Playing with Myths (and a Release-day Giveaway)

Today is the release day for Deadly Descendant, the second book in my Descendant series about private eye Nikki Glass, who found out in Dark Descendant that she’s descended from the goddess Artemis. It has a striking, sexy front cover (though I can’t help wondering why Nikki is wearing that in the snow), and I think my publisher did a great job with the back cover copy, which is fun and clever. (I can say that because I didn’t write it!)

As a living descendant of Artemis the Huntress, private investigator Nikki Glass knows how to track someone down. But when an Oracle shows up, warning the descendants about wild dog attacks in Washington D.C., Nikki is afraid it might be a trap. The Olympians believe the “dogs” are jackals, controlled by a blood-crazed descendant of the Egyptian death-god Anubis. Whatever. . . . If Nikki hopes to muzzle Dogboy, she’s got to catch him in the act. But when she stakes out a local cemetery, she ends up face-to-snout with a snarling pack of shadow-jackals whose bite is worse than their bark. These hellhounds are deadly—even for an immortal like Nikki. “Dog” spelled backwards may be “god,” but that won’t stop Nikki from teaching these old gods some new tricks. Like playing dead.

I’ve loved mythology (particularly Greek/Roman mythology) ever since I read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology in (if I remember correctly) eighth grade. The writing is rather dense and old-fashioned (it was originally published in 1940), but it’s still my go-to source for Greek and Roman myth. (I also have and use Bullfinch’s Mythology, but that one doesn’t have as special a place in my heart.) Of course, just as I’ve used loose interpretations of vampire, demon, and faerie lore for my Guardians of the Night, Morgan Kingsley, and Faeriewalker series,  I’ve played around with the mythology in my Descendant series. I guess I’ve never been a big fan of coloring within the lines, and I love taking the lore and myths behind my characters and using them as a jumping off point rather than a road map.

So yes, in the mythology, Artemis is usually referred to as a virgin goddess. Obviously, in that case, she couldn’t have any descendants, and therefore Nikki in her current form couldn’t exist. But every myth out there has about twelve thousand variations, and in a world where those myths are supposed to be based on reality, it seemed reasonable to add my own variations. So in my version of mythology, Artemis wasn’t literally a virgin, and therefore she can have one (or more) descendants alive in the world today.

This may ruffle the feathers of a few mythology purists, but hey, it’s my world, and if I want to play with the myths, I will. I like giving my imagination as much freedom as possible, and writing strictly within the confines of the existing mythology just wouldn’t be as much fun for me. And let’s face it, being a full-time writer is filled with stress and frustrations, and the business side especially sometimes seems to be doing its best to break us. If we don’t love what we’re writing (at least most of the time), if we’re not having fun with it, then there’s no point in putting up with the Mr. Hyde side of this career.

Now, on to the giveaway. This will be a quickie (in part because I’m so scattered on release week that I can’t trust myself to remember things for more than a day), and I’ll be picking the winners around noon EDT tomorrow (April 25). I’ll give away three copies of Deadly Descendant (or of Dark Descendant, if you prefer). The contest is open internationally, but if you’re not in the U.S., I’ll be sending your book via the Book Depository, so it won’t be signed. To enter, just leave a comment before noon EDT on April 25. Good luck!

About Dame Jenna

Jenna Black got her BA in physical anthropology from Duke University. She dreamed she’d be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making discoveries about primate behavior. But then she did some research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend about 80% of their time doing exciting things like sleeping and eating. Concluding this discovery was her life’s work in the field of primatology, she moved on to such jobs as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She writes urban fantasy for Bantam Dell and young adult urban fantasy for St. Martin’s.


  1. CrystalGB says:

    Happy Release Day! Deadly Descendant sounds great. I love the cover.

  2. Happy release day! I really enjoyed Dark Descendant and am looking forward to Deadly Descendant very much. :)

  3. Christina T says:

    Happy Book Birthday!! I loved Dark Descendant and I can’t wait to read Deadly Descendant and the cover is gorgeous!! :D

  4. Happy release day! This is a great cover – I love the white background against the dark attire of the heroine. Very striking!

  5. SandyG265 says:

    Congrats on the release.

  6. Happy Release Day! And thanks for the giveaway :D

  7. Happy release day to you!!! Looking forward to the read!!!

  8. Evilqueen21 says:

    Happy Birthday Deadly Descendant!! Can’t wait to dive back into Nikki’s world :)

  9. Happy release day! I just love the concept of this series. Congratulations again and thank you for the giveaway ^_^

  10. Happy Release Day, Jenna! I am completely intrigued by the concept and look forward to the book. Thanks so much for doing this contest!

  11. Happy Release Day!!! *whoohoo* I love the cover, it’s absolutely gorgeous!

    Thanks so much for this great giveaway!!!

  12. TJ Erickson says:

    Happy release day!
    (the book sounds great!)

  13. Annabelle says:

    Happy Release Day!!! I would like to enter!!

  14. Happy release day. It’s getting dangerous for me to look at new releases because I always want to read them. Do you know how big my TBR pile is now???

  15. Riva Laughlin says:

    Yet another series to add to my wish list. What a great time to be a paranormal reader!

  16. That is awesome! I loved the first book, go Dames! We love our UF heroines.

  17. Really enjoyed Dark Descent last year and totally looking forward to Deadly Descent.

  18. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with altering mythology because as you say, there are several different variations. What’s wrong with one more? :) If people have a problem with it then they need to look up the definition of fiction. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  19. Happy release day :)
    Ohh I do want Dark Descendant, as I have not read that one but want to

  20. Melati Anggraeni says:

    and happy release day..
    wow I want to read that book :) I like bookcover ^^
    thank’s for giveaway

  21. Yay! for release day!! Congrats! I’d love to have Dark Descendant if I were to win! Actually, I’d love them both but I’ll not be a greedy girl. :o)

    But I am in the U.S. and would love either book signed! Thanks for the giveaway and happyhappyhappy release day!

  22. Loved the first book and can’t wait for the second!! Nikki is tough enough to make Artemis proud. I can’t wait to find out what happened to her family and see what happens with her love life?! ahh ;)

  23. midnightblooms says:

    I loved Dark Descendant and can’t wait to read Deadly!

  24. I love mythology, especially Greek, Roman and Egyptian!
    Actually, though in the Greek and Roman version of the myth about Artemis/Diana, she’s a virgin Goddess, the more ancient version of her, called the Ephesus Artemis, she’s not a virgin but in fact a mother. So you’re right, there are so many versions and variations on all the myths.
    I’m excited to read this series!

  25. Lingeorge says:

    Congratulations on release day! I have been so looking forward to this book — going onto my nook right now!

  26. Looks like a hoot; count me in!

  27. Sounds like an interesting story. Mythology is awesome and there are so many ways to go.

  28. Happy release day! Would love a chance to win, looks like this is mine :)

  29. Happy Release Day! I really love the cover (she is hot!). :D

  30. Congrats on the release. I love books with mythology in them and seeing how authors have altered and added to the myths. :)

  31. I have been looking forward to this book for months. Absolutely can’t wait to read it.

  32. I love Jenna and having been waiting what seems like forever for this release. Thank you for the awesome giveaway!

  33. Happy release day!
    You always have such amazing book covers :D

  34. Bethany C. says:

    The covers are totally bada$$!!!

  35. sounds like an awsome book

  36. ohhh i cant wait to read this!! thanks for the chance to win!

  37. Yay! I’ve been looking forward to this one!!! Congrats on the release!

  38. Congrats on the release!

  39. I’m always looking for some good Greek Mythology! Awesome!

  40. what a wonderful giveaway thank you:-)

  41. Jemma Weir says:

    this series sounds amazing, I would love to read it.

  42. Kristina L. says:

    Happy Release Day, Dame Jenna!

  43. Midnight says:

    Happy release day!
    Haven’t read Dark Descendant yet but can’t say I’m not looking forward to starting the series given the opportunity!
    Thanks for the giveaway ^^

  44. Happy Release Day!

  45. I love everything about this book!! I can’t wait to get my hands on it :)

  46. Happy Release day. I love mythology.

    This book is on my wish list. I read an excerpt and had to have it!
    I did purchase the first book, I just didn’t have time to read it yet.

    So many books, so little time.

    Anyway, congratulations!

  47. Tasnim S says:

    I’ve been dying to read this!!

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