Friday, January 7, 2011

Mother of Demons & Vampires (& Win a Book from Nicole Hadaway)

 Today, I'd like to welcome a guest blogger, author Nicole Hadaway, author of Release (which features vampires in a World War II setting) and its upcoming sequel, Return (which takes the vampires to NYC during 9/11). Nikki's books also draw heavily on classic mythology, and at the end of the blog, she'll offer up a free read you can download online. She'll also be giving away TWO copies of Release to commenters, so show the love!
 
Discovering Mythology in One’s Own Religion
by Nicole Hadaway

I’ve always loved tales of mythology.  As a ten, twelve-year-old kid, I pored over the myths of Zeus, Hera, and the rest of the Greek gods, who got up to some pretty crazy shenanigans.  Then I moved onto Osiris and Isis (those of you belonging to a certain age group will remember that awesome tv show featuring the Egyptian goddess ;-)  Norse mythology, with the devious Loki and noble Brunhilde--even generic tales of unicorns, female warriors, mermaids, and dragons -- captivated me.

Having grown up in a Catholic household, I learned that all of these tales were just myths which weren’t true -- they were just old religions that people believed in to explain how the world worked before Christianity spread throughout the world.  It wasn’t until college that I discovered something a bit shocking -- Christianity has myths, too.

I was working on this paper for my favorite class at the time, Art In Italian Renaissance, called “The Faces of Eve In Renaissance Art.”  You might ask, how many faces could there be, right?  After all, the Bible only has one description of Eve and the Fall of Man, so how could I churn out a 45-page paper on that?

The first thing my instructor explained in the class, during the start of the semester, was that many of the Renaissance paintings (which largely featured religious themes), were not based upon the Bible, but on two popular books at the time:  Meditations In the Life of Christ, and The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine.  Consequently, there are many tales not featured in the Bible, or that differ slightly from the Bible.

Modern-day catchechists have boiled down the Fall of Man to a pretty straightforward story -- Adam, Eve, apple, serpent.  This is a far take from medieval and Renaissance times, when artists drew snakes with women’s heads (Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo) or even footed salamanders as the serpent (Eden by Hugo Van Der Goes); the fruit changed from apples to figs to pomegranates; and the setting might have even been in the good ole USA (see Adam and Eve by Albrecht Durer -- the parrot is a symbol of the Americas)!

It was through this research that I learned  Eve was not Adam’s first wife.  Gasp!  No, you see, Jewish scholars interpreted the line in Genesis 1:27, “male and female He created them” to mean that man and woman were created at the same time.  Of course, this contradicts Genesis 2:21 describing the creation of Eve.  So what happened in between a simultaneous creation, and being formed from Adam’s rib?

Well, Adam’s first wife, his equal, was Lilith.  And when it came time to consummate their relationship, Lilith wanted an equal position, not the bottom one.  Adam was upset by this, so Lilith left him and ran away to the Red Sea.  God sent three angels to chase her down and bring her back, but she wanted no part of being Adam’s wife.  So God damned her to a life of bearing demon-children.

It’s amazing to see how many writers have picked up on Lilith’s tale and given her a life of her own -- sometimes as Satan’s equal, or wife, or superior -- in some series, she even takes over Hell.  In other books, she’s a more sympathetic character, a victim of circumstances.  In most, though, she’s the mother of demons, most often of vampires.

In my own novel, Release, Lilith makes an appearance.  She’s the mother of the vampire race in my mythology and, well -- you’ll have to see for yourself what she does ;-)

ABOUT THE BOOK:   “Forever.” That’s the response Ben Gongliewski receives when he asks Miranda Dandridge how long she’s been a vampire. He doesn’t expect the word “forever” in her reply, but then again, Ben never imagined meeting vampires, let alone demons and werewolves, during his time in the Polish Resistance during World War II. Far from being horrified, Ben discovers that Miranda and her friends have very useful talents … especially when it comes to saving children from concentration camps. After all, in these desperate times, while the line between good and evil is clear, the one between heroes and monsters is very, very blurred.

The last thing Miranda wants at this point in her immortal life is a human lover, but as she and Ben perform rescue after daring rescue, she can’t help but be drawn to his passion to save his fellow Jews. As the War draws to a close Miranda must choose her love for Ben or her duty to her race. Ben is blindsided by a betrayal that no one sees coming, which leads to a danger where all hell is about to break loose … literally.


THE GIVEAWAY: To win one of two ebook copies of Release, please leave a comment below telling us about your favorite myth, or favorite historical setting for a novel.  For a free read of Nicole's New Orleans, 1842, a story featuring the protagonist of Release, click HERE. Another Miranda Dandridge story, Egypt, 1906, is available for a 99-cent Kindle download HERE.  As usual, +1 entry for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow, +1 for Tweet or Retweet.

22 comments:

  1. Great job, Nikki! I'm not very religious and only recently heard the whole Lilith angle. Very cool!

    No need to offer me in the giveaway as I own Release and Egypt 1906 already. Good luck, everyone!

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  2. I don't have a favorite myth per say but my favorite mythology is Norse mythology.

    +1 follower

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  3. what a fascinating blog. Lilith sure is making herself known throughout fiction works these days..Supernatural comes to mind first, but also the wicked evil 'ex wife' in Frasier LMAO she was the devil incarnate for sure hehe

    No need to enter me, either, as I own, and throughly enjoyed, Release :) waiting on the second book!

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  4. Nice post, Nicolle. Did not know about Lillith, and now I understand the buzz with all the Lillith Festivals here in California all the time...

    I'd have to say for myth, I do love the stories Anne Rice started, which, to me, gave vampires, a new status and something I could explore.

    There are early Judaic stories of vampires, and I think even Muslim stories. I know early Hindu temples in the 3rd century had them.

    But Anne Rice brought the myth to something other than just a creature to be feared. Gave them personalities. Thanks for the post. Great information, and give me the urge to study.

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  5. WOW! My favorite myth is the one about Jesus having a wife - which I'm not convinced is a myth. It amazes me that people take the Bible (which I love) at face value and don't take into account that there was soooo much more to the story. Your book sounds amazing. I am putting together an outline to do a current "edit" on the Bible. It would be amazing to see how an editor from today would rearrange commas, periods, chapters, etc. It could add a whole new meaning to a lot of different beliefs.

    Good luck and happy writing.

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  6. Love the blog. I have always been facinated by Lillith's story. I love all mythology but I am most drawn to Greek mythology and their battle with the Titans.

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  7. My favorite myths are usually the ones my kids make up about why something is broken.

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  8. I love the story of Lilith! According to Jewish legend, she was like the original vampire - went over to the dark side. Adam definitely did not want an equal relationship, he wanted a more malleable mate! Too bad for him!
    My grandmother tied a ribbon around my wrist and hung a coin over my crib to ward her off, that soul stealing she-demon!
    Wonderful post. I do am a big mythology reader!

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  9. I love Greek mythology too. It was always my fave to study in school. Great blog. Great hostess.

    Good stuff, ladies!

    Hugs,
    Kerri

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  10. Hi Suzanne, so happy to see Nicole here! Hi Nicole! After you commented on my blog the day I talked about Marissa Farrar's Alone, I followed your links and discovered your books: I read Egypt 1906-must say I was not happy to find out your definition of a "short story", I want more, more, more!! I love Miranda and Clay and the time period is just an absolute fave of mine: I bought Release yesterday and can't wait to read it. It is my reward for making my word count on Broken Chords :).
    This is a fascinating post. I love mythology. I homeschool my daughter and we did almost a half year study on ancient myths from Egypt, Greece, and Rome, with a few short hops to Mesopotamia and India: Lilith is by far my favorite: I named a brothel after her in a Regency historical I wrote during NanoWriMo last year. She certainly captures the imagination, huh?
    I had not heard of the first wife of Adam legend, at least not quite like that: awesome! Love learning something new!
    Hurry up and get the next Miranda story finished, I read fast and just know I'll devour Release and New Orleans in one sitting; write girl, write!!

    Wishing many more awesome plot ideas will come to you,
    Rachel

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  11. Nice outline of Christian myth.
    The book sounds very intriguing. Looking forward to reading it.
    Thanks-- Whitley

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  12. Coming from an academic women's studies background, I've long been intrigued by Lilith and have always viewed her as strong, outspoken, and in many ways a very positive figure.

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  13. Thanks everyone for stopping by! I love to hear from my old friends like Kerri, CJ and JoAnne, and of course it's nice to make new ones too like Shannan, Sharon, and Whitley!

    Teri -- those myths sound like the best!
    Julia -- in Release, the hero, Ben, wears a medal like the one you described for that very purpose!
    Rachel -- I'm so glad you loved Egypt. New Orleans is a bit longer, and Release is definitely an epic tale (doesn't end when you might think ;-)
    Sandy -- Norse mythology is very interesting, and you can see its influence (I think) in the LOTR by Tolkein
    Kim -- a TON of books were left out of the Bible, including the one describing Mary's conception and birth. The apocrypha contains the most interesting tales. Please let me know when you've finished your outline -- I'd love to see the Bible re-edited!

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  14. I'm not religious but I do love the biblical myths. So cool that you wrote Lilith into your book. I'm holding out for the paperback copy, so don't enter me in an comps!

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  15. I must be hiding under a rock because I never heard of this take before. It's pretty interesting though. Thanks for sharing your story, Nikki. And as always Suz, you have the best blog posts.

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  16. Thanks for the comments, everyone! I've just installed a new comment software that will help me pop in when I get a break at work and comment to your individual comments more easily--that should show up tomorrow.

    Thanks again, Nikki, for the great post! The giveaway will run through tomorrow, when I'll draw for all the week's prizes.

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  17. Thanks Fiona -- I support that angle of Lilith; of course, she was demonized by church fathers who wanted subservient women, and it's such a shame that they were so insecure and threatened by women and their sexuality.

    Marissa -- thanks for stopping by, Hon!

    Dawn -- there are many myths of Lilith; some think the Judeo-Christian myth is based upon the Lilitu (I think from Gilgamesh?).

    Suzanne -- you and your blog rock. War Eagle!!!!

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  18. Fascinating post! I love mythology and also use it for my writing. My partner and I just sold a novella, the first of a series, that focuses on Aztec mythology. We also have a novel in the works centered on Norse mythology. Myths provide such rich material for writers and they contain it all: passion, betrayal, greed, etc.

    Release sounds like a taut, edge-of-your-seat kind of read. I'll be on the lookout for it.

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  19. I like the mythological characters Prometheus and Perseus.

    +1 for blog follower

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  20. Great post, Nikki. I love myths and legends, and Lilith is one of my favorites. Best of luck with all your endeavors.

    Boone

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  21. +1 comment
    Probably my favorite setting for a historical novel is Tudor England although the early 1900's in both the USA and England are pretty fab too.
    +1 for Twitter follow@alterlisa
    +1 tweeted--http://twitter.com/#!/alterlisa/status/23854447528509440

    I follow on GFC/Lisa Richards
    (\___/)
    (='.'=)
    (")_(")

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com
    http://lisaslovesbooksofcourse.blogspot.com

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  22. Good post and Smart Blog
    Thanks for your good information and i hope to subscribe and visit my blog Ancient Greece and more Blank Maps of Ancient Greece thanks again admin

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