Monday, July 28, 2014

Review for Seeds: Volume Three

Here are my reviews for Volume One and Volume Two of the Seeds series written by M.M. Kin.

This review is for Volume Three, only, which can be purchased through Amazon for $4.99.

After reading the other two volumes in this series, I knew what I was getting into. What I didn't expect though, was the strength of Ms. Kin's growth. This volume is her best in the series.

The book starts off a little ridiculously, right where Volume Two left off, with Persephone in the throes of an epic tantrum more reminiscent of a four year's old actions than fitting the behavior of the new Queen of the Underworld and a woman in her own right. Honestly, I was pretty sure I was reading a transcript from an episode of As the World Turns. Not in a good way, either.

However, the book only gets better from that point forward. So, please keep reading.

Ms. Kin does an admirable job of tying up a ton of loose ends she introduced in the previous books, including the birth and life of Perseus, the ongoing love/hate relationship between Zeus and Hera, and the wailing of a colicky baby. My only lingering question is one of priorities: if Demeter was so hell-bent on destroying the world because of her rightful anger, why did she take the time to dress and walk among the mortals she was starving and then choosing to take up a job with a royal family to nurse a baby back to health. Seemed an odd choice considering her other decisions. Ms. Kin tries to address this question, but I just don't buy the premise.

She also, finally, gives Persephone the freedom to become her true goddess-self, full of amazing power and a heart, as they say, as big as Texas... but, maybe even bigger, like Olympus. In fact, I can absolutely say that Persephone, as Ms. Kin writes her, may be the most perfect goddess in all history. Full of confidence and not afraid to ask for what she wants, she doesn't mind then fighting to get it. A good role model for today's pre-teens. (However, do not mistake this novel as suitable for pre-teens; there is a lot of sex within these pages!)

I would not have thought that previously. Or expected it.

Now, I can't see her any other way. That, is why I claim this volume as Ms. Kin's best. It takes an amazing author to write, first, one obnoxious, childish, whiny girl, then, a rebellious, angry teenager, and finally, a woman to be admired and respected. One heck of a job well-done! I mean it - I am duly impressed at the way this series unfolded.

I am thrilled for the chance to have read and reviewed the whole series.

p.s. To my erotica-loving followers: there is a pleasant lesbian sex scene within these pages... enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

What Not to Do, as Important as What to Do

Janice Hardy is a genius. Instead of focusing her writing advice on what authors should be doing in order to write the next best seller or on what they should be doing before writing the next hit, she focuses on what a writer should not do...

Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Can't tell you just how often I've read about "what to do" and leave the page feeling as though, "yes, I'm doing that and still..." when all I really want to read is some straightforward advice on how not to lose a reader on page one and get him/her to keep reading. Not just the page, but the whole book and not just one book, but the whole series. Luckily, I stumbled upon her article:

hosted at Anne R. Allen's blog.

This is a very well-written and thought out piece in which Ms. Hardy uses the metaphor of hosting a party... creative and makes a great deal of sense.

So, what am I going to do with this article and might be worth it to my reader's? Well, I'm going to confront her advice head-on using the first 250 words of my current work in progress: a short story about Hephaestus's second wife, Aglaia, after his disastrous first marriage to Aphrodite that I'm working on for an anthology.

“I wanted the bride price returned, Zeus,” Hephaestus hissed at his father. “Not a new bride!” He paced the marble floor before the raised dais, stumbling every few steps on his club foot. Zeus reclined on his golden throne, a glint of amusement flashing in his storm blue eyes.

“She is a lovely girl. I am sure you will both be very happy.”

Hephaestus paused, midstride, and teetered for a moment before catching himself on his forge-fired crutch. Lifting his shoulders, he cocked his head and nodded. “I believe that was the same blessing you gave me last time.”

“Is it? Well, the sentiment is still genuine.” Zeus placed his hand over his heart and attempted to tame his wayward features into a semblance of solemnity.

Hephaestus grunted and turned away. How could his father ever understand? He had pledged his love and loyalty to Aphrodite and all he’d asked for in exchange was that she limit her trysts with mortals. But apparently, even that was too much to ask from the shameless whore. To find out from Helios, the titan of the sun, that she had been fooling around with Ares—his own brother!—and in their marriage bed of all places… well, that had just been too much. Closing his coal black eyes, he shifted his weight. Strands of his dark, coarse and wavy hair fell across his forehead. A weak smile lifted his dry and cracked lips as he remembered the moment of his triumph. Short-lived as it had been.

So, let's get started and see how I've done so far...

1. Having too much backstory and explanation.

Until the reader knows and cares about the characters, they don’t want to know the history of the world or the backstory of the protagonist.

They want to see a character with a problem and be drawn in by that story question.

Too much information can slow a story down and overwhelm a reader. If it’s too much work to read, they won’t read it.

My opinion: The final paragraph may need a rework. I am waffling between the belief that I have too much backstory in place there and just the perfect amount of backstory. I mean, I have to mention Aphrodite's affair in order to make sense of the first part of dialogue and I have to explain some of Hephaestus's obvious anger at his father. I am also not a huge fan of all the description I give regarding Hephaestus's appearance, but after being warned in the past that I tend to wait too long before specifying my main character's appearances, I upset readers with giving a description after they have already formed their own. I do think I set up a good problem... Ahh, decisions!

2. Crafting a one-dimensional scene.

Some opening scenes focus on one thing and one thing only: a beautiful description, an action sequence, retrospective navel-gazing, etc.

The text is working too hard to set the scene, so there's no story yet, nor is there a character with a goal and something to lose.

My opinion: Yeah, I don't think this issue is one I need to worry about. I have quite a bit going on up there in the opening lines and most of it is moving the story forward. Hephaestus has a goal: not to get married and yeah, he's got something to lose, well, already lost: Aphrodite's love. I'd say I do a pretty good job of not writing those icky one-dimensional scenes.

3. Using a fake opening

We’ve all read these bad boys: that prologue (or chapter one) that sets up a faux conflict to “hook” the reader, but then has very little connection to the following chapter. (A common "faux conflict" happens when authors use dreams and/or hallucinations at the beginning of a novel, one of my pet peeves...Anne.)

It’s a bait and switch, and no one likes to be tricked.

Often this includes a fast forward to an "exciting" scene later in the book. This isn't as effective as you'd think, because without the buildup to that scene, readers don’t understand why it matters—and they rarely care. If you lie to your readers, or trick them and change the book on them, there's a good chance you'll just piss them off.

My opinion: Uh, I may do this but it is definitely not necessarily on purpose. I like to use various points of view and a more fluid understanding of time in some of my short stories, especially the longer works and those written for anthologies. Heck, it is fun to play around with stuff sometimes. Anyway, in the above story, I do stop the action right there for a flashback scene of a highly erotic nature, then jump right back into the moment. Since I hint at the flashback with the final sentences of my opening, I don't know whether that will satisfy my readers or piss them off. Perhaps I need to take another look at the flow of my story.

4. Having a lazy protagonist

A lazy protagonist just sits around waiting for something to happen to her. She has nothing she wants, no goal in mind, she isn’t trying to accomplish anything—she’s just sitting around navel gazing or walking through a pretty setting. The job of a protagonist is to drive the plot, and if she’s not doing anything, the story goes nowhere.

My opinion: Once again, I'm good and I'm bad. With my practice in writing short stories I have to say I don't usually find myself in this position. I have places to be in my stories and I need to get there before I run out of steam. Lazy protagonists are not my friends. After reading the above, I am 90% sure I'm clear of this fault. Though, I might need to look into Hephaestus doing a bit more, but that goes back to #1 and #3... that final paragraph may end being my bane.

So, what do all my loyal readers think? Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Collection of Google-searched Finds

Some Facts
I didn't even know one of these! Can you guess which one I didn't know?

Read through it and I'm not sure I really believe some of it. In fact, I'm pretty sure the authors skimmed some of the readings they listed and just picked out the most obscure facts. Additionally, at this point in time, using sources published in 1933, seems a little ridiculous as I'm sure there are more recent resources available with updated information. But, the parts that don't sound far-fetched - Zeus with a womb in his penis? - do include some good information for the casual interested party.

An Unforgettable Ride

Not a bad fan-fiction story. Not the most unique either, but I was entertained. Like her view of the gods and goddesses and she can definitely write good, funny dialogue. This is a short story, about 4,500 words long, and good enough to risk a few minutes reading on. Go ahead, enjoy!

Interesting Picture of Norse Mythology's Idea of the World
(I know it's not Greek or Roman related, but this is one heck of a beautiful picture!)

Map of World Mythology

This is just plain awesome - click on it to enlarge it on your screen. This is not to be missed! I spent a good fifteen minutes studying it and loving the creator with a truly unnatural desire.

This fella knows his stuff. Well, he's a little off... but still within the understood confines of the mythology stories he's choosing. This is part one of an ongoing series he publishes on Imgur (he has four parts at present), so if you like this link, check out his others.

By the way, the way I tell the Hercules and Cercopes story is that his "black butt" was the cause of a nap under the noon day sun. The lion's cloak works great, but falls short of his "assets" and thus caused a rather embarassing sunburn in a rather delicate location. Either way, the story is still hysterical!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Achilles & Patroclus - A Love to Last an Eternity

Got to love a man, Eric Shanower, who not only takes on the task of fully illustrating the entire Trojan War saga for a massive series of comic books, pulling information from so many authentic sources that even I am impressed by his thoroughness and I absolutely love research, but also has enough where-with-all to then create this stunning work of wearable art.

Purchasable from here.

Though a short story about the love of Achilles and Patroclus isn't on my radar, I do love their story. They make a wonderful couple and the love they had for one another was definitely strong enough to last an eternity. In the Iliad, you really have no other options but to cry for Patroclus's youth and eagerness/stupidity and sympathize with Achilles's complete loss and extreme anger.

So, with all that said, if you haven't yet stumbled upon it, I highly recommend the following book. It is well-written, well-researched, and a thrill to read. Take a chance on it and let me know how you liked it.

Available in multiple formats from Amazon and other retailers.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"Love" Stories from Greek Mythology

Picture and article excerpt copyright to George O'Connor

Imagine my surprise when I found this comic page along with a very interesting and well-written/researched article at I must say, I'm definitely interested in this man's mythology-related comic books. Perhaps I could convince him to turn some of my mythology erotica into comic books... how cool would that be?

Additionally, I like this final quote in his article:
I did a little reading and, sure enough, on Achille’s father’s side, his great great great grandmother was seduced by Zeus... as an ant. I can’t even imagine the logistics of this act, and my knowledge of the story doesn’t go much beyond what I just recounted, so I‘ll just leave you with this stub.
And it got me thinking... mayhap I should write a "taboo" collection of short stories about animals and women/men of mythology (and, at least one story about water sports). I already have a few suggestions:

Leda and the Swan
Pasiphae and the Bull
Danae and the Golden Rain


What do you all think?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Differences in Statuary Styles (Egyptian, Greek, Roman)

Need a little education...

From what I remember from my college classes, the ancient Egyptians looked to convey a symbolic and eternal, unchanging image of their culture and rule, thus the very similar works of sculpture wherein only the facial features changed. The Greeks did likewise, in a way, focusing on the beauty of the human form and ignoring flaws. Meanwhile, the Romans were all about honesty and tradition. In many of their sculptures, realism was the goal.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Smashwords Summer/Winter July 2014 Sale!

Smashwords is holding a Summer/Winter July sale from July 1st through the 31st. Get thousands of books from 25-100% off!

Interested in A Cup Bearer, and Other Stories or A Night Alone, but aren't willing to hand over the full cost to take a chance on them, well now is your chance...

I'm offering both books for 50% off - click the links above. The coupon codes are on the book's pages under the price column. Enter the code at the time of check out and you'll save quite a bit.

Remember, this sale is only good through Smashwords and it expires midnight on July 31st.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Free Kindle eBooks on Amazon - July 2, 201

Always check price before purchase as cost may have changed.

Cursed by the Gods

What would you do if you do if some gorgeous guy told you he was the ancient God Apollo and that you were his promised mate? Here I was celebrating my 40th birthday in Italy and this glorious man is following me all over this amazing country refusing to take no for an answer. He's obviously crazy... Or is he? Magical things happen around him and I am drawn to this supposed God in ways I've never felt for anyone. Maybe I'm the crazy one.

Author's note: This book is intended for mature audiences as it contains themes of erotic sex and some violence with harsh language.

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

Poor Demetrius, all he wanted to do was save his friend from being sacrificed to the Goddess of Love, and now he finds himself in a terribly humiliating and desperate dilemma. Discovered and seduced by the painfully beautiful Aphrodite on her sacred island, his epic erotic encounter with the gorgeous Goddess came with an outstandingly rich reward but sadly a very heavy price. Transformed both into an immortal and the most desirable man on earth, the cost was his perpetual nudity and permanent chastity. Desperate for release he is sent on a journey to obtain the most sought after items in the world to end his accidental curse.

Join Demetrius as he goes on his epic quest throughout the ancient world to cure his increasingly desperate blue balls and embarrassing permanent nudity. On his erotic Odyssey he encounters the most horrific monsters, beautiful insatiable Nymphs and gorgeous powerful Goddesses in history as he relentlessly pursues his mission forward. From the beginning as he worships the golden toes of Aphrodite, through his amazing adventures with a countless host of other gorgeous women, exotic creatures and supernatural Deities, the action never stops as his desperation builds and builds.

No Nymph's tunic will remain dry nor Satyr's toga stay flat as they read this amazing femdom teasing tale.

Warning: Adults Only. This book contains explicit sexual imagery and is intended for ADULTS ONLY!

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.