Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday's Featured Title: The Talisman

The Talisman will be free on Amazon for one day, tomorrow June 1st.


RUNNING FROM A MARRIAGE THAT lasted one night, D. Moriah McKeown discovers the land she has settled on is coveted by determined and lawless men. Yet the proud young woman who once vowed never to abandon her home has second thoughts when her adopted children are threatened. Her only recourse is to enlist the aid of a dark dangerous gun for hire.

HAUNTED BY THE PAST and a betrayal he will never forgive, Ivan Civanovich uses his fast gun and his reckless courage to forget the faithlessness of a woman in his past. He will trust no female--nor will he rest until the threat hovering over Moriah Mckeown is put to rest.


The Talisman by Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: 
This is the 4th book in the Lakota/Pinkerton series
Dakota's Bride, My Angel, The Locket, The Talisman, and Forever His

Buffalo Creek,
South Dakota

Hot, dry air scorched the prairie grass. Sweat slid along his spine. Danger clung to every whisper; seemed to swirl and grow with each passing second. Ivan Civanovich watched the woman below. With deadly purpose, he studied the lady who had hired him--the woman who had bought his gun and perhaps death.
"Reckless courage," Ivan mused.
"Si Senor, she does have what you call a great courage, but I don’t know about the reckless part. She is always so very careful," Pedro said.
"I’m a dangerous man, Pedro."
"This is why she hired you."
"The lady has no business hiring men like me. She’s a woman. She is supposed to nurture lives."
"She needs you to keep the bad men from taking the land away--our home," Pedro said.
Ivan pushed the tip of his hat back from his brows. From his vantage point, he considered the woman while she hung the freshly laundered white sheets on the line. A strange shudder swept through him, his muscles tensing with the sudden feeling he knew this woman, had known her forever. The sensations were too strong, the feelings too acute, and it troubled him because knowing her was impossible.
Her hair, a wild mop of red curls, battled with the stiff, hot wind rising off the prairie. The breeze and her hair flowed in undulating currents between the lines, threatening to tangle themselves in the wire. She bent over at the waist, giving him a perfect view of her backside while she toyed with something on the ground. Seconds later she picked up the object of her curiosity, turned it over in her hands then tossed it aside.
He didn’t like to think about what could happen to her in the next few weeks. She’d advertised for a gun for a hire. She didn’t know what she bargained for, and he’d bet his inheritance she didn’t have any idea what kind of trouble she’d purchased.
When she looked up the hill, his grin widened. She couldn’t see him, but her shoulders tensed and she sucked air. Her hand touched her forehead, shielding her eyes from the blinding sunlight. She scanned the horizon, turning a complete circle before she stopped.
"Good," he said, "she is cautious."
"She knows someone is up here," Pedro announced.
"She’s got more starch in her drawers and the stiffest backbone of any woman I’ve ever seen." Ivan whistled through his teeth, his eyes intent and focused upon the woman.
"Si." Pedro agreed. "She sure enough does but her heart is made of spun gold."
Ivan wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. Beads of sweat dripped down his back. His gaze swept across the barren landscape then followed the line of trees that bordered the creek. He lifted the glasses to his eyes and turned his attention to a spot about a mile north of her ranch. The railroad wanted easement rights. So why wouldn’t she sell to them. "Spun gold, huh." He dropped the binoculars, letting them dangle from their strap around his neck.
"Si, boss."
"I see." Ivan leaned forward, resting his forearm on the saddle horn.
Ivan wasn’t sure he understood. Women had a lot of fine qualities, many of which he didn’t want to live without but a soft, feminine heart shouldn’t be deciding life and death matters.
Spun gold. No, he’d never met a female with a heart of gold, spun or otherwise. He’d never known a woman who wouldn’t betray a man for a piece of gold. Save one, he amended, and his best friend had married her. Alexi Popov had his trials too. He had kidnapped Angela and spirited her away to his home in the Crimea. In the end though, he gave up his title, his land, and most of his wealth for Angela. He followed her back to America and married her.


This is a wonderful tale, full of action, emotion and a bit mystical at times. Enjoy this one.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More  4 Cups

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Please Welcome Lauren Clark Author of Dancing Naked in Dixie

I'm pleased to host Lauren Clark author of Dancing Naked in Dixie here today.

Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host with the most comments.

The more you comment the better your chances are of winning.

Dancing Naked in Dixie
by Lauren Clark



Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage? 




1.What or who inspired you to start writing? My parents were a big influence on me–especially since they turned off the television all summer, every summer–so I spent my time reading and at the library. I love books and love stories that move me, so I’ve always dreamed about becoming an author.
2.How did you come up with ideas for your books? Dancing Naked in Dixie came about after visiting the Pilgrimage and because I’m a Northern girl living in the Deep South. The cultural differences are so interesting—the food, the mannerisms, the traditions—it’s a fascinating world to explore. I wrote Stay Tuned after working in TV for six years. The two main anchors at the station where I worked actually got into a fistfight. It was in the parking lot, not on-air, but I thought it would make a great start to a novel!  (Yes, this is me on the anchor desk at WWNY-TV7)

3.What expertise did you bring to your writing? I have a master’s degree in journalism, a bachelor’s in English. After college, I worked as a television news anchor in New York and Alabama for six years. It was fabulous experience and I learned to write fast, often while bumping along in a news van at 70 miles an hour, of course when someone else was driving!  
4.What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio? I love to cook for other people, I’m a neat freak, I love the color pink, I like my Kindle and ‘real’ books, I’m a speed reader, I miss the snow at Christmas time, I love libraries, and I treasure my children. (This is my son after getting ‘slimed’ at Nickelodeon Suites in Orlando!)

5.Do you belong to a critique group? I don’t because I love to socialize–I would spend all of my time drinking coffee and talking! I have a few beta reader-friends whom I trust implicitly. They give me honest feedback and I revise from there!
6.When did you first decide to submit your work? I began submitting Stay Tuned about five years ago. I had some interest from HQ and a few agents, but it wasn’t “there” yet. I dug it out two years ago and worked with Novel Publicity to revamp and polish it. Even after receiving an offer from a small publisher, I decided to go it on my own. I even established my own publishing company, Monterey Press (named after our street).

7.What is the best and worst advice you ever received? Best advice – Read a lot, write a lot. Worst advice – Don’t outline. I tried it and the plot meandered all over the place. I had to work twice as hard to get the story straight! Of course, that manuscript will never see the light of day!!!
8.Do you outline your books or just start writing? Outline! I use note cards first because I can rearrange the order, then once I get them set, I type everything up on my laptop and get to work!
9.Do you have an all time favorite book? My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult; White Oleander, Janet Fitch; The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd.
10.         Have you started your next project? I am researching for my next novel, The Pie Lab, which is a real restaurant in Greensboro, Alabama. This story will follow a girl who’s gone off to a big city (like Atlanta or New York) and vows NEVER to come home. She’s forced to return to Greensboro, though, when her romantic relationship falls apart. Since she’s burned a lot of bridges, it will be interesting to see how she makes amends.  The Pie Lab, as a business, is a great concept, as it offers on-the-job training and the owners are very active in the community. Added bonus…the pies are delicious! The Pie Lab has been featured in Southern Living and The New York Times.
11.         Do you have any recipes you might like to share?
My favorite ‘new’ recipe is the one I used in Dancing Naked in Dixie. It’s easy and delicious!

PD’s Pillow Pockets

2 packages Puff Pastry (frozen, let thaw slightly)
1 jar of Nutella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
1 bag of Mini Marshmallows
1 Egg White plus 1 tbsp Water (whisk together in a small bowl)
Powdered Sugar (sift)

Cut each pastry sheet into four equal pieces. Spread a tablespoon of Nutella in the center of each piece, leaving an inch border. Add 6-8 mini-marshmallows to each piece and fold over to form a triangle. Press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to prevent sticking. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes or until just golden. Remove and let cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 16 Pillow Pockets.

12.         What is your favorite reality show? I am going to blame this on Liz & Lisa from Chick Lit is not Dead because they got me hooked! I watched every episode of ‘The Bachelor’ this year. I had to see if Ben picked Courtney!  (ugh. He did.)
13.        If you were a casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?
Melissa, one of my proofreaders, dreamed that Dixie was a movie! I asked her who played Julia, and she said Reese Witherspoon. She’s adorable, so I have to agree! For Shug, I’m thinking Patrick Dempsey. Alice Eve (She’s Out of My League movie) could play Mary Katherine. David Sullivan – Sam Neill.

(Cities all over the South like Eufaula have belles who dress up for special events… these girls are Azalea Trail Maids in Mobile, Alabama with my son & his friend)
14.         Anything else you might want to add? I really panicked about the title. I was unsure that readers would like it and didn’t want anyone to think it was erotica. The members of a book club I visited changed my mind—I was there talking about my first novel, Stay Tuned, and someone asked about my next book. When I shared the title, everyone smiled and got really excited, so I knew then that I had to keep the “Naked” in Dixie.

Pleases answer at least 10 of these questions. Feel free to answer all. Please remember to use your book as a reference wherever possible. This makes the interview more interesting.

Thanks Christine


The Best Butts in Alabama, the huge billboard above my head brags. A robust pink pig, dressed in blue overalls and a cowboy hat, winks down at me. Next to the hog’s turned up nose, royal blue letters read ‘Phil’s Bar-B-Q.’ 

Phil certainly knows how to make a first impression. As does Mother Nature.

The sunshine beats down on my shoulder through the window. Is it always this muggy in December? I swipe at my forehead with the back of my hand and do quick surveillance.

Where is the historic, elegant city I was promised in the letter? There is a normal-looking church across the street, a run-of-the-mill real estate business to my right, and a tiny hole-in-the-wall place called The Donut King, which seems to be doing ten times more business than the Winn-Dixie grocery store I just passed.

So far, all I see of Eufaula, Alabama is more in-your-face commercial than traveler chic. Of course, I’m not in the best frame of mind to become one with my surroundings.

After a lousy Thursday morning of sulking and a rushed packing job, I sent an RSVP with regrets for the fundraiser, gave away my tickets to the Met, left a voice mail for Andrew, and changed my ticket to an earlier departure.

Hours later, after fighting through JFK security, surviving the cramped flight to Atlanta, I spent the night in Buckhead, Georgia, picked up my enormous rented SUV this morning (it was either that or a red minivan), and began driving the three-and-a-half hours to reach my pinhole-on-a-map destination.

All to save my job.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends. Check out her website at

Don't forget to comment!

Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and to the host with the most comments.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Geronimo and the Apache Nation

Apache Nation continued. I love this part of writing. The research.

The Apache Nation was a very clever tribe.  They lived all over the southwest. The Apache had six regional groups which were, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Kiowa.   Early the Apache inhabitants of the southwestern United States, some groups went as far south as Mexico. They settled in three deserts, the Great Basin, the Sonoran, and the Chihuachuan. The first intruders were the Spanish, who penetrated Apache territory in the late 1500s.
The Apache Shelter
          The shelter that the Apache Indians live in is the dwellings.  They built shelters that were called the “wickiup”. This shelter was covered with brush, grass, and reed mats, they always had a fire pit and a smoke hole. Almost everything that they used for shelter had grass on top to shelter them.
Apache Food
          The Apache gathered lots of foods that were cactus fruits and other wild plant foods. They also hunted animals that were deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, buffalo, bears and mountain lions. They didn’t fish and they killed eagles for their feathers. The Apache exchanged many things like buffalo hide, corn, cotton pottery and other things from the Pueblos.

          Men wore deerskin shirts, pants, and their moccasins. There was never a time when they were not wearing a loin-cloth. They also wore a deerskin cap with a symbolic ornament. The women wore high boot top moccasins and short shirts that were all made of deerskin.
        The Apache Indians would walk for many years before the horses.  When the settlers came they traded for horses, found some in the wild or some Indians stole them.  They also used canoes which they carved from big trees; it took them many days to carve out the trees because all they had to use was a sharp rock for each Indian.

indians on horses, not a link

The Apache had many different dances like rain dance, a puberty right, the sunrise dance for young women, a harvest and good crop dance, and a spirit dance.  They would pray in many different ways and would only hope for no death or disease.
          The Apache used many different kinds of bows and arrows. When the white men made shelters the Indians started to trade them for their guns which were rifles. The Apache tribes did not make their own arrow heads and they traded for them and when they went to catch their food they got really close to them because they thought that if they couldn’t get close to their prey then they wouldn’t be able to get close to an enemy. They also had many daggers and little hatchets that they made with sharp stones.
            The Apache language does not have F, P, Q, R, or V sounds.  Many of the Indians spoke the same language.  And almost all of the Indians had their own sign language. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Learning about the Apache Nation

My shape shifter, Morgan James, in my still untitled WIP is part apache. 

The word "apache" comes from the Yuma word for "fighting-men" and from the Zuni word meaning "enemy." The Apache tribe consists of six subtribes: the Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan and Kiowa. Each subtribe is from a different geographial region. They are composed of six regional groups: Western Apache - Coyotero - most of eastern Arizona which include the White Mountain, Cibuecue, San Carlos, and Northern and Southern Tonto bands. It is possible, due to their nomadic nature, that several names were used to identify the same tribe. The Anglo theory is the Apache Indian migrated to the Southwest from Northern Canada in the 1500's. The Apache indian history says it was the other way around, that most of the Athapaskan speaking people migrated to the North and a few stayed in their homeland. In any event, it is generally agreed that about 5,000 Apaches lived in the Southwest at the end of the 1600's.

Apaches belong to the Southern Athapascan linguistic family.

The Apache tribe occupied the mountains and plains of southern Arizona and New Mexico, and also in Mexico.

The primitive dress of the men was deerskin shirt, leggings, and moccasins. They were never without a loin-cloth. A deerskin cap with attractive symbolic ornamentation was worn. The women wore short deerskin skirts and high boot top moccasins.

Chiricahua - southwestern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, and adjacent Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora - The band was the informal political unit, consisting of followers and a headman. They had no formal leader such as a tribal chief, or council, nor a decision making process. The core of the band was a "relative group," predominantly, but not nessarily, kinsmen. Named by the Spanish for the mescal cactus the Apaches used for food, drink, and fiber. The basic shelter of the Chiricahua was the domeshaped wickiup made of brush. Similar the Navajo, they also regarded coyotes, insects, and birds as having been human beings; the human race, then, but following in the tracks of those who have gone before.

Mescalero - Faraon - live east of the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico, with the Pecos River as their eastern border.

Jicarilla - Tinde - southeastern Colorado, northern New Mexico, and northwest Texas - During their zenith in the SouthWest, two divisions of the Jicarilla Apache were known: the Llanero, or "plains people," and the Hoyero, the "mountain people." They roamed from central and eastern Colorado into western Oklahoma, and as far south as Estancia, New Mexico. As a result of their eastern contacts, the Jicarilla adopted certain cultural traits of the Plains Indians, as did the Mescalero who also ranged the eastern plains. From an estimated population of 800 Jicarilla in 1845, the tribe today numbers about 1,800.

The Jicarilla (little basketmakers) are of the Athabascan language group and anthropologists say that these people came from Canada down the eastern flanks of the Rocky Mountains about 1300-1500 AD.

All tribes deny the migration theories and say that they have always been here:
The First People.

Though limited to using dogs as pack animals, the Jicarilla were the most successful raiders. When the Spaniards brought horses once again to North America (the previous horses had been eaten long before) the Jicarilla took full advantage.

They were not recognized as being distinctive from the other southern Athabascans: Chiricahuas, Navajos, Western Apaches, Mescaleros, Kiowa Apaches, and Lipans, until about 1700. Jicarilla are further identified as the plains people (Llaneros), and the mountain-valley people (Olleros) or Hoyero.
Their name for themselves is Tinde. But names that have been or are used by others than themselves are:

Mexican Spanish: Jicarilla, literally "little basket."
Navajo: Be'-xai, or Pex'-ge
Mescalero: Kinya-inde
Kiowa: Keop-tagui, "mountain Apache."
Picuris: Pi'-ke-e-wai-i-ne
Mescalero: Tashi'ne
Tesuque: Tu-sa-be'

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday's Featured Title: Forever His


Forever His by Chrsitine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 3
Book Heat Level: 4

Buy at: 
This is the 4th book in the Lakota/Pinkerton series
Dakota's Bride, My Angel, The Locket, The Talisman, and Forever His

August 30, 1895
Near Buffalo Creek,
South Dakota

The sun beat down. Searing heat waves hit the hard packed earth, blistering, charring everything, even the dry prairie grass. Jacob St. John, his arms stretched overhead and bound to a whipping post, no longer counted the lashes tearing into his back, no longer felt the horrific agony.

More than a half-dozen men and one woman were gathered in the sage-patched backyard of the run-down shack. So far not one person made a sound as they watched Chavez wield the whip, stripping the flesh off his back.

If Chavez weren't so angry and seeking revenge of his own, he would probably have just had him shot. Revenge was a powerful motive. Chavez wanted Jacob to suffer, to yell before he died. It seemed Etta Barringer did too. So far Chavez was toying with him, taunting and teasing him, cutting an inch here, ripping an inch there, not doing much damage but making mincemeat out of his back.

Jacob hadn't made a sound yet, not even a sharp, indrawn breath. He wasn't about to even though he knew Chavez would get impatient and start slashing. There was no hurry. Chavez had as long as he wanted. No one save Etta knew where he was, no one would come looking for him, at least not until the sun went down. By then Chavez would be done with him, and he would either be dead or buzzard-bait. For the life of him, he couldn't figure why Etta would hand him over to Chavez. She had always been Pinkerton to the core, yet she had betrayed him once before. If he survived this, he meant to have answers. He'd move heaven and earth to search out the lying Etta Barringer and find out exactly what she had against him.

The pain of betrayal at the forefront of his mind, and vows of revenge against the instigator of this kept him going. He focused on the woman's laughter and the scent of lemons that permeated his soul.

He had been taken by surprise. Still, he didn't go down easily. It took all of Chavez's men to get him bound securely to the post in back of the shack. And of those men, not one came away from the encounter without a scratch. Blood from the multitude of small cuts Chavez had inflicted ran in rivulets from his back, pooling on the parched thirsty ground, soaking into the dirt, staining it.

He stood, his head proudly erect and that seemed to draw anger from Chavez. The grip of his fingers curled around the top of the post, the only sign of Jacob's pain--and fury.

The first real stroke of the whip felt like a red-hot branding iron searing across his back. Jacob didn't flinch, nor would he as long as he could hear her laughter or smell lemons floating languidly on the breeze. He wished he could see her, stare into her beguiling, green eyes until she knew he'd never stop hunting for her. Fury at his own weakness rose, and the anger he felt deep inside simmered, because she'd always attracted him. Ever since she showed up in a small town in Oregon, seduced him then drugged him and left him to sleep off the opium-laced whiskey, she'd fascinated him.

Concentrate on her--on what you're going to do when you find her again . . .


Christine Young has done it again in this historical romance. The blizzards, betrayal, deceit and a ruthless bandito like Chavez made this a great romance.

Melinda for Night Owl Romance     5 out of 5

Gemini The Twins May 21 - June 21

May 21 - June 21

Gemini is the third sign of the zodiac, and those born under this sign will be quick to tell you all about it. That's because they love to talk! It's not just idle chatter with these folks, either. The driving force behind a Gemini's conversation is their mind. The Gemini-born are intellectually inclined, forever probing people and places in search of information. The more information a Gemini collects, the better. Sharing that information later on with those they love is also a lot of fun, for Geminis are supremely interested in developing their relationships. Dalliances with these folks are always enjoyable, since Geminis are bright, quick-witted and the proverbial life of the party. Even though their intellectual minds can rationalize forever and a day, Geminis also have a surplus of imagination waiting to be tapped. Can a Gemini be boring? Never!

Since Geminis are a mix of the yin and the yang, they are represented perfectly by the Twins. The Gemini-born can easily see both sides of an issue, a wonderfully practical quality. Less practical is the fact that you're not sure which Twin will show up half the time. Geminis may not know who's showing up either, which can prompt others to consider them fickle and restless.

They can be wishy-washy, too, changing their mood on a simple whim. It's this characteristic which readily suggests the Mutable Quality assigned to this sign. Mutable folks are flexible and go with the flow. Further, the Twins are adaptable and dexterous and can tackle many things at once. It's a good thing, too, when you consider their myriad interests. The downside of such a curious mind, however, can be a lack of follow-through. How much can any one person do, anyway?

Ruled by Mercury, Geminis exhibit a delicious brand of mercurial energy. They are quick-thinking, quick-witted and fast on their feet, much like the messenger god of Roman mythology that rules their sign. Geminis are both curious and clever, which is why they are such a hit at cocktail parties. Although they talk a great game, they also love to listen and learn. With any kind of luck, the Twins will find themselves in interesting company, because if they don't, they are likely to get bored and start fidgeting. Any social setting is a good one for a Gemini, however, since these folks are charming, congenial and love to share themselves with their friends. While their effusiveness may be misconstrued as scheming by some, Geminis generally have their hearts in the right place. It's that ample energy which can also paint them as scatterbrained and unfocused, but behind all that zipping around, the Twins are busily filing all that good data away.

The element associated with Gemini is Air. Air signs are the thinking person's signs, and the Twins don't disappoint. Those born under this sign prize intellect and consider it the key to all things. At work, they are the clearest of thinkers, looking at a project from all (well, at least two) sides and putting forth some logical and well-thought-out ideas. This quality makes Geminis an asset to any team, and while these folks are not inclined to take the lead, they are a most valuable component. It's also the Gemini's literary bent that allows them to offer a useful perspective on most any situation. The Twins also enjoy bringing their objective reasoning and big-picture ability into their personal relationships. While some may perceive all this logical thought as cold and unemotional, it's simply how these folks tick. They want to connect, they just do it their own way. Luckily for Geminis (and their pals), their lightness of spirit and youthful exuberance help them to appear forever young. In keeping with that skip in their step, Geminis enjoy short road trips -- and their agile minds and nimble hands ensure that they could change a tire (if needed) in no time flat. Is all of this Twin-energy more than any one person can handle? Ah, maybe that's why they are two.

When it comes to sports, Geminis would seem a natural for doubles tennis -- and they are. They love the camaraderie of games and play, which is why they excel at team events. Whether it's volleyball or a game of charades, Geminis are always ready to play. A book club would certainly stimulate their literary minds. In the game of love, Geminis are playful, flirtatious and endless fun. Physically speaking, Gemini rules the nervous system, which is why Twins should practice yoga or deep breathing techniques. Layering themselves in soft yellows and blues will also calm their mood.

The great strength of the Gemini-born is in their ability to communicate effectively and to think clearly. Adventures of the mind are what the Twins are all about. They also love to share themselves with their friends, and they make for charming companions.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meet Morgan James

I love the fact that Jaguars love water, well maybe not love, but they don't avoid it. Morgan is a shape shifter. He is part african american. It is interesting to me that the cats, even the black ones, have markings on them and if you get up close, you can see them. Now who would want to get up close? Maybe yes, maybe no, but if the cat isn't tame...
I chose the Jaguar because they are part of the Native American culture. Morgan, the hero in my yet untitled WIP, is beginning to take shape in my mind.
Jaguars are the largest of South America's big cats. They once roamed from the southern tip of that continent north to the region surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. Today significant numbers of jaguars are found only in remote regions of South and Central America—particularly in the Amazon basin.
These beautiful and powerful beasts were prominent in ancient Native American cultures. In some traditions the Jaguar God of the Night was the formidable lord of the underworld. The name jaguar is derived from the Native American word yaguar, which means "he who kills with one leap."
Unlike many other cats, jaguars do not avoid water; in fact, they are quite good swimmers. Rivers provide prey in the form of fish, turtles, or caimans—small, alligatorlike animals. Jaguars also eat larger animals such as deer, peccaries, capybaras, and tapirs. They sometimes climb trees to prepare an ambush, killing their prey with one powerful bite.
Most jaguars are tan or orange with distinctive black spots, dubbed "rosettes" because they are shaped like roses. Some jaguars are so dark they appear to be spotless, though their markings can be seen on closer inspection.
Jaguars live alone and define territories of many square miles by marking with their waste or clawing trees.
Females have litters of one to four cubs, which are blind and helpless at birth. The mother stays with them and defends them fiercely from any animal that may approach—even their own father. Young jaguars learn to hunt by living with their mothers for two years or more.
Jaguars are still hunted for their attractive fur. Ranchers also kill them because the cats sometimes prey upon their livestock.

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Guy Day Friday!

Let's take another look at Ivan Civanovich!


She smiled, and he was sure he could hear her thinking, arrogant man. She didn’t say the words. He had to admit, at least to himself, they were partly true. There was a certain amount of arrogance inbred in him through the generations of ancestors that preceded him. 

Confidence was something he’d always had.

He wanted to trace her smile with a fingertip and at the same time learn something about her past. "It’s true," he told her. "Everything I said."

Her sigh was soft and floated away on the slight breeze. "There have been threats," Moriah began. "I’ve been asked to sell out. I can’t do that, not if there is another way. I’ve promised Pedro someday this ranch would be his."

Somehow, he sensed she would hold back all she could, tell him only what she thought he needed to know. Half-truths were not acceptable, but for the time being, he would live with them. He was good at puzzles, fitting the pieces together.

He waited, his arms crossed over his chest, studying her face, her expressions. To read her like a book was his objective, to know her inside and out a goal worth reaching for. He wanted to think the same way she did, get inside her mind, anticipate the answers even before she asked the question.

"Letters through the mail. Notes tucked into the children’s pockets." She flinched when she said children. "They might hurt the children. I won’t allow that. I’ll run again, leave this all behind." She looked surprised at her words as if she’d revealed a part of her she hadn’t meant for him to see. "Only if there is no other way," she amended softly.

"Do you still have them? The letters?" He meant to go gently with her. Frightening her was not one of his intentions. She was already scared to death.

Her lower lip was pulled beneath her top teeth to stop the trembling. "I burned the first one. Then, afterward I made inquiries about you, and I decided I’d better hang on to the ones that were sent later so you could read them."

Anger unfurled and simmered deep inside. "How many?" Ivan asked fiercely.
"Five more letters," Moriah said. When she looked at him, a soft film of moisture filled her beautiful aqua eyes. "The first two threatened me. The others threatened my children."

"You kept all but the first? I’ll read them." He bent down and picked up a handful of rocks. He skipped each one across the water.

He felt his anger, knew what he felt was apparent in the set of his shoulders and the tension in his legs. Moriah understood male anger. Ivan sensed she would go out of her way to avoid an angry man, so he meant to hide his feelings from her.

He didn’t want his fury to frighten her. He directed his rage at the skipping rocks, not her. Then he relaxed, letting the game change subtly.

She smiled his way and watched as if mesmerized by the child’s play he engaged in. Protective instincts surged and pulsed. He wanted to pull her into his arms and tell her everything would be okay. It might not.

"The letters are in the house. Tonight when we go back I’ll get them for you, and you can take them with you--read them later. I don’t want the children to know about them," Moriah said, lifting her shoulders slightly. Tension radiated from her. The softness and the fear in her voice drew him with a need so strong the pain hit hard and stayed.

"Pedro already knows something is terribly wrong," Ivan said. "He’s a smart young man, and he thinks of himself as your protector. It’s a powerful load for a boy to carry."

She grimaced and gave a half laugh. "He’s going on thirteen. His birthday is next month," Moriah said, and turned to him with a smile that left him weak in the knees.

"And that would have made you--how old? Thirteen?" His voice held a hint of sarcasm. He probed for answers, for the truth; for trust. He wanted her to tell him about the children.

"What?" She looked surprised.

Her brows drew together in what looked to Ivan to be confusion.

He decided not to pursue the question. "Do you know who sent the letters?" Ivan reversed directions. He had a good idea. He’d researched this situation before he left Denver. He wondered if she’d reached the same conclusions he had.