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Friday, 6 December 2013

Another short story for you. :)

I enter in some writing competitions just to keep my mind fresh and stretch it in ways that I don't usually get to do. Sometimes, just adding certain parameters and restrictions lets you run in an entirely unexpected way and the results are fun. I enjoy it immensely. And I post them here for you to read. I'm thinking about compiling them into an ebook, just so you can have all of the stories in one place.

The latest story is for the NYC Midnight 2013 Flash Fiction Challenge Round #2. This time, I was able to get first place for the first round (posted here) and I got first place for the short story below. The brief? Write a 1,000 word short story in 48 hours that is a fantasy, set at a train station, and featuring a bottle of wine. You can interpret it anyway you want.

I really enjoyed writing it. Actually, it's probably one of my favorite short stories I've written for this competition. And I hope you enjoy reading it.

The Land of Snollygolly

 Though he had spent every night of the last ten years at the train station, no one had ever paid attention to the old man. Maybe it was because his clothes were in tatters. Or maybe it was because he smelled of sweat and alcohol. For whatever reason, he was invisible to the rest of the world.
“Myrtle always made sure that I wasn't lonely,” he would mumble to no one in particular. “Myrtle loved me.”
One night, while clutching a bottle of wine in a paper bag, he fell asleep while the trains came in and left. People boarded them and got off. No one disturbed the old man.
He woke up some time later to find the train station completely empty. All the lights were off except for the lone bulb above his bench. He peered around, unable to find another soul. In fact, the station was so dark, it seemed that he couldn't see more than than ten feet from the bench.
“Strange,” he murmured to himself. He took another swig of the wine. It was okay; he still had over half a bottle to keep him company.
After a few minutes, a beagle walked in and sat beside him on the bench, not on the floor as normal dogs would. The old man scrutinized the dog as the dog watched him. He found it more strange that the dog was paying attention to him than the fact that the dog was sitting on the bench like any human would. What's more, he couldn't shake the feeling that he'd seen this dog before.
“You lost, fella?” he asked.
“Nope,” the dog said. “I'm just waiting for my train.”
Surprised, the man blinked. What did you talk about when you were talking to a dog? He didn't know. He just knew was that he was curious. “Where ya headed, fella?”
“I'm on my way to the Land of Snollygolly.” The dog looked up at the man. “The train should be arriving any minute.”
The man took another drink of his wine bottle. “What's in the Land of Snollygolly? I ain't ever heard of it.”
The dog gave a bark of laughter. “Only the most magnificent mountains!” He spread his front paws wide. “And purple canyons so deep, you can't see the bottom. There's unicorns and dragons and more. And there's every kind of candy imaginable just waiting to be eaten.”
The old man gave a toothless grin. “Like Whoopsie Rolls?” That was his favorite candy when he was younger. He sometimes dreamed about that candy.
The dog nodded sagely. “It grows on trees there! You can just pluck it off and eat it.”
“Mmm,” the old man agreed. He took another drink of his wine. It certainly didn't taste like the Whoopsie Rolls of his youth. But it at least it filled a hole.
“But that's not all,” the dog continued, getting more and more animated. “They have the most magnificent feasts waiting for you! You just wish for what you want to eat, and faeries whip it up and deliver it to you.”
“Really?” the old man asked with a chuckle. “Anything I want?”
“Yep,” the dog said. “Anything.”
“Like the pecan pies Mother used to make?” The old man's mother was a master of making pies. Pecan pies were her specialty. She had died when he was little, taking her recipes with her. He hadn't been able to find anything close his entire life. He would give anything to have a slice of one of those pies again.
“Just the ones,” the dog said. “But I haven't gotten to the best part.”
“The best part?” The old man was certainly intrigued now.
“The people there. They're the nicest people ever. Whatever you're doing, they'll give you a belly rub.”
The old man took another drink of his wine. “I don't think they'll give an old man like me belly rubs,” he admitted. He looked down at his own belly which wasn't as fit as it used to be. He'd had far too many bottles of wine.
The dog shook his head. “In the Land of Snollygolly, they give everyone belly rubs.”
“That does sound like an amazing, magical place,” the old man said. “I wish I could go there.”
“You should go there, Charles,” the dog insisted. “It's all ready for you.”
It took the man a few seconds to realize that the dog had called him by name. No one had called him by his name in years. He had become nameless, one of the many homeless people in the city. Suddenly, from the cobwebs of his memory, he recognized the brown spots on the dog.
“Nemo?” the man asked incredulously. He reached out and ruffled the dog's ears. “Nemo is that you? Why, it's been...”
Nemo gave him a doggy grin. “It's been over thirty years, Charles,” he said.
The man took another drink of his wine. It was nearly empty. “Wow,” he murmured. He put a hand to his forehead. “I hadn't realized it'd been so long...”
Nemo nodded. Somewhere in the distance, a train sounded. “It has been too long, Charles. And Myrtle's waiting for you.”
Charles couldn't believe his ears. “Myrtle?” he asked. “Myrtle's been waiting for me?”
“Yep,” Nemo said. “And she wants to give you a belly rub. Or is it a kiss? That's what humans do, right?”
Charles laughed. He looked at his bottle of wine. It was a pinot noir, Myrtle's favorite kind of wine. When she died, he took to drinking it to remember her by. But if she was waiting for him in this Land of Snollygolly, suddenly the wine didn't seem so appealing.
The train pulled up to the platform.
Nemo got up and looked back at the man. “Are you coming?” he asked.
Charles straightened his jacket and smoothed out his thinning hair. He stood up, leaving the bottle of wine on the bench, forgotten in his elation. “Yep,” he said. “I'm coming.”

Monday, 2 December 2013

Where the hades did Plutus come from?

Hey everyone!

So the Death is but a Dream blog tour is over, but there are just under two days for the giveaway. So make sure you get those entries in. Again, thank you so much to all the bloggers who participated and to Xpresso Book Tours The thing I'm most excited about is all the new likers of my Author Page on Facebook. *waves*

SO. The big question everyone had while reading DIBAD is where the hades did the Greek God Plutus come from? A lot of people have never heard of him before.

Dionysus, sitting on the left, and Plutus, holding the cornucopia. Already friends.

My author's note at the beginning of the novel explains that I discovered Plutus one day while looking up the children of Hades. And while I did take some liberties with the myths, I did try to stay true to source material. Here's what happened.

The story of Plutus is not a popular myth, and many sources say that it's a misrepresentation as the Roman God of the Underworld AND Wealth was Pluto. Otherwise known as Greek God Hades' counterpart. Some sources say Plutus is Pluto lost in translation. There are, however, places where he appears in Ancient Greek text and vases.

Plutus appears as the titular character in Aristophanes' play, Plutus. Here, he is the god of wealth who appears as blind beggar (sound familiar?). He also makes an appearance in Dante's The Inferno as the demon of wealth. Obviously, his incarnation there is quite different than the one you see in DIBAD. There are also statues that feature Plutus as a baby with the Goddess Eirene.

A lot of sources say that Plutus was the son of Demeter and Iasion. According to my research though, he is sometimes considered the son of Hades and Persephone. You can find him on many vases with the King and Queen of the Underworld.

So it's that last part that I ran with. The God of Wealth is the son of the God of the Underworld. It might not be the most accepted of all myths, but it worked incredibly well for DIBAD. I even included in the book that Plutus' obscurity was by design, because you can imagine being the God of Wealth, he's a pretty hot target for opportunists. That gave me the perfect ground for which to base a mystery novel. And a great companion to Callie.

I'm not a Greek historian or anything, so I could be incredibly wrong about it. A lot of my research was compiling different sources on the internet. This is also where other obscure gods like Telesphorus and Hygeia came from.

It sure made for a fun write. And I hope everyone enjoys it.

Also, if you haven't heard of Aristophanes before, I'd highly suggest reading his play Lysistrata. It tells the story of Sparta and Troy and of a war that's been going on for years. Eventually, the women get so fed up, they get together and decide that they won't have sex with the men until the war is over. Yep, you read that right. Even if Greek mythology isn't your thing, it's a really funny read.

Until next time peeps!