Velvet’s Velorians & More



A short introductory note by Brantley Thompson Elkins:


When I first met Velvet Belle Tree, I knew that I could not, must not hide anything from her. I told her straight out about my writing. True, I eased her into it, but it wasn’t long before she had read even my extreme stuff like Terms of Enhancement. To my great relief, still she loved me. She even took an interest in my work, and joined the Aurora Universe Readers Group. Her first posts there caught the attention of Ed Howdershelt, who thought she had a way with words and ought to try her hand at fiction.

She’d never written any fiction in her life and yet, from the way she talked about it, I could sense she had the right instincts. When I was writing Companions, I invited her to complete a scene I had begun. She did it. I invited her to write entire scenes. She did that too. More to the point, she did it all well. So well that she was ready to write Homecoming, in which I was only a junior collaborator. It proved to be the most popular story by far at the new incarnation of The Bright Empire. The rest is literary history: a sequel, the Arish’ka stories, an e-book in progress. We’ll keep the links up to date here:



AU/Ubergirl Stories


Homecoming, Part I (PDF)


Homecoming, Part II (PDF)


Homecoming, Part III (PDF)


What's a Vel to Do?


More Than One Way to Skin an Aurean


Rocky Mountain High (PDF)


It Ain't Easy


Inside Passage



Other Stories


The Widower (e-book excerpt)


Musings of a Rejected Wife


The Stars My Witness


The Hunting Horns of Hades


Stella Victorious


This and That


The Best Movie You’ve Never Seen


Hot Tip on a Cold Dish


Science Fiction and Romance


Back to the....


Drowning in Words


Thoughts on West Side Story




Murder of the Orient Express


Meet John Shmoe


The Audience Shrugged


A Tale of Two Fuzzys


Speaking of History

Two Modernizations

Imposters in Crime

A Tale of Two Musicals

La Vérité: A Memoir

It Totally Didn't Fly

Imitation Biopic


And Now, Velvet in Her Own Words!


Do you know the old saying:  “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?”   Well, that kind of describes my entry into the Aurora Universe.  There I was, in a new relationship with a guy who fantasizes about Flying Blonde Goddesses – voluptuous, tall, invulnerable goddesses.  And there I was: short, brunette and definitely not invulnerable.  So I figured that the only way to monitor his activities was to join the group.  And I got sucked into the vortex that’s the AU.


Well, Brantley’s already told you how Ed read my early posts and wrote that he thought I should try writing.  What he didn’t say was how excited I was when I read that.  But I thought:  OK, I’ll try that, some day, in the future.  But Brantley had other ideas.  First, he involved me in discussions of the story line for Companions.  Then he asked me to complete the seduction scene – I was thrilled when he liked what I did.  Then he asked me to do a couple more scenes.  But the most exciting part was when he gave me the privilege of describing the Scalantrans.  What fun to make up a race of extraterrestrials!


After Companions was posted, he said it was time for me to think of my own story.  Nothing came into my head for a while.  But then, I was alone in the Phoenix airport on Nov. 14 and had quite some time to kill before my plane took off.  I was returning home from my cousin’s son’s wedding and was in a romantic mood. I thought about Ju’lette and Liz’bet having a conversation about love (What’s it like with someone you love?) before Ju’lette leaves for Velor.  And then I thought of a simple story of Ju’lette’s journey back to Velor and came up with the title Homecoming.  And over time the story took on a life of its own.


Near the end of March, I began thinking of doing a story in the first person, and yes, I wanted to see if I could do a really erotic story.  One evening, in my kitchen, I told Brantley the story idea and he found it hilarious.  It was right before the AU anniversary, and I thought it would be a nice little present for the guys.  I had been fantasizing about it so the actual writing only took two sessions.  And it was so much fun writing it!  I liked the idea that I could write a story that both men and women found erotic. 


Well, by then I could put some of my early worries to rest.  With the creation of Arish’ka I wasn’t just on the outside looking in … I had entered the fantasy and expanded it. 


But, the really important thing is that I had found out how much I loved writing.  It was as if I had a secret desire to write; a desire so secret that even I didn’t know about it.  And now, it’s really wonderful to give free rein to my creative impulses.  And it’s like Brantley has said:  when you’re a writer, everything in your life goes into your writing.




A word about what will be posted here:  Of course, all of my AU stories.  But there will also be other things.  In This and That  I plan on including non-fiction.  The first entry in that category is my review of the movie The Last Valley, which has already been posted.  I would like to write other reviews, but of books or movies that are not that well known. 


And there’s also a section for non-AU stories.  The first has previously been posted and is an excerpt from our forthcoming e-book Pegasus Gate.  The second is a short piece I wrote called “Musings of a Rejected Wife.”  Believe me, this is pure fiction.  It started with a conversation with Brantley about how a woman would feel if her husband left her for a man.  I thought about it for a while, and thought I could best express my ideas as a work of fiction. 


Member, Aurora Universe Writers Group





Homecoming started out as a simple, short sequel to "Companions," but the story seemed to take on a life of its own.  

I started writing Ju'lette's background as a straightforward narrative, but it didn't have too much life.  Then Shadar posted an old story fragment in the form of a diary and I decided to try that. While writing the diary entries I felt that I was writing in Ju'lette's voice and getting to know her. It was kind of fun pretending to be a gorgeous, wild, bisexual Velorian teenager.  But you will see from the entries how she grows and matures.

As for the Scalantrans: I wanted to make them definitely non-human, but still understandable. The idea of the mate-groups popped into my head and I tried to see logical consequences of this type of society. Just remember not to judge them by human standards.

As for the Lottery: When I first thought of this, it was as a joke.  In e-mails to Brantley, I said I thought that Terran males would be falling over each other to volunteer to administer the "final exam" to the students at the Companions Academy. How to choose the lucky men?  So I suggested, with tongue firmly in cheek, that a lottery could be held to select them. Much to my surprise, he thought that was a good idea!


Posted Mar. 8, 2005


Like Part I, Part II of Homecoming seemed to take on a life of its own.   When I started, I just knew that the Scalantrans and Ju'lette would go to Andros to report to the Factor General.   I knew that Ju'lette would see Tassos again but wasn't quite sure how their relationship would develop and certainly didn't think it would take the path that it did.

As for Kalla, her part in the story just seemed to grow out of logical necessity.   I enjoyed developing her character and depicting her as the mature woman she would have become.


June 29, 2005


Addendum to Homecoming, Parts I and II:

It was great fun going back to Homecoming and adding to it. 

In Part I, I had avoided Ju'lette's diary entries for combat training because, frankly, I know nothing about that.  But I realized that a diary is for recording ideas and feelings not for giving a blow-by-blow description of what you did.  I think these entries flesh out Ju'lette's character.

In Part II, I realized that not enough was written about Ju'lette & Tassos' relationship.  So I added scenes for the day after their first night together and added a tweak here and there.  Yes, they actually do things besides make love.


Dec. 26, 2006


Homecoming III is finally finished. As Brantley has told you in "What's New," it was a long haul.

I especially enjoyed writing about Scalantran procreation, both their attitudes and the physical details. I hope you'll appreciate Aleeza's difficulties in communicating the details to Tassos and Ju'lette -- not because of any embarrassment but because they are not like us, and why should they be?

Originally, I purposefully made them different from humans so that there would be no chance of inter-species mating, so prevalent on Star Trek and a large portion of science fiction romance. But of couse. it would make no sense to have them so different that there would be no way for them to interact with humans or for humans and Scalantrans to have any understanding of each other. I hope I have struck a balance. Let me know what you think.


Sept. 15, 2007


In "What's a Vel to Do?" I just thought I’d have a little fun imagining being a Vel on Earth incognito.  And she’s finding it difficult to be a true Vel.

By the way, I was surprised when Brantley, doing some googling, found out that there really is a web site with the name that I used in "What's a Vel to do?"   But don't bother trying it guys ... you won't find a woman anything like Arish'ka there.

I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.  Enjoy!


April 1, 2005


"More Than One Way to Skin An Arion" was written for the third SGI contest.   The theme was ubergirl vs. ubergirl.   I thought it would be much more interesting to have Arish'ka outsmart an Arion woman using her brains and considerable feminine charms than merely beating her up.


May 1, 2005


"Rocky Mountain High:" I thought it was time for Arish'ka to have a vacation, so I sent her out to Rocky Mountain National Park, a place which has given me many fond memories. I really did go on an evening picnic on the Tundra and the incidents of the clouds and the campfire extinction did take place. However, it happened more than 35 years ago and I think they stopped it a long time ago to save the Tundra.

The afternoon thunderstorms do happen.  Although Arish'ka wants to experience a thunderstorm, I myself am deathly afraid of them.   But through her, I can imagine what it would be like to be invulnerable and revel in the experience.

For this story, I wanted to give her more than just a great sexual experience.  And although Bjorn's passion knows no limit when he sees her doing her "super girl" bit, he also forms a strong emotional bond with her.

And I've tried to give some insight into her thoughts and feelings and what it's like to have to live incognito.


July 20, 2005


When Brantley told me that the subject of the next SGI short-short contest was a date or romantic evening with an ubergirl, he said, "That's right up your alley." So I gave it some thought. The common attitude of guys reading in the Aurora Universe is that any man would want a date with an ubergirl. But is that true? And maybe some men would want to go out with her for reasons not to her liking. Read "It Ain't Easy," and see why it ain't always easy to be an ubergirl.


March 24, 2006


I wrote "The Stars My Witness" more than a year ago. It's a science fiction romance and was written for a contest. Unfiortunately, there weren't enough entries and the contest was canceled. It's been sitting on my computer waiting for an audience. Brantley finally convinced me to post it.

Science fiction fans will find allusions to some well known sf stories, But it may not be that easy to figure out who the Captain is named for, or where her husband got his name. The professor isn't from any story — he's from my life.

Today is the perfect day to post a romance, because it's the third anniversary of my first date with Brantley — which led to our wonderful romance and marriage.


July 27, 2007


In "Rocky Mountain High," Arish'ka met a lovely young man named Bjorn, who found out who she was and promptly fell in love with her. Now, in "Inside Passage," she's found a man truly worthy of her. He's a hunky history professor (Yes, you read that correctly, a professor.) named George Gregory Grant -- his friends call him Gig. And he knows she's something special even before she reveals her super powers.

Gig takes takes her on an Alaskan cruise, where she finds some strange things happening beneath a glacier, and she does what only a Velorian can.

I've used many memories from a wonderful trip I took to Alaska in the mid-nineties in this story. And I even have a walk-on part: I actually made the quip that confuses Arish'ka during the lifeboat drill.


Jan. 11, 2008

"The Hunting Horns of Hades" came about in a rather strange way. We were watching a Teaching Company lecture series on Beethoven's Symphony's. The professor, Dr. Robert Greenberg, is an excellent and very engaging teacher. At one point, in his lecture on Beethoven's 5th Symphony, he said that a passage sounded like the hunting horns of Hades. I said to my husband: that would make a great story title. The title rattled around in my brain, both waking and sleeping, until I finally came up with a story to go with it.

July 3, 2009

One day this summer, Brantley sent me an announcement of a writing contest with unusual requirements. The story had to be a futuristic romance of 1,500 words and it had to use the following four words: amulet, amber, sword and dust bunny. Yes, I said dust bunny.

At first I thought, “What could anyone write using those words?” And then I got an idea and thought I'd have some fun with it.   Some I took some pulp sf and mixed in some erotic romance and came up with “Stella Victorious.” When Brantley read it, he was really rolling on the floor laughing his ass off, and I hope it has the same effect on you.

And the most amazing thing happened: I won the contest! Of course, I have no idea if anyone else entered.

Nov. 3, 2009