Guest Post:- Meraki P Lyhne
Today, I’ve been invited to do a guest post in connection with the release of Awakening Ember, the second book in my new Vargr series.
For a long time, I’ve wanted to write shifters, yet I never really felt like I had something valuable to offer the genre or an original spin on it. I’d decided I wouldn’t write one unless I had something new to add to the many other awesome books in this sub-genre.
Worldbuilding is my absolute favorite part of writing within the Paranormal genres, so it became part of the puzzle to add something new. And finally, on October 31st last year, an idea formed, and the muses didn’t stop talking until I began writing book #6 in May this year! I think they need a breather. I know I do. A palette cleanser. But this series won’t be over soon—I can reveal that much. It will be at least as long as the Cubi, which ended on its 9th book in January this year.
I’m from Denmark, and I’m Asatru, meaning a follower of the old ways. We have a lot of wolves in our lore, so I took the most known and spun them into a shifter tale, worldbuilding it as if the lore and legends could be true yet shrouded in allegories and comparisons like so many mythological stories are.
To really bring it home and give it its natural settings, I brought it…home!
The Vargr series takes place in Denmark, and the culture is introduced through Matt, who starts his journey at age 16 as an exchange student coming from New York State to Denmark.
The story unfolds in a slightly moderated version of the neighborhood I grew up in—a suburb to the second largest city in Denmark: Aarhus. Never before have I written from an actual place, and I’ve even added a good bunch of stupid stuff I did in my time as a 16-year-old in that area. There might be a contest one day, seeing whether readers can guess at what details are fiction and which ones are my…confessions.
Worldbuilding the Vargr is an incredibly difficult task because I don’t want to cling too hard to lore, yet I also want to keep actual lore in there. Of course, it takes a boatload of research, and I’ve had help from a Völve here in Denmark. She does rune magic, and the sigil on the human’s arm (cover of book #1) or the book (cover of book #2) is a piece of rune magic she made for the series.
The symbol on the Vargr’s shoulder is called a binding rune, which I made. It simply says Vargr in the older Futhark rune alphabet.
Another challenge to this series is that it’s set in the same world as the Cubi, yet since the Vargr are shifters and bred from a lineage with a very different set of instincts, there’s a sudden and heavy drop in the heat that readers are used to from the Incubi series. But I wanted to make them separate and believable in their own right as an individual race. That doesn’t mean there won’t be heat, but the series won’t be as focused on it. Instead, a lot of those scenes will end up on Patreon as exclusive hot-takes.
Seeing as the MC, Matt, is 16 when we meet him in #1, there’s of course very low heart. It picks up in book #2, but the expected romance is…not the one you’re expecting! (Yes, I’m being a tease)
There’s another first for me when writing this. I’ve never based a character on a real person, and I’ve never let myself inspire by music. I loosely let myself inspire for a character, once, but that was to credit an art teacher who inspired me, so I made him an art teacher in a book.
This time, though, Pack Alpha Steffen was inspired by someone and his art, and every time I see him or hear this song, the character roars to life and wants to tell me more. I even wrote to the man who inspired such a talkative and vivid muse and asked if I could use his face as the unofficial official face of Pack Alpha Steffen (but not for covers), and he said: “That’s fine!” (and a sweet emoticon full of hearts around its face). So, I’d like to introduce you to the guy whose art inspired mine. The singer is Peter Hollens, and this is the song that kept haunting me until I began writing, and it ran on loop for days while I built the world of Vargr.
Mind you, the song is inspired by Game of Thrones. I’ve never seen it because I don’t watch TV, and since the book series seems to never get finished, I’m not going to bother reading it before it is. But the song set this moving, a tale about Jettir (from Norse Mythology) furthered it, and Peter Hollen’s ended up embodying the Pack Alpha, who is my personal favorite character in the Vargr series.
I hope Steffen will grow on you, too. And if you’re new to Peter Hollens, I hope you enjoy this song (and possibly his 9 hours of Youtube content of awesome acapella).
More than anything, I hope you found something of interest here. If you have further questions, I’d very much like to answer them.
I’m easily reached in my reader’s group Merakinky’s Minions on Facebook. You can also find me on my Discord. It’s new, and I’m learning, and we’re slowly populating it.
I’m also on Patreon where I share some of the heated scenes between Vargr characters that don’t fit the way the series is written, but…we kinda need them, so I give those exclusive and hot little insights there.
Thank you to mm fiction café for hosting me and showing off my newest book.
Merakinky’s Minions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Merakinkysminions