Thursday, July 31, 2008
I'm there at the moment. I'm typing this rather slowly because my brain doesn't seem to be interested in sending the commands to my hands to move. All it wants to do is curl up and go to sleep, but that would take the effort of going upstairs. *sigh*
I've become so spoiled these last few weeks. I had to work extra hours today because after a day of work we had an open house from 5-7pm. Now for many of my coworkers that's enough time to go home and change clothes or have dinner. Because of my commute I'm stuck there. I always bring nicer clothes to change into.
It was a good night, however. A lot of the parents showed up and that's always a plus.
I'm going to crawl myself off to bed, now. Go on over and check out the blogs on the left. Anny Cook, Amarinda Jones, Kelly Kirch and Sandra Cox always have something great going on.
Monday, July 28, 2008
This was an intriguing twist on the Were legends, or at least a variety I have never heard before. I really liked the way the author set polar opposites to attract and be mated. I really enjoyed the erotic passages and each of them was well thought out. I love the tenderness and compassion in this story as well as the passion. Each character's take on what was happening was thoughtful as well as thought provoking. I would love it if this story was a little longer, but I guess I'll just have to wait for the next installment of the story.
Thanks again. The final book in the trilogy will be released November 19th and is titled Soul Stone. Soul Stone will follow Tarris the incubus and reveal what really happened the night the youngest Ursine brother died, an event that lead to the rift between Mark and Luke, the twin Bears whose stories are told in Mating Stone and Lovers' Stone.
Speaking of which, Tamic who won the free copy of Mating Stone needs to contact me at email@example.com to claim her book.
Cerridwen Press writer Nancy Hunter has offered to share a bit about her new release Tasting Liberty with us. It fits perfect with the historical trend I've been on lately.
Taste of Liberty
by Nancy Hunter
ISBN: 978 14199 17394
In a time of war and loss, tragedy unites two enemies who seek vengeance but find love, only to learn that it was never their destiny to be together…
Liberty MacRae, daughter of an American Revolutionary, and Sebastian Cole, a British soldier, share a vendetta against the brutal British commander who killed their loved ones. Each brings a special gift to their quest – Liberty has a second sight that allows her to predict death, and Sebastian is a Fated One, a man who died before he could kill his enemy and has been sent back by the spirits to complete the task. When they fall in love, they have to find a way to defeat not only the murderer, but destiny as well - a destiny that demands that Sebastian either forfeit his life to defeat his enemy or forfeit his soul. Can they find a way to change their destiny before Liberty’s most harrowing premonition - that of her lover’s death - comes true?
Libbie would have screamed but her throat was frozen in fear. Death had hurled itself at her, had stumbled, had— Landed in an azalea bush? She was still shaking, still felt the cold fear curled in the pit of her belly but the bright strands of red hanging in the air had dissipated. The death that had lurked just beyond Lady Jane’s garden was no longer there. And the creature who had frightened her beyond reason and was now struggling to right himself looked uncannily like one of her dinner companions.
Libbie shook again but this time with laughter. She wiped away the tears that had begun to dry on her cheeks. With the threat gone, she felt light again and joyful and invincible. She reached down into the azalea bush and grasped Mr. Cole’s hand to help him stand.
“Miss MacRae, are you hurt? I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there.” He stopped to catch his breath.
Libbie covered her smile with one hand and nodded. “I’m fine,” she finally managed to say. “I daresay you bore the brunt of our unfortunate encounter.”
He was breathing normally now. “I do apologize for that. It’s just that I heard a noise and I…” He shook his head.
Libbie took a step back from him, hoping to shrink into the shadows. He had heard her crying like a baby, like a lunatic driven insane by the full moon. Like the aberration of nature that she was. But somehow she didn’t want Mr. Cole to know the truth about her, to believe anything bad about her at all. It wasn’t just that he was handsome, although he truly was. His black hair shimmered in the moonlight, his dark blue eyes were so wide and intense that she felt she could fall into them. He was much taller than she, broad-shouldered and lean. A sleek black panther, tense and still but ready to spring into action at any second.
Libbie realized he was proffering his arm to her.
“I asked if I may escort you back to the party.”
She nodded and took his arm. As they walked slowly up the garden path, Libbie struggled to find a reason to explain her previous state.
“Were you lost?” Mr. Cole asked quietly.
“On the garden path. I thought you might have been lost, trying to find your way back to the house.”
“Yes, I was… I mean, I got turned around on the path.” She smiled up at him. She wanted to throw her arms around his neck, to kiss him and thank him for not making her explain herself as she so often had to do. To kiss him…
“Here we are,” he said as they stepped onto the veranda. “I wonder if I might ask one favor of you, Miss MacRae.”
“Anything,” she said quickly, then blushed.
Mr. Cole smiled. “It seems you stepped outside just before we were to share a dance.”
Yes. It all came back to her. She hadn’t wanted to dance with him. The things he’d made her feel, even from across the room when she’d first seen him, the touch of his hand as he escorted her to dinner, the sound of his laughter as he sat next to her. Something about Mr. Cole made her want to say and do strange things, like kiss him in the garden and dance with him on the veranda. But then he had mentioned her father…
He stepped back from her and stood in position for their dance. Libbie decided she had been overreacting to an innocent comment and obligingly curtsied to him as he bowed to her. They started a minuet, one Libbie had danced dozens of times but she couldn’t quite keep the rhythm. The song was slow but she was breathless. As they stepped back and then forward another time, her knees bent under her against her will as another vision pressed in on her. Before she sank to the ground, she felt Sebastian’s arms around her waist, pulling her against him, and the vision faded.
“Miss MacRae, are you all right?”
“I’m fine. It’s just the heat. It’s unseasonably warm this evening, don’t you agree?”
“And you had a fright earlier.”
“No, I’m fine,” she insisted, steadying herself and pushing away from him. “You merely stumbled over me and I’ve recovered.”
“I meant before that. You were afraid of something. You went out into the garden alone and got frightened.”
“I go many places alone and I assure you I don’t frighten easily.”
“Perhaps then you should frighten more easily, because the world can be a very dangerous place.”
Libbie widened her eyes in shock. “I’m more aware of that than you’ll ever know, Mr. Cole. I’ve seen things that…”
She looked away from him. It was more than seeing things. It was feeling unbearable pain, reliving deaths died a hundred years ago and yesterday, feeling evil coming but not knowing when or where it would arrive. She looked him in the eye. “I don’t need a lecture from you about it.”
He grabbed her shoulders and stared at her with the same determination she saw in her father’s and brother’s faces when they wanted to convince her that she needed their protection. But as she stared up into Sebastian’s dark, hooded eyes, his look changed. Determination seemed to give way to confusion, then to resignation as he leaned closer to her. His soft breath brushed her cheek, his fingertips caressed her shoulders. Libbie closed her eyes, willing him to come closer, to actually kiss her.
Taste of Liberty available NOW at Cerridwen Press
And don't forget to check out the blogs and books for other great writers such as Anny Cook and Amarinda Jones who have new Ellora's Cave releases, Kelly Kirch who has just launched the print edition of Marriage Plot from Replendence Publishing and Sandra Cox whose wonderful stories just might move you to tears.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tamic please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what format you'd like to have the book in.
Now it's off to pick out flooring for Smudgie's room and paint for the dresser we're refinishing for it. My MIL told us she's purchased the bed we had on our registry so that is awesome news. We're going to buy the conversion rails and it will transition from crib to toddler bed to daybed to full size bed.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Midnight tonight is the deadline for getting a comment entered into the drawing for a free copy of Mating Stone by Elyssa Edwards. The second book in that trilogy, Lovers' Stone, was released this month from Ellora's Cave. Each comment gets you entered. If you've read Mating Stone and want another title, just let me know.
“I have to find them.”
“Find them?” Seth’s eyes narrowed. “Do you mean what I think you mean? Are you actually going to try to find…” his voice broke off as he read the answer in his friend’s posture. They were actually going through with this ridiculous plan? Ryder, Guardians forgive him, had gone crazy and was taking Evan with him.
“Evan, you don’t have to do this.” Seth watched his friend continue to throw items of clothing into a bag. “It’s asking a lot.”
“You’d do it.” Evan glanced over at his friend then back to his packing. “You’d do it without a second thought.”
“Would I? Are you so sure about that?” Seth’s words stopped him. He looked down at the sea green eyes that were narrowed and watching him carefully. “It’s dangerous Evan.”
“But you know as well as I do that I have to go. I have to try. Someone has to make these people see reason. If we can’t do that, we are going to lose credibility, lose our place. Pulling off this little coup is the best way and maybe the only way to prove we still control things.” He shook his head, “Come on, Seth, we know what Ian really is. We know what lies behind that simpering smile even if the rest of the world doesn’t. It’s our obligation.”
“So you’re going to let him exploit your…” his friend’s voice trailed off and he looked away.
His friend looked up at him startled. “Evan, you know none of us thinks of you that way. You can’t help what you are and we’ve loved you almost your whole life despite it. Don’t you know that? Don’t you get it?”
Evan shook his light brown hair out of his face, “Don’t you get it, Seth? We’re only holding our place as the highest circle by a thread. Like it or not, fair or not, the world sees Ian’s new rank as Julien’s failure.” Evan’s mouth twisted into a wry grin, “Though I’d love to see the idiot fool enough to say that to Julien’s face.” He met Seth’s eyes, “And since everyone still believes, no matter the truth or not, that Julien is Master Ryder’s son, the failure is his too. If we can pull off this alliance, get the werewolves to agree to cooperate, it will solidify our position once again. More importantly it will solidify our master’s position.”
“How can you unite a bunch of people you can’t find? You have no idea who is or isn’t a werewolf unless he tells you or you’re caught out on a moonlight stroll at the wrong time of the month.” Evan could smell Seth’s frustration hanging heavy in the air. He could hear it in the deepening of the soft Southern twang in his voice.
“That’s why I have to be the one that goes. I can tell.” Evan tapped his nose. That sensory organ, along with his ears, was heightened by what his mother had euphemistically called his “special nature.”
“So you’re going to walk up to everyone on the European continent and say, “Mind if I sniff you?” Or,” Seth scowled, “Gee I can tell from your smell you’re a werewolf, wanna come submit humbly to absolute control and oppression? We don’t give a shit about you, but hey, we’re the good guys. Come help us shore up our faltering dynasty.”
Evan sighed. The mage conclave that had been held last week, in addition to sparking what looked to be a nasty power struggle, wanted tighter controls on werewolves and other dark creatures. Seth had come swooping down on him as soon as the announcement was made public, demanding to know what he was going to do about it. What was he supposed to do about it? Any action on his part would jeopardize everything he had built the last couple of years. Hell, it could destroy everything for which he had spent his life struggling. “You’ve been ranting about the conclave for the last week. This is what I’m doing about it, Seth. I owe our master everything I have. He didn’t have to take me in. He could have turned my parents away, or more so, turned them into the conclave for hiding a werewolf. But he didn’t, he took me into his own home and trained me. I won’t risk what I have for anyone, not even others like me. If that’s selfish, then so be it. I like my life Seth. It’s much more than I ever thought I’d have.”
His friend looked at him sadly but smiled. It was a weak smile, but a smile. “You deserve to be a bit selfish, Evan. God knows you’ve never done anything remotely selfish before. But I have to tell you, taking on this assignment doesn’t seem very selfish to me. It seems damned well noble and fool-hardy.” Seth looked away from him and frowned. “How will they welcome you, Evan? If you do find one of these mysterious packs, how will they welcome you?”
Go check out Anny Cook and Amarinda Jones. They've posted their winner. Also take a look at the blogs by Kelly Kirch and Sandra Cox.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Silverhills is a Western. No duh right? I’m not a fan of the genre but this one won me over completely and Sandra Cox did it by creating a host of characters that slid into my brain and into my heart quickly. As much as I liked Alexandria and the incredible supporting cast of women, it was the men who stole the show here for this reviewer.
The only thing I would caution readers about is that you need to pause and round up the tissues when you reach the epilogue. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a tragedy. It definitely serves up the prerequisite happy ever after. But just trust me on this and have those tissues handy.
Check out the blogs on the left and don't forget the impromptu contest that's running between now and midnight Friday for a free copy of Mating Stone by Elyssa Edwards. The second book in the series, Lovers' Stone, is also currently available from Ellora's Cave
Blurb for Mating Stone:
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Got a review for Lovers' Stone today from Christine at Simply Romance Reviews. And since I believe in being honest, I'm going to post all of her comments, not carefully edited ones. Though I'm not above highlighting the good parts.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of suspense, romance and eroticism, I wish I had known it was part of an ongoing series. I felt the author assumed I knew more about the universe the story took place in than I actually did. The ending was rather abrupt as well. That said, I thought the story well-written. The romance and meeting of the main characters was magical, and the conflict needed for a short story such as this was indeed present. The author created a universe I want to read more about, and if you choose to read this installment, do yourself a favor and be sure you have the previous ones as well.
Thanks, Christine, for your nice words about the way the story was written and the main characters. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Lovers' Stone is part of a trilogy of stories. The first two books (Mating Stone and Lovers' Stone) are not marked as part of a series on the Ellora's Cave Website and as I understand it won't be until the third (Soul Stone) is released. After three books, EC let's you mark it as a series.
And truthfully, this trilogy "Jewels of Ursus" is a trilogy within a greater world that I write in both as Jacqueline Roth and as Elyssa Edwards. For those who want to know more about the trilogy from Ellora's Cave please visit: The Jewels of Ursus. For more about the world see: The Children of Semira.
So, how about a little help. Impromptu contest. Anyone who leaves a comment over the next three days will be entered to win a copy of Mating Stone. If you've already read it and would like a different title if your name is drawn, just let me know.
The review staff at eMuse online literary magazine is currently working on a feature on historical novels for our September issue. We've been reading, and in some cases passing around several novels. When one is particularly good, we make sure we tell the rest of the staff. I just finished one that is actually up for review by another reviewer but wanted to share my thoughts on it. It is a particularly excellent story.
Song of a Druid Princess by Jean Hart Stewart was a lovely romantic story. I enjoyed coming to know her heroine and hero. Gabriel Jourdain, the dashing musician and war hero was charming and heart wrenchingly conflicted. Kate Dellafield, one of a set of Druid twins introduced in Druid's Daughter is sweet and gentle with enough of a spark to make her a strong young woman. Her strength is the kind I admire most in literary characters. The wise-cracking, hard as nails heroine has her place, but has of late gotten a bit cliche. Kate is the type of young woman whose poise and confidence shows through in a way that is real and exactly the right foil for her hero.
The story is filled with romance and suspense as the insanity of the truly obsessed stands in the way of their happiness. There is a strong link between this book and Stewart's book My Darling Druid which tells the story of Kate's twin. These are part of an ever growing series by Stewart called Garland of Druids and is available from Cerridwen Press.
Up next for me is a book by another talented writer, Sandra Cox. I'm thrilled to have a good reason to push her Silverhills up on my to be read list.
Be sure to check out the blogs by Anny Cook, Amarinda Jones and Kelly Kirch along with those listed along the side over here. Many have contests as well as witty and sparklingly wonderful blogging. I promise you won't find any of them pukable.
Friday, July 18, 2008
I contemplated this last night as I was cleaning out my photo files and disposing of pictures I'd downloaded for a blog but will never need again. I began to notice a pattern to the pics that I had downloaded. It seems I do have a "type". None of the guys were the short hair, button down, spiffy kind of dude. I have a friend who favors this sort of gent. B. loves a man in a suit and if he has glasses, the clean cut intellectual look gets her motor racing. Now for me the put together, GQ, metrosexual look just doesn’t work. Neither does the lean, pretty boy who looks like an escapee from a boy band. The only urges Orlando Bloom and Justin Timberlake inspire in me are the urges to feed them cookies and pat them on the head for being good little boys.
Don’t get me wrong, I find a nicely turned out guy to be attractive, but not necessarily sexy. The award shows red carpets are boring to me because the guys look too polished and too manicured. But don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against tuxes per se. I’d just rather see them rumpled, tie untied, shirt unbuttoned like the guy just had to have breathing room.
So what do you think? Cleaned up or slightly scruffy and dangerous looking? Check out these pics and tell me which ones you find the most appealing.
Anyway, I began to wonder if there were any universal ideas or common traits that make a man sexy to women. After a little internet research, and we all know how amazingly reliable that is, I’ve come up with four essential characteristics. Feel free to argue with me.
Masculine- The man must be masculine. Now this doesn’t mean he has to be a macho jerk-wad or a leather bound biker. Simply that there has to be something in the way he moves, carries himself, holds himself that says “I am a man.” It can be subtle or blatant and different women will be attracted to different degrees of masculinity, but overall a man must be a man. He should be gentle, compassionate and tender, but there must also be that slight hint of the predator about him. Masculinity includes his body, his scent, his mannerisms, his walk and his voice. Studies I saw said that men with speaking voices in the baritone range or lower were consistently ranked as sexier than men with voices in the higher range of the male spectrum. And despite what most of us tell ourselves and others, over 95% of the women in one survey and over 98% in another said that they found just a touch of jealousy a very sexy trait. Cavemen need not apply, but a man with just the right balance of respect and territorialism was considered to be very sexy.
Good Communicator- intelligence is incredibly important to women in terms of finding a man sexy, but he must also be able to convey that intelligence in a meaningful way. Eye contact and an easy personable smile that welcomes you in and encourages you to trust him and get closer to him are tremendously sexy. But it must be sincere. He must show himself willing to listen and to hear what is being said to him. He must be able to express himself with wit and heart. Even a bit of bumbling can be forgiven and seem endearing if it advances the idea that he is sincere. As a good communicator he can make you feel comfortable and at ease. You know he finds you interesting and attractive and don’t have to guess.
Personality –He has to have one. 9 out of 10 women in several surveys indicated one of the top three sexiest things about a man was his sense of humor. A man who can make a woman laugh, laugh often and laugh freely is seen to be tremendously sexy. A sexy man is a self confident but slightly humble man who knows he is sexy, intelligent and good at what he does but doesn’t feel the need to demonstrate it to everyone or the need to be told repeatedly how wonderful he is. A supportive man who encourages his woman is sexy. A man who can charm us and our friends is sexy.
Uniqueness –A sexy man has those one or two little things about him that are quirky and unusual. Things that make him not too perfect. Maybe his misplaces his keys regularly and goes on a mad hunt for them. Maybe he’s overly attached to his autographed baseball. The way he mispronounces a certain word or can quote lines from The Godfather verbatim. These little things open up just a tiny crack in the perfection and make him real.
Oh, for those of you interested. I’ve gotten a couple of questions about Smudgie’s due date. December 3rd is the date they’ve given us. And it looks like we have a winner in the name race. The SO has finally agreed to Aidan James. But he’ll always be mom’s little Smudgie.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Since we won't be traveling this holiday season (would you want to be 9 months pregnant and driving 11 hours in a car?), the SO is spending a week in Florida with my MIL getting parenting advice, being hauled about to look at baby bits and brushing up on dealing with kiddies by way of the niece and nephews. (The play by play of which I've been enjoying tremendously I must tell you.) So I had nothing pressing upon me to do and so, I didn't do anything. That being the case, unless you really want to hear about a Law and Order marathon, ordering pizza and the wonderful intricacies of brewing iced tea, I haven't much to tell you today.
I did get the first review on Lovers' Stone today. Thank you to Lori from The Romance Reader's Connection for your review.
"LOVERS' STONE pairs together two lovers who were supposed to be enemies and at the same time proves that love can help conquer any obstacle. It will provide a sensual treat for paranormal fans. I will give you a fair warning, this story does contain some unexpected male on male interludes."
I will admit I was surprised by her surprise at the m/m interaction but I guess the warnings put on the stories by the publisher don't always get passed on to the reviewers with the books. I also don't think the interludes will be of surprise to anyone who has read Mating Stone. To those people it won't be a surprise to see Tarris, the incubus, as an active part of the Bears' intimate lives.
Speaking of Tarris, I did get news recently that the release date for his story, Soul Stone has been set. Soul Stone, the final book in the Jewels of Ursus series, will release on November 19th. A neat release date as it means Tarris and I will share a birthday.
Here's a preview by way of the blurb:
He is physical perfection. He is sex personified. He is an incubus. All his life Tarris has followed the rules that would keep him from transforming into the dark soulless predator who fed on the sexual energies of women, draining them to madness or to death. But now that he can no longer feed in a safe and controlled way, he faces a choice: hunt or starve. Callista is quiet and reserved. Her restrained exterior hides an astonishing passion and vivid imagination that has captured him. Who knew that a creature that had no soul could love a woman so deeply? Tarris must now find a way to control the change he feels coming and defeat the hunter who pursues him, obsessed with possessing Callista and destroying the incubus.
Don't forget to stop by the blogs of Anny Cook, Amarinda Jones, Kelly Kirch and Sandra Cox. They always have something profound or witty to say. Also be sure to check out the chats tomorrow on the EC chat loop from 7pm to 10 pm EST and on Saturday night on the Night Owl Romance Yahoo chat loop from 7pm to 10pm EST. Anny Cook has put together a grou of authors to share excerpts and answer questions. She and Amarinda will no doubt be giving out pecific instructions about their upcoming contest which starts tomorrow. And since the prizes are Cook and Jones books, who wouldn't want to be first in line to win?
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Looking at her, Scarlet is the kind of woman you hope doesn’t move into your neighborhood. She is greedy, grasping and self centered. She flirts and chases after men regardless of whether they are spoken for or not. She has a temper. When thwarted she schemes and plots to turn the situation to her own advantage. She marries men just to get their money and security for herself and that which she values.
As I watched and remembered the novel, I came to the conclusion that what Mitchell actually did was create a collection of portraits of what a strong woman looks like. Sometimes those images conflict and contradict, but still the majority of the women in this story were powerful human beings.
Scarlet, she’s the easiest to see. Her never say no attitude and her unwillingness to accept anything that wasn’t what she wanted. Her narcissism and her immaturity formed strength reminiscent of a toddler who is determined to get her way. And intermixed with this, Mitchell gives us very carefully planned glimpses of something redeemable in Scarlet. Her love for her parents, keeping her promise to look after Melanie, the kindness and concern she shows to the field hands she meets in Atlanta. Notice I say nothing of her motherly affections. In the novel she has three children, one by each husband, and her concern for the first two is less than remarkable.
Melanie is just as strong as Scarlet but in a different way. Scarlet has all the bravado we associate with strength, while Melanie has all the true to the core integrity that is necessary for a woman to be strong. She is kind and turns a blind eye to the wrongs of those she loves, as Rhett says, because she can’t conceive of dishonor in those she loves. But she also stands strong to those who would threaten her family and her way of life. When Scarlet kills the deserter, Melanie tells her she's glad she killed him. Far from being a “mealy-mouthed ninny” she is strong, soft-spoken and unshakable in her convictions.
Mrs. O’Hara is the backbone of her family. It is her strength, moral conviction and force that infuse Scarlet. Her charitable actions moral certainty put her on par with Mrs. March from Little Women.
Mammy is a woman whose strength is astonishing. I’ve heard the argument made that she is not to be admired because she stayed with the O’Haras out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change that was sweeping her world. Maybe that is so. Or maybe she stayed because she had birthed, raised and cared for this family. Her portrayal in the book and the movie is idealized from the perspective of White America. We want to believe she loved her family and she loved the children she had raised. She probably did. And since we are looking at the character as presented by Mitchell and not the reality of a woman in her situation, we have to see her devotion through the lens that Mitchell gives us.
Prissy. Yep, even Prissy. Not nearly so developed in the novel, the character took on new aspects in the movie. What we are supposed to see as lazy child-like behavior on her part we can also see as a form of passive resistance. Prissy does what she has to do to satisfy those who control her, but her lack of action, her slowness —particularly as they are shown in the film—seems more like a form of defiance. “I don’t want to…” “I can’t…” “I’s scared to…” these statements of self above the orders of those around her place her actions in a new light. Not simple minded but choices she’s making for herself.
Belle, the prostitute with the heart of gold. She is as much, if not more of a survivor than Scarlet. Her inclusion in the novel brings forth another interesting juxtapositioning for Scarlet. Here is Belle. As hard headed and determined as she. But in the end, who is the more honest and admirable soul? The one who openly sells her body to meet her ends, or the one who does it clandestinely under the guise of marriage?
I’ve never much liked Scarlet. I kept wondering what took Rhett so long to drop her on her backside. When he uttered those memorable 8 words, I felt a sense of completion. Not so much the completion of the growth of the main character, usually the starting and stopping points of a novel, but of the character of Rhett Butler. How the man who told Scarlet he was waiting for her to grow up and get the “wooden headed” Ashley out of her head, himself finally grew up to see beyond the appeal of immediate self gratification and living a life of hedonism just because he could. His growth is just as much chronicled as is the attempt to let Scarlet, just 16 at the start of the war, grow up as well.
My editor recently expressed a thought about the epilogues we so often want to put on books. The ending that wraps the whole story up in a nice pretty ribbon and we know everything that happened to the characters. I’ve been guilty of that. And as writers we use epilogues for various reasons. Sometimes we want to get our character to the place we want them to be. I had a character that I don’t think I could not have done the HEA epilogue for. He’d lost his family prior to the beginning of the story. He was a father to his very soul and I couldn’t leave him without giving that back to him. Sometimes we have a minor but important issue we need to resolve for two characters. Or sometimes we just need to set up for the next book in the series.
Epilogues are useful things. But in the case of Gone With The Wind I am exceedingly grateful that Mitchell withstood the urge to wrap this story in a nice shiny bow. I have no doubt that many of us would have been disappointed. Unlike a multitude of women who sighed, knowing Scarlet would find a way to woo Rhett back, I walked away hoping he kept running.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Make sure to check out the blogs of Anny Cook, Amarinda Jones and Kelly Kirch. Anny and Amarinda are planning a contest soon!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The page is called How To Write a Romance Novel. The article gives a variety of basic writing how to's and advice, but also gives information that is important for writing a romance novel in particular. There is some very good information on this page for writers. The article covers basics like market research, fiction writing 101—developing plot and what has to be a part of a well written story, researching and outlining as well as the writing and revision processes. But what made this interesting to me in particular were the sections particular to romance writing, characters and the intimate parts.
After reading it over, I found that I only had one minor disagreement with it and that was on character development for the heroine. According to the article one of the qualifications is that the heroine be:
Attractive, even if she doesn't know or believe she is attractive.
My difference of opinion here comes in that I don’t believe the heroine actually has to be physically attractive in the general or accepted sense; she only has to be physically attractive to the hero. She should be or grow to be the embodiment of his fantasy, his desire. He should find her beautiful and desirable even if no other man does. I mean you don’t want to horrifically disfigure anyone, but even a plain Jane, or below average Betty is a wonderful heroine if the handsome hunk falls heels over head. For example:
Looking up at Leah’s face he marveled at how she had changed in his eyes. She looked no different than she had that first day, except for the growing evidence of her pregnancy. Yet James couldn’t for the life of him remember why he hadn’t found her beautiful. Those green eyes, the soft full mouth, the sweet way she spoke, the gentle yet strong touch of her hands, how could he not have seen it? And now, swollen with the life of their family, she was even more beautiful.
He lowered his head and she welcomed his mouth. Her kiss tasted sweet. Her tongue met his and joined it in a wet velvety dance. He moaned against her lips and twisted his fingers in her hair. She moved her hand down his bare chest and the sensation made his need for her blaze to life. She was more than he believed he’d ever deserve, more than he’d dreamed he would find. She was his wife. She was his Leah.
-Access Denied, Cerridwen Press
But check out the page. Jenny Hudock is a great writer in her own right and the article is well researched and well written. Jenn writes a good deal of the writing how to’s for the Mahalo site including: How to Write a Fantasy Novel, How to Write a Novel, How to Write a Poem and How to Write a Short Story.
Bedtime-Absolutely until you are 13, then it is a curfew. However, Mom retains the right to revoke this privilege if it is too hard to get your backside up for school.
Clothing-Mom decides what you may wear (not what you will wear each day, but what is in the pool you may choose from) until you are sixteen. However, Mom retains the right to revoke this privilege if she catches you dressing like a hose-monster or a total thug. And remember, Mom is a teacher. You will be going to school in one of the feeder schools that attaches to where Mom works. I know the teachers, I know the Principals and I have a 100 minute planning period every day which is plenty of time to make it to the high school, peek in a classroom window and leave. So the friend bringing you close to change at school? Probably a pretty risking thing if you don’t want to be the only kid in the school dressed like Laura Ingalls.
Piercings- (The image shown is an example of a “corset piercing” where eyelets pierced through the back or rings are put in place to allow the back to be laced up.) We disagree on this one with the SO, surprisingly, looking at me like I’m ridiculous. I say no one needs an extra hole in their body until they are old enough to take care of it, let’s say 13. Kell would be okay with this in elementary school. I’m not-I have no desire to be on alcohol and “did you remember to turn the earings today” patrol. Amazingly, though, I actually have no problem with bellybutton and eyebrow piercing past age 16 as long as they don’t violate school dress code and you take care of them. Because of the dangers to nerves and veins if you get a disreputable or careless piercer, no tongues until have your own insurance.
For more interesting stuff check out the blogs of Anny Cook, Amarinda Jones and Kelly Kirch. I do believe Anny and Amarinda are cooking up a contest for their upcoming releases. Be sure to also peek at the other blog links down the side. Lots of good stuff going on.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Pam if you'll email me at email@example.com I'll get your address so we can get your prize in the mail. Thanks to everyone who entered. I appreciate your support.
I'd had something else I was going to feature on my blog today, but the following got my attention yesterday so I'm going to hold off on it until tomorrow. So stop by tomorrow if you would like to get information on a new website that gives you the low down on how to write a romance novel.
But for today:
I know it's no one's favorite topic, but it's on my mind. Breast cancer. Yesterday I went in for a mammogram. At my age the doctors recommend the screening once every two years. Yesterday was my turn. This wasn't my first mammogram, my grandmother had breast cancer so my doctor started me with a baseline in my early thirties. It's not the most pleasant of tests, and if you're modest about your body (which I'm not) it could be a bit trying, I'm certain.
So this morning I was looking up information. The National Cancer Institute site says that there will be 182,460 (female)/1,990 (male)new cases of breast cancer in 2008 and 40,480 (female)/ 450 (male) deaths. The National Cancer Institute has an online pamphlet about breast cancer that was has a lot of information. A separate pamphlet is available for male breast cancer.
Age: The chance of getting breast cancer goes up as a woman gets older. Most cases of breast cancer occur in women over 60. This disease is not common before menopause.
Personal history of breast cancer: A woman who had breast cancer in one breast has an increased risk of getting cancer in her other breast.
Family history: A woman's risk of breast cancer is higher if her mother, sister, or daughter had breast cancer. The risk is higher if her family member got breast cancer before age 40. Having other relatives with breast cancer (in either her mother's or father's family) may also increase a woman's risk.
Reproductive and menstrual history:
- The older a woman is when she has her first child, the greater her chance of breast cancer.
Women who had their first menstrual period before age 12 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Women who went through menopause after age 55 are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Women who never had children are at an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Women who take menopausal hormone therapy with estrogen plus progestin after menopause also appear to have an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Large, well-designed studies have shown no link between abortion or miscarriage and breast cancer.
Race: Breast cancer is diagnosed more often in white women than Latina, Asian, or African American women.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Her heart was fluttering and she willed her overly vivid imagination to stop before it got carried away imagining all sorts of bizarre scenarios. “What is going on here? Why did you lock that door?”
The brown eyes rolled and he gave an amused snort. “Woman believe me, this is where you want to be right now.”
“Why? What’s happening out there?”
Luke closed his eyes, boredom pouring from him. “Don’t play stupid with me. You know what’s happening.”
“I’m sorry but I don’t,” the fear was growing and starting to fuel a flame of anger. “What is Mark doing and why do I need you to protect me?” Her heart was pounding so hard she could hear it thud, especially when her own ears heard just how frightened she sounded.
One eye opened and looked at her. Luke sat up, swinging his long legs back to the floor and stared at her as if she had a puzzle written across her face. “It’s not possible,” he muttered softly. “Mark isn’t this stupid.”
“What are you talking about?” she demanded.
Luke stood and began to pace the room. He paused, “She’s wearing the pendant. He has to have told her. He wouldn’t hide this from his mate.” Luke shook his head slowly, “Would he?” he seemed to be talking to himself so she stood silently watching him as he began to pace again. After several minutes he stopped at the far end of the room and turned to look straight at her. Faster than she had ever seen anyone move, he closed the distance between them, grasped her left hand and turned it palm up. The oath he uttered was loud and coarse.
She tried to control the tremble of fear that was making her knees weak and shaky. She bit down to keep her lip from quivering noticeably. Luke stared into her eyes for a long moment. “You really don’t know what’s happening, do you?” The awe in his voice gave way to a flash of fury as he thrust her hand away and dropped back down onto the sofa. “By all that’s holy, you really don’t know.” Sarah watched him shake his head. “Oh my brother, you’re not only a fool, you’re an unmitigated ass to boot.”
“Mark isn’t a fool or an ass.”
She was rewarded by a derisive snort of angry mirth. “Little Sarah you have no idea who or what my brother is or you’d already have run away screaming.”
The remark made no sense and she decided he was trying to confuse and frighten her. “So now that we’ve decided I don’t know, would you please answer my question? What is happening out there? What is Mark doing?”
The anger seemed to vanish as if he squelched it deliberately. The lazy smile was back.
“What’s he doing out there? Being the noble, idiotic, idealistic fool he has always been.”
Sarah felt her jaw clench. He was the most infuriating man. He was deliberately wicked and argumentative not to mention he seemed to have mood swings that made any woman’s PMS seem tame. No wonder Mark disliked him. He shook his head in disbelief at his own thoughts and muttered so softly she almost missed the words, “Giving it up and he hasn’t even mated to her, hasn’t told her…”
He wanted to be difficult, she could be difficult to. She’d keep at it until he answered. “All I’m asking for is a straight answer. There’s something you think I should know but don’t. What don’t I know?”
“More than you can imagine.” Sarah gave a high pitched grunt of frustration. A soft chuckle escaped the man’s throat and he held his hands up in concession. “Okay, little Sarah, you win. I’m going to answer your questions but don’t blame me if you don’t like what you hear…”
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
“Annie,” Luke’s voice sounded thick. “I’m not much of a talking kind of guy but there are some things I need to tell you.”
“M’hmm,” she moaned and closed her eyes. This was definitely a dream. She’d twice now had the best sex of her life with a man who touched her in ways she couldn’t have explained were she stupid enough to try. Said amazing sex-god-man had brought along a gorgeous friend and didn’t mind sharing. She was stretched out in his arms feeling the warm sun, smelling the sweet grass and reveling in the lazy delights of after-glow. Now he wanted to talk? Damn was her subconscious working overtime.
“You need to know two things, up front,” his voice sounded serious. She shook off the lazy fatigue and tried to concentrate. “First, I care for you.” The words were accompanied by a soft brush of fingers across her cheek. “There’s something about you, Annie. I can’t explain why just yet but when I’m with you I feel…” His voice trailed off.
“Complete.” She offered the word and held her breath.
His voice held a hint of laughter, “Complete. Whole. Yes, my love. That’s it exactly.”
“I feel that way too,” she pressed her lips to his skin as she spoke. Her mind screamed out the words her heart had been repeating since the first time she’d looked into his eyes. If only you were real.
His arms tightened for a second then he turned so that he could look down at her. His kiss warmed her body but it only fueled the cold ache of regret that had seized her heart. He wasn’t real.
His next words came only after he’d lifted her chin to force her to look into his eyes. “This is going to be hard for you to believe but promise me you’ll try.” She nodded silently and waited to see what her dream man would say next. “Annie, this is a dream but I’m not. I’m real. Tarris is real. We exist outside your dreams.”
She closed her eyes and shook her head. Her mind was certainly good at this game. He was telling her just what she wanted to hear at exactly the right moment. She opened her eyes and looked into his. “I wish you were, my darling. I really wish you were.”
“I am. I’m real. My name is Lucas Ursine. I was born in Paris. I graduated from Princeton longer ago than I care to admit, or than you’d believe. I have a degree in architecture but pretty much I spend my time rehabbing old houses in run down neighborhoods. I love the winter because the cold snowy weather is the perfect time to curl up with someone warm and be lazy. I’m the younger of a set of twins. I drive a red pick-up truck, I listen to country music when I’m alone but heavy metal when I’m not because it annoys my brother—the king of easy listening.”
A soft snorting laugh reminded her they were not alone. “Mark is so going to kick your ass when I tell him.”
“Mark is your brother?” Anna was astonished at the complexity of the fantasy. Astonished and a little frightened. Had the disease finally progressed to her mind? She should have a few more years before that happened. Usually the lungs gave out before the dementia took hold.
“Yes.” She caught the dark look he flashed to Tarris who stood up. He was mysteriously wearing the buckskin pants from earlier. He walked away from them as if to give them privacy or to avoid Luke’s glare, she wasn’t sure which.
“If you’re real as you say you are, how is it you’re in my dream? People can’t just pop into other’s dreams.” Unless they’re incubi. The incubus could do exactly that. Her eyes flew to Tarris.
“Yes,” Luke toyed with a lock of her hair. “I told you the truth. Tarris is a friend of mine. He’s an incubus.”
“He doesn’t look like an incubus, Luke,” she started to reason.
“Seen a lot of them have you,” he teased.
“No, I’ve never seen one before,” she admitted. But she damned sure knew what they looked like.
“Even if you had, Tarris wouldn’t look like what you’d expect. He’s never known the hunger and desperation that drives them to the darkness. He’s never hunted, never tasted an unwilling person. There are rules he follows and those rules keep him sane and safe. They also keep him from transforming completely.” Luke glanced over toward his friend.
Anna looked at the man trying to see him but saw only a subtle shifting, a darkening of his skin for only the briefest of moments.
“Annie?” Luke spoke her name with an anxious tension. “Annie do you believe me? Do you believe I’m real?”
“I don’t know,” she whispered. “If you’re real, why have you only come to me in dreams?”
“The first time I was as surprised as you,” his dark brown eyes gazed down at her intently. “This time… Well, I didn’t know who you were. I needed Tarris to help me find you.”
She watched his face. She wanted to believe him but couldn’t. “Prove it to me. If you are real, you’ll be there when I wake up.”
Luke frowned slightly and turned to look at Tarris who stood watching the water cascading down over the rocks.
“It is possible.” Tarris turned the startling blue gaze on her. “I’m with you now in your room, Anna. I’m sitting on the edge of your bed. I can drop you into a dreamless sleep and when you wake, Luke will be there. But once I do, there is no going back. Neither of you can hide who you are from the other. Each will know the other’s secrets.”
The ominous words chilled Anna but she felt Luke’s chest vibrate with laughter. “Shit, you sound more like a fortune cookie every day. Keep talking like that and someone’s going to make you an Oracle.”
A smile stretched across Tarris’ face. He looked at Anna and shrugged. “All right but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Perhaps appropriately, I received the first round of edits today on the third book in the Jewels of Ursus trilogy, Soul Stone. In Soul Stone, Tarris gets his story told. He wasn't as forthcoming as Luke and it took me much longer to get his tale out of him. As an incubus, he has more than a few secrets to keep. Soul Stone also tells the real story of what happened the night Jonas Ursine, the youngest of the Ursine's died. His death was what caused the rift between Mark and Luke.
As usual my editor, H, made it absolutely painless. She's wonderful like that even if she does seem to have this unnatural aversion to prepositions.
I hope you find yourself interested in learning more about my Bears.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Tomorrow is the release day for Lovers' Stone, the second in the Jewels of Ursus trilogy. Lovers' Stone is the sequel to Mating Stone and focuses on Luke Ursine, the bad boy and black sheep of the Ursine family. Luke doesn't do things the easy way or the nice way. He does them his way.
To celebrate the release I'm holding a contest where the prize is a genuine diamond and ruby pendant with matching ruby stud earrings. The delicate pendant is a small circle of gems set in gold, of course, on an 18" chain. Entering to win this prize is easy. All you have to do is visit this blog and leave a comment. Each day's comment will earn you a slot in a drawing for the necklace. All entries must be received by midnight, July 11th (Friday) EST. The winner will be announced on Saturday (7/12).
Occupation: Has a degree in architecture, but spends his time rehabbing old homes.
Age: 156 (looks 28-29)
Story: Appears first in Mating Stone by Elyssa Edwards from Ellora’s Cave. His own story is told in Lovers’ Stone to be released in July 9th.
His own brother refers to him as Lucas “screw the whole world and everyone in it” Ursine. And for a good many years that’s been the side of him the world, especially his twin brother Mark and his clan, have seen. The breach between the twins goes back decades and is wrapped inextricably around a family tragedy that claimed the lives of the two people who meant the most to them both. Luke can’t forgive Mark for his part in what happened, but he has never forgiven himself, either.
Wickedly intelligent, Luke delights in rubbing people the wrong way. The only person left in his world he’ll listen to is his sister-in-law, Sarah. He still does exactly what he wants, but he’d do almost anything to keep from upsetting her. He sees in her the best of their family and recognizes she has made his brother into a man and a leader that even he has to give grudging respect.
But not even Sarah could stop him from finding the woman who fate says is to be his. His one true, live long mate. The only mate he could ever have. The woman he has only touched in his dreams. But as his friend Tarris says, once he finds her, both of their secrets will be revealed and there will be no going back.
Luke rose and walked slowly to the archway and stopped. Each of the other twelve corridors led to rooms that held stones. A male picked the path whose stones corresponded to the birth stone of the female he hoped to mate with. Only one stone in the tens of thousands that filled this mountain would support the mating of a particular couple. Supposedly if the mating was not meant to be, he would not find the stone. [His friend] Wade had searched through hundreds of gems to find the right one. He’d told Luke it had sung to him the minute he touched it. Wade said it had glowed and the face of his future mate had appeared in its depths. More, it had vibrated in such a way that he’d become instantly aroused and his need to join with his mate had burned like a fire in his body.
But this center corridor, this thirteenth passage was one that was never used. It could not be entered except by those who were called. And to Luke’s knowledge no one had been called down this path in so long what lay at its end had become legend. An oasis of lovers’ stones the lore said. A collection of stones from each of the caves, but they were more than just simple mating stones. These stones were for those Weres who were tied to another by destiny. The two bound by a lovers’ stone were destined for more than mating bliss. Theirs was to be a great life-long love. To Luke it sounded like more than legend. It sounded like bullshit.
The mist swirled around him and Luke’s legs carried him of their own volition through the arch and down the narrow tunnel. There were no torches here, only the glow of the golden fog lit his way. He heard the voice call again. “Where are you? I can’t see you.” It was a woman’s voice.
He heard nothing but the voice. Not even his inexplicably bare feet made a sound on the stone floor. He took turn after turn following the light that pulled him along. Abruptly the fog rose to the ceiling just in front of him taking the shape of a doorway through which he could not see. He heard her calling again. She was looking for someone. She was looking for him. The realization lifted something inside him. He stepped through a large bank of the golden mist and found himself in a vaulted chamber. In the center of the room was a shimmering pool surrounded by large low pallets filled with cushions and pillows. Directly across from him an identical doorway had formed. Before it, watching him with large frightened eyes was a woman. Her long black hair was loose and flowed down her back. The blue eyes glowed so brightly for a moment he considered that she might be a succubus but dismissed the thought. No creature could have gained entrance here except those who were like him. Only another Were could have entered the cave, let alone this most sacred place. Or that was what they’d always been told.
The woman was dressed in a long, red satin nightgown with thin straps that barely contained the full breasts that threatened to overflow the bodice. Her hips curved in a way that made a man long to run his hands over them, to hold tightly to them as he thrust inside her. The pull she seemed to be exerting over him was stronger than any desire he’d ever felt. Screw mating stones, just looking at this woman was making him hard.