Monday, August 12, 2013

Mythical Monday (22)

It seems there are many books based on or influenced by Myths and Mythological Beings.

There are so many different Mythology and Mythological Beings recorded. Some are very popular and well known, others not so much. There are many similar beings, yet different depending on the culture it’s based in.  The definition of Myth covers about anything in the Urban Fantasy/Fantasy realm to me.

I’ve invited authors to share briefly the Mythological being or Myth that influenced their character(s) or story, or what their character(s) are based on influencing their books.  Hosting here, one author and being or myth per week.

This week we have:
Fantasy and Paranormal author Frances Pauli
Talking of Kelpies.

The Kelpies Are On The Loose…

What is it about a sleek, black horse that makes girls go swoony? I was no different, and as a young reader I spent my time devouring the Black Stallion series, Black Beauty, anything I could find with a big, black horse in it. Eventually, I worked my way out of horse books and into science fiction and fantasy. I grew up a little. I got a real horse and learned firsthand about shoveling, and colic, and waiting in the snow for a veterinarian to show up.

I still gravitated toward an obsession with Friesians, but I couldn’t afford one as a teenage girl and my parents weren’t budging. So, in my reading endeavors, at least, I migrated toward dragons, griffons, and giant eagles.

Okay, maybe not that last one.

Still, the focus was on mythical beasties, and in a book by my all-time favorite author, Andre Norton, I discovered a kelpie. The idea of a killer horse, in particular a black one, lured me in pretty easily. Everything about the kelpie is seductive, and their mythos worked beautifully for my purposes when it came time to choose Unseelie races to feature in the Changeling Race series.

Kelpies are stunningly gorgeous black horses that seem friendly and domesticated in order to lure unsuspecting humans into a ride to their death. They are often associated with water, and sometimes lurk around the edges of ponds or lakes, hiding in the reeds to wait for their victims. When successful at getting a wayward human to climb aboard, the kelpie usually races for the nearest body of water to drown and devour them.

Pretty wicked, big black horse critter.

They are sometimes portrayed as half horse and half man. Now, that is something I couldn’t just ignore. The half-and-half kelpie looks like a struggling, drowning animal until you rush in to help it. Commence with the drowning and devouring again.

The equine resemblance falters in their jagged teeth and grabby hands. Kelpies often have long, stringy manes that obscure their inhuman nature, another thing that brought Friesians to my mind and made them absolutely irresistible to me. I imagined shaggy forelocks, muscles and lots of nasty teeth.

So, I let the kelpies loose. The series is urban fantasy, and shy on lake scenes. Not a pond to be had, in fact, but I had this idea of a horse loose in the city. Horses and streets are a recurring nightmare for me. No pun intended. It springs from the fact that my pony was an escape artist who often spent her evenings wandering the neighborhood looking for free snacks. I suppose setting an evil, flesh-hungry equine free on the city streets was somewhat therapeutic in that sense. He’s loose, and he’s hungry…very much like my pony.

I like to think she never caused quite as much trouble. Then again, she did have her evil moments.

Her hand reached out. Her fingers curled toward the temptation of horse flesh.
The beast’s nose stretched closer, and she caught the gleam of an arched neck, the cascade of tangled, black mane. Her hand brushed satin. One of the hooves stamped, loud and hollow against the night. The lips tensed and pulled back from a row of jagged teeth.

Excerpt: Spiders from Memory, The Changeling Race book three

About Frances Pauli:
Despite a tragic predilection to paint, Frances finally discovered her calling as a writer sometime in her mid thirties. She set aside her degree in visual art, packed up the easel and opened her laptop.

As a lifetime reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy, the stories that clammer for her attention inevitably fall into the Speculative Fiction category. Her tales might feature aliens, fairies or an oddball assortment of humans, but usually contain at least a trace of humor and often a dash of romance. She currently resides in Washington State with her husband, two small children, and a host of unusual and exotic pets. When not wrangling toddlers, or writing like mad, she can be heard bemoaning her lack of free time to spend: rock hounding, belly dancing, painting(yes, still) or enjoying quiet time with her family. Frances eats far too much chocolate, drinks far too little wine and does her best to get the stories out and on paper before they drive her completely insane.

Find Frances:
Her Site:  Frances Pauli, a touch of magick
Twitter:  @MothinDarkness
Facebook:  Author Frances Pauli

Find The Changeling Race:


  1. I sure hope I never run across a kelpie

    1. LOL! Blodeuedd, the kelpie here is a bit dangerous, but I so love that! LOL! Thank you!

  2. Interesting!

    I also loved Black Beauty! :D Maybe I'll have to check it out.

    1. Melissa (B&T) Oh, I do hope you check out this trilogy. I really enjoyed it. :) Thank you!

  3. Kelpies definitely freaked me out the few times I've run across them while reading. They have that power. Very interesting story! Thank you so much for sharing :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

    1. Jaclyn Canada, yes, but it is so neat the way Frances Pauli created this trilogy and the Kelpies here. :) Thank you!

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone. I completely agree on the freaky part, but I definitely needed something creepy for a big bad. Blodeuedd, I'm on the fence about running across one...maybe from a long distance? Just long enough that I could say, "Look, a Kelpie. Run away!"

  5. Kelpies is new for me. So interesting though. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jennifer Bielman, I have to say I really loved how Frances twisted this tale and the seelie/unseelie here. Really a great story. :) Thank you!


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