Murder Mysteries

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to edit

According to Sean Coyne in The Story Grid, the core value in a story set within a crime genre is justice vs. injustice with the core event being the exposure of a criminal. The inciting incident is generally some unjust occurrence that throws the protagonist out of his or her comfort zone and on a path to restore justice. There are several different categories within the crime genre.

The most famous is the murder mystery. It is in fact so predominant that it gets subgenres of its very own.The inciting incident is nearly always a dead body and the story often concludes with the reveal of the murderer. (If the murderer is known to the audience it moves more into thriller category than mystery). Conventions of the genre include red herrings, interviews with characters who have their own secrets and agendas, a slow reveal of clues, and a demonstration at the end of how the clues fit together. Within the murder mystery are even more sub genres.

The Master Detective- Think Sherlock Holmes. It’s pretty much the trope setter. Well… it might as well be.

Cozy Mystery- A non-detective with skills in seemingly unrelated areas (like writing novels, for instance) finds their skills and experiences make them surprisingly and uniquely qualified to solve the case. A good example of this is Aphrodite where I more than dabbled with the cozy mystery sub genre within my paranormal romance.

The Cat Mystery- Cats solve crimes. Enough said. Diane Duane has a great series set in the same universe as the Young Wizards Series that pulls in this sub genre perfectly in The Book of Night with Moon and To Visit the Queen.

Historical Murder Mystery- A mystery set in a historical time period or featuring a historical figure. But Kaitlin, you might be saying, wouldn’t it have to be set in a historical period if it featured a historical figure? To which I say Sleepy Hollow.

Noir– Noir is as much a style as it is a genre. It features hardboiled detectives and/or lawyers and/or vigilantes, lots of dark backgrounds (though the reverse has been done successfully), femme fatales. It’s often told in flashback “(There I was, sitting in my office, when a dame walked in. She was trouble.”

I actually took a class on Noir Fiction in College for my Topics in American Literature elective, it was fun. My favorite was the one about a guy who goes to a police station to report a murder. Who’s the victim, they asked. “Me,” he replied. He’d been poisoned and the rest of the movie was him telling them who-done-it. Batman is stylized after Noir mysteries, and a lot of popular TV shows have done at least an episode in the Noir style.

 Paranormal- This is really more a cross-genre between paranormal (often romance)  fiction and crime fiction. It can crossover with any of the above categories and magic users of some kind. The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison is one example of just straight paranormal romance mixed with crime fiction. There’s also a lot of historical fantasy crime fiction that sets magical people back in time solving mysteries (to some degree, the His Infernal Devices fits into this). Paranormal pairs well with everything.

Police Procedural- This is your Law and Order/CSI/Dexter type stuff. This one also pairs well with paranormal.

Mythology Monday: Eilethyia

Eilythia, Goddess of childbirth, Greek myths, Daughters of Zeus, Iron Queen

I yawned and inspected my nails. Divine meetings were boring as hell.

Hades stood in the front of the room, his dark clothes sucking in the cheery brightness of Demeter’s home like a black hole. “Who are we missing?” Hades paused, deep in thought, gaze fixed on Demeter’s white couch. “Is anyone else still around?”

“Hebe?” Ares suggested. He hadn’t shed the jacket, despite the stifling heat of the overcrowded home.

I winced, expecting an onslaught of information and images to rush over me, but there wasn’t much to know about Hebe. She was the goddess of youth, and apparently—

“Dead,” Hades confirmed.

I would have thought a goddess of youth would be safe. This culture seemed to worship it enough.

“Eileithyia?” one of the muses asked, referring to the goddess of the pain of childbirth.

Wait, seriously? I racked my brain and came up with hundreds upon thousands of useless gods of mists and doorways and clouds. No wonder so many of the gods were dead. What a waste of worship.

Eilethyia (Lucina or Natio) was the goddess of the pain of childbirth. Some versions of the myth say she was actually two goddesses, one who furthered birth and one who protracted labor. Others indicate she was an aspect of either Hera or Artemis. She’s sometimes a daughter of Zeus and Hera, sometimes she’s considered linked to the Fates and outdate Cronus himself.

Eilethyia was sent by Hera to stop Hercules’s mother’s labor, but she failed. Otherwise, she’s not featured in many stories (though she was worshipped by several cults). It’s no wonder she didn’t last long in my universe.

The Action Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editAction stories tend to have big stakes and often (but not always) include explosions. That the protagonist’s life is on the line is a given. Generally so are the lives of other people and monuments. The mind-hack, as Howard Taylor would say, that you are trying to achieve in an action story is an adrenaline rush. A sense of breathlessness that keeps you turning the page. There are tons of great YA action stories. James Dashner, James Patterson, and Scott Westerfeld in particular have done very, very well in YA action.

The most pivotal moment in an action story according to Coyne is the “hero at the mercy of the villain scene.” But more on that later.

These days, very few stories are just one genre, but a carefully crafted blend. You can have a pure action story pretending to be another genre, or you can have elements of action in another genre. So as you read the following list of sub-genres of action, keep in mind you could have easily seen these elements before in a romance or a mystery or a horror novel.

Subgenres

  • Man VS Nature – The natural (or unnatural) world is working against your protagonist. This is often a one-sided struggle. The volcano neither knows nor cares about the people getting roasted to the bone.
    •  Straight Environment. This is your natural disaster movies featuring volcanoes going off or earthquakes or asteroids hitting the earth, or couples getting abandoned on a ski-slope or left out in the middle of the ocean scuba diving.
    • Monsters. As long as the monsters aren’t consciously thinking and plotting against the protagonist, monsters count as a Man Vs. Nature. Zombies and Pod People are great examples of this. They just exist. Yes, they want to eat your protagonist, but it’s not personal. There’s no reasoning with them. Monsters also include non-supernatural animals, like sharks, bears, or birds.
    • Mazes. If your protagonist is stuck somewhere/must retrieve something from a place, then the place itself can loom as an antagonist for a time. There’s generally a bigger bad (whoever put the item/protagonist in the maze). Think Saw 2. Saw 2 is Man Vs. Man without question. But the house of horrors he set up was a labyrinth the characters had to work their way through. That was a very tense blend of the two types of conflict.
    • Time. Coyne puts this in a separate category all by itself, but I disagree. Time is absolutely nature, even if it’s imposed by another man. (Then it’s just cross-genre). Time is often used to raise the stakes in pretty much every other conflict story. Want to ratchet up the tension in your Man V. Man story, introduce a ticking time bomb or a random deadline. Or put time on your side, if your characters can just stall long enough, reinforcements will arrive. You can make time an actual antagonist, like in 11.22.63, or Back to the Future erasing people if anything changes.
    • Doomsday. Coyne adds another sub-genre he calls the doomsday plot, where the victim is the environment. He references Independence Day as “the hero must save the environment from disaster.” I disagree with this sub-genre. By my definitions (which do not have to meet yours),  the environment as a victim is a stake, not a point of conflict. The conflict in Independence Day was with the Aliens, not the bits of Earth they blew up. And even then, the character’s concerns weren’t really with the monuments that got blasted, but the people who were left buried in the rubble.
  • Man VS. Society – These are stories in which the protagonist fights against a social structure, not just an individual person. Most dystopian fiction falls into this category.
    • Rebellion. In this plot the hero or group of heroes openly rebel against their society, but most often they rebel against a specific figurehead in that society. The Hunger Games was against the entire system, but it got personal between Katniss and President Snow.
    • Conspiracy. In this plot, the hero or group of heroes fights an enemy that other’s don’t see, but are absolutely a product (and most of the time the price) of the society. There’s generally a sense that if they had just never found out the dirty secret, if they could just forget, they could go back to a perfect life. And unlike in a  rebellion plot, where most often the heroes are driven to rebellion by an evil force, it is arguably a perfect life in conspiracy plots. Uglies is a great example of this.
    • Vigilante. One person is, for one reason or another, the only bastion of goodness left in a society that is so corrupt it cannot fight crime through normal measures. There’s often a hefty bit of Man V. Man in this as well, but society is also to blame for allowing this to brew. Batman and Daredevil are both good examples of this.
    • Savior. Again, I disagree with this definition. “The hero is against someone who wants to destroy society.” That’s a stake, not a conflict. And if the thing that wants to destroy society is society, then it probably fits better into one of these other genres.
  • Man VS Man. Your character VS. Another character. Most stories eventually personify the villain in the shape of a person (think President Snow in an arguably Man V. Society plot arch). But they tend to stand in as a symbol for all that’s wrong. In straight Man V. Man, they aren’t the symbol of what’s wrong, they are the thing wrong.
    • Rivalry. This is your Man V. Man played straight. One can be good, one can be evil, or they can both be ambivalent. Man V. Man applies just as much to Batman and the Joker as it does to Suitor A Vs. Suitor B in a love story. Suitor B doesn’t have to be evil, just working against you.
    • Revenge. The hero chases the villain to right some wrong. “You killed my father, prepare to die.”
    • Hunted. The villain chases the hero to right some perceived wrong. “You were somehow inadvertently and sympathetically responsible for killing my father. Prepare to die.”
    • Machiavellian. Two villains duke it out while all the little people run for cover (Freddy V. Jason).
    • Collision Plot. Two sympathetic, heroic characters duke it out while all the little people run for cover. (Batman V. Superman).

Enjoy action stories? Action is definitely a subplot in the Aphrodite Trilogy. Now that Venus Rising is live and Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents, you can get the whole trilogy for under $10! So if you haven’t caught up on Aphrodite’s trilogy, now is the time to do so.

Mythology Monday: Epic Dads

Taking a break from Psyche this week in honor of Father’s Day, I’m doing something a little special this week and making a list of truly epic dads in Greek Mythology. Unlike Epic Moms, Epic Dads were a lot harder to come by on account of most of them kept trying to eat their children or perform some other form of horrific abusive or neglect. But not all of the dads in Greek mythology were like that. Here’s a few who actually could have celebrated Father’s Day unironically.

1) King Polybus. A nice enough man who took pity on the infant, Oedipus, he found on a mountain top and raised him as his own. He was apparently a nice enough that when Oedipus learned he was fated to murder his father and marry his mother he was horrified and ran far and fast to save his dad.

2) Poseidon. Not a great guy, but by all accounts not a horrible father. He was protective of all his children, be they monster, humanoid, or equine. There was also no apparent incest, abuse, or murder of said children. I never said this list had high standards.

3) Helios. By all accounts Helios loved his children and was unflinchingly honest. If he gave his word, he kept it. Unfortunately since gods can’t go back on their promises one of his kids ended up dead. But he seemed sad about it! In Greek mythology that’s a caring parent.

4) Daedalus. He cared enough about his son Icharus to make him wax wings and to caution him not to fly too close to the son. He was devastated when his son didn’t listen.

And…that’s all I could think of. Can you name any decent father figures in Greek Mythology?

P.S Venus Rising is live and Aphrodite is still on sale for .99 cents. That means you can get the whole trilogy for under $10! So if you haven’t caught up on Aphrodite’s trilogy, now is the time to do so.

And it’s the last day to enter to win this awesome tote from my publisher.

To enter, please click this link: http://bit.ly/2rpu0bP and sign up for the Venus Rising Giveaway. The winner will be chosen 6/12/17. After the giveaway, new signups will be added to the official Kaitlin Bevis mailing list. If you have any questions, please email us at nikiflowers@bellebooks.com!
Good luck, and enjoy!

Release Day for Venus Rising!

9781611947526

It’s release day for Venus Rising, and now I can share my super secret news! Persephone is returning as a POV character! She won’t have as many chapters as Aphrodite (it is her story), but you’ll get to see her plenty in the thrilling conclusion of Aphrodite’s trilogy. Enjoy this sample of a Persephone POV chapter below  (if you haven’t seen the chapters leading up to this, head on over to my wattpad page to check them out) and then go get your copy of Venus Rising!

Not caught up on Aphrodite’s trilogy? No problem! Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents! That means you can get the whole trilogy for eight dollars. 

Aphrodite, sale, Daughters of Zeus, Kaitlin Bevis, Greek mythology retelling, Ares, Adonis

You can also enter to win this awesome tote bag from my publisher.

To enter, please click this link: http://bit.ly/2rpu0bP and sign up for the Venus Rising Giveaway. The winner will be chosen 6/12/17. After the giveaway, new signups will be added to the official Kaitlin Bevis mailing list. If you have any questions, please email us at nikiflowers@bellebooks.com!
Good luck, and enjoy!

Chapter IV

Persephone

IT HURT COMING back to my old home in Athens, Georgia. Nothing had changed in the past year. I hadn’t let it. Even though I didn’t spend much time here, I couldn’t bring myself to sell it. Mom’s priestesses maintained the property, and somehow, they’d made sure it still smelled the same. Floral, of course. My mother and I had always been strong on theme. The house worked well as an emergency meeting place for the Pantheon. There was even an entrance to the Underworld in the backyard.

I ran my hand along the familiar kitchen counter, flicking on the warm yellow lights. Rose-print wallpaper adorned the walls of the bright, open space, and white cabinets lined the room. Mom’s kitchen had been the heart of our home. If I didn’t turn around, I could almost pretend she still sat at the table behind me, flipping through one of her gardening magazines.

Salt and water burned at my eyes as I hunched over the pine countertop, my breathing jagged. Almost twenty years ago, my mother got disgustingly close to the biggest jerk in the entire Greek Pantheon—Zeus. And she’d done it for one reason.

Me. She knew that Zeus always passed on a power that gave his children a fighting chance in a world that didn’t believe they existed—charm. Basically, divine mind control. Gods lived off worship, which was increasingly hard to come by unless you had the ability to look a human in the eyes and brainwash them into doing whatever you wanted.

My mother raised me human without any knowledge of the Pantheon outside what little mythology I learned in school. Her deception had far-reaching consequences on my psyche. But she’d done it for the same reasons she’d chosen Zeus to be my father. Most of the gods had failed to blend into human society, becoming more and more isolated from a world they understood less and less as time went by. And for beings who needed worship to survive, isolation was death, charm or not.

Everything she’d done, every choice she’d made, had been with my best interests at heart. She’d given me the best of her powers: rebirth, renewal, spring—all super-poetical ways of saying I made pretty flowers grow— with none of the responsibilities. Mom had this entire life envisioned for me. One where I got to grow into adulthood as a “human” with all the experiences and rites of passage the upper-middle class had to offer. Then, once she deemed me ready, she’d sit me down and show me all the wonderful gifts she’d given me.

I slid to the distressed wooden floor in a rustle of fabric, clutching my knees against my chest. The faint smell of laundry detergent filled my lungs as I took a sharp breath. It would have been a great life.

Mom couldn’t have known that an old enemy would try to rip us apart. She couldn’t have anticipated that Hades would rescue me. That we’d fall in love. Or through a strange twist of fate, I’d become queen of his realm. She couldn’t have known that Zeus would try to suck the very powers she’d given to me from my cold shell of a corpse to help him take over the world.

But even when her best-laid plans went to hell, she protected me. She’d pushed every iota of power she had into my being, shredding her soul, to give me a chance against Zeus. And now she was gone.

A sob tore through my throat.

Take a breath, she would say if she could see how upset I was now. The kitchen would fill with the comforting smell of hot chocolate brewing on the stove. Her green eyes would meet mine with that look that seemed to pierce through my soul and lay it bare. Sit with me for a little bit. Tell me what happened.

Gods, I would do it in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t even roll my eyes or sigh or run upstairs to call my best friend, Melissa, and complain instead. I’d spent so much time angry with her for not telling me what I was, so much time fighting or outright avoiding her, and now I’d give anything to get her back.

My breath hitched when I lifted my gaze to the empty table. Power hummed beneath my skin, like tiny bolts of static, searching for a way out. I kept my breathing even, trying to maintain some semblance of control. Otherwise, I was going to spin out thinking about the fact that Mom was dead, Hades was gone, Aphrodite was still in danger, everything was breaking apart, and for some reason, the gods kept looking to me for answers.

In defeating Zeus, I’d become one of the most powerful goddesses there had ever been or likely would be again. Back in the days of the Primordials or even the Titans, the next deity would have only been a step or so down the ladder, but since the power of the Pantheon was at an all-time low, it just meant I had further to fall.

The gods really valued power and hierarchy. A triple realm ruler with near limitless power stood high on both totems, so now, I had a bunch of ancient, powerful beings looking to me for leadership. They didn’t care that I didn’t want it. Power and hierarchy trumped all.

But I’d stepped up to the plate, hadn’t I? I banged my head against the hard cabinet, my gaze settling on the roughhewn elm beams running along the ceiling. I’d been a handy pawn to fight their battles, to win their war, so now they’d elevated me to the frickin’ (unofficial) queen of the Pantheon.

Half the time, I thought they looked to me out of boredom. The rest of the time, I felt sure they’d just been so ready to get the world off their shoulders, they didn’t care who the burden fell to.

It hadn’t been so bad with Hades by my side. We’d split our powers with each other equally, which made our marriage bond super intense. Hades and I were in each other’s heads all the time; we could feel each other’s pain. It sounded like a nightmare, but it wasn’t. He was a piece of me, and I of him, but there were limits to even equilibrium.

We both had to be conscious.

My tears were getting ugly now. The sounds emitting from me with each sob didn’t sound human. Without Hades, I felt like I was missing a limb. I’d never wanted any of this, but it had been worth it with him.

The air rippled, stirring against the folds of my long skirt. I lurched to my feet, glamouring away any evidence of my tears as Poseidon appeared with a wave of salt-laced wind. Beside him, Ares dropped to the ground just in front of the kitchen table. He curled in on himself, crying out in pain.

“What happened?” I dropped to my knees beside him, reaching out to touch Ares’s shoulder. Heat seared my hand, and I jerked back in surprise.

“The poison’s still in his system,” Poseidon said quickly. “Teleportation takes a toll.”

That damn poison. Before we’d even realized the demigods were organizing against us, they’d managed to drug three of my people. Aphrodite got the worst of it, but Ares and Artemis had both been dosed. It affected their ability to use powers, so teleportation put them through a special kind of hell. And there was nothing I could do to make it better. Only dig my nails into my palms and watch helplessly as Ares rode out the pain. I dropped the glamour I’d kept on him and broke his bond of fealty to me just in case that helped.

I’d forgotten how intimidating he looked. Uneven, dark bangs hung over eyes that seemed to burn with rage as he recovered. When he struggled to his feet, the faint scent of burning cinnamon filled the air. He stood a head shorter than Poseidon, but his bulging muscles looked positively herculean in comparison.

A leather jacket appeared in his outstretched hand, and he shrugged it on, relaxing visibly when the folds of fabric touched his skin. His token, I remembered Aphrodite telling me.

Tokens were objects from a god’s home realm that could act as a kind of conduit. Instead of struggling to draw power while in a foreign realm, a god could channel their power through their token. Ares was back in his home realm, but his jacket must have still helped with the pain.

“You.” His eyes flared when they landed on Poseidon, and his voice darkened with the fires of rage. “You left her.”

“She’s still there?” My voice rose in panic, and the power clawing beneath my skin surged, seeking an outlet. A metallic taste filled my mouth, and I realized I’d clamped down on my tongue.

“I tried to get her!” Frustrated waves churned in miniature against the pupils of Poseidon’s sea-green eyes. “That demigoddess must have taken her when she teleported the whole island. I—”

“When she what?” The lights above my head flickered.

Poseidon’s fist clenched with irritation when the ground began to rumble. He drew in a breath, no doubt ready to say something scathing, but then he caught the look on my face.

I wasn’t doing this on purpose. My teeth ground together as I struggled to regain control, blood thick on my tongue. Aphrodite was gone. Trapped on an island with my husband while the demigods did gods knew what to them. An island we no longer knew the location of, because no one had stopped to ask if demigods could teleport. Including me!

How could I have been so stupid? The rest of the gods made their assumptions out of arrogance, refusing to believe anyone mortal could ever reach their level. I was supposed to be different.

“Easy.” Poseidon stretched his hands in a soothing gesture.

“Easy?” Ares surged toward Poseidon. “Easy! Do you have any idea what they’ll do to her? What you’ve left her to?” What—” He paused, seeming to notice the dishes rattling inside the white cabinets.

I sucked in deep breaths of rose-scented air. A lightbulb shattered above my head, glass raining down on the wooden floor.

“Persephone . . .” Poseidon was beside me in an instant, reaching out, but I jerked away before he could touch me.

I hated him. I hated him for hurting my mom all those centuries ago. For staying alive and strong when so many other gods died. For being one of the only people she could turn to for help during the final months of her life. For not stopping her dying. For looking at me the way he did. Like I was the only thing he had left of her. Like I meant something to him. He wasn’t allowed to grieve my mother.

Wood groaned and glass shattered as every door in the house flew open in a gust of damp wind. Oh, gods, I was ruining it. The one place I could still see her. Gasping for composure, I took my hatred for Poseidon and buried it. Like it or not, he was one of the only gods left, and I needed his help. “What do I do?”

Pandora’s Box

Aphrodite SaleThere’s still time to catch up on Aphrodite and Love and War before Venus Rising comes out this Friday! Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents right now, and Love and War has this nifty new audiobook trailer. Take a listen.

 

You can also enter to win this awesome tote from my publisher.

To enter, please click this link: http://bit.ly/2rpu0bP and sign up for the Venus Rising Giveaway. The winner will be chosen 6/12/17. After the giveaway, new signups will be added to the official Kaitlin Bevis mailing list. If you have any questions, please email us at nikiflowers@bellebooks.com!
Good luck, and enjoy!

 

Mythology Monday: Medusa

Medusa, Snakes and Stones Anthology, Kaitlin Bevis, Daughters of Zeus, love is respectIn honor of the release of the Snakes and Stones Anthology, I’m focusing on Medusa for this week’s mythology. Check out an excerpt from my version of Medusa below and an in-depth look at the myth.

Snakes & Stones

A myth that has withstood the sands of time tells of a beautiful woman turned hideous beast.
Some say she was punished because of the lust of a man. Others believe it was her own beauty that brought on the curse.
However, there are some who believe her curse was actually a gift.

Hear the story of Medusa as told by six popular young adult authors: Christina Benjamin, Kaitlin Bevis, Susan Burdorf, Erin Hayes, Suzanna Lynn, and Ali Winters

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to loveisrespect.org

What was once my hair shifted and writhed atop my head. I squeezed my eyes shut and buried my face farther in my arms doing my best to ignore the augmentations my body suffered. The salt of my tears hissed as they touched my flesh.

Gods, was every piece of me poison? I already knew no one could so much as look upon me and survive. Upon hearing my horrified screams as Athena’s curse took root, a villager had rushed to my aid. Poor man. Remembering the look of terror in his eyes as his skin hardened to stone sent a shudder through me.

Athena had rushed me inside and deposited me where I now lay curled against a cold marble wall, tucked in the space between two large columns of lined white stone. Beyond the columns, the room formed a long hall, coming to an end at a vast golden statue created in Athena’s likeness. Tall, hard, and unyielding. Standing beneath her likeness, the Goddess of Wisdom argued with the Lord of the Underworld, a dark-haired deity, in raised tones that bounced off the intricately decorated ceiling tiles to crawl down my spine.

In an attempt to huddle into an ever smaller bundle, I hunched over my knees and did my best to tune out the gods discussing my fate. What did it matter what happened to me now? I was ruined.

“Why did you call me here?” Hades’s voice rang down the long hall, laced with ill-disguised rage. Hours ago, hearing the raised voice of Hades himself would have been the most terrifying thing I had ever experienced. Now my dread at his rage barely registered, I felt so numb. “The girl still lives.”

Everyone was so angry with me for surviving. Part of me wanted to rage at the injustice of it all, the rest of me just wished I had not—not survived Poseidon’s attack; not survived Athena’s curse; not survived my already broken life up to tonight. I was so tired of surviving. How much easier would it be to just crumble to pieces and die? At least then I wouldn’t have to keep living through this nightmare.

“She does still live.” Athena’s voice sounded calm in comparison to the Lord of the Underworld, yet it still echoed off the marble walls. Sound carried in her temple. She never spoke very loud but volume had never much mattered in this temple of cold cut stone. “I would like you to fix that.”

Though I did not look up, I could picture the Goddess of Wisdom studying Hades with her dispassionate gray eyes, dark hair wound back so tight it pulled at her skin. She always wore her robes in an unflattering, shapeless cut. Though long, they made no sound when she walked. The older priestesses had warned me when my sisters and I first arrived at the temple that I would never know which corner she would be behind. Always assume she was watching, listening.

Athena was beautiful, anyone with eyes could see that, but she buried her beauty under a layer of harshness like a weakness that needed to be armored. This room of beautiful yet cold and unyielding stone suited her.

I was beautiful once. The fairest in my village, or so I had often been told. A distinction I gave little thought to since my sisters and I devoted our lives to Athena over a decade ago. We were desperate. Our mother died while birthing my youngest sister, and my father took to the jar and traveled down into the depths of despair where we could not follow. So rather than giving in to my despair, I packed my younger sisters up and took the long, arduous journey to the nearest temple accepting new devotees. Not an easy task for a trio of young girls, one not yet walking, but well worth it. Everyone knew temple girls always had food, shelter, and protection.

And here I had thought gods could tell no lies.

Enjoy what you’ve read? Check out the myth below, then head on over to Amazon to buy Snakes and Stones today and if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Aphrodite while it’s on sale for .99 cents. That’s two Daughters of Zeus stories for $2.00!

~@~

 

There are few creatures featured in mythology as instantly recognizable, or controversial, as Medusa. She’s the woman with snakes for hair that turns men to stone with a single glance. But how did she get that way?

That’s up for some debate.

Part of the controversy is that there are multiple origin stories for Medusa in mythology. In the earliest versions of the myth she was always a monster, born and raised in a small cave near the Underworld. Medusa and her sisters (Stheno, and Euryale) were known as the Gorgons, and were either the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, Gorgon and Ceto. Medusa was the only mortal of the sisters, and as such a logical choice for a quest kill.

It wasn’t until Ovid came around that she got a more sympathetic story. In Ovid’s version, she was a beautiful human girl until Poseidon raped her in Athena’s temple. Athena, angry her temple had been defiled, cursed Medusa to life as a monster.

There are variations within this version. She had an affair with Poseidon. She didn’t. She ran to Athena’s temple for help, it was just a convenient empty space. Either way, Ovid’s version of the story was further popularized by Clash of the Titans, and is one of the better known interpretations of the myth.

All sources agree she was beheaded by Perseus in his quest, and her head was used as a weapon thereafter until it was given to Athena to decorate her sheild. Since Medusa was pregnant by Poseidon at the time of death (presumably in horse form), Pegasus and Chrysaor, a giant wielding a golden sword, sprang from her corpse after death. Her head was used to turn Atlas to stone and to create coral in the Red sea. Poisonous snakes were also created from drops of the severed head’s blood.

Obviously I went with Ovid’s interpretation of the myth, Medusa as a victim, when I wrote my own version of Medusa because it’s the one that felt like it fit with my takes on the myth. The gods were vengeful and petty and when they crossed paths with mortals, it never ended well for them. A monster who was born a monster and had no motivations for being a monster in truth, not just appearance, is a lot less understandable than a hurt woman hiding in a cave and turning men to stone.

 

The Snakes and Stones Anthology is live!

ABOUT THE COLLECTION

Snakes & Stones is a collection of short stories inspired by the tale of Medusa; the woman turned gorgon in Greek Mythology. Medusa’s tale is one of abuse and oppression, however these tales take a different twist on her story.
All parties involved with this anthology have volunteered their time and works in order to make this collection happen. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to loveisrespect.org in order to assist in helping teens and young adults in abusive and/or oppressive relationships.
A myth that has withstood the sands of time tells of a beautiful woman turned hideous beast.

Some say she was punished because of the lust of a man.
Others believe it was her own beauty  that brought on the curse.

However, there are some who believe her curse was actually a gift.

Hear the story of Medusa as told by six popular young adult authors:

When I Fell by Christina Benjamin
Medusa by Kaitlin Bevis
The Case of the Missing Soul by Susan Burdorf
Lies of the Beholder by Erin Hayes
Medusa’s Curse by Suzanna Lynn
Favor of the Gods by Ali Winters
Brought to you in one anthology…
Snakes & Stones

All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will go to
loveisrespect.org.
Medusa, Snakes and Stones Anthology, Kaitlin Bevis, Daughters of Zeus, love is respect
 Check out this amazing teaser trailer below!
 Currently only $0.99 in celebration of release!
Price will rise to $2.99 on June 3rd.
One-Click it today on Amazon
  • An eBook Version – “Snakes & Stones” Anthology
  • An Audible Audio Version – “How to be a Mermaid” by Erin Hayes
  • An eBook Version – “Hook’s Little Mermaid” by Suzanna Lynn
  • An Audible Audio version – “The Geneva Project-Truth” by Christina Benjamin
  • An eBook Version – “Flirting with Death” by Ali Winters
  • An Audible Audio version – “Persephone” by Kaitlin Bevis
  • And a $5 Amazon Gift Card – from Susan Burdorf

Bonus! In celebration of all the new releases, Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents! Buy it today.

The Horror Genre

Book cover for The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne, #amwriting, #amediting, book review, how to write, how to editThe horror genre goes beyond life and death and explores the fates worse than. The mind-hack, as Dan Wells would say, that you are trying to evoke in your reader is a sense of fear and dread. According to Shawn Coyne, the key scene in any horror story is “the victim at the mercy of the monster” moment, and the thing that set the story in motion is the attack of that monster, real or otherwise, that forces the protagonist out of their safe zone.

The object of desire in horror tends to be survival, both in the literal sense and the coming back from the edge of sanity sense. When the protagonist doesn’t care about their own life, a small child, woman, or dog tends to be thrown into danger to spur the protagonist into action.

That antagonism between the forces of good (or neutral) and evil are king, and the antagonist must, according to Coyne, always be evil. An evil that can’t be reasoned with. The horror subgenres tend to be broken down by the way the story explains the monster. Reminder, these subgenres can mix and match within or out of the horror genre. You can have a romance with a horror subplot, and you can have a horror with a romance subplot. It’s all in how the writer divides it.

Subgenres

  • Uncanny – The forces of evil in the story cannot be reasoned with, but they can be explained. Think serial killer plots.
  • Supernatural – These are stories in which the monster isn’t “real” or explainable. Possessions, hauntings, vampires, werewolves, those kinds of monsters fall under the Supernatural category, but in my opinion, this is where the most genre bending occurs. If you have a supernatural villain in a fantasy setting where werewolves are totally a thing and everyone knows it, then the werewolf if uncanny, not inexplicable.
  • Ambiguous-  The reader can never be quite sure if it is the supernatural at work or not. These stories tend to question the protagonists sanity on a deeper level than the outsider looking in a supernatural story. The Babadook is a good example of this. Was there really a monster, or was the monster symbolic of the mother’s depression?