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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Blog Tour: Shape-shifting in Jaguar Sun

Hello and welcome to the Jaguar Sun Blog Tour!
Today I have a guest post about shape shifting!

Shape-shifting in Jaguar Sun

Shape-shifting lore can be found in most cultures around the world, so when I began to write Jaguar Sun, there certainly wasn’t a shortage to choose from. The biggest challenge for me was choosing something that would go well with the overarching Mayan theme of the first book in the series. From that perspective, it made sense to go with more of a Native American style shifter, like some form of skin walker. At the same time, I wanted to come up with a fresh angle on shape-shifting. That was easier said than done. Like werewolves, vampires, and other creatures, they have been written about a lot. What I didn’t realize was that by focusing on the first, I would also accomplish the second. 

As I did my research on the Mayan culture, I discovered that there is a Mayan belief that we all have a spirit companion or protector in the otherworld that’s in the form of an animal. This spirit, called a Nahual, can help its human solve problems, bring luck, etc. It reminded me a lot of the animal totems of Native cultures in the United States and Canada. Many Mayans believe that they’re tied into our personality traits based on the Mayan horoscope and the day that we’re born. As I dug a bit deeper, I found out that certain shamans in Mayan culture are believed to be able to actually take the form of their Nahual. Ha! Shape-shifters!

Another interesting tie-in was a second universal theme: the existence of life force or energy. As I researched, I found that the Mayans believe there is an energy field that originates in the divine and flows through all things. The easiest to pronounce word that I found for it was k’ul, so that’s what I used. (The Mayan language looks very complex to the eye and can seem daunting to read. So I went with Mayan words that I thought would be most appealing to the eye.) I added it to my shape-shifter culture, writing it so that the shifters had more of this energy than others and that is what allowed them to take on the animal forms of their spirit companions.

As I wrote, I tied in other Mayan beliefs to my shape-shifters, as well as some of my own ideas, making them more unique over time (I don’t want to give it all away here). I also decided that tying them to spirit magic rather than a scientific explanation would allow them to be more misunderstood. That’s always handy for upping the teen angst factor in a YA novel. That lack of acceptance within our own general culture also created an innate trust among the shifters in Jaguar Sun that was important to the plot. That part I’m not sharing! 

About the author:

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Martha Bourke grew up in Burlington, Vermont, often considered a hub of “free thinking.” She was encouraged to write, act and be creative at a very young age. For most of her life, Martha has had a fascination with languages, culture and mythology – a passion that now colors and enriches her stories. A Spanish teacher, Martha continues with art on the side. She has written novels, short stories and poetry. But she admits to being totally “hooked” on YA Paranormal Romance.

Martha and her husband of thirteen years have carved out their own little piece of Vermont in the Massachusetts countryside. When not writing, Martha loves spending time with their animals, listening to good music, taking photographs, and adding to her Converse collection. She is currently working on book two of the Jaguar Sun Series, Jaguar Moon.

Book Trailer:

Where to buy the book:

December 21, 2012

"Will that fateful day destroy our world, or did the Mayans have something else in mind?  Maya Delaney knows. Unfortunately.

Maya Delaney is just an average sixteen-year- old. She’s busy dealing with exams, her soon to be ex-boyfriend and fitting in. But Maya’s got bigger problems. She’s hiding a major secret from her dad and having strange visions she can’t control. In her struggle to figure out who she is, she learns that she is meant to fulfill an ancient Mayan Prophesy and bring forth a New Age on earth. Will the spirit magic Maya wields be enough to defeat Toltec, an evil society bent on keeping her from her destiny? Or will that destiny destroy her?"


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 2nd - Letters Inside Out  
Tuesday, April 3rd - Books With Bite 
Wednesday, April 4th - Book Shelf Banter 
Thursday, April 5th - Obsession with Books 
Friday, April 6th - Belle Books 
Monday, April 9th - The Reading Gate  
Tuesday, April 10th - Fictional Distraction 
Wednesday, April 11th - Sweeping Me 
Thursday, April 12th - Sweet Southern Home 
Friday, April 13th - One A Day YA 
Monday, April 16th - The Fairy Tale Nerd 
Tuesday, April 17th - Kindle Fever 
Wednesday, April 18th - Unabridged Andra 
Thursday, April 19th - Rainy Day Ramblings 
Friday, April 20th - Kindred Dreamheart

Happy Reading!



  1. Thanks for hosting the Jaguar Sun Book Tour today, Savannah! :)

  2. Mayan culture and shifters! Sounds like an interesting premise. Thanks for the tour!

  3. Thanks Melissa! And thank you for stopping by the tour!

  4. Oooh, this looks like a fantastic read! I love to read things of the ancient culture. A new twist with the Mayans! Thank for the chance to win!
    DeAnna Schultz


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