absolute awesomeness addiction Adversity An Uncommon Whore angels animal rescue animal welfare Anne Kane anxiety aquamarine author corner bad angels bad weather Barbara Elsborg BDSM bdsm romance belinda mcbride BelindaPalooza Belindapendence Belle Starr beverages bisexual bisexual romance Black Planet Blacque/Bleu blog hop Broken Cancer CAPA changeling press characters cherise sinclair China chronic pain Coming Out contests cooking courage craft creativity culinary competion custom art cyber punk Dark Haven deadlines Deeply blog demons depression dog shows dogs Doms of Dark Haven Dos Lunas Dragon's Blood drawings druids election embarrassment EPIC Winner erotic romance erotica expressive writing faith family fantasy fear femme domme fiction Film fire firefighters France free reads full moon futuristic genre hopping ghosts goldenwolfen grand prize greco-roman culture halloween happiness haunted mansions head/desk health heroines hide my head in shame Hong Kong human trafficking Iditarod Inspirational jessica freely Jessica Freely jianne carlo Kate Roman KC Burn Lance Mackey las vegas Last Call Europe lena austin lex valentine LGBT lifestyle linda suzane Lisabet Sarai little Dragon Little Dragon Little Foxes loose Id lost pets love scenes lucky in red lynn lorenz m/m m/m romance Madly martial arts martini mary winter meditation menage romance menege mental illness My Birthday mythology NaNoWriMo New Concepts Publishing new release New Year's Giveaway News nutrition overcoming pack politics paranormal paranormal romance Paris Passion in Print passionate plume pearls personal pet peeves PETA PL Nunn positivity procrastination Rainbow book awards real life release dates Review Risk romance save the quiet kitty science fiction Sele selena illyria shape shifters Sheri Lewis Wohl shunga siberian husky sidhe sierra cartwright slavery smoke snow snowfire: chrysalis space opera speculative fiction St John and St Thomas stupid mistakes succubus survival Suzanne Rock Tara Lain terrorism The Next Big Thing The Romance Reviews Tiger Eyes time off TMI Tony Leung travel Truckee Wolves Truly urban fantasy valentine's day vampires vampiropolis weight weight loss well being werewolves When I Fall wicca wildlife witches wolves World building world events writer's block writer's health writers block writing writing habits yacht

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Audiobook Giveaway!

Hey there!

I managed to get my hands on an audiobook copy of ZA Maxfield's "Rhapsody For Piano and Ghost" and I'm going to give it away! 

If you haven't yet read it, Rhapsody is classic Zam, whimsical, uplifting and incredibly touching. If you're new to ZA Maxfield, I encourage you to enter, or even just go buy the book. :)

It’s Topper Meets Emma!

Fitz Gaffney finally has some breathing room. His mother's out of town, his piano coaches have backed off, and he's spending his time in a music conservatory where he only has to be adequate for an entire year before all his responsibilities come crashing back in again. Along with his new free time comes the realization that he's lonely, but his first attempt to make new friends goes horribly awry.

Fitz's new - but possibly imaginary - friends, Evan and Serge, want to help him find happiness. His used-to-be-step-brother Ari Scheffield wants to help him gain confidence and a little much-needed cool. His housekeeper Marguerite wants to keep fowl in the back yard for butchering because duck confit is expensive and she has pillows to re-stuff. And his possible new boyfriend Garrett wants to prove he didn't mean for their first date to end with Fitz lying unconscious in a dumpster.

All Fitz wants is someone to care about him, but suddenly there seems to be a glut. How's a shy guy to know what's real when he's confronted by crazy ghosts, a less-than-truthful boyfriend, and relatives with hidden motives in Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost.



Visit Zam at:

And at her Facebook Page: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Moving On...

Grieve as long as you need to, because even in a normal year, an election is stressful. This wasn't a normal year and there is far more at risk for many of us.

When you feel better,

Fight. Choose a battle and stick with it. I'm doing "Flash Drives," which are focused fund raisers that take place in a short period of time. (let me know if you have ten dollars a month to spare for a good cause) Join an online group that shares your interests, and go meet them. Go to meetings. Vote. Run for school board, city counsel, class president or Congress. Look at the 2018 vacancies in your state. Find your candidate and support them. Volunteer.

Laugh. Political satire was born for a reason. It shines a light on dark places and it makes the unthinkable somewhat more tolerable. If you have a great meme, comic or story, share it. Watch a movie. Go see a comedian. Watch screaming goat videos. Imagine the goats wearing red hats...

Live. Go outside and take a walk. While the press was busy salivating about how Secretary Clinton was sobbing and melting down, she was actually taking a walk in the woods with her husband and dogs. It was probably her first moment of normalcy in many months. 
 Turn off the news. Turn on some music and dance. Meet a friend for Taco Tuesday or coffee. Listen while your friend vents. Share how you feel.  Smile at strangers. Make something. Creation is good for the soul. I crochet when I don’t want to think. I make soap when I am thinking too much. I fire up the embroidery machine when nothing else works. 

If you must go on social media, stay away from the comments. If you must vent, find like-minded people to do so with. This is a tool for survival, not for the sake of etiquette. 

Love. I know many of us have family and friends who voted for the other side. And in this particular case, it hurts more than usual. To used someone else's phrase, its like living with a boyfriend who secretly hates you.  I've seen this election shatter at least one marriage and many families bitterly divided, because we are gay or ethnic or female or simply believe differently. That chasm seems impossible to cross. I understand. But don't forsake the love because time....time...

Forgive. Probably the hardest thing to do right now. Last night, I got into a heated confrontation with a real life friend. Our mutual friend was in on the discussion. She’s the mildest, most peaceful California Earth Mother you’ll meet. She suddenly unleashed on him, in fury. Unexpected fury. Her reason was her own and it was compelling and when the conversation ended, our gentleman friend was on the outside of our circle. He’s probably hurt, we’re all hurt but I’ll see him soon and I will forgive him and I hope he forgives me. K is still hurt and dealing with the painful memories she shared. In time, they’ll forgive one another. We all will.

Listen. I take it back, I think for me, its harder to listen to my friends who supported the opponent. I don't want to hear them rationalize dangerously irresponsible rhetoric. I don't want them to justify their candidates horrific and permissive behavior. I don't want to hear them explain away racism and misogyny and gross inexperience. 

Elizabeth Warren said many, if not most people voted for him not *because* of the bigotry, but *in spite* of the bigotry. What was so important to them that they'd overlook the unacceptable elements of the candidate?  So far, my friends have been on the defensive, preferring to attack the other candidate rather than honestly explain why they voted for theirs. But there's an answer. Of course there is. They lost their job, worry about their industry. They hate that a Sikh family just bought the business down the street. It offends them that a woman is wearing a headscarf in the grocery store. The head of their department is African American, and far younger. They see violence on TV. They listen to the talking heads. They see flagrant lies presented as facts in Internet memes.

They're frightened. Their position on the social pole is slipping. They're earning less. They're obsolete. They're frightened and outraged that the law doesn't allow them to deny service, when the sign on their door says, "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone..." They are terrified that Clinton or Obama or some as yet unnamed liberal is going to come for their guns, in spite of the fact that it has yet to happen.

Stand up. Wear a safety pin. Be there for someone else when they are afraid or being threatened. Be brave. Be someones safe place. Volunteer in the community. Connect.

Like I said, this election wasn’t normal.The way we react to it cannot be normal either. For many, "getting over it" isn't an option.

Please be safe. Sleep. Stay hydrated. Take care of yourself. Talk to me if you need to, I am here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

An Early Storm

I went to a dogshow in Carson City, NV this weekend. Its about a 4 hour drive from home, and mostly through Lassen National Forest and high desert. Its a really beautiful drive, but Ero and Iris didn't appreciate all the twists and turns, and finally even the Dramamine failed and we had to pull over so they could get past being sick. :(

The show itself had its share of drama, with a "bad" judge on Saturday...seriously bad. Several of us reported her to the AKC rep and I've honestly never done that before. Sunday's judge was lovely, but favored bigger, more athletic looking dogs than my two. And that's fine. :) It was a good fun day.

When I left Carson City, it was windy but I wasn't worried because the weather report for Lassen said 42-48 degrees and partly cloudy with clear roads. Well, we hit high winds all the way to Susanville. Then rain. Then sleet. Then snow...all moving in a horizontal direction.

Since its early in the season I wasn't carrying chains, nor did I have cold weather gear in case I got stuck, so when it started piling up on the road it got tense. Thankfully, the dogs slept through it: Ero in the back seat and Iris next to me in the front. And really, it was incredibly beautiful, being up in the mountains with the snow coming down.

Nevertheless, I'll be avoiding the mountains until I have chains. Maybe even snow tires! Because we're praying for snow this year. :) 
I didn't get a chance to take photos, the following pictures were taken by my friend who (unknown to us both) was traveling just a few miles in my wake. 
 West of Susanville

 Its getting deep!

The storm is starting to clear

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Musings: How Much Should I Tell You?

The other day, I stumbled across a review on Amazon for one of my books. It was a one...maybe two star review on a book I tend to be rather proud of, so I went and took a look. Well, the reviewer had noted a glitch in the continuity. A big one. One I was aware of, my publisher was aware of, and we'd made the educated decision to leave in place. In the book "An Uncommon Whore 2: When I Fall, I reversed the names of Griffin's daughters. Did you notice? A few people did, but not many were terribly offended by it.

This reader was very offended. 

The actual error wasn't made in When I Fall, but in An Uncommon Whore. During the final review of the book, I read over Maya and Lauren's very brief scene and realized that for personal reasons, I couldn't name Griffin's little dark-haired, scarred daughter Lauren. So I changed the names in the final draft, not knowing they'd already sent the book in for formatting.

When the switch was found in WIF, it was early in the life of the book. We could pull it, switch the names back to the version I believed unacceptable and just go forward. Or...leave the inconsistency in place, since An Uncommon Whore had already been out for a long time. I knew I'd catch some flack but decided to leave the names as I intended to move forward with them. Lauren is the blonde, Maya the brunette. That is in the series bible.

The other issue this reader had is a more tricky one, and in series books, it tends to crop up. In this case, she questioned why Griffin (and Maya) never got their eyes and scars fixed. Since there were almost miraculous advancements in medicine, and the seemingly mystical Vash healers, why would I dump my world-building and not have them healed?

That's where the author has to balance what we share on the page with what's in our head. Every character has extreme character development before I start writing. Most of that information never makes it to the page. For example, Belle in Belle Starr is an alcoholic. When she winds up in a bar, that's a very dangerous place for her to be.

Here's another conundrum: Generally I don't tell people too much about what's in store, but for this reader, I did share a few details. Griffin's Eye is a dangling plot line I planned to pick up in Book 4. Its not a major plot line, but it's there.

So now you know. ;)

While I write in fantasy worlds, I try to keep at least one foot in reality. And I try to keep true to a character's psychological make-up and the limits of their world. In this case, Griffin's eye is in his Goal, Motivation and Conflict chart. At this point in the story, there's no real external force on Griffin to change his looks. Helios loves him without question. Even with the patch, the scars and the missing testicle, Griffin Hawke is beautiful in his way. The Somians always get the hots for him. His kids love him as he is. Maya, in particular, relates to him since her scars mirror his. At this point, Griffin doesn't care. So there's no internal motivation to fix it.

But this goes deeper.

During the seven years of searching for Helios, Griffin was working as a mercenary. Every penny he earned went home, to Neo Domus, where the citizens were literally living in the dirt. They were in crisis mode, and he'd have been terribly out of character to give an iota of care to his eye. He had a co-pilot, and in a pinch, Griffin can land or dock a ship. So the eye wasn't an issue.

How about later? During When I Fall, when he was so badly injured? The Vash healers performed miracles...why not heal his eye and testicle?

Now we get down to world building. 

The Vash are organic healers. Its in their DNA. They use psychic abilities to spiritually *enter* a patient's body, to map their nerves, their veins and muscles, on a cellular level. They can coax damaged tissue to heal. In Prince of Faith, they literally save Caius from brain trauma. Within their own species, their skills are almost unlimited. BUT they cannot fix what is no longer there. They could probably smooth scars, but they cannot regenerate missing body parts. They are not omnipotent. They have limits.

There must be limits. No one can be all-powerful. The Vash are powerful in that way, but they are poor fighters, rotten strategists, too kind and they are nocturnal...they burn easily and can't see in bright light. And they can't manifest a body part, no matter how amazing they are.

What about cloning? Or robotics? Well, there's a very good chance that the cloned eye would be non-functional. It would be a massive undertaking with a lot of related pain just for the sake of vanity. Griffin is not vain. Maya is too young for that sort of reconstruction, so its not relevant for this story.

While writing When I Fall, I felt that every single primary character in the book was suffering PTSD. In Griffin's case, he was finally in a safe, stable environment, and suddenly, he was re-living the horror of the Landaun attack. He'd been widowed, saw the public torture (and presumed execution) of his best friend and forced to witness the torture of his daughters. His own pain was a side-note in the psychic agony he suffered. What was vital in that book was his journey toward acceptance of the tragedy of his life, and faith in Helios and his future. During When I Fall, his missing eye was irrelevant.

No, that's not true. Like many of us, we cling to our scars and our mementos of pain. He looks in the mirror and he never forgets what was done to him. When he looks at his daughter, he can't forget what happened to her. Those scars are his sigil. To him, they shout: Never Again! Never Forget! Yet at some point, Griffin will have to let that go. He will have to address Maya's scar someday.

And that, my friend, is Maya's story.

 I can explain these things in the comfort of time elapsed, but the review would have stung if I'd read it earlier. It shows me that I did not do an adequate job of showing why Griffin's eye wasn't important in the story. I wasn't clear in my world building. I should have looked at An Uncommon Whore more closely on the release day. Those are my errors and we all make errors. Hopefully, I will learn from this one, and not assume that every reader is going to read my mind and know why a story element wasn't expanded on or addressed.

And those are my musings for today. :) Hope you have a great weekend! If you're curious about When I Fall, you can pick up a copy here:

And its on SALE!

Happy Tails!


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

There Are Gods Among Us!

The Tenth Muse is now available to pre-order at Pride Publishing! You can order both the e-book and the paperback early, right here:

The Aphrodite Project is a brand new series at a brand new (to me) publisher! This series is a contemporary fantasy, where we follow the adventures of young Greek gods and Aphrodite's attempts to keep them from exposing the existence of the Pantheon to unsuspecting humans. This first case is all about her own son, Eros:


In a wicked game, the God of Love falls to his own arrow, and a gentle scholar learns how dangerous knowledge can be.
Aphrodite has had it.
It was bad enough that her son Eros walked a fashion show in drag, but did he really have to show the entire world his wings? Desperate to rein in the impulsive young god, she recruits the scholarly muse Rees to lure him back to Olympus until the scandal dies down.
After hundreds of years, Eros has finally located the reincarnation of his former love, Psyche. The only way to her heart is through fame, so the God of Love plans a daring campaign to win her back. Yet the closer he gets to Psyche, the more he’s drawn to a geeky young professor who came crashing into his life.
Eros drags Rees into his wicked world of high fashion and risqué parties, only to expose him to danger from an unexpected source. When Rees’ secrets come out, they threaten to destroy Eros’ love for him. Yet when Rees is kidnapped, Eros is forced to turn to the woman who set this catastrophe in motion—his mother, Aphrodite.
Reader Advisory: This book contains some scenes of kidnapping/captivity and graphic scenes of death and violence. This book also contains references to/discussions of rape.


“Oh, Eros…you fucking little son of a satyr…you’d better not—oh…ohhhh—”
Rees staggered back from the anachronistic machine on his studio workbench and pressed the heels of his hands over his eyes. He was firmly caught between swearing and laughing hysterically. Because what he’d just witnessed on the computer… He was grateful to be alone. It was bad. Very bad.
When Zeus finds out about this, lightning bolts will fly.
He shook his head in resignation and returned to the laptop his sister had brought him. He wasn’t sure what powered the thing, or by what magic it connected with the human world, but he’d fallen in love with the device on first sight.
But now he was cursing the screen. Because he didn’t want to witness Eros’ mind-bending, skull-crushing, cross-dressing misadventure. Still, he bit a knuckle, leaned closer to the monitor and almost stopped breathing. Rees had never met Eros in person, but was familiar enough with his image to know that the man moving down a long stage wearing nothing but women’s underwear was the darling son of Aphrodite, who just happened to be Rees’ mother’s closest friend.
It was like a train wreck, as the humans would say, and Rees couldn’t look away.
Eros sauntered, his body wrapped in a complex black corset, his privates barely hidden behind a filmy triangle of black silk. His muscular ass was bare and pale as that of a marble statue.
“Eros, I don’t know where in hell you’re hiding your balls, because they must be big as a Minotaur’s.” Rees felt heat in his face and knew he was blushing.
The camera cut tight to the god’s beautiful face. He looked wicked and sexy under a glistening mask of elaborate makeup. Bolts of silver and blue slashed across his face and down his neck. His long blond hair defied gravity, standing in a wild halo around his head.
His legs were buckled into black leather boots that rose to his thighs.
And he was wearing a bra.
Rees groaned again, chagrin mingling with reluctant arousal.
The air crackled with power as Rees’ sister entered the room. He didn’t turn to look at her, still mesmerized by the computer.
“By Hades’ whiskers…is that Eros?”
Rees nodded. “Yes. I think this is happening now.”
“Rees, that’s the Dark Angel’s live telecast. It’s one of the biggest fashion shows in the world!” Like his other eight sisters, Calliope spent most of her life walking among humans, whispering inspiration in the ears of artists, writers and musicians. She was frighteningly familiar with human culture.
“Do you suppose he hijacked that outfit from one of the girls? Because I know damned well that there’s never been a male Angel before.” She leaned down, looking closer at the screen.
As if in answer to her question, the camera panned back, showing a stunned audience and a parade of beauties who looked angry, resentful and outraged. In the audience, one particularly lovely woman was laughing helplessly.
“That’s Rosalinda, she’s one of the top models in the world. It’s nice to see her laughing.”
He kept an eye on the screen as he spoke to his sister. “Calliope, how likely is Ares to find out about this? Unless I’m way off, Eros is using his own wings. He’s just charmed the color to black.”
“Gods.” Calliope went sober. “When Ares gets hold of his son, he’ll make the maenads look like Orpheus’ maiden aunts.”
At the mention of the ill-fated god, Rees went breathless. He felt slightly sick. The brutal death of Orpheus was now a legend, one made resonant in its horror. The maenads were bad enough, but frighteningly, Ares was worse.
“Ares.” Rees shook his head. “He comes here sometimes, badgering warriors into rebirth. I’ve kicked him out more than once.”
“I don’t envy you.” Calliope gave a delicate shudder. “When he holds a grudge, he holds it close to his heart.”
On the screen, the shots faded to a scrolling list accompanied by music. Putting Ares from his mind, Rees studied the names, committing them to memory. Calliope reached around and closed the lid of the machine, and he glared at her. With a final glance at the computer, he followed her to the balcony that looked out over the streets below and leaned forward, resting on his elbows.
Strains of music rose on the sweet air, gently competing with the song of myriad birds as they flitted from tree to tree. Laughter echoed as the residents of the Elysian Fields wandered, serene in their eternal peace. There was no rebirth for Rees’ people, no more sadness and pain. They’d learned all they needed from their earthly lives and had chosen to drink the water of memory. They chose Paradise.
Everything was perfect here. Except when Ares came around to muck it all up.
Calliope tilted her head, peering at a handsome man below. “Is that Archilochus the Poet?”
“It is. I was pleased, though puzzled, that he opted to remain here.”
His sister laughed merrily. “Given that irreverent poem about abandoning his shield, I’m sure he still has Spartans after his head.” Her smile was slow to fade. Clearly she had a fondness for the poet.
“He does tend to stir strong emotion…even here.”
“That’s your kind way of saying that he pisses people off.” She squeezed his arm gently.
If there were reincarnated Spartans after Archilochus, he’d be fairly safe here, though he’d eventually become bored. Warriors and adventurers rarely chose the Elysian Fields. Hercules, Achilles and Jason had all chosen Hades and rebirth. Men and women of passion returned to their rocky human lives, leading Rees to one conclusion—life in Paradise was dull. He had no doubt Archilochus would eventually petition Hades for rebirth.
Rees looked down at the residents of heaven and had an epiphany—he did not belong in the Elysian Fields. Those men and women had struggled and fought for their peace. In all his existence, Rees had faced no decision more difficult than what shade of blue to paint the sky or which turn of phrase most perfectly described the serene beauty of Athena.
And he didn’t particularly like Athena.
He sighed heavily. What to do? He’d once approached his aunt Aphrodite about working on Earth with the hunters she employed. That hadn’t gone well. Aphrodite had politely considered his request then moved on to visit his mother, leaving Rees feeling rather silly. When she had men like Zagerus the Shadow working for her, what need had she for a second-rate muse?
Rees was an ornament. He was lovely to look at, gifted at entertaining and always said the right words at the right time. His skill with the sword and bow were flawless, though he’d never seen battle. His strategic abilities were legendary…in the chess circles. He knew nothing of the other world, yet he ached to learn, to prove himself.
Barely hearing his sister, he turned and stared behind him, into the rooms where he lived his endless life.
His studio was a vast, airy space peopled with exquisite statuary and colored with paintings and frescoes. Walls were lined with books ranging from truly ancient scrolls to the latest literary offerings from Earth. A large set of double doors opened into a small amphitheater where he lectured.
One wall held his most cherished possessions—a collection of ancient lutes, many too ancient and fragile to play. Not that he’d ever tried. When he held the lute, his usually skilled hands went numb and stupid.
“Calliope.” He took her hands in his and leaned in to kiss her soft cheek. Like all his sisters, she was beautiful. Exquisite. After all, the Muses were the inspiration for some of the greatest minds ever to have lived. Their faces graced paintings by great masters, their forms were immortalized in marble. Words describing their beauty danced through the years in verse and song.
He led her to a low chaise, and with a wave of his hand, a tall glass of wine appeared, its surface beaded with chill water. She took the glass and sipped, pleasure brightening her face. They sat quietly, for they’d existed so long in harmony that the siblings simply enjoyed each other’s company. He gazed at her in appreciation, taking in the soft golden curls nestling around her face and neck and the gentle brown eyes that were the mirror image of his own.
Those eyes were sad.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

First Friday in February

I had an adventure last night, but I lost Internet and couldn't share as it was happening.

First, my sister likes to fry food and will put pans of grease in the oven (!! I know!!) till the oil cools. Which is a fire hazard, so I generally take them out and discard the grease.

Last night, I poured the grease into a container and washed the pan, forgetting to seal the container and take it to the trash. And yes, Levi and Pai Mei had a bacon fat snack. Since Levi is prone to Negritudes and they're both old, I was up worrying about them and their gurgling bellies.(so far, so good) 
 About eleven o clock I heard all sorts of banging and crashing at the neighbor's house. We live on acreage so I couldn't see what was happening, but I did notice flashlights in the darkness...and then fire near my fenceline. Fire that accelerated very fast. So I hustled my sick dogs back in  the house, grabbed a flashlight and marched out there in my pajamas and sweatshirt.
 Oh...BTW...they also have a grow out there. So my courageous move was a little stupid.

I got to the fence and there are about ten young people...maybe high school seniors, and they've dumped a truckload of pallets at the back of their property and were building a massive bonfire.

I told them that I was NOT happy about bonfires near my brushy property in the middle of the nigh and made them swear they had a hose. (I doubt they did)  Then I marched back to the house and texted a friend with Cal Fire to see if it's legal to have a bonfire in February.

As it turns out, it is and since they were polite and not noisy, I opted not to call the sheriff. Today I will report them for burning treated wood, which is illegal.

So yes, up till the wee hours, checking on the fire and walking sick Siberians.

Who are now fine.