Friday, April 22, 2016


Apologies to all of you who are waiting on the next Zora instalment, it's going to be late this week - like two instalments next week late!

I had a disaster, the hard drive on my laptop crashed and died, beyond recovery. I was lazy, and hadn't backed up for a long time and so I've lost a lot of work, including the next few Zora instalments and over 30 000 words on my current novel. That hurts, a lot. So it's taken me a while to regroup but I'm back now.

Zora will be back next Monday, with another instalment later in the week to make up for the missed one this week.

In the meantime, Cassie is now live in Amazon. She's had a bit of a rewrite to make it book format rather than a series of episodes, and there is some extra material in it as well, so go take a look. The link is here:

I am back in the groove after my mind went numb at the news of my hard drive. It's hard to take, the loss of so much work. But, it was my own fault, I should have been backing up all along. I am now!

Take a look at Cassie, I'm proud of how the book turned out, and I promise, two episodes of Zora next week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Zora's Light continuation

It's been a hectic week, and here it is Wednesday already, without a Zora instalment! So sorry those of you who have been looking for it, here it is,and the link for the first book in the series also: 

Zora was yawning by the time they got back to their room, only too happy to use the bathroom first to get ready for bed. She was almost asleep when Powers finished his own preparations, but this obvious sign of weariness did not deter him from sitting on the side of her bed. Forcing reluctant eyes open Zora raised an eyebrow but said nothing.

“Zora, you know that Ziyad is a shifter, yes?”

The other eyebrow arched up. “Of course, he is a guardian. Why do you ask?”

Powers ran a hand through his hair. “Well, shifters tend to be hot blooded, and he comes from a hot climate so he is probably even more so.”


“And he is a guardian and you are a defender.”


Powers was beginning to look uncomfortable. “So even though he is not your guardian it would still not be wise to start anything with him.”

Zora lay in silence.


“Let me see if I have this straight. You are thinking that a mild flirtation from a gorgeous man is enough to turn my head, so that I forget our purpose here and indulge in a holiday romance? You are imagining hot sex in the desert while the rogue werewolf kills again?” Zora sat up and glared at Powers, her temper making her eyes spark as she spoke, or so it looked to an alarmed Powers.

“Well, he is charming, and he is handsome and charismatic. And he did seem to be interested in you.”

“You believe I am so desperate for male companionship that a few words and a smile are enough to awaken unbridled lust. Thank you for that character assassination Powers, I’ll be sure to pass on your kind words to Ziyad. No doubt he will be thrilled with your assessment of him.”

Powers was beginning to look annoyed. “Calm down Zora, no need to over react. I was just suggesting…”

“I know what you were suggesting and it’s insulting! How dare you even THINK I would be that shallow. You, who had a different girl each week, sitting there so high and mighty telling me how I should behave.”

“I didn’t have a different girl each week. Well I didn’t sleep with all of them anyway.”

Zora tossed her head, the strands of her red hair glowing like they had been lit by her ire. “Oh I’m sure there was not much sleeping going on at all. And now you sit here and tell me how I should behave. Well you listen to me Powers Barnham. If I want to flirt with Ziyad, if I want to see how it feels to kiss a guardian I damn well will and it’s none of your business!” She had no intention of doing either, but she was furious.

Powers leaned forward, pushing his face close to hers. Zora was fascinated and a little worried to see his eyes take on a yellow cast and faint feline shape, as though he was close to changing. “You will not flirt with Ziyad, you will not kiss him. I forbid it.”

That did it. Who was he to forbid her anything? She had done all they asked of her, she had dropped her entire life to go on this chase for a rogue werewolf, a being that only a few weeks ago she hadn’t even known existed. She knew that no matter the outcome of this mission she would never be able to go back to her old life. She had not asked to be a Defender, she didn’t want to be a Defender. She just wanted to be Zora, free to flirt with whomever she pleased should she wish to.

“You are my Guardian, you are not my father, you can’t order me around like that. I will do as I please and there is nothing you can do to stop me.”

Never mind that Zora had not given any thought to kissing the handsome Egyptian, that was not the point. She was furious that Powers was sitting there telling her what to do as though he had a right to do so. She jutted her chin up at him aggressively, refusing to be the one to back down.

Powers placed a hand on either side of her and leaned even closer, until their noses were almost touching. Tendrils of Zora’s hair touched his, fiery red mixing with deep brown. Wherever her hair touched Powers it seemed to glow but neither of them noticed.

“You will not kiss Ziyad, you will not flirt with him. I will not allow it.”

“You. Can’t. Stop. Me.” Zora practically bit out the words, wishing she could bite him instead.

“Yes I can.”


“You want to kiss a guardian? Here.” Without any further warning Powers closed the distance between them, his lips finding hers as though they had kissed many times before. His arms went around her and pulled her close, his hands coming up to tangle in her hair.

Zora’s brain stopped, she had never been kissed like this. She forgot that she was a defender, and Powers was her guardian. She forgot that they should not be doing this, she forgot about the rogue. Nothing existed for her in that moment except Powers mouth on hers, his arms around her, his hands sliding through her hair. Arrows of sensation were zinging through her entire body, sharp pangs of desire, sweet flows of pleasure. She moaned into his mouth and returned his kiss, wrapping her arms around him and surrendering herself to sensations she had never felt before with any other man. Caught up in the moment neither of them noticed her hair, which was spread across her back and Powers’ shoulders like a cloak. It was glowing as though alive, growing brighter and brighter as the kiss became more passionate.

Zora was consumed by the kiss, by the urgent desire for fulfilment that grew stronger with every second. Powers growled, pulling her tighter in his arms until she felt they were one. Never before had she felt this sensation of surrender, of belonging, of blending and melding. It felt otherworldly, magical but frightening.

It was the pulsing at her throat that broke the spell. Pushing Powers back Zora looked down at her pendant, shocked to see it glowing, the golden stars that dotted its surface shining against the darker gold and brown tones as though lit by an internal flame. With a shaking hand she lifted it, pushing impatiently at her hair which fell from Powers’ shoulder as he changed position.

Although fading swiftly with the dimming of their passion, the red strands were glowing enough to have both Zora and Powers staring at it in shock. Powers lifted a lock, which began to glow again at his touch. Zora stared from her pendant to her hair to Powers.

“Powers? Is this a defender/guardian thing?”

Powers ran a shaking hand through his hair. “I don’t know sweetheart. This has never happened to me before. Kissing you is like the most powerful drug in existence. I didn’t want to stop. It was only your enhanced strength that allowed you to push me away.”

“And now I’m glowing like I’ve been plugged into a power station. Do you think that’s why defenders and guardians don’t become involved? Does the fairy spell make passion irresistible? What if there’s some sort of reverse effect, like instead of combusting a rogue, I instead combust myself?”

Her hair was still glowing where it rested on Powers’ hand. He dropped it and the strands began to fade. Looking down at her pendant Zora saw that it too was returning to its usual self. Powers picked up her hair again, but dropped it when it lit up. He reached instead for her hand.

“I don’t know what this means Zora, I’ve never heard of anything like this happening. I don’t even know if a defender/guardian relationship is forbidden or if it just hasn’t happened. Or maybe it has, in other families and we just don’t know. I always thought it was a practical thing, since the guardian family is tied to the defender family through the fairy created bond.”

Zora nodded. “That makes sense, if you and I were to have children, who would be the daughter’s guardian, and what of future generations? We would effectively end the line with us.”

Powers agreed, “Yes, although my father was not your mother’s guardian, my uncle was.”

Zora stared at Powers. “Your uncle was my mother’s guardian? You know I’m sure I never met him. I didn’t even think about that until now. Why didn’t I ever meet him?”

Powers studied her for several long seconds, appearing to be deliberating before replying. “Well, I don’t know the full story. I only know that for some reason when I was about two I began talking about Zora and describing you, and that was how my family knew I was to be your guardian.”

“Did your uncle have children?”

“Not at the time, although there were several miscarriages.”

“So the bond must have just gone to the next family member in line, like the line of succession in a royal family.”

Smiling a little Powers agreed. “I guess that’s so, although I didn’t inherit jewelry, just a cranky woman.”

Ordinarily Zora would have been offended, or at least pretended to be. But at that moment she felt too drained and disappointed to even pretend. “Powers I don’t know what happened just now, I’ve never felt like that, as though I had to have you and nothing else mattered. I don’t understand it, and I don’t understand why my pendant and my hair act as though you are a power point.” She paused, giggled a bit. “Oh, Powers the power point, that’s kind of funny.”

“But not in a good way. I don’t understand it either Zora, but I don’t think we should do that again.” His stomach clenched as he said the words, what he wanted was to pull her into his arms again, kiss her senseless and take her to bed. But this was not the time nor the place, and might even be dangerous for her.

“You’re right.” It was the only thing she could say but it was not how she felt. Her body was crying out for Powers but it was not possible. There were so many things about this new life that were not fair but this one seemed right now to be the worst one.

Powers lifted the hand he still held, kissed the back gently and placed it in her lap before standing. “You will forgive me I hope Zora, I need a shower, a cold one.”

Zora smiled, and watched him until the bathroom door closed behind him. Lying back down in her bed she wondered how she was going to cope with this attraction that had leapt up between them. It was hot like a fire, and she was the flame. Perhaps she was literally the flame, she didn’t know. Axel would know, he was the fairy who had performed the original bespelling of both their families. She resolved to ask him as soon as there was an opportunity. At the very least she needed to know if there was such a thing as a reverse combustion, it was no less plausible than a sentient silver staff with a disconcerting mode of travel after all.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Great Wedding Scam

I read an article today that was standard first world problem irritating. But I kept on thinking about it, and today’s blog post is the result of that. It’s about marriage, or more specifically, weddings.

What is a wedding primarily about? Once, a wedding was a way to consolidate property, join countries, or a host of other political or economic reasons. Weddings were a lavish declaration of wealth and they still are, which is all well and good if your marriage is for the purpose of joining two countries. But the weddings that I’m talking about are more personal. They are two people declaring before the world that they are going to share their lives, for the rest of their lives.

Some of these weddings, these declarations of love and commitment, cost enough to support a small country. Ok, I’m exaggerating, although probably not regarding celebrity weddings. Yes, Mariah Carey, I’m pointing the finger at you, and you Kim Kardashian. Weddings seem to be a narcissistic frenzy, all about appearances and little about the meaning that should be the main focus. Instead, it’s the venue, reception, food, theme, decorations, cake, stationery, flowers, shoes, clothes, dress.

The wedding dress; it was an article about wedding dresses that got me thinking about this. The article was taking a shot at a company which has released a line of low cost wedding gowns. The woman writing it paid $6000 for her bespoke dress, which she sees as a physical reminder of her wedding day (she also says that it has been kept in a zipped garment bag ever since). Ok – what about her wedding ring which would have cost who knows how much? What about the extravaganza of photos costing an arm and a leg and taken by a ‘wedding photographer’ – because an ordinary photographer would presumably be unable to properly capture the vision she made in her bespoke wedding gown.

What about the cards and gifts she received? What about her spouse? How is it that she appears to consider her wedding dress more important than her vows and her spouse? Isn’t the whole meaning behind the wedding circus supposed to be starting a new life with a spouse? How did one day, the day when you sign the paperwork that makes you an official couple, become such a money pit? One of the articles I read before I started writing this stated that a lot of couples expect to receive gifts that add up in value to the cost of the wedding. Which makes the entire day a business arrangement. Where is the romance, the love, the emotional value in that?

I have never had a traditional wedding. I’ve never had a wedding gown and I’m not likely to. So I can’t talk about it from experience. But I cannot understand why there must be so much money spent, why it has become some kind of keeping up with the Jones thing. And what irritated me about this article is that the writer said that having a cheap wedding dress strikes her as tacky.

Tacky? Tacky is spending more than you can afford on showing off, and having to pay for it for years afterwards. Tacky is an over-priced designer gown that has cost far more than it could possibly be worth just because it is designer. Tacky is buying into (literally) the belief that a wedding day is all about showing off, and tacky is believing that the dress the bride wears is more important than anything else, including the love that is supposed to be between the bride and groom. Tacky is the sense of entitlement that many of the western world carry with them without realizing it.

Weddings, for ordinary people, are about love, about committing to a partner. There is no reason they should be so expensive. None. You can get married in a registry office and have a backyard reception. You can go to McDonalds if you want. The wedding industry wants you to think that all of this frippery is necessary but it’s not. You don’t need special wedding stationery, you don’t need to release fifty doves, or arrive at the venue in a horse drawn coach. You don’t need a $6000 dress.

Why not forget all the expensive trappings, and focus on the meaning behind it all? You can still have a wonderful, special day. You can have a beautiful dress, made by a local dressmaker for a fraction of the cost of a designer gown. There are many ways to have a cheap wedding without missing out on all of the frills, if your heart is set on them. Get back to the meaning and forget about the hype. In the end, all you’re doing is lining the pockets of the people who make a fortune out of the industry, and who have a vested interest in perpetuating this belief that a wedding must be a day of extravagance.

Marriage should be a day of celebration, a day when family and friends gather together in celebration of the lifetime commitment made by two people. It should not the culmination of months of stress and planning and expense. All that money could be put towards your life together. Or, here’s a thought, some of that money saved could be put towards saving a life. Donate some of the excess to a worthy cause. Spread love instead of dollar signs. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Zora's Light continuation

It's Tuesday isn't it? Somehow I missed a day, sorry about that guys. Here's the next instalment of Zora, hope you enjoy it. As always, if you want to read the first part of her story the link is here, and if you don't you should have no trouble following the story as it unfolds here. 

Talk remained light over dinner, everyone by mutual consent enjoying the delicious meal. Once Zora looked up to see Ziyad watching her again, he raised his glass to her before turning his head to reply to something Axel said. Powers growled, Zora frowned at him and the moment passed.

Dinner over, their party moved to the more informal bar area, where there were comfortable lounging chairs and small round tables. The helpful staff rearranged the seating so that their large group could sit together. The fairy guard, as was their habit, chose seats at intervals around the group so they could keep watch. Even in this setting they remained on duty.

Powers sat next to Zora, putting himself between her and Ziyad. She compressed her lips at his possessive behaviour, making no attempt to hide her irritation from her mind. That he caught her thoughts showed in the heavy frown darkening his face, but he stayed seated. Axel grinned in amusement and winked at Zora, a reaction that lightened her feelings of irritation. She smiled back at him and half shrugged, rolling her eyes in Powers direction, which made Axel laugh out loud.

“You have a delightful laugh Lord Axel.” Basma smiled her gentle smile before continuing, “I would wish that these difficult times will soon be ended so that we can all laugh more often.”

Her words seemed to be the cue to take the conversation to the reason they were all there - the rogue werewolf.

“As you now know Basma and Ziyad, we believe the rogue may be part of the entourage for Daciana, who will be giving a concert at the pyramids in a couple of nights. Do you know where they will be staying, and when they will arrive?” Axel’s expression had turned serious.

Ziyad leaned forward, all casual indolence gone. “They arrive tomorrow morning, and will be staying at the Le Meridien which is not far from here. It is a pity they do not stay here, it would be much easier for you to mingle with the crew.”

Basma nodded. “However they will almost certainly do some sightseeing at the pyramids and in Cairo – everyone does. There are still two days to the concert, they will want to relax beforehand. We have friends who work at the hotel, they will get more information for us.”

“Are your friends shifters or something else?” Powers voice showed none of his earlier irritation, all focus now on the mission.

Ziyad inclined his head. “They are shifters. We have a large shifter population in Cairo.”

“There are many witches also, and they are currently combing the city in search of anything that looks wrong. Of course they are working with Axel and the fairies.” Shax was sitting next to Marcus, with Sunny on her other side.

“The vampires and werewolves are also searching. It is possible that there are more rogues, and it is also possible that the one we seek is not among Daciana’s people so we must look in all places.” Axel accepted a small cup of Turkish coffee from a waiter, which made Zora wonder.

“Axel, should we be discussing such a sensitive topic here?”

 The fairy prince raised an eyebrow at her. “You believe I am affected by jetlag perhaps little Zora?” 

At her chagrined expression he smiled gently. “Do not worry, I merely tease you. I have altered the perception of the staff here and the other guests. To them, we are speaking Fairy, and as such they have no inkling of that which we speak. Not that they know it is Fairy of course. It is simply a foreign language to them.”

Zora could feel herself blushing and cursed again the pale complexion that came as a package deal with her red hair. Ziyad took a Turkish coffee from the waiter, and with the tongs provided, added something to the saucer from the tray on the table in front of him. He passed it to Zora.

“Here Zora, try this Turkish coffee, it is superb. Try also the kunafa, it is an Egyptian sweet that I believe you will love.” As she took the cup and saucer from him he added softly, “Do not be embarrassed because you blush, the pink under your skin merely highlights your beauty.”

Zora almost dropped her coffee at the compliment coupled with the wicked gleam in his soft dark eyes. “Th-thank you Ziyad, it is most kind of you.”

She sat back in her seat, wishing she could fan her face which had turned an even brighter hue at his words. She could feel Powers anger, and Axel’s amusement. Looking up she saw Shax grinning and Sunny openly ogling Ziyad. Without missing a beat Ziyad signaled a waiter and said something in Arabic.

The waiter hurried off and came back with a tray holding several cups of the delicious Turkish coffee. Ziyad added a piece of kunafa to each saucer and handed the cups to Shax, Sunny, Sara, Clare, Samantha and lastly Basma.

“We are honoured to have such beauty in our group to take our minds off the gravity of our task.”

Each of the women, except Basma who gave a wry smile, blushed at being on the receiving end of Ziyad’s charm. The men, apart from Axel, were frowning heavily. The waiter came back again with coffee for the rest of their group, which Ziyad offered with the same courtesy but without the mild flirtatious charm.

Zora tried the kunafa, curious to know what it tasted like, and almost moaned at the delicious flavour bursting in her mouth. It was like a vanilla slice, only much nicer than any vanilla slice she had ever had. She looked up to see Ziyad smiling at her, his dark eyes warm with approval at her obvious enjoyment of the sweet treat. Disapproval was rolling off Powers, which sparked an imp of mischief in her. Leaning forward she eyed his piece of kunafa.

“Are you going to eat that?” she asked innocently.

Powers glared at her and popped the treat into his mouth, chewing angrily. She grinned, and her eyes locked with Ziyad’s in a moment of shared amusement.

Putting his coffee cup onto the table in front of him Axel said, “Daciana and her entourage will need to sleep when they arrive. They are human – apart from the rogue – and they will be exhausted. I do not believe they will do anything until the afternoon at the earliest, so I propose that tomorrow morning we go into Cairo, and meet up with some representatives. Where do you suggest we meet Basma?”

Basma leaned back in her seat and steepled her fingers under her chin in a gesture reminiscent of Marcus. “I think we should meet at Kahn El-Khalili souk. It is full of tourists and with a group of our size it will be a good way for us to pass unnoticed.”

Shax grinned. “I love that place! You will love it too guys, I know this is a serious quest, but still wait until you see it!”

Basma smiled at her enthusiasm, while Ziyad added, “Miss Shax, it will be an honour to accompany you, I too love this place.”

Shax batted her eyes at him. “You must show me your favourite shops Ziyad.”

Inclining his head, he said, “It will be my pleasure.”

Zora glanced at Jake, surprised to see him looking furious. Hmmm, maybe there was another reason why he and Shax clashed. Looking at Shax she saw nothing to show she had noticed Jake’s reaction, but Shax seemed pretty good at hiding her thoughts when she wanted to. Shrugging mentally Zora decided she had more than enough to think about already without adding something else to the mix.