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.