Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The End

No, it's not the end of my blog, but I finally was able to close out my latest Work in Progress. I've been working on getting the last story in my Stones series finished for a while now. The problem was it just grew and grew and grew. It out grew novella length by some publisher's standards and now sits as a full novel. I'm pleased with how it's turned out. It was rather harder to do and the longer length I think comes from the need to build the backstory for the character. When you're writing a Were story you can sometimes rely a bit on the pop culture awareness of the lore. There isn't such a wide base of knowledge for the incubus and so I had to do a bit more world building.

Actually it was more of world revealing. I already knew exactly what role the incubus and some of the other species played in my world. But I found I had to explain more of it than I'd anticipated.

It's time to enter the world of self and peer edits. Then it will be time to see if Soul Stone (the working title) and my little incubus Tarris can find a publishing home. But in the mean time I plan to take a few minutes to celebrate before I start editing.


The contest I'm sponsoring to mark the release of Mating Stone (currently available from Ellora's Cave and the first in the series I mentioned above) and Seeing Me (releasing March 28th also from Ellora's Cave) is still open.

To win the 17" freshwater pearl and amethyst bead necklace, write a brief answer to the following question and send it to with “Mating Stone Contest” in the subject line. I’ll pick the best response as the winner, and two honorable mentions to receive smaller prizes. The winning entries will appear in my blog on April 13th.

In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?

Seeing Me Releases Friday!

My one and only Quickie from Ellora's Cave releases on Friday. Seeing Me is the story of first time author CJ Ellison who finds herself on a panel at a large scifi/fantasy convention. Not only is she on the panel with some big time authors, but also with one of the most yummy actors in the business today. When she opens her big mouth, as usual, and speaks before she things, as usual, she gets His attention in a big way. Now not only are her professional aspirations coming true, so are some of her fantasies.


“And then you come…”Cara jerked her head up at the sound of the words. He gave a short harsh cough, took a sip of water and continued. “Sorry and then you come to the pivotal moment in the story and if you aren’t focused you can ruin what needs to be the payoff for the viewer.” He cleared his throat again, “That’s why it’s important to me to be able to commit myself to one project at a time. It makes having a personal life of any kind hard but there are often sacrifices you have to make.”

Looking down she realized she’d actually sketched the body of the nude male, no face but his hands were definitely…

She felt the heat wash over her cheeks and lowered her head, letting her hair fall across her face. She flipped the page over on the table and continued her list. She should choose a safer topic but right now she doubted her mind could focus on anything else.

The questions continued from the audience and she thought she noticed Him grow a bit uncomfortable. True, ninety-nine percent of the questions were for him but that was something she was actually grateful for. God help her if someone asked her a question right now.

She was up to twenty on her new list, having just added the delightfully archaic “deflowering,” when she heard the voice of the angry writer from earlier denounce the idea of film representation of his books as a bastardization of the art, as selling out for the money. “No screenwriter, no director, no actor can do justice to a well-written story or character without cheapening it, without robbing it of some essential element that a given reader holds dear,” he’d practically sneered. “So there’s no chance I’d ever sell one of my stories to the commercial Hollywood machine.”

“Are you crazy?” The words were out of her mouth before she realized she had spoken them. “You’d sell your left testicle if someone wanted to make a movie from one of your books with that kind of budget.” She waved her hand at the actor and author who were being criticized.

There was an undercurrent of laughter and she suddenly realized everyone in the room was looking at her. He was looking at her and wearing that wickedly seductive smile that had put him in the pages of many a magazine. Her face flushed hotly and she looked down at her hands. I can’t believe I said that, she moaned silently. The moderator quickly swung the conversation back on track. A quick glance down the table saw that indeed, the offended writer was glaring at her in disgust. Great, just great, she thought. He’s got twenty times my sales, we share the same agent and I go and piss him off. Well, it was nice while it lasted. My agent is going to kill me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Better Late Than Never

I was recently bemoaning fact that I'd not thought to run a contest in conjunction with the release of my first Ellora's Cave novella, Mating Stone. Well, it was pointed out to me that it isn't too late, especially since I wanted to do similar contests for the upcoming July release as well.

So, here it is, the new contest for Mating Stone, just in time for the release of my Quickie, Seeing Me. Seeing Me is about two people who see past the hype to who the other really is.

Now the Contest:

The hero of Mating Stone, Mark Ursine is a Were-Bear as is his twin brother Luke the hero of the upcoming July release, Lovers’ Stone. The Ursines present their lady loves with stones rather than engagement rings. For Mark and Sarah it’s an amethyst. So to win the 17” freshwater pearl and amethyst necklace here’s what you need to do. Write a brief answer to the following question and send it to with “Mating Stone Contest” in the subject line. I’ll pick the best response as the winner, and two honorable mentions to receive smaller prizes. The winning entries will appear in my blog on April 13th.

In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?

Monday, March 17, 2008

What Would You Save?

Friday night a tornado did what no tornado in recorded history has ever done. It hit downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta was supposed to be too Metro for tornados to actually touch down. Atlanta was supposed to be protected by its position a the edge of the Appalachian Mountains. Winds, hail, flooding. Yes, we could fall victim to those, but tornados were for the outlying areas. Until Friday night when the Southeastern Conference basketball championships were disrupted live on national television and the talking heads kept talking pointlessly while someone tried to find out what the hell just happened. Why was the building shaking; and why were there now two larges splits in the roof of the building?

As I was straightening my bookshelf tonight I began to think about all the books, CD's, DVDs and other things I have that I've collected like the proverbial packrat. It's a lot. Then I got to thinking, what if I had to choose?

My first book, Access Denied from Cerridwen Press, has as it's premise the destruction of the Earth. A select group of people are chosen to continue the human race under the oversight and control of The Committee. The Committee played the major role in deciding what parts of human culture were saved and weren't.

For example, in the book it talks about certain sports not be "encouraged" by the Committee and how they died out. This mysterious and slightly sinister group also made all the decisions about art, literature, music, film and creature comforts down to the food that would be available. Some of the decisions were made out of practical necessity. Others weren't. Only what the people themselves brought in with them survived if the Committee didn't chose to save it.

My heroine, Leah, remarks how her entire life inside Sanctuary now fits in a couple of small crates or trunks. My hero James, in atypical fashion, brought more than she did, but still not much more than he could actually carry.

But I began to wonder about the real answers we would give to the doomsday drinking game that many of us have played. Sitting with friends over dinner and wine or over pretzels and beer, most of us have been struck with the question of If you could only have 3…fill in the blank. But what if it were real? What if I really had to choose? What if you really had to choose? What if our families and our pets were safe and we were told we were going to shelter and would probably never return to our homes? What if you had only minutes to decide what you would save? If you could save only three things from your home before you had to flee to safety what would they be?

My family pictures top the list. I have pictures of my grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents and even my great-great-great grandmother. They would have to be saved.

My purse. It contains not only my identification and money, but also my ereader and my flash drive on which is stored all my WIPs. In a way losing them would be like losing my family.

If I weren’t wearing it because I’d gone to bed, my necklace. I have a silver chain that carries a silver cross that is made of twisted silver and a silver crescent moon. In my first real novel that I ever wrote, a fanfiction piece that taught me about pacing and characterization, I created an OC (other character) that was the first person who was ever completely and totally mine. In the story her dearest love gave her a silver crescent moon because she was the only light in his dark world. She never took it off. No matter the pain and discord that grew between them, her wearing it became a symbol of her unconditional love for him. My SO read that story and loved it though I have never been forgiven for killing off that particular character. (She had to die. The young man could not have grown into the person he became in the author’s canon if she had lived.) A while after I finished it I received a gift. A silver crescent moon on a silver chain.

Everything else I can replace.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

New Issue of eMuse Out

The March 08 issue of eMuse magazine is out. I serve as an editor for this online literary magazine and I have to tell you with all sincerity that I work with the best bunch of folks imaginable. They scurry about behind the scenes dealing with deadlines and the missing of deadlines, technical problems, last minute emergencies and general disasters. Through it all they create a wonderful magazine each quarter.

This month eMuse features an interview with erotica writer LA Day and reviews two of her recent releases. Our art department offers up the amazing work of James Neely. His art is unique and spans genres. Our fiction section includes three character driven shorts from Gary Beck, William Falo and an impressive new writing talent Tony Vanderdrift. All of these stories are excellent reads and contain fascinating characters. Vanderdrift's The Huntress gives us just the right blend for a dark, deadly and beautiful character. Sheila is someone you're going to want to meet.
The issue also spotlights and article by your's truly on epublishing. It takes a look at the pros and cons of epublishing and some of the misconceptions too. I want to thank Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora's Cave, Brenna Lyons of Epic and Deanna Lee of Cobbleston Press for their help. Also several writers chimed in with their thoughts and ideas as well. So many people wanted to talk about this topic that it could have taken over the entire issue.
And of course we couldn't do a literary magazine without doing interviews. The issue includes reviews on the works of authors such as Carrie Vaughn, Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor, Jacquelyn Frank, PC and Kristin Cast, Amarinda Jones, Shelley Munro, Bronwyn Green, Jean Hart Stewart, Anny Cook, JC Wilder and more.
So pop over and checkout all the hard work of the writers, artists and editors.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I've been watching an rather excellent miniseries. It probably isn't new to most of you, but to poor little me with out cable or satellite there is a great deal of good stuff out there that I only get a chance to see when it goes to DVD. So this past week I've beenenjoying a few minutes here and there watching a BBC mniseries called The State Within. Now this movie is appealing to me on two levels. I love the intrigue, the political twists and turns. I like to be kept guessing who is the good guy, who is the bad guy. The acting is quite excellent.

But even better is the fact that it is several hours of Jason Isaacs. The man is so lovely to look at. I don't care if he's playing a good guy or a bad guy, he's truly fine. Pleasantly enough, in the case of this series he is playing a good guy. How nice to get to cheer for him and not feel guilty.

Another great review for Mating Stone. Alternative did a flattering write up on this paranormal novella. “She gave it enough twists to make you think, but to me the crowning touch was Tarris. He can come feed from me if it's anything like the scene between him, Mark and Sarah...YUM!”

As a matter of fact, I’m currently running up to the wire trying to get Tarris’ story done. As way of motivation for myself, I thought I’d give you a little peek at what the reviewer enjoyed.

This excerpt contains adult material. Read at your own risk.

At first she thought she’d awoken. But there was something about the feeling and the scene that made her certain she was dreaming. Everything up close was clear but the edges of her vision were glassy, blurry. And there was the fact that she was lying there wearing only the white silk slip she’d put on under her dress. Only the slip and she definitely had not gotten undressed before going to sleep.

She felt the mattress give and looked to her left. Mark was stretching out on the bed beside her. The feel of his body told her he wore only his pants, his arm sliding under her neck to cradle her to his chest. His head lowered and he kissed her tenderly. His mouth was soft, almost playful in its exploration of hers. When he lifted his head, his eyes were again filled with that dark hunger that never failed to cause a physical response. She felt the aching begin between her thighs. Her body was readying itself for him, desperate to feel his touch. She explored his mouth with her tongue and he responded by palming her breast and beginning to squeeze gently. His hand ran down her body, smoothing over the silk until he reached the edge where it lay across her mid-thigh. He lifted his head slightly and brushed his lips across her cheek to her neck. As she turned her head to allow him access she realized they were not alone.

She should have been shocked. She should have been horrified. But she wasn’t. There was an almost disturbing sense of calmness as she looked into Tarris’ blue eyes. His eyes were soft, like falling into a warm soothing pool. He stood at the edge of the bed watching them, a soft smile just curling up the edges of his lips. There was a seductive, needful look in his eyes but his face didn’t seem hungry or in the remotest way predatory. Mark’s kiss, his tongue stroking her neck, made her gasp and she couldn’t look away from the voyeur.

Mark’s hand caressed her shoulder. “It only a dream, Sarah. Only a dream.”

“A dream,” she murmured, lost in the feel of Mark’s touch and the beautiful blue gaze of the man who stood beside the bed watching them.

“Look,” Mark pointed toward the chairs. She lifted her head. She saw Mark sitting there, his head tipped back and his eyes closed. She couldn’t see Tarris but then she hadn’t seen him sitting in the chair when she entered the room. “It’s only a dream Sarah. Tarris wants to join us. He wants to share this with us. But it is your choice.”

She hesitated. A rather vociferous part of her was yelling, Hell yes! But another part of her dreaming mind—and damn this had to be a dream—was still rational. She looked into his dark eyes searchingly. What would he feel if she said yes? Would he hate her for it? Would she hate her for it?

“Sarah,” he smiled gently. “If you want to feel his touch, if you want to share our passion with Tarris, it is all right. It’s his way. He’s not like us, Sarah. Tarris is an incubus. He needs this, the energy our bodies radiate as we touch and are touched, to survive. This is part of who we are, my family. We take care of him and he gives back to us more than you could understand until you feel it. Think about it Sarah. Would you deny your sister food if she were starving?” The dark eyes lifted for a moment and met his friend’s. “I want to share this with him. To give him what he needs. It would not be the first time between he and I but this is not a world you are used to. So the choice is yours.”

An incubus? Her gorgeous, sexy boyfriend wanted her to help him feed Tarris, the incubus? Damn but her mind had pulled out all the stops to justify this erotic little dream. An incubus was the very symbol of forbidden and decadent sexuality. Dark spirit beings, they came in dreams to indulge the darkest and most hidden of fantasies within a woman. And they fed off her reactions, they fed from her passion. Her release, her pleasure was the very food of life to them. Some lore painted them devils tempting women—or it seemed in this case men too—into the sin of lustfulness.

Sarah swallowed hard. God, she’d never done anything like this before, even in a dream. But there was no denying she wanted it as well and if Mark was okay with it… It was only a dream after all. She turned to look at the beautiful face hovering over her. Slowly she reached out her hand to him. His smile brightened and he took it. Within seconds, the warm heat of his body was pressed against her right side and he had sandwiched her between them. A warm glow seemed to encompass their bodies and she watched Mark tip back his head and sigh. She felt it too, this sense of being wrapped inside sexuality, in the arms of need and desire.

Sarah suddenly felt out of her depth. She had no idea what was supposed to happen now. As if he read her mind, Mark was speaking tenderly. “Relax. All you have to do is relax. Let us please you. We are here for your pleasure, my darling.”

A shudder ran through her when, as if choreographed, the two men placed their fingers gently against her cheeks. They moved them down over her jaw, down her neck and across her collarbone. The two hands slipped down over the curves of her breasts, down her ribs and came to rest on either pelvic bone.

Mark unfastened the halter of the slip. Working in perfect harmony, their hands moved up and pulled down either side of the silk covering. Pausing, the men’s next actions stunned and delighted her.

Well I can’t give everything away.

Reviews and Rants

First off, I received two great reviews today.
Measure of Healing received 5 nymphs from Literary Nymphs Reviews Only. I was thrilled with the review and thankful that the reviewer ejoyed it. "Secrets, pain and desire blend together and opposites are not so different after all. The Were-child is the glue that brings the story together and softness to these strong characters in Measure of Healing. I loved watching Alej and Brie find everything that has been missing in their lives and finally accept what they were. I was emotionally drawn to them and enjoyed the way their shells are chipped away little by little. Roth did an excellent job and I look forward to more of her stories."
Great news since several of my WIPs and sketched outlines involve this world. Almost finished is the story of the young Wolf who appears at the end of Measure.

Mating Stone was also reviewed at Literary Nymph Reviews Only and received 4 nymphs. This is my first Ellora's Cave release as Elyssa Edwards and I was nervous about its reception. But it's been great. "Mating Stone - Amethyst is a wonderful story with humor and sensual love play. Elyssa Edwards displays a very creative talent in this surprise saga. Mark is every woman’s dream man, caring, gorgeous and considerate of Sarah, who thinks about herself as a plain, shy woman. This is a remarkable read that I enjoyed."
More good news since this is the same world as Measure and the sequel to this, Lovers' Stone, is due out in July.

Other great authors getting terrific reviews that popped up on my radar today include:

Bronwyn Green-Mystic Circle. Bronwyn kicked butt with her 5 nymph rating. The reviewer couldn't stop gushing. Check it out at :

Mona Risk- To Love a Hero. Lots of very nice praise for Mona at:


Some of my more savvy colleagues manage to have killer contests and to do so regularly. I admit I’m not quite so adept. Mostly because I’m new to this and also because I’ve always doubted my taste. What if what I think is cool, no one else does. That happens to me a lot. You know that look you get when you go…”Oooh, isn’t that neat?” and the other person doesn’t think so? I get that frequently. Or maybe I’m just hanging out with the wrong people.

I also admit to being a person who often finds myself thinking, “Damn! That was a good idea. I wish I’d had that.” Or the one who gets the idea after the fact. I have a current release that would have been great to do a contest related to the amethyst since it was an “Amethyst” release from Ellora’s. Did I think if this? No, not until March. A bit late on the uptake, I am. Some days I feel like Winnie the Pooh. A bear of little brain. Lot’s of fluff and stuff between my ears. Maybe if I sat down and had a good think, think, think… I’d do better. So what idea did you miss the boat on?

This is my gripe for the day, and yes it is a gripe. There really isn’t anything anyone can do about it, but ignore me while I complain. I need more time to do what I need to do in each day. Namely to write. I have a WIP that I’ve been literally working on since July and I can’t seem to find time to finish it. The worst part is if I’m going to meet the deadline on it, it has to be done very, very quickly. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I have a long commute-3.5 hours. I’ve tried the idea of dictating to myself, but that really doesn’t work. It’s hard to make the words come out the way you want them to verbally and still look good on paper. And no, moving isn’t an option right now because the SO works in the opposite direction.

My job is time consuming beyond the confines of my day “on the job”. Grading, planning, creating worksheets, tests, etc. occupies a great deal of my time outside of the school day. Those who think teachers only work 6 or 7 hours a day are deluded. If I give an assignment, I have to grade it. One hundred and twenty times. If I need to give an assignment, I have to create it. There are some resources available that teachers share on the internet, but once you get out of elementary school there really isn’t much out there for teaching reading in upper grades. Add to this the fact that like most school districts, mine doesn’t provide resources for teaching reading. We have a few class sets of novels, but that’s really it. The rest is up to me to find, buy and or create myself.

I have a family. It’s just the two of us at the moment and the dogs, birds and fish, but that still means I have to do all the regular stuff like dishes, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, running errands etc. Then it’s time for me to write or sleep. Some days it’s a choice between the two. And I have to tell you, sleep usually wins. I like sleep. Sleep is my friend. And yes, I know that we “make time for what’s important.” But there is a point at which there is no time left to squeeze.

Thus ends my complaining. So what do you find that you want to do or do more of, but just can’t seem to squeeze the time in for?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Calling Off, New Releases and Gertrude Stein

Today is the big day for Kelly Kirch, a fellow writer. Her historical romance with Resplendence Publishing is released. Marriage Mart is one I've been waiting for for a while and I'm eager to curl up with it.

I'm afraid I have no really profound things to say today. Nothing important. In fact, I'm sitting here trying to decide if I am going to call off work tomorrow. Of course I'd never call off for any reason other than personal illness that was so severe I couldn't possibly crawl myself out of my house and off to work. Not now that I'm a responsible adult.

This has not always been the case in the past. I've called off for a sick dog, a sick spouse and a sick car. I've called off because I had papers to finish for a class. I've called off because I didn't have enough money to pay for the gas to get to work all week, so if I just stayed home one or two days, then I could make it til payday. I've called off because I had a late night, not necessarily carrousing and carrying on, but because I was up late reading and was frankly just done the next morning. I once actually called off work because I had no clean clothes. I'd missed laundry day and didn't have anything that met the dress code for my job clean. Of course in my usual last minute way of things, I didn't realize this until that morning.

So what's the worst reason you've ever called off for?

I got good news at the start of March. Measure of Healing, my second release from Cerridwen Press had sold four times as many copies as my first release had during it's first month. I wondered why that was. Was it genre? One is a futuristic romance and one is a paranormal. Is it the covers? I actually liked the first cover better. Is it a new author thing? I have no idea. When I shared this question with others I think the best reaction I got was a lovely paraphrase of Gertrude Stein who said, "There ain't no answer. There ain't never been an answer. There ain't ever going to be an answer. That's the answer."

So I ask you, what makes you decide to buy a book? What makes you pick it up and say, I'll plunk down my hard earned dinero for this one? How important is the cover? The blurb? The author's name?

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Most List Part 2

Okay, part two of my list. This time it deals with particular characters. From this it's easy to see who my favorite writers are. The writers of these characters are particularly good at characterization.

The Character I'd Most Like To Take Home, Coddle and Feed Warm Milk and Cookies: Tie-Arturo Llewellyn and Vanyel Ashkevron

Ya’ gotta love Anny Cook. I fell in love with Arturo Llewellyn while reading Dancer’s Delight and have adored him unceasingly since. There is something so noble and dear about him that tugs at my heart strings. The victim of a brutal rape, Arturo has a hard road ahead of him as he comes to terms with his attack, the growing separation between he and his twin and his own sexuality. Yep, wanna hug him and give him cookies.

Aruturo ties with Mercedes Lackey character Vanyel Ashkevron from The Last Herald Mage series who I've loved longer but not better. A thin, lanky boy who wants nothing more than to be a bard, but who lacks the magical ability to be one, he is by birth destined to be the heir to his father’s keep. Pushed and bullied-forced by his father into combat training he is ill-suited for; nothing Vanyel does pleases anyone except his mother and only when he’s stroking her ego. Eventually he is sent away to live with his aunt, Savil an incredibly powerful Herald Mage. While there he finds love that turns tragic, reinforcing for him his own worthlessness. Only when he is finally chosen as a Herald Mage and his gifts unlocked by the tragedy does he find a Companion who will stand beside him all the days of his life.

Yep wanna pet them both, tuck them in bed and tell them everything will be alright.

Most Lickable (er...Likable) Character: Alex Navarro
Janet Davies is responsible for creating the character that could distract me beyond all reason. Strong, quiet and powerful, Alex is introduced in Davies’ book Swift of Heart and gets his own HEA in Last Man Standing. Though I could do without the nipple rings, her descriptions of the man are beyond yummy. And not just the physical. The sense of overwhelming virility and sexuality that Davies creates with her pen would make Alex the subject of any woman’s fantasy.

Heroine I’d Most Want to Be: Bride McTierney Kattalakis

Created by Sherrilyn Kenyon in Night Embrace, and later given her own story in Night Play, Bride is a plus size girl who is the subject of intense passion from one very sexy, very gentle, very loving Wolf. Vane Kattalakis is as drop dead gorgeous as they come. And he’s deadly powerful. Born from parents whose hate of each other goes deeper than the soul, Vane’s magic exceeds any that has been seen by his people in generations. After what was supposed to be a one night encounter, Bride finds herself the mate of this incredible werewolf who adores and desires her exactly as she is. A man who frowns when she orders a salad at dinner and who overrides her weight conscious protests to put a large slice of chocolate cake on her plate. A man who shows up just when she needs a hero, out shows her ex when he starts flashing his cash and then kicks the crap out of him when he insults her. He is devoted and because of his love and a nice little trick of his people, he can never mate with anyone but her. A man who can never be unfaithful, loves you and feeds you chocolate. What more could you want? Oh, if I can’t be Bride, can I at least have Vane’s brother Fury?

Most Desirable Were: Fury Kattalakis
Okay, back to Kenyon for this one. Fury is the brother of Vane and Fang Kattalakis. Since his base form was human at birth, Fury is taken by his mother along with two other littermates when she flees his father whose base form is Wolf. Fury is different than the others and his

family assumes it is because he is the one foretold who will bend the power of the two halves of Were magic into a force that has never been equaled. Only it doesn’t work out that way. He is bitter and caustic with little to no social skills. But his irreverence and his unpredictability combine with his physical attributes –tall, long blond hair with turquoise eyes- to create a Wolf you wouldn’t mind having track up your rug.

Most Intriguing Dark Wizard: Raistlin Majere

Created by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman for DragonLance, the mage Raistlin is a character that is never boring. Often hated by those around him, the black robe mage serves the darkness, but mostly he serves himself. Born a twin, his brother the warrior received all of his physical strength and delivers him an unwitting betrayal that drives all light from the young Raistlin. His weak body often betrays him, but his impressive mind and unparalleled magic more than compensate. Even his own black robed brethren fear him. His silver hair, hourglass pupils and golden skin set him apart from others, making him immediately recognizable. But what keeps readers reading are the threads of unexpected humanity that surface from time to time. His kindness toward a young gully dwarf, shunned by others as less than sentient, who worships him. His patience toward Tass who has a habit of aquiring others belongings and causing no end of trouble with his childlike view of the world. His humor that surfaces, sometimes terrifyingly, at the most unexpected moments. In many ways, Raistlin is the ultimate bad boy in need of redemption that no woman can ever give him. And readers know it. Raistlin doesn’t want to be saved and never will be saved. But it doesn’t keep you from wondering what if.

The Most List, Part I

I’ve read a great many books lately in a number of genres. Some I liked, some I didn’t. Some that were like brain candy, never challenging me and making me feel warm and fuzzy. Some were boundary pushing, making me look at what I was comfortable with and what I thought I knew about myself and the world. So for lack of anything more interesting to do today, I offer you a list of Mosts.

Most Fascinating World Development: Mystic Valley Series

Easy choice here, really. It’s no surprise to anyone that I’ve become a big fan of this writer over the last year. And I’m not easy to please, particularly where fantasy is concerned. Just ask my book group. They get tired of me saying, “Didn’t like it.” But Anny Cook’s Mystic Valley Series is one of the most intricate and well planned out cases of world building I’ve seen in a long time. Cook has created a world were so much is familiar while so much is alien. Yet what could have been overwhelming and confusing for readers is handled so flawlessly that it blends into the reader’s awareness as the stories unfold rather than becoming a jarring case of information dumping. The Mystic Valley Series currently includes three titles: Dancer’s Delight, Traveller’s Refuge and Cherished Destinies and is available from Cerridwen Press and Ellora’s Cave.

Most Useful Writer’s Resource: The Novel Writer’s Toolkit.

Bob Mayer has created an effective and common sense guide to creating a novel. The information won’t make a person who isn’t a writer a writer, but it will certainly make you a better writer. The graphic organizers and the tips are presented in such as way as to make you think about how you are structuring your stories. It contains information on how to avoid some of the common pitfalls that many writer’s create including the afore mentioned information dumping. The seminar that Mayer presents around the country was insightful and immensely helpful. His book is an excellent resource for any writer.

Most Eye Opening/Boundary Pushing Experience: The Cress Brothers

Brynn Paulin’s trilogy for Ellora’s Cave’s Torrid Tarot series was an eye opening experience for me. I went into these books knowing nothing about and having had no background with the BDSM lifestyle, but being exceedingly curious. Books I’d read in the past had not been flattering of the lifestyle and had portrayed the Dom/sub role as an unequal and degrading one. But Paulin’s work is so laced with the emotional side of this dynamic that it was eye opening. Her characters were not role players, but are deeply entrenched in the lifestyle. But the love and affection and caring between Dom/sub was presented in a way that showed the tenderness and the true give and take between the roles. It showed the empowerment of the sub in a way I didn’t expect. The stories themselves were excellently written and the characters wonderfully developed. Paulin’s Torrid Tarot titles include On Your Knees, All Chained Up and Master Me and are available from Ellora’s Cave.

Most Fascinating Memoir: Born on a Blue Day

This autobiography was written by a remarkable individual. Daniel Tammet is a high-functioning autistic with Asperger’s syndrome. As a synethesist, Tammet’s perception of numbers crosses the visual/spacial realm of his senses. He sees numbers in terms of shapes, colors, textures and motions. Tammet describes the number five as a loud clap of thunder, while the number 89 reminds him of falling snow. Asperger’s can affect the individual’s ability to connect emotionally with his surroundings, making him detached and isolated. Tammet tells how he has learned to use his synethesia to learn to relate to others. The book is a riveting look inside the mind of one of the smartest men alive.

Most Impressive Find: The God Eaters

Jesse Hajicek’s book is published by a small print on demand press and came to my attention while ordering another book for my book group. The reviews were outstanding and the premise interesting. Ashleigh Trine is imprisoned by the theocratic government for “inflammatory” writings. Sent to a prison for the most vicious of convicts, the shy, scholarly Trine should be an easy target for the inmates. On the train, Trine meets Kieran Trevarde, a hardened and brutal assassin. Trevarde is doubly cursed with the forbidden dark magic hiding deep in his blood. And the prison to which both are being sent is no ordinary prison. Trevarde takes Trine under his protection in part because the smaller man’s frailty will give him plenty or excuses for the fighting that he understands. But Trevarde is also drawn to Trine for other reasons. This is the story of an unlikely set of heroes and an unlikely love that could just save their world. This book is one of the best reads I’ve come across with astoundingly well developed characters and a plot that is truly inspired. The God Eaters is available through
Drop back by tomorrow for the rest of the Most list, dealing with individual characters, settings and plots. Find out who qualifies as the Most Lickable Character, what Heroine I'd Most Like to Be, and what character tugs at my heart strings so deeply I'd like to take him home, coddle him and feed him warm milk and cookies.

Friday, March 7, 2008


This isn't new, but it is how I'm feeling today.

On Becoming Invisible

The smiling faces
Gazing back
Eyes look through
Glazed and unseeing
Because no one is here

A silent scream
Begging to be recognized
Becomes a murmur
A part of the drone
A whisper unheard
Unimportant, unheeded, unneeded

Laughter surrounds
Oblivious to the torment
Concealed so well
Because no one is seen
No one is noticed
Grey space filled but vacant

A shadow
A movement
From the corner of the eye
Gone in an instant
Unregistered by synapses
Forgotten before known

Filler for the background
A shape without form
A blur of grey
Indistinguishable from the crowd
The tree lost in the forest

Breathing stops
Heartbeat stills
Humanity slips away
Fading away in the silence
Lesson taught, lesson learned
On Becoming Invisible

(Originally published in An Anthology of American Poets Vol. 4 in 2006.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What do you get when you cross a...

Kelly Kirch commented in the last post that she wanted one of Wendell’s pups. Well, Wendell has already done his only fatherly duty and it wasn’t exactly a happy moment. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that our 10 lb. mini doxie had knocked-up our 28 lb. cocker spaniel. Not even the vet is sure how this happened. But it did.

So here are some pics of the adorable products of that forbidden love and their star-crossed parents. Half cocker spaniel, half miniature dachshund. All four found homes almost immediately. We had over 100 phone calls for 4 dogs. It was crazy. We had each family sign a contract stating that if they had a problem with the dog they would return them to us. We did this more so that they knew they didn’t have to abandon the dog, they could just bring it back if it didn’t work out.

By the time the pups were ready to go, they were almost as big as dad. We named them (the pups) for Harry Potter characters. (clockwise from top left) Pigwidgeon, Wendell, Draco, Hermione, Shiloh and Neville. We discovered later we should have named Neville Padfoot since he kept escaping the welping box, despite the fact it had a lid. You'd turn around and there he was, chewing on your shoe lace --or your toe.

Did a stupid today. Not sure how I did it, don't actually remember doing it, but I woke up this morning on the floor next to my bed. Rather embarrassing. I now have a huge bruise on the back of my arm and my shoulder feels as if someone came at me with a sledge hammer. Of course my doctor isn’t in the office tomorrow to discuss this or the fact that the FDA has decided I can’t have my migraine medication. So I have to wait for Friday.

On a happier note, my precious is home tomorrow evening. And I still have a Valentine’s Day present that hasn’t been worn!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Cry For Help

Okay, let’s get this straight right off the bat. I am not my mom. I’m Wendell. My mother is… well, we’ll get to that in a minute. My brother George, who isn’t really my brother because we’re not the same breed or anything but Mom calls him my brother, showed me how to do this so I’m taking my turn at blogging.

My name is Wendell the Snarfflehound. I earned this noble name because my mom had to do the doggie Heimlich maneuver on me several times as a puppy due to my tendency to snarffle down my food. I’ve out grown that and am now more commonly called Bug. Mom says I’m like a diddle bug because I hop backwards when I’m excited. I don’t think there is such a thing as a diddle bug, but I humor her. I am, in actuality a miniature dachshund, emphasis on the miniature. I weigh all of ten lbs. Everyone who sees me in the dog park or the local pet store thinks I’m still a puppy. I guess you could say at 5 years old, I’m aging well.

Now I’ve taken over my mother’s blog for one very important reason. This is a cry for help. I think she has finally gone round the bend. Tonight, when we should be cuddled on the couch watching an old movie…well, she watches the movie and I do the cuddling, we are not.

Is it because she’s writing? I don’t mind when Mom writes. She says one day when she’s rich from writing or wins the lottery we’re moving to a house in the country and she’s going to raise dachshunds. This sound good to me so I’m saying, butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, Mom. When Mom writes I have a very warm and snuggly red sweater that used to be Mom’s until I drug it off the couch one day and wrapped up in it. Then Gracie Sue came over (she’s the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and not the brightest pup in the world) and she chewed all the buttons off. Mom was rather irate. But now the red sweater is mine.

So did I spend this evening wrapped in my warm fuzzie? No. My mother, usually very sensitive to the needs of a mini doxie, took all of us outside into the backyard in the dark. In the dark! She sat on the back steps and just stared up at the trees. Now I like trees as much as the next dog, but come on. Why on earth were we sitting in the yard watching a bunch of scrawny old pine trees sway in the breeze? A strong breeze.

I crawled up on Mom’s lap to get a few answers. And do you know what she said? “Storm’s coming. I love storms.” She loves storms? Tetched I tell you, the woman is tetched.

So she sits there staring up at the cloud covered sky, not a star visible, and closes her eyes. She starts telling me about how when she was young she’d sit out on the front porch in the porch swing during storms and just rock and listen to the thunder and the rain. She even whispered that sometimes she would sing as she rocked, letting the sound of the storm drown out the fact that she can’t carry a tune.

So I’m sitting on her lap, the wind is blowing and it’s cold. Yes, cold. It had to be all of 65 degrees Fahrenheit. (I don’t know exactly what that works out to in Celsius, but for a mini doxie it’s cold.) The other dogs are running around the backyard like fools. I’m sitting there on Mom’s lap listening to her humming. And she’s not looking at me. I even did my best pitiful dachshund shiver for sympathy and she just patted my head and said it wasn’t that cold.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t, but I wanted to go inside! My fuzzie was inside. My food bowl is inside. My treats are inside. Everything I need is inside. Why am I sitting in the backyard?

It took positively forever, but finally Mom sighed and stood up. She said we had to go in so she could check her mail once more and go to bed. Finally she starts making some sense. Only the next time she pulls a stunt like this I’m calling the dachshund rescue people and filing a formal complaint.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

An Ode to Snailie-po and other things.

Why it is our bodies decide to surrender to illness at just the wrong point in time. I have either managed to contract a stomach virus or poison myself. Since I’m an above average cook and I’m surrounded 5 of 7 days by 120 dirty, germy little teenagers (and that's just in my classroom), I’m betting on the former. So I’m home all alone and no one to baby me (which the SO is very good at by the way).

I haven’t eaten all day and the idea of food is revolting. I must be very sick. No really, there is a package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs on the kitchen counter unopened. I’m not a chocolate fan, actually don’t much like it. Can’t stand the smell of it. But Reese’s Eggs are my equivalent of Amarinda’s Tim Tams. They are proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. If they had no calories it would be better proof. I’m just saying…

And finally, I must say a sad farewell today to one of our pets. Actually, I think it died a couple of days ago but with snails who knows. So goodbye to Snailie-po. (Named of course by the Children’s Librarian.) He was a good bottom dweller and a fine example to all snails everywhere. He was fascinating to watch, especially when he played the dropping game. He did too! He played! Snailie-po would crawl up the side of the aquarium until he reached the water’s edge. Then he’d let go and drop to the bottom. I imagin him giggling madly as he drifted down to the blue gravel below.

Snailie-po is survived by three neon tetras that will certainly miss having someone to clean up the place.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Empty Nest

I know what images this brings up, but in my case it's a bit different. My nest is not empty of children, but of my SO. No, it's not a permanent condition so withhold the notes of condolence. It is merely a vacation.

My SO’s job is such that our schedules often prevent us from taking time off at the same time. Summer months are great for me as a teacher, but they are the busy time at the local public library. Summer Reading programs take precedent over vacations. So often my dearest will take a vacation in the spring. Unfortunately not during my Spring Break because again, that is a peak time of activity for Youth Services Librarians.

So this week my Precious is on vacation. Now normally that would conjure images of an out of sorts Librarian wandering about the house trying to figure out what to do next. This is a dangerous thing as any woman can tell you, if you are not here to supervise the wandering about. It can result in terrible things like home improvement projects, starting new hobbies and reorganizing common work spaces in the home.

The last thing you want to hear upon arriving home after a hard day of trying to explain the concepts of personification, anthropomorphization and the difference between similes and metaphors is the sound of someone saying, “Honey, do you remember your book? The one on the coffee table?” Remember it?

Even worse. “Honey, I straightened up a bit for you.” This generally means there will be ten things I can’t find in the first hour after arriving home. Should this happen they will hear the screams in Australia.

Now my love does not have a history of these things, but I’m not really into risk taking. But the truth is the bigger risk for me is the “I’ve had no one to talk to all day” thing. When you come home and want ten minutes of quiet and the other person, who has had no one to talk to all day, suddenly starts to talk. And talk. And talk.

So, a preemptive strike was in order and a local airline cooperated marvelously by having a rate sale. So this morning I crawled out of bed at 6am to put my SO on a plane to visit my in-laws. For 5 days. Plenty of time to sit on the beach, begin to appreciate my cooking again, get fed up with the younger brothers and spend time with old friends.

I thought this was a wonderful idea. I love alone time. I like to putter about. I like to be able to write or read with out the self imposed guilty feeling of neglecting my Precious. In fact I’m under orders to finish working on my current WIP (the incubus story) and get back to finishing up my Wolf story. Someone is not a fan of the incubus.

But tonight, as I sit here, it seems very quiet. Too quiet and I find I’m actually missing my dear already. It’s just me, four dogs, two birds, three fish and a snail. Just one human missing. And I have to tell you, the house never felt lonelier.

So my darling Kell, if you are checking out this blog, have a great time dearest. I love you and miss you already.