Monday, October 31, 2011

Guest - Gabriella Hewitt

Good morning all! We've got one of the most interesting writer combinations we've ever had on Star-Crossed Romance. Gabriella is writing about ancient Aztecs and their customs. It's a little scary so make sure all your lights are on, LOL.

Sacrificial Blood to Appease the Gods

Happy Halloween! Today is a day to get dressed up, have fun and scare the pants off you. I don’t know what’s more frightening than to talk about human sacrifice.

In the course of researching for my Shadow Warrior’s series, I’ve run across numerous references to sacrifice amongst the Aztecs. While there’s still dispute on the numbers—was it thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of victims in a year—evidence dug up during excavations tell us that sacrifices did take place.

According to the Aztec calendar there were eighteen months each lasting twenty days. In each month a festivity was held and on each festivity a sacrifice was made. Furthermore, the Aztecs believed that the universe ran on a fifty-two year cycle and that the universe would collapse at the end of this cycle if the gods were fed enough blood over the course of this period to sustain them. The gods sacrificed themselves to give life to man; therefore, it was up to man to sacrifice in return to keep the gods appeased and strong enough to maintain the universe’s existence. The gods required blood. They received it in the form of sacrifices and bloodletting on the part of the Aztecs. So, at the end of the fifty-two year cycle a big fire was lit and at midnight it was extinguished and a sacrifice made. If at dawn the sun rose, this meant a new fifty-two year cycle would begin. The priests lit the body of the victim and then fire was carried to all the houses throughout the town.

Sacrifices were also made to particular gods to achieve a desired result. Here are some:

In the case of a sacrificial offering to the Aztec sun god, the victim was placed on a stone slab in the temple. Several priests would hold down the limbs of the victim. One priest would take an obsidian blade or flint and make an incision in the rib cage. He would then rip out the still beating heart with his hands and hold it up to the sky. The victim’s body would be burned or given to the warrior who had captured the victim. If the warrior took the body, he would cut it into pieces to give to important people or us it in rituals of cannibalism. This would ensure his rise in status in Aztec society.

The god of night, sorcery and destiny was considered all seeing and all knowing. He had the ability to change man’s destiny, but being a trickster, he was more likely to cause a reversal of fortune. Each year a youth was chosen to dress up as Tezcatlipoca. Throughout the year he would be treated as a living incarnation of the god. He was given four beautiful women to accompany him. He spent his days walking the streets and playing his flute. During the Aztec month of Toxcatl, he would be sacrificed. On the day of the sacrifice he attended a banquet in his honor and ate a huge feast. When it was finished, he climbed the temple steps, broke his flute and surrendered himself to the priests for ritual slaying.

The fire god was responsible for light in the darkness. The Aztecs would hold a great feast and at the end they would burn their captives. Before the victims died, they were pulled with hooks from the fire and their hearts cut out. To do otherwise risked the wrath of the fire god, who might take offense and burn down the villages.

It was important for the Aztecs to keep the god of rain appeased. Without the benevolence of this god, the people might suffer from droughts, or diseases such as leprosy and rheumatism. For this god, they believed in the need for tears of the young. Priests made children cry on the way to their immolation. One researcher I read of during my studies estimates that one in five Aztec children were sacrificed to the gods.

These tales are only some of the kinds of sacrifices that took place. The Aztecs were a fierce people, whether in life or in death.

Happy Halloween! Have fun and stay safe!

The Aztecs are a fascinating culture and I had a lot of fun weaving them into my SHADOW WARRIORS series from Samhain Publishing. Sacrifices and tzitzimime are both featured in OUT OF THE SHADOWS, the first novella in this series. Keep your eye out for SHADOW VISIONS coming in March 2012!

When the last shadow warrior falls, so will all humanity.
With each demon he vanquishes in service to the Aztec sun god, Tom├ís fulfills his duty to defend humankind—and surrenders another piece of his humanity to his wolf spirit. All hope seems lost until a mission leads him to the door of the one thing he thought he’d never find…his spirit mate. The only woman who can save him from oblivion.

When Carolina hears the wolf’s howl, it pierces the very core of her lonely heart. Yet she dare not answer. As the last guardian of her land and the secret it contains, she is haunted by the mistake that cost the lives of her family. Never will she repeat that mistake, especially with a warrior who is more beast than man.
Chasing away the demon is easier than breaching the barriers around the heart of the young woman who possesses a strange power over water—and his very soul. But if they are to survive the night, he must convince her they are destined to stand together.


 A wolf’s howl pierced the desert silence, causing the animals to stir restlessly in their stalls. Wolves had been reintroduced into Arizona, but she had yet to see or hear one so close to her ranch. Was it an omen?

Carolina paused in her chores to stare out the open barn door into the gathering darkness.

For a moment, she let herself get caught up in the long, solitary note. It felt like a kindred spirit. She knew loneliness intimately. Only her loneliness did not come from the vast miles of the sun-parched Sonoran desert that surrounded her, but out of the necessity to protect her goddess, her land’s secret. As one of the few amongst her people to become a guardian, her choices were limited.

The one occasion she’d invested herself in another, he’d betrayed her. She’d foolishly placed her hope and trust in Billy and she’d paid a horrendous price. Her desire to find someone to share the workload, her joy and sadness, and the burden of her secret—just as her parents had done—had blinded her to the trap she’d walked into. By the time she understood what was happening, it was too late. Her parents were dead.

Her heart weighed heavy in her chest as if it had happened recently and not five years ago. The memory of her parents lingered too close to the surface today. This had been their land, their dream, and now it was hers to fight for. She’d vowed never to fail them again. Above her own needs came the higher purpose of protecting her goddess at all costs.

Her mare, Mariposa, snorted and reared up, pulling Carolina from her thoughts. The animals had been growing edgier with each passing minute. They sensed the evil that blew in with the warm desert breeze. She berated herself for not paying more attention to them.

Goose bumps prickled her skin. Her tattoo, a gift from the goddess, began a slow burn on her shoulder, a sure sign that evil was approaching. She felt the heat radiating through the fabric of her denim shirt. The last time she’d experienced the odd sensation, her world had fallen apart.

Cautiously, she turned her head, seeking the source.

Her breath came out in a gasp.

Less than ten feet away sat a magnificent gray wolf, watching her. Waiting.


So tell me what scares you?

Leave a comment with your email address and be entered to win an ebook copy of OUT OF THE SHADOWS, a contemporary paranormal romance based on Aztec mythology.

Gabriella Hewitt is the pen name of creative writing talents Sasha Tomaszycki and Patrizia M.J. Hayashi. Together they weave tales of romantic suspense and dangerously sensual paranormals. Check out the website to find out about upcoming releases and events on her blog.


-- Lynda Again
      What a fascinating post! Leave a comment for our guest with your email addy so she can contact you if you're selected as the winner...and 

      Happy Halloween!
Happy Halloween Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics
Happy Halloween Pictures Comments - Photobucket

Monday, October 24, 2011

Good morning all! Today's guest, Lynn Rush, has stopped by to talk about the adrenaline rush she on to find out what prompts it ;-)

Lynn is also offering a giveaway! Check out the details below.


Such a Rush…

Now, I’ve been known to seek out a rush through athletics. To me, there’s nothing like screaming down a hill at twenty miles-per hour on inline speed skates.

And on a road bike, make it thirty-five miles per hour.

That’ll get the blood pumping.

But now, I seek my rushes in a different way:  Sitting before a blank page and typing “Chapter One.”

**Le Sigh**

There’s just nothing like it. Some writers would disagree, but for me, I love that part. It really brings back the feeling of speeding down a hill or the side of a mountain on my bike. The pumping heart, sweaty palms, and racing mind.

Maybe that’s why so many of my ideas for stories happen during exercise. But that’s a post for another day.
By sitting down in front of that blank page, I get free reign. I can go any direction I want, dream up the craziest twists and turns, and just…write. Sure, the editing process takes a bit longer, but I’m okay with that.
I love the idea of bringing life to characters that have been roaming around my brain and haunting my dreams (and sometimes steaming them up). And I can even connect the rush of exercise to the rush of writing that first intense look between the hero and heroine. The first touch. The first kiss.

You sometimes have the same things happening…pumping heart, sweaty palms, racing mind…See what I mean?

And that’s what I love to read, too. Deep characters, their intense connections, and then how they face the obstacles thrown their way. I want to feel what they’re feeling.

It’s such a rush.

What books have you read recently that have given you a heart-pounding, sweaty-hand, mind-racing rush?

Lynn Rush began her writing career in 2008. She has both an undergraduate and graduate degree in the mental health field and has enjoyed applying that unique knowledge to develop unique characters.
A former inline speed skater and mountain biker, Lynn has been known to test the limits of her athletic endurance. So, when she's not writing, she spends time enjoying the Arizona sunshine by road biking nearly 100 miles per week with her husband of fifteen years and going on jogs with her loveable Shetland Sheep dogs.

Catch the Rush:
Barnes and Noble:
All Romance Ebooks:
You Tube Trailer: 


Bound by the blood contract his human mother signed four centuries ago, half-demon, David Sadler, must obey his demonic Master’s order to capture fifteen-year-old Jessica Hanks. But as he learns more about her, he realizes she may be the key to freedom from his demonic enslavement.

The only obstacle—Jessica’s distractingly beautiful Guardian, Rebeka Abbott. He must not give in to their steamy chemistry, or he will lose his humanity. But fresh off a quarter millennia of sensory deprivation as punishment for not retrieving his last target, he may not be able to resist temptation long enough to save what’s left of his human soul.

Her teeth grated her lip. Must be a nervous habit. But the action chipped at my resolve each time.
One quick taste.
I brought my other hand to her face, the side with the mark, and curled my fingers around her neck, moving my thumb behind her ear. Her hands cuffed my wrists, but not to push me away. Instead her stare bore into mine like a freight train. The flashing lights of the club bounced a coral, teal, and violet rainbow over her shimmering skin.
The people surrounding us blurred into oblivion, and the music faded into a storm of muffled pitches and tones.
I concentrated on her shining lips and took in the warmth of her body so close to mine. I wanted only the sense of touch to be awake while I reveled in the silky texture of her skin. For so long I’d touched nothing. If I was going to break my rules, I would enjoy it.
Her hands glided from my wrists down my forearms and up my biceps, sending a ripple of desire through my soul. I could resist no longer. I brushed my lips against hers and tasted melon. She heaved a sharp breath and clamped her fingers around my shoulders, holding me in place.
Scents of lilac permeated me. My heart hammered, and my demon pounded, wanting out.
Wanting her.
I turned my head, severing our connection. Too intense. Must stay in control. She let out a whimper. I pressed my mouth to her cheek and tilted her head.
I almost wished I hadn’t.
She bore the mark of a Guardian, immortal protectors of the humans.
I drank Beka in for three long breaths, knowing it may be my last chance to hold her close. Because if Beka truly was guarding Jessica Hanks I would more than likely have to kill her to get my Mark.

Copyright © 2011 Lynn Rush
All rights reserved — a Crescent Moon Press publication

Thanks for coming by today and hanging out with me.

I’d love to give away a signed copy of Wasteland to a commenter. Just leave a comment (include your email addy) and I’ll choose a winner on Wednesday. If you’re international, I can send an electronic version of the book instead.
-- Lynda Again
   I hope you've all enjoyed Lynn's visit with us today. I have to say...I think the best books will cause that speeding heart, that rush of feeling as you read them. So I'm eager to see which books you've read that cause that feeling too. I can always use another book on my TBR, LOL. And you'll have a chance to win Lynn's giveaway (don't forget to add you email addy so she can contact you if your name is drawn).

   Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Guest - Kerri Nelson

Good morning all! We have the always entertaining Kerri Nelson visiting us today. Kerri has a giveaway AND a Book Tour Grand Prize so you'll want to check that out.


High School Magical      

Were you popular in high school?  Run with the athletes?  A brilliant band member?  What about a wannabe wiccan?

Well, my character, Paisley Barton was in a new town and a becoming a new student during her last couple years of high school and made it tough for her to fit in.  So, she turned to the one other real social outcast who just so happened to be a powerful witch.

No, my story is not of the Young Adult variety but it does have an interesting back story that pays an important part in this book and will play an even bigger part in the sequel.  So, it got me to thinking.

What would my life have been like in high school if I’d known the ways of magic—just like Paisley did.  Just like all the characters in all the popular television shows and movies seem to have access to these days.  From the Twilight characters to The Vampire Diaries…these teens have the means to work magical mojo all while deciding what to wear to the school dance and whether or not to tell yet another lie to their parents.
If only I’d had these magical means back in the day.  What would it have meant for me?

Not having to study so hard.  Not having to sweat it out during summer band camp?  Not having to feel the embarrassment of a crush gone awry?

Or, would it have been just the opposite.  Would having these secrets on the mystical side have made me the outcast?  The odd girl with the dark eyeliner?  The one that everyone was afraid to talk to or the spooky girl that no guy wanted to kiss for fear of turning into a frog?

I’m not really sure but I know that even if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change anything about high school.  I wasn’t all that popular but I was the one person who tried to view everyone as equals.  I was friends with everyone from the most popular, breathtakingly beautiful girls to the most poverty stricken and broken home-broken hearted folks who always sat at a lunch table by themselves.

I once got into a fight with one of my friends because she didn’t want me to sit at a different lunch table with “those people”.  I told her she was being ridiculous.  They’re good people, just like us…they don’t have great looks or happy homes but they are still nice people.  Unfortunately, that was the end of our friendship as she felt the need to no longer associate with someone (that would be me) who dared cross the invisible lines between social classes.

But I’m glad that I was this kind of person back then and I know it has made me the type of woman I am today.  Maybe if I’d had magical powers back then, I would have turned the tables on the snobby crowd and made them the rejects for the day.  Then again, maybe the negative karma they put forth back then has come back to haunt them later in life anyway.

What was life like for you in high school?  What would you have changed if you’d had magical powers back then?

Thanks for hosting me today at Star Crossed Romance.  Come join my clique.  All are welcome!


Courting Demons

Paisley Barton was already having a bad day before she turned her husband into a rat.

First, she was fired by her boss and then came home to find hubby in the shower with a naked blonde chick. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but this break-up may just unleash hell on Earth when Paisley casts a spell of vengeance against her philandering husband.

After her spell casting inadvertently opens a portal between dimensions, Paisley finds her family home transformed into a nightly courtroom for settling disputes between demons of the underworld and she’s the judge! If that’s not enough, she’s got to deal with a charming, ancient demon named Camden who wants to be her personal bodyguard while trying to explain her husband’s sudden, mysterious disappearance to sexy police Detective Dalton Briggs.

But Paisley will show them all that an everyday working mom is better equipped than most to deal with the mystical mayhem…and with a tempting demon hottie and a flirtatious young detective vying for her affection, she soon learns that being single again isn’t so bad after all.

“When a wronged wife turns her cheating husband into a rat, you know you have to keep reading! Kerri Nelson offers up a lot of fun and wild magic in Courting Demons!” --Bestselling author, Linda Wisdom, Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend

Author Bio:
Kerri Nelson discovered her love of writing at an early age and soon became a columnist for her local newspaper winning the Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year Award for her efforts.

After a fifteen year career in the legal field, Kerri fulfilled her lifelong dream of publication and is now an award winning multi-published author of nearly every genre under the sun (and moon) and also writes young adult fiction under the penname K.G. Summers. 

A true southern belle, she comes complete with a dashing southern gentleman and three adorable children for whom she often bakes many homemade treats. 

Kerri is an active member of Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America as well as numerous chapters including Futuristic Fantasy & Paranormal Writers and her Presidency of Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Read more about Kerri’s books at her website:
Follow her on Twitter here:
Visit her industry blog here:

Buy Links (print and e-book versions available 9/15 wherever books are sold but here’s the publisher link—free gift available with purchase of print copy—while supplies last):


Giveaway for the day:
Leave a question or comment, along with your email addy, to be entered to win today’s prize: Winner’s choice of Paranormal Category stories from my backlist!

Then, enter to win my book tour Grand Prize Kindle by following me on tour and e-mailing me the answers to each question of the day at the end of tour.  The more questions you answer, the more entries you gain.

Question of the Day: 
What ingredients did Paisley use for her spell in the attic?

Details on how to enter to win the GRAND PRIZE Kindle at the end of my “Dark Days of Demons Tour” located here:

Excerpt link for Courting Demons:

©  Kerri Nelson 2011

-- Lynda Again

Newsletter members -- I'll be running another drawing for Christmas. I have one more crystal heart pendant left (unless I can get my good friend to make a few more for me ;-) For Christmas, the prize will be a crystal heart pendant and an ecopy of Altered Destiny. You don't have to do anything other than be a member of the group so encourage your friends to join.  The winner will be selected on Dec. 22 and notified by email.

To join my newsletter, send a blank email to:

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Time to Put Your Scare On

Good morning all! I'm actually writing this a couple of days early since I have to be elsewhere on Monday. Right now, it's a gorgeous sunny day and, at 72 deg., it's the perfect temperature. In Michigan, we don't get many days like this. So I decided to put a few outdoor decorations up, some for Halloween, some for Thanksgiving. Luckily those two holidays use a lot of the same autumnal colors and elements. 

I've got witches and goblins, spider webs, grave stones, shrieking bats, Jack O' Lanterns, black cats. By then, the leaves will start falling in earnest so we'll have the crunch and crackle of them as sound effects too. I've got dogs that dress up. The cats, including my alien kitten, Wookie, refuse to partake in the fun though. They're fine being part of the decorations.

Around here, the littlest kids come out at 5 PM. It's not even dark yet. When I was a trick or treater, we weren't allowed to go out until it was dark. And no matter how embarrassing it was, we always had a parent tagging along. To be sure, Mom or Dad kept a discreet distance but one of them was there.

But that made me start thinking about Halloween and some of my fonder memories of it. Ever since I was a little kid, Halloween has been a mixture of scary anticipation and yummy treats. Way back when, we used to sit around trying to top each other's scary tales. I know you've heard the variations of the serial killer with a hook hand stalking teenagers at some remote point or monsters stalking teenagers in some remote or teenagers left at home by themselves...uh, I see a theme here. Teenagers apparently wander around with targets on their backs, lol.

After we did the spook walks and gorged on sugar, we'd sit in front of the television and watch monster movies (if it wasn't a school night - Mom was pretty strict about school night routines). If we couldn't watch on Halloween night though, we'd make a production about watching either before or afterwards. Popcorn, Potato Chips, Coke, Dr Pepper, Milk Duds, Sugar Babies,  Red Hots...we all had our favorites. We needed them to keep our strength up for a night of terror ;-)

We'd watch movies like Godzilla (and/or any of the variations-Godzilla vs Mothra, Godzilla vs Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster, etc), The Thing (from outer space), Creature from the Black Lagoon, Wolfman vs Dracula, The War of the Worlds, This Island Earth, The Time Machine, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I Was A Teen aged Werewolf, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Them, The Day of the Triffids. Those were good times, lol.

A lot of these have been re-made (a couple have been re-made several times over!) or they spawned quite a few knock offs that were pretty forgettable. 

I always cringe when I see a re-make is coming out. To be honest, The Thing from outer space was one of my favorites for years...then I read the short story it was based on. Totally different and not just scary but downright terrifying. A few years back, there was a re-make starring Kurt Russell that was so true to the short story, I sat in terrified awe watching it. I still love the original movie, but The Thing with Kurt Russell was phenomenal. I see there's another re-make coming out soon. I want to see it but I'm afraid it won't be as good as either of the other two. I'll have to keep my fingers crossed. But I'll watch it anyway, lol.

So...what do you plan on doing for Halloween? Are you having a party? Wearing a costume? Or just chilling while you watch your favorite scary movies? How do you plan to put your scare on this year? It might be early yet but, if you're like me, you probably have as much fun planning for Halloween as celebrating it ;-)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

COMING SOON Workshop: Red Carpet Writing: Screenwriting Steals for Novelists by Amber Scott

\\***** Permission to Forward Granted and Encouraged *****//

The Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of RWA Presents

Red Carpet Writing: Screenwriting Steals for Novelists Presented by Amber Scott

WHEN: October 17, 2011 through October 31, 2011

WHAT:  No special effects. No stuntmen. No 3D. As our reading audience becomes more technologically advanced and Hollywood further competes for their attention, how can we keep readers hooked on our books? We level the playing field! We learn from the competition. These stolen screenwriting techniques will give your novel an edge in any market. Don’t worry, using them is completely legal!

WHERE: This workshop will be conducted via a Yahoo! email loop.  Email invitations will be sent 48 hours prior to the beginning of the workshop.

HOW:  Just register for the workshop and complete the payment process via PayPal.  The cost is $10.00 for FFnP members and $20.00 for non-FFnP members.  Payment is due at the time of registration.

Refunds /credits are determined on a case by case basis. If a class should be canceled, then participants have a choice of a credit to be applied to a future workshop or a refund.

If you are a current member of FF&P, please log into the website before registering for this workshop. 

JOIN TODAY to take this workshop for only $10!

WHO: Amber Scott began writing genre romance and screenplays five years ago, during her infant son’s naptimes. She has a B.A. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Nevada, Reno. She’s a member of the Desert Rose RWA chapter in Phoenix, AZ and a staff contributor (‘First Mate’) with 1st Turning A mother of two little ones now, and far from a domestic goddess, she lives vicariously through her characters’ fates, loves and complications.

Last Chance to Register - Serial Killers: Criminal Minds by Dr. C. Ferrer

Last Chance to Register - Serial Killers: Criminal Minds by Dr. Charley Ferrer

Watching criminal minds is thrilling however have you ever wondered why the criminals do what they do?  What are their characteristics?  How can you make your villains more than just monsters to scare your readers?  Join Dr. Charley Ferrer in a look at the psychological mind of criminals; from passion killers, to criminally insane, to sociopaths.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Guest - Kathryn Scannell

Good morning, all! Today's guest is author Kathryn Scannell who will be writing about Immortals and the culture they create. Great food for thought!


How Many Immortals is Too Many?

Extremely long-lived races or beings abound in paranormal romance and fantasy. Vamires don’t age. Werewolves regenerate, so why should they age? Elves live virtually forever in most mythologies. It’s not a topic that comes up often when you talk about demons, but there’s not a lot of reason to think they would either. Even wizards often do it. For every kindly old Gandalf-like wizard, there’s one who has mastered the trick of eternal youth. And even Gandalf may be deceiving – death didn’t really slow him down much.

The immortal being who falls hard for a mortal and somehow shares their immortality with their new-found love makes a great story – after all, most of us would like to stay young forever. I’d certainly like to have my twenty year old body back. Coupling that with true love is a winning combination.

The flip side, of course, is the immortal who gives up their immortality so they can share their life with a mortal lover. That’s gushingly romantic, but not really a good story line to use in a romance, because in the end it’s tragic. They’re going to die, and if you start the story immortal, that’s not a happily ever after ending, no matter how beautiful and touching a proof of true love it is. So you don’t see this line often in romance, except as a dark moment which will be overcome by the end of the book by some unexpected intervention which makes both of them immortal after all, the universe being impressed by the depth of their love and sacrifice.

So, one way or another, we end up with immortals. That has implications that good world building really requires thinking about . I have immortal, or nearly immortal, races in the world of my fantasy novel, Embracing the Dragon, and keeping that passably realistic requires a lot of thought.

Take Elves, or their cousins the Tengri. Both are effectively immortal, unless they’re killed by something.  There need to be some limits, or we’d be up to our necks in Elves. The major limit I’ve given them is an extremely low fertility rate. Children are rare, and very, very precious. But we don’t want the race to die out, so they have a very high sex drive to make up for the low fertility. When you think this through, it leads to a lot of cultural details. Monogamy is extremely uncommon – on practical grounds, the more partners you have, the better the odds of getting lucky and getting pregnant. There’s also less concern with paternity – if a child is rare and precious, and you’re getting to raise it, the fact that it didn’t come from your seed isn’t all that important. 

Now, when you add shorter lived races, such as humans into the picture, it gets much more complex. Immortals like Elves are loathe to get involved with a short-lived human, because you blink and they’re gone. Getting attached is asking to get hurt. Ways of dealing with it vary. Some simply stick to their own people, ignoring their human neighbors. Others take a rather bigotted view, regarding humans as not much above animals, and not something you’d even consider getting invovled with. They might be good for a one night stand, but you wouldn’t bring one home and keep it. Neither of these are very attractive as primary characters, but they do exist in the world.

For a long-term relationship to happen between an Elf or a Tengri and a human, the only palatable option is to extend the human’s lifespan with magic. That comes with a price too, but it’s the human that pays it, not the elf. It’s a very mixed blessing, and this is something I don’t see given a lot of consideration in many fantasies.

Consider this – if someone told you tomorrow that they could make you live forever, you’d jump at it, right? But here’s the down side – it’s just you. Watching your parents grow old and die is something you’ve expected all along. It’s the natural course of things. But if your life can be extended, their could too. Maybe your lover would take care of doing that for them too, if you asked. But how far do you carry it? What about your siblings? Or your kids, if you had them by a previous relationship? Or your best friend? Or your other lover, the mortal one? Even if your magical lover makes everyone you’re close to immortal too, what about the people they care about, who aren’t close to you? How far out can you spread the magic? If there aren’t limits, you’ll end up with everyone being immortal, and you need something to prevent a population explosion.

Either you or your lover, or maybe both of you, have to choose who lives and who dies. That’s a huge potential source of conflict. And it gets worse – what if you want to keep someone alive who doesn’t want the gift? If you’re ethical, you have to respect their right to choose, but that’s a huge source of pain too, to watch someone age and die, knowing you could save them, if they’d only let you.

In the world of the Devourer War, the way the thing usually plays out is that the person who has an Elven lover preserving their youth, or  someone who is a mage who is simply preserving his or her own, tends to withdraw from the normal humans. They live among Elves or other mages, and form their friendships and attachments there. The alternative of watching a string of friends and lovers age and die, and making those hard decisions over and over is too painful in the long run. 

Of course, if you’re writing a romance where the mortal is just getting involved with the immortal, they’re not going to think about all this. A story where the hero spends all this time wringing his hands about how sad it is that all his friends are going to die on him would be no fun at all. Danny, my hero in Embracing the Dragon, is still in his early 20’s. He’s said yes to letting his lover and liege lord Aran keep him young, without really thinking about the consequences. It helps that they’re in the middle of a war, and he thinks it’s much more likely that he’ll die by having his head eaten by a demon or a Devourer long before the question of old age enters the picture. A hundred years from now he’ll have learned these lessons, and withdrawn from Earth into Elven and Tengri society.

One of the other things that make immortals both interesting and challenging to write is the different perspective they have. A 20 year old human is all about now. A year is an eternity. To a Tengri, who has lived for 15,000 years already, a decade of delay in achieving a goal is a brief setback. Mordellir, the Tengri who wants Danny as a lover is entirely prepared to wait and mount a long term campaign if he needs to. He’s been seeking his reborn lover for thousands of years. Another decade to solidify the relationship now that he’s found him is a small matter.

That would be unsatisfying to us, being short-lived humans ourselves, so I make events conspire to move things along much faster than that. However that doesn’t change his ability to plan for the long term. That’s something I need to keep in mind when I consider his motivations and his reactions to events. A very long-lived character is not going to have the same kinds of reactions to events as a 20-something human. Getting into Mordellir’s head is much harder than Danny’s.

In this excerpt Danny has found himself unexpectedly in private conversation the Emperor Mordellir, and the relationship they shared in previous incarnations comes to light. Danny’s reactions are complicated by the fact that he’s enough of an empath to sense Mordellir’s feelings, which make his own that much harder to manage:

“Yes.” Danny paused. If he kept going now he was really jumping off the cliff. Mordellir waited, saying nothing. Finally he jumped. “Does the name Demeth the Half-Breed mean anything to you?” He waited anxiously for Mordellir’s response.

Mordellir stiffened. “It does. But what do you--” He studied Danny intently. At first he felt suspicious, then Danny felt a dawning sense of wonder and joy. “Emrys? Is it truly you?”

Danny had no chance to answer the question before Mordellir caught  him in a joyful embrace. “Gods, I can’t believe I’ve found you again. I sought and failed so many times that I feared your soul had been destroyed. It never occurred to me you might have been being reborn on Earth.”

Danny stood stiffly in Mordellir’s embrace, not returning it. At first it was a simple matter of shock. The idea of the Emperor spontaneously hugging him was just so far outside anything he’d imagined that he had no idea what to do or say. The immediate shock passed, but he still had no idea what to do next. He couldn’t afford to get entangled with Mordellir. But could he say no successfully to the Emperor? Mordellir could take back custody of Ayara, if Danny offended him too badly. Would he use that leverage to get his way?

Mordellir drew back slowly. “Forgive me. I should not have done that. You don’t look happy about this. What’s wrong?”

Danny sank back onto the couch. “I’m not happy. I can’t deny that those old memories make me want you. But we’re not the same people. I’m King Aran’s senior Liegeman. You’re the Emperor of the Tengri. We can’t just decide to be lovers. There are too many complications, too much politics.”

“Daniel, if I let politics stop me from having lovers, I’d be completely celibate, and that would be ridiculous,” Mordellir retorted.

“That may be true for you, but it’s not the same for me,” Danny tried to explain. “I’m don’t dare to trust you. I have too many of Aran’s secrets. I can’t gamble with those, no matter what promises you might be willing to make me about not prying. I know damned well that being Emperor is your first priority. And what kind of lovers would we make if we can’t trust each other?”

“I should have expected you to feel that way,” Mordellir sighed. “Those memories of Emrys taught me the meaning of trust. I should have known that you’d still want that. And you’re absolutely right. You’d be a fool to trust me completely the way you did before. The good of the Empire is always going to be my first priority. That’s not something I can, or will, change. All I can do is try my best to avoid letting us get into a situation where I’d have to choose between you and the Empire. Can we manage to be friends, at least?”

Of course Mordellir is not really about to settle for being friends. He’s just old and cunning and patient enough to see that it’s not time to press the matter. He’ll woo Danny and wear his resistance down with time. If you want to see how the plan works out for him, you can buy the book here:

Embracing The Dragon

Danny O’Riordan’s life was complicated before the vision of a past life forced him to admit he was bisexual. There’s a war going on, and being Liegeman to Aran, the Elven King of Avalon puts Danny squarely in the middle of the politics of two worlds, Earth and Avalon. Adding a romantic relationship to the mix could be explosive.

His lover from that previous life has been reborn as Mordellir, the ruler of the Tengri Empire. The Dragon of Heaven is the most powerful person in his world. Will he want Danny back once he knows he’s been reborn? If he does, how far will he go to get his way?

Kathryn Scannell writes M/M erotic romance and fantasy stories. When not writing she makes her living doing database management, programming, and general IT support for an environmental consulting firm. She has a BA in German, a BS in Computer Science, and a head full of facts about odd things. She lives in NH with her wife Beth and their four cats. When not writing or reading, she participates in the Society for Creative Anachronism and a variety of role playing games. 

-- Lynda Again
   Very thought provoking article, Kathryn. Thanks so much for being with us today!