Friday, December 20, 2013

A Winter's Enchantment and Taming Fate!

I'm back! Again! Because this Hiatus is a big lie and don't forget to sign up for the No-Kiss Blogfest Go! Go! Go! and I'm here to tell you about my NEW Fate of the Gods novella, Taming Fate! It's part of WWP's A WINTER'S ENCHANTMENT anthology, and I am in fantastic company with Kristina Wojtaszek and Elise Forier Edie. (For those of you who are always telling me I need more description, you will be very content with their work! Both are very atmospheric writers with beautiful prose!)

So let me share a little bit about each of the stories in A Winter's Enchantment, so you can be confident in your purchase:

The Devil in Midwinter by Elise Forier Edie.

December in the orchard town of Mattawa, Washington, is usually quiet, and the biggest stories in the local newspaper center on the annual Midwinter Fire Festival. But a murder, sightings of a fantastic beast in the orchards and the arrival of a handsome new vintner in town have kindled reporter Esme Ulloa’s curiosity—and maybe her passion as well. However, the more she untangles the mystery, the more the world she knows unspools; until she finds herself navigating a place she thought only existed in storybooks, where dreams come alive, monsters walk the earth and magic is real. When tragedy strikes close to home, Esme finds she must strike back, matching wits with an ancient demon in a deadly game, where everything she values stands to be lost, including the love of her life.

Taming Fate by Amalia Dillin.

In 15th Century France, Eve would have burned as a witch if it hadn’t been for the too-timely arrival of the Marquis DeLeon to save her skin, but their hasty marriage is off to anything but a smooth start. As tensions in the town grow, Ryam DeLeon knows if he and Eve cannot find common ground, their first Christmas may be their last. (This novella can be read as book 2.5 in the Fate of the Gods series.)

Opal by Kristina Wojtaszek.

White as snow, stained with blood, her talons black as ebony… The worlds of Fae and Men collide. The daughter of an owl, forced into human form by the death of her Fae mother, must seek the truth of her parentage. The son of a king, deep in the snowy woods, finds the love he’d only dreamt of in the arms of a Fae shapeshifter. The past is shrouded in secrecy, and the future wrapped in snow.

Digital and trade paperback editions are available NOW! So treat yourself to a little bit of Winter Romance (with more than a splash of Fantasy) this season, and don't forget to leave a review!

Kindle | Barnes and Noble | Amazon (paperback)

And now we return you to your regularly scheduled Santa Thor Holiday Hiatus.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The 5th Annual NO KISS Blogfest!

You read that correctly, blogfriends! The NO KISS blogfest, as hosted by Ms. Frankie Diane Mallis is coming -- this year, with a small change of hosting venue,* as Frankie is doing ALL THE THINGS (seriously have you seen her course listings because I want to take all her classes please) and neither one of us wanted to see this most excellent of traditions fall by the wayside! Rest assured, however, her vision (and participation!) will remain intact!

Your mission on January 2, 2014, should you choose to accept it, is to share that most elusive and satisfying of scenes: the ALMOST KISS! It can be yours, or your favorite from a book you love, or even a scene from a film or television series -- all formats are acceptable, as long as no lips actually lock!

So, direct from Frankie's own blogpost announcing last year's event, the RULES:

Things You Should Do To Prepare For The Ultimate Non-Kissage Festivities!
1) Sometime between now and Jan 2, 2014 write a post about the No Kiss Blogfest to let everyone know you are participating and that they should too. Why? Because it's awesome! (Please link back)

2) Sign up for the No Kiss Blogfest by filling in the Mr. Linky below.  Because Mr. Linky is awesome.

3)Tweet about No Kiss Blogfest, using the hash tag: #nokissblogfest because #hashtagsareawesome

4) After you've recovered from New Years Eve, write a blog sharing your Almost Kiss, No Kiss Blogfest entry (either one from your WIP, one you just wrote, one from a book, movie or tv show, or even a really hot almost-kiss picture)and post on January 2, 2014!!! Because reading your posts are awesome! (Don't forget to link back)
I would add one more thing to Frankie's To-Do list and that's this:

5) Settle in at your computer on January 2 and enjoy the buffet of No-Kisses!

And, of course, we always have to have a rockin' No Kiss example to inspire your participation:

First, because this is my blog and obviously, it all comes back to Thor**

and Second, a Clip for you, because that is how it is done-- Pride and Prejudice is a traditionally fantastic choice! Oh, Darcy!

So! If you're ready to accept the challenge of the No Kiss Blogfest, Sign ups begin Now!

*I know, I know I said I was on Hiatus but the No Kiss Blogfest ALWAYS Supercedes Hiatusing! It's TRADITION!

**yes I screencapped this from the Thor and Jane Featurette Marvel put out to promote the movie, which you can watch HERE!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Hiatus with Santa Thor!

'Tis the Season!

I'll be back to post about A Winter's Enchantment -- a holiday themed fantasy romance anthology from World Weaver Press, which contains a very exciting Fate of the Gods Novella! -- but otherwise, expect things to be quieter around these parts for the rest of December (and probably through January, because I need to get me into the writer cave after my incredibly unproductive NaNoWriMo failure!) But when I come back, I promise to have some REALLY AWESOME news to share, which I hope you will be as excited about as I am.*

To tide you over, can I interest you in a comic about Santa's secret identity? (Spoiler: It's related to Norse Myth.)

Or how about a fabulous 4.5 Star Review of FORGED BY FATE (plus a giveaway)?

I am sorry to say I'm lacking a NEW holiday mythological-figure-wearing-Santa-hat for the blog this year, so you'll have to settle for Santa Thor from a few years back! From Thor and Me (and El Husband I suppose!) to you and yours:

Have a happy holiday season (whatever you celebrate!) and a fantastic new year!!

Thor's Santa Hat edit by the fabulous Zak Tringali.
also it is all the more fitting after you read the comic strip. Just fyi.

*Hint: it might be related to my next release! And um. Hunky Orcs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thor in Comics, Myth, and Film; and the Christianization of Myth

I spent some time recently mulling over this interview on the Norse Mythology Blog (which is a fantastic resource for anyone studying or interested in Norse Myth, by the way), and it finally allowed my thoughts on the topic of the Thor movies and Marvel and Myth to come together in a way that's been eluding me for some time. While I highly recommend you read the post on that blog first, discussing the Thor movies and how they relate to the myths and culture of the Norse people, you can probably get away with reading this post without it, as well.

Most mythic traditions are not static (those that descend from Oral traditions even less so) -- we see that in the discussion of the myths from the perspective of the three different sources mentioned in this interview (Adam of Bremen, Snorri, and Tacitus). We see it, also, comparatively, in the Greek and Roman myths, where a lot more sources and therefore a lot more contradictions have survived. Myth and religion before Christianity was often HIGHLY localized, and it makes sense that this same localization could exist temporally as well -- time and culture warping and changing the myths, excising the old and introducing the new, to make it relevant to the modern values of that period and culture as those values and cultures shift. This is why there isn't a lot of argument about the fact that comics are a continuation of these ancient mythologies, generally speaking.

I can completely understand the frustration of Christian values being cast backward onto myths which predate them* but we can't deny that Christianity has transformed culture and civilization in the western world (in some cases to the good, in others horrifyingly the opposite.) It's only natural that this coloring and transformation would continue to occur as we retell these pre-Christian myths and bring them into the modern era, and I would argue that perhaps this is just another form of localization, not meant to invalidate or erase, but to co-exist peaceably alongside all the other interpretations and perspectives, much like we tolerate, study, and treat inclusively the differences and contradictions between Euripides and Plutarch. Or, to stay within the same fold of faith, the Swedish traditions discussed by Adam of Bremen and the Icelandic tradition as preserved by Snorri.

I think it's obvious from the Prose Edda's introduction, that Snorri grinds up the cultural artifact of Norse Myth just as determinedly as the entertainment industry -- and arguably, for the same reasons, to make it easily graspable by the widest possible demographic, in order to preserve the poetic forms of that period -- but we accept him as a legitimate and valuable source for Norse Myth, all the same, in spite of the fact that he was Christian, and living in a time when the majority of the worship of these gods had been stamped out by the Church. So is he really so different from Marvel? Or Hollywood in general?

I'm not saying we shouldn't point at the Thor movies and the Thor comics and deconstruct them, discussing what is consistent with the previous mythology and what isn't -- I think it's absolutely important and critical that we do so! But I think, perhaps, we should also be discussing and acknowledging and accepting that myth evolves while we engage in this study, rather than using the deconstruction as a way to invalidate the new interpretations. We should examine where these "new" or "transformative" elements have come from, just as we examine Snorri's Edda, or Homer's Iliad, but that doesn't mean once they've been identified, they should be rejected out of hand.

Hollywood and Marvel aren't my personal first choice for a vehicle of preservation and continuation of myth (I wouldn't write books of my own, otherwise), but I think we can safely say that they make it that much harder to forget that Thor exists. And they get maybe the absolute most important element right when it comes to Thor's character and duties -- as the interview also discusses, he is more than anything else a protector. Perhaps the way in which he chooses to protect Jane and the world in the first Thor film is not quite what the old Norse people would have imagined,** but since this is a different time, practically a different world, it only makes sense that Thor's approach to the problem (still very direct, mind you, which *is* in line with the older sources) might shift as well.

Personally, I think we've been very fortunate with Marvel's Thor. After seeing Trash Clash of the Titans, and Immortals That Movie We Do Not Speak Of, and reading plot synopses for TWO*** forthcoming "Hercules" retellings which seem to not be related to any myths surrounding Hercules at all in the slightest, Marvel's Thor is all the more impressive as an adaptation and modern reinterpretation, certainly he's treated with far more respect as to his essential character.

And honestly? Sometimes I think, when it comes to mythology as it is reinterpreted into modern religion, we do ourselves a disservice by clinging too much to the past. And if these gods are so powerful, so incredible, that they merely choose to allow us to see them in one form or another, I have a hard time believing they don't adapt along with us as the world turns on -- or at least that they've been around long enough that these changes in how we view them and their roles aren't anything they haven't seen before. Or at least, I'd like to give them at least that much benefit of the doubt.

*I shake my fist at the sky about this A LOT, and no tradition, imho, has suffered more from this kind of imposition than the Jewish tradition, which was 100% co-opted. And there is definitely no excuse for doing this if you're creating something that is meant to be historical. Fantasy is different, and something set in the modern day -- well, that's what this blogpost is about ultimately.

**I think there is definitely an argument to be made for the second film following a more mythic-Thor manner of problem solving: go to your opponent's home field, and then just THROW DOWN as hard as possible until they are crushed by Mjolnir. Generally in the myths this works out pretty well for Thor. One time he slays an entire hall of Giants, women and children included.

***seriously guys what the eff is this movie? Hercules has SO MANY AWESOME MYTHS I just CANNOT UNDERSTAND why hollywood doesn't just USE one instead of making him something totally else that has nothing to do with anything even remotely related? Even for Roman Hercules this does not make any sense, and it states openly in the summary that it's set in the bronze age -- which makes it 100% wrong already. Sorry Hollywood, there were no Gladiators in 1200BC. (It would make me a lot less angry if they would stop putting dates on these films that are not even remotely historically accurate at all in the slightest.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fate of the Gods: Regarding Eve

When FORGED BY FATE came out, I did a guest post over on Vicky Alvear Shecter's blog, talking about Eve, and why I chose to retell her story, particularly, the way I did. I want to just take a moment to revisit some of that, because I'm not sure I've ever really discussed Eve's character, before, on the blog, aside from the Rodin sculpture at the National Gallery, which is maybe one of the most evocative pieces of art I've ever seen.

In Fate of the Gods, we see a lot of the series from Eve's point of view. She isn't the only protagonist, but it's her choices which ultimately decide the fate of the world, even from the moment of her Creation. Like the Biblical account, Eve stumbles across the Tree of Knowledge and meets the Serpent. Unlike the Biblical account, there isn't any trick, any deceit, and while the silver-tongued Serpent does make some suggestions, Eve's decisions are her own.

The Fall of Man by Hendrick Goltzius
(photographed by me)
So why did I retell Eve's story?
In college, I remember once seeing a flyer which blamed Eve, and therefore all women, for all temptation and sin. Basically, all the weakness of mankind had somehow buried her, and by association, all of the rest of the female sex. I could not wrap my mind around this concept, even as a Catholic, with all the associated guilt of Original Sin. The idea was so ridiculous to me, so beyond anything I'd ever imagined -- I still can't really believe it, to be honest -- but I think it was at that point that everything changed for me. I knew then that I really wanted to tell a different story, offer a different interpretation of Eve and her character.

After all, if Myth is a living thing, meant to be told and retold, interpreted and reinterpreted as the world turns, to make it relevant to the modern age -- why shouldn't Eve get a second chance, too? A chance to be her own woman, and make her own choices, and decide her own fate? And if Eve is going to get all the blame anyway, she might as well get a chance to earn it.

In Fate of the Gods, I gave her that chance. And I hope you all will, too.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fate Forgotten Blog Tour Adventure!

For your information and reference, a list of all the stop in the FATE FORGOTTEN blogtour! Links will be updated when the specific posts go live!

Week One:
November 5-8: ThorLove Bloghop WOO!

November 8: Review from LT Host
Week Two:
November 11: Thor/Athena excerpt at Cait Greer's blog (Author of EYRE HOUSE and PARAWARS: UPRISING) & an interview at Night Owl Reviews.  
November 12: About Loki -- Norse Myth, Tom Hiddleston, and FATE FORGOTTEN at Kit Campbell's blog.

November 13: Fantasy Writer of the Day on reddit's r/fantasy

November 14: Review of Fate Forgotten by Diana Paz (Author of TIMESPELL)
Week Three:
November 18: Fate Forgotten Book Talk at Zachary Tringali's blog

November 19: An Interview with Thor on Mia Hayson's blog

November 20: Author Interview at Fade into Fantasy

November 21: Odin in Norse Myth and Fate of the Gods on Rebecca Enzor's blog

November 22: Why I love my heroes: Garrit DeLeon, at Howling Turtle

(and if you want to be part of the blogtour, shoot me an email amaliatdillin (at) gmail (dot) com!)

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Top 5 Favorite Thors! (ThorLove Bloghop!)

In celebration of Fate Forgotten, and all the the ThorLove within, let me share with you my Top 5 favorite Thors!

Ultimate Thor, complete with earrings and beer bottle!
1) Ultimate Thor (Marvel's Ultimates)

Ultimate Thor made Thor relevant to me and the modern world in a way that captivated me. It wasn't until I read The Ultimates that I really felt any connection or understanding of Thor at all. But suddenly, there he was, trying to save the whales and the environment and the world, and it just RESONATED. Hippy, Tree-Hugging Thor. It made so much sense to high-school-me, and it was BECAUSE of this reinterpretation of Thor's character that I started looking for Thor's other incarnations, within Marvel and without. Ultimate Thor is the source of all my ThorLove.

2) Mythological Thor

Because he is so much more complex than he at first appears. From his relationship with Loki, to his role as the god of the Everyman, the god of the Peasant, to his position as Guardian for the Aesir, Asgard, and humanity. He is fascinating, and the more I read of the myths and the sagas, the more I really appreciate why he was so beloved to the Norse.

3) JMS's Thor

JMS's Thor
When Thor's main title was relaunched in 2007, he was written by J. Michael Straczynski. The opening of that new series blew me away, when Thor, in the void of not-quite-death, is resurrected by his sometime-host, Donald Blake, who tells him, it is for MEN to decide when the gods are no longer needed. Thor comes back, and brings Asgard with him -- to Oklahoma. If you haven't read Volume One of JMS's run on Thor, I'm telling you right now you're missing out. And not just on Thor. There's also Lady Loki to consider.

4) Marvel's Movieverse Thor

Chris Hemsworth embodies Thor so perfectly it boggles the mind. And his gentle affection for Jane, his love of his friends, even at his most arrogant -- it's heart-melting. The shirtless Thor shot doesn't hurt either, if I'm being honest. When Hemsworth was first cast, I wasn't 100% sure of him -- I must have rewatched the first 15 minutes of New Trek a dozen times just to reassure myself that he had the POTENTIAL. He was so skinny! But I can't imagine anyone else cast in the role, now, and the first movie did a fantastic job of translating the comic and Thor to the live action screen. Here's hoping Thor: The Dark World doesn't disappoint, either!

5) Thor from Fate of the Gods, of course!

Thor is absolutely my favorite character to write. I love how thick with honor he is, and the way he tortures himself with it. I love the relationships he forms, and his loyalty, so hardened, and ultimately, so brittle -- when it breaks, it shatters, and there is no piecing it back together again. I love his capacity for love, and the way he doesn't always make the right choices, even for the best reasons. Sometimes, he's selfish. Sometimes, he believes he's helping, but the result is just more pain for himself and the people he loves most. I love that he will never abandon his people, even when they abandon him. More than anything, I love the idea that Thor has a place in our world, a purpose beyond anyone's understanding. I loved fitting him and his myths into the big puzzle that is the theology and philosophy of our modern world. I loved finding a home for him here.

And I hope that you'll love him, too!

Some other Thor incarnations you might love, (just) outside of my top 5:

  • Thor in Thor: The Mighty Avenger -- the first issue of which I'll be giving away to one lucky ThorLove bloghop participant! The art is so expressive it is ridiculously amazing.
  • Thor in Age of Odin by James Lovegrove (Norse gods, Ragnarok, and Sci Fi military battles of win!)
  • Thor the bear in Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman (Odin and Loki are along for the ride, too.)
  • Thor from Thor's Wedding Day by Bruce Coville (it's a chapter book for kids, told from the perspective of Thjalfi! What's not to love?!)
  • Thor in Gods of Asgard by Erik Evensen (the art alone is worth it!)

Thanks so much for participating in the ThorLove bloghop -- I hope that you've found some new Thors to appreciate along the way! Don't forget to check out everyone else's favorite Thor posts over the next few days, and of course, pick up FATE FORGOTTEN if you want more of my particular brand of ThorLove! Also check out ST Bende's ELSKER SAGA for some step-son of Thor action, and a really fascinating take on Thor, himself!

Don't forget to read the other #ThorLove Bloghop participant entries! And there's still time to join in on the fun!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Fate Forgotten is Here! And the Thor Love Bloghop Begins!

It's FATE FORGOTTEN's book birthday, today!!! Pick up your copy in paperback from, and in digital formats for Kobo, Nook, and Kindle! And if you're wondering what Fate Forgotten has in store for you, allow me to remind you with some blurb-action:
Since the gods returned Adam's memory six hundred years ago, Thor has been a scourge on
his lives. But when Adam learns that Thor has been haunting his steps out of love for Eve, he is determined to banish the thunder god once and for all. Adam is no fool: Eve still loves the man she knew as Thorgrim, and if she ever learned he still lived, that he still loved her, Adam would lose any chance of winning Eve to his side, never mind liberating the world. But after everything Thor has done to protect Eve, everything he's sacrificed, the thunder god won't go without a fight. Not as long as Eve might love him again.

Which means that Adam has to find a new ally. The enemy of his enemy, complete with burning sword and righteous resentment of the gods. But in order to attract the Archangel Michael's attention, he needs Eve -- an unmarried Eve, willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

It shouldn't be too difficult to find her in the future. Not now that he knows how to look.
Will Adam and Thor throwdown? Will Michael get involved? Or will Eve discover the truth and put a stop to all this nonsense post haste? Pick up FATE FORGOTTEN and find out! (Then don't forget to write your own review and post it on Amazon, B&N or Goodreads!)

AND!!! Today the #ThorLove bloghop begins, and as a host, I can't wait to read up on all your favorite Thors in pop-culture. As a participant, I'm thrilled to be able to talk a little bit about *my* favorite Thors, too. My own #ThorLove post will be going live at midnight tonight, but there's still time to sign up and enter to win prizes, to boot -- Mr. Linky and Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 31, 2013

#ThorLove Bloghop Rafflecopter and PRIZE-talk!

Firstly, the Rafflecopter for the #ThorLove bloghop is now LIVE! So that means you can start earning entries to win our fabulous prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, let's talk about the prizes. I know for me, being able to VISUALIZE things is so much nicer, so I took some pictures of the loot!

For the GRAND PRIZE, we've got an ARC of HOUNDED by Kevin Hearne, and the Double Rainbow Edition of Thor: The Mighty Avenger:

AND! A signed paperback copy of Forged by Fate and Fate Forgotten! (Looking mighty fine together, if you ask me.)

Plus! e-editions of ELSKER and ENDRE, and Sundries! Which are not pictured here only because they have not all been assembled quite yet -- trading cards are on their way!

For the Runner-Up, we've got Ultimate Comics New Ultimates: Thor Reborn (say that three times fast) and issue one of Thor: The Mighty Avenger, because somehow I collected 3 copies of the first issue and everyone in this world must know its greatness.
Plus! E-editions of ELSKER and ENDRE, and e-editions of FATE FORGOTTEN and TEMPTING FATE! And Sundries of course! because who doesn't like sundries?

Can't wait to read all your #ThorLove entries, and there's still plenty of time to sign up and be part of the bloghop!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Character Art Reveal: Eve and Athena

Before I show you the pretties (and let me just tell you that Athena is absolutely gorgeous, and Eve is pretty awesome, too!) a couple of quick reminders:

Firstly: #ThorLove bloghop! Sign up! Tell your friends! Comics, fantasy novels, poems and stories from the Eddas, television and film, tell us about your favorite Thor!

Secondly: Street Team Sign Ups! If you signed up before October 25th, your bookmarks are in the mail! If you'd like bookmarks, there is still time to sign up, and there is definitely still time to put your name on the list for avatars and banners -- I'll be emailing those out in early November.

And now!!! THE ARTS!

From the fabulous El Husband:







They'll be appearing on the Fate Forgotten trading cards, which will be shipping out to winners of both the Street Team drawing and the #ThorLove bloghop! I'll also be dropping them around and about locally and (not-so-locally by proxy -- thanks family!)

Special thanks, as always, to El Husband for his fantastic art!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rehashing Brynhild OR When Wisdom Isn't Enough

If you're not familiar with her, Brynhild is a brilliant woman. Not just because she's a shield-maiden warrior, but because she's flat-out wise. She knows things, and she isn't afraid to share what she knows with the men around her. Whether or not they listen, sadly, is beyond her power. And even when they have the best of intentions, it seems the default in the Saga of the Volsungs is to "Forget" if not "ignore."

When Brynhild meets Sigurd, she passes her vast wisdom on to this strange man without hesitation. She shares not just her common sense, but also everything she knows about runes and magic. He's an appreciative audience -- an admiring audience even, appearing to take it all in with the respect and weight it deserves.

Specifically, Brynhild tells Sigurd:
Ale runes shall you know
If you desire no other's wife
To deceive you in troth, if you trust.
They shall be cut on the horn
And on the hand's back
And mark the need rune on your nail.

For the cup shall you make a sign
And be wary of misfortune
And throw leek into the liquor,
Then, I know that,
you will never get
A potion blended with poison.

Not much later, Sigurd begs Brynhild to tell him more of her wisdom, and she says this:
Beware of ill dealings, both of a maid's love and a man's wife; ill often arises from these.
And do not swear a false oath, because hard vengeance follows the breaking of truce.
and then:
Beware of the wiles of friends. I see only a little of your future life, yet it would be better if the hate of your in-laws did not descend upon you.
Sigurd professes his admiration of Brynhild's wisdom, and we are left with the impression that he takes her words to heart, treasuring them along with the apparent love he holds for her after this first meeting. Brynhild accepts Sigurd's praise, and admiration, but she warns him that they are not meant to marry or live together. Still, Sigurd insists, and Brynhild is persuaded. They exchange vows with one another, privately, and then part.  

In these three pages, Brynhild has both warned Sigurd of how he will be betrayed and given him the information he needs in order to prevent his downfall. Everything that happens to him after this point might have been avoided, had he used the "magic" Brynhild gave him, and kept her words of warning and wisdom in mind. Had he used the runes, Queen Grimhild could not have used the ale of forgetfulness on Sigurd, which caused him to forget his love for Brynhild. Had he been cautious of other women, and the "wiles of friends" he would not have trusted her to drink from the cup she gave him, and never would have married Gudrun, or helped Gunnar, his brother-in-law, win Brynhild's hand in marriage.

Brynhild knew everything that was coming, her own fate and Sigurd's, but even her knowledge and wisdom, given freely, wasn't enough to prevent the future from following that grim script. Because for all her wisdom and strength, she did not have the power to make Sigurd follow her advice. 

Even for the wisest among us, wisdom will only get a woman so far.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cait Greer talks GARGOYLES!

This is our second post on Monsters of Myth. The first, by Diana Paz, covered the Snake Ladies of Classical Mythology. Today, we have Cait Greer to talk about one of the mythological monsters in her book, Para Wars: Uprising, the noble Gargoyle! I had the pleasure of reading an early version of this book, and let me tell you, the way Cait mixes her monsters is a LOT of fun.

Gargoyles. Stone beasts built to guard.

As far as the mythology behind them goes, there isn’t a lot to go on. Architecturally, the name refers to a grotesque, or a stone figure, with a carved spout. They were designed to carry rainwater away from masonry walls, keeping it from eroding the mortar.

Boring, I know. But that’s hardly the whole story.

It all goes back to a French legend, from around the 7th Century. The story is about a dragon, La Garouille, that lived in the River Seine. It terrorized the village of Rouen, until the Archbishop St. Romanus killed it. They set the dragon’s body on fire, but the head and neck survived, and were then mounted – you guessed it – on the wall of the newly built church, so that it could ward off evil. And the legend was born.

When I started writing ParaWars, I knew it would turn into my own little mythological playground. I didn’t want to focus on just one paranormal family, and I was just as tired of vampires and werewolves as everyone else. Angels, demons, and ghosts were quickly following in their footsteps. More than anything, I wanted something new, something I could have fun with. The broad scope the idea of a war between mythological/magical/paranormal/supernatural beings and humans gave me was exciting, but I still needed a para main character to counterpart my human MC.

I wanted a guardian and protector, a para that wasn’t fighting his nature to protect my heroine. And what better than a gargoyle, whose entire mythology is built around protection and warding?

But I didn’t want some clown- or demon-faced statue. I needed a guardian the story could sympathize with. So my gargoyles look a lot like us. They use the same kind of glamour magic that the fae use. They can look like the classic grotesque, or they can look like people. They can hide their wings, or show them. And at night, they change from stone to flesh.

But even stone, my leading gargoyle Axel has a beating, bleeding heart, and I can’t wait for you all to meet him.

If you want to learn more about PARAWARS: UPRISING, check it out on goodreads, or pick up your copy online on Amazon or Barnes and Noble! But here's the blurb for an immediate fix:
The Paranormal Uprising brought myth and legend out of the shadows and into real life. The war that followed tore the world apart. Two years after the Uprising, twenty-year-old Kendry is learning the hard way that the battle lines aren’t as clear-cut as human versus para. And the hard way means being hunted down by both human militants and para separatists. Trouble is, she has no idea why.

On the run with only her mysterious gargoyle guardian, Kendry knows that finding out why she’s on everyone’s most-wanted list will be no easy task. It means charging headlong into a war she’d hoped to avoid, and is woefully unprepared for. So when she realizes that everyone in her life has been lying to her, discovering that she’s somehow the key to ending the war is the last thing she needs. With both sides tearing up the world to find her, it’s decision time for Kendry—keep running, or stand up and fight.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Timetraveling Sketch Party

So, while helping my mother assemble the notes she needed to teach a course on New Testament scripture (yes, that does explain some things, doesn't it?) I came across a handful of my own art from back in the day -- also known as high school. Twelve Years Ago, I apparently had so much time on my hands that I colored a sketch in paint, also so. There's that, too.

For Your Pleasure, a peek at high school me's artistry (or lackthereof -- you decide!)

and, with glorious paint-in-color!

Some of you might recognize this pose/etc from the cover art for Anne McCaffrey's The Rowan, which was one of my most favorite novels at the time. (I still enjoy it, but not with the same ardor as I did then.) 

I think I like the pencil version better. But man, what a trip down memory lane. It's like reading old high-school writing or something, to find these things. And it makes me want to get serious about art-other-than-writing again.

Maybe someday!

And also, don't forget to sign up for the SUPER AWESOME THOR LOVE BLOG-HOP RELEASE DAY PARTY AHHHH!

And if you want to be a part of the FATE FORGOTTEN Street Team, there's still time to sign up for that too via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fate of the Gods: Book Chick City Review Recap!

So I got two awesome reviews from Book Chick City that I just wanted to take a minute to highlight on the blog -- the first was for FORGED BY FATE, which received 4.5 stars:
"I liked how both Thor and Eve were often at war with themselves about which course of action was often the right one to take, as both are aware of the huge weight which rests on their shoulders alone. I am also highly intrigued by the plotline which the author kept dropping us little hints about; with it becoming apparent that Thor is likely to have had contact with Eve in her last incarnation." (Read More)
Yes, there is a reason I chose to highlight that particular quote. But also you should go read the whole review because YAY! I'm absolutely thrilled that they loved Forged by Fate so much, and the review itself reflects a wonderful understanding of the book and the characters!

I will say this much about FATE FORGOTTEN (less than a month away now ahhh!): We'll be continuing to follow Thor from that final Council meeting in FORGED BY FATE onward. I can't wait for you to read on and discover what happens as the wheels of time turn through history! There are two periods in particular that I'm extra excited about sharing with you all, but you'll just have to wait and see what is the what!

The second review was for TEMPTING FATE, my Fate of the Gods e-novella:
"I was surprised that this novella gave me a differing perception of Adam than I had interpreted from the first book. I had the feeling that he was cold and ruthless, which in some ways he still was, but at the same time he also demonstrates a sense of vulnerability." (Read More)
Adam Lovers, this is a reminder that Tempting Fate is a story you're going to appreciate! Book Chick City gave the novella 3.5 stars, and suggests it to fans of FORGED BY FATE who are looking to get a Fate of the Gods fix before FATE FORGOTTEN's release (November 5th!). So! If you haven't yet, definitely give it a read now!

(Thanks so much for these amazing reviews! And *I* highly recommend Book Chick City because as reviewers, they really do a wonderful and thorough job!)

Also! FORGED BY FATE is a finalist in the debut novel category of the Book Junkie's Choice awards!! Voting began on October 14th, so please do consider casting yours! In the meantime, don't forget to sign up for the #ThorLove bloghop!! 

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

My Favorite Norse God: Thor

In celebration of the release of SECRETS OF THE ASH TREE by Siv Maria Ottem, she's hosting a blog hop wherein we all post a post about our favorite Norse God. You know I couldn't say no to a blog hop about Norse Gods, guys, come on.

I think it goes without saying who my favorite Norse God is, at this point. Especially if you're a regular reader of the blog! But if you aren't, and somehow we have never crossed paths in the blogosphere -- in my life, there is no competition for the title. My absolute most favorite Norse God is Thor, and from this love a great number of creative endeavors have been born. The Fate of the Gods series, for one, and Thor in Zombie Land, of course. A number of sketches of dubious quality, and my sometimes-avatar image of Mjolnir, created in paint. Pretty much my whole web presence is an ode to Thor Love, and my personal slogan on social media (which I didn't come up with myself so I cannot take credit) is "Come for Thor, Stay for More." (and you should check out my twitter background if you've been enjoying Name that Butt, just sayin')

You might be asking yourself, "but why do you love Thor so much?" And if so, allow me to quote from a blogpost I wrote a while back about his essential character:

I think the reason Thor was so beloved was because he always helped his people. Thor was the god that could be depended on, no matter what had happened, to go out and do what had to be done-- whether that was beating down on Loki, or killing off giants, or drinking a ton of mead, or dressing up as a woman. Thor was intensely loyal, unwavering, and good.
Thor might have had a short temper, but just because he was angry didn't mean he wouldn't help you out. And maybe that was what was most appealing about him. Unlike many of the other gods, in any pantheon, Thor was not a god to hold a grudge. He was quick to forgive. Quick to move on. And for humans, imperfect as we are, as we know ourselves to be, a god who forgives would be attractive.
This is Thor's character. This is the god who was loved by his people, and honored more than all the others. The god who showed, if not love, at least benevolence toward those who did not have his strength, and called themselves his friend, regardless of whether their actions proved their words or not. Is it any wonder that he was so popular? In his essence, Thor was not just a god of thunder, and wielder of incredible raw power, Thor was also, in character, a god of friendship.

Maybe that's why he's my favorite, when it comes down to it. For all his faults, for all his violence, his heart was in the right place.

 And if you want to know more about my love of Thor, and particularly, my most favorite version of Thor in pop culture, as well as Thor's role in my Fate of the Gods novels, tune back in November 5th for my own Thor Love blog hop, to celebrate the release of FATE FORGOTTEN, book two in the Fate of the Gods trilogy!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

FATE FORGOTTEN Bookmarks and Street Team Sign-up!

Friends, I have been holding this back for MONTHS, but it is time to share with you the Fate Forgotten bookmarks and banner art!

BOOKMARKS FIRST! They're so pretty, I'm beside myself. And I have a LOT of them -- which means more Fate Forgotten love to spread around! If you're interested in being part of the FATE FORGOTTEN bookmarks extravaganza and general street-teaming, you can sign up in the rafflecopter below because there-be-prizes for your participation! Including a signed paperback copy of FATE FORGOTTEN, deliverable after release!

And below are my beautiful Fate Forgotten banners -- one for blogs and one for facebook! Again, mark yourself down with a bonus entry on the rafflecopter in that category, and I will email the arts to you directly to post where you will, along with an avatar image for twitter/facebook. To be eligible for that bonus point drawing, you just have to post the banner/avatar on release day, November 5th! Either or will do!

For blogs! Klikky to Embiggen!

For Facebook! Klikk Klikk to view full size!

Adam and Eve -- looking like they're BOTH kind of tempted to destroy the world! Find out if they give in, or if this is all just a big tease in FATE FORGOTTEN! November 5! In the meantime, sign up to be part of the release by street-teaming it, below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 04, 2013

#ThorLove Bloghop! With Prizes! Coming November 5th!

The fabulous S.T. Bende and I are hosting a bloghop to celebrate the release of FATE FORGOTTEN, the second book in the Fate of the Gods series, and also S.T.’s Elsker Saga, featuring Thor’s stepson, Ull! The Theme for this fantastic event? THOR LOVE, of course!

To participate, sign up with Mr. Linky, and then from November 5th (Fate Forgotten’s release day!) through the 8th (Thor: The Dark World’s release in theaters!) post about your favorite Thor in pop culture, or, if pop-culture isn’t serving your Thor Love properly, post a creative Ode to Thor of your own!* Any Thor is fair game, be he from comics, novels (mine and S.T.’s too, of course!), television, movies, music, or ye olde Norse Myths! After that, just link back to our blogs and the bloghop, and include the bloghop banner in your post! Bonus prize-entry points for spreading the word – just make sure to klikky the appropriate entries on the rafflecopter (when it goes live in November) and provide links!

And of course there are prizes! To celebrate the Thor Love properly we’re giving away a slew of Norse/Thor literature and swag! The Grand Prize will feature a signed print copy of both FORGED BY FATE and FATE FORGOTTEN, an e-edition of Elsker and Endre, (Marvel’s) Thor comics, an ARC of HOUNDED by Kevin Hearne, Thor and Avengers movie trading cards, and of course some awesome Fate of the Gods/Elsker Saga sundries! Also, one runner-up will get a Thor graphic novel, e-edition of Fate Forgotten and Tempting Fate, and e-editions of Elsker and Endre, plus sundries!

1. Spread the Word – Thor Love Bloghop, November 5th-8th!
2. Sign up with Mr. Linky
3. Post about Thor
4. Link back and banner up in your post
5. Enter to win via rafflecopter
6. Enjoy reading about everyone’s #ThorLove on the blogs of other participants!
Sign ups begin NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*But, you know, keep it PG13. Shirtless Thor is totally okay, but pantsless Thor (in words or pictures) is a little too far for this event, and subject to disqualification. (Not that I don't love a little smexy Thor, but we want this to be all-ages friendly!)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Name that Butt WINNER(S)!

Last week's Butts were from the sculpture Hercules and Antaeus, 16th Century Paduan! 

Now, I promised TWO winners today -- one for phase two points and one for most points overall -- but it so happens those persons are ONE AND THE SAME: 

The fantastic FaithlessOne is our Champion by a rockin' 15 points!

And your prize, should you choose to accept it, includes NAME THAT BUTT postcards, for being the phase two winner, and a book of my choice for your overall award! Email me to claim your prize and we will discuss!

Thanks for playing NAME THAT BUTT, blogfriends! And Tune In Friday for a Very Special Blogpost of Awesome! (Hint: it involves Thor.)

Stick with me through October because we have some exciting things coming up, leading to the release of FATE FORGOTTEN on November 5th and I cannot wait!

Friday, September 27, 2013


The Rules:
  • I post a butt and TWO clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning." 
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 
So WHO do those two fabulous butts belong to?!


Butt 1 was: 
Antaeus the Giant!

and Butt 2 was, of course:

Some of you might not be familiar with this myth -- though I'm pretty sure Antaeus makes an appearance in the Percy Jackson books! -- so check out this post from The Other Me for the scoop!

The fun isn't over yet! You have until Sunday night 11:59pm to get your final guesses in for those last 2.5 artist/title points and Tuesday I'll be announcing TWO winners -- One for Stage 2 points, and One for most points overall, who shall be known as the reigning champion of the first Annual NAME THAT BUTT challenge!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


For the FINAL round of NAME THAT BUTT for 2013, I offer you a DOUBLE THE FUN! But first--

The Rules:

  • I post a butt and clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning." 
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 

The Butts in Question!

Butt 1

Butt 2

Your Clues:
1) These Butts are part of the same bronze!
2) One of these butts lets no man stand in its way, but(t) this was certainly not a labor of love.
3) The other Butt would be the bane of any homeowners association today. Skulls as building material are most definitely not up to code!

NB: For the Finale, you can earn 5 points per butt! Knowing Which Butt is Which is half the Challenge, and therefore, necessary to getting FULL points on your guess! If you mix them up, you'll be docked 2.5 points, so guess wisely! You have until Thursday, 11:59pm for full points!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Name that Butt: Stage Two, Round 4 REVEAL!

Stage Two Rules:

  • I post a butt and TWO clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning."
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 

And this week's Butt belongs to...



There are no bonus points for naming this work, but thanks to Kevin Kanellakis (owner of the above image, p.s.) and his photographic diligence, we have the plaque from the museum to tell us a little bit about this piece! Hooray!

Tune in TUESDAY, the 24th of September, for the very special Name that Butt Double-Butt FINALE!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Valkyries and Endre! (A guest post from ST Bende!)

Welcome ST Bende back to the blog! Today she's talking Valkyries in honor of the release of Endre -- the sequel to Elsker! Valkyries have never really been my thing, but I love how ST Bende updates and upgrades them for her books -- making them modern and relevant! You'll see, below!

Hei hei, y’all. It’s me again, fellow Thor lover and writer of all things Norse, ST. Amalia was sweet enough to invite me back to talk about one of the coolest sororities in the Norse pantheon, The Valkyries.

When you think Valkyrie, you probably think Wagner, epic operatic overtures, and fierce battle goddesses flying on dark winged horses over a battlefield clustered with carnage. Or maybe you think Sorcerer Mickey fighting the overwhelming tide in Fantasia. No? That’s just me? At any rate, I can’t see the word Valkyrie without conjuring up the dark images evoked by Wagner’s heavy musical composition. And with good reason -- in Norse mythology, Valkyries were warrior goddesses charged with collecting slain human soldiers for Odin’s army. They traveled to Midgard (Earth) on winged horses and chose the very best of the fallen warriors to bring to Odin’s pad (Valhalla), where they trained the dead to fight for Asgard at the Norse apocalypse (Ragnarok). It was a grisly, bloody job, and those Valkyrie chicks thrived on it.

But I’m generally a fluffy bunnies kind of girl. (Not the “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!” kind of Wagner-inspired bunnies. The “True Love’s Kiss” kind of fluffy bunnies.) And while I can’t ignore the very necessary function of the Valkyries as battle goddesses, in my Elsker books, I give them another fun job. I’ve made them Asgard’s official pilots of all things, not just winged war-horses. So when Ull, my Norse God of Winter, takes his bride to a secret location for their honeymoon, Asgard’s private jet is piloted by none other than the mythological ladies of battle lore, The Valkyries. Turns out they love flying soverymuch that they’ll fly anything anyone will let them get their hands on. Including Learjets. You know, after they handle the fire giant uprising in Muspelheim, and get a handle on the Svartalfheim dark elf situation. Because Valkyries are nothing if not brilliant multitaskers. And they always look amazing doing it.

Oh -- and in case y’all are wondering, yep. I listened to Flight of the Valkyries on loop while writing this post. Because nothing says “smokin’-hot honeymoon pilots” like a good, German opera, dontcha think?

Now tell me in the comments -- what do you think when you think of Valkyries? Admit it, you hear Elmer Fudd singing too, don’t you? ;)
Endre is available now (along with Elsker!) And you can learn more about it on Goodreads and ST's blog (there's a giveaway yonder!), and there's even a book trailer! But here's the blurb for you, to get started: 
Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.

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