Monday, February 9, 2015

SVS 12: I, PERSEPHONE, Adult Fantasy

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Word Count: 94,000

My Main Character would prefer to live in:

Naturally, Persephone appreciates warmth. She’s spent more than a century as an agricultural goddess, sparking germination with the help of Helios, the sun god. Feeding mankind is imperative, after all. When it’s cold outside, she can’t do anything for the crops. She can only go to the underworld to play with her sweet, three-headed hellhound and rule with her new husband, Hades. Her tall, dark, brooding husband with the strong jaw and the flashing eyes and the impressive… Uh, what was the question again?


Dear Illustrious Agents:

Her given name means “bringer of death,” literally. Indeed, Persephone has killed thousands… of violets, tulips, and roses. While the other gods are off smiting, ravishing, and dominating the world, she’s stuck with bucolic delights and mandated virginity. So when Hades interrupts yet another scintillating bout of floricide and carries her off to the not-so-sweet hereafter, she’s livid, yes--but also a little thrilled. The high point of her life thus far was inventing the corn dog.

Once down under, she finally has clout. Her influence over its smitten ruler soon allows her to improve the quality of (after)life for the shades. She even finds that pet she always wanted: a sweet but misunderstood three-headed hellhound. If she became Hades’ wife, she might achieve even more. And she’s tempted by far more than the power he offers her.

Unfortunately, the upper world has gone to Hades in a Grecian urn. Her worried mother, the goddess of agriculture, stops work, then is assaulted and disappears. By staying in her exciting new life, Persephone would leave mankind starving and her mother alone and unavenged. But returning to her drab old life is no bowl of ambrosia, either. To accomplish that, she’d have to break out of the heretofore escape-proof underworld. Whatever she chooses, she’ll need the courage and ruthlessness of a true bringer of death after all.

My embellishments to the classic myth of Persephone so as to make her a gutsy heroine, not a pitiable victim, should appeal to those who enjoy the humor of Molly Harper and H.P. Mallory or who appreciate retellings within original parameters--but with twists--such as Mercedes Lackey’s Five Hundred Kingdoms series.

First 250 words:

With two powerful gods as parents, you might think I’d have something better to smite than flowers. If so, you’d be wrong.

Violets had seemed an inspired idea two hours ago. Now my hands and back ached from picking the little suckers. I threw down my half-full basket and plopped my butt onto the grassy, be-flowered paradise on Earth known as Nysion. It wasn’t that I lacked choice; the place always abounded with a variety of flowers. And, of course, bees that never stung and butterflies in an array of colors and glorious weather at all times. Utterly delightful.

And after a hundred years, utterly mind-numbing.

Maybe I should use my divine powers to do this. I concentrated. New plants sprouted, instead. Nope, I could still only make them grow, not pick themselves and leap into my basket.

A rustle from the woods surrounding the meadow distracted me from further contemplation of my limited potential. Eh, that was probably only the wind. I didn’t feel any breeze, but what else could it be?

An unbidden shiver coursed through my body until I told it to stop. It wasn’t cold, either. It was never cold here. Like everything else in my life, Nysion never changed. The only difference from my previous trips was I was here alone.

I didn’t understand why Zeus had asked me to get the flowers for our quarterly banquet tonight. Honestly, I was also responsible for the food. Why couldn’t Dad ask his favorite daughter, Hebe, to be useful for once?

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