Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Holidays?

So now with Thanksgiving we have the official start of the holiday season. This weekend was filled with folks hitting the malls and buying the things that would bring happiness and enhance peace on earth...righ?

Sometimes we as a species are so pathetic.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Dogs?

I’ve never claimed to be average. Thanksgiving Day is no exception. While most of America is gearing up for football, we were gathering around the television (one of the rare moments it actually is turned on in our family) to watch the Purina National Dog Show. We love dogs and we enjoy watching the different breeds be spotlighted and compete.

We snuggled with our canine children and watched the seven groups compete for a spot in best in show and then the final championship. For those who don’t watch dog shows, the different breeds compete in “breed” competitions. The best of each breed competes in it’s group (toy, terrier, sporting, non-sporting, working, hounds, herding) and then the best of each group compete for Best in Show. The dogs aren’t judged against each other, but against the breed standard. The winner is the dog that represents the best example of its breed standard.

This year’s winner was a member of the Sporting Group, a lovely pointer. But at our house the cheering was for Rocky, a handsome Blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Rocky won the Toy category and my own Cavalier, Gracie Sue, rallied the family to support him. No, really. She ran to the TV and stood transfixed as Rocky was put through his paces. Of course our other dogs were disappointed their “cousins” didn’t win, but they were good sports.

The local shelter is a wonderful place to find your pet, even pure breeds. We found our Brittany George at the local animal shelter quite by accident. Two big fuzzy spaniel things that were grossly over weight and had been turned in by their owners caught our attention. We later learned, tragically, that the boys had seizures and this had led to their being turned in by owners who didn’t tell the shelter they were ill. We lost Tanis to a seizure storm we had no idea was coming.

But that’s not the only place to find pets. If you’re looking for a certain breed, remember there are breed rescues that save pups from unprepared owners, kill shelters and puppy mills. Our dachshund, Wendell, came from a puppy mill. Our cocker spaniel, Shiloh was the result of a kid’s 4H project. And our Gracie was seven months old and about to be shipped back to the puppy mill as unsellable to spend her life producing puppies or be put down. Probably put down because it turns out she was inbred.

We are certainly thankful for our pets and we flatter ourselves they are thankful for us. So below take a gander at our best in show.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and remember what you have to be thankful for. For me I’m thankful for my pets, my SO, our little Smudgie, the friends in my life, my family and for the readers who have let me find a home for my literary children.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We have a winner

Of course the news today is the winner of the Soul Stone Contest. Since Tarris' story features an opal the winner of our contest will receive a rainbow opal pendant and matching earrings. A winner was drawn randomly from the entrants with the correct answers. The correct answers were:

True Love: Who is the true mate and love of each of the men below?
Mark Ursine's heroine is _Sarah__
Luke Ursine's heroine is __Anna___
Tarris Ursine's heroine is __Callista___

Our winner is...Beth R.

Beth, I'll be emailing you to confirm your address and as soon as the mail starts running after the holiday I'll send your prize along.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter.

Enjoy tomorrow everyone. And pop over to the blogs on the left and check them out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Contest Reminder and Getting Personal

Contest First!

In celebration of the release of Soul Stone, which features an opal in a pivotal role. Because of that I'm giving away a rainbow opal heart shaped pendant and matching earrings. This is a delicate piece set in silver. The earrings are the same as the pendant, pictured here.

How to win: Soul Stone is the final book in the lives of the Ursine brothers. So to win this final prize, you will need to tell me something about them. Copy the list below into an email and complete it. Send it to I'll pick a winner from the correct answers on Wednesday, November 26th.

True Love: Who is the true mate and love of each of the men below?

Mark Ursine's heroine is ________
Luke Ursine's heroine is ________
Tarris Ursine's heroine is ________

You can find hints to the answers--okay, you can find the answers--by checking out the blurbs and excerpts for the three books in this series at Elyssa's website.
Being heard/show your support:
The new sites for Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press are up. The new site lets you leave reviews on the books you've read. So what are you waiting for? Head on over and look for something new while posting reviews of the books you really loved from those publishers.

Getting Personal
We are still on baby watch around here. The doctor's visit this morning confirmed that everything is fine and that Smudgie has dropped down into the pelvis, but the midwife says we are probably looking at about two more weeks. *Sigh* To say that we are getting antsy is an understatement. We are ready in every way we can be ready. Our house looks like a Baby's R Us exploded.

The only thing we lack, and it's because we can't find one, is a good bookshelf unit to go in bedroom. Smudgie's books, toys and stuff already are piled on the floor and he needs more storage space. We've been joking that we may have to give up the master bedroom to him.

But everything is fine. I have some thank you's I have to send out.
To Barb and Sean: Thanks, you send him clothes from England and now he'll expect European fashions all the time. *grin* The "cheeky monkey" shirt was perfect.
To Steve: Thank you so much for the high chair, but dude? A single, straight male who remembers to buy his friend a baby shower gift? You better hide that man-card cause they're coming to get it. (And yes, I'm almost done with my eMuse stuff. I won't let you down.)
To Robert, Debbie, Bev and Leslie: Thank you so much. The baby shower was the greatest. A chocolate fountain? A great cake? All the dips and goodies people could want? What more could I ask for. I'm grateful for friends like you.
To my work family: I don't remember the last time I was so overwhelmed that I actually cried. I know we're not a conventional family and folks have turned their noses up at us in the past. But the people I work with are the best. You've always been there and I'm truely grateful.

Okay folks. Enough mushy stuff.

I threw a major hissy fit at the local WalMart a few days ago. I had gotten tires put on my car on a Sunday. That following Monday afternoon one of said new tires was almost flat. I put air in it and took it to the nearest WalMart (not the one that had sold me the tires). They looked at it, couldn't find a problem and aired it up to the right pressure. By Wednesday it was low again. And again on Friday. On Saturday I took it back to the WalMart that installed the tires and told them the problem. They proceded to inform me that because I hadn't bought the special warrantee that they would have to charge me to check the tires and change them if there was a problem.

I threw a sedate tantrum. What do you mean you are charging me to check and fix the defective tires that you sold me? It's not like I went into the store room and picked them out myself and said..."I want these." You put them on, you sold them to me in good faith, what you gave me was defective and now you want me to pay to fix your mistake and the manufacturer's screw up? I don't really think that is going to happen! The disgruntled salesgirl (and yes I do mean to say girl and I mean it nastily because she prissed around on her heels and didn't want to touch the tires to check and see if she could see any damage before she wrote up the ticket) got the manager and I unloaded on him too when he tried the same shpeel. No way I'm paying because you sold me a defective product. Are you people insane?

Needless to say they did it my way. It probably had something to do with me mentioning that this was exactly the sort of thing that the local news channel liked to cover on their consumer watch program.

Enough of me rambling. Head on over to see Kelly Marstad, Sandra Cox and Jenny Beans. Jenny is a friend of mine who is a brilliant author. You will know her by her pen name, Llewellyn McEllis one day. Also check on Anny Cook, maybe she's back from her vacation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Soul Stone Contest and Release

Today is a double birthday. It's mine and it's Tarris'. Tarris is the hero of the novel Soul Stone, that releases today from Ellora's Cave. Soul Stone is the final book of the Jewels of Ursus trilogy that began with Mating Stone and Lovers' Stone.


Soul Stone
by Elyssa Edwards

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.


Rule 1. Never feed alone.
Rule 2. Never touch unless you are invited to by the female.
Rule 3. Never penetrate a woman in the place reserved for her mate.
Rule 4. Never allow the act to bring you to orgasm.
Rule 5. Never, never must you hunt.

The rules had been created to keep him contained. To keep Tarris fed and happy while stopping him from crossing the line that could make him want more than he could be allowed to have.

Sitting in his chair he watched the flames flicker. He slipped his hand into the pocket of his jeans and pulled out the small oblong stone. It looked like an opal but over one third of its surface was black and dull. He rubbed at it seeking the strange sense of comfort it had always brought him. Tonight it didn’t work. Despite the fire, a chill passed through him. The rules. How he hated the rules. How he needed the rules. He’d only broken one and only once. He’d allowed sweet Sarah to pleasure him in a dream the three had shared before their mating. It had been a mistake. Now he knew what he was missing. And he wanted more.

Worse, he could no longer feed off his lovers. Both Weres were mated. No one had realized at the time that it would stop their ability to share their pleasure with him. But it had. He could enter their dreams but in their dreams the men would push him away. He’d learned this the moment Mark mated with Sarah. The animal within him refused to allow him near his mate. In the waking world Mark had been devastated. In the land of dreams he could not stop himself from turning on Tarris like an enemy. Tarris had not approached Luke. The younger twin had always been the more sexually assertive, the more likely to react to his instincts. He was certain Luke’s reaction would be even stronger than Mark’s.

Tarris closed his eyes. He tried to remember a time when he was satisfied with the lot he’d been given, satisfied with the role of puppeteer, satisfied to orchestrate the pleasures of others and to drink in their joy and satisfaction. It seemed so long ago.

He’d not actively decided to break the rules. He’d let them terminate him before he’d turn into one of the dark ones. He may not have a soul but one thing living in the Ursine house had given him had been honor. He knew the clean and lighter side of living. He’d not become a monster.

He let his mind drift. He told himself he wasn’t doing it. He was only reaching out. He’d been able to take the edge off the past couple of weeks this way. A voyeur watching a young couple, feeling the energies radiate between two soon to be lovers in a club. A siphon, draining off some of the raw sexual arousal of those he watched from the world of shadows. It wouldn’t sustain him he knew. The only true food was passion in dreams. But maybe by doing this he could hold off the madness, hold off the day when his own Weres would be forced to destroy him. Or hold out until he found another way.

He felt the touch of the sleeper and backed away. He wasn’t a predator. He wasn’t supposed to enter alone. But the power of the mind reached out to him as if it had sensed him. It called to him, inviting him in. The hunger raged inside him as he fought it. The moment he turned to the dreamer, the moment he let himself be pulled to the cavalcade of images that passed through the sleeping mind he was lost.

He stood in the doorway of the modest bedroom. The sleeper on the bed was a woman. Her red hair was twisted around her face, strands of it sticking to the damp forehead. The shirt of the men’s flannel pajamas that she wore stretched tight across her breasts. Not exactly the seductress. Not precisely the femme fatale. She looked more like a schoolmarm or a librarian. One leg had kicked itself free of the blankets and he noticed she even wore socks to bed. It was early October. No, Red here didn’t look like the kind of woman who embraced her sexuality.

Tarris stepped into the room and moved closer to the bed. The woman was moaning slightly and twisting her head. Her fists clenched tight. She fascinated him. She seemed so restricted—closed off so tightly against her own body but the power of the imagination, the dreams that flowed through her had called to him across the distance that had separated them. He could feel the incredible strength of her mind.

The rules repeated in his head.
He hadn’t hunted her, he told himself. She had called him to her.
He would not let her please him.
He would not penetrate her.
He would not touch unless she reached for him first.

He would not— Tarris stood watching her, torn as his hunger battled with his conditioning. The emotions, the colors of her mind were so powerful he shook with need. Her soul was laying itself bare for him just as if he’d been a fully mature incubus. He saw all of who she was, all her secrets, dreams and desires. And he loved each and every one.

So yes. Yes, he would. He would feed alone.

He stretched out beside her on the bed and brushed the hair from her face. Her body went slack. He pulled her to him and rested her head on his shoulder. Stroking her face he pressed his cheek to her and closed his eyes.


In celebration of the release of Soul Stone, which features an opal in a pivotal role. Because of that I'm giving away a rainbow opal heart shaped pendant and matching earrings. This is a delicate piece set in silver. The earrings are the same as the pendant, pictured here.

How to win: Soul Stone is the final book in the lives of the Ursine brothers. So to win this final prize, you will need to tell me something about them. Copy the list below into an email and complete it. Send it to I'll pick a winner from the correct answers on Wednesday, November 26th.

True Love: Who is the true mate and love of each of the men below?

Mark Ursine's heroine is ________
Luke Ursine's heroine is ________
Tarris Ursine's heroine is ________

You can find hints to the answers... okay, you can find the answers by checking out the blurbs and excerpts for the three books in this series at Elyssa's website.

Oh, and Kelly, you won the draw for the copy of Lovers' Stone so drop me a line and tell me what format you'd like your copy in.
Have a great day folks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Un-Locke Romance

Tomorrow I share my release day with the talented Afton Locke as she releases her novel Cicada. The cover alone on this one makes me eager to read it, or at least gaze longingly at the cover for hours at a time. The excerpt she's sharing with us on this blog is equally as wonderful.

So take a peek:

by: Afton Locke
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Genre: paranormal erotic romance with ghost hero and light bondage
ISBN #: 978-14199-1941
eBook Release Date: 19 November 2008

Hang on to your panties, Marian, because the seaside cottage you rented is not going to be as quiet as you thought. And if you planned to get away from men, forget it. You're about to be haunted by a very virile male ghost who thinks everything in the house is his, including you!

Like the cicadas, Jon emerges from his grave every seventeen years to pursue whichever woman is living in his cottage, but having sex for the third time always sends him back to dormancy again. When Marian, a science teacher on summer vacation, moves in he vows to break the curse once and for all.

All he has to do is win her heart. Easier said than done when the object of his desire has just been cheated on by her ex-fiancé and the last thing she wants is another man. Somehow he has to show her who's boss and earn her love at the same time.


An Excerpt From: CICADA (Unedited)
Copyright © AFTON LOCKE, 2008
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

“What the—” She couldn’t see anyone but he was still there. She felt him pressed against her backside and he was harder than ever.

“I’m still here,” he said, as if she couldn’t figure that out.

Marian’s eyes darted around the room as she clutched the pillows. “Then why can’t I see you?”

“I’m invisible.” He said it as casually as if he’d said he was wearing a blue shirt.

“Invisible,” she repeated. “Give me a break. I’m a science teacher. People aren’t invisible. That only happens in the movies.”

He was still lying on her back and when he shifted she felt coarse cotton fabric against the skin of her legs. He seemed to be wearing pants but they must be invisible too. She also felt the outline of his cock grind against her.

“Does that feel real to you?” he asked, close to her ear.

All of her blood seemed to shoot downstream and for one crazy moment she wondered what all that delicious hardness would feel like inside her. Even better than his finger, she imagined. She had to clear her throat just to be able to talk.

“Yes.” The word came out as a half sigh and Marian cleared her throat again. “Do you mind explaining to me why you’re invisible? I mean, you’re seriously freaking me out here. I can see everything in this room except you.”

“Of course,” he replied as he began to play with her long hair and lazily stroke her back. “Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Jonathan Blake. You may call me Jon.”

“I’m Mar—”

“I know who you are, Mary,” he said curtly. “It’s about time you came back.”

She frowned. “My name is Marian, not Mary and as interesting as this meeting has been, I really need to ask you to leave now. You see, I rented this house for the summer.”

He grabbed all of her hair, lifted her head off the pillow with it and nipped her earlobe with his teeth. “This is my house,” he corrected.

She pulled her hair out of his hand. His weight eased, so she shifted onto her side and propped herself on her elbow.

“So you’re the owner of this house?” she asked. “Good. You just saved me a trip to Seaside Realty to bang some heads together. You have a lot of nerve scamming people out of their rent money, making this place seem haunted. I paid for a private house and a peaceful summer. Instead, I hear all kinds of weird noises, have my clothes stolen and get attacked in my own bed.”

“My bed,” he corrected.

“Whatever. I’m going to report you to the Better Business Bureau.”

Now that her chest was somewhat exposed to him, he was exploring the crocheted lace of her bodice. She pushed his hand away several times but it was hard to hit an invisible, moving target. He chuckled as he traced a finger over the swell of each breast. Her nipples betrayed her by jumping to attention and begging for his touch.

“I don’t think they’d pursue a complaint about a man who’s been dead for a hundred years.”

Afton Locke
Unlock your darkest fantasies…
Tonight's the night I will pick a winner of the copy of Lovers' Stone. Tomorrow will mark the release of Soul Stone and we'll be launching the contest for the rainbow opal pendant and earrings. So check back tomorrow as the celebration begins.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I got a question about my image of my heroes, particularly the Ursine men, and how they meet the cover image. I have to tell you I've been very lucky. I've gotten terrific covers from Cerridwen Press and Ellora's Cave. Probably because they allow the authors some input into some of our covers.

Some publishers allow authors little to no input. I've even heard horror stories about authors being asked to alter their stories because the cover was wrong and it would be too expensive to redo the cover, but cost nothing to get the author to rework a piece of the story. At a convention (DragonCon in Atlanta, GA) one author told how the cover artist had put a blonde busty female on the cover inthe midst of a battle scene. Unfortunately the main character was a male. The author had to find someway to justify her male character being in "drag" during the battle scene because the publisher refused to pay to fix the cover.

As much as I loved the cover for Access Denied, the cover for Soul Stone is my favorite. When I sent the request in for my cover I'd seen the model on another cover and was stunned at just how like Tarris Ursine he was. Friends even emailed me and asked if I'd seen the cover. They'd read Mating Stone and Lovers' Stone and knew that Tarris was getting his own book. The comment was the same. "That guy IS Tarris!" So I begged and the cover gods at EC granted my wish.

But if you'd like to see a profile of each of the Ursine men and a close approximation of what they look like in my head check out the links below to profiles I ran previously on my blog.

Mark Ursine
Luke Ursine
Tarris Ursine

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jewels of Ursus

Five more days to the release of Soul Stone. This is the final book in the trilogy that began in February ’08 in Mating Stone.

Jewels of Ursus

The Ursine men are many things a woman wouldn't expect to find walking through her door or through her dreams. They are tall, gorgeous and powerful -the consummate lovers. They just happen not to be human.

Mark Ursine and his twin Luke are Weres. Shape-shifters who transform into large brown Bears, the brothers are the grandsons of the Amar, the leader of their clan. Twins reared together, but what they bear for each other is anything but an abiding fraternal love. Between these two men, one of whom will one day rule the other, is an animosity, rivalry and hate that goes back over a century. Neither can forgive the other nor himself for what took place the night the hunters-humans sworn to destroy the dark creatures- last raided the Bears' compound. Not even Tarris, an incubus rescued from death in his infancy by their father who is more than brother to them both, can bridge the gap that separates them. A gap that threatens to erupt into a bloody confrontation.

If the hunters don't kill them, they just might kill each other.

Mark and Luke have had their stories told, now it is Tarris’ turn.

But before Tarris starts his journey, I’m giving a reader a chance to read Luke’s story for free. To win Lovers’ Stone, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog. Then come back on November 19th to celebrate the release of Soul Stone, check out the contest that will debut on that day and find out who wins the free copy of book 2.
And don't forget to check out the blogs on the left, especially Anny Cook, Kelly Marstad and Sandra Cox.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Win a Free Book

As we reach one week to the release of the last book in the Jewels of Ursus trilogy, Soul Stone, I'm offering a contest for a free copy of the second book in the series, Lover's Stone. The first book was Mating Stone.

Lovers’ Stone
Elyssa Edwards

Luke Ursine is drawn to the most sacred place in his clan’s lore. There he finds a woman who touches him like no other and his own mating stone. Not a common mating stone, but a lovers’ stone that declares he has only one true mate, one great love that will claim him body and soul. Anna is the most inappropriate of all mates. She’s a hunter and they are sworn to destroy the Weres. Even if they can set aside generations of hate and murder will their families let them live long enough to enjoy the promised destiny?
To win the free copy, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog over the next five days. Please remember to check back so that you know if you've won.
And that's just the beginning. When Soul Stone releases, I'll be holding a contest for a rainbow opal pendant and matching earrings. More details about that later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Big Thank You.

Happy Veterans’ Day and thank you to all the service men and women, past and present, who have served our country with such devotion and distinction. Your sacrifice, the days and nights that stretched into months and years that you gave up to defend our country and to provide a more safe and secure night’s sleep for those of us at home, will never be taken for granted by most of us. But there is a way that those of us who are not serving can step up and show our support and gratitude.

I come from a family that takes its service seriously. My Great-great-Uncle, a recent immigrant from Hungary, served in the Army in WWI. He died on the fields of France. My great grand father was also an army man, serving in WWI. My grandfather was Navy. He was a tail gunner and a cook on board his ship. He also spent a terrifying period of time in a Japanese prison camp in the Pacific after serving in the Philippines. I’m told my father had a less than stellar, and very brief, career in the Army. My step-father was a member of the K9 Corps in the Air Force and served protecting bases in North Dakota among other things.

I’m asking you all to join me in saying thank you to our service men and women. An Atlanta radio station is orchestrating a way of expressing our gratitude for a second year in a row. Last year Q100 managed to collect over 350,000 hand written letters of thank you. That means every service man or woman serving overseas received a personal letter of thank you from someone they didn’t know on Thanksgiving 2007. This year the station and its morning show crew (The Bert Show) are undertaking an even larger task. This year they want to collect 1 million messages of thanks for our troops.

The how is simple. They have established a website where in only a few seconds (literally) you can enter your name and type a short message of thank you or good wishes to the troops. Imagine being a GI and being able to scroll through thousands of messages of support on those lonely holidays. To know that you are not forgotten.

After the New Year, the thank yous won’t stop. The site is set up to scroll one message every 30 seconds for a whole year. Any time of the day or night, a service man or woman can log in and see messages of support.

So consider going to and spending a few seconds to add your message of thanks. (You can leave as many as you like.) Share the site with your friends and family as well. One million signatures is a lot and it will take a lot of effort, but leaving a message takes only a moment.

Oh, and come back by tomorrow to see the pre-release contest that will kick off the one week count down to Soul Stone’s release.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


It's Sunday. We've spent the day cleanings, doing laundry and other fun things like making burp clothes and cutting and sewing hems on receiving blankets. We bought several types of flannel and I'm making them myself. I have a very disgruntled dachshund right now when he realized the warm fuzzies on Momma's lap were not for him.

The SO's work had a shower for us this past Friday and we'd like to say thanks. It was very sweet. Especially the little gift card drawn by my SO's boss. It showed a baby reading a copy of The Ranger's Apprentice (a YA book and incredibly popular series of books for those who don't know) and had a caption that read: The child of a teacher and a librarian. [Smudgie] at 9 months. It was adorable.

With Soul Stone coming out so soon, I'm going to be hosting a contest soon for a copy of book 2 in the series, Lovers' Stone, for those who haven't read it. Check back on November 12th for details. This will be followed by the contest for the rainbow opal pendant and earrings that will mark the release of Soul Stone.

Hop over and see what's up with Anny Cook, Kelly Marstad and Sandra Cox. And check out the links on left.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chicago- Yesterday and Today

Last night as I watched election returns I got a chill that ran up my spine and gave me gooseflesh. It had nothing to do with the actual election itself. It had to do with the large gathering in Grant Park in Chicago.

Any large political gathering in Chicago can’t help but bring up memories of 1968. The Democratic National Convention was held in the city that year and the iconic and infamous Mayor Daley was not going to be made to look like he couldn’t control his city. The police response to the riots after the assassination of Dr. King had infuriated the Mayor. He was quoted:

"I said to him [the Chief of Police] very emphatically and very definitely that an order be issued by him immediately to shoot to kill any arsonist or anyone with a Molotov cocktail in his hand, because they're potential murderers, and to shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting."

Daley later backtracked on this saying it was taken out of context. However, it was a very "Daley" thing to say.

But 1968 was the year of severe disenfranchisement among large groups of Americans. Blacks were pushing hard at the chains of segregation and the drive for Civil Rights was reaching its boiling point. That April Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated. The young people of America were protesting the war in Vietnam in increasing numbers. A voice that harkened back to the days of the early sixties with the promise of change, of hope and of the dream of Camelot had also been silenced. Robert Kennedy had been assassinated. Both groups wanted their voices to be heard by the Democratic party and the merging of the two groups during the 1968 convention and the typical ball-breaker attitude of Mayor Daley placed a lot of kindling, a lot of accelerant and a lot of matches in one place.

And it exploded. Chicago became the site of a clash between protestors and police. It was violent on both sides and the amount of hatred that filled park was enough to poison everyone. The curfew imposed by Daley was ignored and when the police tried to enforce it, the crowd began to throw rocks. Tear gas and batons were used to subdue protestors. What ensued would later be characterized by the U.S. National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence as a “police riot”.

The trials that followed for the protestors who became known as The Chicago 7 (it was originally the Chicago 8 but Bobby Seale, the only Black defendant, had his trial severed) brought a great deal of unwanted attention to Chicago and so did the arrests of eight police officers for their actions. In the end two were acquitted and five found guilty of crossing state lines to incite a riot. All convictions and most of the contempt charges were tossed out. The trial is remembered as much for the outrageous behavior of activist Abbie Hoffman as the content of the trial. He told the judge "you are a shande fur de Goyim [disgrace in front of the gentiles]. You would have served Hitler better." He later added that "your idea of justice is the only obscenity in the room.”

But last night I watched a different face of political Chicago. And I'm not so sure it had as much to do with who won, but with how invested we became as citizens in this last election. A massive crowd of people gathered. The group was as diverse as the face of America. As they stood clustered together to hear the speech of the President Elect, there was a sense of hope and a sense of peace that our country hasn’t seen since the days of Kennedy and his Camelot. And that gave me a proud sense of national self and hope for what we can accomplish as a people. Not what the politicians can accomplish, but what we the American people can bring to fruition.

Okay folks, now go check out Anny Cook, Kelly Marstad, Sandra Cox, Jenny Beans and others listed to the left who have lots to say.

Don't forget to make sure you come back by on November 12th. I will be launching the first of two Soul Stone contests to celebrate the release of the last book in the Jewels of Ursus Trilogy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

First, for those who didn’t see the McCain/Obama contest in this Nostradamus quatrain:

At the war's end:

The Feeble Kept One will strike down the Night

And his Imbecile Queen will rise from the snow

Bedecked in finery and the pelt of a wolf.

The Feeble Kept One- John McCain is one of the oldest men to run for President and there have been concerns about his health. His wife, Cynthia McCain is a very wealthy woman, part of the Anheiser-Bush family.

Night- Barak Obama is the first African-American/Black nominee from one of the major parties. He has also been referred to as the Black Knight, he will bring justice to politics.

Imbecile Queen- Let’s face it, the biggest criticisms of Palin have involved her intelligence and her tendency to play “cute”

rise from the snow-She’s from Alaska

bedecked in finery and the pelt of a wolf- Palin has been criticized for her wardrobe expenses and she is known for her support of the law allowing the hunting of wolves from helicopter.

Some hope this is a bunch of bull. Some hope it’s true. Personally, I’m not as much concerned about McCain vs. Obama as I am about the possibility of Palin as VP. I think her selection showed a lack of judgment on McCain’s part. Yes, it was smart to pick a woman. Yes, it was time to pick a woman. But that woman?

But that’s not what I want to talk about...

What I want to talk about today is how exciting it is to be a part of this election. I was far too young to understand what was happening when the civil rights movement was going on, and being in the north it wasn’t front and center.

The women’s movement was one I remember growing up with. The women in my family were the strongest people I’ve ever known. They held us together and were the ones we could count on to be there, to take care of us. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about either.

Now at 42, my son soon to be part of this world, I am in the midst of a historic moment. The year 2008 will go down in history as either the year that our nation elected a woman to the executive branch of our government or the year that our nation elected a Black man President. One way or the other, there is no denying that it is a year that we will always remember.

American citizens are more excited and more involved in this election than any I’ve ever seen before. We are so committed, on both sides, to see our votes registered to have our voices heard. And honesty, to me it doesn’t matter why. I don’t care if you are casting your vote out of fear or out of conviction. What I care about is that American are finally taking part in the political process instead of sitting off to the side and feeling disenfranchised and hopeless. What disheartens me is that this wave of interest will pass.

One of my favorite movies is The American President. There are great quotes in that movie that sum up the duty of Americans. Characters says that America is Advanced Civics. You’ve gotta want it. In the United States it is not only our right to question our elected officials, it’s our responsibility. I know the same is true of other democratic republics, but it seems that we are the worst at carrying the banner we first raised in the world. We are the great experiment, and experiment that was failing until just recently.

Let’s just hope that this turn around is a 180 and not a 360.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Seeing the Future

Michel de Nostredame.

Most of us have heard of this historic prophet. His most famous book, Les Propheties (The Prophecies) first appeared in 1555. He has seemed to be incredibly accurate in the prediction of world events, the circumstances of which he could scarce have imagined during the 16th century.

Organized into quatrains, the prophecies range from highly specific to vague and so abstract they could be interpreted to mean almost anything. One of his most specific prophecies was not written down, but he is alleged to have predicted the date of his own death, telling his secretary they would not find him in the morning. Usually identified after the fact, it is said that Nostradamus predicted the Great Fire of London, by way of the rise of Napoleon I of France and Adolf Hitler, to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, but only ever in hindsight.

Enthusiasts also claim he predicted both world wars, and the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Believers also maintain that that he predicted the Apollo moon landings, the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

Well now, it seems that the French prophet has predicted the outcome of the coming election. The following article appeared on the internet today:

CAP NEWS - "Conventional wisdom picks Obama. Nostradamus, four and a half centuries ago, picked John McCain," said Dr. Hubert Evans, professor of Renaissance Studies at Yale University and author of the best-selling Nostradamus: Prophesize This!
Quatrain 78, Century X in particular seems to indicate that Obama had better not be measuring the White House windows for curtains quite yet, at least by my interpretation," said Dr. Evans.

The quatrain to which Dr. Evans refers - Quatrain 78 - is located in the grouping of stanzas known as Century X. Originally published in 1555 in Nostradamus' still-popular Les Prophecies, Quatrain 78 reads in full:

At the war's end:
The Feeble Kept One will strike down the Night
And his Imbecile Queen will rise from the snow
Bedecked in finery and the pelt of a wolf.

Well, who ever you are voting for tomorrow the important thing is that you vote. Democracy, even Democratic Republics like the US, work best when the voices of all of us are heard.

And since I included the McCain pics, here's one of Obama.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Count down.

We are officially in the end of days. In a short time, our lives will change forever and nothing will ever be simple any more. No, I’m not warning of Armageddon. We are exactly one month from the Smudgie due date. The last minute doubts and recriminations have begun.

SO: (as we pulled up the big area rugs and drug them outside to beat them) How are we supposed to take care of a kid? We have trouble keeping our house clean.

Me: It’s okay, precious. We don’t have to take the baby out into the backyard and beat it to clean it.

SO: But I mean, we’ll have to vacuum EVERY DAY.

Me: And your point is?

SO: Can we do this? I mean, can we really do this?

Me: Well you’re about eight months late on asking that question.

SO: What if we become our parent?

Me: It’s possible, but then neither of us came out a sociopath so I’m not so worried if our parents take over our brains from time to time.

I have to admit to one thing. It would really kill me to become my mother. Needless to say, my mom and I don’t have a great relationship. It’s very complicated but never acrimonious. You see my method of dealing with the situation is to avoid it. I live six hundred miles away. Since I moved to Georgia, the relationship between us is better than it has ever been. We don’t argue, we talk on the phone pleasantly. I think it has to do with neither of us knowing quite how to deal with the other. We are so very different.

My mom thrives on drama. The more excited and stirred up things are, the happier she is complaining about it. Me, I hate drama. I like calm, quiet and even boring. My family, a byproduct of generations of indoctrination are loud, impossible to ignore and in each other’s business. Ever see My Big Fat Greek Wedding? My maternal side is like that, only we’re not Greek. We’re Irish, German and Romani and boy does that make for an interesting mix of personalities. And I’m one of four in five generations of my family that didn’t live within 30 miles of everyone else. Myself, two cousins and my nephew all got out.

Now that Smudgie is close to coming, I do regret that he is going to grow up without cousins to run in and out of his life. I can’t imagine my young life without my cousins. But he’s going to have a better life than I had. He’s not going to have to worry about enough food to eat, clothes to wear and if there would be enough heat to keep him from getting frostbite at night. He won’t have to watch for roaches when he goes into the kitchen at night or rats in the bathroom. At least I hope he won’t. God willing, we’ll always be able to make his life better than either of ours was.

On a higher note:

Seventeen Days until the release of Soul Stone.

Soul Stone, the final book in the Jewels of Ursus trilogy that included Mating Stone and Lover's Stone, will be released on November 19th. I'm so very excited for everyone to see what's instore for Tarris, my little incubus. His story was so compelling to me that it ended up surpassing the novella requirements to be a part of Ellora's Cave's Jewels series and became a full blown novel. It can be read as a stand alone, but I have to admit there are little jokes and situations that you will find funnier if you have read Mark and Luke's stories first.

And as I have with the other Jewels of Ursus stories, I will be having a contest and giving away a semi-precious piece of jewelery. Tarris' story was intended to be an October Jewel and you will find that an opal plays an important part in his story. Because of that, the prize this time will be a rainbow opal pendant and matching earrings. These are delicate and since Tarris isn't sensitive to silver like his Were brothers, these are set in silver. To the left you can see a preview of the pendant.

I'll roll out the contest closer to the time of the release, so be sure to check back. Now run off and see what the other folks whose blogs are on the left have to say.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Reads and Long Waits

I just finished reading Cheryl Dragon’s book I’m Okay, You’re a Fake. I absolutely loved it. The characters are strong and well written. The secondary characters are complex and fascinating. I love when an author can develop a character that is so engaging that it evokes an emotional response from me. And this did. Without giving much away I seriously wanted to slip into Dragon’s world for a moment and smack Mary-Lou (the socialite next-door). She’s not a bad character, but seriously needs a good slap in the head. If you’ve not discovered this series by Dragon, the first was titled I’m Okay, You’re Dead, you need to make an effort to. The books are available in both trade paper and e-book formats. (Link)

Also, if you’re looking for something a bit racier that will definitely get your blood pounding and have you fidgeting in your chair take a look at Brynn Paulin’s print edition of Brotherly Bonds. This is the collected stories of the Cress brothers that were originally released as separate e-books. Why am I touting this if it’s not new? Because this is one of the best collections of erotica I think you could lay your hands on, especially with a well portrayed BD/SM subtext. I was so taken with these individual stories that I read my way through them quickly and was thrilled to find out that Ellora’s Cave was compiling them into one print volume. So if you’re someone who doesn’t rush out for e-books, now’s your chance to get them in print. (Link)

It’s the day after Halloween. Around here all that really means is another day, this one spent cleaning the living room. It’s amazing how much hair a dog can shed and not be bald yet. I swear my Cavalier sheds so much that we could start a business knitting her fur into clothing. And yes, we know it’s her because she’s the only one with dark hair.

I spent three hours this past week standing in line to vote. It was one of the most startling things I’ve experienced in a while. Usually early voting means small lines and little waiting. Not this year. This year I voted at the Cobb Galleria Mall. This is a small exclusive mall in my county that had the open space to set up a polling place. It was preferable to many of the other places where the lines meant standing outside. In this case the lines wrapped up and down the hallways of the indoor mall. The line moved fairly steadily but was so long it was still a three hour wait. I swear the line had to have been more than a mile long as it wound around and around down each passageway of the building.

The good points? I got to vote. I got to scope out some really cute handbags and the most adorable little bomber jacket in little kid size. There was a food court and everyone was pretty cool about allowing folks to zip out of line and grab a bite, especially when I was there from 5pm until after 8pm. I also had enough time to finish the above mentioned book while waiting.

The bad? The wait. After working I had to stand on my feet for 3 solid hours. Not the most comfortable thing when you’re still in your work clothes. Then there were the stupid comments from people who where also waiting in line. One young professional man was pontificating on how it was unfair for the ballot to be read to those who didn’t speak English and how this meant they got to go to the front of the line as being someone who “needed assistance to vote.” He repeatedly griped about how if you couldn’t read or couldn’t read English you shouldn’t be allowed to vote and should “go back where you came from.” I’m pretty sure the only thing that saved him from getting told off or worse was the presence of the police and the fact that after 3 hours in line no one wanted to jeopardize their chance to vote.

Jim Crowe anyone? How is it we’ve gotten to this point as a society and still have such stupid people amongst us? I agree that the United States is an English speaking country. Just like our ancestors, those who come here in this century should be encouraged to learn the language. You don’t go to France and expect people to accommodate your English. You wouldn’t move to Mexico and expect people to accommodate your English. Or maybe that’s the problem. We would. Have we become less of a melting pot and more of a sampler tray? What do you think?

Don’t forget Anny Cook, Kelly Marstad and Sandra Cox. Bronwyn Green also has good things to say.