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!

Starting with a Spark: Ember of Foxfire

It had been a while since I started a completely and wholly new story. Yes, there were a few starts, a couple short stories, a couple incomplete beginnings that have since been largely abandoned, but nothing I’d intended to be a real new world.

You see, I have been working on a series of fantasy novels since 2011. I finally completed my editing process in the month of March 2016 and sent it out to my first potential publisher. I had spent years upon years, countless hours and brain cells, thinking and living and breathing that world.

And then it was time to step back and wait, and I was left in a story vacuum.

After editing for so long, bouncing back from a huge dry spell, and needing something new purely for the joy of creation, I needed fresh inspiration. I thought about how things had started for the previous series. That was simple: I had been watching I Dream of Jeannie and really wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a genie. And it grew and morphed into a new, complex, colorful world filled with characters I loved. Stories I had to tell. Worlds I wanted to explore.

But what about now? All I had was my current fascination with urban fantasy. I was sucked into worlds of werewolves, floating on ocean waves with sirens, dreaming of creatures who prowled the night and fought evil right in our own world or in variations of our world.

And I love it.

But, truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of vampires, I’m not feeling the urge to write beautiful mermaid tales, and the world is saturated with werewolf fiction. So where did that leave me?

I narrowed down that I wanted to write urban fantasy. But I was still without the “fantasy” element. I scoured online lists of mythological beings, writing out notes on selkies, swan maidens, and kitsune, just to name a few. And of everything I read, I kept coming back to the kitsune. I searched for other kitsune fiction, and while it was there, it was sparse and questionable. But I wanted to read about fox shifters. They didn’t have to be perfect kitsune. But they were different and powerful and had a hierarchy already built in to their growth and development. It was the first spark.

And then a character started forming in my mind. A half fox shifter, half human girl just entering her independence in the human world after years of learning from the other fox shifters. She was young, naive, and not exactly popular with her peers because of her parentage. But she was also brave and strong and wasn’t afraid to be both girly and tough.

But what would happen to her? I’m not a huge fan of romance, especially the love-at-first-sight kind that plagues a lot of urban fantasy, so I knew I wanted it to be romance light or romance free. I knew she would have a fully fox brother who was older and more experienced than her. And then I read more about the kitsune. I created a similar North American kitsune lore. I developed the basic plot of what would happen to my character. I knew where she was going and what she would be facing. I knew how she would have to grow. I saw her trials, her enemies, and her friends. I had finally met Ember.

And there it was. I was ready to start creating again.