Who Art Thou Thursday: L.K. Rigel

My writing buddy, L.K. Rigel, author of the Ex Post Apocalypto series has returned to share the goods about herself. 🙂 Let’s see what she has to say. 🙂

Tell us about your most recent publication.

Bleeder is a romance set in a future fantasy world where human beings have nearly destroyed humanity so the gods return and impose a world order based on the old pre-Enlightenment Great Chain of Being. The story is female-centric in that, though there are major male characters, the women carry most of the action.

I wrote Bleeder partly as a reaction to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In a world where female fertility was rare, what if the women called the shots and exploited the situation to their advantage? Frankly, I wanted to create a perfect female fantasy: a world where women are highly valued and rewarded for doing something that comes naturally – with no strings attached, no pain, no aging, no gaining weight.

I failed! There is plenty of pain in Bleeder. And, as with any kind of surrogacy, the issues of bondage, slavery, and free will were unavoidable. But then, those are fascinating to me. The series still needs to explore the proof of service children and their awakening desires for autonomy.

Give us a brief description of a story you have hidden in your skeleton closet? And will it ever see the light of day?

I once got the actor Peter Coyote’s wife pregnant. I must find a way to use that in something.

How much of you/your life do you put into your stories?

I named a character in Space Junque after an old boyfriend who broke my heart. I was quite satisfied with what happened to this character.

Which of your characters do you relate to most?

I want to be Mal, the heroine of Bleeder, and I think Char of Space Junque is the happiest (and the most satisfied, heh). But I relate most to Durga who shows up in Space Junque and shares heroine honors with Char in Spiderwork. She’s the character wearing the dress on Spiderwork’s fabulous cover.

Durga sees everything in black-or-white, right-or-wrong. She says things like “don’t cry” and wonders why people just don’t cry. It isn’t that she doesn’t feel things; it’s that she’s got so many problems, so many stupid little details to worry about so every one else can live their lives, that she doesn’t have time to play. Khai gives her the gift of enjoyment – to enjoy music, sex, love – and to her credit she accepts! I’m glad that Durga and Khai will show up again in Copperhead.

For you, what’s the hardest part of the writing process?

Finding big enough chunks of time to work in one sitting and let the juices flow. Writing in small time allotments kills the life in my writing.

With hindsight being 20/20, is there anything you would have changed with your publishing journey?

I would have decided to self-publish sooner. It’s the only way to go. I love it.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Tell the truth in your writing, even if – or especially when – it’s embarrassing or politically incorrect. Be nice. Be forgiving – of others and of yourself. Say yes when you can, no when you must, and learn to recognize the difference.

Anything special you’d like to say to readers?

Thank you! Thank you for reading my stories. Thank you for leaving reviews at Amazon and B&N and Goodreads. Thank you, AnnaM for your comment at Goodreads about Space Junque. I read it yesterday, when I felt like no one was ever going to read any of my books again, and it changed everything. I have no idea who AnnaM is, but I’m so grateful that she took the time to comment. Authors can’t exist without readers, even if we never “really” meet each other.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on a novella not in the Apocalypto universe called Give Me. It’s an erotic fairytale about lust, obsession, possession, and reincarnation. I’m having a blast with it.

How about some quickies!

Pencil or Pen: Pen

Print or Cursive: Cursive

Pantser or Plotter: Plotter

Favorite Candy: chocolate parfait Nips

Worst habit: chocolate parfait Nips

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About the L.K. Rigel

LK Rigel lives in California with her cat, Coleridge. She was once a singing waitress, scored the independent science fantasy karate movie Lucid Dreams, and was a reporter for the Sacramento Rock ‘N Roll News. Her BA is in humanities and religious studies. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and Tattoo Highway. Her short story “Slurp” will appear in Anne Frasier’s 2011 Halloween anthology Deadly Treats published by Nodin Press.

Find L.K. Rigel online at her WebsiteAmazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Smashwords.

If you don’t already have the Ex Post Apacolypto series, you can find them at the following locations:

Space Junque is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

Amazon

Spiderwork is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

Amazon

Or get both Space Junque & Spiderwork in a 2-pack deal at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

Amazon

Bleeder is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

Amazon

Tuesday Teaser: Bleeder by L.K. Rigel

Not too long ago, I finished Bleeder by L.K. Rigel and loved it (see review here). It’s her first full length novel in the Ex Post Apocalypto series. Today, Ms. Rigel was gracious enough to offer an excerpt from that very same book. 🙂 A word of caution for the young (under 18) and virginal eyes, Mal gets her sexy on. If you’re not old enough or mature enough to view sexual content, cover your eyes. That’s what my daughters did when they were younger and a sex scene came on television. It worked for them… I think. I’m sure it’ll work for you here also. 🙂

The King of Garrick wants to kill her.
The King of Allel wants to love her.
And shapeshifters stole her baby’s soul!

It’s been a hundred years since sea-level rise and global nuclear war wiped out most of humanity. Mallory is a chalice, one of the world’s rare fertile females who contract with the kings of the Concord Cities to provide natural-born heirs.

It was supposed to be a pampered and uneventful life, but Mal becomes caught between King Garrick’s scheme for world domination and the goddess Asherah’s desperate plays for another god’s attention.

In her struggle to survive, Mal must confront the most terrifying threat of all — the truth of her past and the inevitability of her destiny.

Excerpt from Bleeder (Apocalypto 3)
Copyright 2011 L.K. Rigel

The consecration ceremony of the Rites of May

= = = = = = = = = =

“The Triune Contract is sacred.”

Mal glanced sideways at Nin then looked at the floor to keep from laughing. They were unable to see the witnesses, but Nin had noticed it too – the low rumble of male voices among them. It sounded good.

The next step, the sister behind her took the crown from her head and dropped it onto the sash on the floor. The sisters and the witnesses, chanted:

“Daughter of heaven, bearer of the world
You are the fig tree the gods did not curse
Conduit and chalice, how glad are your lovers
You open the gate forged by mankind’s error”

The third step, the sister took away her lovely pearl choker and draped it over the crown. Mal chanted:

“Where is my beloved? I wait in the meadow
I am waiting in the meadow, untouched by human error
Where is my beloved? He is beautiful in my eyes
He is like the rainfall, like the great bull of heaven”

The fourth step, the sister took the staff of ash and tossed it to the floor near the crown and pearls. Mal chanted:

“I lie among the roses, in a bed of lovely petals
I lie in heat for love, my furrow ready for love’s seed”

The fifth step, the sister took her gold bracelet. Mal knew she’d get it back later; but she’d worn it for so long that it felt wrong to let it go.

“I am the rose of heaven, and I am the rose of desire
I am the red rose, and the white rose
I am desire, I am satisfaction”

The sixth step, she kicked out of her slippers, which the sister took away.

“I will bear the fruit of the world
I am the tree of life uncursed
I am the furrow that will be sown
By my lover’s worthy plow”

The seventh step, she dropped her robe, her sole remaining garment, to expose her naked body and the circle of red roses on her arm. The witnesses burst into applause. The sisters spoke in unison.

“My sister, I have taken your ego so that you may serve unhindered.”

The five dropped to their knees.

“Thank you, my sister, for your service to me this day.”

They crawled across the stage to the princes who would help complete the ritual. Mal laid her hands on a prince’s bare feet while the witnesses chanted:

“The Triune Contract is sacred”

She rose to her knees and put her hands on his thighs. He was as naked as she was, and quite ready for her.

“Your curse is your blessing”

He knelt down and she placed her hands on his chest. This was no effeminate, sterile proof. It was a real man from the real world, well-fed and well-trained, with smooth skin over powerful muscles.

It was Edmund.

“Your service is your deliverance”

He put his hands on her breasts.

“The Triune Contract is sacred”

She put her hands on his shoulders, and they kissed. He embraced her and eased her to the floor. He kissed her ears, her throat, and her breasts. His warm mouth covered a nipple. As he sucked, electric delight surged through her body. She opened herself to him, and he took her hands in his and spread her arms wide as he entered her.

She should be praying for world fertility but, great Asherah, it was all she could do to keep her body temperature stable. A man in reality was better than a man in theory! She focused on the honey bee tattoo over his left clavicle. She found his rhythm and let her body go with it. Asherah, yes!

Nothing. Nothing in her training had prepared her for this. Her mind said keep control. Her body said let go. Let go. Don’t stop. Never stop. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and flowed with his movement. She wanted to moan, it felt so good – but Durga would hear of it, and Mal wouldn’t give her the satisfaction.

The thought of Durga helped her to maintain control.

Control over her voice, anyway. Edmund held her tighter and plunged deeper inside her. Heat and pleasure and delightful desperate urges coursed through her. The world disappeared, and the only thing that existed was the one being they made together. The edges of her soul were blending into his. She had to stop this.

“Ah!” Roh did it. Roh cried out in flagrante delicto and saved Mal from disaster.

Back from the brink. The world was real again. Mal and Edmund were in their own bodies. They separated, as did the other ritual lovers, accompanied by tremendous applause in the auditorium. She avoided looking at him.

Two sisters put gold slippers on her feet and dressed her in a gold sari embroidered with poppy-red primroses. Someone handed her a flute of champagne.

And that was it. She was a chalice. She could make a contract tomorrow or start a proof of service pregnancy tonight. The house lights came on. The other fifteen new chalices joined Prime Hub on the stage, all dressed in gold and red saris, and the women of Red City descended upon them all with congratulations.

And advice.

Bleeder is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

Amazon

 

***************************

About the L.K. Rigel

LK Rigel lives in California with her cat, Coleridge. She was once a singing waitress, scored the independent science fantasy karate movie Lucid Dreams, and was a reporter for the Sacramento Rock ‘N Roll News. Her BA is in humanities and religious studies. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and Tattoo Highway. Her short story “Slurp” will appear in Anne Frasier’s 2011 Halloween anthology Deadly Treats published by Nodin Press.

Find L.K. Rigel online at her Website!

Novel Review: Bleeder by L.K. Rigel

Mid-March, L.K. Rigel mentioned she was releasing the latest addition to the Ex Post Apocalypto series. “…you can get Bleeder for .99 if you catch it when it goes live,” she said. Ask me if I took advantage of her early bird offer. Oh heck yeah, I did! After clearing some of the books on my to-read list, I hopped into Bleeder. So, let’s take a look at the blurb from Ms. Rigel’s website:

The King of Garrick wants to kill her.
The King of Allel wants to love her.
And shapeshifters stole her baby’s soul!

It’s been a hundred years since sea-level rise and global nuclear war wiped out most of humanity. Mallory is a chalice, one of the world’s rare fertile females who contract with the kings of the Concord Cities to provide natural-born heirs.

It was supposed to be a pampered and uneventful life, but Mal becomes caught between King Garrick’s scheme for world domination and the goddess Asherah’s desperate plays for another god’s attention.

In her struggle to survive, Mal must confront the most terrifying threat of all — the truth of her past and the inevitability of her destiny.

I have to say, I’m so glad Ms. Rigel decided to make this into a full length novel. Whereas the first two novellas left me wanting more information, this one was full of depth. Wonderful world building!

Before I go deeper into the review, one thing you must know about me is I’m the type of person who LOVES to HATE. Many aspects of this book riled me, but in a way which was satisfying because of the realism. Think Darth Vadar: an absolutely wicked character but in such a way where you can’t help but say he’s a kick-ass villain.

So with that in mind, I went through Bleeder hating characters, attitudes, and situations, but absolutely loving the book because of it.

For me, this work delved a bit into women’s fiction with its clash of opposing ideas. On one hand, it celebrated womanhood by making fertile women the most valuable resource on the planet. On the other hand, they were just that… resources–either breed for the planet or face the consequences.

Then there was the idea of motherhood. In Spiderwork, the women seemed to want to be mothers, but responsibilities forced on them by society denied them that opportunity. They were breeders, nothing more. This time around, the breeds mocked and criticized any birth mother for holding any emotional attachment to a child. The Chosen were brainwashed into believing that motherhood was something to be scorned. It was a rather disheartening future to think something so natural would be frowned upon. All in all, it was like two giant leaps backward for women.

Bleeder had such a deep message which dealt with human rights and politics. In many ways the society lost its spirit. Lack of choices made them complacent with the way things were. Even those in charge of making the rules were complacent. Each new ordinate chipped away freewill leaving an entire society of slaves with varying privileges. I could see our society becoming like that.

Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. Bleeder came pretty close to a 5 star read. Like I said, it was full of issues I LOVED to HATE. I recommend this work to readers who enjoy exploring human rights.

By the way, romance lovers… this does have a happily ever after.

A few of my favorite lines:

  • “I kept the sun out of her eyes.”
  • Pleasure sure did look  hilarious on other people.
  • She had that completion tat in addition to the traditional roses, but it was impossible to imagine any man brave enough to enter this woman.

Last minute comments

The question which continued to be on my mind throughout the novel was, “What are ghosts?” 🙂 Great news all! Ms. Rigel has added a Lexicon to her website which answers that question and many more.

This story was well beyond the time of Char’s story, Space Junque (see review here). Though we get an idea of what happened to her sister Sky Meadowlark, we never get the entire story. I do hope to see Sky’s story in the future. If you didn’t catch my review of Spiderwork, you can read it here.

If you don’t already have the Ex Post Apacolypto series, you can find them at the following locations:

Space Junque is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

Spiderwork is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

 

 

Or get both Space Junque & Spiderwork in a 2-pack deal at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

Bleeder is available at Barnes & Nobles || Smashwords || Amazon

Novella Review: Spiderwork by L.K. Rigel

Not too long ago… okay I’m not really good with time these days, but let’s just give it a few nondescript months ago, I read Space Junque by L.K. Rigel. Afterward, she was kind enough to give me a copy of the sequel, Spiderwork. 🙂 Okay… I admit it. I’m in love with the cover art for this. Go ahead… it’s okay to drool. Meanwhile, the blurb from Ms. Rigel’s website:

Her fate was to hold the world together. His destiny was to tear it apart.

As a child, Durga was chosen by the goddess to save the world from sterility and extinction. Now her eighteenth birthday approaches, and Durga must take her place among the chalices — women made fertile by the goddess to ensure more souls for the universe. Durga’s mission does not include love … but Khai, the scion of Luxor, is unlike any man she’s ever met.

Char Meadowlark once played a role in the goddess’s plans. Now her lover, Jake Ardri, heads an emerging city-state whose enemies covet everything Jake has built. As Jake navigates the uneasy waters of political intrigue, his very existence is threatened. To save him, Char must share him with a chalice … one trained to take him to the heights of sexual ecstasy.

In flagrante apocalypto: When the veil drops between life and oblivion, only love can save them from the abyss.

Where I would call Space Junque a science fiction space opera, Spiderwork is more of a post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy. The earth is jacked up royally, animal products we take for granted are a rarity, and humans are a dying species. Interesting enough, much of the technology from Space Junque novel is gone… gone… gone.

This was one of those books I had mixed feeling about. A lot had to do with my belief system. You see, I’m a huge advocate for women’s sexual health and rights. Spiderwork kind of trampled all over that. Even as I type this, I know it’s a huge part of the storyline, and without this aspect of the novella much of the forward momentum would be nonexistent. Still, the idea of young women (girls, even) being exploited didn’t sit well with me. Furthermore, the thought of my lover getting it on with another… well I let’s just say it doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies.

Even so, on a cultural level, the belief system of the characters was interesting. Though I’m American, drenched in American values, I can envision that kind of behavior going on in other parts of the world and taken as normal. Yes, it rubbed me all sorts of wrong, but at the same time it was completely realistic.

Because the concepts were foreign to me, the entire book was unpredictable. 🙂 It was enjoyable to read a book and not know what to expect. I remember thinking this is not the way a romance is supposed to go. Guys and gals… this is not a romance with your happily ever after. Not a bad thing if you’re like me, a lover of realistic endings rather than the cozy everything turns out perfect ones. And I have to say, I absolutely loved this ending… enough to move on to the sequel, Bleeder.

From the rumors, I get the feeling Bleeder has a happily ever after. So perhaps the entire series will appeal to romance readers as a whole.

Other than going into culture shock, I think I would have liked if this work had a bit more meat to it. Not that the work was too short. Novellas work for me. It just would have been nice to explore each event a little more thoroughly. As it was, I felt like I was on a race to the end with each scene. I think I mentioned in the Space Junque review (see here), Ms. Rigel isn’t one to waste words. Same thing here. She has a story to tell, and she tells it… no added fluff. After some of the comments folks have made about Shadow Cat, I definitely could use some lessons from Ms. Rigel.

Well, I’m in the middle of the Maximum Ride stories by James Patterson, but Bleeder is high on my list. I’m anxious to find out who’s story is next and how this saga concludes.

Spiderwork is available at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords

 

 

Or get both Space Junque & Spiderwork in a 2-pack deal at:

Barnes & Nobles

Smashwords