Fantasy Creatures Blog Tag

Happy weekend (end of the weekend) everyone! Today to continue the fantasy month fun, I’m going to do the Fantasy Creatures Blog Tag by Jenelle Schmidt! Thanks, Jenelle! If anyone would like to play this game, consider yourself tagged and click through to Jenelle’s post for the list of rules and a “clean” set of questions. 🙂

And now, without further ado, the Fantasy Creatures Blog Tag!

1. In a strange twist of fate, you are transported into a fantasy realm of your choice. The catch? You have also been transformed into your least favorite fantasy creature. Where are you, and what are you?

Ooo, such an interesting question! So for me, I absolutely hate vampires, so I suppose I am a vampire.

But fantasy realm of my choice? That’s a bit harder. As discussed last week, I really love urban fantasy, but those realms are so close to our own. So…I think I’d end up in Anne Bishop’s The Others.

First off, as a vampire, I’d be one of the Sanguinati, which is a bit better than traditional vampires. They still have accents and dress very old world and drink blood, but they can turn into clouds of vapor and drift around. Also, the supernatural creatures are in charge! Fear us, humans!

2. What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories? What is your favorite story that has that creature in it?

I know these are both becoming a bit more common, but I want more mermaids and more kitsune (or fox shifters).

For mermaids, my favorite is absolutely the Lost Voices trilogy by Sarah Porter. They are SO GOOD, and the mythology around the development of mermaids is so sad but also so gratifying: those deeply betrayed by humanity are embraced by the ocean and become mermaids, no matter where they decide they are no longer part of the human race. It’s about finding acceptance and peace after having a life where a girl has had neither.

As for kitsune…I’m still looking for a favorite, so if you have one, be sure to share it below! There are a couple on my list, like Wicked Fox and Kitsune-Tsuki, but I haven’t gotten to read them yet. And I can’t list Janeen Ippolito’s Steel City Genie, because even though she HAS a kitsune (half-kitsune), she’s a secondary character.

3. As you are reading this, a voice rings in your ear proclaiming:

A hero true, a leader strong,
A quest is where you do belong,
So arm thyself, and take your stand
With an item to your left your fate is at hand.

Besides the fact that this prophetic voice is clearly incapable of sticking to a meter, what ordinary item do you now find yourself armed with? (And, for bonus points, what helpful magical properties does it now possess that will help you on your quest?)

I’m sitting kind of weird, so to my left is actually my purse. And guess what? It’s now a bag of holding. BOOM.

4. You happen across an ad in a catalogue promising a magical fantasy cruise that will allow you to stop in any three realms of your choice and explore each for several days before returning you home (and the ad promises your safe return or your money back, guaranteed!) Assuming this is not a hoax and that the tour guides will actually be able to cater to your requests, what three realms will you tour and what do you hope to see/who would you like to meet along the way?

Realm 1: The Others, again. I just love those books. I want to see/meet Simon and Meg for sure, and I’d love to meet the Elemental girls! I’ll have to see Lakeside as well as the retreat for the Others in Lake Silence.

Realm 2: The Siren by Kiera Cass…I want to meet the Ocean. Ocean is an actual character that speaks to the siren girls, and it’s such an interesting and well-done concept, and the Ocean has such a fascinating personality.

Realm 3: How could I not say the world of Harry Potter? I would have loved to meet Lupin and see Diagon Alley and Hogwarts and meet the Weasleys.

5. Congratulations! You are a fantasy hero/heroine about to start your adventure. You get to choose a small fantasy creature to accompany and assist you on your quest. Who/what do you choose?

Hi yes, I will choose a niffler. Might be a terrible idea, but they’re just so cute!

6. Elves or dwarves?

Hard question, but I think I’d go with Dwarves!

7. Do you prefer your dragons (we had to have at least one question devoted solely to dragons!) good or evil or a mix of both?

I prefer my dragons good, like the metallic dragons in Dungeons and Dragons. I’d love some fierce creatures to help me on my quests!

8. World building is a complicated undertaking full of many details. As a reader, what is a small detail you really appreciate seeing when it comes to diving into a new realm? What is something that helps you lose yourself in a fantasy world?

I love seeing that the writer thought out things like idioms and sayings that fit with the world they characters are familiar with, phrases that reference the religion or fairy tales of the culture. It helps ground me (and helps me lose myself) in the fantasy world.

9. You have been transformed into your favorite fantasy creature. Problem is… you’re still in your own bedroom and your family is downstairs, completely unprepared for this shock. What creature are you, and how (if at all) do you break the news to your loved ones? (Or how do you get out of your room?)

Though I love kitsune, I’ll go with mermaids because it’s more interesting for this question and giving me serious H2O vibes (Love that show forever!).

Okay, so I transform into a mermaid, and I can’t really hide that, soooo…they’ll find out! I won’t be able to get out of my room without help anyway. I’ll just let them be surprised. 😉

Concluding thoughts

Just a reminder that you are free to participate in this tag on your own blogs! Also, don’t forget to check out the fantasy month post to look for information on the giveaways, games, and other participating posts for the month!

And please share some of your own answers with me below!

My Top 3 Underrated Fantasy Creatures

Happy February! If you were here last February, you may remember that I participated in Jenelle Schmidt’s Fantasy Month…and it’s back!

If you’re here, I’m going to guess you love fantasy as much as I do, so be sure to hop over and see the other Fantasy Month blog posts, or hop over to Instagram to see some bookstagram posts on the theme. I’ll be participating as I can (though I missed a couple days already because I’ve been sick), and if you want to participate, check out the Insta prompts here:

You can find more information on Jenelle’s Instagram or on her blog, linked above.

And now, back to the fantasy goodness and today’s topic: my favorite underrated fantasy creatures!

Skoffin

First on my list is one I learned about last year when Janeen Ippolito’s If Wishes were Curses came out…the skoffin! (There is an accent over that i.)

Anyway, what is a skoffin, you ask? It is an Icelandic creature that’s a cross between a cat and an arctic fox. And its gaze will kill you immediately.

Of course there’s more to it than that, but it’s leading to the development of some interesting future projects for me. Hubs and I went to Iceland for our honeymoon, and I just can’t get over the location and the lore. This is just one more example of something I can’t wait to use in my own writing.

Do you know any books, besides the one I mentioned above, that have a skoffin? I’d love to hear about it!

Selkies

I kind of love selkie lore. But for those of you unfamiliar with this one, they are seal creatures that can come on land by shedding their seal skin and take on the form of a person, usually a maiden. Selkies can be captured by a person in possession of their seal skin, which prevents them from returning to the sea.

Selkies had an episode in Lost Girl, but I have to admit I haven’t seen much beyond that episode (though I know it’s not a clean watch, for those of you concerned about content). Seanan McGuire has a selkie in her October Daye series, and I believe Jenelle Schmidt is working on a selkie story as well, but do you have any that you love?

Djinn and Genies

I’m a little partial to this one, of course (check out my This Curse series, book 1 out now and book 2 on its way!). I love genies and djinn in fiction, and they’re not super common. As I mentioned above, Janeen Ippolito also has a series of genies (urban fantasy) with other creatures, and Rachel Caine’s Weather Wardens books also involves djinn (caution: Weather Wardens are NOT clean fiction). I am also partial to I Dream of Jeannie. 😉

Do you know and love other genie books?

Concluding thoughts

These are three of my top underrated fantasy creatures, but there are so many others out there. I also love kitsune and am working on some fox shifter urban fantasy that expands kitsune lore to a worldwide scale, but we are starting to see more kitsune in publication. And of course I love more typical fantasy creatures, like werewolves/shifters, fae, and mermaids, but they get plenty of attention. 😉

But now I’d love to hear from you. What kinds of fantasy creatures do you wish you saw more of in fiction? What are they like? Where did you learn about them? Let’s chat in the comments!

All About Fantasy Genres

Fantasy is my favorite genre.

Okay, let me get a little more specific. Urban and contemporary fantasy are my favorite genres to read. For writing, I love writing contemporary and high fantasy.

Wait, is it really high fantasy? What about epic or heroic? What am I writing? What am I reading???

If you’re anything like me, you love fantasy, but you are a little fuzzy on some of the differences between the subgenres. So today I want to take a little time to examine a few of the lesser known genres and clarify the differences between some of the confusing ones.

Let’s start with something general.

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction in which the plot and the worldbuilding revolve around magical or supernatural elements that are not seen in the real world. All fantasy can be divided further and classified according to various elements and characteristics, such as the grimdark versus noblebright classification (which I won’t go into today). You may not agree with the subgenres I call fantasy, but that’s okay! We don’t always have to agree. 😉

Low Fantasies

Low fantasy is fantasy set in the real world (low refers to the prominence of the fantasy elements in the story) and is also known as intrusion fantasy. Within low fantasy, there may be historical fantasies, alternate timelines, post-apocalyptic fiction (which could also be science fiction, depending on the story), or contemporary fantasies.

Contemporary fantasy is the wider term for what some people call urban fantasy. It is a fantasy story that takes place during the present day in the present world, or during the time in which the author lived and wrote. It often incorporates elements of real places and people to ground it in reality. The Lost Voices trilogy by Sarah Porter is an example, as it is a mermaid story set in the Pacific Northwest (but also the ocean) during modern times.

Urban fantasy, on the other hand, is a subgenre of contemporary fantasy. It still takes place in modern times in the real world, but it is specifically set in cities (hence urban). Popular examples include Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson books and Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files.

There is also paranormal, but the jury seems to still be out on exactly what this is and how it is defined. Some people suggest that paranormal is like urban fantasy, but instead of following a fantasy story, it has other genre elements to it, like thriller or romance. Either way, there appears to be a lot of overlap between paranormal and urban.

High Fantasies

High fantasy, often referred to as Tolkienesque or Lord of the Rings-type fantasy, is a fantasy set in a secondary world with its own set of rules and laws. Magic or the supernatural is highly prevalent in the world and the plot, and these stories are often associated with large, sweeping stories with grand stakes.

One confusing distinction in high fantasy is epic versus heroic fantasy. Epic fantasy are stories which often have large casts of characters, dramatic fights between good and evil, and plots on a worldwide scale.

Heroic fantasy, on the other hand, focuses more on the characters than the world. It often follows a hero or set of heroes on a specific quest, often with a good versus evil plot, on a smaller scale than epic fantasy. Some people refer to heroic fantasy as sword and sorcery.

Portal Fantasies

Kind of in between high and low fantasy are portal fantasies. These stories often start in a low fantasy setting (our world), but the characters are transported to a new secondary world for much of the story (hence portal). My upcoming release This Cursed Flame is a portal fantasy. So are the Kacy Chronicles by A. L. Knorr and Martha Carr.

Magic Realism

Here is another, similar beast. Magic realism is a bit of fantasy and a bit of literary fiction smashed together. In these stories, magic elements intrude on real life, but it is so smoothly integrated that it is often unclear if the magic is real or some sort of delusion. Many magic realism authors are associated with Latin America, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but I would argue that other authors such as Neil Gaiman can fit this genre (I’m specifically thinking of The Ocean at the End of the Lane).

Science Fantasy

The last genre I will discuss today, even though there are many other possible subgenres, is science fantasy. Science fantasy is a unique blend of science fiction and fantasy in which both technology and the supernatural or magic elements play a role.

Sometimes steampunk is classified here, though I would say that gaslamp fiction is more accurate (think of gaslamp fiction like steampunk with more magic).

I would also argue that many LitRPG books could fit under science fantasy as well. LitRPG is a somewhat new genre in which much of the story takes place inside a video game world, like in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It’s somewhere between science fantasy, portal fantasy, magic realism, and sometimes science fiction, in my opinion.

Concluding Thoughts

If I spent the time to discuss every potential subgenre of fantasy out there, we’d be on this page for hours. Just look at this site’s list! (Though I disagree with some of the lines they draw) But the subgenres I discussed above are some of the more well-known or easily confused ones, and those are what I wanted to highlight today.

So now I want to know what I missed; tell me some of your favorite fantasy subgenres! What other subgenres would you like to discuss? Do you disagree with anything above? Let’s talk in the comments!

Continuing Fantasy Month

This post is part of the Fantasy Month blog tour! But did you know there’s a whole list of posts like this here? You can see the previous post here, too. So jump in to the other blogs, hop onto Twitter for the hashtag game, and let’s have some fun!

Other Participating Blogs

There are a ton of bloggers participating in February is Fantasy Month. Here is a list (and hopefully I didn’t miss anyone!):

My Favorite Fantasy Creatures

Okay, so I know I posted already this week (yay, cover reveal!), but I don’t want to skip Friday’s post! So in the spirit of Fantasy Month, I decided I would discuss some of my favorite fantasy creatures and maybe find out some of yours!

Werewolves

Yes. Werewolves. And all other types of were-creatures. I know they’re one of the cliche fantasy creatures, but they fascinate me, the way there’s the instinct of a beast at war with the logic of a human. And then the mythology that authors build into those worlds is awesome!

Shapeshifters

Kind of like werewolves, but what I like about shifters is that they’re a little less common… and they can have all kinds of origins. Like Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson, who is a coyote shifter based on her heritage. And then there are all kinds of fae who can change shape. And these kinds of shapeshifters, unlike were-creatures, don’t show up in much fiction.

Mermaids

A few years ago, I would never have said anything special about mermaids. But for some reason, they have attracted me greatly in the past few years. I’ve read several books and series, and I just love the idea of creatures who live in the ocean, who can blend in with humans (in some cases), and the unique trials that accompany many of the mythologies. Perhaps I have the TV show H2O to blame, because that was my first foray into mermaid fiction… and I still re-watch it regularly. In fact, it may be about time for another round…

Genies and Djinn

Okay, did you really expect me not to have this on the list? I mean, I am releasing a book all about genies and djinn in April…

I love the mythology about djinn and genies, and after the research I had done for the book, I learned so much about how it influenced mythology of creatures like ghouls (ghul) and how it has changed over time and place. The elemental aspect to different kinds of djinn is fascinating to me as well (I probably have Avatar: The Last Airbender to thank for that).

And then there’s the fact that there really aren’t that many djinn/genie books out there. To me, it still feels refreshing and new, something not overdone.

Concluding Thoughts

I want to mention that while I love most kinds of fantasy creatures, there are also those I don’t like… particularly vampires. There’s just something about them I can’t stand. And while I personally believe in angels and demons, I do not appreciate them in fiction and would rather not read about them. So I suppose those are my two fantasy creature dealbreakers.

But I’m curious what other creatures I may not have thought about. I have considered zombies, unicorns, kelpies, and other types of fae, but I know there are way more things out there.

So what are your favorite fantasy creatures? What creatures are your fiction dealbreakers? Tell me below, I want to hear about all the creatures!

My Fantasy Favorites

Welcome to February is Fantasy Month!

Hi there friends! Happy February! This is going to be a huge month packed with all sorts of goodness, including the cover reveal for This Cursed Flame next week!!! This month is also Fantasy Month, so to celebrate we are going to dive into fantasy books in wonderful ways.

And what better way to kick off Fantasy Month than to share some of my all-time, current favorite fantasy reads??? I’ll break this down into a few categories, but these are some of the fantasy books I have read and loved over the years. (And yes, Harry Potter is on the list, but today I want to highlight other books!)

High Fantasy

I’m really picky about this! I don’t really love the LoTR-type fantasy (that whole Medieval Europe sword and sorcery thing). But here are a few others I enjoyed!

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives #1), by Brandon Sanderson

This book is the first I read of Sanderson’s… but it made me see why everyone considers him the master fantasy writer! It’s full of unique setting and world details and has an intriguing and unique storyline that never gets old! It’s a brick of a book, but I loved every second of it. And that magic system! *swoon*

Golden Daughter (Tales of Goldstone Wood #7), by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

THIS is how you do “inspired by” fiction! Stengl created an amazing world inspired by Asian culture, and it made for an incredible story and setting. And even though it’s #7 in the series, each can be read alone and out of order.

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood #1), by N.K. Jemisin

This is another example of unique worldbuilding and magic systems. The magic is based in dreams, and the culture has a very Egyptian feel to it. I loved getting to see such a unique world and meet characters with all kinds of struggles! One day I will read book #2…

Spice Bringer, by H.L. Burke

This is another awesome world with a very fun cast of characters. I loved the journey, and I loved the way the book made me think about life and faith and the things that really matter.

Urban Fantasy (Adult)

Okay, I LOVE urban fantasy! So here are some of my favorites. (Caution on some of these… they are written for an older audience, so if you are sensitive about content, look it up before reading!)

The Others series, by Anne Bishop

Oh. My. Word. This is such a twist on classic supernatural creatures, and the characters are so lovable, and the world is so intense… This may be my all-time favorite UF series!

Mercy Thompson series, by Patricia Briggs (also see Alpha and Omega series, which is a spinoff)

This is one of the best and most fun UF series out there. There are plenty of werewolves, vampires, shifters, and ghosts to go around! And Mercy is a blast of a main character to read. She’s fun and strong and intense!

October Daye series, by Seanan McGuire

Okay, McGuire has written some fantastic books, including ones under a pen name, and this series does not disappoint. Half-fae detective? Um, yes!

Split Feather, by Deborah A. Wolf

I. Loved. This. Book. And there need to be more of them ASAP. Let me just say BEAR SHIFTER WHO CAN GO INTO THE UNDERWORLD.

Weather Warden series, by Rachel Caine

While she may be better known for some of her vampire fiction, this series is about djinn and their relationship with gifted humans who can control elements such as earth, fire, and weather. It’s an amazing world that just gets better with every page.

YA (Young Adult) Fantasy

As a writer of YA fantasy, I love reading in this genre. And it is full of gems!

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi

That magic system, the mythology, the story… just wow!

The Elementals, by A.L. Knorr

Everything Knorr writes is amazing, and I especially love her elemental girls. Definitely a series not to miss!

Lost Voices series, by Sarah Porter

This is a mermaid trilogy, and it is definitely at the top of my mermaid fiction list. The mythology is great, the world is fantastic, and it is just dark enough and exciting enough to hold your attention until the last page. And each book just gets better!

Monsters of Verity series, by Victoria Schwab

This is such a great duology. It’s one of those stories that has a neat mythology and also makes you question real life. And her writing is some of the best out there!

Shadowshaper, by Daniel Jose Older

You want to talk magic systems? This is the one. Things the main character draws or paints can come to life… and follow her commands!

MG (Middle Grade) Fantasy

Oracles of Fire series, by Bryan Davis (companion series to the Dragons in our Midst series)

This is a Christian fantasy series I grew up with and loved. It makes you think, and it draws you into the characters and their world so completely.

Artemis Fowl series, by Eoin Colfer

You want a fun, lighthearted romp with tons of mythology? This is the series. I have loved these books since middle school, and I’m not putting them down any time soon!

Continue the Adventure!

You can check out the full schedule for February is Fantasy month here, and the next posts will be up according to the schedule. So jump in to the other blogs, hop onto Twitter for the hashtag game, and let’s have some fun!

Other Participating Blogs

There are a ton of bloggers participating in February is Fantasy Month. Here is a list (and hopefully I didn’t miss anyone!):