Okay so it looks like I fell off the planet. Promise - I'm still here. The last four years have been ... hard. There's no other word for it. Everything is fine. I'm fine, but I've been the caregiver of my mom who has Dementia. Between her needs, work, etc I seem to have lost control of my time. I am still writing and am trying hard to get back to my blog.

In case you weren't aware Phaze and HSWF which where under the Mundania Umbrella have closed. I was smart enough to get my titles back before all this happened. I'm happy to say the three books I sold to HSWF have been picked up by Melange Books and are available through their Satin Books imprint. I have even sold a new title to them called Magical Quest due out in 2022

I have also been lucky enough to find a publisher for my Vespian Way series. I'm now with Blushing Books under the name of Bethany Drake. I have five titles out with them right now and am close to submitting two more. There's Desire's Destiny, Desire's Duty and Desire's Promise. Then there is two in my werewolf series, Tears of the Queen and Legend of the Tears. I have just finished the rough draft of the third book in the series and have plans for a fourth one the moment I submit it.

I'll probably still be sporadic here on the blog. Unless I win the lottery and can hire someone to help me I can't avoid it, but know I'm still here still working hard in the background and am hoping to do better at keeping my blog alive.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's Vacation Time!!!!! @barbbradley

Hi All!

I know I've been a little slack on my handout posts and I do apologize. I want you to know I have the second half of the 10 things to know about the editor almost done but I need to add the last one to finish it and haven't gotten it done yet. I also have another post I want to upload but again I haven't gotten it done.

There seems to be a pattern, huh?

Anyway I want to warn everyone that I am going on vacation so I won't have a guest this week and I realized that I've never offered any of my readers/followers to be a guest on my blog. So guess what? Are you a published author? Would you like to be a guest? All you need to do is e-mail me at ttromwriter at yahoo dot com and I'll send you the questions.

New release or a book from your back list doesn't matter to me. Genre or heat level doesn't matter either all I ask is that your excerpt is PG-13 because I don't have this blog locked behind a firewall.

The rest of the years is wide open so  hope to hear from a ot of you.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Please Welcome my Latest Guest Jean Lamb!

I want to welcome Jean Lamb! First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

Phoenix in Shadow is a large fantasy novel with a romance at the heart of it, though many of the branches go off in other directions. It is also the first of a series about the same fantasy world. Lady Idabel is a young woman with strong ambitions of her own, most of which have to do with revenge against the evil forces that destroyed her family, and the city that they once ruled. She has been raised in the Temple in Anyakora, and its leader is using her as a weapon, though she doesn’t really mind. Lord Treasurer Fennoy seeks her hand—but is he really the right man for her? Or should she vow herself to the Maiden, as the Priestess-Mother would like?

Then there’s Tar-Kapel Demytry, who knows he must marry, but hides a sad secret that keeps him from trying. He desires women, especially the tempting Lady Ardry—but fears he cannot have children. Who can heal his heart and release him from this curse? His friends include the aging spymaster Afac Stellin, who protected Demytry when he was a child from his ill-tempered father, and Dar Wolfraven, Demytry’s sword-brother and truest friend.

Demytry and Idabel must find each other in a world full of betrayal, the evil forces from the south who will do anything to keep them apart, and finally, love. There seem to be times, though, when even love might not be enough. They must find the courage to be honest with each other, and to survive the worst that life can deal to them.

This world, unfortunately, is full of graphic and sometimes sexual violence, and there are times when the reader might wonder if those who are guilty of it will receive their just deserts. Still, there is also hope, atonement…and always, there is love.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

The Penguin on Gotham is a very bad person and I should not like him. And yet, I do. He manages without any special superpowers except his mind and tongue, I am perpetually amazed that someone hasn’t managed to kill him yet. The first time I saw him, I was, “OMG, that’s Tom Riddle’s weird American cousin!” He has a hit or miss record on manipulating people, but even with that really strange psychiatrist doing his best to break Mr. Cobblepot, under extreme stress he bounced back. Ok, it was in a really creepy Norman Bates way of bouncing back, and I’m sure Fish Mooney really, really wants to talk to him again, but I can’t look away when he’s on screen.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Tonio Vitor, from Dead Man’s Hand. He begins as a typical somewhat spoiled brat (I think of him as Tony Stark’s younger, crazier brother) and then I put him through hell, from which he emerges as Ravin Gambrell, aka the Ghost. He was really fun to write, because even though he’s scarred up rather badly, he still does so many things competently (he’s way better at gambling than I am, just to name one). He’s sociable, highly emotional, doesn’t mind if he’s down on his luck or back up again, and can sail the Inner Sea all he wants. If only he could stop seeing ghosts. Or having people interested in that ability.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write in several genres. So far, the only published ones on Amazon are romance and fantasy, but I have several books planned in other ones. I read very widely, and have 30 books planned, including a mystery series, an SF series or two, and even a Western saga series moderately planned out. The three fantasy books up now (Dead Man’s Hand, Hatchling, and Phoenix in Shadow) are all the beginning of their own separate series. Keeping track of everyone’s ages and other personal data as they age—well, that’s what spreadsheets are for, and I’m not joking. I worked a lot with spreadsheets in the past couple of decades, and they are your friend!

4.) What are you working on now?

It’s called The Dragon’s Pearl, and it’s the sequel to Hatchling. I already have a version of it done in Crappy First Draft, and will spend the next few months revising it. I take my young hero Tameron dayn Sidian, and dump him in a new land where he doesn’t know the language. Just for fun, he picks up a local children’s disease, only a lot harder, because he’s not acquainted with the local microbes. That keeps him in one place long enough to pick some of the language he needs to know, and that delay complicates his life in other ways, as well.

As a treat for making my daily quota of words for revising, I allow myself Candy Crush, or to play with a little fanfiction—I write Harry Potter fanfiction under the name of excessivelyperky on Fanfiction.net. Note: my husband is a chemistry teacher, so just *guess* who my favorite character is. I have both short stories and a really long one on that site.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I have always made up stories since I was a child. I just like getting paid for them now <G>. I began working on a story in the universe where Phoenix in Shadow takes place back in the 1980’s, because it was something to do that wasn’t school or babies when I was using the GI Bill to learn accounting. I became active in the National Fantasy Fan Federation back then, and also joined an Amateur Press Association (APA) called Imaginapa, and that was a lot of fun. I attended several SF conventions and knew I wanted to be one of the writers up at the front of the room sitting on a panel. The print publishing world has become ever more interesting as time went by, and I thought I would rather publish my books independently rather than spend a decade or so trying to submit them to print publishers (Baen Books, one of the few SF places that looks at work without an agent, once took a year and a half to look at and return an earlier version of Hatcling). So instead of playing agent roulette, I went the Amazon route, and have had both low and fairly decent sales (some people will buy anything with a dragon on the cover, God bless them!).

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I get free movies in my head of stuff that hasn’t happened yet. Sometimes I run scenes from more than one character’s point of view, so when I switch to that character, they already have an opinion of what happened to someone else. I could so write holo-novels!

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

That I once learned how to do a barrel roll in a T-38. See, I was in Air Force ROTC, and as a cadet went on four weeks of field training (which is basically boot camp for officer wannabes). Part of that training involved going down to Webb AFB (no longer with us, think the cockroaches finally took over) and getting to sit the in the back seat of a T-38, a training jet, and seeing how well our stomachs held up to Fun Flight Maneuvers. Fortunately, mine was just fine, so I got to learn a few things, and even got a little bit of simulator time to play Take Off and Landing Without Crashing. Alas, I was two inches too short for navigator school (this was back in the old sextant days, and for some reason people had objections to me becoming a flying nunchuck during turbulence. Hey, I *said* I’d wear heels…). So I spent four years in the Air Force flying a desk and having the NCOs wonder if I was really old enough to be out of school yet. But flying is just way cool.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I can mimic voices, and when someone speaks or talks, I can feel in my throat and mouth where and how they are speaking or singing. Also, I love to dance, and it’s very easy for me to choreograph any kind of music. I once won an Undanceable Music dancing contest at a science fiction convention, because if there is sound, I can move to it. Music just feels nice inside me.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

(uses high-pitched Thermian voice from Galaxy Quest: “Never give up! Never surrender!”)

Seriously, no writer really knows what is going to hit and what isn’t, so you may as well write what you want to write and hope for the best. And always do your best, no matter how horrible that one writer you know who is making bazillions out of his or her last book even though it patently sucks royal as far as you can tell. Your voice can only come through more clearly if you take the time to do it right, and I think we all know what that really means (although, if after the last rewrite you hate the characters and want them to all die, you are better off going on to Warcraft and whacking some orcs before going back to the manuscript). A book is worth the extra work it takes to make it good.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I would love to talk to Oprah Winfrey, because establishing a career is still different for women than it is for men, most of the time. She struggled with an early family life that was quite unpleasant, and still managed to create a wonderful life for herself (also, she struggles with her weight, too, so we could pass each other dieting and exercise tips). Seriously, she overcame some huge hardships to become the woman she is today, and I would love to find out how she set priorities when, at time, they were set for her by others.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Rhapsody in Blue, by Gershwin—it has quiet moments, loud moments, sentimental moments, jazzy moments—it contains an awful lot in just 16-18 minutes (depends on the version how long it is, there’s quite a lot of improvisation there which also describes my life pretty well).

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A swan. Though awkward-looking as hatchlings, they grow into grace and beauty. Plus, those wings and beak are wicked strong. I live near a very large lake, and a friend of mine lives where she has the lake in her back yard. She can’t have picnics because the local swans come up into her yard and demand to be fed. Ok, perhaps I’ve revealed too much about swans…but I still like them anyway.


Idabel never forgot the horror of the burning city.
            Cleophis once sat peacefully in the mountains at the southern edge of the Phoenix Empire and overlooked the passes to the land of the enemy. Dar Nidas Idarlo and his Lady Consort Denali ruled the city and the territory surrounding it. Idabel had been a child then. She was excited when her oldest sister Minshall was betrothed to Tar-Kapel Demytry, even though Minshall herself was less enthusiastic.
            That had been over half her life ago. She was only eight when Cleophis fell to the armies of General Durchan, leader of the Dramen who lived to the south. Idabel had been the youngest of seven noisy girls. Now she was alone.
            As she sat inside the Temple in Anyakora, she relived the bumpy wagon ride barely ahead of the flames consuming her home. Father had wanted to send them away two weeks ago, and Idabel still remembered the argument she’d overheard.
            Father had been right. Now he fought with his troops to cover their retreat. Idabel sat in the wagon and saw nothing but the back of her mother’s head. Her sisters huddled together and moaned in fear, despite Minshall’s attempts to calm them. Shouting and the sounds of fighting filled the air everywhere around them.
            Idabel was more excited than frightened. Father had let her begin arms training a few months ago. Shosann, one of her other sisters, showed her some of what she had learned of weapons when no one else could be spared to teach her once the Dramen army began their siege. Now they had to run, though Idabel wished they could stay and fight.
            Lady Idarlo screamed and lashed the horses to greater speed. Idabel didn’t understand. Mama always told them to be gentle with the beasts. The wagon lurched forward. All of them shrieked in terror when something hit the wagon, and a spear point stabbed through the heavy canvas at the side.
            Idabel coughed from the smoke. This couldn’t be real. As if in a dream, the pins fell out of her mother’s hair, except for one at the top. The long, looped braids fell. Streaks of white hair winding through black looked like ribbons. Her mother’s face, usually kind with her olive-skinned, fine-boned beauty, was now a mask of fury.
            The wagon stopped. Then it moved again. Idabel could tell they were off the road now. She held her hands over her ears to stop the horrible noise. Wood cracked and popped as something battered the frame of their cart beyond endurance. Gigantic green-skinned warriors on horseback seized the reins from her mother, though Lady Denali struck them with her whip.
            Idabel struggled to move closed to her mother, but Minshall pushed her down beneath a leather trunk. Why did she do that? The heavy thing squeezed her, and she found it hard to breathe. She wiggled first one way, and then the other, to escape the pressure. I only want to help! Why won’t Min let me?
            The wagon stopped. Idabel heard her mother and sisters shouting, and then weeping. One side of her prison broke wide open, and she slid down to the ground along with the trunk. Dramen warriors in dusty armor rode by laughing, while others pushed her family into the dirt. How dare they! What did they mean by taking turns?
            She finally pushed her way out from under the trunk, scooped up a fallen dagger, and flew at the enemy with a scream of rage. They paid her no attention till her blade sank into a soldier’s leg. One sweeping stroke of a spear-butt sent her flying. The last thing she remembered seeing was a torch being thrown onto the shattered wagon.
            Idabel never knew how long it was before she opened her eyes again. At first she didn’t understand why she wasn’t in her room. Everything shimmered and her head ached dreadfully. Her dress was partly burned, while one of her braids was charred to a stump. Her face hurt on that side, too.
            The wagon—the wagon was gone. A heap of smoldering embers sat in its place.
            Idabel struggled to her feet and looked for her mother. Mama would know what to do. The soldiers were gone. She was glad of that. 
            She looked at the bodies on the ground without understanding at first. One of them had a green skirt, though it was now soaked with blood. Shosann always wore that color.
            The young girl was afraid to look at the faces. It was so quiet.
            She heard someone screaming. She wished they would stop. Then she realized why her throat hurt. She was the one screaming. She was screaming because the bodies on the ground were her mother and sisters—one, two, three, four, five, six—that wasn’t right. She had one mother and six sisters, that should add up to seven bleeding lumps, not six.
            Then Idabel forced herself to look at the faces, the frozen horrible faces. Minshall was gone. Just…gone.
            She thought she heard a whisper. Oh, merciful Mother. Mama was still alive.
            “Idabel,” Lady Denali murmured. Her mouth bled. “Look in my hair…under the left braid…”
            “Yes, Mama.” She gently lifted her mother’s head and searched through the filthy, crusted hair. She found a hard lump the size of a large bean under the braid’s beginning. She was afraid to yank on it. Her mother had other lumps on her head now.
            “Take it,” the dying woman said. “It won’t hurt much.”
            Idabel pulled it out, like a small bead sewn into a small cloth bag. She held it tightly in her hands, because she knew it was the Rose of Cleophis, a flaming ruby with a tiny flaw in the center like a miniature rose. It had been the talisman of the Idarlos for centuries. She didn’t understand why Papa didn’t have it with him, though.
            “Take it to your father,” her mother said. Then the light fled from her eyes. She was like everyone else on the ground now.
            It was quiet again. Mama had told her what to do. Where was Papa? He’d told them last night that they were going to Anyakora. Maybe the Tar-Kapel could help—he had a spymaster who told him everything, her father had said. Maybe he would know where Papa was. Maybe he could find Minshall, too.
            Anyakora was in the north on the map her tutor had shown her. I want to go home! But she couldn’t. The Rose was her responsibility till she could give it to Papa. Idabel took a few steps and fell down. That was silly, she was much too old to trip like a baby. She stood up and started again.

I would like to thank https://spittyfish.wordpress.com/ for my beautiful cover! She adapted one of her premades to my needs, and I am delighted with the outcome.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Welcome my Latest Guest Kally Jo Surbeck!

I want to welcome Kally Jo Surbeck.  First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi Barbara. Thank you for having me.  I’m horrid at introductions, please pardon me.  I have always written. My mother was an English teacher and from my earliest memories, she instilled a love of literature and reading.  I have been writing ‘professionally’ since 2000. My history has allowed me to write for several genres and houses. I am a multi award winning, International selling author who has been blessed in being not only a solo writer but also having been included in several anthologies and other publications.  A few of my accomplishments are Colorado Author of The Year, the EPPIE (Excellence in electronic publishing) Action category. I was, at that time, the first woman to have written and won in said category. I am also the winner of the Daphne duMaurier in thriller/suspense. My poetry was my first writing sale at the age of twelve. My works are in several different anthologies, commemorative additions, and one is even in the Holocaust Museum.

Tell us about your latest release.

This looks horrible, my being so far behind. When The Awakening released, I was in the hospital and remained there for all of last spring and summer, into early fall.  This story came from a short that was part of the Tempting Fate anthology from Phaze/Mundania Press with Melissa Schroeder, Michele Callahan, Rena Marks and myself.  Several readers had written me asking for an expansion. As soon as my rights returned, I did just that.

If you know much about the Fates, my favorite was/is Atropos aka Attie, Death, Bearer of the Shears. She’s fascinating to me and I felt she deserved more depth. The Awakening is her personal story and self-awakening.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Oh, wow! Villains are probably my favorite characters, when well crafted.  And many have done this. I’m a huge comic fan. They were some of my first collections and obsessions.  That said, Negan in The Walking Dead is an incredible character.  Won’t give any spoilers, but the dynamics of his character are intriguing.  I just finished Mary Burton’s The Shark, and the villain is so cold. It gave me chills. I think Misery by Stephan King may have my favorite villan just because there is so much to her. I could list ones I love all day long, but I’ll stop here.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Again another hard one.  They are all so different. If I can choose only one, it’s a coin toss between Attie in any of the books she is in and Mac in For the Love Of…  They are both strong, competent women who feel the true them is unworthy of love. And they both learn that true love, be it friends, lovers, family simply love you. All of you. Your flaws and imperfections are part of you and that is acceptable.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write in several genres, but sub-category romance. I have been very blessed to be allowed to write in all, from high fantasy, to action, to historic. When I first started writing one of my siblings was also writing. I believe there is room for everyone, but did not want there ever to be said there was a competition or even the assumption of one. That said I picked, a category as far from theirs as possible. Romance appealed to me because you have the most broad spectrum possible, from sweet to the most erotic. Though most of my titles are under the erotic venue, it’s a misnomer. There is very little if any actual graphic sex in my writing. But at its base romance is life. It’s hope. It’s potential. And I thoroughly support that!

4.) What are you working on now?

I have a couple projects in the works. As I stated earlier, my health has severely put me behind. We also moved from Wyoming to New Orleans. I have been editing on the side and am really excited to see those authors’ stories hit the shelves. But I have more planned for Attie’s Legacy. Paths Chosen is the second. It is available now. And there are three more books to the Yadderwal series but until more is known about what will happen at that house the line is on hold.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I use to do forensic accounting but I was severely injured. There is long-term fallout and I could no longer work my job. I tried several different things. Acquired more degrees. But I couldn’t find anything that I could do on my schedule. No one wants to hire someone who may or may not be debilitated without warning. I was reading a book when another scene flashed into view. I thought, I can write. I can tell stories. So I pursued it. I wrote for myself and my friends and family anyway. It seemed the logical choice.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

To me, it’s like watching television.  My characters do not appreciate my input. They have stories to tell. I listen. I only hope I can do them justice.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

How incredibly honored I am to be able to be active behind the scenes and in front of this industry.  There has been a lot of negative press of late, but over-all the writing (while the writing itself is solitary) community is a very supporting, encouraging, loving one. At least the one I am a part of and foster.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Many. We all do, so I’m uncertain on how exactly to answer this.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

It’s a toss up:
Always keep writing – because you must.
Never give up – Because the person you are truly letting down is you.
There will never be a book everyone loves or everyone hates. You’ll have someone who loves this but hates that. Just write what is true to you and then trust that the people who read it either get it and you or, take a deep breath and realize it wasn’t for them. And that’s not a bad thing.  You’re just not their cup of tea.  Don’t take that personally.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
I’d love to have a drinking session with Edgar Allen Poe. Get his thoughts and personal version rather than just the nasty trash talk so many have heaped on him.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

I’m Still Standing – Elton John

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A Gryphon. Then I would have the best of both worlds. Run with the speed of the lion and fly like and eagle.

The Awakening Blurb:
A Balanced Choice

Some say she dances too close to Hades, controlling life and death. She laughs at those fools. Why dance with a god of the Underworld when it’s her power that determines when humans pass?

Her sisters call her morbid, again she laughs. Two of her sisters are called artists--a weaver and a mixer. That's what they are. Her third sister left them all hanging.

No. Atropos believes it is she who is the true artist. The knowledge of life and death gives humans their ultimate passion and ultimate drive. Therefore, with her shears she breathes passion, hope, sadness, sorrow, drive, and determination, all that and more, she breathes into the human with the snip of her shears.

But, what if she miscalculates a life? What if a time is cut too short?

The Awakening Excerpt:

The sky had long ago faded from the brilliant peach of an unseasonably late Seattle, Washington, fall sunset to the dark, star-spattered tapestry of night. Even though chilled drizzle fell from the sprawling heavens coating the roads, the buildings, and the earth, there were no clouds cluttering the sky. Not a single one marred the grand expanse. The stars shone brightly in the heavens, twinkling with hope and promise. It seemed like such a contradiction to Atropos as she stood high on the metal fire escape in Downtown, gazing upward.

Clear skies—rain.

No matter how many times she looked to the firmament, its glory still made her breath catch. It was beautiful and awe inspiring. A shooting star raced southbound, first brilliant gold, then faded from sight. Only its memory lingered. Attie shivered. One more angel fallen. One more life consumed by the elements surrounding it. She sighed softly.

The sparkling stars that remained anchored in the dark heavens shone down enticingly on those innocent enough to still believe in their ancient power. People, en masse, made wishes upon stars every night of the year, yet they had lost faith in the gods. It didn’t make sense to her.

She shook her head at the functioning of the complex and complicated human mind. She was one of the lingering but generally unseen forces that to this very day touched human lives, affected them. She and her sisters crafted life, yet it seemed the only time the Moirai were remembered these days was in some ancient philosophy or mythology class at university. Perhaps a rare child with a still open mind who had the mystery of the ancestral herald pulsing through his veins tossed a coin into the waters of a pool, praying to the sisters, pleading for luck, or life, or mercy without even knowing exactly what they were doing, who they were calling to. Even then, in the most rare occurrence, when a child had heard the lore and had remembered, called out with knowledge, the child didn’t really understand to whom he spoke, or knew that one of the sisters stood beside him to hear his uttered prayer.

The general populace still, at times, uttered their names. Occasionally in blame. Fair enough accusation, Attie conceded. Often enough they were to blame.

It was all incredibly sad. The way of things. People forgot. Memories faded as the generations slipped quickly past. The stories of the gods, the teachings of the ancients stopped being repeated, or the tone in which they were told shifted from reverence and awe to that of some fable and flight of fancy. Once, years ago, she had sat in on a mythology class in England. The professor, snooty nose jutted high in the air, spieled on and on about the truth of the gods. His version was so twisted and polluted Attie cried. She’d walked out of that class and never returned to another. That was over two centuries ago. She could only image what time had now done to the tales.

Mortals forgot. Gods remembered.

Indeed, it was the way of things. She’d seen the pattern run its cycle time and time again. But to what end? This? Her gaze scanned the horizon, taking in the honking horns of quickly moving automobiles, the absent-minded chatter of people having their inane conversations about nothing as they hurried from one busy work task to another. It was slow tonight, here in the city. Most people were indoors or encased in vehicles, or on public transits hurrying to get back to their private little boxes they called home. People were just inches away, yet whole worlds apart. Totally unaware of each other, they worried their worries and carried on with their plights thinking their lives, their concerns, were unique among the masses. Perhaps that was one reason she liked to be among mortals. Her aloneness seemed…universal.

Attie walked among them, had since she had been banned from Olympus, yet mortals never saw her unless she purposely showed herself to them. The gods, herself no exception, remained veiled, watching the creatures they loved and protected throw their lives away, yet not truly being of affect any longer. Effect, indeed. Affect, no.

Or more so, as the case was nowadays, the gods gave up faith and turned their backs, knowing that humans’ time was so much shorter than their own. Even she had been tempted to look away, to run from her decree. Time, so fleeting, slipped for those in despair. Generations could pass in the blink of an eye. If she blinked right. But mortals’ lives were lives, too. Any life demanded respect, no matter how fleeting. And over the centuries, millennia, much to her amazement Attie had witnessed those mortal lives do wonderful things. Greater things than even those endowed with the power of Olympus. And humans, while shrouded with incredible, unfounded egos, still worked for an end result of significance. They worked for a cause and with purpose. The gods had simply believed things should be handed to them. At least, that’s how it was the last time she was there, Attie amended.

All of that to contend with, people and their egos, gods and their superiority complexes. Then there were the Fates. Cursed to duty, bound to honor a code long forgotten to humans of an age long passed, that was how the Fates existed.

Though they were many a time badmouthed and often noted only for the sadder results of their calling, most missed the beauty of the Fates. She and her three sisters were the centurions of hope. They gave life and love. They made certain there was happiness and equity. They maintained the balance and justice of the ages from generation to generation. Yet who stood on the battlefield for them, defending them? Who cared about their wants, needs, and desires? What happened when the Fates lost hope? Those were questions that weighed heavily on Attie’s mind and soul. They had always, but each day now seemed to compound the pain, the pressure, the sadness more so than it had in the past.

In succession, her sisters’ faces flashed before her. Instantly, Attie’s heart warmed. The sisters. The sisters stood together and helped each other. They always had. They were all they had. There was solace in her sisters and their solidarity. And they had managed. Pretty damn well, in fact. Just look at them now. Chloe and Chesis had found love. And not just heart beating, twitter-paited lust, but full in head over heels love. Once again, the mountain fairly sizzled with their zest for life. That was good. That was enough. Maybe Lu and she were the balance of not having love. Maybe that was how the scales equalized life beyond the Fates. Half ‘n half. If that were the case she would accept it, sadly, of course, but she’d do it just the same.

Her sisters had noted her recent melancholy and tried to help where they could. That meant a lot to Attie. She didn’t always know how to tell them or thank them. She knew they each fought this same battle, just on different fields, in different times. They all had their own crosses to bear, but they each certainly dealt with it in just as varied a manner as their duties called for. Miraculously Chloe and Chesis had made it work. They had tilted the scale, accepted love, and continued to perform their duties. That had not seemed possible to Attie. She thought it had to be one or the other.

She shook her shoulders slightly, watching the water slough off the waterproof material. It wasn’t that she didn’t want love. Actually, she craved it, but was scared of it as well. As the death dealer, she witnessed death and loss every day. How many people would understand her occupation or the struggles she dealt with on a regular basis? It was a hard, solitary life she led. Being a god was difficult enough for mortals to accept, to comprehend, but the fact that she was Death, Attie figured, might be a little much. Attie tried not to complain. As a matter of fact, she generally kept to herself. There were a few demi-gods she spoke with on occasion. Mortals she had befriended over the years. And, of course, the sisters. She had all of that, but for safety—hers and theirs—she kept a defined distance and not sought out love or accepted even a faint foreshadowing of possibility. Not in a long, long time.

At times like this, when she stood in the world but not of the world, she acknowledged she had created the reality she lived in. She was alone by choice, not force. She had always been attractive. Whenever she didn’t like her eye color, or hair, or weight, she modified it. With the snap of her fingers, she could change her voice and her height, but what she could not change was who she was on a core level. The Attie of old. Daughter of Zeus. Sister of the famed Moirai. It meant nothing. She was, after all was said and done, just Attie.

Her life, excluding the fancy little spin ball thrown her by Zeus when he condemned her to be an orphan and a Fate forever, was shaped by her choice alone. The Fates were above reproach, their decisions not allowed to be questioned. That had always meant a great deal to Attie. Even if people had forgotten about the gods and their ways, she had not. She knew her job. She knew how important her role was to the world and therefore she held herself to a high standard.

It was the fall of the year. Time for the old to pass away, regenerate, and start anew. In that vein, she felt she had to be truthful. Alone in the alley, she solemnly acknowledged how she had pushed away almost every single immortal and mortal alike because of a single truth. It hurt too much to lose.

Attie sighed. With the exhalation she sent her sisters a burst of love, wishing them happiness for as long as it was theirs to experience. She also sent a special little prayer for Lu, wherever she was.
They thought Attie had lost her ability to care, her sisters had. The cruel irony was, they were wrong.

It was not that she no longer cared, but that there was so much out there in the universe to care about—she’d gone numb. She had spent so long distancing herself, stepping back from connections, lying to herself that she didn’t need or want those bonds—so very long. For the majority of her life she’d justified her lonely existence and actions. She’d justified herself right into her current despised state of numbness.

Her curse, her plague, was to determine the length of time each mortal was allotted. It was a power she had neither wanted nor craved. There was a time, long ago in her youth, she had hoped for no more than a playful existence. But with Zeus’ decree she become a Moirai, that hope had vanished like a puff of smoke on a windy day--gone before it could even be fully conceptualized. Her job was cruel, but life was cruel. She had for centuries performed the best she could, showing no partiality, not for the elderly, the kind, the wicked, the young, or the strong. Never once had she played favorites. Everyone was allotted a period of life. It was up to them how they lived it.


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Please welcome my latest guest Ronna Gage!

I want to welcome Ronna Gage First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

I am a Romance author in the Erotic genre. At this time I am writing my first Vampire Romance Series Ronna Gage Vampire Chronicles.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

My favorite villain. I keep coming back to the same guy.  Craig Bierko, he played Timothy in the Long Kiss Good Night.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Marty Novak, my hero vampire. He’s nothing I’ve ever created, or associated with before. He is the angry part of me, the wild side of me, and the loving part of me at the same time in a twisted inner turmoil of mess.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

Right now I write in the Erotic/Erotica Romance genre. I chose it because at the time it was wide open for new authors. At first I was a little uncomfortable saying the euphemisms for body parts, but Sylvia Day told me if you can think it you can write it.

4.) What are you working on now?

I am working on the third installment of the vampire series. Living the American Dream. The second installment, Coming to America should be out the latter part of June.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I am a day dreamer, so I started writing my little adventures down and my cousins told me to write them down, so I did, and the rest as they say is history.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Day dreams, at night when I cannot get to sleep, I tell myself a story, or teach a class. I used to be a teacher and would go over what needed to be done for the next day’s lesson in my head. Many times I put myself in the book.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I’m strong, independent, and I fight for it. I am legally blind so what I used to do, like teaching, I can’t do anymore because students will take advantage.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I can sing. I like to listen to music while I write, next thing I know, I am singing. LOL.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with
you? Why?

It takes time to build a fan base. Can take up to 5 or 10 years, must stick with it.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would
you talk about?

I would like to Jesus Christ. I have a testimony of his life as a teacher.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

Tom Jones’ She’s a Lady.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

A Savannah cat.

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We had a bit of a snafu with the rest of the links and I'l be updating the page to fix this