books, Cereal Authors, interviews, Karen Vaughan, Uncategorized

Interview with a bad ass

NANOWTHWCOVER

Meet Bobby Mondoza

Bobby Mendoza:
age 23
dark brown curly hair.
Brown eyes
5’10”
hundred 80 pounds with a slim physique and a defined six-pack
Greek /Latino mixed heritage

marlon-teixeria-0613-400

KV: who are you?
Bobby: what’s it to you?
KV: drop the attitude, Bob!
Bobby: it’s Bobby, never Bob. Get it right or else!
KV: okay fine, be a jerk. What do you do for a living?
Bobby: I’m a pizza chef. I work for my dippy do-gooder uncle. I hate the job but I get to flirt with the cute ladies know what I mean?
KV: do they let you?
Bobby: mostly, I mean face it, I’m hot! Who could resist this real estate?
KV: what about Halle Greenwood?
Bobby: who?
KV: the woman you almost raped!
Bobby: oh her, she had it coming. I was being nice and she totally burned me. I had to let her know who was the boss.
KV: did your mom teach you to be this way?
Bobby: you leave my mama out of this!
KV: no Bobby, this is important.
Bobby: fine, she’s weak. She met my dad beat us. She never stood up for me sure she gives me what I want why not take advantage of that.
KV: I bet she’d be ashamed if she knew you were drugging women to have sex with them.
Bobby: I don’t care!

KV: so what are your plans?
Bobby: I’m in a finish what I started with Greenwood. Then I’m going to get the guy who interfered with my little party.
KV: how do you feel about Hollywood?
Bobby: everyone is so freaking phony, they all want something!
KV; sounds a lot like you!
Bobby: don’t ever compare me to them!
KV: or what, you’ll kill me?
Bobby: now there’s an idea I can get behind!
KV: are you prepared to pay the consequences should you get caught?
Bobby: I’m not going to get caught. And if I were you I would watch my back! I’m outta here. Sayonara sucker!

 

 

 

 

 

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 8 by Dellani

among-the-shine-clan-coverNeither Fiddlestix, nor Deacon Scott, are happy with one another. They’ve decidedly gotten off on the wrong foot. Of course, the curses she hurled at him, in order to get his attention, might have something to do with it. Both realize they have to work together to capture the rogue cyber warriors, but it doesn’t mean they have to like it—or each other.

“I didn’t ask to be sent here, General Scott,” she turned back to 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 and we would have taken care of this nice and quiet. Unfortunately, I had no way to contact you.”

“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 Master Sergeant. 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 telling me,” 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. Deacon 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.

“Well, that was fun,” Jasper smirked.

“Not really.” Fiddlestix didn’t smile. “Jasper, I know I’m right about this. McLain isn’t a devious man, he’s not smart enough. To him, this makes sense. To me, it’s stupid as hell, but he would see it as the perfect way to get rid of a number of pesky problems.”

“I don’t disbelieve you, Hannah. Deacon believes you too, he just won’t admit it. He took our father’s death hard. It has registered with him that he’s the man in charge now and our daddy was a hard act to follow. He’s got big boots to fill. He can do it, if he’ll let himself. Can’t grieve and lead.” His eyes grew sorrowful and he stopped talking abruptly.

“What do you need from us?” Frank Lord asked her politely. “I want this over and done.”

“I have to get close. I’m serious when I say I have to have line of sight. I can’t do my job without help.”

“What if you gave us the codes, let us handle it?” Jasper asked.

It was more than just a question. It could be interpreted as a veiled threat. Fiddlestix chose to take it at face value.

“It’s voice coded as well as imprinted. The codes will work for me or Kaz. No one else has been coded to them. So if we both go down, you’re stuck with those guys until hell freezes.”

“F**k me,” Jasper whispered. His dark eyes sparkled and he smiled disarmingly. “You could, you know.” He left it at that.

Fiddlestix’ laugh popped out loudly. She’d heard some come-ons in her time, but that one was certainly unique. Were the circumstances different, she’d have gladly taken Jasper up on his invitation, but they had a job to do.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

For More About Dellani

Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, paranormal, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Uncategorized, YA

A Work in Progress — Watchdogs

Part 2

High school locker rooms.  Every kid’s favorite place.  The arena to expose our physical flaws to our worst critics like exposing our jugular to a vampire.

I may not be the tallest girl in my class, but I’m gangling enough to pass as a teenage boy if I wanted.  All shoulders and elbows.  Stupid pseudo-ectomorph body type.  My breasts popped out in seventh grade, but quickly gave up the fight against gravity.  Now they are just two medium ski slopes dangling above a small paunch of “baby fat” that refuses to go away no matter how many sit-ups my coaches tell me to do.  I don’t want a six-pack; I just want to be able to button my jeans without lying flat on my bed.

If having attention being called to my body’s disproportions during (not one, but two) gym classes each weekday and giggled about by my peers was not enough, I was sure to be reminded of my “budding womanhood” by my mom’s creepy-ass boyfriend when I get home.

Geez, why can’t we just be prepubescent one night and burst forth from a chrysalis two days later as a legal adult?  Why must we suffer for eight to ten years like this?

I hate high school.  So what? I’m sure everybody does.  I’m not a whiner.  It’s just that transitioning to a new school mid-semester because my old school burned to the ground puts me in unfamiliar territory.  I’ve known some of these kids most of my life, we just went to different schools for a lot of that time.  Now I’m in their world, uncertain and vulnerable.  It takes every aspect of myself that I was comfortable with and sticks it under a new microscope to be poked and prodded by narrowed eyes that are less than impartial.

Gym is the worst and the best.  The coaches push me to join after school athletics and I usually get picked right away for team sports. This is because of the way I look, not because of any proven skills.  I’ve had to adapt over the years, so as to appear that I know what I’m doing.  Example:  I can hit a ball hard enough; I just don’t always know how to make it go in the right direction.

I would much prefer to be in an art class or computer lab.  Thus, I suffer through my typical day.

Also, I’m the type of person to use the word ‘thus’.  Enough said.

Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 7

among-the-shine-clan-coverFiddlestix has met the leader of the Shine Clan, General Deacon Scott, newly promoted after the death of his father. Though they don’t really trust one another, they have an uneasy truce. Fiddlestix says she’s been sent by General T. H. McLain. The name resonates with Deacon – and not in a good way.

“He used to be one of us,” Deacon sighed. “There was some trouble about twenty years ago between him and our father. He got tossed out on his ass.”

Fiddlestix took in this information without blinking. Her mind clicked into high gear. All sorts of new, unpleasant possible scenarios popped into her head. As she sorted through them, she listened to what Deacon Scott had to say.

“This makes your story somewhat less plausible, Miss Braun.”

Fiddlestix pursed her lips, relaxing her pose. “I’d say it has pretty much the opposite effect, Mr. Scott.” If he was going to leave off her hard earned rank, she’d do the same. “Sounds to me like we just validated everything. McLain’s a snake. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’d done this on purpose.”

“With what motivation, Miss Braun?” Deacon rose, leaning across the table.

“Well, Mr. Scott,” she stood up, looking small and vulnerable in comparison. “I can think of half a dozen different reasons. You look like a relatively intelligent man. I bet if a little, bitty girl like me can think of that many, a big, strapping man like you could come up with a least—four.” She hid a smirk, but it was in her voice, the tilt of her head, the angle of her shoulders. She was laughing at him.

Deacon wanted to throw something. He fought the urge to roar, punch the wall or toss his chair across the table at her. He heard Jasper snicker, trying hard to make it sound like a sneeze. At least three of his men were also finding humor in this confrontation. If it hadn’t pissed him off so damn much, he’d have been laughing too.

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 Sarge 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 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, Master Sergeant. We’re the same rank. Master Sergeant 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, Master Sergeant Lord. 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, Master Sergeant?” 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.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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For More About Dellani

Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 6

among-the-shine-clan-coverFiddlestix, Kaz and Harmony agree to accompany General Scott and his men inside their fortress under the mountain. Part of the agreement includes them disarming, as well as neutralizing any cyber weapons. It’s not ideal, but they really have no other choice.

No one said anything until they were deep underground in a conference room. Deacon, Jasper and ten of their men took up one end of the table. Fiddlestix and her two men sat at the other. She waited for Deacon Scott to speak, but he just stared at her. Good at playing mind games herself, she stared back, letting her eyes travel over his body without expression. She lingered on his massive chest, her gaze drifting down to the tabletop, though one got the impression that wasn’t what she was looking at.

She didn’t appear to be impressed, but her mind was dancing around, singing a song of great appreciation. Deacon Scott exuded sexual virility. Like a scent, it surrounded her, burrowing deep inside. Never in her life had she been so attracted to a man. It really irritated her, because he was one of the most arrogant, annoying, hard edged, coldhearted men it had ever been her bad luck to encounter. He was a walking, talking contradiction from whom she got mixed signals. Priding herself on her ability to size up an adversary, she couldn’t get a handle on General Scott. She quit trying, waiting for him to speak. He seemed bent on the same thing. It was a silent standoff.

Fidgeting nervously, Jasper Scott nudged his brother. He didn’t play the silent game like Deacon did. It wasn’t that he couldn’t, he just thought it was a waste of time. He wanted answers as much as his brother, but he was willing to go about it differently. Given the need, Jasper could extract information from even the most reticent. Clearing his throat, he nudged his brother again. Deacon broke eye contact with Fiddlestix long enough to glare at his brother.

He didn’t say a word, but his eyes asked a question, “What?”

Jasper raised an eyebrow asking a question of his own. Deacon blinked, cutting his eyes at the three at the end of the table as if giving permission. Jasper leaned forward, laying his forearms and palms on the table in front of him. His dark hair flowed around him like molten chocolate. He too wore a thin, red tied braid.

“Miss Braun,” he started.

“Master Sergeant,” Kaz corrected automatically. Reddening, his lips snapped shut and he deemed it wise not to talk again.

“Beg pardon, ma’am. Master Sergeant. I’m sure you can understand our hesitation in accepting what you say.”

Fiddlestix nodded. “But you’ve had trouble at your north gate. I’d say, if it’s a well populated area, you’ve lost close to fifty people since they broke through. Probably took them roughly twenty-five hours to get in, now you can’t get them out. Am I close?”

The brothers exchanged a look that she couldn’t interpret. Deacon nodded ever so slightly.

“Twenty-four and a half to be precise,” Jasper said quietly. “Upwards of forty people. Mostly soldiers but a few civilians too.”

“Look….” She sighed heavily, running her fingers through her short blond hair. “I didn’t want to come in like this. I asked my commanding officer, General McLain, to contact you. He knew about your father, he knew this location.”

“How would he know that?” Jasper was incredulous.

“He didn’t share that with me, Jasper.”

She had no idea what his rank was. The Shine Clan wore identical uniforms but no insignia.

“General McLain?” Deacon frowned deeply. “Thomas McLain?”

Fiddlestix thought for a moment. Did she know the general’s first name. She visualized the nameplate on his desk. General T. H. McLain.

“Could be. I don’t know the general that well,” she smirked. “Not like the old man and I are on a first name basis. His initials are T.H.”

For the first time, Deacon’s eyes twinkled. His face remained stony, but there was a glimmer of something in his eyes.

“If it’s Thomas McLain, it would explain a lot. Short guy, bad attitude, sort of exudes this aura of….” He hesitated for a word that wouldn’t offend a lady.

“Abject stupidity?” She nodded. “That’s our general. Dumbest son-of-a-bitch I ever met.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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For More About Dellani

Article, History, Rachel Rueben, Writing Process

The Research Process That Went Into Miss Mary Mack

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Image via Pixabay

At the beginning of most writing projects there is a bit of excitement as well as fear when it comes to approaching certain topics.  Many authors love stirring the pot but at the same time we need to be sure that we’re making sense.  No matter how desperately we want to be articulate or intellectual, if we’re not making sense we’ve failed as artists.  For example, in one of my scenes in Miss Mary Mack, I had several scenes where the children were in school and back in the 1930’s, school was a much different place than it is today.

I wanted to begin the chapter with the children saying the Pledge of Allegiance however, there was problem with that, the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t officially accepted by the U.S. Congress until 1942 and even then it was revised in 1959.  So I had to find the right version for my book to recite.  That was my first hurdle, the next would be another scene where several kids were chosen to raise the flag but as you guessed there was a problem.  You see the flag we know today was different back then because there were only 48 states.  Alaska and Hawaii were still only territories.  So my scenes had to be rewritten to reflect that.

Regrouping & Redeploying

To say I was annoyed by all this would be an understatement but I was determined to learn how schools functioned back then.  I found interviews and historical sites that filled in the gaps and learned everything you possibly could about school.  I learned about burn barrels which were used for waste disposal in country schools and even what types of lunch children brought to school (mainly leftovers from dinner or breakfast).  This type of information enabled me to make this world more tangible and relatable.

Including Myths & Folklore

As I mentioned last month, Miss Mary was a compilation of people but she was mainly inspired by the character Rosa Carmichael, a matron of a Civil War orphanage.  Rosa was an infamous character who was accused of abusing children in her care however, there is no proof that she ever existed.  The story goes that she was tried and acquitted of abuse only to be ran out of town after being accused a second time.  There are no court documents mentioning such an event and no grave was ever found belonging to Rosa.  Yet this doesn’t stop the tale from being told by locals as well as tour guides.  I took pieces of the story and wove them into my own, for example, folklore says, that in the cellar of the orphanage, there were chains where children were beaten and tortured.  However, the folklore forgets to mention that the orphanage was commandeered during the Civil War and it was most likely POWs that were shackled in that cellar.  So in my story, I make the cellar a place where unruly children are disciplined.

Why Fuss Over Minor Details?

It’s true that most people won’t notice the finer points if you don’t tell them so would it have mattered if I had the children in my story saying the Pledge of Allegiance in 1930?  Probably not, but it would’ve been embarrassing if someone did notice.  Yes all books have mistakes or inaccuracies but that doesn’t let us off the hook.  It’s our responsibility as authors to make sure our work is as great as it can possibly be.  Things don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be professional.  If you can go the extra mile, why not?  Who knows, maybe your readers will go the extra mile for you and tell everyone about your book.  🙂

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.

Amanda Thrasher, books, Cereal Authors, Dellani Oakes, JD Holiday, Karen Vaughan, Rachel Rueben, Ruth Davis Hays, Stephanie Osborn

It’s Our 5th Anniversary & We’re Celebrating!

 

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I can’t believe it’s been five years!  You know they say for a 5th anniversary you’re supposed to buy wood but the only thing I can think of that a writer would want that’s wooden is maybe a pencil?  Okay, how about a paperweight?  Hey, you know paper is technically made from trees, imagine it, I can be the Oprah of loose leaf paper…

Oprah Meme

Call me crazy but I don’t see anyone getting excited over paper products.  As you see, tradition isn’t very helpful when it comes to a fifth anniversary.  However instead of going on about how lame these gift traditions are, I’d rather explain why we decided to do this blog in the first place…

Once upon a time, a group of authors got together and decided form a collective blog where we shared book excerpts, writing tips, or just plain ranted.  Today, with over 1,100 posts, we’ve surprised even ourselves by the amount of work we’ve done and I can only speak for myself but I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here.  If it weren’t for this blog, I wouldn’t have started, let alone finished my romance novel, Fedelta.

This blog keeps me accountable, it forced me to take my career seriously.  It also keeps me surrounded by other authors who are also pursuing their dream and that’s infectious.

As I look back on the last five years, I noticed that many of the authors that started out with us are no longer around.  Some had health problems or money issues, while one of us actually died!  It’s been quite the journey nonetheless and the fact that we’re still here, and still writing, tells you about our determination.  This isn’t our hobby, we’re serious!

Anyway, enough of my babbling, I wanted to showcase the works of our authors here and hope you take the time to pick up one of our books.  Just click on the graphics, and it will take you to that author’s Amazon page.

Dellani Oakes Author of Sci-Fi & Romance:

Dellani s Sci Fi 1

Dellani s Romace Collage

J.D. Holiday: Author of Children’s Books & Short Stories:

JD Holiday Collage 1

Karen Vaughan: Author of Cozy Mysteries:

Karen Vaughans Collage

Amanda M. Thrasher: Author of YA & Children’s Books:

Amanda Thrasher s Collage 1

Amanda s YA Novels Collage

Ruth Davis Hays Author of Fantasy Novels:

Ruth Davis Hays Book Cover Collage 1

Rachel Rueben: Author of Romance & YA

Rachel Rueben Collage 1

Stephanie Osborn: Author of Sci-Fi & Mystery Novels:

Stephanie Osborn s Book Collage 1

Stephanie Osborn Mystery Collage

I guess the moral to this story is, to always surround yourself with people who are doing the thing you want to do.  Despite what the naysayers tell you, you can succeed at a career in publishing.  It just takes time and dedication.  A few years ago, there was a TED Talk concerning the subject of grit and how success is usually determined not by intelligence or talent, but by grit.  Grit is often defined as determination and/or resolve.  After seeing that video, this blog immediately came to mind, because I can say without a doubt, that the Cereal Authors are some of the grittiest authors you will ever meet and I mean that with all the love in the world.  ❤

Anyways, happy anniversary guys, it’s been a privilege to know you all and to be part of this blog.  And here’s to the next chapter of our journey…

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Most of the images in this post are courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

 

Among the Shine Clan

Among the Shine Clan – Part 5

among-the-shine-clan-coverAfter her people disappear, Fiddlestix is left with only Kaz and Harmony. Convinced that the Shine Clan are monitoring them, she hurls insults at thin air, until her men think she’s insane. Out of the woods, a group of huge men appear—not the least of whom is General Deacon Scott, leader of the of the Shine Clan. He’s not happy with her.

“Yes. Is there somewhere else we could talk? More private?”

“Anything you have to say to me, Master Sergeant, you can say in front of my men. You folks may keep secrets from your subordinates, but that’s not Shine Clan way.”

“The men who attacked you are AWOL, General Scott. Their handler, Pete Livingston, decided to walk out with his cyber unit.”

“Anyone know why a man would do a fool thing like that?” This from the dark man to General Scott’s left.

“No one shared that information with me,” Fiddlestix said. “That being the U.S. Army’s way.”

“Jasper, get the lady a stool. I think we’re gonna be here awhile.”

“Yes, Deacon.” He didn’t salute, but he treated the other man with deference.

Returning a moment later, he carried two camp stools. He set one behind Fiddlestix, carelessly brushing the back of her leg as he set it up. She had no doubt he’d done it on purpose, but she didn’t mind. Under different circumstances, she’d have encouraged him. Instead, she sat down and waited for General Scott to speak again. He sat slowly, warily.

“So, for reasons unknown, old Pete decides to go walkies with a bunch of cyber crazies? Has he gone addlepated in the brainpan?”

“Truthfully, General Scott, I don’t know. As you say, we do keep secrets. My general didn’t share that tidbit with me. McLain is playing this one close. I know very little about the circumstances of their leaving.”

“And yet you’re here to help? I fail to see how three people can help me and us at all.”

“I had a few more when I started.”

He didn’t respond.

“I know how to turn them off.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so? Do it, be my guest. Turn the bastards off and let us bury our dead.”

“It’s not that simple. I have to have line of sight with them. It’s a security measure. The receiver is very low range and the mountains drop it to just about nil.”

Deacon Scott’s eyes scanned Fiddlestix from the top of her spiky blonde hair to the toes of her combat boots. He allowed himself to be momentarily distracted by some parts in between. Despite the fact that she was an Army officer, she was all woman. Her tempestuous gray eyes met his confidently. The tilt of her chin and set of her jaw were defiant, challenging him to give her an excuse to kiss him…. He meant kill him. Yes, that was it.

He didn’t let himself linger over her firm breasts and taut thighs, focusing instead on the incredibly powerful cyber arm that marred the outline of her body with a harsh, metallic reminder that she was a deadly and capable warrior first and a beautiful woman second.

“Well,” he said softly. “Supposing I allow you into our territory, what can you offer besides you three and the codes? I don’t see how you’re in any way useful to me.”

“I had a squad of forty-four when I hit these woods, but I expect you know that already.” Her full, pink lips snapped shut.

Deacon nodded slowly, assessing the situation more closely. She was pissed about her people. He couldn’t say he blamed her, but she couldn’t fault him for protecting his home.

“That you did,” he conceded. “So?”

“So? I’d like them back, General Scott. We didn’t come here to cause trouble.”

“Deacon,” Jasper touched his shoulder hesitantly. “We should probably go inside. It doesn’t feel safe out here.”

Deacon’s eyes flickered over to his brother, taking in the concern. Jasper might be several years younger, but he’d be hard pressed to find a better soldier or a more cautious one. Knowing that Jasper’s wariness bordered on telepathic, he nodded slightly. Jasper motioned to the men who surrounded Fiddlestix and her companions, disarming them.

She, Kaz and Harmony allowed themselves to be escorted into the Shine Clan stronghold without protest. Even Fiddlestix said nothing when a man virtually twice her size and circumference attached a miniaturized cyber damper to her arm so she couldn’t activate her weaponry.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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For More About Dellani

Among the Shine Clan

Among the Shine Clan – Part 4

among-the-shine-clan-coverThe mission has hardly begun when strange things start to happen. Without warning, several of the platoon disappear off the scanner. No one can explain it, including Kaz, who is watching the scanner.

“What?” Fiddlestix 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?”

“Master Sergeant? 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 dozens of huge men poured forth. Even the smallest of them dwarfed 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. Well 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 her stormy gray ones.

“I’m here.” His deep, husky, musical voice filled her ears. 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, 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.

“About?”

“I don’t wanna explain twice, so 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, but more muscular 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 brown, the other man’s were a clear, vivid blue with a steely edge.

“I’m Master Sergeant Hannah Braun of the United States 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? Master Sergeant Hannah Braun, meet General Deacon Scott of the Shine Clan.”

Fiddlestix looked stunned. This was the leader of the Shine Clan? He wasn’t any older than she was! Had she heard right?

“You’re General Scott? We were led to believe that your leader was an older man, in his fifties?”

Deacon’s eyes clouded and his jaw worked fitfully as he tried to control his emotions. “My father was killed recently in a raid. You say you know something about the freaks who took our north gate two days ago?”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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When You’re The Killer!: A Revelation About Writer’s Block

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In the last year I’ve been suffering from writers block and I couldn’t understand why?  I mean I could see the story clearly but I had trouble coming up with the right words.  Every scene was a struggle, which led to me abandoning the story (Miss Mary Mack) several times.  Then one day I was having a discussion with a friend who was having trouble dealing with her teenage daughter when she came to the realization that their problems were rooted in the fact that they were both so similar.  Now if that isn’t the ultimate form of irony then I don’t know what is?  However as my writer’s block continued, I read several articles on why authors write themselves into their work and reached a shocking conclusion: I was Miss Mary!!!

No, I don’t go around murdering people, (although those thoughts do pop up in my head from time to time) I took pieces of my life and sprinkled them throughout the story.  Miss Mary was in fact physically modeled after my first grade principal Miss Murray, who wore dark clothing that covered her body from head to toe.  She also was a disciplinarian which made her a terrifying figure in the first grade.  However she wasn’t evil, just tough.

I also had a fourth grade bus driver by the name of Miss Johnson who was sometimes called, Miss MaryShe didn’t really like driving a bus and insisted we all ride in silence.  Weird, huh?

Then there’s me, I’m not too fond of children, I mean don’t hate them, I just prefer not to be around them.  P.S. I come from a long line of women who were reluctant mothers.  So I was able to draw on that when it came time to summon the callousness required for a villain.  It was also then I realized that I was trying to make sense of my past.  And guess what?  Miss Mary is the perfect vehicle for that, I can run loose and do as much damage without really affecting anyone in the real world.  The big plus is that I can kill and not wind up in prison.  I guess this is what George R.R. Martin feels like every time he sits down at his computer.  LOL!

Okay, I’m Getting To The Point!

When your work hits too close to home, it can be difficult to navigate through the story.  If you have a real unresolved conflict in your own life, it may be near impossible to resolve the one in your story because you can’t imagine your characters finding peace.  You know, the apology that never came, the relationship that failed, or the never ending dysfunction of a family, can really damage your perception and almost make you blind to the obvious.  I know, I had this problem and the only way to get through it was to think my way logically through it.  I had to know what readers or in this case society expected from this book.  I had to dole out punishment and correct injustices.  That doesn’t always happen in real life.  I also had to step back and let my characters go their own way.  Once I did that, their world unfolded and things began making sense again.

A Final Thought

As with most things in life, writing isn’t about you.  Sure you can create worlds and characters but once you do so, they start to develop their own reality.  Try as you may, you are not of their world and vice versa.  Only a piece of you will live on in your work, but the rest of you gets to move on and make peace with the reality that is meant to be.

Bio: Rachel Rueben is author of YA, supernatural as well as romance books.  Her work can be found her on the Cereal Authors blog as well as Wattpad.  She is also a blogger at Writing By The Seat Of My Pants where she discusses self-publishing and rarely refers to herself in the third person.  😉