Thursday, February 06, 2020

Turning Tragic Stories into Romantic Ones

I've always loved Greek mythology and stories. The characters that appeared in The Odyssey and The Iliad struck me as beautifully tragic. As a college student I remember searching out the great poets and playwrights of ancient Greece to find out what happened to the heroes after their stories finished. 

The answer, nothing good. 

Odysseus, who I always considered the hero to have the happiest ending, is eventually murdered by his (and Circe's) son Telegonus. Jason, loses his children to his wife Medea. Hercules dies from poison (after murdering his wife and children.) 

It was nothing like the happily ever after promised to me by Disney. It's like the Greeks just couldn't accept a happy ending. Even my favorite modern-day writers of Greek Mythology such as Madeline Miller (Song of Achilles) and Pat Barker (Silence of the Girls) infuse their retellings with tragedy and loneliness. 

That’s why when I decided to incorporate ancient heroes and Greek mythology into my romance series I wanted to give the heroes and heroines a much deserved happy ending. 

The stories of Greek tragedies are important. Greed, pride, and anger led to the downfall of nearly all the heroes. All writers know the importance of flawed characters, I love a flawed character as much as the next girl, but that doesn’t mean they deserve a tragic ending. These men were favored by the gods. They were beautiful, strong, and cunning, the best of the best. They set the standard for the word hero, and as such I found they make wonderful heroes for romance novels. 

Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles showed just how impactful these stories can be as love stories. I wanted nothing more than for Achilles and Patroclus to be together forever. 

I wrote a blog post once on how Greek heroes have all the makings to be romantic heroes. That is what I intend to do with my stories. I introduce new heroes, I expanded on minor characters in Greek mythology, and I explore where some of those well-known heroes end up in the modern day. 

If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, then please give my books a try. 

Holding Out For A Hero
Order of Olympus
Book One
Maria Shield

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Shield Publishing
Date of Publication: 31 Jan 2020
ISBN: 978-1-7343533-1-0
ISBN: 978-1-7343533-0-3
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 84,000

Cover Artist: Damonza

Tagline: She will face gods and monsters to save the man she loves.

Book Description:

A hero cursed by the gods…

Once one of the greatest heroes Ancient Greece had ever known, Argos is a far cry from the immortal warrior he used to be. After five hundred years of captivity, he is finally free—but a curse from a goddess has left him woefully mortal. In order to become a hero again, he’ll need the help of the gods and the seductive nymph who saved his life.

The only woman who can help him…

Claire Winters is definitely not a nymph, despite the assumptions of the half-naked man whose life she saved . Taking care of a delusional man while a storm rages is not what she planned – especially not as she gets ready to open her dream restaurant. She doesn’t have time for the tall tales of her handsome rescue. Yet, here she is.

When it turns out Argos’s claims are real, Claire finds herself thrown deep into a hidden and ancient world. Now, the two strangers must rely on each other to survive. Together they will face the gods, and the fiery attraction between them, as they work to reunite Argos with his ancient powers.

Will strength and wit be enough to protect them? Or will love prove to be the most powerful weapon of all?

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO is the first novel in the ORDER OF OLYMPUS series. A sexy, action-packed romance series based on Greek Mythology and set in the modern world.

Ancient heroes never looked this good.

Excerpt 1: (Steam Level- Smoking)
We should help each other…
Gods, more precious words had never been spoken. Argos cradled them, cherished them, just like he did the small leaf of a woman who offered them up to him. She did not need to emphasize what she meant; the hand that firmly grabbed at his front made everything very clear.
His body could not help but react. What it had been starving for was finally offering itself to him. Eager and ready. He did not even realize his hand had grabbed hers in a solid grip, pulling it away from his aching cock. Claire blinked her owlish eyes at him, her lips parted in surprise.
A groan worked its way up his throat as he forced himself to stay in control. “You are already helping me, Claire.”
“You’re right,” she said stubbornly, “I am.” She trailed her free hand up his arm and across his collarbone. Her lips followed, pressing a trail of kisses against his heated skin. Argos watched in fascination as each kiss sent a jolt of lightning threw him. He wanted those lips against his own. He needed her to look at him.
Finally, she did, her eyes beseeching. Her lips parted, silently begging for him to claim her.
Defiant little nymph. She was not an innocent. How could he ever think that? The Claire in front of him matched the confident seductress who infiltrated his fantasies. The woman commanded attention and refused to let it go.
Argos could not help it. His body leaned forward, aching for her touch. He sucked in a sharp breath, feeling his control slip.
Of course, it was at this moment that Claire pulled back, startled by the noise that escaped him. “I want this to be good for you as well,” she amended softly, looking torn. “Tell me what you need.”
“I need you not to tease me,” he nearly growled, swooping down to capture her lips. It was a proper kiss. The thing he had been wanting since first laying eyes on her lush lips. As he had dreamed, they parted easily for him, allowing his tongue entrance. An delightful noise arose from Claire and his curse ached for more. “I need you. All I need is you.”
Claire gasped as he picked her up. Her body hardly weighed more than his old shield. He easily tossed on onto the bed, her nightshirt hitched up, revealing unmarked white skin.
Looking down on her turned his entire body into a burning flame. He worried it would burn them both alive. It felt like a century since the last time he’d touched a woman, though it had been only a few days. He wanted to ravage her, but that would not do.
She was helping him. The least he could do was make the experience one she would never forget.
“What are you doing?” Claire propped herself up on her elbows, looking at him with excited eyes. Her hair was disheveled from their escape, but it only made her more beautiful to him. In a few moments, it would be even worse. He wanted her to fall apart under the pleasure he gave.
“I fear that once I start, I will not be able to stop,” he breathed, giving her one last chance to quit while they could.
Her lips parted, but the words refused to come out. Slowly she pulled herself into a sitting position and reached for her top. The air left Argos’s lungs as she pulled it over her head, showing two perfect, pale breasts. They were the most beautiful things he had ever seen. Small and soft, barely holding on to the same tone of color as the rest of her body.
“I don’t want you to stop.” 
About the Author:

Maria Shield writes romance, and science fiction. She was raised in Kansas but has since lived all over the world, from Korea to Japan, finally ending up in her current location in Hawaii with her husband and pets. She is passionate about  Japanese culture, ancient history, and feminist activism.

She also loves helping other writers find their communities and sharing craft tips and tricks. This often means she's participating in a critique group somewhere or starting one herself.

When she isn't writing, Maria can often be found doing the 3 R's: Reading, Running, and Researching.

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