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!