29 September 2007

Dream a little dream

What did you dream last night?

Everyone does it. Some people as few as 3 a night, some as many as 7. Not everyone remembers their dreams, and most people only remember one or two a night.

Some mornings I remember the surroundings in my dreams with perfect clarity. Who, where, what we were doing, down to the feel of the carpet under my feet and the scent of the dirty dog laying at my feet. The details are there, but without meaning - I don't remember why I was doing whatever I was doing.

Then there are the dreams where I wake feeling like I've been through an emotional wringer. Loss, anger, despair, or more rarely utter bliss and joy - I feel them, but have only the briefest flash of actual dream that goes with it. These dreams aren't much fun - if I'm going to wake up feeling like my world is coming to an end, I'd at least like to know what made me feel that way.

The biggest theme in my dreams is that I'm not me. If I have kids, they aren't the ones I feed, care for, and love in my waking world. If I'm married, it's rarely to the man snoring next to me now. My house isn't the same four walls, and often when I wake up I realize that there's not a thing from my dream that seems like my real world.

I spent a bit of time checking out Dream Moods to see if I could get a better grasp on my dreams and what they mean. It was reassuring to see that it's not unusal to dream of being someone else, and that just because my husband and kids don't make frequent appearances it doesn't mean I don't think they're important - more likely, it's a sign that I'm not worried about them. Our dreams are very self centered places where our subconscious plays our concerns; the ego gets free reign to explore its worries.

I'm not sure that I agree that dreaming of despair "signifies that you will have many hardships and experience much cruelties in the working world." Unless having to watch Trollz for the thirtyteenth time is certifiably cruel.

Dreaming of dogs is even more confusing. It could "indicate a skill that you have ignored or forgotten, but needs to be activated." Or, it could "symbolize intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity." There's no explanation of the stinky part, so I'm going out on a limb and projecting that my dog needs a bath. My nose confirms the theory.

Do you remember your dreams? And do you wonder what they mean when you do?

27 September 2007


Lately, I've been enjoying that new superhero show, House. Now it's taken me a while to realize he's a superhero. At first I thought he was just a doctor. But his incredible powers of observation and his amazing ability to put the pieces of a diagnostic puzzle together have convinced me otherwise.

Don't get me wrong. I love House. I love the show, I love the actor, Hugh Laurie (remember him in Stuart Little?), and I love the character, Gregory House.

But I've been watching the seasons on DVD. I actually didn't see so many episodes of season 1. But I'm glued to season 2 and looking forward to season 3. (Don't spoil me!)

Thing is, when you watch House solve four extremely difficult cases in one day, you begin to think it's not quite realistic. It's TV you think (or I think) and that's okay. But when my suspension of disbelief begins to disappear, I find it easier to decide this is a somewhat alternate reality with superheroes and then I can just sit back and enjoy again.

So who is your favorite of his students/acolytes: Cameron, Chase or Foreman? It may change from season to season, but at the moment mine is Chase. Now, maybe I'm shallow and it's just that he's the prettiest. But I think this season Foreman is too arrogant (I still like him, just not best), Cameron is, well, Cameron—she's okay, occasionally a little tiresome but I wouldn't want to do without her—and Chase isn't stabbing House in the back. Instead, he made a big mistake and he paid.

Oh, and talking about alternate reality. I am pretty sure that in Canada, doctors, even would-be fellows of genius doctors, do not go into patients' homes and search through their rooms. Yet it seems to happen every second episode! Maybe this is common in the states?! (I'm doubting it, but correct me if I'm wrong.)

So, anyone else a fan of House the superhero?

(And, no, I haven't yet see Heroes, but I will.)

26 September 2007

Moonlight Becomes Me?

During my last turn at the blogwheel I explored what it would be like to be a vampiressessess. (still can't say that) This time, I'm looking at the advantages of being a well, I suppose there's really no other word for it--a Superbitch. I love books about shapeshifters, in fact, I've written three of my own. However, in all of them, my shifter is a male. So, what advantages does a Weregrrl have over a mere miss?

When the Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie That's Amore`

Hot fanged and furry alpha bad boyz must exude some sort of sexed up vibes. Why else would otherwise intelligent strong-willed women lose the ability to think, say no and/or stay vertical the minute these admittedly fantabulous Furboys walk through the door? Pheromones can only explain so much and as for those washboard stomachs, come on how shallow can any woman be.. *pause* okay, I'll give on the abs, and those added *ahem* inches don't hurt either.

However, it goes without saying that whatever Furboys can do a Weregrrl can do better. Girls Rule, Boys Drool after all. Queen of All I Survey is a long and unwieldy title, but I could learn to live with it. Come and worship, but don't forget my daily tithe of Godivas. Surely supernatural canines can overcome that digesting chocolate thing their pleeb brethren have, if not, I shall be a pioneer for paranormal puppies everywhere.

Bark At The Moon

Now for the darker side of being a big bad wolf babe. Fur. That's right, I said it. Fighting the hirsute battle, mowing the leg lawn, whether with wax or a set of triple steel blades designed to slice our flesh with one false move. Now tell me women ain't tough enough to rip off someone's heads with their bare hands.

Which brings me to my next subject: Growling,mood swings, glowing eyes, and growing fangs and claws once a month is something I'm already familiar with, thanks to my friend and yours, Mother Nature. *Grr* While it's long been a proven fact that women are connected intimately with the tides and therefore the moon, I'm not so sure I'd want to be Hairy Carrie even if it was temporary. (Tee hee a rhyme!)

So, super strength and oh-so-sexy would be wonderful, but I've got three words that outweigh those two things.

Full. Body. Brazilian.


Jenna Leigh
Who Can Buy Her Own Chocolate, Thanks!

25 September 2007

Samhain New Releases, September 25

There's only one release from Samhain today with out and out speculative content, but it's a doozy!

"The Dragon of Ankoll Keep” by K. S. Augustin
ISBN: 1-59998-609-4

Length: Novella

Cover art by Christine Clavel

Human for half a month, dragon for the other half…his salvation lies in the hands of a young, broken thief.


Check out these and several other tasty releases today at http://www.samhainpublishing.com/!

Jody W.
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://meankittybox.blogspot.com/

24 September 2007

A Case for Cryptozoology

Very few things torque me as much as a skeptic. Especially ones who point a finger at cryptozoologists and shout, "Crackpot."

"Show me the proof," they scream. "If you can't provide a carcass, then *insert cryptid here* doesn't exist."

To borrow a line from Wayne's World: "A sphincter says what?"

In the years between 1994-2004, over 361 new species of animals were discovered and classified in Borneo alone. Quite an impressive statistic for one place on the map. Last summer I read an article which discussed a heretofore unknown species of crab that looks like it wears fur pants somewhere in the South Pacific.

The point I'm trying to make is that in 2007 don't you think all animals and plant life should have been discovered and cataloged by now? And yet, scientists are still making new and exciting discoveries in the animal kingdom. Why then is it soooo impossible for some people to believe that mythological or fabled creatures could exist. I'm not saying for every skeptic to get up on a table top, grab a bullhorn and start pointing the way to the Loch Ness Monster. I just want them to admit that we haven't fully realized all the members of the animal kingdom so there is a possibility that Ogo-Pogo or Bigfoot could be out there waiting to be found.

Given the numbers I quoted above, don't you think it's possible there are still some thing we don't know about our world? I do! Want you know something else? I don't want us to know everything. I love the idea of imagining, speculating and dreaming of the existance of mythological creatures. Where would fantasy and paranormal romances be without them?

Writing romances about the lesser known members of the cryptid world is a lot of fun. I've written books based on the Jersey Devil. I mention the Moth Man in another. Wouldn't a shifter story about a Gryphon be interesting? And not just any Gryphon, but one who dresses in battle armor and fights for his lady love. Or a Gargolye with the heart of a poet.

How creative can you get with cryptids? Let's see whatcha' got.


23 September 2007


Also known as Mabon, Feast of Avalon, Second Harvest, Festival of Dionysus and of course the Autumn Equinox. It is the time where day and night stand in equilibrium, and for a moment we are left to reflect on the balance in our lives as we prepare for final harvest and the coming winter. The nights are getting longer, the winds are getting colder and the veil is growing thinner by moment.

Spring and Summer give rise to thoughts of Faerie Circles and the magic of Youth, but there is something significant about Fall that calls up thoughts of the supernatural. Knowing that we’re going into the Dark Time, the Great Slumber, opens us up to see and hear more of the world than we ever manage to take in the rest of the year.

We once celebrated the sensitivity of this season by giving thanks to the land, placing offerings for the wee folk, and preparing to welcome back our ancestors before the snows came to blanket the fields. Over time and many conquerings, the reverence was lost, changed, turned from the deeply spiritual and every day, to the comical, childish, and disregarded or outright appropriated. Only as of late have we begun to reclaim this time of year for all who feel the callings of Autumn and the thinning of the veil.

Halloween is the second largest holiday after Christmas and is gaining every year. Its origins are explored on every channel from the night of the Equinox until November comes to stay a time. All the while, we make up for the blindness imposed by the conquerors by creating OtherWorlds. We transform the mundane until we see witches, wizards, ghosts, vampires, goblins, demons and all manner of supernatural staring out at us from window clings and door hangings and lawn ornaments. We’ve begun to take back this time of wonder and have seeded the world with possibility again.

And it all starts now, with this turn of season, this coming of darkness, this resting of light.

May you find your own balance in this time of change. May your harvest be fruitful and see you through the winter. Most of all, may your eyes be open to the otherness standing so close as to be breathing upon your skin. They’ve waited all year to have your attention. Don’t put them off any longer.

Dare to Believe in this abundance of possibility.

More information: Mabon, Wiki-Goodness.....

21 September 2007

Making Out at The Movies

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Now on to the report:-

Making Out at the Movies

A.K.A. Don't leave her panties under the seat.

Okay, so you managed to put it off this long through the clever use of subterfuge, deceit and the expert use of your tongue. Now, though, she's getting very persistent. The whiff of popcorn and hotdogs haunts her every waking minute and her affections for you are wilting like the left over nachos after the long intermission. So you have to take your soul (for those of you who have one,) put it into your hands and offer to take her to… the movie theater.

So what do you do? What do you wear? And, more importantly, which of the thousands of movies currently playing are you going to watch without making that major faux pas you've been dreading?

Well, never fear, Agent Double D3’s expert investigations into matrimonial matinees and evening frights will lead you in the direction that will most likely result in a fulfilling evening for you and your beloved, and a panty free night back home. Here is Agent Double D3's guide to Making Out at the Movies.

Agent Double D.3 reports :

1. Vampires:
— Remember you are a vampire. V-A-M-P-I-R-E got it? You kinda like blood. In fact blood really does this funny number on you where you tend to get really excited, yes? So excited, in fact, that a little too much staring at blood and decapitation (and bodies spewing red fountains of the delicious liquid) that you've been known, on occasion, to find a rather embarrassing stain on the front of your pants. Don't. Whatever you do, do not take your date to one of the slasher, horror, let's see how many peeps and how nasty they can die films. Not if you don't want to be walking out of the theater garnishing strange looks from the other patrons, and your date at least a hundred yards away and finding herself very interested in everything but you. Play it safe, take her to a nice safe movie, like Feast of Love or Good Luck Chuck. Then after showering her with as much popcorn and soda as she wants, suggest she might want to go back to your place for a much pleasanter bite to eat.
Dress code— Casual, if you can't wear jeans—we all know how finicky vamps are about designer wear—then at least wear a pair of casual slacks and a polo shirt. Bring plenty of hankies, your date will invariably need them if you don't. Make sure the shirt is stain resistant for when she has to cry on your shoulder, and if you insist on going to watch a blood fest, wear plastic panties to prevent the stain. If she asks what the crinkling noises are just admit to having become overenthusiastic at the drug store and your pockets are stuffed full of condoms. You never know, it might work.

2. Werewolf:
— Following your nature you'll be drawn towards movies like, The Deerhunter, and Werewolf in London. Avoid these. The last thing your date needs is for you to morph into something a bit less comfortable and go charging, head first, into a solid screen. Taking you to Werewolf ER is really the last thing on her mind and she'll probably end up donating you to the nearest biological society for research purposes. Or, alternately, she'll hate hearing all the gory details about how movie makers have no idea on how werewolves really change, and what's this crap about having your clothes when you return to form. Well, your date and probably a hundred other movie goers are likely to skin you and donate the fur to a local stuffed toy factory before the movie is half-way over. Stick to the easy ones like Resident Evil, The Heartbreak Kid. If you can't prevent your drooling over all the spilt blood and body parts, go watch the latest Disney movie. And no, it doesn't matter how many times you ask, hot dogs don't come rare.
Dress Code— What you normally wear is cool. Just don't change and turn naked while you're there okay. It has been known to offend some of the other audience. Hankies are essential, unless you want your furry shoulder to be used as an alternative for a sniffly nose, trust me, it takes ages to wash out. Once the movie is over treat your date to a nice meal out at the local Steak and Bake and observe, casually, that you'd really like her for dessert. Trust me, a cab won't get you home soon enough.

3. Ghosts:
Movie— Now is not the time to admit that you are terrified of ghost movies. Especially if the main ghost character reminds you of your psychopathic aunt, or your homicidal grandfather. Just grit your teeth and ask your date what her favorite movie is, and what she'd like to see. (Because she has so much trouble seeing you. *snerk*). If you really want to get her hot take her to something sexy like Brokeback Mountain, Indecent Proposal, or Lady Chatterly's Lover. Note you also have the option of being able to gently tease her, uhm, delicate places without the embarrassment of being seen. Prepare her beforehand though with a whispered "I Love you." Having your icy touch on her wotsits in the middle of a love scene will cause a scene of its own when she screams…
Dress Code— This is a movie theater, not a real theater. So you can take off those fancy togs and dress in something a little more human instead. Good God man, uhm, ghost. Haven't you watched enough TV to see how folks dress nowadays? Once suitably attired give your date as much popcorn, nachos and hotdogs as she wants. You should be able to get these fairly cheaply by simply levitating them over to her. No sales assistant is going to be around long once things start moving around by themselves. It is essential to bring lots of hankies. If she attempts to cry on your shoulder she'll simply succeed in falling sideways into your chair causing major embarrassment all around. This will make her feelings for you chill faster than a Southwester on Crack. Remember, hankies means getting into panties, okay?

4. Invisible Man:
— Go ahead, stand up in the middle of the latest SF epic and yell "You noodles. Crosswiring the Trinmen circuits with the Gutmela breakers will blast the whole ship to Hell." You'll find out just how popular your mad scientist knowledge can be, and just how fast your date can vanish. So, think. No SF epics, and any movie with even a small SF element should be ignored if you want to end up with a panty free date at the end of the evening. Steer her towards the more romantic and sexy movies, no matter how bored you might get. Use the time you spend not watching the movie to gently tease and stroke her. No one will see you and she'll end up all hot and ready for you when the movie is over. Remember though, make sure you pick up her panties from under the seat when you leave.
Dress Code—Nice clean bandages and casual wear is best. Once in the movie, of course, you might both get a vicarious thrill through sitting naked beside your date. Make sure the theater isn't full though, if can cause a right scene if someone's old aunt Jess decides to sit on your rampant thingy just after the movie has started. Feed your lady well, and with luck the cab ride home could promise some really exciting things.

5. Merman:
— It's not so much the movie that could be your problem but the venue. Now, they aren't around much anymore but, if you ever get the opportunity to watch a movie at a drive in theater in a topless Mercedes—forget it. If it suddenly decides to rain on you, and you can't get the top up fast enough, you'll be breaded and fried before you can say "catfish." As for the movie, anything goes. Try not to get too much of a weepy though, it's never happened before but if she cries over you enough…
Dress Code— Definitely casual, something easy to slip in and out of but decent enough to wine and dine your date at a very nice place after the movie. Keep plenty of hankies handy, just in case, and give her a (well moisture protected) shoulder to cry on. Apologize for the plastic bags under your clothing. Just let her know it’s a new type of personal air conditioning system a local company was paying you to test out for them.

6. Incubus:
— Lemme see, how can I put this gently. The movie Janice Does it Back Door is not a suitable movie for a date. Okay, do you got that? If not let me get the gelding knife and repeat. No girl wants to be the only female in a movie theater full of leering men, especially a leering you. So, take her advice, go to the movie she suggests and be satisfied with some sweet talking cuddles and popcorn kernels crunching in your ear. The long term effect of making her happy will be worth it.
Dress Code—Do I have to tell you each time? Naked is not a public option. Slacks or jeans, and a clean T-shirt which doesn't say Breast is Best (it really doesn't work for you dude.) If you intend to go commando, like you normally do, you might want to go for the slacks. Otherwise the crotch burn can really put a damper on your nocturnal habits. Make sure she has tons of popcorn to crunch, and offer her some sweet desserts for later. If you play your cards right desserts can be taken to bed.

7. Djinn:
— Something, light, fun and non-historical. Particularly avoid any movie that you can compare with your old life back home with the maharaja. You may think you can get away with it, but having a movie producer being turned to a frog usually hits the national papers. And, if no one else does, your date will certainly know who's to blame. Take a break from the hard hassle of granting wishes and winning battles by watching a romantic comedy, or humorous animation—something that will be cute enough to remove a pair of delicate panties. Don't forget, no touchy in the movie theater, even if you can footsie with the best panties, keep those toes grounded mister before you date figures there's more than one way to polish off a lamp.
Dress Code—Wearing long flowing silk clothes and a turban is likely to make you the laughing stock of the theater and your date disappear. So act normal. Yes, I understand how hard normal is for someone who has the magic to smash six worlds with one hand, but just try it okay. After all, what's the point of being so powerful if the panties stay on? Wine and dine your sweetheart at your favorite restaurant in Kalibah after the movie—courtesy of the magic carpet—and lo and behold, maybe even all your wishes may come true tonight too.

Agent Double D.3 report ends.

All Agent Double D.3 reports are now being archived on my forum. Come along and see me there sometime.


20 September 2007

Thirteen Things about KAT MANCOS

Thirteen Things about KAT MANCOS

1 - Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your life?
I live with my hubby, Dave, who is an independant comics artist and writer. So in addition to living with my own characters, I share the house with the Intergalatic Samaurai Clowns, Jet-Pak Penguin and two-ton Rhino who wears tropical shirts and is bent on world domination. What can I say, it's a crazy house.

2 - Do you write everyday? Any routines or rituals? Are you a plot or seat-of-your-pants writer?

I try to write something everyday, even if it's a grocery list or character sketches. I also work on several stories at once and I'm constantly plotting. I also tend to think in terms of series, so I have started delving into the world of timelines in addition to my character sketches and plotting. However, that being said, I'm all for abandoning the outline if the characters suddenly take me in an unexpected direction. So, I consider myself a kind of hybrid: a plotser.

3 - How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?

I'm all about hybrids - I love fantasy worlds based on science, or the science of fantasy. I love to blend those two genres and come up with twists and turns that no one expects. I'm kind of like that with my paranormals as well. I might come up with a totally rational and biological reason for my immortals, while explaining their existence in the framework of folklore. To me it's perfectly natural to have a gargoyle with the heart of a poet, or a harpie with a bad-hair day. I also love to write dark...with some comedic moments. I can't seem to tow the line in one particular direction. Never have been able to...but then I think that works for me and keeps life interesting.

4 - Star Wars or Star Trek?

I love them both. I have to admit if given the chance, I'd leave to live on Deep Space Nine right this minute. Of all the Star Trek franchise that's the one that gripped me the most.

5 - What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

So far, getting that first sale...that first contract. Certainly winning the 2005 TARA Contest was a big feather in my cap. It was the first contest I'd ever entered, and with opening chapters I'd written on the fly. The book just came together so easily for me. I felt blessed writing it. (I wish they'd all come to me so easily..hehehehehee)

6 - What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep going. Keep learning. Keep working. Do not give up. I'm proof that if you have a goal and determination you can see your work published.

7 - What web sites or reader groups / author groups do you frequent and recommend?

Definately the Romance Divas. Wonderful bunch of writers over there who are supportive and very knowledge about all facets of the business. Samhain Cafe is a good one. Romance Junkies. If you write or read ebooks, EPIC is a good group to join. I am also a member of NJRW and am very active in that chapter.

8 - What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

I read all kinds. Right now I'm reading the Mordant's Need series by Stephen R. Donaldson. Usually I read to mood. I'll go for a while and devour sci-fi then all of a sudden I want some action/adventure, then I'll be crying for a nice Regency romance. My list of favorite authors is very long. Let's see.... these are in no particular order. Judith Merkle-Riley, Kate Elliot, Melanie Rawn, Mercedes Lackey, John Jakes, Michael Crichton, C.S. Friedman, Jane Ann Krentz, the Nora, Susan Anderson, Linda Howard, Tami Hoag, Elizabeth Lowell, Sharon Kay Penman, Christina Skye, Robin D. Owens, Susan Grant...the list goes on and on.

9 - What is your latest book about?

I was lucky enough to secure a spot in the Samhain Publishing's I Dream of Dragons anthology. My story is titled, Dragon Tamer and is best described as CSI meets Pern.

10 - What will your next book be about?

I have so many ideas I work on at a time it's hard to tell what's next, or what needs to be next. I have a list taped to my monitor of 17 books I've started and need to finish. But damn it if I don't keep getting new ideas that I can't wait to write that kind of bump into the queue and demand to be written first. So, I will start on a new project and leave the list hanging, knowing I'll get to them eventually. I'm really into writing sci-fi/fantasy these days. Plus I've taken on a contemporary pen name and am trying to branch out in that direction as well.

11 - What are the goals you are still working toward?

A NY contract. Bestsellers lists. Faithful fans ala Dead-Heads. I want to be the author at conferences and book signings who the fans flock to. I want fan girls and guys to treat me like a rock star.... All right...I'm dreaming now, but why not? If you're going to dream, make it a good one.

12 - When people look back at your life, how do you want to be remembered?

As one hell of a broad!

13 - Now for the most important question - what do you believe makes a book sexy?

Chemistry and a sense of humor. You can read about characters having sex, and the scene not be sexy at all. It's all in the attitude. A sense of humor...well, I just think that's the sexiest thing a guy can have. And my husband is the funniest guy I know...I'm extremely lucky.

Visit Kat Mancos at her website - http://www.mystickat.com/

Check out her new release, DRAGON TAMER - available now from Samhain Publishing

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

18 September 2007

What Was the 1st Paranormal Romance Published?

Okay, you know it’s bad when the title is a question. I have to say, I chose this topic thinking I’d be able to find--if not one definitive answer--at least some lively discussion on the topic.

Google, Ask.com, and RomanceWiki failed me. Romantic Times had a nice list of top picks in the genres over the years, but no dates listed. Grrrr.

So, my next step was to dig in my brain and try to remember the first paranormal romance I read. It was sometime in the mid-nineties while I was working at local college library. Then it hit me: Amanda Ashley. I checked out her website and found the cover that I’m pretty certain was the book. It was “Embrace the Night”, a vampire story, and it was published in 1995.

Amanda had a nice article on her website where she mentioned being inspired by Nancy Gideon’s Pinnacle Vampires published in 1994 and by Lori Herter who published the vampire romance, Obsession in 1991.

1991?? There weren’t any paranormal romances before this? I find that hard to believe, but maybe it’s true. To clarify--I’m defining romance as the standard girl meets boy, conflict, and then a “happy ever after.” Otherwise Anne Rice and Bram Stroker might try to take the title (not on my watch).

I wonder if there were any time-travel romances before 1991. I consider time-travel paranormal, simply because it involves ideas beyond the laws of modern science. Did any of those 80’s writers tackle that plot line? I'm pulling up a blank on that question.

Anyone else out there have a clue as to when the first paranormal romance novel hit the bookshelves? Now that I've looked and not found the answer--I'm really curious.

UPDATE! Rhonda Stapelton pointed me to her Northeast Ohio RWA chapter page and the entry on Ms. Shiplett. June Lund Shiplett published "Journey to Yesterday" in 1979! Wow, that's what I wanted to find :) She was also a charter member of RWA. Romance writers are such a creative bunch.

Paranormal Television Shows for 2007

Every fall for years, I've scanned the television line-up in hopes of seeing the kind of shows I like. There would be years where nothing really piqued my interest. As evidenced by my participation on this blog, I like romance and I like paranormal. Combine the two, and I'm a happy viewer (or reader). This isn't to say I like any willy nilly combination -- I've never been a fan of soap operas, for example -- but once the current paranormal craze gathered speed, back in the Buffy days, I've never watched so much television in my life.

If I'm not careful, I'll be adding a bunch of new shows to suck my writing time dry this fall. Have you noticed aliens have taken over primetime television? If not aliens, then vampires. Ghosts. Robots. And of course, those Heroes. To supplement current offerings like Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, Ghost Whisperer and Heroes, the new season's line-up boasts a slew of devils and time travelers for fans of the paranormal. This trend has been with us for a while and doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.

New shows include:

Bionic Woman
New Amsterdam
Pushing Daisies
(And, technically, Cavemen, but feel free to join me in pretending it doesn't exist.)

Returning or already returned shows include:

Dr. Who
Stargate Atlantis
Lost (Maybe it's paranormal...maybe it's not!)
Ghost Whisperer
Battlestar Galactica
The Dead Zone
The 4400
Flash Gordon (please cancel...)
Painkiller Jane (this heinous show...)

Did I miss any? This doesn't even include reality programs like Ghost Hunters and John Edwards.

I've heard a lot of theories about why shows like this are so popular, ranging from societal reactions to 9-11 to the turn of the century to cyclical Jungian influence. Whatever it is, it's taken hold of our collective imaginations and has resulted in some of the best and some of the worst television in recent memory.

Are you giving any of the new shows a chance to be your best...or your worst? Hubby wants to see Bionic Woman and Journeyman. Maybe I'll tape the pilots and give everyone here a thumbs up or thumbs down, yes? In advance, I can definitely give a thumbs down on Flash Gordon and Painkiller Jane. Yikes!

Jody W.

New This Week At Samhain Publishing!

17 September 2007

A RAW Weekend

Checking in from the road, I just wanted to talk a little about the weekend I just spent signing books and meeting readers and authors at Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend (RAW). It was absolutely fantastic and I was flattered to be included in such a great roster of writers.

I roomed with Sylvia Day, who was on deadline and had to try to write during the event, as did Shelley Bradley (aka Shayla Black). Now that's dedication! I had breakfast yesterday morning with Lorie O'Clare and Lora Leigh - two of my favorite authors! It was so cool to meet them and chat. I also got to talk with Christine Feehan, my pal Jacquelyn Frank, Lucy Monroe, Veronica Chadwick, Mary Wine, and a bunch of others.

The readers were absolutely terrific! I met so many people and had such a great time chatting with everyone. I love these kinds of events where I get to talk with all kinds of people and learn new things. I had a really great time!

In other news, Wings of Change is doing very well. (Thanks to everyone who's read it already!) And things are on track for my next paranormal release, Sweeter Than Wine. Lots of folks were asking me about it this weekend and I'm happy to say the manuscript has been turned into my editor and we'll be working through edits in the next few weeks.

Sweeter Than Wine will bring together my vampires and werecreatures in a very tangeble way. ;) They were always inhabiting the same contemporary paranormal world, but up 'til this book, I don't think it was completely clear. Though this book is not a direct sequel to Lords of the Were, some of those characters do make a cameo appearance in Sweeter Than Wine and the over-arching story about the Altor Custodis (a secret society of watchers) and the evil Venifucus is advanced. This story paves the way for the more direct sequel to Lords of the Were, which I've tentatively titled Inferno because it's Dante's story. ;)

I'll be recovering from RAW for the next few days as I extend my trip a bit. When I get back home, be sure to check my official blog for a contest where I'll be giving away a RAW T-shirt and some of the goodies I picked up over the weekend!

16 September 2007

Divination: Celtic Ogham - Gort

Welcome back to Divination Sunday, and the continuation of the Celtic Ogham series. Today's symbol: Gort.

Gort: Ivy
(Hedera helix)
Month: Sept. 30-Oct. 28
Color: Blue
Letter: G
Stone/crystal: Moonstone or opal
Planet: Moon
Deity: Arianrhod
Chakra: Heart and/or solar plexus

In Irish, gort is the word for "field", which is related to the Welsh word garth (garden) and Latin hortus.

The spiral growth of Ivy reminds us of the movement and cycles of the planets, stars and season. As it grows, it creates a tangled labyrinth of paths and journeys, which might leads us forward, or send us back to where we started! It's twining pattern indicates the intertwining of the conscious and subconscious mind. Some sources relate this pattern to that of our own DNA.

When it appears in a reading, it means you face some difficult decisions, and it's time to take a giant step back and do some soul-searching, lest you rush forward and choose the wrong path or become entangled in even more difficulty. It could also mean that you're thinking or worrying too hard, and you need to put a problem aside for a while and trust your subconscious to work on it before you come back around to it later.

Ivy is a beautiful and delicate looking, but if you've ever tried to eradicate it from your garden, you find it's a tough, stubborn little plant!

Arianrhod, the "Silver Wheel", considered the ancestral goddess of the Celts, is a symbol of the spiral of time, and of karma. Like ivy, her path has no beginning and no end; one who follows her path must do so with an open heart and mind (hence the trusting of the conscious to the subconscious).

Sacred Texts
Joelle's Sacred Grove
Celtic Tree Mysteries by Stephen Blamires
Celtic Tree Oracle by Colin Murray

Click on the "ogham" tag below this post to see the rest of this series!

Would you like a free, one-ogham reading? Leave a comment and I'll draw a winner!

15 September 2007

Immortal Highlander

Two of my favorite romance themes are immortality and Highlanders. Is it a shock to hear that the 1986 movie Highlander is one of my first crush movies?
In fangirl appreciation of tonights premier showing of Sci Fi's Highlander : The Source, I bring you a walk down a very visual Highlander memory lane.The original movie brought us Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert, two of the sexiest immortals I've ever been happy to 'study'. There might be only one, but here we have two. Must be some fuzzy math at work.

This first picture isn't even from The Highlander, but I'll take any excuse to put up a picture of Sean Connery in a white tux. >mmmmmmm<
sean-connery 2

Connery in a black tux looks just as fine.

Highlander also gave us Christopher Lambert. Who could have a problem with that?

In 1991 the movie studios released the first of several attempts to get Highlander II : The Quickening right. What a mess. Several Directors cut, Special Edition, Renegade version, and Fan Revisions later, you've got several entirely different movies to watch if you want to see them all. But we'll just look at some more shots of Connery and Lambert instead.

highlander2 Love that sword between them!
christopher 3 Dark and brooding, the lost soul. christopher 4

In 1994 Highlander III: The Final Dimension was released. A much better movie than that mess a few years before.

Still much wonderful Christopher Lambert to watch, but Sean Connery was sadly missing in this installment.

Highlander 3

Fun Highlander trivia - Actress Deborah Kara Unger did her love scenes with 'Christopher Lambert' herself, declining to use a body double. Can you blame her? She's not immortal, so she doesn't get her picture here.

That brings us to 2000, and Highlander: Endgame. Endgame ties together the series that had been running on tv, with the movies.

And with Christopher Lambert, now we get Adrian Paul.

christopher and adrian
adrian 2
Adrian is our tv Highlander .

Highlander, The Series ran for six seasons, although Paul Adrian's charactor was not around much in the sixth. It was a very charactor driven series, with some high moments and some real low ones as the series neared its end.

A short lived spin off (Highlander : The Raven) gave us 22 episodes of female immortality, starring Elizabeth Gracen as Amanda.
elizabeth gracen

I've got to say Amanda herself never did to much for me (that bleach blonde look - ugh), but the hunk in the background? He's Nick, played by Paul Johannson. And he is HOT.
nick 1
Hello Gorgeous.
And in the final episode, can you guess what happens?
Yeah. He becomes immortal. One more yummy immortal walking the world!

That ends my visual stroll down memory lane. Tonight I hope we get more of the good that the Highlander series and movies has brought us, and less of the bad. But either way I'll be watching, enjoying the fantasy of men in kilts with big swords who can love a woman forever.

Do you have a favorite Highlander? Or are you like me - glad that there really can't be only one?

13 September 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Okay, so I was thinking about ebooks and how the number of online bookstores seems to be taking off. I'm going list places where you can buy ebooks and see if I can reach thirteen. (By the way, this is not an endorsement of any of the below. Just what I found.)

  1. My Bookstore and More (of course)
  2. Fictionwise
  3. Books on Board
  4. All Romance eBooks
  5. Elibron
  6. Diesel
  7. Mobipocket
  8. Powells
  9. eBooks.com
  10. Fresh Fiction
  11. eReader
Okay, not 13, at least that I can find. Though if you know of others, post a comment!

(ETA: Margo Lukas adds 2 more in the comments.)

Some of these are a lot more comprehensive than others. Some don't appear to carry Samhain books—hard to believe I know ;)

12 September 2007

Which would you chose?

If you could choose to be any sort of supernatural character, first off, would you? And if so, which one?

I've gone over the pros and cons and today I'm all about the Blood Babes. Vampiressesssess: Okay, I can't stop saying that once I start.


Immortal. I'd have mind control over people and have people get me chocolate any time I wanted. I'm sure I could eat it if I melted it first and sucked it down. If nothing else, I could make them eat it then suck their blood. Come to me, you little chocolate filled bonbon, you. Actually, I say that now, so there'd be absolutely no change for me on that one.

As a vamp I'd have an inherent ability to blend in with the upper class because my fangs would automatically cause me to lisp in a cool foreign accent. Although, knowing me, it'd probably still come out De children of de night, what beeyoootiful music they make, yall. Vamps are on a liquid diet, so they're all really thin, hot, and sexy, with fangs to use against anyone who says different.

I'd be a dermatologist's dream; the poster child for the phrase 'no such thing as a safe tan'; the the go to goth girl. Wait, I don't think so. I'd probably invest in one of those spray tan machines because I'm not really into being that transparent. However, I do solemnly swear that I'll never go to Jessica Simpson Defcon Orange Level, Vamp's honor.


Watch out for killer wood! I'll never be able to pick my teeth again, stakes are really bad and splinters must be avoided at all costs.

Go for the Gold! Silver jewelry is out. I can always substitue white gold though, but will it look good against my creamy flawless alabaster skin? Wait, I've got the spray on tan machine. Hmm.

Holy Water Sports, Batman! So, I can't go to church or be around crosses. Or can I? Depends on what books I've read. To quote the big green icky dude in Salem's Lot. "That only works in the movies, fool!" I'd wear a tasteful gold crucifix, just to mess with mortal's minds. *Note: Make sure I won't look like the big green icky dude.. ever*

That's a Spicy Meatball! Garlic is a purifier which is why it's protection against the undead. But if I'm going to be a vamp, I'm going to be a clean, sweet, fresh smelling one, so I'm not going near some funky graveyard in the first place. Plus, I'm sure I'll be on a low carb liquid diet I won't be eating any pizza or spaghetti lovers, therefore, no garlic. Voila! I'm good on this one!

Men think vampy vixens are sexy because they're drawn to their deep dark mysterious beauty. Oh please! They want some action, yall! Vamps give good fang, meaning they can almost guarantee their partners achieve the petite morte or the Big O. But beware, because while vamps reel you in with the promise of the 'little death' you could also get big death too.

So, do you know what suped up sexy creature you'd be? I've semi-decided on a vampire vixen, but I'm not totally sold. After all, once you go bat you can never go back, right?

10 September 2007

Dragon Tamer Release...

The dragons are coming! The dragons are coming!

When Samhain sent the call for the "I Dream of Dragons Anthology" I knew I wanted to do something different. The idea of marrying a world filled with dragons with a high-tech society intrigued me. My most awesome critique partner, Jen, said that it read like Pern meets CSI. I loved that descripton. Especially since I'm a fan of both.

Here's a blurb to entice you.

On the tropical island of Cambry, a ghastly, flesh-eating blight is killing the dragons and threatening prime hatching grounds. It's up to hatching ground director, Darion Archer and IFM agent, Serrah Gayle to stop the disease before it's too late.

Go here to read an excerpt.

Hope you enjoy.


09 September 2007

How Can You Read That Stuff?

Ghost lovers
Seductive Vampires
Lustful Daemons
Passion-ridden Shifters
Fiery-blooded Fey

The paranormal by its very nature seems to illicit the erotic in us. The idea of ghostly hands gliding over our bodies, or nocturnal lovers kissing along a vein, now induces shivers and longing, the way it once brought terror and recoil.

We once feared the monsters just as we once feared sex. Is it any coincidence that as we began to embrace our sexuality and sexual fantasies, so too did we embrace the legendary monsters?

As we began to accept our desires and the otherness represented within them, we also began to accept the archetypes that we once foisted those repressed feelings upon. Thus, in truth, when we opened the door to the Vampire, it was ourselves we were inviting into the light. It was our beasts we set free beneath the shifting moon and our own lust we raised in graven circles. It was the ghost of our desires denied that we summoned to us in the night, and with whom we danced on the solstice to pan pipes beneath darkened skies.

Our wants and impulses ceased to be monstrous and became the heroes of our stories. Often alone or misunderstood, they are just as often unashamed and unmoved by anything save love, and we refuse to let them go no matter how many variations we see. (Or how many times we see the same one).

I believe that the paranormal found its way into romance and then further into romantic erotica because we hungered and in turn we called to the creatures that had always hungered. We stripped from them the façade of evil and gave them hopes and dreams and fears, because as always, we needed them to carry what we could only partially claim. We own our sexuality, but we still falter at our taboos.

When we flay away the humanity of a hero, (male and female alike), we leave them bare to the things that rarely survive the crush of social conditioning in our mundane lives. We open them to everything we must turn from and protect against in order to be accepted by those around us. Whether submission or dominance, forbidden passion with one, or multi-partnered lovemaking for days, be it top, bottom, side or diagonal, we can have it all. We can have everything that even standard contemporary romance would pale to touch.

We embrace the paranormal because within us live desires and yearnings that are more than normal, that are beyond the normal of those who do not understand. We pair it with romance because as we love those characters, so too do we get to love the deepest parts of ourselves. We pull in the erotic because we wish that love freed to be explored in unapologetic bliss and unashamed splendor.

I ask you…What could be better?

So the next time someone judgmentally confronts you with, how can you read that stuff, smile sadly and shake your head in sympathy as you ask, How can you, not?.

I’m Xakara, it was a pleasure to meet you all for a short ramble through the gothic mansion of my mind.

Erotic Paranormal Romance Ramble Done


08 September 2007

Rooting For The Heroine

A.K.A. (Not) Eating the family for the first time.

You thought walking into that cellar, with the six-inch cast iron door magically sealing shut behind you, and finding your arch paranormal enemies, Master Fang, Fido McWhirlter and Donald Djinn waiting for you inside was the worst moment of your life…

…you were wrong.

Nothing in this world is more terrifying to an elite paranormal romance hero like yourself than meeting…them. Yes. The most dangerous moment of a hero’s life (aside from pissing off the heroine) is meeting the heroine’s folks and learning her family roots. When asked to lay the table, do you lay the table or do you lay the table? Should you go lap a pint with dad, or howl over baby photos with mom? Is it okay to lick her sister’s neck just for fun, and did little Henry really just shoot you in the butt with his BB gun just to see if there were fishscales under the pants?

Well, never fear, Agent Double D3’s soul searching, turn you inside out before your lover does research is all you’ll ever need to know about those family pool parties, blazing barbecues and pernickety picnics; Here it is Agent Double D3’s guide to Meeting with the family for the first time.

Agent Double D.3 reports:

1. Vampires
Formal parties are a dream for the well-dressed vamp. With everything nicely separated out on the ten place dining table with named place cards and sixty five different Vampires:pieces of silverware to identify and use. Well, just explain to her parents that wearing surgical latex gloves is essential while you eat, owing to a high allergic intolerance to anything hard, shiny and silver. Remember, in this situation you will likely be seated between the mother and the eldest sister. Sniff, discreetly, if you must but, please, no licking of the neck or wrists—at least not until everyone’s had at least three rounds of brandy/margaritas. It is also essential to familiarize yourself with your lover’s room and location within the house early on in the meeting, and return to your cellar/coffin /cardboard Big Bird box before morning. It may have been great sex but having everyone find you in the morning, dead, in little sister Missy’s room will not go down too well at breakfast.

Informal— Time to throw off the designer clothes and kick back with something a little more casual, yes, blue denim jeans and the I ♥ blood T-shirt can work for a backyard Barbie (the grill idiot not the girl and, no, you can’t bite it.) Force yourself to buy some of those cheap plastic garden chairs several weeks before the meeting and practice, with friends, lounging on them in the garden. They do kinda break real easy so try to keep the lounging to two or three per chair okay? Practice popping the beer can with your fingers, you’ll need it to start with at least, and learn to talk in good old boy lingo about the cubs, and the Oreos (not the things you dunk in your milk, no.) Hell, once the party is in full swing and every one has had a can or ten then you can do your party pieces like drinking two cans of beer at once—one through each tooth. Now’s the time too, when you can go back to popping the cans with your fangs… Under no circumstances stay the night, the temptation of that many warm, alcoholically available necks if far too strong. Have your lover reserve a nearby hotel, say, fifty miles away, for that extra special after Barbie love-in.

2. Werewolf
Formal— Time to brush up on some smarter habits and matted fur, uhm, hair. Take a wee peeka and make sure the moon isn’t anywhere near full, you want it as new as you can get it. Newer if possible. No family wants to invite a hairy uncouth stranger into their home, let alone allow him anywhere near his daughter’s bed. Which, by the way I forgot to tell you, you’ll be sleeping in the servant’s quarters with Rusty the octageneric butler on guard. This close to a new moon the silverware shouldn’t give you any problems, other than sticking yourself in the eye with it. If you are so out of practice with culinary utensils that this happens don’t scream, hold your eye and bang your head against the table. Try to be casual and lassè fâire about it. A simple, “Oh, yes, this is nothing. You should have seen the time I bit my tongue off in Canberra…” Families of this ilk admire this kind of breeding in a prospective husband. Remember too, not to tear huge chunks of steak from your plate but to gently slice it with the steak knife and nibble. Nibble is nice, as your lover will certainly show you in bed that night when she nibbles her appreciation on you.

Informal— This is the party dude. Were’s live for the informal “let’s throw another log on the Barbie” meet up. So this is your chance to shine and show the family just what a good guy you are. Just remember though, it is considered most impolite—and your beloved will show you another meaning of “hot dog”—if you paste BBQ sauce all over her relatives. And restrain yourself, at all costs, from marking your territory by peeing on any rock, house, tree, drunken relative, that has the misfortune of not being able to move. Not only will this shock and or amuse the ladies present, but will probably start a challenge amongst your beloved’s brothers, and really, she truly doesn’t want to see those! Instead, sneak her away to a cozy little cabin you happen to know about and come back in the morning to carry the comatose in-laws-to-be back home.

3. Ghosts
Formal— Just like being back home, once again laird and master of your own castle. An informal setting will give you a chance to flash your charms (I said charms) and introduce yourself to the delightful group of people you will soon know as family. There are just a few useful pointers to observe to ensure that the dinner is a success. Firstly, don’t walk through the table. Having your transparent crotch pass over the roast beef isn’t a pleasant sight at best, at worse you’ll end up freezing the poor thing so no one can eat it. Handling the cutlery may present a problem, be inventive, demonstrate to your beloved’s kin the delicate art of chomping the food directly from the plate. Keep a napkin handy though, and at no time allow anyone to see the gravy dripping through your beard. After all, you’re a ghost not an animal. Then after the brandy—yes we all know you can empty the bottle without even opening it—retire to her room for a long steamy night of togetherness because there’s a very definite chance you won’t be invited back again soon.

Informal— It’s enough to make the old bones shiver, except you don’t have bones let alone old ones. Now before you have a fit of sleepless nights and ghostmares just take a deep breath and say to yourself, “informal is our friend.” And remember these folks are interested in meeting you, so you won’t need to take that five-foot-long 300 year old claymore, for company. Note also, that taking possession of Uncle Bertie and making him do a Groucho Marx impersonation will most likely be frowned upon. So hey, relax and do what you do best—chill out. With luck the place will get so cold everyone will go to bed early leaving you and your lady love to your own devices, buzzy ones included.

4. Invisible man
Formal— Get out the bleach, starch and steam iron those bandages and deep wax the shades dude. Don’t let yourself down by having threadbare bandages trailing through the béchamel sauce. Also, stick to the liquids like soups. Trying to suck filet mignon through a straw really does suck, well, sorta. If any one should be rude enough to ask why you walk around all the time covered with bandages and dark glasses, just be honest with them. Let them know you that before you escaped from the high security government laboratories, they infected you with an insanely contagious skin disease. The bandages are merely there to prevent bits of flesh dropping off as you walk. The glasses help to prevent the light damaging your now supersensitive eyes. Ignore the screams and sudden disappearance of anything vaguely human in range and take a romantic moonlight walk with your girl back to her bedroom.

Informal— Informal, alas, doesn’t mean you can come with your ketchup stained sweats and nicotine covered bandages. Come on dude, freshen up for the lass, at least you can wear the sweats with mustard stains make them match. After all, five beers into the first conversation and no one will even notice. This doesn’t mean you have the right to strip down and play party tricks with the family. Aunt Maisy might not know who picked up her drink and poured it into Uncle John’s but you can bet your bottom bandage your beloved will. So take it easy, let the party grind to its own alcoholic end, and do what you really came here to do. No, not wipe out grandma Hettie and grab the inheritance, well, not yet. The bedroom, dolt, get your see-through little ass in there with your girl this minute before someone decides to paint you blue in the true sense of the word.

5. Merman
Formal— Formal is good, formal means no chance of pool party, spilled beer, being thrown in the creek. Though, of course, the family still may want to meet about the pool. Aside from having the lower half of your body from the naval down encased in quick setting latex it might be advisable to avoid taking a quick dip with the family. Make sure before you arrive to leave any stray seaweed at home, and please don’t wax melancholic about Aunt Josie when marlin steaks are served for the fish course. That half-circle overlapping rainbow design on the scales isn’t unique you know—at least 1 in 65 million merpeople have it. Just grit your teeth, explain about your allergy to fish, and start making plans of just where and how you’ll spend the night with your beloved. Oh, go light on the brandy. No kin-folk like their baby girl to go out with a guy who drinks like a fish.

Informal— Do your very best to get your sweetheart to arrange a formal meeting with the folks. This is for your own protection. Since you’ve met the lovely lady of your dreams your luck has had you closer to the fish filleting knife more times than Emeril Lagasse says “Bam!” So if you don’t force the issue and happily agree to attend an informal meet spend that two thousand dollars at the truck repair shop having your lower body sprayed with latex. Because, being a merman, it will be a pool/river party. And trust me, if you don’t go for a quick swim with the others, brothers Jeb and Hank will make sure you do. If the informal option is forced on you, make sure your mother phones you two minutes after you arrive and calls you home for a family emergency. It is an emergency—it could be the only thing that saves your life.

6. Incubus
Formal— Wear smart but very loose pants. You know how slinky those evening dresses are and the last thing you need is your beloved seeing you ogle her sister’s pale globes of cleavage and having, well, the usual effect on you. If it does, make sure you sit close to the table, but try not to embarrass everyone by raising the table by eight inches, okay? Not to mention it might spill the drinks and spoil a very good coc-au-vin. (And, no, that is not something the love of you life will try on you later—unless she keeps seeing you ogle her sister, of course.)

Informal— Lay back, enjoy the beer, wait for everyone to pass out. Now it’s the time for lurve. Just, uhm, make sure you are picking up the right lass, okay. If you wake up in bed with the wrong woman in the morning your incubus may end up incastrated.

7. Djinn
Formal— Okay, so you’re used to a formal family meal consisting of a hundred silk liveried servants—per family member. All these slaves catering to your every need from delivering the roast pheasant in sherry sauce to slicing it and placing it teasingly on your tongue. Get real! Do you know how many greenbacks that would take? Not to mention servant cooties all over your grub. No sirree, this is the modern world. Our food comes pre-packed ready to eat. Every bite safely prepared in our roach infested factories while being pummeled, sliced, pinched, stirred and breathed over by no less than a thousand greasy, unwashed child slave labor imports from the third world. So try and appreciate the effort your beloved’s kin have expended in attempting to make you feel at home with their cheap 30% silver silverware. After all, not everyone used to be a Djinn to a Sultan. Besides which, I’m sure your beloved will find some wonderful ways to reward you, with a little help from the sherry sauce…

Informal— Djinn, like weres, are born to party, so party on! Just a wee warning, go light on the magic pul-leese. Picking up your sweetheart’s six year old niece and tossing her six feet in the air before catching her may make her squeal with delight. Her sixty-six year old grandmother will probably squeal with something else, most notably after she’s applied a #16 bolt cutter to your nether regions. So if you want to be able to make your beloved squeal later, think before you blink.

Agent Double D.3 report ends.


PS from Carolan: I hope you'll all join me in wishing SJ a speedy recovery!

07 September 2007

Paranormal Lifespan and the Romance: Immortal vs. Mortal

So who does it for you ladies? Mr. Immortal who has seen centuries of loneliness until he meets the heroine, or Mr. Mortal who is scary & monstrous, but has only one life-time for redemption and true love?

World-building in paranormal romances involves many decisions on the part of an author. One aspect of that “world” that has far-reaching consequences is deciding if the paranormal characters live for centuries or do they pass through the story, aging more or less the same as humans.

As authors we get to have lots of fun with this whole spectrum of lifespan. We play “god” and decide if silver kills the werewolf, or if Count Hotpants witnessed the fall of the Roman Empire standing in the sun. I have read (and written) variations on those two extremes. Most immortal characters have a weakness that can lead to their death. Mortal paranormal characters are not mere humans. These characters commonly have strengths that make them hard to kill and age slower.

But how does the mortality of the character affect the reader’s experience of the romance?

An immortal character can bring a darkness and depth to a romance that surpasses the human experience. This character is “larger than life” and exciting for the reader. Elements from historicals can be tied into the plot creating a bigger story. And let’s not forget the practice an immortal hero has in the bedroom department! But remember the scene in Highlander when Conner Macleod is holding his elderly love as she dies? Downer!

Can there be a true, resounding happy-ever-after with an immortal? If the author has to “match” the destinies of the two love leads, how do you like it to come out? Should they both become immortal and live outside the typical human experience, or should the immortal fall to earth and become mortal to complete the romance experience?

What about the mortal paranormal characters? Are their supernatural abilities enough to make them special and interesting? With mortality comes messy problems like family and death. Do these more “real” issues take away from the escapism of paranormal romance? Do mortal paranormal characters have what it takes to satisfy?

But with mortal pairings the flip side of death is birth. In this happy-ever-after, the implication of a secure future with a normal life span and probable babies (and supernatural babies, to boot) creates a satisfying fulfillment of the romance story arc.

Let us know what you think. How does the immortality, or lack of immortality, affect your romance reading pleasure?

06 September 2007

Thirteen Things about JORRIE SPENCER

Thirteen Things about JORRIE SPENCER

1 - When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Well, when I was a small child, I wrote poems about butterflies and such. As I grew older, I wrote a short story or two, very much based on Margaret Atwood, who I devoured as a teen. But it wasn't really until near the end of university that I decided I wanted to write.

And I've been writing off and on since. The older I get, the more regularly I write. I'm addicted! (Ember – As addictions go, this is a pretty good one to have.)

2 - Do you write everyday? Any routines or rituals? Are you a plot or seat-of-your-pants writer?

I don't write every day, necessarily. I think what's important to me is that I write regularly, but that doesn't mean every day. I also write best when I am ALONE. So school days during the school year work really well. And, I'm a pantser.

3 - How would you describe the genre in which you do most of your writing?

Paranormal romance. At the moment you could even say werewolf romance! (Although I've got an idea for a cat shifter romance noodling about in the back of my head.) (Ember –Your head must be a very interesting place to be.)

4 - Star Wars or Star Trek?

Star Trek. Jean-Luc Picard completely and totally hooked me on the series. It was true love :) (Ember - He brought the sexy back to bald for me >G<.)

5 - Once the deadlines are all met and the manuscript is delivered, what do you do to relax and give yourself a break?

Read! I never seem to get enough time to read. Buying books is also a nice reward. And if I can find a movie I want to see (more and more difficult these days), watching a movie is a nice treat.

6 - What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don't compare yourself to others and, I know this is cliche, but just persevere. Also, write for the writing itself. That doesn't have to be the only reason you write, but if the writing isn't giving you joy, you need to step back and ask yourself why you're doing this.

7 - How much time do you devote to promoting your books?

Too much? Not enough? It _feels_ like too much but it probably is not enough. Though it's important to protect the writing, too, or soon you'll have nothing to promote. I actually enjoy the blogging side of promo, so that is a plus.

8 - What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

Romance, particularly paranormal romance. I write what I read, I guess. I also love a good historical romance if it convinces me it is set in another time and place than the here and now. My favorite author may well be Laura Kinsale. I need to reread My Sweet Folly. That opening sequence is fantastic, and I loved the rest of the book, too. (Ember -Adding this to my TBR now.)

9 - What is your latest book about?

You mean my amnesiac werewolf story that just released September 4? :) _The Strength of the Wolf_ is a follow-up to _The Strength of the Pack_ but can stand on its own. It is Veronica's story and it starts off with her not knowing who she is or why she is the way she is. Slowly she is drawn back into the human world… (Ember -You can buy it here!)

10 - What will your next book be about?

Well, it's another werewolf romance, but this one, _Marked_, has two heroes. One of the heroes is a cousin of Veronica and Seth, respective stars of my Strength series. Then I want to write that cat shifter.

11 - What are the goals you are still working toward?

I'd like to write a longer, more plot-heavy story. The romance would still be its spine (yes, I have a specific book in mind), but I'd like to tell a very "plotty" story, with some twists and turns.

12 - It's a special night - cook in, or eat out?

Eat out! Indian or Italian food. With wine. (Ember -A woman who appreciates wine!)

13 - Now for the most important question - what do you believe makes a book sexy?

Real sexual chemistry. With no evidence of the author pulling the character's strings. I also like there to be something at stake. The world doesn't have to be at stake, a life doesn't have to be at stake, but the relationship has to count. (Not necessarily right at
the beginning, but certainly before the book ends!)

Visit Jorrie Spencer at her website - http://jorriespencer.wordpress.com/

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04 September 2007

Can This Book Be Saved?

A couple weeks ago, my 5 year old gave herself a new haircut. It was an hour before we were due to attend a dinner party, and forty-eight hours before her first day of kindergarden. Needless to say, I was taken aback. Not because the fine, short bob she'd worn since she was 2 looked like something out of a science fiction flick, but because she'd played with very sharp hair-cutting scissors...near her face! After extracting her promise to never, never touch Mommy's Sharp Scissors again (except to take them away from the baby, if the baby happened to get her hands on them), I considered what to do about the hair.

It all started because she was annoyed with the bangs. So she "revised" them -- cut off a chunk close to the scalp. Part of the bangs hung down to her eyebrows and part...did not. Then she started on the sides, giving herself a lopsided mini-mullet it still pains me to recall. Luckily I caught her before she started on the back. I made an appointment with my hairdresser as soon as possible, wondering what in the world she could do to blend the slices and dices my daughter had begun. Could this haircut be saved, I wondered, or were we going to have to chop it off and start over, a possibility my daughter protested with loud and piercing vigor?

I have a book right now that's received some conflicting revision advice from various people who've seen it. My editor says one thing, my agent another, and previous editors and agents said third, fourth and fifth things. My critique partners (who must be insane) think it's decent as-is. In a lovely bit of publishing evil, no two pieces of advice have been the same. Not one to fear drastic changes of appearance, I have enacted slices and dices on this manuscript in the past, but it doesn't seem to have that certain charm that transforms it from mere hair into a truly stylin' haircut.

As with my kid's stubby bangs and mini-mullet, there seem to be several routes I can take to remedy this. Several things I can try, but none of them certain. I know I need to do something. Unlike hair, books don't "grow out". I'm a beautician of books, but this crazed hack job by a 5 year old is baffling my mad skillz.

What do you do in situations like this? Let's complicate matters -- assume you have limited time for the next couple years, so your efforts toward career sustenance need to be effective, efficient and powerful. Tinkering with possibilities "just to see how it turns out" take up space you could otherwise use to monitor children with scissors. Do you go for the shortest and sassiest possible style (the biggest and most challenging revisions)? Do you choose the easiest route and hope it covers the flaws? Do you put on a hat and direct your energies into a new and possibly better book??

On one hand, my writer's ego protests shelving manuscripts that elicited editorial interest, albeit with caveats, with loud and piercing vigor. (Yes, my daughter takes after me.)

On the other hand -- I like hats.

Jody W.
So many hats, so little time!
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://meankittybox.blogspot.com/

Samhain New Releases, September 4

There are several offerings with speculative elements at Samhain for fans of the genre today!

“Magic and the Pagan” by Shayne Carmichael and Mychael Black
Genre: Gay-Lesbian Romance, Red Hots!
ISBN: 1-59998-555-1
Length: Novel
Price: 5.50

Enter into a world of magic, lust, love and betrayal.

“Possession” by Mardi Ballou
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Horror Romance
ISBN: 1-59998-547-0
Length: Novella
Price: 3.50

When love binds two souls together, what can tear them apart?

“The Strength of the Wolf” by Jorrie Spencer
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 1-59998-566-7
Length: Novel
Price: 5.50

For longer than she can remember, Veronica has been wolf. Dreams give her a name and the image of a brother. Memory gives her nothing and no one.

“Sealed with a Kiss” by Lila Dubois
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Red Hots!
ISBN: 1-59998-593-4
Length: Short Story
Price: 2.50

When a man who isn’t human is accidentally enslaved by a woman who has no idea what he is, the result is magical. A Midsummer Night’s Steam story.


Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.elliemarvel.com

03 September 2007

Bianca's Creatures & Upcoming Books

I've been gearing up for the release of my newest Dragon Knights story, Wings of Change, on September 11th from Samhain. Though it's more of a fantasy story than paranormal, I'm very excited about where the creatures and shapeshifters in my world of dragons are heading. If you want more information about it, please check the page for the book on my website.

In the Dragon Knights series, I have some dragons that can shapeshift and some that are just dragons. I always enjoy the differences between the animal and the human animal, if you will. I've been working on a bunch of different kinds of shapeshifters in various books. Lords of the Were was my first foray into werewolves, and though I enjoyed it immensely, I like to mix things up a bit and write about different kinds of shifters. My next paranormal book, Sweeter Than Wine, will be a mix of vampires and other supernaturals. A cat shifter will feature prominently, but there will also be bird-of-prey shifters and a few Others to make things interesting.

The next time I plan on featuring a werewolf won't be until I write Dante's story. Dante was a supporting character in Lords of the Were and many people have asked me what will happen with him. I know, in theory, what I want to happen and just have to write it, but I will say this: he'll meet his match in a lone wolf bitch who's been sent to spy on him. Mixing vamps and weres should be a lot of fun. I can't wait to have time to write this one!

Until next time,
Website: www.biancadarc.com
NEW Blog: http://biancadarc.com/blog/

01 September 2007

Dragons - myth, or alien?

I spend what I admit is too much time skimming along the the surface of the web, letting a random word or image draw me into a nugget of knowledge. Sometimes it is for legitimate research - people, places, or ideas I'm gathering background on for writing. Sometimes it's just for entertainment. (Yes, I'm addicted to Perez Hilton's website, and share his lurid fascination with Brittney, Lindsey, and Paris.)

But I love when I find an article or bit of writing that makes me sit up and think. Like this one : "Chinese Dragons - Ancient Flying Machines"

In a very small nutshell, this site tells of how the early chinese wrote of gods, coming "down from heaven in the bellies of dragons." Of immortals who could fly through the air, called "flying immortals".

"Everything began with the dragon", a manuscript says. The dragons belonged to the race of gods.

The European view of dragon myth has long been that stories of giant beasts were just that - stories, created out of a need to explain the great bones and fossils of dinosaurs that were occasionally unearthed.

But what if there is something more to it than that? Something both mystical, and otherworldly. Could the 'dragons' have been visitors from another world? Not gods, but beings who appeared godlike in their greatness. Aliens who came in great flying objects, which must have been both fearsome and amazing to behold.

What do you think? Do dragons belong in the realm of myth, or could they be proof of alien visitation?