Today I am so pleased to welcome Angel Martinez to Joyfully Jay. Angel has come to talk to us about her release, Brandywine Investigations: Open for Business. She has also brought along an excerpt to share. Please join me in giving Angel a big welcome!
Unicorns are Ancient
We’ve had a lot of discussion in the community lately about bisexuality. Since I self-label that way, I’ve watched with equal parts cringing and interest. But I’m not here to talk about who does it right or wrong, or even if there is a right or wrong. This post has a more positive purpose.
Bisexual people see the unicorn as their symbol because they are fabulous, glorious creatures who fart rainbow glitter…what? Fine. OK. The unicorn, for us, represents one of the most insidious, prevalent myths about bi people – that our very existence is a myth. That we don’t actually exist. The symbolism does not negate in any way individual fabulousness, of course. But I’m here to share something else about unicorns.
Unicorns are ancient.
The oldest surviving written story in human history, the Epic of Gilgamesh, was probably first written on tablets about 2100 BCE or so. That’s not to say Gilgamesh is the oldest human story. We were telling each other stories for thousands of years before that, probably soon after we started to construct language, but it’s the oldest written work we still have, over four thousand years old. The hero of that epic? He was a unicorn, er, bisexual.
It’s difficult to pin down exactly what Gilgamesh’s relationship with Enkidu was, hard to parse implication and nuances of language without a living native speaker, but many scholars agree that the physical relationship is pretty darn evident. Even if you happen to be one of those scholars who disagrees, there’s no question at all that Gilgamesh loved Enkidu fiercely, so much so that he fell into a dark depression after Enkidu’s death and went on a quest for immortality because he became stuck in the grief cycle and couldn’t accept Enkidu’s passing.
Ancient people didn’t have a term for bisexuality. It wasn’t an issue. You loved whom you loved and you lusted after whom you lusted after. Big deal. This is nowhere more apparent than in Ancient Greek myths where, okay, some of the gods were horrible, selfish, rapey horndogs, but the majority of them were also bi. Think about that a second. An entire pantheon of openly fabulous unicorns. Now try to understand how important that was to a unicorn child who didn’t have anyone to talk to about these things. No, the illustrated books of myths in the school library didn’t talk about same-sex affairs (and glossed over the opposite-sex ones) but a curious child can find books that are more complete in the public library.
Everything pointed to the Greek gods being important in literature and something one should know about – and they were bi. They’ve been a siren song, so to speak, for me all of these decades, an affirmation that bisexuality is neither new nor shameful. Probably not surprising that I finally got around to writing them.
The premise of Brandywine Investigations is that the gods need human contact to survive, and without active worshippers, they’ve had to join us in the modern world and find gainful employment. As Auntie Hestia says, “Modern gods don’t simply sit about and eat ambrosia. That would be disgraceful.”
When I started out, I picked Hades as the initial main character, and though it’s not as clear that he’s bi in mythology, he is in the stories. Why wouldn’t he be when most of the family is? Hades has always been a favorite of mine, the only one of his brothers to marry and remain faithful, (by most accounts) a serious, dedicated god who had stepped aside when his brothers wanted the sea and sky, who knew he had a job to do and did it well. We come across him at a turning point in his immortal life, a real Rubicon moment, but for all that, you’ll have to read the book. 😉 Brandywine Investigations: Open for Business is an omnibus edition containing the first three stories in the series, all expanded and gussied up for their new edition.
(From No Enemy But Time)
Stars salted the sky above the Brandywine. The lights from the city allowed only the brightest through. It had been the most difficult thing to accept, coming to dwell in a human city, this need for continual light. As if the half-dark contained fewer shadows. As if night creatures would lose their menace and crawl away in fear.
The streetlights and stadium lights, illumination from parking garages and skyscrapers, they all merely served to create deeper shadows. Peering into those shadows, the hair on the back of Hades’ neck stood on end. On this crisp spring night, something new lurked there.
From his spot on the sofa, long legs stretched out in front of him, Charon the Ferryman glanced up from his e-reader, black eyes taking a moment to focus as he struggled back from whatever fictitious place he had been visiting. “My lord?”
“I’m going out for a bit.”
“Do you want—?”
“No, no. Stay here with Nike. I won’t be long. Something feels…wrong.”
Charon regarded him steadily. “That might be the best possible reason to take us with you.”
“I’ll be fine.” Hades patted Charon’s bony shoulder as he strode past. “I’ll call you if I run into trouble.”
“You say that. Then you don’t call. Then you come staggering home broken and bleeding. I’m not shampooing these carpets again.”
“We’ll call in a service,” Hades offered dryly as he shrugged into his leather duster. “An hour. No more. If I’m not home by eleven, come find me.”
“And if I hear screaming?”
Hades considered a moment, his hand on the doorknob. “Come find me earlier.”
When humans forsake the temples, the gods need to find other employment. Hades opens Brandywine Investigations after his divorce and his subsequent move to the modern world. If he was hoping for boring infidelity cases and lost dogs, he’s sorely mistaken as murder and mayhem find his agency and his extended family at an astonishing rate. Includes:
Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses: Brandywine Investigations #1
Newly divorced, Hades moves to the human world to try detective work. In attempting to soothe his broken heart, he may risk having it shattered.
No Enemy But Time: Brandywine Investigations #2
Zagreus (Zack), the son of Hades, and his former guardian angel, Michael, live a quiet life until Michael experiences strange mood swings and a dark stranger appears in the garden one night. Zack will need to battle time itself or lose both his hard-won peace and the love of his immortal life.
Dragons, Diamonds & Discord: Brandywine Investigations #3
High-ticket items are vanishing from Hermes’ jewelry stores. He may be the god of thieves, but he doesn’t appreciate someone stealing from him.
While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
For more information on Angel’s work, please visit: