Works in Progress
Stone Songs: Riddles of Earth’s Hidden Treasures
A Picture Book for Young Readers
If only stones could speak, what stories they’d tell! Diamonds, rubies, sapphires and more have their say in these eight mysterious persona poems posed as riddles. Turn the page and solve the puzzle, which includes a sidebar displaying the gem’s chemical formula and position on the Moh’s hardness scale along with a page of historical facts and associated folklore. A book for the whole family to enjoy.
Pages: 24, Word Count: 3,700
A Poetry Collection
For years I’ve asked: why has the word ‘feminist’ become so onerous—the new F word? The death of iconic Sexual Politics author Kate Millett coupled with the White House reign of an unabashed misogynist (who famously called his opponent a “nasty woman” and still garnered fifty-three per cent of the female vote) makes exploring this question even more pressing. As an ancient history/mythology buff as well as a poet, my search for any answer inevitably leads me in one direction—back to the beginning.
Whether through the lens of ancient myth, medieval alchemy or contemporary politics, the title of the collection and its eponymous poem proclaim a simple theme: loss literally written in our bones, “dependable, immutable, oracular.”
Thicker Than Water
A Young Adult Fantasy Hybrid
Jo Reed may hate Greek mythology, but she knows a lot about it, thanks to her former action film star dad’s leading role in a remake of the sixties’ cult classic “Battle of the Titans,” and that knowledge is about to come in handy. When a handsome, naked stranger drops out of the sky into the pool behind Jo Reed’s family estate, the teen’s late summer plans take a life-changing turn. A violent family quarrel erupting more than 5,000 years earlier sets her bizarre misadventures in motion: Hephaestus, Olympian god of the forge, took a blow intended for his mother that catapulted him “through the vault of heaven” far into the future. He lands in the 21st Century A.D. in a Hollywood Hills enclave of L.A.’s rich and famous, where Jo sits poolside doing her AP English summer reading: The Iliad. As Jo drags the gravely injured youth to safety, she is horrified to see that she is covered in his blood, her skin burning from the contact for hours afterward.
Traumatized by the event and troubled by a host of strange symptoms arising from the exposure, she defies her scandal-ridden, image-obsessed parents and embarks on a dangerous quest to uncover the stranger’s identity. In the process, the truth about Ichor—his family’s closely guarded immortal secret—is revealed, and Jo unearths a disturbing family secret of her own. Aided by an unlikely cast, including an Oscar-winning actress turned spiritualist/celebrity author and an internationally renowned archeologist facing criminal charges for antiquities trafficking, Jo and her mysterious companion race toward their fated destination: Standing Rocks, an ancient Gabriellino Indian site in the remote wilderness on Catalina Island, temporary portal to a mythic realm.
Set simultaneously in the ancient and modern world, the story unfolds through a blend of poetry, prose and comic book-style graphics.
Pages: 293, Word Count: 84,730
The Book of Sarai
A Novella in Verse
The Book of Sarai tells the story of Sarah, legendary beauty and wife of Abraham, the desert patriarch whose story, found in both the Qu’ran and the Bible, is pivotal in three major world religions. The rich language of these sacred texts inspired me to present her tale in the form of an ancient, recovered testament.
The Book of Sarai opens with the tribe’s flight from the drought-stricken Levant to the banks of the Nile River, where Sarah is betrayed by her husband and sent to serve as Pharaoh’s mistress. Her rise in the Hall of Women spawns jealousy and palace intrigue, leads to a series of prophetic visions in the Temple of Isis and ends in Sarah’s expulsion with Abraham from Egypt. Soon afterward Abraham betrays her again—this time in the land of Gerar, where she is forced to consummate the Heiros Gamos (Sacred Marriage) before masses of chanting revelers, performing the role of priestess-bride in a murderous ritual that ends in the groom’s sacrifice and, ultimately, an unexpected pregnancy. As rumor spreads throughout the tribe that the child is not her husband’s, Abraham’s suspicions grow, and his troubling obsessions ultimately lead to violence.
A controversial take on a traditional ancient tale, The Book of Sarai offers readers a “lost” testament while giving voice to a long neglected Biblical heroine.
Pages: 159, Word Count: 25,113
An Historical Romance
Pleasure from the senses seems like nectar at first, but it is bitter as poison in the end.
~Bhagavad Gita, 18:38
Amrita — Nectar — cruel joke of a name, chosen by a mother she barely remembers. Even at the age of five she was an undeniable beauty, and the stars sealed her fate. Chosen by King Porus’s astrologer scouts, she was taken from her family and village in the ancient kingdom of Paurava to be raised at court. Now she lives behind the walls of the king’s harem, keeping a deadly secret.
The year is 226 B.C. shortly before Alexander the Great invades India, launching his decisive battle against Porus, the Pauravan king. Sixteen-year-old Amrita receives her first assignment as the king’s visha kanya, a poison maiden, one of the fabled few fully-weaponized women capable of killing with a single kiss. Her target is an emissary from King Omphis of Takshacila, sworn enemy of Porus, one of many guests at a feast celebrating the King’s recent victory in battle. In the aftermath, Amrita meets the mahout Dhanu as he is celebrating his new rank as the king’s Chief Spear. Their encounter is set against a backdrop of violent upheaval and political intrigue. Swept up in history-making events beyond their control, the star-crossed lovers are forced to travel two separate, treacherous routes to reach the same destination: Persia, where all fates collide.
Pages: 250 and counting, Word Count: ~68,000
- Completion Percentage 65% 65%