Friday, November 23, 2012

The Open Water Swimmer - Review

 

Children’s author Dana Thomas has recurring nightmares about a man drowning. She doesn’t know who he is, only that she sees a Greek god perfect body laying at the bottom of a body of water.

Elite class swimmer Jeff Dickson, who gave up a career in the Navy as a fighter pilot to return his first love, swimming, also has a recurring dream of death by drowning. His death.

Dana takes the dreams as a calling to find and save this swimmer from his death. Always a free spirit, her current, routine bound, practical, never do anything on a whim, boyfriend deep-sixes their relationship when Dana sets off to find, and save this man who’s invaded her nighttime.

Jeff’s last relationship self-destructed when the woman got fed up with being second place to his global travel and brutal training and competition schedule.

This is the setup for The Open Water Swimmer by Sabrina Devonshire.

What follows is a wonderful, at times funny, story of Dana hunting down, finding and becoming a hovering guardian of Jeff, all while trying not to look, or sound, like a stalking psycho.

This is also the story of their budding relationship. Jeff’s finally met someone that “gets it”. Dana understands that he needs to do what he needs to do, which is be a professional, competitive swimmer, and everything that comes with it.

Mrs. Devonshire has put together a good story, both artistically and technically. Her love of swimming shows through with the level of detail she puts into the story.

I highly recommend putting this in your To Be Read stack.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Mankiller Stories–Deployment

 

My newest story will be released by Extasy Books on 1 December.

It’s a bit of a departure for me. It’s NOT science fiction, but rather a straight up contemporary romance.

Lisa Mankiller, is a Navy Corpsman assigned to a Marine company and is spending her pre-deployment leave at the ranch of the family that raised her when she was left an orphan.

There, she is reunited with her childhood friend Jake Winthrop and his current boyfriend Todd Lawson. Lisa witnesses Jake abusing Todd and decides to step in.

Here’s the excerpt:

When Lisa floated back to consciousness the first thing she was aware of was a feeling of bliss, being sated. She was limp, boneless, and it felt wonderful. Even the aches in her thighs and bottom felt good.

The pipes rumbled as water was cut off in the bathroom. Lisa gathered up what strength she did have and slowly rolled onto her side. She didn’t have to wonder who had diapered her with a towel to contain the now cold stickiness between her legs. Todd stepped out of the bathroom scrubbing his hair with a towel. He dropped it on the sink and ran a pocket comb through his short jet-black hair. He didn’t have a towel around his hips and she got an even better look at the man than she had at the house. Gods, the man was built, and not just below the waist. He was big everywhere, big enough to make her feel safe. That was saying something since she worked and lived with a company of devil dog Marines.

Todd caught her looking and smiled. He crossed the small room and sat next her on the bed.

“The dead do come back to life,” Todd smiled. It was a smile that warmed all of her exhausted body.

“Don’t be too sure of that. I may be awake, I’m not sure that I’m alive.”

“There’s hot water for coffee if you want. It’s instant and not very good.”

“That’s okay. I’m used to drinking boiler water coffee onboard ship. As long as it has caffeine in it, I’ll be good to go.”

By the time Todd got back, Lisa had managed to get herself upright on the edge of the bed. She took the proffered cup and sipped at the hot liquid.

“Eeech. You’re right, that’s horrible. Shipboard coffee would be better, and that’s saying something,” Lisa said taking another sip and set the cup on the nightstand. “What time is it?”

“About four a.m.,” Todd said. “Lisa—”

“If you’re going to apologize, don’t.” Lisa looked up into the man’s eyes. “I all but cuffed you to the bed, so if anyone has to apologize, it should be me. But the question is, do I need to?”

 

And the cover:

 

deployment3

 

I hope everyone enjoys it.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Binders Full of Women

Okay, Since the debate I've been hearing a lot of yammer about this "binders full of women" comment that Romney made. WTF people?!?! Why are we getting hung up on four little words? Didn't anyone hear the preceding portion of the answer? The staff didn't have any women in the candidate pool, he wanted women in the candidate pool for his gubernatorial cabinet.

Why the staff didn't have women in the candidate pool for the first pass is up for anyone's speculation. I certainly don't know why, maybe some of the people on the selection committee didn't think women should be there. WHO THE HECK KNOWS!

Personally I think all this hullabaloo is just another facet of electoral politics run amuck. Trying to transform a bb into a canon ball by using the BIG LIE method, i.e. chant "Romney Hates Women" long enough, loud enough by enough people, for the people who don't pay attention to start to believe it.

It sickens me that in a country of supposedly intelligent people, shit like this actually works.

Now, if any of you have a different opinion about this and want to post it here, or educate me on why you think "Binders full of women" is getting so much air play/traction, I'm all ears. Just be civil about it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

PRIMAL–The final update?

One of the first stories that I actually completed, had edited professionally, and posted was PRIMAL. It was posted at STORIESONLINE.NET. And, based on the comments I’ve received from readers, it was well received.

It’s been through those comments that I’ve learned a lot more about readers expectations, how to present a story, and how readers ‘buy in’ to a character. Katie Lynn Milner has a lot of buy in from readers. I’ve received notes from people who’ve been bullied in schools wanting to say thank you for the story. Other readers have sent questions about Katie herself, questions that I’d never thought of, whose answers would make the character more believable in their eyes. A number of those answers made their way into this update to the story.

I tried to re-write PRIMAL in a way that a publisher could accept. But it couldn’t be done, not without destroying the story. So, I’m putting it up as a free read, both at STORIESONLINE.NET and here at the link.

As always, comments are welcome.

And yes, there will be a follow-on to this story, so don’t think that the end is really THE END.

You can find the free read of PRIMAL here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Angel Sanderson–Book Two

As we all know, Angel’s Wings has been release, and is available at Devine Destinies AND at Amazon.com for all of you Kindle users.

And just to show you that there is life for Angel beyond high school, here is the first chapter of her second book. Now, this is a work in progress, and a draft, so there may be technical flaws, and this may not be what ends up in the final book.

 

Chapter One

Angel walked along the hospital hallway alone, ignoring the usual looks of annoyance from parents. The practiced public smile and small waves at the pediatric patients hid the real reason she was on this particular floor, wearing her Avenging Angel flight uniform. Stopping at the nurse’s station, she spoke briefly with the charge nurse.

“Tamika Swisher,” the nurse looked at the locator board behind the station, “room six fifteen, she’s end stage.”

“Her parents?”

“The mom is supposedly on her way, dad’s in the wind,” another nurse replied checking a patient chart.

Angel nodded and followed the younger nurse to the child’s room. It was a semi-private room with an empty second bed. The overheads lights were off and bright sunshine streamed through the gauze curtained window. Tamika was in the bed closest to the window, hooked to a number of monitors and IV lines.

The girl looked tiny in the big hospital bed, her long, dark, kinky, hair spread across the pillow like a fan. Her eyes were covered with small gauze disks. From a whispered conversation with the nurse before coming into the room, Angel was able to learn that the girl’s body was being ravaged by a fast growing cancer. It had spread to Tamika’s brain where it had already taken her sight, and according to the nurse in charge of her case, was only hours away from robbing the child of her young life.

The winged woman stepped closer to the girl’s bed, the leather of her flight suit creaking in the quiet.

“Who’s there?” the little girl said, her voice weak, turning her head towards Angel.

“My name is Angel, Tamika.”

The girl was weak, her voice so soft Angel had to use her special ability to hear the girl’s reply.

“You came! Mama here too?” A small weak smile crept across the little girl’s face.

“Not yet, honey. Your mom is trying to get here.” Angel stood next to the bed and slipped her hand under Tamika’s tiny one.

Reaching into the small backpack she carried, Angel pulled out a doll and placed it in the child’s hand. With slow, careful movements Tamika traced the doll’s outline with her fingers.

“An angel,” she whispered.

“It’s a very special angel Tamika. She will watch over you.”

“Stay!” the girl’s free hand waved around, trying to find the flyer.

“I’m right here, honey, right here with you,” Angel told the little girl catching the girl’s hand. Her own voice caught with emotion.

As they talked, Angel could see the girl’s life fading. Her brown skin was ashen, her voice grew fainter. Finally Tamika barely moved her lips, making sounds so faint that Angel couldn’t hear them, even with her special abilities.

“Go to sleep, little one,” Angel said, spreading a wing over the little girl, bending down to kiss her cool forehead.

On the wall, the cardiac monitor began beeping, the trace across the screen becoming erratic. The beeping became louder, more shrill, then shifted to a steady tone.

Without looking, Angel reached up and turned the alarm off. When the nurses came running in, all they heard was Angel singing softly.

It took a while before Angel could gather herself together. She had been doing hospital visits since she was a junior at Stoddard Academy, almost eight years. Most were group visits, like the children’s cancer treatment ward, or the physical therapy room. Only a few had been last requests, like Tamika. The woman dabbed at her eyes with the tissue, taking a bit of comfort that Tamika’s passing was and that the young girl hadn’t been alone.

She had stood out of the way while the floor nurses streamed in and the doctor pronounced the little girl. Angel watched silently as the two senior nurses prepared the body to be taken to the morgue.

Stepping inside the curtain the nurses had drawn around the bed, she looked down at the little girl, all the wires disconnected, the IV needles removed, the bed sheet wrapped tightly around her small body with just her face remaining uncovered.

“Goddess Mother, receive this little one’s spirit, gently, into your care.”

Reaching over the little girl’s head, Angel pulled the remaining portion of the sheet down, covering Tamika’s face.

The senior floor nurse met the flyer at the door. The grey haired nurse was often, and openly, referred to as ‘the old battle axe’ by the other nurses for her sometimes brutal treatment of the personnel and patient’s families. To the children on the floor, she was a kindly grandmother.

“You going to be okay?” the nurse asked gently, surprising Angel. She expected the woman to live up her reputation of being a bitch rather than showing this softer side of her personality.

“I’ll survive,” Angel replied looking the other woman in the eyes, and seeing the concern there.

“Good,” the woman touched Angel on the arm. “She’s been here a month,” looking past Angel to the shrouded body. “The mom is trying to get her act together, she visits when she can. I’m glad you could be here for her.”

“You’re the one that called me,” Angel said quietly.

The nurse was silent, her face giving nothing away.

“We need to move her,” her ‘Nurse Battle Axe’ persona coming back.

Angel nodded, stepped past the nurse and slipped into the emergency stairwell. She didn’t want to walk past the people she’d need to in order to reach the elevator. It’s not like she needed to use it to get to the ground floor anyway.

She stepped out into the bright midday sunshine. Donning her sunglasses she walked to the safety rail and stood, surveying the surrounding area.

“Why Lady? Why one so young?” Angel said into the wind. The woman didn’t know why this one little girl’s death had hurt her so much.

She had seen other children who were terminal from injuries or illness. Four previous private visits had been ‘last requests’ where the children had passed on not long after she’d left.

But this little girl, Tamika was so small, so young.

Angel turned to lean against the rail and came face to face with a woman, who’d she’d seen many times in her dreams.

“Goddess!” Angel gasped and dropped to one knee, sweeping her wings to the side in a show of submission.

“Oh, gracious child, stand up.” The woman said, “Genuflecting is reserved for old men in expensive robes wearing silly hats.”

Angel stood, but kept her head lowered.

“Look at me, Angel,” the woman’s tone became firmer.

Angel looked at the woman’s face. Laugh lines creased the skin around eyes that were bright, youthful, but at the same time showed the wisdom of age and tinged with the haunted look of someone who’d seen suffering beyond imagining. She carried an air of someone who demanded respect, and would give love unconditionally to those who needed it.

“You asked why one so young?” the Goddess asked after a moment.

Angel nodded.

The black haired goddess turned and walked away a few paces before turning back and giving the flying woman a look, like she was calculating how much to reveal.

“The spirit, the soul, which inhabited that body, had finished what it had come here to do. It’s time on this realm was at an end.”

“Tamika gets seven years? That’s all? What about her being a mother, having a husband or children? What about all the other things…”

“Angel, do you really believe that everything a soul needs, or wants, to learn can be learned in a single lifetime?” The Goddess’s tone changed, sounding as if she were instructing a school girl.

“I… I don’t know Lady.”

Angel had never considered that a person, a soul, could be reincarnated. But it struck something inside her, something that felt true.

“Tamika, the soul inside her body, has lived before, just as your soul has inhabited a body on this planet before.”

A smile lit her face and quiet laugh escaped the Goddess.

“Oh, Angel. There are more things in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

“That’s Shakespeare.”

“A very old soul that took on the monumental challenge of trying to enlighten the people on this little world,” the Goddess said lightly.

“Isn’t that what the church is for?”

“Whose leaders have always been more interested in their own power, rather than the welfare of the people who look to it for guidance and protection.” The contempt in the Goddess’s answer was clear.

“But…” Angel looked at the woman, into her eyes and felt the confusion that had swirled inside her drain away, replaced by a calmness, a peace unlike any she’d felt before, a feeling that all was as it should be.

“Only her body died, Angel. Her soul, the part of her that is immortal, will return when it has another lesson to learn, or teach.”

“Why did it hurt so much, Lady?” Angel asked. “I never met her before today, but it felt like I had lost one of my own.”

“Because in another life, you and she were lovers, were married and had children together,” the Goddess said. “Your soul recognized her. The two of you have unfinished business, and when the time is right, you and she will be together again.”

The Lady nodded at look Angel had on her face.

“Be at peace Angel Sanderson. All things are as they should be.” She stepped forward, sliding her arms around the younger woman and kissed her forehead.

Angel closed her eyes as the Lady’s lips touched and when she opened them a moment later, she was alone on the rooftop.

“All things are as they should be,” she repeated in a whisper.

Turning to face the rail, she reached into a pocket of the waist cincher and removed her avionics headset. Setting it into place she listened a moment before keying the microphone.

“PDK tower, FOD six one two, wheels up from Children’s Healthcare helipad.”

With the response crackling in her headset, Angel jumped to the safety rail. Taking a deep breath she leaped into space, her arms out in a perfect swan dive. She enjoyed the thrill of free fall for a few seconds before snapping her wings open and climbing into clear Southern sky.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It is Release Day!–Angel’s Wings

It’s release day! Angel’s Wings is now available at Devine Destinies. Purchase it here:  http://www.devinedestinies.com/angels-wings-4/

BLURB:

The year is 2068 and the MORFS outbreak is worldwide. Science has found no cure, just better ways of keeping those sickened alive until the symptoms pass.

Angel Sanderson was stricken by the once deadly syndrome, the first time when she turned ten years old. After five years living trapped in the body and mind of an eight-year-old with butterfly wings, she is one of the rarest victims, someone in whom the syndrome is triggered a second time. The young woman who emerges is truly an angel, tall, lovely and a flyer with wings who can soar to the heavens.

On the first day at a school just for MORFS survivors, she meets a boy with a troubled past. Her attraction to him is real, but can their young love survive the trials of life and family without crashing and burning?

EXCERPT:

School quickly settled into a routine for the couple. They would wait for each other at the landing zone in the morning, spend their lunch and any other time they could together on the school grounds. After school they would fly to Angel’s house to do homework, canoodle, then Chris would fly home just as it was getting dark.

The weekends were spent in the air. Angel worked with her boyfriend to get him to let go of his fear and soar. She could hear his laughter and screams of joy as they rode thermals so far up it was hard for them to breathe, then performed aerobatics on the way down that were not in any pilot’s handbook.

During one such excursion, they didn’t track where their antics had taken them and the pair landed in the clearing of a large forest.

“That was great!” Chris exclaimed loudly as Angel flared her wings and landed next to her boyfriend. Both were breathing hard from their aerial antics.

“That was fun. You’re doing really well, Chris,” Angel said as she unzipped the pack Chris carried on his chest. She pulled out two large bottles of energy drinks and several carbohydrate bars. “But you think too much. Just let go and let your instincts take over.”

Angel took her loot and sat down with her back to a large pine tree. Chris shrugged off the pack and sat next to his girlfriend, digging into the pack to come up with another power bar and drink.

“Easy for you to say, oh Queen of the Air,” Chris teased. “I still feel like a fledging, flapping his wings and getting nowhere.”

“Oh foo, Chris,” Angel said, turning to look at the boy. “The only difference between you and me is that I trust myself in the air.”

“And I don’t?”

“Not completely,” Angel said, drawing the zipper down on her jacket. The flight clothing was designed for the chill at altitude, not sitting on the ground during a warm fall day. “When you’re on the ground, do you think about walking?”

“No.”

“That’s the way you need to be in the air. Don’t think about flying, just fly. Let me worry about everything else for right now.”

The pair rested, snacked on the drinks and bars and recovered their strength before starting back home.

Chris followed Angel off the ground, leaving the pack where he’d discarded it. He took Angel’s hand and gently pulled her to him, holding her eyes with his gaze. A shadow of worry crossed Angel’s face just before his lips met hers.

In moments the kiss went from tender to hot. Angel’s world shrank to Chris, feeling his hard body against her, his lips on hers. The small bit of her mind not distracted by the emotions flooding through her registered the boy’s hand slipping inside her flight top, sliding upward.

“Chris,” Angel gasped, pulling away from his kiss, grasping his wrist. “No.”

She urged his hand out from inside her top, and stepped toward him, cuddling with him.

“I’m sorry Angel,” Chris began.

“Don’t be,” Angel started softly, “I’m not ready to go there yet.” She looked up at him. “When I am, I will,” she paused, looking into Chris’ eyes, “with you.”

Parental warning:

            This book contains: social nudity, polyandrous parents, a bisexual sibling, attempted teen suicide and an Angel who is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Angel’s Wings–Release date set

My publisher, eXtasy Books, has set a release date for my second book Angel’s Wings. It will be released on 15 February 2012. Hey, that’s just a couple of days from now! How about that!

Here’s a picture of the cover so you’ll recognize it.

Girl in black catsuit against the dark background.

Angel’s Wings is the second story set in the MORFS story-verse.

My first book Jason To Jessica was described by one reader as ‘out there’. Angel’s Wings is a bit more down to earth.

The story revolves around Angel Sanderson, a young girl that was stricken by the MORFS syndrome when she turned ten years old. Now, five years later, she is struck a second time by MORFS and transformed again. This time into a beautiful teenaged girl, not with little butterfly wings, but with large angel wings that will allow her to soar.

When she returns to school, she meets Chris Adams, another flyer with a troubled past.

Angel also had to learn how to deal with the school bully, bigots and the normal upheavals of teenaged life.

I think you will enjoy the story.

Release date, 15 February at http://www.devinedestinies.com/angel-wings/