Showing posts from 2010

"Snowed" - excerpt

As an author, it's always fun to explore new ways to tell my stories. Quite often, that means finding a new voice. Most of the time, I write in third person point of view, but once in awhile I like to step into the character's shoes and use first person. This novel, "Snowed", is not only in first person, I decided to write it from a man's perspective. I hope I succeeded in capturing Mike's thoughts.

This is from the beginning of the story where we first meet Michael Reuben. It's his birthday, October 31st, and he wakes to find out that Mother Nature enjoys irony. The city has been crippled by weather and they're snowed in. If that weren't enough, Fate has an even more devastating trick to play on him....

"It's the worst snowstorm of the year!" The radio announced gleefully, waking me up.

What it fails to mention is that it's the only snowstorm of the year. Like it's some big thing, like we don't know. We live i…

Excerpt from "Ben Drexel"

I've been having a lot of fun writing companion novels to my sci-fi series that begins with "The Lone Wolf". Several of the characters have stories that need to be told. At the urging of my muse, I decided to write about one of my favorite characters (other than Wil, that is). His name is Ben Drexel. Another super soldier like Wil, he's from a later batch. The two of them have worked together more than once, but didn't much like each other in the early months of their acquaintance. This story chronicles that meeting.

Ben and his best friend, Ray Schmidt, became super soldiers against their will. They don't even realize what's happened to them because part of the process is to erase part of their memories. The wipe isn't holding with Ben, something that Wil had anticipated. He decides to speak to the younger man in private, calling him away from his girlfriend in the middle of the night.

They walked far from the living quarters, nearly to the p…

Interview with Dellani Oakes - Concerning the Lone Wolf

Second Wind: I am joined today by Dellani Oakes, author of the sci-fi adventure novel, The Lone Wolf available through Second Wind Publishing. Hello, Dellani, and welcome.

Dellani: Thank you. I am delighted to be here.

SW: What inspired you to write this novel?

D: Back when my husband and I married, people were into role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. My husband ran a game called "Traveler". Much like D and D, it was set in the distant future. He began a game with three of us, giving me the basis for Wil, Marc and Matilda. The idea grew from there.

SW: How far in the future did you set the story?

D: I chose to set my story in 3032. I wanted Mankind to have fully established itself in the galaxy. So many sci-fi stories aren't set far enough in the future to be believable. I hope that over a thousand years into the future will be far enough.

SW: Your other novel, Indian Summer, is historical. What prompted you to write something futuristic?

D: The story …

What's In a Name?

I have a tendency to use the same names for more than one character. I thought I only did this with minor characters, but I don't. I know this because I went through all my stories and counted them up. I didn't include all my short stories, so the numbers are off slightly, but the results show me something:
I use the same names WAY too often!

Common names like James, Michael, Robert and William aren't too surprising. However, names like Burwood, Derrick, Dexter and Jasper were unexpected. I also found that I reuse men's names more than women's – though I still use things like Amanda, Bonnie, Cindy and Tammy way more than is necessary.

I don't know if this will make any difference to the way that I name my characters in the future, but I hope that I will be more aware of variety.

I know this is probably more information than you care to know, but I spent a lot of time going through character lists, so I'm going to share.

Top 10 Names for Men
Robert/ Bob/ B…

What Happened to the Cat?

My husband is a detail oriented person. As a medical professional, he has to be. It amazes me, however, what details his analytical, scientific mind will latch onto when he reads my novels. He'll read the entire story and start asking me for clarification, demanding details. Some of it I've thought of, other things I make up, glad of my improv experience, because I honestly hadn't gone there.

It's not unusual for me to make up some BS answer out of thin air just to get him to quit asking. Sometimes, if the subject really interests him, he'll expand on it to the point where I'd pay real money just to get him to shut up. Often, these sessions are helpful, clarifying those nebulous ideas that I hadn't fully considered.

A typical exchange:

“Have you thought about ?”

“The readers don't need to know that.”

“But it's interesting. You could....”

“Yes, maybe, but why? It's not the least bit important. Why do you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Ask about the most …

The Maker - Book 3 in the Lone Wolf Series

I've been going back through my sci-fi series re-reading the earlier novels with an eye on both editing them for publication and re-familiarizing myself with the world so I can finish book 6. The following is one of my favorite scenes. Emmelia Spenser, Chairman of the Mining Guild, is the most powerful woman in the galaxy. In "The Lone Wolf", she's guarded by Captain Ben Drexel of the Galactic Marines. Why isn't important. What is important is the fact that they fall in love. However, given their positions, they aren't able to put duty aside to be together. Ben is sent on a mission far from the Mining Guild home base and Emmelia can't go with him. She doesn't hear from him for over three years, but as it's Christmas Eve, she's thinking of him.

Gazing at the clock on her living room wall, Chairman Emmelia Spenser watched the hands creep toward midnight. Drinking a silent toast to absent friends, she tried not to cry.

"Oh, Ben,&quo…

Lone Wolf at Last!

"The Lone Wolf" has finally made it to the publisher's site and I'm so excited! Even more than "Indian Summer", this book is a part of me. I admit, I totally fell in love with the main character, Wil. To celebrate, I've included an excerpt from the story.

Although Matilda is involved with Marc, she meets Wil and that's it. Wil, who's been around more than even he will admit, has never truly been in love. He's invited her to lunch, which segues into dinner. After their meal, he finds himself at a loss as to how to proceed.

Their eyes met over the glow of the candle. He started to speak once or twice, but each time he stopped before doing so. Matilda sat placidly, waiting for him to make the first move. She had a feeling she knew what he was trying to say, but couldn't quite put into words. A playful smile tugged at her lips.

Wil blushed, his gaze dropping to his lap uncomfortably. He couldn't remember a time he'd felt so awk…

NaNoWriMo -excerpt

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is in full swing. I started on my novel and it's really coming together for me. I'm very pleased with it. I thought for this week's excerpt, I'd post a bit from "Undiscovered". Cadence Stuart just finished showing a condo to a young married couple when shots ring out. She steps into the hallway to see a tall man dressed in baggies, T-shirt, mask and gloves run down the hall and into the stairwell. She gets a good look at him, but he also gets a good look at her. Detective Walter Scott (no kin to the famous Sir Walter Scott) stays at her apartment to protect her in case the guy comes looking. He sleeps on the couch. Fortunately, it's a quiet night. This conversation takes place the next morning.

He showered, but hesitated to shave. His chin and cheeks were tender to the touch. He decided to forgo it. If anyone hassled him, he could say he was growing a beard. He used the aloe lotion once more, slathering…

And Away We Go!

It's Halloween Night and NaNoWriMo participants all over the world are watching their clocks waiting for midnight so they can start officially writing their novels. Like Halloween costumes, NaNo novels are decided on well in advance, sometimes starting as of December first.

I heard about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, four years ago when a friend asked me if I planned to participate. I'd never heard of it before and decided to investigate. After checking out, I decided to give it a try.

My first novel, entitled "Wall of Time", is a prequel to my sci-fi series. The first novel, "The Lone Wolf", is due in December 2010. This novel gives insight on one of the minor, but very important, characters in "The Lone Wolf", explaining her origins.

My second novel, "Deserted", didn't go as planned. I started with the idea "If you were stuck on a desert island, who would you want to be stranded with?" It …

...Repent in Leisure

I wrote this for my writing group last week. Our prompt was "A Hasty Decision" and this sort of came to me the night before.

“Marry in haste, repent in leisure,” my Aunt Martha said as she fluffed my veil. “I swear, you look a treat, Sammie!”

“Thanks, Auntie M,” I said, hugging her.

I adjusted the wreath of flowers on my head, gazing at myself in the mirror. My hair was a mess, but the veil was gorgeous. Martha was making it for me from silk flowers and lace. It was lovely. My dress was still being made, so I stood there modeling it in jeans and a T-shirt.

“Just gotta ask again, Sammie. Are you sure about this boy?”

“Very sure, Auntie. RJ's fantastic. You'll love him. Mama loves him.”

“Well, just cause my baby sister likes somebody, don't mean I will.”

“He's the best. Honest!”

“Didn't you say that about what's his name? The carpenter?”

I couldn't look at myself anymore. “Yeah. But I was wrong as can be about Bobby. This is different, Auntie.…

Interview with Dellani Oakes

Second Wind: I am joined today by Dellani Oakes, author of the historical romance novel, "Indian Summer" available through Second Wind Publishing. Hello, Dellani, and welcome.

Dellani: Thank you. I am delighted to be here.

SW: What inspired you to write this novel?

D: When I moved the Florida twenty years ago, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of history. St. Augustine, as the oldest established city on the east coast, holds an extra special fascination for me. I wanted to bring a bit of that history alive.

SW: Why the time period, 1739? I'm guessing that's significant.

D: Yes, it is. There was a great deal of enmity between the Spanish and British in Europe and Florida gave them another venue in which to fight. The British were constantly trying to take over the fort in St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos. In 1740, they very nearly succeeded.

SW: Why all this fuss over Florida? Grant you, it's pretty country, but with the climate and the diseases the mo…

Nine Questions for Matilda

It's easy to forget that in every good romance there are two major characters. Often, authors forget that each is as important as the other--cause a romance takes two, this isn't Narcissus, after all. Recently, my interview of Wilhelm Van Lipsig, The Lone Wolf, was posted by Pat Bertram. I decided that his lady, Matilda DuLac, deserves equal time. So, here is a short interview with Matilda.

Dellani: How do you learn best?

Matilda: I learn best by seeing and doing. That's the way my dad taught me to mine and the way I do everything now.

Dellani: How open are you to new ideas and information?

Matilda: Life is about learning. If I don't learn, I stagnate. I'm open to new ideas, but often want proof that they're valid before I adopt them. Assimilating new information is part of my job description. In my job, I have to have a quick mind and good memory.

Dellani: When you walk into a room, what do you notice first?

Matilda: I look around for familiar faces. …

"Lone Wolf" Update!

This just in! After a chat with my publisher, I've got a tentative release date for "The Lone Wolf" long awaited first novel in my sci-fi series. I'll keep you posted! HOORAY!!

Finding the Inner Voice

When people ask me how long I've been writing, I don't hesitate to answer. I've been telling stories all my life. Since I could put words together, I've made up stories. When I got old enough, I started writing those stories down.

When I was younger, I wrote poems and song parodies. As I got older, I wrote short stories and humorous essays. Once I got into college, as a theatre major, my emphasis switched to plays, but I still wrote short stories.

As a college student, the time to write was limited. Even more so once I got to teaching full time. I had two small children, so finding a spare moment where I wasn't tending to them, grading papers or sleeping--Well, let's just say that didn't happen very often.

Once I left teaching and moved, first to Nebraska and then to Florida, I had more time to commit to my writing. I started a novel, my first attempt, and I admit rather embarrassed, I haven't finished that one yet. We won't talk about how m…

Excerpt from "Set for Love"

Bern Cortland is a transplant from a small town in Mississippi to a big city "Up North". He's just landed a great new job as technical director at a theatre. He's just settling in when he meets Paige Russo, the leading lady for the new show. They hate each other on sight and it doesn't improve over time. He thinks she's a serious bitch and she thinks he's a blithering idiot. Unfortunately, he's having to help her move into an apartment---right across the hall from him.

Bern was several steps behind Clay when the door opened. He heard a woman's voice, but it wasn't until he got to the door that he saw who it was. His new neighbor was going to be Paige Russo. The woman he despised was moving into the apartment of his ex-lover.

Great! This proves that God hates me.

Nodding to her, he walked through the door. Tight lipped, she showed them around, telling them what needed to be packed and what was ready.

“Thought you were supposed to ha…

"Crippled by Love" - excerpt

Ian Yarrow is rich and reclusive, hiding himself away from the rest of the world. At least that's what Cynthia Marshall is told when her boss at the newspaper sends her to do an in depth article on him for the society section of the paper. What she finds surprises her, a handsome young man in a wheelchair. His self-confidence gone, he withdraws from those around him, erecting walls and roadblocks in order to protect himself. Cynthia has some hard questions for him, a few he doesn't really want to answer, but getting to the truth is the only thing that will set him free.

“Something about you girls with the fiery locks that makes a man weak,” he sighed.

“All me.” She tossed her short hair. “Well, some highlights, but the red is all me.”

He wasn't staring at her hair. She was wearing a flimsy T-shirt and no bra. He could tell by the way her breasts jiggled when she moved. He was mesmerized.

“Hello? The face is up here,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest.


Thanks to My Marvelous Guests!

I can't seem to get Facebook working, but I wanted to thank my fantastic guests, Rhys Bowen, Jennie Helderman and Juliet Waldron for being on my show today on Blog Talk Radio.

"Starting Over"

As many of you know, I always have more than one work in progress. This newest one, "Starting Over", is one that I started when I was visiting my mother. "Starting Over" is the story of Ellen Burke, a 28 year old woman trapped in a loveless marriage with an abusive spouse, Rodney. Fortunately, her neighbors help her get away from her husband. She finds surprising love and support in Jerry, the 18 year old son of her best friend, Violet. She had no idea that Jerry was anything but a friend until he tells her how he feels about her. Rodney gets out of jail, so Jerry's family takes her into their apartment for the night.

“Let's get to bed,” Jerry said. Then he laughed, realizing how that sounded. “Should I rephrase that?”

“No. I understood what you meant.”

“Too bad. A misunderstanding could be more than a little interesting.” He raised an eyebrow, smirking at her. His full lips twitched and his green eyes sparkled.

“Maybe sometime when my soon to be ex…

Where Do I Go From Here?

Did you ever get knee deep in a story and wonder where it was going? Your characters have gotten themselves in a fix—a pickle, if you will—and suddenly, you can't find a way out. Been there. Done that. More times than I can count!

I'm the kind of person who works on more than one project at a time. I have to. I get momentum that propels me along for a space, then I bog down and eventually grind to a halt. Sometimes, I can bull through and finish. Other times.... Well.... Let's just say that I've got nearly as many unfinished projects as I have finished.

I don't know why this happens. I've tried to figure it out for years, but still no clue. It seems that the muse carries me only so far and then flits away, deciding that it's not as imperative to tell that story as it once was.

I'm sitting here at my desk, ignoring the “Unfinished” notebook open in front of me. What that is, is a record of all the stories I've got pending, their chapters, c…

Two Book Reviews

As a Blog Talk Radio host, I have the fun of talking to other authors about our craft. Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to read the work of two of these incredible authors, Anjuelle Floyd and T.L. Wood. Below are reviews of their marvelous books. I highly recommend both and look forward to reading more by these two ladies! ~ Dellani

The Keeper of Secrets – Review

“Keeper of Secrets...Translations of an Incident”, is a wonderfully evocative book. Anjuelle Floyd provides a beautifully crafted emotional journey for her readers.

Each story revolves around a central incident – a conflict in a restaurant – that somehow involves each character, changing their lives.

“The Keeper of Secrets” is an emotional character study. Floyd writes with a penetrating tenderness as she explores the emotions of her characters, showing their strengths and flaws. The characters withstand her probing, stepping forth renewed; stronger, more confident and spiritually centered than before.

I greatly …

Where Does the Time Go?

It's been a busy summer. Some of you may know that I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2009. I underwent chemo for 12 weeks, then after that, I had 6 weeks of radiation treatments. I found out several things when undergoing all the treatments, none of them particularly fun.

First of all, I'm allergic to one of the chemo meds. Next, I was allergic to the booster shot they gave me for my white blood cells gave me a very weird and uncomfortable reaction that the doctor had never seen before. My left leg got terribly swollen and they thought I had a blood clot. Later, my left hand did the same thing, starting with the middle finger. Lastly, my right ankle got so bad I had to use crutches to get around. Not fun! Fortunately, once I had the medicine out of my system, the swelling went away.

I didn't react very well to my hair falling out. In fact, it was quite traumatic. It's coming back in now, but I'm still not sure what color it intends to be. …

Vampire Hunter - Part 1

This short story was inspired by a silly thread on Facebook, the gist of which was "What if Hemingway wrote a vampire story?" After a short discussion, I got the idea for this story. Thanks Tim Cahoon & Bruce Sutton for the inspiration!

The bar door crashed open. Late afternoon sun streamed around the figure silhouetted there. Noises in the bar ceased. Everyone looked up, worried. No one ever came in like that unless there was trouble.

Raven wing hair whipped around the stranger's face. Dark sunglasses covered the eyes. Full, red lips slashed across the lower part of the face. The firm chin was softened slightly by a shallow cleft. A long leather duster billowed in the wind. Broad brimmed hat covered the forehead, concealing the features. What was most remarkable about the stranger was the amount of armament. Of secondary importance was that the hunter was female.

A soft wolf whistle broke the silence. She turned her face to the sound, raising her sunglass…