Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year!

Isn't it nice to pretend we can flip over to a new untarnished sheet and start all over?

Yes, maybe that's what we should do. We've learned some lessons in the past year (we hope), and are moving on to better things--if not bigger. Let's try not to overtax ourselves.

Since my year was so full of both disappointment and overwhelming projects, I'm looking forward to a new year where I hope I'm not having to go back three steps and try to correct a lot of errors, and then do the job that someone else screwed up. Trying to get out all three books that my publisher dropped was a job, but I did it! Plus put out the one I had been planning on as well.

Having gone Indie over the summer was freeing, but also putting a great deal of pressure on me, because now I have to promote. This isn't always easy. Especially if you are busy doing other things, including working outside the home in a job you don't really relish--sound familiar? A number of you out there do the same thing. We're all in this boat together. And take care of a home and family, as well.

My hope is to merely get two books out in 2014. Period! I'll be working on other projects as these things get done. I'll continue my Sabrina Strong series--since I've got the 4th one Vampire Caprice, coming out in 2014, and have #5-#7 written, and need to work on those in order.

So, as things settle down with the confetti, and I get over the hang-over (just kidding!), my work will continue on these projects. I think the key word for next year will be MODERATION!

What are your plans for 2014?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Flying Fingers

The clock on the mantle announced the hour of one a.m. with a delicate bong.

Seated on one of the more comfortable silk-covered Regency couches, Phil gazed down the hallway. How many times had he and his friend, Herb Rubin, encountered the undead's evil? Too many to recall. Nearly ten years worth, he guessed off the top of his head. During that time they had kept close vigil on odd occurrences of cluster disappearances, monitored anemic victims in hospitals, learned of strange stories of corpses vanishing from morgues and mortuaries, and of the freakish phenomenons of instantaneous combustion mostly by newspaper accounts and through their covert investigations, which usually turned up vampiric attacks on a whole community. Some of these attacks had been on acquaintances, and they could operate with the victim's blessings. Others, and there had been many, were on people who didn't even know them, and yet they had been successful in snuffing out the lair--either quietly, or in a big way--and had to flee the area in order to keep themselves out of jail and continue to do their important work to fight this evil. They hoped to, someday (along with others doing the same work all over the world), eradicate this terrible plague from the world, once and for all. 
~from Vampire Legacy 2005, by Lorelei Bell

Hello, my pretties. The above is a sample paragraph from the older mss., which I'm working from. I've renamed it Dhampire Legacy. As I go through I am editing out things/characters/scenes, and deciding where, if at all, any portion of a chapter (or all), I can use in the new version, and where it will go. The "edited out" pile is pretty large. The "entered" pile is large, but then, I had two or three drafts to look through and choose what I wanted to use.

I've run across a number of files where I've written notes for it. This thing took on gigantic proportions at one time. I've mentioned to you that at one point it was over 800 pages, and I honed it down to 400 in a month's time. I can see now, as I go through and discard certain chapters, where this thing got out of hand. The need to "kill" my darlings has become like a slaughter, in this case.

Nevertheless, I have just reached over 60k words--yesterday it came to 62,350 words and 191 pages. I'm nearly at the 200th page and I'm working to get my mss to the climax point of the book. It's easier if you have a diagram of a plot and know how to implement it. (If you need one, just ask. I have something I can send you via email.) It was something I discovered through the various places I go to learn how to write and plot.

As you may have guessed this is a slightly different sort of vampire book, it is more on the order of a police procedural, mystery, and supernatural suspense sort of novel. It is pretty much the opposite of what my other books are like, and borrows from novels such as those written in the 1980's, before vampires became sexy and got into the bedroom and became objects of women's sexual fantasies. I used to read novels such as 'Salems' Lot by Stephen King, They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon, and various others which had vampires seeking human doctors to either explain their condition, asks for help or tell the true story of their existence (before Anne Rice), like Vampyr by Jan Jennings, and By Blood Alone by Bernhardt J. Hurwood, and there was The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen, among the few I'd read. Some I wasn't too impressed with, but these weren't too bad. They Thirst being among the better of these for suspense and action where the vampire was strictly evil and blood thirsty--which as it should be! I'd have to re-read 'Salem's Lot, however, as I keep getting it confused with the ridiculous movie rendition. They simply could not keep from messing with, and changing (screwing up), King's books on the screen.

With this post, we are looking on a brand new year and I hope to get two brand new books out in 2014. The first one will be #4 of the Sabrina Strong series, and I'm working on the edits while beta readers are still working along, chapter by chapter. And I am definitely slating Dhampire Legacy for a 2014 release! Hopefully with nothing else on my slate, I should be able to get these two books out next year.

Until next time, my pretties!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

.99 NOW! Count Down Deal on 3 Books!

Hello, my pretties! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying all your presents. But if you have an Amazon card, and still have a few $ left over, why not check out a few of my eBooks? I've got three books that are .99 today, tomorrow and the next day. The price is going to go up one dollar every few days, until January 4th with Amazon's Count Down Deal. So, why not click on one or two titles. You may not see these prices again until next year!

Vampire's Trill

Vampire Nocturne

Spell of the Black Unicorn

Thank you! We'll see you next year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Bit of This 'n' That

Merry Christmas to all my pretties!

 I wanted to give you some up-dates what's been happening with me, and my husband and my writing.
This has been a heck of a year! I went Indie, as you may know. That was a busy summer! I got all three of my Sabrina Strong books out as an Indie with the help of my friend/formatter, John Gill (Carole's husband). He was also instrumental in helping me get "The Cat Whisperer" formatted for both Amazon and Smashwords, as well as helping me with the cover.

I finished my husband's afghan. I never realized it, but I've never made him his own before. I've made others just to go over couches, but this one is his.

As you know we had to give up the kittens so that they would go to a good home. This is a picture of Peewee, the smallest kitten in the 5 that were born under the porch steps in the fall. She was so small, she snuggled in between her two bigger brothers, and hid. I was the first one to see her, small as a mouse, but there. I had been very worried about her. Well, here she is. A healthy little kitty, now 2 and a half pounds of spunk! I'm so happy my sister has her, she's delighted I must say, and I'm very happy that this little bundle has given her such pleasure.

This is Peewee ("Sadie") the smallest kitten
in the group of 5 kittens we had to raise and then
give to shelter, but my sister has this one!
I've been told the gray kitten went to her sister-in-law, and that was good news. I hope to hear what happened to the others. But I'm sure they'll all get great homes.

While I sit and look out the window at the melting snow, we are under a winter storm warning for tonight, and so I'm getting this post up just in case I can't do this tomorrow. Christmas has snuck up on me! I didn't have much time to get cards out and forgot to get more stamps, so I just didn't do it.

I am still working on getting the fourth Sabrina Strong book done, with the help of friend and author, Shelly Arkon.

I am currently working on another WIP. As a matter of fact I've almost got 50k words done with it. If I had pushed it, I would have gotten that much done within the 30 days usually set aside for NANOWRIMO. I'm about 4 days over it, but that's okay, as this is a new achievement. And it's nowhere finished at all. Anyway, in case you aren't familiar with what I'm working on, this is something I had written many years ago, and I've decided to dust it off and breath new life into it. I've renamed it "Dhampire Legacy". I've got plans for the cover and two co-workers have agreed to give me a hand in making the cover. I'm not going to reveal any more about that right now, but I will when things begin to move along toward making it and then I'll have a big reveal. But that's a long way away. Next year at some point.

This year I have done what I said I'd do: enjoy life. I did not push myself too much. I went for walks, I crocheted in the afternoons, and read something after dinner before going to bed. And the naps in the afternoon have been wonderful!

I wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and we'll see you in the new year! I'll be lurking around my other blogs and usual places in the next few days as well!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pitting a vampire against a leprechaun...

Good evening, dawlings!
Well, I've been sooo busy working on another WIP, and I've been neglecting things here. *sorry* I don't want you to forget my fourth Sabrina Strong book is still being worked on. I'm slating it for a possible February release--but don't hold me to that. I'm doing my best working on it along with everything else that's been going on in my life.
Here is the book's cover:
My friend Lucy Pireel helped me with this cover!

With that said, let me give you a sample from the book. You know, what I love to do is place one loose cannon (character) with another. You just never know what the outcome might be. It could be exciting, volatile, might be funny and at the same time crazy. The two in this scene are my big handsome, seven foot tall vampire mogul, Bjorn Tremayne, and the other is Rick, the leprechaun who has a birth defect and left him with almost no arms, but hands situated at his shoulders. Well, these two are such complete opposites in stature and in mannerisms, and I love to throw the two together and see what comes of it. 
Let's go check in and see what Rick is up to right now...

While holding the brush with the toes of his right foot, Rick brushed his hair and aimed the hair dryer with his left foot. His toes were long, and nimble. He could write with both hands, and both feet, sometimes at the same time, but not when he was drunk. He tried that once on a dare and had fallen off his stool—in Tom's Tavern. It had the whole place guffawing. Besides, he thought his handwriting was much better when he held a pen in his right foot, than the left foot, or either of the hands. It was mainly because he could see what he was writing. The kind sisters at the orphanage of Our Lady of Perpetual Grace had helped him develop and work on his disability when he was old enough to learn to read and write. Sister Fred was his favorite nun. She had the disposition of a saint, and put up with his horseplay, as well as the magic he could do. Plus she'd kept his abilities a secret. She thought his magic was a “gift from God”. Well, maybe they were. But he was merely a leprechaun, and not a rich one either. The pile of money had dried up a long time ago from the settlement for the birth defect he was born with because of the drug his mother had taken while pregnant. But he would be fixing that real soon with the deal Tremayne had offered him.
Seated on the toilet, using his hands to keep himself steady holding on to the corner of the sink and the corner of the toilet tank, his hair was nearly dry. He'd slept the whole day, and when he woke up, he felt refreshed—and no longer needed to worship the porcelain god from altitude sickness. It was dark out, too, he noticed. Chris had shown him his room, earlier, and since no one was using the shower, he had ducked in here with his shower supplies. He loved the multiple shower heads, as he could aim the lower ones right where he needed them. He didn't think he'd been so clean in all his life—he felt squeaky clean. He was pretty sure he hadn't sung that well in a long while, either.
I wonder what they might eat for dinner.
His relaxed thoughts were jolted when someone suddenly materialized in the bathroom with him. He cried out. The hair dryer flew out of his toes and clattered to the floor. Rick wound up there with it; the towel that had been wrapped around him, now flopped open leaving him as exposed as a flasher. The headache he'd gotten rid of was now back after hitting his head on the vanity.
SHIT!” He leaped to his feet, magicked the towel back around him and stared at the huge vampire who had materialized out of nowhere. “What the fuck are you doing? You scared the crap-olla outta me!”
It didn't work,” Tremayne said, seeming unconcerned about the situation, and chaos he had caused. He gazed down at him, then offered a hand to help him up. Rick took it, but wasn't happy.
What?!” Rick's face had gone hot and he imagined it redder than it had been a moment ago from the hot shower.
Tremayne sighed and rolled his eyes. “I said it didn't work. That thing you did to keep me from wanting her blood.”
What do you mean? I did like you told me. You two looked really cuddly-smoochy when I walked in there the other night.”
I couldn't be close to her without feeling the desire for her blood.”
Well, you're a vampire. What do you expect?”
I thought you said you could do something about that.”
If I take away your need for blood, totally, it would be total. I don't know if I can bring it back. You don't want that, do you?”
Tremayne paused in thought.
You don't want that. Right? You'd never want blood again.”
No. That wouldn't work either.” He let out a frustrated sigh, raked his fingers through his golden locks.
You might as well face it, dude. You need to find a different way.”
I do have a few ideas, actually. I've just implemented one, and now I need you to go and get me some virgin's blood.”
You're shitting me. Right?”
No. I'm not. And I'm giving you less than an hour to get it to me.”
Rick sighed. “How much?”
How much? Ah...” Tremayne's eyes darted away from him in thought. “A couple of ounces, if you can't do a whole pint.”
That might cost me.”
My credit's good. You know that.”
Done. What will that do—the virgin's blood?” Rick wondered.
Take my mind off her blood.”
Tremayne gave him a side glance. “You're kidding me? Virgin anything for a man is heaven.”
Ah. Right, right.” Rick nodded. Vampires, shit.
Also, I've got to have you get her to cover her ring up. I can't thrall her if she has the ring uncovered.”
Okay. What if I make it so that she doesn't uncover it? She just thinks she did.”
Tremayne slid his eyes to the leprechaun. A smile bent his lips. “Now I know why I hired you.”
Yeah, yeah. Now get the hell out of here so I can finish up.”
Tremayne turned to go, but stopped. “I wondered how you managed to... you know, without... you know?” He made hand gestures toward the hair dryer.

Get the fuck out of here!” Rick snarled and pushed him toward the door. Tremayne ducked out into the hall, and Rick slammed the door as soon as Tremayne was out. He reached down to pick up the hair dryer. He saw bits and pieces of it scattered on the floor. “Aw, fuck.” He shook his head slowly. With a snap of his fingers the pieces flew back together. The dryer came to life and he magically floated it toward his head. “I knew I shouldn't have gotten mixed up with a vampire. I just knew it.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Cat Whisperer now available on Smashwords!

Before I get into this I want to up-date on the kitten situation.

If you've been reading about these cats/kittens/kittens from the original feral cat (in this story), they have been taken in by Tails, here in DeKalb. My sister wanted and took home the smaller black kitten. Her husband knew we wanted to get the rest of them (there were 5 all together), into a shelter, or give them away. We worried that they wouldn't take them, as sometimes they don't. But the reason we wanted to get these cute little guys in was because we didn't want to have the same cycle happening--the mating and resulting kittens again. Since their mother went missing 4 weeks after they were born, we had assumed responsibility for their well-being and up bringing and care. They were entertaining as well. We put them on our porch, and kept them safe from whatever predators who got the last three cats in this story "The Cat Whisperer". We needed help, and help came. It's amazing what people will do for animals, and I have to say, they came through wonderfully!

I had no idea that my nephew, Brett Paul (who has a photograph business on the side), donated a lot of money to this shelter for animals. He and his wife have 3 cats, in fact. So, when my brother-in-law told me about this over a phone conversation about Tails, and that my nephew was very much involved in Tails, I got an email off to Brett. He, at the time, was in Florida, but he still coordinated things with Tails, and we were soon scheduled for a time to go to Tails to drop them off. Brett and his wife came home the night before--with head colds--and met us at Tails. The lady who took them in explained that they would be given shots, wormed, and neutered, and they would be ready to adopt in 2 weeks!

After trying to get people interested in coming out and taking a kitten at our house, this worked out much better. I'm sure anyone looking for a sweet kitten when they see these guys they'll have no trouble taking one or two home with them.

So, this is the true ending of the Cat Whisperer--the story, and my husband's care taking of cats. He has officially "retired", he said to me after we came home and cleaned up the porch where the little guys played and did their mock battles--giving us something to watch. Teary eyed as the day ended, we missed them, but we knew this was the best thing for them--especially as we went into extremely cold weather, and they would have froze on our porch. It wasn't what we wanted, it was what was best for the kittens. I hope that someone will find a new kitten under the Christmas tree this year!

And now, for those of you who are new to this, or have been following along. This true story is now available at Smashwords.
A special thanks to John Gill, who did the formatting for this, as well as helped me with the cover. Look at those cute guys!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cat's Meow

"I'm smiling because I just found a cute TRUE story about cats and kitties just like me."

"That's TOTALLY awesome!"

"Where? Where?"
"Can we see it too?"

"I would like to see this too! Where do you go to see such a thing?"

"Yes! I've heard it's toe-licking good!"

"This is the cover right here! I've heard you can find it on some place called AMAZON."
"What's it about?"
"Well, its about this lady author... oh, there she is right there..."
"Ooo, she's perrrrfict!"
"And her husband--he's 'The Cat Whisperer'. This is him right there looking out onto a beautiful lake."
"Anyway, its about how a female feral cat came into their yard one day and he fed it table scraps, and she stayed and had her kittens, and they took care of them. But not all of it was good and fun. There are villains, death, and how they survived and took care of each other."

"Wow. I think it sounds great."
"Oh, and that's them right now... shhhhh. They're sleeping."
"That makes me sleepy to watch. I think I'll take my cat nap now."

The Cat Whisperer can be found at Amazon for $1.99. A true story about feral cats, covering a whole year of fun, sorrow and their triumphs!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

VAMPIRE ASCENDING Not a cookie-cutter paranormal romance

You've seen them, lining bookshelves in the fantasy/horror section of your local bookstore, or on Amazon. Paranormal Romances all have the same look to the cover (half-naked man and woman--hint, one is usually a vampire--going at one another). Who is surprised at the end? No one.

Vampire Ascending is not another cookie-cutter  paranormal romance. 
It is darker and more realistic than Twilight, and I've heard people say they were very happy about that--needing to stay away from the sparkly vampires, don't you know?

Many who have read this one, have gone on to read the second book, Vampire's Trill, 

and then on to read Vampire Nocturne.

These Urban Fantasy books all have a blend of mystery, romance, horror, action and adventure. Sabrina doesn't fall for just one man, but many, and has many suitors. She does her best not to be bitten by a vampire. But there's no guarantee in this, since she works for a powerful master, seven foot tall Bjorn Tremayne.

Vampire Nocturne is my only Steampunk, which follows touch clairvoyant, Sabrina Strong into another world where she has to find her cousin before Drakulya does.

Great eBooks for those who want a vampire read with bite!

Sweet dreams....

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are We Having Fun Now? (NaNoWriMo)

Hello, my pretties. Well, as you know this month has a lot of people working on their manuscripts for NaNoWriMo. And if you are one of them, you are wasting your time here. Really. Get back to it or you won't get your word count in for the day.

Okay, are they gone?


I was looking for something on Bing, and found some fun stuff about NaNoWriMo. I thought I would share them with you today. I don't usually do these sort of blog posts, but this seemed like soooo much fun, I had to share.
So, here we go.

You know how it is, to finally have time to write and you just can't decide what to write?
...and then nothing comes when you need it most?!?$!#^@%F**%!!!

This is you on November 1st:

You're working HARD toward your target goals....

Well, you're at least close, right?

This is your brain on NaNoWriMo:
What you hope to have on Novemer 30th:

What you really have...

You on November 30th

And who's bright idea was it anyway to do this in November when you've got one or two holidays in which you either have to cook, travel, eat, go to the mall, and NOT WRITE ANYTHING!!!


Hope you enjoyed my little poke at NaNoWriMo... And don't give up, you've got nine days left and you've almost got it down to your goal.

Wait don't throw the typewriter out the window... Oh hell....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rooting Around

You might recall my saying that I've been writing a long time, and as a result have a lot of old manuscripts laying around in boxes. I kid you not!

Well, the other day I was rooting around upstairs in our 1906 farm house where I've stored a lot of things I don't use any more--like old typewriters, and some computers, and bins and boxes with my writing in it. I opened one box and found something I'd forgotten about. From all indications it was written in 2000. It was meant to be a sequel to another ambitious work called "Vampire Legacy". I had tried so hard to get that published, even thought one agent was interested, but she fled after I couldn't get it just right for her (and said that vampire fiction doesn't sell very well--huh!).

Anyway, this is called "Lucy's Diary" (working title), and when I read the first four pages I thought it wasn't too terrible, but for a few places. And I could see, if I could marry this beginning with the aforementioned piece, I'd have a YA paranormal novel. It goes on to describe what happened at the end of last book, but I stopped at a point where I thought I might see if I couldn't tell the story from that point using the novel I'd written called "Vampire Legacy"--and maybe change the title, or something. I've been wanting to mess with it. Originally I'd written a form of this book in 1982-'83, but it was far different from what I had re-written in the '90's.

So, any way, I brought this partially written mss. down, along with another piece I'd written back when, and read through a little more of it. Aside from a few corrections and some additions, it's basically unchanged. I give you the first pages of "Lucy's Diary":

July 5, 2000

I just picked up this notebook today. I mean, my dad did. I couldn't go into the store. Or rather, I couldn't go out of the camper. Not into the sunlight. It would kill me.
This is weird. I don't feel different, except that I don't have a pulse. My dad tells me I don't look different, except that I'm really pale and that my eyes seem to have an odd glow to them, but that's all. I still have the same large brown eyes, long black hair and cute pouty lips. I had my doubts, so I tried looking into the mirror—you know, to see if the myth was true that a vampire casts no reflection. Yeah, something was looking right back at me in the mirror, but it wasn't me. It was too frightening. So much so I slashed out and broke the mirror. I looked nothing like me, Lucy Vladislav. It looking nothing like a human at all, but looked demonic. It freaked me out so that I worried about what I did look like. I mean, when I touch my face there isn't an ugly snout, or when I look at my arms and such, my skin isn't mottled green with red veins worming beneath the surface. (Yuck!) No, my skin looks as white as milk, and somewhat translucent, maybe. And only when I drink blood can I see the veins beneath the skin. It grosses me out so I try not to look.
Maybe it's what I'm supposed to think. What if the mirror has stolen my true identity—my soul, or whatever—and what I see is a cruel joke created by unseen forces from the spirit world? Forces which I sense more now than when I was alive. Now that I've become a supernatural being I'm aware of the other worlds swimming around me. Spheres,I think they're called. People, like my Grandmum Marci, who are mediums, are able to communicate with those spirits in the unseen worlds. She can tap into them and learn things that we, (well, I can't include myself any more), as humans could never know.
I've learned that this was how my father came to realize what was going on in our town, Vernon Oaks. People were disappearing without a trace. What do you know? A vampier was living in the old Berke Mansion, at the end of town. His name was Adriev Zaylik. He was turning the whole town into a bedlam of horror. People who supposedly disappeared had actually become vampires. And I'm one of them. I guess I got this diary so that I might write things down—how things happened—before I forget. If only to get it all straight in my head. So much happened!
I would never have dreamed that I'd wake up one night and learn that I had been changed into a vampire. It doesn't seem possible. I mean, I didn't believe in such things, not really. But come to find out, Gypsies do believe in such things, very deeply. I think my dad has always tried to shield me from out true heritage. Well, for one thing we certainly don't live like Gypsies. That's what I am. Plus one-sixteenth Cherokee Indian. That comes from my Grandmother Marci.
The story of why we don't live with my father's clan, on the road, is a long story—and one I'm not really well informed about. I only know that my dad was shunned by them when he was just a teenager. Not only was he shunned, but his mother, and dad, and merely because of the color of his eyes. They're gold. Sort of reminds me of the gem called tiger's eye. I suppose, if you weren't used to them, you'd be a little spooked by them because they have a strange animalish look to them. I only know this much by talking with my grandmother. She told me that Gypsies shun anything that's different, or might alude to bad spritis, and vampires are one of those things. Blue eyes are okay, because lots of people have blue eyes. But our people usually have dark skin, black hair and dark eyes. Sometimes they are nearly black. Yelow eyes are just too different. I read once that Gypsies originated from somewhere in India, a long time ago. Anyway, I guess they thought he could either put a curse on them—with his eyes—or bring a curse on them because of it. So, they banish him and us. Now we live like Gaje—that's Gypsy for regular people—ever since. I've never known anything else. I think I was still a baby when they banished him. But there are a lot of things I want to know more about, too.
Like my mother's death. It's been a mystery all my life. I only know things from Grandmum. I wasn't yet one year old when my mom was killed by a stray bullet in the crossfire from gang members in a bad neighborhood. I've never found out the details. Marci wouldn't tell me all of the story. She said that my dad would tell me these things when he felt I was ready. When would that be? When I'm thirty? I'm 15 now.
Seems I'm dwlling on the negative, here. Maybe I am. In health class, last year, our teacher stressed that we shouldn't dwell on the negative side of things. Try to find the positive in everything and everyone.
Okay. Positives. I feel—what? More alive than ever. If that isn't the craziest thing for me to say. But it's true. I certainly don't feel dead! I suppose this is why we're called “undead”? (I can't believe I just wrote that!)
I also feel very powerful, like I could go through a brick wall without breaking a nail. Hey! That's a positive. I never could grow my nails before. They always used to be brittle and break off if I tried to grow them to look nice. Now they're so long I could butter my toast with them. Just kidding.
Okay. Moving on. I'm only 15 and will remain that age in looks, at least.
I'm also very strong and fast, and can see in the dark really well.
I can't think of any more positives.
I guess I should put down that my dad and I are on the run. Have been since two nights ago. That's when we killed Zaylik and his whole nest of vampires. I can't get the image of my father that night out of my mind. His long, black hair flowing loosely beneath the wildly colorful scarf (?) tied around his head. The bright orange silk shirt he wore had become torn and soiled from our venture down into the dark, creepy tunnel beneath Zaylik's mansion.
But maybe I should start from the beginning. This whole story is sort of scrambled up in my brain, right now. My head has barely stopped spinning, because this all happened just days ago. Maybe writing it down will help me keep it all straight.

For the record, my father is—or was—a detective with the Vernon Oaks Police Department. That's before our sort of burning down an historical building, and maybe a little blowing up of things.

Have you ever gone back to read old manuscripts you have and wonder if you couldn't work on it some and get a novel out of it?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

NO to NaNoWriMo YES to working on projects

Hey, my pretties! What are you all doing here if you're busy writing those 50K words, HUH? GET BACK TO WORK!
Now to those of you who are not doing NaNoWriMo, gather around... that's right. The fire is just right. Oh, and here's a little kitten to put in your lap. He'll purr for you if you'll pet him...
Awww, he looks like little Peanut!

Well, I have finished my afghan and have started a new one--this one is for my husband. What? I'm not allowed to dabble in arts and crafts? I did have a craft business at one time and did not write a word for 4 years. That was a long hiatus, but I think I needed it.

At the moment I'm knee deep in stuff. Kittens, who are now orphans, are in our care. Mother wandered off into the wilds one night, and never came back. We are pretty sure she became victim to the coyotes around here. Sad, but that's the way things are out this way. We're determined to care for these little guys until they are a little larger and we can give them away. The drama of keeping cats is too much for us. You don't think so, you'll have to read "The Cat Whisperer" when it comes out.

Speaking of kittens and cats, I've finished "The Cat Whisperer". Right now the cover is being worked on and I'm going over the book again, after my formatting bud, John Gill, has worked on it. And then it will be ready for the world.
I'm still working on #8 book in the Sabrina Strong series. But I'm also working on #4 Vampire Caprice, which I hope to get out in January of 2014.
It had begun raining as Bill drove toward Denver(How about: Bill drove toward Denver when the rain began.). That was why his mind had flooded with that one particular memory that often caused him pain in his heart to remember. Bill shook his head while making a disparaging growl, trying to pull himself from that very(Ital) old memory. Hell, it had been so long ago. Ninety-one years ago.
His father was very happy(find another word to say this) that he'd found the sibyl—showering him in monetarily ways. But when he kept asking when they would be married, it was difficult to tell him how hard this was. As it was, Sabrina was difficult to seduce. He couldn't keep her with him long enough to get to know him. Lord knows he'd tried every way he knew how. She was beautiful, and intelligent. Perhaps enough to stay away from the likes of him. He wondered if he could fall in love with her, gradually over the years. Certainly not like he had Celeste—who he had instantly fallen for—but perhaps, in time he would love Sabrina Strong, the sibyl. Would she fall in love with him? It might take an act of God—or an angel—but he figured he was up to it. He hadn't quite perfected dating, and wooing. Thanks to Father he was pretty much forbidden from dating anyone but the sibyl. But if he could charm old ladies into believing he was their grandson, he figured he could swing a liberal dose of magic to get Sabrina to begin taking a shine to him. He had already begun working on her. But somebody had put up a super ward on her house, so that even he could neither enter her yard, nor even call her—for the love of angel's wings!
Of course, this didn't prevent him from running into her brother, Randy. And, with a little bit of his mind-bending abilities, he was able to make Randy (whose mind was very easy to bend), invite him over for the Thanksgiving dinner at his house—with Sabrina in attendance.
Cooper had kept abreast of it all, via their communications. But he was also watching developments on another level. A level which even Bill wasn't privy to, and he wasn't even sure how Cooper was able to navigate into that parallel universe which included ley lines and other worlds. Possibly he had operatives who had crossed over. He simply didn't know. It was not entirely impossible to become an Undead, but it was rare. Not everyone who wished to become an Undead could. It was extremely difficult, because basically you had to first die, and then somewhere along the line be able to not become either a ghost or cross into the next stages of death, but actually become a physical being once more and yet not be alive or dead, but actually Undead.
That had been Cooper's report only last night, when he had called him—in the middle of the night, no less—about The Albino, and that he had been tracking Sabrina.
No matter how the news had come to him, The Albino was bad news. Knowing that The Albino had killed the last sibyl in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii in order to feed on her soul was especially not good since it had been rumored he himself had caused the eruption.(Way too long-I’m panting) How is anyone's guess.(?) However, that was probably just a legend that had been blown out of proportion. Stories that old often built into monumental fish tales. Bill decided that The Albino simply took advantage of certain situations, waited for the right moment and struck. More than likely, he had probably stalked the sibyl of that era and was in the right place at the right time and then he vanished after having fed on her soul.
The very fact that this Undead seemed to be in the right place at the right time seemed a bit unnerving. He knew that the sibyl—Sabrina—existed, and was now following her as though he knew something might happen to her and he could take her soul. This was all according to Cooper. He wasn't all that sure that the story was made up in order to get him to snatch Sabrina against her will before the Undead did.
However, if any of this was true Bill had to get to her before something did happen to her. She was their people's only hope. Without her, Bill's purpose would be null and void. He really didn't want to wait another 90 some-odd years again to be wed. His mission was cut in stone. He had to get to Sabrina before the Albino did.

Looks like fun, right? Riiiight.

Well, I've been working on this today, and getting my links over on Goodreads changed. I hadn't even thought about this, but people who would hit the link to buy any of my books would find nothing. That's not a good idea. So, I spent about an hour or so getting those changed over. Well, probably longer since I had to reset my password there so that I could get in there and edit out my former publisher's name, and get the ASIN numbers put in.

Now for the fun stuff...
November always makes me think of hot drinks, Thanksgiving meals, the naughty deserts...
What do you think of this time of year? And I don't want to hear how many days it is until Christmas--it's become too commercialized these days. Let me know what your favorite thing is about November. If you're looking forward to snow (Mr. Kendall?), I'll love to hear about it.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Hello, my pretties. I hope you all had a wonderful and safe Halloween, and all your treats divided up. I'm partial to licorice and chocolate.

Anyway, if you were playing along in my Halloween give away, and since I had several people make comments along the way (and feeling generous), I've decided to choose two winners from the general contest.

The first contest was for the person who made the most comments. And that person is WILLIAM KENDALL. William commented on all my posts during this week of Halloween, and he gets the choice of any of my Sabrina Strong books, or Spell of the Black Unicorn.

Now let's see what the magic pumpkin has chosen for the other winners who has a choice of any of the three Sabrina Strong series ebooks.

Drum roll, please...

The Magic Pumpkin has chosen:
EMMA of Little Gothic Horrors


and thank you all for stopping by my blog this week and making comments!

Contact me so that I can get your prizes to you loreleibell4 (at) gmail (dot) com, unless I contact you, first, of course.

And I have another announcement about a FREE BOOK by Author Shelly Arkon! It's called Time on Her Side

Book description:
They say God gives second chances. 

Forty years have shown Wilhelmina has nothing but a lifetime of four failed marriages, a job she hates, and her most recent affair with a married businessman. Until one day, while sipping coffee her silent prayers are answered--she’s visited by her future self, offering Wilhelmina a chance to re-do her life, giving her a mission to save the future world from the baby she’s unknowingly pregnant with. 
Is it the miracle she hoped for, or will this lead into a whole new set of problems? 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween~Last post: Meet Drakulya

Vlad Drakulya (The Impaler)
Well, hello, my pretties and Happy Halloween. I'm sad to say that my Halloween posts have come to an end with this one. If you have been following these, I've been devoting my posts toward vampires and Dracula.

Today I'm sharing with you a portion of a chapter out of Vampire Nocturne, where Sabrina Strong meets Vlad Drakulya--the real one, who has found a way to turn himself into a vampire, and lives in another world where vampire's out-number humans ten to one, and where Drakulya is ruler of his own realm. I had to do a good deal of research on Dracula, and also about Victorian dress for this book. I hope you enjoy it and if you have not bought it, or any of the other Sabrina Strong series, I hope you take advantage of the sale price going on now through November 3rd--all my books are $0.99!
Now without further ado...

I hesitantly stepped into a large study of wall-to-wall bookcases and one huge fireplace. A normal-sized person could easily stand upright in the fireplace at the other end of the room. Gas-fed light washed the room in gold, bronze and browns. Wingback chairs were positioned at angles before the fireplace. Mahogany panels covered the ceiling giving the room a gloomy atmosphere. A large mahogany—or cherry—desk with ball-in-claw feet was stationed in the corner. Odors and scents ebbed and flowed conflicting with one another as I paused a few feet inside the vampire's lair. Drakulya's aura hit me first. Impressive. It was the scent—or, in this case, stench—that bowled me over. As with every vampire I've ever met they all had their individual scents. Dracula smelled of a dense musky odor of an old house, with a pungent reek of decay cloying around it. I had to hold my breath against it.
The door shut behind me with a terrible thud.
Without warning an unbidden vision flitted through my mind: A dark haired child huddled in a filthy cell where plumbing was not available, and soap and water were not involved in regular hygiene either. Someone screaming in the background... the dark haired child smiled cruelly... “I know what they do here... they like little boys... my stupid brother bows to their whims... they know I will resist them... ”
I pushed the scene out of my mind and scowled at the man standing across the room from me. I presumed he fed me this scene to give me an idea of how fowl he can be. Vampires were able to give you any visions they wanted, whenever they wanted. For some reason this was something he wanted me to see, and I knew this came from when he was a prisoner as a child in Transylvania.
Woodsmoke, the burning gas lanterns, and some other odd scents came to my olfactory's rescue. It nearly concealed Drakulya's unpleasant vampire odor. I cursed my werewolf heightened sense of smell. A dozen cans of Lysol, and twenty bottles of Febrize would not help, I decided. I resisted the need to pinch my nose. If only I had a jar of Vick's to plug up my nasal cavities. I was relieved that his vampire scent was so repugnant. He would have to be appealing to someone in order to have kids. Or, maybe not.
I stood facing the back of the vampire who had summoned me. He wore a red tunic made of the richest velvet, belted in a gold mesh and held rubies the size of quarters. The gold and rubies glittered in the candlelight. His legs were ensconced in scarlet hose, black boots came up to his knees, then doubled over, pirate-style showing off their fur linings. I found it odd that he chose to dress in attire which did not reflect what I'd been seeing. He rejected the 19th century apparel, apparently. Dark hair threaded with silver flowed down his back in tight curls and it reminded me of Vasyl's mane, but not as black, and not as shiny—or as clean. The thought of Vasyl turned to a longing; I wished Vasyl were here now, because he would be able to protect me from this vampire. Would I never be able to separate myself from the male who could protect me? I now felt foolish for traipsing into this by myself.
I'll be fine. Right.
You are a stranger in my land,” his accent thick, his voice deep and rich. I imagined he could, were I not wearing my ring, put me under his thrall the second he spoke. He was most likely wondering why I wasn't at this very moment kneeling before him, holding out my unprotected wrist or neck for his drinking pleasure.
This is true. I am a stranger to your world,” I said, keeping my voice even in tone, trying not to sound scared to death. I should be nominated for an Oscar, because I was scared shitless.
I have been told you are from the Earth realm.”
This is also true,” I said. I had expected the news of my visit would precede me. I had guessed correctly.
Since I am also from Earth, do you know who I am? Who I was, when I was a living man?”
Yes.” I didn't pause. I could see he wanted to bask in his own egotistical thoughts of himself as a great man. I decided to oblige him if only to inflate his already over-blown ego. It wouldn't hurt. Vampires might be cunning, but they were push overs when lavished upon with utterances of how great they are—or in this case, were. “Vlad Dracula, a.k.a. Vlad the Impaler, prince of Wallachia—sat upon the throne at least three times during your life. And also a novel named after you was written in a later century by an Englishman by the name of Bram Stoker. You are called Count Dracula in it.” Dracula was a prince, not a count.
Am I handsome in this book? Brave? Fearless?”
You are a vampire who attacks humans. Women, mostly.”
A sharp bark of laughter told me he found this delightful. “But of course,” he said, sounding impressed with himself and I saw him go up on his toes a little bit and bounce some. Relief wash through me. This news delighted him. But I knew it would be short lived.
How does it end?”
You are killed.”
With a stake through the heart, I believe.” I had never read the book. But I caught the movie version of it in all its erotic overtones and blood, in different versions remade in different decades. I enjoyed the one in which Gary Oldman played Dracula. He had done a fine job, but the real Dracula standing here had me wringing my one glove, my mouth became parched. The real Dracula would tend do that.
Drakulya laughed. It was a crude and cruel laugh and stopped abruptly. His head leaned back, eyeing—I supposed—the large painting of himself there above the mantle. He gestured toward it. “I was the Prince of Wallachia. I ruled with an iron fist.” His hand clenched. He then relaxed and dropped his hand to his side and finally half-turned to look at me, his head cocked in a curious pose. In the light of several tapers, I took him in. His eyes were Byzantine large, the nose somewhat long and thin—aquiline—the end of which fell over the bushy mustache. His lower lip seemed ruddier that it should have been for a man, but common for a vampire who may have just fed. The high cheeks were sharply defined in this light. The mustache rose with what may have indicated a smile, but it was not a friendly one. I could not see his upper teeth, only the lower ones, and they were not perfect; some were crooked one gaping hole revealed a missing lower incisor as well. It isn't true that all vampires are beautiful, or perfect. It depended upon what their human life had been like. In Dracula's day there were no dentists. Having lived the life of a prisoner for nearly half his life, a warrior-prince the other half of his 45 years, had taken a toll on his over-all appearance. There were scars on his face, hands, and I suspected there was one that ringed his neck where he'd been beheaded during his last and final battle against the Turks. This one fact flashed in my mind. How was he here now? Vampire or not, the decapitation of the head was a stalling point I couldn't get my mind around.
Having become initiated, so to speak, in vampire lore, I had looked up anything to do with vampires, and Dracula had come up in my search—the historical, and Bram Stoker's Dracula. How Dracula's body and head had wound up reunited, I couldn't guess. The head had been severed in battle, and sent south to Constantinople and displayed on a spike for the sultan to gloat over. Meanwhile, his body was buried in a hidden grave on an island outside of Bucharest. How he'd become a vampire was his little secret, but I didn't doubt that some sort of black magic was involved. It wouldn't be wise to pull up the memories of his human downfall, or ask Vlad the Impaler details of his transformation from death to un-death. But my curiosity was really spiked.
He had an eager look in his his large dark eyes and I knew by the way they swept over me while the mouth curved down with something like disdain, I'd already insulted him.
You are a warrior?” he asked me, turning to face me fully now. One hard knuckled hand at the hilt of a large knife, the other sweeping toward me in his gesture at my choice of clothes.
I looked down at myself. It had not been the first time tonight the men found my attire unbecoming, or unwomanly. What could I say? Get over it, already.
He smiled now, the upper teeth flashing, fangs drawn. Shit!
You are human, and yet I cannot thrall you.” He surged toward me in long, threatening steps, his voice carrying through to the towering reaches of the ceiling. If he'd wanted, he could have been on me in a second, but wasn't, and I wondered why in the one and a half heart beats I had left to think.
I stood my ground, thinking to go for my squirt gun would be a foolhardy move; his six-foot frame had crossed the room in a matter of two seconds, which didn't give me enough time to draw a gun and properly point and pull the trigger. But I had to stop him, and stop him now. Quickly, I reached for the only other thing I knew would stop him: the chain around my neck attached to the crucifix. I knew for a fact he had been a Christian in his human life. I hoped the sight of it would stop him in his tracks.
It did. He stopped within inches of me, but he didn't hiss and cover his eyes or glance away, like Nicolas had, who was 200 years younger than Dracula. I stared into his dark, malevolent eyes—something I probably shouldn't have done, but if I didn't challenge him he would think me a sniveling cowardly woman in man's garb. My hackles were up, and really, I was not going to back down from this asshole who had some how cheated death. If the wolf came out and I chewed him to pieces, I figured I saved this world from his tyranny.
His eyes flitted from my face to the crucifix and gazed at it for a long moment with what I could only call self-pity.
It pains me that I can no longer wear a crucifix, let alone touch one—the cruelty of it all!” He looked longingly toward the object, licked his lips, then turned on his heal and stalked back toward the fireplace. Hissing his frustration, he leaned against the mantle with both hands, head bent. “I, who was responsible for five monastic foundations and endowments, I built churches for those ignorant cur to pray in!” He threw something. It crashed to the floor steps away. I jumped as shards hit my legs and boots. “I was voevod!” he roared and twirled around. “I never let the boyars think that they could get away with anything!” Swiftly he crossed toward me again, but not as quickly. He stopped an arms-length away, swinging one hand in the air above his own head. “I made them pay! All of them! I impaled five hundred of them on the spot! I knew among them were my father's enemies—those who plotted against him and caused his death!” Fists balled up, he was in my face. Spittle hit me. It was all I could do to remain stock still and not run for dear life. I knew if I did show any sort of fear he'd be on me like a pit bull. He would use my fear in a way only a vampire would: To feed on me. Fear enriched the blood, I was told once. Thus it would feed his jaded need for something more than mere calm, sedated blood. His cocktail consisted of the fear-induced, not those he could simply enthrall. No. He wanted to terrify me. But, I wasn't playing along, and I think that really pissed him off more than anything.
What faith are you?” he asked, eyes darting from my face to the crucifix and back again.
I—uh—I'm Methodist.”
His lip actually arched into a snarl, the mustache lifting, like a black cat arching its back. “Methodist,” he repeated as though the word was repugnant. His mouth fell open in a feral pose, the mustache trembling slightly. Fangs glistened.
Do you pray, Sabrina?” Right now I am.
Yes. Occasionally.”
Leaning toward me, the flesh of his face like a tight mask over the bones of his nose, cheeks, chin and skull. Still grimacing with that hideous open-mouth as if ready to strike me like a viper, he stared intently into my eyes, willing me to bend like a blade of grass to his mind-touch. “Why can I not bend you to my will? You are human, yet your blood—it is different somehow.” He wanted me to put away the crucifix. Na-a-a-a-ah.
I've been bitten by a werewolf,” I said, hoping he would buy it.
No. That is not it.” He turned away, swiping a hand to dismiss what I'd said.
I also belong to a master vampire, older than you, at home waiting for my return.”
Renewing his efforts, he swiftly twirled back to me, the cape flying wildly. Once more he was before me, eyes darting over me, searching for something that would reveal the clue to my abilities to resist him. “I am told you wear a ring.”
Oh, God. Skrlock had told him about the ring. The rat fink!
Before I realized it, he grabbed the wrist of my right hand and held it up to examine the mystic ring. His grasp crushed my wrist enough to make my knees bend. I winced, tears burst to my eyes, but I held back my scream of pain. Instead, I growled a warning, my own teeth now bared. The Were in me wanted to come out. Another moment, it would have. I knew from the last time someone tried to really harm me, full moon or not. I didn't care what Jett and Skrlock had said about me not being able to go into a complete change here.
Perhaps if I cut your finger off? See if that makes the difference.” A large dagger was in his hands, blade shimmering in the light.
And let's see what my crucifix might do to your flesh!” I countered between gritted teeth. The holy object automatically in the fingers of my other hand, I pressed it to his face. I touched him for barely a second, before his eyes flashed wider with realization and I smelled the stench of burning flesh. Crying out angrily, hissing a curse in his language, he let me go and flew across the room. Winding up next to his fireplace, he bent slightly at the waist, holding his hand to his face. His burned flesh would heal quickly. Within seconds, in fact.
In the meantime, my wrist felt as though it had been held in the jaws of a vice grip, and it had simply released me. Residual pain still throbbed through me to my core. Gasping, and bend at the waist, I thought the bones might be broken. After a few moments the pain eased and I straightened. I slowly opened and closed my fingers to test them. Painful, but not unbearable. My Were blood working on the healing process already. As the vampire healed, I healed. I don't think he understood I too could become a mindless creature, filled with the blood lust. Possibly Skrlock had been right about my not changing completely into a beast, but I would become more violent. Which suited me just fine at the moment, considering the company.
Having realized I had a weapon, and I could not be thralled, Drakulya returned to his spot near the fireplace. He still didn't know I had something worse than a crucifix. Something I could throw him across the room with the magic of my ring. But, I didn't want to piss him off even more, because I couldn't kill him with anything I had at my disposal, plus I didn't feel the ley line I would need to get out of here pronto, big chicken that I am.
He leaned again against the fireplace, but then he straightened, looking wary of some other presence. His eyes flashed to the other end of the room. Odd that I hadn't noticed it before, but someone in a full-hooded black cloak stood there. Because he stood so still and wore black, he simply blended in with the shadows. He made no noise and stood absolutely still. I could see no face within the deep cowl, and his hands were hidden inside the roomy opposite sleeve. He looked like someone in a Halloween costume assuming the persona of Death. I really hoped this was not an omen. My Knowing told me this being wasn't human, but something more. Supernatural, but what, I wasn't sure. I couldn't get a read from it. Not at all, and I couldn't feel an aura. Almost as though the thing didn't exist. Even a ghost would give off something I could read. I became aware of an oppressive feeling of dread emanate from it. I shouldn't have gotten that at all.
Drakulya flung a book across the room at this cloaked thing. The wrath vanished like a ghost. The book hit an object, and crashed. Drakulya cursed again, raged toward the place where the strange spirit had been. He muttered something and spun around. His hard frown turned to a smile that widened as his eyes glared at me.
As if forgetting about the apparition, Drakulya moved back across the room.“I understand you seek someone from your world?”
Skrlock and his big mouth. I'd have to remember the man was a big squealer. Possibly he was Drakulya's spy. Whatever. I would never trust saying anything in front of him again.
She is a relative, or a friend?”
Relative. A cousin,” I said.
And what will you do once you find her?” he asked, thumbs hooked on his belt, looking down his long nose at me.
Take her back,” I said.
He chuckled dryly. “You can try. But you will fail. Anyone who crosses through the Black Veil, can never go back.” I cringed at the expression on his face. The worse I had yet seen—it was an almost feral smile with sexual undertones.
I swallowed. “So I've been told.” I had done it once before, I knew I could do it again. All I needed to move from this world back to mine without really trying was a ley line. Odd that Skrlock had failed to tell him this one talent of mine.
You might as well consign yourself to becoming my Blood Dame, because that is your destiny here.”
I snorted. I know. A bad time to show my confidence, but I couldn't help it.
You doubt me?”
I'm sure we'll both find out soon enough.” I knew I would not win a battle of wits with The Impaler. In fact I'd probably dig myself in deeper. Time for a different strategy. I glanced around the richly decorated room. “Actually it wouldn't be bad living here.” I stifled a yawn. This conversation had come to a boring conclusion and I wanted to find a ley line. I would pop back home for a while, and re-group, find a larger crucifix, and maybe buy a flame thrower come back and take out a couple of vampires, starting with Vlad here.
Drakulya pulled a satin length of cord which hung from the ceiling. The door opened behind me. I turned as the majordomo stepped inside.
Yes, master?” He bowed deeply.
Take this one upstairs, for my entertainment later,” Drakulya instructed.
Yes, my lord.” He bowed again.
I want her to be treated in the same way as all those I have sent there,” he added, as if secretly imparting something that only the servant would know.
Very well, master.” Rumbel bowed more deeply.
Sabrina.” I was half-way out of the room when Drakulya called to me.
Turning to glance back at him, I swung my hair off my shoulder. I gave him a raised-eyebrow look.
Do not play the fool with me, Sabrina. I have killed lesser women than you.”
So I've read,” I said. “Gutting them like fish and impaling them takes absolute detachment. ” And an absolute lack of empathy. “You must get really bored with yourself.” Psychopath.
Face burning, I turned and swiftly left the room. My spine tingled. My hand went to my water pistol filled with holy water underneath my jacket. What I wouldn't give to have had the Dagger of Delphi on me. My ears cocked, listening for the slightest rustle of his clothes should he move a muscle.
The door shut with a definitive click, and I strode along the hallway with Rumbel leading me up the curving stairway. I realized it was carved out of marble. The carvings were exquisitely done, if only I could get past the fact each and every newel was an impaling. The good old days personified in marble. Lovely. He had not impaled anyone here recently—like within the last two months. I would have read it from the occupants of the dining hall, and seen the impaled carcasses along our way here. The only one in recent history was the werewolf lady Jett had mentioned. From my estimation, Drakulya had graduated from the need to let blood flow on the ground, to drinking it to his fill. Thus, impaling was not his ideal mode of punishment any more. I had yet to meet any of his Blood Mares—no they were not Zenyetta and Chairelott. I had to wonder where they were kept. Probably locked in one of those special rooms like I would be tonight.
A comfortable room opened up to me. It wasn't exactly the Hilton. However the bed had a canopy, the colors were warm. Atmosphere, if I were to describe it: Old World Quaint with a dash of Psycho. A fragrant vase of flowers—much like the ones in the dining room—resided on a sideboard. A frilly nightgown was laid out for me. I made a half-chuckle at the sight. As if! I understood tonight's meeting with Vlad was a prelude to other activities.
Pervading the whole room was the stench of blood, which sort of put a whole new spin on “Old World”. You can't get blood out of carpet no matter how much you scrubbed. And with my heightened scenting abilities, I knew human blood when I smelled it.
The key on the other side of the door clicked. Drakulya was not messing around. He would visit me tonight. I was to become his Blood Dame.
No. Frigging. Way.
There were no windows, so the room felt more like a prison cell than a bedroom.
And there it was. That little tingle in the bottoms of my feet. A ley line. Perfect!
I stepped toward the bed. I had been able to go from my world to this one and back again the first time, without stepping into a damned portal. What had summoned me here in the first place? That's how it all had begun. I did have a ley line run beneath my own house, and there had to also be one here beneath this palace, so knew I could tap it, if I concentrated. The network, if it worked like Joha had claimed, would take me precisely where I wanted.
Maybe if I relaxed some and thought about home I could do it. Dorothy's mantra went through my head: “There's no place like home... there's no place like home...”
I settled on the bed, and found it soft—it was stuffed with wool and goose down—suddenly I had flashes of all sorts of things that went on in this room, and knew I wanted no part in vampire games. I also knew that this was not the original mattress. This one was new. It had never been tried—so to speak.
Pushing out images that wanted to play out in my head, I suddenly felt exhausted. Adrenaline gone from the meeting with Drakulya. My muscles ached and I reached to rub my opposite shoulder. I'd had a long night, come to think of it. I couldn't remain here, in Drakulya's palace—in this room especially. What happened to Johnathan Harker was nothing compared to what may happen to me.

I breathed out, settled my hands in my lap, rolled my shoulders, and closed my eyes. I breathed in and let it out again. I thought and concentrated on my own room, visualizing it in my mind's eye. I yawned. Yawned some more. 

Chickens lay eggs, and so do Turtles

For those of you who don't know my husband is park ranger and one of his main jobs is mowing. He has a large deck (72") Toro Zero T...