Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Charm for a Unicorn

A Charm for a Unicorn

Is now available at Calderwood Books!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Snippet

Saturday - because I missed Friday. I only remembered after I read Gabriele's.
And Saturday because this books Just Came Out at Calderwood Books and is Available right Now!

Here Ashley has just been kidnapped by Alexander....

"...Alexander and I went for our evening swim. We washed each other's hair, and I plucked a willow branch and proceeded to clean my teeth. I had been cleaning them this way since I'd arrived, although I would have liked some fresh mint toothpaste to go along with it. I was just starting to nibble at the wood, to make it softer, when Alexander asked me what I was doing.

"I'm cleaning my teeth," I explained. I showed him how it was done, and told him I did it three times a day.

Alexander raised his eyebrows. "We use little brushes and put paste made of chalk and lemon juice on them. The Egyptians use urine, white wood ashes and ass's milk," he added. "What does your mother use? What do you use in the underworld? Are there trees there? It must be dreadfully cold." He stopped talking and waited for me to answer all of his questions in the order he'd asked them.

I hadn't known about their toothbrushes. I was put off by the description of the Egyptian's toothpaste, though. "My mother had little brushes that we used, the ones she liked had hog's bristles. And as for the underworld," I stopped and groped for something to say about that, "well, it's cold in the wintertime and hot in the summer." I left it at that and he seemed content.

Except for one thing.

"What about the trees?"

"Oh. Well, no, there are no trees underground." I frowned. This was getting tricky. "You know, I can't talk about any of that, I hope you'll understand."

He nodded. "I should have known. I won't ask you any more about it. It must have been dreadful and you want to forget it, is that it?"

"Exactly." I smiled and then swam against the current. "Shall we get dressed for the theater? I don't want to be late."

"No, I don't want to get dressed just yet." He drifted alongside me and rolled over in the water like a playful dolphin. I noticed his erection and grinned; he was about as subtle as a tank. We splashed about in the water together. It was fun swimming against the current and making love at the same time. I started giggling and nearly choked and he found that hilarious. He held me up and then moaned, putting his face in the crook of my neck. The current took us downstream, and we had to wade back to our beach.

He caught me watching him, and his face shifted. He smiled and shook his head. "You mustn't look at me like that," he said gravely. "The gods will be jealous and they'll take you away again." He caught me by the arm and pulled me to him, holding me tightly. "I don't want to lose you," he whispered in my ear. "So don't tempt the gods, please."

For once, I thought I knew what he was feeling, so I nodded, my face against his broad chest.
We dressed for the theater. I wrapped linen around myself like a sari, tied a yellow sash around my waist, and then wincing, put my sandals on again. My feet were not getting used to them.
Alexander looked imposing with a white, pleated dress skirt and his military tunic. He slipped his breastplate on, then shook his head and took it off. "A bit ostentatious," he said. Instead, he took a deep purple cape.

"Very handsome," I told him.

He asked me to plait his hair into one long braid. His shoulder-length hair was naturally wavy and thick, and I wished mine would grow in faster. My stubble looked like hoarfrost on my head. I put my turban on.

He kissed me before we left. He grinned at me, our foreheads touching. His was warm, mine cool.

"Shall we go, my snow queen?"

"We go, my sun prince," I answered, and our hands entwined as we walked down the road towards the setting sun. There was a marvelous feeling growing in my chest making it hard to breathe, but even harder to stop grinning.

The theater was crowded, but we had the best seats. First, one of the actors read a discourse from Plato's Republic, in Phoenician, so I didn't get a word of it. Then Alexander went to the stage and took a bow. He gave a long speech, also in Phoenician, and I had no idea what it was about, but I guessed it was a harangue on Greek culture. The people raised their arms into the air and snapped their fingers, which was their way of applauding.

Afterwards there was a tragedy, and then a comedy.

The tragedy was Oedipus Rex.

Unwittingly, Oedipus killed his father and married his mother. Then he tried to find out why the gods were forsaking the city. No one would tell him. When he discovered the truth, he put out his own eyes and became a beggar.

Everyone cried; some even sobbed aloud. I was embarrassed by the noisy outburst of emotion, and shrank into my seat. Alexander turned to me with tears on his face. When he saw my frozen expression he looked startled for an instant, then shutters seemed to come down over his eyes. He turned back to the play, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Afterwards, there was an intermission, and venders swarmed over the amphitheater offering food and drinks. Alexander bought me some honeyed nuts, and we drank watered wine that one of the soldiers carried in a goatskin. A section of the theater was reserved for slaves, and I caught sight of Brazza, the mute, happily munching on nuts.

Nassar was near the stage translating for some merchants who looked like Egyptians. He saw me, his face brightened, and he waved.

Then the actors came back on the stage, and the second half of the evening began. It was the comedy. Some women and children left, and I remembered that comedies could sometimes turn lascivious or impious. People with high moral standards departed after the tragedies.

Most people stayed.

It was "Plato's Banquet", which I'd never seen. I recognized the famous harangue "in vino veritas," and the crowd was helpless with laughter at the actors' drunken antics. The play was not a straight comedy, it seemed to have more to do with love than wine, and I was nearly moved to tears in the end. Everyone else did cry. I sat there feeling out of place, but I was used to that.

Afterwards the actors took their masks off and came to meet Alexander. He praised their interpretation, even reciting several speeches by heart. More people came up to him, and he smiled and answered questions. His magnetism drew them. They crowded around him. He didn't seem to notice. He was the same with everyone, be they slave, infant, or Queen of Egypt. He treated everyone with the same grave consideration. The people adored him.

When the crowd thinned, we strolled back to the camp, the soldiers walking behind us. Alexander had his arm linked through mine, and every now and then we'd stop and he'd point out a constellation.

The soldiers stopped when we did and walked when we walked. Alexander spoke to them as if they were all equals, and they looked at him in open admiration. He didn't notice.
He did notice when I started limping, though.

"What happened to you? Let me see your feet." He motioned for a torch and looked at my sore feet, making clucking sounds as he did. "What awful sandals, where did you get them? I've never seen worse. Why don't you get some leather ones? Lysimachus!"

The captain of the guard came over. "Yes sir!"

"Captain, you will get some sandals for this woman tomorrow."

"Yes sir!" He saluted.

Alexander had two soldiers make a hand-chair for me, and they carried me back to the tent.
"I can't believe you wore these!" he kept exclaiming.

"They were given to me," I explained.

Alexander couldn't get over it. My itchy linen robe had been the very finest quality, thanks to the machine that wove it, but my shoes had been a dismal failure and he was disappointed in the god's choice of footwear.

I tried to explain that the gods had nothing to do with my sandals but fell asleep in the middle of my sentence. It wasn't that important anyway, I thought.

There was a new pair of sandals on the rug the next morning. They fitted perfectly. My old ones had disappeared, and I didn't find out where they'd gone until I went into the village and passed by the temple. There, on the altar, were my sandals.

Fresh flowers, a bowl of warm milk, and a small snail made of clay surrounded them. A young girl in temple robes sat next to them murmuring a prayer. I tried to speak to her in Greek, but she didn't understand me.

I pursed my lips and went to find Nassar. Maybe he could explain.

Nassar was writing a letter for a tough-looking soldier. They were both sitting on a mat made of reeds, and every once in a while Nassar would throw his pen away and break off a reed. He would sharpen it quickly with his teeth and I realized with a small start that his front teeth had been carefully cut at a bias to trim reeds into pens.

It was interesting and I resolved to have him explain how it was done. He dipped the reed into a little clay pot of ink and wrote on a rather cheap piece of papyrus. A dozen rolled-up letters were lying beside him, each one flattened and sealed with a blob of wax. He'd been busy all morning.

When he finished the letter he rolled it up, tied it with a piece of grass and sealed it with hard wax. Then he flattened the whole thing with his fist, wrote the address on the outside, and placed it on top of the pile.

"Next?" he called out in his nasal voice.

"Good morning, Nassar," I said as I approached.

He held his arms up in a stiff salute and then bowed, touching his forehead to the mat. "Hail Demeter's daughter," he intoned.

"Don't do that!" I was upset. "Who told you that, anyway?"

"Oh, everyone knows," he said smugly.

"Well, I'd like you to come to the temple with me to see about a pair of shoes," I said.

"Oh! The Sacred Sandals! I should be honored! May I touch them, oh daughter of Demeter?"

I closed my eyes and counted to ten. "They aren't sacred sandals," I said. "And of course you can touch them. There's been a mistake."

"They weren't your sandals? The captain of the guards took them to the shoemaker early this morning to have a copy made in leather and gave the originals to the temple. It is not a coincidence that the goddess of the harvest, Demeter, guards this town. It was why you were sent here. Now that Iskander has rescued you, the harvest is sure to be fantastic this year."

"But isn't the village protected by Ishtar?"

"It was, but it's becoming Hellenicised. Now it has adopted Demeter, goddess of the harvest, because of what Iskander said last night in his speech."

"His speech? What did he say?"

"You should have asked me to translate," he said, reproach in his voice. "He said he was glad to be there and that he hoped the play would be entertaining, that he and his soldiers were very happy in the village, and he was honored everyone had made them feel so welcome, and how the two cultures would complement each other."

Nassar took a deep breath, like a swimmer, and plunged in again. "He said that the gods of Greece were stronger than our gods so we'd do well to adopt theirs. He said you had been sent as a sign and that he'd saved you from Hades himself, so Demeter would forever be grateful. He said that as a goddess you would personally see to the welfare of the village." He finished in a rush and smiled at me. "I'm no longer an atheist," he said proudly. "I believe in you. Why, if I want, I can actually touch your sandals."

I closed my eyes again and waited for the wave of pain that was sure to come. Pretending to be a goddess must rate among the three top reasons for erasing a Time-traveling journalist. After a few seconds I opened one eye, then the other.

Nothing had happened. I was still sitting in front of Nassar, and he was watching me with a rapt expression on his narrow, rat-like face.

"Did your mother speak to you?" he whispered, his eyes wide.

"No. No, she didn't. Excuse me, Nassar, but I think I'll just go lie down. I have to think about all this."

I stood up, shivering with disquiet, and walked back to the tent where Alexander was having a game of dice with a tall man I recognized as the village priest. I wondered if I could sneak away, but they turned and saw me.

"Oh! There you are!" cried Alexander, standing up and holding out his arms. "I was worried. Did you find your new shoes? Yes, I see you did. The village priest has come to thank you for your sandals. In exchange, he has agreed to forsake all virgin sacrifices. Isn't that wonderful? Your mother will be thrilled."

"I'm sure she will be," I said with the utmost truthfulness. Then I went into the tent and collapsed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sebi moves out!

He's moving out Sunday!!! My baby!
Well, not such a baby anymore.

Here's my favorite picture of him
- He's such a goof.

So today I went through my 'stuff' and made up boxes with sheets, towels, dishes, and everything he needs for his tiny studio in Paris. We went to Ikea and got a few things - I didn't have a spare frying pan or cutting board for him. Plus he just likes to go to Ikea.
The news is on, and they just announced the flu shot is available - I'm going to get one for me and for my hubby, and for Sebi too; last year the flu hit right during exam week and a lot of the students were sick. I've been getting the flu shot for the past five years.
Tomorrow I'll be sorting things for Sebi and gettting the car all packed, and Sunday morning he's off to his new apartment!

And yes I'll miss him.

But he's coming back weekends for his fireman duty.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen

Since I'm being Pollyanna today, I thought I'd count my blessing.
Here are Thirteen Nice things that happened to me this week.

1) We opened Calderwood Books! Hurrah!

2) My high school chums from St. Thomas, Lucy and Harrie, contacted me, and we have been reminiscing.

3) I got a terrific cake recipe, made it, and everyone loved it. I think it was the raisins soaked in the rum that did it.

4) My son Alex got a meal program at college. Yes, I know, it's a trifle, but now I don't worry about my dakhla dakhla not getting enough to eat.

5) My husband shot a wild boar and brought the meat home. Wild boar is delicious, and tonight I'm making a roasted leg of wild boar with a really nice fig and wine sauce, served with sweet potatoes and green beans.

6) I got news that 'Les Grands Ecoles' de Paris are holding an art auction, and they want my drawings and paintings. I got to work listing what I had, and decided to make a website to showcase my equestrian art.

7) I finished the website. Well, almost done. I still have to scan some more drawings and load them in.

8) I have been playing lots of golf, and I'm taking some lessons to help get back into the 'swing'.

9) My friend Pat (Orion) is sending me an autographed copy of The Lottery!!!!!!!!!

10) I got news today that Daisy is in the October issue of Carmel Magazine for her Cook book, 'Cooking With Friends'. It's a Great cookbook, and I'm not just saying that because I have a recipe in it, lol.

11) The weather man has been predicting rain since Sunday - and it's been sunny and crisp every day.

12) I've been taking advantage of the nice weather and have been playing a lot of golf. I love golf!

13) I went to the gym twice this week, and I'm not sore! Either I'm getting in shape, or our teacher is slacking off.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Strengths in Writing

Verilian tagged me! She's asked me to divulge 5 strengths I have as Writer.
It's not easy being objective about your own writing. I mean - only 5? LOL. If you really know me, you'll know I'm horribly critical of my own writing, love to tear it apart, will agonize over it, and I have many more weaknesses than strengths. (Especially spelling...) But I'll try to find what I consider my 5 best strengths:

1. My vocabulary. I hardly ever need to search for the right word to describe something. I think this comes from having, as a toddler, an old encyclopedia that I carried around with me. I literally cut my teeth on words.

2. Dialogue. I have a good ear for dialogue, and for what sounds authentic. I'm not bragging when I say I've never had an editor tell me to redo or rework part of my dialogue. The characters speak in their own voices - I hear them - and write down what they say. Proof of insanity, but a certain strength when it comes to writing.

3. Imagination. I think, "What if..." and a whole new whole opens up to me. A myriad of paths fan out from a single idea, and I can make horses travel through space, a meteorite wipe out only the adults on earth, or a woman can time travel back to interview Alexander the Great and get kidnapped by him.

4. I'm a nit picker. I will write and rewrite and re-rewrite in order to get it perfect. I'm not afraid to take a book apart and put it back together. I'm not afraid of chopping text, pruning uneeded prose, or getting rid of useless information or even characters. I'm ruthless when it comes to editing - subscribing to the 'slash and burn' method. I'm a careful writer, and I turn in a clean copy.

5. I love to do research and I love to read. Science, history, space, crime, sports, religion...anything is fair game to be included in my books, and I love to research. Recently I researched the FBI. I spent over a year researching Alexander the Great before I started writing. When I wrote Angels on Crusade, I researched the Middle Ages. I contact people over the internet, I go to public libraries, and I read, read, read....I think reading is a strength when it comes to writing.

I tag everyone who wants to play, and I hope you will!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Calderwood Books is Open!!

We're open!

Please stop by and have a look around!

Thank you!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tomorrow, tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the big day.

I've been working hard on the website.

It looks wonderful.

The books are all ready - waiting - hopeful.

They want to be read.

They need to be read.

It's the philosophical question, 'If a tree falls in a forest and no one sees it, did it really fall?'

If a book is written and no one reads it, does it really exist?

So get ready to make books real -


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One man's junk...

It's junk day, and we cleaned out our garage and put the junk outside. Half of it is gone. I came back from my walk to see a man putting the chair with the broken seat in the back of his car. There are junk trunks driving through the village scouring the sides of the road and piles of junk for treasure to sell, keep, fix, or whatever.

We watched Gettysburg again. My daughter loves that DVD and keeps putting it on. My husband saw it for the first time and is hooked. He wants to get a copy of the music. Here's a photo of the cemetery in Gettysburg. A haunting place. If you get a chance to read 'Killer Angels', don't hesitate. It's a wonderful book. And the movie is very well done also.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Can we slow down here?

I need a few more hours each day please.

I was happily getting the Calderwood site finished up, putting the last touches on our Siren newsletter, and thinking I'd gotten a Lot done, when edits arrived for Zombie Jack!!!!

My new editor apologised, but there had been some mix-ups. The story had started out as Jack's Back, a zombie tale, by Jennifer Macaire. And Loose Id asked me to change the title as they Already had a Jack's Back (the titles were the same, *sniff*) So I sent in a list of titles. They chose Zombie Jack (detective extraordinaire) and put it in their list under my pen name, Samantha Winston.

So my editor glances at the list now and then, waiting to see her book come up, and notices there's another book about a zombie (Hmmm, that's odd, she thinks) But she doesn't make any connection because she thinks my name is Jennifer Macaire, and she's waiting for my book to get on the list...and the day before yesterday the powers that be at Loose contact her and say 'Why is Zombie Jack still on the list??? We're publishing it next month!!"

Well, she spent 48 hours with it and did a TERRIFIC job, I can tell you. This girl is Gold. I have a new favorite editor!

She sent me the manuscript and said 'It's a RUSH job', so I sat up all night and finished it. And now I'll quick go over it again because I bet I started goofing up after a few nonstop hours of looking for red ink, lol.

INACOC though. Off to get more coffee.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Odo and the Time Children

We have several children's books. Here is a fantasy time travel, one of the most original books I've come across if ages.


Children’s fantasy. Two Saxon children meet Odo the talking cat, and find themselves careening through time with him in search of an ancient gold coin.


Chapter One
"When the boats came back after the long summer all the people came down to the shore to meet them. Your great, great grandfather was there, tall and with an armful of presents for the family. He was the first to step out of the boat and wade ashore."

Turnip and Meadowsweet smiled politely. They had heard the story so many times. Uncle Rolf stroked his beard and stared out into the waters of the estuary. He was telling the two children the saga of when their ancestors returned from the first visit to the land they would call England.

Then he would retell the story of how the whole Saxon tribe left their home and went to live in England, leaving out what he thought were the battle scenes unsuitable for the children.

In truth, Turnip, his nephew wanted to know every detail about the fights. Turnip's sister Meadowsweet was more interested in what the people wore for the journey across the great ocean.

"Why was my grandfather a two greats?" Turnip interrupted.

"What?" Uncle Rolf asked.

"You said he was a great, great grandfather. Did he do something special to get called great twice?"

"It doesn't mean that," Uncle Rolf answered, looking flustered that his story had been brought to a halt just when he was in full flow."It means…" Uncle Rolf stammered… "It means he was born a long time ago."

"How long?" Turnip persisted mischievously.

"About as long as…" Uncle Rolf tugged at his beard, searching for an explanation.

"As long as a donkey's tail," Turnip called out, desperately trying to hide a giggle behind his little hand.

Uncle Rolf considered this, looked thoughtful, then suddenly realized he was being teased. He tried to regain his adult dignity as best he could, coughed a few times and said pompously, "I think it would be better to continue the story another day. Why don't you two go down and play by the river."

"Oh, please, Uncle Rolf, do go on with the story," Meadowsweet protested politely.

"Don't push your luck," Turnip muttered very quietly so the slightly deaf Uncle Rolf did not hear him, at the same time digging his sister in the ribs with a small but sharp elbow.

"Stop it!" Meadowsweet squealed.

"I have stopped the story," Uncle Rolf said, now confused.

Turnip tugged at his sister's sleeve."Bye, Uncle Rolf," he shouted back, as he ushered his sister down the slope toward the river.

They ran excitedly through the tufted grass, which grew sparsely on the poor soil. This was what they wanted to do. Get away from the adults for a while and play pretend games.

Even though they were very young they were still expected to help their mother and father. That meant feeding the three pigs and ten chickens, collecting wood for the fire and, the worst job of all, helping with the digging of the ditches. All the people of the tribe were involved in this work. Without draining the marshes, there would be no pastures to feed the sheep and cattle and rich soil to grow the crops.

But just at the moment, all those thoughts were flowing out of Turnip and Meadowsweet's minds. They were heading for the river and some time to themselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Time for Alexander

(Advance apologies for a long post!)
This review and interview appeared in LitPot magazine, published by Beverly Jackson. Shaula Evans, editor, wrote the review.

'Time for Alexander' byJennifer Macaire

"It was with some trepidation that I opened "Time For Alexander"--the first novel (in a series to come) by Jennifer Macaire. My sources said it was about Alexander the Great and time travel--and since historical fiction and sci-fi genres were not my normal taste, I was hesitant. But knowing and trusting Ms. Macaire's skills, having read much of her short fiction, I pushed forward in curiosity, and am happy that I did.

This novel is as much fun as a Mardi Gras parade. It lopes across the terrain of romance novels, historical fiction, magical realism, and science fiction--costumed, its cheek poked out by a devilish tongue, spoofing the genres, never taking itself too seriously, and yet cleverly snaring it's reader in a gloriously intriguing plot about a young woman journalist who time-travels back through history to interview Alexander The Great.

What follows, after she awakes under a pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death, and ever so much more. Using historical facts for a springboard, Ms. Macaire leaps into the waters of pure imagination, and creates a unique novel, the likes of which you're not likely to find anywhere.

Ashley, our journalist heroine, narrates with the certainty and casualness of a woman who knows who she is, and has all the heart and daring of her own to take on any great world conqueror. It's a downright hoot. Macaire deftly submerges Ashley in the kingdom's culture and mores with such credible logic that it makes reading the saga pure fun, with us rooting for the 'good guys' all the way.

In this literally epic writing project, Ms. Macaire deftly tackles the authorial challenges of historical research, cross-genre writing, and publishing an unconventional novel.

In the following conversation by email, she discusses her craft and the adventure of publishing Alexander with publisher Beverly Jackson and LitPot Book Review Editor Shaula Evans.

Jackson: Hi Jennifer. I really enjoyed your book! Evans: Jennifer, I wanted to let you know that I read the book start to finish in one sitting and I enjoyed it tremendously.

Macaire: I appreciate your kind words.

Jackson: How did you ever get the idea to write Time for Alexander? What prompted you?

Macaire: I know it sounds trite, but I'd just read a biography that left me frustrated. The professor admitted that most of what was written about Alexander was conjecture, and that no contemporary writings about him existed. I decided to write a quick sketch, just to see if I could get a bit of the essence of Alexander's story on paper.

I started writing a short story about a journalist who goes back in time to interview him, and Alexander just took over. His character seemed to come to life, and when he kidnapped the journalist, I knew I was going to have to make the short story into a novel.

Jackson: When I finished this book, I knew I wasn't finished with this story. This looks like it's going to be a series of books, am I right?

Evans: I wondered the same thing. What plans do you have for future books?

Macaire: The funny thing is, I only planned on one book, but Alexander had such a strong character that I couldn't fit him into any other plot than his own life, which was incredible enough as it is and took up four books. But I couldn't let him die in Babylon, so his time-traveling wife saves him, and they go to Gaul and then to the land of the Eaters of the Dead to search for the Thief of Souls.

The story is quite interesting, and a lot is based on time, on the possibility of changing the future and the idea that fate does or does not exist. The Greeks believed in fate, while Ashley, who comes from the future, does not believe in anything. She doesn't believe in any sort of Gods, so it's always a nuisance when Apollo talks to her. She's scientific and intellectual, and she can't 'relax' and let things happen.

I had a lot of fun making her interact with Alexander. They complement each other. In all, there are seven books in the series. All done, all final drafts. I'm waiting for the contract for the rest of them, but like anything else, it depends on the results of book one, I suppose. I can't imagine not publishing them, so I have a couple of options open right now. The best would be that they come out as soon as possible--I have several people threatening me if the other books don't appear. Soon.

Jackson: (laughs) Did you mean for this book to come out so funny and campy? You DO know it's fun and campy, right? Was this intentional?

Macaire: I wrote an introduction for the first draft where I said, "The history is solid but the book is fiction and walks that fine line between fantasy and reality." I also wrote, "I wanted this book to be fun, most of all." So of course I knew it was funny. There are some places in the book that still make me laugh aloud, and that's a good sign, considering I've read the book at least a hundred times just editing it.

Campy is a good word for the sort of humor I was aiming at. Actually, while writing I wasn't aiming at anything. It just felt right to take the book in that direction. It is a character-driven book, and Alexander is so larger-than-life that if there wasn't that element of absurdity it would not have worked. Plexis is actually the character that adds all the humor to the story, and I think he's always been my favorite.

Jackson: I liked that character too. I was astonished at some of the things I learned about their everyday lives, not your mundane Encyclopedia Britannica fare! How much research was necessary to write this?

Macaire: I have read at least three complete biographies of Alexander since high school. The last one was by an Italian professor who quoted many of Aristotle's letters, Darius's letters and contested the letters that were supposedly written by Alexander. He claimed that all Alexander's writings were destroyed and that everything written about him was conjuncture.

That certainly sparked my interest; it was a refreshing point of view, and it opened a vast window in the historical world that had largely been closed by writers such as Plutarch who has long been the 'last word' on Alexander.

Plutarch wrote Alexander's biography four hundred years after Alexander's death. Plutarch was Greek, and the Greeks were always a bit touchy on the subject of those upstart Macedonians - Philip and Alexander. No matter they'd certainly saved Greece from becoming a fief of Persia.

Then there are the modern historians; very serious, learned people, who always seemed to want to press Alexander into a modern mold. One book that both helped me and incensed me at the same time was 'In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great' by Michael Woods. He actually trekked across Asia, following Alexander's army. That, for me, was a Godsend. It took away having to research distances, time and geography, which were necessary for making Alexander's voyage 'real'. At the same time, Mr. Woods felt the need to be politically correct, and insisted in trying to find a 'reason' for Alexander's making war on all the tribes along the way. He also tried to compare Alexander's emotions and feelings to that of a modern man.

Mr. Wood's interpretation of Alexander didn't work for me, the same way that Mary Renault's books on Alexander did work--but had nothing to do with Alexander. I love her books, but I never got a feeling for Alexander as a human being, and I feel very strongly that he was human.

Evans: Is it historically correct in its details or did you take some poetic license?

Macaire: I did take poetic license, especially after Book Four, when Alexander is saved. But then again, some historians think Alexander didn't die, and that he was smuggled out of Babylon. The battles are all in context, the people around him (except for his time-traveling wife) existed, his movements (thanks to Mr. Woods) are exact, and the customs and even the toothpaste was heavily researched.

I used molded glass, because blown glass didn't exist back then, nor did paper. The Greeks were finicky about cleanliness, and the Egyptians were even worse. (Body odor was considered a sin) So there will be a few preconceptions about that time period that will surprise some. I got a kick out of finding out what they brushed their teeth with. Oh, and no stitches. They cauterized everything. That must have hurt.

Jackson: Are we going to find out what happens to Ashley? I'm dying to know if she gets her child back, if she lives out her life there, if she ever makes it back to modern day to tell the tale? You got me!

Macaire: Well, don't worry! Ashley lives to tell her tale, though she never goes back to her own time. She gets the chance though--remember when she mentions that someone had already been sent to interview Alexander? Well, he lies dying on his pallet, but Ashley meets the time--traveler, and he mistakes her for Roxanne. (Which does not please her.)

Jackson: Do you think you've created a new genre? This doesn't really fit sci-fi or magical realism or mainstream novels, does it?

Macaire: It fits everywhere in a sense. It is historical, and I convinced the Historical Novel Society to review the book. Romance reviewers loved it, although one romance magazine primly pointed out, that "because it was not a monogamous relationship, it could never be classified as 'Romance'", but added, "This book is fantastic!" Science fiction magazines have claimed it as their own, one saying "Ms. Macaire has used pure science fiction to take us on an incredible journey…"

So it's nice that everyone has found something to relate to in this book. But to tell the truth--I wasn't thinking about any of that when I wrote. I was just following the story as Alexander, Plexis and Ashley evolved. It is their story, and everything else sort of faded into the background. I never once thought about genre as I wrote, I never do.

Evans: What was your biggest literary goal with the novel?

Macaire: I had several goals. I wanted to pull off the challenge I'd set myself - to write a literary novel that would be accessible to everyone and fun to read. I wanted a 'I can't put it down!' book that would make people think, that would bring up subjects that were taboo such as love between men and infidelity and make them appear so natural that they became accepted by readers--as they were accepted in that time period.

But most of all, I wanted readers to experience a shift in their perception of life, and to learn from the book--whether it be about Alexander, ancient toothpaste or whatever!

Jackson: Did you have any trouble finding a publisher? Did the publishing world understand what you were up to?

Macaire: I can imagine Homer trying to sell his Iliad to a modern publisher, and it's more or less what happened with me and the agents and publishers I approached.

Homer: "Describe my book's genre? Well, it speaks of war, so it could be an adventure, but it has a love story between Hector and his wife…oh yes, and it has paranormal elements, there's Cassandra, she sees the future. There are religious factors, the gods and goddesses are always appearing and there is a definite historical slant, after all, it's about the siege of Troy, but there is quite a bit of humor. What do you think?"

Publisher: "I'm sorry, it doesn't fit our publishing needs right now. It's well written, but doesn't match any category. We wish you the best of luck with another publisher."

Homer: "I have another one too, this one is called 'The Odyssey' and I think it could be classified as a travelogue." He hesitates. "Adventure travel with elements of romance and the paranormal."

Publisher: "Send in the first three chapters and a synopsis. We'll get back to you in about a year. But don't get your hopes up. History books are not selling, series are out of the question for an unknown, cross-genre is not acceptable for traditional publishers and you haven't been published before."

I waited four years before finding a publisher. Most editors loved the story, but no one wanted to take a chance on something so radically different than what is 'out there'. I had a problem with the fact that Alexander had more than one wife, that he was bisexual, and that Ashley is not faithful to Alexander. She falls in love with Plexis, and Plexis is in love with Alexander, and the whole story sort of overwhelmed some people.

One person sent back my manuscript with 'I can't handle this!' in big red letters. That was a low point, but I never got upset about it. I love this series, and to tell the absolute truth, even if it hadn't been published, I still would have been content. I truly love to read these books, and that, to me, is why I wrote them. Because they are fun to read and to entertain. Even if it's only myself.

Evans: Since some of the Literary Potpourri readership consists of writers, can you share with us some insights with us into the process behind publishing the novel?

Macaire: I wrote the series in four years - there are seven books, each about 300 pages. I thought about having it as a trilogy - but try selling a nine hundred-page book when you're just starting out! I tried traditional publishers, but as I said above, they wouldn't take the chance. Most were extremely nice - all loved the book but were afraid it wouldn't sell. Agents were the worst - I tried 30 agents before deciding to represent the book myself. I chose Jacobyte in Australia for several reasons - I figured they would be less puritan than the American publishers and they had a good, eclectic selection. I read a few of their books before submitting to them, and I was thrilled when they offered to publish Time for Alexander. I had an agent look over the contract and she pronounced it all right. I designed the cover and those of the next six books using the same statue of Alexander the Great.

I am glad the book is finished, glad it's finally published but mostly glad that it's being read and appreciated. (note: When Jacobyte folded, I hung onto the novel, not sure what to do with it. For now, I decided to self publish with my own company, Calderwood Books.)

Jackson: What other kind of reading do you do? Do you read light or serious fiction?

Macaire: I read anything with words on it. Since I could put 'b' and 'a' together and get 'ba', I've been reading. My favorites are Tolkien, Ray Bradbury, Dorothy Dunnett, The Discworld series, Douglas Adams, Cold Mountain, Water Touching Stone, Amy Tan, James W. Hall, Robert Ferringo, The God of Small Things, Dreams of My Russian Summers…Well, I could go on for pages.

Evans: At what points does your own life or personality intersect with your characters?

Macaire: I don't know, really. I can say I was very involved with them as I wrote the book - I think Plexis is my favorite character, and I had the most fun developing his persona. Ashley was difficult because she was so cold and couldn't show her feelings in the beginning, so it was hard to make the reader like her.

In the first few drafts she came off as too standoffish, so I had to re-think her. I had to 'get into her skin' in order to bring her to life. She and I share a few traits; we don't have any prejudices and we're both shy about showing our feelings, but otherwise we're nothing alike!

Evans: What are you most excited about with this book?

Macaire:I am elated at the reception I've gotten. Because it was turned down by so many agents and publishers, I had begun to think A: It would never get published, and B: My book was somehow flawed.

Most rejections stated that the book was not right for the market, that historical fiction was not 'in' and that a book with the subjects I brought up would not sell. It is such a relief and a joy to find that readers react the way I hoped they would - So far I've gotten nothing but positive feedback.

Evans: Is there anything else you would like readers to know about the genesis of the book?

Macaire: The genesis was the easy part - I guess. Stopping was hard! I think I could have gone on and on. I'm looking forward to having the rest of the series come out. I won't give anything away, but I will say that Ashley saves Alexander in Babylon, and they travel north in search of the Thief of Souls, a real character in the mythology of ancient Gaul.

They also go to Rome, Carthage and the British Isles. Actually, looking back, I'm amazed. I'm also grateful for my family for putting up with me while I wrote. From my husband who didn't notice the dust or complain about the pile of laundry and my son Alex who gave me ideas, to Julia who was so good, and especially to Sebi - who would make dinner for all of us while I 'played on the computer!'

Jackson: What would you like to say to your readers and your potential new readers?

Macaire: I hope, of course, that they love my book! I realize it's not for everyone, but I do hope it entertains. I want my readers to know that I don't take myself seriously, but that I do take them seriously, and I feel an obligation to write as well as I possibly can. I think books have an obligation to entertain, to educate, to fascinate and to pose questions. I hope I've done all this, and if I have, then I'm pleased. I will admit to loving e-mail, and I will be glad to answer any questions anyone has about the books or characters.

(note: The rest of the Iskander series will be published by Calderwood Books, starting in January 2008 - as of this summer, one paperback publisher has requested a full)

§ § §

Jennifer Macaire is an American freelance writer/illustrator. She was born in Kingston, NY and lived in Samoa, California and the Virgin Islands before moving to France. She attended Parsons school of design for fine art, and Palm Beach Junior College for English literature. She worked for five years as a model for Elite. Married to a professional polo player, she has three children. After settling in France, she started writing full time and published short stories in such magazines as PKA's Advocate, The Bear Deluxe, Nuketown, Anotherealm, Linneaen Street, Inkspin, Mind Caviar (for the August 2002 launching) and the Vestal Review. One of her short stories was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

North Star

Every day until September 23 I will present a book from our list at Calderwood!

Today we start with the first book we contracted, a fantasy written in Tolkien style called 'North Star'

The first thing that attracted me to this book was the writing style. Pier has a lyrical, visual style that captured my attention. It's a short novella (just under 100 pages) but it has plenty of action and emotion.

Her home destroyed, her family slaughtered, the centaur Riyya thought she would never be whole again but destiny intervened when a dying man came upon her refuge and she nursed him back to health.
Gaenor is looking for the answer to a mystery rooted in the forgotten history of the world, and he gives Riyya the purpose she so desperately needs. Together, they seek the truth behind a legend long forgotten.
As the mystery unravels and the existence of a mythical race of demigods is put to the test, the light of the North Star – the fulfiller of dreams - leads Riyya and Gaenor across the world and seals their destiny.

Excerpt from NORTH STAR
byPier Giorgio Pacifici

Look at the night sky, at the stars sparkling in the cloak of darkness, glittering jewels of fire and dreams; the tales, legends, omens and secrets they spell, laid bare for all to read. And to those who prefer otherwise, what are stars if not omens of hope and desire, of dreams yet unfulfilled, of a longing which stirs the soul? What are they, if not the spirits of the night, drops of bright silver that shine upon us, and comfort us, and give us hope that tomorrow will be a better day?
But of all those who watch at the stars with longing in their soul, thrice blessed are those whose eyes behold the shining North Star, creator of dreams, fulfiller of wishes, harbinger of hope, for they are the lifeblood of the world. For it is in dreams and desires that the power to change the world resides.
Greater miracles than magic could accomplish can take place under the benevolent gaze of the North Star, herald of the Ilelorn, for those who have the daring and the faith to believe that the Gods look upon the world they created with love. That even the ineluctable laws of the world can be broken, if one has sufficient desire, and even the most unlikely dreams and hopes can come true, if one but has the courage to try.
The Twin Worlds have changed, and much has been lost with the passing of the Ages; lore and knowledge that might never be recovered. But the North Star still shines serene in the velvet sky, beckoning to those who might be brave and faithful enough to follow its light, and there are still eyes which look to the night sky with longing and desire, which will follow the light of the North Star in search of their dreams…
-From "The Star of Fulfilled Dreams" by Miril Maidelin Tornorin

I write these words by the light of a candle, in a nameless inn on the road to Logard, in the month of Seren, the year 412 of the Fifth Age. I wish to record all that has happened before wonder fades and we wholly return to the world. As I write, a fire burns merrily in the hearth, and we gather around it in the common room.

None of us speaks; but even as I pen these words, my thoughts, and those of my friends and companions, go back to what we have seen and witnessed in the past months. We drink spiced wine and mull over what to do next, but none of us is ready to move on just yet. We have been witnesses to both grief and miracles, we have stepped out of the mortal world for a fleeting moment, and seen what the world has lost. It will take time to adjust back to the world we had left behind.So I write these words as a tribute to what we were a part of, a way to record all that happened so that the memories will survive us, and so that those we left behind will not be forgotten.

No story truly has a beginning; I can only begin by telling how I came to it. But before I continue, let me ask for your forgiveness if the tale is not as polished or adequate as a writer or a story-weaver could tell. I'm neither, and this is just my poor attempt at telling what we saw. Perhaps in the future a story-weaver or singer will read this account, and make a wondrous tale out of it. I would love to hear that, someday, and to know all will be preserved, but for now, this must suffice.

Don't be deceived by the fact that I am the writer of the story; though I took part in what I will recount, this story is not about me, however much it may seem otherwise. Bear with me, if you will, or read on quickly, and soon enough the real story will begin.

My name is Riyya kin'Nanimah, daughter of Mizad and Falmeh, and I am a nurain from the Free Lands of Irig; other races call us "centaurs". My tribe, the Nanimah, was one of many scattered across the endless plains, neither particularly large nor particularly important, but to me, it was family, and I would not have changed it for anything in the world. I remember it fondly, even after so much time has passed.

Like my mother, and her mother before her, I was born with the gift of magic. It runs in the blood of my family, as far as even Nourah ai'Nanimah, our story-weaver, could remember. From a very young age I was trained in the use of my rare gift, which brought honor to my family, and which I wished to use to make my ancestors proud. So, throughout the seasons as I grew up, I trained relentlessly while the tribe moved through the plains herding and living as we have always done.

Few nurain have embraced city life, and thinking about it, it's ironic that I write this in a human tavern. But few outsiders have seen what life is like among my people; even fewer can understand my bafflement at the chaos that grips the societies humans have built, and my dislike for the walls that surround their cities.

I can't help thinking of the hours of sheer joy we used to spend galloping wildly through the plains, the wind in our faces and green, soft grass beneath our hooves, not a care in the world, in lands so verdant and scented that I have never seen their like elsewhere. Or of the numberless evenings spent in groves or on the shores of small lakes, rolling in the grass for the simple pleasure of it, wading in the water or singing at sunfall, bonfires burning happily and children playing hide-and-seek and telling each other stories, while the adults enjoyed the evening air and the many scents it carried with it, and smiled at the enthusiasm and happy laughter of the young ones.

And the tales! No story-weaver was more skilled than Noumah, whose endless supply of legends and fairy tales, songs and myths, used to keep us enthralled for hours, children and adults alike. She had a voice capable of weaving wonders; she was able to tell stories so skillfully that many would get lost in them. We would sing together in the night; everything was peaceful, because the Lands of Irig are vast, and we don't seek out enemies.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Indian summer

August was a bust - (luckily I wasn't here to enjoy all the gray clouds and rain) but September, so far, has been a golden month.

I'm reading (re-reading) A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman. It's a history book about the calamitous 14th century.
(from Amazon) "In this sweeping historical narrative, Barbara Tuchman writes of the cataclysmic 14th century, when the energies of medieval Europe were devoted to fighting internecine wars and warding off the plague. Some medieval thinkers viewed these disasters as divine punishment for mortal wrongs; others, more practically, viewed them as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power. One of the latter, whose life informs much of Tuchman's book, was the French nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy, who enjoyed the opulence and elegance of the courtly tradition while ruthlessly exploiting the peasants under his thrall. Tuchman looks into such events as the Hundred Years War, the collapse of the medieval church, and the rise of various heresies, pogroms, and other events that caused medieval Europeans to wonder what they had done to deserve such horrors."

Looking at that paragraph, something jumped out at me. "...Others, more practically, viewed them (the disasters) as opportunities to accumulate wealth and power."

Right now, Naomie Klein has a book out called 'The Shock Doctrine', where she speaks about the myth of the peaceful transformation of the world into a free market. In her book, she argues that the transformation was anything but peaceful, and often was pushed through by force after such disasters as war or earthquakes disoriented the people in the country. Reading 'A Distant Mirror' and drawing parallels from 'Shock Doctrine', I'm struck by how this policy has emerged throughout the ages as a sort of 'the best for the bullys' doctrine. The biggest, strongest, and most ruthless profit from the weak and unprotected.
I think that a lot of the US government right now is about making a huge profit on shock and awe. Maybe it's time we started thinking about the weak and unprotected, and stop supporting the bullys of the world.
and if you still haven't cottoned on to the fact that the war in Iraq was 'all about the oil, dummy', here is a paragraph you should read:

"...The law that was finally adopted by Iraq's cabinet in February 2007 was even worse than anticipated: it placed no limits on the amount of profits that foreign companies can take from the country and placed no specific requirements about how much or little foreign investors would partner with Iraqi companies or hire Iraqis to work in the oil fields.
Most brazenly, it excluded Iraq's elected parliamentarians from having any say in the terms for future oil contracts. Instead, it created a new body, the Federal Oil and Gas Council, which, according to the New York Times, would be advised by "a panel of oil experts from inside and outside Iraq". This unelected body, advised by unspecified foreigners, would have ultimate decision-making power on all oil matters, with the full authority to decide which contracts Iraq did and did not sign. In effect, the law called for Iraq's publicly owned oil reserves, the country's main source of revenues, to be exempted from democratic control and run instead by a powerful, wealthy oil dictatorship, which would exist alongside Iraq's broken and ineffective government."

Yes, the oil of Iraq has been grabbed by the vultures, and now the profits are winging their way to the (80$ a barrel anyone?) pockets of Bush and Co.
Shock and awe - it's a shocking disgrace.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hanging around with the Greek Gods

I'm trying to finish up a book about a girl whose mother is a muse, and who is determined to become immortal. In order to become immortal, she has to become a hero (like, everyone knows that!)
At first she joins Zeus on the road to eternity, but Zeus vanishes and Ares takes over, leading the troop to the great battlefields and disasters of history. When she escapes, she finds out that Zeus has been transformed into a human, and she has the chance to save him and become a hero. With the help of a faun and a a young man from the sixties, she tracks down Zeus in California. He's become a rock star and hasn't a clue to his real identity. How to get a famous rock star to give up his life? Well, our heroine simply kidnaps him, then finds herself running from demons and the law.
I have to write the last third of the story. So far it's aimed at the 14 and up crowd (YA tale).
I just have to sit down and do it.
But it's so sunny out.
Good news this morning - Pocket books bought another one of my books for an anthology. They bought Llewellyn's Song, and it will come out in May 2008!
OK, OK. I will now get to work.
Where was I?
On a train. With Zeus, a faun, a hippy, and some hobos.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hookers or slicers?

I'd rather be a hooker than a slicer.
For one thing, if you're a hooker it means your hands are stronger, and if you're a slicer you're letting things go at the top of your swing.
What swing?
Oh, the golf swing.
What did you think we were discussing?
I went to the golf course to hit a couple buckets of practice balls. I was working on websites all day yesterday and this morning I burned my finger while cleaning the kitchen, so I decided I needed a change of scenery.
One thing I have to remember - wear pants that don't slip down. I was wearing a pair of jeans that are too big, and everytime I swung, they'd slip. I must have made a fascinating sight - swing, grab, tug, pull, swing, grab, tug...
It's a beautiful, crisp day. And I'm back inside because I have to get to work on a story - the deadline is looming like the iceburg over the Titanic.
I got two rejection notes from agents yesterday. I'm trying to sell a paranormal thriller about a woman who finds lost children. So far I've sent out three queries and had three (nice, but still) rejections. It's sort of like golf. There are good days and bad days. Sometimes you get the par, and sometimes you think you'd like to throw the clubs in the nearest pond. The one your ball just fell into, for example. I once made a man fall off his tractor, he was laughing so hard. I hit three balls in a row into the pond. I don't know why that was so funny. Maybe because the pond was at right angles to me, and far smaller than the fairway I was aiming for? Who knows. Anyway, he fell off his tractor then had to scramble to get back in it before it drove into the bunker.
That day I was slicing.
I'd much rather be a hooker.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'm still recovering from the weekend.

Imagine a village bootsale. The village closes its streets to traffic and everyone sets up their stand - at 6 in the morning. And until 6 pm, there is a constant flow of people through the village, coming to find treasure (because one man's junk is another man's treasure...)

Case in point.

I got five old lawn chairs out of the junk heap last year.
I scraped them and washed them off.

I sold them for 75$ yesterday.

To me they were cute old chairs. To my husband, they were horrible junk. Now they're someone's treasure. The woman who bought them can't wait to sand and paint them.

I didn't buy any treasure yesterday - I sold my junk. I sold books, chairs, old toys, old clothes, old purses, and a couple dishes. I mostly chatted with my friends Andrea and Lynn who came to share the space in front of my house. We had three tables, a rack of clothes, and countless cardboard boxes loaded with stuff. I made sandwiches, coffee, and tea for everyone. There were seven children in and out of the house. Today I have to do lots of cleaning. But I'm still recuperating. I will clean later. After I've had another coffee. Or two.

It's been a long weekend!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Friday Snippet

I can't get the widget - humble apologies. If you have a Firday snippet up, leave your blog URL in the comment section. I got this idea from Gabriele (the Lost Fort). Thanks Gabriele!

In this snippet from 'Time for Alexander', I try to answer the question that has plagued historians for ages. 'Why did Alexander the Great go into Bactria?' Why not stay and rule Babylon, as he'd planned?
Ashley has been separated from Alexander for nearly a year, imprisoned in Mazda. She escapes and manages to make her way to Babylon in time for Alexander's coronation. After sending him a message, she waits for him in a priestess's quarters.

I turned back to the window. The sun was setting, and orange shafts of light glittered off dust floating in the air, cloaking the city in a nimbus of gold. The priests in the fifty-three temples of the city blew their trumpets as soon as the sun disappeared below the horizon. My skin prickled. Trumpets filled the city with their brassy wails. The last notes died away. The air seemed to settle, and there was a silence.
In the quiet I heard his footsteps and rose to greet him.
He hesitated in the doorway. He had changed in one year. His face was harder, and he was thinner. His skin pressed against his cheekbones, and his eyes were greener. The jaguar stared out of them. His mouth had a different set to it, one I'd never seen. His hair was cut short and lifted off his temples and the back of his neck in fine curls. It was no longer gold; it had reverted to its normal color, warm brown. It made his skin whiter. It turned whiter still when he saw me, and he stood quite still, not even breathing.
I froze. My breath caught in my throat. Then I felt the hot rush of blood in my cheeks and I swayed forward. "Alex," I breathed, and fainted.
He caught me before I hit the ground. He hadn't lost his extraordinary speed or grace. He picked me up and held me to his chest, calling my name until I opened my eyes.
"Is it really you? Are you back to stay?" he asked. He started to laugh, or maybe it was a sob. "Ashley of the Sacred Sandals indeed. Your nose is bleeding again."
I looked down and saw the scarlet splash of blood staining my robe. I put my hand up and stanched the flow. "It's just nerves. I have so much to tell you, and we have no time." I could hardly look at him; everything I'd lived through in the past year was like an explosion inside me that I had to defuse somehow. I took a deep breath to steady myself. "We need to speak."
"We can talk in front of her. We may need her help, and she has something important to tell you." I wiped my face with the hem of my robe.
Nabonida paled, but to do her credit she didn't try and wriggle out of it. She told Alexander everything she knew. While she spoke she took my soiled robe and handed me a clean one. I put it on and turned to Alexander. He was looking at me with a queer expression.
"Your body?" he said falteringly. He raised his eyes to mine, and I read the unspoken question.
I told him about our son.
When he heard about the baby his face twisted and he buried his head in my chest. I held him. I could feel him shaking, but when I saw his eyes I realized it was from rage.
Afterwards, Nabonida and I sat while Alexander paced across the room. His fury was terrible, but mine was equal to his, and our eyes met with a clash that could practically be heard.
"I will kill her." His voice was as bloodless as his face.
"No." I stood up and levelled my gaze at him. "No. You cannot kill your own mother. Send her back to her country."
"To Macedonia?"
"No, to her own people. To Epirus."
"Why can't I kill her now?"
I shuddered, imagining what the Time Senders would do if Alexander killed his mother. We'd all be erased, including Paul. "Because the gods will take care of her. You have other things to do. We must go to Persepolis. We must get our son back. Please, Alex." My voice broke. "I want my baby."
He gathered me in his arms again and I wept. The energy that had carried me for days across the burning plains was deserting me. I was simply a mother who wanted to find her child.
It was as if a dam burst inside me then. The pain I felt threatened to overwhelm me, and I sobbed until my throat was raw. Finally the storm within me ebbed. I looked up, and saw that Alexander had wept too. Tears still glittered on his cheeks. But he pulled himself together and smoothed the hair back from my hot face.
"What did you name him?" he asked me.
"Paul?" His face fell. "Not Iskander?"
"I called him Paul Alexander."
He tried the name out a few times then nodded. "I think I like it."
I smiled. "I think you'll like him, too."
He bent over and kissed me gently on the lips, giving me goosebumps. "I love him already. We'll find him. I swear it. If I have to go to the ends of the earth, I will find Paul."

'Time for Alexander' will be available from Calderwood Books on September 23!

Friday Snippet

Friday Snippet

I'm trying to hook up with Mr. Linky, but I'm having no luck, so I'll wait a while before posting a Friday Snippet.

(I'm sure this post only makes sense to a few people, lol)

Friday, September 07, 2007

If I did two things at once, I'd never get anything done.

I did a lot today. I clipped the hedge, helped my husband build a desk from my daughter, cleaned her room and organized it, did two loads of laundry, weed-wacked the front garden, went shopping, cleaned the fish tank, took the garbage out, cleaned the garage, read through the slush pile, checked my e-mail, answered letters, went to the post office, printed up stickers for my daughter's school books, filled out forms for her school, and as I was heading up the stairs with a load of laundry I heard my husband tell my son not to do two things at the same time.
I thought to myself, If I did two things at once, I'd never get anything done. I do five or six things at once.
I'm writing two books, I'm working on three websites, I'm organizing English lessons for three children and one adult, and I still have to think of doing housework, gardening, and take care of myself because I'm a Leo and Leos have to pamper themselves - so I have to have time to do my nails, my hair, and make sure I get my gym class and golf schedule down! Heavens! How can anyone only do one thing at a time?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen -

13 things I'd love to be able to know how to do.

1) Sing. I'd love to be able to sing really well. My voice is OK. I used to sing accompanied by my guitar in my hippy days. I never got asked for an encore, lol. I'd love to be able to sing like Joan Baez.

2) Dance. I'm hopeless. Today at gym I tried a new class - it was a dance-gym class with the samba and lots of spinning and jumping. I looked like a spaz. I cannot dance. Best I can hope for is a romantic, soppy slow dance where I can hang onto my partner while he sort of shuffles around. I'd love to be able to dance like Ginger Rogers.

3) Speak Spanish fluently. I love to speak Spanish, it's such a fun languege with lots of hand movements and inflections - sort of like Italian but more staccato. I can understand most of it, but when I try to speak I sound like Lucy. Terrible. (terrrrr-eeeeblay!) I wish I spoke Spanish like Ricky Ricardo.

4) Sign language. I love sign language - it fascinates me. I love that it's international, that it's so fluid and quick, and how the gestures mimic the action words, and how fast kids pick it up. I have managed to memorize a few signs. But I'd love to be able to do sign language like that lady on the news channel.

5) I'd like to be able to get over my phobia of spiders. It's so silly. A little eight-legged critter can make me shoot out my my chair and fly out of the room screaming. Imagine what a BIG spider does to my nerves? Last night there was one on my daughter's bedroom wall. She nearly slept on the sofa. Thank goodness my son, armed with a vacuum cleaner, managed to eliminate the enemy. It's ridiculous. I should be able to get over this. I want to be as brave about spiders as Martin Nicolas.

6) I want to be organized. My house is so messy. My cereal boxes are all crooked, the rice is mixed in with the flour, there is a huge jumble where my pots and pans are, and my sheets are not all ironed and folded - instead they are sort of bent and shoved into whatever space I can find. My bathroom does not look like a spa with rolled towels and neat baskets. Instead the drawers are overflowing and my towels piles are tottering. My desk is like one of the inner circles of Hell. I want to be as organized as my friend Andrea!

7) I want to be able to make things look pretty. I'd love to set a nice table, to make a thank-you note with a pressed flower from my garden, to create a centerpiece from a few odds and ends lying around the house and a glue-gun. (can't write that without thinking of Miss Snark, *sniff*.)
In other words, I want to be as ceative as Martha Stewart.

8) I want to be able to fit into my old jeans. I've kept them for ages (they were fine before I got pregnant with my last child). I've never been able to squeeze into them again. They're soft and worn, light blue, faded, and (as I recall) very comfortable. Now they fit up to my knees. I want to be skinny like I was before.

9) I would love to be able to meet the French Rugby team. I'm looking at the calendar and wishing that. If you saw the calendar you might wish this too.


10) I'd like to be able to cook fish and make my family like it. So far I have managed to get them to eat salmon - when there are no bones in it and when it's cooked with soy sauce. I wish my family would like fish.
11) I want to be able to think of 2 other things - but I have to go make dinner now and I can't type fast enough....
12) I want to be able to type fast.
13) I want to fly like Superman, while I'm at it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A few questions about e-book prices

Questions - please answer!
We want to sell our e-books, so we want to price them to sell.
My question is, what do you think is a fair price for:
A) A novella (about 35k)
B) A novel (between 50 - 80k)

How can we make prices seem tempting? How much is too much to pay for an e-book? Do low prices make you think that maybe the quality won't be so great?
Since I can buy a paperback for 8$, I don't want to spend that much on an e-book!
But what price would make YOU say 'Hey, that's a great deal - I think I'll buy that book!'?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

We have a due date!

September 23, 2007 - Calderwood Books will open its virtual doors.
Our line-up of books include a spy thriller with dead men talking, a beautifully written fantasy told from the viewpoint of a centaur, and a YA book featuring pirates, time travel, and a very, very fat dog! We also have a spooky, funny book for teens about prom dresses gone wild, a sizzling romance that features fire-fighters (swoon!) and a wonderful book that takes you on a family saga from England to Australia during the first and second world wars. There is a children's book that is pure fantasy fun, and set in the middle ages to boot, and a trip to the past to interview Alexander the Great.
Starting next week I'll post a little more about each book!