Monday, February 17, 2014

Mythical Monday (37)

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 author Michael Ventrella
Talking of biata.

Sometimes making up your own mythical being is better than using ones from history. After all, no one can tell you you’re doing it wrong if you made it all up yourself.

Way back in 1989, my wife and I were part of a group that founded a live-action role-playing game that evolved over the years and eventually became The Alliance LARP (, which was recently featured in an hour-long Discovery channel special.

The game features elves and dwarves and other standard fantasy races, but includes a new one we called “biata.”

Biata are a race with feathery eyebrows, being related to gryphons. Gryphons are only slightly less powerful than dragons, and like dragons, can shapeshift into human-like forms and walk among us unnoticed. Dragons shapshift into elves, and gryphons can shapeshift into biata.

What’s that? Shapeshifting? Where did that come from? Well, why not? It’s all myth and fiction anyway, isn’t it? Our gryphons can shapeshift. Shut up.

Biata, like gryphons, have mental abilities, and can do “mind melds” and otherwise implant memories in the minds of others. This can be used for both good and bad, as they can control you, free you from that control, and can remove painful memories that might cause emotional problems.

Biata play a large role in my novels. ARCH ENEMIES (film rights available) involves a prophecy in which some evil gryphons who had been magically trapped behind an arch hundreds of years earlier would be released. The prophecy holds that a specific bard would prevent them from escaping, and the nobles of the duchy search for the prophesized one. Unfortunately, they grab the wrong bard. Our reluctant hero Terin Ostler, who doesn’t know how to fight or cast spells and has no special powers or abilities, is thrust into the adventure without the slightest idea what he is supposed to do.

Meanwhile, biata allies of the gryphons have been spending the past hundred years or so infiltrating the duchy’s army and its nobles. No one is sure who to trust, since anyone could be secretly controlled by the evil biata.

But it would be quite boring and unrealistic if every biata was “evil.” Terin is accompanied by a biata squire, loyal to the Duke, who has vowed to help keep the gryphons behind the magical arch where they can do no harm. She has her own problems when the Duke’s knights try to kill her and Terin and they go into hiding, not sure who to trust.

I guess the point I am trying to make here is that I really don’t like “evil races.” There are some biata who may be considered evil by some standards, but they see their actions as good, as they are trying to free the gryphons who have been evilly prisoned. The biata who are controlling the ducal soldiers see this as much more humane than killing them. Even the goblins in my books are capable of doing very good deeds.

The world is not divided into “good” and “evil” and there are shades of each in all of us. I believe it should be the same in a good fictional world as well!

Arch Enemies
The prophecy said that the hero would save the duchy from the evil gryphons behind the magical arch ... But what if they got the wrong guy?

When cowardly young bard Terin Ostler is called before the Duke and told that he fits the description of the hero of the prophecy, he is certain there has been a grave mistake. When the Duke’s own men later try to kill him and he is forced to go into hiding, he realizes that it may be his own grave that is in question.

Our young hero struggles to overcome his inexperience and limitations to figure out the meaning of the mysterious prophecy, accompanied by two squires who are torn between obeying the orders of the knight they have sworn to follow and doing what they believe is right.

Author Bio:
Michael A. Ventrella is a writer who interviews other writers, editors, and agents at his blog ( He is a regular guest at science fiction conventions in the east, and is easily found on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

Site & Blog
Facebook:  Michael A. Ventrella
Goodreads as Michael A. Ventrella
Twitter:  @MikeVentrella

Purchase Arch Enemies at:


Blodeuedd said...

Sounds interesting :) The whole mind melt thing ;)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I have never heard of a biata. So intrigued now. Love the connection to the griffins!

Melliane said...

oh first time I hear about Biata, it's really interesting to learn more about them.

Unknown said...

hhaha LARP!! That is absolutely awesome.

JezzebellJC said...

You're so right, no one can tell you that you're doing it wrong :D The biata sound so interesting. I love that you say that we have shades of evil in good in us so fiction should as well. Excellent post! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads said...

This is new to me. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

It really does, Blodeuedd. I met Michael at Balticon last year and after hearing about his book had to ask him by to share here on Mythical Mondays. :) Thank you!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

I'm with you Melissa (B&T) But was very curious to learn more about them from Michael. :) Glad you enjoyed the post.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Melliane, Michael has a great creation here with the Biata. Very neat to learn about them. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Lily B. :D It sounds cool.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Jaclyn Canada, yep that's exactly what I thought. Sounds so neat too. Thank you for stopping!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Sure thing Jannifer Bielman. :) Thank you for visiting!