It’s official: My upcoming comedic contemporary fantasy, previously titled Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet, now has a final title and release date! (Cue the lights and some manner of musical gravitas!) Coming from Booktrope on July 21, 2014…
In part two of my reblogging some entries written a few years ago when I finished writing the original manuscript of what’s now titled Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure (a comedic contemporary fantasy coming soon from Seattle publisher Booktrope!), I talk a little about the process of writing the novel itself. (See part one for the origin of the idea.) Writing it was a blast, though not without difficulties…
(Note that the working title of the novel was Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet.)
In my last entry I wrote about how I originally embarked on writing the (completed) manuscript I’m now calling Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet. At the time I began, I only made a few veiled comments about what I was working on. “Somewhat less serious” was the phrase I used when comparing it to my previous work, but I didn’t mention anything at the time about Greek gods.
So you’ve probably heard my news that Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure will soon be published by Seattle publisher Booktrope. Today I’m reblogging something I wrote a few years ago after I’d completed the manuscript and was getting ready to shop it around to agents: the “origin story” of how I came to write my favorite work…
(Note that the working title of the novel was Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet.)
Way back when I started writing–at least in any serious fashion–I had an idea about writing an original Greek myth. Not to retell The Odyssey or some such thing, but rather writing an epic of my own plotting using the already existing (and public domain, obviously) characters of Greek and Roman mythology.
(Note: Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet was the working title. The book will be published under the name Zeus is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure.)
So it’s happened.
Epic, one might even say.
That’s right, the Seahawks actually won the Superbowl! Er, wait, that’s not it. (I mean, they DID win, but that’s not the news.) Sorry, it’s early Saturday and I haven’t yet finished my coffee. One sec.
Okay! So, the actual news: Seattle publisher Booktrope will be publishing my comedic fantasy novel, currently titled Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet!!!!
It would be accurate to say that I’m a wee bit excited about this. Yes, I do have two sci-fi novels out there right now as ebooks, but Murdering Zeus will be my first non-self published novel and will be published in both paper and electronic formats. Don’t get me wrong, self-publishing can be a great way to go–there are a great many fantastic self-published authors out there–but it’s long been a goal of mine to get a publisher interested enough in a novel I’ve written to say, “Hey, this is great! Let us put it out there!” If you’ll permit me a little pride, it’s an incredible feeling.
“That’s great, Mike, really. But quit blubbering and tell us what the novel’s about, huh?”
Impatient folk, aren’t you?
Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet is a comedic contemporary fantasy set in a version of our world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and the Greek gods have their own casinos, media empires, and Twitter feeds.
Yet the gods have only recently returned to our world. You see, Zeus (king of the Greek/Olympian gods, for those not in the know) ordered the Olympian gods to go into hiding 3,000 years ago. Everyone knows that you don’t argue with Zeus unless you want a lightning bolt where the sun don’t shine. Yet it seems that wasn’t enough to stop someone from assassinating him nine months ago, and with Zeus dead, his order fell by the wayside. The Olympians are back! (Except, obviously, for Zeus.) And if you thought mortal celebrities had big egos, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
This is not to say that killing an immortal is commonplace in this story; it’s got the entire pantheon quite consternated. Someone out there can KILL them? As in dead? Forever? Heck, even the Titans only got locked up in Tartarus after the Olympian gods overthrew them, and those bastards were dangerous! It’s got them so disturbed that they’ve all decided en masse to just, well, kind of ignore the question of exactly who ganked him. Why poke about in matters that might get them killed, too? Besides, now they can strut their stuff openly among the mortals again, and who doesn’t love attention?
I won’t go into too many details about the actual plot just yet, but I will say that I had a blast writing this book. I got to throw the full force of my sense of humor into the voice (my sci-fi novels are obviously more serious), and I’ve always been fascinated with Greek mythology. I can’t wait to share this book with all of you.
I don’t yet know quite when it will come out, but sometime in 2014, certainly. Booktrope is a new publisher (but so far quite successful–they’ve been written up in Forbes), working on a different publishing model to adapt to the evolution of the publishing industry. That means a shorter time to publication than the year or more that older publishers can take. But we’ve still got to do some editing, cover design, layout, etc. I’m excited to get going on it all, and I look forward to being able to show you the cover once it’s available.
In the meantime, why not follow one of the book’s characters on Twitter? Thalia is one of the nine Muses, and responsible for musing comedy, poems about farming, and science fiction. Yes, science fiction. What, did you think the Muses just ignored the modern genres?
I leave you now with a quote from Thalia, who tends to babble. A lot:
“I’m not Artemis here, you know! I can only talk to animals, I don’t have some special stupid slavery-power over them! You think training a cat is bad, try getting a bird to do what you want it to do! There’s a reason ‘flighty’ means what it means! And for that matter, we’re dealing with jewelry here! Birds do not like carrying jewelry for anyone! Tolkien understood that; why can’t you? Stay here!”
Keep an eye out on this blog, my Twitter feed, or my Facebook page for more info on Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet! Further bulletins as events warrant. (3/13/14 edit: Like this one and this one about the origins and writing of the book…)
I’ve never been big on writing short stories. It’s not a completely alien concept, of course. I’ve published a few. “Finding Victor,” even won an award. But if an idea excites me enough to get me writing, it’s usually something I want to take some time to develop, and that usually means novel-length.
So I suppose it’s fitting that three of the short stories I’ve written had a similar theme that eventually did lead me to turn them into an entire novel. That novel, which I’ve mentioned here before, became Murdering Zeus for Fun and Prophet, a comedic contemporary fantasy set in our modern world where reality TV heroes slay actual monsters and gods have their own Twitter feeds. (It’s as yet unpublished, but I’m looking to change that soon via independent publishing.) As for the stories that led to it, I’ve decided to release them together in a free ebook titled Mythed Connections: A Short Story Collection of Classical Myth in the Modern World.
It’s ironic, perhaps, that my shortest book has the longest title.
Of the three stories in Mythed Connections, two have been published before, and one is newly released for this collection. All three share in some way the underlying concept and (to varying extents) the comedic bent of Murdering Zeus: Greek gods and their fellows are still out there, hiding in our forests, hanging out in Hollywood, and getting angry at Al Gore for inventing the Internet. But while Murdering Zeus explores what happens when Zeus is murdered and they make themselves known to the world, Mythed Connections has them still in hiding, for as we all surely know, Zeus commanded them all to withdraw from the mortal world some 3,000 years ago.
You could consider it a prequel. As the foreword states, certain elements and characters from the stories did make their way into Murdering Zeus, after all. Some more than others. And you should probably take anything Hermes says with a grain (or a bag) of salt. Here’s a preview of what you’ll see in this collection, but hey, it’s free, and in multiple formats! Why not grab the whole thing?
An atheist named Marcus learns the hard way that just because the old man living a hovel along a river that flows through a giant cavern in his basement is crazy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s not telling the truth about being the ferryman to the land of the dead.
Janette’s older brothers have ditched her in the woods. Again. But when Hermes takes a liking to her, vengeance is hers.
A young man a café finds himself stalked by a man who claims to be the god Apollo, who says he wants to help him, and who won’t take no for an answer
It should appear on Barnes & Noble’s website, as well as iTunes, but that takes a few more days. It’ll still be free then, though. So enjoy! And watch this blog for more information about Murdering Zeus for Fun and Profit…