Happy Saturday, Everyone! I hope you have all been having the best holiday season, with plenty of time spent with your favourite people, eating your favourite foods and celebrating your favourite traditions. 🙂
This is going to be a different sort of post. I’m relinquishing control and allowing Jenny Keller Ford to take it over so she can talk about The Amulet of Ormisez, the story she wrote for the Make Believe anthology. Since I have already interviewed her, way back in the summer (you can find the interview here), she didn’t want to do another one. If you are a regular reader, I’m sure you recognize her, as I’ve mentioned her wonderful blog many times. So from here on in, I’ll let Jenny do the talking. Please give her a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Take it away, Jenny! 🙂
(Whoot whoot, clap, clap, whistle, whistle!)
Today, I’m going to introduce you to a mythical character not many people know about – selkies. What are they? Where did the myth come from and how did they make their way into my short story, The Amulet of Ormisez?
Depending on what myth or legend you read, selkies are either regarded as gentle creatures, with the ability to transform from seals into beautiful, agile humans, or they are dark, malevolent shape-shifters of the sea, much like their cousins, the Finfolk. The tales are said to have originated around the Orkney and Shetland Harbor (known as the Roane in Ireland), and like many other Celtic myths, are steeped in wonder and mystery.
No matter what legend you read, a common element in all selkie tales is the fact that in order to shape-shift, they must cast off their sealskins. If they are ever to return to the sea and their seal form, they must return to their magical skins. If the seal skin is ever lost, the creature is doomed to remain human forever or until the skin can be recovered.
It is said that selkies in human form are very handsome/beautiful, with uncanny magical, seductive powers over humans. While there are stories of selkie males luring human females to the depths of the sea, the most common theme is the taking of a selkie-girl’s seal skin by a human male, either through trickery or theft. The girl is then forced into marriage with her captor. The tales are usually sad because the selkie never stops longing for the sea. Trapped in her human cage, she thirsts for what is just beyond her door but will never have again unless she is re-united with her skin. Sadly, should the selkie girl ever re-unite with her seal skin and return to the sea, her human husband will die from a broken heart.
When I started writing the Amulet of Ormisez, I had no idea that selkies were going to be a part of the story. It wasn’t until I let my muse take over that I wove the myth into my story. As the Amulet of Ormisez is all about what we will sacrifice for those we love, the selkie myth made even more sense to me. What more of a sacrifice can one make than to give up everything they are, the essence of their entire being, for the one they love?
Without giving away any spoilers, Cayden Fletcher is possessed by a powerful amulet destined to harm a vengeful king. Cayden’s wife, Marsalí, and his brother, Elton, are on a mission to free Cayden before the amulet kills him. The answer to its undoing lies with the selkies, but there is great animosity among the creatures toward humans, and their desire to help Cayden and Marsali is far from their list of top priorities. The solution, I believe, is unexpected and a tribute to the sacrifices we all will make for the ones we love.
Excerpt from The Amulet of Ormisez
A cold breeze blew from the east, carrying with it a crisp scent of water blended with cedar wood, musk and wild blackberries. The horses whinnied and snorted as Elton guided them down the gentle slope of the hillside, quieting their deep, vibrating snorts with gentle reassurance. In the near distance, the seals of Emrith and Lorland Bay barked. The noise grew louder and more intense as the trio approached.
“They sense our presence,” Marsalí said. “I suggest when we reach the shore, you stay back and let me speak with them first. They have grown to fear humans.”
“Understandably so,” Elton said. “We shall do what you suggest.”
The three riders made their way down the slope onto the soft, sandy shores of the lake. Elton maneuvered the horses through the tunnel of willow trees, brushing against branches that sparkled like liquid emeralds in the moonlight. Ahead, a bridge spanned from the shore to the lush greenery of Emrith. Dozens of seals splashed toward them, barking and growling. The seals took on human form as they came on shore.
I hope you enjoyed learning about selkies. I know I have a great love for them and this will not be the last time I weave them into one of my stories.
Thanks so much, Jenny, for giving us a little insight into your story.
Jenny: Thanks for your all your support and help in the tour. I am very grateful and will exchange the favor anytime.
You’re very welcome, Jenny, and I’ll keep that in mind. 🙂
For anyone wanting to learn more about selkies, or Jenny, or her story, pop over to her website/blog, The Dreamweaver’s Cottage, here. For more info on how you can acquire a copy of the fantastic anthology, Make Believe, so you can read Jenny’s story, go on over to J. Taylor Publishing. You can also learn more about the blog tour and the other authors. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 🙂