Thursday, September 10, 2009

How to Write a Convincing God By Fantasy Author Sandy Lender

"Not All Gods Are Created Equal, But They Could Be." Sandy Lender's hook grabbed me, but I'm already an admirer of Sandy for many reasons, not least because of her fabulous blog, her way with dragons, her private love of turtles, and her familiarity with very large weapons.

Please don't be shy to ask Sandy about anything!

By the way, when C.L. Talmadge was my guest, I personally gave away a printed copy of Mating Net to one commenter of my choosing. It would hardly be hospitable not to do the same (or similarly) for Sandy's visitors.

I'll give one commenter chosen by me one autographed print copy of Insufficient Mating Material. (Please vote for its cover, title, blurb at Further, anyone voting for Insufficient Mating Material and leaving a comment mentioning "the convincing god blog" will be entered in a draw to win a $10 gift certificate.)

Not all gods are created equal, but they could be.

You know, I really am a nice little Southern Baptist gal. I just happen to think a polytheistic society where gods flit about having sordid (or quality and loving) affairs with their minions is fun to write. So when Rowena offered the topic of “How to Write a Convincing God” to me during my current online book tour, how could I refuse? This is right up my dragon-infested alley.

A convincing god should have a variety of traits: compassion when it’s needed; pity when it’s needed; love for his worshipers; strength; understanding; a forgiving nature; broad shoulders; great mojo…

One specific trait I think makes a god convincing in a fantasy or sci-fi novel is the unwavering ability to bow to a goddess when she walks in the room. I’ll just assume anyone reading this blog is familiar with Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman. That’s the concept. Think about it: If a goddess is around, and she has spoken her mind, the god in the great golden hall (or standing on the edge of a cliff or on the wrong side of the door to a ship’s airlock) needs to grasp the concept.

Bowing is good for most men, wouldn’t you say?

“Some days, you just want the dragon to win.”

Choices Meant For Kings
Chariss is in danger. Her geasa is hampered by the effects of a friend’s marriage. The dashing Nigel Taiman hides something from her, yet demands she stay at his family’s estate where he and her wizard guardian intend to keep her safe. But the sorcerer Lord Drake and Julette The Betrayer know she’s there, and their monstrous army marches that way.

When prophecies stack up to threaten an arrogant deity, Chariss must choose between the dragon that courts her and the ostracized kings of the Southlands for help. Evil stalks her at every turn and madness creeps over the goddess who guides her. Can an orphan-turned-Protector resist the dark side of her heritage? Or will she sacrifice all to keep her god-charge safe?


A Tense Little Excerpt From Choices Meant for Kings
By Fantasy Author Sandy Lender
You won’t find this excerpt anywhere except Sandy’s current online book tour…

As the soldier stepped toward him, Nigel reached out his arm and caught him by the neck. He slammed the captain against the far wall. He pinned him there with his body, leaning against the man as if he could crush the wind from him with his presence.

He brought his face close to the soldier’s ear and spoke lowly, fiercely, so that no one could have overheard him. The menace and intent behind the words was as surprising to the captain as the words themselves.

“I asked you to accompany [Chariss] on this journey tomorrow because I have faith in your sword, and until this moment I trusted you to keep your distance from her. Now, I find her down here at your side with a look upon your face that suggests more than you realize. So help me, Naegling, the only thing that stays my hand is how displeased she would be if she learned that I sliced you open.”

“The look you see is merely my concern for her honor. Nothing more.”

“I’m not a fool. And I’ll use every last piece of Arcana’s treasury to pay the prophets to justify my reasons for marrying that woman, so you can unconcern yourself with her honor.”

Hrazon stepped off the staircase then and saw Nigel pressed against his guard.

“I still believe you’re one of the best soldiers Arcana’s ever seen,” Nigel continued, “and I want you at her side for this journey, but, so help me, Naegling, she comes back alive and well and not confused in the least about her affections for me, or I will string you up from a tree in the orchard and attach your intestines to your horse’s saddle before I send it—”

Hrazon cleared his throat. “Excuse me. Is there an issue here I should address?”

Find out how (and where) to follow Sandy on her current blog tour, and perhaps you may win a prize...


RKCharron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the great blog post.
I hadn't been aware of Sandy Lender before but the book sounds GREAT!
So thanks for bringing her & her writing to my attention.
All the best,

Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and setting a lovely tone for the day, RK Charron.

My goodness, are you a night owl, or an early bird?

I love to be up with the crepuscular creatures.

Rowena Cherry said...


Which is your favorite god from human mythologies, and why?

(I cannot at this hour of the morning think of a god who bowed to women.)

Rowena Cherry said...

In my opinion, a "convincing" god would have to be, first and foremost, a great public speaker.

What other talents, gifts, qualities and attributes (and powers) would a convincing god have to have?

Sandy Lender said...

Good morning, RKCharron,
It's great to have you joining the conversation today. Thank you for your kind words and welcome to the world of Onweald, where gods and goddesses roam about as the please.

I agree with Rowena, you were up bright and early. Or dark and early, as the case may be. I'm still recovering from forced sleep deprivation over the weekend and early this week so...I could lapse into narcolepsy at any

Sandy Lender said...

Good morning, Rowena!
First, thank you for hosting me today! I'm delighted that one of your visitors today can win one of your titles. Lovely addition to the day!

As for gods that know...I think it was the sons of gods and goddesses that did the bowing to goddesses in Greek mythology. If you found yourself suddenly before Athena, you best do something respectful or you'd get on her bad side. Those goddesses were always getting offended. I don't think I can recall a story where Zeus bowed to a goddess...maybe one of our guests today can remind me. Now he did abide by preset rules (think of Io...he kept his word when he would rather not and revealed his true form to her) and he had the sense not to harm his wife's favorites outright in front of her. So maybe his bowing was intangible.

Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Rowena Cherry said...

IO? I always thought Io was the unfortunate young woman whom he turned into a cow and left her that way.

Zeus was rather fond of turning himself into a bull. I'm sure there are Freudian implications.

He was a bull for Europa, too.

I've had more coffee than you, Sandy. I think you are thinking of Semele. What's more, I have a dual processor, so can do my research simultaneously.

Myth has it that Semele was one of the innumerable lovers of Zeus.
Zeus's queen, Hera, was aware of his multiple infidelities and was in the habit of killing the hapless human women (even though they often had no choice about whether or not to grant Zeus their favors).

Hera wasn't always direct about killing off her dh's lovers. She disguised herself, visited Semele and convinced the poor mortal woman to ask to see Zeus as he really was, in all his godly glory.

Deadly advice.

The next time Zeus visited her, she begged to be granted whatever she asked of him. (Never a smart deal!)

Zeus reluctantly agreed. And so Semele ordered Zeus to reveal himself in all of his divine glory.
Now, he had a tough choice: would he keep his word and thereby kill the woman? Or would he break his word?

He kept his word.

Semele was incinerated by the heat of his thunderbolts.

Semele, who was pregnant with Zeus's son at the time, perished instantly.

But Zeus rescued the unborn child (who hadn't seen him) and placed him in his thigh. The child was the immortal Dionysus.

Kelley said...

Hi Sandy, I enjoyed your excerpt.

The young gods (Olympic) were too rebellious to bow before the old gods (Titans). But the the old gods and goddesses still had power so Zeus was forced to wed Hera (as an example). Hera was originally a Great Goddess and then in the Olympic myths she is demoted to Zeus's wife. The stories of Hera being a difficult wife are really about an angry goddess who was captured and forced to wed a god she despised.

Rowena Cherry said...

Wow, Susan, what a drama.

So, Zeus may not have wanted to marry Hera, either?

Sandy Lender said...

Ah, Rowena,
I've forgotten my stories. I thought the reason he turned Io into a cow was some sort of protection thing after having revealed his true form. You know...if I had time, I'd love to re-read those old stories. I had an entire class on mythology but it was way back in high school. I think I've done too much with my brain since then...mushy.

One of the things I should make clear is that the gods in my fantasy world don't reflect the folks we see in Bulfinch's Mythology. My folks fall into categories of gods and lesser gods, but they don't have that funky, "allow me to punish thee for staring too long at my greatness" feel that the Greek gods gave me. Maybe not everyone read The Iliad and The Odyssey the same way I did, but, man, there's a certain "oh, screw the world and bring me some grapes" attitude among the gods that I didn't want mine sporting.

Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Sandy Lender said...

Hi, Kelly!
Thank you for joining us today! I'm glad you liked the excerpt. Hera was a pain sometimes, but, you know, if you're stuck with a "roaming" husband, I guess you're allowed to be a pain. I always pictured her as a crazed lunatic sort of wife...not necessarily with the greasy, outta control hair...but with that sense that she could go completely nuts at any moment so everyone better watch out.

Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Sandy Lender said...

Hey! Is anyone here familiar with David Eddings' Belgariad and Malloreon series? It's been a looooong time since I've read them, but I remember some wonderful gods in there. They didn't walk along with their followers in the story, but they played a "gentle" role. Mr. Eddings drew them well and made them convincing for me.

Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Rowena Cherry said...

I'm not familiar with David Eddings, and I'm not sure about meek gods.

I think I'd rather have larger-than-life, arrogant, tyrannical gods.

What fun it would be (I disclaim all thought association) to assign a mythological god identity to all the members of Congress.

Or of the British Parliament, but we don't see them daily on TV.

I wonder what politics was like around the table in Asgaard or atop Mount Olympus.

Sandy Lender said...

He he he. Urban fantasy is fun, but I'd like to see Congress retain some sense of mortality. I don't think we'll get their retirement or health plans whether they're immortal or not, but at least they'll keep retirement and death in mind if they stay on our level.

Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Rowena Cherry said...


Tee hee. I wonder which one would turn himself into a shower of gold to visit a secluded young woman in a tower?

I think of all the Zeus myths, the way he chose to visit Danae was the most baffling.

Second least attractive (beating out even the bull) for me would be the swan disguise.

Rowena Cherry said...


Serious question. I was looking you up on Amazon, and I see that you have three books listed there.

They all have "Choices..." in the title.

Are they a series?

What inspired you to write a "Choices" series?

Sandy Lender said...

Ah, Rowena, I missed your last comment last night and Google just alerted me to a link back to the blog. I should be a polite guest and answer!

Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings are the books in the series. The first one alludes to the choices that the heroine (who doesn't believe in herself at first) thinks are better made by the gods of her society, not by herself. I kept the "Choices" phrasing because it really carries the theme...there are choices these characters must continue to make for the greater good. (What Choices We Made is a series-supporting chapbook with some yummy stories that didn't fit in the series novels.)
Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."

Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you very much for generously spending so much time on my blog, Sandy!

I expect we will have a few more comments, because not everyone visits midweek, so I'll give you a heads-up.

I hope some readers will follow you to some of your other blog stops on your tour.

Feel free to post again, if you'd like to point out some of the upcoming highlights.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry said...

I am delighted to announce that RKCharron is the winner of my prize, an autographed copy of Insufficient Mating Material.

Congratulations, RKC

Please contact me at your convenience with your mailing address at rowena (at)

Ladybird said...

I love your blog and just found it! Book sound great and very interesting on Sandy Lender...thank you for sharing. Looking forward to more from you.