Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kate and Dana dine with the Dragon

Dinner with the Dragon or How to Avoid Being the Main Course
Kate and Dana poked their heads back out into the hallway. "I don't see anyone," Dana said. "Should we just stay here?"
"I don 't think so," Kate replied, coughing. "I think the hall is a little less dusty, since it doesn't have any hangings or draperies. Let's see if we ca find our way to the dining room." She led the way, stepping bravely out in to the stone corridor. "Let's go to the right."
"Why the right?" Dana scurried to catch up with Kate's longer stride.
"Why not?"
"Okay." They came to a corner and Kate turned to the right. This time Dana just followed, shrugging her shoulders. They had to go one way or the other, and without any knowledge of the castle's layout, it didn't really matter.
"Wait." Dana laid a hand on Kate's arm. "Listen."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Finally, My Love News

Today Finally, My Love is released and the author is too busy snoopy dancing to do anything else. Check it out at http://www.breathlesspress.com/ and tell me what you think!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

He's a dragon?

"What do you mean he's a dragon? And that sparkly thing is enough to tell you that?" Kate's voice rose to a squeak at the end.

"Kate, keep your voice down, please! I am pretty sure he doesn't know I am a dragonslayer - why would he, right? And I'd rather he didn't know we were aware of his other side. So lets just clean up, as best we can in this filthy room, and go out to dinner. Look here's a pitcher of water, we can at least get the dirt from that tunnel off our faces and hands."

Kate stared at Dana. "Dinner? And do you think we are likely to be dinner?"

"Ordinarily I wouldn't think so, but I know less than nothing about this place. So we need to stay aware and try not to do anything to make him think we're a danger to him."

"But you are a danger to him, right?"

Dana narrowed her eyes and fingered the knife hanging from her waistband through the cloth of her skirt. "Oh yeah, I am a big danger to him. The question is...does he know?"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kate and Dana Meet the Dragon

Kate followed Dana into a small bedchamber where they were evidently intended to refresh themselves. She turned in a slow circle, taking in the tattered bed curtains and window draperies, the mildewed bed covering, and the dusty stone floor. "This is where we are supposed to clean up? It's filthy." She shook out her hem, sneezing as a cloud of dust rose around her. "Something is so wrong here."

Dana looked up from examining something in her hand. "There's something wrong, yes."

"Do you suppose that man even knows he has a dragon on the battlements?" Kate sneezed.

"The dragon isn't on the battlements right now, Kate." Dana looked back down at her hand.

"What do you mean it's not on the battlements? We've been underground - how do you know that? And what is that in your hand?"

"Don't get cranky on me now," Dana said. "Look at this." She held her hand out to Kate, palm up.

"What is that? It's shiny."

"Haven't you ever seen a dragon scale before? That was no man, Kate, or at least not a man like you mean. That was the dragon, and we're really in deep now."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kate and Dana: The Dragon

Kate saw Dana stash the weapons and managed to grab a small copper dagger herself. She didn't know there were copper weapons, but it was the closest one to hand and she slipped it into her bodice as she began to move toward the stairs.
"Welcome to you both," the man said as they began to climb the crumbling stone steps toward where he stood. "I trust we haven't had you stumbling around here in the dimness long."
Kate looked around and was stunned to see that the walls had stopped glowing. She realized they had begun to fade at about the point where the man appeared above them and the little villager had disappeared. Odd, but not something she wanted to deal with right now. There were a few torches stuck into brackets on the stair walls, as though they had expected company and thought to light the way. Stranger and stranger.
Dana, as usual, led the way, the braver of the two. "I presume we are not the only guests for dinner, sir?"
"Alas, you are, ladies. I find that it's difficult to attract company up here on the tor. But we will enjoy a fair repast and each other's company as best we can." He gestured for them to precede him through the heavy, banded oaken door and into a stone corridor. "Up one more set of stairs and you shall see my castle proper."
They continued down the hallway and came to a slightly broader set of steps, these better lit, with more torches, than the last. Before they began to climb these, the man turned and bowed deeply from the waist. "I neglect my duties. I am Simon Leclerq, and this is my home. I bid you welcome."
Dana extended her hand, "I am Dana and this is my companion Kate. We have traveled far to come here, and are grateful for your hospitality."
Kate stared at Dana, speechless. In this strangest of circumstances, Dana seemed to know how to behave. Did she travel the space-time continuum often? But she dipped her head as well, when the man bowed to her.
At the top of the stairs the decor became moderately better, with glassed candle holders mounted on the walls providing a glowing light. But the floors and walls were still stone without any more adornment, and the stone looked a bit crumbly to Kate's uneducated eye.
"Here is a chamber where you may take your ease and refresh yourselves before dining." And, opening the door, the man left them behind to explore this new and strange room.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kate and Dana Under the castle

"We are, said their host, "Officially under the castle."
Dana and Kate looked at him. It didn't seem as though they had been traveling that long, but underground, with the glowing walls lighting their way, it had been hard to tell distance.

"What is this room?" Kate asked.
"The armory," Dana answered, looking around with frank admiraton. "What do we... Where did he go?" Their guide was gone and the two women found themselves alone in this large chamber, which they now knew to be under the castle. There were vast numbers of weapons, all of a rather medieval nature as far as they could see.

Kate was nearly paralyzed with fear, but Dana bounced on the balls of her feet in apparent glee.

"Why are you looking so happy?"

"Because if I have weapons we might not die." Dana was already hefting the swords and daggers, trying their heft to find the best fit. She lifted her skirt and tore the skirt of her underdress into strips, fashioning loops to suspend various knives about her person. She actually began to hum, low under her breath.

Kate shook her head. "I'm glad you feel better, but we still don't know what the haps are here. Might I remind you we're under a huge fortress with a dragon as a cake topper?"

"Oh, I know that," Dana grimaced. "But we have weapons now. And you have to have some on you too. I don't suppose you know how to use a sword? No, I suppose not."

Kate picked up a small knife with two fingers, looking at it with her nose wrinkled. "The only thing I know how to do with this is cut a steak."

"Funny thing, we are serving steak tonight," A deep voice boomed from the top of a stairwell they had not noticed. "Won't you ladies accompany me as we shall all be dining very shortly and I am sure you would like time to freshen up first."

Their eyes moved up to see a man garbed in rich attire standing at the top of the stairs.

"Oh shit," Kate said.

Dana just stuffed one more knife into the breast of her gown.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The plot thickens

Kate and Dana looked at each other, then the door of the house, then shrugged. They had to do something, soon, or night would fall and who knew what dangers lurked in this place after dark.

Kate leaned closer to Dana, "I'm getting hungry. Do you suppose they will offer us anything to eat?"

"If they do, it will probably not be anything we recognize, but I'm hungry, too."

The door opened a little more as they approached, allowing them to slip inside, then it was closed with a bang behind them. When they turned to face the door, they saw that it was being barred with a large piece of iron by a little man no taller than Dana's waist.

"Ummm...hello?" Kate said. "You signaled?" It sounded trite, but she couldn't think of any other way to say it, even if it did earn her a disgusted look from her companion.

"I did," he said, turning back toward them and crossing his arms across his very broad chest. "Did they send you?"

"They?" Kate was startled, but Dana recovered quickly.

"Yes, or at least she did."

"She," he drew a deep breath and smiled. "If She sent you, then you are the ones we've been waiting for." He hurried over to a door next to the hearth, his short, bowed legs almost wobbing in his haste. "Come this way, hurry."

Kate cast a regretful look at the fragrant stew simmering over the wood fire, but apparently there were issues more pressing than the feeding of guests, and she turned away and followed Dana toward the door.

"Hurry! It's almost dark." The little man's voice sounded far away, as though he had entered a tunnel, and when Kate passed through the door, ducking her head as she encounted the low ceilinged stairway leading down, down, deep into the earth under the house.

"Crap," Dana said. "My claustrophobia is going to act up for sure."

"Take my hand," Kate reached forward through the darkness. "If we don't get separated, maybe you'll feel better."

"Oh yeah, the big bad dragonslayer has to hold hands to keep from freaking out in the scary tunnel. This will look great in my memoirs."

Kate held onto Dana's hand and followed her down the stairs, flight after flight of rickety wooden steps that seemed more made for the little man's size than theirs, until she lost count of how many they had descended. But finally they stood in the dirt, only a little hunched over from the low ceiling.

"You doing okay?" Kate asked Dana, leaning close to her ear to try not to let the little man know what they discussed.

"Fine. So far anyway. You'd better let go of my hand, because I may need them at some point. But thanks."

Kate looked around at the tunnel. It had been carved out of bedrock, and the walls were nearly smooth, except for some marks from the carving tools. They were a grayish white and..."Dana, I can see."

"Of course you can see," Dana said. "Why wouldn't you?

"Dana, do you see any light around here?"

Dana looked around. There were no lights, at least not in terms of light fixture. Yet is was possible to see everything around them clearly. She turned and faced the little man, who stood tapping his foot in front of them.

"Sir...may I aske your name? I am Dana and this is my friend Kate, and we have been very rude not to introduce ourselves."

He looked up and up at them and grimaced. "We don't have time to slow down. I told you, it's almost dark! But if you must, I am Cobwen, one of the village elders, and am charged with setting you off on your quest."

He began to hurry off down the passageway, his legs covering a surprising amount of ground for such a short guy.

"I think we're headed toward the castle," Dana said.

"I think so too, oh, where did he go?"

Cobwen had disappeared around a corner, and when they reached him he stood in a large, by comparison with the tunnel, anyway, open chamber filled with ...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kat and Dana at the Village

Every house looked shut down, shutters closed tightly, not even a dog in a dooryard to bark and draw attention to the visitors walking down the dusty main street of the village. Although it was still a dirt road, there were some disturbingly modern-seeming elements.

"Is that a solar panel?" Kate stood on tip-toe to try and get a better look at the roof of the nearest cottage.

"It sure looks like it," Dana answered, head tilted to one side. "Castles and dragons and solar panels. Even for me this is an unusual day."

"Well, we really need some answers. I'm going to knock on the door." Kate strode up the lipstick red door of the little house and rapped, then banged when nobody answered. "I can hear them in there," she said, frustrated.

They walked down the road, taking turns knocking on the door of each house they passed, but the results were the same. After just a few minutes, they got to the other end of the street and ran out of cottages.

"What do we do now?" Kate asked. "I don't really want to go too far away from where we fell in."

"No, me either," Dana tapped a finger against her cheek. "I guess we had better turn around and take our chances at the castle. I know we're here for a purpose, but I hate to face that dragon unarmed. I'm just not used to it!"

"You're right, but I don't know what else to try." Kate's mind was thinking furiously, trying to come up with other options, but there just weren't any to be had. So the two friends turned and walked back down the village street, limping slightly now, slippers all raggedy on the bottom and hardly worth even wearing.

Just as they came again to the first house, the one where they had noticed the solar panels, the door opened and a hand came out, waving. "Come here, quick!"

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kate and Dana - Part 5

The pathway around the grassy hillock looked smooth, and would have been had the ladies been wearing Nikes, but in satin slippers with only slightly thickened soles, every rock came through and by the time they got to where they could see the village itself, Dana was limping and Kate had uttered more than one unladylike word.
"I don't like this," Dana said.
"I don't either. My feet are one big bruise, I think," Kate replied.
Dana gave her a level look. "I don't mean our feet. Look where we are. The village is only a few hundred yards away, but I don't see any kind of activity. No farm carts headed into market, no animals grazing in the fields. And the crops look decidedly neglected.

Kate had never been as observant as Dana. Of course, she worked in an office, and Dana was practically a superhero with her work in dragonslaying. "It does look kind of quiet."

"And, in my experience, that's never good."

"But the crops are there, and the village doesn't look bad enough to be abandoned. At least not unless it wa pretty recently. I see laundry out on the lines behind some of the cottages."

"Right. And that actually is more alarming. Why did everyone suddenly pick up and leave? Unless maybe they are cowering inside. Something bad has happened, probably as recently as today. Something frightening enough to stop everyone's regular activities."

"Any ideas?" Kate was very happy to let Dana postulate. Crises were her venue.

"No, not really. But he," she pointed over her shoulder, "The big winged guy on the tower, might very well be part of it."

"You think he's new? I don't know much about these things, but I thought that tower was his usual spot. With the flag and all, he landed there as though it were an everyday matter."

Dana frowned. "Yes, I think so, too. But what makes today different? That's what we have to find out." She leaned on Kate's arm and shook a stone out of her slipper. The bottom was starting to look a bit shredded, but that couldn't be helped.

"Okay, then," Kate said. "If you agree, we will just continue to the village. We can knock on doors and see if anyone will open up and talk to us - tell us what's going on."

"I don't have a better idea." Dana shrugged and they continued down the path. The crops did look a bit neglected, but that could just be bad farming, although Dana knew people would starve if the farmsers hereabouts were that bad at caring for their grains. Other than that, the path was well maintained, a smooth downgrade leading toward the open street of the small village.

As the got closer, Kate noticed that the houses were mostly overgrown cottages with a Tudor flair. The walls were nearly all white and made of what at least looked like stucco to her, with exposed decorative timbers on their front walls. "I think this village is a little nice for serfs to inhabit, at least the kind I've heard of."

"It is nice, isn't it?" Dana stopped at the edge of the village and looked around. "It gets stranger and stranger. It almost feels modern for some reason."

Kate was looking up and down the street as well, and began to walk forward. Dana followed her, but they were both completely on edge. If this was the Middle Ages, as Kate had more or less assumed, then people lived much better than she had read. Colorful flowers overflowed from pots lining brick walkways leading up to the houses. The doors were painted bright colors, red, green, a couple blue.

Suddenly she stopped walking and grabbed Dana's sleeve. "Dana...what is that on that roof?"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kate and Dana...Part 4

The road to the ruined castle was steep and winding, and didn't look at all inviting. Where they now stood was a bit of a low rise that gave them a view of the surrounding countryside. As Kate looked, she could see forest to her left, wrapping around behind her, deep and dark and not welcoming. The castle was of course in front, but to her right, a path led around a hillock, and over its grassy top she could just see what looked to be a belltower.

Dana leaned on Kate's arm and shook a rock out of her slipper. She held the satiny shoe in front of her and stared at it. "This is not my shoe."

Kate looked at her shoe, then took in the rest of her friend. "Dana, that's not what you were wearing this morning in the library, is it?" She knew it wasn't, but babbling seemed the only thing to do in such an odd situation.

Dana looked down at her outfit. It was an emerald green dress, made of a very heavily woven fabric, ground length, and a corset-like contraption held in her waist and made her usually subtle bosom seem to float above the device, threatening to spill over at any moment. "No, I wasn't wearing this. I would remember." Her face was a picture.

Kate's outfit was also not part of her ordinary library-going wardrobe. She was pretty sure she had been wearing leggings and an oversized USC sweatshirt, but now she was clad in a bronze gown in a similar style to Dana's, and a twitch of the skirt showed her the same impractically soled slippers.

"Well, this is a problem," Kate said.

"Particularly, since I don't seem to have a single weapon with me," Dana patted her sides as though a broadsword might be concealed there, "and that is most definitely a dragon up there."

"He could be nice?" Kate looked hopeful.

"Yes, he could be." But Dana didn't look like she thought that likely.

"Well we can't stay here forever. What do you want to do?" Kate wasn't a dragonslayer like Dana, she was an ordinary, run of the mill person who hadn't a heroic bone in her flip-flop wearing body.

Dana turned in a slow circle. "I can't think of a good reason to go into that forest, and I don't think these silly shoes will handle the rocky way up to that crumbling heap. I don't want to go up there without a better idea of what I'm facing anyway, and I have to get weapons, somehow. So," she pointed to her right, "I vote for the village, or whatever it is, over there. Someone will know what's going on here - I hope."

There was nothing to argue with there, Dana's logic seemed flawless, so the two confused women set off down the path toward the belltower, hoping to find a village at its base, with someone who might be able to tell them what the heck was going on.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kate and Dana and the Book of Shadows -Part 3

Kate leaned away from the book, looking startled. Dana, however, leaned closer and the lady grasped her hand and tugged, causing Dana to tumble head over heels into the world behind the picture. Kate stared a second and then, as the lady's hand stretched again, shrugged and took it, entering the picture only slightly more gracefully than her companion, landing on hard ground in a sitting position with a thump.

After a moment of darkness, her vision cleared. Yes, she was sitting on the ground, and Dana was lying face down next to her. But Dana didn't seem to be conscious - her eyes were closed and her breathing sounded a little raspy and uneven.

"Dana." She leaned over to look at her friend's face. "Dana, are you okay?" There was no immediate reply and Kate wasn't sure what to do. Her knowledge of first aid was sketchy and hadn't been updated since high school. Don't move the victim - that was all she could remember for sure. So, for the next eternity, although it was probably only a few minutes, she sat next to Dana and petted her hair, trying not to panic.

Suddenly, Dana drew a deep breath and groaned. "What happened?" She opened her eyes and struggled to sit up. With a little help from Kate, she managed it, and her eyes popped wide as she took in the vista in front of her.

Kate followed her line of vision and together they stared. The castle was there, ancient and crumbling, but a crimson flag fluttered from one crenelated tower and let them know that it was not abandoned. It seemed to have a golden image on it, but they were too far away to make out exactly what it was.

A long path wound up the side of the mountain, leading to the fortress, and Kate saw a small pack team making its way up. Supplies. Another sign of life. And then, from behind the castle, rising up into the late afternoon sunshine, glinting off its wings - wings the same rose gold as the lettering on that last page in the book of shadows - came the dragon. Wings flared, it settled onto the top of the flagged tower, then in an instant disappeared.

The looked at each other and back at the castle. What did this mean? Where were they?

Kate remembered something. "Dana, where did the lady go?" Because she was not there, had not been there since they arrived.

"I don't know." Dana moved to her knees then to stand up. "But I think I know where we need to go for answers."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kate and Dana and the Book of Shadows - A Free Read

Where were we? Oh yes, the glowing book of shadows in the library...

Kate leafed through the pages. The letters seemed to move and dance under her fingertips, more texture than a printed page should have. Each page held spells for different situations. There were love spells, spells to repel an enemy, or to do worse to them, spells to heal ailments. She glanced as she turned the pages, watching the letters glitter under the flourescent library lights. The drawings were so three dimensional, the colors so rich and vibrant, she expected one of the little figures to leap out of the book and plop down on the couch with her and Dana.

"Anything there, Kate?"

"Anything? Everything." Kate drew a breath as she reached a page with an illustration of a sorcerer and his wand. In the picture, the gowned magician wielded a long wand to turn a base metal - maybe iron, she wasn't sure- to gold. "Look at this, Dana."

"Alchemy?" Dana asked, leaning closer to see better.

"Sort of, but I never heard of it being attempted by pointing a wand at it."

Dana gasped. "Look, the wand is sparking, right into the air." There were indeed live sparks in the air over the little drawing.

It was hard to turn away from the sorcerer, who seemed to be aware of them, staring out of his page with blazing black eyes, but the book had ideas of its own. As soon as Kate lifted her hand from the page, it turned of its own volition to another section, about halfway through the large volume.

On this page the letters were no longer merely gold but a glowing rose gold. And nearly half the page was taken up by another living illustration, this one a woman with long, white blonde hair that reached nearly to her waist. She wore a girdled dress that looked like something from the middle ages, and she was holding a sword in her left hand.

In the background was a castle, on a steep cliff overlooking a stormy sea. And in the air, above the castle, flying toward the lady, was...

"Oh shit," Dana said, earning a shush from a nearby librarian, "There goes my vacation.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Kate and Dana and the Book of Shadows - A Free Read

Dana slipped into the library to find Kate sitting in a big chair with the sunlight streaming over her shoulder. Kate had a big book open on her lap and the light was illuminating the words in a way that made Dana think it was not an ordinary book.

"Hey," Dana said. "What's up?"

Kate jumped a little. It seems she had been so intent on her reading she hadn't heard Dana approach. Which was saying somethin, because when Dana Dragonslayer approaches, she clanks a little from the weapons she carries everywhere for her work.

Dana laughed. Kate always makes her giggle, even when she is at her most serious. "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you. What are you reading?"

Kate looked up at her friend. "A very old Book of Shadows. I actually came her for a quick read, maybe a nice Steph Beck, something with a bit of fantasy, but when I went to the back shelves this book lit up."

"Lit up? You mean it looked interesting?"

"No," Kate said. "Lit up, golden, rays of light illuminating the dust motes. Like in the fairy tales."

"And what did you say it was again?"

"A Book of Shadows. A witch's spell book. But I come here all the time, and I swear it was never there before. So why is it there now?"

"Oh good, a mystery," Dana said, plopping down next to Dana and looking over her shoulder at the text. "It really is glowing, isn't it?"

"Oh, Dana, can you see it too?"

"Can't everyone?" She looked around the room, but it was obvious that nobody else was staring at the gleaming book. "I guess not."

"If you can see it, and you're not even a witch, then it must mean you are supposed to be helping me."

"Helping you do what?"

"I have no idea." Kate grinned. "Sounds fun, doesn't it?"

"I guess," Dana narrowed her eyes. "As long as it doesn't involve dragons. I came in here today to pick up a book to read, because I am on vacation!"

(to be continued)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Erotica or Not-Erotica

As I learn to be a writer of erotica I have found out something disturbing about myself. While my mind has no trouble envisioning scenes of passionate lovemaking, while I love reading other authors stories of wild menages, my Catholic school fingers have trouble typing the words it takes to tell the stories as clearly as they should. Having left that religion long behind for earth based pagan religions (read Witch), my fingers have apparently lagged behind and want me to use words that, well, don't exactly express my scenes in the way I want them to. But I have had a long talk with them, and they have agreed to try! So we shall see.... I don't want to have to get out the yardstick~!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why writing is like knitting

I sit here surrounded by wip's. I have more stories in progress than I like to admit to, one rewrite requested, two contest entries and an anthology submission, a young adult requested by my nephews that I think will be a really great story (I have to think of a pen name for my ya work) AND about six of my in progress knitting projects. I know life is a wip, but why is it that the beginning and ending of a project are so much more fun than the middles. Life is Not like an Oreo cookie!

Friday, June 4, 2010

More on Series Romance

I have been wondering lately if every author has the same experience I have. We are told to keep our secondary characters in the background and pay attention to the main storyline. And as an editor I can see how important that is. But I find my secondary characters, the best friend, cousin, acquaintance from work...all have such strong personalities fighting to come through that all I can do is promise their own story to keep them in line. And often they turn out to be so interesting that I'm thrilled with the result.

Barbara, who will star in my second Carnivore Club, had a very minor role in the last book, but as I started to write the second one, I said to my husband, Barbara is a dominatrix! Who knew? (He thinks I'm nuts, but he's happy it makes me happy to do this lol) Anyway, I'm loving writing Barbara's story, and I can't wait to see what character will be the next hero or heroine in this ongoing tale of small town folks who get together to celebrate their uniqueness on Tuesdays at the Carnivore Club

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Writing Series Romance

I never set out to write serial stories, but it seems as though each one leads to the next. For example, once I told the story of Finally, My Love, I realized that the internet is a place where so many people meet that there must be a million stories in the naked www. So that led to PerfectPartners.com followed by Internet Romance Three, Who is that Woman? That one is not quite done.

Next I wrote Confessions from the Carnivore Club: Dave and Nancy's Story. Once I walked into the story, I knew that everyone I encountered had their own story. Barbara's story is coming next.

I think the advantage to short or novella length stories is that they lend themselves easily to this sort of serial. After all, I often want to hear more about the secondary characters in books I read. And this way, I get to hear all about them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Release Day is Coming

Release Day is coming for Finally, My Love and I will be sharing the day at GRR with multi-pubbed author Olivia Starke who is also having a release the same day! We will party all day and give away prizes!