Myths Featured in Love and War

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Love and War is coming out on October 21st! You can pre order it here.

And here’s links for the mythological essentials for Love and War.

Aphrodite

Ares

Jason and the Argonauts

Medea

Otrera

Adonis

Tantalus

Narcissus

Pandora’s Box

There are other mythological references in there, but these are the big ones featured in Love and War.

 

Pre-order contest

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This is my Friday blog, but I’m posting it early so everyone has more chances to win!

Prizes up for grabs! If you have pre-ordered a copy of Love and War, send proof of purchase and your mailing address to NikiFlowers (at) BelleBooks.com to be entered to win several great prizes! (U.S only I’m afraid).

Five winners will each win an ebook code to the Daughters of Zeus series
book of their choice.

Three winners will receive an exclusive download featuring the short story Melissa, the short story Triton, and an exclusive first look at the current draft of Venus Rising

The Grand Prize Winner will receive signed copies of all five books AND a character named after them in Venus Rising.

Winners will be announced on release day, October 21st!

May the odds be ever in your favor.

“No one ever knows about all my cats”: the inscrutable divine trickster Hermes

I am busy with birthday fun for my daughter this week, so the amazing Molly Ringle offered to do a guest post about one of my favorite mythological characters from her series. Hermes.

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Thank you for having me back, Kaitlin!

I am always happy to ramble about the Greek myths, and by the end of my Chrysomelia Stories trilogy (Persephone’s Orchard, Underworld’s Daughter, and Immortal’s Spring), Hermes had become one of my sentimental favorites, and the favorite of many readers. Today I’m giving a brief sketch of who he is, and why I love him.

You might know of Hermes as a deliverer of messages between gods, or between gods and humans. Which he is. But he’s more than that.

You might know him as a trickster and thief, and he definitely is. But not just that.

You might think of him as untrustworthy, and you’d be right. But that’s not the whole story either.

You might even know he’s a psychopomp: a guide who brings departed souls to the Underworld. Again true, but it’s only one of the many jobs he performs.

In fact, he has so many facets, and is always coming and going on so many mysterious errands, that the more I studied Hermes, the more I decided no one (except Hermes himself) knows all the things he does. He’s a variety of things—nimble, clever, mischievous, untrustworthy, playful, dangerous, seductive, helpful, adaptable, irreverent, dark and light and good and bad all at the same time. He fascinates me, and when starting my mythology-based series of novels, I knew I wanted him to be one of my major characters. And indeed, after Hades and Persephone, he’s one of my main secondary characters.

However, he’s never one of my point-of-view characters. That is, I never got fully inside his head and showed his thoughts, his errands, his loves, his motives. And that’s mainly because I feel like even I, the writer, cannot possibly fathom the depths of the mind of the divine trickster. In Underworld’s Daughter, when another character discovers a trick he’s pulled, and remarks, “Your cat’s out of the bag,” my Hermes character answers, “No one ever knows about all my cats.” I still believe that. While I do reveal some of his secret plans, I’m certain there are lots more that I know nothing about.

Hermes is the quickest thinker, the nimblest thief, and one of the most charismatic of all the gods. In mythology, on the day he’s born, as an infant, he steals all of Apollo’s cattle, covers his tracks, gets caught anyway, then charms Zeus and everyone else—including Apollo—into not holding a grudge and indeed forgiving and liking him. In my version, he’s the one to call on when you need anything (or anyone) stolen or acquired; he’s a con man and sometimes plays tricks even on his friends, but he also protects and avenges them. He’s unpredictable, but mainly benevolent. Chaotic good, some might call him.

One of the interpretations that helps me understand Hermes, and ties together all his diverse personality traits, is that he’s a god of boundaries, and the transgressing of them. As the god of travelers, he helps keep you safe on the road: his name comes from the piles of stones called herms that people used to build at crossroads or countries’ boundaries to mark the way. As a psychopomp, he guides souls across the living world/Underworld boundary. As a thief and a trickster, and the patron god of thieves and tricksters everywhere, he embodies the irreverent transgression of the taboo against stealing and deceiving—stepping over the boundary between lawfulness and crime.

But even with his dark side, Hermes is generally considered a bringer of good things. He’s often described in myth as youthful, playful, and light-footed; he flies through the air in the sunlight and starlight on his winged sandals. Yes, he’ll screw you over sometimes and drive you crazy. But he’ll also surprise you with unexpected gifts. For example, as an apology for the cattle incident, he gave Apollo the lyre he (Hermes) had just invented, and graciously let Apollo become the god of music even though Hermes himself was just as enchanting a musician.

As I have one of my characters say, “It’s wise to leave room in our lives for the chaotic, the unexpected. Hermes has always been excellent at providing those elements. It’s part of the reason I like him, despite the trouble he causes. Ultimately you will find he brings more good than harm.”

And anyway, haven’t we all had friends like that?

Excerpt from Immortal’s Spring, in which Hekate encounters Hermes at a Dionysia festival:

Hermes’ presence stole up beside her. She smiled without turning, and didn’t even look when he slid his arm around her waist and said in her ear, “What a fetching young woman. I must fondle her.”

“Hello, Hermes.”

“Hush, my darling. We are all masked tonight. No names.” He drew her forward and began dancing with her.

“You’re not even trying to disguise your voice. And I can sense who you are, stupid.”

“Oh, come now. I’m many terrible things, but never stupid.”

She conceded with a shrug, and spun in the dance in harmony with him.

His mask covered the top half of his face, a fitted piece of leather that sparkled with scattered gold leaf. Mistletoe wreathed his head. “It makes me happy to see you at another of these,” he said.

“I thought it time to come back.”

“I agree. Hey, Aphrodite gave me a new perfume. I tried putting it on my mask. Smell it and tell me what you think.”

Hekate leaned her face close and inhaled. She was about to tell him she could hardly smell anything when he took advantage of her proximity and kissed her on the mouth.

She planted her hand on his face and shoved him, though her annoyance was mixed with laughter, and she didn’t bother trying to escape from his arms.

He was grinning. “Such a simple trick, and you fell for it. Now who’s stupid?”

 

Like what you read? For the months of October and November 2016, Persephone’s Orchard will be free on all major ebook retail sites! Download today and get started on the series. Find out more below:

Molly Ringle is the author of the New Adult Greek mythology series that begins with Persephone’s Orchard and continues in Underworld’s Daughter and concludes with Immortal’s Spring. She has also written ghost stories in The Ghost Downstairs and Of Ghosts and Geeks—and, to some degree, in What Scotland Taught Me. She stays within the bounds of reality (though still fiction) in her romance novel Summer Term. She lives in Seattle with her family, is happy when it’s cool and cloudy, and gets giddy about fandom, things that smell good, and gorgeous photos of gardens.

Visit Molly Ringle at her website, Goodreads, or Twitter.

 

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.

 

Psyche Master Post

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The love story of Psyche and Cupid is perhaps one of my favorite myths outside of the Persephone story. There are echoes of it all over the fairy tales and modern literature. I wrote a blog series on it a while back, and now I’m putting the posts together all in one place.

I began with Psyche’s backstory before she met Cupid (or Eros). Then I talked about the strange marriage, which lasted right up until Psyche looked upon Cupid’s face. Doing so broke all kinds of divine rules, and if Psyche wanted to be reunited with her husband ever again, she needed to complete a series of trials (post 1, post 2, post 3).

Enjoy.

Adventures of Hercules Master Post

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I’m going through all my series posts and rounding them up into master posts. When I’m done, I’ll put links in at the bottom of my page so it’s easy to find the whole series on a topic.

Here’s what I’ve written on Hercules.

The birth of a hero— In this post I talk about the politics of Olympus when Hercules was born.

Young Hercules— In this post I talk about Hercules’s adventures as a youth.

The legendary labors of Hercules (the stuff he was really famous for) are outlined in these four posts. One. Two. Three. Four.

Hercules also went on a few miscellaneous adventures as an adult, not related to the famous labors. I talk about those here.

In this last post about Hercules, I talk about his ascension, love life, and death.

 

 

Jason and the Argonauts Master Post

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In an effort to organize my blog a bit better, I’m creating master posts for topics I covered over more than one week of blogging. I’ll get these together and link them somewhere in the menu once I’ve caught up.

Here’s everything I’ve written about Jason and the Argonauts. This set of myths serve as important background for the second and third books in Aphrodite’s trilogy.

So without further ado…

The Adventures of the Argonauts Referenced in my Books

Mythology Monday: Jason

Mythology Monday: The Island of Lemnos

Mythology Monday: The Golden Fleece

Mythology Monday: The trials for the Golden Fleece

Mythology Monday: Escape from Colchis

Mythology Monday: The Argonauts Encounter Sirens

Mythology Monday: A Wedding and a Sandbar

Mythology Monday: The Argonauts Returned Home

Mythology Monday: Medea

The Adventures of the Argonauts Not (Yet) Referenced in my Books

Mythology Monday: The Argonauts Encounter Hungry Harpies

Mythology Monday: The Argonauts meet the Amazons

Mythology Monday: Circe

Mythology Monday: Thetis and the Nereids

Mythology Monday: The Island of Lemnos

Meet The Argonauts

Mythology Monday: Meet the Argonauts, Philoctetes edition

Mythology Monday: Meet the Argonauts: Peleus Edition

Mythology Monday: Meet the Argonauts: Telamon

Mythology Monday: Meet an Argonaut: Castor and Pollux

Mythology Monday: Meet an Argonaut: Glaucous

Mythology Monday: Meet an Argonaut: Atalanta

 

Mythology Monday: Jason

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*spoiler warning, the following excerpt comes from an early draft of Love and War, which takes place AFTER Aphrodite. **

As I turned a corner, I spotted Jason walking up the hill toward the cabins, carrying a large box.
“Jason?” Had they finished unloading the shipment? A quick glance toward the dock assured me that wasn’t the case. Then what was he doing? I caught up just in time to see him walk around the hospital toward the dumpsters.
“Oh,” I said, feeling foolish. He was probably just throwing something away. Rolling my eyes at myself, I rounded the corner of the hospital and paused. Jason wasn’t here.
The hospital backed up into a thin strip of forest. Frowning, I batted the low hanging branches out of the way, and stumbled through the underbrush. I walked until I reached the rocky ledge at the end of the ocean and saw no sign of him.
“Jason!” I called, glancing around. Considering how much noise I’d made going through the trees, I’d have heard him if he was here. Even the brush looked undisturbed, except for where I passed through.
“Weird,” I declared, circling the building once more. When I walked back around the dumpster, my skin prickled, hair raising on the back of my neck. I paused, one foot still raised to take the next step.

Strangest thing. For a second, I could have sworn I heard screaming.

~@~

Jason was a very, very famous Greek hero who was unique in that he was not technically a demigod. Jason’s father was Aeson who was the son of Cretheus and Tyro.

Cretheus was Aeolus’s son. Aeolus was kind of the god of wind, depending on which version of Aeolus you’re talking about, but that is a complexity for another day. All that matters for this myth is that all versions of Aeolus referred to in Jason’s genealogy are either the wind god, or the grandkid of the wind god by Poseidon.

Tyro was the daughter of Salmoneus, another of Aeolus’ children. So he’s got demigod in his blood going back several generations and linking to the same god.

Meanwhile, his mother, in most versions of the myth was Alcimede. She was the daughter of Clymene and either Phylacus or Cephalus, either way her father was a descendant of Aeolus. Clymene was a daughter of Minyas who was a son of Poseidon and Hermippe, who was a daughter of Boeotus who was a son of Poseidon.

So super inbreeding = super hero in Greek Mythology, yes?

Anyway, Jason’s Uncle Pelias (Aeson’s half brother via Tyro) overthrew Aeson, taking over Thessaly. He then killed off all of Aeson’s descendants so there would be no challenge to his throne, but Alcimede pretended Jason was still born and the entire village played along and wailed and cried for the dead baby who was actually fine. She sent Jason to Chiron the Centaur for his safety, and visited so frequently that most people figured she was having an affair with Chiron. She encouraged that rumor and helped it spread because no one knew Jason was in his keeping and it allowed her to see her son.

Meanwhile Pelias was paranoid someone would overthrow him so he consulted the Oracle of Delphi who warned him to beware of the man with one sandal.

Jason grew up without an idea of who he was, just figuring he was some normal kid undergoing hero training by a centaur. When he was old enough to rule, his mother told him the truth of who he was, and he set off to reclaim his kingdom. He lost a sandal on the trip because he paused to help an old woman cross the river. The old woman was actually Hera, and she gave him a blessing.

He gets to Pelias, who notices his missing sandal, and explains he’s there for his kingdom. Pelias tells him he’ll surrender the kingdom to him if he can find the Golden Fleece. More on the Golden Fleece next Monday.