(Posted by Mother Mary for Mary Ricksen)

We've had five dogs since the year 1973. Every one was special in its own way. Every one of them were smart. Dogs can pick up a cue from a person and read their faces better than some humans can. They're always there when you need them.

King was exactly what his name indicated, he was the King. He was a wise man stuck in a dog's body. I would tell him what to do and he would do it. From "go get your dish", to "gimmie a kiss", he obliged. He would greet people at the door. No matter where he was. At other people's houses he was very well behaved, so we took him everywhere. You could walk down the middle of a super highway with him next to you, and he'd not move more than a foot away. Heel, come, sit, whatever you asked of that dog he listened and complied.

One time he got into a bottle of medicine that a relative had left on the dresser. He never went into anything before. He'd never gone in the garbage, He'd never chewed anything up. He was so well behaved and that's why we were so shocked. He ate every bitter pill in that brown plastic bottle. Turns out it was a tranquilizer that he'd eaten. Sixty of them, and he got very stoned. So affected that he tripped over his own feet as he bumped around the room.

We took him to the emergency room. I have no idea what they did but it was costly and they gave him a shot of something telling us to go to our regular vet immediately. When the vets office saw him, they made us leave him, because they were afraid he might stop breathing. They told us the medication could take weeks to clear out of his system. So for three weeks, we called and waited. King got a little more balance back every day. But still they would not let us take him home.

After three weeks I went in to check on him. He greeted us at the front door. Us and everyone else who came there. Turned out that the staff at the vets loved him so much they didn't want to let him come home and leave them. He had the run of the place. I thought it was strange when they told me they weren't charging me.

So finally King came home. It took a few more weeks before he was back to normal. And we never left a pill container out again. Who knew he liked pills, the dog gave me such a hard time if I wanted to give him one.

So never leave your pills out, you just never know.

Posted by Mary Ricksen at

Brilliant yellow gold finches streaked across the garden today and landed on the fence beside the hollyhocks. I love these birds, one of my absolute favorites. In midsummer, when the sunflowers bloom, they gather in chattering clusters to feed on the seeds. Their wings flash in the sun as they suspend on sunflower heads and peck away, and meticulously open each seed. I’ve never heard such euphoric birds, continually exclaiming over their finds. They have a lot to say and do not keep secrets well.

If I were to confide in birds, it would not be them, or to crows, loudly proclaiming the latest gossip. Warblers are fairy creatures, but not silent fairies. Possibly to wolves--no. They howl. Frogs croak and gribbit. Turtles are quiet. Tell all to turtles, then. Box or painted ones. Snappers are treacherous and would as soon bite you as listen.

Star Wars. The Wizard of Oz. Harry Potter and…whatever he's up to in a given book. The Mrs. Pollifax mysteries. I love settling down with stories like these, about a regular, often discounted, person who is thrust into a strange new world full of wonderful and terrible challenges. Instead of falling apart, our hero or heroine rises to the occasion by being…themselves. I love that-- as a reader. But as a writer?

The funny thing about writing stories like this, at least for me, is that when it comes to that critical stage where our hero or heroine meets the wise old guru who knows what the protagonist needs to do to defeat the villain, I can't help but think, "Instead spouting the usual cryptic mumbo jumbo, why don't you just tell them what they need to do and save us all a lot of angst?"
Of course, if you do that, there'd be no story. And thus another promising adventure goes into the To Be Finished drawer, for a second life as author's guilt. ("I really should finish that great story I started…")

I've written or thought up dozens of stories, only to get stuck on this point. Until now. Until I became the wise guru in a real life drama, which I'll call Feline World War Three: The battle of the dining room table.

I recently moved and my cat, Fuzzy, came with me. (No, I did not name her.) The house we moved into already has a cat, Tum Tum (I didn't name her, either). Tum Tum is fourteen pounds of furry black affection-- and she is not pleased that another cat is muscling in on her tummy rubbing time with her humans. The moment Fuzzy enters the room, Tum Tum turns into a shrieking banshee. As best I can translate cat shrieks, she is saying, "Get out! Interloper! Interloper! My house! My house! Go! Go! Go!) The fact that Fuzzy is twice her age, half her size, and has zero interest in any human affection is beside the point.

Now, Fuzzy can pretty much take care of herself. It's actually a little embarrassing to watch Tum Tum (aka The Giantessa) repeatedly get her butt kicked by this wee grey-striped cat. I always thought that expression, the fur went flying, was overdone until I actually saw it in action. Neither cat ever gets hurt or even scratched, but there are hunks—HUNKS-- of black Tum Tum fur all over the place. I have to vacuum every day or the carpet looks like dalmatian fur.

It's not the vacuuming I object to (well…) but the fact that Fuzzy is sick and doesn't need the stress of constantly defending herself. And there's the disquieting reality that one of Tum Tum's huge claws, if it ever reached Fuzzy, could take off her tiny head.
The thing is, getting back to my point about being the wise guru in this battle, Fuzzy could completely avoid being stalked by Tum Tum if only she went up. That's all she has to do. Jump up onto something. Tum Tum can't jump worth squat. She is barely able to pull herself the eighteen inches up onto the couch.

And yet, what does Fuzzy do when Tum Tum comes in the room, looking for a fight? She promptly jumps down to hide under something. Something worthless, like a chair where any idiot can see her.

I want desperately to communicate to Fuzzy that all she needs to do is stay on the bookshelf or the table top or whatever she's napping on. But I can't. It is something she will have to figure out for herself.

And that is why, in the Wizard of Oz, Glinda can't just tell Dorothy to wish herself home the second those ruby slippers appear on her feet. It is only at the end of her journey that Dorothy can hear and understand.

You can't tell someone what they need to hear until they are ready. Sometimes they need to find it out for themselves. I just hope, in my situation, Fuzzy figures it out before Winter. It's cold in our house and Tum Tum's going to need her fur.

Liz Jasper is the author of the award winning cozy vampire mystery UNDERDEAD. Visit her at her website: www.lizjasper.com. If you are in the LA area on Sunday, visit Liz at the Anaheim Convention Center in the Sisters In Crime booth where she'll be signing copies of Underdead.

He paws the earth and revels in his own strength

And the earth and all its creatures know his joy

His muscles ripple in the noonday sun

His nostrils flare with the excitement of newly-found freedom

His head and tail held high, he prances.

Author unknown

This is a portion of a poem that someone gave me when I showed my Andalusian horses. The love of horses is a special gift. I don't ride anymore but I still remember the power and majesty of riding a horse.

(This is Travis Fimmel--gorgeous huh? He has a fan web site. http://www.travis-fimmel.com/ with more yummy pix)
London, England, a dark and stormy night in May, 2008

A talk show, Vampires Among Us, on the telly last week had captured my attention. Five attractive young mortals circled the show host and claimed to be vampires. These real vampires plunged hypodermic needles into their veins, extracted a thimble of blood and squirted cardinal sin into their mouths directly from the syringe.

Appetizing? Not much. Pleasure? Not any.

"Imagine, instead," I wanted to tell them, "pressing your lips to the throat. Open your mouth, run your tongue along the throbbing artery. Sink your teeth into that river of sheer delight. Your whole body vibrates with satisfaction more acute than sex. That's what it means to be a vampire."

The very idea of telling them chased away the Hounds of Hell called Boredom that had been nipping at my heels.

Avery, always the perfect manservant in his black suit and bow tie, asked, "Shall I fetch your coat, Milord? It's another rainy night in London."

I smiled at the old gentleman who'd served me for twenty years. “Yes, I'm off on my vampire hunt. Don’t wait up.”

“Vampire hunt?” He chuckled. “Shouldn't you wear a cross?”

With my fingers I made a cross, bared my fangs and hissed like a horror flick fiend.

At quarter-past nine, I nosed the Jag to the curb between an elderly Ford Escort and a new Mazda, switched off the headlamps then decided to park around the corner from the prying eyes. After a short walk in a misty rain, I opened the etched glass door of the Rose and Crown and bit the bottom lip of a smile. The cheerful neighborhood pub in Maida Vale was a supremely unlikely haunt for vampires! It had been easy to find coven. Unseen observer, I had watched them in their natural habitat, and the Rose and Crown it was on a nightly basis.

When the door swooshed closed behind me, I found myself the object of lively scrutiny. My clothes and my bearing set me apart from the crowd, but as suddenly as I'd turned their heads, they lost interest and returned to the serious business of having a jolly good time.

A babble of voices, the clink of glassware and the subtle throb of pulses blended in the seductive music of mortality. The aroma of strong ale and pub food was overwhelming. An American voice called for more ice. Barware dangled upside down from the wooden racks on the ceiling. Flushed faces smiled at their reflections in the "BASS ALE" mirror. A spattering of university students decorated the working-class crowd.

Instinctively, I shielded against the noise, rampant thoughts and emotions flitting around the room. I shed my coat, hung it on a brass coat rack and scanned the room for my quarry. Squat mushroom tables dotted the scuffed wooden floor. The chairs were an assortment of nobody-cares. To my left, a fire leapt in an arched brick fireplace, crowned by a picture of the Queen at her Silver Jubilee. As I gravitated toward the two brocade benches flanking the hearth, a familiar laugh chimed like a bell.
The vampires huddled in the forest of Guinness cans sprouting from their table in a far corner.
This is from scenes (entire portions) deleted from my first novel Sinners Opera. Morgan and I invite you to finish reading this continuing story at www.lindanightingale.com.


Posted by Mary Marvella | 3:23 PM | 7 comments »

What is blogging all about? Different blogs are about different things. As a writers' blog we can blog about writing or we can blog about our other areas of expertise. What is the purpose of this blog? Do we want to share our experiences with each other or with prospective readers? We can blog about our current or soon to be published books or we can interview other writers or agents or editors with small presses and maybe larger ones.

I blogged about cosmetics and home cures and some personal experiences. If you'd like to see a specific type of blog in the next weeks, please comment. if you'd like to be a guest, let us know here.

We all have things to say, even in short blogs.

They have gone now
And only I remain
And when they ask me why,
I will say:
because of the soft summer rain.

I like to hear the rain
playing on the grass
falling at my feet;
It reminds me of Before,
Of Summers when
the grass was green
the sky was gold
and bird-sings filled the air,
and everything was seized with Living....

How could I leave all that?

They are gone now,
And I alone remain
And when they ask me why,
I will say:
because of the soft summer rain.


Posted by Beth Trissel | 11:12 PM | , | 5 comments »

By Mary Ricksen

As I was standing by my car waiting for the $30.- I put into the tank, it moved so fast I thought, 'What the hell'. This is so bad, I remember when they pumped the gas and cleaned my windshield to. My mind, being unable to stay in one place long moved on.

I looked around at a couple of kids whizzing by on skateboards. I wondered, what happened to roller skating, with the baseball cards in your spokes to make a cool sound.

Roller skates, now what happened to them, now it's roller blades, speed kills people, slow down, put a pair of those metal thingee's on your shoes and feel the concrete grind, sending the feeling up and down your legs.

What about roller skating at fast food places. Where they skated to your window and skated back with your food. A&W root beer in a big frosted mug. If your parents let you put that scoop of ice cream in, heavenly.

How about Soupy Sales, did any of you, send in those green things of your parents.
I miss you Fang.

Drive in movies, with your boyfriend, oh the necking. Ever had a hickey.

How about finding the tag Made in America, we used to be upset by made in Japan, now we miss that, because the made in China thing is killing us.

Comic books and bubble gum on Saturday, if only you had kept them.

Swimming at the YMCA, chlorine smell and athletes foot anyone?

$4.- paperback books.

Ed Sullivan, I hated Sundays but, the Beatles! the Rolling Stones! the Doors! All those great groups, who made you cry and scream and laugh and talk about all day the next day in school.

Christmas, not just the holiday, but all the relatives getting together. Now that was fun, bear hugs from uncle Frankie, all the kids everywhere. Relatives who you haven't seen forever, getting away with stuff, presents. Where did that go?

Shag carpets, hard to clean but cool.

Ordering from that Sears catalog that was around forever. Why is it gone?

$1.- Saturday matinées, cheap popcorn, and a cool way to spend a rainy day.

Horseback riding,when your body still worked well enough to do it.

Guys opening doors for you, let alone offering you a seat.

Tye died clothes. Not only for hippies, we all wore them.

The three Stooges, all five of them. When they went on the spaceship and found the unicorn. God, if you like slapstick, they beat Laurel and Hardy if you ask me.

I could go on and on, but then I hear it in the back of my mind. Buzzing around and tickling my brain. It's my mother and she's missing Perry Como.

We all miss something, and to each his own. I'm just wondering what else will go by the wayside. Lost, Big brother, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, where will it end? Although thinking about it, some things are better off missed.

Children generally aren't featured in romances--unless it's as the long-lost heir to a fortune or an equally secret offspring someone would prefer to forget. Even the most fair-minded of heroes will run like the dickens if he hears the wings of the stork approaching, even if--deep, deep down in his wild and free-living heart--all he truly wants is a spouse and little ones gathered around the hearth to give him the adoration he feels he deserves. A good many of my heroes have family issues which, through their own machinations or some other force, involve their present--or future--offspring.

In Serpent's Tooth, Rock star Travis Brandt vanishes without a trace after his wife gave birth to a stillborn son. The reason: while under the influence of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll, Trav offered his unborn child to a demon. A quarter of a century later, a much older Travis re-marries and finds himself again about to become a father--and the demon is still waiting....

Sar Trant of Three Moon Station became a father at age fourteen, raising his motherless son and becoming a respected rancher because he was determined to show he could be a good parent and rise above all the strikes against him. When he meets fugitive Katy Rawls, she has no choice but to fall in love with this kind and gentle man who has a will of steel.

At the age of twenty-four in Human Years, vampire Marek Strigoi, the Shadow Lord, becomes a surrogate father to his younger brothers, twins Vlad and Andreas, when his father is killed by a rogue vampire. He also becomes the adopted father of a human child left in place of his kidnapped little sister. For the next sixteen years, the two main concerns in Marek's live will be caring for his siblings and finding his father's killer, until he meets Lily-Magda, the one woman he will love throughout the centuries. Marek's love for Lily and his duty to his family will be the driving forces in his life for the next three hundred years.

Sinbad sh'en Singh, the feline smuggler of the Adventures of Sinbad, wants nothing more than to have a den, a mate, and many furry little cubs. What he gets is a strong-willed little Terran named Andrea, the establishment of a billion Credit shipping industry, and so many children and grandchildren, he sometimes can't remember their names--but he and Andi have plenty of adventures and love along the way!

Riven kan Ingan of Bloodseek is the son of a wolf's-head, a foreign mercenary. After a particularly vicious battle, he's told he'll be unable to sire a child. He's also been told that the gods have prophesied that he's to be the Father of Kings. Trying to reconcile those two facts is enough to make him glad he doesn't believe in the gods, but it all comes about because he rescues a barbarian slave named Barbara.

Kitten Andrus, the Dragon of The Rose and the Dragon, is Head of Security and chief hitman for the House of Andrus, the strongest crime family on the planet Gataeus. Kit has a problem with women--all his wives have been social climbers who want his name but no part of being a homebody and mother. The day Miranda Wilson, his brother Dominic's Terran nanny, meets his offspring, she's less than impressed with his parenting skills. Teasing him about remembering his many children's names, she then wonders about his wife:

“And when do I get to meet Mrs Andrus?”

Kit frowned as if he didn’t understand. “My mother’s been dead for quite some time--”

“Not your mother-- Your wife. When will I meet her?”

Perhaps she was resting upstairs, was an invalid or something. She envisioned the woman as pale and exhausted, worn out from giving birth to so many children and from the undoubtedly vigorous onslaught of Kit’s lovemaking, which would regularly create another one.

“Oh. My wife. I’m not married, Randa. I don’t have a wife!”

“Come on!” Miranda retorted. She waved a hand around the table, indicating the children who were now totally silent. “You didn’t do all this by yourself, did you?”

“Well--” he stopped, disconcerted by the stares which now were directed at him. “Of course not! Each child has a mother!”

Each child? My God!--didn’t you marry any of them?” Her disbelieving gaze swept the table.

“My wives chose not to stay with me, Randa, and they chose not to take their children when they left. Under Gataen law, a father may deny paternity of a child deserted by its mother, but I’ve legally recognized and accepted responsibility for each one.” His voice dropped slightly. “I love my children....”

He bowed his head and kissed Cynti’s cheek, brushing a finger against one of the dark curls. If she’d doubted his affection for any of them, it vanished with that one caress.

“But-- Eight women! Why, you must have had them going through here on a conveyer belt! What did you do, assign them numbers?”

“I suppose that means you think I don’t remember their names, either?”

“Well?” She stabbed at a slice of meat with her fork and ate it almost viciously.

“Well-- what?”

“Name them!” When he didn’t answer, she went on, vaguely aware that now the children were hiding smiles behind their hands, the two eldest boys exchanging amused glances at sight of their father arguing with his guest. “Go on! Match each child with his mother’s name!”

“All right!” Defiantly, he looked at Nikolas. “Nikolas’ mother was Liliane--”

“Lilith....” the boy corrected softly, just loud enough for Kit to hear.

“All right, then--Lilith! Damn, that was a long time ago! I was only seventeen!”

Lord, a father at seventeen? What had Big Brother Dominic thought about that--or had he cared?

He looked at his next son, thirteen-year-old Stefan, bright-eyed and nudging Nikolas while barely stifling a grin.

“Stefan’s mother....” Kit frowned, forehead wrinkling. “Glorisi…. I remember she was a quiet, little thing-- barely ever spoke above a whisper, except the day she learned Stefan was on the way!”

He laughed.

Miranda shot a quick glance at Stefan. The boy was laughing, too.

“Left here the next day, promising to let me know when I became a father! She sent Stefan to me by Special Messenger the day after he was born." Kit looked fondly at the child, leaning forward to ruffle his hair. "Best package I ever received!"

He named the next three children in easy succession, then looked at the twins.

“Don’t have any trouble remembering your mother’s name, do I? Alexa!” His tone was a little rueful but he winked at Dom's triplets, who giggled, probably because it was also their own mother’s name, Miranda thought.

Now, Kit shifted Cynti to his other knee so that the little girl was facing Miranda.

“And then, there’s Cyntis. That was her mother’s name, also. Still haven’t figured out how I got a female chlid....” he shrugged. “I was a little drunk that night. Must have weakened me....”

“A mere female?” Miranda spluttered. “After so many sons? I’m surprised you kept her!”

“It was a novelty!” He didn’t appear upset by her sarcasm. “Didn’t have any choice, anyway, even if I’d wanted one. Her mother died giving birth....”

His arm tightened around the little girl.

“Oh, I-I’m sorry....”

“She was ill.” He explained quietly. "We didn't know it--if I had, I'd have never--" a quick sigh. "I was there when the baby was born. I was holding Cyntis' hand when she died...."

There was a long silence, broken only by the sound of forks and spoons scraping plates as the children continued to eat, apparently unmoved by the story of their little sister’s being half-orphaned at birth--or perhaps because they were accustomed to hearing it.

“I’m sorry,” Miranda said again, much softer, and meant it.

“Don’t be,” Kit answered. “I’m not. I’m not sorry for any of it. Cyntis and I had two good years together and maybe, that was enough!”

Deep, deep down, no matter what they actually say, all these men love their children--and the women who bear them--and the adventures they have along the way and the love they share make up their stories.

(The Rose and the Dragon is published by Double Dragon Publications, as is Bloodseek and the Adventures of Sinbad. Shadow Lord will be released by Belle Books, date TBA, and Three Moon Station will be available through The Wild Rose Press, released date also TBA.)

(In Three Moon Station, Katy, a fugitive witness to a murder, hides out on Tritomis-2, a pioneer farming planet. Purchased by Sar Trant, a reclusive rancher, she believes she's going to be his housekeeper, and only later through an embarrassing series of events, discovers she's legally his wife. Upon arriving at his ranch, Three Moon Station, Katy, still unaware of her new relationship with Sar, meets the other member of the Trant household.)

A man stood in the doorway, younger than Trant, a little younger than she, about twenty, she thought. He was barefoot, wearing unbelted jeans, and an unbuttoned shirt that looked as it had been hastily thrown over the broad shoulders. His long black hair was tousled as if he'd been asleep, hanging about his swarthy face and down his back. He was as dark as Trant was fair but Katy was aware of a startling resemblance between the two.

"I was asleep." He answered Trant's question, though he didn't move his gaze from Katy's face. "Who's this?"

"Who wouldya think 'tis?" Trant replied in a slightly irritated tone, still rankling from her condemnation of his home.

The boy didn't answer and Trant said something absolutely surprising, "Hatch, this is Katy--Katy, this is m'son, Hatch!"

His son! She couldn't do anything but stare--gawk--mouth falling open. He was too young to have a child this age! Nevertheless, she knew it was true. In spite of Hatch's darkness, the aqua eyes and handsome features were Trant's own.

She managed to recover enough to stammer, "H-hello, Hatch," and take a step toward him, holding out her hand.

The scowl forming on the handsome face eased a little as he carefully took her hand, gave it a gentle squeeze and released it.

"Didna expect this," he muttered, looking at his father.

"Have you had supper?" Trant asked, sounding like a parent.

"Couple of apples."

"You need more than that."

A shrug. "'Twas enough." Like Trant, Hatch had an accent. He looked from Katy to his father and muttered, "I'll go back to the barn. Guess you two want to be alone."

He turned and walked out.

"I'll be out in a bit to stable the oxen," Trant called.

Hatch waved a hand over his shoulder to acknowledge that he'd heard but didn't look back.

"Why is he sleeping in the barn?" Katy asked. Trant had said most of the house was closed--and only one bed was in use. "Not because of me, I hope?"

"Hardly!" Trant gave a short laugh. "I've always had trouble ge'ing Hatch to sleep in a house. He'd sleep under the stars if I'd let him--in all seasons!"

"Doesn't he get cold in the winter?"

His father shrugged. "He says he doesn't, though I've made many a trip out there to make certain, when the snow is thick. Once, I found him sleeping in a stall, curled up next to one of the elos!"

"He certainly looked angry."

He closed the door and turned to look at her.

"Probably 'twas seeing how you reacted to learning I have a part-Gadja son." He shook his head, disappointment in the aqua eyes. "I'd na have expected that of you, Sunshine."

"What do you mean?" she demanded, not understanding his accusation. "What's a Gadja?"

"You dinna know?"

She shook her head, seeing the disappointment fade.

"I knew you couldna be that intolerant! The Gadjas are the original natives of Tritomis," he explained. "They're nomads, living off the land, and--like most places open to colonization--they've been made into a minority by the settlers. They're not treated kindly by us, I'm afraid."

"And Hatch thought that I--" She was angry--at Hatch for thinking that, at Trant for not explaining sooner. "You'll tell him, won't you? Explain that I-I was just surprised you have a son that old?"

He nodded, and she thought she saw a quick flushing of his cheeks, as if what she'd said embarrassed him.

"I'm surprised you'd want to have more children now, with Hatch the age he is--" she went on, determined to make him talk of his family, now that she'd met one member. "When do I get to meet his mother?"

He turned away from her, studying the table, picking up one of the books and staring at its cover before answering.

"You'll na meet her, Katy. I've na been married." The words came out with a long sigh.

THREE MOON STATION (release date TBA) will be published by The Wild Rose Press some time this summer. It is written under one of my pen names, Icy Snow Blackstone.

Life is an Illusion.

The Past is Memory...the Future is Imagination...

The only thing real is this one Instant of the Present...and that is

Constantly changing from Imagination to Memory....

Jeffrey Deaver, author of the Lincoln Rhyme mysteries

When Lucy Hollister tried to drop-kick her personal computer out her second-story window, she had no idea it would eventually lead to the seduction of her very hot, very yummy best friend, Rory Carlisle.

After all, she’s the queen of passivity, and he’s the reining king of the non-committed relationship. When a sexy online flirtation leads the couple into some steamy situations, Rory realizes that his cute best friend is letting loose—in the best possible way.

Can this couple get past old hurts and guarded hearts to embrace the passionate love that awaits?

Excerpt From Letting Luce:

“Who did you do it for?” Rory asked.

Lucy’s heart thudded in her chest. She couldn’t quite meet his eyes. His velvety voice, rough yet smooth, caressed nerve endings strung tight like piano wire.

“Lucy,” he said softly. “Who did you wear that dress for?”

Oh, he was good. He knew damn well she’d dressed up for him. In a sudden flash of insight, she realized she wasn’t fooling anyone, especially Rory.

“I know you,” he said, his voice whispering over her. “ScorpioCutie.”

Her breath caught, and her eyes moved to his face. He watched her with the single-minded intensity he saved for naughty co-eds and naughtier computers.

“What did you just call me?”

“You heard me,” he answered huskily.

Silent, her gaze skittered away from his, flying away like a nervous bird before landing on a spot a few feet beyond his shoulder. She considered denying it all. How much could he know, after all? He might be guessing. Then she thought of his heated gaze, those knowing eyes, that flash of insight.

Her skin heated with embarrassment. “How long have you known?”

God! Why couldn’t she just be ScorpioCutie? Why couldn’t she charge over there and throw him down on the grass? What stopped her?

Three words: Lucille Louise Hollister.

“A couple of weeks.”

“How did you find out?”

His heated stare burned her flesh. “You forgot to delete the chat logs.”

Duh! “Why didn’t you say anything sooner?”

“Why didn’t you?”

Good question. She didn’t know if he wanted to hear the truth. So she lied. “It was part of the game.”

He lifted a brow. “So this is just a game?”

Lucy nodded, but she couldn’t look him in the eye. He turned to her with predatory grace; stalking her, closing her in, forcing her to lean against one of the metal beams. The cold seeped in from the steel, saturating her skin as a prickle of goosebumps that spread across her body.
He looked like a large feral animal, and she was his prey.

With nowhere to go.

Rory stopped an inch from her. He was so big, towering over her. His hot breath fanned across her cheek. He lifted a finger and ran it down her neck. She couldn’t control the delicious tremor that ran through her...

By Author Jenny Gilliam ~ Spicy Romance with a Dash of Humor
LETTING LUCE, Available June 20 from Amira Press!

THE WEDDING WAR, Now Available in digital and print from The Wild Rose Press!
THE TRUTH ABOUT ROXY, Available November 17 from The Wild Rose Press!


Posted by Toni V.S. | 12:04 PM | 6 comments »

At the end of Sinbad's Last Voyage, it certainly looked as if our hero was done for. Stricken with mesothelioma asbestosis after being unjustly imprisoned for twelve years in the Toxic Zone (formerly an asbestos waste dump in the Buffalo Commons), Sinbad sh'en Singh at last weakened and asked his beloved Andi to marry him, though their time together would be very brief. Only after giving birth to his son did she agree, and the half-Felidan smuggler went on his last run, promising to "retire" from the Brotherhood of St. Dismas and become an Abider as soon as he came back.

Sinbad's Wife, the second novel in the Adventures of Sinbad series, opens at an unlikely moment--Sinbad's sh'en Singh's Best Man bemoaning the fact that he's once again lost the woman he loves to an alien!

Since the age of five, Eli Nighthorse has loved Andrea Talltrees. He lost her to Tran, thought he was getting a second chance when Andi returned home alone, then saw his hopes dashed to pieces when the feline smuggler reappeared in her life. Now--to add insult to injury--he's been asked to be Best Man at her wedding!

During the knock-down verbal battle of their reconciliation--interrupted by the birth of son Allan--and Andi's meek agreement afterward to marry him, Sin thinks everything is fine. After his final Run and subsequent resignation from the Brotherhood of St. Dismas, however, and his return to the farm to exchange his Winchester handrifle for a pitchfork, Andi does an about face. Now, she doesn't want to get married...no how...not never!

Aware that her own people are shunning her for not only having a child out of wedlock but actually living with the father without marrying him, Sin can't understand her attitude. After all it's not like he doesn't want to marry her--for six months, he's asked her at least once a day and each time, she refuses. He knows everyone blames him, including Eli, who at this point isn't yet his friend, but doesn't bother to correct that assumption because even he can't figure out the reason. Sin's getting sicker and sicker and all he wants before it's too late is to get Andi legally wed and give his son the safety of legitimacy, something he never had, since his own parents' marriage was never recognized by the Federation.

With the Grim Reaper breathing down his neck, Sin devises a desperate plan to get Andi to the church on time...something totally crazy, but the only thing he can think of that will get his stubborn little Terran to say "I do!" before they're saying "Dust to dust, ashes to ashes" over him!


Upstairs, Andi was taking a shower.
As she turned off the water and stepped out of the stall, she walked directly into a large soft towel which Sin was holding in front of him. Before she realized it, she was enveloped in both the towel and Sin's arms and quickly lifted off the floor and carried to the bed.
Carefully unwrapping the towel from around her, he sat beside her on the bed, drying and kissing each little bit of pale skin as it was uncovered. Andi shivered and put her arms around his neck, pulling his body down to rest against hers.
"Do you love me, Andi?" He kissed her forehead.
She broke off in the middle of a little moan to gasp, "Of course I do, Sin!"
Another kiss, on her throat. He rubbed his cheek against hers. "Say it."
Obediently, she whispered, "I love you, Sin," and entwined the heavy hair in her hands, holding him immobile as she brushed her own lips against his chest.
"Can't live without me?" he persisted, raising himself to stare into her eyes.
"What kind of question is that?" she asked. "You know I can't!" and was startled when he pulled away, rolling over to his side of the bed.
"Good! Because you're going to get a chance to prove it!" There was grim satisfaction in the gravelly voice.
"What do you mean?" Andi put a hand on his shoulder, attempting to pull him back to her.
It was gently but firmly removed.
"I mean--what you just got is all you're getting. Until we settle a few things!" Sin sat up.
For the first time, Andi realize that he was still fully dressed, only his shirt unbuttoned and pulled out of his jeans.
"What do--"
"I never told you why I hated Terran females, did I?" As she shook her head, frowning and wondering what that had to do with his making love to her, he went on, "Because they used me, Andi. Took the pleasure my body could give them but gave me none in return. I was terribly ignorant of any kind of female in those days but it didn't take me long to figure it out!"
Sighing, he brushed the tousled damp hair back from her forehead.
"And now, it looks as if you're doing the same thing." For a moment, the green eyes were frighteningly grave. "Do you really love me, Andi? Or just the physical satisfaction I can give you?"
"I-I...you know I love you!"
"Do I? You won't marry me. You can't even give me a good reason why you won't! I know I love you. Gods knows I must, to put up with that temper of yours and some of the crazy things you've done!"
"Crazy things?" Andi exclaimed. "What crazy things?"
"Think back to the way you acted the night Allan was born and ask me that again!
You say you love me," Sin went on. "Well, you're going to get a chance to prove it! Let's see if our relationship can survive outside this room!" He stood up and walked to the door.
"Where are you going?" Her voice started to tremble.
"Out!" One hand on the doorknob, he looked back. "You told me I could come and go as I pleased. Remember? As long as I came back?"
When he smiled, it was gentle, almost loving.
"Well, I'm going to do just that. I'm going out, but don't worry, I'll be back. Later."
"But what about--" Her voice dropped slightly. "Aren't you going to finish making love to me?"
"Don't you understand?" His voice was patient. "I have finished! From now on, we won't touch until you prove it's me you love and not what I do to you!"
Sin opened the door and went through it.
"Don't wait up!"

But wait up Andi does...night after night after night....

SINBAD'S WIFE, the second novel in the ADVENTURES OF SINBAD, is scheduled for released by Double Dragon Publications this summer.

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. Oscar Wilde

One Day left:

Posted by Mona Risk | 8:07 AM | 7 comments »

One day left for my romantic suspense, FRENCH PERIL, to be released by Cerridwen Press. Tomorrow, tomorrow…

CONTEST: I am running a contest on my blog http://www.monarisk.blogspot.com/. Just read my blogs, blurb, excerpts and leave a comment. Be my friend and reader. On Saturday, I will pull the names of three persons from the comments on the blogs of this week. Prizes: an onyx ring, adjustable to any finger, from Corfu, Greece. A golden bracelet coated with blue and green enamel from Corsica and a ladybug brooch with red and white rhinestones from Venice, Italy. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Now back to FRENCH PERIL. Instead of an excerpt I will let the characters introduce themselves:
Characters’ Introduction:
Cheryl Stewart: I’m worried about my mentor, Professor Howard. He went to lunch with a prospective graduate student, a man from Malaysia, but became sick during the lunch and was rushed to the hospital for food poisoning or heart attack.
Professor Howard asked me to go to France on his behalf and help a French count with the restoration of a chapel and the search for a valuable statue that had been missing since World War II.
What could be more exciting than spending a couple months working in the plush Loire Valley, in France? I will have to live in the count’s chateau. The same count I saw at Harvard three years ago. The handsome playboy was so busy entertaining gorgeous women he didn’t give me the time of the day back then. I bet he won’t remember me.

François de Valroux: I am searching for an invaluable statue of the Virgin Mary that used to adorn the chapel of my chateau. The statue disappeared during the war bombardment. Was it destroyed? Did my grandfather hide it?
I have been impatiently waiting for Professor Howard who did a lot of research on the subject. I can’t believe he skipped our appointment and sent his graduate student. On the other hand, Cheryl is such a lovely young woman I can’t say I am too disappointed. Between you and me, I can’t resist a pretty woman. What can I say, it’s in my genes. I come from a long line of glorious adulterers and fabulous lovers.
When the Boston Hospital calls to announce Cheryl’s mentor died, I do my best to console her with a hug and a kiss, and pledge to protect her. It’s my pleasure. Huh…I mean my duty.
For her own safety, I ask her to keep the search for my statue secret from the five other students training on the chapel reconstruction.

Edith Blaise: I consider myself François’ current girlfriend. I want him badly but I also have a weakness for his title, his fortune, his chateau and its treasures. I won’t let anyone interfere with my goal of becoming the next Countess of Valroux. Certainly not, the American student, a nerd who lives in a pair of blue jeans and finds her happiness in old stones and computers.

Adriaan Van Deem: I come from Amsterdam. I’m studying archeology and I can’t resist the appeal of old stones. Especially if they have a high monetary value. It wouldn’t hurt to befriend the American student who seems to know a lot about the missing statue.

Juan-Pablo Rodriguez: My correct title is Don Juan-Pablo. I hail from the Universidad de Madrid and I am preparing a doctorate in the history of Romanesque churches. I’m a gallant man who always compliments a beautiful woman. Of course, I also like artistic treasures.

Roberto Cantari: I live in Milan, but I was born in Sicily. Women love my dark looks and I love women. People often ask me if I have mafia blood in my veins. Who knows? My nonna raised me and prays all the time that I remain an honest man. I respect my nonno, the most powerful and richest man in Palerma. I would do anything to please my grandparents. Anything…

Chuck Minho: I was born in London. I am a quiet man who doesn’t talk much, but I don’t miss anything going on around me. I don’t like the looks the American girl gives me. Dirty looks. As if she suspects me of killing someone, just because I look Chinese.

Karl Boderman: I’m studying art, painting and sculpting at the University of Berlin. I can’t believe the show these young studs put when a pretty face shows up. I don’t trust any of them. If you want my opinion, I don’t think they are who they say they are. But then…I’m not too.

Bernard: I am the old butler. I was raised in the chateau. My father served François’ grandfather. I love François as if he was my own son and I want to see him married with a good French woman. Mademoiselle Edith seems to love him. She’s always visiting and staying in the chateau, in the room next to his. But I think François is attracted to the American student. He asked me to put her in the room next to him, on the other side. I don’t like that. François sandwiched between the women’s rooms. I don’t like it at all. Especially that the rooms in this old chateau have secret communication doors.
My fondest dream is to find the statue and put it back on the altar of the reconstructed chapel. But someone hit me in the dark and asked me questions about the statue.

Cheryl: I pledge to go after Professor Howard’s killer and find the statue to honor my mentor’s memory. Things would be easier if I wasn’t so attracted to François.

François: Cheryl is careless and exposing herself to danger all the time. I’m constantly worried about her. She has turned my life upside down with her determination and bubbly laughter. I’m ready to give up the search for the statue to ensure Cheryl’s safety, but she won’t let me.
Together we need to find out:
Who poisoned Professor Howard?
Who hit Bernard?
Who broke into Cheryl’s room?
Where is the statue?
Why am I so jealous when the students flirt with Cheryl?

Suspension Trauma

Posted by Helen Scott Taylor | 4:18 PM | | 3 comments »

This might sound like a strange blog topic for a writer’s blog, but I discovered this recently in connection with my work and I was shocked that I’d never heard of the risk before. I decided I’d share with you in the hope it might help someone in the future.

Sometimes when I stand in line for a long time without moving much, apart from getting bored and frustrated, I start to feel lightheaded and shaky, even break out in a sweat and suffer nausea. These are the first symptoms of suspension trauma. Not that I’m ‘suspended’ when I’m lining up, of course, but my body is reacting in the same way as if I were, because I’m upright and motionless for so long.

Suspension trauma is the physiological response of the body to being held motionless in an upright position for too long. The blood starts to pool in the legs because the leg muscles aren’t working—contracting and relaxing—to help pump the blood back up the legs to the torso. This leads to lack of blood in the head, which can cause you to faint. If you are standing in line at the bank, fainting to the floor might be embarrassing, but it serves the purpose of getting the body in a horizontal position so blood can flow from the legs back into the body and head and all is well.

The problem becomes serious if you are restrained in an upright position and not moving your legs. Examples of this are some sports, such as parachuting, or hanging while climbing, or for workers hanging in a harness, either while working, or in a safety harness if they fall from a building. The same physiological effect threatens injured people on a stretcher who have to be carried vertically to move them from the scene of an accident.

If someone had asked me what ill effects a person would suffer if left hanging in a harness, I’d have guessed that after an hour or more might they might have deadness in the limbs from lack of movement, or cramps. The reality is far more serious and frightening. The timing varies from person to person, but in general, according to the experts, anyone hanging in a harness or forced to remain upright and unmoving for longer than five minutes is liable to faint from lack of blood to the brain. Things then get worse fast. If someone loses consciousness for this reason, unless the person is rescued within ten to fifteen minutes they will die.

Shocking as this is, the solution is simple. For anyone likely to be in this situation, they should be equipped with a harness that allows them to have their thighs horizontal, in other words, in a sitting position. That’s why, when you see climbers taking a break, their harnesses often allow them to sit back, rather than leave the legs dangling. It’s also safe to be hanging as long as you are active. All the while climbers are climbing, pushing with their legs against the rock face and working, the activity of the leg muscles keeps the blood flowing back up the legs and prevents any problems. Usually a parachute jump doesn’t last long enough to cause a problem—unless you are hung up in a tree.

Once someone is rescued, the danger isn’t over. If they have been hanging for more than a few minutes there is another problem to contend with--reflow syndrome. This happens because the blood that’s been trapped in the legs is filled with toxins from the muscles and all the oxygen normally carried in the blood has been used. If this is allowed to flow back into the body, this can lead to death. The casualty should be kept in a sitting position and not allowed to lie flat until they reach the hospital and receive professional medical attention.

For more information, check out this website:

My name is Cassay, and I believe in honesty, so I want to say right up front--I'm that vile creature of civilization...a vestie. (To the ignorant, that's street slang for transvestite.) OK, those of you out there who are summarily outraged now have my permission to grab your coats and leave! The ones remaining are the more tolerant, I imagine, and actually want to know about my relationship with Sinbad sh'en Singh.

In the first place, we didn't have a relationship. I met him only once and briefly, but in that short time, I saw that he was a person of integrity, the kind of man who'll go into danger for a friend, so when the time came, I did that for him. I'm not the most socially-acceptable as you've already surmised and my background's not the most savory. My mother was a Social Worker (and that's not the same as that old government job dealing with Public Welfare). She died when I was eight and I inherited her street corner, made a fairly good living at it until one of my "clients" beat me and left me for dead. One of Prince Ludsa's men found me, took me to him, and he had his own physicians treat me and when I was well, asked me to stay with him. Whatever else Ludsa is--and there are a great many people who believe the galaxy would be a safer place without him--he's been good to me and I'm grateful to him. After all, being hereditary Prince of Vercengetorix-2 and the Crime Lord for that quadrant of the Galaxy (so powerful even the Brotherhood of St. Dismas hesitates to cross him) isn't a position that gains one a following of close friends!

Sinbad is one of the people who'd like to put Ludsa in the family crypt. The Prince ordered the murder of his two best friends for attempting to rob him during one of his bashes, and ordered Sin killed, too, though he had no idea what they were up to It was only natural for Sin to swear revenge. When he came to Vercengetorix-2 with that pretty little woman, I was certain he was going to try to kill Ludsa, but all he wanted was information--about Andi's husband. I like Andi. She's tolerant, but then she's a Natural and they believe in the equality of all species. That once got them in Big Trouble with the Fed. She and I became friends even though we started out a little rocky. She thought I was actually a girl! Can't blame her, I try damned hard to look like one--five-two, black hair to my waist. I was wearing a copper gown that day, if I remember correctly. It matched my fingernails and lip-salve and she told me she thought I had the most beautiful hair she'd ever seen. That was definitely the way to become my friend! Andi's a lot older than I am--thirty to my sixteen, but that didn't stop her from treating me as if we were totally equals. Anyway, when Ludsa nearly killed Sin, she and I were the ones to rescue the Felidan and help him escape.

At that point, Andi and Sin went out of my life, and I went back to Ludsa and the palace and the task of keeping the Prince happy and trying to convince him not to kill so many people before breakfast or because some petty thief had pilfered some of the silverware. I was incidental to Sin and Andi's at this point in their lives, but I just wanted to let you know that I consider Sinbad sh'en Singh a person it's a privilege to have met.

I hope they made it to where they were going safely....

(Sinbad's Last Voyage is the first novel in the series The Adventures of Sinbad, released as an e-book and paperback by Double Dragon Publishers. It has also been made into an audio book in abridged form by Books in Motion. Sinbad's Wife is scheduled for publication in Summer, 2008.)

I've signed with the Wild Rose Press for my Golden Heart® final manuscript, THROUGH THE FIRE, release date TBD.

At the height of the French and Indian War, a young English widow ventures into the colonial frontier in search of a fresh start. She never expects to find it in the arms of the half-Shawnee, half-French warrior who makes her his prisoner in the raging battle to possess a continent––or to be aided by a mysterious white wolf and a holy man.

Quote of the Day

Posted by Nightingale | 12:42 PM | 2 comments »

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

I began writing the vampire series tentatively titled the Second Species, I wanted to tell a story about a people who, through circumstance and misunderstanding, became the basis for one of humanity's most enduring legends--the vampire. Going back over my collection of vampire novels, videos, and non-fiction by such writers as Montague Summers and Ornella Volta, I noticed that in the '70's, a trend began concerning the vampiric hero. It was around that time that the emphasis upon the vile, unearthly, bloodsucking demon began to give way to a more sympathetic view. Suddenly, the vampire was more to be pitied than censured, a being for whom one could feel an empathy--even if coupled with care. After all, the most well-controlled vampire will still be compelled to feast his inner beast, and though you're his best-friend--you might end up being the entree! A good many of these stories were actually romances, where the heroine actually fell in love with this creature and accepted his way of life rather than help in his destruction!

It was with that thought in mind that I wrote Murder in Old Blood, about a vampire who makes no excuses for who he is, but still manages to retain enough of his humanity to show--on occasion--mercy to those who could have become his victims. Kit Landless was a footpad--a mugger--who chose the wrong victim, and ended up becoming immortal--but eventually paid the price for his continued sympathy for humans.

was well and good, but for the characters in Second Species, I wanted more--these, I decided weren't going to be the usual types of vampires, beings killed and brought back to life in their attacker's image, to continue to ravage the night, but simply people, just wanting to live out their lives in peace. The aventurieri--Transylvanian for vampire--are a second species of Mankind, evolving on a different path at the time Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon vied for domination of the Earth. Becoming nocturnal hunters, they develop a sensitivity to the sun, as well as certain herbs and spices. Though they eat food like their human half-brothers, they also need to consume blood, to supply what their lack of sunshine depletes, and--they develop wings. Feared because of the superstitions of early Man, persecuted and hated by those who can't understand, they take refuge in the mist-enshrouded cliffs of the Carpathians, raising their children, organizing their government, living out their lives with as little communication with Humans as possible, for whenever the two meet, disaster usually follows.

then....in 1793, their Prince orders his assassin to punish an aventurieri who has broken the Law...and that single act begins a series of events which will send the assassin's eldest son on a journey of revenge and self-discovery....

Two days ago, I signed a contract for the publication of the first three books in the Second Species series--Shadow Lord, Shadow Play, and Shadow Passion. Written under the pseudonym Antonia Paul, they will be part of the new novels launched by Belle Books at DragonCon, in September, 2008.

Posted by Anonymous | 12:00 AM | 4 comments »

The Steve

Lately, I’m into web design. Since my interests flit around like a hummingbird blasting from flower to flower, I put all my effort into learning about a new hobby before something else catches my attention. If you don’t already know it, I have untreated adult ADHD, and it’s lovely. I’m never bored with myself or anything around me. And here I am jumping off the topic already, so I’ll refocus.

Okay. Steve Jobs is the hottie (to an older woman like me, anyway) co-founder and CEO of
Apple. Think Macintosh computers, iPods, iTunes, and now the iPhone. And you know the cool animated lamp at the beginning of Toy Story and Monsters, Inc.? That’s the emblem of Pixar Animation Studios, which Steve also co-founded. What’s more, since 2006, Steve has served on The Walt Disney Company board of directors.

Since my new hobby is web design, I spend a lot of time checking out other designers. My favorites are (right click, open in new tab)
Karen’s Web Works, 2Creative, BlueKey, Glass Slipper Web Design, and Rae Monet, to name just a few of the dozens I like. Well—and I’ll finally get to the point—during my perusal of one website designer, I came across a YouTube interview with Steve Jobs. To say I was disappointed would be a major understatement.

If there’s ever a misleading video of an interview with Steve Jobs,
this is it. I’m not sure why a website designer would insert interesting but off-topic YouTube videos in his blogs. Maybe he ran out of website design-related topics. The real problem is not that I'm disappointed in this designer's site, but the fact that when I saw the title, I got excited. I thought perhaps a Big Kid like Steve would have some business advice for people like me who have a full-time job, two part-time jobs, and half a dozen micro jobs. Heck, he’d probably tell me to get on meds.

Anyhow, my journey to find great website designers and emulate them when I grow up is an ongoing process. I’m always finding more designers and am constantly in awe of the graphic finesse of some of the sites in their portfolios. But this Steve video really bugs me. I promise, when I get my website business up and running (you know, when I retire at 65), I will NEVER misrepresent The Steve. In fact, I’ll design a website just for him.

Pamela Roller is the author of On Silent Wings, a totally focused gothic historical romance set in Restoration England. Visit her medicated website at http://www.pamelaroller.com/.©Pamela Roller

Photo Credit: © Thomson Reuters 2008


Nothing is scarier to me than to hear the words, "I'm coming for a visit." Oh yippee, I get to wait on people and not get paid.

How about, "I need to borrow money." If it's family kiss it goodbye.

Or better yet, "Can you watch the kids?" The words alone make me shudder.

When the doctor says, he doesn't have a clue what's wrong, but you need a colonoscopy!Awful huh?

Or it's time for your gynecological torture and breast squeezing procedure? Do you prefer your metal thingee warm? Who cares just grease the thing, please!

How about,"The tooth has to come out!" That'll be $4,000 for a fixed bridge to replace your lost tooth. Heavens.

A good one for me is, "Quick call 911, the car is on fire! I knew I should have changed that catalytic converter." Or, "I can fix the dishwasher no problem." The scream when he gets a shock can be very scary.

Gas is going up to what? Oh God help us the Republican's have to go! There's King Bush, he makes me quake. We have who to choose from? What I have to vote? At a polling place, in Florida, oh yeah why bother.

The shopping carts in Winn Dixie--Don't go without disinfectant handiwipes. Have you looked at the gross stuff on those carts, where you actually put your hands. What germs are harbored there? The only thing worse is all those plastic bags with one thing in each one.

Here's one for you, they are raising our water bills because people have been conserving water and they are not making enough money now. Huh?

New appliances are scary, that thing you brought will break in three months, if it ever works at all.

Or how about made in China, and we used to be worried about made in Japan. They are sending us food, toys and whatever else we buy from them, they're gonna kill us from inside. Even worse is the fact that we as a country import much more than we export. Do the math.

Submitting manuscripts, (put scream in here). Horrible! Waiting for an answer, even worse!

How about, your not home, yep, public restrooms, need I say more. Public swimming pools, people pee in them. They'll deny it, but they do.

I always liked Indiana Jones, but come on Harrison is too old for the part and his real life girlfriend too. I know they cover up the wrinkles but they are there, I'm sure of it.

School ending, what are all those delightful little devils going to do all summer, I mean the teenage ones, frightening to think about.Going to the movies by the way is also bad, especially if there is a bomb scare. $18 each and a bomb scare. Show the damn movie, I don't care.

Or when you go to K mart and get to watch a shoot out right in back of your car. They did get away with some awfully cool clothes. No one got killed but it still shakes you up.

Reruns of Malcolm in The Middle, need I say more. The only thing worse is reruns of Hogan's Hero's, I know nothing.

Phone orders with your credit card, this also applies to those stores who give you a little paper receipt with no business name on it.

Really old people at the Chinese Buffet, especially if they carry their purses up to the food and look around a lot.

The napkins you have to use at your parents home that they steal from fast food places. How long have they had them that they are brown?

Bills, they are frightening. Can you juggle the money to pay everyone?Having to drive to Miami airport to pick someone up. Have you been to the airport recently. Thinking about it puts one on red alert.

Tar on the beach. It's gross, I never thought aqua waters and white sand harbored waters had more than the occasional man-o-war. Bring your shout with you and wipe off the tar before you get in the car. Or your husband will scare you with his red face as he tries to get it out of the carpet. Anybody know what I mean?

So all I have to say is if Friday the 13th is scary to you, if black cats worry you when they cross your path. If those noises the house makes as it settle, start to get to you. Forget it. Frankenstein, pish, I have Lyrch living with me. I can't be sure but I think that no AC in your car in Florida is scarier than Godzilla, heck I liked those two oriental girls on Mothra. I wanted him to fly and get me too.No horror movies bother me, no ghosts or spirits worry me. No monsters, piranha infested waters, creatures, vampires, evil sorcerer or anything sinister holds me quaking.It's life itself, that's what scares me. You're on top one day and down on the bottom the next. That's where the real scary stuff comes in.

Doing things right can scare the heck out of you. But then I always knew the danger is not in the fear of things, but how you respond

I'm kinda like Jake in this little saga--just a bystander, so to speak. I'm another person who's known Sinbad sh'en Singh since he was a kid. Heck, he was still a kid when he met that Talltrees female--only twenty-nine to her thirty-one--but he'd lived so much and she'd barely lived at all, so he seemed a decade older.

I was sittin' in the Blue Owl nursin' a red beer that day she came in askin' for Sin. The bartender didn't want to send her to the Asteroid because he knew how Sin felt about Terran females. I was rude, no two ways about it. I looked her up and down, took another swallow of my red beer, and told him I'd like to see how much was left of her after he finished! I didn't think about how much might be left of him! She looked so innocent! How was I to know?

By the way--Saydee's the name...hookin' the game. I'm a prostie, been doin' Social Work (and I don't mean the Federation Welfare kind) since I was a kid and I'm one of the best, if I do say so m'self! I'm one of Jake's girls and Jake handles nothin' but high-class material, let me tell you. Sin was one of my Regulars--I had a big soft spot in my heart for that overgrown, feline lug and he had a likin' for big, voluptuous Abydian females with blue-white hair--until that little Natural came along and knocked those long, handsome legs of his right out from under him!

The next time I saw Mistress Talltrees (guess in view of the relationship we now have I should her Andi but I'm bein' proper), was when Sin asked me to help disguise her as a prostie so he could get her out of Old Town unnoticed. Was that ever fun! Naturals don't wear make-up--their religion teaches against "paintin' thyself to lure the desire of men," or some such drek--and it was all I could do to keep from laughin' out loud as I applied the heaviest and loudest face paint I could find--and the most provocative clothes--to that naive, little Natural body and face! Oh, ho, was that fun...!

Then, they were gone, and we heard nothin' directly for over a year--just that Sin was followin' Andi's husband, trying to catch up to his ship, that he'd gone to Ludsa, Prince of Vercingetorix-2, for help, and nearly gotten killed, then...nothin'.

When Sin came back, he was real sick-- mesothelioma pneumocosis asbestosis will do that to you--but you could see his heart had been torn out and ripped into little pieces and I knew she was the cause. He spent a lot of time in the Asteroid after that, drinkin' and tokin' and we spent a lot of time in one of Jake's rooms, but we didn't do what everyone thought. Sin loved Andi and, even dyin', had this weird idea of fidelity to her, so our days in Jake's rooms were spent with him talkin' about her--I really got tired of hearin' 'Andi this" and "Andi that"--or nappin', and me watchin' holovids! He paid me the standard rate, anyway--so there!

I was with him the day that kid Cash showed up, wondered why he hustled me away so fast and was really curious about why he left with the kid. When Jake explained what he'd guessed, I felt I'd lost somethin' really precious.... Okay, I admit it! I had this thing for Sinbad sh'en Singh that went past the usual socializer-client relationship and I think he had a few unprofessional feelin' for me, too--but they weren't strong enough to keep him from goin' back to her....

So, he's gone and I'm sittin' here in the Asteroid and it's nearly seven o'clock and time for the boys from the Federation Navy and the Merchant Marine to come pourin' in and Jake's just told me Sin's gettin' out of the Brotherhood. He's going to become Law-Abidin', can you believe it? Because of Andi.

I'm happy for him. Hope, for his sake, it works out....

(Sinbad's Last Voyage is the first novel in the series The Adventures of Sinbad, released as an e-book and paperback by Double Dragon Publishers. It has also been made into an audio book in abridged form by Books in Motion. Sinbad's Wife is scheduled for publication in June, 2008.)