Friday, February 10, 2023

My Best Friend Athena by Dana Hammer

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dana Hammer will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What books were your favorite as a youth and why?

I really disliked children’s literature, so I didn’t read any of the typical Sweet Valley High/Babysitters Club/Narnia stuff. I mostly read Stephen King, John Saul, Edgar Allen Poe, and VC Andrews. In retrospect, some of that stuff was probably not appropriate, but it’s what I liked. And I’m pretty much fine.

What book is on your nightstand currently?

I’m currently reading a romantic comedy called Would You Rather?. It’s about a young woman who marries her friend to get his health insurance, because she needs a kidney transplant, and wants to go back to school full time, and can’t keep her job. It’s a only marriage of convenience, because they’re JUST FRIENDS. I wonder what will happen! So far it’s a pretty fun read, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m also reading a book about stalking called The Book of You. It’s the opposite of Would You Rather — the tone is scary, serious, and sad. It makes me want to tell everyone I know that if they have a stalker, TELL ME. I will be your stalker buddy, and come with you to the grocery store and the bank and whatever. You don’t have to deal with it alone! But I don’t think I know anyone who’s currently being stalked, so this kind of feels like an empty offer.

What would you write in a letter to your teen self?

Dear Dana,

1) Snickers bars are not a healthy lunch.
2) Mozzarella sticks and coke are not a healthy breakfast.
3) Don’t go to that expensive private college you’re thinking of going to — it’s not for you, and you will transfer out after one year, much poorer, and not better educated.
4) Make better romantic choices.
5) Take all those bumper stickers off your car — you think they’re funny, but they make you look like trash.

What reality show would you like to be on?

I don’t know if it counts as a reality show, but I’d like to be on “Is It Cake?” I am really, really good at knowing if it’s cake. I would win every time.

What four literary characters would you like to have over for dinner?

1) Ignatius J. Reilly, from A Confederacy of Dunces. Not because I want to be friends with him — I don’t — but I think he would be very amusing to hang out with — once. I want him to play his lute for me, and I want to hear his thoughts on 2023 TV shows.

2) Arturo Binewski, from Geek Love. I mean…he’s a circus freak who starts a cult that makes people cut off their limbs. How could I not want to meet someone like that? That dude has some stories, and some fascinating thoughts in his head.

3) Bertha, the mad wife from Jane Eyre. I mean, was she even mad? Or was she just inconvenient? But let’s say she was totally insane — the woman needed help, not to be locked in an attic. I would feed her, and get her any psychiatric care she needed.

4) Jamie Fraser, from Outlander. I don’t feel like this needs explanation.

Fanny Fitzpatrick has the coolest best friend ever. Athena is smart, and pretty, and brave, and kind. Fanny loves her friend, but sometimes, she feels a little jealous of how perfect Athena is.

But even “perfect” girls make mistakes, and Athena makes a big one when she accidentally turns the school bully into a cockroach. He was picking on their friend Gemma and Athena lost her temper and her magic powers just slipped out right in front of Fanny.

Now Fanny knows that Athena isn’t an ordinary girl – she’s the reincarnation of a Greek goddess, powers and all – and now she needs Fanny and Gemma’s help to hunt down the bully-turned-cockroach and turn him back into a human boy.

Fanny doesn’t want to spend all her time looking for a cockroach. She’s got the Junior Miss Super Pretty Pageant to prepare for, if she can get over her stage fright. Besides, Athena’s Dad, Zeus, has forbidden the girls from meddling with any more cockroaches or magic, and Zeus is a god you don’t want to mess with.

Fanny has to make a choice. Should she pursue her pageant dreams, or risk Zeus’ wrath to find the cockroach-boy? What’s the right thing to do? And how do you hunt down a cockroach anyway?

Read an Excerpt

By the time I get home, everyone in town knows about Daniel’s disappearance, including my mom, which explains why she grabs me as soon as I walk in the door, like I’ve just returned from war or something. She hugs me so tightly I’m pretty sure it damages my intestines. “Honey, I’m so glad you’re home. Where were you?”

“Athena’s. Remember? I told you where I was gonna be.”

“A boy’s gone missing! I had no idea where you were! I was terrified.”

This is what happens when a kid goes missing. Your mom completely forgets about any conversations you had earlier in the day, because all she can think about is the fact that a kid is missing, and it scrambles her brains.

“I’m sorry you were worried, Mom. boy’s gone missing, you say?”

I’m such a bad actress.

“Yes! It’s all over the news. I got an amber alert just a few minutes ago. His name was Daniel Doyle. I think they said he went to your school. Do you know this boy?”

I panic inside. What am I supposed to say? “Yeah, I know him, and he’s a total douche-nozzle, and Athena turned him into a cockroach, but it’s ok. We’re working on it.”

No. I can not say that to my mom. Instead, I will deny everything.



I can tell that my mom doesn’t believe me. She has that skeptical look on her face that she gets when I lie. Probably because I’m a terrible liar. I can’t look her in the eyes, and my face turns bright red. It’s the worst.

About the Author:
Dana Hammer is a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. She has won over forty awards and honors for her writing, few of which generated income, all of which were deeply appreciated. She is not a cannibal, but she is the author of A Cannibals Guide to Fasting. Dana is also the author of middle grade fantasy My Best Friend Athena which was inspired by a desire to write something her 9 year old daughter could read.



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