13 Fun Monster Resources and Websites for Business and Pleasure

By Sarina Dorie

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I write about monsters in my speculative fiction and I love to read about monsters. One of my favorite fairytales has always been Beauty and the Beast and it has had a profound influence on my fantasy and romance writing. Of course, I could say the same thing about Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice, but those also are their own kind of Beauty and the Beast stories.

When a friend and I were discussing my beauty and the beast influence, most recently seen in A Monster and a Gentleman which came out in Hot Dish this year with my pseudonym, I wondered what that meant about my mindset and mentality toward men and women and gender roles. Did my repetition of the beauty and beast trope mean I was casting myself as a helpless maiden needing to be saved by a man who was a monster? What did this say about my dating history and my relationships? My friend, Corinna, said that actually she thought I thought I was the monster, not the beauty. That gave me a different perspective. I think this really came out in Cassia in Silent Moon. I identified with the struggle for acceptance and self-acceptance of being a monster/flawed/an outcast. Silent Moon, a Gothic romance with werewolves, ghosts and fairies is currently available as an ebook but should be out in print in November and available on Amazon.

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There are resources I turn to when I write fantasy beasts and monsters. Below is list of places I go when I want to learn more.

1.
Therianthropes United
Shifter mythology, stories and theories. I write stories about shape shifters, not just werewolves, though they do make an appearance in Silent Moon.
http://www.therianthropes.com/
2.
Monstrous.com
The home page looks like a barren sitemap, but rest assured, there is a wealth of information on any kind of monster imaginable, with links to external sites as well as internal.
http://www.monstrous.com/
Here is a longer list of better known monsters and useful info about them from the Monstrous.com website.
http://monsters.monstrous.com/
3.
Paranormal Haze
This is a good starting point for goblin information. It gives brief descriptions of the various kinds. Since I write about the bogyman in Wrath of the Tooth Fairy, it gave me a good way to see the relationships between him and other goblins.
http://www.paranormalhaze.com/ten-types-of-goblins/
4.
Grendel and Beowulf
I am especially interested in all the mistranslations and the potential changes from the original text that may depict Grendel’s mother as a monster rather than a warrior.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendel%27s_mother
5.
Ten Monsters from Mythology You Do Not Want to Meet
Many of these I have never heard of which made it a fun read.
http://listverse.com/2013/06/28/ten-monsters-from-mythology-you-do-not-want-to-meet/
6.
Multicultural Monsters
Sometimes I need a quick reference to multicultural monsters and this is succinctly stated and easily organized, probably because it is for kids. My story, the Osiris Paradox used the Egyptian gods and mythology as a basis for an ancient Egyptian science fiction story in Sword and Laser.
http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0197624.html
http://swordandlaser.com/sl-anthology/
7.
Celtic Monsters
Maybe because I am part Irish and Scottish I enjoy the folklore of my ancestors. I am always wanting to learn more.
http://www.irishcentral.com/culture/craic/the-scariest-monsters-and-demons-from-celtic-myth-67305337-237784881.html
8.
Japanese Monsters
During my time of living in Japan, going to museums, looking at the art, and talking to my Japanese coworkers I became more aware of and inspired by the rich culture, traditions and history that influences modern Japanese horror and pop culture. My Dear Jezzy series of love advice for monsters in Daily Science Fiction was in part inspired by Japanese oni in the column, “Oni You.”
http://io9.com/14-terrifying-japanese-monsters-myths-and-spirits-1498740680
9.
Monster Myths
This is a funny take on monster myths with some great history thrown in.
http://www.cracked.com/article/177_6-popular-monsters-myths-that-prove-humanity-doomed/
10.
Monster Classification
Obviously if you are going to write a scientific report about monsters you have to know what genus and kingdom it comes from.
http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0193009.html
11.
Modern Monster Mythology
I have a feeling more modern monsters are going to make it into my Wrath of the Tooth Fairy series and other stories as a result of this website.
http://www.theactivetimes.com/12-monsters-around-world?utm_source=huffington%2Bpost&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=monster
12.
Rare World Monsters
Sometimes I am looking for something unusual and I don’t even know what I am looking for. This is one place to start if you want to feature something exotic.
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/10/rare-mythical-monsters-around-world/
13.
North American Monsters
This is the stuff urban legends are made of.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/12903/10-legendary-monsters-north-america-part-one

What Monster resource do you use?

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In The Mood For Monsters

orange-monster-bugs-bunny

By Christina Lay

If I don’t update my Netflix queue regularly, strange things appear in my mailbox. Movies I picked out long ago, shows another person in another time thought sounded like a good idea, arrive and sit on my coffee table for weeks before being returned unwatched. Last week I was surprised to receive a collection of Classic Looney Tunes. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Bugs and Daffy, but I have a hard time imagining myself taking time out to sit and watch cartoons.

I selected the Looney Tunes disc, along with a lot of Disney movies and the entire bazillion episodes of Hercule Poirot about four years ago. This was during a time in my life when I was subsisting on cuddly comfort entertainment, when The Number One Ladies Detective Agency was the most violent show I could stand to watch. This tempering of my habits was a result of the unexpected, violent death of my partner. I couldn’t handle even a whiff of violence in videos or books and frankly, never thought I would again. Not terribly surprising, the well of conflict that feeds my writing dried up too.

Thanks to the change of seasons I’d already been thinking about our possibly demented cultural shift toward the enjoyment of fake blood, fangs, zombie masks and hallways dripping with cobwebs, when along came Bugs, inspiring me to turn a bit more inward while investigating this mood for monsters.

Enter October, the arrival of longer nights, brighter moons, slantier sunlight and paper skeletons hung with malicious glee. Yes, it’s the time of withdrawal, nesting, isolating, frightening impressionable children and hunkering in the cave of our imaginations. I can’t help but wonder what happens within myself when I set aside Agatha Christie and instead reach for an apocalyptic monster mash- for instance, The Passage by Justin Cronin.

I’m not normally a huge fan of throat-ripping undead monsters, but for whatever reason that book rocked my world. It came to me in the depths of my Disney Addiction, in a winter when I was doing chemical battle with my old friend depression and working hard to repress a new friend, PTSD. For whatever reason I picked up this brutal apocalyptic vampire tome and was absolutely mesmerized. I literally couldn’t put the damn thing down and worried so much about the fate of the characters that nightly I wrote threatening letters to the author (in my mind), anticipating severe mental anguish if he let me down.

Best. Apocalyptic. Monster. Vampire. Book. Ever! I raved to bemused friends. I poured over the structure to analyze how he manipulated my emotions so effectively. I began to write again. I don’t entirely credit The Passage. There were other books, dangerous, compelling books that filled me with anxiety and woke up the part of me that wanted to worry, intensely and deeply.

Recently I picked up The Twelve, the sequel to the Passage, and eagerly settled in for another rollercoaster ride of monster mayhem.

And settled. And . . . queued up all three seasons of Veronica Mars. I didn’t finish the damn book.

Why?

I still think Justin Cronin is an awesome writer. His world building and story crafting are impressive. Nevertheless, I wasn’t engaged enough to spend any more time or pages embedded in the dark and twisted minds of serial killers turned über vampire overlords. I know, weird.

Nothing generates reviews quite like a failure of expectations. A review is what this blog started out to be – I had a long mental list of everything Cronin did wrong this time around. Then it occurred to me that perhaps the second book was every bit as good as the first, and it was I, the reader, who’d changed. Bugs Bunny arrived to stare at me accusingly. I decided looking at my reaction to the book might be more interesting than picking the book apart.

Fact is, my mood as a consumer of entertainment has changed dramatically since I read The Passage. That particular end-of-the-world world just doesn’t appeal to me. Whatever I needed three years ago is no longer in affect.

Horror served its purpose. It allowed me to process real horror within the safe pages of a fierce fantasy. A fantasy that tore aside all pretense of civilization and laid bare the worst nightmares. It reawakened the part of my mind fascinated with conflict, people under pressure and what evil lurks in realm beyond reason. How is this a good thing, I wonder? I really don’t know. I certainly wasn’t having erudite thoughts about the value of super-vampires unleashed in the mind of a depressive PTSD writer while I read The Passage, and I’m still not sure why our society goes monster crazy in October. All I know is, thank goodness they are there for us, waiting in the shadows when we’re ready to join them.