Monday, March 28, 2011

Can we combine them?

That is exactly what Judi Phillips did.  

Thank you, Judi, for taking the time to give us a little insight on how you came up with your world and your ghosts.

Thanks, Evelyn, for inviting me to your blog.

I love writing paranormal and time travel and enjoy reading science fiction.  It occurred to me a while ago that I might be able to combine time travel with sci fi.  And that lead to the creation of my planet, Lunalayah, a planet having two moons that rise on opposites of the horizon once a year.

But the most fun about creating it was enlisting the assistance of my No. 2 son, who has a masters in linguistics.  He and I brainstormed names and words used in the story.  I also wanted a setting that wasn't the traditional medieval, but not so different that readers couldn't recognize.  Since my other son lives in North Africa and I've visited there several times, I thought it would be interesting to have the culture of Lunalayah be a blend of medieval and Arabic.  I am currently polishing Two Moons Rising and plan to pitch it to an editor at the NEC conference next month.

On the paranormal front, Ghost of a Chance is currently have a book available from The Wild Rose Press.  It all started years ago when a friend mentioned her house was haunted.  But when her twins were born, apparently Ms. Ghost didn't like all the racket and left.  I also knew about several other haunted houses.  So, of course, I began to wonder what if . . .

Now, what kind of ghost story to write?  I didn't want the hero or heroine to be the ghost.  I wasn't sure I believed the ghost could come back to life.

But, what if a logical engineer type bought a haunted house?  And needed an interior decorator type and hired a woman reluctant to acknowledge her intuitive abilities.  And their daughters decided to do a bit of matchmaking.  And the ghost was a mischievous little boy.  And there were interfering mothers, too.  All combining to tell a funny, touching story.

Here's where you can find Judi on the Web:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Half of this, Half of That

Today I have the privilege of having Maureen O. Betita as my guest speaker.

Thank you so much Maureen for taking time from you busy schedule to tell us about your world.

I love to build worlds. I can’t say I’m an expert at it, but I love to play the great creator and dally with this or that. I’m not big on rules but since the majority of my world building starts in a dream, I tend to let the rules settle in as I meander.

For example, the world of the Kraken’s Caribbean, the setting of The Kraken’s Mirror, is partly the result of chatting at a blog I’m part of, The Romance Writers Revenge and partly came from my back to back to back to back reading of every Nightside novel by Simon R. Green. That is a man who knows how to spin a tale and create convoluted worlds that dance on the head of a pin - or pen, if you would.

The Revenge blog models itself as the writer’s version of Pirates of the Caribbean and the crew are all writers. After numerous discussions regarding historical accuracy in writing, flying by the seat of your pants, a list of why I shouldn’t do this or that and can’t do something else…I had to fire back. And sat down to write a story set in a Caribbean with a different set of rules, totally turning my back on historical accuracy of any sort.

Blending in the total everything and the kitchen sink, shower, tub and outdoor faucets technique from Nightside I came up with the Kraken’s Caribbean. He’s in charge, he’s the guardian…he may not be a he, I haven’t decided yet…and tossed in a modern woman who is convinced she’d gone insane when she lands in this world. Include a pirate cursed with good luck, a kraken who likes to play cupid, an evil sorceress, ipods, blenders, microwaves…and we’re off on a rollicking romantic adventure with pirates in - loosely - 1690!

It’s the first of what I see as three books, all set in this world. I did come up with a few fairly iron-clad rules. Inhabitants born to the Krakens Caribbean can’t travel to other worlds or times. Though technology can travel through the portals, weapons of mass destruction can’t. (No machine guns, ray guns, explosives – though I do make one exception eventually.)

So, how did I build this world? Flying blind and wielding a determination to have fun. I needed a way for Emily to arrive, so I gave the world portals. I needed a reason for the technology to work so I answer all of that in the second book. I needed a rational for why the place hadn’t been overrun by machine gun hauling travelers, or space aliens with ray guns…so I made the Kraken the guardian of the portals and of the Caribbean in general and he says no advanced weapons. He/she is also a romantic.

The Kraken’s Caribbean, from Decadent Publishing. It’s wild, it’s romantic, it’s a blast.

For me, this is the norm. I decide what I want to include and then establish the rules as I go. Or decide to have no rules.

With my two scifi erotic novellas I wanted something a little different. I stripped technology from the human colonies and left it in the hands of aliens who saw themselves as caretakers of the human colonies they’d found.

And they want to see the humans grow, intellectually, socially, sexually… They teach them, take them under their wings and educate them to assist each other. They are commerce minded, the Etwa, but also extremely aware of how commerce and technology can be turned to nefarious purpose. So they moderate, act as a sort of overseer. They don’t actually punish or set laws, but they are there on every human colony and it only through their ships that trade and commerce between these colonies exist.

I really liked this idea. So, I had to come up with some reason for the colonies to be out there, on the fringes of space and gone so long that earth is just a faint memory. Why did the technology that transported them fail? How did they lose their space travel abilities? And why are they so different?

Yes, some of the colonies are more advanced than others. Some are very patriarchal, some matriarchal, some have more interaction with the Etwan, some have almost none. Some are religious, some are logical.

For me, the building of this universe comes about through a series of questions I have to answer. I seldom answer all of the most important questions in the first story. Or the next. But eventually I put it all together.

The Ship’s Mistress and The Sister’s Story/Sari’s Search are novellas. And the words limited how much I could show regarding the Etwan Confederacy. But! This leaves me room to expand and release more stories about the colonies, the Etwa, including one I’m working on right now that is a prequel, which sets it all up.

One thing I really enjoyed about creating this world is the sensual aspects. To consider how human sexuality might evolve, how aliens might influence this. (And they are humanoid aliens, so it isn’t too kinky!) I also enjoy dickering with words and concepts, consider how they could change. Words evolve as much as anything else. What is a common word becomes a curse word becomes a word denoting value.

The Ship’s Mistress, available now from Decadent publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Smashwords and other outlets. The Sister’s Story/Sari’s Search, out March 25th.

I’m Maureen O. Betita and I write adventure for the experienced individual. Seasoning everything I write with life and pushing it to the edge. I can be contacted through my website, or my blog, I also blog regularly at www.romancewritersrevenge as 2nd Chance and I’m often at A Daily Dose of Decadence

Thank you, Evelyn, for allowing me to guest on your blog!

Questions, anyone?

Coming Soon

 Tuesday's Guest Speaker will be Judi Phillips.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Evolution of the Paladins

Today we have the privilege of hearing how Alexis Morgan came up with the Paladins.

Thank you so much Alexis for taking the time to guest blog for me.

I’ve been living with the Paladins as part of my life for the better part of six years now.  Looking back, I can still remember the first stirrings of the ideas that led me to meeting my first Paladin hero, Devlin Bane. 

At the time, I was still writing American West historicals.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the kind of hero who was willing to risk everything to protect those he cares about—marshals, sheriffs, gunslingers with a heart of gold, and even Civil War soldiers. You get the idea.

But suddenly I found myself thinking about a modern day warrior. For some inexplicable reason, I kept seeing him carrying a sword rather than any kind of modern day weapon. That was intriguing enough, but somehow I knew—just KNEW—that the battle he waged was always fought in the darkness.

Now darkness can be literal—maybe his enemies only come out at night. That’s true of a lot of paranormal heroes and villains.  However, darkness can also carry the connotation of secrecy.  That felt right to me. My new hero fought a secret war using ancient weapons to keep those of us who live in the light—or in the open—safe from harm.  I called them Paladins because this new kind of warrior served a noble cause as did the knights of old. 

From there, I decided the secret enemy was not of this world, that there was a barrier between our world and theirs. Hence the secrecy of the war. Imagine the panic if people found out that we were under the constant threat of invasion by aliens who were out of their heads with the need to kill? What’s more, that only a handful of brave men had the ability to prevent a steady influx of crazies called Others into our world. What made the Paladins uniquely able to fight the Others? Good question. It’s because the Paladins shared some of the same DNA as their enemies. 

To be fair, I thought these heroes deserved to have a few extra tools in their arsenals beyond their swords, a gift from that alien DNA. They have enhanced senses, superior strength, speed, and the ability to heal much faster than regular humans.  Oh, yeah, there was one more thing—they can die and come back from it. Cool beans, huh? But the downside is, no one knows how many times each Paladin can make the long journey back to the living before he’s used up all his chances.

I started off with five Paladins, but others have introduced themselves along the way, not to mention the surprise of having a few of their sworn enemies becoming heroes who demanded their own books as well.  The next two installments in my Paladin world will be out in May and June.  The first, Bound by Darkness, has a Kalith warrior, Larem q’Jones as the hero.  The second one, The Darkness Beyond, is about Paladin D.J. Clayborne.  Both of these heroes were extra special for me, and I hope my readers feel like I’ve done their stories justice.

Visit Alexis 

Don't miss Alexis's newest Paladin Books 



Check out her other series: The Talions, and her vampires: eHarlequin Nocturne Bites (ebooks)

Now we are going to the world beyond!

I would like to expand the blog into some new worlds that authors have created. Depending on how many authors decide to send me blogs will determine how long this section will run.

Tomorrow my guest blogger will be Alexis Morgan, as she tells us how the concept of her Paladins came to be. In a sense she is both the last of my neighbor blog and the first of my other world blog.

Hope you enjoy. See you all tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Talk about mixed up!

Today we get to have fun with my guest blogger Danica Avet. She likes to put a little spice in your life, Cajun style.

Thank you so much Danica for taking time out from your writing to share with us. 

Succubus: In folklore traced back to medieval legend, a succubus (plural succubi) is a female demon appearing in dreams who takes the form of a human woman in order to seduce men, usually through sexual intercourse. The male counterpart is the incubus. Religious traditions hold that repeated intercourse with a succubus may result in the deterioration of health or even death. (Wikipedia)

When I started world building for my Veil series, I threw in every single race from games I’ve played, books I’ve read, and things that I found myself interested in. As a result, the Veil is populated by vampires, werefolk, demons, angels, succubi, incubi, dwarves, Amazons, and everything in between. 

Then came the actual writing. I looked over all of the races and my eyes stopped on the succubus. As you can see by the definition above, they weren’t considered benign women. I suppose this has a lot to do with historical man’s fear of a woman’s power and I decided then and there that I had to write a book about a succubus. I like taking creatures of myth and legend and tweaking them. Why should a succubus be a demonic female? Oh, sure, she still has to feed off of male lust, but why couldn’t she take just enough to survive? Once I had that idea, I had to go further because my heroine couldn’t be just any succubus; she had to be different. I’m a big fan of different.

Piper Foxgrove isn’t just a succubus, she’s also part weretiger. In the world I built, succubi can only have succubi daughters. Any sons they have would be the same as the father’s race. So how did Piper end up both? Well, that’s a genetic mystery, but I knew she was going to be more than special. She wasn’t just going to be an anomaly in the Veil; she was also going to be an anomaly in her family. How? Well, unlike her mother and sisters who are full-blooded succubi, Piper wants to save her virginity for a man who’ll become her mate. Yes! She’s an old-fashioned girl who wants courtship, love, children, and that white picket fence. 

I liked the idea of taking the big, bad supernatural wanton and making her a shy virgin who wants to fall in love to the exasperation of her family. Piper was a lot of fun for me to write and I hope she’ll be a lot of fun to read as well.

How about you? What’s your favorite supernatural/mythological creature and how would you change them if you were writing about them? I’ll be giving away a prize, so be sure to comment!

Visit Danica at:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today I am deviating from my regular blog to wish you all a HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY.

Being Irish, I could not let the day pass and not talk about the myths of Ireland.

So, let see now. I think we will start with the Leprechaun:      

Leprechauns are the most well-known elves of Ireland, they live in the large grassy hills, wild areas and in the forests. The leprechaun is an ugly little creature with pointed ears and is about two to three feet tall. Not like the pictures we use to portray them.  They avoid contact with humans or any other leprechauns or fairies. He lives alone and puts all of his energy into his passion of shoemaking, as he is well known as a fairy shoemaker. Because they are a kind of faerie, leprechauns are often invisible. Most of the time a leprechaun can  be found with a shoe in one hand and a hammer in the other,  he also is quite fond of a smoke from his tobacco filled foul smelling clay pipe which is never too far away from his reach.

The name leprechaun may have derived from the Irish leath brogan-meaning shoemaker. The ancient origins of what we know today as the leprechaun was a Cletic god named Lugh, pronounced "Luck". Lugh was the great Sun God of the Irish and Celts, patron of Arts and Crafts, leader of the Tuatha de Danann.
Due to the leprechaun’s thrifty nature, they are trusted to guard faerie treasures and hide their pots of gold very carefully. 

According to legend, If caught by a mortal, he will promise great wealth if allowed to go free. He carries two leather pouches. In one, there is a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it is paid out. In the other, he carries a gold coin that he uses to try and bribe his way out of difficult situations. This coin usually turns to leaves or ashes once the leprechaun has parted with it. However, you must never take your eye off him, for he can vanish in an instant. 

How about that pot of gold?
If you see a rainbow and you find it’s end you will find the faerie pot of gold. Of course that only applies to those who live in Ireland.

Another symbol of the Irish and St Patrick’s Day is the Shamrock:   

The Shamrock is believed to bring good luck. It was originally known as the seamrog, or summer plant, in the Irish language.

The ancient Druids in Ireland revered the plant for the secret meaning in its three leaves. The Christian belief is the shamrock represents the Holy Trinity. This powerful symbol will never cease to symbolize Ireland, and the purity and commitment by Saint Patrick to spreading the word of God throughout the country.
Three is Ireland's magic number. Hence the Shamrock. Crone, Mother and Virgin. Love, Valour and Wit. Faith, Hope and Charity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Numbers played an important role in Celtic symbolism.
Often, the Shamrock is confused with the four-leaf clover, which also is prevalent in Irish lore: but they are not the same, although some say the forth leaf is for luck.

Lastly, I will leave you with the Banshee:

The word Banshee comes for Bean-Sidhe, meaning woman of the faerie or faerie mounds. She was appointed to forewarn members of certain ancient Irish families of their time of death. According to tradition, the banshee can only cry for five major Irish families: the O'Neills, the O'Briens, the O'Connors, the O'Gradys and the Kavanaghs. Others say it was the families whose names began with O, Mac or Mc.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another kind of Vampire?

Are they vampires or demons, neither or both? 

That depends on who is talking about them. So what are they?

They are the incorporeal sexual energy feeders know as Incubi and Succubi. 

The term succubus is believed to have its origins from the later Latin word succuba meaning prostitute, which in turn comes from Medieval Latin sub cubaire meaning ‘that which lies beneath’. The incubus from Latin – ‘that which lies above’. Some sources claim the succubus and incubus are on in the same and can change for at will to prey on their victims. 

In medieval lore, a succubus was a female demon that would lay with men to steal their seed. This was the explanation given for night arousal and wet dreams. Then the incubus, the male demon would pass along the stolen seed to unknowing women. A viable excuse used by unwed women or women cheating on their husbands, who turned up pregnant. 

As the legend states, they come to you in your dream-state and drain you of energy using sexual dreams. However, they have been known to enter the wake realm tempting mortals through lust. In either case if the encounter last for too long, the victim usually dies. 

In later stories, especially in contemporary horror writing, both are given hypnotic powers that would give them the ability to command and compel members of the opposite sex. 

So on those mornings you wake up wondering why you are so tired even though you got plenty of sleep, maybe you had an unwanted visitor. 

Could your neighbor be an energy vampire?

Stop by Friday when Danica Avert tells us about Piper.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dragon on the Line Between Love and Death

Today my guest blogger is fellow East Texas author, Don Martinez.

Thanks Don for taking the time to give us a little insight on Ariel.

            So the question is presented to me, what inspires my dragon creation?  There’s a lot of elements which went into her, but I think a lot of her genesis comes from people around me, my own experiences, and a deep-seated urge to screw with everything you “normally” associate with dragons.
            Allow me to back up a bit.  My dragon is now the star of her own book, Dinétah Dragon, which details her entire life story.  Unusual for a dragon to have a memoir, I know, but the key to my dragon is that she hasn’t always been a dragon.  Or a fantasy character.
            All right, backing up one more. Let me introduce you to Ariel Vibria, my dragon.
            Ariel is a dragon with a bit of an unusual element, in that she’s a woman who grows into a dragon.  She came originally as a character I created as a teenager, when I was into superhero comics and thought up a character that would grow into a dragon as her power, kind of like the Hulk.  To make this character deeper, I created my dragon as female, in particular a teenage girl.  (Imagine the kind of social issues that kind of power would cause a girl in high school!)

            Fast-forward a few years.  It’s September 12, 2001.  Inspired by the news coverage of the infamous terror attacks, I got inspired to write a screenplay, which would involve fantasy characters in the CIA.  My dragon character came back, demanding that she be included in the story: I obliged her, mainly because she would create an interesting dynamic with another character, a paladin knight.
I made them lovers.  There’s a twist.
Eventually, she evolved into how she exists today in Dinétah Dragon.  She’s depressive, she’s been through hell and heaven (sometimes all at once), she’s tragic and inspirational all at once. And, not least of her qualities, she’s a helluva lot of fun to write.
One of my initial rules on any kind of fantasy character is that any kind of power they hold must come with a heavy price: otherwise, everybody would want to have the powers.  In Ariel’s case, it turns her into what she deems a freak, leaving her with green scaly flesh, fins, and one red eye all the time.  When she’s agitated, or in danger, she grows into a full-size dragon and becomes a real tough customer.
Another rule I have is that they must have a realistic personality.  Ariel is no different: she’s shy, she’s withdrawn, she’s been emotionally isolated her whole life.  Her mental condition is kind of fragile, so much so that she’s been suicidal at times.  She’s also capable of a lot of love, and gains the opportunity to show that love.
Another rule I have for my fantasy characters is that they need to be plausible.  I know, that sounds pretty odd when you’re talking dragons, but it’s a hard-and-fast rule I insist on.  Ariel’s dragon veers a bit into biology, because I wanted her to have a first-hand experience in how dragon biology works … an explanation for where her wings go when she flies (sucked into her back), where the fire she breathes comes from (not necessarily breathed as much as vomited), and so on.  There also had to be some way for her to become a dragon, for her to actually have the dragon merge with her, and while I never really came up with a scientific explanation I think it works: keeps a little bit of wonder in my fantasy if some things go unexplained, after all.
There are times when Ariel is my wife, strong and independent.  There are times when Ariel is a teenage me, insecure and shy. There are times when Ariel is a complete speculation.  These qualities wind up combining into the complex character Ariel is.  She’s a lot more than your traditional dragons; more than a beast and more than a woman.


Visit Don at:

Stop by Wednesday, we will be taking a look at another type of vampire.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Do you like your dragons evil?

Today's guest speaker is award winning author, Jane Toombs.
Thank you Jane for taking the time to blog for me.

The first time I used a dragon in a book, he was a weredragon. and evil. So determined to possess a child he knew had psi powers that he arranged an accident for her father and then married her mother, who also conveniently died after she'd named him as guardian. I pictured him in human form as being hypnotically persuasive and also being able to sense the presence of others.  Since he lived in Canada I used an old Canadian legend to explain his evil.  
Because he was able to become a dragon, I felt he needed to be tall and slender, but very strong.  I chose green for his dragon color because of French legends about an evil  green dragon.   The book was Lover's Moon, published by Kensington and it won the 1998 Prism Award for dark paranormal. ( given by the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of RWA.)  Amber Quill Press reprinted the book in electronic and print after I got the rights back, changing the title to my original one, Moondark .
The second time I used a dragon, he was also green.  He'd been created by a mage, in the first of my Temple Of Time books, Forbidden.  He was supposed to be a phantasm, but the sorcerer was stronger than he knew (actually in this book I used the Welsh for dragon--draig).  Vorst not only became a real dragon, but the hero of the next book, Forlorn.  This time I knew why he was green and had amethyst eyes.  Because I'd purchased such a dragon at a Lunacon from one of the venders who made them.  I used to take him to cons with me, perched on my shoulder.   But in the book, Vorst had a real problem because he fell in love with Wilda, a human female. He was not a weredragon, but a real one.  How could they ever be happy together? Hey, it wasn't easy.
For a long time I'd an idea for a trilogy featuring weredragons.  I first saw it as a  historical, then changed to contemporary, but I never wrote it.  In January of 2010, I made a New Year's resolution to finish the first book in every series I'd ever outlined.  I chose Darkness of Dragons Trilogy and started the first book Dragon's Pearl.  As soon as I finished it, I queried an epub, Devine Destiines, who not only took Dragon's Pearl, but wanted the other two, still unwritten.   So Dragon's Diamond followed, then the third, Dragon's Stone. This trilogy features the evil and supposedly immortal Black Dragon, a threat to mankind. I needed heroes for the three book who could bind him into his lair.  So they had to be weredragons.  Again tall and slender, but very strong humans who could be mesmerizing.  One was golden, the next silver and the in the final book, there were two weredragons. In dragon form one was red, the other white like the Welsh dragons of the past.  I used mythology and legend in these books.
I haven't written my next dragon book yet, but it's about a turquoise dragon who is an unwanted color.  And he does remain a dragon.  I plan to call it The Turquoise Dragon.
A man with a dark side, in love with a woman. A woman with her own worries, who barely tolerates him. The pair are thrown together to perform the impossible task of dealing with the evil and immortal Black Dragon—their only ally a Siamese cat. A puny trio facing impossible odds. Especially when the man’s dark side manifests itself and turns him into a danger to his own allies. Their other adversary, a witch, who is on the dragon’s side, adds another complication to an already seemingly hopeless task. How can this man control his dark side, convince the woman to love him and seal the dragon’s fate?
A man regains consciousness lying naked on an isolated beach. He remembers only his first name. He doesn't recognize his surroundings, nor recall who he is. More dangerous, he doesn't know what he is--or that the fate of mankind rests on his remembering…
 Centuries ago, Merlin stole forbidden magic from the immortal black dragon to try to save King Arthur. To prevent the dragon from exterminating mankind in retaliation, Merlin set wards that forced the dragon into the depths of a mountain cave in Wales. But wards fail with time. To prevent the dragon from escaping, one of Merlin's blood and another of dragon's blood, plus a third, must reset the wards as they weaken. When the last of Merlin's blood and the last of dragon's blood left Wales for America, the evil within the dragon came, too. He is now tethered in the depths of an abandoned copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. But the wards are failing and those who must reset them aren't aware of their duty. If this evil isn't contained chaos will be let loose. And time is running out…

Stop by Monday and find out how Don Martinez tells us how he came up with his dragons.