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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Guest Post: My Top Five Favorite Stories from Greek Mythology by A.P. Mobley, Author of the New Fantasy The Helm of Darkness

Today I’m beyond pleased to introduce you to a delightful author, A.P. Mobley, whose new book (releasing June 3) The Helm of Darkness (War on the Gods Book 1) blends mythology and fantasy to create a fantastically original new world. The story follows two teens, Andy and Zoey, as they are knocked unconscious in a freak storm. When they wake up, they find out they’ve been transported 500 years into the future and that the Greek gods were the ones who sent the storm in order to destroy the modern world and take back humanity’s worship. They’re saved by two demigods and find out they’re part of a prophecy that states a war will be led on the gods. They then begin their quest to become worthy opponents of the gods. Sounds great, no? Then check it out – AFTER you read about the myths that have inspired A.P. in her writing!

My Top Five Favorite Stories from Greek Mythology

Hey there! My name is A. P. Mobley, and I’m the author of a new action-packed fantasy trilogy with lots of Greek mythology called War on the Gods. The first installment of the trilogy, The Helm of Darkness, is my debut novel and it releases on June 3, 2018. It follows two teens as they are knocked unconscious in a freak storm. When they wake up, they find they’ve been transported 500 years into the future, that the Greek gods were the ones who sent the storm to destroy the modern world and take back humanity’s worship, and that they are the key to a prophecy stating a war will be led on the gods. With the help of two demigods they begin their quest to become worthy opponents of the gods.

Greek mythology is one of my all-time favorite subjects and I’ve been reading about it since I was only 11 years old in every format I could get my hands on. I’m honored to be here today on Jill Elizabeth’s blog writing a guest post on the subject, and I have an illustration of a scene from the first chapter of my novel – and the excerpt depicting it – at the end of the post. So stay tuned!

Today I wanted to talk about undoubtedly the best part of Greek mythology: the stories themselves. They range from romantic to dark to epic to downright wacky, and I think it’s safe to say that throughout the ages these stories have stimulated the imaginations of many people. Which is why today I’m going to be bringing you my top five favorite stories from Greek mythology.

Five—Birth of Aphrodite
Long before the Olympians ruled over the world, and even before the Titans ruled, Uranus (heaven) and Gaia (earth) were in charge. However, Uranus was horrid to Gaia and their children, and so Gaia sent their youngest son, Kronos, to fight his father. Kronos went armed with a sickle, and as he cast Uranus out of the sky, castrated him with the sickle.

The blood from Uranus’s genitals fell into the sea, mixed with the sea foam, and from the mixture a beautiful goddess was born. So beautiful, in fact, she became the goddess of love and beauty. That goddess came to be known as Aphrodite.

Four—Athena and Arachne​
Arachne was the daughter of a shepherd who had been weaving from a very young age. As she grew older, she became an incredible weaver, and she bragged that her skills were better than Athena’s, Goddess of Wisdom, who was also known for her weaving skills. Arachne also said that none of her skills had come from Athena, and this offended the goddess.

Athena presented herself to Arachne as an old lady and told her that if she plead for forgiveness Athena might spare her. Arachne refused, and Athena revealed herself. They began a weaving contest immediately.

When they finished, Athena was enraged, because Arachne’s weaving was not only more beautiful, but it also disrespected the gods. While Athena’s weaving showed the gods punishing mortals for hubris (excessive pride or self-confidence), Arachne’s weaving portrayed the gods using and abusing mortals.

In her rage, Athena tore the weaving to shreds, hit Arachne on the head three times, and turned her into a spider.

Three—Artemis and Orion
Artemis, virgin goddess of the moon and the hunt, was known for her incredible skills in archery, for her love of a solitary life, and for her purity. She was so keen on protecting her chastity in fact that at one time a young man named Actaeon accidentally stumbled upon her bathing, and as punishment, she transformed him into a stag.

However, at one time it is said Artemis nearly fell in love with a man named Orion. He was a hunter, strong and brave, and unlike the other mortal men she had encountered. The two spent their days together competing, hunting, and telling stories.

Apollo, Artemis’s twin brother and god of sunlight, grew jealous of their friendship and worried his sister was falling for Orion. To keep the friendship from going any farther, Apollo sent a giant scorpion to kill Orion. Orion and the scorpion battled until the scorpion backed him into the sea. Orion jumped into the water and swam as far from it as he could.

All the while, Apollo went to Artemis and told her a man had attacked one of her priestesses and had jumped into the sea to try and escape her fury. Enraged, Artemis dashed to the sea and, when she saw a speck of a man swimming in the water, shot and killed him.

Soon after, Apollo revealed that Artemis had actually killed her beloved friend Orion. Heartbroken, Artemis placed Orion’s body in the sky, and to this day he remains a constellation.

Two—Hades and Persephone
Persephone was a young, beautiful goddess of spring, daughter of Zeus, king of the gods, and Demeter, goddess of harvest. Hades, god of the underworld, fell in love with her from afar and wanted her as his bride. Hades asked Zeus for her hand, and Zeus told him he was not opposed, but that Persephone’s mother Demeter would be, because being Hades’s wife would mean living in the underworld, where there was no sunlight.

With this, Hades and Zeus concocted a plan: Hades would kidnap Persephone and bring her to the underworld.

One day Persephone was playing with her nymph friends and picking flowers, when Hades came toward her on his chariot. Once he’d grabbed her up, the ground beneath them opened, and Hades escaped back to the underworld with Persephone in his clutches. There he forced her to be his wife.

When Demeter discovered Persephone was gone, she searched far and wide for her, but there was no clue as to where she had gone. In her grief, she destroyed the crops of the world and threatened to never allow them to grow back.

Zeus knew that if this happened all of humankind would starve and die, leaving no one to worship the gods, and so he sent Hermes, messenger of the gods, down to retrieve Persephone from the underworld. However, Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds in the underworld to appease her hunger, and anyone who eats in the underworld is bound to it.

Desperate for Demeter to restore the crops, Zeus came up with a compromise: for six months out of the year, Persephone would spend her time on earth with Demeter. For the other six months, she would spend her time with Hades in the underworld.

This myth became the origin story of the seasons for the ancient Greeks. They believed that during the six months Persephone was able to be with Demeter, Demeter was joyous, and the earth flourished: spring and summer. Then, during the six months Persephone spent with Hades, Demeter grew anguished, and the crops died: fall and winter.

One—Eros and Pscyhe​
Psyche was a beautiful princess worshipped among men; all of which who would come to her palace, admire her, and say that her beauty could rival even Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty herself. When Aphrodite discovered people were saying this, she decided something had to be done to punish Psyche.

Aphrodite told her son, Eros, god of love, to go down to earth and make Psyche fall in love with the vilest creature he could find by piercing her with one of his arrows. He agreed to his mother’s request. However, upon seeing Psyche for himself as she slept, he was so entranced with her beauty that he accidentally pierced himself with his own arrow and fell madly in love with her.

As the days passed, Psyche grew sad because she herself could not seem to find love. She was so beautiful that men were content in simply admiring her, but would then go on to marry another girl. Her family began to worry she would never marry, and they took her to the oracle of Delphi to seek advice from Apollo. Apollo said that Psyche should be made to wear a black dress and dropped off at the summit of a mountain, where she would remain alone until a winged serpent came to pick her up and make her his wife. Psyche did as she was told, although full of despair.

There she waited until the wind of Zephyr carried her to a beautiful castle. Although no one lived in the castle, she could hear voices telling her that the castle was for her, and that her husband would be there for her that night. He did come, and Psyche could hear his voice, but she could not see him, and he would not allow her to see him. However, he proved to be the loving husband Psyche had always hoped for, and so she was the happiest she’d ever been.

Soon Psyche’s sisters came to visit her. Jealous of the glorious castle she was living in, they told her that her husband must be the terrible serpent of Apollo’s prophecy, and that’s why he would not allow Psyche to see him. Scared that her sisters could be right, Psyche lit a candle that night while her husband was sleeping. But he was no serpent; he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. In fact,
he wasn’t even a man. He was Eros, god of love.

Shocked and guilty of her distrust for her husband, Psyche accidentally dripped some of the candle wax on Eros, and he awoke. He knew what Psyche had been up to, and feeling betrayed, flew out of the castle without saying a word to her.

Heartbroken, Psyche prayed to Aphrodite to speak with Eros and ask for forgiveness. However, Aphrodite was still angry with Psyche, and so she gave her three tasks to prove her love for Eros: tasks Aphrodite knew would be impossible to complete. All the while, Aphrodite kept Eros locked in his room so he couldn’t help Psyche, as he had already forgiven her for her betrayal and wanted to return to her.

The first task Aphrodite gave Psyche was to separate thousands of small seeds within an afternoon. Psyche knew it was impossible, and began to cry, when a group of ants came and separated the seeds for her.

The second task was to fill a crystal flask with the black water of the river Styx. However, upon seeing the monsters residing near the Styx, Psyche fell into despair. Zeus took pity on her and sent an eagle to battle the monsters and help her retrieve the water. ​

The third task was to go into the underworld and retrieve some of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld’s beauty in a box and bring it back to Aphrodite. Psyche did as she was told, but as she brought the box back to Aphrodite, she grew curious and opened it. At this she was struck dead.

Eros finally escaped and found Psyche dead, then plead with Zeus to bring her back. Touched by the pair’s love for one another, Zeus not only brought Psyche back from the dead, but also gave Psyche ambrosia so she could be immortal and live with Eros on Olympus forever.

Conclusion – AND the Excerpt!
So there you have it folks! My top five favorite stories from Greek mythology. Since you’ve stuck around until the end, here’s that lovely illustration of a scene from chapter one of The Helm of Darkness and the excerpt that depicts it:

Zoey approached a four-way, and the light blinked yellow. “If you people think I’m stopping for you, go ahead and suck it.” It turned red. She sped straight through. A horn honked from beside her.

She looked over just as a white jeep hit her truck, and the sound of metal crashing against metal erupted in her ears. Her temple banged against the window. She pumped the brakes, but the truck spiraled out of control. It spun a few more times, then came to a jarring halt, and her head whipped to the side. She blinked in disbelief, trying to process what had happened.

A throbbing ache inched down her neck and into her back. She groaned, struggling to unbuckle her seat belt, then threw open her door. She squinted into the heavy rain.

She was at the edge of a local restaurant’s parking lot, the building a heap of bricks and glass. Bloody arms and legs were tangled in the debris. The earthquake had slowed into light vibrations, and now the arrows came in hundreds rather than thousands, but the cries of terrified people still pierced the air. The blare of sirens made her skull pound. She wondered who hadn’t made it out of the
restaurant in time.

She looked around the parking lot and found the jeep to her left, turned on its side. The scarlet paint of her truck was scraped against its white exterior like a streak of blood in fresh snow. One of the back doors flew open. A skinny, pale, brown-haired young man with square glasses emerged. He dodged a gold arrow, which then impaled one of the jeep’s tires, and stumbled toward her. She narrowed her
eyes. Was that…​

She scrambled onto the pavement, and a puddle of water soaked her shoes. “Andy, I’m so sorry.
Are you okay?”

Andy shook his head, his eyes filling with tears. “I don’t know. My sister— My mom— Are you
okay?”

She shivered. “I think so.”

“I just need to get to the hospital. My sister hit her head.”

“That’s where I was going, too. My mom, she’s— Never mind. We have to find help. We have to
hurry.”

Thunder rumbled. A chill ran through Zoey’s spine. The sky had opened into an angry vortex, and
the largest, most brilliant gold lightning bolt yet shot from it, straight for them. It illuminated the fast-
falling raindrops like millions of miniature lightbulbs. Her heart stopped. In that moment, she knew they
were dead.

The bolt struck the pavement of the parking lot and filled the air with cement, metal, and
screams.

***

About the Author
A. P. Mobley is a young-adult fantasy author. She grew up in Wyoming and currently lives there. She considers herself a huge nerd, loves chocolate a little too much, and plays with her hamster, Marceline (nicknamed Marcy), into late hours of the night.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @author_apmobley

https://www.amazon.com/author/apmobley
https://www.facebook.com/authorapmobley/
https://seaofinkpress.wordpress.com/

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