Sexual Chemistry

Erupting Sexual Chemistry Between Nathaniel and Elijah in Knave of Hearts

knaveofhearts_smIn Knave of Hearts, Elijah and Nathaniel seem very different from each other. Nathaniel is high-powered and all about business and the end result. Elijah is all about emotion and people. Elijah’s guardian, Charles, the head of a very thriving business empire,  is dying of cancer. Elijah, a sound engineer, has returned to Seattle to be with him during his final days. He could care less about the business, he’s here for Charles, and is dealing with a range of emotions concerning the loss of his only family.

Nathaniel seems almost a mirror of Charles in that he also is the head of a thriving business. He’s come to Seattle to help assure the security of Charles’s empire as a transition of leadership must occur without incident. Nathaniel is all about the business and emotion does not play into his life. Not that he hasn’t had his share of lovers. But lovers in Nathaniel’s world usually involve an ulterior motive.

The twelves steps of intimacy rears its head at a most inopportune moment. At least for Elijah it is. His focus in on Charles and his guardian’s needs during these final days. His emotions have everything to do with love for his guardian, and nothing to do with sex or have a short-term affair to ease tensions. Until the night of Charles’ birthday party–his last. And everything changes when one man walks through the door of the hotel ballroom.

Chemistry is what erupts. Eye to body. When Nathaniel first lays on Nathaniel, not even knowing his name he is intrigued. Eye to eye. Interest sharply deepens when they come face to face a little later in the evening, but not close enough to speak. Yet eye contact is achieved. The eyes can say a great deal. Voice to voice. And when a moment of respite from the party brings Elijah to the reception area for a moment of quiet, he gets anything but peace when Nathaniel finally initiates a conversation between them.

“You’re with Charles Ballard.”

Elijah’s head shot up. He must be dreaming. He blinked. Nope, the image didn’t go away. He got to his feet in order to face the gorgeous stranger. No socialite clinging to his arm. He was making conversation with Elijah. Elijah took a deep, shuddering breath. Oh, shit. Had he ever been less prepared for an encounter than this?

“Uh, yeah. I am.” Now what did he say? This was not the impression he wanted to make. Where was the brunette? Was he maybe just being polite by dancing with her? Oh, man. “Are you a business associate of his?”

“You might say that. I just arrived in Seattle. I received the invitation and thought I’d stop in to the party for a bit. But as I said, I’ve only arrived in town. I was just getting ready to go back to my hotel.”

“Oh.” Too bad. “Will you be in Seattle long?” Perhaps the question was a bit too eager.

“A while. A few weeks at least. Perhaps a month. It will depend.”

Too bad Elijah was leaving with Charles, so it was kind of a moot point. Though he would have liked to get to know this man better. Then a desperation to not lose the connection kicked in. He needed something normal…like a little flirtation, to keep him sane. He saw a discarded cocktail napkin on the table. He pulled a pen out of his jacket pocket, and scribbled his name and cell number. This was not something he did every day, but these seemed to be unusual circumstances. He had no idea if the guy was interested or not. If his business had anything to do with Charles directly or not. Whether he was just trying to make small talk or find out more about Charles. Frankly, it didn’t matter. Not one whit.

“If you happen to find yourself at loose ends, why don’t you give me a call?”

The stranger glanced at the napkin, then back at Elijah. “But you’re with Charles.”

Elijah nodded. “Yeah. I have to leave or I’d ask if you wanted to go for a coffee. Charles is getting a little tired and he needs to get home. But maybe another time, while you’re in town. You gotta name?”

The stranger seemed to be sizing him up. He reached out for the napkin. “I do have a name.” He glanced down at the phone number, then slipped the napkin into his breast pocket. “Elijah.” The way he said it was slow and drawn out. His tone was low, his voice soft and deep. Elijah recognized the tone. He gave Elijah a mysterious smile. “And if I decide to call, perhaps I’ll give it to you. Goodbye for now.” And then he turned and strolled away toward the front door of the hotel.

That Nathaniel, he is a smooth one all right. But don’t underestimate Elijah. He’s no pushover and he’ll give Nathaniel a run for his money–just as soon as he finds out the damned man’s name. And we still have like nine steps of intimacy to go. Oh, boy, was this story fun to write.

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Enlighten and Introvert and Challenge

enlighten_56Enlighten. Or, inform, apprise, advise, acquaint, familiarize, instruct, to understand, disclose, shed light. All things that a writer needs to do. As any human being should do.  But as a writer, as a published author, in this age it is more important than ever to continue to be informed and “enlighten” ourselves in many areas.

Introvert. That’s me too. I’m not good on the public connection thing.  And this world of social media is truly a challenge for me. I’m really not a social kind of person, but as a reasonably intelligent person, I understand the need to engage. As well as familiarize, and I have to accept the challenge of engaging more directly. I know these things to be true. But it certainly doesn’t make things easy.

This is a very complicated world, and it certainly isn’t enough to just write the story and find a publisher these days. Because of the reduction in earnings and the loss of my publishers to the ever-changing technological advancements, big business, and ease of publishing these days, it’s become more important than ever to become familiar with all the facets of this publishing world, and the world at large. I have to learn many new things, and some of the programs can be damned complicated to learn. But the reality is, we never stop learning, from birth to death. When we stop trying to engage and understand, that is a death in itself, I think.

It’s call the narrow-the-focus, one-step-at-at-a-time progression. Take Adobe. Learning Photoshop and creating book covers and marketing banners and such is an ongoing challenge for me. Formatting ebooks and paperbacks using Word or Adobe InDesign. We aren’t evening going to the audio book thing for the moment. As I said, one-step-at-a-time.

Thank goodness for some of the educational channels on YouTube, and how-tos at Adobe and Microsoft. And Google. Most times I get caught with something I can’t figure out, I can Google it, and it gets me to the answer I need. Because I sure can’t afford to hire out everything, not at the pay rate for today’s indie authors and the noise in a very global marketplace.

It’s not easy, but being enlightened is necessary in order to continue to write. Luckily, I enjoy taking photographs as well, so a lot of the backgrounds in my book covers are created from photographs I’ve taken.

And this is where my bullet journal also comes in handy. Narrowing focus, that challenge – what one particular challenge, or goal, that’s been niggling at me, do I want to face today? Only that one. Figure that out, then I can move on to the next. Because if I go to broad, the summons blockage, freezing in place, and ultimately procrastination and putting everything off to another day, which likely will never come.

Getting more than 100 stories back out into the marketplace after having rights returned to me from publishers, has been, and continues to be a daunting prospect. And to write new stories, and to work at independent contracting work not related to writing in order to pay bills, is quite the juggle of time.

But I’m not a giver-upper. I make mistakes along the way, I learn or become more enlightened from those mistake, and hopefully improve what I’m doing because of that. I can’t be afraid to keep going. I can’t remain stagnant. I will persevere.

Trumpeter Swans and the Development of Swan’s Lake (Primal Magic)

Trumpeter Swans and the Development of Swan’s Lake (Primal Magic)

swans6croppedI love Trumpeter Swans. And this is prime wintering season for Trumpeter Swans here in the Pacific Northwest. Shallow wetlands being prime nesting grounds, they should feel right at home in this area of Washington.

Research and foundation are prime requisites in creating story and there must be time devoted to discover and relate elements and symbology to create an engaging and fully-realized three-dimensional story that is able to draw a reader into my world, as I see it.

“She is very beautiful.”

Reynaldo couldn’t look away from the view of the serene lake surrounded by the lush forests. So different from the barren fields and fallow grounds on the other side of the estate.

At one time, the lake had been just as stagnant as the dried up land. Before she came. But only the lake and the surrounding woodlands seemed to have been affected by her magical appearance.

He felt Satrius’s presence behind him, but Reynaldo was focused on the beauty of the swan who was about to take flight. He watched as her powerful wings extended and she glided across the lake, her mirror image reflected in the shimmering, clear blue water, and finally soared into the air. His gaze was glued to the arc of her neck as she stretched out, and he could almost feel the wind against his own face, the freedom of the sky as he followed the perfect symmetry of her form. He felt his soul reach out to her, yearning to soar with her.

swans-0748Swan pairs mate for life and usually form pair bonds on the winter grounds, often where the pen (female) was hatched. The pen will choose the nesting site, the cob (male) will defend it. A Trumpeter Swan’s life expectancy can span as much as 20 years. If one mate dies, the other with find another mate.

“He will destroy you, Martine. If you do not act soon, it will be too late and Satrius will find a way to be rid of you. Of all of us.”

She turned swiftly to face one of the elder shifters, Arwen. He was a gruff old man, but beneath that she had come to determine he had a heart of gold and he meant well. He led the northern flock, those who had arrived in the first week. Yet all seemed to look to him for guidance. News traveled quickly in this magical world, and when word reached them of a strange swan maiden from the other land, they had begun arriving daily from throughout Valliana. Usually a bird or two at a time, but within Arwen’s flock there were at least eleven.

“I cannot act too quickly, Arwen. I know the urgency—you have all more than made that clear.”

“You are the chosen one. We all knew it when we heard of your arrival from the other world. What we attempt here has never been done before. For a swanshifter to mate with one outside our species—we do not know if it can even be done. Not even in Valliana.”

Martine Cullen, the swan maiden, is of of Celtic descent; Reynaldo Donata, lord of Terragatto, is a shapeshifting predator, who is lord of the castle in this realm. A dark magic has settled over Valliana, and only Martine can break the spell of Satrius, a very powerful warlock, who has cast a spell over Reynaldo.

swans-1540When I’m researching, I usually start with symbology, and in this story, I wanted to know what the swan symbol represented. What I found is this: Swan is a symbol of gracefulness and intuition. In alchemy, it is a symbol of hermaphroditism, being either male or female, It is a marriage of opposites – perfect for my story. But, of course, as any writer will, we take great liberties with the what-ifs, at least jumping one step farther. What if this, what if that? I’ve never been good at taking just one step…

She again turned toward the water and gazed out at the shifters resting there. It was then she came up with a dangerous alternative. Would any of them agree? Could she accept it, herself?

She whirled back toward Arvin. “What if we could give him what he seems to desire? It would be taking a chance, but if we can break the darkling magic it might be worth a try.” Suddenly, it all became clear. “That’s it.”

“What are you saying?”

She laughed and a weight lifted from her shoulders. There was a way to beat Satrius and possibly to break his hold over Reynaldo. “It has never been done before—not among the swanshifters.” Would it be such a sacrifice for her to accept another into the pairing? She felt a tingling begin between her thighs at the idea she was considering. It was a desperate chance, but one she was willing to take if the others could agree.

“You can’t be considering what I think you are.”

“Would it be so wrong? Help me, Arwen. You have told me how dangerous it would be for a child of Reynaldo and Belinda to be brought into this world. If it was not so, this gathering would not be taking place.”

“It is dangerous. If you have not found a cob to your liking thus far, what makes you think you will find one acceptable for the relationship you are considering?”

“I was not thinking of a cob instead of Reynaldo, but someone who would enhance our pairing. Help me find the right one. One to tempt him from Satrius—one he could not deny. Please.”

“You ask a great deal, Martine.”

“I know. I know he wants me, but he holds back. If we present him with something more, something he cannot deny, strong enough to turn him away from the evil. Offer him so much pleasure he is blinded by it. If Belinda is allowed to bear his child, the chasm of evil will rip wide open. Is that what you want?”

“No, of course not.”

“You know the flocks better than I. Help me find the right cob who could bond with two others for a lifetime. One who is strong enough to help me woo Reynaldo away from his sinister lovers. Yes, he seems to want me, but it isn’t enough.” She again turned to scan the waters. “There must be one among the many—one who would welcome this strange pairing.”

“You are asking that he submit to another. It will not be easy to find one that will accept the sharing of a pen. This is far beyond anything that has been attempted before. For you to share yourself between two—is this really what you want?”

She turned to look up at him. “I must pair with Reynaldo. To lose this chance, could mean all of our deaths.” She touched her abdomen. “In here, I know this is right. What we plan is the path I must follow. That we must follow.”

One step farther. Our Martine is a very clever woman. And it will take an adventurous, determined shapeshifter to save Reynaldo and this world, one who isn’t afraid to break boundaries, to bend mating rituals long followed in the past.

Thus, we have the story of Martine and Reynaldo, shifters who will break all the laws of their respective kinds in order to save their world.

 

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Creativity with Clarity for the Process

Creativity with Clarity for the Process

clarity_35Over the years the amount of noise with the advancement of technology, and the hustle and bustle, and need to constantly be learning, adapting, and changing have caused stutters and starts to my creative process. It has caused havoc to the point of being blocked with focus and progress. First I’m here and then I’m there and what is it I need to focus on first? Causing frustration, aggravation, and full stop.

In the creative process there needs to be some silence. Silence from the outside world, unplugging from distractions in order to gain clarity and open up doors to the imagination. Carving out my time.

This has been a difficult process, but it is possible to attain. Drawing inward, writing down the goals, understanding the time and place for the phone, the social media, the news, all the outside forces must be harnessed and controlled.

As I sat and began to write this, the phone rang. I looked at the phone, but then reminded of my focused purpose, I ignored it, feeling guilty, but still, in my determination, I ignored it, so that I could proceed with what I have identified are priorities, and maintaining my vision with purpose.

I’m relearning how to carve out time. For slotting what is necessary for me to accomplish throughout the day. What is important, what is needful, and being mindful of time simply for me to refill the well.

determination_50This is not something that comes easily. It requires some sacrifices, some relearning of habits newly developed. Of tuning out, of tuning in, of fine tuning the dial. This is clarity. Clarifying the important things. Carving out time to focus.

Writing this all out on paper, not the computer helps brand that clarity; keeping a written journal, not a computer journal, helps me to visualize more concretely my journey and tasks and desires along the creative road. Walking away from the computer periodically helps to clear my mind, refocus, reenergize in order to return with a fresher alertness.

So, here I am with determination to maintain clarity and purpose on what I wish to achieve.

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