Yes, this posting is late. HUGELY late. Before you judge me, let me explain. I was up late last night building a flying saucer with my sister's boyfriend.
Oh, all right, it's because I'm visiting while I'm in town for some booksignings and they are huge Halloween junkies. Let's put it this way: I have to go to the store later for another fog machine, stakes, another fence if we can find one, caution tape and Krackles. (Well, those are for me.)
If you're Halloween isn't as busy as mine (I hear knives being sharpened for pumpking carving!!) I recommend you sit down with a good Halloweeny book, mine: Underdead in Denial and a bowl of candy. Underdead In Denial is the sequel to award winning Underdead, about overworked, underappreciated middle school science teacher Jo Gartner who is bitten by an inept vampire and becomes almost undead.
In the sequel, orgeous, enigmatic vampire Will is back and nearly undead Jo Gartner is more determined than ever to avoid all things vampire and maintain a normal life. And what's more normal than doing community service to help a lovesick friend? But getting dressed up in a Halloween costume for a haunted house fundraiser is not what Jo had in mind. Especially when one of the extras turns up dead…
"Light-hearted mystery with a touch of the paranormal and a hint of romance is a recipe for a just about perfect read. Having read tons of vampire novels since getting hooked on the genre, I thought I had seen pretty much every variety of the story, but this is something refreshing and new."~~ Huntress Reviews on Underdead
“Something’s going on with you.” Becky gave my black-topped demo counter a quick, automatic check for spills and leaned against it. “And I think I know what it is.”
“You do?” It came out as a whisper.
“Yes. Let’s look at the symptoms, shall we?” She ticked them off on her fingers. “You haven’t gone on a date in months, you get here at dawn, leave at dusk and spend your weekends sitting alone inside your apartment eating nothing but takeout burgers and chocolate, when you eat
She narrowed her dark almond-shaped eyes at me. I swallowed convulsively, unable to look away.
“You’ve got chronic PMS,” she said.
“What? I do not have—”
She grinned and then her expression sobered. “I am worried that you’re depressed.”
I grunted in dismissal.
“Not that I blame you,” She looked around my classroom at the solar system dioramas, sagging volcano posters, and dusty mineral display and curled her lip. “Teaching eighth grade earth science would depress anyone. But I have a plan.”
“Oh no.” I knew her plans. It was because of one of them that I now occupied the strange and lonely world between normal human being and vampire. I sank deeper in my chair and closed my eyes, trying to ignore the sharp bite of disappointment. I longed to tell her—tell her what? I couldn’t explain what was really going on. It was too fantastical.
I was too tired to make up another of my excuses. Maybe if I fell asleep she’d just go away.
“Better yet, I’ve already set the wheels in motion.”
My eyes snapped back open. “Becky, what have you done?”
And don't forget to etrick or treat with me and other Paranormal, Fantasy and Horror authors. The winner gets a huge bag of books and Halloween treats, including a signed copy of UNDERDEAD. To play, visit my website at www.lizjasper.com!
Award winning mystery author of UNDERDEAD and
UNDERDEAD IN DENIAL
www.lizjasper.com Not undead, merely...UNDERDEAD
The spirits played rough with this post, so I'll apologize for weirdness in the spacing, font size, etc. By the time I get it up on the blog, I will have gone through at least a dozen different "fixes" to make it work! Hang in for some great stories today.
Before we get started, I have to ask...Have you got your candy ready for the little ghosts and goblins?...or did you have to sample it all to "make sure it was still fit to give out?"
We NEVER have Trick-or-Treaters. I miss seeing all the kids in costumes. Going out to Trick or Treat through the neighborhood is a good childhood memory for me.
Well, it's time for part two of my ghost stories. The ones for today are really good. I hope you enjoy them...and maybe get a little thrill.
First up is Shada Royce
My daughter see's dead people...
Ok, maybe not literally, but she says enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. My daughter, Madison, just turned three years old this July. She’s everything a mother could ever want in a daughter - loving, smart, and beautiful (I’m not biased, really). But when I say ‘smart’ I’m not talking about the ability to read and do math. My child can talk with the best of any thirteen year old at a slumber party. That’s right; I was blessed with a storyteller.
Now her teachers say she’s ‘special’, which to me translates to ‘we can’t shut her up, she talks all through nap time’. My mom, her MeMe, tells me she’s gifted, which I am sure is grandma talk for ‘she’s a jabber mouth’. And my friends say things like “Oh, she just cracks us up with what she says.” Yes, she does do that. Most of the time I have no idea where she gets her mind wonderings from, such as her latest tale about an alligator, a unicorn, and an ogre. Mixing fairytales I suppose.
Now at this point you are wondering why I say my child sees dead people. Well, ever since she could walk and talk she has REFUSED to go into our guest room. She says “There is a mean witch in there”. Madison tells us where the mean witch is sitting in the room, about how the mean witch throws sheets over her head at night, about how she stares at her from the curtains in her window. She is very adamant about ‘the mean witch’, to which we refer to as our first resident ghost.
That’s right, I said our first ghost. Although the mean witch is a great story to tell, I have one much more heart-warming I’d like to share.
Let me stop here and talk about my belief in afterlife. I do believe that sometimes our souls get trapped on earth, that we wonder around places or people we loved, longing for just another glimpse. I think the deceased miss us just as much as we miss them, and why wouldn’t they?
My grandfather, Charles William Johnston, my mom's dad, was a fantastic grandfather. He was my hero and I think about him every week. He was a great bear of a man with a huge booming laugh and laughing eyes. He wore cowboy boots until the day he died (actually think he was buried in them), a western string tie, and a button up dress shirt. He could two-step with the best of them and he hunted or fished just about every day he could. He also always carried a buckeye (for good luck) and a pocket knife everywhere he went. Also a retired master drill sergeant from the
My story starts many years ago, a few weeks after my much loved PawPaw passed away. I remember huddling under my blankets one night, afraid to stick my head above the covers. I always felt safe with my grandfather so I remember saying out loud, “PawPaw, if you are near, I’m scared.” I don’t think I felt any sudden sense of peace or anything, but I did eventually fall asleep. The next morning, while dressing for school, I found the words “PawPaw” etched into the wooden door frame of my closet. I never had trouble falling asleep after that because I always knew he’d be near.
Now fast forward to a few weeks ago. My daughter, the storyteller and future
I run and get a towel, screaming “
She looks at me kind of funny and says, “That man told me to spit it out.” She points toward her stool.
“What man?” I ask, looking over at the stool where she was just sitting.
She says "That man who I was sitting with. Charlie."
I'm sure at this point I had the "dumb-struck" look, mouth agape, mind reeling. All I could think about was my grandfather and the possibility that he was with my daughter, protecting her. I finally managed, "Who are you talking about?" just to clarify.
My daughter looks back at the stool and points again. “That man. Charlie.” She says.
“Why did he tell you to spit out your milk?” I asked, thinking maybe I gave her bad milk or something and my grandfather was really looking out for her.
She says, “He said there were bubbles in there and that I should spit it out and make you get me more milk."
I was floored. A joke, my three-year old daughter had just spit out milk because she’d blown bubbles in it. I wanted to laugh and I wanted to cry, so I cleaned up the rest of the milk and immediately called my mom and told her the story. She starts laughing as I finish and says "That is exactly something my dad would do to you. You know how he loved practical jokes."
Now to clarify, my daughter has seen maybe one picture of my grandfather and she has never met him, considering he passed away close to 12 year ago. And even if she’d seen more than one picture, where would she come up with the name like Charlie after I just yelled at her for spitting out milk? She’s three!
Needless to say, I’m convinced. My grandfather, always so protective of me, has moved on to his great-granddaughter, teaching her all the practical jokes and laughing ways that he taught me all those years ago. And all I can say is I’m grateful he decided to hang around.
I have slept in this room (I think it was this room) at Shada's house. No grandpa. No rocking chair. Of course, my deep sleep could have been related to Peach Bellinis! Thanks Shada.
The next story comes from Rita Scott, one of my buddies from another blog.
The entity where I'm living now, her name is Leona. After I moved in, I would smell things cooking, even if I hadn't even eaten anything here in a week, much less cooked! I would find the back porch door open in the morning, when I knew I had locked both the storm & inside door the night before. I started asking the neighbors questions and found out Leona was always cooking something and went out to tend her flowers early every spring & summer morning. She never had children but was 'grandma' to all the neighborhood kids. She died in this house when in her 70's. She gives a very peaceful feeling.
It's a different story when my brothers and husband are around! The lights blink on & off,in sequence! And the aroma of pot is in the air! (some things don't change! LOL)
I LOVED this story when you told me this in August. I knew right then that I want to share it! Thanks Rita.
Another blog buddy, Becky Hutchison volunteered this story:
I've had someone talk in my ear, and I've had strange things happen in my house. My dining room hutch has a locked section that holds my mom's china. A few years ago, two Fridays in a row, I left for work with all doors to the house closed and locked. When I came home, the doors to the locked portion of the cabinet were wide open. Both times I fiddled with the lock to make sure nothing was wrong and stamped on the floor to see if it would dislodge the doors. Everything was okay.
Just last week I took my laptop computer down to the kitchen, along with its headset, wireless mouse and power cord. I walked out of the room for something, and when I came back the headset was missing. I went upstairs to double-check if I left it in my bedroom, but I didn't see it anywhere. I checked downstairs again...nothing. I went back upstairs and noticed a lump under my bedcovers...that HADN'T been there when I made the bed. I pulled back the sheets and saw my headset! I was surprised to say the least!!
I do believe you have a poltergeist living with you!
And finally, a touching story from a good friend, Teresa Reasor
My grandfather passed away when I was 10 after a prolonged battle with lung cancer. My grandmother was by herself at the house about 4 weeks after his death. She'd laid down to rest and dosed off. She woke to the feeling that someone was lying beside her in bed holding her hand. She said she lay there for about 10 minutes waiting for the sensation to go away but it didn't. She got up and went into the kitchen. About that time we (my mother, brother, and I) pulled up in the car. The front door openned and closed on it's own, like someone was stepping out of the house to greet us. Then a minute later we I came in.
I would sometimes wake to the same sensation after that. And I always knew it was my grandfather just holding my hand to let me know he was there.
I was home by myself with all the televisions and stuff around the house turned off so i could have some quiet time. My father had just passed away and I had really had a hard time with it.I still am. I was reading a book and just trying to relax. Daddy always called me doll. He'd always say, "Where you goin', Doll or What you been doing, Doll? In fact in the hospital the last words he spoke to me were to ask where I was going. My grandmother was ill with bladder cancer and I was going across the street to her house to check on her. He said, " Where you goin', Doll?" And I told him I'd be back in a few minutes. He was never able to speak after that.
Anyway, while sitting in a completely empty house, I distinctly heard my father say, "What's wrong, Doll?" And sat there for the longest time just waiting for him to say something else, but he didn't. I just said, "I miss you, Daddy?"
Now that you've read all these ghost stories, see how steady your hand is with this little maze. Can you keep the dot between the lines and make it to level 4? Thanks to the Scarlet Pumpernickle for the link.
I hope everyone had a good time yesterday and today. And to my new blog buddies...I'm so glad to be here!
Until Next Time here or visit me on either of my other sites
http://cynthiadalba.com/ or Cynderella's Castle
Hello Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writer Blog Readers! I'm the newbie on the block. I'm Cynthia D'Alba, sometimes known around the blog (and the internet) as Arkansas Cyndi. As you have figured out by now, I live in Arkansas. I won't fill up the blog with all my personal bio, but please visit my website (http://cynthiadalba.com). I have some wonderful pictures.
For my first blog post here, I grabbed the Halloween dates. I'll be here today and tomorrow sharing ghost and scary stories. Hopefully some of the backbloggers can add some of their own stories. I've heard from the regulars that this is one of our backbloggers. Wonder if he'll visit today? I asked friends and collegues to some good scary stories to get us all in the mood for Halloween and they came through! Hope you enjoy their stories.
The first story is from Keri Ford:
The other night I was alone with the baby because my hubby was having to work all night long. I did all the window and door lock checking and took my boy to bed. I thought I saw lights flash on the house (note, I live in the middle of nowhere, so if I see lights, someone's coming to my house), but when I peeked outside, nothing. Thought it must have been my parents getting home (they live a little past me). I put my little boy to bed like normal and was getting geared up for a late night writting session. I crossed back through the house and went in the bedroom and found a man standing in there! I shreiked and then cursed my husband for not calling to tell me he got off work!
I have so been in Keri's shoes! When I'm writing and am totally "into my scene" and he walks into the room, I'll scream! And I'm not writing scary stuff.
The next story comes from jj Keller:
My first encounter with a ghost/vision happened a little over three years ago. Brad, my son barely out of his teens, had been diagnosed with a cancer which attacks young people, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I had gotten to the point where I was working one-way deals with an entity beyond. Any super-being which had the ability to grant life and health I tried to reach.
Each time my son had chemo he had to be watched to make sure a temperature didn’t spike for the next 24 hours. I didn’t sleep. I don’t recall sleeping until my body on its own accord fell onto the bed, and then my mind continued to work.
At a space of time between the dark of night and early dawn I glanced at the paisley overstuffed chair beside my bed and I saw him. An instant calm overwhelmed me, and when he spoke in a softly melodic Scottish voice I experienced love. He only said a few words and I didn’t even center on them as I evaluated each piece of his body as it came into focus. He was gorgeous, light brown hair pulled back and tied with a band. A white flowing shirt like Seinfeld wore on his comedy show. Black tights highlighting strong well-defined thighs and boots cupping his knees.
He narrowed his blue eyes, a tick appeared on his jawline, and he disappeared.
I used my non-sleep time and wrote about my ghost/vision/guardian and titled it The Watcher.
I would not have been as calm as jj apparently was!
The next story comes from Judith Gilbert:
I wish I could say I'm receptive to ghosts, but I've never been able to shake that first experience as a child, one of utter fear. I know they won't hurt me, I sense that, but when telling them to go away or putting up mental shields to block them doesn't work, I run like hell, which is what I did when we visited the Alamo.
Judith writes contemporary romances as Judith Gilbert. Currently out is A PERFECT AFFAIR.
Thank you to Keri, jj, and Judith for sharing their stories. Come back tomorrow for more tales sure to get your Halloween off to a scary start.
Until then, share your story with us.
Thanks for visiting. I look forward to hearing from you!
(You can also find me at CynthiaDAlba.com or Cynderella's Castle)
...with Liz Jasper and other Fantasy, Paranormal, and Horror Authors! The winner gets a giant bag of wonderful Halloweeny books and prizes, including a signed copy of Underdead! It's easy and fun and everyone over eighteen can play! (That MIGHT seem to smack of ageism, but hey, those of us over 18 can't do real trick or treating any more unless we drag small children along, so, well, we need books and treats from this contest!)
Start anytime between Monday, October 27 and Friday, October 31 by trick or treating at author websites. What does this mean? Starting at the first site, read a quick excerpt and "pick a treat from their goody bag" by choosing among a selection of guestimates at what the character is thinking in that particular scene. See if you can separate the treats from the tricks! Email your response to the author with the link provided and then follow the directions to the next site.
There are 13 places in all. The contestant who does the best job at choosing the treats from the tricks wins the giant bag of prizes all for themselves. So they can sit there surrounded by good books and fun prizes and chocolate and stick it to all the people who didn't win.
Trick or treat!!!
Are you sure?
Are you ready? Set? Then go! Click on the link below to go to the first "house"--Sam Cheever's
Happy Halloween! May it involve good books and chocolate! Lots and looooottttss of chocolate.
Liz Jasper is the award-winning author of Underdead and Underdead In Denial, lighthearted mysteries about a middle school science teacher who is bitten by an inept vampire and becomes almost underdead.
No matter how light--or dark--a romantic novel, if the hero isn't a little Byronic, it's not going to be very interesting. Who'll attract more attention: Sunny, cheerful Joe the Gardener, who goes to church every Sunday, greets everyone with a smile, and likes small animals and children--or reclusive Josef the Landscape Architect, who turns pale when confronted by a cross, smiles tightly and sadly when children are mentioned, and has a fear of anything canine? (A little exaggerated but...you see what I mean.)
First off, I suppose I should define the term "Byronic." I hope everyone's familiar with George Gordon, Lord Byron--poet, social rebel, member of the summer party at Lake Geneva where Frankenstein, the Modern Prometheus was written. Byron was the living epitome of his own hero--he lived to shock society--and the first to categorize this particular literary character: generally a young man--sometimes melancholy, oftentimes rebellious--who carries some terrible secret from his past which affects his present life and prevents him from accepting the love of the heroine. Once he confesses his secret, though it may not go away, at least now he has someone to share it, and his life--and love--becomes more acceptable. The first "Byronic" hero was Childe Harold ("childe" being a title for the eldest son of a nobleman who hasn't yet been knighted), featured in Byron's poem "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage." (Byron was also one of the first to feature a vampire in a poem and is credited with inventing the vampire protagonist who was later to gain literary immortality in Bram Stoker's Dracula, but that's a story for another day.) Probably the most well-known Byronic heroes are Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre, both published in 1847. According to Wikipedia, the most famous of contemporary Byronic figures are Lestat de Lioncourt (Interview with the Vampire) and Batman (The Dark Knight).
I'm focusing today on my own Byronic heroes: Sinbad sh'en Singh (Sinbad's Last Voyage), Riven kan Ingan (Bloodseek), and Sarkin Trant (Three Moon Station), written by Icy Snow Blackstone. Each of these men has a secret which happened in his youth or childhood, and formed him into the person he is when the story opens.
Sinbad is a child of war. His human father was a gunner in the Federation fleet, shot down over the enemy planet Felida--where a feline-evolved race, foolish enough to challenge Terra, lived. As a prisoner of war, Allan MacAllister fell in love with his captor's daughter and married her. When Felida surrendered, Allan was arrested as a collaborator, his three-year-old son the chief witness against him. Allan is sentenced to the Toxic Zone, his son sent with him and when he dies there, the boy is raised by the other convicts until a nurse at the prison helps him escape. He becomes a smuggler, and that is his chosen profession until Andrea Talltrees walks into his life, asking for his help. Hating Terrans for what they did to his parents, Sin can't understand why he agrees--surely he can't be attracted to one of the enemy?--and he struggles with his growing desire for Andi and his confusion over his feelings until a violent night on the planet Serapis when he pours out his hatred and grief and can free himself to admit that he's fallen in love with one of the enemy species. Andi's love enables Sin to overcome his hatred and seek what he's always wanted--a mate, cubs, and a den of his own.
When he was five-years-old, Riven kan Ingan was taken to Francovia by his father who was the favorite sellsword of the Margrave of that country. When Trygare kan Ingan is killed in battle, the Margrave Leontilf raises Riven as his own child but because he is still treated as a foreigner, the young hothead schemes to become accepted by marrying Leontilf's daughter, Aleza. Spoiled and self-centered, he makes the mistake of denouncing the existence of the gods who promptly pay him back by allowing his betrothed to be abducted and himself so badly wounded he is told he'll never be able to sire a child. Since the Princess needs a husband who can provide heirs, Riven's wedding plans are now down the tubes--a not-too-bad prospect in view of his womanizing ways, but devastating in a time when procreation is equated with virility--but he still resolves to rescue her to salvage his wrecked reputation as a warrior. Having not-so-nobly given up the princess (mainly to keep a blackmailing doctor from broadcasting his shame to the entire Court) Riven falls in love with the girl who helps him rescue her--Barbara, a barbarian slave, and a woman more worthy than the Princess. Now he faces another dilemma--for once in his life, will he act unselfishly and give up Barbara, also, or will he think only of his own pleasure and force her to share his sterile existence? Can he confess to her of the disaster which has unmanned him and risk her scorn? Riven's choice causes the gods to make a decision of their own concerning his future--and the future of an entire galaxy.
Sarkin Trant is the owner of Three Moon Station on the planet Tritomis-2. He goes to the annual "auction of wives" to make certain his friend Abel--who has failed for three years running--finally can get himself a wife. He doesn't really want a woman of his own but seeing Katy about to be "bought" by Marsden, a rancher suspected of killing three previously purchased womenm makes him bid for her. Even after learning why Katy came to Tritomis, and that she had no idea the paper she signed is a marriage license, Sar's certain he can make her love him and stay with him. His secret isn't really a hidden one but it has ostracized him from his neighbors and is waiting for them at his station...his son, Chance. At the age of fourteen, Sar--an orhpan raised by his father's best friend--finds himself an unmarried father of a halfbreed infant, left on his foster parents' doorstep by its gypsy mother. Rebuffed by the woman he wishes to marry because of his son's half-blood, Sar isolates himself at Three Moon for the next twenty years, devoting himself to raising his son and tending his station--until the day he sees Katy and wants her in his life. Uncomfortably aware of the differences in their ages, and the fact that Katy is only two years older than his son, he struggles to make her love him. When Katy accepts not only Chance but the life at Three Moon, Sar is able to recapture the youth he never had, and when the hit men searching for his bride find her, he's willing to sacrifice himself to protect the woman who's given him a second reason to live.
Secrets, Sex, Lies, and Love...these are my interpretations--they may not be the best examples--but they worked for me! When writing a description of your own hero, just remember--a man without a past can be interesting, but if he has even the slightest dark blot of a secret, he's definitely going to be someone your heroine will want to know, whether she realizes it or not!
(Sinbad's last Voyage and Bloodseek are published by Double Dragon Publications; Three Moon Station will be released in December as an ebook from The Wild Rose Press and in print in March, 2009. Photo above is of vampire Christopher Landless from my trailer for Murder in Old Blood, courtesy of www.fotolia.com.)
The Demon Wind had been born the night the King murdered my brother. Sometimes I wished we had all perished to the sword. Many were the nights I dreamed of murdering my brothers and sister in their sleep. If we’d died as babes, we might have become a legend. But we had not died, and most people considered our survival a great tragedy.
Katy Carter appears to have everything a young woman could want: a nice apartment, a good job, plenty of girlfriends with whom to go to the movies and have pizza afterward...the only thing Katy doesn't have but wants very badly is...a boyfriend!
The demon is more specifically an incubus, a demon existing only to seduce women--and a total embarrassment to his family...for he's a complete slacker barely getting the job done, an underachiever just getting by. He's the shame of of the entire incubus clan because after all these millennia, he's still an Incubus Third Class. All his brothers made First Class in a few months...his parents hide their horned heads in shame...
Zellacrastides Amschonstenundeinliebendius is his name. (Try to say that fast three times!) Just call him "Zel" for short.
When Katy, teased by her friends about her crush on a movie heart throb, impulsively asks the Devil to send her his "baddest Bad Boy," she gets Zel instead. She thinks it's a joke perpetrated by her friends; he's up-front about the whole thing--either he succeeds in this assignment or it's demotion to the Seventh Hell and the second worst job in the Inferno. (You don't want to know what the first one is!) There's a catch, however: he's hers for only one night.
With a little infernal razzle-dazzle, the aid of "Guide to the Human Female" on his PDA, and some major cooperation from Katy, Zel earns his promotion, but when the clock strikes nine the next morning, he disappears.
Problem is, Zel took Katy's heart with him when he left...and now she's asking herself the question: How can any mortal man compete with a blue-eyed, blond-haired demon with the sexiest wings this side of Perdition?
("Demon in Blue Jeans" will be available as a download from The Wild Rose Press on October 29th. Photo of Val courtesy of www.fotolia.com, and is featured in the video-trailer "Demon in Blue Jeans.")
Once they were alone, the earl turned to her, his stance self-assured and confident. “We will resume speaking about the reason you are here.”
Her muscles tensed. He would punish her for attacking him. All men demanded retribution, it made them feel important.
He gave her a brazen stare, a sensuous light flickering in his charcoal grey eyes.. Devil curse him. He assumed she was a woman of loose morals. Resentment and rage flared her nostrils. In defiance of his arrogance, she stood erect—no man’s whore.
Once was enough.
“I have nothing to say.”
“Aye, you do. Or you will spend the remainder of your days here.”
“With you? What sort of man would take a woman from her mother’s deathbed?”
Continued is the historical romance excerpt from last month, Fatal Fortune:
The earl slipped her bodice and gown back up over her shoulders.
She yanked free from his loosened hold. “The mulo, the living dead, will seek revenge unless my mother’s death ritual is completed. You must release us. We’ll be cursed for eternity.” Fiercely, she scanned the palatial room. “And you’ll be the easiest to find.”
“I haven’t hurt you,” he said.
At his slight nod, several knights hurried to his aid and examined the sticky wetness of blood. Sir Geoffrey tore a piece of cloth from his tunic and bound the earl’s wound.
“’Tis a surface cut, nothing more.” Keeping a wary eye on Valentina, the earl surveyed his men. “Leave us. All of you.”
The knights faltered.
“Are you afraid a mere Romany woman will slaughter your earl?” she asked. “Mayhap you should stay for his added protection.”
In stony reticence, the knights strode past her and out of the great hall. She met their hostile faces, her hands gripped together to stop the trembling.
Cannons are a traditional Italian dessert that I would not even attempt to make, although my mom makes them a couple of times of year.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbl. baking powder
Use judgement on flour
roll out not too fine
wrap around a cut rolling pin---or something round
fry in hot grease
When cool, fill with chocolate or vanilla pudding
Yesterday I received notice that my excerpt from Earthman's Bride had won the 2008 "Reveal Your Inner Vixen" award. Following is (an edited for sensitivity's sake) part of that excerpt. (WARNING: sensual, suggestive content.)
(The Premise: Rebeka Spearman's planet has been held prisoner by the Terrans for 30 years. In an effort to oust their invaders, her father has arranged a marriage between Rebeka and the Terran leader. She is to gain his confidence and kill him. To prepare her for her marriage, Rebeka is counseled in Terran erotic physiology by her teacher, Master Martin, and introduced to Darius, a reprogrammed Terran android who will be her body guard. Rebeka is told Darius is an unfeeling machine, unaware that he possesses an empath chip which makes him as emotional as a human being. She is also unaware that the andnroid has fallen in love with her.)
"Good morning, Darius, Rebeka. What are you two up to so early? Couldn't sleep again, my dear?" Master Martin looked at the girl sympathetically.
She nodded. "I decided to come here and wait for you to waken. Darius and I were just talking."
"Hm," the teacher looked pointedly at their clasped hands. "So I see!"
Quickly, Darius released Rebeka's hand, then scowled slightly as he realized the movement had a furtive, almost guilty move to it.
"Come into the house." Turning, Martin started back to the hut, calling over his shoulder, "Darius, you come, too."
"Yes, sir." Obediently, the android followed behind them.
In his office, Rebeka sat at the little table with Master Martin, going over the drawing and diagrams, reeling off names of body parts and how they functioned and what would stimulate them, while Darius lounged on the little window seat across the room, his body looking too large for that small space. One elbow leaning on the raw wood, he rested his chin in his hand, eyes half-closed, appearing totally disinterested in what was going on across the room.
Gradually, he allowed the gray lassitude that preceded dormancy to slide over him.
It was only when Master Martin took the book from Rebeka and snapped it shut and stood up, calling to him, "Darius, would you come here, please?" that the android roused, shaking his head to clear the cobwebs of near-deactivation from it, and obeyed.
"Certainly, Master." Three strides brought him to stand between Martin and Rebeka. "How may I help you?"
"Take off your tunic."
"S-sir?" For an instant, he was certain he'd misunderstood, just stood there, unmoving.
Rebeka, who had been staring at the teacher, turned her attention to him, mouth slightly open with a unreadable look on her face. She seemed to be holding her breath.
"You heard me, Darius. Take off your tunic." This was said very softly, but his quiet tone seemed almost threatening.
Mouth set in a hard, straight line, Darius did as he was told, untying the sash at his waist and pulling the tunic over his head.
Master Martin took it from his hands and dropped it over his chair, too far away for him to reach, then waved a hand in the android's direction.
"There he is, Rebeka! A naked male. He's exactly like a human. Look him over well!"
Darius bit his lip and took a deep breath.
Under her gaze, he shifted uncomfortably.
Master Martin broke the silence. "Now, Rebeka, you know it all. Show me the erogenous zones."
She looked at her teacher. Had to practically force her eyes away from me, Darius thought, resentfully. Taking a deep breath, she said, like a bored schoolchild reciting a lesson, "First, there's the ear lobes," she hesitated, pointing vaguely. "Should I touch him, Master Martin?
No, damn it! Darius thought angrily, you old bastard, you'd better not say what I think you're going to!
She stopped, looking at the old man as if she hoped the same thing, but he nodded quietly, and then said exactly what Darius had hoped he wouldn't hear, "Show me, Rebeka, how you'll arouse your husband!"
"Master--" Darius began a protest, which was quickly cut off, "Quiet, Darius! Just stand there, be obedient, and silent!" So he remained where he was, mouth set grimly, as Rebeka reached up and caught his left earlobe between her forefinger and thumb.
Her touch was so gentle that for a moment, he barely felt it.
She put her other hand behind his neck, pulling his head down. Her body was so close to his he could feel its heat. He wanted to put his arms around her, hold her closer. It was an effort to make his hands remain at his sides.
Standing on tiptoe, she began to nibble on his earlobe, breath warm and soft against his skin.
Darius shivered slightly, then forced himself to be still as her tongue traced around the edge of his ear.
If I were to...straighten...he thought, recognizing that his attention was suddenly becoming erratic, she...couldn't touch...my ear!--but he didn't move, continued to stand, leaning forward, his head trapped in Rebeka's embrace.
Only when she released him, allowing him to stand upright again, did he begin to relax...until her hand slid down his shoulder to his chest, and her mouth trailed kisses along the same path.
Darius took a deep breath that was almost a gasp.
She looked up at him. "Is something wrong, Darius?"
"No," he lied, hastily, "I was just taking in extra oxygen. I have to do that to renew my pneumatic cells so I can appear to breathe."
He took a couple of extra deep breaths to demonstrate. Master Martin, the son of a bitch, smiled slightly.
"That's enough oxygen, I think," the old man put in, quietly.
Rebeka turned her attention back to his body, moving even closer so her own pressed closely against him. Darius closed his eyes. God, she's so warm, so soft. I'm going to kill Master Martin! As sure as Tusteya's sun rises each morning, I'm going to tear the old fart limb-from-limb to pay him back for this!
Without warning, she embraced him, her hands sliding to the small of his back, encircling his buttocks, fingernails performing that little scratch-and-arouse that made the tiny sensors in his outer dermis bristle invisibly to attention. Her fingers floated over the deep separation of his cheeks, hesitated slightly at the rough repair to the tattered skin on his left hip, then circled under it, squeezing lightly.
There was a slight tremor of Darius' body under her fingers. His skin began to quiver.
She released him, took a step backward, brushing one hand across his stomach, circling the little depression that had never been attached to any umbilicus, bending to kiss and gently lap at it with her tongue, flicking delicately into the little dimple.
The tremor grew stronger. He was visibly shaking now.
"Darius?" She looked up at him, feeling the sudden shiver.
He didn't answer, wouldn't look at her, eyes riveted on something on the far side of the room.
Rebeka stepped away from him. It was all he could do not to heave an audible sigh of relief.
She didn't look at Master Martin, didn't see the broad smile that now framed the teacher's mouth but Darius did and silently cursed the old man.
"Go on, Rebeka," Master Martin ordered.
"That's all," she looked from Darius to the teacher, then gestured vaguely, "E-except for--"
She nodded at the android's genitals, still--he was thankful to note--at rest.
"Go on, Rebeka," Master Martin's voice was softer now, very gentle, as if he were afraid of frightening her.
No--oh, no! Darius's eyes met the old man's. He took a deep breath, preparing to protest, grab his clothes, stalk out. As if he realized the android's thoughts, Martin shook his head, mouthing the words, No, you won't!
Aloud, he said, "Darius, what's the first tenet of your programming?"
"I will obey the commands of my human makers to the best of my ability!" The words were spoken with a total absence of inflection.
Dammit! He had to do what the teacher said. His will was his own only when it didn't clash with human wishes, and it would take a tremendous effort on his part to override that order.
"Go on, Rebeka," Master Martin ordered again....
(Earthman's Bride and its sequel When the Condor Returned have been contracted by Lyrical Press for publication in 2009.)
Please welcome Jana Oliver,an author who knows about self-publishing, small press publishing and beyond. She is a member of Georgia Romance Writers. I'm amazed at some of the things she has done. Read to find out what she has to say about Paris Hilton and sex videos. (Kidding about the videos.)
What was your first published book and with whom?
My very first book was self-published in 2001, back in the days before doing-it-yourself was even remotely considered kosher. I never submitted it to a publisher or an agent, but formed an itsy tiny publishing house with my husband and printed the book. Was it the best book in the world? No. It certainly wasn’t the worst as it was a finalist for a Daphne du Maurier Award. Out of the exercise I learned a lot about distribution, marketing, how to obtain reviews, etc. The learning curve was steep. A lot of what I gained from self-publishing serves me well now that I’m traditionally published.
What themes go through your books?
Oh, lots! I don’t like clunking my readers over the head, so I weave them into my characters’ lives. I like to examine personal obsession, what makes a person continue to fight for or against some cause when it looks like he or she has already lost the battle. I’ve examined the role of intrusive government in our lives, our responsibility to our fellow humans, and how love is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Besides telling a good story, I want to get my readers thinking, which in turn makes me have to do some mental gymnastics.
How did you write with kids and deadlines?
No kids. Unless, of course, you count the Furry Tyrant (cat). But I only have one of those so she’s easily mollified with a bit of scratching behind an ear. Deadlines don’t bother me too much. I came from the advertising world where deadlines were never set with much resemblance to reality. Need ad copy for an entire fifty page catalog in the next week? No problem! So working on a book at a slow and measured pace doesn’t seem so ugly.
How many books have you published?
Six now, if you count the first three self-published ones. The last three are the Time Rovers Series and are published by Dragon Moon Press, which is an imprint of Hades Publications, the largest independent science fiction and fantasy publishing house in Canada.
Other jobs you've had?
I’ve had about every job except running for Vice President. I spent a decade as a registered nurse and then quit that field about time the insurance companies moved in. I’ve been a DJ, I’ve written advertising copy for the World Largest Retailer (and others) and I’ve been a travel agent, which comes in very handy for my globe hopping. I started writing a decade ago and this seems to be the one career I truly can enjoy until it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil. The voices in my head aren’t going to let me do anything else it seems.
What are you writing now?
Since my latest Time Rovers Book (MADMAN’S DANCE) is out in a couple of weeks, I’ve turned my attention to a dark paranormal romance/urban fantasy (one of a pair) that I want to send to my agent. The manuscript is done, just needs a final tweak. The story is set in contemporary L.A. and features a witch who can talk to the dead. Where that was rather new when I started this book about five years ago, now it seems almost everyone talks to the dead. Still, I like the story which pairs a Wiccan with a Catholic private investigator. Both of them are having trouble accepting their God (or Goddess) given gifts. It’s very sweet love story with some scary bad creatures.
What would you write if you could do write anything you wanted to write?
Exactly what I’m doing. I do have one book that I need to “grow” into, a story about a woman killed by a pro killer, but the murder is pinned on the local crazy guy. It’s based on a real case so I have to do a LOT of thinking on that one before I put fingers to keyboard. I want that book to just knock everyone’s socks off and that’s why I need to grow as a writer before that story is put on paper.
Who knows, if I can pull it off then maybe I can be invited to one of Paris Hilton’s infamous parties. Talk about “book fodder”.
Madman’s Dance (Time Rovers – Book 3)
October 30, 2008
Dragon Moon Press
How do you like it? Some men like it super-sized, and readers will love this print collection of big, beautiful heroines who prove love has no size limit!
By Sammie Jo Moresca
Fontainebleau Resort and Spa, Miami Beach, Florida
"Remember, this is a team effort. Your roommate will be your lifeline when the chocolate calls. Don't let her fail you. The team that loses the most on the Body Mass Index at the end of the month will be awarded the spokesperson's contract worth upwards of forty thousand dollars," said the trim boot camp diva of ceremonies with legs of steel. She had her audience riveted.
Crystal couldn't have cared less about becoming an infomercial diva. She wanted a new life. As she looked around at controlled applause in the sea of pink skirt suits in subtle shades from cloud to fuchsia, she finger-combed her long, mousy brown hair and squirmed, tugging on her size 1X stretch jeans, to make her thighs and crotch comfortable. Giving up, she flicked a tiny dandruff flake off her black ribbed tank top and tucked her errant white bra strap back underneath.
One other soul stood out. Seated in the rigid conference chair next to her was her Scottish e-pal Rosaleen Dalrymple, who'd talked her into this retreat. Bespectacled, frizzy redheaded Rosaleen wore an ankle length, blue plaid jumper, dingy grey tee shirt with armpit stains, and plastic flip flops. Crystal shook her head. Had she any idea how Roslaeen dressed, perhaps she would have treated her to a new outfit or two.
"As you'll see on page forty-one, along with a strict ten carbohydrates per day diet, the exercise component is straightforward. Activity, ladies. The best and safest way for you Sofa Sherries to begin is walking. The valet will not release your Mercedes until after graduation. Cabs will not carry you, the busses will not shuttle. Don't even think of renting one of those cute little motorized scooters you see models zipping around on. Use your large muscles, ladies. Build endurance. Increase your aerobic capacity."
The women applauded again.
Crystal was on board. Yes. I can walk. Yes, if my meals are prepared, I can adjust to a restricted carbohydrate diet. All of the support will be fun. Just like college. Or what my impression of college is like from books. A wave of shame tried to overtake Crystal. Everybody here probably has at least a bachelor's degree. And a fabulous career.
"You will be assigned a canteen. Keep it filled and with you at all times. Optimum water intake is twelve eight-ounce servings per day. Strive to hit that target exactly. No more, no less. And subsequently, ladies, you need to feel free to pee. With two hundred women on the same schedule, the designated restrooms at this conference center will prove inadequate. Do not waste time in line. Guard the door of the men's room and take turns. A body waiting in line for a toilet is not a body in motion burning fat. If you stand in line for five minutes every time nature calls this month, you will be two pounds heavier. It's not worth it, ladies."
Uproarious laughter and nods filled the room.
No wonder I'm fat. Wow. I had no idea. Yes, absolutely I'll use the men's room. All right then, two pounds guaranteed weight loss. Check.
"Turn to page forty-eight. Tomorrow's itinerary: Breakfast in the Palm ballroom from five-fifteen to five thirty-five. Feel free to mingle and meet the other ladies. Most of you are sales consultants with the Patty Unger Cosmetics Company. Enjoy chatting with your counterparts from other states and territories. After breakfast, you all have a rigid list of activities to achieve before lunch at high noon, back in the Palm ballroom. You and your roommate are responsible for each other's successful completion. Don't be a weak link."
The ladies applauded yet again. Crystal turned to Rosaleen. The friends smiled and nodded in unison.
Crystal skimmed the activities. This sounded fun. A sunrise stretching period on the beach. Power walking in the saltwater pool. A four-minute restroom break. Thirty-six minutes on the cardio machines. Sweat a few pounds off in the sauna. Power Pilates. Thirty minutes to shower and dress for lunch.
"Our afternoons are for spiritual growth. We will meet for a prayer session on the beach, in front of the first lifeguard stand to the left of the steps. We will rotate through the world's great religions. Deeply contemplate the messages. Open your heart to your maker. Accept Him in different forms through the hearts of your peers."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. At least we'll get to relax.
"At one PM, you will break off into groups for barefoot beach walking. Please arrive in a suitable bathing suit with ample sunscreen, SPF 50 or higher, sunglasses, and sun bonnets. Each group will receive a unique novel to read while walking. Yes, ladies. We will learn to integrate exercise seamlessly into our lives. You can, and will, walk and read a book. Be prepared for a pop quiz at breakfast each morning, on the previous day's book."
Is she kidding? I'm supposed to read and walk and finish the book in one day? And not collapse of heat exhaustion? Miami in July. What was I thinking, signing on for this? Crystal turned to Rosaleen, who had an alarmed expression on her blotchy face.
The boot camp commander continued, "For our first week's reward, we have arranged to have a mixer with the Homeland Security First Responders Conference. Cocktail dresses are required. Don't forget hose, a minimum three-inch heel, and full make up."
Cocktail dress? Sausage casings and lip balm? Great. Homeland Security First Responders? Oh, don't they sound like a fun bunch? Crystal envisioned a group of fat, balding fifty-somethings so uptight they dance you suspiciously through metal detectors.
"All right, ladies. Retrieve your luggage from the holding area. Please form a line, two across with your roommate. Heads up, breasts high. Walk proudly through the hotel and out into the night to our dormitories at the Jesuit school."
Dormitories? Jesuit school? "Rosaleen, what's she talking about? I thought we were booked here at the hotel."
"Only for the meetings, meals, and spa services. We are rooming in the dorms to keep us away from temptation."
"In other words, they want to keep us from ordering room service."
©2007, 2008 Sammie Jo Moresca
For Adults Only! Complete novella contains graphic love scenes.