Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Real Sirens

I love greek mythology.

I discovered it serendipitously in my elementary school library and I was instantly hooked. I read through every book I could find on the subject, wherever and however I found them. By the time they started teaching it to us my freshman year of high school, I was already thoroughly versed in all things centaur, satyr, and nymph. I was weird like that.

So it's really no wonder I ended up drawing from my love of mythology for my fiction. SONGBYRD was inspired by the mythical Sirens of ancient Greece. I wanted to bring them into the modern world and make them so real we'd never even know it if we passed one on the street.

What might be surprising however, is that the real Sirens from ancient myth have diverged in pop culture somewhat from their classical origins. And while my book is contemporary in setting, I stuck to the Greeks' vision of the Siren, not today's twist on it.

So what's the big difference?

Well, it's a matter of parts. Animal parts, that is. (Minds out of the gutter. Keep it clean, people.) Today's idea of the Siren looks something like this:

Sultry half-fish women who lure men to their doom with the promise of forbidden sex.

And then eat them. Or something.

Now don't get me wrong. I love a mermaid as much as the next author. Probably more. Don't even ask me about the impact the movie Splash had on my malleable, innocent, child's mind. But the true Sirens weren't mermaids at all. And they weren't necessarily beautiful. The ancient Greek version looked something more like this:


Deadly half-bird women who lure men to their doom with their hypnotic singing voices.

But don't kill them—not directly anyway. They just kind of watch as their ships crash to smithereens.

Of course, when you think about it, birds make more sense. Fish don't sing. At least, I don't think they do. Unless you count whale noises. Which are eerie and haunting but hardly alluring enough to lead to certain death. Birds, on the other hand, are the most beautiful vocalists on the planet. And we have a history of associating feathers and wings with heavenly and spiritual messengers. Just think of angels and fairies. And while angels and fairies may seem benign, in older folklore they quite often were considered dubious if not outright dangerous.

I'm not sure the ancient Greeks were getting all hot and bothered over Sirens the way we do today. But then again, that's our culture. We hypersexualize everything, especially everything female. And to be honest, I did draw on that tendency in SONGBYRD, raising questions (and eyebrows) about female sexuality, about where the ethical line in the sand is drawn in regards to women using their attractiveness and appeal to get ahead, and whether our romantic idea of one woman to one man is the only viable one.

So in all fairness, I guess you could say I drew inspiration from both wells. That of the winged minstrels of ancient Greece and the femme-fatal fish women of today.

I love both takes because, as I so recently replied to a reader's question at the reading/signing I did earlier this summer, "I love bad women." You know that saying, women who behave rarely make history? Well, they also rarely make for interesting characters. But give me a woman of ill-repute, someone who breaks all the standards her culture and society place on her, someone who lives by her own rules, trashes her reputation, and torches the family's good name. Someone infamous, or dangerous, or at least moderately offensive. And I can spin storytelling gold with that. One thing all my books have in common are "bad women". Or bad girls one the verge of becoming bad women. And SONGBYRD is no exception. In fact, it's the gold standard. Every woman in this novel is questionable at best. And that's exactly how I like it.

You can see why the Siren mythology was irrisestible to me. I hope you find it equally delicious while reading SONGBYRD.

Click Here to purchase SONGBYRD now!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Paperback in Hand

SONGBYRD has finally had its print release!

After a couple of setbacks due to distribution issues, one of which pushed us more than a month beyond our original release date, I can at last announce gladly (and truthfully) that SONGBYRD is available in paperback as it has been in ebook. No more "Preorder" status on Amazon. You can buy and expect to receive your copy promptly!

And my own paperbacks came in only days before ...

This is my first experience with a genuine print release, so it's been a learning experience in many ways. I'm so grateful to my publisher, Jolly Fish Press, for giving this read a chance. And also to my agent, Thao Le, who has been by my side through the whole process.

Most of you will not know that SONGBYRD began its journey quite differently, including having a different title, and underwent extensive revisions to become the speculative gothic treat it is now. While it was always dark, my novels typically are, there was a very different angle to the original manuscript which we exchanged for a richer family history and more sinister female lineup. I love the finished product. I hope you agree.

The delays we experienced on my paperback release took the wind out of my sails a bit, and made the actual release date feel a little anticlimactic. But I'm ready to get on board with promoting this work now that it's out there. Keep your eyes peeled for some up and coming event dates as well as afingers crossedrigorous blog tour.

If you're a blogger interested in reviewing SONGBYRD, you can contact me via my contact form on my website.

For all other readers, do me a solid and hop on Amazon once you're finished to leave a reader review! This is truly the highest compliment you can pay an author you like. And I love chatting books and characters and all manner of book geekery with anyone who will listen, so you can always contact me with questions or comments about any of my novels.

If you want to hear more about me, my work, my writing process, and then some, be sure to tune into Joy Ride on RADIO BRAVE next Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. for my first-ever radio guest appearance!