Monday, February 11, 2008

The Puca Inside PANDORA'S BOX

Natale: I must have a really dirty mind, because that just sounds bad, doesn't it? I don't mean it to be, but it is true that you really can't take me anywhere.

Lori: She’s right, Natale should not be allowed in public. You ought to see how she behaves at chapter meetings. It can get downright embarrassing. Seriously, I’d like to introduce everyone here at the diner to my good friend and uber-talented (if slightly unbalanced) writer, Natale Stenzel. I just bought her latest release this weekend and can’t wait to read it. But until then, she’s got a little ‘splainin to do . . .

Natale: So, the setup: My new release, PANDORA'S BOX, is a funny paranormal romance about a puca cursed by an angry Druid daddy and forced to live inside a tiny cornerstone for two thousand years. This is what I tell people when they ask what my book is about. Generally, the first follow-up question to that description is, "What's a puca?"

The puca (which can be spelled a zillion different ways) is a shape-shifter from Welsh and Irish mythology. No, not a werewolf. Something more along the lines of a faery or sprite -- one who often preys on travelers. He can shape-shift into a black stallion with freaky yellow eyes and -- depending on his whim and whether you recently ticked him off in any way -- he can toss you onto his back and take you on a wild ride. From what I understand, you would return from this ride a radically different person in some way. So what exactly happens on this ride and what kind of change would the ride inspire? Beats me. Every description I found left the details to the reader's imagination, which suited me perfectly. It meant I could make everything up myself*g*.

Also interesting, if you've read or seen Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, you might remember the trickster Puck. He's supposed to be the bard's vision of a puca. In some cases, the puca also answers to the name of Robin Goodfellow, which, coincidentally (or not) is also an alias for the devil. Some say the legend of Robin Hood is rooted in the puca myth, as well. Perhaps the most well-known puca -- but way different from my vision of one*g* -- was the six-foot-tall invisible rabbit in the movie Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart.

My puca, Riordan, is the son of a human woman and Oberon, the King of all Faery. In spite of the "sprite" classification and the puca's traditional preference for the horse form (a bit unsexy, you know?), I decided Riordan's base form would be human in appearance and manner, if a bit larger than life. Okay, so not just a bit*g*. We're talking one sexy, nearly irresistible and utterly incorrigible human form. (I really like Riordan.) He has a bawdy sense of humor and mischievous bent that hide an unexpected streak of gallantry and a will of steel. Hey, two thousand years of imprisonment would have broken a lesser man, you know? To survive his punishment, Riordan learned to deal with his lot and bide his time until he met Mina Avery, the one woman who, according to ancient prophecy, could free him from the Druid's punishment.

So was it the puca who inspired this story? Actually, no. The craziness began when I was surfing around on the internet and came across something about the Stone Circle of Avebury. (Don't ask. I have no idea how I came across this. Extensive procrastination, no doubt.) What intrigued me was that a lot of these huge Sarsen stones that comprised the circle had been busted up and used -- here it is! -- as building materials for cottages and the like. Can you imagine? It would be like having part of Stonehenge in the foundation of your house. Surely there would be some spooky effect. And so the wheels, they started turning . . .

As for the rest -- wistful sigh -- I really, really loved the character Puck. I always thought there must be some Puck-type creature (i.e., the puca) running around and mucking up our lives. It would explain so much*g*. So I thought . . . who better to release from a Sarsen cornerstone than my favorite trickster?

What about you? Where do you get your ideas? And, hey, we're all paranormal fans, so what's your favorite magical creature?

Thanks to the Otherworld Diner staff for having/humoring me today!


Lori: Thanks for stopping by Natale. Hope you enjoyed the pie. Everybody be sure to check out Natale's website at She's got the cutest little dancing frog you've ever seen. *G*


  1. Natale,
    Pandor's Box sounds like a fun story. I always enjoy your novels and no doubt, I'll enjoy Riordan's story as well. :)

    Diana Cosby

  2. That is a most excellent premise, Natale. I wonder if there are other cornerstones in your literary future...

    Jody W.

  3. Aw, thanks, Diana:). You should know that His Captive is sitting there at the top of TBR mountain, taunting me . . . I'm dying for a book binge. Soon . . . soon . . . (must finish rough draft first).

  4. Jody, I checked out your website. That is one gorgeous book cover. Wow. You must be thrilled*g*.

    As far as other cornerstones in my future . . . um, you could say so. That cornerstone makes an appearance or two in the sequels to Pandora's Box*g*. The first sequel, called The Druid Made Me Do It, is scheduled for an August 2008 release. Another one (I'm *still* struggling with a title for it) is planned for February 2009. Thanks for asking *g*.

  5. Natale, I'm looking forward to reading Pandora's Box. It will be my first paranormal! And thanks for clearing up what a Puca is.

  6. And here I thought puca was a necklace...or is that puka?
    and when you were wandering around the internet googling, so glad you didn't happen upon the subject matter I heard in the car on the radio the other day--a guy was googling around, trying to think about something to write about, and found the true story of some charlatan who popularized implanting goat testicles into humans for improved libido. That would so not have been a good romance story LOL
    Enjoyed teaming up w/ you on Saturday and hope you're feeling better!

  7. Can't wait to read Pandora's Box. This Puca thing (sorry, I'm gonna have to stop thinking of it as a "Puca" if I'm gonna fall in love with it,) Riordan sounds like a great character. You come up with some of the best ideas!


  8. Donna, I'm so honored to be your first*g*. No, I won't say it. I'm not that shameless. Am I?;) Seriously, thanks for giving my book a home. It's happy with you*g*.

  9. Jenny,

    Eeeeeewwwwwww on the goat testicles!*g* Yech. lol

    And yeah, I get the puca shell necklace comment, too. Hey, but it inspires fond memories, right? The beach? Tanned male bodies? That's a good thing, right?*g*

    Yes, I'm actually feeling really good today. Couldn't have timed a cold more ironically. It was great teaming up with you, too.

  10. Annette,

    What, the word puca doesn't inspire you to thoughts of lust?*g* Okay, I'll admit the term is less than, er, hmmph. But, see, that's part of the fun of it. And Riordan's definitely man enough to pull it off. Trust me*eg*. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, Miss Sofie.

  11. So glad you stopped by to share!