I can be subtle, really I can. (Waiting for the laughter to die down.) So you might not have noticed how excited I am about the release of KICKING IT, an anthology of all new stories by real powerhouses in urban fantasy who were kind enough to invite me along. I was thrilled to do a story in my Latter-Day Olympians world because a) I love it and b) I got to torture my heroine by putting her in silver booty-shorts and Plexiglas stiletto heels. She’s now out for my blood, but if you read the story, I think you’ll find it a worthy trade-off.
Those of you who haven’t read my Latter-Day Olympians series (BAD BLOOD, CRAZY IN THE BLOOD and RISE OF THE BLOOD, with BATTLE FOR THE BLOOD forthcoming in 2014) might not know that it involves Greek gods running around in contemporary times causing all kinds of trouble, stirring up magic, mayhem and murder.
One of my friends who wasn’t entirely up on her Greek mythology suggested that I put together a kind of primer on my version of the gods to help her along, and I thought you all might have fun with it as well. Not all of these figures appear right in book one, of course, but here are some of the names you’ll need to know.
The Olympians – These are the major players.
First off, the Big 3: the brothers Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, who have dominion over the heavens and earth, the waters and the underworld, in that order.
Zeus – I’d call him king of the gods, but let’s face it, we know who really wore the pants in that family (Hera). Half the time, in fact, he was sans pants, seducing every nymph, mortal, god and demigod he could get his hands on…and not always in his own form! The demented little DJ in my head is playing Queen right now, “Dynamite with a laser beam…” though in his case, it’s a lightning bolt and he really is a killer. Modern day: currently performing at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, his act billed as a “dazzling pyrotechnic extravaganza.”
Poseidon – aka Poseidon Earth-Shaker, aka Neptune, aka Percy Jackson’s dear old dad. Outside of Rick Riordan’s excellent series, he’s generally known as a cranky old cuss with a reputation for reacting badly when he doesn’t get his way, like flooding Athens with a sea of salt when the cityfolk chose Athena over him as their patron and forcing himself on Medusa when she turned him down. Modern day: still as potentially deadly as the waters he commands.
Hades – He got the short end of the stick when they were giving out domains. Still not happy about it. Still not king. (For those of you who read Cassandra Clare’s long ago Very Secret Diaries, you might appreciate the callback. For those of you who haven’t, go ahead, I’ll wait. Oh, and snarf warning!) Modern day: People are still dyin’ and he’s still sighin’.
Apollo – Hotter than the sun, which he’s the god of, BTW, along with music, prophecy and a whole host of other things. Twin to Artemis, the huntress. Pretty handy himself with a bow and arrow. Not so lucky at love. Weirdly rumored (like his sis) to be blue-eyed with a blond mane of hair. He’s been a bunch of different deities in various cultures—Hobal, Shamash, etc.—and was so popular they brought him over to Greece and even gave him some of the other gods’ attributes. (Poor Helios. He does the hard work, driving that sun chariot across the sky, but does anyone appreciate him? Oh, sure, there was that one time when his son crashed the chariot, but that was eons ago and…and I digress.) Modern day: former “adult film” actor who transitioned into mainstream theatre and is now getting into management.
Hephaestus — God of the forge, known for his amazing creations and for being the whipping boy of the other Olympians. No longer married to his cheating ex-wife Aphrodite (who’s encouraged new generations of infidelities as the current Mayflower Madam). Modern day: wunderkind for the special effects company ILM (Industrial Light and Magic).
Hermes — aka Mercury, aka Iemesh, Loki, Spider…basically every trickster god ever. Also, messenger of the gods with his winged sandals and all. Modern day: most of his flight now involves a private jet. He owns a worldwide messenger service, though he has other people to run the day to day, while he plays his alter-ego, humor columnist Thom Foolery. He knows of all the nefarious goings on and likes to share just enough to stir the pot. He’ll help out when it suits him, mostly for a front-row seat to the chaos.
Dionysus — God of the grape. Well known for his wild parties, which are as likely to show up on Dateline or Forensic Files as Girls Gone Wild. He might not show up in the series right away, but when he does, watch out!
Demeter — Mercurial mother goddess of agriculture. Her moods have a lot to do with feast or famine. Mythology has it that the reason we have seasons is that Hades stole away her beloved daughter Persephone and took her to live with him in the underworld. Because Persephone had eaten some of the food there, Demeter couldn’t recover her permanently, but a deal was struck. For half the year Persephone lives with her and the weather is fine. For the other half, she lives with her husband Hades and the weather is foul—cold, blustery, ice storms, blizzards, ecetera and so forth. I don’t know how that explains Florida and the tropics, but there you have it.
Then, of course, there’s plenty of other magical mayhem in the form of neieds, oceanids, nymphs, Fates, Muses and other gods and goddesses like Persephone herself, Hecate and Pan. I can absolutely guarantee you snark and suspense. And really, what more could you want?