Monday, 15 September 2014

Liz Meldon...The Maenad of Manhattan!

A while back, I made the acquaintance of an author by the name of Liz Meldon. It turns out we had a few things in common, namely our love of the mythological world.

When I heard about Liz's book The Maenad of Manhattan, I knew I had to have her here in my Room. I've since read the novella and loved it. My review is here:

Please welcome Liz Meldon.

I’ve been a ghostwriter for a little over a year now. I started off by penning short, smutty stories for a pittance, and have since moved on to working with a wonderful client who basically funds my self-publishing account. I get to write romance novellas based on the amazing outlines my client sends me—and I’ve since learned that I do not like selling my original ideas for $40, so this works perfectly. I’ve written a variety of scenarios, from women escaping abusive situations and finding comfort in the arms of a new man, to small-town heroines swept up in the drama of a big-shot hero’s crazy life.

The plots stick to standard romance tropes. Happily-Ever-After required. Graphic sex—not so much, but occasionally appreciated. Mushy conversation about feelings? Definitely.

And you know what? That’s just stellar. I love writing a moment of instant attraction between two characters, and I love seeing them happy in the end. Love, love, love. I’m always ridiculously excited when it’s time to work on another assignment.

But only when I ghostwrite. When I work on my own stuff, it’s angsty and dark and usually pretty sexual—and it’s still romance. I like gritty, sarcastic heroes who aren’t the traditional alpha male, and confident heroines who succeed through their own means. I revel in heartache. I thrive under the guise of writing a “realistic” relationship, with all the ups and downs that most of us experience in real life. I get a secret thrill about writing a character that makes readers sit back and say, “Well, he’s a bit of a jerk sometimes.”

I mean, I don’t like writing characters specifically designed for people to hate. No one wants their leads to read like that—unless they’re a villain, I supposed. But when it comes to my own stuff, I thoroughly enjoy breaking romance tropes and writing a little outside the genre’s requirements. I like the weird. I like the unexpected. I like the grumbling, bitter characters—I especially like embarrassing them. 

And I think that’s why I enjoy ghostwriting traditional romance so much. When a plot predetermined for me, it’s like I can let myself go and dive in deep to all the romantic necessities that my own work sometimes feels awkward around. I like any opportunity to write, especially when I get paid to do it. But I think I especially like ghostwriting romance because it gives me the opportunity to slip out of my usual writer’s shoes and into a new pair—a fun, fluffy pair that lets me do love at first sight and sudden engagements and talks of forever.

And it’s not to say the romance I write personally won’t ever be happy. Romance is, at its deepest self, about love, and that’s what I enjoy writing about. For the readers who know me, they expect the love to take longer, to grow organically between two individuals. They anticipate some conflict, some rollercoaster rides. But the people I ghostwrite for don’t, and that’s okay too. Getting to explore the whole spectrum of romance has been so incredibly fulfilling thus far, and I feel like I’m just getting started.

At the moment, I’m wrapping up the sequel to The Maenad of Manhattan. Loki and Aphrodite continue to occupy my headspace, and will do so for quite some time. However, they get to take a break while the second book is in the editing and revision process, and I get to ghostwrite a few novellas. The stakes won’t be quite as high. The feelings will spring up faster. There’s probably going to be a slightly cheesy proposal somewhere—and I think I’m going to love every second of it. 

The glory days of Ancient Greece are long gone, and the gods of the Old World are scattered across the globe. As their popularity dwindles, as their worshipers forget, their power fades. Luckily for Aphrodite, she’s a household name. After all, how could anyone ever forget the Greek goddess of Love?

Unfortunately, no one seems to know or care about her divinity. In a world of skeptics and technology-crazed mortals, loneliness and boredom have taken hold. Her life consists of romance advice columns, martini bars, and flings with empty-headed men—until she meets Loki.

She’s intrigued: it’s been decades—centuries even—since she laid eyes on another god, particularly one outside her pantheon. In their short time together, she realizes just how much she needs the companionship of one of her own. Loki, however, seems more interested in catching a murderous maenad than swapping stories about the old days.

Can she convince Loki to stay and make her life a little less lonely, or will he persuade her to join him on his quest for more worshipers? His questionable tactics make her uneasy, but how can she turn down the opportunity to live as she once did: freely, powerfully, and lustfully as Aphrodite of Olympus.


She ordered a gin with a splash of tonic water, sweet-talking her way into getting it in a wine glass. Like her driver, her bartender received a sizable tip; persons working in service positions were the people to flatter if one wished to get anything extra in this world. She brought the glass to her lips, eyes darting between the scattered groups around her. The first sip burned, but the rest went down smoothly.
“What are you drinking, sugar?”
“No.” Her gaze ran up and down the man who accosted her, and she smirked, sidestepping him. Cheap shoes, expensive designer label on the shirt, and a fake watch tied in nicely with his short temper and pungent alcoholism. She could practically feel his anger at her immediate rejection—humans were so easy to read. He wasn’t worth her time, and while she could flirt her way into a ride home and a drink in a respectable glass, she was in no mood to play to a weak man’s ego.
“Bitch,” he muttered under his breath as he slunk back to the bar.
The word rolled off her back.
A vacant table and stool at the edge of the second-floor balcony called her name, and she settled atop the perch with grace, crossing her legs and resting her elbow on the railing. It was the perfect place to watch the growing crowd, and she did so with her purse resting on her lap, her drink in hand, and a serene expression on her face.
Until something in the air changed. She couldn’t pinpoint what it was, but she felt like she needed to take a few deep breaths, like there was a heavy presence around her—it was suffocating, pressing in on her from all sides. Setting her drink down on the table, she placed a delicate hand on her forehead and glanced around. No one else seemed to notice the shift in the air; the lovers at the table next to her were all but sitting on top of one another, the bartender was arguing with a rowdy fellow wearing a pricey suit, and the girls on the dance floor were shrieking in unison to the newest pop hit.
The weight lifted moments later, making it easier to draw a full breath. Still, she felt more than a little alarmed at the turn the night had taken. Just as she slid off her stool and gathered her purse, she found the source of the sensation, the heaviness—another god stood amongst the mortals, and they were just as oblivious to him as they were to her.
She hadn’t the slightest idea who he was, but she knew he was like her—immortal and forgotten. Tall and broad, he had a smattering of facial scruff that matched his dark red, almost brown hair. His green eyes scanned the room, a hand resting on the thin metal railing of the staircase, until his sharp gaze finally found her—and there it stopped. He was attractive in a rough sort of way; his skin seemed a little worn out, lacking healthy vigour, and as he strolled toward her, she noted flecks of grey in his hair.
He was an old god like Aphrodite, yet as she looked him over, she had trouble placing his face amongst her vast memories. His suit was stylish enough, but she spied a few fraying threads around the elbows and cuffs.
The man invaded her personal space, stepping right up to her; the aura around him was such that she actually sat back down on the stool, her mouth hanging open. When had she last seen a true god of the Old World? A century, at the very least, but perhaps she just hadn’t been looking properly.
With a hand resting on the back of her chair, he leaned down and ran his nose along her shoulder, up her neck, stopping when he reached her ear.
“Aphrodite,” he hissed, his breath making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.


Author Bio:
Liz is a Canadian author who grew up in the Middle East. She has a degree in Bioarchaeology from Western University, and when she isn't writing about snarky characters of her own, she is either ghostwriting romance novellas, working on her fanfiction, loitering on social media, or selling tickets at a theatre.

In the past year, she has written six romance novellas as a ghostwriter. Three have been published and are doing well. She loves writing realistic characters in fantastical settings.

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