Saturday, June 30, 2007
There was a pause in the call as I ran thorough possible responses much like the Terminator did in the first of those movies.
1. Hang up
2. Eat dirt and die, you bitter old hag.
3. I’m going to reach through this phone and snatch you bald headed, you scabrous sow.
4. Eat dirt and die, you bitter old hag. I’m going to reach through this phone and snatch you bald headed, you scabrous sow. Hang up.
5. Something involving explosives, timer, and duct tape.
6. Yes, explosives, timer, duct tape, and a fire ant mound!
Instead I said, “I’ll get that information to you. Unfortunately I don’t know when. I’ll be working on becoming a professional writer.” Then I hung up.
She immediately called back and left an apology on the answering machine, adding that she really needed the information. I hope she gets it somewhere. It won’t be from me. Ever.
Of course, I knew that people have a low opinion of self-publishing. Probably because a lot of self-published books aren’t good. But truthfully, a lot of traditional books aren’t good. The famous science fiction writer Ted Sturgeon had words that we can apply to this: “Ninety percent of science fiction is crud, but that's because ninety percent of everything is crud." This is known as Sturgeon’s Law.
And because I primarily write poetry, I’m accustomed to self-published chapbooks and books by various poets. (Did you know e.e.cummings was mostly self-published? And that Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was also self-published? And a thousand other well-known poets self-published their work? Now, you know.) So I’ve never developed that particular snobbery.
Of course, I could spend a whole post discussing this woman’s many faults, including the fact she worships the Dark Gods and once dated Hitler’s nephew, but that wouldn’t really do much other than open me up to attacks from her demonic henchman.
So I guess I did the best I could, although it reminds me of this old story: A man had his new boat stolen. The next week he put this notice in the paper: “To whoever stole my boat. I hope you enjoy it. In fact, I hope you take it out on a large lake. I hope that you can’t swim, that the boat sinks, and that your mother is unable to attract help for you as she runs barking along the shore.”
Well, she’s the barker.
How would you have responded to the "lady"? Post your reply in the comments to this post (no profanity, please) and be entered into the July 2007 Giveaway drawing to win Holly Lisle's (not self-published) exciting, romantic, sexy, masterful, dark fantasy Talyn. This is the attractive hardcover version with dustcover. Talyn (not self-published) will make you think about culture clashes, patriotism, and honor in a time of war. It's an amazing book. This giveaway is open to everyone in the world, even if you've won a Giveaway before. The drawing will be July 7. And if you can't think of a response to the "lady," just comment to enter.
And now I have things to do today. Talk to you later. Hope you have a great day free of "ladies."
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Here are the rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each participant posts eight random facts about themselves.
3. Tagees should write a blogpost of eight random facts about themselves.
4. At the end of the post, eight more bloggers are tagged (named and shamed).
5. Go to their blog, leave a comment telling them they’re tagged (cut and run).
Eight Random Facts
1. I like playing Spades, Hearts and Chess, but rarely have anyone to play with these days.
2. Tonight I 've been reading Murder by the Acre, the sequel to Murder by Dewey Decimal. It needs a lot of work before it will be ready to publish. I wrote it before cell phones were common -- yeah, I'm that old -- and now some of the plot doesn't make sense. The first third is okay. The middle can be saved with just a little rewriting, but the end needs a bunch. Whee.
3. I actually got upset when they cancelled Stargate: SG-1, so much so that I wrote letters to the network. I've never done that for a TV show before. Now, I don't have a favorite TV show. Which is good for my writing since TV is a huge waster of time. We'll all be better if we turned it off and got outside and walked around a bit or read a book or two.
4. I am a Democrat in a mostly Republican family, but I'm not a very good Democrat and cheerfully vote for whoever I like.
5. I love office supplies the way some people love chocolate. Always have. I don't know why.
6. I have visited or drove through these states: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Texas, California & Missouri. I have lived in Oklahoma my whole life.
7. I enjoyed my college years a lot. I'd like to go back and get my master's someday and maybe my doctorate. Those may be dreams for another life, though, because I want to write more, and writing takes up most of my time.
8. I am a liberal Southern Baptist. Yes, that's possible. A lot of people seem to have a problem with it, but I just think they have little minds. I believe in a huge God who welcomes all His children.
Tagging (if you have the desire and the time!):
And that's the post for tonight. Oh, this is cool. The mailman delivered the three writing books by Holly Lisle that I ordered a week ago. I'm really looking forward to reading them. And now I'll close. Have a great tomorrow. Talk to you then.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Hey, I got an email today from Lulu saying that my book was published and that they had shipped my proof copy to me. Sometime next week I should have it in my hands. I'm looking forward to it.
I really like Dashboard by Modest Mouse. Here's a link to the YouTube video. Yes, it's weird, but turn it up loud and see if it doesn't get you energized.
I've been reading the wonderful Holly Lisle books that I received in the mail last week. If you've not read Holly's books, you've been missing out. Get thee to your local bookstore or favorite online retailer and order some of her books. You won't be disappointed.
And now I'm going to get to bed. I hope you have a great day tomorrow. Talk to you then.
Monday, June 25, 2007
And on Jay, that OU stuff looks good. What can I say? An angel can redeem anything.
Tonight I went out with TL, Melissa and Kyra. We ate at Applebee's, then went to TL's and Melissa's home to play games. (I was privately celebrating submitting the book.) We played trivia games. Apparently I slept through the 90's because I drew a blank on most of the questions. It's not that my memory is going. It's that I never knew in the first place! It was a nice night, and I enjoyed it.
Y'all have a good night. I'm outta here.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The uploading process to Lulu took most of yesterday and today. It wasn't the simple process that they make it out to be on the website. Nowhere close to simple. I will know better how to do it next time. I'll write a post later telling what I learned about the process should any of you want to attempt it. (One tip: Think very hard about whether you want the trouble of creating your own cover. Lulu has many good looking covers you can use, and it's a lot easier than using one of your own.) We'll see if all the effort was worth it when I have the proof copy in hand.
I feel very relieved. And excited. I'm going to be looking eagerly for the mail for the next couple of weeks.
How have you been doing? What exciting things are going on in your world? I hope you have a great day tomorrow. Next week we'll be posting photos of my lovely niece at her prom and photos of Mikey's new baby brother Jay as well as photos of Mikey himself.
My plan for this coming week is to publish two family newsletters (Hey, it's possible if unlikely) and get them mailed out. I'll also be reading Darkness, Oklahoma to start getting some wordage on it.
My secretary is still doing well. I'm hoping she will continue to improve and will eventually be able to do many of the things I'm doing now. I have several work projects that I'd like to get started on, but I haven't been able to.
And now I'm going to figure out some diabetic acceptable way to celebrate uploading the book. Good night!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Mikey has a new brother. Jay was born Monday, and mother and baby are doing well. Photos to follow soon.
Mikey came to visit Friday night. It was wonderful to see him. His Papa took him to see his baby brother this afternoon. He was very excited about his new brother. He's a very loving child.
I received a box of Holly Lisle books Friday! Including a signed, hardcover copy of her bestselling and wonderful fantasy Talyn. Since I'd already bought one for myself -- unsigned -- I'll be giving away the unsigned copy in the July Giveaway. In fact, I'm trying to work out how to do a whole week of Holly Lisle giveaways. We'll see how my budget is in July, but I think I can work the postage out.
On her blog, Rain of Rainy Day Wonderings featured a photo of the prizes she received in the June Giveaway and said some very nice things about my writings. Very cool! Thanks, Rain.
Murder by Dewey Decimal should be transmitted tomorrow to Lulu. I attempted to transmit it Friday afternoon and discovered some formatting errors in it when it was converted to a PDF (the file format required by Lulu). So I had to spend this afternoon and evening fixing the problems. I have Chapters 1-7 ready to go and will finish it tomorrow after church.
Prayer requests: My niece who has been in the hospital for nearly two weeks suffering from a Crohn's flare. My younger sister who is halfway through chemo. My older sister who needs strength to care for my niece and my sister. My sister-in-law whose father is gravely ill. My cousin J. who was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and is having a terrible adjustment period. Our nation so we find a way to heal the many ills that afflict us.
And that's all the time I have tonight. Have a good night, and someday we will rise to meet a glorious dawn.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Why did you write a murder mystery? (Gloria)
Whom among us hasn't wanted to kill someone after first making them beg for mercy? I can just see them lifting up their pitiful hands to plead for their lives as I laugh cruelly and order my robot monkeys to throw them into the volcano!!!! BWWWAAAAHHHH!
Ahem. Actually I enjoy reading murder mysteries a lot. It made sense to write a mystery that I would enjoy reading. And then there's the whole justice aspect. In real life, the bad guys frequently get away. In most mysteries, they are captured by those meddling kids. No, wait, that's Scooby-Doo, but it still applies. The bad guys get stopped.
How are you going to promote MBDD? (Slim)
Let me count the ways.
1. This blog naturally. I figure if I talk about MBDD until blood drips from your ears, you'll buy a book to get me to stop.
2. Postcards. I will be mailing out three postcards a day to various people. Fortunately I have a lot of friends or at least a lot of people who think it's better to be friendly to me than be on my list of enemies who must be humiliated and destroyed. The postcard will have a brief, honest blurb about MBDD (Buy this book and all your problems will go away and you'll be rich, rich, rich!) and give ordering information.
3. E-mail. Likewise, I will be emailing three people a day. Once again, I have a huge number of email addresses belonging to friends and other victims. These people will, of course, be delighted to hear from me. Or else.
4. T-shirts! Yes, I'm creating a MBDD t-shirt that people can purchase and that I can give as gifts and that my friends, family, and victims can wear while they're going around town or giving testimony to the grand jury before going into protective custody, but I will find you, you squealers!
5. Other people's blogs. I'm hoping my dear precious friends will place a small ad on their blogs for the book and thus receive my gratitude rather than my undying, terrible enmity.
6. My family newsletter. Since I'm the editor, I think I can put in few plugs for my book. I hope I don't have to threaten me.
7. Posters around my small town. Our local theater group puts up posters for various productions. Well, actually I do since I do the publicity. I can put up a few posters and hope that my friends in other towns -- where they think they're safe from my robot monkeys, but they are mistaken -- will put up a few, too.
8. Book signings. I've already arranged one in my hometown at the local library. (Not that hard to do since my sister is the librarian. Thanks, sis!) I figure many of my high school bullies will show up to push me around again for old times' sake. If they buy a book, I may let them … before the robot monkeys tear them limb for limb and present their heads as a trophies for my office walls.
And I intend on doing a book signing here, also. Probably in conjunction with a production at the local theater or at the library or local book stores or possibly just pitifully going door to door begging.
I have a few other ideas floating around in my head. We'll see how they go.
You seem a bit violent today. Do you want to talk about it? (Dr. Shrink)
Where is my dog? (Next door neighbor)
I don't know, Mrs. Wilson. I don't know why everyone always suspects me when pets go missing. Use one cat for a rocket experiment, and suddenly I'm to blame for every mysterious disappearance.
Where is my husband? (Neighbor from across the street)
I don't know, Mrs. Hoffa. I don't know why everyone always suspects me when spouses go missing. Use one for a rocket experiment, and suddenly I'm to blame for every mysterious disappearance.
What is an ISBN number? And why does your book need one? What is the meaning of life? Who's going to win the next presidential election? Do you really think Paris Hilton has turned over a new leaf? (Libby)
First, an ISBN number is -- to quote Wikipedia -- "…a unique commercial book identifier barcode. The ISBN system was created in the United Kingdom, in 1966, by the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith; originally it was the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code and still was used in 1974; it was adopted as the international standard ISO 2108 in 1970. A similar, numeric identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines. Since January 1, 2007, ISBNs are of 13 digits."
Second, your book has to have it to be ordered through your Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, local bookstores, etc., but why are we talking about your book? This is about my book.
Third, 49. Some people think it's 47, but they are wrong.
Fourth, I don't know, but I'll vote for anyone who buys my book.
Will you marry me? (Tammy)
Are you rich? Will you allow me to never work again another day of my life?
Then, no, but get back to me if your financial status improves.
It's time to take your medication. Come along. (Dr. Shrink)
Is it the blue pill? I hope it's the blue pill. I quite like that one.
Tell the nice people that you'll see them later. (Dr. Shrink)
I'll see you later, nice people. I hope you have a good day.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Are there -- I may swoon right here -- bad words in MBDD?
Four. Actually only three since one is repeated. And only one is actually swearing. The others are simply vulgar but common, particularly at political conventions. Several of my proof readers pointed out that I mentioned characters swore but never wrote the words. They found it jarring and were also imagining harsher language that I think my characters would use. Some of my proofers need their minds washed out with soap.
Is there any hot, sweaty, mind-blowing, physical, oh yes, savage but loving sex in MBDD?
Uh, let me step away from you and answer that from over here. There was a bit of discussion about this very question from various readers. A couple of readers felt I was implying that sex had taken place. Others felt that sex wasn't implied and shouldn’t even be considered without a two-year marriage and then only for procreation. I'll leave it up to you to decide what actually happens those two nights. But I’m sure that two healthy young people would rather hold hands and talk about meaningful issues than engage in naughtiness.
Why isn't there graphic sex and violence in the book?
Okay, don’t make me get a restraining order. Stay over there! To answer your question, you sicko, it’s because I wrote it to be a "cozy" mystery. These mysteries feature amateur detectives and little or no violence and sex. They are not hard boiled, are often humorous, sometimes feature puzzles and riddles, and usually include a romantic subplot. These happen to be the mysteries I most enjoy. I’m bit of a prude. Where’s my shawl?
Why did you choose Lulu to publish the book?
Because there was once that comic book about plumb Little Lulu. She was hot. Also, I looked around, and Lulu was the only POD publisher that I could find that would allow me to publish the book without any payment on my part. I had also seen one of their books and thought it looked good. But most important was that my bank account is so empty that it actually –- like a black hole or a Congressional budget –- sucks money from surrounding accounts.
What is a POD publisher? Are they aliens from another galaxy?
No, you're thinking of POD people. They're aliens from other galaxy who are usually employed at the DMV. Print On Demand publishers print books as they are ordered, sometimes one at a time. But usually they print ten or more of the books and keep them in stock. This is a much, much, much lower inventory than a regular publisher. As a result, they don’t have to sell authors into slavery to pay their bills.
What is the difference between Lulu and a vanity press?
They’re spelled differently. Also, both produce self-published books, but vanity presses usually cost more, print copies for you to sell, design books covers, format the book, and offer publicity services, depending on the options you purchase from them. Lulu requires you do most of the publishing work yourself, but it's free. Lulu provides tons of help on their website and offer phone support, but you’re mostly on your own. Vanity presses have a bad reputation because many of them have body odor and promise publicity and sales services that don’t deliver the best sellers that their brochures imply. Also, because they publish everything that comes in with a signed check, critics and reviewers avoid the books published by them. However, there have been some huge POD and vanity successes. It seems to come down to the quality of the book and/or how hard the author works in selling the book.
Won’t MBDD suffer because it doesn’t have the publicity support of a traditional publisher?
Maybe, but since I don’t have any financial outgo -- besides an option I’m purchasing to receive an IBSN number and bar code -- it’s not as much of a concern as it would be for a person using a traditional vanity press who had to sell a kidney to pay the publishing bill.
Actually I meant the support that a traditional publisher supplies, not a vanity press, you elbow.
You mean those full page ads in the New York Times Book Review and appearances on the major talk shows? What planet are you living on, bucko? I regret to tell you that 95 percent of the authors never receive much sales support at all. I know an author who is currently publishing a fairly successful and well-written mystery series. Her publisher -- one of the big ones -- supplies a few press releases and buys small ads in a couple trade magazines. That’s all her sales justify in their opinion. Publishers increasingly expect authors to get out there and create their own audiences. I’m confident that I can give MBDD as much publicity or more than a lot of traditional authors receive. Elbow?
How will you do that?
We’ll pick that up tomorrow in the next installment, but it doesn’t involve goats or violence. At least, I don’t think it does. Yet. Because violence to goats is baaaaaad. And only you can prevent forest fires.
By the way, if you have any questions about MBDD that I’m not covering in exhausting, mind-numbing detail, please leave them in comments, and I’ll try to answer them before this series ends. Unless they're too personal, in which case, the answer is without feathers.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Why aren't you going with a traditional publisher?
Listen, children, to the sad tale of MBDD. I wrote MBDD nearly twenty-five years ago. I was younger, more energetic, and certainly more naïve. I wrote the book in Wordstar, used a "near letter perfect" dot matrix printer to print it, and sent it off.
The first publisher took six months to respond. It was a nice hand-written note suggesting that I try an editor at St. Martin's Press. I was disappointed that the first publisher didn't take it, but I knew that hand-written rejection slips were rare (I was reading Writers Digest by then) so I felt confident that it would be accepted by St. Martin's.
Off it went. And lo and behold, they accepted it! They sent me a contract to sign! I signed that baby and sent it off. After they signed it, I'd receive an advance check. Wow! I told everyone and their dogs -- and cats -- about it. Except ... the contract didn't get returned. I waited a month and then called, hoping that my call wouldn't make me look like an amateur. I was in for a rude shock. The editor that had accepted my book was no longer with St. Martin's. The editor that had taken her place hadn't read my book, but he promised to read it "soon" and get back with me.
Three months passed. I finally called again and asked the status of the book. He still hadn't read it. I asked if they were going to publish the book. He paused. And then said, "I'll let you know this week." And he did. My manuscript returned on a Friday with a nice letter that said they were trimming their mid-list mysteries. It was all strictly business. Also included was a small check for the "kill" fee, all specified in the contract that I had barely read. I didn't have a publisher anymore.
I dreaded having to tell everyone so I thought that I would submit the book quickly to other publishers and maybe sell it to them. Submission packets flew out of my house. I was desperate to sell the MBDD. But there were no takers. I got many printed rejection slips along with a couple more hand-written rejections. One rejection even suggested that I try the book with St. Martin's.
Of course, publishers take months to respond -- I think my shortest response time was three months -- and gradually I began to tell my family and friends what had happened to the first contract. I was having to eat my pride with a side dish of embarrassment, and it wasn't tasty.
I started to dislike the book. It had offered such hope at the beginning. To make things worse, while the book was being submitted, I had written two sequels to it: Murder by the Acre and Murder by the Mile. I had plans for a whole series. I stopped talking about the book and continued to quietly submit it to various publishers and agents and wait for an answer.
The submission process was long and discouraging. I'd find a publisher or agent in Writer's Market, send off the book or submission packet, wait months, then if I was lucky, I'd get a hand-written rejection note. If not, a pre-printed one. "Not for us." Folks, a hand-written rejection note may be a sop to the ego, but it's still rejection. I also became aware that my book wasn't being read in some instances. I estimate that half of the submission packets were never even opened. They were simply put back into the return envelopes and mailed back to me. (Three copies were returned still in the original boxes with the return postage still attached to the cover letter inside. The tape that sealed the box was still in place. I also received copies that had cola or coffee stains on them, crumpled copies, and once a copy that apparently someone had stepped on. My "favorite" was a title page that some editor had started writing a shopping list on. He or she had marked out what they wrote and then penned a brief "Sorry" beside their scribbles.)
All in all, MBDD received over 30 rejections from publishers and agents. By this time, I was using a friend's laser printer. I had updated the book, changed the book, rewrote the book twice, and frankly I was sick of the book. I hated the book.
Finally, I gathered up the books and all their materials and put them in a box and the box into the closet. I was done with writing novels. I wasn't good enough to be published. It about broke my heart, but there was also a release in giving the dream up. I wasn't a writer. Fine. I'd be something else.
However, I had continued to write poetry and humor during that time. I had several poems published. A friend of mine and I had written two one-act plays, and the plays were published. My writing received enough encouragement that it hung grimly on, lurking in the back of my mind. Slowly, I started to write again. Oh, not novels. I was done with that, but poems, plays, articles, and humor.
Somewhere in this, I ran across Forward Motion. I had previously joined a writing group on AOL, but it hadn't helped me much. At FM -- where I met the fabulous Holly Lisle, the charming Mama Rose, and the incredible Jean -- I found a group of supportive, intelligent, struggling writers. I devoured the site's forums. Slowly I let a few of the other writers there read my fiction. They liked it. Some of them really liked it.
It was enough to awaken the monster again. I threw myself into writing. Dragons Gather, Red Hot Sinner Man, Ice Cold Passion Princess, Tin Man Dark, Vampire Run, etc., I kept starting novels. I had suddenly had more ideas than I had time to write. The words flowed.
And on a whim, I pulled out MBDD. It had been over 15 years since I'd read it. Reading it after all that time was like rediscovering my youth. As I turned the pages, I remembered how much I had enjoyed writing it, how hopeful I had been. I found that I liked Bernard, Lisa, and the chief. I wanted other people to meet them. So I started posting it on my blog. And the nice response to it there made me think about how nice it would be to have their story in book form.
I know I will have to go through the traditional process with Darkness, Oklahoma and Dragons Gather and the other books. But MBDD has already suffered enough. It's time for it to be a book. Technology has made it possible for MBDD to finally achieve publication.
Admittedly, Lulu doesn't have the "bragging" rights that you receive from a traditional publisher. I know that many people will dismiss it because it was self-published. They're wrong because it's a good little cozy mystery (that has been read, edited, and vetted by many astute readers) but I'm not publishing it for them anyway. I'm doing it because 25 years ago, a young man put out a lot of effort and wrote a book without any support or encouragement, just his faith in his talent. This book is for him. He was naïve and ridiculously hopeful, but you know what, he was also pretty cool.
The answer to this question was long so we'll resume our Q&A tomorrow and talk about bad words, sex, Lulu, vanity publishers, etc., then.
Have a great day!
Monday, June 18, 2007
It rained here a lot! We have a leak in our roof at my office, and a ceiling tile collapsed and made a huge mess. I and my new secretary cleaned it up. We'll have to vacuum tomorrow. My new secretary, by the way, is doing a good job. She's still training, but so far, she's been a big help. It was so cool to move back into my office.
And that was my day. I hope you had a good day. I hope you have a great day tomorrow. Night.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Then Lulu will produce a copy for me to proof again. And then I either change the book or approve it. If I approve it, it should be available within a week or so. If I don't approve it and have to make changes, it will be another four to six weeks to get another proof copy. Four to six weeks after it's available on Lulu, it should be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.
I think I've told you all this before, but nothing much else is going on with me. I had a good day and a mostly good weekend. I will try to be more interesting in the future.
And now, good night. Have a great day tomorrow.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Hey, this is good news. Jean of Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer has agreed to give Murder by Dewey Decimal one final proof. This will let the edits and corrections I've made be checked one more time. I'm very pleased. Jean is well known for her sharp eye and intelligent analytical skills. I know MBDD is only going to be better for her assistance.
Of course, this means that MBDD won't go to Lulu this weekend, but I'm okay with that. I'd rather it be as polished as it can be. I'm eager to hold it in my hands, but I can wait. I'm hoping Jean will be able to read and proof it next week, and then, barring her finding something that requires extensive rewriting, I send it to Lulu next weekend. Then the book should be available from Lulu in July and at other sites (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.) in August. Then I start marketing it. However, that should mean that July will be open for me to spend lots of time in Darkness, Oklahoma. I'm looking forward to returning there.
For our Friday Snippet today, I thought we'd look at what happened after Stefan and Maladora made love. (See previous excerpt.) Stefan once again shows his almost magical talent for saying and doing the wrong thing. In his defense, he never wanted or expected to fall in love, but he is trying. Stefan, by the way, is one of the Dammed, a man who can sense the wild torrent of magick that fills the earth but can never wield it without dying. It is the torment of his life.
Excerpt from Dragons Gather
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
“So what does this mean?” she asked as she buttoned her dress.
“Mean?” I asked.
“I’ve ... I don’t know what this means,” she said, a sweep of her hand toward the ground on which we had made love. “Is this just another bedding? Two friends sharing their bodies?” She ran her fingers through her hair, trying to dislodge leaves.
“Can’t you read my mind?” I asked.
“I could,” she said. “But I try to not do that unless I am invited. Surface thoughts I can gain easily, but deeper ones take time.”
“I am not deep,” I said, trying to inject some lightness.
She looked at me. then continued to dress. “So … it is just that. Will you share this with Jacobi and the others? Should I expect them, also?”
“No,” I said. “Do not think such a --“
“Shellia told me that you were lovers once,” she said. “Now you and she are only friends. Are you to be only my friend, Stefean?”
“I do not understand where this is coming from, my lady,” I said slowly. “We made love. It was not a meaningless coupling. I care for you.” And that was true, I realized. I cared for a mind witch, but ... “We do not know each other well. This caring may grow. Or it may end as friends, and I value my friends deeply. I hope Shellia made that clear.”
She nodded. “She did. She thinks highly of you.”
I decided to question Shellia at the earliest opportunity on exactly what she said. “I think a lot of her, also, but she and I are better as friends than lovers.”
“I have not done this often. I do not know what the rules are,” she said, sounding embarrassed.
I took her in my arms. “I have not done this many times myself. And I do not think there are rules. We do the best we can. We care about each other as well as we can. We be as honest as we can.” I picked a few pieces of grass out of her hair. “We see how it unfolds.”
She took a deep breath and looked at me. Her eyes brimmed with tears.
“What troubles you?” I asked, at a loss.
She shook her head and turned away. “We should get back. The others will wonder.”
I took her hand. “Let them. I do not know what saddens you, but my lady, this was a special moment. Do not think that I am not valuing it and you. Look into my mind if you wish.”
“No, no, I do not need to do that,” she said. She walked away from me. “Let us return.”
So we walked back together. I didn’t understand, and she didn’t want to -- or couldn’t -- explain.
At the wagons, she let me kiss her, and then she went into her wagon. I watched her go and stood for a few moments, distressed at her distress.
I sought Shellia out the next morning. She was sewing red clay beads on a blue scarf.
“Could we talk?” I asked her.
She looked at me for a long moment and frowned. “I’m not the one you should be talking to.”
“I tried,” I said. “But she is avoiding me. I don’t know why.”
Shellia glanced around the camp. She drew me to the other side of her wagon.
“She says you know,” Shellia said in a low tone. “What she is.”
“Yes,” I said. “I remembered her.”
“How did you know?” I asked.
“At first I didn’t,” she said. “I knew she was a slave and she was trying to escape. So I helped her because of that. When she approached us on the way back to the wagons -–”
“She approached us?” I asked.
“Yes,” Shellia answered. “You were upset, wild. You told her to leave us alone. You threatened her. She clouded your mind so that she could talk to me.”
That part I didn’t recall, but I remembered it took a long time to get back to the wagons that terrible night.
“They killed everyone in Duntann,” I said.
“I know,” Shellia said. “She told me last night. It wasn’t her fault, but I don’t know if she believes that. She cried for a long time.”
“Why did you help her?” I asked.
She pursed her lips and turned her face to stare at the wagon. “My brother was sold into slavery to pay a gambling debt of my father. He was only a child. A beautiful child. He made some sort of mistake –- I never could find out what -– and he was beaten. His trice-dammed owner said he didn’t intend to kill him, but my brother died that night. The owner tried to get his money back. He said it had been a bad investment.” She spat on the ground. “While he was talking to my father -– while my father was offering me as a replacement slave -- I climbed out a window and ran away. I never went back.”
“It was a long time ago,” she said. “I don’t like slavery. I helped her. Hid her in my wagon until we could figure out how to get her into the circus.”
“How did you find out about her” -- I paused -- “gift?”
“She told me when we met, but I had already sensed it,” Shellia said.
“You had a Vision?”
“No, I sensed it.” She looked at me with a small grin.
“Oh, no,” she said, plainly enjoying my shock. “I have just a touch of it. Nothing like her. Occasional flashes.” Her face became still. “Just enough to make me miserable.” She grimaced. “But I am better. Maladora has helped me gain some control. She has a good heart, Stefean. It’s also a fragile heart. She has spent her whole life being a slave. She has never had a man that wasn’t chosen for her by her master.”
“Why would they do that to her?” I asked. “She is -- was a valuable slave.”
“To keep her in her place,” Shellia said. “It’s better if slaves don’t get too uppity. And some men collect women like butterflies. They want a new experience. She hasn’t talked about it much, but enough that I know she did not sleep with you lightly.” Shellia stared at me. “She has been hurt enough in her life, Stefean. I think she may be falling in love with you. How do you feel about her?”
“With my hands.” I winked at Shellia, the old joke of Jacobi’s coming readily to my lips..
She hit me in the arm.
I cut her off. “I don’t know how I feel about her, but I do like her. It’s just ... I don’t know. I have never really loved a woman. I never had a place in my heart for one.” I was veering into things I would rather not say. I shrugged. “She is a mind witch. I am a Dammed. If we could throw leprosy in there, we would have a full house of things people most fear.”
Shellia leaned against my shoulder. “I can tell you care for her deeply, Stefean. I wish you could have felt that way about me.” She considered and added, “I wish I could have felt that way about you.”
“So what do I do?” I asked.
“Be honest,” Shellia said. “Be different from most men and tell her how you feel. Don’t be afraid.” She looked to the woods.
“What?” I asked when she was silent for a few moments.
She jumped as if I had startled her. She smiled and grasped my arm. “Gods smile on you both,” she said. “She said she was going down to the river to collect more stones.” She pushed me along and returned to her sewing.
I followed a trail down to the river. I waved to two men in a boat. I saw her sitting under a tree. She was holding a stone in her hand.
She looked up at me as I approached. “I wish I had been here in spring,” she said. “It’s beautiful now, but I would have liked to have seen it then.”
“We travel this route twice a year,” I said. “We’ll be back to Gottehemeh in the spring.”
She looked at the black rock in her hand. “I won’t be with you.”
The words seemed to thunder.
“Why not?” I asked.
“You know why,” she said softly. “The longer I stay in Galekarn’s territory, the more chances I give the gods to have a laugh at my expense.”
“Perhaps,” I said slowly. “But would an escaped slave stay in the same region as her enslavement? Surely they expect you to make for the other territories or for the borders. Why would they look for you in a circus?”
“I thought of that,” she said. “But a chance encounter could betray me.” She dropped the stone. “A cook or another slave comes to my booth one afternoon. Soon after Dreadmen and wizardlings come. They take me. They burn the wagons, and they kill or enslave you all.” Her face was bleak. “I wish I could stay. These days have been the happiest I have ever known. You … Shellia, Jacobi, sweet Manjarous … even Kassler have given me a home. But I have to go. I can find a stagecoach from here to some other place. You will be safe then.”
Tears welled in her dark eyes. I touched her face.
“Stay for now,” I said. “In our route, we will leave Galekarn’s territory. You can make your decision then. Maybe his House will fall in a Mageswar. It happens. Or maybe the Emperor will free all the slaves. It could happen. Or perhaps the gods will come to earth and bring forth Verdana again. All things are possible. But only if you stay.”
She put her hand over mine and nestled her cheek against my palm.
“Stay with me,” I said quietly. “I am new to this feeling. It is different with you than any other woman. I will probably do many stupid things, and perhaps you have the right of it when you say that you would be safer and we would be safer if you left, but maybe not. So stay with me. Let me learn how to love you.”
I ran out of words. She sat still for a while, her body rigid like that of an animal sensing some unseen peril, and then she sighed and leaned against me. We stayed there watching the river until Shellia came to get us for the noon meal.
That night we slipped away from the wagons. I spread blankets, and we made love slowly, spending time on the curve of our bodies, the unexpected junctions of flesh. What can I tell you of making love to a mind witch? I felt what she felt. She felt what I felt. As our passion deepened, we felt each other feeling what the other felt. Words fail me in this. Strange at first, but never as offsetting as it might sound to one who has not experienced it. We learned instantly what prompted the most enjoyment from the other.
In this completeness, we could have given each other all we had to offer, but still I held back, kept secret that place where I held my bitterness at being Dammed. She could have easily forced her way in, but she did not, only circled around my heart, sending her love. I could sense her gentle disappointment and her resolve to give me time. How could I explain that while she was precious, my soul burned for the Magick? That there was something in me that love and passion couldn’t reach, couldn’t satisfy? How could she ever understand?
End excerpt. Copyright 2007. No copying or downloading without express written permission.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Here they are. The front and back covers of Murder by Dewey Decimal. You wouldn't think they would have taken me as long as they did to create. Obviously I am not a graphic designer. But I think they turned out okay. The blank space at the bottom of the back cover is where the ISBN number and bar code will go. I won't have that until Lulu assigns me one. I'm nervous about all this, but I'm trying to give my baby the best I can.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The final edit of MBDD continues. I'm slogging through it. I hope to be able to upload the book to Lulu this weekend. We'll see how many corrections, edits, and changes I do. It may need another read-through. Sigh. Hey, are there any of my readers who wield a sharp editing pencil? Besides those of you who have already been drafted into proofing the dang thing. I happen to know that one of my fairly regular readers has a good eye for that sort of thing, but I'm too embarrassed to ask her since I don't know her in RL. I'll just put this here and hope that she's willing and will volunteer ... Could I hint any louder? Without saying her name?
I need to do laundry, clean house, wash dishes, water my plants and flowers, pay bills, edit the book, restart my family newsletter, eat all my meals and snacks as per the diabetic diet, dust and vacuum the house, file, file, file, blog daily (something I've been slipping on and I apologize, but the diabetes meds seem to take all my get-up-and-go or maybe I'm lazy. No, it's the meds!) read and comment on my blogs of interest, work on the local theater group's patron drive (doing a little a day on it keeps it from being so overwhelming), finish the back cover of the book and try to figure out a way to add a drop of blood on the knife as per Kent's and Roen's suggestions, work on Twilight, relaunch Darkness, Oklahoma, and so on. My list is long and the spirit is willing, but my body wants a vacation. And it wants it now.
I got Rain's prizes from the June 2007 Giveaway ready to mail last night. She emailed me her snail mail address along with a lovely note of appreciation and support. Thanks, Rain! I'm not sure what the July Giveaway will be. I'm leaning toward the scripts for "Murder at the Witch's Cottage" and "Turnabout," but it might be something related to MBDD if the book comes out that month, which I'm hoping it will.
I had thought the July Giveaway might be some Holly Lisle books. Holly recently had a "Book Giveaway" on her site in which you paid shipping and handling and received a bunch of her books, but she had overwhelming response and ran out of boxes. So that's on hold for the time being. Maybe in August if I'm lucky enough to get a box of her books -- that I don't have, of course.
I'd like to introduce more of you to Holly's books. She's a fine wordsmith. Her books feature well drawn characters and intelligent, surprising plots. That's rare in this day and age. Holly founded the Forward Motion writing site, and while I don't participate there much anymore -- not because there's anything wrong with the site, but I made the dismaying discovery that I was quite willing to talk about writing rather than actually writing -- I appreciate the effort and work that went into its creation. Holly has given up the reins of Forward Motion, but she still drops by there sometimes.
Besides her amazing fiction, Holly has produced a series of writing books, also using Lulu. These are loaded with great advice and sensible, concrete suggestions and methods of improving your fiction writing skills. You can find them at Lulu.com or at Holly's site as an ebook. If you want to write, you owe it to yourself and your future career to read them at least once.
And that concludes our advertising portion of the blog. Thank you for your attention.
Commas have always confused me. In editing Murder by Dewey Decimal, that fact was brought anew to my attention. I have the basic rules down, I think, but fumble frequently when things get complicated. Here's a question for you: Would it be correct to write "Now, back to our show" or should it be "Now back to our show"? What do you think?
I wish I could go back to bed now, but unfortunately I have to get ready for work. Sigh. Why is it that I can't sleep at night, but come morning, I'm ready to go to bed? There's something wrong in that.
And now I have to go. Have a great day. Or not depending on what you prefer. It's all about making you happy, you know.
Monday, June 11, 2007
And the winner is ... RAIN of Rainy Day Wonderings! Rain, email your snail mail address to me, and your prizes will be on their way.
Tonight and the rest of this week, I will be doing the FINAL polish edit on Murder By Dewey Decimal. I'm reaching the point where I think I just might HATE that book. Okay, no, I still like it, but man oh man, this is a lot of work. This is a good point to thank Frenzied Feline who also sent me corrections. She found several errors that the other proofreaders didn't. Good job, FF!
We finally hired a new customer service representative at my work. I'm hoping that, after she gets trained, work won't be as stressful as it is now. I know that part of the problem with my blood sugar is that stress keeps the levels high. So far, diabetes is winning its contest with me, but the war has just started. I want to get to the point where I don't feel so crappy all the time. I'd like my energy back. If I follow my diet, exercise, and take my meds, I think I will achieve it.
Not much else to tell you. It was hot and muggy here today. I thought it was going to rain -- and we need more rain -- but it didn't. So I think I'll close now. You have a great night and a great tomorrow.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Here Mikey is with early birthday cake on his face. His little friend Preston decided they would all look better with cake on their faces.
Mikey's Papa, Mikey's Uncle T & Mikey. Notice Mikey's cool Teen Titans cap. He likes it a lot.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Thursday, June 07, 2007
We are never going to advance as a people if someone doesn't invent a way to reach through the phone and strangle a person. Not just any person, either. One of my particularly vicious customers who cussed me out yesterday and then demanded an apology from me for making her so mad that she swore. She needs a good strangling, and I need to give her one, but technology simply hasn't advanced that far. Yet.
Did you enter the June 2007 Giveaway? Win free stuff! See rules and info here and vote on your favorite cover for Murder by Dewey Decimal here.
Speaking of MBDD, you are aware that I intended to spend the weekend on doing the final polish edit for it. My plan was to submit the book to Lulu on Saturday or on Sunday at the very latest. That has changed. Mikey is coming to stay this weekend! I'm delighted that he is, but that means the MBDD polish edit will have to postponed. It's impossible to work on the computer when he is here as he wants my total attention and I want to give it to him. Unfortunately this means I probably won't have a book in my hands until early July, but hey, that's my birthday month so it can just be a birthday gift for me.
Mikey won't arrive until Friday night so I'll have tonight and Sunday night to work on it. I don't expect it to be done by that time because I'm going to be going slowly and carefully. This is my last chance to catch any errors.
And this is a good point to thank my roomie, Crystal and Frenzied Feline for proof-reading MBDD. They all caught errors that I missed on my first read-though. I dedicated the book to them as well as my other readers on this blog who have encouraged me in producing it. (Note: I'm using your screen names in the dedication unless you've emailed me and told me to use your real name as some of you have already done. If you'd like your real name used, please let me know ASAP.)
Frenzied Feline asked about purchasing an autographed copy. Unfortunately there's no way to do that if you order through Lulu, Amazon or B&N, but I have decided to produce autographed book plates for each purchaser. (A book plate is basically a large, decorated sticker that I sign and personalize to you and that you stick in the front of the book.) I'll mail one to anyone who purchases one of the books and emails me his/her snail mail address.
This is assuming, of course, that someone somewhere for some reason purchases the book. I'd like to think that will happen. My goal is to sell 100 books. I think that would be cool. Yeah, I know that's not a lot, but let's see how hard that is. If I reach it easily -- unlikely but possible considering the number of family and friends I have -- then I might raise the goal a bit, but I have to remember that I primarily produced this book for me. Any purchased copies are gravy. Delicious, soul-warming gravy that I'd like to fill a swimming pool with. But gravy nonetheless.
Michelle at Soul Patches finally -- FINALLY -- posted again today. Whew. I was glad to see it.
Trixie at Trixie's Home hasn't let us know yet how her new job is going. I'm agog with interest. I hope she can post soon.
Jean at Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer has been posting snippets of her novel in progress. I'm very curious about how the story of Cole, Nikki and Jeff unfolds. I hope she shares more soon.
Erudite Redneck continues to keep the pot stirred with his posts on political and religious issues. He hardly drops by here any at all; I guess the calm waters bored him. Of course, he's been missing the references to himself, too.
Joel (Words, Weights, Whatever) posted a darkly funny story about Pokemon. That's right, Pokemon. Check it out. You'll look at Pikachu differently after reading it.
Some cliff swallows have made their home at Frenzied Feline's home. You'd think they'd be more careful around cats.
Rain at Rainy Day Wonderings shared an fascinating video from YouTube, which features Women In Art. Beautiful and worth viewing.
And now it's time to get ready for work. Have a great day. One of us should.
Monday, June 04, 2007
It's time for the June 2007 Giveaway! This month, you could win (1) a copy of my poetry chapbook 'Passion,' (2) a script for Del Shores's play 'Daddy's Dyin' Who's Got The Will,' and (3) a rehearsal script for my play 'Murder at the Witch's Cottage.'
And how do you win these goodies? Just by going to this post and voting once for your favorite cover for my forthcoming book Murder by Dewey Decimal. From the voting entries, I'll draw one winner on Monday, June 11. How simple is that! This contest is open to everyone, including previous winners.
Speaking of former posts, this one contains an informative comment by TL concerning the war in Iraq. I think you might find it interesting.
Crystal is now on Chapter 5 in her proofing of Murder by Dewey Decimal. I'm very excited about seeing it in book form. Frenzied Feline is also proofing it, but I don't know how far along she is yet. Updates when I'm updated.
And now a meme from Jean's blog. The songs don't answer the questions for the most part, but it does give you a sampling of my varied musical tastes.
The IPOD Meme
1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it doesn’t make sense. NO CHEATING!
How do you feel today?
Dancing Shoes by Dan Fogelberg
What’s your outlook on life?
Trouble by Pink
What does your family think of you?
Water into Wine by Patty Loveless
What do your friends think of you?
Long Long Time by Guy Forsyth
What do your exes think of you?
Under My Skin by Aerosmith
How’s your love life?
Can't Buy Me Love by Michael Buble
How will your love life be in the future?
Take Me Or Leave Me from the Rent Soundtrack
Will you get married?
Lost Angeles by Dizzy X
Were you good at school?
Pink by Aerosmith
Will you be successful?
What The World Needs Now by The Carpenters
What song should they play on your birthday?
There For Me by Josh Groban
What song should they play at your graduation?
I Will Find You by Clannad
The Soundtrack of your life?
Amazing by Aerosmith
You and your best friends are?
I'm With You by Avril Lavigne
Something in You by Orange Peels
Nights Are Forever With You by England Dan and John Ford Coley
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin
Moonlight Feels Right by Starbuck
Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright
What does next year have in store for me?
Feeling Good by Michael Buble
What do I say when life gets too hard?
The Best is Yet to Come by Avery Brooks (From the Deep Space Nine series finale)
What song will I dance to at my wedding?
Janie's Got a Gun by Aerosmith
What do you want as your career?
Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd
Your favorite saying?
The Impression I Get by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones
How will I die?
Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler and Meatloaf
And now it's time to get ready for work. Have a great day. No, I insist!
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Crystal continues to make her way through her proofreading of MBDD. (She's on page 50.) She's in the middle of getting her newly purchased house ready to move into, so I appreciate her taking the time to proof MBDD when she has so much on her plate already.
The formatting is completed. I still have to create a back cover. I'm working on writing the copy for the back cover. Wish I knew an author well enough that I could beg him/her into giving me a quote for the back, but I don't. It will be okay without one. Maybe I can get one for the next book in the series Murder by the Acre, from which I will begin excerpting soon.
Friday, June 01, 2007
So how are the formatting, editing, and publishing of Murder by Dewey Decimal coming? you ask. The formatting is mostly done. The editing is awaiting the corrections from my good friend Crystal. (She sent Chapter 1 this morning. Only nine more to go.) Then it will go to Frenzied Feline for one final correction read. Then I'll do more one read myself. Then the final formatting. After that, off it and its covers go off to Lulu.com for publishing. Supposedly 10 to 15 days after that, the book will be ready for ordering. I'll order a copy to check it before I open the ordering to the public. I know thousands and thousands of people are desperately wanting to purchase it, but can't yet because (A) it's not published and (B) they've never heard of it or me. Details, details …
I have decided to purchase the "Global Distribution Package" from Lulu. All that does is make it possible for people to order it from Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and their local bookstores. I wasn't going to do that, but my sister pointed out that a lot of my extended family didn't have the Net or computers, but they could go to the local bookstore and order the book. If they do, of course.
Anyway, that's all the news on that. I don't really have any plans for this weekend other than housework. I have a lot of paperwork and filing to do, and I need to gather all the material for Darkness, Oklahoma and put in one file so that I can start writing on it. I have scenes and notes jotted down in various notebooks, and I'd like to have them all in one place so that I don’t waste so much time searching. And of course, laundry.
My yard needs work, but it's too muddy to do much. I'd like to make it by a garden center and pick up some potted flowers for my front porch. I just have empty pots there now. It depends on what the weather's like. It's cloudy today, and we're supposed to get more rain. I love all the green in the landscape. It's been a few years since we've had this much rain. It's nice to see all the vegetation and trees in full growth.
My friend TL is interested in Dragons Gather. Unfortunately, DG is not scheduled to be completed until this winter, but for Friday Snippets, here's an excerpt from it. Our hero has discovered that a woman to whom he is attracted is indirectly responsible for the deaths of an entire village.
From Dragons Gather
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Ireached the camp, my pulse pounding in my head. Feathen was mending a harness and waved to me. I ignored him. Kassler watched from his wagon. Maladora was not in the women's wagon, but Shellia was.
Shellia looked at me and gasped. “What’s happened?”
“Where is she?” I snapped.
“I … she … Stefean, you need--“
“WHERE IS SHE?” I yelled, stepping toward Shellia.
She stumbled back. “She went for a walk. Toward the river. You must listen to me!”
But I was already heading into the forest. The path to the river was easy to follow even in my state. I saw a glimpse of her gown through the brush. I strode to her, my anger overcoming fear. She was sipping a cup of mulled wine as she walked under the oak trees. She smiled at me at first and then frowned as she registered the state I was in.
"What’s wrong?" she asked.
“I was in a tavern, my lady,” I said, breathing like I was in a race. “You hear such interesting things in a tavern. Rumors, stories, truths, you hear everything.” I placed a hand on a tree to steady myself.
“Stefean, what’s wrong?” she said, taking a step toward me.
“Duntann,” I choked out. “They killed everyone.”
“What?” she whispered.
“They. Killed. Everyone!" I ground out.
“Oh, gods, no,” she whispered.
“They died because a wizardling was killed there,” I said. “I killed him. I killed him because you used your witchery on me!”
She was silent.
“Yes, I know,” I rasped. “I know you are a mind witch. I know what you did in Duntann. I’ve known all along.”
“Stefean.” But she did not continue.
“What will you do now, my lady witch?” I asked harshly. “Will you take my memory? If so, then hurry because I do not want to remember this!”
“It’s ... it’s not your fault,” she said.
“Then it must be yours!” I hurled my accusation at her.
“No, no, it’s not our fault,” she said. “The Dreadmen--”
“They crucified the villagers,” I said. “They hung them upside down on trees and left them to die. Then they burned the fields and forests. Galekarn decided to make an example of them. They murdered everyone to the last man, woman, and child.” I pointed at her. “You killed them.”
“The Dreadmen killed them,” she said unsteadily. “I am not responsible for their actions.”
“A pretty argument, my lady, “ I mocked. “Should we have a soothsayer hold a séance and let you communicate that to the shades of the dead? I wonder how they would feel about it.”
She threw her cup at me and missed. “What do you want of me?” she yelled. “To feel guilt? I do. To be a slave again? I will never do that!” She brought up a fist. “They held me. They crushed me. It isn’t my fault I was a slave!”
“You made me kill!” I shouted.
“It was already in you!” she shouted back. “It was in all of them. All that hate and fear. I could feel it. So much hate and fear. I only released it.”
“Is that your justification? My gods, those people would have never acted on those feelings. I would have never acted on them. You used your power on me. On those poor, dead villagers. On Shellia--“
“No, not her,” Maladora cut in. “Shellia helped me willingly. You don’t know her. You don’t know what is in her heart. You don’t know what she believes--“
“And you do?!” I yelled. “And knowing her heart”--I spat the word--“gives you the right to risk her life? Do you know what the Dreadmen will do to her if they catch us? Do you?”
Her voice was small. “Yes, I do.” She looked at the ground. “I do.”
I stopped, horribly aware of how much I didn’t know of her life, of what she had endured as a slave to the wizard. In the quiet, I felt ashamed. My anger faded away. I watched her lovely, still hands. Her hair glinted in the sunlight.
“If there had been any other way …” she said softly. “I had waited so long for a chance. I took it. I didn’t think … I didn’t want anyone to be hurt. I was afraid of returning to the capital. This was my only chance. The other mind adepts were becoming suspicious of me. I was afraid I would lose the little freedom I had.” Tears ran down her face. “But I did not want others to be hurt. I was only trying to escape. That’s all. I didn’t think they would all be killed. I would have died myself before I would have let that happen, but I didn’t know.” She collapsed to her knees. She wept silently as I stood there.
“I’m sorry.” I said finally. “You couldn’t have known.”
I stepped toward her. I couldn’t catch my breath.
Her emerald eyes met mine.
I grabbed her arms and raised her up. My world narrowed to her face. The world faded into silence.
Her eyes were wide and fearful and full of longing. “If you kiss me, how will you know if it is what you want or what I want?” she whispered.
“My lady,” I said deliberately, “I don’t care.”
I kissed her cold lips. She was shaking. She pulled away and lowered her head.
“I will stop if you want me to stop,” I said softly. “Only you must tell me to stop.”
She lifted her tear-stained face up to me. “Kiss me,” she whispered.
I kissed her gently and then with more urgency, matched by her own. We fell against each other, hungry, savage. Her mind reached out to mine. I nearly pulled away, but her touch was gentle, an invitation. I gave myself over to it. We were lost together, sharing each other’s pleasure and pain, loss and hope.
When it was over, we huddled together on the ground on the imperfect bed of our clothes. She held my hand over her breast. I nuzzled in her hair. I was content, but I wanted more of her. I would never have my fill of her. A doubt surfaced. Was she using her witchery on me? Was this passion real? I considered the thought, turning it around to examine its sides, and then I put it down and never took it back up.
End excerpt. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. No copying or downloading without express written permission.