Angels & Demons Blog Hop + Giveaway! Over 100 Authors Participating!

ONE Grand Prize Winner gets a Kindle Touch & ONE winner gets a $60 Amazon or Barnes&Noble Gift Card. The organizers of Angels & Demons Blog Hop will be choosing the overall winner from the comments on ALL the blogs involved. Meaning the readers can comment on each blog (all 103) and be entered 103 times. The organizers would appreciate your including your e mail address when you comment (won’t be published of course). Since I have a day job, please don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear right away – I’ll moderate comments in the evening!

So, do you believe in angels? In demons? Do you have a favorite angel or demon character from a recently read novel?

I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one randomly selected winner who comments on this blog! Please refer to the list of bloggers and links at the end of this post for where to hop next…

I believe in Angels myself, based on some personal experiences. I suppose that means I believe in demons too, by default, but I’d rather think about the positive.

In fiction, my favorite Angels are to be found in Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series….

Here are some favorite general quotes about Angels:

“But men must know, that in this theatre of man’s life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.” Francis Bacon

“Whether the angels play only Bach praising God, I am not quite sure. I am sure, however, that en famille they play Mozart.” Karl Barth

“Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.” Thomas Paine

“The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.” George Eliot


Leia Shaw


Carrie Ann Ryan


Lia Davis


Guilty Pleasures


Marie Dees


Anie @ House Millar


Tempeste Oriley


Jenna Jaxon


Eliza Gayle


Cari Silverwood—blog.html


Melynda Price


Margay Leah Justice


Angelique Armae


The Jeep Devia


Amber Kallyn


Close Encounters of the Night Kind


I Smell Sheep


Deb Sanders


Buffys Ramblings


Naughty Nights Press


Fifer Hylton


Dark Haven Book Reviews


Wendy Ely


Sandra Bunino


Heather Boyd


Harlies Books


Dakota Trace


Tracy Sumner Romance Author


Erotica Author, Fierce Dolan


Verity Ant BDSM Romance


Veronica Scott


Patrica Snodgrass Blog


Wickedly Erotic – JL Oiler


Kharisma Rhayne


Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy


Tara Lain Erotic Romance


Erotic Notions


Victorias Pages of Romance


Adriana Kraft


Malia Mallory


Dianne Hartsock


Gem Savid


Book Lovers Haven


Jessica Subject


The Ebook Reviewers


Fayth Devlin


Romance with Suspense, Secrets


Madeline Sloane


Suzzana C Ryan


Do You Want Mayo With That


Wendi Zwaduk


Megan Slayer


Mary Marvella


I Love Shape-Shifters


Michael Mandrake


Stacy Juba


LL Muir


Sexy Romance Stories


Jennifer Lynne


Cynthia Woolf


Diane Alberts


KE Saxon


Linda Andrews


Riverina Romantics


DC Juris


Zrinka Jelic


Linda Nightingale


Liv Rancourt


Starr Words


Pippa Jay


Tara Mandreino


Smitten by Bad Boy Heroes


Casey Crow


All the Fun Starts After Dark


Realmantic Moments


Saleh Janel


Zilah Anderson


Best Erotic Books


Romance Book Club Blog


Relax with a Romance


Stephanie Haefner


Avrils Blog


Tami Brothers


Heartthrob Haven


Carolyn Rosewood carolynrosewood/com


Natasha Blackthorne


Romance with a Bite


Sadie Hart


Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell


Gem Sivad


Ana Hart


Naomi Belina


Reading on the Wild Side


Diane Thorne


Mary Abshire


Stacey Brutger


Dani Harper


KH LeMoyne


Other Worlds & Realities


Heart of A Wolf


Talk Supe


Smart Mouth Texan


Literal Addiction

Wednesday Whimsy – Please Close the Refrigerator Door!

You’re letting all the pingpong balls out! At least that’s what we say in our household, based on  a VERY old Southern California Edison TV commercial where – you guessed it – someone left the door open on their fridge and thousands of pingpong balls (aka the cold air) fell out everywhere.

My autistic spectrum grandson is very cavalier about closing the refrigerator door…but the Japanese have solved the problem with a set of adorable “talking fridge pets,” who will scold you if you leave the door open too long! (although I’m afraid my grandson would want to stand and converse, and probably still leave the darn door open).

If that isn’t whimsical, I don’t know what would be! Happy Wednesday (and close the door!)

Board Games of 5000 Years Ago

The Ancient Egyptians worked hard, but also loved to play. They had many leisure pastimes, with board games high on their list.  One of the most famous games is senet, invented over 5000 years ago.  Played with two sets of pawns, some kind of dice and a board with thirty holes, the game was symbolic of the journey of the dead. A player who did really well at this game was considered to be under the protection of a major god or goddess. We don’t know the actual rules any longer, although various scientists have put a lot of effort into coming up with reasonable ideas.

In a Tale of the Nile novel I have out on submission right now, my heroine discusses playing senet with the goddess Isis herself. Here’s the excerpt (Khenet, one of Pharoah’s warriors, is the hero):

Isis returned to her contemplation of the game board. “Do you play senet?”

Startled, Tiya didn’t quite know what to say so she kept silent.

Picking up one of the major pieces, the goddess slanted a sideways glance at her. “I ask because life is much the same. I pose you a question – what outcomes are possible in senet?” She tossed the piece to Tiya.

Automatically, she cupped her hands to prevent the elaborately carved piece from falling to the ground. “Win, lose or draw, Great One.” Tiya glanced at the small token in her hand and gasped. The face was unmistakably Khenet’s, carved in great detail, even down to the scar on his cheek and the tattoo on his upper arm.

“Exactly,” Isis was saying. “Arriving at any one of the outcomes involves many game pieces, deployed in a vast array of choices. You and this Khenet are game pieces. Harsh for a mortal to hear, but true.”  Shaking her head slightly, beads in her elaborate wig chiming, the goddess held out her hand for the pawn. Taking a step forward Tiya reluctantly set the piece upright in Isis’s palm. For a heartbeat, the queen studied the pawn’s face, before returning it to a position among the ranks of other pawns.

In another work in progress I’m still editing, the heroine plays a different, high stakes game with a wily caravan master. They play hounds and jackals, which seems to be an early version of our snakes and ladders. The object was to get your five pieces around the palm tree “course” and all safely onto the eternity hieroglyph first. I have a feeling you could probably send other players back to the start, depending on how the dice fell, but again, we don’t really know. The game pieces are irresistible though!

And then there was mehen, named for a great serpent who protects the sun god Ra as he makes his journey. This game is also about 5000 years old, played on a board shaped like a snake. The pieces may have been shaped like lions and lionesses, and there may have been dice or small stone balls like marbles.  The serpent was segmented into “spaces” and it is believed as many as six people could play. Over time, the game fell out of favor, possibly due to an increasing belief by the Egyptians that the segmentation of the snake on the game board might actually be hurting or killing the “real” Mehen snake who guarded Ra, thus endangering the daily rising of the Sun.

Parker Brothers never had to worry about things like that with their games! Monopoly and Risk were always big favorites at our house, though we usually gave up before anyone declared a decisive victory. Scrabble and Parcheesi  are the other, quicker games we play. I think the Ancient Egyptians would get the point of any of today’s games rather quickly and join right in!

What’s your favorite board game? What would you invite visitors from the past to sit down and play?


Six Sentence Sunday – More Science Fiction Adventure

Going back to my SFR , STILL out on submission now, set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. 

In the excerpt two weeks ago Tom was taken suddenly ill. Last week Tom and Andi discussed his illness and as promised, here are the next six sentences in that conversation:

“This assignment was unusual, having a squad under my command since Mitch and I work alone 90% of the time,” he said, reaching out to take her hand, twining his fingers through hers, stroking his thumb across her palm.  “I would never put my guys at risk – I get about a week’s warning before an attack comes on, which gives me time to lie low.”

“What kind of warning?”

“The whole visible spectrum of colors shifts on me, like an aura, enough so nothing looks normal and for sure nothing smells or tastes right – I know an attack is coming and I know what I have to do. I was starting to see the first symptoms the day the orders changed, which was another reason I wasn’t pleased to be diverted to the Obati summer compound. ”

Biting her lip Andi drew little circles in the quilt with her free hand, saying, “I’m sorry.”

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….and hopefully my spam filter will behave this week!

Go to to find all the other great excerpts!

Friday Favorite Flicks – Ice Pirates and Krull

Occasionally on Friday I like to talk about favorite old movies of the VS household. Two of our all-time favorites are Ice Pirates and Krull, both examples of what passed for science fiction in the 1980’s. We never saw them in the theaters, only on video and wore out multiple copies of each.  (Note to all: we love both movies so no snark from us! SPOILERS maybe LOL.) Of course there were some other terrific SF movies in the ‘80’s, like my all-time favorite Aliens…

 But back to Ice Pirates. Start with the truly amazing cast – the late Robert Urich as Jason – always a favorite, good looking, didn’t take himself too seriously, maybe the only guy who could do justice to the role of a spacegoing stealer of frozen water, wearing frilly shirts open to the waist, pretending an old video game was his ship’s weaponry. He romances the obligatory beautiful Princess Karina, played with fire by Mary Crosby, an actress perhaps best known as The Actual Person Who Shot JR.

Add Angelica Huston playing a kickass no nonsense pirate before she got her Oscar (not for this movie); Ron Perlman looking short beside John Matuszak the NFL player; John Carradine; Bruce Vilanch (mostly just his head)…our personal tenuous connection to this movie is that once we stood in line at a store to check out right behind Michael D. Roberts who played Roscoe, Jason’s right hand pirate & robot expert. My girls used to looove this movie and they recognized Mr. Roberts right away but he had that hunted rabbit look that actors and celebrities get sometimes when out in public so we didn’t bother him. Another autograph that got away!

This movie parodied, spoofed, riffed, made fun of and generally saluted EVERY other, more serious SF movie of its time, starting with the actual metal swords instead of light sabers. What’s not to like? There are even unicorns ridden by scantily-clad ladies with a lot of cellulite. I particularly enjoyed Crosby’s Princess Karina, who was a lot tougher than she seemed at first. The whole seduction-in-the-rain scene is over the top, including her asking Jason, “Shouldn’t you be at the controls?” Or we can discuss his stiff….belt…..(Would I make this up????) I enjoy the dinner that Chef Ron and the Ship have prepared, right up till the point the Space Herpe makes its appearance. The final battle, with the time warp and characters fighting, aging, dying, coming back, having kids etc., is FUN.

But as a romance writer, my favorite moment is when Princess Karina is in despair over finding her father and Jason gives her a big hug while vowing to find him for her. Awwww!

Krull was meant to be taken more seriously, although even my little girls had a problem with a space going alien sending its laser-spear equipped minions out on horses. But hey!  The story –  about a handsome prince in smexy tight pants and the beautiful princess (whose sultry voice, we were shattered to learn, years later, was dubbed by someone else), madly in love after one short meeting, trying to fulfill ancient prophecies, fend off her impending forced marriage to the aforesaid alien and generally save the galaxy – is FUN. Along the way Prince Colwyn gathers up the expected ragtag group of more or less expendable helpers, including Liam Neeson in his first film role!

Krull features a fabulous score by James Horner (some of which we think we heard again in Wrath of Khan but we’re not musicians…); a Cyclops, the awesome flying FIRE MARES, a giant stop motion spider, the sands of time (read the fine print before you touch those, I warn you!), quicksand and the Weapon, known as the Glave. I still crave a Glave, not that I want to fish it out of molten lava barehanded like Colwyn did. In their review of the movie when it was first released, the New York Times described the Glave thusly: “… a five-pronged bejeweled gadget that looks like a kitchen utensil with talons and is capable of spinning like a forked Frisbee.” Someone else commented in their blog years later that it should have had a nonstick coating….picky, picky.

Favorite moments too many to mention but I love the ending (only the scene was too short – I wanted more time to savor the Happily Ever After).

One character in Krull is given to sonorously pronouncing “THAT… TRUE.” About every five minutes. If you want to get a rise from my younger Daughter, just utter that phrase in her presence. Not a fan.

Out of words and time for this blog post – many more movies we can talk about later. What’s your favorite SF or Fantasy movie?



Wednesday Whimsy – Mars Rovers

I’m a fan of Mars rovers and some family members just built me one from Legos:

This is a model of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER), two of which are trundling around up on Mars. (Well actually one is done rolling but the other, named Opportunity, is still exploring.)

And here are life size models of all three rovers, Pathfinder, MER and MSL (on its way to Mars now), as seen at the Jet Propulsion Lab:

I don’t really see science fiction as fiction. I can imagine colonies on Mars and everything.
Sigourney Weaver

3000 Years Later We Know His Work By His Heiroglyphic Handwriting

How’s your cursive? 3000 years from now, will archaeologists of the future know your works by your handwriting? At least one man from ancient Egyptian history has that honor, although he wasn’t a pharaoh.

Known as “Scribe of the Tomb,” his name was Amennakhte, Son of Ipuy, and 30 centuries after he lived in Ancient Egypt, archaeologists recognize his handwriting with enough certainty to declare him the creator of various documents and maps. Apparently his hieroglyphic cursive style is so distinctive there’s no doubt when an archaeologist sees it.

Working for Ramses IV, this Scribe created one of the earliest maps that showed the topography of the land as well as the geological content of the rocks. Somewhere around 1150BC, Pharaoh sent more than 8000 men to a certain area to dig the gray-green bekhen stone needed for statues and temple walls.  The expedition is well documented on this map, known as the Turin Papyrus, drawn up by Amennakhte. He depicts the quarry and its vicinity, right down to the groves of tamarisk trees and the water well, with its shadow.  A thorough man!

A  highly placed administrative official in the Theban region, Amennakhte has many other  surviving works besides the amazing map. He had the skills required of a scribe, as well as the ability to draw and chart, and enough interest in detail to pay attention to the geology of a region. His mastery of these elements is displayed on another  papyri – an architectural plan of Ramses IV’s tomb in the Valley of Kings, which is said to be the most elaborate and sophisticated tomb plan to survive from ancient Egypt. Amennakhte’s distinctive handwriting labels the parts of the tomb, giving the dimensions, and on the back he put his own last will and testament.

The Turin Papyrus was found in his family’s tomb. Even the ruins of his house  still survive.

The village where Amennakhte’s house and tomb were found is Deir el-Medina, home to the artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the 18th to 20th dynasties of the  New Kingdom (ca. 1550–1080 BC). The settlement’s ancient name was “Set Maat” (translated as “The Place of Truth“). Tomb builders, artists, craftsmen and their families lived there during a period of about 400 years, leaving a rich record of daily life in that era  (much of it unearthed from the garbage dumps but still…). Archaeological digs have been going on there since the early 1800’s and a great deal is known about the inhabitants. Maybe someday I’ll have to write a blog on that.

Amennakhte also recorded the first labor strike known in history, when tomb workers under Rameses III went on strike, claiming they weren’t receiving the agreed upon food and other wages. In his various reports, the Scribe named names, quoted the claims of the various workers, and described his own attempts to remedy the situation and get everyone back to work. Pharaoh was off fighting a war at the time, not paying attention to these administrative details.

As a writer who creates paranormal tales set in this general time frame of ancient Egypt, I find the idea irresistible that after all these centuries, we can know so much about one person. (Well, and his dad, Ipuy, although I have no idea what Amennakhte’s father did, the name has passed down through history to us as well. Happy Father’s Day, Ipuy!)


Six Sentence Sunday – More Science Fiction Adventure

Really sorry to know that official Six Sentence Sunday is ending in on January 27, 2013 but until then we can keep having FUN!

Going back to my SFR , STILL out on submission now, set in the same universe as my recently published WRECK of the NEBULA DREAM. Andrianda (Andi) Markriss, a planetary representative for Loxton Galactic Trading, has been spending a lazy summer with her best friend in the highly exclusive summer compound of the planet Zulaire’s ruling nobility, networking. On a day when a number of strange  and disturbing things have already happened, Captain Tom Deverane, Sectors Special Forces, unexpectedly shows up with a troop of soldiers and demands she leave with him. Immediately.

Andi doesn’t take this very well….in fact, she refuses to go. Later in the evening, all hell has broken loose, as the captain predicted.
Trying to avoid spoilers here, after certain “events”, she and the soldiers are on the run. Here’s a snippet from after they either rescued someone at Andi’s insistence…or didn’t LOL and have moved on, still trying to escape pursuers.

In last week’s excerpt Tom was taken suddenly ill. There’s a LOT of plot between that moment and this excerpt:

“How long?” He frowned, apparently trying to remember the onset of the attack.

“Four days,” Andi said. “Sgt. Wilson told me you’ve had this for years, taking some black market medicine to keep it in check – how can you still be on active duty with a chronic condition like this?”

He took another swig of the juice, tipped the last drops onto his tongue then handed her the mug. “Com­mand didn’t have to know since it never affected my ability to do the job before now.”

“That’s hard to believe, Tom, how could it not?”

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….and hopefully my spam filter will behave this week!

Go to to find all the other great excerpts!

My Dad – Happy Father’s Day

27 Things About My Dad (in no certain order):

Gloried in being of Irish descent

Sang the part of Sheikh Ali Ben Ali in “Desert Song” in high school

Was in the Army in WWII

Graduated from Rutgers on the GI Bill (Go Scarlet Knights!)

Met my mother as an archery instructor at a summer camp where she was working, romance ensued, followed by marriage and baby carriage (oh, that would be ME! And my brother 8 years later)

Started at Easy Washer designing washing machines, then tanks at GE, then….

Worked on the Saturn 1B and the Saturn 5 for GE

Gave me my first typewriter so I could tell my stories

Taught me to fish (and clean fish)

Taught me to ride a bicycle

Taught me to shoot archery

Taught me to drive a car (the parallel parking thing didn’t stick with me – sorry, Dad!)

Gave me a love for science fiction

Bought me all the books and comic books I could read

Sang the part of Papageno in “The Magic Flute” in a civic production

Loved to golf and bowl (although it was my Mother who once bowled a perfect game!)

Flew radio controlled model airplanes

Could not be spoken too in the morning prior to having his coffee

Told great stories and jokes

Was your basic steak and potatoes man

Sang Barbershop Quartet (SPEBSQSA anyone?)

Never met my daughters

Was stubborn as a mule

Loved Louis L’amour Westerns

Loved thunderstorms and big, scary weather…

Was a great guy and I’ll always miss him! Best wishes to all Fathers everywhere – Happy Father’s Day!

Wednesday Whimsy – Good Health!

Health is on my mind of late – wishing everyone who reads this post nothing but the very best health!

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain

(VS sez: He probably would have been equally wary of too much internet searching on your health issues too!)

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. Gandhi

Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning. Thomas Jefferson

(VS: I do like his emphasis on reading too!)

Attention to health is life’s greatest hindrance. Plato

Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out. That is what it is for. Spend all you have before you die; do not outlive yourself. George Bernard Shaw