Saturday, December 16, 2017

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 9 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            "Mac?"  Josh stepped out into the hall, a hammer in one hand, a box of nails in the other, his carpenter's apron bulging with supplies.  He grinned as Duncan waved and continued his leisurely stroll down the hall.  "Thanks for coming.  We could really use six hands for this job today.  My other helpers couldn't come.  I thought it'd just be Andy and me today."

            Andy.  The name caught Duncan's interest.  There couldn't be two Andy's working on renovating the factory building, could there?  Duncan could almost hear Amanda chuckling.  He told himself to be honest -- it wasn't just his role as Darcy's guardian that made him want to check out the young man.


            "Hey, Andy?" Josh called, as Duncan stepped through the doorway into the half-walled room.  "This is Duncan MacLeod.  An old friend.  He's going to be helping us for a while."

            "Hi."  Andy was the red-head who had been working with Josh when Duncan first came in on Friday.  He wore faded jeans and his blue flannel shirt hung open, revealing decent abs -- he didn't get that condition from just carpentry work, Duncan decided.

            Then Duncan saw the tattoo on the young man's wrist and his assessment ground to a halt.  Dark blue, clear and unblurred from recent application, a narrow ring with the familiar triangular insignia inside.

            Watcher.  Not Josh's Watcher.  What had Darcy said about Andy being Martha's grandson?  Martha came with Josh's team to open up new missions.  Watching seemed to run in families.  Where else could they get recruits without exposing themselves to people who might think they were crazy?

            "Nice to meet you," Duncan said, shaking the young man's hand.  His own hand felt slightly clammy as he released him.  It was an effort not to keep watching Andy.  He turned to Josh and held out his sweatshirt-clad arms.  "What do you want me to do?"

            As he and Josh and Andy finished assembling a long section of wall studs and hoisted it into place, then fastened it down and started hanging the drywall, Duncan thought about what he had seen, the implications.  He stole glances at Andy whenever he could without it seeming obvious.  The young Watcher seemed not be paying any attention to him at all.  Duncan found that almost amusing.  He remembered the few times he had walked into a room full of Watchers.  Everyone had stared, either openly or so furtively it had been ludicrously obvious.  Maybe this young man didn't know who Duncan MacLeod was.

            Now that's a blow to your ego, isn't it? Duncan chided silently.  He had to grin at that.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Book of the Week: DIVINE KNIGHT

Excerpt:

Angela's thoughts and her heart skittered away from that knowledge. She threw herself into laughing and teasing with her friends among the students, pointed out new treasures she had brought into the shop, and listened to her regular customers talk about plans for the rest of their break, or term papers they were working on.

She almost forgot about her dreams by the time she closed up the shop and went upstairs to make dinner. The warmth of the spring day had collected in her apartment. After opening the windows and turning on the ceiling fans, she decided the heat wouldn't dissipate fast enough to suit her. She made a salad and a fresh batch of iced tea and went out into her garden to enjoy the soft breezes coming up the slope from the Metroparks.

"Where are you?" she whispered, startling herself.

Where had that thought come from? Who had she been talking to?

The aching feeling inside her hinted at memories she had either put away for the sake of self-preservation...or she had lost altogether. But how could that be? Taking a deep breath to brace herself, Angela moved backwards in her memories, investigating that disturbing dream from the night before. Perhaps the answer was there? She tried to see the knight's features inside the shadows of his helmet, tried to make out the colors of the garden, anything that would give her a stronger clue to where and when, if this was nothing but a dream, or a valid memory. And if a memory, why had she put it so far away in her mind that she had forgotten it?

More important: Why was it coming back to her now? What magic was at work, sifting through the images filling her memories from her very long, full life, attempting communication in those pictures? Friendly magic, warning her? Or inimical magic, attempting to paralyze her with fear, or distract her from something she needed to sense so she could protect against it?

A queasy ripple in the net protecting the shop yanked Angela out of her thoughts. Her heart leaped as she looked around. The shadows had grown long all around her, like cold, dark hands reaching from the night to enfold her. Her hands and knees shook faintly as she hurried to gather up her dishes and go back into the shop. That shiver of fear bothered her more than the sudden certainty that something was out there in the darkness, watching her.


Worse was the realization that she had lost all sense of time and location, just long enough to be terrified. Which was ridiculous. She had done it to herself. Hadn't she?

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book of the Week: DIVINE KNIGHT

Excerpt:

The students from Willis-Brooks College who didn't go home for spring break descended en mass in the afternoon, in search of candy and old movies and used books. Angela let the bustle and laughing voices divert her. She watched them, reading their spirits, seeing who had grown a little more sensitive to the magic pervading the entire town, and who had let their ideas of success and their goals for the future make them a little less aware than the last time they had visited her.

Despite being so late into the school calendar, there were always a handful of students who hadn't come out to visit Divine's yet, and their amazed, confused, fascinated reactions amused her. The ones who shriveled up a little inside themselves as they walked through the shop and sensed the magic waiting to burst out, the thin spots where otherness tried to come through--those particular students made her want to cry a little more than usual, when she saw someone resist the call of magic. If they would listen and open their eyes and other senses to the wonder around them, the potential for magic in their lives, they could embark on amazing, fulfilling lives.

But there were always a few who sensed the silent song of magic, and resisted, closing their ears and souls to it. They wouldn't come back to Divine's again this school year, and they likely would transfer to another college next year. Saying no in their spirits to Divine's Emporium changed them in some way, so that living within the boundaries of Neighborlee became like itching powder constantly sifting through their clothes, or a mosquito hum by their ear. They would flee the irritation. As always, witnessing this pivotal moment in those strangers' lives and knowing how they would choose broke Angela's heart. Yet today, for some reason, it hurt more than ever.

As if she had witnessed someone precious to her make the same choice, repeatedly. Destiny broke the rules to offer the chance and choice, again and again through the centuries, and yet he--she was sure the person was a he--kept saying no, growing colder and more calloused and deaf as the years ground on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Bazaar -- See YOU There?

Still haven't gotten all your Christmas shopping done?

I'm going to be at a huge Christmas bazaar in Akron THIS SATURDAY.


Several writer friends and I will be sharing a double booth. Come see us!
Tamera Lynn Kraft, Mary Ellis, Shellie Arnold, and me!

For more information, follow this link to go to the Facebook page for the event.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book of the Week: DIVINE KNIGHT

This continues the feature on books set in my weird little town of NEIGHBORLEE, OHIO.

Think of a place that's part Mayberry, part Roswell, part Eureka, and part Buffy's Sunnyvale -- but without the vampires or aliens.

Yeah -- MAGIC!
A little creepy at times, a lot of fun, and always something going on. For those who live there, the odd events are kind of shrugged off with a, "Ho, hum, so what ELSE is new?" attitude. And what's really odd is that newcomers don't really notice. Of course, then there's the "we don't want you here, go away" vibe that some people get, so they don't stick around long enough to notice something strange is going on.

All of this is leading up to the release of the next Neighborlee, Ohio book published by Uncial Press: DORM RATS. Otherwise known as Growing Up Neighborlee, Book 2.

DIVINE KNIGHT


Equinox: Maurice has a day of full-size freedom to spend with his true love, Holly. Their day of fun ends in panic, when Angela is attacked and the defenses of Divine's Emporium are breached. In the search to find out who hired thieves to steal books full of inimical magic from the shop and provided them with magic charms to do it, Angela's memories are stirred. Strange dreams disturb her sleep and she asks questions she hasn't thought of in decades. 

Ethan Jarrod, a particularly gifted P.I. with some mysteries of his own, joins forces with local P.I. John Stanzer to identify Angela's enemies. Is Jarrod the knight from her dreams, or the final weapon of her enemies, to destroy all the magic of Divine's Emporium and Angela herself?


Monday, December 11, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: ICE CHILD, by Evangeline Denmark

Want a lovely little Christmas treat?

This short story takes less than an hour to read, although maybe you should try to read it slowly and savor each line. Like the hero, Sipp, the author has proven her master craftsmanship.

Denmark takes a faerie tale trope that appears in many cultures -- a child of ice or snow, a child with suspicious or unknown parentage, a child who all fear because of so many unanswered questions -- and puts her own spin on it. Sipp is considered evil because he looks different, because the fearful and superstitious and self-righteous believe that what makes him different makes him dangerous. Only two people in his short life have given him love and encouragement. The loss of one destroys his dreams ... and when he finds himself, he fears he must give up the other. (Can't tell you any more than that, because then you might not read the story! And you really gotta ...)

Of course, faerie tales do have happy endings, but like many things in the faerie realms, it isn't quite what we suspect or expect.

Sipp hides from the cold, fears snow, tries not to hear the voices in the frozen wind, but like so many of us, he is hiding from his true nature and letting the fears and prejudices of others blind and imprison him. When he breaks free ... watch out.

Beautiful short story. Parable. Lesson. Promise. Like C.S. Lewis talked about in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, this is one of those moments of near-painful longing and satisfaction, and the hint of otherworldly music. Okay, put another author on my must-read-everything-she's-done list.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

BLADE OF INNOCENCE, Highlander the TV series fan fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 8 of the fan novel now available on Wattpad:

            Saturday afternoon, Detective McGee showed up at the old factory building and interrupted Duncan and Josh in a discussion over whether to put a half-wall in the front room of the clinic, or whether to put a service window in the wall.  Neither one knew the man was there until he asked them where he could find Darcy.

            "Hello, Jack," Josh said.  "Darcy?  I think she's in the office, if she's finished with the dishes.  What's up?"

            In answer, McGee dug in his pocket and brought out a clear plastic bag.  Inside was a silver, heart-shaped locket.  Engraved on it were the words: "Darcy, Sweet Sixteen. June 30, 1991."


            "Where did you find this?" Duncan asked, when Josh seemed to go pale, and his fist clenched around the bag.

            "On the body of one of those street punks who beat up on her yesterday," the detective answered.

            Duncan went with Josh and Geneva, accompanying Darcy downtown to identify her assailants in the morgue.  Because it was Darcy's locket, McGee needed her testimony, not just Josh and Duncan's.  Their word was needed too, since they had fought with the gang members.

            The morgue attendant only tugged down the sheets far enough to show the faces of the three dead youths.  Shock was still visible.  They looked very young in death, under the grime and smears of blood.