loose tea

Our choices from Mystic’s lovely tea shop. Photo by Corrina Lawson

I spent Monday at Mystic Aquarium with the twins (17), mostly watching the Beluga whales swim around and say “hello” to the visitors. Ever since I read Voices in the Ocean: A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins by Susan Casey, which teaches exactly how intelligent dolphins and their relatives are and then proceeds to tells how humanity slaughters and mistreats them, I’ve ambivalent at my joy in seeing the Belugas.

But Mystic’s Belugas were brought in as needing rescue, and they have one large tank all to themselves, and they’re only taught behaviors so the aquarium staff can monitor their health. All that helps.

The Belugas definitely seem to notice people, as the male sometimes stops at the underwater viewing area and looks directly at his visitors, the watched becoming the watcher.  He also once tapped the glass where I’d set my hand. I moved the hand and he tapped it again. Numerous times, I’ve also heard him vocalize to the crowd. I wish I knew what he was saying.

We also had time to watch the penguins, see various types of fish, including the always interesting rays, and attend the sea lion show. The show has evolved over the years from sea lions doing tricks to an educational-format where the tricks are used to teach people about sea lions.

Then it was time for downtown Mystic, an early dinner at Mystic Pizza (of course!) and a stroll to the shops, which includes a fabulous independent bookstore, Bank Square Books. My daughter found five books in a series that she’s been wanting to own, so we bought all of them.

The biggest find was the Spice and Tea shop. The 1,000 kinds of salt? (It seemed like that many…) Not interested. The tea? YES. They do mail orders, check out the web addy right on their packages.

As to the rest of my month? I’ve been busy writing a zillion blog posts, for Heroes & Heartbreakers, B&N SF/F and, of course, GeekMom and GeekDad.

The list:

My B&N SF/F author page. If you want, you can bookmark that to see my latest posts as they go up This month, it’s an interview with the creative team behind Monstress, one of this year’s best comics, an interview with Christopher Priest of Black Panther who’s now writing DC’s Deathstroke, and books I’d like to see turned into comics.

GeekMom/GeekDad: Again, the link will take you to all my articles. This month: the San Diego Zoo, my interviews with the cast of Wynonna Earp, a quick look at my encounter with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and what I believe would make the dream comic convention. Hint: it would look a ton like RWA National.

And, finally, a review I wrote of Chuck Wendig’s Invasive at Heroes & Heartbreakers, a review Wendig called his “favorite so far.” 🙂

Also, that erotica novella I’ve been working on? It’s about 17,000 words and only 1,000 from completion. It’s a menage S&M story, as the hero is Philip Drake from Phoenix Legacy, who still has some issues that he must overcome. (The research on this one was a trip and a half.)  In the end, it’s all about finding your family, whatever form that takes.

Team Machine t-shirt

Team Machine t-shirt via RedBubble

I will begin with the tea portion of our day. It says much about my love of tea that the booth I’m most looking forward to patronizing at the Connecticon Convention in July is tea booth so I can buy 8 oz. of their Vincent Van Gogh blend. It might be called Starry Night. I’ve wanted to order it for ages but lost the name of the company. ARGH. Hence, my anticipation.

I’ve also been researching tea for my trip to San Diego later in July. Thanks to the lovely PR person at the San Diego Board of Tourism, I’ve discovered that the San Diego Comic Art Gallery and Point Loma Tea shop are located just around the corner from each other. Thank you, universe.

In addition to Point Loma Tea, I’m told there is also Shakespeare’s Corner and the San Diego House in Old Town San Diego. Hmm…I may not need to bring as much loose tea as I thought.

Shakespeare's Tea Room in San Diego. Who wants to come for afternoon tea with me?

Shakespeare’s Corner tea in San Diego. Who wants to come for afternoon tea with me?

Meantime, as the t-shirt above can attest, I’ve gotten more obsessed with Person of Interest, even thought it’s been over a week now since the finale. I have rarely encountered a show that’s such a perfect blend of characters I adore and a concept that blows me away. Team Machine’s final confrontation with Team Samaritan had me at the edge of my seat and I’m not ashamed to say I cried it spots–both out of sorrow and joy. I’ve even conned my oldest son (20) into watching it. Fusco is his favorite. Of course he is!

Me, I’m a Shaw girl. And I didn’t even like her when she first showed up. Now she’s my favorite. Except for the Machine. I adore the bodiless sentient AI, who may be the most human of Team Machine. But, mostly, I loved them all.

I salute you, writers, actors, and those behind the scenes doing stuff like writing all those screen captions for the Machine and Samaritan. A job well done. But I want more. (Aside: Shoot–Root/Shaw– may be the best shipping name ever. )

As for my own writing, you can find what I’ve been blogging about here, under my personal tag Cory (my nickname), and the joint DC Reviews under Ray Goldfield’s name. My favorite? The interview with the author of geeky erotica. Geek girl gamers, unite!

Oh, did I mention I wrote over 10,000 words in a short erotic novella last week? The leads are Philip Drake and Del Sefton from Phoenix Legacy and it’s a m/m/f menage. (Obviously, there’s another lead but to tell you who it is would be spoilery.) Because I wasn’t quite done with Philip Drake nor was he quite done with me.

Talk about burying the lead: I finished the draft of what has become The Hidden Mage of Lotus Hall, book 2 in the steampunk detectives series starring Gregor Sherringford and Joan Krieger. It is the sequel to The Curse of the Brimstone Contract, which went all the way to #11 on Amazon’s steampunk bestseller list.

When will it be out? Well, that’s a tale in itself. Likely not before the fall but I’m working on a way for people to read it for free. We’ll see.

 

 

Just something very short. And it’s not even erotic. I know, bummer. 🙂

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

“The problem belongs with you, as chief’s wife. If you wish to lead us, then lead us.” Gerhard turned the full intensity of his gaze on her. “Find a way. Or else we will be planting bodies in the ground instead of seeds this spring.”

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

Men. Always expecting us to solve the big problems. 🙂

Good morning. I missed last week because I got distracted by the Mad Men post. 🙂

Before the snippet, I wanted to announce that the publication date of Freya’s Gift has been moved to March 23 because of some reworking of Samhain’s website. Just a week delay.

It will now be released the same day as my essay in the Chicken Soup for the Soul–Thanks, Mom book.

Well, hey, they both do concern mothers. 🙂

This part is from the beginning of the fertility ritual. But just the beginning, so it’s work safe.

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

Freya, help me.

Gerhard dropped her hand, only to put his arm around her waist, steadying her but also bringing her closer to him. His arm enclosed her back, sending that strange second skin enclosing her humming. She licked her lips, her whole body awakening to the touch. Ragnor followed Gerhard’s example and she was enclosed by both of them. She bit back a moan, almost turning to watery clay in their hands.

Her breathing grew faster, her face hotter, the lights in the sky more intense. No longer could she tell which hand was Ragnor’s and which hand was Gerhard’s. They seemed as one, all the same person, her body ready to reach out and absorb both of them.

The arms around her tightened.

“Sif,” Ragnor whispered. “Are you well?”

“More than well.”

He kissed her cheek, the soft brush of his lips setting her face as aflame as the bonfire in front of them. Vaguely, she realized that both men had moved behind her, their shoulders touching, to better support her. Ah, now, if they would just touch her… If she could strip off her clothes, fall to the ground with their bodies entwined with hers…

“To the spring.”

Gunnhilda’s voice again. Sif shook her head, wondering what exactly had been in that cup. And had she given the men the same? If so, why did they seem able to stand on their own?

The walk seemed less of a walk than floating above the ground. Colors kept flashing in front of Sif’s eyes. The noises of birds flapping overheard and animals rustling in the brush felt amplified and strange. Her feet seemed to not feel the soil and grass under them. The hands that connected her to both men seemed to burn, almost scald.

They took the new path created to the spring and reached it in what seemed like no time at all. They stood, bathed in moonlight so bright that Sif squinted against the glare. It even reflected off the water, which seemed to double the glow. Imagination? Or some blessing from Freya?

Gunnhilda bowed to them, said one last blessing and retreated with the torch, leaving them alone before the goddess.

It’s the same cover for the most part but the font has been changed at the bottom to a more modern one, possible to keep the focus on the cover itself rather than the words.

Freya's Gift, the very final cover. 🙂

March 16.

Not much more than a month away. 🙂

And the final blurb:

Sif and Ragnor have held their people together after an unexplained sickness killed most of the women in their tribe, but both know that their future as leaders and their life together have reached a dangerous crossroads.

A sexual ritual for the fertility goddess Freya might provide healing but it requires that Sif give herself to her husband and another man. Ragnor loathes the idea of sharing Sif with his greatest rival but if he doesn’t submit to the will of the goddess, he fails in his duty to protect his people.

If they refuse, their tribe could destroy itself.  If they accept,  they could destroy their love. Only by trusting in Freya can they renew themselves and their people.

Coming March 16 from Samhain Publishing.

I repeat that each time because all the marketers say repetition is necessary. 🙂

I’ve been thinking about the story and how I sometimes stumble when trying to describe it. Yes, it’s erotica and I’m not shy about that but I also think that, deep down, it’s a story of faith: faith in whatever one calls higher powers and faith in each other.

I’ve been choosing bits and pieces that might make some sense out of context and also have the flavor of the story.

Here’s a little bit of Sif with Gunnhilda, the priestess of sorts for the tribe.

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

“Some say that Ragnor’s reluctance to kill Leif makes him weak.” Was Gunnhilda one of those?

“Then they are looking for an excuse, something to complain about,” Gunnhilda said sharply. “I didn’t think Ragnor would be a good leader, but he is. It was a miracle how he managed to get us all here in winter, then set up the village during the time we were in the caves. But even he has limits. There’s been too much bad luck.”

“I think Freya is showing me a way,” Sif said. “I fear I will have to do more than plant squash, however. Plant something else, I think. Or be planted.”

Gunnhilda snorted. “It’s good you married Ragnor. You and Gerhard would have killed each other by now. Too much bluntness in both of you.” She sighed. “What other signs have you seen, besides Mykle and the others, and the cougar that saved Ragnor?”

Sif told of her discovery of the spring, of leading Ragnor to it and the appearance of the three cats after their lovemaking.

“Three?” Gunnhilda dropped the rake.

Sif nodded.

“That is…”

“Yes.”

“Three. That is a new number for Freya. You must worship there again, as you did with Ragnor. But when you go back, there must be three of you.”

Sif paled. Confirmation of her own fear. “You think I should do what Bera did?”

Gunnhilda shook her head. “Freya asks for a sacrifice, not wantonness. It must be as a ritual before the goddess.”

We went through a couple of minor cover variations before settling on this one.

I like this because it intrigues me about what the women might be thinking and I especially love the design and the earth tones, which goes nicely with the Dinah of Seneca cover. That was a happy coincidence, given that they’re with two different publishers.

Available March 16 in ebook form from Samhain Publishing.

My first published fiction.

::snoopy dance::

Happy Weekend, all!

I was looking through the story for good passages and realized that I haven’t posted anything yet that featured Gerhard, the third participant in the fertility ritual at the heart of the tale.

Gerhard is also the hero of Dinah of Seneca, so it seemed a good idea to give him some screen time today. He and Ragnor are definitely not friends.

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

“Gunnhilda spoke to me of a ritual,” Gerhard said.

Ragnor nodded. “What of it?”

Speak, Gerhard. Tell me why you think you are deserving of my wife’s touch. Or the touch of the goddess.

“I told Gunnhilda that she was mad.”

“I told Sif the same.”

Gerhard sat on the far side of the rock. Ragnor still did not look at him. Gerhard sighed. “Gunnhilda pointed out the signs of the goddess. The spring. The cat who—”

“Saved my life.” Ragnor finally lifted his head. Gerhard seemed honestly reluctant. Why? Wouldn’t any man want to get hands on Sif? And then perhaps seize leadership?

“The cougar also saved the lives of several in that hunting party,” Gerhard said. “We feasted, instead of mourning.” Gerhard tapped his foot against the ground, over and over. “I grow sick of mourning.”

“We all do.”

Gerhard stood and walked in front of Ragnor to face him. Ragnor stared, trying to read the man’s face. Gerhard had always kept his own counsel, save for his late wife. A fine woman, if a bit too quiet and too thin for Ragnor’s taste.

“You are considering this?” Gerhard said.

Freya damn him, he was. Sif was right. The fight between Torger and Mykle would not be the last. The next one could end in death. And Ragnor kept flashing back to how the great cat had watched him. Judged him.

“Yes.” Ragnor stared past Gerhard. “I am chief. That means my life belongs to the tribe. As does Sif’s life. I consider it.”

Blatant Self-Promotion Time. Freya’s Gift. Coming from Samhain Publishing on March 16.

Snippet:

“Ragnor,” she whispered. “Look up, at the top of the rocks. But don’t move.”

Without moving his head, he looked up and nearly jumped out of his skin.

The cougar.

It stood at the top of the rock, silhouetted against the sun. It might even be the same cat that had saved him. It was not looking at them but instead was looking into the sky. Ragnor tried to keep from breathing. He dared to hope that this was another goddess blessing and not a prelude to an attack. He could not save Sif without weapons.

The cat snarled.

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

Soon, I shall have the cover to show to you. And it is a very cool cover.

The publication date of my first published fiction work–yes, I like saying that–is closing fast.

As part of the countdown to March 16, I plan on posting a snippet each week until it’s out.

I decided on snippets because I think they whet the appetite for the story just as much as a chapter and they are far less intimidating.

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

Ragnor’s face did not change expression as he saw her. He set the axe down carefully against the side of the longhouse. “Sif. You wake early today.”

“I am feeling better.” Sif almost reached out to lay her hand on his chest. He smelled so sweet, so musky, so much like he did after lovemaking. She still found him irresistible. But she’d always known he’d welcome her attention before.

“Good.” Ragnor nodded.

Behind Ragnor, men carrying spears, bows and arrows gathered in the square.

“A hunting party?” she asked.

“It will do the men good.”

Meaning that it would be something to occupy him. “Yes, it will.” Her tongue nearly caught in her throat.

He set his hand on her hip. “Sif.”

“Ragnor.” She felt her face flush and fought the urge to fall at his feet and beg for him to touch her further.

A chief’s wife does not beg.