Friday, June 27, 2014

Review for Divine Matches (an erotic anthology)

Divine Matches is an anthology of erotic (mostly) romance short stories involving gods and goddesses - all different cultures get a little play here, including the legend of King Arthur - published by Excessica and available on Amazon for $2.99.


I loved this collection! There are some really wonderful, creative, and very sexy reads within these pages. The only negative that bothered me was the lack of a good editor. Each and every story had more than a handful of grammatical or formatting issues that pulled me out of the story. Jarring, to say the least. However, despite that negative, I still highly recommend the anthology.

My favorite stories in the collection were:

Into the Woods by Cherry Lee

This was an interesting story about desires and fate. I really loved the way Ms. Lee combined the idea of reincarnation, fate, and mythology together with a Bacchanal and a modern orgy. The sex in this story was varied, hot, and so very, very naughty. When done right, I'm beginning to believe satyr-sex can be a good thing for any woman. This story reminded me of a much dirtier version of The Satyr Downunder series. If you liked one... you'll enjoy the other.

The Seduction of Sir Galahad by J.E. Taylor

Not a Greek myth retold, but a short based on the mythology/legend of King Arthur. I am not a Arthurian scholar by any means, but I recognized enough in this tale to make this one heck of a fun and arousing ride. I specifically love the fall of the angel Sofiel. Well done, Taylor. Be warned, though - THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE! Happy endings be damned...

The Bacchae by Elliott Mabeuse

Between this story and the next one, I can't say which I loved more. Both are extremely well-written, hotter than hot, with tons of sex and some surprising twists to mythology. There were two stories involving Bacchus/Dioynsis (Into the Woods was the other one) and of the two, this one is the more mythologically correct. Particularly, I loved the many varied descriptions of coming and ecstasy Mr. Mabeuse uses to describe an indescribable experience. Wow! Got me thinking about my own writing. This one does involve some rather terrifying side action.

To Love a God by J.M. Synder

Hephaestus is my ultimate favorite Greek god... don't ask why. He figures twice in this collection, but this is the better of the stories. In fact, the editor of this collection did well by putting this story last. It was a gem to read and left a wonderful romantic vibe coursing through my veins. I won't spoil this story by saying too much about it except... you've never seen Hephaestus like this! The sex scenes are to die for, literally sublime!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review for Seeds: Volume Two

Here is my review of Seeds: Volume One.


Available on Amazon for $4.99.

I'd like to start by saying that I, again, appreciate the thoroughness of Ms. Kin's research and attention to detail. This volume picks up at the exact moment the previous volume ends. And from there she proceeds to cover each and every day of Persephone's life in the Underworld. Which, I'll admit sounds a little boring, but where, in the first volume there is a bit of drag, here there is so much going on it reads incredibly quick. One minute, I had 5 hours of reading remaining (thank you Kindle for that little tidbit of information) and then the next, I had two hours. A day later, I looked down and saw only 30 minutes left. Where had the time gone! :)

What follows is a list of what I enjoyed the most:

Her depiction of and in-depth report on every aspect of Hades' kingdom. Almost like reading a traveler's guide to the Underworld, I was hooked on every new place Hades showed Persephone. I'm afraid I was a bit more excited about her discoveries than she was. Incredibly well-written and thoroughly imagined. Kampe was a sincere delight!

Secondly, Persephone's discovery, along with the reader's, of all of Hades talents made the mythology purist in me very happy. So many folks think of him as only the God of the Underworld, when in reality, he was so much more. Although, there is a scene involving a kilt... [Author's Note: regarding my last mention of his boots, Ms. Kin told me she chose to give Hades some unique clothing options because, as God of the Underworld, she felt he would have access to more cultures.]

When Persephone at last meets her father in the Underworld you will cry - fair warning now. Ms. Kin does an excellent job of imagining the encounter. In this one scene, you see more of Persephone's maturity and fits for the role of Queen than in any other part of this volume or the first one. Wonderful writing!

The sex scenes, assuming you can accept the premise of him being her uncle and he DID kidnap her and IS holding her hostage as an okay thing to do [Since this is mythology, I'm a more accepting of it inherently (Hell, I have a brother and sister getting it on in my next published work!)] then I can tell you, you are in for a treat. Ms. Kin handles the budding sexual tension well and writes a sensual erotic scene with flair.

I am curious to see how Ms. Kin will eventually tie in a few of the side stories she introduced in Volume One (Perseus' myth and the eventual birth of Hercules?) and now in Two (a random crying baby with what I assume may be colic?). I have high hopes for Volume Three to tie this massive undertaking in a neat little bundle of interlocking myths. I have a few questions hanging over from One and now have about three from Two.

I will end this review with a caveat:

Ms. Kin takes it to heart to cover every defining moment of Persephone's blossoming, from child-adult to woman, including a rather graphic scene in which Persephone discovers her monthly bleeding. I understand completely why Ms. Kin felt it necessary to include this scene. However, for some readers, this part may be a little too much.

If you enjoy a well-formed and fleshed out fantasy novel and/or a unique retelling of a rather well-known Greek myth, then this series is for you. Previous mythology knowledge is not a requirement.

Onto reading Seeds: Volume Three...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Next Title Available

Now live and available for purchase on Amazon and Smashwords... coming soon to Barnes & Noble!


A Night Alone
12,000 words - 39 pages
$1.99
an erotic romance about the love of Nyx and Erebus 
~ an erotic look at the Origin Story in Greek mythology ~

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Gladiator's Love (in film and on the page)

I volunteered to read and review "Heart of the Arena" by Mishka Jenkins. While doing so, I also happened to pick up "Pompeii" from the Library (the DVD, not book; I already read the book). Just my  luck to end up with two gladiator stories both located in Pompeii at the same time.

As a classical scholar and lover of all things Roman, I'm going to walk you through my reviews of both.

Let's start with "Pompeii." First things first, the movie has very little in common with the book. The book is excellent and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Ancient Roman world. The movie, though the idea was taken from the book, leaves off with the book quite quickly and what does remain is little to nothing.

As far as the movie, by itself, all I can say is - Gladiator, the prequel. This was just another in a long line of gladiator movies, from Spartacus with Kirk Douglas to today. Not much has changed.

[SPOILER ALERT!]

We still have the barbarian upstart with a heart of gold. We have the big, muscular black man who ends up befriending the plucky hero and the innocent, intelligent girl (most often rich). We have the evil, lecherous bad guy (though at least Kieffer Sutherland isn't hitting on his sister) and his second-in-command. As expected, the girl falls in love with the slave, sacrifices on his behalf, he gets punished anyways and gains an enemy. Oh, and don't forget the gladiator revolt - Americans just can't abide slavery, even ancient slavery. Eventually, the hero and villan end up in a one-on-one battle. Hero wins, of course. Then dies!

[END OF ALERT!]

On the surface, it is an enjoyable romp, like all the others... but, what really impressed and horrified me was the producer's recreation of Pompeii and the eruption of Vesuvius.

Pompeii, the resort town/city, was beautifully restored. All the details were accurate and obviously very well researched. Even the people, the dress, the colors, the transportation, the festival atmosphere, the food, house party, all of it was gorgeous and I hung on the edge of my seat in thrall. In fact, I even rewound a few scenes just to gawk a little more.

Specifically, I loved the gladiatorial drama put on in Pompeii - the reenactment of the Celtic victory. Between the narrators in masks speaking in unison as a "chorus" of sorts and the offering to the gods, to the actual Pompeiian amphitheater, I was in LOVE! That scene was done to perfection and I almost wished Vesuvius would not have erupted and ruined it all.

As for the eruption, I was disappointed, nay angered. It was wrong from start to finish. Everything about the time it erupted to the precursors, to the way it erupted and how long it lasted, to the tsunami, to the lava... WRONG! There was NO LAVA in the 79 A.D. eruption of Vesuvius. That is why there is so much of Pompeii still left to discover in Italy.

Finally, a last note on the history. This could have been far better done if the gladiator, Milo, had been a slave from the Jewish revolts. Oh, yeah, that would have worked a lot better! Not to mention that at the time of the eruption, Titus was actually a well-loved Emperor. Yes, early on he had some haters (those terrified he was going to end up like Nero), but by this point far more of the populace love him. The senators and those in power in Rome, less so. The movie got that backwards.

Now, onto the book.

An unpredictable beginning followed by a rather predictable encounter with some unsavory slave traders lands Sabina, aka Tacitus, a gladiator-in-training. The fact that she's a woman seems a rather small detail in a world not used to letting someone hide for long no matter the reason for the wrapping.

Wonderfully written. Interesting and unique story. The premise, despite is unbelievability, is made to be believable. The romance aspect is handled well and develops, as well as struggles, on in a likely manner. Because I deal a lot with erotica, I will mention here that this book does not contain any sexual content beyond heavy kissing and a "fade out" sexual interlude. Strong character development. Executed dialogue with a great deal of skill and talent. Very good understanding on the era, culture, and location.

Since I have a quite skill in reading this story, I want to take the time to express my gratitude for the following: Ms. Jenkins did her research into the life, training, and fighting of gladiators. I was especially delighted that she made comment on the different types of gladiators and their unique armor, styles, and techniques. I also appreciated her limited and correct use of the Latin she chose.

I do have some very small complaints - 1) there are no basements in Pompeii, so the beginning scene in which she climbs the stairs to the atrium makes absolutely no sense; 2) the author needs to do some more research into what methods of decoration and common topics are mostly often found in which rooms; 3) the names... but, that is a serious problem to most of these era books.

However, that said, I would strongly suggest anyone with an interest in the era to check this book out. It is a good read after that rather disheartening ending to Pompeii. Watch the movie then read the book.

Heart of the Arena is available from Amazon for $4.99.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

When a title doesn't come...

Usually, I have a pretty good idea within a page or two, about 1,000 words, of what the title of my next short story or book should be.

Not so, in this case. Here's the premise:

Two stories in one.

Aethra, mother of Theseus, loves to swim. She goes down to the beach each day and floats on in the soothing water. Poseidon has admired her for months. One afternoon, he takes advantage, seducing her on the sand. She returns home to find her father has promised her to a suitor. They marry that evening and enjoy the wedding night together. In the morning, he's gone. Eight months later she gives birth to a son, but whose?

Alcmene, mother of Hercules, send her husband off on a revenge-killing for her before she'll consummate their marriage. The night he returns victorious, Zeus disguises himself as her husband and takes her roughly, after being put off for so long. He drops the disguise in the throes of passion and she knows what has happened. Later, her real husband joins her in bed and eagerly accepts her apology, not to mention her gratitude. Eight months later (or a little longer!), she gives birth to twins. Which son belongs to whom?

I like the idea of this "double" feature, in more ways than one, but haven't got a single idea for the title. Already started writing it, getting very into it, and...

I NEED HELP!

So, readers, here is what I'd like you all to do - help me pick one of the options below OR suggest your own.

Possible title options:

Bridal Nights
Stolen Vows
Twice Seduced
Lovers in a Night
Conception of a Hero
A Tale of Princesses
Between Olympus and the Sea
Seduced by a God
Heroic Conception
Promised to Another
Taken by a God
Consummate
The Marriage Bed

Additionally, if you'd like to have some fun and it's raining outside, check out the Lulu Titlescorer.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Male/Male Sexual Acts - Can a Woman Write Them Convincingly?

Priapus of Milet

I would like to start off by saying that these two men's blog posts "Slasher's Guide to Gay Sex" and "Gay Sex is All Wrong in FanFic" are an ideal place to start for any woman looking to write a gay sex scene. I will not claim, however, that either is dainty; these are direct, to-the-point, and a little bit dirty. Like good sex? I wish I could find one for men trying to write lesbian sex scenes - they need just as much help as we do. For that matter, I probably need some help with writing lesbian sex, too.

So, I read these two articles, then took a look at my most recent homoerotic retelling "On the Hunt: Hyacinth". What follows is a break-down of my strongest and weakest points. 

Strengths:

  • prepping the anus for the first-time with fingers
  • pain is minimal, if prepped correctly, and fleeting
  • once the bottom comes, the penetrative sex is over for the top; it hurts, now
  • male orgasms are a buildup in muscle tension, not "pooling in the belly"


Weaknesses (need improvement):

  • no more than two fingers (see above)
  • include prostate massage with anal fingering and a blowjob as foreplay for the bottom
  • a guy can come from being penetrated, no extra manipulations necessary
  • goal is rubbing the prostate, not ball's deep penetration, which can be painful
  • bottom needs more than a few strokes from the top to get off (but, maybe not for the first time)
  • a knee between his legs is not a promising start... too much risk for accidental harming


Overall notes:

  • prepping the anus with fingers outside of foreplay for a man who is constantly on the bottom is unnecessary
  • guys often on the bottom position are not tight (unlike a woman)
  • well-used guys' anuses are wide open and plenty stretched for a quickie (with just a little lube)
  • the prostate is erectile tissue, not particularly sensitive, needs stimulation and slow to arouse
  • many men prefer to be prepared with a slow, thrusting penis
  • the head/bulb of the cock is not the most sensitive part, its the nerves underneath the edge

The timing couldn't have been better, since I am working steadily on the end of the my novella Reflections - the publication title for the story of Echo and Narcissus - and have finally found a chance to look back and read my male on male scenes. Some editing is due. Not to mention, at the request of a fan, I am going to look into writing a sequel to the Hyacinth-Apollo pairing on Hyacinth and Zephyr.

To my gay readers, I promise to do my best to make these scenes as believable as possible. I may be a married straight woman, but I CAN write gay sex scenes.

And, for those who are wondering, as well as to satisfy my own curiosity, can a man write women's erotica convincingly?

I stumbled upon this work the other day, available for free on Smashwords, and am disappointed in this example. What say my readers? Do you all have a better example? I would love to read it. Please share.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Roman World, a map

Just had to share this because it is truly that awesome!


You are welcome... :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Is Nudity (or Erotica) Too Taboo?


NatGeo's Taboo: Nudity... a look at nudity and human nakedness in the modern world, across cultures. I found this at a rather interesting time. Amazon.com is at it once again, deciding for its consumers what they should and should not be reading. If nothing else, an episode like this should open the minds of those close-minded fools who believe that one person or one company (yes, I realize the company can pretty much do whatever it wants, since it is its own company) has the right to make a world-wide decision (as the major retailer and biggest name book warehouse in the world) for all its consumers... even such as these proud folks. Why not let sales drive what consumers do and do not want to read. If the world finds certain works too taboo or too distasteful, those works will not sell well. If a work, instead, is selling well then accept it: the world likes walking the line between taboos.

Putting an age limit on literature is, however, a rather smart decision. Smashwords does it and other retailers have a version of the same. Adult filtering searches is a wise move; adult filtering top selling lists, is not. Reward the writers who can tap into the world's desires.... whatever they may be. Though, with Amazon taking that step, I fear there may be unintended consequences. With Amazon in control, there usually is.

Just my two cents. Take it as you will.

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Supermodel" Hermaphroditus

Hermaphroditus is one interesting fella... uh, gal... uh, shemale...

What a gorgeous view - callipygian times 4!
Those are the three muses in the background.

Really now, what could be more sexy?

Wished I looked so good in bed!
(all pictures taken from Ancient Rome)

From Ovid's Metamorphoses (trans. Melville)

"Hear how the magic pool of Salmacis found its ill fame, and why its strengthless waters soften and enervate the limbs they touch. All know its famous power but few the cause. To Mercury [Hermes], runs the tale, and Cythereia [Aphrodite] a boy [Hermaphroditus] was born whom in Mount Ida's caves the Naiads nurtured; in his face he showed father and mother and took his name from both. When thrice five years had passed, the youth forsook Ida, his fostering home, his mountain haunts, eager to roam strange lands afar, to see strange rivers, hardships softened by delight. The towns of Lycia he reached at last and Carae's marching provinces; and there he saw a pool, a limpid shining pool, clear to its very bottom; no marsh reed, no barren sedge grew there, no spiky rush; the water crystal clear, its margin ringed with living tuft and verdure always green. A Nymph dwelt there, not one to bend the bow or join the hunt or run to win the race; she was the only of the Naides unknown to swift Diana [Artemis]. Many a time her sisters chide her: ‘Come, Salmacis, get out your spear or painted quiver; vary your hours of ease with hardships of the chase.’

Yet never spear she took nor painted quiver, nor would vary her hours of ease with hardships of the chase; but in her pool would bathe her lovely limbs, and with a comb of boxwood dress her hair, and, gazing long, take counsel of the waters what style were best. Now on the soft green grass or on soft leaves in gauzy dress she lay; now gathered flowers--and, gathering, chanced to see the boy and seeing, saw her heart's desire, Yet though her heart would haste she paused awhile till, dress inspected, all in order placed, charm in her eyes set shining, she deserved to look so lovely, then began to speak: ‘Fair boy you seem--how worthily you seem!--a god, and, if a god, Cupid [Eros, Love] himself, or if a mortal, happy pair are they who gave you birth; blest is your brother, blest indeed is your sister, if you have one, and the nurse who suckled you, but far, of far, more blest she, your betrothed, found worthy of your love! If there is one, let stolen joy be mine; if none, let me be her, make me your bride!’
This said, she held her peace. A rosy blush dyed the boy's cheeks; he knew not what love was; but blushes well became him; like the bloom of rosy apples hanging in the sun, or painted ivory, or when the moon glows red beneath her pallor and the gongs resound in vain to rescue her eclipse. Then the Nymph pleaded, begged, besought at least a sister's kiss, and made to throw her arms around his ivory neck. ‘Enough!’ he cried ‘Have done! Or I shall quit this place--and you.’

Fear struck her heart; ‘I yield the place,’ she said, ‘Stranger, to you’ and turned away as if to leave him, then, with many a backward glance, she vanished in the leafy undergrowth and crouched in hiding there. The boy, alone (he thought) on the empty sward unobserved, strolled to and fro and in the rippling water dipped first his toes, then ankle deep, and soon, charmed by the soothing coolness of the pool, stripped his light garments from his slender limbs. Then Salmacis gazed spellbound, and desire flamed for his naked beauty and her eyes blazes bright as when the sun's unclouded orb shines dazzling in a mirror. She scarce could bare to wait, hardly postpone her joy, she longed to embrace him, scarce contained her frenzied heart. He clapped his hollow palms against his sides and dived into the pool and, as he swam arm over arm, gleamed in the limpid water like, in a guarding dome of crystal glass, white lilies or a figure of ivory. ‘I've won, he's mine!’ she cried, and flung aside her clothes and plunged far out into the pool and grappled him and, as he struggled, forced her kisses, willy-nilly fondled him, caressed him; now on one side, now the other clung to him as he fought to escape her hold; and so at last entwined him, like a snake seized by the king of birds and borne aloft, which, as it hangs, coils round his head and claws and with its tail entwines his spreading wings; or ivy wrapping round tall forest trees; or, in the sea, a squid whose whipping arm seize and from every side surround their prey.
Atlantiades [Hermaphroditus] fought back, denied the Nymph her joy; she strained the more; her clinging body seemed fixed fast to his. ‘Fool, fight me as you will,’ she cried, ‘You'll not escape! Ye gods ordain no day shall ever dawn to part us twain!’ Her prayer found gods to hear; both bodies merged in one, both blended in one form and face. As when a gardener sets a graft and sees growth seal the join and both mature together, thus, when in the fast embrace their limbs were knit, they two were two no more, nor man, nor woman--one body then that neither seemed and both.

So when he saw the waters of the pool, where he had dived a man, had rendered him half woman and his limbs now weak and soft, raising his hands, Hermaphroditus cried, his voice unmanned, ‘Dear father [Hermes] and dear mother [Aphrodite], both of whose names I bear, grant me, your child, that whoso in these waters bathes a man emerge half woman, weakened instantly.’

Both parents hears; both, moved to gratify their bi-sexed son, his purpose to ensure, drugged the bright water with that power impure."

Monday, June 2, 2014

Review for Seeds: Volume One

I have agreed to review this series by M.M. Kin in exchange for a review of my books (the books were received free of charge). I was happy to do so and was the one who contacted her first. The following review is my honest opinion of her work.


Since I decided to write my own novella about the mythology story of Hades and Persephone, I have been seeking out as many other authors' works as possible in the same vein. I have already reviewed Madeleine Marzio's series in the pages of this blog. So, it only seemed fitting I eventually stumble upon M.M. Kin and her series Seeds. There are three volumes in the series. You can purchase the first book of the series on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble.

I will start by saying that I was immediately impressed and quite excited to read Ms. Kin's "Foreward" and hear she was into research. A lot of research. She took the writing of this book very serious and wanted to gather as much information as she could about the original versions of the story, the life and times of Greece during the period of Persephone's birth, etc. After completing the book, I can honestly say she did a fantastic job! My only complaint is the boot and velvet wearing Hades. His appearance/clothing choices just did not seem as true to her research as I would have liked. However, read below to see how much I did enjoy her characterization of him.

Additionally, in her "Foreward", Ms. Kin expressed her desire for the reader's understanding that this story, though not the original myth, was her creation. For that, I am grateful. As a purist, I did find a few of Ms. Kin's details off-putting initially - especially Demeter's superhero attack moves - but, once I let go of my own preconceptions, really got into the story Ms. Kin created. This is a fantasy-based Greek myth re-telling, emphasis on the fantasy.

Ms. Kin approached her entire series as a fantasy. She built a unique and powerfully descriptive world which might once have existed in the mountains and valleys of Greece, in which the Greek gods rule and play. She started from scratch, introducing both the gods, as she imagined them, and the mortals, which she alone created. She masterfully led me from the moments before Persephone's birth all the way through her childhood and blossoming womanhood. This was not just a peek into one part of Persephone's life, but an expansive undertaking into her entire existence.

My favorite scenes were of Persephone's (originally named Kora) childhood and her interactions with her mortal family. I love the character of Iasion - truly a magnificent creation of M.M. Kin's imagination! My second favorite scenes were all in which Hades interacted with his siblings and/or Persephone. M.M. Kin will hold a special place in my heart for always because of the humane way she chose to portray the character of Hades. It is not uncommon to run into Hades in all manner of genre and almost always I hate him. Why? Because few authors can move past their idea of him as synonymous with Satan. Hades was never a Satan-esque god. He was a ruler, like Zeus, but of a dark and dead realm. Ms. Kin understands that. I am eternally grateful to her for that acknowledgment.

Finally, my review would not be complete without a word or two on the erotica in these pages. There is plenty of steaminess for the erotica lover, though not quite as much explicitness as a true connoisseur might want. And, due to the storyline, nothing started goes so far as to end in mutual intercourse. Lots of foreplay and Hades shows his appreciation of a new woman with his lovely hands and mouth. I was pleased with her handling of the sexy parts.

This book, in effect, changed the entire way I thought of and imagined this story unfolding. It is the second book I have read in which the author chose to separate the different aspects of Kore and Persephone and I am very interested in completing my own research into this multi-faceted side of the Goddess of Spring/Queen of the Underworld.

So, to any and all who find themselves debating the time to read this novel/series, I can only offer my support. You will not be sorry. Well worth it and highly recommend.

Reviews of the other two volumes are coming soon.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sneak Peek at Upcoming Works

Short Stories:


A Night Alone - about Nyx and Erebus (with a little of the Creation story thrown in for good measure)

"The first sexual union of the universe was my fault. It was also my pleasure. A lot of pleasure. Erebus was a master of foreplay. His tongue and fingers performed miracles on my skin and inside my body. He knew when to push and when to retreat and exactly how to keep me teetering on the edge until I begged for release. He was also a masterful lover. The way he tilted his hips, that special little swivel and his final, powerful stroke to the finish line. He struck my very depths and sent shockwaves of ecstasy coursing through my veins. Every moment I could steal away with him, I did. In the blackness of the world’s creation, we alone found enlightenment."

Bridal Nights (working title) - a double feature, in more ways than one, about Aethra and Alcmene

Novellas:


Reflections - Echo and Narcissus (the one that started this all!)
The Pomegranate - Hades and Persephone (you'll be pleasantly surprised)
Role Models (working title) - a look at two different brides, their wedding days, and the war... an interesting and erotic look at the lives of Hippodamia (Lapith bride) and Hylonome (female centaur)

Novel:

Perspectives (working title) - Tiresias and his experiences as a woman and a man

Honestly, I can't wait to get started on this one. I've already mapped out the plot and flow. This is a story I have desperately wanted to write for quite a while now and I hope it goes as well as I want it to.