Mythology Mondays: Bellerophon

Every Monday, I highlight a different Greek myth that has woven its way into the Turning Creek series. The first book, Lightning in the Dark, is out now. If you pay close attention to the details, you will see where some of the elements and history of the series originated.

Bellerophon, was said to be the son of Poseidon and the Corinthian princess, Eurynome. Eurynome was, of course, married when she became with child by Poseidon. The joining may have been by mutual agreement as her husband, Glaucus, was the son of Sisyphus who had been cursed by Zeus to have his family line die out.

It never is simple with the Greeks.

Bellerophon has the ordinary life of a rich, titled prince until he commits murder. There are various stories about who he killed, either a brother or another noble of Corinth. Either way, he was exiled for his actions and sent to live in the court of Proetus.

Enter in the deceitful woman. Proetus’s wife tries to get Bellerophon in her bed. He refuses. Repeatedly. She does not take kindly to being rebuffed and tells Proetus that Bellerophon has made inappropriate overtures to her. She demands that her husband kill Bellerophon in retribution for her threatened virtue.

Bellerophon is a charming man and Proetus likes him. He is loathe to kill a man he admires. I would venture to say it is was also probably likely that Proetus was not ignorant of his wife’s character. Proetus comes up with an idea that he believes will both soothe his conscience and appease his snake of a wife.

Proetus sends Bellerophon to his father-in-law, Iobates of Lycia, with a sealed note instructing the man to kill Bellerophon. Iobates feasts for nine days with his guest before opening the letter. When he does so, he does not want to comply with the request. It was considered very bad form to murder a person to which you had extended your hospitality.

Instead of killing Bellerophon, Iobates sends him on a quest, which he believes will probably kill the young man. Bellerophon amazes everyone and completes the quest, and the next one, and the next, and the next.

It is in this manner that one of the greatest heroes in Greek mythology begins. By the time Bellerophon is done, he has completed the following feats:

  • Captures Pegasus, the winged horse, with the help of a golden bridle from Athena.
  • Slays the fire-breathing Chimera.
  • Defeats the Solymi, a war-like tribe of Lycia.
  • Defeats the Amazons, women who fought like men.
  • Kills the Carian pirate, Cheirmarrhus, who had been sent to assassinate him.
  • When Proetus’s castle guard is sent to assassinate him, Bellerophon calls upon Poseidon, who floods the plain and drowns the soldiers.
A floor mosaic from Syria depicting Bellerophon and Pegasus defeating the Chimera.

A floor mosaic from Syria depicting Bellerophon and Pegasus defeating the Chimera.

Iobates realizes his plan has failed and, in true ancient history fashion, gifts his daughter to Bellerophon and makes him heir to the throne. Bellerophon sired three children with his wife, Isander, Hippolochus, and Laodamia.

Over time, Bellerophon began to believe he deserved to be welcomed into the halls of Mount Olympus. He was eaten up by his pride. He attempted to fly Pegasus up Mount Olympus to join the gods by force. Zeus was angered by his impertinence and sent a gadfly to bite the flank of Pegasus. The horse threw off Bellerophon who fell to the earth and landed in a bramble of thorns.

Pegasus was welcomed into Zeus’s stable. He carried Zeus’s lightning bolts when the god went off to war.

Bellerophon, blinded and crippled from his fall, spent the rest of his life as a wandering hermit consumed with bitter gall for his treatment.

In Turning Creek, I fudged the details about Bellerophon a bit, but his pride and sense of entitlement are definitely intact.

Mythology Mondays: Nymphs

Every Monday, I highlight a different Greek myth that has woven its way into the Turning Creek series. The first book, Lightning in the Dark, is out now. If you pay close attention to the details, you will see where some of the elements and history of the series originated.

You might have a vague idea of what a nymph is and I would guess your level of nerd influences your ideas about this creature. I am a nerd, so my first inclination is towards the Dungeons and Dragons version on the nymph. It is OK to admit that here.

According to the D&D Monster Manual Core Rulebook III (which I have sitting on my desk right now), a nymph is a fey and “nature’s embodiment of physical beauty.” They hate evil and can blind or kill anyone who looks at them directly with their beauty. They are solitary creatures, live in wild areas, and avoid conflict when possible. They will fight to preserve the purity and sanctity of nature. If you want to know, and I know you do, their hit die is a 3d6.

 

Greek mythology abounds with nymphs of all kinds. Nymphs were female spirits who ruled and protected natural and wild areas including lakes, springs, rivers, caves, clouds, trees, beaches, and fields. They cared for the plants and animals in their domain. They were not gods themselves, but were often involved with the gods and were frequent attendees to events on Olympus.

There were many classes of nymphs, which mostly depended on where they chose to live. Unlike the D&D version, Greek nymphs often lived in groups. They served as handmaidens to goddesses, had relations with the gods and bore their children, married mortals and gods alike, and served often as nurses or nurturers to gods and children.

In Turning Creek, there are a number of nymphs running around in various forms. Beth Kramer, wife of Simon Kramer, runs the mercantile with her husband and is a nymph.

Books Read in 2014

Total Books Read: 56

Most Books Read in One Month: January with 8

Least Books Read in One Month: The fall was abysmal. I read an average of 2 books per month. At the time, I was slogging through the last two Outlander books and book 7 (Echo) was a hard read for me. I think it has replaced Voyager as my least favorite.

Summary: I read a ton of wonderful things this year. This list does not include my DNFs (Did Not Finish) so if a book was really bad, it is not on here. I admit, I plowed through a couple bad ones, but they were few. My list is chock full of historicals, paranormals, and paranormal historicals. It is pretty obvious what my reading tastes are.

Favorite Reread: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I reread it along with the show and fell in love again and again. I wrote a post about sexuality and marriage in Outlander because I love it that much. Outlander has been my favorite book since I first read it in high school and it has yet to be replaced. I also reread Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab, again. I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. Did you know Sandra has some lovely novellas out right now? They are on the list below.

Favorite New Read: I am going to go completely off track and choose a nonfiction as my favorite read because it was THAT good. Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink blew me away. It was like reading about a beautiful, heartbreaking train wreck everyone knew was coming and yet no one prepared for. The way Fink writes about the doctors and staff and the absolutely crazy things that happened during Katrina in New Orleans wrecked me. Even if you hate nonfiction, you need to give this one a try.

A close second was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book is gorgeous. The plight of the common German citizen and the impact the Nazis had on their daily lives is beautifully wrought by Zusak. I adored this book.

Authors I Can’t Get Enough Of: Sandra Schwab, Lauren Dane, Eloisa James, Courtney Milan

Authors Who Were on my TBR List Forever, Finally Got a Read, and Now I Love: Nalini Singh, Kevin Hearne, and Bec McMaster

January – 8
Blade to the Keep by Lauren Dane
Springtime Pleasures by Sandra Schwab
Damon: The Protectors Series by Teresa Gabelman
Blade Song by J.C. Daniels
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis
Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster
Nightfall by Rebecca York

February – 6
The Silver Chair by CS Lewis
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink
Strong Enough To Love by Victoria Dahl
The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
Wrecked by Meljean Brook
Castle of the Wolf by Sandra Schwab

March – 5
Following Isabella: Travels in Colorado Then and Now by Robert Root
Riveted by Meljean Brook
The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh

April – 6
The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James
Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh
A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis
Archangel’s Consort by Nalini Singh
Taken With You by Shannon Stacey

May – 6
Defending the Faith: Apologetics in Women’s Ministry by Mary Jo Sharpe
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Runaways: Dead End Kids by Joss Whedon
Skies of Gold by Zoe Archer
Chasing the Lion by Nancy Kimball
The Bride Prize: Allan’s Miscellany by Sandra Schwab

June – 6
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
Fury of Fire by Coreene Callahan
Moon Shine by Vivian Arend
Heart of Stone by Christine Warren

July – 6
Tactics by Gregory Koukl
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Last Battle by CS Lewis
Amulet: The Cloud Searchers by Kazu Kibuishi
Amulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and Nathan Hale

August – 5
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
A Tangled Web by Sandra Schwab
Devil’s Return by Sandra Schwab
Falling for Max by Shannon Stacey
Dragonspell by Donita K. Paul

September – 2
An Echo In The Bone by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

October – 2
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

November – 3
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Blade on the Hunt by Lauren Dane
Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville

December – 2
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean
The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

Mythology Mondays: Atalanta

Every Monday, I highlight a different Greek myth that has woven its way into the Turning Creek series. The first book, Lightning in the Dark, is out now. If you pay close attention to the details, you will see where some of the elements and history of the series originated.

This week, I am featuring Atalanta who inflamed men with her virginity, as one does, and outshone them with her prowess in whatever arena she competed.

Atalanta has many stories told regarding her her parentage, but the most prominent one claims that she was the daughter of King Iasus, who wanted a son and instead got a daughter. He was so disgusted by her sex when she was born, he left her on a mountaintop to die. She was raised by a bear who taught her to fight with ferocity.
Despite her beginnings, Atalanta was said to be a cheerful woman who pledged an oath of virginity to the goddess Artemis.

Atalanta went on to have many adventures which included:

  • Vanquishing a destructive boar set upon the countryside by Artemis and in doing so inspiring love in Meleager, who set aside his wife to pursue Atalanta.
  • Stealing upon the Argonauts ship, despite the protestations of the some of the men over having a woman on board, and proceeding to have many adventures where she saved the day.
  • Outrunning all her erstwhile suitors who were put to death when they lost the foot race to her superior stamina and speed.

Eventually, her father heard of his daughter’s exploits and, like many men, thought Atalanta needed to marry so she would settle down, stop showing up all the men around her, and have babies like a proper woman. He also wanted to claim her as his daughter now that she was famous and held her own political power. Atalanta refused to marry and revoke her vow of virginity.

With the help of Aphrodite and some of golden apples, Hippomenes tricked Atalanta into falling in love with him. They had a son named Parthenopaios, who was one of the Seven who stood against Thebes.

There are two versions of the end of their love story, both tragic and vengeful, as Greek myths often are. Either Hippomenes and Atalanta made love in Zeus’s temple, thus angering the god, or they failed to give Aphrodite the proper accolades for their epic love, thus angering the goddess. Whatever the reason, Hippomenes and Atalanta were turned into lions. At the time it was believed that lions could not mate with each other, only with leopards. This separated the lovers for eternity.

In Turning Creek, Cyrene and Atlanta (Atalanta) are huntresses who travel the world in an effort to find the most challenging hunt. Atlanta is the slightly bolder, more mouthy of the duo. Their efforts put them at odds eventually with the harpies of Turning Creek who do not appreciate their methods.

Book Reviews From People I Know Too Well

Now that people I love, people I see everyday, and people I randomly run into at holiday parties are reading my book, they all tell me what they think of it. The reactions have been positive and, dare I say, enthusiastic. It is still amusing to me to have people I know talk to me about characters that used to only live in my head. Some of these conversations are funny, because I know the people so well and I can read between the lines.

A little fun for Friday and some words to make you smile.

Dear Readers, I give you Book Reviews From People I Know Entirely Too Well. Enjoy.

From Mr. Rochester (my dear husband): The beginning was a little slow. I know you were doing some world building, but there were too many emotions and feelings.

Please note: Mr. R is an engineer with a heart of ice and any mention of feelings, tender or otherwise, is entirely too much for him. If Petra and the gang just got into fights in the saloon all the time, he would probably enjoy the book much better. I told him he would like Marina’s book more because the fighting to feelings ratio was higher. He is of the opinion that men only shed actual tears while watching Rudy. Any other emotional display is unacceptable. Good thing I have feelings for him.

From my Mother-in-Law: You write good descriptions. You don’t go on and on forever about the mountains and I’m thankful for that.

Please note: This comment from the woman who once went on a cruise to Alaska. When asked what she thought of it, her reply was, “The only thing to see was mountains and trees. It was boring.” I think she missed the point of going to Alaska.

From my Mom: It was really good. I really liked it.

Please Note: Even if it was rubbish (it’s not, I promise) she has to say that. She gave birth to me.

My Adoring Aunt: You’re the most beautiful writer in the entire world.

Please Note: This was after only reading the dedication and the acknowledgments. I have to admit; I love that lady to pieces.

Happy Friday everyone!

Mythology Mondays: Cyrene

Disclaimer: I know today is not Monday. My main excuse is that my kids were not back in school yesterday and it was crazy times at the crazy station here.

Every Monday, I highlight a different Greek myth that has woven its way into the Turning Creek series. The first book, Lightning in the Dark, is out now. If you pay close attention to the details, you will see where some of the elements and history of the series originated.

Greek myths, in fact most myth traditions, have their share of fierce women. They were women who defied the domestic places women were given to be warriors, leaders, huntresses, and forces to be reckoned with. They were the ancient versions of the woman who could do it all: they raised children, ran their households, and vanquished their enemies. All in one day.

Two of these versions of womanhood, Cyrene and Atalanta, were renown huntresses in the Greek myths. Both of these myths show up in Turning Creek, but today, I want to focus on Cyrene.

Cyrene was a Thessalian princess. She was given the task of guarding her father’s large herds and she did so armed with, not a shepherd’s crook, but a javelin and sword. A lion attacked the herds one day and she wrestled the beast until she destroyed it. Apollo saw the battle and became inflamed with desire, of course he did. He stole her, as one does with ladies that inspire such desire, and sequestered her in Northern Africa where the colony of Kyrene was named in her honor.

Apollo does what the Greek myths always did with ladies they stole and Cyrene bore him a son, named Aristaios. He was a demigod who invented beekeeping and other rural arts.

In Turning Creek, Cyrene is the partner of Atlanta (Atalanta). They are Remnant huntresses who travel the world in an effort to find the most challenging beast to conquer. Their efforts put them at odds eventually with the harpies of Turning Creek who do not appreciate their methods.

Mythology Mondays: Asclepius

Every Monday, I highlight a different Greek myth that has woven its way into the Turning Creek series. The first book, Lightning in the Dark, is out now. If you pay close attention to the details, you will see where some of the elements and history of the series originated.

Asclepius was the son of Apollo and the princess Koronis. His mother died in labor before Asclepius was born. Apollo placed Koronis on her funeral pyre, then, in his grief, cut the still living child from her womb. Thus, the child was named Asclepius, which means to cut open.

The baby was given to the centaur, Kheiron, who was the oldest and wisest of all the centaurs and an immortal god himself. He was skilled in medicine and taught all he knew to Asclepius. In time, the boy grew into a skilled man of medicine who could bring people back from the dead.

Asclepius was married to Epione and sired five daughters whose names reflect health and medicine: Hygieia (hygiene), Panacea (universal remedy), Aceso (healing), Iaso (recuperation), and Aglaea (beauty). He also had three sons named Machaon, Podaleirios and Telesphoros. Machaon and Podaleirios followed in their father’s footsteps and were famous surgeons in their own right. Telesphoros was a dwarf who is always depicted in statues as having a hood over his head. He represented recovery from illness and frequently accompanied his sister, Hygieia. Like many other Greek myths, Asclepius had trouble with fidelity and sired a son out of wedlock, named Aratus, with Aristodama.

Zeus found Asclepius’s skill of bringing souls back from the dead to be unnatural and punished him by striking him dead with a lightning bolt. He was placed among the stars as the constellation Ophiochus, the serpent holder. I’m not sure being made a constellation makes up for being killed, but this was often the consolation prize for myths when Zeus decided they had served their purpose.

While Asclepius does not often appear on reliefs, he is frequently found in sculptures as a bearded man with a serpent entwined staff. A non-venomous Mediterranean snake, called Aesculapian snake is named for Asclepius.

In classical times, a cult formed around the myth of Asclepius. Temples of healing were built in his name and often non-venomous snakes were used in the healing rituals or left to live in the temple itself. Pilgrims would travel many miles to be healed in these temples by men of medicine who followed Asclepius. Followers of Asclepius took oaths to treat the ill with equality.

The original Hippocratic oath taken by doctors began, “I swear by Apollo the Physician and by Asclepius and by Hygieia and Panacea and by all the gods …” The symbol of Asclepius, a serpent entwined staff, was the original medical caduceus. Today, the staff is often entwined by two snakes and topped by wings.

This is the logo of the American Medical Association and features the staff of Asclepius.

This is the logo of the American Medical Association and features the staff of Asclepius.

The resident doctor in Turning Creek is Lee Williams, a Remnant and follower of Asclepius. His unique skills sometimes get him into trouble.

Mythology Mondays: On Holiday

P20.1Harpyiai

This is a depiction of the harpies as they steal food from blind Phineas. Image taken from theoi.com. A great site about Greek myths and an excellent resource.

Mythology Mondays, a fun look at some of the myths who have showed up in the valley of Turning Creek, is on holiday for a week. You can use it to catch up with the myths we have have covered so far:

Harpies

Iris, The Messenger

Hephaestus

Dionysus

Join us again on December the 29th when we take a peek at Asclepius, who could bring the dead back to life.

Happy Holidays!

Convergence

I was prepared for much of the publishing process. My experience with nonfiction and the research I conducted beforehand helped. There was one thing, though, which neither of these things prepared me for.

Being a writer is a strange thing. Ask any writer and they will tell you we do not live alone in our heads. I live with a miasma of people, their histories and foibles inside my head. They have conversations with each other (which I scramble to jot down in the strangest of places on the note cards I carry), they reveal things to me about themselves, and they act out the dramas which they find themselves enmeshed in.

All inside my head. While I am trying to do other things.

It sounds crazy.

Other writers are nodding their heads, in complete understanding.

People who are not writers often ask, “Aren’t they characters you made up? What do you mean they tell you things and you can’t make them do whatever you want? They aren’t real.”

In my head they are real. It is like having my brain full of imaginary friends.

Then, I did something all writers want to do to the people in their heads. I wrote them down, published them in a book, and now people are reading about the people who live in my head.

The strangest thing has happened to me since then, a convergence.

People are coming up to me and talking to me about my imaginary friends as if they were real. I realize this is a compliment, that they have connected with the characters in a way that makes them real, makes the reader care. It is both hilarious and exhilarating to discuss the motivations of the people I have made up and live in the world I created with other people. I did not expect these conversations and I am enamored of them.

After spending so much time with the characters of Turning Creek, I care for them. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They make me hope for something better in their lives. I want them all to find their purpose and live their life in a way which displays justice, mercy, and love. It breaks my heart to know not all of them will succeed. Most will, but only after much struggle.

Every day, someone else discovers Petra and the gang and it makes me smile to know my characters have taken up residence in someone else’s brain. For a little while, at least.

Want to meet Petra? Lightning in the Dark is available in various formats for your reading pleasure.

 

Mythology Mondays: Dionysus

Every Monday, I highlight a different Greek myth that has woven its way into the Turning Creek series. The first book, Lightning in the Dark, is out now. If you pay close attention to the details, you will see where some of the elements and history of the series originated.

Today’s post is up later than normal. Mea culpa.

I want to talk about Dionysus.

If you are like me, the first image that comes to mind when you think about this Greek god is the song from Fantasia where everything starts out nice, but then the wine comes out and they all get drunk. Looking back, it is an odd choice for a children’s musical.

dionysus

 

Dionysus, known also as Bacchus in later traditions, is the god of the harvest, of wine, of the earth, and fertility. His image runs the gamut from an overweight fun, loving god, to a long haired effeminate youth with an over large phallus. Like many of the gods, his story varies by region. He is most commonly thought to be the son of Zeus and the Theban princess, Semele. He was the only god on Mount Olympus whose parents were not both divine.

Unfortuntely for Semele, Zeus loved her dearly and this did not make Hera, his wife happy. Through trickery, she  got Semele to request to see Zeus’s true face. Being mortal, she could not gaze upon the visage of a god without dying. Before she perished, Zeus removed her unborn son and but him in his own side until he was ready to be born. After he was born (the details on just how he came to be born are sketchy), Hermes carried the infant Dionysus to the nymphs of Nyse. He lived in a cave by the sea for nine years.

“So the God of the Vine was born of fire and nursed by rain, the hard burning heat that ripens the grapes and the water that keeps the plants alive.” – Edith Hamilton

When he comes of age, Dionysus spends years wandering the earth trying to convince different cities and regions that he was a god and thus should be worshiped. Dionysus had a serious pride and image issue, like pretty much every other Greek god.

His method for proving his divinity was usually a two or three step process. He would first demand to be worshiped. When the town refused, he would show them then gifts of the vine aka teach them how to grow grapes and make wine. If this was not enough, he would cause the women of the town to go insane and rip men to shreds. This was the beginning of the origin of the maenads and the Bacchantic women. He sounds like a really fun guy to have at parties.

As history progressed, Dionysus’s role in worship and in the myths morphed into something more than just about grapes and wine. He became a god of fertility, a god of nature, and a god of order and peace. It seems that Dionysus the myth matured and found order in the natural cycles of nature and earth.

In the Turning Creek series, Dionysus appears as the owner of the local saloon, Daniel Vine.