{Guest Post} Michelle Lowery Combs (@miclowery77): Magic & Miracles: Genies vs. Golems


Lovers of fantasy may be familiar with the mythic golem of Jewish folklore. Examples of the clay figure, brought to life by Kabbalistic magic, have appeared in recent years as a Marvel Comics character, on television’s X-Files and Sleepy Hollow, and in Jonathan Stroud’s Bartemeaus children’s book series. When I began exploring the idea of a golem as antagonist for the second installment of my Genie Chronicles, Solomon’s Bell, I was captivated by the opposite yet compatible qualities of the folk figure in comparison to the series’ djinn, supernatural Arabian and later Islamic creatures of mythology and theology anglicized as genies.

According to the Quran, genies are born of a smokeless but scorching fire. They exist in their own realm, but can be called forth to interact with us. Like humans, they can be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent. In Western lore, they are shape-shifters, jokesters, and tricksters who will exploit any mistake made by a master if it means a chance at winning freedom. The genies I encountered in my earliest research resented their captivity and felt no love for their masters. There was nothing they wouldn’t do to be rid of them. Their tenacity at freeing themselves by any means necessary, I decided for my work, is what led to the “three wish” myth, and Genie Chronicles main character Virginia “Ginn” Lawson deduces that by the time a master has made three wishes, a genie has found a way to win his or her freedom to the detriment of the master. Ginn eagerly throws herself into the “be careful what you wish for” trope. Wish for a “ton of money” and boy are you gonna get it…right on top of your head!

From my point of view, golems, molded from cold clay and being—at least initially—devoid of emotion or motive, save fulfilling their masters’ commands, posed a sharp contrast. A golem was created to serve and did so blindly. Forget about free will: many of the golems in the oldest source materials I found weren’t thought to possess a soul and couldn’t even speak. (My thirteen year-old girl genie was going to have a field day!) It was the golem’s absolute devotion to fulfilling the will of its master that ultimately led to the golem’s destruction in many of the stories I explored while researching for Solomon’s Bell.

Perhaps the most famous of golem stories is the story of the Golem of Prague. Created from clay from the Vltava River by rituals and incantations performed by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Prague’s golem was brought to life to defend the Jewish ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks. Versions of the story of the Golem of Prague end differently, but all of them badly with one event or another leading to the utter destruction of the golem, almost always because the golem is unable to exert even the smallest amount of free will or self-control.

As with genies, I discovered golem folklore crosses cultural lines. There are examples of djinn in many cultures; whether Anglo-Saxon fairies, sprites, and leprechauns, or Hebrew angels, each of these creatures share an origin story with genie mythology. Likewise with golems, the Gingerbread Boy and Frankenstein’s Monster are each a kind of “improvised” golem and share similar mythos. I had a lot of fun playing with the older versions of golems, weaving them into the backstory of my narrative’s Order of the Grimoire, and contrasting them to an evolved specimen: one Malory Clay, practically perfect in every way, a new girl in Virginia’s life who she refers to, when she’s feeling most generous, as Malibu Malory. In Malory Clay I found my antagonist and a catalyst for propelling Ginn into 16th Century Prague, where she hopes to discover, by learning the secrets of Prague’s golem, a way of defeating Malory and rescuing her unsuspecting family from the clutches of the Grimms.

The shared magic and miracles of genies and golems—creatures whose souls burn for freedom pitted against others formed from inanimate matter with souls in question—have made for fascinating research and have been a joy to write for Solomon’s Bell. I hope readers will find they make for a captivating story.

SOLOMON’S BELL

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To save her family, Ginn uses her newfound genie powers to transport herself and her friends to 16th century Prague. Only one thing there remains the same as at home:  she can’t let anyone know what she really is.

The Emperor of Prague and those closest to him are obsessed with magic. In pursuit of it, they’ve waged war on the citizens of their city. In the citizens’ defense, someone has brought to life a golem, a dangerous being with connections to an artifact capable of summoning and commanding an entire army of genies. Can Ginn escape the notice of the Emperor as she attempts to discover a way to defeat Prague’s golem in time to save her family from a similar creature?

Solomon’s Bell is the sequel to Heir to the Lamp and the second book of the Genie Chronicles series.

***Praise for the GENIE CHRONICLES series***

“An exciting new spin on a genie tale. Virginia is a feisty main character who I would love to have as a friend. Captivating!” — Melissa Buell, author of the YA fantasy series, The Tales of Gymandrol

“Filled with magic, curses, and mystery … a spellbinding journey I couldn’t put down.” — Kelsey Ketch, author of Daughter of Isis

“Heir to the Lamp is Anne Rice meets Harry Potter: delicious writing, mysterious Southern Gothic, and an inventive, magical world for tweens, teens, and the young at heart.” —Susan Abel Sullivan, author of The Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama, Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories, and The Weredog Whisperer

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Book 1

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About the Author

michelleMichelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities. When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group. Check Michelle out at her website MichelleLoweryCombs.com.

Cover Reveal: Lies We Tell by @kellyhashway


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Lies We Tell by Kelly Hashway

Release Date: April 10th, 2016

Summary :

Madison Kramer thought her past was behind her. With a new name and a career as a best-selling author, what could go wrong?

She never expected Trevor Lockhardt to walk into her book signing, offering his services as her publicist, or that she’d end up falling for him. But what she really didn’t expect was a stalker sending her messages, both written and in the form of dead bodies.

Madison can’t escape her parents’ murder any longer. But is it their killer coming to finish what he started fifteen years ago? How long can she keep her past a secret before her lies come back to get her?

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ashelyn drakeKelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

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Book Tour: Fading into the Shadows by @kellyhashway


Title: Fading into the Shadows

Author: Kelly Hashway

Genre: Young Adult

Release Day: January 16, 2017

Blog Tour: January 23 – 29

About Fading into the Shadows

When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance.

Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world.

The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.

Can Ella save Stellaris before there’s nothing left of her and Avery?

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Excerpt

I had to figure out what this place was and find someone who could help me get home. I had no clue if Avery was really here either, but I wasn’t going to find out staying in one spot.

Keeping my head down to shield my eyes from the sun, I climbed over the boulders to an area filled with bare trees. If it were winter, this wouldn’t have been weird. But it was July. The trees should’ve been green and full of leaves. These trees were blackened like they’d been burned. I looked up at their singed branches and saw an enormous pair of eyes staring back at me.

“Oh!” I stumbled backward, tripping over a pointed rock, and did the exact opposite of a belly flop onto a large boulder. My spine felt like someone had taken a hammer to it, but I was grateful I hadn’t hit my head. I sat up slowly, and that’s when I noticed the sky. Or should I say, the sky noticed me?

Even though it was night, the stars weren’t twinkling lights shining down on me. They were actual living, breathing forms. All the constellations were figures in the sky. Solid figures. A bull, which I guessed was Taurus. A goat for Capricorn. And some other constellations that weren’t exactly alive but were still objects, a crown or a shield, instead of stars. I stared at them in amazement. Sure stars were beautiful and I watched them every night before I fell asleep, but this was seriously awesome. As a kid, I always daydreamed about playing in the clouds, and it kind of looked like that was what these constellations were doing here. I forced my eyes to get used to the brightness as I studied the figures.

By the arrow pointing in my direction, I knew it was Sagittarius, the archer, staring at me through the branches of the tree. He held his bow firmly, but he smiled at me. I couldn’t help staring at him. I’d seen pictures of centaurs in Greek mythology books and in movies, but that was nothing compared to seeing this larger than life image hovering above me in the heavens. Sagittarius had thick, dark wavy hair and a beard that perfectly matched his long flowing tail. He looked like he was solid muscle, both his human upper body and his horse lower half.

He raised his right hoof slightly in front of him, and I got the impression he was trying to wave to me. I wasn’t about to offend a guy pointing an arrow at me, so I gave a small wave in return. I checked out the rest of the sky. Amazing! Like someone plucked creatures and people and other things right off the ground and placed them in the sky. I was so mesmerized by the constellations that the sound of rocks falling behind me didn’t register as possible danger until it got so loud I knew I was in trouble. Something was coming toward me. Something big.

 

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About Kelly Hashway

Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

 

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Release Day Blitz: Fading into the Shadows @kellyhashway


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FADING INTO THE SHADOWS by Kelly Hashway

Release Date: January 16th, 2017

Summary :

When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance.

Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world.

The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.

Amazon | BN |Kobo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ashelyn drakeKelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Dreaming of Cash $250 Giveaway


Dreaming of Cash

Dreaming of Cash $250 Giveaway

January 16th to 30th

Enter for your chance to win a $250 Amazon Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash!!

Thanks to this awesome group of bloggers and authors who have joined with me to bring you one fabulous prize!!

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Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card

Ends 1/30/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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