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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making your characters count

Please welcome guest bloggers Sue Viders and Becky Martinez

Remember that line in the movie Titanic about the importance of making each day count? Well, the same might be said of the characters you create in your books. It’s important to make each of them count.

Naturally you want your main characters to be memorable and compelling. You want the reader to either identify with them, admire them or at least like them. These days so many books and movies are based on anti-heroes or people we might not like very much. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate them for their skills. It is important if you are using anti-heroes to make your audience and readers care about them, difficult as that may sound. It’s tough to do when dealing with kick-ass heroines sometimes. Do we care about a heroine if we know she can beat up everyone around her, whether it be man, beast, evil robot or vampire? We know she’s probably going to win but are we going to root for her? Well, it helps if we also know that she has a soft spot for animals or if we know there is a good motivation for what she is doing. Is she trying to save the world or simply doing her deeds of strength because she can? We need to know there is a real person inside, a person with a heart of some sort, again, someone we can care about.

These days there is such a call for kick ass heroines and so many of them out there that they have almost become a cliché. It’s become refreshing to see the heroine who discovers she has inner strength to get through the struggle or who learns to stand up on her own without starting out knowing everything.

It’s also important to keep your story in mind as you craft your characters. If there is to be a lot of action, it might be fun to make your character almost reluctant to take part. Everyone roots for the reluctant hero or heroine—if they can see that the person has it in him/her to pull through. We all knew that the doctor, Jack, in Lost had it in him to be a hero, even as he struggled with alcohol or drugs, but by the time we saw him battling, we were ready for him to have something that might get the better of him. But who knew that Sawyer would turn hero or fall in love and be ready for a settled life? What a wonderful turn in the ongoing saga of Lost! And Kate was a wonderful example of a woman who was both clever, conniving and yet caring. She had killed to save her mother and we knew she was capable of being ruthless, but we also knew she had a heart.

Think of unique ways to show your characters in a different frame from what is required of them in your main story and look for ways to make them human. And if they start out with too much humanity, then throw the fate of the world at them and make them have to get through the trials to succeed and survive. Poor little Frodo and his Hobbit friends were the unlikeliest of heroes, but we were rooting for the little guys all the way. We knew Aragorn was a Ranger so he had the necessary bravery and fighting skills, but he became more human and even kingly as we watched him being gentle and in love.

Lord of the Rings is another good example of fully developing those extra characters who may not be the hero or heroine but play an important role in your story. Don’t forget those secondary players in your work. They should be well developed without overwhelming your lead characters. And they need to be unique too. Avoid making them simply stereotypes. Think of the books you’ve read or the movies you’ve seen where you have the outspoken best friend or the mother who is pushing the heroine to get married and have babies so she can be a grandmother. These have been done over and over. Maybe it would be fun to have the mother who doesn’t want grandchildren because she wants to play. Or how about the best friend who is quietly at the heroine’s right arm, ready to help out in a rock-solid way?

Just like the main character, you should work at making your secondary characters fit the story and the circumstances. Samwise was Frodo’s friend and willing to do anything to help him. He was going to stay by his side, no matter what. We enjoyed the antics and competition of Gimli and Legolas, but we knew they were going to be tough warriors when the going got serious.

The same is true for villains. Hannibal Lector elevated the role of secondary character villain to a whole new level and while he was most noticed in Silence of the Lambs, he was eerily creepy from his first appearance in the novel, The Red Dragon. Here was a villain to be feared and yet who was so fascinating you wanted to know more about him.

So, play with your characters, learn to enjoy them—all of them, even the villains. Remember what you write today you can change tomorrow so don’t be afraid to try different ideas with your characters. Look for ways to make them stronger, to make them more human and to make them unique. They’re your characters so you can do whatever you want with them. Let your characters out. Make them work for their place in your books.

Sue Viders is the author of more than 20 books, numerous articles and columns for both artists and writers. Her writing book Heroes and Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes, is used in many college and university writing courses. Her latest book, 10 Steps to Creating Memorable Characters is gaining use as a practical workbook for writers who want to develop their characters.

She is a practicing artist, seminar leader, and educator with on-line classes both for writers and artists. Her latest product for writers is Deal a Story; an interactive card game consisting of 101 cards and six sections and is based on her Heroes and Heroines book.

Becky Martinez is an award-winning former broadcast journalist and published author. Her latest book, Deadly Messages was published by The Wild Rose Press in February 2010. Her first romance novel, Love on Deck, was an Aspen Gold finalist as was Deadly Messages. She has had several short stories published and contributed a short story to The Trouble with Romance, an anthology that was a 2007 New Mexico Book Award finalist.

She was also one of the co-authors of Ten Steps to Creating Memorable Characters, a workbook for writers. She is currently working on a gothic romantic suspense and a follow up book to Deadly Messages.

Creating Memorable Characters, presented by Sue Viders and Becky Martinez, runs from January 31, 2011 through February 27, 2011

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where Do Those Ideas Come From?

Please welcome guest blogger Heather Long

I’ve been asked this question a lot over the years. “Where do you get your ideas?” “How did you come up with that?” I’ve asked that question myself, reading a novel by a favorite author and wondering just where that idea found flame in his or her mind.

Stephen King’s The Stand is just one such novel. It’s an apocalyptic tale that pulls from the Book of Revelations for the events, but transforms the ideas to real world concepts. Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens does the same thing, but offers a different twist on the tale and we travel with the demon Crowley. These ideas come from similar source material but the road they traveled, the stories they told, diverged when the author asked and answered one small question:

What if?

What and if are two very innocuous words, but when you put them together they open doors to a whole new world. So where do those ideas we write about come from? They come from asking that question.
What if?

Stephanie Meyer asked what if vampires could come out in the sun?

Charlaine Harris asked what if vampires came out publically?

Patricia Briggs asked what if werewolves raised a different kind of shapeshifter?

Kelley Armstrong asked what if women couldn’t survive the change to become a werewolf?

Shannon Delany asked what if werewolf legends clashed with science?

So many what if questions can be found at the heart of a great story.

RWA National Conference in Orlando

At the National Conference in Orlando last July, I had the great fortune of attending a workshop with Shannon Delany. During the workshop, she discussed how she found great story ideas through real history. For example, she found a court history documenting the case of a real man accused of being a werewolf. During his trial, he admitted that he was a werewolf and that he acted in the interests of his community, protecting them from the darkness that would hunt them on the fringes of their town.

The man was not convicted nor was he tortured or put to death. Instead, his community lauded him for his efforts.

True story.

Kind of fun that truth is stranger than fiction.

Do you see the possibilities for a story there?

Asking Questions

Every story I’ve ever written, dreamed about or had leap from my head, fully formed like Athena springing to life from Zeus was predicated on the question: what if? What if historical records are true? What if the myths and legends are true? What if the witchfinders found real witches? What if vampires walked the earth? The story then attempts to answer that question by filling in all the blanks.

When I wrote Prime Evil, my first urban fantasy nearly ten years ago, I was answering a what if. I lived in Northern Virginia at the time, in the farm country surrounding Leesburg. Leesburg is the county seat of Loudoun County and was founded by the family of Robert E. Lee – yes, the General who defended the South during the Civil War. Leesburg is a picturesque, gorgeous area, filled to the brim with trees, wildlife, farms and history.

One day, driving down a tree-lined road that I regularly traveled, I discovered that dozens upon dozens of thick forest had been raised to the ground. In a span of just a few short hours, the lush forest was a stubbly landscape of broken branches, tree bark and lonely stumps stretching their fingers towards the sky as is asking “why?”

I asked myself what if harming the land harmed people? What if someone could truly feel what was being done? What if she was so connected to the earth that she could affect it and it could affect her?

Chance Monroe, my main character was born that day. For ten years she has lived in the back of my mind, answering those what if questions, filling in the blanks and I created a world of mythology just to answer her trials.

Since then, I’ve discovered other worlds by asking what if:

What if a ghost fell in love, but he couldn’t be seen or touched?

What if a vampire, maddened by his turn, turned another and then lost her?

What if a thief was desperate to return what she had stolen?

What if …

Where do my stories come from? They come from the world around me, the world that offers up situations, events and problems that make me ask what if?

Where do your stories come from?

Heather Long lives in North Texas with her husband, daughter and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

Seven Souls a Leaping Anthology (w/Lisa Pietsch and Kellyann Zuzulo)

Sapphire Blue Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-934657-99-7

At New England New Age (NENA) Investigations, no case is too weird. The paranormal detective agency relies on the familial talents of siblings Duncan and Samantha and their cousin Tara. While Duncan and Samantha tend to the fieldwork, Tara mans the office tapping sources in both the physical and spirit worlds. Fate takes a hand when a killer named Jeffrey Wiles begins a death-dealing spree that puts the lives and loves of these investigators on the line.

Seismic Evil (January 24, 2011)

Sapphire Blue Publishing

Return to the magic with Chance Monroe as she battles survivor’s guilt and a world turned upside down by earthquakes devastating the Northern Virginia area she calls home. Chance’s fear that she is the source of earthquakes devastating the land, she tries to shut down her connection to the Earth. But when enemies aware of how to shatter her bond to the earth kidnap her, she now must turn to lover Jack and close friends Sydney and Jaime as well as uneasy ally Callanport for the strength to face the mad Hedge Witch Ava. If she fails, millions may die.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where’s the Heroine?

Please welcome guest blogger Sayde Grace

Well in the sub genre that was all the buzz at RWA Nationals in Orlando there is no heroine. To most of us we can’t imagine reading or writing a manuscript without that female lead we all identify with. But there are many authors out there who can’t imagine writing a manuscript with one. So what sub genre am I talking about? Male/Male erotic romance. And how does this pertain to us here at FFnP? Most of the male/male novels that introduce us to this subgenre are paranormal and Scifi. What better way to introduce your writing to this subgenre than by giving those two smoking hot alpha shifters each other.

While I was at RWA Nationals I listened to several authors interested in this subgenre talk about wanting to try to write an m/m manuscript. I was skeptical. I mean, I really enjoy reading a story with a strong heroine and smoking hot alpha hero. But at the same time I wanted to know what it was about this genre that attracted so much attention.

Several editors, epub and print, told me that they have seen a rise in sales for this topic as well. So now I really had to know what it was about m/m that attracted middle age women. And how do we make these men likable enough that we still have some attraction to them even though we know they aren’t interested in us?

The FFnP world is so vast and complicated that we, as writers, can spin our characters in many different directions. To introduce myself to writing the m/m genre I started with a werewolf pack. This angle felt more comfortable to me. Werewolves have an animal inside them that at times can take over and drive their passions higher, more intense. So with a pack leader unhappy with his life and knowing that no matter what female he takes as a mate he will never be happy, this left me open to explore the “Who” will he be happy with.

When I’m writing I like to create my characters based on traits that I find interesting and frustrating. For a pack leader I feel they should be strong physically and mentally, commanding and hard headed. These traits can cause lots of frustration for him and others.

For the pack leader’s mate, whether female or male, I like to give her/him traits almost identical to the leader. Why? Cause can’t you just see the tension? But here I try to add a bit of compassion and understanding. Something that will allow this person to be able to handle the hero.

After I give my characters traits I begin to introduce the plot to them. In this case I’d have my pack leader being forced to pick a mate, but while trying to find one I’ll put him together with my other hero. The chemistry will begin to show between the two and the leader will learn why he is not happy. Now, here is when your plot can open tons of doors. First, the coming out option or not coming out where emotions run high and intense showing us the true character of our hero and other hero. Then in a pack most are concentrating on producing more members, what happens when the pack leader is not going to produce any? And what about the threats of others, would this pack leader still be respected and not have to fight for his position?

And when all is said in done, the emotions between the characters are what drive the story forward. No matter if these characters are having sex in every scene or never have sex, the emotion that flows from them are what pulls us in. Men in general feel things much different than most women. And to the most of us who don’t understand the male emotional way we want to know what they really do feel. With m/m we get to experiment with those options and that is just one element to why the genre is growing. And to be blunt, let’s face it, reading about two gorgeous men is better than reading about one J Like the Double Mint commercial, Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun.

With the FFnP we can go in a million different directions with our characters and introduce them as well as ourselves to worlds and ways of life that we never imagined. Thank you so much to the FFnP and members for letting me release my imagination and all the wickedly delicious things it can come up with!

Thanks so much,

Sayde Grace

A native of South Alabama Sayde Grace was raised among the cotton fields and dirt roads of the south. She has a deep love and appreciation for the rural communities and uses her experiences of small town life in her books. A lifelong story teller, Sayde began writing full time two years ago and has written five full length manuscripts which range from romantic suspense to young adult and even erotica. In each of her five books she uses her experiences in farming, ranching, or rodeoing to make the story setting believable. Growing up in the equine and cattle industry have given her a behind the scenes knowledge of the industry. Sayde is currently enjoying and loving life in beautiful South Alabama with her husband and two young children. She is published with The Wild Rose Press for two novella’s and working on a third.

The Harder They Buck

Raised by parents who don’t believe in affection, Melanie Brantley developed a hard-edged outlook on life…and love. But then along comes a cowboy who makes her blood boil, and not only with anger. A fact that scares the hell out of her. Enough that she seeks solace at Minx, a club that caters to the more carnal pleasures.

After recovering from a bull ride gone wrong, Lance Wright is ready to move forward and he’s set his sights on Melanie. Her temper tells him all he needs to know about the passion he’d find in her bed. The wildcat fights him every step of the way, but she’s in for a surprise. The harder Melanie bucks, the more Lance wants to ride.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Secrets to a Winning Proposal

Please welcome guest blogger Stacey Kade

The dreaded query letter and synopsis. I don't know any writer who enjoys writing either of these things, and if one exists, I'm pretty sure she's an alien. :) But they are a necessity in the publishing industry, and learning how to make them work for you will only help in the long run. (And with querying, most of the time, you're in it for the long run. :) )

The key, I've found, is to think of them less as a letter and a summary and more as sales tools. I worked as a marketing copywriter for more than ten years, and one of the things that job taught me was to look at the entire chain of events/communications between the seller (you) and the buyer (agent/editor) rather than just the initial contact. If you look at your entire correspondence (or desired correspondence) with an agent or editor, the query letter and synopsis are just the start. I don't know of any agent who has signed an author based on their query letter and synopsis alone (though, heck, it's possible, I suppose. Almost anything is!)

So, rather than looking at your query and synopsis as a single do-or-die communication into which you must jam every possible detail about your book, consider it more from the perspective of what you want it to do. On the simplest level, you want this agent or editor to ask you for more, yes? Preferably a full, but most likely a partial (the first three chapters.)

Your job is to intrigue them into asking for more. Now, this does not mean you should inaccurately represent your book or writing style, but that you should be as intriguing and as fun (or poignant and erudite) in your query materials as you are in your novel.

That's what your query letter and synopsis should do--give the agent or editor enough to want to learn more--while still providing them with the information they require (usually set out on the submission guidelines on their web page).

Another important tip for querying is to make your letter as personal (and professional) as you can for each agent or editor. (Do not write one mass email or letter and send it to everyone. Please.) I know that sounds like a lot of work--and it is--but there are certain tricks that'll help and keep you from starting from scratch every single time.

Join me January 3-17 for Secrets to a Winning Proposal. You'll leave with a draft of a query letter and a synopsis, not to mention tips and tricks to make the proposal writing process a little less painful! :)

As an award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.

From her first childhood scribbles about a magical necklace that would turn people into cats, Stacey has long been fascinated with what happens when the “ordinary” bumps up against “out of this world.” What if aliens landed on Earth? What if the afterlife is really just another dimension?

She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and their three retired racing greyhounds, Joezooka (Joe), Tall Walker (Walker) and SheWearsThePants (Pansy). When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her parked in front of the television with her Roswell DVDs, staring rapturously at Jason Behr.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010 On The Far Side Results

Please join me in congratulating our finalists for this year's On The Far Side Contest. Please also help me thank our final judges. We had a stellar line-up of final judges, and fantastic entries to send them.

I also want to once again thank all our judges and entrants, and everyone who helped with this contest. I thoroughly enjoyed coordinating the contest.

Here are the results for our contest.

Dark/Urban/General Fantasy: Sarah LaPolla, Curtis Brown, Ltd.
1st: Kathleen Collins – "Possession"
2nd: Isis Rushdan – "Paradox"
3rd: Marne Kirstatter – "Love? Please! (A Tale of the Holy Water ... "

Hard Science Fiction/SF/Futuristic: Danielle Rose Poiesz, Editor, Penguin
1st: Jennifer Hart – "Stellar Timing"
2nd: Elizabeth Struble – "StarWay to Paradise"
3rd: Laurie Green – "The Outer Planets"
Honorable Mention – Sandy James – "Seeker: Aiodhan"

Dark/Light/General Paranormal: Sara Megibow, Nelson Literary Agency
1st: Jean Newlin – "Dancing With The Devil"
2nd: Rebecca Finley- "The Stonge of Shadows"
3rd: Kay Hudson – "Jinn & Tonic"
Honorable Mentions: Jennifer Parkinson – "A Surefire Way" and Rashda Khan – "Dragon Fire"

Romantic Elements: Alexandra Machinist, Linda Chester Literary Agency
1st: Gina Grant – "Scythe Does Matter"
2nd: Marie Andreas – "Essence of Chaos"
3rd: Kathleen Groger – "Ancient Secrets"

Time Travel/Steampunk/Historical with Paranormal Elements: Deb Werksman, Editor, Sourcebooks
1st: Erica Obey – "The Asmodeus Portal"
2nd: Heather Marshall – "The Isis Knot"
3rd: Karla Tipton – "Dangerous Reflections"

Young Adult: Melissa Frain, Editor, Tor/Forge Books
1st: Jus Accardo - "Touch"
2nd: Romily Bernard – "Ashes to Ashes"
3rd: Shawntelle Coker – "Catacomb"

Sherry Peters
OTFS 2010 Coordinator

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Love

Please welcome guest blogger Jeffe Kennedy/Jennifer Paris

I’ve just started a new novel. And I’m totally in love.

You know how it is, right? I’m just 7,000 words in and they’re just *so* cute at this age! All we do is cuddle and play. She sleeps through the night and never gives me any trouble. She is all potential right now – she could grow up to be anyone at all. Everything about her is lovely, fresh and new.

I know this will change. She’s my third novel, so I’ve been around the block. She’ll start to put up resistance after the first 20,000 words or so. There will be arguing. She’ll refuse to speak to me and I’ll sit in the silence and wonder where I went wrong. The only way for me to get through that phase is to set firm boundaries. I write 1,000 words a day on her, no matter what. If we have to backtrack because she throws a tantrum, then fine. But we work every day, no matter what her attitude is.

Then comes her moody adolescent period. Some days she’s over the top, bursting with energy, ready to take on the world in all her overconfidence. Other days she sulks, seeming lost. I try to help her along, promising the happy days will return.

It’s the late teenage years when I really start to doubt if she’ll ever make it in the world. I know this is really my expectations coming into play. When she was young, I didn’t have to worry about what kind of living she’d earn. We were happy just being together. But now that she’s nearly a legal adult, I fret about which agents she should apply to and if a reputable publisher will *ever* hire her. I love her, but I also know she can be lazy some days and there might be a couple of profound character flaws that will hold her back.

After all, I have two novels out in the world already. They don’t call or write often. I know they’re consumed with the job search, so I try to leave them alone and not fret or nag. Some days there’s news – a potential job offer, an interview that goes great. One of them, though, I haven’t heard from in quite some time. I’m hoping he isn’t languishing in a crack house in the city somewhere.

So, I’m trying to just enjoy my time with this new baby. I know she’ll grown up and life will get more difficult for her. But for right now, it’s just the two of us.

And anything is possible.

Jeffe Kennedy, is an essayist and fiction-writer. Her work has appeared in diverse magazines such as Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, a Wyoming Arts Council roster artist and winner of their Poetry Fellowship. Her essay collection, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2004. Jeffe has written two novels, received numerous full manuscript requests, but is not yet represented by an agent. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.

Petals and Thorns

In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance.

If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires.

Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play, BDSM theme and elements, dubious consent.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Bones

Please welcome guest blogger Julia Barrett

Back in 1986, a book was released by Shambhala Press - Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. My sister urged me to read the book. She thought it would help me jumpstart my writing career. I never did read the book, but I love the title. The visual is great - writing down the bones. When I create a work of science fiction, I view my story as a human body and I begin with the bones, the skeleton, so to speak. Once the structure is in place, I begin to fill in - flesh out the story, or body of the work, and imbue my characters with heart and soul.

I don't follow many rules when I write; I guess I'm a bit of an author/anarchist. But science fiction requires rules - without rules, a work of science fiction can quickly devolve into nonsense.

My first rule of science fiction - abide by the rules of my own creation. For instance, if I create a universe where successful interplanetary travel is only possible for three-eyed, psychic, hairless genetically enhanced warthogs, then I can't send a frog into space and expect my readers to believe the frog will survive. *Unless…at some point in time, additional information becomes available to the inhabitants of my universe, information that enhances their knowledge and abilities and allows them to safely send a frog into space.

My second rule relates to my first. I avoid resorting to Deus ex machine, or basically, putting the onus on God, or a plot device, to solve a problem. There may be miracles, but they must arise from the very marrow of the story. Have I put my skeleton together in such a fashion that miracles might be possible? If I have, a reader won't mind the rare miraculous intervention.

Rule Three - I try not to stray too far from my comfort zone. Small changes or tweaks to society as we know it are often the most effective way to make a story credible. Technology evolves and human societies change, but if the characters keep their core of humanity, readers will find it easier to identify with them and the story will resonate. It is especially in science fiction romance that I want my characters to deal with familiar emotional issues - issues of the heart, love, loss, trust, betrayal, good, and evil.

Rule Four - I set the stage, position the players, and I must make both the stage and the characters feel real. The first person who has to believe what I write is me. If I don't believe my words, nobody else will. I'm not a techy, but I am a big reader of mainstream science fiction. My favorite books are character-driven. They may contain technical details, but none are so complicated that I either feel like an idiot or worse, can't follow the storyline. I like to keep my technical details minimal and focus on my characters and their actions.

Rule Five - hard and fast. It's not what you think. J This is my hard and fast rule and I will not stray. Never overwhelm a reader with too many characters all at once. Never overwhelm a reader with too many characters with weird names who are hard to differentiate. If a reader can't keep my characters and their individual roles straight, the truth is, I probably can't either.

Okay…done. Like I said, I really am a bit of an anarchist, but no matter how far my characters stray from the world as I know it, they still follow the rules - even if the rule is no rules at all.

Julia Barrett: I write erotic science fiction, paranormal and contemporary romances for Resplendence Publishing, Siren, Logical Lust, Evernight Publishing, and Cobblestone Press. In my other life, I write nonfiction. I attended the University of Iowa as a creative writing major. Later I returned to school to become a Registered Nurse. I've been a hospice nurse for twelve years. I am proud to admit that I was born and raised in Iowa, but I've lived, camped, hiked, traveled all over the United States and Israel. I am married with three children, a new puppy, two cats, two talking birds and two very lucky koi.

Daughters of Persephone, Books III and IV, Reborn and Red Demon

Book Three: Reborn

A thousand years have passed since the Empress Aja Bokinan and her consort, Kyr Aram, settled on Calen. As the legend foretold, a great evil has arisen. Black Frocks scour the planets, searching out women, children and even men with a trace of the Royal Blood, sacrificing them to their dark god.

When they see her mahogany hair and gray eyes, Issa Bokinan's family flees the village for the safety of the mountains, but even that is not far enough. It is up to The Red Demon, Tem, to hide they young Empress away in the past, teaching her to use her powers, grooming her for the day whens he will face the Black Frocks and her own death.

But The Red Demon has a plan within a plan. She's meddled in the gene pool, producing a man with the powers Women of the Blood only dream of. She wants Kane Tirol for her own, but Kane, a Calen Man, wants nothing to do with The Red Demon. He is bonded to Issa Bokinan, and not even time will keep them apart.

Book Four: Red Demon

There is a reason Tem is called The Red Demon. She does what she wants when she wants. No one controls her. Time and space do not hinder her. Worshiped on ancient Earth as a goddess among many people in many different lands, nobody opposes her, except her own creations, Issa Bokinan and Kane Tirol.

Having left her own daughters behind on Earth as seed stock for future generations, Tem had hoped to make a life with Kane. That is not to be. Rejected, alone and broken, she seeks comfort in the past from the Empress Ya on Persephone, promising to behave and keep her identity a secret. Tem is hard-pressed to control her worst impulses when she's caught riding the Empress' prize stallion.

Horse Master, Aytan Kirrae, cannot believe his eyes. A small Red Woman has just ridden off on the stallion named for him, a horse bred for the Empress Ya. He waits for her return, flipping her over his knee, meting out what he thinks will be a kinder punishment than she would receive from the Magistrate. He has no idea the small Red Woman can kill him with a single drop of her blood.

Pulled along to the future against his will, Aytan thinks he's dreaming, until he must share the Blood Bond with Tem to save her life. Once he does, his own life will never be the same.