Glory of the Gods: working on the Iliad

We’re having our first big rehearsal for the Iliad in a couple of weeks, so I am starting to work on my piece of the story. I will be telling the fight for Patroclus’ body, after Hector has killed him and stripped off Achilles’ armour, which he had been wearing. It’s an interesting part in the story, because it’s when the battle really starts to get ugly. The niceties of war, such as they were, are getting abandoned. But what I love most about my piece is how Zeus reacts to Hector donning Achilles’ famous armour. In short, Hector be screwed. Hector has killed Achilles’ buddy Patroclus and is now wearing Achilles’ own notable armour, making him really easy to find on the battlefield. And Zeus watches this and says, fine, I’ll let you get away with it, but you’re gonna be screwed. I may be paraphrasing somewhat.

One thing that stands out about the Iliad, and a few of my fellow tellers commented on this during our first meeting in December, is that the gods are very human. They fight and bicker amongst each other. Half of Olympus is siding with Troy and the other half is in favour of the Greeks. They come down to Earth and influence things to go how they want and frequently appear disguised as the fighters’ comrades in order to tell them what to do, hopefully without being noticed by their fellow gods. I’ve always loved mythology and you see this sort of thing all the time, be it Greek, Roman, Egyptian or Celtic mythology. Many a Greek myth centres around the fact that Zeus can’t keep it in his pants and thus pisses Hera off. The gods have a lot of children and grandchildren that they conceived with mortals running about. At one point Zeus even comments that there so many of them running about that they can’t protect every single demi-god in battle or there would be no battle.

One of my favourite moments is sadly not going to be in the show. The Iliad is so long we can’t tell the whole thing in a day without resorting to summary and losing the essence of Homer. Zeus has made it clear that none of the gods are allowed to interfere in the battle, but Hera is determined to have her own way. So she gets the help of Aphrodite and Sleep to seduce Zeus, her own husband. And when Zeus sees her, wrapped in Aphrodite’s charms, he says, “Come, let us to bed and the delights of love. Never has such desire, for goddess or mortal, flooded and overwhelmed my heart; no, not when I loved Ixion’s wife who bore Peirithous, wise as the gods; or Danae of the slim ankles, daught of Acrisius, who gave birth to Perseus, the greatest hero of his time; or the far-famed daughter of Phoenix, who bore me Minos and godlike Rhadamanthus; or Semeke, or Alcmene in Thebes, whose son was lion-hearted Heracles, while Semele bore Dionysus, mankind’s delight; or lady Demeter with her lovely hair, or incomparable Leto; or you yourself – never have I felt such desire for you, or has such sweet longing overwhelmed me.” Nothing can sweet-talk your wife like listing all the women you’ve cheated on her with. It’s a prime example of the fact that, while the gods may be all-powerful, it certainly does not make them all-perfect. Also, it’s hilarious. I can just picture Hera standing there, biting her tongue while he says this and trying to keep her eyes from rolling or her hand from slapping him and giving him bedroom eyes instead.

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Book Launch: Destiny’s War

My good friend Marie Bilodeau is launching the third book of her series, Destiny’s War, on Friday, January 31 at Maxwell’s, at 5 pm. I absolutely love this series and I highly recommend you come out to the launch and pick it up. Plus, if you’ve never met Marie she’s a wonderful person, a whole lot of fun,Destiny's War cover and you seriously should.

She pre-launched the book in e-pub form before Christmas and I, too impatient to wait for the print copy, picked it up and just finished reading it. Let me tell you, it is a fantastic, fast-paced conclusion to the story.

Destiny’s War comes 10 years after the conclusion of book two, Destiny’s Fall. In all these years there’s one thing that really hasn’t changed, Layela wants nothing more than a quiet life with her family. But Mirial, it’s people and the ether races are in need of her once more and will saving them cost her the reunion she desires with her daughter?

The Destiny series is a sci-fi story that feels in many ways like a fantasy set on space ships with its ether races and the importance myth plays in the story. It’s wonderfully written and I just dare you to put it down. I certainly couldn’t and polished off the second half of Destiny’s War in one day; always a good sign for me. The book is filled with memorable characters a-plenty, from Layela to Josmere the Berganda (a sentient plant-based race), though my favourite is the adventurous, shoot first, grab a drink and then maybe ask questions later, Avienne Malavant. Many familiar faces are back for the third book, but Marie has a knack for quickly making you care about the new characters as well.

Check out more info about all three books in the Destiny series, with links to purchase, from Marie’s site. The whole series is still available as an ebook bundle for $9.99 if ereaders are more your style. Either way you should come out on January 31 and meet Marie and hear some readings.

A New Year, New Challenges

A couple of days ago I bid a fond farewell to 2013 amid friends and family and turned my sights on 2014. 2013 was a pretty big, busy and awesome year for me. I didn’t end up meeting my writing goals for the year; I had aimed to submit 6 new short stories over the year and while I drafted 6 stories only 3 pieces were polished enough to submit and a couple had to be shelved entirely as they were not working the way I hoped. My writing pace slowed down since 2012 but my writing has gotten stronger, so that should be a worthwhile trade off. I had also hoped to have revisions on my novel further along, but I only worked on it during my crazy editing month. But in 2013 I made 22 submissions, of which I am still waiting to hear back on 4, and received an honourable mention from Writers of the Future. For 2014 I’m aiming again for 6 new stories submitted and to get my novel ready for some first readers.

2013 was also the year of my storytelling debut at the National Arts Centre. I went to Ad Astra for the first time, as well as Can-Con again and started helping out with the ChiSeries with Matt Moore, managing the book table. And the fall of 2013 was a time of sowing seeds for 2014. I became an Editorial Assistant for Beneath Ceaseless Skies, was invited to be part of an epic telling of The Iliad for next year, and Matt invited me to host the ChiSeries in January. So for as great as 2013 was, 2014 is shaping up to be an even bigger year. Maybe I’ll even snag that first acceptance. 🙂