Guest Post: Author Cara Marsi


What's up, ladies and gents! Please welcome to MNtR the wonderful Cara Marsi! The author of such books as paranormal romances Logan's Redemption and Cursed Mates, Ms. Marsi stops by today to talk about things that go (deliciously!) bump in the night. ^__^
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Vampires, Werewolves, Fairies – Not Your Mother’s Otherworldlies 

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, the times sure are changing. At least in the paranormal world. What is it with the vamps, werewolves, even fairies in today’s romance books? I decided to take a look back at myths and legends and how they’ve evolved.

Artist: Brian Froud
I grew up with Bela Lugosi as Dracula. He was scary as heck and certainly no one I wanted to meet in a dark alley. There was nothing sexy about this vamp. Before the Dracula movies, there was a 1922 German film called “Nosferatu,” loosely based on the Bram Stoker novel. Nosferatu is the ugliest, most evil creature I’ve ever seen. Enough to give a person many nightmares. Sure don’t find any heroes who look like him in today’s paranormal romances.

Our pop culture seems obsessed with vampires. From dark Eastern European legends, the vampire has gone through a metamorphosis into a sexy hero with superpowers. Those original vampires were evil, disgusting dead creatures, like Nosferatu. Now they’re hunky and handsome with great sexual stamina.

Bram Stoker may have started this modern trend with “Dracula,” which changed the vampire from a smelly dead bloodsucker to an intelligent, tortured bloodsucker.

Look at the proliferation and popularity of vampire romances. Especially look at the hugely successful Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Some who study pop culture say our fascination with the supernatural, especially vampires, is an escape from our dangerous modern world. We want to believe in creatures like vampires who have cheated death and have superpowers.

Author Cara Marsi
And then there are werewolves. Here’s what Wikipedia says about werewolves: “A werewolf, also known as a lycanthrope (from the Greek, ‘wolf’, and ‘man,’) is a mythological or folkloric human with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or an anthropomorphic wolf-like creature, either purposely, by being bitten by another werewolf, or after being placed under a curse. This transformation is often associated with the appearance of the full moon, as popularly noted by the medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury, and perhaps in earlier times among the ancient Greeks through the writings of Petronius. Werewolves are often attributed superhuman strength and senses, far beyond those of both wolves and men.”

There it is again – superhuman strength and senses. Is this something we crave in our dangerous and uncertain world?

Werewolves have been part of folklore since Greek times. Becoming a werewolf simply by being bitten by another werewolf as a form of contagion is common in modern horror fiction, but this kind of transmission is rare in legend. (source: Wikipedia)

Some legends say a person becomes a werewolf as the result of a curse. I used this scenario in my paranormal romance, “Cursed Mates,” when my character, Nicholas, is cursed as a werewolf in 1530 by a demon who is also Nick’s political and love rival.

The vulnerability of werewolves to silver objects and bullets isn’t found anywhere in legend. This silver vulnerability was literary license taken by novelists from 1935 on. (Wikipedia)

Just as vampires of legend were disgusting, evil creatures, werewolves were blood-thirsty, snarling, drooling beasts. The 1935 film, “Werewolves of London,” was the first to show the werewolf as a tragic figure. Do any of you remember the old “Wolfman” movies with Lon Chaney? The actor played the creature as very tortured. He didn’t transform into a wolf, but into a very hairy man. Definitely not sexy.

Unlike those old films, the werewolf heroes in today’s romance novels and movies transform into powerful wolves. They may be conflicted, like my Nicholas, or some may be evil and relish the killing. In any case, evil or good, they’re not hairy men when they transform. And in their human form, they’re usually sexy and heroic.

Now to fairies. When I was growing up, fairies were tiny creatures with wings. Tinker Bell, anyone? Now there are romances with fairy heroes and heroines. I’ve read a few, and they’re good, but I can’t get past the image of tiny, winged creatures. When did fairies become sexy?

From Wikipedia: “Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term fairy offers many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, including goblins or gnomes; at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature.” Got that?

I was surprised to learn that the diminutive size of fairies is a modern interpretation. They were originally tall, radiant, angelic creatures. Bet you didn’t know that. So the writers who have sexy fairy characters are going back to the original legends. Cool.

Another interpretation is that fairies are demoted angels. That can make for some interesting stories. Some beliefs say fairies are demons. Wow, all kinds of ideas there.

I’m still amazed at how differently our popular culture views these ancient creatures and legends. Maybe the experts are correct and we do need to go to the supernatural to escape the modern world. Works for me.

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An immensely huge THANK YOU goes to Ms. Marsi for the virtual visit to My Need to Read! The sprawling look at our collective relationship to the fantastical and morbid is intriguing. It seems that such always seem to reflect either our biggest fears or our desires for perfection. Which is fine by me! ^_^

For more information on Cara Marsi's works and latest news, visit her website. One of her latest books, Cursed Mates, is a steamy romance centered around lovers who are at once made to be lovers and destined to be enemies. Here's an excerpt:
     Nick Radford is a reluctant werewolf who’s been fighting the Beast within for nearly 500 years. He’s never killed a human, but the Beast is gaining strength and Nick may not be able to ward off his inner demon much longer.
     Kyla Yaeger is an elite were-hunter with a scarred past. Her life’s mission is to slay the werewolves who slaughtered her parents. Her quest has brought her to Maine where she's been summoned to destroy the werewolf terrorizing the quaint little village of Heavensent. The last thing she needs is to get distracted by her mysterious--not to mention hunky--new neighbor Nick Radford.
     By the time Kyla learns Nick is her target, she's already fallen for him, making her task of killing him that much harder. She is torn between her love for him and her duty to kill her sworn enemy. Nick fights his forbidden love for Kyla, knowing she is duty-bound to kill him. Kyla and Nick must join together to fight an even bigger threat--one that will destroy all humanity. Only by their combined powers can they destroy the evil and bring an end to a centuries old curse.

18 comments:

  1. Alisha, thank you for having me today at My Need to Read. I enjoyed researching these supernatural creatures. It was fun and eye-opening.

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  2. Great post, Cara. Very informative. Loved Cursed Mates...it's a great story!

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  3. I love all Cara's books!!! They're wonderful. And I loved learning more about legends!!

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  4. Great post. How we think about things have sure changed a lot lately

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  5. Interesting.
    Now I'm wondering why we shrank fairies to pocket-size. Guess I better go find out.

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  6. Sandra, Tess and Blodeuedd, and David, thanks for posting. It's amazing how things have changed. David, I laughed at your post. How did we change fairies to pocket-size?

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  7. Cara--As always, your post was interesting and informative. Love your books, too.

    Best--Adele

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  8. Fascinating visit. I learned more here than I have almost anywhere else. This required tons of research and I appreciate all you put into it. Thank you. The gift of knowledge received is a gift indeed.

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  9. Thank you, Adele.

    Karen, thank you for posting. I'm really glad you learned from my post.

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  10. Fascinating stuff. Yes, actually I did know that faeries were originally tall and angelic! As you will see in my next book... Great research, Cara! Love it.

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  11. Thank you, Miriam. A tall fairy in your next book! I can't wait to read it.

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  12. What about gremlins? Could one ever be considered sexy? Great stuff!

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  13. I loved this post because although I love anything vampire and werewolf, I knew nothing about their origin. Thank you.
    Patti

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  14. Mary, thank you for posting. Gremlins, huh? Interesting question. I'll have to do more research.

    Patricia, thanks for posting. I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

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  15. Intriguing research, Cara! I can see how Cursed Mates turned out as well as it did.

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  16. I was a fan of Ann Rice who was the first modern writer to create sexy, tortured vampires. It is strange how we have gone from icky to sexy with the supernatural creatures.

    I write stories with faeries, specifically the Irish Fae, the Tuatha de Danaan. They are also shapeshifters.
    "The tribes of the goddess Danu are indeed tall and noble and they can take shapes and sizes that are not their true shapes and sizes."
    Y.B. Yeats

    Great post!

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  17. Hey Cara - great post, enjoyed the research on the differing views of the supernatural characters. I loved Cursed Mates - well written!

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