FAQ Friday: Medusa

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

Q: Where can I get the short story, Medusa?

A: A shortened version of the story, Medusa, was included in the second (current) edition of Persephone. If you have the first edition e-book, I’d check to see if you can update in the kindle settings under your account. Outside of that, you have a few options.

  1. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to learn when Persephone goes on sale.
  2. Wait. An extended version of Medusa will be included in the Snakes and Stones Anthology. The Snakes and Stones Anthology will feature eight different retellings of the Medusa myth, including mine. It will be released this summer.
  3. Wait even longer. There’s also been some murmurings of doing an anthology of short stories with Belle Books, but that’s quite some time down the road

Mythology Monday: Chthonic Deities

Chthonic deities, Underworld, Greek mythology, Retellings, Daughters of Zeus, young adult greek mythology retelling, Hades, Persephone ,Thanatos , The Judges , Cerberus, Charon, Cronus , Erinyes , Hecate , Hermes , Hypnos , Moirai ,Nyx ,  Acheron , Arae,  Ascalaphus , Kakodaimones ,Empusa ,Epiales , Erebus ,  Keres , Lamia , Lethe , Leuce , Melinoe , Minthe , Mormolyceia (Mormos) , Oneiroi , Styx , Tartarus ,Daira, Eurynomus, Gorgyra, Lampades, Cocytus, Macaria, Menoetes, Phlegethon, Trophonius,

Orpheus spoke up. “Last time I saw you, you didn’t even know you were a goddess. How did you end up down here? You don’t look like you belong with the chthonic group. No offense,” he said to Hades.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but her parents are Olympian,” Hades replied.

“Chthonic? Olympian? What are you guys talking about?”

“Chthonic deities are gods associated with the Underworld. We tend to have darker features.” Hades motioned to his black hair. “Olympians were associated with Olympus, and were various shades of blond. The primordials tended to represent their element to the extreme, and the Titans were . . . well, titanic in size.”

I blinked. Gods were classified by appearance? I supposed it wasn’t relevant anymore with so few of us left, but the whole system seemed strange to me. None of that mattered, though, because Orpheus remembered the last time he saw me! I was sure my face was bright red. Hades sighed, no doubt bored by the whole conversation.

~@~

Chthonic deities were gods associated with the Underworld. Below are links to descriptions of the more important Chthonic Deities.

Hades | Persephone | Thanatos |  The Judges Cerberus |Charon | Cronus | Erinyes | Hecate | Hermes | Hypnos | Moirai | Nyx |  Acheron | AraeAscalaphusKakodaimones |   |Empusa |Epiales | Erebus |  Keres | Lamia | Lethe | Leuce | MelinoeMinthe Mormolyceia (Mormos) | Oneiroi | Styx | Tartarus 

And this is a list of the Chthonic deities too minor to get their own blog.

Daira (Knowing One or Teacher), was a daughter of Oceanus, sister to Styx, and a key figure in the Eleusinian mysteries. While Demeter was searching for Persephone, she visited a town called Eleusis, and drank water from a particular well. Daira was the Naiad attached to that well. She was also the mother of the king, Eleusis, by Hermes.

Daira initiated members into the mystery cult that worshipped Demeter, Persephone, and Hekate. Persephone and Hekate both sometimes borrowed Daira’s name in invocations.

Eurynomus (Wide Ruling), played an important role in keeping the Underworld clean by stripping the corpses of their skin. This underworld spirit was often depicted with blue-black skin and rode around on a vulture.

Gorgyra (Underwater Drain), may have been another name for the River Styx or in her other form, Gorgyra Orphne, Nyx. She and Acheron were the parents of Ascalaphus.

Lampades were torch bearing nymphs of the Underworld, and gifts from Zeus to Hekate because of her loyalty in the Titanomachy. The light from their torches had the power to drive people to insanity, so naturally they accompanied Hekate on all her nighttime hauntings and revels.

Cocytus was both a river (of tears) and a goddess (of sorrow) in the Underworld.

Macaria (not to be confused with the daughter of Hercules) was the goddess of blessed death. She is a daughter of Hades (no mother is ever mentioned, but the man was fairly monogamous). She might have been a kinder counterpart to Thanatos or she might have led the souls to the isle of the blessed, or she might not have been a goddess at all and might have just been an expression (go in peace). Very, very minor goddess.

Menoetes (Doomed Might) was a spirit who herded cattle in the Underworld. While Hercules was in the Underworld for his 12th labor, the two wrestled, and Menoetes lost. Fortunately, Persephone was there to save him.

Phlegethon (flaming) was one of the five rivers located in the Underworld and/or the god of the river of fire located in the Underworld. The river was made of fire and, in my universe, acted as the division between the Asphodel fields and Tartarus. I’ve heard a myth that says that he and Styx were in love. As rivers, they flowed into one another.

Trophonius (Nourisher of the Mind) was the demigod son of Apollo and Erginos. He and his brother Agamedes built the temple to Apollo at Delphi. As a reward, both brothers were told to do anything they wanted for six days, and on the seventh day, their greatest wish would be granted. Both brothers were found dead on the seventh day (possibly for stealing treasure) in a cave near Lebadeia in Boiotia. Trophonius is considered to be the cave spirit for what became a sacred site.

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to Chthonic Deities. If you enjoyed the Persephone series, follow up with the Aphrodite trilogy. Love and War is on sale today for .99 cents. 

FAQ Friday: Persephone’s age and spoilers

Spoiler warning if you haven’t read Persephone.

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

The question asked by a reader was “I get why Persephone didn’t think to ask, but how come Hades didn’t immediately realize Zeus was still alive by the fact that he had a sixteen year old daughter?

That’s a really good question. Gods get a lot of perks that humans don’t when it comes to reproduction. For instance, children are a consensual choice between two divine partners. So, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility that god magic allowed Demeter to postpone her pregnancy until she felt she’d charmed enough priestesses to maintain worship to keep herself and her child alive. At least that’s my theory.

 

 

Mythology Monday: Melinoe

Melinoe, Greek mythology, goddess of ghosts and madness, retellings, Persephone, Hades, zeus, young adult greek mythology retelling, Daughters of Zeus

 

“Persephone?” I reached out to caress her cheek.

She flinched. “Don’t.” Her green eyes searched my face. “I should be able to tell.” Her voice broke. Persephone tried to pull back, but I held her fast.

My arms dropped, and I stepped away for good measure. There was no telling what she had gone through, so if she needed space, I was happy to oblige. “Tell what?” I wanted to reach out to her, to demand to know what Zeus had done and how I could fix it, but I didn’t dare. “Persephone.” It was a fight to keep my voice calm. “Tell me where to find you.”

She looked away and I jerked toward her, almost unable to restrain myself from reaching for her. Persephone flinched.

“Hey, it’s okay. Wherever you are, I’m going to find you and bring you home, okay? But I need you to point me in the right direction.”

“Stop.” She took a deep, shuddering breath, sliding her air plant pendant back and forth on the chain of her necklace. “I should be able to tell him from you. If you’re not him, if you’ve taken that from me, if you’ve broken us that badly . . . ” Iron glinted in her eyes, hard and unfeeling. “Then you won’t have to find me. I haven’t come into my powers yet, but I will. I’d be afraid of that day if I were you.”

Comprehension bubbled up within me like bile. I was going to make a way to kill him. Then I’d drag him down to hell and spend the rest of eternity making him suffer.

It wouldn’t be enough. It would never be enough. Zeus looked like me. The bastard had looked like me when he’d hurt her. “It’s me.”

She didn’t look convinced, and I didn’t blame her. I didn’t sound like myself. There was no getting past this. Even if I found a way to get her back, even if everything worked out, she would look at me now and see him.

“Everyone is ‘me.’” Persephone put the word in air quotes. “Be more specific.”

~@~

Melinoe (dark minded) was the moon goddess of ghosts and the bringer of nightmares and madness. Every night she wandered the earth, trailed by a group of wailing ghosts, waiting to strike fear int he hearts of men. One half of her body was black as pitch, the other corpse pale, a testament to her duel nature. She was born on the mouth of the Cocytus River. 

Sometimes Melinoe is described as a daughter of Persephone via Zeus pretending to be Hades. When either Hades or Persephone (myths vary, but personality wise post-abduction this sounds more like a Persephone punishment than a Hades one) discovered what happened, and enraged, rent the daughter resulting from the union, discoloring her flesh.

In my books, I split the difference. Zeus does take on Hades’s likeness in Iron Queen as a trick to drive Persephone to the madness Melinoe represents, but I don’t go physical with that because frankly, I didn’t want to write that story. Plus the whole Zeus as Hades thing is tricky because there are interpretations in Greek Mythology that Zeus and Hades were the same god, just different titles. Or Hades and Dionysus, or Melinoe is actually another title for Hekate or Persephone and the whole origin story is moot. When you mix the religions of a bunch of different regions and try to combine them into one Pantheon, things get messy.

 

**Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that Love and War is still on sale for .99 cents! Click here to buy it today. 

FAQ: Can Persephone be read as a standalone novel?

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

 

Can Persephone be read as a standalone novel?

I get it. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is get tangled in a long series. Persephone is the first of a series of trilogies set in the Daughters of Zeus universe. There are multiple stopping and starting points within the series provided you don’t mind skipping the last page. There will be unanswered questions, but for the most part, of all the books, Persephone contains the most self-contained plot.

Mythology Monday: Ascalaphus

Ascalaphus, bad omen, screech owl, mythology, greek mythology, from the young adult greek mythology retelling The Daughters of Zeus series by Kaitlin Bevis. Persephone, a modern day persephone retelling

Time passed in a blur of color and light. People laughed and danced around us, the spinning arcs of the skirts making me dizzy.

“I can’t dance another step.” I giggled, clinging to Hades so I wouldn’t trip and fall.

“Let’s get some air.” Hades led me out of the ballroom. The party was scattered all across the Underworld, but we found privacy in the grove of trees. The trees stretched into the sky, their branches arching and spilling over, sheltering us from view of any of the other souls wandering the Underworld.

“You’re trying to stop me from making a scene.” I stepped away from him into the center of the clearing. I spun around, holding my arms out. “Whoa.” I stopped mid-spin, waiting for the clearing to do the same.

“You should probably eat something.” Hades caught my hand. “Think of something, anything at all.”

I imagined pomegranate seeds and a plastic baggy full of them appeared in my free hand. I put six seeds in my mouth. An owl hooted in the distance.

Hades laughed. “You’re going to need more than that. What’s your favorite type of bread?”

“I’m a goddess. Do I have to worry about hangovers?”

“Your metabolism will change when you come into your powers. As far as alcohol is concerned, right now you’re a human.” He suppressed a grin. “Ambrosia gets even gods drunk, so you’re in trouble.”

~@~

I had a lot of fun peppering my books with Easter eggs for people as obsessed with Greek mythology as I am. The owl hooting in the distance in the scene above was a reference to the god Ascalaphus.

Ascalaphus (not to be confused with the Argonaut by the same name)  was a minor deity/spirit that kept the orchard in the Underworld. He saw Persephone eat the fateful pomegranate seeds and informed Hades and Zeus. Because of those seeds, she was forced to return to the Underworld every year.

Demeter did not take that news well. But she couldn’t lash out at Zeus or Hades to the degree that she’d like to, so she shot the messenger. She buried Ascalaphus under a rock, but that pesky demigod Hercules freed him. Since keeping him trapped didn’t seem to be working, she turned him into a screech owl. Ever since, screech owls have been associated with the Underworld. Spotting one is a bad omen.

There is a version of the myth that credits Persephone with his transformation, which while out of character at the time, wouldn’t be for long as she became known as The Iron Queen.

FAQ Friday: Age Range

Question mark in a blue bubble. Repeating icon for the frequently asked questions in the Daughters of Zeus series a young adult greek mythology retelling by Kaitlin Bevis

Q: What age range is your series intended for?

A: I hate this question because my perspective is so skewed. I have a seven year old. The younger end of YA seems so close that I’m always kind of hedging because I can’t imagine her reading stuff like my books in a few years.

On the other hand, as a teen, I was reading adult novels, so I also don’t want to underestimate YA readers. So I’m going to give you the official answer and the content break down. Be warned, my content break down probably makes my books sound a thousand times worse than they are in terms of content, because I am a prude. But hopefully this is a somewhat helpful guide. Readers please comment your thoughts below.

The Persephone trilogy is young adult, so I’d consider it appropriate from ages fourteen and up, though I personally feel that age should be pushed back a bit with each book. However what content you think is appropriate for what age is going to vary with each person.

The Aphrodite trilogy is considered new adult, so basically the older spectrum of YA (maybe 17 and up?) Again, that’s going to depend on the maturity level of the reader.

It would probably be more helpful to break it down by content.

Content:

Persephone is considered a clean read. There’s no cursing, no sexual situations, rape is alluded to (but considering I’m retelling the myth of Persephone that shouldn’t be a surprise) and there is mild violence.

Daughter of Earth and Sky features light cursing (as in number, not as in words dropped), alcohol use, heavy making out (though the camera fades to black any time a scene is getting too intense), and mild violence. Nonconsensual sexual situations implied.

Iron Queen has moderate cursing, graphic descriptions of violence, sexually questionable situations (though the scenes always fades to black).

Aphrodite features moderate cursing, light violence, sexual situations (not graphic), trigger warnings for rape (not described but heavily implied), and non-consentual situations. It’s a much more mature read.

Love and War Much of the same as Aphrodite with the addition of mature topics, such as abortion.