And we come to an end of riding the lightning bolt

Is this to be Daphne’s fate?

Daphne’s no longer going to be forced into an arranged marriage with some pathetic demigod. Her sister Agatha isn’t going to be forced to divorce her husband and marry her father. All’s right with the world, eh? Well, there is that problem of a death sentence the Council passed on Daphne’s head. And guess who’s responsible for carrying out that sentence? And how close she’s sitting to Daphne? It’s the end of Daphne’s adventure, one way or another, in “Verdicts and decisions,” chapter 22 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt.

And for me, it’s the end of a ride that mostly began and ended in October when I wrote almost all of this story at a fever pitch. Ever since then, it’s been rereading and revising while watching my readers react to the story. A bit more relaxing than the times I’m composing only a chapter ahead, I tell you!

As usual, the story writing part of this blog will go on hiatus for a month to give me time to recharge my batteries. And now that some personal issues in my life have been resolved, I’ve time to think of where to take this blog next. In the meantime, there will still be occasional posts. I know at least one book review that should come up next week.

Thanks for visiting and reading!

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Showdown in chapter 21 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt

Daphne expects the same favorable treatment meted out to Marie Antoinette before the Revolutionary Tribunal

All Daphne Vane originally wanted was not to have a marriage forced on her by the Council. But her marriage became tangled up with many other political issues of greater import to others, and she stands before the Council accused of violating its dearest values. Can Daphne succeed in bringing the Council over to her side? And even if she does, what political consequences will there be? Find out in “Daphne plays out her hand,” chapter 21 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt.

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Marriage and murder are on the table in chapter 20 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt

About how Daphne feels this morning
(The Trial of Bill Burns, 1838)

It’s the day of the Council meeting. The gods and goddesses will decide whether Daphne Vane and her sister Agatha will be forced into unwanted marriages. Daphne’s been fighting this since the beginning of our story; Agatha is still unaware of All-Father’s plans for her. Together with their unlikely ally, Vesta Fox, the head of the gods’ police force, can Daphne and her mother Cynthia prevent the marriages? Oh, and there’s this little problem that Daphne has killed a demigod . . .

Watch the fireworks fly in “The Council meeting,” chapter 20 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt, my weekly serial about a young woman with a marriage problem. And an ancestry problem. And a killing problem. And she’s short. But she’s not going to be a delicate little creature, not today!

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Making the best of a bad reputation in chapter 19 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt

Time’s almost up: the Council meets tomorrow, and Daphne Vane risks being forced into an unwanted marriage, as does her sister, unless Daphne can convince the Council that she’s of unsuitable birth. Trouble is that Daphne’s still very shaken by what’s happened to her the last few days. Finding out one is not entirely human and then killing a demigod will do that to some people.

Will the meeting between Daphne and Vesta go this far?
(Source: Wellcome Collection)

Only one person has a greater stake in the Council’s meeting. Vesta Fox, the head of Enforcement, needs Daphne’s help if she is to prevent the strife that will be caused by All-Father’s plan to marry Agatha Vane from ripping the Council apart. And Vesta is a very determined woman. See just how determined in “Vesta Fox doesn’t need to use torture,” the ominously titled chapter 19 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt, my weekly serial about a young woman’s desperate attempt to avoid forced marriages for her sister and herself.

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Extreme emotional states in chapter 18 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt

Daphne Vane has never confronted a man pointing a gun at her before now. Then again, she just found out she’s one-quarter hell cat, not something that happens every day, either. Those two unprecedented events have an unprecedented outcome for Daphne in “Darkness,” chapter 18 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt, my weekly serial about a young American woman whose life has taken a turn to the bizarre. If you’ve not been reading it before, you can start here.

It’s become a “thing” for some writers to suggest a playlist of songs the reader of their book might listen to as an accompaniment. Usually, the list is dominated by recent releases. Well, the song I’d pair with this chapter is one about emotional depression, a song originally released in 1969 by the Youngbloods, “Darkness, Darkness.” None of the many versions I’ve found exactly match how I think this song should be done, but the version that works best for me (so far) is the one done in 2003 by Lisa Torban, which oddly enough originated as part of the soundtrack for a documentary about the Titanic.

Detail of “Ophelia,” painted by Pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais (1829 – 1896), modeled in 1852 by Elizabeth Siddel (1829 – 1862), who would also model for many paintings by her eventual husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

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Daphne deals with the nature of gods in chapter 17 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt

Bastet statue in British Museum
(Credit: Wikipedia/Einsamer Schütze

What do you do when an eight-foot tall alien prostrates herself in front of you and grabs your foot with her hand? This is not a question Daphne Vane had ever expected to be asked, let alone have it become an actual issue in her life. Especially while she’s still held in a prison cell, with an arm and leg chained to the floor.

Turns out Daphne’s going to get some answers as to just what’s been happening to her. These are answers she’s going to need, and soon, like within hours. Read “. . . comes the thunder,” chapter 17 of To Ride the Lightning Bolt, my weekly serial about a young American woman with a very strange heritage which might prove her salvation or her doom.

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Oh You Sexy Monster, You! (NSFW)

It’s time for the “Oh You Sexy Monster, You!” awards, Sillyverse edition. This award post is the result of a conversation over at the Sci-Fi & Scary blog, in which I casually challenged its two authors to come up with a list of five monsters that they found inappropriately sexy. They took me at my word, and wrote a post which took my challenge in a, eh, um, very phallic direction (NSFW). Also a very humorous one, if you like that sort of humor. (I do.)

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. There is no way I can equal the humor, to say nothing of the visuals, of Lilyn’s and GracieKat’s choices. Indeed, I was going to offer, shall we say, a limp response. But their post convinced me to do it right, do it the hard way. So here we go.

Monster #1: The Thing, from “Who Goes There?” the 1938 novella by John W. Campbell (writing as Don A. Stuart), most memorably made into the movie The Thing (1982) by John Carpenter. If you don’t know this movie, take a look at the trailer. The Thing is an alien creature hostile to all other life forms. It kills and consumes them, and then is capable of perfectly imitating them . . . in every way. If it turns itself into a cow, it gives perfectly good milk. If it turns itself into a sexy woman, well, you can guess. Of course, if it gets the opportunity, it will kill you instead. Might be the best argument for having sex with other people watching.

Hi, want a hot date? I’m hot enough to die for.

I pick the Thing over many other creatures that can appear to be sexy women, such as the creature from the very first broadcast Star Trek episode, “The Man Trap” (1966), because the Thing actually becomes an exact physical copy of the woman, whereas so many others just cast an illusion of looking like one (as does the Star Trek creature in the photo to left).

Monster #2: The unnamed angel/demon played by Kate Bush in her video for the song “Experiment IV.” Rumor would have it that in her early days Kate Bush could shatter glass and drive dogs crazy with her high notes; see the original recording of “Wuthering Heights,” her first hit in 1978. I’ve been a fan of hers since seeing the video of 1985’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God).” “Experiment IV” involves a classified military experiment that goes wrong. Just watch the video. You’ll understand.

Ancient worshipers of Dionysus, the maenads, ripped people to pieces. Fun, eh?

Monster #3: The supernatural maenad Maryann Forrester in season 2 of the television series True Blood (who is radically different from the book version). She will reach into your emotions and encourage you to wilder and wilder fits of emotional abandon. You’ll experience orgiastic frenzies, unleash your anger by beating up people and being beaten up by them, and even turn cannibal, enjoying all these experiences to their sensual fullness. You’ll end up dying one way or another, but, as with The Thing, you’ll have had a lot of fun in the meantime. Oh, and I have a sentimental fondness for the actress who played the maenad, Michelle Forbes, because she was the endearing Ensign Ro Laren in several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Monster #4: Many a young lad, as he hits puberty, is attracted to some sexy character in literature, television, or film. The YouTube channel Screen Junkies even makes a joke about how many boys of the right age fell in lust with Emma Watson playing Hermione in the Harry Potter movies. Well, one of the characters a young Brian was attracted to was the young miss on this American paperback book cover circa 1965, and the charming description Daphne du Maurier gives of the young lady in the 1952 short story of the same name. She’s fully human, but she’s a monster, mad and deadly. However, I don’t meet her criterion for killing, so I’d be safe.


This is NOT how Lady Sylvia looks in the movie. It’s one of the book’s original illustrations of Lady Arabella, created by Pamela Coleman Smith, who did the illustrations for the Rider-Waite tarot deck.

Monster #5: Lady Arabella/Sylvia Marsh from “The Lair of the White Worm,” originally a Bram Stoker novel (1911) (where her name is Arabella), very loosely adapted into a movie (where her name is Sylvia) by Ken Russell in 1988. I go with the movie version on this one. As played by Amanda Donohoe, Lady Sylvia is exotically hot. But she is a very, very bad date, since she’s the double of the title character, and will violate you with everything from fangs to a strap-on dildo (my one concession to Lilyn and GracieKat). And, to return to the book for a moment, the ending scene is often described as the symbolic destruction of a vagina. I have to caution you: many people will find both the original book and the movie to be offensive and/or bad entertainment. The book demonstrates that the author of Dracula did not know how to reproduce his success in later novels, and unexpurgated versions contain a number of offensive racial terms. The movie features scenes of sexuality and images that might be considered blasphemous. YouTube won’t let me link to the original trailer, but here’s a link to the trailer for the Blu-ray release, which will give you the flavor of the movie.

And there you have it. I hope this list has entertained, maybe even intrigued you to check out some of these creatures. And I also hope that no one’s going to call the padded cell boys to come pick me up.

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