Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Blog Tour: Vonnie Winslow Crist

Welcome to the Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour!! A few of my author friends from Broad Universe and I adore Halloween, so we're trading blog posts every other day for this last week of October.

I'm thrilled my first post is from Vonnie Winslow Crist, a woman after my own heart when it comes to faery tales and folklore. I just love her post here!

Happy Halloween!!

Ogerhunches and other Goblins by Vonnie Winslow Crist

Goblins are dark Faeryfolk often associated with Halloween. They appear in fantasy literature and film from J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter to scary nursery rhymes like Little Orphan Annie by James Whitcomb Riley. And there are so many terrifying varieties of goblins that a Red-cap, Bogy, Padfoot, Barguest, Tankerabogus, Grindee, or Ogerhunch could be hiding under your stairs this very minute!

Not all goblins are as fearsome as Red-caps who wear hats died crimson in the blood of their victims. Nor as frightening as a Bogy who is known to follow people around calling out, “I want my bones.” Nor as unnerving as a Padfoot who walks behind an unsuspecting person, then runs up to his side and roars. Nor as scary as a Barguest with its horns, teeth, claws, and fiery eyes. Nor as dreadful as a Tankerabogus who comes and carries naughty children away to its pit-hole. Some goblins are actually more terrifying!

When I wanted to add goblins to my Young Adult fantasy adventure novel, The Enchanted Skean, I had to decide what my goblins would be called and what they'd look like. Plus, I wanted to give them characteristics which would make them repulsive and fascinating at the same time.

The first type of goblin I created are Grindees. They're smallish nocturnal goblins that travel in swarms of 20
to 30 individuals. Grindees chase down travelers, devour both animals and humans, then steal whatever valuables they possessed. They have glowing orange eyes, mottled skin, elongated fingers, multiple horns, and wide mouths filled with razor-sharp teeth. Able to speak in a hissing, lispy manner, Grindees are happy to let a person know just how much they despise humans – just before they bite them.

When it came to creating the second type of goblin for The Enchanted Skean, I decided to find an archaic word for a frightening creature. One of the fabulous words I found in Jeffery Kacirk's The Word Museum was Ogerhunch. According to Kacirk an Ogerhunch is “Any frightful or loathsome creature, especially a bat.” Well, I'm a fan of bats, so I decided to make my Ogerhunches goblins that looked like forest debris and stumps. A horde of Hunches will sneak up unnoticed, knock their victims to the ground with their branch-like limbs, then suck their juices out with their rootlets. Luckily for the protagonist in my novel, Ogerhunches aren't especially smart and they're afraid of fire.

In the sequel to The Enchanted Skean, Grindee and Ogerhunches are sure to appear. The trick will be to add an even more devious goblin to the mix.

So this Halloween when your doorbell rings and you open your door to trick-or-treaters, keep your eyes peeled for goblins. It's easy to separate them from the neighborhood kids – their ugly faces aren't masks and they don't come off with make-up remover. And remember “you better mind your parents and your teachers fond and dear, and cherish them that loves ya, and dry the orphans tears and help the poor and needy ones that cluster all about, or the goblins will get ya if ya don't watch out!”

About the guest writer: Vonnie Winslow Crist is author of a YA fantasy novel, The Enchanted Skean, 2 speculative story collections, The Greener Forest and Owl Light, and other books. A firm believer that the world around us is filled with mystery, miracles, and magic, Vonnie celebrates the power of myth in her writing.

Read an excerpt of The Enchanted Skean featuring Grindee goblins:

The Wicked, Weird and Whimsical Words Halloween Blog Tour runs every other day October 23-October 31.  Join us all five days for Halloween fun!  Be sure to say hello on any post to be entered in a giveaway at the end of the tour! 


Vonnie said...

Thanks for hosting me, Trisha. For your readers' information, the quote at the end of the post comes from the "Little Orphan Annie" poem. The full version is available on-line, and is quite fun to read by candle-light on Halloween. Just watch out for the shadows!

Mary Jolles said...

Hi, Vonnie, your quotation from Little Orphan Annie immediately recalled for me a big, old book of stories, poems and ballads that my father used to read aloud to us from-- that poem was one of them. I remember how my dad would hunch his shoulders and lower his voice as he read the last line. Thanks for the memory!

Vonnie said...

You're welcome, Mary. My favorite "Orphan Annie" memory is of an annual Halloween poetry reading I used to be involved with. We read our poems in an old mansion (most certainly haunted), and at the end of the evening, we'd pass out "Little Orphan Annie" and read it out-loud together before blowing out the candles, turning off the lights, and heading home in the dark to our homes. :-)

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