MCM! Meet Niklas

Niklas-collage

Niklas is my main character Cardinal Carrow’s primary love interest in my current WIP, The Cauldron Born . I also have to confess he is one of my favourite characters to write, the words just seem to spill out much more easily when he is “on-screen”, particularly when it comes to the witty repartee between him and Cardinal. I just love their chemistry and the way they spark off each other.

So, a little more about Niklas. First up, he’s a 1000+ year old former Viking vampire whom Cardinal meets when she moves into the apartment beneath his. They quickly strike up a mutual attraction but things are a little tricky since neither of them is in much of a good place to get involved with anyone.

Niklas is very tall, around 6’4, with wavy ash blonde air and silvery grey eyes and his skin is classically vampire pale. His ears have a very slight but noticeable point to them, suggesting he has fey blood somewhere in his ancestry. He has a dry, sarcastic sense of humour, which he often uses to deflect from revealing too much about himself. He has a good reason for secrecy but I’m not telling 😉

He has several tattoos, including three ravens entwined around a triple goddess symbol, representing his fealty to the goddess Morrigan, an Aegishjalmur (the Norse rune for protection) on his wrist, a flock of ravens in flight across his upper chest and shoulder and a tree of life, his family crest, on his hip.

Niklas is occasionally prone to bouts of hedonism, particularly when the weight and monotony of immortally become too much. Whilst he has a reputation as something of a wild child, he is reliable and stable when he has to be.  He is loyal and loving and will always step up when his loved ones are in need. Like Cardinal, he is fiercely brave, sometimes to the point of recklessness. After such a long life, he doesn’t cling to it too tightly and, like many Vikings, believes the date of his death was set long a go.

He has been many things throughout his life, a warrior, a prince, a slave, a concubine, a rock star, even a short and confusing pirate stage sometime in the mid 17th century, but his current incarnation is that of an art teacher at a night school. Painting and drawing were one of his first loves and the few things that have remained consistent throughout his life.

I could go on but let’s save some details for when The Cauldron Born comes out.

Hope you’re having a wonderful Monday and Blessed be! x

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Mythology Monday! Meet the Morrigan

Welcome to Mythology Monday, a new regular feature I’ll be posting on the mythology that inspires my writing and the world of The Cauldron Born.

Today’s feature is all about The Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war, fate and death. Morrigan is a figure I’ve been fascinated with for quite a while, ever since I first encountered her in the graphic novel The Wicked and The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (if you don’t know of it it I strongly suggest checking it out, it is SO GOOD).

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The Morrigan, as featured in The Wicked and The Divine

Since then I’ve done a fair bit of research on the mythology of the Morrigan and felt very drawn to her as a symbol of the Goddess in her dark aspect. So it was no surprise really when Morrigan popped up in my head and insisted she had to appear in The Cauldron Born. In book 1, Morrigan only appears “off screen” through Niklas telling Cardinal all about his past encounters with her when he was just a young Viking warrior.

For those who aren’t familiar, here’s a little break down of who the Morrigan is.

The name Morrigan (or Morrigu, as it is sometimes written) is believed to mean “phantom queen” or “nightmare queen” from the Indo-European root word Mor (terror or monstrous), the Old English word maere (as in, nightmare) and the Scandinavian mara (also nightmare), and righan which translates as queen. There is also some argument that it was intended to translate as “Great Queen”, from the Old Irish mor, meaning great.

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The Morrigan, Image Credit Sharon Aur

In Celtic mythology, the Morrigan foretells the deaths of warriors in battle, often hovering above the battlefield in the form of a crow, ready to carry off the soul of the unfortunate fallen. This suggests that she was perhaps one of the inspirations behind the Irish legend of the banshee, a wailing hag that foretells death. As well as being a symbol of death, Morrigan was rumoured to be able to sway the outcome of battle, appearing in her crow form to either instil courage or fear in the gathered warriors. There are also some examples of the Morrigan actually fighting in the battles herself, such as the Battle of Mag Tuired, where she helps the Tuatha De defeat the Formorians.

As well as being a goddess of war and death, Morrigan has strong links to the land and, particularly, it’s animals. In addition to the crow, Morrigan was believed to be able to shapeshift into the form of a cow, a wolf and an eel, and has a strong affinity with horses. Morrigan is a protector of the land, it’s livestock and inhabitants.

 

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The Morrigan is often described as a “triple goddess”, representing Maiden, Mother and Crone, the divine feminine and the cycle of life. Sometimes she is pictured as one of three sisters, variably, Morrigan, Babd and Macha.

So that’s a brief outline of the Morrigan as I know her. If you would like to learn more about her I recommend “The Morrigan, Meeting the Great Queens” by Morgan Daimler for a more comprehensive introduction.

Also, the song “Morrigan” by Omnia gives a great feel of what the Morrigan is all about.

Blessed be! x

About the Author

Author pic

Since I’m relaunching this blog after a long hiatus it seemed like a good time to introduce myself and put a face to the words. It’s also my birthday today so it seems fitting to make it all about me!

OK, just kidding, although it really is my birthday.

I’m Bethany Smith, an aspiring writer currently on the fourth round of edits on my first completed novel and around a quarter of the way through writing book 2. The series will be titled The Cauldron Born (hence the blog title) and it follows the misadventures of witch and reluctant heroine Cardinal Carrow. I write Urban Fantasy fiction, set in a parallel universe where magic and supernatural beings exist out in the open, alongside the regular human world. But more on that later.

As of today I’m 25 years old. I consider myself a typical Aquarius, I like to embrace my originality and unique, quirky side, I’m very independent and I have a strong dislike of injustice. I’m also a witch, gradually inching my toes out of the broom closet.

I’ve always loved to write and dreamed of being an author throughout my teenage years. Unfortunately, teenage me was a lot better at starting projects than finishing them so I have a desktop folder full of random scraps of stories but, up until finishing The Cauldron Born much later on, hadn’t actually managed to finish anything. Once I’d started college my interested in writing drifted away and moved onto film. But upon moving out in my early twenties and finally having my own space to get stuck into creative projects, my writing muse piped up and made herself known again and The Cauldron Born was…err….born. And so, two years later, here we are with a finished book. Exciting, huh?

I’m a major bookworm and love nothing more than getting lost in a good story. My favourite genre is fantasy, particularly urban fantasy but I’ll read pretty much anything. I’ll try to post the odd review on here. I’m doing the Goodreads challenge again this year and I’m hoping to keep up with last years goal of reading 50 books this year. Progress so far: 7 down, 43 to go!

I’m a garden nerd and get unreasonably excited about growing my own flowers, fruit and vegetables. This also fuels my love of cooking and, more importantly, eating! I’m researching and learning a little about herbalism at the moment and beginning to experiment with herbal medicine. One of my garden goals this year is to grow more medicinal plants to use at home. Watch this space to see how that goes!

For my day job, I work as a studio camera operator for our local BBC news station and freelance as a production assistant on a variety of projects, from documentary to short film and corporate video. I live with my boyfriend of 6 years in Nottingham, England, home of Robin Hood.

I can most often be found at my writing desk, drinking coffee, hunched over my tarot cards or, in fair weather, covered in mud out in the garden.

Please feel free to introduce yourself in the comments as I’d love to connect with fellow writers and bloggers.

Blessed be! x

Meet the Book!

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Now that I’m back to blogging after a loooong break, it seemed like a good time to talk a little bit more about my current WIP/s and what it’s all about. The Cauldron Born is my first completed novel. I’m currently working on the 4th draft/edit. I’m hoping to do one more pass after this and then hopefully it’ll be time to set it free into the world. I’m still umming and ahhing a little over whether to go down the traditional publishing or self-publishing route with it. I think I’ll have a go sending it out to agents and/or publishers to start with and see what kind of feedback I get.

As the blurb suggests, The Cauldron Born follows Cardinal Carrow, a young witch who gets dragged into a supernatural murder investigation after a body is found in an abandoned warehouse. Cardinal is initially reluctant to turn crime-fighter. She’s busy running her own business selling spells and potions and only took on the bounty work to make a bit of extra cash on the side. But now her fellow witches are being murdered and Cardinal cannot resist the mystery of why. Alongside experienced bounty hunter and token human, Jack, her two best friends, the wise and calm witch Sage and the flirtatious and fun-loving vampire, Raven, plus a little help from her gorgeous new neighbour, the former Viking vampire, Niklas, Cardinal begins to scratch at the surface of the brutal killings to uncover something inherently evil at their heart.

I was inspired to write The Cauldron Born through my own research into modern witchcraft and wanted to create a universe that combines real world witchcraft, folklore and myth in a fantasy setting.

A quirky book infused with sarcastic humour, steamy romance and steeped in mythology and magic, The Cauldron Born is an urban fantasy novel set in a parallel universe where witches, vampires, fey and shapeshifters live out in the open amongst humans.

I have plans to turn it into a four or five book series and have already started work on The Cauldron Born Book 2: The Dark Half.

I’ll be posting more about the world, characters and mythology of my book as well as many other weird and rambling topics so feel free to come along for the ride!

Blessed be x

Character Profiles – Main Character!

I’ve been feeling a bit creatively burned out today so I decided to take a break from writing and editing to work on something a bit more fun and easy going, a character profile for my main character. Of course this is usually something a writer would do before writing a book, not after finishing the first draft but I’ve been putting it off for ages. It felt good to finally compile much of the character information I have floating around in my head in one place. See character profile below:

Cardinal Carrow Character Profile

 

It’s not completely finished but I think it’s good start. I’m very visual when I write so I like to use a lot of images for inspiration and reference. I’m aware there are plenty of neater and more organised character profiles out there but I prefer a more free flowing style ;).