FAQ Friday: Cliffhanger Ending for Daughter of Earth and Sky

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I’ve had many readers ask about my choice of ending scene for Daughter of Earth and Sky. It is most definitely a cliff hanger, and yes, I could have avoided it by ending the book one chapter earlier or later.

I promise I didn’t choose not to do that to frustrate the reader or to entice them to buy the next book. I did it because of Joel.

*Spoiler Warning*

One chapter later starts a new arc, with new POV characters, new conflicts, and new problems. It also doesn’t resolve the cliff hanger since she’d still be captured. So on the surface one chapter earlier seems like the better choice.

Except it’s not.

One chapter earlier and the story arc I built for Daughter of Earth and Sky wasn’t over. My readers would have been left fuming about Persephone basically cheating on Joel for months before the next book came out, because they wouldn’t realize he’d charmed her into a relationship she’d never actually been interested in. One chapter earlier and my readers would spend months hating Aphrodite more than they already did because they’d be walking away from the story convinced she was the one charming Persephone (which was true some of the time, but not most of it). Plus, it would have been such a faux happy note. Everything gets nice and wrapped up with Melissa, and her mother, and Hades. Ending there and walking away for months would make it hard for the reader to jump back into story lines where those characters only had decent terms with Persephone for hours. It would be a fake ending and it would make the beginning of the next book ring false.

Ending on a cliff hanger was a difficult decision, but one I’d make if I had a chance to rewrite the book right now. That chapter did end Daughter of Earth and Sky and it started Iron Queen. And fortunately, Iron Queen is out now, so you can end one book and pick up the next without that pesky wait.

FAQ Friday: Can I read Daughter of Earth and Sky first?

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A reader asked if they can start with Daughter of the Earth and Sky.

If you’re like me, you sometimes stumble upon book two in the library or win it in a giveaway, and you just want to know if you should open the book or if you’ll be so hopelessly lost it’s not worth the bother. I recapped well enough in book two for a new reader to be able to pick up in book two. So yes, you can.

However, I suggest finding a copy of book one if you can (it’s free in audio form if you sign up for my newsletter), because while you will get what’s going on thanks to recapping, you aren’t going to appreciate it as much as a reader who was “there.”

 

FAQ Friday: Why not teleport?

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A reader asked why Persephone didn’t teleport away from danger during Daughter of Earth and Sky.

Without getting into spoilerific details, 90% of the time Persephone was in danger, someone had a firm grip on her. She can’t teleport in the living realm with anyone born outside Demeter’s realm and she can’t teleport with anyone in the Underworld that doesn’t read as a native. As for the other 10…

With the Reapers it wouldn’t have done any good. The have rights to teleport in both realms, so they would have just gone with her, and then what? She couldn’t explain what was going on to Hades, and if she stuck to the living realm, they’d already shown a willingness to retaliate with random humans.

With that last thing that happened, there was a shield in place to prevent teleportation, which is also why Hades could not interfere.

FAQ Friday: Wouldn’t it have been safer for Persephone to just stay in the Underworld?

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*Spoiler warning for Persephone and Daughter of Earth and Sky

A reader wondered why, if Hades and Demeter knew Zeus was still around and after Persephone, did they allow her to return to the living realm in book two?

Remember, Boreas was restricted to a relatively short season, but Zeus could wait around for all eternity. Persephone wanted to hang on to the human life she’d built. She has friends, a job, a family, and a life. And while it’s one thing to step away from that for a few months (December-March) while Boreas was at full strength, it’s quite another to say goodbye forever.

Persephone’s will in this is paramount, because I didn’t want to write a horror story about a teenage girl being forced to spend her life in the land of the dead. It’s one of the first things I changed when I rewrote the myth.

As far as what Hades wants, while other writers have tackled the whole over protective significant other forcing their loved one to stay somewhere safe (and thus destroying their relationship in the process) SO well (Seriously read the linked book. It’s so good), that’s not the story I wanted to tell. Which is why, in book one, Hades explicitly stated that he wouldn’t keep Persephone in the Underworld against her will. That’s a promise he has to honor. He does try to convince her to stay a few times. He just can’t make her.

Demeter on the other hand, would absolutely force her daughter to stay in the Underworld for her safety. For a season. Asking her to say goodbye to her daughter for all time, especially after her daughter nearly died the last time she tried to make that happen, is a bit much. Plus, Demeter’s dealing with a lot of parent guilt in book two. Every move she’s ever made regarding Persephone was for Persephone’s own good, but it backfired. Her daughter hates her for her deception, the events of book one outright would have never happened if Persephone had had an ounce of preparation, the priestess she chose for her daughter has gone rogue, the father she chose for her daughter so she’d have enough power to survive is the very thing threatening her life. Every move she made failed. So while she never shows it (she’s a goddess after all, showing weakness isn’t easy for them), Demeter spends most of book two feeling paralyzed. She knows if she pushes Persephone to stay in the Underworld, she will lose her forever on more than one level. Plus, she can’t force Hades to abide by her will, and Persephone sure isn’t going to go alone with it, so it’s a fight she couldn’t win if she wanted to. Demeter’s smart enough not to pick a losing battle.

Plus, she feels like she’s losing Persephone to Hades already. Her goal for the first third of book two is to keep her daughter out of the Underworld as much as possible. It’s only once the danger becomes explicit that she takes a major step back. She knows if she tries to force Persephone into the Underworld, that Persephone is just mad enough to dig her heels in to spite her. So she doesn’t. And she assumes that is where Persephone is spending most of her time.

At the end of the book, Persephone had every intention of waiting out the danger in the Underworld. But she couldn’t remember her charmed promises compelling her to leave the safety of the Underworld and return to Zeus. The important thing to remember about charm, is that done right, the implanted thoughts  it feels like the charmed person’s idea. So when Persephone irrationally decides to go find Orpheus and fix things, that’s her mind desperately trying to rationalize an obviously bad idea.

 

FAQ Friday: The Gods Can’t Lie

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*Spoiler warning for events in Persephone and Daughter of the Earth and Sky and Iron Queen*

Thanatos looked down at the marble floors, scuffing his black shoes back and forth. “Have you told . . . anyone that you charmed me?”

I frowned, thinking back. I’d told my mother and Melissa about the fight with Boreas, but between witnessing and then committing a murder, charming Thanatos wasn’t all that memorable. I studied Thanatos. It was memorable for him. His face was flushed, his hands were gripped tightly together, and he wouldn’t meet my eyes.

He’s embarrassed. I remembered him saying I outranked him, and as far as bloodlines went, I did, but knowing that and having his will overpowered by a goddess who hadn’t even come into her powers couldn’t feel very good.

“I haven’t told anyone.”

“Is there any way . . . I hate asking you this, but could you promise not to tell anyone anything about me? It’s just that I’d never live it down if anyone ever found out I’d been charmed.”

I smiled at him. “I promise. I can’t promise Hades won’t figure it out, but he won’t have any help from me.”

A grin broke out across his face. “Thank you.”

~@~

Q: Since Persephone inadvertently bound herself to Thanatos, it suggests things said in ignorance must also be true. So… are we then to assume that she never once got a question on a test wrong?

A: This is a question in two parts, so I’m going to divide my answer.

Persephone didn’t bind herself to Thanatos in ignorance in terms of the actual promise sworn, just the repercussions. If you look at the wording above, she swore exactly what she meant to. She promised not to tell anyone anything about Thanatos, and then she took it one step further and promised not to help Hades figure out that he’d been charmed. She knows all the meanings behind the words, the implication of the it, all of it. What she doesn’t know is everything Thanatos has ever said or done, but that knowledge has no bearing on what she actually promised. It doesn’t matter that she didn’t know Thanatos was working with Zeus because her promise had nothing to do with that knowledge. She promised not to tell anyone anything about Thanatos at all. No expiration date, no limits.

The problem with Persephone’s promise was that it was that pesky word anything. She physically cannot tell anyone a single thing about Thanatos, ever. That’s all-encompassing. If Thanatos had never betrayed her, if they went on to be best friends, and three years down the road, Hades asked “Hey, are you seeing Thanatos later today?” She physically could not say yes.

The second issue with the promise is that she promised not to do anything to help Hades figure out that he was charmed. Here’s where ignorance could play a part as long as she’s careful. For example, if she really stopped and thought about it, her hatred of Reapers could tip Hades off that something is up with his head reaper. She doesn’t think about it, so she objects at the Reaper guard. If she had continued to never think about it, if she’d never linked Thanatos and the Reapers in her mind, she could have gone to Hades and told him that the Reapers were hurting her. But she connected the two as a way that Hades could figure out Thanatos was working for Zeus which means she could have charmed him in that clearing and because of that she physically cannot go to Hades. Here’s the thing. She was wrong. Hades finds out about the Reapers and he still doesn’t connect the dots, if the truth telling thing was only about facts not impressions, she should have been able to open her mouth and say it. It’s her interpretation of her knowledge that stops her from being able to speak.

 

So as far as lying in ignorance, yes, the gods can absolutely do that. The no lying thing only works if they know they are lying. Persephone could never have possibly said Zeus is dead if she hadn’t been led to believe that was true. This is why in book three, Zeus is attempting to break her sanity in order to gain fealty from her. She swore not to do Hades harm, but her keeping that promise is really depending on her understanding an action could harm him.

I’m sure that’s about as clear as mud, so let me try to simply. If you asked a two year old god “What is two + two” and they answered three, they are not, to their knowledge lying. They may firmly believe that answer is true. If you ask a three year old what is two + two, they may not be able to physically answer because they don’t know the right answer, but they know enough to know they don’t know  the right answer.

The purpose of the no-lying thing is that words have power and when a god tells an untruth they have the ability to change the nature of the thing they are lying about. That kind of change requires intention. Remember, child gods like Persephone are rare, and those with enough power to actually impact anything enough to change it are non-existent because of the precautions gods took to make sure they would not bind themselves into a situation like Persephone’s. It’s because of the way she was raised human, surrounded by all the idioms and exaggerations, that she made such a foolish promise without thinking about it.

 

FAQ Friday: Medusa

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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

FAQ Friday: Persephone’s age and spoilers

Spoiler warning if you haven’t read Persephone.

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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.

 

 

FAQ Friday: Where can I buy Persephone?

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Q: Where can I buy Persephone in format/language/country/for free.

I get variations on this question a lot and for obvious reasons, I am all too happy to answer.

First, some links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible | Goodreads and many, many more.

Persephone is available in print, all the major electronic formats, and as an audiobook narrated by yours truly. Print wise, you can order it wherever books are sold, but unless you happen to live in Athens, Georgia, the odds of you walking in and seeing it on a shelf are slim, so you will have to special order it.

Internationally, Persephone is available through Amazon and to my knowledge Amazon alone. It is at this point in time only available in English.

Audiobook wise, Persephone is available on audible,itunes, and good ol’ amazon.

Persephone occasionally goes on sale for .99 cents, but my publisher has not yet offered it for free. As far as I know, they have no plans to.  If really, really, really want to read my book, but can’t afford it even on sale (trust me, I feel your pain. I have lived in the red) the best suggestion I can offer is your local library. If they don’t have a copy and you request it, chances are they will buy more than one of copy, so not only do you get it free, but it also helps me in terms of sales and exposure. We both win. My books are all available on overdrive, so if your library offers eBooks, there’s a good chance they already have it in an electronic format or can easily obtain it via request. You can even request the audio version. If you’re asking for my recommendation for a good pirate site, let me tell you three quick things.

  1.  While I am truly flattered that you want to read my book enough to commit theft, I’m not J.K Rowling (not that she deserves to be robbed either). I need every penny of my royalties to scrape by.
  2. I have it on good authority from the many, many, many readers who have emailed me complaining their stolen copy of my book infected their computer, that a good chunk of those pirate sites claiming to have my book are bad news.
  3.  When real copies of my book go up, they are pretty quickly taken down, and they stay down for one very important reason. My publisher takes piracy very, very seriously. When they see their products being stolen, they act on it beyond just sending take down notices.

 

I have an E.d.S in School Library Media, so accessibility is very important to me. If you cannot obtain a copy of my book for any reason at all, email me using the contact me form on this website. I’ll see what I can do.

 

 

FAQ: Can Persephone be read as a standalone novel?

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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.

FAQ Friday: How old is Hades, physically?

How old is Hades? Daughters of zeus, Persephone, Hades, young adult mythology retelling

How old is Hades, physically?

Simple answer? Let’s call him twenty-five.

Less simple answer? While Persephone said she thinks he’s in his mid-twenties, the answer to that question is going to depend on which part of Hades you’re talking about. The gods are basically frozen in their prime. That moment before cells start degrading and everything is just getting better and better and better. For different parts of your body or brain, that turning point happens at different parts of your life. For instance, your prime years of math learning or foreign language learning are over way before your prime height. But for simplicities sake, human men stop maturing in their mid-twenties, exactly which year/month/day of their mid twenties is going to vary person by person, but mid-twenties is a pretty safe estimate.