Sunday, December 26, 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 in a city where it snows from October to April. For it to be the worst snowstorm, wouldn't you expect for there to be something to compare it to? Maybe the guy meant to say, "It's the first snowstorm of the year!" That would make some kind of sense.

Or maybe, and I'm betting on this one, the guy's a moron. Soon, the phone calls, from other people like me who notice stupid stuff like that, will start up and they will have to amend what idiot boy said. I'm not calling in. I'm going back to sleep. I drive a school bus and school has been canceled by the worst (and first) snowstorm of the year.

Not that I'm complaining. Kids on a day like this, are impossible to control. You'd think they had never seen snow before. They've lived here since birth, still snow has this magical effect on them. Not a good one, just magical. It transforms even the brightest child into a complete buffoon. You can see their devious minds working, determined to figure out a way to mess up my bus, or fall under the wheels, or slide into traffic.

I was just snuggling down, going back to a blissful sleep, when the phone rang. Knowing it can't be good news on a day like this, I hesitated to answer. I can't stand a ringing phone, so I picked up, running my fingers through my shoulder length, brown hair.

"Mikey?" A shrill, nasal distinctly Brooklyn voice shouted in my ear.

"Ma?" Grumbling, I sat up. I never lie down to talk to my mother, it puts in me in a vulnerable position. "Why are you calling this early, Ma?"

"Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you...." She has a horrible voice and sings off key. Imagine Edith Bunker, only less melodic.

"Yeah, thanks, Ma."

She didn't stop. She was starting with, "How old are you?"

"Ma, please. You know how the hell old I am. You gave me life. You were there."

"Yes, at this time on October 31, 1982, I had my bouncing baby boy! Happy Birthday, Mikey."

"Thanks, Ma."

I love my mother, but this is why I moved over a thousand miles away to Cheyenne, Wyoming as soon as I had the money. I was on my way to Alaska, figuring putting the better part of two countries between us, but my car broke down in Cheyenne. I couldn't afford to fix it and couldn't afford to buy a new one at the time, so I got a job and an apartment and stayed. I've been here five years. It's not so bad if you can handle wide open spaces. I'm getting used to it – sorta. If you don't mind seven different shades of gray in the winter, with no leaves on the few trees there are, with what feels like 90 mile an hour winds and a wind chill factor of 100 below, it's okay.

The fact that I am 1,743 miles away from Kings County, New York is a decided plus. My mother hates to fly and there is no way she'll drive 27 hours just to see me. She can't stand the bus or the train either and no one in their right mind would travel with her anyway, so I'm safe. Except on my birthday and over the phone.

"So how's my little Mikey-wikey like being 27?"

"It's peachy, Ma."

"Do you have a girlfriend yet?"

"Mother, please. Do we have to start on that?"

"Your younger brother is married with three kids."

"I can't help he can't keep it in his pants, Ma. I haven't found the right girl."

"Are you sure you're not gay?" The tone was teasing, but the old bitch meant it.

Normally, such a question wouldn't offend me. Because even if I'm not married with three kids like my brother, I've gotten more tail than he'll ever get. Sweet, luscious, all kinds of sexy tail.... And I'm talking to my mother with my balls in a vice. Because even if I've gotten more than him, it's not been so much lately.

"I got to get ready for work, Ma. I got a long day with the bus. Kids got a field trip."

"I'd think you could give five minutes to your mother." She sniffled, pulling the New York Guilt Trip on me. "The woman who loves you. The woman who gave you life!" She was really pouring it on, pulling out all the stops. "Who lives so far away, she can't see her oldest son on his birthday! Her son who is almost 30!"

"Don't be adding years to my age. Twenty-seven is not almost 30!"

"Almost 30! You'll be 30 before I get a single grandchild from you. The fruit of your loins, the...."

"Ma! I get the idea." I totally hate when she starts like that. Fruit of the Loom, maybe I want to discuss with my mother. Fruit of my loins is not on the list of top 10 subjects for parental discussion.

"I called to tell you I'm coming for a visit," she said quickly and hung up.

"Ma! Ma?"

Cursing loudly, I sat there yelling at a dead phone. I called her back in a New York minute. Her tone was very smug.

"I see. Now you have time to talk to your mother."

Monday, December 13, 2010

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 perimeter fence. VanLipsig stopped, looking around him. He headed toward the spaceport, Ben in his wake. They got to a transport pad and the Colonel keyed in a sequence of numbers so quickly, Ben couldn't follow it. They teleported to a small ship.

"This is mine," VanLipsig said. "Follow." He led the way to the galley where he produced mugs of real coffee. "Sit. We need to talk."

"Yes, sir."

"You recognized me that day at the parade grounds."

"Yes, sir."

"How? You shouldn't have known me."

"I don't know, Colonel. I saw you standing there and knew I'd seen you standing like that before. Only before, you were outlined with flames and there was destruction all around."

"That pretty well describes my life, Sergeant. Be more specific."

Ben closed his eyes and moved his hands around as he spoke. "You in the middle of a room. Bombs going off outside, fires, dead people.... Lots of dead...."

"You shouldn't remember a damn bit of that," VanLipsig mumbled. "Not me, nothing."

"I wasn't hurt in a rock climbing accident. Ray wasn't injured on a mission and I'm not quite who I was before—am I?"

Colonel VanLipsig inhaled sharply, sucking in his cheeks as he thought it over. "Tell me what you remember."

"You, obviously. And a woman with dark hair. I see her sometimes when I'm with Delissa. They don't look a thing alike, but Delissa makes me feel like she does. Hot and dizzy, like I can't get enough of her. There's something special about her...."

"Forget the woman," VanLipsig said quietly. "Forget everything."

"I can't, Colonel. It keeps coming back a little like a broken pictures. I can't explain."

Wil, who knew exactly what Ben meant, nodded. He blew a smoke ring and took another puff on his cheroot.

"Kid, I'm probably the one man you know how understand completely what you mean."

"You had me wiped!" Ben rose from his seat.

VanLipsig had him by the shirt, lifting his toes off the deck before he could blink. "Sit down, son. This isn't how it's supposed to play out. The only reason I'm talking to you is that you're a loose canon running around trying to find ammo. I can't have that. I need you and your team to work with me. You may not like me much, I don't blame you if you hate my guts, but you'll do what I tell you."

"I know how to follow orders, sir," Ben said in a derisive tone. "Even if I don't agree with them or like the man giving them."

"Good. At 0800 tomorrow, you and your team will join me for target practice."

"Aye, sir. Anything else, sir?"

"You'll be briefed on the mission after I see what your men can do."

"I've got a feeling you've already seen that."

"But I want to see now."

"What's different about now?"

"You'll learn that when I decide to tell you, Marine."

"Yes, sir. May this Marine be dismissed now, sir?"

"Get out of here. Planet code is 55941."

"Thank you, Colonel."

He went back to the cargo hold and typed in the planet code into the teleporter. It cycled on and he found himself standing on the pad near the base once more. He walked back to Delissa's place and knocked, but no one answered. He realized his conversation with Colonel VanLipsig had lasted far longer than he'd realized. What else had happened up there? In his mind, he'd been there 20 minutes tops. By his watch, he'd been gone nearly two hours.

Curious and puzzled, he wandered back to the barracks and lay down on his bunk. Sleep came on him faster than usual and he didn't budge until Ray shook his shoulder.

"It's 0730, Ben. We got orders to report to the target range at 0800. Where'd you go last night?"

Ben told him. Ray nodded. That jibed with what Delissa had said.

"So, VanLipsig wants to use us rehab rejects on a mission? What's he want a bunch of mismatched, smashed up soldiers for?"

"No idea, but he was pretty adamant."

They arrived at the target range. VanLipsig wasn't there. Their team gathered around them waiting for orders. By 0910, there was still no sign of the Colonel.

"Well, First Sergeant, what do we do?" Ray asked Ben.

"He's a colonel, we wait."

"Yes, First Sergeant," Ray said with a disgruntled kick to the soil.

The grass by the tip of his boot exploded and they heard the muffled sound of a weapon fired with a suppressor. Ray jumped back then dove for cover when someone opened fire on them. Bullets came at them from every direction. They dropped to a
prone position and crawled to what meager cover there was. A couple of the men were hit, but most of them made it to the bunker unscathed. Even the wounded got there, only more slowly. The weapons fire continued until they were all inside.

Ben sniffed. Something smelled wrong. He couldn't place it, but he knew something wasn't right.

"Sergeant Drexel?"

"Yes, Parker."

"We need to get out of here, Sarge." He pointed to a flashing red light mere inches from Ben's head.

Ben recognized the smell. It was the adhesive they used to position the explosive charge.


"Sergeant, someone's shooting at us!" One of his men complained.

"And we're about to blow up! Out!"

He flung himself out the door, landing on his belly. The others followed him, scrambling away from the bunker, staying low to the ground. More shots rang out, this time of a heavy thumper, one of their most devastating weapons. Big chunks of earth flew in the air showering them with dirt and debris. Miraculously, no one was hurt. Running low, Ben urged them to get a safe distance from the bunker before it exploded. Less than a minute later, a flash of bright blue light and a puff of smoke appeared in the bunker.

"Flash bang? Really?" Ray was furious. He stood up, earth rupturing around his feet. "We get it, Colonel. Wanna see how fast us homeboys can duck! You gonna shoot me, just fucking shoot! I'm tired of this!"

Bullets whizzed around him a few more seconds, quite pointedly not hitting him, but coming close. As suddenly as they'd begun, they stopped.

A tall man appeared at the tree line across the field. Others emerged from hiding places, some in full sniper camouflage gear, others in fatigues. All of them carried weapons. Colonel VanLipsig walked over, lighting a cheroot as he walked.

"That was pitiful. Didn't any of you see us? Or hear us? Dear God, we made enough noise to alert the dead!"

Ben's team looked at one another, ashamed. They hadn't even anticipated an ambush. Why would they? From their own people?

A medic tended the wounded as VanLipsig ripped them a collective new asshole. When he was done, he ripped into Ben specifically—with a little bit of Ray on the side.

"Pitiful! If we'd tried to hit you, you'd all be dead!"

"Were you using live ammo?" One of Ben's wounded men asked.

"Obviously, Marine. It went through your leg, didn't it? Moron."

"Colonel, permission to speak freely?" Ben said.

VanLipsig nodded.

"Sir, this wasn't an accurate test of our knowledge. My men are the best there is...."

"No, Sergeant, my men are the best there is, or you'd be dead. Let me point out something—you are never off duty in a war zone, never off your guard. You pay attention to your surroundings or someone gets dead. Since my ass is dependent upon what you ladies do, I'm fairly certain I've got a right to do what's necessary to assess you."

"This is hardly standard protocol."

"Boy, ain't nothin' I do that's standard. I go where others can't. I pull off major miracles on a daily basis. In case you haven't figured it out, kid—I'm the evil twin of Jesus. Get your girls back to barracks. You're confined until I say so. All leave and privileges are revoked until further notice. That means you too, First Sergeant. So tell that hot girlfriend of yours she ain't gettin' laid for awhile and march your sorry ass on home."

He motioned to the men surrounding them. Without a word, they shouldered their weapons and headed back into the trees surrounding the field.

Monday, December 06, 2010

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 was nagging at me to be told. Science fiction was among my first loves when I Star Trek and Star Wars fan, so that added to the mix. Historical is interesting, but so much research is necessary to make it real. With sci-fi, as long as I don't entirely blow away established scientific fact, I'm good. It's anything goes! I love it.
was a child. I was fascinated by the universes of Andre Norton and Isaac Asimov. I'm a bit of a

SW: Tell us a little bit about your spin on the universe.

D: Mankind finally made it to the stars. Over time, several groups came to dominate the galaxy, expanding beyond the Milky Way. The first to establish itself was the Navigation Guild. They provided all interstellar transportation. Next came the Mining Guild. They explore the universe with the goal of ravaging dead planets for their gem and mineral deposits. The third group to dominate is, of course, the military. The Galactic Marine Corps is the main militaristic force.

SW: Give us a brief synopsis of your story.

D: Wilhelm VanLipsig, the Lone Wolf, is a genetically enhanced Galactic Marine. Semi-retired, he does black ops and also works for the Mining Guild on a contractual basis. Because of the enhancements given to him by the Corps, he looks like a man in his mid-twenties. He meets and falls for Matilda Dulac, member of the Galactic Mining Guild. Together, they trek the galaxy following on the heels of John Riley, psychotic and evil commandant of the Mining Guild, who is hell bent on revenge against Wil.

SW: You say Wil's been enhanced. What does that entail?

D: Even he doesn't know the extent of the fiddling that the doctors did. It was done on a genetic level and their manipulating has left him more than human. They were trying for a race of super soldiers, what they got were genetic freaks who don't age, barely feel pain and can kill with little remorse.

SW: Does Matilda know this about him?

D: No. When she meets Wil, she's actually dating his lifelong friend, Marc. He and Wil had a falling out many years ago. Marc thought Wil was dead. The attraction is immediate for both Wil and Matilda.

SW: How much older is Wil?

D: Matilda is 26. Wil looks 26, but he's really 86.

SW: That's a huge age difference.

D: Yes, but they don't see it that way. In fact, Matilda doesn't even know right away. Wil does, but he realizes that he's finally met the woman of his dreams. She's smart, sexy, as stubborn as he is, stands up to him and doesn't fold at the first sign of trouble. She completes him in ways he never knew he was lacking.

SW: Tell us about John Riley.

D: John Riley is cold, cruel, calculating and has a vendetta against Wil. He has very good reason to hate Wil. How he goes about getting even—well, can't say he takes the best approach.

SW: I trust it all works out?

D: Not entirely. The Lone Wolf ends on a bit of a cliffhanger.

SW: Are you trying to torment your readers?

D: Of course not! So much happens in The Lone Wolf, I realized I had to end the book and write a second one in order to fully conclude the storyline. Besides, ending on the razor's edge will, I hope, compel readers to order Book Two—Shakazhan. I've included a short teaser from the second book at the end of the first one.

SW: Dellani, I'm really looking forward to The Lone Wolf as well as the second book, Shakazhan. I want to thank you so much for talking with me today.

D: I'm delighted to. Thank you for inviting me.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

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/ Bobby 19
Henry/ Hank/ Hal 16
William/ Will/ Bill/ Billy 15
Michael/ Mick/ Micky/ Mike 15
Peter/ Pete 11
Samuel/ Sam 10
James/ Jim/ Jimmy 10
Edward/ Ed 9
Frank 9 (the name Frank Lord used twice and both are lawyers)
Toby/ Tobias 9

Top 10 Names for Women
Mary/ Marie/ Maria 13
Cynthia/ Cindy 10
Tamara/ Tammy 8
Martha 7
Angela/ Angie 7
Bonnie 6
Margaret/ Maggie 6
Amanda 6
Andi/ Andrea 6
Barbara 5

Ten Most Unexpected Repeats
Burwood 2
Cadence 2
Crux 2
Deacon 2
Honoria 2
Ianna 2
Magda 3
Orchid 2
Shelby 2
Teague 2

Thursday, November 25, 2010

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 unimportant elements?”

“I don't do that. Now, what about...?”

He's gradually learned not to ask what I'm working on because ninety percent of the time it's something I have told him about. I shuffle projects and might work on a dozen different stories in a week. I love the fact that he's interested, but I don't always want to stop what I'm doing and explain what the book is about.

However, in a weak moment, I told him about one of my novels where the psychotic ex-wife of the hero breaks into the heroine's apartment, shaves her cat and duct tapes it to the hood of his car. Yes, it's messed up, but the neighbors find the cat a short time later, call the police and take the cat to the vet. I mention in passing that the cat is at the vet's and he's fine.

Apparently, that information wasn't enough for my husband. “What happened to the cat?” He asked when I got to the end of my explanation.

“What? Which cat?”

“Amanda's cat, Muse. What happened to him?”

“He's at the vet's. I said that. He's fine.”

“But you don't mention him again.”

“So? You don't even like cats. Why are you worried about the cat?”

“I was curious.”

“Forget the cat. He's fine!”

“Whatever you say, baby.” There's a long pause, to the point where I'm busy again and have forgotten about the conversation. “You really need to clear that up.”

“Clear what up?”

“The part about the cat....”

The point I'm making is that little details, things we forget about or think are inconsequential, can bother our readers if left unresolved. My husband, who positively loathes cats, was worried about Muse to the point that it detracted from the climax of the story.

I'm not suggesting that every reader is quite so easily misdirected as my husband, but some are. Those are the people we have to satisfy by tying up the loose ends. Make sure the subplots are resolved. Give enough of an explanation that it sticks with the reader. Keep distractions to a minimum so that the thread of the story isn't lost along the way. A few moments spent on “housekeeping” will prevent the inevitable question: “What happened to the cat?”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

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," she whispered to the air, "Where are you tonight and what are you doing? Are you thinking of me as I think of you?"

She rose, walking to the window of her penthouse apartment, high on top of the Guild Tower. Tonight she'd been obligated by her position, to host a lavish, expensive party for all the somebodies in the Mining Guild and associated riffraff.

She'd been the perfect hostess, she always was, paying extravagant and insincere compliments to the hideous wife of the head of the Miner's Consortium. All the while harboring unkind thoughts that the woman looked more like a troll than a lady of wealth and substance.

All the board members had been present, of course, their trophy wives in tow. She couldn't keep track of them any more. They all looked alike: blonde from a bottle, boobs by design, pouty lips, long legs and tiny little brains. They dripped furs, jewels, gold, platinum and other choice tidbits given them by their husbands. Usually, there was a new one every other year, and they all had names like Buffy or Tippy or Missy.

She had not been alone at her party, of course. There were any number of eligible men willing to escort the most powerful woman in the Mining Guild to a posh soirée. The one tonight had been better than most, smarter, handsomer, better put together, but he wasn't Ben.

He'd made the expected advances. She'd repulsed them until she had too much champagne to drown her sorrows, then she foolishly gave in. He hadn't been a complete disappointment, but he wasn't Ben. Without that shadow to compete with, Brett might have stood a chance. He was several cuts above the average hanger on, but he had to compete with a memory, although he didn't know it. She'd hoped that Ben would be back by now, or at the very least she would hear from him. But nothing had come.

"Tomorrow," she thought hopefully, "tomorrow I will hear from Ben."

A final sip of champagne and she made her way to bed, where Brett slept, looking for all the world like a child. She wondered how old he really was, 25, 26? Did it matter? He kept the bed warm, didn't drool, and didn't snore. Slipping quietly back into bed, she curled up next to him, facing the door, crying gently.

He must have sensed her presence, perhaps even heard her crying. He rolled over, putting his arm protectively around her, cuddling up behind her, breath warm on her neck. Tears fell anew, remembering how Ben would do the same thing.

"Tomorrow," she thought as she fell asleep, "Tomorrow..."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

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 awkward in a woman's company. Probably not since he was a kid. Suddenly, it was very important to him that she say yes to what he wanted to ask.

"I was going to try to be subtle and charming." He grinned at her shyly. "But it's been so long since I tried to be either, I can't remember how." He pressed his lips together and the candlelight played along his scar. "This usually isn't a problem for me. I guess I got used to being irresistible."

Matilda reached out, tracing the line of his scar with her finger. The skin was warm and silky. He held her fingers to his lips.

"It's all right, you know," she said softly. "You don't have to be subtle with me. You were about to invite me to your room, weren't you?"

He nodded sightly, looking embarrassed.

"But you weren't sure what the answer would be."

He looked even more uncomfortable, silent. The table developed interesting dimensions. He stared at them.

"Where are you staying?"

Trying to speak, he stammered.

"We can't go to your room if you don't show me."

Wil stood awkwardly, nearly knocking the table over. He pointed to a luxurious hotel near the hostel.

"I'm—over there."

Taking his hand, she tugged pointedly so he'd follow. "Show me," she whispered throatily. Leaning toward him, the top of her breasts brushed his bare chest. "I want you to show me everything."

Gulping, Wil followed her eagerly, like a puppy until he caught up with her. Sweeping her into his arms, he carried her quickly to his room. Only after the door was locked behind him, did he kiss her for the first time.

Wil brushed his lips lightly across hers, barely touching. His tongue flickered between them, teeth nipping playfully as he explored her mouth. Holding only her cheeks between calloused hands, he caressed her throat, licking the base. He hadn't even kissed her mouth and already she was his.

Hungry for his mouth, Matilda brought his face to hers, demanding that he kiss her. Lips parted, she brought him closer, sure of what she wanted. Laughing throatily, Wil complied, giving generously, taking hungrily.

He held her gently, his full lips leaving a blazing trail upon her skin. He held her tantalizingly close, their bodies not quite touching. The heat from him set her on fire as the intensity of his kisses increased. Still he held her carefully, treating her as if she were made of spun glass. Somehow, this contrast of passion and tenderness made his touch even more erotic.

After several minutes just kissing her, he took off her bikini top. For the space of three breaths, he gazed at her breasts without touching them. Admiring the firm, fullness, he took one nipple into his mouth, suckling blissfully. Sighing happily, he moved to the other, treating each like the greatest of gifts.

Matilda moaned as his hands moved along her body, pulling her so close to him, she could feel the beating of his heart. His touch was still consciously delicate. She sensed a tension in him, his body fighting with itself for control. Marc had always held her the same way, afraid he'd crush a delicate flower.

Nearly mad with desire, Matilda decided she'd had enough standing around and kissing. She wanted action and now. Shoving his shoulders hard, she pushed him on his back. Wil sprawled on the bed as she removed his shorts and her bikini bottoms. He laughed, glad she had finally decided to take control.

"I admire a woman who knows what she wants," he chuckled as she made her desires clear. Still laughing, he complied.

Matilda had never been so aggressive in bed. Something about Wil encouraged her to assert herself. She pulled him close, demanding his all. He gave it to her freely, unconditionally, something he had never given to any other woman.

For the first time in Wil's adult life, a woman left him so breathless, he couldn't even speak her name. But that was all right, because she couldn't say his either. He kissed her softly, holding her close, stroking her hair. His fingers played along her spine, sending a thrill dancing down her back.

He wanted to speak, but couldn't find the words to express how he was feeling. After sex dialogue had never been his strong suite. Anything he said at this point would be trite, or worse yet, silly. Instead, he kissed and fondled her, expressing himself more eloquently than words.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

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 it on before he got dressed. He liked being a detective. As long as he was clean cut and neat, he had some leeway on what he wore. He'd chosen a loose fitting linen shirt in pale yellow and a pair of light beige chinos. A hemp necklace and a sunglasses, he looked like he'd walked in off the streets of Miami.

A steaming mug of coffee and a huge plate of food landed in front of him as he was sitting down.

“Timed it just right. I hope you're hungry.”

“Always. And I could eat.” He cursed himself silently for the none too subtle slip up. It was something he and his buddies said all the time. Standard, smart ass comeback number one. “Sorry.”

“What for? Being honest? Male cousins, remember?”

“Gotcha. You said your dad was a cop and some of your cousins? Any of them with DBPD?”

“Yes. Dad's retired. He worked in Orlando. My family's spread all over. You know Jake McMurtry and Sara McTeague?”

“Yeah. Good officers, both of them. There are some McMurtrys in Edgewater too. You kin to them?”

“Oh, God, am I ever. I'm related to most of Volusia County. I practically have to go out of state to find a boyfriend.”

“That'd seriously suck. I'm from Georgia.” He realized that might sound like a come
on and mentally kicked himself. “We moved here when I was sixteen.”

“Did you go to school at Atlantic?”

“We lived in Deltona. Mom moved when I got the job here. Her husband passed and she wanted to be near me.”

“Sorry about your stepdad.”

“Don't be. He was a prick. If he hadn't died when he did, I'd be in prison by now cause I'd of killed him.”

“That bad?”

He nodded. “Better left unsaid.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“My family is so dysfunctional., it has its very own zip code.”

“My family's pretty normal—well, if you define normal as being huge, crazy and redneck.”

He laughed, nodding. “Compared to mine, that sounds pretty normal. My mom and sisters have managed to find the biggest sacks of man shit ever to drag their knuckles on the pavement. I've got a full time job running the bastards off.”

“I should introduce them to my cousins. They're good men, all of them. Not just saying that because we're kin. If we weren't related, I'd date them.”

“How's your track record with men?”

“Aside from the lasagna loser? Not bad. I've had my share of jerks, but mostly I've done well. Best ones get away, you know how that is.”

“Unfortunately. Maybe just not best for you.”

“They end up marrying my friends a lot, so I guess not. My one cousin, that happened to him forever. Every girl he dated ended up married to his friends.”

“I'd have to kill somebody....”

“Yeah, ditto. You'll love this one. One woman said she aborted his baby, but she didn't. She married another man and let him think the kid was his. Doesn't look a damn thing like him, okay? But....”

He got very quiet.

“I'm sorry. I said something that hit a nerve.”

He shrugged. “Not like you could know.” He swallowed his coffee, saying nothing for as long as he could. He had to explain.

“Something like that happened to you?”

“Yeah. Only the bastard knows the kid's not his. He knows and yet my daughter calls him daddy. I've never even seen her.” He swallowed more coffee, hoping his throat wouldn't close up on him.

“That's terrible Scott.”

He shrugged. “Maybe I'm no better at choosing women than my sisters are at choosing men.”

“What it shows us is that there are a lot of shitty people out there.”

He laughed quietly. “Unfortunately. And I deal with them on a daily basis.”

“At least you're getting them off the street.”

“What? Hell, no. I mean the dirtbags I work with.”

That got her laughing and what could have been a very tense moment eased into something more comfortable.

“So, what will they do with me?” She asked suddenly.

“As far as protection? No idea. Sometimes they take you to a hotel somewhere. Other times, patrol the neighborhood. Different levels of protection.”

She nodded, sniffling as she cleared her plate. “I want to thank you again, Scott. I know you didn't have to do what you did.”

“Can't have my star witness scared and alone, can I?” He stood, bringing his things to the sink.

Cadence turned quickly, finding him directly behind her. She hadn't heard him walk up. She was in tears again. Scott put his plate on the counter and took her in his arms. She pressed her face to his shirt, crying softly. He held her close, stroking her hair and murmuring comfortingly in her ear. Not quite sure how it happened, he found himself kissing her. Mouth closed, at first, nothing special about it. Just your average kiss.

She opened her lips, her tongue diving into his surprised mouth. That was all the encouragement he needed. They stood there for several minutes, consuming one another. She clung to him desperately as he possessed her. His phone ringing broke the moment. Cursing, he looked at it. Nessa. He flipped it open, trying not to sound as pissed off and horny as he was.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

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 was a good story, but far different from what I envisioned at the beginning of the month.

Last year's novel, "The Ninja Tattoo" is one I'm the most proud of. I got the idea from it from an odd incident that happened to me on the way home from a friend's house one October morning. It struck me as so odd, I decided to put the incident in my novel and the story grew from there.

This year, I plan to write a mystery/ romance combination called "Undiscovered". The basic premise is that a young woman who is showing a condo to a couple witnesses a man running from the scene of the crime. She becomes a target of violence after the police speak to her about the incident.

Below is an excerpt from my 2009 NaNo Novel, "The Ninja Tattoo". This is the opening scene from the novel.

Early morning sun set the sky on fire, glistening off the water, momentarily blinding him. He flipped down the visor then dug his sunglasses out of the glove compartment, sliding them up his nose with one hand. He'd chosen the scenic route to work just so he could enjoy the sunrise. The river looked like molten silver shot with gold strands. The sky was a cheerful blend of rose, lavender, azure, peach and plum. The sun peeping over the horizon was tinged with red, indicating the start of another scorcher. Hot weather was not unusual in Florida, but wasn't the norm for early October.

Teague McMurtry waved to the few pedestrians out at this hour. He knew some of them slightly, since many of them were his neighbors. Working the odd hours he did, he rarely saw anyone. However, since moving a month ago to his small house on Riverside Drive, his neighbors had made a point of coming over to introduce themselves. It was by far the friendliest neighborhood he had ever lived in.

The road was empty as he drove south toward his job site in Oak Hill. He had an estimate to do down there and had to be in New Smyrna by 10:00, leaving him a couple hours in between. By the time he got to the police station in Edgewater, only a few blocks from his home, he had joined a convoy of sorts. In the lead was a bronze Ford F150. Directly in front of Teague was a guy on a motorcycle. Behind him was another motorcycle, a red Jeep and, he thought, a third bike behind the Jeep. It seemed odd since the road had been so empty before. He couldn't quite remember noticing when he came upon these others, but figured they all had the same idea, keeping out of slow school zone traffic on US-1.

The pickup was going the speed limit, which was a little frustrating. In fact, the driver went 25, then 20, 30 and 15. Teague wanted to lay on his horn, but didn't want to startle the biker, so he kept his frustration to himself. The biker didn't look any happier with the truck than he was. From time to time, he glanced behind him, trying to see around Teague's white Dodge Ram. Apparently, the motorcycles were traveling together and somehow Teague had gotten in between them.

At the turnoff for 442, the guy ahead of Teague gestured with his left arm, motioning as if he were turning. Teague slowed, anticipating the right turn, but the biker sped up, his black and white Ninja, following the truck as it continued past the intersection. Instead, the red Jeep, followed by another biker, turned right and headed up 442. This left the Ford truck, Teague and two bikers. It seemed strange to him and he began to wonder what was going on. His overactive imagination clicked into high gear and he started imagining scenarios.

Maybe the guy in the truck is with them and he's giving directions to the guy on the white Ninja? He thought that over, wondering how they were communicating. The guy ahead of him was probably about his age with short, sandy brown hair. He had on a T-shirt, baggies, skater shoes and sunglasses. He wasn't wearing a helmet and he didn't have a cellphone out. So that was probably not the case. The biker behind Teague was also on a Ninja, this one bright blue, He wore a white helmet with a dark visor. He was wearing clothing similar to the man ahead of him. What characterized them both was the fact they were heavily tattooed. What Teague had first taken as a tan or sunburn, on closer inspection, revealed itself to be elaborate tattoos on neck, arms and legs.

The road turned right, coming to an end at US-1. Stopping for the light, the man ahead of Teague leaned back on his bike, glancing at the man behind Teague, he pointed left. The other fellow nodded, giving the lead biker a thumbs up. The light changed and the white Ninja followed the truck while the blue one followed Teague. Feeling a bit paranoid, he moved over to the right lane, anticipating that the biker would go around him. It didn't even occur to him that the other man would stay behind him, but he did. He didn't ride Teague's bumper, rather stayed at least two car lengths back, shadowing him. If Teague changed lanes, so did the biker.

The hairs on his neck stood at attention. Something was decidedly weird. This man's behavior negated everything Teague had ever seen bikers do. They generally crowded until they could pass, then buzzed around the other vehicles way too fast, disappearing suddenly as they sped up. Approaching the subdivision near Oak Hill, Teague signaled his turn. The biker looked ready to follow, but continued down the highway. As Teague checked in at the security gate, the biker slowed, making a U turn at the next intersection, then he continued back up US-1. Once he was cleared, Teague drove to the house whose yard he was landscaping. He tried to put the bikers out of his mind, but their odd behavior was so out of the ordinary, he couldn't.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

...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.”

“And you said that about that policeman.”

I sighed. She had a point. I'd said that about Tom too. Let's face it, my experience with men isn't all that great. My record relationship so far is this one with RJ. We've been dating four months and are getting married in six weeks. At least that's the plan, provided something doesn't come along to screw it up.

“My point is,” she continued. “Sammie Jean, you ain't got the best track record of any girl. You fall in love too easy. You get your heart all trampled on and then regret like crazy you ever hooked up with that lunatic man in the first place. You sure this ain't another time like the last...twelve?”

“Not twelve, Auntie. Just two.”

“Seems like a lot more than two. Didn't you almost marry that florist fella?”

I'd forgotten about Dean the florist. Good grief, I'd forgotten half a dozen men I'd dated too. She had a point, damn close to twelve. I hadn't been engaged to them all, but RJ was the third. Or was it the fourth? But the only one who'd got so far as setting a date and buying the material for a dress. Mama was sewing that, Auntie M. was making the veil. My Aunt Tessa was making the bouquets and Aunt Mamie the cake. My mama's got a bunch of sisters and they're all good at different things.

“This time, for sure! I'm really positive about RJ.”

Her eyes looked sad and I knew she was thinking of some other guy I'd said that about. She thought I was gonna back out again—like I'd always done before.

“Can't help thinkin' a man who'll propose and get married real fast—he ain't reliable, Sammie Jean. I feel like I'm wasting precious time making something for a wedding that ain't ever gonna be.”

“You're not wasting your time, Auntie. This time, for sure! I love RJ so much! He's real special. And I know I've said that a million times before, but this time for sure! Wait until you meet him. He's coming by at seven for dinner.”

“I guess we're all expected?”

I nodded, taking the wreath of flowers off my head.

“Well, I reckon I can give a few minutes.”

We spent the rest of the afternoon working on wedding plans and cooking dinner. RJ was right on time. My aunts were all in the living room waiting for him to arrive. He knocked on the door and you'd think someone lit a fire under those women. They lined up in birth order to meet him: Martha, Tessa, Mamie and my mother, Reanne. I felt like making a drum roll when I opened up that door.

RJ walked in, gave me a kiss and turned to see that room full of females. He's real good looking, dark brown hair and big green eyes. He wears a real diamond stud in his left ear. That surprised my mama some, but she didn't complain. I introduced him to my aunts.

“Wait a second,” Martha said loudly. “You're that doctor, aren't ya?”

“Yes, ma'am. Sure am! I work at the Emergency room.”

“You sewed up my boy when he cut his foot,” Aunt Tessa said with a grin.

“And you took the splinter outta my neighbor's eye,” Aunt Mamie said.

“This is who you're gonna marry?” Aunt Martha asked.

“Yup, Auntie. This is RJ.”

“Well, baby darlin'. You forget everything your auntie said and just go on and be happy.”

RJ wasn't quite sure what to think, but he took it all in stride. He charmed those aunts of mine and had them about eating outta his hand before dinner was done.

After he went home, Aunt Martha took me aside and gave me a hug. “Baby girl, you did good.”

“Thanks, Auntie.”

“I take back all the bad I said. You're gonna do just fine.”

“Thanks, Auntie.”

“One thing though, you gonna let him wear that earring?”

“Yes, ma'am.”

“Well then, he better get you a ring at least twice that big, or it's gonna be competition,” she declared as she walked out the door.

I sat down on the couch and couldn't stop laughing. Finally, I'd found a man that everyone loved just as much as me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

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 mosquitoes carried, why would anyone want such an untamed place?

D: I asked that very question too. What I found during my research was that St. Augustine was a strategic military position. The Spanish were shipping their treasures from Mexico and Central America. They used the trade routes along the Florida coast. Those waters were full of pirates as well as British warships. Imagine what the British could have done to the Spanish trade routes if they controlled those waters instead?

SW: An interesting historical twist.

D: Yes, I think I just gave myself an idea for a new novel.

SW: Now that we've established a bit of the history, tell us about the story itself. Was there really a Gabriella Deza daughter of the Spanish governor?

D: No, there wasn't. I tried very hard not to pattern her after a real person and did hours of research to find a name not common to the area. If Gabriella resembles any historical person, it's purely coincidental.

SW: Give us a brief synopsis of your story.

D: The story opens in the spring of 1739 and Gabriella is almost fifteen. After an accident injures both Manuel, her father's confidential aid, and Governor Deza, Gabriella is staying at the hospital to help care for them. She overhears a conversation between two British spies. They are talking about an attack on St. Augustine.

SW: What does she do?

D: She runs to tell her father, but he's unconscious. Instead, she goes to Manuel. However, after a brief and very embarrassing conversation with him, it slips her mind.

SW: How could talking to Manuel make her forget something that important?

D: He is nearly naked, very handsome, well built and charming. Keep in mind, she's only fourteen and he is an older man. She's so flattered that he has shown interest in her, she simply forgets.

SW: How much older is he?

D: Manuel is twenty-one.

SW: Isn't that a little old for her? She's just a child.

D: Perhaps by today's standards, but back then girls married young and their husbands were often even older than Manuel. It wasn't unusual for a girl her age to marry a man in his thirties.

SW: Does she ever remember the conversation she overheard?

D: No, but when she is sick with a fever, she reveals everything to Manuel and her father. Armed with this information, they set a trap for the spy, but by mischance, Gabriella is caught in it. She is kidnapped by the spy, escapes and is rescued by a band of friendly Indians. Now Manuel must find her and get her back. Then he has to bring the spy to justice so they can be married.

SW: I trust it all works out?

D: You'll have to read "Indian Summer" to find out. But I will say I do like happy endings.

SW: Dellani, thank you so much for talking with me today.

D: I'm delighted to. Thank you for inviting me.

Dellani Oakes' book, "Indian Summer" is available at It is also available at

Sunday, October 10, 2010

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. Essentially, I'm shy in social situations. Professionally, I'm very confident. When I get in a group with people I don't know very well, I'm just as likely to end up by myself in a corner someplace.

Dellani: Is one sense more highly developed than another?

Matilda: My hearing. I'm not sure why, but I can hear higher frequencies than most other people. My father says it would come in handy for mining Trimagnite, but no daughter of his is going to get into that life. I also seem to have perfect pitch. Not that I can sing a perfect 'C' or anything, but I can tell when an instrument isn't properly tuned or someone is singing off key. Which is ironic, because Wil is tone deaf.

Dellani: Do you usually notice problems around you?

Matilda: It depends on what the problems are, I think. I have to admit, I'm not always the most observant person around. I do notice big things, but little squabbles, inconsistencies, probably not. If I see a problem, I deal with it.

Dellani: Would you say you're an optimist or a pessimist?

Matilda: I'm decidedly an optimist. However, you can't live around Wil without developing some cynicism. He can be a serious pessimist, though he'll deny it. I have to keep it light or he'll bring me down.

Dellani: Are you more interested in the past, the future or living in the now?

Matilda: All three are connected, don't you think? I wouldn't be the person I am without my past. I can't look toward the future without living through the now. We shape our future by who we were and who we are now.

Dellani: How do you decide if you can trust someone?

Matilda: I go on instinct and feelings. Wil tells me that's the worst thing to do, but it's worked for me so far. I may not be as paranoid and discerning as he is, but I'm pretty damn accurate. Of course, I've trusted some people that he thought I was flat crazy at the time. When it turns out I was right, he's such a baby! I believe I'm accurate because I've got strong, but untrained, telepathic abilities. I can read people without realizing I'm doing it.

Dellani: Are you a deliberate, careful speaker or do you talk without thinking first?

Matilda: I tend to blurt things out without thinking. I'm working on that.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

"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!!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

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 many years ago that was. I got a great deal typed out, but of course technology's changed enough that all the files I had saved can't be read on my new system. I'm having to type it out again, editing and updating as I go. It's a long haul!

My first novel, "Indian Summer" is set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739. This novel, too, took me several years to complete. Most of the problem was that I had chosen the wrong way to tell the story. Originally, I started telling it like diary entries, but that simply didn't work. Frustrated, I put it away and didn't look at it for years. Hidden in a drawer by my bed, the notebook gathered dust and the words were locked away--scribbles on a page.

Years later, I went through the drawer and rediscovered the pages. I read through it and decided the story still needed to be told, but most of what I'd written was useless. Salvaging the best parts, I started over. The story took a much different direction from what I intended, but the voice of the main character, Gabriella, was finally free to tell her story. And what a story it is! Part mystery, part adventure, and a dash of romance, "Indian Summer" captures the essence of the times.

Finding the right voice is important for an author. Ignoring the way the story wants to go is a sure fire way to keep it from ever being told. Listen to the inner voice, that one that nags at you when you're trying to sleep. Every writer hears it. It's that irritating compulsion to create that cannot and will not be denied forever. In order to hear it clearly, find a quiet spot, close your eyes and listen. When the words start to flow, you know you've found the inner voice.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

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 have everything packed up,” Bern grumbled.

“Part of moving is packing. Where did you grow up? That's what movers do.”

“When I have a job as a mover, I'll shore nuf tell ya, ma'am. Peers Massah didn't think to tell us yooz spectin us to pack up dis she-it.” He put on his lowest class Southern accent, touching his brow deferentially.

Paige frowned, forehead wrinkling. The frown turned to a pout and she stormed off, slamming the door to her bedroom.. She didn't even have the decency to be dressed!

Furious, Bern started packing up kitchen equipment. Throwing it in boxes was probably not the best approach, but he was angry and needed to take it out on something. Clay relieved him, suggesting that he move furniture instead.

“Can't break a couch,” he said to Bern.

However, it seemed you could at least damage one if you got pissed off enough, which Bern figured out when he nearly dropped it off the second floor stairway. He and three others were carrying the brown leather monster down the stairs when the hidden bed, that she hadn't told them about, fell partway out. It clipped Bern's knee and grazed his knuckles. Bruised and bleeding, he threatened to tip it over the edge. The others rescued it, driving him back inside.

“Pack her clothing,” Clay admonished. “If you actually manage to break her clothes, I'll buy you a fucking cookie.”

“Get bent,” Bern growled as he followed Paige into her room.

“Empty the dresser into the bags,” she said, indicating some pink, scented trash bags.

He picked up a bag, flicked it open and yanked out a drawer. It was full of her underwear. The sachet in the drawer smelled like her perfume, sexy, musky and dangerous. Trying to breathe through his mouth, he dumped it in the bag. Most of it missed and he spent the next couple of minutes picking up her panties, black, sheer and lacy, and her bras—the same.

“At least I can say I've been in her panties,” he mumbled, chuckling nastily as he finished filling the bag.

He completed the dresser project and moved to the closet. Paige was busy taking down dresses and skirts, all short, snug and sexy. She was also dropping shoes into a box. It seemed that she didn't own anything that wasn't designed to get his imagination rolling. She was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, her hair in a sloppy ponytail, no makeup and she was still the sexiest woman he'd seen up close and personal. She had the perfect body, flat belly, slender hips and full, round breasts. She wasn't wearing a bra, something he determined almost immediately. They jiggled and wiggled invitingly under her loose Red Sox sweatshirt.

“You a Sox fan?” He asked, trying like hell to act casual.

She shrugged. “Not so much. My dad is a fan and buys us each a shirt every Christmas. This was last year's.” It said 'Born a Red Sox Fan'.”

Bern smirked, nodding. “Where I grew up, s'posed to be Ole Miss fans. My dad went to USM instead. Worst beatings I got in my life were the days Southern and Ole miss battled it out on the ball field.”

“Baseball?” She frowned.

He chuckled. “Southern boys don't play baseball, ma'am.”

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"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.

Instead of covering her breasts up, the crossed arms popped them up and outward. Her nipples seemed to chastise him for looking at them. He couldn't help it, he was fascinated. She was beautiful, intelligent, confident and very much her own woman. She'd put up with him when he was acting like a spoiled child, then turned around and gave him one of the best nights of his life.

She snapped her fingers in front of his face. “Excuse me! When I need you to stare at my tits, I'll tell you. I think you'll do a bang-up job. You seem to be talented in that area already.”

“Sorry,” he grinned apologetically. “They're very nice tits, Cynthia. Extraordinary, in fact.”

“One pair is tits is like another.”

“You say that because you have them. See, when you're on the receiving end of tits, not sporting a pair, you notice the differences. Some are perky and pert, round and firm—the compact model. Others are saggy and well worn, the sedan model. Then there are those that are extra round, excessively pert, ultra soft, and firmly delicious—the sporty model. And those are what you have.”

“I've got sporty tits?” She didn't know whether to be flattered or horrified.

“Oh, yeah.”

“Thank you. I think? Is that a compliment?”

“It sure is from my perspective.”

“Which is what?”

“The perspective of a man who's strongly attracted to you.”

“Why do you date married women?”

“Why would you ask me a question like that? I just told you I'm attracted to you.”


“Why what? Why am I attracted or why do I date married women?”


He sighed heavily, rolling his eyes. “They don't expect a commitment. They don't want anything but the sex and to feel desirable for a little while.”

“And me? You told me Thursday, you'd do anything with the right equipment.”

“An exaggeration. Once in awhile, I indulge in some naughty, meaningless sex with a willing female—married or not. It's not every night, not even every week. We have a mutually satisfying encounter. Is that a crime?”

“But why me? I mean, you've done super models and trophy wives. I'm not like any of those women. For one thing, my parts are all original.”

“I don't know, Cynthia. There's something about you....”

“What? What is there about me?”

Frustrated, he leaned back on the chaise, arms crossed. “I don't know. You excite me like no other woman I've met. I don't understand it. There's just something about you....”

He was angry that he couldn't put his feelings into words. That had never happened to him before. He could always say what he thought.

“What is there about me? What? I need to know, Yarrow, before this can go any further.”

“You look past the chair and you see me—me! You don't pretend to like me because I'm rich. You argue with me and make me angrier than anyone else I've ever met, then you show me that somewhere under this worthless set of legs, there's still a whole man.”

Frustrated beyond words, he levered himself upward and got into his chair. It took him a lot longer than he liked. It was hard making a strategic retreat when he had to move his legs with his hands, but he did it with all the dignity he could muster. He was headed toward the door when her voice stopped him.

“At least now you're being honest with yourself.”

He bridled at her remark. “You think I'm dishonest?”

She walked over to him, gazing into his remarkably expressive eyes. “I think you lie to yourself about a lot of things. It's easier to lie than see the truth.”

“What do I lie about?” His tone and demeanor were defiant.

“About not wanting commitment. About the fact that sex is meaningless to you. But when you talk about how irritated I make you, you're honest. And you're honest about your attraction. When you finally put the thoughts into words, you were honest about that too.”

“So, what's your opinion of all this honesty?”

“I haven't decided yet,” she said with a secretive smile. “I'll be sure to tell you when I do.”

She strutted out, swinging perfect hips and a heart shaped ass at eye level. Sometimes being short paid off. Admiring the view, he watched her until she reached the stairs. He couldn't follow her up, but he could stare at her as she climbed the stairs. Was it his imagination, or was she purposely adding an extra swing to those fabulous hips? He laughed softly, his lopsided grin pulling at his lips as his eyes devoured her, his imagination running wild.

Dear God, she's amazing! Maybe soon I can do more than just....

“If you like my ass so much,” Cynthia called down the stairs. “Maybe you need to ask yourself what you can do to earn it. Goodnight.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"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 isn't out of jail and stalking me.”

Jerry nodded. “When he's a little more ex, we'll make plans.” He nodded toward the bedrooms. “You'll be in my room and I'm gonna stay on the couch.”

“I can sleep on the couch....”

“Look, if he does happen to come by—maybe he'll figure out you're down here. If he got past the guys, then I'm in the living room. Love to see that drunken son-of-a-bitch get past me.”

He flexed and Ellen saw he had a very impressive physique under that baggy clothing. She had the sudden urge to see him without his shirt, figuring that the view would be pretty damn tasty. He laughed and Ellen realized she'd been staring at him. Not just him, at the button on his jeans and lower. Was there more of him than there had been a few moments ago? There was. She allowed herself a secretive smile as she enjoyed a moment of ultimate power. His interest was indeed genuine and that pleased her.

“Oh, babe, don't look at me like that. Please? Makes me wanna forget I'm a gentleman.”

“Sorry, it's been a long day. I'm pretty tired.” And you're the best looking thing to walk this floor.

“Yeah, that's it.” He moved toward her, taking her hand to his lips. “Why's it so hard for you to admit you find me attractive?”

“I'm old enough to be your mom!”

“Even if that were true, that doesn't answer my question.” He kissed her fingers, then turned her hand over and kissed her palm.

Ellen gasped as a thrill ran down her spine. Jerry smiled, nibbling at the base of her thumb. She shivered uncontrollably, liking the sensations that coursed through her.

“I'm a married—woman!” She gasped breathlessly.

“That's still not an answer.” He continued to kiss and nibble.

“Oh, dammit, do you know what that does to me?” She whispered. “Do you know?”

“Oh, yes....” His voice dropped into a low, seductive range that made her shiver.


“Do you really want me to?” He continued, amping it up a little by sucking on her fingers, his tongue tickling the tips.

“Oh, God!” A little moan escaped her.

He smiled and laughed, nipping the tip of her thumb before giving her back her hand. Ellen didn't know what to think or do. She was ridiculously attracted to a man almost half her age. Not only was he younger, but she was married. What good did it do to admit her attraction if she couldn't act on it?

But why can't you act on it? It's not like Rodney's always been faithful. You know he's had one affair after another. Why honor your vows when he hasn't honored his? She argued with herself. Because, if I don't hold to my marriage vows, how am I any better than he is?

“I cleaned up today, figuring that you might be here.”

“How could you even anticipate that?”

“Wishful thinking?” He winked and opened the door.

It was a typical young man's room. A queen sized bed dominated the space. A computer desk stood in one corner, a dresser in the other. Band posters on the walls showed that he liked a lot of the same bands she did; Metallica, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Queen and Pink Floyd were represented. A high-end speaker system graced the headboard of the bed. There was a skateboard leaning on the wall next to the closet door.

“Not fancy, but there's clean sheets on the bed. If you need a shower, there's clean towels.”

“I already bathed.” And thought of you.... “Thanks.”

“No problem. Happy to help out.”

He leaned toward her and she knew he wanted to kiss her. She knew that was what she wanted too. Their lips met and a spark jumped between them. Ellen went weak in the knees, losing her balance. She fell toward Jerry and he caught her in a very strong embrace. His arms felt good around her, his lips delicious. Ellen couldn't get enough of his kisses.

If he does this that well, what else can he do? She tried to dislodge that thought, but it wouldn't leave. All she wanted was for him to continue and carry on to the logical, intimate, sweaty, heart racing conclusion. I shouldn't be having these thoughts. He's a kid!—He feels like a man to me!

Jerry kissed her a long time, but eventually, they separated. “I need to let you get to bed.”

“Thanks, Jerry. For everything....”

“You know what I'm gonna go do now, right?”

She frowned, not sure what he meant.

“Gonna go take a long, hot shower, lather it up—and think about you til I cum,” he whispered huskily.

He licked her ear from lobe to top. Straightening suddenly, he moved down the hall to the bathroom, and Ellen knew he was telling her the truth. Part of her was flattered. Part of her didn't know what to think.

Ellen got into bed and turned off the lamp by the bed. She stared at the ceiling and grinned. Someone had taken glow in the dark paint and created constellations all over it. Closing her eyes, she could still imagine the stars watching over her as she slept.

Friday, August 27, 2010

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, character lists, timelines, etc. From time to time, I finish a story and have myself a little celebration when I move the pages to the “Finished” notebook. Then I sit and twiddle my thumbs waiting for the next project to engage my attention. I go back to the old stories, but there's only so many times I can read through them without getting bored.

Maybe I took a wrong turn and didn't listen to my characters hard enough. Or maybe I'm just lazy and give up with the going gets difficult? Honestly, I don't know. I do try to finish, really I do! I don't start a story with the intention of leaving it and the characters hanging. I find it very frustrating that I can't complete all the projects I have pending. They're good stories, worth telling, but I gave up on them—or maybe they gave up on me?

In the meantime, I'm going to have to get my butt in gear and finish something. I just did a count and I've got 41 unfinished. On the finished side—42 (47 if I include my short stories, so I think I will). Of course, I probably didn't include my unfinished shorts.... But hey, who's counting?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

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 enjoyed “The Keeper of Secrets” and highly recommend it. I look forward to reading Floyd's next book, “Home”.

Eldohr Adventures – Search for the Lost Kingdom

“Eldohr Adventures – Search for the Lost Kingdom” by T.L. Wood is a wonderfully crafted, stirring adventure for young readers.

Eldohr is a land of myth and magic where kings and queens reign and dragons soar, terrorizing the countryside. Because of these dragons, Princess Zara of Castlegrove and Prince Elrick of Greengate, lose their parents.

The magic of the dreaded dragon, Alibastizor, is formidable. He captures Princess Zara and it is up to the selfish Prince Elrick to save her.
With the help of magical creatures, and his own sharp wits, Prince Elrick finds Princess Zara and saves her from Alibastazor's clutches.

“Search for the Lost Kingdom” is a thrilling read for children and adults. The pictures Wood paints with her words are vibrant and colorful. The story brings the reader into the world of Eldohr where anything is possible.

I greatly enjoyed “Eldohr Adventures – Search for the Lost Kingdom” and look forward to the next book in the series, “Quest for Windsoar.”

Monday, August 16, 2010

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. It looks like my regular brown on the bottom but the ends are blonde. It also seems to want to grow to a point at the top of my head. No matter how I comb it, it goes into this cupie doll swoosh. I told my kids I'm rockin' a faux hawk!

Radiation went pretty well, all things considered. It could have been a lot worse. The most annoying part was that the machine at the closest hospital broke down and couldn't be repaired. The next nearest machine is in Daytona, about 45 minutes away. Because of the way my treatments were scheduled, every day, Monday through Friday, I had to make that drive.

I think the hardest part of the radiation treatments was the fact that my family didn't really think them any big deal. I didn't have help with meals, house cleaning or any of the other little things that keep the family going. So I was making that 90 minute drive as well as running errands, dealing with kids and cooking dinner. It could have been worse, but it was bad enough.

I'm grateful that I got through my therapy so easily. After speaking to others, I know it could have been far worse. I'm glad it's behind me, thrilled I had such a fantastic surgeon, skilled oncologists and wonderful, caring nursing and professional staff. I have to say that through all of this, they were absolutely fantastic!

Most of you don't know who these people are, but I do, and I want to say a personal thank you to the following people:

Dr. Kimberly Clayton - the most incredible surgeon ever
Dr. Chew - medical oncologist
Dr. Factor - radiation oncologist
Bernie, Debbie, Jill - fantastic radiation techs
Becky - Dr. Factor's nurse
Adele, Paula and all the nurses and staff of Bert Fish Oncology Department

Thank you all. You made what could have been horrible far easier.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

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 sunglasses. The men in the room took in more details as she scanned the room. Her eyes were a dark green, the lashes long and thick. She was a tall woman, close to six feet. Her shoulders were broad, her waist narrow. Her jeans fit like a glove, her denim shirt gaping slightly over full breasts. Dusty boots showed the wear of years.

She clumped into the room, the door swinging shut behind her. Approaching the bar, she leaned on it. “Barkeep, water on the rocks.”

“Yes, ma'am. Coming right up, little lady.”

Her eyes followed him as he filled the glass with ice and water. He set it in front of her with a flourish. She thanked him with a nod, paying him for the water. She pocketed the change without a sound.

“What brings you here, stranger?” The barkeep asked.

“I'm looking for a man,” she began.

A chuckle scurried around the room like rats.

“Got a whole room full, sweet cheeks,” the whistler said behind and to her left. “Take yer pick.”

She ignored him. Instead, she sipped her water, elbows on the bar, one foot on the stool next to her.

“A particular man,” she added quietly. “Maybe you know him. Taller than me, dark hair, blue eyes. His skin holds a pallor the sun won't brown....”

The men in the room exchanged a furtive look. None of them spoke. One of them got up, walking quickly and purposefully toward the door. A knife thumped into the wood next to his hand. The fellow froze, fingers half an inch from the quivering steel. The woman reached around him one hand held the door shut as she leaned on it, the other took the knife out. She examined the knife, green eyes following the line of the blade from hilt to tip.

The man smelled of fear and urine. A puddle formed at his feet. She scooted her boot away, spreading her legs. No one else moved.

“Want to tell me about your buddy?” She said, her voice husky and low. Any other time, he'd have found her irresistible. Now, he prayed she'd go away before she killed him.

“Not my buddy,” he whispered. “Just said if anyone ever come lookin' for him, I's to tell him.”

The knife blade hissed through the air, cutting the bandana around the man's neck. It fell to his feet and a thin line of blood trickled to the open collar of his shirt. The hunter squinted at his neck, full lips pouted, thinking.

“What bitcha?” She pointed to the half-healed scar.


“Pretty big snake,” she commented, twisting the blade before his eyes.

The light slithered up and down the blade making the man shiver.

“Some of them rattlers get to be ten feet or so.... One of 'em bit me t'other day.”

“Lucky you lived. That's right on the jugular.”

He swallowed, nodding rapidly. “Peers I'm immune.... To snake bite....”

“You're a lucky man. Come one, lucky man. Lemme buy you a drink.” She clapped an unyielding hand on his shoulder, leading him to the bar. “And you're gonna tell me where I can find your master, or I'm gonna cut your balls off and make 'em into a necklace with bailing wire.”

He gulped again, Adam's apple bobbing in his scrawny neck.

“Any of you other boys feel the burning need to leave,” she said to the room in general. “Think how nice your balls would look decorating my necklace. So, you boys itching for a smoke or heading to the privy, you recalculate and have a seat. I don't want trouble. Just need my man and I'll be gone.”

The men, who'd been thinking about leaving, didn't. Those working their way toward the exits, stopped.

“She can't take all of us at once,” the whistler said, standing. “Ain't nobody that fast.”

Six gun drawn, he stood with his legs wide apart, snarky grin on his face. The hunter eyed him, sizing him up. A smile crept slowly up her cheeks, her green eyes glittered.

“Anyone not wanting to die, lay low,” she said. “Anyone thinks they can take me, rock on.”

Shoving her informant to the floor, she shot the whistler in the forehead with her right hand. With her left, she winged another, the third caught it in the chest, knocking him through the front window. Number four rushed her from the left, roaring like a tornado. His brains splattered on the mirror over the bar.

Four pairs of hands flew into the air, weapons clattering to the floor. The hunter laid money on the bar, lifting her informant by his collar.

Old Time Religion ~ A Love in the City Romance by Dellani Oakes – Part 25

Obi took a moment to compare the sisters. Frankie had dark brown hair, and blue eyes. Though their coloring was different, they clearly were...