Posts tagged monsters

Guest Author: Joseph Delaney’s Top 5 Scariest Creatures in the Spook’s Stories

Joseph Delaney is the author of one of my favourite series, The Spook’s Apprentice.  It’s seriously creepy and full of all sorts of horrible creatures.  As the Spook’s Apprentice, Thomas has to keep the County safe from the evil that lurks in the dark.  The latest book in the series, Spook’s: Slither’s Tale, has just been released, and to celebrate Joseph has joined us today to talk about his Top 5 scariest creatures in the Spook’s stories.

The Haggenbrood

This creature is used in ritual combat to determine the outcome of disputes between citizens of Valkarky (See ‘Slither’).  It has three selves which share a common mind and they are, for all intents and purposes, one creature. It is fast and ferocious with fearsome teeth and claws.

Grimalkin

This is the witch assassin of the Malkin Clan (See ‘The Spook’s Battle’ and also ‘I am Grimalkin’). She is deadly with blades and stores powerful dark magic in the thumb-bones that she cuts from her dead enemies with her snippy scissors in order to wear around her neck.

The Bane

This creature from ‘The Spook’s Curse’ is trapped behind a silver gate in a labyrinth of dark tunnels under Priestown Cathedral. It is a shape-shifter with a terrible power; the Bane is able to press a victim so hard that his blood and bones are smeared into the cobbles.

Golgoth

This ‘Lord of Winter’ from ‘The Spook’s Secret’ has the power to plunge the world into another Ice Age. If summoned from the dark he can freeze you solid and shatter you into pieces like an ice stalactite falling on to a slab of rock.

Morwena

She is the most powerful of the water witches (See The Spook’s Mistake). Fathered by the Fiend, she has a blood-filled eye which is usually closed, the lids fixed together with a sharp thin bone. But anyone she gazes upon with that eye is immediately paralyzed and she is able to drink that victim’s blood at her leisure.

Best wishes,
Joseph Delaney

Reserve your copy of the latest book in the Spook’s Apprentice series, Slither’s Tale, from your library now.

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5 Japanese demons you may know from books and movies – Cristy Burne

cristy burne and headsHi!  Cristy Burne here, author of the Takeshita Demons books and Star Author for July.

I hope you like scary stories, because that’s exactly what I like to write. And believe it or not, the Takeshita Demons books are based on truth.

That’s right! All the Japanese monsters I write about are real…I didn’t make them up! In fact, I was only inspired to write Takeshita Demons after I started studying the history and mythology of Japanese monsters (or yokai in Japanese).

The Filth Licker and more…

Monsters in Takeshita Demons (like the Filth Licker (aka-name), the Snow Woman (yuki-onna) and the  Cut-throat Demon (nuke-kubi)) have been part of Japanese mythology and stories for hundreds of years.  They’re much the same as vampires, werewolves and fairies in Western culture.

Many of Japan’s demons are very unusual, but here are some you may recognise…How many do you know?
Don’t forget to enter our Make-a-monster Competition: invent a demon and win a prize!

5 Japanese demons you may know from books and movies

Hanako of the toilet1) Toire no Hanako-san

‘Toire no Hanako-san’ means Hanako-of-the-toilet. Hanako is the ghost of a young girl and she haunts particular toilet cubicles, usually at school. Remind you of anyone you might remember from a certain school for wizards?

In Japanese legend, Hanako is usually shy…

BUT…if someone is mean to her or teases her, then…watch out!

If you want to meet Hanako, you need to knock three times on the door of her haunted toilet and call out: “Are you there, Hanako?”.

Why don’t you give it a try next time you’re in the school toilets?

2) BentenThe goddess benten

Aha! I bet you thought Benten was a boy with a really cool wrist watch! You did, didn’t you?

Well, think again. Benten is actually a woman with eight arms and a whole bunch of dragons as friends. In Japanese mythology, Benten is one of the 7 lucky gods, and she’s around 1500 years older than the Benten you might know.

Still, the goddess Benten is a good person to befriend: she can help make you rich and give you good grades at school (she’s also the goddess of wisdom and prosperity).

yagyo-san3)  The headless horse

You’ve heard of the headless horseman, right? He’s a famous legend that grew from a character in a story published in America nearly 100 years ago.

But…have you heard of the headless horse?

The headless horse is the favourite method of transport for a Japanese ogre called Mr Yagyo, or Yagyo-san.

Yagyo-san has been around for hundreds of years, coming out only once a year to wreak havoc on the human population. On this one day — the day before Japan celebrates Setsubun, the beginning of spring — Yagyo-san roams the streets tossing spiked soybeans at people.

According to Japanese stories, the only way to escape is to lie face-down on the ground with a pair of sandals on your head.

ningyo_japanese_mermaid4) Mermaids

When I say ‘mermaids’, do you think of beautiful half-fish, half-woman creatures with long golden hair and perfect skin?

Well…that’s not the only kind of mermaid in the sea!

Japanese mermaids are called ningyo and although they are half-fish, half-woman, they’re not exactly what I would call beautiful.

I’m researching ningyo now as part of the next Takeshita Demons book… Apparently, eating the flesh of a Japanese mermaid can make you immortal, and even just seeing one can add three years to your life. Pretty cool, huh.

(Japanese mermaids also have some unfriendly friends, like the sazae-oni, a poisonous demon formed when a very old sea snail mutates into an ogre.)

tengu5) Tengu (or the tengu’s invisibility cloak, at least)

Tengu are a half-bird, half-humanoid Japanese demon that live in the mountains. You often see tengu masks in Japan and they feature in traditional Japanese stories and theatre.

But, you probably know the tengu’s cloak more than the tengu.

Tengu have many special powers and own many magical objects, not least of which is the invisibility cloak.  This is a cloak that makes you totally invisible when you wear it. Ring any bells?

There is another story of a tengu who owns a magical fan that can make your nose grow. In the story, the tengu accidentally fans himself… Maybe that’s why he looks how he looks!

So what’s my point?

My point is that you don’t always have to invent everything when you’re writing a fantasy or horror story.

Some of the craziest things you can imagine happen in real life (just read the newspaper sometime!). Some of the most unbelieveable things ever are actually true (700 million people around the world have blood-sucking hookworms in their guts). And some of the best writers and books use little bits of history and science and real-life-fact to inspire their incredible stories.

So, when you’re writing your own stories and books, take some time to research some real-life topics that might be relevant. The Christchurch library has a huge non-fiction section filled with heaps of fascinating facts and stories…. Check it out and you will be amazed!

How many of the demons did you know?
Any fascinating facts you’d like to share?
Drop us a comment!

And don’t forget to enter our Make-a-monster Competition: invent a demon and win a prize!

Happy writing and reading!

Cristy


Cristy Burne
Author of the Takeshita Demons series

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Skulduggery’s latest adventure – Mortal Coil

One of the books that I’ve been reading through our earthquake crisis is Derek Landy’s latest Skulduggery Pleasant book, Mortal Coil.  We’ve seen Skulduggery and his butt-kicking companion, Valkyrie, fighting all sorts of evil so far, but Mortal Coil has even more in store for them.  As I was reading I kept wondering ‘how the heck are they going to get out of this situation?’

In the last book, Dark Days, Valkyrie found out a terrible secret that she couldn’t bear to tell Skulduggery.  In Mortal Coil she is doing all she can to try to change her terrible destiny, without the help of Skulduggery.  If that wasn’t enough to deal with, the Remnants have escaped the Midnight Hotel and foreign powers are threatening to take over the Irish Sanctuary.  The Remnants believe that Valkyrie is their saviour and will possess any body to get to her.  Will Skulduggery be able to save the day this time?

I loved Mortal Coil!  As always, the story is fast-paced, the characters (and their names) are interesting, the humour is witty, and it’s scary and pretty gory in parts.  Derek Landy can make me laugh or make my skin crawl (sometimes in the same sentence).  If you’ve read the other Skulduggery books you’ll love Mortal Coil, but if you haven’t read them yet, get them from the library.   Age 10+      10 out of 10

You can also read our interview with Derek Landy and Derek’s Writing Tip of the Week.

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The Red Pryamid by Rick Riordan

I think the Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan is a really cool book because there are lots and lots of gods from Ancient Egypt.  There is a girl called Sadie and a boy called Carter.Their dad is a scientist called Dr Kane.  Find out what happens to them as they dodge obstacles and swerve around gods from Ancient Egypt.

by Juliette

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