Love and War Out of Context Sneak Peek

love-and-war

“They wanted to call it hope.” I set down the pen, drew in a long breath, and dug my fingers into the sand beyond my beach towel. I forced myself to think back. Back to when things were actually bad, because I couldn’t afford to lose perspective now.

My pen returned to the page. Mom actually sounded offended at the ridiculous name. She just sat there at my bedside, chatting like everything was normal while I fought back tears and wondered when the next time I woke up would be.

“Hope is a thing you wish for,” she’d complained. “Something that might work. This is a sure thing.”

I’ll never forget that self-satisfied grin on her face when she told me they were going to call it the golden cure or the golden. . . . I don’t remember, something equally ridiculous. I remember wondering if she’d put more thought into naming this than me.

“We’re gonna be so rich, kiddo.” She grabbed my shoulder and gave it an excited squeeze.

And gods help me, I leaned into her touch. A nurse came in then. The redhead. They had names, but I refused to learn them. I hated this nurse the most because she was so damn peppy, but right then, I couldn’t be angry because I was too scared. The cluster surgeries were horrible. There aren’t words to describe the way I felt when I woke up.

I started crying and begging and pleading and grabbing for anyone who got close to me, sure if I just squeezed their hand hard enough, they’d take pity on me and stop. Of course, I knew better. But these moments always had a way of making me revert back to that six-year-old who was scared to go under. Mom gave me a warning look, and the nurse clucked in disapproval before saying something meaningless about how I’d sleep through the whole thing. She actually used the phrase minimum discomfort.

Minimum discomfort? When I next woke, I’d be missing parts. Oh sure, it was all internal stuff you could supposedly live without thanks to dialysis, but I was sick to death of surgeries. All I wanted was to go home. I begged them to stop, knowing that weeks, maybe even months of monitoring loomed before me while the world outside just kept on spinning. It wasn’t fair.

“Count down from ten,” the nurse instructed. Gods, I remember the exact cadence of her voice. I can hear it. This memory is so sharp, so clear, that it’s almost like a movie playing out in my head. But I don’t want to write this like a story. I’m trying to capture how I felt. What I thought. Only what happened next didn’t feel real. Maybe it was the medication, I don’t know. The whole thing felt like it happened on a screen somewhere across the room. In that moment, I was there, but I also wasn’t.

Salt stung my cheeks as I began the countdown. “Ten.”

The door burst open.

“Nine.” The word was out of my mouth before I could process what I was seeing— three strange men with a gun to my doctor’s head.

The one in the middle, Jason of course, not that I knew that at the time, was handsome. It was weird of me to notice that given the circumstances, but I blamed the drugs. They all looked a lot like my parents. Their hair, eyes, skin, everything about them practically glittered gold. I didn’t know what that meant then. But I remember glancing at my IV, wondering if maybe the nurse had mixed up my pain medication. I could feel them kicking in, but waking illusions were new, even for me.

“Eight,” I whispered, my mind hell-bent on following instructions, no matter how illogical.

Jason pushed the doctor forward. “Go on, get the rest of it.”

“What’s the meaning of this?” my mother demanded, moving protectively in front of the bed.

I’d love to think she was protecting me, but I knew all she cared about was her product.

“We’re here for the cure.” Jason thrust a white cooler with a red insignia on it toward the nurse. When his eyes landed on me, he hesitated.

I stopped counting, sensing my chance. “Cure.” The word fell clumsily from my lips. “Me.”

My mother shushed me, but Jason’s eyes softened in sympathy. “How much does she need?”

The doctor exchanged a wide-eyed look with my mother.

“It’s—” I tried again, my fingers biting into the fabric of my blanket. “. . . me. The cure is me.”

He furrowed his brow. “What do you mean?”

“She’s delirious,” my mother protested. “She doesn’t know what she’s saying.” She kept babbling, gesturing at the IV drip and demanding the doctor back her up, but Jason’s eyes never left mine.

I focused intently on forming the right words with my mouth. “Don’t . . . let them . . . cut me open again.”

His eyes widened, then darted to my mother who immediately objected, using her politician voice.

I fought to stay conscious through the screams and gunshots, but the cocktail they used to knock me out was too good at its job. My eyelids flagged. Mom’s body hit the floor with a loud thud, but I couldn’t drag myself out of my stupor long enough to process what that meant before consciousness completely slipped away.

I’m better off, I’m better off, I’m better off. If I wrote it enough times, maybe it would feel real. I’m better off. I’m better off, I’m better off, I’m better off. I’m better off.

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Love and War

love-and-war

 

Love and War

After narrowly escaping with her life, Aphrodite wakes up to find herself at the demigods’ base camp—a gorgeous tropical island. Powerless and injured, she has no choice but to glamour herself as a demigoddess in order to find out what’s really going on. Lucky for her, she’s not alone. Ares is with her, also in disguise. But she soon realizes she might be more of a liability than an asset when her panic attacks and nightmares threaten to expose them both.

Ares is as anxious as anyone to shut down the demigods’ plot. But right now, all he can think about is Aphrodite. He almost killed her, for Gods’ sake! And though the timing couldn’t be any worse, he’s falling hard and fast. He’ll do anything to protect her . . . even if it means sacrificing himself.

Still, they find allies in the most unexpected places . . .

More goddess than demigoddess, Medea is married to the rebel leader, Jason. But there’s something odd going on. Jason is acting very strange, and Medea finds herself drawn to a new demigoddess who mysteriously arrived on the island half-dead. She senses there’s more to this visitor than meets the eye. Little does she guess . . .

War is coming, there’s no doubt. But, in her weakened state, does Aphrodite have any hope of surviving it?

Take a look at the first three chapters!

Preorder: Amazon | Kobo

FAQ Friday: Why doesn’t Persephone recognize references to herself?

If Persephone is learning mythology, why doesn’t she recognize references to herself in the myths she’s learning about in school?

Because Persephone lives in an alternate universe where the myths are still unfolding. There IS no Persephone in mythology yet. She’s THE Persephone. Not a reincarnation, not a cyclical version of herself trapped in a recurring myth. There has never been a Persephone before her that had any mythological relevance and there won’t be one after her. That’s also why she doesn’t recognize Orpheus’s name or many of the other names of famous mythological figures she encounters. She recognizes the name Demeter, but she thought the name of her mother’s flower shop was just a play on the ancient goddess as Demeter doesn’t go by Demeter in the modern day (literally no other character that wasn’t a god ever referred to her by name, so I didn’t have a chance to explain that without it seeming info dumpy until she introduces herself to one of Apollo’s priestesses in book 3).

I tried to show that Persephone is set in a previously Persephone-less world by opening with her teaching talking about THE myth that’s used to explain the origin of Winter. In our society, that myth is the Persephone myth. In this one it’s not. They used a similar (and yes, existing. Boreas and Oreithyia are mythology figures and that is their story even outside the world of my book) myth. That’s the myth that school children everywhere learn instead of the Persephone one. Because there is no Persephone one. It hasn’t happened yet.

 

 

I’m out of myths!

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I am once again out of myths that I can talk about without revealing spoilers for books that have not yet been released. While there are tons of myths in and out of Greek mythology that I haven’t touched yet, I really don’t have the time to do enough research to write a blog on them right now. I’m knee deep in edits, deadlines, and life. Plus, my blog is pretty disorganized, which I’d like to fix.

So, what I’m working on now (as I’m sure you’ve noticed with all the Master Posts) are consolidating my blog series. And it’s occurred to me, I’ve missed a pretty significant set. Myths featured in each book. I’ve blogged about each myth from each book, but I’ve never actually explained how and where they fit in. So I’m working on a master post for myths that popped up in Persephone. This involves me going over each chapter of Persephone and combing for mythological references. And while I was working on that, I realized this is also a great opportunity to answer questions I’ve been asked (or have been mentioned in reviews) so I can include those in the master post about each specific book.

Posts featuring those questions will be posted to my blog on Fridays and any myths I’ve missed will be taking the place of Mythology Monday until the master post is complete.

 

Help me name my next book

I need help. I cannot for the life of me figure out what to name the third book in Aphrodite’s trilogy. I have a pattern of naming the books after the goddesses’ roles or titles. Persephone/Daughter of the Earth and Sky/The Iron Queen all had meaning to Persephone as a goddess. Aphrodite obviously is Aphrodite’s name, Love and War ties into her being the goddess of Love (as well as her relationship with Ares) but with book three I’m lost. I know I want it to have something to do with Beauty, but beyond that…

Any suggestions?

Pick Your Valentine!

As usual, Aphrodite has plenty to choose from. Check out these simply divine profiles and vote on your favorite.  Whoever is leading in the polls at 5:00 PM EST has a date with you, dear reader by way of an all new scene featuring that character and a live Q&A.

Want to be the first to learn more about these hot guys? Preorder Aphrodite today!

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A rebellious demigod who knows just how far to push the rules until they break. Tantalus Atreus is the gods gift to woman kind, so why not partake?

Name: Tantalus Atreus

S/N: @Tantalizeme

Age: I’m not picky.

Location: A little slice of paradise

Seeking: A good time

Stats: Average height, aurum (gold hair, eyes, skin and more ;), well built

What my ideal partner would be like: Fun. Flexible. Doesn’t get clingy.

 My idea of a perfect date: I’m always down for a party. The more the merrier.

 Best Feature: Charming.

 Biggest Turn off: Holier than thou types

 Interests: Games, politics, music

 Profession: Model

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Are you looking for a supernatural Christian Grey who can keep you entertained all night long? Then is Poseidon the god for you!

Name: Poseidon

S/N: @Oceaneyes

Age: As old as the sea

Location: Somewhere beyond the sea

Seeking: Men, women, nymphs, species of the equine persuasion.

Stats:  Tall, blond, built like a god. What more could you want?

What my ideal partner would be like: Blonde, green eyed, petite equestrians.Would prefer an environmentalist. Someone who really cares about the earth.

 My idea of a perfect date: Long walks on the beach.

 Best Feature: Powerful

 Biggest Turn off: That would be hard to manage.

 Interests: Marine biology, surfing, water bending, horses

 Profession: Let’s just  go with upper management.

Version 2

Enjoy heated debates? Adonis has a strong sense of justice and an opinion about everything!

Name: Adonis Eros

S/N: @SocialJusticeWarrior29

Age: 19

Location: Miami, Florida

Seeking: Nothing. I just got out of a serious relationship.

Stats: Aurum, average height, average build.

 What my ideal partner would be like: Socially aware, outspoken, activist. I like a girl who speaks her mind and means what she says with no equivocation. Must have brain.

 My idea of a perfect date: Dinner and a movie

 Best Feature: I give a damn.

 Biggest Turn off: God-complexes.

 Interests: News, politics, the world around me. #staywoke

 Profession: Model

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Still waters run deep in this surprising pacifist.

Name: Ares

S/N: @CryHavoc

Age: …is just a number

Location: Right in the thick of things

Seeking: Love

 Stats:  Tall, black hair, fiery eyes, built like a god. Likes leather.

 What my ideal partner would be like: Her.

 My idea of a perfect date: Dancing in the rain. Don’t knock it until you try it.

 Best Feature: I’m a great listener.

 Biggest Turn off: Jars.Don’t ask.

 Interests: Camping in the great outdoors. Adventure. Road trips. Fun.

 Profession: Soldier

Vote for your favorite!

Mythology Monday: Cerberus

"Cerberus (PSF)" by Pearson Scott Foresman - Archives of Pearson Scott Foresman, donated to the Wikimedia Foundation→This file has been extracted from another file: Cerberus (PSF).jpg.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cerberus_(PSF).png#/media/File:Cerberus_(PSF).png

“Cerberus (PSF)” by Pearson Scott Foresman – Archives of Pearson Scott Foresman, donated to the Wikimedia Foundation→This file has been extracted from another file: Cerberus (PSF).jpg.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cerberus_(PSF).png#/media/File:Cerberus_(PSF).png

Charon laughed at the obvious disappointment in my voice. “Who were you hoping to meet?”

I flushed. “I was a fan of the Hercules show when I was younger.”

“He had a show?” Charon raised his eyebrows. “I only caught the cartoon.”

“I loved that cartoon!”

“Don’t let Hades hear you say that.” Charon laughed. “Or that you’re a fan of Herc.”

“Why?”

“There’s been bad blood between those two ever since Hercules stole Hades’ dog.”

“Cerberus? The myth called that a loan.”

“It was. But Hercules never brought Cerberus back, and now he’s drunk from the Lethe so he can never tell Hades where to find him.”

I blinked. Everything dead came to the Underworld. If Cerberus had never returned . . . “You mean there’s a three-headed dog running around on the surface?”

“Your guess is as good as mine.

~@~

Cerberus has come up in a few mythology Mondays before, but I wanted to go into a bit more background about the Underworld puppy.

Cerberus was the child of Echidna and Typhon. This puppy has many fearful monster-siblings, such as the Hydra, Orthus a two headed hell-hound, and the Chimera.

The number of heads Cerberus has varies widely by the myth. Sometimes he has hundreds, sometimes three. Sometimes only one, with two puppies nearby that were so clingy and so alike in thought that all three dogs attacked as a unit. In art, he is almost always depicted with three, and like most things that come in threes in Greek mythology, his heads represent the past, present, and future/ youth, middle age, and old age.

Cerberus’ job was to guard the gates of the Underworld. The dead could enter, but never leave. He was borrowed by Hercules in this mythology Monday. Odysseus once put Cerberus to sleep by playing music and snuck past him. Aeneas once drugged the puppy with honey cakes and got past him that way. So as far as Underworld guards go, he wasn’t the best.

He barks once in Paradise lost, and even makes an appearance in the Inferno as a great worm, which sounds crazy at first, but makes more sense when you read into a few of the old sources and realize that Cerberus also had a serpents mane (not sure what that would look like) and a serpents tail.

In my version of the myth, Hercules never returned the dog, so he’s still wandering the surface somewhere (possibly at Hogwarts), but we’ll never know since the search for Cerberus never turned him up :(. I’ll try that contest again one day.