Friday, January 31, 2014

Perspective... It's All Relative!

Life is all relative, isn't it?

No doubt, the love a person would do anything for, even kill or die for, doesn't have to be grander than most, just grander and deeper than that one partner has ever felt before. My next short story - nothing more than a few paragraphs in progress right now - has me looking at the meaning of relativity in relationships.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Surviving the Pornocalypse... You Won't Believe Who's Being Targeted and Why!

The Pornocalypse?

So, I stumbled upon this blog post by Selena Kitt, see my recent review of one of her books here, and though I wasn't too concerned at first. I mean, really, I don't write porn, why should I care. But, nevertheless I did scroll down through her post and I got a little worried. For the first time in my life, I am the target of some dubious censoring.

Selena Kitts starts off her post with some intriguing "facts." Why the parentheses (my addition)? Well, over and over she states that erotica is the reason the Kindle and all its related accessories and release editions are due to the large number of erotica - or, porn, as she calls it - available for public purchase through Amazon, at least until recently, and able to be read "in secret" by hordes of women who were too ashamed to read the same books with the covers visible to everyone and their neighbor. She states all this, but without any sort of real facts backing up her assertions.

It is not that I doubt her premise, as I, and I think Ms. Kitts as well, do enjoy the anonymity of the Kindle to do exactly what it is she thinks we, as women, are doing out of sight and censorship of the public at large. But, what kind of data does she have that proves this is why the majority of Kindles are sold - I mean, how do you explain all the other women, men, and kids out there with them... folks, who certainly, may be reading mass amounts of erotica, but how can you be sure?

Is it that her sales have doubled, tripled, quadrupled in the past five years since the Kindle's hit mainstream which is driving her assumptions? Because, I'm sorry, but I could claim that maybe the higher sales were a result not so much in the call for a secret way to read erotica, but instead because she sells a large number of what would be called "novellas" instead of full-length novels. And, as I have discovered, the Kindle is a perfect solution for authors writing novellas - as novellas really never did that well in bookstores and in print (something about too high costs for not much quantity), but electronically, length isn't so much of an issue, as it is in print.

However she backs-up her claim of pushing Kindle into the limelight, I do worry about the rest of her post. I understand, though agree it is a form of legal censorship, for Amazon to hold up a big sign and say, "No nudity on your book cover." Amazon is a resource used by a lot of people and as such, it is okay for them to put a limit, as a business, on what they showcase to their consumers. It is hard to argue against people who dislike the wholesale of porn with covers showing nudity. So, yes, this I understand. And, yes, this I am okay with.

What I am not okay with, and this seems to be the theme of Ms. Kitt's post too, is that Amazon seems unwilling to outright lay down their rules on publishing and selling erotica on their site. According to her post, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what they say is erotica and what they'll ADULT filter and what they won't. I see her point. If you are going to eagerly promote and sell other works of erotica (because they are doing well on booklists and sales other places), but not all works, then there is definitely a problem. A big problem.

Especially for me... as part of Ms. Kitts helpful hints in her post for self-publishers to avoid Amazon's filtering or removal of their book, she lists Amazon's  "Bad Word List." Guess what's included?

"Tentacles and other mythological creatures (minotaurs, centaurs, bigfoot, etc.)"

Well, (pardon my language) shit! Now, all I have to figure out is if this just applies to the cover art/title or the back cover description, too. Uh, what about what I write inside the book? I mean this is my entire publishing life right there in one single line of text. This is not good.

Who's being targeted? Apparently, me.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Greek Myth - Soul Mates

Greek Myth - Imgur (source of the complete visual representation of the myth)

I really hope one day to do this myth proud in an all-encomposing novel about true love, loss, and what life means after losing the one you love and then finding love again. A really nice story.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Review for Double Punch

Review of Tilly Greene's Double Punch. You can find it on Amazon for $4.99.

I have already reviewed another of Ms. Greene’s other works Hephaestus Lays Down the Law when I had wanted to read this work instead. The other work was somewhere, in length, between a short story and novella. One of my critiques about it was the short length, so I can’t tell you how happy I was when Ms. Greene offered to let me read her novel-length work, Double Punch. This was a take on the Castor and Pollux myth, but not as a retelling, as a continuation – what happened after they joined the constellations. Unlike Hephaestus, which I loved because it was set in the ancient world and gave a nice look at a rather forgotten god, Double Punch took place in the moderm world of business.

The twins are brought down from the heavens to join the gods at court – Zeus gives them a new task, one he is being made to offer since their mother won’t let him rest (or enjoy her) until its done. The task: find your true love. The reward: immortality. In other words, find your true love in a given time frame and then you won’t have to return to the stars, but can stay as a god on Olympus. Unique idea, though, not the most creative. The storyline is trite, at best. Also trite, of course, the boys waste all but a few weeks sowing their oats and living large as mortals.

Nevertheless, the perfect woman is found for them by a well-meaning Marcus, an employee, who only wants the best for his handsome employers. Anissa enters the story with an interview chock-full of background story. Reads a bit funny for a business interview, but I did get wrapped up in her history and absolutely loved her name, so moved quickly by the oddity.

What happens next is the worse kind of language and bothersome sexual details. I understand the twins are young, rough, handsome, alpha males, but still, their language is shocking and just kind of seems like Ms. Greene is trying way too hard to sound like a man. Also, never in my wildest dreams would I want anyone trying to romance me to use the language these two use while trying to seduce poor Anissa. She seems so kind, so gentle, so much like the perfect girl, the cute girl-next-door, that when she says she likes her sex rough and dirty, I immediately disliked her. Honestly, once the sex started, I had a hard time forcing myself to read on. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not a prude, I am, after all, writing erotica and I surely don’t mind threesomes, but this got gross very quickly.

Anyways, by the end of the story, I kind of hoped Anissa would come back to her senses and lose these two. She could have really found someone so much better for her than either of the twins. They deserved their fate in the stars, they were easier to love and admire for their loyalty when I didn’t have to know them…

Best parts - the characters of Anissa and Marcus, the buildup to a sweet, erotic romance, and  the relationship between the brothers. Worst parts - the language, the womanizing (not normally so much a part of a romance), and the sex.

Free Kindle eBooks on Amazon - January 28, 2014

Always check price before purchase as cost may have changed.

Can love conquer hate, revenge and even family duty?

Caitlin, daughter of the most powerful god Zeus, has one mission. Hunt down the Titan who betrayed her father and kill him.

But what if your target is more human than deity, more wickedly attractive and sexy than anyone you’d ever met?

But Zeus is a god who does not forgive and Caitlin swore to obey the decree of Olympus.

Can she complete the quest asked of her? Or will a Titan, a sworn enemy, show this goddess that true love really can conquer all...

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

The Goddess Redemption #1 - To Cast a Stone & #2 - Spellbound

"The Goddess Redemption Series" will give you an exciting and sensual reading experience & awaken your innermost desires."

“Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, was in love. Many suitors had tried for her heart and her maidenhead, but they belonged only to Orion, her companion of the hunt. The lovers had tired of hunting regular game and were looking for a greater challenge, one to suit the skills they possessed as gods.”

“The shifters were part man, part beast and all cunning. Some were designed from wolves, some from leopards and tigers, others; she formed from bears, both black and brown. They were the perfect prey, these creatures she created to join the hunt. But what happens when the balance of nature is no longer held in check and the hunters no longer hunt?”

˃˃˃ This is the first part in The Goddess Redemption Series. A Paranormal Romance Erotica.

In this installment of the Redemption series, a cruel twist of fate causes the goddess of the hunt, Artemis, to take the life of her lover, Orion, on the day of their betrothal. As punishment, Zeus locks her away in a stone prison, vowing that she would always search for love and never find it, that her stubbornness and anger rule her and that his death lay at her feet. He strips her of her power and knowledge and casts her in stone. Her punishment is swift and severe. The goddess of love has other designs for the Huntress and works out a plan for Artemis to redeem herself and come home. What entails is a story of redemption, a story of true change, and a tale of a desire that burns feverishly in every heart. But there is also a deeper lesson to be learned along the journey. Great power should be shown great respect.

Finally, the wait is over!
Spellbound continues the story of Artemis and Orion as they face the challenges of being human. In this second installment of the Goddess Redemption Series, our beloved huntress is posed a new task on her journey to redemption. Powerless and only beginning to recover her memories, Artemis finds herself in the role of Sara, a wood’s witch caught in the middle of a terrible war between the shifters and the gods whose power is threatened by the creature’s very existence. Victor is an adept hunter with a secret. He knows how to kill the shifters, but when his memories return, can the god of the hunt, find happiness in his human form?

˃˃˃ This is the second part in The Goddess Redemption Series. A Paranormal Romance Erotica.

As the gods argue among themselves, their power slips away and Aphrodite is torn between her loyalty to Zeus and her loyalty to love. Spellbound takes you deep into the heart of the battlefront, where the lines have been drawn between good and evil and the humans pay the price.

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

The New York Times Book Review Archive is Searchable by Keyword

So, while surfing the Internet, the only kind of surfing I can actually do as it turns out, I stumbled upon a nifty little tool whereby a person, in this case me, can search the New York Times archives of the paper's book reviews by topic or keyword... cool, right?

Well, who would I be if I didn't share this gem of knowledge with my loyal followers and those who just so happen to stumble upon my blog by accident.

This is for you all!

I typed in the keyword: mythology

Enjoy to your heart's content and maybe you'll find some new book to interest you. Bona Fortuna!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review for The Song of Orpheus

This is a review for The Song of Orpheus, part of the Myths Behaving Badly series by Selena Kitt. It can be found on Amazon for $4.99.

I thought Ms. Kitt’s choice of myth to write about very intriguing and that’s why I chose to read this one of the series. It would seem difficult to write an erotic romance about two characters, Orpheus and Eurydice, who are destined to die apart. Eurydice – bitten by a snake and Orpheus – torn asunder by rampaging nymphs. A tragedy if there ever was one – in the like of Romeo and Juliet. In fact, after reading this short novel, I would very much enjoy reading Ms. Kitt’s attempt at making Romeo and Juliet an erotic romance. For, despite the inherent gloom of their doomed futures, you still fall madly and deeply in love with the match and wish them all the best.

I should note here that I absolutely adore M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village because he is able to give-away the ending – we find out who and what the monsters are somewhere around the middle of the film – and yet, when we see the monsters again chasing down the blind girl in the forest every single moviegoer still jumped and screamed. It is only very special artists who can give-away their ending and still manage to surprise you.

Same with this book. I, as a mythology scholar, know what has to happen. I have told this story many times. Yet, somehow, someway, I kept hoping this version was going to end differently. Even as the end approached, I read on, determined to be awed into a happily ever after. I won’t tell you what happened, but I’m glad she wrote it the way she did.

By the way, I mentioned this was an erotic romance and Ms. Kitt does not disappoint the reader when it comes to the sex. For a short-lived love story, the sex was everywhere and awesome. I am glad to report that unlike some of her erotica sisters, Ms. Kitt did not fall into the trap of the same-old first sexual encounter. A nicely written blow job when first the couple tumble into bed was welcoming and exciting.

Highly recommend! I'll be seeking more of Selena Kitt's work out very soon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

2014 YA Mythology Challenge

This is not exactly erotica related, but does involve mythology. In fact, when I looked through the 258 books which can be chosen to be read this year - only 12 required for the competition - I was amazed at just how many I have actually read and enjoyed. So, whether you are a young adult (who erroneously ended up on this page) or an adult, if you've found this blog and follow it... I dare say, you might be interested in participating. Let me know how it goes if you do chose to get involved. I'm curious.

Do I Believe? (The Existence of a Pagan Agnostic in Today's World)

I get asked fairly often whether or not I actually believe what I write and story-tell about. The usual conversation goes something like this:

"That was awesome!"
"Thank you."
"But, you don't actually believe any of that, do you? I mean, no one could have thought this was what God was like, right?"
"Well, the ancient Greeks and Romans surely thought these weren't just stories but the reason behind certain beliefs and traditions. Same as Christians believe the Bible is God's word, so the ancients believes these stories were real."
"But, the Bible IS God's words."

At this point, the conversation tends to wander. There is an old saying that you can't fix stupid and it not wise to argue with an idiot... I take that to heart right about now. After a while, though, the conversation comes back around to here:

"You don't in believe it, do you? I mean, you couldn't."
"Why couldn't I?"

Yes, I'm playing devil's advocate. It's fun, sue me.

"It's so foolish... thinking the liver is really where the soul lives and all the other stuff!" (Referring to the story about Prometheus' punishment.)
"Not as foolish as believing Noah really collected one male and one female of all the animals from all over the world to survive God's flood."
"Everyone knows that is just a hyperbole, not real."

Ok, so the person I'm talking to probably didn't say - hyperbole - I doubt any of them even know what that word means, but it works here. Also, makes them sound more intelligent... which, is beginning to lack in the rest of this conversation.

"What about the burning bush? The birth of a son of God from a married virgin? How about the belief that Jesus rose from the dead."
"But, those are just...."
"... so you believe in them, then?"

And, that's it. No matter what I say afterwards, rarely are they listening anymore. They've gotten showed up and now they are moving on towards new prey. Easier prey. But, I'm left standing there thinking.

Do I believe?

The easy answer is, no. I don't believe there are any higher-beings creating and influencing the world and people in it. No gods. No God. However, I leave the option of changing my mind ever present. I won't admit that I know everything and I won't admit that I couldn't be persuaded to believe, but I need proof. That's where the agnosticism comes in. I am a scientist at heart. I need to be shown empirical data to prove one way or the other for real, no lingering doubt. Yet, as any good scientist knows, there are no definites in life. New information is always right around the corner. So, the not so easy answer is, maybe.

I do believe that nature exists in a spiritual realm. There is really no other way to explain all that we can see is true which science has yet to determine how it happens. If you have ever had the opportunity to read Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" series, you might be able to grasp what I'm trying to explain here better - his main character, Lord Asriel's scientific appreciation for the dust. So, perhaps I do believe, in some small way, that the Greeks and Romans weren't all wrong. Those nature spirits, the nymphs, naiads, and nature deities, probably do have a place in the world. And, with them, the gods' natural representations of themselves must also have a place in the modern world.

Does that muddy the waters enough for today?

Now, aliens? Well, wouldn't it be a huge coincidence if WE were the only living creatures in all the infinity of space? So, yes, I do believe in aliens.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Archeology is Sexy!

Oh, yes, between this and Indiana Jones, who wouldn't want to search for artifacts from the greatest of the ancient and forgotten civilizations?

Isn't this just the cutest? I love it!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Free Kindle eBook on Amazon - January 22, 2014

Always check price before purchase as cost may have changed.

Forever Beautiful
Forever Loved
Forever Fighting

That's what it means to have an eternal life

This is the world that Psykhe and her sisters now belong to. A world surrounded by myths and legends. It's a world that she needs to discover to find her true self.

Psykhe never knew she was an immortal, but after the death of her husband, king Leonidas, she was forced into a world she thought only existed in myth. She is one of five immortal sisters whose journey takes her around ancient Greece dealing with various gods and mythical creatures.

Amidst the development of her powers, the ruthless martial training and discovery that the gods are not all what they appear to be, Psykhe along with her sisters fight malevolent forces that threaten mankind. Despite all the chaos around her, she goes through the journey of falling in love again, only to have it threatened by her past.

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.