Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Weird Wednesday-Leap Year

Looks like the woman in 1908 used a net in 1908 to capture her man for Leap Year then. LOL What would you consider a weird way to celebrate Leap Day?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Native American Myth: Dagwanoenyent

Today for Supernatural Friday, I will talk about one of the myths of evil spirits or demons that are connected with Native American myths. These would be considered with non-Christian demons post I did some weeks and weeks ago, but something I just discovered. I will post about the others over the next few weeks on the Fridays I don't have a guest blogger. Today is about  Dagwanoenyent of the Iroquois mythology.
 The daughter of the Wind often took the form of a whirlwind.  Her name was Dagwanoenyent and the Seneca Tribe considered her a dangerous witch who couldn’t be killed.
An uncle and nephew lived near Dagwanoenyent, and the uncle forbade that the nephew visit her. But he still snuck off to visit Dagwanoenyent and her child, behind the uncle’s back. During his visits, Every time he played with the child, he would steal a piece of meat from Dagwanoenyent’s home. When the child turned fifteen, the nephew was informed by the child that the two are really cousins, and that the nephew’s uncle is really the child’s father and husband of Dagwanoenyent. Upset, the nephew pierced the bag of bear’s oil hanging over Dagwanoenyent’s head.
The nephew returned home. This time caught by his uncle, he is questioned about where he has been. The boy broke down and admitted to visiting Dagwanoenyent, stealing meat from her house, and puncturing the bag of bear’s oil that hangs above her head. Angry, the uncle informs him that because the bag is now broken, the both of them are in great danger.
Not long after their talk, Dagwanoenyent comes as a whirlwind and destroys the uncle’s lodge, carrying him away. The nephew goes to Dagwanoenyent’s house to ask his cousin what happened to the man. His cousin says he doesn’t know, but he does warn the nephew that Dagwanoenyent will come for him the next day.
To escape her fury, the nephew hides in the belly of his guardian, Mole. The witch discovers his hiding place and kills him. But Mole resuscitates him. Mole and the nephew search for the uncle and find him under an elm tree that is standing on his chest. The nephew helps his uncle escape and both goes to Dagwanoenyent’s lodge and kills her, burning her body in a fire of bear oil.
Does that stop Dagwanoenyent for good? No. She revives and stalks the nephew, but the young man escapes her. The witch retreats back to her lodge. Both the nephew and uncle use fire once again to kill her. This time, though, they remove her bones from the fire and pound them into a fine powder, dividing it into three separate bags – one for uncle, the second for the nephew, and the third for Mole. Whenever there is a storm outside, they keep the bags apart so the powder can’t unite and revive Dagwanoenyent.

There is also a legend that Dagwanoenyent gave two brothers three hairs from her head, so that whenever they wanted rain, all they had to do were make the hairs wet and shake off the drops. Heavy rains always came afterwards.
There were two brothers; one was a young man, the other, a small boy. Both were one day out in the woods when they heard a great noise overhead. Looking up, they saw Dagwanoenyent in the same of an enormous head flying over them.
The elder brother called out. “Gowe! gowe!”
The Dagwanoenyent said, “Thank you. Thank you. You should always sing like that when you are going to fight. Do so and I will be on your side, striking down your enemies for you.”
Taking three hairs from her head, the Dagwanoenyent handed them over to the brothers. “When you want to escape from danger, draw a bucket of water and toss these hairs in it. When you take them out, drops of water will cling to them. Shake the drops off and rain will come.”
The Dagwanoenyent took off, leaving the two brothers.
With those hairs, the brothers often escaped from their enemies. And whenever they needed rain, they had only to draw the hairs through water and then shake off the drops; right away heavy rain fell. The hairs were kept for a long time by the Seneca people.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Pretty sure this is a real deal. Guess a wind one day was too much for this tree and it is now in this position? Or just grew this way?

Congratulations-Winner of Betty Cross's Interview!

It is Keta Diablo. Author Betty Cross will be contacting her to get her prize.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Interviewing Author Betty Cross

Today, I interviewed science fiction/fantasy author Betty Cross about her new release, and of course, about herself. Leave a comment and email, and you’ll be entered to win her new fantasy release, MISTRESS OF THE TOPAZ, as a download.

1.) -Please tell us about your latest book.

My latest is a fantasy named MISTRESS OF THE TOPAZ, a fantasy taking place in an imaginary world which I call Malga. It’s inspired my Middle Eastern folklore and Middle Eastern history from Alexander to the beginning of the gunpowder era. Expect big shots in big turbans, monstrous flying birds instead of dragons, great three-headed serpentine demons from Avestan folklore, and a species of genie called Ifreet, who can be stored in bottles although it’s not wise to try.

In this exotic scene, two powerful women battle for global power. One of them, the World-Queen, owns the Oracular Topaz, which can answer any question you ask it, except about the future, and no more than ten questions per day. The other woman can manipulate people’s thoughts, with some limitations. You need a kryptonite for every Superman, or else there’s no real conflict and no story.

The novel also contains an element of steampunk. One of the World-Queen’s enemies develops a steam turbine and powers an experimental (and highly effective) warship with it. This, by the way, is something that could have happened much earlier than it did. Hero of Alexandria in 100 BC invented a steam-powered toy called the Aeolipile.

2.) -What can we expect from you in the future?

The sequel to Mistress of the Topaz will be called MISTRESSOF THE LAND AND SEA. It will finish the battle for world power, which still hangs in the balance at the end of Topaz.

My first novel is DISCARDED FACES, a dystopian science fiction novel, will also have a sequel. The dictatorship has been overthrown and the question now is, what to do about it? The wild card is the younger generation, the teenagers and young adults who provided the shock troops for the urban guerrilla fighting at the end of the first book. They grew up under the dictatorship. They say they want freedom but do they know what it is? Generational conflicts are intense. All sorts of possibilities are open. I’m a Sixties kid. It’s a theme I want to explore in fiction before I die.

3.) - How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?

Science fiction and fantasy are often considered separate genres, but so many people are fans of both and so many people write both that perhaps the best name is “speculative fiction,” or “spec fiction” for short. So that’s it.

4.) –What other genre would you like to write in?

I’m not sure. I’ve considered supernatural thrillers, especially making use of Lovecraftian concepts, the Great Old Ones. But I don’t have any good story ideas yet. One thing I won’t do is try to imitate H. P. Lovecraft’s style. I’m not sure it worked even for him. My favorite Lovecraft story is an atypical one, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. It’s sort of transitional between the Earth’s Dreamland stories and the later Cthulhu mythos.

5.) What motivated you to start writing?

I just love making up stories. I’ve loved science-fiction since my childhood in the Fifties, when the first satellites went up. I was reprimanded in class occasionally for designing space ships instead of paying attention to the teacher. When the first Star Trek series was on TV, in front of the TV was my place to be on Thursday night. The fad for theLord of the Rings awakened my interest in fantasy. However, none of those things made me want to write. That ambition was awakened in me by reading1984 by George Orwell.

My writing is related to my passion for history, which was my major in college. History is story-telling on a vast scale with the very important added detail that history is supposed to be true. History is a great help to me in constructing my imaginary worlds.

6.) -What kind of research do you do?

For Topaz I needed to research gemology, folklore of the Middle East (Muslim and non-Muslim), ancient and medieval military and naval tactics, weapons and armor of the same region and period, and steam turbine technology. Nearly all of this research was done on the web, with only an occasional resort to books.

Sometimes I research by reading other fiction. The naval warfare in the World-Queen books is almost all of the sailing ship era, so to research that I read three volumes of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin books to get some idea of life on a warship in the era of sale.

7.) -Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?

I try to write every day between noon and 8 pm, although medical appointments and mealtimes sometimes get in the way of that. One thing I’ve learned in all my efforts to write is that you have to write at least a few sentences every day or you’ll never get anything finished. I keep a spreadsheet and assign myself a monthly quota of words. One year at RavenCon I even took my laptop to meals with me and worked on a chapter while finishing my morning coffee.

8.) -Where do your ideas come from?

I don’t know. I don’t think any writer does. Maybe it’s that mysterious right cerebral hemisphere that’s always drawing analogies, making connections, and visualizing things. I get my best ideas when my conscious mind is working on something else – the bed-bath-bus phenomenon.

To me, there are two great areas of creativity. One is world-building, where your continents and countries are, the climate, the people’s customs, etc. Often I make up that first, and afterwards come up with a character with a story to tell.

The other, of course, is creation of characters. I find that’s much harder. Usually a vision of a character comes to me – somebody doing something – and I try to come up with a story and a world for her. I say“her” because all my protagonists are women.

9.) -Who, if anyone, has influenced your writing?

I really don’t acknowledge a literary influence. I don’t directly imitate any other writer’s style.

10.) -Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Not always. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. I was 13 when I read 1984. I’ve been writing fiction off and on ever since, but nothing I wrote was publishable until after the turn of the century.

11.) -What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

Holding the published book in your hand, seeing your name and your title on the cover, and then opening it and seeing the words you labored over in print, finally, so somebody besides you can read them.

12.) -Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

Don’t give up. Everything I wrote before age 29 I threw away. Then I began the book that would be my first published novel. Even after that, it took me two decades to finish Discarded Faces. After that, it got easier.

Write every day or nearly every day. Set yourself a words count goal for the month and try to meet it. If you have a day job, reserve some time to write, even if it’s only an hour. I used to write on a smart phone during lunch and coffee breaks at the last day job I used to have.

Revise, revise, revise. Don’t just write one draft and say to yourself, “This is an inspired work. It’s perfect.” That attitude is why so much self-published work is trash.

Let somebody else read it and tell you what needs fixing. You can’t be completely objective about your work. Writer critiquing groups are good for that. One other thing I do is hire a free-lance editor to look over my MS before I submit it to a publisher.

If you write speculative fiction, go to science-fiction conventions. Go to the panels of writers there and pick their brains in the Q&A session. Cultivate relationships with the small press publishers represented there, and go to room parties sponsored by the con organizers. Network, network, network! Writers are often socially isolated from readers but spec fiction has a great counter-measure for that – Cons. So go, and enjoy.

13.) -Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)

I’ve never been married and have no children.

My hobbies are reading and movies. I don’t watch TV much anymore except for Big Bang Theory, and occasionally New Girl andHot in Cleveland.

I got a BA in history and an MA in journalism, but I didn’t have a real job until I got some computer training. I worked in the IT field for about three decades while struggling to get Discarded Facesworking. My passion for history has helped me in designing the imaginary worlds of my fiction.

14.) - Tell us your website, FaceBook, Blog, any urls so the readers can find out more about you.

My website is I have a blog ( I’m on Facebook as Betty Cross. My politically minded readers can look for me on DailyKos as Kimball Cross. Facebook and DailyKos are the places where I post something, even if it’s a comment, daily.

15.) Now for something fun:

Chocolate or vanilla? Both, but usually vanilla.

Do you like science fiction, fantasy or horror? Yes, yes, and yes.

Favorite science fiction character? Han Solo.

All time favorite book? I have a lot of favorites, but if I had to pick one, I would say The Space Merchants by Frederick Pohl.

Favorite movie? Empire Strikes Back.

Favorite TV show? There’s been a lot of great television in the past half century, but if I had to pick one show which is dearer to my heart than anything else, I would have to say that MTV cartoon show of days gone by, Daria.

What makes you laugh out loud? What cracks me up is clever riffing of movies, especially Mike, Joel, and the bots on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

If you could go anywhere in the universe where would that be? Coruscant in the Star Wars universe, right after the Empire is overthrown, and all the options are suddenly open again. That would be exciting.

A secret wish? I’d like to be a 25-year-old, tall, sleek brunette woman, knowing everything I do now.


This is a fantasy novel featuring psychic powers and steampunk in the otherwise pre-industrial world of Malga. Promono-Dei the World-Queen has a jewel called the Oracular Topaz which will answer any question, except about the future. Her antagonist is Kordo-Strî, a member of the Council of Forty-Two which rules the great naval dominion of Nobalos. Kordo-Strî can plant ideas in people’s heads, although she can’t force anyone to do something unwillingly. These two are at war for domination of Malga.

Meanwhile, Kordo-Strî’s husband Bashânîr, a great philosopher, designs Malga’s first steam-powered warship for the Nobalan navy. Nobalos needs it, because they’re fighting two other wars in addition to the one against Promono-Dei, and are over-extended.

At the beginning of the novel, Promono-Dei is crowned World-Queen. After the coronation, her forces march east to challenge Nobalos. She defeats Nobalos’ second-string allies one by one. Her victories put pressure on Âryoso-Rûn, King of Roude-Kî, Nobalos’ most important ally, but one of uncertain loyalty. His wife Queen Plâkî can ride on the back of a soin, the most powerful of birds. Because Plâkî hates war, she flies only to observe the conflict, not to fight.

Promono-Dei faces no easy victory. Kordo-Strii has made a new Nobalan coalition including Âryoso-Rûn, but Nobalos’ other forces begin pushing her soldiers back even before his troops arrive. With the enemy’s revolutionary steamship launched, and one of the Queen’s allies planning to betray her, the fate of the Hegemony – and all Malga – hangs in the balance.

Synopsis: This is the beginning of Chapter One. One of the main characters, Promono-Dei the World-Queen, is stabbed in her bath house.

Soft sounds of still water echoed off of the blue-tiled walls and vaulted ceiling of a great room. “I’m all rinsed off now,” Promî announced. She waded through the steamy water toward the steps leading up to the tiled floor.

“Very well, my queen,” said Enstâmî, immersed up to her underarms. She turned to follow her mistress.

Promî emerged from the bath into multi-colored sunlight filtered through stained glass windows, showing a toweled head, trim muscular arms, a firm abdomen, a long waist, and sturdy thighs. She turned to Enstâmî behind her and said,“I’ll see you back in my private chambers.”

Although the soap had been rinsed away, its sweet aroma hung about them in the air. The queen took a deep invigorating breath of it as Enstâmî handed her a pair of wooden clogs. Putting them on, she started for the arched doorway that led to the cold water room. Her clogs rattled loud on the slippery wet floor. In the cold room, she met Hultenî, a petite slave woman, whose duty was to dry off the queen after her dip in the cold bath. Not speaking, Hultenî sprang to her feet with feline litheness and bowed low. Nodding her head in return, Promî slipped off her clogs.

As the queen turned toward the steps leading down into the cold bath, Hultenî stepped up to her, very close on the right side. Something was amiss. Promî glanced to her right in time to see the glint of a tiny blade in the slave’s hand. Instinctively she swung her right arm to parry the blow. The blade scratched her right side just above her pelvis. Losing her balance, she stumbled down the steps and into the water. The towel covering her hair slipped off. A second later, her soaked head re-emerged.

“Assassin in the bath house! Call the Guards!” she sputtered.

Hultenî stood before her with feet wide apart, holding a slender blade in her right hand. With a contemptuous smile and a belligerent gleam in her eyes, she snarled, “You’re dead. The blade is poisoned.”

In the distance, Promî could hear Enstâmî shouting, “Guards! Guards!” She struggled up the steps from the bath. Her breath was coming in short gasps. Her feet were moving too slow. Her knees were stiffening. Poisoned! The thought screamed through her head. A pair of wooden clogs rattled across the wet tiled floor, louder as they approached. Enstâmî was coming!

Promî fell to her knees. Her head reeled. She steadied herself on her hands and tried to pray. Only the first gasping words came out. O Djeu kontujowan haistomid,” she began, but her voice failed. She added the last word dideimroi in her head. As her face struck the tiled floor, her blurring eyes caught a cavalcade of images.

Enstâmî slamming into the assassin at a run.

Hultenî falling on her back, rolling, kicking the other slave off, and slicing her own throat.

Two pairs of military boots running up.

Blood pooling on the tiles.

Clear sight began to fade. She could see only moving shadows.

She heard a voice screaming,“The blade is poisoned.” It was Enstâmî’s. “She stabbed the queen. Get a healer!”

The swirling shadows merged into one.

Betty Cross Bio:

I was the middle of three kids that grew up in an Atlanta suburb. The family emphasized education and reading. We weren’t allowed to watch TV on school nights unless the homework was done. My dad loved Shakespeare and Milton and classical music, especially the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.

I was a nerd in high school. Puberty was rough for me. I was no good in sports and unpopular with girls. I went from being a science nerd at age 13 to a liberal arts nerd at 18. I entered college in 1968, a very heady time to be an American college student. I marched against the Vietnam war, grew my hair long, and smoked pot, but turned up my nose at the hard stuff.

I got a BA in history and an MA in journalism, but I didn’t have a real job until I got some computer training. I worked in the IT field for about three decades while struggling to get Discarded Facesworking.

In my twenties (the 1970s) I began wrestling with my gender identity issues. My denial of my true nature was the source of the intense feelings of depression which I lived with for a very long time. I avoided relationships with women because I knew I could never be the man they wanted me to be. That’s why I’ve never been married and have no children.

I left my last computer job in April 2010 to become a full time writer. I’m technically retired and living on my pension and savings while I build my writing career.

The spring of 2010 was also when I started living full time as a woman. Everybody tells me I’m much calmer and happier as Betty, and that confirms my own feelings.

My hobbies are reading and movies. I don’t watch TV much anymore except for Big Bang Theory, and occasionally New Girl andHot in Cleveland.

My website is I have a blog ( I’m on Facebook as Betty Cross. My politically minded readers can look for me on DailyKos as Kimball Cross. Facebook and DailyKos are the places where I post something on a daily basis, even if it’s a comment.

Find Discarded Faces as eBook at: Double-Dragon

Find Mistress of the Topaz as eBook at: Double-Dragon

Find Mistress of the Topaz in paperback at:

Review of In the Footsteps of Dracula by Steven P. Unger

Published by World Audoence , Inc., 2010. ISBN: 978-1935444534

In the Footsteps of Dracula (A Personal Journey and Travel Guide) by Steven P. Unger is a nonfiction book for the armchair traveler besides for those who do really travel and can use this to trace their own path of places mentioned in the novel by Bram Stoker.

As one who has never been to England or Romania (except maybe in my writer's imagination), there are not only photos, but descriptions of places that intrigued me to one day take my own journey. Like a brush with the fangs of a vampire, Unger reveals how he gets to many of the places and what is the best or worse of each place or the travel mode to get there. Not so much England, but from one end to another of Romania where not only did Bram Stoker got his inspiration for his vampire count, but where the real life Dracula, Vlad Tepes the Impaler had existed. The reader will get a sense of another world still there, even while the modern world of te Internet and more is the cloak that hides this country where maybe legends can still survive.

I enjoyed this book of Unger's travel and discoveries, unable to quit reading it. He has done a super job of facts, photographs, and stories I never heard of. Most of all, Unger brings to life a vampire and the real life prince behind this being that ensorcelled people long before the  vampires of Twilight glittered to life.  So, whether traveling for real or from the comfort of your armchair, this book will bite you from the first page on.

The book is available online at

My Panels at Mysticon This Upcoming Weekend

I'll be a writer guest at Mysticon 2012 (science fiction, fantasy and horror convention), February 24-26. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Roanoke-Tanglewood 4468 Starkey Road Roanoke, Virginia. The writer Guest of Honor is Sherrilyn Kenyon. Media GOH: Richard Hatch of Battlestar Galactica and Nikki Clyne of new version. For rest of the guests check:  Mysticon

My panels and book signing hour:

The Next Monster Craze—10:00 p.m. Friday

Paranormal Romance Readings—11:00 p.m. Friday

My Book Signing—1:00 p.m. Saturday

Do Southern Ghosts Drawl?—4:00 p.m. Saturday

True Ghost Stories—9:00 p.m. Saturday

Romance Vs. Erotica-How Much is Too Much?— 10:00 p.m. Saturday

Friday, February 17, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Good Scary Ghost Movies

I went to see the other day, The Woman in Black. It wasn’t bloody (maybe a tiny bit) and it brought back the good scary gothic ghost tale, without the audience seeing brains scattered or gallons of blood spilt. It is based off the novel by Susan Hill. Now, I need to read the book.

Since I am busy working on my Young Adult paranormal, plus catchingup on other things,I decided to easy on today's Supernatural Friday. I am going to post eleven good scary ghost story movies (so I want to be different!). Commenters can chime in with their suggestions if they're not on my list. That's fine; I can't find every movie.

1. The Haunting (1963): This movie, or actually a scene in the book, The HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson, scared me while reading it in a room full of people. Stephan King had to do it while I was alone in my bedroom, at night. There is a remake, but don't bother. This black and white version is the one to rent or buy.

2. The Innocents (1961). Based on the Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw, this tale is about a governess who comes to believe the two young children she's taking care of are possessed by ghosts. The movie mixes gothic horror trappings with edgy, modern topics of sexuality and abuse while challenging viewers' perceptions of what a haunting is.

3. Poltergeist (1982). It's easy to forget how scary this PG-rated movie about a suburban family's house haunting was in its day, especially to little kids with clown dolls in their rooms.

4. The Others (2001). This movie is set in the vintage gothic  World War II-era mansion. A mother and her two young photosensitive children are stuck in their house as they await the return of the soldier husband/father. Of course, the house just happens to be haunted. Marvelously paced with a delicious twist ending, this is the kind of high-end cinema that appeals to viewers who don't even like horror movies.
5. The Uninvited (1944). The Uninvited is a classy classic mystery with ghostly twists and turns, as a brother and sister team up to uncover the truth behind the haunted house they recently purchased.

6. Lady in White (1988). Not just a ghost story; in fact, the ghosts aren't the villians, but a living killer. Lady in White wraps nostalgia up in a complex supernatural mystery as a man relates the story of his ghostly childhood encounter while locked all night in his elementary school. The film achieves scares by masterfully placing you in the boy's shoes and recapturing all those childhood fears that you paid psychiatrists to help you forget.

7. Burnt Offerings (1976).  In the movie, a family rents an old house for the summer, and guess what? It's haunted!

8. Ghost Story. This movie came out in 1981 and based off Peter Straub's GHOST STORY. Four successful elderly gentlemen, members of the Chowder Society, share a gruesome, 50-year old secret. When one of Edward Wanderley's twin sons dies in a bizarre accident, the group begins to see a pattern of frightening events developing.

9. What Lies Beneath (2000). A sort of supernatural homage to Hitchcock, What Lies Beneath is a slick, big-budget production about a woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) who begins to think that her house is haunted by the ghost of her next-door neighbor. It has the classic feel of an old-fashioned murder mystery with the added fright factor of the ghost of the victim returning from her watery grave.
10. Ju-on: The Grudge (2003). If Ringu introduced much of the world to the "yūrei" figure (the long-haired Japanese female ghost), then Ju-on: The Grudge takes to a new level of fear by making her more animalistic, sadistic, unstoppable, irredeemable and really, really clingy.The Changeling (1980). A recent widower (George C. Scott) moves into -- you guessed it -- a spooky old house that turns out to be haunted. In this case, the ghost is a young, sickly boy whose wheelchair and ball lend some classic scares as the man unweaves the tangled, tragic mystery behind the boy's death.


Have you seen some of these? Did they scare you? What other movies like these scared you?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Supernatural Friday: A Valentine's Day Myth: Psyche and Cupid

Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. Born from the foam near the island of Cyprus, Aphrodite was a jealous and passionate goddess. Not only did she love the men and gods in her life, but her sons and grandchildren, as well. Sometimes her possessive instincts led her too far. It was when her son, Cupid found a human to love—one whose beauty might rival hers—Aphrodite did all in her power to thwart the marriage.
Psyche was worshiped for her beauty in her homeland. Angry, Aphrodite sent a plague and let it be known the only way the land could get back to normal was to sacrifice Psyche. Psyche who was also the king had Psyche tied up as a sacrifice from some presumed fearsome monster. It was Cupid who released and married the princess.
The young couple, Cupid and Psyche, were not allowed to have  a happy life together, but Aphrodite and Psyche’s own two jealous sisters worked to foul things up.
Cupid was a wonderful lover and husband. There was one odd thing about their relationship though. He made sure Psyche never saw what he looked like. Psyche didn't mind, for she had a fulfilling night life in the dark with her husband, and during the day, she had all the luxuries she could ever want. When the sisters learned about the luscious, extravagant lifestyle of their lucky, beautiful sister, they urged her to pry into what he kept hidden from her. Cupid was a god, and gorgeous with Aphrodite for a mother. Except for reasons known best to him, he didn't want his mortal wife to see his form. Knowing their sister well, Psyche’s sisters preyed on her insecurities and persuaded her that her husband must be a hideous monster. Psyche assured her sisters they were wrong, but since she'd never seen him, even she started having doubts. To satisfy the girls' curiosity, she held a candle over her sleeping husband one night to look at him.

His angelic form was exquisite. While Psyche dawdled, ogling, a bit of wax dripped on her husband. Her awakened, irate, disobeyed, injured husband-angel-god flew away.
"See, I told you she was a no good human," said mother Aphrodite to her convalescing son Cupid. "Now you'll have to be content among the gods."
Cupid might have gone along with the de facto divorce, but Psyche couldn't. Impelled by love of her gorgeous husband, she implored her mother-in-law to give her another chance. Aphrodite agreed, but ungraciously, saying, "I cannot conceive that any serving-wench as hideous as yourself could find any means to attract lovers save by making herself their drudge; wherefore now I myself will make trial of your worth."
Aphrodite had no intention of playing fair and devised four tasks, each task more exacting than the last. Psyche passed the first 3 challenges with flying colors:
She sorted a huge mount of barley, millet, poppy seeds, lentils, and beans.
Ants (pismires) help her sort the grains within the time allotted. She did gather a hank of the wool of the shining golden sheep. A reed tells her how to accomplish this task without being killed by the vicious animals. She filled a crystal vessel with the water of the spring that feeds the Styx and Cocytus, wit the help of an eagle.
But the last task was too much for Psyche: she had to bring Aphrodite back a box of Persephone's beauty cream.  Going to the Underworld had proved a challenge for the bravest of the Greek mythical heroes. Psyche barely batted an eye when Aphrodite told her she would have to go to the most dangerous region known to mortals. That part was easy, especially after the tower told her how to find the entryway to the Underworld, how get around Charon and Cerberus, and how to behave before the Underworld queen. But the hard part was making herself beautiful. If the perfect beauty of the perfect goddess Aphrodite needed this Underworld beauty cream, how much more would it help an imperfect mortal woman? She got it, but went ahead and opened it and fell into a deathlike sleep. Just what Aphrodite wanted.
Thankfully, with Zeus' connivance, Cupid brought his wife to Olympus where, at Zeus's command, she was given nectar and ambrosia so she would become immortal. Finally Aphrodite reconciled with her daughter-in-law on Olympus, who was pregnant and was about to give birth to a grandchild the goddess would dote on.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Congratulations to the Winner of Linda Andrews' Guest Blog

Rebekah is the winner of Linda Andrews' guest blog. Congratulations, Rebekah! Linda will be contacting you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Not real squirrels obviously, but a take on dogs playing poker pictures that I have seen over the years. Do you think they're playing for nuts?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Linda Andrews’ Stop on Blue Maneuver Blog Tour

I'll be the first to admit that some of my characters have potty mouths. I know that many readers don't always appreciate vulgar bombs in their writing. To me, as long as it fits the characters, I don't mind. Many people swear in real life; some even swear a bit too much.

Rae, my heroine in my urban SciFi novel Blue Maneuver, could make a sailor blush. She knows it. I knew it going in. But she's trying to change so she decided to have a swear charge. Every time she lets one rip, she pays the jar a quarter per forbidden word she utters (She's unemployed so that's all she can afford). Note the emphasis on utters? That's because, while she only occasionally slips verbally; mentally is another story.
And while a quarter per word may not seem like much, she's amassed over fifty dollars in the last month.
I told you she is quite fluent at it:-)
She had planned to buy a flatscreen TV with the proceeds. After all, shouldn't a change for the better be rewarded? Before being drafted as a coordinator for aliens on Earth, she worried that she might have to dip into the jar to buy food. Now she's worried that she might have to take from it to feed the technology inside her (but that's a story for another day)
While writing Blue Maneuver, I decided Rae wouldn't curse (much--after all, she's only human) and if I wrote 'she cursed under her breath' money needed to be added to the jar. So how did I let the reader know that she was upset in a few, somewhat pithy words?
Rae invented her own curses. Her favorites are crap on a cracker and son of a monkey's butt. I didn't use my all-time favorite: Got dandruff; some of it itches (say if fast and you'll get it). But I think it's pretty clear what words she substituting for, isn't it?
So if you had to give up swearing what phrase would you substitute? Those who leave a comment will be entered into a drawing for a free electronic copy of Blue Maneuver.

Linda Andrews

The extraterrestrials have landed and they're human.

Rae Hemplewhite didn't believe in aliens until a close encounter with out-of-this-world technology drags her into the extraterrestrial security program. Helping alien refugees adjust to life on Earth is difficult enough, but her first clients have a price on their heads. Plus, her new partner seems torn between the urge to kiss her or kill her.
And that's the good news.
The bad news: Alliances are forming in deep space. If Rae doesn't keep her witnesses alive long enough to transfer their top secret information to the right faction of humanity, Earth will become a battlefield.

About Linda:
Linda Andrews lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, three
children and a menagerie of domesticated animals. While she started
writing a decade ago, she always used her stories to escape the redundancy
of her day job as a scientist and never thought to actually combine her
love of fiction and science. DOH! After that Homer Simpson moment, she
allowed the two halves of her brain to talk to each other. The journeys
she's embarked on since then are dark, twisted and occasionally violent,
but never predictable

Blue Maneuver is now available:
Barnes and Noble

Next on my blog tour, on Wednesday, I'll be talking about the big 'What if' question with Lynda Hilburn on Paranormality and I'm talking about the budding romance between Rae and the two men in her life (who are on opposite sides) on Tracy Sumner's blog on Friday.