Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
The weeks dragged on. Occasionally I woke to find the ship's hold replenished, indicating the ship docked to take on stores and coal while I laid oblivious. My nights were spent honing my skills. I soon became adept at holding the gaze of three at a time. I found it easiest to feed in front of the other two, if took my selection away, my focus on the others lessened. The memory of the encounter was washed from their minds, leaving them none the wiser except one, who was a bit under the weather the following day.
I had yet to return to the galley mate. My first feeding weakened him far more than I anticipated. His illness was grave, even without my assistance I doubted he would survive the voyage. I kept watch, but hoped to avoid feeding from him again until we neared our destination where he might at least receive a proper burial.
In a fit of boredom I entered the captain’s quarters, mostly to assure myself I could without their knowledge. Although the captain and his first mate shared the room, neither woke to my presence. I was surprised to find a well stocked bookcase and even more so to find myself able to read them. I borrowed one book on the Orient that first night, returning the volume the next, having not only read the thing, but retained the knowledge as well. The library had numerous maps and charts, as one might expect, and I availed myself of these as well over the next weeks. Always best to know the lay of the land should escape become necessary.
The ship pitched and swayed as the waves lashed over the decks and water rained into the hold where I lay. Luckily the coffin was made more sturdily than the crate housing it, or I would have awakened resting on a bed of mud. Above the creak of the ship and the groaning of the stores as they strained against the ropes mooring them, the captain shouted orders to the crew. Chinese prayers rose up along with a serpentine hiss when water reached the heated boilers below. Too many running feet on deck to venture out, I would have to bide my time until the storm lessened.
Retrieving my gold from the soil I laid on and the copy of Tom Sawyer from the coffin, I climbed atop the cotton bales. After knocking away the rats who sought shelter, I nestled down and began to read as the gale raged on.
By the time I finished the book, the crate housing my coffin was afloat. The Annabel Lea had taken on considerable water and even now the pumps chugged and gurgled above the dying wind, drawing the water out of the hold. I knew without seeing, the storm ebbed with the approach of dawn. I dared not venture out this late. Mariska had warned not to skip a feeding. In fear of what I might become, what I might do, I snatched the first rat unfortunate enough to scamper up my bale-- and bit.
One would have to do. I couldn’t force myself to try another.
I leapt from my perch and slogged to my coffin rocking like a cradle on the receding water. My bed would settle soon enough. I tucked the book into my coat, lay down and pulled the lid closed. The rodent had done little for my thirst, but the dawn took away the hunger with my soul.
Waking to the gentle rocking of the ship, I knew at once we were anchored. No voices or chugging of the engines reached my ears. It was far too soon to have reached our destination. Had the captain anchored somewhere to make repairs? If so, where? Only one way to find out, I climbed from my box and stretched. The horrible flavor of rat lingered in my mouth. I spat, which did no good at all, then, went to the ladder and climbed.
A leisurely stroll around the deck followed by a check of the boiler room, confirmed my suspicion. The entire ship was deserted, save for me, the rats and the pelican. I returned Mr. Twain to the captain’s quarters. I gazed over the rail. The ship was moored in a cove about a half mile from shore. I could see the escape boats lining the sandy beach. All of them.
Well, I had been longing for a bath.
I removed my boots and coat, hiding them among the ropes and buckets, stepped to the rail and dove, immediately bobbing to the surface. The water was surprising warm and shallow. I understood the need to anchor off shore. I took a turn around the vessel and noted two new patches. The crew had been busy during the daylight. Was the trip to shore for a job well done? I lengthened my stroke, heading for the beach.
I glided through the water with amazing speed. Always a strong swimmer, I seemed more buoyant now. On a whim, I tried to dive, but as with my plunge from the ship, bounced back to the surface.
Lesson learned-- I would never try to hide in water. I soon reached the beach.
Like a child at play I whirled, but at a much greater speed. When I came to a stop, my clothes were practically dry. [i]How convenient[/i]. I listened to the wind and the voices it carried then, strode off through the sand and rocks in that direction. Cresting a small hill I saw the village nestled below, here and there the glow of a torch or lamp lit the night. The sound of laughter drew me down the hillside.
Panic seized me. My head spun and my normally still heart, beat a staccato rhythm. What was that horrendous odor? When my vision cleared, the ropes of bulbs adorning the drying racks came into view, the stench overpowering. I fled.
I practically stumbled into the Chinamen in my haste to get away from the noxious root. Away from the vapors I realized the chins of braided bulbs were garlic. Yet another chapter missing from my education, I would have thought our severe reaction would have warranted at least a short tutorial from Mariska.
The Chinamen had made themselves a camp, some quarter mile from the village. Were they not welcome there or did they just prefer their own company? At the moment I didn’t care. I needed to feed and to be away from the vile odor of the village. Some slept while others ate and drank from bottles covered in woven straw. The aroma of wine, rice and fish replaced the garlic and my heart stilled.
I watched from the shadows as a man staggered into the brush then, followed. When he had relieved himself, returned his dick to the confines of his pants and pulled his tunic down, I struck. With one hand clamped over his mouth to stop his scream, the other bent his neck to the side, he stilled as soon as my fangs pierced his throat. The first rush of blood over my tongue washed the ratty residue away but reminded me of my hunger. With great restraint, I lowered him to the sparse grass. Only drunk, not dead, but my thirst was not yet sated. The sweetness of wine in his blood was not intoxicating as the moonshine had been, or perhaps, I just had a head for wine.
I drifted back into the shadows and waited until another came my way. It was not a long wait. The man knelt by the first, placed a hand on his shoulder and shook him. The drunkard stirred and spoke softly, his words carried away by the sound of the surf. The tide was coming in. The second took a few steps away, loosened his pants and fisted his cock, sending a stream of piss into the night. I waited patiently for him to put himself away. He didn’t, but approached the prone man and lay beside him. His hands reached to untie the cord at the man’s waist. One dipped inside while the other tossed the man’s braid out of the way. He nuzzled the neck of his friend, but paused, as if uncertain. When the man began to rock in his grasp, his focus returned.
No longer interested in the bite, he used his free hand to pull down his companion’s pants then to wedge his hardened cock between the cheeks of his ass. The man groaned as if in pain but thrust his hips back, so perhaps not. I left them to it. I would find other prey.
I mulled over what I had witnessed. Far from an innocent, I knew such things happened. Some men and women preferred their own gender. While men held no physical attraction for me, I remembered the lust I felt when I fed and could not find it in me to judge. Life was short and hard, and joy should be taken where one found it.
The rising wind carried a scent to me, the smell of death. I hastened toward the source, knowing what I would find.
The galley mate lay between the dunes, gasping for air, a trickle of dark blood oozed from his lips. I knelt and touched his shoulder and his eyes flickered open, pleading. Cradling him in my arms, his head lolled to the side. I struck quickly and fed deeply as his pulse weakened more and more. I raised my head and licked the blood from my lips, looking into his clouded eyes. His heart labored to pump what little blood remained, as his breath rattled in his rotten lungs. With a quick twist I snapped his neck, with another I took his head; the third pitched it into the surf.
I carried his body to the shore. The tide had turned and my fellow shipmates would soon be returning to their boats. I carried the cook’s mate into the water with me, half way to the Annabel Lea, I let him go. The tide would carry him out to sea.
I kept my word.
The rope ladder brought me back to deck, a twirl dried me and I retrieved my boots and coat from their hiding place. The men were loading into their boats but it would take time to row even with the current aiding them.
I went to the captain’s cabin and looked through the library for a book. The Karma Sudra, another book about the Orient no doubt, but I didn’t have time now to peruse it. I returned to the hold and my coffin. I had given up on finding better accommodations. We would reach our destination in another week. I tucked the thick volume into my coat and pulled the lid closed.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Do you want to know why I, or anyone for that matter, gets them?
Well see, it’s like this. All agents--and more so, editors--are not men and woman from this realm, but beasts that mimic human form. And their claims of hundreds of queries is a lie.
For days their lairs are quiet as tombs, then suddenly their monstrous machines chime a new arrival and they prepare to pounce. You've innocently handed your manuscript--which you've spent months, or maybe even years slaving over--to creatures that don't want the diamond in the rough. They want the chance to sever any hope from the weak, fragile artist who dares cross into their trenches.
One look at your baby brings a snerk followed by barely coherent rants as the agent paces his office.
"First draft by jove! Why must you waste my time?"
The agent's secretary makes a hasty retreat (smart girl that she is).
"Show! Don't tell!" The agent shakes head and sighs as he pulls out his pitchfork. "Commas are not to be used like chocolate chips!" The staff of the pitchfork strikes brimstone in time with his steps. He stops and lets his head falls back. "Adverbs! You weak, spineless maggot!"
Copies of your query with all errors highlighted are distributed around the office to facilitate mocking. Gathered en mass around the table sized red ’Form Reject’ button the other agents wait--hence the reason a no from one agent is a no from them all. Beady, red eyes glow. Caffeinated morning breath hovers in a rancid red smog around eager, pale faces.
The last mousy, unpaid intern trudges in, weighed down with submitted manuscripts, ready for the weekly bonfire. Flames dancing high around them, their raised fists slam down as one. A moment of silence is held while they envision the screams of your crushed spirit.
Sound realistic? Of course not. It would be silly to think your work gets that much attention from one page that didn’t catch the agents eye.
*unless you did the unthinkable and sent a nude photo along with it...you didn't, did you?*
So what scenario do you have in mind when you’re taking rejection personally?
There is only one way to look at form rejection in my opinion, and most agent blogs will confirm it. The agent reading queries is like you when you browse through books in a bookstore. You know what your tastes are, know you have a limited budget--if you don’t imagine, you do for the sake of a good comparison--but you don’t have a specific novel in mind. Eyes skimming over the books the first thing you notice will be title and cover. On that alone if you haven’t heard wonderful things about the book you’ll probably pass on it.
So as a consumer, you will pass on someone else’s baby because in essence one of its parents dressed it funny? For shame!
On to the next stage. After nastily passing over the little darlings of hundreds of authors, one appeals to you. You pick it up, skim the blurb on the back and quite often, if the description doesn’t grab you in a stranglehold that demands you give it more of your precious time, you put it back on the shelf.
A book that was good enough for an agent, and a publisher, and you have the audacity of rejecting it on the same blurb that probably got them to snatch the manuscript out of the slush? How could you!
Last but not least you crack open the book and start reading. Not with the patience you’d give a book in the comfort of your home, but with the rush of someone who has been on their feet all day and just wants to find something to read on the way home from work, or in the bath after the kids are in bed, or while your significant other watches Family Guy. The first sentence is about a girl contemplating the sunset. The book is supposed to have action, you’re bored already…
So naturally you pull out your wallet and drop ten bucks on the book. I mean, you want to support this writer who’s spent months, or years, on this masterpiece.
You’re a writer yourself! You didn’t really put it back did you? You cold, heartless meanie!
The author, the one that finally gets your attention, has maybe a paragraph to hook you, and at most a page to reel you in. That’s exactly how it works with agents, only, in many ways, they’re kinder than consumers. Would you buy a book that had a typo on page one? Probably not. Why waste money on shoddy product? An agent will often overlook small errors if the story’s exceptional (which does not mean you shouldn’t put a Herculean effort into getting rid of as many as possible).
What does all this mean? This means that you, the consumer, are crueller than even the most fussy, snobby, rude agent or editor you’ve ever come across. You’re lucky you’re not trying to cold query yourself. It wouldn’t be pretty.
Now that you’re being honest with yourself look at your first page, as if you had to fork out dough on it with nothing but the first page and the pretty cover you’ve got all planned out in your mind.
Alright, done? Still convinced it’s ready? Great.
Now zap the cover because the agent can’t see it and doesn’t want to hear about it. Sure now?
This reality is what makes it easier to deal with rejection on queries, even those with pages of your manuscript pasted or attached. The critical eye you need to use on your baby is necessary if you want to give it the best shot among all the other babies that are cuter or cry louder. Are you absolutely positive you didn’t dress your sweetie funny? Can you maybe add an extra curl to help show off that cherub face? That isn’t *gasp* dirt on that pudgy cheek, is it?
Got you thinking? Good. Here’s a cookie, you deserve it.
For more of me, go here: http://imnoangelauthorsblog.wordpress.com/
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
(This is an Indie published book. Support INDIE Authors)
“This 'must read' anthology will take you to the mystical beyond and back with four erotica novellas from bestselling and award winning authors: Keta Diablo, Amber Scott, Elise Hepner and Stacey Kennedy. Can you handle the magic?”
Cradle of Dreams – Keta Diablo
With visions of battle still fresh in his mind, Roane Bradfield returns home to find the woman he loves betrothed to another. He corners Kendrick Moreland at Dowager Huggins’ Grand Ball and whisks her into the secluded library. One way or the other, he will know the reason the duplicitous beauty cut him from her life when she promised to wait forever.
Kendrick can’t believe her eyes when Roane suddenly appears at the ball. Has he truly risen from the dead? Amid wagging tongues and hushed murmurs, the fantasy of her every dream whisks her from the ballroom. And the expression on his face is anything but loving. Revenge, danger and powerful love collide in the Cradle of Dreams.
A Love Soul Deep – Amber Scott
If only Sara had known no man would ever make her feel like Crew did, she would have let him love her. A regret that can never be undone. His death haunts her dreams and her wishful thinking, reminding her of everything she has lost.
Years later, a visit to an antique store in sultry Savannah changes everything and makes her deepest wish come true. Her beloved returns to her. Her every fantasy gets the chance to be fulfilled. But she wants more than one night. She wants a lifetime and wonders what magic will let her keep A Love Soul Deep.
One More Rub – Elise Hepner
Flynn has been cursed for over a century for a social slight he never committed. A voodoo priestess hexed him and forced him into a teapot where he could only be summoned by the rub of a woman’s palm. Once free, he grants these women three sexual favors—and cuts off his own emotions in the process. Unable to break free from an invisible cage of lust and sex to fall in love again, he’s resigned to being a sex object and nothing more.
Helena has been house sitting far, far away from her complicated past in England— including her former childhood sweetheart, who wasn’t satisfied when Helena didn’t want to be barefoot and pregnant. But she’s resigned to leave behind the complications of men and sex. She hopes that logic will win out over her unreliable emotions—but she’s put to the test when she accidentally summons Flynn from his teapot prison
‘Til We Meet Again – Stacey Kennedy
Ethan Thomas has spent years alone,forever trapped between worlds. Once a soldier in the Civil War, he’s now a ghost bound to a chaise lounge that once belonged to him. He’s spent centuries lingering in Savannah, Georgia, waiting to be saved…
Cassandra Cole is an interior designer who has been hired to restore an old Victorian home. But as she begins to furnish the home strange happenings begin to erupt around her. She suspects the house is haunted. Determined to find out, Cassie will set out to discover who this ghost is, why she feels a connection to him, and what she has to do to free him will surprise her in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
* * *
AVAILABLE on SMASHWORDS
Also Available on KINDLE: AMAZON KINDLE
Follow: KETA'S KEEP EROTIC BLOG
Monday, March 21, 2011
As the years go by, my view point about my independence has changed. Gradually, I've discovered over the years that what I thought was independence is nothing but a fake front I enjoy projecting to the world. I do depend on people. Loved ones, friends, family--my kids, they are all a part of my world that I would not be able to function without. The guise of this dependence was hidden from my view in my younger years.
Not only did I realize I needed people, but I also thrive on that need. My fellow writing buddies are always there for me. My kids listen to me and need me in return. Friends call me for advice or just to talk about their lives as I share mine with them. A give and take, the flow of spirits reaching out to one another that spans years, a lifetime. Now does that make me a dependent of others? Sure, I'll admit it. I need people in my life and I fill a spot in their lives, too. It doesn't make me less a person or unable to function on my own. It just helps to make me a more rounded individual. Someone whose journey through live, touching people's souls and allowing them to touch mine, is full and overflowing with blessings.
For all my friends, acquaintances, my beloved family, I say Thank You. Without you, I would not be the person I am today.
Judith Leger Website
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Scott’s expression softened and his crooked grin appeared on his face. Without fail, that grin turned Derek on and decimated his ability to think coherently. “Shut up and come over here.”
Derek sat next to him, sinking into Scott’s embrace. As Scott cradled him, Derek was pulled close so their faces were a mere inch apart. “You’re lucky I love you so much,” Scott said, white teeth gleaming behind full lips. “Otherwise, I would have quit this thankless job after our first try.” He closed the gap between their mouths, locking Derek in a rugged kiss. Melting into Scott’s strong arms, Derek reveled in the way warm hands gently stroked up and down his back, lingering at the base of his spine, fingers dipping inside the waistband of his pants before he began the slow journey back up Derek’s back. Their tongues wrestled and a mild taste of salt entered his mouth as sweat mixed with saliva. That, and the hint of Scott’s musky scent which surrounded the two of them, caused his cock to become rigid.
The heat in the attic was pronounced, even with the window open. As they kissed, their bodies slipped against each other. Derek used the slickness to glide his hands along Scott’s hairless chest which had broadened over the course of the summer due to his incessant workouts. He hadn’t complained about all the time Scott spent in the gym because the effect was not only visually pleasing, but gave him new mounds of muscle to grab onto during their make-out sessions. He hoped Scott would be able to make the varsity wrestling team at his new weight class, since he would never weigh in at his high school weight of one hundred sixty seven. If he watched his diet, he might be able to make the one hundred seventy nine pound weight class. Jesus, I didn’t realize he’s gained twelve pounds of muscle in the past six months since we won the division championship.
“Hmm,” Derek sighed. “This is nice. Why did you establish the rule that we can’t do more than kissing and beating off until we get to college? I’d be happy to just leave the couch right here, get down on my knees in front of you and—”
Scott laughed. “As nice as that sounds, don’t you remember the last time we decided to spend quality time up here? Your mom almost caught us in this position. She pops up here unannounced all the time. I don’t want to worry about who’s going to walk in on us as we finally start to experience that level of intimacy together. It’s only two weeks. We agreed to this months ago. Besides, you’re the one who said you had to move the couch to the other side of the room so you could set up your mixing equipment and all of your music by the window. Now that this piece of shit is in the middle of the room, we’re gonna to finish the job.” He released Derek and pulled out of the embrace, glancing toward the door.
Derek reflexively followed his gaze and listened to hear if his mother was coming. His thoughts were interrupted by Scott’s question. “Explain to me one more time why we can’t just slide it across the room.”
Derek looked at Scott in horror. “Do you see this floor? Look at it.”
Scott complied. “Yes, it is made of wood. It’s shiny. Very nice.”
Derek shoved him, a smile spreading across his face. “Don’t be a wise ass. If we slide the couch it will scrape deep grooves across the room with its metal legs. My dad told me he intends to turn the attic into an office once I go to college so he can do taxes from home, instead of spending the ridiculous hours he does at work. If he finds the floor all scratched up, he’s not going to be happy with me.”
“Okay, fine. We’ll do it your way. But you realize you owe me after this, right?” Scott gave Derek’s shoulder a squeeze then looked at him with a wickedly seductive gleam in his eyes.
Derek flushed. “Oh, I’ll reward you. Don’t worry about that. Remember, my parents are going out to dinner tonight. How often has mom actually left us alone in the house since she found out we’re together?”
Scott leaned back, stretching his arms, a dreamy look crossing his face. “That’s right. I forgot. They’re going to be gone all night. I can’t wait to get my hands on you.”
Derek became quiet and Scott turned to face him. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. It’s just hard to want you the way I do and have to control myself. I know it’s only a couple of weeks until college, but then you say things like that and it makes it so much harder for me.”
Scott’s expression became serious. After a few seconds, the corners of his mouth began to tremble and pull up into a smile. After another moment, he burst out laughing.
“What the hell are you laughing at?”
Scott became serious once again. “Just your choice of words. I’m sure that I make things hard for you several times a day.”