When I was younger, and I mean way younger, we’re talking ten or eleven, I wanted my pen name to be Eleanor Wolfe. Wolves were my favorite animal, and Eleanor was the name my mom was going to give me. It made sense at the time. It was a clever name I could hide behind, and even entertained the idea of marrying a boy in my class with the last name Wolfe, although I never told him this.
Of course, I didn’t marry a boy just for his name at the age of eleven. And really, I didn’t have any opinions of him other than just liking his name, so it would’ve been a stupid reason to get married anyways.
After that, I became A.E.Wolverton. I swore off marriage until I got engaged my freshman year of college, to my best friend.
That brings us to today, where I’m known everywhere as A.E.McAuley. That being said, because I write both cheesy fun romance as well as dark scifi, I worry about how this will help or hinder my “author image”. I know that some of my work will only entertain a certain demographic, so while A.E.McAuley works for me, I might one day publish some of my work under a different pseudonym. Who knows? Maybe I’ll come back to Eleanor Wolfe after all.
Want more of this blogging challenge? Check out Tanja Ramirez, Lily Couldridge, and Alexandra Burt‘s pages. They’re both taking part as well. It’s not too late for you to do the same! Just link me to whatever social media you’re posting your challenge on, and I’ll give you a shout out.
This week’s “Writing Wednesday” was inspired by my recent rewatch of “The 10th Kingdom”. It got me thinking of a few fun modern fantasy ideas, and since I’m in a sharing mood, I decided to pass them along to you!
If you see one you like and would like to use, please feel free to. If you come up with some, add them in the comments below, and I’ll put them on the list.
City witches who use their mirrored phones, or just blank phone screens, as a scurrying mirrors.
Witches under 21 carving new paths of magic, and laughing when their elders are confused at how they made new spells with technology. Alternatively, witches over 50 watching the new generations and shaking their heads, but also are secretly proud of their new students ingenuity.
Vampires or orcs who post make up tutorials on YouTube to make themselves look more human.
Witches who sell glamore spells at Ulta.
Apartments that include “Brownie Clauses”, where tenants have to agree to leave offerings out because they’re the ones who fix anything needing repairs.
Necromancers who own law firms that specialize in wills needing to be clarified by the recently deceased.
Magic users who can’t have a garden going to Whole Foods for fresh herbs and chatting with others to find what spell works best.
Mermaids who live in city lakes and curse anyone who pollutes it. City gets known for having the cleanest park in town because everyone’s too scared to throw trash in it.
Benevolent Jinns helping children soldiers and kidnapped women escape their captors.
Werewolves who have to play in dog parks because it’s the only place in the city where dogs are allowed off leash.
Changelings finding out they’re fairies and staying with their human family and use their new magic to help make their lives easier.
Dryad funerals held by city fae when a plot of land is turned into a parking lot.
Leprechauns who change with the times and instead of collecting gold, collect bit coins, own credit card companies, and who know how to manipulate the stock market.
Fire Salamanders that live in furnaces of major metal manufacturing companies, helping keep core temperatures stable.
Yakshas that hold support groups for people struggling with bipolar disorders.
Pixies that break or change road signs to get people lost.
Ogres who own their own bodyguard business. They protect anyone who’s willing to pay them, so long as they get to eat anyone who attacks their employer.
Huldrefolk trolls that make underground houses, only problem is if you’re an annoying client your house will have problems throughout your stay there.
Goblins that sit in underground bars, smoking and drinking all while making bets with humans and swindling them out of their money.
Gargoyles that have learned the hymns of their churches and sing them at night to the homeless who come seeking shelter.
I could go on, but this is getting to be a long list. Let me know if you’d like to see something like this again in the future. I’m sure I could come up with more.
Welcome yet again to another Writers’ Wednesday. Time to talk about something I love, American folklore.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably already know this, but for those of you who are new, the older I get the more I want to know about folklore and fantasy of North America.
From common ghost stories to murderous monsters that lurk in back woods, chances are you’ve probably read a book inspired by the urban legends of North America. If you haven’t read a book, you’ve at the very least seen things on film.
As many as folklore inspired pieces of work as there are out there, there are some that don’t get nearly enough love. Here are some that are definitely neglected and should fuel writers in future novels.
Xunaan & The Young Warrior – Mexico
It’s a story of love and a mother keeping a couple apart. There are so many ways this could be interpreted and reinvented. I’d love for more people to know about this story, and even put a twist in it where Xunaan saves herself.
Black Dog of Hanging Hills – USA
Most people, especially readers, can tell you black dogs are bad omens. Usually monsters and signaling death, the black dog in Hanging Hills Connecticut is smaller than its British Isles cousins and much more relaxed. In fact it has it’s own little saying by New York geologist W.H.C. Pynchon. “If you meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time shall bring death.”
Michigan Dogman & Beast of Bray Road – USA
A sort of twist on the werewolf myth, these American dog monsters are known to scare livestock to death, terrorize locals, and have a man like scream. While werewolves in the Bayou are fairly well known, these two wolf like monsters rarely make an appearance in urban fantasy.
El Muerto – Mexico/USA
I included Mexico because there were a few conflicting stories as far as where this story is more prominent, but it appears to have popped up around south Texas. While everyone is fairly familiar with the Headless Horseman, no one ever mentions El Muerto. El Muerto was once a hispanic man, and after being accused of theft, his head was removed by another folklore legend, “Big Foot” Wallace. Not only was his punishment to have his head removed, but Wallace tied his body to his horse, hung his head and hat from his saddle and let the horse loose on the countryside. When they finally caught the horse, the body had been riddled with bullets and arrows from locals and tribes that saw the body pass. They buried him in an unmarked grave, and he still haunts south Texas to this day, due to how horrendous his punishment had been.
You can tell I really love this story. I could go on about it forever.
Folklore Creatures in Groups Worth Mentioning –
Little People of the Cherokee – Cherokee Nation
When I first heard about these, the person who showed me explained them as “American fairies”. The more I read about them, the more I went, WHY don’t more stories feature these incredible little people? Too many stories only rely on the fairies found in Irish/Scottish lore, when really there are a numerous of them across the globe. I’d love to see a book one day where the Cherokee little people just look at the fae from across the ocean and go HA. You think YOU have it bad?
American Witches & Their Curses – Across the United States but mostly the Ozarks
Why does every witch in every urban fantasy do high magic? Why don’t we have more witches who poison livestock, or spoil milk? Heck, you can even make this more modern and say American witches know how to turn gas to water in a car, or who can cut out wifi with a witch bag buried in the person’s back yard. They don’t rely on athames and wands, but roots and bones. Give me gritty witches! Give me more American Folklore witches with old and dark powers who follow their own moral compasses! Give me American witches!
Of course, there are thousands more, but these are just a few I have tucked away. Have one you want to add to the list? Comment below, let me know! Want more folklore? Check out Folklore Thursday on Twitter.
Almost done with my trip! I have one more day left on the road before we reach our destination, so today, I’m going to do a quick run down of plots I was working on while driving. If you see one that you like that you’d like me to elaborate on, please comment below! I’m looking for a plot to turn into a Wattpad project, so I could use some help with picking what sounds the most interesting.
Hades x Persephone – Romance – I like the idea that Persephone didn’t get kidnapped, she ran away. That she was already in love with Hades and the two decided to run from Demeter, and Persephone only returned when she saw her mother was going to kill the Earth. I’d love to go into just how Hades and Persephone met and fell in love, and came up with a full novel for this retelling.
Medusa – Revenge Plot – I hate the hand Medusa was given. She was raped, turned away by her goddess, and then was killed and used even in her death. I’d like to give Medusa a more fitting end. She asks Athena to turn her into a gorgon to get back at those who wronged her, and kills whoever comes to kill her because she found her power in her pain.
Misery in Magic (possible title) – Urban Fantasy – Basically, this is an urban fantasy novel about an arranged marriage between two magic users from high standing families. Unlike the typical “forced wedding” romance plot, this one is more about how they have to work together to over come someone who uses magic to harm humans. It’ll have more of a “slow burn” romantic subplot, and really focuses more on the blurred lines between good and evil.
Salvation (possible title)– Supernatural Detective – Out of all the ones I’ve been toying with on my drive, this one is the most under developed. I have a demon. He goes on road trips. He’s got a priest with him that’s damned to hell that’s trying to redeem himself. That’s about it. Maybe it’ll be something like Clive Barker’s work mixed with a bit of Supernatural, but I really like the characters that came to mind while driving, so I’d like to have the in their own story
Modern Cinderella – Coffee Shop Romance- Yes. It’s been done. Yes. I know we don’t need another Cinderella story, but I want a story that follows the version where the prince and his friend switch places for the night. And I want it in a modern setting. Call me crazy, but I love this idea, and I think it’d make for a fun quick enjoyable read.
Forged in Fire (possible title)– Traveling High Fantasy – This one is one I’ve actually drawn out a character for a while ago, but I’m only just now trying to decide a solid plot. Basically, I have a high fantasy world where a knight is on the run, and comes into contact with a woman who does folk magic. She agrees to help him get his honor back, but for a price. It’d be pretty heavily inspired by Ladyhawk and Willow, since I’m a sucker for 80’s fantasy.
Multiple Species High Fantasy – Escape High Fantasy – This one would have a lot more magic and different species compared to the one before it. It’s inspired by the worlds of Dragon Age, Witcher and Lord of the Rings, and would be a little heavier on the world building than the one I mentioned above. Out of all my ideas, this one is my least likely to pick, just because it’s a really big project, but hey, if you think you want to read a heavy high fantasy, let me know.
Which idea sounds like a fun, no pressure story that you’d like to read for free?
There’s something about dying desert towns that makes me anxious. I drove through the small town of Green River, Utah tonight. As the sun went down at my back, the moon bleached out the buildings as I looked for my hotel.
If you ever travel to Green River, you’ll notice one side of the street is lined with gaudy, half working neon lights, the other is long dead and empty. If you go on a full moon, the cold light will make the husks of closed motels and empty gas stations look haunted. \
When I finally made it over the river and looked back at the city behind me, I can’t tell if my imagination is running away with me, or if there really are figures moving on the plateau outlined in the setting sun.
It was unsettling to say the least.
But I learned some very important writing lessons today. One, every place you drive through can be inspiring enough to write a little overly flowery blog post, and two learn how to manage your time.
If you caught last night’s blog post, you’ll know I was having trouble at my last hotel with the wifi, and this night started out exactly the same. I downloaded my files to my phone, and managed to start last night’s words, even if I didn’t meet what I was originally hoping for. The funny thing is, I had net at one point, but thought “I can always finish this later, I want to screw around online right now”. I made plans for a later time, but that later time turned out to be problematic.
So here’s tonight lesson. If you want to write a book, start to notice when you’re wasting time, because you might not get it even if you plan for it. Even if you’re a night writer, if you get an hour in the morning, write in the morning. Worse case scenario, you get a little bit of work done, and you still have that night to write. Best case scenario, you lose that time, and you’re already done.
It should be an easy lesson to learn, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do this sort of thing. Maybe this trip will make it skip this time.
In 300 words or less, write a short story inspired by the theme “Two Types of People”. Post your writing and I’ll pick my favorite to feature in my next blog post!
Two Types of People
There are two types of people who go to a funeral. The first type are the ones who are sad to see the deceased go. They wail and make a right mess of themselves over something that’s going to happen to everyone. This group turns everyone else off to the experience.
The other type are the ones who are happy to see the person in the box go. Sometimes these cheery folks aren’t even allowed to step foot in the church in the first place. On the rare instance that they are, it’s funny to see them try to hide it. They sit there with a grin on their face like they’re at some god damn carnival and give away how happy they are. This group is full of idiots.
I land somewhere between these two groups.
Now this probably makes you wonder if that would make me a third group. My answer to that is shut up and let me work my explanation. There are two groups. I’m in between.
Why am I happy and sad at the same time?
I’m happy cause the woman in that box is someone I hated more than anyone else in the whole god damned world. But it’s a bittersweet kind of happy. I loved to hate her, and I don’t know what I’ll end up doing with myself now that she’s dead.
Then again, I was the one who killed her. That’s always good. Although who else will I get to kill now that the woman who made my life a living hell is gone? I should’a worked up to her, maybe start with a few other annoying people before I took all my anger out on the person who really deserved it. I probably would feel a little more satisfied.