Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Excerpt from This Year's NaNoWriMo Novel - So Much It Hurts

So Much It Hurts, my 2016 NaNo novel took me very much by surprise. For starters, I had little to no idea what I was going to write about. Usually, I plan ahead to a degree, but this year, I was stumped. I had an inkling of a love triangle (no, not menage) and even knew the three characters by name—something else that rarely happens.
Immediately, Pia met and was enamored with Flynn, but there was something about Yancy I hadn't anticipated—at all. I love how the book turned out, and eventually I may share it or I'll wait and publish it. I haven't decided. In any case, this is an excerpt from So Much It Hurts.

Flynn pulled himself to consciousness. His ears buzzed and rang. The room refused to hold still. Vision blurred, he stumbled to the bathroom. As he washed his hands and face, he examined himself in the mirror. His skin was drawn, scruffy cheeks sunken, dark circles around haunted eyes. Turning around, he saw claw marks on his shoulders and he had a vague recollection of having hot, jungle sex with someone, and knew it hadn't been Pia. Naked and ashamed, he stood with his face in his hands.
“What have I done?”
His bathroom door popped open and Yancy's angry face was framed by it and the door jamb. “Put on some pants. You have a visitor.”
The door slammed shut as Yancy left without a reply? Flynn dressed hastily, wondering if he'd missed an appointment. He couldn't think of anything, but three days were a blur. Men's voices filtered from the living room, calm, reassuring. Didn't sound like he was in trouble. As the child of an abusive parent, he'd learned to read the danger signals. When laughter echoed knew it was all right.
The other man's back was to him, but Flynn would know Jeff Stanton anywhere. Yancy glanced over, raising his chin, and Jeff turned. His smile of greeting changed to a frown of deep concern.
“Jesus, Flynn! You look like you've been hit by a truck!” He tried to look more closely, but Flynn flinched away.
“No thanks.”
“I need coffee.”
“Boy, you need rehab. Coffee won't cut it.”
“Why are you here?”
“Lunch with me and Randi, remember?” He turned to Yancy. “How long has he been like this?”
“I spent the night with Pia. Someone had a party that didn't include me. Not that I wanted a bunch of super models sucking me off on the couch.”
“I did that?” Flynn cringed. “Fuck, I did that. I'm sorry—”
He took a step toward Yancy, who backed away, hands up to ward off his approach.
“Save your apologies for Pia. I came for my stuff.”
“What stuff?” Flynn had made it to the kitchen, but went back as quickly as he could.
“All of it. I can't live like this. Pia said I could move in with her.”
“With my girlfriend?” He stormed across the room, shoving Yancy back a step.
“Not anymore!” his friend bellowed. “You blew that chance when you blew that model!”
“She saw that?” Anguished, Flynn gripped his head, anger now self-directed. “What have I done?”
“Not what, who? Everyone! You'd have fucked a monkey, if one had been around.”
Jeff got between them, a hand on each chest. “Yance, lemme get this one.” He tipped his head toward the door.
Reluctantly agreeing, Yancy went back to Pia's. She was waiting in the hallway outside her door, Randi in the room behind her. Both women looked worried. Borage came around the corner, Oz trailing him.
“Go back home,” Borage pointed, gently commanding. “It's okay.”
Knowing he couldn't get his charge to leave, he simply kept him out of the way. Jeff closed the door with a thud before advancing on Flynn.
“You, fuck-tard. Sit.”
“Screw coffee. This is your Come to Jesus. You feel me?” His tone and manner grew tough, aggressive.
Flynn's laugh whooped o ut. “This is great. The rich, pampered, pretty boy—going all street. You don't scare me, Jeff. I grew up in the hood. I ate hood rats for lunch.”
“Hood rats don't hold two black belts. You're tough, and hung over. Think I can't take your ass down?” He yanked off his jacket. “They've got a gym here. Let's throw down!” The jacket hit Flynn in the face.
“Let's do it!” Furious, Flynn raced to the stairway, shoving past Yancy and Borage. The door to Pia's rom was open and she watched from the safety of the doorway.
“I've got this,” Jeff said as he stalked past. “My friend needs a whoopin'.”
“Don't hurt him!”
Icy blue eyes met hers. “Some men see reason at the bottom of a bottle. Some see it after talk. Flynn sees it with a fist to the face.” He was gone in a flash.
“You can't let him!” Pia appealed to Yancy and Borage.
Yancy picked her up and carried her inside, locking the door behind him. “This is the only way.”
Randi stood by the couch. “Jeff won't hurt him—much,” she faltered. She knew the strength her husband possessed, and she knew Flynn's stubbornness. It might take a lot to get through to him. “He knows what he's doing.”
“He's going to beat up Flynn! That's okay with you?” She shoved at Yancy, who didn't loosen his grip. “I have to go.”
Yancy held her, despite the fact she was fighting him. “No.”
“You want to see his humiliation?”
“Stop this!”
“You saw him last night.... Do you still think I should?”

Bursting into tears, the fight went out of her. She hung limply from his arms. Yancy lifted her, carrying her to the chaise lounge nearby. Randi sat next to her, and the three of them shared their silent misery.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Excerpt from My NaNoWriMo Novel 2015 - Family Matters

The front door opened and one of Porter's granddaughters walked in. She and Olivia were about the same age.
"That my little Frangipani?" Porter called.
"It sure is, Granddad! Livy, it's so good to see you!" The young women hugged. "Girl, I have missed you! You ready to get to work?"
"Sit down and have a cup," Porter invited. "The others are coming. I knew you'd be first. My little Frangi is always early. Now, that brother of yours.... Pfft!" He waved his gnarled hand. "Boy was born late."
"Boone's coming?" Olivia tried to keep the eagerness from her voice, but figured she probably failed miserably.
"I thought he was working today?" Frangi said.
"He told me he was coming. Now, whether that means after work, now, or midnight, who can say? That young'un keeps his own time. We got real time and Boone time."
The women giggled, knowing it was true.
"Mama says he'll probably be late to his own funeral."
The front door banged shut.
"Whose funeral?" A mellow baritone asked from the living room.
"Slow, but ears like a fox," Frangi said. "You'll be late to yours," she said as her brother wandered in.
A sly smile spread across his face. "Is that Olivia? Lord, girl! Pops told me to come help with Granny's, but he didn't say you were gonna be here. Do I get a hug?"
Olivia's breath caught in her throat when she heard his voice. "It's been too long, Boone. How you been?"
She stood, legs shaking, as he folded her in his embrace. His strong arms wrapped around her and he held her close. She thought she heard him sigh contentedly. Maybe that was wishful thinking on her part, because it felt like coming home to find herself in his arms. Reluctantly, she let go as he released her.
"Chile, you are skin and bones!" he declared, sounding like his grandfather. "What do they feed you in Florida?"
"Not enough, apparently. Sally's already read me the riot act and Porter fed me more for breakfast than I eat in a day."
"She ate it all, though," his grandfather stated. "Bet she'd eat more if I offered it."
"No, I am officially full. If I eat anything else, I might vomit."
"I can eat," Boone said as he gave his grandfather a gentle hug.
"I know that, which is why I made plenty. Help yourself, your hands ain't broke."
Chuckling, Boone served himself and poured coffee for his sister. Soon, other siblings, cousins and friends joined them. Porter had put out the call to all available hands to be on deck. As they always did, the family pitched in to help out someone in need. Olivia remembered a similar response when Poppy had died.
"Y'all are too good to me," she murmured.
Frangi put her arm around Olivia's shoulders. "Just good enough," she whispered. "So, when are you gonna leave the big city and come home?"
"I'll tell you, it's looking better every second." She couldn't keep her eyes from drifting over to where Boone stood, chatting with his brother.
As if he felt her eyes on him, he turned around, flashing her a grin. She couldn't get over how handsome he was. His black hair was close cropped, though he sported long sideburns that came to his jaw. He had a mustache, neither too full nor too thin, it set off the curves of his sensuous mouth. His skin was mocha colored, his ebony eyes were almond shaped, hinting at Asian ancestry.
Too damn handsome for his own good—or mine, she thought. She'd had a crush on Boone since she was in the fifth grade.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Excerpt from My NaNoWriMo Novel 2014 - The Man Who Wasn't There

The Man Who Wasn't There is the second book in my Miracle, Mississippi Series. He Thought He Saw (2012 NaNo) is book one.

Brian called 9-1-1, but the line was busy. Yelling at Romeo, he finally got the other boy's attention. "There are people trapped in here. They're hurt. Find help!"
Romeo dashed off. Some of the boys on the cheerleading squad ran over. Brian activated the flashlight app on his phone and led them into the dilapidated shed.
"We're in here," the girl called. "Please, help."
"Coming!" He turned to the boys. "Okay, the roof collapsed and the wall caved in. There are people trapped. Can you handle this?"
The boys shrugged, nodding.
"People need help," one of them replied. "I can handle anything."
Slowly, Brian opened the door. It swung toward him, sagging on the hinges, squawking like an angry goose. Brian shown his light in the entrance. He saw the wall with the boy holding it. He looked ready to fall down. A row of roofing nails were embedded in his thigh. Blood had pooled at his feet. It took longer to find the girl. She was partially buried under the wall. She was pale and afraid, but was alert.
"Better not to move her," Brian told the boys. "But let's shore up the wall and roof. What's your name?" he asked the young man.
"Noel and that's Trista."
"I'm Brian. That's Justin and Flynn." He pointed to the cheerleaders. "Anyone else here?"
"Just us. I'm hurt bad, Brian. I can't hold this much longer."
The other two boys were busily trying to move the book shelf, only to find it was attached to the wall. Brian spotted a line of file cabinets. He told the other boys to get that. Ripping off his shirt, he tore the cloth into strips and bound up the leg wound. Noel was in a bad way. The blood seeped slowly and he shook with the strain of holding the wall. Once that was done tying up the wound, Brian found a place to stand by the other boy and took the weight of the wall on his own back, pushing with his powers.
Justin and Flynn moved the file cabinets into place, taking the weight from Brian and Noel. They lifted Noel and set him aside. He screamed in pain as they moved his injured leg. Both of them apologized as the lowered him to the floor. Keeping the force going, Brian eased out from under the wall and went to sit by Trista. She was pale, clammy. He didn't dare move any of the rubble without help. Depending on her injuries, she might be alive only because the debris acted like a tourniquet.
"Help's coming, honey. Hang in there."
"Where's Noel?"
"Here, baby. I'm okay."
Justin had added strips of his shirt to Noel's leg. Moving him had started the bleeding again. He fashioned a tourniquet with that and a Bic pen. It wasn't ideal, but it would hold until help arrived. A pounding of feet outside heralded the arrival of the emergency team.
Romeo stood outside, panting. "Sorry it took so long. The courtyard is blocked. We had to go around."
"Thanks," Brian said. "Trista's in a bad way," he told the EMT. "I have no idea what's going on under there. I didn't try to move her. We had to get Noel out from under the wall. It was ready to collapse and so was he."
"You did good, kids. Thank you." He turned to Trista, smiling. "Hello there, young lady. My name is Darren. Let's see what's going on, okay?"
"Okay," she said faintly.
Brian knew she was in bad shape. He could sense that one lung was on the verge of collapse and she had internal injuries. She had a spinal fracture and a compound fracture of the left femur. The knowledge wasn't from his own mind. He could hear someone else's voice in his head telling him.
"I think she has a spinal injury," he said aloud. "And her lung is collapsing."
"He's right," the second EMT said. "She's sipping air. Anything else, kid?"
"Broken leg and some internal bleeding."
The emergency personnel stared at him.
"How do you know that?" Justin asked.
"Call it a hunch."
"We've got a couple stretchers outside. Think you boys can get our friend to one?" the first EMT asked.
"Yes, sir." Brian gestured to Justin and Flynn. He got the stretcher and the boys helped lift Noel onto it.
"I'll show you how to get around," Romeo said. He took one end of the stretcher.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes

Book One, He Thought He Saw, is currently being shared at my other blog every Sunday and Wednesday

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Excerpt from My NaNoWriMo Novel 2013 - Fly by Night

Rain fell in endless sheets, hammering against the windshield. Wiper blades on high couldn't keep up, clearing a patch here and there, only to fill immediately with droplets. Ironically, the morning forecast had called for sunshine and partly cloudy skies with a 20% chance of rain. That 20% was currently drowning the landscape. Wipers raced, water slashed against the bottom of the car as it sliced through puddles on the interstate. Drainage ditches couldn't keep up with the rainfall. Already, a foot of water stood at the sides of the road.
Division Bell by Pink Floyd, blared from the speakers. One reason Blythe Donovan had purchased the car, was the superior sound system. Okay, it was the main reason, but she told her friends it was because of the fantastic mileage. Wanting to hear Marooned again, Blythe tapped the button to take her back to the beginning. Her eyes left the road for less than 10 seconds. Movement and a flash of tail lights greeted her startled eyes. Ahead of her, the cars had slowed to a crawl. The sky chose that moment to open further, dumping gallons of water on the already sodden land.
"Oh, God! Help me!"
She watched the tail lights of the car ahead of her, get closer. Foot firmly on the brake, she panicked, trying to turn her car off the road. The steering wheel didn't respond as the car hydroplaned on the accumulated water. She saw a trailer hitch as she plowed into the rear end of a pickup. Time ran in slow motion. She saw the vehicles collide. There was a sickening crunch of metal, glass flew, air bags exploded from the console. The seat belt snapped into action, rubbing brutally across her collarbone. Smoke filled the car as she shuddered to an unsteady halt. Terrified by the smoke and noises, she struggled with her belt and car door.
The other vehicle rolled off the road, but her poor mangled car wasn't going anywhere. Cars surged around her as she fumbled with her telephone. She knew someone had probably already called in the accident, but that was what people did, right? The dispatcher answered and she burst into tears.
"I ran into someone. My car is broken."
"Calm down, miss. It's all right. We've already had a report. An officer is on the way. Try to stay calm. Are you hurt?"
"I don't think so."
"Can you move your vehicle?"
"Not by myself."
"Help is on the way. Stay out of the road."
The smoke thickened in the car. Blythe coughed, waving it away. Someone tapped on her passenger side window.
"Are you okay?" a young woman asked.
"I think so."
"You need to get out of there," a man said from the driver's side. "Let's get it moved off the road. Can you help push?"
She nodded.
"Put the car in neutral, miss. You steer."
She did as she was told, foolishly keeping her foot on the brake. The man glanced at her feet as he tried to push and the car wouldn't move.
"Need to take your foot off the brake," he teased, flashing a toothy, white grin.
"Sorry. I'm sorry."
"It's okay." His black hair was plastered to his head by the rain. He had a kind demeanor, with a nose that was a little too large for the rest of his face. "You need to get out of there," he said as the car rolled to a stop. "Make sure the engine is off."
"Can you stand? You're not pinned?"
"No. I'm okay."
He pulled the door open. It was bent and dented by the impact. It took a moment for him to get it wide enough for her to exit.
"You'd better get your things," the young woman suggested.
"Oh, sure."
"You can come sit in my car when you're done," she offered.
"Thank you."
"And get some pictures for your insurance agent."
Blythe fumbled a few seconds with her phone, trying to focus on the wreck. Her long, brown hair was plastered to her head by the rain. Her hands shook as she took her pictures. It made her sick to look at her car. An EMT in full rain gear, approached her.
"Is this your car?"
"Are you hurt?"
"I don't think so. Just shaken up." She stuttered, blushing. "I'm sorry," she babbled. "I don't know what happened."
"It's okay, miss. Everyone is shaken up at a time like this. Deep, slow breaths."
© 2016 Dellani Oakes

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Red River Radio Presents What's Write for Me with Brian, Gary and Whit

Dellani and Christina are delighted to welcome back two fantastic authors, and greet a new one. Please make note of the time slots so you won't miss your favorite author! Whit: 4:00 to 4:40, Brian: 4:40 to 5:20, Gary: 5:20 to 6:00
whit-mcclendonFirst up is our pal Whit McClendon, author of Mage's Burden and Gart's Road. Whit will be on from 4 to 4:40 to chat about his work.
brian-briscoeSecond is newcomer, Brian Briscoe, author of The Conflict Etiquette Handbook: The Art of Behaving Well in the Midst of Conflict and Juke: A Blues Novel. Brian will be on from 4:40 to 5:20.
gary-d-henryThird, our buddy Gary D. Henry, author of In the Manor of Heather Black, Falling Waters, Witchwoods, and more. Gary will come on from 5:20 to 6:00

We look forward to chatting with each of our authors. As always, dust off your speakers, kick back with your favorite beverage and enjoy the show!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Excerpt from My NaNoWriMo Novel 2012 - He Thought He Saw

Wind whispered in the trees and dried leaves clattered in its wake. An owl hooted. The hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention. The full moon seemed to follow him as he walked down the road alone. The wind became voices. The leaves, the dry rattle of old bones. The sighing grew louder and Brian was able to pick out words. At least, he thought they were words, but in a language he couldn't understand.
Increasing his pace, he glanced over his shoulder. Wispy figures gathered in the tree line around the swamp road, moving slowly and steadily toward him. Brian tried to convince himself it was only his imagination, but it felt far too real.
One of the figures approached at a slow, loping run. Brian could hear the heavy, measured footfalls as it lumbered toward him. He completely lost his cool. Roaring loudly, he ran at the figure, dodging away when it grabbed at him. Chilling wind passed as the figure drifted away, dissipating as it headed to the woods on the other side of the road.
Brian ran along the center of the road, frightened by his encounter with the wraith. More of them gathered in the swampy woodland, but no others were bold enough to approach him. Hearing a twig snap to his left, Brian put on a burst of speed. With a cry of fear, he felt a shove at his back and tripped over his own feet. As he fell, he saw the wraiths grow bolder. They moved in unison, swooping toward him. Terrified, Brian lay on his belly, unsure how to combat them.
A solid form burst out of the bushes. A large dog stood over Brian, growling and barking. It took a moment for him to realize that the wraiths halted. Some tried to go a step or two further, but the dog renewed its attack. One by one the ghosts dispersed, melting into the fog once more.
Brian let his breath out slowly. The animal stood over him, but moved aside as he sat up. It was the biggest dog Brian had ever seen, broad through the chest with powerful legs and a ridge of hair down his spine. It looked silver in the moonlight.
Curious, Brian reached slowly toward it, hand out, palm up. The beast's tongue flicked out, licking his cheek. Her warm breath convinced the boy that the dog was alive and real. She slurped him again, butting his hand so he'd pet her. Laughing, he complied.
"Where did you come from, girl?" Predictably, he got no reply. "Never mind, I'm just glad you're here."
He got up, dusting himself off. Leaves stuck to his body, mud caked every inch of him. Twigs and more leaves adorned his closely cropped hair. Getting his bearings, he headed toward home once more. The dog walked with him, her head under his hand. Her tongue lolled and she looked as if she were laughing at his appearance.
"You take a header into a mud puddle and see how good you look."
The dog barked gleefully. She dashed ahead, sniffed and snorted, before trotting back to his side. She stayed with him until they reached his home. With a yip, she left him, drifting into the woods. The front door fell shut with a comforting bump behind him. Heaving a sigh of relief, Brian locked and bolted the door. He leaned against it, panting. His hands shook and he felt light headed. His heart thumped so hard in his chest, he could hear it in his ears.
He slowly made his way upstairs, wishing his mother were home. Being home alone had never bothered him before, but he felt vulnerable, isolated. Brian hadn't realized quite how dirty he was until he saw himself in the bathroom mirror. He stripped off his filthy clothing and dropped it on the bottom of the shower. He hoped he could get some of the trash off it before putting it in the laundry.
The water ran black as he washed himself and his clothing. He picked up twigs and leaves as he bathed. Afterward, he scooped up handfuls of debris, dropping it in the garbage. His clothing, he placed in the sink to drain as he dressed. As he lugged the basket of wet clothing downstairs to the basement, he saw what a mess he'd left when he'd come in. The white curtain over the front window was caked with dirt. A muddy trail led up his mother's clean, wooden steps.
He descended to the basement quickly and tried not to think about his experience in the woods. It still scared him, even though he was safe in his home. He'd never particularly liked the basement and his recent scare made it worse. He threw his clothing into the washer, added soap and took the stairs to the kitchen two at a time.
Cleaning up his mess kept his mind off what had happened. Strange things had been happening to him for weeks, getting weirder and spookier by the minute. At first, he'd passed it off as stress. It was apparent that his stress level had very little to do with the events of the night He'd been coming home from a friend's house after a Halloween party.
Chase lived on the other side of the tiny, Mississippi town. The quickest way home was to cut through the woods that skirted the swamp. Brian had taken that route on foot or on his bike a million times with no problem. So why was tonight different? Because, tonight something had changed. He couldn't put a finger on it, would never have been able to explain it in words, but he knew it as surely as he knew his own name.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes

He Thought He Saw is currently being shared on my other blog every Sunday and Wednesday

Original Cover

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Excerpt from My NaNoWriMo Novel 2011 - Full Measure

Ralan stormed out of the house, slamming the solid wood door with a satisfying thunk. He left too precipitously, without his coat, and it was considerably colder outside than it had been earlier in the day. His long hair still damp, he got chilly before he got halfway down the long, sloping driveway. He wanted a walk, somewhere there were no other people. He was furious and needed a chance to calm down.
Footsteps slapping on the pavement behind him made him slow and turn around. Daphne was behind him with a jacket. She handed it to him almost shyly, biting her lower lip. He slipped it on, turning up the collar against the wind.
"Shit, it's cold out here!" She hunched into her coat, shivering.
Ralan put his arms around her, holding her close.
"Are you going to get into trouble over us?"
"Heard that, did you?"
"We all heard. That's a big, open house with great acoustics. Romy sounded furious."
"He's not my boss. Unless he rats me out...."
"What did he mean about me being a witness?"
Wondering how much he should say, he paused so long she thought he wasn't going to tell her. Slowly, editing considerably, he told her about his investigation. She listened carefully, waiting until he was finished to speak.
"You knew about me before Karen called you?"
Ralan froze. He'd forgotten to edit that little gem of information. Shit!
"You were following me? Stalking me?" She shoved away from him. "Like—a criminal?"
"No, Daphne. Not like that. I was worried about you. You have no idea what all's involved here."
"No, because you've chosen not to tell me. Did it ever occur to you or your primate buddy that I can help? I'm marginally intelligent. I've got more than just a great ass and nice tits to recommend me."
"I never said that, Daphne. I never trivialized you. I can actually have an intelligent conversation with you. Do you know how rare that is? Most of the women I know are either married, bimbos or trying like hell to kill me. I finally met a woman who's none of the above and you're pissed at me because I was trying to protect you."
"No, you were investigating me. Admit it. You wanted to know if I was legit before you deigned to have anything to do with me! So you wouldn't compromise your case because you fell for the villain. I hope you're satisfied."
"Daphne, it wasn't like that."
She took a step toward him, poking him hard in the chest. "It was exactly like that." She turned, stalking away. She'd gone a few steps when she spun around once more. "Did you do that on purpose?" she demanded.
"Do what?"
"That whole sparing thing in the gym. Did you set me up just to fuck me?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. I invited you to workout."
"Like you didn't have it planned all along? Do I look that stupid?"
Ralan frowned, dark eyes blazing. "At the moment, yeah! It wasn't a setup, Daphne. It just happened. And it was great! Would I like to do it again? Yes! And I think you would too."
She couldn't admit that her body burned for him again. She wanted him more than she'd ever wanted any man in her life. Having him once wasn't enough. She needed him over and over before she could possibly be satisfied.
"Don't flatter yourself," she sneered. She continued her angry journey toward the house.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes