29 May 2007

New at Samhain -- one of our own!

From our own Bianca D'Arc:

“Hara's Legacy”
A Red Hot, Futuristic Romance Novel
Click for an excerpt! http://samhainpublishing.com/excerpt/haras-legacy

It’s a serious game of cowboys and aliens when three psychically gifted brothers try to protect the one fragile, empathic woman who holds all their hearts against a menacing alien threat. First in the Resonance Mates series.

Montana rancher Caleb O’Hara’s precognitive abilities saved his family from an alien attack that annihilated almost everyone on Earth. Now the aliens have come to study the remnants of humanity. Caleb knows the only way to ensure the safety of his young wife, Janie, and his beloved brothers, Justin and Mick, is to keep the family together on their isolated ranch.

All three O’Hara brothers love Jane. They grew up next door to the young, empathic beauty and she stole all their hearts at one time or another, though she married Caleb. Caleb foresees the shocking truth of what they have to do in order to survive, and Caleb’s visions never lie.

They’ll have to come to terms with a new world, and an evolving relationship, all while finding a way to protect two newborn babies who are innocent pawns in the aliens’ deadly game. Somehow, this one talented family holds the key for humanity’s survival on this new, conquered world called Earth.

To see what Bianca had to say about her new release, check out her recent blog entry here! http://paranormalauthors.blogspot.com/2007/05/shameless-plug-2-new-releases-from.html


And don't miss...

"Don't Let Go" by Sydney Somers
A Paranormal Romance Novel
ISBN: 1-59998-474-1
Sleeping with the enemy was never so magical. Book two in the Spellbound Series.

"Male Call" by Denise Agnew
A Contemporary, Red Hot Romance Novella
ISBN: 1-59998-649-3
Her sexy letters are his only lifeline in his dangerous world…

"Susanna's Seduction" by Patrice Michelle
A Contemporary, Red Hot Romance Novella
ISBN: 1-59998-596-9
All it took was the right man to seduce the spontaneous woman within her…

"The Rocktastic Corduroy Peach" by Michael Amos
A Mainstream Novel
ISBN: 1-59998-479-2
The Rocktastic Corduroy Peach—big schemes, big dreams and some really big drama-queens.



Jody W.

28 May 2007

Shameless Plug - 2 New Releases from Bianca!

Yes, I'm going to use my blogging opportunity today as a shameless plug for my new books. Out today from Phaze is an anthology called "Fortune's Fool" in which I have a novella titled "King of Swords." All of the stories in this anthology have something to do with fortune telling, precognition or psychic phenomena. My story has a little of each and is set in the distant future, on a space station, out among the stars.

Here's the blurb: Sparks ignite when a psychic meets a special ops warrior aboard a space station. When enemies attack, will close quarters and danger draw them together?

And a bit more from my website: King Of Swords is the first in a series of stories set in the same future as my Sons of Amber series, but earlier in the timeline. King of Swords takes place a generation or two before Ezekiel, when the ongoing Rim skirmishes with forces of the jit'suku empire make the civilian stations in the outlying areas of the Milky Way Galaxy dangerous places to live. Watch for the next Sons of Amber story - Michael - coming this August!

Here's the link to my page on Phaze, where you can purchase the book: http://www.phaze.com/authors-biancadarc.html

Now, as for tomorrow... my novel, Hara's Legacy releases from Samhain Publishing and it's a HOT one! Hara's Legacy is the first in a series of five novels set on a future Earth. The survivors of humanity must teach the Earth's new inhabitants what it means to be human... and to love.

This story is a very hot menage tale set in a post-apocalyptic world. It has a mix of genres - a Western flavor and three hunky cowboys - an alien threat and lots and lots of love. The heroes all have psychic gifts - the eldest brother is precognative, the middle brother telekinetic and the youngest a very strong telepath. All must band together to protect the highly empathic girl-next-door they all grew up with and love.

Check out my website for more information and the purchase link, or just go to the Samhain home page or My Bookstore And More to purchase sometime either late tonight or tomorrow. And let me know how you like it!

27 May 2007

Divination Sunday - Comment and you may win a FREE reading!

We now declare the Hogwart's School Annex officially open! :)

My love affair with Tarot decks began a few years ago after J.C. Wilder showed me her impressive collection. I fell in love with the art of Tarot. Before long I purchased my first deck, the Ancestral Path deck.

But, like potato chips, you can't stop at just one.

My collection of tarot and oracle decks now consists of:

Ancestral Path Tarot
Sacred Circle Tarot (personal favorite)
Llewyllyn Tarot (most recent purchase, card pictured above)
Arthurian Tarot
Lord of the Rings Tarot
Faeries Oracle
Fairy Ring Tarot
Celtic Oracle
Rock Art Tarot
Mini Rider-Waite Tarot
Celtic Book of the Dead Oracle

Those are just the ones off the top of my head. In order to do a complete list I'd have to get up and go upstairs to my bookshelves. :)

I tend not to buy a deck unless the art really speaks to me - reaches out and grabs me. It has to be lush, beautiful, complex. So that every time I look at a card, I see something different, depending on the question at hand.

I may go years between deck purchases, until I run across something that screams "buy me!" Such a deck was my most recent purchase, the Llewellyn Tarot. Of all the decks I own, this one and also the Sacred Circle tarot give me readings that are spot on. Rarely do they fail me. The art is amazing, and it's based on Welsh legends, which includes Arthurian myth.

Some of the other decks, like the Fairy Ring tarot, are beautiful to look at, but give me nothing but gibberish when I do a reading. It's funny, because Fairy Ring was done by the same author and artist as Sacred Circle, which is one of my mainstays. Others, like the Faeries Oracle by Brian Froud, give nothing but happy, positive readings and the art is just breathtaking.

So before I wax poetic (and boring) about my beautiful tarot decks, let's hear what you have to say about your experiences with Tarot. Do you have decks of your own? Have you had readings before?

Post a comment here and I'll draw names as to who gets a free, 3-card draw from my happy, amazing Faeries Oracle deck. Good luck!

26 May 2007

Recipes to Entertain those Paranormal Guests

Entertaining vampires and wolves can be a chore, but throw in the mindless zombies and you really have your work cut out for you. Here are three creepy crawly recipes I’ve collected over the years, perfect for feeding any supernatural guest you happen to have stopping by.

Severed Finger Cookies
Recipe By: CulinArt
Servings: 48

1 Batch Basic Sugar Cookies
1 cup Blanched Almonds
1 Tablespoon Red Food Coloring

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place almonds in a bowl, drizzle on enough red food coloring to coat almonds. Stir almonds around so that they are evenly colored. Place almonds on paper towel-lined platter to dry.

Work with one half of the dough at a time and keep the remainder refrigerated. Scoop dough into tablespoonful-sized balls. Roll each piece of dough into a finger shape. Press 1 almond, pointy-end out, firmly into 1 end of cookie finger to form a nail. Press the tines of a fork lightly into the dough just below the nail and in the center of the finger to form knuckles.
Place cookies, about 1-inch apart, on parchment-lined cookie sheets; bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until pale golden. When cookies are done, let cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes. Remove cookies to platter to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and almonds.


Paranormal Party Cake
When cake is cut, it spurts green goop.

18 1/4 oz box white cake mix
4-serving package green gelatin

Blue food coloring
Chocolate frosting

4 black licorice whips
2 big green gumballs
6 little gumballs

Prepare cake using two 9-inch round cake pans. Cool.

Prepare the gelatin according to package directions. It works best if it is just a little on the soft side.

On a foil-covered cookie-sheet, place one cake layer for the body. Cut a smaller circle out of the center of the layer. Place this smaller round of cake as the spider's head. Fill the hole left in the body layer with gelatin. Place the other cake layer on top of the body and trim cake slightly to shape , if desired.

To prepare frosting, in a mixing bowl, add blue food coloring to the chocolate frosting until black in color. Frost the entire cake black. Cut the black licorice whips in half and insert for the eight legs. Position the gumballs as eyes.


15 min., plus overnight chilling

Notes: Use a cleaned 1-quart milk or orange juice carton to hold straws
• 1 pkg. (6 oz.) raspberry or grape flavor gelatin
• 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
• 3 cups boiling water
• 100 flexible plastic straws
• 1 tall (same height as extended straws), slend 4 cup container
• 3/4 cup whipping cream
• 12 to 15 drops green food coloring

1. In a bowl, combine gelatins.
2. Add boiling water; stir until gelatins completely dissolve.
3. Chill until lukewarm, about 20 min.
4. Meanwhile, gently pull straws to extend to full length; place in tall container.
5. Blend cream and food coloring with the lukewarm gelatin mixture.
6. Pour into container, filling straws.
7. Chill until gelatin is firm, at least 8 hours, or cover and chill up to 2 days.
8. Pull straws from container (if using a carton, tear carton away from straws).
9. Pull straws apart; run hot tap water for about 2 seconds over 3 to 4 straws at a time.
10. Starting at the empty ends, push worms from straws with rolling pin, or use your fingers; lay worms on waxed paper-lined baking sheets.
11. Cover and chill until ready to use, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
12. Worms will hold at room temp. up to 2 hours.
Makes about 100, including a few casualties.

Michelle M. Pillow
Maiden and the Monster, Now in Print!
Winner, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award Best Erotic Romance

Find out more about Michelle Pillow:
FREE READ! http://www.ravenhappyhour.com/raven.htm

25 May 2007

The Gods of Egypt

I’ve bitten off a chunk today as I begin a brief study on the Egyptian pantheon.

The Old Kingdom had it’s fair share of gods who occupied levels within levels of deity – the vast majority of them concerned with the afterlife, which was a vastly complicated realm.

However, the pantheon was also split into geographical regions, with different cities worshipping different sets of gods. Each mini-pantheon included a creator deity at the head with various other gods as back-up singers. Gods of destruction and death, gods for sickness, for fertility, for agriculture. Plenty of gods related to water and the Nile.

There’s no possible way I could take on all the different sets of gods in one blog post. In fact, Egyptian mythology twisted in on itself as time went on and by the time of the New Kingdom (about a dozen dynasties after the Old Kingdom), many gods had found common identities and shifted their names accordingly.

Let’s take, for instance, Ra. Or Re (don’t even get me started on trying to work out the different spellings. Let’s just say that hieroglyphics are phonetically and linguistically…fluid). Ra was an important figure in Egyptian mythology because he was the god of Sun. This being Egypt, the Sun was a big part of their lives. Legend says that the Egyptians were created from Ra’s sweat and they called themselves the Cattle of Ra.

In the Old Kingdom – by the way, when I say Old Kingdom, I mean 3rd millennium BC – Ra, the god of Sun, was It. All other gods had some relationship with Ra in his forms as morning sun, mid-day sun and evening sun. But there were other powerful gods, such as
Amun: chief creator god of the pantheon in Thebes
Atum: creator and sun god of the pantheon in Heliopolis
Horus: god of the sky, portrayed with the head of a falcon

By the time of the New Kingdom – 11th-16th centuries BC – Egypt was less a conglomeration of city-states and becoming a united country. Therefore, they had to adjust some of their religious beliefs to accommodate that unification.

Ra, therefore, became joined with other gods, creating the deities of Amun-Ra, Atum-Ra and Ra-Herakhty (a Horus-Ra combination).

Ra was also at the basis of Ancient Egypt’s sole brief bout of monotheism. During the reign of Amenhotep IV, the pharaoh changed his name to Akhenaten to honor the god, Aten. But Aten wasn’t so much a god as he was the Sun himself. Aten’s full title was “The Rahorus who rejoices in the horizon, in his/her Name of the Light which is seen in the sun disc.” Which is kind of a mouthful, so I’m glad they settled on just plain Aten.

Worship of Aten, however, faded away when Akhenaten died. So much for state-sponsored religion.

The cult of Ra, in one form or another, was a constant throughout Ancient Egypt and his power spread from the journey of the sun to the Underworld.

This blog post has become sufficiently lengthy and we’ve only touched on one aspect of the Egyptian pantheon. Next time, I’ll blog more about Egypt and their relationship with Death.

23 May 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Shapeshifters I have read:
  1. Wolf
  2. Coyote
  3. Tiger
  4. Cougar
  5. Lion
  6. Hawk
  7. Dragon
  8. Deer
  9. Collie
  10. Mer
  11. Dolphin
  12. Snake
  13. All-purpose
Any others people want to throw in?

Part of the Dream Team?

They say hindsight’s twenty/twenty and looking back, I’ve noticed something. I use dreams—a lot. I haven’t done it consciously, it’s just something that’s woven its way into my stories, by chance or circumstance. A recurring nightmare to show that a character has been haunted by something for a long time; another slightly warped, Dada-esque type nightmare involving a bride seeking bouquet for comedic effect and my favorite by far, a cutely naughty dream I used to hook the reader into believing that my character is having a steamy poolside affair with a hunky foot masseuse whose name she can’t quite recall. I don’t use them to further the plot, or wrap up a story, but dreams are in almost all my stories at some point and time.

Why am I drawn to use them time and again? I have some vivid ones myself, especially during that state between sleep and waking when the imagination roams wild and free but awake enough so I don’t get those dreams with say a purple elephant like the one in the picture that speaks German in them, which jolt me awake and make me say. "Huh?" I either don't remember my dreams and am left with strange impressions that don't make much sense, but leave me vaguely disquieted or else I am haunted by them for days. Once in a blue moon, I have nightmares, though nothing as freaky as the painting shown above. If I have to have a motif, why not eels or ostriches? Why dreams?

A very dear friend did a reading for me once and told me I was the King of Cups. Now while it’s good to be king (uh huh thank ya thank ya verra much) I didn’t understand what it meant, except I was in charge, and I liked that! Then she explained that it meant I’m a visionary or a dreamer. Well, that explains my preoccupation for the nocturnal transmissions, huh?

Are other authors drawn to particular themes in their books, or am I the only sucker for sameness? While I never use them as a plot device, I like the un-reality of them, the whimsy in some cases, the contrast in others. The way they jolt the character and/or the reader out of their comfort zone, shifting them somewhere else.

For many, like mystics, and wise men and women, dreams or visions have been used as a form of travel albeit temporary to other places or even planes of existence. The only traveling I do with my ‘dream theme’ is page to page, chapter to chapter. I just hope my quirky ‘dream theme’ gives my stories a touch of whimsy that the readers will enjoy as much as I do.

Dream On,

22 May 2007


Sometimes, when you're a writer, your brain kicks into creative mode and there's nothing you can do about it. You're not always in a position where you can type like the wind or even take notes. Let's take my daughter's recent preschool graduation as an example. Those of you who are writers are going to know exactly what I'm talking about, and those of you who aren't can get some insight as to where we get our ideas.

So we (me, husband, sister, daughter #1, daughter #2) all dressed up, loaded up and went to this thing called a preschool graduation. Really, it was a potluck dinner and a chance for the kids to run amuck on the playground in their dress clothes while the parents stood around awkwardly, holding paper plates, angry babies with rashes, and the piece of wood their kid found on the playground and just *had* to save.

Or maybe that was just me. But anyway.

We'd made my daughter's favorite piggy wiggies and put them in my precious, fancy Tempraserve insulated food carrier to keep them hot, and the buffet table groaned with goodies. We had convinced the children to eat real food instead of cake, and everything we might possibly need was packed in the diaper bag hanging on my shoulder.

Everything except my laptop!

There we were during the social hour, pretending to be social, and without warning my brain clicked into creative mode. I don’t know what kickstarted it. Maybe the sight of the children riding the skateboard down the long handicapped ramp? When I was young, there was a house in our neighborhood on the bluff that actually had an escape tunnel. The back bedroom closet had a secret door, and underneath was a long, dark, concrete shaft. If you flattened your body, you could roll on a skateboard all the way under the house, under the yard, to the secret egress near the side of the mountain. Why would a family need a dark, secret escape hatch, I always wondered? Why would they need to flee their house? Surely there was a story there, and last night, my brain wanted to write it.

"Hon," my husband said, "can you hold the baby so I can eat?"

My turn to restrain the rashy baby, who struggled to get down and eat grass with the rest of the younger siblings. My little graduate, on the other hand, was -- in her fancy party dress -- excavating a large mud puddle with a child-sized shovel, jumping on it with great concentration. So were several other taffeta-clad angels, and my sister, attempting to restore order, stood in their center like a Maypole whose ribbons had taken on a life of their own. The sun glinted on her blonde curls, and a dark, handome man I didn't recognize videotaped the whole thing, smirking the whole time.

My sister's single. Granted, the videotaper probably wasn't, but he might be, and...

"Hon," my husband said, "it's time for the ceremony."

We all trooped inside the small schoolhouse to watch our muddy graduates collect their "journey books" and sing songs about spreading love around the world, very Pay It Forward. The preschool where we enrolled our daughter follows the Reggio Emilia approach that curriculum is developed from the emerging interests of the children as they interact with their environment. In other words, it's small, intimate, nontraditional and touchy-feely, a unique program for our wonderful--perhaps even unusual--children. Which of course sent my brain, which had been writing a romantic comedy involving my sister, in another direction.

"Hon," my husband said, waking me from "the trance" for a third time, "do you want me to take the baby to the car?"

Now how had I missed that it was time to go home? I sent hubby to the car, my sister to clean the mud off our graduate and then to the car, and myself to the buffet table to fetch my precious, fancy Tempraserve insulated food carrier and any remaining piggy wiggies.

It was nowhere to be found. I sought it high and low, inside and out, even in the mudhole, but the Tempraserve had disappeared into thin air. There were other dishes still on the table, dishes I had not brought, but none were my treasured Tempraserve. I managed to keep my mouth shut about shabby thieves all the way home since the children love to repeat my words. I knew it could have been an honest mistake, some clueless husband sent by the wife to "get our stuff", but now it's late and I'm writing my blog entry and I'm still pissed about that casserole dish.

Maybe I should have my revenge. Which makes me think of a story....


Anybody else have nights like this?

Jody W.

May 22 New Releases at Samhain

What's new at Samhain? In the speculative romance realm, we have:

Fantasy Romance Short Story
Nimue enters the shining city of Camelot with her order plain: seduce Merlin or lose her family.

TOUCH ME by Beverly Rae
Paranormal Romance Novel
Psychic matchmaker Cally gives everyone their happy ending. But can she ever have one herself?

Fantasy Romance Novella
They say that love is blind…too bad it’s not, it sure would help. Return again to Westmyre in this second installation of the Demons of Dunmore series.

And don't miss: BORN AGAIN VIRGIN by Sami Lee
Contemporary Romance Novel



Jody Wallace

19 May 2007

Popping up from the grindstone...

"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they pass by."

I forget who said that, but I need it on a bumper sticker. Or a t-shirt. Or etched on a margarita glass.

There's something motivating about a deadline. I'm on one right now, and I'm in hell.

I'm also in heaven. Why? Because 48 hours before deadline is when my creative juices finally start pumping. The TV's on, my family is noisy, the dogs are barking, but I keep pounding out wordage. Even with a generous deadline - for this one I had 6 weeks to add a mere 2000 words and revise an existing manuscript - I'll noodle around forever, making some progress on the page while my subconscious churns doing the real work in the background.

Finally, about 48 hours before it's due, the words pour out. I'd rather pull out my toenails than do a first draft, but revisions are where I get fabulously creative. Pumping up emotion there, adding sizzle there, toning down the melodrama elsewhere. Maybe it's the former journalist coming out in me, but right on deadline is when I do my best work.

I really hope my editor isn't reading this.

My current baby is a contemp/paranormal/fantasy blend called WILDISH THINGS. It'll be out in both eBook and paperback on Nov. 1 in a SamhainPublishing.com anthology called "Love and Lore." It's their annual anniversary Celtic themed anthology, and I'm excited and honored to be invited to contribute, along with Gia Dawn and Sela Carsen.

It's about a woman name Beith Molloy, wounded in both body and spirit, who journeys to Ireland to get her career as a wildlife artist back on track. A twist of fate lands her with sexy tour guide Kellan O'Neill, who whisks her away on a wild adventure on his Harley. On the surface it sounds like a sexy romp - and it is - but there are also hearts and spirits to be mended, dark pasts to work through, complicated by an ancient, lusty goddess called the Cailleach who basically just needs laid. Once the Cailleach's attention turns to Beith and Kellan, all hell breaks loose.


I hope you'll enjoy this fun, emotional journey as much as I had fun writing it. Here's a little snippet of it. It's unedited, so please ignore the typos.


Unedited Excerpt from WILDISH THINGS, Copyright 2007 Carolan Ivey, All Rights Reserved.

The lift doors whooshed shut, and she found herself enclosed in a small space with Kellan O'Neill.

His scent drifted over her, a pleasing combination of freshly showered man and what she imagined Irish turf must smell like. Clean and earthy. She opened her mouth but shut it again, sensing she would only babble if she broke the silence. And one thing she never did was babble.

She glanced up at the numbers changing at the top of the door, and felt a warm prickle begin at the back of her neck and travel down... Oh, dear. Was he looking at her? Was that warm feeling a the small of her back his hand, hovering just above her skin? For a brief second a series of images flashed through her mind. Her turning into Kel's arms. Kel dropping her carry-on, hitting the lift's hold button and proceeding to press her up against the wall. His muscular arms lifting her off the floor, his broad shoulders sheltering her, one hand cradling her head while the other...
... would never happen. Could never happen. Beith took a deep breath and tried to get hold of herself, hoping he wouldn't notice the light sheen of perspiration which had broken out on her forehead. She closed her eyes and fought a wave of dizziness. Damn those pain meds she’d taken before her flight had taken off from Cleveland.

What was wrong with her? Kellan O'Neill was a complete stranger. She'd never been given to wild, hormone-driven flings with anyone, and she wasn't about to start now. Especially now. She had a demanding career and had always kept herself in complete control, reminding herself of what was really important.

That accident must have shattered more than her bones.

She shifted on her feet, but he seemed perfectly comfortable with the silence between them, as if he tracked her thoughts and had no desire to interrupt them. Well, damn it, she had to interrupt them. She forced herself to think of the scars, and cold reality quickly reasserted itself.

As soon as I get that suitcase, I’m booking a flight home. Then I’ll pop a Flexaril and wake up back in Cleveland, as if this had never happened.

He made no comment about the size of her suitcase as he pulled it off the carousel, but the way he handled it easily with one hand while holding her carry-on with the other made her flush all over again. Fanning herself with the scraps of her plane ticket, she looked around and spied a bureau de change and touched his arm. She snatched her hand away as he turned, flapping it nervously toward the counter. "Isn't that where I get cash?"

"No." He took her arm more firmly and steered her down a corridor. "You'll be gettin' a better exchange rate at the ATM down here." He paused and studied her, that smile growing a little wider. “So you’re stayin’, then?”

Her heart thumped hard two or three times. Grow some balls, woman, Patrick had said.
The words to tell Kellan “no” were poised on her tongue. To tell him, “No thanks, but here’s a little something for your trouble.” She wondered if he’d be insulted, and inwardly winced at what his expression might look like when she pressed the cash into his hand. Well, there was no help for it. She blew out a breath, opened her mouth.

What came out was, “For now. Chances are I can’t get a flight out until tomorrow, anyway.” She snapped her mouth shut. No more Flexaril for me.

His grin widened and she went a little light-headed at its power. She attributed it to jet lag and the meds. As he turned to pull the retractable handle from her suitcase, she thought he heard him mutter, “That’s long enough.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said the ATM’s over here,” he said without missing a beat.


17 May 2007

Flat Out Heroism

A.K.A. FLATery Becomes Her

We've all been there, and if we haven't we're bound to be sometime or later. It's 2am, you're on your way home from a hot date, or if you're even luckier, on your way to a hot date. It's pouring with rain. No, it's not pouring with rain, it's Noah's flood revisited, and here you are in the middle of Interstate 57, twenty miles from the nearest habitable residence. It is pitch black, wet, cold, miserable, the maniac killer from Hitchhiker is bound to come along any minute now, and what are you doing? You are staring at the flattest tire you've ever set eyes on. Even worse, the flat is the spare that you've just had the foresight to take out of the trunk, and it's even flatter than the one currently on your wheel. This is the spare you've been promising yourself to replace since that puncture at Milly's party last year. Suddenly out of the sheets, nope, buckets of water that some deity with a sick sense of humor is throwing over you, you see the headlights of a brand new Porsche slowing down to a halt behind you. The drop dead gorgeous take-me-on-the-road-now! hunk that gets out of the car offers to help. Other than ripping your panties off and begging him to find you a nice warm fire to dry them beside, what should you do?

Never fear our special Agent Double D.3 has risked life, limb and, ahem, virginity to troll the roads for this exclusive report. Want to know what you're really getting into when those handsome eyes offer to replace your spare? Need to prepare yourself for an unforeseen inflatable experience? What do you do when he plays with it and makes it nice and hard? (The tire, silly, the tire!) Just what kind of man, or beast, are you dealing with? Read Agent Double D.3's special report on " FLATery Becomes Her," for the answer to these puzzlers and more see the report below:

Agent Double D.3 reports :

Vampires: Brand new Porsche, huh? And if you ask him you'll find that this is just his weekend car, he has five more at home that he uses for different days of the week. His offer of help comes in the form of a private mechanic, with the same pale skin and bright eyed look as the hunk beside you. For some inexplicable reason, as he drives you to his small thirty room mansion, just to have your panties steam dried by his army of maids, you have an overwhelming desire to offer him your neck and say "Bite me." If this is happening to you, then you, my lucky dear, have become the personal project of a superlicious vampire lord whose one intention is to have you solely for himself. Don't be surprised when you wake up in the morning, in his bed, to find five brand new tires on your car and Band-aids all over your body.

Werewolf: Soft top Porsche, no coat, pouring rain, a sexy swagger and an all too confident smile on his face. Something about this guy makes you want to give him all your panties, which he'll dutifully throw away. After all, who needs panties when this hunk is around. Having teased all your problems out of you, and maybe nuzzled your crotch some, he'll pull out his cell phone and a whole pack of his buddies will be surrounding your car in minutes, towing it, changing tires, drinking beers. And as you snuggle in between clean sheets, in a big bedroom with a huge log fire and a naked hunky fellow beside you, all of your problems will seem like a dream. You have had the good fortune of becoming the property of the local werewolf clan's pack leader. Don't worry about the clumps of fur stuck all over you when you wake up in the morning. These are simply a result of his bull mastiff, fido, sharing the bed with you last night.

Ghosts: Porsche? What Porsche? All you know is this hunkalicious guy has appeared beside you and now your panties are soaked, and it's not because of the rain. Rain, hell, it's so darn cold it's snowing now. Unfortunately he doesn't have a cell phone, but he does know of a nice quiet semi-mansion nearby that looks old and uncared for but has a terrific owner. No, there isn't any phone, but hey there's a fireplace, plenty of wood, and a nice comfy bed which would fit both of you very nicely. Besides you really should get out of those frozen panties before you catch a chill or get frostbitten or something. You, you lucky thing, are now the beloved human of the local scare-them-all-and-keep-them-off-my-property ghost. When you wake up in bed in the morning with hand shaped frost marks on your breasts don't forget, you kept telling everyone how you needed to get more exorcize.

Invisible men: Okay, it doesn't faze you that the guy who just stepped out of the Porsche is covered head to toe in bandages, and he wears dark sunglasses at night. You just know, simply, that beneath those rags he's the hunk you've been looking for ever since you learned what Giving Head meant. Efficient and capable this great hero has the local A1 tow truck at your car within minutes and is escorting you to his delightful ranch style home, tucked back in the quietlands of suburbia. You'll know he's the man for you because, strangely, your panties will come off all by themselves and hang themselves neatly by the fireplace. And we all know that panties are never wrong. These are all signs that you've been adopted by the local genius scientist/invisible man. You'll sleep the entire night away dreaming of having funkalicious sex with some incredible mysterious and hard to see yummy guy. When you wake up all hot and sweaty in the morning with hickeys all over your breasts, don't worry, it's just side effect of having all those deliciously hot dreams.

Mermen: If the hunk that steps out of the car is very floppy, and I mean flopping and flapping all over the road (and we all know how useless a floppy man is,) then you've had the misfortune to be rescued by a Merman. Now Mermen are kind of pointless in this situation, unless of course you're into sea food. So get out the fish filet knife, some beer batter, skewers and find a nearby bridge to give you some cover to put up a barbecue and deep fat fryer, then sit back and have some late night fish and chips. Sorry, you'll have to keep those panties on this time around, after all, grilled is the only head you're going to be getting tonight.

Incubus: Forget the Porsche, let's talk Subaru. A big four wheel drive, ten seater affair that has the back seats removed and a permanent mattress and feather down bed installed. Your panties are now history, lost somewhere in the four feet between your car and his. By the time the A1 tow truck has driven off with your tires, got them fixed and returned them, you're on your fourteenth orgasm-and you don't give a damn about the tires thank you very much. Then you're driven home to a very nice, warm house, with a delicious fireplace, hot chocolate and lots of KY lubrication. This is going to be a very busy night for you and the last thing you need is a bad case of friction burn. Congratulations you've been taken into the custody of your local incubus. When you wake up in the morning don't even dream about getting out of bed. Panties? You'll never need them again.

Djinn: Okay, so this guy, panty soaking delicious though he is, is so weird. I mean he doesn't drive a Porsche, he rides a carpet for frick's sake. Not just any old carpet but one that miraculously keeps him totally dry in spite of half the Pacific falling on top of you both. At least he has the decency to extend the keeping the rain off part when he gets close enough to see what's going on. And, it was very nice of him to snap his fingers and replace all your tires, well damn, the whole car, in a matter of moments. It is a little disconcerting to find he obtained your rather damp panties in a similar matter. Although, of course, you knew he was going to get them sometime anyway, so that's alright. If those little signs don't clue you in, suddenly finding yourself in an exotic Arabian castle, dressed in flowing see-through silk, sans underwear, and being attended to by a bevy of pretty and very helpful young ladies should. You've just taken charge of a local Djinn (although taking charge is a matter of debate here.) Just wake up and get out of bed anytime you fancy, though you'll probably be too exhausted from the non-stop sex to even bother. Oh, and only wear the panties if you ever leave your private chambers, it makes such a mess when the male servants drool all over the carpets.

Agent Double D.3 report ends.

A little paranormal feast

This whole blogging thing really sneaks up on me. As usual, I have no idea what to say since my mind is full of camping plans and researching guinea pig pregnancy. (One of my piggies is expecting...I've felt he babies kick.) This morning, on the way to the mailbox, I wondered why nobody has done a guinea pig shape shifter. Now you can laugh, but anyone who knows me knows that I'm all about unusual animals being made into paranormal creatures.

Last summer, I thought it would be funny to write a story about a moose-shifter. When Samhain bought the story (Last Prophecy), I think I asked the editor if she was serious or if she was joking with me. This summer I have a beaver-shifter story coming out under my other personality (Courting Damnation at Forbidden Publications). I've seen rabbit shifters, fox, bear, cats, wolves etc and just for fun, I thought I'd ask what everyone thinks about the animal part of a shifter personality. What's the most unusal animal you've seen used in a story? How much of the animals personality should bleed through to the character's human persona?

15 May 2007

Thank you, authors of Beyond the Veil, for inviting me to hang out with you today. I'm at the day job in a meeting from 9:00am to 10:30am MST (Mountain Standard Time) so if you drop me a post during that time, I'm not ignoring ya, I promise :D

So, what's the brou-ha-ha about paranormal romance these days? Is it the fact that authors of the paranormal come up with some of the most delicious heroes imaginable? Or, that we create worlds that allow a person to escape from everyday life, even if just for a few minutes in between diaper changes, meetings at work, or trips to the bathroom - (don't knock it, 'cause some of the best reading time is done in the bathroom!) Or is it the fact that authors of paranormal romance actually make you WANT a werewolf alpha or a sexy vampire? Who-da thought?

Some have asked me, the total paranormal nutball, where some of my ideas come from. And it's a hard question to answer. Some of my character's personalities and beliefs come from real life. Some come from things I'd like to do in life. Some, I just pull out of my a--, uh, hat. For example, the spirit guides in PRIMED TO POUNCE (Ellora's Cave) and EGYPTIAN VOYAGE (Ellora's Cave) are a mish-mash of Lakota myth and spiritual belief. I am part Lakota Sioux and Blackfeet and tend to weave some of the things into my stories that I heard and read while growing up.

On the other hand, a mix of my love (though not always 'like') for fitness plus professional experience working with pharmaceuticaul and biotech manufacturers found their way into CARINIAN'S SEEKER (Samhain Publishing) and SERATI'S FLAME (Samhain Publishing). But these two books are vampire stories with big bad alpha male vamps as the GOOD GUYS. What the hell? Did TJ run up on a couple of vampire cuties and decide to write a book about 'em? Er, not. But I can wish...

Another couple of books (JAGUAR'S RULE and SPIRIT OF THE PRYDE - Both from Ellora's Cave) feature jaguar and African lion shifters. Now, where'd they come from? I don't have a clue. The ideas just came to me one day and turned into two of my favorite stories.

I think paranormal appeals to so many because you can pretty much go anywhere, meet anyone between the pages (and the sheets), and experience all manner of yummy things with gorgeous alphas...even if they don't exist. We can even do magic! Any kind, any time, and in any way we wish. Long live paranormal romance! Wooo baby!

Personally, if I could get my hands on one of the sexy Were's I've been reading about lately, you wouldn't see me for AWHILE!

So...spill it - What is it about paranormal romance that turns you on? What do you want more of? Lay it on me, I can take it *wink*

..• ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.•´ .•´¨¨))
((¸¸.•´ ..•´ http://www.tjmichaels.com/ -:¦:-
-:¦:- ((¸¸.•´* http://www.dynamicthree.com/
CARINIAN'S SEEKER, V.C.O.E. Book 1, Avail in digital and print
SERATI'S FLAME, V.C.O.E. Book 2, Samhain Publishing, August 2007
POUNCE ~ PRYDE ~ JAGUAR'S ~ GIFT WRAP, All available at Ellora's Cave
EGYPTIAN VOYAGE ~ Coming Soon from Ellora's Cave

May 15 New Releases at Samhain Publishing

In the speculative romance arena, we have:

"The Wolverine and the Jewel" by Rebecca Goings
A Fantasy Romance Novel

"She doesn’t know who she is or where she came from. But she knows she’s in love with the man who found her." Book II of the Legends of Mynos series.

And don't miss:

"Cade's Challenge" by Becky Barker
A Contemporary Romance Novel
"When a dangerous stalker shakes her world, can Sallie trust Cade enough to reveal her secret past?"

"Nightswimming" by Rebecca James
A Mainstream Novel
"A story about love, friendship, fidelity, and betrayal…and how the birth of a child can change everything."

"One Bashful Lady" by Brenda Williamson
An Historical Romance Novel
"One bashful lady discovers her dashing husband might be a traitor to their country.

For longer blurbs and excerpts, check out http://www.samhainpublishing.com/

Jody W.
So much cyberspace, so little time!

14 May 2007

The Labeling Game - Hara's Legacy

I'm hard at work on the final round of fixes for Hara's Legacy, which is coming out on May 29th from Samhain (yes, we're a little behind because RT took a chunk of time that we'd meant to use a little more efficiently - LOL). This book, like many I write, crosses all sorts of genre boundaries. It's set in the future, with aliens occupying the Earth, so it's either Sci Fi or Futuristic, depending on how you define those genres, but one of the main plot points is that all the human characters are psychic in some way. So does that make it Paranormal? Then there's the fact most of the action is set on a ranch in the wilderness, so you've got the Western aspect. See what I mean? Genre lines are not only crossed, but pretty much obliterated!

I tend to narrowly define Sci Fi vs. Futuristic. To me, anything that happens out in space, or on a ship/space station/what have you, is firmly in the Sci Fi category. Futuristics tend to focus more on humans and Earth - or some colony world - but in some distant future which can be, and often is, post-apocalyptic in nature. By that definition, Hara's Legacy is definitely Futuristic, though the presence of aliens will make many people think Sci Fi. *shrug*

Then there are the Paranormal categories. The genre seems to encompass (judging by the market and what other kinds of books are being labelled Paranormal) the traditional werewolves and vampires, but also psychic phenomena of all kinds, ghost stories, and the more Buffy-like demons, angels, zombies, and other things that go bump in the night. The characters in Hara's Legacy have psychic gifts. The eldest brother has precognitive visions, the middle brother is telekinetic and the youngest has very strong telepathic skills. The heroine is strongly empathic. All of their skills together are what's helped them survive in the "brave new world" where aliens have invaded and claimed the Earth for themselves. So, as you might guess, I'm in a bit of a quandry. How to label this?

I just don't know, but my guess is the Futuristic setting probably takes precedence, then the Paranormal abilities of the characters. Oh, and it's a really hot romance. I mean scorching, so that's got to be taken into consideration as well. LOL. I don't envy the publisher for having to make these kinds of category decisions. I've become a little hung-up on how you define each category as I struggle with how to describe my books and set up my website. It seems each person I speak to has different definitions. Thanks for bearing with me as I search for my own concensus of what's what. Any suggestions/comments are welcome!

Bianca D'Arc

12 May 2007

Snapshot Klahdaghoscopes

The Klahdagh is a tile based divination system that works at a kind of mix between Viking Runes and the Tarot. Tiles can be drawn for short reading patterns of five and seven tiles, or a full reading pattern of twelve tiles. Alternately a "snapshot" of three tiles can be used for a "quick peek" reading. Although the seven tile pattern is the standard, I've used the snapshot version here simply because of time restraints and ease of readability. Because the readings below are grouped for people under the astrological signs I call them Klahdaghoscopes as opposed to regular Klahdagh readings. If anyone would like a free seven tile reading for themselves or for a character they are writing please contact me at sjmsmith44@comcast.net, with Klahdagh Reading in the subject line. Please note, these readings are for entertainment purposes only.

Thank you.


Work: Sleti - the wheat. This week is a good opportunity to encourage teamwork, especially with female colleagues. Patience and encouragement is needed to help a project grow.
Love: Widas - the wind. Relationships might be a bit troubled this week and your partner may seem distracted. Hang on, this is likely to be just a passing phase.
Wealth: Banil - the ring. Be careful with your finances this week. Family or friends may need a "loan", make sure you check all the details before making a decision.

Work: Fatala - winter. Things will be tough at work with difficult deadlines and other hardships but you will find colleagues pulling together to help you out. A female colleague in particular will inspire you.
Love: Palentia - The Eastern Queen. This is a very favorable week for you and your lover, or if you're single, to find a new love. You will find new ways to commune with your lover on an emotional and/or intellectual level.
Wealth: Elant - the sword. A surge of victory allows you to gain more careful control over your financial situation, either with or against the wishes of a female friend/relative.

Work: Sleti - the wheat. Your workload will be lightened by the aid of a female colleague but be patient, the effects of this effort will take a while to be noticeable.
Love: Brica - element of fire. Your lover's physical attraction to another woman may become a problem this week. Fight for what is yours and don't allow a simple flirtation to get out of hand.
Wealth: Nyi - the void. Take time to make sure your money is safe and secure. Check all the small print for added costs and be wary of trusting others with your investments and cash this week.

Work: Chobe - summer. This is a good week for work, If you were thinking of changing jobs, this would be a good time to do it, otherwise, expanding your empire, new contracts or clients are very likely.
Love: Fellick - The Northern Page. Your lover may appear to be somewhat distant from you this week, but listen and watch and their loyalty to you will be proven beyond doubt.
Wealth: Jhud - The Eastern Page. Some kind of message or messenger will bring good news regarding your finances this week, possibly as a result of study, or the arts.

Work: Amb - the cup. You have a long put off decision to make this week. Discuss it with a trusted friend before doing so, but ensure that the ultimate decision is yours.
Love: Urld - the world. Something unexpected and potent is going to happen this week with your lover. Whether for good or bad is uncertain, but whatever happens you have the strength to deal with it.
Wealth: Cisica - The Northern Queen. Financial success will come to you provided you are faithful when you lead others.

Work: Kamen - The Northern King. People at work will get passionately involved in something this week - a dark haired man is indicated. Judge things very carefully before taking sides.
Love: Delg - the cage. You may be feeling trapped and caught in a physically unfulfilling relationship this week. It is not an end all situation, but a concerted effort to communicate and work on the problem with your lover is called for.
Wealth: Lianche - The Southern Page. If you are responsible for someone else's finances this week be very careful. There are indications that deceit might be afoot regarding these funds.

Work: Leig - the cat. Be determined and experimental this week. Don't be put off your ideas by conservatives and you should reap the rewards of success.
Love: Kamen - The Northern King. This is a passion filled week for you and your lover - expect the evenings and nights to bring a few emotional fireworks into your life.
Wealth: Fetoi - the man. Stick to your financial plans this week and don't be tempted to change them this is not a good time to play the stock market on a whim or rumor.

Work: Fatala - winter. Physically your workload is rough but with a good team spirit and delegation it is not insurmountable.
Love: Inna - the tree. This is a time of growth and recuperation for you and your lover. Take time out to enjoy the physical side of your relationship and this will help unite you, cementing your relationship more.
Wealth: Kle - the babe. Any investments, new budget plans, or other financial forays will come to a completion this week possibly through the help of a male friend/family member.

Work: Telora - The Western Page. A time of success where some milestone or contract is achieved and there's a brief time to sit back and relax. This is a good time for study or for reflection on the past few months.
Love: Shax - the axe. Obstacles in the way of your relationship will be cleared with the minimum of effort. This is a good time to work on those niggling doubts.
Wealth: Kle - the babe. The wealth indicated here is more of a spiritual/emotional scale. Something will give you an all round good feeling and sense of wellbeing this week.

Work: Phel - the storm. A satisfying time at work where a conglomeration of different ideas and concepts are brought successfully together.
Love: Orkst - the bridge. Difficulties and obstacles in your relationship will be eased away this week. It is likely your love will grow stronger. If you're single a new love is likely to appear.
Wealth: Kelm - spring. Keep an eye out this week for good investments and other financial opportunities.

Work: Phlo - the ship. Travel for work is likely or else the discovery of a new way of doing things, new resources, or new clients is possible.
Love: Stexi - fall. Set aside time for you and your lover. You need to gather your strength and secure your love, there are difficult times just ahead.
Wealth: Cisica - The Northern Queen. You will need to give your best efforts this week to make a success in your financial field.

Work: Takindal -The Southern King. This is a difficult time at work but in spite of everything a silver lining is there somewhere, it may just take a little while to find it.
Love: Kle - the babe. This is a very good week for your love life, if you are trying for a child, this could be the week that it happens.
Wealth: Shax - the axe. Obstacles in your path are easily removed this week, don't be afraid to approach those in financial institutions.

May you all have a good week.


Attention, all paranormal authors!

If you have a new release and are planning a virtual book tour, we have guest blog slots available every other Tuesday.

Interested? Contact the Admin at carolanivey @ yahoo.com.

11 May 2007

Velkommen til Asgard: Welcome to Asgard

The home of the Norse gods. According to legend, there were nine worlds. Two sets of gods, the Aeisir and the Vanir had their own worlds, Asgard and Vanaheim. Humans lived in Midgard, the world of the dead was an icy place called Niflheim, and elves, dwarves, giants, and fire had their own worlds.

Odin was the All-Father, but not so much a jolly kind of guy. He lost one eye when he traded it for a drink from Mirmir, or the Well of Wisdom. A strange sort of wisdome, for he was also a god of war and warriors. He was often accompanied by two wolves and two ravens, Hugin and Mugin, or Memory and Thought.

For nine days, Odin was hung from Yggdrasil – the Tree of Life – and a common motif in Viking art. Odin, who was also the god of the hanged, sacrificed himself to learn nine powerful spells and the secrets of the runes.

His wife, Frigg, was also the goddess of fertility and motherhood. It’s said that in order to keep her beautiful son Balder safe from everything, she asked everything on the earth for a promise not to harm him. The only thing she didn’t ask was the mistletoe because she thought it too insignificant. Later, Loki, the fire god of chaos and mischief, convinced blind Höd, Balder’s brother, to toss a mistletoe sprig at Balder. It struck him in the eye and killed him.

The pantheon of the Norse is extremely complex – necessarily so, with two sets of gods. In addition, there is a lot of crossover between the Norse gods and the Teutonic, or Germanic, gods. The Ring of the Niebelungen, Wagner’s famous opera, is based more on the Teutonic gods, but the similarities between the two pantheons is inescapable.

For a brief overview of the Norse pantheon, stop at the Norse mythology page of Timeless Myths.

From there, proceed to Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Mythica, and godchecker.com.

For books, I suggest The Prose Edda, The Poetic Edda, and The Volsung Saga.

Snorri Sturluson was a 12th century Icelandic poet and historian who wrote many, many books on the myths and sagas of his people. There are several modern translations of his work available.

In a moment of serendipitous timing, I happened to pick up and read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods this week. It brings together gods from all over the world in a beautiful and haunting tale about the ultimate mortality of immortal beings. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in mythology.

10 May 2007


This week I want to show off my cover for The Strength of the Pack. (Release date June 19.) I love it so much!

It also has a twin cover, The Strength of the Wolf. Out in September.

Aren't they pretty? I just had to share today. Dawn Seewer has done a fantastic job. I think Samhain has great cover artists. :)

(If they pique your curiosity, there's more info about the books here.)

09 May 2007

Just Breathe

What is inspiration? Loosely it means stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity. Literally, the word inspiration means breathed upon. Sounds a little strange at first, but think about it. If someone breathes in your ear, the hair goes up on the back of your neck and your skin tingles. For someone, like me, who writes romances, that sounds right up my alley.

But where do you get inspiration? Perhaps from the oft credited, yet never seen muses? More grownups seem to believe in these wearers of long gauzy gowns than ever believed in the fat bearded one as children. I'd hire PR person the spot, because for women who don’t get out much, everybody knows who they are. Well, sort of, because, basically, there’s only nine muses (ten if you count Sappho) and how many writers in the world? I don’t know much about math, but well, that just doesn’t add up to me.

Back to inspiration, how do you make sure it’s the good kind of breath? Let’s face it, those muses are busy creatures, they’d find it amusing (pun intended) to give your work a little halitosis. While you're scrambling around freshening it up, they'd be free to finally finish their own novels.

Now that I've uncovered the muses' plots to dominate the writing world, blogging may be the only writing I’ll ever do again, somehow, I don’t think so. Inspiration comes from within, from without, from all around. Music, movies, the people I meet on the street are fodder for what I write. What doesn’t inspire me is an easier to question to ask. The answer is, nothing yet. Even silence does, because I find that it makes my thoughts start to whirl just to fill it. So, whether you’re an artist, an author, a singer, songwriter, poet, or the person who cleans the toilets at the local McDonald’s, everybody needs something to inspire you to do your best. Find out what it is, and go with it.

08 May 2007

Internal Consistency

When you write a novel, you create a world.

I have it on good authority readers kinda like it when that world plays by rules they can comprehend. It can be a reasonable facsimile of the world readers live in, or it can be an entirely new place spawned from that wacky dream you had back in February when you were feverish and taking cold medications.

Either way, the world you build in your novel needs internal consistency. Oh, it needs character motivation consistency, timeline consistency, and so on, but today I want to focus on worldbuilding consistency -- a well-constructed setting and mythology for your speculative novel.

If your heroine has brown eyes on page three, unless she undergoes a significant biological change (which I hear shapeshifters do!), her eyes need to be brown on page two hundred and three. If your hover cars can’t travel beyond the city limits due to mechanical limitation, then don’t include a hover car chase through the rural terrain of Terra Prime. If vampires aren’t harmed by silver bullets any more than they are by regular bullets, it’s not very consistent if silver knives burn their flesh.

This is especially important for authors of speculative fiction who arguably have more details to track. Since the spec content of their stories has facts known only to the author, uniformity of worldbuilding might not be as instinctive as it would for a contemporary author. The contemporary author, while she’s researched her protagonists’ professions, geographical locations, and so on, doesn’t have to fret about the color of the grass, the length of the lunar cycle, and how, exactly, magic works. The level of worldbuilding a lot of spec fic authors juggle is even more than an historical author deals with. But with all authors (Lewis Carroll excepted), consistency is the key to authenticity.

Not that this is some great revelation! We know what creates a convincing and fascinating world because we’re readers, too. Facts that get established and then seemingly ignored (I’m looking at you, LOST!), jolt us out of that pleasurable reading trance.

In my WIP, a light urban fantasy set in the now, I’ve got a plethora of unusual information to catalog. Many of my characters are empowered, and then there’s the political, economic and social system of how these particular individuals coexist with the norms. As I write, I highlight details I think are critical (or that I fear I might forget!) until I can transfer them to a master notes document. I have character descriptions of everyone in the story, a list of powers and who has them, and explanations of how each power works.

With my novel A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH, due out in 2008 from Samhain, my world is a fairy tale flavored fantasy construct, so I added maps, dictionaries, world histories, and a “setting” outline, where instead of plot I focus on what worldbuilding minutiae I reveal in each chapter.

There are plenty of articles and books out there about creating worlds, but what about keeping track of your creation> If you’re a writer, what do you do when you’re WIPing to ensure your world is consistent? If you’re a reader--which we all are!--what types of setting or worldbuilding irregularities really throw you out of a story?

Jody W.

May 8, 2007 - New Releases!

This week there are several releases from Samhain Publishing with both speculative and romantic content as well as other goodies. Check them out:

“Two Sighted” by Annmarie McKenna - A paranormal romance novella
Read An Excerpt Online
Even with her shaky past, Aislinn can’t help but to secretly want Kyle. When she witnesses his death in a vision, how can she tell him without giving away her secret or her lust?

“Revenant” by Olivia Lorenz - A gay/lesbian vampire novel
Read An Excerpt Online
Would you sell your soul for the find of a lifetime? Could you give up your life for love?

“A Killer's Agenda” by Anita Whiting - A romantic suspense novel
Read An Excerpt Online
Can a psychic investigator disprove an accidental death before she and her lover are next to die?

“Undenied” by Maya Banks - A red hot contemporary novel
Read An Excerpt Online
Another chance to make a night gone bad very, very right.

“The Lady and The Dragon” by Shelley Bradley - An historical romance novel
Read An Excerpt Online
A not-so-proper lady on a quest for freedom sneaks aboard the ship of an infamous privateer determined to save his brother—and resist love. Who will win this clash of wills?

05 May 2007

Horses Haunt My Books

Since today is Derby Day, let's talk a little bit about horses.

And since it IS Derby Day and I'm not focused on blogging, I'm tempted to just direct you to Gia Dawn's excellent entry on the Fantasy and Enchantment blog, about mystical horses like Each Uisges and Kelpies!

I am a total horse geek, and will spend an inordinate amount of time today watching the day's race card on ESPN2 while noodling around on pedigreequery.com, studying the family trees of all the Derby entrants. You may even find me drawing Tarot cards in an attempt to predict the winner.

Yep, just tattoo a horse on my butt and call me a geek.

When I was little, I dreamed of having a horse, like most little girls. I had an imaginary horse in my back yard, a big grey dun stallion named Ghost. My best friend had her own "horse", and we spent long summer days "riding" all over the neighborhood on magical quests to conquer evil.

As a grownup (and I use that term loosely) I started writing stories, and invariably horses show up in them. In my first unpublished manuscript, a horse helps the herione begin getting over her phobia of heights. In my first published book, BEAUDRY'S GHOST, horses are critical to the plot, from the ghost horse that perpetually runs the Outer Banks, to a big grey stallion that ends up carrying the hero to his destiny. (And yes, my favorite in the Derby to day is a big grey colt named Storm In May.)

For you enjoyment today, I'll leave you with an excerpt from BEAUDRY'S GHOST. It's currently out of print, but I still have a few copies left if you'd like to have one. Just contact me at carolaniveyATyahooDOTcom for details.

Enjoy the day!

Beaudry's Ghost, Copyright 2005 Carolan Ivey, All Rights Reserved.

Hunkered down against the relentless offshore wind, Taylor watched from the dubious cover of beach grass, hands tight around her Enfield musket.

The electricity had gone out again, a frequent occurrence on these sparsely populated barrier islands of North Carolina. Without the reassuring lights of the development a quarter mile to the south, Taylor had no problem staying awake at her post. Darkness was for bats. Taylor preferred light. The only reason she had fled the comforting light of the campfire was Leon Gulley’s ghost stories.

She hated them.

She hated them even more now that Troy was dead. Taylor tucked in her chin and fought to keep it from quivering. Troy. Had it been only a year since she had collapsed to the floor of her office, a crushing pain in her chest, knowing the worst even before she received official word two days later? Only a year of days since her last stinging words to him came back to slash her heart? Go ahead, big man. Go on and get yourself killed. Have a great time!
She had told him over and over again a man like him had no business joining the Navy SEALs. SEAL teams were for those with no ties, no one who waited for them at home. Troy hadn’t listened. Craving adventure outside their little hometown, he had set his sights on SEAL training even before graduating from Annapolis.
Taylor rested her Enfield across her lap and pressed her fingertips to her eyelids. She fought two’s worth of exhaustion for two days, having decided at the last minute to join the event wearing Troy’s Confederate uniform. Disagreements they’d certainly had, but she and Troy had shared a love of history and Civil War re-enacting. Taylor rested her chin on her arm, breathing in the damp-wool smell of the uniform. The others thought she wore it as a tribute to Troy, or as part of her grieving process, and said nothing when she had shown up early that morning. She chose to let them believe that, rather than try to explain the truth.
She knew better than to fall asleep while on guard duty, but the emotional day she had endured gradually took its final toll. Her rear end settled onto the sand. The butt of her musket joined it, but she was too tired to care.
Moments later, hoof beats drummed her awake. Taylor found herself standing on the dune, watching a horse and rider approach in full gallop.
Wherever that horse had come from, it had been running a long time. Steam trailed off the animal’s body, and the low-riding moon set it to silver fire. That horse was flying. Its rider leaned low and listed slightly to one side, as if favoring an injured limb.

The messenger? He was early. And if he didn't turn aside very soon, he would run his horse right into the giant oak ribs of a shipwreck beached on the shore.
Taylor absently fingered the back of a newly shorn haircut and frowned. The messenger was coming down the beach from the north.
"But... he's coming from the wrong direction...”
She realized she'd spoken aloud when the approaching rider's body jerked. With a low moan, he pulled the horse to a rearing stop directly opposite her on the beach. The horse, clearly not happy about being made to stand, pranced in the ankle-deep tidal pool.
Taylor strained to see if the rider wore a uniform. She observed the slumped posture of the rider and thought maybe he and the horse weren't part of this re-enactment of the Civil War’s Battle of Roanoke.
"Hey! Are you hurt? Do you need help?"
With a Herculean effort, the rider straightened, turned the trembling, sweaty horse in her direction and approached at a walk. As they closed in on her, she heard the horse's labored snorts and something else...
With each breath, the rider's emitted a gurgling, inarticulate grunt. The sound carried with it the weight of a weariness she could sense but not fathom.
The offshore wind grew louder in her ears, and Taylor reached up to grab her hat before it flew off. At that moment she realized the physical wind remained steady.

But a force pushed at the door to her soul.
Taylor's fingers alternately tightened and loosened on the musket she held, a faintly caressing gesture as if she rubbed a magic lamp. Conjuring up someone. Or something. Like courage.
The horse caught her scent. It reared and spun, and in the rising moonlight, Taylor finally caught a clear glimpse of the rider.
He wore a blue uniform. And he was...
"Dear God."
Her chest muscles spasmed, leaving no space for her to draw air. Sheer reflex brought her musket to her shoulder and she aimed... at what? A figure whose bound stump of a left arm oozed blood. He held it tightly to his side while he fought the horse with his right. Soaked rags acted as a tourniquet to what was left of his right leg, but his every effort to stay in the saddle forced out more and more blood.
And the man... she guessed it was a man... had no head.
She was aiming at a dead man, her musket loaded with a useless blank. Fired, it would make a grand noise, and that was about all.
And they say Beaudry's ghost roams the Outer Banks to this day, headless, legless, armless, looking for his lost body parts... and for revenge...
That gurgling noise she’d heard was the sound of a man whose throat had been cut. Clear through.
Taylor gritted her teeth. Those ghost stories were coming back to haunt her in a big way. Her rational mind objected and rejected as fast as her eyes fed it the irrational sight. Her soul’s door, the one she had fought all her life to hold closed, blew wide open and the wind screamed through. An answering scream clawed for space in her throat along with the hardtack and beans she'd eaten hours ago.
Trembling, she braced herself as if leaning against that invisible door. A dream. Of course. She was dreaming this whole thing. She'd expected to have a few nightmares — even visions — before this event was over, but nothing like this. She'd only fallen asleep at her post and...
Oh, God, it's moving toward me!
The man regained control of the horse and pointed it directly at her, moving at a prancing, tiptoe walk. Clouds of steam streaked from the horse's nostrils, and as it moved closer she saw the white rings around its black eyes. Taylor closed hers.
"You aren't real. You... aren't... real!" she muttered through clenched teeth. She went perfectly still when a cold breath of air whisked right through her body, in a distinctive front-to-back direction. Taylor gulped. Somebody tell me this thing just didn’t pass right through me! she thought, shaking.
"Aw, the hell with this!" Facing cannon and musket fire was one thing. Facing this ghastly evidence that a dark otherworld indeed existed on another plane, and that the two planes sometimes crossed, was quite another.
Taylor dropped her Tennessee pride in the sand behind her as she fled down the steep slope of the dune. Gasping, sliding, stumbling, she hit bottom and headed for camp and help.

Stupid! Stupid! I should have fired... Troy would have at least fired...
Risking a quick glance to the rear, she abruptly tripped over a heaving lump on the sand.
A face full of the gritty stuff muffled the scream she finally released. Flipping instantly to her back, she scrambled backwards, spitting, flinging sand in every direction as she went. She came to rest on her knees with her rifle upraised yet again.
Still spitting, she looked up at the top of the dune she'd just vacated, blinked and did a double take.
The apparition was gone.
More likely, she'd simply tumbled down the dune in her sleep and woke up. Still trembling, her breathing still shallow and uneven, she focused on the object she'd tripped on. In the shadows, it was hard to make out at first. But as it slowly uncurled from its fetal position, it became clear it was human.
She sighted down the barrel of the musket and watched as he rolled soundlessly to his knees, placed his palms flat on the ground and slowly pushed his head and shoulders up.
With a soft groan, he shoved backward and rolled to a sitting position. That simple act mystified him, until he held up his hands and stared at them. His blank expression gave way to a slow-spreading grin that shone so sweet and bright in the dim light it made Taylor's throat catch.
For several seconds he simply gazed his hands, then plunged them into the soft sand between his knees. Scooping great handfuls, he laughed softly as he watched it trickle between his fingers. Taylor's rifle sagged. The man looked exactly like her baby nephew on his first foray into his new sandbox.
And, like that infant, the man's attention was suddenly drawn to his feet. Dropping the sand, he clenched a fist and pounded once on his right calf. Twice. The smile, impossibly, widened even more into a painful emotional grimace as he lifted his trembling hands to his face. Touched. Again.
The act broke something loose inside him, and Taylor thought he sobbed once before throwing himself backward to writhe like some child in the throes of making snow angels.
Unwilling to lower her weapon completely, yet somehow unwilling to intrude, Taylor stilled her shaking jaw and cleared her throat. The man froze.
"Um... are you okay, mister?"
He propped himself onto his elbows and stared at her.
Calm, Taylor. Stay calm. Now think...


04 May 2007

Bite and Make-Up

A.K.A. Turning a lover’s spat into a bedroom frolic.

So, you’ve been going out with your lass for a few months now, everything was hunky dory until you bit her too soon and now there’s blood on her new dress, or perhaps you put seaweed in her panties drawer and have sand blocking the toilet. She’s pissed, and rightly so. What are you going to do about it? Refuse to acknowledge your involvement? Blame it on the paranormal freak next door? Tell her your brother did it? Or are you going to be the brave hero you are and admit to your one and only mistake? Just how do you calm and wickedly seduce the true love of your life when she all she wants to do is kill you… again.

Never fear, our intrepid, Agent Double D.3 has investigated this phenomenon and come up with a report just for you—a detailed guide of how to wheedle your way back into her favor and her panties. Go, buy the expensive diamond necklace she always wanted, and sally forth with this useful guide to saving face in a paranormal cock up.

Agent Double D.3 reports:

Vampires: Are you finding it difficult to keep your fangs to yourself. Or maybe you brought the coffin home and scared the neighbors? Perhaps bits have been falling off in a severe case of sunburn? If your lady love is pissed for one of these reasons do yourself a favor and make a good friend of a local blood bank technician. Yes, piercing the plastic doesn’t taste anywhere near as good, but trust me it’s better than a heart shaped stake through the chest. To win back your beloved’s affections bring her that fabulous piece of diamond jewelry she always wanted, remove any offending articles from her sight—including your fangs—and apologize profusely. Treating her to a no strings attached full Swedish massage will also help wonders. For your own sake though, just for now, feast on her beauty and not on her blood and you’ll be back on biting terms in a week.

Werewolf: Shedding fur and bringing home last night’s half finished supper and leaving it on the kitchen floor will get your ass kicked in the doghouse. So, before she sets in with a flea shampoo and full body shave—hide the kibbles and get smart with a super expensive gift. Diamonds will be fine, or a nice string of pearls. Don’t offer to buy her furs, that will only remind her of the wolf skin wrap she’s always wanted. Alternately consider taking her to a popular beach resort, give her time to relax in your company with sun, surf and cocktail bars. If the heat is too oppressive for you, you might find it beneficial to accept that full body shave. After all, think of the fun to be had with those slippery suds and skillful hands.

Ghosts: You accidentally froze the roast turkey at thanksgiving? Walked through the shower wall while Aunt Betsie was showering and gave her favorite aunt a stroke? That puts you in deep kimchi, my man, uh, ghost. Soothe your path back to love with some delicate red roses, a slinky satin nightdress in virginal white, and two dozen boxes of her favorite liqueur filled chocolates. Once you’ve packed Aunt Betsie off to the ER (or the local male escort agency— depending on what kind of stroke you gave her) and settled her in, your beloved will be so snozzled it is just a matter of moments to persuade her to slip into that new nightdress, and comfort her in bed. Under no circumstances suggest you shower together, and for goodness sake, get used to using the door like normal folks. Okay?

Invisible man: Been caught walking naked in your neighbor’s bathroom while she’s in the bath? Terrified your mother-in-law’s poodle by sneaking up to it while invisible and pulling its tail. Such trials and tribulations will put you out of sight and out of mind as far as your heroine is concerned. To bring her around and your relationship back to serenity, take her on a luxury cruise. Spend the evenings gently clonking her prospective dates on the head and hiding their unconscious bodies in the nearest life raft. She’ll soon come to appreciate your caring, sensitive ways and you’ll be able to spend the rest of the cruise sharing sweet nothings, and blissful pillow talk.

Merman: Okay, so you have a panty fetish. That’s not a problem, lots of heroes have a panty fetish. But for goodness sake don’t leave your seaweed in her panty drawer. No heroine wants to go through a novel smelling of fish, especially not if their hero smells like one too. She does have a bit of class you know. So, before you get filleted and parceled out at the local fish market, this would be a good time to take her to visit your parents. Buy her some decent scuba gear, tons of oxygen and at least three drawers full of fun, fresh and sexy panties, and you’ll be well away. Oh, just one thing, you’ll probably find your sister persuades her that seaweed in the latest in lingerie fashion. Go figure.

Incubus: Yes, we know what you do best. The whole street knows what you do best. Dare we even say the entire female population of your city knows what you do best. Here’s the rub. Human women like to be exclusive, and doing what you do best has kind of screwed, er, jeopardized your relationship. This time, unfortunately, doing what you do best, with her, isn’t going to sort it. Nothing short of seeing you self-emasculate is likely to resolve this problem. You could start, though, with a long romantic year on a deserted island, with just the two of you, a few goats and coconuts. It may not get you back together again, but at least you’ll have a few goats to keep you company while you try.

Djinn: You wriggled your nose one too many times and now Uncle Jasper is much hairier than you and is hanging from the chandelier by his tail. Ooops. Unfortunately that was the last wish of the day and he’s going to have to stick with a diet of banana’s until midnight tomorrow. The love of your life has given you the choice of ultimatums. Change him back and go rot in your bottle forever, or change him back and go rot in your bottle for an eternity. To avoid an ageless fate worse than death, call up your magic carpet and whisk everyone, Uncle Jasper and all, to an exotic location of blue seas, turquoise lagoons, green jungles and banana trees. Let your beloved see how delighted her uncle is with his new habitat and provide her with the very best in frequent free cocktails and massage services. Hopefully by the time Uncle Jasper recovers she’ll be too comatose to remember why she was upset.

Agent Double D.3 report ends.

01 May 2007

Deja vu all over again

Have you been to Barnes & Noble or Amazon online lately? Scrolled through the endless lists of paranormal books coming out this year? Holy moly.

Take a look at the covers. Then read the blurbs. I'm a fan, don't get me wrong. I wonder, however, when enough will be enough. I'm done for a while. I love Ward and Keri Arthur and lots of writers. But I'm ready for something new.

The blurbs are starting to morph for me into the same one: "She doesn't know that the man she's come to love is the demon she's sworn to destroy..." or some such.

Companies seem to be running out of image ideas as well. Some are lovely, but if you squint, well... there's a guy, he's shirtless and has shoulder-length dark hair, maybe a sword or something, with a city behind him. I counted about ten of those.

What's new in paranormal? I mean, really, really new? A very fresh idea, a very fresh voice? I'm dying for something different! Any suggestions?