Friday, November 30, 2012

The Next Big Thing

V.R. Barkowski tagged me for The Next Big Thing, so now I have an excuse to talk about Pirithous even more than I already do!


1. What is your working title of your book?

Pirithous and Thalia go to Washington. Which is maybe not the most original title in the world, but definitely describes the story well.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

Actually, it came from my aunt. After I sent her the first Pirithous book (titled, much more practically, Son of Zeus) she read it, and wrote back to me with pitches for two more Pirithous books, and after reading them, I knew I *had* to write the stories, because I really wanted to read them. So, Pirithous and Thalia go to Washington is actually the sequel to Son of Zeus, and maybe I shouldn't be writing it, but WHATEVER. I needed to just have some fun, and there is no better pair of characters to have fun with than Pirithous as the fish out of water, and Thalia as his modern day guide to all things he should not be doing.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal Romance, easy peasy.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Geez. I have honestly never considered this at all. I'm not good at seeing faces when I picture people in my head, but now I'm going to have to go investigate and see who is most Pirithous-like in hollywood. They'd have to have a lot of natural athletic-grace, and some height, with the right kind of sparkle in their eye. Dead-eyes need not apply. Pirithous is a very animated kind of man, and he isn't afraid at all to show emotion, except, perhaps, fear. Maybe a Hugh Jackman kind of guy in his late twenties? As for Thalia -- A 20-something Caterina Murino would be on the right track.

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Pirithous isn't interested in letting modern-woman Thalia slip through his fingers once they've met, and if that means following her from Upstate New York, where he stumbled out of Hades, to Washington D.C., he isn't about to let a little thing like illegal immigration stand in his way.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I feel like this question should be worded differently. Do I want to be represented by an agency? Absolutely! Do I want to land said agent with Pirithous? ummmm. I'm not entirely sure I do. It's so different from everything else I've written, and so much more gratuitous, and it isn't really the book I want to make my name with as an Author. But I'd be a fool to say no if opportunity came knocking, either way.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I'm still in the middle! And I reached the middle in 2 weeks or so -- I'd guess it won't be done until early 2013, what with Christmas, and edits for my publisher, and other obligations. But if I had nothing else going on, another 4 weeks, max, I'd have a working first draft.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

North of Need by Laura Kaye comes to mind, published by Entangled. Though, that hero is a lot less of a fish out of water than Pirithous. Being trapped in a chair of forgetfulness in Hades for 3000+ years does not exactly allow one to keep tabs on how the world has grown and changed.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Didn't I answer this question already? If what you really want to know is where I got the Pirithous-comes-to-the-modern-world idea to begin with, *that* came from my mother. After I wrote HELEN OF SPARTA, my mother said "but -- I just hate to think of Pirithous trapped in Hades forever! Can't he escape somehow?!" and I thought "what if he DOES? but TODAY?" and then I ran with it, because there were a lot of people demanding that Pirithous get his own book, after reading HELEN, and I wanted to satisfy them with some kind of something. I expected maybe a short story kind of thing, and wound up with a novel. And then my aunt suggested the trilogy and... Poor Pirithous. He has a novella, too. I'm not sure how it happened that he had so many stories in him, but I love writing him, and I love getting him into trouble.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Well, Pirithous is not so well-known as a hero. He was Theseus' best friend back in the Bronze Age, and the only myths we really have are those in which his story intersects with Theseus. So I think readers might be interested because he's not so well established. And he is *really* sexy. But Thalia does not let him get away with ANYTHING, and it's really fun to see the world through his eyes, as someone coming from a totally *totally* different worldview -- for example, in Pirithous' day, it was totally normal to go out raiding and come home with some new livestock and a woman over your shoulder. Today, that's called kidnapping, theft, and, considering what Pirithous would have been planning to do with said woman, most likely, rape, which of course outrages Thalia. That contrast of values and morals, and the struggle of Thalia and Pirithous to come to some kind of understanding regarding those behaviors which are no longer acceptable in the slightest, is to me really fascinating, and not often addressed in these kinds of books, where the main characters travel through time, somehow or other. So. I don't know. Sexy Alpha Hero, put in his place by a sexy, confident modern woman. If that sounds like your cuppa, then Pirithous is your book.

Sooooooo... Those were some long answers. Which I hope VR, at least, will enjoy :) And I guess I have to pick some people to pass this along to? I am going to choose Mr. Z. Tringali and Ms. Diana Paz, because I am kind of maybe sure they have not taken part in this already? The questions are under the cut withOUT my answers for your copy/paste ease.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mycenaean Names

Thanks to the awesome talk on Bronze Age Greece mentioned in my earlier post, I am now well stocked with Mycenaean names of all kinds -- or um, some kinds, anyway. This list is mostly for me and my potential future needs,* but I thought some of you would appreciate the quick reference.

It seems like some names were based on occupation -- which should be too surprising, all things considered. In the modern world. we have that same kind of convention in our surnames (Smith, Potter, Cooper). A few examples from Linear B, related to Smithing:
Mycenaean Ruins, taken by Jeanhousen via wiki commons

Aithalos (Soot)
Arisbas (he who quenches very much)
Puraltas (Fire-feeder)
Purkoros (fire-sweeper)
Khalkeus (smith)
Melanthos (dark)
Pamphusos (all bellows)
Psolion (sooty)
Psolarkhos (he who rules over soot)

Other names were related to, it seems, characteristics:

Atukhos (Unlucky, armorer of the king)
Plouteus (Wealth/wealthy)
plus another name I didn't catch the spelling of but translated to "On the Lake" ha!

And still more were mentioned in passing and I have no idea what they mean:

Tantalos (like Tantalus? Kind of fitting if it was, what with him being the Great-Grandfather of Agamemnon.)
Komawens son of Dewos
Pakhullos, son of Dewos

Finally, a couple of titles:**

Wa-na-ka (Wanax, or King -- in the PALACE context, as opposed to the hamlet context)
Ra-wa-ke-ta (Iawagetas, Leader of the Host -- Kind of like the king, but not quite as impressive.)
E-qe-ta (Hequetas, Follower -- hypothesized as similar to Alexander the Great's companions, aristocratic companions to the Wanax.)
Qa-si-re-u (Basileus "community leader" or chief, which came to mean "king" in later Greek)

Also: Telestai (not explicitly discussed but presented in a chart as "governors" and "chiefs")

*Just like the rest of this blog, really. Not that I do not love sharing with all of you as a side-benefit! 

**Hyphenated words are the Linear B representations, and inside the parentheticals you'll find the later Greek and the meaning.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Week of Thanks-Giving!

It is, for all of my American friends and myself, Thanksgiving Week! The pre-Christmas holiday, wherein we subsidize grocery stores as a trial run for subsidizing all other retail outlets the VERY NEXT DAY.

In all seriousness, it is a big deal event, as we all know, and provokes family invasion -- and um, it's taking place at my house this year, hosted by myself and my sister. So I am busy thoroughly cleaning the house and doing food prep and last minute grocery runs, as I am sure many of you are as well. So, I am off the blog this week! I'll be back TUESDAY with a really fun post on Bronze Age Greek Related Things.

And for now, I just wanted to say Thanks (since it is Thanksgiving, after all), to all of you who read the blog, with extra bonus thanks for the comments, too, because the discussions are the best part! I love sharing the things I learn with all of you, and I love knowing that there are those of you out there who share my interest in all things Mythology and Ancient History.

I am at a point in my life where I am, without exaggeration, living my dream, and part of the dream has been accomplished because of you, my friends and followers, and the support you have given me as a writer. So!

Thank You!
and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Friday, November 16, 2012

On This, The Third Friday of NaNoWriMo...

First, the ever important and most excellent progress meter:

Because I made it to 50K on the 13th!!! WOO!

And today, I promptly decided that the last 1300 words I wrote yesterday were crap. Since I'm already safely over the 50K hurdle, with room to spare, I thought about just deleting them completely, but it didn't seem right. Not in November. Instead, I may or may not have just used the strikeout option.

And in celebration -- or um, in place of anything super exciting beyond 50K WOO WOOO 50K!!!!! allow me to share with you this strange, gothic, and almost steampunky image of Perseus I found while doing research on Pirithous's half-brother, and his association or lack thereof with the Helm of Hades.

Edward Burne-Jones - Perseus

It's so strange to think of these other heroes as siblings and cousins to one another. So often we don't have any understanding of those family bonds in the stories that surround them. Pirithous and Theseus are an exception, of course, since we know from more than one source that they were like brothers. But you never hear about Heracles calling up his half-brothers or sisters, or really forming relationships with his blood-relatives on his divine side. Sure, he might have buddied up with Theseus to hit on the Amazons, and there's that whole Jason and the Argonauts thing, about which we will not speak, but even when Euripides showcases the friendship between Theseus and Heracles, there isn't any mention of their familial bond. They were friends and heroes in arms, but not explicitly spoken of as cousins.

Of course Perseus and Pirithous are different generations of hero, and not at all contemporaries, so in this case, it's a lot less strange that there's no mention of anything, or even that they ever might have crossed paths -- to say nothing of the dearth of stories we have about Pirithous to begin with. But it doesn't stop me from wondering what Pirithous might have thought of his famous brothers...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


The other day, I was revising. The particular book I was revising requires me to move outside of my comfort zone of the past, particularly the ancient past, and move into the future. As such, I had opportunity to ask El Husband himself for some expert opinions on the Future of Airtravel.* Now, generally, when I ask El Husband a question regarding aviation, I get more answer than I want, but this time, I would not have traded the bonus content for ANYTHING.

What follows is DIRECTLY quoted from our email exchange.

First, the short answer from El Husband:
[...] I think semi-rigid heavier-than-air airships may come into use.  Super-sonic high-altitude jets will carry the more affluent.
But it's really impossible to say.  A century from now is pretty much in the realm of science fiction due to its virtually unlimited potential.

I replied:
Now, when you say airship, you mean BLIMP right?**

This of course prompted El Husband to give me the LONG answer:

No.  Though the layman might call it that.  The term "airship" is kind of like "airplane" in that it has a number of very different definitions.

Blimps are specifically non-rigid airships.  Giant floating balloons.  Like the Goodyear Blimp.  Cheap, novel, impractical for anything beyond tourism or advertising.

Rigid airships are like the Hindenburg.  Zeppelins.  They have metal girder skeletons and have isolated cells of gas.  They're designed for heavy-duty long-haul stuff.  Basically trans-oceanic passenger hauling.

Semi-rigid airships are a hybrid of the two, incorporating a limited skeleton.  However, the types that are in development now (and I find wicked interesting) are actually heavier-than-air but are designed to resemble a chunky flying wing, and use their engines and aerodynamics to overcome their weight and fly like a colossal but very slow airplane.   They're faster and can haul a LOT more cargo than rigid airships, and far more fuel efficient than airplanes (plus they can just drop onto a farmer's field and then fly back out again).  They may completely revolutionize transportation in developing nations.  I think they have more potential than darned near any aircraft ever developed.  I hope they go somewhere.

And then. AND THEN. He linked to a video. My friends and followers, this video is amazing. If ever there were a Stay Puft brand of Aviation, this creation, this semi-rigid airship, would be its mascot. It is the reason this post had to be written, because it clearly falls outside of the scope of this blog in every way. But. I could. Not. Stop myself. Just watch. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Now you know. And knowing is, as they say, half the battle.

*For those of you who do not know, El Husband has a deep and abiding love for all things aviation, and in fact received his Bachelor's degree in Airport Management. This also means he's a pilot. My Thing is Writing, El Husband's is Airplanes. Also, apparently, putting two spaces between his sentences.

**Because I am a philistine and an uneducated fool (when it comes to aviation). Though the other day, I correctly guessed that an airplane overhead was a Hercules, thankyouverymuch. Just goes to show that Aviation-stuff can be TAUGHT! 

Friday, November 09, 2012

NaNoWriMo Update

Hello friends! Welcome to your Friday National Novel Writing Month progress update! I am doing pretty splendidly, if a bit behind my usual madcap performance. By the time you read this, I may have even hit 30,000 words already! WOO. Let's hope that's the case because I need to build myself a buffer against the competition, AKA a certain Mr. Tringali, who in case you did not hear the news, is NEWLY AGENTED AHHHHHHH HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!? (Incidently, he has a most excellent blogpost regarding the relationship between Fantasy and Historical Fiction on his blog right now and you should check it out. And for reference, you might also reread my post on a similar topic!)

Anyway, PROGRESS REPORT STATUS BAR WORD WAR THINGY for your entertainment and mine:

I have finally regained the lead vs. Ms. Rigby, but I'm sure it won't last. Her output is tremendously awesome.

And also, a slideshow of art, because Thalia, my leading lady, has a masters in art history, and she took Pirithous to the National Gallery of Art, wherein none of these paintings reside, as far as I can tell, but I could SWEAR TO YOU ALL that I saw a copy of Spring there, once, when I was younger. Maybe it was on loan. I don't know. All I know, is that I fell in love with it, and I think Pierre Auguste Cot is pretty impressive when it comes to bringing his subjects to life on canvas. Anyway, it was research! (I am sticking to this story, shut up.) And now I am sharing it with you.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Mycenaen Greece and the Middle Class

If you missed the most excellent talk the other day, livestreamed from UND and hosted by the Cyprus Research Fund (and by missed, I mean Missed Out, because it was awesome), I thought I'd do a little bit of a recap on the most important points.

Professor Dimitri Nakassis (of the University of Toronto) theorizes from his study of the Linear B tablets that the old model of PALACE and PEASANTS for Mycenaean Greek society should be modified to include a thriving middle class and large variety of contracted local elites. He rejects the idea that the repeated names in the tablets are unrelated, or just popular names, and instead suggests that these repeated names with differing responsibilities were the same individuals who took on multiple middle-management type roles.
image taken by Christian Vandendorpe, via wiki commons

Names associated with titles and important roles are never interpreted as different people with the same names, but the names associated with practical roles and jobs (smith, shepherd, farmer) usually are brushed aside as multiple individuals who happen to share a name with someone else by coincidence. In addition, he points out, there are only one or two instances where it can be PROVEN that a single name applies to a handful of people, and that frequency of naming is still less than 1% of the names presented -- the most "popular" name in the Pylos tablets belongs to 7 men, as opposed to the popularity of a name like Michael or James in the modern world, which is used by something like 12% or more of a population.

So what does this mean? People in Mycenaean Greece weren't as cut and dried as we thought. It wasn't just the Haves and the Haves-Nots. And it wasn't The Palace, and everyone else as tenants. There's evidence of men taking on the roles of Smith, Shepherd, and Land Owner -- perhaps not personally going out and herding the goats, or tilling the fields, but rather as taking responsibility for those tasks and delegating or overseeing the work as done by others. Contracted by the Palace, and subcontracting to whoever is below him on the totem pole. And the assumption that Smithing was some kind of manual labor done by peasant-level citizens is also challenged. Smithing in particular may well have been a skill which PROVIDED status, or at the very least allowed someone to move up the ladder into a local-elite position.

Basically it all boils down to this one, seemingly common-sense framework: People who are mentioned a whole bunch of times across a variety of tablets and related to a multitude of roles are probably more important than people who are mentioned a handful of times, and those people in turn are probably more important than the people mentioned just once or twice, which creates a scale of importance far more complex than simply PALACE ELITE and PEASANT. In fact, it creates a middle class, full of private landowners, private flock owners, private merchants, private artisans, and presents an argument for relationships between these people of LOCAL importance and the Palace which are far more interesting than we previously thought.

It seems like such a simple thing, but its funny how those simple things can be so overlooked for so long!

Friday, November 02, 2012


Hey, look, I am noveling this month!

I think as such, I will temporarily make Fridays into writerly/Nano updates. I am not anticipating another madcap year, because I've got a lot going on besides JUST nanoing this year, but I do mean to make it to 50K. Uh. Just not on Heracles like my profile says. This is going to be another Pirithous book, because I love him, and he's fun, and dag nabbit, I just need some fun in my life right now! So, writing for the joy of writing, and the satisfaction of hitting those wordcount goals, and getting back into the swing of daily writing, which I have been terrible about for the last couple of months with everything hitting the wall the way it has.

Anyway, here is a fancy widget telling you how I am doing.

Keep me honest, friends and followers! 50K or bust!! And if you're also participating, say it loud and proud in the comments!

ETA: I wrote a guest post about my Nano tradition for World Weaver Press's blog, which you can also read, here!