Monday, September 07, 2009

Politics, tyranny, and romance (guest blog)

Who loves a tyrant?

I do... Just a bit. When I read about C.L. Talmadge, I knew that we had more than one thing in common.

Can you guess or deduce what it is? Read on...


History is littered with tyrants’ blood-stained efforts to obtain ever more political power.

The ultimate power grab, however, is spiritual. It is the absolute height of presumption for any person or institution to stand between individuals and the divine and lay claim to the only path to heaven.

Even more menacing is the clash of piety, politics, and passion. This combustible collision is the backdrop of a heretofore unknown history, a vanished past chronicled in the Green Stone of Healing® speculative epic.

This hidden tale is really herstory. Four generations of protagonists are strong-willed females whose lives are at the epicenter of the power struggles of their theocratic island nation, known as Azgard. So are their loves.

Azgard is the perfect setting for politics, tyranny, and romance. The priests of the state-sponsored Temple of Kronos have far-reaching power. They preach the superiority of the island’s dominant Toltecs — a tall, red-skinned people with black hair and eyes — and forbid sexual contact with the subservient race, the pale, golden-haired Turanians. They do not hesitate to mete out severe punishment for any infraction of their religious edicts.

The stated reasons for such laws are only half the story. The Temple also fears the strange, legendary abilities of half-breeds as a threat to its status and spiritual legitimacy. Half-breeds display the paranormal abilities that the priests used to possess but lost, and are trying desperately to reclaim to maintain their hold on power.

Along comes a romance, however, that defies this cruel social order. One of the highest-ranked, most powerful Toltec lords falls deeply in love with a Turanian woman. She refuses to marry him, but of their secret liaison is born, in a nation far to the east, a half-breed child, a daughter named Helen Andros.

Thirty-one years later, after Helen has returned to Azgard motherless and grown into an adult, her full parentage becomes public, igniting a political firestorm and launching the tale of the stone.

The revelation that Helen is the child of this powerful Toltec lord shakes the foundations of power. The top ranks of the Temple are divided on how to deal with her, as her very existence flouts their rules. One faction wants to slay her, and strives to bring about her death. Another group, however, wants to use Helen and create more half-breeds as tools in a tyrannical quest for absolute power.

The latter bloc eventually assumes control of the Temple and its leader launches his hidden agenda. The consequences are ever greater brutality and chaos. The Temple and its supporters eventually splinter into many groups that fight each other and prey on the vulnerable populace. Goons patrol Azgard armed with guns and motivated by murderous righteousness, waving holy writ as their justification for violence and greater repression.

Throughout this descent into madness, Helen and her descendents learn to use their green gem to offer a loving, inclusive alternative to theocrats and other wannabe tyrants, whose lust for absolute power destroys them and almost annihilates the rest of the world, too.

Even in the darkest hours, however, the heroines find love and romance to sustain them to a new beginning, where they hope their experiences will stand as a sharp reminder about the dangers of tyranny and the limits of power.

C.L. Talmadge is the author of the Green Stone of Healing® speculative epic. The fourth in the series, Outcast, will be published Oct. 1. Vote for the first book, The Vision, through Sept. 25 and get a free e-book on healing, love, and spirituality. Details at her blog:

The series features four generations of strong-willed female characters who inherit a mysterious green gem ultimately revealed to mend broken bones and broken hearts, protect against missiles, and render its wearers undetectable.
For more information about each book, please visit

C.L. Talmadge's blog tour stops can be found here:

Tour/book one

I'm delighted not only to be able to share C.L. Talmadge's guest blog post about politics, tyranny and romance with my readers, but to offer a prize of my own to one commentator (of my chosing): a rare, printed copy of my short story, Mating Net.

So, please weigh in on politics, tyranny, and romance!


Rowena Cherry said...

Welcome, CL Talmadge. Thank you for your guest blog.

I see you enjoy mixing mythologies as much as I do. My own intention was to imply that all our human myths about gods come from the same alien source.

What fascinates you about Norse and Graeco-Roman gods?

Margo J said...

Wow - this series sounds amazing! I really love how the women are strong and centred, even through all this strife, and the mystical stone is like a type of amulet - what might happen if it was lost or stolen?

Rowena Cherry said...


That is an excellent question. Thank you for asking. I hope CL will give you an insight from her series.

Meanwhile, your question reminds me of another story about a magical stone. It was/is Lisa Shearin's series Magic Lost, Trouble Found, and the first sequel Armed And Magical.

A very important mystical stone like an amulet has been stolen, and several dangerous and powerful factions (elves, goblins, humans and more) are all trying to recover it.

The narrator and heroine of Lisa's series is a Seeker (nothing to do with Quiddich) who has a special talent for detecting and recovering lost and stolen magical items.

Margo J said...

That looks like another good read - and another thing I like about these books is they're part of a series; I think if you find a good series it can be really satisfying as you can watch the characters grow and go on new adventures.

Rowena Cherry said...

My feelings exactly, Margo.

And, I am so pleased to chat with a reader who loves a series.

How many books do you think is the perfect length for a series?

Is three the charm? Is eight too many?
I'd honestly love to know what you think.

Rowena Cherry said...

Power and romance, welcome and unwelcome, are central points in my new novel from Dragon Moon Press, Scimitar Moon!

Posted on behalf of Chris A Jackson

Margo J said...

Three is definitely the minimum for me, but sometimes that's not enough - 4 can round out the series and explore the lives of the characters in depth, but not draw it out too much. I think once you get into 6, 7, 8 - that may get confusing and maybe its time to explore other stories, but you can always revisit the original series after some time has passed.

Rowena Cherry said...

I think the Harry Potter series may be an exception, because each school year was a logical progression.

But, it wasn't a romance.
Nevertheless, keeping up with the back story was increasingly tough.

Tory Richards said...

Hey, just saw your post on facebook.I think I read something about this over at goddess a couple days ago. I watched the trailer, too. They did a great job on it.

Much luck CL!

Rowena Cherry said...

Hey, Tory,

Thank you for popping over. I'm having GoddessFish do a trailer for me.... just to try and reach the youtube crowd and attract some votes for Insufficient Mating Material in a social networking contest!

$40 is very reasonable.

I like your atavar, btw.

Rowena Cherry said...

Tell us about the trailer making experience.

Was it good for you?

Angel Martinez said...

That all myth may have the same source may not even require alien intervention :) Certainly INdo-European myths can all be traced back to the same root sources, and all gods have their cognates in each divergent tradition.

I love this stuff!

And series length...a series should be as long as it takes to tell the story. I know, that doesn't really answer the question but as long as there is something new to say or some new storylien to explore, it can be sustainable.

Stefanie Worth said...

Rowena --
Interesting note about Harry Potter and the backlog of backstory. We noticed in the latest movie that Harry was using the map but there was no mention of the how or why it worked or what it did. The viewer was left to assume that, I suppose. So when is backstory no longer a necessary element to understanding the current story?

Margo J said...

I definitely agree that like with Harry Potter, the series should continue if it follows some sort of logical timeline (certain amont of school years, etc). For other series though, too many can leave me wanting for a new change of pace.

Also, you're right; I think it's slightly different if it's romance; there are family sagas and such, but I don't know the mass market popularity of those.

Linda LaRoque said...

This series sounds intriguing. I'd also be curious to know what happens if the stone leaves the possession of those intended to have it.

Chris Redding said...

I don't read much spec fiction, but this sounds very interesting!

Chris Redding said...

Oh and check out an excerpt on my blog Tuesday form Phyllice Bragnar and Morgan St. James.

Rowena Cherry said...


How delightful to meet another booklover who is interested in India mythology (and of course, the European myths).

Can you think of any gods more tyrannical (CL Talmadge's topic was tyranny) than those of India?

Did you see the TV movie of The Far Pavillions?

Thank you so much for adding to the discussion!

Angel Martinez said...

*g* The gods of India are forces of nature and there is no greater tyranny than Nature herself.

Only the Aztec gods, who demanded the hearts of the living, are more tyrannical.

I didn't get a chance to see Far Pavilions, sadly.

Rowena Cherry said...


That is a fascinating point about the map. It has been 18 months (or more) since I read the book, but I feel confident that the book covered everything.

My editor held up J K Rowlings as an example to me of the perfect way to treat "backstory", and so it was my delight and pleasure to re-read all the Potter books (up to the time my editor said that) to analyze how J K Rowlings did it.

On the other hand, in defense of the movie (and in praise of my new spectacles), the map did have labels, so it was possible to see names attached to whose footprints were stomping around.

As for your other point... I don't know. If there is a family tree, will readers look at it? If there is a Dear Reader letter in the front matter, will enthusiastic new readers find it?

That's why I'd be nervous about continuing a series beyond three or four novels.

My publisher seems to cut the page/word allowance by about 10,000 with every new contract.

If I'm only to be allowed 80,000 words for the next story, it had better be a stand-alone!

Rowena Cherry said...

Oh, heavens! The hearts of the living. Yes. That is atrocious. I stand corrected.

However, fiery suttee, and also killing someone by having an elephant stand on him is also quite barbaric... But, the gods didn't demand that.

Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you, Linda.

I hope that C L Talmadge will answer your question. It is a good one!

Rowena Cherry said...

Thank you for the link, Chris. Your blog for Tuesday sounds fascinating, and I shall be delighted to check in!

Frances said...

Tyrany is a fertile field. And spiritual tyrany is the most heinous of all tyranies. Your premise sounds fascinating.

If you are writing about religion, especially the mythologies which are made in the image of man... you can get away with murder. Mixing and inventing them is fun.

However, if you are writing about a diety, the problem that I have seen is that writers simply don't make their dieties big enough.

SiNn said...

Welcome CL talmadge your work sounds aweosme i have to say i never relaly thought o tarrny and roamnce and politics much till i heard about your work i have to say for real tho sounds amazing and ROwena i love your work would be aweomse to get my hands on a print copy of mating net for sure

mytholigy has always intriegued me so seeing authors who add it to their books makes me want to read their work even more

Rowena Cherry said...


What a wonderful point. How big should the perfect deity be in your view?

How would a romance writer go about satisfying the requirements?

How did Zeus measure up?

Rowena Cherry said...


You are in luck as regards mythology. A considerable number of fiction authors are writing myth-based stories at the moment.

Thank you for joining in!

C.L. Talmadge said...

First, thanks so much to Rowena for providing space on her blog for my post, a terrific topic, and a lively discussion!

I'll try to answer some of your questions. Interestingly, no one except the wearer of the stone and one or two other characters ever realizes how important it is. Its true potential remains hidden for good reason. Occasionally a heroine must part with the stone, but she always reunites with it before long. The stone draws itself to the person most suited to use it.

How long is too long over a series? My series chronicles four generations of women. Helen is going strong in Book Five (being written), but soon her story will give way to her daughter's. So you could say my series is a string of related mini-series about four generations of heroines. This gives readers a change of pace and of issues, since each woman has her strengths, weaknesses, and spiritual challenges.

Making the trailer was simple for me. I suppled the art, copy, and music (mostly already completed). Goddess Fish sweated bullets to make it. Marianne Arkins did a beautiful job with a tough subject!

Rowena Cherry said...

Winner of the print copy of Mating Net...

Law of averages rules!

Margo J, thank you for all your posts. You have won the print copy of Mating Net.

Please email me with your street address at rowena at

Use "Print Copy of Mating Net" as the subject line. I get a lot of spam.

Congratulations! And thank you again for your support.