For the launch of “Barbegazi, my fantasy adventure from Eternal Press, I’m sponsoring a contest. Everyone who buys a copy of the book between June 7th and July 7th 2008 (it’s only $2.50! A Coffee Break Short, perfect for busy schedules!) will be entered into a drawing to win one of three abominable snowmen ornaments. Each one is hand made using needle-felted wool by me. These are great for Christmas tree ornaments or gift toppers. Yes, I know it’s June, but abominable snowmen are funny any time of the year! Here is a sample of the Abominable Snowman ornament. Below, you will see another needle-felted "painting" of a Barbegazi.
"Barbegazi" can be purchased from Eternal Press. To kick off the contest I'll be chatting with readers and other EP authors on the Eternal Press Readers' Loop. Join me there June 7th between 9 and 10 am (EST)
Here is a blurb and for the story and a fun article about the Barbegazi. Don't forget to check out my awesome trailer for this book!
Coffee Break: 8,500 words, $2.50
Etien changes the day he faces the White Death. His body is broken, but his spirit awakes. When his family's curse manifests inside him, he leaves his birthright for the ice-encrusted mountains where he both fears and hopes to meet the mythical icemen, the Barbegazi.
A halfling has been hiding in the snow outside the Barbegazi village for days. Ethgel can feel his fear, though the others choose to ignore him. But Ethgel is tired of traditions that seclude her people in the remote reaches of the mountains. She longs to reach out to the frightened halfling but will he embrace the ways of the Barbegazi or will his human failings, his unending rage and fear, come between them?
In the Background: Who are the Barbegazi?
The Barbegazi are a race of gnome-like people who live in the high reaches of the Alps. The name, Barbegazi, is a corruption of the French “Barbe Glacee”, which means beard of ice. Like most fairy-folk, stories surrounding the Barbegazi vary widely, but a few generalities link all the myths. First, is their miraculous feet. Big enough to be snowshoes, these feet can also used as skis and shovels. A Barbegazi can dig through ice and snow like a mole through soft ground.
Because of this digging skill, Barbegazi sightings are rare. A Barbegazi can dig himself in and out of deep snow within seconds, and only the most experienced tracker will ever know he was there.
Barbegazi don’t fear avalanches but instead, ride snow falls like surfers. Other than hunting, a Barbegazi spends most of his life playing in the snow. In fact, “snow tipping” is an art form to the Barbegazi. It requires much skill, dexterity and imagination to prod the snow croppings into the spectacular avalanches that the Barbegazi ride for sport.
Most legends describe the Barbegazi as short stocky people with long white hair and beards, that are covered in icicles. For many years, it was believed that they wore long coats of white fur, perhaps ermine, but recent evidence supports the theory that the white fur is actually the Barbegazi’s own pelt, and is perhaps the impetus behind the myths of the yeti, and other abominable snow monsters.
Another misconception is that the Barbegazi hibernate during the warmer months. Indeed, the summer sun is a hazard to the cold-loving people. The Barbegazi have a thin layer of frost on their skin above a thick layer of blubber to insulate them. The few Barbegazi who have been captured and brought down to more temperate climates have died within hours. The layer of frost melts first and then the Barbegazi appears to boil in his own skin, a horrible and painful death. Despite their loathing of warmer weather, the Barbegazi do not hibernate. Instead, they migrate to the highest reaches of the mountains, where the snow never melts. They live in shallow caves, but never venture too deep into warm heart of the mountain.
Though the Barbegazi have been known to help lost hikers, warn of impending avalanches or herd lost sheep after a blizzard, they are a shy race and do not welcome outsiders. They are excellent hunters and the most daring will venture down into the green forest to gather late fall berries. They can carve almost anything out of ice, and whittle icicles the way we might whittle a stick. Barbegazi ice horns sound much like an owl and can be heard for miles along the mountain summit. The Barbegazi use these horns to coordinate hunting and to communicate among clans.
This "In the Background" article appeared in the June 2008 Eternal Press Ezine. To subscribe to the ezine send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Note: Barbegazi is an adult fantasy, but with content suitable for young adults as well.