author, books, Cereal Authors, Fantasy, Fiction, GENRES, humor, Literary, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — a fantasy novel excerpt continued

by R. L. Davis Hays

translations cover front 96

 

Chapter One (cont’d)

***********************************************

After awaking in Gala’s bed with her cinnamon arms draped over him in a gentle entrapment, Keinigan had promised to get her the twenty silver by that afternoon. She let him slip out with sharp distrust in her black eyes, but he indeed did return within six hours, despite the gray rainfall that beleaguered the land.

He had proudly presented a small pouch of coins that she counted quickly in front of him. Keinigan felt offended at this show of cynicism before Gala reminded him of the last time she had taken his silver without checking it first. He conceded that she was better off counting it. She did not ask him where he had acquired the silver pents, and when she promptly turned back to the young human with whom she had been flirting as Keinigan entered, the fae realized that his time with her was concluded for now. He was free to go.

Which, he did with her rejection chafing him sorely. He had hoped to enjoy her favors once again before turning to the arduous task of finding more money.

He had borrowed the minor amount from Big Lukas, a local moneylender in the coastal region. Once the Slider Guild was paid, he had less than thirty hours in which to scrounge up twenty-five silver pents to pay Lukas.

The pent coin, so called because of its five, flat sides, was the most common monetary increment minted throughout the civilized lands on Jorthus. Silver was a rare mineral and, therefore, the base of the value system. The agreed upon value of a stamped coin was represented by its size, shape, and weight as well as the mineral from which it was made. As copper and gold were abundant, they were usually used for jewelry or smaller, round coinage. For higher increments of value, one would seek out either silver “pents” or gemstones. Gems were highly prized and held a steady value to all peoples on the world. If one was rich, it was easier to carry gemstones than bulky amounts of their stamped coin equivalent.

The interest that Big Lukas charged was exorbitant, and the faerlin planned to pay him back within one day, avoiding any accumulation. He also hoped that he would not have to work for it. Thus, the entire remainder of that day he sought out wealthy-looking patrons in the marketplace that had heavy pouches dangling from their belts in the hope that he would not have to think harder on the subject.

Life, as always, was not being kind to him. He detested manual labor and refused to beg, so he sought another way. Being left with enough to make one well-placed bet to try raising the full loan amount, Keinigan headed to the warehouses. He usually considered himself lucky at gambling. Not enough to make it a lucrative profession, but lucky enough to pick winners when he really needed them.

This night, his luck failed him.

The warehouse district of Eddermont, commonly known as The Dungs, was always teeming with some sort of game action, as well as questionable characters. Tonight, the bets were being exchanged on a number of large, long-furred rats. The seedy owners trapped, trained, and cared for the rodents. They would starve them for one day, and then race them along deep, narrow trenches that ran below the warehouse floor as drainage against flooding in that area. Several owners gained speed from them by hanging bits of food at the end of the trenches.

The rats skittered around inside their cages; a few were hungrily gnawing at the wooden bars encasing them. Keinigan looked them over. Choosing a sleek, muscular rat as his favorite, he placed his remaining money on the vermin. The odds would yield enough to pay back Lukas and have plenty to spare. This convinced him the Emmissars of Fortune were smiling on him at last.

Keinigan saw several familiar faces in The Dungs. Some he was glad to see again and some far less so. He was chatting with an eight-fingered thief from the lower end of town when he noticed a hooded person inspecting the cages. The tall, straight-shouldered figure seemed familiar to him; though, he could not have said a name or placed a face to it.

He did not give the cloaked figure any more thought at that time. It was only after the race — after he had lost all his money because a mangy, rotund rat considered unlikely to waddle, let alone win, had made a frenzied dash for the finish line — that Keinigan puzzled on how his luck had turned against him.

Many people lost or won money throughout the dark hours on many events, but only one individual walked away from that particular race with silver. Keinigan stood on the side of the trenches, stunned. Engulfed in angry shouts, he stared numbly at the exhausted rat as it collapsed at the end of the track, gasping. The little creature was not even eating its reward; it was simply lying on its side, beginning to spasm. Keinigan’s brow furrowed. Hunger had not driven that rat so furiously to win. Something else had. He stared at the animal as mumbling, cursing folk jostled him. Trying to see what would come of this odd behavior, his vision was continuously blocked.

Frustrated, Keinigan glanced over to the exit. He glimpsed the cloaked winner retreating by the far door. Two other figures also slipped out of the warehouse after it. Keinigan assumed that they were disgruntled gamblers bent on exacting a refund.

He turned back in time to see a heartbroken trainer carrying the limp, twitching body of the winning rat out of the race area. Keinigan did not call attention to the odd ailment of the rat or the fact that only one person had bet on it. He quietly decided to leave that information stored in his brain for a later time, as he had no idea how it had been accomplished. He could prove nothing.

Still, he decided to follow the winner’s path, morbidly curious if the other men would overtake the lucky gambler or not.

*******************************************************

The two “angry pursuers” had left an obvious track in the damp, sticky night, even though Keinigan slumped along without any real hope of overtaking the mysterious trio. He was mainly giving his mind time to deal with the reality that he was now broke again.

Following the trail into a dark passage, he stumbled over a soft object. With an irritated curse, he lifted himself out of the mud and froze. He smelled blood. At his feet was a body. Instinctively, he turned to run. As he did so, a fading warm glow outlined a second body propped against the alley wall. Both men had their throats slit, deeply. Warm blood spilt down their chests, into the mud, and formed a gory river that trickled into the shadows.

Keinigan got the distinct impression that neither of these dying humans was the winner in the dark cloak. He was also certain that they had not gotten their refunds.

Impulsively, he snagged a money pouch off the nearest one. It was sticky with fresh blood and desperately empty. The faerlin dropped it in revulsion. Steeling his nerves, and resisting his instinct to be gone from this scene of death, he crept closer to search their bodies. He promptly found it was a fruitless effort, for the being that had taken their lives had also cut their belt pouches open. A grating noise disturbed the end of the alley. He whirled about, snatching out his dagger in reflex. This was a bad place to be caught.

A cat fled a tumbling box; Keinigan’s heart skittered as quickly as the animal before he felt the chill stillness creep back into the alley. Looking at the paltry find from the pouches, he gave up the tracking game to mourn his loss in the safety of his inn room.

The rest of the night crept by with the shadows nagging him about the pitiful state of his affairs, which he had created by steadfastly honoring his life of crime. The nagging strangely reminded him of his mother; Keinigan responded by drinking the last of his redberry wine in order to drown it out.

Sleep began to take him, and as dawn broke over the corroded town of Eddermont, his reckoning came.

********************************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

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Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 16

among the shine clan coverFiddlestix and Deacon find Pete on top of the mountain. Deacon shows her his personal cloaking device. She provides a distraction, talking to Pete, while he moves into position. Fiddlestix fires at the cyber handler, only to find herself contained in the slow motion field.

Pete leaned in, careful not to be caught in the field himself. “Pretty,” he chuckled darkly. “Pretty, pretty lady. Very deadly, insubordinate. Macky doesn’t like you, nope, nope, nope! Wacky Macky doesn’t like interfering, fiddling Stix!”

With a mammoth effort, Fiddlestix tried to move her hand to fire at him. He was so close, she could smell his bad breath. But he wasn’t close enough to get caught in her field. Suddenly, Pete Livingston was shoved into her. Caught in the same slow motion field she was, he was at her mercy. Her cyber arm was able to move more quickly than the flesh and blood one. It wasn’t governed by the same parameters as the rest of her. Blade deployed, it slid slowly through his throat, severing his spine. Gurgling, Pete Livingston wilted to the ground, his blood spraying in long, slow motion arcs, bathing her from head to foot.

With a disorienting surge, time started moving right again. Deacon was at her side, Livingston’s computer in his hands. Grabbing her arm, he jerked her toward the clearing. There was, rather unexpectedly, a console in the middle surrounded by toadstools and wild flowers. Deacon placed his hands on the dome covering the control panel and it slid aside. Palm down, he placed it on a screen. A quick scan and she saw a row of yellow blinking lights gradually fade and go out.

“Your people are free again,” he said. “Contact them.”

“Diaz,” she bellowed.

“Yes, Master Sergeant!”

“Get to the Shine Clan compound. They need our help.”

Deacon was already talking to Jasper. “Hannah’s people are heading up the mountain now. They’re coming to help.”

“Get back here fast,” Jasper said abruptly. “It’s fixing to cut loose.”

“On my way.” Deacon held the device out to Fiddlestix. “Tell me you can use this,” he implored.

“I can’t, but Harmony can. He used to be a handler. What’s the fastest way back down?”

“The speediest elevator east of the Mississippi.”

He grinned, leading her to a large tree to the side of the clearing. The inside of the tree was hollow. There was a metal platform that hardly looked big enough for the two of them to stand on it. Deacon held her to him, hugging her close, heedless of the blood on her. As soon as they stepped on the platform, it started to drop.

Fiddlestix felt like she was going to vomit. Had the trip been any longer, she probably would have. It was over in less than thirty seconds. Ears ringing, she stumbled out of the shaft with Deacon in her wake. They were standing next to the room they’d started from earlier, at the junction of the tunnels leading to the east and west gates. They heard fighting behind them. A glance at the scanner showed that the cyber warriors were already at the east gate.

“Harmony!”

“Yo, Master Sergeant!”

“Got a job for you. Where are you?”

“East gate, Master Sergeant. We’re under attack.”

“Coming.”

Deacon nearly dragged her behind him as they ran along the hall. Harmony was waiting for them at the mouth of the tunnel. She thrust the scanner into his hands.

“What can you do with this?”

“Let me see.” He fiddled a moment with the controls, then smiled. “It’s responding. Get your console, Master Sergeant. We’ll take these boys out.”

Kaz’ console in her hands, she typed in the deactivation code. She followed Harmony to the gate. Cyber warriors were mowing down the Shine Clan soldiers, flattening them. The one doing the most damage slowed slightly, hitched and stopped moving. His gaze traveled to Fiddlestix and Harmony. Raising his weapon, he tried to fire, but froze. His companions surged him over, walking on top of him as they clambered up to the door. The second one in line faltered, hesitated and crashed onto its back. The third got a little further, but tripped on his downed companions before toppling over and rolling down the mountain a couple hundred yards before crashing into a tree.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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For More About Dellani

 

author, books, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — continued

by R. L. Davis Hays

translations cover front 96

CHAPTER ONE (cont’d)

Keinigan watched the newcomers from behind the bar. They touched and whispered with a familiarity he identified, though seldom shared. Trying to appear nonchalant and busy himself about the bar, his eyes were continually brought back to the young woman. She was breathtaking. Light eyes, the color of amethyst, had ensnared him instantly. Her skin was cream, smooth and flawless, filling a slight yet curvaceous vessel. The openness in her expression made him want to defend her, please her. Follow her, anywhere.

He had no doubt that her traveling partner felt the same towards this magnificent lady. The companion, whom Keinigan could tell was most definitely male (even covered deep in a hooded cloak), did not leave her side for an instant.

The thief had considered assailing the pair once they left, so he could relieve his debt to Gala. But, as soon as the woman had unwrapped her veil with the graceful movements of a dancer, revealing a fall of fiery golden tresses down her back, Keinigan had forgotten all about the money. He thought of nothing but burying his face in those tender waves and taking in their sweet fragrance.

“You thinking of my forty silver, Keinigan?” Gala’s voice jolted him out of his fantasies. Her stare followed his, and she nodded to the two seated at the table. “Think they have that much?”

“You think me insane?” He whispered over the bar top, “Look at that man. I can’t tell his race, but he easily has three blades on him.”

“That are visible.” Gala chuckled at Keinigan’s discomfort.

“And take a look at that sword. He must be an ex-soldier. I am not about to die for forty figgin’ silver,” he stated before catching on to the number. Shooting a glare at her, he snagged her arm. “Hold on, I thought we had settled for twenty?”

“Well, either way, you had better start thinking of how you’re going to get it, smart guy. Time is wasting.” She tapped him on the head with the serving platter she was still holding.

“By the way,” Keinigan grinned. “You make a cute serving wench, Gala. Think you’ll get a big tip?”

“Laugh all you want, Keen. You’re going to be the scrub-boy,” she smirked back. Then she fell silent and serious again as she glanced at the couple.

“What?” Keinigan sensed that she was disturbed by something.

“Do you recognize him?” She gestured with her head towards the beautiful woman’s companion.

Keinigan shrugged. “I can’t get a good look at him with that hood on. Why? You know him?”

Gala shook her head. “His hands. They’re strange. And he keeps himself well hidden. I’ve been over there three times and still haven’t seen his face. I wonder who he is.”

Keinigan felt completely uninterested in the man. “Who cares?”

“By the color of that hood, I’d swear it was one of ol’ Cylas’s fingermen, but the fellow’s manners are too good. Plus, he doesn’t talk like a mercenary. He speaks very… well, fancy talk; you know, the way they talk at court.” She was not really speaking to Keinigan anymore and this put him off.

“Oh, yes, I am frequently at the courts, dancing, dining, and hobnobbing with all the town officials. I know exactly what you mean,” he babbled to himself.

Gala turned back to him, grinning at his jealousy. “Oh, you’re at court a lot, just not that kind of court. There’s a slight difference.”

Keinigan sneered at her jab.

She slid around to face him fully; a cat with a squirming mouse in its claws, her dark eyes watched him. “Back to the point of my money, then.”

Hanging his head, he raked a hand through his shaggy hair. He was hoping to get her onto a different subject, one that might lead to more pleasant positions and situations.

“I suppose I’ll hit the cockfights or The Dungs tomorrow. I can usually get a fair amount there.” He was feeling morose.

“Oh, Keinigan.” Gala was shaking her head, her eyes sad. “When are you going to stop living like this? You lose money faster than anyone else I know. You have got to get into a more stable line of work. Or, at least, stop getting caught,” she clucked sympathetically. “Why won’t you accept a steady guild status or tump in some other town? That would help. Don’t you have any money stored anywhere? Didn’t you save anything from when you were in the Northgate militia?”

His head snapped up at the name as if she had struck him. “Don’t open that wound again, Gala. You know I wasn’t paid. The only money I came away with was what I’d stolen from the militia’s looting. As a convict, I didn’t have the right to have money, remember?”

She apologized.

He stretched up tall, trying to settle his anger at the memories of his futile past. The young faerlin’s eyes fell again on the couple by the door. His keen ears had overheard the conversation about ports and a voyage. The man mentioned getting enough money for passage somewhere. Keinigan quickly calculated that it would be more than twenty silver pents. The possibility of robbing them surfaced again.

Then his eyes fell on the black scabbard hanging off the man’s thigh, and his ambitions died there. That weapon looked as if it was well used and he did not doubt that he would find out just what the blade of it looked like if he tangled with the man. Although he could not see much of the fellow, he sensed a disagreeable aura coming from him.

He pulled Gala close to him again. “You said that his hands were strange, how so?”

She held up her hands to illustrate her narrative.

“His nails are not flat like ours. They come out and down a bit, like talons almost. And they are a darkish gray.”

Keinigan’s brow creased in concentration. “Sounds familiar; though, I can’t remember where I’ve heard that kind of description before.”

“He’s not full-blood human,” she conceded. “Could he be part ogre? Or faerl?”

Keinigan looked offended at the comment. “The Fae don’t have claws, Gala.”

She shrugged the statement off. “Well, maybe I can get him to take that blasted hood off.”

Headed over to them again when the couple stood up, she paused. Having finished their meal, the man was tossing a few silver pieces on the table. The woman drew in close and, stretching up, embraced the man in a kiss. The hood slid back to reveal ashen skin, black hair, a striking face that was accented by piercing blue eyes, and tall, pointed ears.

Gala let out an involuntary purring noise and Keinigan did not care for its sensuality in the least. Admittedly, the man was good-looking, and any hope of stealing the red-haired woman’s affections away seemed faint suddenly.

Their kiss was cut short by Gala’s reaction. The man turned and bid them goodnight, pulling his hood close over his face again before swiftly helping the woman into her thin cloak.

They departed without another word.

****************************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 15 by Dellani

among the shine clan coverAlthough they haven’t found Pete Livingston, Deacon thinks me might be at the top of Shine Peak. He takes Fiddlestix to the fire station so they can fly in via a two man flitter.

No questions, just instant response. No one knew what he was planning, but they didn’t second guess his orders. Fiddlestix had to admire that about him, as well as his people.

“We’ll fly in,” he told her. “Can you handle a two man flitter, Master Sergeant?”

“Rating ten, General.”

“Great. I’m only an eight. You fly.”

“As the general wishes,” she winked.

At the fire station, they ran up the steps of the fire tower. Saunders had a small, two man flitter set up and ready to go. The small ultralight looked like a skeletal bug, but it was fast, highly maneuverable and silent. They put on helmets and goggles and took off. Deacon showed her where to circle around and land on top of Shine Peak where they were less likely to be seen.

“If he’s in the room itself, he’s blind. No monitors work up there. If he’s outside, he can still be partially shielded. The scanners won’t work right there, not with all that power flowing through it.”

“What does that cloak do? My people disappeared. But even cloaked, they’d be able to hear me and respond.”

“They get held in a slow motion field. They won’t hear your voice until sometime next week.”

“What?”

“It’s like a stasis field, but takes less power to maintain and leaves less of a footprint.”

“I see,” but she really didn’t at all.

“You trust me, Hannah?”

Fiddlestix blinked. Did she? “Yes.”

“Good.” He kissed her and disappeared. He reappeared behind her. “Portable. Only a few of us have them. That’s how we snuck up on you in the woods.”

He took her hand firmly, pulling her close. He hit a button on his communicator and a shimmering wall surrounded them. She could see through it, but it was like the entire world had slowed down. They weren’t affected.

“How’d you do that?”

“Slight modification. We are cloaked, but can move. Don’t talk though. We’re invisible, not inaudible.”

Picking their path carefully, they approached the top of the mountain. In a small clearing, she saw Pete Livingston. He gazed intently at something in his hands, occasionally laughing slightly hysterically.

“I know you’re there, Hannah Braun. I know, know, know!” he giggled, turning in slow circles, looking for them. “Yes, yes. I know! Come out, come out wherever you are!” He pointed directly at them, eyes wide with maniacal glee.

Deacon said nothing. Walking in a slow arc, he moved to the other side of Livingston. Putting her finger to her lips, Fiddlestix let go of his hand. She immediately reappeared facing the psychotic handler.

“Look, look! There you are! I knew it! Can’t fool Pete. Nope, nope, nope!”

“I’m here to take you back, Pete. McLain’s plan has failed. We’re taking your men out.”

“Code’s not working anymore is it?” He giggled loudly. “Not anymore!” He teased, waving the small computer in his hands. Dancing around in a circle, he giggled again. “They’re almost to the doors now,” he sounded almost rational. “Very soon it will all be over. We’ll take the compound and kill them all off. Yes, we will! And you’ll be blamed! You’ll face court marshal, yes you will! Marshal court, court marshal! Then won’t you be sorry, sorry, sorry that you insulted General McLain! Because only he can save you!”

“I’m gonna kill you, Pete. I’ll end you. Right here, right now.”

“Nope, nope! Not gonna end like that. I’m gonna kill you!” He hopped and danced, chanting, “I’m gonna kill you, I’m gonna kill you!”

Fiddlestix had enough. Grabbing her handgun from her belt, she fired at Pete’s head. Point blank range, the bullet never left her gun. She was slowed in a time field. Caught in the same cloak as her people, she could only stand there feeling like a fool, gun raised and ready.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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For More About Dellani

Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Truth, As Strange As Fiction

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 2

girls and flags2 WARNING: violence.

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Bothered, Part 2 

by JD Holiday

©May 2018         

Shortly after that, I joined a drum and bugle corps. It was a teen group for thirteen to seventeen year olds. My friend this time with Kathy Donahue. Her older brother, Mike was a drummer. Kathy was thirteen too, so she and I are joining together. Girls were in the Honor and Color guards. We would be in the newbies. That was where girls learn to carry the flag and twirl them in nice patterns to go with the instrumental music the boys made with the drums and brass horns. The girls in the newbies would join the Honor and Color Guard the following year when the older girls turned eighteen and would be leaving the corps. practice2

              So Kathy and I and about another ten to twelve other girls would spend that spring in training, and the summer would be our first time marching in parades starting on Memorial Day right behind the Color Guard and in from of the brass horns and drum sections.   In good weather, the corp would practice on the community ball field across from the club house, a VFW post. At eight AM this one Saturday morning, the newbies gathered in the baseball area of the field. The Honor and Color Guards were already turning their flags in the outfield. The band played on the basketball court loudly performing their signature instrumental, Sentimental Journey in the shadow of Garrettmountain field 2 Mountain. The brass horns and beating drums were hammering the song home across the field and ricocheting off the mountain and back again throughout the South Paterson neighborhood.

 

         Our group leaders shouted our instructions over the music were we stood by the bleachers since it would be impossible for us to hear them out in the field. When we were told to line up and march to third base where we would be going over our drills I saw that my sneaker was untied. The others had run out into the field while I sat to tie my sneaker.

              I saw the older black guy who had left the corps now that he was eighteen sitting on his bike not far away. I remembered I finished and was getting up when I was grabbed from behind and pushed down onto the bleacher again. I felt my blood pounding in my face as I struggled to push him away but the guy came around and over my body to sit straddle my legs. It was the guy with the small bike. He started saying, “I’ll show them. I’ll show them,” over and over again while pushing me down with a hand on my collarbone.

              I fought hard and I turned looking for help. I glance toward third base but my bleachersgroup had their backs to me. No one else was near. I kept fighting to get him off pushing at his chest as the music continued and even sounding louder as it vibrated. With his other hand he began pulling at the snap of my jeans trying to open them. He was much bigger and I was powerless to get him off me.

              Then the blaring music ended. And silence. Or I thought it was, until I heard screaming echoed through the air. I was screaming.

              We continued wrestling until there was movement around us. Then the weight was lifted from me. Pete, who I knew was one of the drummers was there, and then the two of them were a blur as they fell to the ground and seemed to scrambled away from me. Some older girls came to me and dragged me off the bleacher toward the batting cage. Breathing seems hard. But I was already feeling some relief that it was over but I couldn’t focus on what was being said to me.

       batting cage       Many adults came from nowhere it appeared to me. Faces around me were frowning with concern. I glanced in the direction I came from to see my attacker up against the chain link fence surrounded by male group members and adults.

The woman who ran the drum corps came and wrapped her arms around me. She pretty much dragged me off the field. I heard her saying the guy was troubled.

Someone else walking with us across the street to the clubhouse added how he had behaved about having to leave the corps because he had reached the age limit and his fight with the group managers over it.

              Inside the clubhouse I sat while they all talked. Some stared at me and I have to look away having so much attention paid to me. Things began to sink in as they asked questions and I nodded a lot. They asked what happened, what did he say, what did he do. And I started murmuring that I was alright a few times and had to turn away from them wishing that were true. I didn’t want to be here anymore.

              My attention sharpened when I heard them mention talking to my parents. While I was glad to be going home, I didn’t want to have to tell them about this. And at the same time, just wanted it to be me who told my mom and dad. But the adults had to tell my parents, to explain the situation to them.

              At home, my father was the one who opened the front door. Somehow they all went inside, while someone ask me to stay on the porch. What was said I suddenly didn’t porchcare. I wasn’t in the middle of all the attention anymore. I sat on one of the adirondack chairs. What thoughts I had I couldn’t tell you, though relief was setting in. Home, I would find, was were I would always come to be out of the storm from here on.

              Once the club members left, most of the women giving me a hug before going, my mother and father came to the door. They had a short talk before my father stepped out onto the porch where I still sat by myself.

              “Are you all right?” he asked in the doorway.

              I glanced his way before turning back to watching the afternoon traffic on Madison Avenue. My father looked thoughtful.

              “Yeah,” I said, not wanting to talk about it.

              Looking back, I’d say he knew me better than I did when I was thirteen years old, for he said, “You don’t want to be bothered, I take it.”

              “No,” was all I said as I realized my breathing was normal now and I wasn’t hurt. I was all right, at least for the moment.

              He nodded, then he went back in with my mother leaving the door open a little.

              It never dawned on me at that time if the kissing incident being brought up at school had anything to do with the boys being black and the girls being white. I did find out weeks after from Leslie that the two boys involved were in a bit of trouble that night but for Leslie and me being their alibis.

              So you know, my parents never said anything about the kiss incident. And my parents never talked about race to us. Knowing them as I did, they thought there was no need to. Black people came to our house to have their taxes done all the time. And, over the years I’ve thought about that guy on the bleachers wondering if anyone had ever bothered enough to care about him.

Read Part 1 at: https://cerealauthors.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/truth-as-strange-as-fiction-bothered-part-1/

JD’s Site:   http://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

 JD’s Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Holiday/e/B002G1GOKQ/

Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes, Uncategorized

Among the Shine Clan – Part 14 by Dellani

among the shine clan coverAfter examining a map of the compound, Fiddlestix realizes that the warriors they just fought were a distraction. The others can be seen moving in on the rest of the compound. Their leader isn’t anywhere to be seen.

“We have to get back there now,” Fiddlestix gasped.

“They’re on foot,”Deacon assured her. “We’ll get there first. Don’t worry.”

“What about this lot?” Jasper motioned to the downed warriors.

“They’re not going anywhere,” Deacon assured him.

“Kill them,” Fiddlestix warned him.

“You’re supposed to bring them back, aren’t you?” Harmony asked her.

“The parameters of the mission just changed,” Fiddlestix said. “Take them out, Harm.”

“Yes, Master Sergeant.” He chambered a round on his heavy weapon.

Standing a safe distance from the shut down warrior, he emptied his magazine into the control panel at the base of the skull. Reloading, he moved to the other, doing the same thing. “Is that satisfactory, Master Sergeant?”

“That’ll about do it. Let’s move out, people!”

They left the wounded in the hands of the medical personnel, Kaz among them. Fiddlestix didn’t stop to see how he was. She hoped he would still be alive when she got back. There was no time to worry over him now. Others needed her more.

Loading up the Jeeps took a couple of minutes, but they made up for it in actual transportation time. On the way, Deacon contacted the commanding officers at the other three gates, warning them what was coming.

“We want the handler,” Fiddlestix told them. “Take him out, the rest will be relatively easy.”

“I don’t think I like how you qualify that statement, Hannah-Belle.”

“Nothing’s ever easy. But if we take out Livingston, it will be less difficult. Still have to tag them within a line of sight.”

“True.” He leaned back, putting his arm around her as Jasper drove. “When this is over, I get you alone. All to myself, ” he whispered, his lips close to her ear.

“Which way, Deacon? East or west?” Jasper called.

“Did we get a visual of Livingston on the scan?”

“No, sir.”

“Find me a screen, littler brother.”

“You got it!”

He turned right without slowing down much. Pulling up in front of a room, he left the Jeep running while Deacon and Fiddlestix jumped from the vehicle. Dashing into the room, they accessed the scanner again. Livingston didn’t show up on any of the scans.

“He must be somewhere out of range,” Deacon muttered, glaring at the screen as if it had done him an injury.

“Is there anywhere he could hide that’s shielded? Could he be inside, but hidden?”

“Oh, God,” Deacon groaned. “The cloak room.”

“You’ve got a room for coats?”

“No, no the cloaking device. The thing that made your people disappear. That area is shielded because it has an independent power source that makes our other instruments go all wonky otherwise.”

“Where’s it located?”

“Shine Peak. About a quarter mile straight up.”

“Can we get there from here?”

“You good at mountain climbing?”

“Tell me there’s an elevator.”

“There is, but if he’s up there, do you really want to trust it?”

“Good point.”

“Jasper, take us to the fire station.”

Deacon leaped in the back of the Jeep, giving Fiddlestix a hand up.

“You got it, Deacon.” Jasper swung them around in a tight arc, heading back the way they’d come.

“Saunders, it’s Deacon,” he spoke into his communicator.

“Go ahead.”

“Have me a two man flitter set up. I’ll be there in less than five.”

“Yes, sir.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes

Character Quotes from The Maker by Dellani

The Maker cover frontWil, Matilda, Felix and one of the Kindred Elders were waiting for Ben on Wil’s sentient ship. As Matilda explained to Ben what they were going to attempt, his expression became dubious.

“Why do you need me? I’m not trained in this sort of thing.”

“The Elder wants you. You want to argue with him?” Matilda raised a speculative eyebrow.

Ben chuckled, ducking his head. “No, I don’t. What do we do?”

“Sentience has it all set up. She’ll make the connection, boost our signal by tapping into the Trimagnite pockets. The Elder has shown her how already. Then the Elder and Felix will guide us from there. Simple as that.”

“Where do we have to go?” Ben was still trying to take in details.

“We go to the Sentience’s control room and do what we’re told,” Wil replied.

Ben nodded. A few years ago, before coming on this trip, he’d have thought anyone completely psychotic for suggesting such a thing. Now, it didn’t sound crazy, it sounded like the best possible way for him to contact Emme.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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A Shocking Diagnosis Produces One of the Author’s Most Memorable Novels to Date

50 HOURS by Loree Lough

If ever a book was predestined to be written by an individual, it was 50 HOURS by best-selling author Loree Lough. You will indeed find a piece of the author in between each page. Loree, healthy at the time she was commissioned to write the novel, was diagnosed with a similar terminal illness as her main character! The shocking diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma allowed her to write one of her most memorable novels to date. It is not by any means a depressing story that smacks of defeat or worse self-pity, but of all things, is a story of redemption, peace, second chances, friendship, forgiveness and of course, LOVE!

The famous novelist Catherine Lanigan of Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile, and a multitude of other works, wrote, “This is the kind of book that wins Pulitzer prizes,” the highest compliment for any literary fiction novel.

Loree, admittedly, found it challenging at times to write 50 HOURS and early on confessed to Kevin James O’Neill, the screenplay writer the novel is based upon and a movie producer, that she wasn’t sure if she could handle the story or workload. However, for over a year and a half, through twice-daily chemo, plus a stem cell transplant, Loree could not get the characters out of her head and had the overwhelming desire to finish the novel. Wanting more than ever to show readers whose lives had been touched by this dreaded disease, cancer, that, “There’s always plenty of reason to hope and have something to be thankful for,” Loree forged ahead.

The realization that millions of others were facing the same prognosis as her self and her main character, Loree decided to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. For her, it was cathartic, and she hoped it would be for her readers—not just cancer patients and their families—too. Loree has always believed she was fairly tough; living by the “Never let ’em see ya sweat” and “Never let ’em see ya cry” codes, and continued to think that way as she poured her heart and soul into her novel through her characters Aubrey, Franco, and Dusty.

Aubrey is living with the constant knowledge that her life is slowly ebbing to an end, but she’s determined to squeeze as much joy from every precious moment she has left. Still, she’s lonely, exhausted, and no matter how hard she tries to hide it, terrified! Meeting Franco gives Aubrey a thread of hope to grasp onto, as she realizes that her long-held dream of painting autumn, in of all places Savannah, has come true with his help. Franco, burdened by the belief that he’s partially responsible for the car wreck that killed his wife, turned him into a man who eked out his existence by merely putting one foot in front of the other because he doesn’t know what else to do. After meeting Aubrey, whose zest for life is infectious, his 50 hours of community service tick by, as he finds himself drawn to her strength.

Loree found herself putting words into Aubrey’s mouth, that she’d only ever said in the privacy of her own mind. Talking with her fellow patients proved she wasn’t alone: A lot of cancer patients keep things to themselves. They do it to spare their loved ones, already worried and afraid of an uncertain future, who aren’t entirely sure or know how to comfort their loved ones. Through Aubrey, Loree was able to tell them that she expected nothing, quite literally, except to be with them (her family and friends). It isn’t easy watching someone you care about suffering the side effects of drugs and treatments. Loree, through Aubrey, showed friends and family that she appreciated their steadfastness. Aubrey’s relationship with Franco and her mother helped her make that point.

Her research and interviews proved there are far too many “loved ones” like Aubrey’s ex-husband; Michael who put on a good show of being the dutiful spouse…until the condition, like Aubrey’s, deteriorated, taking the spotlight off him and putting it back on her. It’s an ugly fact, but a fact nonetheless: The occasional loved one will leave. Through Aubrey, Loree hoped to show cancer patients and family members alike that they can survive even that!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Once upon a time, best-selling author Loree Lough (literally) sang for her supper, performing before packed audiences throughout the U.S. Now and then, she blows the dust from her 6-string to croon a tune or two for her grandchildren but mostly, she just writes full time. Over the years, her stories have earned nearly 100 industry and “Readers’ Choice” awards, 7 movie options, and over eighty 4- and 5-star reviews. There are NEARLY seven million copies of Loree’s books in circulation, and by year-end of 2018, she’ll have 119 books (fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults) 72 short stories, 2,500+ articles in print. Loree shares her [i]learned-the-hard-way[/i] lessons about the craft and the industry, and her comedic approach makes her a favorite (and frequent) guest of writers’ organizations, book clubs, private and government institutions, college and high school writing programs both here and abroad. A writer who believes in “giving back,” Loree dedicates a portion of her income to Soldiers’ Angels, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and other worthwhile organizations. She splits her time between her home in the Baltimore suburbs and a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, and shares both with her real-life hero Larry, who rarely complains, even when she adds yet another item to her vast collection of lighthouses, wind chimes, and “wolf stuff.”

Spreading the word about this book increases the opportunity for Kevin James O’Neill to take make it a feature film as intended. Royalties from 50 HOURS go toward Cancer Research. Specifically, the Multiple Myeloma ResearchFoundation.

50 HOURS is available wherever books are sold including Amazon

Barnes and Noble 
Publisher Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
For media, author interview, and review copy requests contact the publisher: contact@progressiverisingphoenix.com

BOOK TRAILER FOR 50 HOURS

Article Copyright © 2018 by Amanda M. Thrasher 

 

Character Quotes

Character Quotes from The Kahlea by Dellani

character-quotes-imageSpinning angrily, Yktobo rushed blindly toward her, too furious to pay close attention. Her left hand reached out, grabbing a handful of his flailing tentacles. She brought her right in high and fast, slapping him in the face.

Surprised, Yktobo ceased his attack. “What was that?”

“It’s called a slap, you old fool,” Itza countered happily.

“I know what it is, woman, but a slap on the cheek won’t kill a Kahlea.”

“You told me to use the unexpected,” Mai giggled.

“Did you expect that, Yktobo?” Itza asked, hardly masking her amusement.

“If you don’t take this seriously, why are you here? Be gone, we’re done for the day!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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The Kahlea front
Coming Soon from Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan, Dellani Oakes

Among the Shine Clan – Part 13 by Dellani Oakes

among-the-shine-clan-coverThey have managed to shut down one cyber-warrior, but their handler seems to be blocking their device. Gathering their wounded together, Deacon and Fiddlestix regroup to come up with a plan.

Deacon sat heavily beside her, covered in blood and cyber fluid. “Now what?” He panted, taking a sip from a bottle of water he’d taken from a cabinet nearby. He handed her the bottle and she took a grateful sip.

“Now that the signal’s jammed, we have to find Livingston, their handler. We have to take him out.”

“Okay, how we gonna do that, Hannah-Belle?” He grinned, his blue eyes sparkling.

“They’ll protect him,” she said half to herself. “If I were a half crazed, cyber handler, where the hell would I go?

“Want to see a schematic of the area?”

“Deacon, I’d love to see that.”

“Cool,” he grinned again, jumping to his feet.

She took his proffered hand, even though she didn’t need it, simply because she wanted him to touch her. He motioned her to follow him to a view screen on the wall. Tapping in a few commands, he showed her a floor plan of the compound. Zooming in the image, he brought it to their position.

“There’s us,” he indicated the green blips representing their small force.

“If we plug in the scanner, can we use this to find Livingston?”

“We can but try.” He whistled sharply. “Jasper.”

His younger brother walked over. Deacon explained what Fiddlestix suggested. “Can you do it?”

“Hell, yeah, Deacon. Piece of cake. Give me fifteen minutes.”

“You have ten.”

“Cool, I only needed five.” Laughing, he went to work.

Deacon led Fiddlestix away from the others, turning off his communicator. Figuring he wanted a chat between leaders, she did so as well.

“You’re a hell of a warrior, Hannah-Belle,” he whispered.

Taking her in his arms, he kissed her. Shocked at first, she pushed away from him, but he held her tightly. After a moment, she realized that she didn’t want to push away and clung to him almost desperately. Warming to his touch, she matched his intensity. Most men would have been intimidated and pulled away, but Deacon wasn’t like most men. Their kiss lasted less than two minutes, but left them both breathless.

“I really didn’t mean for that to happen,” Deacon backed shyly away a few steps.

“Me either,” she admitted awkwardly.

“It was damn good though,” he chuckled.

“Oh, yeah!”

“Hannah, when this is over….”

She put her hand on his lips, stopping him. “When this is over, Deacon, I’ll go back to work.”

“I understand,” he whispered. “But before you do….” He left the invitation unspoken.

“Yeah,” she agreed with a sharp nod. “You better.”

Jasper whistled to get his attention. Suddenly, she and Deacon were back to business.

“It’s done.”

Fiddlestix looked at the schematic. “He’s not here!” She frowned, looking even more carefully. “Am I missing him?”

Deacon and Jasper were looking just as intently. Harmony came up behind them, also gazing at the wall.

“He’s not here,” Fiddlestix grumbled. “He’s not here!”

“We’ll find him, Hannah.”

“He could be anywhere! Oh, God,” she turned wide eyes on Deacon. “The rest of the compound. He’s taken the others to try a frontal attack. This was just a diversion! Dammit!”

Deacon didn’t follow, so she explained. “Look. We found only three of his men. Where are the rest?”

Deacon, Jasper and Harmony gazed at the map that was zoomed in to show their immediate area.

“Where,” she said, unzooming the image. “The hell are the rest?”

Red blips showed up moving slowly around the outside of the compound. One group was headed to the east, the other to the west.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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