Monday, March 10, 2014

Mythical Monday (40)

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:
Adult & Young Adult Urban Fantasy author 
Sharron Riddle
Talking of Maori Myths and Legends.

First, let me say a big Thank You!!! To Melissa for having me here!

Anyone who has read my books knows I am a sucker for mythology. From vampires to wizards and dragons, to cat shape shifters based on Egyptian legends, my stories cross boundaries and mash-up beliefs.

While researching my soon to be released horror, Walking Sticks, I discovered some of my most interesting legends to date. Legends of the native Maori people of New Zealand.

I found it fascinating that long before the British landed on their shores, the Maori told tales of Patupaiarehe, a fair skinned people with pale blonde or red hair, and eyes ranging in shades of pale blue to black. Of course, my first thought was, where did these legends come from? What were they based on?

In Māori mythology, Patupaiarehe live in deep forests and mountaintops in New Zealand, and are sometimes hostile to humans. Ethereal flute music and singing sometimes reveals their presence, but they were seldom seen.

Patupaiarehe were afraid of the light, and were only seen at twilight or in the mist. They were also afraid of fire. I used this mythology for the back story of my spirit girls who inhabit the human skulls affixed to the walking sticks.

Sometimes patupaiarehe would put people under a spell and steal them away. They made love to beautiful women, and some people thought their children were the redheads called urukehu. To keep them away, people would paint themselves with smelly mixtures, or cook food, because patupaiarehe hated the smell. Fire and light would also frighten them away.

In the Walking Sticks, I reversed the legend. I had a powerful chief steal one of the fairy women, to ensure that his sons would be born with their mother’s powerful magic and grow to become great chiefs who could defeat his enemies. To his dismay, the patupaiarehe bore him only daughters, which resulted in disastrous consequences.

Patupaiarehe sometimes taught people magical chants and other skills. They were good at fishing, and are credited for teaching the Maori how to make fishing nets.

Besides the fairy folk, I used other Maori myths to make my tale come to life. In my story, the walking sticks are carved helixes, the spiral being the Maori symbol for unending life. And the top of each stick is a carved human with a bird’s head, known as Manaia. In some legends, this symbol is a messenger between the worlds of mortals and spirits.

The Maori culture is infused with tales and legends. Many Maori are returning to the custom of tattooing. Ta moko - traditional Māori tattooing, often on the face - is ataonga (treasure) to Māori for which the purpose and applications are sacred.

Every moko contains ancestral / tribal messages specific to the wearer. These messages tell the story of the wearer's family and tribal affiliations, and their place in these social structures. Many of these tattoos include cultural symbols based in mythology. Sometimes I think researching the mythology is my favorite part of writing. I learn so many new and exciting facts about ancient cultures. For someone who loathed history in high school, I figure it must be the magic behind the myths that draws me in.

Needless to say, my research for Walking Sticks took me down many interesting and rarely traveled paths. There are literally books upon books with detailed histories of this ancient and intriguing people.

I hope this sparks an interest in you to investigate their mysterious heritage. I also hope it might have sparked an interest in my writing!

I currently have two new releases – Sin, a young girls who is thrown into a world of zombies and Fey, and Pandora’s Jar, Book One of the Veil Walker series, a girl who can cross between the world of the living and the dead, and the Egyptian guardian who must decide if she is too dangerous to live, or if her powers will conquer his heart.

Please visit my author page to see more of my books:
Sharron Riddle, author page on Amazon

And I’d love for you to join me on Facebook and Twitter!
Facebook:  Sharron Riddle Houdek
Twitter: @RiddleMeAStory

Keep your eyes peeled for Walking Sticks in the near future.
In the mean time, you can pick up Sharron's available books:


  1. Very cool. I love mythology too and would love to know even more about the Maori mythos. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Melissa (B&T) It was cool to hear this. It was new to me and now I'm curious about her new book coming. :)

  2. So cool! I love those myths and I wonder where they came from too

    1. Bloddeuedd, I'm with you on that! I'm curious. And curious to read this book too. :)

  3. oh that's so interesting, I didn't know these ones and it's awesome to discover them. thank you!

    1. Melliane, sure thing! I'm discovering these myths with you too. :) Thank you for visiting.

  4. Fascinating stuff! I've never heard of these Maori legends and am curious where they originated. Now I want to learn more!

    1. Alexia, I'm with you I hadn't heard of the Maori legends until Sharron shared it. :) Thank you!


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