Monday, February 26, 2007

Plumbing: It's Good to Have

I must admit to enjoying our soft and convenient way of life. I like canned and frozen foods, microwave ovens, central heat, and definitely cars. The local water district decided to test just how appreciative I was. I got out of bed this morning, only to discover we had no water. Ack! What's a modern girl to do?

Or not do. Here's a list:

Couldn't take a shower.
Couldn't run the dishwasher.
Couldn't wash my hands after making sausage patties (made do with Clorox Wipes).
Couldn't run the clothes washer.
Couldn't, er, flush, meaning I couldn't do other things, either.

And worst of all . . . Couldn't make coffee!!!

So let's talk plumbing. Lots of civilizations in the past have had excellent plumbing systems, some, like Ancient Crete or Rome, rivaling what we have today. We don't often think of these things because Britain (after the Romans left) and America had, well, pathetic or no plumbing.

When I put together the words "ancient" and "water," I think Roman aquaduct. Bowdoin College has a good online article, ARCHAEOLOGY 291: The Roman Aqueducts and Water Systems. Of course, there's always a price to be paid.

Here's a terrific site that tells all about plumbing through the ages, Did you know ancient Crete boasted ". . . the world's earliest "flushing" water closet." Or Egypt where "Excavators of the mortuary temple of King Suhura at Abusir discovered niches in the walls and remnants of stone basins. These were furnished with metal fittings for use as lavatories." Want an armrest on your toilet? "China has flushed Britain's claims to have invented the water closet down the pan with the discovery of a 2,000-year-old toilet complete with running water, a stone seat and a comfortable armrest."

Interested in Americana? Here's the history of outhouses, where you can find out the actual function of a two-holer, and why there's a moon cut into the door. How about outhouse folklore? "The outhouse was movable and Grandpa always located it so that the door was directly behind an oak tree to which he would affix a panel of boards, so that you could use the outhouse with the door open, the advantage should be obvious." Outhouses of the American West has pictures, trivia, lore, and even jokes--a great site to check out.

Ah, here's a prize. How about a biblography champberpots and other interesting facilities

Now, I'll tell a story on my own family. I grew up on a farm outside Homedale, Idaho. My great-grandmother lived about twenty miles away, in Parma. She was getting up in years, and her mother, who was nearly 100, lived with her. One year, for Mother's Day, My dad and grandfather decided to install bathroom facilities in the pantry, a fairly good-sized room off the kitchen. So when they showed up with a tub, toilet and sink, my great-grandmother (an immaculate housekeeper) chased them out of her driveway with a broom because she was so appalled to think that anyone would do "their business" in her house. How disgusting!

A week later, Dad and Grandpa built a little building near the house and installed the facilities, then connected it to the main house with a roofed walkway. And everyone lived Happily Ever After.

The point of this story is that we shouldn't force our values onto our characters who live in another time and another place. I think the story about my great-grandmother is funny, but she sure didn't, and neither did her mother.

But back to the broken water main. When basic services are interrupted, I'm always grateful to live now, even though I've always thought I would fit in better had I been born at least 150 years ago. Honestly, I truly appreciate our precious running water, and the same goes for the drain pipes that take the waste away.

Of course, we probably won't get too much into, er, bathroom habits in our stories, but still, it's part of your character's world, and who knows when the opportunity for a little bathroom humor might arise. I say, if it's good enough for Will Shakespeare . . .

"Despite the complexity and supreme cleverness of his manipulation of language, Shakespeare was a popular entertainer in his own time. It's a matter of great curiosity, therefore, that perhaps the greatest author of bathroom humor has today been appropriated by the cultural elite."

2006 PEARL Award Winner, Best Short Story
Keely's blog
Faery Special Romances (May 2007)
Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research

Paranormal Romance, by Marilynn Byerly

Brief History of Paranormal Romance

by Marilynn Byerly

Copyright © 2007 by Marilynn Byerly

This article may be reproduced, but only with the permission of Marilynn Byerly ( It must contain the byline and copyright information.

Here's my version of a brief history of the PNR [paranormal romance genre]. I've been involved in the market since the early eighties so I've paid attention. :g:

The paranormal romance's roots come from the Gothic romance and science fiction/fantasy.


Most scholars consider Smollett's FERDINAND COUNT FATHOM (1753) to be a precursor, and the first true Gothic was Horace Walpole's CASTLE OF OTRANTO (1764).

The true element of romance, at least our definition of it, didn't appear until a woman started writing Gothics. Her name was Ann Radcliff, and her first book was called THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO (1789). She set the stage for the Bronte sisters and their books years later.

The Gothic began to lose its respectability during the time of the Brontes because the authors were predominately women. The flowering of the pulp Gothics in the early to mid-Twentieth century finished what little respectability the form still had. These pulps are the ones you remember with covers with the heroine in a wispy nightgown fleeing from a distant castle.

Ghosts and other supernatural creatures were in these books as dangers or as spooky atmosphere.

The supernatural creature as a romantic partner first appeared in a category (Harlequin/Silhouete) romance -- THE IVORY KEY by Rita Clay Estrada, (1987). The hero was a ghost. The book was wildly popular and a few paranormals with a supernatural hero/heroine crept into the Harlequin lines after that as well as the single titles of other publishers, but they quickly disappeared because the numbers weren't high enough to please the publishers, and the more traditional readers complained loudly about these books.

The paranormal in romance had a small but loyal following, and about every seven years, the NY market would produce PNR in a large way, but these surges were very short-lived, and the market would vanish again.


If you consider fantasy as part of science fiction or vice versa, I'd say that Andre Norton was the first sf/fantasy author to include romance. She never used the word "love," and there was almost no mush, but it was about a man and woman who face danger together and work as a team, physically and emotionally, and there was always a sense of a permanent relationship at the end of the book. Anne McCaffrey followed her with even more emphasis on romantic relationships and the partnership between men and women.

The first futuristic from a NY romance publisher was Janelle Taylor's MOONDUST AND MADNESS (1992). It had a "Mars Needs Women" plot, and the sf elements were total dreck. Taylor and most futuristic authors of the period derive more from media sf than literary sf.

An exception to this was Jayne Castle (Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick) and a few other writers who actually understood literary sf.

Unfortunately, the futuristic/sf romance failed to survive. Until recently, the sf romance has made an appearance every seven years or so, lasted about a year in popularity then faded out of sight.

In recent years, the sf romance with sf literary roots has begun to find some respectability because of authors like Catherine Asaro who writes for the sf market.

From the romance side, Susan Grant's shift from having the sf romance about space to having the sf elements on contemporary Earth has gained fans for the genre as well as giving it new life.

The fantasy romance followed a similar path. One of its early and most popular practitioners in the eighties was Rebecca Brandewyne who used the traditional elements of fantasy and fairy tale. Fantasy romance had as little luck as the sf romance in gaining fans.

Then Anne Rice started writing vampire novels, and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER hit TV. The contemporary fantasy romance was born soon after and has become so popular that we are now in the Golden Age of paranormal romance.

To find out more about Marilynn Byerly, visit her website: and read about her current release, Guardian Angel.

"GUARDIAN ANGEL... will have you biting your nails . . ." Sherry, Coffee Time Romance

"Ms. Byerly spins tension and suspense that keep the reader guessing who the culprits are all the way to the end. With a well thought out plot, robust characters and well-rounded secondary characters that keep the story intact and moving smoothly, she pens a read that is amazing. This is one dynamic read no one should miss! Get ready for an unforgettable roller coaster ride." Linda L, Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 Angels

Saturday, February 24, 2007

50 Questions

1. whats your name spelt backwards? Eiuqcaj

2. What did you do last night? Baked cheesecake and made a new background for my myspace page.

3. The last thing you downloaded onto your computer? logo from Children's Tumor Foundation

4. Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery? No

5. Last time you swam in a pool? Don't swim

6. What are you wearing? PJs (pink)

7. How many cars have you owned? 5

8. Type of music you dislike most? Gangster Rap

9. Are you registered to vote? Yes

10. Do you have cable? No

11. What kind of computer do you use? PC

12. Ever made a prank phone call? Yes, when I was about 11

13. You like anyone right now? I like a lot of people

14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? I would if they didn't go so high up.

15. Furthest place you ever traveled? Guam

16. Do you have a garden? Yes

17. What's your favorite comic strip? Can't remember the name

18. Do you know all the words to the national anthem? Yes

19. Shower, morning or night? Afternoon

20. Best movie you've seen in the past month? Cars

21. Favorite pizza toppings? Cheese, Italian sausage, black olives, and mushrooms

22. Chips or popcorn? Chips

23. What cell phone provider do you have? Whichever one gives me the best deal

24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Huh?

25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? I plead the fifth.

26. Orange Juice or apple? Orange juice

27. Who were the last people you sat at lunch with? Chun Yun

28. favorite chocolate bar? Reese's Peanutbutter Cup

29. Who is your longest friend and how long? Tresa, you don wanna know how long

30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? September, 2006

31. Have you ever won a trophy? Yes, many

32. Favorite artist? Jim Paxton

33. Favorite computer game? Poppin

34. Ever ordered from an infomercial? No

35. Sprite or 7-UP? Squirt

36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school/work? No

37. Last thing you bought at Walgreens? Cereal bowls and fingernail polish remover

38. Ever thrown up in public? Uh, I plead the fifth again

39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love? I already have true love, so bring on the money!

40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes. I knew he was mine the second I laid eyes on him.

41. Can exes just be friends? I suppose

42. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital? Janice Price

43. Did you have long hair as a young kid? Yes, but it was cut short for school.

44. What message is on your voicemail machine? I used the canned message

45. Where would you like to go right now? West Virginia, with a long stop in Boise

46. What was the name of your first pet? Pinky

47. What kind of back pack do you have, and what's in it? Northface. Writing supplies, pens, sticky papers, books, AlphaSmart

48. Last incoming/outgoing call on your phone? A "Survey" call

49. What is one thing you are grateful for today? My husband and family

50. What do you think about most? Stories--currently faery stories

Find this survey and others at

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

P.E.A.R.L. Award Winner!

ParaNormal Romance
Announces 2006 Winners

I am really pleased to announce (and can hardly believe it!) that my story in No Law Against Love, Faery Good Advice has won the P.E.A.R.L. Award for Best Short Story/Novella.

Winner 2006 PEARL
ParaNormal Excellence Award in Romantic Literature
Faery Good Advice for Best Short Story/Novella

Co-winner is Deborah MacGillivray, who wrote Double, Double, Toil & Trouble in the same anthology, published by Highland Press, profits to help in the fight against breast cancer.

ParaNormal Romance has over 3,500 members who vote, so this is a great honor for me, especially since that list is full of my favorite authors. Not so humbled is the faery, Keely, who stars in Faery Good Advice, and will star in my May 2007 release, Faery Special Romances.

2006 PEARL Award Winner, Best Short Story
Keely's blog
Faery Special Romances (May 2007)
Royalties go to Children's Tumor Foundation, ending Neurofibromatosis through Research

Thursday, February 1, 2007

2006 P.E.A.R.L. Award Nominations!

I'm a little stunned to learn that:

My story in No Law Against Love, "Faery Good Advice," was nominated for the 2006 PEARL Awards in the Best Short Story/Novella category. This is great because that story, in a modified version, is also the last story in Faery Special Romances.

Other good news: Blue Moon Enchantment, which features stories by Judith Laik, Sherrie Holmes, and me, is nominated Best Anthology PEARL Award!

I'm a happy girl. :)

Even more good news: Deborah MacGillivray has FIVE nominations (one for Best Debut Author!) and Dawn Thompson had FOUR (including for Best Overall Paranormal)! Besides their own fabulous books, they each have stories in Blue Moon Enchantment.

BTW, if you are a PNR member, we would sure appreciate your vote!

Faery Good Advice blog
Jacquie on myspace

No Law Against Love on Amazon (Jan. 2006, Highland Press)
Blue Moon Enchantment on Amazon (Oct. 2006, Highland Press)
Faery Special Romances on Amazon (May 2007, Highland Press)