Genre: Adult Mythic Fantasy
Word Count: 94,000
My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:
Persephone’s stuck between the orders of her stubborn, powerful parents. In one corner, wearing a green gown and threatening to starve mankind: mother Demeter (“stay chaste; help me in the fields for eternity”). In the opposite corner, wearing a sexy tunic and not caring much if mankind starves or not, father Zeus (“marry Hades; be trapped in the underworld forever”). But she’d rather reject both alternatives and chose the direction of her own immortality. That’s tricky enough, but she must first escape the heretofore escape-proof land of the dead—and deal simultaneously with the devoted attention of its love-struck god.
Persephone has killed thousands…of violets, tulips, and roses. While the other gods are off smiting humans, ravishing the slow-of-foot, or dominating the world, she’s stuck overdosing on bucolic delights. So when Hades interrupts yet another scintillating bout of floricide and carries her off to the not-so-sweet hereafter, she’s face-slapping mad—but also a little thrilled. The high point of her life thus far had been inventing the corn dog.
Once down under, she finally has clout. As the supposed consort of its smitten ruler, she soon improves the quality of (after)life for the shades, pardons an unjustly defamed woman, and even turns a misunderstood three-headed hellhound into her beloved pet. She might achieve more were she to agree to become Hades’ actual wife. And she’s tempted. He is the most honorable god she knows, actually respects her opinions, and sports a physique better than the average Greek god.
Unfortunately, without her, the upper world goes to Hades in a Grecian urn. Her worried mother, the goddess of agriculture, stops work, then is assaulted and disappears. While Persephone’s finally found her place in the (under)world—and may have fallen hard for Hades—famine looms, and someone has to find Mom and punish her powerful attacker. But being the first, dead or alive, to slip out of the underworld without discovery will take more ingenuity than inventing the world’s first fast food. She’ll actually have to act like the goddess she has proclaimed herself: Dread Persephone, the Bringer of Death. (“Pass it on.”)
First 250 words:
With two powerful gods as parents, you might think I’d have something better to smite than flowers. If so, you’d be wrong.
Violets had seemed an inspired choice two hours ago. Now my hands and back ached from picking the little suckers. I threw down my half-full basket and plopped my butt onto the grassy, be-flowered paradise on Earth known as Nysion. It wasn’t that I lacked choice; the place always abounded with a variety of flowers. And, of course, bees that never stung and butterflies in an array of colors and glorious weather at all times. Utterly delightful.
And after a hundred years, utterly mind-numbing.
Maybe I should use my divine powers to do this. I concentrated. New plants sprouted, instead. Nope, I could still only make them grow, not pick themselves and leap into my basket.
A rustle from the woods surrounding the meadow made me jump. No, that must have been the wind blowing through the trees. I didn’t feel any breeze, but what else could it be? An unbidden shiver coursed through my body until I told it to stop. It wasn’t cold. It was never cold here. Like everything else in my life, Nysion was always the same. The only difference from all my previous trips was I was here alone.
I didn’t understand why Zeus had asked me to get the flowers for our quarterly banquet tonight. I was handling the food, too. Why didn’t Dad ask his favorite daughter, Hebe, to be useful for once?