Sunday, June 30, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday – Willow in the Desert



 

Arner jerked upright in his bed, wakened from the horror of his latest nightmare to face the horror of his real life.  The empty home of his dream vanished to be replaced by the equally desolate room of his Freetown abode.
He swallowed; surprised as always that his throat wasn’t raw from screaming their names.  Wendy, George, Tom, and little baby Pam.  But no, his echoing cries had only happened in the nightmare in which he’d run from abandoned room to abandoned room, where they had all once lived and nobody lived anymore.
Gone.

Available from Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and Smashwords. You can get it in paperback too.

Friday, June 28, 2013

First Five Friday – Lilith


 

Chapter 26

             Lilith and Naamah stepped into the hospital and blinked at the bluish-green light that filled the lobby, making it seem almost as if they’d stepped into an aquarium.  After being under the black night sky for almost an hour, the fluorescents stung Lilith’s eyes.  As she stood still and adjusted to the glare, she consulted her senses for the presence of other demonkind.
            “There are no halflings here.” 

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday – The Willow and the Stone


 
            Carli grew a bit louder for a moment then her voice subsided altogether.
            "Does she do that a lot?"  Adam’s voice sounded half-amused, half-worried.
            "Almost every night, and it's the same dream over and over."  Glad to have a neutral subject, Renee explained the recurring dream of the Native American and the petite blonde’s obsession with the Rock.  "I worry she's losing her grip on reality," she finished. 

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Five Friday – Willow in the Desert




 
Chapter 14

Gordon finished his feed on a guinea pig, feeling the companionable warmth of Amanda at his side as she dined on a rabbit’s blood.  He would have liked to have continued standing there, waiting for her to finish her meal, but he knew how awkward most people found his silences.  She might even think he was being creepy, and he did not want Amanda thinking that.  Reluctantly, he disposed of the guinea pig’s carcass and headed for his cot.   

Available from Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and Smashwords.  Available in paperback too.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday – Lilith’s Return



 
“Creation is key,” Lilith whispered and stroked her flat abdomen with long fingernails.  She kept her thoughts serene to maintain the unborn’s quiet dreaming time.  Lilith didn’t engage in thoughts of the embryo’s ultimate fate.  Even in the womb a demon child had abilities, abilities it might choose to use against her should it be roused.

“Mommy’s little darling,” Lilith cooed in a saccharine tone.  She even managed to keep her lip from curling with disgust as she said it.
Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

First Five Friday – The Willow and the Stone


 

Chapter 24

            The Old One grasped Carli's hand and led her into the murky interior of the Arena.  She repressed a shudder at the touch of the bristled pincer.
            Its voice drifted back to her.  "It's a pity you can't see the fighting.  This must have been what ancient Rome was like when the citizens crowded the Coliseum to watch the gladiators." 

Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday – Lilith


 
            Father Luis’ face reddened, but his voice remained steady.  “Of all people to show compassion for demonkind, you’d be the last I’d put on the list.  Does it have something to do with the succubus Lena Morris?  Roger told me you’d accessed her file.”
            “She was the Planters’ younger sister.  Did you read it?”
 
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords


Friday, June 7, 2013

Lilith's Return - Read the First Chapter Now



 
The sequel to my horror novel Lilith is now available.  Lilith Returns is out as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  It is also available in print.  Read on for the back cover blurb and all of Chapter 1. 

Back cover: 

When Alex, Colwyn, and Jacob Lasham exiled the mother of demonkind from Earth 25 years ago, they thought they’d never see her again.  Yet evil refuses to stay dead, and Lilith has a score to settle with the trio.  She is determined to have Earth as her undisputed realm, and the Lashams will be the first to fall in her renewed war. 

Alex and Colwyn’s daughter Lena has no interest in the family business of destroying demons.  She is young and carefree and wants to be normal ... as normal as a clairvoyant quarter-demon can be, anyway.  However, Lilith’s return threatens her family, and Lena is forced to take up the fight alongside her parents and uncle. 

This time, Lilith has the upper hand and the destruction of mankind is imminent.  Lena discovers that to save the Earth she must do the unthinkable:  join forces with the one creature more deadly and profane than even Lilith.  But will Lena’s agreement with the Father of Lies be worth the lives of all mankind, her sanity, and her soul?  Or will she become the gateway for a greater destruction to Earth? 

Chapter 1 

Oblivion.  Nowhere.  The endless void.  Perfect, sublime nothingness.  Here the essence of what had been a dread creature rested, one despised by mankind, angelic beings, and evil entities alike. She drifted, feeling safe and quiet for the eternal moment.  Restoring.  Recovering.
She always came to this place between struggles.  Where pain disappeared and she could huddle with her neverending disappointment and anger, screaming silently against the unfairness of her situation.  Where she could castigate herself for blind stupidity once again. 
But she hadn’t been stupid this last time.  She’d been smart, her plan flawless, her supremacy unmatched.  Still, it hadn’t mattered.  She’d been sent away, defeated once more. 
Here between the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Earth she knew she’d find a semblance of peace eventually.  She floated in the ethereal plane, where nothing else existed and nothing mattered.  While others found only madness in this vast void, she found relief. 
The entity didn’t know how long she’d been here this time.  She’d at last gotten to the point where ceaseless rage no longer held her in its violent grip.  She was able to rest for longer and longer periods of time, to not think of what had been kept just out of her straining reach once more.  Long enough to bask in nothingness.  Still, she knew it hadn’t been a great stretch of time because she didn’t want to go back to Earth yet.  The abyss still comforted her too much, offering a reprieve from the chaos.  It was safe here, away from the burning hatred, the overriding need for revenge, and the pain.
Oh God, there was so much pain in that other place.
Later she would reflect that last thought must have been what had summoned the golden light.  It crept in so gradually that she remained blissfully unaware of it at first.  Who knew how long the Other had waited for those words, patiently biding its time?  But time was meaningless here.  Seconds felt like eons, and eternity waned within seconds.  Time was only a fabrication made by man after all.
The light snuck up on her, so very stealthy that it had chased away most of the black oblivion before she grew cognizant of its arrival.  It had inched in to fill her senses with warmth and alien contentment.  It was like being in a living sunbeam.  Its silent, imperceptible advent lulled her.  She remained blissfully unaware she was no longer alone until a sound like an eternally exhaling breath drifted mistily through her essence.  Even then she didn’t panic until she heard something like tinkling bells in the nonexistent distance.
In her great dread, she didn’t try to reason that the Other was never far away.  The Other was everywhere.  It simply chose to express itself only in certain places and for certain entities.  But right now, all she knew was she needed to get back to the empty ether, to where the Other never spoke.  Where the questions and accusations would not come.  But where had the void disappeared to?  Everywhere she turned, she beheld only the golden light, and those terrifyingly sweet tinkling bells were coming closer.
Then the Other’s voice spoke, still so well-known despite the millennia since she’d last heard it.  It was as much felt as heard, no harsher than a summer’s breeze and yet mightier than the most earthshaking clap of thunder.  She shrank before its quiet, monumental force, becoming a tiny mote of consciousness in its vast presence.
Lilith.  Lost, angry child of Mine. 
She made a soundless scream to hear her name spoken by that yearned for and despised voice.  She made herself smaller, as if she could ever deny the all-seeing eyes. 
Why are you hiding from me?  Stay in the light and let yourself see for once. 
Instead, she flew away, feeling the atmosphere around her growing denser as if it would hold her in place, a helpless insect caught in a Venus flytrap.  No, no, she had to escape.  She could not face the Other, could not bear the disappointment, the millennia of wrongs she had committed, the judgment that must follow.  The air thickened, bearing heavily against her as she sought the empty void.  She came up against a barrier, something solid. 
Lilith.  Stay with Me.
It almost sounded sad, as if entreating a long lost lover.  It was a trick, of course.  It had to be.  She could never feel its adoration again.  She wandered permanently astray, with no way home ever.  She clawed at the unseen wall trapping her, dashed herself against it until she broke through. 
She fell like a stone, plummeting faster and faster.  The golden light changed; it became orange and then hectic red, and she imagined she fell into a fiery pit.  She closed her eyes against the angry glare, the light behind her closed eyelids scarlet like blood. 
When she came up hard against another barrier, too solid to be the flames she’d been certain she’d find, she clawed at it too.  Pain dug into her fingertips, the obstruction gritty against her skin, the scent of brine filling her nose…
Fingertips?  Skin?  Nose?
She opened her startled eyes.  She had returned to the material without trying, back before she was ready, she was solid, she was…
…on Earth again.  Shuddering all over, Lilith dragged herself to her bare feet in the middle of a thin, one-lane gravel road. 
She was corporeal and naked.  Usually, she carefully prepared before chancing the Earth realm again, looking for just the right time and place to launch another offensive against the children of Adam.  To cleanse the world, her world, of mankind’s infestation.  Panicked by the presence of the Other, she had blundered back senseless and blind.
Lilith looked around at her surroundings.  Dark enveloped the world, signaling nighttime, with no one around to see her naked.  Long wavy red hair flowed over her shoulders, covering her bountiful breasts.  The air wafted soothingly warm, the breeze refreshing rather than leaving her shivering with cold.  No, the fine tremors that ran down her frame were from reaction to the near encounter with the Other on the ethereal plane, not to mention the shock of suddenly finding herself physical once more. 
A slight breeze sighed.  In its wake, the few pine trees that dotted the area whispered secrets overhead.  The soft splashing of waves of the nearby creek lapped against a wooden bulkhead.  The sound seemed very familiar to Lilith, as did the sea salt teasing her nostrils. 
A simple, rustic cabin occupied the lot on one side of the gravel lane where she stood.  Its porch light glowed like a tiny golden sun, orbited by dozens of fluttering moths.  On the other side, facing the cabin, was a pretty white cottage with a wraparound porch.  She’d never seen either place, but the general landscape seemed eerily familiar.
After a moment, Lilith gasped, recognizing her surroundings.  She only had to imagine a tidy doublewide trailer instead of the cabin and a derelict two-story house in place of the storybook cottage.  This was where she had last left the Earth, falling in all-too familiar defeat while battling a member of her age-old enemy, the Segreto.
Her lips wrinkled back in an unconscious snarl.  The Segreto.  Had there ever been such a hated entity?  For untold centuries, the organization had kept her from claiming what by all rights should belong to her.  First it had been the Hebrews who had defied her, loose confederations located in the larger towns.  Those ancient people performed rites to send her away when she dared to walk the Earth.  They defeated her at every turn as she tried to take back what Adam and his simpering second wife Eve had stolen.  Then with the rise of Christendom and the Catholic Church, the secretive Segreto had taken up the fight, thwarting her time after time in her pursuit of murderous justice.
The last time Lilith had tried to wrest control of Earth from mankind, she’d wiped out all but one of the holy sect.  With no way to know how many years had passed since that last fight, she wondered if the bitch Alex Williams still lived.  If the Segreto had reformed and awaited the demoness’ return.
“I’m not ready to do this again,” Lilith hissed to herself.  She felt a scream uncoiling in the pit of her belly, but she refused to voice it.  Prepared or not, she was back on Earth.  She would not be able to return to the calm darkness of the ether until the body she’d spun out of nothingness was destroyed. 
At least the cover of night concealed the mother of demonkind for now.  Had she descended into the middle of a busy marketplace in daylight, she would have had many problems to contend with.  Her enemies might have been made aware of her quickly.  She had time to do a little thinking before she had to make a move.
Before any real decisions could be made, she needed to find clothing and a place to live.  A safe base of operations, if she was to take up the fight for her realm once more.  But for the moment, curiosity won out over self-preservation. 
Lilith looked at the crude but homey cabin, now on the site where her enemy had lived.  Where Alex Williams had destroyed her hopes yet again.  Was she still in residence?  Did she live on this spot yet, thinking herself safe from the immortal succubus who’d nearly killed her and her unborn child?
Lilith crept to the home’s front window.  The sheers were closed but the curtains pulled back, giving her a gauzy glimpse into the cabin’s den.  Blue light from the television flickered.  In its illumination, she caught sight of a man seated in a recliner before it.  He was intent on the images flashing across the large flat screen, so she looked over the situation as best as she could.
The furniture was big and bulky, the television the only thing hanging on the wall.  What looked like a pile of clothing heaped on the floor on one side.  Fishing rods leaned in the far corner.  Wooden TV trays on crossbar legs served as tables.  She saw nothing to suggest femininity about the room. 
Lilith decided to take the chance that the man stayed alone in the cabin.  Perhaps he was a bachelor or just getting away from his family, but the single vehicle in the driveway, a huge mud splattered pickup truck, also gave her reason to believe the man had no company in the cabin.
Reassured, she went to the front door.  A small diamond-shaped window reflected her image back at her, and she blinked to see herself with the same features as the last time she’d been on Earth.  Big green eyes rimmed with long, dark lashes.  Straight, upturned nose.  High cheekbones.  Full, pouty lips.  A gorgeous creature that turned men’s heads.  She looked down at her body, paying attention for the first time.  She had formed exactly as before; huge tits, tiny waist, round hips.  If Alex Williams was still alive, was still living in this spot, she’d know Lilith on sight.
The demoness dismissed the concern and knocked.  She waited patiently, listening to heavy footsteps approach from within.  Seconds later the door swung open, and a ruggedly handsome man peered out at her.
“Yeah – whoa, what the hell?”  His eyes were perfectly round as he took in the improbable sight of a statuesque naked redhead standing on his porch.
Lilith didn’t give him time to realize he was in trouble.  She grabbed him by the back of the neck and captured his gaze with hers.  Almost immediately his face went slack.
“Is anyone else here?” she demanded.
“No.  They’re at home.”  His voice sounded low, as if he dredged it from somewhere deep inside himself.
“Only you?  And you don’t expect anyone to come here tonight?” she pressed.  She had to be sure.
“Yes.  I am all alone for the weekend.”
“Do you know Alex Williams?”
“Never heard of – wait, she owned this property before the guy I bought it from.  I saw her name on the papers.”
No Segreto bitch to fight right away then.  Tension bled from Lilith’s shoulders.  “Do you have any women’s clothes here?”
“My wife has some things she keeps in the closet.”
Lilith could hope there would be something that would fit.  She smiled.  “You want me.”
Her victim said nothing, but a line of drool escaped from one corner of his slack mouth.  When Lilith’s hand went to his crotch, she found him hard.  And big.  Her smile grew.  “Good.  You will do very well.  Show me to the bedroom and take your clothes off.”
The man immediately turned and marched inside.  She followed him down a hall, admiring his wide shoulders and the taut buttocks wrapped in tight jeans.  Very delectable for a descendant of Adam, though she reviled the race.
Clothing, shelter for the night, and a delicious-looking man to feed on.  It was a good start. 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  Also available in print.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Excerpt from 'Lilith's Return', Now Available for Sale



 
The man’s chuckle flicked across her skin like heated flames.  It was an appropriate sensation.  “That all depends.  You are of the First Wife’s blood.  Who are you looking for?”
Lena was suddenly aware she’d somehow walked to the foot of the bed without realizing it.  How had that happened?  She made herself take a step back, glancing at the starlet-looking girl in bed with the dark man.  Blondie looked back, her expression bored and somehow blank.
“Lilith’s child?  I asked who are you looking for?” the man prodded.
Being called Lilith’s jerked Lena out of her dazed confusion.  “I’m not hers.  I’m descended from her yes, but—”  She shook her head, realizing she babbled.  “I’m looking for Lucifer?  The Prince of Darkness?  Do you know him?”
He chuckled with delight at that.  Lena’s face went hot.  She knew how ludicrous she sounded. 
Then she thought about what he’d said a moment before.  Lena’s eyes widened.  She’d felt so ridiculous by asking for the whereabouts of Satan that she didn’t immediately realize the man in the bed knew she possessed demon blood.  She’d sensed no demonic power from him.  He possessed none of the power surge she always felt from one of her kind. 
He must be one of those rare humans like Mom who can sense demonkind, Lena thought.
The man rose from the bed, and Lena managed to avert her eyes before the sheets slid down to reveal any naked parts she didn’t need to see.  The little blonde made a sound of protest as he left her.  Lena peeked to see him belting a black velvet robe and regarding the other woman with a cold expression.
“We will finish our business later.  Leave for now.”
The starlet-looking girl puffed her lips out in a pretty pout.  She bounced her perky, pretty body out of the bed, swinging a short, red silk robe over her slender and yet voluptuous frame.  Lena found herself wondering uncharitably how much of her perfect body was what nature had given her.  No one should look like that without surgical help.
With a cross look at Lena, the precious little thing flounced out of the room.
“Now, Lena, child of Lilith.  To what do I owe this visit?” the deep voice invited.
She turned her attention to the man again and tried not to drool.  He was darkly stunning, looking as if he’d be equally at home in a tuxedo and Bentley as he might in a leather jacket astride a Harley.  Lena caught herself checking out the well-muscled chest framed by the robe and the peek of thigh revealed by the loosely tied edges.  Worst still, he caught her looking and one corner of his mouth lifted in amusement.
Her embarrassment translated into anger.  “I’m not Lilith’s child,” she repeated.  “And whether you believe it or not, I really am looking for Satan.”
“Whom you’ve found,” he said, spreading his arms open wide.  The robe was in sudden danger of revealing more than chest and leg.  Lena jerked her eyes away.
“You can’t be,” she insisted, feeling heat flush her face again.  “I can’t – I don’t feel anything from you.”
“Of course not.  I find others think such a display to be off-putting.  However, if it will help—” 
The tidal wave of power erased everything Lena felt, saw, or heard.  There was only the sense of being washed under a tsunami of crushing force.  She couldn’t even gather her senses enough to scream as she felt simultaneously smashed against from without and exploded from within.
Then it was over, and Lena discovered she had crumpled in a heap at the man’s feet.  She looked up at his dark face.  His eyes were a brilliant blue, and his smile blinded.  She detected no sense of demonic energy from him whatsoever.  While his beauty was almost unearthly, Lena never in a million years would guess what he was. 
She’d never been so scared in all her life. 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Beware of Bikini-Clad Demonesses



 
“Succubi!” someone yelled.
Alex stared at the improbable scene of dozens of beautiful, bikini-clad women sweeping towards her little group.  She barely had time to think, when did fighting evil become a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue?   Then her demon recognition hit with a violent wallop that left her gasping.
Around just her family, Alex’s ability to recognize demons in her environment registered as a strong but pleasant buzzing within her body.  Among the larger group of the Segreto, it was almost electrical, making the hairs on her arms lift. 
With no structure between her and the oncoming buxom menace, Alex could barely draw breath.  The buzzing in her body felt painful in its intensity, making her bend almost double.  Lena grabbed her by the arm and jerked her upright.  “Mom!  Are you okay?”
Colwyn was only a step away, but he shouted to her as if separated by miles.  “Keep going!”  His call rang out over the harpy screeches of the rapidly closing succubi.  “All females, with Alex!  Your objective is Lilith.  Leave the rest to us.”
The men could only hide behind rites and religious symbols.  With the overwhelming number of succubi, they wouldn’t last long.  Choking past the lump in her throat, Alex begged her husband, “Be careful.”
Colwyn brushed a quick kiss to her forehead and pushed her towards the back of the mansion.  “You too.”
He turned with Jacob and raced towards the other male members of the Segreto, who were already trying to hold the succubi back.  Unable to watch them fight an almost unstoppable foe, Alex turned her face towards that dancing light from the backyard pool.  She took off running, yelling back at the other five females, “Come on, ladies.  Let’s get that bitch.”
Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. 


 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lilith's Return Now at Amazon and Smashwords




A spike in men’s deaths in coastal North Carolina.  Where the Catholic Church’s American arm of the Segreto once headquartered.  Where Alex and Lilith had fought.
Coincidence.  Has to be.
But what if it wasn’t?
Lena ran out of patience when a law firm’s ad aired.  She gave up on waiting for the news and sat down at her computer.  Moments later, she scrolled through a news website of the area. 
The dozens of deaths were spread over three adjoining counties; Pamlico, Carteret, and mostly Craven, which sat between the other two.  To someone well versed in the ways and means of succubi attacks, Lena felt pretty confident that was exactly what she was looking at, especially since the victims were mostly young and middle-aged men. 
What chilled her most wasn’t the evidence of demonic attacks, however.  Another headline on a sidebar caught Lena’s eye:  Church Burns to the Ground.  Her heart pounding, she clicked the story.
 

St. George’s Catholic Church in Havelock is being deemed a complete loss following Tuesday’s fire that destroyed the chapel, the attached orphanage, and the private school on the grounds.  Fire Marshall John Huffman has concluded the cause was arson and says, “It’s a miracle no one was killed.” 

“Oh shit,” Lena breathed.  It was the church that had once housed the original Segreto, the entity once tasked with destroying demonkind on Earth.  The place her mother had called home for most of the first half of her life.
“Maybe it’s just a member of demonkind.  A retaliation, the family of someone who that Segreto killed,” she said, unaware she spoke out loud to herself.  Her own aunt whom Lena was named for had been slaughtered by the Segreto.  It had caused no end of distrust between Alex and Colwyn when they first met. 
The pictures showed the blackened brick shells of buildings that surrounded the still-standing playground.  Alex had been raised in that orphanage.  She’d taken communion in that church.  Had fought their war until they excommunicated her for using witchcraft.  Then Lilith had shown up, prompting the Segreto to reinstate Alex so that she could fight off mankind’s bitterest enemy.  In the end, Lilith had wiped the original Segreto out, leaving Alex as the sole survivor.  With Colwyn, Alex had formed a new Segreto, one made up of humans and good demi-demons, the kind that didn’t cause suffering in order to feed on it.
One picture, that of the church’s white-paneled lighted sign, froze Lena.  She could scarcely breathe as she stared at the words painted on it.  She’d seen dark brown stains like those that made up the message before, and a quick glance at the caption beneath the photo confirmed her suspicions.  Officials had not yet confirmed whether the dried blood used to write the terse command was animal or human.
Lena stared at the four words that ran in streaks down the sign that would have been lit at night to invite the public to come worship.  Now it spoke a furious demand, and Lena had no doubt as to whose words it spoke.  Even as she reached for the phone on the nearby table, she couldn’t tear her gaze away.  She dialed by feel, her fingertips unerringly pressing the numbers on the handset despite the tremor that seized them.
When her father’s deep voice came on the line, a comforting rumble that had always soothed her, Lena still stared at the words.  She knew that as long as she drew breath on this Earth, she would never forget how the letters looked.  They dripped, obscene and angry, bloody like the mind that had birthed them.  The hateful order would be as if branded on her brain for all eternity, freezing her heart whenever it came to mind.
In all capital letters, like a feral scream it read, SEGRETO GIVE ME ALEX.
Through numb lips Lena whispered into the phone, “Dad?  You and Mom need to come home right now.”

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.