Posted in Blog, Teasers

World Without Color-Part Two

Dear Readers,

I will be out of town next Saturday and Sunday, and I probably won’t have Internet access. I will do my best to post part three of World Without Color during the middle of the week of the seventeenth, and post part four, which should be the final part, on the following Saturday.

Peace all, and enjoy your holidays, whatever or wherever they may be.

–Emily

Part Two

Half an hour later, Tabitha wondered if she’d overreacted. The world outside their hotel hadn’t changed. The Florida sky still reminded her of the blue marble she kept in her treasure box. The water sparkled all around the boat where the ceremony would be held. And even though the rest of the wedding party wore black or white, most of the guests managed to keep their color.

The people running the hotel wore black and white, she thought. But they’d been wearing those colors yesterday.

“Unless the bad genie started with them before messing with my family,” she whispered.

Uncle Mark, walking on her right, glanced down at her. “What’s that, Tabbykins?”

She clutched her purse. “Nothing.”

He crouched, waving off Tabitha’s mom. “We’ll be right with you, Naomi.” He touched Tabitha’s shoulder. “What’s wrong, sweetheart?”

She looked into his eyes and saw them change. Not to the yellow-green she’d come to expect before he switched to his scales so he could give her a ride, but to a different blue that shaded dangerously toward grey. She flinched, looking away.

Don’t think. He’s a telepath. Don’t think about…about anything! Tabitha focused on her white shoes and the boat’s dirty white deck under them until her mind was full of nothing but white and brownish grit.

“Tabby?”

She couldn’t feel Uncle Mark trying to get into her mind. Maybe that meant the bad genie hadn’t taken him over completely. But if his eyes, the tell for any dragon, were shifting to grey, he must be falling under the bad genie’s spell.

“Come on, Mark,” Tabitha’s mom said. “The ceremony starts in ten minutes.”

Tabitha watched her uncle walk away, glad when her mom didn’t seem to notice she hadn’t followed. But Grandma, Danny, and even Davy followed her.

Davy’s forgotten about helping. I’m alone. Tabitha backed up two steps, trying to see everyone on the boat at once. What if her Uncle Luke wasn’t here? What else could fight a genie besides another genie?

A shadow fell over her shoulder, darkening her dress shoes, and Tabitha whirled, retreating with her hands up.

Relief shot through her like when she’d eaten twenty pieces of candy in five minutes. She enjoyed the rush, but it left her unsteady.

Uncle Luke beamed down at her. “Hi, Tabbykins.” He offered her an easy grin as he settled into a cross-legged pose a little way above the deck.

Her relief vanished when she saw his white suit. “How long have you been wearing that?”

Uncle Luke looked down at himself. “The shirt?”

Everything!

“About three minutes.” He held out his hand.

She didn’t take it. “Can you put on a red suit?”

“Nope. It has to be white.” He shrugged. Grinned. “Mark’s orders.”

“But what if…” She stopped. This uncle might not be under the bad genie’s influence, not yet, but he’d share whatever she said with Uncle Mark, and Uncle Mark was lost. “What if you spill something on it?”

Tabitha forced herself not to smile as another idea popped into her head. Please let there be lots of red and purple juice somewhere. If I spill lots of colorful things on my family, they should remember color. Maybe the bad genie would be driven out in the open. Then her uncles could fight it.

With my help. I’m the only one able to think past the white.

She bit her lip. For now.

Her uncle said, “I won’t spill. Promise.” He stood. “Come on, Tabbykins. We’re going to be late. It’s your job to toss the flowers, remember?”

“Yeah.” Davy’s gone. Uncle Mark’s gone. Uncle Luke’s almost gone.

Tabitha bit her lip harder.

Posted in Blog

Name a Werewolf Contest Results!

Dear Readers,

Thank you to everupme who participated in the name-a-werewolf contest. Many of you contributed several names, and exciting back stories to go with them. I enjoyed each contribution, and have at last chosen the winners.

Before I announce first and second prize, however, let me remind the other authors who answered this challenge that I would like to interview you on my website. (Soon. Promise. ) I hope you will invite your followers to visit here so you can give away a book or two.

First prize goes to Lynne for her excellent hybrid suggestions. Second prize goes to Allie for her fabulous research.

Thank you again to my other readers who participated in this contest. Many of the names you suggested were so amazing they may find their way into a story. If they do, I will of course give you a copy of the book and, with your permission, name you in my acknowledgements.

Peace all, and watch tomorrow for the next chapter in Tabitha’s story,

–Emily

Posted in Blog

Such a late update…

Dear Readers,

I didn’t mean to disappear for over a  month. It’s difficult when the non-writing world intervenes. I’m writing to you from  a new location. My dog and cat are settling in well and seem to feel the general serenity of this place. Being here is rather like finding  myself transplanted into  Mark’s and Luke’s condo. There’s the attendant sense of protection and rightness, but Mark’s midnight blue couch is missing. As are the hundred temperatures.

I will announce the winners of the Name a Character contest next Saturday, and the next day I will have the next chapter of Tabitha’s wedding story.

I’m working on a sequel to Heartwood at present, as well as a new SearchLight story. I’m hoping this latter book will release in the early spring of 2013 and the sequel to Heartwood will be released in or around June. The SearchLight story will be the beginning of a new series titled A Pack of His Own. Each book in the series will feature a different couple. The first book (tentatively titled Hunter’s Claim) stars Agent Luis Delgado and Professor Charlie McLaughlin, who made their first appearance in Dragon’s Bane.

Thank you for all your patience. There *will* be more next week. Promise. 🙂 Until then, and always:

Peace I send you

Peace I leave with you

And may peace attend your road all the days of your lives.

–Emily

 

Posted in Blog, Teasers

World Without Color

Dear Readers,

This is a short story from Tabitha Tavery’s point of view. Warning: spoiler alert. Do not read this if you haven’t read Dragon’s Bane. Warning two: one tiny swear word. Mark really shouldn’t swear where his niece might hear him. 🙂

Peace!

–Emily

“World Without Color”

Part One

Tabitha counted the presents twice. Twenty-three sat on and around the low table in the hotel room. “Whose birthday is it, Mommy? And why did everybody use white paper?”

She frowned. She’d be seven soon, and her uncles had taught her how to think “outside the box,” as Uncle Mark put it. “Has all the colored paper been bought up?” Then she thought of what her uncles did for a living. “Or stolen? Did some bad people steal all the pretty paper, Mommy?”

Over on the bed by the window, Grandma had managed to get Davy into his pants, but his shoes kept falling off. On the overstuffed red chair in the corner, Tabitha’s mom wrestled Danny into a gray pair of pants.

“Tabby, can you find me Danny’s shoes please?” her mom asked.

“Mo-om! I wanna wear my red pants!” Danny freed one of his feet and delivered a solid blow to his mother’s knee.

Tabitha looked over at the presents again. What if all the paper in all the world had been turned white? Maybe this was like when her uncles fought the bad genie. Maybe they were fighting another one, only this genie was doing bad stuff all over the world, not just to the people who worked with her uncles.

“Tabby, get me Danny’s— Daniel Ezekiel Tavery, if you don’t stop right now, you’re going to miss your uncles’ wedding.”

“I don’t wanna go.”

Tabitha shuffled over to where her brother had hidden his shoes last night. Getting down on her hands and knees, she fished them out from under the other bed. They shone so brightly she could see a dim reflection of her face in the toes.

A whirring sound startled her, and she looked up as the door to the hotel room opened.

“Now this looks familiar,” said the man standing in the doorway.

Tabitha jumped up, forgetting the shoes. “Uncle Mark!” She sprinted to him, holding her arms up.

He scooped her off the floor, twirling her once. Then he kissed her cheek and carried her back toward her mom.

She clung to him. “Something’s wrong.”

“I can see that.” He squeezed her gently and set her down. “Naomi, do you want some help?”

Tabitha glanced at the presents. “Not with Mom, Uncle Mark. With the presents. They’re white.” She gaped. “You’re dressed in white too!” It was a bad genie.

A long time ago, maybe even a month, she’d watched a show about a place with no color. The ground and sky were black, white, or gray, and most of the animals weren’t much better. An evil creature kept all their colors trapped. Could that creature be real? Tabitha was old enough to understand that some of the “pretend” creatures in stories weren’t pretend. Her uncle Mark was a dragon, and most people thought dragons weren’t real. Her other uncle, Luke, was a genie. A good genie. The best.

Grandma joined Mom and Uncle Mark as they struggled with Danny.

Davy crept over to Tabitha’s side and pulled on her sleeve. “Whazzit?” he asked around the thumb in his mouth.

Normally, his four-year-old thumb talk drove her nuts, but he looked up at her as if he wanted to help. Sometimes he even seemed to have the same feelings she did.

Tabitha whispered, “Do you see the presents?”

He nodded, looking excited.

“They’re not good. A bad genie turned them white. It made Uncle Mark’s clothes white too. And yours and Danny’s clothes gray. If we don’t add some red, yellow, or blue quick, the whole world’s going to turn gray and white.”

Understanding shone in his gaze now. “I has crayons,” he whispered.

Tabitha considered. Normally crayons wouldn’t be quick enough, but she hadn’t brought a lot with her. “Did you bring your finger paints too?”

“Mommy wouldn’t let me.”

What was it Uncle Luke always said? “Then we’ll have to improvise.”

Five minutes later, Tabitha had her grandma’s most colorful balls of yarn, Davy’s crayons, and the fat markers she’d brought. She gave these last to her little brother, ordering him not to let anyone see them. She secreted the balls of yarn and the crayons into her white purse, hoping she’d be allowed to keep it since it was the right color.

“Tabitha,” her mom called. “It’s time to get into your dress. We’re going to be late.”

Tabitha looked up, afraid she and Davy had been noticed. But her mom was standing by a suitcase, her grandma was staring into the mirror, and Uncle Mark had taken Danny into a corner for what looked like a serious talk. Danny’s in trouble. But any pleasure Tabitha would’ve normally gotten from the thought disappeared in her worry about the missing color. The hotel room still had color, but maybe the bad genie, or whatever it was, had decided to attack her family first.

Oh no you don’t. I’ll stop you. Maybe I’m not Agent Tabitha Tavery yet, but I will be someday. You’d better be scared of me.

Her mom turned away from the suitcase.

When Tabitha saw the long, frilly, white dress, her stomach seemed to plummet to her knees. She frowned in an effort to keep her tears hidden. “It’s…nice, Mommy. Where’s Uncle Luke?” Maybe he could fix this. If the bad genie showed up, yarn and crayons might not be enough. Hadn’t the people in the movie had magic on their side as well as color?

“He’ll meet us at the ceremony,” her mom said. “Now hurry. We can’t be late.”

If I dress in white too, will I forget there’s danger? Tabitha glanced at her purse. Davy’s in gray and he remembers. It’ll have to be enough.

She smiled, but then had to wipe her face. Our whole family’s depending on a four-year-old. What was it Uncle Mark sometimes said when he thought she wasn’t listening?

Blue fuck.

Peace!

–Emily

Posted in Blog

To Live

Dear Readers,

Natalie Goldberg, author of books like Writing Down the Bones and Wild Mind, made a comment I think applies to living as well as to writing. Her quote begins with another quote, showing how much we learn from all the souls around us. ” ‘If you want to write, you have to be willing to be disturbed.’ [Kate Green, author of Shattered Moon and Night Angel] Pretty good. It’s true. Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to think about… Be willing to be split open.”

It sounds like a terrifying prospect. I invite you to see the lighter side of this invitation. Being disturbed is akin to sand being stirred by a stick. Seek the treasures in your life that are hidden by everyday minutiae. Once you’ve found the treasure, show it off. What’s the point of hiding it away? Even Ebeneezer Scrooge learned to let go.

Wishing you the best this evening,

–Emily

 

Posted in Blog, Books

International Book Week

Dear Readers,

This wasn’t originally what I was going to post about, but I took a detour onto Facebook before jumping onto my website, and saw a post by a good friend that made me smile.

“It’s international book week. The rules: Grab the closest book to you, turn to page 52, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don’t mention the title. Copy the rules as part of your status.”

Of course, feel free to post line five of page fifty0two on your Facebook page, but I’d also love to see it here.

I happened to pull a book I haven’t even read yet. 🙂 Here we go…

“”They didn’t like either of the two available options.”

The sentence before that is somewhat spicier and more suggestive, but it doesn’t fit the rules. I’ll have to read this book now!

 

Peace,

–Emily

 

Posted in Blog

National *What* Month? (1)

Dear Readers,

September has been National Guide Dog Month (since 2010) and is the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15- October 15.

Two of my characters are going to talk about their experiences with National Guide Dog Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Aidan James Kelly (from Heartwood, release date: October 16, 2012) I did most of my growing up at Golden Hills School for the Blind out in California. It’s one of the last schools exclusively for the blind open in the United States, if not the last. I’m not going to say we learned everything we should have about other cultures, but we learned our own culture inside and out. I was a freshman in 2008, when the first National Guide Dog Month was discussed. News swept through Golden Hills like the wildfires that sometimes choke the air out there. The white cane users among us, which included all the students and ninety percent of the teachers, objected to being denied a similar honor. All of the history teachers got together and ordered the students to form debate teams. Pro- and anti-Guide Dog Month, and pro- and anti-white cane month, were the sides we had to take. I loved it, especially when I had to argue on both sides of an argument during a single class. As my karate teacher, Minamoto-sensei, says, such challenges call to my warrior nature.

 

Agent Luis Delgado (from Dragon in Training 3: Dragon’s Bane, available now at www.loose-id.com) “August 17, 1988 was a proud day for my parents and grandparents. Even for the members of my family who don’t live in the United States and don’t care much about what is or isn’t declared here, that date is considered significant. National Hispanic Heritage Month was made into law through President Reagan’s efforts on that day. I’m not quite so reverent, but I respect my family’s appreciation of effort. I appreciate effort myself, or I wouldn’t be so taken with a certain professor I worked with recently.

“But this is supposed to be about National Hispanic Heritage Month. Yes, it’s a very fine thing. If only it pertained to more than humans. I understand SearchLight’s requirement of secrecy. It’s the magical world’s requirement also. I still think I would appreciate National Hispanic Heritage Month more if it included not only Hispanic humans, but Hispanic psychic vampires like me as well. Don’t smile at me. I know everything you’re thinking.”

 

“Please forgive Luis, ladies and gentlemen. He’s a bit…untamed. Forgive him, but guard your minds. And since the warnings of a stranger mean nothing, I’m Professor Charlie McLaughlin.”

 

This is Emily. Forgive them both. They’re like naughty children. It’s the plan that you’ll meet them in a book all their own.

Peace,

–Emily

Posted in Blog

A Vision

Vision boards, dream boards, or wish-your-butt-off boards have become all the rage lately. Oprah talked about them quite awhile ago. I’ve encountered them no less than five times in the last year. And I know people who swear by them.

I happen to believe myself, simply because I believe in myself.

If you’re a skeptic and/or a scientist by nature, skip to the CBT section of this post. If you’re a spiritual person, find the Universal Truth section. If you don’t find something to fit your idea of how nature and the human mind works in either section, please offer your own theory or story in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Whichever you choose, please check out a quick story at the bottom of this post.

 

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Theory)

One of the simplest tenets of CBT is that all feelings come from thoughts. For example, if your best friend promised to pick you up from work and then didn’t show, what’s your first reaction? For most people, the answer is either “anger” or “annoyance.” Both these emotions are driven by a thought, though: “Where is s/he? How dare s/he leave me here?”

Our dreams for the future are also driven by thoughts. Not so much by “I wish I had…” but “I deserve” and “I’m going to work toward.” A vision board helps to focus those thoughts into something tangible. For most people, seeing is believing. Having a physical projection of what they desire is the first step to making it real.

It’s a critical step. Without seeing or knowing what you want in concrete terms, many ideas remain ideas. (Please see the story at the end of this post.)

Vision Board: Wealth

Universal Truth

Our society teaches us to think negatively. It surprised me, but I was forced to accept it when I began examining commercials. “This makeup (outfit, car, drink, need I go on J ) is essential.” The implication being we’re not complete without thus-and-such product.

If I’m incomplete, my thoughts become centered around what I’m not, what I don’t have. In my case, I don’t have a car. (Granted, I can’t drive, but isn’t that beside the point?)

The universe is made of energy. No matter Who created that energy, the energy exists and influences us. The energy we put out is the energy returned to us. So why would negative energy produce positive results?

“But Emily, that’s easy for you to say. I have high bills.”

How much money do you want to have? Think of an exact figure and write it down. Next step, believe in that number instead of concentrating on what you don’t have. Even believing in the negative things you have, like bills, will only attract more bills to you.

What else do you want? Create a picture or collage about it. Do you want a new house or something less visible, like good friends and someone to love? Create an image of the exact house, inside and out, or collect the words from magazines that make up the person or people you long to have in your life. Positive energy draws more positive energy.

Brief Story

With my thesis behind me and my days partially my own again, I’ve realized how much I’d like someone in my life besides my wonderful pets. However, when I sat down to my vision board, all I could think to put on it was “must love dogs.” Less than a week later, a distant acquaintance invited me to a Labrador Club advertised only by word of mouth. It’s about time I finish that vision board!

Just something to think about.

Peace!

–Emily