Sunday, February 27, 2011

Decisions, Decisions . . .



I've had this blog for a while, and had a different title for it, now it's called Vampire Writer's Retreat. Above are two pictures I'm debating on using for the header. Right now the header is the woman walking toward the ruins, moon over head and a bat flying. This works, and you can view it as I have it up HERE

However I'm thinking about using the woman's face with the blood.

What do you think? Let me know.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Week

What a week. Not all bad, but some of it wasn't great.
I actually slipped and fell in the turn around in front of the student center at NIU. It had snowed and was a bit icy. I had the wrong shoes on for this, I'll admit it. I was also distracted because of something that happened on Monday--it has bothered me all week and I can't discuss it.

So, I was off my bus, crossing over onto a walkway that wasn't salted. They had scraped the snow off, but this left it quite slick and one foot went out and down I went and suddenly I was looking up at two guys I work with. One was my supervisor, and he's 6'6". I told them I was okay. Just that the leg (thigh) which tried to hold me upright was hurting because I'd strained it. Otherwise I was okay. Really. And the two guys lifted me like I was nothing. My supervisor filled out an incident report and I signed it later. My husband, who had his bus in a different area, was told by another driver who apparently saw me go down, told him about it. That brought him over. Other than getting my V-8 juice all over my pants and some on the coat, I was fine, I assured him. This upset him. I didn't want him to be upset, but what can you do? He's always said I shouldn't be doing this job--that I should be writing at home and doing what I love. Well, we can't have everything, can we?

Other than the sore thigh, I had no other problems from that fall. I can tell you that my supervisor was on the phone right away to ground and told them that one of their drivers fell, and that when I returned two guys were salting that area. Wow. But I noticed they weren't out there the next day it snowed. Do they want a lawsuit?

On Wednesday I decided to bring in the copy of my book to show a few people who may have never seen it. I wanted to show it to Tony who works for The Northern Star, because he was going to do my interview. Well, when I showed it to him he said that he was going to read the book, but had no time because of classes--I've gotten this answer from people who are students and have no time to read anything but homework. Tony is an English major. Cool. I would love to hear his take on my book. He said he fully intended on buying a copy. "Well," I said, "you'd better go and buy it soon, because I don't know how much longer the Borders will be open."

On Thursday my little friends from Borders came on my bus to visit while waiting for the #7 bus. Daniel I've known the longest. Ashley had bought one of my books. She said she too had been too busy with studies to read the book. But she reported to me that some guy who said he knew me had come in and bought my book. At first I actually couldn't figure out from her description who it was, because I spoke to another person about my book too. I later figured out it was Tony.

Friday. Thank goddess! Tony got on my bus early, and I said I hear that you might have gone and bought my book? "Yes," he said. "Everything is on track for the interview." He would read it during Spring break, and I would hear from him.

My husband drives the #1 bus and parks it at the end of the turn around where we come in and out, so I can look in and see if he's on his bus or not. I drove in, looked, and saw that his jacket was on the seat, but I couldn't see him. I looked along the bus, trying to see inside through the windows. Now, it's been slushy and has made our buses big old piggies, and so when I looked on the bus and saw HI LORELEI (: on the windows I about died laughing. There my name was on his bus. Later on, he said that people on his bus wondered who Lorelei was--someone actually pronounced it right and everything. I told him he's making me famous. When that article comes out people will go "It seems I've seen that name somewhere."

Last night he made lemon chicken. He was tired, but cooked the whole meal. Took an empty wine bottle to pound out the chicken breasts. He's quite a guy.

I'm trying to put things into perspective here. I get home and barely have enough time to work on wriitng, and I have to promote as well, so when I get time I work on the book, thus I've got very little time to blog or even visit blogs. I try to get to everyone, but it takes time. Thus, when I've only so many hours to work on my book I have to do that. I'm a writer first. I do appreciate everyone who comes and checks out the posts. I get people checking out older posts, too. And thank you for comments as I know you've gone to the extra trouble to let me know you've visited.

Now, I'm going to go have my morning coffee with my husband.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview at Reader Views

As we have a rare February thunder storm come over us, I find that my interview with Reader Views is up. You may go here to see it.

Looks pretty good, and I think the questions were very good to allow me to hit on certain points of vampireology--is that a word?--and how I chose certain aspects of the vampire lore and discarded others. And other aspcts of this series.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I'm such a Tease!

Portion of Chapter Two Vampire's Trill:


My cookies had turned out beautifully. I scrounged for paper plates to use to take some to Mrs. Bench on a high cupboard shelf. Grasping the paper plates, I rocked slightly on the chair I used for a stepping stool. Dante grabbed me by the waist and brought me down to the floor in a graceful way. I wanted to turn into him and hug him, but resisted. When I looked up at him, he stepped back. Hiding my emotional hurt, I turned back to the counter and the cookies.

“I want to get these to Mrs. Bench while they're warm,” I said, feeling a tightness in my throat as I did.

“Those are for her?” Heath asked, the longing in his eyes returned.

“Yep. I wanted thank her for this morning. I don't know how you thank a witch for magically saving your butt, but this is the first time I've had someone do that for me.”

“Peanut butter cookies should get pretty high marks, I would guess,” Lief said, and his brother nodded approvingly, and I was glad the blood had softened his sour mood some. Lief's moods changed as rapidly as a chameleon's skin tone. I was glad to not to be alone with him. I hoped that we never were thrown together without a chaperon, because I knew, I knew he would cross the line.

I piled a good dozen or so cookies on a plate, covered it in plastic wrap. Dante and I threw on our coats and walked out into the chilly autumn late afternoon. The sun was about an inch from the horizon, and the sky was becoming dark in the east. I threw Dante a worried look.

“Am I going to change, again?”

“I don't know.” He'd told me that borne Weres had to go through the transformation three nights of the full moon. He wasn't sure about a bitten person. I hoped I wasn't going to go through this three nights in a row.

Once across the road, we shuffled through crisp fallen leaves—ones that Mrs. Bench hadn't gotten in her annual leaf-burning day, back in October—and strode up her cement steps to her open porch. It felt strange being here. I couldn't remember having been on Mrs. Bench's porch since my brother and I were allowed to go trick-or-treating when I was small. I'd always remembered her as being old—even back then. I never knew her true hair hair color; it was always white, to her shoulders and loosely curled. I would see her out in her yard or her gardens spring through autumn. Some times she wore a straw hat with a tie under the chin. She loved petunias and marigolds especially, but I always enjoyed watching her yard go through transformations throughout the year as one thing or another blossomed.

Dante knocked on the wooden framed screen door. There was a light on inside, and I could peer between the white eyelet curtains over the window of the door. I saw a wedge of medium blue on white kitchen. It was a tidy with all-white appliances.
After a moment, and no answer, Dante opened the screen door and rapped on the main door.

“She's old. It might take her a while to—”

The door opened, an inch. We both stared at it, then we stared at each other.

“Mrs. Bench?” I called.

The door moved inward a little more, and down about a foot from the floor I saw the white paw of a cat hooked around it and pulling it.

“Hel-l-o?” I called out through the gap in the door, which had opened about six inches. It was the same white cat who had come to our rescue early this morning, now sitting before us.

“Her familiar,” Dante whispered.

“Yeah.” I pushed the door open a little further and the cat stared up at us, made a weird-sounding meow. “Hi, there. Is Mrs. Bench at home? We'd like to see her. Look, I baked cookies!” I held out the plate, speaking as though he could understand me. For all I knew, he might.

The cat blinked green-gem eyes at me, then got up and ran into the house, making an odd sound as it went, almost as though it were trying to form words.

“Okay, I want one of those,” I told Dante.

“You already have one,” he said low.

I snickered. We stuck our heads into what looked like a small mud room, beyond which was the kitchen through an open doorway.
I was about to call out again when a willowy voice from somewhere deeper inside the house said, “Come into the parlor, my dears. I've been expecting you.”

Dante and I exchanged glances. It was a little unnerving, knowing the elderly lady who dwelled here was a real witch who could cast spells. But much scarier was the fact she was to help me get a ring to signify I was the sibyl. I had told Dante about it, but I'd been on edge about it, I simply wanted to get this over with.

We strode through a square kitchen that may have had some improvements in the '60's but not much after that, aside from coats of light tea-cup blue paint on the walls and the wainscoting of the old cupboards. The table as well as the counter were both grayish-blue Formica. It was clean and bright, and all the appliances were not less than twenty years old, by my guess. A stainless steel tea pot was stationed on the stove, a blue flame beneath it. I hoped it had water in it. Squinting to take a quick read, I knew that it did, thank goodness.

The house had interesting smells of herbs, baked bread, and possibly soup—and it was spotless. I'd have only expected as much. I'd never been able to get a read from Mrs. Bench's house, and up until I realized she was a witch, it sort of had me puzzled. At the moment, whatever reads I was getting were all hazy, or watery. It would take a strong witch to keep my inner eye from working.

Dante led me through the small kitchen, and into another square room. Because of my clairvoyant abilities, I already knew the lay-out of the house. Downstairs was mainly made up of four rooms; kitchen, parlor, a dinning room where a staircase angled up the wall and turned after a landing; a hall behind that lead to a back door, then a bedroom—where Mrs. Bench now slept—which was located at the other corner of the house, and the hallway led back to the kitchen, with a bathroom between. Upstairs there were three bedrooms situated in a short hall at the top of the stairs.

Upon entering this room we faced a fireplace; a nice, cozy fire snapping away behind the screen. I could smell the wood smoke on the air when we were outside, and now my expectations were answered. Every piece of furniture was at least twenty-five to fifty years old, and yet looked as though as nice as if she'd bought it a few days ago. The couch was camel-backed, and dark brown. An almond swivel rocker, and a dark brown wing-back chair that matched faced the couch. Doilies were displayed everywhere there was table surface. Everything I saw seemed like the typical house belonging to a very old person—who was stuck in the middle of the last century. Except for the large crystal ball on the dark wooden coffee table, four lit candles in brass candle sticks arranged at the four corners, and the Tarot cards fanned out before the aged woman seated on the couch, I would say this was your typical old-lady's house.

To say that Mrs. Bench was a frail old woman, would be like saying a duck had feathers and a bill. A network of deep lines creased her face and neck, giving her the look of someone who'd seen the other side of seventy. White hair haloed her small head. Blue veins beneath the liver-spotted skin snaked across the ridges and contours of her bony hands. She wore a rose-colored sweater over a light blue shirt that matched her sweatpants. A black, brown, and orange afghan in a zig-zag pattern was draped over her lap. She looked up at us with a brilliant blue gaze. She wore no glasses—but I knew she needed them to read print.

“Here! Quickly drink this, Sabrina!” She croaked, holding a small vial out to me in a slightly shaking hand. The liquid was somewhat brownish, like weak tea.
I gaped at her, and then darted a glance at Dante. With a small jerk of the head, he urged me to do as I was told.

“You have only moments before you change!” she said in a slightly gravely voice.
I shifted the plate of cookies to Dante's hands. He took them and set them down on the coffee table.

I took the vial from her fingers and uncorked it. I didn't want to go into my wolf-persona right there in her parlor. I tipped it back and swallowed it in one gulp. It went down, not too unpleasantly. I stood there, my gaze roving around, waiting for something to hit me. Well, nothing hit me, but maybe that's exactly what this had been for—to avoid it.

I turned my gaze onto Dante. He walked quickly toward an east window in the next room.

“Moon's up,” he called out.

“And . . . I'm not changing.” I looked back at the witch.

“Yes!” Mrs. Bench clenched her fist and pumped it. The action seemed un-old-lady-like, and earned a smile from both Dante and myself. “First time I'd ever done that spell on anyone. And you were a perfect candidate!”

“Well, thank you,” I said slowly, shifting my gaze to Dante who shrugged slightly. “I think.” What if it had gone wrong?

“Come. Sit down. We need to talk!” she croaked, her hands fluttering at us, indicating we should sit down.

Dante took the chair by the fire, I took the brown wing-back. We both leaned expectantly toward the old woman as she closed her eyes and held her hands on the crystal ball. She looked in her element. Then a frown deepened the furrows in her forehead. Her shoulders went up as she tittered uncontrollably. “Stop that Ted!” she admonished an unseen entity.

Dante and I looked at one another, not sure who she had been addressing.

“Okay . . . never mind,” Mrs. Bench said, dropping her hands from the crystal ball, and opened her eyes. “The spirits are not responding to my call, tonight,” she explained, shrugging again.

“Who's Ted?” I asked.

“Just a spirit that helps me connect.” She smiled crookedly. “Tonight he's being a pest.” She giggled a little. Sounded like her spirits liked to get a little fresh. I could feel the spirit world. I had from time to time been able to see ghosts, too. I didn't know at what level the spirits where that Mrs. Bench contacted. They might be on a higher level than those that I, a clairvoyant, could see. Many disconnected spirits didn't know they were dead and roved around familiar grounds, and were the ones most people feel, see, or hear associated with hauntings. Those were the ones I could see, and speak to. There were other levels, higher up, I'd been able to ascertain from speaking to certain spirits in my life-time. I didn't know how many levels any spirit could attain before moving on to the next realm. Mine were on a lower level, obviously than those Mrs. Bench could contact.

“Oh, I completely understand.”

“There are Wayward Spirits who can connect to the higher spirit realm, but cannot attain that realm because they are earth-bound by emotions.” Dante explained.

“You're Native American, aren't you?” she asked as though only then realizing it.

“Yes,” Dante said.

She smiled quietly, then her eyes slid to one side. “Yes, I agree. He should just deal with it.”

Dante and I exchanged glances. I had to guess that Ted was still there talking to her.

“Bill?” she called out.

“Coming,” a male voice called back. I wasn't surprised by the newcomer. I knew that there was someone else in this house—besides the cat. I'd known it for a few minutes. I didn't know who it was, or how he was related to Mrs. Bench. I thought it odd that I couldn't get a read on him, either. It was like my abilities were locked down.

Through the wide dining room entry, I spied a pair of legs ensconced in tan Dockers gliding down the stairs. He made the turn and breezed through the dinning room toward us and entered the parlor.

Dark, wavy hair that fell to his collar, was drawn off a handsome face. The greenest eyes gazed back at us. I swear they were the color of spring leaves on a tree. At six-four, Bill was built like a hard-core military man and the cream colored cable sweater fit him like second skin. Oh, boy. Out of respect for Dante, I had to pull my eyes in, and look elsewhere.

Dante and I both rose to the tall man in the sweater who she had called Bill.

“May I introduce my grandson, Bill.”

We both shook hands with him. His hand was almost twice the size of mine when he took mine, not pumping it, but clasped both his warm hands over my gloved one. He never broke our gaze to look down at my gloves. Other people would always look down at the gloves, the questioning look of why I wore them etched in their face, lips wanting to burst with the question, but never quite having the nerve—usually—to ask.

But I knew it bothered them some.

Bill's sexual magnetism rolled off him like the musk he wore. I did my best not to show how his presence flustered me as I felt the pulse in my neck begin to throb. I'm not hard up! Jeeze!

“I didn't know you had any children, let alone a grandson,” I said, surprise in my voice, my hand going to my neck, feeling the throbbing beat, and then the sweaty brow. I knew that Dante probably had picked up on the fact that the guy had my meter running. I couldn't help myself.

“This is my daughter's son,” she explained. “They're living off in Europe.” She gestured dismissively.

We all sat. Bill folded his larger frame at the other end of the couch, leaning forward, arms braced on his thighs. I shifted slightly in my chair, crossed my legs, and found it difficult to not drum my fingers on the chair arm, wondering who was going to get this conversational ball rolling.

That was when the tea pot screamed.

Bill jumped up. “I'll get the tea. Don't start without me!” He jogged passed me (I didn't look, I swear, at his tight butt), and disappeared into the kitchen (okay, I peaked a little as he sailed by). The whistling tea pot was silenced with one last screech of protest.

Mrs. Bench tittered again. “Bill doesn't want to be left out. Did you make those cookies especially for me?” She eyed the plate of cookies on the table near her.

“Yes, I sure did, Mrs. Bench,” I said. “Peanut butter. I hope that's okay.”

“Oh, I just love them. So does Bill. He cooks, cleans and takes care of the house, did you know that?”

“I've never seen Bill around your house at all,” I said, trying hard not to sound suspicious.

She smiled, leaned and peered at the cookies. “Bill, never mind the boxed cookies! Sabrina brought wonderfully fresh baked ones!”

“Okay,” came his answer from the kitchen. In a few moments we all had a cup of tea, and a saucer of my cookies to enjoy.

“I want to thank you for helping me out this morning,” I said, looking across at Mrs. Bench.

She threw an anxious glance at Bill as he returned with a silver tray with a fancy, delicate cup in a saucer for everyone.

“You know, this morning,” Bill coached. “When the motorcycles were in her driveway?”

“Oh . . . oh, that,” she said, making a dismissive wave of her hand. “That was nothing.” Somehow she didn't sound convincing enough. I got that perhaps she'd forgotten all about it, but then again, I felt as though she had no idea what Bill was talking about. Bill served the cups of tea, pouring them expertly as though he'd gone to butler school or something.

“The ward will remain on your house,” Bill explained to me. He really emphasized the
word ward, as if to trigger Mrs. Bench's memory.

“Yes, that's right, dear,” Mrs. Bench said brightly. Perhaps Mrs. Bench was a little forgetful from time to time.

“There's more,” Bill said, taking charge of the conversation. His gaze went to her, and we all waited. She seemed reluctant, and at the same time sad. She gave a weepy sigh and threw Bill a look of uncertainty.

“Go on, Emma, you have to tell her.”

“You're right, of course. I've held off long enough,” she sighed, her bony shoulders seemed to bare a greater weight on them than she should have to at her ripe age. I felt a tinge of sadness for her and felt a wash of anxiety draw over me again. I knew that whatever she had to say next would probably bowl me over. “I've neglected my duties. I haven't fulfilled my promise to your mother.”

“What do you mean?” Shocked, I put down my cup of hot tea before I spilled it.

“Before your mother disappeared, she told me she was ill. Very ill.” She paused, looking across the room, not focused on anything really. “I already had known about it.” Her eyes darted to engage my gaze and darted back to her table where the crystal ball was. “The spirits told me that she would die, leaving you, your brother, and your father alone.”

“I know about my mother,” I said reluctantly. I'd met her, as a vampire, finally, only a few weeks ago.

“But there's more . . .” she patted her cottony-soft white hair and went on, “I was informed by the spirits that a dark angel would descend over your house. He would change everything. He would change the course of things, but that was her will, not his. Do you understand?” She paused, and lifted a cookie to her mouth and bit into it, ringing her mouth with cookie crumbs.

“He?” Did she mean Vasyl?

“Mmmm, these are good, sweetie.”

“Thank you. Who are you—”

“Yes. I'm informed that his name is Vasyl,” she said. “The vampire with the wings of a bat. He visits your house nightly. Sits on the roof. I've seen him.” She sipped her tea carefully, lips crimped in a smile, lines around her mouth like several parenthesis.

“Ah,” I said, my gaze shifting onto Dante. Dante knew about Vasyl's nightly habits of standing guard outside. Apparently my neighbor lady knew too. Vasyl had never tried entering; he never interfered in my life or what I did—although occasionally he has stopped me on the stretch of road to find out where I was going, and once he challenged Nicolas and told him he was not welcomed. Vampires were terribly territorial when it came to humans. I was Vasyl's. His bite on my arm said so.

She nodded. “I'm to contact the spirit world, and—”

Bill cleared his throat abruptly, interrupting her. I was getting a bit irritated
with him, and thought that she should tell him to knock it off. But she didn't.

“I've been told about a ring?” I prompted.
Her eyes went wide. “You've seen it then? In a vision?”

“Uh. No, not really,” I said, and glanced over at Dante. I'd told him nearly everything that Vasyl had told me, omitting the part about his telling me I was to become his paramour. But that was implied. For some reason I couldn't bring myself to tell Mrs. Bench how I really came to know about the ring.

“The ring signifies you are the sibyl,” she said, sounding exited. “From what I understand, the ring controls demons, and vampires.” She made a sudden chuckle. “That would be fun, I think, controlling vampires.”

“How? Or do you know?”

“I only know that it was engraved with something called the mystic pentalpha, like a seal, a magical design, or symbol. It was lost soon after Solomon's death. In witch's circles we know that the spirits took the ring back for safe keeping, after the last sibyl died.”

“Safe keeping? Is it dangerous?” I wondered.

“The ring?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“No. Mainly what it does is keep a vampire from enthralling you,” Bill's voice permeated the room in that low, deep purr. He looked directly into my eyes, and I noticed he didn't blink. Not once as he spoke. Speaking of thralls . . .

“Vasyl is a rogue master,” Bill went on, squinting at me but didn't blink. I found it difficult to tear my gaze away. I mentally began to tally up things about him that threw red flags all over the place, and the fact he could hold my attention like a vampire was one of them. Finally, with much effort, I tore my gaze from his and looked down. Okay, what the hell is he, if he isn't a vampire?

“How do you know this?” I asked.

He flicked a glance at his grandmother. “I have my sources.”

“I see,” I said and took up my cup of tea and sipped. The tea was made perfectly. Not too bitter, and slightly sweetened.

“We also know that you work for the vampires in Chicago. For Tremayne.”
So much for keeping that a secret.

“You know who Tremayne is?” I said.

“Yes. Any vampires within five hundred miles knows who Tremayne is,” he said.

“But you're not a vampire,” I said, a little challenge in my voice.

His smile broadened and I noticed he had dimples. Eyes going half-lidded, he pulled in a deep breath. “How do you know I'm not?” he challenged back.

“Vampires don't eat cookies and drink tea with little old ladies,” I said, and earned a snicker from Dante as well as Mrs. Bench.

“She's got you there, dear,” she said on her chuckle.

With his expulsion of a sigh he said, “You are correct. Put it this way, I'm well versed on them.”

“I understand Bjorn has a brother?” Mrs. Bench ventured.

“Did. He's dead.” I flicked my glance to the both of them. “I saw it happen.”

“Yes, yes,” she said quickly. “It was there in the crystal a while back. I'd wondered . . . that must have been why . . . oh, Bill, I'm so forgetful!”

“It's alright Emma.”

“What?” I asked, my gaze going from one to the other and back again.

“Nothing. I simply forget things, that's all.”

“She's referring to something she must have seen in the crystal. Is that right, Emma?” Bill said, looking back at her.

“Yes, of course.” Mrs. Bench looked distracted as she sipped her tea. “These are very good cookies, by the way, dear.” She munched on another one.

“Thank you,” I said—again.

Silenced, we all took sips from our tea and ate our cookies. Obviously Mrs. Bench was a powerful medium. She had her ear to the spirit world, that was for sure, but unfortunately, she would forget what exactly she'd heard.

“I'd like to thank you, Mrs. Bench and, Bill.” I engaged both of them with my gaze. “I don't know how to thank you both for watching out for me. Do I—” I broke off and darted an unsure glance toward Dante and went on. “Do I owe you anything? Money? Something?”

“No. And Bill will call you when the spirits are ready to break open a door into the nether world, so that you'll be given the ring.” Nether world?
Bill nodded. “Yes. I'll make sure and call you if something develops.”

“Alright.” Sensing that our conversation was over, I stood along with Dante.
Bill stood, stepped over and pumped Dante's hand. “I'll be seeing you around.”

“Oh, for sure,” Dante said with a smile, and then Bill's gaze slid to me, and again I had to avert my glance. I could hardly wait to compare notes with Dante.

“Oh! Before you leave, Sabrina, I need to give you the other dose,” Mrs. Bench said, and held up another of those small vials filled with brownish liquid. “I worked long and hard on it. You take it tomorrow night, as soon as the moon rises.”

“I will.” I reached to take the vial from her hand, and tucked it away in my pants pocket.

“FYI,” Bill interrupted soberly, “that ward—the protection spell—is strong. Anyone who is not invited, is barred from coming within twenty feet of the house. Everyone else who is a friend or relative, can get through it. Any vampire whom you have invited can also enter. Keep that in mind, always.” His warning went through me and made me shiver a little bit. In other words, Nicolas could still come in.

“Got it,” I said with a nod.

As Dante and I angled down the steps of Mrs. Bench's porch. I moved a little closer to him, wanting to steal his warmth.

“Wow,” I said on a gasp.

“Yeah.” We stopped at the end of Mrs. Bench's drive and looked back.

“You read his mind, I take it?” We moved a few steps away from the house, and stopped again, making glances back at the house as though the secrets within would be revealed to us. Amber wedges glowed from the windows giving the impression it was like any other house. Only it wasn't.

“Tried,” he said. Being Native American, he believed that sometimes the less said the better. This irked the hell out of me—his silence—but I'd gotten used to it. I had to know what he'd picked up from their brains, since I knew he couldn't help tapping into them.

“Tried? What's that mean?” I asked, stopping in the middle of the gravel road. The night was chilly, the sky was pristine, filled with blazing stars.

“It means I got zip.”

“Really? How can that be? He's not a vampire.” The only vampire's mind Dante could read was Tremayne's. That was because he was his scion.

“No. You know how when you try and bring in a radio station and it's all static, or maybe you get garbled stuff from two or more stations?”

“Yeah.”

“That's sort of what I got.” He shook his head and looked up into the sky. “That guy isn't merely human.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Really. I don't know what he is. But, he's something else.”
I frowned at him. “You mean he's superhuman?”

“Something like that.”

“What about Mrs. Bench?”

“A witch, human, and apprehensive about something she has to do soon.”

“Apprehensive? Why?”

“She's afraid it might kill her.”
copyright 2011 Lorelei Bell

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Survived my First Speaking Engagement


When we drove into the lot at Borders, funny, we didn't really get why it was full. But when we walked in and saw the long line of people holding arm-loads of books, videos etc., we realized it was the fact that Borders had announced it was closing.

I knew then that we would be stepping into this place which had hosted 3 book signings for me for the very last time.

I found Daniel, the "event manager", who works there, looking on at this mass browsing going on. He had been in charge of the book signings and other events for as long as I've known him. He said to me, "This reminds me of my grandmother's estate sale." I could tell this really hurt him. He said bracingly, "Buy something, but don't buy too much. We don't all want to be out of jobs in two weeks." He got me introduced to the ladies I was to speak to, and disappeared.

I knew what he was saying. I knew this was hard for him. Julie, the store manager, wasn't there, she'd gone home, earlier. It has to be hard for her too.

But I found the tables set up for myself and the other speaker, Don Shoo {not sure of the spelling} Mr. Shoo is a WWII war veteran and boy did my husband and I feel fortunate to have been able to listen to him speak. He had been a gunner at Normandy, and {I've forgotten the other place} who sat on what's called a half-track which came in after the tanks and basically "cleaned up". Not a lot of nice stories, but he managed to put in a few humorous bits about his experience.

Although I was told this was to be a 20 min. slot, Mr. Shoo spoke for an hour. No one minded. Me least of all. Really, I was happy in a lot of ways that he went first.

When it was my turn--or just before Mr. Shoo wrapped things up--I thought I felt faint. Well, you know I have to tell you, I never liked speech class. I think I got a D in that. Speaking in front of people who all stare at you and expect something interesting to come out of your mouth is a lot of stress. It's not something I look forward to. But this would be different. I was talking about a subject I loved, and that's what my husband whispered into my ear before it all began. "Just talk about what you love."

I had an opening line, which worked pretty good, and knew where I wanted to begin, and winged it. Nope. I did not bring notes. Why would I need notes to talk about me and writing? I pretty much am an expert at me and what I love.

My husband, Dennis, sat in the background watching, and listening. People who don't know us wouldn't know this, but we are each other's support. We lean on one another in many a things. There he was being proud of me, he said, later on.

When I started out, I was behind a table with my books, off to the side. My voice doesn't carry, so I was invited to stand more toward the front. And this would have put me directly beside 86 year-old Mr. Shoo. I knew that that would still be too far away, so I decided that if I stood directly in front of the table, they could hear me even better, and I could lean against the table. It worked wonderfully, and I was terrified out of my cotton picking mind. But once I eased into my meager beginnings, where I went to school, and so forth, it got easier. I was somehow able to actually remember names of things--I get what I call brain farts; I just can't remember things. But I did fine. Especially when Mr. Shoo took a picture of me, and I decided to turn around and give him a nice pose. I think I was able to relax after that.

I believe I spoke for about 40 minutes. The ladies were attentive, polite and another woman took a snap of me, said it was for their scrap book. I had a couple of questions in the end. One woman said she wondered if my writing was something like "stream of consciousness", because I told her that I've kept a journal since 1973, and I'm always writing in it, even while we travel, I'm on the passenger seat writing about whatever comes to mind, or what we've done, or about my writing, and thoughts on something I'm working on.

When it was over, the line to the cash register was into the middle of the store. I saw some people I knew who had come through. One couple we knew was checking out as we headed out. WE didn't stop to speak to them. I felt sad. This was hard for me to see. I won't be able to go back. I don't care about the sales.

I knew what Daniel meant about the "estate sale". There had been one for my dad's estate after his death. I didn't go to it. That would have crushed me. I'd grown up in that house, to see people mulling over the things--things I'd grown up with--would have devastated me just as much as his death had. That's why when I went up to speak, and Mr. Shoo was seated there politely, I leaned over and said to him, "You remind me of my father. I lost him eleven years ago." He said he was sorry to hear that. My father would have been 93, and even though he was not a war veteran, he could tell stories from memory just like Mr. Shoo, and had the same sort of sayings, and could make us all chuckle with his stories. So, the moment was a somewhat bittersweet for me. All the hoopla of people diving on things marked down for sale all around us while we pretended it wasn't happening while we sat in the group, listened--or when I got up and spoke, was somewhat surreal. Like a 3-D film running in the background.

Life is a mix of treasured moments, and heartbreaks. You gotta get through the heartbreaks to get to the treasured moments. I think I impressed upon the ladies that I'd had heartbreaks throughout my life as a writer when my work was rejected time and time again. And there I was telling them about two books I had self-published, and people could hold them in their hands and read them--had read them and told me that they'd loved my work.

After getting home my husband praised me. He'd always called me "professional writer" even before this and I'd poo-pooed him, and there I was today doing something I'd never done before in the capacity of a "professional writer".

Today was a good day, over all, really. For me. I'd begun this journey about 40 years ago, I don't know where it will lead me, but I'm on this path for whatever reason, which was begun so far back I can't hardly remember. In my speech, today, I explained that I'd taken my first writing class in high school, and dreamed from then on of becoming a writer.

Well here I am, 40 years later, doing it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Moon--and royalty--Makes Author Howl


The moon went down this morning as bright and orange as I can ever remember. And tonight I watched it come up through the trees out back. Sort of makes me think of Sabrina having her little problem in the next book with the full moon, her changing and winding up with someone she hardly knows. I don't know, I just like giving her problems like that and see how well she bounces back.

While awaiting my first royalty check, I've tried to figure out how much it might be. And checking my e-mail my publisher has told me he has sent it off today. And he told me exactly how much.

My jaw dropped.

I was not expecting this amount. I'm sure the beefy part of it was from the Border's order. Which has me sending people to this store, if they have not gone to buy a copy as yet, because pretty soon you won't be able to get in their doors. And I don't want them sending whatever is left back!

Tomorrow I'm speaking to some retired sorority ladies (sorry, I didn't catch the name), and I'll be talking up the book. I think I should be able to get some sales there. I've watched people pick it up at my book signing and just were not able to put it down again. I don't know. Maybe my publisher put a spell on that mystic cover, or something.

Julie Morsh(Border's manager), will also be putting in her sales pitch. She is so enthusiastic about my book, it's incredible to me, the things she said about it.

Other Stuff:

I've finished up the interview with Tyler for Reader Views. I think it will be an interesting interview. I'll post to let everyone know about it as soon as I know when it's up.

I've been reading through/correcting etc. the second book Vampire's Trill, and think I'll be able to send it to my publisher in March. The college will be in Spring Break the second week of March, which will give me a lot of time to work for several hours on the polishing up of this thing. I'd like to put this book to bed so I can concentrate on the third one--which is half-way finished. Believe it or not, I have scenes in my head for the fourth one. Seems that I'm unable to interrupt my brain from just continuing the story line. Whatever it is.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank any of you who have bought my book--ebook or actual book. Thank you for your continuing support. And if you have not, but are going to, thank you in advance. Please stay tuned for more on my up-coming interview.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sumiko's Reads ~ Katharine Kerr

http://www.deverry.com/ensorcell.html

I was most familiar with Katharine Kerr as the writer of the Deverry books. Not that I had read all of them but quite a few. So when I read, a number of months ago that she had a new book set in a contemporary setting coming out I was very excited and pre-ordered it from Amazon. It arrived last week and I read it almost in one sitting. San Francisco must be a natural setting for noir-type books.
Perhaps it's the fog. Not that I've been there (darn the luck) but like Seanan McGuire's books this one features a strong female protagonist with unusual abilities. In License to Enscorcoll magic or psychic abilities exist . . . not that most people realize it. Nola O'Grady works for an un-named government agency that employs licensed magic users to solve various magic-related crimes. She is more of a spy than a cop. She gets saddled with a non-agency operative named Ari Nathan (of Mossad) in an attempt to solve some sort of international (possible) serial murder case.

Nola, Ari, Nola's mysterious boss, Nola's gifted clan – excellent characters. I was very happy to discover that there is another book coming out in August. This may be another case of potato chip reading.

I came across an interesting column on the Tor website (http://www.tor.com) about "Urban Fantasy and the Elusive Male Protagonist". Apparently, Nola and Toby are actually typical of urban fantasy. I didn't notice possibly because having a female protagonist totally makes sense to me. I mean, I'm female and why shouldn't the protagonist in books of my favorite genre (fantasy) be female too. I suppose it flies in the face of what the general population think of the main audience for fantasy fiction. I can only think of this as a positive trend. (The Tor blog post does mention one of my favorite male urban fantasy protagonists – namely: Harry Dresden of the Dresden Files.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Terrific Tuesday



Well, this week is starting off with a bang.
First of all I'm "appearing" over at SUBURBAN VAMPIRE blog today, so if you'd like to go check this out, do so. She did a wonderful job of placing my blog header into the article. Very nicely done! Please if you stop by, do leave a message. I'd love it if any of you who are/did read Vampire Ascending to leave a message saying so. This would really be of great help to me.

Also, in addition to that, I've apparently won a book from one of their give aways! I've won All Hallows Blood by Raven Corinn Carluk. See? I wasn't fibbing, they are giving away books there. I, unfortunately, can not at this time, but perhaps in a few more weeks, or months (depending upon my financial situation), I might be able to do so.

I'm still working on the interview questions. I need to answer these, because I might be asked some this Saturday when I meet the sorority ladies.

Well, that's it for me tonight. Have a good evening everyone, and hope to see that some of you have stopped by a Suburban Vampire blog.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!


Hey, would like to say thank you to "The Blogger Formerly Known as . . ." for this above award. Hugs and kisses across the pond! I told her I love freebies when I don't have to do anything for them. She told us to pass the love along, which I'm doing. So, everyone who comes to my blog today or tomorrow (15th), you may leave a comment and take the award. Simple Simon.

I'm just getting over here because I had several things to do when I got home. First off I had the interview questions from Tyler at Reader Views, and began answering them. Then I had to get my piece over to Cathrine at Suburban Vampire for tomorrow's blog. I'll post the site, just in case any of you need it. Otherwise, you can see it in my blog roll--way down there to the right hand side, and go to it from there.

I have something new from Sumiko, so I'll have to work on that.

And just when I thought "Done!" when I went to send the questions back, I realized nothing I put in there was saved and I have to do the whole thing over again!!!!

So, I'm posting this Valentines Day in hopes yours went wonderfully, that you either received or sent, or gave something wonderful to the person you love. I saw one fellow who had two dozen roses in the front seat of his car next to him, and balloons with enough helium in them to float him to wherever he wanted to get to. Saw the florist vans and cars all over the place. And our local grocery store, Schnucks, had a free breakfast for couples who have been together for 50 years or more.

My husband surprised me with a card and a cupcake (they were having a bake sale over in one of the halls at NIU campus), he can't really sneak off and get me anything 'coz we're always together. So, he went into the bookstore at the student center during one of his breaks and bought me a huge Hallmark card. Sweet guy. We later made dinner together--lemon chicken breast, smashed potatoes with onion & garlic, and peas. Yum.

It's already going on 8:00. I'll have to work on the interview tomorrow when I get home. Rats! I'll never remember all that I said, now. Pooh!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Updates: Writing, Weather, Where I'll be Appearing This Week



Okay, the full moon--and coffee that I'd had mid-day--had me awake past 10:30. It was sort of cool to see the sharp black shadows of the house against the pristine-white snow in the backyard. Nothing was stirring. Possibly some owl might have been. And raccoons, of course.

If I ever get caught up I'll be amazed with myself. I've been doing read-through/edits of my second book, Vampire's Trill. I've rewritten the beginning over on my side bar, invited you to go take a quick peek at the first 5 pages over at Lorelei's Archives to get a first-hand look at my corrections, and noticed that many of you have. Thank you for stopping by!

I've been around to the blogs, and have enjoyed interacting with many of you. Tammy's post about her dreaming of wonderful office furniture brought back memories—this—the desk—has been my dream for years. Before we moved into the old McGurr farm house, 16 or is it 17 years ago—we lived in an apartment. Because there was only 4 rooms I had no office, so I'd write in the bed room, at the dining room table, and outside on the porch—weather permitting, of course. Once we moved here with several rooms on the first floor as well as second (but this house is so old that if there was one or two outlets in a room, that was all you got!), I finally had a room which was deemed my office. I could leave it as messy as I wanted, and close the door to any noises, and my husband respects this most of the times. I have no desk to sit at, only an 8 ft table, an office chair and two 2-drawer file cabinets with a laminated board arranged over them to give me more space to spread out. I have a fold-out table, for more junk, and two bookcases, plus I've moved the couch in here over the winter for those nights I have sudden inspiration and know I'll be getting up to work—or for naps (if I do nap).

Where I'll Be This Week:

This week I've been invited by Catherine at SUBURBAN VAMPIRE. She is running “Vampire Valentine's Party” this month and has been hosting various authors. The theme is the “romantic allure of vampires”, which, of course I can throw my 2 cents in on. So, if you haven't checked her posts out this month, you might want to see what delicious things to read she's been giving away.

After I had such a wonderfully successful book signing, and called the Borders store manager, Julie Morsh, she invited me to come and speak with a “retired” sorority who meets in her store once a year. She thought that they would really be interested in me/my book, so I've got a speaking engagement this coming Saturday at Borders. Thank goodness I'm only expected to speak to them for 20 minutes. Probably answer questions about my book, etc.

One of the very first things Julie told me—because she had read my book—was, “I just LOVED your book!” When I asked what it was she really liked about my book, she said, “It's more real, and more adult.” She explained to me that she didn't really care for the Twilight series that much. I'm sure this is what she'd meant by “more real and more adult”. When I asked, she also said she'd noticed the places that I'd used in my book from actual places/settings in her own small town (which I named Moonlight). The Pub was the bar in the opening chapter. The grocery store was used, and the bank, and a few other buildings/businesses, including the Subway. I don't think I could walk into the Hinckley Subway on Rt. 30 again without thinking about Sabrina and Jeanie Woodbine sitting eating, and talking covertly about vampires and werewolves at a table, and Jeanie's hot brother walking in for lunch from the stair-building factory nearby.

The weather is improving too. Today, in fact we've had temps already in the thirties and by end of the week it will be 50's. Why, we'll all be walking around in shorts by then (NOT!) I wouldn't doubt that by then the red wings will be back singing in a huge chorus up in the trees of our backyard.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Beginning of the End (of winter)!



Yesterday, my husband brought my attention to dozens of American Robins roosting in trees around campus as we drove our buses. I looked up to where he'd pointed as we passed--me turning into a drive, and he turning out--and I saw them. Roosting high in a locust tree. And then in around this turn-around, there are crab apple trees and there they were nibbling on the frozen, shriveled up crab apples. Dozens of them were in different trees, some flying down to the stream to get a drink.

The other day I saw Cedar Wax Wings, and one robin doing exactly the same thing along my route. I knew that the beginnings of spring had been felt by these feathered friends. And that is what the month of February is all about. The awakenings of spring in the northern Midwest.

Contrary to belief, the American Robin does not fly south for the winter. They are a hardy bird and can withstand very cold temperatures. What they actually do is congregate en mass inside forests, and where they can feed on berries and yes, crab apples that have dried up. We see them appear on our lawns, and think that this means spring is here. The robins already know this. And for these guys to come out with the two feet of snow still on the ground does say something about our coming out of the bitter cold and finally seeing an up-swing of temperatures. This coming week we will see the thirties, and even a 40 degree mark. By golly, we'll think it's down right hot out!

My husband has been feeding the birds in our backyard this past week. Well, everyone is showing up, of course. The squirrels are finding the peanuts, and so are the Jays, and I think everyone is happy, now. The blast of sub-zero temperatures was really horrible, and we went and bought a large bag of seed for both song birds, cardinals and the other critters who needed the food to stay warm through this. It is, after all, National Bird Feeding Month.

Now, the birds who actually do tell me that winter is over are the red wings and grackles. The red wing males--black birds the size of a robin with red epaulets on their shoulders--are the real call of spring. When they come around, you know it because they will sit up high in large groups singing--the sound will fill the air, and it makes my heart jump for joy.

Grackles are a longer, larger bird, the size of an oriole. They have iridescent feathers, very long tails, and beaks, and yellow eyes. When they come to patrol the ground for food, then you know Spring is here to stay. I look forward to seeing all these guys soon. The earliest I have seen these birds has been in February of 1999, when we had 70 degrees and stayed warm all winter. That was an odd year to be sure.

But we will see if the groundhog theory holds true. He did not see his shadow--in fact they had to cancel the up-rooting of this fellow because of the blizzard! So, let us put it to the test:Spring comes early?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, Production to begin in April


I've been saying all along that Depp should play a vampire.

Well, I think I've got my wish come true. And it sounds brilliant to me. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are teaming up again, this time to do a film adaptation of the TV soap opera Dark Shadows, which aired from 1966-1971.

Depp says that playing Barnabas Collins is a life-long dream/obsession for the actor to portray. The original Collins in the moody, atmospheric soap opera was played by Jonathan Frid, and originally the part was intended to be short-lived. However Frid made quite a sensation in the daytime soap playing a 175-year-old vampire who stalks the town of Collinsport, Maine, pining for his lost love. As a result, this TV series went on for the next 4years, and has had a cult following ever since.

Depp explains that he was “...obsessed with Barnabas Collins. I have photographs of me holding his posters when I was five or six.” And now that Depp has finished up the Pirates of Caribbean playing Jack Sparrow—who he says the character can simply not go any further—he can begin the work on this film (I've not seen any up-dates on when, but it was said in April or May of 2011—I think!)

His thoughts on the recent up swing of interest in vampire movies and books is that it's like any folk or fairytale—it has a “power to it” . . . “There's something symbolic about it that touches people in different ways.”*

All the articles that I've been able to pull up have talked of a release in 2011, and if that holds true, it will be up against the final Twilight film “Breaking Dawn”. Unless, of course, they wait until the following year.

From another more current article I've just viewed, they have pushed back the production start until April.

Well, I can hardly wait. What about all of you???

*Quotes taken from original article from Yahoo Movies July of 2009

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Third Review Up On AMAZON


Another 5-STARS review:

Okay, I know that my publisher, Copperhill Media, had this review set up for me (and an interview is to be done soon on Reader Views) with this review site. However, I don't think you could make someone say things like: “I was ecstatic to discover that I had gotten my hands on a truly extraordinary vampire tale.” Or that she can't wait to see what I have in store for Sabrina and the other characters in the next novel. But that's just a few of the things Paige Lovitt, for Reader Views, had to say on her review of Vampire Ascending, which was just posted today over on Amazon for my book. I found her review, and how she summed up what she found most interesting in my book an interesting spin that others didn't have. It's always interesting to hear/read what other people have found either interesting, or what made them relate to my character, Sabrina Strong.

And there couldn't be any way on Earth—as I'm sure no one twisted her arm, or threw money at her feet (I don't think)--to make Ms. Lovitt ask to review my very first self-published book, “Spell of the Black Unicorn” -- for free. Since Copperhill Media did not publish this book, she was told that I would have to be contacted for a copy. Which I so handily have on my person. I actually have several copies. What I wouldn't give to get rid—er, uh, sell them, (yeah, that's the ticket)--to a few customers. And I'm happy to oblige her.

I suppose Ms. Lovitt had to only have used a search with my name at Amazon to come up with anything else I've published. And since Spell of the Black Unicorn is at Amazon too, I'm sure she merely thought that perhaps the same publisher had done this one too. I'm sure she is curious what this book might hold as well.

So, to view this review and see what she says you can go to AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Ascending-Lorelei-Bell/product-reviews/
to find it.

When the interview is up, I will post that as well. I thank Ms. Lovitt for a very wonderful review. I'm not sure if she will find my light fantasy as good, but she might find it interesting, filled with magic and lots of unusual characters.

We will see.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dark and Stormy Blogfest!



Well, I've been wanting to try out the new/improved opening line to my next vampire novel; Vampire's Trill I guess this would be the time to do so. So, any of you who are participating--or even if you're not and want to give feedback, do so here. I've entered this contest over at Brenda Drake Writes

So here it is:

I could feel the cold, hard ground beneath me; my body felt as though every bone in it had been broken at least twice as I tried to remember why I was outside without a stitch.

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Suday Update


It's snowing here. But not as much as last week, thank goddess! And after this week, the temperatures will rise out of the teens and single digits, and we might someday see the end of Old Man Winter.

I see in news around the blog sphere that someone has finnally cast Johnny Depp as a vampire. I've always thought he would make a superb one. I've in fact cast him for the role as Jett Drakulya from my third book--but that's just my dream team.

The movie is a Dark Shadows remake and Eva Green has been cast to play Angelique. I think that her eyes are haunting, I'm sure she will make a wonderful Angelique. (I have not had a chance to investigate this, so give me a while, I'll get on this.)

I am currently doing pin-point edits on my second book. This involves going through with my "find and replace" option and finding certain words that I either use too much, or use and shouldn't use because of bad habits of writing. Like the word "just", or "so", or "very", and "suddenly"--the list goes on. Bad habits are hard to quit in writing.

As a matter of fact this brings up what I'm going to introduce to my blog. Not bad habits, so much, but something I will call "Frustrating The Writer".

This past week when I saw someone posting about one writer's use of adjectives throughout her books, I had a great idea for a new post. This blogger was wondering about this author's use of adjectives and how this very shameful rule-breaking was suddenly okay for this very famous writer. It came down to the fact that this was "her style" of writing. There is a big difference in what a writer's style becomes, and what rules they break. There's a thin line, in fact, when it comes to style and what is allowed.

My newest addition to Lorelei's Muse will be about rule-breaking in writing, not so much as to why they are broken, but there might be some of this as well. "Frustrating The Writer" will give my thoughts on this, and writing rules that best-selling authors break, and things I've seen, or experienced while trying to learn the craft. I hope to expose these rule breakers, explain a few and why they are frowned upon--or at least considered "pet-peeves" by agents and editors. My hope is to give any of you who are "new" to writing, or finding yourselves frustrated by the rules, that you need to understand that rules can be broken as long as we adhere to the most basic rules of grammar. Especially if you are trying to find your voice.

Well, that's it for my Super Sunday Update. If you are having a party today you are excused from visiting my blog until well after the guacamole dip and chili is consumed and the party favors are all picked up.(Wow, I actually knew how to spell guacamole--that's just wild!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ground Hog Day???

I've always wondered where this celebration came from. I mean really, pulling a poor creature out of hibernation on February 2nd in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is not my idea of a celebration. And I'm sure it's a rude awakening to Punxsutawney Phil as well.

Well, it was the early Germans who long relied on the hedgehog and his shadow to make an appearance to signal the end of winter, so when the German settlers arrived in Pennsylvania, finding no hedgehogs, they began to watch our groundhogs, which are quite the same animal, and so the observance continued into modern times.
But what brought all of this watching for signs of winter's end?
We all hope for the end of winter, don't we? (Especially when you're up to your chin in snow, or experiencing a blizzard of the century). It's a long-held desire to try and predict spring, and this is derived from when people farmed, and needed to know when they could begin planting.

However why is this date so ingrained?

Quite simply it is a Pagan holiday. And as with all Pagan holidays, the Christians, who were wont to crush out its influences, took a date near or on a Pagan holiday and borrowed the rites to make it their own.

This time of year is actually called Imbolc by the Pagans. Or the Eve of February. The mid-way point of winter.

Christians adopted this Pagan Imbolc festival, as they did so many other holidays, and called it Candlemas. By the 5th century, a procession of lighted candles became a regular part of the Roman Catholic rite, echoing the Pagan origins which did the very same thing to symbolize the awakening of Earth.

Imbolc—or as the Irish call it i'mbolg, actually means “in the belly”, and means the first stirrings of Spring in the Womb of Mother Earth”.

Regardless of what sort of traditions we've adopted, it traditionally marks the beginning of lambing season and other fertility rites.

It's also a time of year when Wiccans look to make a change to clear out what is no longer useful in their lives and make room for the new things that need to come into their lives—a sort of new years resolution.

No matter what you call it, we, up north have got six more weeks of winter. I don't care if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not.

At this moment, the winds outside howl, and have switched to the northwest--and will usher in the deep colder temps. Closings are post up on the crawls on news stations, and it's funny to see pictures of the Kennedy Expressway in and around Chicago have so few cars on the snow-covered roads. The Blizzard of 2011 is still going strong at this early hour of 4-6 a.m. Some roads along the Wisconsin/Illinois borders are closed. They are saying if you don't have to go out, don't. Yesterday afternoon our bus company called us to tell us they were closed today. We wouldn't have even attempted to come in any way.

I did see lightning last night, but it was a distance away.

Yep. Six more weeks of winter, for sure.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Love Vampires Month


Hey! I made it home, thanks to my husband's driving skills and my second pair of eyes to keep him out of the ditch! The blizzard hit just as we were getting off work and we still had to get home in the white-out conditions. I sort of feel like the lady in Dracula's arms right now. That was a long day of driving in bad winter conditions and making sure that everyone around me was safe!

So, we are not moving until this thing is over, which means we may not get to work until Thursday. Which is fine by me, as I've got a love scene--well, I think it's technically a sex scene because love has very little to do with it--to write between Sabrina and Jett. Just have to have these two roll in the grass at least once. And Sabrina initiates it.

Also, noting that I've managed to land myself on Suburban Vampire Blog this month. *applause* "Thank you." And I've got to come up with something for Cathrine. I may have to pull a scene from my book Vampire Ascending. I'll have until the 15th to post, so I've got a little while. Anyway, Vampire lovers may want to just check out this blog this month, sounds like there will be some give aways and great things to discover.

Up Date: Back to the weather. Actually, what we drove through coming home isn't even the worst of it, yet. There's supposed to be "Thunder snow", and the snow will come down so heavily it will be 1"-3" per hour. Glad I'm home! When NIU's president gets the word on this and actually announces "classes are canceled" the professors will have probably already canceled classes.

And people were diving into the grocery store today, and a bunch of people on my bus had to run in and grab somethings. One guy told me that he saw the ultimate: one woman had two carts--one was actually filled with toilet paper!!! "Uh, this is just a one day thing, lady, it's going to clear up on Thrusday."
I think I'll go and unwind from my day.

Customer Reviews... Good, Bad, and Best!

I always cringe when I see a new review has come up on my books. I'm never sure what they will say. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised,...