H is for Hippolyta #AtoZ Challenge

Hippolyta was one of the most famous of the Amazon Queens. Most likely because Hercules of muscles (and Kevin Sorbo) fame had to gain Hippolyta’s girdle as one of his Twelve Labors, a penance for his crimes (Hera, queen of the gods, drove him to madness causing him to kill his wife and children–the old greek myths were pretty nasty at times.)  The girdle or belt was a gift from her father Ares, the god of war,  that signaled her authority as Amazon ruler.

In the DC comic and television show Wonder Woman, Hippolyta was Diane Prince’s mother. Just for fun, here’s Cloris Leachman as Hippolyta in the original Wonder Woman show.

CL as Hippolyta


Given her status in the annals of Amazon history, Hippolyta appears in my Amazon romance series. Antiope and Marta, heroines of respectively Thirteen Nights and my WIP, Hope Restored, descended directly from Hippolyta, which of course gets them into all kinds of trouble.

Visit the other A to Z Challenge Bloggers here.

G is for Gaia #AtoZChallenge

The Earth seen from Apollo 17
Gaia is one of my favorite godesses. Like Eve, she is the start of everything.

Gaia is a primordial deity, which means she mothered the earth and all its inhabitants. Its no surprise then that Gaia means earth. For all you sci fi lovers (like me), her Roman equivalent is Terra. She conceived Uranus, the god of the skies, then, with him, bore the Titans, the parents of the greek gods and goddesses we love to follow (Zeus, Juno, Apollo etc..), the giants and the sea-gods. The pantheon gods are definitely a randy bunch.

Her name, and essence, were given to the Gaia theory or principle which posits that the organic (living) and inorganic materials on the earth interact to create a single, complex interactive environment that offer the conditions that enable life on earth.

Mythology sometimes serves as the foundation for understanding our life today–both stories and science.  So much for thinking life and narrative are actually linear.

Thoughts?  Do you see life as linear or a series of circles or dimensions or what else?

Visit other A to Z Bloggers here.

F is for the Fates (What’s yours?) #AtoZChallenge

The Fates are arguably the most powerful of all the gods and goddesses.  Its not clear where they came from but even the gods feared them. Known as the Moirai, they collective weave our futures.

The Three Fates by

Clotho spins each life with her thread. Lachesis chooses the length and contribution of each life, assigning what you will do and when you will die. Atropos cuts the thread when it is time.  In a way, they are another female articulation of the natural world, as they represent the natural order of things.  Although the big pieces are sketched out, if you believe in fate or the fates, there is still lots of room, even in the myth, for free will.

Of particular interest, in Plato’s Republic the Fates sang the past, present and future. Lachesis, the past, Clotho, the present, and Atropos, the future. Which reminds me of Dickens’ book, A Christmas Carol and how often mythology underpins our stories.

Where do you stand?  How much is fated, how much do we weave for ourselves?

If you like, you can visit the other A to Z bloggers here.

E is for Eve #AtoZchallenge

Creation of Eve, michelangelo
Michelangelo’s Creation of Eve

I’m going to cheat a little bit with this post. Eve–the Eve–cannot be so easily categorized as either a mythical goddess or an ancient queen. She is the first woman, the one, the only.  And for a theme venerating the historic contributions of women, it seems remiss not to include her. Disertations have been written about her. She’s venerated and despised, as many famous women through the ages have been.

The name Eve means life.  I think that says it all.

Have a great weekend. See you on Monday.  You can visit all the other wonderful A to Z bloggers here.



D is for De Mulieribus Claris (Check this out, its pretty cool) #AtoZChallenge

Boccaccio - Faltonia Proba - De mulieribus claris, XV secolo illuminated manuscript
In 1374, Giovanni Boccaccio, writer of Decameron, published the  De Mulieribus Claris, an anthology of 106 famous mythological and historical women.  I fell into this this while doing research on the Amazon Antiope  for Thirteen Nights (she’s in there) and it blew me away. I was stunned that such a book was ever written about women in that era.  And not surprisingly, it is the first known collection of biographies dedicated to women, at least in western literature. The book includes good and bad women, vice and virtue,  the female in her layered glory.  This is one book I wished they had assigned me to read for school. Its now on my to read list.

What about you? Any cool books about famous historical women that most of us have no clue about?

Visit the other A to Z Challenge bloggers here.

A is for Antiope, a Unique Amazon #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to Post one of the A to Z Challenge. My theme is mythical goddesses and ancient queens. My post for the first day is arguably both.

Antiope is an Amazon princess, daughter to Ares, the Greek god of war. In some stories, she is also an Amazon queen.  What brought her to my attention is that Antiope is the only known Amazon ever to formally marry. Her husband was Theseus, king of Athens, companion to Hercules, and famed for defeating the minotaur. The ending is sad, as most myths tend to be.   Theseus kidnapped Antiope when traveling with Hercules on the quest to gain the girdle of Hippolyta, the Amazon Queen.  In the process, she fell in love with him. The Amazons attack to reclaim the girdle and rescue Antiope, who was killed by the Amazon Molpadia in the process. As with most myths, there are other versions of this story, such as Theseus killed her in order to marry Phaedra. Here she is:
Farnese Bull MAN Napoli Inv6002 n04


No matter which version is true, if any indeed are, it makes a great story.  I had wanted to develop a romance series around the Amazons and I couldn’t resist rewriting Antiope’s story to kick it off. Its called Thirteen Nights, because in myth, the Amazons would procreate once a year with their neighbors, the Gargareans, a group of male-only warriors. It was believed that spendingthirteennights_msr thirteen nights together ensured conception.

I updated that pair matching to an annual speed-dating event.  If you like hot romances, check it out. If you just like kick-ass female mythical leaders. come visit during the A to Z challenge. I’ll be doing one each day. I promise not too much promo. But I have two heroines from my mythology-based series whose names happen start with A and B.  As historical figures, they are interesting because they are not as well known.

While you’re blog hopping, don’t forget to visit other A to Z Participants. Here’s the full list.


My Writing Process Blog Tour Meme: What’s Yours? #amwriting

My awesome critique partner Lisa Carlisle tagged me for the writing process blog tour. I am required to answer four questions onMOFK my writing process. On Monday, April 7, please visit my fellow writers, Cheri Roman, Sandra Danby and Angelique Jamail. I am proud to call them my co-authors on The Milk of Female Kindness, An Anthology about Honest Motherhood. They are fabulous writers, so make sure to visit.

1. What am I working on at the moment?

I am writing Hope Restored, Book 3 in my paranormal romance series Divine Temptation, published by Ellora’s Cave.  The three stories trace the integration of the pantheon gods into the modern human world, one love story at a time. The heroines are all Amazon warriors, sworn to serve the Greek pantheon but fighting to live their own lives on their own terms. All three are love stories, they are sexy, but they are also about being true to yourself.  Book 1, Thirteen Nights released in December, 2013. Book 2, Life Reignited, releases on September 3 and I hope to finish Hope Restored in time for release this year.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love strong heroines, women who fight for their own identities and mold the world to their needs.  I also like to take some risks with writing, and try to flesh out unique characters. Life Reignited is a love story for the baby boomer set, which is not usually found in romance novels.  The themes of making personal choice in the face of wider forces that seem to constrain our control and learning to being your best self in the chaos underpin all the stories I wrote.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I’ve always found my own heroines in books, so I write women I’d like to emulate, those who struggle with the problems we all deal with, but keep going.   I like to see strong independent women find their happy ending that includes both love and self-articulation.

4. How does my writing process work?

I write every day. The alarm rings around five o’clock and I drag myself out of bed, make a cup of coffee, do some yoga stretches to manage a bad back, then sit myself down at the computer and write until 7:00.  I also have a Microsoft tablet with Word on it. I write some more on the metro to work, tablet on my lap.  On the weekends, I do some more, in between life and errands and trying to sneak some fun time in my life.  My goal is to write 3,000 words a week–more if possible, less if I must.  For me, the key is to come to the page everyday.  I also write in silence.


Next Monday, click over to the these three truly special writers to read about their writing processes.


Cheri Roman is a writer, editor, teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and friend, in whatever order works best in the moment. Her debut novel, Descent, launched recently and she is currently working on the sequel. Most days you can find her on her blog, The Brass Rag, or working on the next novel in her fantasy series, Rephaim. Cheri lives with her husband and two Chihuahuas in St. Johns, Florida.

Since she can first remember, Sandra Danby has loved reading. She grew up on a small dairy farm at the bleak edge of East Yorkshire where England meets the North Sea. At the age of four she was making magazines full of her own stories. When missed by her mother, she was usually found in a corner with her nose in a book. She devoured everything from the Famous Five and Secret Seven to Swallows and Amazons, from ‘Little Women’ to George Orwell and Mary Stewart. All this reading led her first to a degree in English Literature in London, then to journalism. Now she writes novels. Her book ‘Ignoring Gravity’  was published on March 28, 2014.

Angelique Jamail is a writer, artist, and teacher living in the Houston area. Her writing (poetry, fiction, and non-fiction) has appeared in two dozen publications, including anthologies and journals.  Her previous books of poems are GYPSIES (1st printing 1998) and BAREFOOT ON MARBLE: TWENTY POEMS, 1995-2001 (1st printing 2003). Her current projects include a new collection of poems, PLAYING HOUSE, and a novel, FOREST OF DIAMONDS.

Blog Action Day 2013: Wielding a Pen

“The pen is mightier than then the sword.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Rights rely on voice—the ability to share a narrative, an opinion, a need—in a free and open forum.  For those denied a voice, or are unable to articulate their own story, writers often step in to fill the void. Not just journalists and observers, but novelists and fiction writers also have a role to play. Because human rights are trodden in two main ways: 1)  through legal, government-approved rules and regulations; and 2) through cultural norms and expectations. The latter at times can be more insidious, because these often serve to convince people to choose voicelessness, to inhibit their own expression.

It is here where fiction writers can help to peal back those layers to expose the contradictions through narrative, using the power of stories. Through stories, readers tousle with the emotions and contradiction themselves. Fiction can provide a guide to navigate their own inner maze. It not simply a reporting of what’s out there and why its bad but also an aid to each individual to work through the challenge in their hearts and minds. Writers also transfer the story to those outside world, by showing others (not just telling them) about the daily challenges that people live and feel who have been denied core human rights.

So this post is to say thank you to the writers and artists who use their creativity to give voice to the voiceless. And a reminder that artists are often the first voices silenced, because the pen gives cause to the sword.

I am proud to participate in this global conversation. I am even prouder to be blogging with some other awesome writers on the power of stories as a means of creating and maintain a juster, fairer world. So please visit in alphabetical order:

Tonya Cannariato

Kasia James

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Empty Bed

Shades of Pink Charity Anthology

As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For this occasion, 33 authors have allied for 1 cause:  fundraising for research. Their gift to everyone who makes a donation? A romance anthology (ebook) titled Shades of Pink, totaling over 200.000 words / about 500 pages as a PDF.

The suggested donation is $5. Funds are raised via and all proceeds go directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Readers can also donate to the charity organization of their choice (with a focus on breast cancer) and email their receipt to receive their copy of the anthology in either PDF, ePub or mobi (kindle).

Who: Kate Baum, Brei Betzold, Jean Booth, Catherine Bowman, Perci T. Brooks, Rose Caraway, Bethan Cooper, Sarah Daltry, Vivien Dean, JJ Ellis, Rachel Firasek, Sabrina Garie, Amber Green, T. Hammond, Lisa M. Harley, Susan Harris, K. R. Haynes, Ellie Heller, Laura Hunsaker, Jennifer James, Torie James, Kallysten, K.A. Linde, C. Deanne Rowe, DJ Shaw, Madeline Sheehan, Eden Summers, Gill Taber, J Annas Walker, Matthew Welch, Kristin L. Wilson, Zoe York, Angela Yseult

When: October 1 through November 15th.

What: 33 short stories, including…

  • 30 M/F, 1.5 M/M, 1.5 M/F/M
  • 4 paranormal, 2 sci-fi, 19 contemporary, 3 historical, 1 BDSM, 9 fantasy, 3 YA (some stories have more than one genre)
  • 4 spicy (ménage or kink), 15 sexy (explicit sex scenes), 14 sweet (no sex)
  • A handful of vampires, about four dozen humans including fighters, cursed humans, reincarnated souls, footballers, time travelers, bosses, secretaries, writers, rock stars, teens, witches, soldiers, wives, husbands and fiancés, 1 succubus, 1 genie, 1 extra-terrestrial princess, a few gods and goddesses, a pack of werewolves.
  • Pink, pink and more pink, including cherry blossoms, jewelry,  flamingoes, silk, a leather collar, assorted flowers, hair, a car, lip gloss, champagne, a hair ribbon, a hippo, various clothing items, lemonade and a toy.

Where: Kallysten’s blog

Here you’ll find teasers for all the stories, interviews of the authors posted during all of October, and of course the link where you can donate and help this worthy cause.

Join me for Blog Action Day


On October 16, I am proud to be participating in Blog Action Day.  On this day, bloggers the world round post on one topic of global import. The theme this year is Human Rights.  I will be focusing my post on human rights for women.

I would love to join with others to write on this topic in a group blog format or at least just sharing each others posts on our own. If anyone is interested in joining me, let me know in the comments.

Life is good when you can do good and hang with others.

Join me.