Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We've had a shift in our dog yard this month.
For those who don't know, I breed Siberian Huskies, which are considered a primitive breed. By that, we mean that physically, the Siberian hasn't evolved far from it's early wild dog origins. The Siberian is similar in appearance and behavior to their wild cousins, the wolves. No, they are not wolves, there are some distinct differences. For example, a wolf would never, ever pull a dogsled. They are xenophobic, meaning they are afraid of that which is strange or different. But the Siberian Husky's social behavior is so similar to wolf packs, that I do use them as reference when I write shifter books. Belle Starr, Toxic, and LCE: Siberian Husky were all based on the behaviors and personalities of my dogs. (Someday I'll post photos of the dogs and run a contest on what dog influenced what character!)
On December 22, my 4 girls slipped out of the yard when a visiting handyman left the gate open. When Siberians get loose, their number 1 priority is to run fast, run hard, and wreak as much havoc as possible along the way. Thankfully, Missy and Pai Mei were located the next morning. They are retired show dogs and unafraid of friendly humans. The problem was with River and Poppy.
River and Poppy are from imported bloodlines. Their father is a well-known lead dog, he's run the Iditarod several times. Unlike my show dogs, these two are very shy and fearful of strangers, plus they can run like the wind. After 6 days, River found her way home. Now we're on day 11 with no sign of Poppy. Given the efforts we've made, it doesn't look good for her.
Like a wolf pack, our dogs have a clear social structure. Levi is my male alpha, and Missy is the female alpha. I have only two boys, so there isn't a lot of conflict there, but among the 4 girls, they square off all the time. Missy and her daughter Pai Mei stand against River and her sister Poppy. And it must be noted that Poppy was our omega girl, the very bottom dog.
You wouldn't think that the loss of an omega would impact things greatly, but since Poppy's been gone, River has gracefully submitted to Missy, and there is peace among the three girls. There is no more pre-dawn barking and the spontaneous group howling has stopped. Meal time is almost easy now. Levi is continually anxious, wandering around searching for the lost girl, and River is extremely needy. She wants to be in the house all the time. There have been other changes, some good and some bad. So far, a new omega hasn't emerged, but I imagine it will be River.
I suppose that the lesson I've taken from this is that the most insignificant-seeming member of society has a role to play. Poppy was the clown, the pleaser, and oddly enough, the instigator. I don't think she meant to keep things stirred up, but that's what she did. And while I appreciate the relative peace that's come with her absence, I do miss her. She is a bright little girl who has a heart of gold.
My love in writing is strong heroines, and in her way, Poppy is a strong personality. This gives me a new way of looking at my characters. Since I'm doing a lot of shape-shifter stories, I'll be looking closer at the lesser members of the pack, rather than just the alpha and betas. And in some way, River and Poppy will put their imprint on the characters...even if they do it by stepping on the keyboard when I'm writing...
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I must confess, I was a little worried about my first review for Leather, but L.T. Blue really seemed to pick up on what I was aiming for with this book. Generally when I write, my heroine is the central character; I develop her first, and create a hero to fit her. In the case of Leather, I started with Pierce. He's a completely unconventional hero; a porn star with major questions about his personal sexual preferences. He's rapidly approaching middle age, and just isn't sure what he wants out of life.
His personal history is a vital part of the story, and some of it came directly from real life. When I was a runaway teen, I encountered some of the dangerous and evil people who scour the bus depots in Los Angeles, looking for young, vulnerable people to take advantage of. I always wonder what would have happened to me if I'd said 'yes' to one of those people. Thankfully, I never wanted to be a star, so I never walked that path.
Pierce turned out to be an amazing hero, and is still active in my imagination. He'll undoubtely show up again in a future book. I look forward to it!
Author: Belinda McBride
Publisher: New Concepts Publishing
Reviewer: L.T. Blue
Rating: 5 Stars
Heat Level: H
Pierce Wilder isn't a Dom, he just plays one on screen. As a well known porn star Pierce is ready to leave the life behind. Pierce is looking for the woman who will love him and not just his dick; he wants the house and children and more importantly the happily ever after. When Pierce catches the eye of the sexy woman in the resturant, he begins to wonder who she is and tries to get the nerve up to speak with her. Celeste decided that enough was enough. She was going to take a chance and introduce herself. Pierce wants to be honest with Celeste about his profession and his dreams. He just hopes it doesn't push her away. Celeste will have to make some tough choices, as a cop falling in love with a porn star is difficult. When she discovers someone is plotting something evil against Pierce, it will take all of her love to get him back.
Leather isn't your typical BDSM erotic romance. I fell in love with Piere and began to wish great things for him. As a porn star Pierce is really good, taking his role of Dom with ease, it is amazing that he doesn't feel that he is a Dom in real life, yet he continues to act as one. The sexual chemistry between Pierce and Celeste is instant, and you feel the heat with each page. With the amazing plot and suspense the lovemaking between Pierce and Celeste has an heat that makes you yearn for your partner or toys, whichever is closer. All of the secondary characters in this story were needed to get the plot moving while adding to the intensity of the story. There are some scenes of kidnapping, canning, starvation, and other evil things that some readers may be offended by. Ms. McBride delivered an awesome story with Leather, and I can't wait to read more from her.
Buy Link: http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/leather.htm
Leather is also available for Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Leather-ebook/dp/B002TJZLV8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1260140782&sr=1-3
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The Phoenix Rising Anthology releases this week!
Four Changeling Press authors joined together for this special anthology, in which our characters rise from the ashes and overcome great odds in order to rise and embrace life again.
My contribution is called Draggin' in Phoenix. This is a gender-bending little short, about Jessica, who is kicked out of her family home when her parents discover that her tendency to dress as a man isn't just the casual dress of a tomboy. Without the break with from her family, Jessica never have taken the risk and embraced her true nature.
Jessica and Alan are dedicated with great love and respect to Geri, Carrie, Chris, and others that had the courage to step out of the shadows and be who they really are.
Today I was thinking about some of the hard knocks that have affected my life. As a young woman, I became estranged from my father, and in the past years, I've never regretted that decision. So I wondered what would have become of me if I'd stayed close to him. What would have happened if my mother hadn't divorced him, and he'd remained a major part of my life.
It wouldn't have been good.
I wouldn't have attended college, and if I had, I wouldn't have struggled through all the obstacles that were thrown in the way. I might have remained in the dysfunctional marriage that I was caught in. In all certainty, I wouldn't be writing.
Sometimes we have to walk through fire and allow it to consume us in order to grow and become the people we are destined to be.
All proceeds from the Phoenix Rising Anthology will be donated to the Save the Quiet Kitty fund. Please visit their website for more information: http://www.savethequietkitty.com/
Buy link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1273
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It's no secret that I'm a dog breeder. I am also an avid animal lover and very concerned about animal welfare. Not animal rights...animal welfare. There's a difference.
Since the 1980s, I've been showing, and occasionally breeding Siberian Huskies. These past few years I've pretty much let that sport fall by the wayside, I prefer to let others do the actual breeding and nurturing of puppies, while I pick my fluffy and later show it. Part of the reason that I choose to do this is that it's my way of addressing the issue of pet overpopulation. (Especially in my yard! LOL!)
A few years ago, an older breeder underwent some serious life crises and lost control of her kennel. Holes showed up in fences, and bitches were bred indiscriminately. Now these were all top quality show dogs, but still, she ended up with dozens upon dozens of unwanted puppies. Over a period of 3 years, my friend Barb and I, assisted by a local Siberian Husky rescue organization placed over 100 of these dogs and puppies.
Here's the deal. If they'd gone into a shelter, statistically, about 65 to 85 of those dogs would have been placed, the others would have been euthanized. Of course, that's based on the idea that a shelter would have had room for that many animals.
If they'd been rescued by PETA, 2 to 3 would have been placed, while 97 would have been euthanized. HSUS? Well, they're a political organization, and as far as I know, they don't do rescue. In fact, remember that money you sent to HSUS after Hurricane Katrina? Well, most of it didn't go to the animals affected by the hurricane. In fact, the majority of the money that wasn't sucked into the organization went overseas.
Surprised? Well, you should be. Horrified? Angered? Yes. Think of all that money that PETA rakes in. Only 1% is filtered to animal rescue. At their shelter in Norfolk, VA, only about 13 of over 2000 "rescues" find homes. The others die. This is the difference between animal rights and animal welfare. Ingrid Newkirk of PETA chastised President Obama for killing a fly during an interview, yet her organization routinely and apologetically KILLS thousands of companion animals on an annual basis. (see PETA Kills for documentation.)
As an animal expert, I frequently get queries about how to help animal. Well here's my answer: Support your local shelters. Seek out animal welfare organizations that support a "no kill" policy. Be realistic, in spite of those lofty aspirations, some animals are simply not physically or mentally healthy enough to be placed. There are few sanctuaries in the US that accept animals like this. One is Best Friends in Utah.
Investigate where your money goes. In my county, if our kennel club donates funds to the County Shelter, it gets sucked into the general fund and doesn't go to the animals. Instead, we try to meet other needs, such as purchasing raised kennel platforms to get the dogs off the concrete. We've also donated microchip scanners and tattoo guns, as well as dog food and medicine.
Donate your time. It's painful, but volunteer to go and socialize kittens or groom and walk dogs. If those animals don't survive their time at the shelter, at least you've made a difference in the life they've been allotted.
Spay and neuter your pets!!!
In times of crisis, there are sites you can research that have volunteer and donation guidelines. The following post was specific to Hurricane Gustav, but has some helpful information in the event of any emergency.
Remember that old phrase? "Think globally, act locally." Here's how to make a difference.
The following post was written by Lynn Szymurski, who lives in New Orleans.
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 01:16:42 -0500From:
Lynn Szymurski Subject: Gustav links foraide & support
Hi all,I've put this together very hurriedly tonight to send out to those of =you that have requested info regarding Gustav and the links I promised. =I hope this will answer your questions and inquiries for you, and I will =forward more on as I locate them. I really need to think about packing, =but too much on my mind for that.
This is a nationwide website where you may select a state and find out =ways to donate during disasters that affect any part of the state. The =link for LA is listed below. You may find access on how to donate =financial support, products and how to volunteer to help.
FEMA's Hurricane Gustav links and timelines regarding new releases: =http://www.fema.gov/hazard/hurricane/2008/gustav/index.shtm
Thankfully, in 2006, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards =(PETS) Act mandates FEMA to ensure all state and local emergency plans =address the needs of individuals with household pets and service =animals. Good article at this link: =http://ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/petplan70908.htm =20
Great website for the entire United States in preparing for any type of =disaster. Contains links on how to evacuate during every possible =scenario, gives listings of every state's contact information and phone =numbers during emergency situations. Everyone should have this website =bookmarked: http://www.ready.gov/america/index.html
For volunteer work in LA: =http://www.volunteerlouisiana.gov/1800Vol/OpenIndexAction.do
For product donations and details of what is actually needed, this =webpage will list the items needed, when needed by, etc.
This is the legitimate site of links to legitimate nonprofits in =Louisiana and secure ways to donate. =http://www.aidmatrixnetwork.org/CashDonations/Default2.aspx?ST=3DLouisian=a
Thank you for your support and concern for us. It is greatly =appreciated....Permission to crosspost granted.
Siberianly,Lynn SzymurskiRichlynn SiberiansNew Orleans,
Friday, November 6, 2009
(First posted at TRS Blue November 6, 2009)
Well, things being what they are, I find myself at the local tire shop, taking care of bunches of stuff that my aging mother let go on her van. Windshield wipers, alignment, spare tire, and so forth. It’s dreary outside, drizzling and wet. To cap everything, I’m coming down with a cold.
The good thing about a tire shop is that it’s one of those male havens, a place where women are patently out of place in spite of the pretty blondes working at the counter. I sit here with my laptop, gazing covertly at the limping redhaired man with the fox-headed walking staff, the bearded fellow in the plaid flannel shirt and pristine white tennis shoes, and the cowboy with his hat hair and beautiful redheaded girlfriend.
It’s not a bad place to be on a drizzly morning.
My active brain begins spinning stories with the characters that are so ready to be written. The tire technician with the shaved head keeps sending glances toward the skinny guy that’s running the register, and the middle-aged cashier clearly has something going with the young hunk that works the alignment bay. Up at the front office, the manager of the shop is sitting at his desk, his head just inches from the blonde girl’s breast as he explains a mistake.
It doesn’t take much to dig up the inspiration, does it? It comes from so many places, both expected and completely surprising.
Outside the window is the bad section of town, where down and out drifters wait in line for a warm lunch and a place to crash for the night. These days, the Mission is filled to capacity every night.
The young man on the bicycle has kinky, wild hair and the eyes of a madman or a prophet. He’s clearly seen too much in life. He’s late for check-in at the mission, so he’ll spend a cold, damp night sleeping in the bushes across the street from the tire shop. His dreams will be vivid and populated with images both amazing and frightful. Perhaps he will come face-to-face with the magic that accompanies his every thought and action. I make a mental portrait of him, for he will take a role in a future story.
Very soon the work on the van will be finished, and it will be time to leave. These players will continue to move on a stage outside of my vision, but their stories will continue to unwind, leaving me to wonder and to imagine.
Belinda McBride writes erotic fiction, and is published at Loose Id, Changeling Press, and New Concepts Publishing. She welcomes you to visit her site at http://www.belindamcbride.com
And her blog at
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I write because I must.
I write because I have something to say.
I write to release the music in my soul.
I write because I’m sure it’s an easy way to make money.
I write because I have a book inside of me somewhere.
We’ve all heard these comments at some point, and perhaps they are truths to some, myths to others. (Especially the part about the money!) With the start of NaNo, there are people all over the world setting their writing goals and starting their journey. We’re beginning day 3, and already you see writers at 12K per day, and others who haven’t yet begun. The complaints are beginning as well, as are the comments that indicate that many writers are discourage and ready to drop already.
I signed up for NaNo this year simply because I’ve never done it. This past summer, I participated in 2 week Fast Draft challenges with a small group of authors, and felt that experience prepared me for NaNo. And in a way, it has.
In order for me to complete the 50K word count, I calculated the words per day that I need to write. I gave myself several days off, (after all, November is a busy month!) and that still came to less than 2K per day. Easy, right? Well, maybe not, considering that my grand total word count for October was about 7K! LOL! But that was intentional; I built a break into my schedule this year. There were some edits, and some serious plotting going on, and I did some uncounted words on several WIPs, but my focus was on taking some time to refresh my mind. NaNo seemed like a good way to get back into the habit of writing, and also to narrow my focus to one project.
Why do I write? All of the above comments have applied to me at some time, but the main reason I write is that my brain has some chemical issues. I’m a bit clumsy with communication; it’s difficult for me to verbally express what I wish to say to someone. I am capable of expressing myself in writing.
I have racing thoughts, and those of you who have experienced this know how distressing it can be. From childhood, stories and scenarios have flooded my brain non-stop. Many writers say they are full of stories, but this is a bit different. It’s an obsessive/compulsive issue that is nearly crippling. When the racing thoughts kick in, I babble non-stop, and sleep is nearly impossible. It slowed me down at school and sometimes interferes with my job.
When I purchased my first laptop and began writing compulsively for hours on end, it wasn’t for creative expression. It was for survival…for sanity. That first year, I probably wrote 400K or more. Of that, two novels and a novella emerged and made it to publication.
Thankfully, the discipline that it takes to write constructively was drilled into me in college, so after the first few months of simply pouring myself out onto my hard drive, I was able to slow down, to take the time to polish my words and sentences, and to consider actually selling what I’d written. Because even if my stories don’t sell, they’re going to be written.
The wonderful thing is that I’ve discovered that this outlet I have has the potential to be fun. Note that I said that it has the potential…it also have the potential to be nightmarish and stressful. Anyone who’s written on a deadline or found themselves blocked will discover that this craft is not always fun, nor is it easy.
Like all things in life, there must be balance and moderation. So yes, there are spikes in my creativity where I can write a 30K novella in days. Other times it takes months to grind out a short story. But over all, slow and steady is what it takes. Setting a daily goal. For some, it is a word count goal. As a general rule, I don’t keep track of my daily word count unless I’m on a challenge. My rule is to never let a day go by without doing something constructive, whether it’s writing, plotting, doing a book video, or seeking inspiration. (AKA research
So if you’re doing NaNo…good for you! Just realize that if you don’t meet word count at the end of the month, you have not failed. Look at what you have done and realize that those are words that you wouldn’t have written otherwise.
If you do meet the 50K goal, excellent! Now is the hard part. Don’t leave that manuscript languishing on your hard drive. You’ve given it life, now start polishing and editing. Look at the market and see where your book fits. Expand on it, tighten it, and make those words into a living, breathing document.
It might be the only book you have in you, but I’m willing to bet that if you’ve written that much, there is more inside.
I’d like to hear why you write, and if you’re participating in the Challenge, what your feelings are about it.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Here it is, the end of October, and NaNo is almost upon us.
I confess that I've never participated in the event before, and initially wasn't that interested. This summer, I had the fantastic experience of doing several 2 week Fast Draft challenges with a small group of authors, and for me, the results were amazing. It seems that while I suck at deadlines, when I issue a challenge to myself, I'm capable of more than I give myself credit for.
So...just days away and I haven't begun preparations yet. In fact, the project that I intended to focus on might not be appropriate. How can I write Book 4 of Bad Angels when I haven't even drafted Book 3? LOL! Oh well...
That's what the Drawing Board is for.
When I first enrolled in college, I was a pretty good student in most of my subjects. Unfortunately, I had major problems in algebra. Not math, not geometry...just algebra. Testing indicated a fairly rare and specific learning disability, and the school promptly assigned me a tutor. What I learned from her was the use of white boards and colored markers to delineate an equation. Later on, when I began writing plays, I used this same method to track scenes, acts and characters.
Let me explain some of my tricks. When I'm creating a character, or even if I'm blocked, I write the name of the problem character (or situation) in the center of the board, and then circle it. From there, I send out a line with the name of the first character that comes to mind. Then the next, and so forth. They all get their own circles and lines out to other characters. Pretty soon, there's a network that expands from that central character. It's a bit messy, but gets all the threads out of my head and into a physical context that I can stand back and look at.
Another trick I use is free association. I just sit down and think. I use a large yellow pad and set a time line for the story, and jot down all the possible directions the story could go. Or I bend the ear of a poor unfortunate listener and babble on about everything that's flooding my brain. Unfortunately, if I don't record it, most of that drifts away on the ether...
When I'm actually writing and feel the story is vague or without a clear plot, I use a variation of the Snowflake Method. I write a sentence summarizing the book. Next comes a paragraph that expands on the sentence. From there, each sentence is given its own paragraph. That's a neat trick for really pinning down your project. It also works really well to write your book's summary.
Well, hope there was something of worth in this late night post. I'm off to bed to dream about Bad Angels.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Leather was initially scheduled for a December release, so imagine my surprise when I got a note from my publisher Sunday night, letting me know it would be up for sale on Wednesday! Well, it was a good surprise, because the buzz on the book has been building.
Leather came about as many of my books do, because of a personal challenge. I was trying to pull heroes from unlikely sources, and to go against the 'alpha' type. Pierce Wilder is an unlikely hero: he's a porn star. And though the book is erotic romance, the majority of the sex takes place on the film set, rather than in his love story. (Don't worry, it's there too! LOL!)
Pierce Wilder has found new success playing a Dom in internet porn, but in real life, the big, butch actor is really quite soft and easy-going. He has real issues trying to figure out where exactly his onscreen persona is coming from. When his fans start calling him "Master Wilder" he is distinctly uncomfortable. As Pierce begins dating a woman he views as 'normal' he struggles to blend his vanilla fantasies with the reality of who and what he is.
Researching this book was sad, intruiging and slightly heart-breaking. I didn't exactly do thesis level research on it, but still learned more about the adult film industry than I was completely comfortable with. It also contains a brief reference to something that happened to me as an underage teen when I briefly ran away from home and ended up in the Greyhound Depot in downtown Los Angeles. I didn't realize at the time just how vulnerable I was, and later discovered that the well-meaning adults that offered me food and shelter were actually evil, dangerous people. Fortunately for me, I had a ride waiting. I saw other young people walking away with them.
This was also my first time playing with BDSM, and again, I did it "my way," treating it as a plot device for Pierce's films rather than a lift-style choice.
On a lighter note, I nick-named this book, "A Porn Star Fairy Tale" because I grew to love Pierce so much, that I wanted to give him every possible happiness by the end of the book. So the 'happily for now' ending was tweaked a little bit.
My thanks to New Concepts Publishing for taking a chance on a book that doesn't quite fit in the box. And I truly hope you enjoy it!
Click the link below for an excerpt:
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Toxic was a bit of a family project. I had the kernel of an idea for this story, but just couldn't flesh it out. When I was batting around ideas one day, I blurted out that I'd love to have Rico the werewolf wake up in Dr. Briony Theale's vet clinic, naked and trapped in a dog crate. From there, we got silly, exchanging wild ideas (most of which never made it to the manuscript) and just cracking of over the potential disaster of a werewolf dating a vet.
In the end, the characters came to life and the story actually kick-started a series idea that I'd been playing with for nearly a year. Will there be more Truckee Wolves? Stay tuned!
Sex and Chocolate: Toxic releases at Changeling Press October 16.
Sex and Chocolate: Toxic
There are three things that Dr. Briony Theale loves. Her job as a veterinarian, a good bar of rich, dark chocolate, and Rico, the new ranger in charge of the Wildlife Rescue center. When a casual dinner with the mysterious Rico turns surprisingly intimate, Briony realizes that she might just have a chance with him after all, if only she could lose a few pounds. It’s the ultimate sacrifice, but Briony goes cold turkey, and swears off chocolate forever.
Rico Montgomery fell hard for Briony the first time he set eyes on the curvy little doctor. Her brown hair and cocoa skin trigger cravings that he can barely control, and her fragrance is like the sweetest, richest chocolate he’s ever scented in his life. That’s a bad thing for Rico, because to a werewolf like him, chocolate is literally a toxin.
Rico can’t live with it, and Briony can’t live without it. And when a certain wandering wolf finds a bag of chocolate in the trash near Briony’s clinic, these two will find out just how toxic love can be.
* * *
Genre: Paranormal/Shapeshifters, interracial, BBW
Content Warning: adult language
* * *
“Dr. Briony, you have a call on line two.” Amy gave an impish smile. “It’s Ranger Rick from the Wildlife Rescue.” She waggled a pale blonde brow.
“It’s Rico, not Rick.”
“Well, he’s a ranger and looks just fine in that uniform.”
That he did. Briony’s belly tightened at the mention of his name. Butterflies danced alongside the slight chocolate euphoria she was experiencing. “I’ll take it in my office.”
“Sure you will. Are you guys having phone sex yet?”
God, why did she keep the girl around? It wasn’t bad enough that Amy was a smart-mouthed kid, but at the age of nineteen, she was the poster child for the perfect
Briony was brown. She didn’t even have the satisfaction of saying she was African American or Latino. She lived as a chocolate woman in a vanilla community. Sometimes Bree felt like the ultimate outsider, an eclectic mix of races that left her with brown skin, brown eyes, and even brown hair. She certainly didn’t have a bikini body, but she didn’t let that keep her away from the water. Part of the reason she’d moved to
In the summers she spent every spare moment at the crystalline lakes and rivers, kayaking and swimming. In the winters, she explored the back country on her cross country skis. She’d grown up without money and had still managed to graduate from UC Davis Veterinary School. When Briony decided she wanted something, she gathered up her courage and went after it.
Well, all except for the man waiting for her to answer his call. She’d never found the nerve to pursue him.
Rico Montgomery. The first time she’d seen him, she’d nearly had a spontaneous orgasm. Her body wanted to have his children. She’d contemplated tripping him and beating him to the floor.
He was six feet two inches of dark-haired, gray-eyed, chiseled beefcake, and this beefcake had brains. He wore his tan uniform shirt to perfection, and his Smokey the Bear hat threw her into the most delicious fantasies of her life. But face-to-face with the man, she was a wreck.
She stared down at the blinking light on the phone. “I am woman, hear me roar.” She took a deep breath. Her fingers trembled as she lifted the handset. “This is Dr. Theale.”
“Hi Dr. Briony, it’s Rico at Rescue.”
“Unhh… hello, Rico.” Oh, that was brilliant. Just brilliant. “What can I do for you today?” Maybe a full body massage? Or hell, let’s just go for broke… a blow job? She shivered, imagining wrapping her mouth around his cock. Just for fun, she’d dribble chocolate sauce over it first. In fact, she’d like to cast that phallus of his in chocolate. That way, she could have the best of both worlds…
Briony’s head dropped to the desk, her face hot with embarrassment. This was how she acted around the man over the phone! The idea of seeing him in person just blew her dignity out the window.
“Well, I wanted to see if you could make a house call today. I’ve got an injured falcon that’s just come in.”
She could almost hear the smile in his voice. Rico Montgomery was a walking wet dream of a man. There was no doubt in her mind he knew exactly what she was thinking. He had to be accustomed to women losing their cool around him.
“Let me see, I’m short-handed today.” Briony booted up her scheduling calendar for the day. “I’m booked pretty solid for the next couple hours, but I can come out right after my last appointment… say 5:30?”
“That’d be awesome. And since it’s on your own time, dinner’s on me tonight.”
Dinner on Rico. She imagined licking gravy from his navel and stifled a giggle. “Oh, really… that’s okay…” Her chocolate-filled stomach lurched. Briony wasn’t sure if it was nausea, nerves or arousal.
“No problem, I’m on baby birds till later tonight. Gotta grab dinner sometime.”
Briony stood and paced a bit, dragging the phone cord across her cluttered desk. A pile of books crashed to the floor. “Damn! Uh… sorry, just dropped something.”
His laugh was as rich as melted chocolate in her ear. “Is pizza okay? I usually do an all meat combo. I’m a carnivore, you know.”
Damn, even pizza talk sounded sexy coming from Rico’s mouth. “Yeah, that’s fine. I’ll see you in a couple hours then.”
They made their goodbyes and Briony put the phone back into its base on her desk.
“Hot date with the ranger?” Amy was leaning against the doorjamb.
“No, an injured falcon. He’s working late too, so we’re just…”
“Having dinner together.”
“It’s not a date.”
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
“Kaine, this is Nestor.”
“Just wanted to let you know he’s back and mostly okay.”
“Oh God … thank God for that. How is he?”
“Well, he’s not talking much, won’t go in his house, so I’m setting him up in one of the new cabins up in the trees. Looks like he’s been living off grass since … you know ... the funeral.”
“He probably has. He’s probably been running hard, too. Don’t have to think when you’re running.”
“Yeah, his hooves are beat up so bad, he’ll have to stay in man form for awhile.”
“She’s still shaky. Hysterical a lot of the time. I’m sending her to stay in Texas till Dorian gets his feet back under him. Rumors about what happened have gotten out, and none of the other Alphas want to deal with her. I don’t know, Kaine. Don’t know how we’re gonna pull this one together. Anyhow, she wants to go through her sister’s things, I figure Blue won’t mind since he won’t go anywhere near the place. I had to go pack a suitcase for him.”
“Okay. Listen, Nestor, I’ll catch the next flight out and pick him up. Iris can stay on as long as you need her.”
“Iris has been a lifesaver with Chloe gone. I can’t tell you how distressed everyone is. Lots of grief.”
“I should imagine. Chloe was well loved.”
“Kaine, about him going with you … I don’t think it’s a good idea. I think he should stay on here at the Siskiyou Compound.”
“He’s my brother, Nestor. He’s gonna need me.”
“I know, Kaine, but frankly, if he leaves, it’s really gonna throw the compound into a tailspin. These people have been his family for a decade now. I think he needs to face this thing down here. He can’t run away from it.”
“This isn’t a suggestion, Kaine. Nor is it a request. He stays. It’s hard for him, but I’ve got the other members up here that can help him. They need to help him.”
Kaine hung up the phone without responding. He knew it was rude, but he didn’t care. He sat down at his PC and went online, purchasing tickets-- one out, two back. The hell with Nestor. He was bringing Dorian home.
He was going to reject her request.
Phaedre schooled down her frustration and took a deep breath. She mentally reviewed her arguments and rationalizations for seeking out an Equis for her extraordinary request. A specific Equis. She needed a Soul Keeper. Humbly, Phaedre folded her hands in her lap, gently resting her palms upward. Chiron Nestor’s shaggy head didn’t move as he pored over her application, but nevertheless, she was certain that his huge, liquid eyes didn’t miss the symbolic gesture. This man hadn’t single-handedly created paradise on an otherwise hostile Earth for his Equis race by being non-observant.
“This is difficult, Phaedre Goode. Very difficult.” His accent was sultry and flowing. She’d heard many accents over the years, but couldn’t place his origin. Not unusual, as he’d been born in another, earlier century.
He sifted through a stack of medical records and signed statements from Phae’s physicians and specialists, spiritual counselors and psychologists. “You have a great deal of professional support behind your request, but I still have difficulty with how and why you sought us out.” Carefully, he laid the papers in organized stacks. She’d sent copies to him two weeks prior to her visit, so Phae knew he’d already made himself familiar with her records.
Chiron Nestor carefully folded his large hands on the desk pad in front of him. His vivid blue eyes scanned Phaedre’s face, seeking deception behind her serene, Madonna-like beauty. She allowed him to hold eye contact with her for an extended period. The nostrils of his strong Roman nose flared slightly as he assessed her by scent. She’d been mentally prepared for an extensive sensory scan, but still, it made her feel slightly uneasy to know that he was seeing and smelling her in a way she’d never been examined before. She had no doubt he could also hear the rhythm of her heart and the pattern of her breathing. Phaedre was uneasy, but felt no difficulty in sharing those feelings.
He was stunning, the first Equis she’d ever met in person. This was also the public face of Chirons, as they titled themselves, after their mythic ancestor. Chiron Nestor’s face was weathered and rugged, with unusually large, bright blue eyes, and strong bone in his cheeks and jaw. He was what the horse world called a strawberry roan, which in this man, translated to multi-hued, reddish hair with a strong, white blaze running from his forehead back a couple inches. The white streak swung to the side of his face, shading his eyes when he looked down.
When she’d seen him on television, he’d always worn a suit, his hair neatly combed off his face, usually in a neat, business-like cut. Today, it was loose and riotous, dropping well past his collar in deep waves. He was dressed like a rancher, in denims, a tee shirt and dusty, scuffed boots. Her eyes dropped to the top of the desk. His hands were long and strong, the nails unusually thick compared to hers. She knew he was over one hundred years old, but nobody really knew how long the Equis lived, or how often they reproduced. He’d managed to bring them to the public eye, securing their safety and freedom, while at the same time ensuring his species of privacy and self-determination.
Twenty years ago, the first known Equis had been captured in the rugged landscape of the Rocky Mountains. He’d been tending a herd of wild Mustangs, and had fought back when some enterprising rustlers rounded them up. Chiron Kaine had been tormented and exploited by his captors, who maintained that the shape-changer was not human, thus, entitled to no rights under US law. He’d been purchased by a government lab, and held for extensive testing and research.
That Equis had been sequestered from the public eye, abused and unmonitored, until some of the grad students assigned to him rebelled and took matters into their own hands. They leaked photos and documents exposing the abuse that he suffered. Those students had been arrested, accused of espionage, and expelled from their respective institutions. Their personal sacrifices had not been futile. Shortly after that exposure Nestor stepped forward, lawyers and activists at his side, fighting the good fight for his people, for the captive and for the students who fought for this helpless Equis.
Since that time, small pockets of Equis had emerged around the world, eventually migrating to the properties that Nestor and the other leaders had obtained as Sanctuary for their people. The Equis attained sovereignty within their respective countries. They were self-governing, extremely private, and amazingly industrious.
The little community of Mt. Shasta City was eclectic in nature, and had gladly embraced the concept of centaurs in their midst, along with Big Foot, the Lemurians and miscellaneous religious organizations. While the Equis rarely ventured out in public in their natural half-form, the friendly locals rarely batted an eye if they encountered one in town, casually reading a paper or checking out a community bulletin board. With its clean air and endless forests, the Siskiyous were the perfect haven for the Equis.
Phaedre couldn’t see out the large window behind her, but she knew it offered a gorgeous panorama of Mt. Shasta to the west, with casually landscaped grounds rolling away from the office. The area of the compound she had been allowed into reminded her of an upper-crust campground, complete with a large lake and a flagpole. An American flag took its position at the top of the pole, followed by the California Grizzly, and a third flag with the silhouette of a rearing horse against a rising sun. That flag flew over every Equis Sanctuary and compound around the world.
Phaedre endured Nestor’s scrutiny in calm silence, even allowing herself to meet his steady gaze.
“You are remarkably calm, young woman.” She nodded, no answer seemed to be necessary. “Would you tell me the how and why, please?” His slight accent was a bit stronger than she’d heard on the television interviews, but very pleasant to the ear.
“How and why?” Phaedre collected her thoughts. “My husband passed away about two years ago. I became aware that his soul came into the keeping of one of your people. I suppose you wish to know how I became aware of this?” He nodded, hiding his concern.
Phaedre realized that the existence of the Soul Keeper was a closely guarded secret, known to only a few in the world outside of the Equis. Their existence would create an even wider gulf between human and Equis.
“If I am correct, when a person dies, their soul leaves their body, and migrates to wherever they are supposed to go. In some instances, that soul cannot accept that it is time to move on, so they stay here in a limbo state.” He nodded again, neither confirming nor denying her suppositions. “My husband died unexpectedly. We were just married and planning our future when his life was taken in an accident. We’d been at the doctor that day and had discovered that I was pregnant. The accident happened on the way home. I wasn’t badly injured, but nevertheless, went into shock. I lost the baby and my husband within twenty minutes of getting the positive test.” Phaedre paused, aware of how choppy and stiff she sounded. She cleared her throat, trying to return to her normal tone. She breathed deeply, willing her composure to hold.
“After recovery, my life never got back on track. Grieving is to be expected, but I began to have disturbing dreams as well. Steven was calling me. Sometimes, I saw him … or thought I saw him. I’d see him reflected in a window, or on a street. Once even in my home. It was like being haunted. After a month, the sightings stopped, but the dreams continued. Initially, they were grief-stricken, frightened. But eventually, they changed. I began to dream of a place, a people. Sometimes, I caught the sight of horses running, but they weren’t always horses.”
Nestor watched her carefully, listening to her improbable story.
“I felt Steve in the dreams, but he was confused at where he was and what he saw. He wasn’t frightened, but confused. Eventually, he grew content and peaceful. Last month, he showed me the mountain, and I realized he was here, with one of yours. He’s ready to move on, so I want to be part of that.”
“Were you able to see who his Keeper is? Do you have a name? We have many Soul Keepers among us.” It wasn’t quite a lie. There were several known Soul Keepers, but only one in Mt. Shasta. Nestor watched as the woman in front of him bit her lip and shook her head. Apparently, she didn’t even think it odd that he accepted her story without skepticism.
“I never caught an identity. Just color, blue and white. But not blue like the sky, blue that is so dark that it’s almost black. Sadness. Depression. That’s why I waited so long to come. I didn’t want to impose on this person.”
Dorian. Chiron Dorian. Of course she sensed pain, he’d lost his wife shortly before he’d taken this man’s soul into his keeping. Like humans, Equis were not strictly monogamous. However, unlike humans, when a Chiron joined with their life partner, the bond was for life, and their lives could be very long. Dorian and Chloe had married almost a century ago. They had never been gifted with offspring. Dorian had been walking a path of despair for years now. Chloe had been the other half of his existence.
Nestor tented his fingers and rested them softly in front of his mouth. It was an odd habit, but Phaedre liked it. He looked prayerful, meditative.
“Phaedre Goode, I know who you speak of. Your request may not be possible, but there may be a compromise. I will speak to the Chiron and return to you later.”
He rose, giving her little else to go on. “Do you have a hotel in town?” She nodded. It was late season at the ski resort, so she’d managed to rent a little cabin at a secluded motel. “Please return tomorrow at this time. I will speak to you again.”
She’d been dismissed. Just like that. Nestor escorted Phaedre to the little hybrid car she’d recently purchased. She’d done without a vehicle after Steven’s death, it wasn’t really that important to have a car in the Bay Area. She’d purchased this thinking that she’d use it to travel the country a bit. She’d never really played tourist in her own state. Well, she could start with the rest of this day. Go see if she could find herself a Lemurian.
Heavy with disappointment, Phaedre buckled up and pulled away, driving out of the compound. It had been too much to ask, really. Chiron Nestor wouldn’t be interested in helping her with her little science experiment. Hell, if someone had asked her the same thing, she’d have slapped their face. But her baby had died. Her tiny son or daughter hadn’t had the chance to enter the world, and she owed it that chance. She owed Steve. Hell, she owed herself some happiness.
* * * *
The Equis owned hundreds of acres here, and it backed onto wild BLM land. They had endless ground to roam, to indulge their need for privacy. Driving through the compound, Phaedre spotted a small herd of horses running into the hills. The Equis bred some of the best purebred horses in the country. She’d seen a small group of appaloosa near the front office, while this herd looked like quarter horses. Phaedre wondered if those she saw now were real horses, or Equis in full horse form.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a lone stallion angle away toward the road and break into a canter. For a moment, she thought she saw a man form above the horse, but it was gone by the time she looked. The piebald was reverse from the norm, an inky black body with white splashed markings. The black was so rich that it was almost blue in the sun. He tossed his white-striped mane, flicked his tail and bucked slightly, bringing a smile to her face. Phaedre slowed the little car to pace him for a few moments, and then he was gone, fading into the tree line.
That was when the tears hit. She fought them back, dug for a tissue and pulled the car to a stop right in the middle of the road. “Oh God ...oh Steve .…” She sobbed hard, confused at the sudden surge of loss. Surrendering to the sensation, she let it roll over, then through her heart. As suddenly as it came, the emotional storm passed. Phae blew her nose, wiped her eyes and put the car into gear. She didn’t see the Equis standing in the shadows of the tree line, head bowed, front hoof pawing at the soft ground, tears streaming down his all too human face.
You can purchase Soul Keeper at Here: http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/soulkeeper.htm
It's also available at Fictionwise
Friday, September 4, 2009
With a world of shape shifters to choose from, why on Earth did I choose Siberian Huskies for my contribution to the Last Call Europe series?
Well, they say to write what you know, and frankly, I know Siberian Huskies. I’ve got six of the buggers. At one point when I was taking in rescues, I was up to twelve. So yes, I know Siberian Huskies.
If you aren’t familiar with the premise of the Last Call series at Changeling Press, here it is in a nutshell. The series was originated by the writing team of Moira Rogers, who expanded it to be a multi-author series. The Last Call is a bar that caters only to the paranormal community. Mundane humans can’t even make it through the doors. Once inside, the patron has the opportunity to order a drink from the specialty menu. That drink is a signal to the other patrons as to what the man or woman is seeking sexually. For example, a woman who orders a Virgin Bloody Mary might be a vampire seeing her first lover.
So of course, I found a recipe for a drink called Siberian Husky, and knew I had to sign up! Here is the recipe:
SIBERIAN HUSKY COCKTAIL
MIX TOGETHER AND ADD THE ICE
So without giving away too much of the story, let me tell you a little about the Siberian Huskies that I live with. First of all, Siberians are a running breed. They were created to pull a sled over a moderate distance. They are humorous, silly, and the consummate tricksters. They love to play. The can be incredibly naughty.
They are one of the most intelligent breeds of dog that exists. Many trainers don’t agree, as the breed doesn’t take well to obedience. The reason is that they were created to be independent thinkers. A Siberian can actually make a decision and weigh the consequences of their actions. If a musher tells his lead dog to go right, and the leader senses danger, it will deliberately disobey the musher.
They are primitive. What this means in evolutionary terms is that they are nearer the source of their origin than other dog breeds. In fact, genetic studies indicate that the Siberian is one of the first four breeds that was developed by humans, and hasn’t changed much from its origin. You can see that in their pack behavior, their upright ears, double coat and other physical similarities to wolves. They are more than willing to hunt for their food, dig in the soil to stay cool, and howl to express their happiness or distress.
They aren’t a guard dog or a watch dog, and unless a Siberian has been taught badly by humans, they rarely show aggressive behavior.
So check out Last Call Europe: Siberian Husky. Let me know if I got it right!
Siberian Husky: Catch me if you can!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
One of the questions that shows up in every interview, every chat and at every live appearance is craft related. "How do you write? Are you a plotter or apantster?"
I'm a little of both. Depending on the feel of the story, I might draft a fairly elaborate outline or simply a cast of characters and run with it. When I started Bad Angels, I had an outline, and interestingly enough, the story simply wrenched itself away and went somewhere unexpected.
Initially, this book was a bisexual menage, boys meet girl and so forth. The opening scene had Rex and Rion cooking in a diner, and Noemi coming in, drawing their attention with her tightly controlled power. But after starting, I realized that I really needed an intro to the story. Here I had a fallen angel and asidhe...how did things start for them?
I began with Rion...Kokabiel...falling from Heaven and landing in a sheep pasture in 1860's Scotland. Well, that little prologue took on a life of it's own. My planned six pages grew and grew until I knew this was a novella specifically about the boys. Yes,Anahita shows up, and there's some m/f sex, but essentially Falling is the love story of Rex and Rion.
That left me with a conundrum: should I leave the book as it stood, or move forward? The readers love Falling. The reviewers have been very kind. Do I dare mess with the chemistry? And what about Noemi? Here I'd created these two men for her...she's the Fire to their Earth and Sky. And yet Rex andRion are so beautiful on their own. I tossed the outline, closed my eyes and wrote. It takes some nerve to throw it away and trust your muse, especially after you've put in a good deal of work on the project.
The outcome of that trust was Bad Angels: Burn. I haven't received the outrage that I expected, and as the story ends on a cliff-hanger, I did expect some angry letters. They haven't come. Readers have written to say they love it and can't wait for the final book of the trilogy.
Where does it go from here? Frankly, I'm not sure. I've got scenes in mind, but no definitive outline for the third book. In a way, I'm setting it at the back of the table, like the biggest present at the birthday party. Very soon, I'll sit down, open a blank page and wait to see happens.
Click here for excerpt of Bad Angels: Fallling
Just what exactly happens when an angel goes bad?
Stripped of his voice, his memories, and his divinity, Rion Hunter falls to Earth in a fiery blaze. After crashing into a muddy sheep pasture in Scotland, the disgraced angel finds himself face-to-face with an unlikely rescuer: a sidhe-born farmer named Rex.
Rex finds himself rapidly falling for the beautiful angel, which can be risky when the object of your affection just might be psychotic. And if that isn’t enough, the men find that they’ve come to the attention of a ravenous succubus, who has developed an appetite for Scottish farmers.
Falling isn’t so bad… it’s the landing that hurts.
Following an auto accident, Rex Clark lays near death in the rocky wilderness of the Trinity Alps. Just when it appears that things can't get worse, she shows up. Anahita... the succubus. She's been his frequent companion, and the bane of his lover Rion's existence, for well over a century. But it seems that this time she's come to help.
From the frozen villages of the Inuit to the cities of America, Dr. Noemi Gastineau has seen it all. When a fallen angel shows up at the reservation clinic with an injured Sidhe, Noemi takes everything in stride. Yet within hours, she's swept into an enchanted world she never imagined existed. So why are the men so temptingly familiar? And why is she suddenly so afraid?
A fallen angel, a Sidhe, a human and a succubus. Never mind the demons, these four are about to catch fire! The question is... who will survive the burn?
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It’s week 2 of the Fast Draft writing challenge, and I decided to take a few minutes out of the routine to share a little of what’s going down on paper, so to speak. The idea of the Fast Draft challenge is to set a daily goal and work toward it without distraction, and without an inner editor for two weeks.
Yes, I agree, it’s hard to live life without distraction, but this is my second shot at doing the Fast Draft challenge, and I think my family is getting trained. Now I’ve got to train myself to not use my laptop to check my email.
Now taking away the inner editor is a challenge for me. I tend to work as clean as possible, that leaves less to do when its time to start the second draft, but I’ve got to admit that the first novella I completed using Fast Draft last month will release in September. Pretty fast turnover, eh? And I had an awful lot of fun writing it. The second novella…not so fun. I really had some angst with it, but there are other issues on the table with that book. It’s written in first person, and it’s my first m/m without a girl to fall back on for emotional support. It’s due to my editor on the 31st, and I shall prevail!
My projects for this round on FD were to include a novella for Changeling’s Sex and Chocolate multi-author series. That is in the can, all finished. The book is called Toxic, and the chocolate isn’t such a good thing in this book. My second project for last week was a gender-bending short for a charity project, its called Draggin’ in Phoenix. That’s finished too.
Here’s where things got strange…My novella for this week was to be a vampire novella for a workshop project, but I Had A Dream. Yeah, on occasion I dream my stories, and try as I might, I couldn’t grasp a good vampire concept. Instead, I’m writing this phantom book called Jared-143. It’s a story about a cyborg who inherits the emotional memories an ‘awakened’ cyborg. I have no outline, no clear story, but I know where it ends, so my characters will get me there. Eventually.
The kicker is, my vampire suddenly stepped onto the page. It was in the wrong book, but he’s here! Stinkin’ vampires never cooperate!
So here's what you can expect from me in the next few months: I've sent contracts to Changeling Press for Last Call Europe: Siberian Husky. Its about a drab, ordinary human who somehow makes it through the magical wards of the Last Call bar, and encounters a pair of shape-shifters who see Genie with much more than their eyes. That releases September 9.
Also at Changeling is Sex and Chocolate: Toxic. Dr. Briony Theale can't live without chocolate. She's in love with Rico Montgomery, who is dangerously allergic to the stuff. Bad things happen when werewolves eat chocolate, as Briony will discover. Release date is early October.
Draggin' in Phoenix is destined for a Changeling charity anthology. Jessica comes out of the closet as gender queer. She has a crush on a co-worker, and dresses just like him for the monthly Draggin' in Phoenix pageant. When she leaves the stage, she runs into the hottest redhead in a blue sundress. Oddly, the redhead looks just like Jessica! I don't know the release date for this.
Mad at the Moon is my Christmas short at Changeling. Merry is a postal worker who is worn to the bone on Christmas Eve. All she wants is sleep, but her neighbor's dog is keeping her awake! Furry meets Fairy on a magical night. This will release in December.
Leather: A Porn Star Fairy Tale. Pierce Wilder is a fading pornstar who wants nothing more to leave the industry behind. He wants to finish college, settle down with a wife, maybe have a couple kids. Thinking to sabotage his career and get out of his contracts, Pierce shaves the long hair that is his trademark, dons black leather and stars in internet BDSM films. Instead of failing, he becomes a cult hero, drawing some fans who will do anything to keep Master Pierce working. Leather will be available in December at New Concepts Publishing.
Its been a busy, and productive summer, and hopefully, I'll have more news soon!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Coming July 24 to Changeling Press!
Title: Bad Angels: Burn
Number in Series: 2
Author: Belinda McBride
ISBN (13) 978-1-60521-259-3
Word Count: 30K
Page Count: 99
Release Date: 7/24/09
Editor: Vicki S. Burklund
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Bisexual and more, Dark Desires, Dragons, Elves and Magical Creatures, Ménage
Following an auto accident, Rex Clark lays near death in the rocky wilderness of the Trinity Alps. Just when it appears that things can’t get worse, she shows up. Anahita… the succubus. She’s been his frequent companion, and the bane of Rion’s existence, for well over a century. But it seems that this time she’s come to help.
From the frozen villages of the Inuit to the cities of America, Dr. Noemi Gastineau has seen it all. When a fallen angel show up at the reservation clinic with an injured Sidhe, Noemi takes everything in stride. Yet within hours, she’s swept into an enchanted world she never imagined existed. So why are the men so temptingly familiar? And why is she suddenly so afraid?
A fallen angel, a Sidhe, a human and a succubus. Never mind the demons, these four are about to catch fire! The question is… who will survive the burn?
Who knew that ice could burn like fire?
Miles beneath the surface of the Earth, she lay slowly waking. Panic came hard and fast; her eyes were glazed and frozen. Ice had invaded every orifice of her body… nostrils and ears and mouth, preventing her from seeing, hearing… screaming. Hell wasn’t fire. No. Hell was ice.
She burned; demon fire licked her skin even as the ice held her captive in its grip.
Her frozen body convulsed, and long stored energy exploded from her innermost being. Above her, the slowly thawing permafrost buckled and groaned, the very landscape altered and shifted. Trees fell, lakes drained, and animals fled for safety.
An old woman stood; she was heavily cloaked in skins and furs. Her bright brown eyes gleamed like polished obsidian in her deeply creased face. As though she was much younger, the woman rode out the Earth’s pains, waiting patiently as water began to bubble from a sheet of ice. As soon as it touched the frigid air, the water froze into formations that were the expression of nature’s finest art.
The agonized shift of ice sounded like a scream in the old woman’s ears. Pain and fear resonated through the air. Before the imprisoned creature came forth from the grip of the glacier, her energy burst through the air, swirling in a red, turbulent cloud. She was desperate… starving.
Before the woman’s eyes, the creature’s spirit vanished, seeking a path to the energy it needed to live and to survive this torturous rebirth. Ahnah looked across the great chasm in the ice and faced the demon that stood leering at her. He also waited for the rebirth of the ice-bound creature. He’d been the one to send demon fire down to awaken the creature.
She supposed he looked pleasant to most people. Even handsome. But Ahnah gazed at him with knowing eyes, and saw only twisted malevolence. He was a parasite who delighted in the taking of others. And he waited for the powerful female who was locked in the ice beneath their feet.
“She’s not for a cannibal such as you, Kelet.”
The demon grinned and waited. His human façade melted until he crouched on his haunches, clawed fingers scratching impatiently at the surface of the ice.
For long hours they faced one another there in the frigid, whirling winds. It was a long walk home, and would be longer since the cold was creeping steadily into her bones. But Ahnah knew her responsibility to the Fallen. She’d long heard stories of the star-colored woman who’d crashed into the ice, fleeing from the great monster that pursued her. It hadn’t been Kelet, but another. One who’d tortured and twisted the angel into an unwilling mockery of herself.
She’d fled to save others. That’s what Ahnah had heard. She’d fled to escape the dark ones who wished to use her, to consume her soul. The wise woman reached into the folds of her clothing and drew out an amulet on a leather cord. It was her most powerful medicine, whalebone carved by the skilled hands of her grandmother’s grandmother. It carried the power and magic of every woman who’d owned it. She smiled inwardly when the demon’s power wavered slightly in the presence of the sacred object.
He frowned and looked down in bewilderment, shaking his clawed hands, which slowly became the same color as the gray and white landscape. For the first time, fear showed in his eyes.
Ahnah had no mercy for the demon, and watched without pity as the ice grew up to trap his feet into place. “You should not have come to this place, Kelet.” The demon wasn’t a stranger to her; normally she’d accept him as part of Nature’s balance and allow him to live. But now, today, the stakes were too high. She showed no mercy as the ice slowly grew to claim his body.
Time stretched out meaninglessly, and Ahnah waited without becoming weary or afraid. In time, the Fallen’s spirit would return to her body, well-fed and healthy. And so the old woman waited, her back hunched to the wind, her careful gaze on the broken, crumbled crater in the ice.
* * *
Anahita shrieked in pain. She screamed in long forgotten fear, and her starved, frightened essence escaped her corporeal body. Her spirit broke from the glacier even as her panicked body remained entombed.
In desperation she fled, searching instinctively for what she needed. Without physical eyes to guide her, she perceived bright dots of energy on the Earth below. Any would serve as food, but none would be enough.
Lights flashed and then died out quickly… too quickly for her to capture the energy that was being released. She cast her senses further, over the continent, over the ocean.
On the horizon, three lights glowed brighter than most. They very nearly lit the sky with pure, unadulterated energy. That energy would be hers if she could only capture it.
Swiftly, she arrived and hovered over those three beacons, bathing in their glow, and allowing the energy to fill her, shape her, to give her form. She could very nearly see now, though her sight was not through her eyes. Three forms were lying on the ground.
Three male forms with energy that was raw and very nearly limitless.
Not really knowing what she did, the creature cast herself over all three, instinctively drawing her power to the cradle of their manhood, drawing them to arousal. One cried out in fear… and pleasure. His dreams had been erotic; his body was primed for release. The energy that escaped at his rapid climax soaked into her, filled her, and tamed the insane hunger just a bit.
Again she drew him to release, spreading her essence to include the other men. Mindlessly, blissfully she fed, deaf to their cries of fear and pain. Deaf and uncaring.
She fed, and as she fed, one male found the strength to break her hold. He was a gleaming light in her mind’s eye. He was beauty and light and goodness.
He was knowledge. And Anahita knew him.
Horror lanced through her. She loosened her grip, and a second male slipped free. His light was as bright as the first, and she retreated in her fear.
She was nearly sated; her mind coming slowly to grips with what she was… what she had become. She remembered what she had once been.
It tore through her, thrusting her away from her prey like a stray dog under the boot of a farmer. She withdrew, casting a single, lingering glance on the third of the men. His taste was different than the others. Perhaps it was a bit sweeter because it was freely given. This one knew that sacrifice lead to great rewards.
His flavor was that of life and growing things. It settled warm inside her, spreading like a comforting blanket. She let go and rose, allowing her body to call her back to its icy grave and all consuming blackness. As she settled back into that frozen shell, she carried a seed… a memory. And that memory would grow to overtake the darkness that had threatened her soul all those many years ago.
In some way, Anahita knew that the circle had been closed, and she had been saved.
* * *
The Fallen shivered in the frigid wind, her ice-seared eyes opened to see an elderly female hovering above her body, looking at her in concern. Beyond her were a hard gray sky and an ice-locked landscape. The woman helped her rise, quickly wrapping her feet and her body in warm furs. She looped something around Anahita’s neck. Automatically, her hand settled over it, and the object gave her great comfort.
The woman spoke, but it was no language that she’d had ever before heard. Yet the meaning was clear.
“Don’t be afraid, little one. Let your old mother take care of you.” Every instinct that Anahita possessed told her the woman spoke true, and that she was finally safe.
Together they walked away, two stooped figures bending against the ice-laden wind. They quickly vanished into the coming night, leaving behind a frozen figure that slowly vanished into the ice where Anahita had lain for so many years.
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