NOTE: I do not update these reports after they are posted so some of the links may not work after a while. If you find a broken link check the title in the alphabetical lists of alternative or general reviews at the end of this report.

[Previous report was for 11/13/98]

Hi all,

A reminder to you bard types out there that there's a BETA READERS DIRECTORY available with over forty beta readers listed. These are Xenites who are volunteering to read stories with the specific intent of providing feedback so writers can make their fiction the best it can be prior to publishing it on the Web. Beta readers can really do wonders for a story helping the writer to spot not only technical errors but inconsistencies in the plots, problems with the characterizations, etc. They can help bards not only improve their stories but become better writers so if you write Xena fanfic or are considering doing so, please think about using beta readers. I've added some more names there recently. The BETA READERS DIRECTORY is at:

Meanwhile, for the fanfic READERS out there, if you would like to contribute something to those bards who share so much with us then consider volunteering to be a beta reader. First, take a look at the file SUGGESTIONS FOR BETA READERS at:

Then if you're *SERIOUS* about beta reading and think you can commit the time and energy take a look at the file GETTING LISTED IN THE BETA READERS DIRECTORY for instructions on how to do so. The file is at:

On to other news, THE ATHENAEUM is now once again hosting fan fiction. For more information check out the Hosting page at:

Great stuff tonight - 4 new ones and an update.


Only this bard's second story after the very moving TWO SOULS, this new one is a monster of a story - a long, OUTSTANDING, splendidly written, wonderfully romantic, and solidly crafted novel that will keep you hooked for hours so make sure to reserve some free time before tackling it because this is one you're not going to want to let go. The story begins with the warrior and bard running into their old friend Meleager who desperately needs some help guarding a group of priestesses trying to make their way to a new land they want to call home. One slight little problem though - seems the priestesses celebrate their devotion to the goddess Inanna by offering some VERY popular services are therefore incredibly popular - so much so that a number of slavers have banned together determined to enslave the women and all who travel with them. With Amazons along to help guard the caravan, Xena and Gabrielle then join Meleager and the priestesses - only to soon find themselves intrigued by the mysterious high priestess - a woman named Lilith whose origins stem back to the beginning of time itself and who has a strange ability to see into the hearts of others...and to help them recognize what's there. Amidst the adventure of this quest for an earthly paradise, Bracer spins a beautiful tale of romance - taking the Xena/Gab relationship from the uncertainty of feelings yet unspoken, to the giddiness of that first admission of love, to the exhilaration of raw passion and the gentle wonder of two soulmates united at last. Bracer does a terrific job here not only with the characterizations of our two heroines but all of the supporting players as well. Along with some exiting action and some great humor, the story features some of the battle tactics I've ever read about ;-) - Gives new meaning to a phrase I wont mention here but which I guarantee will come to mind when you're reading this. Set just after season two, Bracer's latest thankfully ignores the inconsistencies and weaknesses of the rift and post-rift episodes, presenting us instead with a story that recalls much of what long-time fans first loved about this show. This is a joy to read. It gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! - 168 pgs.

A favorite of many a fanfic reader, this talented bard returns with a turbulent story about a quest for redemption that has spanned the centuries, fueled by a love for the ages. An uber tale of sorts, DJ's latest is set in contemporary times where psychologist Gayle Bardo is determined to interview a mysterious serial killer before she's executed - determined more than anything to find out what it is about those tortured blue eyes that so captured her when she first saw them. What she uncovers is an incredible tale of two souls desperate to be together - willing to risk it all for that chance. This is a very moving, well-written piece which gives a timeless quality to the Xena/Gab relationship. A wonderful new read you should NOT miss! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! - 36 pgs.

MIRAGE by Silk
The last entry in Silk's APPARITIONS OF LOVE SERIES, this is probably her most sensual one to date capturing a breathtaking moment in time between two lovers denied for far too long. Written with an almost poetic flare, this story features some very vivid imagery. DO NOT MISS!! - 4 pgs.

A perfect companion piece for LN James' MIDNIGHT LETTER, Rooks' newest is a little vignette about regrets and the comfort the human heart can find in a feeling called hope. Well-written, thoughtful piece. DO NOT MISS! - 2 pgs.

CIRCLE OF LIFE by Melissa Good
Part three is now being posted. Possibly more anticipated than the fourth season of XWP, comes the continuation of Missy's beloved Xena/Gab series in a story which continues the tale from FESTIVAL but is actually set after the events in the episode FAMILY AFFAIR. Still recuperating from their recent ordeal, the warrior and bard are back in Amphipolis awaiting the birth of their child and treasuring their time together as never before. With Amazons visiting and word of friends and family in trouble, however, their tranquillity is short-lived as the two, reunited once again, prepare to face whatever life throws their way. In this latest part, as Xena and the Amazons prepare for a rescue mission, Gabrielle decides on a little bit more rescuing than what they had initially planned. Missy's very special style is clearly in evidence as this novel opens - immediately placing the Xena/Gab relationship center stage and infusing the story with a unique blend of delightful humor, poignant drama and enchanting characterizations. If you want to treat yourself to the work of a master storyteller DO NOT MISS this story or any other of the others in the series. This gets my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! - [unfinished] - 22 pgs.

For those of you reading this post who are not familiar with the term alternative (alt.), it refers to ADULT stories that add a romantic element to the relationship between Xena and Gabrielle, depicting them as more than just friends.

Happy reading!

Lunacy 8-)