Thursday, June 5, 2008

Moving to a new Playground

I've made a decision. I write under two different names for a couple of reasons. First of all, there is the idea of brand identification. As Elyssa Edwards I write romantic erotica. I write stories of love and passion between adults for adults. As Jacqueline Roth, I write your regular romance, usually paranormal or fantasy. I write about adults in love and they express that love as adults are want to do, just not as often or as bluntly as the stories penned by Elyssa. The second reason is that those who might identify me as Jacqueline Roth might also have a problem with the adult content of the Elyssa stories.

I have been maintaining two blogs. It is silly and I no longer have the energy nor do I care enough about someone else's sensibilities to do double work.

So I am forthwith combining the two blogs into one. Which one was a simple choice, the one with the most traffic and that happens to be the Jacqueline Roth site. So if you've wandered here looking for Elyssa know I'm delighted you found me. Just one more click and you'll find all parts of me again united:

Come and Play at

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Contest Winner

I took all the entries and wrote the names out. Put the slips in a bag, shook it up and drew. The winner of the copy of Seeing Me and the deck of Ellora's Silver Screen playing cards is:

Molly Daniels!

Congratulations Molly. If you'll email me at and let me know what format you want your book in and what address I should mail the cards to, I'll get them out to you.

I am surprisingly unsunburned today. I have very fair skin that matches my sandy brown hair and blue eyes. I can (I swear this to you, I did it just last week) burn through the car window. I'm fairly close to vampire status where sun and flaming skin are concerned. But aside from a bit of pink on the back of my neck, the one place I was assured I did not need more sunscreen, I am only a pink tinged person at the moment.

We spent the morning at the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Today was the last day and we had to miss the festival last year because I had a dislocated knee. Not something I recommend to anyone. I love looking at all the crafts and vendors shops. We have our own costumes that we use for other things throughout the year, but we always decide not to dress for the actual festival and I always regret it once we’re there.

What could we possibly use them for during the year? Well for me it’s the introduction to fairytales, folktales, myths and legends that I do for my students. I have a light blue over dress, shift and a big floppy hat that I use to dress as Mother Goose for the opening of that unit. Even at the middle school age they get a kick out of it. I also have a costume for the start of Greek Mythology that dresses me in a chiton. I’m still looking for a gold oil lamp to complete that costume as if I have to dress as a goddess I’d prefer to be Hestia. She’s my favorite of the Greek pantheon because she’s so devoted to just helping people. She never gets involved in their wars or battles. She’s sort of like the divine Switzerland. I have a WIP that includes her as a minor character.

Every year we go past the swords and staffs and every year I really want to buy one of the staff’s that has the blade on one end. I’m going to do it eventually because it’s going to be the weapon of choice for a character that hasn’t been given a story yet. She has to wait a while before she can be “born”. I also prefer the staffs in general for myself. My stepfather was a military man. He believed all of us girls should be able to defend ourselves. He taught us not just your basic self defense moves, but he also taught us to use things like throwing stars. And I learned the use of the staff from him. If you know how to use one, you can find a suitable substitute almost anywhere. That’s probably why my heroine in my first “battle scene” used a staff.

Oh, and he also taught us all how to take down a man with one finger. There’s this pressure point that if you can hit it… crying on their knees, my friends. But for legal reasons I’m not going to tell you where it is. All I need is for someone to hurt someone because they read my blog. And no, it’s not where you think though he always taught us to go for that if we could. He was very nervous about having several teenage daughters. This is the man who dragged out his knife collection and started sharpening them the first time a boy who wasn’t family or part of our neighborhood gang came over to my house. He wanted no question as to his position on things.

We did buy some interesting things today. I bought a print of Azriel-The Angel of Death. It’s this gorgeous black and white print by Ruth Thompson. She does a whole series of the Arch-Angels. My SO was more practical. Drawing on the “Catch the Reading Bug” theme of the 2008 summer reading program for libraries we ended up with a pendant and a bracelet that contain actual bugs. The bugs are enclosed in clear acrylic and have natural cording or leather straps. They are sure to be a hit with the kids this summer. I also raided the natural tea shop and stocked up for the year. The flower tea they sell is wonderful and the company doesn’t have online capability so I have to wait for the Ren Fest every year.

Taking a break from excerpts today and I don’t have any new reads to recommend. I’ve been spending my free time working on a couple of bibs. And I keep getting shot down on my suggestions for painting the new dresser. I like painting the base white to match the walls and then painting each door front a different primary or secondary color. This from the person whose house was done in purely black and white before I moved in and started mussing about and adding…gasp…color!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Two more days of contest time

Two more days left on the contest to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of my usual writing spurt. Summer is when I get most of my writing done. So, I will put the names of everyone who responds to my blog this week into a hat and draw. I’ll give the winner a copy of Seeing Me and a deck of the Ellora’s Cave Silver Screen playing cards.

I’ve had a reviewer and a couple of readers comment recently about the hero in Seeing Me. You see he doesn’t have a name. At no point in the story do I give the actor in question a name. My decision seems vindicated by the response I’ve gotten which all came from people who got why I didn’t name him. I wanted the reader to be able to see whoever, whatever “type” they found most appealing into the role. Are you a Harrison Ford lover? See him in the part. George Clooney? Yep, could be him. Johnny Depp? Orlando Bloom? Or even my friend Llew’s favorite Sean Bean? Yep, could be him.

Who did I see in the role? That I’ll never tell.

Today’s excerpt comes from the July release Lovers’ Stone. Luke Ursine is the brother of Mark Ursine whose story was told in Mating Stone. Luke is your typical bad boy, a full on alpha male who loves to play the Dom. While standing watch for a family member who was searching for his mating stone in the clan’s sacred caves, Luke falls asleep only to be awakened by the sound of someone calling his name.

EXCERPT: Caution. Some adult language and content.

Luke rose and walked slowly to the archway and stopped. Each of the other twelve corridors led to rooms that held stones. A male picked the path whose stones corresponded to the birth stone of the female he hoped to mate with. Only one stone in the tens of thousands that filled this mountain would support the mating of a particular couple. Supposedly if the mating was not meant to be, he would not find the stone. Wade had searched through hundreds of gems to find the right one. He’d told Luke it had sung to him the minute he touched it. Wade said it had glowed and the face of his future mate had appeared in its depths. More, it had vibrated in such a way that he’d become instantly aroused and his need to join with his mate had burned like a fire in his body.

But this center corridor, this thirteenth passage was one that was never used. It could not be entered except by those who were called. And to Luke’s knowledge no one had been called down this path in so long what lay at its end had become legend. An oasis of lovers’ stones the lore said. A collection of stones from each of the caves but they were more than just simple mating stones. These stones were for those Weres who were tied to another by destiny. The two bound by a lovers’ stone were destined for more than mating bliss. Theirs was to be a great life-long love. To Luke it sounded like more than legend. It sounded like bullshit.

The mist swirled around him and Luke’s legs carried him of their own volition through the arch and down the narrow tunnel. There were no torches here, only the glow of the golden fog lit his way. He heard the voice call again. “Where are you? I can’t see you.” It was a woman’s voice.

He heard nothing but the voice. Not even his inexplicably bare feet made a sound on the stone floor. He took turn after turn following the light that pulled him along. Abruptly the fog rose to the ceiling just in front of him taking the shape of a doorway through which he could not see. He heard her calling again. She was looking for someone. She was looking for him. The realization lifted something inside him. He stepped through a large bank of the golden mist and found himself in a vaulted chamber. In the center of the room was a shimmering pool surrounded by large low pallets filled with cushions and pillows. Directly across from him an identical doorway had formed. Before it, watching him with large frightened eyes was a woman. Her long black hair was loose and flowed down her back. The blue eyes glowed so brightly for a moment he considered that she might be a succubus but dismissed the thought. No creature could have gained entrance here except those who were like him. Only another Were could have entered the cave, let alone this most sacred place. Or that was what they’d always been told.

The woman was dressed in a long, red satin nightgown with thin straps that barely contained the full breasts that threatened to overflow the bodice. Her hips curved in a way that made a man long to run his hands over them, to hold tightly to them as he thrust inside her. The pull she seemed to be exerting over him was stronger than any desire he’d ever felt. Screw mating stones, just looking at this woman was making him hard.


He opened his eyes slowly and they focused on a large vaulted ceiling painted with gold and silver celestial patterns. He was instantly awake. He wasn’t in the outer room. He wasn’t sleeping on the bench. He remembered in a flash of panic. He was in the inner chamber lying on a soft pallet of cushions. The forbidden inner chamber. He lay there listening to Rand’s voice but not hearing it. Because beyond the inconvenience of being in a chamber that was supposed to be off limits, beyond the fact that he was lying there naked was the fact that he could feel something cool and hard clenched in his left hand.

Luke sat up slowly and lifted his hand. He opened his palm. In the center lay a rough cut, bright red stone. It glowed and vibrated in his hand. The pulse that moved through him made his body stir. He heard a voice in the back of his mind whisper his name. Lifting the roughly heart-shaped gem he looked into it and saw a raven-haired siren with bright blue eyes gazing back at him.

“Oh shit,” Luke closed his eyes. This was not happening. This could not happen. That stone. He’d not come here seeking it but there was no mistaking it. He felt her somewhere in the back of his mind, he felt her body against him though she wasn’t there. He smelled her on his skin. The woman had been real and in his hand lay the proof of it. In his hand lay his mating stone.

Him? The man his own brother referred to as Lucas “screw the whole world and everyone in it” Ursine? And that was when he wasn’t pissed at him. But how? To whom? He had to see the Oracle. The Oracle would know. He looked at the stone again. A ruby? He searched his mind for an explanation. Why was he holding a July stone? Bears didn’t give birth in July. As Weres—shapeshifters whose bodies were tied to the animal whose spirit they shared, in their case the bear—they too had “seasons”. Late fall and winter were the birthing months. Spring and early summer the months of conception.

This meant only one thing. She wasn’t one of his people. There were few species in this world with whom a Were could mate. They could mate with the angelus, winged creatures humans often mistook for divine beings. Though rare, they could also join to the fey, a varied group of little creatures that humans called faeries or gnomes. And humans. And since the woman who had just given him the most intense orgasm of his life didn’t have wings and she had full, lush, mouthwatering curves it could mean only one thing. His destined mate was a human.

Luke glared angrily at the red stone. “Just my fucking luck.”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Decline of...Something

I’m still offering a contest to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of my usual writing spurt. Summer is when I get most of my writing done. So, I will put the names of everyone who responds to my blog this week into a hat and draw. I’ll give the winner a copy of Seeing Me and a deck of the Ellora’s Cave Silver Screen playing cards.

I have to admit that in recent times I’ve been very happy about my quiet little life. But I’ve also become very worried about what is happening to our society and the way that we are showing increasing disrespect toward our fellow human beings. I’ve been more and more sickened by the feeding frenzy that seems to surround individuals who choose to entertain others as part of the way they make a living for themselves and their families.

Yes, I know that when someone becomes a celebrity there is a certain amount of give on the degree of privacy you can expect. If you’re at a public event, someone is going to take your picture. But I’m fairly certain that no where in the contracts of the actors, actresses and musicians of the world are there clauses that say that they give up the right to be human beings and have real lives. They have jobs. Jobs just like the rest of us. I teach children. My dad manufactured cars. My mom was a nanny. Some people carry the mail. Some people fix our cars or computers or sell us things at the local grocery store. None of us gives up our rights to privacy because of our jobs. For the celebrity, their jobs are to make a product that we can view or listen to that will bring entertainment.

Recent photographs of Angelina Jolie have made news because they were topless. But the way I heard the story the woman was inside off a balcony of a house she was staying in when someone caught her with a high power telephoto lens. Excuse me. She wasn’t outside at a topless beach. Then, feel free to click away. She was in the confines of a house where she had an expectation of privacy. If Joe next door took his telephoto lens into his back yard and took pictures of you as you undressed in your own home he’d get arrested. The photographer who photographed Jolie gets paid.

Why do we find it acceptable to strip away someone’s right to be treated with dignity and respect (and trust me there are a lot of other people I’d rather be making this argument on behalf of than Jolie)? I’ve seen two partial episodes of the television show TMZ while waiting for the next program to begin. I was sickened and horrified. During one segment, again on Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt, the photographer was filming them with their sons getting into their car. One of the men present could be clearly heard to call the boys “adoption lottery winners.” That is crude, cruel and crass. Now it’s okay to make their small children the butts of our jokes and to demean their family?

I worry about what this says about our society. How little respect we seem to have for each other’s humanity.


In honor of the blog topic above it just seems right to post another excerpt from Seeing Me. Seeing Me is the story of a new author who is attending her first convention. She is pleasantly surprised to be on the panel with Him. He is a box office star who finds himself under attack by one of the writers on the panel. Cara jumps to his defense and finds that she has his attention along with the attention of everyone in the large ballroom.

When she’s asked to come upstairs for a private signing, she’s stunned to find out it’s for Him. But a slip of the tongue just may ruin any chance she has of getting to know Him better.


He sat down next to her and lifted his glass. He took a swallow of the contents then leaned back. “I asked you up here because I wanted to ask you to sign your book for me.”

“You’ve really read my book?” The words and the accompanying incredulity landed between them with an almost audible thud.

He frowned. “Yes. Didn’t my assistant tell you that you were being asked up to sign your book?”

“Yes, but...”

“But you didn’t figure someone like me had read it.”

“No. I never dreamed someone like you would have read it,” she admitted. She was pulling a large sip from her own glass when he stood up and walked away toward the windows.

“I see. You’re surprised that someone like me would even attempt to read such a work. I might muddle through a script alright, but real books are something else.”
She stared at him in shock. “I didn’t say that. That’s not what I meant.”

“Right.” He turned to face her, the orange rays of the sun backlighting him, a golden corona forming about him. His face was blank, a calm practiced look of boredom, but his eyes seemed to be alight with something more. His voice, when he spoke again, betrayed the bitter edge of anger. “It’s fine. I’ve heard it before. Actors are just parrots, right? They look pretty and showy and repeat whatever lines they are taught but understanding those lines is beyond them. We’re just a bunch of ridiculous boys and plasticized bimbos who drink too much, party too much and make way too much money for standing around playing pretend like a bunch of preschoolers. Look, I’m sorry I got you out of your reception.”

“Wait a minute,” she stood up. “That isn’t what I meant and I certainly never said those things. It seems to me that if anyone is jumping to stereotypes here, it’s you. I’m a writer so I must be self-important and egotistical? I must be absolutely certain that every word that falls from my pen is pure genius? Someone’s ego is involved here but I don’t think it’s mine.”

He just looked at her, his brow creasing, slight confusion etched on his face. The hurt was still in those dark eyes, and it was as if he wasn’t entirely sure he was really hearing the words she was saying.

“Look when I said I didn’t expect someone like you to have read my book I meant I didn’t expect it would even be noticed by someone like you. It’s an obscure piece of drivel by an unknown author who only got invited today because she’s a local girl. Hell, if I hadn’t been a volunteer for this convention for the last few years no one here would have given me the time of day.” She wanted him to believe her. Wanted it badly. For some reason it mattered a great deal that he believe she hadn’t been demeaning his intelligence. “I can’t believe any of those people today actually took time out of their lives to read my book, let alone someone like you who has people pulling him in a hundred directions every minute of the day.”

He pursed his lips and his head dropped. Silence filled the room for a long moment as he stared down at the floor. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I’m a bit raw from that confrontation downstairs. You might be surprised how often I get that. Not just what that guy said, but the whole thing. I was a marketing tool today. A new and improved product. Bright and shiny, tell your friends. I was being used to sell this conference, to sell the books of every person on that panel. When you first start out it’s sort of cool, look at me and the power my face has. But after a while it gets old.” He lifted wary eyes to hers. “I’m sorry. I made assumptions that were incorrect.”

She simply nodded. The truth in what he was saying was overwhelming. He was right. Every person there today had treated him like the leggy, breasty bimbo who points to the new model of car and says, “Pretty.” Her included. All she had seen was Him. Her first thoughts, if she were honest with herself, had been about the exposure and the attendance this panel was likely to get. Okay, not really. That was her second thought. Her first thought had been that of a giggling fourteen-year-old teenager who was just told she was going to meet her idol. The great movie star whose presence seemed to turn something inside her to jelly. No, not jelly, lava. Red-hot, cascading, chocolate flavored, lava. Sudden thoughts of the possible uses for warm liquid chocolate filled her mind along with the image of herself lapping up said chocolate. Her face, and everything else, grew even warmer.

He stepped toward her. “The truth is I asked you up here for two reasons. One, because I did read your book and I liked it. I was thrilled when I learned today that you’d be on the panel. I hoped at some point during this conference you might sign it and maybe we could talk about it. I decided to ask you up here to do just that because of what you said down there. Not that you took my side, but that you called the guy out for his hypocrisy.” He let a slow grin slide over his lips, “That and the fact that those were some of the most original metaphors for sex I’d ever seen. Not to mention the accompanying illustration.”

She hadn’t believed it possible, but she flushed even more and he lowered his head. He looked down and then lifted his eyes to hers. The move gave his face a sweet, naughty little boy expression that stirred something inside her. “What do you say? Now that we’ve already had our first fight, do you think we could sit down and talk about your book?”

Monday, May 26, 2008

Contests, excerpt, ranting and raving.

Okay, to make up for my ranting and raving as well as to celebrate the last week of school, I’m going to offer a contest. I will put the names of everyone who responds to my blog this week into a hat and draw. I’ll give the winner a copy of Seeing Me and a deck of the Ellora’s Cave Silver Screen playing cards. As most of you know, I write under another name for my more mainstream fiction. I will be combining the comments on both blogs for the contest.


“And then you come…”Cara jerked her head up at the sound of the words. He gave a short harsh cough, took a sip of water and continued. “Sorry, and then you come to the pivotal moment in the story and if you aren’t focused you can ruin what needs to be the payoff for the viewer.” He cleared his throat again, “That’s why it’s important to me to be able to commit myself to one project at a time. It makes having a personal life of any kind hard, but there are often sacrifices you have to make.”

Looking down she realized she’d actually sketched the body of the nude male, no face, but his hands were definitely…

She felt the heat wash over her cheeks and lowered her head letting her hair fall across her face. She flipped the page over on the table and continued her list. She should choose a safer topic, but right now she doubted her mind could focus on anything else.
The questions continued from the audience and she thought she noticed Him grow a bit uncomfortable. True ninety-nine percent of the questions were for him, but that was something she was actually grateful for. God help her if someone asked her a question right now.

She was up to twenty on her new list, having just added the delightfully archaic “deflowering,” when she heard the voice of the angry writer from earlier denounce the idea of film representation of his books as a bastardization of the art, as selling out for the money. “No screenwriter, no director, no actor can do justice to a well written story or character without cheapening it, without robbing it of some essential element that a given reader holds dear,” he’d practically sneered. “So there’s no chance I’d ever sell one of my stories to the commercial Hollywood machine.”

“Are you crazy?” The words were out of her mouth before she realized she had spoken them. “You’d sell your left testicle if someone wanted to make a movie from one of your books with that kind of budget.” She waved her hand at the actor and author who were being criticized.

There was an undercurrent of laughter and she suddenly realized everyone in the room was looking at her. He was looking at her and wearing that wickedly seductive smile that had put him in the pages of many a magazine. Her face flushed hotly and she looked down at her hands. I can’t believe I said that, she moaned silently. The moderator quickly swung the conversation back on track. A quick glance down the table saw that indeed, the offended writer was glaring at her in disgust. Great, just great, she thought. He’s got a twenty times my sales, we share the same agent and I go and piss him off. Well, it was nice while it lasted. My agent is going to kill me.

And so on and so forth…..

If you want a really good blog, go check out some of the folks on the left. They are much better at this than I am.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

More Lonely Than The Maytag Repairman?

Last September I attended Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. Those who know me know I love this particular convention. They draw upwards of 40,000 people each year for the Labor Day weekend gathering. It is a terrific way to feed a science fiction/fantasy appetite. There are tracks celebrating every imaginable fandom including the major movie and tv franchises, Gothic (horror), anime, music and almost anything else. The thing about Dragon*Con is that if you can imagine it, it will be there. I even set my Quickie from Ellora’s Cave, Seeing Me, at the event.

They started a YA track about four or five years ago mostly surrounding the Harry Potter craze. It has now expanded to include a wider variety of YA lit and authors including Holly Black who wrote Tithe and The Spiderwick Chronicles. And it’s something that Black said at the appearance that has me thinking today, many months later. Black said that writing was the loneliest of professions. She talked about how hard it can be to be sitting alone at your desk or in your office and just write. How you can’t meet someone for a break at the water cooler or just stick your head over the cubicle to remember that other people actually exist or get feedback.

As I sat and listened to her I thought how very right she was. Most of us write our stories in isolation or at least in a temporary isolation so we can focus on our characters and hear their voices. She talked about the importance of first readers, people who see your work before any editor does. These are the people who keep you honest. They don’t let you cheat. She encouraged people to find writer’s groups to work with for first readers or for critiques.

I agree with most of Black’s comments that day, but I’ve come to believe I missed her point originally. I have to admit, now, several months after my first book was published, I feel differently. I think writing can be the loneliest profession but that it shouldn’t be and it can’t be if it’s good writing. We cannot create in a vacuum and expect it to connect to a reader, let alone many readers.

Writing my first manuscript over five years ago was a very lonely experience. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it, not even my SO. I did it one summer as I had all day free every day since I was on summer break from school. I hid what I wrote away and no one saw it until I had completely finished it. And you know what? I wasn’t very good. It actually was rather bad. It was a fanfiction filled with every terrible cliché of the genre. It should probably be burned to save mankind from ever reading such a horrible thing again. But I learned from the experience. I learned that I could do this.

I also ended up finding a community of people among the fanfic group that I still have very close ties with today. Many of them comprise my current workshop group and they will be positively honest about my stuff and tell me when I miss the mark. Having a community is also an empowering experience. Once I “came out” as a writer, it was a relief. When someone said, “What did you do last night?” my answer was no longer, “nothing.” I can proudly say, “Oh, I wrote last night.”

I started thinking about all this today as I wrote the final battle scene for my current WIP. I have no military experience and I have no clue how to go about planning a battle. My step dad is ex Air Force, but this was a land battle and he’s a bit busy lately with my mother being ill. But about couple of weeks ago I was thinking ahead to this scene as I sat at lunch. I realized then I had a military expert sitting next to me at the table. Eddie is the teacher all the kids like. He has an affable personality, he’s quick with a joke, and the kids know he always fair. He is also in the Army Reserve. He’s served in Afghanistan. He comes from a military family. Here was this perfect resource, but to use it I had to reach out and admit that I needed help and why. So I did.

I told Eddie I was writing a battle scene and drew it out for him. He looked at it and gave me detailed descriptions of how he would defend the position my hero needed to defend. I took notes on a napkin, listened intently to the why as well as the what. I couldn’t use all of what he gave me, but I could use the gist of it. Because I’m writing a fantasy, there are some things I don’t need to worry about.

“Then they’ll try to wade across the river,” he advised. I put my hand up and said, “No, they can’t. The river won’t let them.” “Ah,” he said, “it moves too fast here.” “No,” I assured him. “But the river won’t let them cross.” I explained it was magic and he simply nodded and went on. I’m not only “out” as a writer, but as a fantasy writer.

The important thing was, Eddie made me see I had to rethink the way I saw the scene happening. I saw it as a writer sees it. Big show downs and lots of cool speeches and comments from people. Very theatrical. But after listening to Eddie talk, I realized if I wanted anything resembling normalcy I’d have to rethink my vision of the battle. It sucks to learn you can’t use the cool scene in your head, but I’d rather have something remotely believable than something cool.

An hour or so later a second military expert crossed my path. Curtis is the kind of teacher I want to be when I grow up. He’s amazing. He always has a smile on his face and he finds a way to connect to the kids we teach. But Curtis was also in military intelligence during his days of service. So I showed Curtis the plan and asked him how he would attack. He pointed out that the mission would most likely be a suicide mission. I explained the bad guys had escape options that included magic and he blinked… then went on. But he had a point. If there was to be any direct hand to hand between my forces, it would be a suicide mission on behalf of the hunters who attack. There was no way they could survive the assault. Those who made their way into the village would have to die and would have to know they were going to die. But was this mission worth that? Was it something that people would get that zealous about? Curtis made me realize I had to tighten up the plot in that respect.

In addition to getting military advice, over the years I’ve had to seek advice on all manner of topics including more risqué issues. *cough* I also have great first readers. My SO will do proof reads from time to time. My friend Steve has been the primary first reader on my WIP to this point. I just posted the battle chapter with a nasty little cliffhanger for him so soon he’ll be ready to throw things at me. I do have that bit of a reputation, cliffies at the end of chapters.

But the community I belong to doesn’t stop with the writing process. I have also been blessed with a tremendous support system for what comes next. Llewellyn McEllis, one of my favorite writers and one day you will all know her name, has been there for me with constant encouragement. Britannia and Barb also have always had my back. Alison and Maureen have been my tireless cheerleaders. And then there are the froggies. The froggies are a talented group of writers who work with the same editor I have at ECPI. They’ve all been incredibly supportive.

Sometimes writing seems like a lonely profession. But no one can produce quality work in a vacuum. We all need the feedback and the support of others.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Let’s start with a good review for Mating Stone. Amelia Richard at Sensual reviewed Mating Stone and said:

For her new series, Elyssa Edwards crafts a tale where shape-shifters can seem totally normal yet their lives are definitely fascinating. Ms. Edwards takes the paranormal element of being able to change shapes and tells readers a captivating love story with often poignant emotions. Mark and Sarah are a charming couple with their devotion to each other particularly apparent through their actions and words. With tenderness and passion, this couple expresses how they truly feel for each other, and these sentiments are beautifully shown in numerous ways. The inner feelings of these two come across in a powerful way, whether they are reacting with each other or with another being. There are some disclosures which I found to be intriguing, and each one adds a compelling aspect throughout the story. The only problem with the story is I wish it had been longer as this world fascinates me, but I hope to hear more about this couple and those around them when additional books in the series are released. MATING STONE is a magical story with original characters and an engaging plot to keep readers thoroughly entertained.

Thank you, Amelia. I’ve had a lot of fun writing this series which is officially called The Jewels of Ursus. These are three special guys I’m very happy decided to tell me their stories. The sequel to Mating Stone, Lovers’ Stone will be released in July and tells the story of Luke Ursine, Mark’s twin brother. The final book in the trilogy, to be titled Soul Stone, will tell the story of Tarris Ursine, the incubus who is closer than family to Mark and Luke and who appears in both Mating Stone and Lovers’ Stone. Oh, and the last one will be full novel length.

Oh and by the way, if you are looking for a story in the same world as the Ursines, Measure of Healing from Cerridwen Press may do the trick. Whether it’s Jacqueline or Elyssa, our Weres happily cohabitate the world.

I know the review says The Stones Series and that’s not the writer’s fault. I’ve recently discovered a problem with my website not updating a specific page and the working title is still showing.

Mating Stone:

Our hero:

Mark Ursine
Profession: That's a long story.
Age: 154 (looks about 28-29)
Mating Stone by Elyssa Edwards from Ellora's Cave.

Mark is part of a race of shape shifters that found their way to our world before humans had mastered the use of fire. Respectful of the sentient creatures they believed had great potential, the shifters kept to themselves so as not to intefere with their evolution. When disaster collapsed the energy source that allowed them to remain in phase with our world, they tied their spirits to those of animals so that they could survive and remain. Mark is decended from a group that chose to unite with the bear. They do not choose which species of bear they become, that is determined by birth and largely influenced by family bloodlines.

Mark becomes the great brown bear, also known as the Kodiak. When tragedy, his guilt and his brother's blame drove him to distance himself from his family, he didn't realize his time in the human world would introduce him to the one person above all that he could love with his heart and soul. As the oldest it is he who must replace his grandfather as Amar, the leader of their clan. But will his brother Luke allow him to succeed without a challenge? Will his people accept his choice of mate? And once Sarah finds out what he is, will she still want him?


The night they met had been her birthday. She’d let her sister and some friends talk her into going to a club to celebrate. “Come on Sarah, it’s February 2. It’s your twenty-eighth birthday, so do what all good little groundhogs do and get out. Even if you see your shadow, at least you had fun before you run back and hibernate some more,” her sister had teased until she’d agreed.

She’d not met Mark at the club but afterwards on her way home. Hitting a pothole had blown her tire and while she could change a tire herself—hell, like any good ol’ Minnesota girl she could change a tire, put on her own snow chains and knew how to use the jumper cables in her trunk—she just didn’t relish doing it in the short skirt her sister had talked her into wearing.

Resigning herself to ruining her stockings and probably the new skirt, she’d been hauling the jack and donut from the trunk when a motorcycle had roared up behind her. The headlight had almost blinded her but not as much as what stepped out into the light. Pulling a black helmet from his head the man had been devastating. His black jeans and leather jacket completed a monochromatic feast for the eyes.

Flashing her a smile almost as bright as his headlight he’d insisted he couldn’t let a lady like her change the tire. He’d made short work of the flat even if she did stand there like an idiot and chatter way. By the time he was done he knew it was her birthday and where she’d been. If it had taken any longer she’d hated to think what else would have come bubbling out of her mouth.

He packed her jack back into her trunk and asked her allow him to follow her home since he didn’t have much confidence in the small rubber tire. When she’d hesitated he’d pulled out his driver’s license and a credit card. He put them in her hands. “Hold on to these. If you get spooked at all you know who I am, where I live and can either call the police or charge a fortune for yourself in compensation.”

When they’d arrived at her place she handed them over and smiled nervously. “Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough,” she nodded down to the damp patches on his knees where he’d knelt in the wet snow alongside the road.

“Then have dinner with me tomorrow,” he’d flashed an encouraging smile and she felt as if her bones melted. “That’s all the thanks I need.”

She agreed and had started to walk away when he called out to her. He was pulling something from the storage compartment under the seat and walked quickly up to her. His long legged strides held her so transfixed she didn’t see what he had in his hands. He stopped in front of her and hesitated. She looked up at him. He suddenly seemed shy and uncertain, grinning up at her through the hair that had fallen over his forehead.

“Happy Birthday, Sarah.” He placed a single red rose in her hand. His quick kiss to her cheek was so soft and so fast that she almost missed it. By the time her fingers rose up to touch where he had pressed his lips to her skin, he was back on his bike, turning it and roaring away. Odd but only now did it occur to her to question where on earth he’d gotten the rose.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Definitely not. Sorry to be so absent, but I have a family crisis at the moment. My mother is in ICU back home and we just got back from spending five days with her and my family. She's doing a lot better than she was as of last Tuesday when she went in, but she's a long way from getting out of the hospital. We could be talking months of extended medical treatment.

So if I'm scarce it's because I'm juggling running 600 miles away as often as possible with writing and work. Thank heavens my boss is a wonderful person.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bad Blogging Habits

I've developed bad blogging habits.

I forget to blog and then it seems as if time gets away from me. It's been a stressful week at work and the nausea just doesn't seem to stop. Everyone just laughs knowingly and tells me it's to be expected. I then get to hear all kinds of stories about how when they were pregnant they and their spouse had morning sickness. One friend even told me her husband gained weight with her. I guess the concept of spousal sympathetic morning sickness is more widespread than I'd realized. And yes, we are both suffering from bouts of the nausea.

We're currently trying to decide on how to decorate the nursery. My precious one had a great idea the other day. Children's book characters. With a generic background we could paint book characters around the walls. These could be updated as the child grew up and would be okay until about age 10 or so. We're talking about starting with our favorites such as The Pigeon from Mo' Willems series and Nuffle Bunny as well. There is also Max and Ruby and we can stay pretty neutral in terms of gender.

Okay, I'm off to work on the current WIP.

If I forgot to tell anyone, the previous WIP-Tarris's story from the trilogy about the Ursines- has been accepted for contract by Ellora's Cave. Soul Stone won't be a Jewel as Mating Stone was and Lovers' Stone will be (July), but will stand alone. The series has gotten a new name and I need to update that on my website. The series is now knowns as Jewels of Ursus. Ursus is Latin for Bear and even if Tarris isn't a Bear, his destiny is still tied to the other Bears.

I'll make sure I post the cover and the release date when I have them. I'm excited about Tarris. He was a very different character for me to work with.

The current WIP has a rather unlikely hero. He's not an Alpha Male in the typical fashion. In fact you probably couldn't find a more easy going guy than Evan. At least at the start of the story. This one will be a follow up to Measure of Healing that was a January Cerridwen Press release as Jacqueline Roth. It follows the young female Wolf at the end of that story. I've actually been working on this story off and on for several years. Evan is one of my favorite heroes, but this story has one of my favorite all time characters, Alexi. Alexi is big, loud and absolutely, positively certain that he is always right. He's just so blasted affiable it's hard to be angry at him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Meeting Carly

I mentioned a few months ago that my nephew was going to make me a great aunt. Well I was already a “great” aunt… okay, too obvious to be funny. Right.

Anyway, my younger sister’s son and his wife just recently had their first child together. He’s a stepfather to her three year old girl and a scant three months ago, they welcomed Carly Georgette. She’s positively adorable. She has a head full of dark hair, large pretty eyes and looks a good deal like her daddy.

My sister is going to spend a couple of months with them, helping with the baby. My house lies at the midway point between. So sister #1 has sister #2 bring her to my house where my nephew picked her up. And because my family can’t manage to do anything on a small scale, that means that both sisters, one brother-in-law, two nephews, one niece, one niece-in-law, one great niece and an odd boyfriend of my nieces all descended up on us.

It was worth it to get to see and hold the baby. My SO did the stereotypical “I might break her” and declined to hold the little one. This attitude will soon have to disappear as we have recently gotten the wonderful news that we are in fact expecting our own little one soon.

But I ask you, is there anything more enticing, more soothing and touching then the feel of a baby in your arms? The soft smell of baby powder and Johnson’s baby bath soap? Any thing sweeter than the sleeping face of a baby with the little lip that quivers as she dreams? Nope. And that’s why they are so dangerous. They can make you forget just how big of a responsibility they are and how difficult being a parent really is.

I still worry about what kind of parent I’ll be. I have very strong ideas about what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of how parents parent. Fortunately, my SO and I have yet to find a point upon which we disagree where this is concerned. I’m sure there will be many we just simply can’t foresee.

In other news, Seeing Me got a nice review from The Good, The Bad and The Unread.

“I wasn’t sure when I began reading this story if I was going to like it or not. “Him” is never given a name, which at first was I thought was a little strange. I have never read a book in which the hero didn’t have a name and I wasn’t sure how this would affect the story. But as I read, I found that I rather enjoyed how Ms. Edwards allowed me, the reader, to pick my own “hero” to imagine.

The chemistry between C.J. and “Him” is sensual and hot, but I also enjoyed watching the love story between the hero and heroine unfold. There are two very hot “fantasy” scenes where C.J. imagines both her and the hero in the scene. At first I wasn’t sure if they would impede the flow of the story, but they didn’t. In fact, they added to the story, especially since the heroine of the story is an author. Both characters were well written and the story flowed well and kept you interested. I didn’t want to put the book down.”

I’m glad the reviewer found it a positive that I hadn’t named the hero. As I was writing it, I was thinking about how a certain friend of mine and I disagree on the attractiveness of men. What is my type, isn’t hers. I wanted “Him” to be like the actor who fires the reader’s imagination. If that’s a Brad Pitt, an Orlando Bloom, a George Clooney, or whomever, that’s who He is like.

Excerpt from Seeing Me (Adult Content) :

It was all coming together. Everything she had worked for, all the years of secret dreams and fantasies, all the hidden aspirations and ambitions had come to fruition. Little Cara Jo was now C.J. Ellison, published author. The last time she had felt this rush of adrenaline had been the moment she held the signed publishing contract in her hands and stared at it in amazement.

Now, as she slid into her chair behind the long table, it was all very real. She was part of a writer’s panel. Her. Two years ago she had been one of the event’s attendees. A hopeful writer and lover of this genre of storytelling. She’d been one of hundreds of wouldbes and wannabes in a sea of painted and costumed faces at Atlanta, Georgia’s science fiction/fantasy convention that drew people from all over the country. If anyone knew how many old badges she had from this convention tucked in a drawer at home her rating on the Geek-ometer would break the gage. And now she was on a panel with some of the best known writers in the craft. As her nerves tied her stomach into knots, she wasn’t sure whether to bless her agent or curse him.

It was the big room, the grand ballroom of all places. It would be easy to swell with pride and ego except for one sad fact, or maybe it was a fortunate one. Anything she had to say would be superfluous. In fact anything any of the writers on this panel said would be virtually ignored. It was standing room only and they weren’t here to see them. They were here to see Him. One of the other writers had said it clearly as they were shepherded into place. When the conference staff had reminded them to speak into the microphones placed before them he had laughed bitterly and remarked, “It doesn’t really matter if they even turn these on. We could sit here, pick our noses and finger paint and no one would notice while the sex god himself was here.”

And He was here. There were few women in the world of any generation who didn’t thrill to the sound of his voice. Who didn’t entertain at least the briefest of fantasies about what was beneath that crisp white shirt, open at the neck, and the jeans into which it tucked. He’d taken the classic, shirt undone, bare chest peeking through look and made it his own. After he first appeared on screen in the ensemble, no other man ever looked as good in it. Even one of her lesbian friends had commented on him earlier today. “He’s pretty, all right. I don’t exactly want to sleep with him, but I do like to look at him. And with that voice he could talk to me all night.”

Cara sat in her place to the far right, the newest and least known of the group. He sat in the middle along with the author whose stories he had been translating into action for a few years now. And the show started. She was introduced and received a polite applause as did everyone else. But when the questions began, it was crystal clear the other writer had been right. These people were here to see Him.

She began doodling on the paper before her, drawing pictures and playing a word game she often played when bored. It had started between her and her giggling girlfriends in the back of a boring world history class in college. How many synonyms could she find for… In honor of the man of the hour, and the ambitions of most of the women present, she chose the word fuck. How many ways could she find to say fuck?

Being sure that the older woman sitting next to her couldn’t see the legal pad that had been provided for her by the setup committee, she started jotting. Make love…have his way…ravage…plunder… The longer the list got, the more crude it got.

Ride…fill…drive into…do…screw…bang…

Boredom numbing her brain, she was just about to hit an all time low when a particularly wheezy voice that was faintly familiar caught her attention. The thin, balding man with glasses that was standing at the microphone asking a question was a familiar face. He’d been a regular at this convention and was a frequent volunteer on the track dedicated to the legendary science fiction television and movie franchise that was so famous it need not be named. A bad Scottish accent crying out, “I can’na give ya more power Cap’n” was all that was needed for recognition. And that was one of the more obscure lines. He was also an arrogant, know-it-all jerk. What idiot gave that asshole a microphone? She brooded moodily. And since when is he into fantasy?

And damn, but the man just three places down the table from her was one to spark any woman’s fantasy. She looked down, half listening as she contemplated her list. She began to sketch absently in one corner.

“In the first installment of the series, the part that took place in space before your character became a stranded rogue mage, we were introduced to the hand held photo-plasma emitter. A friend of mine is an ex-cop and he says you handle your gun so masterfully that you must have gotten a lot of training in handling hand held weapons. Did you do any special training?”

This is your weapon, this is your gun. One is for shooting, the other for fun. The line popped up from somewhere in the depths of her pop culture awareness and she bit down hard on her lip to stop her giggle. Her eyes shifted to Him clandestinely when she thought she heard a faint chuckle in his voice as he answered.
“No,” He drew the word out slowly. Cara stared at the yellow paper and listened to the answer he gave. “I can only say that it’s important to be very familiar with any prop you’re going to be using, especially a gun. You have to practice with it, hold it, let it take over and guide the movements of your hand. If you aren’t comfortable with the feel of your own gun, then you won’t be able to handle anyone else’s well.”

A nervous twitter fluttered across the ballroom. She’d love to see him handle his gun. Staff…rod…lance…penis…length…manhood…

She grinned quietly to herself. Oh, fantasies could be fun, a lot more fun than this. His hands handling his …now that would be a sight. She looked down the table at the hands that rested on the table. The white of the tablecloth blurred in her vision until all she could see were those hands. Long fingered strong hands that…

Recent good reads:

Daffodil by Anny Cook: Part of the Flowers of Camealot series, Daffodil has everything. It’s laugh out loud funny. It is Hot with a capital H. And it pushes the envelope for this series just a bit farther. Daffodil has always been incontrol, even of her submission. But when Prince Gareth awards her to the butler Raulf as payment for something her sister Honeysuckle actually stole, she learns that she really enjoys letting him be in control. Daffodil is full of steamy sex, fairies, dragons, political intrigue and the entire contents of an adult toy store.

Sticky And Sweet by Ashley Ladd and Alicia Sparks: Two stories in one. Ladd’s American Beauty is very funny. Macho Casanova police officer must pose as a gay man complete with evening gown and feather boa to rent a room from a woman who just might be living next door to the local chop shop. But when his landlord and her boss decide to see who can seduce him first, he just might blow his cover and lose his job. Sparks’ Better than Ice Cream has a fascinating premise. Ryan doesn’t buy that Laura’s family’s ice cream provides female customers not just taste delights but orgasms as well. But he needs to cut a deal with her for his family’s sugar and Laura needs the deal to take her business to the next level. But the idea of ice cream as a substitute for sex doesn’t sit well with Ryan, he’d rather show Laura just what she’s been missing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

And the winner is...

Today I'm awarding the prize in the Mating Stone contest. To win the 17" double strand freshwater pearl and amethyst bead necklace the contestants had to tell me:

If your Mr. Wonderful turned out to be a Were, what kind would he be and how would he tell you?

I got some great answers to this and it was so hard to choose. But my panel of experts (my SO and I) narrowed it down and picked a winner and two honorable mentions. The winner gets the necklace and the honorable mentions get a little gift as well.

So the winner is....Char!

My boyfriend and I were going on a picnic at the hot springs on his property. We decided to use the springs first and then eat. We undressed and got in and while we were soaking. I heard Clint’s stomach rumble. He said, “Mags ,I don't want to stay in here too long I'm starvin'.”

“You big baby. It won't kill you to wait a few minutes, we just got in here.” I heard a noise in the brush and looked up to see a rabbit shoot out and take off down the trail. Like a flash Clint was out of the spring, and as I watched, he transformed into a wolf. Next thing I know he 's chasing after the rabbit.

So I'm sittin' there, up to my neck in water, with a puzzled look on my face. How had I missed the signs?

I hear a noise and Clint steps out of the brush with a sheepish look on his face. “I'm sorry Mags. I didn't want you to find out this way. I wanted to break this to you gently, but I did tell you I was hungry. I suppose asking you to marry me is out of the question now.”

I looked at him and said, “Well there's something I've been meaning to tell you…”

Thanks Char. Great entry.

The two honorable mentions will recieve a small pewter bear charm that can be used as a zipper pull or a charm for a necklace or key ring. Our winners were:

What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?My Mr. Wonderful is a WerePanther(Leopard) from South India. I am an archaeologist on a dig in India, and I meet him by chance in a cafe just outside of my hotel. Little do I know he has been sent to watch over our dig by the council of elders, who are afraid we might discover their secret heritage in the underground temple we are about to explore. He actually doesn't tell me in words that he's a WerePanther, but instead begs me to trust him just moments before he shifts into his panther form to save us both from a nasty rival WereTiger who would expose the council and the entire secret of their nature to all humankind.

I'm definitely shocked after the fight. I mean I've never been so close to a mangled body, and the very idea of humans who can shapeshift into predators is terrifying, but he did it to save me, and my Gods, he has the most amazing amber eyes.

Mr. Wonderful is a werewolf. While he may make excessive use of his tongue and teeth, it isn't until a stray beam of moonlight hits him late one night that his secret is revealed. But who can resist sad blue eyes and a head stuck your lap. His fur is very soft as you scratch his ears and pet his head.

Thanks to all of you who entered. I did have one that I wanted to share with you, it's a bit adult in nature, but I was threatened with horrible consequences if I told you who it was, but it's too good not to share:

Okay, Mr. Wonderful is a huge were-snake. He breaks it to me during cunniligus when I'm way too interested in the talents of that fantastic tongue to care. And if you publish this with my name on it, bad things will happen to you. ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Great Escape

Seeing Me got two nice reviews.

One from Simply Romance Reviews said: "...the heroine who at times exhibits a remarkably strong case of “foot-in-mouth” disease that is charming. The erotic scene is poignant for its sweetness. The hero for all his hype and reputation is endearing for his modest, almost shy personality in private. Seeing Me is an enjoyable read for those that aren’t looking for kink, but instead a satisfying romance."

And Romance Reviews TodayErotica rated it multiple O’s (which has to be good) and said it was: "An enticing short story, ..." Seeing Me is a Quickie from Ellora’s Cave.

The Great Escape.

No, I’m not necessarily talking about my escape from headgear bondage…let me rephrase that, from my medical bondage…that doesn’t work either…ah hell, I don’t mean getting this thing off my head. Though I’m counting the hours to freedom and dreading the drive back home to wash the gunk out of my head. I have my trusty hoodie ready to go. I tried a scarf, but I look like I’m smuggling something and I really don’t want to meet the Cobb County drug dogs.

By the great escape I’m referring to a tactical error I may have made yesterday. Okay, I’m not the world’s best housekeeper. I have four dogs, there is dog hair on my floor. I have paw prints on my carpet where the red clay has stained it. I don’t dust nearly as often as I should. So I got a little behind on the bird cage this week.

Yesterday I took the cage outside to clean it really well. The birds were still in it, and I cleaned it while they sunned themselves. The only problem is I think they liked their taste of freedom a bit too much. Now they are plotting escape.

No I didn’t bump my head and I haven’t received a nasty shock from my battery pack. I know the two criminals are plotting their escape. Don’t be fooled by their innocent look. Every time they think I’m not looking they start testing the cage for signs of weakness. Even now, when they think I’m busy making the clacking noises, I can see them. Pip, the blue one, is climbing the wall of the cage and pecking at the wires with it’s beak. Green-bird, yes that’s it’s name, is standing on the food dish pecking at the little door that slides up to take the dishes in and out. Earlier I saw them hanging to either side of the door pecking at it.

I’m telling you they tasted freedom and now they want out. Next thing I know they’ll be dragging their little metal bell across the bars screaming, “Let me out you stinking screw.” (Yes, my mother watched Cell Block H when I was growing up.) In fact right now Pip has started wrestling with the bell. I tell you one of them is a little birdie MacGyver who is figuring out how to blow the door off the cage with bird seed, a small metal bell and a mirror.

You know, that was two television references in the space of a single paragraph. Odd if you consider the fact that I haven’t really watched television in almost five years if you don’t count occasionally watching American Idol. I am hooked this season. I love little folksy Brooke with her whole Carol King-ish persona and David Cook. I like that he causes controversy and think he’s actually very talented. Chris Cornell can shut up. The dude from Crowded House was doing an acoustic version of Billy Jean way, way, way back.

But the hometown dude Michael Johns, the Australian who claims to be from Buckhead (not the town, mind you-this is a neighborhood in Atlanta) has got to go. He’s the guy who ends up singing on the Love Boat because he can’t get any other gigs. He annoys the crap out of me and if he tries to do one more Queen song Freddie Mercury is going to rise up out of his grave and smite the dude.

Anyway. If I think about it, it’s odd that I don’t watch television any more. My family could not function without a television. It was the center point of our family. Tonight we watched this, tomorrow night it was that. And heaven help us on the nights the Dukes of Hazzard was on because you had to tiptoe around so my stepdad could hear it.

Even now the tv runs night and day as long as someone is awake. It is a constant drone in the back ground. Recently on a visit it was driving me crazy. Everyone was in the dinning area playing cards so I turned it off. About ten minutes later someone looks up and says, "What's that noise." I swear it was straight out of a sitcom. They actually made me turn it back on even though no one was watching it. My mom said the quiet was creepy. I know I'm so adopted.

My stepdad and I bonded over television. We were both Trekkers, the only thing we had in common back then. We could sit down in peace and watch reruns of the original series and The Next Generation. This was our truce, our neutral territory in the war. A war that lasted until we both realized that in fact we were pawns in a much more devious game. Neither of us were generals, we were hostages in my mother’s Machiavellian quest for supremacy. Divide and conquer.

It worked until we saw through her plan. Together we now make her pay for her treachery. It’s amazing how much damage a second universal remote can do. Not to mention technology she can’t figure out. “You want to watch what, Mom?” I say innocently. “Well I know the tv guide says it’s on, but look for yourself, this is the right channel it’s not here.” *evil laughing ensues*

Don’t feel sorry for her! Do you have any idea how many times she’s made us watch the Barbara Streisand version of A Star Is Born? Do you know how many Elvis movies she’s tortured us with? I get nauseous just thinking about Charro.

Friday is the deadline for the contest. I’m looking forward to going through the entries. The contest is to celebrate the release of Mating Stone by Ellora’s Cave. The hero of Mating Stone, Mark Ursine is a Were-Bear as is his twin brother Luke the hero of the upcoming July release, Lovers’ Stone. The Ursines present their lady loves with stones rather than engagement rings. For Mark and Sarah it’s an amethyst. So to win the 17” freshwater pearl and amethyst necklace here’s what you need to do. Write a brief answer to the following question and send it to with “Mating Stone Contest” in the subject line. I’ll pick the best response as the winner, and two honorable mentions to receive smaller prizes. The winning entries will appear in my blog on April 13th.

In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Radio Free Mars

Oops! I thought I updated here yesterday but it seems I didn't.

Friday is the deadline for the contest. I’m looking forward to going through the entries. The contest is to celebrate the release of Mating Stone by Ellora’s Cave.

The hero of Mating Stone, Mark Ursine is a Were-Bear as is his twin brother Luke the hero of the upcoming July release, Lovers’ Stone. The Ursines present their lady loves with stones rather than engagement rings. For Mark and Sarah it’s an amethyst. So to win the 17” freshwater pearl and amethyst necklace here’s what you need to do. Write a brief answer to the following question and send it to with “Mating Stone Contest” in the subject line. I’ll pick the best response as the winner, and two honorable mentions to receive smaller prizes. The winning entries will appear in my blog on April 13th.

In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?

I’m still wired up. I'm in the midst of an ambulatory EEG that has me looking like the Borg Queen with wires coming out of my head and a small battery pack on one side. I’m on day two and a half and the crap news is I have one more day and night to go. Let me tell you, you haven’t slept until you’ve tried to sleep with about five pounds of wires, electrodes, gauze and tape on your head without messing it up. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the joys of having a chin strap to the headgear so it doesn’t pull off at night and having to watch out for the box everything is attached to.

The cord is only about 2, 2 ½ feet long so it doesn’t give you much stretch. And the damned adhesive is starting to itch which isn’t helped by the fact that I haven’t been able to wash my hair since Monday morning. Did manage a bath last night but it was worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos to watch me try to bath while the SO stands over me holding the circuitry out of the way. I’d say I owed my darling big time, but the chuckles at my bizarre appearance should about cover it.

I’m also pretty much stuck in the house and nature had been a real bitch because it’s been absolutely beautiful. I could be getting so much gardening done. *sigh* Usually on my spring break I go into town. Into Atlanta I mean. I’m technically OTP (Outside the Perimeter) which to someone from the ATL translates to hick or leper, and to the rest of the world it means I live outside the I285 loop around the city. We have a nice little neighborhood that unfortunately is rather harshly infested with HOA disease. (Home Owners Association) Now I have no gripe with most HOAs. They keep up common areas, make sure no one turns their yard into a flea market or graveyard for old automobiles and represent the residents on zoning issues and the like.

But I do have a gripe with our particular HOA. We no longer belong because we didn’t see eye to eye with several of the members and didn’t like the way certain neighbors went about settling differences of opinion. Threatening to cite my house because I don’t vote your way or give you my proxy only makes me pissed off and nasty. Not all of us are retired and have nothing to do all day but work on our homes. Not all of us have the money for a new coat of paint every couple of years. And some of us are such monumental klutzes that we have spent most of the last year unable to do most yard work. (All in one year: broken foot x2 and a dislocated knee- I’m talented folks. If there’s a chance I can injure myself I will.)

Anyway, It’s another lovely day in the neighborhood. The pollen is coating everything, the sun is shining, my cocker spaniel is whimpering out the back door because she’s just sure if mom would let her out she could catch that train going by and my birds are about to find out what it’s like to be born free if they don’t stop imitating the blasted house alarm. No, I wouldn’t really do that. Do not send me hate mail and animal rights information. I know Pip and Green-bird could not possibly survive on their own. Besides I live with flippin’ Marlin Perkins who names snails, insists they play and gets very upset with me when they die.

I had a point… Oh, yeah. Now I remember. The only thing I can say about being stuck like this is that it’s given me time to write and time to read. We won’t talk about the book I’m currently trying to wade through. It is for my book group and it frankly sucks. But I have gotten to read a good one recently. Before I picked up “My Writer is Pretentious and Boring so So am I,” I read a great Cerridwen Press book.

Blame it on the Ghost by Delia Carnell was one I picked up on impulse and I’m very glad I did. The story was well written and nicely paced. Romance writer Amberly Ross finds herself the victim of a mix up when she and horror writer Dylan Hart are both asked to house sit for a mutual friend. The friend can’t be reached to clear it up, so the only choice is to try to cohabitate without killing each other. Sparks fly in more ways than one and soon the reader is drawn into the story that pushes the two reluctant writers together with a little paranormal help. Is the beach house really haunted? And if so, is the ghost responsible for playing matchmaker?

I really enjoyed the dialogue between the two characters. When writing a book like this, it is easy to go overboard on the animosity and create a battle of wits that eventually begins to annoy the hell out of the reader. The heroine turns bitchy and hard and the hero turns into an ass. Carnell avoids this and rips open her characters to show us the gooey, hurting centers of those hard shells. I highly recommend this one.

Okay, back to writing. I have a werewolf having a rather nasty argument with his mate and I need to get back to them before Evan does something stupid. This is the follow up to Measure of Healing and he has to be the most out of control character I’ve ever dealt with. Evan has been jerking me around for a while now, suddenly insisting that I write this, or that I forgot that scene where he… Just when I’ve got the pacing down and know what happens next he throws me a curve. Wolves! Mages! All are pains in the…

Saturday, April 5, 2008

God's Name in Vane

When I signed on to my AOL account today, the big news was the removal of 52 young girls from a fundamentalist Christian camp in Texas. According to the story girls from the ages of 6 months to 17 years were taken into temporary custody while the state investigated allegations of physical abuse made by one of the girls. In the end 18 girls were put into State custody.

There are several elements of this story I found disturbing. First of all, the allegations include that at least two sixteen year-olds were married to older relatives and that this was facilitated by the head of their church. In fact, the article I read indicated that one of the 16 year-olds had been married off to a 50 year old man. There were indications of polygamy. Now I’m a big supporter of the First Amendment. I believe in the separation of church and state. I don’t think the government has a right to tell me how to pray or what to believe. I’m not all that upset by polygamy as long as the people are consenting adults and are not being coerced. That’s their business. I also don’t think the government has any business in someone’s bedroom or telling people how to raise their children. Unless people are getting hurt and if the allegations in this case are true, it seems that that is the case.

I know I’m gonna take flack for this. I know I’m going to make someone angry. I know that in times past it wasn’t uncommon for there to be arranged marriages. I know it wasn’t uncommon for a 16 year-old to be married and even married to an older man. I know someone will tell me about their grandmother who was married at 14 to a man 4 times her age and how it was a loving and happy marriage.

But if the allegations are true this is just wrong. There is a big difference between a 16 year-old girl marrying her 18 year old boyfriend because they were too stupid, arrogant or afraid to use birth control. In my eyes, if that’s why they’re getting married it’s not exactly a good idea either.

Another question that this raised was “What about the boys?” Girls were removed, but what about the boys involved in this group? Was it that they had no evidence or suspicion of physical abuse to the boys? If so, and they truly believe the girls were in danger, then the State people are stupid. Systemic abuse, which is what seems to be being alleged here, is not discriminatory. If the girls are being physically harmed, so are the boys.

This brings up a subject no one in our society wants to talk about, one we are so loath to consider that we rationalize it away. Males can be victims of sexual abuse. While we all intellectually know this to be true, it is a strong message in our society that there is a distinct difference between sexual abuse perpetrated against a girl and that which targets a boy. We as a society have been fighting back against the stigma that a woman or girl “asked for” the abuse or rape. We see them as victims.

We don’t often afford men and boys the same consideration. If a man reports a rape, the associated stigma is much stronger. So strong that the majority of male victims never report sexual assaults for fear of being ridiculed, thought to be weak or even worse in some people’s eyes, being labeled homosexual. If a girl of 15 or 16 is seduced by an older man, we see that as a crime. If a boy of 15 or 16 is seduced by an older woman, people don’t react the same way. The reaction is often one of “lucky boy.” Maybe this is why stories of female teachers engaging in inappropriate relations with their students get national news coverage, while male teachers are often limited to the local paper. Society finds it titillating and shocking to see a woman as an abuser.

The final issue this story raised for me was one of sympathy. Sympathy for the fundamentalist Christians who so often are painted with the same brush as those who engage in behavior that is scandalous, immoral or illegal. Stories like this can perpetuate the image of Christian groups as “crazy” or hypocritical. And it is often made worse by the comments of people who respond to blogs and stories online. When people see a story like this one, one in which no one has been convicted of a crime. One in which we are talking about a small fringe element, it reinforces the negative stereotype of Christians as intolerant and clandestinely sick or depraved. When someone posts a comment on a blog blasting one or another minority group or individual and using God as a justification, it can harden the hearts of the world against Christians as a whole.

None of us can control the extremists or crazies of groups to which we belong. As a Christian I’m appalled and horrified that anyone would use God and the loving message of Jesus to justify harming anyone. So as a Christian I have a message for those extremists. Stop using Jesus as an excuse to be a narrow-minded, bigoted, depraved asshole. And yes, I just cussed. Somehow, I think God will understand.

Reminder, the contest is still going and I’m getting some very creative answers. Don’t be shy, it only takes a moment to enter. You can enter up 'til April 11th to win the 17" double strand of freshwater pearls and amethyst beads. The contest is to celebrate the wonderful response of readers and reviewers to Mating Stone. In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when your Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you? Email your answer to

Friday, April 4, 2008

Remembering Safety Dog

Today starts with very sad news. I received word from my ex that our dog Henry passed away early this morning. Henry was a 14 year old pug that was absolutely devoted to my ex and so custody was never an issue for us. I got generous visitation for the last 5 years, but it certainly wasn’t enough. Henry is the last of the first generation of my four legged children to leave us. They were the companions of my early adulthood and what seems like a whole lifetime past.

When we brought home our little pug puppy, he rode tucked into my ex’s jacket. I held him and started talking to him while waiting for my ex to come out of the store where we had stopped to pick up puppy food. We had an adult pug at home named Tootsie, but had read that pugs, in particular, get very lonely if they don’t have company. As I talked to the pup, going over a list of possible names to discuss I hit upon a family joke. When the eldest of my brothers was preparing to enter the world, my mother wanted to name him after his father. My stepfather refused. So they couldn’t settle on a name for him. My stepfather finally took to saying that he was just going to name the baby Henry Kissinger and be done with it. (This was the late 70’s.) My mother had fits, but still they couldn’t decide.

My brother was born caesarian section and my mother was under general anesthetic. As it would happen, my stepfather was also an inpatient at the time undergoing a rather serious back surgery. He’d fallen off a roof. My poor grandfather was running up and down the elevators between the maternity ward and the surgical ward. When my mother came out of anesthetic, my grandfather and stepfather played a cruel joke. My grandfather told her that because she was out of it, the nurses asked my stepfather what to name the baby and that her first son was now officially Henry Kissinger Neubig. He of course had not. He’d relented at the last and my brother became a number II.

Naming things Henry became a joke in my family. So as I’m holding the pup and thinking about it, I finally blurted out, “Well I guess we could just call you Henry.” I was stunned when the little pup lifted his head and looked me straight in the eye. He gazed at me for a moment and then lowered his head again and rooted for a comfortable spot to snooze. I giggled a bit and asked, “Is your name Henry? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?” Again he lifted his little head and met my eye. This was not a response to my voice. I’d been talking out loud to him for a while at that point. I always talk to my pets. When my ex returned to the car and I explained what had happened it was agreed. His name was Henry.

Henry was the roundest puppy you ever saw. His little fat belly nearly touched the ground. He soon earned the AKC registration name of “Fat boy Henry.”

His more enduring and endearing trait would lead to his long standing nickname, one that even earned him his own song. Safety Dog.

Henry was rather nervous by nature and often seemed to look upon any unusual event or happening with an eye to it’s potential danger. He seemed to sense that his master, my ex, was essentially a clutz. When the lawnmower came out, he hid. When a power tool was plugged in, he’d come running to me, his alpha dog, with a worried expression creasing his little forehead and a face that seemed to say, “Do you know what the beta dog is doing now?” In all fairness to Henry, his master had managed to nearly take off a foot with the lawnmower on one occasion and frequently had cuts and scratches from other simple activities. His concern was warranted.

Safety dog’s most memorable lessons in life involved water. Water was not Henry’s friend. We took him fishing one day. He was on his leash and was snuffling his way hurriedly down the dock. Nose to wood he hustled along, sniffing, sniffing, sniffing…plop! He sniffed himself right over the edge. I grabbed the lease and his master dropped to the dock and lifted him out. When he was eye level to his beta dog, the look on his face had both his human’s laughing so hard his master couldn’t even lift him out of the water.

On another occasion his extra bulk broke the ice on a ditch causing Tootsie and him to drop into the icy water. The beta dog went in after them thinking it was only a shallow ditch. Wrong. The ditch was a good 6 feet deep and filled with freezing water. There was no laughing that day.

So with tears and sadness I say goodbye to Henry. Henry, who never met food he didn’t like. Henry, who snored loudly on the pillow next to his master’s head every night. Henry, who would give a grudging sigh and patiently put up with the antics of his large and goofy Rottweiler brother, Koeby. Goodbye Safety Dog. Toostie will be waiting to boss you about. Koeby will be waiting to welcome you and introduce you to all his squirrel friends. And Wallie. Sweet Baby Wallie will be waiting to give you a wag, a big lick on the face and to commiserate with you the chore of spending an eternity with Koeby.

Now, in honor of Safety Dog, his song to the tune of Born to be Wild. Sing along.

Get your motor running
Always wear your seatbelt
Don’t forget your helmet
It’s the law in Illinois

Born to be mild.

Always obey the leash law
Never play in the street
Don’t chase the motorcycles
Or they’re gonna squish your head

Born to be mild

Now, a reminder about the contest.

You can enter up 'til April 11th to win the 17" double strand of freshwater pearls and amethyst beads. The contest is to celebrate the wonderful response of readers and reviewers to Mating Stone. In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when your Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?

Email you answer to

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why did I go to college?

First off the good stuff:

Mating Stone got 4 angels from Fallen Angel Reviews. Ashley reviewed it and seemed to really like the guys in the story. "...the men in this book are to die for. Mark is sexy and charming. It is easy to see why Sarah fell in love with him so fast. You can relate to Sarah after Mark makes a huge mistake, and you can feel for him when he tries to fix it. There is also his brother, Luke, who has just enough bad boy in him to make you want to claim him as your own. Then there is Tarris, Mark’s close friend, another sexy and mysterious man. These two stuck out and I hoping they get their own stories soon. Elyssa Edwards has done a great job with Mating Stone. She has written a unique shapeshifter story that any paranormal fan will enjoy." Thank you Ashley!

The Contest! The April 11th deadline is coming up!

The hero of Mating Stone, Mark Ursine is a Were-Bear as is his twin brother Luke the hero of the upcoming July release, Lovers’ Stone. The Ursines present their lady loves with stones rather than engagement rings. For Mark and Sarah it’s an amethyst. So to win the 17” freshwater pearl and amethyst necklace here’s what you need to do. Write a brief answer to the following question and send it to with “Mating Stone Contest” in the subject line. I’ll pick the best response as the winner, and two honorable mentions to receive smaller prizes. The winning entries will appear in my blog on April 13th.

In Mating Stone, Mark falls in love with Sarah. Sarah, a young human woman who has no idea that Were’s even exist beyond novels and movies. Strictly fictional. As a human woman, how do you react when Mr. Yummy tells you he’s the one with claws and may just leave fur on the sheets? So tell me: What type of Were is Mr. Wonderful and how does he break it to you?

Now to the title of this rant.

Why did I go to college? I mean, I spent four years of under graduate studies and a year of graduate school and for what? To be someone's scapegoat? To continue to have to scrape and stretch to make ends meet? To be treated with total disrespect and disdain?

Yes, that's right it was parent-teacher conference time again. Another day of listening to someone tell me that I don't care about their child because I didn't give him an extra week to complete an assignment. Another day of listening to someone tell me I am picking on their child because I expect him or her to follow the same rules that apply to everyone else. Another day of listening to someone tell me and my administration how I have no concern for parent involvement because I won't stay two hours after school for a conference because that's when they get off work.

Now I love teaching. I do. I love the kids and I love working with them. What I hate and abominate is babysitting, hand holding and nose-wiping. That’s why I teach middle school and not kindergarten.

So let’s get this straight. I apologize to all the great parents out there. You know who you are. You’re the one who volunteers for fundraisers and who helps pass out maps at orientation. You’re the one who returns my calls or actually has a phone number at which I can reach you if I need to touch base about your child. You’re the one who knows that budgets are tight and so you donate paper towels and tissues. You’re the one who shows up for conferences even when your child isn’t failing and we haven’t had to send the social worker to your house to force you.

Sorry to bore you with my ranting, but it’s absolutely ridiculous and some days it’s just too much to let roll off your back.

Maybe I should have been a plumber. We had to call one today because our bathtub wouldn’t turn off. Of course the estimate came in at almost a grand. Lovely day to ya'll, too!