My Wicked Muse by Laura Bickle

MY WICKED MUSE

by Laura Bickle

I’ve always been envious of people who have good relationships with their muses. There are writers who have healthy relationships with their muses. They take their muses out on coffee dates and have long conversations at the beach while holding hands. Their muses arrive when summoned, sprinkling fairy dust and waving magic wands. They whisper with gossamer voices, reassuring and gentle. Words flow on paper, inspired and brilliant.

This is not my muse.

My muse is a….well, she’s difficult. I suspect that she may have been kicked out of Tooth Fairy school for bad behavior and was assigned muse duty as penance for raiding the cash drawer. She’s surly, unpredictable, and wholly unrepentant about being AWOL.

It’s not that I’ve tried. I did all the rituals suggested to make friends with my muse. I have a writing nook set up. I played music. I lit candles. I wrote down statements of intention. Made dream boards. Meditated.

Nada. My muse laughed at my dream board, used the candles to light a cigarette, and complained that the desk was too small. She sat on the edge of the desk in her torn fishnet stockings and complained about the lighting. And she used all my lipstick.

So I tried to bribe her. I bought her chocolates, made offerings of flowers. I acted like a Shakespearean actor in love, trying to woo her attentions.

She promptly informed me that she didn’t like caramel and that my poetry sucked.  I think that she also blew smoke in my face and told me I needed to lose weight.

Eventually, I gave up trying to be nice. I was spending a lot of time and energy courting inspiration, and she didn’t want to be courted. I asked the benevolent universe for a new muse, but my request was denied. I was stuck with the surly muse who spent more time teasing her hair and sticking gum under my desk than helping me with my novel.

So…I decided to wage war on my muse.

“We are going to write this book, whether you want to or not,” I told her. “I have a deadline.”

“Oh, yeah?” She watched me with narrowed eyes covered in purple eyeliner. “Just try it, Chickie.”

I threw a butterfly net over her, tied her to the chair, and sat on her. She yowled like an aggravated cat and got glitter all over the floor.

But her butt was in the chair. And so was mine. Lo and behold, writing occurred. And it was not bad writing.

I realized something…all this chasing inspiration was really meaningless for me. The only key to success was getting my butt in the chair and doing it, whether inspiration had struck me or not. I could be passive about it, and wait for my muse to bless me with insight…or I could just get to work.

 

HallowedFinal2-200x297Laura Bickle has worked in criminal justice and library science. When she’s not patrolling the stacks, she’s dreaming up stories about monsters under the stairs. She’s authored four fantasy novels for adults, and The Hallowed Ones is her first teen novel. Visit her website at http://www.laurabickle.com. She’s also on Facebook and Twitter, usually exclaiming over cute cat pictures.

 

And the Winners of the Swept Away Blog Hop Are…

Thanks to every one who visited the Tavern during the Swept Away Blog Hop. The winners of the prizes I listed are…

The Blog Hop Spot

The Blog Hop Spot

Starburst by Imogene Nix goes to anasnotes

Starburst_LRG

 

 

 

 

 

Star of the Fleet by Imogene Nix goes to Beckey

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image20330301

 

 

 

 

 

and the necklace set from Khloe Wren goes to Lady Vampire. 

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I believe Imogene has already sent out the books. Lady Vampire, if you’ll email me your address at shay@shaymaclean.com with your address I’ll get your necklace mailed out as soon as possible.

On another note, I had planned on doing another post for the blog hop with a give away of my book Falling Star and a $10 Amazon gift card; however due to real life interruptions I was unable to get it ready and up in time. So I will be posting the last part of “Approaching ‘Journeys End'” this Friday with those give aways. Be sure to check back and see what else my mystery lady left behind.

Dùrachdan (Sincerely),

Shay

Waiting on the Bone Moon by Nancy Reece

Entering the doors of the Wicked Muse Tavern I instantly know this is the place. Here I will find what I require most – information. But information must be traded, so I begin to think of what I can offer in exchange for what I need. Perhaps a winter’s tale from my homeland will soften the old man’s cold heart?

Clutching the small dagger secreted in my boots for extra courage, I make straight for the table in the back right corner. Steeped in shadows, lit only by the wavering flame of one sputtering candle I see the outline of a man. Sliding into the chair I see his dark black eyes studying me, appraising me. It makes me even more uneasy.

“Do you know why you are here?”  His cold voice asks once I am settled.

Blushing with fierce heat, I speak. “I need…”

“I know what you need!” he interrupted. “What I want to know is, what are you prepared to give me in exchange for such knowledge?”

I swallow hard. If my courage deserts me now, then all will be lost. “Have you ever heard the legend of my people concerning the Bone Moon?”

His eyes glimmer with desire. “About the lost tribe and the killing moon? I have heard bits of pieces. None know the tale in its full.”

“I do.” I proclaim with confidence, glad again for the patience of the Elders who taught me the tale for just such an emergency. “And I will gladly share with truth with you in payment for what I require.”

“If your tale is sufficient, then we have a trade.”

Breathing again, I lean back in the chair. “The tale is not long my lord, but the details would run smoother from my mouth with a drink.”

Studying me with undisguised relish, he snaps his fingers for the barkeep. When the man approaches I am taken aback. Leather pants and a tight linen tunic do little to detract from this model of male perfection. I am speechless when he flashes a wide smile in my direction?”

“What would you like, Highness?” his deep baritone thrills me down to my core.

“Shush man! Don’t use that title here. There are too many who would pay anything to know her name.” My companion isn’t amused anymore. The legendary anger begins to flicker in those black pools in his face. “For our purposes, you may simply call her ‘Milady’. Now, a glass of mead for both of us and make sure we are undisturbed.”

The bartender smiles again in my direction, then leaves to return with the requested drinks. A flip of a gold coin in his direction and I am again alone in the near darkness with my contact. Taking a deep swig of the mead, I cough a little as the bitter drink slides down my windpipe. He chuckles at me lack of experience, which angers me. I am stronger than he knows.

“There was a tribe who lived in the mountains which reach to the top of the earth. Long ago they fled from the Five Kingdoms and shunned the companionship of their brothers. Fear of losing their status as Pure Ones drove them higher and higher into the land of the towering mammoths but nowhere did they find the land of their search; a land where the sun met the earth and the water was sweet and cold.”

“The mountains saw the tribe’s struggle but were helpless to intercede. It had been decided by the Council of Elders that the entire group, should bear the punishment for their pride and disobedience, and so none were to give them sanctuary from the relentless winds and driving snow.”

“The chief of this tribe was old, and the last of his days were before him. He wished only to find a resting spot where his people might live out their days free of the dangers and problems of the Five Kingdoms. But for his pride in his blood status he was cursed. Though he would see the land of his desire, never would he be allowed to step foot onto the grass.”

“Now the chief had a son, who was as fair of heart and spirit as his father was lacking. All his life he did as he was told, but his heart was heavy at leaving the land of their birth. Each night as it was his turn for the watch, he would pour out his anguish and yearning to the Moon as she made her trip across the sky. And each night she would hear the young man’s pleas and weep with compassion because she knew they were all doomed by the Elders to vanish.”

“One night as K’anin spoke to the Moon, she answered him. She told him to weep no longer, as she had a plan to rid the tribe of their prideful chief and return them to the grasslands and sunshine of their true home. The plan was simple, the son was to kill his father and let the drops of blood gather in the snow as payment to the Elders for this man’s sinful nature.”

“K’anin was afraid. ‘Won’t I be cursed for slaying my own kin?’ ‘No,’ replied the Moon ‘The Elders are angry with your father for refusing his duty to the earth. Once he is dead, you must lead the tribe by my light for two Moon cycles. When I have rescued you, then you must serve me and love me as long as your days on this earth.’”

“K’anin promised all to the Moon, and so the next day took his father to the top of the highest mountain to survey for a new home. As they surveyed the area, the chief saw a glimmer of deep green against the stark white of the snow-capped mountains. As the chief turned to tell his son of his discovered, the younger man threw his father from the mountain and watched and his body fell, dashed against the rocks below.”

“Then the Moon revealed her true coldness, and betrayed K’anin to the Furies. To avenger the kin slaying, the Furies drove K’anin to the same cliff from which the chief had been pushed and sent the young man to his death.”

“The tribe, to atone for the sins of their leaders, created a mirror from the cold, silver light of the Moon. It is said whoever looks into the mirror will see the cold secrets of their heart displayed before their eyes.

Finishing the tale, I turn to my companion. “Well, is this tale worthy of my need?”

He smiled a wicked and dangerous expression. “You have indeed.” A small linen pouch appears on the table. “Here is what you require, the talisman of the Family Fisal. Representing the purity of fire in its most devastating form, it will lead you to the answers you require.”

“Thank you Lucien,” I murmur as I star in awe at the platinum and ruby pendant. “And be sure to thank Shay for letting me bother you.”

“No bother at all me dear. Your delicate beauty brings lightness to the Wicked Muse Tavern we don’t often see. But then Druid Queens don’t stop by everyday asking for my assistance.”

Blushing again, I rise to leave. Lucien grabs my hand and brushes his lips across my knuckles. When he releases me I see that wicked flicker deep inside his eyes. For not the first time I cuss the inability to stay and pursue the local wild life, especially the delicious bar keep and his tight leather-covered ass. Oh well, perhaps next time.

Thanks again, Shay for letting me into the Wicked Muse Tavern!

BLOG:            www.blonde-not-dumb.blogspot.com

TWITTER:      @NancyReece62

catalyst_200x300Amazon.com link:

http://www.amazon.com/Catalyst-Guardian-Rising-The-ebook/dp/B008U4LYTE/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1_5TYN

D’Ink  Well Press link:

http://www.dinkwell.com/product_info.php?products_id=57

Approaching “Journeys End” Part II

Day Two of the Swept Away Blog Hop and once again I step out of the dungeon only to find that I’ve missed the elusive mystery lady

The Blog Hop Spot

The Blog Hop Spot

tonight. It’s been a long couple of days in real life and by the time I’ve gotten to sit down to attend to my writing it is already late. So I’m not totally surprised that I’ve missed her again.

What I am surprised at is that she had not only a copy of Imogene’s Starburst and Star of the Fleet but also the first meeting of the hero and heroine from my good friend Khloe Wren’s upcoming book, Her Guardian Angel, which isn’t due out until June 1st.

She’d left markers in both books and I found myself coming back to reread them several times today trying to figure out if there’s a pattern to what she’s flagging.

Star of the Fleet Excerpt:

She walked in, her body more slender than ever before, hollows at her cheeks, not gaunt, but without the softening of her features. Those eyes of hers carried a distance and coolness Gustav had never seen before, the green depths freezing him out. He couldn’t detect any long-term signs of damage from the torture she had experienced, but he itched to strip the clothes off her to check, making sure she had healed. The impulse to go to her shook him to the core.

Duvall McCord had kept him apprised of her physical condition while she recuperated on the Elector. Once she had recovered enough to board the freighter, though, there had been total silence. He didn’t like that. But he was an Admiral, and he had a role to serve. How well I understand the restraints of my position,he thought sourly. It kept him from acting on the emotions, clawing at him all the time, especially the one which told him she remained his woman. Therefore he observed radio silence and stewed. His staff was confused by his almost irrational behavior of the last months.

Now she was here, vital and alive. He ached to touch her face and soft, satiny skin. He cleared his throat instead of acting. “Good to have you back, Commander. How are you feeling?” He winced at the question, thinking soberly that while she seemed fit enough, dark shadows remained in her eyes. Her beautiful, rich brown hair was tied up in the severe bun she always favored on duty, her flawless skin pale. He didn’t need to detect any sign of bruising, having already received and reviewed the holographic images Duvall had sent him. Her condition when Raven and Jemma had found her enraged him even now.

“I’m fine, Admiral. The SurgiTech aboard the Elector cleared me to take a leave period. However I believe I am well enough to report for duty.” Her eyes glinted, and for an instant, he wondered if she meant to disagree with her placement here. He knew she would argue his placing her on medical leave, at least until a satisfactory evaluation arrived showing her recovered enough to resume duty. She had such a fiery temperament, but it seemed muted—the one particular hot-blooded trait that had drawn him to her over time. The vitality she exuded warmed him, and he craved her heat, even now, after all these years.

“Commander, I am placing you on medical leave until I have an updated medical status.” She started to rise, the lines at the sides of her mouth tightening and her knuckles on top of his desk turning white. He waited as she drew herself back, ready to argue the point.

“With all due respect—”

He cut her off. “No, Commander. This is a routine requirement, and you know it. Besides which, you need to log in with the accommodation section and obtain a billet, so I have no doubt the time will be welcome.” Her eyes flashed against her pale skin. She sat back in the seat, obviously understanding this was not an argument she needed.

“Sir. Yes sir.”

He understood she wanted to fight his decision, and the urge to grab her and tell her why he had brought her back here raged within him. He contained his anger as reality slammed into life. He held on to his patience.

“You have also been transferred to the Admiralty on Security Detail. The current Commander is taking leave. You are required to take over for the duration. He will arrange to complete an official handover in the next day or two, and once you have effectively taken control, we will be required to meet to discuss a particular case that requires looking into. You will also contact SurgiTech to arrange an exam, allowing you to resume duty.” He kept his words quiet and controlled, dismissing her.

“Sir, I need to be back in the field—”

“No.” His voice was decisive and firm, dismissive, stopping her outburst. His gut churned. Every word he spoke felt like it built a brick wall between them, this one more insurmountable than the one that already existed between them. “I need your completed report on my desk before 1500 hours.”

She reached into a pocket of her suit, pulled out a micro disk, leaned forward, and placed it on his desk. “My report is complete. I had five weeks of nothing to do.” She raised her chin and looked at him. “Sir.” The last word she chewed out, cold enough he could almost see ice dripping from her lips, and that almost shattered his control. “If that is all, sir?” He nodded, and she stood, a small gasp escaping.

He half rose. She still experienced pain, even as she tried to deny the truth, and he wondered just how much. He needed to know she was ready to resume her role as a security officer. Her eyes flicked to his, daring him to say anything. He subsided, watching her heft the bag, and with a smart salute, she left.

That went well. He slammed his fist on the desk, watching as the disk she had presented him with jumped in response. Barsha! Even after nearly ten years, he still wanted her. The tortures of being near her, but unable to be with her, would never end, not if they continued this way. He closed his eyes, breathing deeply in through his nose, and exhaled. Gustav pushed the defeatist thoughts aside before focusing on his work once more. He pressed the communications center, giving orders to his staff.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image20330301Star of the Fleet blurb:

Star of the Fleet, the story of Kera Aarens and Gustav Elphin will be released by Secret Cravings Publishing in August 2012 as an Ebook.

Kera Aarens is strong, sexy and focused on her new role as Commander. She is also recovering from her brutal experiences at the hands of Crick Sur Banden. What could be better than the post of Head of Security on Aenna?

Gustav Elphin is the Admiral in charge of the Admiralty base of Aenna. His past with Kera is a lonely testament to the mistakes he made in his focus on the Star of Ishtar – the mistakes he keenly regrets.

Now the two are thrust together under dangerous circumstances. Gustav must work with Kera to find and neutralize the threat to the base security before any hope for the safety of all are compromised.

Somewhere along the way, maybe, there will be a chance to find hope and a second chance at love.

 

 

F&S Logo LargeAnd from Khloe Wren’s Her Guardian Angel (she had what I knew to be the first round edit of Adele and Dominic’s first meeting):

Xander drove Jake and Dominic in the truck out to the accident. Nick and Kit were in the Rescue Vehicle behind them. Dominic was still riding high from knowing his mate was coming closer to him. As they pulled up at the accident and saw the crumpled cab, he hoped it didn’t involve any injuries. Just at that moment, Rosebery was short a paramedic, their one and only ambo was otherwise occupied today so they were it for emergency call outs. His Dad really didn’t do well with blood and gore and was much more comfortable with putting out fires. His heightened empathic senses easily overloaded with other peoples emotions and made him sick.

Xander pulled the truck up as close to the wrecked cab as possible. Nick and Kit pulled up behind them and were the first out as they rushed to get the jaws of life, stretcher and first aid case out the back of the Rescue Vehicle. While they were getting the equipment, Dominic jumped out the cab. As soon as his feet hit the road, his head snapped up as his instincts went nuts – he froze to the spot. His father jumped out after him and all but bowled him over.

 

“What the hell Dominic? Get moving boy, times-a-wasting.”

“It’s her, Dad.” Dominic breathed out. He couldn’t believe it. Her first day on the island and she’d come straight to him! He stood in a trance-like state as he watched her all but dance around the fallen logs, clutching a first aid kit, trying to get to the cab. A thump to his shoulder knocked him back to reality.

“Head out the clouds son, you can see to her later. We got a victim to help and a job to do first.” Jake left him to head over to the wreck, throwing back over his shoulder “Remember, she doesn’t know you and you can not let her know that you know her. She’ll freak out and run, then you’ll really have your work cut out for you.”

Dominic and his team met up in front of the wreaked cab. Kit and Nick headed off to start cutting the driver from the wreck. He watched as Kit leaned in the broken window to check for a pulse. She gave them the thumbs up to indicate he was still in the land of the living. It would take a few minutes for them to cut the cab apart enough to remove the driver so Dominic moved his focus to his mate. Watching her come closer to them, she was focused on her feet so as to not trip. She looked up as she reached them and stumbled out of shock. Dominic caught her elbow before she went over.

“Easy there, beautiful, we don’t need to go adding any more injuries to this accident.” He noticed his voice sounded deeper, smoother than it normally did and he’d felt the shiver that ran over her as he’d spoken. She quickly righted herself, turned to him to with a slight smile that faulted. Her eyes went wide, as she took him in. She frowned slightly as she focused on his eyes. No doubt she thought they looked familiar. She had been seeing them for the last four years in her sleep. She closed her eyes briefly, took a deep breath before she spoke.

“Thanks for the save. I saw the accident and thought I could help. I’ve just finished my degree in nursing and para-medicine and have been a volunteer paramedic for the last nine years. So I thought you might like help with the driver, you know, only if you need it. I don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes.” She finished nervously, her voice was so sweet and sent shivers down his spine turning his brain to mush. Thankfully his Dad’s brain still functioned and he quickly brought the situation back on track.

“That sounds great, we could sure use a hand in that department. I’m Jake White by the way. The captain of the TFS here in Rosebery. The man who caught you would be my son, Dominic, then there’s Xander. The two over at the cab are Nick and Kit – what’s your name?”

Dominic watched as she firmly shook his father’s hand.

“Pleased to meet you Jake, my name’s Adele.”

Adele. Dominic rolled the name around his head, finally after four years he knew her name – it was as beautiful as her.

“Well, Adele. Let’s get this job done shall we?” His Dad led the way over to the wreck that Kit and Nick had now finished opening up.

***

It looks like I’ll have to change my strategy tomorrow and work in the Tavern proper to make sure I catch her when she first arrives. I had some very interesting suggestions as to why our mystery lady keeps leaving books and/or what she’s waiting for at the Tavern each day. There are still more surprises ahead I’m sure.

W11015dKhloe Wren has offered up a beautiful necklace and earring set in lieu of a copy of her book which hasn’t yet released.

If you’d like to be entered into the contest to win a copy of one of the books Imogene is offering and the necklace from Khloe, follow the Wicked Muse Tavern and leave a comment as to what you think our mystery lady is searching for. Be sure to check back over the next couple of days to learn more about her.

 

 

Approaching “Journeys End”

Standing up from where I’ve been sitting for hours at Lucien’s desk I stretch and head back into the Tavern. The first thing that catches my eye is the blonde woman sitting in the corner near the window.

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The Blog Hop Spot

I’m struck by the way the light catches the gold in her hair and the fact that she has a purple streak twisting through the braid on one side of her head. And her manner of dress is one I’ve not seen at the Tavern as it resembles something from the 1700’s and not the women’s clothing of that era either. The watery grey satin coat embroidered with golden swirls around the large cuffs and collar was fitted to her curvy form shimmered with a purple hue whenever she reached up to turn the pages of the book she was reading.

I catch Seraphina’s arm as she is passing and point to the woman. “Who is she?”

“Don’t know. She’s been coming in here every day for the past couple of weeks though. She always sits in the same spot and reading for several hours then leaves. And she always leaves the book behind. Almost as though it has slipped her mind to take it.”

A sense of inevitability washes over me at the mention of her reading books and then leaving them. It couldn’t be…could it? I turn my attention to Seraphina and ask. “Where are the books she’s left?”

“Um…I think Arthur put them behind the bar. I’ve been meaning to try and catch her to give them back, but she always seems to arrive when we’re busiest and then leaves before it dies down enough for me to have a chance to take them to her table,” Seraphina replied.

“Thanks. I’ll go have a look at them.”

“Is something wrong, Shay? You look like, well like you’ve seen a ghost.”

Shaking my head I look at Seraphina. “Yes I’m alright. I’ve just been having dreams about a new story and when I saw her something inside my mind just clicked into place. I think I’ll go have a look at the books she’s been leaving behind.” I head over to the bar before Seraphina can ask me any more questions. She’s always curious about what I’m working on. Not that she ever has much time to sit down and talk with me.

Soon I hope to remedy that. I do believe she has some interesting tales to relate to everyone.

Rummaging around behind the bar I find a couple of books stashed near the register. I pull the pile out and stare down at the titles of the first two, Starburst and Star of the Fleet by Imogene Nix.

How had she gotten a hold of a copy of Imogene’s books in paperback? They were only available in eBook right now. Turing over Starburst  I read the back.

Starburst_LRGStarburst blurb:

Meredith Gentry is a woman with a mission.  To decode everything found on the Alpha Star Colony.  Maybe, if she’s lucky, she might finally get closer to the one man who makes her burn.

Chowd Sturat Sur Banden is different.   He’s always known that and that the differences have kept him apart from everyone else.  Until now.

At the end game, will these differences keep Meredith and Chowd apart for good?  Will his own unwanted heritage tear them asunder forever?  And will the crew of the Elector finally prevail over Crick Sur Banden?

The Warriors of the Elector’s cataclysmic conclusion has arrived.

 

Flipping through the book I find piece a paper marking a spot and began to read…

Starburst Excerpt:

He stank of sweat. The damp stickiness coated his skin as he shrugged out of the ship suit, letting it drop to the floor silently. He sighed, rolling the tight muscles in his shoulders. A good workout helped, but still, he felt the coil of desire burning in the pit of his stomach. Since she had come on board, it never went away.

Chowd snatched up the tube of water, letting it slide down his throat, not quite quenching his thirst. His nudity didn’t worry him as he padded through the office to his sanitary unit and gave the order for the showerhead to engage at full spray, the steam rising upward as he watched. Stepping beneath the stinging, hot spray, he splayed his hands against the cool wall, feeling the flow of water down his body, and considered the latest situation.

Crick Sur Banden had escaped in the mess of the operation on the Alpha Star Colony. They had managed to get Jemma out in time for Elara to save her, though it had been touch and go for a while. The operative his uncle Admiral Gustav Elphin had ordered them to rescue had been rescued, but that mad dash for the shuttle at the end had angered him. Somehow, Crick Sur Banden had slipped through their fingers once more. But this time, they had the majority of his forces from the Alpha Star Colony base held in detention, the women they had released had started putting the pieces of their lives together and giving information to the Admiralty officers, and they had Crick Sur Banden’s tactical plans. Their location, in what the teams surmised were his private rooms, had been unsurprising in hindsight, to Chowd who had thought the installation abandoned. After he had joined the Admiralty, they had sent a strike force there to find it empty.

“Water off,” he growled. The near loss of Jemma had worried him, though, reminding him that every member of the crew remained in danger. Including Meredith. Ahh…now how he wished he could continue to avoid thinking about that possible outcome.

He breathed deeply, letting the emotions drain away, the heavy beat of his heart once more slowing to a steady life-affirming rhythm. Slowly, his eyes opened and sought the mirror. She stood behind him, waiting silently in the half light, watching him with gleaming eyes. He felt his body become firm and erect, just like it did every time he saw her.

Chowd turned slowly looking at her, watching as her eyes ranged over his nakedness. He made no move to collect the towel from the rack beside him. He knew she liked the view, as her eyes dilated with desire and her soft pants betrayed her arousal.

“Is there something I can do for you, Meredith?”

Meredith’s eyes glazed with passion, and he watched, fascinated, as a red flush crept up her cheeks. She licked her lips, sending a surge of awareness through his body.

“I, um…I came to see how you were feeling.” Her eyes flicked nervously, as if she didn’t know where to look, and he smiled, feeling triumph roar through him. He had guessed—well, rather hoped—that she too felt that quick spark of lust. Yet his experience remained limited to vids and reading, so he hadn’t been totally sure. At least, not until now.

She stepped forward, a shy smile appearing at the side of her mouth, and his knees trembled. Her hand reached out—

The buzz of the alarm woke him with a jerk. His arm flew and hit the side of the desk screen with an audible thud, and his head snapped up. Barsha! He had dreamed about her again. Chowd raised his hands from the hard surface of the desk, and he scrubbed them across his tired and aching eyes, gritty with the lack of sleep. When did I fall asleep?

The buzz cut through the silence once more, and he knew it emanated from his communicator. He answered the insistent wail. “Yeah?” he answered with a groggy voice as he willed his tired mind to respond.

“Chowd? Are you free right now? New orders have been received and I need the command crew in my office immediately.” Duvall’s voice filled the air, the tinny value of the communicators something that continued to irk him. They could travel through space but not get the sound quality of communicators right. He rose slowly, feeling the ache in the muscles of his back from the cramped chair and desk where he had found himself involuntarily napping. Not to mention the ache in his arm from that sharp crack.

“On my way.” He flipped the communicator off and moved around the desk, working to clear the fog from his mind, hoping he didn’t look like the wreck he felt. Short naps never powered him, but after thirty-nine straight hours, his body had shut down in retaliation of its abuse. Since they had returned from the mission on Alpha Star One, the entire team had worked every possible hour to track the movements of Crick Sur Banden.

 

Deciding I need to speak with this woman I start to move around the bar but as I look up I find her disappearing through the entrance. Damn! I guess I’ll have to try and catch her tomorrow.

***

Imogene Nix has kindly offered up a copy of Starburst and Star of the Fleet for a prize. If you’d like to be entered to win, please follow the Wicked Muse Tavern and leave a comment to be entered letting me know what you think the woman who’s been reading these books is waiting for.

My Wicked Muse by Rachell Nichole

Hi folks,

Thanks so much for having me.

In light of the title of this blog, The Wicked Muse Tavern, I figured I would come by and chat with you today about muses, and how wicked, or delightful they can be. For the most part, my Muse is a wicked one. This can be good and bad. Here’s are the top three reasons why she is wicked and awesome at the same time.

  1. Giving me ideas right before I go to bed. It’s equal parts awesome and frustrating. Awesome because I love ideas, especially if I’ve reached a part in a story where I feel stuck. But, Muse lady, your timing SUCKS! I have to get out of my warm comfy bed, turn on a blaringly bright light and scribble some nonsense on paper. Heaven forbid it be an AMAZING idea and I can’t just write it down and go to sleep, but I have to actually get up, get the laptop, and spend the next two hours working on this wonderful idea you’ve given me instead of sleeping! This is what happened to me with my latest release, Queen of Hearts. I was already in the middle of another WIP and thinking about that before bed one day and then WHAM over the head I’m struck with this idea for a Valentine’s Day story. I started furiously scribbling notes. My Muse was extra sweet and wicked that month – 3 new book ideas while I was still actively working on a novel. Sometimes her timing is terrible.
  2. Giving me ideas in the shower is WORSE than in bed – because I’m soaking wet, towelless, paperless, and penless! It’s infuriating!
  3. Giving me ideas while I’m driving. This is the least wicked of them all because I can just call my home and leave a message on the answering machine, which then makes my family laugh at me for my crazy writer antics J

 

But the Muse is never worse or more wicked than when she deserts me! Then, I have to coax her out of hiding. This is what I like to call bribing the Muse. Now how does one go about bribing a Muse, you ask, well, let me tell you:

  1. Write something frivolous, completely unrelated to any WIPs and usually from a writing prompt. Doing this allows me to think creatively about new things. Some of my best, funniest writing has come from prompts or assignments from writing workshops or classes. Sometimes it doesn’t help me get unstuck with a WIP problem right that second, but it helps me feel better, and it placates that fickle creature we call the Muse.
  2. Read a good book. When I really just cannot get anywhere in a book, I go read someone else’s genius. This always helps. Even when I hate to stop reading a good book, I often get inspiration and go back to my WIP immediately.
  3. Physical activity. It can be a load of dishes, a walk around the block, an hour of yoga, cleaning my ever-ridiculously-messy desk or shopping. Something that gets me away from the computer, away from the WIP, and into a different headspace. I consciously don’t think about the WIP, and inevitably when I come back to work, the Muse has been placated by a stroll or a new purse and I get back to work.
  4. Ignore her! This is a tricky reverse-psychology technique that I learned early on with my Muse. I ignore her and seek help elsewhere – usually by talking out the problems with someone else. Making their Muse work, and making mine jealous! It works every time. :-p

 

So there you have it – the ways my Muse is evil and the ways to give her a little nudge when she’s being a bitch.

For any writers out there – do you have any tricks or anecdotes to share about your Muses? Readers, any other suggestions for me?

Queen of Hearts proof coverThanks again for having me stop by to talk about my Muse and a bit about my latest release, Queen of Hearts which is a Valentine’s Day novella. Here’s the official blurb:

Maya Cobb is a classic Gemini. She’s adaptable, affectionate, versatile, cunning, and she holds a deep-seated fear of commitment. Which means she’s the perfect match for Aquarius Erica.

Erica Jones, also true to her astrological sign, is friendly, honest, loyal, fiercely independent,  and detached. She hasn’t found a satisfying relationship in ages, and is ready to give up on love, even though she runs a dating service.

After a one night stand, fate keeps throwing them together in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Maya offers to help Erica plan the Queen of Hearts Matchmaking event, though she doesn’t know much about dating women. Erica quickly realizes that while Maya bolted after their first night, she might be the only hope Erica has to save her business.

Astrology says they’re compatible, but neither woman can be sure.

 

Queen of Hearts is on sale now at these locations:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/VdWejF

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/YftYl9

Barnes & Noble : http://bit.ly/10cUqaU

All Romance Ebooks: http://bit.ly/XYumAN

Kobo – http://bit.ly/WHPiNo

 

~Rach

Interview with V.S. Nelson’s Sekhmet’s Guardians

I glance around the rich masculine furnishings in Lucien’s office and wonder what he does in here for hours on end. I couldn’t find him this morning to ask if I could use it, but decided to go ahead without his permission. I think the comfortable atmosphere will be perfect while I interview the Sekhmet’s Guardians from V.S. Nelson’s series.

Knock. Knock.

Seraphina: Shay, you have some…um visitors. They say you’re expecting them.

Shay: Let them in, Seraphina.

(I swallow and try to catch my breath as seven of the most delectable men I have ever seen walk into Lucien’s study.)

Shay: Seraphina, please bring in a bottle of Lucien’s finest Macallan and eight glasses. Thank you.

Seraphina: (raises eyebrow) Are you sure about that? Lucien doesn’t like it when we get into his stash.

Shay: I’ll worry about Lucien.

(I return my attention to the men who stand waiting for me to take my seat as Seraphina heads back to the bar. I was previously told by author V.S. Nelson that one or more of Sekhmet’s Guardians would be showing up today to be interviewed but never in my life did I expect to meet all seven. The raven haired one who is the largest of them all holds out his hand to me.)

Gabe: Hi, I’m Gabriel. I think you were expecting me. I hope you are OK with the fact I brought my brethren along with me. We were on our way across town and I thought you might like to meet them. If you object or they make you feel uncomfortable, they can always wait out outside or in Escalades.

Shay: They can stay.

(Gabriel turns his head around and nods at the others who immediately take a seat on the two couches. Gabriel sits in the chair across from my desk. Its obvious to me Gabriel, has some authority over the others.)

Shay: So Gabriel, why do you start off by introducing the others to me then tell me a little about yourself. I’m extremely interested in learning how you and author V.S. Nelson got together.

Gabe: Moving from your right to left, the guy wearing the black Stetson is Raphael.

(Raphael puts two fingers on the rim of his hat and nods)

That sandy haired surfer looking dude next to him is Arial. He runs our Los Angeles office where he spends most of his time glorifying that tan of his on the beaches of California.  Sitting on the end of that couch, next to Arial is Michael, our physician.

(Both men smile and nod at me when they are introduced but say nothing)

Sitting on the next couch with the blond ponytail is Lance, my kid brother. He doesn’t see a lot of action these days as he is our voice and ears in the field. In other words, he runs our computer control center. In the center is Raziel who runs our office in Cairo and on the end is Thomas. Although, Thomas is very active in our local operations, you can usually find him at one of the many night clubs he owns and operates.

(Gabe turns back around and faces me directly)

I thought it was high time the world we live in knew more about us and our operations so I began looking for a qualified author to tell our story. I stumbled upon Ms. Nelson for the first time when she was teaching in Egypt and I was visiting Raziel. She wasn’t particularly interested in what I had to tell her in the beginning, so I decided to wait until she retired. Using the gifts, we all possess, I grabbed her attention by entering her dreams at night. It took her a while, but finally she started paying attention to me. I think at first she thought if she wrote down what I showed her I would go away and leave her alone. My nightly visits intensified and I spent hours upon hours explaining who and what we are. I am my brethren had a story to tell and knew she was the one to tell it.

Shay: So what is the truth behind your story, really? Can you tell my readers who and what you are? What did you show her?

Gabe: In the beginning, I didn’t show or tell a whole lot to V because I knew she would need some time to get to know all of us before she accepted what we really are. Knowing she is a history buff and teacher I laid out the facts that we arrived in ancient Egypt through a portal between our home world, New Tuat and yours. It wasn’t until much later, I revealed what Sekhmet granted us when we arrived in Memphis—immortality and the fact that we require human blood to sustain our existence here on Earth.

(I glance out the window to my right and I immediately think Gabe is pulling one over on me… after all its daylight.)

Shay: That almost sounds like you are telling me all of you are vampires.

Gabe: In a round about way, yes. As I mentioned we do require human blood to survive here on Earth but that is the only common thing we share with your Hollywood version of the vamp. All of us have a heart that beats and a soul. We eat and drink just like you do and we have no problem being out in daylight hours. Although, our society calls us the Ancients, we would prefer to be called Immortal Aliens, since we came from another world.

(Seraphina enters quietly and fills the glasses and hands them out before leaving again.)

Shay: I see. So why are you here?

Gabe: We are here to protect the human race from an evil that escaped our world. Unlike us, Set’s Legions have little regard for the human race. If it was up to them they would turn the Earth into their own private feeding ground.

(I take a couple of minutes to absorb what he has told me. They all seem so… normal.)

Shay: So what has all this got to do with a book entitled ETERNAL LOVERS?

Gabe: I wondered when you would get around to the books… Eternal Lovers is a multi-plotted, cross genre’, paranormal romance. You see, we were content to stay in the shadows of your society while we continued on with what we were doing – tracking down Set’s followers, until I met a petite Native American woman by the name of Jennifer. In reality, book one of our story, is actually Jennifer’s story. That is when all of our lives started to change. I don’t want to tell you too much and spoil all of the surprises in the book but I will tell you that I became instantly obsessed with her. As it turned out, Jennifer had a few secrets of her own—even she didn’t know about. You see, Jennifer is actually half Selkie. If you are unfamiliar with that term, she is a shape shifter. We also discovered that Jennifer is the reincarnation of the Egyptian woman I lost close to five thousand years ago. I think now you can see why I said Eternal Lovers is a cross genre’ paranormal romance. It is a story like no other which includes the tales of our kind, her kind, ancient Egyptian mythology, Native American lore, magic, reincarnation, love and sacrifice.

Shay: Sounds like a lot of ground to cover in one book.

Gabe: In reality, Eternal Lovers is just the beginning of an eleven book series. Book Two of Sekhmet’s Guardians, ETERNAL NIGHTS, continues on with our story focusing on Raphael and Jessica, Jennifer’s sister. Eternal Nights is due out in May of this year followed by book three, Eternal Blades, Lance and Tshering Snow’s story, in December.

(Just as Gabe finishes his sentence Lance and Raphael lean forward and share a high five with each other.)

Shay: An eleven book series? Wow, that’s a lot of writing. Are you sure Virginia will be able to get them all completed?

Gabe: V has finished the first four books of the series and as laid out the plans for books 5-11. She is a fast typist and is dedicated to sharing our story with the world. There is no doubt in my mind she will complete the task I have given her.

Shay: So what can you tell me about Virginia? What is she like?

Gabe: Needless to say we did a background check on her long before I made myself known to her. She spent several years in Egypt and the Middle East teaching after she retired from a university in New Mexico. She now lives in Mesa, Arizona with the love of her life, a few birds and a tank full of fish. I chose her for several reasons–one of them being, her love for history, the unexplained and the occult. Being a Native American herself didn’t hurt either. She spends most six days a week on her computer delivering the stories we all share with her. Sundays she devotes to family and friends. The days she isn’t at home you can usually find her at a RWA meeting, delivering a workshop or meeting with her critique partners at a local Starbucks. She is also a coffee addict.

Shay: Did you by chance bring a snippet or two of Eternal Lovers? I’m sure my readers would be interested in being enticed by her writing.

Gabe: I sure did.

Gabe pulls out a book from the pocket of his black trench coat and begins to read…

cover Med

They stepped out of the large shower enclosure and Jennifer wrapped a bath sheet around her little body. Gabriel started to dry off as Jennifer grabbed another towel and wrapped up her long mahogany hair. Standing in front of the mirror, brushing her teeth, her back was to him. Leaning against the wall, he watched her every move. He noticed she had some tiny marks on the back of her neck that he had never seen before. He asked her what the marks were.

“It’s just a birthmark, I was born with it.”

He came up beside her and kissed the side of her neck trying to get a better look at the marks. She wrinkled her shoulders up because his kiss tickled her.

“Hold still, I want to see your neck.”

Were his eyes deceiving him? No, there just below her hairline, on the back of her neck, was a golden outline of a cartouche lying sideways. Inside the cartouche were three tiny hieroglyphs; a bird, a filled in circle and another bird. Together the hieroglyphics spelled out the name, Akhakh, the name of the woman he loved so long ago.

All of a sudden, everything made sense to him, his reaction to her the first time he was in her presence; his continual need to be with her, his need to protect her, and his undying love for her. She had finally returned just as the Goddess had told him she would. Jennifer and Akhakh were one in the same. He turned her around to face him. A single tear fell from his watery eyes.

“Jennifer, I have longed for you for so long. You have replaced my cold, empty heart with joy and happiness. I can’t bear the thought of losing you again.”

She looked up at him with loving concerned eyes. “Honey what is it? What brought this on?”

“Jennifer, you said you read past lives. Do you not know your own?”

“No, I’ve never been able to see into my own past. Why?”

He took her over to the small loveseat that sat on the wall opposite of the dresser. Sitting down beside her, he took hold of her hand.

“Remember when we where at the park and I told you that I had loved once before?”

She nodded and said she remembered.

“I never told you her name, did I?”

“No, and I thought better than to ask. I could tell that it hurt you to talk about it.”

“Her name was Akhakh… Those marks on the back of your neck, you said you were born with them… Honey, they are not just a birthmark. Your birthmark is a cartouche. The ancient Egyptians, those that were born of noble birth enclosed their names in them. There are small symbols inside the cartouche on the back of your neck. Honey, those symbols… those hieroglyphs on your neck spell out Akhakh.  Jennifer, I believe you are Akhakh reincarnated. You are one in the same.”

“Gabriel, I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t I remember?”

“Perhaps it is best you don’t… Her life came to a terrible end by the hand of our enemy. I wouldn’t want you to remember that horror. I just wanted you to know. I thought that I would never love another after I lost Akhakh. Of course, my name wasn’t Gabriel then, it was Netchkhet, as you already know. The man who was Netchkhet died when Akhakh did. I grew cold, bitter and hateful. Gabriel was soon born from that hatred and he lived a long empty existence until you came into my life. As I grew to love you more each day, the hatred I had in my heart vanished as if it had never been there. Jennifer, it doesn’t matter that you may have been her in a past life. It is you I love, now and for all eternity.”

There was no loneliness in his heart, for his heart was full of joy and love. The picture within his heart, the one holding the key to his happiness, was a picture of her, just as she is today, Jennifer, not Akhakh.

(Lance, the blond with the pony tailed answers a call on his cell phone then moves up to Gabriel and whispers something in his ear. Gabe nods, closes the book.)

Gabe: Shay, I’m sorry to cut this short but we have to roll. A report just came in that a group of Set’s Legions have been spotted across town.

Shay: I understand. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It was a pleasure to meet all of you.

(Gabe nods turns and joins the others as they exit the room.)

me

If you would like to know more about the author, V.S. Nelson and her books please visit her website http://www.authorvsnelson.com

Eternal Lovers is available in paperback, large print and kindle formats, world wide through Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00AXYLHF0