Friday, August 19, 2011

Guest Blogger Elaine Lowe

The lovely Elaine Lowe has graced us with her presence once more! Give her a huge welcome, if you will. Today Elaine is bravely answering my infamous Rick Reed questions. And baring her soul! Let's see what Elaine is all about, shall we?  Why don't you have a seat in the kitchen, while I put a pot on for tea, and let's begin, shall we?

1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

It is so darn boring to say my husband, but frankly, he is an incredibly capable, amazingly resourceful and pragmatic person. He’d get off his duff and help us survive, and we never ever run out of things to talk about.
As for the item, it would either be a sonic screwdriver or a really deluxe swiss army knife. Always a good thing to have unless you are being prodded by TSA.

2)      Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?

I love musicals, but I am so not a character in one. I tend to organize people, but not myself. Make impassioned speeches, but be internally conflicted. It’s not a popular musical, but there’s a version of Emma I saw with my local theater company, and I am very afraid that I might just be Emma. I hope I have better matchmaking skills though. Secretly, I wish I was Elphaba. I love the color green and I would kill to fly (or hit those notes)!

3)      Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  novel, model, and periodically

I opened my email today, which can be a prosaic endeavor to vanish spam or an painful skewering of my editorial hopes, but periodically can be quite the adventure. Today was my lucky day. The art department sent me a new cover for my latest novel. Would it me a boring, forgettable sigh, or a luscious inferno of manliness? I clicked. I blinked. I smiled. That is one HOT model and one beauteous arse! It really is my lucky day.
(brought to you by the cover of Lady Six Sky:

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why? 

Oh dear…what a conundrum. There are any number of my own heroes, but that goes without saying. I’m afraid it would be most difficult to choose. There’s Phineas Fogg (of Around the World in Eighty Days), I do so like a competent man that I could corrupt thoroughly. There’s Nikola Tesla, the vampire version from the television show Sanctuary – brilliant, sexy and deadly – he sends shivers up my spine, the good kind. There’s Captain Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion, who excels at letter writing prowess, and constancy. I’m afraid Nikola Tesla wins out though – but I reserve the right to flirt outrageously with Jeeves from PG Wodehouse’s work, and at least squeeze Eric Northman’s arse and exchange a long, sultry kiss with Lord Maccon from Soulless. Goodness, I think I’m a literary slut.

5)      What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

Time, pure and simple. Dinner is lovely, but a movie or a show doesn’t really let you talk and really appreciate each other. My favorite is a spa or bathhouse. No longer the raunchy hideout of 70s porn, there’s a spa bathhouse in a nearby town that lets you spend several hours in deliciously hot water with a cold plunge and a sauna, all in a little piece of tranquil heaven, for less than the price of two movie tickets and popcorn. A bath and time to talk and massage each other? That is true romance. Especially if you can sneak in a bottle of champaign.

6)      When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?

It really varies. Some stories have come to me out of a situation, and the characters grow from there. Seeds of Garnet started off as a futuristic telling of the Persephone myth, and the characters came afterwards and grew from that original idea. But with a story like Enchant the Dawn, it was the setting that came first. I was challenged to write a book in the 1920s in NYC, and before I knew it, Sophia my heroine was whispering naughty things in my ear and the plot came into being with her say so, so that was a collaboration between the perfect location and a plucky personality. Often for me, the setting and the character are very intertwined, as I think your environment does truly help shape who you are and how you face challenges.
7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
Oh dear…given the skinny scrawny nature of most actresses, casting is not an easy task at all. I’m contemplating some odd mix of Claire Danes, Eliza Dushku and Christina Ricci.  But all of them are too short and too thin. They’ve got the necessary attitude though!

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

Does Lord Voldemort count? Because if not, he should. Simply marvelous. And very entertaining on Twitter.

9)      Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?

Oh, there’s many. Nikola Tesla (the real one). Samuel Clemens, definitely. And I am still in awe of George Washington. It takes great strength to give up being a king. I’m also very fond of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.

10)   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

I would love to write a romance involving a mother to a child with special needs. So often, caretakers are pushed into a role and allowed no life, no outside existence. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t still people, with needs and desires and passions. If I can find a way to do it that doesn’t sound too preachy, I will write it!

Wow, great answers Elaine. Tell us a little bit about one of your books, will you? How about Lady Six Sky?

Lady Six Sky.

It is the year 682, but to the Maya it is the ninth baktun, twelfth katun, tenth tun. Born to a renegade splinter of  the noble line of Mutal, Ix Wac Chanil, Lady Six Sky, is unique among Maya princesses. More than an ornament to a great king, she will rule as well as reign. Sent to the ruined kingdom of Saal to restore its royal blood, Chanil has one condition to traveling into the embattled Maya heartland to hold the peace. She gets to choose her own mate. And she chooses well.

Ah Maxam, Tiliw T’ul, is a great artist and respected scribe. She’s wanted him since she was a girl and he was a man in exile. No other man makes her body throb with need. But can she ever believe he wants her as more than a queen? Together, can the intensity of their passion rebuild a kingdom torn apart by generations of war?
Only the Four Bacabs who held up the heavens knew what the elders of Saal truly thought of her. Probably that they had been sent a pampered fool of a girl, controlled by nothing but her lusts. Let them continue to underestimate her as long as possible—it gave her time to analyze her position and the makeup of the court.

And, she had to admit she was going to thoroughly enjoy the show. She descended from the Council meeting chambers into the small inner courtyard of the palace section of the temple complex. The sight of bronze skin shining in the afternoon sun made her smile like a satisfied jaguar. Her orders had been obeyed and she had won the first tiny battle of her rule.

Arrayed in two rows were all the varied suitors for her hand, completely naked of all the finery that the ahau held dear. No fine embroidered fabrics or carved jade or feathered glory to cover up the men they truly were. Some stood shifting uncomfortably in the bright light of day while others flexed and posed, showing off the muscled bodies they thought would now be their ticket to instant power.
Twenty-five hopeful men stood awaiting her pleasure, some old, some younger than her own twenty years. She had no idea which candidate the Council favored, as there were now no symbols to mark them as such, no jade medallions or quetzal feathers. But a few of the men looked on her with almost an air of smugness, sure that this entire escapade was nothing but a farce and she would simply marry who she was told to marry, like a good political bride.

She pursed her lips and began her walk. She had purposely worn her most revealing huipil, content in the knowledge that the dark peaks of her nipples were clearly visible through the fabric and the firm curve of her well-toned legs shown off by the short embroidered skirt. She wanted Tiliw T’ul to be thoroughly aware of everything he had seen in that forest and to know that she could have chosen any man in Saal. But she never even entertained the thought of another man, despite the particularly firm ass of one man with brilliantly inlaid teeth.

But she was distinctly angry when she realized after a long slow perusal of the eligible males left in the kingdom, Tiliw T’ul was not among the mostly naked men she’d seen. It had taken a lifetime of discipline for her to not immediately look for him as she’d come down those stairs and now she had committed herself to make a decision. But she would not alter the course of her life simply from such an oversight. She stalked to Ek Chitam the overdressed and overweight representative of Kaan who was supervising her choosing, “Is this all the eligible ahau of Saal?”

“Yes, my princess. I assure you…” The man’s eyes bugged out, trying with his best sycophantic tone to placate the irascible royal.

But she knew it was not. Unless he had already departed, leaving on purpose to avoid her decision. Then she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She was being stared at and somehow she knew it was him. She turned her face from the greasy little man in his quivering feathers to the unnoticed but ubiquitous scribe on the ground. Bent over a small lap desk, he was poised for writing on the fine parchment pages of an official court record. Tiliw T’ul looked up at her with a stylus gripped so tightly in his hand that she thought the instrument would break.

He nodded his head in a quick acknowledgement of her status. “My princess. I am at your service.” His jaw was ever so slightly clenched. If she hadn’t made such a study of him in the precious days they’d had together, she never would have known he was immensely angry. Was he angry that he was forced to watch and record this debacle, or that he was not participating in it?

When his eyes flickered over her nipples, her body reacted instantly, the silky skin tightening to reflect her answering interest. The flare of his nostrils and the slightest intake of breath gave her an answer. He was jealous! Jealous that she had been looking at all of these naked men in blatant appraisal.

She smiled, showing her even white teeth with feline glee. “Strip, Tiliw T’ul.”

He arched an eyebrow and she had to prevent herself from tapping her bare foot in impatience.

“You, Tiliw T’ul, known as Ah Maxam, are an ahau of Saal. You are unmarried. You are under forty and over the age of manhood. You are not one who prefers men, as I have heard from many of the woman of the Kukchanha court. Therefore, stand up, take off your clothes and let me look at you.” After all, it’s only fair. You have already seen all of me.

He stood up agonizingly slowly, unfolding his legs from the meditative crouch of the court scribe. His dark eyes were hooded, unreadable. She was almost afraid of his reaction, if she had pushed him too far. At his full height, he most definitely dwarfed her smaller frame and she thought he could probably pick her up remarkably easily. His hands were long and stained with ink, capable of the deft, careful motions of a highly skilled artist.

Those hands came up with slow deliberateness and pushed aside the embroidered cotton headband that kept his long hair back from his face as he worked. His eyes finally met hers, black to deep brown and she saw there a heady mix of desire, jealousy and most puzzling of all, amusement. A smile played about his full lips, as those enticing hands began to strip the many bracelets of shell and bone and jade from the wiry cords of his forearms. His jewelry was actually remarkably austere for an ahau but she supposed his work as a scribe and possibly his very nature, kept his adornments from being the showy and bulky plumage inhibiting the movements of a typical man of the court.

Her eyes followed his silent actions as he unbuckled the leather armbands on his upper arms and the bulge of his biceps fascinated her. Although he did not carry the finely toned physique of a warrior who trained every day, he was no lazy, limp courtier. He knew the meaning of labor and she could imagine him balanced on those strong arms, beads of sweat twisting over the throbbing veins as he pounded into her, his hips snapping against her.

Wow, Elaine, that is one stunning picture!  Thanks for coming back, it's been fun! Come back to see us any time! Have questions for Elaine? Comments? Thoughts? Share them, we'd love to hear them!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie


  1. Is there such a thing as kitchen envy? I seriously want that kitchen!

    Enjoyed the interview. I agree that I would want my husband and a knife if I was stranded on an island. We would not only survive, but flourish. He's that kind of guy. He's also the least romantic person I know, but I never doubt how much he loves me.

    What an amazing excerpt for Lady Six Sky!

    Do you have any special needs/routines for writing? Location, quiet/noisy. coffe/tea, etc.?

  2. I wish that was my kitchen too...alas, I have a postage stamp.

    And your husband sounds like a standup guy. My husband isn't one for conventional romance, but once in a while, he'll say or do something that absolutely makes me melt.

    As for my writing routines, I just write whenever I can! With part-time jobs, working on a degree, and a special needs child, time is precious and I can't afford to be picky. I admit to loving a good cup of Barry's IRish Gold when I'm writing on my couch, but I actually get the most writing done whenever I'm on a train. Something about that perfect rocking motion gets my neurons dancing just write to product volumes of words!

    Thanks for commenting!