Subscribe to my author newsletter THE AMALIAD, to stay up to date on Authors!me, and get a FREE short story about Ariadne and Theseus!

Thursday, July 13, 2023

A BROKEN HORSE: A Story of Helen's Suitors and the Trojan War

Episode ONE of my serialized podcast retelling of A BROKEN HORSE is now available to listen to for FREE--and if you like what you hear, there are SIX MORE episodes over on patreon you can binge for as little as a dollar a month! 

This audio format of A BROKEN HORSE would not have been possible without the help of Libbie Hawker/Grant who acted as my producer, piecing together the episodes for me after I recorded them chapter by chapter! 

As hero after hero falls before the walls of Troy, Achaean and Trojan alike, two reluctant warriors--neither remembered as a hero--must sacrifice themselves for the sake of the people they love. 

Prince Paris has all the fame he ever wanted, anointed by the gods, honored as a youth for both his bravery and judgment, and gifted the most beautiful woman in the world by Aphrodite. If his theft of Helen results in a war, surely he is not meant to stop it. Let all the world burn to ash; so long as Paris has Helen, he is content to leave the destinies of kings and nations in the gods’ hands. But to keep Helen, they must survive. Paris must survive.

Even as a grandson of Zeus, Polypoetes is a king of little consequence—his kingdom beyond the long-armed reach of Mycenae in ordinary times, yet forced still by oath and duty into a war he doesn’t want to fight. Desperate to save his lover Leonteus and protect the rest of his people, left behind in Thessaly, Polypoetes struggles to keep his forces out of harm’s way, even if it means making himself an enemy of Achilles.

While A BROKEN HORSE can be enjoyed as a standalone work, if you haven't read or listened to my other mythic retellings, don't miss HELEN OF SPARTA and BY HELEN'S HAND, the story of Helen's life BEFORE she was stolen away to Troy!

Support Amalia and get early access to more episodes of A BROKEN HORSE at

Saturday, May 27, 2023

King of the Lapiths: A Helen of Sparta Side-Story

It's a big year!

Not only did you get Aethra's novella, THE LION OF TROEZEN, but I have another short story that is releasing to Patrons now--King of the Lapiths, which takes place during the events of HELEN OF SPARTA.

You all know I have a certain fondness for Pirithous by now, and his son Polypoetes is one of my absolute favorite characters. But we don't get a lot of background on Polypoetes before his appearance in BY HELEN'S HAND, and we never see him (as an adult) on the same page as his father. Until now.

King of the Lapiths is just shy of 6K words, and takes place before Pirithous arrives in Athens to demand that Theseus accompany him to Hades on his quest to liberate Persephone in HELEN OF SPARTA. It's told from the points of view of both Pirithous and Polypoetes, giving us a glimpse of the relationship between father and son.

I hope very much this story will whet your appetite for my serialized podcast, A BROKEN HORSE, coming later in June--to Patreon Patrons first, of course!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

On Writing Women in the Bronze Age

I am not going to try to tell you that the Bronze Age Aegean was some kind of egalitarian utopia. Far from it! We can see that men had significant authority in the names that were recorded, noting who was transacting with the king in those Linear B tablets that provide us with the bulk of contextual archeological knowledge of the period in which I've grounded my stories. And we see it too, reflected again in the myths.

But what I am going to tell you is that even in a society where men have significant authority, that doesn't mean that women have no rights at all over their own lives, no room to exist in public, no role of importance within their own culture. What I am going to tell you is that just because men had documented authority, economically, it does not mean that women did not have authority of their own inside their palaces, their homes, and their communities, still.

What I am going to tell you is that we are not constrained by the historical record to imagine, for those women of the Aegean Bronze Age, a life constrained by the most absolute and extreme interpretation of patriarchy.

Even in later Greece (and the Aegean on the whole), where the lives of women are considerably better documented (though still, we know much more about the lives of men), we see a wide variety of ways of living inside that Patriarchal framework. Is it not possible, even PROBABLE, that there was a wide variety of ways that women lived in the Aegean Bronze Age, too? That not all palace-centers, not all kingdoms, had the same rules? 

For me, what makes the Aegean Bronze Age so fascinating and so attractive as a background to retelling these myths (besides the fact that it makes the most sense to set them in that period, using the Trojan War as a fixed point in history), is that there is so much ROOM to imagine a world where women took part in their own lives and stories.

When you read the Lion of Troezen or Tamer of Horses, Ariadne and the Beast or Helen of Sparta, and encounter the mythic figures of Aethra and Hippodamia and Antiope, Helen and Ariadne, women whose names have endured for literal millennia, does it not make more sense that the reason they were remembered (by so many, many, many men in order to reach us now in the present) might have been, in part, because they were exceptional?

For myself, I would rather err on the side of giving them too much power rather than too little or none. I would rather believe that exceptional women found ways to exercise their power, rather than be stifled and hidden away in a dark, interior room, only allowed out in answer to their father or their husband's summons, meant neither to be seen OR heard. 

There are such tantalizing glimpses of bigger lives inside their own myths! Aethra advising her son, King Theseus of Athens, who listens to and acknowledges her wisdom. Helen standing openly upon the walls of Troy, accepted by Priam as an authority on the Achaean Kings, battling below, and then later welcoming guests into her Spartan palace, presiding over them as the consummate hostess, having clearly taken charge of her husband and her home. Hippodamia, who was said to be kin to the Centaurs, an entirely different and decidedly UN-Greek society; Antiope, an Amazon queen--an even more foreign bride. And Ariadne. Ariadne who was so exceptional, so rare a woman, she was brought to Olympus and made a consort-wife to a god!

These were not meek women, eyes kept downcast, unable to exert any power or authority over their peoples or their lives. These mythic figures are opportunities to see how the women inside a patriarchal society might have MADE space for themselves, through sheer force of personality and will, through the power granted to them by birth or marriage, by the blessings of the very gods. Just like Medea or Circe, like the murderous Clytemnestra, just as women in history, like Hatshepsut and Cleopatra, Zenobia of Palmyra and Empress Aelia Pulcheria of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the Queens Victoria and Elizabeth of England did much, much, much later too.

When opportunities present themselves, even inside a strict patriarchy, people without power can and do find ways to claim it, particularly when they're born on its periphery or adjacent to the structure which grants it. And people have always been people, we know that. So there is no reason at all to think that these women, these mythic figures whose stories we love to tell and retell, couldn't have done so, too.

Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound

Sunday, January 8, 2023

The Lion of Troezen

I am EXTREMELY excited/terrified/hyped/anxious to announce my next Bronze Age Greece Mythic Retelling--a novelette about Aethra and Poseidon and the conception of Theseus, titled THE LION OF TROEZEN, and beginning on January 19th, Patreon Patrons will get to start reading it in all its juicy, spicy, highest heat glory! 

For a very long time, I've wanted to write a story about Aethra. I've talked about it repeatedly across a number of platforms, by now, and you've seen on the blog my investment in treating her as a hero--giving her a CHOICE in her relationship with Poseidon and Theseus's conception. Well, soon, you'll be able to see how all of those thoughts have come together into this novelette, which is, I am certain, only the beginning of what might well become a larger biographical novel of Aethra's life. (I may or may not already have a rough outline and a few thousand words written that take place just after the events of HELEN OF SPARTA going into BY HELEN'S HAND.) 

But THIS story, THE LION OF TROEZEN, is much more tightly focused:

When Aethra's hopes for marriage to a hero-prince are dashed by his exile, Aethra's father, the king of Troezen, asks her to sacrifice her prospects altogether. King Aegeus of Athens, recently arrived, is desperately in need of a son and heir, and by the Oracle's own prophecy, Aethra's father is certain she can provide it. For her people's sake, Aethra agrees to welcome the king of Athens to her bed, but before King Aegeus can find his nerve, she's presented with another offer, from Poseidon Earth-Shaker, God of the Sea: give the god her maidenhead in Aegeus's place, and make the heir of Athens Poseidon's own son.

Neither option is what she's dreamed of, the true companionship of a worthy partner and power and authority in her own right as Queen of Troezen, but the choice Aethra makes will alter the course of her life--and though she cannot know it, influence the fate of not just Troezen and Athens, but all Achaea. 

You can start reading Aethra and Poseidon's ultra sexy encounter for as little as a dollar a month, or, in February, get early access to the downloadable epub (with an extensive author's note!) to read at your leisure on your preferred device for just $5!

I haven't decided yet if I'll be releasing this novelette wide with the FULL POSEIDON, or offering it as an abridged edition with half as much sex, but Patrons are getting EVERYTHING, and I really hope they (and you!) will love this retelling as much as I did, writing it.

Tamer of Horses Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Daughter of a Thousand Years A Sea of Sorrow: A Novel of Odysseus
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | IndieBound