31 July 2007

Paranormal Uncute Meets

The meet-cute. Hollywood thrives on meet-cutes for all sorts of movies, though Wikipedia, among other sources, claims it's mostly the staple of screwball and romantic comedies. It's defined as a "contrived encounter of two potential romantic partners in unusual or comic circumstances...During a "meet-cute", scriptwriters often create a humorous sense of awkwardness between the two potential partners by depicting an initial clash of personalities or beliefs, an embarrassing situation, or by introducing a comical misunderstanding or mistaken identity situation."

In paranormal romances, granted, the meet-cute isn't always so cute because a lot of paranormal romances aren't comedies. The hero and heroine often have a meet-dramatic, I guess you could call it. But there are lighter paranormal romances out there that do have meet-cutes. I know, because I write them! That being said, here's a list of some meet-cutes you will NOT find in paranormal romance novels, not even the funny ones:

1) No matter how hunky your next door neighbor is, when you catch him in his canine form on the night of the full moon honching your poodle--it's not gonna be a cute meet.

2) She's a herpetologist from Earth out sunning her iguana. He's from the desert planet Zartorr where scaly reptiles are the only source of meat. Since his spaceship crashed, he hasn't eaten for days. You get the picture--and it's not cute.

3) She has to dig herself out of her own grave--again--and he has the shovel handy since he just robbed a nearby plot. She might like to eat brains, but it's not cute when he bashes hers in.

4) The first time he comes across her in his time travels was class picture day in seventh grade. She was in her ugly duckling phase--and it's not cute.

5) The ghostly matchmaker lures them into the same quaint little inn, but there's a reason it just got a really low score from the local health department. Food poisoning? Not cute.

6) She's an angel, he's a demon, and they meet when they're dueling over the immortal soul of Henry the Solid Waste Specialist, aka the janitor. Since he's on the job the first Monday after Spring Break in Dayona cleaning hotel bathrooms, it's hardly cute.

7) His spell misfired as she was jogging past his house, and it turned her thighs into large hams. Even if they are honeybaked, she's never going to think that's cute.

8) She accidentally sneezes dragonfire all over the hunky new doctor at the clinic. It ruins his new hairplugs, and they weren't even cute to start with.

What are your favorite meet-cutes, or meet-dramatics, from paranormal romance novels?
Jody Wallace

Samhain New Release for July 31!

There's one lovely little paranormal romance new from Samhain Publishing today -- go check out:

"The Seraphim: Setheus" by Rene Lyons
Paranormal Romance Novella
ISBN: 1-59998-537-3
Cover art by Scott Carpenter

He fell from grace to protect humanity—and found Heaven in her kiss.

After her mother’s deathbed confession changes everything she’s ever believed, Sabrina heads out on a quest to find out who—and what—her father was. Instead, she finds Seth, a man whose life is as steeped in secrets as her own.

Thousands of years ago, Setheus made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave up Heaven to protect humanity from Hell. For years he has waited, biding his time for Sabrina to come to him for answers. But he is unprepared for the feelings her arrival awakens in him.

As Seth and Sabrina discover a love that burns brighter than the light of Heaven, a deadly threat overshadows their happiness. Before they can find peace with each other, they must confront an enemy that would unmake the world…


Jody W.
http://meankittybox.blogspot.com * http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com

30 July 2007

Haunted Vacations

Every couple of years or so the hubby and I plan a trip to some well-known haunted historical site in hopes of having a paranormal experience or catching apparitions on film or digital medium. Last year, our trek took us to haunted Gettysburg where we stayed at the Farnworth House Inn—an known hotbed of paranormal activity.

To step out onto the battlefield and know how many men gave their lives on those three bloody days, and to feel the oppressive energy is enough to knock a sensitive to their knees. I remember one night in particular, when Dave and I stayed on the battlefield near the area where Pickett failed in his desparate charge, cameras at the ready. As we stood and looked off into the rolling hills, fog began to roll in and surround us. Dave began to snap pictures, positive that he'd capture something supernatural on film. Something the naked eye had failed to see.

The next night we climbed the rocks around Devil's Den waiting to see some soldier, trapped in time, defending his post. Again, we snapped picture after picture hoping to take away some proof as a souvenier. Alas, no ghosts were around that night, so we headed back to the hotel to sign up for a ghost walk. And it rained.

Do you see a theme emerging here?

Though I enjoyed the town and the historic sites and spending the week walking around with my hubby, I have to admit to a small amount of disappointment that the only paranormal activity we encountered was on our first afternoon there, after we'd first checked in.

We were given the Custer Room (probably not a good choice for us since my husband is part Cherokee and Blackfoot). The room is not connected to the rest of the inn, but faces a nice little garden and outdoor dining area. It's really was a lovely, comfortable space. So, hubby and I were on the bed, discussing what we wanted to do first, since we'd just drove from NJ in 98 degree heat. We were contemplating if we'd see anything in the hotel room, when Dave said out loud. "I just want to see some ghosts." - The words had barely left his mouth when a knocking on the footboard made us both jump. Now, I know what you're thinking: it came from outside. It came from Dave doing it to scare me. No. A sound from outside would be muffled through the walls, and this was crip. And it came from where neither Dave or I were sitting at the time. We both laughed and knew we'd have a great vacation.

Now, if I can only find the money to go to haunted England.


28 July 2007

Divination: The Celtic Ogham - Luis

Welcome back to my continuing series about Celtic Ogham divination! Yeah, I know I was supposed to post this last Sunday, but I was ensnared by the last Harry Potter book and was on internet/media blackout all weekend. :)

Today's letter is Luis which stands for the Rowan tree. It's pronounced, depending on what source you're reading, "loosh" or "lweesh".

Rowan, sometimes called Mountain Ash, is a member of the rose family and thrives in poor soils and disturbed areas. It is often found around ancient sites such as stone circles and castle ruins. The red berries, sometimes called serviceberries, were historically used to lure birds into traps; birds are also responsible for dispersing the seeds.

The rowan tree was important to the Druids. Before going into battle, they would say incantations over fires made from rowan wood, so it's not surprising that Luis represents protection and the ability to distinguish good from bad.

Color: Red and or green
Planet: Sun (some sources say Mars)
Element: Fire
Month: December
Bird: Duck
Crystal: tourmaline
Deities: Lugh, Dagda, Brighid, Rhiannon
Meanings: Yang (male) energy, psychic protection, courage in time of strife, empowerment, trusting your instincts.

To see more in this series, click the "celtic divination" tag in the footer of this post.

Visit my blog!
In The Gloaming: Abhainn's Kiss available now for pre-order from Amazon.com.

27 July 2007

Origins of the Tooth Fairy

First let me explain WHY I’m posting about the Tooth Fairy. My eldest daughter had to have five baby teeth pulled today (yes…big ouch!) and about the only thing that made her feel better was telling her that there would be a big payoff under that pillow tomorrow morning.

Of course, she thought “a million bucks” would cover it. Ha Ha. I was thinking more along of a fiver, but I guess when you’re eight it doesn’t hurt to dream big.

My girls have these adorable “piggy bank” style boxes that come with a book to record the date and a satin pillow with a little tooth pocket. There was much drama first about IF five teeth with roots would fit in the pocket (they did) and if the Tooth Fairy would find five teeth on one night a bit suspicious (we left a note to explain they were pulled). So after everyone was tucked in, I found myself wondering, “How did the Tooth Fairy come about?”

Surprisingly there isn’t much out there about this. I found two sites with helpful info: Dr. Bunn’s site (Yes, I think that’s his real name) and the good ole’ Straight Dope site.

Both agree that our modern Tooth Fairy myth is a very new story—less then a century old. In the 30’s there were two stories by different authors published about her and this is apparently where the idea of a fairy who finds teeth under pillows and gives out money for the little pearly whites really took off. Straight Dope goes on to say the toothy miss wasn’t even commercialized until the 1980’s when such things as “Tooth Fairy” boxes (see above) began appearing on store shelves.

What is interesting to me as a paranormal author is the witch connection. Yes, the witch connection! While the kind, sparkly tooth fairy is a figure that gives comfort to modern day children across the nation, those poor middle-age peasant kids had no such luck. Instead people have found traditions in England and Europe that suggest baby teeth were burned or buried to prevent the local witch from using the baby teeth to CURSE the children.

Yep. I guess teeth worked even better than hair for hexing those serfs.

Wouldn’t that make the great opening of a paranormal story?

A mother burying the first tooth of her first-born believing she’s alone in the woods…and then when she leaves the scene—a haggard old creature could appear and dig through the freshly turned soil until a small yellow nugget of tooth is held gleefully in the fading sunlight!!!

Can you picture it?

I’m going to leave you with another interesting medieval tooth tradition. Some cultures believed that if a buried tooth was eaten by a dog, the child’s adult teeth would resemble a canine. This also worked with hogs and mice.

I didn’t know a person’s teeth could resemble a hog’s. But then luckily I live in a century where we can visit the dentist and have five teeth pulled so we don’t look like we’ve got a mouth two sizes too small with teeth two sizes too big.

Have a great weekend!

24 July 2007

Fantasy Romance was My Fantasy

When I was a kid, I LOVED fantasy. I read C.S. Lewis, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan (don't get me started...lol). The point is, I read any fantasy I could get my hands on. Couple that with the fantasy movies I would watch voraciously... Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, The Last Unicorn, Legend, The Princess Bride--a fantasy lover was born.

Heck, I don't even know if I was born more than I kind of exploded. LOL I loved it so much, I wanted to write about it. But even as a kid, I felt fantasy never had *enough* romance for me. I wanted to change that.

When I was 13 years old, I was walking my dogs. It's a sad fact, but at that time, my parents had just divorced, and my dogs were some of my closest friends. So I would talk to them. And on that walk, I told them a story. It was a story about two elves, Kaas and Wobble, who were friends with a giant bird known as The Protector. And he wanted them to rescue some princesses and a magical gem in order to save the kingdom.

Well, when I got home that day, I began writing. I eventually wrote three short stories, each about 15 pages hand-written, which I shared with my 8th grade classmates at school. They LOVED the stories so much, I even had one girl write her name in the corner, as if she were my co-author. :P

As I grew older, I realised how very bad these stories were. The writing was atrocious. I stashed them away. Then, I met my DH, who was a hard-core geek, into D&D and the like. (Dungeons & Dragons for those who don't know). Playing this game with him rekindled the storyteller in me, since they had some awesome dragons in this game. I thought back to those old stories and wondered if there was anything worth salvaging. The titles of these short stories were "Castle Templestone", "The Crystal of Mynos", and "In the Beginning".

After playing D&D and watching the movie Dragonheart (awesome, btw), I decided I wanted to write about a dragon. So I changed The Protector from a bird into a dragon, and named him Mynos. Originally, "Mynos" had been a place on the map. But when I invented the dragon, it seemed to fit him. And because I already had the name of the Crystal, I decided to have him be its creator as well.

In 1996, I began THE WOLVERINE AND THE ROSE, and finally finished it in 2004. It took me 8 long years to write, as it was more of a hobby than actually anything I was striving to attain. I even had a 2 year period of some serious writer's block. And at one point, I thought my DH had deleted years of work when he formatted our computer. ACK! Thankfully, we were able to restore the book from one of our friends' backups. If I'd lost that book, I seriously doubt I'd be an author today.

While writing this novel, I lifted many things from the original stories. Many of the names are the same. I even included all of the gems I'd originally written about; the sapphire, the ruby, and the lavendar jewel. Once I finished the first book, I immediately began writing the second, THE WOLVERINE AND THE JEWEL, even though I hadn't sold them yet. But I also decided these books needed a prequel story. They elude to a battle that happened before the books open, and I wanted readers to experience how everything was set in motion.

I wrote the prequel, THE CRYSTAL OF MYNOS, but was unable to sell it due to its short length. I didn't want to add another 5K to make the word count minimum, as that would change it too drastically. It's only a few thousand words to begin with. So, I decided to use this short story as a Free Read promotional tool. So far, it's worked out beautifully for me.

Once I sold this series to Samhain, I think I had tears in my eyes, knowing these books would be going to print nationwide. I recently finished the third book, THE WOLVERINE AND THE FLAME, which will be releasing to eBook on August 28th. I cannot wait. This series has been a long time in coming, and all from an idea that sparked inside of me when I was a 13 year old child.

Let this be a lesson to you all. Your dreams CAN come true. I'm living proof!

The dedication in THE WOLVERINE AND THE ROSE is to myself. :P But it's not because I'm a diva. It's not because I'm self-centered or narcissistic. No. I wrote that dedication to give the little girl I once was validation of some kind. SHE's the one who should get all the credit for my successful fantasy series. If I could go back in time, I would tell her what her success has meant to her adult self. I wish I could give her a hug. I know it would have meant so very much to her. :)

Thank you, writers of Beyond the Veil, for giving me this chance to be your guest blogger! And to all you readers, I leave you with THE CRYSTAL OF MYNOS. May you get lost in my world as I have been for the past twenty years.


Sexy, Sensual, Seductive

Samhain New Releases...

...of the paranormal variety! Check them out at www.samhainpublishing.com

"View to a Kill" by Mandy M. Roth
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 1-59998-528-4
Length: Novella
Cover art by Anne Cain
A trained assassin…a man even the deadliest of warriors fear. To cross him is foolish. To steal his heart is pure madness. Book two in King of Prey series.

"Zandia" by Tilly Greene
Genre: Romantic SciFi-Futuristic, Red Hots!
ISBN: 1-59998-533-0
Length: Category
Centuries from now, and millions of miles away, how are the sexes getting along?

"Hunk of Burnin' Love" by Veronica Wilde
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Red Hots!
ISBN: 1-59998-584-5
Length: Short Story
Falling in lust with a sexy Elvis impersonator gets complicated when Vanessa discovers the real Elvis Presley may have hoaxed his death. A Midsummer Night’s Steam story.


If you read any of these, be sure and report back to let us know how they are!

Jody Wallace

23 July 2007

My Lost Weekend with Harry Potter

I was going to post about another mystical place, but I think I'll save that post for next time. Right now, like Christine, I want to comment on my lost weekend with Harry Potter. (Sounds like a tabloid headline, doesn't it?)

First, it's amazing the response this book has gotten all over the world. Many love it, some hate it (thinking it's the work of dark forces) and others are still wondering what it's all about. I admit, investing a day or two reading a 750+ page book is not for the feint of heart. But, dedicated reader that I am, I managed to get through the book in a weekend. To the exclusion of all else. I read and read, and read some more. If I didn't know better, I'd think there was some kind of spell on the book to make me HAVE TO pick it up again every time I thought to put it down. It was a compulsion, I tell you!

So that's how I lost my weekend to Harry Potter. The Boy Who Lived, lived in my house for a day or two while I consumed his story like a chocaholic on a Godiva binge. The odd part of it all - to me at least - was knowing that all over the world, there were people just like me doing the same thing at the same moment. People of all ages, all walks of life, etc, were all reading this one book at this one time. Amazing. To be able to create that much hype is marketing genius. To be able to create a fictional world able to live up to the hype - now that takes talent.

My hat's off to J.K. Rowling. Anyone who can keep kids, much less millions of people of every age, on the edge of their seats for over 750 pages of a book definitely has something magical about her.

Bianca D'Arc

PS - My personal blog on Blogger has been very rudely "disapperated," to quote Harry. I'm working to restore it in one form or another, so please bear with me while I work out an alternative solution.

21 July 2007

I'm Just Wild about, well, you know...

Well, here it is, the day we’ve spent a decade waiting for. All around the globe, millions and millions people have their away messages up on their e-mail, turned off their cell phones and, in general, unplugged. They won’t answer the door if you knock, and everyone is indoors. There is no TV, no iPod, no video games. If you call their houses, this is what you will hear…

“I’m sorry, but I can’t answer the phone right now. I’m reading Harry Potter, and don’t wish to be disturbed or spoiled until I finish. Leave a message after the beep, and I’ll get back to you on Monday…”

Yes, the world has stopped for a book. THE book. The final installment in the Harry Potter series. I know not everyone is reading the book, but the sales figures don’t lie; most of you are. (Which makes me wonder how many of you are going to read this blog entry, heck, I wrote it days ago so I could read my copy of Deathly Hallows uninterrupted after standing in line at midnight and reading into the wee hours of the morning, but nonetheless, I carry on.)

What is it about Harry that makes it appeal to such a wide audience? Certainly it’s not the fact he’s a boy wizard, because there are many other books about wizard children who go to school. Diane Duane’s been writing about them for two and a half decades already, and Jane Yolen’s Wizard Hall was long before Harry’s time. So the question remains: why has the world embraced Harry?

Well, the stakes are high – what’s higher than life and death? It starts in book one and build from there. Harry himself is a tragic hero, orphaned because of murder and left with relatives who treat him in the most heinous way without being outright abusive. But there are tons of heroes just like him – James from James and the Giant Peach comes to mind, raised by his wretched aunts who treat him like little more than a slave.

No, what I think attracts so many people to Harry Potter’s world is that it’s like a multi-faceted jewel. The worldbuilding is superb, with locations are rich and varied. We feel like we’ve been to Diagon Alley or visited Hogsmeade before and could draw a map if someone asked us to. We know what a Golden Snitch is, and can tell you that you take your chances if you choose to eat Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. (Alas, earwax!)

The characters range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and so three-dimensional you think they could step off the page. From ordinary, somewhat shy Harry to the larger-than-life Weasely twins. The emotions run from elation to misery, like a roller coaster ride. And she’s got this ability to layer story elements so that you’ve got all the pieces of the puzzle, you’re just waiting for her to show you the picture. And when you see you, you say ‘Of course! Why didn’t I see it before?’

No, I don’t think there’s one single thing that makes everyone wild about Harry, but many different things to appeal to different people. It’s the combination, like a good recipe, that has made people turn into Potterheads, and that has surrounded a book – a book! – the same hype and excitement as the latest electronic gadget or major concert event.

It was this very series that propelled me into the world of writing fantasy for children. No, wait, that’s not quite true. It was the final catalyst, I’ll say. Because I read Jo’s story – that she was on welfare, with no formal training, and wrote a book.

“I can do that too, then!” said I. And while Harry Potter was an inspiration, I drew on decades of fairy tales and mythology that I couldn’t get enough of when I was a child, put away and forgotten when I grew up, now driving me to tell my own tales of places that have never been.

And now we’re at the end of Harry’s story, and it is bittersweet. A series of books that has united the world and gotten children to appreciate reading. I hope all the children who have grown up with Harry continue to search out new books, new stories, new imaginary places.

Here I’ll say thanks to Jo Rowling for a terrific ride, and for putting me on a path I might never have found by myself. You and those like you (and I proudly count myself among them) are the keepers of imagination, guides and guardians to pass the love of fantastic tales on to the next generation.

And to dear Harry Potter and his friends, I raise a glass and say: good night and good luck. We will miss you.

Christine Norris is the author of several works for children and adults, including Talisman of Zandria, Return to Zandria, both from LBF Books (www.lbfbooks.com ) and the first two of her Library of Athena novels, to be published by Samhain Publishing in 2008.

She spends her time divided between her writing, substitute teaching, and caring for her family of one husband-creature, a son-animal, a large dog whose greatest achievement is sleeping in one position for an entire day, and a small feline who is very adept in his position as Guardian of the Bathtub. She also works at English Adaptations of novels translated from other languages.
To learn more about Christine Norris, please visit http://www.christine-norris.com. Send an email to Christine at christinenorris02@gmail.com or through her MySpace page, at http://www.myspace.com/christinenorris

20 July 2007

Basque Mythology

Basques had mythology? Huh. Who knew?

First off, a little World Geography 101. Find Europe. Find France. Find Spain. Then, right in between them, from the western Pyrenees down to the Bay of Biscay, you’ll find the Basque Country. Although it’s not technically a country on its own, it’s defined as an “autonomous community” as well as a historical region.

The Basque Country, or as they call it, Euskal Herria or Euskadi, is unique in western Europe. It possesses a language and culture unlike any other surrounding it. In fact, let me go language geek on y’all for a moment and say that Basque (euskara) is known as a “language isolate.” There is no other language like it. In fact, the roots of their language were in place when the Romans came, but it was not subsumed to Roman culture. Therefore it’s no surprise that it’s mythology is unique.

The Basques came to Christianity fairly late in the game, as Europeans go, but when they did, they left behind their pagan roots so completely, that it’s difficult to find much information on it. This is probably due to the Catholic Inquisition of the 15th century. Thousands of so-called witches and heretics were tortured and burned at a placed called Logrono – an ancient ritual site.

But historically, Basque mythology seems to be less pantheonic than many other cultures we’ve discussed. There are few actual gods in it, but many spirits and creatures. This seems to be common among chthonic mythologies. Seriously. Chthonic. I just had to get that word in there. It means “earth-based.” As opposed to many of our other studies, where gods live in the heavens or in the specter of death, Basque mythology is very centered on what’s in front of them, what’s part of their land.

Their sprites and spirits populate the earth in caves, in forests and in rivers. The sky is a way for them to travel, referred to generally as Osti. The moon is called Ilazki, neither good nor evil, but she plays a role in guiding the spirits of the deceased.

The highest god in the Basque pantheon, such as it is, is actually a goddess called Mari. She is benign and helpful, protecting travelers and herds and giving good council to those who need it. The goddess of thunder and wind, she is the personification of the earth, similar to the Greek Gaia. Mari drives a chariot of four white horses across the sky and when she appears, she is a beautiful woman adorned with rainbows.

Her counterpart and consort is Maju/Sugaar. I give both names because they’re so tightly linked, it’s difficult to tell whether they are two separate gods or whether they are interchangeable. In any case, Maju is no fluffy bunny and he doesn’t seem to get on very well with his wife. Their encounters are often heralded by terrible storms. Maju/Sugaar are divine thunder and lightning – the destructive kind. Sugaar appears as a serpent or dragon, living in subterranean caves.

Their son, Atarrabi, takes after his mother. He is connected to a star and when it shines, it’s said that good fortune will come to the Basque.

Their other child, however, Mikelats, (stories differ on whether it’s a son or a daughter) brings landslides, and crushing rock falls. Her star brings evil times to the Basque people.

Mari is served by genie-witches called Sorgin. They manipulate the Adur, the mystical force that links things with their representation. A symbolic action towards an image has a corresponding real impact on the actual thing. A name is even a sound image of a tangible object, therefore, by saying a name with intent, you influence its Adur.

Lamia in Greek mythology are horrible, man-eating creatures. In Basque stories, however, they are lovely water nymphs. In typical mythological form, however, they are also Sirens who can either lure men to their deaths in the water or give them gifts. The Laminak, likewise, are fairies who live in beautiful underground castles.

The Basajun is a Wild Lord or a sort of wild man of the woods. He’s another earth spirit who protects the flocks.

As always, the Encyclopedia Mythica was a very helpful resource.

The Wikipedia entry on Basque Mythology provided a useful jumping-off point.

MythHome has an entry about Basque spirits.

Arcadia Esoterica had a fascinating article concerning not only the Basque pantheon, but also the regions religious and arcane history.

Finally, Buber’s Basque Page had a lengthy entry on “Basque Astronymy [sic].” It’s a unique look at Basque mythology through linguistics. Serious language geek stuff.

19 July 2007

Thursday Thirteen

One of these days, I won't do a thursday thirteen here, but today is not that day. Anyway, thirteen books on my tbr or tbb pile:

  1. Magic Bites Ilona Andrews
  2. Blood Bound Patricia Briggs
  3. Lover Revealed JR Ward
  4. Fire Logic Laurie J. Marks
  5. No Great Mischief Alastair MacLeod
  6. The Fox Sherwood Smith
  7. Riding the Storm Sydney Croft
  8. Pale Immortal Anne Frasier
  9. Stray Rachel Vincent
  10. The Outback Stars Sandra McDonald
  11. Not Quite a Lady Loretta Chase
  12. One Forbidden Evening Jo Goodman
  13. Mistress of the Art of Life and Death Ariana Franklin

18 July 2007

Déjà who or is that whom?

Have you ever experienced the feeling that you've been somewhere before? While many call this Deja Vu, the true term is Deja vecu which means already lived. But I'm not typing that weird word over and over. And, sorry, I can't do the symbols either as Blogger doesn't like them.

Deja Vu: (from Wikipedia) Is French and means already seen. It's also called paramnesia from the Greek word para (for parallel) and mnēmē (for memory) describes the experience of feeling that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously. The experience of deja vu is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of familiarity, and also a sense of eeriness.

Example (Written by me and totally fictitious)

The Vu-er arrives in a new town. He and his friends check into their hotel, then decide to walk around the historic downtown area and get lost. However, our Deja Dude finds himself recognizing landmarks and walks faster, led by instincts he doesn't understand and at first doesn't question. His friends follow, thinking he's been to B-town before. Of course, when asked he'll more than likely chalk it up to his Class A navigational skills and blow it off. But, deep down he'll wonder just how he knew to turn left at the big oak tree with a 200 year old lightening scar to get back to the town square.

While some accept these altered states of consciousness as a blip in their perceptions in reality others believe these 'flashes' are proof positive that they've either lived before, can see into the past or future or both. Whichever one is chosen, most agree it can be a creepy feeling.

But what part of the brain is stimulated when when deja vu comes calling? All of them are involved because heightened senses of smell, hearing and sight and even 'auras' have been documented. Deja vu can also be a warning sign of an upcoming episode for those with seizure disorders. Perhaps stimulated isn't the word, maybe overstimulated like a brain storm or a hiccup.

The scientific jury is still out on what exactly it is, despite leaps and bounds in medical science. The brain, or more accurately, the mind, is uncharted territory. They don't really know why we get that feeling of "I've been here before." or why we dream about places we've never been and walk down streets our feet have never touched in reality.

So is deja vu a waking dream or is it something more wild and paranormal? Perhaps our psyches are trying to tell us some great big cosmic joke and one day we'll wake up--or is that fall deeper into the dreaming?--and laugh at the punch line. Until then it'll remain one of those neat puzzles to figure out. Because while we're able to scan the brain, and even cut it up and look inside it so far we haven't quite managed to figure out how to look at the human imagination under a microscope.

Dreams. The Final Frontier.

Jenna Leigh

17 July 2007

Hot New Samhain Paranormal Novel!

"Fireflies" by Ally Blue
Genre: Gay-Lesbian Romance (Paranormal/Fantasy)
ISBN: 1-59998-529-2
Length: Category
Price: $4.50
Publication Date: July 17, 2007
Cover art by Anne Cain

A Sidhe warrior in exile. A young man with powers he’s only beginning to understand. In their hands, the fate of two worlds.


Jody W.

Are You Convincing?

Back when I used to teach Freshman Composition, I had all sorts of tricks up my sleeves to teach my reluctant students the value of writing well. We might not need advanced math in our daily lives, and, sadly, we might not need a comprehensive knowledge of 19th century British poets. However, one thing just about any Joe or Josephine can benefit from is communication skill, and as the Internet eats everyone’s brain, communication via writing will take on increased significance. (Hopefully in the future we’ll still be using complete sentences, and our official documents won’t look like text messages!)

Now, to my topic. Part of writing well is writing clearly, and another part is writing convincingly. There are other parts, of course, but let me tell you about the hands-on method I used to demonstrate the rhetorical skills involved in being convincing.

During our section on argumentative rhetoric, I had my students take out a plain sheet of paper. “Think of an issue,” I said. “A smallish issue--something that won’t cause anyone in our class to spontaneously combust if you’re chosen to read your essay out loud. Write me a one page essay that explains your position on this issue.”

As soon as they finished part one, I had them take out a second sheet of paper. “Now,” I said, “write me another page as if your viewpoint were reversed on the issue -- and make it so good I can’t tell which side you’re on. If you can fool me, you get extra credit on the next pop quiz.”

Guess which essay was often better constructed and more convincing? If you guessed the second one, you’d be correct. My students tended to be quite passionate in their original mini-essays. Passion makes for a certain type of language. Reason and clear-headedness make for another type of language. While there is much to be said for inspiration and scribbling things down in the heat of a moment, a little distance can allow us to approach words with a clinical precision, to consider reader preferences and varying interpretations. I do this during the editing process especially, when deciding how much of my abundant worldbuilding I get to keep -- just enough to be convincing but not so much that readers go, “Yeah, yeah, get on with it already!”

When composing our fiction or our thoughts about, say, recent upheaval in RWA at the National level, how much would it help our prose shine if we could see other sides of an issue so clearly we could write an essay about it? Would this degree of understanding enable us to be more convincing? I think so. Whether we want to write a scene depicting our villainess’s evil deed or the hero when he’s been a butthole, I do believe this strategy might come in handy. Why does the villainess feel justified in her actions? Why does the hero? How can you convince the readers your characters are passionate, believable and just plain realistic?

Jody W.
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://www.elliemarvel.com/

16 July 2007

Some Like It Hot

No, I don't mean the movie starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn. Though a very good movie, I'm speaking more of "Hot" in the erotic sense.

A few weeks ago, my crit partner, Antonia, and I were on IM discussing different subgenres and labeling thereof. I mentioned something about working on a book that was futuristic or sci-fi but was also extremely hot. How would one classify such a hybrid? Is it futurotica, or scifotica? The reason the topic came up was because I was thinking about where my strengths are in writing, and I determined I seem to get the best reviews and responses from my sci-fi/futuristics that also happen to be erotic romances. I wanted to write to my strengths. Now, I don't usually feel a pressing need to categorize myself - I usually like to write the story and sort out exactly where it belongs later - but it is nice to know going into a project where it's going to fall on a bookstore shelf. It also helps to know where to target it to editors and/or agents.

This entire discussion got me thinking of other erotic romance subgenres. How about fantrotica? That would be the melding of fantasy and erotic genres. Though I've read some fantasy that had subject matter that got very close to the line of what most erotic romance publishers would consider hitting their "squickometer," I don't think I've ever read a novel that was fantasy and erotic combined. (And I don't consider the 'Beauty' series by Anne Rice fantasy) I'm talking more of the DAW, TOR, or Baen type of fantasy. Love scenes in such novels, if done with open bedroom door, tends to be done as if the reader were watching from their periphery. I thinking more along the lines of full on love scenes, complete with erotic set up and language. I do have one I'm in the process of writing, but I wonder at the reception it will receive. However, where it does have open door sex with graphic language it's also probably 50% intrigue and military strategy.

What would be your reception to the hotter side of fantasy? (Not to be confused with sexual fantasies, which is an entirely different discussion.) Sword, Sorcery and Sex. Oooooooo...I think I just found my new tagline!!!

Let's hear what you think.


14 July 2007

Seattle Underground

Hello, Veilers!

I'm back from vacation in Washington, where we spent time visiting Seattle, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, and Olympic National Park/Olympic Peninsula.

I brought back about a gazillion pictures of my own, not counting the several digital cards of photos and video my husband took. I don't claim to be a great photographer; of the 500 or so snapshots I took, there are maybe a dozen I'd upload. LOL

But here's one I took on the Seattle Underground tour that I believe has a spirit orb in it. Modern Seattle is built on the bones of the Victorian-era city, which solved a rather serious sewage drainage problem. (More earth was moved to raise Seattle than was moved to build the Panama Canal.) Many of the old streets, sidewalks and storefronts still exist. The first floor of most downtown buildings are actually under the present sidewalk!

Needless to say walking around down there is more than a little creepy. In fact, the day we took the tour, the crew from the TV show "Ghosthunters" was scheduled to spend the night down there that very evening. So maybe the ghosts were resting up in anticipation of a night in front of the camera, because I caught only one photo with what looks like an orb:


So, what do you think? An orb, or wishful thinking? :)


Available now from SamhainPublishing.com: Abhainn's Kiss
Coming Soon: Wildish Things in the "Love and Lore" Celtic anthology
Release date TBA: Beaudry's Ghost

13 July 2007

Have you done The Cube?

I adore doing personality quizzes….Meyers-Briggs, Glamour quizzes, obscure made-up web tests…I’ll take them all. I’m not sure why I take them. Probably because like most people, I think I’ll find something in my “results” that I can use to justify some not so good behavior…

But with all the quizzes I’ve ever taken, there is one that is the absolute coolest. I have so much fun with this “test”, I do it to all my friends when they come over.

One day, browsing through the bookstore, I came across a small square book. Its subtitle is what hooked me: The Ancient Visualization Game That Reveals Your True Self.

TRUE SELF? Hey, I want to know that. I had to buy it.

The book’s full title is Secrets of the Cube: The Ancient Visualizaion Game That Reveals Your True Self. It’s written by Annie Gottlieb and Slobodan D. Pesic.

And the best part? It’s scary how close to home it hits.

The authors ask you (or you ask your friends) a series of things to visualize. Then you describe in as much detail what you have visualized in your mind. Their explanations of what you saw in your vision read a bit like a dream interpretation book, but much more specific. I’m not going to tell you what they ask you to think about…it would ruin the fun when you have a chance to do this yourself

Of course it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t tell you a little bit about what my “cube” told me about myself. On the up-side, I’m a Visionary Intuitive which means I can make “leaps of association that can lead an Intuitive to a correct conclusion by a non-logical route.” I think that is a pretty useful thing for a writer!

On the down-side, I can have “a sense of too many possibilities.” That’s not so good when I’m trying to decide which way I want a scene to go!!! Or when shopping for shoes!

10 July 2007

Samhain New Releases!

There's quite the passel of paranormal goodness new at Samhain Publishing today, July 10, 2007. If you're in the mood for spooky, sexy, fantastical or otherwise otherworldly fiction, check out:

"Adrienne" by D. Renee Bagby
Fantasy Romance Novel
ISBN: 1-59998-523-3
He crossed dimensions to claim her as his queen—but her reign may destroy his world. A Bron Universe novel.

"Blood Moon" by Rose Marie Wolf
Paranormal Novel
ISBN: 1-59998-527-6
Werewolf hunter Simon Conner is so close to achieving his goal—or so he thinks. Little does he know that the werewolf he left for dead has awakened to avenge himself and the disappearance of his mate. This is Book Two of the Moon Series. Books are recommended to be read in order.

"Starkissed" by Lanette Curington
Romantic SciFi-Futuristic Novel
ISBN: 1-59998-721-X
She’s human, he’s not, but together Leith and J’Qhir struggle to survive on an alien world, defeat interstellar treachery from a mutual enemy, and confront their growing attraction.


Jody Wallace
So much cyberspace, so little time!

09 July 2007

Mystical Places: Giant's Causeway

Yet another mysterious, magical, mystical place in the U.K. - the amazing volcanic rock formation known as the Giant's Causeway. How cool is this place?

Wikipedia offers the following:

"The Giant's Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns resulting from a volcanic eruption. It is located on the North East coast about 3 kilometres (2 miles) north of the town of Bushmills in County Antrim, Northern Ireland."

"Legend has it that the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Benandonner. One version of the legend tells that Finn McCool fell asleep before he got to Scotland. When he did not arrive, the much larger Benandonner crossed the bridge looking for him. To protect Fionn, his wife Oonagh laid a blanket over Fionn and pretended he was actually Fionn's baby son (in a variation, Fionn fled after seeing Benandonner's great bulk, and asked his wife to disguise him as the baby.) In both versions, when Benandonner saw the size of the 'infant', he assumed the alleged father, Fionn, must be gigantic indeed. Therefore, Benandonner fled home in terror, ripping up the Causeway in case he was followed by Fionn.

Another variation is that Oonagh painted a rock shaped like a steak and gave it to Benandonner, whilst giving the baby (Fionn) a normal steak. When Benandonner saw that the baby was able to eat it so easily, he ran away, tearing up the causeway.

The "causeway" legend corresponds with geological history in as much as there are similar basalt formations (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at the site of Fingal's Cave on the isle of Staffa in Scotland."

Looking at these weird rock formations, it's easy to believe some strange and magical being had to have a hand in creating them. Yet, we know today, they are instead, the magic of nature.

Until our next adventure,
Bianca D'Arc
Come over to the D'Arc side... http://www.biancadarc.com/

08 July 2007

Klahdagh Readings For July

Finally got the gremlins out of my system and back to the blogosphere again. Here is the latest Kladagh readings for this Divination Sunday.

Also a little good news, my ebook Poseidon VII is now available from Samhain Publishing. You can see the movie of the book here


and my very first review (a very highly recommended read rating Yay!) here


Anyway enough bragging - now on to the readings for this month.

(This is the boring explanation bit. :) ) 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.


Che - the chain. Che indicates delays and problems. Be aware of trouble brewing, deals turning sour and keep a watchful eye on employee relations. Try and negate the trouble spots before they occur.
Love: Widas - element of wind. There may be difficulty this month getting someone new accepted into your circle of friends/family. Don't fight it, keep a low profile and let things happen as they will for this month.
Wealth: Vali - the window. Far seeing events and planning are required in your finances this month. Plan now and the future financial security is assured.

Work: Kelm - spring. Be vigilant to changes at work, this is an opportune time for growth and promotion. Maybe even a great time to start that new job.
Love: Brica - element of fire. Conflict and the need to fight to protect your own is likely this month. Be strong.
Wealth: Kwa - the cow. This is a time to sit back, look after yourself and your savings and let them grow. Don't be too hasty to spend, keep it back for something important that is coming later on down the road.

Work: Kle - the babe. This is a time of success and completion. Congratulations are due for a job well done.
Love: Pice - the kite. Lighthearted, fun and joy fill your relationships this month. High ideals, creativity and freedom all ring out their songs. Go, enjoy.
Wealth: Widas - element of wind. Hold tight to your existing plans, don't be tempted to make sudden, unconsidered changes just because the grass looks greener with another financial advisor.

Work: Pice - the kite. Flexibility is the key word here, be prepared for last minute changes to schedules.
Love: Roga - the lodestone. Spend time focusing on those around you, your lovers family and friends. You've been a little negligent lately and they miss you.
Wealth: Kle - the babe. A small pot of gold is dropping in at your end of the rainbow, yay!

Work: Amb - the cup. A long put of decision has to be made, seek advice but make sure the ultimate decision is your own.
Love: Pice - the kite. Let yourself go and enjoy the time other people want to spend with you. Find new, interesting activities to try together and something surprising is likely to happen.
Wealth: Roga - the lodestone. Keep an eye on spending this month. This would be an easy month for sparklies to draw your cash away from you when other demands for your spending would be better dealt with.

Work: Lianche - the south page. Be wary of deceit this month at work. If you're in authority, your position may be threatened or undermined. Snap down on any found insurrection before it flames too hard to quench.
Love: Pice - the kite. Enjoy your family and friends, take time out to relax and go easy on yourself. Life is too hard to be tied to a boring old schedule all day.
Wealth: Urld - the world. Expect the unexpected, money wise. There could be good news -- or bad news -- heading your way, so be prepared for both.

Work: Roga - the lodestone. Concentrate at work and be more diligent. Your recent bout of lack of focus has been noted, now's the time to set the wrong-thinkers right.
Love: Jhud - the east page. This is a time to reflect on your relationships and find yourself within them. Don't allow them to take you over, and don't control those you love. This is a time to make peace and love.
Wealth: Mga - the sun. A very good time for finances. An indicator of unexpected gains and advances.

Elant - the sword. A long lasting problem at work is finally solved, congratulations, take some time to sit back and strengthen your new position.
Love: Tiall - the scroll. Loved ones, family and friends. You will learn something new and surprising about someone this month.
Wealth: Chobe - summer. New times for exploration, sharing and adventure. Financially things are certainly going to change for the better this month.

Widas - element of wind. It will be difficult to get your point of view across this month. Keep those ideas boiling though - your chance will eventually come.
Love: Kwa - the cow. Time to look after your loved ones. Show them a special time this month and it will reap its rewards in the months to come.
Wealth: Yanig - the necklace. Money is well indicated for you this month. You will find it easy to please all those around you, and put some back for yourself.

Work: Torm - the moon. Problems at work will require you to seek advice from someone older and more experienced. Don't hesitate to do this, you need their help.
Love: Kamen - the north king. This is a passionate month for you and your loved one, a month of strong kinship and family bonding. Relish and nurture the moments.
Wealth: Cisica - the north queen. An effort is required to keep your finances going this month, keep at it though, you will find the hidden strength to succeed.

Work: Palentia - the east queen. Success at work will result from looking after those in your charge or who work with you. Working together you will achieve hard to make deadlines.
Love: Kamen - the north king. A special loving month for you and your partner. Of all the months in this year this is the one you'll remember the most.
Wealth: Chon - the tomb. Expect changes in your finances, new plans, or sudden windfalls or losses. Nothing catastrophic but just something that will make you rethink your original investments.

Work: Fetoi - the man. Concentrate on work this month, that is the most important factor for you. Once you get work settled and under control everything else will follow.
Love: Palentia - the east queen. You will find cared and nurtured for by a loving partner this month. Seek pleasure and comfort in their company and you will find the strength to continue on.
Wealth: Shelea - the comet. An unexpected and passing event/person will come to you this month. Enjoy it while it happens, once it/they have gone it/they will never return.

07 July 2007

Stepping into the Veil

There's got to be a skill to introducing yourself in front of a group, but if there is I've never been blessed with it. So I'll just jump in with a big happy :

"Hi!" I'm Ember Case, a longtime lover of paranormals, fantasy, and science fiction, and a soon-to-be-published author of them. I write about people - some human, some not - of all sizes, shapes, and several races. Witches, shape shifters, druids, vampires, psychics, demons, superheroes - I love them all, and have written (or thought about writing) about most.

I've been trying to remember while I worked on this post, when did I first fall in love with otherworlds? Was it the ever friendly Casper? Studying the beautifully other-worldly and slightly spooky pictures of "Where The Wild Things Are?" Maybe watching Scoobie Doo and Shaggy being chased by the Zombies and headhunters? I know when I discovered Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern I was immediately head over heels for the winged creatures.

Books of almost every genre flew through my hands as I hit my teens- traditional romance, vampire romance, horror, fantasy and science fiction. Always, when I finished one, I'd judge it by whether the ending was what I would have chosen. And if it wasn't, I'd daydream about how I thought it *should* have ended.

Finally in 2005 I realized that all these stories in my head? They weren't going to write themselves. And maybe it was time to put my pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard - and see how things came out when I wrote the story myself.

One NaNo later, I had 50,000 words of complete garbage. But they were my words, my garbage. I'd proven to myself that hey - I can at least get some words on the page! After NaNo ended I started something new, and squeezed that first actual novella out in about 4 weeks. Rough and unpolished, barely edited, I sent it off to a publisher for an open call contest, sure that they'd soon be announcing me as a winner.

They didn't.

I started taking workshops, following author discussions, and soaking up every word of advice I stumbled upon on the web. I joined RWA, and found Passionate Ink, FF&P, and RWAOL. And I wrote.

And I sold.

"Hunting the Huntress", the story of Native American shape shifters, became my first sale to Samhain. I was able to embrace my love of shifters - cougars in this book - and take my story to a place that combines so many different things I love to read. Paranormal; Native American history, wild and wicked sex; and a love that you know by the end will last forever.

So that's enough about me for an intro. If you want to read more about my life and writing, I blog a few times a week (usually about life, occasionally about writing) on my website - http://www.embercase.com/wpembercase .

The Irish say "I believe in the sun when it's not shining, I believe in love even when I feel it not." And I believe that there are mysteries that we can't explain, but that thrill and haunt, soothe and excite us, and keep us turning the pages to find out what happens in the end.

Many thanks to the fabulous authors here at Beyond the Veil for welcoming me into their blog. I'll be back in a few weeks to write more about the paranormal, and the stories that I love.

06 July 2007

Gods of Central America

According to the Popol Vuh, the gods first made men of mud, but they were too soft, malformed, and stupid. They were washed away in the rain.
Then the gods made men of wood, but though their faces and forms were perfect, they had nothing in their heads and did not respect the gods. They were also wiped away by the floods.
Then the gods made men of masa, or dough made from maize. Then they were satisfied.

Wow. Kinda gives a whole new meaning to the corny joke, doesn’t it?

Sorry. Couldn't help myself. *gg*

After man was created, twin hero gods, Hunahpu and Ixbalanque, had to go into the underworld to defeat the lords of Xibalba who reigned there. They perished and were miraculously reborn, thus proving the agricultural cycle of life that dominated Mayan culture.

The Mayan civilization was extremely complex – as evidenced by the fabulous cities they built, their societal sophistication and intricate studies of the sciences. Therefore, it’s no surprise that their mythology also has many aspects. It should also come as no surprise that these gods and myths also display logical order.

The Mayan gods maintain associations with each point of the compass, with a color and meaning assigned to that compass point, as well as maintaining a link to a central point. This central point was conceptualized by a world tree. Think back to our discussion of Nordic mythology – Odin hung from the tree Yggdrasil for 9 days and nights to gain knowledge. In Mayan culture, that tree is called the ceiba.

Perhaps the most well-known Mayan god is Kukulcan, the winged feather serpent, and a powerful creator god. He is also known as Quetzalcoatl in the Aztec pantheon.

I suppose here is as good a place as any to note that Mayan and Aztec cultures overlapped in many, many areas. Olmecs, Toltecs, Mixtecs are all variants and predecessors of the same Mesoamerican mythology.

Gods within these societies were assigned specific duties and portions. Chac was the benevolent rain and thunder, with accompanying applications in fertility and agriculture was a powerful figure. In fact, anthropologists have discovered that there are still pockets of Maya farmers – though nominally Christian – who still pray to Chac seasonally.

Yumil Kaxob was the god of Maize, eternally youthful. However, he had very little intrinsic power. He needed protection from Chac, but when Yah Puch, the god of the Underworld, brought drought and famine, Yumil Kaxob suffered.

All in all, a society devoted to harmony with the natural world, whether it was for celebration or suffering.

More information can be found at these websites:

Lost Civilizations
Encyclopedia Mythica

05 July 2007

Thirteen Shapeshifters

A couple of weeks ago I listed thirteen werewolves from Samhain. This week I'll list thirteen shapeshifters (non-werewolves). (If there are more, I couldn't find them, but add them below if you'd like!)

  1. Revealing Skills Summer Devon
  2. Here Kitty, Kitty Shelly Laurenston
  3. The Ocean's Shadow Jennah Sharpe
  4. Seize the Hunter Michelle M. Pillow
  5. Caged Desire Sydney Somers
  6. Firebird Jaycee Clark
  7. Kiss Me Deadly Shannon Stacey
  8. Kindred: The Shadows of Night Ellen Fisher
  9. Hunter's Pride Shiloh Walker
  10. Prince of Spies Bianca D'Arc
  11. The Ice Dragon Bianca D'Arc
  12. The Distressing Damsel Shelly Laurenston
  13. Immortal Protector Ursula Bauer
And if you're looking for more, there will be anthologies: I Dream of Dragons and On the Prowl. (Though I'm not entirely sure of shapeshifting content in the former.)

04 July 2007

Idependence Day, Let Freedom Blog

I'd wondered whether to blog about something paranormal or about the 4th of July, and then it hit me. If not for that shot heard round the world and those men who signed the Declaration of Indepedence, I may not have the freedom to write about werewolves, witches or wyverns, so there you go. Everybody wins! Well, okay, that's probably going to far, as British authors like Lynne et al do write paranormal, but sue me, it's the middle of the night. What am I gonna say? I'm gonna fight for my right to dump tea into the sea? That rhymes, as does Taxation without representation (sorta), but the last one is harder to spell.
War was fought over that tea (and liquor) tax, among other things. Wars have been fought over less and the less I say about that one, the better.
Thanks to Schoolhouse Rock, I can recite the preamble from memory, though, I do have to sing it aloud as I type, unfortunately for the cat's delicate sensibilities.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility provide for the common defence promote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
That bit of recall got me an A+ in American History. You know, our forefathers were pretty cool to have thought up this wonderfully complex set of rules and regulations that in large part hold up to this day. They proved that they were idealistic and you have to admit, their hearts were truly in the right place. Though some say we've gone downhill , I personally don't think so, or else, why would everybody keep wanting to come here? It can't just be a visit to Disneyland.
So, tomorrow when you go to your backyard B-B-Q's just remember those that are fighting right now. This is from a sleepy American who is about to go to her warm bed knowing she's being protected by some very brave soldiers. Who're all really smart as they have to do it from thousands of miles away, across an ocean and everything. Hurry home, be safe and Happy Independence Day to you.

03 July 2007

Kids Are Para(not)Normal, Too

I haven’t done one of my not-particularly-patented “Day in the Life” timelines in forever, and lately I’ve been feeling the urge. Perhaps this is because, over the past year, the only items on the timeline would have been Mom stuff, which might be funny but not particularly writing-related. I also waited until, “Phone up mother/husband/sister and beg them to take children” was off my chart. Not that this never appears on my chart, considering how often my begging results in me getting a break (rarely), but it appears less frequently now. Maybe only a couple times a week instead of several times a day.

Another note about the following timeline -- what work is. For the sake of argument, let’s define ‘work’ as writing and revising my fiction and not critting for friends, child-herding, emailing (even though most are business related), skimming industry loops and blogs, reading my competition, participating in promo or marketing projects, cleaning house, writing this entry for the Beyond the Veil blog, or checking out fugly.com for the latest scary celebrity outfits.


7:30 am -- Awoken by daughter 1 (M, age 5) leaping onto the bed and laughing like a shapechanged hyena on crack. M had chocolate cereal, chocolate milk and a chocolate pop tart for breakfast. Daddy, who presumably fed her breakfast, is in Big Trouble when he gets home.

7:40 am -- Get daughter 2 up. She (R, age 14 months) is not morning person. Oh, no, she is not. Am relatively sure this has nothing to do with her turning into a vampire.

7:54 am -- Shuffle through living and dining rooms, tripping on blocks and toys and balancing cranky baby on hip. Pick up bugbite ointment M has been using for the numerous bugbites Daddy let her get.

7:56 am -- Tell M the blocks that have been out for 3 days must be cleaned up by the time I’m done feeding R breakfast. Wonder what that sticky icky stuff I keep stepping on in the dining room can possibly be? It’s beneath the baby’s high chair. Is it ectoplasm? Surely not. Assume it’s baby food.

8:03 am -- Still telling M the blocks must be picked up. Step in sticky stuff again. Find it on carpet and scrub with a wet cloth.

8:12 am -- Still telling M to pick up the blocks right now because I said so. Perhaps I lack that alpha-wolf touch? Add a snarl.

8:24 am -- M starts picking up blocks. I start feeding baby, who is crowing with hunger at this point. Hope that feeding baby after 8 am doesn't result in a gremlin.

8:39 am -- Step in another sticky spot. Gross! Toes feel greasy. Locate second spot. Contemplate. It doesn’t smell like food. It doesn’t smell like feline frolic. I have no idea what ectoplasm smells like, but I always imagined it would smell like Jello. What is it? Why is it so hard to clean off the carpet? Baby, in high chair, throws part of breakfast in floor next to me.

8:42 am -- Image of bugbite ointment flashes in mind’s eye. Ask M why there is bugbite ointment all over the carpet? Am told it is because there was too much on her finger. Inspect ointment tube and yep, it is nearly empty.

9:07 am -- Time for daily TV rations. Today, Dora and Teletubbies. Each show lasts 22 minutes. Normally this is computer time because the kids are entranced. Today R nurses through the entirety of Dora and insists on sitting in my lap during Tubbies. Try to boot up laptop with free hand and deal with Microsoft’s insistence that I update.

9:14 am -- Wireless internet connection fracks up (Battlestar Galactica reference!) in the middle of updating.

9:33 -- M asks, “How do you make a movie?” I intuit that she means the clips of real children on the Tubbies, and I make up something about entering a Tubbies lottery.

9:38 am -- M is now crying, “When do I get to be on the Tubbies?” Me: “Never”. M: cries more at the general unfairness of the Tubbies lottery.

9:45 -- M starts running amuck but claims she’s dancing with Teletubbies. Is asked several times not to leap over R, whom I finally convinced to sit on the floor so I can attempt to type with both hands. Alas, on the 3rd spazzy leap, M’s foot clips the baby’s head and the baby comes crying to me. M gets time out. M crying, baby crying.

9:54 -- TV time is over. Did not notice any Poltergeist-like incidents, but perhaps the Tubbies are actually demons from another dimension. M heads to her room to play, locking R out with the special half door. R is rolling on the ground on my feet and bawling like a cow. Oddly this is not tearful, it’s just bawling like a cow. At least she’s not rolling in my lap and bawling like a cow. Finally get computer rebooted, wireless established, and open WIP.

9:58 -- R climbs onto couch (new trick!) and tries to roll in my lap while bawling like a cow. Does not appreciate laptop’s presence.

10:00 -- Give up trying to work. Read email and industry blogs with my 1 free hand, with bovine accompaniment.

Current stats: Amount of work done during normal “productive” 45 minutes stretch -- zilch. Reflect that this is not unusual.


I was going to timeline the whole day, but look how long this is already! I know it seems everything here isn’t writing-related, but the difference between now and the past year is that I’m actively trying to work these days. In fact, I managed to get 27 minutes in the afternoon while the baby napped beside me. Then M woke her by slamming her door en route to the bathroom, again on her return, again to come argue with me after I chastised her for being so loud when the baby was asleep, and again, for good measure, because my chastising angered her.

Anybody else have days like this? Anybody else have almost ALL your days like this??

Jody W.

PS. Today is my birthday! Does anyone think I'll get the "gift of time" for my present today?? :)

Samhain's New Releases!

"Here Kitty, Kitty"
by Shelly Laurenston
Paranormal Romance Novel

What do you do when you’ve got a hillbilly tiger by the tail? Or maybe the question should be: what wouldn’t you do… Find out more! http://samhainpublishing.com/romance/here-kitty-kitty

And don't miss these non-paranormal goodies:
"Opposites Attract" by Bonnie Dee
"The Importance of Almack’s" by Denise Patrick
"Where One Road Leads" by Ceri Hebert
"Fijian Fling" by Sami Lee


Jody Wallace
So much cyberspace, so little time!

02 July 2007

Joining the Pack

Hello, my name is Kat and I'm addicted to paranormal romances.

I have to say I was thrilled to get the email that invited me to join my Samhain sisters on this blog and to give you my take on the genre and other matters every other Monday.

I'll start by telling you a little about myself and my upcoming projects. I write erotic sci-fi and futuristics under the name of Kathleen Scott and paranormals under the name of MK Mancos. I've expanded into contemporaries with a twist under the name of Kate Davison. (So far none sold under that name as of yet, but there is still hope.) I have a few titles in the next six months coming out from Samhain. The first will be Dragon Tamer as a part of the "I Dream of Dragons" anthology. Here's the blurb:

On the tropical island paradise of Cambry, the dragons are dying. A flesh and scale eating blight has ravaged the females and threatened the dragon population. Calusia settlement hatching ground director, Darion Archer, calls on the International Field Marshalls to investigate the outbreak. The dragons are his life, and he’ll do anything to protect them and see an end to the blight. He isn’t prepared, however, for the beautiful agent who comes to investigate, or his reaction to her.

IFM agent, Serrah Gayle has no idea what her assignment entails. The only thing she knows is that she’s been sent to Cambry, a land that holds the majority of the dragon population. When she meets the sexy settlement director and learns her case will bring her close to the legendary creatures, Agent Gayle must overcome a lifelong fear of the dragons to help solve the mystery of the blight, as she falls into a deep emotional bond with the director.

Release date for Dragon Tamer is Sept. '07 in ebook.

The next novella from Samhain is the sci-fi world of Solarion Heat. Let me just say of all the genres I write, I think I love writing sci-fi the most, though I first started out as a fantasy author. Go figure how I'd jump the gap from medieval type worlds of swords and sorcery to faster-than-light travel and sentient computer grids. In Solarion Heat I created a world that I really want at some point to revisit. The characters and setting really spoke to me and I found I could get lost in the world of the Runners and their military-esque society.

For over twenty years the planet of Cimirion has experienced devastating climatic changes that have turned it from a planet of four seasons to one of perpetual winter. The Cimirion High Command has sent an advance team of Runners to the duel-sun planet of Solarion to scout for possible relocation.

Kara Zaire’s talents as a Visionary—a psychic who can hear energy patterns as musical notes— have placed her on the advance team to determine how well Cimirions will adapt to the constant summer heat of Solarion. That task would be accomplished easier if only Team Leader Jonah Cash would quit treating her like an unwanted commodity. But sometimes there is a heat behind his gaze that makes her feel as if he could burn her as sure as any sun.

Jonah Cash has led many missions for the Runners, but none as desperate as that of Solarion. He’s leery of the Visionary’s talent, especially when a strange force field blocks her from reading the planet’s energy. He’s willing to put up with her hocus-pocus talent if it means a successful relocation. He just never expected for the mystic to cause him to see visions of his own and her beauty to heat his blood to the boiling point.

Release date for Solarion Heat is Dec. '07 in ebook from Samhain.

The third title I have with Samhain, and I hope not my last since I think they rock, is The Host: Shadows. The Host originally started out as a script for a graphic novel. After many years of unsuccessfully trying to get an artist to draw it in the style in which I envisioned the book, I decided to convert it from script format to novel and try my luck. I'm so glad I did. It's my first novel with Samhain and I'm thrilled they loved it enough to buy it, as it really is very close to me. It's my take on the vampire genre, and as you'll see, my vamps are not ones in the traditional sense by a long shot.

Four-hundred years ago, Tristain St. Blaise worked as an apprentice for alchemist, Benito Achilles. When an experiment went terribly wrong, it fused an entity to Tristain’s soul, turning him from an enlightened man of reason to one of dark passions. He takes on the mantle of a hired killer in order to protect innocents and rid the world of men like Achilles, and find some measure of redemption.

Angelia Lightheart has worked hard trying to purge her life of unhealthy relationships. One night in a dark Manhattan alley, she is saved from a would-be rapist by a man who seems able to look into her very soul to the weary heart she hides from the world.

Now, as Angelia and Tristain fall in love, his work as a contract killer brings him face to face with the one responsible for his immortal state and endangers not only their

Release date Jan. '08 from Samhain ebooks.

Currently, I outlining the sequel to The Host: Shadows that is tentatively called, The Host: Consumed by Flames. I generally write several books at once, so it's just getting the time to put it all together that's the trick.

Now that you know me and a little of what I have on deck, my next posts will be in the spirit of this blog forum. I hope to get to know the readers and invite comments and emails of all kinds.

Thanks for inviting me to join. I'm looking forward to learning a lot from the other authors here. Until Monday next, happy reading.