Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Helen of Sparta's World (Mapped!)

We take for granted the incredible accuracy of our maps today -- but for Helen and Theseus, and their fellow bronze age heroes, the shape of the world was a little less... precise. So when I went looking for a map that I might be able to use to highlight some of the more relevant places in Helen of Sparta, the idea of using something a little bit more stylized appealed to me. I like the idea that it might have been closer to how Helen and Theseus viewed their world, rather than how WE might perceive Greece today!

So for those of you looking for a better idea of the Geography as you read, here's a rough idea of where the cities of Mycenae, Athens, and Sparta were, in relation to one another, and the kingdom of Pirithous's people, the Lapiths, in the far north of Thessaly -- so far north, his home isn't even within the bounds of the map!



This map was published in the 1700s, and drawn by a Guillaume Delisle. I just edited and cropped it a little bit in order to make the place names that mattered to my novel more apparent in the image. (Greece is crowded!) If you're curious, you can find the original image on wikimedia commons, along with a little bit more information about the map.

And if you'd like a bigger picture of Greece -- with Thessaly included, I also highlighted the relevant places on this 1903 map (slightly edited for size and readability by me, via Project Gutenberg and The Atlas of Ancient and Classical Geography by Samuel Butler.) You'll definitely want to click to embiggen and view it full size.




Available April 1st!
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HELEN OF SPARTA blogtour begins April 1st!

http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/helenofspartablogtour/


Wednesday, April 1
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Let Them Read Books
 
Thursday, April 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, April 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Saturday, April 4
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, April 6
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, April 7
Review at leeanna.com

Wednesday, April 8
Review at Historical Reads and Views

Thursday, April 9
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, April 13
Interview at Book Babe
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession
 
Tuesday, April 14
Review at Forever Ashley

Wednesday, April 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, April 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, April 17
Review at Impressions in Ink

Saturday, April 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, April 20
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
 
Tuesday, April 21
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, April 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mycenaean Names from the Linear B Tablets

Thanks to the awesome talk on Bronze Age Greece mentioned in my earlier post, I am now well stocked with Mycenaean names of all kinds -- or um, some kinds, anyway. This list is mostly for me and my potential future needs, but I thought some of you would appreciate the quick reference.

It seems like some names were based on occupation -- which shouldn't be too surprising, all things considered. In the modern world. we have that same kind of convention in our surnames (Smith, Potter, Cooper). A few examples from Linear B, related to Smithing:

Aithalos (Soot)
Arisbas (he who quenches very much)
Puraltas (Fire-feeder)
Purkoros (fire-sweeper)
Khalkeus (smith)
Melanthos (dark)
Pamphusos (all bellows)
Psolion (sooty)
Psolarkhos (he who rules over soot)

Other names were related to, it seems, characteristics:

Atukhos (Unlucky, armorer of the king)
Plouteus (Wealth/wealthy)
plus another name I didn't catch the spelling of but translated to "On the Lake" ha!

And still more were mentioned in passing and I have no idea what they mean:

Tantalos (like Tantalus? Kind of fitting if it was, what with him being the Great-Grandfather of Agamemnon.)
Du Moncel Theodore - The Lion Gate at Mycenae - Google Art Project
The Lion Gate At Mycenae
By Du Moncel Theodore (1821 - 1884), via Wikimedia Commons
Warnotaios
Lakhuros
Phalaikos
Kusos
Kerawios
Kotullon
Aikhweus
Aithiops
Adamaos
Atukhos
Pikreus
Alksoitas
Komawens son of Dewos
Pakhullos, son of Dewos
Khalkeus
Euestor
Awekseus


Finally, a couple of titles:**

Wa-na-ka (Wanax, or King -- in the PALACE context, as opposed to the hamlet context)
Ra-wa-ke-ta (Iawagetas, Leader of the Host -- Kind of like the king, but not quite as impressive.)
E-qe-ta (Hequetas, Follower -- hypothesized as similar to Alexander the Great's companions, aristocratic companions to the Wanax.)
Qa-si-re-u (Basileus "community leader" or chief, which came to mean "king" in later Greek)

Also: Telestai (not explicitly discussed but presented in a chart as "governors" and "chiefs")


**Hyphenated words are the Linear B representations, and inside the parentheticals you'll find the later Greek and the meaning.


Don't forget HELEN OF SPARTA was selected for Kindle First! Grab your e-copy now before it's official release on April 1st!

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Middle Class of Mycenaean Greece

The Cyprus Research Fund (and the history department at UND) hosted a fantastic talk a while back, regarding Mycenaean Greece -- Professor Dimitri Nakassis (of the University of Toronto) theorizes from his study of the Linear B tablets that the old model of PALACE and PEASANTS for Mycenaean Greek society should be modified to include a thriving middle class and large variety of contracted local elites. He rejects the idea that the repeated names in the tablets are unrelated, or just popular names, and instead suggests that these repeated names with differing responsibilities were the same individuals who took on multiple middle-management type roles.

Linear B tablet from Nestor's Palace
Copy of a Linear B tablet
Photo by Fæ [CC-BY-SA-3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
Names associated with titles and important roles are never interpreted as different people with the same names, but the names associated with practical roles and jobs (smith, shepherd, farmer) usually are brushed aside as multiple individuals who happen to share a name with someone else by coincidence. In addition, he points out, there are only one or two instances where it can be PROVEN that a single name applies to a handful of people, and that frequency of naming is still less than 1% of the names presented -- the most "popular" name in the Pylos tablets belongs to 7 men, as opposed to the popularity of a name like Michael or James in the modern world, which is used by something like 12% or more of a population.

So what does this mean? People in Mycenaean Greece weren't as cut and dried as we thought. It wasn't just the Haves and the Haves-Nots. And it wasn't The Palace, and everyone else as tenants. There's evidence of men taking on the roles of Smith, Shepherd, and Land Owner -- perhaps not personally going out and herding the goats, or tilling the fields, but rather as taking responsibility for those tasks and delegating or overseeing the work as done by others. Contracted by the Palace, and subcontracting to whoever is below him on the totem pole. And the assumption that Smithing was some kind of manual labor done by peasant-level citizens is also challenged. Smithing in particular may well have been a skill which PROVIDED status, or at the very least allowed someone to move up the ladder into a local-elite position.

Basically it all boils down to this one, seemingly common-sense framework: People who are mentioned a whole bunch of times across a variety of tablets and related to a multitude of roles are probably more important than people who are mentioned a handful of times, and those people in turn are probably more important than the people mentioned just once or twice, which creates a scale of importance far more complex than simply PALACE ELITE and PEASANT. In fact, it creates a middle class, full of private landowners, private flock owners, private merchants, private artisans, and presents an argument for relationships between these people of LOCAL importance and the Palace which are far more interesting than we previously thought.

It seems like such a simple thing, but its funny how those simple things can be so overlooked for so long!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

HELEN OF SPARTA Available for Kindle First Readers!

Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
What's that? Waiting until April 1st for Helen of Sparta is just too long?! You're desperate to get your hands on it sooner? WELL! I have some Exciting News for you, then! 

Helen of Sparta has been selected for the Kindle First program -- and that means you can read it NOW, before it's Official Release on April 1st!!

So! If you've been dying to get your e-book reading paws on Helen of Sparta, head on over to Amazon and grab it! Read it! (And hopefully also review it!) this month. With your help/purchase/review love, maybe Helen can roll into her April 1st release at the top of the charts!

And all the hype aside, I can hardly believe Helen has come this far. I'm so excited to see her story made available to the world, and I would be truly remiss if I did not thank PROFUSELY my editor, Jodi Warshaw, for being such an amazing champion for Helen's story.

I hope you all love it as much as we do!
Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Author Copies have Arrived!!

It's getting so real!



And in the meantime, I'm in the writer cave, working on new words for a new book, which may or may not involve Odysseus, Polypoetes, and Patroclus, among others. 50,000 words and counting!

If you're wondering, though -- HELEN OF SPARTA looks even more beautiful in person!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Helen of Sparta has Cover Art!

And it's so beautiful, I can't stop staring at it!


Helen will be here April 1, 2015!! But in the meantime, you can pre-order the paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or add it on Goodreads!

From the back cover:

Long before she ran away with Paris to Troy, Helen of Sparta was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. These dreams foretold impending war—a war that only Helen has the power to avert. To do so, she must defy her family and betray her betrothed by fleeing the palace in the dead of night. In need of protection, she finds shelter and comfort in the arms of Theseus, son of Poseidon. With Theseus at her side, she believes she can escape her destiny. But at every turn, new dangers—violence, betrayal, extortion, threat of war—thwart Helen’s plans and bar her path. Still, she refuses to bend to the will of the gods.

A new take on an ancient myth, Helen of Sparta is the story of one woman determined to decide her own fate.