Tag Archives: romance

Interview with a Werewolf

First day of your life
The other day I interviewed Elder Maria Many Horses, the Alpha of the North America Wolves, and told her that I was confused about the designation of alpha. I had always heard that alphas were the biggest, strongest, most dominant and, oftentimes, the meanest wolves in the pack.

Elder Many Horses accepted my offer of coffee and settled across the kitchen table from me. “It is only human conception that an alpha wolf is the one who can dominate the other wolves by brute strength and fear. In any fight, especially a true dominance fight, both wolves will be injured. Werewolves have the same instinctive fear as wild wolves—that injury can equate to death even if you win the fight. So, the actual leadership is often passed along to the best qualified leader without bloodshed. Besides, the alpha position is more about caretaking than being taken care of.” She gave a little shrug. “Not many wolves are willing to shoulder the tremendous responsibilities inherent in the alpha position.”
Elder Many Horses on Power
“Besides, wolves are pack animals. We hunt cooperatively; the entire pack cares for the young; and we are extremely social animals. We need each other in order to not only survive, but to thrive. If we solved everything by fighting, our society would devolve into bloodshed and chaos.”

A puzzled frown drew my eyebrows tight. “What if you are directly challenged for the leadership position?”

All levity vanished from her face. “That has occurred in the past, and will most likely occur again in the future; however, one-on-one fights are as often won by cunning and intelligence as by brute strength.” She held up a hand to forestall my question then proceeded to answer what I had not yet asked. “Yes, strength counts, especially in that type of confrontation; however, prowess in all types of battles will win out against pure brute strength. The mind powers the body, regardless of how well-developed the body may be. The one who believes in what they fight for, will frequently win over one who simply fights to gain power.” A smile tipped the corners of her mouth up. “Knowing martial arts helps, too. It is an alpha’s responsibility to stay in shape and to keep our fighting skills honed.”

I refilled our coffee cups before I sat back down and asked another question. “What exactly does an alpha do?”

“We are leaders. Our number one priority is to ensure the safety of the entire pack. That means maintaining peace among the members—from the beta to the omega—and providing a niche for them in the pack’s hierarchy. That, also, means keeping our existence secret from humans, and being prepared to repel aggression from other Supernaturals; such as the situation we’re facing now with the Vampire War. That may mean negotiating a peace or it may mean fighting. The alpha has to consider both options.”

She sipped her coffee, a thoughtful look on her face. I took a chocolate chip cookie from the plate and nibbled it as I waited for her to continue.

“As for keeping our existence secret from the human population. Well, technology has made that more difficult. The only way we can survive is to adapt and change, and the alpha has to lead the way. If there are wolves in the pack who can’t adapt then it’s the alpha’s duty to relocate them where they can live without risk of exposing our species. For the rest of the wolves, a leader has to find ways for them to integrate successfully in the human world. Remember that an alpha’s mantra has to be ‘all things for the greater good’.”

“So, mainstream culture has it all wrong about werewolves?”

A gentle smile stretched her lips and crawled up to her dark eyes. “All of those myths that were so carefully seeded among humans have kept my People safe for millennia. And, they still do. Tell me, who in popular culture would expect the werewolf leader to be a woman of mature years?”

“Is alpha usually a hereditary position?”

“Werewolf succession is neither bloodline bound nor gender bound. Many times in our Story, however, you will note that the best leaders were the biological or the adopted heirs of the current alpha.”

“What about your family?” I dipped another cookie in my coffee and ate the delicious gooeyness as I waited for her to respond.

“I demonstrated alpha qualities at the age of two. Eventually, I took over from my father who had taken over from my grandmother and so on for the past seven generations. My daughter, however, shows beta qualities rather than alpha. My adopted daughter will succeed me as alpha.”

“What if someone issues a dominance challenge?”

Elder Many Horses lips pursed as if she tasted something bitter. “Then she will answer the challenge. Bloodshed and death are always possibilities, not only in werewolf succession but in life; especially, when great power is the prize.” She sat straighter in her chair and locked gazes with me. “I believe she will win any challenge. She has trained since the age of three and she has great strength. I speak not only of the physical, but also of mental and psychological and spiritual strength. If she must fight, she would be fighting to protect our People. There is no more noble objective; and it is one for which she would gladly die, or live. Just as I do.”

To learn more about Elder Maria Many Horses and the Vampire War, read The Vampire War Trilogy. NOW ONLY $0.99 get Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire War: https://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

artemisECover

Arundia Returns, Book 2, The Vampire War ONLY $2.99: https://www.amazon.com/Arundia-Returns-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01HYBFJBW
ecover (3)

Share

The Truth About #Vampires

In the Secret Archives of The Matriarch
Dissertation: The Truth about Vampires
By Serena Longer, First Councilwoman of the North America Vampires

Through the millennia vampires have had to propagate certain falsehoods for their safety, and the safety of humans closely associated with them. Here is a brief, and true, history of the vampire race, and the establishment of the North America Region.

When Cain murdered his sister, Abella, he and his children then attempted to eradicate Abella’s progeny. They cruelly hunted the children, murdering and torturing any they found. Their rationalization for such extreme actions was that Abella’s children followed a false diety, the Great Mother.

Artemis, Protector of the Vulnerable, intervened. She granted certain powers to Abella’s children, making them no longer fully human. She granted them superior strength, speed, intelligence and senses as well as near immortality. Goddess Hecate, the Mother of Magic, added certain magical abilities to the vampire race, though those abilities varied with each vampire line.

In return for the Warrior Goddess’ protection and Hecate’s magical abilities, the Children of Abella gave an oath to Artemis to follow the Goddess’ Purpose. According to The Purpose, Abella’s children would use their gifts to guide and to protect Cain’s progeny. They were to aid in the salvation of human souls by helping humans to evolve beyond their genetic predisposition to murder and destroy not only other two-legged, sentient beings but the other beings, such as animals, birds, even the trees and the Earth Mother as well.

A thousand years after The Purpose was set out, a number of vampire families fell away from The True Path of Artemis. They began to use their ability to enthrall and to enslave humans and other Supernatural races, and to treat all humans with contempt. Certain powerful vampire families often left drained human bodies where they died. Since at this time, humans were well aware of the existence of vampires, there was no doubt as to what type of being killed their sisters and brothers.

Panic among the human population ensued. Years of bloody fighting occurred. This was the time of The Great Fall. Many of the vampire Ancients and the vampire Teachers were murdered either by powerful vampires wanting to usurp their Families and Clans or by panicked bands of humans. Humans rioted through many vampire estates burning and beheading.

At this time there arose a type of human, from Cain’s descendants, who wielded magical powers given to them by the gods who were jealous of Great Goddess and the Goddesses. These magical wielders came to be known as Magic Users. Among their abilities was the magic that allowed them to break the enthrallment that some vampires indiscriminately used to bind humans, taking away the human’s freewill.

Magic Users despised vampires and lived only to destroy the vampire race. Though human, they frequently lived for much longer than normal human lifespans. Their powers increased as they aged and they experienced no human tendency toward disease or disability. Magic Users would gather enthralled humans, break their enthrallment and lead them to destroy vampire compounds and villages.

Between devastation reeked by humans and the destruction visited upon smaller, weaker vampire Families and Clans by those vampires of superior military strength, many vampire Clans were greatly reduced. Some vampire Clans were wiped out completely during the time known as The Great Fall.

Fortunately, the vampires who sought to enslave humans, other vampires and other Supernaturals also suffered grievous losses during this war. Weakened and at risk of being totally destroyed, the vampire race as well as other Supernaturals went into hiding; often in plain sight.

Humans who once knew about vampires and other Supernaturals eventually died off, as humans are prone to do. Knowledge about vampires and other Supernaturals became relegated to the status of legend and myth. Vampires in positions of power in the human world—either as educators or historians especially–did much to obfuscate the truth about the existence of vampires, witches and other Supernaturals.

For many generations, vampires exercised caution and took only what they needed. Using their powers, they confused the minds of the humans they drank from, leaving those humans to believe that they dreamed of the encounters. If a human was drained, the offending vampire—fearing vampire justice—carefully hid the body. Many returned to The True Path and to the Teachings of Artemis.

Hundreds of years of relative peace and prosperity for vampires followed. Until The Time of Hunting. Human history notes this era as the Dark Ages. Old legends were revived. Magic Users, who understood the fears of their fellow humans, slowly came out of hiding. They led the populace against the vampires and other Supernatural races. During this time, some vampires fled Europe. The ones who remained went deep underground.

After the hysteria died down, The Time of Hunting came to an end. The vampire population had once again been decimated. The Families and Clans who survived created the Matriarchs’ World Council comprised of the five surviving Ancients—those Matriarchs who were among the Original Vampires. The Council set out certain rules of conduct known as the Edicts of the World Council or Vampire Law.

The first and most stringent Edict was against Open Enthrallment. The Policy of Open Enthrallment upheld a vampire’s right to enthrall humans who would then be compelled to provide sustenance in the form of blood for the vampire and any she/he chose. This was much like the keeping of cattle among humans. Once the human grew too old or too ill to provide sustenance, or to be used as a slave, they were killed. Furthermore, selected humans could be Changed against their will.

The First Edict of the World Council was The Policy Against Open Enthrallment. It provided strict guidelines governing who could be enthralled, as well as who could be Changed, and under what conditions.

The second most important edict, The Edict of Mythology, decreed that all vampires propagate certain mythologies concerning Vampires and other Supernaturals.

These major reason for these mythologies was to convince humans that vampires and other Supernatural races only lived in one’s imagination or as stories told to frighten children into behaving.

Among the many mythologies some of the most popular ones are:
–Vampires are destroyed by sunlight.
–Vampires cannot go into a church, or other holy edifice.
–Vampires must sleep in coffins, sometimes with dirt from their homeland.
–Holy water and other holy artifacts can physically harm, and sometimes destroy, vampires.
–Vampires must kill in order to stay healthy.
–Vampires are cold to the touch.
–Vampires have no heartbeat.
–Vampires do not breathe.
–Vampires do not have souls.
–Vampires cannot propogate, except by ‘turning humans.’

There are, of course, other mythologies that usually spring from specific localities or cultures.

The Matriachs’ World Council, however, refused to enforce Artemis’ Purpose. It was decided that such matters must lie within the power of each vampire to individually decide.

After The Time of Hunting, the Matriarchs divided the world into five Regions. The Longer Family, led by Matriarch Belora, eventually immigrated to the New World, claiming the North America Region, which consisted of what came to be known as the United States of America, Canada and Mexico.

This paper is an overview of the history of the founding of the Vampire Race and the establishment of the North America Region.

See other entries in the Secret Archive of the Matriarch for further information and additional subjects.

To learn more about Serena Longer and vampires, be sure to read Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1, The Vampire War https://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6

Share

Book Report on Books I’ve Read

Death Comes E-Calling by Leslie O’Kane (Cozy Mystery)
An e-card designer and mom with two children returns to live in her hometown while her husband works overseas for a year. She receives a mysterious and urgent letter from one of her old teachers asking her to visit. Before she can visit, the elderly woman dies. Was she murdered?
Some nice twists occur that involve the designer’s previous classmates. Returning to your childhood home and reconnecting isn’t always fun.
For a cozy easy bedtime read, I’d give it a 3.0.

Seven Daughters by Jessica Lourey (Paranormal)
A bit slow starting. Deals with long standing grudges between two families in a small town. There is an underlying thread of witchery that makes the story intriguing.
For a witch novel easy bedtime read, I’d give it a 3.3.

Lodestone (Witch Hunt) by Wendy Scott (Paranormal)
This witch story hooked me right away and kept me reading. Sabrina is a likeable young witch who faces challenges far beyond her. The author made this character a complex mix of strong/weak; naive/wise. An enjoyable character. If you like witch stories, you will enjoy this one.
A 5.

Circled by Anne McAneny (Murder mystery)
The death of a young girl, Macy, sets into play a string of tragedies that span more than a decade. Protagonist, Chloe, is an interesting, complex character. The story is a tapestry of past and present with unusual characters that kept me reading.
It may be a little confusing right at first, but even then it hooked me. The ending is surprising and well-done.
A definite 5.

Dear Lorna by L.E. Perez (Lesbian love story)
If you enjoy love stories–as opposed to everyone jumps right into bed/romance/sex stories–you will enjoy this one regardless of your gender preference. A surprising book with a bit of a convoluted beginning, but well worth the effort to continue as it soon becomes clear why the author chose this particular writing style: it brings the story alive.
No sex, no graphic violence, but a feeling of how love can grow, be misunderstood, get all tangled up in our fears, and heal in spite of everything.
I strongly recommend this book. A definite 5.

The Trouble with Dying by Maggie LePage (Paranormal)
Faith is dead, but will she stay dead? With help from her Gran’s ghost, Faith must navigate the world that lies in between life and death. The story is told from a coma/potential ghost perspective which makes it a bit different than most stories like this. A love story with a twist.
A nice 4.

Rating of the books from most to least enjoyed:
1. Dear Lorna
2. Circled
3. Lodestone
4. The Trouble with Dying
5. Seven Daughters
6. Death Comes E-Calling

I don’t rate books below a 3 star. If the book, in my opinion is less than a 3 star read, I avoid rating for several reasons: (Most of the time, I avoid reading it, too!)
a. It may simply be a matter of taste. If I had to rate some books, they would be in the negatives. And, that may not be fair to other readers who might enjoy those books.
b. An author works hard to write a novel. If I truly feel the novel lacks in some areas of craft, I will personally write to that author and detail my issues with her/his book. The author gets a heads-up without getting slammed on Amazon. Unfortunately, there are enough Trolls out there willing to rate books at a one star when they have never even read the book–just bought it so they could be “verified” purchasers then returned it immediately for their money back.

PleaseReview

Though life is busy, please take a few minutes after reading a book, hop over to Amazon and drop a review. Reviews do not have to be complex, detailed monsters–just two lines about something you liked in the story. Amazon also makes it a bit easier by having easy-to-click buttons for things like Characters–Flat, Developed, Complex and so forth. After clicking those, add in your two-lines and give it a star rating and you’re done!
The reasons I specifically mention Amazon:
a. Many advertisers only count reviews posted on Amazon. These advertisers won’t look at a book unless it has a minimum of ten reviews–usually they want more than that–with a total of 4.5 star rating. Without access to advertisers, Indie Authors are hard put to get their books noticed by the reading public.
b. When a book gains 50 reviews on Amazon, the book will begin showing up in several of Amazon’s feeds. These feeds get the book in front of the reading public.

Share

Characteristics of a Crappy #Romance

I don’t normally use my blog to analyze books; however, there seems to be a run of romances that are determined to portray #women as stupid, weak, contemptible, and willing to accept abuse in the name of “love”. This is an unhealthy trend.

Here is an analysis of the characters of such a book:

The mother: helpless, stubborn, unwilling to listen to her daughter when her daughter tells her a man had attacked her; has to be ‘made’ to allow her daughter to marry a wealthy man who obviously loves her while mother continues to push the idea that the man who attacked her daughter would be a better match for the girl.

The father: heroic, of course. He is the fountain of reason, he is the support of his daughters, he is the one who forces the mother to relent, he even accepts the strange wealthy man, he recognizes true love, and when the bad villagers want to cause his daughter’s new husband trouble, he is the voice of reason trying to talk them out of it.

The younger sister: Sneaky, helpless, manipulative, spoiled, lazy, blackmails sister and new husband into taking her with them, at first fights off the attentions of villain but in the end when it really counts, all she does is whimper, beg and cry. And that was after she left the ‘safety of the castle’ without anyone knowing, while knowing that the bad men were close by and looking to harm her sister’s husband and her sister.

The elder sister/dragon’s wife: helpless, stupid, weak, flighty, easily manipulated, fearful, as far from courageous as possible to get! The only time this woman shows any backbone is by insisting she does not want to marry the villain, but wants to marry the wealthy guy who loves her. Other than that, she shows herself to be flighty—one minute accepting the dragon man while the next page she rejects what he is until someone talks her around to accepting him. She likes the wealth but doesn’t want to accept the nitty gritty. Whenever she is attacked, all she does is stand there and take it until she is rescued. Then she puts herself into situations that makes it necessary to rescue her, for no good reason. So, add stupid to the analysis of her.

The dragon man: intelligent, wealthy, forgiving, patient, loving, kind, generous, strong, understanding, protective, loyal—you get the gist.

If I rated this book on Amazon, I would give it a minus 5!

This book reinforces the notion that women continually make bad decisions even when they have the information they need to make better decisions; that women cannot rescue themselves, but must be rescued by a man; that women will constantly put themselves in danger without ever trying to extricate themselves from that danger; and that women will never fight back regardless of the situation.

How this book could have been better:
The girls, both the soon-to-be-wife and her sister, could be shown to fight back against the bully/villain, instead of passively allowing themselves to be hit, slapped, and otherwise beaten. The sister, when she moves in with the wife and the dragon, could be taught how to fight back more effectively.
Neither of these things needed to negate the hero’s rescue. The women could be fighting back, but the man could be shown as much more versed in fighting and much stronger and even though the women never concede defeat, they need someone to help them in the fight.

During the younger sister’s capture, it could be made clear that the man sneaked up on her and hit her in the head with a branch and therefore, got her wrists tied and her more helpless than otherwise. It could even be that he sneers and says, “Now, let’s see if you hit and scratch like some wildcat.” She could spit in his face and call him a coward and a bully. When the dragon and his wife come up on the scene, the younger sister could have tears streaming down her face and be beaten up, but she still stares defiantly at her tormentor and actually head butts him right before the entrance of the hero. The reader knows that the younger girl would have been killed had not the hero come, but at least she would have gone down with a fight.

The mother could resist the daughter’s love match with the dragon-man right up until the villain attacks her younger daughter the first time. Then she realizes how wrong she has been and goes up to the castle to warn the dragon-man of the mob coming for him as a way of making amends.

The wife could still worry about her dragon husband so much that she allows her mother to persuade her to follow him in hopes that they can help in some way. The mother could still be caught and held hostage to force the dragon man to bring the dragon to be killed. The dragon man’s wife, however, could show her mettle by sneaking up behind the villain holding her mother and pressing a knife against his throat thereby creating a standoff. A different man can then put her father at risk by grabbing him with a knife against his throat. The dragon man can then concede and bring the dragon “to be killed” so that the villain will release the others without harm.

During the ensuing fight the father could still be pitchforked accidentally, but the dragon man’s wife–instead of needlessly getting slashed–could be slashed as she wheels around and attacks one of the bad guys. She gets the better of him by plunging her own dagger into his heart while her dragon husband roasts the main villain.

The dragon still has to give everyone blood and be the hero, except in this version the women get to be something more than airheads who can’t make a sound decision and are unable to do the least thing in their own defense.

The story is still the same story, but with both men and women being shown as courageous and loyal and able to make good decisions. Sounds like a win-win to me!
What do you think? Can romances be good romance reads while portraying women as strong, complex characters?

All of my novels portray women as complex characters. Check them out at http://www.amazon.com/Aya-Walksfar/e/B00CMVAKKK

Share

5 GREAT BOOKS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT

  1. Who Am I? by Megan Cerulewski. This nonfiction book should be required reading for anyone working in a helping profession that deals with women. The story of finding light in the dark depths of abuse. No graphic violence and no graphic sex but the material is for adults only. A heartbreaking, and inspiring story! http://www.amazon.com/Who-Am-Daughter-Taught-Again-ebook/dp/B00MBKZD9K

  2. Stones by Ruby Standing Deer. Journey to a culture that revered all of life as sacred in Book 3 of Ruby Standing Deer’s saga of Ancient Native Americans. Join Dove and Singing Stone as they fight to save the wild mustangs! This book has no graphic violence and no graphic sex, just a great story! http://www.amazon.com/Stones-Ruby-Standing-Deer-ebook/dp/B00M1YXETW

  3. The Crimson Orb by Joyce Hertzoff. A delightful read full of magic and adventure! No graphic violence and no graphic sex in this book, just a fun read! http://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Orb-Joyce-Hertzoff-ebook/dp/B00KWUO7E8

  4. Mark of the Loon by Molly Greene. From the time that Mallory Blackburne hears “the thunderous boom of metal striking wood…” this mystery captures the reader. Romance and mystery without the need for graphic sex or graphic violence; just a great read! http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Loon-Gen-Delacourt-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00838H1OY

  5. Unbreakable Bonds by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson. Ghosts and families…which makes the most trouble for Angela Panther? A fun read. No graphic violence and no graphic sex, just a relaxing read! http://www.amazon.com/Unbreakable-Bonds-Angela-Panther-Novel-ebook/dp/B00JBR808W

As an author, I read voraciously and range over a number of genres. For my selections for this blog, I decided to introduce books that tell a great story without the need for graphic violence and graphic sex.

I love discovering writers and books. Do you have a favorite book or an author who is not mainstream that you would like to share with us? Please, leave the author’s name and/or the title of the book in a comment!

Be sure to CLICK and FOLLOW so you don’t miss future posts!

Are you looking for an audiobook? Sketch of a Murder is now available as an audiobook: http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Sketch-of-a-Murder-Audiobook/B00MI0ER8Q (this book has graphic violence and some graphic sex)

Share