Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sick mummy :(

I've been away from the internet for a little bit. My mother just had a minor heart attack. Rest assured, she will be well. We have figured out what the causes were and she should be going back home this weekend.

But there is a lot of time being spent around the mother this week. And so, less time online.

I will be back to post many more wondrous things anon. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fairies vs Superstition

Yesterday I happened upon a situation where I was just so glad that I'd thought to write up my current WIP, a mature aged fairy story, down in long hand. I'd had my morning hot chocolate, put on some music, sat in front of the computer, and double clicked on the Word version of my document when it told me it didn't exist.


I held my breath, and tried again, very calmly, and on second try, it turned out it was there after all.*

Now, when I started my current project, I told myself that I knew there would be a higher likelihood of technology blunders during the creation process. While perhaps elves, and the Sidhe, are considered more elegant, even regal, in their manner, the little calf high fairies are constantly seen for their mischief making.

This is not something I have ever had cause to dispute. Lost keys, blame it on the fairies. Lights in the house turned on when you know they were all off the last time you were there, fairies. And while my writing of this story hasn't exactly changed my mind about the subject of mischief making fairies, I did question myself as to whether it was my own suggestion that something would go wrong that made it more likely that it did, rather than the fairies trying to sabotage a story that is being written about them.

*(Of course, it was more likely to be my virtual memory running low at that exact moment in time that caused the trouble...)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ancient Civilisations: Celts

I'm doing some research at the moment for a paper that's due in in around a month's time. I thought that writing some of my findings up here might make me do a little bit more work on the actual project, or at the very least, help me come up with some more interesting ideas.

In the 3rd century AD, the Gauls were taken over by the Romans and given the name Cisalpine Gaul, meaning 'Gaul this side of the alps'. Before that time, the Celtic Gauls were a race of people whose laws and stories and religious rituals were passed on by oral tradition. Priests and lawgivers were the druids and if a boy wished to become a druid, he had to train for 20 years to grow up to that level. Most of that time would be spent learning things by heart. Druids were the most highly respected and important part of the Gallic society. Their secrets were well guarded to utmost secrecy. They were the ones in charge of defining aristocracy; they also had the right to determine war and peace.

The Celtic Gauls worshipped in sacred groves and sanctuaries that were built of stone. Their worship was to the earth, and to the living spirits who lived in and of the earth. They practiced the belief that all objects are inhabited with a soul. In accordance to their religion, lakes, streams, mountains, etc, were imbued with human characteristics and almost divine status. The worship of animals was not uncommon; indeed, it is only a recent development in culture that says we must not be able to respect or worship the animals which are killed for us to eat.

Many of the gods the Celtic Gauls gave worship to were related in some way to the gods worshipped in Greece at the time. The primary god that was worshipped at the arrival of the Romans was Teutates; the Gallic equivalent to the Greek god Hermes.

Of course, as with most ancient -and some less than ancient- cultures and religions, their belief in trees and rivers being imbued with soul and divine spirit was stamped out near the beginning of the Roman takeover.

Nikki Watson.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Changeling: Of Elves and Men. Excerpt One

It seems like this post has been waiting for ages to get posted. I've been meaning to put up an excerpt of my writing since my third post. Of course, as this is my fifth post in this blog, that's almost twice the length of time I expected it to take.

I've been talking a lot about my new release Changeling: Of Elves and Men, which I suppose is fair enough, since I would ideally like it to be well enough publicized that it makes me at least a little bit of money. ;) I have a couple of excerpts from the novel floating around. Looking through them, I don't think any of those is completely right for the community I'm starting to set up here. So I'm going to post a new excerpt, one before now unseen unless you have picked up the book. :)

This is my take on fairy and magic culture meeting a present day setting. As promised, in my last post, I give you one excerpt from Changeling: Of Elves and Men.

Changeling: Of Elves and Men

The inside of 'Omniscience' was like no other place she had seen before. Her eyes widened even as Rhys led her around the small clusters of people who were already inside. There was no one dancing in the room Emily entered. People milled around the stage where there were mistresses in high stiletto boots circling those who had volunteered to be bound. In a cage, in the corner of the room, three men lay on their backs, while a woman walked and danced and swung all over their half naked bodies as they writhed in pleasure and brazenly begged for her to dig her heels into the crevices of their bodies, which she did. Emily walked passively through the myriad of pleasures, her eyes taking in all the beauty of the forms around her, while Rhys walked with a predator-like grace at her front.

She didn't ask any questions on what she was seeing. She wouldn't have known where to start.

"Do you want to dance?" Rhys asked her.

There was still nobody dancing. Emily leaned a shy glance toward the area where she thought there would be dancing when people started doing it. Without Rhys by her side, she would never have considered being the first one to go up there. It must have been his confidence that encouraged her to throw away her precautions.

They danced, at first, with a small expanse between them. As the music groaned on, Emily hardly noticed the distance between them lessening. His fingers started slowly kneading her back, and she leaned her body into his. They were not the only two dancing for long, if what each of them were doing could still be termed as 'dancing'. Rhys had an expression of dark delight on his features, an expression which Emily could not help but mimic herself.

When Mark arrived at the club, it was not his aim to do more than locate Emily first up. His decision of a stiff drink had already been made before he arrived. From the position he took on a bar stool, he could quite clearly make out the close proximity with which Rhys and Emily were dancing, could all but see the weaves of empathy and coercion that Rhys was spinning around the two of them. Without knowing why— probably without ever noticing—none of those dancing around them ever bumped into the two changelings Mark watched.

* * *

"Changeling: Of Elves and Men" Now Available at NCP

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Holly Black's new UK covers!

I was going to leave off posting until tomorrow with an excerpt from Changeling: Of Elves and Men, because it's late over here, and I'm tired.

However! I just saw news from one of my favored 'faerie' fiction writers, the lovely Holly Black, and her titles "Tithe" and "Ironside" are being published in the UK with sparkling new covers. Here, take a look

Ironside: "In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure only of one thing--her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to him, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak with Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie."

To check out Holly's original post, look no further than here:

Nikki Watson.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

William Butler Yeats and fairy lore

I mentioned, in my last post, a little bit about William Butler Yeats. In addition to my interests of fairy folklore, I happen to be quite interested in the history of occult practice. Very obviously, our move towards an anthropocentric culture, away from an animistic world view, has had far reaching consequences where we're no longer open to seeing a tree as a spiritual being or home of the fairies. We don't need fanciful stories that will make the questions of the world more easily understandable to us.

We don't need them, perhaps. But many of us want to.

It is said W. B. Yeats very deeply believed in the reality of fairies, in fact, it was quoted that he "was fully aware of the 'everyday aspect' of fairy lore and had great respect for it." Ireland, and its people, are still today one of the regions who most believe in the existence of supernatural creatures. It's a large part of why I so love the chance to set novels in Ireland. There's a piece of that suspension of disbelief that seems to come from the country itself to aid in the acceptance of fantasy aspects of a book set in Ireland, or medieval Europe. The number of fantasy novels written in a nondescript medieval fantasy location would tend to give proof to this argument.

To give a taste of W. B. Yeats' writing inspired by what he believed of the fairy folk, this is his poem, The Hosting of the Sidhe

The host is riding from Knocknarea
And over the grave of Clooth-na-Bare;
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling
Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are agleam,
Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the dead of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.
The host is rushing 'twixt night and day,
And where is there hope or ded as fair?
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling
Away, come away.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fairy Folklore

I don't know when it was that my interest in the fantasy genre became a little bit more particular. I remember it wasn't that long ago that I couldn't conceive of a workable urban or mythical fantasy story. It was like the perfect vampire story. I'm intrigued by the idea of writing an epic vampire novel. I just don't think that what I could put out there could compete with the multitudes of vampire fiction already in circulation. Maybe one day...

When I started with my "Of Elves and Men" trilogy, I remember taking a very loose look at the difference between such a magical race as the elves, in comparison to the men who perhaps were less magically inclined, and how the interrelation between the two kinds would work in a modern setting. That was the premise for "Changeling". I spent hardly any time going into the background of the magic used. I gave more time to the background mythology, which I suppose was why I couldn't leave it there, and soon went back in time, to approximately the Dark Ages, where "Ascent" starts. I endeavored to write a story over how magic was first passed between elves and men and how it was kept from being abused. "Haunted" will be the third book in that trilogy, and that tells of how the magic was lost in the rush forward of technology, within a Georgian setting.

I only ever meant for that to be a standalone trilogy of three books, but this idea of another race existing alongside our one is something that still fascinates me, even now I've finished writing the "Of Elves and Men" books. There is still so much on the subject to be said. Not to mention read about, and researched, and explored. All things I delight in doing every time I find an interesting subject! :D

In Celtic mythology, the Sidhe (pronounced "shee") are seen almost as gods, or spirits of ancestors and nature of that culture. European folklore sees fairy kind as the sort who would steal human children and sometimes leave one of their own in their place. There have been countless stories and poems written around this folklore, including

"The Stolen Child" by Keith Donohue, based on the William Butler Yeats' poem of the same name. William Butler Yeats wrote "The Stolen Child" in 1886 and it was not the only thing he wrote on the Fairy Folk. "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry" and "Fairy Folk Tales of Ireland" were written in 1888 and 1892 respectively. He was an Irish poet who grew up in Sligo.

Nikki Watson.

"Changeling: Of Elves and Men" Now Available at NCP

Saturday, February 16, 2008

First Post.

So here I am at blogger. This site comes highly recommended to me by my friend, Katrina Strauss. I figure I might give it a try, considering as how I have a blogger account from my gmail address.

Hi, all! I'm Nikki Watson and you can find my work over at I currently have one book out with them, called "Changeling: Of Elves and Men" and have just contracted my second book with NCP, called "Ascent: Of Elves and Men".

As you can tell from the titles, I'm a bit of a fan of the fantasy elements. I'm not quite sure when that started. I could probably blame it on the multitudes of beautiful artwork I am a fan of.

John William Waterhouse perhaps.

No, truthfully, I just like fantasy. Let's face it, you can get away with more within the constraints of a fantasy world. The lines of good and evil are blurred. That gives the writer a lot to play with.

So, this is my blog at blogger. I hope that I'll end up using it productively, instead of as a procrastinating tactic when I'm at a loss at what to write in my current novel. I guess we'll see.

Until next time, my sweets.