Friday, August 31, 2012

First Four Friday - Lilith’s Return

Chapter 2

As Lena Lasham neared her father’s office in the funeral home, she heard his voice rise in frustrated anger behind the closed door.  Next came her mother’s voice, a little quieter but no less heated.  Though she couldn’t make out the words, the tall 24-year old could well imagine what the argument was about … the same damned thing it was always about.

            She stopped outside the oak paneled door, debating on whether or not to interrupt. 
Coming next summer

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Updates on My Books and What I’m Working On

Lilith - My horror novel is available at Amazon and Smashwords, in both ebook and print formats. Thanks to all who have read it and given me such great feedback.
The Willow and the Stone -  This sci-fi adventure can also be found at Amazon and Smashwords.  Again, thanks for the feedback.  If you’ve bought and read either of my books, they could really use some posted reviews (they are up on Goodreads as well, if you like to post reviews there).

Willow in the Desert - I’m doing edits on the follow-up to The Willow and the Stone and anticipate having this out this winter.  I will not be submitting it to the publisher of The Willow and the Stone and Lilith.  I have opted to self-publish this time.  It turns out I’m a bit of a control freak and want more say over my work and how it is presented.
Lilith’s Return - I am also working on a follow-up to Lilith.  Our bad girl is coming back with more mayhem in store for those who would oppose her.

In addition to all this, I have a trilogy of supernatural tales I’m putting together.  The Prophet and the Crown will be an epic journey, starting with the first installment The Fallen.  After that will come Descent and The Prophet and the Crown (yes, same as the overall trilogy name) to wrap this story up.  More info on that as I get further along on it.

Happy reading!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – Lilith

            While he gawked, Lilith grabbed him by the back of his head.  His startled eyes met hers and went blank.  The clipboard hit the ground. 
            “You certainly can help me,” she purred, pulling his face to hers.  “Stay very quiet and still now.”
            She kissed him violently, coiling her tongue about his to draw it into her mouth. 

Available through Kindle and Smashwords

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Four Friday - Lilith

Chapter 16

Despite her best efforts, Alex dropped right on top of the dead man.  The body squelched beneath her, and the air went muddy with the scent of spoiled meat.  His blank eyes stared into hers, the windows to his soul looking into a bare, unfurnished room.
She controlled an urge to scream -- barely.

Available through Kindle and Smashwords

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Random Thursday - Creating the Character - Leo Black Elk

My science fiction novels The Willow and the Stone and the upcoming Willow in the Desert have quite of few characters, one of which is Native American Leo Black Elk.  In these stories, Leo is the last surviving member of the Crow people. 

It’s funny that I came up with Leo long before I met my husband, a member of the St. Regis Mohawk tribe.  I claim no Native American ancestry, being descended from Scots and as lily-white as the day is long.  But like many non-natives, I’ve long been fascinated with the cultures of the first Americans.  My best friend in middle school was Cherokee and I dated a Creek a long time ago. 

While my character Leo has some of those characteristics we non-natives tend to automatically foist on them in our romanticized vision – possessing a wisdom that seems somewhat otherworldly, being in tune with the Earth, and ancestor respect that borders on deification – I tried not to be ridiculous about it.  Leo has had his rough times too.  He was angry as a young man, as many young men tend to be when they come from a marginalized race.  His temper is something he continues to fight in The Willow and the Stone.  But Leo has also found a measure of maturity.  He’s grown to realize that when you live with anger every day of your life, even if that anger is justified, then all you have in the end is anger.  You miss out on the joys because you’re so busy looking for the racism that might be there or might not. 

I once worked with a Mohawk woman in her thirties who had never really spent time off the reservation in the company of other ethnicities.  Beautiful and intelligent with a wonderful sense of humor, I enjoyed being around her.  You can imagine my surprise when she turned to me one day and said, “I didn’t think I would like whites.  I’ve never bothered with them.  But I like you.”  She seemed as shocked by her words as I was.  She’d not expected much good from me, while I, having had the good fortune to enjoy friendships with many races, had few pre-conceived ideas about her.  It was an eye-opener, and I based young Leo on her limited view.

While I fought hard to keep Leo’s character from being the ‘noble savage’ stereotype, I do admit to him being a bit romanticized.  He is one of the heroes of the two stories, after all.  I went for the ‘noble’ part of the equation and did my best to eschew the ‘savage’.  In the end, he’s a good man who carries on a few traditional ways from his culture.

I knew some non-natives might think I treated his ties to his heritage a little light.  I kept this in mind when someone, a white author, mentioned that the name Leonard was hardly Native American and I should go with something else.  It was hard to keep a civil tongue in my head over that bit of blind prejudice.  Yes, many Native Americans have traditional names.  A huge number also have names like my husband and in-laws:  Peter, Natalie, Felicia, and Hubert, to name just a few.  Besides, I took Leo’s name from an actual well-known Native American:  Leonard Peltier who is, according to many including Amnesty International, unjustly serving a prison sentence for murders he did not commit.  (Only the name is used; my character is not in any way based on Mr. Peltier.)

So that’s the genesis of Leo Black Elk:  Native American but every day guy who happens to have ESP.  I guess I did okay with him since no one in my husband’s family has taken me to task over the handling of his character.  I’m still welcome back to the rez for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as far as I know.  It’s a good thing; Leo is one of my favorite characters and I’d hate to think he was all wrong.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – The Prophet and the Crown 2: Descent (WIP)

There were no real features on the surfaces around her, but there were curved openings that led to other places.  After passing the first few (so very long, long ago it was for Mary, Mary, quite contrary), she’d learned not to look into those rooms.  From the corner of her eyes, there seemed to be nothing but great, empty caverns through those doorways, as bland and featureless as the halls she ran down.  But if one stopped and looked, places appeared.  Places in which people did horrid things to other people, things that would make you scream and claw your eyes out if you watched too long.  Things more hellish than that cute little legend of a lake of fire.

Friday, August 10, 2012

First Five Friday – The Prophet and the Crown 2: Descent (WIP)

Scene 2

            A merciless hand snagged her long brown curls and yanked her backwards.  Then another hand, cold and strong as steel, clutched her throat.  That hand slammed her to the concrete floor.  Pain crushed in from the back of her skull, and all the air left her body.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Creating the (Almost) Alien with Asperger’s

I’ve been working hard on a follow-up to my sci-fi novel The Willow and the StoneWillow in the Desert picks up two years after the first book’s events, complete with characters familiar and new.
One of the new characters is Gordon, a man infected with the changes that turns humans into their alien enemies.  Rescued from one of the Old Ones’ Pyramids, he now fights at the side of returning heroes Leo and Carli Black Elk.

Gordon is a hero near and dear to my heart.  He has Asperger’s, a disorder considered by many in the medical community as being part of the autism spectrum.  As the mother of a child with autism and being suspected of having Asperger’s myself, I wanted to create someone who faces the challenges I see every day.  Gordon is based on the experiences I and my child have had, as well as others who cope with the obstacles we’re presented with. 

He doesn’t remember faces or names well.  He doesn’t always pick up on the feelings of others.  He hates looking people in the eyes.  He’s incredibly gifted with engineering know-how that sometimes intimidates others.  He gets stressed easily in new situations, almost to the point where he doesn’t function well.  His quirks sometimes drive others away.

He also has a crush on a woman, wants to make friends, and wishes to be of help to the embattled humans he still counts himself one of.  Despite the changes forever altering him and stealing his humanity, Gordon proves himself valuable to the leaders of the revolt against the Old Ones.  And he does it despite being a minority in a neurotypical society that doesn’t always understand why he acts the way he does.  In the end, despite his Asperger’s Gordon is simply another person, getting along as best he can … and because of the talents he brings, he often does it better than many of the so-called ‘normal’ people.

We’re all gifted in some fashion.  Some of us just need the rest to look a little harder to discover what we offer.  I think Gordon showed up to not only contribute a great character to a story, but to help others see the value in those affected by spectrum disorders.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday – The Prophet and the Crown 1: The Fallen (WIP)

          This place, even with its oppressive humid heat, seemed cold.  The sunlight, beating down to bring a sheen of sweat to his body, was dark.  And he was alone.  Horribly, brutally alone, as if everything he’d ever loved had abandoned him.
The sense of abandonment was so profound, he opened his mouth and screamed, a long drawn-out claxon of horror.
It hurt his throat.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

First Five Friday – The Prophet and the Crown 1: The Fallen (WIP)

Chapter 2

            The darkness of sleep that held Ari suspended in soothing oblivion lightened as if the first glow of morning dawned behind his closed eyes.  Grayish mist drifted across his consciousness.  Gentle scents and sounds wafted to him.  Coffee.  Fresh, deep-fried doughnuts.  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Case of Ghost Envy

I’m such a big fan of the television show Ghost Hunters.  I’ve watched it since its very first episode.  And seeing TAPS investigate places nearby like St. Augustine’s lighthouse and Savannah, Georgia, is always a thrill.  I think, ‘Wow, they were practically in my backyard!’  And I wish I could meet them.  Geek girl alert!

One of my favorite episodes was when TAPS investigated the U.S.S. North Carolina, a battleship in permanent dock as a museum in Wilmington, N.C.  I’m a native of North Carolina, and I’ve visited Wilmington and the battleship a number of times.  I’d never heard of it being haunted, but the Ghost Hunters found plenty to scratch their heads over on that little trip.

Then a short time ago, my cousin Debi who lives in Wilmington and works at the local newspaper told me, “Oh yeah, I was there.  The guys were really cool!  Steve (one of the investigators) took a lot of time to talk with me.  Super nice guy.”

Oh, evil envy.  How it reared its ugly head at that moment.  Debi not only got to interview members of TAPS and take pictures, she even did a little investigating with them!  She saw and heard some really strange stuff, which she told me about with unmitigated glee.  Some people have all the luck.