Monday, July 14, 2014

Mythical Monday (56)

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:
Author Angela Wallace
Talking of Mishupishu.

The mishupishu might sound like a cute little cousin of Pikachu out of Pokemon, but it is actually a formidable creature from Native American mythology.

Its name, which has a variety of spellings, means “Great Lynx,” yet it is also known as an underwater panther due to both feline and aquatic characteristics. Its form is that of a huge black cat with scales along its back and horns atop its head. Some cliff drawings also depict upright scales down the animal’s back and tail.

In Algonquin legends, the mishupishu had control over the elements of water and air. It could summon a storm or melt ice in order to drown people who didn’t pay it proper respect. The panther’s tribute of choice? Tobacco. The creature could also be benevolent, however, and sometimes offered up the copper in its horns for shamans to use in healing.

“My gaze landed on a huge, black cat standing in the middle of the road. Its body glinted with scales covered in harsh looking bristles of fur. Spikes extended from its long tail like a mace. Its eyes glowed yellow as it stared down at us, and hot, putrid breath puffed from its open maw. It did have what appeared to be horns: two short, rusty brown ones on top of its head, the tip of one broken off.” ~Earth Tones

In my urban fantasy novel, Earth Tones, the underwater panther is a creature of pure evil. It had been sealed under a lake for a couple centuries until someone let it out. Then it goes on a killing spree and it’s up to earth elemental Nita Young to stop the monster.

Unlike the legend, my adaptation doesn’t have any supernatural abilities, just a mean—and poisonous—bite. Not to mention those spikes on its tail are used to skewer its victims’ legs in order to drag them down before going for the kill. Other elements of the myth come into play, however, such as the copper horns with special properties and the feline’s penchant for tobacco. I also took some liberty by relocating this mythical creature from its home in the Great Lakes region to Alaska.

The mishupishu was a fun mythology to play with: a savage beast with an insatiable hunger. But Nita eventually learns that the cat isn’t hunting on its own; someone is guiding it to take out specific victims. And when a deadly disease of supernatural origin breaks out in Nita’s town, the hunt for the mishupishu becomes a race against the clock.

Book Description:
EARTH TONES, Winner of the 2013 Best Indie Book Awards

Nita Young doesn’t know if she has a future with college sweetheart Keenan Donovan—two star-crossed lovers of opposing elements—but she invites him up to Alaska to see if Earth and Water can rekindle their old flame.

When a series of wild animal attacks strike the inhabitants of Yakutat, Nita has to put her romantic plans on hold. Mangled bodies are turning up, and a mysterious black panther has been spotted in the woods. Fur, scales, and a venomous bite suggest the cat is supernatural in origin—and evidence indicates that someone not only summoned it, but is using it to target those Nita cares about. It’s the perfect murder weapon: no fingerprints, no evidence. And in a town this small, the killer is someone she knows.

Nita’s strength will be put to the test as she faces losing her friends, her town, and the man she loves.

About the Author:
Angela Wallace loves gun-toting good boys and could have been a cop in another life except for the unfortunate condition of real blood making her queasy. Good thing writing gun and sword fights isn’t a problem. In her books you’ll find the power of love, magic, and redemption.

Connect with Angela:
Twitter: @AngelaRWallace

Purchase Earth Tones and previous novels at:

Barnes & Nobles:
Elemental Magic
Dry Spell
Earth Tones
Unbridled Magic



  1. Fantastic idea. I love that you took the existing legend and moved it to Alaska. What better setting for a mythical creature to still exist in this modern world? P.S., my unusually large, saber-toothed black cat is already attacking me at random and destroying my cigarettes. If his tail sprouts spikes and he starts eating people... I'm going to blame it on this book... LOL

    1. Lol. Hey, your very own little mini mishupishu! I might take one of those...even if it's slightly hazardous to my health. *g*

      Thanks for commenting and I'm glad you enjoyed the myth!


    2. Theinwardspiral, I'm completely taken with this creature! LOL! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. And now I forgot what it was call. Cool anyway :)

  3. I've never heard of the mishupishu before, but now I want to know more! Love that you put your own spin on the legend, and Alaska makes sense as a setting since so many parts of it are still wild. Sounds like a great book!

    Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such...

    1. Thanks, Alexia! When I first started writing the book, I knew I wanted a black panther type of monster, and was hoping I could tie it into my main character's Native American background, so I scoured mythological creature listings and was thrilled to find the mishupishu. Glad you enjoyed the post!

    2. Terri I was so taken with this creature when I read the post. It's so cool! And I'm thrilled to have an American Indian creature here. I was so hoping to have some. Thank you!


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