Friday, April 25, 2014

Warrior Princess, Centaur, or Greek Goddess - Character Creation

I have fun dressing up and playing around with online "paper" dolls. Don't judge me! But, despite this rather childish use of my time, I do find the "games" a great way to play around with characterization. And, who doesn't need at least some help with the process of creating, visualizing, and living a character you are trying to write? I know I do.

Anyways, here's a fun one with my warrior princess creation: scary, strong, don't-mess-with-me attitude, a cool gown, some light armor, and a golden sword. What could be better?

There are two fun centaur creators: this one allows multiple animal "taur" creations and this one allows you to create your own Fantasia-type centaurs, both male and female.

Here is a multiple source goddess creator - combine attributes from all different goddesses from many different parts of the world. Pretty fun to play around with and educational.

This is one of my absolute favorites. A semi-historical paper doll for creating ancient Greek and Roman-type dresses. If particular in your decision-making, you can pull off a pretty "authentic" look. Perfect for the goddess, noblewoman, or patrician-class woman in all of us.

And, to go with your creations, a few name generators.

1. God & Goddess or Modern God - random creator of name and area

2. God and Goddess - creator of name and area, based on your current name

3. Pantheon Creator - many at once, randomized

4. Greek Name based on yours or randomized Greek Name - a bit modernized with a first and last name, but good suggestions

How do you all go about creating a character?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Can't Get Enough of Sappho - Represented in Art & Poetry

 Le Coucher de Sappho
Charles Gleyre

 In the Days of Sappho
John William Godward

Sappho 31:

φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν
ἔμμεν' ὤνηρ, ὄττις ἐνάντιός τοι
ἰσδάνει καὶ πλάσιον ἆδυ φωνεί-
σας ὐπακούει

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμέροεν, τό μ' ἦ μὰν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόαισεν·
ὠς γὰρ ἔς σ' ἴδω βρόχε', ὤς με φώναί-
σ' οὐδ' ἒν ἔτ' εἴκει,

ἀλλά κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσα †ἔαγε†, λέπτον
δ' αὔτικα χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμηκεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ' οὐδ' ἒν ὄρημμ', ἐπιρρόμ-
βεισι δ' ἄκουαι,

κὰδ' δέ ἴδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δὲ
παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ' ὀλίγω 'πιδεύης
φαίνομ' ἔμ' αὔτᾳ.

ἀλλὰ πὰν τόλματον, ἐπεὶ †καὶ πένητα†...

He appears to me, that one, equal to the gods,
the man who, facing you,
is seated and, up close, that sweet voice of yours
he listens to

And how you laugh your charming laugh. Why it
makes my heart flutter within my breast,
because the moment I look at you, right then, for me,
to make any sound at all won’t work any more.

My tongue has a breakdown and a delicate
— all of a sudden — fire rushes under my skin.
With my eyes I see not a thing, and there is a roar
that my ears make.

Sweat pours down me and a trembling
seizes all of me; paler than grass
am I, and a little short of death
do I appear to me.
But all may be ventured, since even [the poor]...

Justin Wiest

Sappho and Phaon
Pierre-Claude-Francois Delorme

Catullus 51:

Ille mi par esse deo videtur,
ille, si fas est, superare divos,
qui sedens adversus identidem te
spectat et audit
dulce ridentem, misero quod omnes
eripit sensus mihi: nam simul te,
Lesbia, aspexi, nihil est super mi
<vocis in ore;>
lingua sed torpet, tenuis sub artus
flamma demanat, sonitu suopte
tintinant aures, gemina teguntur
lumina nocte.
otium, Catulle, tibi molestum est:
otio exsultas nimiumque gestis:
otium et reges prius et beatas
perdidit urbes.

He seems to me to be equal to a god,
he, if it is permissible, seems to surpass the gods,
who sitting opposite watches and listens
To you again and again
sweetly laughing, which rips out all senses
from miserable me: for at the same moment I looked upon you,
Lesbia, nothing is enough for me.
* * * *
But the tongue grows thick, a thin flame
Runs down beneath our limbs, with their own sound
our ears ring, our twin lights (eyes)
are covered by night.
Idleness is a troublesome thing for you, Catullus:
In idleness you revel and delight too much:
Idleness has destroyed both kings and
Blessed cities before.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Test Post - Blog Posts on Facebook?

This is a test post, folks. I am trying my best to figure out how to link this blog to its Facebook page. My hope is that the blog will be accessible from Facebook without me having to go link to each post... because, well, I'm busy and I forget.

Friday, April 18, 2014

How to Write a Greek Myth: Step-by-Step Guide

I love reading the mythology stories of the Romans and Ancient Greeks, but after a while, I start to see a pattern.

How to write a great Greek myth:

1. You need to chose one of the male gods in the Pantheon to start with. Hint: He needs to be a man’s god. A real horndog. However, for a nice twist, you could also choose one of the goddesses, though not a virgin one. If you choose a goddess, make sure she’s got something to offer the human (remember the story about Paris and his really bad decision?).

2. You need a pretty human – male or female, doesn’t matter. But, they must be more beautiful than average, if you decide to mess with the outward appearance, you better make it up with some REALLY awesome talent and moderately good looks. Royal bloodlines are best.

3. Now, add in some twist of fate. This is where things get exciting. A parent dies and leaves nothing to their child  except a horrifying curse. A child is thrown away in the trash and raised by an animal or the peasants. A plague befalls the entire kingdom. A god or goddess demands recompensence for some random wrong against them. An unclear, but doom-sounding, prophecy is read upon a birth. The sky’s the limit.

4. The twist of fate effects the human either directly or indirectly causing the human to seek the sanctuary or advice from their god or goddess of choice. Hilarity ensues: love at first sight, wrong deity, deity is having a bad week, deity off on vacation and leaves someone else in charge. A true case of “right place, wrong time.” A shakespearean comedy of errors.

5. The Meet. Deity and human. If you can work in one of them becoming an animal, so much the better. Especially if the animal in no way should be attractive or dangerous to a normal human being.

6. At this point, if you are going for a romantic myth, the god or goddess needs to fall in love and use their wiles to force the human into a compromising situation. Bonus points if the human and deity get busy in a temple or wherever the god’s domain is (i.e. If you are working with Poseidon, then in the sea; if Zeus, in the air; etc.). Double bonus points if conception occurs instantaneously.

7. If instead, you are going for a more traumatic myth, the human needs to insult or injure the god or goddess in some relatively minor way. Bonus points if the human did it unconsciously and spends the rest of the myth confused about why they are being punished.

8. The punishment. Whether this is a romantic or traumatic myth, there needs to be a punishment. Humans cannot interact with the gods and goddesses without punishment being a part of the action – kinda like a good strip club. This is where you get to have a lot of fun thinking of the worst ways to truly terrorize other humans.

9. Death occurs. Obviously not the god’s or goddesss’ but of course some human’s. It may or may not actually be the death of the main human – instead it could be all the rest of humankind. But, death must happen. And, it usually isn’t expected.

10. At last, the solution. Either a baby is born and acceptance is found or the human begs for forgiveness. The deities involve do not forgive or really even remember what happened previously in the story and just kind of move on with their immortal lives. For the human though, what has transpired has changed their lives, for the good for the worse, only you know. But, not only their lives, but the lives of all those around them.

Bonus points if you can work in a moral or reason for a natural occurrence throughout the myth.

Now, go out, good people, and share the word!

p.s. If you use this guide to write your own ancient myth, please share. Drop me a line. I'd love to read a few self-created myths. Oh, how cool! I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fiverr - What can't I get done for $5? How Fiverr helped me grow as a writer and self-publisher.

If you haven't had the honor of knowing what Fiverr is, here is the low-down: Folks with skills (whether they are actually needed skills or skills at all is up to debate) offer gigs related to their skills for a starting price of $5.

I have a Fiverr gig - just one, though you could have more - for authors wanting Latin in their books. Personally, as a Classical scholar, I hate it when I'm reading along in a book and come across some random Latin horribly translated by, I can almost guarantee, Google Translate. I love coming across the random Latin, per se, but hate the horribly translated part; either it's just plain wrong, or written wrong, or there aren't any endings, the word order is complete trash, etc. So, I figured, if I got the skills, and I do, then why not offer this wonderful skill I have for making English to Latin good to authors out in world just looking for someone like me to step into their lives at exactly the moment they need me. And, what's better? I can earn $4 for doing it!

But, this post isn't about my Fiverr (though, if you need me, I got you!), it is about these five gems I discovered...

First off, there are a lot of other folks out there doing a bang-up job. Don't just take my word for it, go do some searching and researching on your own. Hey, for $5, if you get a dud, just chalk it up to a lesson learned and move on.

On to the good stuff....

Ebook Cover Designer #1 for $5 (plus some other options for extra gigs - I paid $15 total for my cover) jimmygibbs will create:
In this gig I offer a unique and professional cover design for your ebook. Your cover will be 100% unique, I never use any pre-made templates of any kind. You will receive your cover within 5 days.
I first got this one, about a half a day earlier than his suggested delivery date:

Asked for a tweak to the text to make it look a little less like a dramatic or political novel and more like a romance and the addition of "and other stories" (he offered to tweak the cover twice for no additional cost, which is always nice) and look what I got below:

Pretty nice, huh?

Ebook Cover Designer #2 for $5 (plus some other options for extra gigs - I paid $10 total for my cover) freestyle25, aka Emily Lam, will create:
Customized to fit your needs! Get your ebook within 24 hours with just one gig extra! For every order, the standard is 625x1000 (yes, it is compatible with Kindle), but I will use a different size if requested, such as for Smashwords, CreateSpace or any other platform. Each order comes with two revisions and a photoshop file if requested.
And, what did I get in return?

So, what do you think? I think I got a winner! This is amazing - perfect for my purposes.

Proofreading, Editing, and Critique for $5 debra_l will proofread, edit, and offer:
For five dollars, I will edit your short story of any genre, including erotica, for typos, spelling and grammar errors, consistency, and flow. In addition, I will provide a short (1/2- to 1-page) critique on your story's strengths and weaknesses and suggest ways to improve your story and your writing in general. 
Great, simple, gig for editing and proofreading purposes. In fact, the simplicity is her best feature. She doesn't hang around giving lots of endless advice and suggestions, she just hunkers down and makes your writing right. Which, seeing the problem I have with way too many commas and a love of run-on sentences (in truth, I blame my years dealing with Latin - in Latin, there are no such things as run-on sentences... no sentences, really, if you look at it, just the end of a thought and the beginning of another), not to mention, a love of conjunctions, is a wonderful help to be had.

Professional Edit for $5 missthumbdrivel (I love this tag, by the way!) will proofread and offer additional suggestions:
I'll proofread any 4000 words of your fiction using Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat, and then provide an additional set of extensive notes on plot, characterization, theme, dialogue, and more. 
She was wonderful - offered both punctuation and grammar help as well as found quite a number holes in my writing. She asked good questions and made good points. In fact, I'm pretty sure she even took the extra step and researched some into my story to make sure I was keeping true to the facts. So thorough, it took me a few days to read the entire report. Well worth the price and then some.

Beta Reader for $5 daniellereads will read and comment on 10,000 words of romance or erotica fiction and offers:
What does $5 get you?
  1. I will tell you which part of your story is weakest.
  2. I will tell you which part of your story is strongest.
  3. I will offer you at least one quality suggestion on how to improve your story.
  4. I will point out any major spelling/grammar errors.
  5. I will answer any question of your choosing, about anything related to your manuscript or self-publishing in general.
She may be my absolute favorite person on Fiverr at this time. In 48 hours, she read my stories and offered kind, yet solid, sincere, and honest advice on my writing. She was able to identify my weakest story elements and offer help for fixing those areas as well as some excellent advice regarding the limit of conjunctions as sentence starters. She also offered me some very welcome advice on the best order of my stories - which, I have to say, I was myself questioning. I came to the same conclusion she did. Here is just a piece of her advice to me, overall:

"So that probably seems like a lot of stuff, but it’s really not. Compared to most of the works that I’ve beta-read in the last few years, yours is way up on the ‘marketable’ side of the spectrum. I can tell from the way you write and your attention to detail that you aren’t someone who’s just dabbling in writing, and I definitely think that you have what it takes to be successful in the industry." 
If you need someone to beta read your own piece of erotica or romance, I can't suggest daniellereads enough!

So, am I impressed... well, yes, yes I am. I can't believe the awesome deals I found on this site and look forward to finding even greater and greater sellers. I strongly suggest to anyone looking to get started in the writing business and/or self-publishing business to take a look how Fiverr can help you!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Free eBooks on Amazon and Smashwords - April 14, 2014

Always check price before purchase as cost may have changed.

Surrendered to the Satyr

Three college girls vacationing in Greece witness their island paradise shift to something more sinister when they are kidnapped to be sacrificed to a pagan god.

"The man looked like a fine work of art, like he was cut from stone. No. This was more than a man. Curved, tough horns jutted in an arc off the crown of his head. His lithe thighs tapered into coarse black haired goat legs. This was a god, and a monster."

This work contains references to sex, and for some of these references the consent is dubious. All characters in this work are aged 18 and over. This work is intended for Adults only.

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

Darien is devastatingly handsome, skilled in the bedroom and gives pleasure like no-one on earth. The trouble is his other side. The satyr-side. If he doesn’t keep it hidden he’ll lose his freedom but passion brings it out. Especially his passion for Minty. After all, she’s the one who called him across the centuries. And he has something for her. A magical, sensual experience - the satyr’s gift.

Excerpt and description taken from Smashwords site.

Andrea & Morpheus follows the farm girl Andrea as she seeks the meaning of a reoccurring dream. Visiting the village wise woman she encounters a way of life she hadn't thought of before. Given the means to enter her dream scape she must encounter and come to terms with Morpheus the god of dreams.

Excerpt and description taken from Smashwords.

No one can hide what the mighty Zeus desires! He comes to Danaë in the form of a rain shower, peeling her clothing off with watery tendrils. The touch of the warm rain is like a thousand soft lips, and it leaves her skin tingling in its trail. Under stormy skies, Zeus claims what a king tried to conceal! Experience the glory of Greece in this sizzling tale of love and lust!

Excerpt and description taken from Smashwords.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Imagination Fail - What in Hades does Olympus look like?

So, here I am working on the middle section of my short story, Ganymede, and I have no idea what to do? What in Hades does Olympus look like?

Yup. That's it. I got no idea.

I mean, come on, as a writer I am supposed to write about what I know. What do I know about? Well, I live in a small house, in the middle of the Blue Ridge mountains. I have a dog, a husband, and nothing much else. I live a lower middle-class life. I have never been to a palace, never mind one on top of a Greek mountain. So, how exactly am I to know what a mountaintop palatial complex in beautiful Greece built for the gods would look like - outside and in?

I guess I could imagine it? You know, use what those gods have blessed me with... inspiration from the muses. Well, I guess the muses are on vacation because except for some minor details:

1) heavy drapery curtains for doors
2) large, open rooms, minimally decorated for visiting mortals
3) gorgeous view from latticed windows
4) beds which are more like heavily cushioned platforms

I don't have much else going on upstairs.

Instead, I find myself using my tried and true "inspiration caffeine": Google Image Search.

Here are the highlights.

And, there it is... the muses have returned and the hamster's back on the wheel. We got lift-off folks!

Works every time... Gods bless Google!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I am now a published author! THE CUP BEARER, and other stories is available!

Check out the new blog page, Books for Sale, for all the details.

And, just because I love you all... here is a coupon!

The Cup Bearer, and other stories
Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: FU83D
Expires: July 31, 2014 If you like what you read, please leave a review and tell your friends.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Brilliant - Just Brilliant People!

Sometimes I feel this way... why won't you please share the love?
Leave me a comment on your favorite post.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ancient Greek Pickup Lines - with the Greek!

Ancient Greek Pick-up Lines:

You light up my world like Apollo.

ὅμοιος Ἀπόλλων γῆν μου λάμπεις.

I would perform twelve labors for you.
τοι δώδεκα ἄθλους ἀν ποιοῖμι.

*Is your name Lucius? Because that ass is golden.
Tibi nomen Lucius est? illae nates enim aureae sunt.

If Narcissus knew you, he would love you more than he loves himself.
εἰ Νάρκισσος τε εἰδείη, μᾶλλον ἑαυτοῦ τε ἀν φίλοι.

You’re so beautiful, Aphrodite is probably trying to kill you.
τοσοῦτος καλλίμορφος εἲ, Ἀφροδίτη ὡς ἔοικε κτείνειν τε ἐπιχείρει.

Hera wouldn’t even mind if Zeus loved You.
οὐδὲ Ἥρα ἀγανακτοίη, εἰ τε Ζεύς φίλοι.

Helen is nothing compared to you.
Ἑλένη οὐδὲν ἐστὶν πρὸς τε.

Is your name Circe? Because you make me feel like an animal.
ὄνομα σὸς Κίρκη ἐστίν; ὅτι με ποίει ὅμοιον ζῷον ἔχειν.

Are you a god/goddess? Because your beauty is burning me. No, seriously. I think I’m dying.
θεὸς/θέα εἴ; ὅτι σὸς κάλλος με καίει. οὐ, συντόνως. νομίζω ψυχορραγεῖν.


*And one in Latin, ‘cause I can.

Courtesy of classicsenthusiast on Tumblr.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Beta Readers Needed!


I have finished my first four short stories and even designed an eBook cover (actually two) that I think looks pretty damn professional and intriguing. Now, what I need are a few intrepid souls who would love their very own electronic copy of this collection (including a short story unreleased on this blog) AND my own review of their work in return for some really awesome help!

I need people to read these stories while looking for the following potential issues:
- spelling & grammar
- flow within the storyline
- dialogue
- and any other suggestions or advice

I am almost 95% certain that the spelling is correct, at least for the handful of words I didn't make-up, and am about 80% certain the grammar is fine. What I really need good help for is the flow, readability, and sense within the plots. Basically, I need some people to let me know if these short stories read easily and enjoyably.

Are you up to the task?

As they say, "good help is hard to find," but I still got hope. Don't let me down, loyal blog followers and new blog finders alike.

p.s. Even if you aren't willing to "beta test" my stories, can you please let me know which eBook cover you find more appealing and intriguing? Thanks!