Friday, November 29, 2013

eBook Review: Catch a Ghost by SE Jakes

Catch a Ghost (Hell or High Water, #1)Catch a Ghost by S.E. Jakes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hesitated to read this book based on the cover title. I adore contemporary paranormal, but I have a... bias, we'll call it, about ghosts. I'm glad I gave Catch a Ghost a chance, however, because it's nothing like what you might expect.

I adore military fiction lately, especially anything that throws in otherworldly info for effect. The spit and polish is missing from the story for the military vibe... but that's because these guys are as far from soldiers as you can get. Prophet and Tom are rough and tumble guys ready to do things THEIR way. Fortunately Phil doesn't micromanage them, as if he had a shot.

Prophet and Tom are off on a mission that is oddly geared toward their strengths. I thought that element of the plot, with the fighting backgrounds, to be almost too coincidental. Of course for Prophet, it fit because the whole incident they're investigating is tied intimately to his past. We get to meet several of the people who made Prophet who he was. It was good to see that background fleshing him out.

Tom's background felt a bit more vague. So much of his motivation, partnering with and without Prophet, was based on his fear that his intuitions had caused a miasma of bad luck, not for him, but for anyone stuck being his partner. That led to an angry, closeted man... even if his sexuality wasn't what he was hiding.

What threw me was the ending of the story. It's not over. I know there's a sequel... but I'd have liked more resolution. Knowing the sequel is already out, though, takes a bit of that dissatisfaction away. The writing and flow of the story was definitely enough to keep me reading and make me want Long Time Gone. I'm hovering between 3.5 and 4 stars on the review, but that need to read more hiked me up to 4 stars for my rating.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Fun... *ahem* Prizes!

 
 

To those who celebrate, at least. I do, and I am definitely thankful for all of you, my readers, friends, and followers. For those in the US today is a day for family, food, and fun. Well... I'm visiting 2 families, having 2 dinners, and boy... won't rolling into bed be fun? LOL


So where's the fun? For some, it's watching the parade. For others, it's football or sports. I'm a fan... but my fun is a bit geekier than that. I love to play word games. One of my fav when I'm doing mindless activities, like eating til I need a few Oompa Loompas to roll me away, is mixing up the letters in words to figure out how many new words I can make.



So today I'll share my fun with  you. Figure out how many words you can make from these phrases and the commenter with the most legit answers will win that contest's prize. Since I'm offering more than one, but one is an eBook, just don't enter that contest if you already have a copy. Or, if you're a geek like me and relish the challenge, just let me know it's for fun, and you don't want the prize.

Contest Rules:

1. Plural don't count. Ant, Ants, Tin, Tins... etc.
2. Comments will be hidden until the end so everyone only uses their own lists.
3. Don't ruin the fun and use word generators.
4. Contest ends 11:59 PM (PST) November 29th.
5. Winners will be contacted and announced November 30th. Don't forget to leave your email!!!
6. Winners have 48 hours to reply, or a new winner will be chosen.
 
 
Contest 1 Prize: Copy of Picked at the Peak
Words: Aislin and Lander
 
Contest 2 Prize: $5 Amazon Gift Card
Words: Picked at the Peak
 
Contest 3 Prize: $10
Words: Cia's Stories Rock


LOL! Okay, have fun!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 20


Wow, so Thanksgiving tomorrow for Americans and the holiday season steadily approaches for most of us too! I wasn't sure if I'd get this done, but I did, I did! This week I took my prompt inspiration from the phrase, 'Failure is not an option.' Enjoy!!

 
Take Flight Part 20


“Ow!” Birch yanked the amulet from under his shirt. Radiant white light lit the stone. Not caring who saw, Birch reached into his pants. He shuddered when he touched the plug in his cock. Cold fire invaded the slit in the tip. Drawing out the hollow plug took a minute.

“Oh, thank fuck.” The burning faded as soon as Birch removed the plug. He held it carefully, not touching the cage with the stone inside.

“What happened?” the Alchemist asked. He stared at Birch. All the fae were watching him, their eyes huge.

“Oh, g—” Birch cut himself off. A wave of heat rose through him until his face prickled. He was probably beet red. “How embarrassing,” he muttered. Sayer was so going to owe him. A lot.

Birch stared at the ground, avoiding everyone’s gaze. “When I touched the cross my amulet, and um”—he stuffed his plug into his pocket—“something else with a gift from Sayer, lit up. They burned.” Birch looked down the collar of his shirt. He certainly wasn’t going to open his pants.

“No marks.”

“Interesting. The metal did not cause a reaction in you, but your fae, um, items.”

“Definite proof the cross is an attack against the fae,” Forisilki said.

Vernon harrumphed. “Like that was in question.”

Birch jumped in before the Formorian could snap. “Stop bickering. You guys have tasks to do. Vernon… why are you still here?” Birch raised an eyebrow at the cranky man.

“Fine. We’re going.”

Birch turned to the cross. “I’m going to try this again.” The amulet and plug had stopped burning him when they were away from his skin. He had to get the cross out. “Failure is not an option,” Birch reminded himself.

Ange stood by, watching. The rest of the fae had left when Vernon did, moving far from the cross. “You gonna be okay?” Birch asked.

The dryad flipped his long hair over his shoulder. “I’m fine.” Birch hoped the other man could hide his appearance like Sayer had, or he was going to draw a lot of attention once they left the fae realm. No one had hair that shade of green naturally, and Ange’s rich, brown skin had an odd luster.

“Okay. Here we go again.”

Birch hesitated then grabbed the cross. Nothing happened. He sighed and closed his eyes. Now for the lift.

The cross was buried deeper in the mud than Birch expected. He strained to pull the twisted metal form out. His arms and legs trembled from the effort.

“Ahh!” His breath exploded from him in a sharp cry. Birch stumbled, the heavy cross freed from the ground with a jerk. He nearly dropped it but managed to stagger into a tree. He panted, holding the cross to his chest with his arms locked around the arms.

“We gotta… get this... out of here,” he said. “Where do we cross?”

Ange led the way past the lake toward the shimmering veil. The ground sucked at Birch’s feet and bushes snagged his clothing and scratched his arms. Ange couldn’t help him, so Birch struggled to hold on and keep moving forward.

Passing through the veil was the last thing on Birch’s mind, but still… he expected something. One moment they were in the fae realm, the tainted land fighting against him, and the next they were in the human world. The glow on his amulet faded until it looked like an ordinary stone.

“Whoa.” Birch spun and the veil was still there. A vague worry in the back of his mind whispered that once he left, without Sayer, he’d not be able to reenter the fae realm. But he could still see it there, through the veil, the magical shimmering marking the spot between realms where they could pass.

When Birch turned around Ange changed. His green hair darkened to brown and his skin was tan but had lost the luster. Good. One less thing to worry about.

“Where now?” Ange asked him.

The house Sayer grew up in had been kept up. Birch had driven by it, more than once, to his personal shame. If he’d caught a glimpse of Sayer there, after four years of being alone, Birch might have hit him with his car. But he hadn’t seen any sign of anyone living there, though the yard was manicured.

“Do you know if Sayer maintained the place he grew up, or was it sold when he didn’t come back?”

“I am not sure, my l—”

“Birch. Use my name, especially here,” Birch reminded him.

“Sorry.” Ange grimaced. “I am not entirely sure. I don’t spend much time on this side of the veil, but if he did keep the house, there would be a ward around it.”

“Let’s go check, huh?”

Birch wasn’t entirely sure where they were, but the town was at the foot of the mountain. Downhill was good. The metal cross wasn’t too heavy, but it was awkward.

“How will we find out who made that?” Ange glared at the cross Birch carried.

“Well….” Birch paused, resting the cross on his foot. He had a bad feeling about it touching the ground. “I’ve been gone a while, but I know there are a few churches in town. We can start with them.”

“I hope this won’t take too long,” Ange sighed.

“We don’t either.” Men stepped out from trees in a semi-circle in front of Ange and Birch. “Purging you demons shouldn’t be too hard.”

A gray-haired man pointed a rifle at them. He smirked. “Did you really think we wouldn’t be watching?”

Birch’s heart pounded in his chest. Sweat trickled down his back as he stared down the barrel of the rifle.

“Mr. Rittenhauser? What are you doing?” His boss smirked at him.

“You really had no idea, did you?” the older man scoffed.

Birch looked at Ange. The fae stood calmly beside him. He flexed his hands.

“Don’t even think about it. This gun has iron bullets, just for you.”
TBC

Don't forget to check out the other great Briefer's updates and a special welcome needs to go to our newest Briefer virgin, Grace!!

Grace Duncan
 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guess What, Guess What? The Experiment Cover is Here!!

Yay!! Check out what I got today!!

 
Coming early 2014 with Dreamspinner Press!!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 19

 
This week we find out a LOT more. Some questions are answered (Sorry Cannd, I was so swamped last week I forgot to reply) and more are asked. I hope you enjoy this week's updated inspired by the prompt: The world is a circle.

Take Flight Part 19


The trip through the forest was disturbing. A worrying thought kept circling through Birch’s mind. Actions… reactions… Shit! Birch didn’t know anything about magic.

And that was a problem.

How was he going to figure out how to fix the magic when the only thing he’d done magical was an accident? Sayer had mentioned Birch’s instincts guiding his use of fae magic… but as a human he shouldn’t have been able to use magic at all.

Right?

How was he supposed to know alone? Sayer should be there with him. Birch clenched his fist over the mane he was holding. The fae horse turned its head and snorted.

“Sorry.” Birch tried to relax his grip.

Agarin, the Ledishe who seemed to be the most sensitive, looked green. He rode beside Birch, swallowing convulsively. “We’re close,” he whispered.

The horses’ steps were muffled and the fae were silent other than necessary speech. Birch figured they’d been walking along the wide path the trees made for at least two hours. He expected light to break through the trees and highlight the path beyond the forest but they stepped out into a gray twilight far from the light he was used to.

The gun metal gray sky brooded over them with low hanging clouds. The water was brackish.

“I thought you said this side of the veil was a lake and the other side was a swamp,” Birch said. He wrinkled his nose at the foul mist rising from the water.

“It was.”

“What is that?” The Alchemist pointed at something on the far shore of the water. “Whatever it is… that’s where the taint is coming from.”

Forisilki shuddered. “Even if I could use my magic, I wouldn’t touch this water.”

“It’s not an illusion?”

The Formorians shook their heads in tandem.

“We go around.” Birch leaned forward and his horse began to walk parallel to the shore. His hooves squelched in the mud. Rot and decay rose in sickening waves. “Be aware. I don’t see anyone, but someone has to be behind this. They could be around.”

A nasty mist swirled around the edges of the water, blurring the outline of whatever was tainting the fae realm. They drew close. Several of the fae drew weapons. Birch shook his head at the antiquated swords and knives. One of the dryads held a wood bow and several arrows in her hands.

Then again, it was better than nothing. Birch felt horribly exposed and unprotected. He scanned the lake and the surrounding shore. The air shimmered, blurring the trees beyond the water’s edge. As they drew closer he could start to make out the shape.

“Is that,”—he squinted—“a cross?”

Agarin leaned over the side of his horse and vomited.

“Alchemist?” Birch looked over his shoulder.

“That’s it,” he said quietly. “The taint is hovering like a red cloud all around it.”

“A cross.” Why a cross…? The trees.

The path.

Jesus Christ. Birch did not say it out loud.

“Holy Fuck.”

“What?” Vernon asked.

“Sayer warned me. He said not to invoke um… religious stuff.” Birch pointed at the cross. “I’d say that’s pretty damn religious. Think about everything that’s happened.”

Birch slid off his horse and approached the cross on foot. “It looks like iron. You guys stay back.” The legend about the fae and iron was true, and someone knew it. Birch struggled across the soggy ground, his feet sinking in. Cold mud oozed over his shoes. He shuddered.

White grains were strewn liberally in a wide circle around the cross. Birch crouched and ran two fingers through the substance.

“My lord!” Ange objected. “You shouldn’t touch that!”

“I’m not a fae.”

“You have wings.”

Birch shrugged. “Still not a fae.” He rubbed his fingers together and then smelled them. “Salt.”

“They salted the ground?” Forisilki looked sick. “And the water.”

“If I break this circle of salt and remove the cross, can you fix this?”

“Maybe. But to get rid of the taint, you’ll have to take it beyond the veil.”

Birch stood up. He wiped his hand on his pants. As reluctant as he’d been to believe in the fae realm, and his shock at the fact a month had passed since Sayer brought him there, he didn’t want to leave. “Can I come back?”

“Of course you can. You’re bonded with King Sayer.” Vernon rolled his eyes. “You can cross the veil anytime you want. The world is a circle full of overlapping realms with edges that touch. Anywhere those edges touch you can see the veil and pass it now that you wear the king’s amulet.”

Birch absently brushed the amulet under his clothes. He could come back. Good.

“Someone brought this here. Someone with ties to a religious community that’s learned about the fae. There’s too much I don’t know about you guys. I need someone to come with me.” The Ledishe were out. This close to the veil, and the human contamination, had them both ill and shaking.

Ange dismounted from his horse. “I’ll come. Away from the fae realm my magic is the strongest. I can help protect you.”

“I need you to help the Ledishe clean this area, Forisilki. Vernon, you and the Alchemist go back to the castle. Tell Croll what we found.” Birch licked his lips. “The rest of you spread out. Check the other areas where the veil can be pierced. Find out if there have been any human incursions recently.”

He contemplated the cross. “I have no idea who did this, or why, but the answers we need are in the human realm. I’m going to get them.”

First he had to get the cross out of there. The metal arms were twisted around a rusty iron spike. It looked menacing, and he really didn’t want to touch it.

“Lift with the knees.”

Birch eradicated the salt circle, dragging his feet through it. A cold shock bit into his palms as he grasped the arms of the cross.
TBC

Don't forget to go check out the other Briefers' updates!!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Flash Fiction! Mine

So, I've been battling health stuff still. Turns out my sickness was bacterial, so with meds on board, hopefully I'll be on the mend soon. In the meantime... I was reminded this week on GA how much fun doing a flash piece for just that update, no serial, no expectations can be.  With that, I used Prompt #278 First Line: "Please, I can explain." and wrote...
 
Mine


“Please, I can explain.” He looked up at me from his knees.

“Don’t worry.” I tilted my head and stared at him. “You don’t have to.”

“But—”

His head rolled across the floor. His wife screamed and scrabbled back. Her body hit the floor with a dull thud. The silence was broken by the pattering of blood dripping from my nails. I flicked my hands, annoyed with the sound.

“I know you’re here. I can smell your rot. Come out, come out wherever you are.” I prowled the room, trying to find the scent that spoke of my kind. I flicked my claws out and retracted them. An alpha would have come at me by now.

“Secure in your little hidey hole?” The source of the scent was masked by the putrid smell of the doctor’s oozing viscera from his eviscerated form destroying the pretty blue carpet.

“You should have known better than to work with him.”

My ruff stood up, the skin on my neck and shoulders prickling. I huffed a sub vocal sigh. “I will find you.” Trespassers did not live after they crossed my borders. “Did you think his experiments would make you stronger than me?”

I’d not faced a credible threat in years, not that I cared much anymore. I held onto my land because once… he’d lived here. He’d loved the hills and the forests that ringed my estate, and for his memory I’d protect my claim.  

“I’ve seen his files. The tests, the trials.” I turned in a slow circle. “The good doctor was using me all along. For you.” I’d allowed the bastard to move to my city. His knowledge had been useful. Finding a doctor who’d treat werekin could be hard. I’d kept my distance, until the worm I’d sent into his computer system cracked his firewall and found everything he’d been trying on his sneaky guest.

“Did you think you could become an alpha? That something in our blood could actually change you into something strong enough to face me?” I was not an alpha because of the blood that ran through my veins. Obviously neither the doctor nor the bastard trying to challenge me understood that. “If you want to live, you’ll come out now.” I scanned the walls, searching for the cracks that had to be there.

There was a lab here somewhere. The blood and tissue samples he’d taken from my people had to be processed, and it wasn’t at the clinic we’d raided. The good doctor had rushed into this room for a reason, and it wasn’t to protect his woman.

I snapped my head and stared at the south wall. There. A faint chiming sound, like a blade drawn from a sheath.

Striding to the wall, I spun and kicked sideways. The thick sole of my boot absorbed the blow as my leg went through the wall. The gaping hole exposed a room built in the corner. I grabbed the sheetrock at the sides of the hole and tore it from the studs. A long steel counter ran the length of the wall. Tools of all kinds were strewn haphazardly across its surface. Darkness hide what lay at the far end of the counter but nothing could hide the stench of feces.

The coward must have shit himself. Alpha… yeah right.

“Last chance to come out and die with a shred of dignity.” Not even a human was as weak as this werekin filth.

I crouched when metal slid across the ground. Clumsy. He revealed his location in the shadow and that he was armed. It would be his last mistake.

A slender arm reached into the light. Dirty fingers scrabbled at the cracks in the stone floor and then pulled.

Deep blue eyes dominated the pale face. His skin stretched thin over knife-edge thin cheekbones. A black mask covered his muzzle, the straps digging into his patchy ruff.

His blood began to flow toward me in thin rivulets along the white grout between the stones from his lacerated wrist.

Not a challenger.

Park’s little brother.

We’d been told he’d died in an accident on his way to college. He’d decided to leave town, break all ties between us, and my best friend had been inconsolable when his parents broke the news Kraig would never come back.

I jumped through the hole.

“Kraig.”

The straps were easy to slice away but the mask was adhered to Kraig’s face. He cried out weakly when I ripped it away.

“Deke,” he whispered.

My heart pounded. It had been years since I heard my name said in that voice. Adrenaline surged through me in a way it hadn’t when I killed the doctor and prepared to kill the trespasser onto my territory. I felt alive in a way I hadn’t in years.

Not since he left without a look back for me because he didn’t believe he, a lowly human, could possibly belong at my side when he couldn’t be blooded as my mate.

“I’ve got you.” My hands trembled as I traced them in the air over his wasted form, unsure of where it was safe to touch. He’d sliced his wrist to the bone yanking it out of a manacle holding him to the wall to reach for me. The other wrist was still clamped with a band of twisted copper with razor edges. I licked my lips.

“I’m dying. Hold me… while I go,” he begged. His cracked lips bled fat, red drops of blood down his muzzle. His face, so different, was just as beautiful as it had been when he was a human.

“No!” I denied his request vehemently. My claws dug into my palms as I clenched my hands into fists. “Don’t ask me to do that, not when I just found you. I can save you.”

“Not safe.” He began gasping for air. “He did… things… let me die.”

I ignored his plea. I leaned down and began to lick his wrist to stem the tide of blood. There was no time to find bandages.

“What… are you… No!”

I pierced my tongue with my fangs, ignoring the stinging pain. I would not let him go again no matter the risk. If the doctor doomed him to die with his experiments, we’d die together. If I had to I’d beg Kraig’s forgiveness, but he’d only be able to give it to me if he lived. I couldn’t believe I’d find him now just to lose him. One day he would know, just as I did, that he belonged to me no matter what he’d been born as.

I shoved my bleeding tongue into his mouth.

You. Will. Not. Die.

Each thrust of my tongue denied his fatalistic desire as if I spoke the words aloud. He battled me, struggling in vain before my essence swept him away. We stared into each other’s eyes as I cradled his body in my arms and forced Kraig to accept me inside him.

The blue bled from his eyes, and they turned red.

He was blooded.

My heart sang when he began to suck on my tongue. His free hand dug into my ruff, yanking me closer. His eyes slid shut and a purr vibrated against my chest. Kraig was mine.

I’d come to this house to bring death but found life instead.

FUN, FUN! Okay, back to real writing soon, just as quick as my eyes can take it, I promise.  Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Weekly Review: Bad Idea by Damon Suede

Bad IdeaBad Idea by Damon Suede
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Damon Suede eBook. I'm a tad torn on the review and hopefully this won't come off as a bad review. I have to say I enjoyed the story. Trip and Silas were well fleshed out characters and their motivations were easy to see and understand. The plot was arced well and fit together seamlessly. The supporting characters, especially the women, blended together a bit for me and I'd have liked to see more character definition and quirks from them to set their personalities apart.

Though I liked the story once I'd finished, I still felt a disconnect. I started and stopped this book twice when usually I can breeze through one this length in a few hours at most. It might be that I'm not a comic person. I'm not a movie person. Those two elements were vital vehicles to the character and plot progression. Without having that interest, and 'inside' knowledge, I think it was harder for me to really identify with the overall story.

If I were to rate this on the plot alone, I'd give it 3 stars. But I am inclined to add another star for a writing element that would normally have turned me off completely. I was fascinated by the graphic feel to this book. I could almost, as I read along, see the action panes for each scene. It hopped from section to section that would usually make me complain about plot continuity and ease of reading but with Bad Idea... it felt deliberate. That sort of tie in, with the writing itself to the plot, impressed me.

Overall, I think this was a good story. If you like comic artist stories, graphic novels, cons, movie effects, etc... this is right up your alley. Oh, and if the author had been able to commission and squeeze in an image of Silas' Con costume this would get sooooo many stars. Cause damn. *drools*

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Visiting Author: Elyzabeth VaLey with The Crimson Rope!

Please help me welcome Elyzabeth VaLey with her newest release: The Crimson Rope

Blurb:
Unleash your kinky side with six titillating BDSM tales.

Let The Crimson Rope bind you in an erotic adventure sure to please, with skilled Dom’s and sexy submissives that are willing to explore their boundaries. From pleasured gasps to stinging desire, the authors of this anthology will not only seduce you, but leave you begging for more.

Thank you for having me, Cia! The Crimson Rope Anthology has heroes to suit everyone: from cowboys to businessmen to inventors to knights. That last hero is my particular collaboration to the collection. Liberating Lua is a medieval based story that, like most novels, required some research to write.

Not only did I look up information on the history of BDSM (did you know it can be traced back to the 9th century BC?) but also some information on the Medieval Era itself, mainly courtly love, marriages, the role of women and of course, knighthood. One of my favorite books, The Medieval World Complete, was a great help, but also internet pages like The Medieval view of Love or The Middle Ages, Chivalry and Knighthood were a great contribution to make the story a little more historically accurate.

 

 
 
 
Liberating Lua blurb

Lord Jürgen GreyStorm, is married to the love of his life, Lady Lua Mirabella. Marriage, however, is not what he expected. His adored wife is unresponsive when he lies between her legs every night, the idea that sex is a sin instilled into her since childhood. Furthermore, Jürgen`s way of love involves chains, spanks and dominance in a way that he fears, would drive his Lua away forever.

For Lady Lua Mirabella sex is an obligation. Or at least, that’s what she’s been taught that it should be. The truth is, that her tactic of lying stiff as a board while her beloved husband ruts into her is driving her insane and him away. She loves Jürgen but when she discovers his dark tastes, she will have to decide whether to submit to him fully and willingly or step away.
 

Buy links:

Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads

Author Bio:
Defined as weird since she was about eight, Elyzabeth honors the title by making up songs about her chores, doodling stars and flowers on any blank sheet of paper and talking to her dog whenever he feigns interest.

Losing the battle to the voices in her head is her favorite pastime after annoying her younger sister with her singing. Writing stories full of passion and emotion where love conquers all is her happy pill and she'll forgo sleep to make her readers live the dream.
Stalk me at:
 Excerpt from Liberating Lua
      She closed her eyes, silence in the chamber increasing her already frayed nerves. Butterflies twisted in her belly and soft flames licked her body warming it from the inside out, while her heart seemed set on escaping through her mouth. She was exposed as she’d never been before and the knowledge both horrified and aroused her. The minutes seemed to tick by slowly as she waited. Her courage began to fail.
     Suddenly, the door creaked open and closed. The hairs on the back of her neck stood as she heard the bolt slide into place. Heavy boots slapped against the floor, coming closer. Her chest tightened, her heart stilled. Her mouth went dry, her thoughts freezing as she waited. Was it he? She didn’t dare open her eyes, afraid to see anger or disappointment in her husband’s brown depths. What would she do if he sent her away? The sound of footsteps ceased, a looming presence took over her personal space. Lua chewed on her bottom lip.
     “Open your eyes, Lua Mirabella.” Jürgen’s deep commanding timber rocked through her core. Slowly, she blinked and opened her eyes to meet Jürgen’s heated gaze. Her heart plummeted back to her chest, a new wave of butterflies fluttering inside her stomach. She had never seen him look at her like that. The muscle in his jaw ticked and his lips were set in a thin line. His nose flared as if sniffing her scent. His eyes, always a lovely brown were a shade darker. His gaze raw and dangerous. Emotions warred their way in their depths: lust and love.
     “Jürgen,” she whispered his name, losing herself in his stare. 
     He said nothing, instead reaching for her breast, running his calloused fingertips against her nipple, causing it to pebble to a hard peak. Lua’s lips parted, breathing becoming difficult as he squeezed and kneaded the flesh. A moan escaped her and she looked away, self-conscious.

     “Don’t.” Gently, Jürgen grasped her chin and forced her to look back at him.

 
Ooh! Naughty!! I hope you enjoyed that and don't forget to pick up your copy now! Thanks again for visiting, Elyzabeth!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Take Flight Part 18


Yeah, that time again! I've been sick lately which is why I've been quiet, but it's time for my update to Take Flight. I couldn't let that go by without giving you something so I bucked up, sucked down the Dayquil and juice and viola...

Did you notice that the Briefers have a new central site? Andy, bless him for his time, effort, and patience, has been putting it together for us. Soon you'll be able to see a single site with the Briefers each week sorta a 'center' with links to all our stories. The site will also cover extra stuff that we're publishing or working on, some ads and cover art, fun stuff like that. Who knows where it might go? Keep an eye on that!

So this week my prompt is a mix of words. I chose: swan, lake, illusion. Enjoy!!

Take Flight Part 18
 
Birch squirmed, trying to find a comfortable spot. There seemed to be no way to sit without his horse’s spine digging into his ass. “Abandon all hope,” Birch muttered as they entered the forest.
He glanced up at the branches that grew denser with every minute. The fae realm was always lit either by gentle sunlight or shimmering starlight and silvery rays from the moon. By contrast the shadows seemed darker and more menacing.
“Excuse me, my lord, did you say something?” asked Forisilki. She flipped her silvery blue hair over her shoulder, exposing her swan-like neck.
“Nope, nothing important. Is the forest very big?” Birch asked. The trail they were following disappeared between two trees leaning over the path.
One of the dryads turned around on their horse, balancing cross-legged on its wide back. He leaned to one side, speaking around the Formorian. “You’re not afraid, are you?”
“Afraid?” Birch snorted. “No. Just curious. And my name is Birch. You don’t have to call me my lord.” He ducked under a low hanging branch. “I’ve been here all of two days. I was unconscious when Sayer brought me here. With all the drama, I’ve barely been outside his rooms and certainly not to sightsee.”
“On horse, perhaps two hours. The path has become overgrown, of late.” The dryad waved at the heavy brush forcing them to travel single file. “Positively neglected.”
Birch shook his head. “And no one thought that was suspicious?” The fae were a surprisingly unobservant race. “In all the time the magic has been going crazy, no one thought this was odd?”
Ange spoke up from behind Birch, “How long do you think this has been going on?”
“Sayer disappeared on me four years ago.” Birch glanced over his shoulder. “Isn’t that long enough?”
“Four years in the human realm.”
Birch stiffened. His horse stopped, forcing the group to halt. “What do you mean, ‘four years in the human realm’?” The stories weren’t true, about time running differently. Sayer didn’t look….
He gasped.
When Sayer first showed up at his place, he looked the same. Exactly the same as Birch had seen him when they said good-bye.
“I’ve been here two days. How much time has gone by in the human realm?”
“Roughly?” Forisilki shrugged. “A month.”
“Jesus Christ!” Birch shouted. “What the fuck?”
Silence fell over the forest.
Birch’s mind spun with calculations. If two days equaled a month, each day was two weeks… half fifty-two weeks, twenty-six days times four… “The taint started less than three months ago?”
The Alchemist cleared his throat. “Yes. Can we move? The magic is doing something funny.”
The fae were all staring at Birch. “What?”
“You invoked….” Vernon’s voice trailed off.
Birch blanched. Shit. “Is that when the magic changed?” Sayer had warned him. Why didn’t Birch listen? 
“Yes,” the Alchemist said shortly.
“Define funny,” Ange ordered.
“It’s darker and writhing.” The Alchemist shivered.
“Let’s go.” Vernon nudged his horse. The group started moving again. Birch bowed his head and held on. He felt dizzy and slightly nauseated. The implications of time moving differently hadn’t even entered his mind. He’d been gone from his life for a month.
People had to have noticed. Well, not his parents, but his boss, his neighbors. If—when—he fixed this taint thing, what the hell would he tell everyone?
“Are you seeing this?” Forsilki whispered.
Birch looked up. A path wide enough for three horses had opened in the forest. It appeared to stretch straight ahead until the gloom swallowed it in the distance.
“Who used magic to clear the path?” Sayer had been insistent they not use magic.
“No one. It happened after you said”—she grimaced—“what you said.”
“What do you think we should do, my lord?” Vernon crossed his arms over his chest.
And Birch thought Croll was cranky.
“Right now we have no idea what the source of the contamination is. It could be active or passive. Obviously, we use no magic unless there’s no other option. The risk could be greater nearer to the source. I’d say we’re getting close.” Birch peered into the darkness, but he couldn’t see anything beyond the path.
One of the Ledishe shivered. “It feels… wrong, but I can handle the sensation. The closer we get to the lake, though, the worse it gets.”
“You’re affected by ecological damage in the human realm, right?” Birch asked.
The Ledishe nodded.
“How would humans affect the trees in the fae realm?” Vernon asked scornfully.
Birch lost his temper. “I don’t know Vernon, how is fae magic being influenced by an outside source at all? Humans who’ve learned about you could be behind this shit. What else is real? Vampires? Witches? Could they be behind this? I don’t know, do you?”
Vernon hunched beneath the onslaught of Birch’s tirade.
“I had no idea this realm existed two days ago. Sayer’s gone crazy, I have no idea what the fuck is going on, and yet somehow… I’m in charge. If you’re not willing to help me, when all I’m doing is trying to help you, shut the hell up!”
Birch rested his fists on his thighs and took a deep breath.
No one moved.
“I’m sorry, my lord.” Vernon’s face was flushed.
Birch sighed. “Thank you.” He fought to calm his breathing. “I’m flying blind here. I’m asking questions because I don’t have any answers. Has anyone been through this forest before or know what’s beyond it?”
“There’s a lake. Beyond that… the veil.”
If that was what it sounded like… “The veil is the separation between the world and the fae realm, right?”
“Yes. The humans see an illusion. To them, the lake is a swamp. We Formorians take turns strengthening the veil. It discourages trespassing. Most humans can’t enter without help, though there are a few with the natural ability.”
“I need a god damn manual,” Birch grumbled.
The trees shivered.
“We keep going.” What other choice did they have?
 TBC
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

11/7 Visiting Author: Nephylim with Face in the Window

Way back in the beginning of this story's life, I got to read it. The main characters face their own set of problems, but this is probably one of the sweetest stories Nephy's ever written... which is an odd thing to say some might think, but her fans would understand. So, without further ado, I want to welcome Nephylim to my blog with Face in the Window!


The Face In The Window

There are those who can’t see, and those who don’t see, but we are all blind sometimes.

The Face in the Window is a story of two very different boys, trying to find their way and bring together two worlds that are as different as night and day.

Ace’s world is dark. Born blind, he’s learned to open his eyes in a different way and from the very start he is a stabilizing and calming influence on Haze.

Haze’s world is lonely, filled with the crushing pain of a long past event and the crippling fear of the uncontrollable outbursts of rage it left in its wake.

Ace struggles with a brother who is intent on making his life miserable in every way, and  Haze struggles to control the rage that threatens whenever he does so.

Gradually, they learn about each other’s world and, as the two are brought together the boys head toward an explosive climax when they meet.

Let’s hear what the boys have to say in their own words about the journey that led from the first glimpse of the face in the window to the traumatic events that very nearly part them forever.

So, Ace, how do you do that thing where you turn to someone and look into their face? How do you know where their face is when you can’t see it?

Ace: I don’t know, It’s not something I’ve ever thought about. I suppose, it’s something to do with how they sound. I can’t do it if I can’t hear them. When someone speaks, I orient on their voice and look where I think the voice comes from. I picture the person’s face, if I know what they look like, otherwise it’s just looking into the dark like usual.

How can you know what someone looks like?

Ace: I see them through my fingers. If I touch your face I create a picture in my mind of what your face looks like and then I always see that picture when I hear your voice.

Haze: It’s truly amazing. He doesn’t think it’s anything special about it but it’s almost uncanny how close he can get. He has amazing ears. He’s very particular about where we sit in a cinema or in his room, so we get to the best place possible to hear the sound. It all seems the same to me.

Ace: You’re a philistine when it comes to music anyway. The rubbish you like does sound the same wherever you sit. I’m going to give you an appreciation of the depth and nuances of classical music if it kills you.

Haze: They teach you a load of crap at that school.

Ace: They teach me how to kick your ass.

Haze: You wish.

Ace: Don’t make me have to do it again, here and now.

Haze: You wouldn’t want to destroy the image of sweet little angel would you?

Ace: That’s not the image I’ve ever had of myself. I’m quite happy for it to be destroyed.  On your feet and prepare for a good old fashioned ass kicking

Haze: Easy ninja. Trust me, this is not the place for that kind of shenanigans

Ace: Okay, but you know I could, right?

Haze: You can do anything.

Ace: When you are with me I can.

Me: Alright, guys, enough of the smooshy stuff. We get that Ace is pretty amazing, but I’ve been hearing good things about you too, Haze.

Haze: There’s nothing amazing about me.

Ace: Yes, there is. You saved me.

Haze: No I didn’t. You saved me

Ace: We saved each other.

Haze: No, seriously, you saved me. If you hadn’t recognised the sound of the waterfall I might never have been found and I was in no shape to get out of there on my own. I’d likely be dead.

Ace: No. You’d have found me if I hadn’t found you. I know it.

Me; You sound so certain.

Ace: I am. We were meant to be together and that’s it.

Haze: Ace sees the world in such simple terms. It’s all black and white to him.

Ace:  Actually, it’s all black. I’ve never really got my head round colours. I’ve never seen them, after all. I think in pictures but I don’t think they’re pictures you’d recognise.

Me: That’s very interesting.  I didn’t think about colours, or rather not being able to see them. I can’t imagine a world without colour.

Ace: I can’t imagine a world with colour. I see shapes and patterns, sometimes shadows and light.

Me: You see patterns?

Ace: Yes. Actually, I see sounds. Mostly sharp sounds. When I listen to music I see a lot.

Me: That’s fascinating. What does sound look like?

Ace: Depends on the sounds. Sharp sounds usually look sharp. Sweet sounds, softer, like bubbles or words. Sudden loud noises kind of explode out of the middle and sometimes loud and sharp make black and white squares.

Haze: He can be really weird sometimes.

Ace: So can you.

Me: I hear you’re going to university next year.  Have you enrolled at the same one?

Ace: Yes. It took some organisation but we got there in the end.  My mother wanted me to go to the same university as my brother, Nick, so he could keep an eye on me, but they didn’t do the courses we both wanted, so it took some investigation and discussion. The university we’re going to have amazing facilities for blind students.

Haze: When we went to look around, they assigned Ace a girl who’s just like him, except not as beautiful, of course. *At this point Ace smiles coyly and snuggles up to him. It’s so cute* She’s in her third year and is absolutely amazing. She’s do bubbly and brilliant. She showed us around and had Ace using all kinds of hi tech stuff I couldn’t begin to understand. The blind students have so much going on I don’t know when he’ll find time to spend with me.

Ace: I’ll always find time to spend with you. Besides…. We’re going to be living together.

Okay, that look needs censoring, so I think this might be a good place to draw the interview to a conclusion.

I can tell you two are going to do just fine. Maybe one day you’ll come back and let us know how university works out for you. Somehow, I know you’ll have plenty of adventures to recount.

 

If you would like to read more of Ace and Haze’s story, you can find it here at Featherweight Press

 


Blurb

Ace is blind and Haze is damaged. They live in different worlds and not everyone is happy when they become boyfriends. Haze is struggling with the after effects of a traumatic event in his past that has left him at the mercy of an uncontrollable rage. When Ace’s brother steps up his campaign of torment against Ace, they’re all in danger from Haze’s outbursts, though it isn’t until things get completely out of control that the healing can really begin. But with Ace unseeing and Haze perched on the edge of a cliff, will either of them survive long enough to benefit?

Excerpt

Next we went to the phone shop and I started browsing the displays while Ace breathed in the sounds and scents.

A young salesman came shyly over. “Hi. I’m Shaun. I hope I’m not being presumptuous but I was wondering which one of you was looking for a phone.”

“That would be me,” said Ace orienting on Shaun. “Although it’s my friend who’s doing the looking for me.”

Shaun coloured slightly and became even shyer. Speaking directly to Ace he said, “We have a new phone which I think might be of interest to you. It’s just come in. It has special features which make it particularly suitable for people with impaired vision. Can I show it to you?”

“Absolutely,” Ace said, clearly excited as hell. His excitement was infectious and Shaun was lit up as he showed him the phone. Right from the offset he put the phone in Ace’s hand and guided his fingers over the keys.

“It’s no bigger than some of the other phones we carry and the only obvious difference is that the screen is absent, which allows the buttons to be larger. It is very durable and can be thrown at a wall, dropped in water, even stepped on without damage.

“From your point of view the most significant feature is that it’s entirely voice activated. We’ll teach it to recognise your voice and you can dial, disconnect, check the time, set alarms, in fact use all the normal features including texting, by touching a button and speaking.

“When you touch a button, it will tell you what you’ve pressed and what options you have opened. After that it’s all voice. Let me show you.”

He gently took the phone out of Ace’s hand and pressed a button. A surprisingly gentle, although clearly electronic voice said, “You have accessed the menu for alarms, applications, calendar, tasks, notes, timer, stopwatch, calculator, and menu.”

Shaun said, slowly and clearly, “Calendar.”

“To set an appointment,” said the voice, “please say ‘set’, to check an appointment already entered, please say ‘check’, to add a note, please say ‘note’, to set a task, please say ‘task’.”

“Set,” Shaun said.

“Please state the date on which you wish the appointment to be entered into the calendar.”

“Twenty-sixth of June two thousand and ten.”

“That’s the twenty-sixth of June two thousand and ten.”

“Yes.”

“At what time does the appointment commence?”

“Eleven fifteen.”

“At what time does the appointment end?”

“Twelve fifteen.”

“Would you like a warning?”

“Yes.”

“Of how much?”

“Fifteen minutes.”

“Would you like to add a note?”

“No.”

The voice read back all the details and then said, “If all details are correct, please say ‘close’, to change any of the details please say ‘change’.”

“Close. Lock,” Shaun said and smiled at the awed expression on Ace’s face. “That’s in tutorial mode. Once you’re used to it you can turn that mode off and you won’t get all the prompts just the check back at the end.”

Shaun then proceeded to take Ace through a few more applications but I could already see that the phone was about to be his.

“How much is it?” I asked eventually.

“£350. But if you take out a twelve month contract it’s only £100.”

We haggled slightly and finally settled on a tariff and filled out the paperwork. Ace was bored by this but was more than content playing with the phone, running his fingers over it, feeling the smoothness of its glossy black surface. It was a way cool phone.

When we were done Shaun set up Ace’s phone and had him to speak into it a few times until it recognised his voice and then to practice some of the applications. In the middle of it all a loud buzzing sound came from the phone getting progressively louder.

“What’s that?” Ace asked, alarmed.

“It’s the warning, remember we set it earlier?”

“Wow. It must be eleven o’clock then, yeah?”

“Absolutely right. You have a good memory.”

Ace grinned happily. “What about all the numbers I’ve saved?”

“If you want to give me your old phone, I’ll transfer them all over for you.”

When Ace handed him the Disney phone, his eyes widened.

“Cruel brothers who pick out his stuff knowing he can’t see how hideous it is,” I explained, surprised by how much the words stung.

Shaun nodded. “Would you like me to recycle that for you? We have a £25 gift voucher available if you do.”

“Hell yeah. Never mind the gift voucher just get rid of that hideous monstrosity.”

Shaun spent no time at all transferring all of Ace’s numbers onto the new phone and showing him how to access them.

Ace would have been happy sitting outside the shop playing with his phone all day but I had a whole different agenda.

 Bio

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and her two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. The part of her that needs to earn money is a lawyer, but the deepest, and most important part of her is a storyteller and artist, and always will be.