Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Continued from October 27.
At the back door, Kath wrapped her arms around her much taller son and rocked him back and forth. “I know, I know,” she whispered. “He was such a good soul, old Badger.”
Iain lurked behind Will. There were too many people. He’d never get through the kitchen without going through someone. He went back outside and drifted around the house toward Beth’s green presence.
The grief and stress of the past couple of years had dimmed her aura to a sludgy olive. Iain’s time was growing short. He’d managed to influence her to come home to the family; they’d ease some of her burden. But he had only a few days left before his next passage.
He came through the wall behind Beth. Her glossy, honey-brown hair slithered over her shoulder to her waist, freshly washed—he breathed in—but he couldn’t smell it anymore. She heaved a shuddering sigh.
Iain whispered, “Oh, sweetheart, you’re so lonely. Will you let someone love you again?” He wanted to see her aura glow spring green again, with flashes like sunlight through trees, before he had to leave.
Tassie had circumnavigated the room to return to Beth’s knee. “Up.” She climbed to her mother’s lap and nestled into her shoulder. Her thumb crept toward her mouth.
Beth stroked the baby-fine hair and, with the other hand, tried to reach her tea mug.
Kath resettled beside her and passed her the mug. “Now we’ll hear some tunes. Will brought his fiddle.”
Beth glanced up—“Iain’s brother, Will?”—and stilled.
An Italian angel—black curls to his nape, deep velvety eyes, broad shoulders crowding his father at the kitchen table—had just put his bow to the fiddle strings. He looked up, caught sight of Beth, and froze. The bow skittered down the strings with a squeal.
The crowd applauded, laughing. “What song’s that, Will? Don’t know that one.” Will shook his head.
Kath called, “Play us ‘The Mortgage Burn,’ dear.” She leaned closer to Beth. “That will take his mind off Badger, his dog. Badger had a good long life, but it was his time.”
Will launched into a fast, rollicking tune. Feet stomped. A guitar came out and joined in. An aunt at the piano in the parlour raced to keep up.
Tassie woke up from her doze and gaped at the dancers clacking their heels on the floor. “Mummy?”
“Is that…step dancing?” Beth reached out to Flora, who had reappeared from the bedroom, drawn by the music.
“This is your first kitchen party, isn’t it, dear. Yes, folks are out stepping as soon as the fiddler starts up.”
Beth couldn’t look away from the flying fingers and flashing eyes of the musician. Iain’s brother, Will, the one she hadn’t met yet.
Come back tomorrow for part four.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Iain traced his brother’s blue-green aura through the mist. Will’s signature flashes of bright gold humour were absent this day. He sat on the wet grass in his backyard, stroking the rough coat of his old collie, whispering his good-byes.
“Ohhh, Badger. You had that dog a long time. I’m so sorry, man.” Iain tried to pat his brother’s shoulder, but, as usual, his hand disappeared into Will’s wool jacket. They both shuddered.
Will wrapped an ancient, hairy blanket around the collie and placed him gently in the pit. With a nearby shovel, he pushed soggy clumps of earth back into the hole.
“You have to go to Mum’s house tonight, bro. Go see the folks, okay?”
Will patted the earth, leveling the the mound. He flipped his dripping curls out of his eyes.
A glow in the everpresent fog caught Iain’s eye. “The phone. Answer the phone and go see the folks. Answer the phone, answer the phone, answer the phone.”
Will pulled his cell phone from his pants pocket. It buzzed. “Whoa.” He flipped it open. “Hi, Ma…Yeah, I just buried him…I’m not really up for a crowd tonight—”
Iain got right into Will’s ear. “Yes, you have to go! Go see Mum. Go see the folks. Go, go, go.”
“Okay, just for a while…Yeah, I’ll bring the fiddle.”
Beth weaved through princesses and ninjas crowding her mother-in-law’s chilly sunporch. Long, black, false hair and a witch’s hat crowned Kath’s stout body. Her rigidly permed curls held the wig out from her head.
“Come here, sweetheart.” Iain’s mother lifted Tassie from Beth’s aching arm. “Sit, Beth. I’ll bring you a cup of tea.” Kath turned to her tiaraed and sequined second youngest grandchild. “Boots on the mat, and mitts on the radiator, dear.”
Flora kicked off her winter boots and shook her charity box. “I got lots of change in my box, and I Silly Stringed your mailbox, but Shonny said I could.” She ran with a gang of cousins to the bedroom.
Kath turned to her eldest grandchild, who was supposed to be the responsible adult guiding the little ones. “Shonny, you’re cleaning the mailbox tomorrow.”
“I know, I know.”
Tassie was content cruising from auntie to auntie, smiling for pieces of cookie. Beth was temporarily off duty. She found an empty corner on the settee to survey the chaos. There was Uncle William at the table, shouting in her father-in-law’s ear. He didn’t look depressed. Was the entire family packed into Kath’s kitchen? Kath came back with two mugs of tea and a slice of banana bread and sank down beside her. They sipped in blessed peace for half a mug.
Beth said, “Flora’s seeing her father again. Or hearing, maybe.” She nibbled her banana bread.
“It’s been two and a half years since he passed. It’s good she still remembers him.” Kath waved to one of the aunties coming around with the teapot. “That’s why you came home to Cape Breton, isn’t it? Iain’s family is now your family, yours and the girls’. You can’t be everything for them.”
“You’re right, I know. With more family around, maybe they won’t need the imaginary dad.”
The screen door banged.
“Here’s Will.” Kath patted Beth’s arm and rose. “Don’t get up, dear. You’ll lose your seat.”
Come back tomorrow for part three.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The signal approached through the cloudy ether. Iain couldn’t see the wires from this side, but the glowing electric impulse zipped along the path the wires took on the mortal plane. The phone was about to ring, but they’d never find it. His lovely, frazzled Beth needed this call. Maybe his girls would hear him. He puffed a breath of air past Flora’s inky curls.
She looked up from her purple ponies. “Daddy?”
“Girls! Where’s the phone?” Beth scraped back her sticky hair with both hands and glanced over the boxes covering the scratched hardwood floor.
Flora and Tassie thundered down the hallway. “Daddy found it. It was in the bathtub.”
Imaginary dad syndrome had popped up again. Well, the grief counsellor had said the imaginary dad might come back in times of stress. “No, please don’t answer it, Tass—”
“Heyyo? They’s gone, Mummy.”
Beth sighed. “I know, dear. I’ll call them back.”
The girls looked at each other, and both disappeared into the hall.
Beth checked the call history and dialed the last caller. “Hi, Christie, did you just call here?...Yeah, Tassie still answers by pressing End.” She peered down the hall to see what the girls were into. “Why’s William depressed?...All right, see you at five.”
Whispers hissed from the kitchen. Beth rounded the corner and gasped. “Flora, get down from there.” She swung her five-year-old off the rickety stool and latched the cupboard door that wouldn’t stay closed. “In the interest of safety, ladies, you should know the Halloween treats are not in the kitchen. Or the bathroom, either.”
Four bright, dark blue eyes blinked at her.
“That was Aunt Christie. Nana’s having a kitchen party tonight to cheer up Uncle William.”
“No, no, no!” Tassie plopped her soggy diaper onto the black-and-white floor tiles.
“Mummy, he’s too scary. He has scraggly eyebrows, and he shouts. And we have to go trick-or-treating.” Flora crawled under the metal table, old enough now to be retro-chic.
“He only shouts because he’s a little deaf, and we’ll go trick-or-treating with your cousins on Nana’s street. Did you find your costume?”
“My princess dress!” Flora scurried out from under the table and dashed toward the bedroom.
Beth grabbed Tassie’s T-shirt tail before she could follow. “You are too stinky for words, sweetpea, and me without my gasmask.” She caught up the diaper bag on the way to the bathroom.
Come back tomorrow for Part Two.
Monday, October 25, 2010
My name is Corinne MacGregor, and I'm an editor for the Black Rose line at TWRP. I've been with this line for many months now, but I started out a few years ago with Champagne then did a stint with the historical line (which I adore) and then Hummingbirds, the overflow department, where I got to see manuscripts from different lines. It's been so much fun reading those submissions and discovering great new authors.
The Black Rose line is an interesting place to work. Paranormal is something I've always been interested in, and Black Rose offers so many choices. Currently, we here in this line are looking for spicy or very hot stories. Personally, I'd like to see more short stories. We don't seem to get as many of those as we do the full-length novels, and short stories have their own type of charm.
How about crossing genres? I love that. A paranormal historical perhaps? Those would catch my interest. So, if you write darker paranormals, send them in! Do you have a new take on things? Great! Black rose does accept manuscripts that are sensual, spicy and hot, and make sure the story is a romance. Thanks, and have fun.
Monday, October 18, 2010
I want to add my Happy Halloween Hauntings to Callie's. This time of year, is as Callie pointed out, a favorite for those of us who dwell in the dark side of the garden.
Of course we are lucky enough to dwell with the darker creatures all year long! But there is nothing like this time of year to bring out the sexy vamps, weres, shifters and other creatures of the night. Wouldn't it be great to trick or treat (or as my children said when they were young "spooooky night") and bring home a truly luscious and hunky treat like those found in the Black Rose line?
Growing up in Southern California we had many spooky haunts but one of the favorites as a teenager was one certain fire road leading up to the mountains. It was of course created for firefighters to have easy and direct access in case of fires but over time it took on a life of its own.
There were several stories as to different spooky occurances, missing persons, ghostly sightings, sinister cults, etc., that supposedly happened along this dark and lonely streatch of road. The one that was told and retold the most was of the ghostly woodsman and his crew who haunted the top portion. We would dare ourselves to drive the road slowly, always intent on making it to the top but scaring ourselves silly long before reaching our goal. I've never been sure if the things we saw were the results of over active imaginations or if there truly was truth to some of the tales.
This year I hope to have the opportunity to experience a true ghost hunt (in the style of Ghost Hunters).
I hope that you will join us in the darker side of the garden during our Halloween celebrations. We welcome one and all.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Holy haunted house!!! I woke this morning and realized we are midway through October! How does that happen? October is my favorite month and, of course, being a Black Rose editor Halloween is, by far, my favorite holiday:)
Note:(The above picture is an actual house which is part of an old insane asylum that we used to haunt when I was a teenager. It has been deserted for many years and holds a gruesome history that has been replayed on Ghost Hunter episodes and historical discussions through time. I remember sitting in the middle of the night staring into the wooded area surrounding this compound shaking with adrenolin coursing through my veins. Ah... the bravery of youth! A Philadelphia radio station has been known to hold a Halloween Haunted house event at this location in the past. I believe more currently that most of these buildings may have been demolished. But I am sure that miserable and mistreated souls still haunt these sad grounds.)
In case you don't know me, I am Callie Lynn Wolfe, Senior Editor of TWRP's Black Rose Line. And, of course, this is our most active time of year, as you can well imagine. We are busy interacting with all our friends from the darker side of the garden.
An oasis of silvery moonlight shining down upon alabaster statuary in an Old
English Rose garden filled with you guessed it--Black Roses. In our midst are the to die for vamps, the hot weres, the fiesty demons and, of course, we are always looking for the elusive gargoyles as well other creatures our authors can scare up from their very vivid imaginations. Our heros and heroines are predators but they do have a soft side. You just have to know to pull it out of them:)
We will be dropping in and out to guide you through ebony paths and silvery forests for the rest of the month. The Black Rose staff is Lill Farrell, Joel Walker, Eilidh Mackenzie, Corinne MacGregor and Amanda Barnett all of which will share their scariest moments with you. I will be stopping in periodically with my special haunted memories as well.
I wish you all a very ghoulish and frightening Halloween and a most Blessed Samhain. Now I must prepare for the annual masquarade and dance of the dead celebrations. Please do join us. We would love to have you--literally!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
October is my favorite month, hands down. September, April, and May are pretty good too, but I have a special spot just for October. It’s my birthday month (29, of course), and entails all of my fall favorites: pumpkins, apples, fall colors, and reading!
The days have been fantastic in the Midwest; warm and sunny with rich blue skies. The trees wear their tapestry of warm-toned foliage. And, best of all, the nights get cool and dark with a touch of spooky in anticipation of the upcoming holiday. As I sit in my favorite reading nook, listening to the night sounds, I imagine I can hear the whisper of a hunting owl, swooping through the woods. A coyote keens in the distance, and I snuggle with my softest blanket and dive into a great read.
Right now my favorites are short paranormal romance stories. Ghosts, dragons, mermaids, time travelers, and more abound through my imagination, drawing me in to their depths. The heat of attraction and realization warms me up as the temperatures outside drop.
Please, keep me happy and write me a story. Hot and short, but fully developed and exquisitely written, with all the elements needed to fit the Faery line. I’ll look forward to seeing your story.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I read someplace that writing a short story/novella can be harder than writing a novel. If so, consider the latest call for submissions a challenge, all you novelists out there!
Remember, a short story/novella is not a novel outline so don’t treat it as one. To get into the mood, read some (preferably fantasy) to get the feel. (Hint: check out the Faery line at The Wild Rose Press.) Break a few down and analyze them to see how the author sets everything up. You can’t spend pages and pages describing the heroine or the spooky old house she inherits from a mysterious great-aunt she had never met before in a short story. You have to be thrifty with your words and write tightly. Every sentence must contribute.
Just because it’s a short story you’re writing doesn’t mean you can dash off something then send it off. We do have standards here. We expect polished manuscripts. That includes plot, action, setting, description and character development. It includes proper spelling, punctuation and manuscript formatting. And there absolutely must be a HEA (Happily Ever After) ending. That can’t be stressed enough.
Good luck and I look forward to reading your submission!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Crit partner: The paranormal line at Wild Rose Press is looking for short fiction.
Crit partner: Got anything paranormal?
Author: Well, I have this one with a ghost in it and a heroine who time travels back to when he was alive—‘cause they’re like soul mates and stuff—and then she lives there with him until she becomes her own grandmother.
Crit partner: Does she ever come back to the present?
Crit partner: Send it in. What’s the worst they can say?
Faery Editor Kelly Schaub: (sigh) It’s probably historical line instead of Faery.
What I do want to see in short submissions: I want to read about men and women who make their own fate and choose to be together. I don’t believe in “soul mates.”
Our senior editor, Amanda, pointed out earlier that time travels are hot hot hot for sales. Along with that, my own research points at cowboys amping the sales numbers—cowboy in the title + cowboy on the cover = win. And I am a Browncoat. If you know what that means without scanning Wikipedia, you’re already in my camp.
I love me some space cowboys.
Short length (45K down to 7.5K). Space cowboys who time travel.
More seriously, I enjoy heroes who are not only physically good to look upon but highly intelligent. Think Commander John Crichton from Farscape (PhD in aeronautics, designed and built his own spaceflight module which shot him through a wormhole to travel in alien lands…and he’s good looking), Quinn Mallory of Sliders (genius inventor who developed “sliding” from one alternate universe to another…and pretty darn cute), Dr. Sam Beckett of Quantum Leap (invented a way for man to time travel within his own lifetime…handsome, moral) and of course Captain Mal Reynolds of Firefly, the best space cowboy ever (with the exception of Captain Kirk). Mal and Kirk didn’t have to be smarter than average; they live, fight, and love in the future. No emo metro-males need apply at my desk.
The heroine must be able to keep up and hold her own, but not be so kick-ass that she diminishes the hero’s masculinity or cannot be feminine and vulnerable. Some characters who strike the right balance: Princess Ardala and Colonel Wilma Deering (both from Buck Rogers of the 25th Century), Officer Aeryn Sun from Farscape, Zoe Washburne from Firefly—heck, any of the women on that show; Kaylee, Inara. Think of the female officers on Star Trek.
We are facing a high amount of competition both between TWRP and other publishers and within our own house to put before our readers the very best stories we can offer. Manuscripts must be highly polished, ready to go, with all the necessary literary pieces and parts before they’re offered to us. Watch your junk words (just, very, some, often, always, nearly), passive verbs (was/were), and sentences beginning “It was/There was/were.” Be sure you have believable and discernable goal, motivation, and conflict for hero and heroine, and that they work at cross-purposes to the relationship until the very end of the story. Make them work for that Happily Ever After!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Rose line has need of short submissions that
will tempt and intrigue, engage and enthrall.
Fantasy heroes and heroines who
master time using magic or science;
their goal to achieve their heart's desire.
Submissions shorter than 45K
are what we're looking for, and if there's not
a "happy ever after" then your work
won't make it through our door. We want romance,
conflict, and sensuality in spades.
So brush off your magic wands, find your heart,
and fly your faery wings to the nearest
keyboard. Make us happy to say "Welcome
to Faery Rose. Pull up a magic broom,
have some ambrosia, and play in our space.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Amanda Barnett & our lovely editors. Let's kick back
and have a good time. And don't forget our sister line
Black Rose, under the wonderful direction of Callie Lynn Wolfe,
will be handling the rest of the month.
Let me tell you a little bit about the Faery Rose line,
we've changed a bit over the years. Picture your hottest hunk,
sexiest heroine, and put them in a scenario that's both magical
and sensual. Now, that doesn't mean you can go erotic,
that's our Scarlet line, but we do like to see some spice
in our submissions but we do also like sweet, spicy, and hot.
Don't worry if you cross over the line,
we'll get your work where it needs to go.
Faery is so much more than Faery creatures.
There are immortals, dragons, space warriors and more.
Our line spans so many different characters.
What we're looking for are short submissions
no longer than 45K with a time travel theme,
but remember your avenue of time traveling has to be
magical if you return to the past. I'd love to see more
romances where the hero and heroine go back and forth,
it makes for a nice mixture.
Of course that's what I like, but our other wonderful editors,
Claudia Fallon, Sarah Hansen, Kelly Schaub,
and Frances Sevilla will be taking their turns,
and I'm positive they will tell you what they like also.
The bottom line is we need the hero and heroine
to have goal, motivation, and conflict to make the
romance into something readers will buy and want to keep
on their keeper shelf. I know I have several favorite authors
and I keep their books and take them out to read months
and even years after I first read them. It's like having an
old friend stop by. Also, if you are submitting always look
at our guidelines. We want happy ever after or at least for now.
Ghosts are fine but I want the hero and heroine to be able
to be together in actual bodies. Call me old fashion
but I like the sensuality of knowing they can actually
touch one another. Science fiction is also a wonderful
sub-genre for us.
Now settle back, Twitter, Facebook, whatever method you use
to get the news off and tell your friends to drop by.
We love new faces as well as our cherished and dear friends
already here at The Wild Rose Press.
And a big shout out to all our Faery Rose authors:
Thank you for a job well done.
Editors at faery, you rock. Couldn't do it without you.
Amanda Barnett/Senior Editor/Faery Rose