Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekly Quote from Among the Shine Clan - Part 4

This is part of a continuing short story I wrote a couple of years ago. The companion story, "Fiddlestix" was given an Honorary Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest. "Among the Shine Clan", though written later, is first chronologically. This story is not appropriate for readers under 14.

Fiddlestix' men looked terrified. They saw an enormous, angry man looming across a narrow, flimsy table in a room deep underground with no sure way out. What was Gunny doing? Why was she baiting him like that? Shouldn't she be negotiating? Playing nice? Maybe doing whatever a woman did to a man to make him more compliant? So far, she'd done everything except shoot him. If it was possible to verbally castrate a man, she was working on it.

Kaz, who was a short, wiry built man, swallowed with difficulty, his hands shaking. Harmony, who wasn't used to feeling small, was. They didn't dare speak. Neither man wanted to draw attention to himself.

"Suppose you share one of your theories with us," an older man with graying hair leaned over, striking a pose much like Jasper's.

Fiddlestix' eyes flickered over to him. She liked what she saw. He was slightly shorter than Jasper, lean built, but just as strong. His green eyes glimmered with humor, his lips twitched with suppressed humor.

"Yes, sir," she sat smoothly, crossing her legs elegantly. Despite her combat gear, she comported herself like a lady.

"No need to 'sir' me, Gunnery Sargent. We're the same rank. Frank Lord." He nodded at Jasper and Deacon. "Their uncle. I was by their father's side when some of those wild men cut him down."

She saw now that he carried himself carefully, as if nursing a wound. There was a tightness around his lips that spoke of great pain. He'd been wounded, rather severely, but he'd never in a million years show weakness in front of her.

"Yes, Sargent. I'd be happy to. Provided General Scott doesn't object."

Frank Lord glanced at his nephew. "He don't mind. He's just a dumb hillbilly who can't control his temper." He nodded sharply at Deacon to sit.

Fiddlestix suppressed a smile as Deacon sat without argument.

"If General McLain is who we think," she continued. "Then none of this should surprise us. In fact, it fills in a lot of gaps in his narrative. I think it's a good possibility that he sent them here to attack you. If they can get a toehold, they can wipe the whole lot of you out. There's very little defense against these guys."

"Why would he want to do that, Gunny?" Lord asked quietly.

"Like I said, he's a snake and a dumb son-of-a-bitch. He carries a grudge and he's now in a position to do something about it. Even if they don't take you all out, you're weakened and vulnerable. Then he sends me in with my people, without asking, and that would, in my opinion, constitute a warlike act. I don't take kindly to well armed interlopers on my turf. I don't suppose you do either."

Jasper's eyes twinkled, but he didn't speak. Frank Lord smiled gently, his eyes softening.

"No, I don't suppose we do."

"I didn't ask to be sent here, General Scott," she directed at Deacon. "But if I'd had my way, I'd have asked before I barged in. I would have brought no more than twenty people with me and we would have taken care of this nice and quiet."

"Why do you think McLain sent you in like this then?" Deacon couldn't keep the curiosity out of his voice.

"Slap in the face to you and a burning desire to see me cut down. He hates me. He's a dumb ass and I've told him that more than once. I used to be Captain Hannah Braun. About six months ago, he busted me to Gunnery Sargent. Only because he couldn't really take me any lower without raising a few eyebrows. There's not a man or woman on my team who hasn't had some sort of confrontation with him."

"Except Lieutenant Frieze," Harmony added quietly.

"Yeah, well, look where that sorry sack of shit's hiding out," Kaz added vehemently. "Doped up in the hospital. Coward."

Fiddlestix grinned, her eyes twinkling. "Oh, Kaz, is that any way to talk about our superior officer?" She snorted derisively.

Harmony and Kaz joined her in a short, hearty laugh at Frieze's expense.

"Superior, my ass...." Harmony chuckled.

One look at Deacon and the laughter stopped. His eyes were hard, like crystals. His face bland, dangerous.

"So, you're saying," he said quietly. "You think this whole thing was McLain's way of getting even with us and taking you and your people down? Is that it? That's your brilliant theory as to why all this transpired? My father is dead because of this! My men are dying, my people terrified. I've got a society that's falling apart around my ears and you think it's for revenge?" He leaned over the table once more, banging both fists on it forcefully.

"Deacon," Frank Lord spoke so softly, Fiddlestix barely heard him. "Sit down, son."

Deacon's glare turned to his uncle. He pointed angrily at the older man. "I'm not your son. Don't be thinking because we're kin that it gives you any kind of advantage here. I will see hell burn before I believe this is simply revenge."

He headed for the door, his men in his wake. All but Frank Lord and Jasper followed him. He hesitated at the door. Shrugging his shoulders, he tossed his long, blond hair aside. Jerking the door open, he nearly took it off its hinges. Without another word, he was gone. The silence settled in the room somewhat uncomfortably.

For Part 5:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Quote of the Week - Among the Shine Clan - part 2

(Continued from Word Press Blog

Using hand signals, she brought her people in to tight formation and sped up. She was with Kaz in less than two minutes. Looking at the screen, she saw he was telling the truth. There should be a readout of all the squad members, but the bars for the point team were blank. Not flat lined, just blank. Not even their names appeared by the bar.

"Shit! Sound off!" She growled into her headset.

For the next thirty seconds, her soldiers stated their names. She came up another three short. That made, with the point team, seven.

"What the hell?"

She was angry now. Something was happening she had no control over and didn't understand. Was it Shine Clan or the cyber unit? They weren't finding bodies, so maybe they were still alive. She didn't like it, but she didn't have to like a situation to get the job done.

"Sound off every five minutes,"she ordered.

Walking slowly, cautiously, quietly, they proceeded deeper into Shine territory. The hairs on Fiddlestix' neck were dancing with nervous energy. The feeling that she was being watched through a powerful scope increased the closer they got. She'd picked up the trail of the cyber unit shortly after the point team disappeared. They might be super soldiers, but they sucked at covering their trail. It occurred to her that they might have done it on purpose to lure them in. Her paranoia increased and she tightened security.

Five minutes later, three more of her people were gone. She called a halt. No one had seen the people disappear. It was as if they melted into the mist that surrounded them.

"It isn't possible," she muttered. "Grown people, soldiers, don't just disappear! It is not possible!"

After the next sound off, four more were gone. Stifling an angry scream, she called another halt. Anticipating that the Shine Clan had sophisticated surveillance equipment, she ordered her people to stay put.

"Set up a perimeter patrol. No one leaves for any reason. I don't care what you see or hear. Take cover and stay put. Kazinski, Harmony, you're with me. Diaz, you're in charge."

"Yes, Gunny." She responded.

"I don't give a shit what McLain says," she told Harmony and Kaz. "I'm looking for the Shine Clan leader. If I can talk to the person in charge, I'll feel better."

They kept walking and she kept talking. To the men, it seemed like she was babbling, but she was banking on the fact that the Shine Clan could hear her.

"I don't want my people hurt. We didn't come here to cause trouble. We want to get the cyber unit and go home, then everyone's happy."

Kaz and Harmony looked at her like she was crazy. They knew this, why was she telling them something they already knew?

"Gunny?" Kaz sounded worried.

"What?" She stopped babbling long enough to listen to him, but she kept moving.

"They're gone."

"What? Who?"

"The rest of them. Diaz and them. Just like the others."
"What?" She rounded on Kaz who looked at his computer screen helplessly.

"They were there a second ago, then poof! Gone!"

"Thirty people don't go poof!"

"They just did!" Kaz was worried and scared, which made him rather surly.

Feeling surly herself, Fiddlestix grabbed the computer from his hands, nearly dropping it. Aside from the three of them, there were no other life forms showing on the screen.

"Not even a squirrel! You can't tell me on this entire mountain there's no squirrels!" She stopped, lowering her gun, turning in a slow circle. "I don't know what you're playing at, but if anything happens to my people, there will be hell to pay! I promise you that! Just so we're clear, we're here to help you. Or haven't you noticed you've got a passel of crazy, cyber soldiers battering down your back door?"

"Gunny? Are you okay?" Harmony's dark face was clouded with worry.

"I know they're watching, or listening, monitoring us somehow! Come on! Show yourselves! If I wanted to cause you trouble, would I march in here like a fool? Cowards! Hiding under your mountain! Come out!"

Spinning in a low, continuous circle, she bellowed for all she was worth. Hurling insults, she castigated the landscape. Harmony and Kaz looked more and more concerned. Kaz gasped suddenly, pointing over Fiddlestix' left shoulder. She felt a tingling. Moving around so she faced the opposite direction, she kept her hands carefully away from her weapons, motioning her men to do the same. Taking a step forward, she focused on the bracken to the west, waiting.

A moment later, the bushes rustled and men poured forth. They were huge. The smallest of them was well over six feet, dwarfing Harmony, who was six foot seven. Their bodies were muscled in ways that Fiddlestix had never seen before. All of them were tall, buff and disarmingly handsome. None of them were smiling. One man stepped forward, literally toe to toe with Fiddlestix.

Over seven feet tall, he loomed over her. At six three, she was used to looking down on most of her team members. This man made her lean back, gazing at his chin. Despite her irritation and disquietude, her heart fluttered, but not from fear. He was, for lack of a more descriptive term, gorgeous. Built along the lines of a Norse god, his golden blond hair flowed down his back. A tight, narrow braid was knotted with a red strip of leather and tossed casually over his left shoulder. His crystal blue eyes bored into hers.

"I'm here," his voice was deep, husky, musical. His Southern accent was strong, flavoring his words like honey. "I can't say I much appreciate the disparaging remarks about my character, though." His lips made a firm, tight line. A steely glint flickered in the back of his eyes.

"I need to speak to your leader."

Fiddlestix folded her arms across her ample chest, blue eyes flickering around the perimeter of the clearing, taking in the opposition. She counted twenty, but figured there were at least twice that many that she couldn't see.


"I'd like to talk to him," she made it clear she wasn't moving until he granted her what she wanted.

"Look, lady, I don't know who the hell you think you are, but do you know who you're talking to?"

A slightly shorter, man detached himself from the group behind the blond god. He was even more massively built than the other man, dark and brooding. They had to be brothers, there was a strong family resemblance. Especially in that defiant jaw. His eyes were dark chestnut brown, the other man's were a clear, vivid blue with a steely edge.

"I'm Gunnery Sargent Hannah Braun of the North American Army," she began confidently. "I demand to speak...."

"Honey," the dark haired man's brown eyes danced happily. "You're speakin' to him right now. After the noise you made in our woods, do you think anyone else was gonna come? Gunnery Sargent Hannah Braun, meet General Deacon Scott of the Shine Clan."

(For part 3, see )

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weekly Quote - from "The Lone Wolf"

"The Lone Wolf" is set in the distant future when space travel is as common as a drive to the grocery store is for us. The Mining Guild has been in exisitence for 300 years and controls much of the galactic resources. Marc & Matilda serve on a small mining vessel in deep space. Aolani is the Mining Guild's home base. This excerpt is from chapter 3. Wil is an old acquaintence of Marc's. To find out more about him, read some of my earlier posts both here and on Facebook as well as my Word Press blog (link below).

The morning alarm buzzer sounded, jarring Matilda awake. Marc was already up. His propensity for early rising and his ability to function very little of sleep often rankled. At least he wasn't giving her his morning pep talk like he sometimes did. She took her sonic shower and dressed slowly. No need to rush, they were in their mazing-run. Marc initiated it right after Wil's departure.

Marc still wouldn't tell her about that conflict. At first, he simply bypassed the issue. When Matilda pressed, he blatantly refused to talk about it. This was the first time that he'd declined to discuss anything with her and it was annoying. The hostility between the two men was palpable, electric, although somewhat one sided. VanLipsig got angry with Marc only after being assaulted. In fact, the initial attack had not angered so much as saddened him.

Matilda's mind wandered as she dressed and braided her hair. There was something so very magnetic, electrifying, sensual and frightening about Wil VanLipsig. She was tremendously attracted to him, not just because he was well built and aggressively handsome. He lit a fire in her that she didn't understand and making love to Marc had not quenched.

Her comlink buzzed, breaking into her reverie. "Yes, what?"

"Romance, you okay? You were due up here five minutes ago."

"I'm fine, Marc. Just musing."

"We need to lock the load down for transfer."

"I'll be up there in a minute." Speeding up, she trotted onto the bridge moments later.

Marc looked up, smiling as she slid to a stop a foot or so away. He held out his arms to her. Smiling shyly, she gave him a good morning hug and a kiss.

"We got some news from Riley," he commented casually.

"Oh?" She was already at her console going through her morning routine, wondering what the head of the Mining Guild could possibly want from them.

He came up to her, taking her hand in his. Her dark eyes held a question.

"What's wrong?"

"There will be a change in the ship's roster once we get to Aolani."

"Are we getting new personnel?" Her face held anticipation. New people made for a little excitement.

"Sort of."

"Marc, you're worrying me."

"You're getting transferred at the end of this run, Matilda."

"What? Where? Why? I like it here!" She threw herself into his arms, loathe to leave him. She loved it here with Marc. He was comforting, secure, safe - something her early years as a miner had lacked.

"You're assigned to the Flotilla."

"That's a cryoship! I've never done cryo! Marc, I want to stay here with you."

"And I want you to stay, Romance. But you can't turn down this assignment, baby. It's too important. Not only are you transferred, they're making you captain."

"What?" She leaned against the console, stunned. In the entire 300 years of the Mining Guild, there had been three female captains. "Me a captain? I don't understand. I don't know anything about running a ship that size."

"There's more." He took her shoulders, turning her to face him, a slow smile creased his handsome face. "I've been assigned there too. I'm going with you, baby! The orders just came in!"

Whooping, he lifted her in the air, swinging her in circles until she laughingly pounded him with her fists.

"Stop!" She demanded. "Stop, you're going to make me puke! I can't believe you're going too!"
"Me either," he kissed her. "It all seems too good to be true."

In the back of his mind, he knew that it was. Someone wanted the two of them on that ship and he was determined to find out why.

Marc and Matilda packed their few belongings while the bots and miners made the hold ready for planet fall. Their mazing-run at an end, they could see Aolani beneath them. Her golden beaches and clear blue water enticed them from space. The Mining Guild headquarters were located on the mainland in the southern hemisphere.

After landing, they took a suite at the guild hostel within sight of headquarters. It was tastefully decorated in a tropical motif in pastel yellow and blue. Marc didn't care about the color scheme. It had unlimited hot water and a king size bed. He happily made use of both while Matilda unpacked. Shortly after he finished, she also bathed, lying down beside him for a nap. He wrapped himself around her and fell immediately asleep.

To read more about Wil, visit my Word Press blog

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Quote of the Week from "Bad Day"

I like the initial meeting of male & female leads in my stories. Sometimes the meetings are happy, funny, embarrassing or downright awful. The following is from "Bad Day", a work in progress. Reva Kelly is a wedding planner. One day, nothing is going right at all. Coming back from lunch, her shoe breaks, hurling her to the ground, breaking her leg. While at the hospital, her assistant & friend, Jane, waits with her in the ER cubicle. Her boss, Mr. Perrine, sends his "personal physician" (his nephew) to check on her.

There was some fumbling with the curtain and a young doctor poked his head in with a grin. "Am I in the right place? I'm looking for Reva Kelly?"

I waved, smirking sardonically. "You've found what's left of me," I grinned shyly.

He eyed me in a more than professional fashion, lingering on my broken ankle. Then his gaze drifted back up to my eyes, focusing there. "Red hair," he murmured.

"And green eyes," I countered. "And you are?"

A brown haired, sun bronzed love god, by the look of him. His eyes were a amber brown with little flecks of gold.

"Sorry, I'm Mr. Perrine's personal physician," he smirked and winked.

"You are really a doctor, aren't you?" This was from Jane. I guess she felt like I did that he looked really young.

"Of course. Doctor Hal Perrine at your service."

"You're related to Mr. Perrine?" Jane was jumping in with all the right questions before I could even formulate them.

"Yes, that's right. His great nephew. My grandfather is his older brother."

"But you are a real doctor?" Jane couldn't let that drop.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get your name?" He held out his hand to her, artificial smile on his face.

"Jane Mercer, her assistant."

"Ms. Mercer, I promise, I'm a bonafide doctor. See? It even says so on my coat." He pointed to his name tag.

"How much experience do you have?"

"Is this a job interview? I came by to be polite and see if Miss Kelly needed anything."

"And I'm very grateful," I interjected.

I don't blame him for being annoyed. I have people think I'm too young for my job too.

"Jane's concerned for my welfare, Dr. Perrine. She takes a sisterly interest in me. We've worked together nearly five years and we're very close."

I smiled sweetly at the doctor and flashed Jane a warning look. Her lips clamped shut on whatever comments she had, but her eyes spoke volumes.

Hal picked up my chart and read through it quickly, nodding and making non-committal noises as he did so. His smile was distracted as he put the file back down.

"Miss Kelly, Uncle Jake is really concerned about you. I've never seen him take such interest in one of his people before. You must be very special."

I shrugged. "No more so than anyone else, I'm sure. Though what use I'll be in a cast, I can't imagine."

"It won't slow you down that much. A little at first until you get used to it. The pain meds will make you groggy though."

"Have you had a broken leg, Doctor?" This from Jane.

"Yes. As a matter of fact, I've broken both legs at different times. Both arms within six months of each other, three ribs, my nose, one wrist and an odd assortment of toes. It's why I became an orthopedic man. After all my fractures, I had a pretty good working knowledge and thought I'd put it to use."

"Were you in car accidents or something?" Jane was amazed at the doctor's list of breaks.

"Mostly clumsy, but also I like extreme sports. I've been sky diving, wind surfing, bungee jumping, snow boarding from helicopters and I like to race dirt bikes."

"Is that how you broke your leg?" I asked, figuring dirt bikes were pretty dangerous.

He glanced away, rubbing his nose distractedly before answering. "Actually, I broke my leg once playing golf and the other time falling out of bed." He blushed, looking more than a little embarrassed. "What? It was a high bed!"

He looked so innocent, I had to laugh. Hal laughed heartily at himself as well. I liked Dr. Hal Perrine. He was handsome, funny and intelligent. Everything I look for in a man. Could I be so brazen as to ask him out? He wasn't wearing a wedding ring. What the hell, I had enough drugs in me to stop a truck.

"Hal," before I lost my nerve. "Maybe some day after I get used to the cast, we could go for a cup of coffee or bungee jumping?"

"No bungee for awhile," he tried to frown and couldn't. "But coffee sounds pretty safe. I haven't broken anything drinking coffee - yet."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Quote of the Week from Indian Summer

I've started posting a quote of the week on my Facebook page. However, since not everyone is on Facebook, I decided to start posting on my blogs as well. The following is from my historical novel, "Indian Summer" available from the publisher or from

Gabriella Deza is the daughter of the Spanish Territorial Governor. She is young, innocent and naive of the ways between men and women. Manuel, her fiance, is several years older and much more knowledgeable of the baser things in life. This conversation takes place one day when they are driving around town in Manuel's buggy.

"You've a question in your eyes, my love."

I reddened, dropping my gaze. "Am I that obvious?"

"Only to me. Now what is it? There should be no secrets between us."

I pursed my lips and thought of the best way to phrase it. "Well, you know much about me having known my father for so long, but I know so very little about you. Much of what you told me just now, it was about your aunt. Tell me of you."

He smiled pensively. "Very well, and where shall I start?" It was more a rhetorical question, but
I decided to answer him in any case.

"You could begin, with telling me your age." I said, suddenly becoming interested in my shoes. I tossed my head back, looking him squarely in the eye.

His contagious laughter filled the town, echoing off the buildings. "Ah, Bella, I thought you wanted the confessions of all my sins or something the way you're acting. My age? Well I'm older than you but not old enough to be your father."

I stamped my foot, startling the horses. "I'm being serious! You know much about me, nearly my life's story. I know you're an orphan and that you love me and - that you're well appointed."

He laughed even louder. "What a minx you are to say a thing like that! All right, you win. First, you make a guess. How old do you think I am?"

I looked at him appraisingly, considering. "Well, when I first met you, I considered you an old man. I would have said a few months ago that you were in your thirties."

His laughter subsided, a twinkle in his eye."And now?"

I thought again. "Well when you laugh it takes many years off you. But when you're serious, it adds a few years. So I shall go with an average, somewhere in the middle and say three and twenty?"

"Well, I could be, but then again, perhaps not. You've not considered everything, my sweet." He ticked the points off on his fingers, dropping the reins. The mares stopped moving as soon has he set them down. "First, I'm a trusted aide to your father. Second, I'm extremely well educated and I speak several languages fluently."

He winked at me and I tapped him with my parasol lightly on the knee.

"And third?"

He considered a moment. "There is no third. No, I think we have covered the salient points. So, do you still think me three and twenty?"

"Well, given the evidence as listed, I would have to say more like three and thirty." I nodded to emphasize as if I meant it.

His reaction was animated and hilarious. "Three and thirty? Th -" He was incapable of speech for a long time, then very red in the face, he sputtered. "Is that what you really think? What kind of old lecher do you think I am?"

I suppressed a giggle with great difficulty. "I don't think you an old lecher in the least! But if a man of three and thirty were interested in a young lady of fifteen, he would certainly be one. I was teasing, my love. I don't think you're above three and twenty as I originally said." So saying, I sat quietly, waiting for him to speak.

"Well, as I tire of this game, I will tell you."

"You only tire of it because you're coming out poorly." I smiled sweetly.

He waved it off as unimportant. "Be that as it may, and I don't deny that's my motivation in part. I also must get you home soon. Very well, I'm not three and thirty, nor am I three and twenty. Given the ability to speak several languages fluently, as well as some Indian dialects of this area, I worked first as an interpreter. Then I became a liaison. Having other necessary talents, I obtained my position with your father at the ripe old age of seventeen. So therefore, my sweet, I'm a mere child myself."

I counted up the years he had worked for my father. "You're one and twenty!?" I hugged him, regardless of the looks we drew.

His smile widened as he held me closely. "Why is that so wonderful?"

"Well it's silly, really," I giggled, blushing deep red to the roots of my hair. "But I didn't want you to be too old, for fear you would tire of me since I'm still so young."

He took my hands in his. "I assure you, Gabriella, I'd never tire of you were I three and forty."

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Old Time Religion ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 5

"This is Ms. Whitley. Her mother's a parishioner at St. Blase. I'm filling in for Father Charlie today." "Yeah, I h...