Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Release of “White Cranes of Heaven”

March 3, 2011

North Carolina Stream, watercolor, Jane Kohut-Bartels, 2006

Today I finished the work needed to release “White Cranes of Heaven” ID# 10243736, available from

For some reason, is listing this new book under the name: “White Cranes”, probably because we refused the ISBN# package from Lulu because it would have doubled the price in the market.  “White Cranes” or “White Cranes of Heaven” is the same book, and the name doesn’t really matter much.  The content does.

This is the first time I have published any of my paintings, except in a short brochure.  The resolution looks great and I am very impressed with Lulu’s printing.  I decided to use these paintings to illustrate some of the poems, and it works.  I hope the readers who buy this book will agree.

Lulu is still processing some of my product page, so I don’t know exactly when it will be viewable, but when I checked, the new book was available for purchase.

This has been a very long labor.  Bill Penrose was the midwife on this and I can’t thank him enough.  I’m tired and need a break. I’m going to sit and read a spell, something I don’t get to do often enough.

Thanks to Bren Goode, Margie Chester, Nick Nicholson, Steve Isaak, and my dear friend Bill Penrose for this book.

Without you, it wouldn’t have grown feathers.

Lady Nyo

“Winter Afternoon”

Winter’s  pale afternoon

Creeps into night like skim milk

Poured from one china bowl to another.

The thin crescent moon appears,

A broken cup of feeble light

That spills upon the ground,

Too watery to brighten the road.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2011

Why We Write.

November 18, 2010

Well, I can think of a lot of reasons.  Perhaps it’s different for different people, but I think there are some very strong threads that pull us together.  Perhaps our impulses here aren’t so different after all.

I have been thinking of this for a while, but very recently, in fact, during the last few days, it has come up in a sharper  sense amongst some very good writer friends.

I have a very dear friend who has received a contract to publish  in an anthology.  This anthology is of erotica.  I think I understand his  confusion and concern.  Publishing erotica can bring some problems to those who don’t kn0w  you are writing in such a genre.  In this case, my friend’s friends don’t know that he is  a writer.

I am amazed at this, because this man is one of the most wonderful and creative and polished  writers I have come across.  To know him is to be up close to real brilliance.  I would give a finger, maybe two….to be able to write with his creativity, depth and imagination.

The polish on his stories, poems is a product of a writer who is so exacting, so dedicated to the story , well, it’s awesome.

He reads this blog, and our emails back and forth haven’t yet convinced him of this good opportunity.  He is worried…well, he’s a worrier.  I want to beat him.

It’s not uncommon to begin to write as a form of self-therapy.  Diaries and extended letters to friends can be of this nature.  At some point, we stop the pity party, or a concentrated examination of our personal life, and look around.  The world brings us topics and wonder straight to our laps.

I started writing my first novel…”The Heart of the Maze” in 1990.  I started it the very week we adopted our son.  I have no idea why this happened, but I think I was in some emotional shock.  Having a toddler at 40 certainly would feed into this shock.  Never having been around children, but being handed the responsibility of another life threw me into something I still can’t understand. Thankfully my husband took over, and for maybe 5 months he and our son were inseparable.  I snapped out of it, and became the mother, but I don’t know yet what was going on there.  Perhaps this writing impulse was stronger than the new mother bond.  I really don’t know.

I do know that after those first months, I didn’t go back to that novel for 5 years.  I finally realized my son was the center of our life, and the writing could be put on hold.  I didn’t go back to writing ‘seriously’ until  the fall of 2006.  And I did finally finish that first novel.  What I will do with it is for the future.

This issue of writing as therapy is an interesting one.  A few years ago, I was coming out of a bad patch.  I had been under the influence of a man who was a writer, but  not interested or encouraging in what I was writing.  I thought that strange, because we were both writers, right?  I was very stupid.  He had a different agenda, which I bought into, and then found  it was  personally destructive.   Had I ‘stayed the course’ ,  I probably would have stopped writing altogether.

The world gives us such promise!  If we only look outward, up from our own navels, we will find more than we can handle.

I published “A Seasoning of Lust” because I  survived all that had happened.  That first book was a kitchen sink of poetry, short story, flashers.  I threw it together just to feel alive….in one of the only ways I knew.   In fact, I did more than survive.  With this first book, I regained my feet.   I wrote a lot more where before I thought I could do nothing right.  That was the net result of his ‘influence’ yet I would break through this  particular hell and find a world rich in words and imagination.  I reclaimed myself from this  cultural gulag and  went on to publish “The Zar Tales”.

Bill Penrose (the writer who formats my books) is encouraging me to finish “Tin Hinan”, after “White Cranes”.  I  found leaving  all that shit behind,  falling into writing, and especially poetry, has given me all the future work I could desire.

As we joke:  Writing is a restorative to the soul.

I believe it.  I find a sense of empowerment in writing  I can sling in the face of life’s troubles, whether they come in the form of pain, death or nasty wankers.

Writing can give you discernment in dealing with people.  Having friends like Bill Penrose, Nick Nicholson, Katie Troutman, all fine writers, is important.  They are heart bound friends who encourage and inspire.  They are serious writers who  can be depended upon to give their opinions and have been there in the darkness writers face.  They are my tribe.

I meet ( online, and in person) a lot of  writers.  I can make friends, but I am more cautious now.  I have a sense of myself and a purpose that goes far beyond what I had before.  And this is just the beginning.

I hope my dear friend forgives my fierceness, but I won’t back down.  I see such amazing promise in his abilities here, and I want him to start publishing.

It will open a world to him that will embrace and support him in ways he has yet to find.

Lady Nyo


The clouds flee the sky,

Bitter north winds push them far.

My heart follows now.

Fallen leaves crackle.

Sparrows add the treble notes.

Seasonal music.

The cold moon shines down

Upon hollow dried grasses.

Earth prepares to sleep.

The frost at morning

Makes the birds plump their feathers

Squirrels add chatter.

The air grow colder.

Soon wool will not be enough.

Come inside- stay warm!

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

“White Cranes” Get Feathers with a LOT of help from my Friends!

September 10, 2010

I know…a baaaad title for anything.  But it’s 5am and I’m not really that creative this time of the morning.  It could be titled “White Cranes” Continue to Moult”, and that would be the truth of the matter.

I just got the text done…organized….the poems arranged for this new book.  The “a LOT of help from my friends” part comes from various friends taking clumps of the poems and reading them and returning them with their crits and comments.   I’m not that territorial about my poetry, though Nick Nicholson would disagree…. but what the hell….these friends are writers and good ones, too…and IF I can’t trust these friends…who?

Compiling poetry is so different than going over chapters.  I had 90 plus poems, and decided that this was too much for anyone, including me…to read.  So I got them down to 50….and they are all seasonal poems.  None of them are love, erotica, etc, though there is a thread of erotica in many of them…just not a blatant thread.

Bill Penrose yesterday…the fellow who does all the really hard work on my books: the formatting for the publisher….suggested illustrations to make the book ‘more interesting’.  I think he’s on to something here, dear Bill.  I used to be a painter…and have lots of pix of the paintings..mostly landscapes and birds , so some of these paintings hopefully will make it into the new book.  We can try this and see how it works.  It will make the book more expensive I am told, but it will be ‘more interesting’.

Lady Nyo


The chilling rains

Have blasted leaves

From black-barked trees.

Too soon has this happened

Thinking there would be yet time.

Time to marvel

At Nature’s robust palette,

To fill the eyes and senses

With ethereal beauty

No man-made tints can challenge.

But like most of life

We are behind

And lose out to clockwork

Not of our making.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2010

“The Zar Tales” finally published….

April 20, 2010
“The Zar Tales”, just published by

From a description:

” “The Zar Tales” is a collection of poetry and short stories  (and some about belly dancers!), and a novella about courageous women and their “Zars” (demons) who stand with them against social and religious oppression. Though the setting is in 1983 when the religious authorities tried to stop the Zar Ritual (an ancient ritual of support and comfort to women)the struggle of women today continues to find support in many areas of the Middle East and Northern Africa for this ritual. There is an essay by the author on Hyperarousal Trance and Creativity closing the book. Jane Kohut-Bartels is a novelist, a poet, a belly dancer and a teacher of belly dance in Atlanta, Georgia.”

Bill Penrose and I have finally finished the corrections on this book, and now it is released to the public.  Again, this new book would have never been published without the serious efforts of Bill. ( nor would the first one.)

I haven’t found easy to use.  I would recommend it, but have a man like Bill to do the heavy stuff of Lulu.  She is a harsh mistress.

The main body of this book is the novella:  “The Zar Tale”.  As mentioned above, the Zar ritual is being attacked all over the Middle East and Africa by religious authorities.  However, it continues to be held because of the social benefits (outlet for mental health issues, etc) but perhaps more because it is a ritual that is ancient and healing.

The novella mixes mysticism in the form of the Zars (demons) and Persian poetry.  All of the poetry (in the novella)  I wrote in the ‘style’ of ancient Persian poetry and this I believe, back then when writing this story two years ago….is where Hyperarousal Trance helped tap into and understand  the natural and beautiful rhythms of these things unknown and unexperienced.  Different cultural colorings flow into the heart and into the mind when writing under the effects of HT.  Or perhaps it’s just that these rituals speak to the  humanity we all share.

And of course, first of all…’s a love story.

This new book is as different from the first book  (“A Seasoning of Lust”) as night is to day.  Where “Seasonings” was a kitchen – sink of verse, short story and very short story form called “flasher”….THIS book is united by a common theme:  Zars (demons and a ritual/dance…both from African and Middle Eastern cultures) and the empowerment of women facing oppressive conditions.

Though I am counting my eggs before they hatch, I have considered what to do with any royalties from this book.  The issue of female genital mutilation is a worldwide horror.  It is not isolated to the Middle East.  Nor to Muslims.    My husband and I have decided that any money from royalties will go to a group that opposes such practice.  I hope to do a blog entry later this year on this subject: FGM.  I believe it is called by various names around the world.

And I was pleasantly surprised that there were royalties from the first book.  This is a small incentive to publish…..but the overwhelming one is not the coin, but the ‘place’ to put your writing.  And the great satisfaction when readers communicate how your writing has resonance in their lives.

That weaves the web of humanity for me with important thread.

Lady Nyo

“The Zar Tales”

February 11, 2010

"The Zar Tales"

Gets published.  In a few days, probably.

Bill Penrose, the dear friend and writer who formatted “A Seasoning of Lust” last year this time, has done his magic again.  Bill has taken these projects of mine and made them real.  He is a very well published author himself,  (“Ancestors of Star”  and “Anne the Healer” just to mention two books available from and also a research scientist, though what he does boggles my brain. Something to do with chemistry and conductors and lots of things mysterious.

This level of friendship is amazing to me.  What he does…the formatting…is the HARD work to me.  Mysterious and beyond my capabilities.  The writing is easy…..the formatting is difficult. doesn’t take prisoners, though they tout themselves as ‘easy to use’.   Hah!

But I think we both learned from the first book and Bill is, once again…working his magic here.

Thank you, Bill.

Lady Nyo

(Below I am posting a part of the last chapter of “The Zar Tale” just for fun. It is part, the end part of a very long wedding scene.)

Gifts were piled on the long table before them: rugs and blankets, pots and a few pieces of silver.  These gifts were to start the new couple on their life together.

The moon rose up into Heaven and was girdled with an array of distant stars.  A soft nighttime breeze wafted over the fields and a bonfire was lit and still the dancing went on.  The feasting and music continued, likely to last throughout the night and into the early hours of the dawn.

Ali looked down at Shakira, whose head in her heavy wedding crown was supported by the high backed chair she had been sitting on all day.  She could not move much for the combined weight of the crown and the heavy amber and silver necklaces almost immobilized her.

“Shakira, my wife” said Ali tenderly.  “Walk out with me a bit and let us have a moment apart of all our friends.”

Shakira was glad to do so, and since her bridesmaids were sitting all to the left of her, they remove the heavy headdress and some of the wedding jewelry.  That done, she felt the weight of the world lifted from her and she gathered her robes and walked apace with Ali.

Standing in the dark away from the bonfire, with only the moon to grace the ground with light, Ali put his arm around her shoulders and looked out across the landscape, now only shadows and dark mystery.

He, once a mighty Zar, and before a fierce Berber warrior, was now just a man, a mortal with no mystical powers.  At the thought of this moment, where he stood on the ground with a worthy woman at his side, he could have shed tears for his good fortune.

Now he would grow old, as other mortals and he would labor as other men for his bread. He would be part of a humanity that brought justice into the world, no longer a ghost who passed for little, but a man who had substance when the night fell and the dawn came.  His feet would walk on the hard earth and he could feel the winds come down from the mountain on his face.  He could feel the coolness of water and the heat of fire.  He was man.

A sudden cold wind blew where they were standing and Ali pulled Shakira close.  He glanced up at the moon and just for a moment, it looked a sickly green. The stars seemed to melt and revolve in a tangle up in the sky and Shakira shivered under his arm. It was only a second, but for Ali, he knew the signs.  If the others, especially the former Zars had seen what he did, they didn’t say a word.

Perhaps it was just the wine the men had been drinking and it meant nothing at all.  But Ali scowled at the moon and put his hand on his Berber sword.  He had been a Zar for a thousand years not for nothing.

Shakira did not see the change in the moon, but nestled under the strong arm of her new husband.

For her part, she was very glad her husband was mortal, and when the wedding guests tied their hands together with strong yarn and led them to Shakira’s house with drums and flutes and much laughter, she knew she had the best of all worlds.  She had the protection and love of a mortal, and though a Zar could be an enchanting being, the man in her life now was the substance of the best of her dreams.

* * *

But this is not the end of the story.  We will leave them both to enjoy the early months of their wedding, but there is much more to this Zar tale.

Do you remember the Mullahs they met on that black mountain road?  Those who judged Shakira Sheikha so harshly?  The ones who met an unfortunate fate?

These Mullahs were judged in Paradise and sent back to earth, but now in the form of Zars!

And they weren’t of the ‘helpful’ variety as were Ali and his Berber and Persian friends.

No, they were out for revenge and now imbued with the power of a terrible djinn.

The End (for now)


Jane Kohut-Bartels

“The Zar Tale”

Copyrighted, 2010

Looking Towards The New Year…..

December 19, 2009

….and looking back over this year.

All in all, it’s been a good one.  January brought the publication of “A Seasoning of Lust”, my first book.  This was unexpected actually, but I wrote a lot of poetry and some short stories and decided…what the hell.  When is it ever the best time to publish anything?  I guess you do it and hope for the best.  I don’t know about ‘the best’, but I am very grateful to those who have brought this book. I hope it entertains.

I faced a lot of challenges this last year:  health concerns were up there, but finally that seems to be under some control.  A change of doctors and some radical ruptures with old ways of doing things has seemed to help. Early on here, but I am more confident.

I went through a lot of things:  BDSM issues, D/s issues, trying on different things and finding that there was no magic bullet.  Also finding out that some things that ‘looked good’ weren’t.  In fact, some things were straight out poison.  But you have to swallow at times and see what it does to the system.

There were some sharp lessons  this year.  You just have to buck up your courage and pass through the experience and decide that you are going to live through it.  I do think it’s a matter of resolve.  There are some very nasty characters you meet in life and they can overwhelm for a while.  You can’t save everyone.  You can barely save yourself.  Discernment is a good word, and it can be applied to many things.  Perhaps it is ‘the’ word  to learn.

Trifling….that’s another good word.

The blog is up a year and a half now.  I had no idea how this was going to go, but so far it remains of  interest.  The readership ebbs and flows, but  grows.  I have worked out some issues in uncomfortable ways on this blog, but in many ways, these things seem to have resonance in other lives.  I am grateful to all who read and comment.  We learn life together.

Two men have stood by me for three years and I have nothing but gratitude for their support.  Nick Nicholson and Bill Penrose have been the greatest and gentlest of writing  mentors…and friends. Three years ago Nick and I joined the list of writers on ERWA, and Bill Penrose grabbed us both for a very small (the three of us) writing group.  Sometimes we ignored our little group, and sometimes we headed there for solace.  I am glad to say  throughout these three years we have maintained it, and right now, it’s a lifeline again.

And on that writing…well, I didn’t start out to be a writer. There were other interests for many years.  But for some reason, I have jumped in body and soul, and over the past few years I have learned a great deal about writing.  Not enough, but I’m on the road.

I just sent “The Zar Tales” to Bill Penrose for formatting.  Bill did “A Seasoning of Lust” and has graciously stood for this new book.  I’ve talked a bit about “The Zar Tales” already on the blog, so I won’t go into it.  It should be published and available on and after the first of the year.  I am not pushing because life has its own rhythm.

I am looking forward to something very different soon.  I have fallen to the Demon of Poetry, and will publish (this spring) another book:  “White Cranes of Heaven”.  Only poetry this time, and I am having a ball getting it together.  In the past three years I have written so much of it.  At one period, thought it had dried up.  I just needed a seasonal change  and the poetry started to form again.

The  plan is to get back to “The Kimono” after the New Year.  This is a novel I started two years ago and put aside for other things. It begins in the 21st century,  zaps back to  16th century Japan.  Looking over the writing, I think this is where I started to write a lot of poetry.  I put the novel aside with lots of notes and research, and got stuck around Japanese battles.  This issue figures in because the time was treacherous with fights between the daimyos for territory and the manipulations by the Shogun (and court).  There were so many layers of intrigue on different levels and knowing this  well  can only be helpful in completing this novel.

(And “Kimono” is where the Lady Nyo was formed.)

My husband laughs at me because I am a strange creature of habit.  I have set up my art table for writing longhand, staring out at the winter landscape, the black trees and the gray skies of winter. (We’ll see how long “longhand” will last.)  That sharp, harsh light  known in winter and the stillness and solitude makes conditions for writing.   At least for me.

I have the kimono I wrote the novel about.  It’s a black, heavy winter silk, with a river of silver running around the hem and up the left panel.  There is a curious tattoo of embroidery running into the inside tan (silk lining) and I run my hand over it like Braille.

This kimono became ‘magical’ :  what if the bumps  of the embroidery were  ‘code’?  It became one in my imagination and it was a catalyst to transport the main character from the 21st to the 16th century.

It’s a bother when you have the beginning and the ending of a novel and the problem is the middle.  This is where I am.

I intend to don that kimono and see if it gets me out of the usual ruts of writing.  A lot is riding on that piece of cloth.

Life has been good and interesting this past year.  Challenging, too. My friends have stayed the course, even when I looked like I was flying off the map.   In all of the changes of the past year, I am blessed, blessed, blessed.

And Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, etc.

And as my 97 year old Aunt Jean who is the  Hungarian head of my family says:

“May the New Year bring Good Health and Great Blessings!”

Lady Nyo

The inners of “The Zar Tales”

October 21, 2009
A Zar ritual, photo by nicolas nilsson, in northern Africa

A Zar ritual, photo by nicolas nilsson, in northern Africa

Someone wrote and said it was rude not to talk a little about what was in “The Zar Tales”.  I guess I just was so tired when I posted the cover that I couldn’t think of what came next.  I’ve been pulling long hours on this book  because I wanted it to get it ready for Bill Penrose.  He is doing the real formatting and he is also publishing his own book right now…”Anne the Healer”.

Bill writes BIG books….real books.  Novels with complex plots and characters.  Next week, I think, I am doing more of an interview with Bill and his writing muse.  And more explanation on his newest book.

“The Zar Tales” is actually a collection of stories, two short stories, a few poems and a very short story, actually a ‘flasher’.  And a small novella.  The book all wraps up with an essay on Hyperarousal Trance.

They all are of one continuous theme: this issue of a Zar, or The Zar and the havoc a Zar wrecks on mortal life.

I explain this in the book….but a Zar is a couple of things.  First, it’s a ritual, a very old tradition in Africa, North Africa, Egypt and parts of the Middle East.  It’s NOT an exorcism, not in the way we in the West understand exorcism.  A Zar in these countries is a gathering of people who support and encourage and add to the proceedings of the ritual in various ways.  They can be drummers, chanters, participants, and other musicians.  They can lead and prepare the animal sacrifice, usually a goat or chicken.

In the functioning of a Zar ritual, a leader (called Sheikha in many countries….a wise woman) will ‘call out’ the Zar….who also just happens to be a demon…or djinn.  This Zar possesses married women (mostly) and actually has an important function in a repressive society.  A woman can not be held accountable for her behavior when she is under possession of a Zar.  In other words, she can sass her husband and blame it on the Zar.  As in: “The Zar made me say that.”

She can also ‘get things’ through the Zar.  “The Zar wants me to have that red shawl”…(The Zar demands it)

But beyond this, the Zar ritual is a very important mental health issue in these countries.  A woman dances out her possession in wild and wilder steps, movements in the ritual to the frenetic beat of drums and the wailing of neys (flutes) and the general singing and chanting and she collapses in exhaustion, and at this time it is thought the Zar leaves her body.  She has tossed her hair around and around and the Zar is hanging on to dear life there and POP! He flies off into the arms of the Sheikha, who herself is also in a trance.

The Sheikha ‘communicates’ with the Zar, negoiates new orders for the peace of the possessed….and the Zar (Spirit) is rejoined with the flesh of the possessed.

Everyone is happy.

One does not want a stray and homeless Zar scaring the children and the chickens.  And a goat will not do.

The Zar ritual can last up to 7 days, but usually it’s done in a day or overnight. In Cairo, there are “Zar houses” where rich Cairo matrons pay for a ritual, even though it is usually repressed by the government and the religious authorities.  Anyone, even tourists, can stop in a observe a Zar in progress, but you have to have connections to do so.

As to the mental health side of it, it is logical.  A woman, perhaps a young, married woman, is ‘possessed’.  She is away from her family, living within the household of her husband’s family, and she is a stranger.  Her status could be low.  But during the Zar ritual, all attention and care is taken that she and her fears are attended to.  Perhaps for the first time in her life she is the center of attention, and this seems to be enough to ‘heal’ what is hurting.

The Zar ritual is under attack in many countries because it harkens back to pagan rituals and goes against the present religious  beliefs.

My short novella, “The Zar Tale” speaks directly to this issue.  This tale is set in southeastern Turkey in the early 1980’s.  There a wise woman, a Sheikha, Shakira Arsan, is hauled in by the religious authorities and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  But the local Zars are long dead Berber warriors, and some how they have floated from Morocco and Algeria to Turkey and have taken up camp in these mountains…the Taurus mountains I think is where they reside.  Most of them are poets, and one, Emir is an especially bad poet but he keeps trying to rewrite the same 6 line verse for a 1000 years without much progress.  It’s not exactly ‘writer’s block’ that stops him…it’s the hashish that they all indulge in.

They become Zar-fruits and are pretty funny fellows…to a point.  They are also fierce warriors and out to revenge their ancient Gods and Goddesses.  In this case, Ammon and Isis.

Goes against the grain of the Mullahs, though.  I will have to put a warning somewhere because human cannibalism makes a bow here.  And bad Persian poetry.

There are seven pieces in this book….and most of them short ones. They all are of the main theme.

I had a lot of fun writing “The Zar Tale”  and the essay “Hyperarousal Trance and Creativity” explains some of the…..connections.

Mysticism inside and out.

Lady Nyo

Hurrah!! My First Royalty Check Cometh!

August 17, 2009

It’s not a huge check, not enough for much more than a good dinner out, or a nice pair of shoes, or a new pair of earrings, but!

It’s my first from “A Seasoning of Lust” and reflects that some readers out  there are buying the book.

Yahoo!!!!  Ok, I am just thrilled because I didn’t EXPECT a royalty check at all…forgot about this possibility  because it’s just 6 months from the publication of the book and well, I just didn’t expect this.

However, it’s welcome but I think it means something bigger than the money.  It means that writing has the potential for something larger than just satisfaction of writing stories… might be able to define  yourself as a writer.  Actually it validates something much more important than food/money, etc.  It means that your work, your writing imagination has value and perhaps  you can do it again.

And again.

A bit of  impetus to work towards that.

There is a present downside to all of this writing, though.  I recently cleared the decks by ditching some memberships to different writer websites and at the same time, I had to make it clear that just because I sat home and wrote, it didn’t mean I was doing nothing.  I have some girlfriends who have their noses out of joint right now, and some of them dear bellydancer-girlfriends, but damnit….I AM working.  Just because I sit here all day at a desk doesn’t mean that I am messing around.  Well, I am messing around, but I also am working.

And that’s the rub about being a writer:  You have to dedicate the time and energy, be rather single minded and a bit selfish and work at it.  It doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come quickly.  It’s been only 3 years really that I decided perhaps I could write novels and stories, so in a way, it has come quickly.

The first publication of “A Seasoning of Lust” was something I did because I was ready:  two years of writing and more writing and keeping my nose to the grindstone (with a LOT of distractions…) paid off in this manuscript.  Bill Penrose of ERWA took it and formatted it into a book.  The only downside to me now is that I wasn’t a better writer, and have ended up rewriting two of the three long stories in there.  But I am told this is what happens when you publish.  There is always room for lots of improvement.

I am working on another manuscript for my husband to take to Chicago next week….for a printer there.  It’s just a test run to see what this book will look like.  I thought of using the name “White Cranes of Heaven” but that is the new short story and poetry book to follow.  I don’t want to blow a good title on something that might not fit.  This next book (Chicago printing) will be the novella “The Zar Tales” and a few like-minded stories.  It was something that dropped in my lap and my husband is pushing this.  I am trying to rewrite carefully something I wrote 2 years ago.  Again, what we write two years ago ain’t what we are now…Not as writers.  At least at this stage of the game.

Oh yeah.  Shameless promotion.  If you are interested in “A Seasoning of Lust”, it’s published by lulu. com.

The website address for the book,( takes you to the colorful  cover and promotional stuff) is here:


Lady Nyo

PS:  Rereading this entry, well, it didn’t turn out ….the Chicago thing….like I imagined.   I finally saw there  would be more work needed  on “The Zar Tales”  so I put together a shorter book:  “The Lady Nyo Poems and other Verse”  and sent it up.  The cover is posted on Sunday’s blog entry and a short message about that book.  It will be reprinted later with some other works of the same theme.

“The Zar Tales” will come later this year.  That’s a novella.

I have learned something from the readers of “A Seasoning of Lust”.  Too many themes can confuse readers.  Not all, but those who aren’t used to so many different cultural offerings…well, it can lend to confusion.  Perhaps when you settle into one group of stories all of the same culture, and then change to another culture, it takes some work to adjust comfortably.  And that book, I am told, is not ‘a fast read’.

You live and learn….

Lady Nyo again.

Steve Issac reviews “A Seasoning of Lust”

July 8, 2009

Steve Issac purchased, read and reviewed my book very recently, and last night sent me the review.

I am a bit slow on the uptake.  Others read his review on his website: and wrote to me.

Steve is an incredible writer.  I can’t pigeon hole him as to genre, because Steve is no pigeon.  He’s better described as  iconoclastic in the best sense of the word.   Cuts new paths, a  rebel, an innovator in his writing.     I am constantly amazed at the span of his imagination.  He’s like a pony who can turn on a dime.  He makes good use of wit and comedy and cultural devices. I think some of what I am reading of his is sci-fi, but I can’t be sure, though I think  Steve takes this to a whole new and unfamiliar level.  He’s that good. I admit to being confused at times by Steve’s writing, but the confusion is mine, because Steve writes on the edge.  Other writers seem ponderous to me  after reading a short by Steve.  He’s that impressive.

So when he said that he had bought my book, was going through it slowly and will offer up a review…I was flattered, but also apprehensive.  Steve is a better, more polished writer, and I didn’t expect the praise and encouragement he gave.  But I have to say  Steve’s review of these individual pieces gave me  elation but more importantly, his review gave me a different perspective of them.  Seeing them through other eyes, and a writer of Steve’s ability made me want to read them again.  And that is good for any author.

Thank you, Steve.

Lady Nyo

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Seasoning of Lust, by Jane Kohut-Bartels

(pb; 2008: erotic story/poem anthology)

Overall review:

Fantabulous, evocative anthology of mostly-microfiction stories and poems (which largely embrace Asiatic, mythological and Nature-reverent leanings).

This is one of the best erotica anthologies I’ve read in a long while. Every piece works, with recurrent themes and structures creating reader-enveloping moods.

This anthology is not a rush-through read.

Read this like you would read an excellent collection of masterfully-wrought, multi-layered comic strips — read a few pieces, bask in their characters, and concise morality, wisdom and moods. Let the full impact of the pieces soak into your brain.

Repeat this process whenever the mood strikes you.

I can only hope my first microfiction and poem anthology is this superb and self-assured.

Stand-out pieces:

Bad Karma” (story): Courtesan- and poetry-themed microfiction, with a funny, echoic finish.

The Apple Tree“: Sad poem about death, heavy with theme-integral vividity.

Musings on a Closing Day” (poem): Life and death, mused about with everpresent Asiatic imagery (geishas, petals, et cetera).

The Devil in Paris” (story): In the 1770s, a gender-shifting Lust Demon (Louis/e Gormosy) toys with a naïve bookwormish young woman (Mlle Luciern), hoping to defile her innocence.

John Garrett, Gormosy’s friend and a fellow devil, is invited to join in the corrupting game — with unexpected results. One of my favorite, twisty tales in this anthology.

Queen of Sheba“: A servant thrills at the presence of the black-beautiful queen passing by. Gripping poem.

To The New Lover #1, #2“: Effectively erotic, intense verses.

The Shibari Series“: Thirteen short tales, where a woman goes through karma-progressive transformations, via experiences with rope play and bondage. These experiences are dominated by “the Falconer” (a Master) and a Tengu (a Japanese shape-shifting Demon). Striking-image work.

A Reason For The Season” (poem): Nature-themed, beautiful celebration of Christmas.

Mlle Duchamps” (story): A French, former aristocrat (M. d’Epinay) and his Terror-humbled household take in a twenty-year old carriage-accident victim who may be more than she seems. Spare, excellent, sublime work, this.

Winter Wood” (poem): A gentle-hearted, forgiving (and apologetic) hunter ponders a recent argument with his wife.

Olsen’s Pond“: Heart-wrenching poem, about a winter tragedy. One of the best poems in this collection, with a stunning end-stanza.

The Lady Nyo Poems” (book section) – These superb, smart-minded pieces, about a sixteenth-century, “mostly-happily married” poet-wife, include: “A Bad Quarrel,” “Lady Nyo Forgives Her Husband” and “The Temptation of Lady Nyo“.

Other pieces included in this worthwhile anthology:

POEMS – “Season’s Change“; “Erotica Sea” (sonnet); “Love” (sonnet); “Grief” (sonnet); “Fate” (sonnet); “Spring Can’t Wait“; “Winter Widow“; “Spring Orgy“; “O Absalom!“; “The River“.

JAPANESE INSPIRED VERY SHORT STORIES“: “A Fortunate Fate“; “The Stillness of Death” (featuring Lady Nyo, and her ill-tempered alcoholic husband, Lord Nyo); “The Geisha“; “The Night of the Stain“; “The Punishment“.

MYTHOLOGICAL/PERIOD-PIECE/FAIRY TALES: “The Valkyrior“; “Ali Baba and His Four Thieves“; “Graham Thomas“; “Iliadic Tale“; “Orpheus and Eurydice“.

HAIKU & TANKA POEMS: These sometimes erotic, sometimes melancholic haiku are theme-fused and contrasted with their variant tanka-expansions.

La Vendetta“: Solid tale about a vain, cruel woman (Maria de Guissepa Agnesi Faini), who gets her appropriate comeuppance.

Exquisite collection of poetry and stories, this. By all means, check this out at!

Some new developments….

February 18, 2009

Some readers and friends have asked me what I am doing.  And why am I coasting with posting chapters of a novel I wrote two years ago? And why haven’t I gone in and rewritten in places it obviously needs?

I AM coasting.  The Montreal trip was exhausting in a number of ways.  I was bombarded with much stimulus of new ideas, observed new creations of other dancers, and then there were other people (non dancers) involved.

It just takes time to sum up and sort it all out.  On top of it, the release of “A Seasoning of Lust” and the suggestions of promotion.

For the release of a first book by an unknown author, I am told things are going well.  Right now, they seem to be, but who knows what the future holds?

Well, actually, I do.  Bill Penrose, a good friend of a couple of years, actually someone who functioned as a writing mentor in a small private group….is back onboard for a second book…Volume II of “Seasonings”.  And there is also planned a Volume III.

Most of the writing is done, collections of short stories and more flashers and poetry.  It’s just a question of what goes where and why.

Bill has a better eye with experience for all that.  I just do the easy part, write the stuff.

There are many people that contribute something to a book being written.  It’s not such a lonely, solitary business as most of us want to make.  There are many friends who read, crit and encourage.  There are people who give up blog space to promote your writing.  There are some who play the role of Muse, and there are others that are sometimes…nasty irritants.  They also fuel the fires and must be at least, privately, acknowledged.  There are people who send you lists of books to read, or websites on some particular area of research.

And there are also people who, across the world…sit up late at night and give personal guidance, soothe wounds and restore humour.

So a book doesn’t necessarily get written in isolation…sometimes it’s more than a group effort.  Sometimes it’s a crowded affair.

And I am grateful.  For all who stick their fingers in the pie.

Lady Nyo

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