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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Rise to Power, Search for Pride Book Four: 'Fortune' by Destiny Blaine

Rise to Power, Search for Pride Book Four: Fortune by Destiny Blaine
Release Date: August 15th at eXtasy Books
Paranormal MFM and MFM+

For Series Excerpts Visit:
http://www.extasybooks.com/rise-to-power-search-for-pride

FORTUNE

 “The older the money, the more valued the man and his lion’s share”

Book Blurb:

After Ariela’s abduction at Lane Livingston’s Catwalk premiere, Lane returns to the Valley of Fire hoping Ariela will soon be released. Angst-ridden, Livingston turns to a former submissive and Ariela is released in time to catch him in the throes of passion. Distraught over Lane’s behavior, Ariela sets some ground rules.

Lane Livingston loves his mate but he won’t let her run over him. Ariela isn’t one to share even if a dominant man expects it so they’re at a crossroads in their relationship.

Ariela’s mates willingly share her because of Ariela’s demanding lioness breeding bouts and she expects mutual understanding. After forgiving Lane for his indiscretions by deciding he wasn’t committed to her at the time of his affair, Ariela and Lane mate for the first time. As their fiery passion burns wild, Ariela senses her other mates slipping away.

Jagger, Leon, and Sanchez go to the desert in hopes of finding Ariela but when they discover Ariela at Lane’s home, they realize she is in awe of her new mate. Ariela is pregnant with Lane’s child and is inexplicably drawn to him, something Lane knew would happen all along.

Read the Rise to Power, Search for Pride Books in order and visit http://www.extasybooks.com/rise-to-power-search-for-pride to view the beautiful Martine Jardin covers created for this completed series


Rise to Power: Search for Pride

Book One: POWER
“There’s nothing sexier than a successful man, except the carnal beast inside him.”  

Book Two: MONEY  
“Every man, every beast, has a price”

Book Three: FAME
“When money and power aren’t enough”

Book Four: FORTUNE
 “The older the money, the more valued the man and his lion’s share”

Book Five: INFLUENCE 
“The right people can push a man to his limits”

Author Bio:

International bestselling author Destiny Blaine is an award-winning e-book and paperback author. She writes under several pseudonyms in various genres. Writing as Destiny Blaine, her books are published by eXtasy Books, Siren Publishing, Dark Hollows Press, and Champagne Book Group. Her past westerns and erotic romance novellas have been #1 in several genre categories at Amazon.

When Destiny isn't writing, she loves spending time with her granddoll in Connecticut. Destiny and her husband enjoy watching NFL and college football and attending music festivals, book events, and nearby beaches.

Destiny's favorite pastime is reading about intelligent ALPHA males who know how to take the lead in all situations. In October 2014, she will host a writing workshop for new and seasoned writers. For more information visit http://www.destinyblaineworkshops.com

Links:

Website: http://destinyblaine.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DestinyBlaine 

Blog: http://www.destinyblaine.blogspot.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/destinyblaine

Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Destiny-Blaine/e/B003U70BBS/

Buy Link for Rise to Power, Search for Pride Series Books
http://www.extasybooks.com/rise-to-power-search-for-pride

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nonfiction Review: 'Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied' by Jaiya


Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied: A Kinky Guide to the Best Sex Ever is a nonfiction book written for men and women who want to add some kink to their sex lives. Content Warning: This review mentions issues of consent and sexual abuse that some people may find disturbing.

What is kink? Author Jaiya says it's whatever "outside the box" sex is for you. We all have our own comfort levels.

Jaiya is a "somatic sexologist"/couples counselor whose preparation for this book included spending time as both a dominant and a submissive with her partner, while both of them received training from more experienced practitioners. I can imagine she's probably quite educated about her subject and probably a knowledgeable counselor. The first few pages/first chapter or so are actually a bit clinical and dry. At first I thought, "How can a sex guide be this boring?"

On page 16, Jaiya quotes Esther Perel, "the author of Mating in Captivity," as saying, "I do believe that the emphasis on egalitarian and respectful sex - purged of any expression of power, aggression, and transgression - is antithetical to erotic desire for men and women alike." Taken out of context, statements like this could easily be misinterpreted as saying that there's some kind of "natural" hierarchy in which one sex is dominant and aggressive and the other is passive. I don't think Jaiya means to imply that; I think she's using this quote in the context of how erotic it can be - for some people - to use role-playing of power dynamics. But I don't think this is explained very well in this chapter. I'm pretty sure there are some people for whom egalitarian sex in which there is, consciously, no mismatch of power is the ONLY erotic sex for some people.

Chapter Three is about consent. This is probably the most important chapter in the book, because no truly erotic activity can take place without honest, informed consent. On page 49, Jaiya writes about "The Many Shades of Being Willing" and ends the page with, "There will be some activities that you want to do, some activities you are willing to do, and some activities you are certain you don't want to do." The next page launches into a detailed explanation of "understanding turn-ons" without returning to the topic of how to handle the things you don't want to do.

This is problematic for me. I felt frustrated because I wanted Jaiya to make a strong statement along the lines of, "Always make sure you gain your partner's clearly-communicated and enthusiastic consent before any sexual activity, and make sure your partner does the same for you. Sexual activity without consent is assault."

It's not that Jaiya isn't aware of the issue of sexual trauma. She writes about having a childhood trauma of her own and about sexual situations that are triggering for her, and about how to help a partner who has triggering issues surrounding sexuality. I'm a little confused that she's well aware that there are issues around power imbalances in sexual relationships, yet her writing often seems to be quite wishy-washy around consent. I do not like this. I want strong statements that empower human beings to have control of our own sexual activities and that fight rape culture.

On page 125, Jaiya shares that she gave her partner a list of words and asked him to choose the ones that turned him on. One of the words he chooses is "rape." She never addresses this or mentions it again. I understand the adults are perfectly entitled to role-play and act out whatever fantasies they care to have with their consenting adult partners, and I don't have a problem with that. I don't consider myself overly "vanilla" and I'm not usually uncomfortable around discussions of sexuality (erotica writer here), but I am uncomfortable with this book skirting around issues of nonconsent without strongly addressing them.

We're not at that point in our culture yet when we can just assume that everyone reading the book will know the rules of consent in a healthy way. I'd rather we talked about it too much than not enough.

Furthermore, I don't love the authorial voice she chose to write this book in, which puts the reader in the place of the submissive and the author in the place of the dominant partner. In some places, the writing is just a little silly, and I also object to this authorial tone on the grounds that I have very, very little desire to be sexually submissive. I prefer to be the dominant one, and the idea of another woman trying to be my alpha turns me off. Jaiya, you don't know me like that. Don't assume that's the kind of relationship I want to have with you.

That said, I felt from Chapter Six onward, Jaiya gave a lot of practical tips that well-written and fun. If you read BDSM literature (as I sometimes do, although it's not my preferred genre) and want to know more about how you can incorporate it into your own life, this book will help. It has some ideas that are genuinely creative and sexy. You just have to pick out the ideas you like and disregard anything you don't like.

More Information From the Publisher:

About the Book

BANISH BORING SEX AND UNLEASH ORGASMIC ECSTASY WITH POWER, RESTRAINT, AND SENSATION PLAY!

Are you ready to expand your sexual boundaries?  If you’ve ever fantasized about being taken by your man, dreamed of playing with handcuffs, ropes, and paddles, or been turned on by the thought of wickedly wielding power over your lover, you’ve found the right book!

Award-winning Sexologist and author Jaiya will be your Mistress in this fun-to-read handbook that will transform your sex life.  CUFFED, TIED, AND SATISFIED leads the kink novice and pro alike on a shame-free personal journey to sexual empowerment, including your full plan for safely playing on the edge, setting boundaries, and communicating with your partner about your deepest, darkest, untapped desires.

Jaiya will teach you how to make your sexual fantasies a safe reality through:

•     SENSORY PLAY - Blindfolded and tied to the bed; you’re helpless as every inch of your skin is awakened with your lover’s hot breath and a delicious feather…

•     POWER ROLES - You’ve drawn up your own sexy contract detailing every moment of how you want your lover to take you to full surrender; he looks into your eyes and pulls you to your knees…

•     IMPACT AND TOYS - Just the sound of your wicked crop sends your lover into ecstasy; the anticipation has you both on the brink of extraordinary pleasure…

•     ROLE PLAYING - Standing naked in front of your lover, they admire your black thigh-high heels. You’ve empowered your inner Dominatrix, and you’re ready to take control…

CUFFED, TIED, AND SATISFIED is all you need to bring kink out of the dungeon and into your bedroom.

About the Author

Jaiya is an internationally recognized sexologist, speaker, and author of Red Hot Touch and Blow Each Other Away.  She helps men, women, and couples to learn more about sexuality so that they can experience deeper connection and unlimited sexual ecstasy! www.mistressjaiya.com

Praise

"Jaiya's friendly and accessible introduction to kink is perfect for those seeking to spice up their sex life." --Publisher's Weekly

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, August 4, 2014

ManDay Hotties Hop #7: East Asian Edition of #ManCandyMonday

Manday Hotties Hop - Every Monday!

I read Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self, a memoir/series of linked essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Alex Tizon about being a Filipino man in the U.S. (Goodreads link here.) One of the statements Tizon makes in his book is that U.S. men and women alike consistently rate men of Asian and Pacific Islander descent as less physically attractive than white, black, and Latino men. 

I didn't even realize I was doing any kind of stereotyping of Asian men. But then I looked at my Human Beauty boards on Pinterest, and I realized I saw very few Asian male faces. Taiwanese actor Vic Zhou, Canada skater Patrick Chan, South Korean actor Lee Byung Hun, and a guy from a Chinese underwear ad are pretty much it, unless we count some Indian actors. 

But that can't be right, can it? I mean, the world is full of beautiful males of East Asian descent. So let's broaden my beauty horizons and appreciate some of them today. 



Daniel Dae Kim, the American actor born in South Korea, star of Lost and Hawaii Five-0. Hot to begin with, but also totally bilingual. Fact: everyone gets hotter when they can speak more than one language. The icing on the cake is he's certified sexy: one of People magazine's Most Beautiful People. 



Nor was Kim the only Asian beauty on Lost. Let us not neglect Ken Leung, who also does us the fan service of showing up as a repeat guest star on Person of Interest as Leon Tao. Leung is a native New Yorker of Chinese descent.



Chow Yun-Fat, the amazing actor from Hong Kong. A little older than me, sure, but still so smokin' hot. 



Ken Watanabe, the Japanese actor. So maybe I fell asleep during Inception and never saw the end. At least we'll always have Batman Begins



Victor Kim, American musician of Korean descent, and complete hottie. 



Born in Seoul and then transplanted to the U.S. from Canada, The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun is a babe. I left off with the show somewhere in Season 2, but I'm taken to understand that so far, his character Glenn Rhee is still among the survivors as of the most recent season. I hope he has a love interest, because the TV trope that "the Asian guy never gets the girl" must die.



Speaking of Korean imports, Seoul-born, L.A.-raised Star Trek babe John Cho could not possibly be absent from this list. His glorious black hair should be on the list all by itself, styled as it is in a manner befitting a teenage vampire.

And if you've ever seen pictures of Cho with his son, then you know he is a DILF.



And then there's Tony Leung, who is also from Hong Kong. This guy just exudes sexy. 



Reggie Lee: the Filipino actor plays Sgt. Wu on Grimm. He also plays a small role in The Dark Knight Rises, a terribly-written movie with more than its fair share of hot people. I would not be sad if he were cast to play George Wu in Allegiant Pt. 1. With Maggie Q playing Tori, the Wus are a very sexy family.



No list of lovely Filipinos would be complete without Arnel Pineda, the lead singer of Journey. Sure, his amazing voice is easy on the ears, but he's also easy on the eyes. And when he first started singing, he didn't even understand English! I actually prefer his look with short hair, but this is a great pic.



Alex Tizon, you're not so bad yourself! In his book, Tizon admits to having been self-conscious about his full lips and relatively broad nose, but to many, many women who are attracted to men, these features are a plus. If they weren't, I wouldn't have butterflies in my tummy every time I looked at a picture of Idris Elba. 

But seriously, you should read Big Little Man because it's warm-hearted, insightful, and enlightening. I received a free copy in exchange for a review through the Amazon Vine program. I'm glad I picked it, because as a Caucasian woman, I was completely ignorant of some of the struggles faced by Asian Americans, and Asian American men in particular, in Western-dominated cultures. Now I have a little bit more understanding. 

I should probably mention I have a first cousin who's half Filipino, although I've never met him. My uncle once tried to marry the daughter of the Philippines ambassador to the United States. Her parents nixed the union, but not before the baby was on his way. Although I am a white Jewish girl, my whole family tree is white, black, Mexican (La Raza: indigenous American and Spanish multiracial), and Filipino. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Who Is Lugh, and What's Logi Got to Do With It?

I created a slight neoPagan controversy when I posted a link to "The Loki in Lughnasa," a post I wrote in 2012, on Tumblr. That post relied heavily on Barbara J. Walker's The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, a source I have learned is highly questionable. Since August 1st, I learned that:

- The Celtic god Lugh (sometimes spelled without the "h") is not a fire god.

- The association between the Norse god Loki and the Norse fire giant Logi is an error.

- No solid evidence links Loki in Norse mythology to Lugh in Celtic mythology.

So, who is Lugh? What is he the Celtic god of? Who is Logi? And who confused Logi with Loki? We'll look at each of these questions in turn.

Lugh

In my very first Lughnasadh post, written in 2010 when I was still fairly new to blogging, I wrote:

"The Irish consider it the feast of the god Lugh, who consecrated it in honor of his foster-mother's death. Lugh's foster-mother Tailtiu, "The Great One of the Earth," represents the land of Ireland itself. Thus, her death is symbolic of the harvest: the crops sacrifice themselves so human beings and animals can live. Tailtiu's death was celebrated with feasting, Olympic-style games, bonfires and handfasting ceremonies. Where corn is harvested, the goddess is often visually represented by making corn dolls."

Contemporary corn doll depicting Lugh. Creative Commons image by MountainAsh333
Unfortunately, I didn't happen to note the source of that information. I did better in 2013's Mabon post, when I referred to Lugh's article at Encyclopedia Mythica. It says:

"Lugh is the Celtic lord of every skill. He was patron of Lugodunum (Lyons) in Gaul. He and his nature goddess consort (Rosmerta) were worshipped during the 30 day Lugnasad midsummer feast in Ireland. Fertility magic during this festival ensured ripening of the crops and good harvest. He was called Lamfhada or 'of the long arm' in Gaelic because of his great spear and sling. His animal attributes were the raven and the lynx. Lugh mirrors Hindu Karttikeya, the spiritual warrior, and Roman Mercury, the swift messenger. His exploits are recounted in the Tain Bo Cuailnge, the Cattle-raid of Cooley." - Dave Buchert

So Lugh is a skilled warrior, a swift messenger, and a fertility god. Well, that's minimally informative. Wikipedia is user-generated, and therefore not the most reliable source, but it tells us that:

- Lugh's Welsh counterpart is Lleu Llaw Gyffes. As you may recall from this post, Lleu Llaw Gyffes was the son of the goddess Arianrhod. She cursed him never to marry an earthly woman, so instead he married the unearthly Bloddeuwedd, made from nine different flowers.

- His father, Cian, is of the Tuatha Dé Danann, or "tribe of the goddess Danu." His mother, Ethniu, belongs to the Fomorians, the mythical people who were said to have inhabited Ireland before the Celtic people got there.

- Lugh was given to a foster mother, Queen Tailtiu, to raise, possibly because of a prophecy that his maternal grandfather would be killed by his grandson. Lugh's grandfather Balor was said to have a poisonous eye that killed everyone he looked on it with.

Cú Chulainn by J.C. Leyendecker. Public domain. 
- The king of the Tuatha Dé Danann appointed Lugh to his court because he had so many different skills. The Tuatha Dé Danann are being oppressed by the Fomorians, and Lugh agrees to help the Tuatha Dé Danann regain their freedom.

- In a battle against the Fomorians, Lugh uses a slingshot to shoot out his grandfather Balor's evil eye, causing the Fomorians to lose the battle.

- During the battle, Lugh spares the life of Bres, a former king who agrees to teach the Tuatha Dé Danann the secrets of agriculture. However, Lugh ultimately killed Bres by causing him to drink the poisonous "milk" of 300 wooden cows Lugh had made.

- Later in his life, Lugh instituted the Olympic-style games in memory of his foster mother. August 1 was the conclusion of the games.

- Lugh had several wives, including the daughter of a British king. One of his wives had an affair with Cermait, son of the Irish father-god The Dagda. Lugh killed Cermait, but then Cermait's three sons killed Lugh.

- In some versions, Lugh is the father of the Irish hero Cú Chulainn. When Cú Chulainn is severely wounded in battle, Lugh arrives and heals his wounds.

Mythography says the confusion of Lugh with a deity of the sun may have to do with his nickname, "Shining One." However, the nickname was probably in reference to all his various skills. It also says Lugh ascended to become the leader of Tuatha Dé Danann when the god Nuada was killed in battle.

So that's Lugh - a mythological figure who may have been based on a historical king, but was said to have belonged to the divine tribe of the goddess Danu.

Public domain image by John McColgan.
Logi

Wikipedia says that Logi means "fire" in Old Norse and that the mythological Logi was a fire giant. It says the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturlson describes the eating contest between Logi and Loki. They competed to see who could most quickly eat meat from the bones, and Logi won by consuming meat, bones, and trencher all alike. Not only was Logi a fire giant, he was also the personification of fire itself.

Logi has two brothers, one who rules over the winds and another who rules over the sea. In astronomy, Loge (an alternate spelling) is one of the moons of Saturn.

NorthernPaganism.org adds that Logi was called High-Logi because he was so tall. His wife was named Glow, and they had two daughters named Ashes and Embers. After the death of his wife and daughters, Logi lived alone in a black-rock cave in Muspellheim (the land of fire).

So it seems unlikely Logi has anything at all to do with Lugh. Lugh has an association with blacksmiths, who do use fire, but that has more to do with Lugh's many skills than it does to any elemental connection Lugh might have.

Loki and Sigyn in a painting by Mårten Eskil Winge. Public domain.
The Confusion of Logi With Loki

According to NorseMyth.org,Wagner named a character in the Ring opera cycle Loge and gave him the characteristics of the mythological Loki. Wagner's Loge is a fire sprite.

Wikipedia's Loki article says Jacob Grimm referred to Loki as a "fire god" in 1835. It also says:

"Famously, Loki appears in Richard Wagner's opera cycle Ring of the Nibelung as Loge (a play on Old Norse loge, 'fire'). He is depicted as an ally of the gods (specifically Wotan's assistant rather than Donner's), although he generally dislikes them and thinks of them as greedy, as they refuse to return the Rhine Gold to its rightful owners. In the conclusion of the first opera Das Rheingold he reveals his hope to turn into fire and destroy Valhalla, and in the final opera Götterdämmerung, Valhalla is set alight, destroying the Gods."

Wagner completed Das Rheingold in 1856, post-Grimm. Collin Cleary's essay "Wagner's Place in the Germanic Tradition" clearly points the finger at Grimm as the source of the confusion between Logi and Loki:

"The Grimms often made imaginative links between names and other elements in the sources they utilized, and this seems to have emboldened Wagner to do the same – achieving a kind of fusion of German and Scandinavian elements. Indeed, some of the inferences or connections Wagner has been criticized for actually have their origin with the Grimms. For example, Wagner also includes a character named 'Loge,' who is the equivalent of the Scandinavian Loki. In fact, there is scant evidence that there was a Loki figure in the German mythological world. However, Jacob Grimm postulated 'Locho' or 'Loho' as possible German equivalents. Wagner didn’t particularly like either, and settled on 'Loge.'

"Purists have long railed against Wagner, however, for making his Loge/Loki a god of fire. Again, however, this has its origin in Grimm. In Scandinavian myth there was a fire giant named Logi, and Grimm thought that there might be a connection to Loki. (More recent scholarship doesn’t support this.) We find the origin of Wagner’s Loge in these words of Jacob Grimm: 'Now a striking narrative . . . places Logi by the side of Loki: a being from the giant province beside a kinsman and companion of the gods. This is no mere play upon words, the two really signify the same thing from different points of view, Logi the natural force of fire, and Loki with a shifting of the sound, a shifting of the sense: of the burly giant has been made a sly, seducing villain.'"

The Brother Grimm. Public domain. 
There we have it: Lugh is not Logi, Logi is not Loki, and Loki is definitely not Lugh.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Lughnasadh Lesson Learned

Yesterday was August 1. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the neoPagan community celebrated the cross-quarter holiday of Lughnasadh. The halfway point between Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox is named for an ancient Celtic celebration of the god Lugh. The Christianized name for this holiday is Lammas, a contraction of "loaf mass," because this grain harvest festival retains the tradition of celebrating with breads and other baked goodies.

At Lughnasadh 2012, I wrote a blog post called "The Loki in Lughnasadh." Yesterday I shared the link on Tumblr, thinking a few neoPagans and Wiccans might be interested. I don't know if you're aware of this, but Loki is pretty popular on Tumblr, as are all things related to The Avengers, the movie.

The little blurb I added to my Tumblr link said:

"Barbara G. Walker notes that Loki was sometimes identified as “Logi,” or “flame.” She associates Loki-as-Logi with Lug (or Lugh), the Celtic god of fire, who was celebrated at Lughnasa/Lughnasadh (Lug’s games) on August 1st."

The response I got was enlightening. Tumblr user Answers From Vanaheim commented:

"Oh no, nonononono Barbara Walker is a terrible source for anything that isn’t about knitting.

"Loki and Logi are separate entities. Loki even competes against Logi in an eating contest (and loses because Logi, being a fire giant, eats his plate as well as the food). Someone (I believe it was Wagner) confused the two, and the association of Loki with fire persists."

Now, I am a humble witch/neoPagan/writer/person and I know I can always learn more from people wiser than myself. I take these comments with my listening ears on, because here I've encountered a new bit of knowledge: that Barbara G. Walker, who's been my go-to reference for years, might be a questionable authority.

I first encountered Walker when, as a student at St. Mary's College of Notre Dame, Indiana, I stumbled upon her Feminist Fairy Tales. I don't remember how I first found The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, but by the time I did, I already had it in my mind that Walker was a feminist scholar. The Encyclopedia is heavily footnoted, but because it was originally written in the early 1980s (when I was a small child), I didn't have access to many of the sources Walker cites in her footnotes.

Goodreads
Let's look at some of the other notes I got from Tumblr users yesterday. Tylluan Faolchú-Gealach, building on what Answers From Vanaheim wrote, said:

"Not to mention that Lugh isn’t a fire god - also a very persistent misconception. When I read that first bit I got mad, Lugh is very dear to me, and no disrespect to Loki intended; but they are two worlds apart. You cannot just toss them on the same pile."

Elder Scrolls Witch says simply, "This causes me physical pain." Well, I do apologize for that, sir. I never meant for my ignorance to cause physical pain.

Gaelic Heathenry writes, "Good heavens! Did she really just equate Loki and Lugh? What?" with the following notes:  #This is painful #Holy different pantheons Batman! #They're not even vaguely similar

#Sorry #I was wrong #My source is controversial #I'm learning

Korrigan adds, "That might be the highest sentence-length-to-false-information ratio I’ve ever seen someone stab my eyes out with the gae assail."

Hyperbole is as common on Tumblr as that photo of Jensen Ackles in gym shorts. The Gáe Assail is Lugh's lightning spear, by the way.

Wikimedia Commons 
About the above image, Wikimedia Commons says, "Illustration of Lugh's magic spear by H.R.Millar, published in Celtic Myth and Legend by Charles Squire (1905), and scanned and made available online at sacred-texts.com, according to whom it is in the public domain in the United States."

The Women's Encyclopedia has 88 reviews on Amazon U.S., with 45 5-star reviews and 19 1-star reviews, with an average rating of 3.6 stars. An anonymous Amazon customer wrote in 2002:

"I picked up this book in 1987, and was quite excited at first. My own research, however, quickly proved The Encyclopedia to be highly unreliable as a jumping-off point of feminist/pagan scholarship. A small amount of digging into B. Walker's sources will immediately prove how little research actually went into this work. The actual sources cited in Walker's footnotes frequently don't support her suppositions, and her etymology is just plain fanciful. She seems to feel that, if one word sounds like another word, they must necessarily be related. Ouch!

"Check this out for yourself. Pick a few entries, then look up all of the footnotes in your local university library. How many of Walker's sources have ANYTHING to do with the subject in question, let alone support her theories? It's a disappointing, but necessary, exercise for anyone determined to see The Encyclopedia honestly.

"Enjoy this book for its empowering (and fun) ideas, but don't place any weight on its 'scholarship.' It's a house of cards."

That's a clear enough message to inform me that Walker's writings are to be taken with a grain of salt, just like using a Wikipedia article as a reference - a fine start, but in need of more reliable back-up.

On Goodreads, the Encyclopedia has 826 ratings and 53 reviews. With an average of 4.27 stars, it has 266 5-star reviews and 12 1-star reviews. The 1-star review that pops up first, written by Colleen the Contrarian, reads:

"Barbara Walker has an obvious bias against all things male and/or Christian. She rewrites myth and history to make everything female-supreme, Goddess centric, anti-male, and full of sexual womyn power. Now, before someone dismisses me as 'obviously anti-female and deluded by patriarchy' or some such, I should state that I am a female neo-pagan with no love for the Church and/or the views it supports towards women. That said - I don't like made up or revisionist history, even if it does stroke the ego a bit. She bases everything on the supposed Pre-historical Matriarchy - which has little to no archeological evidence to truly support in the grand scale she portrays it.


"But besides that, her Encyclopedia and Dictionary are a mish-mash of cultural hodge-podge! She acts as if gods and goddesses from varying cultures are generally interchangeable, offering nothing for the cultural differences which give birth to their own representations of deity. She has butchered myths, made up 'alternate versions' which have no founding anywhere except her own imagination, ignored important details of myths which don't mesh with her agenda, and basically perverted the symbols she pretends to represent.

"Bad scholarship is bad enough... but her fabrications and invented history and myths are just a disgrace to the pagan community, and, in my opinion, an insult to women and to the goddess and gods which exist without the clap-trap found in this book. It does not present women as strong and/or empowered to rely on revisionist pseudo-history, no matter how good it may sound.

"There are many strong female figures out there...many strong goddesses of all ilks. This book does not do them justice."

I never knew! But now I do. See, this is why witches need communities, even if they are virtual ones. We can learn so much from each other, and it's a lifelong process.

Tomorrow: Disambiguation. Who is Logi, who is Lugh, and how did Loki get mixed up in all of this?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Women in Porn Debate ‘Wildly Successful;’ Sequel Already in the Works

[Press Release] CYBERSPACE – In the wake of the event, organizers of the online debate “Women in Porn: Shattering the Myths” declared the event “wildly successful” and announced that due to high demand, a second discussion featuring the same panelists is already in the planning stages.

“The response from people who watched the discussion has been tremendous,” said Angie Rowntree, owner of the porn-for-women site Sssh.com and coordinator of the debate. “We received so much positive feedback along with several requests asking that we bring back the same panelists, for another show on the same topic. This event really is just part one of an ongoing conversation – which is exactly what we hoped it would become.”

Rowntree said that while the entire discussion was animated and engaging, the most heated moments came when the panel took up the topics of performer compensation (including whether performers make less for their efforts now than they did 10 to 20 years ago) and the question of how much responsibility the porn industry should shoulder for keeping children from accessing pornography – exchanges that Rowntree said “people really need to see and hear for themselves.”

“That’s what this event was all about – giving women in the adult industry a chance to be heard in their own words,” Rowntree said. “I don’t want to try to paraphrase the great points the panelists made, and the debate is available to watch any time on MindBrowse.com; I encourage everybody interested in these topics to check it out for themselves, firsthand.”

Rowntree added that other live panel discussions, interviews and debates will soon air on MindBrowse.com, including the live broadcast of “An Intimate Talk with Nina Hartley and Ernest Greene”, which is scheduled for August 26, and a discussion entitled “Feminism and Porn: Can They Co-Exist?” slated for broadcast in September. The second edition of “Women in Porn: Shattering the Myths” will follow in October, Rowntree said.

Rowntree says that the goal for MindBrowse.com is to develop into a “TED-like platform for discussion of serious, weighty issues surrounding the adult industry”.

“One of the best kept secrets about our industry is that it is filled with amazing people,” Rowntree said. “I’d love to see MindBrowse.com become a vehicle for people to contribute their perspective on a range of issues, and not necessarily just those that directly relate to the adult industry.”

To watch the “Women in Porn: Shattering the Myths” debate and for more information on future events sponsored by Sssh.com, please visit www.mindbrowse.com.

Erin's Note: All links in this post are to other blog posts on this site, for further reading. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Author Spotlight with Amy Thompson


~*~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~*~

Amy Thompson graduated from college with her B.S. in Biology. She currently works as a high school mentor and has just earned her M.S. in Higher Education. 

Amy is a self-published author of Retribution, a new adult, paranormal romance novel that is the first in the Lost Souls Trilogy. She lives in Southern Virginia with her family and two lazy cats. Amy Thompson is currently working on the next book in the Lost Souls Trilogy, Relinquish, and continues to be an avid reader of all things books.

~*~BOOK LIST~*~

The Lost Souls series

~*~SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS~*~