Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What's Up Wednesday with J.A. Rock

Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and I’m touring the internet with my new release, MINOTAUR, a queer fantasy/horror reimagining of the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. And there’s a giveaway involved! I’m giving one reader a chance to win Lost in a Jigsaw, the puzzle that nearly destroyed my sanity a few years ago (but provided hours of fun, I swear), as well as a $15 Riptide voucher.

Thanks so much to the host blogs for having me, and to everyone following
the tour.  Here’s today’s look at MINOTAUR.

Thanks, Eagles

When I was a kid, I thought the song “Hotel California” by the Eagles was about the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur. I’m not sure where I got that idea. I’ve checked online since then to see if that’s actually a thing, or if it’s just in my head. It looks like it might have been in my head.

I get that “Hotel California” involves a hotel, and California, and a captain, and all kinds of things that don’t exactly scream Greek mythology. But I guess my child brain wanted to believe the hotel was a metaphor for the labyrinth. Mostly because of this part:

And in the master’s chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast.

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before.

To me, it sounded like the song was about that guy who stabbed the bull-man in the maze that no one could get out of. But then, I had a lot of unusual interpretations of the world around me when I was a kid. I think I drew more on my “Hotel California” associations in writing Minotaur than on the actual Greek myth. The labyrinth in Minotaur is based on all the things I saw when I used to listen to “Hotel California”: strange rooms, endless hallways, creepy feasts, mysterious voices, a beast you could stab without killing…

I like to think I had some kind of grand plan with Minotaur—that I took an organized, intellectual approach to the retelling of the myth. That I did tons of research into different artists’ interpretations of what the Cretan labyrinth looked like and carefully crafted my own labyrinth based on that.

When really I just spent too much of my childhood listening to the Eagles.

Do you guys have any songs that sparked your imagination as children—or now? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments!


Know this: I am not a warrior. I am a disease.

When I was six, my parents died.

When I was sixteen, I was locked away in Rock Point Girls’ Home. Nobody wants to deal with a liar. An addict. A thief.

Nobody except Alle. She is pure, and she’s my friend in spite of all the rotten things I am. 

There was once another girl like me—long ago. A cast-off daughter. A lying little beast who left a red stain across the land with her terrible magic. She’s imprisoned now in a maze high up on the cliffs. They say she’s half woman, half bull. They say she dines on human tributes and guards a vast treasure. They say she was born wicked.

But I know her better than the history books or stories do. She and I dream together. Our destinies are twisted up like vines.

Except I’m not going to turn out wicked like she is. I can save myself by destroying her. I’m going to break out of this place, and I’m going to enter the labyrinth and take her heart.

And once I’m redeemed, maybe Alle will love me.

Minotaur is currently available from Riptide Publishing.

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take the Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All the World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.


Thanks for being part of the tour! To celebrate this release, I’m giving one commenter Lost in a Jigsaw, the award winning maze puzzle—all the pieces fit together, so the only way to know if you've put it together correctly is to solve the maze. If this sounds too much like torture, rest assured that you also get a $15 Riptide voucher. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way to contact you. On October 26th, I’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments. Contest is not limited to US entries. If you’d like, follow the whole tour—the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win!


  1. interesting about the song

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  2. Thanks for the post! It's interesting what associations we make as kids.

  3. The puzzle sounds awesome.


  4. Can't think of a song offhand, but I'll never hear "Hotel California" the same way again!

    --Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, everyone! Laurie, the puzzle is fantastic. :)

  6. It sounds really great! The puzzle sounds like a lot of fun.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com