Wednesday 5 June 2019

Join Anna Belfrage as she talks about the myth that sparked the inspiration for her wonderful series — The Wanderer #AncientGreekMyths #Inspiration #mustread @abelfrageauthor #GreekMyth #amwriting #

A myth that sparked a story
An Author’s Inspiration
By Anna Belfrage

First of all, thank you Mary Anne for the invite to visit your marvellous blog—again. Today, I thought I’d share with you the myth that sparked the inspiration that resulted in my series The Wanderer, the story of two people who lived, lost and died  3 000 years ago. Now Jason and Helle are back, but will they make it to a Happily Ever After this time round?

”So why Jason?” Helle settled herself closer to him and extended her legs towards the crackling fire in the hearth.


“Why did she name you Jason? Your first mother?”

“Ah.” He slid her a sidelong glance, his mouth twitching slightly. “It no longer scares you sideways to accept that I have had many, many mothers?

”Oh, it does.” More to the point, it scared the daylights out of her to realise that she too had also had a long, long line of mothers prior to the one she had in this life—none of whom she remembered, thank God.

“It’s a bit like asking why your long-dead first father named you Helle, isn’t it?”

“Nope.” Helle had but the vaguest memories of this ancient man, a blurry image of a large man with a head of fair curls and a beard to match. “It made sense for him to name me Helle.” She grinned. “I am, after all, a descendant of Helios himself.”

Jason snorted. “So you believe all that stuff about Aries, the Golden Ram, and the two children he saved?”

“Phrixus and Helle.” She smiled. “I’m not sure I believe it, but at least it explains why I was named Helle—after the little girl who rode with her brother on the Golden Ram but fell off when she heard the mermaids singing—hence the Hellespont.”

“Hmm, yes. And so Phrixus arrived in Kolchis without a sister but with a golden ram who quickly became a golden fleece, the most prized possession of the king of Kolchis.” Jason leaned forward to add some more wood to the fire. “It’s dangerous to have prized possessions. Makes all sorts come looking for them.”

“Yeah. And in this particular case, the one who came looking was Jason—and the Argonauts.” She ran her hand through Jason’s thick, mahogany coloured hair. “I wonder if he looked like you.”

“I hope not,” Jason muttered. “That namesake of mine was not only a thief, but also a breaker of vows.”

“Ah, yes.” She snuggled into his arms. “Tell me,” she said.

He laughed softly and hugged her close. “Like a bedtime story?”

“Yes. I love it when you tell me stories.”

He sat silent for a while. “This was all very long ago, in the times when Troy still stood and heroes like Heracles walked the earth. In fact, Heracles was one of the Argonauts, having joined Jason and several other famous Greek heroes aboard the mythical ship Argo. As to Jason, let’s just say he had a tough childhood, but at least he had Hera, the goddess, on his side.”

“He was raised by a centaur, wasn’t he?” Helle said.

“He was. Poor little baby, hidden away so that his uncle wouldn’t murder him. Once Jason grew up, he set off on a quest to find his destiny. Ironically, it was Jason’s uncle, Pelias, who lumbered Jason with the task of stealing the Golden Fleece and bringing it back to Greece. Pelias probably hoped Jason would die during the course of the journey, sparing him the effort to murder him. After all, the throne Pelias occupied rightfully belonged to Jason’s father. But where Pelias never saw Jason’s weak father as a threat, he quickly realised Jason was far more dangerous.

As we all know, Jason didn’t die. Instead, after numerous adventures, he and his companions arrived in Kolchis where they were met with polite distrust by King Aeetes. The man was no fool, and all these handsome Greek heroes probably made him very nervous, but the kings of Kolchis were not only kings, they were also powerful wizards, so the Golden Fleece was protected by a dangerous dragon and thereby impossible to steal.  Unless, of course, one had help from someone as magically skilled as the king of Kolchis.”

Helle sat up. “This would be like Sam’s ancestor, wouldn’t it?” She grimaced. Samion, wizard prince of Kolchis was no favourite of hers, neither in his first reincarnation or in this his latest, as powerful financial mogul Sam Woolf.

“Yes. And yours.”

“Eeuuuw!!!” She shook herself. Just the thought that she shared some DNA—however little—with Sam had her breaking out in hives.

“Going back to our story,” Jason said, “King Aeetes decided to have some fun with his somewhat unwelcome guests. He promised Jason the fleece if he would perform three tasks for him: he was to yoke the fire-breathing Khalkotauri oxen to the plough and plough a field, he was to sow the field with the teeth of a dragon and take care of the resulting crop and then, as a final test, he was to bypass the guardian dragon. If he survived all these three tests, Aeetes would happily give him the Golden Fleece. Thing was, no mortal man could approach those oxen without being burned to a crisp, and as to those dragon teeth, who knew what crop would spring from them? 

Jason quickly concluded that the only way to survive these tests was to convince the king’s daughter, Medea, to help him. Medea was beautiful and I don’t think our hero found it that much of a hardship to woo her. And she, well she had never met a man as handsome as Jason, a man whose mere presence had her heart racing—this very much with the help of Aphrodite and Eros, whom the goddess Hera had roped in to help her protect her precious Jason.”

“So he never fell in love with her?” Helle asked, while in her mind a shadowy figure of a young woman with dark, dark hair and arresting eyes took shape.

“I don’t think so.” Jason sounded sad. “A means to an end, that’s what she was. Anyway; the besotted Medea helped Jason overcome the three challenges on condition that he would marry her and take her with him when he left. This Jason promised to do, and soon enough Jason had the Golden Fleece in one hand, Medea in the other, and was running for his life with an enraged Aeetes in pursuit. The king claimed trickery and treachery—his own daughter had helped this Greek upstart steal their most precious family heirloom.

Jason and Medea made it to the Argo. The Argonauts threw themselves on their oars to attempt to outrun the ships from Kolchis, but Aeetes was gaining on them—until Medea compounded her sins by killing her brother and throwing his dismembered corpse in the sea. Aeetes howled in grief and rage, ordering his ships to stop and salvage the bits and pieces of his son that were bobbing in the water.”

“Poor Medea. So in love with a man she not only betrayed her house but also committed fratricide,” Helle said. “I wonder what Jason thought of that.”

“He seems to have been a man with a Machiavellian approach to things,” Jason said drily. “You know, the ends justify the means. In this case, a dead boy ensured the Golden Fleece could be delivered to Greece, with Jason returning as a conquering hero—and with the enigmatic sorceress Medea by his side. Quite the power-duo, those two, and for several years they rubbed along quite happily, with various little incidents along the way.” Jason shook his head. “Medea was one rather blood-thirsty woman, as demonstrated by the time she tricked King Pelias’ daughters to kill their own father, promising them that once the old man had been slaughtered and placed in the pot, a young, vital man would leap forth—just as it did when Medea gave them a demonstration with a ram. Except, of course, that when the poor girls tried to reanimate the various body parts of their dead papa, nothing happened.”

“Ugh!” Helle said.

“Ugh indeed. Medea would say she was merely exacting revenge on behalf of her husband, whose throne King Pelias has usurped.” He stroked her head. “She did love him, I think. She loved Jason to distraction, gave him a dozen children or so, and then, just like that, he falls in love with Glauce, the pretty daughter of the king of Corinth. Medea was devastated. And angry. So she sent Glauce a poisoned dress and coronet, thereby murdering Jason’s beloved. She then fled for her life, with an enraged Jason in pursuit.”

“Wait, wait. What about her kids? She killed them, didn’t she?”

Jason smiled. “Not in the versions I first heard.”

She rolled her eyes.  Just because he remembered every single one of his fifty-odd lives…

“In Euripides’ play, Medea murders two of her sons,” Jason continued. “Prior to that version, there was no mention of any baby killing, just a woman harnessing sun-dragons to her chariot and fleeing due east, returning at last to Kolchis.”

“So what happened to all her kids?”

“No idea. I guess they stayed with their father. That’s the way it was until relatively recently: children belonged with their father, not with their mother.”

“And Jason?”

“Ah, Jason. Well, Hera was most displeased with him for having betrayed his vows to Medea. Without Hera’s protection, life unravelled for Jason and he was to spend his remaining years very much alone. One night, as he was sleeping under the shadow of the rotting Argo, he was crushed to death by a part of its keel. The ship that carried him on his greatest adventures thereby also became the cause of his death—a rather elegant element of poetic justice.”

Jason looked down his nose at her. “And the reason why my long-gone mother named me Jason was because she was sick and tired of hearing your father go on and on about how you were all descended from the sun god himself. My name was supposed to serve as a reminder that sometimes the most precious things we have can be stolen away from those we least expect to do so.”

Helle cupped his cheek. “Like you stole my heart away.”

“Wrong way round, Helle. You stole mine the first time I saw you.” He brushed a long digit down her cheek. “And then you stole my soul forever in a glade that shimmered in dappled sunlight, with the wind whispering love songs in the poplars overhead.”  

“Huh,” Helle said, clearing her throat of a wad of emotion. “I guess there’s some sort of divine justice in the fact that Medea and Jason never made it to the happily ever after.” She pressed herself closer, her ear to his chest. “Will we, do you think?”

“I don’t know, my lioness.” His arms tightened round her. “But I will do everything I can to make it happen. Seems to me we bloody deserve a happy ending after all these long, long fruitless years.”

Yes, Helle though. They sure did. But deserving didn’t mean getting… She gulped down a wave of fear. Tonight, things were okay in her world. Tonight, she lay safe in her Jason’s arms. She’d worry about that damned vindictive bastard Sam Woolf tomorrow.  Yes, tomorrow.

A Torch In His Heart
 (The Wanderer Book 1)

In the long lost ancient past, two men fought over the girl with eyes like the Bosporus under a summer sky. It ended badly. She died. They died. 

Since then, they have all tumbled through time, reborn over and over again. Now they are all here, in the same place, the same time and what began so long ago must finally come to an end.

Ask Helle Madsen what she thinks about reincarnation and she’ll laugh in your face. Besides, Helle has other stuff to handle, what with her new, exciting job in London and her drop-dead but seriously sinister boss, Sam Woolf. And then one day Jason Morris walks into her life and despite never having clapped eyes on him before, she recognises him immediately. Very weird. Even more weird is the fact that Sam and Jason clearly hate each other’s guts. Helle’s life is about to become extremely complicated and far too exciting.

Smoke In Her Eyes

(The Wanderer Book 2)

Six months ago, Helle Madsen would have described herself as normal. Now she no longer knows if that terms applies, not after her entire life has been turned upside down by the reappearance of not one, but two, men from her very, very distant past.

Helle Madsen never believed in mumbo-jumbo stuff like reincarnation—until she came face to face with Jason Morris, a man who purportedly had spent fifty lives looking for her. Coping with being reunited with the lover from her ancient past was one thing. Having Sam Woolf, her vindictive nemesis from that same ancient past join the party was a bit too much. Suddenly, Helle finds herself the reluctant heroine of a far-flung, time-transcending epic story, one in which pain and loss seem to play a very big part.

This time round, Jason and Helle are determined to make it to the happily ever after. Unfortunately, Sam Woolf will stop at nothing to crush them. That ride into the golden sunset seems awfully far away at times…

Anna Belfrage

Find out more about Anna and her books on her website or on her Amazon page. Follow her on FB or Twitter. And as to Jason and Helle, the first book in the series is A Torch in His Heart, the second, Smoke in Her Eyes, was released in March 2019.


  1. Thank you for hosting me, Mary Anne!

  2. I am normally not a fan of time travel, but after reading this I think I have two new books to add to my TBR. The stories sound spellbinding. Thanks for introducing me!

  3. Such an interesting post, Anna. I so enjoyed The King's Greatest Enemy series, I shall have to check out your new book!


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Mary Anne xxx