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Monday, October 03, 2016

A Guest Post By Lexa(L.X) Cain

Today I'd like to welcome Lexa Cain to The Great Raven. Lexa is a fellow blogger, but also a prolific author of dark fantasy/horror fiction. Lexa lives in Egypt with her husband, so some of her fiction is set there - I have a copy of the novel Soul Cutter on my iPad, and a nice shivery read it is too!

Her new novel, Bloodwalker, has a cover that rather suggests Ray Bradbury, doesn't it? It's a great cover that was voted in by the readers of Lexa's blog, at www.lexacain.blogspot.com.


What do you think?

Here's the blurb on Goodreads:

Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.

And here, without further ado, is Lexa's post, in which she shares with us some quirky superstitions and traditions that gave her ideas for Bloodwalker.


Weird Rituals

Part of my novel, Bloodwalker, centers on a fictitious society called the Skomori that trace their Slavic ancestry to the Middle Ages and live in many Eastern European countries. I took some inspiration from the Amish and Roma (gypsy) cultures and made the Skomori a very sheltered community with odd superstitions and ways of behaving that would seem strange to the average person.

The Skomori do indeed have some weird beliefs, like hanging rat skeletons over a bed to insure marital harmony and that a Skomori husband’s business will prosper if bees’ wings and powdered ash bark are sprinkled in the bread dough.

How did I come up with those strange ideas? 

By researching real odd-but-true rituals and beliefs from all around the world, like these:

Save Your Broken Plates. In Denmark, people save broken crockery and dishes instead of throwing them out. On New Year’s, the broken crockery is thrown at friends’ houses and if a large pile accumulates in front of a house, it denotes good luck for the house’s residents in the coming year. [1]

No Whistling Indoors. In Lithuania, whistling indoors is forbidden since it’s believed that whistling will summon little devils that will plague the family. [1]

Beards on Women? In Rwanda, women are told never to eat goat meat or they’ll grow a beard. [1]

The Road to Manhood is an Ant-filled Glove. There’s a region of the Amazon inhabited by the Satere-Mawe tribe that’s known to have ants with the most painful sting in the world. The sting is supposed to be as harsh as getting hit by a bullet, thus their name “Bullet Ants.” Adolescent males of the tribe must complete a ritual where they wear a glove filled with the ants before they can be considered men. [2]

Baby Tossing. If couples are married at the Sri Santeswar temple in the state of Karnataka, India and then have a child, they can participate in a special ritual that is supposed to bring them and their baby good luck, health, and prosperity. All they have to do is let their baby be tossed from the 50-foot roof of the temple and be caught by a blanket stretched between crowd members. [2]

Whale Tooth Proposal. In Fiji, a man isn’t allowed to marry unless he first presents his intended bride’s father with a whale’s tooth. If suitably impressed, the father will give permission for the marriage. [3]

Marry a Tree, End a Curse. In certain places in India, it’s believed that if a woman is born during a specific astrological time, she is cursed, and that when she marries, the curse will lead to her husband’s death. Villagers lift the curse by having the woman marry a tree and then cutting it down, thereby ending the curse and making it safe for the woman to marry a man. [3]


After reading a slew of articles about strange rituals, I had no trouble letting my imagination run wild and coming up with the weird beliefs of the Skomori in my book.

Thanks for your fascinating information, Lexa, and for those links! I can't wait to look them up myself.


BLOODWALKER is available here:

Or if you want it for your iPad or phone, it's available on iBooks.

Contact L.X. Cain here:


Reference Footnotes:

[1] Distractify: 25 of the Most Bizarre Superstitions From Around the World http://distractify.com/old-school/2014/10/21/very-superstitious-1197796927

[2] Wonderlist: 10 Bizarre Traditions http://www.wonderslist.com/10-bizarre-traditions/
  
[3] LifeBuzz: 31 Really Weird Marriage Customs From Around the World http://www.lifebuzz.com/marriage-customs/





















4 comments:

Kate Larkindale said...

People really do come up with the strangest traditions, don't they? But often, you discover there is a very good reason for them starting out, even if no one remembers the reason anymore.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Very true! And then, years later, we have a chuckle over them.

Lori L MacLaughlin said...

Wow, I'm glad I don't live in the Satere-Mawe tribe. Ouch. And baby tossing?? They must be nuts. The one about marrying a tree cracked me up. Thanks for a fascinating and funny post. Congrats again to Lexa!

Sue Bursztynski said...

Some crazy customs! But plenty here too.