31 December 2009

13 New Year's Resolutions I Hope I Don't Keep. Again.

I don't know if nonwriters are as prone to making NY resolutions as the rest of the world, but I'm seeing goal and resolutions lists popping up right and left on industry blogs and such these days. Maybe it's because we're writers and we like to write things down. Maybe it's because the writing-career part of our lives is relatively self-motivated and we hope a list will keep us motivated. Maybe it's because our turn to blog falls around the end or beginning of the year and we have to think of something to day.

Either way, here are 13 resolutions I hope I don't keep this year. Yet again. Feel free to add your own in the comments!

1) I will start 8x as many writing projects as I manage to finish.
2) I will establish at least 1 more social networking time sink in the name of promotion.
3) I will 'earn' 53 form rejection letters in the space of 5 months.
4) I will curse more in front of my children and in public.
5) I will forget to update my websites, blogs and other promotional efforts on at least a monthly basis 1/2 of the time.
6) ...Because I have nothing to add, which is really pitiful.
7) I will watch more movies and tv programs than I read books.
8) I will gain weight.
9) I will spend a great deal of my hours in yoga pants and grungy t-shirts, in need of a haircut and a bath.
10) I will neglect to start dinner in a timely fashion at least once a week, necessitating sudden take-out.
11) I will kill my laptop computer.
12) I will complain frequently about something or other and say it is to keep my vocabulary fresh.
13) I will buy the perfect books as gifts -- that were equally perfect for the same individuals last year!

Have a hopeful one --

Jody W.

28 December 2009

Half Past Dead by Bianca D'Arc

My first NY novella will be officially released tomorrow! It's in a duology called Half Past Dead and is a military romance with a zombie flavor. Cool, huh? Here's a little bit about it:

Special Forces soldier Simon Blackwell ended his affair with Mariana Daniels three years ago, but he hasn't stopped protecting her. Mariana has no knowledge of the dark, deadly creatures that lurk in the forest surrounding her clinic, or of the mysterious powers that make Simon the only one who can defeat them. But soon he'll have no choice but to reveal the truth, and urge her to trust in an explosive passion that never faded...

Since this book is published by Kensington Brava, look for it in bookstores and online.

26 December 2009

Divination: Celtic Ogham - Mistletoe

Though not officially part of the Celtic ogham, mistletoe was a sacred plant to the Druids. In in fact, its Irish name is "drualus", a word related to the word "druid". The root of both words refers to the sacred oak tree, upon which mistletoe grows.

Its various names include "all heal" and "Chieftain tree". The Celts used very small amounts of the toxic berry to treat conditions such as convulsions and heart conditions. Native Americans used infusions of it to treat headaches and lower blood pressure. (Disclaimer: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!)

As it isn't a traditional part of the original Celtic ogham, it is sometimes referred to as the "blank" ogham. (In runic traditions, the blank run is called "Wyrrd", representing the unknown or unknowable.)

Its associated with the element of air; its ruling planet is the sun, which is fitting because this is the turning point of the solar year. After Yule, the days begin to get longer.

Associated deities include Aengus Mac Og, Arianrhod, Brighid, Findlas, Macha and Odin.

Used as a decoration within the home, it's said to provide protection from lightning strikes, fire, misfortune and evil; placed on the headboard of your bed, it inspires beautiful dreams.

Source: my Druid friend Dryadia :)

Slainte mhor agus a huile beannachd duibh!
(Good health and every good blessing to you!)


Click on the "divination" or "ogham" tags below for more in this series!

25 December 2009

I know not everyone here belongs to the same faith, but I do believe that we all strive toward a common goal and so, at this season where we celebrate the birth of One who came to give us life, I wish you all a very merry Christmas.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and
on earth peace, good will toward men.

Sela Carsen

23 December 2009

Three things I've learned about the holidays

It's Christmas Eve Eve in our house, and my daughter is busy counting down the minutes until it is officially Christmas Eve, followed by Christmas, and Christmas Road Trip. There's anticipation and excitement, giggles and glee, all flavored with a dash of greed (Mom, come look at this! I wanted to ask for this to!) every time A Scooby Doo Christmas is interupted by commercials for something she hadn't yet asked for. (Sorry kiddo, it's too late for me to go looking for Aqua Sand. And Pillow Pets have been out of stock for weeks now.)

Some of the presents are wrapped and under the tree, while a few others are in boxes waiting for a moment when little eyes won't see what is in them before the swaddling of shiny paper surrounds them. The cookies have been baked and handed out, and the holiday playlist has been on auto-shuffle for weeks. The days are short, the nights are cold (even in Florida - we almost got down to freezing last night!), and there are less days left in 2009 than there are fingers on my hands.

So now that I've set the mood (busy, cold, and happy) let me share a few things about the holidays :

1 - You can tell a lot about a person by the way they approach gift giving, and receiving a gift. Specifically : What is the perfect gift? My answer - anything, and everything, as long as it is given with loving thoughts and good meaning. If someone gifts a gift card or even smooth foldable cash, and they do it because they want the receiver to be able to get exactly what they want, that gift is every bit as thoughtful and well intentioned as a hand-knit sweater or a shiny flat panel plasma screen that was given with the same spirit.

2 - You can learn a lot about yourself by how you handle the holidays. Are you stressed because you don't have everything finished when you wanted it to be? You may need to stop and smell the pine wreaths. Had your presents wrapped since before Thanksgiving and the cookies in crush-proof boxes in the freezer since the first of the month? You might could use a bit of excitement in your holiday - try substituting Rumplemintz for the rum in your holiday nog. Wishing it was all over and you could forget about the holidays completely? Drop a box of canned goods off at a local food shelter, and you'll have done something good whether it was holiday related or not.

3 - It's about the love. And if it isn't about the love, you're doing it wrong. It doesn't matter whether you are celebrating Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Boxing Day, or Bill of Rights Day. Celebrate it with love and sincere wishes for the happiness and well being of those around you, and you can't go wrong.

I hope your days are filled with laughter and your nights filled with love as we approach the end of the year. And wherever you spend the holidays, whatever you celebrate, may the peace and spirit of the season fill your hearts with joy.

Happy holidays!

21 December 2009

Happy One Loving Thing Day

(Photo by Diego Hernandez)

Today is December 21st. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere of planet earth like I do, may I say: Happy Winter Solstice and Welcome to the shortest day of the year.

Winter Solstice is an astronomical event caused by the earth’s axial tilt being the farthest away from the sun. It is the day marked by the shortest amount of sunlight and the longest period of darkness.

Think: brrrr.

If you live really far north think: freezing everything I got.

Historically, cultures have celebrated the Winter Solstice as a time of rebirth. Ancient cultures came together during for festivals, feasts, dancing, singing, and cuddling with loved ones around the warm hearth fires. Many modern cultures still follow the old traditions.

As for me, this dark, cold, short day brings me hope. Every moment after December 21st (the occasional storm excluded) will be brighter, sunnier, warmer. From here on out the darkness will be behind us and up ahead are better days. After the doom and gloom year we’ve been living through, I’m thinking we all could use a more sunlight in our lives.

So here’s what I propose:
Like the people of the past, let’s get together on this darkest day. I challenge you to go out and do one loving thing today. Just one. It doesn’t really have to be world-changing, or earth’s-axial tilting. No, just give a gift from your heart, do a good deed, help someone…I don’t need to tell you because you’ll know the loving thing when you do it.

I’ll post about my good deed after I do it. It would be really great if you could post about yours. What was it? How’d it make you feel? Your comments might inspire others to do one loving thing and it will snowball into a giant lovingthingerama.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the best darkest day ever.

Kimberley Troutte
Author Page at Samhain Publishing

19 December 2009

The Worst Question to Ask a Writer

Maybe I’m weird…

[You, in the back, I heard that, and I know where you live.]

…but I don’t have too much trouble with the three questions all writers claim to hate. They’re so easy to answer.

Where do you get your ideas?
Everybody says Walmart, but I prefer the Dollar Store. I’m cheap that way. Besides, the Dollar Store has plastic pirate pistols that make real sounds. (Ooooh, the shiny…)

Why won’t you write the book if I tell you my idea?
Because I like my Dollar Store ideas better. They’ve got pirate pistols. (See above.)

Why won’t you help critique my book?
You bought your ideas at Walmart. It’s a brand loyalty thing. (Really, it’s all about the pistols.)

No, the one that chills me to my marrow is quite different:

I want to buy a book as a Christmas present for a friend who reads a lot of [insert genre here]. What would you recommend?

Insert horrified silence here.

Um, what kind of books does the friend like? Should I mention that I read all over the map, so my depth of knowledge is rather thin? It’s embarrassing but true that there are too many books and far too little time. There’s never enough time. When I was still commuting (gotta love public transit) I used to power through two or three books a week, but even then, there still wasn’t enough time. Wonderful, fabulous books are being written and published every day in all formats. Nobody can possibly read them all.

Then there’s the fact that my brain usually takes a hike when someone pops a question that requires a laundry list. It’s like staring into the headlights of an oncoming car doing seventy MPH that wasn’t there a second ago. I freeze. All my long-term memory leaks out of my ears, and I find myself babbling the same bestsellers everybody’s complaining about.

Fortunately, these days, our social networks come to the rescue. When I got hit with the Big Question this year, I immediately called on my various friend lists and came up with a respectable list, which included all the authors I should’ve, would’ve wanted to mention.

The funny thing is, I have a whole list of books I’d love to push on people. The problem is finding the right people to harass into—er, introduce to the splendors of the titles in question. For some reason, I never remember to check our literary compatibility quotient before commiting to a friendship or relationship. It doesn’t seem to affect my friends or loved ones, but my books look so lonely sitting there by themselves, like the shy kids at the high school dance. Doesn’t anybody know they’re the ones who always grow up to be movie stars?

How about you? Are there books in your library you’d really love to share—if only you could find the right person to love them? Don’t be shy. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

Well, since this is my blog, I’ll show you a few of mine anyway, four of my favorite oldies:

A matched set of Rafael Sabatini’s Scaramouche and Anne Rice’s Cry to Heaven—the greatest 18th century swashbucklers ever written, both turning on the question: “Who’s your daddy?” You want to know where George Lucas really stole all the best bits in The Empire Strikes Back, forget The Hero With a Thousand Faces, read Sabatini. And I’m sorry, much as I love Lois McMaster Bujold, Lupe dy Cazaril can’t hold a candle to Tonio Treschi. (Miles Vorkosigan is another matter. ;-))

Speaking of galley slaves (Lupe), I’d like to suggest an alternative view from Judith Merkle Riley’s The Oracle Glass. This slipstream fantasy romance, set amid the splendor and squalor of the Sun King’s France, ranks as one of my all-time favorite books. You want an unlikely, flawed and ultimately fabulous heroine? She’s in there. You want a dark hero dragged through hell? Oh boy, is he in there. And better yet, he’s a writer, too.

Finally, a book I have forced on people time and time again over the years: Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb. I don’t know if Sharyn still has (as she used to claim) a price on her head in Federation Credits, but if she does, everybody who ever set a book at a genre lit convention should all chip in together and pay it. She’s the mother of us all. And you’d better be nice to your mother on the holidays. You never know the kind of stories she’s going to tell.

And the pistols would work with every one of them. I really love it when a blog comes together.

Happy holidays!

Jean Marie

18 December 2009

Holiday Contests and a little Crow...

No need to roast that lucious turkey thawing in my spare fridge. I'm having nice tasty crow for my holiday meal.

:) For the past two years or so, I've been on a rampage. An ANTI-SONY READER campaign.

When the Sony Readers came out a few Christmases ago, my husband braved life and limb to find one for me. It was wonderful. I fell in love with it the first time I held it in my hands. Like all passionate affairs, the initial lust factor lasted a few weeks and then began to settle.

The PRS-500, the first generation model, had flaws. As long as I was reading a book purchased by the Sony store or from a publisher who specifically formmated for the PRS model (Like Samhain Publishing), I was fine. However, books by other publishers and through other retail outlets didn't always wook well. More often than not, those books loaded in sucha tiny font as to be unreadable.

I finally resorted to trying to obtain help from the Sony Customer Support. After two weeks of emails back and forth with suggestions from them, and reports of failure to resolve the issue from me, the Sony Support representative finally sent an email saying they were aware of the problem and regretfully informed me that it would be resolved on the NEXT PRS model. In other words, I was out of luck and they were closing my case.

I was angry. Less than a year into ownership, Sony abandoned me with a critical flaw with my device. I read the books I had already purchased on it, but didn't buy any more. Eventually, the device was put back into its box and put away.

Sony offered to take it back on a trade-in when they came out with the PRS-505, but I was still upset at that point. I didn't want to give them any more money.

The PRS-505, Prs-700, and the next generation - the PRS-300 and PRS-600 - have improved upon the original. Each and every issue I had with my PRS-500 has been resolved and a few extra benefits added.

You can now borrow from your local library. Granted, it's a limited selection; however, it's definitely a start! I'd love to be able to borrow books for my daughter to read without having to drive all over town (or being stuck with them when her interests move on).

They are also now Mac compatible. My PRS-500 doesn't interface with my MacBook and the new firmware update option won't help that hardware problem.

They've changed their digital format to the EPUB standard. No more worries about where to get the titles I'm searching for. No more worries that the publisher my best friend's new release is out with can be read on the device. No more waiting for the Sony site to decide to carry the title I've been waiting for.

They've lowered their device cost. Whereas the first generation device cost $400, the newest generation weighs in at half that with the Pocket Reader's $199. And there's a new trade-in option ($50) for those of us still using the PRS-500 as paperweights.

There is still one major issue with the Sony Readers, but it's really only an issue if you're an international customer - and that includes a service member deployed to an overseas assignment and family members living on military bases abroad. The Sony Store will not sell books to foreign IP addresses. With the new EPUB format, it's not really such an issue because the same digital books carried at the Sony Reader Store (and more besides) are available at other digital retailers.

Anyone know a good seasing for crow? It's certainly beginning to look like I'm going to need it.

Do you have an ebook reader on your Christmas list? If so, read on!

There's still time to win one! If you've missed it, there are a couple of Find the Graphic Scavenger Hunt contests out there.

The Raven Happy Hour (click to link) is giving away a Sony Pocket Reader, a $50 prepaid Visa, and a $25 Amazon.com giftcard. That's three lucky winners. Come Rock Around the Raven Xmas Tree with 30 great authors.

The Samhellion (click to link) is also having a Find the Graphic contest. There are still two readers to be giving away: 1 Sony Pocket Reader and 1 Kindle 2. One of each has already been given away.

And while you're checking out the Samhellion, look for the free Holiday Themed shorts available for download. Mine will be available on December 26th introducing the characters featured in my March Samhain release, BLOOD AND DESTINY.

Happy Holidays and I hope you get everything your heart asks for.

16 December 2009

Christmas is a Magical Time

I was thinking the other day about all the "stuff" that comes along with Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa/Yule. No matter your particular religious persuasion, this time of year always revolves around some kind of miracle. A miniscule amount of oil that lasts for eight nights, a virgin birth, light returning to the world, something. Even out here in the secular world, we have Santa, who manages to perform mulitple acts of B&E, leaving no trace and presents for good children in his wake. Anyway, it occurred to me that this is the one time of year when EVERYONE becomes a believer in the things we Fantasy writers work with every day: magic. Whether you call it magic or miracle is a matter of personal choice, but there's no denying that we're all inspired to put our faith in something we can't see.

In keeping with the spirit of the holidays, I've compiled a list of the twelve (of course) best movies that take us back to our optimistic childhood and remind us to believe in magic, if only for one month out of the year.

1)The Polar Express: A fantastic book (and Caldecott award winner) with gorgeous illustrations, the movie version is one film that does justice to its source material. Come on, a magic train that whisks you to the North Pole on Christmas Eve? You don't GET much more magical than that. I like to fancy that I, like the narrator, could hear the bells on Santa's sleigh, even though I've supposedly grown up.

2) Miracle on 34th St.: Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus. I don't think I can add expound on it any better.

3)It's a Wonderful Life: We all should be so lucky as to be given the chance to see how much of an impact we have on those around us and return to tell the tale. "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings." Simple, childlike magic, but magic nonetheless.

4) A Christmas Carol: it's out there in a million variations, from Scrooged with Bill Murray to the musical with Albert Finney. If this story took place on any other night but Christmas, you'd call it Paranormal Time Travel.

5)Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: any movie that involves the Big Jolly Man includes some kind of magic. Flying Reindeer, one of which has a beacon on his nose bright enough to pierce through pea-soup fog? That's magic, baby!

6)The Grinch that Stole Christmas: either the animated or Jim Carrey version will do, but this is alternate reality at it's finest, and nobody bothers to even wonder-what the heck is a Who?

7)Frosty the Snowman: of course. Rudolph and Frosty are like PB&J. It's all about a magical hat that makes animates frozen water molecules. That's ALMOST a good premise for a Sci-Fi story.

8)White Christmas: perhaps not a magical story per se, but there's some kind of power at work at the end, when the warmest winter Vermont has ever seen suddenly turns into a Winter Wonderland, and enough is laying on the ground that a horse-drawn sleigh can move through it. Weather magic, maybe? Was Bing Crosby's voice enough to make is snow?

Okay, so I didn't make it to twelve. I leave it to you to find the last four. But you've got the idea. This Christmas, look at the wonder all around you, and feel the magic. If you can, take a little Christmas magic and carry it with you all year long.

Happy Holidays!

12 December 2009

Here's to the Season

I’ve often been heard to say that I’d like to go into hibernation right after Halloween and wake up after the new year begins. But hey, if I’m going to do that, then maybe I could just sleep until the wind isn’t sending ice cubes down my back and I don’t have to worry about the pipes freezing. I love Fall. In fact, it’s my favorite time of year. Winter, on the other hand, let’s just say I’m not a big fan.

By far, the worst time of winter for me has always been holiday shopping. I hate it. Trying to fight through packed parking lots to get into packed stores to buy the perfect gift — you know, the one you can never find. And don’t get me started on the attitudes of the shoppers! Season of peace and goodwill my left foot (that just got stepped on, by the way).

I can actually trace my serious dislike of holiday shopping back to when I was about five or six and I was shopping with my mom. A small child wasn’t even noticed by the herds of shoppers. At one point I was knocked to the floor by a shopping cart, and the person behind it never even noticed what she’d done. Childhood trauma via shopping cart. Hmm, maybe I should start a support group.

But enough of the complaining. I actually want to say how much better shopping has been this year. I’d think it was my new meds, but other people have commented on the lack of cranky too. Maybe more people are shopping online, or maybe it’s the phase of the moon, or the alignment of the stars. Whatever the cause, I’m grateful. This year, I’m actually enjoying the season. Even if is cold.

Something else I’m enjoying is my family. My husband, my kids, my son-in-law, my grandkids, my mom and stepdad, my friend who’s closer than a sister. My two dachshunds. All the wonderful people, and dogs, in my world. It seemed much more fun this year to buy gifts for them. I enjoyed it more. Of course it didn’t hurt that I got a big hunk of things on the first shopping trip. Two stores, four gifts. Great way to start. Plus I found the perfect planner for myself. Hey, gotta stay organized.

However much you shop, for whatever holiday, here’s wishing you a wonderful, pleasant shopping season.

Oh, and happy whatever!


11 December 2009

It's almost here!

No, I don't mean Christmas...although that is exciting. I'm talking about the fourth novel of my paranormal romance series - The Watchers. Midnight Savior is releasing through Samhain Publishing on Tuesday, December 15, 2009. Be sure to stop by the Samhain Cafe Tuesday to chat with all the other authors with stories releasing that day. Excerpts and contests...you can't go wrong with that.

Midnight Savior - The Watchers, Book Four

The clock is ticking…

The phrase “home sweet home” means nothing to Marie DeVeux. Her parents never understood her ongoing relationship with her dead grandmother. Plus, she’s plagued with dreams of a man being tortured. Dreams so real, the burden strips away every vestige of normal life. At rock bottom, she hears her grandmother’s voice telling her that the man exists, and she’s the only one who can save him.

Kern, a Watcher, should have been more careful when he wished for a little more excitement in his life. Kidnapping wouldn’t have been his choice. Torture, solitary confinement and starvation have left his soul consumed by a burning rage and inner demons that push him to lash out at the first face he’s seen in eight long months. Marie.

Is this woman his knight in shining armor, or just another experiment? Kern must sift through the chaos of his mind for the truth that lies hidden in his heart. And make a decision before time runs out—for them both.

Warning: Contains dead relatives who never leave, climactic lab scenes, and a mad scientist.

Haven't caught the Watcher train yet? Here's what reviewers had to say:

“I couldn’t stop reading and felt the characters’ emotions as surely as if they’d been my own.” – The Romance Studio

A ruthless drug runner who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, a Rogue killing vampire with a heart of stone, and a woman caught in the middle. One may take her heart, and the other, her life.

“There’s a lot going on in this novella length story that will keep your attention, so grab a snack and a soda then sit down and enjoy.” -- Literary Nymphs

His date kidnapped, vampire crack threatening to hit the streets, a psycho vamp planning to take over the city, thousands of humans and civilian vamps pack the waterfront for the fireworks festival, and someone is shipping in Rogues…Sometimes being a Watcher really sucks.

“Well written, not over the top, kept my interest with multiple plots for the characters, not just the rogues but also the man trying to trap Suma’s wolf.”
-- Paranormalromance.org

Hunting fanged creatures of the night while in her wolf form is the only life this Skinwalker has ever known, that is until a drool-worthy Native American male battles by her side. When his own fangs gleam in the night, showing his true nature, everything she thought she knew about vampires is turned upside down.

Find out more about The Watchers series at http://www.dmcentire.com/. Ebooks and print copies are available at http://www.mybookstoreandmore.com/ as well as online at all major booksellers.

D. McEntire

09 December 2009

What I Learned in 2009

I know Christmas isn't here yet but I've been thinking a lot about the past year and have come to the startling conclusion that I've learned a lot. 2009 did not start out well for me. I was in a job I loathed (okay, loathed is probably too tame of a word but its early and I can't think straight yet. But trust me, I HATED that job), my health was deteriorating due to said job and a boss that was the role model for Devil Wears Prada. It affected my entire life. But things got better. I left the job, found another I love and along the way learned a few things. So even though its not New Years yet, I thought I'd share some things I've learned in 2009.

I learned....

-That I'm stronger than I think

-But I'm not as strong as I'd like to be

-That "no" still hurts. People say you develop a tough skin in this publishing business but "no" still means "no" and it still hurts.

-To trust my kids' instincts. Sometimes they know whats better for them than I do.

-That my husband really is a wonderful man for standing by me during those horrible months when I cried every day and was a mess emotionally and physically.

-That its not about the publishing, its about the writing. At least for me.

-That the Crock Pot won't cook if its not plugged in.

-To look out every window and use every mirror in the car when backing out of the driveway so I won't hit my husband's beloved Jeep Wrangler. Again.

-To smile in the face of mean, nasty people.

-To be myself. People will still like me if I just act like myself.

-To turn a "no" around to my advantage.

-That I much prefer to work shift work and be on my feet than sit behind a desk Monday through Friday (this was a surprise to me because I thought I'd love having weekends off. Not so much)

-That when you're really, really thirsty a Pina Colada is probably not the best thing to drink.

-To write tight

-To take time for friends

I'm sure there's more but enough about me. What did you learn in 2009?


Latest Release:

Read excerpt

07 December 2009

Ho-Ho-Ho and some Holiday Cheer

Well, it happens about once every couple of years. You know, the year you honestly wish Christmas wouldn't come and the Scoogeitude is upon you? Yep that's me this year. I decided several years ago, it would probably behoove me to only celebrate the holidays once every other year. More than that and it just seems a bit overwhelming. And it's not that I don't like Christmas. I do. From the first piece of garland to the last torn piece of wrapping paper as it goes into the trash. What it comes down to for me....it always seems to get here before you know it. The years are passing much more quickly that they used to.

Kid time has ceased to exist in my world. When exactly did that happen? You know what I mean. The way you'd wait all year long, through the muddy dripping Spring, the long dog days of Summer, the crisp burnt leaf smell of Autumn, for the first snow fall and ....oh.....yes....CHRISTMAS!!! It took forever to get here, and you were sure you'd expire from the wait alone. Not so much anymore.

Now, there aren't enough hours between New Year's Eve and Christmas Eve to get everything accomplished you'd intended throughout the year. Why is that? How did the world slip into some microcosim of time-space that has actually sped the year up? I don't understand. Check the atomic clocks! Are they still running properly? Did we all slip into some giant phonebooth ala Dr. Who and end up in some alternate world?
Help me understand why it is I'm still working on projects in December, I'd set out to finish last Jan. or Feb.

All right, time to take a breather.

Nope. That didn't work either.

And you know, on top of it all....I'm having to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year, because of after nearly 17 years at the same job...seniority means nothing and all the newbies got Christmas Day off and us old farts are forced to work it. Nice, huh? If that's not enough to turn someone into a Grinch, I don't know what is. So, the hubster and I will celebrate on the 26th this year. What? You thought I'd celebrate it early? No way. That would push me completely over the edge. And I haven't even started my shopping yet. Oh, and my birthday is at the end of the week, wherein I'll celebrate entering my mid-forties. Talk about a double-whammy.

Maybe, I'll put the tree up this week...or maybe I'll just slap reindeer antlers on the dog and call it good enough.

Sign me,

Frustrated in Frankenmuth

MK Mancos

04 December 2009

Bragging rights

Just had to gloat a bit about a review for my latest baby, DREAM WALK.

Romantic Times Book Reviews gives it 4 Stars in this month's issue!

"Readers looking for a great new paranormal series need look no further. Allison
opens up a whole new world with her sensational Sentinels..."

—Gail Pruszkowski

I'll admit from the outset that DREAM WALK did not start out as a paranormal romance. In fact, it was supposed to be suspense. But the more I delved into the characters and the plot, the more I realized this world of the Sentinels was not exactly as it appeared at first glance.

It took a while to determine what sort of paranormal world I was dealing with, however. Vampires? No, not quite. Werewolves? No... at least, not in this story. ;) So what, then?

It ended up being a bit of a mix -- a world where there are many different, unusually gifted people. People who look 'normal' to everyone on the surface. A world much like the one we actually live in... but with surprises around every corner. Where demons walk among humans and monsters truly do lurk in the shadows.

I love this world of the Sentinels. It's dramatic and creepy...and still ripe for a myriad of happy endings.

So in the end, I'm thrilled with the paranormal turn this story took. I've stopped fighting my own muse and imagination. Now both have free reign.


03 December 2009

13 Rejected Holiday Outfits

What comes to mind when I say holiday traditions? Eggnog, carols, exchanging gifts, watching for snow? Families have as many winter holiday traditions as there are snowflakes, and most of them are anticipated year-round. Most of them are remembered with great pleasure for years.

Some of them--not so much.

In my life, a new and rather horrifying holiday tradition has taken shape: finding an appropriate grown up party outfit. Not the party I have with my writer friends--they love me no matter what I wear, which is a good thing, because I show up in some weird duds. No, this would be the hubby's office party, where I have to dress to impress my husband's coworkers and boss, and I can't spend a lot of money doing it. (The party budget gets invested in my hair.) Since I've been in and out of maternity clothes and up and down the numerical scale these past ten years, I haven't had any go-to outfits I could rely on. No classic little black dress. No magic pants and sweater. One year I even skipped the holiday party because the thought of shopping just made me too cross.

But this year, I'm happy to say this torturous new holiday tradition morphed into something less miserable when I found I was no longer alone. My younger sister, whose involvement in the field of environmental education didn't exactly require designer duds, has several parties on her schedule that require fancy dress, or at least dress that's fancier than jeans and hippy shirts. They're her fiance's parties, and so she's in the same uncomfortable shopping boat I've been in alone for ten years.

We just finished a marathon session in my extensive vintage collection, trying to find attractive yet unique outfits for her various party needs. Since my sister never reads this blog, I thought I might share some of the rejected items she will not be wearing to be glamorous at her holiday parties in 2009:

1) The dress that someone probably wore to a funeral in 1965. (I have no proof of this. It's just a feeling.)

2) The pink shiny mini with the ripped out armpit. (I told her I could fix it before her party, but the fact it barely covered her underpants was a bit of a deterrant.)

3) The black go go boots that were a size too small. (I thought you were supposed to be miserable when you look that good?)

4) The polka dotted 1950's taffeta party dress that was made of awesome. Too big of awesome. (My sewing skills do not extend far enough to remedy bigness, though they could probably ruin awesomeness.)

5) The crispy cotton dress that wouldn't have looked out of place on a cub scout den mother. (A wise choice, as her fiance sort of resembles a cub scout.)

6) The grey wool cape circa 1973. (Even though I told her it would probably be COLD and she only has a rugged barn coat for winterwear.)

7) The black tank top that did not match the black shrug at all. (That was just her excuse. It looked great, but she worried about being cold, and it really didn't match the shrug. It *did* match the cape, a fact she didn't appreciate me bringing back up. She wouldn't be caught dead in that cape. But do you think she might wear it to a funeral? Because that dress in #1 fit her pretty good.)

8) The muppet shirt. (Don't ask. And shut up--I *like* it.)

9) Anything with a turtleneck. (She has a bit of an obsession with freedom of the neck area.)

10) The black and red kimono missing all its snaps. (What, the matching gold safety pins weren't good enough for her?)

11) Striped knee socks. (Actually, she already had these on, and I made her take them off. They really soured her opinion of some of the garments. Honestly, I think if she'd taken them off before she tried on the cape, it would have been a winner.)

12) A jaunty neckerchief. (See: turtleneck. Also see: Dude, I'm not Rizzo, I'm not wearing a neckerchief.)

13) The green and gold lounge dress from the 70's I can't even believe I got her to try on just by pointing out it was mostly a Christmasy color (green) and would match the gold shoes she didn't hate. (But she took it off before I got back with the camera.)


What are your lesser known and least favorite holiday traditions? To suffer through them, I recommend proper companionship--like sisters willing to try on green and gold dresses from the 1970's and dance a jig. At least until the camera shows up.

As for me, I'm wearing black pants and a red blouse. I suspect the muppet shirt will be taken.

Jody W.
So much cyberspace, so little time!
www.jodywallace.com / www.meankitty.com

01 December 2009

Prizes! Prizes! Prizes!

Hey gang, join in the mad dash to win a FREE Sony eReader, gift cards, and other great prizes in the 2009 Rockin' Round the Raven Xmas Tree contest! Starts today and runs through Christmas Eve, so you have plenty of time to hunt for the special graphic on participating authors' web sites.

CLICK HERE for details on how to enter. It's easy and fun!

Happy hunting, and good luck!
Isn’t it gorgeous? The Tickle My Fantasy anthology is out in print today!!

Go ahead. Try to resist the magic. We dare you!

Carolina Wolf by Sela Carsen (psst! This is me!)
Debra knows that the teensy amount of witchcraft in her veins isn’t worth getting excited about. Yet someone—or something—thinks it’s worth attacking her. Rescuing her seals Maddox’s fate, but only if he can protect her from a rogue of his kind. A werewolf with a nasty streak…and a preference for raw meat.

The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo and the Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews
Lucy is doomed. Not to death. To nightly visits from recently deceased Casanovas without the bodies to scratch her itch. Then a living fantasy arrives on her doorstep. Is her dry spell at an end? Not hardly. Jake has been sent to prevent her from getting laid until a particular horny phantom—and key witness in his investigation—pays her a visit.

ParaMatch.com by MK Mancos (hi Kat!)
Even though she lives without a paranormalady, Lucille has managed to carve a niche for herself with a paranormal matchmaking service. Enter Jager, deposed king of the Titans and successful paratrader. She can match anyone, except him. She doesn’t know that he’s out to negotiate the deal of a lifetime—a future with her.

Witches Anonymous by Misty Evans
Amy is done with Devil-worshipping. After swearing an oath never to use magic again, she’s in the market for a normal guy to complement her new lifestyle. And Adam looks like perfect hero material. Lucifer, however, isn’t about to be nice about letting her go…

Warning: This book contains hunky werewolves, smart-ass women and men who think that’s sexy, magic, angels, medieval legends, inter-species romance, disco music and flatulent Boxers. (The dogs, not the underwear.)

Read An Excerpt Online

30 November 2009

Mixing Things Up...

Dragons are perhaps my favorite characters to write. Why? They're playful, smart, strong and sort of mysterious. At least my dragons are. Then there are the dragon shapeshifters. My dragon princes are half human/half dragon. They've got all the cunning and power of the dragon and Alpha maleness to the Nth degree. Hubba hubba. ;-)

As it happens, I had a new dragon book come out earlier this month. It's called DRAGON STORM and it's not only a fantastical visit to my dragon world, but it's also a dimension-travel tale that brings twin dragon princes to our modern world where they meet their destined mate (yes, it's a very naughty menage!) and bring her back to their medieval-ish world. Yes, I'm really mixing it up in this book! It's out now in ebook and will be in print sometime next year.

But I've got something even more daring coming at the end of next month. Zombies. Yep, I said zombies! Not a word you'd normally associate with romance, but like I said, I really like to mix things up. ;-) I'll post more about it next time, but keep an eye out for a duology called HALF PAST DEAD from Kensington Brava. It's my first-ever release from a big "NY" publisher and it contains the novella that will launch a series of military paranormal romances I'm calling Guardians of the Dark.

The first novel in the series will release in March, titled ONCE BITTEN, TWICE DEAD. The heroes in the series are all special ops military dudes and their task is to fight the zombies alongside some cool women who come into their lives. The heroine of the first novella is a Navy doctor. The heroine of the first novel is a county cop. There will be at least three more of these stories - one more novella that will release later in 2010 and two more novels.

Zombies may not sound sexy, but believe me, the men who fight them are super hot. *fanning self* When I was asked to write about zombies, my first thought was "Huh?" But then I thought about it a bit and I realized it was the next logical step for the paranormal genre. It pushes the boundaries, which is something I'm used to doing and it was definitely a challenge. Hopefully you'll like the mix of menacing zombies and heroic protagonists who are tasked with saving us all. I wouldn't call these books "horror" but they definitely have some suspenseful moments here and there, in between a whole lotta romance.

I can't wait to hear what you all think of not only the zombies, but my latest dragon adventure. Have I gone too far mixing things up yet? LOL.

28 November 2009

Embracing My Inner Crone

Tomorrow I turn 50. And you know, the more I think about it, the wider the silly smile on my face gets.

Tomorrow I will be eligible to join the Red Hat Society.

Tomorrow I will be allowed to sit at the virtual "adults table" with my friends at O.B.O.D.

Tomorrow I can begin calling myself a crone.

Far from a wizened, terrifying hag depicted in stories designed to keep little children shivering under the covers at night, the crone of the ancient Celts is Annis, the keeper of wisdom and the old ways.

She is Badb, an Irish shapeshifting warrior goddess, guide through the cycles of birth and death, of inspiration.

She is Ceridwen, keeper of the cauldron.

She is the Cailleach, the Scottish goddess of seasonal rites and weather magic.

She is Macha, the Irish wild woman who battles against injustice to children and women.

She is Nicneven, goddess of Winter.

And she is the fearsome Morrigan, the Celtic crow goddess who understands the nature of Death.

This has been a year filled with transitions. A daughter who returned home to temporarily roost until she attains the degree that will help her fly the nest. A son preparing to leave high school and navigating the stormy waters of first love. A new mother-in-law to take part in our family traditions and introduce us to a few of her own. And a father who passed from this life to the next.

Turning 50...just another transition. A good one. I figure every birthday that arrives and I'm still breathing is a good birthday! Since I was 5 and diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, every birthday where I'm still on my own two feet and able to flip the proverbial bird at this disease is a victory. :) Even if it does take a small medical army, a cocktail of modern medical pharmaceuticals, and a few spare parts to keep this body moving, I'm grateful.

I think that's the big thing. To arrive at this age grateful, unbowed, unashamed to show my grey hairs, laugh lines, and most of all, the scars life's battles leave behind.

This is a great age to be. In my 40s, the need to care about what others think of me began to drop away. In my 50s, I expect I'll lose it altogether. Hee! This is going to be fun! I know I'm supposed to be older, wiser, more mature...but in a way I'm returning to the freedom of the very young. Shedding the trappings - and traps - society has placed me in as a woman.

Now excuse me while the Morrigan and I go lift a few pints. We have a glorious battle to plan. :)

The Crone Years
by Judith TreeCrone

Contrary to the sanctions of a culture
that worships and glorifies youth
The crone years are not simply
the interlude between life and death
Oh no!
These are her omnipotent years
These autumnal years
when her womb is fallow
but she continues to give birth
from her fruitful creative self
Her nurturing spirit comes not from hormones
but from her wisdom of choosing to live fully
Both her inner and outer vision see new possibilities
Her awareness of her connectedness
to all of creation
is enhanced
She cherishes the poignancy of the sunrise
on the horizon of each new day
She embraces the quiet of the darkness time
when she shares her harvest of life stories
This is the legacy she bequeaths
Be who you are
Trust who you are today

25 November 2009

Giving thanks for it all

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. It’s a day of family and parades and pie, football and friends and laughing. If we’re lucky we get to spend it with people we love. If we’re really lucky, we get to spend it with family we love. This year I’m really lucky.

My parents came south again this year, along with baby brother (The fact that baby brother has been old enough to go hang at the sports bar with the other football-obsessed men for several years does not not mean I have to stop calling him baby) and baby sister (who hadn’t been a baby for almost a decade when baby brother was born) and her awesome husband. My in-laws and a cousin’s family, as well as a good family friend, will join us at the holiday table.

We’ll eat too much, drink too much, and moan too much about what we did to our stomachs when we’re done. After the forth or fifth bottle of wine we’ll tell stories that we shouldn’t, and Friday we’ll hope no one remembers we told them. Or even better, we won’t remember having told them, and if it ever comes up in the future we’ll give the other person a “you’re crazy” look and quickly change the subject.

Mostly we’ll just be thankful. That we’re together, and sharing a special day. That we’re mostly healthy (*cough*), and so many of us will be eating at the same table.

2009 has been an interesting, exciting, and sometimes crazy year. I’ve had one book release this year, and have another coming next week. We’ve had some dark moments this year – I don’t know anyone that hasn’t – but the good days have far outweighed the bad (picture me knocking on wood as I wrote that). Which is truly something to be thankful for.

How will you be spending your thanksgiving? Is there something you’ll be especially thankful for?

23 November 2009

The Interview with Death

I am so excited to be here at Beyond the Veil where all the cool people hang out. (I’ll try to keep the squeeing to a sub-ear-drum-busting level). I’ve been banging on the door, begging to come to your party for ages. Maybe with the music playing you didn’t hear me knocking? Anyway, when that cute waiter with the front door keys in his pocket and that ginormous tray loaded with champagne flutes was tricked into, I mean, somehow found his way into, the hall closet…Let’s just say, I’m in. SQUEEE! You can call me by my code name, Kimberley Troutte, and I’ll call you by yours.

Being my first blog here, I wanted to do something special. My plan was to interview the characters from my novella, Soul Stealer, because I thought you might be curious about what’s happening on Main Street. I’m sure you’ve seen the unusual activity around the new homeless shelter. Yesterday, I wandered over there myself, but was a little creeped out by the demonic bodies lying in the street. I accidentally stepped on this dead gray rat-thing with wings and a long pointed tail. Ewww. Still creeps me out. Rumor has it that one guy is killing demons to protect a woman who’s hiding inside the shelter. After a little research, I found out that the woman is my friend, Sara Lane! I sent Sara a letter begging her to come out of there, but Sara claims that the guy (Cain somebody) is drop-dead gorgeous. The only way she is coming out is over her dead body. She promised to answer my interview questions, though, which should be arriving by messenger. Any second now…


“Woman, you can’t be serious.” Cain sat on the worn couch and propped his snake-skin boots up on the coffee table.

“Serious as a heart attack.” Sara smiled prettily.

He frowned. “Not funny.”

Stepping over his legs, she sat on the edge of the coffee table and leaned toward him. “It’s just an interview for Beyond the Veil. Easy-peasy.”

Nothing with Sara Lane was ever easy. “Why for all that is holy did you agree to an interview? Demons are salivating right outside your door, hungry to rip the soul out of your body.”

His gaze travelled over that beautiful body of hers that stole the breath out of his chest. Her skin was tan and soft beneath her flowery sundress, her blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, smelled of tangerines and summer. Everything about her was fresh, vibrant, alive—for now. Sara Lane was living on the borrowed time he’d stolen for her. He should have killed her days ago.

“Come on, Cain. The author is a friend of mine. It’s her first time blogging at Beyond the Veil and she needs to make it good.” Sara rubbed his leg. “Please?”

“She’s not coming here. If we open the door for even a second—”

As if to prove the point, something big and scary smashed against the window. Sara screeched and flew into Cain’s arms and curled up like a scared kitten in his lap.

Cain held her tight and whispered, “I won’t let them get you, Sara.”

In his heart, he knew he was lying. He wouldn’t be able to keep her safe forever, maybe not even for the rest of the night. A fight worse than Armageddon was coming straight for them and when it did, he would battle with all that he had, all that he was. But he was one man against the Powers That Be. He would lose. And when they took her from him, he would be deader than dead. Sure, his heart would still beat in his chest and he would go on, but he wouldn’t be alive, not without her.

They were both living on borrowed time.

Demons, the size of gray possums with wings flew into the windows and banged against the door. Sara coiled her arms around Cain’s neck and hung on for dear life.

“I won’t let you take her!” Cain yelled toward the door.

The banging stopped.

After a long moment of silence, Sara exhaled softly against his neck. “Are they gone?”

“For now.”

“Good. We can do the interview while it’s quiet. Kimberley sent me the questions earlier so we don’t need to open the door.”

He pulled back and looked into those sparkling blue eyes and knew he was a goner. There was no saying “no” to this woman. “Tell me why it’s so important.”

“Because I want people to know us, Cain. Why we broke all the rules. Why I love you so much.”

His heart twisted with grief. She loved him? “People don’t want to know me, Sara. They never have.”

“This will help us. If we can’t get the shelter finished before I…I”—she couldn’t form the words—“…am not around, I want people to understand that the homeless shelter is important. If Kimberley gets the word out, the jerks down at City Hall will have to finish it. I need this Cain.”

“I know.” He combed his fingers through his hair. “What’s the first question?”

Sara got up and retrieved a stack of papers off the countertop. She skimmed the questions. “Oh, it’s an easy two-parter. ‘Who are you, and what is your occupation?’”

Cain rolled his eyes. Nothing was ever easy with Sara Lane. “My name is Cain. No last name. If you say that my brother was Abel and my mother, Eve, no one will believe you. Your friend will be booted out of her blogging job for being a lunatic. Do you want that?”

“No. We’ll just say your name is Cain. Occupation?” The smile fell off Sara’s pretty face.

“You know I can’t say that I’m Death—the guy who stops hearts and stands sentry while a person’s soul is ripped from their body. I am the thing all living creatures fear. Every. Single. One.”

Sara shivered. “Okay. Let’s call it ‘currently between jobs’.”

He grinned. “Or an outlaw.”

Sara read on, “How did you two meet?”

Cain cocked his head. “You want to answer that one?”

“Can’t. How can I possible say that you killed me with a kiss?”

He pulled her down onto his lap. “Don’t forget the part about how I risked everything to steal your soul back so you could finish the shelter. The readers might enjoy the irony of Death being the one man who keeps you alive.”

Palming his cheeks, she gazed deeply into his eyes. “I won’t forget you. No matter what.”

He pressed his lips to hers drinking her in like she was the last glass of water on earth. All of his grief, love, longing poured into that kiss. He prayed it wouldn’t be their last.

Against his lips she whispered. “Forget the interview. We’ve got more important things to do with our time.”

Kimberley Troutte is still waiting for that interview. Soul Stealer is available now from Samhain Publishing.


21 November 2009

Green Eyes

Earlier this year I started a new feature on my web site: a collection of short short stories in video form called Ward Theater. The next one is scheduled to be posted December 1, but in honor of the season, I thought I'd give Beyond the Veil readers an exclusive first peak at "Green Eyes". Enjoy!

Jean Marie

18 November 2009


This weekend is Philcon, the Philadelphia SF/F convention. It's the only con I attend all year; not by choice but by pocketbook. I always say I'm going to make it to Balticon, but never seem to have the cash to do it. This year I had to buy a car.

Anyway, if you're in the Philly/South Jersey area (the con is actually in Cherry Hill, NJ, which is much more convenient for me!), stop on by. I'll be in the Dealer's room, in the Children's room, and at the following panels:

Fri 5:00 PM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Deb Lieven (mod), Christine Norris, Greg Fishbone]

"Harry Potter," "Twilight," "Meatballs" and "Wild Things" -- among
others. You read and then watched -- or vice-versa? What does
each version gain or lose

Fri 7:00 PM in Plaza I (One) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Victoria Janssen (mod), Stephanie Burke, James L.
Cambias, Christine Norris, Tom Doyle]

You don't have to go ""all medieval on me"" to write fantasy. What
are the best examples of fantasy not based on European backgrounds
to date

Sat 11:00 AM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Christine Norris (mod), Catherine Asaro, Dina Leacock,
E. F. Watkins, Gail Z. Martin, Victoria Janssen]

All the Broad Universe authors in attendance give a short reading,
creating a kind of “snack sampler” for the audience.

Sat 12:00 PM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Jared Axelrod (mod), Matt Black, Nikki Cohen, Christine
Norris, Jeff Mach]

Ladies and Gentlemen of stern and noble character are invited to
participate in a salon whereupon we shall discuss the genre and
lifestyle known to the rabble as "steampunk". What is it, where
did it come from, and what is with those brass goggles

Sun 10:00 AM in Plaza IV (Four) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Ty Drago (mod), Cory Doctorow, Christine Norris]

If you're going to write real science fiction for children, how do
you go about making the stories comprehensible, scientifically
valid and exciting

Sun 11:00 AM in Executive Suite 823 (1 hour)

[Panelists: Sally Wiener Grotta (mod), Keith R.A. DeCandido, Laura
Anne Gilman, Christine Norris, Oz Drummond]

Why ""Don't Quit Your Day Job"" Is Such Good Advice

Sun 2:00 PM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)

[Panelists: Deb Lieven (mod), Christine Norris, Scheherazade

Bring your favorite Science Fiction/Fact/Fantasy book for
round-table discussion.

Looks like a lot of fun, and I'll be super busy! Unfortunately I won't be at that last panel on the list. Just my luck, this year my son's football team made the playoffs, and the game is on Sunday afternoon. So I have to race from the cash flow panel down to the field.

But these are the sacrifices you make for your family :). The older he gets, the more of a juggling act my life becomes. That's a post for another day ;) I always say I'm going to take some pictures at the con, but never do. So no promises!

Christine Norris

17 November 2009

New Release: Dragon Storm by Bianca D'Arc

Bianca's pretty busy with family right now, so I thought I'd toss tell y'all about her newest Red Hot Paranormal Romance release, Dragon Storm, book 6 of her Dragon Knights series. Congrats, Bianca! :)

Their love will span the ages…and two very different worlds.

Dragon Knights, Book 6

Caught in a magical storm and deposited on modern-day Earth, twin dragon princes Darius and Connor are looking for a way home. Instead they find something most unexpected—their mate. The one woman who holds both their hearts in the palm of her healing hand—along with secrets about her origins that link their shared destinies.

When Josie patches up the injured man on her doorstep, her snowcat instincts tell her he’s much more than a man. And so is his brother. She also knows her dragon lovers cannot fly free on Earth. The only way to return them to their rightful place is to face the failures of her past, and leave the safety of her Oregon cabin to seek her estranged grandfather’s counsel. There she learns the painful truth: returning Darius and Connor to where they belong could mean giving up everything. Even her only chance for true love.

But fate has other plans for the trio. Magic swirls all around them. Whether it is for good or ill, only time will tell…

Warning: This book contains red hot twin action ménage a trois, a wild cat woman and two hunky dragon studs in black leather.

Read an Excerpt

Buy from MBAM

11 November 2009

What if you lived forever?

A few years ago I asked my husband that question. What if you lived forever? And if you did, imagine what it would be like, the things you would see. Little did I know but that conversation would spark an idea for my book, A Forever Kind of Thing.

I love thinking the "What if" scenarios. All of my stories have started off with a "What if" question.

What if
my hero was cursed to live forever?

What if
you open your front door and there stands your old boyfriend, the love of your life who walked out of your life years ago with no word, no note, nothing? (Deception).

What if a man couldn't touch a woman? What if something so horrific happened to him that he physically couldn't touch a woman? (Redemption)

Sometimes the best part of the "What if" game is the "What if" questions that stem from it, spiraling out like ripples on a pond, getting bigger and bigger.

What if the boyfriend who left you years ago was beaten and bloody and barely conscious when you open that door?

What if the hero who couldn't touch found an unconscious pregnant woman and had to drag her out of wrecked car?

What if I paired my poor tortured Gypsy who's cursed to live forever with a woman who's fated to die young?

The best part about this game is that the possibilities are endless. And you can play it everywhere.

While stuck at a red light: What if the guy next to me runs the red light, crashes into another car and meets the love of his life? (Accidental Love)

While walking the dog: What if the overweight girl you went to high school with shows up at the high school reunion a total babe? (Hands Off)

What if you could hear one particular voice in your head, a voice you've heard all your life. A voice connected to a very real person and suddenly you stop hearing that voice? (The Power of Love)

See what I mean? Come on, play with me.

What if...


09 November 2009

Got Wraith?

So, I'm a rabid researcher. I get an idea in my head and I like to read everything I can find on the subject. Imagine my surprise when I decided to make one of my characters in a new paranormal erotic romance a wraith and went to look up the subject online. Can I just say, WTF???

25 pages of RPG references with a little sci-fi and comic book mixed in for seasoning. Gee, could I have chosen any less popular type of phantom to exploit in my book?

I mean, I knew about the Pah-wraiths from Star Trek: DS9 and the Wraiths from Stargate Atlantis, and who doesn't know about the Ring Wraiths from Lord of the Rings, but it seems to me like every Tom, Dick and Deadly game out there has added the spectre just for good measure. So the question is: should I pull back on my character or just go ahead and write it?

My instinct is to write it.

Let's face it, it's an erotic romance so we already know two variables that will set it apart from the majority of wraith plots available out there: lots of sex and a HEA. This alone is enough impetus to push me to the keyboard and make me write like a howling wind. And unlike the wraiths of the aforementioned sci-fi and fantasy, mine will be physically appealing.

Well, I'll just write it and see how it goes.

Have you ever decided to write the most perfect type of paranormal character and then researched, only to find the countryside littered with the corpses of stories gone by?


07 November 2009

Free Read! Adult Content! The Next Thrilling Instalment of the PIACT Agents

A Lively Lark with the CTR Angel’s

Well, Angel’s. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to garner the assistance of Lively Lark and rescue Prince Humbdub from the secret SPLAT base located somewhere in the South Pole. All I ask is please, please don’t show your bits on YouTube again. This is supposed to be a
secret agency you know.
P.S. this dvd will self-destruct as soon as one of you puts it into the incinerator. Thank you. (Apologies for the self-destruct cost cutting procedures.)
P.P.S. I heard the other secret agency the HUNKs are trying to rescue the prince too. PLEASE don’t let that happen, as there is a sizable reward payable on his return and Shimmering Dragon has just seen this new evening dress….
P.P.P.S. In order to help you prevent the HUNKs from finding the prince first we have agree to work in cooperation with them. We are flying the PIACT jet out to Florence, Italy to pick them up, one of you will need to go meet with them. Preferably someone who shows her bits too often on YouTube, since that should be a fairly safe YouTube free mission.
P.P.P.P.S. Oh, and good luck. If any of you are captured, tortured, beaten or killed we will totally deny any knowledge of knowing you. Thank you for your continued loyalty to the agency…

“Well, girl’s what do you say? Are you up for another mission?” Wolf asked, thumbing through her thick pile of papers that had come with the mission dvd. There was definitely a lot to this mission. All five of them, no six, Shimmering Dragon was being drafted in at checkpoint chilly. There was simply too much to be done by five alone.

So there would be six, assuming Lively Lark could be persuaded to join them.

“I’m game,” Otter said.

“Me too,” Lynx added.

“Man, what a cute butt,” Fox summed up all their thoughts as she ogled the snapshots of the kidnapped prince. “Who wouldn’t want a go at that?” She looked up apologetic. “I mean a go at rescuing him.”

“Very well then,” Wolf took the dvd and dropped it in the trash can on her way to the kitchen. “One glass of champagne each to celebrate our new mission then I’ll go see if I can recruit our new lass while you all get ready to leave.”

“No fair,” Fox pouted. “You get to escort the HUNKs.”

“Trust me,” Wolf told her. “I’d much rather not have the most famous bits on YouTube.” It had become such a problem of being recognized she now, every morning, pinned a pair of sunglasses to her pubic hair to try and help disguise herself.

“Maybe if you wore panties…” Otter suggested.

Wolf shivered at the suggestion and broke out the champagne to steer the conversation towards something else. Would you believe it took ten bottles of champagne to achieve that effect?


Lark stood in her porch way hesitating. Her front door keys firmly held in her hand, she stared at the front door. She didn’t do this often, regardless of what the neighbors might think. But only when the door was already opened by a few inches and the smell of alcohol—the hint of a 2001 dom perignon champagne—hovered in the air too.

She hadn’t heard of too many uber rich cat-burglar, assassin, thieves lately. But one couldn’t be too careful about these things.

Putting her keys away and taking out her handy little stunner she carefully nudged the door all the way open. Yes, the waft of alcohol grew stronger, so whoever had opened the door was probably still in there. At least Lark should be able to track them fairly easily. She’d just have to see which houseplants wilted the most.

Edging her way down the hallway, Lark took a quick peek in the kitchen. Someone had made free with the coffeemaker and, by the looks of it, already drunk half a carafe of incredibly strong brew—going by the way a few spilled drops of it had curled up the edges of the countertop.

Still, the champagne smell came from a little further on, from the living room of course. If you were going to make yourself at home in someone else’s home, you’d do it in their living room, wouldn’t you?

A quick check of the other rooms proved they were empty, so it was probably just the one intruder which made things a little easier.

Hands firmly gripping the stunner, Lark made her way cautiously to the living room. Waiting outside the door for a moment she listened. A woman’s mumbled voice, no answer. Damn, maybe her visitor wasn’t alone.

Still however many there were Lark would have to deal with them.

Carefully turning the handle, Lark kicked the door open quickly. Scanned the room and focused on the sole occupant. Well, two if you considered her cat as a person, and Tootsie definitely thought she was.

“Ah, Lively Lark, I presume.” The woman had to stifle a giggle, then took a large swig of the coffee she was holding. “Hope you don’t mind. Was feeling a little light headed there. Needed something stiff,” The woman howled with laughter. “Stiff, to straighten me up,” she explained.

“Who are you and what do you want?” Lark demanded, keeping the stunner well and truly targeted on the stranger.

“Oh, oh, yes. You need to know that.” The woman attempted to sit up straighter. “Warrior Wolf at your service,” she hiccupped. “Ferrii, furrous, furryy.”

“Ferocious Furball?” Lark suggested.

“That’s him.” Wolf raised her cup and took another drink of coffee, then tipped it up, there was nothing left in it. “He sent me to send you on a mission.” Wolf pointed to a large manila envelop on the coffee table that Lark had missed earlier.

Lark stared for a moment at the PIACT agent. The woman was sitting, scarcely balanced, on the edge of her sofa. She did look slightly familiar, but years of working with PIACT had taught her to be circumspect about those she took into her trust.

Then Tootsie, her Persian, leaped onto the woman’s lap meowing, sending the woman and her cup of coffee she was holding, flying. The agent landed upside down, legs spread, lying against the sofa, her skirt around her face with no panties.

Lark put her gun away. Everyone knew the YouTube Yahoo!

“Okay,” Lark said. “About time I got another mission.” She bent down to pick up the envelop from the table.

“Could you do me once teensy little favor, before you go?” Wolf’s mumbled voice came through the skirt.

“Sure, what can I do?”

“Put me on a cab for the secret PIACT base. I have a plane to catch.”


The series of plane flights was uneventful, though why the farkle anyone would want to make the Falklands Islands their jump off point for any mission was a wonder to Lark. Still it was fairly near the South Pole, maybe that was the deciding factor.

“Hi, you must be Lark,” A slim young lady greeted her as she stepped from the ten seater plane. “I’m Shimmering Dragon, the CTR’s Angels are here and waiting for us a little way down by the coast.”

Lark was impressed. The First Under the Supreme One on Top was in the mission group. It must be a very important mission for that to happen. And it would be an honor to work with the famed Angels. Fortunately Lark had worn her panties today, since they were heading to colder climates. At least she didn’t have to worry about YouTube.

“By the coast?” she asked, wondering why they meet up so far away from the airfield.

“Given that we’re dealing with SPLAT we felt it would be best to make as discrete approach as possible to the target area.” Dragon explained. “A small plane like that is just so easy to shoot down.”

“Oh absolutely,” Lark agreed. Suddenly realizing just how dangerous this mission was likely to be. She shivered, it was dammed cold around here. “Don’t suppose we’ve got anything nice and warm waiting for us have we.”

“Oh, we’ll warm up soon enough,” Dragon told her, leading her to a small beat up Volkswagen beetle parked just outside the customs room. “Our assistant will bring your luggage later. For now let’s go introduce you to the girls.”

The drive to the coast, like just about anything on this island, didn’t take too long at all, and the scraggy little house they pulled up outside looked like it could barely handle the ravages of the sea weather just a few yards further, beyond the cliff.

But the rooms, and the welcome inside, were both warm, and helped to take some of the chill out of Lark’s bones.

The small glass or two of margarita helped with that too.

“For this mission,” Dragon announced. “We’re going to let Lark take the lead, since she’s the most experienced of us with work in the Antarctic.”

“Hey, hang on.” Lark protested. “I was only on a cruise ship that sailed through there once.”

“That’s more than the rest of us have done.” Dragon reassured her. “Makes you practically a veteran.”

Somehow the reassurances didn’t reassure her too much. A couple of more glasses of margaritas did the trick though.

“Okay everyone,” Dragon looked at her watch. “It’s time to head on down to the transport. Let’s Tally ho!”

It probably wasn’t a good idea to walk out into a fall night in the Falklands with no coats but, what the hell, you only live once.

Lark merrily followed behind the others as Dragon led them down a narrow path which slipped down the cliff face to the beach. It was probably only a hundred yards walk but most of them were looking rather blue by the time they hit the shore.

Blue enough that the well-dressed, heavily clothed naval personnel that greeted them just stared in horror.
“C…c…cold,” Lark said.

Instantly one of the men, a lieutenant she thought, dashed forwards and very nicely wrapped his coat around her. All about her the other sailors began to do the same for the other women.

“Thank you,” she smiled at the man. Oooh, he had those wonderful, deep dark eyes. She found herself snuggling closer…for the warmth.

His beautiful eyes popped open even wider when her poor little frozen fingers found something nice and hard and hot tucked neatly upright under his clothes.

“Ahem,” he cleared his throat. “I suspect we might be able to make you ladies a little more comfortable when we get onboard.” He suggested.

“Oh, yes,” Lark agreed, giving him a playful squeeze. “Being comfortable would be much appreciated.

That decided the sailors quickly carried them and put them onboard the small inflatable, being careful not to get them wet in the icy sea waters. She did feel sorry for the poor sailors, having to step into the freezing water to lift them into the boats. The men didn’t seem to mind though, as they all warmed up fairly quickly by sitting next to at least one of the girls. The lieutenant made sure she was by his side at all times.

One of the sailors, somehow, managed to get the small outboard motor running and navigated the small craft back out to sea. What he was thinking, Lark had no idea, though having Fox’s hand situated around his groin area and doing interesting things might have contributed a little to his rather weave-like route.

Not to mention it probably helped cause the rather large bump which indicated they’d hit the transport ship in question.

A bump large enough to tip the inflatable over and have them all tossed into the ocean.

“Not again…” Dragon moaned.

In the first few moments of hitting the water Lark noticed two very pertinent details.

A. The ship they’d be traveling in was actually a submarine.

B. If she were a man, her balls would have frozen off…


Well, here I am, Wolf felt overwhelmed with a flood of self-pity. Once again tossed to the side in the event of an exciting mission and given the extremely boring job of escorting a bunch of dull male types on a string of pointless journey’s just so they didn’t get to be part of the exciting mission.

Wow, gee, how much more exciting could that get.

She stood just inside the door of the jet on a small airstrip somewhere in the backwoods near Florence, Italy. The only building here looked a little like an enlarged outhouse, with windows instead of a heart shaped hole in the door.

And now she was just waiting on, she checked the manifesto, ten boring old farts to come waddling out of the outhouse and struggle up the twenty five steps it took to get into the jet proper. Then she’d have to feed, drink and—God forbid—probably even flirt with them to make them forget about joining the mission currently taking place in the South Pole.

Not to mention they were running late. Ten minutes so far. Another five and she swore she’d get out her beach gear and go fly off to the Mediterranean for a while.

The door finally opened and Wolf felt a sense of relief, thank goodness she’d be able to get started on something soon.

As her guests stepped out of the tiny building, one by one, she stopped what she was doing, staring as they crossed the airstrip and climbed the stairs up to her, walking casually into the aircraft as if they owned the place.

As she picked up her jaw and firmly put it back into place she found herself staring at the gang of movie quality hot bods. Each bod, unfortunately, covered by a suit. Damn, but wouldn’t she like to see these guys naked. They were talking amongst themselves in Italian, some of them looking at her now and then.

Hopefully they were thinking the same thing about her that she’d been thinking about them.

Oh, Mother of Mercy, she fanned herself as they began to take off their jackets and ties. Laying them down over one of the spare seats. One of them, he had to be Johnny Depp’s brother, walked over to her.

“Sorry to be late,” he apologized. “Are we ready?”

Wolf felt her herself moisten. So close she could almost kiss him!

“Yes,” she answered, struggling to breathe. “Yes, we’re ready. I’ll go and let the pilot know we can take them off…take off, yes.”

She quickly hurried away before the HUNK could question her slip of the tongue. Oooh, tongue, slip…

Aargh. Couldn’t she think straight for at least a moment. What was she doing now? Oh yes, taking them off for the pilot…


It was when it got into your panties that it was really icky. Fox decided. Especially after the nice navy man had gotten her so warm and hot down there, having the icy water seep into it added a kind of torturous pleasure. She was shivering within moments because of it.

“Hang on, just one second,” there was a splash beside her and something fastened around her, underneath her shoulders. In less than a minute she was up on the…the submarine! Kewl!

“Quickly, we’ve got to go down on her.” One of her rescuers said.

“You mean down with her?” Another asked.

Her first devilishly handsome, and most eminently suitable rescuer gave her a heart pumping smile and cheeky wink. “Well, that too,” he agreed.

Fox suddenly felt all warm between her legs again.

She didn’t struggle as they helped her down the hatchway and into the sailor’s quarters. And especially didn’t struggle when they dragged her sodden, freezing clothes from her. Other than to complain about how cold she felt as they wrapped blankets around her.

“I wonder if she has hypothermia yet?” One of the guys asked, they were all giving her delicious massages on various parts of her body.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said, teeth chattering. At least she didn’t think it was hypothermia.

Then looked up blinking as her first rescuer stood before her, naked and definitely flying at full mast.

“Wow,” she said. “Where did that thing come from?”

“Best cure for hypothermia,” her savior explained. “Snuggling up in blankets and soft covers with a warm, naked body.”

Fox licked her lips, her nipples tingling—from the cold, yes, from the cold.

“I’ve got hypothermia, definitely.” She looked at all the other men, noticing their harder than rock erections. She wondered just how long they’d been at sea with, ah, no female companions. “I’ve got hypothermia really, really bad,” she added.

The men surrounding her grinned.


Somehow she’d ended up with the Captain. Not that Lark was going to complain too much. He didn’t have quite the deep, desirous eyes of the lieutenant but when she ran her hands over his flesh, hmm, the feel of strong muscles under skin was just, yum. Something that made her body tingle.

“Are you sure this is the best cure for hypothermia,” she asked, still amazed that she’d ended up in the captain’s bed within moments of entering his cabin. Both of them naked of course. “And are you sure I was going into hypothermia.”

“Yes, and yes.” He answered confidently. “After all, look how stiff this poor little thing is,” he plucked her nipple making it ring with intensely sharp sensations. “It must be frozen, poor thing, I’ll need to warm it up.”

Lark almost screamed as his hot mouth closed over it, his tongue and teeth doing things which made spikes of lust strike through her, to reach every bit of her body.

“That looks better,” he said.

All Lark could see was that it was bigger and harder, but he was the expert in these things, she guessed.

“I, I think the other one is even colder,” she told him.

The captain grinned, obligingly warming her cold peak. This time she did give a little scream, or a squeak to be more precise. The sensations made her far too breathless to scream.

With a quick movement he was suddenly on top of her, between her legs, his erection pressing hard against her clit. Each little movement he made blinding her as her body jerked and spasmed in anticipation.

“And we mustn’t forget,” he dipped his mouth to hers, swamping them in a warm, devouring kiss.

Lark’s breath caught, frozen, as her lips continued to mesh with his, and his penis slipped slowly into her, filling her as his kiss captured her soul. Only when he was finally in, all the way to the hilt—when her sex had completely enveloped his, did the wondrous kiss end.

“We mustn’t forget,” he repeated, beginning a slow thrusting that was driving her crazy while bringing her slowly to ecstasy. “To warm you up from the inside as well.”

Relaxing, and now totally warm inside and out, Lark took a long look at the man who had saved her life from hypothermia.

“Just how long does it take to get to the target zone from here?” she asked.

“A week,” he said. “Possibly two, maybe even longer if we develop engine problems, have to do at-sea repairs…”

“Ouch,” Lark said, tilting her head to one side. “I think I just heard the engine fall out.”

The captain looked at her and grinned. “You know, I do believe you’re right.”


Wolf was beginning to sweat. Well, could you blame her, being this close to ten of the hottest men in the world, all of them, she was almost certain, sporting hard-on’s that would make a decent stallion jealous.

On top of which, a few in-flight brandies had made the in-flight conversation skew to the, uh, rather risqué.

Well, risqué, maybe not. But hearing how Alfonso, step by step, seduced his latest conquest with no censorship at all, would make any red-blooded woman hot.

And she had a feeling they knew it too. After all they’d been flying now for nearly ten hours.

It was with a kind of relief when the pilot came out and made his way towards her. Obviously with some kind of report to give.

“Madam Wolf,” he spoke softly in a French accent that, if she’d been wearing panties, would have talked them off her in a moment flat. “Is bad news, yes. The vessel taking your team to the Antarctic has it a few problems, is likely to be delayed a few weeks.”

“Damn,” Wolf whispered back. “Weeks? How am I going to delay these guys for weeks?” She sighed then shook her head. “Okay, how long can you keep the jet flying before you need to land for fuel?”

He looked at her, surprised. “Did they not tell you, Madam. This is the special nuclear powered jet. She can fly for five years without stopping for fuel.”

“Really? Oh my gosh, how wonderful.” Wolf started to think fast. How could she use this to her advantage? “It has an autopilot, yes.”

“The most efficient in the world, Madam.”

“We might need to engage that then, and pretend that you’ve had some kind of accident and can’t land the plane.”

“It is already engaged, Madam, and it—“

The airplane suddenly flipped over and back again, bouncing around in a rather large airpocket. When it straightened out Wolf found herself upside down in one of the seats, in her usual, unfortunate position.

“Is it? Could it possibly be…?” One of the HUNKs asked.

“No, surely not. She looks so different.”

“I’ll bet you fifty thousand lira it is.”

“But, she looks so familiar and so, different.”

“Ah, let me try something.”

Wolf blushed bright red as gentle fingers toyed with her pubic hair and removed the sunglasses.

“Ah, magnifico, it is her.”

“At last, all these months…”

“Success comrades, success.”

Wolf gulped as strong hands lifted her up, but didn’t turn her the right way up. Instead they pulled her skirt off so they could look at her face.

One of the HUNKs did a delicious slow lick from her ankle to the inside of her thigh which nearly had her dying from delight.

“We hope you don’t mind,” another HUNK said as he slowly unbuttoned her top, and freed her breasts before gently cupping them and playing with her nipple.

Mind? Wolf thought. Only if they stopped doing what they’re doing.

“It’s just, we’ve been searching for you for months. Ever since we first saw you on YouTube.”

“You are the perfect woman.” Another agreed. “Absolutely perfect.”

They began to drop their pants and shirts, one by one. Wolf noted, with pleasure, that not a one of them wore underwear either.

“So, I’m afraid we’re going to have to ravish you,” Johnny Depp look-alike apologized.

Suddenly there were tongues and mouths everywhere, feasting on her breasts, her thighs, sex, neck… the flood of overpowering pleasure, while hanging upside down, was almost enough to make her faint.

“No problem,” she managed to mumble somewhere in the onslaught. “It’s my pleasure. It’s definitely my pleasure…”


It was cold, and bright, too bright for weather that could freeze a soul in less than an hour. Not to mention it would stay bright for far too long this far south. Omniscient Otter looked at her traveling companion, Dragon. The First Under the Supreme One on Top had been quiet, with a huge grin plastered over her face, ever since they’d been rescued by the submarine crew.

Not that Otter suspected she, herself, looked any different. It had certainly been an, uhm, interesting mission so far.

Now the hard work was beginning, unfortunately. Armed only with stunners, a few stun grenades, a couple of powered snowboards and a lot of gumption, she and Dragon had to travel seventy miles across snow and ice to neutralize the SPLAT base’s southernmost defense system. For some strange reason it had been placed in the middle of a known penguin field.

Penguins, ugh, cute things? No way! At least not as far as Otter was concerned. She’d had way too many nightmares of the things since her little brother had dressed up as one, one Halloween, along with blood spattered chain saw and a severed head.

This was not going to be a pleasant mission.

“Come on,” she called to Dragon, activating the gps and setting her snowboard in the right direction. “Let’s get this little caper over with.”

“Right,” Dragon agreed. “But, hey, let’s try and keep away from water, okay?”


“What do you think?” Lark turned to her comrades as they all huddled together, lying on the snow and ice ridge a hundred yards away from the small research shack.

This was supposed to be the huge SPLAT base they had to infiltrate.

“It looks kinda small,” Lynx agreed. “Typical of a man, pretending it’s bigger than it is.”

“True,” Fox added. “But SPLAT is full of surprises.”

“Wonder how Wolf is doing?” Lynx said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like trying to keep a bunch of boring officials happy for weeks on end.”

“I’m sure she’ll grin and bear it,” Fox told her. “She’s a tough old gal when it comes down to it.”

“We’ll have to take her out on the town when this is over to thank her.” Lark decided. “Make sure she gets a chance to see some action, you know what I mean.”

“I’m still waiting to see some action,” Fox moaned.

Lark laughed. “Well, I don’t think you’ll have to wait much longer.” And pointed to the shack.

Three rather yummy looking men had just stepped out and were doing intriguing things to a large metal device a few yards from the door.

“Well, let’s go and introduce ourselves,” Fox stood up, adjusting her hair to make sure it looked “just right.” “It’ll be better than freezing our tits off out here, don’tchathink?”
Lark shrugged, having no better plan than that how could she argue.

All three women, quickly checking hair and make-up, made their way down from the ridge and walked the short distance to the, now, very interested men.

Lark was most definitely interested in the blond one. He appeared, well, very nicely developed. And it had been, what, ooh, almost twelve hours since she’d been with the captain. And a girl had to look after her needs, you know. It was a tough world out there if you didn’t.

“Hi guys,” she introduced herself when they were close enough to speak. “My and my friends well, we’re just out for a stroll and was wondering if, maybe, you might have a restroom or something?”

“Onde fêz vêm de.” Blond cast a puzzled look to his friends.

“Nenhuma idéia, mas whoa, olham quentes!” The shorter, chestnut haired one responded.

Hmm, it dawned on Lark that maybe there may be a language communication problem here. Perhaps a little sign language would be helpful. She started to mine the actions of going to the bathroom, washing her hands and so on.

“Restroom, go pee, relief…” she said, hoping that maybe at least one word would be understood in all that.

“Está dizendo-a quer quente, sexo de sopro da mente?” The dark haired man looked at her lustfully, licking his lips.

“Hey, este one' mina de s,” Blond snapped at the dark haired guy. “I' m que vai fodê-la até seu cérebro explode.” He grinned at her, offering his hand.

Bingo! The universal offer of friendship! Lark took the man’s hand, then gasped as she was suddenly pulled in for a searing, lust-filled kiss.

Fox and Lynx were similarly accosted.

“Holy molasses,” Fox ran her hand over the chestnut haired man's crotch. “I think I’ve found the South Pole.”

“Whoa,” Lynx said, feeling a similar sensation as her groin was crushed against Blondie’s. “I think we might need some protection from these guys.”

All three men suddenly stopped and looked at Lynx, then at each other. Then, grinning, all of them pulled a condom out of their pockets.

Lynx smiled, rubbing herself against her man.

“You know what, Lark? I think these guys speak our language.”


Caviar hors d'oeuvres and champagne breakfast was ideal. Wolf shifted comfortably, well, as comfortably as possible after, gosh, how many days of constant sex with a bunch of insatiable HUNKs.

“How many days have we been flying now?” She asked Pierre, the pilot, now naked and perhaps the most wonderfully endowed of all the men, was doing things to her nipples that would have made a nun’s toes curl.

“Twenty five days, Madam.” He gave her a sharp nip with his teeth, which sent a jolt through her that nearly made her lose all her breakfast.

Several hands gently eased her back to the floor placed all the food back on her body, and, immediately, half a dozen mouths began to munch on her again.

Oh, yes, caviar and champagne for breakfast was simply divine. Especially when she was the platter…


“I don’t like the look of this,” Otter said as Dragon placed the last couple of explosive devices on the defense silos they’d found.

“Don’t like the look of what?” Dragon asked.

“I don’t like the look of the way those penguins are looking at us.”

Dragon looked up as she finished her work. “They’re just penguins,” she said.

“I don’t know, they look, well, rather un-penguin like to me.”

“You know, you seem like you don’t like penguins.” Dragon said. “Personally I think they’re kinda cute.”

“All of them?” Otter asked.

“All of them,” Dragon stated emphatically.

“Even the ones with the miniature machine guns?”

“Even the ones with the…what?”

Otter looked in horror as several dozen of the ugly black and white things stood up, machine guns in hand, and started wobbling, very robot-like, in their direction.

“Maybe it’s time for us to leave.” Dragon suggested, thrusting Otter’s snowboard in her face.

“Uh, yeah,” Otter agreed, somehow managing to set the board up, switch the motor on and start it zigzagging across the snow. All around her small fountains of snow and ice shot into the air as tiny bullets peppered the landscape around them.

“I always knew I hated penguins,” Otter said. “You can never trust a bird which can’t fly.”

“Just keep sliding,” Dragon told her. “Maybe we’ll find some shelter over where those cliffs are.”

Otter saw the tall, white ice cliffs, towering over the plain, probably a distant of four or five miles. Behind them the penguins had stopped firing, mainly because they were now all lying on their tummies and paddling themselves along at a breakneck speed with their feet.

“Full power,” Otter yelled to Dragon, “or we’re never going to make it.”

Slapping her heels onto the controls she set the snowboard motor to full strength, then nearly fell off backwards at the sudden acceleration. It was working though. When she looked back, the small figures of the penguins were getting smaller and smaller.

Now, hopefully they could lose them soon.

As they neared the ice cliffs, Otter could see a fairly large cave entrance nearby. Not a perfect hideout, but it would give them some cover if they were forced to fight the penguins.

“I’m heading for the cave,” she told Dragon, sending up a sheet of snow and ice as she swerved the board in that direction.

“Roger,” Dragon joined her a few moments later.

She did wonder, for a moment, about a cave being out here, in this peculiar set of circumstances. But decided that sometimes it was stupid to question good fortune in bad circumstances.

She reached the cave mouth within minutes of seeing it and tried to brake, but the snow in front of it had become so glassy and icy that the board just skidded on taking her right into the cave and throwing her, face first, into a steaming hot pool of crystal clear water.

With a yell and a squeal, she heard Dragon follow right after.

Fortunately it wasn’t too deep, and Otter was able to stand on the bottom and still have her head above water. She cleared her eyes, blinked and looked around at the well lit cavern, and the two dozen hunky naked men sitting around the sides looking at them with both heads fully erect and alert.

“Oh no, not again,” Dragon moaned.


Lark was impressed with the Tardis impersonation. It may have looked like a squinty old hut on the outside but inside the complex was huge, and she wasn’t just talking about the erections.

So far over fifty men had joined them in the, what could only be described as, huge sports hall.

“I’ve got to go rescue the prince,” Otter told the others. They’d pretty much determined that no one here could speak English. “Will you be able to handle all these guys.”

“Mmmph!” Fox nodded, as much as she was able to. Lynx, she couldn’t see under the pink mass of bodies but she thought she heard a “Yes! Please!”

Taking that as an okay Lark mimed, again, to one of the men for a restroom. This time, thank heavens, he seemed to understand and motioned “out of the door right, right, left, right, left, left, right, up, one, two, three, left, right, down.”

Lark, nodded. She smiled and left the room and the hot, sweaty bodies grinding away in delicious ecstasy behind her. Nope, she refused to think about it, she had gorgeous butt, Prince Humbdub, to find and well, introduce herself too.

Actually, in spite of the fact the entire underground complex was huge and very maze-like, getting around wasn’t difficult at all. All the employees, she guessed, were currently entertained in the sports hall as everywhere she went the place was totally devoid of life.

No women worked here either, since all the restrooms she passed were specifically for men. Well, that made her job so much easier too.

She wandered past the nuclear stockpile warehouse, the chemical weapons factory and the biological warfare labs. Nope, nothing interesting to report there. She did find an odd looking tube of water based lubricant that she thought might be handy at some point. One of those that promised ultimate delights with a humming, warming, tingling ultra-sensitizing sensation. Though she had to wander around holding it since, having not a stitch of clothing on her, all of her pockets had vanished.

She also passed by a room full of, would you believe, wind up penguins. Geesh, who’d have thought SPLAT, the “we wanna kill all human life” terrorists would have a thing for toy penguins.

Maybe it was just a local thing, what with the South Pole being a near neighbor and all. It did seem downright peculiar though.

Still, putting her disconcerting thoughts behind her, she began to search the last and lowest floor of the complex.
This would be the one the Prince was on, of course. They always made it like that in the movies.

Damn, Lark had a horrifying thought. She wasn’t wearing panties…she was a prime target for YouTube!

Swearing that she’d put on the next pair of panties she could find she continued into the dimly lit corridors of the complex basement.

Somewhere in here SPLAT was holding Humbdub for devious, nefarious purposes. And Lark was going to give him his release, in more ways than one if she got her way.
She allowed herself a wicked grin as she remembered the photos of him by the palace swimming pool.

Oooh, that smooth, tasty skin just waiting to be licked and nibbled.

Something down the corridor made a little whimpering noise. Lark listened carefully. Yes, the third door on the right. That had to be the one.

And who else could it be, she thought, given that Fox and Lynx were keeping tabs, and everything else, on the rest of the men in the base.

Sneaking carefully along, making sure none of the other rooms were occupied, she listened once more outside the door.

Yes, definitely, someone inside.

Carefully she opened the door, peering inside she let the door slip open wider, staring in amazement at the view before her.

Well, she’d found her panties alright—they barely covered the huge dick that Humbdub was sporting.


Wolf could barely stand, walk, think…

Around her the HUNKs weren’t even fatigued, all of them still hard and ready to go. They’d oiled her, massaged her, eaten her for dinner breakfast and lunch, played an interesting sort of tag with her. In fact she couldn’t think of a single thing they hadn’t done with her.

“How long have we been airborne now?” she asked Pierre as HUNK number five began to do something interesting down there with a bunch of ice cubes.

“Four weeks now, Madam,” he said proudly. “Never before has this model flown so long without the engine failing.”

“Uhm,” a chill tingle of warning sent a tremor through her. “Engine failure, but you said it could fly for years…”

“Ah, in theory Madam,” Pierre grinned, nibbling nicely at her neck. “But the engine tends to overheat.”

A loud claxon began to hammer throughout the interior of the plane.

“Like about now?” she asked.

Pierre, pale faced looked at the other worried men.

“Like about now,” he agreed. “But do not worry Madam, we may have only five minutes until the plane destructs, but we have the handy parachutes, yes.”

“Of course,” Wolf sighed to herself. “Fate has to be what it has to be.” She reached over and snagging the sunglasses from their place on a nearby seat, neatly pinned them back in place over her mons. “Let’s go get on the YouTube again…”


Lark stared at the handsome hunk strung out before her. Hung from the ceiling by chains attached to his wrists, and ankle clamps keeping his feet well spread apart he was naked, except for the bright red lacy panties, and looked even more delectable than the photographs had made him.

“Nooo! Take it away, I can’t take another naked woman!”

“You’re gay!” she said. “What a damn waste.”

“That all depends, young lady, on where your own proclivities lie.”

Lark spun to face the intruder, recognizing instantly Evil Twin number eight-the gay one.

“So this, it…, Humbdub wasn’t kidnapped at all.”

“Of course not,” Number eight flicked his laser whip from one side to the other in the most evil way he could. “But his parents would never have let him come and stay with me any other way.”

He flicked the whip again, accidently slicing off his ear and nearly parting the prince from his crown jewels.

“Ow, that hurts,” he whined.

Lark seized the moment. Cupping her hand just so, she did a quick spin, flip and jab. Eight’s whine went all the way to a stunned howl as he stared at the point where Lark’s hand met his groin.

“Better start counting those pickled peppers,” she said, snatching the whip from his hands and dashing out of the door before he could respond.

“You won’t get far,” he squeaked. “My friends Mildred and Henry are waiting for you.”

Lark didn’t care, she could handle two people without any problem at all…

…though she didn’t expect to see this kind of mess back in the sports hall.

“We forgot,” fox pointed at all the debris littering the floor and walls. “SPLAT uses androids for staff, they kinda explode when they get too excited.”

“Not all of them are androids,” Lark waved her whip. “Evil Twin Number Eight told me he was setting Henry and Mildred after us.”

Lark began to worry when Fox and Lynx grew pale.

“Henry and Mildred?” Lynx asked.

“Uhm, yes.” Lark confirmed. “Should I be a little worried about that?”

Fox and Lynx began gathering their clothes and throwing them on.

“Let’s just find the others and get out of here,” Lynx said. “While we still have a chance.”

Deciding that maybe experienced heads might be wiser Lark followed suit, except, where the hell were her panties…?

It was a frantic, if pantyless dressing session but all three agents were finally ready to brave the big outside world. All of them armed with, probably useless, stunners.

“Well, duh,” Fox said. “We can always just snowboard back to the pick up site. They’ll never catch us like that.”

Feeling happier with their chances Lark led them back to the surface, laser whip at the ready and snowboard switched on and humming, ready for action.

To be greeted by a thousand armed android penguins, all with their own miniature snowboard. Two of them sporting freshly painted and gleaming chainsaws.

“We’re doomed,” Lark said.


It just fricking had to be here didn’t it. Wolf muttered to herself. One naked woman, moi, parachuting down into the middle of the Yankee’s new stadium in the middle of the final of the world series. Inconspicuous, not!

Goodness knows what had happened to the men. Some moments after the plane had made its own little mushroom cloud in the sky she’d been blown way off course from the rest of them and here she was, Network television all the way, baby.

Furball was never going to let her forget this. Ever.


“Cavalry to the rescue!”

Lark looked up, scarcely believing her eyes. Otter and Dragon were leading a platoon of interesting men into the midst of the hideous android horde.

All of them armed with Super Soakers every target they hit sparked, shorted and exploded gratifyingly. Loading up on their snowboards, catching the extra weapons the men had brought along, Lark and the others joined in the play.

“You know, I’ll never look at water pistols the same again,” she confided to Otter.

“Hot springs,” Otter sighed. “All you need is a hot spring and the International Male Sauna Olympics Decathlon Team.”

They had a team for that? Okay… Lark decided, that was not a place to go.

It took a little while for the battle to be over. Henry and Mildred managed to affect an escape by simply cutting their way through the ice to the ocean below.

When they finally achieved their goal and arrived back at the pick up site, the long summer sun of the south was just about to go below the horizon.

Lark greeted the captain of their submarine with a sense of relief, a smile and, well, something else that she saved for later. She knew it would be at least a seven week journey to get them home again.

Whatever it was, the tube of stuff was amazing.


They all sat nervously around the couch room, except for Dragon who’d soon appear as her famed silhouette on the screen before them.

“Hey Wolf,” Fox said. “Looks like you’ve got some serious competition here.”

“Eh?” Wolf looked over at Fox’s laptop, shocked.

There it was—her infamous entrance into the Yankees world series final.

“Wow, would you look at her,” Lynx added. “And so far she’s got twice as many hits as any of your YouTube movies.”

“Really?” Wolf tried to remain casual.

“Who is she?” Otter asked, pushing Wolf aside. “Does anyone know?”

“Just says mysterious lady making her debut at the Yankees. Other than that no one knows, she vanished before the cops could catch her.”

Wolf stepped carefully back from the couch. Maybe she would be lucky this time…

Suddenly the lights in the room dimmed and the screen was backlit. The famous Furball and Dragon silhouettes appeared on the screen.

“Congratulations ladies, very well done. Using the information you've garnered on the Prince we’ve been able to, uhm, solicit… acquire more funds from his parents—ah, government—in order to aid our mission to secure the safety of the world. For that you will all be receiving a bonus check to enable a short vacation anywhere you’d like.”

“Anywhere we’d like in the world?” Lark squeaked happily.

“Uhm, well, anywhere you’d like in Louisville, Kentucky. But I’m sure you’ll find something exciting to do there. You should all congratulate yourselves.”

There was a rather lame attempt at group applause.

“And Wolf, you have excelled. Indeed, excelled. Our friends, the HUNKs have praised you for their excellent penetration training missions and would like to thank you by offering a short stay to share your skills with other HUNKs over at their offices in Florence, Italy. I have sent the invite and relevant papers to your home. There wasn’t even a teeny little mention in there about the SPLAT mission they missed. Excellent work.”

The screen went black and everyone stared grumpily at Wolf.

“Hey, maybe I’ll ask and see if I can bring some friends along,” she offered, there were a lot of HUNKs to go around. Besides, she could afford to be generous, now she wasn’t famous on YouTube.

Wanna read more... Catch all the previous PIACT Agent missions on my Forum here...