Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Desire-Part X-Loki and Pandora

Loki, emerald-colored skin as vibrant as ever, galloped up to the steps of The Hall of Earthly Gifts on his eight-legged horse.

Bacchus shuddered. “I will never get used to the look of that thing.”

“Home, Sleipnir,” Loki addressed the horse. The ungainly beast galloped off without objections.

The trickster god turned to his fallen peer. “Bacchie, baby, good to see you. You look skinny.”

“Why, Loki? Does that make you green with envy?”

“Oh I’ve never heard that one before.”

“I hear it’s not easy being green.”

“Did you have Vig invite me here just to make juvenile jokes at my expense?”

“No, but it’s a nice little perk of the situation.”

“You want me to help you or not, it makes no difference to me.”

“All right, my apologies. So how exactly do you plan to pull this off?”

“Don’t you worry. You do you’re Q and A thing with the Spinster Pandora and I’ll do my thing.”

The two headed up the stairs of the hall.

“Why doesn’t that make me feel any better?” Bacchus said.

Loki slipped around the back of the hall as Bacchus swung the brass knocker.

The enormous door opened, dwarfing the diminutive goddess who stood in its shadow. “Oh

Bacchus, sweetheart, you’re back?” She engulfed him in a hug.

“Well, not exactly, but I could use your help.”

She ushered him inside the entry salon and pushed the door closed behind them. “Anything for you. What can I help you with?”

“Well, I have some questions…About um, you know. The box.”

Questioning drew together her delicate features. “The box?”

“The box.”

“Oh oh oh, the box. Right.”

She led him straight to the vessel. For all its gilding and ornate carving, it didn’t seem an impressive or imposing object. The newly acquired phrase ‘bigger than a breadbox’ popped into Bacchus’ head, though if the thing were actually bigger than a breadbox, it wasn’t by much.

“Voila” She presented it to him with a flourish of her hands.

For all of Bacchus’ inspection of the thing, he couldn’t find a handle or lip of a lid, no hinges or fissure in the construction indicating that it was anything but a solid object.

“And this is the very box that was opened? You know doom on mankind—screaming, pain, suffering…” his voice trailed off.

“Yes. The very one.”

“How exactly does it open?”

Pandora fished a key from her pocket and walked over to the box.

“Whoa, should you open that?” Bacchus asked.

“Oh yes, it’s perfectly harmless now.”

“Won’t hope escape?’


“You know, the evils escape out of the box, but the lid is closed before hope can escape therefore mankind always has hope.”

“Hope isn’t a specter. It can’t escape, silly boy. Hope is what the box is made of.”

The goddess proceeded to release some hidden lock. A keypad of sorts popped up with ancient Greek symbols in bas-relief. Her fingers skipped over the symbols touching them in a specific sequence. An ethereal voice emanated from the box and asked Pandora, “What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?”

“Man,” Pandora replied.

The box rearranged itself into a golden lotus, its petals splayed out around a gaping, hollow center.

“That looks an awful lot like a—” Bacchus murmured.

Pandora nodded and suppressed a giggle. “It does, doesn’t it?”

“Pardon me for asking this, Madame Pandora, but how in Hades did you open this box by accident all those eons ago? It seems well designed against an unintentional breech.”

“What? I opened the box? Oh no, I knew better than to open this box.”

“Really? It’s the only version of the story I’ve ever heard.”

“Well you are very young as gods go. No, it wasn’t I who opened the box. It was Lucifer. And he didn’t open it by accident.” Pandora paused to sniff the air. “Do you smell blueberry muffins?”

Bacchus took a half-hearted whiff. “Um, no. I’m afraid I don’t.”

“I love blueberry muffins. I have some over in the Culinary Gifts wing. Would you like me to fetch you some with a little tea?”

“No, thank you.”

“How silly of me, you don’t even drink tea, do you? Would you like some of your own gift to the world? What wine would one serve with a blueberry muffin?”

“Riesling, but thank you, Madame. I’m fine. So, you were saying…?”

“What was I saying? Oh yes, blueberry muffins. Did I tell you about the streusel?”

“Yes, you did, sounds like wonderful stuff.” Bacchus fibbed to move the conversation along.

“Now, why did Lucifer open the box?”

“He was angry.”

“Why was he angry?”

“Some adolescent temper tantrum. The Father had thrown over Lucifer’s mother, Gabriella, for a human woman—Ellie or Ava or Eve, something like that.”

“And how did you get the blame for it?”

“Well, I am the keeper of all earthly gifts, am I not? And hope is an amazing essence. It was The Mother’s greatest gift to the mortals. Nothing evil can breech it so The Sorrows were fixed tight until Luci showed up…Honestly I had no idea he meant to do anything wrong. He was such a beautiful young man, all dimples and blond curls. He asked me to sneak an apple for him…I shouldn’t have left him alone here, but how could I have known?” The crinkled edges of her eyes caught the tears that threatened to spill over.

Bacchus cupped the aging divinity’s face in his hands. A pang of guilt stabbed at him, but he reminded himself the box he intended to steal would be put to good use, not evil. “No no, my sweet lady, you did nothing wrong. Lucifer tricked you, he used you.”

“The Council didn’t quite see it that way. I spent two centuries in Purgatory before they let me return to my post here.”

“Of the few weaknesses The Father has, his son is his greatest. He couldn’t very well let his own son take the fall for unleashing The Sorrows.”

“I suppose you’re right. But Lucifer wound up falling into Darkness anyway.”

“Yes, that he did.” The fallen god reached in his pocket and pulled out a cotton handkerchief. With the gentlest of touches, he dabbed away the goddess’ tears. “No more thoughts of unpleasant things now. Hey, why don’t you tell me a little more about streusel?”

She clapped her hands together. “Oh my, there’s just so much to tell I hardly know where to start.”

“Could you explain to me the difference between ‘streusel’ and ‘strudel’?”

“My dear boy, they are vastly different things. Streusel is the crumbly topping one would put on a cake or pie or muffin. Strudel is a type of pastry filled with fruit. Or cheese. Or nutmeats. You can, of course, put streusel on a strudel, that’s extra lovely.“You know who loves a good strudel? Charon. Especially apple. He drops in from time to time for some between ferry runs. Oh how I love a man in black.”

to be continued...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Desire-Part IX-Vignesha's Crib

Bacchus felt the vibrations of the music before he actually heard it. The raucous strains shook the heavens around him. Swathes of jewel-studded toile hung from every turret, every column, every balustrade of Vig’s not-so-humble abode. Scantily clad apsaras materialized around him as he walked up the sapphire path to the main entryway.

“Ladies,” he said and nodded at them. Their reply—only a tinkling of giggles. Tempted to give himself over to the charms of their coconut-scented skin, Bacchus managed to wade through the sea of beauties.

Servants appeared to attend to Bacchus: one to open the massive white marble doors, one to take his cloak, and one to offer him any number of divine concoctions. He chose a flute of vibrant lavender syrup. An apsara, who was nude save for the gold leaf covering her body, intertwined her arm with his and escorted him through the opulent receiving hall to the lush oasis out back.
Liquid-silver waves lapped at the shore of a ruby sand beach. Golden palm trees reached up into the endless blue velvet sky. Countless merrymakers frolicked in the surf and danced around almost every square inch of open space. Bacchus took a moment to adjust to the grandeur of it all. His human senses could barely handle the splendor surrounding him.

Parting the crowd of bodies, his lovely guide led him into a private tent, set apart from the raging party. Vignesha lay in all his glory on a brocade hammock, receiving a saffron oil rub down from the most beautiful of celestial nymphs.

Vig’s eyes fluttered open at the sound of approaching feet. “Bro, you made it up here. How awesome.”

“Thanks. I see you’re still living large.”

“You know it. Pull up a chair. I’ll order up some more drinks, get some more nymphs in here.”

“You’re too gracious, old friend, but I was hoping I could speak to you alone.”

Jumping up from the table, Vig didn’t bother to cover his bare body, but instead walked the shapely women to the tent opening. After kissing each of their hands, he said, “Don’t go too far now.” They disappeared in twittering laughter.

“It’s just not the same without you here.” Vig put his arm around Bacchus’ shoulder, enormous phallus flopping from right to left. “Oops, just grazed you with my naked bits, didn’t I?”

Bacchus chuckled. “Think nothing of it.”

They settled into a pile of large of satin pillows.

“So, what’s up?” Vig asked.

After taking a long sip from his drink, Bacchus launched into the events that had transpired earlier.

“Antithesia is trying to help you? Dude, you are so screwed. Aw, righteous, that rhymed,” Vig said.

“I know. But I’m desperate. The fact that I’m even considering advice from that fork-tongued battle-axe should tell you that much,” Bacchus replied.

“I hear ya. Well, it’s like this. Everybody on Earth’s got their own Pandora’s box, Sorrows box, whatever you call it, man, they are forbidden to leave the palace.”

“What does the box do?”

“Captures Sorrows. But if you really want to know the whole scoop on the boxes, you have to talk to Pandora. She’s got loads of box knowledge.”

“Do you think she’ll make an exception and give me Arianna’s?”

“Nah, bro. She can’t, and don’t put her in that position because she’d get herself in trouble trying to help. She’s sweet like that.”

“So I’m screwed.”

“Well, there’s one god who might be able to help you cuz he don’t give a flip what trouble he gets in.”

“Oh no, you’re not talking about…”

“Loki. Yeah, he’d probably steal it for you, but you gotta keep your eyes peeled while you’re there. Who knows what other crap he’ll try to stir up.”

“I don’t know that I can in my current condition.”

“Well, you dudes get caught, don’t leave Madame Pandora out to dry. You feeling me?”

“You have my word.”

“Cool. I’ll send Loki your way. The Mother and The Father be with you, bro.”

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Desire-Part VIII-Pandora's Box

The fallen god’s mind raced as he trotted down the steps of the Pantheon. So many plans to make, so much to do before he returned to his earthly lair. A hiss of breath drew his attention. Upon viewing the serpentine lady in the shadows, a sneer darkened Bacchus’ face.

“And what may I do for you, Antithesia?”

“Is that how you greet an old acquaintance who’s trying to help you?”

Bacchus let out a yelp of mocking laughter. “That’ll be the day.”

“I know we’ve had our differences, but well, surely we can bury the hatchet for a moment. I have some information that may be of help to you in your endeavor.”

“Oh really? And just why would you be interested in helping me? It’s my understanding that you were instrumental in getting me tossed.”

“What? No, I wasn’t a part of this. It is true that I’ve not been your biggest advocate, but if The Council can defrock you then, who’s to say which one of us could be next, savez-vous?”

“I see you’ve taken a self-serving stance on all this then.”

“Well if it serves you and serves me at the same time then that’s a win-win situation.”

“I suppose it is.”

“You, my silly little boy, are charged with the task of becoming this woman’s savior—freeing her from her worldly suffering, correct?”

“In a nutshell.”

“What The Council failed to tell you is that there’s a shortcut you can use to help her achieve enlightenment.”

Bacchus held up an impatient hand. “Not interested.”

“How do you know you’re not interested if you won’t let me explain?”

“I know the general consensus around here is that I’m not very bright, but even I know enough to be wary of this wooden horse.”

“So be it.” The snake-like goddess rattled her tail. “Go about it the old-fashioned way. But did you know The Council also failed to tell you that humans are pathetically slow creatures when it comes to change. Saving her soul could take a lifetime, three lifetimes, a hundred lifetimes. It would be a pity if you perished before you could move the wretched woman into the light.”

Antithesia turned to retreat, but not with haste, more with an arrogant slither. Clearly she knew her new and strange bedfellow would call her back to him. And Bacchus knew it too. Were he in his immortal form, he’d have all the time in the world to help his lovely Arianna, but as a human his time was limited. A mere blink of a cosmic eye. And Bacchus had little experience with hands-on ministrations. He’d need all the help he could get, even from the most unlikely of sources.

“Wait, Antithesia, please.”

“Yes, Bacchus, dear? What can I do for you?”

“Tell me about the shortcut.”

“What shortcut?”

“Tell me about the shortcut. Please.”

“How can I resist someone who isn’t too proud to beg? The key to wrapping up all of this quickly is your little friend’s Sorrows box.”

“Sorrows box?” he’d replied.

“Please tell me you do know what that is.”

Bacchus cleared his throat, hoping to cover his ignorance. “Of course. Should’ve thought of it myself.”

“Well, sounds like you don’t need my help, then. Good luck.” She patted his chest. “You’re going to need it, queenie.”The look on the goddess’ face as she disappeared into a cloud of sparkling black rain disturbed Bacchus. Something told him he would need more than luck, but for now, he’d settle for a little more info about the Sorrows box. Time to pay a visit to Vignesha.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Desire-Part VII-The Council

Pan sat with Bacchus outside the Pantheon Hall. His cloven hooves couldn’t reach the floor and clattered against the sides of the granite bench.

“Please stop that,” Bacchus said between bouts of gnawing on his fingernails.

“Of course, Sire.”

An angelic page poked her head out the gilded doors of the Pantheon. “The Council is ready for you, Bacchus.”

Pan hopped down to accompany his master inside, but the page held up a hand.

“Just Bacchus, I’m afraid.”

“Oh, well, as the humans say, Sire, I hope you break a leg.”

“We shall see.”

Bacchus had been summoned to the Pantheon Hall only a handful of times in his reign as a god.
Usually it involved some sort of Bacchanal run amuck, and he’d never been formally censured. To be on trial, fighting for his place back among his peers left his mouth dry and his hands damp.
A gulp from his wineskin settled his nerves. He executed an unsteady bow in front of The Father and The Mother.

“Very clever using prayer to communicate your desire to meet,” The Father said.

“Thank you, My Lord. I thought so too.”

“Arrogance before The Council will not be tolerated,” Antithesia snapped.

“Easy, Anti, Bacchus means no harm,” The Father replied. “We’re here today to entertain an
appeal to the decision that Bacchus no longer belongs to the world of the divine for the greater good of our children. Who’s speaking the arguments against the proposal?”

Carpenter spoke up after brushing his wild hair from his face, “I am. No hard feelings, Brother Bacchus.”

The fallen god shrugged. Carpenter in the past had supported Bacchus. Antithesia must have appealed to the emaciated divinity’s infatuation with abstinence and asceticism, but at least Bacchus could trust Carpenter to play fair.

“Our greatest concern is for the purity of our children’s souls. Intoxication all too often leads to the debauchery and decadence that lines the path to Darkness. Overindulgence leads to fornication and fouls the vessels from which new life should spring. Rampant fornication leads to disease and death, two of the most powerful Sorrows. I’m sorry my loyal friend, but I feel in every fiber of my being that our children are better off without your influence.”

Bacchus considered Carpenter’s words.

“All valid points, my friend. I’m sure I need not remind you that my gift of wine once helped protect them from disease and death by purifying the water essential to their survival.” Bacchus made a veiled reference to his role in one of Carpenter’s greatest displays of power. “And having lived among them, you and I know better than any here how Darkness can consume them, but they are also capable of such joy and my gifts are part of that joy. They celebrate happy occasions with champagne. And did you know they even have children who are called ‘wine babies’?”

“Wine babies?” The Mother asked.

“Children who are conceived by chance after a night of revelry.”

“How charming.” The Mother reached out an ebony hand to caress Bacchus’ cheek. Warmth and delight spread through him and tears sprang into his eyes. So long had he labored against the icy chill in his heart. He now knew that Hades was not a fiery pit, but a cold, desolate state of mind that overtook the soul when it was distanced from the love of The Father and The Mother.

Emboldened the fallen god went on, “And I’m not asking for a blanket invitation back into the fold. But at least give me a chance to prove myself. Let me show my worth to The Council. If I can help just one soul overcome The Sorrows, then may I be reinstated?”

Bodhi’s face lit up with a wider than usual grin. “I think that is a fair proposal.”

“Well said.” Carpenter nodded.

“Let’s put this to a vote, “ said The Father. “All in favor?”

A chorus of ‘yeas’ rippled over the majority of Council members.

“All those opposed?” asked The Mother.

A smattering of ‘nays’ popped up within the ranks of The Council.

“So shall it be,” The Father and The Mother said in unison. “The will of the Council has spoken.”

“Who chooses the soul in question?” hissed Antithesia.

“Well, I already have someone in mind,” Bacchus replied.The Council looked into the Oracle and saw Bacchus’ dark beauty, still deep in slumber.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Desire - The Finite Playlist

Music always helps me get in the mood to write. Working on Desire has been no exception so I thought I'd share my Desire playlist with y'all today!

You're a God - Vertical Horizon

Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down

In Da Club - 50 Cent

Gold Digger - Kanye West

Whatcha Want - Beastie Boyz

Sun - Concrete Blonde

A Lo Cubano - Orishas

Because I Got High - Afroman

The Reason - Hoobastank

You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse

Take a Chance on Me - ABBA

Rockstar - Nickelback

Insane in the Brain - Cyprus Hill

Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town - Pearl Jam

Hey There Delilah - Plain White Ts

It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World - James Brown

Building a Mystery - Sarah McLachlan

Mysterious Ways - U2

No More I Love Yous - Annie Lennox

Me - Tamia

Glory Box - Portishead

Lola - Kinks

Party Up - DMX

Just Like Heaven - The Cure

Forever Young - Alphaville

God - Tori Amos

Respect - Aretha Franklin

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John

All I Need - Maroon 5

My Sweet Lord - George Harrison

Across the Universe - The Beatles

Get Down Tonight - KC & The Sunshine Band

Without Me - Eminem

Whew! I think that about does it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Desire-Part VI-A Chance for Redemption

At Pan’s arrival the next morning, Bacchus met him at the door and danced a jig.

“Drunk already, Sire?” Pan asked.

“I am, but not in the usual way. I’m drunk with joy.”

“Did Vig get you stoned?”

“No no no, I have a plan. No, not a plan. The plan. We’re going home, Panny boy.”

“Really, Sire? How can that be?”

Bacchus sat the goat-man on the black leather sofa and recounted the conversation with Vig and the conclusions he’d drawn since.

“I’m essential to the Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of the world. It’s not my gifts that are the problem. It’s the irresponsible, undisciplined use of them be that’s the problem. So all I have to do is prove that to the Council and we’re back in the god business, baby.”

“And what about Miss Arianna. Have you thought of what will happen to her while you’re regaining your glory?”

“Ahhh, and that’s the best part. The plan includes saving her. Now really, is this not one of my finest ideas ever.”

“Seems you’ve thought of everything, Sire.”

“Oh yes, I have.”

“So how are you going to reach The Council to tell them your ideas?”

A perplexed look crossed Bacchus’ face. “Strike that I haven’t thought of everything. Oh Titan’s dung, must you rain on my parade, old friend?”

“My apologies, Sire.”

The fallen god thought and thought. After fixing himself a Bloody Mary, an idea sprang to mind.

“I’ve got it. All I’ve got to do is invoke the spirit of The Father.”

“And how will you do that? You’re no longer connected to The Cosmic Consciousness and I don’t have access at that level.”

“I know, Pan, but I can still contact them the old fashioned way.” He dropped to his knees, pulling the satyr with him.

A look of respect that hadn’t graced the satyr’s face since they’d fallen from the palace now lit up his goat-like features. “Brilliant, Sire.”

“Shhh, close your eyes, clasp your hands together and bow your head. We have to do this right if we want The Father himself to receive it. Okay, how does it go…?"

“Our Father—” Pan reminded Bacchus.

“Right, right, right. Okay here we go. Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name….”For the first time in his age-long life, the defrocked god lifted his voice in prayer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Finally Romance the Way It Should Be...

One Touch, One Glance: A Sweet Romance Anthology
Available today from Freya's Bower

Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned romance? Remember reading about a man’s clothed physique, or how a fellow admired a woman in a pretty red dress? How about stories where couples fall in love with just one glance or that first gentle touch? Then open this anthology and enjoy 18 beautiful stories of love lost, love found, intrigue, heartache healed, the miracles of life, passionate admissions, and tearjerkers that make one sigh with longing. From best friends who find romance to time travel to a bit of Christmas magic, step into the realm of hearts on fire and love everlasting.

Authors: Gwen Hayes, M.E. Ellis, Maryann Miller, Adelle Laudan, K. Starling, Trinity Blacio, Debbie Gould, Ava James, Faith Bicknell-Brown, Savannah Chase, Lisa Alexander Griffin, Kensana Darnell, Brieanna Robertson, Nicolette Zamora, Kathleen MacIver, Missy Lyons, and Jambrea Jo Jones

Anthology includes...
Forever Guy by Jambrea Jo Jones
Sheriff Samantha Reynolds has a lot on her plate and mind, ensuring that the town of Port is free from crime. So, after being covered in mud after being knocked down by a pig (LOL), she is shocked to find that her brother’s best friend, Jack, has arrived back in town. She’s had a crush on him for years. Has she got a chance with him now he’s back, or will she have to forever hold her feelings inside?
An enjoyable tale in many respects, especially the pig image.

Whispers in the Wind by Kensana Darnell
Ali is excited that her new horse is arriving. While out in the stables, Ali meets Mitch, a guy who is helping out for a while. They strike up a friendship, but Ali soon has to attend university, and Mitch seems reluctant to take their friendship further. What has happened to him in the past to make him act the way he does? And can Ali show him that she isn’t like other girls?

He's on the menu by Savannah Chase
All Jessie wanted to do was get home safe and sound from a shift at the diner, not crash her car into a tour bus that belongs to a mega star. Ian’s traveled the world and met lots of women but non like the one who’s crashed into his life. She’s different and unforgettable and now he’s ready to show her he’s perfect for her and just the thing she needs on her menu.

Buy it now

Friday, December 5, 2008

Desire-Part V-Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of the World

A rolling cloud of violet smoke announced the arrival of his eagerly awaited visitor. Bacchus closed the door to the guest bedroom more out of protective reflex than concern about disturbing Arianna’s slumber. Pan had scrounged up a draught from Morpheus to help the poor woman rest and nothing could rouse her until the satyr administered the antidote.

Coughing his way through the purple haze, the fallen god extended his hand. “Vighnesha, hey, thanks for showing up.”

“Oh, no sweat. It’s totally cool. When Pan popped in at Amarapura I was all like ‘dude, where you been, man?’ But you know, at first I didn’t even know if he was really there. I’d gotten this righteous bud from the Disciples. Man, last time I got some shit from them, I woke up a century later with this elephant head on. I still haven’t lived that down. So yeah, I was totally freaked by the goat-man.”

“Sorry about that.”

“Nah, it’s all good. So, Bacchus, dude, how have you been? It’s been ages.”

“Well, aside from being stripped of my status as a god, I’m peachy.”

“Really, man? That’s totally harsh. Why’d they kick you out?”

“Something about me causing more suffering than I alleviate.”

“That’s totally bogus. How’d they figure that?”

“I’m not sure. Actually that’s why I called you; I need a favor. You’re one of the only beings I know, aside from Bodhi himself, who has mastered Bodhi’s philosophies. I need you to explain something to me.”

“Ah yeah, Bodhi’s got mad meaning-of-life skills. Go ahead, shoot.”

“What in Hades is he talking about he when he advocates ‘joyful participation in the sorrows of the world?’”

“Okay, bro, it’s like this: You only gotta know three things in life—Life’s a bitch and then you die. The reason life’s a bitch is because you want more than you got. But if you want life not to suck you have to stop wanting anything.”

“The root of all suffering is desire,” Bacchus murmured.

“Right on.”

“But how can all desire be bad? There’s nothing more uplifting than falling in love and joining bodies with someone else.”

“True, but think about it, you ever been with a chick you really, really dug?”

“Oh yeah. Aphrodite can do this thing where she puts an ankle behind her ear and—”

“Right? I know the thing your talking about and somehow she flips over and can still grab your junk. Woo, good times.” Vig paused to tuck a lock of hair behind his ear. “Anyway, so what happened when Aphrodite was gone?”

“Bastet came by for a visit.”

“Okay, bad example. How about this—Have you ever lost something important to you?”

“Uh—hello.” Bacchus waved a hand. “One cast out god over here.”

“Sorry, man, I forgot. But cool, that’s the perfect example. How do you feel about all that?”

“I’m pretty miserable.”

“There you go. You get what I’m saying, bro? The desire to be a god again is bringing you down. If you accept your new lot in life and go with the flow, you wouldn’t feel so fucked up.”

“So wanting anything is bad?”

“Not bad. No. Bodhi’s not making it some good or bad kinda deal. He’s saying be happy with what you got.”

“And how does all this relate to ‘joyful participation?’”

“This is the best part. It’s so friggin’ elegant it makes me want to cry. Okay, it’s about enjoying something cool while it’s there to be enjoyed. Then letting it go when it’s time for the experience to end.”

“You mean like Aphrodite and Bastet? I enjoyed Aphrodite, but when it was time for her to go, I didn’t beg her to stay or mope because she left. I turned around and enjoyed Bastet.”
“Right on. The journey is the destination. Be here now.”

“I think I understand. It’s not intoxication and ecstasy that’s feeding The Sorrows. It’s the desire for intoxication and ecstasy. More than that it’s weakness in the face of that desire.”

“You got it, my man. So whoever put the finger on you did the world wrong. And you gotta get The Council to see that.”

“And I have to do it before my followers lose faith or die out. Can you imagine a world devoid of strawberry margaritas?”

“I shudder to think of an existence without umbrella drinks, bro. Anything I can do to help?”

“You’ve done more than enough on that front. I may need some backup for some nasty business brewing down here, but I’ll send Pan for you if things go bad.”

“I’m totally there. Whenever and where ever. And I’ll give Heracles, CĂșchulainn, and Gilgamesh the heads up, too. Those dudes are itching to throw down.”

“Thanks, Vig.”

Vig scratched the round blue belly under his golden vest. “Hey, I hate to ask, but I got fierce munchies. You got anything to eat around here.”

“I don’t,” Bacchus replied. “But let me introduce you to an exquisite service the humans invented. It’s called ‘pizza delivery.’ You’ll love it.”

“Sweet, bring it on, bro. And don’t forget the extra cheese.”

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Desire-Part IV-Arianna

“This is remarkable,” Bacchus said around a mouthful of food. “What do you call it again?”

Arroz con pollo,” Arianna replied.

“Well, I would’ve thought it was something much more complicated than chicken and rice.”

“Thank you, Mr. Gustafson.”

“You’re welcome. And please, just call me Bach.”

“Bach? Did your mother like classical music?”

“Not in the sense that you mean ‘classical.’” Bacchus smiled to himself.

“Excuse me for saying this, but you don’t look like a Bach.”

“I don’t? What do I look like to you?”

“Christian, maybe.”

“I’m thinking not.”


“Definitely not.”


“I’m afraid I’ve never been anyone’s savior.”

“You were mine tonight.” Her dark eyes, fringed with ebony lashes caught Bacchus’ pale blue gaze.

“Well, there’s a first for everything, right?” Still adjusting to human emotions, Bacchus picked up his goblet of wine and washed down the lump forming in his throat. Savior? If he ever got back into the Palace of Light, the Council would have a long hard laugh about that one. Bacchus—the playboy of deities—affable slacker and divine gigolo, yes. Savior, heavens no.

“I’m flattered that you think of me that way,” he said.

She leaned in and planted a quick kiss on his cheek. “Should I make a plate for Pan? He was nice enough to take me to the market earlier.”

“Yes, do make Panny a plate. He’d like that. I’m told my culinary talents leave something to be desired.”

“Well, you had nothing at all here to cook. If you don’t mind, I’d like to go tomorrow morning and stock up.”

“So kind of you to offer. I’ll send Pan with you to make sure no one bothers you.” Bacchus fished four hundred dollars from his wallet. “Will that cover it?”

“Uh, yeah. More than cover it. Unless you want me to pick up a months worth of caviar and filet mignon while I’m out.”

“Whatever you think is best.”

“And that was a waste of sarcasm.”


“Oh nothing.” Arianna shook her head. Once she’d stowed the leftovers in the refrigerator, she set to work on the dishes.

Bacchus watched her move around the kitchen. Something about her presence in his home made everything feel lighter. Had he grown so accustomed to the dark that it no longer plagued him? And just what about Arianna made his skin feel warm from the inside out?

“May I ask you a personal question?” Bacchus hoisted himself onto the kitchen counter.

“I suppose I owe you that much.”

“How did you wind up in the clutches of someone like Dezi?”

The very mention of the man’s name seemed to deflate the young woman. “I’m sure you wouldn’t agree with my choices, but I have my reasons.”

“I’d like to hear them, if I may. But if you’d rather not talk about it, that’s all right, too.”

“Well, basically to wipe out my father’s gambling debt, I became a prostitute with only one client—Dezi.”

“I’m so sorry. Your father put this choice to you?”

“Oh no. No. He was rarely sober enough to walk, much less to make an arrangement like this. Dezi and his crew have been fixtures at Eliseo since I started working there a few years ago. His boss, Sr. Santos, used to own the place, but I guess you know that.”

“Indeed I do. And Sr. Santos needs to learn never to draw to an inside straight.”

“Is that how you took over the club? In a poker game?”

“It is.”

Arianna rolled her eyes. “Figures. Anyway, Dezi started hitting on me the moment I showed up for an interview and once I started working there, he turned up the pressure, but I held my own. And then my father hit a bad losing streak. He liked to bet college football and the season didn’t go at all as he predicted. So when Papa couldn’t pay, Dezi came to me with an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

“And what does your father think of your situation?”

“He doesn’t think anything about it. Papa passed away last year.”

“I’m sorry to hear your father is gone, but doesn’t that release you from his debt?”

“No. Not in Dezi’s mind. He’s made it very clear that if I ever break things off with him, he’ll reinstate my father’s debt and hold me accountable for it.”

“Can your mother help you with the money?”

“Mama died when I was twelve. Ovarian cancer.”

The fallen god’s heart broke for this young woman. She’d barely had a chance to live or experience any joy in her life. How she found the strength to weather so many trials in one short lifetime, Bacchus didn’t know.

“You know, I have a good deal of money myself. I’m happy to pay off your father’s debt, if it means that you’ll be free of this evil man.”

She wiped her soapy hands on a towel and turned to face him. Her full lips pursed, struggling against the tears that gathered at the corners of her eyes. “Thank you, but I don’t believe it’s about the money. It never was. And he’ll never let me go.”

Hopping to his feet he crossed the narrow kitchen and folded the petite woman in his arms. The floral scent of her shampoo reminded him of his own childhood, countless millennia ago. The Nymphs who cared for him bathed in lavender and rose water. His earliest memories flowed along on rivers of perfumed hair cascading around his cheeks just before he faded off to sleep. Bacchus planted a kiss on her forehead.

“I promise, if it’s the last thing I do on Earth, I’ll put this right for you,” he murmured.

“I don’t know why, but I believe you.”

“Good. Now, no more tears. I’ll finish up the dishes.” As if he had any idea how to wash dishes.

“You go relax in a hot bubble bath.”

“You sure?”

“I insist.”

Arianna shuffled off to the guest suite and Bacchus watched her with an unwavering stare. The depth of longing he felt for this mortal woman unnerved the former god. Other than Pan, he’d felt very little connection to another being.

The old goat had been like a father to him since Bacchus’s own father, Zeus, had been far too busy with his own divine politics to spend much time with his bastard son. Not to mention that Zeus’ wife had killed Bacchus’ mother and tried to kill him so as a baby, Bacchus had been placed with the Nymphs to grow up in their protective care.

The picturesque valleys and grottoes he’d grown up in provided an idyllic backdrop for most of his youth. Various Nymphae had taken turns caring for little Bacchus, nurturing him each day with flower petals and morning dew, then reading him Homer’s Odyssey at bedtime. The character of Penelope, waiting faithfully for the return of her true love, had captured the young god’s heart. Romantic tales and pixyish nannies had shaped his picture of ideal femininity. Until now, Bacchus had never met anyone who embodied the spirit of Penelope. Could a licentious, irresponsible, and irrelevant divinity be allowed a chance at pure love? He could but hope.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Desire-Part III-Bacchus the Hero

The driving hip-hop beat made the fallen god want to take off his clothes and pulse around the nightclub. What about the music captured his fancy remained a mystery, but clearly the revelers around him felt the same way. They packed themselves into the cracker box of a nightclub known as Eliseo by the droves, just for the opportunity to flail around to the unsullied throbbing rhythm.

Bacchus displayed a toothy grin as he moved through the various levels and side rooms of the nightclub. The summer months in Miami yielded a vast array of guests from the main dance floor to the elite gatherings in the VIP room. He dug the energy all over, but something about the vigor with which the privileged few partied attracted him. He sauntered up to one of the counters serving the VIPs.

"How’s it going tonight, Fede?" Bacchus called to the young Cubano tending bar.

"Very good, Mr. Gustafson," the young man addressed him with his alias, Bach Gustafson.

Both of their gazes followed the stream of nubile cocktail waitresses who dropped off orders and ferried a rainbow of mixed drinks to their eminent clients.

"Hello there, Miss Arianna," Bacchus greeted one of his favorite employees.

"Hello, Mr. Gustafson." She avoided his gaze and focused her attention on loading glasses onto her tray.

"You’re looking lovely this evening."

She didn’t smile or return the compliment. "Thanks."

Bacchus leaned down to speak into her ear. "You all right this evening, love?"

Arianna skittered away from the sudden close proximity. Casting a shifty, uneasy look at him, she assured him everything was fine, then hurried away, drinks in tow.

His gaze followed her across the floor to a red velvet chaise where a predatory peacock of a man lounged. The man’s hands roamed all over the poor girl. Bacchus motioned to a member of the VIP security team, a glorified bouncer.

"What’s up, Mr. Gustafson?"

Bacchus made a subtle motion in the direction of chaise. "Cliff, warn our friend over there to keep his hands to himself, please."

"Right away, Sir."

The wall of muscle packed into a teal polo shirt strolled over to the man who had an arm hooked around Arianna’s thighs.

Though he couldn’t make out the words, Bacchus could tell the bouncer’s message had not been well received.

When the young man returned, he made a gesture of confusion. "He says she’s his girlfriend and she confirmed it so…"

"Really?" Bacchus replied, stunned. "How dreadful for her."

Cliff rubbed his fingers together in the sign for money.

"I’d never have taken Arianna for a ‘gold digger,’" Bacchus said, using a bit of slang he’d picked up.

"Not to be disrespectful, Sir, but all women that look like Arianna are gold diggers."

"And why do you think that is?"

Cliff smirked. "Because they can, Sir."

"You’re a wise man."

Bacchus took leave of the bouncer, entranced by the oblivious manner in which Arianna’s boyfriend conducted himself. Every expression on the woman’s face told Bacchus she didn’t want this man within fifty feet of her, much less slathering his hands all over her. But the self-centered fellow didn’t seem to notice. Bacchus knew as well as anyone could that souls united for a variety of reasons and he’d had more than his fair share of lovers. Even for a god he’d been a tad on the promiscuous side, but every body he’d ever touched quivered with longing beneath his fingertips. If Arianna responded to this man at all, her quaking would indicate revulsion. And something else—fear maybe?

Not that her boyfriend was without his own dark beauty: chiseled jaw, black waves of stylish hair, almond-shaped golden-green eyes. Singularly striking golden-green eyes. No doubt the man begun as an innocent baby boy, but life had decayed him. Bacchus could read the legacy of pain that marred the man’s soul, apart of his brain that twisted him into something grotesque that no amount of physical beauty could cloak. The ability to read souls was the singular talent he’d had as a god that remained with him in his human form. Perhaps a gift from The Council or a part of Bacchus they’d been unable to eradicate.

Arianna appeared again at the bar to collect another round of drinks for her section. Bacchus scooted next to her.

"Now, I know you told me you’re okay and I don’t mean to pester you," he spoke into her ear.

"But you don’t seem to be enjoying that man’s company."

She shook her head. "No, he’s fine. I’m sorry he’s all over me at work. I’ve told him he can’t do that here, but he doesn’t listen."

Bacchus placed his hand in the small of her back, but pulled it away when she stiffened. "I’m not scolding you, Arianna. I’m just concerned."

"Thanks, Mr. Gustafson."

He opened his mouth to say more, but she turned and walked away with her tray of drinks. An angry exchange passed between Arianna and the dark man. The entourage around him broke out in mocking laughter. Bacchus could feel distress coming off the young woman in waves. She placed a hand to her mouth and hurried toward the alley exit. The man took his time pulling his sleek form to his feet, then followed after her. In Bacchus’ not-so-humble opinion, this turn of events would not play out well. The former god sauntered after the pair.

The shouting resonated into the hallway that led to the back alley. Bacchus opened the door to find the weasel inches from Arianna’s face, spewing insults at her. With uncharacteristic reservation, the fallen deity leaned against the wall, arms folded, but ready to intervene at the right moment.

"You fucking little whore," the man spat.

"Please, Dezi, just calm down. I didn’t do anything. Mr. Gustafson didn’t do anything. He was just checking on me."

"You think I’m fucking stupid? I saw him touch you. I swear if you’re fucking that faggot, so help me—" He grabbed her throat.

"Don’t," she gasped.

Time to intervene.

"Why don’t you let her go and throttle me?" Bacchus asked.

Dezi turned to see who spoke. "Isn’t that cute, your little maricon boyfriend is here to protect you."

Bacchus pulled himself up to his full height of six feet five inches, caught the hand about to crash into Arianna’s cheek and glowered down at the despicable man. "I take exception to the word ‘little.’ And in case you’re too stupid to understand what I meant, I’ll make it simple for you. Let the young lady be and leave my establishment."

With a vicious shove, Dezi pushed Arianna away from him and turned on Bacchus. "You sure you want to get mixed up in this?"


"You don’t know who you’re messing with, pretty boy."

"Nor do you. I’ve sat at the same dinner table with Darkness and dined with demons. I assure
you, there’s nothing about you that inspires fear."

"What the fuck are you talking about? You mental or something?"

"Or something."

The slime ball tried to wrest his hand free of Bacchus’ grasp, but the former god held tight. At least The Council had blessed him with a strong, capable human body.

Pan appeared in the doorway. "Everything all right, Sire—uh Sir?"

"This man and his friends were just leaving," Bacchus replied.

"Of course, Sir."

The old goat, in full human form, grabbed Dezi by the neck and pushed him toward the door. "Let’s get your friends and walk them out, too."

Judging from the glazed look on the greasy man’s face, Bacchus could tell Pan had taken control of Dezi’s mind. How the god missed pulling tricks like that on his adversaries. With a sigh he turned to the frightened woman.

"Are you all right, love?"

All the blood had drained from Arianna’s face and she trembled. "You don’t know what you’ve done."

Bacchus walked over and took her by the hand. "There’s nothing to worry about now."

He led her into the club and to his office. After he settled her in on the black leather sofa, he poured a glass of Sandeman for him and two fingers of rum for her.

"Thanks." She took the drink but didn’t taste it.

The fallen god knelt in front of her. "Drink that. It’ll calm you."

She took a small sip, then sputtered and coughed. "Strong."

"It’s one-fifty-one rum. I find it an efficient libation."

Tears welled up in Arianna’s eyes and her lower lip shook.

"Don’t cry." Bacchus stroked her hair. "Please don’t cry. I’m not very good with crying women. I don’t have much experience with them."

A reluctant chuckle escaped Arianna’s lips. "No one’s ever stood up for me like that before. Of course you’re a dead man now."

"There are worse things than death, love."

"No, I mean it. He’s part of the Cuban mafia."

"What’s that?"Bacchus asked.

"Some very bad people. How can you not know that?"

"I’m lacking in current events."

Her faced blanched again. "What am I going to do?"

"What do you mean?"

"Oh my God." Her voice rose an octave. "I can’t go home. He’ll be waiting for me."

"Hush now. You can come home with me."

"It’s not that simple."

"It is that simple. If this man is so dangerous, you need to be rid of him. Make a clean break."

"I can’t—I can’t." Arianna got to her feet and started to pace.

Bacchus stepped in front of her and cupped her face in his hands. "You have to. You’re too good a soul to be trapped by someone like that. You’re coming home with me and that’s final."

"And just what is it you think you know about my soul?"

A gentle expression overtook the former god’s face. "I can see you as a very little girl, with a sunburned nose, missing a front tooth, but you smile anyway. You liked to curl up on your mother’s lap and she would sing you songs about Cuba. Songs her mother used to sing. The fuzzy dandelions in your front yard were your favorite feature of your new home. That little girl is still inside you and she tells me you are a good person. Perhaps one who’s made some ill-advised choices, but still good."

She searched Bacchus’ eyes for something, but clearly failed to find it. "What kind of devil are you? Why do you want to help me so much?"

"I’m no devil, I assure you. Quite the contrary. It makes me happy to lend you a hand…it reminds me of someone I used to be."

"I can’t repay you and I won’t—"

"I’m not looking for payment in any form. I’ll send Pan to get your stuff from your locker and take you to my place."

"What if Dezi shows up there, too?"she asked.

"Then I’ll kick his ass like I wanted to just now."

"He has friends—lots of nasty, dangerous friends."

"I have a few friends of my own. Don’t worry, Arianna. You’re safe with me."

Arianna huffed, wiping away tears and snot. "You’re really not afraid of him."

"Not a bit."

She leaned in and planted a kiss on Bacchus’ cheek. "You were very brave. Muy macho."

The ex-god brightened at the praise. "Was I?"

"Oh yeah." She nodded. "Well, except that part about having dinner with demons. That sounded a little gay."

"Really?" Bacchus furrowed his brow. "Because that’s actually true. I have. Nasty sons-a-bitches, that lot."

Arianna shook her head. "You’re so strange."

He swilled a mouthful of port. "You don’t know the half of it."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Desire - Part II - Dark Days

“Sire, wakey wakey,” a gruff voice intruded on Bacchus’ slumber.

“Mmmm, Angela,” he murmured and wrapped his arms around the person trying to rouse him. “Where have you been you naughty girl?”

A swift kick to the shin fully awakened him. With a howl of pain, Bacchus started upright.

“Hey, what do you mean waking me up like that?” the fallen god asked.

Pan struggled to his feet. “I do so apologize, Sire. But you know how hands-y you get when you’re half asleep.”

“Sorry, friend.”

Bacchus took in his surroundings. The beach? How in the world had he wound up on the beach? The sun incensed the pounding in his head.

“Ugh, what time is it?” he asked.

“Three in the afternoon, Sire.”

“Already? Damn, I feel like I just fell asleep.”

“What time did you stagger home last night?”

“I don’t know, maybe ten this morning.”

Pan helped Bacchus stand and strained to brush sand from his master’s broad shoulders. “You need to start taking care of yourself, Sire. You’re not immortal anymore. You’re killing yourself.”

“I don’t care if I am. What have I got to live for?”

“Please, don’t talk that way. We’ll get you reinstated. I’ve been reading about Bodhi’s earthly philosophies. I think The Father gave you the clue you need to appeal the decision.”

“You’re a loyal friend. A fool, but a loyal friend.” Bacchus lit a cigarette and exhaled. “Fuck me, why do my feet feel like they’re on fire?”

“Ah, well, Sire, maybe next time you pass out on the beach you should do it under a tree large enough to shade your entire body.”

Bacchus looked down at his lobster-red feet in contrast to his pale legs and shook his head in disbelief. Though Pan had offered to carry his lordship, Bacchus endured the walk to his apartment, wincing with every step.

After a quick shower, Bacchus trotted to the kitchen, still naked and wet, opened a beer and washed down an assortment of over-the-counter medication, some to relieve the pain of his sunburned feet and some just because he liked the way they mixed with alcohol. The refrigerator held little of interest, but he rejoiced in finding a spongy apple and small piece of cheddar.

“You know—” Bacchus took a bite of the red delicious—“I think I’ve lost some weight since I haven’t had the palace food to gorge myself on.”

“Oh yes, Sire, you’re looking very svelte.”

“I might have company tonight, could you straighten up a bit?”

“Of course, Sire.”

Pan surveyed the state of the fetid apartment. Overflowing ashtrays, heaps of garbage, buzzing flies, and toppled liquor bottles had replaced the overflowing urns of flowers, heaps of delicate chocolates, winged dark faeries and scattered, silken floor pillows that once surrounded the fallen god. In a vain attempt to clean, Pan picked up a soggy dishtowel. The rag proved more putrid than the surfaces he wiped it over. With obvious disgust he abandoned his efforts. He stepped with care to avoid a discarded needle and a couple empty dime bags.

“I thought you were finished experimenting with junk, Sire,” Pan asked with caution.

“I am. That was from my friend last night. Amy…Anna…”


“Yes, that’s it. How did you know?”

“You called me that name this morning when you tried to spoon me, Sire.” Pan picked up the paraphernalia. “May I pitch this stuff?”

“Please. I’ve no need for it. Why would anyone want to use a drug that induces comatose sleep and makes the cock limp as an overcooked noodle? Morpheus was welcome to preside over that mess.”

True, Bacchus still dabbled with human pharmaceuticals, but he preferred the usual sacraments: women, wine, and song. And really he could do without the song if need be. During the first several months after his fall, he’d nearly murdered his mortal form with booze and an endless parade of strumpets. After his first case of the clap the fallen god reevaluated his lifestyle. Not that he’d slowed down much, but at least he’d taken the healer’s advice and started using a penis sheath. And Bacchus had stumbled into a source of income a few weeks ago; he’d won a nightclub in a high stakes poker game. The healthy endowment The Council had bestowed upon him as a sort of severance package wouldn’t last forever and with the former deity’s spending habits, he’d be lucky if it lasted a decade.

To his surprise, Bacchus found he enjoyed his newfound status as business owner. He’d made some rookie mistakes like placing his first order with the liquor supplier under the assumption that the club goers would drink at the same rate he did. But hey, now he had back stock that would last for a couple years so no biggie, right?

The employees were a source of endless fascination for him. All the lovely young women dressed in tight satin dresses, such giving souls they’d been. Even some of the young men who worked there were pretty enough to catch his eye. And how cool was it to work all night around libations? The ex-deity didn’t appreciate the human curse known as a ‘hangover,’ but he’d learned to live with it. And poor Pan. The old goat shouldered the near impossible task of ensuring Bacchus’ timely arrival at the club each evening.

“How was your night?” the fallen god asked.

“Fine, Sire. Thank you for asking.”

“I don’t know why you don’t just sleep here.”

Pan shook his head. “Thank you, Sire. Not to complain, but it’s hard for me to remain in full human form all night. I’m struggling enough with the long hours at the club. The last one of your female companions who saw me in my true body ran screaming. The swamp suits me just fine at night.”

“As you wish.” Bacchus skulked down the hallway of his beachfront condo. Catching a glimpse of his torso in the bathroom mirror, he paused. With a flex left and a flex right, he admired his sculpted abs. Though he’d been no fatty in the millennia he’d spent as a god, his human form held a certain lean firmness. He’d never known the body encompassed so many individual muscles. As a god he’d never gained, lost, or expelled anything for that matter. Urination and defecation had been adventures to master on their own. He flexed his obliques again and marveled at his resemblance to a marble statue.

“Vanity, thy name is Bacchus.” Pan appeared behind him and nudged him toward the bedroom.

“Please, Sire, you must get dressed.”

“Right, sorry. I got caught up in my reflection. Am I very handsome?”

A sincere expression crossed the satyr features. “You are as beautiful as I’ve ever known you to be, Sire, which means you’re stunning.”

“What would I do without you, old friend?”

“Show up late every day to the club. Now hurry, hurry.”

Bacchus donned a garment known as a t-shirt and a pair of jeans from some singularly talented tailor named Calvin. Though the clothing lacked the grace of a toga, he had to admit the vestments accentuated the positive. He checked out his buttocks in the mirror.

Satisfied with his appearance, he swept into the living room to find the place sparkling clean.

“Pan—” Bacchus said in a low voice.

“Before you fly off the handle, Sire—”

“Magic when visiting Earth is forbidden, Pan.”

“Now that’s not quite true. You were defrocked. No one said I couldn’t use my powers.”

“It’s in the Code of Ethics. ‘No Divine Being shall alter the natural course of events.’ You know as well as I do what that means.”

“Sire, how often is that rule actually enforced? Besides, one could argue that the putrefaction of a god’s domicile is not a natural course of events.”

Bacchus took his friend’s hand. “One day you’re going to have to accept that I am not a god anymore.”

“I’ll never accept that. They’ll have to render me inert first.”

“Thing is, Panny, if you don’t accept it, then I never will either.”

Without response, Pan assumed his squat, troll-like human form and walked with his master to the parking garage.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight - Robert Pattinson's Hair

Okay, so I'm shamelessly jumping on the Twilight band wagon. I've tried to remain aloof and indifferent about the movie, but my inner teenager who loved Lost Boys is dying to see Twilight. Whew...I feel better for confessing that, lol. Then again, what's not to like? The cast is uber-hot! The only thing that gives me pause is the Robert Pattinson's hair off screen (see pic below). I know, I know, it's supposed to be a style statement, but I makes the mother in me want to send him back to his room to comb that hair.

Feel the same way or think Mr. Pattinson is just fine like he is? Vote in my blog poll :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Desire - Part I - The Fall from Grace

The scroll Bacchus held in his hands belonged to another god. Granted, the address read “to Bacchus,” but this foolish human had prayed to the wrong deity. Had the world fallen so far into disarray that a vintner didn’t know to whom he should make entreaties relating to the current crop of pinot noir? Of course Bacchus would gladly partake of the finished product, but really he didn’t care if he imbibed wine, whiskey, pilsner, or peppermint schnapps. Humans had come up with so many ways to pay homage to him. Their propensity for creative self-medication endeared the species to the God of Intoxication and Ecstasy.

“Pan,” Bacchus called to his steward, “This is for Liber. How I tire of being confused with that pompous windbag.”

“My apologies, Sire. I’ll see that he gets this.”

Bacchus took a swig from his wineskin. “Please do. I’d take it myself but—well, last month’s lecture on the qualities of cork will hold me over for a lifetime.”

“Of course, Sire.”

“Oh and make sure the nymphs are oiled up for the festivities this evening. Are Pele’s accommodations ready?”

“Yes, Sire. I inspected them myself.”

“Good, I wouldn’t want a repeat of the last time she visited us. I hear they’re still unearthing charred remains in Pompeii. And Vesuvius—” The god’s voice arrested. Even in his inebriated haze, Bacchus could make out a flash of gold from the bottom of the pile of correspondence.
“Pan—am I hallucinating or is there a scroll from The Council thrown in with the common post?”
The little goat-man flushed a deep shade of red, apparent even through the silver of his facial fur. “I-I-Sire, I think, maybe…”

The beating of cloven hooves echoed in Bacchus’ private hall as Pan scurried to the heap. Mortification twisted across the steward’s face, his worst fears confirmed. The golden scroll had settled among the other messages, smug in its self-importance. Pan snatched up the regal communiquĂ© and ferried it to Bacchus.

“Just read it to me, Panny boy. It’s probably for Liber anyway.” Bacchus laughed at his own humor.

Stubby fingers worked at the crystal seal, but a ruckus in the outer chambers startled him from his purpose. He’d barely had time to alight his beady eyes upon the text.

A trumpeter flew into the gilded chamber and blasted a hurried version of Hail to The Father. Guards, nymphs, and courtiers snapped to rigid attention. Even Bacchus pulled himself to his unsteady feet.

In a tidal wave of snowy robes and untamed, silver hair, The Father washed into the great room. A brush of his hand silenced the fanfare.

Bacchus executed a deep, though somewhat mocking bow. “And to what do we owe this great honor, My Lord?”

“Good afternoon, Bacchus.” The Father glanced around at the scattered floor pillows and the sycophants lounging them. “I need a few moments of your time. Alone.”

No one waited for the God of Intoxication’s dismissal. An implied request from The Father carried more weight than a direct order from anyone else in the Palace of Light. Oh sure, when She felt ornery, The Mother could contradict The Father, but only She dared to do so.
“Thy will be done,” Bacchus gave the standard answer.

Once the hall had cleared, The Father motioned to a chaise. “Please, have a seat.”

Bacchus staggered over to the lounge chosen for him. He kept his eyes on the wizened deity. The Father’s usually glowing face made a poor show of hiding a scowl. Not to mention The Father’s pacing would soon leave a crater in the marble floor.

“I trust you received the scroll from The Council,” said His Lord on High.

“About that, there was a bit of a mix up with the post this morning…”

“No matter. I’d rather tell you this in person anyhow.”

Perched on the edge of his seat, Bacchus searched The Ancient One’s eyes for answers. “It’s very bad news, is it?”

A sigh heaved from the great chest. “I won’t insult you by candy coating it. Since Bodhi joined The Council he’s done some excellent thinking on The Sorrows of the world. Please understand, he didn’t target you specifically.”

“Target me?” Bacchus huffed a sarcastic chuckle. “Am I being summoned before a firing squad?”
“No, no. Not literally anyway. Has Bodhi talked to you about his premises regarding The Sorrows?”

The god waved a hand. “Oh yes, he’s tried several times, bless him. His manner of thinking is so far beyond me. My Lord, you know I do whatever I can do to ease The Sorrows. I’ll admit I’m limited by my inferior mind, but I do try.”

“No one questions your dedication, Bacchus. The debate has arisen over your methods.”
“But my methods have withstood millennia and believe me the Puritan Era was no walk in the park for me and my devotees, but we’ve endured.”

“I understand that and believe me, no one entered into this decision lightly. And Mother is on the warpath. She’s always been fond of your company.”

“Am I being demoted?”

The Father exhaled and sat down next to Bacchus. “It’s worse than that, My Love. The Council has decided that desire does indeed seem to be the root of all suffering, Bodhi has proven that assertion beyond a shadow of a doubt. And since that emotion…well, it’s central to almost everything you do. Therefore we’ve decided we must revoke your divine power and disband your following. There’s no way around it.”

Bacchus reeled inside from the shock of The Father’s words. How dare The Council do this to him and behind his back? He hadn’t heard a word about these discussions. True, he was only a ‘lesser god,’ but a god of any rank was still a god. Why had no one come to him?

“So just like that I’m out on my ear?” Bacchus asked.

“We did debate this for over two centuries. It’s not a snap decision, I assure you. And Bodhi argued for you hardest of all. He deems you necessary to ‘the joyful participation in The Sorrows of the world.’”

“So who argued against me, then?”

“We shouldn’t get into that.” The Father shook his head in a dismissive manner.

“It was Antithesia, wasn’t it? She could use a good buggering to loosen up that tight ass of hers.”

“Easy now.”

Bacchus wanted to scream at The Ancient One. And Antithesia, well that smarmy, prudish little bitch had better not cross his path anytime soon, but Bacchus wrestled with his sense of outrage. A long drink from his wineskin settled his indignation a bit. A long time had passed since anyone had attacked Bacchus outright and he always managed to pull his pretty, fleshy bottom out of the fire. Perhaps he could finesse his way through this wrinkle; he knew better than anyone the proclivities of His Lord.

Invoking his cat-like female form, Bacchus draped herself across The Father’s lap, her hair a river gold, spilled over masculine thighs. She wound a long, slender finger around a lock of The Father’s beard. “Isn’t there anything you can do to help me, My Lord?”

A flash of craving broke The Highest One’s mask of gravity. Without words, Bacchus summoned her two most fetching nymphs, Maia and Saraesa. The lithe women fell at The Father’s feet and reached up to stroke Bacchus’ voluptuous curves. Tinkling strains of laughter resonated in a chorus of seduction that curled around the would-be lovers. Maia and Saraesa leaned into each other and their lips melted together.

Bacchus gauged The Father’s reaction to the kiss, then turned up the heat by stripping off Maia’s gauzy wrap and pulling the pert breasts to her mouth.

A low growl rumbled in The Father’s throat. “Enough!”

The nymphs disappeared in a flash of stardust, leaving silence in their wake. Bacchus reverted at once to his male body.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about. There has to be more to a life than pleasures of the flesh.”

The chastened god hung his head. “I agree, My Lord, but life cannot flourish either without ecstasy.”

“I used to believe that but now I see that’s where we’ve gone wrong all along. Many of our children lead happy lives of sobriety and abstinence.”

“Happy or uneventful? There is a difference.”

The Father rose. “I’m truly sorry, Bacchus, My Love.”

“There’s nothing You can do to help me?”

“It’s not my decision to make. The Council has spoken.”

“Every decision is Yours to make.”

“You know as well as I do, that’s not how it works. As of now your powers have been suspended. I’m sorry…I’ll leave you to your packing.” The Father turned toward the grand hall’s exit.

A sneer darkened Bacchus’ cherubesque face. Perfectly arched eyebrows furrowed with spite. “Some all powerful Lord you are.”

The Father stopped in His tracks, a burst of flames ignited around Him, but He doused them with a single flick of His wrist. Without turning to face the fallen god He replied, “I’ll let that remark slide. Wounded feelings surely have clouded your judgment.”

And with that, The Father disappeared. The gilded chamber fell dark and cold in his absence.
Bacchus sank his head into his hands. Darkness and chill would rule the rest of his life if he failed to think of a solution.

Friday, October 10, 2008

In the Spotlight--Suzanne Perazzini

Presenting Suzanne Perazzini
Welcome my latest guest, a multi-published author who creates exciting worlds of drama, action and romance.

Rough Justice - Danger, Niki, danger!
When Niki's partner, Logan, is kidnapped by poachers in Zambia, she tumbles into the sordid underbelly of a world where survival reigns and animals are sacrificed for financial gain. In order to rescue her man, she will fight all the way to the top and be stunned by what she finds there.

At the airport, the army were everywhere. Trepidation and confusion were palpable. People rushed about, seeking tickets to leave the country, dragging hastily packed belongings. Logan pushed his way through the crowd and directed me to a medical centre where my arm was cleaned and bandaged, and my other injuries checked. He then consigned me to an airport assistant who was to see me safely on board the next plane.

“I have to leave you now. I think I’ll pack up the centre and get out too. It’ll take a couple of days to tie up loose ends, but I want you gone first so I can concentrate on the job.”

His worried face gazed down at me and I felt a sudden vacuum at the thought of leaving him. We had spent less than two days together, but the bond forged by our shared experience was not so easily broken.

His warm hand reached out and his fingers closed around my chin. “Niki, you did well. You’ve got grit.”

“You did well too.” I smiled, but my eyes were heavy with unshed tears.

He leaned forward and kissed me – gently and quickly, his lips brushing mine, then pulled back. But I wasn’t leaving him like that – it wasn’t enough. I put my hand behind his head and brought his face back down and this time, his mouth closed over mine, forcing my lips apart and I could feel his passion glide down through my chest and sink into my pelvis, where it flooded my nerve endings and set my skin alight. I pulled away gasping.

“Wow. Nice.” I pushed my hair back off my forehead and grinned. “Can we do that again sometime?”

Logan smiled and brushed his own hair off his forehead. “I guess we’d better. I know where to find you.” He turned and I watched with a dull ache of longing inside as he disappeared into the crowd.

More about Suzanne
Please introduce us to Suzanne Perazzini. Give us a little bio J
Suzanne: Since a child, I have been driven to explore, look beyond and search out change. This took me to the Fiji Islands on Volunteer Service Abroad at eighteen and after university to Italy, where I stayed for the next decade. I had been out to conquer the world but instead met the man who was to become my lifelong companion. While he studied and did military service, I taught English and travelled.
But the settling down bug caught up with me. I returned to New Zealand, husband in tow, bought a house, started up a business in the fashion industry and had a baby.
For many years we worked, worried, renovated houses and homeschooled our son.
However, the need to chill out came back and now we still work, while our son finished his education at school but we worry less and enjoy life more.
Roll on the next fifty years.

C: Your books range in topics from war correspondents amid action and violence to poachers in Zambia to a prison ship in a futuristic setting. Can you tell us a little about each book and what inspired such wonderfully diverse tales?
S: I have traveled extensively and love to set my books in exotic locations. Beneath the Surface, my first book out, is set in a fictional country based on the old Yugoslavia. Rough Justice, my second, is set in Zambia where my uncle owns a fishing lodge on the Zambezi River. When I visited the southern countries of Africa, I was blown away by their vastness and beauty and knew I had to write about it. The third book, Crash into Darkness, which will come out soon, is set on a prison ship in the Atlantic Ocean and is futuristic and so completely invented.

C: What first motivated you to take up writing as a career?
S: I always got good results in English essays at school. Then I tried to write a manuscript when I was in my early twenties while teaching in Italy and someone who read it said it sounded like a Mills & Boon story so I gave up.
I started again seriously six years ago and immediately caught the attention of an editor with my first submission. And guess where that editor worked? At Silhouette, Mills & Boon’s sister. Well, I wrote four manuscripts for the new Bombshell line at her request but she couldn’t get the senior editor on side and eventually rejected them all two years later with a letter saying that my stories were more issue-oriented than Silhouette and that I should get them published mainstream. Beneath the Surface, is the first one I wrote that caught her attention way back then. I still say that if the Bombshell line had accepted books like mine, they would still exist but sadly they didn’t get the following they thought they would and died a natural death.

C: Aside from writing, what other activities and hobbies do you enjoy?
S: I work full time in the real estate industry so don’t have much time for anything else apart from work and writing. I do read a lot and feel bereft if I am without a good book. I also go to the movies once a week. In the past I have renovated about ten houses, which could be called a money-making hobby. My greatest passion is travel and I have been to forty plus countries. My next destination is China.

C: What books are at the top of your TBR list?
S: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Dirty Secrets Club by Meg Gardiner
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

C: Who are other authors you draw inspiration from?
S: I love Jodi Picoult for her layers and depth of emotion. She always has something to say about the world and people, as I instinctively do. I will also read anything that Nevada Barr writes. Each of her Anna Pigeon books is set in a different National Park in the United States and involves a mystery. I enjoy learning something while getting involved in a life and death situation. When she writes well, she writes very, very well. Read the end of Deep South and see if you can ever forget it.

C: Do you outline your novels or let them develop more organically? How did you develop your working process?
S: I can not outline my books as then I feel as if I have already written them and am too bored to actually do the hard work. I also can’t plan even a scene in advance because nothing comes to me until my fingers are on the keyboard and then it flows. I definitely can not interview my characters despite many writing articles advising us to do so. My characters evolve along with the story. This has always been my writing process and I have now put my heart at rest that this is what suits me despite many articles saying I should be plotting before writing anything.
As you can guess, I no longer read any articles on writing as they give me a panicky feeling that I am not doing it right. I know now that there is no right or wrong way to write a book.

C: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
S: To write and write and write and read and read and read. Then submit and submit and submit. Determination and hard work are far more important ingredients of success than talent.

C: If you could eliminate one word from the English language, what would it be?
S: “But” as in “We love your book but...” Rejections are part and parcel of this business and it’s necessary to toughen up and take that “but” like a soldier or crumple into a dejected heap believing one is a failure.

C: Finally, how do your friends and family feel about your writing?
S: They are all supportive though that dreaded word ‘hobby’ does come up every now and then. Or ‘but you enjoy it so it’s not really work.’ Ugh!! Writing is definitely work!

Coming this month from Wild Child Publishing -
Crash into Darkness

Amber and Jaden, who both possess extraordinary psychic gifts, are thrown together when the prisoners on a prison ship rebel and an explosion breaches the hull of the ship during a storm. Together they battle the elements, a new, cold-eyed prisoner who has Amber in his sights and their traumatic pasts which sent them to the ship in the first place.

Suzanne, thank you so much for being my guest this week and sharing your amazing books with us. Wishing you much continued success! And I absolutely agree, writing is hard work. ~Cindy

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top Ten Sexiest Male Professions

Yesterday a new friend of mine mentioned her man is a fireman and my knee jerk reaction was “ooh la la.” Then, I stopped to think about my response…what about certain professions make women take that trip of the imagination? As a writer, I think it’s important to understand why a hero is more appealing if he’s a fireman as opposed to an insurance salesman. Are some professions inherently sexy or have we been socially conditioned to respond to them?

Bartenders – Though most gals wouldn’t want to date one, bottle slinger invariably makes the top ten sexiest jobs.

Professionals – Architects, lawyers, engineers…there’s something undeniable sexy about a super smart man.

Pilot – Those flyboys do know how to have fun. Or maybe it’s that they know how command 200 tons of metal and enjoy pushing the limits of what humans can do.

Celebrities – Be he a musician, an actor, or that larger than life CK underwear model plastered across Times Square, simply by being famous makes a man exponentially more attractive. I mean, really, would skinny, awkward looking Mick Jagger ever have gotten laid were it not for his superstar status?

Policemen – Could be the uniform, maybe it’s that he puts himself in the line of danger to protect others, but there is something so appealing about a cop. That he always carries handcuffs might have something to do with it ;)

Construction workers – Okay, so the guy in the famous diet soda commercial was really a male model, but often men who do physical labor for a living do have smoking hot bodies. Sweat, baby, sweat!

Military men – Again, it’s probably the ‘uniform factor’ and that their job requires a heck of a lot of machismo to pull off, but few men are sexier than a military man. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines…we don’t discriminate, all branches are welcome. And it just goes to show, women (like the Marine Corps) are looking for a few good men.

Doctors – Healing hands, sexy white coat, big brains, and an intimate knowledge of anatomy makes this profession a no-brainer for this top ten list.

Firemen – Like military men, firefighters exude masculinity. Brave, selfless, and oh-so fit, gimme a fireman any day you wanna see Cindy drool!

Athletes – Topping the list are professional sportsmen. Rippling abs, sculpted arms, and juicy buttocks, athletes are the epitome of the physically ideal male. It is their JOB after all to stay in peak form. And women everywhere are so grateful that it is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Point of Distraction Day Spa

In this trying and stressful world, who couldn't use a day of luxury, extravagance and distraction? Here at Point of Distraction Day Spa, our aim is to help you forget your cares and stimulate your senses.

Your hostess Ana will start you off by guiding you through her fun filled world, rich with gorgeous men and sumptuous experiences.

Next, Miguel will help you kick up those spirits and get your blood pumping with a spin on the dance floor.

Then we have Jonathan lined up. He will tickle your funny bone and find delicious ways for you to unwind after work

Last, but never least, Darcy will pamper you with a homecooked meal and some spirited, sensual play.

And as if that weren't enough, you can take this luxurious experience with you everywhere you go. Just download it to your favorite portable e-reader and you have your own personal distraction, right at your fingertips.

We offer you this complete package: luxury, music, comedy, games, and hot, sexy hunks (all of our favorite distractions) including the option of portability all for one affordable price of $3.50. Want to start your trip to relaxation now? Stop by Lyrical Press to pick up your copy of Point of Distraction the First Collection.

Get distracted today!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ladies and gentleman...we have lift off

After several weeks of meticulous preparation (okay, okay, most of it was me, Jambrea, and Kensana playing around), Playground Mystique is all the way live!

So what do you get when you take three up and coming writers and give their personal muses a playground? We don't know either, but we're going to have a lot of fun finding out.

Introducing Gideon the demi-god dark angel. He's Kensana's main inspiration and the rest of us find him just plain awe-inspiring. Love those wings!

Heather is Jambrea's sweet pixie-esque faery. She's always worried about the fate of the characters under her care, but she's also ready to play at the drop of a hat.

And then of course there's my force of nature, the anciet goddess Brighid. She often snarky, usually sauced, and always sassy. But she comes up with some brilliant plots twist. Sigh, can't live with her, can't write without her.

We hope you'll stop by and share in the fun. We've got lots of muse tales to tell and you can keep up on all the Kensana, Cindy, and Jambrea news. Also, each month we have a special guest stopping by including AE Rought, Reginia Carlysle, TA Chase and many more.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We are woman...

So Taking Off - The Red Shoe Collection is officially available for purchase on Freya's Bower! Woo hoo! I'm so excited, I can't contain myself. This book is really special to me for many reasons, not the least of which was that I didn't come up with the idea all on my own. That's right, were it not for a nudge from a fellow author, I doubt Taking Off would ever have been written. And the idea all started with a pair of shoes. Well, not just one pair of shoes, lots of pairs of shoes...the entire history of shoes in fact.

A good friend of mine and fellow authoress shot me an email about a writing exercise from her crit group. The gist of the email was this: Choose a pair of shoes from the book The History of Shoes and write a short story about them. Not having a copy of The History of Shoes, I Googled "history of shoes." From there I stumbled upon an obituary for Beth Levine. For those of you who don't know about Beth, she was one of the first females to design shoes for women. Fashion has long been a male dominated field (like many other creative fields). Though she designed under her husband, Herbert Levine's label, the designed were all woman. She designed for such famous feet as Marilyn Monroe, Nancy Sinatra (that's right the boot that were made for walking were made by Beth), and many others. She was called 'the First Lady of Shoe Design.' Along with her obituary was a picture of a pair of red stiletto heels, elegant in their form and understated beauty. The seed had been planted. But instead of one idea for a short story I had quite a few... Four to be exact.

The entire book came together in about two months, though there were times I didn't think I could finish it (that happens to me with almost every single manuscript, lol). But I persevered like a woman possessed. Once I was finished with it, I didn't know what to do with it. The work was a departure from my usual erotic romances. In fact there's no graphic sex in the book at all. I closed the door on every single love scene (sooooo uncharacteristic for me). Something about the manuscript demanded this discretion.

The book sat inactive on my hard drive for another couple of months. Then I got an email from another author friend of mine, asking me if I'd like to sub the book to Freya's Bower. Would I like to? I'd love to! A short while later the book was contracted and I was assigned a singularly talented editor who took a good piece of writing and, IMHO, made it great. And then, as luck would have it, the first reviewer to recieve an ARC of the book happened to agree that the book was great (5 flutes kinda great in fact). I was moved to tears as I thought about the care and support I'd gotten from a wonderful group of women. As crazy as it sounds, I felt connected to some sort of cosmic sisterhood: A woman suggested the basic story idea to me, a woman designed the shoes featured in the book, a woman wrote the book, a woman saw the value in the book, a woman help the book shine, a woman designed the cover, a woman used her voice to praise the book, and more women still support me everyday: my crit partners, my publishers, my fellow authoresses, and my friends. I feel like I should have called the book The Sisterhood of the Traveling Red Shoes :)

This is not to say that the hairier sex has nothing to do with my successes. They know I love and need them too, but there something unstoppable about a group of women who band together with a common purpose. It's a girl thang and they just don't understand. So here's a big thank you to all the women who made Taking Off happen. Honestly, I couldn't have done it without you!