Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sneak Peek!

Finally done with the first eight chapters of my new novel, DEVIATIONS. Here's a sneak peek from the end of chapter eight. 
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I spin and give the orderly my fiercest glare. “You want me to trust an orderly?”
“I’m not an orderly,” he says, his eyes darting down the street where the shouts are getting louder. “My name is Amos. I’m part of a rebel group, and I’ve been planted in the hall for the past seven months. We’ve been working on a way to get you out ever since your trial.”
I search his face, looking for lies hidden in his expression. “What?”
“Do you really think you’re the type to lead a rebellion?” he asks.
            I shake my head emphatically. “No.”
            “Then let’s prove them wrong.”
            “How?”
            “Get your list. Prove it’s not you.”
Dimwitted idiot. “They can’t find my list!” I hiss.
He exhales sharply. “Lists are kept at the Reserve. In the Archives. You were right; everyone has a list. Yours must still be there.”
“So?”
“So get it. Bring it back here. And prove that you’re not the one they’re looking for. “
I stare at him like he’s lost his mind. Because surely he has. It’s somewhere with my list, in the realm of the unobtainable.
Amos glances down the street. “Look, the only thing that’s going to save your life and those you care about is to prove to the Order you’re not the leader of a future rebellion. The only way to do that is to find your list.”
            “I am the most wanted person in all of Alladia!" I whisper. "What are the chances this will work?”
“What are your chances if you stay here?” he counters.
The truth smacks around inside my head. I see it there: the judge’s stern gaze. The Order’s look of approval at my sentence. The tattoos on the Executioner’s body. I either become an outlaw trying to prove my innocence or stay here and agree with their sentence of guilt.
Shouts echo off the stone wall. I stare up at Amos. “Why do you want to help me?”
His eyes soften. “Because I don’t think you are who they say they are.”
“They’ll kill you, too. Why risk it?”
“Sometimes doing the right thing is worth the risk.”
My eyes bore into his as I try to figure out if he’s honest or the biggest fraud in the world.
            Amos snatches my hand in his and tugs me around the corner just as torch lights spill onto the street we’d been standing on. I race after him, my heart pounding a furious rhythm in my head that I am either the luckiest girl alive or the stupidest person to ever breathe air. We dash down a tangle of streets, Amos pulling me farther and farther away from my iron prison. When we come to the city wall, he squats down and quickly tosses away a pile of garbage, revealing an opening just wide enough for me to shimmy through. He joins me on the other side, his face dim in the moonlight, then he moves in front of me.
I grab his arm. “Where are we going?”
He throws a smirk over his shoulder. “To freedom, Lennan Eastley.”
Fear mingles with hope inside my chest. I have no time to question him farther as he grabs my hand again. And without another word, I let this red haired vagrant lead me away into the night.



Friday, December 9, 2016

Incognito


(via)






Calder stepped back on his heels. The air around him hung heavy and crisp, cloaking him with cold. He sniffed the air, once again thinking that cold smelled almost clean.

Foul air they have in this world.

He ran his tongue over his teeth and glanced once more at the iron gates, the palace behind it quiet and dark. Dark enough that he knew everyone inside was sleeping. Dark enough that they'd never see him as he made his way inside and into each bedroom.

His boots clipped against stone as he scaled the wall, flinging himself over the top with grace that most in his cadre envied. The thought made him grin.

Sixty seconds and he was at a side door. A guard stood sentry. Calder pressed himself into the shadows, darkness blending with darkness. He checked the bedrooms.

The servant's quarters.

The barracks of soldiers in the east yard.

His breath swirled into white clouds as he exhaled, studying the palace grounds; his eyes probing into corners and places he could check again. But he was thorough. And wouldn't deign himself to check again like a novice soldier. No. What he searched for wasn't here.

Cursing under his breath, he ran and scaled the wall, landing with barely a sound on the other side. Anger simmered inside him. This was the ninth place he'd checked this week. And he'd failed his mission again. Master would not be pleased.

*******

It was a short trip back to headquarters. Calder slipped into the War Room. Amir and Garvan glanced up as he entered, brows raised in question. Calder shook his head and watched in disgust as Amir crossed his city off the list. More lines were added each day. They were running out of time. He knew it. Master surely knew it. Still, they couldn't find him.

A roar of a scream echoed up the hall, shaking the room with it's intensity. Calder turned just as Master strode into the room, his face tight with rage. "Who had David's City?"

The question hung in the air for but a moment, but it was a moment too long. Master snatched Amir's neck in his grasp,. Amir gasped, his eyes growing large as he struggled for air. Master roared in his face. "Who had David's City?"

Calder stepped forward. "It was mine."

Six strides and Master was in front of him. He paused, his face serene where it had just been enraged. One breath. Two.

Calder didn't even see the fist coming.

He collapsed to the ground, cheek burning in agony, as Master's fist found him again. He stumbled but finally got his feet underneath him, then placed his palms on the cold stone floor. Submission was the only course allowed. The only one Master accepted. The only one that made Master proud. Calder pressed his cheek to the floor, rock scraping against it as Master's blows pummeled his back.

Minutes passed. He should get more. "I am sorry to have disappointed you, Master. Nine times my search revealed nothing. I indeed deserve your wrath."

Master grabbed the back of his neck and jerked him upright. "Nothing? Nothing?" He tossed Calder to the ground again, then raised his arms as he turned to the rest in the room. "This soldier thinks there was nothing to be found in his cities."

Master seized Calder's neck again, pressing his face mere inches from Calder's. "He was in the city."

Master's words echoed off the rock. But no. No; he couldn't have been. "I checked everywhere, Master." Every palace. Every barrack. Hidden political meetings. Groups of rebellious men. He'd even stood in the shadows of every temple, the reek of worship clinging to him for days afterward. Anywhere a leader might be found.

The hand around his neck squeezed tighter. Master's eyes loomed before him, dark and burning. "He was there. They've just announced it. You missed him."

Missed. But how? Calder never missed. "I saw no man such as he, Master."

Master tossed him to the ground with a bitter laugh. "No, you disgraced vermin. You saw no such man. What you should have seen was a child."

The air left Calder's lungs. "A child?"

"Yes." Master circled the room, his hand grazing the rough rock wall. "A baby. Born this night in David's City." He cocked his head to the tunnel entrance. "I can hear their wretched rejoicing even from here."

Calder fell to his knees. A baby? That couldn't be. Battles weren't fought by babies. Victory could not be had by such ridiculousness. It wouldn't work.

But wouldn't it? The enemy was clever. And what better way to throw them off than to disguise himself as a human child.

Calder curled his hands into fists. Babies were foul things. It was just like their weak-hearted enemy to embrace the humans like this. Which was foolish. Humans are soft. Weak. Easily turned.

And desperate for power.

"I will redeem it, Master."

Master snapped his head to him. "What was that, slave?"

Calder bowed his head in submission. "I will redeem it. I will destroy the child."

Master shook his head. "We have no direct access to him. Not until later."

"But others do." He raised his head and met Master's gaze. "Others can be influenced."

Master studied Calder's face. "What do you have in mind?"

He would redeem this. Calder's lips slipped into a wicked grin. "I'll whisper rumors of a King of the Jews. And I'll make sure Herod hears it."

Master's eyes lit. He thought only a moment, then nodded. "Make sure he kills them all."

Calder bowed, then slipped from the cavern and out into the night air again. He would not fail this time. His drew his cloak tighter around him, his dark form bleeding into the night again. Yes. Redemption was coming.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Christmas present to remember

(via)
Here's the last installment of our Christmas story. If you're just now tuning in, check out the beginning of the story:

On to Part Four!

5 words:
bows
ribbons
ham
family
nutcracker


I have no idea what time it is. The past twenty four hours have been such a blur. What I do know, is that this bed is wicked uncomfortable, and I cannot wait to go home. Home to our apartment, our coffee, our shower, and a room stocked with bows and ribbons and a million pink things.

I lean my head back against the bed, exhaustion crowding in. I fight it, and watch Dean where he stands next to my bed. He smiles down at the bundle in his arms, and Charlotte's little eyes go wide as she smiles.

"She's such a ham," I say as press my fingers to her fuzzy hair. "Just like her daddy."

Dean grins and cuts his eyes to me. "Just like her mom, you mean." He smiles down at Charlotte. "You're beautiful like your mama, too, baby girl. Which means Daddy needs you to grow up and be a nutcracker to all the boys who'll want you."

I laugh. It feels so good. We haven't laughed in what feels like ages. "I'm sorry I made us go," I tell him. "You were right; we shouldn't have chanced it." What was I thinking, making us go to his parents the day before my due date? Tears rush out. Gah, darn hormones. All I've done for weeks is cry.

Dean bends and kisses my forehead. "Shh. It all turned out all right. No baby born on the interstate."

"No jail for you for going over 100."

He grins. "That cop was very understanding."

I smile, and he climbs onto the bed beside me, tucking Charlotte between us and looping an arm over my shoulder. "Look at my little family," he says.

I lean my head on his shoulder and stare at our daughter. She looks just like her daddy. I'd been hoping for that. "She's the best Christmas present ever," I whisper.

"I made a wish." Dean's voice is thick, cloaked in tears as he kisses me again. "And both of you came true."

Sleep crowds in, and I drift to sleep to the sound of Dean's heartbeat and the sight of Charlotte's face. There could never be a better Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas on the run...

(via)
Our Christmas saga continues! If you missed Part One, go here to read it.. Part Two can be found here. On to Part Three!

5 words:
bills
heartburn
budget
debt
car trip


I've been fearing this for months.

We left my home in silence, my parent's concerned even amidst my assurances that we were fine. We're fine. We're going to be fine.

Oh gosh, I hope we're fine.

I glance over at Kacey, tight lipped and staring at nothing.

She's been mad at me for weeks. And I don't blame her. All I've been doing is obsessing about bills, making budgets and fretting about debt. Meanwhile she's been sleeping on the couch, dealing with heartburn and a husband who fought with her countless times over a car trip to visit my folks.

One day I will tell her I told her so.

She sucks in a breath and braces herself on the dashboard. Today is not the day to tell her.

"Just fifteen more minutes, baby." I reach over and grip her hand as I dart through traffic like a mad man. Hospital, hospital, hospital. I will not let my wife deliver our baby in our car.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas continues...

(via)

Our Christmas Story continues. If you missed Part One, you can read it here. Part Two continues below:


5 words:
holly
mistletoe
poinsettia
fruitcake
grinch

Man, this sucks.

I fake a smile at my dad, already forgetting what we were just talking about. Kacey sits ten feet away on the sofa, tension showing on her face as she nibbles on a slice of my Aunt Glady's fruitcake. That'd give it away, if I didn't already know she was so mad at me. Who actually eats Aunt Gladys' fruitcake?

I sigh as Kacey grimaces. She stares at the Christmas tree in the living room, decked out with lights and ornaments I made in grade school. I wonder if she even sees it. If she sees the nativity scene or the half dozen poinsettias scattered around the living room. The candles in the window. Mom goes all out for Christmas; it's one of the reasons Kacey wanted to come today. She loves Christmas. And here I'm ruining it for her.

But I don't know how to stop.

Some holly, jolly Christmas.

I reach up to the door frame and break off a sprig of mistletoe. Kacey doesn't see me coming, so I place a hand on her shoulder. She looks up at me, and my heart crushes under the weight of my love for her.

I dangle the mistletoe in front of her. "I'm sorry I'm such a grinch."

She smiles. Not a full smile. Just a small one. Her eyes are tired, and she'll hate me for suggesting she take a nap later.

But I'll still do it.

I kneel behind her, so my head is right beside hers. "Forgive me?" I whisper.

Her eyes grow wide, and she looks me square in the eyes. "I think we need to leave now."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Because sometimes the holidays aren't what you want

(via)

5 words:
garland
cookies
home
icicles
laughter


35 miles. That's it. 35 miles, and the silence will be over.

I glance over at Dean: eyes straight ahead, knuckles gripping the steering wheel so tight they've almost turned white. The mood between us is so cold, icicles may start forming in the corner of our SUV.

35 miles until we reach his parent's home. Where everyone will be happy and laughing. Except us. 

Gosh, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Two years into marriage, and this is where we are. Barely speaking. At Christmas. I take in a deep breath, and wish I could blow away this tension as I exhale.

Dean glances over at me. "You ok?"

I stare out the window. "I think we both know the answer to that question."

He doesn't answer. Doesn't make another sound until we're pulling into his parent's driveway. The outside lights are on, and garland drapes over the front railing. Festive. Just like his mom to go all out. No doubt she'll have mountains of food inside. Which sounds glorious. I may eat my weight in cookies, and not even care. 

I reach for the door handle.

"Kace."

I stop and glance over at my husband. His brows are furrowed, as they always are when he's worried. Most days I think it's cute. Today I don't have the energy for him. He opens his mouth, but I cut him off. "I know you didn't want to come today. But I appreciate you doing it."

He nods. "I know it means a lot to you."

"It does."

Silence. Again.

Tears sting my eyes. I open my door. "Let's just go in and pretend we're not mad at each other, ok?"

I don't even turn around to see if he follows me inside.




Thursday, November 17, 2016

Something new

Hello fair friends and readers! I've finally got my brain back (praise Jesus for babies who figure out they can sleep on their stomach and snooze so much better at night!). My new fantasy story is well under way. It's been in my head for ages, and gosh, I'm dying to get it out of my brain and onto paper for crying out loud.

The outline is done (and I never do outlines before I write), and after weeks of struggling, I finally got the 2nd chapter under wraps. This story is definitely going slower than my others have.(babies disrupt ease of writing novels, that's for sure - specially when you still have a part time job). It'll be a while before it's written, but I wanted to give you all a little taste of what it's about.

The title: DEVIATIONS

I came up with the idea one day reading Colossians 2:13-15
"And you, who were dead in you trespasses...God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands."

I started thinking about those words; about a list of all our sins existing with its demands for punishment. And as I was mulling that over, I thought: What if there was a world where there was a literal list of your sins? And you had to stand trial for them?

And thus, the book was born.

The story is based on themes like these:



My main character is Lennan. 


(courtesy of)
17.
Smart.
Loyal.
Dabbles in trading things.
Really good at reading people.
Can't seem to stop lying.
Fiercely protective of her baby brother.


Another main character is Blythe.


17.
Anything but gentle.
Impulsive.
Brash.
Brutally honest (and thrives on it)
Pent on vengeance

Then there's Amos:

(courtesy of)


19.
Passionate.
Zealous.
May be hiding a thing. Or two. Or ten.
Annoys the crap out of Lennan.

Then there's Griffin:

(courtesy of)
19.
Riddled with tattoos of those he's hurt.
Gentle soul.
Makes a living by hurting people, oddly enough.

I love this story (even though it's not written yet). It has lots of things.
Prophets.
Magic.
A city where the laws are engraved in the walls.
Visions.
Enslaved people.
Romance.
Broken characters.
The hope of redemption for each of them.

If this book were published, and you were to pick it up, here's what it would say on the back:

Before Lennan Eastley was born, her trial date was set. Everyone gets one in their seventeenth year. Lennan’s is set for two weeks after her birthday. Her Deviation List will be read. From the biggest offense, to the smallest thing - everything she will ever do wrong is on that list. Her trial will determine her punishment.

But when Lennan gets to trial, her deviation list is missing. Now her government is accusing her of treason, and wants to try her for leading a rebellion in a future she hasn’t lived yet. Lennan knows there’s no way she can be who they say; she’d never compromise her life and those she loves to betray her government. But without her list, proving her innocence is impossible.

Determined to find the truth, Lennan begins making choices she never thought she’d make and doing things she always swore she’d never do. Maybe her government is right. Maybe she really will lead a rebellion and murder thousands. Now Lennan doesn’t know what’s true. About her country. About herself.


She’s going to be guilty of something. She just doesn’t know what yet. 

Stay tuned for more!