Friday, February 27, 2009

Better with Age?

Today’s blog is superficial, silly and just overall frivolous. But then, aren’t we all sometimes?

Our local paper’s entertainment section released a gallery of men over 40 that women love. These are men who, according to the article, are looking fine as time refines them. I personally don’t think this list represents what most women would agree are the top 10 men over 40. On this list were:

1. George Clooney

2. Patrick Dempsey

3. Denzel Washington

4. Clive Owen

5. Robert Downey Jr.

6. Rickey Gervais (okay, I had to google this one. No clue and well…not so much.)

7. Steve Carell (okay, someone’s joking now, right?)
8. Will Smith (now folks this one should fall a LOT higher on this list)

9. Daniel Craig

10. Javier Bardem (who is actually only 39)

I can't say I agree with many of these. I'll give you Clooney, Will Smith, and even Robert Downey Jr. But for the most part I just can't see it. So instead I offer you my version of the list of Hollywood's top ten men over 40 (not necessarily in order):

1. Hugh Jackman –40 years old, he just makes the list. But I ask you, how you miss 2008’s sexiest man alive on this list?
2. Will Smith-40 years old and would grab my #2 slot easy. (Get your minds out of the gutter.)
3. Antonio Banderas -48 years old and they don’t come much hotter.

4. Jeffrey Dean Morgan -42 years old (granted he and Bardem seem to have been separated at birth, but at least he is legitimately over 40)
5. Colin Firth -48 years old. Is there anyone who could resist the original Mr. Darcy?

6. Sean Bean -49 years old, this one is more in homage to my friend Jenn who would follow him anywhere. And he has certainly improved with age.

7. John Cusack -42 years old (a fact that depressed me deeply, by the way) is charming, funny and sexy.

8. Pierce Brosnan -54 years old, he is and will always be the only man who could take Sean Connery’s place as James Bond.

9. George Clooney – I’ll give you this one. He has certainly improved from his days on “Facts of Life.”

10. Gerard Butler –Okay, he won’t be 40 until late this year, but if they can stretch for Bardem, I can stretch too. And come on, the guy deserves the improved with age label. Check out Dracula 2000 sometime and you’ll see he’s come a long, long way.

Hmmmm… I wonder who would be on the list if we did women in Hollywood who have aged well, ie. are even more beautiful now. Well, let’s have your suggestions, who should have been on the guys list and who should we put on the women’s list.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MID-Mommy ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome

No, it isn't a new medical condition, at least not one recognized by medical science but it darn well should be; right under TID, Teacher's ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome.

I've been a sufferer of TID for a long time. Schools are cesspools of viruses. Seriously. I discovered I was ill more often once I started teaching. But nothing like once I became a mommy. Since Z was born I've been ill over and over again. Now I have bronchitis and all the joys that go along with it.

So instead of listening to me whine here are some cute pics I've collected but not used from and

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I know many romance writers who write from the perspective of their heroine. This seems perfectly natural since they are women and it would seem that they would be better at getting inside a female character's head. And since a good number of romance readers are women, it makes sense this would be a successful tact to take.

I however, am not one of those writers. Female characters are the bane of my writing attempts. Anytime a heroine becomes the main focus of my story, when her point of view is prevalent, my writing stalls. Now being a woman myself, this seems odd to me. Why can't I control my female characters? I had one female character hold up a story for three months because I just couldn't get her to compromise. I had written a strong female who was asking why exactly she should give an inch even if the hero came crawling. Sigh.

Anny Cook wrote the other day about a story that she just couldn't get to work. I have one of those. I have but the ending written and I can't seem to figure out how to get my hero and heroine back together after both of them make a stupid choice about trust and what it means. No, no one cheated on anyone, it had to do with the truth of the hero's identity. Anyway, I want my heroine to remain strong and believable, I was irritated recently when one of my favorite writers took the easy way out in a short story. I'd been waiting for that character's story for ages, but in the end was disappointed because the heroine did a 180 in her attitude toward the hero at supersonic speed.

So, to the writing muses, who are supposed to be women, help me out here.

Circle of Wolves is out from Cerridwen Press. You can read an excerpt and a bit more about the story and the world by clicking on the links or visiting

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Today is the release day for my seventh book with the folks at Jasmine-Jade Enterprises. As Elyssa Edwards I've released two novellas, a Quickie and a novel with Ellora's Cave. Writing under my real name, Jacquéline Roth, I've released two previous novels with Cerridwen Press.

Today's release is special. I started writing a story called "In the Company of Wolves" over four years ago. I started writing in the fanfiction genre and it was wonderful to hone my skills. In fact, I use it with my students when teaching narrative writing. It lets me focus in on specific skills such as character development, plotting, pacing, word choices, etc. Wolves was the first time I really believed I could create a fully original and complex world of my own.
I need to say a quick thank you to Chris and Steve, who believed Wolves was more than a romance. Eddie and Curtis who provided tacticle support. The Circle of Crones and the Staff at eMuse who have always been an anchor of support.

Now Evan Forester and Kira Gregoravitch are being introduced to the world. And some characters who will be back with their own tales to tell later have come along for the ride. I hope you enjoy their story.

Circle of Wolves

War. His world stands on the precipice and he is the best chance to stop it? All his life his secret has been protected by his family and friends. They’ve all protected him from those who would have seen him tagged and caged like an animal. Or worse, exterminated. Now that very secret makes the earth mage Evan Forester the perfect choice for this mission. Find the Wolves and convince them to form an alliance with the mage world. But what he finds among the Wolves is more than he ever dreamed possible for himself. The very nature he is forced to subdue and hide, they would welcome and celebrate. Even more, among these people he finds the one his soul calls “mate”. Still the awful truth remains, if the alliance fails, he will be forced to choose between the place he calls home and the one woman he loves and who loves all that he is, wolf and man.


“You don’t often see one of your kind who’s one of them. They’re usually smart enough to stay away from us. Looks like you’re a slow learner who didn’t learn his lesson the first time.”

Evan saw no need to prevaricate. “As I was only a bit more than a toddler at the time, perhaps you are correct. I didn’t learn my lesson.” He looked at the dark eyed man. “My name is…”

“Yeah, we know what your name is Evan Forester.” Alexi motioned to his companions to sit. “If you’d planned on keeping it a secret I must say you did a poor job of it. You must have told half of Europe your name.” Karl arrived with drinks.

Alexi placed one in front of Evan and smiled. “Now, you have my undivided attention. What exactly do you want, Evan Forester? Why are you looking for us?”

Evan pushed the drink aside. “I wasn’t aware I was looking for you. But then, I don’t know who you are.”

The brown eyes narrowed again and then reopened as he shrugged carelessly, “Alexi Gregoravitch.” No hand was offered but Evan hadn’t been expecting it to be. Gregoravitch. It was the name he was looking for. He had found the heart of the “family”.

The man before him was acting the stereotypical wolf-man, internalizing behaviors of the wolf into his actions. His eyes challenged Evan for dominance, his posture pressing his advantage and trying to force Evan into a more submissive role. Evan let him—to a point. If he challenged this man, he could end up back at square one. If he drew back too far, he might be deemed unworthy of any respect and that could be outright dangerous.

“I see. Then you’re not who I’m looking for. I have a message to deliver but not to you.” Evan picked up his cup and drained the last of the now cold liquid.

Alexi’s smile didn’t waver but his eyes darkened. “No kidding. Let me guess. You expect to deliver this message to Stanislav Gregoravitch personally?”

“That is my intent.”

Alexi laughed out loud. “Do you really think the Alpha of all Wolves would allow your kind to even enter his presence?”

“Why not?”

“Because of what you are, you idiot.” The humor was now gone. Alexi was looking at him down his aristocratic nose. “No curse wolf would be allowed beyond the gate, let alone in my father’s presence. No, my little friend, you’re not getting near him.”

“Curse wolf?”

Alexi laughed at him again. Evan felt his patience slipping. He was used to snips and jibes that were meant to be good-natured but often came out cutting and harsh. Years of friendship with Marcus McClendon, the circle’s fire mage who had all the spark and danger of his element, had taught him to deal with that. But the lack of concern for feelings, the true and utter disregard for how his words would be received, made this man’s comments different. He was speaking to him as if he was talking to a lower form of life. The way members of the conclave spoke about the dark creatures they believed they had the right to contain or destroy upon the slightest whim.

“You don’t know what a curse wolf is?” His companions were guffawing. When Evan ignored him, Alexi pushed one of the glasses toward him again. “Come now. Drink with us and maybe I’ll see what I can do.”

Evan knew there was no intention in this wolf-man to help him at all. Perhaps, though, he could get more information out of him. Evan picked up the glass hoping there’d been enough time for the Babel Potion to enter his blood before this alcohol hit his system. He watched the other men slam back the contents of the glass and followed suit.

And began to gag. Sputtering he tried to ignore the uproar of laughter coming from the other men. Great, Evan, he thought, that was smooth.

“Sorry,” Alexi’s eyes glinted wickedly, “should have warned you. Karl makes this stuff in the back room. It’s not exactly safe for human consumption.” The eyes narrowed. “But then that’s not really a problem for some of us is it.”

Evan wasn’t sure he heard correctly. What ever this stuff was he had just voluntarily poisoned himself with was churning in his stomach. Alexi pushed a second glass toward him and gave him his most charming smile. “Go on. The second one isn’t as bad. You might want to take this one more slowly, though.”

Unable to believe his own stupidity, Evan lifted the glass and swallowed. He didn’t gag this time or choke. Outwardly anyway. He put the empty glass down. “Look Alexi,” he saw the other man’s eyes widen and his mouth compress tightly. He had said something wrong but wasn’t sure what it was.

“That’s Mr. Gregoravitch to you, pup-eater,” growled one of the other men. His light eyes seemed lifeless and cold as they glared at Evan.

“It’s all right, Ivan,” Alexi’s smile was back. “I don’t think he understands the reality of things. Perhaps we simply need to explain a few things to him.”

“If by that you mean to beat me senseless hoping I’ll absorb the information from your fists, I assure you it won’t work and it might prove more difficult than you are imagining at the moment. It would be much more effective if one of you just told me what you’re talking about. What is a curse wolf? What do you mean my kind? And what is a pup-eater?” Evan felt the effects of the drink warming his veins.

Alexi laughed and shoved another drink in front of him. “I think we shall have a long talk, my new little friend.”

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We went to the Georgia Aquarium for the SO’s birthday today. Of course our camera stopped working not long after we got there. Grrrr. The other grrr was that we’d purchased tickets to see the Titanic exhibit but no where on the tickets did it say we wouldn’t be allowed to take in our stroller and bags. The “stroller parking” was a place up against a wall with a sign. Riiiight. I’m supposed to leave my stroller and bags out in the open in a packed public place?

I got in line to demand a refund, but heard the people who just walked away from the counter say the next tickets available were for 4pm and they didn’t want to wait. We sold them our tickets. Our aquarium has great exhibits and several touch pools for the kids. I love the belugas and was bummed that I wasn’t going to be able to take pictures of them. I did get pics of the whale sharks. They are huge! The moon jelly fish were cool too.

Oh, and I’ve never shown myself on my blog before. But here’s me and Z in front of the first tank. I think they are tuna. My SO took the pics and, as you can see, I’m the photographer in the family. *grin*

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Isn’t he just the most adorable thing?

Valentine’s Day is the day when we often think of love between two people or even between family members. But for many those we love include the furry four-footed variety of people. In our house we humans are still out numbered by the canine contingent and we like it that way.

Loving our pets and receiving love from them is a special kind of joy, but it is also a special kind of responsibility. My SO and I have viewed our four-legged children as a life-time responsibility just like our son. We accepted responsibility for them for their whole life. Where Z will one day grow up and become a responsible person who takes care of himself, with our continued love and support, our furry kids will need us all their lives. Just as we won’t bail on Z when he’s having a tough time (like at 4am when he’s been crying since 10pm and has demanded that mom hold and rock him the entire night even though she has to work in the morning), we don’t bail on our other kiddies.

Yes, I am a bit of a radical animal activist. But if you’re going to be passionate about something, taking care of the animals that God gave us dominion (read responsibility and stewardship and not control) over is a pretty good thing to be passionate about. Just like it’s a good thing to be passionate about the world we are supposed to be keeping safe for our children and their children.

What I’d like to suggest to you on this Valentine’s Day, and as Easter approaches, is that we enter into pet ownership with full commitment. I was reading a story recently about a woman whose boyfriend bought her “love birds” for Valentine’s Day. Cute. But birds live a long time and they’re not for everyone. I’ve known people who brought home puppies and kittens for Valentine’s Day as well. Easter often brings the people who still go out and buy cute little bunnies or ducklings. These are not disposable pets to be discarded when we’re tired of them.

I encourage you, if you are going to add a pet to your family, to go to the local shelter. The all American-mutt is alive, well and often the best pet you could have. We rescued an abandoned dog I found alongside a road a few years ago. She was emaciated, had a respiratory infection and her coat was uncomfortable to touch, falling out in clumps. After the vet confirmed she wasn’t dangerous and there had been no damage to her liver or kidneys from the starvation, we treated her infection, fed her well and soon she was a beautiful and loved member of our family. We had never intended to keep her, just to find her a home. So when the people who dog sat her while we were on vacation asked if they could keep her (they’d fallen in love with her) we were thrilled.

If you’re looking for a specific breed but don’t intend to invest the large amounts of money to “show” the dog, let me suggest You can search by breed for these dogs in need of rescue and a loving home. Or google your breed and the term “rescue”. Almost every breed has one and you can save a dog from a sad future. Avoid puppy mills.

Speaking of “puppy mills”, I’ve not weighed in yet on the octuplet mom. I wanted to wait until I had seen some of the rumor shake out and what was really happening.

I’m appalled. My SO and I had to use interutero insemination to get pregnant. Z was planned and we agonized, and still do, over whether we have/had the money to care for him properly. I can’t imagine being a single parent and intentionally having 14 children. I can understand the rationalization behind the first 6. She had them in two “batches” and perhaps she didn’t really expect she would end up with that many infants. But for her to then undergo invitro again was irresponsible and in my mind criminal negligence. AT this point almost everything that has to be said has been said and it seems like pile on.

Instead I want to ask a couple of other questions. The taxpayers of California aren’t the only ones who will have to pay for what this woman has done. We all will and not just in the federal disability that most of these children will require or in the increased costs of health care that will be passed on to us to make up for the lost payments. Or in the “education loans” she expects to get to care for her kids while she goes back to school.

Insurance companies will re-examine their views on fertility treatment and no one will complain because of the negative feelings toward fertility procedures this woman had engendered. A few states require insurance companies to cover infertility treatment, but the scandal of this birth may make it easier for insurance companies to block single women from receiving treatment.

Our basic human freedom’s may be in danger as well. Many legislators are talking about “laws” to prevent such things from happening. I hate that this happened, but to have this result in the government legislating reproductive rights is just terrifying. I’m not talking about abortion here. I’m talking about legislators making the decision on how many children we should be allowed to have, how many embryos could be implanted at one time, etc. That’s a small step to deciding who should be allowed to have children and who shouldn’t. Remember, the government used to forcibly sterilize people who had been committed to state institutions. And this at a time when having severe depression (now treatable with meds) or seizures (now treatable with meds) and other disabilities we no longer automatically declare as grounds for institutionalization.

I have a question about what this situation is going to mean for the woman’s ex-boyfriend who is the sperm donor. Will he be held responsible for these children? He agreed to go along with the first pregnancy but not the subsequent ones. Are we not going to force him to pay child support? I say we make the doctor, whose actions are beyond reprehensible, pay child support. If they can force the ex-boyfriend to pay support, will they one day extend this to sperm donors period? If so a means for families to be made will be gone. No man will help infertile couples if he is going to be held financially responsible for the child.

We will be feeling the effects of this woman’s bad choices for some time to come. Still, I feel worse for the 14 innocent lives that she has created to feed her need for love and acceptance.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Reviews and Releases

Soul Stone, my latest release as Elyssa Edwards, received it's first review recently. I'm happy with it.

"SOUL STONE is an intriguing blend of paranormal romance and suspense...An engaging and sensual tale, check out SOUL STONE." -Jennifer Bishop, RRTErotic


Soul Stone
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.

February 19th, Circle of Wolves will be released.

Circle of Wolves
Jacquéline Roth

War. His world stands on the precipice and he is the best chance to stop it? All his life his secret has been protected by his family and friends. They’ve all protected him from those who would have seen him tagged and caged like an animal. Or worse, exterminated. Now that very secret makes the earth mage Evan Forester the perfect choice for this mission. Find the Wolves and convince them to form an alliance with the mage world. But what he finds among the Wolves is more than he ever dreamed possible for himself. The very nature he is forced to subdue and hide, they would welcome and celebrate. Even more, among these people he finds the one his soul calls “mate”. Still the awful truth remains, if the alliance fails, he will be forced to choose between the place he calls home and the one woman he loves and who loves all that he is, wolf and man.

This is part of the same world that the Jewels of Ursus series was written in. It is the next book in the series that started with Measure of Healing.

Z has a cold. He seriously hates having his little nose suctioned. According to the doctor he's 10lb 15oz and 24" long. He's growing so fast!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A short one

Just a short shout of celebration as I'm updating from work at the moment.

Z slept through the night!

Z has outgrown his Moses basket that has been his bed the past two months. Two nights ago we had to put him in his crib for the first time. He woke up every twenty minutes...and so did mom. But last night I ignored the rules. He can't roll over yet so I put a couple of rolled blankets to either side of him and swaddled him good. He slept all night.

Hurray for 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep!