Angels are androgynous, and above the baser cravings of humankind.

Above reproach.

However, in the Book of Enoch, we meet The Grigori or Watchers. In the course of their visitation to Humankind, they become the voyeurs.

Angels being considered sexless and above reproach, the church was challenged to explain how they mated with mortal women. In the thirteenth century, the Bishop of Paris adopted a typical compromise. According to his theory, there were nine orders of angels but it was a separate one, the tenth that fell. These Sons of God saw the Daughters of Man and, we are told in Genesis 6, lusted after seductive flesh and took themselves wives from among them [women].

This was a neat solution to a discomforting theological double-bind. For it was difficult to reconcile a theology which insisted that angels were sexless with the damning evidence from the Scriptures showing these lusty celestials were enthusiastically proving the opposite.

Angels are not supposed to be able to produce offspring. Only demons can procreate. Angelic lore has it that the Grigori are nearer in form, genes and sexual interest to human beings, and that they had a genuine friendship and desire to teach humankind the secrets of Heaven. Azazel, the protagonist in my recently released Night Before Doomsday taught women the arts of seduction—makeup, how to dress, etc.

There were ten leaders of the Grigori, once illustrious angels, all listed as fallen by the fourth century. Of the two hundred angels who descended to Earth, nine-tenths fell to lust, siring the Nephilim. The Bible has this to say about the Nephilim: The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

Anyone who has seen Supernatural or the short-lived series The Fallen will be familiar with TV’s version of the Nephilim.

This novella is an alternate history and the tale of the Grigori told in first person from the leader Azazel’s POV. The cover is the sigil (a mark given at his creation to each angel) of the angel Azazel. The sigil and the characters of any angel, light or dark, are used in alchemy to summon that angel. There were nights when I was writing Night Before Doomsday and I, Azazel, an as yet unpublished novel, when the hair at my nape would stir and I’d curl closer in my bed.

I’d like to share the blurb from NBD and an excerpt.

Blurb:


In Genesis, "The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took wives for themselves from those who were pleasing to them."Azazel was a leader of the Grigori, the angels sent to Earth to teach Mankind after the oust from Eden, how to survive in a less hospitable environment. Nine-tenths of the Grigori fell from Grace, but was it love or lust?This novella presents the Grigori's tale in first person from Azazel's point of view--the temptations, his struggles and the final realization that Heaven doesn't speak to him anymore.

Excerpt:


Eyes lined with charcoal as I’d taught them, lips rouged by my own hand mocked me. A bold hand slid beneath my robe, up my thigh, and gripped my shaft. The hot vibration deep inside trembled along my organ, growing longer and stiff.

Like a spider's web touched by a candle's flame, memories of Home shriveled.

Gentle Magdalene smoothed the hair back from my face, staring at my shocked expression. “Oh, Azazel.” A fingertip traced my cheek. “Did we hurt you?”

“No.” I clamored to my feet, bewildered by the feelings torturing me.

None would meet my gaze. Lord of Hosts, if they were afraid of me, I was doubly afraid of them. I’d never felt desire or the effect passion had on the body. If I had experienced sexual longings, I’d ignored them. Now, I could no longer pretend. My body yearned for something I’d believed to be the province of Man and the beasts.

Ruth winked a painted eyelid. In her dark eyes, amusement twinkled.

“Ungrateful rabble.” I tossed my hair back and folded my wings around me, brushing the dust from my feathers. “I make you alluring. You repay me by rolling me in the dirt and trying to tickle me to death.”

“You’re an angel.” Ruth undulated her shoulders. The lush breasts pointed at me swayed. “You can’t die.”

Oh, but I was dying. More than they could possibly know. Dying to touch them, dying for them to touch me, caress me there again. Before my face revealed forbidden desire, I schooled my expression stern.


Night Before Doomsday is available from Smashwords.






Welcome back, Hildie!
We need to celebrate. Let me grab a mimosa! Would you like one?


My First Book, I’m No Longer a Virgin


This month my first book is being published, I’m so excited I could just pee my pants! Desperate Betrayal, a Paranormal Romance, is finally available!


As I share my story with the world, I am filled with a combination of expectation, terror and excitement. Its every writer’s dream come true to see their words bound into a cover and in the hands of people that will read them. What a blessing this entire ride has been.


Three years ago, I walked into a hotel conference room in Atlanta, not sure what to expect. The room was filled with not just multi-published authors, but some NY Times bestsellers. I was awed and inspired when I left, but at the same time I felt they were all out of my league. What a silly person I was. The writers and members of Georgia Romance Writers drew me into their collective open arms and showed me what writers do, they help, encourage and teach newbie’s, so that in turn one day we can do the same when we see that scared unfamiliar face come in and sit in the back of the room.


Life could not be better than to know how wonderful being a romance writer is. Without further ado, I share with you Desperate Betrayal and when you read it, I hope you enjoy the story so much; you’ll give other new writers a chance.


Desperate Betrayal – is available at Amazon.com

Cynden Frasier (Cyn) is a member of a group of immortal warriors, the Protectors, assigned to protect humans in Atlanta, Georgia, the epicenter of a major uprising in demon activity. When a beautiful woman in a dirty alley approaches Cyn, he is intrigued by the fact that she can see him for what he is, a terrifying demon slayer, and still dares to approach him.


Emma Blake, a half-demon, has to convince Cyn to help rescue her sister from powerful demons. Terrified that the Protector will kill her if he realizes what she is, she still goes against every instinct and approaches Cyn for help. Despite knowing that she is leading them both into territory so wrought with treachery, neither of them may survive.


Can Cyn and Emma overcome betrayal, the ancient rules that prevent Protectors from taking a wife, unless she is his one true mate? And if they do, will it even matter?



hildie@hildiemcqueen.com

Woot!  I’m delighted to announce my double EPPIE finals with my Native American historical romance novel Red Bird’s Song and my nonfiction book about country life Shenandoah Watercolors


I almost didn't enter the contest this time round because I'd done so every year since I was first published and had almost given up on ever being among the finalists, but on the last day before the contest deadline I decided to go for it and am very glad I did!



For the complete list of finalists visit: http://www.epicorg.com/index.php
A little about my finaling entries~
Description of Shenandoah Watercolors:


Author/farm wife Beth Trissel shares the joys and challenges of rural life on her family’s small farm located in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Journey with her through the seasons on the farm, owned by her family since the 1930's, and savor the richness of her cherished gardens and beloved valley. 


This journal is a poignant, often humorous, sometimes sad glimpse into a vanishing way of life for anyone who loves or yearns for the country and even those who don't.~


With the help of my talented mother who took the photograph and did the cover, plus helped edit these many pages, I self-published Shenandoah Watercolors, available in Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble's Nookbook

Blurb from RED BIRD'S SONG: 
Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn't how Charity Edmonson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather's vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.
George III's English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.
As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.~
And to that I would add, or be destroyed.  Red Bird's Song is an adventurous romance set in the colonial frontier with a The Last of the Mohican's flavor.
Red Bird's Song is available in print and or digital download from many online booksellers including my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble...


Advice, the Best and the Worst

Posted by Mona Risk | 12:43 AM | 20 comments »


1 - What is the best writing advice you've received in your writing career?

Never give up!

I followed this advice and didn’t let rejection letters discourage me.

Now it’s my turn to tell new writers: Different readers, reviewers, contest judges, or editors have different tastes. You can’t expect all of them to like all your books.

Writing is a subjective business. Use the positive comments and ignore the negative. Every book, every page, every line you type will improve your writing style and make you a better writer.

2- What is the worst writing advice you've received?

Write in a popular genre to sell more books.

Not true. You should write a story from the heart in a genre you like, so that the words flow on the page.

I learned that if an author has trouble writing a scene, it’s probably because it’s forced, and the reader will feel it.

The scenes that easily pour out of your imagination are usually the best scenes and the reader will love them.

Now, I would love to have your answers. What was the best and worst advice your received?

A winner will receive a copy of one of my books.



(If you missed part 1, scroll down and read the entry below.)


Hey, Lynda, Welcome back for day 2! (Love the eye candy!

Tell us about Altered Reality


Altered Destiny came about because of an accidental encounter in a parking lot and a face that looks like many others. It's a kind of strange way to get an idea but it worked and I love the story ;-) Hopefully, you will too.


Altered Destiny Excerpt

It took a certain amount of courage to leave a safe and comfortable life, to leap into the void, and risk failure. Liane Gautier-MacGregor sighed–one sigh was all she would allow–then faced the slow, even swells of the Atlantic. Normally, she loved the solitude of the narrow beach but, tonight, it echoed with loneliness.


Dreams, lies, broken trust. She shrugged; they were all the same. Take her ex-husband. Please, she added with a snarky smile. For a long time, she’d thought Devyn was the man of her dreams. “Which just goes to show,” she said, shrugging.


Far out to sea, a pale line of fog rose out of the ocean depths. High above the fog, a star pulsed in the indigo sky.


“Star light, star bright,” Liane began, then paused, unsure what to wish for. A blast of cold air shoved her backward. Pulling her jacket together, she braced herself against the wind. What did ex-husbands and the weather have in common? Can’t count on either of them. Glancing at the star again, she muttered, “It’s probably a satellite anyway.”


From atop the bluff, the dull thump of her ex-husband’s car door, followed by the BMW’s throaty growl echoed off the trees and cottage walls. She turned to see the top landing of the sea stairs. Twin beams of light speared the darkness then angled away.


She was alone. In the dark. On a deserted beach.


Liane shivered. Gautiers were never afraid. At least, that’s what her father had always said. She drew in a breath of salt-laden air, then turned to carefully retrace her footsteps. She could see them clearly in the moonlight and for a moment wished she could as easily retrace her life’s footsteps. Go back to a time before her marriage, before she’d become such a huge disappointment to her parents. To herself.


A wave lapped over her left foot, filling her shoe with icy water. She jumped sideways

before the next wave hit. Waves shouldn’t reach this high on the little beach. She puzzled over it for a moment. Maybe a storm was coming? But the sky was clear, filled with stars and a brilliant full moon.


In fact, her wishing star, or satellite, twinkled even more brightly. “Star light, star bright. First star I see tonight.”


She chuckled. Well, it was the first star she’d noticed that night at any rate. “May I have, may I wish–”


She paused again, and thought. “What I wish tonight.”


The BMW’s engine noise faded in the distance. She shivered at the sudden stillness. “I wish for a new beginning.”


Okay, so that was going to happen anyway now that her divorce was final. "I wish for a good new beginning."


Vague, that was too vague, she decided. Maybe-- "I wish that I'm brave enough to succeed at a new beginning."


Fear of failure, fear of success...it didn't matter what you called it. The fact was, she was a coward in so many different aspects of her life. And so much would be different if she had been a tenth as brave as her mother or father. Her head lowered as grief rolled over her. Her chest tightened, constricting her breath. But, her head jerked sideways in a negating gesture, she wasn’t brave and her parents were dead because of her cowardice. Because she’d let her father drive when he wasn’t familiar with icy roads. She cast a sad, longing look at the star.


Her wishing star jinked sideways, then elongated. Was it a comet? So much for wishes. “Should have wished for a telescope.”


As she watched the comet-star, a buzzing, tickling sensation swept over her. Her scalp tingled, her hair lifted. She looked around uneasily as the wind died. Even the waves, so restless moments ago, hesitated, stuck in mid-curl.


Her gaze, drawn to the sky, settled on the not-star as it sped toward the moon. Liane’s throat filled with dread as, with a flash of blinding whiteness and an utter lack of sound, the moon exploded.


She gasped in terrified awe as fragments whirled silently through the sky. Get inside! screamed the primitive part of her mind, inside, inside, inside.


Obeying the silent command, she sped toward the sea stairs but the wind came at her like a battering ram. She stumbled, fell back, and caught herself as her shoes filled with cold ocean water. The tide surged, slammed into her knees.


With a supreme effort, Liane dragged herself forward then–


The sea, the beach, the moon and stars–all spun in rapid circles around her. A queer, sideways slide, a wrenching shift, threw her off-balance.


From somewhere came her ex-husband’s startled yell followed by the deep mechanical growl of his BMW.


She flailed as a kaleidoscope of color burned across her eyes and drummed through her skull. Swept up, she clawed empty air. Tiny zaps, electrically charged, sizzled over her, around her, through her. Then, as if a giant hand reached out to snatch her from the maelstrom–

Liane reeled in broad daylight, the sun beating over the waves and blinding her with its brilliance.

Website http://www.lyndakscott.com.

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to: LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynda-K-Scott/201599553208653

About Lynda: In her family of Kentucky 'ridge runners', oral tales were a tradition that even the children participated in. She spent many nights with her brother, cousins and friends telling tall tales to excite the imagination. Now she creates award winning science fantasy romance filled with despair, hope, love and courage.


Altered Destiny

by Lynda K Scott

Science Fantasy Romance

Available in ebook formats

Stranded on an alternate Earth, architect and Jill-of-all-trades, Liane Gautier-MacGregor must find her way back to her homeworld before she's enslaved...or falls in love with a man who is the exact duplicate of her ex-husband.


Devyn MacGregor's alter ego as the Reiver Lord is the only way he can fight the Qui'arel and their nefarious Bride Bounty, a tax paid with human females...until he meets the oddly familiar woman who claims he is her husband. And who sets in motion the rebellion that will either free his countrymen or destroy them.

Buy Links:

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Altered-Destiny-ebook/dp/B00579FKFO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308920443&sr=8-1

Nook http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Altered-Destiny/Lynda-K-Scott/e/2940012882417

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/79552

Thanks for having me! If you are a member of or join my newsgroup before Oct 1, you'll automatically be entered into a drawing for a beaded crystal heart pendant. (Sorry, you must be a resident of the USA to win the pendant but a non-USA winner will receive an alternate prize to be determined at the time of the drawing.) Contest Rules are available at http://lyndakscott.blogspot.com/2011/09/new-member-only-contest.html





Good morning, Lynda! Don't you just love the hint of Autumn in the air?


Ladies, Lynda has a great story for us.


Please make her welcome.


Deja Vu or Alternate Reality?


A few years ago, I was putting groceries in the trunk of my car when a man called out, "Hi, how are you? Wow, I haven't seen you around in a long time!"


He was a nice enough fellow, not bad looking, definitely friendly, but he hadn't seen me around...ever. This has happened to me before. I have one of 'those faces' I guess so I just smiled and asked, "Who do you think I am?"


For a moment he looked puzzled. You could almost see the wheels turning in his brain. It was at that point that he realized his mistake and apologized, adding that I looked exactly like the woman he obviously thought I was. I assured him no harm was done. He ducked into the store, leaving me thinking about what had just happened.


I'm no beauty and my looks won't stop a clock. I'm maybe a teensy bit above plain. I'm sure there are many auburn haired women with blue eyes who are just a teensy bit above plain so it's easy to understand a momentary mistake. But this fellow had the light of recognition in his eyes and voice...as if he was speaking to someone he'd known for a long time.


Hours later, my writer's mind kicked into gear. What if...he'd stepped out of another time line? In that one, he knew me. I was a close acquaintance. Or maybe a friend. In this time line, I was a stranger, a person he knew nothing about. In his original time line, I could have been a doctor or nurse or teacher. In this one, I could be a thief, a scammer or, worse, a politician! And that made me wonder what could cause a different time line where I could be something totally different from what I am.


My favorite theory is that alternate time lines occur from yes-no type decisions. But that would give rise to an infinite number of time lines for each individual or being from the moment they got out of bed every morning. The universe is infinite but that's too much for my very finite mind to comprehend. I realized then that the Yes-No decisions had to be significant decisions, not ones based on what pair of shoes I'd wear or what kind of cereal I'd put in my breakfast bowl. True, these things might be important to me but in the sweep of the universe, I'm really pretty insignificant.


So maybe the Yes-No decisions have to be significant decisions for a large group of people. These would be decisions that would have the most effect on the most people. For example...Imagine the American Revolution failing. We'd still be part of Great Britain. Or imagine the Mongols sweeping Europe and maintaining dominion over the entire continent. Or imagine what would happen to our world if alien intelligence had arrived, not today, but several hundred years ago. What kind of world would any of these create?


My choice of breakfast cereal or whether I'd wear a blue shirt or purple shirt with my jeans kind of pales in comparison to that. (For the record, I'd probably go with my favorite color, the purple.)


Being a Science Fantasy Romance author, I naturally gravitated toward the arrival of alien intelligence for an instigating event for my novel, Altered Destiny. Well, sort of. In the alternate time line, the Qui'arel arrived, safely, at about the same time as the Jacobite Rebellion. But in this time line, they didn't arrive until our current time and they didn't arrive safely. The ship in our time had a malfunction (which is why it was so late) and slammed into our moon.


The resulting explosion catapults our heroine, Liane Gautier-MacGregor, newly divorced and disappointed with her life, right into a world filled with castle-dominated communities called Reaches, dragons wandering around the North American continent, humans in subjugation to aliens who look like Elves...and straight into the arms of her ex-husband.


But is he? He looks exactly like Devyn Alistair MacGregor...except for the kilt and the eyeglasses, things her ex wouldn't be caught dead wearing. Neither would her ex have a slight brogue. Or act like a decent and honorable man. No, her ex would do none of those things.


Understandably, Liane is confused and puzzled and downright terrified of what's happened to her. She can't live in a world where humans can be enslaved on the whim of the alien overlords. The more she learns about this new world, the more she wants to go home. And the more she learns about this new Devyn James MacGregor, the more she realizes he's worthy of her respect...and love. Can she find a way home or will she accept an Altered Destiny?


So, yes, Altered Destiny came about because of an accidental encounter in a parking lot and a face that looks like many others. It's a kind of strange way to get an idea but it worked and I love the story ;-) Hopefully, you will too.


Look for an excerpt tomorrow!


Where to find me on the web:

Website http://www.lyndakscott.com.

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to: LyndaKScott-Newsgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/lyndakscott

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LyndaKScott

Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynda-K-Scott/201599553208653


Heartstone

By Lynda K. Scott Mundania Press

Science Fantasy Romance


Eric d'Ebrur is out of time. He must fine the legendary Heartstone and fulfill the ancient Gar'Ja bond he shares with the Stonebearer. But when he finds her, he discovers that love can be more dangerous than the Gawan threat. Eric can defeat the mind-controlling Gawan but will it cost him the woman he loves?


After terrifying episodes of hypersensitivity, Keriam Norton thinks she's losing her mind. When handsome shapeshifter Eric d'Ebrur saves her from the monstrous Gawan, she's sure of it. But insane or not, she'll find the Heartstone and, if she's lucky, a love to last a lifetime.


Available in print and ebook format

Buy Links: Mundania Press (use MP10 at checkout for 10% discount)

http://www.mundania.com/book.php?title=Heartstone

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Heartstone-Lynda-K-Scott/dp/1606592335/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3


About Lynda: In her family of Kentucky 'ridge runners', oral tales were a tradition that even the children participated in. She spent many nights with her brother, cousins and friends telling tall tales to excite the imagination. Now she creates award winning science fantasy romance filled with despair, hope, love and courage.


Thanks for having me! If you are a member of or join my newsgroup before Oct 1, you'll automatically be entered into a drawing for a beaded crystal heart pendant. (Sorry, you must be a resident of the USA to win the pendant but a non-USA winner will receive an alternate prize to be determined at the time of the drawing.) Contest Rules are available at http://lyndakscott.blogspot.com/2011/09/new-member-only-contest.html



Come join us tomorrow for an except from Altered Destiny and a cover that is absolutely eye candy!

How to discipline your child or grandchild?

This is a hot topic now that the “Hot Sauce Mom” case is making headlines. If you’re not familiar with the situation it’s about an Alaskan mother who washed her adopted son’s mouth out with hot sauce and made him take a cold shower because he wiggled around in class and used his pencil to swordfight. This sounds like normal seven year old behavior to me, so I question why his teacher even mentioned the incident to the mother, unless his ability to sit still or focus is a constant problem. If that’s the case he needs a medical examination.

Check out the U-tube video of the Hot Sauce Mom here. Her daughter shot the video and sent it to the Dr. Phil show. www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJhYRiwV-7c

The Hot Sauce Mom used psychological abuse, AKA emotional abuse, to try to get through to her son. This approach is as destructible to a child’s well-being as physical abuse. There may not be any visible scars on the body, but I assure you there are scars on the brain. Trauma of this nature often leads to dissociative behavior and affects how a person interacts with the world.

I firmly believe that if you don’t have a solution to a problem you shouldn’t complain about it. Let me first say that my college degree is in Business Management, not Psychology, so I don’t claim to be an expert. But I played a part in establishing the School Age Program that is used in the Department of Defense’s military Child Development Programs. SAP is still nurturing healthy young minds today.

One of the program’s objectives is to help parents and caregivers of children to come up with alternative ways to discipline. My parents spanked me and I’m alright. We hear this so much in our culture. I’m not discounting the truth of this statement; instead I challenge you to consider other ways to instruct your child, instead of spanking.

One such way is time-out. Been there, done that, some of you will say. It doesn’t work. I’ve seen time-out in action and when done right, it is an effective tool. Another helpful technique used to control behavior is taking away the positive things in a child’s life. For example, their favorite toy.

Let’s examine both approaches closer.


1. Both TAKE COMMITMENT: This is the most important step in the process. Your child has to know you will follow through on what you say you will do. If you don’t act to correct bad behavior, you lose credibility. Your actions must be consistent every time a problem occurs. You can’t take a day off from this job.

2. Both are effective only with REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: You know your child. What is he/she capable of doing? Don’t set her up for failure. Don’t establish rules or set limits that are not within her reach. For example, most three-year-olds can realistically sit still for about 3 - 5 minutes. Don’t expect a toddler to remain quiet or sit still for long periods of time. This only leads to frustration for both parent and child.

3. Both require AGE APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE and LOGIC: This doesn’t mean you should dummy down language when you speak to a child. This is about explaining your wishes in a way that she not only understands but can apply to any situation she encounters. Don’t just explain the types of behaviors you want her to avoid, let her know why it is important to behave a certain way. Give the reason. For example, if she hits her friend, her friend won’t want to play with her again.

4. Both require PREDICTABLE CONSEQUENCES: A child’s environment has to have predictability in it. If he knows what to expect from you he feels safe and comforted (I don’t have to worry. Momma goes to work in the morning, but she comes home in the evenings). Use this same approach to help him learn what you expect from him. (If my behavior is good, mommy will respond in a positive way) And once you set the rules don’t change them in the middle of the game. Not fair! Being consistent helps him to learn that if he makes bad decisions, bad things will happen. Good decisions, good things will happen.

5. Both require you use what your child CHERISHES or VALUES to control behavior: This is usually the most important thing in your child’s life at the moment. Maybe it’s her favorite Barbie, his love of playing baseball with his friends, or if he is older the privilege of earning more Xbox 360 play time. For negative behavior take the positive thing in your child’s life away (favorite toy) or use time-out to correct him or her.

Raising a child is not an easy task. We usually only have our parents as our blueprints. In school we’re taught how to balance a checkbook, not how to raise happy and productive human beings. I hope these tips help to make the most important job in your life easier. Because the truth is, a parent who doesn’t discipline properly can do serious damage to a child’s body and soul.

What do you think?

Until later,
Pamela Varnado

Welcome South, Brother--the slogan of WSB-TV, Channel 2 in Atlanta.


What would you do if you were 22-years-old, a new college grad with your whole life ahead of you, and you received a letter from your brothers telling you your father has had the first of several massive strokes? And then they tell you they’ve also decided you’re the one to take care of him?


That’s what Nicolo Liguori faces in Runaway Brother. Being the next-to-youngest Liguori (baby brother GianGiacomo is only twelve) and having no current girlfriend and no responsibilities, Nick is chosen to be Papa Luigi’s caregiver because his three brothers don’t want to disrupt their own steady and settled lives. Because he loves his father and because Luigi is his only living parent, Nick, like a good son, accepts the life his brothers have laid out for him. Setting aside his hopes of heading up his own jewelry outlet for Liguori and Sons Gems, he goes to work in the family business, coming home each night to the Liguori mansion. His life is accounted for to the second. Secretary Karen knows where he is at each and every moment, and if Karen doesn’t, his father does. And that’s the life Nick lives…for eleven years…wearing what he’s told to wear, seeing the clients he’s supposed to see, eating the meals he’s supposed to eat…and being at his father’s beck-and-call when he’s away from the office.


And then Papa passes away, and suddenly, Nick’s free…


…or is he?


Brothers Carlo, Marco, and Pietro expect him to carry on as usual, return to work, and keep living in the family mansion, and it looks as if Nick’s doing just that…until one morning, he leaves the Liguori home and doesn’t show up at work…and no one can find him anywhere…



I imagine everyone at one time or another has wanted to just chuck it all and disappear. Nick Liguori does just that. Assuming another persona, that of Nick Liege, itinerant biker, he hops on a Harley and heads South…and soon is knee-deep in a life he’s only seen in the movies and on TV. In the little town of Oceano, Georgia, Nick runs (literally) into a pretty girl named Sidney and a tank masquerading as a horse named Shazam. His bike is wrecked, he’s stuck until it’s repaired. And while the Harley sits in Marshall’s Repair Shop, waiting to be fixed, the man who’ll come to be known as “Sidney’s Yankee” is about to learn about life and love in the Deep South.


There's a lot of fun and definitely some games, for the girls are certainly Daisy Dukes. Nevertheless, soon Nick’s having run-ins with a couple of “good ol’ boys,” Shazam is as overt as a human in his dislike of the interfering Yankee, and then there’s Sidney herself…Motorcycles, Arabian horses, a feisty Southern Miss, an ex-boyfriend named “Bubba,” and a rival rancher all join forces against Nick, while back in New York, the police officer assigned to the case is turning a surprisingly sympathetic eye to finding the runaway brother.


This was a fun book to write. I enjoyed researching motorcycles and the history of the Arabian horse, and also of dredging into my memory for the Southern customs I’ve left behind and now had to revive. Oceano is one of those small towns where they actually roll up the sidewalks at night. The "big" thing to do on Saturday night is a barn dance with a local band, and the "in" place is a roadhouse called "Beauregard's," on the edge of town. One of my favorite scenes is of Nick sitting at the dinner table with Sydney and her grandfather, listening attentively as they explain to him about hoecakes, collards, and grits, and his statement that “This is the first time I’ve sat down to a meal that came with eating instructions.”


Runaway Brother does some gentle ribbing at the Dukes of Hazzard, My Name is Earl, and Hee-Haw, as well as some of the ideas most people north of the Mason-Dixon line still have about the South. But it’s all in fun, and I think the readers will enjoy it.


EXCERPT:


The track was getting narrower, barely two ruts now with a width of slender, wiry grass separating them. He slowed the bike. Don’t want to get that stuff caught in the spokes and stall the engine.


From far off to his right came a faint sound as if someone was beating a drum.


Nick raised his head, looking around, then gave a loud sigh of exasperation. Okay! So I’m lost! He’d just follow the road to wherever it went, probably to some farmer’s front yard. When he got there, he’d apologize, turn around and get himself back to the main drag. If he could find it.


A broken branch loomed ahead, and he turned his attention to it, guiding the bike around it. The drumming came closer.


A second branch and several twigs littered the roadway. Nick was so concerned with maneuvering around them he didn’t see the horse sail over the fence, wasn’t even aware it was there until he looked up and found the white shape almost directly in front of him.


He jerked the wheel to the right, forgetting to apply the rear brakes first. The bike skidded, its back wheel rising off the ground as the front one stopped rolling. He had a brief vision of the animal leaping forward, its rider clinging to its back, wide, frightened blue eyes, flying blonde hair...


The motorcycle went off the road, sliding into the ditch and running up the other side, the front fender striking one of the fence posts. It bounced and rebounded, and Nick went flying over the handlebars, flipping in mid-air and hitting the same post with his back. The bike wavered a moment, then toppled onto its side. Nick slid down the post, landing upside down in the ditch, his shoulders crushing coffeeweed into an aromatic mass.


The pounding hooves stopped. He heard running footsteps, opened his eyes and saw someone running toward him. He closed them again.


“Are you hurt?”


This time when he opened his eyes, he was staring at the upside-down face of a very pretty girl, at least she’d have been pretty if her face wasn’t screwed up into such a dismayed scowl.


Am I hurt?” He managed a growl as he slid further into the weeds and rolled over. “I just hit a fence and got tossed into a ditch! What do you think?” Clambering to his knees, while she plucked ineffectually at one arm, he jerked out of her grasp. “I can get up by my— Ow!”


He’d gotten upright, took a step, and his leg buckled, turning at the ankle. He sat down a little quicker than he intended, back into the weeds again as he ran a hand down his boot to touch his ankle. He could feel angry throbs of heat pulsing through it.


“Maledicta quella ferita!”


“Here.” She slid into the ditch, offering a hand. Reluctantly he took it, being careful not to put too much weight behind it as he let her pull him to his feet. He could see she was worried and he really wasn’t hurt all that bad, but he was angry because she’d been so reckless.


She began to brush bits of leaves and dirt off his shoulders.


Jerking away, he demanded, “What the Hell’s the matter with you? Jumping in front of me like that! If I’d hit that horse—”


“What are you doing riding this road? This is private property.”


Did that mean she knew the owner or—God forbid—she was the owner? Couldn’t be. She was too young, not more than seventeen surely, small, short, blonde, and that voice... Crystallized honey with a scratchy undercurrent. A real Southern accent, not like the ones he’d heard on TV or in the movies, and most definitely not in New York City!



She was too pretty for him to pretend to stay angry at, so he toned it down, answering her question. “I got lost. I only wanted to find the end of the road and turn around.”


“You have a way to go. The house is about a quarter of a mile that way.” She nodded toward a group of pines thrust into the road, hiding the rest of it from sight. Nick looked in that direction, then back at her. She, in turn, looked at the motorcycle, still on its side in the weeds. You seem okay. Is that hurt?”


He limped over and inspected it. The front fender was smashed and ripped upwards. The tire has an impact-split in it and the spokes were bent and twisted. That isn’t too bad, he told himself. Jojo had given him a basic tool set and a crash course in Motorcycle Care 101. I can straighten the spokes and the fender. Get a new tire and be on my— Hold it! The headlight was smashed, hanging out of the socket like a dislocated eyeball, and the clutch cable... Somehow it had been severed.


Nick got down on one knee, feeling under the bike. His hand came away wet. He sniffed at his fingers.


Gasoline.


Merda! He pulled off one glove, exploring gingerly. Something had punched a hole in the gas tank and gasoline was pouring into the grass. He had no idea how, but it didn’t matter. What did was that he wasn’t going anywhere as long as that hole was there.


“Well?” She appeared to be awaiting his diagnosis.


He wiped his fingers on the seat of his jeans. “Gas tank’s got a hole in it, clutch cable’s severed. Is there a motorcycle shop around here anywhere?”


“No, but Marshall’s in town can probably repair it. He does everything from lawn mowers to farm machinery.”


Oh Lord, deliver me from small town handymen! He was about to tell her he didn’t want Marshall touching his bike when he realized, What else am I going to do? Do you have a better idea, Mr. Runaway?

“So which way is town?” He straightened, looked around as if expecting to see the city limits a few feet away.


“Too far for you to push that thing,” she answered, gesturing at the front wheel. “Not with it twisted like that.”


“What do I do then, Miss Not-So-Helpful? Since this is your fault—”


“My fault?” Hands went to her hips. And deliciously slim ones they were, too. Nick had a moment to think she looked anything but angry, though it was apparent she thought she did. Cute, maybe. Hell, he might even say adorable with those blonde wisps floating around her face, but angry? Nope! “Who’s the trespasser? Who had his head down, studying the ground when he should’ve been looking straight ahead?”


“You weren’t ahead of me,” he countered. “You and that white tank of yours jumped a fence and came in from the side.


She stared at him, taking a deep breath and getting ready for some type of vitriolic response. Memories of The Dukes of Hazzard and how the Duke Boys always verbally got the best of Boss Hawg came into his mind. Well, this Daisy Duke wasn’t getting the best of him. He wouldn’t allow it.


“Never mind. Just let me get the bike upright and point me in the right direction, and—”


“I’ll do no such thing.” That made him stare at her, wondering if she was going to walk away, mount her white steed, and leave him stranded knee-deep in Kudzu or whatever-the-Hell these weeds were. “I’ll ride back to the house and get my grandpa’s truck. We”ll put the motorcycle in it.”

She clambered up the bank, running toward the horse now was grazing on the other side of the road. Catching the reins and a handful of mane, she swung into the horse’s back—very gracefully, he noted—then turned the animal’s head and trotted it back to him.


He liked the way the jolting gait made her breasts bounce under the jersey tee. Damn, they’re perky little things! Che pezzeta saporita! He forced himself to hide his appreciation. Barely stopped his tongue from coming out and licking his lower lip. Hoped he wasn’t drooling.


“You stay right there,” she told him. “I’ll be back in a jif!” She kicked the horse in the ribs and sent it galloping down the road.


He liked the way her butt bounced, too.


They dodged a tree limb, took the turn and vanished from sight, though he heard the sound of hoofbeats for a few minutes more.


Nick turned his attention back to the V-Rod. It hadn’t moved. Did he expect it to get up and limp over to him like a dog with a hurt paw, whimpering for sympathy? Shaking his head, he leaned against the edge of the ditch, back against a fencepost.


Welcome South, Brother!



Runaway Brother is available in trade, Epub, and Mobi from Class Act Books. http://www.classactbooks.com/Runaway-Brother-by-Icy-Snow-Blackstone-Trade_p_308.html