Posts tagged ‘Athena’

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

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

An almost Greek symposium at the Malibu Getty

Malibu Getty Tasting of 4 wines created in clay amphorae in the ancient way. The wines came from Northern Italy, Sicily, Santorini (Greece) and Napa.

It wasn’t quite Mt. Olympus, but with very little imagination at the Malibu Getty on Jul 21, you could see yourself as a Greek aristocrat roaming the grounds of a lush villa, preparing for a wild drinking night at a classical Greek symposium (symposion).

At least, I had no problem projecting myself back 2500 years into Athena in Korinth, Greece with Hektor at Xenon’s pleasure villa by the sea.

Del Dotto 2009 Napa Valley Zinfandel ‘clay vessel fermented.’ LOVE this bottle.

We started out the evening at 5pm when the Getty Malibu Roman Villa Museum closed, and we gathered in the auditorium for a wonderful talk by historian Oswyn Murray of Oxford University. In the fine way that the Brits do so very well, Murray informed and entertained with his dry wit and rich display of images.

I felt great relief that the symposium I describe in Chapter 3 of Athena (The Egypt Trilogy) is right on target. There was a little dismay when Murray declared that food was served first and almost never during the Greek symposium (drinking party) itself. A conversation with him afterwards assured me that customs certainly varied, and that food could very well have been part of a symposium in Korinth in 200 BC Greece.

Whew! No need to rewrite Chapter 3 of Athena and remove all mention of “whole roast lamb appearing in an aromatic cloud of rosemary and garlic.”

Here’s a list of the wines served:
2001 Gravner Anfora Bianco Breg, Friuli-Venezia-Guilia, Italy
2009 Azienda Agricola COS Pithos, Sicily, Italy
2009 Del Dotto Clay Vessel Zinfandel, Napa Valley, California (see photo)
2010 Domaine Sigalas Asirtiko Athiri, Santorini, Greece

Unfortunately, our wine was not served in drinking cups such as this kylix on display at the Getty. Oh well…maybe in another life?


July 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm 2 comments

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 4 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

Red Mirror furlough turns into rebirth of SandraOfftheStrip

I had decided to take a month off between the printing of Athena of the Red Mirror Trilogy and the start of Elektra, the third book. I planned to catch up on reading, seeing friends, painting my bedroom and doing lots of research and daydreaming in preparation for the Roman Egypt novel.

But first Egypt, then Libya happened and I was caught up in the birth of new nations. It’s irresistible for me. I love this part of the world. North Africa was my home for a few years. There’s not much about it that I don’t find fascinating.

I had kept barely alive for a couple of years. But I had good standing with Google cause the site has been up since 2007. In my heyday, I had thousands of unique visitors a day from all over the world. I had lost most, of course, but surprisingly still had 600 a day – mostly search engines and spam.

It took Egypt for me to use Facebook. It took Egypt for me to tweet. I’m still not into the phone thing with Twitter, but read hundreds a day online. I’m right on the ground in Libya, following all the news – trying to sort fact from rumor. There are some great tweeters from all over the Middle East.

At the moment, I am concentrating on Libya, while still following events in Egypt closely. Yemen and Bahrain are not far from my thoughts, but I am only one person!

The exciting thing for me personally is that I’ve written over 100 articles since Feb 2. So much for a furlough from writing! What’s immensely gratifying is that my last dozen or so articles are on page 1 of Google. I have two or three that are #1 on page 1. My piece on the Gaddafi sons and their interview with Cristiane Amanpour comes right after ABC news and before Huffington Post.

Of course, it’s all about keywords. But “Saif Gaddafi Amanpour” brings me right up as does “Saadi Gaddafi safari” and “Gaddafi drug jokes.” I’m right at the top with “Safiya Gaddafi wife” and “Gaddafi Amazon Guard.” I could go on, but we all know the internet and Google is fleeting fame, so here today – gone tomorrow.

I didn’t start out reactivating the blog to get high Google rankings. It’s just a pleasant and surprising outcome of a labor of love.


You can follow me on Twitter @LVworldview.

February 27, 2011 at 10:15 pm 1 comment

First Reader copies of Ancient Egypt Novel Athena of the Red Mirror Series

New ancient egypt novel by Sandra GoreI got the the First Reader Edition copies of my ancient egypt novel Athena of Kornith of the Red Mirror Trilogy from the printer. Hurray! I’m getting them out to my inner circle of First Readers for input. I hope they like her. I sure do. I’d like to be her!

Every Woman’s Dream

February 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm 1 comment

Athena off to the printer

I finished the first reader edition of Athena of Korinth, the 2nd book in the Red Mirror Trilogy, and will email the pdf version off to printer today. It feels really good. I’ll have twenty “first reader” copies printed, wait for their arrival, get them out, and then sit back, biting my nails, waiting for feedback.

Athena of Korinth

The most important input – besides whether they like the story, of course – will be whether or not I should tone down the sex. By “tone down,” I don’t mean eliminate it, but make it less explicit. It’s been a very interesting experience for me. I had no idea there was so much fear and discomfort about sexuality. But I don’t want sex – even though my scenes are often described as tasteful and sensual – to interfere with readers enjoying the story.

I know a couple of women who have not read Isis out of fear. I had thought of giving them a redacted version with black lines through those scenes. It is really very few pages, or even paragraphs, in both Isis and Athena.

I’m looking not only at possible revisions to Isis and Athena (toning down), but also at my approach to Elektra, the third book set in Roman Egypt. The Romans were not nice people in many respects. They certainly had voracious appetites for both sex and violence, often at the same time. The character of Elektra – as I envision her – is a woman fully in charge of her sexuality. She has not  revealed herself to me, but I have strong hints of a dominatrix type. But the sex is only part of the story. It’s about empowerment and a woman using everything she has to survive and control an environment where women have very little value. I’m not that sure things have changed that much.

January 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm Leave a comment

2011 – It’s a new year and a new incarnation for Isis

I’m starting my “out loud read” of Athena today. It’s the last step before putting it in .pdf and sending to print for my First Reader Edition. The cover is done; the map, the glossary and the layout are done. Book Two of the Red Mirror Trilogy is almost there – at least the first go round. Having said that, who knows how long a first read through can take. You can really get stuck on the first few chapters or so. You really weren’t in the swing; you didn’t really know the characters yet. It’s all kind of stilted and artificial compared to the rest of the book.

I like her – Athena’s smarter and more directed than Isis the party girl. The modern Isis is evolving; she’s learning to take charge of her own life. She’s learning about her own power. She learns from Athena, but Athena learns from her. Athena takes a lot more risks than she would have.

As soon as Athena’s back from the printer, I’ll get it out to my select group of First Readers for input.
Not until then can I let myself start on the third book  – at least the mental part of research and daydreaming.
Elektra has been knocking on the door and I keep pushing her away – “Not yet! Too early! Can’t go to Rome now!”

I work from such an intuitive level than I can’t really write unless I am channeling. It’s too forced otherwise. I can’t channel two characters at once – at least, I don’t think so.

Elektra scares me a little (actually a lot). I’m going to have to dig deep into places I don’t know about – or have only heard of.  Will I find my black swan?

January 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

Who do you write like?

A friend sent me this link: (you can link from here.) The site analyzes your writing and supposedly tells you who you write like. I tried it by pasting in the 1st chapter of Athena, the second novel in the Red Mirror Series that I’ve just started.

It came back in microseconds with Chuck Palahnuik. I don’t know his work at all, except that Amazon lists Fight Club. It doesn’t seem like me from the titles listed, but I’d have to read one to see. I suppose content has nothing to do with it – so I could write like Palahnuik, but our content would be completely different.

I would like to know more about how the program works – or if it is a scam. It says it analyzes word choice and writing style. It seems unlikely something so complex as writing style could be analyzed that quickly. Word choice could, of course, be linked to keywords.

Maybe I’ll plug in some different excerpts and see what the results are…

Okay, I did it. I pasted Chapter 2 of Isis and it came back Dan Brown. Now we’re talkin’! Would I ever love to be the female Dan Brown.

I do write with two styles and that’s on purpose. One is modern, in Las Vegas – the other is in the distant past, more archaic. Interesting that I write like a man in both instances.  I’m betting I’d get a different answer every time…

OKAY -PROMISE I’m done now, but I couldn’t resist seeing the answer to my favorite sex scene in Isis – Chapter 11. Apparently I wrote it in the style of Vladimir Nabokov. Maybe the program IS looking at content!

I think I may be looking at the wrong agents – none of these comparisons speak romance novel.

July 17, 2010 at 7:17 pm 3 comments

Athena of Corinth and Alexandria is born

I can’t help myself. I love to have a cover up on my second screen that keeps me in touch with my characters.

My husband and I created the character Athena over the weekend. She’s the new woman for the second book of the Red Mirror Series. Elektra for one day, the name Athena better fits her intelligence and spirituality. She’s plenty sexy though, but different than Isis – less party girl and more ancient world woman executive.

Elektra will likely be the the third book which of the Egypt trilogy and set in Rome and Egypt and revolve around Antinous, the lover of Hadrian.

Athena is head priestess at the Temple of Aphrodite in Corinth and runs a sacred prostitution cult of 1,000 women. (That part is NOT fiction!)   Athena will travel to Alexandria Egypt during the Ptolemaic Period – exact year soon to be determined. My research is opening some new doors and I haven’t yet decided which one to enter. And so the next adventure has begun!

May 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm 2 comments

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