Half-lost in worlds where teleportation's the fastest way to travel and one might just be more god than human, M. Dylan Blair is the fantasy author of THE GENESIS TRILOGY and the upcoming NINE WORLDS SAGA. Torn between her two loves of margaritas and magic, M. spends her free time researching something for The House of Araboth so that her characters don't have to, working on her ever-expanding collection of fruit trees, or obsessing over OUAT. She resides in Jacksonville, FL, with her family where she is currently working on the second book in THE GENESIS TRILOGY, EAST OF EDEN, which will be released in late 2015.
It’s been a few months since I’ve last been around, but I’m still alive, still here. I’ve been focused on personal things that have forced my hand to take a break from writing and editing and focus on daily things. I’m in the works of going back to school, working, and spending time with my family.
So, this year has been one of growth. I have actively spent the first half trying to move forward in every capacity I have been able to, abet sometimes slowly.
And, two months into the school year, where I am approaching the final weeks of the first semester back, what have I learned?
I really miss my novels.
I’ve actually accomplished a lot this year, with a huge list of to-dos left, but working 20-30 hours a week, plus workouts, living 45 minutes from my job, spending time with my family, and studying 20 hours a week, I feel like all of my time is wasted and never used wisely.
Truthfully, that’s not the case.
Part of my accomplishments is to actively work on my bucket list/dreams/regrets list. I have learned over the years that much of what I do is cyclical. My interests, my goals, my desires. They loop around and around again until I complete whatever it is I set out to do initially. This quote to my right is from Lilith Reborn, and its about one of the new villains (yes, villains). But as a living, breathing human being in this world who does believe that we possess the potential for regrets and do acknowledge them, have learned that one of the most important things a writer does is pull forth our psyche.
Mine, yours, everyone’s.
As writers, we mirror our flaws, our desires, our good, and our bad, all into one conglomerous blob. Its cathartic.
And writing is an art form. You can always learn the trade, the tricks, and rake the coals, but some things, true mastery is the art itself. Writing is like a tapestry. Its the same thing in the cooking industry. There is the whole art/science argument there. Same with the film industry. Art vs. entertainment.
And that art is exploring the myriad identity that is the human soul.
By exploring these other worlds, these other parts of ourselves, we in turn become better human beings. And I am truly thankful to be someone who considers this my most prized skill. That I am skilled enough in my writing, intelligent enough, and educated enough that I am able to search for the divine through my work. It seems as though this is my life’s goal.
I’ve studied cultures, religions, languages, societies, philosophies, physics, psychology, and I can tell you one thing– I haven’t found the answer yet. But I have a most interesting tapestry.
I’m tossing around the idea of going down to two classes a semester so that I can devote an adequate amount of time to my writing. Without it, it feels like there is a void inside me. By seeking the balance, I may yet find my answer.
That balance, hopefully, will serve me well when rock climbing because I suck at it.
And because my posts are not complete without a music video, have some James Bay, because he’s awesome and, well, he gets stuff…
If there was one singer who embodied the emotions and spirits of Amelia, that would have to be Christina Perri. From Run, which is featured on the LILITH REBORN playlist, to The Lonely, which I may be forced to bring it on ad interim. The second novel in the series is so much darker than the first, and as much as I would have liked to have it out last summer, things didn’t pan out that way for me.
What I can tell you is that I’m steadily plugging away at it even though I’m working and returning to college to finish my degree in [ONE OF THE FOLLOWING HEADACHES: BIOMEDICAL/BIOCHEMISTRY/IMMUNOLOGY/MOLECULAR GENETICS].
Plus I have a family. I’m trying to draw the racing train to a halt as 2016 marches on forward. I am also active in this year’s political campaign.
So what can I tell you about LILITH REBORN?
Well for those who have been following along, THE GENESIS TRILOGY has been given new titles with new covers but I promise you it’s the same novels. For some people that may be good or bad. I’ve already written these novels. They aren’t changing after going through the full publishing route.
So for someone who loves esoteric, mythological, and metaphysical fields of study, why did I rename the novels? As someone previously stated, “it gives me an idea of the mythology you’re writing about.”
Although I must confess, how Eden, Paradise, or Revelations could possibly confuse anyone, I have no idea. But I’ll work with it.
So I’m a big fan of environmental, theme-based covers.
I won’t lie. I love these covers.
Especially the EAST OF EDEN cover.
Unfortunately, these guys have some cons.
Like their downplay at small sizes. If you look at them enlarged or full screen, they are AWESOME…
There’s a lot of detail that went into these, but it’s not something that can be easily appreciated without having a lot be taken away from what’s there.
So on the new covers, I tried to present more white space.
I also came up with new TITLES. Now cons here…. THE TITLES ARE MAJOR SPOILERS…
But at least these get the point across. Female oriented, swords in hand, magick and alchemy.
And if you don’t know who EVE, LILITH, or what a GODDESS is…. I really cannot help you. I am sorry.
So without further adieu, the new covers for THE GENESIS TRILOGY!
This is the new cover for I AM EVE, formally FALL FROM PARADISE.
This is the new cover for LILITH REBORN, formally EAST OF EDEN. Hopefully to be released by the end of the year. *fingers crossed*
This is the new cover for the final novel of THE GENESIS TRILOGY, GODDESS UNCHAINED, and it’s planning had it previously slated as simply REVELATIONS, continuing on from the original theme.
But since I’m still fighting off a bronchial infection, here’s a little Christina Perri to hit the spot for you guys.
This post is going to be a bit different. I wanted to introduce to you guys three of the major tracks on the East of Eden playlist. The full playlist will be released during my blog tour this December, but for now, let’s get into the theme of the second book, shall we?
If you guys aren’t completely familiar with these songs, here they are for your listening pleasure. And if you are, enjoy the listen anyways!
COME WITH ME NOW – The Kongos
Why I Chose It: Just listen to it. It’s angry. It’s a touch jaded. It’s cynical. You are your own worst enemy until you assimilate into that enemy itself.
There’s a lot of debate over whether they say WAR or WHOA at the beginning of each line, but seeing as how WAR is one of the Four Horsemen, I’m on the WAR team. But I’m sure you could guess that.
I had the pleasure of watching this video a few weeks ago, and it is fantastic. It just adds to the jaded effect.
DO I WANNA KNOW? – Arctic Monkeys
Why I Chose It: This song personifies one of the two new main villains of the novel, which isn’t saying much since just about everyone is a villain, but that’s what so great about it. We get to see 50 sides of evil from 50 different ways, and there is always someone worse to take their place. I enjoy the perspective and there are going to be a lot of warped things going on and this just embodies the disturbing things.
LOVE RUNS OUT – One Republic
Why I Chose It: Another self-explanatory one. It’s another great song about giving everything you’ve got to the point of obsession, past the point of burnout. That commitment to seeing things through to the end, no matter the cost. This one is about a relationship, and a destructive one at that. You know it’s bad, and you know it’s going to cost you in the end, but you’re not one to throw in the towel to avoid the “spite your face” situation.
It’s about coming to terms with the devils you’re creating and accepting them for their new-found reality.
So that’s the preview! And if you haven’t figured it out by now, there are going to be a lot of villains making an appearance in the second novel and a few returning ones. A bunch of questions are going to get answered in the second book (try as I might, nothing is ever a plothole).
Amelia’s missing memories, what secrets Camael is guarding, where is Enoch, what happened to Adam during the Fall, and a bunch more will be answered in the second book.
And be prepared because the answers aren’t nice. They aren’t politically correct.
The books I write are a blend of romance, suspense, paranormal, fantasy, and horror. They aren’t for everyone. Some things are too one way for some and too far the other way for others.
But I’m warning everyone now. This book is dark. I wouldn’t never call it disturbed, but you don’t want to bring it home to Mama unless you are Mama’s husband.
It is dark fantasy. Or paranormal suspense. Or romantic horror. I don’t know what it is, but what I do know is that the concepts and theories are adult and controversial in nature.
On top of the chaos I’ve already unveiled, we’re going to touch base on rape, incest, bestiality, murder, suicide, and a lot of other things. It is HELL after all.
But like I said earlier, I don’t do plotholes. You just aren’t ready for the deep end yet.
So bring your swimmies, boys and girls. The sea doesn’t care if you’re friend or foe.
With over a hundred different #INDIE authors participating in the 2015 BRAIN TO BOOKS BLOG TOUR, I wanted to take the time to invite each of you guys to take in all of the new #INDIE authors around us. Check out some new works, old ones, take part in special giveaways, contests, and other things, and just get to know some new people.
Authors are everywhere.
I’m going to be taking part in the tour on August 28th, and I hope to see you all there!
I’m going to be following the listings closely, and I want you all to do the same! If you’re picky about what you read, there are going to be so many things going on, you are BOUND to find something GREAT TO READ!
Some authors don’t care which sandwich their lead character will order at the local cafe, or the top five things they would bring to a deserted island. Others of us know everything from their astrological sign to the last time they waxed their privates.
Great character development comes from great characters, and great characters comes from knowing who they are. What they want, what they love, what they hate. What alcohol do they drink? Do they go through speedy checkout or wait in line?
All of these things are pivotal to your writing, and something that I like to use as I’m world-building and running through character development is the good ol’ fashioned character alignment from the most beloved
Yes I’m a nerd. And a geek. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
For anyone who DOESN’T know what this is all about, there are 9 different “personalities/alignments” that you can be. You. Me. The dude down the street.
I’ll explain below. If you already know all this; skip to the bottom.
A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.
Lawful good combines honor and compassion.
Lawful good can also be dangerous when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.
A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.
Chaotic good combines a good heart with a free spirit.
Chaotic good can also be dangerous when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.
A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.
Lawful neutral means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.
Lawful neutral can also be dangerous when it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.
A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil-after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.
Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.
Neutral means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion.
Neutral can also be dangerous when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.
A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.
Chaotic neutral represents true freedom from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal.
Chaotic neutral can also be dangerous when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.
This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.
Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.
Lawful evil is sometimes called “diabolical,” because devils are the epitome of lawful evil.
Lawful evil combines honor with a dedicated self-interest.
Lawful evil represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.
A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn’t have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.
Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies.
Neutral evil will advance themselves without regard for others.
Neutral evil represents pure evil without honor and without variation.
A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.
Chaotic evil is sometimes called “demonic” because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil.
Chaotic evil combines self-interest and pure freedom.
Chaotic evil represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.
And without further ado, here is the
CHARACTER ALIGNMENTS OF THE GENESIS TRILOGY
And there you have it. You’re smart people. You can probably figure out why I chose what I did. For the record, if there is ever a movie:
I want Benedict Cumberbatch for Enoch and Željko Ivanek for Ba’al.
You hear that, directors? I’m telling you this NOW that it isnon-negotiable.
Those are my only demands.
P.S. For the nerdy ones who haven’t taken the alignment test for themselves IRL or their characters, check out some here:
In traditional markets, it is not unheard of for a novel to take 18-24 months from the time of an offer to publication (i.e. book store shelves). Add that to the 6-12 months to even 18-24 months it takes to write the damned thing and you can see how novels can take up YEARS of your life. And this isn’t even taking into account those that work, have families, commitments, and other priorities that take away time from their “work.” (We’ll touch on making writing your MAIN personal priority some other time).
For ease of understanding and follow-through, I’m going to divide this into sections, 1 for WRITING, 1 for PUBLISHING, and 1 for MARKETING/RELEASE! I also hope to get this up as a PDF is the upcoming future, but for now, please just love it here. (Copy + Paste works too).
This round can last minutes, days, or years, if necessary. This is where you sit down at the wheel with a lump of clay and try and figure out what beast you’re shooting for.
Worldbuilding, character interviews, the IDEA train, whatever you want to call it, it’s here. You can use flash cards, charts, graphs, spreadsheets, freehand art like you see above. Whatever keeps you organized and gets you off the ground running is the best system for you.
It’s a very mobile, fluid round, so you need to be able to move thoughts/scenes/images/ideas freely. I like the notecard method also. Just make sure you keep it all together with a rubber band or it might get lost.
Timeframe: As long as it takes.
THE FIRST DRAFT
Some people use Scrivener, some people use Word. I am old-fashioned and every first draft I write is written by hand (about 80% of the novel). Some people start at CHAPTER ONE and work their way to that fabled THE END.
I don’t. I start at the beginning, like I am supposed to, and then by about the 1/3 point I have to deviate and I start writing the end, then the middle and loop around and around until I manage to get all the pieces in place.
Some stories unfold, one chapter, one layer at a time like an onion. Some are more like a puzzle and have to form slowly and deliberately, with clusters of pieces forming in areas until that final DONE moment arrives. The genre of your novel will be what mostly dictates this.
Fantasy novels have so much world-building that there is bound to be a great deal of freestyling involved in this. Time-traveling novels are the same way. They work in Mobius-like strips and cannot be depended upon to unravel in a manner befit of a historical romance like Pride and Prejudice.
Timeframe: 1 month – 1 year.
(Realistically, it should take you 2-4 months for the first draft that is between 80,000 to 120,000 words.)
NOTE: (I DON’T LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD, FYI. With a toddler that I watch during the daytime and a job at night, I don’t write as much as I would like to. Even when I have vacation.)
THE SELF EDITS
3. ROUND 1 (COHERENCE)
The first round of edits I call COHERENCE because that is exactly what it is. COHERENCE. Here you will tear apart stilted dialogue, awkward sentences, or complete and total crap. Whole sections and paragraphs can also go during this time. Against the advice of many novelists, I edit as I write, which slows down the project considerably.
HOWEVER, as I was raised by an editor and a professor, self-editing is ingrained in me about as much as my blood is. I do not write like I did in my teens or early twenties, and as such, the red becomes less as I progressively grow as a writer. I am learning to become more concise in my writing, and it’s paying off.
This first round blends into and overlaps with STEP 3, just so you know. They are like two halves of one whole.
Timeframe: 1-2 months.
4.ROUND 2 (PRE-BETA READ-THROUGH)
Prior to any of my books going to their respective betas, I read the entire novel in it’s entirety twice. Maybe three or four more times. It’s hard to say because of the way I read and edit, read and edit. Edit and read the chapter. Cooking? Reread the chapter. Walking? Reread the chapter. By the time I actually make it to where I print it out (see image) onto paper, we are at the BETA stage and my final read-through is for READABILITY and MINOR DETAILS like CONTINUALITY glitches.
Timeframe: 1 month.
5. BETA READ
The fabled BETA STAGE. This is where your novel goes out into the big bad world of willing torture victims in the hopes that it will come back with a big red bow on top.
During this stage, your manuscript may go to one person or a trusted few. Beta Readers are dangerous in the aspect that they can either be total crap [i.e. I love it, it’s great, or I hate it, it sucks.] or they can chew through each chapter with their teeth until there’s nothing left but a carcass. Again, this can be good or bad.
By having a group of Betas, the probability that they at least comb through all the parts that need combing and validate what needs to be validated is higher. Feedback is the only job that a Beta Reader has. Everything that you liked, everything that you hated, everything that made you feel or confused you is important. The BETA is “the reader.” You have please them, stroke them, coddle them, and make sure they are tucked in at night.
Only then will the author get the feedback they so desire.
Timeframe: 1 week to 1 month.
6. ROUND 3 (POST BETA)
This is where you get the manuscript back with as many or as little notes that have been provided to you by your BETAs. Here, you will clarify, reduce, rewrite, eliminate, correct anything that needs to be handled before your manuscript heads off to the PROFESSIONAL ROUND OF EDITS.
Timeframe: 1 week to 1 month.
THE PROFESSIONAL EDITS
NOTE: I will dive into Choosing An Editor next week, but in the meantime, here is the best advice I can give you.
Editors and authors are both a dime a dozen. Find the editor that works best for you and never let them go.
7. ROUND 1 (DEVELOPMENTAL & SUBSTANTIVE)
Now you’re running with the big dogs. The manuscript goes to the editor and no matter what happens, it will have red marks. Some pages may have none, some will have a lot. There will be commentation included in the notes of the Word document, as well as a RIDICULOUSLY long exchange of emails.
Consider this normal. Do not panic.
A Developmental & Substantive editor will focus on character development, plot flow, structure, tone, style, continuality, and the like. The biggest problems you will run into during this round is if the editor possibly doesn’t “like” your style.
Timeframe: 1-4 weeks.
8. ROUND 2 (COPY & LINE)
This is the real nitty-gritty. Grammar, punctuation, spelling, word choice, brevity. Chapter by chapter, line by line, word by word. Whatever needs to go, will.
Know that by the time you get it back, it will be 1000% better and you will be glad you had it done. Just make sure you have alcohol by your side to handle STEP 9 REWRITES.
Timeframe: 1-4 weeks
I have taken the liberty of inserting the obvious step known as “REWRITES.”
You will cry. You will scream. You will cry and scream on the floor as you kick your feet in vain.
And then you sit your ass in the seat and you do it. Over and over and over again until everything makes sense. At that point you will consider your STEP 2 self a total and complete jackass and possibly die of embarrassment.
10. ROUND 3 (PROOFREADER)
I put this under the professional section even though you yourself can do a proofread as can a trusted colleague or friend.
This is the second to last stage. Here is where the book goes through a proofreader, typically someone who has not looked at the manuscript and is able to spot errors, typos, and other minor problems from a mile away. With the indie publication market, this can also stem into letting your PROOFREADER do their thing with an ARC/PROOF. This will allow both you guys to catch errors in formatting (both print and digital) as well as anything that needs to be brought to life before the manuscript hits the presses.
Timeframe: 1-2 weeks
11.FINAL PROOF REVIEW
The last final hurrah. Digital and print versions of your work for your review. You can do it, someone else can do it. All of the above, none of the above. Use at your own peril [ PERIL = jackassery].
It’s your choice. Again, this blends into Step 10 PROOFREADING.
Timeframe: 1-2 weeks
And there you have it, THE WRITING TIMELINE of your manuscript. Freelance editors can be found with a basic Google search, or you can use sites like Elance or Guru. Many will do a 5 page sample or even more depending on the length and complexity of your project for free.
If they don’t, keep looking. Even though you are paying them, it is still an audition. Remember, you guys are a team and you don’t want to dump $3,000 on someone who can’t make it off your first page without dropping it into a bucket of red paint.
Pens get expensive. I know.
Something else you should know is that just because you learn to write better, it may not cost you any less depending on the editor[s] you choose.
Some editors will automatically sell you a developmental/substantive editing package because your novel/series is so high concept that it’s going to require more out of them. This is not necessarily anything against you, it just is what it is. Again, some genres are more simplistic, others more complex, and some people are just out to make a buck.
So in conclusion, WRITE LONG, EDIT HARD, AND LOVE STRONG. It makes for a great novel.
A hawk, an ibis, and a jackal walk into a bar. No, seriously.
At least, that’s what I’d do on a Friday night given the choice. Mortals are needy. They take work. But signing up to be in a pantheon came with certain responsibilities for certain perks. It can’t just be all fun and games, right?
The pantheon. A pantheon. A.k.a. The Gods. In all their glory.
For some, it’s a word that inspires. For others, it evokes fear. For the unlucky ones, it’s nothing more than a cold, stone building in the south of Rome. But for those of us whom the gods are more than just words on a page or images on a scroll, the pantheon you follow can mean everything.
It can decide your beliefs, your fate, even your death. And as an author, most certainly the deaths of your characters.</pi
The sixth grade started it all, spurning my obsession immediately. A simple, homemade papyrus began a lifelong search, a journey that had things gone differently might have very well taken me to the ends of the Earth itself.
Ever since then, I’ve been an ancient history geek, a polytheistic nerd, Egyptology’s lover, and whatever other alphabet soup you want to toss my way.
We were studying Ancient Egypt, the one place that my heart still holds dear, and from there my obsession only grew. In adolescence, I became Pagan, and while Roman Catholicism held a place for me with its traditions and culture, its ambiance, and its lore, its path was not my own.
They say that the places, religions, and gods you are drawn to the most are the ones you have the strongest connection to, be it from past lives, future selves, or whatever other descriptive phrasing you want to use. I have SPQR tattooed on my upper left shoulder and an ankh on my right forearm. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have an angelic language on my forearm.
My love of these cultures/histories/lores knows no bounds. I have a great affinity for temples, halls, and colonnades that does not come from being surrounded by stained glass windows, Roman collars, and crosses as a child. Depending on your beliefs and the acceptance of the beliefs of others, I would say it came from my past lives and you would believe me.
So when it came down to writing my novels, it seemed my fate was sealed.
#TheGenesisTrilogy is about angels, demons, and classical theology. Nephilim. Genesis and all that it entails.
The #NineWorldsSaga comes full circle on the mythology of a #pantheon and the powers it holds. In this work, they are called The Panthos (or The Aesir), and much like The Olympians, they are varied and harrowing in their power. They rule the Nine Worlds (Norse mythos).
The Nine Worlds, the Niuheimir, are the direct usage of the Norse mythology. TNW features locations such as Niflheim, Alfheim, and the Vahalionar (Valhalla).
Anaethesis, Alyas, Az’zahr, Arielle, Asvaej, and about seven more are the gods that form this pantheon.
I decided to go iLokiassic Olympian style and make it a group of 12. The Aesir are a blend of the Norse gods and our beloved friends from Mount Olympus.
Anaethesis is half Odin, half Zeus. He is cold, calculating, and rules with an iron fist, but he is not evil. He is just.
Asvaej is half Hades, half Loki. He meddles. He is the brother of Anaethesis. He twists and concocts schemes. He is the snake in Anaethesis’ ear.
For me, growing up Pagan, the Gods were more than just these scary forces hovering in the clouds. My mother who raised me Roman Catholic taught me as a child that thunder was God moving furniture. I liked it, but it wasn’t me. I changed it to the Gods in council.
They were a part of my identity, and somewhere along the way I stumbled onto American Gods by #NeilGaiman and that took over. (They’re finally making a mini-series OMFG – for the record). I saw that the Gods could have more than just trite motives, and even still, in American Gods, their main desires still fall back on self-preservation. I still wanted it to be more.
So I came up with a saga based on my original main character #SadiChesearean. What if God was really just a mortal at the beginning and he ascended to his powers? What if religion and theology weren’t what we really believed they were, and it was all a concoction of what really happened? This concept, in a nutshell, has been the bulk of my writing ever since.
So when it came time to explore motives and desires, I realized that there was more to the story.
The Gods were angry. They had experiences. They had lovers who cheated on them. They fought wars. Their wives died in childbirth. They were real people with real lives.
They just ended up as Gods. And that is the whole point of my entire NINE WORLDS SAGA.
The main characters are the reluctant heroes. They want to live their lives like humans, but no less than the Gods who meddle. Humans have a finite vision of the past and the future. They exist within a span of a century. The Gods exist for millennia, eons even, depending on the belief systems from which they are founded.
As a child, I loved Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwater Saga (hugely so), but even with the Tuatha, there was never any other explanation for their actions other than self-preservation.
I needed something more than that. These gods are immortal, so I took their immortality away, changing it to thousands of years. Like master vampires that live in the spans of four to five thousand years, the kinds that see entire empires rise and fall.
Now, the gods were more like elves; they lived long but not forever. But it wasn’t enough.
First their immortality, then their powers. This is something I also touch upon in The Genesis Trilogy, especially East of Eden.
We spend so much time trying to avoid the mundane that we forget the power of our own individuality. We may be mortal, and we may be limited in our actions, but we have free will. We just have to exact it right, like the setting of the gears in a clockwork. If the gods would trade away everything that made them who they are, they would be left human. They would live and die, love and laugh. Their motives would be human indeed, and as such, they would make better villains, better heroes.
And that’s the whole point of character writing in a nutshell: to make best characters believable, to make their motives human, to make them ring true, etc. “Evil isn’t born; it’s made,” #OUATobsessed.
These people came from something to be something, be it good or bad.
But the gods are more than just a royal flush sitting pretty, they’re a force to be reckoned with. They’re the wildcard in your hand. So if you’re going to play poker, make sure you don’t piss them off.
It’s too early to dig bodies out of damnation. I haven’t had my coffee yet.
(Our dog, Loki, pimps out the couch while one of our cats, Scarlet, looks on)