Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Strix by Amber Skyze and Katalina Leon (GUEST POST)


After drawing a piece of amber from a witch's wish bag, Arcona awakens to a past life as a vengeful Celtic witch - a Strix, who used blood and sex magic to get her way. She turned the gladiator Tyr into a bloodthirsty Slayer. Now Tyr wants his revenge…

That’s how The Strix starts but it soon gets so much more complicated. The Strix is book one in the Bag Of Tricks book series and explores a few of my favorite themes, chiefly that love is bonding and eternal, and we have lived before.

I feel deeply drawn to the time of the Roman Empire and all the drama it provides. This was a thread I found irresistible to follow.

The Strix is a vampire tale of enchantment gone wrong but it’s also a story of redemption and connecting with our better angels. I loved that this story allowed me to write one woman’s two very different experiences, in two very different time periods with the same man.


Excerpt:
(Arcona is speaking to Salem witch Dame Bishop in the Silver Moon Scrying Shoppe)

“Are you familiar with the legend of the Strix?”

“No.” Arcona shook her head, noting that the amulet was warming almost too quickly in her cool palm.

“You won’t find this myth in many books; few know or speak of the Strix. The Strix was a compilation of all ancient Rome’s guilty fears about the so-called barbarians they enslaved, punished, and brought under their own roofs as domestics, lovers, and lethal entertainment. The Strix combined fearful barbarian lore and Roman superstitions in a single horrific creature that traveled the night as a grotesque bird of prey, sucking the blood from innocent people and turning them against Rome.

“The Strix might start life as a worshipper of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft and necromancy. She could be born Roman or Celtic and work as a healer, witch, or midwife, but somewhere along the way, hatred and the need for revenge against the oppressor corrupted the witch’s capacity for doing good. Rage and destruction took the place of healing acts. Stray witches made bargains with dark forces in exchange for the power to grant invincibility in battle to others, who in turn would walk the earth in violent wrath.”

Arcona grimaced. “The Strix sounds absolutely repulsive.”

“She isn’t, and by the way the Strix is always a she. The essence of Venus imbued the Strix with the power to seduce and sexually torment any young man she approached. She sought out strong, battle-worthy men. Her victims were powerless to refuse. At the climax of the sexual act, she’d drink their blood and send them into a violent rage. During these unnatural couplings, rarely but sometimes a male, Upir Likhyi, was created.”

Arcona was almost afraid to ask. “What’s an Upir Likhyi?” She struggled to pronounce the unwieldy words.

“It’s an old pagan Baltic term for wicked or foul vampire. It is a revenant, or undead soul, that seeks the thrill of blood sport and warfare. In ancient times many were recruited to secretly serve Mars.”

A shiver trembled up her spine. “We certainly don’t need any more of those violent, bloodsucking sorts hanging around, that’s for sure.” She laughed with nervous self-consciousness until she noticed Dame Bishop’s serious face. It was apparent she did not share the dismissive attitude.

Arcona struggled to compose herself. “I don’t mean to sound so disrespectful, because I love mythology too. It’s had a huge influence over human history, but myths are just a way to explain human desires and behavior. I’m a bit puzzled that you’re talking about the Strix as if it’s a real entity.”

Dame Bishop blanched. “It is a real entity. Make no mistake; every myth carries a grain of truth within. There are realms loosely tethered to this one far stranger than anything you can imagine. To say these realms are less real than ours is to profess the Earth is flat. It is a statement only the ignorant can speak freely.”

“I’m sorry.” Damn, she really put her foot in it. Arcona gently lowered the amulet back into its box. “Thank you for sharing this with me. It’s fascinating.”

She gazed at the skeletal bronze birds and strange craftsmanship one last time. “How exactly did you come across this? A rare artifact of this age seems like it should be safely stashed in a museum.”

“I agree.” Dame Bishop’s expression brightened. “Some associates of mine at the Universita di Roma know my interest in such things and were kind enough to allow me to examine the amulet.”

“I’m familiar with the University of Rome! My ex-husband once taught there. Who are your contacts; perhaps I know them?”

“I highly doubt it.” Dame Bishop’s mouth drew tense. “My colleagues are very private people.” Her gaze dropped toward the amulet. “Tomorrow it’s headed to the Smithsonian in an armored car. I just wanted to share it with one last soul before it continued on its journey to lie locked away in some sterile vault until the curators can figure out what to do with it.”

A heightened gleam shone in Dame Bishop’s eyes as she lifted the amulet from the box and held it toward Arcona. “Why don’t you try it on? Just to see what it feels like.” A sly smile crossed her lips. “This is a bit of living history. You may never get an opportunity like this again.”

Something about the amber riveted Arcona’s attention. The center of the amulet was translucent and glowed like a fiery ember. Against her better judgment about carelessly handling antiquities and possibly ill-gotten property, she reached for the leather thong and looped it around her neck.

The amulet hung heavy and prominent atop her breasts. Arcona glanced downward. This was a big, bold piece of ornamentation obviously meant to immediately identify its wearer as a witch who had wandered over to the dark side.

A loud knock pounded on the front door of the shop.

Arcona started.

“Excuse me.” Dame Bishop pulled the curtain to the back room aside. “Let me see who’s at the door.”

(Guess who’s at the door, could it be an enraged gladiator?)

The Strix is not for the faint of heart, but if you enjoy gritty life challenging erotic adventures with brave women who kick ass and gorgeous men who know what they want, check out The Strix!

“Claimed By Dragons” a sizzling hot dragon-shifter ménage co-written with Amber Skyze is book 2 in the Bag Of Tricks book series. Claimed By Dragons will be available September 28th!



Get The Strix here:




See The Strix book trailer on YouTube:


Thank you so much for having me as a guest.
XXOO Katalina Leon


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Sally for hosting Amber and I.
    XXOO Kat

    ReplyDelete