Monday, May 22, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: SIREN'S FURY, by Mary Weber

The second book in Mary Weber's Storm Siren trilogy is ... painful!

No, not the writing. Not the voice or style. Not the experience.

The torture she inflicts on her characters. The struggles of growth and sacrifice and self-doubt.

At the end of book 1, Nym was ready to celebrate defeating an enemy. She had a bright future ahead of her. Instead of being thoroughly reviled, living as a slave, she was considered a heroine, even though she was still feared. She was learning to control her Elemental powers. There was this guy ...

Then on the last pages, she found out that the enemy she thought was dead and defeated ... wasn't. Even worse than that, this particular nasty had taken over the body of the man she was ready to try to find some "happily ever after" with, which kind of kills the mood, y'know?

This book is about her struggle to face her duty -- kill the invader before he can ruin everything she spent the previous book sacrificing and bleeding for.

So yeah, painful.

But it's  a beautiful, terrible struggle and battle and learning time. Wow ....

The end of this book, despite seeming to be so very dreadful and frustrating, has an upward tilting mood, because there's hope. Maybe. Then again, the second book or second movie of a trilogy always has this "we're never going to get out of this in one piece," sensation, and the awful suspicion that the worst is yet to come. Yet there's hope.

Love it.
Read it.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fan Fiction -- BAIT AND SWITCH -- A Starman fanzine story, sample 2

Here's the second taste of the fanzine story that first appeared in On Wings of Light. Remember, you can find the whole story on Wattpad. Just search for my name.


Rhea sighed. She hated this kind of mess. Lately, it seemed like she had faced more than enough. She had sensed the power, the talent in Scott from far enough away, she knew he had enough potential to be dangerous in the wrong hands. She had not thought the encounter would end up like this.

"Just hold on a second, Scott," she said. "Let me and Malone straighten this out, then you and I will talk. Okay, Malone. You know by now, I can't take this job." She looked down at the file folder with the photos of Scott and his father, sitting on her lap. "He's one of mine -- I could feel his energy a mile off. He could be the main target."

Malone grunted agreement and stalked across the room to stand in front of her. He gave Scott one distrustful look, then turned his back on the boy. Rhea wavered between laughter and frustration. Malone was worried about her -- he wouldn't believe if she said Scott was no threat.

"No more data?" she asked, flipping through the folder. All she had read was background on Paul Forrester's last few encounters with people -- his narrow escapes from Agent George Fox -- and copies of the office memos that resulted in her presence in this city, waiting to meet with Fox and help him catch his prey. She tapped Scott's photo with her fingernails. There was a pulse of energy that wrapped around the boy -- it put a wall between her and him.

"He won't say," Malone admitted. He looked uneasy, and Rhea wondered if part of his anger and caution was because of that lack of knowledge. "When he briefed me, I felt he was almost afraid to tell me what he wanted."

"Not the Future of Man, then?" She chuckled when Malone stiffened.

"You reading my mind again, Jones?"

"We both know the futurists haven't pulled all their spies from the agency." She stiffened as a mental leap flashed through her brain. Forrester. Rhea cast one look at Scott, really studying his face this time. The boy only glared at her, his growing impatience clear on his face.

"What is it, Jones?" Malone demanded.

"I managed to get hold of my file -- the one with the truth of how they changed my identity and records. There was a photographer covering the air crash that killed my parents, before the FOM's government people hushed everything." She tapped the photos and Malone nodded that he understood. Rhea picked up Paul's photo and studied it. "I wonder how he got on their wrong side?"

"You think he worked for the FOM and fell from grace?"

"If his son has the potential I felt..." Rhea shuddered. "They want me for breeding -- what if Scott is a result of their work?"

"Too many ifs."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: FLYTE, by Angie Sage

FLYTE is the second book in the Septimus Heap series.

It's magic -- or according to the title of the first book, Magyk.

Septimus is the 7th son of the 7th son, which means he has great magic potential and is destined for incredible things. Which is the whole reason he was kidnapped at birth -- in the first book -- to turn him into the apprentice of an evil magician trying to take over the kingdom. Fortunately, there was a lot "switched at birth" confusion going on, and he ended up some place not quite as nasty and dangerous -- but close.

In FLYTE, Septimus has been reunited with his family and is now in his destined place as the apprentice for Marcia, the leader of all the wizards in the kingdom. She has some problems to deal with, starting with a nasty shadow that's trailing her, and including more treachery, more deception, and a dead enemy who just won't give up. Then there's Septimus' oldest brother, who believes that he's been robbed of what was never promised to him in the first place -- apprenticeship to the ExtraOrdinary Wizard. He's out to get revenge and put someone else in power, and that makes things rough for Septimus and the family he's just starting to get to know, including his adopted sister, Jenna -- who just happens to be the heir to the throne, born on the same day as Septimus, and who took his place when the midwife kidnapped him.

Yeah, complicated but a lot of fun. I love the details of this magical world, the humor, the sense that this is all so very believable.  Oh, yeah, and FLYTE refers to, well ... the ability to fly.

You don't really have to start with book 1, MAGYK, to understand what's going on, but you really should. Great fun. And I'm so glad that the next book is sitting in my bookshelf (Thanks to a humongous sale at Half-Price Books) and waiting to be read. Not right away, though. But soon!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Fan Fiction -- BAIT AND SWITCH -- a Starman fanzine story

Many years ago -- a lot more than I want to remember -- I got my fiction writing fan fiction for various fanzines that followed some of my favorite TV shows and movies.

You can find my posted fan fiction on Wattpad -- just type my name in. Every other month or so, I will post snippets from a fanzine story here on the blog, and then post the whole story in Wattpad for your enjoyment. At least, I hope you enjoy it!!


So .... here's the first installment, from the fanzine On Wings of Light, which was for fans of The Phoenix, Starman, and Beauty and the Beast.

ENJOY!!!!

Scott gasped for breath. Between the booming of his heart in his ears and the slap of his sneakers on the pavement, he heard the rumble of Fox's car. Less than a hundred yards behind him now, he guessed.
Paul had decided they should split up. Fox should have followed him, leaving Scott free to hide. Either Paul had managed to get away, or Fox had decided the alien's son was the easier target.
Scott glanced to either side. The mid-afternoon, downtown traffic gave him a little advantage. He had no idea why Fox didn't use tranquilizer darts and get it over with. How had Fox found them so soon? The false trail Paul left at their last stop should have led the agent 300 miles away.
He reached the intersection as the light turned yellow. Scott put on a burst of speed and crossed the street. An impatient old man in a red truck tried to jump the light, saw Scott, squealed to a stop and pounded his horn at the boy. Scott grinned -- Fox was stopped at the light. Even if he got out of his car now, Scott had a chance to get away.
The sphere leaped in his pocket. Scott nearly stopped as it went hot, then cooled a scant second later.
Dad?
No response. Behind him, he heard the cross traffic slow as the light changed. His respite was gone. He looked in all directions for some place to hide -- a narrow alley -- shadows -- some place he could duck into before Fox saw him -- some place Fox could not follow.
"Hey, kid!" a woman called as a motorcycle roared up to him. The driver kept pace with Scott's staggering steps. "Get on. I know trouble when I see it."
He had no time to consider the safety of the offer. Scott swung his leg over the back of the cycle's seat before he came to a complete stop. He grabbed hold of the driver's coat and they were gone.
"Thanks," he gasped in the driver's ear, nearly smashing his lips against the scarred blue helmet.
"No problem. Helping is my specialty." She gave him a grin over her shoulder. Scott had a glimpse of green-brown eyes, a narrow face and bronze hair.
Scott buried his face in the back of her worn navy pea coat and felt the sweat dry. He couldn't catch his breath. He felt the bike twist and sway around the corners, heard the rise and fall of its engine's song. Far behind, he heard a car horn blare, an angry sound. He grinned, imagining Fox pounding his steering wheel in helpless rage.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The War Room

Gonna be trying something new, coming up this Saturday.

Instead of posting "tastes" of new books, I'm going to look back and some really old stuff I've done.

As in FAN FICTION.

That's where I got my start writing, after all -- writing stories in established universes, playing in other people's playgrounds, before branching out and creating my own.

I got a lot of short stories and some continuing stories published in fandom. And I'm going to post pieces here on the blog, and then upload the entire story to Wattpad.

Ever been to Wattpad? It's kind of a fun place, where people can post fan fiction, or current works-in-progress, or just test out ideas for stories, and hopefully get some feedback from people. Not that I'm asking for any feedback, because these stories were published many years ago. Maybe longer than I want to consider.

It's my way of paying tribute and saying thanks to the TV shows and movies that gave me my start, my inspiration, and caught my imagination. I already have some old fan fiction posted on Wattpad if you want to go over there and read what's already loaded. You might have fun with it. You might laugh and groan just because some of my really old writing was ...*phew* awful! You might be encouraged, because heck, if I could improve and get to the place where genuine publishers would take on my books, then so can you!

See you here on Saturday, and see you over at Wattpad.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: CULTURE MAKING, by Andy Crouch

This was another book recommended by one of the speakers at last year's Realm Makers conference. Can't remember which speaker right now, but whoever you are, you know who you are and I thank you.

This book is one that writers and artists and people working with people should probably read at least once a year. Just to get our heads back on track and lead us to evaluate what we're doing and why.

Culture is a tricky thing to identify. It goes beyond the family and ethnic traditions we grew up in, and beyond the "culture pressure" that we're constantly feeling, which includes political correctness (IMO, there is nothing "correct" about politics and people thinking they can define right and wrong for the entire world. The only one with any right to do that is God ((because, y'know, He MADE us, and you just don't rewrite the Owner's Manual and tell the inventor He did it wrong!)), and when you try to rewrite what He said ... not smart! To misquote Jay Leno when speaking about the travesty of the TV movie about Noah ((seriously? Pirates attacking Noah's ark?))... "Who rewrites God?")

Anyway .... sorry about the rant ... Culture is around us, and we affect culture and it affects us. Or do we really affect it? That's one of the considerations -- do we really impact culture at all? Do we make any difference in the world? Can we steer this juggernaut of opinions and materialism and economics and fashion and tyranny and charity and popularity and all the other bits and pieces that go into forming this indefinable, all-devouring blob called culture? We can't really change the world, but we can improve the corner we're in, and do what we know God has called us to do and then ... well, don't tie yourself into knots and blow a gasket over what you can't change. The first step is to do what you can where you can, and get your eyes off yourself and back on the One whose opinion and approval really matter. The rest will take care of itself.

Yeah, I need to read this book a few more times to really figure out what's going on. But anything that makes us think and try to see through the fog is a good thing.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The War Room

Ever been on Wattpad?

I have an account there, actually.

For a while, I was doing a work-in-progress and inviting people to read the rough drafts every time I uploaded a thousand words or so.

Then I started scanning in my fan fiction and uploading stories. Right now I have a Star Trek fan fiction and a Matrix/Men in Black crossover story and a Beauty and the Beast TV script.

Go on over and read. You might like it. Here's the link where you can find those stories: https://www.wattpad.com/search/Michelle%20Levigne

Here's the thing:
It's been more than a year since I posted anything, and I hope to start posting fan fiction soon. LOTS of fan fiction. That's how I got started writing. Star Trek, Stingray, Beauty and the Beast, Matrix, Stargate, Highlander, the Phoenix.

Some of it is silly. Some of it is dumb. Some of it is kind of wretched. Not going to edit unless it's really glaring, stupid mistakes like spelling and grammar. Just have some mercy, because some of this stuff is 30 years old. Yeah, that long ago!

But maybe you can take some encouragement from reading and seeing where I got my start. If I can rise up above the totally wretched drek and melodramatic junk and the Mary Sue stories ... anyone can!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: ECHOES IN DEATH by J.D. Robb

Love the characters, the character interaction, the character development in the In Death series by J.D. Robb.

ECHOES IN DEATH brings some old problems and memories and pain a little closer for futuristic homicide detective Eve Dallas. A serial killer is out there, with a specific target -- wealthy, childless couples with gorgeous wives. He breaks in, abuses them, rapes the wives, and takes souvenirs or trophies -- including the women's clothes. What makes him hard to track is that he knows what he's doing, he hides his trail, and he uses movie monster disguises -- or in the case where torturing the husband turns into murder, he appears to be the devil.

The case gets complicated when testimony indicates the high-power surgeon husband was universally disliked, and the suspicion grows that he abused his wife -- now a traumatized widow. Dallas and her team track down the killer despite their growing dislike for the victim, and the memories of her own abusive childhood that awaken.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Taste the Book: SANCTUARY

April release from Desert Breeze Publishing.

She wasn’t at all surprised when her dreams were full of images, broken mirrors, the pieces flying through the air, or crystal dust swirling about and taking on shapes she could never clearly identify before they swirled back into dust clouds and dust devils. She woke up several times, feeling as if she had been yanked out of the dream just a few heartbeats before an image succeeded in solidifying in her mind. Some time shortly before dawn, she fell into a deeper, more solid, yet no more restful sleep and dreamed of a mirror formed of the crystal dust. It swirled in a flat whirlpool, yet even as it retained its shimmering, granular texture, somehow she could see herself in it. Behind her, other images spun and bounced from one side of the invisible frame to the other.


The mirror shattered and she cut her hand on a massive shard of it that exploded into dust and reformed into the mirror. Several drops of blood from her cut hand fell into the center of the spinning dust surface, and it turned smooth and glistening as pure glass. Ess gasped as her parents appeared in the new, smooth, liquid surface. They smiled and spoke to her, but she couldn’t hear their voices.

She was waking. She knew she was waking, and knew that fighting to stay asleep, stay dreaming, would only wake her more. She absolutely hated that sensation.

Focus on the dream, think about it, not sleep, she scolded herself.

She saw her parents in the dream. They were looking at her, but outside the mirror. The dreamer. Her parents could see her.

Did the mirror allow her to speak to the dead?

Somehow that felt wrong. She had no time to think about the theological implications, but Ess was fairly positive that God didn’t permit communication between Heaven and Earth. She knew her parents were in Heaven. The fact that she didn’t see her grandparents in the mirror was some comfort.

Not that she could use that as proof that Matilda and Ernest weren’t dead. Yet.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The War Room

Done!

Yesterday, I turned in MUSIC IN THE NIGHT, the final book in the Guardians of the Time Stream series, published by Desert Breeze Publishing.

MUSIC is due out in October.

What happens in it? Well, if you read SANCTUARY (and if you didn't, go do that right now) we left Ess and her friends gearing up to search for the daughter of Anna, a Revisionist woman who joined the Originators and was friends with Ess's mother, Vivian. Both women owned a rose carved from the crystal used by the Originators, and several times when they were children, Ess and Carmen, Anna's daughter, met in their dreams. Ess has to find Carmen before the Revisionists do, and enslave her and the incredible talent she inherited from her mother.

Also, there's a faint touch of "Phantom of the Opera" in the story, with singing and an underground community.

Enough said!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Lovers Party!


Are you coming?

It's time for the SPRING EDITION of the Buckeye Christian Fiction Book Lovers Facebook party.

Lots of book talk, real-time communication with REAL authors -- you can ask questions, get samples of the books featured, and maybe even win some cool prizes. Who knows?

TONIGHT
On Facebook


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Taste the Book: GROWING UP NEIGHBORLEE

April release from Uncial Press.

"Well it's like--" Kurt scowled and I could almost hear humming, he was thinking so hard. "There was this one TV show where this guy had to learn how to do it and the guy who was teaching him said to think about his power like an extra hand."

"What does that mean?"

"Just think really hard about what you want the superguy power to do, and... I don't know, just think really hard."

Simple enough, right?

Wrong?

I'm still not sure to this day how I made the mental connection, and how I switched over from kinda-sorta flying to grabbing all the trash the bullies had been throwing at us, and with the power of my mind flinging it back at them. With interest. All that really mattered right then was that I did it.

While the bullies ran away screaming and whining and then tried to claim that Kurt and a whole bunch of the big boys ganged up on them, I curled up with my first superpower-induced sick headache, and a nosebleed. That taught me and Kurt a huge lesson that day.

Actually, a number of lessons. We were too young and inexperienced to put it all into words or separate the factors and different variables. The important part was that we shouldn't try too much or work too hard, when it came to using our superhero powers. Fortunately, Kurt had already figured out another important rule: fuel! He ran to the concession stand and bought two creamsicles and three packages of cookies. He had already learned that using his gizmo talent made him achy-hungry, and if he didn't eat something right away, it turned into a killer headache like I had.


I inhaled the treats, leaving just the one creamsicle for Kurt. By the time Mrs. S blew her whistle to round us all up to climb back on the bus to go back to NCH, I was feeling almost normal. Almost, because once my headache went away and the nosebleed stopped, I felt like I was floating about four inches off the ground. It was a heady feeling of power, to know I had beaten the bullies at just five years of age.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: WIRES AND NERVE by Marissa Meyer

Glory! Another book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

What's really cool?
Iko, the snarky, fashionista android is the heroine.

Even more cool, and stepping slightly outside of my usual reading zone ....
It's a GRAPHIC NOVEL.
That's grown-up geek speak for comic book, but a huge comic book. As in, the whole story is there in one volume, instead of having to wait a month in between each measly chapter.

The story takes place after Book 4, WINTER, so if you haven't read the book yet (like me, because I'm trying to read down my electronic "stack" of to-be-reads before I can justify buying a new ebook -- and yeah, I'm cheap and waiting for the price to drop a few more bucks ... and I got this book using my Amazon reward points, so technically I didn't spend any money ...), this one might be kind of a spoiler. But you knew our heroines, Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter and their assorted heroes were going to triumph, didn't you?

Anyway, Iko is now in the curvaceous and pretty tough, strong body of an escort android and hunting the wolf-hybrid Lunar soldiers who are skulking about on Earth and making everybody scared and sort of miserable. Life ain't easy for an independent-minded android, even though she has a lot of friends who consider her a person. There are the android manufacturers who keep offering to "fix" her personality chip, and the wolf-hybrid soldiers and the people who won't admit she's a person and oh, yeah, the wolf-hybrid soldiers. They kind of get in the way of figuring out if she's just malfunctioning, or she might have genuine feelings after all.

Love it -- so will you.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Taste the Book: SANCTUARY

April release from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Ess took the rod and pressed it between her hands, to keep it from picking up the deliciously fearful shivers vibrating in her breastbone. Ford stood and opened the door, then waited until Athena and Dr. Sylvia stepped outside.

“How long?” She wasn’t quite sure herself what she was asking.

“As long as it takes,” Dr. Sylvia said. “As long as you feel comfortable working on it. I highly recommend regular breaks for fresh air and food, exercise and rest. Especially rest.”

“Take as long as you want,” Ford said. “But try to finish before we reach Cleveland." He chuckled when Athena sighed loudly. “Once those lawyers get hold of you, I doubt you’ll have any room in your head for experiments.”

“He’s right, in a way.” Athena made a shooing gesture with her fingertips. Ford grinned, bowed, then sauntered away. “Take your time. Expecting miracles in a matter of days will simply put up a barrier. This secret has waited for centuries. Your family has been working on it for generations. It would be ridiculous to expect you to unlock it in a few days. And it would be equally ridiculous not to try, while we have time and opportunity.”

With a smile, she stepped out and closed the door.

Ess inhaled, raising her fingertips again to press, to relieve the sensation of increased pressure in the bones around her ears. When that dissipated, she put the crystal rod down on the table, wrapped it in a fold of the acoustic cloth, and reached to open the box of dust.

The shimmer of sound wasn’t as strong this time, compared to the first time she encountered the dust in the canopic jar. Likely an effect resulting from both the acoustic cloth and the reduced amount of dust. Ess played with the amounts, spreading a little on the table, then tapping the rod, listening to the sound that resulted, gauging the reaction in her sinus bones, then adding more dust. She repeated the process until all the dust lay on the table. Then she experimented with arranging the dust, drawing furrows, piling it as high as she could get it, then spreading it out as thin as she could.

She discovered that while the crystal rod continued to vibrate, it made the dust stick together, so she could guide it into shapes. She had fun with that for a while.

When her thoughts wandered, the next thing she knew she had created a three-dimensional copy of the lotus, without quite knowing how she had done it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The War Room

I've re-released an old book, previously published with By Grace Publishing.

This book started life as a proposed Easter pageant script for my church, which used to do a big, blow-out, cast-of-thousands production for 13 years, with sold-out crowds and 5 or 6 performances every year.

ELISHEVA was originally called THE PRICE, and was an alternative, focusing on the impact Jesus had on the lives around Him.

Now titled ELISHEVA, Part 1, The Price, this book will be followed up next year (at least, that's the plan!) with Part 2: The Journey. After all, Elisheva's life goes on after she leaves Jerusalem and heads out into the world that is decidedly unfriendly towards the followers of the Messiah.

STARTING TODAY!!!

FREE in Kindle format

Until Friday, April 14.

Actually, Kindle is the ONLY format available for this book.

So, my Easter gift to you -- ELISHEVA as a free download for 3 days only -- Wednesday through Friday, April 12 through 14.

Enjoy.

And have a blessed Easter!


Elisheva's life as the sheltered daughter of a rich, highly respected rabbi, changed in a matter of months. First, her father was censured by the Sanhedrin and fell from grace. The humiliation and his anger destroyed his health, and when he died, Elisheva was left at the mercy of her reckless, rebellious brother, Simeon. He threw in his lot with the Zealots, and when a raid failed, Simeon was captured and crucified for his crimes. 

Elisheva learned that when a man committed the crime of rebellion against Rome, the Romans punished his entire family. Their home and farm and vineyards and servants were confiscated. Elisheva was sent to be sold as a slave. None of her father's former friends and students spoke up for her, or offered to redeem her.

Facing a short, unhappy future as a harlot, Elisheva went to the auction block. Then the unthinkable happened. Benjamin, one of her father's former students, sold everything he possessed to buy her. He had vowed to marry her, but had been turned away because he was poor. 


Elisheva vowed she would make him happy, so he never regretted the risks he had taken, the mockery he endured for her sake. She thought they would be happy, and they were, until a rabbi from Nazareth came to Jerusalem and turned the world upside down. With success and security and wealth within their grasp, the choices Benjamin and Elisheva made next would affect the rest of their lives, and might tear them apart.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Off the Bookshelf: TURBO TWENTY-THREE, by Janet Evanovich

Yeah, I love Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books.

Sometimes it's really, really hard to make myself wait until the paper edition comes out. (With all the books waiting to be read in my to-be-read bookshelf, plus e-readers) Which is why I love being able to borrow electronic editions from the library -- or in the case of this book, find them for sale used.

Who'd'a thunk I'd find a 2016 book in a stall at an antique mall near Hocking Hills, Ohio?

Okay, these books are over-the-top fun, and can get silly, and it's just not a genuine Stephanie Plum unless she gets messy and embarrassed and Grandma Mazur makes Stephanie's mother reach for the bottle in the cupboard and at least one of Stephanie's cars gets totaled. But Ranger makes an interesting comment that kind of supports why Stephanie kinda-sorta succeeds despite her flailing around and having Lula for a sidekick (love Lula, but she lost her grip on reality centuries ago) -- Stephanie pays attention to details. She notices things. She might not put them together in a usable way, but she ends up being very useful for others. Which is why Ranger keeps her around. Among other reasons, of course.

One mishap after another, resulting from chasing totally stupid, sloppy, single-digit-I.Q. crooks who don't understand why they have to show up for court after committing a crime, gets Stephanie and her friends involved in solving a murder. Yeah, things get kind of serious. In fact, the series is getting more serious as time goes on. Stephanie gets hurt, she's in danger, real crooks with real guns and some competence -- or at least efficient henchmen -- threaten her. From the dead body found turned into an over-sized ice cream treat at the beginning, Stephanie comes close to being turned into another ice cream bar at the end. That's enough to make you scared of the Good Humor man ...

Love the series. I don't know how Janet Evanovich does it, book after book.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Taste the Book: GROWING UP NEIGHBORLEE

April release from Uncial Press.

Kurt just looked at me. Then he grinned. I liked that grin. It was nasty and it was like laughter was going to explode out of him and he knew something wonderful.

"If you can lift yourself up in the air, maybe you can lift other stuff?" he finally said.

"But I don't know how."

"Come on, don't be a girl!"


"But I am a girl."

He stared at me for a few seconds, then he grinned, but it was a different kind of grin.

"Can any of the superheroes in your comic books do it?"

"Yeah." He yelped as a pinecone got him right in the eye, and slid back farther under the table, rubbing at his eye. "Hold on, I gotta think."

The problem with the comic books Kurt had read was that they showed but didn't explain. Later, he gave me all the comic books where a superhero had telekinetic power, not that either of us knew that particular word at the time. Usually the only instructions we got consisted of a kind of greenish ray shooting out of someone's head, and blasting a car or tearing a wall apart.

"I don't know," he finally said. "It's kind of like... You know how on TV they show people with superpowers."

"No. We don't get to stay up that late."

"Well it's like--" Kurt scowled and I could almost hear humming, he was thinking so hard. "There was this one TV show where this guy had to learn how to do it and the guy who was teaching him said to think about his power like an extra hand."

"What does that mean?"

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The War Room

Okay, have you all checked my 2 new releases?

SANCTUARY, Book 2 in the Guardians of the Time Stream series, from Desert Breeze Publishing. 

Ess Fremont and the Blue Lotus Society know the Originators have been infiltrated by Revisionists. The treachery has reached even to their headquarters, Sanctuary, an underground complex near San Francisco.

Problem: The Society can't contact Sanctuary, or risk putting power into the
enemy's hands. Yet Ess must go there to claim her heritage and learn how and why her grandparents vanished seven years ago.

Solution: Ask her family lawyers to "turn her in," and on the train ride cross-country, begin her education.

The journey launches revelations that threaten everything Ess knows as truth. As she uncovers schemes within lies within treachery, the fulfillment of her family's destiny rests heavy on her shoulders.

Who can she trust when her own grandparents blocked her memories, and the means of saving -- or destroying -- them all are hidden in the vaults of her mind?

OR

The 3rd Crossover Alliance anthology: SUPERHEROES

Some pursue heroism, others are thrust into it. 

Superheroes. They live among us, some hidden in plain sight, others as well-known celebrities. All carry a burden and a purpose: to destroy the evils of this world and keep the common man safe from harm.

But evil is a strong thread that refuses to be cut. How much sacrifice will be demanded to destroy that which seeks to destroy us, and are there enough heroes to do the job?

Experience a collection of short stories brimming with the struggles of heroism and the dark side of villainy, where
real-world content merges with Christian fiction to produce a unique storytelling atmosphere.

Includes:

The Bald Man by Timothy G. Huguenin
The Last Call by Kristin L. Norman
sinEater by D.A. Williams
Hierro by Jen Finelli
Living Proof by Michelle Levigne
Airfoil: Hotspots by Steve Rzasa
Someone Is Aiming For You by JD Cowan
Without Blemish: A Philosophy of Preaching by Nathan James Norman
The Trojan Initiative by Clayton Webb
Fly Like A Bird by Rosemary E. Johnson
Chronostream’s Father by Adam David Collings


BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?

I have ANOTHER title coming out next week.

GROWING UP NEIGHBORLEE, coming from Uncial Press.

Another Neighborlee, Ohio adventure, told through the eyes of Lanie Zephyr, someone you've met before in other stories. From the day she's found abandoned by the side of the road as a toddler, Lanie tells how she learned to be a semi-pseudo-superhero and one of the guardians of the wonderful, magical weirdness that is Neighborlee.


Monday, April 3, 2017

New Release: SANCTUARY, Guardians of the Time Stream series

Just released from Desert Breeze Publishing:

SANCTUARY
Book Two of the Steampunk series
Guardians of the Time Stream

Ess Fremont and the Blue Lotus Society know the Originators have been infiltrated by Revisionists. The treachery has reached even to their headquarters, Sanctuary, an underground complex near San Francisco.

Problem: The Society can't contact Sanctuary, or risk putting power into the enemy's hands. Yet Ess must go there to claim her heritage and learn how and why her grandparents vanished seven years ago.

Solution: Ask her family lawyers to "turn her in," and on the train ride cross-country, begin her education.

The journey launches revelations that threaten everything Ess knows as truth. As she uncovers schemes within lies within treachery, the fulfillment of her family's destiny rests heavy on her shoulders.

Who can she trust when her own grandparents blocked her memories, and the means of saving -- or destroying -- them all are hidden in the vaults of her mind?


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Taste the Book: SANCTUARY

April release from Desert Breeze Publishing.

“I thought the race to find the parts of the Machine was only a recent development.”

“Oh, yes, the race. However, the determination to be ready for when the pieces came out of hiding has been going on since the Machine was disassembled. Our ancestors learned then it was impossible to destroy a single fragment of crystal.” He winked at her. “Which is why that intriguing box of dust you delivered to us has been driving Vulcan and her team to distraction.”

“Theo thought it might be lubrication or something like that,” she said, as she led the way down the corkscrew stairs, two levels, to the main deck.


“Lubrication for what? The emerging theory is that there are really no moving parts.”

“How can a machine not have moving parts? How can it do anything if it doesn’t move? What kind of energy does it need, to do what it’s supposed to do? I just assumed it used the same kind of energy that made the Zeus guns work, or the lights, or all the incredible devices that make the light bulb and steam engine seem rather clunky and filthy by comparison.”

“That’s just it. Energy. The crystal doesn’t require energy, so much as it generates energy, and that energy opens the way, moves the material of space and time, to allow travel through time. The more the Machine comes together, the bigger the clumps of it, the more frustrating the whole conglomeration becomes. Because it defies what we know and understand of science and engineering.”

“Vulcan must be thoroughly delighted with the puzzle,” Ess murmured, pausing at the doorway into the main deck area.

“We’re taking bets on how long it takes for her to pull out all her hair, and how she will do it, a strand at a time or in great clumps.” He reached around her for the latch. “Care to place a wager?”
Ess stuck her tongue out at him. Ford just chuckled and thumped her on the shoulder as she pushed the door open.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Superheroes, Anyone?

Digital Preorders Now Available!
Our third volume of short stories is coming your way March 28, and you can preorder your digital edition now and save some cash. Purchase a digital edition today, and we'll email you your copy of this incredible collection on release day!

Some pursue heroism, others are thrust into it. 







Superheroes. They live among us, some hidden in plain sight, others as well-known celebrities. All carry a burden and a purpose: to destroy the evils of this world and keep the common man safe from harm. 

But evil is a strong thread that refuses to be cut. How much sacrifice will be demanded to destroy that which seeks to destroy us, and are there enough heroes to do the job? 

Experience a collection of short stories brimming with the struggles of heroism and the dark side of villainy, where real-world content merges with Christian fiction to produce a unique storytelling atmosphere.

Includes:
The Bald Man by Timothy G. Huguenin
The Last Call by Kristin L. Norman
sinEater by D.A. Williams
Hierro by Jen Finelli
Living Proof by Michelle Levigne
Airfoil: Hotspots by Steve Rzasa
Someone Is Aiming For You by JD Cowan
Without Blemish: A Philosophy of Preaching by Nathan James Norman
The Trojan Initiative by Clayton Webb
Fly Like A Bird by Rosemary E. Johnson
Chronostream’s Father by Adam David Collings




Taste the Book: GROWING UP NEIGHBORLEE

April release from Uncial Press.

A shout of "Cannonball" and hard slaps against our shoulders interrupted our talk. Ricky-and-Donny, the bullies, jumped over us, hitting us with their feet, and landing in the pool with high, far-reaching splashes.

Yes, I hyphenated their names. They were a matched set and did everything together. Where we saw one, we saw the other. They were cousins and had been dumped in the orphanage until an uncle in the military came back from active duty overseas. They went away after a while, but not soon enough for Kurt and me.

We got up and moved away when Ricky-and-Donny stayed right there in the shallow end and splashed us and crowed about "Kurt's got a giiiirlfriend!" Seriously? I was five and Kurt was eight. We were barely aware that he was a boy and I was a girl, much less what we were supposed to do about the differences.

The bullies followed us. When we retreated behind the locker rooms, they followed us. Only they ran outside the fence and got hold of all the old pine cones and shells of acorns and other trash that fell down under the trees surrounding the pool. Then they threw that junk at us. Kurt and I ducked for cover and ended up hiding under the picnic table on the far side of the locker rooms, where nobody could see us. With all the shouting and laughing and whistles blowing, nobody could hear us call for help.

"Y'know, this is really stupid," Kurt said after we sat there for about fifteen eternal minutes. "We're superheroes. We should be able to fight back. Those jerks should be running away from us."

"Can you make a machine out of this junk?" I winced when another handful of debris got between the table top and the bench by my head.

Kurt just looked at me. Then he grinned. I liked that grin. It was nasty and it was like laughter was going to explode out of him and he knew something wonderful.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Taste the Book: SANCTUARY

April release from Desert Breeze Publishing.

“Let me rephrase that -- you need guidance.” He braced himself on the thickest of the vertical struts.

“In what? I’m working my way through all the books Athena has assigned me. I’ve written down everything I can remember from when we cleared out Granny’s and Grandfather’s offices and the archives in our house, and all the visitors we had around the time Uly vanished.” For punctuation, she slapped the journal sitting next to her. “Do you know how depressing it is, to consider that some of the people they welcomed into our home were using that welcome to plot treachery against them?”

“Yes, Odessa, I know exactly.” Ford’s usual cheerful expression went unusually somber. “It’s been eating at me since my team ran into trouble on our last expedition. Hindsight made us realize we were given just enough contradictory pieces to guarantee we would meet with disaster. Just like Uly was sent after us, with false information, to get him out of the way. Some clues found in our treacherous Mr. Stryker's personal effects … well, they suggest the plot had a specific focus on your family. We’re in a tangled position, needing to move quickly to reduce the damage, when we would prefer several years to prepare for this battle.”

“My family.” The back of her head ached as thoughts swirled through so fast she thought she might get dizzy. “You mean my parents might not have died in an accident on their last expedition, but they were murdered?”

“The hands that built the trap that killed your parents have been dust for centuries. However, I fear that someone knew about those traps and dangers, and they made sure your parents got the information that sent them, specifically, into the tunnels.”

“Why would someone want to kill them? I know the Revisionists want to wipe us out, to try again to rewrite history. But why does it seem my family, specifically, is in the rifle crosshairs?”

“Blood and crystal, my dear.” He bent and offered her his hand to raise her to her feet. “Your bloodline has an unusual affinity for the crystal at the core of the Machine.”


“So does Athena. So do a dozen or more people.” Ess put her books and the stoppered inkwell and pens away in her satchel before she stood. Ford gathered up the blankets, and pushed the cushions tightly enough into the gaps in the wires that it would take hurricane-force winds to pull them out.