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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Let’s Build Some Monsters by Sarah J. McNeal #BuildingMonsters

The Niamso in The Witch-Queen

I love fantasy writing, creating worlds, beings, and, oh yeah, monsters. Even as a kid I was fascinated by monsters. Lord knows, I experienced enough nightmares about them. Most kids have had the belief that a monster is lurking under the bed ready to bite if a foot or hand many dangle down past the mattress into their lair. It is my understanding that every self-respecting closet has its monster.

Myths and Legends are crammed full of monsters, wild things, and creatures of another realm—usually one invisible to humans. From these myths and legends writers can pull up a monster and add or subtract from its original creation and form a completely new being with the magic of imagination.

The Demon, INX in Witch-Queen

I looked up a few of these creatures from “The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference” from Writer’s Digest Books. Here are just a few of these monsters and fantasy creatures:

Kraken: a sea creature big enough to be mistaken for an island

Leprechauns: the little people of Irish lore who love to trick people

The Minotaur: a creature half man-half bull who lived in a labyrinth and devoured 7 sacrificial maidens ever so often

Nemean Lion: a gigantic lion that devoured people but could not be killed because its impenetrable hide.

Sasquatch (Bigfoot): Well here’s one of my favorites. This creature is known throughout Native American lore as a big, hairy, humanoid creature who lives in the deep woods. Some honor the creature, but never speak of it while others believe it steals and eats children.

Vampires: Humans who have died but have revived due to a bite from another vampire. They continue to “live” only by consuming human blood.

Zombies: the undead who must consume human brains in order to continue “living”

Medusa the Gorgon: A monstrous woman with snakes for hair who can turn humans to stone by a mere glance at thus hideous specter.

Fairies: magical human-like beings with wings. Some are kind and good, while others are evil

Dragons: huge lizard-like creatures that breathe fire. They are often assigned to guard some type of treasure.

Clowns: thought to be human and humorous except, every once in a while, an evil clown comes around with diabolical intentions.

Well that’s just a few of the many creatures from myth and legend. There are so many to choose from to build an original monster to delight readers.

In my new release, THE WITCH-QUEEN, Legends of Winatuke, book 1 (completely revised from the previous DARK ISLE), I used several monsters. 

I named the creatures the Niamso, creatures who were part human and part Dark Blood Clan who were evil beings from the Dark Isle ruled by a particularly wicked queen named Mahara. The Niamso look somewhat like Big Foot with thick, hairy bodies, huge teeth and a rapacious appetite for human flesh. They have an uncanny sense of hearing, which is also their weakness. All in all, they are formidable creatures. 
The Evil Dragon OBYOS from The Witch-Queen

Do you write about monsters? How do you build them? Do you give them both a strength and a weakness? What is your favorite monster?

THE WITCH-QUEEN, Legends of Winatuke, book 1

The legend begins when love and evil collide.


The Dark Isle has been a refuge for evil since time began in the world of Winatuke, and the most depraved and wicked of them all is the witch-queen, Mahara, who rules over the malignant kingdom of darkness.

Mahara has taken a captive, a prince of the Nimway people, and she plans to use him for the revenge that burns in her soul. By forcing her own daughter, Isadore, into marriage with Prince Gabriel, she hopes to gain the power she craves over the Nimway—especially her ex-lover and Isadore’s father, Raven.

Her scheme goes awry when love begins to grow between Isadore and Gabriel. Isadore realizes the only way to save Gabriel is for them to escape together, but at the last minute, that plan fails. Separated from Gabriel,  Isadore is forced to continue to the Nimway kingdom of Valmora alone to seek help from her mother’s enemies.

Once Isadore gains their trust, Gabriel’s brother, Raphael, volunteers to travel to present-day Earth to get help. To save his brother, he must bring Raven back to the world of Winatuke, and ask him to risk his own life in the battle against Mahara’s evil forces.

It seems an impossible task. How can they ever defeat Mahara? With the evil forces she can summon at will, it seems Gabriel’s life will be forfeit. But Isadore refuses to allow that, risking her own life to save him. Forced to follow her heart, Isadore wonders if she can ever win her father’s trust or Gabriel’s love. She only knows she must defeat her mother’s evil vendetta for all time. No matter the consequences she must vanquish THE WITCH-QUEEN


 "You think you can fool me, Isadore, but you should know by now that is impossible." Mahara's eyes glowed like two red hot coals of anger as she faced her daughter. "What were you doing with my prisoner yesterday, that arrogant Nimway brat?"

     "Nothing, Mother, I swear it. I only wanted to see what the filthy Nimway looked like." Isadore could not quite look her mother in the eyes. She bent her head to avoid facing her, and stared at the floor. "I did talk to him just a little." She whispered her confession.

     Mahara whirled around, her black gown whispering and swirling around her as if it had a life of its own. She lifted Isadore's chin with her long, thin finger so Isadore would have to look at her. "And what did you two converse about? Be very careful that you tell me the whole truth," she warned, "I shall know if you lie, or omit anything." There was a nasty tone in her voice.

     Isadore shook visibly in her fear. She knew her mother's powers. There was reason to be afraid…very, very afraid. She swallowed the lump in her throat. "We talked about my father."

     Mahara's eyes grew black with rage. "How could you talk with a child of my enemies about the very thing for which I hate them?" She dug her fingers into Isadore's shoulders and shook her. "Why? Why would you do such a thing?"

     Isadore could barely look at her mother so great was her fear. She didn't want Mahara to see this weakness in her. Her words stumbled from her lips, "I...I wanted to know if...if..."

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Sarah J. McNeal

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  1. Powerful, Sarah! Love your monsters. Very taut, edgy excerpt, showing the other monster, the old cruelty with a human heart. (Can't remember the exact quote)

    1. Lindsay, thank you so much for your kind remark. I appreciate you dropping in.

  2. The Niamso looks so frightening! Great post. Scary lol.

    1. Yeah, I wouldn't want to run across this creature in the forest. YIKES!
      Thank you so much for coming and leaving a comment, Kristy.

  3. I so admire authors who can dream up monsters and create new worlds. It's a special gift, this kind of imagination, and you are truly blessed. Did you sleep with the light on when you were writing this book? Congratulations on a great creation, Sarah!

    1. The monsters didn't keep me awake at night, but some of the research on witches and spells did. I read one particular book about witches in history and learned that the spells they made used some sickening and terrible ingredients. In my book I alluded to some of those horrible ingredients used by people in real life in THE WITCH-QUEEN. Just goes to show ya that real life can be worse than some of the things we imagine.
      Thank you so much for your comment, Elizabeth. I really appreciate you coming be.

  4. Fascinating post. I love that you included clowns. Hate them more than any monster.

    1. Christine (C.A.), Clowns are creepy, aren't they. After I read IT by Stephen King I also find clowns as pathological killers. YIKES! It's really scary when you think about how easy it is for people to get into a clown suit and makeup and then they can do anything they want without anyone knowing who they are.
      Thank you so much for coming and commenting on my blog.

  5. Creating a whole new world and people to populate it is a talent. I am in awe. Wishing you the very best in this 'new world' you have created. Doris

  6. Thank you, Doris.
    It's not easy creating a world from scratch, but it certainly can be fun.
    I appreciate you commenting on my blog.