We've Moved!

The authors of FaE have relocated to the Beyond the Veil castle keep. BtV is now your one-stop blog for Samhain Publishing's paranormal and fantasy romance authors!

Come on over! Just be careful when you cross the moat. The mermaids are still getting settled in with the Cracken. The drawbridge might be a little slippery.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thirteen Random Birthday Thoughts About Writing…

…and life in general. It’s my birthday. I’m allowed! :)

1. There’s no great mystery to being a writer. A writer applies the seat of her pants to the seat of her chair, and writes.

2. First drafts are not the time to be careful. First drafts are designed to let you glop it all out, get the voices out of your head, unleash whatever beast that’s hounding you to get the story down on paper. It’s meant to be messy. Roll in it! Get your hands dirty!

3. Write every day. Even if all you can write is “I don’t know what to write,” do it. Over and over again. Fill pages with it. Eventually your brain will get bored and want to write something else.

4. Waiting for your muse to inspire you, IMHO, is just nuts. You want to be a writer? Siddown and get started. Your muse will just have to eat dust until it catches up with you.

5. Read. Widely and often. Never stop learning.

6. Observe.

7. Listen.

8. Don’t be afraid to try out any story idea. 100 pages that don’t pan out are still 100 pages of learning experience you never would have had if you hadn’t tried.

8a. Don’t be afraid. Period. I mean it. Just stop it right now. :)

9. All reviews are good. Really. So what if a reviewer hated your book. Did they spell your name right? Then it’s a good review.

10. On the other hand, learn to put aside your emotional attachment to your manuscript, and listen to constructive criticism. Your editor is on your side!

11. You’ll never make story perfect. There will always be a typo, a flaw, something accidentally left hanging. It’s possible to revise the life out of a story. Learn to let it go. (This is one I’m still working on—note the claw marks on my manuscripts where my editor had to tear them out of my hands!)

12. You will never please everyone. Write for yourself first, the markets second. Make the market follow YOU.

13. Learn to love your Shadow Self. She is the part of you that makes you—and your stories—fully human.

Now available: Wildish Things

More Thursday Thirteens!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monkeys...Why Did It Have To Be Monkeys?

Sometimes I wonder why people call what I write “fantasy”. The world out there is a lot stranger than anything my pitiful imagination could dream up.

For example, the current crime wave in northeast India has local police at a loss. Not because they don’t know the culprits behind the rash of home break-ins, and the thefts of mobile phones and soft drinks. They do. The problem is what to do with the the crooks. The laws on the books don’t apply to monkeys.

Yes, you read that right. Monkeys. Monkeys who slap around their pursuers and mug tourists for their eyeglasses. You could even call them murderers. The deputy mayor of Delhi fell to his death when a gang of monkeys jumped him on his balcony.

I suspect Indian law enforcement officials secretly wish they were dealing with a real gang. At least with a human gang you could identify the perps from their tats. Monkeys don't give police sketch artists a heck of a lot to work with. When the description for all the suspects comes down to “hairy”, how do you tell the good monkeys from the bad? And even if you did, there's not a lot you could do about it. The Hindu religion considers all monkeys sacred to the monkey god Hanuman. So the military solution is absolutely out.

My plot hamsters are wearing out their wheels on this one, folks. In my head, the monkeys aren’t sacred--at least not to Hanuman. They’re his minions. I’ll figure out why mobile phones are such a hot item later. The death of deputy mayor was either a tragic error or the result of something a lot more complicated than accident. The glasses are no problem. Hanuman broke his, and the tourist’s happened to be almost the right prescription. After all, it’s not like he can visit the optometrist.

Or can he? He’s a god after all. Who knows what forms he could take? He might even be kinda cute. And his ability to super-size his tail…

No, don’t go there. Stick to the plot. Why couldn’t Hanuman go to a doctor?

Maybe it has something to do with the fossil of an eight-foot-long sea scorpion discovered in Germany not long ago. In theory, Hanuman should be okay with that. Scorpions are part of Shiva’s bag of tricks, and Hanuman is one of Shiva’s many incarnations.

Wait, I’d better tread very carefully here. The way my plot hamsters work, they’ll have Hanuman conspiring to pump up the world’s oxygen levels to create an army of giant bugs. Worse yet, the cockroaches will probably develop some kind of rudimentary intelligence and strike out on their own--“strike” being the operative word here. Oh, ugh!

But bad as that scenario is, it can’t compare to something I saw for real in the Crystal City Underground Monday afternoon.

The Boeing Company has apparently decided it isn’t enough to be the world’s largest manufacturer of airplanes. After all, the market for their products is so limited. Only governments, multi-national corporations and a few select gazillionaires can ever hope to find a Boeing under their giant redwood Christmas tree. To be truly successful these days, a company’s gotta merchandise. Forget “A chicken in every pot”. That’s so Twentieth Century. Make it an airplane. Then you’ve really got something.

So they did. Sort of. John and Jane Everyperson can now purchase models of Boeing planes and other memorabilia through the Boeing Store web site, various traveling stores and over a dozen fixed locations in the US. The Crystal City, Virginia, store opened last week.

That’s not the scary part. I admit I never felt the need to take home a souvenir of the countless hours I've spent hurtling across the stratosphere in pressurized tin cans operating on physical laws so abstruse they might as well be magic. I’m usually so pathetically grateful to arrive at my destination with body parts and luggage intact, I bow down in the direction of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and kiss the concrete until my insides stop shaking. Afterwards, my goal is to get as far away from anything resembling a flying machine until my return trip forces me to defy the laws of gravity yet again. But hey, if people feel compelled to take home a mini-plane or a logo-emblazoned pen or even a rolling briefcase like the pilots use, far be it from me to criticize.

No, the scary part was the store’s centerpiece: a big, red, fully functional airline seat just like the ones inside a Boeing jet.

The horror! My left eye started to twitch and my head began jerk convulsively as I stared at the monstrosity. Forget waterboarding, airplane seats qualify as the most prevalent form of torture in the civilized world. No one is safe, either. First class, business class, steerage--I mean, economy class--it doesn’t matter. They strap us in and we’re trapped between the infinitely reclining seat in front of us and the rock hard headrest behind. Bands of roaming tray tables strive to bisect us and repeatedly slam against our unsuspecting thighs.

Worse yet, I seemed to be the only one to understand the nature of the evil in our midst. Grown men climbed all over the awful thing like it was some kind of forty-something playground. Hello, Mr. Middle-aged Executive. The Comfy Chair is not your friend. Sitting in it could kill you. It will suck you into the maw between its nubbly red cushions and never let you go.

But nobody cared. Mine was the voice crying in the wilderness--well, gibbering to myself while the Crystal City lunch crowd steered as far away from me as the limited space allowed.

Monster scorpions, sentient cockroaches and an army of evil airline seats together in a fiendish plot conceived by the simian brain of a Hindu god with an infinite number of primates with opposable thumbs at his disposal...

The weird part is it’s so close to reality it almost doesn’t count as fiction. But please, let's keep that our little secret. The plot hamsters think they're being so original, and it really doesn't do to upset them. The results could be downright ugly. Remember, myopic monkey gods and gargantuan sea scorpions are their idea of a good thing.


Jean Marie

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Do wishes come true?

I know we all have those moments in life where something we've wanted or needed finally comes to pass. The contract, the baby, the house, the milestones by which we often measure our lives.

And I have to wonder...how many of us really believe those wishes come true by some magic of karma, or how much of us believe that it's simply a matter of hard work to accomplish a goal?

For example:
Hubby and I are expecting baby #4 in March. Granted, we were obviously doing That Activity which leads to a child's birth. (and that's as close as I'm ever getting to talking about my sex life on this blog, thankeemuch.) However, we'd been not-preventing childbirth since August...and found out we were pregnant the following July. It'd never taken that long before. So how much does little4 have to thank 'fate' for his/her existence...or does he/she just have to be grateful hubby and I hadn't stopped...well...yknow.

The contract for a book...how much do we say "oh thank goodness I got in front of such-and-such editor, because she loved it and accepted it and took it." (fate). And how much do we say "well, I subbed 900 stories in a year, one of them was BOUND to be accepted. (working hard pays off.)

I guess I fall between the two camps. I like to think that working hard produces the karma which results in good things. What do you think?

Monday, November 26, 2007


How many of us read Beowulf in high school?

Not me. I remember I read In Cold Blood and To Kill a Mockingbird. And more importantly I remember Shanna by Katherine E. Woodiwis. My senior literature teacher was a romance reader and thankfully shared her love for the genre with me!

My twins both read Beowulf this year and Nick wanted to see the film. I can’t say how closely the film was adapted from the classic. But Beowulf was a very good action/adventure fantasy. The animation was great! And the drama…such woes! There was plenty of swordplay, monster-slaying and a naked Angelina Jolie. Which I'm sure was the real reason Nick wanted to see it.

Basic plot Beowulf arrives to save the day. He takes out the monster Grendel. the beast's ruthlessly seductive mother, uses any means possible to ensure revenge.

The highlight of the show for me was when we walked outside. My barely 19 year old son looked at me. “I can’t believe Beowolf did that.”

“What? Slept with the gorgeous demoness Angelina?” I stared in surprise.

“Well, yeah. He was supposed to be the hero and he had it bad for the blond.”

I came away from the film a happy mom! And a satisfied movie goer.

Until later~

Saturday, November 24, 2007

How far would your hero go?

I've been graced with my first (probably of many) upper respiratory crud of the winter season. *sigh* So as my decongestant wears off and before I take another one and zone out, I figgered I'd better post while I'm semi-coherent. [grin]

"Red Haired Girl From The Bog" by Patricia Monaghan is a book I keep going back to whenever I just want to disappear from this world and retreat into her engrossing search for the Goddess.

The section of the book that fell open today yielded a little nugget of legend that "spoke" to me, meaning it will probably become my next erotic novella.

The tale tells of the god of metalworkers, Goibniu, who was so busy at his forge he had no time to keep track of the sacred cow Glas as she ranged the countryside freely giving her bounty to the people. He found a herdsman named Fin and set the young man the task. The caveat - Fin had to track the never-resting cow 24/7, never any time to sleep. Well, you can imagine what eventually happens! Fin stopped for a little shut-eye, and a greedy man, Balor, stole the Glas for himself.

Under threat of death, Fin set out to retrieve the Glas for his master. On his search he came across a tall tower containing a lovely maiden. (What, don't all towers contain lovey maidens?) The maiden, Eithne, was imprisoned there because the Druids had predicted that she would someday kill her own father. The father? Yep, Balor.

So, as any lonely, red-blooded son of Ireland on a quest would do, he killed two birds with one stone. Dressing as a woman, he disguised himself as one of Eithne's handmaidens and gained access to the tower. He seduced Eithne and lived as her handmaiden until she bore his child, getting himself both a lover and getting the Glas back for his master.

So what's that old saying about "why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free"? :) Looks to me like Fin willingly paid dearly for both!

Have a good week,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Creature Feature: Werewolves in Romance Fiction

What is the mystique of werewolves? When I was growing up, they were scary creatures from old movies that would tear you to pieces and howl at the full moon. But today they've morphed (pun intended) into something more... romantic heroes who turn shaggy every once in a while. A pet, guard dog, and husband in one - what a time saver!

Here's what Wiki has to say about the topic: "Werewolves, also known as lycanthropes, are mythological or folkloric people with the ability to shapeshift into a wolf or wolflike creature, either purposely, by using magic, or after being placed under a curse. The medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury associated the transformation with the appearance of the full moon; however, there is evidence that the association existed among the Ancient Greeks, appearing in the writings of Petronius. This concept was rarely associated with the werewolf until the idea was picked up by fiction writers."

Yeah, I'm guilty of being one of the "fiction writers" who have "picked up" on the werewolf phenomenon. I've also read a lot of werewolf and shapeshifter romance books by my contemporaries and there are subtle differences in the characterization of the affliction between one author and another, particularly in the way the shifters change. Some authors have the change be total, from human to wolf. Some go from human to some weird wolf-like creature, like the werewolves in most of those old movies.

In my case, I have given my characters the ability to shift from human to wolf, but they can sort of pause in the middle to that half-formed creature that has the strength and senses of the wolf and the ability to talk and walk upright like a human. Of course, I didn't make it easy for them to do it. ;-) (The details are in my book, Lords of the Were.)

So what's the allure of the werewolf? Is the idea of magic made flesh? Is it the wildness of the untamed wolf mixing with our domesticated lives - spicing it up a bit, if you will? Is it the return of the Alpha Male and the desire for his dominance - if only in our escapist fantasies? I really don't know, but I suspect it might be a little of all three and some other things I haven't thought of besides. What's your opinion?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thirteen Pieces of Music to Get Your Fantasy Groove On

Sometimes the best fantasies have an instrumental track. Sometimes they have no words at all.

1. Rimsky-Korsakov, Sheherazade

2. Azam Ali, “In Other Worlds”

3. Cruxshadows, “Ariadne”

4. Cream, “Tales of Brave Ulysses”

5. Enya, “The Celts”

6. Fleetwood Mac, “Riannon”

7. Loreena McKennit, “The Bonny Swans”

8. Jethro Tull, “Mayhem Maybe”

9. Sting, “Synchronicity II”

10. Yoko Kanno, “Magic Sweets”

11. Jefferson Airplane, “White Rabbit”

12. Steve Vai, “Asian Sky”

13. Voltaire, “Zombie Prostitute”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sleep is a good thing

Having been woken every. twenty. minutes. last night, I'm a little obsessed with sleep. And the lack thereof. And...because I haven't slept...my mind's doing weird and wonderful things. Like so:

  • Do you write when you're tired? I don't just mean 'sleepy', I mean..barely able to keep my eyes open tired.
  • Do you read when you're that tired?
  • Do you prefer to read/write in the morning, or late at night? (and are you a Morning Person?)
  • How often do you read about people sleeping in books, unless they're a) attacked by bad guys or b) have a prophetic kind of dream?
And the question I really want to know...

Have you ever read a book where the main character has been deprived of sleep for so long that they simply can't think properly? And if so...what book is it?

Because I've got to say, I haven't slept since Thursday night. Not properly, anyway. And it makes me punchy. (It also makes me try to pour my kettle into my toaster while making breakfast, too.) And I'd love to read a writer who can capture that whole feeling.

And now...it's time for either more caffeine...or a nap...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wildish Things

I had nearly finished my novella for the Love & Lore anthology before I came up with a title. I mean, it had one, but it didn't feel right. But titles have a way of plopping into your lap when you least expect it.

For this one, it was a rainy afternoon where I had carved out a bit of time to catch up on some non-fiction books I was partway through. In this case it was Patricia Monaghan's "Red Haired Girl from the Bog." I was reading along about her experiences as an American on an extended stay in Ireland, and I ran across a phrase where she was saying that in the past, a woman like her would have been referred to as a "wildish thing."


I'll treat you with the prologue to Wildish Things, now available in eBook and in print from Samhain Publishing. Enjoy!


The Hag turned over onto her pendulous belly in order to warm her craggy back under the near-midsummer sun.

Earlier in the day a pesky bulldozer had approached one of her favorite wells, but she had taken care of that problem with no more effort than it took to sneeze. One well-aimed glob of snot had glommed up the machine’s engine and sent its muttering human driver in search of a tow truck. Her work was done for the day.

Yet she found she could not relax and soak up the Irish sun in peace. Her breasts were turgid with unspent sexual energy, her legs restless and rubbing against unsatisfying stone. It had been too long since she’d had a man. Centuries. Of old, few were strong enough to withstand her appetite for more than a few minutes. These days, even the few who remembered her name spoke it timidly.

Bollixless creatures, these new men were.

She heard a noise overhead. Head turned to the side, pillowed on a mountain, she opened an eye to peer at one of the silver-winged beasts and its snow-white vapor trail. These days, few people scratched her back with their traveling feet, muttering prayers for safe passage in hopes the Hag would let them pass unharmed. Oh no, it was all smooth wheels and shiny wings. People with things plugged into their ears so they couldn’t hear themselves think, much less hear the cry of a bird, the splash of a salmon in the river, or the very heartbeat of the land as the seasons turned.

Her sounds.

Something about the silver object flying overhead tickled the Hag’s attention. She rolled to her back, cracked open the other eye, watery gaze following its path. She expanded her nostrils and took a sniff. Overhead, the silver bird hit what the pilots thought was a random air pocket. Below, the Hag closed her eyes and sorted through the scents in her nose.

Ah. She smiled and stretched. A woman rode that bird, one who was ready. A wildish thing. She may not yet know it, but soon she would understand. Like the Hag, all she needed was a man. One strong enough to fulfill her every desire without cracking under the onslaught of a woman’s true power.

The Hag shook her mossy hair out of her rheumy eyes, opened her full lips, and called.

Satisfied that events would now unfold as they should, the Hag spread her bare arms and legs wide to the sun.

And awaited her pleasure.

Copyright 2007 Carolan Ivey, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hmm... Forgot It Was My Day to Blog... :P

Yeah, yeah, I got the reminder email that it was my day and everything, but I've been pulled in a bajillion different directions lately, that it kind of slipped my mind until I was able to take a breather this evening. *sigh*

So, I'm going to ask a question of you, something I've often wondered.

Why are most fantasy settings in a Medieval-esque world? Even my own books are patterned after this. Swords, princesses, castles. What is it about that particular "knight in shining armor" flavor? Why not pyramids and pharoahs? What's wrong with feudal Japan? Or perhaps Vikings and such?

Is it because all of those other cultures had their own set "rules"? Was it because Medieval England (and/or Europe) might have actually believed in magic and dragons at one time? (ie. King George & the Dragon, etc.) Is it the myth of Merlin and King Arthur that did it? The magic and enchantment... Was it the bards and minstrels who sang songs of noble dragon-slayers and the beautiful women who won their hearts?

Is our perception of the "fantasy world" because we (Americans) came from England (Europe)? If the Egyptians had discovered America, say, would we be telling fantasy stories of fell beasts with human heads and animal bodies? (or vice/versa?)

And why haven't these communities advanced in technology? If they have magic that will do this or that for them, you'd think they'd invent some kind of magical cars/trains/guns/etc. Perhaps that would be too close to steampunk, or adding some sci-fi into your fantasy.

But these are the questions I ask myself. LOL Anyone else wonder these things?


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

New Cover & New Ideas...

It's November crunch time again. The time of year when I always seem to bite off more than I can chew. This year, I'm doing not one, but TWO writing challenges - NaNoWriMo and 70 Days of Sweat. So far, I have little actual word count to show for this month because of edits. I've been working dilligently on my upcoming paranormal/fantasy release, Sweeter Than Wine. It has a sexy werecougar, a vamp couple, a fey knight and some magic users lobbing fireballs around. Lots of fun! But I haven't done much new writing and that always makes me cranky.

Like a dragon with a stone stuck under one of its scales, I've been itching to get to something new for a while now. I've decided what - I just have to get the time to actually work on it. I'll give you a little hint: it's a new dragon series, set in a different part of the same world as my Dragon Knights series. This new series will be a little more heavily epic fantasy - with romance, of course - but I'm thinking a tiny bit less explicit. Maybe. I still haven't quite decided yet, but I'm definitely enchanted with this new part of the dragon world.

In the meantime, I'm still glowing about my new cover. So please forgive me for posting it here for your perusal. I just got the cover 2 days ago, so it's still shiny, sparkly new in my eyes and I'm beginning to really dig it! ;-) Oh, and I'll post info about my upcoming fey holiday short story, coming in December, next time. I promise. :-)
Come over to the D'Arc side... www.biancadarc.com

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Love & Lore Anthology has been released!

The Love & Lore Celtic anthology is now available for sale from SamhainPublishing.com!

Journey to the heart of Celtic legend.

Samhain is pleased to celebrate its second anniversary with three novellas that will lure you into the labyrinth of Celtic myth and legend.

In WILDISH THINGS, Carolan Ivey brings together an artist who is wounded in both body and spirit, and a sexy Irish bad boy on a Harley. Their whirlwind fling across Ireland takes a dangerous turn when their sexual chemistry awakens the deadly lust of an ancient goddess.

Gia Dawn’s offering of A FAIRY SPECIAL GIFT has it all: A woman who can see fairies and wishes she couldn’t, and a man who promises to help her with her “problem”-for the price of a kiss. Stir in the Celtic god Lugh who wants the woman for himself, rowdy flock of untamed pixies, and a pining Banshee in need of a makeover, and let’s just say there aren’t enough fairy traps in the world to control the chaos.

The HEART OF THE SEA beckons in Sela Carsen’s take on the Selkie legend. When a woman accidentally falls into the sea and turns into a seal, the man she loves believes her drowned. Seven years later, she rescues him from a shipwreck and for one blissful night, she returns to her human form. But only for a night. Can true love overcome the Selkie curse?

Warning: This book contains graphic language, explicit sex, mild bondage, wildly unpredictable gods and goddesses, unruly fairies, wet Selkies, and loads of fun.

Each novella is also available separately as an eBook.