Guest Blogger in the Hut – Marian Allen

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I’m very pleased to have as my guest today, an author who is a favourite of mine. I stalk her a little, but she’s gracious enough not to let on if I creep her out. I love her novels, her short stories, and everything she writes actually. If she started charging for her blog posts, I’d pay. Today she writes about the creatures closest to my heart, apart from dragons, those feathered guys real or mythical. So without further waffle from me, here, I hand you over to the lady herself.

For as long as she can remember, Marian Allen has loved telling and being told stories. When, at the age of about six, she was informed that somebody got paid for writing all those books and movies and television shows, she abandoned her previous ambition (beachcomber), and became a writer.

What a Divine Animal is a Bird!

One of the primary influences on my fantasy trilogy, SAGE, was the concept in Chinese mythology of Four Divine Animals. One of those four is Phoenix.
For those who don’t know, the Phoenix is a mythical bird which lives for a very long time, then builds a nest, sits on it, bursts into flames and is consumed, and rises, renewed, from the ashes.
Now, I think birds are magical enough in themselves. The ability to fly is amazing. We grow up knowing that birds fly. It’s just one of those accepted truths that we hardly think about. But what wouldn’t we give to be able to do it, naturally, instinctively?
Their feathers are fascinating, from the jewel-bright or subtly iridescent or perfectly camouflaged colors to the flawlessly engineered construction to the efficient qualities of the various kinds of feathers of each bird.
Migration? I can’t find my way to a new store in my own town with a map and a GPS unit, and birds fly hundreds of miles to places where their parents or grandparents were born?
And anyone who has kept or watched birds knows that “bird-brain” is not an insult: birds are quick and clever and inventive, and each one has a definite personality.
All this being so, I expected Phoenix to be rich with story possibilities.
Here are some notes I took while researching Phoenix for the book: “most honorable among feathered tribes”. The Phoenix has twelve tail feathers in five colors, red, yellow, black, white, and blue. The Phoenix is associated with the pheasant, peacock, and hummingbird. It’s a creature of the Southern Quadrant. It stands six feet in height. It is sun-producing, the spirit of virtue, and the peony is its flower.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s associated with warmth, sun, harvest, and summer, but that it is the essence of water threw me!
Because he’s the spirit of virtue, I decided that Phoenix would be an easy mark for his trickster brother, Tortoise. In the prologue to The Fall of Onagros, Book 1 of Sage, I give a hint of that:

Tortoise took a gray-green step toward Phoenix. “What about you? How about a game?”
“I’ve had enough of your games.” Phoenix lifted his head and gave a ululating cry.
“You won’t interfere with me, then? You promise?”
“Oh, yes. I promise.” Phoenix rose into the air and was gone.

Over the course of the three books, we learn what “game” of Tortoise’s is causing Phoenix’ pain, what new “game” Tortoise is proposing, and what Phoenix will do after having given his word not to interfere. Can the spirit of virtue out-trick a trickster?

Usurper. Lost Heir. Runaway bride. Land on the brink of civil war. All so familiar, until Tortoise — the Divine Creature who ignores the rules of right and wrong — challenges his fellow divinities to meddle. Suddenly, children targeted for murder are adopted, swordsmen turn into blacksmiths, and none are reliably who or what they seem. The four Divine Animals are afoot: Tortoise, Dragon, Unicorn, and Phoenix. Hold on tight.
Book 1: The Fall of Onagros
In the first book of the SAGE trilogy, a legacy is lost, a woman vanishes into thin air, wisdom is found in unexpected places, and a man hopes to defeat a tyrant with tall tales and gossip.

The Fall of Onagros

The Kindle version of The Fall of Onagros will be free July 16-17, 2013!

Thank you so much for gracing my blog with your awesome presence Marian! It’s really an honour to have you here. I take it as I sign that you truly believe me when I say I’m not stalking you, and it wasn’t me at all in the big tree with the bino’s.

My nose is properly in The Fall of Onagros now, and soon everyone else’s can be too, make a note to download it on the 16th or 17th guys!

These are but a few on this author’s works. Find her at the links below. You can find lots more by Marian on her Goodreads page.

Marian Allen on Amazon

Marian Allen’s Blog

Marian Allen on Goodreads