Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Woman's Place and the Holy Family

Ancient and modern religious ideas regarding the roles of women, and even the roles of humans and what their relationship should be to God, are pretty fascinating when you look at them. There's this idea of subordination, always, that comes with it -- even today.

Of course, it isn't only women who are asked to take a subordinate role in most Christian traditions, but women are certainly expected to take the most subordinate role. Not only should women give themselves up to God, but also, we're often told that we should be subordinate to our husbands -- to our men. Just as Jesus is the head of the church, so should a husband be the head of his household and family, which I guess makes us girls into... a large social organization that requires careful and cautious stewardship?*

But let's talk about that husband/wife dynamic for a minute. Think about Mary, Jesus' mother. Because she was a most holy woman, according to the Bible. A virgin bride, utterly free of sin, engaged to Joseph. And when God chose her, and said "you're going to have my baby and serve me" I don't remember Mary stopping and saying: "Hold up, God, I need to make sure it's cool with my husband-to-be, first, because head of the household and all that, and as a woman, you know, I'm not really capable of making my own informed decisions without a man to hold my hand through it." I'm pretty sure Mary just said "Yes." Because it didn't matter what Joseph wanted, in that moment (and I'm willing to bet if the choice had been left up to him, he would have chosen otherwise for his own sanity), and it wasn't JOSEPH who had been Called, or Joseph's body that was going to serve as God's vessel. God [via his Angel] spoke to Mary, directly. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars. And what's more? God didn't just DO IT, because hey, she's just a woman, and hey, GOD. God told Mary what was coming, and Mary gave CONSENT.

And what did Joseph do?
I remember sitting through masses as a kid, where the homily talked about how GOOD a man Joseph was, because he didn't break off his engagement to Mary when he found out she was mysteriously pregnant. Because instead, he took care of her and raised Jesus as his own son. He is held up as an example, an EXCEPTIONAL example of a husband and a father because he keeps his word, and doesn't throw Mary to the wolves. He considers it briefly, of course, but what bothers him isn't that Mary made this decision all by her lonesome, and didn't consider his feelings at all in the moment of truth. It's that she's pregnant. Nothing else, except for that. And once he learns that baby is God's? Pfft. It's all good! We don't get a peep after that about him being angry or taking Mary to task for not letting him in on her decision making process, or letting him make the decision for her, for that matter.**

And I can't help but wonder: if God was so set on this order of things -- a woman's obedience to her husband, and subordination to the man she marries, why didn't he go THROUGH Joseph, or Mary's father, when he made this choice? I mean, okay, maybe no one says no to God. And maybe it wasn't EXACTLY a question. But if Mary had said no and God had gone through with his plan anyway, that would have gone a long, long way against Jesus' messages of love and peace. And over and over again, we see Jesus defending women from injustice, even welcoming them into his fold and teaching them, encouraging them to learn from him. This is not a guy who thinks women should be in the kitchen or that women are, by their natures, meant to be subordinate members of society.

So then, of course, I have to ask --
Why does this idea persist? Today.*** I mean, if Christians are supposed to be using the Holy Family as an example, as THE example, and this is the example they're setting -- why aren't we following it? Why is Joseph's keeping his word and allowing his wife the governance of her own self held up as such an EXCEPTIONAL example, instead of the rule?

It's just a thought.

*If that is how men are looking at women, then I definitely agree they should be treading *very* carefully and cautiously. I am not a church. I am not a building inside which people gather to worship, in the more literal sense, and I am certainly not an organization which requires governance. I am a person with absolute and final authority over my own self, just like you.

**I realize that Joseph and Mary predate Christianity, but since they are THE Holy Family, and you know, held up as examples of how we should all behave... I'm just saying. 

***Rome was its own culture with its own problems and reasons and I'm really not sure we should be beholden to those outdated ideals necessarily, anymore? I mean. Rome was kind of a long time ago. We don't hold to OTHER Roman ideas. Like, I don't know, throwing people into arenas and watching them fight to the death by way of execution. Or keeping slaves. Or even having an emperor at all -- never mind later elevating said emperors to the level of gods. You know what I'm saying.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Goodbye, Friday

So here's the thing -- I have a lot on my plate right now (including but not limited to a second blog and many, many manuscripts) and I cannot keep up on everything as awesomely as I once did, when I was making my own schedule on all of these things with no deadlines to meet.

Now, I'm not complaining. This is a FANTASTIC problem to have! I'm thrilled to be in a position where I can say "I have a deadline and I need to focus on writing/editing/revisions right now." But the end result, for you, is that I must let Fridays on this blog go for a while, and I can't say when they'll be back, or if they ever will. (Though, I WILL still be posting twice a week -- the second post just won't be on Good to Begin Well but you'll find it YONDER on Wednesdays!)

So. Goodbye, Fridays! We've had a good run, but better if I post once a week with The Good Stuff than junky stuff twice a week, eh?

See you on Tuesday, blogfriends and followers! (Though part of me is thinking gee-- why didn't I schedule myself on Thor's day so long ago?!)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Images of Eve

I don't have any original Eve art (yet) but I did take a trip to the National Gallery, recently, and found a couple of interesting portrayals, which you all might be interested in.

Now, those of you who follow the blog know my favorite Adam and Eve is still the Rubens from which I have formed my blogger avatar image, but this Rodin of Eve eating the apple, seemed much too fitting to pass up sharing with you!

Rodin captures this element of suffering which seems to get overlooked by a lot of artists, in capturing the fall from grace -- but when you first approach the piece, it seems just like a mild headache of some kind. Overindulgence.

 It isn't until you come to the other side, and see the rigor and strain, the agony of the Apple's gift. Eve is in very real pain -- we see it in the awkwardness of her limbs, and it even looks almost as though she's clutching her head. This is an Eve I can understand and relate too. She isn't coy, or flirtatious, or seductive. She is real, and suffering, and struggling with her choice -- recognizing the reality of what's she's done. This isn't Eve the temptress, this is Eve the woman, waking up in a world that is suddenly, terrifyingly different.

It's almost an entirely new sculpture from this second angle, and I think that's part of the brilliance of sculpture -- it changes with your approach, your perspective. You can look at a sculpture for hours, shifting your weight incrementally, and finding something new in it. And the more time I spend looking at art -- any art -- the more I come to the realization that sculpture is really my favorite.

Friday, April 19, 2013


The most fabulous 10th entry in the Forged by Fate Grand Prize Giveaway is...

Natalie Murphy!!!!!

Shoot me an email with your preferred t-shirt size, and I will get your shirt shipped out to you! AND some trading cards! BECAUSE THEY ARE HERE!!!!

Also, don't forget that there's still time to enter the Goodreads giveaway!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Forged by Fate by Amalia Dillin

Forged by Fate

by Amalia Dillin

Giveaway ends April 20, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

And some final PSAs:

I was guest posting about Gaston over at World Weaver Press, and talking about how myths are sometimes hard to separate from legends, at Heather McCorkle's blog, this week. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013




So who is that?

I'm glad you asked!

I'll be making that announcement on Friday!

(because that is how I roll.)



(Some good blogposts are coming later this month I promise!)

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Today is April 15th, and as I have promised, I have ART to reveal! Thor and Adam both get faces with this original art by none other than the fabulous El Husband!*

Are you ready?


I should point out at this point that I have a really hard time visualizing faces for my characters. Of course, I know when they're WRONG, but I don't necessarily know how to make them RIGHT. It's kind of annoying, to be honest.

Also, while I have you here, today is the LAST DAY to enter the Grand Prize Giveaway, if you've purchased your copy of Forged by Fate! There will be trading cards. And bookmarks. And stickers. And swag. So. Get your entry in via email before Midnight Eastern!!

Oh right, THE ART!

FIRST Our Villain!
Klikky for slightly larger image!
Pretty sweet right? El husband does good work! (though the coloring/image editing is mine -- I was going for parchmenty?) I'm so excited to be able to give Adam a face! And he looks SO unimpressed. It's the most perfect of perfections!

But I know Adam isn't what drew you here today. Most of you are team #ThorLove all the way, and so the best is yet to come, because you're here to see...

Our Hero!
Klikky for larger image!

As you know by now, I commissioned these sketches for the fabulosity that is TRADING CARDS, but you'll just have to wait and see what THOSE look like when I take the obligatory SWAG PHOTO upon their arrival. 

In the meantime, content yourself with entering to win the autographed copy of Forged by Fate on goodreads, or the grand prize giveaway! And I leave some FEELS in the comments! Also if you have opinions on which characters you'd like to see given trading cards in the FUTURE, let me know! No promises that they will make the cut, but I definitely would love your input!

*Individually we are talented, but together we make Awesome. Also I probably drove him demented with requests to change things and edit these portraits, I'm not going to lie. Thankfully, he is a really good sport about it! But then again, El Husband is a really good sport about most things! That is part of the reason we are married. obviously.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway!

Beginning Wednesday, April 10th, there will a giveaway on goodreads for an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Forged by Fate!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Forged by Fate by Amalia Dillin

Forged by Fate

by Amalia Dillin

Giveaway ends April 20, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

There may or may not be some swag included -- bookmarks, stickers, etc -- so I hope you'll all enter to win! And don't forget, you still have until the 15th to enter the GRAND PRIZE GIVEAWAY, if you've already purchased your copy of Forged by Fate! Also check back on the 15th to get an EXCLUSIVE look at the Original Trading Card Art for Adam and Thor!

And then there is this thing, too, that you might want to know about, if you're anxious about What Comes Next.

Friday, April 05, 2013

It's April! AHHHH!!!!

So a few reminders:

  • As you know, there is the Grand Prize giveaway for those of you who have purchased Forged by Fate already, entries accepted straight through to the 15th.
  • And! there is an ebook giveaway (along with a guest post talking about how I write!) over yonder at Larissa's Life, which you still have time to enter!! Go forth!!

The Winner of the impromptu TIMESPELL bookmark and sticker giveaway is...

Tawney AND Mia! 

Because it is easier than flipping a coin, and that is how I roll! Email your address to amaliatdillin(at)gmail(dot)com and I will put bookmarks and stickers (for TIMESPELL and FORGED BY FATE!) in the mail! You have until Thursday April 11th at 11pm to claim your prize!

Further Announcements!

Guys, so much stuff happening. I have SO MANY REVISIONS to do, plus research, and ALL the balls are in the air right now. So I am going on semi-hiatus (announcements and BIG ART REVEAL AHHHHH!! only) until I have at least one more manuscript put to bed -- realistically, this means I will probably be scarce in the mythology-posts department until the 17th, and I will not be posting on Friday the 12th unless something exciting happens. SO! I will see you on the FLIP! And in the meantime -- pick up your copy of Forged by Fate and let's get some more reviews on B&N, Amazon, and Goodreads!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Diana Paz guest posts: What’s With All The Lady Snakes?

[note from Amalia: In honor of Diana Paz and her book birthday for TIMESPELL, she's telling us a little bit about the monsters of mythology -- more than a few of which appear in her book! Leave a comment and I'll send one lucky commenter a Timespell sticker and bookmark! Plus maybe a Forged by Fate something as well.]

In Greek mythology, animal-like creatures are part of nearly every legend. Whether it be centaurs, satyrs, or the famed Minotaur, Greeks of old were plagued by numerous part human, part beasts who reared their beastly (or humanoid) heads throughout the ancient Mediterranean world.

I’ve always been fascinated by these monster-humans, so when I thought up the kinds of beasts my main characters would be up against in my novel, Timespell, I knew they would be perfect. Creatures of Greek mythology could have the intelligence and cunning of a human, but with the fearsome horror of a mindless beast, all mixed into one. Not to mention, incorporating mythology into my fiction is always a win.

But as I researched, I noticed two things. One, there was a ton of snake action going on in ancient Greece, and two, most of the creatures involving snakes were either female or possessed typically feminine qualities.

This led me to wonder, what’s up with all the lady snakes in Greek mythology? Here are a few of the ones I found the most intriguing:


From wiki commons
The most famous of these being Medusa, she and her sisters, Stheno and Euryale, all three had writhing, living snakes growing like hair out of their skulls. Born of Phorcys and his sister Ceto, these monstresses turned men into stone with only a look. Although they're originally depicted as gruesome and horrific, Ovid gives Medusa’s origin story a tragic spin, and one I’m not sure I buy into. Medusa was originally a beautiful maiden who was raped in Athena’s temple by Poseidon. Athena became furious and punished Medusa by turning her hair into snakes while making her face so beautiful to behold that any man who looked at her would turn to stone. I don’t know about that one. Athena, goddess of wisdom… she doesn’t strike me as the type who would punish a maiden like this, but moreover, what about Medusa’s sisters, then? Ovid claims that only Medusa had snake hair, but it still doesn’t jive to me.


Known as the Furies in Roman mythology, the horrifying Erinyes didn’t make it into the first Timespell novel, but they will definitely show up throughout the series. Depending on the origin story, the Erinyes were either born of the blood of Uranus when his unmentionables were cast into the sea by his son, or they were born of Nyx. Sometimes referred to without number, the three named Erinyes mentioned in ancient texts are known as Alecto, Magaera, and Tisiphone. Sometimes depicted with bat wings or canine bodies, the one thing these ladies always have in common—other than having eyes that drip blood—is that their waists, arms, and sometimes hair are wrapped with snakes. They were in charge of meting out punishment, particularly for crimes against nature, such as patricide and matricide. They also oversaw netherworld torture.


I really like this mega monstress, and as soon as I read about her I found a place for her in Timespell. Echidna was depicted as a beautiful, fair-cheeked nymph from the waist up, and from the waist down she was a snake—sometimes a two-tailed snake. She was often referred to as the mother of all monsters because she gave birth to so many. She was also a she-dragon, also known as a drakaina. There are so many cool things about her, as a monstress villain, particularly that she devours raw flesh. I love this idea for an evil creature… this lovely, sweet-faced nymph just horrifically chasing mortals down and eating them raw. That’s some scary stuff!

So, what is with all the snakes in Greek mythology and their tendency to be linked up with homicidal females? What is it about snakes and serpents that lend themselves to feminine horror? In looking for great monsters to include in my novel, I ended up with a lot of female snake monsters, and it left me wondering… what kind of godly psychology might have been behind the creation of all of these female snake beasts?

In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance. But these powers come at a cost. The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette’s Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.
Buy it now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,
or your favorite book retailer!
And you can find more of Diana Paz at her website!

[Winner announced HERE on Friday -- comment before 11pm Thursday night! if you don't claim your prize within 7 days, I'll pick someone else!]