FAQ Friday: How will SPOILER impact Persephone in the long run.

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Super spoilerific post for anyone who has not yet read Iron Queen. Fair warning…

A reader who just finished Iron Queen emailed the following. “This can’t be where Persephone’s story ends! The pantheon hinted that Zeus killing his parents might have been part of what drove Zeus crazy. Plus she’s a triple realm-ruler now, and she lost her mother, and Hades seemed to be a bit unhinged at the end. So what’s in store for her in the future? Are we ever going to see that?”

Short answer:

Yes.

Longer answer:

The sanity thing was just Athena speculating. Zeus was unhinged from birth. Something about his father attempting to kill him, his mother hiding him by tying him upside down to a tree for years, and spending his early years training him to kill his father. The whole slicing his dad open and rescuing his siblings thing only to find himself at once their savior and an outsider to their very tight inner circle, formed by years of being all they had in The Before was also fairly hard on his psyche.

As for the weight of ruling three realms, losing her mother? That gets explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy. Persephone’s adapting to her new role as queen of the Pantheon and her grief/trauma from everything that happens in Iron Queen. She gets a few POV chapters in Venus Rising to really emphasize that arc, but the Pantheon as a whole has to do a lot of adjusting throughout the trilogy. In the Persephone trilogy, the gods of the Pantheon were separate entities. They were used to working around each other, but they hadn’t truly worked with each other in centuries until the end of Iron Queen. Now they’re realizing they can’t just ignore each other until a big epic battle. That’s the very mentality that left them vulnerable to Zeus. There’s a lot of growing and adjusting that needs to happen.

As for Hades…this is lightly addressed in Aphrodite, and addressed more in depth here, but broad strokes, he’s not unhinged. He’s just mildly traumatized. He went through a lot in Iron Queen. Dealing with Zeus brought up a lot of horrible memories for pretty much everyone in the Pantheon. He also felt every second of Persephone’s torture, and he had to rip her arm off, and she’s waking up from nightmares where Zeus wore his face. That’s a lot to deal with even without the fact that he’s dealing with the fact that Zeus, Demeter, and Apollo are dead. They don’t think of each other as siblings, but that is millennia of history, good and bad. Then there’s the fact that he just kind of destroyed Zeus’s soul, and there’s some emotional baggage with that. And he also witnessed one of his worst fears (that his past will hurt the people he loves), come true for Poseidon.

It’s a lot. And I included that final scene to show that what happened with Zeus didn’t just happen to Persephone. She and Aphrodite weren’t his only victims, and they aren’t the only ones who need to come to terms with the events of Iron Queen. If Hades, the guy with millennia of experience getting over horrible things and a library full of self-help books, is rattled, you can bet every other god in the entire mythology is. And that will be explored quite a bit in the Aphrodite trilogy.

 

 

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FAQ Friday: Is Iron Queen the last Persephone book?

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I get asked a lot if Persephone is ever going to return as a main character. Short answer, no. Iron Queen is the last book in the Persephone portion of the Daughters of Zeus series.

Slightly longer answer: The ripples the events that occurred in the Persephone trilogy caused are still ongoing. Aphrodite’s trilogy focuses heavily on what comes next for the Pantheon after the boss battle in Iron Queen, and Persephone plays a major role in the Aphrodite’s trilogy. She even narrates a few chapters in Venus Rising. The ending of Venus Rising for sure will have an impact on Persephone’s future, so she will certainly appear in Artemis’s trilogy, possibly even as a POV character somewhere down the line.

 

FAQ Friday: Joel

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So this is a spoilerific post. If you haven’t read Daughter of Earth and Sky, continue at your own risk.

I’ve seen several emails from readers praising all things Hades and wondering why she was ever remotely tempted by Joel. The answer to this is actually fairly messed up.

Charm.

Well applied charm works by rationalizing the foreign thoughts and impulses into something the victim wants to do. Several times during Daughter of Earth and Sky Persephone had thought patterns like this.

“I could do my run at three instead,” he suggested. “We could run together.”

“Do you have time for that? With college about to start and everything?” I didn’t want to sound too reluctant, but I really enjoyed the solitude my runs provided.

“For you, I’ll make time.” He gave me an easy grin. “Just not right now. I should head out. Do you need help getting to your car? Or can you drive? I could take you home . . . ”

I laughed at his hesitation. I lived a bit outside of town, and gas wasn’t cheap. “I’m fine. I’m meeting someone later, so I should stick around.”

“Great.” He sounded relieved. He met my eyes. “Are we on for tomorrow?”

“Sure!” I needed to practice being human before school started, and Joel was about as normal as a human could get.

And just like that she’s running with Joel daily. Here’s another example.

 

“Sorry, Joel.” I brushed the grass off my legs. “I should probably be going.”

He caught my eye. “Aw come on, how long does it take to drink a smoothie?”

I found myself smiling. “Fine.”

And here’s another example.

I felt a pang of guilt flash through me when I saw Joel waiting for me at the bridge. Melissa was right. I was leading him on. I wasn’t sure how it had happened. We’d progressed from our daily jog, to a daily jog and smoothie. Then to a daily jog, smoothie, and occasional dinner. Now it was a daily jog, smoothie, occasional dinner, and occasional movie. We weren’t going out, and I had no interest in dating anyone other than Hades, but every time Joel suggested something and looked at me with those big blue eyes, I found myself agreeing. It was just so easy to be normal around him. For those short bits of time, I could forget about Hades and Thanatos and the Underworld.

“I gotta say, I liked your other outfit better.” Joel motioned to my Disney princess running shirt and pink shorts.

I laughed nervously. I hadn’t switched into different running clothes because Hades had made that comment, but because the way Joel looked at me sometimes made me want to wear a shapeless sweat suit. But this was Georgia. Sweating to death was a distinct possibility.

Joel grinned at me, and I forgot all about that. He was too nice to lead on. I needed to end this.

“You ready?” Joel asked, eyes searching mine.

“Yup!” We could talk after the run.

I ran faster than I ever had, beating Joel and my goal. I collapsed on the grass when I finished my third mile, grinning like an idiot.

“You’re in a good mood,” he noted.

I pushed myself up on my hands. “Hanging out with Aphrodite, running with you, it’s weird, but . . . ” I struggled to explain it. “I feel like I get to be me again, for just a few minutes. It’s really nice.”

“Who else have you been?” He sat beside me, eyes lingering appreciatively on my legs. He caught my reproachful look and gave me an impish smile. “You can tell me anything you know. I won’t tell anyone.”

And suddenly I wanted to tell him. Not everything, but Joel was so easy to talk to, I bet he’d understand what I was going through better than most of the gods.

And one more…

He met my eyes, leaned closer, and I knew he was going to kiss me. I thought of stopping him. I shouldn’t have led him on this long. But . . .

I let him kiss me, releasing him from the charm that would compel him to forget this conversation. His lips on mine were warm and eager. Completely different from a kiss from Hades. Hades was always fighting a battle with himself, trying to hold back. Joel had no such reservations.

My stomach turned at the thought of Hades, and I pushed Joel away. This was wrong. I didn’t want to do this. Why was I doing this? I knew it was just kissing, but I didn’t want to kiss anyone else. I just wanted Hades.

“What’s wrong?” Joel’s bright blue eyes searched my face.

I stared at him wondering that myself. What was wrong? Joel was a perfectly nice guy, and I liked him before. 

See. Aside from a passing mention in the first book, Persephone didn’t willingly give Joel the time of day a single time during the entire book. He spent the entire book slowly forcing her trust, forcing a relationship, and working with Thanatos and Aphrodite to isolate her from everyone else she could turn to. It’s pretty messed up.

 

Mythology Monday: Athena

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“He could know something useful that could save time, possibly even save lives,” Athena argued. “Despite your low opinion of me, I take no joy in my creation’s sufferings. But it must be done. The demigods made their stance clear when they relocated the island. That wasn’t an exchange you witnessed, it was a coup. We have a window of instability when we can strike, but it is rapidly closing. The time for deliberation is at an end.”

Spending this much time with the Pantheon was skewing my perspective. I couldn’t afford to start thinking like them. “Hades would wait. My mother—” my voice caught, but I cleared my throat with a harsh cough and soldiered on “—would have waited.” Not forever. I wasn’t that naïve, but they’d give it some time. Just in case.

“Yes, they would wait.” Athena crossed her legs and plucked an imaginary piece of lint off her tan slacks. “Because they’re cowards. I had better hopes for you, but I see I was mistaken.”

“You want to talk cowardice?” I snorted. “What do you call forcing a teenage girl to fight your battles for you? Sorry, no. You lost the right to complain about me being inexperienced or naïve or whatever the hell else you think you’re insulting me with the second you voted to use me instead of stepping up. You will damn well take me as I am.”

Athena opened her mouth to argue, but I railroaded right over her.

“Oh, and you don’t get to claim sympathy for ‘your creations,’ either.” I put her phrase in air quotes. “Not when you enabled the monster tormenting them for centuries because it benefitted you. That is why we’re in this mess right now. You know that, don’t you? Because you didn’t care about what Zeus was doing until it threatened you. You joined in. I know all the stories, all the facts. The things you did to people just because you could. It is no wonder they want us all dead. My mother wasn’t perfect, but at least she didn’t participate. Hades either.”

“We didn’t all have the luxury of disappearing into our own realms! Some of us had to live with him.” Athena snapped to her feet, almost tripping over the floral rug in front of the couch. Her voice cracked with more emotion than I’d ever heard from her, but no power accompanied the outburst. The air didn’t charge or shift or smell of a stuffy old library or whatever her power signature would taste like.

For a moment, I admired her self-control, then I realized that self-control had nothing to do with it. Athena didn’t have to struggle to hold her powers back, because she barely had enough to get by. I kept letting myself forget how much stronger I was.

“We had to live with him,” Athena continued, her voice thick. “Day in and day out, whispering in our ears, telling us how the world owed us. Telling us how much the humans hated us, despised us, didn’t respect us enough. Driving us to action. People worshipped us, sacrificed to us, prayed to us, deferred to us. And we drank it in like wine. Zeus was a psychopath, but everyone who disagreed with him sat upon their high horses, judging us for living in the only world we’d ever known.

“You think you’d be any different? You think there’s nothing you’d look back upon and regret? Wait a few generations, infant. Wait until time and values have shifted. Wait until some child looks at you with judgment in their eyes and asks how you could have done that, thought that, allowed that.”

I lifted my chin, glaring at her. She knew nothing about me. Nothing about what I regretted. What I would or wouldn’t do.

Athena gave a bitter laugh at my expression. “Time marches on, even for us immortals. The world is ever-changing. One day, you’ll grow old enough to look back and wonder how you could ever have been such a monster for something you wouldn’t think twice about now. And you’ll have two choices. Cling to your outdated beliefs or change. But what you cannot do is go back and reverse the damage you’ve done. No matter how much you wish to.” Her gray eyes met mine. “Move on. I know you hate me and everything I stand for. I don’t blame you. But we are all in this mess together, and we are never going to get out of it unless you listen to someone other than yourself.”

~@~

Athena is possibly the best example in mythology of when religions absorbing each other does not work. She, and her Roman counterpart Minerva, are two entirely different goddesses with different strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.

Athena is best known as The Goddess of Wisdom, but that’s only because as her ancient myths were was absorbed and modernized into more patriarchal societies, they downplayed some of her biggest strengths.

Athena was the Virgin goddess of War. That’s why she carried a shield and spear. She was also the goddess of  defense; heroic endeavors’ protector of agriculture, science, and industry; good council; weaving, pottery, and other crafts; and women’s work. Three guesses why you only hear about the latter half of her equation.

Athena was born fighting. Zeus was terrified to have children after what he did to his parents, so when he learned from Athena’s mother, Metis (her mother is Metis in my mythology as well, but since this was early in Hera and Zeus’s relationship, Hera pretended that she was hers to preserve her reputation as the goddess of marriage. She got over that eventually), that she was on the way, he ate Athena before she could be born. But Athena was too strong willed so she burst out of Zeus’s cranium in the world’s worst migraine, and demanded her place among the Olympians.

An alternate version of the myth makes her the daughter of the Winged Giant Pallas, whom she immediately killed for attempting to rape her. She striped him of his skin and attached his wings to her feet for speed.

Less frequently, she’s a daughter of Poseidon or Triton or Tritonis who got tired of being their daughter and asked to be adopted by Zeus.

She played a pivotal role in the creation of man and in most heroes journeys, including The Odyssey , Jason and The Argonauts, and The Twelve Labors of Hercules, and the creation of Medusa. She and Poseidon fought bitterly over the naming of the city of Athens. She won naming rights by creating an olive tree and a horse. She fought admirably in the war of the giants, and fought off an attempted rape from Hephaestus. She blindest the prophet Teiresias for daring to look upon her while bathing, and she played huge part in The Trojan War by siding with the Greeks in battle, then attacking their ships with a storm when they failed to punish Ajax for violating her Trojan shrine (though in most retellings, her role is reduced to the Divine Beauty Contest).

She did all of that and so much more. She’s a super prominent figure in Greek Mythology, but I bet I can guess which myth you’ve heard her featured in most.

The weaving contest. The story goes that Arachne was a talented young weaver who dared to brag that her skills rivaled even Athena’s. Athena challenged her to a weaving contest, sometimes in disguise (Athena really enjoyed disguises), sometimes not. Depending on the story she won or lost but the outcome is the same. She was so offended at Arachne’s claim, that she cursed her by turning her into a spider so she and her descended could weave their webs for all eternity.

Because of this combination of myths and personalities, Athena comes across as a bit bi-polar. One moment, she’s the goddess of wisdom, perfectly rational and calm. The next she’s flying off the handle, cursing people into God-Killing-Monsters and arranging epic quests to clean up her mess.

Fortunately, this works for my universe where every god is their own foil. Persephone, goddess of spring, fears change. Ares, god of war, is a pacifist, Aphrodite, goddess of love, doesn’t understand relationships, and Athena, goddess of wisdom, is rash and impulsive.

In my universe, Athena is an adult goddess (not a teen like Persephone and Aphrodite), who works at The University of Georgia as a professor in psychology. She’s asexual and Machiavellian to the extreme. She and Persephone got off on the wrong foot and are constantly at odds with one another, but she and Aphrodite understand one another on a very deep level. She’s integral to the Pantheon, and as the series progresses, she and Persephone are forced to work together more and more.

FAQ Friday: Where can I buy Daughter of Earth and Sky?

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Q: Where can I buy Daughter of Earth and Sky 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 and many, many more.

Daughter of Earth and Sky 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, Daughter of Earth and Sky is available through Amazon and to my knowledge Amazon alone. It is at this point in time only available in English.

Audiobook wise, Daughter of Earth and Sky is available on audible,itunes, and good ol’ amazon.

Daughter of Earth and Sky 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 you 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 Friday: Why Joel?

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A reader asked why Persephone would have ever bothered with Joel when she had Hades. 

Spoilers ahead.

She was charmed. If you go back and read Daughter of Earth and Sky a second time, keeping an eye out for charm, you’ll notice Persephone’s thoughts shift every time she meets either Joel’s or Aphrodite’s eyes. It’s subtle, but well-crafted charm is supposed to feel like it’s your idea. The problem is, up until this book, we don’t see charm applied with expertise. We see charm used through brute force, which works but is obvious, even to the person being charmed. Zeus and Aphrodite are good at charm.

Here’s an example:

“I could do my run at three instead,” he (Joel) suggested. “We could run together.”

“Do you have time for that? With college about to start and everything?” I didn’t want to sound too reluctant, but I really enjoyed the solitude my runs provided.

“For you, I’ll make time.” He gave me an easy grin. “Just not right now. I should head out. Do you need help getting to your car? Or can you drive? I could take you home . . . ”

I laughed at his hesitation. I lived a bit outside of town, and gas wasn’t cheap. “I’m fine. I’m meeting someone later, so I should stick around.”

“Great.” He sounded relieved. He met my eyes. “Are we on for tomorrow?”

“Sure!” I needed to practice being human before school started, and Joel was about as normal as a human could get.

See how she shifts from not wanting to give up her private runs to actively looking forward to running with him? That’s how charm is supposed to work. And that’s why “Joel” stood a chance. Mind control.

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.

Release Day for Venus Rising!

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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. 

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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?”

Venus Rising Cover Reveal!

9781611947526

Venus Rising has a cover, too! I love it :D. And check out my blurb.

The final battle . . .

Aphrodite is in big trouble this time. She’s stranded on the island of the DAMNED–without powers and without her beloved Ares. Worse, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the demigods figure out she’s a goddess. If that happens, she’ll wish she were dead.

Help arrives in the form of an unlikely ally. But Medea has her own demands, and if Aphrodite wants to survive–not to mention find Hades and the weapons cache–she has to meet them.

But all their plans take a back seat when they find themselves in even more pressing danger. When Medea moved the island, she rendered it unstable. Now it’s breaking apart and sinking. In the chaos, the demigods have risen up, blaming the gods for their misfortune. Nobody is safe from the demigods . . . especially a Pantheon sympathizer like Aphrodite. And they’ve come up with a deadly test to uncover any imposters.

Aphrodite knows she can’t do this alone. It will take the whole Pantheon to get her out of this mess. Unfortunately, they’ll have to find her first . . .

 

You can preorder Venus Rising today! In celebration of my new cover and upcoming release, Persephone will be on sale starting tomorrow, May 20th-May 26th for 99 cents! Please spread the word. If you want to get caught up, now is the time.

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

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

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.”