Monday, November 03, 2014

Guest Blog by Scarlett Amaris & Melissa St. Hilaire: Inspirations for the Conjuring of the SAURIMONDE Books - and Giveaway - November 3, 2014

Please welcome Scarlett Amaris and Melissa St. Hilaire, the co-authors of the Saurimonde novels. Saurimonde II was published in October.

Inspirations for the Conjuring of the SAURIMONDE Books
Scarlett Amaris & Melissa St. Hilaire

"The solitary Saurimonde, the inspired prophetess of the Mazamet district, who went naked as in the days when the world was born, because her soul was as bright as the sun she invoked." –Maurice Magre (RETURN OF THE MAGI - 1931)

My name is Scarlett Amaris and I've co-written a couple of dark fantasy books entitled SAURIMONDE I and SAURIMONDE II with Melissa St. Hilaire. For the last many long years I've been tracking down and decoding little know legends in the French Pyrenees. It's a land of mysteries where the past and the present walk hand in hand and magic still survives. The legends of Saurimonde actually come from the Middle Ages, even though we've created a wholly fictional universe for her in our book series. We thought it might be entertaining to share some of the legends and inspirations here which went into our twisted tales. The legends of Saurimonde (or Solimonde as she is sometimes known) originate from the Mountain Noir (the Black Mountain) in the south of France. In the first of these medieval legends Saurimonde was a powerful witch who lived in a cave under the castle of Quentinheux in Lastours and the people in the village below would leave sacrifices to placate her. On Imbolc, or February 2, they would gather at the base of the mountain and, if she was blowing her flute, then spring was just around the corner, but if she was wailing and lamenting, then winter would continue. Supposedly she had hair that went to the ground and she wore the skin of a black ram. In the second legend she is a beautiful golden-haired fairy who lived in the river Arnette with her daughter and she possessed a golden comb that was fashioned by the devil himself. A royal archer from the nearby village of Hautpool became obsessed with her and the golden comb, but no matter how hard he tried to steal it, he couldn’t do so and each time she would laugh at him. Slowly he went mad and finally, with the aid of the local priest, he was able to gain access to her. But instead of killing Saurimonde, he killed her daughter. She cursed him to be penniless and insane for all his days; the river dried up and the magic left the land. There is a third legend which tells of a Saurimonde who was married to a brutal lord. He spied her and her lover one day so he hunted the man down and killed him. Then he fed Saurimonde’s lover’s heart to her in a sumptuous dinner. When he told her what she was eating and asked her what she thought of it she replied that it was the most delicious thing she had ever tasted and she would savour it for all her days. Then she jumped out the window to her death. There is also a fourth legend which connects Saurimonde to the crieurs, which is kind of the French version of the lorelei. They are creatures who seduce people by day and then cry so mournfully at night that these same people come to find them and then the crieurs kill them. So for the first book, SAURIMONDE I, we used elements of all these scenarios and bits of mythology and wove them together into a new story mixed with a unhealthy dose of sex and violence.

While writing SAURIMONDE I, I was living in the village of Montsegur high in the French Pyrenees in the shadow of an ancient castle. When the sun was shining I'd take the notebook out to the high meadows, which were full of wild flowers, and write and sunbath and then come back later and transcribe. I took long walks up the Lasset (which is the river that snakes down from the Lake of the Devil and on through Montsegur) and sat on the river banks surrounded by lush foliage, staring at the water to get a feel for the character of Saurimonde and imagine what life would be like if it were boiled down to just the sensations of sex and death. Butterflies would land on my pen while I was writing and never leave. Often I would lose track of time and become pink all over with sunburn. I rode on horseback through the forests pretending I was the handsome hero, Sordel. Sometimes I would climb up to the ruins of the castle of Montsegur and sit on the edge of the dungeon keep and write by hand until I lost the light. Then I would sleep in the old encampments under the stars and dream of the characters. I was steeped in this magical medieval ambience and it was indeed a charmed existence. I think some of that magic lended itself to the Saurimonde universe.

In researching these legends further for SAURIMONDE II, Melissa and I realized that Saurimonde shared a lot of the same characteristics of the witch goddess Amari, or Mari, from the Basque country, who was famous for her golden comb, and her familiar was the black ram. Her beloved husband, Sugaar, was a god who was also demonic as he was part serpent. They had two sons, Atxular and Mikelatz, one of whom was good, and the other who was malefic. Amari was also the queen of lightning and storms and it was said she rode through the skies at night with a flaming moon behind her. She was also the goddess for whom the stone monuments had been built and it was said that she lived in a cave which was covered in gold and in which rivers ran through that were made of milk. She had a coven of high priestesses around her who were known as the sorginak (they were also thought to be lamias which were beautiful sirens who haunted the rivers combing their long hair with a golden comb) and they would hold the 'Akelarre' (or 'sabbats') on Fridays in her name. It's all so potent and rich and intertwined that Melissa and I had a field day with this little known mythology for the second SAURIMONDE book.

Last March when Melissa and I started SAURIMONDE II I was lucky enough to find myself staying in a 50 room 500 hundred-year-old village château in Chalabre in the south of France called the Yobaba Lounge. Feeling like I had been dropped straight into a Gothic romance, I rolled up my writing sleeves and got down to work. Although I must confess, the house was so completely bewitching that I felt like I should have spent some of my time wearing gauzy gowns and slowly wandering down the long hallways with a candelabra like one of the women in Jean Rollin's 'Requiem for a Vampire'. It was like living in a real life version of 'Gormenghast' along with a huge walled garden. Victorian orangerie and a menagerie of exotic cats. Talk about ambience! There is no place better in the world to start a book.

A few months before Melissa and I started on SAURIMONDE II, I had been researching 17th century witchcraft in France and its ties to the New World for a friend of a friend who was working on a T.V. series called SALEM which was in pre-production. I became fascinated with the accusations of the supposed ‘black masses’ performed during the ‘Affair of the Poisons’ in France (1677 - 1682). The most outrageous was led by a witch and poisoner, La Voisin, for Athenias de Montespan, who was desperately trying to keep the affections of her lover, King Louis XIV. This supposed black mass involved an ageing renegade priest and infanticide; and it sent a tidal wave of fear through the aristocracy of the time. This material was too good to let go of so we incorporated some of the more outrageous aspects into one of the most shocking scenes of SAURIMONDE II.

Other sources of inspiration were the paintings of David Teniers the Younger and his many versions of ‘The Temptation of Saint-Anthony.’ These were an influence for some of Saurimonde's dream sequences as I've always found them so charming and yet so creepy. There's a Saint Anthony and the Temptations joke which runs throughout both of the books. In SAURIMONDE I there is a quote from Gustav Flaubert's book 'The Temptation of Saint-Antoine' about the Queen of Sheba which is an imaginative read to say the least!

There was another very rare 16th century grimoire which was recently found hidden within the Pyrenees and from which Melissa and I lifted part of a curse for the character of the demonic priest Bazak, but we can say no more about this tome except that the wording is changed and the full incantation is not there so nothing evil can be evoked. And for fans of alchemy there’s a bit of Fulcanelli’s enigmatic maxims hidden within the text of both books as well.

Thank you so much for having us as guests on your blog. We hope you enjoy the SAURIMONDE books.

Saurimonde II
October 16, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 224 pages

The dark heart of the forest beats once again...

After having become suddenly human again the tragically lovely Saurimonde, and her handsome consort Sordel, realize their mutual attraction for each other despite the unnatural way in which they met. All is well until Saurimonde accidentally discovers the terrible truth about Sordel's birth which causes him to fall prey to his now demonic aunt, the wise-woman Elazki, as circumstances conspire to make Saurimonde believe Sordel has run off with another woman.

With the aid of a new and not so innocent priest, the wise-woman spends her nights converting the young women of the village for their own nefarious plans. Will Saurimonde be able to overcome her demons and find Sordel in time to save him from a malefic fate? Or will she too succumb to the summoning of an ancient rite, a Beltane bacchanal, which promises to leave none of them alive.

Saurimonde I
May 10, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 216 pages

Like a bird in a gilded cage, Saurimonde is trapped between a brutally abusive husband, Gilles, who treats her like a possession, and a lover whose name she doesn't even know. The only thing she longs for is an escape. But to where? She should have been more careful in what she wished for because the day Gilles spies her and her lover together is her last mortal one. With the aid of the local wise woman, Elazki, Gilles gets his hands on a dangerous ancient potion. He figures out the perfect way to serve it to her – cooked into her lover's heart. One bite has dire consequences.

Left for dead by her husband at the river's edge, Saurimonde awakens to a whole new existence. Now she has become a part of the river itself. Days are spent in erotic encounters with unwary passers-by. Nights are spent in predatory pleasure, feasting on those she has seduced.

As the body count begins to rise in the village, Gilles starts to suspect his wife is still alive. He enlists the help of Elazki, who has secrets of her own, and her darkly handsome nephew, Sordel. Newly returned after being banished by his magus master in the black lands, Sordel unknowingly holds the key to all their fates. One will die, one will wish they were dead, and the other will fulfill their destiny.

Danger awaits them at every turn as they enter a realm where nothing is as it seems. Each will be forced to make terrible sacrifices. Will they be able to break the spell and stop the beautiful demonic creature Saurimonde has become? Can they possibly save her? Or will they too find a brutal death beneath the deep dark waters...

About the Authors


Scarlett Amaris likes playing devil's advocate on the dark side of the moon. She spends a large amount of time tracking through ancient ruins and decoding old texts in the Pyrenees. Her more esoteric work can be found at and She's also co-written scripts for the infamous horror anthology,The Theatre Bizarre (2011), the award winning, critically acclaimed documentary The Otherworld (2013) and the upcoming feature films, H.P. Lovecraft's The Colour Out of Space (director:Richard Stanley), and Replace (director: Norbert Keil). Saurimonde is her first novel and she's currently finishing up Saurimonde II before getting started on Demon Priest - The Misadventures of Abbe Sauniere, her next erotic horror endeavor


Melissa St. Hilaire likes to bask in the center of chaos watching supernova explosions. She spends most of her time daydreaming, researching, and scribbling. She wrote film and music reviews for The Heights Inc. Her poetry has appeared in the periodicals Shards, The Outer Fringe, and The Laughing Medusa. She co-authored several scripts for Tone-East Productions. Her debut book, a memoir titled In The Now, was released in 2012. In 2013 she released Saurimonde, a dark fantasy novel, with co-author Scarlett Amaris. After finishing up Saurimonde II, her next projects will include a follow-up to In the Now called Medicated and a sci-fi epic called Xodus.

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  1. Fantasy is a great way to take a trip to another world and experience magic.