Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cover for Goddess of Love!

Thought I'd share the cover for my June 07 Goddess Summoning Book, GODDESS OF LOVE. It's the fifth book in this fabulous series, and it was certainly fun to have Venus has a heroine. Goddess of Spring fans - Persephone has a cameo in this one, too. Meddlesome Hera also plays a part. Here's an excerpt teaser:

The set up - Persephone has taken Venus shopping in Tulsa. This is the Goddess of Love's first visit to the modern mortal world, and they are capping off their lovely shopping day by relaxing with martinis at Persephone's fav Tulsa restaurant (coincidentally, it's my favorite Tulsa restaurant, too!), Lola's at the Bowery.

Persephone shook her head and tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle a giggle. “I can’t believe you actually bought that thing.”
“How could I not after reading its name?” She pointed to the shiny black box that had the word VENUS D’MY LAY written in bright scarlet letters across it. “How do you open it?”
“You’re going to open it? Right here?”
Venus glanced up at her, violet eyes bemused. “Why not?”
“Well, it looks like a...”
Venus managed to wrestle open the lid and slid out its contents. Holding it up, she finished for Persephone, “A big, black phallus!”
“It certainly does.” Persephone stared. “Actually, it’s disturbingly real. What does it feel like?”
Venus caressed the long, black shaft, running her slender fingers knowingly over its rounded head, and flesh-like ridges and veins. “It feels nice. Much more realistic than the phalli the ancients carve. I mean, really. Not even a god’s penis truly gets as hard as marble, no matter what Apollo may boast. How does it work?” Venus enthusiastically shook the huge dildo with a jerking-it-off motion, getting several interesting looks from men sitting at the bar, which she chose, for the moment, not to acknowledge. “It says it vibrates, but it’s not vibrating,” she frowned.
“Give me that thing. You have to put in the batteries.”
“Modern magic that makes it work.”
“Oooh.” Venus sipped her martini while she watched Persephone insert batteries into the shaft of the phallus. “So those odd looking things will really cause it to vibrate?”
“That’s what the girl at Pricilla’s Toy Box said.”
“She was oddly pierced. Did she remind you of an Amazon warrior, too?” Venus asked.
“Now that you mention it, there was something wild and warrior-like about her. She might not quite be an Amazon, but I think Diana would approve of her.” Persephone said. “Here. Try turning it on now.” She passed the penis across the table and pointed to the hidden switch in its base. Venus stroked it on. The huge member came alive, humming happily.
Venus gasped. “By Zeus’s swinging testicles! It is magic!”
“Okay,” Persephone looked quickly around the chic restaurant, frowning severely at the men at the bar who were clearly being very entertained by Venus’s uninhibited show. She took the vibrator from the goddess, flipped it off, and put it back in its box. “You really might want to rethink the divine genitalia cursing.”
“The tits and testicles of the Olympians just aren’t used as curses here.” She dropped the VENUS D’MY LAY in the shopping bag and unobtrusively kicked the bag under their table.
“Persephone. I am Goddess of Love,” Venus kept her voice low but firm. “It’s always appropriate for me to curse using references to genitals. Anyone’s genitals.”
“Do you want to fit in here?”
“Of course! I adore modern mortals. I can already tell that the men are appreciative without being sycophants. And the women move with such a delicious sense of freedom and power. I plan on spending many happy days exploring this wonderful kingdom.”
“Then leave the genitals of the gods and goddesses out of it.”
Venus frowned, looking unusually pensive. “I’m not sure I can. You know I prefer to refer to love whenever I can.”
Persephone raised one delicate eyebrow. “Love?”
“Naturally. Genitals equal love – love equal genitals. Persephone, darling, do we need to have a more private talk? How have your orgasms been lately? Are you experiencing multiple releases? And when you don’t have a partner, have you been pleasuring yourself adequately?”
Persephone raised her hands, palms out. “Stop. You win. Use whatever curses please you most. Just be prepared to be questioned about them.”
“I’m always prepared to answer questions about love,” Venus smiled sweetly. “But first I want…” she caught the young waitress’s eye and waggled her fingers at their two almost empty martini glasses.
“Did you ladies want another round?”
“Darling, you said your name was Jenny, didn’t you?” Venus asked.
“That’s right,” the waitress smiled. “Two more martinis?”
“Yes, but this time let’s try The Wake,” Persephone said.
“Excellent! You’ll love it. I bring those right out.”
“The Wake?” Venus asked Persephone after Jenny hurried off.
“It’s yummy – chocolate liqueur, espresso, vodka, ice crystals…” she licked her lips and shivered in delight. “Trust me on this.”
“Oh, I do! It sounds decadent. I’m certain I’ll love it. I’ve loved everything else in this kingdom.”
“Okay, you’re really going to have to quit calling it that. There’s no such thing as a kingdom of Tulsa. It’s just Tulsa. Like Rome is just Rome, not the kingdom of Rome.”
Venus scoffed. “Try telling those obsessively patriotic ancient Romans they’re not a kingdom.”
“Point taken. I used a bad example. Here’s the thing – you can be eccentric and different here – that’s fine. You’re incredibly beautiful–”
“Why thank you darling!” Venus interrupted.
“I’m just stating the truth. Anyway, you can get away with being…well…what modern mortals will consider weird because of your beauty.”
“Weird? I am not weird.”
“By Athena’s widening ass you certainly are!” Persephone said, mimicking her friend’s voice and using one of her all-time favorite curses.
Venus’s violet eyes sparkled. “Athena’s ass is getting big. Come on. Admit it. She’s become far too serious! All ‘Look at me! I’m the grey-eyed Goddess of War, Wisdom, and the Arts.’” She exaggerated a yawn. “She needs to loosen up, and in more ways than one. A few stretching exercises and a good jog would help her out as much as taking a lover or two.”
“You’re incorrigible,” Persephone laughed. “And you’re not going to get me off the subject that easy. You can use your genital curses. You can even get way too personal about other people’s love lives. But you can’t go around calling Tulsa a kingdom.”
“Fine fine fine. It’s not a kingdom. It’s a city. I’ve got it. I’ll remember. It’s just that I’m having so much fun! I adore Tulsa and its mixture of cheeky modern men and confident modern women, especially because none of them have any idea who I am.”
“I told you it would be a freeing experience to visit the modern world.”
“Well I am Love, and I can officially say that Love is in love with Tulsa!”
The waitress put two fresh martinis on their table, along with two slender white slices of an exquisitely decorated cake. “Here are your Wakes, ladies. And the owner, Lola, is testing out a new dessert – personal wedding cake. Please sample it with her blessing.”
“Wedding cake!” Venus laughed and clapped her hands together in a spontaneous show of girlish pleasure. “How perfectly appropriate.”
“Are you getting married?” The young waitress asked.
“Me? No! I’ve been married forever. That’s not why it’s appropriate. It’s just that I am Love. Naturally, wedding cake should be a favorite of mine.”
The waitress continued to smile politely, but her face had turned into a question mark.
“She means she’s fixed up a lot of her friends. Sometimes we just call her Love,” Persephone explained.
“She’s good at fixing up people? That’s cool.”
“You have no idea,” Venus mumbled through a big bite of wedding cake. “Paris and Helen…Pygmalion and–”
“Thanks for the cake!” Persephone interrupted smoothly. “And keep an eye on our martinis; we’ll want at least one more round.”
“Will do.”
When she was gone Persephone bit into her own slice of cake while she shook her head at Venus.
“What? You don’t like the cake. I think it’s wonderful.”
“The cake is excellent. You, on the other hand, are a mess.”
Venus took a sip of the new martini and moaned softly in pleasure. “By Apollo’s golden phallus this is delicious!”
“Venus, could you please please please try to remember that to the modern mortals Troy existed thousands of years ago? And to them Pygmalion carving Galatea out of marble was just a myth.”
“Pygmalian? A myth? Impossible. He was a dreadful woman hater before I played matchmaker.” She grinned mischievously. “Matchmaking with a statue. I must say that I outdid myself that time. How could people believe that love story was a myth?”
“You knew them!” Persephone hissed. “And you’re used to magic, unlike modern mortals.”
Venus cocked her head to the side and studied Persephone. “You seem very tense. When was the last time you orgasmed?”
“That has nothing to do with it.”
“Of course it does. When was the last time?”
“Five days ago.”
“See there!” Venus nodded vigorously as if she’d just proved an excellent point to an attentive audience. “That’s your problem.”
“I don’t have a problem.”
“Well you won’t if we get you properly laid.” Venus looked around the restaurant, clearly checking out the men at the bar.
“No. Really. I’m fine. And if I’m not I do have a rather long list of mortal men I can call on,” she said smugly.
“Excellent. Then do so. Five days without a proper orgasm is entirely too long. But are you sure you don’t want to me work a little love magic for you?” She waggled her long, shapely fingers and diamond-like glitter began to form in the air around them.
“No!” Persephone yelped, grabbing Venus’s hand and causing the love dust to fall in a small, sparkling heap on their table. She quickly blew on the powdery substance and then went into a sneezing fit when it danced in the air around them before disappearing back into the Goddess of Love’s fingertips.
“Be careful,” Venus said as she finished the last of her cake. “That stuff isn’t good for your lungs.”
“Thanks for reminding me,” Persephone said sardonically while she sniffed delicately. “Just nevermind on the love magic stuff. I’m doing fine on my own. Plus, you know what happens when you get too involved in the love life of the gods.”
“What are you talking about? I have made uncounted matches – happy matches.”
“Yes, you have. Happy matches between mortals. When you mess with our love lives, as in the immortals, of which I am one, things tend to go wrong. Drastically wrong.”
“You exaggerate.”
“Exhibit A – Athena and Odysseus. You decided Athena needed to love a mortal. Look me in the eye and tell me your meddling didn’t cause the man to be absent from his wife and family for 20 years.”
Venus shrugged and looked uncomfortable. “If Athena hadn’t been so obsessive that little affair wouldn’t have been such a bad thing.”
“So you’re admitting it was a bad thing?”
“Fine. Exhibit B – the Scylla/Glaucus/Circe debacle.”
“That’s not fair. I had no idea that Circe was so attached to Glaucus. I thought he and Scylla made a lovely match. You know I did think he was just scrumptious after he became a water deity. How was I to know that Scylla rejecting him would make Circe so jealous?” Venus pouted. “I really don’t know how you can hold that against me.”
“Okay. How about Exhibit C – Zeus and–”
“Okay! I get your point. Although how you could blame me for any of Zeus’s silly affairs I’ll never know,” she muttered. “Anyway, I won’t meddle in your love life. Right now,” she added under her breath. “But I do have the urge to, I don’t know, arrange something for these fabulous mortals. Kind of as a payback for having such a lovely time in their city.” She enunciated the word distinctly, getting a grin from Persephone.
“Hey, meddle away with the mortals. It’s fine with me. Whether they are aware of it or not, they’re lucky to have the Goddess of Love be so interested.”
“Really!” Venus brightened. “Matchmaking always gets my womanly juices flowing.”
“Venus. Please. TMI.”
“Too much information. Keep your woman’s juices to yourself.”
“You know, for Spring you really are a prude.” She narrowed her eyes at Persephone. “When was the last time you gazed at the beauty of your sacred lotus blossom with a mirror?”
Persephone choked on her martini.
“Just as I thought. You need to spend more private time with the core of your womanhood.”
“Mortals. Focus on the mortals, Venus.” Persephone said between coughs.
“If you insist…” Venus said, turning her attention to the morals surrounding them even while she filed away in her mind that she’d have Persephone sent a special mirror when she got back to Mount Olympus.
Then all thoughts of Persephone and mirrors fled her mind as a group of laughing men entered the restaurant. They took seats at the gleaming oak bar and began a good-natured flirtation with Lola herself, who had emerged from the kitchen and was one of those timelessly attractive women who could have been anywhere from thirty-five to fifty-five, and who would still be confident and sexy at sixty-five and seventy-five. Obviously, the group of men were regulars as well as favorites with Lola and her wait staff.
“Who are they?” Venus asked Persephone.
“Firemen…” Persephone purred the word.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Awesome Announcement!

I am thrilled to announce that today my agent finalized a deal with Silhouette's new imprint, NOCTURNE, for the first two books in my new dark paranormal series, AFTER MOONRISE! The novels will focus on a paranormal investigative team, After Moonrise, that deals with the underbelly of the supernatural. The world is much like ours, only darker. Ghosts, hauntings, possessions, supernatural crimes, etc., are the norm, although only a minority of people can influence the spirits. My team at After Moonrise handle the darkest and most dangerous of supernatural events, with a heavy dose of sexy...sexy...sexy...

Stay tuned for specifics!

And we are having a lovely paranormal party at Out of the Blogosphere (follow the link in my blog margin). Please stop by and say hi! Lots of prizes are being given away!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

YA Series News!

Sorry I've been mute here for so long, but Deadline Hell is a scary place. Sooo...I finished the second book in our YA series, THE HOUSE OF NIGHT, BOOK 2, BETRAYED! Now Kristin has the manuscript and is going through it one last time to be sure we sound like teenagers and not a 46 year old disgrunted school teacher. Also, we got news today that THE HOUSE OF NIGHT, BOOK 1, MARKED, will be released May 2007!! Yea! As a teaser, Kristin and I (I put our picture up here because we don't have a cover to show yet) thought we'd post chapter 1. So...tell me what you think!



Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker. Kayla was talking non-stop in her usual K-babble, and she didn’t even notice him. At first. Actually, now that I think about it no one else noticed him until he spoke, which is, tragically, more evidence of my freakish inability to fit in.

“No, but Zoey, I swear to God Heath didn’t get that drunk after the game. You really shouldn’t be so hard on him.”

“Yeah,” I said absently. “Sure.” Then I coughed. Again. I felt like crap. I must be coming down with what Mr. Wise, my more-than-slightly-insane AP biology teacher, called The Teenage Plague.

If I died would it get me out of my geometry test tomorrow? One could only hope.

“Zoey please. Are you even listening? I think he only had like four – I dunno – maybe six beers, and maybe like three shots. But that’s totally beside the point - he probably wouldn’t even have had hardly any if your stupid parents hadn’t made you go home right after the game.”

We shared a long-suffering look, in total agreement about the latest injustice committed against me by my mom and The Step-Loser she’d married three really long years ago. Then, after barely half a breath break K was back with the babbling.
“Plus, he was celebrating. I mean we beat Union!” K shook my shoulder and put her face close to mine. “Hello! Your boyfriend–”

“My almost-boyfriend,” I corrected her, trying my best not to cough on her.

“Whatever. Heath is our quarterback so of course he’s going to celebrate. It’s been like a million years since Broken Arrow beat Union.”

“Sixteen.” I’m crappy at math, but K’s math-impairment makes me look like a genius.

“Again, whatever. The point is, he was happy. You should give the boy a break.”

“The point is that he was wasted for like the fifth time this week. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to go out with a guy whose main focus in life has changed from trying to play college football to trying to chug a six pack without puking. Not to mention the fact that he’s going to get fat from all that beer.” I had to pause to cough. I was feeling a little dizzy and forced myself to take slow, deep breaths when the coughing fit was over. Not that K-babble noticed.

“Eww! Heath, fat! Not a visual I want.”

I managed to ignore another urge to cough. “And kissing him is like sucking on alcohol soaked feet.”

K scrunched up her face. “Okay, sick. Too bad he’s so hot.”

I rolled my eyes, not bothering to try to hide my annoyance at her typical shallowness.

“You’re so grumpy when you’re sick. Anyway, you have no idea how-lost-puppy-like Heath looked after you ignored him at lunch. He couldn’t even…”

Then I saw him. The dead guy. Okay, I realized pretty quick that he wasn’t technically “dead.” He was undead. Or un-human. Whatever. Scientists said one thing, people said another, but the end result was the same. There was no mistaking what he was and even if I hadn’t felt the power and darkness that radiated from him, there was no frickin’ way I could miss his Mark, the sapphire blue crescent moon on his forehead and the additional tattooing of entwining knot work that framed his equally blue eyes. He was a vampyre, and worse. He was a Tracker.

Well crap! He was standing by my locker.

“Zoey, you’re so not listening to me!”

Then the vampyre spoke and his ceremonial words slicked across the space between us, dangerous and seductive, like blood mixed with melted chocolate.
“Zoey Montgomery! Night has chosen thee; thy death will be thy birth. Night calls to thee; hearken to Her sweet voice. Your destiny awaits you at The House of Night!”

He lifted one long, white finger and pointed at me. As my forehead exploded in pain Kayla opened her mouth and screamed.


When the bright splotches finally cleared from my eyes I looked up to see K’s colorless face staring down at me. As usual, I said the first ridiculous thing that came to mind. “K, your eyes are popping out of your head like a fish.”

“He marked you. Oh, Zoey! You have the outline of that thing on your forehead!” Then she pressed a shaking hand against her white lips, unsuccessfully trying to hold back a sob.

I sat up and coughed. I had a killer headache, and I rubbed at the spot right between my eyebrows. It stung like a wasp had bit me and radiated pain down around my eyes all the way across my cheekbones. I felt like I might puke.

“Zoey!” K was really crying now and had to speak between wet little hiccups. “Oh. My. God. That guy was a Tracker – a vampyre Tracker!”

“K,” I blinked hard, trying to clear the pain from my head. “Stop crying. You know I hate it when you cry.” I reached out to attempt a comforting pat on her shoulders.
And she automatically cringed away from me.

I couldn’t believe it. She actually cringed, like she was afraid of me. She must have seen the hurt in my eyes because she instantly started a string of breathless K-babble.

“Oh, God Zoey! What are you going to do? You can’t go to that place. You can’t be one of those things. This can’t be happening! Who am I supposed to go to all of our football games with?”

I noticed that all during her tirade she didn’t once move any closer to me. I clamped down on the sick hurt feeling inside that threatened to make me burst into tears. My eyes dried instantly. I was good at hiding tears. I should be; I’d had three years to get good at it.

“It’s okay. I’ll figure this out. It’s probably some…some bizarre mistake,” I lied.
I wasn’t really talking; I was just making words come out of my mouth. Still grimacing at the pain in my head I stood up. Looking around I felt a small measure of relief that K and I were the only ones in the math hall, and then I had to choke back what I knew was hysterical laughter. Had I not been totally psycho about the Geometry Test From Hell tomorrow, and run back to my locker to get my book so I could attempt to obsessively (and pointlessly) study tonight, the Tracker would have found me standing outside in front of the school with the majority of the 1,300 kids who went to Broken Arrow’s South Intermediate High School waiting for what my stupid Barbie clone sister liked to smugly call ‘the big yellow limos.’ I have a car, but standing around with the less fortunate who have to ride the buses is a time-honored tradition, not to mention an excellent way to check out who’s hitting on who. As it was there was only one other kid in the math hall – a tall thin dork with messed up teeth, which I could, unfortunately, see too much of because he was standing there with his mouth flapping open staring at me like I’d just given birth to a litter of flying pigs.

I coughed again, this time a really wet, disgusting cough. The dork made a little squeaky sound and scuttled down the hall to Mrs. Day’s room clutching a flat board to his bony chest. Guess the chess club had changed its meeting time to Mondays after school.

Do vampyres play chess? Were there vampyre dorks? How about Barbie-like vampyre cheerleaders? Did any vampyres play in the band? Were there vampyre Emos with their guy-wearing-girl-pants weirdness and those awful bangs that cover half their faces? Or were they all those freaky Goth kids who didn’t like to bathe much? Was I going to turn into a Goth kid? Or worse, an Emo? I didn’t particularly like wearing black, at least not exclusively, and I wasn’t feeling a sudden and unfortunate aversion to soap and water, nor did I have an obsessive desire to change my hairstyle and wear too much eyeliner.

All this whirled through my mind while I felt another little hysterical bubble of laughter try to escape from my throat, and was almost thankful when it came out as a cough instead.

“Zoey? Are you okay?” Kayla’s voice sounded too high, like someone was pinching her, and she’d taken another step away from me.

I sighed and felt my first sliver of anger. It wasn’t like I’d asked for this. K and I had been best friends since third grade, and now she was looking at me like I had turned into a monster.

“Kayla, it’s just me. The same me I was two seconds ago and two hours ago and two days ago.” I made a frustrated gesture towards my throbbing head. “This doesn’t change who I am!”

K’s eyes teared up again, but, thankfully, her cell phone started singing Madonna’s Material Girl. Automatically, she glanced at the caller ID. I could tell by her rabbit-in-the-headlights expression that it was her boyfriend, Jared.

“Go on,” I said in a flat, tired voice. “Ride home with him.”

Her look of relief was like a slap in my face.

“Call me later?” she threw over her shoulder as she beat a hasty retreat out the side door.

I watched her rush across the east lawn to the parking lot. I could see that she had her cell phone smashed to her ear and was talking in animated little bursts to Jared. I’m sure she was already telling him I was turning into a monster.
The problem, of course, was that turning into a monster was the brighter of my two choices. Choice 1: I turn into a vampyre, which equals a monster in just about any human’s mind. Choice 2: My body rejects the Change and I die. Forever.
So the good news is that I wouldn’t have to take the geometry test tomorrow.
The bad news - I’d have to move into The House of Night, a private boarding school in Tulsa’s Midtown, known by all my friends as The Vampyre Finishing School, where I would spend the next four years going through bizarre and unnamable physical changes, as well as a total and permanent life shake-up. And that’s only if the whole process didn’t kill me.

Great. I didn’t want to do either. I just wanted to attempt to be normal, despite the burden of my mega-conservative parents, my troll-like younger brother, and my oh-so-perfect older sister. I wanted to pass geometry. I wanted to keep my grades up so that I could get accepted into the veterinary college at OSU and get out of Broken Arrow. But most of all, I wanted to fit in – at least at school. Home had become hopeless, so all I was left with were my friends and my life away from my family.

Now that was being taken away from me too.

I rubbed my forehead and then messed with my hair until it semi-covered my eyes, and, hopefully, the Mark that had appeared above them. Keeping my head ducked down like I was fascinated with the goo that had somehow formed in my purse, I hurried towards the door that led to the student parking lot.

But I stopped short of going outside. Through the side-by-side windows in the institutional-looking doors I could see Heath. Girls flocked around him posing and flipping their hair, while guys revved ridiculously big pickup trucks and tried (but mostly failed) to look cool. Doesn’t it figure that I would choose that to be attracted to? No, to be fair to myself I should remember that Heath used to be incredibly sweet, and even now he had his moments. Mostly when he bothered to be sober.

High-pitched girl giggles flitted to me from the parking lot. Great. Kathy Richter, the biggest ho in school, was pretending to smack Heath. Even from where I was standing it was obvious she thought hitting him was some kind of mating ritual. As usual, clueless Heath was just standing there grinning. Well hell, my day just wasn’t going to get any better. And there sat my robin’s-egg-blue 1966 VW Bug right in the middle of them. No. I couldn’t go out there. I couldn’t walk in the middle of all of them with this thing on my forehead. I’d never be able to be part of them again. I already knew too well what they’d do. I remembered the last kid a Tracker had Chosen at SIHS.

It happened at the beginning of the school year last year. The Tracker had come before school and had targeted the kid as he was walking to his first hour. I didn’t see the Tracker, but I did see the kid afterwards, for just a second, after he dropped his books and ran out of the building, his new Mark glowing on his pale forehead and tears washing down his too white cheeks. I never forgot how crowded the halls had been that morning, and how everyone had backed away from him like he had the plague as he rushed to escape out the front doors of the school. I had been one of those kids who had backed out of his way and stared, even though I’d felt really sorry for him. I just hadn’t wanted to be labeled as that-one-girl-who’s-friends-with-those-freaks. Kinda ironic now, isn’t it?

Instead of going to my car I headed for the nearest restroom, which was, thankfully, empty. There were three stalls – yes, I double-checked each for feet. On one wall were two sinks, over which hung two medium sized mirrors. Across from the sinks the opposite wall was covered with a huge mirror that had a ledge below it for holding brushes and makeup and whatnot. I put my purse and my geometry book on the ledge, took a deep breath, and in one motion lifted my head and brushed back my hair.
It was like staring into the face of a familiar stranger. You know, that person you see in a crowd and swear you know, but you really don’t? Now she was me – the familiar stranger.

She had my eyes. They were the same hazel color that could never decide if it wanted to be green or brown, but my eyes had never been that big and round. Had they? She had my hair – long and straight and almost as dark as my grandma’s had been before hers had begun to turn silver. The stranger had my high cheekbones, long, strong nose, and wide mouth – more features from my grandma and her Cherokee ancestors. But my face had never been that pale. I’d always been olive-ish, much darker skinned than anyone else in my family. But maybe it wasn’t that my skin was suddenly so white…maybe it just looked pale in comparison to the dark blue outline of the crescent moon that was perfectly positioned in the middle of my forehead. Or maybe it was the horrid fluorescent lighting. I hoped it was the lighting.
I stared at the exotic looking tattoo. Mixed with my strong Cherokee features it seemed to brand me with a mark of wildness…like I belonged to ancient times when the world was bigger…more barbaric.

From this day on my life would never be the same. And for a moment – just an instant – I forgot about the horror of not belonging and felt a shocking burst of pleasure while deep inside of me the blood of my grandmother’s people rejoiced.