Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Talking about Eve in the Fate of the Gods trilogy and Beyond!

In honor of BEYOND FATE's forthcoming release on September 16th, I thought I'd point you all to my previous posts on Eve, just in case you missed them somewhere along the way, and to set the mood for the EPIC CONCLUSION to her story.

You remember when BBC4 gave me five minutes to talk about Eve in my books? Well, I probably could have talked for an hour, but here are some of the things I discussed that didn't make the cut into the program -- points which I think are very important, in regard to how we interpret and reinterpret Eve and the Creation story itself.  Just a teaser here:
"Eve as sinner/temptress, is so often used as a convenient scapegoat for, if not outright architect of, all the woes of man, which itself is problematic (not unique, mind you, as Helen of Troy is another example of a woman put into this same position, we just haven't based the entirety of western culture upon her "mistakes"), but it becomes a very troublesome interpretation when it is compounded with a more literal and conservative approach to Biblical Myth, which places Eve as the archetype of all women, painting us all with the same brush and giving us all the same perceived "weaknesses" as a result."

My most favorite Eve -- maybe because it looks
like Adam is the one doing the seducing!
by Peter Paul Rubens
via an older upload from wikicommons
Images of Eve (and why I loved Rodin's)
Oh, Eve. So often the seductress in her imagery! But we don't give much thought to her pain or her suffering -- to her loss, even her sacrifice. But Rodin did. And his sculpture is both heartbreaking and beautiful in its perfection. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to see it for myself, and share those images with you all, on the blog!

Guest post on Vicky Alvear Shecter's blog

Vicky asked me to really dig in to why I chose to reinterpret Eve's character and particularly the Creation story in Forged by Fate, and I was happy to oblige her with a guest post on the topic, but here's a taste to lure you, if that isn't reason enough:
"So what if Eve had agency? What if she understood what she was doing, and all the ramifications, all the consequences? And what if, even knowing all that, eating the Fruit was still necessary? What if what was happening around her compelled her to consider that option and make that choice, eyes wide open and heartsick?"
Fate of the Gods: Regarding Eve
A little bit more about why I wanted to retell Eve's story -- it all goes back to a pamphlet I photocopied on a long ago day. Eve has an understated strength, I think, more often defined by the choices she chooses not to make than the actions she takes. But restraint is worth its weight in gold, imho! 

And last but not least:
The (Norse) Genesis Story, Part II: Man
In which I compare and contrast the Norse genesis of the first man and the first woman to the Biblical account -- it's interesting that both traditions kind of tell the story twice. Complete with quotes from the source material! For your reference and information (and mine!)

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1)
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BEYOND FATE cover art is here!

In case you didn't hear the news, BEYOND FATE has cover art! And a release date! And cover copy!! Totally deserving of its own blogpost of awesome -- so, first things first! From the back cover:

When Adam left Eve, abandoning his wife and their newborn daughter Elah, he thought he was saving the world. But he hadn't counted on the influence of Michael, twisting Elah's love for her parents into paranoia, or the slow, leaching death of the world she rules. How could he have known the blame for the world turning barren would fall on Eve?

Eve only had two years to teach her daughter love, to cement Elah's sense of morality and ensure the safety of all Creation. Even with the help of Raphael, Elah is becoming her father's daughter, a master manipulator, and she's determined to have her way, even if it means betraying her own mother's trust.

With Loki and the Aesir gone, Thor thinks he’s protected Eve from the ravages of Ragnarok, but there are forces in play even the gods can’t see. When Thor arrives in Eve's next life, offering her everything she ever wanted from Adam, and more — eternity without death or rebirth, and the freedom to live outside of her daughter's reach — Eve is more than tempted. Being part of the world has grown physically painful. If she can escape to Asgard, maybe she can live again. Maybe she can love again.

But can the world survive with only Adam to protect it?

Coming September 16th! 

And in the meantime, mark it to-read on Goodreads, enter the Goodreads giveaway, and you can even pre-order it from World Weaver Press!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Beyond Fate by Amalia Dillin

Beyond Fate

by Amalia Dillin

Giveaway ends September 14, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1)
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Postcards from Asgard, A Paranormal Romance Novella Coming in December!

In case you hadn't heard -- Postcards from Asgard is coming your way this December in time for Christmas! (After BEYOND FATE, Fate of the Gods #3 hits shelves in September which AHHHH SO EXCITED!)

So here's a little bit more information about this fun paranormal romance novella (totally UNrelated to Fate of the Gods, p.s.) featuring Thor's bondservant, Thjalfi, who you will soon know, and hopefully, love:

In the meantime, mark it to-read on Goodreads!
and did I mention it'll be available in paperback, as well as ebook?
Well. I just did!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5)
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How I Read: Ebooks vs Paperbacks

Disclaimer: This is not a post written to say "ZOMG PAPERBACKS 4 LYFE!" this is just a post talking about the difference in how I personally read in switching back and forth between paperback and ebook. And for the record, I would like to say, I definitely think ebooks rock and have their place, and nothing beats the kindle/ebooks for reading on the go.

I love books. I love to read them and I love to write them and there is nothing more enjoyable to me than a well-written book with a rockin' story. Anything that allows people to read more is a good thing, and I am pretty sure that at this point, I couldn't live without my kindle. But when I'm shopping for and reading an ebook? I'm definitely doing it differently. MUCH differently.

When I buy a new paperback, it goes into the pile of books on the broken record-player in the dining room, next to my CDs and convenient to pretty much every room in the house. I walk by this pile an UNCOUNTABLE number of times each day and each week. The books stare at me, and I am reminded of what books I have left to read, and what each book is, by the cover. I move through this pile at a very steady and reliable clip. And even if the book is bad -- if I think it's less satisfying or more frustrating than I'd like -- 95% of the time, I finish it. IF it's a paperback. Maybe it takes me a week. Maybe it takes me two. Maybe I read other books while I'm working through that "bad" book. But I finish it.

When I buy a new ebook, I hit one-click on Amazon, and I don't even bother to turn on my kindle to download it immediately. In fact, the next time I turn on my kindle, I might not remember to turn the wireless on to download it then, either. When I finally do, because my kindle is old school, I get a title and an author and a little superscript that says "new" on my first page. By this point, unless the author is a friend, I have no idea what book I bought or anything about it beyond that title. Maybe if it is an author I am a big fan of, the title will make me go "oh yeah! awesome!" but most often, the title makes me go "um?" and I page past it to the book I turned my kindle on for the purpose of looking at. (Mostly this is the current ARC of my own book that I'm proofing, to be honest with you.) The exception to all of this is when I'm going on vacation -- at which point I carefully peruse my kindle to be sure there are enough books I desperately want to read to see me through my travels. Most often this means I buy a few more to displace the titles that no longer hold any meaning for me -- the ones I've forgotten why I bought.

I can count on one hand the number of PAPERBACK books that have been so bad that I've put them down and walked away and given up on ever finishing them. I *remember* every paperback book which provoked this response in me. One I went back and finished because I'm a stubborn jerk and it was set in classical Greece and I didn't quit on it until the last 40 pages. One I tried to finish reading but still could not bring myself to do it. A third is still half finished and is awaiting its second attempt -- and I absolutely will finish it one day, I can almost guarantee it. The fourth is never getting a second chance because I didn't even get past chapter 1 before the writing turned me off completely.

4 books total in paperback, since I started paying attention to this kind of thing in 2009 or so.

Ebooks, I can't tell you how many I've started and stopped. WAY more than four. If the book doesn't grab me in chapter one, I close it out and go looking for another. I don't often return to these books to give them a second chance. I forget that they exist. They get pushed back by the new books purchased and disappear from my consciousness. I don't often page beyond the second page of my books, looking for something to read, when I page through looking for something to read at all. Some of them, I never even open to read the first page. I don't remember what they're about and I don't have wifi or battery to click through to the book description on their amazon page. This *never* happens with a paperback book. If I forget what its about, I can just flip it over and read the back of the book summary. Bam. Done.

Now, maybe this read-to-completion ratio is in part caused by the fact that I put more consideration into the book I'm buying when I buy a paperback. Because I do. If the pricepoint on an ebook is 1.99 or 99 cents, I will throw away the money (always gift card money. I don't buy ebooks with anything but money I received in giftcard form from someone else) without really thinking too hard about it. "Oh, it's only 99 cents, I'll give it a chance." Except I don't give it a chance, it just gets lost on my kindle. When we get to books that are 2.99-5.99, I give them a little bit more thought. 2.99 is more likely to warrant an impulse buy "give it a shot" but above that, I get serious. I read the reviews. I weigh what friends have told me about the author/series. Any ebook priced above 5.99, if it's available as a mass market paperback, I don't buy as an ebook. If I want it that much, I buy it in paperback. If it's only available as a trade paperback,  I have to *really* want the book. And 9 out of 10 times, if I buy it, I buy it as a paperback. Because if I'm spending 6 bucks, I'm committing to reading it. And I can't commit to reading anything I buy in ebook. UNLESS, I'm buying it to read on vacation. At which point I choose very carefully what I'm buying, and insta-paperback-purchase price point might be more negotiable.

But it's worth noting that I still travel with paperbacks in ADDITION to my kindle while on vacation. Every time.

I guess we'll see how and if any of this changes going forward. But in the meantime, do you read and shop differently for ebooks vs paperbacks? Tell me if I'm not alone or if I'm the weirdo, in the comments!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Endre is Here (with a Giveaway!)

We're celebrating the release of Endre (Elsker Saga #2)
by S.T. Bende!
Kindle | Paperback | Nook | Kobo
Endre (Elsker Saga #2) by S.T. Bende
Upper YA/NA Paranormal Romance


Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.

Winning the heart of an immortal assassin was a dream come true for Kristia Tostenson. Now she’s knee deep in wedding plans, goddess lessons, and stolen kisses. But her decision to become immortal could end in heartbreak -- not only for Kristia, but for the god who loves her. Because while Ull would do anything to protect his bride, even the God of Winter is powerless against the Norse apocalypse. Ragnarok is coming.

And the gods aren’t even close to ready.


When I came to, my chest heaved with sobs. Cold sweat cloaked my body from my forehead to the backs of my knees. My hair was damp, my pulse was racing, and my fingers gripped the sheets so tightly my knuckles ached. I was in my room at Ýdalir, the one place I had always felt safe. Only now I was absolutely terrified.

I ripped the covers off and wrapped my arms around my legs. My nose twitched at an unfamiliar smell. I pulled the cord on the bedside lamp, and looked around to see what might be burning. There was no smoke in the room; all of the furniture seemed to be intact. But when I glanced down, I saw the hems of my pajamas. They were black, singed from the fire I’d desperately hoped had been part of a dream.

This time things had gone too far. If my smoldering pant legs were any indication, being injured in a vision could have far-reaching worldly consequences. And if Elfie had come that close to killing me . . .

Ull had his rules, but I no longer cared. I jumped out of bed and raced down the hallway. When I reached his door I pounded on the distressed wood. Tears streamed down my face but I didn’t bother to wipe them away. The downpour was too intense; it wouldn’t have done any good anyway.

The door flew open and Ull stood on the other side. He wore a loose pair of grey sweatpants and nothing else. Oh hot bejeebus. There was no way this guy was for real. It just wasn’t humanly possible to look that good.

Oh, right. Ull wasn’t human.

Despite the agony coursing through my awakening consciousness, this was a moment of glory I’d remember forever—the first time I saw Ull’s naked torso. His sweats hung low on his hips, affording me a view of the cut just above the bone.

Holy Lord.

“Kristia?” Ull rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He took in my matted hair, tear-streaked face, and shaking hands. “Great Odin. What happened?”

He pulled me to him, crushing my face against the muscles of his chest. The knot in my stomach loosened infinitesimally. Just being near Ull gave me peace, but being this near Ull was like taking a sedative. Breathing in his woodsy smell made my panic subside. And when he pressed his hands against me—one to my hair, the other against the small of my back—my gut knew I was safe. Nothing bad could happen to me so long as I was in Ull’s arms. I inhaled again, letting his familiar scent fill me from the inside until my shaking stilled. Then I pressed my lips against his skin. Hard.

“Sweetheart?” he asked again.

“I had another vision and it freaked me out. Can I stay with you?” I didn’t take my lips off his chest as I spoke. I couldn’t. He tasted divine—like spruce and soap and home. There was a very real possibility my mouth might be permanently adhered to his flesh, like a kid who’d tried to lick a frozen railing.

Only this was far less unpleasant.


The Amazon bestselling Upper YA Paranormal Romance series inspired by Norse mythology and featured in USA Today.

What reviewers are saying about The Elsker Saga:

"The characters will leave an imprint on your heart and mind for a long time to come." -Lisa (Bound by Books) 
"Bende takes classic bits of Norse mythology and throws in original elements to create her own tasty Nordic blend... I'll definitely be checking out the sequel!" -Bookalicious Reviews 
"One of my favorite books of the year." -White Zin Bookends 
"Action packed with a heart pounding romance!" -Curse of the Bibliophile 
"This book was nearly impossible to put down and I'm dying for the sequel!" -Brittany and Bianca Blab Books (now BiblioBelles)

Tur: An Elsker Saga Novella (Prequel)

Inga Andersson is the envy of every girl in Asgard. On the surface she has it all -- great friends, a job as Odin’s personal fight choreographer, and a happy ever after with her realm’s hottest assassin. But when evil invades Asgard, her perfect world comes crashing down. Someone is planning to kill off the gods, and Inga’s best friend Ull is first on their list. With the Norse apocalypse a nanosecond away, Inga has to decide how she’ll spend her final moments of freedom. Because from the moment this battle begins, Inga’s happily ever after will be nothing more than a memory.

Some things are worth fighting for.

Elsker: The Elsker Saga Book One

You don't win the heart of an immortal assassin without making a few enemies along the way. Kristia Tostenson prefers Earl Grey to Grey Goose and book clubs to nightclubs, but when she transfers from her one-stoplight town to Cardiff University in Wales she falls in love with Ull Myhr. Her new boyfriend isn't exactly what she was expecting. He's an honest to goodness Norse God - an immortal assassin fated to die at Ragnarok, the battle destined to destroy Asgard and Earth. Kristia's crazy visions are the only thing that can save their realms.

Her orderly life just got very messy.

About ST Bende:
Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST Bende lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of McVities cookies. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the books of The Elsker Saga. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day, pastries will be considered a health food.

Find ST on Twitter @stbende or her blog (http://stbende.blogspot.com). While you’re at it, introduce yourself to @UllMyhr -- when he’s not saving the cosmos from dark elves, he loves meeting new friends. Especially the human kind.

(Yes, I'm still on Hiatus, I swear! But you can't expect me not to support my fellow Norse Myth Author and #ThorLove friend! Elsker is a lot of fun if you haven't read it -- start with the (Free!) prequel, Tur, and go from there--if you like sweet romance with supernatural heroes, it's definitely worth checking out The Elsker Saga!)

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5)
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Hiatus and the Editing Cave

All right friends and followers, I'm neck deep in editing this week, and then summer hits hard with Family Invasion (followed by and then following my birthday)! So I'm going to be away from the blog for the next few weeks, and I hope you'll hang in there with me because BEYOND FATE is coming in September and I can't wait for you to experience the magic (and the #ThorLove, of course!), but I've got a lot to do before it gets here.

Hopefully I'll have some other most excellently awesome news to share with you soon, too -- I may or may not have a paranormal romance novella up my sleeve, and there might be goats involved, but that's all I won't confirm for the moment!

In the meantime, we're halfway through July, and there's never been a better time to start reading Fate of the Gods, if you haven't already given it a shot!

I'll see you on the flip!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5)
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Publishing is Hard (I)

One thing I've noticed since I started this journey of writing with the intent to publish is that the whole entire experience is kind of designed to drive authors and writers crazy. The journey to publication is like a crucible, burning out the impurities -- those authors who shouldn't be making the trip, and ANY idea or sense of entitlement in an author. There is truth in the expression "If you can quit writing, you should." Save yourself the heartache. Seriously.

For myself, something I've noticed, is that before something good can come of it, I must be beaten and broken into the dirt. I must be seriously reassessing my life choices to seek publication at all. I must be giving up on writing entirely in a serious, bone-weary way. I must be wallowing in my despair of ever finding any (further, more,) success. And not only because I've been on submission for an eon, or because I was in the query trenches for an even longer age, but because everything in my life around me is blowing up, too. Financial woes. Personal woes. Business woes. Family woes.

But ultimately, it is always darkest before the dawn. Because once I reach the bottom of that pit of despair where I am verging on surety that I have made a terrible decision and it is time to just give up on chasing this dream, because it is just never going to happen, and it is not fair to the people around me that I keep investing so much into it at their expense, that is when I get an email or a phone call that changes everything.

The first time this happened, it was after my Grandfather had suffered his first stroke, and things were looking pretty grim. The house was a revolving door for guests -- family members coming and going to help my grandfather with his recovery -- and it was very likely, as unsuited as I was to the whole of it, that I, too, would be burdened with some portion of his care. My life was rapidly spiraling out of my control, and I felt very much as if I was being crushed under the weight of family obligation and expectation, with a heaping side of crippling guilt.

I remember one night, I had sunk to the cool, blue linoleum of the kitchen floor in front of the refrigerator, and I looked up at my cousin standing by the door and said: "I can't do this. I think I'm going to quit writing. I have to." Without hesitation or consideration, she said immediately: "No, you're not."

Within days, World Weaver Press contacted me about my Fate of the Gods books. And I flew through the house, sprinting to the guest room/living room/office where my aunt from California was staying, and that same cousin was ensconced, ready and waiting for me to "just check my email quick" before we started watching the summer Olympics, and the news burst out of me in a rush. I had an offer of publication. Someone wanted my books. Someone believed in my books. Someone believed in me. It was a lifeline. A sign, so close on the heels of my late night confession of doubt and despair.

I wasn't quitting writing after all.

At least not yet.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5)
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble