RSS

Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Taste of What I Am Currently Writing

My only disclaimer is that this is a work in progress, not a polished first chapter. I understand there is a risk putting it out here for all to read in its current state, but I wanted to share this process with you. No writer’s first, or even tenth draft if perfect. Simply appreciate the process and enjoy the excerpt.

Beyond My Father’s Sins

Chapter One

“Run, Justus! Run!”

I watched my little brother’s back as he stirred up dust, running frantically down the long gravel driveway, away from the rundown shack we called home. The screen door swung open and banged against the side of the house. I turned to watch as our father stepped out onto the porch with a beer in one hand and his shotgun in the other. He leveled the barrel down the driveway. The screen door wobbled as it swung closed, bouncing several times before finally resting its bare wooden frame across the doorway. Flakes of chipped, white paint fluttered to the porch like snowflakes. I dropped the basket of eggs I had just collected from the chicken coop and ran to stand between him and Justus. Not that it would do any good if he intended to shoot him. He could see over my head from his place on the porch.

A hot summer wind blew across the dead grass that had long given up on growing around the house. Even the trees were dull. The leaves sagged under the weight of the dust that clung to them, choking out what life remained within. I looked at him, willing him to lower the gun, my arms stuck to my sides. I’m not sure which I felt more, fear or courage.

He fired off a round into the air. I jumped, and he laughed a low, menacing laugh that said he was totally in control, but really wasn’t. Birds scattered from their hiding places among the treetops. Jerking my head around, I looked for Justus. He was gone. He would be safe at Mrs. Dean’s house. He always ran to Mrs. Dean’s. I turned back to face my father. He drained the last of his beer, crushed the can in his hand and tossed it into the yard with a belch. I wanted to be mad at him. I wanted to hate him. Each time I thought I had the nerve to scare him with a loaded shotgun the way he did Justus, I remembered the way he cried late at night.  The thin walls of our home offered no barrier to the despair.

Right now though, he looked like a wild dog with his stained, sleeveless white shirt and grungy old jeans. There was no telling how many days he had worn the same clothes. His eyes, however, looked lonely, bereft, like a stray dog that wanted love, but had no reference for how to accept or even give it in return.

“Your brother is just like your mother. Weak. I hate weak.” He stumbled across the rotting porch to a rusted metal chair. The blackened boards curled up at the ends. It was only a matter of time before someone fell through them and broke a leg. I retraced my steps to pick up the basket of eggs, hoping they were not all broken. “He’ll run off just like her someday.”

“Can you blame him if he does?” I asked, making my way up the steps to the porch with the few unbroken eggs.

“He wants to play the flute. The flute! He already plays that blasted piano. He’s a sissy. My boy! A sissy,” he said shaking his head in disgust.

“That’s why you chased him away?” I opened the screen door.

“It’s embarrassin’. My boy, a girly flute player.” He spit out the words as though they tasted foul. “He should be playing football, or even baseball for crying out loud.” He hit the arm of the chair with his fist.

“He’s thirteen. He’s just trying out different things to see what he likes,” I said, letting the door close behind me.

“Get me another beer while you’re in the kitchen,” he yelled after me. I considered pretending I didn’t hear him, but decided it would be prudent not to test his foul temper.

I put the eggs into the refrigerator and grabbed him a beer. Besides the beer, eggs and a half-empty bottle of ketchup, the refrigerator was bare. Looking up at the clock, I knew Mrs. Dean would be fixing Justus lunch and giving him an extra piano lesson to pass the time while he waited to return home. Justus, in turn, would help her with something around the house. She knew we didn’t have the money to pay for piano lessons. She also knew we didn’t want a handout, but she saw something in Justus…a talented musician.

Stepping onto the porch, I handed him the cold can and said while wiping the sweat left from the can on my hand against my hip, “I know we don’t have much money, but we need some food in the house. I don’t get paid until next week. Do you have any you can spare?”

He grunted and pulled out his wallet. After taking the cash from him, I reached for his shotgun that lay across his lap. He allowed me to take it from him.

 “I’ll give you another twenty if you can hit that bottle on the fence post,” he said motioning in the direction he was talking about with the beer in his hand.

“Deal.” I stepped to the edge of the porch and brought the bottle into my sights. I took several steady breaths. As I let out the last one, I pulled the trigger, letting my shoulder absorb the recoil. I knew I hit the mark before lowering the weapon.  My father was laughing.

“Now why can’t my boy do that? He shrinks away from my guns like a cat from a broom.”

I held out my hand for him to pay up.

“Because, if he knew how to use one he might shoot you.”

This made him laugh even more. He slapped a twenty into my palm.

“One can dream,” he said with a drunken laugh. “One can only dream.”

I shook my head and walked down the creaky steps to my old Ford Escort. Rust was gaining ground around the fenders, but it ran and got me where I needed to go. Right now that meant to check on Justus and buy some much needed groceries.

As I drove down the dusty driveway, many thoughts weighed my mind. The summer after my senior year of high school was not as carefree as some of my friends. I call them friends, but in reality, they are more like lifelong acquaintances. My childhood in no way reflected theirs. They were spending their days working part-time and floating down the river on inner tubes. I was working full-time and standing between a drunk with loaded shotgun and my little brother.  The girls I knew spent hours talking about their latest crush, make-up and how they were fat. I didn’t have time for a boyfriend. Besides, there was a high possibility of my father shooting any boy that ventured near our door. There wasn’t enough money to spare for make-up when the fridge was empty, and I certainly didn’t have the time to waste on frivolous talk about being fat when I was grateful simply to have food to eat.

There was only a few short weeks left for me to teach Justus to drive. He wasn’t old enough for his license yet, but he could see over the dash and reach the pedals. The reality was, it was safer for him to drive without a license than leave him trapped at home with our father. Maybe, if I spoke with Mrs. Dean she would let Justus to stay with her while I was away at boot camp. Dad never went to Mrs. Dean’s house, even in a drunken stupor he refused to venture near her door. No wonder Justus always ran to her. I crossed my fingers and said a little prayer as I drove away from the house, hoping Mrs. Dean would agree with me.

Looking in the rear-view mirror, I watched as my father finished the last of his beer and threw the can near the other in the yard.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

That’s What I’m up to…What’s Up with You?

I hope you all have enjoyed the guest bloggers and interviews I’ve posted the last two months. They have been exciting for me to have as guests.

The goal was to introduce you to new writers that have a passion for the genre in which they write. I do believe that goal was accomplished! Thank you, Regina Tittel (Inspiration Fiction), Linda Lee Greene (Family and Historical), Naomi Musch (Faith-based American History), Nancy Dane (Civil War Historical Fiction), Cathy McRae (Scottish Historical Romance), and Michael Lorde (New Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy) for your willingness to stop over at my blog to entertain and tempt us with your writing.

As for me, I am still plugging away at my latest WIP (work in progress). The title will be Beyond My Father’s Sins. So far it has proven to be an enjoyable challenge to write. I’ve been researching firearms, the CIA (this caused my computer to get bogged down for awhile. LOL), and cover jobs that might work for an operative of the CIA. I must give a huge THANK YOU to Big Shots Gun Range for helping me with the research on different firearms. I couldn’t have written some scenes with accuracy without your help.

In the way of book signings, I’ve signed on to be part of Love Affair- A Romance Event in Omaha, NE on Saturday, May 18, from 10-4pm. If you are in the area stop in to check it out! There will be many vendors present and many drawings for gifts AND a Quarter Auction with gifts from each vendor that will benefit the Midwest Heart Connection. I hope to see you there.

On a personal note, I’ve taken up knitting. So far it is a love-love-hate-love relationship with me an the needles. If you’re a knitter and want to post a tip or two, please do!

As always, if you are on Facebook send me a friend invite. I’m always having contests and such for free books. Last week I gave away three autographed copies, two for the contest and one for the encouraging posts of a ‘friend’.  Every now and then kindness wins for kindness-sake. 😀

Finally, if you are still experiencing Winter as we are in Nebraska, stay warm. I toast your perseverance with a cup of hot cocoa. If you are enjoying a beautiful and warm Spring, share the warmth with another.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview with Sci-Fi Fantasy Author- Michael Lorde

I had the pleasure of reading Michael Lorde’s, Tolomay’s World and the Pool of Light for review. It was such a wonderful book, I simply had to interview Michael Lorde for you. Author Michael Lorde was born and raised in upstate New York and lived in Virginia Beach for years before moving to snowy Michigan. He is a former investigator and is also, the author of psychological thriller, The Blind Veil.

Tell us more about Tolomay, the heroine in Tolomay’s World.

Tolomay grew up in the pod community (five hundred years in our future) at a time when mankind has destroyed most of the earth.  The pod community is one of the few remaining communities that exist in the world at that time, while all life on the earth is dying off.  Tolomay’s father, Tarron, is a head scientist in that modern pod community.  He is responsible for having designed the machine (The Pool of Light) which can send candidates into the future of earth… a livable and clean world, one replenished by time.  Tolomay has been trained since birth to travel as the first candidate to the clean world, and so she does… and it is paradise.  The problem is that she ends up there alone.  She has a delicate and youthful heart, a high IQ and is physically healthy.  As it turns out, she’s pretty tough too, much tougher than she ever imagined she was.  Her upbringing at the pod community is similar to that of the Native American Indian teachings, in that all life is connected and that the earth is ‘mother’ to all.  Even with that mindset, because of the risk to all life at the time, there are numerous restraints on society in the pods.  It becomes quite complicated for her to cling to her community’s ways, while attempting to find her own way in the clean world, once others arrive.  Tolomay is a complex character.  I won’t spoil the story by saying more.              

Tolomay’s World and the Pool of Light is the first in the series. How many books are planned for the series?

The first three books in the Tolomay’s World series are completed, the forth is in progress, and three addition novels have been formatted.  So far, there are seven books total.  The first book is the softest read.  While it would seem suitable for young YA readers to read, the books do get progressively harsher, so I would not recommend this series to young YA readers, because if they get hooked on the plot, like my daughter did, they will want to read each book.  I wouldn’t want that for young YA readers.  It is designed more for older YA readers, readers of New Adult, Fantasy Romance, and even sci-fi readers, though it is not a sci-fi book.  It’s truly a fantasy romance series and has been compared, by several readers, to the Hunger Games, though the plot is not the same.

How exciting to experience the growth of the characters! In the new world, those that have ‘swum’ through are quite young. How does age affect their struggles, or does it?

Those who travel through time have to be young, since all pod citizens participate in mandatory sterilization at the age of twenty.  At the time of the pods, physical birthings prove fatal to both women and infants, due to poor nutrition, pollution and a number of other factors, so children are ‘grown’ and ‘born’ in labs.  Because of this, only the healthy teens, under the age of twenty can swim to the clean world because they are the only ones who can repopulate earth.  The young age of these candidates definitely impacts how they will mold society in the clean world.  To complicate things more, they have not experienced normal ‘hormone levels’ like a teenager in today’s world would have.  The pod council requires that daily doses of hormone inhibitors be taken, in order to prevent temptations and fatal pregnancies and childbirths.  Once these young candidates get to the clean world, they are faced with the shock of living in the ‘paradise’ of earth and all the work that’s required to sustain daily living.  All of these elements combine to make quite an interesting adjustment for all candidates who travel.  It has proven a very fun writing experience for me.  

Wow! That is quite the futurist visual for Tolomay’s World. What are you currently working on? 

I’m currently working on the forth Tolomay’s World book and also the second book of a psychological thriller series.

What was your inspiration to write Tolomay’s World?

The idea came to me and just wouldn’t let up.  My kids, though, are always my inspiration.  It also helps that I am concerned about what condition we are leaving the earth in, for our children’s children.  Hopefully what happens to the earth in this series will never really happen to the earth, though a reader recently wrote me to say ‘Wow, this could really happen if things stay the way they’re going’.

Let’s hope we can prevent going down that path. How did you come to choose to write Action Futuristic Fantasy novels?

I have always enjoyed these types of stories, though I had not actually planned on writing a book like this.  I usually write psychological thrillers, but when this story line popped into my head, I couldn’t hold it at bay.  The characters were pretty adamant that it be penned down, so once I began typing there was no stopping it.

Do you have a favorite writer(s) that influences your writing style?

I really don’t have a favorite author.  There are so many.  I think I have my own writing style, though.  For this particular book, even that changed.  This book has a strange use of language, and it came that way, so that was fun to work with.  The second book of the series explains why the language is the way it is.  This style comes across much different than my other writing because of that language.    

So readers can get to know you more, what is your favorite drink/snack food when writing?

Does intravenous coffee flow count?  Seriously though, I drink at least a pot of coffee the first half of the day.  My favorite is ‘Made in the Shade’, by Bongo Java.  It’s nice and strong, like several of my characters in this series.

Where can readers connect with you online?

Facebook personal author page

Facebook Professional page

Twitter 

Blog

Websites

Goodreads

Youtube videos

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Michael, thanks for the privilege of interviewing you! Best of luck with the series you are working on. I look forward to reading the next book in Tolomay’s World. Following is the cover and link to Tolomay’s World and the Pool of Light, as well as, the covers for the upcoming releases for the next in the Tolomay’s World series.

tolomay's world and TPL-michael lorde

the clean world-michael lorde book cover

the pod labsz-michael lorde book cover

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: