In Just Seven Days…

Coming soon from Purple Sword Publications

… I can give you a vaaa-aa–aa-aaa-aaamp.  Those of you familiar with Rocky Horror totally got that.  For the rest of you, I’m sure it made no sense at all.  But the sentiment is true.  In seven days my first vampire novella, “Sanguine Kiss” will be available for human consumption!  This book is near and dear to my heart, as I mentioned yesterday, because I’m a vampire groupie.  And Seth, the hero, is so damn hot. He’s an Ancient Egyptian, he has long hair and well.. he’s vicious.  This book is also my first real journey into erotic horror.  Meaning:  lots of sex and lots of blood.  I just hope I do it justice.  That will, of course, be up to you to decide, dear reader.  I’m kind of rambling today, so I’ll shut up and give you a teensy little excerpt.  But tomorrow— an interview with Seth and Gillian!

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She could feel his body lying atop hers, and the heaviness soothed her somewhat. Surely, her soul could not escape now. But then he sat up on his knees, straddling her body and staring down at her. His eyes glowed in the blackness. He drew a single, sharpened fingernail across his wrist, opening the plump vein there that pulsed with stolen blood. The blood ran freely and fast down his arm. He held the open wound over her lips, letting the blood trickle down.

At first, she wanted to resist, to turn her head away and fall into shadow without a fight, but then she tasted the bitter sweetness that slipped between her parted lips. One taste and she felt the thirst immediately. Her stomach lurched, and it jolted her awake. Her eyelids fluttered and her mouth opened wide, seeking out the sanguine salvation. The blood began to pour in earnest. Seth breathed heavily, tiring from the exertion. Her mouth worked slowly, her tongue licking at the drops as they fell, ever faster into her waiting mouth. Soon she was moaning softly, wanting more—needing more. Taking her wrist, he pulled her to a sitting position, leaning against his chest as she cradled his arm against her in a desperate embrace.

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So whaddaya think so far?  Will it pass inspection?  I’m considering a contest on the release day, so any thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Vampires: Is it still a viable genre?

So I’ve been on vacation for about a week and just as I return I realize that in just a few short days, my next book, a novella entitled “Sanguine Kiss,” will be coming out.  Now I know, the subtitle of my blog has always been, “Curing the glitter rash one vampire at a time,” but ironically this will be my first release that involves vampires.  It seems a bit strange to me to actually be publishing a story in a genre that was always my favorite as a reader.  Up until recent years, I would seek out vampires in literature and movies with a rabid enthusiasm.  What happened to dull my fascination, you ask?  Well.  It’s pretty simple.  Twilight happened.

First off, I promise that I am NOT going to go off on Twlight again.  My blog has been famous in the past for flogging the teenaged vampire porn and all its cousins, but this time I’m not going to give it the same treatment.  I read all the books with morbid fascination.  I admit to enjoying them.  There, I said it.  My biggest problem is the copycatting that has gone on since.  We’ve kind of destroyed the vampire genre with doe-eyed, brooding heroes that lament their immortality and monstrous bloodlust.  I had grown so tired of reading that same story over and over again that it just kind of turned me off of vampire novels period.

The good news is, my exasperation with the entire vampire genre has inspired me to write stories about vampires that I would like to read.  Vampires that can be sexy and charming, but also be brutal killers.  Vampires that relish their immortality and embrace their heightened existence.  So I set out to write a story about that kind of vampire.  “Sanguine Kiss” is the story of a vampire, Seth, who happens upon a suicidal woman.  Instead of granting her wish and simply sucking her dry, he decides to make her his companion.  The heroine, Gillian, is empowered by Seth’s gift rather than destroyed.  It’s also damn sexy.  I offer a small taste… no pun intended…

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“Then you do fear death,” she rasped, moving her lips ever so gently against his

Coming soon from Purple Sword Publications

skin.

“I only fear not living.” He pushed his long, lithe fingers through her hair, pulling her into a desperate kiss. She gasped for air, opening her mouth to take a breath only to be invaded by him. His tongue slipped along hers, tasting and teasing until all she could do was give herself up to it. He gripped the knot of her hair tightly in his fist, pulling her this way and that, exhausting her until she was drunk with the onslaught of his seduction. He felt her body relax, surrendering to him completely and he knew that if he was to taste of her blood that this was the opportune moment he’d been waiting for. She arched her back, letting her head fall limply to the side as if offering the bulging blue vein to him. He could feel his fangs, heavy and sore with the venom, lengthen in preparation to strike.

“I don’t remember how,” she whimpered.

“I can show you.” Sliding his arms around her, he pulled her into another embrace. This time she went willingly, melding her mouth to his and opening to him at once. Their tongues mingled and for a just a second, he could remember what it was like to be human. The rush of the blood that flooded to the extremities, the heart racing as if trying to keep up. Feeling like dying but wanting more and more. Gillian moaned softly, a small sound that only he could hear, as she squirmed, trying to get closer

to him. With a strong grip around her wrist, he pulled her into his lap, guiding her thighs to rest against his hips. He could feel the moist heat of her sex radiating through the worn denim jeans that wrapped around her like a second skin. His hands slid down her back to cup the curve of her ass and pull her tighter against him. Looking up into her face he could see the tears glistening on her cheeks. “I promise you’ll never despair again,” he whispered, stroking his thumb across her cheekbone. When he pulled it back, he showed her the wetness collected on the pad of his thumb. She blushed, crying again even as he was giving her hope, but he offered a warm smile. She watched as he rubbed his fingers together. “Ashes to ashes,” he whispered. “Dust to dust.” Her breath caught when the glittery diamond dust began to fall from his fingertips and light on the dark background of her sweater.

“What…how…?” she gasped, her mouth hanging agape. “What are you?”

He didn’t answer, but tangled his hands in her hair, pulling her down for another kiss. She did not protest, but responded eagerly even as his hands slid under her sweater to rest, cool and still on her flesh. “The one who’s going to fuck Jackson Garrett right out of your pretty little head,” he growled, running his hands over each breast, then cupping them firmly.

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Sexy enough for ya?  Yeah… me too.  I love that Seth *fanning self*.  “Sanguine Kiss” releases from Purple Sword Publications on Sept. 12th.  It will be available through Purple Sword, Amazon, B&N, AllRomance eBooks and anywhere else that great eBooks are sold.

The Return of Badass Vamps: A Review of All the Darkness in the World by Andy Deane

I’m writing this review today as a former lover of all things vampiric.  As a kid, I was a whore for anything that had to do with vampires. Books, movies—I drew pictures. The biggest fight that I ever had with my mother was over going to see The Lost Boys at the tender age of 12.  But lately I’ve been disheartened with the whole vampire genre.  And though I’m notorious for blaming Twilight,  of course it didn’t start there.  Twilight was just an inevitable  end that was started by Anne Rice,  “Forever Knight,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “Angel.”  Of course pop culture has never had trouble making vampires sympathetic characters.  They’re sexy and tortured, what’s not to love?  But lately we’ve taken it to the next level.  The kinder, gentler vamp has wormed his way into the mainstream and frankly… it pisses me off.  Who the hell decided that vampires didn’t actually need to drink blood?  Or that they weren’t ruthless hunters with a knack for seduction?  Or that they didn’t really have fangs?  Or—the worst of all insults—sparkled in the sun?  We have essentially cut their balls off. 

Enter Andy Deane.

 Some of you may know Andy as the frontman of the Goth band, Bella Morte.  That’s how I knew him until last summer.  We were supposed to attend a Sci-Fi Con together and I of course read his bio on the website.  Come to find out, he had started writing some horror fiction and immediately I was excited.  I read his first book, The Sticks and loved it.  I thought that the first chapter was truly one of the best first chapters I’d ever read.  So naturally, when I heard that his next novel, All the Darkness in the World, was coming out AND it was a vampire novel—I was completely psyched!  I forced myself to wait and buy a hard copy for myself directly from, for lack of a better term, the horse’s mouth.  I bought my copy from Andy and even scored an autograph.  My inner Goth chick was all gooey inside.  Then my outer critic tapped me on the shoulder and said, “What if it sucks?  After all, it’s a vampire novel.”  And after reading the book, I can tell my outer critic to shut the fuck up.  I won’t keep you in suspense—I loved it.  All the Darkness in the World has renewed my faith in the vampire genre.  Finally, a slew of badass vamps to wreak havoc for a good 200 pages.  No sparkling. No brooding. No remorse of any kind.  And it’s fabulous!

All the Darkness in the World is told from the first person point of view of our hero, Jace.  By the way, a horror novel told in first person POV is unusual and hard as hell to write.  The story begins when Jace is a frustrated teenager just praying for the day he can get out of his abusive parents’ house.  On a fateful night Jace witnesses two vampires attacking a lone female and he steps in to assist.   Confirming his role as the heroic shit-kicker, Jace lays waste to one of the creatures and ignites the rage of head-vampire, Vaughn.  Vaughn swears revenge on the skinny kid and thus the story gets rolling. 

Let me begin by saying that Deane is a master of characterization.  It’s really important in any sort of horror story to make the reader feel a connection to the hero.  Otherwise, you really won’t give a shit if the zombies are eating his or her brains.  From the first chapter, I had a really good idea of who Jace was and where he was coming from.  A lot of time was spent examining Jace’s relationship with his parents and at first I found it a little tiresome.  Then I realized—Jace’s folks are the real monsters of the story.  And if he can deal with them, a few vampires shouldn’t be much of a problem.  All that backstory makes it believable that when the shit hits the fan, Jace will be able to deliver and survive.  My only criticism of Deane’s storytelling would be that none of his other characters are as developed as Jace.  I found myself wanting to know more about Vaughn.  Why was he so bent on avenging the mindless drone that Jace took care of?  He goes to great lengths to destroy the world of a punk kid.  Why?  I wanted a bit more motivation on that front. 

I’ve been an avid reader since age five and one thing I’ve learned in the last thirty years is that some books are for boys and some are for girls.  Don’t laugh—it’s true.  Women tend to like books with deep characters and intricate plots that deal mostly with those characters.  Boys say to Hell with that emotional shit—get to the hack and slash.  For example, Lord of the Rings is a boy book.  Wuthering Heights is a girl book.  I won’t elaborate—go read them yourself.   All the Darkness in the World is definitely a boy book.  There’s a lot of action and violence.  The last fourth of the book is so bloody that for a moment I thought I might need a sterile towel to mop it up.  Luckily, I love the violence.  After all, I’ve always been a weird girl.  My personal favorite scene is near the end of the book when one of the drone vampires finds himself separated from the rest of the gang and is unluckily on the receiving end of Jace’s rage.  The way in which our hero disposes of the bloodsucker is both creative and sadistic.  So much so that I have made a point never to get on Deane’s bad side.  That being said, I was kind of missing a final mano a mano deathmatch at the end between Jace and Vaughn.  It’s there, but it wasn’t the epic fight to the death I was hoping for. 

It goes without saying that this horror aficionado loved All the Darkness in the World.  I think Voltaire (Goth musician and artist, not the witty writer/ historian/philosopher from the 1700s) summed it up best in his forward to the book when he wrote that reading Andy’s books are like listening to Andy tell a story.  It’s true.  His voice shines through in the narration and it’s endearing.  It makes you interested in what he has to say and therefore, you keep reading.  And that, of course, is the mark of a true horror writer.  To completely scare the shit out of you so that you want to put the book in the freezer, but at the same time make you so curious as to what happens next that you keep reading.  Andy is a true horror writer.  I can only hope that my own horror fiction can someday float around in the same echelon.

I don’t really have much of a rating system, so for those of you that need stars…

****

 

LIVE from MystiCon 2012

So here I am, this fabulous Con going on downstairs, and I’m sitting at the desk in my hotel room, penning a blog post.  So I better make it good, right?  So far it has been a great weekend!  As I said before, the big fun for me is seeing old friends and making new ones.  I moderated a great panel last night on what the next big monster in fiction will be.  We determined that zombies are here to stay and that we’d be looking to lesser known mythological characters for new ideas.  I also had a great time doing readings with authors Marcia Colette and Sapphire Phelan.  We managed to run some poor guy out of the room, but I got a chance to use innocents as guinea pigs for my vampire story.

Today’s activities include:

6pm Signing– I always feel strange doing signings.  First off, I write eBooks, so I don’t have much in the way of physical things to sign.  Though I think I’m going to do a little impromptu contest to give away an eBook or two.  I’m just never really sure what to do at those things.  So if anyone at the Con is reading this– drop by and talk to me!!

10pm Romance vs. Erotica, How much is too much?– I think y’all know my take on this.  There’s no such thing as too much as long as it’s pretty.

11pm Taboos and Societal Bans– I found myself on this panel because my good friend, Bethany Halle couldn’t be here.  It’s going to be a no holds barred discussion of BDSM, alternative lifestyles and the like.  It should be fun, though I don’t consider myself an expert by any means.

12pm BELLA MORTE! — Yes folks, I’ll be shakin’ my groove thang into the wee hours of the morning and rockin’ it out with one of my favorite Goth bands of all time.  This weekend I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet frontman Andy Deane (who is also a very talented horror writer) and I’m so glad to go out and support them.

So I guess I should get off this thing and go down to participate.  The husband has some panels this afternoon that I don’t want to miss.  If you’re in the Roanoke area, you should come on down and see us.  We only bite if you ask.

Off to MystiCon 2012!!

And we’re off!  The husband and I are on our way, even as we speak, to MystiCon 2012.  Our goal is to get there by around 3pm.  Last year we barely made it through Windacolypse, so we didn’t have time to eat before our panels started.  I think we had some chips after.  But hopefully we’ll get there in time to grab a bite to eat (anyone wanna join us?)

I did manage to find my schedule tonight and I think my first panel is perhaps 10pm Friday.  I should have plenty of time to explore the wine list before then.  Did I mention that I’m moderating my first panel as well???  What the hell does a moderator do?  I hope its not to keep everyone in line… I can’t even do that for myself.  Beyond that, I know I’ll be at the Bella Morte concert on Saturday night, shakin’ my groove thang.

So the point is– those of you in the Roanoke area– come hang with me!  Have a glass of wine!

Gearing Up for Con Season 2012

Well kids, it’s that time of year again.  Time for my daily posts leading up to MystiCon 2012 in Roanoke, VA.  I’m so excited this year, as I’ve learned so much and grown so much as an author.  I’ll be seeing old friends and making new ones.  This Con is also close to my heart because my family is from the area and it’s a chance to reconnect with some of my best childhood memories.  If I disappear during the day (as most of my panels are at night this time), I can probably be seen going to some old stomping grounds and snapping photos.

Last year this time, I was so nervous at the prospect of doing my first panel. Would I say the right thing? Would people wonder what the hell I was doing there?  I mean, at that point I had only published one eBook.  Who was I to speak about writing?  And then, apparently by Divine Intervention, the first person I met was Bethany Halle.  I had agreed to be a guest on her podcast and I was so damn nervous.  But she immediately put me at ease and after a few minutes, it was like I’d been doing this forever.  I realized that I wasn’t going to make an absolute fool of myself.  I’ve never forgotten Bethany’s generosity that night.  Since then we’ve attended other Cons together and become fast friends.

This year I’m not so much nervous as excited.  And it’s a great feeling!  There are many

The Real Me... exciting isn't it...

things I’m looking forward to:  my first adventure in moderating (considering I never do anything in moderation…), meeting Sherrilyn Kenyon (I’m such a fan!), dancing my curvaceous Southern ass off at the Bella Morte show, the road trip up (PLAYLIST!)– but most of all, seeing friends I rarely get to be with.

And of course, assaulting new ones….

Wicked Little Wednesday, #3– Melissa Keir

Welcome, my lovelies!  Today I’m joined for an interview by brand, spanking-new romance author, Melissa Keir. She bravely consented to answer a few questions about herself and her hot offering in the Valentine anthology, Love Again.

Thank you for letting me come visit your site today.  It is fun to be able to share a bit of my life with your readers.

 1.   Tell us who you are and a little about how you came to be a writer of romance.

 Imagine the Brady Bunch without Alice and you’ve got a pretty good picture of my life.  As a part of a blended family with two children from each of our previous marriages, my husband and I have created a new home and family that encompasses our teenage and young adult children, two fur-babies, a high grocery bill, and a lot of laundry.

 

Growing up as the oldest of five daughters, I was taught to fish, hunt and to work hard by my father.  He didn’t believe in forcing gender roles.  My grandmother taught me to cook, sew and care for others. And my mom taught me the importance of being me… she let me color my hair, cut it in the latest styles and fight for what I believed in. 

 

Today, I try to instill those ideals and a love of reading to my own children and future generations as an elementary school teacher. My family have made me a better person and provided me with support, great lines for my books, and a few gray hairs.  But I firmly believe that each experience makes us stronger and better.

 

Writing has always been a part of my life.  I’ve written poetry and musings on my life.  When I got a chance to write a story, I took it and haven’t looked back since then.  Now I have a book coming out Feb. 14th and more in April!

 

2.  So first things first, what do you consider to be the sexiest qualities in a man?

 The three traits that I find appealing in a man are his brain, his arms/shoulders, and his sense of humor. I love a man with a brain because there is so much out there in the world that it’s wonderful to get another perspective, bounce ideas off each other and discuss ideas.  I love a man’s shoulders and arms because they are the sexiest part of a guy’s body to me. The arms and shoulders have to be strong to deal with the stresses of the world and I love to be swept up and carried. A man’s sense of humor is my third trait because I love verbal sparring.  It is exciting to have a man who can keep up with my own sarcastic wit.  It’s like foreplay!

3.   Describe your ultimate hero.

My ultimate hero would be a guy who loved me for me and was willing to take care of me and put up with me.  A hero who worked hard for the money he earned.  I love a guy who works out and keeps his body at its peak, short military haircut and powerful arms. Throw in some chest hair and I’m so happy!

 4.   What makes a great sex scene?

A great sex scene is one where the reader gets drawn into the scene, feeling like they were there watching or participating in the scene.  It should arouse the reader’s passions and give them ideas of things to try at home.

 5.   Quickies:

*   Boxers or briefs? I like the boxer briefs, tight and fitted.

*  Red or white? Red.  It makes my green eyes stand out!

*  Sweet or savory? I’d much rather have something a little spicy!  But if I had to choose, I’d say sweet.

*  The Kama Sutra or The Story of O The Story of O.

*  #1 Song on Your “Sexy Writing” Playlist? I love Adele’s whole cd “21” because it always sets the mood!

6.      Tell us about your current release and give us a little taste…

My current release is Forever Love, a short story in the Love, Again Valentine Anthology. It is available in e-book and print from Ruby Lioness Press.

 Forever Love is the story of a woman who escapes her small town life after high school for the bright lights and anonymity of the big city.  But when her father is facing his toughest battle, Alzheimer’s, she comes home to care for him and finds herself face to face with the one guy who broke her heart.  Can they find a way back from the pain of the past?  Or will he forever be the one that got away?

 Excerpt:

A dark, cropped haircut framed a face so beautiful that it could be described as the face of a Roman god: he had a strong nose and jawline that showed just a sprinkling of whisker stubble. It was his body that made me pause, however. His muscular shoulders and upper arms looked like they could carry a girl off to bed. His chest was wet and covered with hair that immediately drew my eyes and tempted me to caress it. The chest hair tapered down his narrow waist and seemed to lead the way to paradise. I stopped walking and just stared. I could only hope that I was not drooling. This guy was smokin’ hot! Then he smiled and I noticed his face, complete with a little dimple in his chin. He seemed familiar, but I wasn’t sure where I recognized him from. When he saw that I noticed him, he winked at me as if he recognized me, too.

“Hello! Nice day for a walk, huh? The weather has been kind to us this year.” He spoke and my knees wobbled. His voice was like chocolate, smooth and delicious.

 

Thank you for having me at your blog today.  I love to hear from readers.  You can reach me at…www.melissakeir.com or on Facebook at…http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003150554229&ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Melissa-Keir-Fan-Page/143020369136928  or on Twitter at…https://twitter.com/#!/melissa_keir.

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Alright, now that you’ve read the whole thing…. drum roll…….

The winner of the copy of “Masquerade” is—- Daemonicus Sanguinus!!  Your smutty little morsel will be in your inbox ASAP!!!  Happy reading!!

Coming soon: Wicked Little Wednesday #3– Melissa Keir

Coming up tomorrow, I’m welcoming up and coming romance author, Melissa Keir!  She’s got a new release to heat up your Valentine’s Day!  Don’t forget to come by and leave her some comments, hop over to her blog and take a gander at what she has to offer.  But most exciting of all… she’s going to be answering some of my hard-boiled and half-cracked questions about life, love and of course… sex.

Don’t forget– if you’re a writer, YOU— yes, YOU– can be a guest on the Southern Belle from Hell!  I accept writers of all genres!

Also, tomorrow I will be announcing the winner of the Valentine’s contest!  Stay tuned…

Playlistism: Valentine’s Edition

You know me, I LOVE a music post.  And what better time to have a music post than on Valentine’s Day?  I warn you, before I go on: my idea of a love song may be extremely odd to some of you.

1.  Sweet Child o’ Mine– Guns N’ Roses :  The lyrics of this song are beautiful.  Even if Axel Rose is a crazy person.

2.  Love You to Death– Type O Negative:  I have a little fantasy that this song will be dedicated to me everywhere I go.  It’s deliciously dark and exceptionally romantic.

3.  So Far Away– Dire Straits:  This is a perfectly melancholy love song.  It’s about loving someone long-distance.

4.  What Part of Forever– CeeLo Green: This song is one of the only things about Twilight that doesn’t suck.  It’s upbeat and sticky.  Once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your head.  But the lyrics are so sweet and embody those feelings of undying love one gets just as a relationship starts to blossom.

5.  Come What May– Ewan McGregor:  I don’t think I even have to explain this one. Ladies… am I right?

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I’m available for questioning at the following locales:

The Southern Belle from Hell:   https://lexxxchristian.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/alexandra.christian1

Fan Page on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lexxx-Christian-The-Southern-Belle-from-Hell/245839382102904

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/LexxxChristian

In case you didn’t know by now, I’m an author of (mostly) paranormal erotic romance.  You can find my work in your favorite eBook format at:  Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Bookstrand and AllRomance eBooks

Wicked Little Wednesday #2: Selah Janel

Welcome to another edition of Wicked Little Wednesday!  This week, I’m spotlighting a really great friend and talented writer, Selah Janel.  I’ve known Selah for quite some time– from my old days of writing fan fiction even!  She’s always been talented, hilarious and fabulously twisted!  This month, she released her first book with No Boundaries Press, “Mooner.”  Its a period piece with lumberjacks and vampires– two of my favorite things.  So give her a warm welcome, some comments—- and then go buy her book!!

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Blurb:

Like many young men at the end of the 1800s Bill has signed on to work in a logging camp to earn a fast paycheck to start his life. Unfortunately his role model is Big John, the camp’s golden boy known for blowing his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and the lives of so many. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows, something that badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door or does someone have their own plans for his future?

Excerpt:

For a moment, Bill thought he was imagining things or was having a particularly bad reaction to the rot gut. Blinking a few times refocused his tired gaze and proved there was, indeed, a moving pile of…something at a table close to the other end of the bar.

Nancy shuffled back towards the bar, casting a wary look over her shoulder. “Red, he’s back,” she breathed as she scooped up another tray and fled to the other side of the room. Upon closer inspection, the youth realized it wasn’t a pile of something, but a figure draped in a patchwork of skins then cloaked with half-torn, moldy furs. Most who passed his way quickly avoided him, though whether it was because of his odd looks or his smell, it was hard to say.

Red hissed through his teeth and ran a sweating hand through his thick mane. “Tom Haskins,” he mumbled under his breath for the benefit of those crowded round him.

“I thought he lived on the edge of town,” Jack replied as he glared down the length of the bar.

“He tried to start a dry goods store, and it didn’t go over too well. He had it in his mind he could make up his loss with fur, though he ain’t no trapper. He moved out to the woods weeks ago and comes into town every so often to hang round and get his fix. Just when I think he’s finally died out there, he comes round again.” Not once did the saloon proprietor take his eyes off the body hunched over a table. Every breath made Tom’s ragtag cloak shudder, and every moldy hair on him quivered.

“You want me to kick him out?” Jack offered, already shifting his weight across the room.

“Nah, let him warm up at least. He doesn’t do much; just pesters everyone for drink now that he can’t afford it for himself. Give him time, and he’ll be up to his tricks.”

Bill couldn’t stop looking away. The pile of sloughed animals slumped as the man’s head rose. His skin was a cold grey and stretched taught across his face and hands. His hair had all but fallen out, but what was still left of it hung in clumps of long, ragtag strands that were paler than dried straw. His thin-lipped mouth was open and he sucked in air in painful, erratic pants.

“Look at ‘im! Actin’ like a piglet pulled away from its ma’s teat!” Big John sneered. “I bet his clothes are fulla maggots!”

“It’s too cold for maggots,” Ben snorted. “His clothes are thin. Wonder how the hell he stands bein’ out in the woods in weather like this.” “We do it,” Bill muttered. The recluse’s head jerked at the sound of his voice; the young man immediately snapped his mouth shut.

“Yeah, but we’re used to it! And younger’n he ever was!” John’s voice was purposefully loud and carried the haughty tone that won him admiration from the other loggers. “He’s durn crazy, that’s why he don’t notice.” He cocked his head Tom’s way with a sneer. “All that time on your own turn you yaps, man?”

Tom’s head very slowly shifted towards them, and Bill shuddered. There were days he’d survived the logging camp and the extreme conditions by will power and prayer alone, all the while wondering in the back of his head what it would be like if he didn’t have even that. Looking at the vagrant, he knew.

Ben was cursing behind them. “I saw him not more than a month ago and he didn’t look like that. Solitary life don’t turn a man in that short a’ time! Maybe he’s got rabies or fever n’ ague.”

Tom’s eyes sat so far back in his skull, it was impossible to tell what color they were, though they harbored a steady, unsettling gleam. They roved over the huddled group, searching hungrily for an easy mark. Bill’s heart plummeted to his boots when the hollow glitter locked onto him. He was suddenly as cold as he was when a seventh-year blizzard hit. All the frustrations and hell he’d endured since joining the logging team, all his good intentions and reasons, all he was trying to move forward to, swelled and jumbled together in a brief, howling wind of thought. The two distant stars in Tom’s eyes were the only thing that pegged him as a stable man in his otherwise rotting and dozy appearance.

All around the little group, the saloon’s weekend life went on. The distant sound of swearing and dice clattering across the floor mixed with discordant harmonies and a half-hearted mouth organ. But in the area by the bar, all was muffled and still. It was like the snows had come without warning over the forest, smothering everything in their path with chilled silence. Bill shuddered, and out of the corner of his eye, noticed Red do the same.

“You want I should knock his ears down, Red?” John’s bravado was the sudden yell that knocked the snow from the treetops, for better or ill. He had the relaxed look of a man who’d been in his cup just enough to throw caution to the wind. “I’ll toss him out and give ‘im a pat on the lip he won’t forget!”

“Leave be, John,” the barkeep muttered. His hand never stopped wiping down the bar. Though his head was tilted down towards his task, his eyes were set on their target across the room.

“What…what you want me to do for a drink?” At first it didn’t register that that thing, that man, had actually spoken. His voice was high and reedy, and cracked the way the thinnest ice along the river did.

“Pardon?”

“What you want me to do for a drink?” His lips cracked when his mouth moved. A thin trail of spittle dripped off his lower lip and was quickly caught up by the tip of the derelict’s seeking tongue. The distant gleam in Tom’s eyes burned as his mouth formed the last word. Otherwise, it was hard to even say how he’d made it into the saloon; he looked more than a little dim.

**************

So there you have it… more talent than you can shake a stick at.  Now here’s the links to buy and contact Selah:

No Boundaries Press – http://noboundariespressstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19&products_id=16

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Mooner-ebook/dp/B007144ZZO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328404648&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mooner-selah-janel/1108368128

Bookstrand – http://www.bookstrand.com/mooner

All Romance ebooks – https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-mooner-673945-241.html

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