Gilded Cage by Vic James

gilded-cage

Gilded Cage
by Vic James

“Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.”
Benjamin Franklin

In England, all power is held by the few, who have the power of magic. The rest of the populace is subject to seven years of slavery. Until the seven years of slavery are served, they lack full citizenship.

In hopes of better opportunities, 17-year-old Luke’s parents have decided the entire family would serve their seven years of slave days together at the estate of the powerful, magical Jardine family. Luke is angry and resentful of his parent’s decision. His resentment becomes fear and trepidation when he is sent to the dangerous environs of a slave town rather than the Jardine estate.

The Jardine family is powerful. The elder Jardine was the former Chancellor. But the family is a pit of snakes. It is a constant struggle for power and control. Magic is everything. The person with the most magic will rule.

The conditions of the Jardine are visibly better than the slave town. The work is not dangerous. But there are dangers. These dangers are more subtle.

This was my favorite book of 2016 as I had the opportunity to read an advance copy. The characterization was skillful. The characters are multi-dimensional. Even a unlikeable character, Gavar, a killer and rapist, could engender sympathy.

There is considerable action and intrigue involving many plots and subplots as the story moves between the Jardine estate to the slave town, from character to character. It is a powerful story and an emotional, searing condemnation of slavery. There is no such thing as a good master and slavery is demeaning to all involved. Reducing a person to chattel is an act of evil. Vic James has created a mesmerizing and satisfying fantasy.

An Announcement from Muffy Higginbottom

Love this. Thank you, Libba Bray

Libba Bray

AN ANNOUNCEMENT FROM MUFFY HIGGINBOTTOM
PRESIDENT OF DELTA SIGMA TAU,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE WOMEN’S MARCH
AND THE WORLD JUST GENERALLY BEING A FLAMING POOP FIRE

Dear Sisters,

Thank you for coming downstairs for this meeting on such short notice. I appreciate y’all taking time away from the things you’ve been doing to cope, like staying drunk, listening to “Lemonade” on repeat, and Instagramming pics of your soon-to-be-outlawed IUDs with moody filters and hashtags like #YouAintGettinNoHandmaidsTailFromMeAnymore. 

I get it. I do. Like every time I pass by the Election Day Cake Ji-won and Margarita made with the top breaking through an edible glass ceiling and that sagging banner of a winking HRC drinking a celebratory Colt 45 under a “Number 45 BITCHES!” banner, I feel like crying, then vomiting out a poisonous fire blood that would lay waste to the smirking patriarchy like a feminist Cronenberg film. But, as…

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Waiting for Tiffany To Come Home

From the very start, Tiffany lived her life with a raw honesty that is as rare as it is disconcerting. She had no filters. She spoke her own truth. Many people could not handle it.   Moreso since the her personal power was so disconcerting coming from such a tiny, California beach babe blonde.

She was a lifelong student. Her superior intelligence was aided by an enviable work ethic. Her dad tells about her first day of kindergarten. Tiffany came home and immediately sat down to do her homework. He never once had to tell her to do her homework. She always did it. Daily.

Tiffany loved animals.   She went to the University of Alaska to study biology. Some of her happiest days was working with musk oxen and caribou. She wanted to work in animal sciences.

Yet despite her intelligence, raw honesty, and hard work, Tiffany had a very tender heart. She was extremely protective of my daughter, Judith. She treated Judith as a little sister, giving her advice and defending her from bullies. Judith loved this cousin who was closer to her age than her own siblings.

Tiffany had spent several holidays and summers with our family in Idaho. We missed her last summer when she stated in Alaska to go to school. We have all been waiting for Tiffany to come home.

But Tiffany suffered from a terrible disease. She had clinical depression. On the day after Thanksgiving, she killed herself. Way too many people have posted that she is now at peace. Suicide is not a nice, tidy solution to depression. It is a huge, giant failure on the part of friends, family, and the community, especially the medical community. Depression should not be fatal. Tiffany should not be dead.

Her death is the most painful, devastating event of my life. Tiffany should not be dead. She was smart, beautiful, funny, and loving. She should be sharing this gifts with the world. But a person suffering suicidal depression cannot save themselves. But they want help. Suicidal persons want to live. They just need the proper support.  Tiffany made several cries for help prior to her death. Unfortunately, her friends were too overwhelmed or too ignorant to get her the help she needed. Personally, I shall always feel the burden of her death, the sick knowledge that I should have done more.

We are all grieving and missing Tiffany. Yet there are moments of complete denial. As Judith said to me, “In my heart, I am waiting for Tiffany to come home.” And I realize that I am also waiting for Tiffany to come home. Certainly she will always have a place in my heart. Love you Tiffany, Aunt flip
tiffany

 

Sizzling Hot, Burn Down the Night

Erotica is a difficult genre for me. While I love the concept of female focused erotica and have loved sex scenes in romance novels ever since I read The Flower and the Flame as a thrilled thirteen year old, too many erotica novels focus on sex over plot and characterization. Even when written well, many times the sex scenes are just not to my taste. Up to this point, only one erotic author was a must buy for me, Cherrie Lynn. But now I have two. M. O’Keefe delivers a hot, suspenseful novel with great characters.

Burn Down the Night sizzles. The heroine is a former stripper, desperate to save her little sister from a cult. When her attempt to intimidate the drug dealing cult leader into surrendering her sister dissolves into complete chaos, she ends up fleeing the scene with the wounded leader of the motorcycle club. Joan is no quitter. She knows the cult leader uses the motorcycle club to distribute his drugs. So she kidnaps Max Daniels, president of the Skulls MC. She plans to use Max to get to the cult leader. Max is determined to escape the crazy woman, who fire bombed a car and set his strip joint on fire.

The sex is sizzling. But there is also emotional connection in the scenes. Sex is intimate and personal. It is not a performance. There is no shame.

The story has meat. There is a strong theme involving family connections. The plot involving rescuing the little sister from the cult is suspenseful. The development of the characters of Joan and Max is believable and heartfelt. Burn Down The Night is erotica at its best.

The Body Reader

the body reader“One day she stopped screaming.”

With these chilling words, the reader is plunged into the nightmare world of Jude Fontaine. For three hellish years, Jude Fontaine has been the prisoner of a sadistic captor. Filthy, starved, and beaten, she barely clings to her sense of self. Then for one moment, she has an opportunity to escape. But freedom is difficult. Her boyfriend has moved on. Her partner on the police force doesn’t think Jude is mentally fit for police duty. Just maintaining an aura of normalcy can be a challenge for Jude.

Then the body of a missing teen is found. What looks like a drowning accident is murder. Then another teen girl is found dead. Someone from Jude’s past is connected to the murders. The investigation will bring Jude face to face with old demons and challenge her sanity.

Author Anne Fraiser has created the most believable story about the mental and physical torment of a kidnap victim. Jude Fontaine is a mesmerizing heroine. Despite the physical and emotional abuse of her kidnapper, she struggles to survive. After escaping, she fights to take control of her life. But she is no victim. She is a kickass heroine. She is the best female character since The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

However, this novel is much better written than Stieg Larrson’s debut novel. As with all of Fraiser’s novels, there is amazing depth to the secondary characters. In particular, the mother of a missing teen girl resonates with humanity. The plot twists and turns. There are betrayals. In the end, I was left wanting to read more about Jude and her partner, Uriah Ashby.

Only Lovers Left Alive – A Review

Tom Hiddleston alone is reason to watch this movie. His character, Adam, is a Only lovers left alive hero, a dark, moody rock musician vampire, sick of  destructive  humanity and of life itself. But his wife, Eve, sensing his depression leaves her home in Tangiers to be with him in Detroit. Slow paced, the movie is a visual delight. Modern Detroit is a haunting, gothic backdrop to the story. The perfectly matched, elegant physical beauty of Hiddleston and Swinton makes them the perfect pair to play  sophisticated vampires. Both Hiddleston and Swinton move with a languid grace as if they had all the time in the world.  These long-lived vampires have spent centuries immersed in the arts and sciences. They do everything exceptional well. They create beautiful music, influence great artists and learn science through the ages. They can speak and read a multitude of languages. Eve packs books for trip rather than clothes. In fact, they do everything well except dance. They can’t dance for shit. Adam and Eve have a deeply romantic relationship and a soul connection. Despite a 20 year age gap, Swinton and Hiddleston lit up the screen with their sexual chemistry. The music was incredible.  There are subtle touches which I love, Adam’s musical studio with its out-dated equipment reminded me of Frankenstein’s lab. And have I mentioned Hiddleston’s stand out performance bringing to life a multifaceted Adam, who could be the self-pitying, depressed artist to the ardent lover to the calculating. His final words in the movie, “I get the girl” was a chilling combination of sexuality and violence.

What is my freak flag?

As a child, I had an esoteric spiritual upbringing. My father was an outspoken atheist. While she was a Christian, my mother didn’t attend church. This behavior would make our neighbors concerned about her children’s souls. So they frequently offered to take us to church. My mother eagerly accepted any and all offers, which gave her a few hours with a few less children. So I went to a wide variety of Christian Churches, from Catholic to Methodist to Episcopalian to Pentecostal to Baptist. As a kid, I enjoyed bible classes. I loved the churches, which passed out little glasses of grape juice during the service. Wasn’t as thrilled with the dried up bread served with it. Sadly our neighbors worst fears proved true, I am an agnostic.

A much greater influence on my adult spiritual life was my maternal grandmother. She read the writings of Edgar Cayce, strongly believed in reincarnation,  and followed astrology. She introduced me to astrology and I have been a life long student of astrology.

Not that astrology has given me a lot of spiritual depth. It is a form of navel gazing for me. I used it to better understand myself and those closest to me. And despite having read dozens of astrology books over the decades and attending the occasional astrology class, I would never claim to be an astrologer. I am still the passionate amateur, reading and learning.

I had an aha moment regarding my Uranus in Leo in my first house. Uranus is one generational planets in astrology.Uranus is symbolizes revolution, innovation, and other galvanizing moments.  So everyone in my generation (from 1956 to 1962) has Uranus in Leo. How it impacts an individual depends on where it appear in your individual chart. It is your inner revolutionary. I have Uranus in Leo in my first house. The first house represents your self, identity, physical body, personality and the face that your present to the world. Now conventional astrology books would say that this means that the world could see me as a trailblazer or a weirdo with a strange appearance. Neither really applies.   With Uranus in Leo in my first house, I proudly wave my freak flag. By freak flag,  I show the world the parts of me that most people would hide.  I embrace my individuality.

So with this blog, I intend to wave my freak flag.