How are you supposed to feel when you find out the man you’ve fallen in love with, who you’ve never even met in person, reveals that the two of you were once engaged, and that you were—inadvertently or not—the cause of his death?
I try to plan for every contingency, but even super-prepared Cher hadn’t seen that one coming.
“Does that mean the whole thing has to happen all over again the same way?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Does it mean we’ll get to meet, after all? Or do I meet another version of you instead?”
“I don’t know.”
This was exasperating. The odd thing was, I found it almost impossible to be mad at him. It wasn’t his fault, anyway. He had no idea how to get out of the place where he was, wherever or whenever that might be, or what would happen if he did. I had no idea how to get him out, either, but I did know I had to find a way—and without him getting run over by a car again. I’d strap him to the bed if I had to.
“If we were engaged before, does that mean we still are?” I asked.
“I think so, unless you want to break it off. Do you?”
“No, I like being your fiancée.”
“Good. Because I like it, too.”
I still didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone else about Evan, or telling Layla anything more about him, because now it was even weirder than before. So, the only person I was left with as counselor was my inner voice.
I need to get him back here again. I need to see him.
Need. It was a word I’d hardly ever used before, and certainly not in connection with myself. But I seemed to be using it more and more with Even.
How do you think you’re going to do that if he’s dead?
It was a good question.
I could call my ghost-hunter friends.
You don’t need to hunt him. You already know where he is: In that smartphone screen of yours! You drew him to you through the internet. Now you just need to bring him the rest of the way.
By being yourself. He hungers for you and can’t resist you. He will come.
Could it possibly be as simple as that? It couldn’t be. I remembered the voice had asked me once before who I was, and I’d answered that I was just me. But I was only that person when I was alone. Otherwise, I was always pretending—except when I was with Evan. I could be myself with him, too. So maybe it really was as simple as that, after all. It had to be, because I couldn’t think of anything else. But how could I be my true self, my vampire self, when the world was watching?
You can’t. You need to go someplace.
It didn’t help that I was having this conversation with myself at work.
“Cher, can you come over here for a sec?” Joy motioned toward me. “This customer needs his frames adjusted.”
Fortunately for the eye clinic, and for my own job security, I was great at multitasking. I was able to keep brainstorming about how to get some privacy even while I was adjusting Mr. Thompson’s new glasses to fit him perfectly without pinching the bridge of his nose or pulling down too much behind the ear.
“Thank you,” he said. “You’re very good at that.”
I laughed easily. “I should be. I’ve been doing this long enough. But you’re very good at being a patient patient, and that makes all the difference.”
He nodded slightly and... was he blushing? So often, I found that the smallest kind word or gesture was appreciated beyond what I’d expected. People didn’t treat each other with kindness enough anymore. It had become rare enough that, when it happened, it was unexpected.
And they were grateful. It was sad that common courtesy had fallen so far out of style.
But being nice to people was how I’d been raised; it was part of who I was.
Vampires are known for their courtesy. They only enter where they’re invited.
That was it!
I had to be myself—my vampire self—to draw Evan back to the land of the living, but I had to invite him, too. That was the one thing I’d been missing. He might be dead, but he was also a vampire, and if I invited him, he would have no choice but to accept.
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Getting Crafty with Madison Wentworth - DIY Dreamcatchers
As I’m sure you have noticed from my book, Need, I am interested in a variety of topics involving the paranormal, mysticism and the mythology of other cultures. In my exploration of those topics, I became fascinated with the idea of Native American dreamcatchers. Each tribe has a slightly different version of the legend. However, the basic idea involves the belief that both good and bad dreams float through the air.
The dreamcatcher is hung above your bed. Good dreams know their destination, so they flow easily through the hole in the center of the web and slide down the webbing, capturing the good energy of the beads and other adornments before sliding down the feathers onto the sleeping head of the person below. Bad dreams, not knowing their way, get caught in the web and are destroyed by the light of day.
I loved the idea of protecting a loved one from the bad ideas and dreams of the world, so I set out to learn how to make these wonderful creations.
I would love to share with you the basic idea of how to create one and then let your creative juices flow as you explore all the ways you can change the design from there. The first step is having a hoop of some kind so you can make the web design inside. Traditionally, hoops were created from willow branches. However, you can buy a variety of hoops at any craft store made from different kinds of branches, work with metal macrame rings, or create your own from a variety of supplies.
For this DIY project, I am using a metal ring that we will wrap with suede or leather lacing, which can also be purchased at a craft store or a leather crafts shop. You will first need to glue a small bit of the lacing to your hoop using a good multi-purpose glue such as E6000, and use a clothespin or other clip to hold it in place while it dries. Once it dries, you can begin tightly wrapping the lace around your hoop, and glue it in place when you reach your starting point, once again using a clothespin to hold it in place.
After the lacing dries in place, you can begin your webbing in the center. For this, you will need to buy some artificial sinew that you can also find at the craft store. You will tie the sinew in place over your starting point of the leather lacing. This will help keep the lacing from coming loose as well as keep your starting point in the same location.
You can choose how intricate your design will be by determining how big you want the gaps to be along the ring. Larger gaps give you a less intricate design and fewer layers. Smaller gaps will give you a much more intricate design with more layers, but they are more difficult to weave as you get closer to the center. You can choose to make that center hole as large or small as you like.
Traditionally beads are usually woven into the webbing but not always. You can choose to weave those beads in randomly or, by skipping spaces, you can even make the beads spiral through the web. Once you decide how big you want your spacing to be, you will wrap the sinew over the top of the ring and then pull it back it back through toward you in the gap between the ring and the line of sinew and pull it tight. Then you will do the next loop the same distance approximately until you go around the hoop, leaving the same approximate size gap between the first tied-on loop and your last.
You will continue around for the next layer by weaving into each loop you created previously and pulling the loop tight in the middle. Continue around doing this until you have the desired center hole size, at which point you can tie off the sinew. I put a small dot of super glue on the knots to make sure that the sinew does not come undone and then trim off the excess.
Now it is time for the final decoration steps to add more beads along with feathers on the tassels that hang down, and also attach a cord to hang the dreamcatcher. You will need to decide how long you want the hanging cord to be and then cut a piece of the leather lacing double that length plus one inch for tying the knot, so if you want it to be 5inches long you will need to cut an 11-inch piece of leather lace.
You will need to fold that 11-inch piece in half and push the two ends of the lace through the dreamcatcher from the back to the front. You will do this at the same starting point as the lace and sinew to cover those starting points and help hold them in place. You will pull the loop up and then pull those two loose ends in the front through that loop to attach it your ring.Then you can tie a knot with those two loose ends.
Creating your tassels will be very similar to that hanging loop. You will need to decide how long you want your tassels and then once again double that length plus add 1 inch. You will need to cut three to seven of these lengths, depending on how many tassels you want, and then knot them over the hoop, with one being in the center directly under the hanging loop. Then the others will go to each side, separated from the center one, so that the last one end on each side is less than 90 degrees from the center tassel.
If you choose three lengths, that will actually give you six tassels to work with and you can begin sliding on however many beads you like before knotting the end. Then you will choose matching or contrasting feathers depending on your taste. You will apply a small dot of glue to the quill of the feather on both sides and slide it under the beads to hold it in place.
If you follow these steps, you can create a basic dreamcatcher. Now you can go crazy and get creative to create much more complicated dreamcatchers.
You can weave another smaller hoop with a dreamcatcher into the center of your design or up against the edge of the main hoop. You can buy two hoops of the same size and wrap both in leather lacing, then create the webbing in the first hoop and slide it perpendicular into the center of the other hoop. Then you can begin weaving the web into that second hoop connecting it to the first.
You can make two or more hoops of decreasing size and make a hanging vertical decoration with each dreamcatcher lying sideways and connected by tassels. Even more challenging but fun is to create a super-large 24-inch dreamcatcher or a tiny 2-inch keychain size or 1-inch earring-size dreamcatcher with metallic thread. The sky (and your imagination) is the limit.
Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
Publisher: Madison Crest
Date of Publication: Aug. 30, 2021
Number of pages: 165
Word Count: 24,000
Cover Artist: Bookcoverzone.com
Tagline: Sometimes you crave what’s good for you. Sometimes he craves you too.
Cherie just met the love of her life, but there’s a catch: He’s dead.
It’s not every day you find true love on an adult website, but that’s the most normal thing about Cherie’s new boyfriend, Evan.
To start with, he isn’t actually new. They’re engaged, or so he says. But she has no memory of planning their wedding, or even meeting him, for that matter, because for her, it hasn’t happened yet.
The bond is there, though. She can feel it. As a vampire of the soul, she can taste it, and she needs to taste more of it. It’s a bond so strong that it awakened his spirit in order to find her. Now, she must save him in order to free him from death... so she can have all of him. She needs that.
Need isn’t a word she uses lightly. She’s never truly needed anyone before. But she’s discovering she needs him now, even as their time together appears fated to be cut tragically short. And he needs her, too, more than she knows.
Yet their mutual craving is only just awakening. Can they find a way to cheat the fates and find a future together?
Time alone will tell.
About the Author:
Madison Wentworth grew up on syndicated reruns of Dark Shadows and The Twilight Zone, coming of age not far from the Malibu surf. A job as a reporter for a small-town newspaper meant digging through police reports, gossip, rumor, and innuendo. And that led to more work as a writer, and a move east and northward to the opposite coast, a venue far more conducive to night-owl vampires and their felines.
An interest in cinema — and outings to see movies such as Ghost and The Sixth Sense — reignited a fascination with the paranormal, and stirred an interest in blending the mystical with the sensual.
The result is NEED, the author’s debut novella.
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