineas and Ferb, I don’t think I’ve seen centaurs in very many screen-stories.

 

Mermaids/Mermen/Sirens

(I couldn’t find an appropriate mermaid picture on pixabay – which is where I got all the other images… but this one was too adorable to pass up – I feel the need to write a story about this image now….)

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Enigmatic creatures with the upper body of a human and the tail of a fish… stories about mermaids appear in the folklore and myths of cultures around the world. A fascination with the ocean and its mysteries and the idea of human-like creatures inhabiting its depths seems to be part of the human condition. Mermaids are often depicted as shy, reclusive creatures who avoid contact with humans. They have also been depicted as treacherous or dangerous, and it is said they often use their beautiful voices to lure sailors to their deaths, or use their powers over the seas to cause storms and floods.

Book Depictions:

The Odyssey by Homer, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Talori and the Shark by Jessica L. Elliot was one of my favorites in the Fantastic Creatures anthology - which I am linking to because 1) the stories are really good, and full of fantastic creatures (as the name implies) and 2) because it’s always free, so you should grab a copy! Mermaids are referenced in King’s Warrior, and make an actual appearance in Minstrel’s Call… but in my world they are flighty creatures

There are quite a few books featuring mermaids in the Fellowship of Fantasy group that I am interested in reading. The ones on my immediate TBR list are: Tomb of the Sea Witch by Kyle Robert Shultz and the Lord of Dreams by C.J. Brightley (which was the January book-club read, and I have it, I just haven’t had time to read it!)

Movie Depictions:

The Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean 4, Hook, H2O Mermaid Adventures cartoon

Of these slightly more common fantasy creatures, which one is your favorite? Are there any you feel are overdone, or that you’re picky about the way they are portrayed? I’d love to chat with you about it!

~ jenelle

Nightstand Books + Blog Tour Sign-up

Calling all bloggers! Calling all bloggers! It is that time… time to throw the nets wide and see how far I can send information about Minstrel’s Call across cyberspace.

BLOG TOUR SIGN UP FORM

But that is not all… because it is also time… for….

NIGHTSTAND BOOKS!!!

Nightstand Books Feb 18

I did a lot of reading in January, but it was not strictly for fun. It was fun, but it was also more from an editor’s perspective, and that tends to feel more like work. So I am very excited to dive into some reading-for-fun this month!

Two Years Before the Mast - Yes, I am STILL working my way through this one. Do not be fooled by its skinny spine, my friend. This book has A LOT OF WORDS. My husband glanced over at it while I was reading it a few weeks ago and said, “Whoa, that’s a lot of words on those pages!” Many are the words. And none of them are easy. It’s an autobiography, and it is extremely informative about life at sea… and full of words I need to stop and look up like every other sentence. So, I’m taking this one slowly. But it’s good to read books that challenge us, and this one does. I’m enjoying it, but I can’t just devour it the way I can devour fantasy.

After by Savannah Jezowski - So excited to have been given the privilege of getting my hands on this paperback before it releases at the end of the month! I beta-read this one a while back and have been longing for it ever since! It is a prequel to Wither, which was her story that made it into the Five Enchanted Roses collection, and I can’t wait to see how the final version of the story looks.

The Last Motley by DJ Edwardson – This book!!!! This is another one I beta-read way back when, and have been anxiously awaiting it for quite a while. There were a few moments when I truly feared that the author was going to decide it wasn’t worth the effort, but I am SO glad he decided to publish this, because it is… just… awesome! I’m about halfway through and just LOVING the story and the characters and everything SO MUCH! I plan to do a full review when I’ve finished it.

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And that is all I have time to read this month, because… all the #FantasyMonth things! Oh… and planning a book release! (I probably should have my head examined).

Tell me… what are you reading this month?

~ jenelle