29 February 2008

Don’t Fight the Dust Bunnies

a.k.a. Does the Hero Come Clean.

You’ve been through the trauma of first dating, the thrill of first orgasm and the homely skill of introducing your rather unique fella to the vagrancies of your cooking and family for the first time. The amazing part of all this is, you’ve survived. Now it’s come down to the line and you’re chewing your lip and biting your fingernails to the knuckle. This is it, the pinnacle of your relationship and the ultimate big decision. Should you make this man/thing/it a long and permanent part of your life? Is he the type of man/thing/it you really want? Will you get Singing in the Rain or scrubbing the grime off the bathtub? Does he know the difference between a sand trap and a trash can? Or does he think cordon bleu is something fancy that you wear?

Never fear, Agent Double D.3 is here. Our special agent has risked singlehood, pregnancy and housewife’s knee to give you this special guide to the cleaning habits of your heroic mate. Not sure whether you should you “I do”, or “I don’t?” Well, before you wipe the floor with him, find out how in Agent Double D.3’s special report on Does the Hero Come Clean.

Agent Double D.3 reports :

1. Vampires:
We have to remember here we are dealing with a centuries old god-like personage. The mere fact that you’ve just asked him to help with the housework is a sin beyond all forgiving. Never mind that he’s the one who keeps walking soil from his homeland into the carpet, and wherever you look there’s bat droppings messing up the furniture. No, he does not do housework, thank you. That’s the job of the maids. Well, that and to provide him with a light snack now and then. So if you’re serious about hitching up with this guy you’d better make sure he has da moola in the bank to provide for the cleaning services you don’t want to provide. Of course if he pisses you off big time, just vacuum all that dirt out of his coffin. He’ll be so excited about your caring nature when he returns at dawn he’ll be speechless. And if he starts to complain, don’t you think it’s handy your broom handle is made of wood and rather stake like…?

2. Werewolves:
If you’ve been around werewolves long enough there are two things you’ll learn.
A. They are messy eaters. And I mean messy in the extent that blood and entrails beating a path from your refrigerator door to the bedroom, is a common sight.
B. They shed hair faster than a boot camp barber. Now, neither of these habits are going to get better over time, B. because he can’t help it, he’s allergic to that new fancy-smelling dog shampoo you bought him. And A. because he ain’t going to, so there! If you’re seriously thinking of sharing raw steak with this guy for the rest of your life make sure you invest in a small barn, preferably a mile or so from the house, and stick the raw meat in a refrigerator in there. As for B. Well, if he isn’t going to take proper care in his grooming habits I guess you’ll have to invest in one of those sticky rolls for picking up pet hair. Once you’ve applied it to him three or four times he’ll change his mind.

3. Ghosts:

Ghosts don’t make a mess, not really. I mean, the mess seems to gravitate towards them in a kind of ectoplasmic magnetism that is too hard to describe. Trust me, stick a ghost in an empty mansion and within days it will be covered in cobwebs, dust and all sorts of insects reminiscent of dead, rotten bodies. Your beloved ghost will, therefore, feel himself totally justified in refusing to clean your house, or mansion. If your ghostly beau is one of these kinds of ghosts there is little you can do about it, save for a timely intervention of the cross, candle, book and bell. That nifty little vortex you get at the time of his agonizing exorcism clears up that inch thick dust accumulation in seconds.

4. Invisible men:
Now, be smart here girl. We know he’s invisible. We know we have no idea where he is when he takes his clothes off (well, okay, except when we’re doing that.) The point here to notice is, yes, he may be a super genius scientist, but no one has yet been able to invent invisible mess. Let me repeat. No one, not even super-jolly-lying-through-their-teeth-stinking-little-skunk-super-genius-scientists, have invented invisible mess. If he tries to pull this one on you when he’s invisible, simply spray him with your previously prepared acetone/superglue cocktail and throw a bucketful of aforementioned mess at him. If it’s truly invisible there’s no way he can complain about carrying it around with him all day, is there?

5. Mermen:
The ecological activists really have it all wrong. It isn’t humans polluting the oceans—it’s mermen. Let’s face it, all they do all weekend is sit around the coral reef, pulling beer, watching the latest water polo match and chewing on starfish. Do they pick up the mess when they’re done? Nope. They just toss the cans and exoskeletons to the undercurrents and let them float off to form new and interesting micro bio systems which will eventually return to poison your new watery world. There ain’t no amount of seaweed scrubbing going to get those stains off your nice new sharkskin rug. So let’s face it. Is a lifetime of debauchery worth the effort of constantly fighting the ecologically-safe war? If it is, then make sure you buy shares and sharp harpoons in the local whaling club. Then, if your beloved falls behind in his share of the household tasks, you have friends who can get across your points.

6. Incubus:
You really want to marry an incubus? Poor lass, I’ve actually got a much happier place for you if you’d like. They do tend to put one of those jackets on you with the funny sleeves but I think you’d be more content in a padded cell. Why? Well, let’s see. The most common messes you get with an incubus are;
A. Clothes. Not just his clothes and your clothes, I mean that would be somewhat bearable. But clothes. A trail of clothes coming from just about every bed in every house in town. (Well, it is his nature dearie.) There will be enough laundry there to make the local Chinese dry cleaners look like a family picnic. And there is
B. The condoms. After all, with all those women he keeps seeing thank God you managed to get him using some kind of protection. The trouble is, the truck load of them he bought last week are almost gone, and the used ones are lying all over the house and garden like bloated jellyfish that have been stranded and died. You even saw two of them waltzing under the bathtub until your cat jumped them and gnawed them to death. (Yep, the four hundred dollar vet bill to get the rubber surgically removed from it’s butt, still hurts.) If you really insist on marrying this guy then take certain precautions to ensure he does his bit to help. Dope him out and have a friendly surgeon insert steel rings through his glans and his testicle sack, and then padlock them together. Trust me, he’ll do anything to get that thing unlocked when you start on him…

7. Djinn:
Djinn’s do get rather boring sometimes, well, unless you’re into endless sex, that is. I mean, with their fastidiousness and magical ability all you have to do is look at a dropped, bogey stained tissue and *blink*, it’s gone. This, of course, makes a Djinn a perfect marital mate. You have no cooking, no cleaning, no bathing, no make up to put on, no…. well, nothing. It’s all done for you. So all you have to do is strip naked, lie there, moan appropriately at appropriate times.
Alternately, stuff him back in the bottle and shove that under the bed for while. Maybe, in two or three months time, when you’ve had a good mess build up and enjoyed cooking and cleaning for yourself for a while you’ll bring him out for a quick household fix and some rampant sex. I mean, a girl has to have some fun, you know.

Agent Double D.3 report ends.

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27 February 2008

The Comfort of the Familiar -- Connected Stories and Sequels

Series and connected works have been with us almost as long as stories have been with us. From Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to Nancy Drew, from various yarns that take place in the realm of King Arthur to any number of running series being published today, both authors and readers alike enjoy revisiting their fictional creations and worlds. Sometimes when you scan the shelves, it can feel like the true stand-alone novel is an exotic creature, shy, elusive and rarely spotted in the wild. Granted, if you venture outside the genre fiction area into literary fiction, you'll encounter more of these solitary beasts, but even in the dusty halls of lit fic you'll find books that recall one another. Alice Walker's novel The Secret of Joy chronicled the lives of some of the descendents of The Color Purple, as a more famous example, and then there are Updike with his rabbits and Roth and his Zuckerman novels. Even when novels aren't strictly connected, many authors re-use familiar or favorite settings, like Anne Tyler and Baltimore, Maryland, or Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha County.

Wikipedia claims these types of tale are particularly popular in science fiction and fantasy novels "because of the artistic importance of complex ideas and the commercial importance of brand names." I've heard writers say they did so much work developing a speculative setting that they hate to discard it after one book. Readers, too, find comfort in the familiar settings and characters while indulging in the human need to know "and then what happened?".

There are many different connections that can exist within the body of an author's work. The first type would be trilogies or multi-ogies (!) like the Lord of the Rings or the Wheel of Time, where none of the books stand alone but create a massive story involving many characters and plots headed towards a single conclusion. The books themselves may not contain set or even partial dénouements but instead end on cliffhangers or situations where the narrative is obviously "to be continued".

I see the second type as series like Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden novels, where the narratives in each book are consecutive but involve the same set of characters. In most cases, the book is narrated by the same individual. Each novel stands alone, though in most cases a reader's enjoyment can be enhanced if he or she begins at the beginning.

There is a subset of this type currently very popular in urban fantasy. Let's call it 2B. Each novel set in the specific universe is part of a greater narrative, but unlike novels in type 1, the stories in the books have their own arcs -- satisfying beginnings, middles and ends. Yet while you read the book you are conscious of the fact there is a greater thread that will be continued in the next story and a seemingly premeditated conclusion the author is headed towards--eventually. A great example would be Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson novels.

Third type. More complicated are connected works like Sherrilyn Kenyon's various Hunter tales. These books are set ostensibly in the same universe, so to speak, and contain references to and characters from other novels. If there are any speculative elements, they remain consistent from book to book. However, each book tells the story of a unique character or couple while drawing upon and adding to the worldbuilding and history of the "universe" as a whole. Series of this ilk can be as intertwined as Kenyon or Ward's urban fantasy romances (type 3A) or as discrete as Susan Grant's science fiction romances (type 3B).

Adding to the jumble are shared worlds, type four, where different authors put their heads together and write stories either set in the same universe or that continue one another's overarching plot threads. Examples I can think of right off the top of my head of straight shared world would be the Sanctuary stories from the fantasy genre (Type 4A), and of overarching plot would be Dorchester's Crimson City and 2176 novels (Type 4B). Some of the authors here at Beyond the Veil created an anthology that's a mishmash of the two called DunVegas, and it's free if you like Las Vegas, paranormal romances, and lots of hot sex! I'd say it falls more under 4A than 4B, however.

I myself just got a contract from Samhain for a novella entitled "Liam's Gold" set in the same world as my upcoming novel "Survival of the Fairest". While my novel, due out in July, takes on fairies, magic and flesh-eating gnomes from the "Realm" of my imagination, the novella's subject is a leprechaun who also originates from the Realm but dwells in humanspace for the duration of the story. These works would fall under the 3B category.

To writers -- what stories have you written that would fall under one of these categories? Any other categories to add? And to readers (which is all of us) -- tell us why you love connected stories!

Jody W.
A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH--Available now from Samhain Publishing
http://www.jodywallace.com/ * http://meankittybox.blogspot.com/

26 February 2008

Ingram's Charm released!

Ingram's Charm
Gram expects cash for payment. What he gets
is Charm. A beautiful sex slave, only too willing
to share the delights of his body. Charm's
supposed to be a spy. But she falls in love. Will
she betray Ingram or become his lucky Charm?

For more info...

Melissa Lopez
JOURNEYS OF LOVE every woman needs to take.

25 February 2008

Davin's Quest is Available Now

Davin's Quest isn't strictly a "paranormal" book, though all of the human characters have some sort of psychic ability. It's not strictly a "futuristic" book either. In fact, the whole series is an amalgam of different genres that almost defies definition. There's menage, there's some sci fi, there's a bit of Western flair with cowboys on a ranch. Like I said, hard to define. But so far, at least, the critics seem to like the world I've been building, and that helps a lot! So without further ado, here's my little brag about my shiny, new release...

Davin's Quest - Resonance Mates Book 2

Which man will Callie choose, the alien or the warrior? Or can she have both?
For each Alvian, there is one perfect match—a Resonance Mate whose soul blends in perfect harmony. Unlike the rest of his race, Davin has emotions and suffers for it. Without a mate, he is doomed to go mad. Searching for answers and understanding, he seeks out Callie O'Hara, a human woman with strong empathic gifts. Could this fragile human be his Resonance Mate?

Rick St. John is a tough-as-nails survivor of the Alvian occupation of Earth. He doesn't believe in much, but when he sees Callie for the first time, he starts to believe in love at first sight.

The Governing Council is gunning for Davin, the upstart who dares to defy them. And they'll kill anyone who gets in their way. Davin and Rick must come to terms with their feelings for Callie in order to keep her safe, while she has to find a way to save them both... with her love.

Warning: This title contains hot alien love, explicit sex, graphic language, and ménage a trois.

Come over to The D'Arc Side... http://www.biancadarc.com/

23 February 2008

New Release: In The Gloaming

It's out! It's out!

Well, not officially. But copies are flying off the virtual shelves on the Big Three - Amazon, BN and Borders - even though the official release date isn't until next week. :) Funny world, publishing!

In The Gloaming teamed my ebook, Abhainn's Kiss, with two works by writers whom I not only admire for their fantastic work, I can count them both as dear friends - Isabo Kelly and J.C. Wilder.

This anthology is an eclectic mix of fantasy and futuristic with a common thread of Irishness that we hope readers will find entertaining. Here's the blurb:

In the grey edge between light and dark lives a world unseen. That elusive edge is called The Gloaming.

Venture with three of Samhain’s most talented authors to that edge and beyond, where dwells danger, magic—and love.

Abhainn’s Kiss – Carolan Ivey lures you beyond the mists where a fragile Faery and has just one chance to restore Avalon to its former glory. Trouble is, her success—and her life—depends on a human man who doesn’t believe in Faery tales.

The Heron’s Call – Enter Isabo Kelly’s fantasy world, in which a sword mage returns from an ordeal to claim his soul twin, only to find out she wants nothing to do with him.

Thief of Hearts – Steal away to J.C. Wilder’s shadowy futuristic, where honor among professional thieves could make a woman’s career, or once again break her heart.

Warning, this title contains the following: hanging-from-the-chandeliers sex, graphic language, violence, light bondage, cool swordfighting, unruly Faeries, and did we mention hot sex?

Read an excerpt here.

Let's see, where else can you find me making a fool of myself recently? Oh yes, try these two venues:

My Raven Radio podcast interview. She babbles! She rambles! She tells ghost stories! I also dropped in to harrass J.C. during her interview the following week. Hey, just call me the professional peanut gallery.

EroticRomanceWriters.com interview. I chat about trying my wings in the erotic romance genre, and about my January release, Beaudry's Ghost.

Whew, it's been a busy few months, with releases back to back to back from November through February! Now I can take a breath and get down to serious work finishing another book. It's the Beaudry sequel, "Dark of Light." After that, if you hear mad giggling coming from the direction of Ohio, it's just J.C. and I cooking up something hot in our state-of-the-art erotic romance lab. Muaaahahaha!

Have a good weekend!


20 February 2008


Well, this is my first post here at BtV...and I have NO idea what to say! Which, for anyone who knows me, is actually kind of impressive.

I'm also a former FaE blogger, though I'll admit I've been so swamped with real life this past year I never got to know my fellow-bloggers well enough. I'm hoping to work on that in the coming months here.

The short version bio:

I'm 31 years old, and due to have my fourth child in 5 weeks. (three boys so far)
I have the most fantabulous husband ever.
I write fantasy. With romance and without. With sex and without.

Wow. Way to sum myself up in three sentences, eh?
Oh yes, I'm Canadian. ;)

Funny enough, the first question most people ask me is "why Fantasy". Granted, with things like Eragon and the Spiderwick Chronicles coming out as movies, I'm getting that question a little less. But I was still made to feel as though 'magic' was something I should have put aside about the same time I realised we really couldn't keep a pony in the garage.

Instead, my fascination with it all has just grown as I have. I'm amazed by how many writers have put their own spin on old favourites. Or who have created entirely new legends that live on in the global subconscious as something which 'simply always has been.'

I love the freedom of being able to create worlds, to establish my own rules and cultures. I love the epic nature of fantasy books - it isn't just boy meets girl, but it's often World meets World. Or...boy meets girl and saves the world ;)

I love the fact that fantasy books tend to have something which triumphs over all. Whether it's good over evil, or love over death or...well, you get the idea. There's a transcendence. An ability to believe in the best of people, even if they're not human. And when it's written very very well - the fact the characters aren't human just underscores their humanity, which I think is pretty freaking cool.

So why fantasy?
Why not ;)

What Makes a Published Author?

When I began writing about seven years ago, one of the first things I heard was “Don’t publish with an e-Book publisher. That’s not really getting published.” At first, being a good newbie writer, I simply nodded and made a mental note to remember this sage advice. A year later, I’d dumped the advice and had my first book contracted with an e-Book publisher.

Did I do the right thing? Are there still writers, editors and others who feel that e-publishing isn’t really getting published? Answer: You bet ’cha there are. Having had both e-Books and print books published and, thus, seen both sides of the fence, I disagree with those who don’t believe an e-Book author is a “real author”.

Even with the growth of e-publishing in the world of literature, there are still those who don’t feel a writer is genuinely published until their signature has dried on a contract from one of the big New York publishers like Harlequin or Dorchester. To those people, having a contract and getting paid by an e-publisher doesn’t transform you from writer to published author. In fact, your contract doesn’t mean much more than a contract with a vanity or subsidy publisher.

So, I ask, what makes someone a published author? Here’s my criteria with which you may or may not agree.

A published author is someone who has:

Written and completed a manuscript whether it’s a big book or a short story.
Found a reputable publisher and signed a contract with said publisher.
Money is exchanged from publisher to author either directly or indirectly (via an agent or other representative) in the form of an advance on future sales or simply a percentage of current sales. Please note: The money should flow from the publishing house to the writer and never in the other direction. If a writer has to pay anything to a publisher to have the publisher print their book, then that’s a vanity/subsidy publisher and, in my opinion, no better than anyone having their work copied and bound at Kinko’s. (Again, my humble opinion. And again, you may or may not agree.) Exceptions are, of course, where an author may allow her work to be published without remuneration, but payment should never be made to the publisher.
Royalties, unless excluded as in the above example, must be outlined in the contract and have a timeline for payment. Although an advance may or may not be given, royalties are always paid on sales.
The book is edited by a reputable editor provided by the publisher and cover art is also provided by the publisher. Again, these are to be provided to the author at no cost.
The book is released for sales and available at distribution venues as defined in the contract. Exceptions again may be made for articles in professional magazines or in the educational publishing field.
The book is released either in e-Book or print format, or both.

In my opinion, that is what makes a person a published author.

Of course, an argument can and has been made stating that those writers who use a vanity or subsidy press can call themselves published authors. True, if they ordered and paid for enough copies, those writers could sell their books in one manner or another, either online or in bookstores. But to do so forgets about the work, the effort, the skill and the expertise that an established publisher gives to the work. The vanity or subsidy published author has no real publisher.

In my belief, if the standard of “published author” is lowered to anyone who can type, copy pages and then bind them together (or pay to have the work done), we lose the value associated with being a published author. When anyone and everyone can easily call themselves a published author, what purpose would there be for publishing houses? But for now, for my way of thinking, I’ll stick to the outline I gave above. To become a published author is a wonderful and exciting thing, and I’m proud to call myself a published author.

Beverly Rae – http://www.beverlyrae.com/
Giggle, Gasp & Sigh with a Beverly Rae Romance

eBook at http://tinyurl.com/397k8j
In print at http://tinyurl.com/2zand4 (Amazon.com)

19 February 2008

Popping in...

Popping in to plug my contest. A little quiz/scavenger hunt contest in honor of the release of THE CROWN OF ZEUS. Questions and rules (and prizes!) are posted up on my website, on the contests page. Entries will be accepted from now until Feb. 29, winner drawn on March 1.

I still have a blog contest going on, so make sure you find out where I'll be next Monday and leave your comment!

You can't win if you don't play!

The Crown of Zeus...AT LAST!

At long last, my first Samhain book is finally released! I am so proud and happy to see THE CROWN OF ZEUS come into the world.

What is this book about? It's about having to get a new life, making friends, girl power, mystery, adventure, fantasy and MAGIC. What would fantasy be without magic? This isn't the Harry Potter, wave-a-wand and make things happen magic. It's more the what happens when we inadvertently get sucked into someone else's left behind magic, uh, magic.

If you've heard of the Spiderwick Chronicles, which was recently made into a movie, I'd say that's more the kind of magic I'm talking about. But not. LOL. Because there are no goblins, or trolls, or anything like that. But the main characters, like the kids in Spiderwick, aren't magical, just ordinary kids that find themselves in a decidedly extraordinary situation.

I brewed this book, this series, with a few ingredients from my own literary childhood - a dash of Nancy Drew, a dab of mythology and folklore, a little Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - and little bits of more modern stuff; Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, DaVinci Code. I'll tell you that while I was writing THE CROWN OF ZEUS, "National Treasure" and "The Librarian: Quest for the Spear", the TV movie with Noah Wylie, appeared, which kind of weirded me out, because there were so many similarities between them and what I was writing. If there ever was an argument for Jung's collective consiousness, there it is.

But it's done and it's wonderful and after everything I still love it. My girls are ready to meet you, and I hope you'll take them in and love them like I do.

You can get the book HERE, and read an excerpt. If you'd like more, stop by my website. I'll be holding celebratory contests with cool prizes!

18 February 2008

8 Days, A Realization, and A Gift

My first novella SHIFTING PASSIONS comes out in 8 Days on February 26th…and I forgot. I made plans for the day to meet with a new friend and workout and have an afternoon of it. When I finally looked at the date I recalled again, but for a moment I’d misplaced it. For a moment, there was no expectation for the day save the sharing of the afternoon with a friend and I had to laugh out loud when I realized I’d let the most anxious day of this part of my life slip my mind. Then I realized that a wonderful blessing had happened and the day is still about spending the afternoon with a friend.

I want the novella to do well and to pave the way for the full length novel coming after it. I want my world of preternatural politics, hot shape-shifters, kick-ass sprite assassins and vampire infiltrators to sweep you all up and leave you wanting more. The first taste of a much larger world starts with my poly-romance novella and the friends-turned-lovers-turned-friends-turned-triad story of Half-Therians Lena, Nathan and Armand. They are the appetizer of what I see as a seven-course meal and beyond, which makes them, and their little story, incredibly important.

And yet still, the day is about an afternoon spent with a new friend.

I’ve let it all go. Yes, I have promo plans in place and ideas of how to continuously promote it once it debuts. But in truth I’ve stepped away from it. The story itself is out of my hands. I’ve done all I can with it and it now belongs to all of you. Whether you buy it and read it first thing on Tuesday or come to it and my Therian World over time, it’s now yours. It moved through me, I gave it form; I passed it on, and now it’s about everyone else. That’s how a gift works. You can buy it, wrap it and fret over how it’s received but the moment you hand it over, you can’t take it back. It’s out there and someone is going to unwrap it and have a time.

I didn’t know it was going to feel like this. I didn’t know it was going to be this peaceful of an experience. Sales, reviews, fans, critics, none of that has gripped me as the focus and so in and of themselves, no one of those things seems important. In the end, having picked it out, wrapped it and handed over, all I can do is hope you like my gift.

So next week log on, pick it up, and take a look inside. I got it just for you and wish you great enjoyment. Me, well I’ve got a friend to meet, a workout to do, and of course, a little something more to whip up for you for next time around.

Off to pick out more gifts.

Gift Realization Ramble Done :)


17 February 2008

Guest Blogger: Bettie Sharpe


I'm Bettie. I'm a bit of a newbie at Samhain. My first novella came out on January 15, 2008. I'd like to thank the regulars at Beyond the Veil for allowing me to guest post today.

Strangers and the Night
Our ancestors spun stories from the dark mystery of night. Their imaginations shaped creatures in the flickering shadows cast by their campfires or hearth fires. Their tales filled the night-darkened land beyond the reach of their torches and lamps with vampires, witches, sidhe, djinni, yosei, and a thousand other mythical creatures that used magic and darkness to confuse the unwary and to hide their true forms.

Every culture and age has had archetypes of the mysterious stranger. In myths and stories a stranger can embody all of the mystery, the danger, the possibilities of the unknown. A mysterious man or woman is a canvas for our dreams, our desires and our deepest fears.

In folklore the stranger is often a force of evil, a devil who seeks to make bargains with the credulous and unwary. In these tales, even if the stranger seems innocent, he is not. In the Welsh telling of "The Devil's Bridge" the devil appears as a monk, but is outsmarted by the clever farm girl he tried to trap. In some versions of the folklore of the American South, the devil is a stranger who stands at the crossroads waiting to trade talent, knowledge or skills in exchange for souls.

In other stories, the stranger is a force of good—the bent old woman who begs kindness from the knight errant, and upon receipt of that kindness is revealed to be a beautiful fairy with the power to grant the knight a boon.

In modern archetypal tales, like westerns and mysteries, the dark stranger is a wanderer. He may be a good-hearted gunfighter, or a surly private eye with a hidden streak of nobility. She may be a woman from the wrong side of the tracks, or on the wrong side of the law.

When Samhain put out a call last spring for submissions to an anthology entitled "Strangers in the Night" my imagination immediately filled with possible stories. I knew right away that I wanted both my hero and heroine to be dark, dangerous strangers.

I wanted to write a world of shifting shadows—to create a setting that was as full of possibility and danger as the shadows beyond the edge of a campfire's light. I ended up with "Like a Thief in the Night," the story of a thief and an assassin—two people who live outside of society, outside of the law. And since the story is a paranormal, they live a little bit outside the bounds of reality, as well. Secretive and stealthy, Aniketos and Arden are strangers to the world, but by the end of the story, they are not strangers to each other.

In the end, I think the appeal of the stranger is not that the stranger is unknown; the appeal is our desire to know. The same blend of fear, excitement and curiosity that drives us to spin stories out of shadows drives us to read and listen to so many different stories about strangers. We want to unmask the devil beneath the monk's robe. We want to discover the black-clad gunfighter's heart of gold. We want to know and understand the stranger that walks out of the shadows and into the light.

CONTEST! What's your favorite story about a stranger?
Comment, and I'll drop your name in the hat for a copy of Like a Thief in the Night. I'll post the name of the winner in the comments one week from today.

Bettie Sharpe is a Los Angeles native with a fondness for hot weather, classic cars, and air so thick it sticks in your teeth. When she's not busy attempting to metabolize smog into oxygen, Bettie enjoys romance novels, action movies, comic books, video games, and every other entertainment product her teachers said would rot her brain. Visit her web site at www.bettiesharpe.com

16 February 2008

Another Fine Myth I've Gotten Myself Into

And fine it is indeed.

Hello, my name is Jean Marie Ward, and I'm another author from the Fantasy & Enchantment blog. It was a great place to write my piece, but there are so many wonderful writers here--including my former F&E colleagues--I know this will be even better.

So far, nobody's asked me to help pick out the drapes or new furniture. They're a little scared. In some ways I'm kind of out there. It's not so much that my writing's more fantasy with romantic elements than fantasy romance. These days those sub-genres are a lot closer than ever before. It's not even that, for the novel I'm working on now, I've traded my high fantasy hat for Chick Myth. Christine Norris has already given BtV readers the class in Greek Gods 101. (Go Christine!)

It's that nobody's quite sure what I'll type next. It might be a good writerly subject, like how to secure guest status at conventions or how to deal when real life gets in the way of writing life. But it could just as easily be about wanting to run away and become a paleontologist, or how Sinbad really was Chinese. Sort of. Well, he worked for the Ming Dynasty, anyway.

See. Scary, isn't it? And that's not even counting the real life ghost stories. For some reason, people tend to freak when I introduce them to the ghost cat who shares the house with my husband, my corporeal cat and me.

But admit it, doesn't a touch of fear--the merest hint of danger--add a little spice to the proceedings? Isn't it why you decided to venture Beyond the Veil in the first place? How can any of us be certain what faces us as we step into the mists?

14 February 2008


I am a self-help nut. Give me a good how to book and I can get lost for days. Some of my favorite inspirational authors and speakers include Julia Cameron, Rick Jarrow, and Caroline Myss. I like nothing better than discovering new ways to make my intents known to all the powers that be, and see if anything wonderful happens.

OK, the truth is that wonderful things don’t always happen, but I still believe whole-heartedly in the process. I keep a daily journal (mostly daily…lolol) as Julia Cameron urges in her The Artist’s Way. My sons call it my bitch book. And I will admit that some days that is all that goes in it, my daily whines and rails against the banality of my life. A writer’s life is far from glamorous, especially for those of us just starting our careers, consisting of long long hours spent alone, punctuated with short bursts of either despair or elation when reviews come out, or the occasional personal appearance when necessary.

I have to find a way to meet my daily goals as best I can, and keep myself motivated during those times it seems like far too much work for the results. So I write down my intents.

We’ve all heard this story, how Jim Carey wrote a check to himself for one million dollars, and actually cashed it ten years or so later. He intended to make that much money, and the check was a promise to himself that he would eventually achieve the wealth and fame he craved.

Now I am not saying that I intend to make millions (but if that is your goal, I urge you to go for it) but I do intend to write x-amount of words per day, edit such and such scene, or re-read and revise. A daily list of intentions is a great way to get going.

Here’s how to start. First of all, I write down my emotional intentions for the day. Hug my children in the morning, tell my husband I love him, send my mother an e-mail. Do I need to be calmer because I will be waiting in line at the BMV, or dealing with a friend that can try my patience on the best of days? Do I need to offer blessings and healing for the planet (a big one for me always) and take another step in my attempts to green-up my life? Buy a new florescent lightbulb…turn my thermostat to a more energy efficient setting?

Now, how much do I need to write today? What do I need to accomplish in the next week, month, or year to achieve my goals? Write it all down. In fact, take out a sheet of paper and write down as many goals as you can think of. No matter how big, no matter how small. What do you want for your life? Do you even know? Kind of like the new movie The Bucket List…what things do you want to do before you kick the bucket?

You might be surprised at your answers, at the least, you will learn a great deal about yourself as you see your needs and desires in a tangible and readable form. Tuck this big list away and look at it every few months or so, crossing off those things you have achieved. Trust me, you will be surprised at how much you actually do, whether you realize it or not.

Ready…set…write, write, write.

Thursday 13 for RUNESPELL

I've never done a TT before, but I posted a Free Read on my website today and I wanted to let y'all know about it. My fellow BTVers told me to write a TT, so here goes.

1. RUNESPELL started out being called River Bear. I'm not so good with titles.

2. It was inspired by two things. The first is Robert Frost's poem, Fire and Ice:

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
~Robert Frost

3. The other inspiration was this piece of art. It's an illustration from a Scandinavian fairy tale called East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Kay Nielsen (1886 - 1957) was a Danish artist who worked in an Art Nouveau/Art Deco style during the "golden age of illustration."

4. Favorite line: Then he simply lay awake, feeling her breathe next to him. A small gift. An immense responsibility.

5. I wrote this with the intention of polishing some of my writing skills. I wanted to see if I could write in a more lyrical, poetic voice than my usual casual, funny, contemp voice.

6. I also wanted to work on upping sexual tension in a story, without actually including any sex! Yep, the steamiest thing my characters do is kiss. But it's a doozie!

7. Another favorite line: So. This is what a paradigm shift feels like.

8. Another favorite line: His troll-bride lived.

9. I always feed people in my stories. Hey, if I'm hungry, they're hungry, right? So this time, the hero makes lefse, which is essentially a Norwegian tortilla -- a very thin flatbread/pancake made with potatoes. They sound delicious!

10. My baddie is named Huldra, which isn't actually a name so much as it is a noun. A huldra is a type of forest sprite, but not always so friendly.

11. I was also able to combine an element of another story idea I'd had sitting around forever. My fascination with runes began in a potential romantic suspense I called "Cold."

12. Happy Valentine's Day!!

13. And my very favorite line of all: We get to live happily ever after.

13 February 2008

Doctor Who

I'm hooked on Doctor Who. I never did watch the old shows. Until recently, I didn't even know what Dalek and TARDIS referred to. But my husband did and so when the new Doctor Who came out on video, I got the first season. I thought the episodes were fun, particularly when my favorite character, Captain Jack, was onscreen. And then we got to the last episode of season one and…there was a new Doctor Who.

I was so disappointed. I liked Christopher Eccleston! But, by the time I hit the second episode of season two, I loved David Tennant.

I am, actually, reminded of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Take a moment to remember my deep crush on Jean-Luc Picard.) I know the show has a different feel, but the sense of wonder and anything can happen, well, that is the same to me.

Take the episode "Tooth and Claw" which has Queen Victoria, werewolves and martial artist monks! I'm sold.

Plus, they keep dangling Torchwood in front of the viewer so I am just waiting for Captain Jack's return. Even better will be watching Torchwood itself.

Any Torchwood and Doctor Who fans out there? I know I'm behind the times, but at least I have a lot to look forward to.

11 February 2008

Shifters Shifters Everywhere!

Hello, everyone. This is my very first post here on Beyond the Veil. I didn't know what to blog until I realized that half my backlist is paranormal and/or fantasy romance! lol What isn't there to blog?! So my topic today is - you guessed it - shifters.

Shifters seem to be hot nowadays in romance. It doesn't matter if they're were-creatures, mythical creatures, or men and women who have a family "curse" (or "blessing" depending on how the characters look at it). I must confess, a while back, I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. I'd heard various authors bemoaning writing to the market. If you write a book simply to "fit in" with the crowd, then it's not the book of your heart, and therefore it won't be a great book.

But I wanted to do something different. I just didn't know *what*. I mulled the idea of a shifter story in my head for awhile, until I literally had a dream one night. I was on the run with a man who could shift into a tiger through the snowy woods. Upon waking, I just *knew* there was a story idea in there.

However, I didn't have any of the why, where, what, when, & who questions. Deciding to run with it, no pun intended, I tried to think of a reason as to why the man would be running for his life. Perhaps he escaped. Escaped from where? Some secret agency? At this point, I was excited, because I loved the intrigue. As fate would have it, I'd just watched the Bourne Identity movies, and I knew I wanted that kind of feel for my shifter book if and when I ever wrote it.

Okay, so what if the hero had amnesia of sorts? He doesn't know who he is, aside from who this agency has said he is, and due to his treatment while imprisoned there, he isn't inclined to believe them. What if this agency wasn't just imprisoning shifters, but *creating* them? Ooo, good idea. Maybe they have a cool acronym as their "name". What's a good acronym for an agency who makes shifters? Obvious. B*E*A*S*T*.

Now, I had the daunting task of figuring out what the letters stood for. :P I finally settled on Bio-Engineering to Attain Shift Transformation. Quite a mouthful, but it fit the story I was plotting in my head.

At this point, I was jonesin' to write this book. It was an awesome idea, one I hadn't seen from another author. There might be a handful of biologically engineered shifters on the market, but not enough of them to make me rethink my idea. I did a lot of research, actually, on other authors' books just to make sure I wasn't stealing an idea someone else had. One author had a shifter created from a lab accident. Close. Another author has books about shifters who are genetic experiments. Aha, so this isn't an "original" idea. However, I knew my plot was pretty different from hers, so I didn't think twice about writing the book.

But once I began to write, I realized something. B*E*A*S*T* hasn't imprisoned only one man. There are hundreds in there, all enduring the torture, all shifters themselves. Now, I had a series on my hands. A series that kept on getting bigger and bigger as the plots of each book unfolded. Goodness! A single book evolved into a three book series, only to blindside me by demanding more than that.

But even so, I couldn't make every book be the same old tired plot. The series needed to evolve from that one spark of an idea of a shifter on the run. And each book is different in it's own way.

Now, I've resigned myself to the fact that there might be many books in this B*E*A*S*T* series of mine... However, I've learned not to put a *limit* on them. In the beginning, I'd decided to shoot for a trilogy. Well, I've written three books, and there's still more to this story. Therefore, I'm going to write this series on a book-by-book basis. At this point, I don't know where this story is going to end. It could end with a possible book four, or I could go on for another three books, who knows?

I do know one thing, however. The books in this series are my bestselling books to date. THE B*E*A*S*T* WITHIN was released in October of 2006, and it's still a bestseller at my publisher. The moral of this story is this; sure, you can write to the market and be very successful at it, but I truly believe you need to have something unique, something new to bring to the table. Don't settle for writing the same ol' thing. Twist a tired plot and make it your own. Then you'll stand out from the crowd. :)


10 February 2008

Official Introduction and Frankenstein

Hey all!
Today is my first 'official' post, even though I snatched up the empty Thursday 13 slot last week. I'm a YA Fantasy author, and my first SP book, THE CROWN OF ZEUS, is scheduled for release on Feb. 19 (just nine days away!). I'm pretty excited about other people FINALLY being able to read the book, since I actually completed it in 2006. It was one of three books I started in 2005, when I was laid up with a badly broken leg. One of the others, THE ANKH OF ISIS, will make its debut in July.

Anyway, I was thinking about what I wanted to say today. I had no topic at all, and then my second online English course (at UMUC) began. Critical Approaches to Literature. In other words, how to break down what you've read, in order to understand it better. I HAVE to take this course. It sounds like it's as much fun as watching paint dry, right?

But then I got the first assisgnment. Read FRANKENSTEIN. Wow. A female paranormal/speculative fiction writer's dream come true, right? I mean, Mary Shelley is sort of the mother of spec fic. I've also started reading some critical essays about the novel, and it's gotten me thinking - do all people really look at the books they read this way?

Personally I like the historical/biographical approach. What was going on in the author's world when the book was written? What part or parts of the novel reflect the author's personal life or values?

There are a whole bunch of other schools of criticism, like the feminists or the Marxists. I don't see how Frankenstein is a manifesto for the feminist movement, or how it's about class struggle (well, maybe a little), but people try and cram the book into whatever little box they're standing on, apparently.

Do we do this with the novels we read now? I've heard all kinds of theories about Harry Potter, what it REALLY means under all the magic, and I'm not sure I buy it. I mean, having written four books, I really just wanted to tell a story. I think things appear in the book by accident, things the author never planned for, and if you asked them they're surprised you discovered it at all. I don't have a statement to make, other than the universal lessons that come from the books - friendship, belief in yourself, love conquers all, whatever - and I certainly don't think Harry Potter has any kind of political statement.

As far as FRANKENSTEIN goes, she's given the story of how the novel came to be. She was challenged to write a ghost story by her husband and Lord Byron, after they read a collection of German ghost stories. Did she sit down to make some grand statement about society, or was it just a good tale, meant to scare the pants of the men who had challenged her to write it?

I wish I could ask.

What do you think?

09 February 2008

The year of the Earth Rat

The Chinese New Year was celebrated this week, ushering in the year of the Earth Rat. What will that mean for the months ahead?

For me, it should be a year of balance. I was born under the sign of Earth Monkey, and thrive in years where Earth is dominant. Earth people are usually
"wise, serene and prudent, firmly rooted in your morals, ethics and responsibilities. Led by logic rather than emotion, you seek to plan your life as far out in advance as possible, to expect the unexpected and control your destiny down to the last detail. "

Guess that explains the charts, graphs, white boards, and productivity models neatly filed in my desk.

Rats are leaders. Organized, intelligent (and cunning), ambitious and strong willed. The first sign of the Chinese zodiac, they are also charming, passionate, and hardworking.

So what does this mean for the year of the Earth Rat?

Expect a calmer time, as we move out of the year of the Fire Boar. The coming year is a time for new beginnings, and putting plans in to motion. It will be a year of oppportunities, and progress. Hard work will be rewarded.

I hope the year of the Earth Rat is a year of health and prosperity, and trials that bring you to happiness.

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.

~ Chinese proverb

07 February 2008

Thirteen Greek Gods to invite to your next big party.

Okay, my first 'official' post isn't scheduled until Sunday (and I STILL don't have a topic!) but since today's an open day for the Thursday 13, I thought I'd drop by and give you 13 Greek gods. My upcoming Samhain book, THE CROWN OF ZEUS, has a heavy Greek mythology content (as if you couldn't tell by the title, the cover might give it away). So, in honor of the book, I present a list of the best and brightest Mt. Olympus has to offer, and what you can expect if you invite them to your house for a party:

1. Zeus. Oh, c'mon, you know him. Big guy, head honcho, defeated the Titans, chucks lightning bolts at folks. Tends to turn himself into things, like showers of gold or swans, in order to seduce young mortals and getting them knocked up. Looks a lot like Lawrence Olivier. If you invite him, make sure you have room for his entourage and security to chase away the paparazzi.

2. Hera. Zeus' wife. What a tough job that must be! She's got to look the other way while Hubby's off making demi-god babies, plus keep Mt. Olympus clean and ready for guests. Don't blame her for raining down terror and fire on earth - she needs an outlet for her frustration just like the rest of us. Make sure you keep the punch bowl filled and Zeus on the other end of the room.

3. Poseidon. Zeus's brother, God of the Sea. You can recognize him at the family reunion by his trident - the pointy pitchfork looking thingy. Likes to hang with mermaids, digs pool parties.

4. Hades. Completes the trifecta of the Brothers Immortal. Poor guy got the bum's rush, the short straw. Zeus gets the air and to rule Mt. Olympus, Poseidon gets to rule the sea, and poor Hades got stuck with the Underworld. He may still be a little upset about it, so if he's touchy when you cross the river Styx, give him a break. He probably won't come even if you invite him, but he's got good party tricks, like 'Look who I can bring back from the Dead!'.

5. Athena. She's the daughter of Zeus and Metis. If she's got relationship issues, it's because her father ATE her mother before she was born, and she had to burst out of his HEAD to make it into the world. Yeah. But swimming through the brains of the #1 god on the mount made her super-smart. She's the Goddess of knowledge and all things civilized about war. AND she's the virgin goddess, belonging to no man, only herself. Well, who can blame her? She'll organize all the party games and make sure everyone plays fair.

6. Aphrodite. Goddess of Love. What else can I say? This time of year she's at the peak of her powers, feeling all the Valentine's day love in the air. Mortal men are putty in her hands. There's no stopping it. So run on out and invoke her this week; she'll be glad to give you a hand for the big V. Maybe you'll get yourself a big O. (man, this hanging out with romance writers is starting to rub off on me!) At the party, though, every man in the room will be staring at her, and every woman will be jealous. Might wanna rethink that one.

7. Ares. Bad news, this guy. Not just the God of War, but the god of savage war. Bloodlust. He likes nothing better than when people get into nasty fights that end up with someone leaking fluids all over the floor. Don't invite him unless you WANT the cops to show up.

8. Demeter. Goddess of Nature and Agricultural Fertility. She's a nice enough lady, but, as the saying goes, it's not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Hades tricked her poor daughter Persephone, and now she's got to spend half the year down in the Underworld. Which makes Demeter not the happiest camper, and her moods get all kinds of wonky. Hurricane season? Try PMS. Catch her in the Spring, when she's ready for a party, and she'll be the belle of the ball!

9. Hestia. Not many talk about poor Hestia. She's the sister of Zeus, Posidon and Hades, which means she was born of a Titan - Cronos to be exact. She's the Goddess of Hearth and Home. When they say 'keep the home fires burning', it's not a metaphor. In Ancient Greece, the hearth fire of the home could NOT be extinguished or re-lit without a proper ritual and offering to Hestia. She keeps the peace, and even gave up her seat as one of the Twelve Olympians to Dionysis. What a doll! Kind of a homebody, though, so don't expect her to show up.

10. Apollo. God of the Sun. Literally reponsible to keep the sun coming up every day. Also noted as God of Poetry, Art and Truth. Decent enough chap - nice, sunny disposition, decent body, loves the beach, good with children. Busy schedule, though, so not much for socializing.

11. Artemis. She's Apollo's sister, which means she's repsonsible for the moon. Also Goddess of the Hunt, and takes care of maidens here on earth. If you're having an archery contest, you can't find anyone better than Artemis. She's even got her own bow and arrows. Unfortunately she's only available once every 28 days, so you'll have to catch her early if you want her to go anywhere.

12. Hephaesteus. Man, oh man, does this guy have upper body strength! If you like a big, strapping type of god, Hephaestus is your guy. You'll just have to ignore the smell - long hours working in the forge, creating metalworks for the gods, is smelly work. Zeus just keeps on using those lightning bolts, and its tough keeping up with the demand. I'd invite him just so I could look at him.

13. Hermes. Mt. Olympus Postal Service. Poor little guy gets the grunt work, delivering messages all over the place. He's got some help, with those rockin' winged sandals and hat, but still. At least he gets good benefits. I'd invite him to the party, just because I think the guy needs to relax!

That's it! Thirteen Greek Gods you can invite to your next big shindig!

Make every day magical!


06 February 2008

Love Will Find a Way

Do you believe in love? Do you believe somehow, someway everyone will find love? I do and here’s why.

Okay, I admit it. I got desperate. I was a teacher working at a school without any prospects of finding a man. The teacher pool was devoid of any real masculinity and the school’s elderly janitor was starting to look good to me. In fact, the best the school had to offer was the lecherous vice-principal who was married to the gym teacher. Not exactly a girl’s idea of a dream date. The parent pool, unfortunately, wasn’t much better. Whenever a father showed up at a school function, he was either (1) getting a divorce because he’d gotten caught cheating on his wife or (2) willing to “give you a little lovin’” as long as the “wifey-poo” didn’t find out. Yep, my choices for a relationship were basically non-existent.

So as I said, I got desperate. I joined a dating newsletter. This newsletter was owned and operated by an older lady (I’ll call her Muriel) who personally met all her applicants. Although the number of available men would be limited more than with one of the major online matchmaking services, I figured she’d have a good shot of weeding out the homicidal rapists. So, with my heart on my sleeve, I joined up.

I have to admit that I loved it─at first. After all, I was one of the few women in the newsletter who had no children. The men in the organization loved the fact that I came without “baggage”. In fact, it wasn’t long before I received my first call for a date and subsequent calls followed that one. I was a hot commodity and enjoying every minute of it. Then Mike (His name has been changed to protect everyone involved.) called. After screening him with Muriel who assured me that he was “a great guy”, I agreed to meet him at a very busy local restaurant.

Mike was gorgeous. I almost fell out of my chair when he walked up to the table, introduced himself as my date and handed me a bouquet of flowers. The man was a living, breathing Adonis. Amazing, huh? Yep, amazing and way too good to be true. Not only did he have the looks, he had the talk. And the manners. And the dreamy bedroom eyes. As far as I could tell, I’d hit the dating lottery.

After great conversation over dinner, Mike invited me back to his place. Yeah, I know. Not a smart move on my part, but by this time, I’d been swept off my feet. So I agreed.

Mike, however, neglected to mention a few things. Like the fact that he still lived with his family. That’s right─his family. Mike didn’t live with only his parents, but also with grandpa and Mike’s two rather odd brothers, Tim and John. The brothers must’ve missed the gene pool signup because they looked like they were closer siblings to Neanderthal Man than to any homo sapiens walking the planet now. Before I realized what was happening, I was smack dab in the middle of a Weird Family Get Together. Little did I know─as I tried to breathe while they all took turns crushing the breath out of my body with bear hugs─that the night would only get worse. Naively, I believed Grandpa copping a feel was the worst I’d have to face.

Mike’s parents, who looked normal, were anything but normal. I realized this after Mike and I sat down on the sofa─as far away from Grandpa as I could get─and they proceeded to ask me if I liked snakes. No, nix that. They didn’t simply ask me if I liked snakes, they wanted to know if I worshipped snakes.

I should have high-tailed it out of there right then and there. But I was frozen to the spot. Had they really said what I thought they’d said? Or was this a family prank they liked to play on Mike’s dates? Logic and reality went to war in my head. Surely they didn’t mean what they’d said. Surely I’d misunderstood them. But the part of me that slows down to look at a car wreck had to know. So I asked them.

Their answers were to laugh and, in my confused state of mind, I chuckled with them. It had to be a joke. But then Mike took my hand as we all rose from our seats. Like a schoolgirl unthinkingly obeying the headmaster’s command, I followed him and his family into the next room.

Wow. How I wished I’d hooked up with the lecherous vice-principal.

Inside the adjacent room were statues, pictures, photographs and other representations of various kinds of snakes. Snake posters adorned the walls while outlines of snake heads glowed from the lampshades and reptile knickknacks covered the top of every piece of furniture. Even the curtains sported images of serpents. Yet that was nothing compared to the rest. As the first hiss sent chills racing down my backbone, I lowered my eyes to the floor and saw not one, not two, but five large snakes. I have no idea what kind of snakes they were, but they could’ve starred in a horror movie.

My scream died in my throat as John (Mike’s oldest and strangest brother) spurted an insane giggle and reached down to scoop up one of the larger snakes. After bestowing a kiss on the reptile’s nose (or whatever the end of their head is called), he began to wrap the thing around his body. I shuddered as Tim did the same with a different, even longer snake. Taking a step backward, I prepared to make a fast dash for the front door. Granted the neighborhood wasn’t the safest in town, but at that point, I’d have chosen a confrontation with street gang over hanging around with this loony family. But Mike had other ideas.

Just as I started to sprint, he took my hand again and compelled me to look into those bedroom eyes. But I wasn’t fooled any longer. I knew there was little else but crazy ideas in that handsome head of his

“Will you bow down and place yourself in their service?”

My mouth fell open as I tried to understand his words. “What? What the BLEEP did you say?” (I’ve cleaned up the language for this report).

“Will you show our Masters that you recognize their superiority and offer yourself to do their bidding?”

I blinked as I wondered how I could’ve been so terribly wrong about this guy. What did he expect me to do? French kiss them on their forks tongues? Hunt mice for them? How exactly does one do the bidding of a slithering reptile? At last, however, my mind snapped into gear and overcame my curiosity. “Are you BLEEP kidding me?” (I’m not normally a potty-mouth, but certain situations simply call for it).

It was then that I realized I needed to learn to keep my mouth shut. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I’d made a crucial mistake. The entire family turned to face me and the looks on their faces were not pleasant. A scene from a slasher movie flashed through my mind and I gulped at the prospect of what might happen to me. If I didn’t worship the snakes, did that mean I’d become their next meal? “Uh, I mean, no thanks.” (Yeah, I know. Too little, too late.)

Mike, the gorgeous, courteous, wonderful dream date, had transformed from Hot Hunk to Mad Mike. “Are you disrespecting our gods?”

I stammered a moment, glancing around to find anything I could use to defend myself, and came up empty on both words and weapons.

Mike drew his body straighter, tossed me a tight condescending smile, and then reached down to pick up one of his “gods”. As he lifted the snake close to my face, fear finally found its way from my brain to my feet and I ran.

I heard Mike and his family calling for me to stop as I threw open the front door and ran out into the night. How I was going to get home didn’t concern me. All I wanted was to get away from this modern day reptile-loving cult as fast as I could. As I ran, I began thinking of the tongue-lashing I’d give Muriel.

The shouts coming from Mike and his family died out as I put distance between myself and them. After a few minutes of running in my heels, however, I felt safe enough to stop and ponder how I was to get home. You see, I’d left my purse with my cell phone and money inside on their sofa and there was no way I was going back to get it. They could keep everything I had. I’d gladly cancel credit cards and change locks rather than face them again. Still, alone and miles from my home, I had no option except to knock on a door in the strange and not-so-safe neighborhood.

When the door opened, I thought I'd once again won the lottery. Standing before me was the best-looking guy I'd ever seen. In fact, he made Mike look small and pitiful. But this time I was cautious. I accepted the use of his phone while standing outside on his porch and politely refused all offers to come inside. Yet by the time the cab had arrived to take me home, I was giving thanks for having gone out with Mike the Snake Lover. After all, if I hadn’t gone out with Mr. Loony-Tunes, I’d never have met Mr. Right. You see, although it wasn't an official "date", I'd already fallen for the man behind the door.

Two years later, we were married.

Beverly Rae – www.beverlyrae.com
Giggle, Gasp & Sigh with a Beverly Rae Romance

TOUCH ME - eBook at http://tinyurl.com/397k8j
In print 03/25/08 at http://tinyurl.com/2zand4 (Amazon.com)

WAILING FOR LOVE - Coming from Samhain Publishing 03/11/08

05 February 2008

6.5k of Free Fiction. The 1001 CTR Knights

Hey All,

Come take a peek at my latest story that I posted on my forum. The 1001 CTR Knights it is adult only alas but it's also rather tongue in cheek if you like a bit of humor.

oh, if you want to comment you'll have to register, it's free and the forum can be fun. If you do register please put me down as your referrer and one day I'll get a dinky image to put in my profile :)




Two great reviews for Poseidon VII just been posted on the net. One new and one ages old but just finally made public. And here they are:

A five rating from Just Erotic Romance Reviews.
A four angel rating from Fallen Angel Reviews.

Hey, I have to boast a little now and then :)


04 February 2008

Astral Projection and Other Forms of Cheap Travel

Here's a concept that is vastly fascinating: astral projection. Now, while I've never been able to put this theory into practice myself, my father claimed to have been able to do so on several occasions.

The first time he left his body, he'd been lying in bed waiting to fall asleep while staring at an imaginary white dot on the ceiling. He described the dot as getting larger at it grew ever closer, until he passed through it. The next thing he saw was a man and woman in bed. It wasn't until the man looked up that he realized he looked down on himself. He said it scared him so badly he immediately hit his body with a jerk. It was so violent, it woke my mother who wanted to know what the hell was wrong with him.

Now, I can't say for sure if dear old dad actually traveled out of his body, but he believed he did, so I'll take him at his word.

While reading up on astral projection—or more accurately out-of-body experiences—the OBE is classified as a psi, but not necessarily a paranormal event. Or so says Harper's Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experiences. Instead, it describes it as a "mental exercise in an altered state of consciousness." All right, I'll go with that. But if you break down all paranormal experiences aren't they in some part an extension of an altered state?

Near-death experiences, psychic readings, and channeling all have that commonality of being in an altered state. Hynopsis would qualify as well, but I'm not so keen on including that unless it's pared down to self-hynopsis alone. With each of these scenarios there is some sort of traveling involved, even if it's just to "read" impressions left on an object.

So, what's the interest in astral projection? Well, I've always been a person who likes to explore how far the mind can take us. There is so much untapped potential in our brains, it should be possible not only to travel to distant places, but take extended vacations should we so choose. I really like what Harper's says about this type of psychic movement. It reads: "A phenomenon in which a person feels separated from his or her physical body and seems to be able to travel to distant locations on Earth or nonworldly realms."

Nonworldly realms. That's right up my alley!

I have several stories brewing that use some type of astral projection or OBE as the basis for the paranormal plot. One is about a woman who dreams nightly of walking the streets of Gettysburgh, searching for something she can't seem to find. When she travels there, the locals look to her as if they've seen a ghost...and truely they have. For while she's sleeping, she's actually traveling and is mistaken in her astral body for one of the ghosts of Gettysburg. Of course there will be some reason she's pulled there nightly, a mystery to solve, a real ghost to put to sleep, or some such like that...

...hmmmm, maybe I'll try booking passage on the mind train and go do some research.


01 February 2008

Covering Up!

A.K.A. Where on earth has it been?

You’ve just watched the latest show of Jerry Springer and discovered that perhaps sex could have an unpleasant side to it. After all, how long have you known this superlover of yours. And, let’s face it, to become a superlover requires practice, lots of practice. Just how many disease-ridden trollops did he learn his craft with, hmm? Okay, so a year and a half after you first took him to bed seems a little late to think about safe sex but, hell, who says you can’t make up for lost time.

The difficult part is presenting your case and having your beau agree. Should you surreptitiously just slip a Trojan on him when he’s not looking? Should you have the latex surgically attached to his nether regions for worry-free sex? Or perhaps you need to seriously reconsider your relationship because you just know his dipstick is checking out every sump in town. Never fear, Agent Double D.3 has risked life, limb and a million dollars of shares in the local prophylactic factory to bring you this special report -- Where on Earth has it been?

Agent Double D.3 reports:

1. Vampires: These fellas have been around for years. Before you were even born he’s had his share of roman orgies, naked druid sex orgies, er, religious rites. Not to mention he probably knew every whore in regency London by name and pubic hair type. Being dead kinda makes you immune to worring about things like AIDS, herpes and all those other little problems that score better on a scrabble board than on a date. But hang on for a bit and don’t immediately go for the emasculation/surgically-implanted-latex-condom solution. Being dead also means those little bugs and viral things can’t live in him either, though they can live a few short days on his skin. So, just as long as you scour his genitals with bleach and scouring powder every time before sex you’ll get along fine. If he starts to complain, well, that’s why you do it pantiless, of course…

2. Werewolves: The one thing you’ve got going for you here is that wolves mate until death. Unfortunately werewolves also tend to live a trifle longer than humans. Regardless, it means he will have had far fewer sexual encounters than his cousin the vampire. All you need to do is keep a handy thirty pack of condoms ready (that should last a couple of days) and insist on him using them. At least make him use them until the werewolf doctor has done the necessary tests and pronounced him clear. After that toss the icky things into the local recycling bin (remember colored condoms in the pink bin, plain in the white and bumpy ones in the red.) Does he feel unhappy with this state of affairs? Console him a little by tossing him a few pounds of prime rib and then artfully present yourself, pantiless and whipped cream at the ready, for dessert.

3. Ghosts: I don’t care how many condoms you buy, or how small you get them. There ain’t no way you’re going to get one to stick on this guy no matter how hard you try. Not that it matters much since physical contact isn’t your lover’s forte and even if he had a dozen lovers most bacterium will either freeze to death on contact or beat a hasty retreat to the other side of the hosts body. Be tactful, though. Your research may have determined his probable cause of death as a hefty dose of syphilis but it’s wise not to bring it up. After all, wouldn’t you rather experience the soft chills of lustful fingers than a dead man’s cold shoulder?

4. Invisible men: Don’t listen to him. Yes, we all know he is a brilliant, nay, genius of a scientist. In this instance, though, he is wrong. Just be cause he is invisible doesn’t mean the STD bugs can’t see him to infect him. Don’t be fooled by his elongated explanation of invisible condoms either. If he doesn’t wear his cover provided by you, he’s not getting under your cover either. Of course, once he’s been given the all clear by the doc, no problem. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to spray a little disinfectant over his bits when you start each lust filled session. A girl has to look after herself, you know.

5. Mermen: For some obscure reason merfolk appear to be immune to almost all of the regular STD’s. Your main problem lass, you guessed it, is crabs. And we’re talking huge suckers here not your regular run-of-the-mill guys. And watch out for those barnacles too. The best thing is to keep your legs clammed shut until you’ve performed the only known cure. Have him sit his naked butt in a pot of boiling water until you’ve cooked those suckers good. A year or two later, after he’s fully recovered, reward him with a special wine, dinner and pantiless evening. Crabcakes always go down well…

6. Incubus: Safe sex? Trust me hon, there ain’t enough condoms in the world to deal with this guy’s needs. Best if you stick with your friend Rosy Palmer on this one and let the rest of the world succumb to his disease-ridden blaze of glory. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a nice stable werewolf next time around.

7. Djinn: Mention AIDS to a djinn and you’ll find your living room suddenly full of half a dozen highly competent assistants. Let’s face it. You get a nasty illness, one flick of his tawny braid and boom, you’re in perfect health. As for catching an STD from him, come on. Have you ever seen a sick genie? (And yeah, we know all about those Persian dancing girls.) So trust him a little, or not. Either way he’ll be magicking those panties away from you in a moment's notice so why not go along with things and just enjoy. Do you really need condoms anyway?

Agent Double D.3 report ends.