Friday, October 31, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

I have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month 2014 - which, incidentally begins tomorrow and goes all the way through November. Basically, the goal is to write at least 50,000 words toward a novel during the month. If I can accomplish that, I win! Easy, peesy... uh, yeah.

Here's my plan:

A re-imagining of the myth of the Centaurs and Lapiths. 
Standing before the gathered herd of Centaurs, Hylonome felt her heart seize and stutter at the sight of her groom, her stallion, her mate standing beneath the old tree at the center of the meadow. Beside him stood her father, hind hoof stamping the sun-backed ground in impatience. Her mother stood off to the side, tail swishing, with a smile pasted on her face. The corners of her mouth already trembled and the first tear leaked down her tanned and wrinkled cheek. Hylonome offered her a weak, soft smile. Then, turning her eyes back to Cyllarus, she locked onto his heated gaze and began to trot toward her future. 
Hippodamia cringed at the shout of the king. Bowing low, she scurried down the dark hall back toward the palace's central garden. It wouldn't do to be found eavesdropping on the stranger visitor speaking so candidly with her father. He didn't need to know she had been hiding behind the heavy woolen curtain behind his throne. Some things, a princess never did. Passing into the bright sunlight, she squinted down at her gown. Brushing a few of the cobwebs from the sleeves and hem, she lifted her head, took a deep breath, and slowly walked back to the court. It was time to meet her betrothed. 
When Hippodamia casually suggests inviting her half-siblings, the beastly Centaurs, she does so with the best of intentions. But sometimes the best intentions are not enough. 
(Note: In the original myth, it is Pirithous, Hippodamia's husband, who is the Lapith. However, I have made a rather big change to the original and instead made Hippodamia the Lapith. I think it works better this way since Hippodamia's name means "horse tamer.")

With that said, I have also made a few early on plans as to format and content. I figured I should probably do a little pre-planning before the actual writing begins to make this as seamless as possible and as do-able as possible.

Prologue: Story of Ixion on Olympus and the resulting one-night stand with the cloud giving birth to the Centaur race.
Odd numbered chapters: Hylonome's side of the story leading from her wedding to Cyllarus to their attendance at Hippodamia's ceremony/feast.
Even numbered chapters: Hippodamia's side of the story leading from her first introduction to Pirithous to the day of her nuptials and the feasting afterwards.
Climax: The battle between the Centaurs and Lapiths.
Epilogue: Hippodamia's bridal night with Pirithous and Hylonome and Cyllarus' reunion in the Underworld.
Total word count goal for finishing the novel: 80,000 words

This will be my very first novel-writing attempt. Please, wish me luck. Oh, and if you, too, are going to be part of the event, feel free to drop me a line and "Buddy" me. I'd love to hear about your works and your tips to success!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Twitter Finds! Surf, and ye shall find.

Don't get too excited now, I'm not on Twitter (seriously considering it, though)... but, I was surfing it the other day and stumbled upon a few interesting finds. Thought I'd share them with you all.

Daphne Ignatius' My Life as Athena: The Private Memoirs of a Greek Goddess

Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Warcraft. Brilliant, strong and pure... Or so they say.

Born the daughter of Zeus, Athena springs out of her father’s head, clad as a warrior and brandishing her weapons with skill. Smart, gutsy and rebellious, she is a misfit in an age that demands that females be gentle and submissive. Undaunted, Athena fights to prove herself and assert her independence, but her autonomy comes at an unexpected price.

When she wins patronage of the city of Athens in a battle of wits, Athena comes into her own and matures into the brilliant goddess that we know from legend. However, Greek mythology itself has been deliberately sanitized. It hides a darker story in which Athena must make difficult choices and outwit the other gods to protect herself and those she loves.

The golden age of ancient Greece is eventually threatened by a new military power growing in the west. When the Roman legions arrive, greedy for Greece’s wealth and offering to adopt the Greek gods as their own, Athena and her fellow gods have a diabolical choice to make: Do they stand by the Greek people, or betray them to safeguard their own interests?

In defiance of her father’s wishes, Athena rebels one last time and sets forth to change the course of human history itself.

Author Daphne Ignatius takes us inside the mythology and reveals a personal side of Athena that can’t be found in textbooks. For the first time, we delve into her world and see civilization unfold through divine eyes.


"Creating a story about Athena is no small feat and the author created an unforgettable read." - Diana L, Amazon Top 500 Reviewer

"The characters and the world she (the author) has created are great. Readers who love mythology will love this one." - A Creative Mind


Who is Athena?
Athena is the favorite daughter of Zeus, king of the Greek gods. She is the goddess of wisdom, war, strategy, courage, creative inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. On the side, she also served as champion to many of the legendary heroes of ancient Greece. As you see, she had a finger in practically everything! Minerva is the Roman goddess identified with Athena and in this book, they are one and the same.

Why is Athena important?
In ancient Greece there were few divine beings more important, and more generous, to humanity than the virgin goddess Athena. She was the protector of the city of Athens, once considered the center of civilization, learning and philosophy. The name Athens is derived from her name, confirming how much she was respected. Ancient Greek coins featured her profile on one side and her symbols (the owl and an olive branch) on the other, so it is clear that the Greeks celebrated their relationship with her.
The Parthenon, now a major tourist attraction in Athens, was originally a temple dedicated to Athena. A large ivory and gold statue of her (lost in ancient times) was housed within the Parthenon and was dressed in fine garments woven by the women of Athens. Once a year, there would be a major festival in which the statue would be dressed in new finery. In My Life as Athena, this statue was the cause of much consternation on Athena’s part!

Luciana Cavallaro's Accursed Women

Five stories, five women, five legends.

Phaedra, a Minoan princess, marries out of duty and to safeguard her precious home. She falls in love with Hippolytos, her husband’s son and asks the Goddess Aphrodite for help. He spurns her affections.

The Trojan War, one of history’s greatest stories ever told. What if the legend as told is wrong? History is told by the victors, and facts changed to twist the truth. Is it possible Helen of Sparta never went to Troy?

Hera, Queen of the Gods, is the most powerful goddess on Mount Olympos. For the first time ever in a candid interview, Hera shares what it’s like to be a goddess and wife to Zeus, the King of the Gods.

Created by the gods as a gift to humanity, Pandora is the first woman on Earth. Did she know what Zeus intended when he presented an urn as a wedding dowry to her husband? Neither she nor Epimetheus knew what it contained, but they were told never to open it.

All Medousa wanted was a life of love and acceptance but one fateful night it changed. While she’s alone in the Temple of Athene tending to the sacred fire, Poseidon pays a visit. No human can stop an immortal from taking what they want.

When the greatest warriors of Greece have fallen, only the cunning and determination of one man can bring victory.

Achilles and Ajax are dead and the hope of the Greeks has died with them, leaving the army restless for their homes and threatening rebellion. Then a series of oracles appears, utterances from the gods that must be fulfilled if Troy is to be defeated and the war brought to an end. Agamemnon, leader of the Greeks, knows that only one man has the courage and intelligence to complete the tasks set by the Olympians: Odysseus, king of Ithaca.

From an island haunted by a vengeful madman to a forsaken tomb and its deadly guardian, from the palace of a hostile king to the sacred heart of Troy itself, Odysseus and his friend Eperitus must follow the trail toward the greatest deception of all time. The Trojan horse.

All are very well recommended and I am very interested in getting my hands on these works. Can't wait! Glad I took the time to #mythology.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Abandoned by my Cover Artist - What now?

So, my cover artist with whom I had a very nice working relationship AND whose covers I absolutely love, seems to be on sabbatical with no forwarding address and contact... which, is leaving me in quite a bind. What to do?

Do I keep the covers she has made, but change things for the rest. Do I just wait and pray for her return? Do I just go with pre-mades as I need them and they come close to working?

Some internet research led me to a basic, simple, easy-to-use Kindle cover creator called KD Renegade. After a few difficulties which in turn directed me toward a cool little FREE app called jpegmini, I looked into creating my own "professional" ebook covers. Not sure if I really like what I've created, especially with my limited talents in graphic design, but here's a look.

I would love some honest feedback.

The important facts:

  • I used all public domain artwork and paintings.
  • I tried to keep the font clear and simple, but still evocative of my tone and genre: Mythology and Erotic Romance.
  • I wanted the covers to look enough the same to illustrate their similar styles.
  • I hope my covers don't attract the Amazon censors.
  • I need the covers to look good big and small.

Here they are in no particular order:

If I decide to change my covers, I do think I might combine the stories of Callisto
and Hyacinth, adding an additional part to the Hyacinth story about his time with Zephyrus.

Daughters of Ixion is my WIP for NaNoWriMo.

I think "A Night Alone" may be my favorite cover so far!

I'm liking the "Gods at Night" title more than my previous title.

What do you all think of the title "A Pome Beneath" for my novelette on Hades and Persephone?
Here is another option for title:

I just can't decide... perhaps I should finish writing it first and see what comes out?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Steven Pinker: These Are the Grammar Rules You Don't Need to Follow

Link to complete article here.

Even though Pinker has long been a fan of Strunk & White's and other style guides, he realized that they are often larded with proscriptions that exist simply because they have been passed down from earlier, different eras, rather than because they are based on any sound grammatical logic or understanding of linguistics (Strunk & White, he notes early on, “misdefined terms such as phrase, participle, and relative clause”). For example, Pinker argues, in many cases it’s perfectly finein fact, desirableto dangle participles, split infinitives, describe things in the passive voice, and engage in various other practices frequently frowned upon by our most authoritative style sources.

As a classically-trained translator of Latin, I have to disagree with this. Latin teaches and encourages proper English grammar better than most other languages. If you can read, understand, and compose Latin, you have a pretty damn good understanding of the "proper" rules of English composition.

Tradition is as important as modern usage when it comes to grammar. Just because I hear people all the time say, "Hey, ax d'man yer quest," doesn't mean any of that is correct. Readability and understandability are key, I agree. But, getting rid of certain rules leaves it open to discussion about the others. And, the day subject and verb agreement become inconsequential, I am giving up on the world...

However, with that said, I do think that dangling both participles and prepositions useful at certain times, as well as splitting infinitives and using the passive voice (which, honestly, I can't figure out the rule against in the first place... a voice is a voice and all have their use).

And his advice about how to avoid such writing is couched in cognitive-science theories that help him advise readers not just on how to write better, but on why certain decisions lead to smoother, easier-to-parse prose.

But, then he goes on to state that about "easier-to-parse prose." Wrong! The proper, traditional use of English makes the language far more able to be parsed than current language use. I know, I've done a ton of it and modern speech and writing is nearly impossible to cohesively parse without quite a bit of trouble.

Anyways, those are my thoughts, but whether you agree or not, please take the time to read the article. It is very interesting and worth at least one read through. p.s. I read it three times and look forward to a fourth perusal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Free Kindle eBooks on Amazon - October 1, 2014

Always check price before purchase as cost may have changed.

Initiation (Tell Me When Book 1)

Bryn Talbot knows who she is: a time-traveling art thief with a list of lovers seven millennia deep. Seduction is part of her job, something she enjoys in the moment – whenever and wherever that may be – and then leaves behind. Until she gets a hot new colleague.

Bryn knows him only as Doc, the man who must keep her fit to travel, and give her the orgasms that launch her into the past. But this Doc is nothing like his predecessor. He’s younger. He’s as scarred as she is. And when Bryn pushes his buttons, this Doc finds hers and pushes back...with skill.

When Doc’s initial effort lands Bryn practically in the lap of the Roman-era blacksmith she seeks, she suspects her once-routine job is about to be reforged with white-hot intensity.

An erotic novelette (approx. 11,000 words) featuring hot M/F action. The skeptical ex-boxer and kinky blacksmith are just bonuses.


Time travel. Art thievery. A lover (or two or five) in every port. All Bryn Talbot needs to cross history is an orgasm. As her erotic adventures take her from the Roman frontier to the Spanish Inquisition, from the destruction of Pompeii to the Black Plague, Bryn’s one constant will be Doc, a new colleague who challenges her as much as he turns her on. Will theirs be a professional partnership for the ages, or something far riskier than Bryn’s ever experienced?

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

Whispers in the Dark: Destruction & Deliverance - Sloth

Sitting in the shadows of the underworld they waited until the devil created all seven. After the last was created they came to walk the earth. These demons would take the form of men and lived in secret from human existence. Each demon represented their own deadly sin and had special powers that only they can wield. These demons were created to end human choice and enslave the whole world creating a realm much like that of Tartaros and Hell. However, like all things created, these demons had a weakness. After the news of these seven powerful demons reach the heavens, seven seraphim are created and based on the seven different heavenly virtues. Soon they are also sent to earth to battle. These seven angels of the highest hierarchy are given powers comparable to the ones bestowed upon the demons. The cruel twists comes into play when they are told that they are not only nemesis but mates as well. Can the mating call bring them together or will their loyalty to their side pull them apart. This story begins with the sin of sloth and the virtue of vigilance. 

Duff is the sixth demon. His Scottish accent can be heard from the shadows where he holds his power. He represents the sin of sloth. Whispers are echoed around him with hair made of shadows. His realm is found in the valleys of the highlands. Below the mountain his realm is always full of shadows and stays dark. Among the gates of his realm are his guardians in the form of reapers. Inside the gates in the high tower is home to another creature that the humans think of as myth. Every once in a while she travels to earth to bring violence and mayhem but most of the time Medusa can be found here training her gorgon. Down in the deepest part of the tower her body slides along the stone.

Whispers aren’t the only things that resound from this realm with its noisy inhabitants. The ghosts and wraith among the realm bring their moans into the night as well. Nothing however, can replace the sounds of the banshee as they scream throughout the highlands. Trapped into darkness his realm is the closest realm to Tartaros that the devil ever created. 

Evgren controls the power of the sun and is the seraphim of diligence. She battles the shadows of sloth with her rays of sunshine that leap from her bright yellow mane of hair. She resides on the mysterious island of Brasil, just west of Ireland. Her lush island is covered in greenery with large oak trees and weeping willows where the wood nymphs play. Her muse play along the forest and frequently travel to earth to inspire the humans with things of good fortune. Rainbows can be seen inside the realm as leprechauns leap from one to the other carrying their buckets of gold.

Laughter booms throughout the island as well as the lilting sounds of Irish songs and stories. Her island of peace is protected well with the magic of the druids. Her gates are guarded by the mighty treant people so none may enter unless given permission first.

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

Daughter of the Sea
Engaged against her will, Calista, a young Roman aristocrat, grapples with the annihilation of her world at the hands of her would-be husband. The violent aftermath uncovers a connection to the mythological land of Atlantis, shattering Calista’s conception of family, the gods—and herself.

Calista does not know why the sea sings in her veins—or why her parents have affianced her to the insidious Lord Avaritus. She watches, powerless, as he ruthlessly annihilates all she loves.

When Calista tries escape with the remnants of her family, a storm strikes their vessel and Calista is hurled overboard. She reemerges in Atlantis, summoned by the leaders of the undersea domain. The very fiber of her identity shudders after she learns that she is the daughter of Neptune—and not quite mortal.

Despite the manipulation of Atlantis’s leaders and the romantic temptations of a pair of smirking grey eyes, Calista must find a way to return to Portus Tarrus to rescue her family and seek revenge against the man who destroyed everything she held dear.

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

Zeus (The God Chronicles Boook 1)

Vegas is not where Karly had imagined herself to be at this point in her life.She was supposed to be living in California, soaking up the sun and enjoying the life of an artist. Instead, she's just moving out of her parent's house and going to a school that could loosely be called her second choice. When she meets Zeus Drakos, owner of the new hit casino and resort in town, he seems just like every other jerk guy out there. How was she supposed to know who he really was?

Excerpt and description taken from Amazon site.

I must apologize. I cannot get the book covers to load correctly tonight.