30 October 2011

Paranormal Romantics: THE DREAM by Rhonda Print

Paranormal Romantics: THE DREAM by Rhonda Print: I awoke from the dream with a sharp intake of breath, sitting bolt upright in bed. Sweat beaded on my forehead and my eyes danced nervously ...

Guest Blogger-Julia Phillips Smith

I'm honored to have Julia Phillips Smith on the blog here today. She's been a long time friend and advocate of all things author. She's been my cheering section for as long as I can remember and now I have the absolute pleasure to cheer for her.

Julia has a book coming out November 11, 2011. A self-pub title involving Vampires and since tomorrow is Halloween it's fitting to interview an author who writes in the genre.

Thanks for coming here, Julia!

Tell us about your upcoming release.

SAINT SANGUINUS is my debut novel which combines vampires with a Welsh Dark Ages historical setting, and a superhero origin story woven throughout for good measure.

What gave you the idea to write SAINT SANGUINUS?

If I go back a little ways, I've been a fan of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Count Saint-Germain series since I read my first taste of them, TEMPTING FATE (original publish date 1982,) when I lived in Toronto in the 90s. All of her books center around the constant need for an eternal being to relocate before the locals realize that the count never ages. The books are filled with all of the hassles of moving house, making arrangements for the house to be left to a faraway nephew in the future - which will be himself in a few generations - and I always loved the practical problems that Saint-Germain had to deal with, which get brushed aside in most vampire tales.

So my own story began with me wondering how it would feel to be a brand new vampire asked to consume the blood of men, when he'd been a man himself only days before.

Rather like the post-accidental-shooting car clean-up scene in Pulp Fiction, I love scenarios that aren't addressed as often.

Is there a sequel planned?

Definitely. In the superhero origin story category, SAINT SANGUINUS sets the stage for my main vampire character, Peredur, who will be called upon to use these new powers in upcoming showdowns. But Peredur isn't the only new vampire to rise from these pages. There's another one who many readers may feel takes them into the POV of a vampire in a way they've never encountered before.

Why Vampires?

I've been a fan of vampires since I was a small kid. I used to try to watch Dark Shadows, a gothic soap opera featuring vampire Barnabas Collins, although my mom would always switch it off. But I know I used to see it somehow.

When I was in junior high, a BBC version of Dracula completely captivated my cousins, my sister and me. It inspired us to write a script for our own vampire movie, for which we scouted locations and rehearsed without having any equipment to shoot it, whatsoever.

Then following high school I was the assistant director for a community theatre production of Dracula here in Halifax, where I got to audition child actors and direct my own transition scene pieces which held the audience's attention away from set changes on the main stage.

Meanwhile, I've been reading vampire tales, watching vampire films and TV series steadily all along.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey writing this piece?

My cousin used to urge me to write a vampire novel when I was working on gritty historical stories. She knew I had a vampire tale inside me, waiting to emerge. But nothing ever really came to me until I first decided to take up the challenge of doing NaNoWriMo.

I just started with that simple premise of going through the mental progression of being a human to being a vampire, and when the virtual starting pistol went off for the writing marathon, Peredur was born.

Also, I've always had a real affinity for the archetype of the Unknown Soldier. Perhaps having my birthday fall on Remembrance Day has something to do with it, I don't know. But just thinking of fallen warriors laying on their last battlefields really wrings my heart into shreds, so I used that as my jumping off point for Peredur and went from there.

What made you decided to pursue self-publication?

Two things. The simple advance of technology making it possible for writers to viably self-publish, along with the eruption in the popularity of e-readers is the greatest reason.

The second reason is my own personality. I'm someone who never watched Friends, but watched Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess religiously. Although people who know I went to film school assure me that Under the Tuscan Sun has gorgeous cinematography, I've still never seen it. But I have watched Bubba Ho-tep in a packed theatre with other cult film enthusiasts. I've always known my writing would never fit into the mold being purchased for the Big Six publishing houses. I had no idea there would ever be such a thing as indie self-publishing, but in retrospect, it's almost as though I've always been waiting for this development. I embrace it with joy.

You did an amazing trailer for this release, how did that come about?

I've always been a big reader, but my first love has definitely been film. I graduated from Ryerson University's film program in 1995 and was more focused on screenwriting and gathering film credits. However, financially I couldn't afford the whole apprenticing stage of gaining those credits. I really needed to keep my day job, so to stay in the telling-stories game, I switched over to novel writing, which turned into a decade-long learning curve. The way to tell screenwriting stories and the way to tell prose fiction stories is radically different.

In the meantime, I worked on several film and TV projects over the years, never losing my passion for my original medium of choice. I have several film projects rumbling around in the old noggin, and I used to say to myself, "I just need to find the right producer."

Meanwhile, who should show up at my writers' group but a woman who has her own production company. At last year's writers' retreat, we really hit it off. She suggested we do the book trailers, and I have to tell you - when she said that, I hadn't realized how much I'd protected my heart over the years from the longing to work in film. Inside my chest I felt the Grinch-heart-grew-three-sizes thing, I was so happy.

So from January of this year Tara MacDonald of Charlie Mac Productions and I did pre-production on the trailers, which we shot in one day at the end of April, and I worked in post-production with Doug Woods of 902 Post to edit the trailers in time for the New York RWA conference, which I attended.

Tara blogs @ http://taramacqueen.com/
Charlie Mac Productions @ http://www.charliemacproductions.com/
Doug Woods @ 902 Post http://www.902post.com/

How much research did you have to do for SAINT SANGUINUS?

Quite a lot. I've always been very picky about authenticity, so personally I want to get it right in my own work. I've been attracted to the time period of Dark Age Britain since I was a girl and read Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, and I've got a personal library of Arthurian research nonfiction books that I've devoured over the years. Recent discoveries about that time period always loom large on my radar, and I find it thrilling that we've been able to learn so much more about a time that wasn't well understood until the past few decades.

However, the very murkiness of the time period makes it a perfect setting for a vampire tale, as who's to say they weren't roaming the countryside back then? Also, the following witch hunts that swept Europe in the middle ages makes a writer surmise that maybe there was a reason for such fear...

What made you decide November 11th for the release?

Because that falls on Remembrance Day, and because the brotherhood which my vampire joins then acts as a peacekeeping force between humans and vampires, I felt that this particular date held good resonance for the story.

And on this particular Remembrance Day, it will be 11 - 11 - 11. That certainly doesn't happen every day.

Also, November 11th will be my birthday, and for me this is a major milestone present to myself.

Do you have anything else in the works?

I've been writing a dark fantasy series for a while, part of which is posted on Wednesdays on my blog as serialized fiction. I'm seriously in love with that main character. I can't wait to send him off into the world.

I've also got a Victorian convict story, a Scottish gamekeeper story and a Jacobite post-Culloden story in various stages of development.

I've also got a few film projects that I'm looking to pursue, as well. And don't forget the day job.

Where can we find out more about you?

You can visit me at my web site, www.juliaphillipssmith.com or at my blog, A Piece of My Mind. I've been blogging since 2007 and I've made many wonderful friends there over the years.

I'm also on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=550188924

and on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=apieceofmymind

Now for some fun! What is your favourite colour?

Is this going to come as any surprise? Red and black.

What is your favourite drink?

Prosecco, pinot grigio and Glenfiddich. Oh, I had to stop at one...?

What is your favourite food?

I realize most people wouldn't say this. But rice is my favorite food ever. Especially the way my family does it - cooked in chicken or turkey broth with a little bit of butter, salt & pepper and several large glugs of ketchup. But I'll take stir fry, rice in casseroles, plain old rice just steamed, you name it. Just not rice pudding. I don't want it to be dessert.

Trapped on a desert island what three movies would you take with you? What three books and what three fantasy men?


Kate & Leopold with Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan

The Turning Point, mainly for the ballet pieces danced by Mikhail Baryshnikov, but the whole film is marvelous

Gladiator with Russell Crowe



DEVILISH by Jo Beverley

BLOOD GAMES by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Fantasy Men:

Dean Winchester from Supernatural

Wolverine from X-Men

Horatio Hornblower from the PBS series of the same name

Here are Julia's amazing book trailers:


An elite brotherhood stands between humans and vampires, preventing one side from annihilating the other. Who are called to this service? Only those warriors who curse God with their dying breath.

Welsh warrior Peredur falls to a spear before he can claim Tanwen for his bride. Raging on the battlefield, Peredur utters the curse that seals his fate and leads him to another life. Using the power of a saint whose bone makes up an amulet, Peredur takes on the trials to become a true member of the brethren. Yet his need for the chieftain’s daughter Tanwen still burns.

Tanwen resists her father’s command to take a husband. The only one who understands her sorrow is Cavan, the wise woman’s son. When he promises that he can reunite her with her beloved, she agrees to his terms. But does Tanwen truly understand the depth of the price that must be paid?

29 October 2011


Last night, the zombies took over Adams Street in downtown Toledo! My husband and I donned our biker gear and went out in search of a few brains to munch on at the second annual Zombie Crawl. This is probably the one time that turning off the red-eye reduction on the camera is actually a good thing. :)

This was one night we elected not to ride the Harley. Are you kidding me? With all those blood-hungry monsters roaming the alleys? [shudder]

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Carolan Ivey

27 October 2011

The Tangled Web - Dragons

As a change from the literary, I thought I’d share some of my passion for textiles in the context of our topic this month, dragons.

After all, dragons are great knitters.


In all seriousness, though, for those of us who have had a lifelong affair with dragons, it’s natural to want to expand on that love into other areas. I stumbled onto cross-stitch back in high school when a friend taught me the art after I had learned embroidery. I found it appealing: the simplicity of “X’s” all over the canvas and voila, art. The artist can vary the appearance of the image by placing the cross-hatches of the “X’s” in a certain order and by using half-crosses and varied thicknesses of floss. The resultant variety of expression is spectacular.

It didn’t take long for artists who sell kits to crafters to catch up, once they did. I’m going to share a few of my favorites, as well as some sources in case you want to get your own kit.

This one is a kit I picked up with my coauthor in mind. What I like about it, is that it’s not automatically obvious whether the dragon is a villain. I choose to interpret it that he’s a helper to the wizard, rather than an opponent.

Then came Teresa Wentzler’s fantasy art. Wow. She is awesome. Her designs are both whimsical and serious; by that I mean that she treats the subject with respect. Prior to the 90’s, much of the art I saw was silly - childlike animations that didn’t do any kind of artistic justice to the topic. I love Wentzler’s designs for their beauty and originality.

My source for many of these kits is a neat little site called 123 Stitch. They have a huge library from which to choose.

Other companies I like are Janlynn, Bucila (part of Plaid online), Dragon Dreams, and Dimensions. Dimensions has an exclusive line called the Gold Collection that costs a little more but has fine threads, canvas, and more complex designs. Well worth exploring.

How do you express your love affair with dragons?

24 October 2011

Dragons in Love/In Love with Dragons

Greetings, Kittens!

This has been a lovely month of monsters and mayhem and it’s my turn to talk about the creatures that move me the most. Turns out, it’s all of them!

For eight consecutive childhood Halloweens, I dressed as a vampire. I loved everything about the vampire concept, from immortality to inhuman fascination. As a product of the Anne Rice Generation, I didn’t see them as monsters, but simply as people who were capable of monstrous things—just like everyone else. The paranormal romance trend couldn’t have come too soon for my taste. In fact, I would have liked to see it spread at least a decade sooner, to fill that ever growing cavern of how I regarded supernatural creatures vs. how they were portrayed in horror.

Fast forward twentyish years after reading, Interview with the Vampire, and I’m surrounded by exactly what I longed to see—preternaturals as the heroes rather than automatically the villains. That change was the first step in broadening my supernatural palate. It’s not that I didn’t feel for werewolves, the classic cursed just seemed too painful and sad to really be drawn to it. That element disappeared on the paranormal romance front and I was able to see them in the light that they always deserved.

Roleplaying games and fantasy novels moved the idea of werewolves to shape-shifters and an entire world of possibilities opened up. Feline shifters were an immediate favorite, but dragon shifters became a complete fascination. Fantasy rpgs and novels are filled with intelligent dragons that like to walk around among humankind and leave behind half-dragons, dragonkin, dragoons and pseudodragons to name a few variants. This predilection led to all sorts of ideas and opportunities to play with the dragon mythos, and the idea of sexy dragons plays into everything I wanted from every other creature.

They were ancient like vampires, could alter their shape like werewolves, were clever like fae/faries, and had layered emotions and complexities like humans, but with the wisdom of nature itself. They were people in the truest sense of the word, but a people that could be anything and everything else as well. What’s not to love?

Although I grew up on high fantasy that spawned my love of dragons, I’m not suited to write it. I’m more geared towards urban fantasy and romantic fantasy. Instead of high fantasy’s epic battles, I’d prefer dealing with the battles of the sexes and the battles of the heart. Yep, I have no classic sword and sorcery in my future to be sure. What I do have, is a paranormal romance with dragon shifters. It’s in the immediate future, Halloween Day in fact. And it won’t be the only one!

A Way To A Dragon’s Heart is the first introduction of dragons into my Therian World. The reception has led to many more ideas, one of which may be the closet fantasy/kingdoms/king’s honor type stories I’ve ever written or will write, and I’m excited. But that particular idea is a tale for another time, let me introduce you to A Way To A Dragon’s Heart.


Dragon Shifter Kryssa Drake works twenty-hour days, seven days a week racing toward a sabbatical and hiding from the dating world after a devastating break-up that left her questioning her sense of self. The highlight of her day is the two hour lunches spent listening to Near Human, Xander Luciano, co-owner of Luciano's Deli across the street, and living vicariously through his on-again, off-again relationship with Avian, Caleb James. Over the years and countless intimacies of their friendship, Kryssa has grown to love Xander and the idea of Xander and Caleb but ideas and potential are not enough to brave the pain of the past so soon.

Pastry Chef and Near Human, Xander Luciano, has spent the last two years trying to charm Kryssa out of her vow of a five year isolation following her break-up. He's spent that same two years sorting out his feelings for his college sweetheart, Caleb, and trying to figure out a way to pin the restless Avian down or to finally make peace with a few months of happiness at a time. When Caleb opens the pastry café they always dreamed about and invites him to become a partner, Xander sees the flicker of hope that maybe half of his dream is about to come true. When he's volunteered by Kryssa's brother and boss to assist her in her current projects as well as help her relax in his cabin up north, Xander thinks his persistence and culinary skills just might help him have it all.

Sometimes the only way to get a good man to settle down is to have a good woman help. And oft times the most direct way to a Dragon's heart is through her stomach.

23 October 2011

Is that a costume... or not?

This weekend my husband and I attended Wizard World Ohio, a wonderful convention filled with vendors, seminars and more than one person wearing fantastic costumes that were amazing, to say the least. From a Catwoman/Batman couple carrying a pair of Robin babies to a little Supergirl in her stroller with accompanying entourage to a War Machine with full spinning Gatling gun there were costumes across the superhero and monster spectrum - including enough zombies to put The Walking Dead extras to shame!
Which brings me around to the idea of costuming - how we love to wear them and how we love the anonymity they offer. Whether it’s just a rubber mask to scare the kids at Halloween or the superhero garb to hide our real identity, there’s an appeal to wearing a mask year-round and the freedom it provides.

In one of my favorite superhero movies/comic books, Watchmen, one of the characters bemoans the fact that he’s had to retire his superhero persona due to government regulations and now has to be just a regular person but was able to do so because no one knew his real identity thanks to his costume. But Nite Owl/Dan has a problem - his superhero life has become so intertwined with his own self-esteem that he feels less of a man without the costume and the gadgets. The same holds true for other heroes and villains outside of the Watchmen universe - once you pull back the mask and reveal Bruce Wayne or Spiderman they become less of a hero and more of a human being wearing some wild costume. Unless, of course, you’re the Joker and your costume IS your face!

There’s power in the darkness of hiding your true self - when the werewolves change, no one knows who they are in the daylight. Vampires, at least those who can walk among us in the daylight, don’t advertise their particular needs and wants to the average human. Even the mutants such as the X-Men, for the most part, can move freely in society with their true abilities and identities hidden until the time comes to reveal who and what they are.

But they still love to hide their faces, whether it’s with the fur of a werewolf change or the mask of a hero or a pair of dark sunglasses, they all still crave the anonymity a mask offers. And when Halloween comes around, who knows who’s really under that mask - maybe it’s not just a little kid playing a vampire or a werewolf or a dragon - maybe that little one really *is* a vampire or a werewolf or a dragon taking advantage of the one time of the year when they can roam free among human society without fear!

22 October 2011

Vampires Vs. Werewolves

Capclave Guests of Honor Carrie Vaughn (left) and Catherynne M. Valente compare the charms of vampires and werewolves at Capclave, October 15.

With Carrie Vaughn (whose most famous series features a werewolf named Kitty) and Catherynne M. Valente (who's explored the mythology of just about everything) as its guests of honor, it was inevitable that Capclave 2011, the Washington DC area's hometown con, would address the eternal question:

Fangs or fur?

Death or life?

Edward or Jason?

Well, maybe not the last so much, but the relative popularity of vampires vs. werewolves--and the apparent reasons for it--dominated the con's guest of honor chat Saturday evening, October 15.

On the face of it, the odds would seem stacked in the werewolf's favor. After all, werewolves represent life; vampires, death. But as the panelists said, some people have a problem with the fur.

Then there's the whole "daddy thing". Ms. Valente pointed out the modern vampire myth ultimately comes down to the seduction of an inexperienced young woman by an older, infinitely experienced male. He is the ultimate father figure--all-powerful and wise, even when for some inexplicable reason, he's still in high school. It's one of the evergreen romance plots: Beauty and the Beast, Jane and Rochester, Persephone and Hades (minus the crazy mother-in-law).

In contrast, the werewolf has, in Ms. Vaughn's words, "...gotten short shrift over the last hundred years of storytelling. It's always: The beast within takes over. You can't control yourself. You do horrible things, and then you die."

Larry Talbot and his cinematic descendants have a lot to answer for.

But the nice thing is the core myth (or metaphor, if you prefer) can change. In fiction, nothing's set in stone. Vampires can become heroes. Werewolves can take control of their destiny. Ms. Vaughn's werewolf DJ Kitty Norville is a prime example.

"I thought, let's get past the [standard Wolfman plot]. Let's assume werewolves are okay and can handle it. What stories can we tell then?"

Plenty, apparently, since the Kitty Norville series is up to ten books, with four more under contract. And Ms. Vaughn's books aren't the only ones redefining the myth. My Beyond the Veil blog mates have been very busy on that score, too. If they keep this up, who knows, within ten years the balance of attraction may tip. There's a lot to be said for fur, though I confess, I prefer mine in a coat. ;-)


I apologize for the quality of my Guests of Honor photo. My Capclave camera karma was definitely lacking. I posted my best shots, such as they are, at my Flickr account. I have an ulterior motive in providing the link. There are two photos near the end I'm unreasonably proud of. Yes, that's me sitting on the dais with Ms. Valente, Ms. Vaughn and Danielle Ackley-McPhail, the editor of Dragon's Lure, the anthology containing my short story "Lord Bai's Discovery".

"Lord Bai's Discovery", along with Ms. Valente's "Days of Flaming Motorcycles" and Ms. Vaughn's "Amaryllis" were among the finalists for the Washington Science Fiction Association's 2011 Small Press Award. I wasn't surprised "Amaryllis" took the prize. It was nominated for a Hugo, too. I was surprised, however, and incredibly honored to be included in such company.

19 October 2011

What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?

Look, I don't write horror, okay? I stick with beasties of a decidedly fantastical nature. Dragons may eat you, but they don't rip your limbs off for the heck of it. They're HUNGRY, all right?  I stay away from werewolves, vampires, and generally gross and gory writing. I used to be a huge Stephen King fan, but as I got older I suppose the gore-factor was just too much. I won't write horror. Ever.

But I love scary movies. NOT the gore-fest, slash-em-up, stick things in their eyes and watch them bleed for the sake of it kind. Saw? No way, no day. Uh-uh. Never saw one of them. But at this time of year I get a hankering for some good ole' fashioned fright fests. I have my perennial favorites:

There is very little actual blood in this movie; it's the suspense that I love. And the awesome score, and the screaming babysitter, Jamie Lee Curtis, seemingly the only cool head in the whole town while the nutjob runs around with a William Shatner mask (okay, who doesn't see the humor in that?) only killing HER friends. Great stuff. Oh, and by the way, every Halloween after number 2 sucked.

I find this one of the best scary movies EVER. What I love about it, and the gore is really low-key considering, is both the suspense AND the misdirection. The mystery of 'who is the real killer' was really well done. Of course after you've seen it once, you can go back and pick up all the clues and go 'of course, why didn't I see it before!'
Scream 2 was good, Scream 3 bordered on just plain dumb

I Know What You Did Last Summer
Okay this one might take the prize for total cheese, but I still like it. It's like a twin to Scream, and I liked it for many of the same reasons - suspense and misdirection. It's not as good as Scream, but I can watch it over and over.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? Meh.

Final Destination 1-850,000
All of these kind of blur together into a single film for me, but I love the idea: that a group who cheats death is picked off one by one by supernatural forces. They get very creative with these demises, and I think that's also what I love. Terrific watching on an October night with a bowl of popcorn and the lights out.

The Blair Witch Project
Yes, I really like this movie. I think it was a good idea, and it was totally cheesy, which is WHY I love it. I know, I know, I am breaking some kind of scary-movie-lover pact by admitting that I like this. It's good TV watching. Whatever, don't judge me.

The House on Haunted Hill
There is NOTHING like a Vincent Price movie - except a Vincent Price movie remake. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. It's completely creepy and has a great premise: the home of a wealthy and deceased psychiatrist, which sits on top of his closed mental hospital, plays host to a group for an evening. All kinds of ghostly shenanigans ensue, and the corpses keep piling up. This has a great twist ending, and I won't spoil it if you haven't seen it. While I love Vincent, Geoffrey Rush does a spectacular job in his role. A classic.

Amityville Horror
The Original. Always. I don't think I need to list my reasons why. It's classic horror at it's finest.

The Shining
The original ONLY. Yes, it's a bit gory, but it's Stephen King. Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall are perfection, and again, the idea of a haunted and evil place rather than a person is fabulous.

That's my list. So as they say...What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?

17 October 2011

Chills and Thrills

Our October theme is about dragons and other creatures who chill us and thrills us. It made me wonder why we love them so much. Why do we like to be scared out of our wits? Why do we keep coming back for more?

My son is a perfect example. Halloween is one of his favorite days of the year and not just because of the mass-candy-collection. He loves to dress up to scare and be scared by ugly, snarling, fanged, blood dripping creatures of the night.

I'll never forget the first time we took him to a haunted house. He was a tiny thing and I didn't want him to go, but he begged and whined until we finally agreed to take him in.

The second that we stepped past the curtain, I regretted it.

Imagine a dark "cemetery" complete with gravestones and moaning ghosts set up inside a theater. We followed a guide as she walked slowly through black curtained tunnels, under drippy spiderwebs, and passed strobe lights. Masked zombies, headless horsemen, terrifying ghosts, and freaky goblins followed us, rattling chains and reaching through the curtains as if to snatch us away.

I was looking for the exits.

My son had a death grip on my arm so tight that I worried he might peel back skin. I kept asking him if he wanted to leave. He made a little cry in his throat but firmly shook his head "no." He wanted to stay.

The tension built as we headed into a cement hallway. I could only guess that we were beneath the theater. Suddenly, an ear-piercing "rrrr-rrr" echoed down the corridor.

Chainsaw. Coming for us.

My son nearly yanked my shoulder out of its socket. Instinctively, I pulled him behind me, sheltering his little body with my own.

The creature with the chainsaw slid past us on his knees, the REAL chainsaw smoking up the room so that we could barely see his hideous demon mask. My son froze in his tracks, gripping my waist so hard that I couldn't move.

I turned around to reassure him and got the surprise of my life.

My little man faced the demon with the saw and...growled!

I'm not kidding. He let loose this gut-wrenching noise that easily matched the decibel level the chainsaw was creating. And then he did it again and didn't stop. His growls echoed down the hallway. And then...we were outside. It was over.

"Wow, that was really scary," I said.
"I know," he whispered, his eyes still wide. "Can we go again?"

So maybe my little son answered the question about why we like to be scared out of our wits. Being terrified had actually empowered him. He looked the devil in the eye and didn't back down. Heck, he might even have scared the poor teenager in the demon mask who probably had never been growled at by a kid. My son found strength in the darkness, in the unknown, in the terror, while realizing all along that it wasn't real. Mom was always there and so were the exits. Everything after that was a roller coaster ride.

Have a safe and sweet Halloween.

Kimberley Troutte

16 October 2011

Dragon, Vampires, Shifters, Oh My!

It's October and time for all kinds of scary things to emerge from the shadows. Myths and Legends intertwine with fear and fantasy to put an edge of anticipation into the very air that we breath.

I'm so glad that in this most enticing of months, the second book of the Leah Wolfe SINS Novel, THE ORDER OF CHAOS has been released. Leah Wolfe begins her first official case with SINS and must once again work with both sexy Ian Nightwalker and her ex-fiance, Joaquin Wildhorse. One man possessed her heart. The other possessed her soul.Both had betrayed her.

She is determined to move on with her life and master her own gifts, including the ability to speak to the souls of the dead. Joaquin Wildhorse was unable to accept her gifts and gave himself to another. Ian Nightwalker was more than willing to soothe her broken heart.

Now, with a prominent member of The Marquis, the vampire ruling council, intent of coming to Leah’s hometown, the threat of Chaos touching everyone she loves brings her down a path to Joaquin and Ian once again.

The Order of Chaos grabs the reader on the first page and leads them on a journey full of romance, action and suspense as it follows Leah into her first official case with SINS. Leah is a strong-willed, kick-ass heroine who has conquered a life full of adversity with grace.

THE ORDER OF CHAOS has been reviewed and awarded 4 stars. You can see the entire review HERE.


A growl came from deep within him and I had the pleasure of seeing his head fall back in ecstasy. I took him into my mouth and sucked until he tickled the back of my throat. Slowly, so slowly, I retreated, nipping and swirling my tongue around him along the way until my lips reached the delicate tip of him again. I let my tongue play and taste, and then without warning took him down as far as I could go. I delighted in the way he throbbed and pulsed inside me while animalistic moans came from deep within his own body. In that moment, he was mine.
Mine to tease, mine to torment, mine to pleasure.

You can purchase The Order of Chaos HERE, and stop by the authors webpage and blog at www.RhondaLPrint.com for excerpts on The Order of Chaos, Nightwalker, A Leah Wolfe SINS Novel and her soon to be released Guardian.

Happy Reading!

15 October 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

The sun is shining, the weather is warming, and it's a bright day to mark the anniversary of my birth. Not that anyone is really doing much to mark it, there were no presents beyond hand-made cards from the kids. The agenda holds nothing auspicious - just hauling the kids to a pumpkin patch to get pumpkins and the resulting chaos of that trip.

But the one thing I do around my birthday is look back on the past year. I'm a goal-oriented person. In the past few years, I look on my goals sheet and am disappointed at how little I accomplished. This year is different. Unlike previous years, I actually lost the targeted amount of weight, finished the troublesome book on the docket, and marked off all but one item from the household section of the list. Of course, most of that portion involved a move to Japan that didn't happen, but still - it's progress!

So, now I'm optimistic. :) I've scribbled down a new list of goals. This year, there's not a weight goal. Yes, I heard that shocked gasp. Instead, I've started running again with the goal to finish the Disney Princess Half-Marathon in February. Anyone want to join me? A trip to Disney is always a motivating carrot. I was shocked at how easy it was to fall back into training runs. The body remembers some pretty amazing things.

I'm still waiting to hear about STEALING GRACE, that troublesome book, but am now wrapping up a St. George novella. I'd love to do another St. George book by the end of the year, so that's on the list with a question mark beside it. I've got some big plans for 2012, but those are waiting on the St. George outcomes.

Personally, now that we're not moving to Japan, we're slotted for North Carolina - the Cherry Point area. Although our transfer date isn't until August, the kids and I will most likely move over the summer to give them a chance to settle in and make friends before the school year starts. Since we've already done most of the pre-move purge, getting ready for the move is a simple process of staying on top of the clutter. I'm super-excited about the change of scenery and am really looking forward to house-hunting in the area. I think I'm most excited over the fact my children will go back to school leaving me time to write that isn't between nine and midnight!

What about you? Anyone have any great goals they'd like to share? *throws confetti*

12 October 2011

I'm Back and New Cover Yumminess

I want to thank everyone for their patience this past summer and want to apologize for my sudden absence. In May my husband suffered a traumatic brain injury after a fall from his bicycle. He underwent surgery to remove part of his skull to accommodate the swelling in his brain then spent nine days in a medically induced coma, fourteen days in neuro ICU and eleven days in a rehabilitation hospital.

Its been a long journey with ups and downs. In July he underwent a second brain surgery to replace the skull bone that had been removed in May. June, July and August was a blur of doctors appointments and hours and hours of therapy.

Last week he returned to work and our family is settling into our "new normal". We have had to adjust to a lot of new normals over the course of the last five months but hopefully we don't have too many more to go.

I want to thank everyone for their support and their prayers. I firmly believe that we wouldn't be where we are today without all of the prayers. That and the excellent doctors and nurses.

So, I'm back and I'm writing again and today I would like to share with you my new cover for my November release. I heart this cover! My husband, after studying the cover for a bit, asked where the guy's head was. I said, "Who cares?" LOL. Enjoy the bit of yumminess on this Tuesday.

Madelaine Alexander is on a mission. When her boss sends her to the hottest nightclub in town to meet with the owner, she won't be deterred, even if that means standing in line for fifty-eight minutes in torturous heels while she'd rather be home in her pj's with a bowl of popcorn.

A Knight of the Templar, Christien Chevalier was given immortality along with the responsibility of protecting the treasure of the Templars. He's been unwavering in his task for centuries until his one true love—who died seven hundred years ago—shows up in his club, demanding his attention.

Christien couldn't protect Madelaine when they first fell in love. She was married to a lord and he was simply a knight. Now, through some unknown miracle, she stands before him again and they have a second chance. But Christien fears that Madelaine is being used as a pawn in a dangerous game, a game of good versus evil that could affect all of mankind…

Own an Nook? You can preorder Her Dark Knight for $4.79 and it will be delivered to your Nook on release day.

10 October 2011

It's Not The Vampire You Need To Worry About.

The cast of Criminal Minds 

This month my co-bloggers will write about many different types of creatures. Most scary. And I have to say, I love me a good ghost, werewolf, vampire, bigfoot, or leprechaun story. Most of these critters are, or can be, evil. There is, however, one creature that pales in comparison to the rest. We see these creatures every day at work, school, shops, and restaurants. We see one every time we look in the mirror. As the Pogo quote goes, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Obviously not all humans are evil. Homo sapiens are actually a pretty civilized lot. In spite of how it sometimes seems, most folks go about their business without the need to hurt, maim, or kill. Still, there are plenty of people out there who could give the worst werewolves, vampires, or soul sucking demons a run for their money. These are the two-legged creatures of true evil.

Some of these evil humans blur the line between human and mythology. For example the infamous Vlad Tepes, could possibly have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. His name Dracul or Dracula is translated by some sources as “dragon” and others as “devil” or “son of the devil”. Vlad impaled millions of people alive, and is rumored to have drunk blood. Still, even today, he is considered a hero to his country.

Today we don’t make serial killers official heroes, but there are those who worship these horrible examples of malevolence. There are collectors of serial killer memorabilia. Women want to marry them (serial killers are almost always male). Some of them, like Charles Manson, for instance, have fan clubs. The reason for this gruesome hobby may someday be explained. For now, most just think those involved are somehow mentally ill. Even those of us wouldn’t be caught dead with a lock of a serial killer’s hair, love watching movies like Silence of the Lambs, and TV shows like Criminal Minds.

What’s creepier in the dead of night? When the sound of creaking and moaning reaches for you? Are you more afraid of a vampire, werewolf, demon? Or is the real threat to our being, and our sanity, that the mythological creature might come to life, or that the neighborhood animal torturer just moved up the food chain?

Sleep well tonight, and don’t let the vampires, or whatever, bite.


08 October 2011

What? No Dragons?

I recently watched an episode of HBO’s True Blood and was left wondering. Did all the supernatural creatures in the world wind up in Sookie’s hometown of Bon Temps? Is it because Sookie’s a rare fairy and she simply draws all creatures great and small to her? Or is the small Southern town the primary meeting place for things that go bump—and bite—in the night? Bon Temps has werewolves, vampires, spirits, shape-shifters, witches and fairies along with a gay medium who gets possessed by dead witches and demons more often than I eat a pint of ice cream. And that’s saying a lot!

It makes me wonder. Is our world filled with beings that secretly live and work around us? Ooh, wouldn’t that be exciting?

Or would it be more frightening than exciting? Think about it. If you knew vampires lived in your hometown, would you go running around at night? Wouldn’t you try to do your errands during the daytime hours when they’re not out and about? And yet, the characters in True Blood and The Vampire Diaries think nothing of running to the local convenience store at the stroke of midnight. What brave souls they are!

Then there’s the problem of everyone simply accepting the super-powered beings that hang out around them. If vampires came out publicly on tonight’s evening news program, wouldn’t that freak you out? Yet these people seem to accept werewolves, shape-shifters and vamps with little to no loss of sanity. Although I write paranormal romances, I think I’d still lose my cool a little. Okay, maybe a lot.

Look, I know you have to invite a vampire inside your home before he can enter, but why be faced with the uncomfortable situation of saying no? Why don’t the residents of Bon Temps get peep holes and simply not answer their doors when a known vamp comes a-knockin’? I know I would.

Believe me, I’m not dissing shows like True Blood. I don’t normally worry that the characters seem to accept their odd neighbors with ease. We writers call that “suspension of disbelief.” In other words, if the viewer or reader didn’t buy into the premise that supernatural beings lived among us, they wouldn’t get involved in the book or movie. Therefore, they have to “suspend their disbelief”.

My main problem is this. With all the many supernatural beings and creatures running around the swamps, where are all the dragons?

Come on, Sookie. Have you checked the outhouse? Surely there’s a dragon in there somewhere.

Beverly Rae - www.beverlyrae.com

I MARRIED A DRAGON (Para-Mates, Bk 2) - Burn, baby, burn!
A Samhain Publishing Bestseller

07 October 2011

Favorite shifters...

I love shapeshifters. Beyond the traditional werewolves, there are shifters who can take any form. There are those who are restricted to particular creatures. My daughters also enjoy shifter stories. Luckily, they've been able to find quite a few Young Adult novels that are not only well-written, but include some wonderful characters.

In honor of the Halloween season, here are some shifter stories -- mostly YA -- you might want to check out. Some you've probably read or heard of; the rest may be a pleasant new find. If you have some to add, please do!

1. Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls) by Maggie Stiefvater

2. Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls) (M. Stiefvater)

3. Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls) (M. Stiefvater)

4. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) - by, Cassandra Clare

5. The Hunchback Assignments - by, Arthur Slade

6. The Dark Deeps -- The Hunchback Assignments, 2 (A. Slade)

7. Empire of Ruins -- The Hunchback Assignments, 3 (A. Slade)

8. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - by, JK Rowling

On a more 'adult' note:

9. Eat Prey Love - by, Kerrelyn Sparks

~~Meg Allison
Indulge your senses...

06 October 2011

Lucky 1000!

I was going to find 13 famous "1000s" to commemorate the fact that the Beyond the Veil Facebook page has exceeded 1000 followers. Woo-hoo! Confetti! Champagne! However, I came up short on the 1000s. I did find:

http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/clubfootball/news/newsid=128880.html -- "The date 20 May 2007 will go down in football history after one of the game's greatest ever exponents realised one of its greatest goalscoring achievements. In a 3-1 win over Sport in the Brazilian Championship, according to his 'personal count', Vasco's Romario netted the 1,000th goal of a career that has spanned 22 years, stretched across five continents and returned a stunning collection of titles."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1000 -- "Year 1000 (M) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. It was also the last year of the 10th century as well as the last year of the 1st millennium of the Christian era ending on December 31st, but the first year of the 1000s decade. Popular culture sometimes holds the year 1000 as the first year of the 11th century and the 2nd millennium, due to a tendency to group the years according to decimal values, as if a year zero were counted. According to the Gregorian Calendar, this distinction falls to the year 1001, because the 1st century was retroactively said to start with year 1. Since the calendar has no year zero, its first millennium spans from years 1 to 1000, inclusive."

http://www.1000islands.com/ -- "The 1000 Islands Region is an international tourism destination, encompassing communities on both sides of the US and Canada border along the St. Lawrence River and the eastern shores of Lake Ontario. The region takes its name from the more than 1000 islands that dot the lake and river along this international waterway."

http://omega-constellation-collectors.blogspot.com/2009/04/famous-1000-certified-omega.html -- which is a watch collector's blog wherein he discusses an advertisement for and friend's purchase of an Omega brand watch.


http://www.onethousandpaintings.com/home/ -- "One thousand numbers = one thousand paintings. All beautifully painted on canvas (approx. 12 x 12 x 1.5 inches). Each number is unique - the number is the art is the price is the limit."

Of course my idea for the post was also motivated by the fact my novel One Thousand Kisses was recently awarded finalist status in the 2012 EPPIEs as well.

But alas, I am falling short on the Thursday Thirteen motif tonight (well, today, actually, as I googled on and off at different times).

Anybody else want to share some famous 1000s? Because, seriously, 1001 seems to be a lot more famous than 1000.

Jody W.
www.jodywallace.com * www.meankitty.com

03 October 2011

Finally! Some New Material

I know it's been a long wait, but I'll have a brand new book out on October 25th from Samhain. It's called HIDDEN TALENT and it's a very hot book that lives up to its warnings! :)

After that, I'll have a novella out in early November called KING OF SWORDS and it's sequel, KING OF CUPS, out in early December. I'm already getting things lined up for next year, including a new paranormal novella that will release sometime around Valentine's Day or slightly before. That story features one of the Redstone cousins, a werecougar who will really make you purr. ;-)

I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve for early 2012, including a new paranormal novel from Samhain called BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD: WOLF HILLS, which will be out in April. Will keep you posted on all of this, of course, but for now...

Here's the blurb for HIDDEN TALENT:

While on an undercover mission to gather intelligence on the neighboring collective, Micah receives the shock of his life. A shy, reclusive horse tamer who possesses a level of raw psi Talent that nearly matches his own. Along with her pure, wild Talent, her beautiful spirit and innocence rouse him to take her on a voyage of discovery to the stars -- and the limits of her own, untapped passion.

All her life, Jeri has hidden her Talent, enduring the stigma of being "odd". Once aboard the Circe, Micah and his cousin Darak, a rogue of the first order, guide her through a world where those with Talents are revered, not hunted. Where pleasure hones and strengthens psi power to undreamed-of heights. Where love is a real possibility, not a distant dream.

When a defenseless planet is besieged by the collective's armada, the Circe races to the rescue -- only to discover a missing piece of Jeri's past on the wrong side of the battle. And that combining her formidable new powers with Micah's may win the day, but cost her everything...
I'm just so glad to finally have some new material coming out. It's been a while, I know, but it takes time to get things in the "pipeline" for publication. Finally, it looks like we're moving again -- in ebooks at least. As with most Samhain titles, HIDDEN TALENT won't be in print for about 10 months or so and the novellas are ebook-only for the foreseeable future.
For more information, as always, visit my website: www.biancadarc.com, or look for me on facebook or the other places I hang out. ;-) I'll be posting more news as it becomes available.

02 October 2011

Those rascally shifters

*Cue spooky music* While you’re reading this I am not at my computer. I am in the lovely town of Akron Ohio for Ellora’s Cave Romanticon and presently signing books … hopefully. I do have visions of people lobbing things at me. ;-) LOL! *end spooky music*

This month, October (which btw is my favourite month) the theme is HERE BE DRAGONS, WEREWOLVES AND MORE. What a perfect theme for the spookiest month of the year. I am a Halloween junkie. It’s also the month I got married. I wanted a Halloween themed wedding but I was vetoed. Anyways I digress.

I love shifters. I’ve read many of them. My favourite shifters being Katie MacAlister’s dragons in her Aisling Grey series. I heart Drake.

I love shifters so much, but I’ve never written one. Until recently.

I just subbed it to my editor so I can’t say much other than it involves Mounties and hot shifters. *grin*

I know I was totally entranced by shifting creatures when I saw The Last Unicorn, though she wasn’t a true shifter … she was just transformed. A couple years later I saw the movie Lady Hawke. Does anyone remember Lady Hawke and I thought WOW what a great tragic love story and how they are separated by their shift. She’s a hawk by day and he’s a wolf by night.

Shifting has been around for quite some time too. I mean look at that rascally God Zeus well he’s the KING of shifters.

Let’s take a look at some of what he’s shifted into to seduce women:

• Artemis (a woman)
• Bull
• Swan
• Golden Shower

In the classic King Arthur legends Uther Pendragon transformed into Gorlois to lay with Gorlois’ wife Lady Igraine.

Shape shifters have been ingrained in our legends since we sat around the fires and told stories through song and dance and I have to wonder what is our fascination with them.

What do you like about shifters? What is your favourite type of shifter?

Have a spooktacular October.

01 October 2011

Ticket to ride!

About this time last year, I posted a blog about my spectacular failure to pass the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's (MSF) basic rider course in a quest to get my license. I can look back on it now and laugh, especially since now, one year later, I have...(drum roll)...passed the course and earned my M!

Yep, instead of a generic picture of a girl on a motorcycle, today's picture is me on my second day riding my new scooter, which I've dubbed "Puck." In faerie lore, the pooka or phukka are a funloving folk, full of mischief and lively humor. But treated with disrespect or ignored, they can turn on you and make life miserable! That's sort of how I approach riding - have fun, but don't push my luck.

Puck is a 2011 Meiduo 150cc scooter, delightfully easy to ride and with enough zip to be safe on the townships 50-mph roads. The previous owner added a water bottle holder and a strip of bright blue LED lights on the underside, right before he decided he wanted a machine with a bigger engine.

My instructor, the proprietor of a local scooter shop, went above and beyond to help me get over my jitters. When I showed up for the schedule class in August, it turned out all the scooters he'd brought with him were too tall for me - I couldn't reach the ground with my toes, much less flatfoot it. So once again I had to bow out of the course before I'd barely gotten started. Tom promised me he'd meet with me one on one with a smaller scooter the following week. Then his lovely wife Katy broke her foot, so we had to put it off yet another few weeks.

Just when it looked liked I'd either be riding in the snow or putting it off another year, Tom called with the news that Katy was cleared to put weight on the foot.

A few days later I walked nervously onto the far corner of long-term parking at the local airport. Tom put me on a bright yellow former rental scooter that I promptly named Tweetie Bird. After learning the basics on Tweetie, Tom put me on a bigger scooter to see how I fared in the sharp turns. Suffice to say the bug population of the Lucas County airport parking lot was cut roughly in half as I raced around the turns with a huge grin on my face. :)

Two days later I'd mastered the dreaded Box (tight figure 8), cornering, weaving and emergency stopping. My only point off was not coming out of the corner fast enough.

Hmm, riding faster...better go work on that. See ya later! Now where's my helmet...