Hello everyone! We’re thrilled to welcome F.T. Lukens, author of The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, on From Top to Bottom Reviews today! There is a guest post, an excerpt and a giveaway waiting for you!
Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it’s pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by… mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town.
When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.
Hi everyone! This is F.T. Lukens, author of The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, and today I would like to talk about my upcoming release and American folklore and mythology.
The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic is a young adult urban fantasy novel that features Bridger, a bisexual protagonist who is struggling with changes in his life that come with being a senior in high school. Bridger needs a job to be able to afford college and he ends up becoming an assistant to Pavel Chudinov, an intermediary between our world and the world of myth.
I have always loved mythology. I have a minor in Classical Civilizations which included several classes on Greek and Roman mythology and literature. I’ve studied Middle Eastern ancient myth as well through classes on ancient religions and world literature. And I’ve taken classes on Arthurian literature and myth and read many historical texts and modern adaptations. So to say I’m a fan of mythology is a bit of an understatement.
But Rules and Regs doesn’t focus on any of the above mythologies. Instead, I decided to look at American folklore and cryptids. I had a little knowledge of different cryptids from around the world – The Loch Ness Monster and Sasquatch and cryptids from European lore – manticores, unicorns, and harpies. But I wanted to research folklore and urban myth from small communities in the American Midwest. That’s how I found Ogopogo, the Ozark Howler, the Beast of Bray Road, the Beast of Bladenboro, the Jersey Devil, Champy, and the Mothman. Not all of them made it into the book due to story line and length but I thoroughly enjoyed researching the different sightings and communities these stories come from.
My favorite is the Ozark Howler. Probably stemming from the black dog myths from Europe, the Howler has been sighted in Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. Witnesses say the Howler is a mix between a bear, a dog, or a large mountain cat. It has shaggy black fur, horns on its head, and a cry that is a mix between a howl and an elk’s bugle. If you haven’t heard an elk’s bugle, please take a moment to look it up on youtube. It’s a strange sound.
Bridger encounters a mix of myths and cryptids from both European and American folklore throughout the novel. I hope readers enjoy my portrayal of the different cryptids and Bridger’s encounters with them.
Leo laughed. He had trudged out to where a few of the braver football players and cheerleaders bobbed in the water. Leo turned and spread out his arms and fell backward, disappearing under the water before emerging, sputtering, with his dark hair plastered to his head.
“It’s not that bad!”
“Are you kidding? I’m turning blue.”
Leo circled back and splashed Bridger. Then he swam away, laughing as he kicked enthusiastically and doused Bridger with lake water.
Bridger wiped the droplets from his face. “Oh, I see how it is. Splashing then running. Very brave there, Leo.”
Leo stood in the water to his shoulders and beckoned to Bridger with a sly smile. “I’m right here. Why don’t you come get me?”
That was flirting. Wasn’t it? That had to be flirting. Right?
“Oh,” Bridger said flushing, warming internally at the thought of Leo flirting with him. “It is on. It is so on.”
He waded in until the water was at his chest and pushed off from the bottom. He swam after Leo and splashed and laughed. The rest of the group in the water were dunking each other, and the football players were throwing a few of the lighter girls and guys around, creating froth and waves.
Bridger and Leo circled each other, splashing and diving. A beach ball landed nearby and Leo grabbed it and flung it in Bridger’s direction. It plopped near Bridger’s outstretched arm.
“What kind of pass was that?” Bridger said, gliding toward the ball. “I thought you played football?”
Leo laughed. “I’m not the quarterback. I just catch and run.”
Bridger hit the ball back. “Good to know. I’ll lower my expectations.”
“Has anyone ever told you that you’re funny?”
“Yes,” Bridger said. “Usually accompanied by crossed arms and a frown, though. Not many people appreciate my kind of humor.”
“I do. It suits you.”
Bridger blushed to his hairline, and it wasn’t from the sun beating down on them. They hit the ball back and forth before Bridger sent it sailing into a group of the others. A girl squealed.
“Sorry!” Bridger called.
Then there was a panicked shriek. Leo looked over his shoulder and called to his friends.
Bridger felt something brush his leg. He flinched and kicked away, startled. He looked down in the water and realized he was surrounded by lake weed, dark and light green blending together in a swirl. Long tendrils of it undulated around his legs.
His heart caught in his throat, and he shuddered. Who knows what could’ve touched him. Ugh. Creepy. Another weed swiped along his waist, and he violently brushed it off. He started to move away, to untangle himself from the slimy vines.
Bridger looked up to find Leo with the big group. The commotion reached a crescendo, and Bridger realized it was no longer playful yells, but turmoil and fear.
“There’s something in the water!”
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(Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Rules & Regulations // Five winners receive a multi-format eBook)
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F.T. Lukens is an author of Young Adult fiction who got her start by placing second out of ten thousand entries in a fan-community writing contest. A sci-fi enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Trek and Firefly and is a longtime member of her college’s science-fiction club. She holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, and three cats. Her first two novels in the Broken Moon series, The Star Host and Ghosts & Ashes, were published by Duet Books.