Goddess of the Week: Persephone

Leighton depicts Hermes helping Persephone to ...
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Oh no! The goddess queue is empty! We need a goddess of queues. We need a goddess who knows all about waiting. That would be Persephone, the Greek goddess of Spring.

Maybe you know Persephone's story. It's pretty creepy. Old man Hades (god of the underworld) snatches young thing Persephone and grabs her down to hell to make her his wife. Persephone's mom, Demeter, gets really mad and threatens to destroy all plant life. (She was the goddess of agriculture.) Of course, if all the plants died, all life would die. Zeus (who had actually been in on the kidnapping even though he was Persephone's own father) decides to broker a deal. He talks to Hades and Hades agrees to let Persephone go.

Alas, poor Persephone had eaten three pomegranate seeds, even though everybody knew you weren't supposed to eat food in the underworld. Eating food from the underworld was like eating all your Halloween candy in one sitting. It was a bad idea. Everywhere you went people would say, if you go to hell, don't eat the food. The food will look good. It will look REALLY good. But don't do it. It will only end badly. But, just like kids will eat all their Halloween candy if given the actual chance, she ate the pomegranate seeds. And just like kids who eat all their Halloween candy in one sitting learn an inalienable fact of life about the stomach-churning consequences of eating too much candy, Persephone experienced a fact of life (and death) as equally inalienable: if you eat the fruit of the dead, you have to be dead, no matter what Zeus says. Still, Zeus is Zeus, and he worked out a deal. She had to stay in hell one month for each seed that she ate in the underworld. So she spends three months in hell every year (that would be winter), and the other nine months she gets to frolic as she wishes on the lovely earth.

The point is, Persephone knows all about waiting. Every winter she goes to the underworld and waits for spring. It's a long and dark wait, but, apparently, the food is excellent. Persephone reminds us that we all have winters. You can't hurry through winter. Some things have their own time, and we can neither rush them nor slow them down. We can only wait. But winter ends, and spring comes. Without fail, it comes. The best thing to do is hunker down and wait it out. Cookies help.

  Channel this goddess: When standing in line, when the wait seems interminable, when you really need a little sun. 

 Need a goddess! The queue is empty! Now is the time! Free! Free! Free! Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess for. Then check back in a week or two and see what you got.
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Books to Die for Part Three: Human Cargo

Because I am so loving my iPad I wanted to dip my feet further into the e-book pond. I read Human Cargo by Des Zamorano. What a fun time. It's about a sexy LA private investigator named Inez Leon who gets herself mixed up in a human cargo operation. There's seedy Russian gangsters, morally bankrupt rich guys, Israeli martial arts and serious gum shoeing in stilettos. In other words, it's a good way to unwind when your kids are yowling at each other and treating you like their sherpa!

This book opened my eyes. Everywhere I look I find stories about how publishing is changing.  Usually the stories are depressing: Print sales down.  Booksellers and publishing houses closing.  Blah, blah, blah.  But if Human Cargo is the result of a writer getting past the big six publishing houses/gatekeepers and getting her book to the public, I say bring it on. There are some really good independently published books out there! And they are really affordable! And the best part is you can usually download a good chunk of the book without paying, so it's a win-win for everyone. If you don't like the download you haven't lost a penny and you can just move on. If you like the download, you can pay for the rest of the book. You win and the author wins. How great is that?

Keep those recommendations coming. I'm going to compile a list of recommendations and post it for all of us to share.


Books to Die For, Part Two: The High Window

Humphrey Bogart
Cover of Humphrey Bogart
For my second mystery I turned to Raymond Chandler, who I am embarrassed to say I had never read before.  I remedied that by reading The High Window.  It was the first book I read on my iPad!  People sometimes say, "Oh, I have to feel the weight of the book, I have to touch the paper to enjoy reading."  I have to tell you, I didn't really miss those things.  Don't get me wrong!  I love me my books!  But it was not dissatisfying to read a book on my iPad.  It was just different, and it was cool that I could say I want to read something by Raymond Chandler and basically snap my fingers and have it in my greedy little hands.  Raymond Chandler is fun.  He wrote in the 1940s, and I sort of felt like my inner voice was channeling Humphrey Bogart whenever I started reading.  Dames are dames.  Weak men are patsies, and strong men talk in short sentences and carry guns.  It's a good time if you dream in black and white.  It's also a good time if you live in Pasadena.  The boozy old rich lady who hires Philip Marlowe in The High Window lives there.  For your classic gumshoe novel this is a good place to start.

PS: more exciting iPad news.  Now I also have a wireless keyboard so my iPad is basically a laptop.  iPad is feeling so totally full of herself.
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Books to Die For, Part One: Death Comes to Pemberley

Signature of Jane Austen. Taken from her 1817 ...
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I've been reading mysteries of late.  I've no idea why.  I'm not against them in any way, but it's not a genre I normally pick up.  I do love my Jane Austen, however, so I really wanted to read Death Comes to Pemberley by the great P.D. James.

I got the book for Christmas and had such high hopes.  I hate to speak ill of any novel.  Novels are hard. I've tried my hand at writing just about everything and nothing is harder than a novel. (The challenge is the middle, which is sort of like cross-continental travel.  It just goes on for so long and an inexpert pilot can easily lose her way or, worse yet, crash.)  It pains me, therefore, to say that Death Comes to Pemberly wasn't my favorite.  James channels Austen very well.  In fact, maybe she channels her a little too well.  The language is very Austen and so is the buttoned-down morality and middle-class respectability, but in a mystery we want tension and seediness.  In Austen we want satire.  There's not a lot of either.  If you must read about Elizabeth Bennett trying to tough it up in her snarky-smart way, you'd be better off reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is 70% Austen and 30% Seth Grahame-Smith.  At least there you have martial arts and grim zombie hunters.

More mystery reviews to come.  What are you liking these days?
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Goddess of the Week: Sophrosyn

Argynnis pandora
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I have promised Bellis a goddess of tact, and holy cow, there really is one: Sophrosyne, the Greek goddess of discretion.

Remember Pandora?  She's the Greek Eve. The gods made her and sent her down to earth to wreck havoc on men by releasing every bad and good thing into the world.  She was given this box, and she was told, "Whatever you do, don't open this box!"

So she leaves it alone, goes shopping, blah, blah, blah.  She comes home. There is the box.  Now the box has a big bow on it and a big card that says: For Pandora.  But Pandora remembers what she was told: "Don't open this box."

She goes out, comes back.  Now there is a neon sign over the box.  "The coolest thing EVER!  INSIDE!"  But still, she remembers.  She leaves it alone. Later she comes back, now there is the sound of a mewing kitten inside.  And the neon sign says, "ACT NOW!  TWO FOR ONE."

It sounded like a mewing kitten for godsake!  Of course she opened it, and of course she realized it wasn't a kitten.  It was the beginning of every very good and bad thing in the world.  Among the good things, there was Sophrosyne, the goddess of discretion, who said to Pandora, "This might not go well for you, darling, but at least that tunic makes you look very thin."

Sophrosyne reminds us to think before we speak, which is not a strength of mine, but that's all right. Your hair looks fabulous today!

Channel this goddess: When tact and discretion are called for, when you've stuck your foot in your mouth, when you must break unpleasant news or remind your beloved that combovers are so last century.

Need a goddess?  I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you want a goddess for.  Then check back in a week or two and see what you got!  It's fun!  It's free!  I hate to break it to you, but you gotta get your goddess mojo going.  So leave a comment!
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Valentine's Day Goddess of the Week: Venus

The Birth of Venus
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Pearl needs a goddess of love, and what better goddess for this Valentine's Day than Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

Venus is my favorite goddess, and it's not because she's the goddess of love or because she invented surfing (remember the clamshell?), it's because in the midst of chaos, death, despair and drudgery, Venus said yes to life.

Mount Olympus was not an easy place.  When Venus arrived there she was totally new and totally friendless.   The goddesses hated her and the gods just wanted to sleep with her.  Classic pretty girl dilemma.   Zeus said "Here, you have to marry my most unattractive and boring son."  Did she marry him?  Yes.  Did he make her awesome jewelry?  Yes.  Was it a happy marriage.  No.  So did Venus go off and have a ton of affairs?  Yes, but she acted no differently than the gods and was the only goddess who chose a life that was not based on either virginity or jealous shrewery.  She made choices.  Those choices were sometimes bad, but they belonged to her.

Everywhere Venus went she showered people in love and romance.  Did this lead to a few wars?  Yes.  Did this lead to violence, murder, and suicide?  Yes.  But all those things would have happened with or without Venus.  At least Venus used the weaponry at her disposal to say, "Wake up, people!  This is your one life!  Live is boldly.  Take action.  Don't just sit around "blah, blah, woe is me.  My wife gave birth to a satyr."  Go!  Live!  Guaranteed: You will spend most of your time on this planet dead.  Make the most of life while you can and see life for the miracle that it is.  Live.  Love.  Now.

Channel this goddess: Today! Everyday!  Live.  Love.  Now.

Need a goddess?  I got goddesses!  Post a comment telling me what you need and I'll see what I can do.
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Guess How Much I Love You?

Nothing says I love you like shrubbery.  Doing anything special this Valentine's Day?


Goddess of the Week: Athena

Helmeted Athena holding the snake Erichthonios...
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Susan is on a quest, and she needs a questing goddess. This one was easy.  When life sends you on a journey you need the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena.

Maybe you've heard of the hero Odysseus.  Odysseus was no Hercules.  Odysseus wasn't the strongest hero, and he wasn't the biggest or the most noble or the most  deadly hero.  But he was the cleverest.  He spent twenty years trying to get to his home in Ithaca, but everything went wrong, and he always had to use his wiles to save himself.  When this big ol' Cyclops trapped Odysseus and a bunch of his men in a cave, Odysseus covered his men in fleece so they could pretend to be sheep and sneak out with the monster's herd.  Oh, sure!  You're thinking: well anyone could do that!  But would they think of it under the extreme duress of being trapped in a cave with a one-eyed giant?  If Athena had their back they would.  Athena always stuck by Odysseus because Odysseus could always think on his feet and solve problems on the fly.

Athena reminds us that quests can not be completed in an armchair.  You have to move it, move it.  You have to go where the river takes you, and you have to be flexible enough and open enough to realize that the river goes where it wants, whether you like it or not.  That doesn't mean you should set up a lounge chair and just go along for the ride, but it does mean that you need to be flexible in thinking about both your destination and the tools you have at your disposal.

Channel this goddess: When questing, when traveling, when wondering what to do about that dog you found, when trying to be flexible.

Need a goddess?  I got goddesses!  Post a comment explaining what you want a goddess for.  Then check back in a week or two and see what you got.  It's fun!  It's free!  It's good for you.  Like spinach.  Eat up.

PS: Want to read more?  I just posted a new City Walk here.

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Check out my awesome self!

HA!  It took a few hours of crying, swearing and bargaining with God, but I figured out how to upload stories to Smashwords.  Smashwords is an epublishing site that allows you to upload original writing and sell it directly from Smashwords, but it also links your work to Amazon, iTunes, etc so that readers can find it there.  (That part takes a little longer though.  It won't be available at those other sites for maybe a week.  I'll keep you posted.)

I posted my new flash fiction story "Ten Things I Hate About Valentine's Day."  See the cover?  I'm feeling a little smug because I designed it.  I used an app called Typedrawing.  (It's really fun!)  I know.  You could probably do better, but, remember, you are way more artistic than I am.

The story is free because I'm just trying to build a little bit of an audience.  It's only 500 words.  You could read it while waiting for your bread to toast.

There are lots of downloading options.  You can download it onto your e-reader, iPad, phone or just your computer.  You can find it here.  Be sure to tell me what you think.

And remember, men, don't forget to get your sweetie something nice this Valentine's Day!


Goddess of the Week: Hecate

Hecate Sculpture
Hecate Sculpture (Photo credit: Shain Erin)
Lorena needs a goddess of decision making.  I'm giving her the Greek goddess Hecate, goddess of the crossroads.

Hecate was pretty much your first GPS.  Whenever people in ancient Athens came to a crossroads, they made a sacrifice to Hecate so that she would help them choose the right direction.

The crosswords were--and are--a visible symbol of what all of us know: making choices can be hard.  I find this to be especially true when you are responsible for someone else.  When my sweet (to me, at least) dog Ivy was dying of cancer, everyday I would feel wracked with indecision: is today the day I take her in to end her suffering?  No?  How about today?  And tomorrow's today?  It was awful.  And don't even get me started on parenting decisions.  Oh my God!  Shoot me already!  Would that I had stuck to house plants (although, let's face it, I haven't done so great with them either.)

Hecate reminds us that decisions have costs.  I won't tell you what people would commonly sacrifice to Hecate (OK, I will tell you, but it's disturbing.  Dogs!  There.  I've said it, but I'm forgetting it as soon as I'm done).  Nothing is free in this world, even the choices you make.  If you bring your kids their forgotten homework, they may get a better grade, but they will not learn as much about personal responsibility.  If you don't bring them their homework, they'll learn about personal responsibility, but they'll get lower grades and who knows what horrible future that will resign them too.  No matter what, you're pretty much fucked.  So just make your choice and remember that you're going to have to pay for it one or another.  When in doubt, one simple rule: choose kindness and compassion, even toward yourself.

Channel this goddess: when making decisions, when faced with a crossroads, when driving without a map.

Need a goddess?  I got goddesses!  Post a comment saying what you'd like a goddess for.  Then check back in a week or two and see what you got.  It's fun!  It's free!  It's easier than deciding which of your identical pair of black leggings to wear, which will make sense if you have a 14 year old.  

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