Posts filed under ‘The Red Mirror Odyssey’

The Black Scroll has entered edit phase

The Black Scroll. A story of black magic and power in Roman North Africa

The Black Scroll. A story of black magic and power in Roman North Africa

June 24 was the day I “finished” The Black Scroll. I put ‘finished’ in quotation marks because I’m starting the edit.

But the story is told. It is out of my imagination and now exists in the concrete world of words down on paper. Paper in this case is a digital format, but you get what I mean.

Whew! What a mind-bending experience. I had to pinch myself this morning. I did it! I wrote the trilogy that I’ve envisioned since 2010. The stories of Isis, Athena and Elektra.

There’s been months of hiatus here and there. The Arab Spring starting with Egypt and continuing through Libya.  The remix of Isis to Isis Erotica and Isis BeachRead. Family trials and tribulations of late. You know – life getting in the way.

More intricate and involved with a much wider scope than The Red Mirror and The Emerald Tablet, The Black Scroll took a tremendous expenditure of psychic energy to tell. The Romans weren’t nice people. I was juggling memories of four lifetimes with recurring characters. I wanted to wrap everything up – cross all the t’s, dot all the i’s, tie up loose ends.

It’s a longer book, which may or may not remain so after the editing. But I have a feeling it will. The story is complex and action-filled. At least I hope so. It is in my mind, anyway. A fellow author said satisfyingly, “The monumental third volume.” I like the sound of that.

I’ve promised a couple of people to be first readers, and I haven’t forgotten that pledge. I’ll do an edit and then print a few draft copies for distribution.

In the meantime, I’m gonna savor my thrill. There’s not many moments in a lifetime like this.

June 26, 2013 at 4:55 pm 1 comment

Games, swords and jewelry from the life of Isis

All of us have seen beautiful works of art from ancient Egypt. Here I’d like to share some photos I’ve taken that give you a feeling for the daily life of my Isis of The Red Mirror. These are actual artifacts, thousands of years old.

If you’re like me, you love to imagine the hands that poured jasmine oil from glass flasks – or shaved heads and mounds with copper blades. Each object has a story – tales of love and disappointment, tragedy and triumph. And each object has a history that begins with the man who wrought it into being and those who used or wore it, then continues through the lives of all who have held the object in their own hands over the centuries – and finally to those who gaze upon it in wonder today.

beaded dress

Isis wears a beaded dress to the Khent-min market. This version was worn by a 12-year old concubine of a Pharaoh. Petrie Museum

Detail of a beaded dress British Museum

Detail of a beaded dress British Museum

The curled hair and beard of the Persian General. British Museum

The curled hair and beard of another Persian General. British Museum

Necklace Isis might have worn

A faience beaded necklace that Isis could have worn. British Museum

Egyptian game similar to senet

Egyptian game Isis might have played on her barge to pass the time. British Museum

Old Kingdom wife

Sit-Hathor could have worn this wig. Cairo Museum

Vulture with outstretched wings

The Vulture with outstretched wings painted on temple door lintels. Valley of the Kings tomb

glass flasks

Glass flasks like these held the oils that Maia poured into Isis’ bath. Petrie Museum

Sistrum with Head of Hathor

Sistrum with Head of Hathor. British Museum

copper blades

Copper blades like these shaved Isis’ head. Petrie Museum

sedge rope

Sedge rope to lash Isis’ barge to the stone quay. British Museum

swords

Antinous drew one of these swords when confronting Hetmus. Petrie Museum

Greek style jewelry. All gold and no stones. British Museum

From Antinous to Isidora. Greek style jewelry. All gold and no stones. British Museum

Isis would never have the worn plain sandals of a common Egyptian. Petrie Museum

Isis would never have worn the plain sandals of a common Egyptian. Petrie Museum

June 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm 2 comments

Aerial shots of Leptis Magna taken by Jason Hawkes for The Telegraph

I have set the beginning of The Black Scroll in Leptis Magna, just outside of today’s Tripoli, Libya. When you look at these splendid images by Jason Hawkes of some of the world’s best extant Roman ruins, you will understand my passion to visit. Unfortunately for myself and others like me, the politics of Libya have kept tourists at bay for decades. Fortunately for the ruins, they remain virtually undisturbed ghosts of the distant past.

As fortune would have it, these photos came out shortly after I started writing The Black Scroll (Feb 11 my start date – Mar 05 publication of photos). I am pleased to say that the LM (Leptis Magna) of my fantasy is remarkably like the one in the photos below.

For more wonderful shots of Leptis Magna and Sabratha, the second of the three ancient Roman cities (Tripolitania) as well as some of modern Tripoli (Oea), please click on the link at end of post to go to The Telegraph page with 24 aerial photos by Jason Hawkes.

amphitheatre or arena where gladiators fought in Leptis Magna. photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph Apr 3 2013

Amphitheatre (Arena) where gladiators fought other gladiators and wild animals in Leptis Magna – Note: Between the Arena and the sea was the Circus or site of chariot races – photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph Mar 5 2013

Lepts Magna theater - photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph Apr 03 2013

Leptis Magna open air theater facing the Mediterranean – photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph  Mar 5 2013

The villa by the sea featured in The Black Scroll was built on this coastline - photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph Apr 3 2013

The villa by the sea featured in The Black Scroll was built on this North African coastline – photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph Mar 5 2013

The Cardo or main thoroughfare through Leptis Magna down which Elektra was marched after being sold as a slave - photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph Apr 03 2013

The Cardo or main thoroughfare through Leptis Magna down which my Elektra was marched after being sold as a slave – photo by JasonHawkes.com published in The Telegraph Mar 5 2013

click link for more aerial photos of Leptis Magna, Sabratha and Tripoli by Jason Hawke published in The Telegraph Apr 03 2013: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/9909936/Roman-ruins-in-Libya-aerial-photographs-by-Jason-Hawkes.html?frame=2500368

April 3, 2013 at 5:07 pm 1 comment

Standing up to write The Black Scroll

Here's where I'm writing The Black Scroll. Notice my makeshift high desk so I can stand?

Here’s where I’m writing The Black Scroll. Notice my makeshift high desk so I can stand?

Doesn’t look very glamorous, and not my greatest photography, but here’s a shot of my workstation for writing The Black Scroll.

Hope you’ll notice the height and no chair. After some back problems from sitting in front of a computer all day, I elected to write standing up.

I’ll admit it took a little getting used to, but I seem to have come over the hump. My brain’s working; the Muses are singing.

The screen on the left is the book itself as I write in InDesign. The laptop screen has my Excel spreadsheet with research including the 500+ quotes I’ve collected. I also do frequent Google searches to research details and fact check.

The eyes of the woman on the screen are Elektra, protagonist of Book Three. The pink towel between the two banker boxes is for my cat who sometimes sleeps there while I write.

Stack of books? Hadrian, The Roman Cavalry, Atlas of Classical Archaeology (for city plan of Leptis Magna) and Sex and Society in Greco-Roman Egypt. Under it all is a binder containing pages of notes.

Hanging above the work station is a photo I took on the Nile, a movie poster from ‘The Eagle’, a map of the Ancient Nile Delta and a map of the Mediterranean. To the left is a printout of an email from my friend Ann Calhoun with much appreciated (and always needed) words of encouragement.

On the far left, taped to a book shelf, is a printout of my favorite cover – but one I’m not using. It’s the Red Mirror with Isis’ eye. I opted for another cover to make the series more identifiable and the covers more cohesive. Could never repeat, no matter how hard I tried, the power of that Eye.

In case you have trouble making out details, standing on the shelf above my head are two sailing ship models, a bust of Aphrodite, Nefertiti’s head, a statuette of Athena my daughter brought me from Greece, a sitting Japanese sage, a carved wooden “Old Salt,” and a bronze figure of Shiva. Oh! don’t want to forget the brass falcon head of a shoehorn.

Here I am working on this very blog post.

Here I am working on this very blog post.

On the desk always my cup of black tea with milk – or my snifter of brandy or scotch depending on time of day.

The Black Scroll – 84,433 words as of yesterday. 38 Chapters. 261 pages.

March 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm 5 comments

Chapter by chapter the story reveals itself

People ask me how I write. The mechanics of it. Some authors apparently work 8 hours. Some work with the goal of 1,000 words a day. A chapter a day is my goal. That’s an average of 1500-2000 words, although a long chapter can be 3,000 words. New material.

I can do it in 2-3 hours if it’s action and dialogue. If there’s a lot of detail, special terminology, or facts I want to present in a way that’s not lecturing, it takes me longer. Of course, I usually spend time editing the new material the day I write. That’s on top.

But before I take The Black Scroll into the next part of the story, I go back over the chapter from the day before, beefing up certain parts, sucking as much emotion and eliciting as much drama as I can from every scene. Sometimes I have to do more research, like what kind of weapon would a young Libyan thuwar use – or what handgun would the General gift to Isis?

Then, when I think I’ve got a tight chapter that I’m pretty happy with, I go to my new blank page.

It’s not blank though. It says Chapter 29, for example, followed by XXXXX. On the next line is xxxxx which is a holder for the appropriate Roman quote I’ll plug in. Following that is a new paragraph ‘XXXX.’  This is where the new material begins. The story continues.

I seldom know the title of the chapter until I’ve written a while. Maybe halfway, maybe even to the end. Many authors don’t title their chapters, but  I do. I think of each as mini-stories with their own lives. It seems fitting that they should be named, given their own identities.

Sometimes I know right away what quote I’ll use. When that happens, the quote guides the story. If not, from the list of 550 quotes I’ve collected, I find the one that communicates the theme of the chapter I’ve just written. But more often than not, the quote guides me, perhaps acting as a conduit to my sub conscience.

For it is my belief that the sub conscience is the source – the ever-flowing well-spring – of  my stories. Where does the sub conscious get the stories? My past? A collective past? Or is fantasy the result of a kind of cosmic alchemy that blends everything I’ve ever read or heard or experienced into my own personal Akashic records? I can’t say with certainty. But almost any writer should say something similar. If they’re honest. If they write original material.

So I have more questions than answers. Pretty typical for me. But so far, it’s working. O Muses! Continue to sing!

BTW, I’m at about 72K words and ready to start page 220, Chapter 33. 

March 20, 2013 at 1:42 am 2 comments

And at last I arrive in Egypt

For those of you interested in my progress with The Black Scroll, let me say that I’m advancing at a rapid clip. 59,967 words. 185 pages. Ready to start Chapter 29. Ready to visit Alexandria, 130 AD, 15 years after the Great Jewish Revolt that almost burnt the city to the ground.

You might ask how I know the page numbers with such precision.

I gather that I’m an odd duck among writers, as my preferred technique for channeling the story is to manifest the visual form as I create. I write directly into Adobe InDesign. As the words flow onto the page, they look exactly as they will look in final published form. That’s the print version I’m talking about.

Before putting the first word on the first page, I set up the layout, which in the case of The Black Scroll is the same as The Red Mirror and The Emerald Tablet - the first two novels of the Red Mirror Series. I’ve got the header at the top of the 6×9 facing pages with my name or title, book-specific Egyptian hieroglyph, and page number. The margins are there. The title page has been created.

note: As a reminder – or for those who haven’t seen the print versions – the glyph for The Red Mirror is a snake, typically Pharaonic Egyptian to my mind. The glyph for The Emerald Tablet is the owl – for Athena, the wisest of Greek Goddesses.  The one I have chosen for The Black Scroll is the lion – Rome – Africa.

The print version must be re-formatted for export into Kindle, so thinking logically, I decided to write The Black Scroll directly into the layout I use for the ebook version. It’s the biggest market, after all.

It didn’t work for me. All those lovely graphic details of layout disappear. The process is no longer visual.

After a chapter or two, I gave up and allowed myself the crutch. Didn’t authors of old write with a favorite pen? Or typewriter? I need my print version InDesign layout for the Muses to sing. And so be it.

I’ve got an art degree. What’s wrong with painting with words?

February 11 was the Monday I started – day after Chinese New Year. Today is March 12. Three days from the Ides. Five days from St. Patrick’s Day. Eight days from my 38th wedding anniversary and the spring equinox.

Goodbye Libya. It was quite a ride. Hello Egypt. I can’t wait to see what happens.

March 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm 6 comments

How the Arab Spring has influenced my third book, The Black Scroll

It occurred to me that I’m supposed to be writing here about writing. I haven’t done a very good job with that, so am striving to make some course corrections.

At long last, I got the courage to start writing Elektra’s story. I’ve thought a lot about why it’s taken me so long. Was it fear of writing itself? Of not having any more ideas? Or was it fear of the story that Elektra has to tell?  Now that I have begun, I know that this is a story I couldn’t have told without going through the experience of Arab Spring.

You may ask what the Arab Revolution has to do with ancient Roman Egypt? Well, for starters, I wouldn’t have thought to begin the book in Leptis Magna, which is outside of Tripoli, Libya. At least, I don’t think I would have. I will never know, of course, because I chose the path I am on. No one can say where another path would have lead me.

I don’t think  Elektra would go off to the Nafusa Mountains to learn the Sacred Arts (magic – or black magic, if you prefer to use its power in that way) if I hadn’t followed battles there during the Libyan Revolution via twitter. I wouldn’t have realized how ancient the Imazighen people are. That’s “Berbers” to those who don’t know that the truly native (non-Arab) North African prefers to be called an Amazigh (singular). Their language is properly known as Tamazight and remarkably close to the language spoken in ancient Egypt.

But I have diverged. There’s more to the Arab Spring influence on my writing than geography. Until I lived the stories coming out of Libya, Egypt and Syria, I had no real understanding of brutality. I knew about it intellectually. I’ve done extensive research on the Roman Empire. I studied Latin years ago. I’ve seen almost every film made on ancient Rome. But there was something about the modern brutality I experienced through twitter that simply brought ancient horrors to life.

When I was writing a couple of scenes, which I believe I portrayed with just enough detail that you can use your imagination to make more graphic if you please, I reminded myself that things much worse happen every day, right now. “No,” I tell myself.  “It’s not over the top.” It happened. Far worse things happened. And it was institutionalized – an accepted part of culture and life.

The Black Scroll, after 27,000 words, deals so far with slavery, the power of magic – perceived or real – and of course, Elektra. Isis has gone back through the Red Mirror to her incarnation in 130 AD, the time of Hadrian. If the book evolves as the other two, I’m not quite a third of the way into the story.

It’s been intense. This book is very different from The Red Mirror and The Emerald Tablet, which are actually different from each other. I think that a trilogy is usually a continuing story with very similar drama. So perhaps it is appropriate, after all, that I have re-titled the group as Red Mirror Series.  The modern story is the continuing thread that binds them together. And the characters, of course. The reincarnating circle of souls.

I’d like to think that each book can be read separately. I tried to write them that way. I’ve had some feedback from readers who started with The Emerald Tablet and report enjoying it very much with no issues of ‘feeling lost.’

Elektra‘s story has begun with new characters in key roles. That’s just the way she’s telling it. My impression as I leave ancient Libya to make for Egypt, is that Hektor, the General, Antinous and River God will soon take center stage.

BTW, you’ll notice that I don’t have a new name for River God, aka Black Falcon. I’m waiting for him to reveal himself.

February 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm 1 comment

New titles and new covers for the Red Mirror Series

If you’ve ever wanted to follow the twists and turns of a crazy author’s mind, you can scroll through my blog and see for yourself the evolution of my Isis story. After working with a marketing person, I decided that the series needed re-titling. As fond as I am of my three women, their eyes and their names, I never felt I achieved the sense of romantic adventure that I wished to convey. I  never created a cover for Athena (now The Emerald Tablet) that quite matched the power of Isis (now The Red Mirror.)

It was a hard decision to dump the eyes, harder than changing the title. But I am content now with the change and hope you are, too.

Ancient Greek gold bracelet showing snakes, first half of the 2nd century BC, Profzheim, Schmuckmuseum

Ancient Greek gold bracelet showing snakes, first half of the 2nd century BC, Profzheim, Schmuckmuseum

And, as if the Universe wished to convey its pleasure at my decision, I immediately found this marvelous image of a 2nd century BC Greek snake bracelet from Pforzheim, Schmuckmuseum – more or less the time period of Athena and The Emerald Tablet.

What is truly extraordinary, I had never seen the image before, yet I described it exactly as the bracelet Hektor gives Athena the morning after the symposion in Korinth. I even placed the garnet in the Herakles knot where the tails of the two snakes entwine.

Now I am the first to admit that this is a common enough motif, and that I most probably have seen something quite similar elsewhere. But I’d like to imagine that Athena spoke to me as I wrote, describing the details as she was telling me her story.

February 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm 2 comments

The Isis story embellished with my photos

I’m posting a few of my Egypt photos here in hopes that I can bring the Isis story even more to life for my readers. Click on the image to enlarge. Look for more Sandra Gore photos in upcoming posts  :)

Some of the following pictures are from one of my visits to Egypt. Some of the shots are from the British Museum in London, while a few precious ones are from the wonderful Petrie Museum just a short walk away. What a reservoir of history is the Petrie, and not just the ancient artifacts of pre-dynastic times – of which there is an abundant and rich display. The Petrie is a step back in time to the  first days of true Egyptology.

Isis might have seen this fisherman casting his net on the glassy Nile.

Isis The Egypt Trilogy

When Isis sees wings painted on the lintels above her head, they might have looked something like this.

Isis The Egypt Trilogy

Example of painted open Papyriform capitals. Imagine the jewels colors when they were new! Taken at Ramesseum outside Luxor, Egypt.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

A piece of sedge rope that would have tied Isis barge to the quay in Sais. British Museum

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Example of Aramaic writing. Aramaic was the lingua franca spoken by Eben, the Kabbalist and among the Persians soldiers. Isis spoke Aramaic with the General.

Isis The Egypt Trilogy

Here is the cow-eared goddess Hathor. The same face would have topped the pillars in the Hathor Temple. Known as the Queen’s Boat Hathor Head, British Museum.

Isis The Egypt Trilogy

Beaded “fishnet dress” similar to one Isis wore on her visit to the Temple of Min in Khent-min. Petrie Museum.

Isis The Egypt Trilogy

Glass vials like these might have held medicines, oils or the poisons designed to terminate Isis’ pregnancy – or even her life if captured. Petrie Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

The curled hair and beard of a Persian man. British Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Example of how hieroglyphs were painted in colors. This was taken in the tomb of the sons of Ramses III in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Egypt

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Isis had a chest of precious papyri like this. British Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Sit-hathor might have worn a wig like this when she summoned Isis to the temple to tell her of the mission. Cairo Museum

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Egyptian swords and dagger from the Petrie Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Heavy gold bracelets like these adorned Ankh-hor’s arms when he feted Isis and Qeb-ha at the feast in Hermopolis. British Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

These eyes are made with faience, the process somewhat between ceramic and glass, of which the amulets were made that Isis traded for goods in the market. British Museum

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Palm-fiber sandals from 18th dynasty (more than 3000 years old). Petrie Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Sacred Sistrum with head of Hathor that Isis might have used in the temple scene with the Crown Prince and Setne the Scribe. British Museum

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Persian lion shield ornament. This would have adorned the leather vests of the Persian soldiers in the desert. British Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

A strand of polished Carnelian beads as might have been “strung on long ropes” in the marketplace of Khent-min. Petrie Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Gold pieces from an Egyptian necklace. Most likely would have been strung with beads made from faience or semi-precious stone such as turquoise or carnelian. British Museum.

Egyptian “board game.” Not senet, but would have been played in similar fashion. British Museum

This could have been done in mosaics on the floor of Isis’ villa. British Museum.

Faience and gold amulets, cartouche, pendant. Any of these would have been commonplace in Isis’ world. Petrie Museum.

Isis the Egypt Trilogy

Egyptian glass fish showing millefiori glass technique. Isis would have stored her precious scented oil in vials made of this glass. British Museum.

July 1, 2012 at 12:24 am Leave a comment

Research for Athena – The Emerald Tablet at the Malibu Getty Roman Villa

photographs by yours truly. For those of you who are reading, or have read, Athena (now re-titled as The Emerald Tablet), I’m posting here a few photos I took at the Getty Museum in Malibu – photos which served as inspiration particularly with scene-setting.

Before you jump in with objections that the museum in Malibu is a ‘reconstructed’ Roman villa from Herculaneum, I want to point out that the Romans borrowed many elements of design from the Greeks, including interior decoration in addition to the ever-present columns.

There are also quite a few Greek works of art displayed at the Getty Roman Villa Museum, as well as a few, but exquisite, Egyptian pieces.

I definitely used the peristyle gardens with portico on three sides as my mind’s vision of Athena and Eugenia sipping pomegranate juice while they watched the children play beside the sparkling fountains. Of course, Athena’s view through the unusual open side of the columned arcade was of a long walkway through palm trees to the Nile, rather than a slope to the Pacific Ocean. A Greek or Roman garden villa would typically be enclosed on all four sides. An open-ended garden configuration would be rare. In my mind’s eye, there is a larger grass plain surrounding the pool and many more trees, both palm and flowering – and all filled with singing birds.

Getty Museum Roman Herculaneum villa

Peristyle three-sided garden opening onto the Nile (in my mind’s eye.) Here Athena and Eugenia sip pomegranate juice and watch the children play. Malibu Getty.

The ceiling of Athena’s bedchamber in the Alexandrian villa by the sea with painted lyres and flying Eros might have looked something like this from the room at the Getty Villa that I call the ‘marble room.’ The details are different, but I think you might catch the mood.

detail of ceiling from Herculaneum Roman villa Getty Museum

Athena’s bedchamber ceiling in her villa in Alexandria might have looked something like this.

The fountain statue of Aphrodite in the small enclosed garden outside Athena’s bedchamber in Hector’s Naukratis villa was made of gold, but I imagine Aphrodite to be caught in surprise just as this marble Roman Venus.

Getty Villa Malibu

Imagine this marble statue made in gold and you will see the fountain outside Athena’s bedchamber in Hektor’s Naukratis villa.

Remember the discussion between Isis and  Tony at the Metropolitan Museum of Art about Polykleitos and his cannon of perfect art? This Roman copy of a Greek statue shows the ideal proportions of the human male according to the man who inspired Renaissance sculpture almost two thousand years later.

Getty Herculaneum Roman Villa Museum in Malibu

The perfect male body according to the canon of Polykleitos, Greek Sculptor. I wouldn’t argue with him.

From here I will let the photos and captions tell the story. I hope you see the Athena story come alive as it is for me. I hope you can smell the sweet fragrance of roses and hear the thousands of birds singing in the myrtle trees.

Getty Museum Malibu Herculaneum Roman Villa

Alexander the Great

Getty Museum Malibu Herculaneum Roman Villa

Epikouros (Epicurus) – Hektor’s favorite philosopher. “We are all atoms moving in space.” Our choice is to choose pleasure or pain.

Getty Villa Museum Malibu

Menander, the great Greek comic playwright who wrote ‘Double Deceiver,’ the play Hektor invites Athena to see in Korinth.

Getty Malibu Herculaneum Roman Villa Museum

A mask of a Satyr, a common symbol in Greek and Roman times of all base desire. Sappho’s poem sings of the satyr and the lilac-tressed nymphs Iphis and Io.

Getty Herculaneum Roman Villa Museum Malibu

A Greek artist memorialized a commonplace  activity of  a symposium.

Getty Malibu Roman Villa Museum

The participants at a symposium would have drunk wine from a cup (kylix) like this.

This gold hair decoration is actually from Alexandria Egypt and might have held Athena’s chignon.

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

An example of the Korinthian (Corinthian) column. Of the basic three types of Greek columns (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian), the ornate Korinthian with acanthus leaf capitals was most popular with the Romans. As Ptolemy’s taste ran to the exuberant, I would imagine he would prefer them as well.

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

Ptolemy’s wild ‘Syracuse-style’ collection of marble in his presence chamber might have looked something like this.

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

A Greek vase showing Hercules battling the Hydra.

A Greek helmet, certainly used for ceremonial purposes such as Ptolemy’s birthday celebration at the Hippodrome.

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

Glass vials like these would have held the fragrant oils used in Athena’s bath.

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

These gold snake bracelets might have been gifts from Hektor.

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

The Muse of music Euterpe. O may my muses continue to whisper in my ear as I write Elektra!

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

Painting on wood from Egypt of the Alexandria hybrid god Sarapis created by Ptolemy I (Soter) to unify Egyptians and conquering Greeks.

Getty Greek Theater

The Getty’s modern day version of the Greek Theater

Poster for Greek theater presentation at Getty Malibu Roman Villa Museum

A Greek actor might have looked something like this.

Getty Roman Villa Museum Malibu

And finally a plaque showing Hermes Trismegistus (right) debating Myth and Science with Ptolemy the astronomer and mathematician (left).

June 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm 3 comments

The Isis story in 3 versions: Original R-rated, X-rated Erotica and PG-13 Beach Read

The first book of the Red Mirror Series is where the story of Isis begins. An edgy adult fable for the sensual, intelligent reader.

The adventure of Isis begins. An edgy adult fable for the sensuous, intelligent reader. R-rated

The steamy, mystic story of Isis boiled down to essentials with links to the hottest scenes. X-rated

The steamy, mystic tale of Isis and her men with links to the hottest love scenes. Erotica Rated X

A zippy romp through ancient Egypt following the adventures of Isis. The sanitized version - PG-13.

A zippy romp through ancient Egypt following the adventures of Isis. Sanitized version.  PG-13

The edgy Isis story of one woman and four men on a quest for power and love through time is told in three versions. I wrote each in their own style and with a tone intended for a different audience.  Adult R-rated, sanitized PG-13 and X-rated erotica.

The mystic adventure of the Red Mirror Series begins with The Red Mirror, my original book. Detailed and intricate, historically accurate, the glossary offers a crash course in Egyptology. An adult adventure (R-rated) for the sensuous intelligent reader. 90,000 words – 290 pages

Isis Beach Read, written in a direct style that focuses on action, moves at a zippy pace. Beach Read tells the same Isis story while simplifying names and eliminating some characters and sub-plots. Sanitized sex (PG-13). 75,000 words – 234 pages

Isis Erotica,  the most condensed version, is written in a style that oozes sensuality. The torrid love scenes are steamier still (X-rated). Bonus feature: direct links to the erotic scenes in eversion and special table of contents with relevant page numbers in print version. 60,000 words – 200 pages

The Isis Erotica eversion can also be downloaded in 3 separate ebooks, Part I The Red Mirror, Part II The Persian General and Part III The Emerald Tablet.

“Isis rules! Fifty Shades of Grey? Even better. Isis rules in 50 shades of full color.” 

May 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm Leave a comment

Ancient Egyptian novels in Red Mirror Series 4 Kindle & iPad

ancient Egyptian novels Isis cover for Kindle and iPad

Isis cover for Kindle & iPad

ancient Egyptian novels Athena of Korinth cover for Kindle and iPad

Athena of Korinth cover for Kindle & iPad

ancient Egyptian novels Elektra cover for Kindle and iPad

Elektra cover for Kindle & iPad

After a several month hiatus from writing as I helped fight the Libyan Revolution through twitter, I’ve finally gotten back to editing my ancient Egyptian novels for the Red Mirror Series. Isis has been shortened and made tighter and more fast-paced. I changed some characters names to make it easier to follow in the past life and the present, dropped a character or two, and refer to Amasis, Psamtik and Setne as Pharaoh, Crown Prince and the Scribe.

I also shifted my focus from educating to entertaining. There will still plenty of meat for history buffs in the Red Mirror Series, but I’ve tried to avoid reader anxiety that there might be a test. ;)

I’ve got Isis ready for Kindle and iPad and have been working on the promotion copy, which I find more challenging than writing novels. Is it because we authors don’t have enough distance from our story? Or is it because it’s another style of writing that takes different skills? Probably a mix of both.

Next I tackle Athena of Korinth. I’ll be doing some simplifying in that novel as well, but I’ll especially be working on making it “stand alone.” My goal is for the reader to be able to pick up Athena – or any future novels in the Red Mirror Series – and enjoy reading the ancient Egyptian novels for themselves without having to have read Isis first.

Of course, I would love for the reader to want to go back to the beginning to understand fully the evolution of party girl to powerhouse that takes place over the three novels.

Don’t want to forget to mention that I redesigned the covers of the Red Mirror Series for better viewing on Kindle and iPad. You see those above. Also have to confess that Elektra is not written yet, but she is playing out scenes in my mind. My goal is to get Athena edited and then get to work on bringing Elektra to life!

January 10, 2012 at 5:26 pm 2 comments

The Red Mirror, Red Sofa and Antinous from the Red Mirror Series

E-books have the advantage of placing links for readers who want to jump to more in-depth information, so I’ve linked these photos of the Red Mirror, Red Sofa, red-shaded lamp and the glorious Antinous taken from my book Sex and the Zen of Shopping.

BTW – I have used the Roman spelling of Antinous instead of the ancient Greek Antinoos, as the former is the most familiar. If you’re wondering how to pronounce this real-life (or rather, now deceased) beauty, you can try the Greek way of  ‘an TEE no os’ which is four syllables. My feeling is that even the Greeks sped it up by saying ‘an TEE noos’ – just 3 syllables.

The Red Mirror with Antinous

The Red Sofa that hurts Barb’s back

The red-shaded lamp that burns outside the bedroom

Antinous of Isis (The Red Mirror), Athena (The Emerald Tablet) and Elektra (The Black Scroll).

September 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment


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