Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Introducing the first scene in chapter two of my as-of-yet untitled story. This scene introduces a new plot twist, and major change/obstacle, depending on how you look at it. I'm hoping that this major plot element is so subtle, that you will not recognize it upon first reading. That's okay though, because it will become blindingly clear in later scenes. By the end of Chapter two I hope that I've built upon the suspense in the story.

I introduce a few minor characters in this chapter, but you will have to wait until chapter three before the next major character is introduced, along with another major plot turn, not quite as subtle as this one.

"Miss, we're here. I'm afraid you're gonna have to leave the bus now."

Alexis opened her eyes to see the shadow of a man with his arm extended to her shoulder. She jumped in her seat, nearly shifting on instinct before realizing it was just the bus driver waking her.

"Thank you," she said, as she stood and sidestepped to the aisle. She looked out the windows as she walked toward the front of the bus. Nothing outside looked familiar. She'd been to the Atlanta bus station a few times before, and remembered it being much busier. The metro buses weren't lined up in there usual places. The late morning sun bleached the concrete in a seemingly empty lot, and there was no din of traffic, or dark wall of tall buildings.

"Excuse me, Sir," Alexis tapped on the driver's shoulder. "Are we in Marietta? I'm paid all the way to Atlanta."

The bus driver gave her a serious look, but then a smile crept across his lips until creases formed in his cheeks, consuming gray stubble in folds of dark brown skin. He blurted, "Well then young lady, I guess you've gotten your money's worth."
His eyes welled up and his cheeks expanded until Alexis thought he was choking, and then he let loose with a laugh so rich, it made him bend at the waist, the buttons on his shirt stretched tight over his round belly. His laugh was so infectious; Alexis started laughing with him, but having not understood the joke, could not sustain the mood. The driver got himself under control, his face becoming serious and caring once more.

"Young lady, you're in Montgomery." He said it with a thick southern drawl, extending the first syllable out and saying the last two as one.

"Montgomery? You mean—"

"Yep, that's right. Alabama." The bus driver's look turned serious. "Child. You're in Montgomery, Alabama."

Alexis stepped backward, shocked at the news. She had never been in Alabama. She had never been out of Georgia, even attended college just outside Atlanta.

"I'm sorry," Alexis said. "I must have slept through the Atlanta stop. Can I pay you for the extra mileage?"
The driver, the serious look on his face quickly turning to amusement again said, "You slept through Atlanta, Columbus, and Tuskegee. If I hadn't woken you up here, you might have gone on to Mobile, or even New Orleans, Louisiana."

Alexis asked again, "What do I owe you for the ticket?"

"No need to pay me, young lady. In fact, I'll let the ticket office know to give you free passage back. There's a bus leaves for Atlanta late tonight."

Alexis thanked the driver, and gave him a twenty dollar tip, before stepping off the bus. She was still groggy, and a little upset with herself at her lack of awareness, but the pressure in her bladder and the groaning from her stomach told her the first order of business was to find a bathroom and a place to eat. She walked across the huge broken concrete and gravel parking lot to the edge of a four-lane divided roadway. Fast food, payday check cashing establishments, and pawnshops darted the roadside. Across the roadway and just a couple hundred yards to the left, a big pink neon sign featuring a horse rearing up, caught her attention. Underneath, neon letters in the same color read, "Pink Pony Bar and Grill."

Better than fast food, Alexis thought, as she ran across the four-lane at the first opening.

Hope you enjoyed this little excerpt. Remember, this is merely a draft, so one can expect changes between this and the final product. As always, comments are welcome.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankgiving Freebies

I know most people are busy and stressing this Thanksgiving week. We have family coming over this Thanksgiving and, believe me, when we all get together, it's like someone left the doors open to the local asylum. That said, I know that Thanksgiving is a day to reflect on what one is thankful for.

I'm thankful for the few readers that follow my work, supporting me as I pursue my dream of writing and expressing in stories, that which would otherwise build in my mind until it burst out of me and faded in the nether. I would like to express my thanks by offering all of my work FREE at All Romance eBooks this week. Here's the link:

Ellison James at ARe

Please feel free to go there and download anything you would like until after Thanksgiving. Also, be sure to tell all your friends.

Now, for the second order of business. I recently started a series called 'Sporty Sex' with plans on producing five fun short erotic stories. I published the first story, Fantasy League more than a month ago. Fantasy League is a short story about a woman frustrated with her husband's obsession with fantasy football, so she devises a sexy plan to coax him to forget about his fantasy game, if just for the night.

I have the second story, Tight End finished, but have not yet published. I would like to hear from any of you out there whether you would like to see it published, or if I should continue to concentrate wholly on my next novel. What say you? Tight End is about a tomboy who is constantly made fun of by her male friends because she likes to play sports. It's not that she's not interested in guys, she just likes many guys as friends. That is, until she meets Billy, a rough sports player who likes to work out. She wants him, and he may be the one man that can "sweeten" her up.

One more thing. I'm pleased to announce the anthology I have a story in is now at number two on the All Romance eBooks bestseller list for anthologies. It's also FREE. Please take the time to download this anthology and enjoy my story, and the stories of four other wonderful authors.

Please enjoy the offer of my work free this week. I enjoy writing stories and continue to be open to suggestions and criticism when warranted.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Poetry and Prose

My lover's eyes
They guide my hands
Telling them
In some secret lustful language
Where to go
And when my lover's eyes close
And words come in moans
Our loving now complete
But desire only grows

This is not a famous poem. I wrote it myself by way of demonstration. My goal here was not to just tell a story, but evoke emotion by use of particular words.

When you read a story, do you look for a rhythm in the words? Do you like to get a sense the author gave some thought to how the words were placed in the story?

I like to incorporate special words in my stories that do more than just provide narrative and dialogue. I like to use words that evoke emotion. I feel words have within them, a color, a smell, a feeling when said out loud or within one's mind.

Next time you read a story, or one of my stories, in particular, see if you can tell where the author used specific words to evoke emotion.

I find word choice extremely important in fantasy and erotica. In fantasy, I pepper my stories with words that I hope give the reader a sense of place and atmosphere. Dark words for those dense forest lands. In erotica, I feel that word choice is the greatest and also the most difficult.

Look again at the poem above. I know it may not be the most professional piece of work, but I wrote it using specific words to evoke emotion. I even used alliteration and loose, or non-rhyming words on purpose to make the reader stumble, forcing them to think back to the previous phrase or sentence.

My challenge to you as a reader is to look for these patterns in the stories you read. It is, after all, the choice of words, and the emotions they provide, that give a story that little extra magic that makes a reader think "that's a great story" even if they cannot pinpoint why they feel that way.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Presented today is the last scene in the first chapter of my, as of yet, untitled work in progress. Alexis is leaving Ellijay, wondering, for the first time in her life, if she'll ever return. She loves the town. She loves her family. It is Leonidas, she cannot take.

Leo, along with her own family, still hold to old-fashioned beliefs that she sees as gender-biased, and unfair. After all, she's been to college. She knows how the current society functions, and she firmly believes she could safely live among regular humans. Who knows, she might even be able to carve out a normal life.

Alexis looked out the window of the taxi, more to hide her face then look at scenery. She wondered if Leo had left a mark on her throat, and tried to look at her reflection in the glass. She only saw the North Georgia Medical Center as the taxi sped along Main Street. She turned to look out the left window as they drove past the Gilmer County fairgrounds, her anger and hurt still making her cheeks burn, as she remembered the first time Leo had shown his true nature. She was just eight years old and at the county fair with her parents. She remembered it as a time when everything was true and innocent, a time when she still enjoyed her secret identity, and felt like she was a kind of superhero, hiding her powers from the normal, unassuming humans. That was, until Leo found her waiting in a line at the fairgrounds, threw her to the ground, and took the money her parents gave her for ice cream. He beat her up on many more occasions as they grew up, and there were rumors he did much worse to some of the other girls in the pack.
Alexis finally began to relax as the taxi crossed the bridge over the Coosawattee river, where Main Street turned into state road five, and the little town of Ellijay gave way to the great expanse of farmland and wilderness. The sun hovered low in the sky, harsh light coming through the front windshield forcing the taxi driver to flip his visor down, and Alexis to look blindly out her window into the blur of trees and fields. She wasn't sure where she was going to go, or when, if ever, she would return to Ellijay, but just getting away was good enough for now.
By the time Alexis saw the sign announcing she had reached the Resaca city limit, the sun had disappeared below the horizon. The meter attached to the dash of the taxi was already above ninety dollars as the taxi driver made a right turn onto Dixie road, leaving Resaca behind for more fields and wilderness.
"Looks like you're in luck," the taxi driver said as he turned the car left into the parking lot of a Pilot Travel Center truck stop, seemingly grown out of nowhere. He pointed in the general direction of a large McDonald's parking lot. A few cars stood silent in the parking lot, along with a big Greyhound bus.
"Is that the bus to Atlanta?" Alexis said.
"Gotta be," the driver said. "It’s the only bus leaves out of here. It only runs twice a week, from here to Atlanta."
Alexis shoved her credit card forward before the taxi even made a complete stop; worried the bus might pull away any second. She didn’t care how much the ride cost. At this point, she was willing to max out her parent's credit card to get away from the oppression of Ellijay, her pack, and Leo. She looked over at the bus and saw a line of passengers forming by the door. She snatched the card out of the driver's hand, tossed a twenty-dollar bill to the front with a quick thank you, and was on her way to the bus by the time the doors opened, allowing the customers to board. The driver was standing outside the doors checking passengers for tickets. She pushed through the twelve or so passengers to ask the driver where she could buy a ticket.
"Go to that big building behind the McDonald's," he said, as he pointed to a building that looked like a garage in the middle of the huge dirt parking lot.
"Thanks," Alexis said, as she turned on her heel and ran toward the building. She was careful not to run too fast. The last thing she needed was some stranger taking notice of someone running at an unnatural speed, and making a stink about it.
"Hurry up, though. I can't hold the bus very long," the driver yelled to her, as she ran toward the building, waving her credit card at the man in the window.
Alexis made it onto the bus and showed her ticket to the driver with a weak smile. She found a seat near the back of the bus and looked out the window into the darkness as the bus pulled onto the road, and almost immediately onto the on ramp of interstate seventy-five. She smiled to herself as the bus merged into traffic, and felt a weight slipping off her shoulders as she mentally left her old life behind. She had no idea what the future would bring, but it had to be better than the past. The darkness and the movement of the bus relaxed her, and she felt suddenly tired. She scooted down in her seat and let the swaying motion sooth her, until her eyes closed, and she drifted into sleep.

Hope you enjoyed this little excerpt. In the next chapter (posted here throughout the next several weeks) several new characters will be introduced, and more trouble will begin. As always, please feel free to post your comments, suggestions, bitches, or complaints. For your reading pleasure-enjoy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday

Post this week is the third scene in chapter one of my WiP with Joe and Lexi. In this scene, I introduce Leonidas's father, the ailing pack alpha. I also provide more insight into Leo's personality. I must state a warning here. Many readers will not like Leo. He is who he is, and make no excuses for him. Keep this in mind as the story progresses and Leo stays true to his personality.

Leonidas burst through the door of his father's bedroom. He did not bother to knock first, yelling as he walked, about the self-righteous brat, Alexis, but his father, sick, and in bed, barely moved.

"That Califan girl is an indignant prude." Leo flailed his arms as if attempting flight. "I just reminded her of our arranged mating and she nearly choked me to death, and ran off."

His father slowly raised his hand in an attempt to stop the rant. "My guess is that you were doing more than just reminding her of the arrangement." His father stopped to catch his breath before continuing. "If you cannot grow up, learn some humility, you will never be alpha in this pack."

"I'm grown up plenty. And, have I not proven my strength to you?"

"A strong will does not make a good leader, Leonidas. You must have some compassion for those you rule over." His father, exhausted, slumped back into his bed, but shook his head at Leo.
Leo couldn’t believe his father, on his deathbed, still spoke of humility. Leo feared a challenger to his rightful position more than he feared hatred by the peons in the pack.

"Compassion and humility are too easily mistaken for weakness," Leo said, as he turned to leave.

"Leonidas!" his father's voice, while weak and hoarse, still resounded off the walls of the room. "If you cannot learn that a leader's strength is shown through compassion, I cannot, in good conscience, have you succeed me."

Leo stopped dead in his tracks and turned around, ready to remind his father that he had only one son, but his father raised a finger and continued.

"All through your life I waited, hoping you would grow up and become the leader this pack needs." His father stopped to catch his breath. "But it simply did not happen. I'm afraid I will have to renounce the succession and let the pack choose a leader through challenge."

Leo cringed at the thought. His succession was all he had. He knew there were stronger men in the pack than him, and worst of all, many of them were feral—bastardized versions of Weres, not born into the life, but made by others through careless contact, or failed kills. He couldn't let that happen, He would simply have to appease his father until he became the rightful pack alpha. He turned to his father and put on the most humble face he could muster.

"What would you have me do, Father? How can I prove my growth to you? How can I show compassion and humility?" Leo looked at the floor as he spoke, afraid that looking his father directly in his eyes might reveal his true lack of compassion.

"What you should do is go find Alexis Califan, apologize profusely to her for your childish, self-centered actions, and beg her to come back."

"Will you bless our mating upon her return?"

"No! You've done enough damage in the Califan family." His father's short outburst caused him to go into a coughing and wheezing fit.

Even as the words left his father's mouth in weak sputters and abbreviated stops, Leo's mind burned with the thought that even his own father did not approve of his position as alpha. Before he could think of a proper response to the harsh words, his father broke in again.

"You will not be mated to Alexis. I've arranged a mating with a female Were-shifter from the pack in Montana. She's a natural, her family has good standing among our kind, and she's obedient."

"But, I don't want to be mated to some stranger," Leo said. "I want Alexis as a mate—
"Well, you can't have her," his father interrupted. "She doesn't want you, and she will defy your dominance, and your leadership." Leo's father sat up in the bed, his face red, and sweat beading on his forehead. "You will leave immediately to find Alexis. You will beg her to return, and you will accept the mate I've chosen. If you cannot muster the intestinal fortitude to do this, I will denounce your succession to alpha."

"Yes, father." Leo turned and stomped out of the room before his heated face and watery eyes defied the strong demeanor he was trying to present to his father. Truth was, he loved and respected his father, but found him oppressive and overbearing at the same time. He would do as his father told him, and find Alexis, but, if she just happened to find her demise before he could bring her back, the blame would not be on him. In his opinion, finding her was going to be easy. Still though, it was something best begun after a good night's sleep.
As always, feel free to comment and/or offer suggestions. I must announce now, that there will be scenes I do not post in the future. After all, I don't want to post my entire draft online and ruin it for all those (really 'both those') readers out there.

Enjoy, and please, comment if you feel so inclined.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Name Game

I'm making steady progress on my current work in progress, but something is nagging at the back of my mind. I've yet to come up with a reasonable name for this story. I'm afraid that, without that extra motivation provided by a unique and catchy story title, my muse will scoff, and suddenly fly away, leaving nothing but blank pages and self-doubt where motivation and desire once resided.

The two main characters in this story come from my first novel Lovestruck Succubus. Joe and Lexi were minor characters, but their unique personalities, and possibilities within their relationship, led to the formulation of their own story. This current story actually grew out of a short story idea about a woman learning to pole dance for exercise, and falling into a life of crime fighting. Of course, there was to be a romance there, with a man that saw her for what she could be, no for what she was at the time. This woman was physically, very rubenesque, so I had a wonderful story title picked out called, 'Her Delicate Curves.'

Somehow, and I really cannot remember exactly how it happened now, Joseph and Alexis came into the picture and hijacked the story. This is now the story about how Joseph and Alexis first met, and how Joe first becomes a shape shifting werewolf and bounty hunter for the Ellijay, Georgia clan of werewolves.

Of course, those that know me, know I just cannot leave well enough alone. They must find themselves in trouble with the local mobsters, and on the run for their lives. Believe me, I know what happens, and I just can't wait to write this so my readers will know as well, but it still has no title.

Any suggestions? I suppose I may be forced to give out some samples or advanced reader copies before I publish this and see if a reader might have a title suggestion. The only thing I fear in writing this is that, without at least a working title, and the intrigue and motivation it provides for me as I write, I may suddenly lose faith and declare the whole thing not worthy of a title, or completion.

I just don't know. I've never written this far into a project without a title before. Any of you other writers out there have this issue? Have you ever completed a project without an idea for a title? I'm usually the opposite, bringing a title out of the mist in the first few weeks of writing, if not before.

How about readers. Any ideas of what to call a story about a secretive shape shifting werewolf meeting a hardened ex-military bounty hunter, falling in love, and mistakenly turn your friend into a werewolf?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fall Anthology

I'm please to announce a new publication, rich with wonderful stories of love, lust, desire, and intrigue.

I was lucky enough to be invited to provide a short story, along with four other authors, for this anthology. This is where my story The Cusp of Libra is found. The book is available in ebook format almost anywhere ebooks (or any books) are sold.

Here's a list of places carrying this anthology. Please support these wonderful authors by downloading a copy of this anthology. Most places, and for a limited time only, it is available FREE. That's right. This anthology is available FREE almost everywhere!

Get it while it's hot! hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday

After I posted the first scene of a work in progress last week, I've decided to include a new scene weekly and call it my WIP Wednesday.

Last week I introduced Lexi (Alexis Paulina Califan) in a new story. Some of you may recognize the name from a previous story. In this first scene, I establish that Lexi is part of a pack or clan of shape shifting werewolves. they live in northern Georgia and maintain their secret by hiding in plain site. Alexis has been chosen by her parents to be mated to Leonidas, the pack's future Alpha. she's not happy about it and argues with her parents before storming out of the house and to large apple storage barn on the other side of the property.

In this next scene, I introduce Leonidas as he finds her in the apple storage barn and tries to have his way with her.

Alexis barely heard the creaking door over her own sobbing. She turned to the sound but remained crouching in the dark corner behind stacks of apple crates. A shadow moved across the ground and she knew it was Leo before he came into view. As he cornered the row of apple crates, she jumped up to a standing position. She attempted to quickly brush her hands across her face and hide the evidence of her sobbing.
"I was walking by and heard someone inside, so I decided to check it out," Leo said, a smirk forming and creasing the edges of his mouth.
"Bullshit Leo. You knew my parents were breaking the news to me, and you wanted to see my reaction."
"Breaking the news?" Leo said, his question more rhetorical and snide, then honest. "Come on, you had to have known about your family's plans since we were children."
"I never really thought they were serious. Besides, you should be mating up with one of the girls clamoring over you instead of hoping for something that will never happen."
"Oh, it is going to happen." Leo stepped forward, his six-foot frame filling the small space between the high stacks of apple crates, and blocking off her only exit. "Whether it is official or unofficial, now or later, we will be mated."
Alexis tensed and scowled at him. "You only think you can get away with anything because of your daddy. If it weren't for him, you would've been put down years ago for your poor--"
Leo stepped forward and backhanded Alexis, sending her sideways against a stack of crates. "Bitch, you leave my father out of this." He moved to her as he spoke, pushing her to the dusty ground. He was on top of her before she could react, ripping at her blouse, and cursing in her ear.
"You want to play tough? We can play tough." Leo pulled at her sleeve until she heard the threads ripping free. "I think we will be mated sooner rather than later."
Leo pinned Alexis down with one hand to her throat while he grabbed at her breast with his other hand. Alexis was stunned, in shock, her body started to go numb, preparing to give in to what was happening. Then, as Leo squeezed her breast to the point of pain, something snapped inside her. Fear and resignation gave way to anger, and prompted her to shift--not completely, but at some mid-point between human and wolf. In the next instant, more through instinct then conscious thought, she swatted him away and rolled over on top of him. His shift came nearly as quick, but now she had him by the throat, and she squeezed until his breathing turned to gurgling sounds. He batted violently at her but she continued to squeeze his throat with all her strength, kneeling with her knees against his shoulders, until his eyes rolled back and he became motionless beneath her.
Leo had shifted back to human form, his black hair already slick with sweat. Alexis slowly released her grip around his neck and checked to make sure he still had a pulse. She heard him breathing low, rough, and raspy, and he had a pulse. That is when the real fear struck Alexis. Leo was still alive. He would likely recover soon and run to tell his father what happened. Of course, he would leave out the part of him attacking her, trying to force himself on her. His father, and everyone else, to include her own parents, would take his side and she would still be mated to Leo in the end.
Alexis ran.
She stormed through the wooden door of the storage warehouse, racking it so hard against the outside wall. It broke off its hinges, falling flat on the ground behind her. She was not sure where she was running to, or even why she was running; she just needed to get away. Tears blurred her vision and cooled her cheeks as she ran out of the orchard with her purse, flapping behind her like a kite on a string. Surprised the straps were still intact around her shoulder, she stretched her legs and found firm purchase on the asphalt covered street, increasing her speed. in the next moment, she was in the town square. A taxi sat alone along the curb. She stopped, opened the back passenger door, and got in.
"Where to?" The cab driver turned in his seat, an expectant look on his face.
"How can I get to Atlanta?" Alexis asked. Atlanta seemed as good a place as any.
"There's a Greyhound goes there from the station south of Dalton twice a week."
"Then take me to the Greyhound station."
The driver sat there looking at her with that same expectant look on his face until she pulled her wallet out of her purse, flashing her credit card. Then he turned back around, made a radio call, and did a u-turn in the street, pointing the car west, out of Ellijay.
I hope you enjoyed this scene. As always, please feel free to leave comments or offer suggestions. Stay tuned for more story excerpts, and look for this project as a whole when it is finished.