Hello. I am D. Gabrielle Jensen, author of what I’m trying to niche down to rock and roll urban fantasy—stories set in modern urban locales, featuring paranormal, supernatural, and mythological elements, and imbued with music.
I just finished my first full-length trilogy set in a version of Denver crawling with fugitive souls inhabiting human hosts. My main character, Fia Drake, is a solitary bounty hunter with the task of returning these souls to the underworld, while also navigating angels, demons, and drummers.
As a child, I took it upon myself to read and learn the stories of Ancient Greece, but I also studied the Christian Bible, both as a curious fascination more than anything. That grew into a fascination for all things weird and unusual. As an adult, I remained interested in the mythologies of various cultures, though admittedly, I still know more about Greece than any other traditions because of the time I spent with it so early in my life. I am deeply fascinated by connections and parallels that can be made between cultures that, in their time, would never have interacted in a way as to share their stories.
One such symbol that shows up repeatedly throughout my trilogy is a feather. A literal connection is made between the feathers and angelkind, but a deeper, less obvious connection is made between the feather and the underworld, through Ma’at and Annubis of Egyptian tradition. There is also a parallel between Fia and Max each finding their own feathers and where the story eventually leads us as readers. Without giving away an ending with a lot of punch, many cultures associate feathers with freedom, flight, connection to the divine or spiritual realms and these ideas come full circle, for all of the characters, as the series winds to a close.
Urban fantasy lends well to the incorporation of mythologies from around the world. Because we, as authors, are world building in an earth parallel, we have the luxury of a ready-made encyclopedia of creatures for our protagonists to encounter. And that, I think, is half the fun—figuring out how Cupid or Bael might get along in modern times, giving a character a pet Chupacabra. The sky is truly the limit in terms of how outrageous these monsters in a modern world can become.
My early fascination with these mythologies and legends, the stories of the ancient world, a fascination that carried on throughout my life, evolving and morphing as I learned more, read more, experienced more, has given me a plethora of beings to drop into a modern world, just to see how they react. Following Fia Drake, I have started telling the story of a new protagonist. Private investigator and earth-bound demon Abby Vega can be found in the limited-edition Magic and Mystery anthology from Bone Diggers Press, in the story “Price of Fame.”
If you are interested in seeing more of how I work mythology (and music) into my stories, I am all over social media, but the most reliable source of information is my newsletter which goes out every other Wednesday afternoon. New subscribers get the first chapter of Drummers and Demons, the first book of the Fia Drake Soul Hunter trilogy for free.
© Eva Pohler
Demeter wandered around, disguised as an old woman, until she came into a pretty village on a hillside. Near its center was a well, and it was surrounded by a stone bench. Demeter sat and took comfort by the well, covered her face in her hands, and wept.
After some time, four girls came to fill their jugs, and when they saw Demeter weeping, they asked if she needed help.
“I don’t think anyone can help me,” Demeter said. “My daughter has been stolen from me by the lord of darkness.”
“Oh, no!” the youngest cried. “She’s dead? You poor thing!”
The little girl put a hand on Demeter’s shoulder.
“The people in this village are kind,” the oldest said. “Anyone would take you in, but you would make us happiest if you would come and stay with us for however long you need to.”
Demeter smiled at the girl and was surprised by her kindness. “Thank you. But first go and ask your mother if she has room and enough food for me.”
The girls left with their jugs and, in a half hour, they returned without them, skipping.
“Our mother says yes!” the youngest cried before they’d reached the well.
Each girl had a smile for Demeter and something else besides—an orange, a feather, a flower, and a walnut.
“Please say you’ll come and be our grandmamma,” one of the middle girls said as she handed over her present.
“Our mother just had a baby and is stuck in the house all day,” the girl who had not yet spoken said. “She would love to have your company.”
“She said so?” Demeter asked.
All four girls nodded.
Demeter was moved by their enthusiasm. They didn’t even know who she was and yet they were so welcoming to her. She stood up from the bench and allowed them to crowd around her and take her by her arms.
The girls giggled and talked the whole way home, asking about her favorite color, her favorite food, her favorite thing to do. Demeter tried to answer as best as she could, though she had to make things up since her real answers would give away her identity.
After a while, they came to a small house on the edge of the village. Demeter was appalled by its condition. The exterior was badly worn, and it seemed too small for such a large family. There were no flowers in the garden, and the door had a hole at the bottom of it.
Waiting inside with a baby in her arms was the mother. She smiled warmly at Demeter and said, “Welcome to our humble home. My name is Metaneira, and this is Demophoon, my newborn son. Come inside and sit with us by the cozy fire. I’ll have my daughters bring you a glass of honey-sweet wine and a bowl of spicy lamb stew.”
Demeter was at once smitten with the baby. “May I hold him?”
“It would be an honor!” Metaneira said as she handed her precious bundle to the goddess she thought was just a lonely old woman.
Demeter couldn’t believe the members of this household would treat a stranger with such kindness. Her pleasure made flowers bloom around the house. No one noticed yet, but they would soon, though they wouldn’t understand the cause. Demeter also fixed the hole in the door while no one was looking, and she reinforced the entire house with magic, to keep the place from falling down. But mostly, she sat by the fire and held the baby boy, and sang to him, and was reminded of the days when Persephone was a baby.
Demeter was sitting beside the cozy fire with Demophoon bundled in her arms when his mother, Metaneira, returned home with a basket full of corn and potatoes.
“It’s the strangest thing,” Metaneira said as she set the basket on the table and took off her coat. “Crops are failing all over the lands. Neighboring villagers are starving. But our little farm has had the best harvest of my life. I’ve just been to market, where I sold corn and potatoes by the bushel! Dozens of them!”
“It pleases me to see you so happy,” Demeter said.
Metaneira smiled. “You brought us this good fortune. The gods must favor you.”
Demeter held the bottle of goat’s milk to the baby’s lips. “Your baby has grown bigger these past few days. His strength is remarkable.”
“And that is your doing, too,” the mother said. “You’ve been a wonderful blessing to us, dear.”
Metaneira’s daughters burst through the door with their jugs full of water.
“It’s so cold out there!” the youngest said.
“It’s never this cold!” the oldest said.
“But it’s nice and warm in here,” Metaneira pointed out. “Take off your coats and warm yourselves by the fire.”
To Demeter, she said, “Let me take my son. I’ll bathe him and bring him back to you shortly.”
“I can bathe him,” Demeter said, holding the baby close.
The mother frowned. “I don’t mind doing it, my dear. I rarely get the chance to hold him as it is.”
“I’ll do it, Metaneria. That way, you can get on with making the supper.”
Metaneira nodded, but Demeter could see she’d hurt the mother’s feelings.
As Demeter bathed Demophoon at the basin in the back of the house, the youngest daughter entered the room to offer her help.
“Can you take the jug of water back to your mother for me?” Demeter asked, pointing to the water she hadn’t used on the infant.
“I’d be happy to.” As the girl was about to leave the room, she turned back to Demeter and asked, “Are you going to keep my baby brother for yourself?”
“Of course not, child,” Demeter scolded. “He belongs to your mother.”
The girl apologized and left the room.
After supper, Demeter thought it would be wise to allow Metaneira to hold her own son. She didn’t like the suspicions that seemed to be growing among the members of the household. Demeter cleaned the supper dishes while the family visited around their fire. Metaneira’s husband, Celeus, had just returned from his hunt, and the girls begged him to tell them about his adventures.
When the supper dishes were clean and the stories were finished, Demeter asked if she might once again hold Demophoon. The mother kissed her baby’s forehead before handing him over—sadly, it seemed to Demeter. The goddess realized she had allowed herself to grow too fond of the baby and was hoarding him as she had her own daughter. Her heart still ached for Persephone, but, in her efforts to divert her heartache, Demeter couldn’t rob this mother of her time with her child.
As the mother stood to ready herself for bed, Demeter whispered, “I won’t remain in your house much longer. You’ll have your baby back soon.”
The mother either didn’t hear Demeter, or she pretended not to hear, as she ordered her daughters to bed. Then Metaneira told Demeter goodnight before she followed her husband to their bedroom.
Alone with the baby, Demeter took a vial of ambrosia from her robes and anointed it all over Demophoon’s sweet skin. If she was to spare him from death, tonight was the night she must make him a god. As she anointed his skin, she sang the song she’d sung to him each night:
Sweet little cherub, don’t you cry.
Sleep will be coming, and soon you’ll fly
Up to the stars and into the night.
A kiss for Selene and all is bright.
Then, holding the baby in one hand, she stoked the fire with the other, and then she kissed Demophoon on the forehead.
“You will become like me, sweet boy,” she whispered. “And then, when your family has long since died, you will still walk the earth, until you’re ready to join me on Mount Olympus.”
She swaddled him more snuggly in his blanket and then reached down to place him in the flames in the hearth.
Behind her, Metaneira screamed. “No!”
Demeter jumped. She’d been so consumed with what she was doing, that she hadn’t noticed the mortal enter the room.
Metaneira rushed to Demeter’s side and ripped Demophoon from the goddess’s arms. “How could you? How could you want to kill my baby?”
The baby wailed with fear. His mother bounced him and patted him and kissed his little head. “It’s okay,” she whispered to her son. “I’ve got you now, my sweet lamb.”
Demeter was mortified by Metaneira’s accusation. “I would never kill Demophoon! I love him as if he were my own child!”
“You must be mad.” The mother stared at Demeter with wide, frightened eyes. Her voice and body trembled as she patted her boy. “I saw what you were going to do. If I hadn’t come in when I did…”
“Your son would be immortal, like me.”
Metaneira jerked back her head. “What did you say?”
Demeter transformed into the beautiful, slender, youthful woman that she was—but she kept her radiance dimmed, so as not to burn the mortal’s eyes and kill her. Demeter’s old robes were replaced by a purple gown of silk. Her corn-blonde hair fell in braids across her back. A crown of diamonds sparkled on her head above her golden-brown eyes.
In spite of Demeter’s precaution at keeping her radiance dimmed, her transformation startled the woman, and the mother fell back and toppled to the floor. Her baby fell from her arms and struck his head on the brick hearth. The baby’s crying came to an abrupt halt. Blood poured from his head.
“No!” both women screamed.
Celeus rushed from his bed to see what the commotion was all about. His daughters peered down from their loft, rubbing their sleepy eyes.
“What’s happening?” the husband cried.
Demeter had taken Demophoon in her arms, had covered his wound with his blanket, and was trying to breathe the life back into him, but Hermes had been too swift. He’d taken the baby’s soul before Demeter had noticed him.
With her eyes full of tears, the goddess glared at each member of the unfortunate family. “I am Demeter, goddess of the harvest.”
“A goddess?” Celeus asked. “Here, in our house?” He fell to his knees.
Demeter saw the girls above them drop to their knees as well.
Metaneira was already on the floor at Demeter’s feet, sobbing for her son. She said nothing.
Demeter looked down at the poor woman. “You were good to me while I was feeling low, and I thank you for that. But now Demophoon is dead.”
“No!” the mother cried. “Please! It can’t be! Oh, no, no, no!” The woman beat her breast and rocked herself to and fro at Demeter’s feet.
The girls above broke into sobs, too.
“Can’t you fix him?” the youngest asked.
“We’ll do anything you say!” Celeus said. “Please save my son!”
Demeter glanced across the room at the hurting father and then looked up at the darling girls, their faces twisted with despair. Then she returned her gaze to the mourning mother at her feet. This is not what she had hoped for this family. “I’ll take his body to Lord Hades and beg for his soul to be returned.”
Metaneria kissed Demeter’s feet, again and again. “Thank you, dear Demeter. Thank you so much!”
Demeter held the lifeless baby close to her as she left the cottage and god-traveled to the gates of the Underworld, some distance from Cerberus, where she waited on the riverbank, once again for Charon to appear in his boat.
When she saw the old man nearing the gate on his raft full of souls, she spotted Hermes among them. He held Demophoon’s soul in his arms.
“Hermes!” Demeter shouted. “Give that soul back to me at once, before the body becomes cold.”
Hermes gave her a look of surprise. “Demeter? Is that you?”
“The soul you carry in your arms,” she repeated. “Please give it back to me.”
Hermes glanced all around. Demeter saw the look he exchanged with Charon.
“You’ll have to take this up with Lord Hades,” Hermes finally said. “I don’t have the authority.”
“Tell him I’m here,” she said. “Please tell him to let me inside the gate.”
Demeter carried the lifeless Demophoon in her arms as she flew from the Underworld back to the village near the base of Mount Parnassus, where she saw a crew of men already at work on her temple. She flew further west to their small village and found Metaneira at home sobbing, while her daughters attempted to console her.
As soon as Demeter entered the house, Metaneria leapt to her feet and rushed to the goddess. Her four daughters were close at her heels.
“Is he alive?” she cried peering at the baby in Demeter’s arms.
“My baby brother!” the youngest girl said. “Is he safe?”
“Not yet,” Demeter said to them gravely.
“Not yet?” the oldest daughter asked.
Metaneira looked expectantly at Demeter. “So he will be soon?”
“Maybe. It’s not that simple,” Demeter said.
“Please, dear Goddess,” the second to the oldest begged. “Explain it to us!”
At that moment, Celeus entered the house. He fell to his knees just inside the door.
“You’ve returned! Do you have my son?”
His daughters fell to their knees as well, following their father’s example. Only Metaneira remained standing, her face close to the lifeless baby.
“He’s still not alive,” Metaneira said. “She’s about to explain, aren’t you, dear Demeter?”
“The lord of darkness told me there was only one way he could return Demophoon’s soul.”
“And what is it?” Metaneira asked anxiously.
“Someone must take his place.”
More gasps filled the room.
Metaneira fell to her knees, clinging to Demeter’s legs.
Everyone in the room, including Demeter, was crying.
In another moment, Metaneira said, “I’ll do it.”
The four daughters jumped to their feet and crowded their mother.
“Please, don’t, Mamá!” the youngest cried. “You can’t leave us!”
“No, Mamá! I won’t let you!” the oldest said.
“I’d rather die than let you do it!” the second to the youngest said.
“No, Ophelia! It can’t be you, either!” the second to the oldest cried. “Mamá please! Demophoon is in heaven. Let him stay!”
“I agree,” Celeus said, climbing to his feet. “My beloved Metaneira, I’m so sorry for your grief. I feel it too. But you’ll break my heart beyond repair if you do this thing.”
Metaneira stood, and, unsteadily, went to her husband. She cupped his face in her hands as tears streamed down both of their cheeks. “I love you. I don’t want to leave you. But my instinct is to save my son. Can you understand that?”
“Your daughters need you, too,” he said.
“That’s true, Mamá!” the oldest cried. “Oh, please! Oh, please don’t go!”
Demeter’s heart was breaking, too. She hated Hades for making her do this. Surely, as the lord of the Underworld, he could have thought of a better way.
Metaneira turned to her daughters and embraced each one. “Listen to me, my sweet little lambs. I love you more than life itself. And I would do this for any of you.”
“No!” they cried.
“You are all old enough to help your Babá, yes?” their mother said through her tears. “And you will take good care of your baby brother? You won’t blame him for my death? He is innocent, you know.”
“Mamá, please!” they begged.
Metaneira turned to Celeus. “If I don’t do this thing, I will be miserable for the rest of my life—knowing I might have saved my son. If I hadn’t been given this choice—if he’d died and there was nothing I could do—I might have moved on. But knowing I could save him…it will kill me if I don’t. There’s no question in my mind. I need to do this.”
Celeus gave Demeter an accusing glare. His eyes told her that he blamed her, but he said nothing.
Demeter couldn’t stand to be in the presence of the grief-stricken family a moment longer. “You must choose,” she said. “The body is growing cold.”
“I have no choice,” Metaneira said. “Take me to the Underworld.”
As Demeter god-traveled with the baby and his mother away from the village, she tried to ignore the wails and cries of the family members left behind.
Demeter god-traveled with the mother and baby to the riverbank near the gate of the Underworld and called out for Hades. “I’ve done as you asked! I’ve brought you the mother!”
“I’m frightened,” Metaneira said through a chattering jaw as she looked across the river at Cerberus. “Will you stay with me until the very end?”
Demeter squeezed the mother’s hand. “I will stay with you for as long as I’m allowed.”
“Will I be able to see Demophoon before I go? Just once, to say goodbye?” She glanced at his lifeless body cupped in one of Demeter’s arms.
“I will ask. It’s not up to me.”
Metaneira kissed the goddess’s hand. “Thank you.”
The enormous black iron gate screeched open, and Demeter thought about making a run for it—racing inside to find Demophoon and Persephone and taking her chances against Hades—but before she could commit to the idea, Charon emerged from the gate with an empty raft.
As soon as he passed the threshold, the gate screeched closed behind him. Cerberus watched attentively.
“Where’s Hades? I need to speak with him!” Demeter shouted from across the river.
“He’s not at home.”
“What?” Demeter was outraged. “How can he call himself the lord of the Underworld if he’s so seldom here?”
Charon said nothing in reply but slowly pulled his pole through the river.
“What about Hermes?” Demeter asked. “Can’t he help me?”
“He hasn’t yet come with the next batch of souls,” Charon remarked.
“Is there no one in charge down here that can help me?” Demeter complained.
Again, Charon did not reply.
“He’s a man of many words,” Demeter muttered beneath her breath.
“What’s wrong?” Metaneira asked, her teeth still chattering. “Is something amiss?”
“I guess we’ll just have to wait,” Demeter said with a tinge of anger she couldn’t suppress, not even for the frightened woman. How she hated Hades. He’d abducted her daughter, he’d refused to allow Demeter to see her, and now he was destroying a family dear to her heart.
“I don’t know how much longer I can take this,” Metaneria said. “I may just die of fear right here and now.”
“Wait, that’s it.” The idea that came to Demeter was horrific, but it was worth giving it a try. What did she have to lose?
Demeter conjured her dagger. “The surest way to get a god of death to come to us is to force his hand.”
Metaneira’s eyes grew wide. “Is it time, then?”
“I’m afraid so, my dear,” Demeter answered. “But it will be quick. One sharp pain, and then it’ll be over. Then you’ll be free.”
Metaneira nodded, though her teeth continued to chatter. “I’m so afraid. Do you suppose you could sing to me, like you did as you rocked Demophoon to sleep?”
Tears now spilled down Demeter’s face as she smiled at the woman. “I promise to look after your baby and to protect him as if he were my own.”
Metaneria didn’t say it, but she unwittingly prayed, Isn’t that what you always wanted? Aloud, Metaneria said, “I would be forever grateful, Goddess.”
Demeter sang her soft tune as she raised the dagger.
Sweet little cherub, don’t you cry.
Sleep will be coming, and soon you’ll fly
Up to the stars and into the night
A kiss for Selene and all is bright.
Eva Pohler is a USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels in multiple genres, including supernatural mysteries, thrillers, and young adult paranormal romance based on Greek mythology. Her books have been described as "addictive" and "sure to thrill"--Kirkus Reviews. You can learn more about Eva and her work at https://www.evapohler.com, where you can sign up to receive two free ebooks, including Charon's Quest.
When did you start writing? What made you first decide to try your hand at it?
I started writing April 2021. I wrote a blurb for what was supposed to be a fake book and an April Fools Day joke.
What was your first published work? What do you think of it now?
The Prophecy of the Water Sprite is my only published novel, and I think I did really well for a debut novel...and really a first story ever written. Even in high school I drew a picture instead of writing a 1000 word short story in English class.
How do you balance writing with your personal life?
I don’t really balance it well, I go all in on the writing when the muse is working. I remember I had a 14 hour day during the first drafting of The Prophecy of the Water Sprite.
Do people you actually know make appearances in your stories?
No, I didn’t make anyone I know into the fictional characters, though I think there are traits that I pull from them.
Do family members or friends help with your writing? Your marketing?
No, I wish I had even friends that helped. But I currently just have a few acquaintances— that are working their way to friends I hope— that I have met from being on ARC and Beta teams, they help with random ques5ons that I don’t seem to be able to find answers for on my own.
Do you have stories you want to write that you haven’t yet?
Yes. I currently have ideas jotted down for at least 5 stories. One of which I have already started writing! And two that are not “in my lane” but I will write them anyway!
Is there a story you’re afraid to write for some reason? Why?
The 3rd story I had an idea form for is contemporary, and I am a bit afraid of not hittng the mark with it. Without having magic and fantastical things to keep from painting myself into a corner, I might have a hard time with the realism of it all.
Do you ever target differing age groups or demographics with your writing?
I am not targeting anything. I figure there are enough other writers already doing that, if I keep mine the way my brain produces them, I hope the originality will win over everything else.
Have you ever written non-fiction? If so, what?
No. Never actually wrote a story—at all—prior to the Prophecy of the Water Sprite.
Are you a ‘normal’ person who likes to write, or do you consider yourself more of the tormented/driven ‘artist’ type?
Pretty sure I am not normal, but I don’t feel like I am the latter of that either.
Do you drink? Why or why not?
Rarely. I have too many alcoholics in my life, and I see the damage it causes.
Are you married? How does being a writer affect that? Has your marriage affected the way you write love stories?
I am not Married, but I have been with my Guy for almost 20 years. He is constantly jealous of the time I spend writing and promoting the book with the Social media community.
If you could see one of your stories made into a movie, which one would you pick and why?
Well of Course I would Choose the Prophecy of the Water Sprite, but not just because it is my only story. But because it would make a great movie! It is written in multiple POV so it would be easy to change over to a screenplay script.
How does your life experience influence your writing?
I enjoy nature and animals, and I feel like that is conveyed in the story. I also have a deep sense of empathy, which I feel is a strong character trait, that I shared with the fictional characters in the book.
Do you try to keep your stories within their pre-determined genres, or do you just tell the story your way regardless of genre expectations?
I have only been reading for fun for a bit over two years, so I am sure I have some things that aren’t exactly to genre expectations. I would have to say due to this fact, I write my way.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kinds? Does music influence your stories?
No. I find it hard to concentrate with more than the sounds of nature and my pets.
Have you ever written a story based on a personal experience you had? If so, what was it about?
Not yet. Though it does sound like a good idea to use personal experiences while
Do you let real-life events influence your work, or is there a ‘disconnect’ between your stories and world/national/local events?
My story is set in Earth of another dimension, so I would have to say there is a disconnect in that aspect.
Is your writing time planned out or structured? Do you go on writing ‘benders’?
Definitely Benders. When the words flow, I get them out as best I can.
What to you is the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?
The most rewarding aspect is the finished story. If people read and like it even better, but I don’t expect the praise of it for myself. I would much rather they not know who wrote it specifically and just like the story itself for what it is.
Who is your favorite author, and why?
I don’t have a favorite author. I read a lot of different authors and they each have different styles which I like. i would get very bored if I only read one all of the time. That being said I do enjoy the way Shel Silverstein has creativity in his poetry, the graphic descriptions of Stephen King, and all of the Amazing Indie authors that write in the Reverse Harem Genre, there are such diverse stories and styles there is no way I could choose just one.
If you could pick anyone to narrate one of your books, who would it be?
I would have to choose two to cover the male and female voices. But aside from that I really don’t know. I personally would give it a try if I could get the right program and microphone.
Which character of yours is your favorite? Why? Whom would you pick to play him/her/it in a movie?
Oh, well...that is like picking a favorite pet. They are all my favorite for different reasons. Skyy because she is so Kind and innocent. Vale because he is intimidating in size, but that just means his heart is equally as big. Elio because of his determination and overbearing nature. Enlil for his playful attitude, and deep feelings. Morfran, because he is so good at being bad. Lastly, Araminta because she is like every mother, aunt, and grandmother in a way.
Do you write when you take a vacation, or do you prefer to simply relax?
I only have staycations! But if I were to take an actual vacation I would not write, I might read ...or I might not even do that.
Do you prefer to read fiction that’s similar to what you write, or do you pick different types of stories?
I personally have a very eclectic reading selection. I am a member of so many ARC Alpha and Beta teams that I rarely choose a book to read anymore. I don’t mind that one bit either, since half the battle is choosing what to read next!
What’s one quirky thing about you that your readers might not know?
I am sure they haven’t had the chance to get to know me too well just yet. But anyone who has a question for me is welcomed to ask. I don’t bite, unless you want me to.
What’s your favorite movie? Why?
My Favorites are The Princess Bride and The Labyrinth. I can recite them from memory and word for word while watching. They are just what I grew up watching, and absolutely loved the story they portrayed. A third place runner up would be Spaceballs, because it is absolutely ridiculously hilarious!
Do you set up events to meet your readers, or is your interaction with them strictly online?
I have attempted one live book signing, and I plan on doing more in the future. I just don’t know where to start with signing up for them and all of that hot mess. Plus I should probably have more than one book published before I commit to them.
Have you ever had to exhaustively research something (say, history) for any of your books?
Not as of yet. But I have the type of personality that I would want to make sure there are more things at one hundred percent correct than not.
What’s a question I haven’t asked that you’d like to answer?
I always find it fascinating that the majority of authors I ask say they do in fact talk in their sleep. I personally didn’t start doing this until I started writing, and I haven't figure out why either. But I think it is preJy cool that I share that affliction with other authors.
My Next project is already under way and will be a Mash up of Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Paranormal Reverse Harem. I hope the originality of the characters and the story line will be a breath of fresh air so to speak.
I wrote this short story in 2018 because I wanted a small break from writing longer fiction, and I love myth and magic. It’s now become a complete series, Dragon Heir. Start reading with Dragon’s Call, a full-length contemporary fantasy with a dystopian twist.
Rowan huddled deeper into the luxuriant clump of gorse bushes and drew her hood over her head to hide her bright hair. Thorns were a problem but a small enough price for protection. She hasn’t been quick enough reaching the cave she called home before bugles from the Wild Hunt blared. Clanking chains, creaking saddle leather, and the whoops and cries of Odin and his contingent of long-dead fairies and warriors filled the air.
An invisibility spell was a crapshoot. The Hunt smelled magic like hunting dogs scented prey. Hard to do nothing, but safety lay in holding her position—at least until the Hunt had flown by.
Not that they couldn’t return in a flash, but--
“Ro?” Tansy’s terrified voice exploded into her mind.
Goddess blast it, so much for not drawing power. Telepathy didn’t take much, but still… “Hush.” She sharpened the single word, hoping it would shut Tansy up.
So few witches were left. Tansy would be the last of them. Barely thirteen, her moonblood had just begun to flow…
Ro sucked in a breath sharp as glass scrapings. The one thing the Hunt would zero in on faster than magic was blood. They soared right above her now, blotting out half a moon and all the stars. The pungent stink of horse sweat and drunken men wafted down, and she silently urged them to keep on flying. So far, so good. The horses’ hooves churned air, finding purchase somehow. Hunger streamed from the ghost army.
Hunger for warmth. For the living to feed on, so they could ride forever. As if to validate her thoughts, they broke into a rambling Norse drinking song, one she’d heard in the odd tavern or two back before the world broke.
Best not to go there. If she did she might cry. Once she began, the tears would never stop. She’d cry so much, she’d become one with rivers raging through the Scottish Highlands. Not such a horrible outcome. Better than ending up fodder for the Hunt.
Or the gargoyles or griffons or Harpies or Furies. Wicked things that had grown so brazen, they showed up in daylight. No times were safe to be about. Not anymore. She closed her teeth over her lower lip hard enough to hurt, stopping shy of piercing her skin. Blood was a bad idea with the Hunt overhead.
A misplaced Druidic casting had broken the balance point between bright and dark energy. At first, she’d been certain the witches could fix it, but she’d been wrong. They’d wasted a whole lot of time and magic, though, before they gave up. By then, survival hung by the barest of margins.
The Hunt wheeled in the night sky, forming a circle. A fist squeezed around her heart until pain filled her chest. Saliva departed, leaving her mouth sandpaper dry; everything slowed as she watched Tansy emerge from a magical shrouding.
And blood. Rowan pounded a fist into the damp dirt. No wonder the Hunt had stopped.
Tansy rose unsteadily to her feet. Dressed in the same motley collection of rags all of them wore, red hair streamed down her slight form, and her breath formed clouds of steam in the chill air. Since she’d already been discovered, she began to chant in a clear voice that only trembled a little. Ro knew the incantation. It was a witch’s last-ditch attempt to save herself from death. Her heart ached for Tansy, but she was proud of the young woman too.
The aerial ballet circled, coming closer to the ground with each pass. Ro could see them clearly now, skeletal fingers, eyes like burning coals. She smelled their charnel pit breath, and what little was in her stomach curdled into a sour knot.
If she was going to act, she had to do it now. Another few seconds, and the lead rider would latch onto Tansy. What they’d do to her would be worse than death.
Rowan bolted to her feet and raced toward the clearing fifty feet away, stumbling over tangled roots. “Take me, instead, you bastards,” she screeched, shaking a fist at the riders.
Tansy turned a startled expression her way, eyes rounded into small moons. “Aw crap, Rowan. You didn’t need to—”
“Yeah. I did.” She looped an arm around the younger woman’s shoulders, drawing her shuddering form close as she warded them. Her spell wouldn’t stand up to concerted battering from the Hunt, but it was the best she could do.
“I—I’m sorry,” Tansy stuttered.
“Be sorry later.” Ro narrowed her eyes. There had to be a way out of this.
Who am I kidding? I just offered myself. It gives them permission to take me.
Bile splashed the back of her throat. She swallowed it down. She would not puke in front of Odin and his ilk. She would not show distress. Not in front of those rotters.
“Let the girl go.” She squared her shoulders and looked the lead Huntsman right in the eye, no easy task since his fiery gaze seared her corneas until she wondered if she’d be blind afterward.
“Aye, and is this a bargain freely requested and freely given?” Odin boomed in heavily accented English.
Tansy clutched at her arm. “You don’t have to do this. I’ll go. I’m the one who was stupid. I’m who—”
Rowan rounded on her. “Shut up.” Tansy’s eyes filled with tears. Rowan wanted to drag her into her arms and comfort her, but comfort wasn’t part of the new world order. She switched to shielded telepathy, hoping Odin and his merry crew wouldn’t pick up on it.
“I may have a chance of returning, child. They’ll eat you up alive.”
Ro stood so straight her spine cracked in protest. “Yes. It’s a bargain freely requested and freely given.”
Whoops and cheers rose from the riders. Shudders wracked Ro’s body. What would they do to her? Would she have enough cunning to escape? Magic wouldn’t be enough. She’d need luck, timing, courage. And a plan.
One of the horsemen angled her way. She held up a hand, palm outward and strengthened the ward around herself and Tansy. “Not so fast. I said the girl goes free. I would see her safely out of here.”
“Ye’re a lying, conniving slut,” Odin sneered, his destrier pawing the air a few feet above her head.
“I resent that. I’m a witch, and I live and die by my word. I shall meet you back here in one hour, but you must leave between now and then. I do not want you privy to where we live.” She tossed her head, and her hood fell back. “Do we have a bargain or no?”
Breath steamed from Odin and he extended an arm, index finger pointing dead center at her chest. “I know that hair. Whose get are ye?”
“No one’s.” She slipped a knife from a sheath that hung from her waist and let the blade hover across her open palm. “Deal or no? I shall seal it with my blood.”
Tansy edged behind her and tugged her hood back into place. Good move on the girl’s part; any additional space between her and danger would help if Odin said he didn’t bargain with witches. If that happened, she’d scream at Tansy to run, and then she’d hold her ground offering what resistance she could as the Hunt swooped down on her.
Rowan expelled a tight breath. Too late to pull her own hood up. Her hair, spun silver with one black streak through the middle, fairly sang Ceridwen’s name, but she downplayed that part of her bloodlines.
More than downplayed. She hid everything but the hair and had done so long enough it was second nature. Turning her back on a hopelessly patriarchal pantheon, she’d blended in with witchdom. Her unusual locks hadn’t posed a problem since no one remembered what any of the Celtic pantheon looked like. No one living anyway, which counted Odin out.
He angled his head to one side, eying her speculatively through fog-colored eyes. His dark hair was braided close to his head. Bone showed through the lower part of his face, skeletal bits with whiskers still growing out of them.
Rowan waited, her mouth dry and chest so constricted she had to remind herself to breathe. Time dripped past. The other Huntsmen were growing restless, throwing taunts and graphic descriptions about what they’d do to her once she was in their clutches.
“Well?” She raised one brow, resisting the temptation to tap a foot. She had a handle on her fear now she’d picked a path. All that remained would be to see how it played out. Would Odin let her and Tansy leave? Or would they duke it out right here? Launch a fight certain to alert every magic wielder within a twenty-league radius. Not that the Hunt wasn’t likely to prevail, but it wouldn’t be the easy pickings she was offering, nor without losses to Odin’s skanky tribe.
He swung his extended arm downward and bellowed, “Go,” adding “Raus hier,” for good measure.
Outraged howls rose from the other Huntsman. Odin swung the mace and flail looped around one wrist, narrowly missing his steed. The spiked ball connected with the skull of one of his men, cleaving it amid the sickening sounds of rotten bones crunching as they splintered to dust. The unfortunate target cantered off into the night headless but still screeching. Odin took off after him with the rest of the hunt scattered behind.
Rowan hooked a hand beneath Tansy’s arm and dragged her into a shambling trot. “Hurry.”
“You can let go. Goddess’s tits, he beheaded his own man.” A trill signaling the beginnings of hysteria burst from Tansy.
“Breathe,” Ro suggested. “Nice deep breaths and don’t think about this. Any of it.”
“But we won. You don’t have to go. He didn’t take your blood oath.” Relief laced through Tansy’s words.
Ro tucked the knife still clutched in one hand back into its sheath. “Oath or no, I gave my word.”
“Pfft. To a thief, a murderer, a soul-stealer. None of the—”
Rowan didn’t slow until they were within the entrance to the first cavern. She stepped in front of Tansy, blocking her way and draped a ward around them, so no one would overhear. “You owe me for tonight, yet the boon I request is small.”
Tansy’s green-eyed gaze skittered away. “You’re going back—to that monster.”
“What I’m doing—or not doing—is none of your affair. You will go to your pallet and prepare for bed. If anyone asks why you were so late returning, tell them you lost track of time. Apologize for your carelessness. Assure them it will never happen again.”
Tansy bobbed her head once in acquiescence. “What if they ask about you?”
“You never saw me. Got it?” She dropped her hands onto Tansy’s shoulders, wincing at how the young woman’s bones almost poked through her skin.
“Got it.” Tansy scraped her gaze from off the floor, eyes widening. “Your eyes. They’re silver. Why did I never—?”
“Because I employ a glamor. Now go.”
Tansy hesitated. Her eyes filled with tears and she threw her arms around Rowan, hugging her hard. “You saved my life. How can I go on knowing you gave yours in return?”
Rowan pried the child loose. “You will keep going. Anything less than your best efforts will squander my gift. Besides, no one knows the outcome of anything until the game is done. Don’t count me out yet.” Adopting a jaunty expression she was far from feeling she watched Tansy hurry the length of the cavern and vanish from sight. While she waited, she untangled the rest of the spell she’d hid behind to mute her high forehead, stark cheekbones, and tall, regal bearing. Borrowing from the remains of magic powering the glamor, she teleported to the small side cavern she’d claimed as hers.
She didn’t have either the time or inclination for questions, so she muted her presence—and sealed her door. They’d all been existing on the ragged edge of annihilation for years. Dodging evil day and night made it impossible to grow food. They’d raided stores vacated by scores of dead humans, but that resource wasn’t limitless. Beyond that, they hunted. Rabbit. Deer. Racoons. Rats. Meat was meat, and they had to survive.
No one knew whose side anyone was on, so they distrusted other magic-wielders. Annoyed by how they’d painted themselves into a fatal corner, she lifted the spell that concealed a plain wooden box. Not just any wood, though. Hawthorn. Her mother had fashioned the box, and Ro hated to leave it behind. The wood warmed beneath her touch, almost as if the tree were still alive.
Who knew? Perhaps it flourished on some borderworld where her mother and the other Celts had sequestered themselves after the misshapen spell broke all that was pure and good on Earth. Scents she associated with Ceridwen—mint, vanilla, amber—soothed her as she removed an onyx amulet on a golden chain and placed it around her neck. She slid a ring with a matching stone over her index finger. Lastly, she draped a small, golden circlet around her forehead.
She took her time letting go of the box. It reminded her of love and warmth and home. What a fool she’d been to walk out on the pantheon. Ro settled her mouth into a resolute line and tucked the box into a dark corner. Absent her magic, its glow would fade. Ready as she’d ever be, she kindled a spell and visualized the spot on the moors where she’d last seen Odin.
Maybe because she’d held it at bay for so long, Celtic power jumped to her command. The earthen walls of her grotto fell away, replaced by open moorland. So far, the sky was empty, but it hadn’t yet been an hour.
What would she do if Odin didn’t come back? Pick up the tatters of her glamor and go on as if nothing had happened, while they all slowly died of starvation? Rowan shook her head, filled with sadness and determination.
Someone had to do something. She’d known it for over a year. The someone had to be her, and maybe tonight’s confrontation was the beginning--
“Yeah, but of what?” she mumbled. Before she launched into a buck-up-buttercup lecture, the distant sound of horse hooves reached her. She stood tall, proud, every inch her mother’s daughter. Hood back, her hair gleamed in light from Arianrhod’s moon. Seeing her without her glamor would give Odin grist for his mill. She might be a lot of things, but she would never become one of his lackeys.
The swoosh of wings, beating fast made her head swing around. Wings had no place here… She gave herself a brisk mental slap. Valkyries rode with the Hunt. Valkyries who decided who lived and who died in battle.
The thought had no sooner formed than a pair of the winged warriors, fair hair streaming behind them, bore down on her, landing a few feet away. “We propose a test,” the one with silver armor angled a speculative gaze Ro’s way.
“What kind of test?”
The other Valkyrie brayed laughter, displaying a mouthful of half rotted teeth. “What other kind is there?”
Ro took a measured breath. “Are you proposing I fight both of you?”
The Hunt roared into view and formed a rough circle in the air above them, the men jockeying for prime positions where they could have the best view.
“Never mind.” Rowana muttered. “I withdraw the question. Will I have a weapon? Both of you have spears. And armor.” While she talked, she began weaving an illusion, one that would create two more of her.
Might be enough to even the playing field.
“Aye, the wench catches on fast,” the first Valkyrie said.
The one with bad teeth made a face. “I thought this was stupid when Odin ordered us to do it. Should take less than five seconds start to finish.” She dusted hands with cracked, dirty nails together.
“You’re absolutely right,” Ro crooned as she put the finishing touches on her working and readied herself to fight. “I thought Odin wanted me to ride with him.”
“He has us,” one of the duo hissed.
“Aye, he has no need of you,” the other chimed in.
Ro was ready. She whistled once, the cascade of notes s linchpin. Air shimmered and swirled, forming an opaque curtain amid guttural curses from the Valkyries as they tried to figure out what she was up to.
She didn’t wait but jumped on her small advantage. Spinning to one side, she set the wheels in motion that animated her doppelgängers and gripped the amulet to concentrate her power.
“What the bloody fucking hell?” One of the Valkyries bellowed and charged, spear extended.
“Not that one,” Odin shrieked from his aerial perch. “She’s on the left, stupid.”
Ro gritted out a string of Gaelic curses. Of course he’d be able to see through her ruse. Of the bunch, his was the only magic strong enough.
Keep going. Ignore him. Maybe he’s not as smart as he thinks he is.
She nimbly traded forms with the twin he’d fingered. She could do this for a while—and fight too—but not for very long. The dual castings pigged up power like mad. She sidestepped the charging Valkyrie and aimed a blast of magic at the back of her neck.
It bounced off the creature’s helmet. With a roar, the woman twisted and charged, her face screwed into a mask of hate. Ro switched places with one of her twins right before the Valkyrie drove a spear through the illusion. It reformed a few feet away, grinning merrily.
“Fuck!” The other Valkyrie twirled in a circle, spear extended in front of her. “Which one is her?”
“They’re all me,” Ro skinned her teeth back from her lips and took careful aim. The armor must be spelled, or her magic would have penetrated it. She jumped to one of the doppelgängers, sighted, and let a lethal blast fly from her outstretched fingertips.
Her aim was true. She hit the small, exposed spot beneath the Valkyrie’s chin and she crumpled to the ground. “Now that’s more like it,” she muttered and jumped to the doppelgänger nearest the other Valkyrie. Driven by fury, bloodlust in her eyes, the woman ran full tilt toward the place Ro had just been, driving her spear through illusion—again.
The Valkyrie raised a fist skyward. “I’m done. That’s no witch.”
“Hold. I did not release you.” Odin flew lower.
“I don’t care. If I remain, that bitch will kill me.”
“Truer words were never spoken. The next piece of magic is all yours.” Ro tightened her grip on the amulet.
The Valkyrie threw down her spear. “I surrender. You killed my sister. I’m the last of my line, and—”
Rowan lowered her hands and cut the flow of magic powering her likenesses until just one of her remained. “Go. I understand about being the last.” No longer worried about the winged warrior, she raised her gaze to where Odin hovered in the air above. The Valkyrie may have been an enemy, but she’d given her word, and Ro heard truth in it.
Odin circled lower and lower until his steed’s feet touched the earth, and then he jumped down and strode to where she stood.
“Ye’re Ceridwen’s get. Do not deny it,” he growled.
Rowan inclined her head. “True enough. Why is it important to you?”
“She has unpaid debts.” He slitted his eyes.
“They’d be hers, not mine. I walked out on the Celts eons ago.”
“Aye, but ye know where she is.” His expression turned shrewd. “I propose a bargain.”
Ro had no idea where her mother was, but she wasn’t about to tell him that. “What kind of bargain? I’m not generally the bargaining kind.”
“Ye’ll like this one well enough. I shall release ye from your blood-sworn oath to join the Hunt.”
She pursed her lips, not bothering to mention there’d been no blood-swearing anything. “What do I have to do?”
“Get what your mother has that’s mine and return it to me.”
“Care to offer up a clue as to what it is?” She angled her gaze his way. “Mom can be cagey when she wants to hang onto something.”
“She’ll know. Ye have until this time tomorrow night.” He turned toward his stamping black destrier.
“I don’t think so.” Rowana planted herself between him and the horse, ignoring the animal’s angry whinnies and hoping to hell it didn’t take a chunk out of her shoulder. “I need at least a week.”
Odin pushed around her and jumped astride his horse. “Two days. Final offer. Take it or leave it.”
“Deal,” she shouted after his retreating form, and then kicked herself. Bound by her word, she had to comply. If she’d refused, maybe he’d have let her go.
Yeah and maybe he’d have taken me hostage—until Mom ponies up whatever she stole from him.
The Hunt circled where she stood before flying north. The Valkyrie must have taken her fallen sister because the moor around Rowana was empty.
She sank into a crouch and dropped her hands onto the damp, rocky earth seeking answers. The Celts were on a borderworld, but which one? There were hundreds, most sporting unbreathable atmospheres. If she guessed wrong, she might be on the hunt for two years, not two days.
Never mind it was needle-in-haystack territory, she needed to get moving. Ro straightened and gripped the amulet, letting magic boil around her. She’d start with the only borderworld she knew. The minute the airless void between worlds surrounded her, she remembered how much she hated travel away from Earth.
Breathe through the amulet.
Easier said than done. Ducking her face into the folds of her cloak, she willed oxygen molecules to jump from the fabric to her lungs. It helped—a little. The choking sensation lessened as she rolled out onto rocky ground. Standing creakily, she gulped air and crossed beneath the rune-carved arches of her first choice. The world had gone dark, but at least she could breathe. It didn’t take long for her to determine no one was here. Not even shades.
She visited three more borderworlds in quick succession finding exactly nothing. Hunger nagged, but thirst dogged her. She’d been a real dumbass not to bring a water bottle. This world was inhabited, so she set off in search of a stream. Besides she needed a better plan than random guessing.
She was crouched by a small brook, drinking from her cupped hands, when a flaxen-haired elven youth joined her. “Who are ye?” he asked in archaic Gaelic.
She swiped a hand across her mouth. “Ceridwen’s daughter. Do you know which borderworld the Celts occupy?”
“Left at the first star and straight on till morning.” He giggled, pleased by his own joke.
She rolled her eyes. “I know The Little Prince too, but I need to find my mother.”
“They’re on the next world southeast of us,” he told her.
“Thank you.” Ro tossed her arms around him and hugged the elf hard. His startled expression was priceless and made her laugh as she loped to an open area to launch her next spell.
This trip was shortest of all, the elven world fading as the next formed around her. She’d no sooner cleared the borderworld’s lintels when Celtic magic blasted her. The sensation brought her to her knees, and waves of emotion swept through her. These were her people. This was where she belonged.
Have I come this far to turn into a maudlin fool?
She straightened, determined to locate her mother with magic. Ceridwen saved her the trouble. “There ye are, daughter. I knew ye’d come. I saw it in my cauldron.”
Ro wanted to throw herself into her mother’s arms, but Ceridwen wasn’t the huggy type. Never had been. “Good to see you, Mother.”
“Aye, ye as well, lass.”
“If you foresaw my coming, do you also know why I’m here.”
Ceridwen nodded. “I did an ill-advised thing. Earth has paid for my folly, but ’tis finally time to set old wrongs—”
Understanding slammed into Rowan. “What? You’re who broke the world?” She stared at her goddess mother, unbelieving.
“But what? If you knew, why didn’t you return Odin’s bauble long before this? Christ on a crutch. Do you have any idea--?”
“Silence! I will not have ye speak thusly to me.”
Rowan ground her teeth. “Give me whatever it is, and I’ll be on my way.”
“Nay. ’Tis a task we must do together.”
Suddenly suspicious, Rowan asked, “Why?”
“I’m ready to depart.” Ceridwen offered a smile with a lot of teeth and zero warmth. “Coming?”
Too angry to trust what came out of her mouth, Ro nodded once and felt Ceridwen’s familiar power settle around her, soft, nurturing. A velvet-lined trap with steel jaws and the reason she’d left so long ago. Ceridwen ceded power to no one. Not then, and not now, either.
They emerged in the ruins of Inverlochy Castle, the site of the Celts’ erstwhile council hall. Other than smelling musty, it hadn’t changed in four centuries. Carpets and wall hangings depicting various Celtic victories lined the floor and walls.
Ceridwen breathed deep, spreading her arms. “Och, I’ve missed this place.”
“When do I get the full story?” Rowan crossed her arms beneath her breasts and stared at the woman who looked just like her.
“When did ye grow so ill-tempered?”
Rowan shrugged. “Watching half the world die has that effect.”
“Are ye finally done with your ridiculous witch fixation?”
Eyes widening in realization, Ro gasped out, “You’re jealous.”
Ceridwen strode close and jabbed Rowan’s chest with her index finger. “Ye are mine. Mine. Do ye understand me? I allowed ye to leave thinking ye’d get over your fascination with witches once ye saw how weak they were, but it never happened.”
Rowan’s temper erupted. She jabbed Ceridwen back. “I am no one’s woman but my own. You’re why I left.”
“That’s impossible. Ye were young, full of hubris—”
Ro chopped a hand through the air between them as the whole, unbelievable picture took shape. Her autocratic bitch of a goddess mother had engineered breaking the world to force Rowan back to her side. When it hadn’t worked, Ceridwen herded the Celts to safety and left everyone else to do the best they could.
“I’m ashamed to be related to you.”
“I offer you one chance to take those words back, daughter.” Her silver eyes caught fire. “Do. It. Now.”
Ceridwen’s features turned menacing, any beauty long gone. “Or the banishment shall become permanent.”
A painful arrow lodged beneath Ro’s breastbone, but how could she lose something she’d never had? “Fine. Give me Odin’s trinket, and I’ll never darken your door again.” She paused for a beat. “You didn’t banish me, Mother. I left of my own free will.”
For scant moments, Ceridwen’s mask slipped. If Ro hadn’t been looking right at her, she’d have missed the shock—and the hurt. The goddess tilted her chin at a defiant angle Ro remembered only too well.
Before she could say anything, the big doors at the end of the hall slammed against their stops and Odin strode in, chains clanking and leather chaps creaking as they brushed against each other.
“Well met, goddess.”
Ceridwen barely glanced his way. “As usual, your timing couldn’t be worse.”
He shrugged and trotted to where they stood. “Fine. I see ye’ve been reunited with the errant spawn. Pay up, and I’ll be on my way.”
“Pay up? What the holy hell? This whole thing was nothing but a trick?” Rowan shrieked and launched herself at her mother tugging her hair and punching her wherever her fists landed.
Odin rubbed his hands together. “Och, and I do love a good cat fight. Get cracking, wenches.”
Ro’s next punch landed square in the middle of her mother’s nose, but the one after that blasted through empty air. Ceridwen was gone. Rowan wrapped her arms around herself. Sobs wracked her. Loss. Relief. Who knew?
Odin grabbed her shoulders and shook her. “Where’d she go? Poxy slut never paid me.”
Rowan drew magic. Enough to make him let go fast. “That would be your problem. Watch who you bargain with.” She stood tall, focused her power, and let it take her back to the witches.
A harsh smile forced its way out. Before, she hadn’t known what kind of spell to look for. Now she did. She could neutralize Ceridwen’s damage, no matter how many ways her mother had reinforced the casting.
She was certain of it. After all, they held the same magic.
Ann Gimpel is a USA Today bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in many webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients. Now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 100 books to date, with several more planned for 2022 and beyond. Find out more about Ann and her books at
Aztec Mythology covers the history and legends of the Aztec people in central Mexico. They arrived in the area and learned from other tribes living there. Due to this, they have several creation myths including one which said that their world was not the first and four other civilizations came before it. They all ended in catastrophy.
They have many Gods, particularly to do with agriculture as this was how they survived.
I’m Tina Glasneck. Thanks Sam for allowing me to be a guest on your blog today.
Can I be honest with you? I’m obsessed with the Norse pantheon. This happy obsession comes to life in my series of gods, monsters, and heroes. Today, I’m ecstatic to share a glimpse into my novel HELLBENT with you.
What happens when Thor, the Norse god of Thunder, pulls me out of my mundane life by claiming me as the Chosen One?
“In this Sif is a struggling college student caught in-between the gods for an epic battle. All is well until both Lady Hel, the goddess of death, and Thor show up to pay her a visit. Fast paced and full of action and mythology and magic and is so good you will not be able to put this down!” Amazon Review
Have you ever wanted to be something more? To dive head first into an adventure that completely changes your world?
Then meet Sif! Her life is about to change…
(Let’s set the scene for you. Sif is with her friends, Chi, Emili, Ola and Kristen at their local Comic Convention, and when destiny comes calling…)
We were dressed in our Comic-Con outfits—me as punk rock-looking Amazonian—bracelets and all. I was accompanied by a league of badass heroic women, including Chi as an elven archer.
In the corner of the room, one seller had set up privacy screens that resembled true walls. The exterior appeared like the outside of a small mom and pop’s shop, roof and all, and a bright sign hung that said, Madam Petulia Tells All. The Welcome sign was lit up.
“I don’t know about this,” I said with a pause.
“You are the adventurous one,” Emili giggled.
Chi took my elbow. “Don’t worry. It will be fun.”
Fun is relative, like tattoos and tequila.
Before I could dig in my heels, Chi and Ola pulled me forward and pushed me through the beaded doorway. Myrrh incense filled the air, wafting and swirling around us, while chanting music played in the background.
Stepping across the threshold, my stomach clenched, tears welled in my eyes, and I swayed a little on my feet.
“You okay?” Chi asked.
I nodded and walked farther into the shop. The esoteric surrounded me, from Wiccan scythes and tomes, to New Age dream catchers.
How could all of this be in this little tent?
I looked around and behind me and still saw the dealers’ room outside.
“Don’t worry. It’s not like this woman is going to tell you something you don’t already know,” Kristen said.
She was the cynic among us, for sure. Everyone had their own role, their own place. They knew where they fit—I didn’t, and I had to learn how to navigate it.
“Are you all seeing this?” I asked.
“It’s just an illusion. Go with the flow,” Ola said.
When the woman appeared, she moved forward wearing a colorful dashiki that flowed around her. Her twists of hair hung long behind her.
Chi, you are right on time,” she said and then smiled welcomingly at me. She eyed me as if she knew who I was.
What had I done?
Her table was set out with runes and colorful clothes, and an array of jewelry, hair pins, letter openers, and other oddities.
“And this is the one who is seeking her adventure and a date with Thor?” She said it aloud, and I turned and looked at everyone.
At the mention of his name, the ground shook and lightning crashed loudly, and I could hear thunder rolling in from the dealers’ room.
“Come. Come. It appears that the gods are ready to hear your request.”
Madam Petulia snapped her fingers, and an assistant pushed forward a cake shaped like a … well it had a long shaft and a heavy two-part base. On the symbol on the base implied enough to let me know it was supposed to be a large Mjölnir, hammer-shaped cake.
In unison they all began to sing Happy Birthday, off-key, except Kristen who sang like a sweet chickadee.
We all began to laugh, and I clapped my hands, struck by their generous surprise. “Wow! Y’all did this for me?”
“Of course, couldn’t let your Asgardian-themed weekend go to waste—although I’m still not sure how Wonder Woman fits into it.” Kristen said.
“Well, she has to be related to the gods. If she takes off her bracelets, she becomes a berserker.”
The girls laughed and normally I might have, too; but three men holding a struggling Verdandi appeared suddenly in the tent. This was not part of the birthday surprise. One was bulked up as if on steroids, and his companion’s bulging pockets warned me about the weapons in his possession. I could feel his intention.
Before he could remove his gun, I felt my body shifting and moving.
There are no shortcuts to greatness, Sif, said the shrill voice in my head. Her face wasn’t seen.
“It was a mistake.”
Is this when you become a reluctant hero? You are like us all, greedy and think only of yourself. You are like all of us here. I can help you, but you must let us.
I quickly snatched up hairpins, and at the end two men were on the floor, with the pins in their throats and the girls were gaping at me. Outside of my body, I watched as I did moves I didn’t know I could do. Sure, I could climb buildings and do gymnastics, but hand-to-hand combat wasn’t a part of my repertoire.
The third man raced away pulling Verdandi behind him and whatever I had become let him.
I fell to my knees.
“That was the weirdest thing ever.” I rubbed my goose-bump-riddled arms. I felt uncomfortable in my skin. “What happened?” I asked.
They stared at me and said nothing.
Whatever was in that stone now possessed me, protected me, and used me.
“Excuse me, ladies,” someone with a deep voice said.
We stopped and turned at the sound. It belonged to the teaching assistant hottie from Professor Gaines’ class.
“I don’t wish to bother you, but it seems you all might need a hand.”
Chi got her voice back first. “What gave it away? The dead men on the floor, her bloodied hands, or did you just hear someone calling out a Norse god’s name and decided to show up for a how-are-you-doing sort of moment? Damn it, man, with all of this strangeness going on, you are really suspect right now!”
Maybe it was his costume. “Dressed as Thor, too, huh? Well, if Thor was a historical reenactment of a Viking hero ” She placed her hands on her hips as if she were readying for more of a fight.
I took in his appearance: a golden helmet rested on his head, while over his broad shoulders a long cloak was draped—and it was fluttering behind him despite there being no wind. Sophisticated gold armor hugged him and covered his tunic. His large hands were hidden in gloved bands, and around his waist rested a thick, ornate belt. This was no comic book Thor, but one that shared the true Norse god’s fortitude.
“Thor?” I chuckled. “You guys went all out.” I turned and looked at them, and they looked at me.
“Nope, this is all on you,” Chi said. “Madam Petulia did say that the gods heard you. Can you tell me what we should do with the bodies now?”
“Don’t ask me. You just served me a penis cake, and I am all out of ideas.”
Madam Petulia muttered, “Sorry about that. I tried to create a hammer—it just didn’t come out so well.”
I laughed at that, too. Who knew a birthday would end up with a penis cake, a hottie dressed as Thor, and, of course, two dead men who I’d killed?
“What do we tell the police now?” Chi asked.
“Why not just offer them a piece of cake?” Ola laughed. “It worked for Marie Antoinette.”
Before another chuckle could leave my lips and I could bat my eyelashes at the handsome man before me, a bright light boomed around us.
Madam Petulia nodded. “I fear that this might not be the end.” She ducked and raced away.
He grabbed my hand.
“Come, Sif, we don’t have as much time as I thought,” Mr. Hottie said.
“Huh?” I asked. “I don’t think I need you to save me. I can save me.”
“Right now, my dear, you don’t have a bloody choice.” The urgency in his voice, the plea in his gaze, left little time for me to react. I grabbed Chi’s hand, who took Emili’s hand, and Emili took Ola’s and Ola took Kristen’s. A human chain. As he pulled me after him, what I can only guess was a nuclear wind blew toward us. He wrapped himself around us, protecting us from the chunks of concrete and insulation that came crashing down on us. Thousands of tons of rubble.
In that small cave, with me held tightly to him, he raised his iron-gloved hand, and struck the wall. It sparked and spat until a hole appeared and we finally gasped the night air.
Seeing him, I knew it to be true. It was all coming back to me. Everything that Verdandi had spoken of, had shown me, and all that Freyja had whispered.
“Until we meet on the other side.” He pushed us through.
So, what do you think? Could this be Thor?
Find out, and read HELLBENT from THE HELL CHRONICLES series!
HELLBENT is a dystopian fantasy series with strong romantic elements. Readers who enjoy dystopian fantasy fiction with Norse mythology, rising romantic tensions, and action and adventure will adore this fascinating series of gods, monsters and heroes. Learn more at https://books2read.com/THOR
Thanks for spending time with me and reading my excerpt. Connect with me and learn about my obsession with the Norse gods at my website
Q1) Tell us about your book
Æroreh is my gritty, mythpunk spin on the romantic tale of Sleeping Beauty, blending faerie magic and Celtic, Norse, and Anglo-Saxon pagan ritual with high technology. (Pronounced Aurora.) The "punk" in mythpunk is the dystopian element that subverts expected tropes (flips them on their head) and allows for more artsy storytelling, which I love. Instead of the Sleeping Beauty character being raised in seclusion, I have the prince hidden in the poor district until he comes of age, to protect him from "the evil queen" who wants his lineage wiped from Ealdspell. The "faerie blessings" are computer programs. Think of it as connecting to The Matrix, where you can suddenly learn Kung Fu. But, in this tale, it's a social commentary on oppressive views of women: gentle, meek, submissive, always has a sunny disposition . . . these "female virtues" taken directly from Sleeping Beauty in the Wood by Charles Perrault (The Tales of Mother Goose, 1800s).
Q2) Why did you focus on myths/legends from that particular region?
Faerie tales are my weakness. Especially faerie tales that are connected to mythology and legends. Sleeping Beauty, or "the sleeping princess" trope, is a tale that dates back to the Norse Prose Edda and Icelandic Volsunga Saga. But the trope regained popularity in the mid-1300's with Perceforest, a collection of French poetry connected to the Arthurian Legend. In this first recorded Sleeping Beauty tale, the princess, Zelladine, is Lancelot's great-great-great-grandmother. Perceforest inspired the Tale of Tales by Giambattista Basile and Sleeping Beauty in the Wood by Charles Perrault, in his Tales of Mother Goose collection in the 1600s. But the Brothers Grimm (1800s), being interested in German mythology mostly and experts in Teutonic myths (Norse Prose Edda and Icelandic Volsunga Saga), put as many story details and tropes in their Little Briar Rose back into their Norse and Icelandic mythological roots. The Disney version is a blend of Sleeping Beauty in the Wood and Little Briar Rose. It should also be noted that the Brothers Grimm are the first authors to make the faeries in the Sleeping Beauty story wise and helpful, as elves/faeries are revered so in German mythology
Why the Celtic mythology inclusion? Well, the prince in Perceforest hailed from Scotland, though Troyous is not a Scottish name. The French didn't care about non-French names in the 14th century though. But Troyous is the only prince named in the Sleeping Beauty tales until Disney's Prince Philip, who was inspired by and named after the real Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth II. Yes, yes, Prince Philip is not Scottish. I know. But I couldn't resist adding Celtic flavor to my Sleeping Beauty tale because of the "prince" connection from the first recorded version in the 1350's to the most popularized version today, from the 1950s. Especially since the Kingdom of Ealdspell, where this story takes place, is a collection of faerie tales rooted back into their Celtic, Norse, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon origins.
Q3) Who is your favorite mythical figure?
The Gwenevere character from the Irish myths, the Ulster Cycle. In the Irish tales, Fionnabhar (translating to white faerie) is the daughter of Queen Maebh, the faerie queen. The Welsh borrowed that story and named her Gwenhwyfar (white fae). In both tales, she's an earth- and sovereignty-goddess, capable of warrior feats and magic. In Celtic myths, an earth- and sovereignty-goddess married the king to the land. And his reign as a king was directly related to the health of the land. If the land sickened (blight), then it was believed that the king was ill or ill-favored. To prevent this, it was imperative that the king marry a power faerie. The first Arthurian stories recorded are about Arthur and his faerie bride who marries him to the land. The French, and later the Victorians, turned Gwenevere into a figure of Courtly Love and later as a moral lesson to young women as to why you should never give into temptation. But her origins are badass.
My friend and I wrote an entire series based on the Celtic origins of the Gwenevere character, The Knights of Caerleon.
Q4) If you could choose to hang out with one mythical God, who would it be and why?
I think this answer spins back to question three. Since Gwenhwyfar / Fionnabhair is a goddess, I would jump on any opportunity to hang out with her and learn the true Arthurian story. And, if not her, then The Morrígan of Irish and Welsh mythology. A triple sister goddess of war, death, and victory in battle first mentioned in the Irish Ulster Cycle. But also because she is the inspiration behind Morgana in the Arthurian Cycle stories.
Q5) Do you plan on writing similar books in the future?
Absolutely. I already have book 2 in The Ealdspell Cycle in the works, EIRWEN, which is my mythpunk spin on Snow White. The story largely pays homage to German and Norse mythology. Though, Eirwen is a welsh name that translates to "white as snow," it is a popular girl name in Scandinavian countries.
The rust-hued factories, golden dust-colored sky, and sunset tones of the burn fields swirled together in Æroreh’s jostling vision. Somehow seeing the world upside down allowed her to gain a new perspective. The warm leaf-fall colors were always present, season after season. Was Rothlín stuck in a perpetual autumn? Only death with no promise of spring? Aisling was a life-giver. The goddess rose from the ashes of the Cold Winds to protect mothers and children and unwed maidens. Why would she allow a reaper’s plague after rising victorious from the grave?
Even more strange were the weakening zaps of runic adjustments as she journeyed from Rothlín to The Wilds. Though, in their place, were tingly sensations, like a bubbling brook skipping over rocks. The energy demanded every sharp attention to detail . . . building, building, always building. A funny, fickle thing too. One moment she would experience a newness with gripping intensity only to forget every shred of feeling she had just swum in, each dogged or merry transition marked with a fit of giggles. As if she felt everything and nothing simultaneously and all her body could do was celebrate in response.
The elf’s armor dug into her side as he carried her and yet she didn’t care about the pain, for the male had told her not to. Which resulted in more tingly sensations and more laughter. Whenever the elf suggested anything to her—notions that always seemed lovely, such as feeling no pain—the man they called Félip would materialize by her side with daggers in his eyes and lyrical poison in his voice, then fade into the shadows like dark mist.
“Your protector doesn’t care much for me,” the elf would say. “Mortals and their tempers.”
“My protector?” She would laugh at the silly thought. “Why would I need protection from you, kind sir?”
“Indeed. Just think of all the fun we could have together.”
Bubbly tingles had fizzed in her mind. “Are we running off to have fun?” she asked. “My mother will worry so.” Then she would laugh.
A small part of her knew the elf meant something else entirely. Faerie struck? Did such a thing exist? She was uncertain though the word warbled in her head. Many notions warbled in her head, actually. Had she drunk more goblets of mulberry wine than proper? The world continued to tilt despite already being tilted herself.
The Wilds tangled thicker with brush and trees the deeper they pressed into the faerie woods. Oranges, yellows, and reds remained. But somehow cleaner. Crisper. Leaves blushed fiery shades all around her and fluttered to the ground like wayward embers. And oh the music they made as they fell! Unlike the leaves in Rothlín who seemed to tra-la-la and reel about in the wind, the leaves here sang soul-haunting notes as their skeletal frames fell toward their graves. Tears burned her eyes and fell to join the leaves who now rested in peace.
“Is he hurting ye?” The young man took shape before her eyes and she gasped at his sudden nearness. “Where does it hurt, lass?”
“No, sir.” Her cheeks flushed under his inspection. Never had she wept, let alone before others, nor while hanging over the shoulder of a beautiful fae male in full armor. “I cry for the leaves as they sing their last song for the forest.”
“What did I do now?” the elf asked.
“Not speaking to ye, Dog Breath.”
The man they called Félip ignored the correction and pushed his dark brows together. “Ye can hear nature sing?” he asked her.
“Shhhh, listen,” she admonished, biting back a tearful laugh. Her eyes closed as her ears filled with a thousand melodious emotions—the melancholy leaves singing their goodbyes, the bones of their brittle bodies being crushed beneath each set of boots, the wind frolicking through the trees, the ticklish giggles of moss. More tears escaped to fly free with the playful wind. When she opened her eyes, Félip was gone. He had dissolved into mere mist and shadow once more. Was he even real? Or perhaps a figment of her sluggish mind?
“I am dreaming . . .” Another tear-stained laugh erupted from her body.
The changing world continued to spin around her, faster and faster. The energy inside of her was building, building, ever building. Beautiful, angular faces blurred by while shouting commands. Boots stomped in chorus, like the beatings of a drum line. The tingling sensation in her mind spread out to each limb. Bubbles popped in her feet as she tapped the air to the march. Perhaps she should dance. Yes, the forest wants me to dance for her.
“Put me down, kind sir.”
“Not until we reach Leaf Curl,” the elf answered. Dalbréath, was that his name?
“My feet must touch earth. The wind beckons me to twirl with the dying leaves.”
The elf slowed and then she heard mercurial voices—hot, cold, rising and falling in pitch and passion. She could have focused on their words, but her heart was still too full of the sorrows and laughter all around her to fully listen. A couple words bled through, “madness” and “rune sickness.” They were meaningless words. She needed their conversation to swell with music too. Anger simmered low in her belly. How dare they deny her music?
“I demand you release me!” she shouted. “I need to dance!”
Dalbréath lowered her to the forest floor, his eyes wide. With fear? With humor? She couldn’t tell.
The moment the toes of her boots caressed leaf litter and black earth, her body leaped away. She bowed before a female and laughed. Then curtsied before two males. The wind whispered encouragement to frolic, and so she did. The trees swayed under the melody of life. The leaves sang their haunting notes until they crashed to their death. Faeries laughed all around her, some even encouraged her to dance harder. She dipped, twirled, leaped—building, building, building—all the while her body grew more fevered. Music played in her veins and beat in her heart. Sweat beaded on her forehead. White-blonde strands fell loose from their braided crown and flew around her face in a sticky mess. She clutched at the pink roses in her hair and threw them around the forest as though petals in a parade. Breath came quick, ragged. She gulped heaving lungfuls of air as though drowning. Still she dipped, twirled, and leaped. Still the faeries laughed and encouraged her on. She couldn’t stop dancing. She didn’t want to stop dancing. Even though her stomach grew sick and her body trembled with weakness.
“Songbird,” the young man snapped from behind. She spun in a twirl of melodious laughter toward him. “Ye need to rest yer feet before they blister.”
“Let her dance!” a faerie tossed out.
“Shut yer ugly trap,” the young man shot back. Daggers reappeared in his dark gaze. “She’ll dance until she dies.”
Æroreh spun around, her arms out wide, the young man’s face moving in and out of view. “Then let me die content!”
“The palace guards are still chasing our trail. We need to run.”
Unable to resist the urge, she grabbed his hands and pulled him into a dance. “Do you feel life sing? Isn’t it heartbreaking and beautiful?”
“Yer having a withdrawal,” he said softly, staring at their joined hands as if stricken. “Sick in the head without the hag’s runes—”
“I am not sick!” she screamed at him. “Do not mock me!”
The young man clenched his jaw and lowered his eyes, then whispered, “Dance with me?”
“Feel life’s heartbeat, Félip Batten.” How did she remember his name? By the look on his face, he was just as astonished as she. But never mind. She placed his hands on her waist and he sucked in a sharp breath. “Now listen to the music.”
Their bodies began to move and she hummed in delight the melody crescendoing all around her. A dance partner! And a handsome one too. They spun beneath the boughs of a tree and then another. He set their rhythm, a far slower one than she expected, but still he kept in tempo with the song she hummed. A song that was building, building, building. His fingers splayed across her lower back as his hold tightened on her waist. At his touch, her knees wobbled a step, and then another. This was her first dance with a man, and a stranger to her no less.
An odd cloak that reflected the forest covered his upper body. Though a sturdy garment, glimpses of bare skin still peeked through as they moved. She forced her eyes upward. Dirt smudged part of his cheek, just above a scar. The injury ran the length of his jaw, ending by full lips and a chin with a slight cleft. A smattering of faint freckles spilled across his nose. Russet brown hair hung in thick waves over his eyes, the very same dark eyes now meeting her curious gaze. He seemed curious of her too, openly staring for several movements of time, and yet he didn’t smile. Rather, the corners of his mouth dipped in a frown. Why did everyone frown at her as of late? And why was he scarred?
“Do I not please you?” she asked, feeling tears form once more. Crying was an odd response to feelings when smiling was more convenient and less messy, she decided. But there were far too many emotions, perhaps even more than the grains of sand along Rothlín’s coastal shores. Some feelings she didn’t even know by name. She lifted her finger and touched the corner of his mouth where he frowned. “I was made to bring others joy.”
His sigh brushed along her cheek as his steps slowed even more. Gently he moved his face away from her touch. “What makes ye happy? Besides dancing and music?”
Building, building, building . . .
“I . . .” She tilted her head. A great many things made her happy, she was sure of it. A memory surfaced, despite the thoughts spinning faster than a wheel, despite the throbbing pain bleating in her head. Songbird. He called her songbird. She did please him. Gratitude swelled in her chest and she smiled. “Making other people happy is my joy. Especially when I please . . .” The words trailed off when her chest tightened with a familiar ache. A knowing. A pull toward something forbidden. Something entirely selfish. The goddess would surely disapprove. “You . . . you do not like to touch others, do you?”
“Only danced with me mither—”
“—I wanted to dance! Is it so wrong to please myself?”
Félip let go of her waist but didn’t step away. “Aye, please yerself, Æroreh. Naething wrong with that.”
“You are not mad at me?”
“No, lass.” Félip leaned in close and whispered, “Forgive me, but ye look like ye swallowed a coal furnace.”
“I feel all wrong inside,” she whispered back. “The goddess has left me.”
The hard lines of Félip’s face softened. “Yer experiencing rune withdrawals. Faerie Madness, some call it. Yer inhibitions are dimmed and feelings are more raw. Thoughts too.”
Sweat dripped down her forehead. “The music, I . . . I can’t hear the forest sing—”
The world tilted once more and, this time, her legs gave way. And then she was falling, like a leaf. She clawed through the air for the young man, not ready to go to her grave. Strong arms caught her body before she hit the ground. Voices echoed and scraped in her ears. She grimaced as she curled up around her middle. Then air—blessed air—floated over her skin as her body moved through the forest, her face pressed to a warm chest. Everything hurt—her head, her legs and feet, her stomach, her heart.
She wasn’t experiencing withdrawals. No, she knew exactly what was wrong.
“Blight Rot,” she murmured while playing with the strings of a cloak.
The arms carrying her tightened as steps faltered. Her mother would surely never wish her return now.
She was ruined
Copyright 2020 Forest Tales Publishing
JESIKAH SUNDIN is a multi-award winning Dystopian Punk Lit, Fairy Tale, and Historical Fantasy writer, a mom of three nerdlets, a faeriecore and elfpunk geek, tree hugger, nature photographer, and helpless romantic who married her high school sweetheart. In addition to her family, she shares her home in Monroe, Washington with a rambunctious husky-chi, a red-footed tortoise, and a collection of Doc Martens boots. She is addicted to coffee, laughing, and cheese . . . Oh! And the forest is her happy place.
Q1) Tell us about your book
Tokyo Academy-First Contact is about Erin Van Horn, a seventeen-year-old artist who accepts a dare from her best friend Tori, and wins a coveted spot as an exchange student at a prestigious Tokyo high school. Once in Japan, Erin struggles to learn the culture and deal with her quirky host family whose son is an Elvis impersonator. To make things even more challenging Tori snuck a crazy to-do-list in her backpack. All Erin has to do is find a rock star boyfriend, apprentice under a famous Japanese artist, and visit Tori's long-lost relatives to find out what's hidden in the family closet
But Erin has a much bigger problem than her host family or Tori’s crazy to-do list. From the very first day she sets foot in Japan, a ghost starts following her. It repeatedly whispers a message, “Stop it!” But what is she supposed to stop? The ghost won’t tell her.
Q2) Why did you focus on myths/legends from that particular region?
I lived in Japan for over two years and became fascinated by Japanese mythology as it’s part of the daily life in the culture. Everywhere I turned I saw different characters I studied in my Japanese mythology and religion courses. I visited many temples where Kitsune, the fox goddess, was featured prominently in statues guarding the entrances. She is the messenger of the gods. Kitsune is featured prominently in the Tokyo Academy Series. She gives Erin messages from Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess.
Q3) Who is your favorite mythical figure?
There are so many fun mythological creatures I feature in the Tokyo Academy Series, but my favorite has to be Tanuki. He is a cross between a raccoon and a fox. He’s quite the fun loving character known for his love of drink and playing tricks on humans. You can find statues dedicated to Tanuki outside restaurants and shops as he is also the symbol of good luck and success in business.
Q4) If you could choose to hang out with one mythical God, who would it be and why?
I loved writing about the Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Her legendary story is quite unique and could be a soap opera. I’d love to sit down and chat with her over tea about her brother’s betrayal and her redemption journey from isolation in a cave to becoming one of the most favored gods in Japanese mythology.
Q5) Do you plan on writing similar books in the future?
Yes, I have companion series planned with the same characters and world but working on a demon case based in America instead of Japan. There will be a mixture of American and Japanese mythologies due to the presence of Kitsune, who snuck on board the plane Erin took home to America. Best of all it will have a dragon!
Thank you for having me!
Karin De Havin writes action-packed fantasy, and paranormal romances with kick-ass heroines who love showing villains who’s boss. Writing is Karin's dream job.
Karin De Havin is known for her unique books that explore celestial fantasy worlds, time traveling genies, a girl shifter, her artist vampire boyfriend, and their crazy life filled with witches and wizards. Find out more about Karin at her website
The Native American people comprise of different cultures and tribes, each with their own legends and myths. Some do share similar themes across the land.
Most Native American myths looked at creation myths, nature and a belief in the Great Spirit who was a omniscient being that connected all things. There are also trickster Gods amongst them, who caused problems, but there was often a lesson to be learned from them.
Q1) Tell us about your book
Daughter of Thieves is about a girl whose father gets arrested on a job she was supposed to plan. In order to break him out, she has to make a deal with the grand sorceress and enter the Desert Trials in order to find the magic lamp. When she meets the handsome Prince Abudar, she vows not to develop feelings for him because they’re from different worlds. But as they try and make it through the trials and back to the palace, she discovers they share a prophecy. This a fantasy retelling of Aladdin with other tales from 1001 Nights mixed in!
Q2) Why did you focus on myths/legends from that particular region?
Aladdin has always been one of my favorite stories. Not only that, but I’ve always been fascinated by ancient cultures, including Persia (and Egypt and Greece). When I launched the prequel to this series, The Sultan and The Storyteller, I realized this is a very underserved market. People who are From the Middle East reached out and thanked me for representing their culture in my book, and I’m excited to do it again with this series!
Q3) Who is your favorite mythical figure?
Dragons! Unless you meant person, then I might have to say…King Arthur.
Q4) If you could choose to hang out with one mythical God, who would it be and why?
HADES! Because 😍 🤤 I love a good villain with a redemptive possibility. I’ve been fascinated with him for ages and would love to someday do a retelling of his life.
Q5) Do you plan on writing similar books in the future?
Yes! The Sands of Wonder will be a 3 book series and will be pretty epic!
Author Lichelle Slater
A Touch of Magic
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”