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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vampires and Were Wolves and Ghosties, Oh My!

Welcome to my first annual Halfway to Halloween Celebration!

You've probably heard my story, I love the month of October. All year I wait for the fall color on the trees. I look forward to carving pumpkins and trying to lure in the trick or treaters who are brave enough to venture down our spooky unlit street. But alas, traditionally, October is just a month of really bad mojo for me. Don't believe me? I promise you, check in with me six months from now to get the update on this years special event.

But more importantly, check back here daily, I promise you'll find articles from some great authors of paranormal romance, sexy excerpts, and a bundle of great recipes and craft ideas to get you started ahead of time.

But on to Halloween. It's a special time...who doesn't love Halloween? I remember when I was a very small child, we lived in El Segundo, a rather lovely area in Los Angeles County. My mother or my grandmother always made spectacular costumes for myself and my siblings. I was Bo Peep once. My brother was a hobo. My sister was a princess. We walked up and down the streets of our neighborhood, and then ventured to the next street over. That was a frightening journey, as we never left our own neighborhood on a normal day. The houses were strange and the faces were unfamiliar, it was one of the biggest adventures of my life.

So what's the deal with Halloween anyway? I don't want to weigh you down with the full academic background...I was going to, but my old notes from college are in storage...So let it be known that this is a grossly oversimplified article on the origins of a highly complex holiday. I'm not even touching any non-Celtic traditions of the day.

Personally, I believe that Samhain is part of our cultural memory. The traditions are stunningly similar from culture to culture as the holiday evolved. Mask, fire, the harvest and the association with the dead...and the undead.

Halloween is a cyclic, or calendar holiday. It happens at the same time every year. Like many holidays on the modern Western calendar, Halloween started as a pagan observation: the Celtic festival of Samhain. It later blended with Roman traditions as they forayed into the British Isles. In time, the Pope ordered that All Saints day be observed on November 1, so while Halloween is secular, there is a strong religious overtone to the holiday.

October 31 was the death of the old year, November 1 symbolized the birth of the new year. But it wasn't like the celebrations that we associate with New Year today. It was a grim, frightening time. The growing season and harvest was past and now the slow death of winter moved in. It was time to bring in the harvest and prepare for the long night ahead.
On that one single night, the veil between worlds was thin that things from the other side could make their way through and visit us. The ghosts of the dead could slip through, causing mischief, or simply stopping in to make a benevolent visit to family and loved ones.

Fire was a purifying force to the Celts. The remnants of their crops were burned in gigantic bonfires. They ritually herded their livestock between two of the gigantic bonfires. Animals were slaughtered for winter stores, and their bones were fed to the fires. Undoubtedly, more substantial animal sacrifice was made as well.

Many of the symbols that we now associate with Halloween are rooted in these times: masks, skeletons, Jack-o-lanterns, (made of roots rather than pumpkins) and various paranormal creatures such as ghosts, goblins, vampires, black cats, werewolves, and many other ominous symbols of evil and death.

Of course, over the centuries, the holiday has continued to evolve, (and grow sadly commercialized) and yet in a sense, it remains strikingly true to its ancient origins. Its a celebration of life moving forward into death, in order that life might once again arise from the Earth. It's a celebration of harvest...anyone up for bobbing for apples? How about some candy corn? Its a time when the dead may briefly mingle with the living. It is frightening, exhilarating and hopeful, all at once.

So what are your thoughts on Halloween? Any favorite memories? Do you remember a special costume or a particularly spooky incident? Leave a comment on my blog and this Sunday night I'll draw a name for a free download of Snowfire: Chrysalis.

Many thanks, and have a happy May Day! Don't forget to come back tomorrow!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Did you know....

Did you know that May is halfway to October? That means we're nearly halfway to Halloween!

So to celebrate, we'll be having a "Halfway to Halloween" party here all month! Prizes, guest bloggers, and a big, blow-out party on May 31st...Halfway to Halloween night!

So stay tuned and visit daily!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Now Available! Bad Angels: Falling

Well isn't he just the prettiest thing? Thank you to Bryan Keller for the cover art of Bad Angels.

I had a lot of fun writing Bad Angels. Initially, this book was simply the prologue of the story. It tells how Kokabiel, AKA Orion Hunter fell to Earth, met his Sidhe lover Rex, and moved on to encounter their third, Noemi. However, the boys had plans of their own.

What was meant to simply be an introduction turned into a full-fledged story. So...

I had an angel and a Sidhe, and I had to come up with a mythos to fit those two. Hmm...

Frankly, though I adore the UK, British and Celtic mythology has never been my strong suit. There are readers who have spent copious amounts of research on the subject. There are authors like Laurell K Hamilton who re-create Fairy Court here in the US in stunning, vivid detail. I really can't compete with that. Yet, I needed to create my own mythology for this alternate world.

To the purists, I apologise. I got into my old folklore tomes and found a couple pertinant details that spawned my story. First, some cultures believe that the Sidhe are the offspring of angels...fallen and otherwise. Second, there are as many traditions of fae and sidhe and little people as there are hairs on the head of Jason Momoa. I gave myself free rein.

So for the purpose of my story, Sidhe is a generic label for all those magical beings from the Brownies of Scotland to the Nerieds of Greece. There is no formal court, dark or otherwise. No fairy queens. As a general rule, the fallen angels produced the darker variety of Sidhe...vamps and were and boogles. As a group, they are known as Demon. And no, they aren't necessarily evil.

I did create a character that is drawn from a little known Celtic character. In fact, this guy pops up in numerous stories that I write. He generally has various names, but in this book, he's Rex Clark. Rex is a loose take on the Jack in the Green character. (If you've never heard of him, go to You Tube and search for Jethro Tull's performance of Jack in the Green) The Jack character isn't quite the Green Man. He's not Jack the Giant Slayer either. He's a little guy with a long tail and a cane and wings like a moth or butterfly. Jack is a minor fertility diety, so my Jack characters are always a bit roguish, and always very horny. They tend to leave a trail of children in their wake. Yes, our Rex takes up with a man in this book, but he is still a lover of women and Spring and all things green.

Well, the prologue to my book is now finished. It somehow expanded from fifteen hundred words to twenty-eight thousand or so. And I'm busy getting into the body of Book Two. Isn't it amazing and wonderful how our characters can grab the reins and run? It's all I can do to keep up!


PS, at checkout, enter the coupon code BadAngel to recieve 5% off your purchase, and you will also be entered to win a Changeling gift certificate for $5, or a custom made piece of angel themed jewelry!


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.


Kokabiel lay deep under the surface of the Earth where he remained for hours and days and years until one morning he emerged, whole in body, but damaged and tainted in mind and soul. He burrowed his way through the mud and ice of the Earth's crust, emerging from the rich black soil in an unwitting parody of birth.

Naked and filthy, he sprawled on the new spring grass, chest heaving, eyes bewildered by the colors and shapes that he saw, confused by the sounds that filtered past the mud in his ears. Strange animals surrounded Kokabiel, ignoring him as they grazed in the field. Creatures wheeled through the sky overhead, borne on feathered wings, much like his…

He twisted, eyes wide in horror. They were gone. Burned away. Only charred stumps remained where his wings belonged. Panic gripped his heart and he lurched to unsteady feet, once again searching for the wings that he felt, yet were not to be seen. He opened his mouth to cry out, but only a coarse sound emerged from his throat, bursting past his mud-coated tongue.

Kokabiel turned to flee in panic, but clumsy legs betrayed him, spilling him to the muddy ground where he lay panting, the crippling fear too much to fight.

"They're still there, lad. They'll grow back soon enough, now that you're back in the light."

Kokabiel rolled over and located the voice. He scrambled on his backside, trying to distance himself from the threat. The creature looked familiar: two legs, two arms, a good-natured face under a mop of dirt brown curls that glistened with silver. He couldn't understand the words the man spoke, but the meaning registered in his brain.

"Ah… it's all right. You laddies are always pretty shaken once you wake up. Don't know if it's the fall…" Humorous, smiling eyes gazed up at the heavens, and then down to the soil. "…or if it's the landing. Either way, you angels got it rough. Took you longer than most. You must have fallen further." He grinned, exposing a roguish smile. "I'm Reux. That means headache." He chuckled at his own words. "Needless to say, I don't use it often. You can call me Rex. That means king. Better name, if you ask me. Now what do I call you?"

He moved a little closer, and Kokabiel eyed the creature nervously, for this was no human nor was it angel. He looked like a man, but through eyes blurred with fatigue, Kokabiel saw something else entirely. Something man-like and charming. Something magical. Surely this was no demon?

Rex moved closer, squatting down on his haunches, resting his arms on his knees, long, slender hands hanging loose. His legs were clad in worn fabric breeches. A woven cloth shirt hung loose to mid-thigh. Scuffed leather boots rose to his knees. The creature's eyes were no color Kokabiel had ever seen; brown mixed with green and gold, harmonizing with his richly colored curls and warm brown skin. The forest green of his eyes echoed the rich green of his shirt.

At his neck hung an ornate amulet, dangling from a worn leather cord. Magic resonated from the object.

"You're a pretty one, aren't you? That's going to be a problem right quick. I'll have to keep you hidden from the lassies till you're on your feet. Can you tell me your name?"

Rex's voice was mesmerizing, lyrical. Kokabiel felt his heart begin to settle; his fear began to recede. His panic rose once more with the realization that knowledge was flooding into his brain. Colors had names, words had meaning.

Kokabiel moved his lips experimentally, and a harsh sound came out. Before his voice was music, pure and crystalline. Now it was hoarse and husky. He'd lost his wings and now his voice. Tears stung his eyes.

"Koka…" He broke off, unable to bear the sound.


He nodded.

The creature… Rex… rose and paced. Through tear-blurred eyes, Kokabiel thought he saw something… but he blinked and it vanished. No, Rex was no angel, nor was he human.

"The Kokabiel? The Star of God?"


"Shit. What in hell's going on up there?" He ran a hand through his curls, frowning up at the sky. Seeing Kokabiel's look of confusion, he shook his head sadly. "You aren't the first, lad. Not by far."

Kokabiel reached up and clasped the hand Rex offered. The other man pulled him effortlessly to his feet. He wobbled unsteadily, unaccustomed to the weight of a corporeal body. He stepped and winced, a sharp pain jabbing into his naked foot. His muddy skin pebbled with the cold. Kokabiel glanced down. His flaccid penis rested in a nest of dark curls. That was new. Before, his body had been hairless and smooth. He reached up and tangled hair filled his fist. It was no longer brilliant and star-colored, but a rich, vibrant hue… like blood. It was very nearly the color of blood. His hair fell almost to his hips rather than floating in waves around his shoulders. Gaps in the filth on his skin showed it to be creamy white rather than alabaster.

Kokabiel touched the skin of his face, under the drying mud. It felt as it should, smooth and hairless. The features felt the same. He wondered what color his eyes were. He suddenly realized that he didn't know what he looked like. Beyond his name, he had no memory.

"So you are God's Star. Obviously, we can't be calling you that."

Rex strode to a lump on the ground. It was a pack of some sort. He reached in and tossed Kokabiel a blanket, which he accepted with gratitude, wrapping it around his trembling body. A sharp pain ripped through his belly, followed by an unusual noise. Rex grinned as he turned away.

"A bit hungry, eh? Well, I've got mutton stew that'll be near ready."

Hungry? That was the pain in his belly? He trudged behind the man, realizing that he stood much taller than Rex, by nearly a handspan. The other man had broad shoulders, tapering to narrow hips. Kokabiel had nothing to compare the man to, but saw him as a thing of beauty and exceeding grace.

Grace. He had fallen from Grace.