Thursday, January 29, 2009

Magical Surprise ~ Two of Them...

Hi, the first magical surprise was the last-minute release of my novella, Black Cat Beauty, last Monday ... yay! And meow-pow...
The second surprise was the wonderful review Bekki Lynn, romance author, wrote ~ her first ever. Yeppers peppers... see below, after the excerpt.

Purring Seduction ~ Black Cat Beauty

A Halloween shifter tail just in time for Valentine’s Day...

That’s right, I wrote Sable and Devon’s story when I was possessed by that spooky time of year when the veil is thin between worlds and the paranormal comes out to play. As a black cat shifter this is Sable’s favorite time to show off her feline abilities, especially in the Haunted Houses.
Ever dare wonder about that too-human acting black cat that crossed your path last Halloween? The one who paused to glare at you like a demon, then seemed to laugh at your expense?

Blurb: A private Halloween party in a gothic mansion hidden in the Hollywood Hills. Add one party crasher, Sable Kiki, a naughty black cat with a sexy wild human side.
Her covert assignment from her devious, always-cunning father: use her seductive wiles to find out the truth from Devon Zant, a movie star on the rise to super stardom.
Posing as the superhero actor, Devon Zant, D’Torr has arrived on Earth seeking revenge for the capture of his younger brother, and to assist in stopping a powerful enemy.
The leviathan warfleet of the Altirrux wants rule of all intergalactic trade routes to Earth, endangering the survival of D’Torr’s race, and all the inhabitants of the rare blue jewel, Earth.

Since it is now the time of year when valentines rules, I’ll share that Devon romances his Sable with songs in a scene where he is playing with his rock band. He croons his version of THE YEAR OF THE CAT into her little cat ear from afar, a super ability he possesses. Although, more passion and erotic naughtiness ensue between these two, than soaring hearts and sweet words.
Chills and shivers here, I cannot tell you how many times I heard that particular song while I wrote Sable and Devon’s love story. Not because I played it intentionally. Most often I heard it as the bumper music for Coast-to-Coast am, a night time radio talk show which focuses on all things paranormal. Hearing The Year of the Cat became such an eerie synchronicity I would get goosebumps, and simply shake my head.
Excerpt ~ Sable Kiki and Devon Zant meet ~

Sable flipped her ear forward, noticing Devon Zant had halted high on the stairway, his attention clearly on the “accident” commotion. Although concealed by shadow, the bold strength of his physique could easily be seen. His dark shirt and pants skimmed his superbly muscled body as if the materials had been poured over him.
“Every inch the superhero,” Sable whispered, wondering how he would look flying on screen as the son of Super Ace. She hadn’t bothered with the movie trailer or the website. Especially since she’d only learned about the assignment late yesterday afternoon. A catnap in the sun had seemed much more enjoyable.
“Of course, I haven’t viewed those meaty ‘inches’ yet. So who knows if his cock is supercharged and heroic in action?” Sauntering unimpeded to the stairs, Sable briefly scanned her surroundings. Evidently Mr. Rising Superstar didn’t require beefy cow muscle to protect him ... just PETA to protect him from wandering pussycats. Maybe I should offer him personal protection from all pussies ... if he’s worthy.
Once she placed her foot, encased in the supple black leather of her sleek shoe, on the first step, his gaze fastened on her. Slowly she smiled at him. She lingered her Mae West smile on him as she provocatively swayed up the stairs.
Riveted, almost standing at attention, he trained his gaze on her.
Sable drew in his scent, careful not to overwhelm herself--easily done in this topsider culture. Ignoring the expensive men’s cologne he’d used, she inhaled his virility, raw and rivers-of-lava volcanic. Give me some more of him--yum.
Sliding her hand along the polished wood banister, she gradually mounted the stairway. As his gaze smoldered over her, Sable swayed even more teasingly. Her breasts rounded, becoming heavier, her nipples peaked into tight buds, and she knew they were outlined by the black gleaming stretch fabric of her costume. For a human male, his allure was far more ferocious than she’d ever experienced.
Smiling seductively, she tipped her face upwards, keeping her gaze beneath his as she approached, and halted one step away from him. Instead of blatantly perusing his masculine assets--yet--she studied his classically carved features through her half-lidded gaze. The god Hermes and the half-god Hercules, blended as one--and definitely more handsome than either--that was Devon Zant’s face.
From on high, his gaze scorched over her. Glints of lightning sparked in the depths of his eyes, and she was surprised to see how blue his eyes truly were--not sky blue. Not Paul Newman blue. No, they were deep iris blue, and so brilliantly luminous that for a moment she thought she observed an aurora of color slide over them.
No wonder a movie camera, even in the age of digital, couldn’t completely capture the actual color of his eyes. Nor could any camera do full justice to his hair. His auburn mane just brushed his shoulders and was nearly black, with fine streaks of burnt gold and bronze. She could analyze by the smell he hadn’t dyed the color. It was all natural, and obviously, a hairdresser’s dream.
Flirtatiously Sable smiled widely, then flashed her gaze over him admiringly.
“Sable,” she softly rumbled her name for him.
Excitement skittered along her skin like electrical currents as she waited and wondered if the sound of his smoky strong voice would be beyond the capacity of digital mikes.
“Your hair?” His gaze broke away from hers, moving pointedly to her own auburn tresses, which were not quite as dark as his and flamed with reddish tints.
“Not colored and like my name.” She enticed her voice over him, then languidly moved her hips back and forth so the thick waves of her hair rippled over her back and bottom. The Cat Goddess, Bastet! His voice was smoky and sinfully rich--yet pure as a clear mountain stream. If she had willed it, Sable could have orgasmed over his voice. Right there on the steps. In full view of him.

~~~ Bekki Lynn’s Review of Black Cat Beauty ~~~

I haven't read a shapeshifter story in forever though I do have a few in my to-be-read files. Savanna first peaked my interest, months ago, with a tidbit about a panther shifting to a human form, I've been salivating with hunger for the story ever since. I knew it had to be different, hot and fun. And I love cats. She did not disappointment me whatsoever.
Well, except for the fact that I didn't want the story to end. I wanted more of Sable's sassiness, quick comebacks and feistiness. Savanna uses references to well-known figures in such a manner that turned the story into a movie before my eyes. Her imagery was amazingly real and well done.
I loved everything about Sable and Devon. Though she didn't want to succomb to his charm and lustful scent, she simply couldn't resist the power of it and once she got a taste, she was his to command though she wanted to claw him to pieces for it. But who couldn't resist a virile, caring, yet demanding man who could serenade you in and out of your mind and have you orgasming beyond your wildest demensions.
There is so much packed into this short story you'll not believe it. I don't want to give away too much, but if you've experienced a floating sensation while in the throes of loving your mate -- well, Devon will take you on a flight you can't imagine. Throughout the story, I wanted to be Sable and at times I felt like I was.
The chemistry between the characters is sweet and fun while scorching hot. Black Cat Beauty is going on my keeper shelf to be reread over and over. I highly reccomend it to anyone who enjoys shapeshifters and those who don't.


Daring to be different...
Dare to discover... passion - secrets - love
A Psychic Hitch
Venue of Choice
Last Glass of Wine Venue of Choice
Servin' It Up Venue of Choice

Sable & Devon invite you to read their love story ~
BLACK CAT BEAUTY ... She has the claws and the cattitude to prove it... He has the super-powered strength and passion she fights, but needs... available from
Liquid Silver Books ~

May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Magic Knot Release Day!

After months of waiting, the moment has finally arrived.

Today is the official release date of my American Title IV winning paranormal romance THE MAGIC KNOT!!

I’m delighted (and relieved) that the book has received some wonderful reviews. Here are just a few of the fantastic comments reviewers have made.

“THE MAGIC KNOT is a quick-moving romance filled with action, intrigue and memorable characters. This is a book that will have readers hoping it's the start of a series!”
—Fresh Fiction

“If this is Helen Scott Taylor's debut novel, I just can't wait to see what she writes next. Definitely a new auto-buy author for me. I highly recommend this story to all lovers of magic.”
—ParaNormal Romance

“Helen Scott Taylor's debut novel, The Magic Knot, is simply fantastic.”

Back Cover Copy From The Magic Knot


What woman wouldn’t be attracted to Niall O’Connor’s soft Irish brogue and dark good looks? But Rosenwyn Tremain must find her father, and she isn’t going to let a sexy, stubborn Irishman and his motorcycle distract her. Rose’s intuition tells her he’s hiding something, a secret even the cards cannot divine. Her tarot deck always reads true, but how can one man represent both Justice and Betrayal?


Magic. Niall’s body tingles with it when he finds the woman snooping in his room. Rosenwyn might believe she’s a no-nonsense accountant, but her essence whispers to him of ancient fairy magic that enslaves even as it seduces. Her heritage could endanger those he’d die to protect, but her powers and her passion, if properly awakened, might be the only thing that can save both their families, vanquish a fairy queen bent on revenge, and fulfill a prophecy that will bind their hearts together with…THE MAGIC KNOT

Short Excerpt of The Magic Knot

Rose Tremain sat on the chair before Niall’s desk, his Magic Knot cradled in her palm. She swayed slightly, her eyes dazed and dreamy. His nerves sparked. Need for her struck like lightning. He managed to suck in air, to ruthlessly crush the feeling until his body calmed.

So, he had been right. Rose Tremain was more dangerous than she appeared. She’d been sent to enslave him by capturing his stones. If she thought he’d give in easily, she had another think coming.

Silently, he walked forward and closed his hand over hers. His vision blurred at the whip of sensation. Too late, he realized his mistake in touching her. Gritting his teeth, he fought the mental pull as she sucked his very essence through their joined hands into a deep hidden part of her that whispered of ancient magic and mystery.

Niall snatched up his Magic Knot and stumbled back. His breath came in short gasps as he stared at her in shock. Rose was the Cornish pisky Tristan wanted. How had she stopped them from sensing the truth about her? That deception alone proved she was up to no good.

Slowly, her green eyes focused on him. Confusion set tiny creases between her delicate brows, then surprise chased them away. She slapped a hand over her mouth.

“Aye, be afraid, little thief,” he whispered. “You’ll pay dearly for your deception before I’m done with you.”

To read the first two chapters of The Magic Knot go to and click on the excerpt link on the home page.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Book Review: Lover Enshrined

I've been a fan of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series since a friend suggested I read the first book, Dark Lover. Ward has those two crucial things that keep readers coming back to her paranormal/vampire series: 1) Characters so real you feel you could actually bump into them on the street somewhere and 2) fantastic, three-dimensional world building.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood are a group of vampire warriors who are charged with protecting the vampire race from the Lessening Society, another group of creepy undead beings who look like they've had all the color drained from them and smell like, of all things, baby powder. Now the vampires in this series aren't the suck blood from humans kind. Well, they can suck blood from humans, but they'd rather not since it's not all that tasty or filling. Instead, they feed off each other, and really not all that often. They can eat regular food -- and believe me, these boys can put away the chow. They're wealthy, super-alpha, have funny and distinct senses of humor, and when they finally find the woman for them, wow, they bond like crazy. They would do anything for that woman.

The latest in the series, which is now up to six books, is Lover Enshrined, the Brother Phury's story. Prior to this, his Brothers Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Butch, and Vishous have had their stories told. Woven throughout the books, also, are the stories of other vampires, including some younger guys who may very well become Brothers in their own right someday. Phury has long been one of my favorite characters. He's been the epitome of self-sacrifice, particularly in helping save his literal twin brother, Zsadist, from a horrible situation and the aftermath. But all his self-sacrifice has come at a cost. In order to escape the pain inside him, he smokes what is called red smoke, which is basically an illegal drug. He's becoming a junkie and he knows it, and yet he seems powerless to help it. He's so messed up emotionally that he doesn't even realize he's found the woman for him until it's almost too late.

As the series has progressed, Ward has moved a bit farther away from having a single book be a single couple's story. There's still a love story in each one, but so much else is going on too. I've read books by other authors who've tried this writing style and not fared as well as Ward. I've enjoyed the gradual telling of other characters' stories, all of which contribute to the world Ward has created. In fact, the only parts I don't actually look forward to are the scenes from the point of view of someone in the Lessening Society, though I can admit they add to the reader's knowledge of what the Brothers and all of vampire society are facing.

A testament to how much Ward's fan base has grown is the fact that the next in the series, Lover Avenged, is coming out in hardback in April.

So, any other Black Dagger Brotherhood fans out there? What has been your favorite book in the series and why? Are you looking forward to April's release of Rehv's book?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Black Cat Beauty... the magic begins soon

Black Cat Beauty

Coming soon from Liquid Silver Books ...

Excerpt from Chapter One ~

“Bored.” Sable tossed back her auburn waves of thigh-length hair, sauntering inside the main ballroom of the privately owned gothic mansion.
“Flat.” She wrinkled her nose and wished she could flip her own tail, instead of being stuck with the fake, listless cat tail of her costume. With casual flair, she set the champagne glass on the first passing tray, waiter attached, and kept on gliding into the main party area of the monstrous mansion.
Remembering not to flip her ears in search of Yisbet’s high-pitched signal, a keening sound beyond human hearing, Sable surveyed the Halloween crowd of black cats, and decided Halle Berry’s version of Catwoman won out as the most favored costume, with the Eartha Kitt costumes coming in a close second. If it hadn’t been for the fact that most of those present were humans encased in their second-skin black cat costumes, Sable would have felt right at home.
“Ooooh, Dracula black cat,” she cooed to a tall man who was obviously gay. His gaze slobbered over the boy-toy waiter passing between them. Yet he grinned at her, his fake whiskers at odd angles on his artfully painted face.
Listening for Yisbet, her long-time friend and surveillance partner, Sable wove through the loose crowd of partying black cats, who flirted with the realization that the night was still young, with midnight several hours away.
“Felix, the cat,” she teased with her tone, then tweaked the paunchy man’s black fur cheek. He was one of the few guests with extra love handles showing on his short frame and probably a producer invited to this celebrity shindig.
“Yeah, honey, you got some cat scratch fever for me?” he asked like Mel Brooks. She paused, smiling at his good-natured comeback.
“Wouldn’t want to tangle with your wife. She’s an Amazon compared to me.”
“How’d you know the redhead wearing the cat burglar costume was my wife?”
“Smell.” Gripping the tip of her nose with her thumb and forefinger, she wiggled it in an imitation of Samantha from Bewitched TV fame.
He grinned widely just as Yisbet signaled. Sable gave him a sassy grin, then pivoted toward the long low bar. Elegant and chic in design, it was covered by expensive leather, the red mahogany color stitched in a large diamond design.
Sable smiled at several other men, her natural cat-like grace causing them to stare, even though the curves of her lower half were more generous than was allowed in tinsel-shallow town.
“You’re late to the party.” Yisbet saluted her arrival with a generous-sized gimlet.
“Can’t a black cat have some scary fun on All Hallow’s Eve?” Casually, Sable leaned on her elbow and languorously planted her hip against the bar.
Yisbet stopped mid-sip. “What did you do?”
“Just a ‘little tiny wee’ chase. A four-footed bounce and pounce through the local haunted house.”
Yisbet scowled for an instant. “You’re lucky no one tasered you or hit you with a blast of pepper spray.”
“The kiddies loved it,” Sable defended, grinning. “Most of them cheered when I chased Freddie Krueger. They clapped and hopped, very happy, and were especially excited over my departing finale...” Sable waved away the willowy black cat bartender, who strongly resembled Audrey Hepburn.
“What?” Yisbet reluctantly prompted, rolled her eyes.
“I hissed and spit viciously at them while arching my back. Then I performed the typical cat scream. As bedlam ensued about me, the parents clacking and clucking like hysterical chickens, I bared my scary claws and evilly flattened my ears. Right on cue, I sprang like a panther, straight for Frankenstein’s face. Splat! I hit my target. Sinking my claws into his mask like a wildcat, I clung as he whirled around, grabbing at me.” Sable flipped a triumphant smile. “Quite enjoyable until the sirens yowled in my ears.” Cocking her head, she peered into her friend’s face, then offered a light-hearted grin. “Are you going to report my misbehavin’ antics?”
“You escaped.” Slowly Yisbet returned a wry grin. “Without a scratch. No. Why upset the Council?” She sipped daintily. “Or, more importantly, why upset your father?”
“Duty to the realm ... yes, to please father. Why I’m here. Observe the surface-dwelling humans. I am so bored to tears.”


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

First flashing banner

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Forces of Attraction...Give Me More...

(Disclaimer: The photo is of a complete stranger and is only there to illustrate my points concerning attraction:)

Good morning! I’m in full force now with teaching, advising my active club at school, church choir, and an eleven year old daughter who might as well be thirteen. I am sitting at the computer, telling her whatever pleases her in response to her question as to what bag she should use to carry gym clothes, and she’s shouting, “Oh, my God.”

My sentiments exactly.

Now, to move away into my happy place and write rather than deal with a ‘tween. I’m working on a series of blogs having to do with research on the forces of attraction. Today, I’m going to do a quick overview of the quick judgments we make.

Of course, there’s physical attraction and the almost universal traits people, shall we say, appreciate. Across the planet, women enjoy signs of high testosterone and men drool over physical traits associated with greater doses of estrogen. In men, that means a strong chin and nose. When shopping for a woman, men like women who appear childlike, have smooth skin, small noses, and high cheekbones. Oh, and both sexes drool over a fit body and symmetrical facial features.

Researchers used to find that whites prefer thinner figures and blacks prefer curvier. While this may still be true to some extent, my students’ research indicates young people at least are looking for mediums: medium-sized figures and medium skin tone. Some African-Americans still look down on darker blacks while, surprise, whites tend to think too white is pasty.

I mentioned, or implied, weight in the above paragraph, but what about height? In speed dating studies, a woman’s desirability is determined to a large extent by thinness (as long as she doesn’t hit anorexic in people’s minds) while every inch of height gives a man an edge. In the real world, we still rarely see a shorter man and taller woman.

Even if a man isn’t that tall, if he walks tall, that matters. In fact, our brains register posture before we judge beauty. We can tell how proud someone’s walking from a further distance. If someone looks relaxed, the neurons fire—safe and protector. There are actually mirror neurons—if someone looks relaxed, we’re triggered to copy that emotion.

We’re put at ease and on the road to love.

Studs With Substance - Mike Rowe

I love Katie MacAlister's Dishy Guy Monday. Each week, a beautiful man lands on my Livejournal friends list complete with muscles, stubble, and manly poses. Most Mondays, I really need the eye candy! But as a reader, it's not the description of the hero's rippling abs and dark flowing hair that does it for me. It's the way the guy makes the heroine feel. It's the combination of things that comprises his personality. The abs? Just a bonus.

This year, I'd like to explore the hero in his entirety. His sense of humor. His kindness. His ambition. His flaws. And, yes. Even his abs. I hope that profiling some of my favorite guys from books, film, and even real life will help me better understand what makes a good fictional hero.

My first pick was easy. Probably because the hubby and I watched way too much Discovery Channel this weekend.

Mike Rowe is the creator, producer, and host of Discovery Channel's hit show, Dirty Jobs. Fans watch him try out a variety of vocations - anything from wine making to turkey insemination - to illustrate what people do to "make civilized life possible for the rest of us." In the hands of any other host, Dirty Jobs might just be another semi interesting reality show. Mike Rowe is what makes it funny and damn near irresistible.

His craggy features and easy smile are engaging. But it's really the sheer force of his personality that makes him swoon-worthy. No matter what gunk the man's covered with, no matter what crazy thing he's asked to do in the line of duty, he almost always displays determination, modesty, logic, self deprecating humor, and a snappy intellect. He doesn't talk down to his audience, but he balances his high vocab narration with a steady stream of jokes delivered in a smooth baritone that he'd once used in the Baltimore Opera.

In a recent Dirty Jobs blog post, a viewer asked him what he thought about " being the next big sex symbol - covered in muck and poo?" After a short discussion of the criteria required by a poo-covered man to be considered such, he ended with, "Having said this, I reject all claims of sex symbolness."

Mike, that is exactly what makes you sexy.

Mike's photo
© Discovery Channel, 2008

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

American Title V

A very big thank you to everyone who has voted for me in the contest.

Your support means a lot to me.

Round three has now begun. This one is for your favourite story summary. The round that gives you the chance to find out what the books are all about.

Check out the contest on

If you want to see where American Title can get you - why not take a look at Long and Short Reviews, where Helen's Magic Knot got top review this week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Atlantis Rising... and the magical sky...

Murder by Hair Spray in Gardenia, New Atlantis ~ The Rising...

An amazing synchronicity, Title Magicians ~ Yesterday the late afternoon sky on the tame prairie was eerily and magically similar to the sky Jinger Heaston created for the cover art of my newest release from very own ATIV baby...MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS...
The sky was so similar in color, and in the far-away cloud textures, I simply stopped and stared for long moments, transfixed ~ feeling as though I’d been mystically transported out of my life.
Originally, this story was supposed to be a novella ~ three erotic, then fall-in-love-and-in-passion days between Sheriff Kalypso and Zryphus, the Zerculeon Agent from the Federal Union ~ all while they catch the Hair Spray Killer. But nope, the story swiftly spiraled out of control, becoming epic in scope.
What are my most favorite scenes, beside their erotic romance where IT takes charge ~ why, it’s the *battle of the sexes* scenes, the verbal sparring between Kalypso and Zryphus. Talk about fun and challenging to write.
After all, Kalypso has had one hundred years to despise the way human males behave in relationships. Zryphus has had a lifetime of wanting, of searching for his one woman. She’s not about to give in. He’s not about to give up. What they do agree on, is the immediate capture of the Hair Spray Killer. A matter of life and death, not only for the citizens of New Atlantis, and not only for Kalypso...but, as it turns out, for the life and future of New Atlantis.
Even after writing this story, the legend of Atlantis and the future of New Atlantis continues to live and magically thrive within my author’s imagination. Kalypso and Zryphus continue to live their love story in my heart. Yes, Book II of the New Atlantis Trilogy is a beloved work in progress.

The futuristic epic begins...

Atlantis is Rising at Siren-BookStrand... on January 15, 2009... it’s not just a legend anymore...

MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS ~ This story spun and formed in my imagination, turbulent as a sea storm ~ then sprang forth onto paper and onto my computer screen like Poseidon’s powerful emergence from the ocean, during a time lost to history when gods and goddesses ruled the world and the heavens above.

Gardenia, New Atlantis... The future begins here...

The story of beginning a new world on a legendary land...
The beginning of a love Sheriff Kalypso Sun Wing never believed was possible for her, especially not after a hundred years on Earth...
The beginning of a love Federal Agent Zryphus has arrived on Earth to find, only he didn’t plan on remaining in a land where women are in charge...

First Line:
The evil cloud of hair spray dominated the air in guest room 666 at Gardenia’s only motel, The Eternal Magnolia – so named because it was surrounded by a park-like acre of Magnolia trees, saved despite the cataclysmic weather, wars and land changes on Earth.

Heroine and Hero:
Sheriff Kalypso Sun Wing is 100 years old in the year 2051. A rebel at heart, an artist by soul, she survived the sterile fifties’ suburbs, the revolutionary turbulence of the sixties, the disco guru seventies. After the suicide of the man she loved, Kalypso barely survived the designer eighties, the fast-forward nineties. In the 21st century Mother Nature rebelled. Kalypso battled for freedom. She never knew why she survived. Until Atlantis rose. Once again.

Agent Zryphus Dolen Vasquoz chose an enforcement career on Earth for several reasons – his fascination with primitive worlds, to make his own way outside the family heritage, to keep official watch for his own Worlds – and, Zerculeon men find Earth women highly desirable, like the gods of old they rival in strength. Since there aren’t enough Zerculeon women, it’s a match made in intergalactic heaven. Especially when Zryphus gets a real eyeful of the Sheriff.

Excerpt ~ Kalypso and Zryphus meet ~

“Sheriff.” The man’s voice commanded first, and announced his presence second. “Sheriff Kalypso Sun Wing.”
“Yeah, that’s me.” Turning, Kalypso’s gaze gave no quarter, hard as diamonds on the outsider. “Agent...?” Dang it to hang, he was a tall and broad drink of water. She’d expected the usual tight-ass wimp, with grim lips and eyes that were mirrors, reflecting nothing but the orders they’d been given. No, this man burned with sheer vitality. His gaze assessed, a damn force of nature. She’d bet if she struck a match and tossed it toward his eyes, they would sizzle like her birthday candles, then explode at his will. Yep, he was definitely a whole load of nano dynamite, unlit.
“Agent Zryphus Dolen Vasquoz,” he answered. “Give me your evidence retrieval. I’ll take over from here.”
Audible gasps burst from Anna and Dr. Victoria at the man’s patriarchal and patronizing tone.
“No, you won’t, Agent Vasquoz. You’re here at my invitation. Only. You follow my rules or you don’t get to play ‘Find the Hair Spray Killer’. Do you understand?”
“Wowzi Powzie,” Deputy Anna whispered, watching her vid screen light up with the sparks flying between the Sheriff and the outsider Agent.
“It’s a Federal Union case, Sheriff. I have priority investigation.” The Agent’s gravelly deep voice filled the entire room.
“You have nothing, Agent. Unless I say so. You can turn around, hit the portal. Or you can cooperate. You’ll have full access. Anna will give you all she’s retrieved so far. If you want, I’ll even act friendly, let you ‘analyze’ this bag more closely.” Sheriff Kalypso approached, a lioness with no fear. “I’ll even sweeten the pot, Agent Vasquoz—let you do a quick exam of the body before we save the fetus. As they used to say, deal or no deal?”
“Whirlwind in the room,” Deputy Anna whispered to Victoria, who still watched her vid screen.
“Deal. For now, Sheriff.” Focusing his gaze like a cannon laser, the Agent straightened his over-large shoulders, his latent power obvious.
“Pull anything against my authority, Agent Vasquoz, and I guarantee you won’t like the results. Deputy, feed your vid evidence to the Agent’s data base, will you, please?”
Once Anna stood, he handed his data vid to her without looking. His gaze relentless, Agent Vasquez followed the Sheriff’s arm wave to the corpse. Moving easily in the small confines of the room, despite his size, he knelt with deliberate care, scrutinizing every detail of the body.
Sheriff Kalypso couldn’t deny his concentration was impressive. She watched him turn the victim over with gentle precision.
Awed, her heart tripping rapidly, Sheriff Kalypso moved closer. “Even her face resembles Jackie O.”
“How do you know?” Agent Vasquoz demanded, not looking up.
“I was born in 1951. Check out your history data base, Agent.”
“Call me Zryphus.”


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

~~~ Kalypso & Zryphus invite you to read their love story ~ a match made in intergalactic heaven ~~~

MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS ~ 2051 suspense futuristic, erotic romance ~ American Title IV finalist ~ sizzling and rising from Siren-BookStrand on January 15, 2009 ~ the future begins here...
~ ~ ~

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Building a hero

Is there a recipe for a hero? Academics would say yes. I recently came across Lord Raglan's theory of the hero, which dates from 1936. It certainly interested me. According to Lord Raglan's analysis the traditional model of a hero follows a 22 point plan.

The hero’s mother is royal.
His father is a king.
His parents are often related
The circumstances of his conception are unusual
He is reputed to be the son of a god
An attempt is made to kill him at birth, possibly by his father or maternal grandfather.
He is spirited away to safety
He is reared by foster parents, in a far country
His childhood is anonymous
On reaching manhood, he travels/returns to his future kingdom
He defeats a king/giant/dragon/wild beast
He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor
He becomes king
He rules uneventfully for a time
He makes laws
He loses favor with the gods/his people
He is driven from the throne and the city
He meets a mysterious death
Often on the top of a hill
His children, if any, do not succeed him
His body is not buried
He has one or more holy sepulchres.

I'm not sure about how far the plan holds up in the case of the modern spy/policeman hero, but it's remarkably applicable to traditional literature and mythology - Hercules, Beowulf, King Arthur - they all score on 16 or 17 points. You can try it out too with Superheros like Superman and Batman - even Harry Potter. There are elements in Shakespeare and Greek drama. For a writer creating a fantasy world it might be a useful tool. I can certainly envisage a wizard, vampire or shapeshifter meeting a lot of those criteria. If you're a writer, why not give it a go next time you're world building and tailor your protagonist a pedigree from the heroic tradition? If you're a reader, check out how far your latest must-have hero meets the Raglan pattern.
I warn you though - it can get addictive.

With thanks to Dimitra Fimi and Ian Spring for the insights and a fun day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A little Egyptian magic - scenes from BLUE GOLD.

Thank you so much to Savanna and to Title Magic for hosting this blog entry for me and giving me a chance to talk about magic in my latest book. BLUE GOLD is a mainstream historical romance but, because of the ancient world setting, it contains strong paranormal and magical elements. When I wrote it, I incorporated magic as part of the beliefs appropriate to the times.

Ancient Egyptians believed in magic, gods and spirits - magic especially was practised as a means to influence and change fate and to give power. In this scene from my newly-released BLUE GOLD, the ambitious princess Ahhotpe is attempting to ill-wish a political rival:

Ahhotpe shot a second glance at the wax figure posted just inside the doorway of her tent. Noon was not the most propitious time for magic, but the midday heat ensured that her people were resting and that consequently she would be unobserved. When she saw the shaft of sun chink through the closed tent flaps and strike the figure, the young woman laid aside her letter.
She had fashioned it well, rolling and mashing the wax between her fingers, infecting it with her hatred, until a startling likeness formed. That same narrow forehead and wide jaw, the bull neck and broad chest, the wider hips and massive legs: the Pyramid in miniature, three fingers high. Ahhotpe smiled as she settled cross-legged before the model. It was, she thought, the closest she might ever come willingly to Zoser. Invoking the proper forms, she thrust the first small copper pin deep into the manikin’s heart.

This kind of sympathetic magic was practised throughout Egyptian society, by princes and peasants alike. Sometimes more formal magic was evoked, and this could be through ritual and through symbolism, as in the Heb Sed rite described by Pharaoh’s mother Tetisheri:

Tetisheri beckoned to the little girl in Ahhotpe’s saffron-colored dress. “My, a pretty girl! Let’s do your hair like a lady.”
Her fingers were nimble, artistic. Ahhotpe stood nearby and picked an old song on her harp, letting the servants see how very much alike she and Tetisheri were.
“Do you know what a Heb Sed festival is, my darling?” Tetisheri stroked the child’s forehead.
“No, granny.” The little girl naturally used this title. Tetisheri was every child’s grandmother.
“It’s a special time for the King, a sort of birthday. He runs along a magic track, and the gods make him youthful again and fit to rule the whole of Egypt.” Tetisheri cuddled the little girl. “Now you can go to the party.”
“Have you seen a Heb Sed festival, grandmother?” asked Ahhotpe, re-tuning her harp.
“I saw my husband’s, Sekenenre’s daddy.” Tetisheri suddenly tugged off her wig and fanned her sparse brown hair. “He ran straight from the track into my bedroom!” She and Ahhotpe, and then the other women, laughed.
“Surely thirty years have not passed since then,” remarked Ahhotpe. “Kamose says you look younger than I do.”
“That’s brothers for you,” replied Tetisheri, pleased none the less at the compliment. “But you’re right, little one. My boy hasn’t ruled as long yet, but he wants the magic the festival will give him.”
“Isn’t it dangerous? Pharaoh running alone?”
“Well, things have grown rougher since my husband’s time,” admitted Tetisheri, “but Sekenenre doesn’t want anyone else’s feet under his table, so to speak.” The old woman sighed. “For myself, I’d certainly feel easier if Kamose ran with him.”
“So would I, granny,” said Ahhotpe.

Sometimes magic was made through more formal rituals. Magic was an accepted part of religion and of medicine. People wore ‘lucky’ charms and amulets. A mother would recite a spell to see off sickness in her child. The sign of the Ankh, the cross of life, was carved or painted on furniture and tombs as a magic protection.

In the ancient story, “King Khufu and the Magicians,” a wizard makes a crocodile of wax. When this is thrown into the water, it becomes a real crocodile. Another wizard is summoned to the Pharaoh Snefru (Khufu’s father) because Snefru is sad. As a diversion, the wizard suggests that Snefru goes boating on the Nile, rowed by beautiful women dressed in nets instead of clothes. 'And they rowed to and fro,' the story goes on, 'and the heart of his majesty was glad when he beheld how they rowed'. You bet.

Best wishes, Lindsay

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blue Gold ~ The Magic of Ancient Egypt

Happy weekend, Title Magicians. Romance author, Lindsay Townsend’s latest release, BLUE GOLD is a time travel adventure back to ancient Egypt. Lindsay gives us the inner workings of that exotic and majestic culture, as well as the magical practices used, in her powerful story. The depth, detail and dramatic intensity of this novel is magnificent and reminds me of a fabulous TV miniseries.

Blue Gold
By: Lindsay Townsend
Categories: Historical Mainstream ROMANCE
Word Count: 124,400
Heat Level: SENSUAL
Published By:
Siren-Bookstrand, Inc.

Blurb ~

Ancient Egypt, 1560 B.C.
Ruling Upper Egypt from Thebes, Pharaoh Sekenenre has many enemies. Aweserre, whose grandfather seized the crown of Lower Egypt. Kamose and Ahhotpe, his son and daughter, who plot to rule in his place. And, most dangerous, the storm-god Set.
It is a time of famine. To prosper a man must be civilized and ruthless. Ramose, priest and Vizier, is all of these. Kasa, a farmer, must learn to be like him to survive. Neith, wife of Ramose, is driven, first to drink, then to courage. Hathor, who killed her son, finds love, desertion, then a second chance at love. Tiyi, the gentle masseuse, is desired by many, but desires only one.
Watched by the gods of Egypt, the conflict reaches its climax in war. The pyramids, a thousand years old when the story begins, play a crucial part.
Behind all is the God Set, with his question: 'What am I?'

"The God Set or Seth in ancient Egyptian mythology is a mystery, represented by a strange animal. In 'Blue Gold' I set out to explore this mystery in the most direct and exciting way I could. And I've always loved the pyramids!" ~ Lindsay

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Fast Track to Attraction--A Splash of Red

Hey, ya’ll. I hope this blog finds you well. I don’t know about you,
but here’s hoping 2009 is an improvement over 2008! Even though,
of course, there are always blessings if you look for them…in 2008,
for example, I did get nibbles from agents and editors, even though none
swallowed. So, here's to a New Year!

One way we’re trying to make this blog better is to have some continuity. Trish will be blogging in a series about and reviewing paranormal TV shows and movies on a biweekly basis. I’m going to follow along with the theme and blog in a series about the psychological research available on attraction. Since I’m supposed to give my first writing presentation ever in July on you guessed it, The Psychological Aspects of Attraction, I thought this would be a good way to make sure I have something to say when the time comes!

Even though I’m a psychologist in my day job and discussing the methodology is my bread and butter (I’m not a clinician, couldn’t analyze you if I tried—I crunch numbersJ), I’ll keep the technotalk to a minimum. My hope is describing the research findings will enrich your writing. The more you know…

Today, I wanted to start at the beginning (a very fine place to start). What happens when someone meets someone for the very first time? What characteristics, manner of dress, are most likely to turn you on?

From a distance, men are attracted to (and isn’t this cool the researchers studied this?!) the color red. Surprise! I never considered color important to basic attraction other than to spaghetti sauce. The first indication researchers had was with monkeys and then they wondered, could this apply to men? You can draw your own conclusions as to the scholars’ logic.

The connection between red and sex has a long history. Think the Scarlet Letter and red dresses and red valentines (I considered waiting to divulge this information until Valentine’s, but I’m a woman and I’m saving love for February 14, not lust). Our historical connections you might think mean we’re taught the association. Not necessarily so. Okay, this may not be for the squeamish, but Dixson and his colleagues have found red is also associated with female parts in primates. The more estrogen in a female’s body, signaling ovulation, the redder her parts—in baboons, chimps, and macaques, the connection is very colorful, shall we say. In other species, the signs don’t have to be as vivid, but the guys get the message.

For human females, we’re not so brazen, but…women’s general skin tone lightens around ovulation because the blood is going south. Women tend to wear less clothing at midcycle because their body temperature is higher. Also, because the body is very ready at that point in time, women are more likely to blush and flush (turn red right above the breasts, neck and face)—and the primitive man’s brain responds.

In five different studies (2008), Andrew & Niesta tested college-aged men of different races. They found the following: a woman’s face against a background of red was seen as more attractive and more sexually appealing. She wasn’t seen as more likable, kind, or intelligent. Women don’t experience this effect. The effect was seen over any other color, even including men’s perennial favorite, blue.

Just as a final note—the men didn’t see the color as having any effect, even though it had an effect over and above the woman’s facial expression and the way she was dressed. When directly asked, they say they're more influenced by the woman's honesty and so on. Hah.

So, how about a little red today?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Confessions of a Publishing Noob - Happy New Year!

I've been writing for a long time. Submitting? Not so much. I'm learning a lot, and the more I learn the more I realize that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. In the past year and a half I've completed two novel manuscripts, five stories, finaled in American Title IV, sold one short, joined RWA, sent out 32 submissions and made what seems like 483 faux pas. Yeah. Proofread more than once, guys.

I'm at the beginning of a long cycle of writing and submitting. Compared to the rest of the wonderful women I'm blogging with, I'm a mere baby in the process. From where I stand now, publishing is a strange and mysterious mix of strategy, foresight, logic and luck. On one hand, it's scary. On the other hand, the challenge is too compelling to deny.

By the end of the year, I aim to have two more completed novels, a few more shorts, and have something out on submission at all times. My word count goals are on the calendar, my files are clean and organized, and I feel eager to dive right in. To keep help me on task, I'm going to make myself accountable to others for my progress. The hubby does a great job as a daily word count policeman. My crit partners and I keep track on a larger scale. This year, to help put it all in perspective, I'm also going to report in here once a month with accomplishments, interesting research facts, and the inevitable duh moments that I tend to leave in my wake as well as the hard lessons that result from them.

I'm ready - ready to make this year even better than the year before. To write more. To learn more. What about you, Title Magicians? What's ahead for you in 2009?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What is Magical About January 15, 2009 ?

Besides, the fact that January is a One month, and that is my numerology life path...
Besides, the date, the 15th is a 6 which is compatible to my 3 personality number.
Besides, this is a 9 day in numerology and my soul path is a 9...
With all that vibrational magic...yay!

Gardenia, New Atlantis - it begins on January 15...

The New Year has begun and the future begins here...


The story of beginning a new world on a legendary land...
The beginning of a love Sheriff Kalypso Sun Wing never believed was possible for her, especially not after a hundred years on Earth...
The beginning of a love Federal Agent Zryphus has arrived on Earth to find, only he didn’t plan on remaining in a land where women are in charge...

Gardenia, small town/colony in New Atlantis, 2051 ~

“Amazon warrioress paradise,” Zryphus enthused.
His voice, both gravelly and velvet, definitely fluttered her insides.
“Yeah, well, don’t get used to it yet. Not everyone is welcome here as a permanent resident. Coffee?” she asked to change the subject. She’d heard Zerculeons guzzled the stuff. Seeing one of her favorite people, Kalypso waved her inside. “Cora, what perfect timing. Come on in. Thanks, I do need my brew. Meet Agent Vasquoz.”
Taking the mug, she smiled at Cora, then gratefully sipped her chocolate cinnamon brew. For a moment, she shut her eyes and savored. Cradling the bowl-shaped mug, she tossed back her pony tail. It helped ease the tension at the back of her neck.
“Agent, can I get you anything? We have about any ole’ beverage you can imagine here,” Cora tempted, sweet as pecan pie. “I am the hostess with the mostest.”
“Organic, take advantage, Top Dog. Your taste buds will thank you,” Kalypso urged, proud of the town, and the sovereign land she had helped create—so long ago when Atlantis had risen.
“Why come on over here, Agent Vasquoz, I have a short list of what I can get for you.”
Watching him move toward Cora, Kalypso took a large long taste of her brew, and remembered what she would never forget.
Entranced, her spirit soaring with new hope, she’d watched the antediluvian lands emerge from the hurricane-whipped ocean, while hidden in the shadow of a New York City tenement building. Despite the last days of the Conflicts, everyone who could, had paused and stared up at one of the mammoth plasma screens, used for propaganda and mind control.
The whispers of what occurred, had turned to wildfire, and couldn’t be stopped.
Atlantis had risen again.
While she watched the screen, the ground beneath her feet had shuddered, as if the planet was a giant dog shaking off fleas. To prove it was not another shower of buster bombs shaking the remaining cities on the East Coast, the three-day miracle had been shown only as updates, at first.
On the third day, the full land of Atlantis had roared from the seas like Poseidon seeking his former empire. From the islands of Cuba, north to Savannah, Georgia, the antediluvian land shone beneath the breaking sun as a new Atlantis.
At the first glimpse of sun rays touching one peak, and while leviathan waves crashed, spewing enormous sprays of mist, the shudders of destiny had stormed through Kalypso, with all the strength of the spinning rainstorm that still raged over most of the renewed land.
Before any other groups dared to explore, she and her militia, and several other friendly rebel militias, had colonized, agreeing to begin a new country, based on their shared ideals.
Taking another long sip of her brew, Kalypso ended her memories, and observed the Federal Agent through her lowered lashes.


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

~~~ Kalypso & Zryphus invite you to read their love story ~~~

MURDER BY HAIR SPRAY IN GARDENIA, NEW ATLANTIS ~ 2051 mystery-suspense futuristic ~ American Title IV finalist ~ releasing from Siren-BookStrand on January 15, 2009 ~ the future begins here...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Paranormal TV: Supernatural

Today begins my year-long series of paranormal reviews. At least once a month, I'll talk about a paranormal/sci fi TV series or movie. Also each month, I'll do at least one paranormal book review. First up is my favorite TV show, Supernatural. It's actually kind of ironic that this is my favorite show since I'm a total chicken in real life. I hate things that go bump (or creak or whatever) in the night. And yet, that's exactly what the Winchester brothers, Dean and Sam, deal with each week. They are hunters of things that most people think are myth and legend and horror stories -- vampires, werewolves, women in white, witches, demons, you name it.

Like many good programs, Supernatural is split into two parts -- monster-of-the-week episodes and ones that feed into the overall mythology that connects Sam to demons (even though he's a good guy) and Dean to angels (even though he's the bad boy, though one of the good guys). We're not quite sure where this is going, and it keeps viewers on the edge of seats. The stakes get bigger with each season. I mean, seriously, Dean went to hell at the end of last season, and he's been dealing with the ramifications of that this season after being pulled out by an angel (of the warrior type) named Castiel, who I think has been a very interesting character addition.

So what makes a chicken like me love this show?

1. The brothers' relationship. It's loving, it's combative, it's strained, it's teasing, it's all the things a real brotherly relationship is like but with the added pressure of trying to save the world from demons and such. These two guys are constantly on the road fighting evil. They can't have real jobs, homes, or romantic relationships. All they have is each other. Oh, and...

2. Bobby. He's a crusty older hunter who was friends with the boys' dad, John. He's a flannel-wearing, ballcap-wearing, bearded guy who has a junkyard, a house full of hunter/paranormal resources, and lots of "don't be stupid" wisdom. I just love Bobby. If they ever kill him off, I'll just cry.

3. The big story arc. I want to know what's going to happen in this war between demons and angels, what's going to happen to my boy Sam (yes, I'm a Sammy girl in a world where most people are Dean girls), and whether the boys ever banish enough evil to have a normal life.

4. Quotes. OMG, this show is full of fantastic quotes, typically between Dean and Sam. While I love Sam, Dean is hysterical and has the best quotes. A sampling:

"I'm not going to die in a hospital where the nurses aren't even hot."

"It's like we got a contract on us. You think it's 'cause we're so awesome. I think it's 'cause we're so awesome."

Dean Winchester: [Sam points to a word carved into a telephone pole] Croatoan? Sam Winchester: Yeah. [Dean stares blankly.] Sam Winchester: Roanoke... lost colony... ring a bell? Dean, did you pay any attention in history class? Dean Winchester: Yeah. Shot heard 'round the world, how bills become laws... Sam Winchester: That's not school; that's schoolhouse rock!

These are really funny when you know the characters, but I'm hoping they translate as funny to those who have not seen the show. Gasp!

5. The boys are hot. So shoot me -- both Dean and Sam are not hard to look at.

So, any Supernatural fans out there? What are your favorite parts of the show? Which brother do you prefer?

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Angelic Magic of January 1, 2013

Bound by Gold Ribbon... New Year’s Day, 2013

~~~ An x-rated scene which takes place between Sedona and Volcano after their love story in WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~~~

Sedona shrieked. Bands of something she couldn’t see wrapped around her bare legs and continued spiraling up her naked body, forcing the bath towel out of her hand. Reacting, she tried stepping forward. But nope, she wasn’t going anywhere. Catching sight of herself in the immense mirror over the double sinks, she gaped. She was wrapped in sheer gold ribbon. Goddess! She looked like some kind of weird sex gift, about to be presented to the carnal cherub who had everything.
She stared for a split second, then screamed ‘Volcano’ in her mind. Shocked and raw inside, she blinked at her reflection, then screamed like a banshee.
A scant second later Volcano materialized at the entrance of the bathroom. Halting on an etheric dime, he took his sweet time running his gaze up and down her, not once, but several times. Despite her obvious distress, he seemed to be savoring. Sedona scowled. “Get me out of this...this whatever the hell is going on.”
“Michael’s way of winning our contest.” His purple eyes glowed with a lustful enthusiasm Sedona hadn’t witnessed yet. And she’d witnessed lightning bolts of desire take over his eyes. Often.
“Michael?” she asked through clenched teeth. “Contest?” She glared as best she could. Her cherub was very hard to glare at.
“Archangel, Saint.” On silent feet he moved toward her, then circled her. The white-light heat of his gaze warmed her significantly and flushed her cheeks. “He bet me he could wing faster through the dense atmosphere of Earth. I was winning...until...”
“Until,” she impatiently demanded, while her whole body ignited from his perusal. What she could see in the mirror. Good Lord, his cock blazed to life, the red light shining through his pants.
“He popped my cork.”
“Oh, for God’s sake, what does that mean?”
“It means.” Suddenly, his face was above hers. “He knows what pops my cork. This is his New Year’s Day gift, and his victory.”
“Just like an archangel,” she breathy swiped, “giving the perfect gift and winning, at the same time.”
He smiled. The joy shimmered his eyes, blending with his passion, an inferno about to rage out of control. “Sedona, my beautiful woman.”
Lowering his head, his lips feather-touched the ribbon over her nipple. It dissolved like magic, and he greedily suckled. Sedona tried to squirm with the sudden ecstasy, but it was useless. All she could do was feel the pleasure streak through her like a shooting star while he raked his teeth over her rigid nipple. Touching the ribbon over her neglected nipple, he caused it to vanish. His fingers strongly twisted, and rapture flamed through her.
Sedona moaned, her sex mound throbbing, her wetness slickening the inside of her thighs.
Palming her sex curls, he disappeared the ribbon, and thrust his finger deep inside her rosy folds. Deliberately, with a languid rhythm, he rubbed up and down the length of her clit.
“Volcano!” She soared, bubbling beautifully.
“Happy New Year, my woman,” he growled.

May your most romantic dreams come true...


Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~ ~

Help Bring in the New Year of 2013...
Sedona & Volcano invite you to read their love story ~
WHEN A GOOD ANGEL FALLS ~ Where angels fear to tread, 2012 Earth...Is a stranger on a superspeed motorcycle her savior from the brutal endtimes? ~ available from BookStrand ~ ~ ~ An Author Discovery by Lindsay Townsend ~ ~
Volcano’s Angelic Forecast for this week ~ ~