Thursday, October 25, 2012

Magic Thursday: Oh My Gods!

by Peta Crake



I never intended to write about ancient gods. I figured they had hogged the story-telling limelight for much too long. The last thing the fiction world needed was another tale proclaiming their glory or vileness. No, Harbinger was going to be about Ophelia, a mortal girl trying to solve the mystery of her past. There would be no gods.


Then Aden took over Ophelia’s favourite bar. Here was an arrogant, seductive guy who could have any girl he wanted just by crooking his finger. And my imagination insisted he was a demigod. He couldn’t be a vampire, angel, demon, werewolf or any other paranormal creature, he had to be a demigod.

I thought I was safe.

He was just one demigod right? Other than Ophelia’s long lost “god-father”, there were no other gods. Harbinger was still a mostly deity-free zone.

I should have known better. Like ants, where there was one there were thousands. First Hermes, in all his surfer-tanned, blonde glory, walked onto the scene followed close behind by bespoke-suite clad Zeus and sophisticated modern woman, Hera. Not to mention Ares, Macha, Hel, Sobek and Anuket. It was a deluge of deities.

But if you were hoping for a traditional portrayal of ancient gods, then Harbinger is not the book for you. In Ophelia’s world, the gods have evolved, moved on. They don’t swan around draped in white cloth or mostly nude (unless they are at home or visiting a naturist resort). Many of them own houses, have jobs and appreciate the joy of modern fabrics and zippers. Of course, there are those who live in their own private realms, never visiting the world of mortals, but they are the minority.

There are some things, however, that even a couple of millennia cannot change. The gods’ private lives still resemble a soap opera on steroids. They can still be adulterous, sneaky, jealous, vengeful creatures with the capacity for great kindness, sacrifice and love. Some remain confused about why mortals don’t worship them as much as they used to. And of course, they continue to have the annoying habit of meddling in mortals’ lives just because they feel like it.

Oh, and they possess the world record for grudge holding.

None of which boded well for a mortal girl just trying to do her job and deliver messages for them.

Poor Ophelia, never stood a chance. 

As an Olympic messenger, suburban Aussie girl Ophelia Lind is used to being at the beck and call of the gods. But when gorgeous demigod Aden moves into her neighbourhood and starts taking advantage of her services, Ophelia believes life could not get any worse. She's about to be proven very wrong. 

Ophelia tries to enjoy a normal, everyday life while running messages for the Greek gods – but without warning an odious creature - evil incarnate - begins to stalk her. As a messenger dealing with the all-powerful and sometimes frightening gods, Ophelia is accustomed to adventures and scrapes. But this is different. Suddenly Ophelia is in a battle for survival and begins to question everything – her upbringing, her identity, and her true feelings for the alluring and entirely frustrating Aden. 


Excerpt:

With Hades at my side, the trip through the Asphodel Fields was so short it was almost non-existent. It passed in a blur of grey and yellow but the occasional moans from the bodiless ghosts that lived there still managed to send a chill up my spine.

‘Wow, she’s really gone all out this time.’ An Underworld version of a Regency manor house sat where Hades’ palace once had been. I think he let Persephone decorate as she liked in the hope it would help her forget how much she hated him and his realm.

‘Thank the Styx my brothers never visit. It would give them one more weapon to piss me off with.’

‘Oh, it’s not that bad.’

Hades lowered his chin and stared at me.

‘Okay. I admit it’s not as impressive as the medieval castle thing you had last time I was here, but it could be worse,’ I said.

‘The house I don’t mind; the clothes I could do without.’ He picked at his waistcoat as if it were a dead animal carcass that needed removing.

‘Just be glad she isn’t into nursery rhymes.’

Before Hades could respond, Persephone threw open the doors, a breathtaking Elizabeth to Hades’ Mr Darcy. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched the god’s face soften at the sight of his wife’s joy.

‘Wonderful, more company,’ she said and led us into the public area of the palace and the only room I had ever been in. It was decorated to suit the exterior with a series of uncomfortable-looking sofas and chairs placed close enough in the large space to allow quiet conversation. A silver tray on a side table held a porcelain teapot, cups and saucers. Next to it were a number of plates containing an assortment of afternoon tea goodies.

I felt Hades’ muscles tense under my hand and I looked in the same direction as him. On a dainty sofa, nursing a cup and saucer on his thigh, sat Aden. In jeans and a T-shirt, he stood out like a demon in heaven. The cup rattled as he put it on the small table beside him and stood.

‘What the hell are you doing here?’ The words left my mouth before I could stop them. A grunt emanated from Hades as if he were trying not to laugh aloud. Persephone scowled as if worried it would permanently mar her face if she did so too deeply. Too late, I remembered my manners. I glared at Aden then turned to the goddess with a smile.



Care to win a prize? Just answer in the comments below, which ancient god you would like to have as a houseguest. 

You could win either a copy of Harbinger (e-book only) or a shiny, sparkly bookish surprise. International entries welcome. The winner will be announced on Monday 29th October. 


~~~
You can find Peta at her website


12 comments:

  1. Peta, I just finished this the other day and I LOVED it! I don't know what I was expecting, but I got more than that! Those pesky gods just kept turning up and turning the tables and there were those creepy things with tongues and teeth and TWO gorgeous guys, even though one might be... no, can't say that, spoilers!

    Seriously, it was great and there will be more, yes? Please?

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    1. Thanks Imelda. So glad you liked it. Hoping to get a sequel out next year.

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  2. Oh boy, do those gods hold grudges! Great book (bought, read, loved - so don't pop me in the draw, please)

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. So happy you liked it.

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  3. I honestly think that if I were going to have an ancient god as a house guest, then I think I would like to have Athena or Artemis.

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    1. Ooooh good choice Danielle. I would love to be visited by Athena or Artemis.

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  4. Oh this is one for my reading wish list - sounds great! =)

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    1. I hope you enjoy it Mel :-)

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  5. Hmm.... I'd love to have a chat with Isis, she always fascinated me.

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    1. I agree Sullivan, Isis would be a fascinating house guest.

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  6. I'm late, late for a very important date. Love the sound of this book, Peta. Can't wait to read it!

    As for your question - I'm not sure I would like to have any of the ancient gods as houseguests - they tend to trash the places they go! ;)

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  7. I'm probably too late for the offer, but I'm excited about reading this book!

    As for which god I'd want as a house guest, I'd have to agree with Eleni. It'd be disasterous. A group of well-trained, shirtless demigods at my disposal, mmm, now that's another story . . . .

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