Monday, March 22, 2010

A LITTLE CHAT and a LITTLE LEAKY RABBIT

 (artwork copyright Dies-a-Irae, link 'Black Haired Girl')
ISABELLA- A TRAGIC FIGURE FROM RABBIT LEGACY

As I began writing RABBIT LEGACY, I began to wonder what would make the best prologue. It is my style to include a prologue with every novel so why stop now? I had some great first chapters, but I needed a 'look back'. A chance for the reader to get a little back story that would be instantly interesting and even compelling. I soon realized that I had the perfect Prologue already written -- in my pile of Loose Rabbits.

If you're unfamiliar with this term, go to this link and rectify the situation. Otherwise read on...

This Loose Rabbit became the Prologue of RABBIT LEGACY for several reasons. The #1 being that it fits perfectly. Absolutely perfectly. It introduces my main character, Canaan, who is not in RABBIT CHASING BETH RIDER, and it sets up relationships between Javier and Roman, indicates the relevance of Father Damien to them all, and hints at a possible betrayal of friends.

I have leaked the prologue below. If you've read the Loose Rabbit associated with this, you may notice some slight changes. I have altered it only slightly to make it fit with the plot, but nothing is 'changed' really. I just left out Kilmeade for time purposes... I think you'll like the way it turned out.

Look for RABBIT LEGACY in early Fall 2010. Thank you for stopping by and leave a comment if you will!

~~ellen

RABBIT LEGACY    Prologue    by Ellen C Maze

1897 New York City

The blood of a brother was not particularly tasty. So why was Javier compelled to honor a stranger in such a way?

Tonight, Roman was moving them to New York to live on the grounds of a Rakum-owned hospital. He was excited at the prospect of having an endless supply of human victims helpless and without recourse. But now that the Rakum who picked them up at the train station was seeking to drink his blood, he wished Roman had not volunteered him so cavalierly.

Javier surreptitiously looked the guy over. He was tall, broad and bound with muscle; much different from the slender figure of his Elder. His every glance exuded confidence and a cool laissez faire that Javier only dreamed of one day developing. Just before he asked his name, he beat him to the punch.

“Call me Canaan.” The Rakum said in a British accent and then turned to remove the sweat-stained harness from the carriage horse. “Can you clean tack, little brother?”

“Yes. Of course.” Javier said as he watched Roman disappear through the door of the attached dwelling to meet their host. Feeling abandoned and awkward, Javier received the traces from Canaan. When both had their arms full, the older Rakum gestured to the barn and Javier led the way.

He was uncomfortable with the stranger for several reasons. Firstly, because since coming to stay with Roman at age eight, he had lived a sheltered life. Now he was twenty, but he could count on one hand how many Rakum he’d met in his two decades. More than that, Canaan was too quiet. Elder Roman explained to him long ago the tendency of their people to keep to themselves; saying that it was appropriate and even desirable that a Rakum remain aloof. But knowing this did not make it easier for Javier to accept. His propensity for chattiness was a bane to his Elder. If Canaan would say more, Javier was certain his nerves would settle.

“I apologize, little brother.” Canaan offered as he pulled open the barn door. “I will attempt to be more communicative.”

Realizing that the older Rakum was a telepath, Javier made an effort to think happy thoughts. Canaan chuckled at that moment and tossed Javier a cleaning rag from a bucket on the floor.

“Ask me a question.” Canaan said as he rubbed moisture from the bridle in his hand.
Javier ran the traces through the cloth and tried to think of something to say. He did not want to give his blood, but he couldn’t very well say that. Canaan made a soft noise of amusement a few feet away and Javier grimaced. The guy was a superior telepath and none of Javier’s thoughts were getting past him.

“Do not fret, little brother. I am not your enemy.” Canaan threw him a wink and hung the cleaned tack on the wall peg. He made a grab for what Javier had cleaned and hung it up as well. “Pretty good job, mate.”

Javier said nothing and watched him push closed the door on the tired gelding’s stall. Canaan collected his oil lamp and checked the animal’s water trough before heading for the door.

“What now?” Javier asked dreading the inevitable.

Canaan grinned and winked. “Shortly, I will begin the tour of the hospital.”

Javier nodded his head and stood from the low stool as if perhaps they would put off the blood-letting. But Canaan gave him a smile. His blue eyes flashed as he leaned against the closed barn door and crossed his arms at his chest.

“I like your Master, Javier. He has a soft spot for you. Speaks of you very tenderly. You’ve lived with him alone for how long?”

“Almost thirteen years. Since I was eight.”

Canaan whistled and shook his head. “I knew you were young, but not that young.” Maintaining eye contact, he lowered his chin and licked his lips. “And Roman is your main buzz? All this time?”

Javier nodded. Canaan was referring to the blood Javier consumed, and since he lived alone with Roman isolated in a forest miles from town, his was the most available. Canaan made a noise of surprise and Javier was curious.

“What? Is that strange?”

“You have no idea.” Canaan laughed and tucked the oil lamp on a set-in wooden shelf. “Rakum are raised in Group-Lairs for a reason. One of those is so they have a variety of blood donors available to them. You were raised in isolation. Why, only the Fathers know.”

Canaan lifted his eyes to the dark rafters above and paused. Javier remained silent. Canaan might be communicating with them as far as he knew. The Fathers were known to spy on their children, and with Canaan about to be promoted to Elder, they could have him under close surveillance. The Rakum lowered his gaze and smiled at Javier again.

“Indeed.” He said, answering Javier’s unspoken observation. “I am two hundred and forty-five years young, Javier, and I have never met a Rakum like you. You are a rarity…”

Canaan sounded wistful and finally Javier’s mouth curved into a smile. Of course he had a notion that he was special; that his situation with Roman was quite singular.
“This is why Roman consented. As a favor to me.” Canaan took a deep breath and stepped off the door, remaining across the floor for now. “Who is your father? Theophilus? Johann?”

Javier shook his head. “Father Damien.”

“Ahh…” Canaan nodded and approached, stopping a few feet away. “I can see that.” He then closed the distance between them and touched Javier’s hair, looking thoughtful. “Your mother was very dark, then? A Gypsy perhaps?”

“Yes.” Javier answered, unnerved at the close quarters. He furrowed his brow and met the other Rakum’s gaze. “What happens now?”

“Do not be impatient.” Canaan chastised. “Have you met Father Damien?”

Javier shook his head and Canaan reached for the collar of his plain white cotton shirt. Unlike Canaan and Roman who dressed to the nines in the fashion of the day, Javier wore plain brown canvas trousers and a roomy white farmboy shirt. He looked down at Canaan’s fingers on his shirt and clenched his jaw.

“Father Damien is an extraordinary Rakum. He sees the future. He can levitate objects. Even a carriage. He is amazing.” Canaan successfully opened Javier’s shirt a few inches and stepped closer. “Can you do that Javier? Move things with your mind?”

Javier inhaled sharply and shook his head. Normally he’d be extremely interested in learning anything about his true Rakum father, but with Canaan close enough to embrace him, he finally began to overtly resist the prospect of volunteering his blood.

“Why do this? Am I that special?” Javier asked in a low voice.

“We do this for training purposes, little brother.” Canaan became still, only inches from Javier’s chin. “To be an Elder, my sense of smell has to be a hundred times better than yours. My sense of hearing and taste too. My eyesight is already much more acute than any other Rakum I know. But I also need experiences. As many as I can gather. I may never meet another Brother like you, with your circumstances. Buzzing mainly from one source—that could cause you to take on the attributes of your donor. Could better prepare you to be an Elder one day. Might make you very powerful…”

Javier did not care at all for the man’s reasons, and he was wounded that Roman would give permission so hastily. He put his hands up and pressed into Canaan’s chest.

“Just be still.” Canaan ordered him and put his long thumbnail to Javier’s throat.
When he had pressed through the skin Javier grit his teeth but made no sound. He’d endured several years of bone-crunching torture already in First Ritual, so a little puncture wound barely registered. But he had not buzzed Roman but a handful of times and the sensation was unpleasant to say the least.

Maybe that was it. Perhaps Roman was testing him.

Javier sighed wondering if he’d ever complete the Ritual. The average Rakum graduated at seventeen and Javier passed that mark three years ago. Even as Canaan pressed his lips to his bleeding throat wound, Javier wondered how much longer he’d have to wait. Roman promised he’d meet Father Damien while in New York. Meeting one of the Fathers was one of the last things a Rakum did before graduation...
Javier pushed against Canaan again a little more forcefully. Canaan held him tightly, one hand behind his neck and the other around his shoulder. And he showed no sign of letting up. Javier did not want to lose too much blood. He had a long night ahead of him and he did not know when his next meal would come. After another few long seconds, the older Rakum still hadn’t let up and Javier returned to his thoughts.

Perhaps he would soon be on his own. If he graduated, Roman would put him out, set him up somewhere and let him start a life on his own. His own Cows. His own interests. His own Brethren to carouse with.

Lightheaded now, Javier grunted and pushed Canaan with real zeal. The larger Rakum’s mouth slipped from his skin and he stood back and rolled his eyes.

“Javier…” Canaan grinned and swallowed dramatically, his handsome face shining with something akin to revelation. “Buzzing only from an Elder… It makes a difference.”
“Fine and well for you, Brother.” Javier began, putting his fingers to his healing throat wound. Canaan held up his hand and wagged his finger in Javier’s face.
“Do not be cross, Little Brother. I have dinner waiting for you.” Canaan stepped to the door and picked up the oil lamp. “Elder Roman says begin the tour. I will show you my favorite floor.”

Javier stepped to the door, shook off the dizziness that threatened his balance, and followed Canaan across the moonlit yard to the hospital rear entrance. He was frowning, but the Elder took no notice of his expression.

“The lunatic ward is in the basement. Come, I will introduce you to my Isabella.”
Canaan pulled open the narrow service entrance and led Javier down an unlit hallway. The hospital was quiet and the lighting minimal as they descended the staircase to the basement. Javier noted that below ground level, the odor of medicine and human waste stung his nostrils. He winced but Canaan laughed.

“You won’t notice it after a while. Especially when you taste the reward I have down here for you.” Canaan whipped out a key ring and opened two locks. “In here, use the keys. Practice opening locks elsewhere.”

Javier nodded but wondered why the oddball rule was in place. Like all Rakum youth, he had learned how to mentally manipulate the mechanisms of the locksmith and no door would ever bar him. But Canaan kept going, without a pause and offered no explanation. When he opened the door, a wall of aromas slammed against his senses but Canaan walked in seemingly unaffected.

“You eat down here?” Javier asked incredulous.

Canaan did not answer and led him down an empty hallway to a door that opened up into a large circular room with stark and filthy walls. The floor was without furniture but snoring bodies slumped everywhere. Unable to stop himself, Javier began diagnosing illnesses left and right until Canaan touched his sleeve and distracted him.

“You can use your powers of healing upstairs. Down here, they all stay as they are. Understand? The lunatics…they are free food. For as long as you want. These rooms…” Canaan gestured to the padlocked doors that surrounded the empty floor. They were approximately twelve feet apart, with a barred window at the top of each. “…the rooms are for the violent ones. But over here…” He led Javier to a door on their right. “…I stashed a little treat for myself.”

Javier stepped over the sleeping form of a pregnant woman with a grey casted arm and entered the room after Canaan unlocked it with a wave of his hand. Javier looked at him sideways, recalling the decree of moments before, but Canaan again offered no explanation of his actions. Javier shook his head and followed the man’s lead.

Inside the smelly ten-by-ten cell, sat a soiled cot and a full toilet basin. On the rough stone floor beside the cot was a woman; short but pretty if he could imagine her without the grime that clung as if a second skin. Her hair had been shorn off recently but it had been black. As he watched, curious as to what Canaan had in mind, the Rakum approached the woman and stood over her. He looked to Javier and whispered low.

“With these people, you can be yourself. They can report vampires all day long, and no one will give them a listen. I take my fill, sew her up, and come back the next week. She never runs dry.”

Javier nodded with understanding.

“So you are hungry, right?” Canaan bent down and lifted the woman to her feet. She came awake slowly but as soon as her eyes focused she took a deep breath to scream. Canaan covered her mouth before she made a sound and trained his eyes on Javier.

“Come and taste this one, Javier. Riding accident. She came in for a broken arm and a concussion two months ago. I found her on my rounds the night they casted her.”

Javier stepped close to the girl and looked into her terrified pale green eyes. She shook and perspired but did not struggle. As Canaan continued his story, Javier put his hands on the woman’s shoulders and considered her throat. When he took blood from the Cows and prostitutes Roman provided, they were invariably older, and usually male. Plus, Roman always took from their arm or wrist. Canaan was a throat guy. Javier listened to him with one ear and put his hand to her cheek and moved her chin aside.

“I intended to heal her arm and send her on her way, but look at her, Javier. She is exquisite. And innocent. Barely sixteen.”

Javier blinked at her age but then pressed his own thumbnail to her taut skin, just below her jaw. He usually used a knife, but he was learning new things in New York.

“So I had her transferred down here. She cemented her fate by telling them she was frightened of vampires. Beautiful, eh?”

Javier’s nail broke through but it took much more pressure than he expected and she gagged and recoiled at the sensation. When he pressed his mouth to her and began to draw of the trickle that leaked from the insufficient laceration, he almost choked with surprise. Canaan was right. The girl was different. Her blood caused his head to rush and his gut to tingle with pleasure. He no longer noticed the awful smell of the basement ward.

“That is her consent you taste, little brother. Her consent.” Canaan paused thoughtfully and Javier barely heard him. “She wrestles with herself, not us.”
Javier may have grunted a reply but he wasn’t sure. The rules of drawing blood from females were not on his mind at present.

“I am leaving her to you, Javier.” Canaan held the girl against his chest from behind. “Isabella. This is your new master. Treat him well.”

The girl squirmed half-heartedly but Canaan was practiced at keeping her silent. Javier drank a little longer and stopped himself. It wasn’t easy to quit her but she was small and Roman taught him to be aware of how much he drew out. Drinking them to death was forbidden. Taking a dying buzz was a crime worthy of severe punishment.

Canaan laughed then, overhearing his thoughts. “Indeed, little brother. In a hospital, with little threat of interruption, it is easy to drink too long. Be very careful.”

Javier nodded and covered Isabella’s wound with his palm until it healed.
“Visit her once a week and she’ll last several months. Visit her once a month and she’ll last several years. Keep her locked up, innocent and untouched by the others, and her blood will always be this smooth. Understand?”

Javier nodded, his head still fuzzy from the pleasure of the meal. “How do you…” he smiled at nothing and continued. “How do you manipulate the mortal physicians here?”
“The Groundsman and the Director are Cows for Elder Kilmeade. They’ll transfer to Roman. Between the two of them, of all of your requests will be met. I will introduce you tonight.”

Javier watched Isabella’s face as Canaan removed his hand from her mouth and lowered her onto the dank cot. She did not make a sound, but watched him with sorrowful eyes.

“I will keep her as long as I can, Canaan.” Javier gave the girl a grin which she ignored and he nodded to his brother. “I will keep her in here and make her last. Roman has to have her. I would like to know what he thinks.”

“Fine. But this hospital is full of Isabellas. On the second floor, there is a charity orphanage. Children and infants. Whatever you are in the mood for. Take a tiny bit from each one. Heal them up. You are in paradise, Javier.”

Javier tried to imagine what Canaan was describing but it was unfathomable.

Canaan abruptly moved to the door and motioned for him to follow.

“Come. Elder Roman is waiting for us in the Lobby to begin the tour.”

As Javier trailed Canaan up the stairs, his thoughts danced on the future. For one year, at least, he would have all the blood he wanted from any number of helpless donors. And a locked up princess named Isabella.

Javier laughed and glanced at Canaan. He was smiling too.
http://www.rabbitnovel.com

Monday, March 15, 2010

TOUCHED BY A VAMPIRE Book review with BITE


BOOK REVIEW by author of vampire fiction, Ellen C Maze Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider

I have just finished reading TOUCHED BY A VAMPIRE by Beth Felker Jones, a book that promises to examine the major themes of the TWILIGHT SAGA through a biblical lens. I must say that on the whole, the author has succeeded in this endeavor.

I read some reviews before I bought this book, pro and con, and had no idea which way I would go when I finally got to read it myself. It turns out that this was an easy read and I got a lot out of it. I feel like I need to tell you a secret though...what I liked best about this book is that Felker Jones succinctly and superbly provided detailed synopses of all four books in the TWILIGHT SAGA. This is a very special bonus for anyone who has not or cannot read the whole series. I mean, wow, thanks Beth!

Felker Jones also provides plenty of biblical insight into the themes of family, love, marriage, sex, children, and relationship with God that parallel those in the Saga. In my humble opinion, I do not think that the author slams TWILIGHT at all, so if you avoid these kinds of study books because you think they might insult your favorite vampire series, don't worry. Felker Jones gives credit where credit is due and seems to be simply asking questions...asking you to consider if this certain theme goes with this certain biblical position. There are helpful summary questions at the end of each chapter that I think kids would enjoy answering if this book were read in a group study. I know I would!

TOUCHED BY A VAMPIRE is a 5-star book looking to speak to the lovers of TWILIGHT without pointing the finger of judgment anywhere but at ourselves when necessary. TWILIGHT fans rest easy - you can enjoy this book, study from it, learn from it AND be entertained by Edward and Bella. And I hope you will. This book makes TWILIGHT even better.

Ellen C Maze, author Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider
Vampire fiction like none other

Saturday, March 13, 2010

CLEAN UP AISLE THREE! Legacy is Leaking (Ch 3)


Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is hopping all over the globe and readers demand a sequel! I am excited to inform you that the sequel, Rabbit Legacy is nearly done...and I absolutely LOVE it. This is an excerpt that is currently Chapter Three. Of course, it may be edited, moved or deleted altogether depending on how the final edit goes, but please enjoy reading about what happens when you transform from earthbound diety to lowly mortal and then are charged with apostasy by your former brethren...oooooo... check it out and leave me a comment! ~~ ellen
(Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider spoiler warning...but read it anyway!) 
Three
Nashville, TN
Oct. 31st, 9:00 pm


      The Rakum were on the hunt, Father Damien was their prey, and he’d let them in the house. Damien considered his options.
     He’d let them in. Why not? It was Halloween and they said the proper phrase. He’d been hearing it all night from the neighborhood children: Trick or Treat! But once these two burst in, they chased him to the stairwell of the tidy two-story colonial that he called home. Now on the second floor, he considered the three bedrooms and the toilet on the hall. Where could he hide? Could he hide at all?
     Damien tracked hastily toward the furthest room and paused.
     “Damien? Father? This pursuit is trying my patience.” The taunt wafted up to meet him from the first floor. They were coming up the stairs, the picture of wicked nonchalance.
     The intruders were Brethren. Underlings. But which two? He hadn’t gotten a good look at them when they burst in. In his day he knew them all by name but without seeing a face he could only guess. He had been god to them, for two millennia. One hundred thousand Rakum bent their knee to the Ten Fathers. It had been a glorious life. But now? He was an outcast. A traitor. An apostate.
     And now, these two subordinates, barely old enough to wipe their noses, had come to serve up justice of their own making. Or the justice of their new leader.
     Rufus Delouve.
     The oldest living Elder. Seven hundred and fifty years old with a heart as black as coal. Damien knew him well; had overseen his discipling under Jack Dawn. Had personally taught the youth the more complicated feats of telekinesis and apparent teleportation. It was ironic that the skills of self-preservation he taught the young Rakum centuries ago were now coming back to bite him. Literally.
     “Just surrender. We can do this the easy way if you just surrender.”
     The same voice. They were coming up the stairs calmly, side-by-side. Damien looked around, eyes wide, and then up to the ceiling. The attic access door was directly above him. With no express plan in mind, he yanked the cord and pulled down the mechanical step ladder. His knuckles rapped against his pocketed cell phone and he thought of calling for help. One name came to mind right away.
     Canaan. A Rakum Elder on the fence. Not guaranteed to help but neither was he a sure enemy. Living in seclusion with a mortal female, the Rakum Elder escaped the wrath of God that night at Assembly. And now, years later, only Damien knew of his location. He knew because he was a Father; very little got past him when he was among the Rakum.
     He’d contacted Canaan once, telepathically, six months after the debacle at the Cave. Damien was taking stock, counting allies and foes, when he stumbled across the Elder’s thoughts very close by. In a desperate attempt to keep her with him forever, the reclusive Elder from Britain was contemplating feeding his mate his blood. To keep her young. To keep her virile. To keep her period. Such an act would transform her into a Rabbit and such intentions carried much weight. With Damien only miles away, he picked up Canaan’s accidental transmission easily.
     In response to what he’d overheard, Damien made one simple telepathic relay to the Elder: “I’m watching you.”
     The Elder had sent back, “And who’s watching you?” Canaan’s response was hard to comprehend then, but he thought he understood now.
     They never spoke again. Damien’s telepathic abilities diminished over the first two years until just before his Change, he could only overhear the thoughts of those in his sight. Because of this, he found it easy to avoid contact with the remaining Brethren—Rakum and Apostate. Yet somehow, tonight, they had found him.
     They’d been watching him.
     Call 911.
     The notion occurred to Damien and he pursed his lips. Why not? The humans swore by it. Damien fumbled for his phone and dialed the three tones with his thumb without removing it from his pocket. He left the line open and said nothing. Sometimes in the movies, it worked…
     “We have other things to do tonight, Father. Plans. Come on.”
     This voice was different; higher and more sarcastic than the first. Damien narrowed his eyes. The respect he garnered as a leader of his people was hard to live without. Since that fateful night seven years ago when the Rabbit demoralized Abroghia, the High Father, Damien had been on the run. At the time, he did not understand the woman’s entreaty regarding her God, but he understood the end result. Those who refused to at least listen to her words would perish where they stood. So Damien attended, stood on the stage, right behind Beth Rider, standing abreast the leaders of their Kind. Nine Fathers stood broken and sullen on the platform that night; Johann, Theophilus, Umbarto, Amos, Yuri, Wornal, Kin, Duris and himself. Where were they now? Damien did not know. They went their separate ways that night, never to look back, lest an unseen force rip them apart. And Damien was the one unanimously chosen to protect Isaac…
     “Father, you’ll give yourself a heart attack trying to outrun us. Don’t be a fool…”
     Damien grimaced at the hateful words and sought an escape route. He was helpless; as helpless as that night on the stage. Standing behind the Rabbit as she prayed for their redemption. If he’d only known then what he eventually figured out seven years later. His mind went to her Rakum supporters who stood by her that night; Dawn’s Lieutenant Michael Stone, Tom├ís’ errant youngster David Walker, a competent Elder named Roman and Damien’s own blood son, Javier d’Millier. All but Stone had been transformed by then. The odor of human flesh filled the Main Hall that evening and nearly drove Damien mad.
     When the Rabbit gave them an option to save themselves by opening their minds to her words, he did so and was spared. Half of his Brethren consented to her offer of redemption and began a slow walk toward humanity. Twenty thousand transformed to fully mortal in the first twenty-four months. But there were those who rejected her words entirely and slithered off into the night. Damien was one of these. He took little Isaac and fled. The Rakum were destitute and vulnerable for the first time in their lives. When Abroghia deserted them, he took with him the spiritual protection that carried them as a Race since the Great Flood.
     “I can hear your bones creaking old man. What a sorry state. What a pitiful end to a great long life.”
     Damien scowled at the derisive comments; wounded by them. He scooted up the attic ladder carefully and covered the distance to the far window. The brute was right—his entire body ached.
     In the Cave’s Main Hall seven years ago, he listened to the Rabbit and afterwards went on the run. Running from God and running from the truth the Rabbit so innocently deposited in every listening ear.
A short seven days ago by a hasty confession of faith, like Michael Stone and the others, he was transformed into a mortal man.
     Ironically, if the two apostate hunters had come for him a week earlier, he could have defended himself. As a Rakum Father, he possessed powers beyond the imagination. He could burst a Rakum’s heart with a thought. With a glance he could incapacitate any assailant. But now? He was as helpless as a babe. He was human and more than that, an old man. When he sloughed off his Rakum spirit, he was left a wiry and bent seventy- year-old heart patient, taking diuretics and in need of a hearing aid. Damien had never been so frightened in his long life.
     “Oh my god, Damien! The attic? Where’re you going next? The roof?” The first Rakum taunted him as they climbed the ladder to the landing.
     Damien took in the entire attic in a glance and crossed to a small decorative window in the peak. On the lawn below, children played in the moonlight enjoying the clearest Halloween night in a decade. Tiny ghosts and witches crisscrossed the sidewalks, their miniature bodies glowing with chemically enhanced bracelets and necklaces that resembled fireflies in flight. One of the cherubs, probably nine or ten, glanced up then and Damien reflexively squint his eyes to focus on the features. For an instant, a split second really, the boy resembled Isaac. Damien scoffed and looked away, hidden from sight by the lack of light in the attic. Isaac was no longer a child as he was no longer innocent. He had grown into the image of his father and that was bothersome enough.
     Isaac Akaron.
     In the Semitic tongues, the name roughly translated He Laughs Last. Damien smirked inwardly. Indeed, the boy was their creator’s last laugh. The last Rakum ever born; High Father Abroghia’s final effort to reproduce himself.
     Isaac. The boy everyone secretly feared and openly abhorred.
     Isaac; who was foretelling the future before he could walk.
     Isaac; who was moved to the Chamber of Fathers at age thirteen to be trained up in private. What an experiment. It had never been done—take a young Rakum out of Group-Lair to be proselytized in the Cave by the oldest of their kind.
     But there had never been a Rakum quite like Isaac. Where was he? Was he safe?
Damien grunted at his memory’s flights of fancy and looked around the attic. There was no time to reminisce nor mourn lost sons. He was on the run for his life and the Rakum below were heading up.
     But wait…
     The two-foot in diameter window opened out.
     He could fit his body through there. He could go onto the roof. But what then? He couldn’t jump down. His arthritic knees ached at the thought.
     The Rakum were in the attic now only fifty feet away. Damien backed up to the window and faced them. Would he see daybreak? He’d waited two millennia to see the last seven sunrises; was that all he was to have? Damien was loathe to admit it, but he wished to see Javier; the last of his natural-born offspring. And little Isaac, whom now he considered a son. Rakum never developed parental bonds but he was human now. His heart ached to know them once more and see them in the light of God and His kingdom…
     “Rufus wants to see you Damien. For real. No tricks.”
     Tyson and Gage. Their names came to him now as he studied their faces in the moonlight that seeped in around him. Yet these two had been hitting the Dead Buzz; eating the flesh of corpses. The tale-tell signs were evident in the unnaturally bulging eyes, the drooping jowls and dripping saliva. They’d been at it a few months at least and Damien knew that if they did not stop soon, they’d lose all skin tone and upright posture. They were morphing into the dead.
     You are what you eat, after all.
     A thousand years ago, he’d seen it often, but the practice was outlawed in the 16th Century. Yet who remained to enforce the code of the Rakum now?
     No one.
     Tyson, shorter, greasy and rapacious nudged Gage roughly to get him moving. Gage gestured with a fat finger and spoke slowly as if addressing an errant child
     “We got Theophilus already. See—you won’t be alone. You guys can rehash old times.”
     Damien fumbled with the window latch behind him. Tyson inclined his head and bumped his fellow with an elbow. They were on to him.
     “Seriously.” Tyson hissed; a thread of black drool hanging from his slack lips. He lurched forward and    Damien held up his hand.
     “Stop.” His eyes flitted between the Rakum he once called servants. Damien took a deep breath. He was in terrible danger. And he was all alone.
     Or was he?
     “You are a pitiful old man, Damien. You can no more control us than you can your own bladder.” Gage chuckled and hurled a few more insults as he crept forward.
     Damien looked to the ceiling. The rafters were old and dusty; blue light danced on cobwebs set high for eternity.
     He was not alone. His confession a week ago proved it when he spoke to the God of the humans and was changed.
     Damien closed his eyes and lowered his upraised arm.
     “Into your hands, Master.” He muttered and dropped to his knees.
     Then everything happened at once.


     “Freeze! Police!”
     One uniformed officer cleared the attic opening and trained his gun on the two Rakum. Damien’s eyes came open in time to see Gage charge straight for him and then shove past to wiggle out the small window, the odor of decay trailing behind.
     “Freeze or I’ll shoot!” The officer called again as another armed cop entered the attic behind his fellow. Damien scooted to the side and fell clumsily onto his rump, his old heart beating painfully.
     “You better start runnin’ old man.” Tyson whispered as he too soared past Damien on the floor and shot out the window head first. Both policemen jogged after them in pursuit. Damien inched toward the window to peek out but instead of trick-or-treaters, staccato-lit patrol cars dotted the landscape.
     “You okay, sir?” A third police officer crawled into the space and headed for him. It was a woman, short but intimidating with her service pistol at half mast.
     Damien nodded his head and put out his hand.
     “Nice and easy, sir.”
     With her strong feminine fingers in his, Damien was helped to his feet and then supported on her shoulder to the exit. Another officer helped him down with gentle care and before long; he was tucked onto a gurney and pushed into a waiting ambulance.
     The humans rescued him. The mortals saved him from certain death…or worse.
     Damien received the care of the frantic but professional medics and stared at the red lights flashing in his vision. Rufus wanted him alive and he was holding Theophilus captive. Something evil was afoot. Damien glanced at the technician on his right who gave him a huge smile and swabbed his brow.
     “You’re going to be fine, sir. Just taking you to the hospital for a once over, but you look great. Vitals are great.”
     Damien smiled behind the oxygen mask. He was rescued in the nick of time. But this wasn’t the first time he’d been saved from death. He was saved the first time by God Himself. A week ago in his car on the way home from the store. The first time he spoke aloud to the Creator of the universe.
     Damien sighed and closed his eyes.
     He served a new Father now.
     And this one had only his best interest at heart.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BLOG INTERVIEW with Ellen, plus ADVICE for writers


Hello Rabbit Chasers! Today I was interviewed by a wonderfully talented writer by the name of Angela Greenlief. I re-posted her interview here so please go to her blog and check out her work in progress. It will be fantastic!
~ ellen 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Interview with Author Ellen C. Maze!
I am very excited to post my first interview on this blog. I did a review recently of Ellen C. Maze's debut novel RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER. It was only fitting that the next step be an interview.

Here it is:

To start off with, perhaps you could tell us a little about yourself--whatever you would like to share.

I suppose the most compelling thing about me now is my writing. I have done many things in my forty years, but this is the one thing that I have dreamed of doing since grade-school: being a published author.

In Junior High School, I dreamed of being a veterinarian, mostly because I loved animals. But one trip to the Vet School in Auburn changed my mind forever. In High School, I wanted to be a psychologist and hang a shingle in town. In college, I majored in Psychology and Sociology and found I had a sure knack for listening and helping people with problems. Then I got married after college and became a full-time mom for the next ten years. When I went to work again, I was an artist and worked from home. I was successful and sold paintings all over the world. Yet on the side, I was writing. And guess what I was writing? Vampire Tales. Yep. Just like I did in Middle School Creative Writing class! All I needed was the courage to work at writing full-time. That chutzpah didn’t arrive until 2009.


How did you get the idea for RABBIT: CHASING BETH RIDER?

Interestingly, the main plot point of this book – a writer is hunted by vampires because she writes about vampires – came to me in the seventh grade. I wrote a short story about a girl and her friend who were given a creative writing assignment, and they chose to write that their Math teacher was secretly a vampire. The teacher finds out, turns out that he is a vampire, and he kidnaps them for exposing him. The story ends with both of them being turned into vampires. Sort of short on plot and action, but hey, I was only twelve years old.

As I got older, this basic theme tumbled about in my head in my subconscious until in 2006, when I had completed Books One and Two of my Christian vampire series THE CORESCU CHRONICLES, I began writing Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider. Not quite ready to publish, I started writing about a woman (Beth Rider) who wrote THE CORESCU CHRONICLES and her work threatened the true ‘vampires’ that lived in her world. This is how the two series are connected. When CORESCU CHRONICLES comes out, readers will get to see exactly why the vampires were chasing Beth Rider! Interestingly, RABBIT is aware of THE JUDGING (Book One of Corescu Chronicles) but THE JUDGING is not aware of RABBIT. Chew on that a little while!


For all those unpublished authors who read this, can you tell us how your journey of publishing RABBIT went?

My personal journey as this novel went to print was wonderful and exciting. In the next section, I will talk more about the different ways to get published, but for this answer, let me tell you how it went with Rabbit.

I did not seek an agent or editor for this book but wanted to publish it myself while I waited for THE CORESCU CHRONICLES to be picked up by a big publishing house and turned into the Christian version of Twilight. I researched dozens of independent publishers and printers and I ended up choosing an amazing Publisher (a Fortune 500 company) with an impeccable reputation and a promising future. Outskirts Press promised to not only turn my ‘baby’ into a beautiful product, but they would also promote and distribute it just like any big publishing house. So with a very small investment of $1500, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider hit the shelves and immediately sold in 10 countries. You can see why I’m so happy. I will definitely use Outskirts for the Rabbit sequels too. I am so happy with this book and this company’s performance.

One last thought here, I would share that every writer needs to be prepared to self-promote. Every editor and agent is going to expect you to promote yourself vigorously. If you are a shy person and maybe unable to do this, you’ll need an advocate who will do it for you. Self-promotion is done online and in person. By mail and by phone. Email me if you need titles of great books about self-promotion and building an author’s platform.


What advice do you have for aspiring writers? And, what advice do you have for authors seeking representation?

Oh, I want to encourage and edify unpublished authors. In overview, there are two basic ways to be published: Traditional Publishing, where a publishing house either buys your book (along with the rights) and pays you varying royalties, or Independent Publishing, where you (usually) keep all rights and you provide the money to be published. For decades Independent Publishing has been tucked into a dark, shameful corner, but the industry is changing mightily. With the economy forcing the big Traditional Houses to buy fewer and fewer manuscripts, for as little as a thousand dollars, a writer can publish their own book.

I chose to go both routes and leave the rest up to God. I am taking the Traditional route with THE CORESCU CHRONICLES. This series has been approved by one powerful agent, but not picked up. And it is also sitting before three other agents/editors, awaiting approval or interest. So since I sent it out (I did my part), I am waiting to see what God will do with it. Now with Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider, I prayerfully sent this one to be independently published by Outskirts Press. Now I have a published novel that is widely accepted by people all over the world, and I can promote it while I wait for CHRONICLES to find a buyer.

So my advice to all writers is to 1) keep writing, 2) buy a copy of THE WRITER’S MARKET and GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS (both available in stores or online) 3) hone your craft through attending writer’s conferences and plugging into writers critique groups (you can find these all over, email me for lists), and 4) learn the business end of writing.

Last but not least, do not despair. Try to get an agent, try to rope in an editor. But if you have an excellent product and the industry just cannot see that, don’t be afraid or ashamed to self-publish. It’s a competitive world and we need your book!


Back to RABBIT. What is the most important message you wanted your readers to walk away with after reading this book?

RABBIT is a sexy and titillating book. Without taking it beyond a PG-13 rating, the novel takes you into the darkest areas of the human and inhuman heart. Still, every reader comes away with something gained. Something good. Read the reviews on Amazon, and you’ll get a peek at what the Rabbit Chasers (the readers) are seeing in this debut vampire novel.

Although it is never preachy or pretentious, RABBIT is written from a biblical worldview. The reader does not need to be a Christian or Jew to enjoy it, but every issue in the novel comes from the basic understanding of the world that is put forth in the 66 books of the Bible/Tanach. I am a Jewish follower of Jesus, so the book has some Hebrew elements that give the story a firm foundation readers can rest on comfortably as they follow the characters along.

This is a book about Faith and Redemption. In one perspective, people stand in one of two corners—they need redemption and haven’t faith yet, or they have been redeemed (by God) and have faith that God protects/loves/cares for them. In RABBIT, Beth Rider has faith to move mountains. The Rakum (vampires) and Cows (humans who voluntarily let blood to them) are either seeking redemption or seeking to destroy Beth and her faith.

I want my readers to identify with a character or two and then enjoy the ride. There is a plethora of personality types, some vampiric and some human, and every reader will be able to find their likeness inside to some extent or another. The beauty of it is, you can be like David (a young Rakum just realizing the truth about God) the first time you read it, and then more like Beth the next. I have heard reports from readers all over the world who love choosing their favorite character and then following them on the road to redemption.

Every reader who knows me personally says that I am Beth Rider. My answer to that is, yes, I am Beth Rider. But, what they don’t realize unless they are writers themselves is that I am also Jack Dawn (the bad guy), Meryl (bad guy’s minion), Javier (Rakum confused about God), and all of the rest. Every character is a piece of my personality. That might seem creepy but it’s true. Ask any writer. We’re all functioning schizophrenics!


Who are some of your favorite authors?

The first vampire book I read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula at age eleven. Oh boy. That was where it started. Then I read Robert McCammon’s vampire and werewolf stuff, then Anne Rice, and into the horror of Stephen King. These days, I’ve mellowed considerably and read mostly Christian Thrillers. My favorite authors are Frank Peretti, Bill Myers, Paul Bortolazzo, Eric Wilson, and Angela Dolbear (a brand new author you must google!).

One of the most important things an aspiring writer should remember is that to write, you must read—A LOT. So make a habit of reading other author’s work and writing reviews for them. Posting reviews on Amazon may seem lame, but as soon as your own book is published and you are selling on Amazon, every review you’ve ever written will direct people to YOUR book by proxy. So read and review all the time!


I know you've finished your second novel THE JUDGING. Can you tell us a little about it?

Oh, be still my heart. In THE JUDGING (Book One of the Corescu Chronicles), a priest named Corescu is turned into a vampire by an apparent demon. The priest refuses to reject God and thus assigns a divine calling to his blood thirst—he decides to kill only evil people and thus satiate his craving for human blood. Three hundred years pass this way, and in the present day, Corescu meets and falls for a lovely young woman who (along with a Christian friend) slowly bring the vampire to an awareness of his deeds. All along, he thought he was doing the will of God by killing the killers, but learns that there is one Judge and it isn’t him!

In a very real sense, THE JUDGING is a love story. Sure, there is truth stuck in there, but like RABBIT, the Christian element will not bang you over the head. The series has four installments, and the woman from Book One, Hope Brannen, will take all four books to resolve her relationship with the vampire Mark Corescu. The side stories regarding Tony Agricola (a righteous character who most knows God’s ways) and Paul Black (a young vampire) are entertaining galore and I can hardly wait to get these books into the hands of the readers.

THE JUDGING has three more books that wrap up the story-line. RABBIT has two more series installments and a possible Young Adult spin-off. In closing, I’ll share that I have several other novels in the works. I usually work on 2 or 3 at a time as the spirit moves me, and here are a couple more to watch for.

THE TALE OF JANE FROST, another unique take on the vampire tale, where bloodlust and longevity are part of a Satanic curse thrust upon a set of triplets. This one takes place within a Messianic Jewish Community and will be very compelling. You should also watch for GUARDED, the story of an ordinary and seemingly-average young man who is rescued over and over by a being everyone assumes is his guardian angel. What no one knows is that this being is actually a demon, keeping him alive for the devil’s purposes. Ever heard of having a Guardian Demon? Believe me, if the devil is keeping you alive, it’s for a nefarious purpose and you’d be better off dead! And the newest addition to my in-the-works pile is WAX, the story of a teen who sees demons and soon realizes that his calling in life is to thwart their work no matter the cost. A tough job for a seventeen year old boy!

Last words? Love one another.
God bless, Ellen

Ellen C Maze, www.rabbitnovel.com email rabbitnovel@aol.com

Monday, March 8, 2010

FANTASY Cons and the NEW AUTHOR


A month before my novel was published, I was invited to attend the Second Annual IMAGICON in Birmingham, AL. I was (and am) ecstatic! I can't wait! I will be able to sell my books, have book signings, and have a little speaking time too during the Con. This is so cool! My first convention as a published author! (Well, let's face it--it's my first convention at all!)


Today, I was invited to TwiCon 2010 (think Twlight Convention) in Las Vegas, NV. Wow! This one is about the same size, but FAR FAR AWAY in Neverland. A plane-ride from my home in Montgomery, AL. I priced the plane tickets for my hubby and I to go and we're looking at $377 per person. Shrug. That is doable. I mean, we have until July to pay, right? Then I priced the hotel. The convention center where the Planet Hollywood (hosting site) is costs $159/night for the cheap rooms. That's $477 for 4 days. A little steep, but who's to say I couldn't raise that money up too? Tonight as I was posting the news to my Rabbit Chasing pals on facebook, I recalled that I have a dear friend from my childhood that lives in Las Vegas... maybe he could let me sleep on his couch? Maybe bring in a cot for my husband? Hmmm... I'm not above asking him! He is a really cool dude and might just go for it!

So, I'm praying for guidance and we'll wait and see. The trip might be possible for less than a thousand bucks if I stay with my friend, and about $1500 if I hotel-up.

I'll keep you posted my friend! Yippee!
Life is a roller coaster and my seatbelt is frayed! AAAEEIIIiiiiiii!!!