The Queen and her Brook Horse, An Orc Saga Novella, Book 2.5, is coming soon!
Facets of Fate, a Fate of the Gods novella and short story collection, is available now in print and ebook!
And don't forget to subscribe to THE AMALIAD, to stay up to date on Authors!me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Letter to Theseus

Dear Theseus,

Can you even keep your own story straight? I would hate to be persuaded that you're a compulsive liar, and that's why your history got so screwed up, but how is it that no one can agree on which Amazon Queen you abducted married? Was it Hippolyta or Antiope? For that matter, were you with Heracles on that trip, or on your own? While I'm asking, was this Amazon Queen fighting for you or against you when the Amazons invaded Attica after you violated made off with their sovereign, got her pregnant, and then hooked up with Phaedra?

Plutarch swears up and down that your hook up with Phaedra was after the Amazon Queen's death, and the rest of those stories are just dirty lies, but he was writing a millenium after you supposedly lived, and frankly, I'm not sure I trust him not to fabricate a little truth here or there if it served his agenda, so what am I supposed to believe, here? I know that whole Ariadne business wasn't really your fault, Dionysus forced your hand, and I can even believe that the Phaedra and Hippolytus situation was the work of the gods and outside of your control, but seriously? You don't even remember the NAME of the woman who you stole, married and had a son with? I would think that if you loved her that much that you just HAD to have her, you'd at least take the time to get her name straight!

If you would be so kind as to straighten out this little misunderstanding for me, that would really make my life easier-- not to mention improve your reputation, because quite frankly, I think you're in danger of losing your heroic appeal. Real heroes remember the names of the women they fall in lust love with, after all! I'm SURE that it isn't REALLY your fault that these later historians/priests/entertainers/men couldn't be bothered to fact check the names involved, what with her being a mere woman, but it really does reflect poorly on your-- shall we say, charm? You might want to have your publicist look into it.

Your Biggest Fan,
Amalia

P.S. Nobody else seems to have these kinds of issues with THEIR heroes. I really hope that you're not wasting my time-- Thor is already threatening to pummel you, and I really think he might win if it came down to that. xoxo

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Getting To Know You

Hello Followers and Friends!

Tomorrow I have a highly entertaining blogpost for those of you with a passing familiarity with Theseus, and maybe for those of you who don't, too. And thanks so much to everyone who commented and enjoyed Tuesday's post on Mycenaean clothing and fashion disasters. But for today, I just wanted to ask you all a question!

What was the first book that you read by yourself?

For me, it was Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I still remember the day, and how excited I was to have read a book all by myself. That made me wonder about you all, my followers! If ever there were a people gathered together who could reminisce fondly over the first book they ever read on their own, I thought that perhaps it would be you! So let's do this thing!

Today is my three-year anniversary with my husband, and we're going to celebrate by going out to eat at one of my absolute most favorite restaurants in life. (It is something of a drive.) I will not be on the blog so much to reply to comments as-they-are-posted, but I will be looking forward to reading about all the books that started us on the journey we are on now!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mycenaean Culture!

So it occurred to me today that I have been fudging the clothing of my characters in HELEN for approximately 120,000 words now, and it was about time that I did some research to at least make sure my fudged approach was something that I could get away with, and not totally, completely beyond wrong. Nobody wants to get called out on historical accuracy over a dress, after all.

I do actually have a couple of textbooks on the Aegean Bronze Age (Christmas presents from my parents!), but for some reason they don't seem to have a lot of good pictures. This is probably because there aren't a lot of good pictures to be had, and black and white never does a fresco justice. I've talked about it a little bit before-- if not here, at least on GeekaChicas during the Not-yet-of-Troy series letters-- but we suffer from a real lack of evidence when it comes to this period. Primarily the only information we have is about palace life. There is little if any evidence regarding the common person or daily life for anyone outside of the palace, and the evidence we have for the palace itself is less about the daily life and more about societal structure. Very fortunate for me that Helen was a princess, and not some street girl. On the other hand, Sparta isn't one of the cities known for its Mycenaean Palace of Awesome. (Welcome to the clash between history and myth, our next stop will be clothing... Also, you REALLY do want to click that link, because that rendering of the palace at Pylos will blow your mind.)

As far as clothing goes, we pretty much have frescoes. Jewelry is another story--grave goods and the like have been found and preserved, probably because metal doesn't decompose. There's a good image of men's clothing in a fresco (definitely click this first link!) on this website, and a great description of both men's and women's fashions (of which I make no guarantees about the source, but it SOUNDS right to me).

Basically, men wore belted, short dress-like outfits, sometimes with short pant-like bottoms instead, which gave them freedom of movement. Common people probably went without a shirt altogether, and ran around in just a skirt or shorts. They don't seem to be all that fancy, except for detailing around the edges (image from wikimedia commons). This isn't all that different from Minoan dress-- Mycenae really kind of ripped off a lot of culture from Crete-- but in general, Mycenaean's were a little bit more conservative in style. This is more apparent in women's dress.

Contrary to later styles, Mycenaean's and Minoans wore fitted clothing. Women especially. The image to the right is from a fresco, supposedly of a Mycenaean woman. (from wikimedia commons) You can see the detailing and complicated design of the skirt (do those look like pants to anyone else?) and the top. Minoan women, as far as we know, went bare breasted. Mycenaean women did not ALWAYS follow this convention, but as you can see, it wasn't unheard of. They usually wore a belt, to emphasize the waist and the skirt was kept full and flowing. Don't ask me how that kind of a shirt is practical at all, however. It seems like it would be a pain to keep on. The image to the right gives you an idea of what a top that covered the breasts would look like (from wikimedia commons).

For the purposes of my book, I would expect that Helen dressed as conservatively as she was able-- being the most beautiful woman in the world would probably invite enough attention without showing off her breasts as well. Theseus is another issue altogether. (and if you're wondering, no, Athens didn't have a Mycenaean (or Minoan) Palace of Awesome, either.) He was, by all accounts, a very successful king for Athens (until he got thrown out after the underworld debacle). I expect when he shows up somewhere, he does it in style to show off the wealth of his city and by association, his power as its king.

Has my fudging been at all accurate? Well, yes and no. I'll probably need to go back through and tweak a few things. But honestly, there is no real way to write about the mythology of the Trojan war while maintaining BOTH historical and mythological accuracy (more on this in a future post, probably). What about you? Has there ever been an aspect of your book that you fudged, only to research and find out that you had it totally wrong?

Also, am I the only one who looked at that rendering of the Megaron of Pylos and went WHOA? Talk about opulence!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Stuff!

I should know better than to post about things I find really interesting on Fridays, because my hits are totally unreliable, but I'm doing it anyway.

First Things First, Though: Dream Sequence Blogfest! Sign up! Leave a comment! Post your scene on the date! Be entered to win a prize! What are you waiting for?!

So the other day I stumbled across this link on twitter-- and I thought it was awesome. Apparently, they found some skulls, one of a knight, in some castle and decided to do a reconstruction of the knight's face. I have literally not closed the tab for days because I keep going back to stare at him and think "whoa."

AND THEN, I thought, HOW COOL WOULD IT BE if they reconstructed and rendered the faces of the vikings they found in that mass grave?!?! My friends, I want this to happen. Any of you who have connections with anyone who has connections with people who do this kind of thing, please do what you can to set it into motion. I want to see what the vikings look like when they're rendered back into CG flesh and bone. I know you do too! Who wouldn't?! Give the beheaded vikings back their faces! I think they'd like that! I bet as vikings they would be like "Hey look at that! Now when the end days come, folks will recognize us when we sweep in to fight for Odin!"

All right, I know, I can do better than that-- I didn't really think about it. Give me time and maybe I'll figure out something better. (I kind of feel a short story coming on.)

Lastly, I want to welcome all you new followers! Thanks for joining up at  Good to Begin Well! I promise that I do sometimes post more than just blogfest entries, and I do try to keep it interesting with a smorgasbord of science, history, mythology, and writing. Most of you don't really seem to care about the science stuff, but sometimes it really is cool! And I promise I won't waste your time with anything that isn't!

Any questions? Anything you're dying to know? Ask away below!

What I want to know from you is: what's your all time favorite book? (Title and Author please!)

Now that I've asked that question, I'm trying to think of what my answer is and having a heck of a time. I'll get back to you!

OH! P.S. During one of the earlier blogfests-- First Kiss maybe, or else Kissing Day Blogfest-- Someone posted a scene with a guy named Lucan. I can not for the life of me remember to whom Lucan belongs, but he is lurking about in the back of my mind and I would be TOTALLY GRATEFUL if someone could point me in the right direction!  Seriously, you are awesome, because I keep thinking about that scene, and I'd really, really, really love to read some more.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let's Talk! Dialogue Fest!

Wow it has been blogfest central around these parts! Today is the Let's Talk Blogfest, hosted by Roni over at Fiction Groupie! I figured since I started the Thairon bandwagon, I might as well continue on. Plus, that book is kind of minimalist in style when it comes to the dialogue (read: talking heads syndromish), so it seemed fitting for this fest. Be sure to follow the link and check out the other contributors!

Thairon thought that Gwen was dead until he ran into her in the woods while on vacation--or at least a woman who looked just like her. Setta is 20 years too young, but she has all of Gwen's memories, and Thairon has no intention of losing the love of his life a second time! This scene takes place while they're still trying to figure out how to reconnect.

Stomping outside the door drew his attention. He opened it and raised an eyebrow. Setta paused in the act of removing one of her boots, looking up at him. She blushed and pulled her other boot off, setting them both outside the door.

“What did you get into?”

“The river bank is muddy.” She shrugged and slipped past him into the cabin.

He let her and shut the door again. “Aren’t you worried the wildlife will run off with your shoes?”

She laughed and walked to the kitchen sink, grabbing a glass down and pouring herself some water. “Why would they want my shoes?”

“Don’t wolves like to chew on things?”

“The wolves won’t bother my shoes.”

He raised both eyebrows at the confidence in her tone. “I guess I’ll take your word for it.”

“I guess you’ll have to.” She smiled. “What did you do this morning? Work? Aren’t you supposed to be on vacation? Who does work on vacation?”

“A lot of people. Especially when they’re CEOs of international corporations.”

“I miss your non-workaholic days.”

He grinned. “I’ll work on it. If you’ll provide me with something to come home to of distraction.”

“Hmph. We’ll see. Where’s Mr. Hale?”

“You know, he won’t be offended if you call him Marcus.”

She shrugged again and tipped back her water glass, draining it before getting herself a refill.

“I gave him the rest of the day off. Because you’re going to shout at me shortly, and I didn’t want him to have to cower in the bedroom while we went at it.”

She laughed. “Oh yeah?”

“Yes.”

“You’re sure?”

“Positive.”

“Exactly what did you do while I left you alone for four hours to make me that annoyed?”

He cleared his throat and walked around the kitchen so that the table was between them. Just in case she decided to try to scratch his eyes out. “I paid off your credit cards.”

She set the glass down. Loudly. “Excuse me?”

“You said we were going to fight about it. And I was going to win, ultimately, so I just went ahead with it.”

“How can you even do that?”

“Banks don’t care who is paying them, as long as they get paid. I called them up and told them that I wanted to pay the balances. They were more than happy to accept my money. They even offered me a line of credit, when they realized who I was.” He smirked.

She glared at him. “I’m going to pay you back.”

“If you do that, then I can’t write it off on my taxes.”

“You’re so impossible! I’m not your charity case! I thought I made that clear!”

“You’re right. You’re not my charity case. If I gave you the money I give to charities in a single year, you’d be able to live off the interest for the rest of your life.”

“That’s not the point. At all. You can’t just sweep in here and co-op my personal finances without my permission. It’s none of your business! Did it never occur to you that maybe I have something to prove? To myself? To my family?”

“Which you, Setta? Which family? And since when have you measured your success by the money you make? Take your pride out of the equation and realize that I’m going to do everything in my power to take care of you, now that I know you’re here. Whether you want it or not. Whether you want to be with me, or not. Even if it means paying for your wedding to some other man.”

“So what else then? What next? What else are you going to take from me? My choices about what I should eat for dinner? Are you going to regiment my meals, so that I have perfect nutrition, so I’ll never suffer from high cholesterol? Where does it stop?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Oh. I’m being ridiculous. For wanting to pay my own bills. What isn’t within your power? Just so I know what you won’t be getting involved with.”

“Very little.”

“You could get me fired, couldn’t you?”

He didn’t say anything. It would have been folly to admit to it when she used that tone.

Her eyes widened and she stared at him, taking a half step back. “And blacklisted everywhere?”

“It would be more trouble than it was worth to do so.”

“But you could.” Her face was white.

He walked around the table, reaching for her. “Setta, I wouldn’t.”

She stepped back. “Wouldn’t you? If you thought that it would be better for me? If you thought it would make me happy? If you were convinced of it?”

He stopped before she backed up into the counter. He didn’t want her to feel trapped. He didn’t want her looking at him that way either. He wasn’t a monster. Or at least he wasn’t a threat to her. Never to her.

“I wouldn’t. I would never take that away from you. Taking care of your financial woes is hardly the same thing.”

She shook her head. “You can’t do this. You can’t just… You can’t just do these things without my permission.” She looked like she was going to cry, but her jaw was tight and she blinked back the moisture in her eyes. “This isn’t going to work Thairon. I can’t do this. This isn’t going to work.”

“Setta.” She was already brushing past him, on her way back to the door. He grabbed her by the arm, pulling her up short. “Gwen, wait.”

She pulled her arm away. “I’m sorry.”

And then the door slammed behind her, and she was gone.
Hope you enjoyed it! You see what I mean when I say it's kind of minimalist? I'm still trying to decide if that's a good thing or a bad one.

(You can find two other Thairon scenes, if you are so inclined, as my contributions for the Love At First Sight blogfest and the Flirt Fest!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Flirt-Fest!

The Flirt Fest is brought to us by the wonderful women of Critique This WIP. Thanks to them for hosting, and be sure to check out the other contributions!!

It's been a long time since I gave you guys a Thairon scene, but he's definitely the most fitting choice for a flirt-fest. This particular scene takes place before the book I wrote for him, during his college days, when he's just getting to know the love of his life. It's written from her PoV, because, well...because. If you're wondering, this is the moment that Setta is referring to in the scene linked to above.

    The silence between them lasted for the duration of the drive, and she was starting to feel guilty. He parked in front of her building, but when she turned to look at him to say goodnight, he was already opening his door and getting out. She fumbled with her seat-belt to catch up with him, and he caught her door when she pushed it open, offering her a hand out.

    When she hesitated, staring at his palm, he chuckled and closed it into a loose fist, dropping his hand to his side. “You can’t say I didn’t try to be a gentleman.”

    “No. I guess I can’t.” She got out of the car and he shut the door. He walked with her to the building, then held that door for her too. “You don’t have to—”

    “I don’t have to do a lot of things, and if you were just some girl, I wouldn’t. You seem reluctant to trust anything that comes out of my mouth, though, so I’m going to have to prove myself some other way.” He smiled, but she felt as though it was more to hide his determination than anything else. “It’s all right. I’m up to the challenge.”

    She wasn’t sure what to say. His expression was so serious, and she didn’t want to offend him. Not really. Dissuade, yes, but hurt?

    She let him walk her up the stairs to her floor, and then down the hall to her dorm room. They had gathered an audience by that point, but she couldn’t bring herself to meet the eyes of the girls they passed. She could feel their appraisal. Of him, of her. The judgment and the questions. Uncomplimentary, for the most part. It was always uncomplimentary.

    Her hand on the knob, she paused and turned. He was right there, near enough that she wanted to step back, but she had nowhere to go. She took a deep breath and looked up, meeting his eyes. “Thank you for dinner.”

    He smiled, leaning down. She felt herself pressed against the door, though he didn’t touch her. “Are you sure this is what you want?”

     “What?” Having him looming over her that way was incredibly distracting, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted him to step back, or step forward.

    “Oversized stuffed animals and embarrassing bouquets of flowers.”

    She laughed, half from nerves, and gripped the door knob to keep from leaning into him. “You can’t embarrass me into liking you.”

    “And if you didn’t like me already, then I’d be concerned.”

He glanced away, at the two girls who just happened to be lined up at the water fountain. There were at least three more who had fallen silent in the lounge across the hall, she was sure. They were listening so hard, she could practically hear them, and she had a feeling that he could too. That he knew they were there, waiting to see what would happen. Waiting to see what he was to her.

    “You know what they’ll say, when you leave?”

    He raised both eyebrows, looking back at her. “What will they say?”

    “They’ll say that you’re far too good-looking for someone like me to be dating. They’ll argue about it, maybe, amongst themselves for a while. Trying to decide if you’re fair game or not. If there’s anything between us. But ultimately, they’ll think we’re just friends. Because nothing more than that is possible between people like us.”

    He grinned. “You don’t strike me as the kind of woman who lets opinions like those dictate her life.”

    “Why should I?”

    “I’ll tell you what.” He looked down and caught her hand. She let him pry her fingers gently from the door knob. “If you did, I wouldn’t be standing here. But it seems kind of unfair to disappoint them.”

    His other hand came up to her face, brushing her hair behind her ear.

    “Disappoint them?”

    And then he was kissing her, and she didn’t care anymore what he had meant.

    He pulled away too soon, and she dropped her hand back to the door knob. The traitorous hand that had made itself a fist in his jacket, trying to hold him, to pull him closer. She cleared her throat, and resisted the urge to touch her mouth. She couldn’t even bring herself to meet his eyes.

    “Breakfast tomorrow?” he asked. “Adams Hall?”

    She nodded, not sure that she could speak without sounding like a fool.

    His hand slipped away from her face, and she felt him step back. “Good night, Gwen.”

    She made herself look up, though her face was flushed with heat and her stomach felt as though it had leapt into her heart. Or maybe her heart had fallen into her stomach. He was smiling slightly, his eyes warm and searching. She bit her lip. He was much too charming for her own good, but there was no point in pretending after that kiss.

    “For the record, if you insist on some kind of embarrassing display of flowers, I like daisies.”

    He chuckled. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

    She watched him walk away down the hall, admiring the line of his shoulders, and then shook her head and let herself into her room. She didn’t know what she was doing, but she didn’t see how she was going to avoid it now. She hoped that it would lead to more kissing.

Happy Flirt-Fest! I hope this one counts as flirting :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hunger Games Epic Contest hosted by Frankie!

Ms. Frankie Diane Mallis the Magnificent recently signed with an agent! In honor of this spectacular achievement or awesome, she has decided to host a very Epic contest!

That's right guys, you can win the Hunger Games trilogy-- mostly signed even! (the third volume pre-ordered for you!) and all you have to do is head over to Frankie's blog and tell her what your skill would be if you were in the Hunger Games. Make sure you tell her who sent you! (Me!) and make sure you tell all your friends!

I'm pumped and hoping to win, because my current book-purchasing-rules forbid me from buying hardcovers. This means I'm waiting for The Hunger Games to come out in paperback before I pick it up, so I haven't yet read the books! Frankie's contest neatly sidesteps this rule to allow me to read them without guilt! But I can't do it without you, my followers!

Make it happen, guys! I believe in you! (Or, uhm, if you win instead of me, I will go to the library! Everybody wins!)

Contest ends Friday, May 21!

For those of you hoping to see the answer to my True or False from Tuesday:
I can't tell Left from Right without looking for my wedding ring, or picking up a pen/pencil.
The answer is in fact True! I also got totally confused and lost in a restaurant the other day, too. I depend on my husband to get me where I need to go, in and out of buildings. I'm pretty directionally impaired, and as a result, driving alone makes me pretty anxious, so I just don't do it. I guess I should have added that to my list of responses to what I would do if I were a billionaire-- hire a driver, FOR SURE.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Internal Conflict Blogfest!

Internal Conflict FTW! Hosted by the fabulous Alliterative Allomorph! Linky with other participants here!

So okay, most of my internal conflict is littered throughout scenes of dialogue, so I tried to find internal conflict that was by itself-- I ended up not all that successful. But this seemed like it was the most fitting. It takes place a few years after the Sif scene from the Bad-girl blogfest, which you can read here. Needless to say, Sif was successful in making Eve's life miserable--this was the result.

When he touched her hair she shrank away from the movement. The man sighed, his expression full of remorse, and for a moment she could have sworn his eyes flashed white, but it was probably just her vision playing tricks on her after all the blood she'd lost.

"Here," he said, his voice gentle. "Drink this."

She flinched back from the arm he extended, and then stared at the vial he offered. But this was all in her head, wasn't it? If it was all in her head, what did it matter what she drank? What he gave her to drink? She could hardly poison herself by her will alone, as much as she might have wanted to die.

She pressed her hand to her stomach, feeling the softness where there had once been life. Life she hadn't even realized was there. It didn't hurt less to lose in spite of her ignorance, and she wondered what gift this man from her subconscious was trying to give her in response. Something to help her sleep instead of cry?

It was a sad day when you couldn't even decide what your own delusion was trying to tell you, she decided, and snatched the vial from his fingers. She removed the cork and sniffed at the liquid. It smelled sweet and sharp, and she frowned.

"Rum?"

The man looming over her nodded once, stepping back against the wall of the small cell and crossing his arms over his broad chest. She stared at his face, still dark with worry and sympathy. He was clean shaven with striking red-gold hair. It was so odd to conjure a delusion of him looking so strange. She could remember him clearly, with dirty blonde hair and a neatly trimmed beard more brown than red.

She took a sip of the rum, quickly realizing that there was more than alcohol in the vial. But by then it was too late, and it was already hitting her stomach, starting a warm burn in her middle that wasn't entirely unpleasant in the cold cell. She shifted uncomfortably on the narrow cot, the only furnishing in the room, her eyes falling on the restraints that were fitted to the frame. She shivered, and she saw him move out of the corner of her eye. He had taken a half step forward, and then stopped, his mouth twisted into a determined line, as though he had felt her fear. Or seen it in her face.

"I wish it really were you," she said, meeting his blue eyes.

The apparition, her delusion, the man who had once been her husband so long ago, before the ocean currents in the north had shifted, and Scandinavia had become bitter with cold, stepped forward again, dropping on one knee by the side of the bed. He was so tall that even kneeling he was taller than she was while she sat on the bed.

He had always been an immense man, and somehow it made sense that she would see him now, regardless of accuracy. That she would see him at his strongest, and borrow strength from the memory, from the feeling of safety he'd always brought her. Now when she was no longer safe. When the doctors thought she was crazy, and forced lithium down her throat until she shook so hard her teeth rattled, and her stomach felt as though it would never accept food again. The memory of him, of their life together, had always been her strength.

He reached toward her again, but this time she didn't flinch. There was no point in flinching from something that wasn't there. Something that didn't exist outside of her own exhausted mind. His hand was hot against her cheek, and his touch caused another slow burn, this time moving from the outside in. She closed her eyes against the pressure of tears and took a deep ragged breath.

She didn't care if he was an illusion. Didn't care if he wasn't. But she didn't think a ghost would be so warm to the touch, so comforting a presence. She felt herself shaking again, but not from the drugs this time. Or from the loss of the life that had been inside her, wracking her womb with cramps. His touch was a tonic, real or not, and when he drew her into his arms, for the first time since she had found herself here, in this awful place, she felt some kind of peace. And the lifting of a great weight from her shoulders.

She fell against him, wrapping her arms around his neck and hiding her face against his shoulder as she cried.

"Shh," he said. She felt his breath against her ear, the hallucination was so well wrought. "I'm going to find a way to help you. To free you from here. I promise."

A scuffing sound came from the hall, and the noise of a key being fit into the lock on the door. She felt her whole body tingle with spider-webs and electricity, and she was alone.

The door opened and she scrambled back from the edge of the bed to the corner against the wall. She could still feel the slow warmth in her body, and the vial was still clutched in her hand as the nurse looked into the room, frowning suspiciously. But there was nothing to be seen. Nothing out of place.

She waited for the nurse to leave again, and then collapsed on the bed. Whatever that drink had been, whatever that delusion had meant, she felt alive again for the first time since they had come to take her away.

It was no wonder she was lost in her past. In the life she had lived so long ago. No wonder she was seeing people long dead. No wonder she had needed a drink so badly she had conjured one in her mind, and the strongest man, the strongest protector she had ever known to bring it.

Her fingers closed around the cold glass of the vial in her hand, the hard form of it reassuring somehow. Yes. She felt much better now. Even if she was still trapped in a mental ward. She sighed. If she hadn't been crazy when she came in, she could see easily now she might well become so before she ever got back out.
 I so need to get back to working on this, sometime...

Happy Internal Conflict Blogfest Day!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blog-Tag.


I have been tagged by the lovely Raquel Byrnes! I am now doomed to answer each of these five questions five times. So, I guess I should get to it...
 
Question 1 - Where were you five years ago?
  1. In North Dakota
  2. Dating my husband
  3. Getting really into Classical Studies
  4. Not writing enough, even though I was taking creative writing courses
  5. Student Managing at the Student Union where I worked. I was a good manager, too!
Question 2 - Where would you like to be in five years?
  1. Published.
  2. Living in Upstate New York
  3. Still Writing, only, you know, not for free.
  4. OR! Possibly in Denmark going to school for Old Norse Studies! (This program looks AWESOME)
  5. I will settle for vacationing in Iceland to polish my hopeful-fluency!
Question 3 - What is on your to-do list today?
  1. QT with the husband (a rare day off!) (ongoing!)
  2. Working on HELEN
  3. Revising Sigurd (not that it means Sigurd is DONE, or anything)
  4. Yoga
  5. Running a couple of errands
Question 4 - What snacks do you enjoy?
  1. Pringles and/or Doritos (not usually both at the same time)
  2. Ice Cream Novelties
  3. Apples and Peanut Butter
  4. Leftover peas
  5. Fresh Cherries, OMG. THEY ARE DELICIOUS! (Can it be Cherry Season yet?)
Question 5 - What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
  1. Build a house with an awesome Library
  2. Get a vacation home in Iceland and/or Denmark for a writer's retreat type place.
  3. Buy my parents their dream house/land to retire on, and get the husband his own airplane to dink around in.
  4. Pay off all student loans AT ONCE
  5. Own a comic book shop!
The rules are that I must pass the Tag along to 5 Bloggers I admire....

Disclaimer: If you have already been tagged, I apologize for retagging you! It's more about the admiration than the Meme, I promise!

Simon at Constant Revision
Stephanie at Hatshepsut
Sarah of The Wit and Wisdom
Roni at Fiction Groupie
annnddddd....
Lilah Pierce at Lilah Pierce (seriously, Ninja Turtles Week, how can that be overlooked?!)

You're it!

Also, Thanks to Harley Palmer who awarded me the Creative Writer blog award, and for that particular piece of entertainment, I will direct you to my previous answers if you missed them before!

 As an added enjoyment for you, my followers, who have been religiously attentive to my every post, I will include this Bonus FactORNot!

True Or False:
I can't tell Left from Right without looking for my wedding ring, or picking up a pen/pencil.

I'll reveal the truth on Friday!

Also, guys, if you haven't checked it out already-- Please head over to Do The Write Thing For Nashville and take a look at the items up for bid. I read yesterday that  t-shirts and smaller priced items for fundraising are on their way for those who can't afford to spend the skyrocketingly-awesome amounts on some of the great donations, too! So be sure to check back over yonder!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Bad-Girl Blogfest

So, the Bad-Girl Blogfest.

Sif is the closest to bad that I come, and up until recently, I hadn't really understood exactly how twisted she was capable of being. I mean, I always knew she was jealous and vain, conceited and self-entitled. But are these the things from which bad-girls are made? Also I had never written anything, anything at all, from her PoV. I gotta admit, it was kind of fun. Be sure to follow the link above to check out the other participants of today's blogfest, hosted by Andrew at The WriteRunner!

Some Set-Up:
It's about 1910. The Norse gods have lost much of their influence. Many of them have left the world altogether, giving it up for a lost cause. Sif, unfortunately for everyone, is not one of those who decided to leave, and she's also got a massive grudge against Eve for a number of reasons, none of which are Eve's fault at all. Is this Canon for the rest of my books? I'm undecided. But I like it. 
Disclaimer: I have done no research on the 1900s as far as dress, manners and etc. go, for this blogfest.

"Mr. Newcastle?" Sif smiled and extended a gloved hand to the gentleman. If one could call him that. "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir."

Frank Newcastle gave her a long look, his eyes sweeping from her face to her toes and back again. The dress of the times hid most of her body, but Sif had done everything she could to expose herself in the most attractive manner. As a result, Frank's gaze lingered on her breasts as he took her hand and raised it to his lips. 

"I'm sorry Miss, but I don't believe I've had the honor."

She let her face flush and ducked her head with false modesty. "Oh, of course, excuse my manners. My husband, Mr. Macnia speaks of you so often I felt as if we had already met."

"Of course, of course." Frank's smile was more leer than anything else, and Sif wondered for a moment what Lugh had told him about his supposed wife.

Not that it mattered. Sleeping with the man would bind him that much more tightly to her, and she was not as powerful as she had once been. If she'd had her old strength, she never would have needed Lugh's help for any of this, and Eve would have been driven to insanity years ago, if not dead. 

Poor Eve, she wouldn't know what she was getting into, marrying this man. Not until it was much too late. There had been a time, once, when Sif had not condoned physical abuse of any lesser creature outside of combat, but after millenia with Loki, and a few hundred years with Lugh, she was more than willing to make an exception for Eve. And dear Mr. Newcastle would be the perfect tool.

"I did so want to see you myself," Sif said, pretending innocence as she removed her gloves. "My cousin is very dear to me, you see, and I would not dream of letting her marry until I was sure that the man would treat her well." 

Sif raised her hand to her chest, toying with the gold chain that fell between her breasts. She looked up at him from beneath lowered eyelashes, letting her smile show a hint of suggestion. 

"You see, I want my cousin to be as fortunate as I have been," she dropped her voice, and Frank, fool man that he was, leaned forward. Sif traced a finger along his jaw and her eyes glowed golden, inserting the desired response in the man's mind. "In every way."

His gaze traveled up from her breasts to her face and he grinned, his hands dropping to his belt. It didn't take all that much encouragement. "I'd be happy to reassure you of my worth, Mrs. Macnia. In any way you desire."

She stepped closer, making him look her in the eyes for a moment longer, even while her hand went to the waist of his pants. His eyes were glazed with lust, and beneath it a certain violence that suited her purposes just perfectly. Some things about men would never change, no matter what year it was. The more civilized men thought themselves, the more brutality they were capable of.  

Sif could feel the roar of war, waiting to break against the shore of humanity. Lugh had promised her it would begin with that insufferable Archduke of Austria just as soon as they placed Eve into Mr. Newcastle's capable hands. Because if there was one thing that would drive Eve further into despair, it was war, and what better way to ensure war than to place her into a position where love was lost to her. If she could not love, humanity would be that much more easily swayed into action by the old gods. Perhaps some of mankind might even turn from Christianity, if the right pressures were applied and they believed themselves forsaken.

It was enough to make Sif tremble with anticipation for the power that might course through her once more. But first things first. Mr. Newcastle, dear Frank, must be made amenable.

Sif raised an eyebrow, biting her lower lip and assuming the most provocative expression in her repertoire. "I think I'll just need a demonstration, if you don't mind. For my cousin's sake, of course."
And there you have it. My bad-girl. I might be out of my element, but I'm not sure that Sif ever is.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

A Ward of the Blogosphere

Not really. But see what I did there? A ward? Award? Okay, it was really not that brilliant or awesome, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And right now, I gotta talk about the awesome people who sent me some awards and the just as awesome people who deserve them!

First, the Fabulous VR Barkowski sent along the Prolific Blogger award to me! If you aren't already reading her blog, you really should be, because somehow she manages to keep track of ALL THE AWESOME that is going on around these parts! I don't know how she does it, but I'm glad she does!

I'd like to pass this award along to Valerie at As The Moon Climbs, because she always has some new fiction to share on her blog, and it is just the right size for a quick break while you stretch before diving back into work!

Also, to Mia at My Literary Jam and Toast because she has been prolific-central over there! Also, she's fun, which is perhaps even more important than prolificacy for a blogger (and I think I just made that word up).

Thirdly, to Matt Delman of Free the Princess. If you like steam punk and thoughtful blogposts on both research and writerly topics, put him at the top of your blogroll! And he also posts at The Secret Archives of the Alliterati.

Which brings me to my next honoree-- The Secret Archives themselves! Because Bane, L.T., Matt, and Stephanie are all putting together a great blog over there on top of the ones they already keep! Consider yourselves all awarded with the Prolific Blogger Award, folks! (Even if you have it already.)

The second Award I've received was from the Fabulous Mia of My Literary Jam and Toast, as mentioned above! She has bestowed upon me the AWESOMESAUCE Award. And let me tell you, just the fact that this award exists makes me happy. Receiving it is even better! Apparently THREE different people thought Mia was Awesomesauce already, so you don't even have to take my word for it, but you should definitely go check out her blog.

Since I already told you that V.R. keeps track of all the Awesome, I would be remiss in not giving her this excellent award first thing!

Some other blogs on the Saucy side of Awesome are:

Gary Corby at A Dead Man Fell From The Sky... because if you think I have awesome history posts, you will love his even more. He focuses on Classical Greece, and he does a very fine job of making his posts interesting, accessible, and educational! Plus, there is always some great conversation happening in the comments for those of you who appreciate debate about the finer points involved, and the less fine points too!

Fantastic Fangirls: Comics and Culture is another great blog! Especially for those of you who I have converted to comic book love, or who already love comics. They ask some great questions about superheroes and explore the books they love and love less, the writers who write them, and the artists who make them great. It is All things Graphic Novel, with some literary awesome thrown in. The writers of this blog really know what they're talking about, and the result is AWESOME.

Finally, Juliette at Pop Classics has an awesome blog where she discusses references to Classical history in Pop culture! (See what she did there with the title of the blog? WAY Better than my A Ward failure up top.) Her review of Troy nearly made me snort water out my nose. She is thorough and hilarious, handling everything from Alexander The Great to Stargate to Xena.

So there you have it guys. The Prolific and the Awesome, all right in this blogpost for ease of access. Go forth, read, and enjoy!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Baking Blogfest!

So the other day I was thinking about how sad it is that we, as writers, never really get to write The Happy Stuff. I mean, you can have happy moments in your book, but they can never last-- happiness doesn't drive stories forward, and it certainly doesn't keep readers interested. I figure, maybe for blogfests, I can get away with giving them some happy times without the threat of everything blowing up in their face...

The Baking Blogfest is being hosted by Charity Bradford at My Writing Journey and you should be sure to hop over there and see who all else is participating! My scene takes place in Asgard. It does not take place in any of my books. Consider it a self-contained moment, outside of real continuity! I've left the narrator unnamed purposely, so I guess there's still a little bit of mystery involved. I apologize if it isn't up to the level I usually produce!

The kitchens of Bilskirnir were enormous. She would never have any reason to complain about counter space or room to work, and certainly there was plenty of storage space. The pantry alone was twice as large as her dorm room had been, and the root cellar was just as large. There was just one problem, which Thor had promised to remedy, and she couldn't really blame him for not having found the time, all things considered. They'd barely been together before he'd been exiled, and she didn't really expect him to wire the halls in Asgard for electricity just for her convenience, anyway.

She kneaded the dough on the floured table. She had gotten a later start this morning than she meant to, but it had been a very long time since she had last been required to milk a cow, or hunt for eggs among the chickens.

It wasn't really that she minded doing things by hand, but she did miss having an oven which could be set to a specific temperature, and a solid electric mixer would have made bread making a much less time consuming activity. There were, after all, no grocery stores, no 7-11s, and no deliveries. If she wanted bread for sandwiches, or toast, or breadcrumbs, she had to make it by hand first, and Thor might have been able to live for decades off no more than mead and golden apples, but she certainly wasn't going to starve herself for the next millennia.

She wondered if it had been fifteen minutes yet. That was how long it usually took to knead the dough. But of course, along with electricity, Asgard also lacked clocks and timers. Normally she didn't mind it so much, but she had scorched three loaves of bread in the last week for having lost track of the time while in the garden, picking herbs and vegetables and waiting for it to bake.

Thor had teased her for it, and eaten it without complaint, telling her it was much better than anything he had made in the last 500 years. If it were even 300 years ago, she'd perhaps have been proud, but it wasn't, and in the modern world, there really was no reason why she couldn't produce bread of reliable quality!

"I know," Thor said, stepping in from the garden. He set a bucket of goat's milk on the counter and reached over her head into a cabinet. "A proper oven is on its way, I promise. And Ra said he would come tomorrow to help with the wiring."

"I didn't realize he was an electrician."

"He isn't. But he's closer to it than I am, and I can hardly bring a mortal here." He shrugged. "It's a shame that Hephaestus left, though. He would have loved a project like this."

"Were you friends with Hephaestus?"

Thor smiled, withdrawing a collection of cheese cloths and shutting the cabinet door. "Not exactly. Aphrodite was always trying to seduce me, and I think he appreciated the fact that I never took her up on it, but I was rarely on Olympus, and he rarely left it. There was no bad blood between us, though, and that is probably the best that can be said for a relationship with any god."

She grimaced at the thought of Aphrodite as competition, studying Thor as he sifted through the milk, drawing out curdles in the cloth, his red-gold hair falling into his eyes. She folded the bread once more and set it to rise before putting it in the brick oven beside the hearth.

"I didn't think Aphrodite took that kind of rejection well," she said, trying to keep her tone mild. There was so much she didn't know about his past. So many things he had experienced without her. And yet, she did not doubt her understanding of who he was, for all the mystery.

"Mm." He looked up from the milk and met her eyes. The blueness of them still startled her after all these years. "Then it was a very good thing I was not much on Olympus, wasn't it?"

"But how did you escape when you were there?" she asked, ignoring the way his eyes had crinkled in the corners with amusement. "And for that matter, why would you want to?"

"She was married, and so was I. It would have been dishonorable, and I had no desire to cause trouble for anyone, least of all myself." The smile left his face and he turned back to the milk, fishing for more curds. "Perhaps it was foolish of me, but I never had much interest in sharing a bed with someone I did not care for, no matter what their reputation might have been."

She touched his arm, feeling the muscles working beneath the warm skin as he rang the extra whey from the cheesecloth. So much strength. So much restraint. For so long. She rested her head against his shoulder. He paused in his work, some of the tension draining from him. No longer. They were together, now.

"The oven doesn't matter, Thor," she said.


He chuckled softly and she felt him kiss the top of her head. "All the same, you'll have it. And the mixer too."

Hope you enjoyed it! I'm spending today at the art museum, and meeting my new nephew tomorrow, so I will be reading everyone's entries slowly but surely over the next couple of days. Happy Blogfest!