Monday, May 18, 2015
'Loving Loki' by Cheryl Pillsbury
I have much to say about this little book - some of it good, some of it not so good - but first, full disclosure: Cheryl Pillsbury is or was the publisher at AG Press, a small press for which I once did some editing. I edited poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for several authors, including Cheryl, only some of which I was paid for.
I don't think she ever had any bad intentions, but I do think she wasn't quite financially or organizationally prepared to deal with the publishing business. I didn't make money on the experience, but I did learn to be more skeptical of small press publishers I met online. It was a good learning experience overall.
As an editor of Cheryl's books, I noticed some consistent writing errors and overall poor sentence structure. To be perfectly fair, Cheryl is, for a large part, a fan fiction author writing for her own pleasure. She has written works using characters from several franchises, some of which have run her into occasional trouble with the copyright holders. This book can be thought of as a work of fan fiction, not of a copyrighted franchise but of Norse mythology.
I don't think it's completely forthcoming when the introduction states that the Marvel Comic Universe film franchise was not an influencing factor, though. For example, reference is made to Jane Foster, who is clearly a Marvel Comics character and not a person from Norse mythology. But that's okay. Authors are allowed to be inspired, although not allowed to infringe. They are two different things. Even bestselling author Linda Lael Miller admits she finds inspiration in TV, movies, and country music. The trick is to make the characters original enough that they are clearly your own creations.
Cheryl is a practicing Neopagan, and she claims in her introduction to the book that her work of fiction is based on the deities whom she worships. I don't have a problem with that. I wrote Shiva into Midsummer Night in a scene that is both reverential and erotic; I don't belong to any one religion, but I do love Hinduism's Shiva and Kali. They are some of my deities.
And Cheryl and I are certainly not the only ones who incorporate erotic writing into a form of religious worship or ceremony. See, for example, this piece of Easter meditation by Joan Borysenko. That said, you would not be completely out of your mind if you were to envision Tom Hiddleston in his role as Loki Laufeyson as the Norse deity described in the text.
The Brass Tacks:
Why Should I Read This Book?
Read this book is you've longed for erotic fan fiction featuring the Norse trickster god Loki in a relationship with an original character (OC).
Purchase link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cheryl-t-pillsbury/loving-loki/paperback/product-22021581.html
Note that I am not an affiliate of Lulu.com and you going to the above URL will not benefit me in any way. I purchased a copy of this book with my own funds and was not compensated in any way for reviewing it.
Add It On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25473887-loving-loki
Why Shouldn't I Read This Book?
You shouldn't read this book if you'll be bothered by unpolished writing that needs an editor. You can offer to edit for Cheryl if you're a kind-hearted and very patient beta reader who does it for love of the genre without any expectation of financial reward - if, for example, you're a high school student who just wants to get some editing experience under his or her belt before majoring in English in college.
Are There Any Thorki Moments in This Book?
Only one comes to mind: a scene of Thor and Loki sleeping side-by-side. For the most part, it's a love story between Loki and the OC, a Midgardian woman named Sira. There's even a Neopagan-style handfasting ceremony between them.
For some people, the gift of being able to turn out polished, professional writing comes easily. Others need a second set of eyes to help them reach the polished stage. There's nothing wrong with being a diamond-in-the-rough fanfic writer. Many of us will read these unpolished gems if the story is good and the characters are strongly written. If you hope to advance as a professional writer, though, you absolutely need a polisher.
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