Greek Mythology Themes in Brother, Betrayed

The story of Macbeth and the Weird Sisters was an inspiration for me while writing Brother, Betrayed. The Weird Sisters are also known as The Fates, The Norns, The Sisters of Fate, The Three Witches or Moirae.

In Brother, Betrayed the three main characters meet a blind woman that resembles the witches that Macbeth meets in his tragedy.

“Please, sit with us by the fire,” she said and looked up at them. Their breath stopped at her eyes, the color of fog at dusk, seeming to glow in the faint light of the fire. Even the pupils, which should have been black and deep, were a film of gray, and the brothers wondered how well she could see them.

Encouraged, yet embarrassed, the brothers glanced at each other. They moved to sit before the woman, whose eyes followed them. Now they could study her face: the bones of it were meagerly covered with thin, aged skin, like a snake that should have shed cycles ago. Her face was human, they noted, but somehow she still seemed a trespasser. Her lips moved a little as if she were speaking, but she was silent. Looking down, they saw her hands kept moving restlessly on her lap, even after she stopped threading the needle through the pieces of cloth.

Another theme of Greek tragedy is the realization of fatal flaws and mistakes one has overlooked. In the story of Oedipus, the fates prophesize that he will murder his father - and Oedipus gouges out his eyes after he discovers he made this prophecy come true.

In Brother, Betrayed, the brothers' fatal flaws are not revealed until the end of the book, when disaster falls on them and their kingdom.

Author Lunch with Joan Hazel

I recently met fellow fantasy author and southern Alabamian Joan Hazel. It was amazing to find someone else I have so much in common with.

We met at a Japanese restaurant in Troy and sparked off conversations about our books right away. There were several times in the conversation that I was thinking "No way.... she is taking words straight out of my head!"

Joan seems very passionate about the characters in her work in progress, The Last Guardian. She talks about them as if they were dear friends. It is a novel about races of shape shifters, the main characters coming from the different clans. I am looking forward to reading it when she releases it, and also to meeting with her again to talk "shop".

Find out more about Hazel on her website
Or her blog "Mama Joan Explains it All"
And be sure to visit her Facebook fan page for "The Last Guardian"

Going Under

My brother told me in a half drunken stupor at his bachelor's party the night before his wedding, "You need to learn to give up control. Sometimes you just need to let goooooo."

Later this week I have minor surgery scheduled (don't ask). It will be the third time in my life I will be put to sleep. My brother is right, I don't like to lose control.

I have tried to master "control".

In high school I took control of my hunger. I was the typical anorexic teenager. I taught myself to enjoy the numb feeling that followed the hunger from skipping meals. The fact that I didn't give into my body proved my strength.

I also learned to master panic. I pushed myself to swim the length of an Olympic size pool without taking a breath, sometimes longer. Deep under the surface, the hum of water in my ears, my body would soon react and try to force me upwards to take a breath. But if I swam through it, the panic would soon fade. I taught myself to hold my breath for longer and longer, until the panic did not come at all.

So the question is, if you "let go" of control, who or what do you give it up to?

Character Highlight: Syah, Prince of Anteria

Syah, Prince of Arnith
Art by Walt Barna, Rights owned by Danielle Raver

Syah is the youngest of three brothers, heirs to the throne of Anteria, the capital of a kingdom called Arnith.  

But how did Syah come to be? The following is an in-depth look at Syah's journey and how he came to be. 

It all started with a cat. A kitten to be precise, from the first litter of kittens I had since I was living on my own. I kept the three males from the litter (not wanting more litters of kittens in the foreseeable future). The youngest kitten was pitiful, so small I wasn't sure if it would live through the night. He tremored in his sleep and seemed very sickly.
The kitten survived but had very bad luck. The two older male cats always beat up on him. He was attacked by the neighbor's dogs and lost his leg and his right eye. His tail was caught in a rocking chair and was broken. 
But through all this he had an air about him. It was the way he laid with his head up and his eyes half closed. So I named him Syah, Arabic for "Prince". So was the inspiration for the youngest prince in my book.
 Syah, Prince of Anteria is an intellectual, with no drive for fame, strength, or love. He is plagued by sicknesses as an infant, and thus his two older brothers Oman and Fasime become very protective over him. 
Syah becomes interested in the mysteries of Miscia, the fantastical world where the story takes place. Seduced by the power of magic, Syah delves deeper into the legends and mystical creatures of Miscia. He tries to prove his worth to his kingdom, but breaking free from his brothers may have disastrous consequences.

Syah's brothers are based slightly on my older siblings, but more on that later.

A Collection of Strong Female Characters in Classic and Modern Books

 "Eowyn and The Nazgul" by Ted Nasmith (website)

Whether it is Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings or Emma from Madame Bovary, there is a world of literature with strong female characters! Fantasy Island Book Publishing wants to celebrate some famous female characters in literature and highlight some of the female characters from our fabulous authors.

Daenerys Targaryen from A Game of Thrones
by George R. R. Martin
The young, exiled daughter of an old king. At the beginning of Game of Thrones she is abused by her brother, Viserys. When she is forced to marry Khal Drogo at first it seems like another dominate relationship. But as the story progresses, Daenerys proves she has the strength within herself to retake the Iron Throne.

Ayla from  the Clan of the Cave Bear Series
by Jean M Auel
Ayla is a cro-magnon cave woman born roughly  30,000 years ago. She lost her parents in an earthquake at the age of 5  and was adopted by a clan of neanderthals. Ayla rebels against some of  their core beliefs (specifically by learning how to hunt  even though it is something that is traditionally only done by males),  which ultimately gets her banished from the clan. Ayla then has to roam  the wild steppes and find a new place to call home. Along the way she  raises a horse, a lion cub and a wolf, meets a remarkable man called  Jondolar and becomes a medicine woman against all the odds.

Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
Jane is independent, brainy and has full control of her destiny despite a secret childhood condition. She is unyielding of the bad fortune and triumphant in the end after reunited with her true love.

Helva from The Ship Who Sang
by Anne McCaffrey
Helva was born so deformed that she couldn't survive, but her parents opted to have her become a shell person, permanently enclosed in a life support capsule which enabled her to live independently. She opted to become the living "brain" of a scout ship, and became famous, not only for her courage and cleverness, but for her amazing singing voice.

Lessa, Rider of Rammoth from DragonFlight
by Anne McCaffrey
Lessa started out as the rightful holder to the once proud Ruatha hold, but renounces her birthright to impress a new queen dragon in the only remaining Weyr on Pern. When Threadfall begins again, one Weyr of dragons isn't enough, and Lessa travels between time back 400 years to bring the five missing Weyrs forward in time.

Polgara the Sorceress from The Belgariad / The Malloreon
by David and Leigh Eddings
Polgara is  about five or six centuries old though she looks like she's in her late thirties.  She has long black hair with a silver streak in it. Polgara is a disciple of Aldur and is the aunt of the main character Belgarion. Polgara  is  beautiful, intelligent and  scarily maternal. She can make King and High Priests bow to her with the  raise of an eyebrow and is warm and gentle to those she loves.

Dagny Tagart from Atlas Shrugged
by Ayn Rand
Dagny Tagart in the "Atlas Shrugged" is an industrialist, a  business woman and a true protector of her family rialroad business.  Since she was thirteen years old, she devoted all her time to the family  business. Eventually she became the VP of the company even though  she was the most qualified to be the head of the business. But she can't  due to the fact she was a woman. Yet she didn't get discouraged by  that. She marched on with the role of VP and became the woman in charge.

Sevy from Thief and Shades of War
by Sarah-Jane Lehoux
Sevy has survived the mean streets of Eloria  since being orphaned by a pirate raid. Described by her friends as a  brat and by her enemies as a bitch, trouble seems to follow her wherever  she goes. She currently makes a living as a thief and mercenary, but  isn't above a little assassination work. She can be a hero or a villain  depending on her mood.

Miranda from The Rys Chronicles
by Tracy Falbe

Miranda's no princess or shy virgin, but she will  learn how  to seize power. When  the Atrophane invade her home, Miranda chooses to flee with her  children into a dangerous Wilderness where she encounters the rys. She  aligns herself with Shan and aids him greatly in his appeals to his  allies. Miranda's history as an abused slave sometimes makes it  difficult for her to accept the strict patriarchy of the western  societies. Having escaped slavery, she will not yield her freedoms or  withhold her opinions.

Angel and Haiwee from Troubleshooters: The Longest Joke Ever Told
by Ian Healy
Angel is an assassin down on her luck, to the point where she's working for free, taking down people she dislikes personally. Haiwee is formerly the world's greatest hacker before years of sensory-enhancing drug use spoiled her reflexes. Desperate for money and both wanted for crimes (Angel killed a powerful corporate middle-manager and Haiwee cracked iChip encryption to allow a massive delivery of spam), they team up for a search-and-retrieve mission that could make or break them.

Eagle Tryggvesson from Project: Dragonslayers
by K. Rowe
Eagle's a Norwegian immigrant, Lt. Col in the Air Force, which fights  her way into getting funding for a special forces unit- in which she  doesn't have quite all the training for! She must rely on her leadership  skills to whip the delinquents which are dumped upon her into shape.  They try and test her, but ultimately she gets them turned around into a  functioning team.  They grow to trust her and give their loyalty to  her, putting their lives on the line for her.

Kathy Alford from Tree Soldier
by Janet Oakley
Kathy is a young woman  who wants to be in the Forest Service in 1935, but only men are allowed.  She can pack horses in the North Cascades, buck up logs and knows her  woods as good as any man. Saves the life of the hero when he gets  hypothermia.  They didn't have a name for it back then.

Samantha Kraven (Simekra) from The Spellbound One
by Matthew Ashworth
The character's name is Samantha Kraven (nickname: Simekra)....  She is a half human and half elf (born of human father and elf mother),  aged 19 (though becomes 20 at the end of book 1). She is an intraverted  character, very persistent and very brave. She trained herself how to  fight so that she could avenge the death of her parents (they were  killed by a warlord). Later however once she makes some friends along  her journey she realises revenge is not something to live life for, but  friendship. She along with her friends become sort of a team and they  all are tied to a big plot, a struggle between the deities who utilise  mortals to do either good or bad things. Her weapon is a long sword, but  later she learns some fire magic too. She always wears white, because  she thinks it's a sign of purity and goodness.
Her flaws. She can be very hotheaded and even brutal at times, often letting her anger and distress to take the best of her.

Neeta Lyffe from Neeta Lyffe: Zombie Exterminator 
by Karina Fabian
Neeta is an exterminator with an  unusual sideline:  zombie extermination.  Owner of Lyffe-Undeath  Exterminations of Long Beach, she'd just as soon spray for ants as  decapitate the shambling dead, but that's never stopped her f...rom  swinging her chainsaw when lives are at stake.  After a lawyer sues her  for "letting" a flaming zombie set his retractable awning on fire, she  agrees to host a reality TV show to train up apprentice exterminators.   Taking on animated rotting meat's nothing compared to bickering  apprentices and drama-happy directors.

Dee from Masters & Renegades #2: Casualties of War
by Chantal Boudreau
Dee doesn't get recruited by the Templars until the end of Casualties of War.  She is still just a teenager in that novel  and ends up in the middle of a horrible life-or-death mess when she is  shipped off to a Renegade magic academy by her older sister.  She is still a very strong  character, mentally and physically, but inexperienced.

Grainne from Grainne the Red Girl
by Ralph E. Laitres
Grainne the red girl. She is a Connacht-born who  was brutally raped by high-nobles from northern Ulster. Her desire for  revenge made her accept the aid of the phantom-queen the Morrigan, but  there was a price to be paid for this aid. She needed to kill King  Conchobar's champion; Fergus mac Roich.


And now for strong female characters from FIBP books!

Sofie from Sofia’s Story: Shattered Seeds
by Clu Gallagher
Sofie is  a woman who was born in Germany and eventually fled with her children  to protect herself and them. The Third Reich was pulling her husband  into it's evil empire and making life untenable for the family. She lost  her children in a bombing as they hid in the countryside. Eventually,  she found her way to the United States and built an adoption empire to  save the children of the world who are impacted by war.

Mary Cooke from Terps
by Elainne Gannon
Interpreting for the Deaf is Mary's dream,  but no matter how hard she works, she is not as talented as her husband  Driscoll, who is the only hearing member of a Deaf family. Mary has to  have enough drive for the two of them during the first few years of  their marriage. After practically having raised herself, now Mary feels  compelled raise her husband, trying various tactics to get him to grow  up and find his way in the world without being blatantly manipulative  throughout the process.        

Nena Moore from Beloved
by Patty Sarro
Nena Moore is a focused young lady from the wrong  neighborhood.  Despite feeling insecure and cheated out of a normal  childhood with her alcoholic and loose mother, she manages to receive a  college scholarship to Paris France.  There, through the eyes of a  beautiful and familiar stranger, she discovers that beauty and love had  always existed for and within her.

Miriam Pearson from The Night Watchman Express
by Alison DeLuca
Miriam is a girl of twelve who loves to write. She teams up with her governess, Mana, a woman of color who is intelligent and a little magic as well. They both face dark characters, underground factories, human experiments, and imprisonment on THE NIGHT WATCHMAN EXPRESS.

Emeline Hart from Emeline and the Mutants
by Rachel Tsoumbakos
The main character of Emeline and the Mutants is Emeline Hart, a twenty something woman who has had to deal with the loss of her entire family via mutations and then through murder. Emeline can hunt and shoot a gun. She is sassy and will only wear red toenail polish!

Carla Mainston from Whatever Became of the Squishies
by Claire Chilton
Carla Mainston is a fifteen year old girl and the black sheep of the colony she lives on - different skin colour, attitude and motivations from everyone else. She tends to spend her time with people from the criminal underworld as they seem to like her and if something explosive happens, she always finds herself in the middle of it. Here's her profile page: - No one knows why she is different, and someone is watching her - meanwhile the other kids in her colony are all getting sick and she's in the middle of it all. Carla's a bad girl, but she doesn't mean to be, but things just seem to happen when she's around...

Lady Mags from The Last Good Knight
by Connie J. Jasperson
Lady Mags is Julian Lackland's love interest in The Last Good Knight. She is a very strong woman, who will never give up the sword and be a proper Earl's daughter as she should be. Instead, she runs away from her father's house, and joins the Rowdies. She does what ever it takes to get a job done, and often says that 'There is no such thing as a fair fight, only winners and losers.' Mags mortally hates to lose!

Cytolene ap Neelie ef Timpani from Don’t Feed the Fairies
by Eileen Gormley
Cytolene ap Neelie ef Timpani is the 63rd daughter in a family of 200. When an accident to her wing renders her unsuitable for marriage, she decides to go to Earth and make her fortune farming those succulent humans instead.
But that didn't didn't work too well. How could she have guessed that humans only give birth to one live young at a time and it takes years for them to be worth eating?
When her mother goes home to Eris without her, Cytolene finds herself adopting a human pet (who thinks he's her boyfriend) and a lost Erisian baby as well.

Tigris from The King of Egypt
by J. J. Makins
Raised a warrior, Tigris, crowned Nitiqreti, is the first female pharaoh. With a beauty that can bring men to their knees and a power that gets her respect from armies, she is prepared to take on any enemy. When a self-proclaimed king threatens to conquer her throne, Tigris is ready to declare war. However, even this female warrior could never be ready for what is about to unfold...

Persephone Cambell from Losing Beauty
by Johanna Garth
Persephone Campbell has spent her entire life  trying to avoid the dark secrets that people feel compelled to tell her.   Except now, Haden the lord of the Underworld wants to make her his  immortal queen.  Her journey  from this world and into the next causes her to face the truth about  what lies inside of her and teaches her to rely on the strength she’s  spent a lifetime avoiding in order to gain her freedom.
Kate Fitzgerald from Ednor Scardens
by Kathleen Barker
All that Kate Fitzgerald ever wanted  was a normal life.  What she got was a father who died before she was  born, a spaced-out mother, a parish priest turned predator, two brothers  at each other's throat  in a battle for her affections, and a grandmother who could read her  like a book.  People wanted something from her at every turn, but what  they got was the one thing that Kate could control.

Mirim, Keira, and Shenella from The Children of the Elementi 

by Ceri Clark

Mirim  who is the oldest, has lived alone in the mysterious Citadel on Eleria  for years. She is charged with finding the others when and if the High  King becomes active.
Keira was adopted by Irish Gypsies on Earth. She has the power of nature and is a caring person.
Shenella  is the betrothed of Aras, the Magi Emporer. Her parents were murdered  and she can trust no-one. She has to navigate court politics while  learning about her true destiny.

From books coming soon to Fantasy Island Book Publishing:

Malia Corsair from The Time Weaver
by Thomas A. Knight
Malia is one of few female warriors in the Findoor Army, but despite being treated differently because she is a woman, she excels in both her martial
and magical training. When a crisis afflicts the Kingdom of Findoor, The
King and The Arch-Magus turn to Malia to carry out a special mission to
rescue and return with a man believed to have the power to avert a war that
is brewing between Findoor and a powerful exiled warlord.

Jasmine from Last Kiss in Tiananmen Square
by Lisa Zhang Wharton
Jasmine, the heroin in the historical novel "Last Kiss in Tiananmen  Square", grew up in a family of domestic violence and abuse. She was  able to separate herself from this and concentrate on her college study  and the TOFEL exam so she could go to America.  She joined the Democracy  movement in order to vent her frustration.  During the movement, she  became a full fledged student leader and in the end sacrificed her life  for this noble cause.