Jul 23 2017

A Review of The Gatekeeper by Kevin J. Kennedy

The Gatekeeper by Kevin J. Kennedy

The Gatekeeper by Kevin J. Kennedy

Not all short stories which have succubi appearing in them make them the core of the story. But it’s interesting how when they do appear the story turns, sometimes dramatically, towards them, focusing upon them. Part of that is, of course, their sexuality and temptation. But then again, sometimes it’s the teasing that is so much more delightful.

A review of a work that the author admits is very short, and while it is, there’s a sense of there being more than could come from this, offer the layers of story that are only but hinted at. Much like succubi in their teasing, written well a very short story can leave one wishing there was more to be seen.

The work tells the story of:

If you could have anything you wanted, once a year, in return for completing a simple task, would you do it? What if that task, was to let all of the demons out of hell, for a night of fun and carnage? Meet the GateKeeper.

The memoirs of The Gatekeeper who tells of his being roped into looking after a trapdoor to hell A door he must open but once a year, the creatures he encounters and the price to be paid by the unwary.

The work is a piece of flash fiction which mainly sets up the main character, The Gatekeeper, his situation, how he came to be there and what happens when he does as he has been tasked to. It’s not a work of horror or erotica, nor is it a simple telling of events. It’s very much the reflections of the main character about where he is, what he gets out of the deal, and the first time he opened the gate.

Being there’s no horror, nothing over the top, at times the story reads as a fairly bland narrative looking for something interesting to hold onto. Once that is found, at several points, then there’s life in the words and the reactions and that works quite well. There’s a lot of time spent in setting up the main character’s views on things, what he’s gotten out of the agreement, and why he can’t get out of it. That said, the first opening, and the creatures he sees, is a bit rote in that there’s no real communication or action. They appear, pause, then leave. Save for two, and they are very interesting.

Candy, there are two of them, are succubi and they are quite the unique pair of succubi. Upon their appearance in the work, they are the two characters that interact the most with The Gatekeeper, and it’s in a delightfully teasing and seductive way. The heat in a few short paragraphs is a real change from the story, and when it passes, their appearance lingers in many different ways.

The conclusion is a bit thin, again this is a short work and so there’s not much time spent in building on the rest of the story. Still, Candy’s effects are central, and I liked the idea of The Gatekeeper having to make a choice and knowing what might happen if he did so.

While well written and very interesting a flash, there’s a feeling that there’s a lot more than could have been done here. A number of dangling plots and thoughts offered places to take the main character, but he wasn’t. The succubi might have been something more, but didn’t manage it. There’s a good story here, one that I could see made into a series with all of the source material that lurks here. But there’s not quite the heat, the depth, or the character development that I wanted from the first page and that was a bit of a disappointment.

Three and a half out of five pitchforks.

It’s an interesting short little tease of a story, almost a summary in a way of something larger that I’d like to see. The idea of Candy is delightfully different and it was quite the surprise that I enjoyed. Still, as the author admits, this is a very short work, which left me wanting something more when the story was done.

Perhaps there’s a series in here somewhere, an exploration of what is entwined within these events and what the future holds for The Gatekeeper himself. There’s a really delicious thought about that, perhaps that might come sometime.

 

Tera

Jul 22 2017

A rather unique Succubus Speedpaint YouTube

There are, obviously, quite a number of YouTubes that show artists creating art of succubi. This time on the Tale, one that I think is rather unique and interesting in many ways…

 

If you cannot see this video here on the Tale, please try this link.

Here is the completed work by this artist as well:

Succubus by Ilustra-on

Succubus by Ilustra-on

The artist also placed the completed artwork on DeviantArt, and you can find that art here.

I think her expression is what makes this art special and unique. There’s sort of a melancholy in her eyes and lips that is really emotional.

There’s also a kind of Faery aspect to her which makes things more interesting as well. I like art that tells a story and she has a story to tell…

 

Tera

Jul 21 2017

A Review of Diary of a Succubus by James Patterson

Diary of a Succubus by James Patterson

Diary of a Succubus by James Patterson

It’s not unheard of for an action story to have a succubus as the main character. The thing about doing so is that, at least for me, there needs to be some real focus placed upon telling her story among the bullets, knifes and fighting. As it is with erotica, an adventure story needs something to ground the characters, to make the reader care about them. That can’t be done with the barest of flashbacks and recriminations.

Story matters, but what drives a character matters more. It cannot be assumed what that is, and why things turn out as they do. Every soul has a dream, a reason, a meaning. That story shouldn’t be buried underneath a lake of pain.

The work tells the story of:

I can kill a man with a kiss.

The book summary is less than useful, in that it doesn’t tell anything really about what happened in the story. A better summary might be something like: “There is evil in the world. It seeps into the light, tearing away at soul, lives, hopes and dreams. A terrible force with seemingly no equal. But nature abhors a vacuum, light presses against the dark, no matter the cost. For Lily, the last of her kind, the cost has been high, but it will be higher still.

The work is an action-adventure overall, there isn’t any erotica or romance to speak of and even when there are moments that come close to being so, they really aren’t for all of the violence, pain and loss which surrounds them. The darkness that presses upon Lily, the main character, is overwhelming and never gives up for an instant. Even in the moments of self-reflection, there’s always that darkness pressing upon her and it becomes weary after a time.

Being there is so much darkness, there’s a great deal of violence, fighting, blood and killing which rampages throughout the work. That’s a shame, as a whole, because being that the work focuses upon Lily, a succubus, there really needed to be more shown of her aspects of being a seductress than there is.

The work is told from Lily’s perspective, which means there’s a lot of internal monologue and reaction to what happens around her and what she faces. The problem is that there’s not that much told about Lily herself, it’s all about her thoughts of how to prepare for the next fight, the next mark and even when there’s the barest hint of a connection with another character, that gets tossed from the story far too soon, then is forgotten.

While there’s some time spent telling some slivers of her story, there are many of her sisters, and others mentioned, appearing for an instant, thought of. But there’s so dearly little time spent in giving them life. For one character in particular, seen at the beginning of the story, she’s but a ghost, a means to drive an emotional dagger into Lily and then she’s forgotten. This is all a shame because there’s so many connections to Lily which are teased, but not used or explained. There’s a huge history about Lily, but we never get to know that, or her, save for those fleeting moments of self-loathing and brash commentary. There really should have been more.

The force that Lily faces in this work, what drives her quest, is revealed in levels of detail that I could only wish to see for Lily and the succubi in this universe. It’s a very uneven comparison and it disappointed me. Not just in that the story of succubi wasn’t told better, not that those Lily faced didn’t have their world laid out in detail, but that at so many points things were skimmed over, characters appear and then things move on.

The work is almost all action in tone, not having many points at which Lily reflects on the past, her choices and what she’s facing. There’s never really a moment where the reader can pause, reflect on what’s going on before the next encounter, issue or tribulation comes crashing in. I thought that didn’t do a lot for the story, certainly it didn’t give the character development I wanted, or the story I needed here.

I wanted to know more about the succubi, about who they are, how they come to be. There’s gaps in how things work as a whole which distracted me from the story. Hints of their physical forms, more precisely their true forms, needed to be fleshed out more. Their powers weren’t delved into, simply glossed over. When it came to weapons, fashion or cars, there was more than enough information by far, it’s a shame that the same cannot be said about the succubi themselves and Lily in particular.

This is, however, a story about succubi and that theme was present in the work. It wasn’t erotica, it wasn’t a hot flash either. There wasn’t enough of Lily being a seductress, a succubi, it was more about her being an avenging angel in a world of darkness. That worked, that story came tougher well at the climax and the closing of the story. It just could have been so much more.

Three out of five pitchforks.

The action and mystery parts work well, but there’s so little told about the succubi, about their past that I found myself sighing when the story came to a close. The focus wasn’t, overall, in telling about the characters so much as it was to drive them into conflict after conflict with no seeming end to things.

Lily held the work together, she is the narrator after all, but we never really get to know her, to see beneath her singular focus and when the work closed I had a feeling of loss. A hint of her, of what she’s done and seen is a start, but it doesn’t really give her character the breathing room to grow and be fulfilled.

I’d like to see something more to follow this, not so much as constant rollercoaster as this work is but rather to focus on Lily, on her sisters, on their world as much as their opposition was. Only half of the story was told here, tell the other part to make the tale complete.

 

Tera

Jul 20 2017

Succubi Image of the Week 496

There are some pieces of succubus art which offer something very special. A different idea of succubi, how they hold themselves, what their forms are. This week on the Tale, a piece of art that I think offers a story to tell.

Nipple Hats by Tentaclejuiceart

Nipple Hats by Tentaclejuiceart

 

This work is called Nipple Hats and is by the artist Tentaclejuiceart. You can find the original page with this art on DeviantArt here and this artist’s page can be found on DeviantArt here.

Overall, this is just a really unique succubus character in so many ways. The little touch of the glow in her eyes that matches all of the other glowing part of her form is delightful, While the overall drawing might not seem all that complex, to me there’s a lot of character and personality to be seen. There’s a little hint of fangs, which I think just works well here, and as well the little touch of her garter and necklace give that needed bit of style to her overall look as well.

Lovely, sexy, and that little touch of devilish delight are a perfect combination.

 

Tera

Jul 19 2017

A Red Dress does not a Costume Make

Sexy Heart Devil Halloween DressThere are many costumes which have, as their basis, some sort of red dress. Some of them are trashy, many are really nothing special. They are, much of the time, used as a means to throw some really poor horns at and call it a costume. It’s odd to find a dress that suggests it is a costume, even more so a devilish one, which doesn’t have really anything going for it that says it is, in any way, a devil costume.

This is called the Sexy Heart Devil Halloween Dress and it comes with the dress and shawl. The stockings and shoes are not included and it sells for $20 US.

More than anything else, I know, this is just a red dress that’s had the word ‘devil’ attached to it so a google search picks it up. That said, the dress isn’t all that lovely, it doesn’t have a lot going for it overall.

There’s nothing really that says this is any sort of devil, or otherwise, costume. Even adding a pair of horns to this, or one of my most dreaded poorly made pitchforks that I detest, wouldn’t make it one.

It is a dress, it is red. That does not make it a costume by any stretch of the imagination. I’m probably more generous than I should be in rating this.

One out of five pitchforks.

Nothing here, no horns, no devil and certainly no succubus.

There are other things to look at. Perhaps next week will be a little more inspiring?

 

Tera

Jul 18 2017

A Review of Stu Boling and the Lap Dance of Death by Nic Brown

Stu Boling and the Lap Dance of Death by Nic Brown

Stu Boling and the Lap Dance of Death by Nic Brown

Origin stories need some specific things to work well. There needs to be a hook in the character, a reason as to why they are on the path that leads them forwards. Beyond that, their personality should be attractive in some way, whether that be amusing or otherwise. But if that origin is confused, or the plot seems to be looking for itself, that’s a problem on its own.

In the same way, offering a succubus who seems to be a means to an end, but little more, can be disappointing. Being evil is but the start to the character. A seduction is an aspect of them. Teasing there’s something more, then not doing a lot with it, can be a problem when there’s a hint that there’s a lot more going on than the story tells of.

The work tells the story of:

Stu Boling is just a normal guy who wanted to grow up to be a policeman. That didn’t happen.

Instead he met an evil leprechaun that stuffed his head full of knowledge he shouldn’t have… knowledge of the world hidden within ours… the world of the supernatural.

Stu is just about at the end of his rope, unemployed and shy of prospects he’s hit a new low. But when a stranger comes knocking on his door things change. Soon Stu finds himself facing death in a most unlikely place- a strip club!

Stu is going to need more than a handful of dollar bills to get out of this one alive because at the Faster Pussycat strip joint the drinks are expensive, but a lap dance could cost you your life!

Stu is in what you might call a complicated situation. If running into a leprechaun wasn’t bad enough, now there’s so much knowledge jammed into his brain that he suddenly knows that not everything as it seems. Opening his front door starts Stu on an adventure he didn’t expect, a pain in the ass boss that drives him batty, and a succubus that has only one thing in mind. Dinner.

The story tells about how Stu came to be in the situation he finds himself in, and that’s a really complicated mess of threads to sort through. It’s more so when Stu finds himself drawn into the world of the supernatural, having to use the knowledge stuffed into himself to work out what’s going on. The internal struggle really works well here, and the internal monologue reads well not just in telling the story, but giving rise to Stu’s personality.

There’s really no erotica in this work as the focus is getting Stu up to speed, pushing him towards his first encounter and seeing how things unfold from there. That story is direct and to the point, save for when Stu walks into a strip club, orders a Diet Coke, which as an aside, made me giggle, and then encounters Starr.

Starr, the succubus of the work, is for the most part stereotypical in what drives her. That said, her actual powers are a little different, she’s seductive as well which makes her more interesting. There’s a comment by her about what Stu’s mind thinks of as the perfect woman that offered I thought a good plot to follow on as well. There’s some subtle mind control, the seduction is told really well and I liked it quite a lot.

There’s a reveal about Starr, which wasn’t completely unexpected and in the same vein, how things clash between them, and what that says about Stu himself. This really brings into sharp focus the depth of his character. That climax however felt too rushed, there was too many new little things that appeared around Stu that didn’t before, and if felt like the author was cramming in a lot of minutia about Stu in a very short space.

The actual appearance of Starr in the work is rather short and as such this isn’t a work about a succubus overall. She’s more of a reason for a choice to be made, a path for Stu to walk on going forwards. The thing is, some of the comments by Starr make me wonder about her, and what happens to her and what could be.

The characters are really interesting, the dialogue turns some delightfully funny moments as well. But it felt, at the beginning, there was a lack of traction to get the story moving. There’s a fairly large infodump at the start which made reading those passages difficult because there wasn’t a lot of clarity. Once past that, and Stu acts as the person he is, that worked well. The encounter around, and within, the strip club worked as well. The ending was a little disappointing in how short and blunt it was. I’d have liked more about the mystery around Stu, the organization he’s encountered, and an inkling of what’s next.

Three and a half out of five pitchforks.

There’s really not much done with Starr as a succubus character in this work overall. This is an origin story for Stu, a really good one as a whole, but things were somewhat scattered at times and I’d have liked s little more focus on things. There’s some dangling moments which leave many questions and they aren’t filled in all that well.

Since the work was published, I haven’t seen another work in the series, though it was recently given a new cover. If the series is going to continue, sometime, I find myself wondering if Stu’s really seen the last of Starr or not. Perhaps that would be interesting as an ongoing plot along the way.

We’ll have to see I suppose…

 

Tera

Jul 17 2017

Path By TeraS

A short story this week on the Tale … Something of a … let’s call this a thought pondered over while … things happened. For each soul there is a way, a direction, a …

 

Path
By TeraS

 

The morning sun hadn’t dawned, the light was still making its way over the hills and valleys, caressing tall sinuous spires and rounded bumps on the landscape where those that called the Realm their home dwelled. It brought the promise of a new day, the expectation of events unfolding, souls meeting, and lives entwining in the dance that was time itself. Some thought about the future and what it would bring; others pondered the past, lessons learned, and expectations. Each had their own concept of what the day brought and what they hoped it would be.

He’d been up early, more so than he usually was: not that he wouldn’t have been more than happy to stay curled with his Eternal, their red tails entwined—for, after all, there really wasn’t anywhere else he’d rather be. But this moment, just before the dawn turned the black hues of night to the mottled blues of the morning, held something special in this day. The sun that warmed the land had moved along its path, the sky moving about its own. He’d always had a fascination with the sky of his home, knowing the constellations which were visible as his imagination traced upon the glittering dots of the night sky in his memory. From time to time, he’d catch a glimpse of other planets, some giant balls of gas, others smaller and more substantial things. Still, there was one sight that always called him back to the place and path he’d walked before.

The names came easily to him, some learned when he was so very young, sitting on a rock ledge, a flashlight illuminating a book he’d taken from the library, noting the star, planet or constellation that he wanted to find above and put to memory. Some didn’t quite understand why he did so; his answer, which seemed to be a rational at first, would come to haunt him from time to time.

The sound of crickets, the last before the dawn, came to him and he remembered that cold winter, when he was barely in his teens, making his way through the woods in the middle of the night: the escarpment on his right, the cliff edge there in the darkness, he alone. No other soul for miles around, no lights to be seen. His goal was somewhere up ahead, in the darkness, waiting for him to arrive. It would be worth it, even if he’d be the only one that really knew why. A glow on the horizon flickered at his consciousness, turning his attention towards the new addition to the sky. Something he’d heard of, but never seen in the lights of home, for the sky there wasn’t dark enough for it to be seen.

The memory left, his attention returned to the small rucksack he’d packed the night before. A smile came as he thought of her, how his simple pleasures were her delight, the bemused smile that graced her lips. Kneeling down, he worked the flap open, drawing out things that had come along the path to here and now from then and there.

The cliff jutted out into space, a shelf which the night surrounded, still hiding the dangers of a misstep, the need for caution. He wasn’t foolish: this wasn’t the first time he’d been here, after all. This was a path he’d walked often over time, some nights in deepest cold or sweltering heat. Driving rain, winds, and snow had been his companions as well more often than he’d have liked to admit, though he never did. When he was far younger, it was so one soul wouldn’t worry. Now, with the passage of time, he’d allowed her to know it wasn’t, exactly, completely safe, but it would be fine.

He could have just appeared in the place he needed to be, but there was something about walking the path, as done for so many years and decades now, that made it feel like a betrayal, a loss of respect for the place he was and what he came to see, to arrive by other means. A mote of light in the sea of the universe should have respect, after all.

The first thing placed on the ground from his gear was a small tripod. Worn, dearly old, a gift he’d received on his eleventh birthday which was still with him. Oh, he had better ones now, without question, but he brought this one to this place on the first night. Next came the camera, the leather of the grips worn smooth, the metal worn down in places from years of being held by slightly rough hands. Some had asked why he did not use the modern things; they didn’t seem to understand the need to follow through on a treasured memory, it seemed.

As he turned the camera over, the back sprung open when he touched the lever. He recalled the reactions when he explained that not everything happened in an instant, sometimes you had to work at things to make them happen. The path from beginning to finish mattered, and being impatient was never acceptable.

The small tube, capped with a grey lid, rested comfortably in his hand—another of those bygone things that the world didn’t have time for on its path forwards. Opening the top, he enjoyed the light smell that came. It was hard to explain to others the attraction of a roll of film, unprocessed, not as yet having captured time or space.

Years of practised motion took the film along its path from waiting to be used to being in place, the camera closed. There was nothing to do the work for him. There was no automatic wind, no autofocus, no perfect exposure. The shutter closed under a finger, the film moved forwards as his thumb moved from left to right. His tradition was three shots made, the camera pointed out into the darkness without form, a void, the rim travelling on its path before mounting the camera onto the tripod that waited for its role. Lastly, the shutter cable was unwound, connected to the release. All was prepared for the moment to be.

The creatures of the night still held sway as he rested on the ledge, looking out towards the horizon, his mind racing to calculate the length of the exposure, the direction, how much aperture needed, the depth of field required. Again his thoughts passed back to the first night: how cold it was, his hands turning blue, risking frostbite to capture that which he’d been driven to see, the wind whipping around him, snow soaking into his clothes and yet not being miserable about it. Far from it: the discomfort was part of the moment, gave memory and meaning to it all. This night wasn’t a trial. Far from it: the night was warm, a midsummer’s night, one that promised the experience would be well worth the effort. Turning the mount a few degrees to the right and raising the angle slightly before locking it, all that remained was to wait for things to travel on their paths.

He felt her long before she made her appearance, there was but one path and there was no hiding from one’s Eternal, after all. Even if that red-tailed, ebon haired seductress probably could have managed it, this was something special to him and she’d not just appear out of thin air: “Is there room for two?”

His answer was a chuckle: “Always. Watch for the slippery rock on the right.”

He heard her steps, she did avoid the rock he’d warned about: “All set?”

She probably could see his smile, even if he was looking towards the horizon: “Yup. All set.”

The cable release rested between his left thumb and forefinger, ready to be triggered, his thumb brushing over the plunger as she settled in beside him. They were quiet for a time. He patiently waited before the love of his life rested her hand on his shoulder: “How many will this be?”

He thought about that: the winters alone, the summer nights with the crickets his only companion, the spring rains that made him shiver, the fall leaves swirling about him. He thought about the long path that he’d been on, where it had taken him, the wonder he saw, not in the sky forming, but the woman beside him. His answer was the truth: “First with you.”

He enjoyed the glow of her eyes as the sky flashed a warning and he pressed the shutter, locking it down. The aurora washed over the sky, the multicoloured hues casting light upon the two small motes of light in the universe that had come to see the spectacle above. The lights above danced their way over the sky, entwining with each other, casting their beauty upon the souls below who laid beneath, curled together, making their own light in their own entwining. In the moment the passions of the universe met the love of two souls captured within their own orbits. The skies seemed a bit brighter, more vibrant, the night sky painting above while the souls below marveled in the ecstasy of light above.

A slim hand, tipped with red nails, reached out to the release, ending one exposure for the sake of another. The skies lightened as the night continued on its path, the dawn arrived on its own. Amongst all, the path of a soul, brought from the past to the present, from isolated joy to shared wonder, continued onwards.

The path stretched into infinity, offering itself to be discovered and remembered, shared and held. A path shared with the universe given hope that the next moment, the next memory, would be what the path promised it to be.

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