Monsters Archives | Sheryl Steines

Category Archives for Monsters


Okay – I want to make a bet with you. Say you are reading some sort of fictional book set in some sort of supernatural world. How long do you think it would take before the author introduces elves? These creatures may look very different and have different purposes in their respective stories, but they have become a favorite microcosm of the paranormal. These creatures seem to make their worlds a better place. Harry Potter had his Dobby. The members of the Fellowship of the Ring had their Legolas. My Annie Pearce has her Bitherby.

In looks, demeanor and in his lot in life, Bitherby is probably closer to Dobby than the tall, blond and glamorous Orlando Bloom (oops – I mean Legolas…) But despite being condemned to an existence of forced labor, Bitherby shows that he is made of the same loyalty and bravery as shown by both of his elf role models. Recognizing the horrors that have taken over the Black Market, Bitherby repeatedly risks his own life to save Annie and her friends, as well as all of magic and humankind. His actions – just like Dobby’s and Legolas’ — make his world a better place.

Bitherby's Selfless Act

I think his devotion to everyone but himself is best demonstrated by the following section of my second book, Black Market. Bitherby risks his life to go find Annie’s childhood fairy, who has been kidnapped by evil forces. Even as his best friend Huxley warns him that his quest is doomed, Bitherby knows he has to do it. As with Dobby and Legolas, Bitherby continues the tradition of selfless elves who put the needs of others before their own.

Loyal Elves

“Bitherby’s fingers grazed the beds as he passed. He sniffed and recognized the scent that Huxley carried. The elf held his hand over his friend’s mouth, startling the sleeping creature. Unable to scream, he bolted upright and heard a soothing “Ssshh,” beside him. “Huxley, it’s me.”

Huxley removed Bitherby’s hand. “What are you doing here? They see ya and you’re dead.” Huxley’s eyes darted around the room as if the humans lurked in the shadows.

“I need your help,” Bitherby ordered. Huxley’s bruised eyes grew wide with fear, his swollen lip trembled, and his green skin turned ashen white and glowed in the darkness.

“You can’t be here. They find you and kill you.” He quivered in his bed, which vibrated against the stone floor. Bitherby placed a hand on his friend to calm the nervous elf.

“Shhh. You wake everyone. I need help. The wizard guard protects me; she’ll protect you too.”

“Why you come back?” Huxley asked.

“Her Aloja fairy is in the dungeon,” Bitherby whispered angrily.

“You risk your life for her fairy?” Huxley spat.

“Hafta. I need your help. Wizard Guard don’t know the market. Will never find her.” Bitherby wrung his hands and glanced around at his former mates, expecting them to wake and turn him in. They were all still asleep.

Huxley climbed off the bed so he was eye level with his friend. “You stupid elf.”

Bitherby let out the stale air from his lungs.

“They still looking for the girl. And you,” Huxley protested.

“I gotta,” Bitherby said.

“You gotta. You gotta be stupid,” Huxley said and led his friend from the basement.”

What If Elves Existed in Reality?

As a writer and as an avid reader of the supernatural, I often dream of what our world would be like if these paranormal creatures existed in our reality. I can’t help but think that if elves were real, our planet would be a better place. Take a peek at Black Market and see if Bitherby doesn’t work his way into your heart.

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Aicha Kandida – The What Now?

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You don't have to battle a demon, vampire or monster for them to have a role within a story. Sometimes they appear for another reason, their purpose merely to prove a point like scaring a character into understanding the world they've just found themselves in. In The Day of First Sun I threw Annie into the world of the non magical, similar to what she's dealt with before and yet different because she's never worked so closely with the FBI. Making things worse for Annie, is the fact she has to investigate the crime with the eyes of the world watching. She understands the ramifications of keeping her secret from the world, but what about the FBI agent who drags her into the case. He's never dealt with a magical crime before.

That's where I bring in the magical creature. Curious, Jack Ramsey finds himself in The Snake Head Letters, the all wizarding book store in which the proprietor illegally sells him a Book of Shadows, the witch or wizard's heirloom passed on from generation to generation, the book which details the experience of the witch throughout their lifetime. However, the unscrupulous shop keeper, sells a book about the darker side of magic, with fearsome creatures that open the FBI agent's eyes to a world he never knew existed.

This is Jack's true introduction into the entire magical world, exposing the worst that can be experienced and as he reads the book, he comes across the Aicha Kandida. I chose to introduce this being because in my basic research, it's a creature that singles out lonely men and Jack is just that, single and lonely, working late into the night, not even remembering the last time he found himself in the company of a woman.

The monster was perfect. A predatory water demon who appears in the form of a beautiful young woman, killing their prey by luring men to their death. The curious victim seeing the beautiful woman by the water's edge, the victim saunters over and once within reach, they are dragged into the water and consumed by the creature.

As Jack read the book searching for information pertaining to the mystical Orb of Eridu, he became engrossed by the animated picture of the beautiful woman and horrified when it changed into its true form, murdering the victim in front of him. I didn't need to bring the monster to life, it was simply an entry in The Book of Shadows, one little glimpse into the magical world and yet it shakes Jack to the core and he's forever changed by the experience.

Maybe one day I'll bring the demon to life, but only for a larger purpose. For now it will remain a distant, disturbing memory, reminding Jack to why he must keep their secret. Who would believe him anyway?

What's your most creepy monsters? Vampires, werewolves, ghosts? Mine is the Weeping Angels. Whovians know what I mean.


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Monday Monsters

I delve into the history of the fantastic because it fascinates me. I like to learn a little something about ancient cultures and why they believed in what they believed in. How their creations of the fairy, vampire, werewolf or Frankenstein's monster all came to be. I use those creatures in my own stories to link my characters to our ancient ancestors who created them as a manifestation of their hopes and fears.

So as part of my burning desire to learn about these creatures, where they came from and why, I'm starting on new Monday project, called Monday Monsters. Every Monday I'm going to share a little something about those monsters and creatures that I've come to enjoy. Maybe you will too.

A friend once laughed when I told him I owned the book The Elemental Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures. Why wouldn't I, it's research, I said. I also own Tarot Cards, but that's for another time.

So here's a little peek into the life that I've immersed myself into as I craft yet another story seeped in the fantasy. And in honor of Halloween, the first Monday Monsters will be a little bit about Frankenstein.


So what do you do if you're an author in the early 19th century and it's too cold to go outside and play with your writer buddies. Mind you, your friends are Percy Bysshe Shelley,  you're visiting Lord Byron and oh yeah your name is Mary Shelley, but hey. So as it's too cold to participate in the summer activities you had all planned, you remain in doors and someone comes up with the idea to tell stories. More specifically, who can tell the scariest story of them all.

Her story came out of a conversation the friends had while confined to the indoors, a discussion about how likely it would be that electricity could reanimate a corpse, a corpse created from the body parts of more than one deceased person. The conversation spawned a dream and it was from that dream, that Mary Shelley created Frankenstein's monster.

It is a story about an eccentric scientist who creates a monster as a result of an unorthodox experiment to reanimate dead body parts with electricity. The story is chilling now as it was when first published in January 1818. Not so much as changed as society must find a way to keep up with science and ask the question should we be doing this and why.

Almost 200 years after it was first published it is still a work that is read; a monster that is still well-known as many works of fiction and movies have been inspired by the original. Think Young Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, Franken Berry So here's to one of the first horror novels and the genre it inspired. And Happy Halloween!


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Sturtagaard Doesn’t Sparkle Even Though Edward Cullen Does

Before they became the, it thing, they were monsters; wicked beings without souls. So scary was the concept of the vampire, early cultures used them as an embodiment of all evil. The soul being what makes us human and them, the vampire without. So what the hell happened? How did they go from beings of the devil, missing their humanity, to loved, admired, and dare I say it, sexy boyfriends?

I like my monsters to be the embodiment of evil, to terrorize and then be vanquished with a large pointy stick. We should be so lucky to relieve ourselves of our problems that easily.

Vampire folk in lore dates back Mesopotamia, where inscribed on pottery was tales of blood sucking monsters and through history many other cultures adopted a form of that type of monster.

Vampire fear came to a head in the 18th century, where a frenzy of vampire sightings occurred in Transylvania leading to grave robbers identifying and staking potential vampires. When government officials took part in the staking and killing of the dead bodies, mass hysteria broke out leading to the “18th Century Vampire Controversy.”

So really, how did it get to this fevered pitch where people want to date them? What happened to these monsters, once restricted to life in dark and shadows to now sparkling in the sunlight as if a four-year old dumped glitter all over them? Where the standard is now Edward Cullen, sullen, cranky and frankly not someone I’d want to date, I stand strong and shake my head. I prefer mine to be ridiculously evil, snarky and brilliantly fun.

The vampire known as Sturtagaard, aware that his greatest nemesis currently tracked him, had planned on lying low, but a primal hunger overcame him forcing him to hunt. From an open window in his temporary lair, he gazed out onto the street below as he pondered his next meal. Not an area filled with tourists, it did see plenty of foot traffic, though most ordinary people wouldn't be compelled to come to this side of the town.

Quickly weakening without a source of blood to feed on, he still took time to search for the right prey because for the vampire, feeding under duress felt so crude. Sturtagaard preferred to take his time; enjoyed seducing his quarry and playing with them before finally taking their lives. But now, with his feeding so late, his hand shook in his lap as he finally realized he couldn't afford to be choosy and he would have to settle for someone off the street, someone like…her.

For more about Sturtagaard, the vampire who doesn’t sparkle, read The Day of First Sun on

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