Most of the time you'll find me at the keyboard, moving between the 5 projects I tackle at a time.
- Aimee St. Claire
- Amy Redwood
- Cate Masters
- Debra Kayn
- Haven Rich
- Jen Bluekissed
- Keta Diablo
- Lainey Bancroft
- Lucy Woodhull
- Lynne DuMae
- Moonlight, Lace, & Mayhem
- Regina Carlysle
- Romantic Inks
- Sela Carsen
- Tales From the Crit
- Tammie Jin
- The Naughty Girls Next Door
- Three Wicked Writers
Sunday, May 30, 2010
I'm really excited about this book's release. It marks not only the first in a series, but my first with Liquid Silver. The more I get into the world I created in Scicia and the surrounding planets the more I love it.
Here's the long blurb.
For the past ten years, war has ravaged the planet of Scicia. The countries of Telesia and Vanden have painted the land with the blood of their people, neither side coming out the clear victor. The recent death of the Vanden Regent has brought his heir to the throne and with it a new chance for peace. That is, if the memories of an illicit love and a false identity do not derail the process first.
Vanden Regent, Loden Espacian has waited a long time to claim Rinalda D’Aubry as his bride. Four years before, on a mission to Presari Station, Loden attempted to seduce secrets from the Telesian Chancellor’s beautiful daughter. His quest failed when she did not divulge even so much as her family ties and Loden fell helplessly in love. Now, the war has taken a terrible toll on Vanden’s resources. With his country on the verge of collapse, Rinalda is within the walls of his palace as the Telesian peace emissary. The only chance for Loden to save his country is to find a way back to Rinalda’s good graces and once again win her heart.
When Sergeant Rinalda D’Aubry agreed with her father’s plan of going to Vanden as the emissary in a peace envoy, she had no idea she’d come face to face with the man she thought was lost to a wartime romance. Dreams of him have sustained her during some of her worst days and nights, fighting in a bloody war of her father’s making. The man she remembers was a common foot soldier, not the heir to the Vanden throne. Betrayed and humiliated, Rinalda vows to rise above her broken heart to save both countries from destruction, before it’s too late. But memories of their passionate love making threaten to ignite the air between them, and burn all who stand in the way.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I’m kind of knocking off the theme “All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten”, but I thought I’d talk about the 5 things I’ve learned from my children…
5 – They’re money pits! And I've been broke since the first one was born. I thought I’d stop bleeding money when they were out of diapers and stopped drinking formula, but sheesh I wish I’d known it only gets worse. Now they five dollar me to death for this thing at school, or that thing at karate, or that special they "need" at Walmart and Game Stop…it never ends! And I fear it will get worse as the teenage years loom closer.
4 – A two year old learns curse words faster than one syllable words!! And knows how to use them with proper sentence structure. Yikes! I learned how to curb my foul mouth quicker than I could teach them to curb theirs! I used to love the word “damn-it” until I heard it uttered from my two-year-old’s mouth when one of his toys was frustrating him. Boy, was that an eye opener…er, ear opener. ;-)
3 – It doesn’t take a quivering bottom lip for them to get their way, but a sweet look and the words “I love you” will crush my resolve almost instantly! I had no idea I was such a sucker until I had children of my own! Who knew the joke would be on me and that they’d wrap me around their little fingers and lead me around like a dog on a leash.
2 – Children see the world with innocent glee. I’ve lost the wonder and joy of going to the beach, but watching the wonder and joy on my child’s face for the first time was priceless! We’re leaving Sunday for a cruise, the first my boys will take, and I can’t wait to see the excitement on their faces as they get to experience the adventure for the first time. When I get back, I’ll blog about the cruise and post pictures.
1 – How to love unselfishly! This is nothing they taught me. But the love I felt at the moment of their birth is unexplainable unless you have children of your own. I didn’t know I could love so intensely until my boys were born. Suddenly I had humans I’d suffer everything for and give everything up for them. But, they make life worth every sacrifice. And…most of the time I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything. =)
So, what are some of the things you’ve learned from your child/children?
I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
This is the video that has spurred on today's post. Click here to view it. Please, it is NSFW (not safe for work) so yeah, don't watch this one around anyone who will tell on you :-)
Now, the video features the talents of one Brent Corrigan (a very popular p*rn star) promoting safe sex by demonstrating how to put on a condom properly. Sure, a simple thing, but ever so important in this day and age. Let's put aside the fact that Brent engaged in unsafe sex at the tender age of 17 and that he's only just realised that safe sex is the way to go. All his new video's now contain guys wearing condoms.
But are they still sexy?
That is the question, isn't it? I mean, in writing, does unsafe sex turn you off? Do you think of the consequences for the characters when they engage each other in an unsafe way? Sure, I think if you are writing realistic romance, as in modern day guy meets guy/girl, then yes, condoms would be warranted. But what if you write fantasy or science fiction? Would having sex with a shape-shifter even require a condom?
Okay, food for thought, but let's get back to the crux of the issue. The p*rn industry wants to create a fantasy. They want to have perfect bodies slapping together, and putting on condoms (to them) gets in the way. It dilutes the fantasy, if you will.
I think that if you love someone and want to be with them, then safe sex is the way to go. It shows you care on a far deeper level than just lust or fantasy or whatever. Then again, that's not what we watch p*rn for, now is it? Actually, it's not why we read erotic books either. Well, I don't anyway. Real life is--well, real life and reading a book is an escape, just like watching a video.
I know I may get into trouble here for saying such a thing, but I have put up a challenge to myself. My next scene will feature a condom in a really sexy way, you just wait! *grin* After all, a good writer, like a good producer, can make anything possible. Yep. Even make a condom sexy. Brent has done it, so yeah, the gauntlet has been thrown down and I accept.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I try. Really I do. Writers can hide behind their keyboards but once the book is out, we really need to push the introvert aside and let out inner lion roar. Uh..yeah, right, you say. I saw an awesome presentation at my local RWA chapter by Dawna Rand. She's my friend on Facebook if you want to friend her and pick her brain or have her speak at your next workshop. She was AMAZING. She placed colored note cards on our tables and told us to find all the other notecards in the room that shared our color so we could meet new people and network. It was wonderful. I met new writers and some people who just might open up new doors for me as a writer. Networking really is important. And I hate it. Dawna said the only thing she likes about cocktail parties are the cocktails....lol. Me too but those parties are great for networking. We should all force ourselves to speak to others, ask questions and be a good listener.
I'm going to force myself to be a little more extroverted right now and extend an open invitation for writers AND readers to have their own day on my personal blog at http://alishapaige.blogspot.com. I'd love to hear about your upcoming releases, the writing world in general or what you love in a book from readers. Send me any other ideas you have as topics and let me know the date you'd like to blog (except for Tuedays). I'm open to anything. I would really love to connect with more writers and readers. Please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great Tuesday!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Then there are the movies I watch over and over again. They are the background noise when I write- on the occasions when I decide I need a bit more company than just the stereo playing. No matter if the movie is a classic noir, or a adaptation of an Austen or Dickins novel, if the story has dragons or magic, or space battles and Vulcan ears, they all have the same thing in common - they transport me to another place. Of course some of these movies I've seen so many times I can play a Rocky Horror on them and recite all the dialogue. But that's fine, that familiarity also allows me to tune out great portions of the movie into background only.
It's nothing on a long afternoon when I'm busy typing away to play the LOTR triology, or the original Star Wars saga back-to-back. Sometimes I'll go for A & E's version of Pride and Prejudice, or the BBC rendition of Our Mutual Friend. Sometimes I'll go fun and watch the Mummy movies.
I find my favorites are period pieces. I have to admit a fondness for anything that is wrapped in chain mail or corsets and relies heavily on court politics. This doesn't mean they have to reside in the real world. It can be plucked from the shores of some distant land, or a time before time. I really don't care. There is just something about the costumes that make me swoon. (Really, I think swooning is a dying art form.)
I'll admit, action/adventure will sometimes turn my head. The Transporter series, (ooo Jason Statam, now there's something to swoon about). Or maybe I want something with Jet Li. (Hot Asian dude, oh, yeah I'm soooo there!)
There there are the series I'll just put in DVD's for and watch. My favorite - hands down is ST:DS9. Solid writing, awesome plot lines, visually impressive. It's got everything. Including Avery Brooks as the captain - I mean, how can you go wrong!
I hear a lot of writers saying they can't work with the television going or the stereo blaring. I'm not that sort of girl. If I really need to concentrate, then I might forgo the tube, but not usually. I know my limits of stimulation and I know when I need something to fill in the void of null sound around me. Watching my favs is just like having a steaming mug of tea and curling up to visit with old friends.
What are some of your favorite movies?
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I'm sorry I haven't blogged in forever. Things have been crazy in my life, problems at home with my oldest son and the final culmination coming with my little brother (he just turned 19) almost dying from a drug overdose. None of us even knew he was using drugs and huffing. So, it's been a long couple of weeks at my house.
But, I'm still looking on the positive side and am demanding things get better pronto! lol We leave for vacation next Friday, so I hope that'll be restful and relaxing and hopefully I can forget all my worries. I'll make sure to schedule some blogs to post so that there will be something here on Saturday's while I'm gone.
A couple of weeks ago I submitted my book, A Kiss of Wytch Blood, which is a dark paranormal romance involving an all powerful wytch and a vampire that's hiding some huge secrets about his own powers. No word back on it yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Like I said, I'm staying positive. ;-)
*CONTEST* As a celebration of summer, I'm giving away a tote bag (beach bag) at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem. I encourage all of you to enter for a chance to win because this celebration is for both sites and is for both of our readers/followers. A picture of the bag is posted at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem if you're interested. It's open to all US residents and to enter all you have to do is leave me a comment. Leave the comment at Moonlight, Lace & Mayhem or it won't count. I'll announce the winner on Sunday (tomorrow), so be sure to leave a comment there if you're interested in a chance to win.
I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and again I'm sorry for ditching you guys for a couple of weeks. ~huggles~
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Okay, let me talk about something a lot of you may find 'cringe-worthy' If you are not interested in male/male love then please don't read any further. Cool?
Here we go then:
So, as all of you who know I write male/male romance, have done since I was first published. A lot of you may be thinking what's the appeal of two men showing each other their affection. Well, to put it simply, the answer is just that. Men showing affection/emotion. Something a lot of women want from their man but just don't get it because he's too macho or some shit like that. What's wrong with a man just hugging someone for the sake of it? What's wrong with a man kissing his son to show him how proud he is? What's wrong with a man doing chores around the house to let his wife know that he sees her as an equal? Nothing. That's what.
Actually, even gay p*rn is completely different to straight p*rn in the way that when the men 'do it' there is lots of kissing, hugging and affection shown toward each other (unless the purpose of the video/pictures are for a different nature, like master/slave stuff). I admire gay p*rn in a way that it's in complete contrast to most straight stuff where the woman is an object. Why should a woman be an object? Why can't a man kiss her like they do in the gay films? In fact, a lot of people in the straight community could learn a lot from what the gay community get up to.
Writing male/male romance is such a joy because I get to see the inner side of what makes a man. Being a man myself I know that we are emotional creatures contrary to popular belief and cultural barriers that have been built up since we climbed down from the trees. One famous saying goes: "You make love to a woman and you have sex with a man". I can't remember who said that, but suffice it to say, I disagree. I think that no matter who you're with, you make love to them. Kiss them...a lot. Treat them as equal. Treat them how you would like to be treated. You'll go far :-)
Oh, and watch some gay p*rn. You may be surprised.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I'd love to hear about your research. I love doing research for my books. I had a blast reading about the Havasupai Indians who live at the bottom of The Grand Canyon while writing Canyon Wolf Bride. While writing The Wooden Nickel, I researched the rail riders of The Great Depression, the young boys and men who hopped trains in search in work, the bulls they dealt with (railroad guards) and the every day dangers. While writing A Love Beyond Time for the Muse Series, I researched The Renaissance and The Salem Witch Trials for my time travel romance. For Uncaged, I researched London in the 1700's and the slave trade in Africa. Research for Voodoo Moon was personal. I traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica and walked the halls of Rosehall Plantation where Annie Palmer still roams today. Seeing her grave, the infamous dungeon (which is now a bar) where she kept ill tempered slaves and her bedroom where she slept and bedded the men she killed...wow...it really brought my story to life. Now I'm researching Circle City, Alaska, a town on the edge of civilization, a stone's throw from desolation. The perfect setting for a clan of wolf people. Don't ya think?
What are you researching now? I'd love to hear. Research is like going back to school but only taking the classes you really love!
Have a great Tuesday!
(Photo courtesy of photobucket.com)
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Yesterday, I decided I wanted to buy a new workout DVD collection. It's one I'd been eying for a while and pricing, salivating over, so with all our tax checks arrived and in the bank, I thought, all right time to do something nice for me. It's not that expensive and it's kind of an intermediate step to the DVD's my hubby and I tried last summer (the ones that kicked our asses royal). I thought it might be a good thing to try them and work back up to the ones from last summer. It was a plan anyhow. So, when I went to the company's website to order, I did everything it asked of me, all the pages loaded properly and then I hit the very last button - you know -the one right before the screen pops up to say, "congratulations you have successfully purchased...." Well, the I got an error message saying my cart was empty and that the URL had switched to another site. It gave me hyperlinks to press, which all took me back to the same page. All right. I'll play along. I went to press the order form....nadda. Same error message. I tried the company's other products. Nope. Nothin' doin'. Their entire shopping cart had crashed.
All right, I'm a big girl. I realize glitches happen, so I'm not too upset. I go to my email to make sure there isn't a purchase confirmation email. Nope. Not even the first one. I check back in 20 minutes. Still none. So, I'm thinking the order didn't go through. I'm good with that. I'll just go elsewhere to order the product.
I find the product I wanted for about a third of the price. Still in box. Brand new. I show my hubby the listing. It's a Buy It Now so I don't even have to wait for the auction to end to get this fabulous price. (Really, if you're shopping on ebay and don't want to mess with the auction and find something you want at a reasonable price, this is really the way to go.) - So, hubster tells me to go ahead and buy it. I do. Get the confirmation from paypal and all is well with the world. I also find another series of dance workout DVD's to get for 20 bucks, which will come in handy while I'm recouperating from surgery. (Yes, I have to have surgery in July. Carpel Tunnel in my left arm. ugh.) - I buy the dance workouts and all is right with the world.
Until I'm at work.
I check my email to see if my ebay purchases have confirmation of reciept of payment from the sellers. What do you think I find instead? If you guessed a confirmation of order from the site that crashed, you'd be correct.
Now, to fix this problem requires either my husband or I to call their customer service line precisely at 11am EST, (they open at 8am Pac) to cancel this order. Again, not a big deal, just annoying. Because now I have two of the same product coming to me, and one is about 3 times more expensive. If I had just waited 24 hours, I wouldn't have been calling my hubby to see what he could do before our credit card got charged.
But on the other hand, if the cart hadn't crashed I might not have found the product so much cheaper. Or the cheap dance workout DVDs. Silver linings for all!
And I learned a lesson: Don't be so hot to buy something without shopping around really well first.
(You'd think I'd have known that after last week's netbook buying fiasco -but that's another story.)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
My brain has been working way too fast to match up with my speed typing. It feels like my mind is already telling me the middle of the story and yet my fingers are still typing the beginning of it. So I decided to try the good old fashioned way of writing—using a pen and paper. I use shorthand. I scribble the ideas and main points. Things that are important or what the chapter is about and keep on going. Before I knew it, I actually finished a draft. Of course, when I start transferring it on Word, I’ll end up changing or adding stuff to it. But the fact is, I finished my draft.
I remember doing this years ago when I wrote my story, My Own Knight, which Red Rose Publishing published as Wicked Knight: Knight Brothers Series. I wrote this story in my composition notebook that I carried with me most of the time. It worked and, yes, it worked again. Both times I accomplished the hardest part of writing (in my opinion) a story—finishing a draft.
I don’t know how many of you are still doing this, but it got me to thinking. I should do this with my all of my unfinished drafts. Not only does it give me a sense of accomplishment, it’s also a good reason to stay off the internet. At least for a while. : ) See, I blame the internet for my slow progress. Each time I sit down to write, that big blue E beckons me to click it. And if you’re an internet surfer like me, you know how fast you can lose your self in that big wide world of Internet.
So now that my draft is finished, I feel inspired and have a renewed interest in getting it out to my publisher before the end of June. A new goal! Yey!
By the way, I received an awesome review from Dark Diva Reviews that made me sit back and think. Could this be the sign that I am ready to try a bigger publisher? Here is the link to the review.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I will write a note and sign the postcard, too. All you have to do is send me the receipt from the purchase and your snail mail address and I will do the rest :-)
Hope to hear from you all soon. Thanks! P.S. my email address is: mark alders at yahoo dot com
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
If I quit writing tomorrow, I'll always be a mother and I have to say, it is truly the best job on earth!
I'm taking a day off from blogging today to celebrate my oldest daughter's birthday. Hard to believe she was a tiny baby in my arms just 14 years ago. Her dad and I were on a date night, watching the movie Twister when I went into labor. She was born the day before Mother's Day. She has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine! She has taught me more than I could ever imagine. True love is when you see your newborn baby for the first time. She'll start high school in the fall and now she's a young lady. Happy Birthday, baby girl! I love you!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Hey. Stop looking at me that way. I've not lost my mind, I'm perfectly sane. I even have science on my side. The body is made of energy- when we die the energy has to go somewhere. It doesn't end, it just changes form. Given that the possibility for what happens to that energy is endless, including being trapped in an earth-bound state. Do I think every bump and hiss and crack in a house is caused by something ethereal. No. There are more explanations to be found in the known world than the unknown. Do I think sometimes there are paranormal explanations - sure. Why not.
I'm a devotee to the ScyFy Channel sow Ghost Hunters. So far they are the only program I've seen on TV that actually tries to disprove hauntings rather than the Goober and the Ghost Chaser antics you find on Travel Channel where the people investigating jump and scream at every little noise they hear. I say Goober because they aren't even compatent enough to be compared to the Scooby Doo Gang. As a matter of fact they are so bad, I can't even remember the name of the show in question. Anyhow, my point is I'd rather see a group trying to eliminate the obvious before slapping a label on something that truly doesn't belong. It makes the things they can't explain just that much more compelling.
But I digress.
I love ghost stories. Reading them, writing them, contemplating them. My latest is part of my erotic fallen angels series. Originally, the heroine was a mortal set up against the fallen angel Malachai. Well, the first two books in the series had the exact same configuration of hero and heroine. I thought I needed to change it up a bit. For some reason the word wraith popped into my head. Even though I'll confess to not knowing the true origin of the word. Of course, this only compelled me to look into the background and figure out how to best use it in my story, because after I had a taste for in my mouth, I knew I had to use it. - So, the definition and origin were pretty damn compelling. Scottish. All right, I like it. Used to describe a ghost. Groovy. One that has separated from their body at around the time of their death to warn or visit their loved ones. Oh, Yes!!! I'm so there. I mean the ideas I can get from are so vast. It actually gave me a good jumping off point for my villians. Let's face it, they couldn't be just any villians either. They had to be special. Enough so that my heroine would want to separate from her body in order to save herself.
Now, here's the rub - or not - how does your hero and heroine have sex if one is ethereal? Does one go for the Dan Akroyd/Donna Dixon scene in Ghostbusters? Or try to find another way around the problem? For me, I have it worked out in my head how it will all go down (oh, yeah that pun was intended). Now, all I have to do is get working on the actual story.
So, what are you contemplating?
Friday, May 7, 2010
Visit Romancing the Books ,say hi and you could win a copy of Passionate Bid. Tomorrow, a winner will be announced.
This is a heartwarming story of an abandoned young awkward untidy wife who turns into an erotic bombshell to put food on the table, a drool-worthy veterinarian who finally learns to love his wife, and a little bug they both love. For two weeks, they live in harmony until a tragedy nearly cost them an irreplaceable young life.
Five Cups from Coffee Time Romance --"...I could not put this book down and it gives a reader the hope that they can find their own person to love coffee, no matter how bitter and horrible it is. As a reader I caution you to have a box of tissues by your side and be prepared for strange looks when you suddenly burst out laughing."--Danielle, Coffee Time Romance
Here is the link for the whole review: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/passionatebid.html
Available from Red Rose Publishing, Amazon, ARE, Mobipocket
Wendy, I already added your pretty cover. If you guys have a newly released book, let me know and I’ll update the big slideshow. : )
I’ll try to figure out how to link the covers to the buy page. Okay, back to “trying” to finish my new novel. Hopefully, vertigo will leave me alone today.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
My daughter was watching cartoons the other day and shrieked her frustration at the television when it went to an ad just as the cartoon was getting really good. She asked me this..."Mommy, why does it always stop when something big is about to happen?" I explained to her that the television station wants her to keep watching even after the boring two minute ads. She asked me why they would do that. She just couldn't understand why her favorite cartoons would leave her hanging, desperate for more. I told her that it made the cartoon more exciting. She seemed satisfied with that answer and sat back down on her Elmo chair, anxiously awaiting her cartoon.
This is something we must all learn as writers. Make your readers turn those pages, begging for more. Leave them hanging with questions at the end of a scene, at the end of every chapter, even at the end of a book if the book is part of a series. Keep your readers guessing. Keep them hungry and they will keep coming back for more. Mystery is a good thing, in every genre. I hate to be spoon fed as a reader so I try so very hard to not under estimate my readers and allow them to think.
Here's an example of my leaving my reader's with something to ponder, taken from my current WIP.
Zoe woke in the dead of night. There was movement outside her cage and no light. The creatures didn’t need it to see but rarely did they enter at night. She knew they were nocturnal and instructed servants to tend to her mostly during the day. She made sure to pay attention to all their conversations, realizing long ago that it might help her escape one day. She sat up and strained to see, blinking. Nothing. It was pitch black. The hair on her arms stood on end. She could feel many around her and could tell by the clinks on the cold stone floor that they were in wolf form, their nails clicking as they passed. She heard low grunts and groans and knew they were shifting, thankful for the veil the darkness provided. She’d never get used to watching them change. She heard a match strike and knew they were lighting the lamps. Ever so slowly, she opened her eyes, surprised to see females. She had yet to see a female since her capture. And they were smiling at her.
Zoe stood, wrapping the sheet around her, shivering, squinting into the dim night. She watched as one of the females pulled a key from her pocket and unlocked her cage.
“Don’t worry,” the blonde female whispered. “We’re here to bathe you.”
“Bathe me?” Zoe managed to squeak out the question. She could certainly bathe herself but usually a male filled her tub and left her alone. This was most odd.
The female nodded and smiled again. “We must prepare you.”
A red headed female spoke next. She seemed older and in charge. “For the Unleashing.”
Zoe shook her head and cleared her throat. “The what?”
“Our master has chosen you for his haremlik.”
“His haremlik? Who is your master?”
“You will take part in the Unleashing in an hour. We must prepare you.”
“I don’t understand…I don’t understand your words.”
“Our words?” The redhead giggled as she removed the sheet from Zoe and guided her to the tub.
Zoe wracked her brain, trying to think of a way she could tell them that she just didn’t understand their lingo. “Your vocabulary. The terms. I don’t know what they mean.”
“You soon will,” the red head assured her as she helped her out of her night gown and into the tub.
“You won’t tell me?”
Zoe watched the females exchange glances and thought she caught a twinge of pity but she couldn’t be sure.
“We are not permitted to do so but don’t worry. You will be safe.”
“Am I going somewhere?”
The red head looked her in the eye and smiled. Zoe took that as a yes. It was all she could do to not whoop and holler.
“Am I to be freed?”
She searched their faces and saw sadness, pity. Her heart sank as the two females bathed her. Three other females moved around her, carrying clothes, laying out make up, lotions, a hair brush. Where was she going if not home? Why would they take such trouble to bathe, clothe and primp a prisoner? The blonde whispered something Zoe didn’t catch. She listened harder.
“You’re wrong. I think she’ll be the Moonswan,” the red head explained in a rushed whisper.
Zoe peered at them both from beneath lush lashes. She watched the face of the blonde female light up.
“Do you think so?” she asked, dragging a sudsy sponge over Zoe’s arm.
“Yes, I do. Why else would our master choose an enemy? I think he’s in love with her.”
Zoe couldn’t help but comment. “Are you talking about me?”
The red head shook her head. “No. Just our master and his haremlik.”
“What is this haremlik? I’ve never heard the word.”
Again the redhead smiled at her. “I wish I could tell you but don’t worry.”
“So, this is not a bad thing?”
“Oh no! It’s a very good thing. An honor. And you were chosen first.” The redhead leaned over and whispered into Zoe’s ear. “We do this in secret. There are guards outside to alert us of our Lord’s coming, should he find out.”
Zoe’s eyes flashed open wide and she sat up, bubbles drizzling down her full breasts. “Someone has ordered you to prepare me for this haremlik without the king’s consent?”
The blonde hissed. “Yes. Shh!”
“You’ll all be punished. Are you not afraid?”
“The only one to suffer might be our master but we don’t think so,” the blonde explained.
“Why not? What makes him so special? It is a him I presume?”
The females snickered as they each shaved a long leg while Zoe held herself up by gripping the sides of the tub. “Oh yes. It’s a him all right. You’ll soon see. Now, hush. We cannot say another word. We’ve told you too much.”
“Will I ever be free?”
The redhead took her hand and squeezed, looking her straight in the eye. “I would bet my life on it that after tonight, you’ll never wish for your former life.”
Zoe blinked. Never had she felt such fear of the unknown. What was bliss to females able to shift into wolves in mere seconds may not be bliss to her. She closed her eyes and resigned herself to her fate. She was amazed she was still alive. Just the shock of living as a prisoner of wolf people was disturbing enough. Sometimes she wondered if she’d died back in those woods. Wondered if she was a vegetable lying in a hospital bed somewhere with only her delusions to keep her company. When would this nightmare end? But what did it matter? She had died long ago when she’d lost her husband and child.
Zoe groaned as they washed her hair, their long fingers massaging and scrubbing her scalp with care. The warm water rushed over her and her mind drifted to thoughts of Jack. Where was he? He seemed to be the only male who cared at all for her safety. The rest of them treated her like garbage, even kicking at her to wake at meal times. She slept constantly. It was a way to escape if even for a while. She had dreamed of Jacob last night. Even though he died as a baby she was watching him grow up in her dreams. He spoke to her. Told her that he was happy with daddy. They were playing in a park and it had felt so real to her. She smoothed the fine, blond hairs out of his eyes when the wind tossed them about. She held him to her and smelled him. It was all too real. He told her he loved her and soon they’d all be together.
Maybe the females were preparing her for her execution and only trying to decrease her stress level. She had heard the guards discussing her before. She couldn’t be sure because of their hushed tones but she could have sworn they mentioned Axl. She still called him Jack and always would but it was as if the little puppy she saved had also died. She never saw Jack as an animal. There was the one time he had burst into her cage and he was now a full grown man. She knew her punishment was connected to him but why they kept her alive in a cage was a mystery. Why was she still alive and why was she punished for saving Jack? She’d had no choice but to kill his mother. She’d have killed them both. If the Lord of the Wolfen ever spoke to her, she’d ask him. What did she have to lose? She’d lost everything.
The females helped her from the tub and led her to the bed where they rubbed oils upon her skin. They sprinkled crushed lavender, rose hips and gardenia petals over her, making a colorful mosaic on her fresh pink skin. Two females went to work on her make up and hair. Zoe remained silent. She recognized a shimmer of excitement, unspoken electricity shared among the women. It was a good sign. Whatever she was being prepared for had to better than existing inside her cold cage. She’d watch for a way to escape but knew the Wolfen had the caverns locked down tight. Even if she escaped, she was miles from home in the dead of an Alaskan winter.
“She reminds me of Sakti,” said the female brushing her hair.
“Both of them blessed with hair the color of moon glow,” replied the female pressing white powder onto her cheeks and chin.
“That would follow in the tradition would it not?”
Zoe sighed. There was nothing more frustrating than hearing others speak of her and only understanding half of it. And if she asked what they were discussing, she knew they’d tell her very sweetly that she would soon understand but they couldn’t yet explain. Why not? Weren’t they breaking Wolfen law at this very moment? She couldn’t fathom why they all seemed so relaxed about it all. There were guards outside but they seemed to be taking their sweet time. She noticed her hair was being fastened into tiny braids, dressed with crystal beads and feathers. One long white feather tickled her shoulder and she brushed it away. Crushed flowers covered her hands, arms and legs, stuck by the oils. She didn’t think she ever remembered smelling this lovely in all her life. She was almost certain she wasn’t marching to her own death today. The redhead finished painting her toes a shimmering silver and began to braid as well.
Zoe watched as the blonde crushed pomegranates and black berries into a thick oil with her palms. The colors swirled, bright red and black as she mixed them with a tiny brush. “Open your lips,” the female ordered.
Zoe opened her mouth so the female could stain the color onto her pale lips.
“This is an old custom, passed down for generations. Pomegranate for passion. Blackberry for your soul. Olive oil for love.”
Zoe gasped and closed her lips. “Haremlik. Does it come from the word, harem?”
The blonde looked frantically at the redhead who placed a hand on Zoe’s shoulder. “Yes.”
“You want to tell me but you can’t.”
The redhead nodded.
“I’m to be part of a harem? Forced to have sex?”
“Not forced but I assure you, you are his first choice. Prepare yourself.”
“I thought we agreed we shouldn’t tell her,” the blonde hissed.
“I changed my mind. As she said, we’re already breaking Wolfen law. If she’s to be the Moonswan, we should prepare her.”
“In your language, it means wife.”
Zoe stood up, the beads in her hair clinking when she did so. “I’m to marry a wolf man and be part of his harem?”
“That’s only for the Unleashing. Usually the wolfen male chooses a wife from his haremlik. The haremlik disbands after the Chase. Once Feral Consummation takes place. Sometimes.”
Zoe squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head, covering her ears with her hands.
“You shouldn’t have told her!” the blonde said.
“I had to. What do you think she’d have done during the Unleashing and on national television?”
Zoe opened her eyes and stared at the female. “Wh…what did you say?”
The other females eyed one another. Everyone watched the redhead. She had just dropped a bomb in Zoe’s lap.
The redhead pushed her back gently, guiding her back to the bed. “Listen to me. You need to relax. Take deep breaths. There is no way out of this. If you want to live, you’ll go through this without creating a scene.”
“A scene? Are you telling me I just better suck it up? I’m going to be forced to take part in a nationally televised orgy?”
The female cringed. “Well… it sounds so awful when you describe it that way.”
“It sounds awful to me too.”
“This is a good thing.”
“Will it free me?”
“Then I’m confused.”
“Are you serious? You said all of you were going against Wolfen law. I’m the enemy, right?”
“It sort of goes against Wolfen law.”
“What do you mean sort of?”
“Our orders come from next in line.”
“Sort of. Uh..yes, that’s a good way to look at it. The prince, next in line to be king.”
“But Lord of the Wolfen is unaware of all this?”
“Couldn’t he have me killed if this angers him?”
“Certainly. But he won’t.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“He’s made promises, vowed to change the old ways.”
“What old ways?”
“Things like banishment of kin. Besides, Wolfen law dictates that a Wolfen male may choose any female, wolfen or human, for his haremlik.”
“So I’m protected in a way.”
“We hope so.”
Zoe wanted to scream. She was tired of the riddles, the talking in circles, the guessing games.
“How could this possibly be televised? Is there Pay Per View porn now?”
“Would you stop saying that?”
“Yes, my lady. Forgive me.”
The other females gasped. Zoe was a prisoner, not royalty. This female wolf was playing with her mind.
“Get used to it. And close your mouths, girls. We will soon be serving her in her wedding chambers. She will be the Moonswan.”
“What if I don’t want to be his wife?”
“I don’t see you refusing him.”
“Because you love him now.”
Happy Writing and Reading!
(Photos courtesy of Photobucket.com)
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I'm asking this question for a specific reason. Today I read a review of one of my novels where the reviewer said as a whole the book didn't work for her. Fine. Fair enough. Different strokes for different folks and all that jazz. Just to be fair the very same book was highly praised on another review site, so I'm running 50/50 on how it's been received. Not a big deal. However, when I got into the meat of the review, I didn't really find anyting specific that didn't work for the reviewer. It seemed the reviewer liked the individual elements, but not the book as a whole. Which had me saying, "Huh?" And it got me to thinking - and that's never a good thing.
Generally, I read my reviews as a learning tool. Especially those with very specific reasons they thought something fell flat, or wasn't fleshed out enough, ect. Of course taking this information with a grain of salt is imperative. I just like to keep it in the back of my mind for when I'm crafting another story. It makes me more mindful of certain aspects I might let fall to the wayside. Let's face it, writing is not for the faint of heart. You are juggling balls and spinning plates while trying to keep your story moving forward, your characters interesting and your plot side-stepping the dredded saggy middle. Sometimes I know I forget one aspect of the equation that might make the entire story read like a dissertation on quantaum mechanics. In other words, there is something important in there, it's just indecipherable.
But this isn't just about my reviews, or one's I've received on my books. If I want to try a new author (new to me anyhow) or read a series I've not any real idea about, I go to the reviews on amazon.com. My experience with that seems to be about the same as with my own reviews. Someone will like the book in question, and someone won't. How then do I find this helpful at all? Because I know what I like. If someone writing the review writes for instance that the heroine is bratty or selfish - I'll generally going to stay away from that book. On the other hand, if I'm reading a review of a sci-fi or epic fantasy and someone says the romance was unneeded, I know I'm probably going to like it. *big smile* Sometimes though the reviews are just rehashes of the blurb. That's not really helpful since it appears on the book page right above the reviews. In that case, I just take my chances if I really want to read the book - or I'll get it at the library.
I know some authors who don't even read their reviews, and others who wrap their world around them. I think I'm somewhere in the middle of the road. I read them, if they're good, I'm glad. It means someone "got me" and my odd view of the world and sense of humor. If they don't - aw, well, whatareya' gonna do?
So, tell me, what's your take on reviews? Do you listen to the good, throw out the bad and scratch your head at the huh? Or do you just strike it up to different tastes?
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