The Queen and her Brook Horse, An Orc Saga Novella, Book 2.5, is Available Now!
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.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

March Roars aka SECRET THINGS!

Forged by Fate's cover art got 3 thumbs up from All Things Urban Fantasy on Wednesday! And it is coming out on Tuesday. TUESDAY! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, I'm a little bit excited. In fact, I'm so excited about this coming Tuesday that I am posting on Monday with some exciting awesome THINGS which hopefully will make up for the fact that I am not posting properly this month.

But first, I have some OTHER important THINGS to share with you. Let us begin with some photography:

But wait, I hear you saying, this photo is familiar. Didn't you ALREADY post a picture of yourself signing things? Yes. Yes, I did. When I signed my contract for Forged by Fate, I did indeed immortalize it in the digital world with a picture. So what on earth could I possibly be signing now?! Well, there are two important points to this photograph which I'd like to emphasize now. With more photography.


Yes, that is Zeus on my shirt, pitching lightning bolts from the clouds after deflecting a fish with his forehead. This may or may not be a clue as to which of my manuscripts was the impetus of this immortalized moment.


Yes, that does say Folio Literary Management. And Retainer Agreement. And Michelle Brower. 

And yes, yes I did sign with an agent!

A wonderfully enthusiastic agent, in fact, who makes free with exclamation points the way I had always hoped one would!

This is just the beginning of the story -- and I promise you, there will be a full accounting of "how I got my agent" so definitely check back after Forged by Fate's release for all the details! For now, let me point you to a few new places where you will find me (and I hope you'll follow me!), because I'm embarking on a publication quest in a new genre with Michelle, and that means I get to be TWO authors moving forward. 

So, Friends and Followers, meet Amalia Carosella, my alter ego, who will be pursuing a traditional publishing career writing historical fiction! You'll find us on Twitter, Facebook, and over yonder at

But don't despair -- Good to Begin Well isn't going anywhere, either! It will still be the same blog it's always been. I just hope you'll add Helen loves Theseus* to your blogrolls as well :)

So! There you have it! DEFINITELY WITHOUT A DOUBT check back on Monday, because you are going to want to know the DEETS surrounding Forged by Fate's party central, aka, this blog. I hope you'll all bear with me through the excess of author enthusiasm and we can reach the other side of this together, at which point, I promise you at LEAST a summary regarding King Gautrek. (So far this Norseman is definitely giving the Greeks a run for their money in the Explicitly Naked Hero department.)

Monday!!! Be here or Be Square!!

*This may or may not be another clue as to which manuscript finally catapulted me out of the trenches of the Query Wars.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

T-minus One Week: Norse Myth Enthusiasms

Bookmarks are winging their way to me as we speak, as well as some awesome stickers, and you've all seen the fabulosity that is Forged by Fate's cover! Friends, this is really happening.

So, in an excess of enthusiasm for Norse Myth as the big day approaches (and make no mistake, the Fate of the Gods series definitely has no dearth of Norse Myth and Thor Love), I wanted to share with you this beyond fascinating video regarding the translation of names in Norse Mythology and how it changes the meanings of the myths when we look more closely at them.

Seriously, seriously -- it is worth the 8 minutes of your time to consider if you love Norse Mythology (and I'm not sure why you would be reading this blog if you didn't!).

EXCITING THINGS ARE COMING, friends and followers! Hopefully I'll be able to share more soon.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Forged By Fate COVER REVEAL!!!!!

The time has come AT LAST, and today is the day! Forged by Fate cover art is HERE! And look!!! LOOK AT HOW PRETTY IT IS!!!!!!

Add it on Goodreads, if you haven't! And don't forget to order your copy on March 5th!!
(I am absolutely in love with this cover, you guys, you do not even know! WWP did an amazing job!)

What's that? You haven't heard of Forged by Fate?! Well, you're in luck! Here's the cover copy, for your reference:
After Adam fell, God made Eve to protect the world. — Adam has pursued Eve since the dawn of creation, intent on using her power to create a new world and make himself its God. Throughout history, Eve has thwarted him, determined to protect the world and all of creation. Unknown to her, the Norse god Thor has been sent by the Council of Gods to keep her from Adam’s influence, and more, to protect the interests of the gods themselves. But this time, Adam is after something more than just Eve’s power — he desires her too, body and soul, even if it means the destruction of the world. Eve cannot allow it, but as one generation melds into the next, she begins to wonder if Adam might be a man she could love.

Every god, from each of the world’s pantheons, mythologies, and religions — they’re all real in this enthralling fantasy romance that spans centuries.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ahhhhh! T-minus Two Weeks!

So, a lot is happening right now and we are exactly TWO WEEKS from the Forged by Fate release!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

What this means: I am losing my head.

What else this means: I am driving everyone around me crazy. Seriously, you have no idea. And not just with Forged by Fate related things either, though I am definitely driving el husband toward the level of demented when I lean over his shoulder while he works on things I asked him to do. You guys are going to love the results of what we are brewing over here, I promise.

What else else this means: my house is a shambles. Between El Husband using his free time to help me prepare RELEASE things and me using my time to freak out over all things writerly related, yeah. It's a problem. I would not be surprised if one of these days he comes home to find me curled up in the corner, rocking back and forth with scary blank eyes. (Not really. I am fine. Just busy-busy-busy getting everything I can get squared away squared away in advance! And um. Stuff! That I am not ready to spill the beans about! But definitely DEFINITELY you want to hit up the blog on March 4th for exciting awesome excitement.)

And also: I am writing guest posts for The Release and my brain is mush.

But all that said, some VERY EXCITING things are coming to the blog soon, INCLUDING COVER ART on Friday! (And let me know if you want in on some of this Cover Art Reveal Action, because we can totally do this thing!)

I should probably get back to reading Seven Viking Romances so I can fill you guys in on King Gautrek, who, so far, is much less offensive in personality than Arrow-Odd, though he certainly shows the same strange disregard for daughters.


More soon, blogfriends and followers. I promise.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Mythology in The Magic Wakes

Charity Bradford has been incredibly supportive from the very first blogfest, and I have the honor of being part of her blogtour for her first book, THE MAGIC WAKES, a cool mish-mash of sci fi and fantasy. When I first asked Charity to talk a little bit about mythology and how it relates to her book, she told me there wasn't much, but with a protagonist named Talia, I knew already that there was more than she'd realized!

Without further Ado, Here's Charity!

Banner 3

Thank you Amalia for hosting me today and for asking for a post that made me think.

I should preface this whole post by saying that whenever I talk about “the story” I mean Talia’s entire ARC. The Magic Wakes is a stand alone, but it’s really only the inciting incident in her journey.

This was the hardest post I had to prepare for my blog tour. Why? There are myths that will slowly build over the course of this series, but I didn’t intend on bringing them in until the second book. However, I’m human and there are several mythological themes already present in the story. When I looked closer at The Magic Wakes I noticed tiny hints to the future mythology I wanted to set up. They are so tiny you might miss them even if you search for them. Mostly I was surprised at how my own mythological beliefs if you will, affected the progression of my story. Let’s look at some of the main themes of mythology (mostly Greek) and how they manifest themselves in The Magic Wakes.

Heroism—This one is easy. As writers we all want strong, brave, noble, and clever heroes. My story is no different. Talia is all of these things, but it will take the entire journey to bring out all of the characteristics. Her’s is a quest of growth, even though she doesn’t know it yet. Along the way she does a lot of saving.

Love—There are often two kinds of love found in mythology. First there is that “struck by Cupid’s arrow” kind of impulsive and often very visceral love. It’s the all hot and bothered here in the moment kind of love. Talia and Landry feel this in the beginning but try their best to ignore it. However, you’ll see that Landry does become a bit obsessed with Talia and is borderline “stalking” her all in the name of duty. This is reminiscent of the “I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth and do anything to have you” effect of Cupid on his targets.

The second kind of love is there as well. Over the course of the story we will see our heroes love deepen to that longer lasting kind similar to Ceyx and Alcyone, who become birds and fly together for eternity after their tragic deaths. Although Talia and Landry aren’t going to turn into birds or die because of jealous gods. ;)

Fate—Ah, we can’t talk about mythology without fate. The supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events and/or the inevitable events predestined by this force. Talia thinks she’s fighting her destiny or fate in The Magic Wakes, not realizing this is only the catalyst that will lead her to her ultimate fate by the end of the series. It this conclusion inevitable? Heh, heh, we’ll just have to wait and see now won’t we?

Sacrifice—There are so many great sacrifices in Greek Mythology (Antigone, Pyramus and Thisbe). We get a small hint of what Talia is willing to sacrifice in The Magic Wakes, but the big one doesn’t come until book three.

There are two other mythological ideas that are a part of my grand plan: Creationism and that of individuals being chosen or set apart as special. I’m actually very excited about my creation slant but still need to work out a few small details. Luckily I have a few more books to develop it. ;)

The final element of mythology that slipped into my writing without me realizing it was tied to mythology is the magic. My form of magic is very closely tied to the earth and elements with has a European flavor, perhaps Celtic? Let’s just say that in its earliest versions, my husband described it as a faerie-like tree hugger kind of magic. I’ve toned it down a bit and deepened the descriptions since then, so I hope that’s no longer the feel, but what’s wrong with loving trees and nature?


Talia has a secret, one that will save her world and yet rip it apart. Only she can decide if the price is worth it.

Scientist Talia Zaryn has always had visions of an alien invasion and of her own death. She’s kept it a secret, hoping they are nothing more than childish nightmares. But when her face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears the dreams are prophetic. Talia must prove that life exists beyond their planet, Sendek; perhaps then people will prepare to fight.

Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is that traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant their minds are connected and they can communicate telepathically. Just as the two begin to trust each other, the invading force arrives.

Talia and Landry must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat these terrifying creatures. And Talia is the key—if only she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.

If any of this sounds interesting, The Magic Wakes is available February 19th from WiDo Publishing -- from whom you can pre-order now! Or hit up Amazon!

Friday, February 15, 2013

An Autographed copy of Forged by Fate: For the Children!

Beginning at 6pm PST TONIGHT (February 15th), is the Solid Saints auction to benefit Child's Play Charity, which works with children's hospitals and gets The Fun to kids who are stuck inside them. Solid Saints is put together by the fine folks of the Penny Arcade Forums, of which I am a member, and since I've gotten a lot out of being a member, I wanted to contribute something to the cause.

As such, I'm offering up an autographed copy of Forged by Fate with some bonus stickers and whatnot.*

So basically what I'm saying is -- after 6pm PST TONIGHT, February the 15th and before 6pm PST on SUNDAY, February 17th, if you want a chance at an autographed copy of my debut novel, this is as good as any, and I am hoping very much to deliver it within the first week after release! Um. Unless you happen to be outside of the USA, in which case I cannot make promises as to SPEED of delivery, really, but I will do my best to get it out the door the moment I have it in my hand.

And if you don't want an autographed copy of Forged by Fate because, I don't know, you live down the street and plan on stalking me until I sign your kindle (I have the perfect markers for that!), you should check out the auction anyway, because maybe there is something else awesome that you'd like! It's for a good cause, I promise!

In other news: Sunday we are having a special bonus guest post from Ms. Charity Bradford, author of THE MAGIC WAKES -- so definitely stop back that day for a peek into the influences of mythology on her book!

*The whatnot is not yet decided as it will depend on printing and arrival times of aforementioned whatnots! BUT. They will be cool things!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lessons from The Tain: Just a Flesh Wound

A guest post from @Trinza AKA Zachary Tringali! Because Celtic Mythology rocks, and is severely underrepresented on this blog.

Battle in The Tain, one of Ireland’s books of mythology, is a gruesome affair.

For starters, Cú Chulainn, the hero of the tale, turns into a monster when he gets riled up. A creature that would make the Hulk look like a stuffed animal. Here’s a description from Ciaran Carson’s translation of The Tain:
An inaccurate portrayal of Cu, apparently.
“The first Torque seized Cú Chulainn and turned him into a contorted thing, unrecognizably horrible and grotesque. Every slab and every sinew of him, joint and muscle, shuddered from head to foot like a tree in the storm or a reed in the stream. His body revolved furiously inside his skin. His feet and his shins and his knees jumped to the back; his heels and his calves and his hams to the front…”

“Then he made a red cauldron of his face and features: he sucked one of his eyes so deep into his head that a wild crane would find it difficult to plumb the depths of his skull to drag that eye back to its socket; the other popped out on to his cheek. His mouth became a terrifying, twisted grin. His cheek peeled back from his jaws so you could see lungs and liver flapping in his throat; lower and upper palate clashed like a pair of mighty tongs, and a stream of white-hot flecks broad as a ram’s fleece poured from his mouth.”
Not exactly the kind of guy you want to meet in a dark alley at night. Or in a field during the day. Or anywhere. Ever.

Of course, when he’s not driven to anger, he’s described as being one of the most handsome men in Ireland, with bright hair and bright eyes and a youthful face. But the horrors of battle in The Tain don’t end with its hero’s transformation.

The central premise of the book is that a king and queen are leading an army into foreign territory to steal a bull. I know that sounds weird, but it’s a really cool bull. Supposedly it sires 50 cattle a day just by walking near another cow. And the cows that don’t give birth the next day literally explode because of how great his sperm is.

But I’m getting off topic. Due to an old curse put upon the people of Ulster, the only person available to defend the land (and bull) against this invading army is one man: Cú Chulainn, who often challenges the army to single combat. The king and queen send over their best men to fight Cú Chulainn, and he kills them all. But not before they get a last word in.

More often than not, Cú Chulainn will do something like split a man’s skull in two only for that man to stand still for a moment and exclaim something to the effect of, “I sure was stupid for fighting you. I guess I’ve lost this one!” and then collapsing dead.

Invariably, the hill or valley where that battle was fought is then renamed something like “Skull Split Valley.” If we’re to take a cartography lesson from The Tain, it’s that every single hill, valley, and river in Ireland is named after a place where Cú Chulainn killed someone in a new, inventive way.

Seriously, it happens about every other page.

The best tale of battle, I think, is the man who Cú Chulainn stabbed through the eye with a spear. The man then looks at Cú Chulainn and says “Boy, this sucks. Would you allow me to go back across the river and tell my family where my treasure is? I promise I’ll come back to have my head chopped off.” (Paraphrasing, of course.)

Cú Chulainn lets him do as he asks and eventually the man comes back, but tries to kill Cú by throwing his sword at him. Our fierce hero goes into a battle rage and kills all of them, of course.

This all leads up to Cú Chulainn’s fight with his foster brother Fer Diad. Their fight lasts three days, over the course of which they switch from martial arts to spears, swords, and more, which gave them both wounds of the sort described here:
“So that day they took up their specially strengthened broad-shields and their beloved broad stabbing-spears, and began to stab and cut each other, pushing and thrusting from the half-light of early morning until the evening sunset. If it were customary for birds in flight to pass through men’s bodies, they would have flown through their bodies that day and brought with them gobbets of blood and flesh through their open cuts into the air and the clouds beyond.”
So, essentially, these two fighters were carving holes in one another big enough for birds to fly through. And they’re still so tough that they have a rest for the night and get right back to it the next day, where the only comment from the whole affair is:
“ ‘You do not look well today, Fer Diad,’ he said. ‘Your hair has grown dull overnight, and your eye is clouded. You are not in good shape.’ “
Well, and neither would I be after all that!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Old Ideas

When I was in high school I wrote this long short story about a woman who had been raised by dragons -- a knight of a woman, who had been raised by dragons, actually. And then I wrote kind of a sequel about another woman, a bard, who was a companion to a shapeshifting dragon.* These women were named Anessa and Nemi, respectively.

from Project Gutenburg
via wiki commons
Anessa went on to become the name of a character in an altogether different story -- you might have heard of it, maybe, if you hang around the blog here. It's called Forged by Fate. But even though I might have recycled the names into more successful stories, I never did recycle the plot. Every once in a while I look back on it and think -- huh. Maybe it's time to dust it off. Maybe just rewrite it and see what happens.

But then I go back and dig out a piece of it to reread and ugh.


An excerpt for your mocking pleasure:
“How could you go behind my back?!” she demanded, stomping her foot, hands on her hips. “Why would you tell them such things?!”

Solaris stood unflinchingly before her, her precious lute strapped to his back. He had just returned from the Inn. “You’re distressed, Nemii. Perhaps you had too little sleep last night?” he inquired solicitously.

“Perhaps I don’t need you interfering in my personal affairs!” She countered, infuriated by his response to her tirade.

“I brought you your lute…” he slipped it off his shoulder and hesitantly held it out to her, as if it were an offering of peace. In a way, it was.

She plucked it out of his grasp with great care, inspecting every inch of the instrument for damage before spinning on her heel and storming out of the chamber.

He watched her go, raking his fingers through his hair in puzzlement at her behavior; a purely human affectation, he noted. He had thought he was helping her…
The adverbs! The said substitutions! The head-hopping! Using the verb "pluck" next to a description of "with great care!"

My friends, in the great year of 2002, I was not a good writer.

"infuriated by his response to her tirade" I MEAN REALLY WHAT.

I'm kind of afraid that when I take a good long hard look at the story -- not the writing, but the story itself -- I'm going to realize that isn't worth revisiting, either. But the thing is, I'm a better writer now. And if there IS something to salvage...

Well, I won't know until I give it a shot, and being afraid it's crap isn't a good enough reason not to try!

*The name Solaris belonged to a character created by a friend who was roleplaying a shapeshifting dragon. That said, his character and the character I wound up writing -- not the same in execution. But. Credit where credit is due! My dragonman had a lot more in common with The Doctor, in point of fact. Which means I am ripping off THE WHOLE WORLD ARGH. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Sif, Goddess of... Prosperity?

We've talked a little bit about Sif before on the blog -- mostly in regard to how little we have in the source material attesting to her character, which I'd like to recap briefly:
Thor's wife, Sif, is only related to us in any real detail in two places. A story in the Skáldskaparmál (from Snorri's Prose Edda) during which Loki shaves off her hair in the night as a cruel prank, and within a poem called the Lokasenna in the Poetic Edda where Loki insults by turns the majority of those residing in Asgard, Sif included. Sif is greatly upset by the loss of her hair, and Loki, to make amends (and probably to prevent Thor from delivering a beating he wouldn't soon forget) retrieves for her a wig of golden hair from the dwarves to replace it. In the Lokasenna, Loki accuses Sif of taking him as her lover. We don't know if Sif actually did have an affair with Loki or not, as it is neither confirmed nor denied anywhere else in the remaining myths and she doesn't refute it in the poem.

We know Sif is beautiful, but other than these two accounts, we know nothing about her character. My own interpretation of Sif from these bits and pieces is of a vain goddess, and from the way she addresses Loki in the Lokasenna it almost sounds as though because of her relationship with him, she expects him not to insult her. I wouldn't be surprised if Loki appealed to her vanity to get her into bed with him, since Thor is so often out wandering and getting into fights with giants.

But there's a third discussion of Sif's character that I mentioned in a later post, from the Lay of Hárbarðr, wherein a disguised Odin, in a match of insult with Thor, tells his son that Sif is having an affair and he should get back home and deck that guy instead of standing around unarmed in a battle of wits. Add to this the established fact that Sif has a son, Ullr, who is most explicitly named as Thor's step-son, and it gives you some food for thought. Either Sif had an affair with someone before her marriage to Thor (totally plausible) or she had an affair after she married Thor.

Admittedly, both of these accusations regarding Sif's fidelity are brought out in Flyting Poems, wherin the entire point is to out-insult the other party. And just as admittedly, calling a dude a cuckold is probably low-hanging fruit. But you have to wonder. Or at least I do. Especially when there is so little else to support any indication of Sif's character beyond the story of her hair being shorn, are these two references to her as an adulteress preserved for a reason? Is it another way to show that Thor is kind of a dumb ox, too stupid to realize his wife is fooling around behind his back? But if so, it's only powerful if it's true.

Now it's pretty well assumed that Sif's golden hair is an association with wheat and the bounty of the harvest, and her marriage to Thor is maybe representative of the union of sky god and earth goddess -- the rain falling to fertilize the fields -- but I'm not sure this makes Sif herself a goddess of fertility, so much as it reflects upon Thor's position as a god of fertility. But what if Sif with her golden hair made of magic, practically living gold, was a goddess of prosperity instead? The sheering of her hair being representative of the harvest and the reaping of wheat is pretty well accepted, but instead of Sif growing that hair back like any normal person, it's replaced with gold. What if she's the goddess invoked to protect the STORES, the goddess of the gathered bounty, and the wealth it can provide in exchange.

There isn't, that I've found so far, any sign or symbolism related to Sif as a healer, but prosperity is hardly limited to grain and money (though I do kind of like the idea of her being a goddess of bread and beer, just because... alliteration). Prosperity is a product of health -- a man being strong enough to plow his fields and plant his seed, then capable of harvesting it, bringing it to market after that. It's a product of surviving childbirth and raising those kids to adulthood to help work the fields and support the family.

But if she's a goddess concerned with wealth, that certainly might relate to greed and vanity, in addition. Success and prosperity is so often caught up in honor and respect. Appearances and keeping up with the Joneses, next door. And if Thor is running around having affairs with Giantesses -- Jarnsaxa is the father of Magni, Thor's son -- and leaving her at home while he goes about Adventuring, it isn't difficult to believe that Sif might be inclined to punish him for the perceived slight to herself. And what Sif can give by way of prosperity, bounty, children, gold, honor, health, I have no trouble believing she can take away.

Maybe that's why the only child Sif and Thor have together is one, single daughter, Thrud.

Friday, February 01, 2013

The Theseus Propaganda

A lot of people wind up at the blog because they're googling some variation on this question:
Although a king, what form of government was Theseus supposed to have established at Athens?
We've talked about this before, and I called shenanigans on the supposed answer. And when you get right down to it, I'd say that a lot of these kinds of stories about Theseus were not just shenanigans, but they were also something more: propaganda.

Theseus delivering a beat down. With a club.
image by Roland Longbow, via wiki commons
You see, there was this other hero back in the day. You might have heard of him -- that guy with the immense strength and the short fuse, likes the ladies, and goes by the name of Heracles? I mean, he was awesome. Sacked Troy all by his lonesome, went on ADVENTURES constantly, with his, ah, buddies. All those twelve labors with the bonus "get with all 50 of my daughters" 13th. Totally undefeated in all things except for Love. (Love conquers all, guys. Er. Or do I mean infidelity? So hard to keep them straight.)

Heracles was pretty stiff competition for anyone. But the Athenians -- they never settle for second best. Instead, they made Theseus a companion to Heracles on some of his most famous journeys. In fact, that went ahead and made Theseus a companion to everyone on their most famous journeys. They sent him off with Jason after the Golden Fleece, with Heracles against the Amazons, they sent his sons to Troy, even though they had totally been deposed by Menestheus when Theseus was run out of Athens upon his return from the Underworld. They inserted Theseus into so many stories, that he became his own expression: Not Without Theseus. Meaning, nobody got anything awesome done without the ATHENIAN hero himself. Not even Heracles!

So, Heracles had the 12 labors? Theseus had 6 of his own -- and conquered them before he'd even reached manhood! And!! After THAT, he liberated Athens from the subjugation of Minos by shipping out to Crete as tribute and killing the Minotaur. Yeah, okay, sure, maybe Heracles did kill snakes in his crib as an infant, but Theseus could have taken the easy route to Athens by sea, he didn't need a goddess to drive him into madness to become a hero, he made a deliberate choice to be all he could be! And he taught wrestling to the Greeks. And, he was so enlightened and just, he practically created DEMOCRACY!

Heracles? pfft. He just whaled on people with his club. All he had going for him was crude power. Theseus had brains as well as a club! Because Theseus is nothing if not a reflection of the virtues of Athens. A shining example of everything the Athenians believed in.

Now, I'm not saying Theseus didn't make with all the awesome -- but I am going to say this:

In other countries where the king sets up some additional governmental body to offer advice and maybe even make a few decisions on their own, while still remaining KING, himself, we don't call that a democracy. We call it a monarchy. In fact, Elective Monarchy might be the most fitting way of describing government in Theseus' day. And it wasn't special to Athens. In those days, nobody got to be king just because he was born a prince. Sure, it gave you a leg up, but if you didn't have the support of your people? Pfft.

Your days were numbered.

Even when you're Theseus, bringer of "democracy" and Hero of Attica.