Cycles of Norse Mythology does a fantastic job of reinvigorating old mythology and breathing new life into their stories. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?
I grew up knowing of Odin, Loki, and Thor long before reading comic books. But when I decided to learn more about the Norse gods and goddesses, I became dissatisfied. All the summary sources (e.g. Bullfinches’ Mythology) were about a handful of male gods; they provided little if any information about the goddesses and the animals that populated the world of Norse Mythology. Talking with other people, I found the same limited information.
So, I began researching the topic, more for my own understanding than anything else. Sharing what I knew with others inevitably resulted in requests for more background and tales from earlier in the mythology. So, I had to do more research and to write more stories. Ultimately, this work expanded to encompass the entire breadth of Norse Mythology.
I thought the research was deep delivered easily. What kind of research did you undertake for this book?
Cycles of Norse Mythology is the culmination of 16 years intensive study of Norse myths that involved consuming research literature, multiple translations of works (from 900 – 1400 AD), and story compilations published since the late 1700’s to the present.
I hunted public and university libraries for references. I sought out period references, such as Tacitus’ The Agricola and the Germainia and Ibn Fadlan’s Journey to Russia. I searched new, used, and rare bookstores for any reference. I dug into cited references and searched for those. I still encounter new references (i.e. works from 875 to 1400s), and I hope there are translations.
Always seeking something cleaner, with less bias, I found the following website provided me with an international access to reference source materials: http://www.archive.org/index.php
The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, they provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the public.
Was there anything that surprised you during your research regarding Norse mythology?
I had several great surprises in store:
- There was more depth and more humanity in the traditional characters of the Norse Gods than the superficial figures found in many pieces of modern literature and in film. For example, a modern viewpoint has Thor’s hammer as a symbol of storm and war. Whereas, in the traditional myths his hammer was actually a symbol of consecration and protection.
- The foundation of our knowledge on Norse Myth is based on fragments of what once was a full oral tradition. And the accuracy of those fragments is subject to question.
- The primary source of our knowledge regarding Norse Myth are the Codex Regius (1270s) and the Codex Wormianus (mid-1400s), of which editions of the Poetic Edda (~985 -1000AD) and the Prose Edda (~1220 AD) are a part. These were written down in Iceland, which wholesale converted to Christianity in 900AD to avoid the bloody religious conversions that had wracked Norway and Sweden. Since the writings were filtered through the lens of several generations raised under Christianity, and it appears only those tales and the portions of those tales which did not conflict too much with Church doctrine were kept, they are likely subject to differences in tone, focus, character presentation, and bias that are different than the traditional unfiltered belief.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m currently finishing up a fiction novel that pays homage to three great Victorian characters of literary fiction: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. James Watson, and M_______―the time traveler of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. It is set firmly in the Victorian era, with all the social attitudes and prejudices of that time. I am hoping it will be out next spring.
A new work under development involves the Sigurd Myth, but it is too early to provide a timeframe.
These stories are old, old as the Behmer Wold and seldom in life has there been such a brewing…
Cycles of Norse Mythology captures the passion, cruelty, and heroism of an ancient world. Encompassing Odin’s relentless pursuit of wisdom across the nine worlds, Gullveig’s malicious death at the hands of the Æsir that sparks a brutal war with the Vanir, Thor’s battles against the giants of Jotunheim, the tragedy of Volund, the many devious machinations of Loki, and the inescapable events of Ragnarök, this lyrical re-imagining of the Norse myths presents the gripping adventures of the Norse gods and their foes in a style to delight modern readers of all ages.
A detailed glossary provides a quick reference to the meaning behind names and terms used in the book.
A Source Reference is included for persons who want to delve deeper into the study of Norse mythology.
The Love of Gods is a genre-crossing novel with elements of romance, supernatural, and mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Actually, I initially was trying to write a mystery with a hint of a simmering romance which I hoped would span several books, but I discovered pretty early on that I am a romance writer and not a mystery writer. So, I tossed my first draft and started over.
Lugos and Keely are interesting and well defined characters. What were some ideas that were important for you to capture in their characters?
Lugos is based on two different Celtic gods which gave me a place to start. I immediately understood who he was, what would be important to him, and a good portion of his backstory from the very beginning. And so from that jumping off point, he became a vivid character in my mind. I wanted him to value his intellect over his brawn. I also him to value humanity over his own kin. As for Keely, her southern sass is based on a waitress I know, and the awful taste in men is a nod to a dear friend of mine. Because Lugos is an immortal, I wanted Keely to have a resilient and courageous nature so that Lugos’s god-ness didn’t overpower the relationship. Even though she’s a mortal, Keely had to be his equal in many ways otherwise the relationship wouldn’t work.
I loved the backstory and world building in this novel. What were some sources of inspiration for you while creating this story?
I spend a lot of my time researching various myths and much of the characters’ backstories are tied to my understanding of those myths. The various gods in The Love of Gods all have their own histories in Celtic mythology and I drew from these. The shifter and witch communities have rich literary traditions that gave me a direction, a roadmap, of how they might respond if the world of the Pale truly existed.
This is book one in The Legends of Pale series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?
I’m happy to say that I am hard at work on several books in this series. The Fate of Wolves is the next book and will be out near Christmas this year. I have already finished book three, The Dreams of Demons, and if all goes to plan I’ll release it in spring 2020. I’m currently writing the fourth book, The Souls of Witches and I’m absolutely in love with the main characters. But then, that’s how it is with each book I write.
Lugos had given his word when the world was still young, before he’d endured the wrenching pain of her soul being torn from his. Lifetime after lifetime she’d returned when he’d needed her most, when the apathy of his kind had eaten away at his resolve and his heartfelt vow seemed pointless. One would think he’d be able to protect a single mortal, after all, he was a god. But two long centuries had passed since he’d held her, since he’d been whole. Now, she was back and Lugos had a decision to make; claim the only woman he’d ever loved, or deny his soul’s deepest craving and grant Keely a chance at a peaceful life without the dangers that populated his world. For five years, Lugos had chosen the latter with the hope that the fates might overlook them this time. That was still his plan when the goddess Rhiannon called seeking his help. Lugos should have known better.
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Harlot is mostly driven by curiosity and a desire to find interesting things. Like those blue flowers she loves so much. Harlot’s Encounters in the Land of Ick and Eck is a dark children’s story. Harlot walks through this mythical world and often finds ‘friends’ to walk the distance with her. Typical of all children, she makes friends quickly. Often voices her thoughts. She does not seem to understand the concept of fear even when she is encased in a dome with rising temperatures. It is interesting to look at life from such a perspective.
This is definitely a dark fantasy children’s story, but not too dark though. It would make for an interesting and wonderful Halloween pick. Micah Genest does a great job of painting vivid pictures. Even with actual painted pictures within the book. The book provides more than enough material for the reader with an active imagination to set the mental scenes. Very colorful and delightfully sinewy characters. Each with a quirk of their own. Perhaps the biggest take for an adult in all this is the way all the characters just move together despite being vastly different.
Harlot is typical of any kid, really. She’s innocent and looks at the world into which she is cast with pure interest and curiosity. Never judging anything and anyone. She is very trusting with almost blind optimism. Most children who read this book will understand her desire to follow voices and strange creatures. This book reads a lot like a dream. With vivid pictures and whimsical occurrences.
Oh my, the songs and chants. Imagine how fun it would be to try this out at a Halloween sleep over. They are so interesting and fun to follow. They almost take the gloom out of this decidedly morbid tale. This could very well be my most liked parts of the book.
For a children’s book, the vocabulary is quite advanced and may prove challenging for children. However, this could be a good thing as it could be an exercise in building vocabulary. It could help develop an interest in learning and seeking out new words. It is doubtful that most children will read into the illustrations by John Bauer. See them as more than just pictures. You never know though, this could be another fun exercise for these malleable young minds.
This book may be aimed at children but adults will enjoy it too. It reads like a children’s book but the plot and writing itself are excellent. This book reminds me of the children’s book, In A Dark, Dark Room: and Other Scary Stories. Fascinating, morbid, curious, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Pages: 208 | ASIN: B07MXPYLJ7
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Journey to Osm follows the story of Blue, a young unicorn with a big destiny. Blue is part of a tribe of unicorns going extinct under the harsh rule of an evil sorcerer. A prophecy foretells that Blue will save them but when he is born without metal in his horn, and thus without magic, all hope is lost. When Blue comes of age at 12, he is faced with destiny but how can a magicless unicorn have any hope of saving his tribe?
The book is a fun and unique YA fantasy novel. I really loved the unicorn-centric view of the story. Unicorns are often left out or less significant in fantasy stories, and I think this is a waste of a fun and interesting creature. Author Sybrina Durant furthers this by taking an intriguing twist and really exploring the magic of the unicorns as well as what unicorn civilization looks like. I really loved the world she created with the metal symbol of magic and the hierarchy that creates and the different powers that the magical unicorns possess. With an evil sorcerer, a prophecy, a fight against good and evil, this all adds up to an imaginative and exciting fantasy world.
The plot of the book is that of the underdog character finding strength against evil. Blue is a very sympathetic character through this journey as he is young, sweet, and very strong-willed. From the very beginning of the book you can see how hurt he is that he doesn’t think he can save his people, reciting his mantra ‘No Metal, No Magic.’ But even with this, he does not give up. He trains hard even when he thinks there is no chance. This self-determination in the café of certain failure really endeared Blue to me as a character. Silubhra was also a character that I grew very fond of as she was so compassionate and kind. There are a lot of characters in the story, but I think the author did a good job of making them unique and interesting and I liked how we get to see multiple perspectives.
This book is an exciting fantasy story. Filled with adventure, magic, love, loss, hope, action, and destiny. The story came together well and kept me engaged in the plot from beginning to end. The book is a great read, particularly for young adult readers who love fantasy stories.
Pages: 353 | ASIN: B07LDKX25N
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The Trojan War was the greatest catastrophe of the ancient world. We are told that it devastated Europe and Asia and plunged the known world into a Dark Age that lasted 500 years. This is the ‘Story of Troy’. The truth has never been established – until now!
30 years of painstaking investigative research has finally resolved this 3,000 year-old mystery. Author and Historian, Bernard Jones, uncovers the evidence piece by piece, separating fact from fiction, and unlocking for us the secrets of the past. Unbelievably, Bernard’s research showed that the Trojan War could not have taken place in the Aegean area, or even in the Mediterranean world. This evidence turns our accepted geography on its head and leads us on a fascinating journey of discovery back to the real world in which the Trojans lived. Here, we discover who the Greeks and the Trojans really were, and the parts they played in Homer’s Bronze Age world.
Secret knowledge concealed in the Iliad reveals Homer’s work to be a genuine historical record. Yet, only in the corrected Bronze Age environment can it be understood. Deciphering Homer’s coded information becomes the key to finding the location of the Trojan War and the Bronze Age city of Troy itself. Lost histories also tell the whole story of the migrations that took place following the Trojan War and the nations that arose out of the ashes of Troy. The records of these nations independently verify the author’s findings, and they overturn the theory of a ‘Dark Age’.
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Mylee in the Mirror explores young romance and school drama with an infusion of Greek Mythology. What were some themes you wanted to continue from your first book and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?
Well, in Daisy, Bold & Beautiful I wanted to create a situation for my main character that would demonstrate the same moral of the story that I find within Persephone’s story – it is important to stand up for yourself. The story in Mylee In The Mirror is very different, but I arrived at it in the same manner – I wanted a story that would demonstrate the moral of the story I find in Aphrodite’s story – you can’t force someone to love someone else. I hope to do that with all the books in this series – decide on a moral of the story for each god/goddess featured in the book and create a story that demonstrates that moral.
I enjoyed Ty and My’s characters and interactions. What was the inspiration for their relationship?
Hmmm… well, I didn’t really have a specific relationship in mind when I was writing it. I developed each character (for instance, Ty is loose combination of my [real life] Trampoline & Tumbling teammate, Ty, my dad, and my brother, Will), then had them interact the way I imagined those characters would interact with each other. I have a friend, Peter, who I joke around with, kinda like Mylee and Ty joked around together, but My & Ty were friends longer than Pete and I have been and they’re closer than Pete and I are.
How has your writing developed and changed from book one in your Greek Mythology Fantasy Series?
I don’t know exactly how my writing developed and changed from Daisy to Mylee, but this book was really different to write because Daisy was all about 6th graders and I was a 6th grader when I was writing it, so I could really relate to what they were doing and how they were acting. Mylee is about ninth graders AND Ty was my first male main character. Obviously, I don’t know anything about being a boy, and certainly not a 9th grade boy, so I had to talk with my brother quite a bit to decide what Ty would do and how he would act. I also talked quite a bit with my mom about the two moms in the story and Grammy Jean. Grammy Jean was based on my real-life great grandmother, who passed away last winter. The character wasn’t exactly like my Grammy Jean, but pretty close. So, I guess I can say I worked more and worked harder this time trying to understand motivations to make the characters feel really real, know what I mean?
What are you currently writing and when will it be published?
I’m just starting work on book 3. This will feature my first god (instead of a goddess), and the main character will be a boy this time. I hope to be done with it sometime this spring, so hopefully it’ll be published sometime in the summer. I’ve been busy, though, because this is competition season for both my gymnastics team and my tramp & tumble team. Last weekend we traveled down to Oregon for a meet and this weekend we fly to Reno, Nevada for another one. Between all that and school there isn’t a ton of time for writing, but I’m really anxious to share this next story, so I’ll find the time! 😊
Freshman year is just starting, and already Mylee fears her family is falling apart. She’s not interested in dating or any of the high-school drama it brings, but that’s just what she gets when Sam, the most popular guy at school, invites her to the Homecoming dance. Mylee needs advice, so she summons Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty, her secret confidant.
Tyler is worried about Mylee, his best friend and teammate. Already sad about her family woes, he’s livid that Slimeball Sam is trying to ooze his way into her life. And she seems to be falling for Sam’s act! Worse, Ty is worried all this attention from such a popular guy will place Mylee officially out of his league.
What does an ancient Greek goddess know about modern teenage romance? Can My and Ty save their friendship and discover what matters most?
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Sabrina London is now Queen of the Water Fairies. The problem is she doesn’t really want to be, and she is expected to marry Lord Raion of the Tainted. Sabrina and Dunyasha, the ancient vampire, devise a plan to solve Sabrina’s problems and free her from marrying Lord Raion. They recruit Amber, a Fire Fairy, to become Sabrina’s double. Through extensive surgeries and training Amber takes on the persona of Sabrina and is able to fool most people into believing she is in fact Sabrina London. Her mission is first to dispel of the people that could tell she was not in fact Sabrina, three tests to make sure she would be able to fool Lord Raion. Through these tests and missions, Amber and Dunyasha’s true motives come out. They are not looking out for Sabrina, they are not really on her side, what motivates these otherworldly beings? Who will survive in the end as each race clashes and fights for dominance over all the others?
Kevin Breaux returns to his world of fairies, vampires, and other creatures. We learn more about who Dunyasha is, what her past is, and how she became the cursed undead. Characters such as Jackson and Cade return, well-loved characters from past novels that played integral parts of Sabrina’s development. Three Burning Red Runaway Brides is a complex novel with so many different plot lines all intertwining that you almost need to keep notes at times to keep up with who is on who’s side, what plots are being planned, and is there even a good guy or bad guy anywhere? The deeper you go into the novel the more complex each character gets, and you find things you love and hate about each of them. Learning how the water elements all interact in the water kingdom and move about is fascinating. Learning more about the traditions the water fairies have in place adds to the complex character that is Sabrina as you figure out how she became the person she is now. Amber, also known as Skipper, starts out like a spoiled brat you just want to dislike. As we learn more about her though, we find out she is much more cunning and determined than what she appears on the surface. She has glimpses of good intentions, but most are self-serving in the end. Sabrina while she tries to grow into the role of queen, you see her reverting back to the way she was in the first novel, her growth is less developed, and even regressing in this novel. She reminds me of the teen rebelling more so than Amber as the book continues.
Without giving away key plot elements, I can say the story of Dunyasha is one of my favorites, how she ended up one of the cursed undead, how she created her family, her history and her plans for the future. I can see this plot line continuing into another book as her story continues to unfold and fate of the vampires and their awakening continues.
Kevin James Breaux has a great talent for drawing the reader in with his detailed story lines, descriptive writing and unique plot twists. Each novel builds on the last but stands alone to tell a story unlike the past without feeling like you are rereading the last novel.
Pages: 357 | ASIN: B07MC57D12
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The High Court picks up after the events of the previous book, with Hyperion and Kronos being tried for their crimes. What were some themes you wanted to carry over from book one and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?
I definitely wanted to carry over themes of parenting, or lack thereof. So much of mythology is deities behaving badly. and in Kronos we have the ultimate crappy parent. And how. But I also wanted to contrast that style of parenting with Rhea’s more maternal side. But other parent/ child relationships arise as well.
Additionally, I wanted to carry forward this idea of duality and that nothing is ever as simple as it appears to be initially. I wanted to confuse the readers’ loyalties a bit in that regard.
New ideas I wanted pursue were the ideas of justice and what that meant. And retribution versus restraint.
A race of giants attack the students and force them to flee while the giants grow stronger with every attack. What was the inspiration for this race of giants?
In Greek mythology, there actually was a Gigantomachy, or war between gods and giants. Chronologically, it occurred after the Olympians-Titans war (Titanomachy). I wanted to sneak a representation of it into book 2 seeing as though to many readers a war between gods and giants might have been anti-climactic after all the egos and storylines of the Titanomachy.
Zeus continues to be an intriguing character with multiple layers. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
Firstly, thank you for that. I’m happy that he came out so well in your eyes. One thing I was very cognizant about was the perception of Zeus, the classic king of the pantheon. He doesn’t have the best reputation. Haha. I wanted to build a view toward more humble beginnings for him and show the natural teen angst, uncertainty, and discomfort with coming of age.
Where will book three in the Sky Throne series take readers and when will it be available?
Sadly, the third book in the series didn’t get picked up for publication. 😦
High atop Mount Olympus, as dawn breaks on a new academic term, normalcy returns to campus following a harrowing expedition into The Underworld to rescue kidnapped students.
Zeus and his fellow Olympians now prepare to testify in The High Court where Hyperion will be tried for the attack on Crete and death of Anytos and Kronos will stand trial for the murder of MO Prep’s Headmaster Ouranos.
As the trial draws near, the MO Prep students and faculty are besieged repeatedly by a race of gargantuan stone and earth giants. Under heavy assault, the Olympians are forced to flee to the volcanic island of Limnos to regroup. Meanwhile, a toxic poison Zeus has carried with him since a prior fight with a dragoness creeps toward his brain.
In a race against time and beasts, Zeus and his friends must find a way to survive not only the toxin ravaging Zeus’ body, but also the giants who grow stronger after every attack, and somehow make it to the The High Court alive.
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A genesis is a beginning: a source, a founding moment. Though Bellamy Westbay’s Genesis is the second volume in the Infinity Series, readers will have no doubt that this tome marks a beginning. The odyssey opens with the beguiling Gwen in grave danger. Though angel Alex is the only being, mortal or celestial, who can ultimately save her, the antidote for her current troubles comes from a source seemingly bent on her demise. Follow Alex, Gwen, and Jasper on an epic journey through a bewitching multiverse, one haunted by evil forces, fantastical creatures, and a series of confounding quests.
In this odyssey of good versus evil, of human nature and the divine, Westbay tackles love, lust, and redemption. She also explores motivations more primal: eternal enmity, darkest jealousy, and destructive cunning. Westbay’s storytelling moves at a heady pace, switching between the questing trio and Gwen’s best friend, facing her own predicament. The book is surprisingly sparse in some places—a run-in with an eloquent dragon comes to mind—but delves deeper in others, offering vibrant descriptions of other universes and their inhabitants, including ethereal Callidora and Eva with her siren song. Vivid details aside, the plot is the star of this show and Westbay moves it forward with skill.
And what an intriguing plot it is. Genesis operates where divine beings move among mere mortals. At first I struggled with a Cinnabon-eating angel but I was quickly won over by Alex’s supernatural powers, very human weaknesses, and impressive wingspan. He is simultaneously angsty and arch. For a celestial being and polyglot to boot, he can be frustratingly obtuse: he knows little of human nature and often his epiphanies land with a thud. Even so, he captivates readers as the boulder-smashing, beast-slaying hero of our story.
If Alex is Odysseus on an epic journey and Eva a Siren, Gwen is Helen of Troy. Though not exactly “the face that launched a thousand ships”, Gwen is certainly the being that launched a thousand cherubic fantasies. The amorous undertones in Genesis know no bounds: whilst Gwen clings to life, both the misguided Jasper and the ardent Alex lust after her. Readers feel relief when Gwen revives and apprehension as death draws near. This epic journey is exhilarating and well-told. Westbay is a true storyteller with a gift for weaving familiar themes into a fascinating new world.
Pages: 414 | ASIN: B07DXP2Y8D
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Mylee is experiencing one of the most trying times in her young life. Not only is she watching solemnly as her parents’ marriage hits its rockiest stretch to date, she is unable to convince her mother that she is happier and more productive not being a cheerleader. To top it off, Mylee should be having the time of her life as she seems to have caught the eye of the school’s most desired boy–real homecoming king material. Mylee just can’t seem to catch a break. When her beloved Grammy, her confidante, moves into a new apartment farther from Mylee’s home, the struggle becomes even more real.
Ellie Collins’s second book in her Greek mythology series, Mylee in the Mirror, is a fantastic follow up to her first, Daisy Bold and Beautiful. This young adult fiction series is shaping up to be an artfully designed set of books with well-developed characters and engrossing plot lines. Collins is a master at incorporating current teen culture and dialogue. Her writing flows smoothly, and her characters seems to jump off the page–especially her main characters. Mylee and Ty are an adorable pair and their friendship leaves the reader rooting for them from their very first interaction. Collins seems to have a knack for drawing a thoroughly detestable antagonist. Sam is clearly sketched as the villain, and the dialogue she has given him keeps readers focused on exactly how wonderful Ty is for Mylee–writing perfection.
Collins manages to tap into complex relationships quite easily whether it be the parent-child relationship or the ever-evolving relationships between teen friends. She pinpoints the drama that so easily arises between girls over potential love interests while at the same time highlighting how easily true friends are able to see the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
I am, again, intrigued by Collin’s use of Greek mythology in her plots. She pulls the story of her grandmother’s mirror and the tale of Aphrodite almost effortlessly into what, otherwise, reads as young adult fiction. The fact that Mylee is able to keep her experiences to herself and use what she learns from her encounters with the mirror is a truly unique approach in this genre.
Collins is an author to be watched in the coming years. The ease with which the words flow from her mind to the paper is to be envied indeed. Her writing is phenomenally engaging, and I look forward to seeing more from her series in the future. I highly recommend her writing to any parent of young teens looking to engage their children in well-written and timely books.
Pages: 180 | ASIN: B07JZKV317
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