Archive | July 2016

He Thought He Saw – Part 2

He Thought He Saw redOn his way home from his friend’s Halloween party, Brian has a strange and disturbing experience that leaves him shaken.

The front door creaked and his mother’s keys jiggled against the door frame as he shook them free of the lock. Brian realized he was standing halfway up the stairs, broom and dustpan in hand.

“Brian?”

“Right here, Mom.” He went down the stairs to greet her.

“What’s wrong?”

How could she always sense when he was afraid or upset? It was uncanny.

“I got me a scare on the way home. Went through the swamp and got to jumping at shadows. Fell smack in a puddle. I’m just cleaning up after myself.” He kissed her cheek.

Maribelle Casey smiled at her son. Her blue eyes reflected the light strangely, telling everyone who met her, that she was blind. Her palm touched his cheek and she put her forehead against his.

“It’s all right, Bri-guy. I’m home. You finish that up and come on in the kitchen.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

His mother sat at the kitchen table, a pot of tea in front of her. Brian pulled up a chair and she poured him a cup. He added sugar before taking a sip. His mother made the best tea, her own blend of herbs and tea leaves. She’d add a pinch of this or that to the pot depending on her mood. This time, he smelled peppermint and sassafras.

“Tell me what happened.”

“It’s silly. Nothing but a scare because it’s Halloween.”

“What about the nightmares?”

The chair squeaked when Brian shrugged, shaking his head. His mother patted his hand.

“Can’t see a shrug, son.”

He chuckled. “Nope, but apparently you can hear it. Nightmares are the same.”

Maribelle continued to pat his hand. He could tell his mother was deep in thought. She had something she wanted to say, but wasn’t sure how he’d take it. Or rather, she was sure he’d take it badly.

“I talked to Father Ramsey this evening. I told him about the dreams and the strange things you’ve been seeing.”

“Mom!” He started to get up.

Maribelle’s grip tightened. “He wants to talk to you.”

“The last thing I need to do is talk to the priest. He’s just gonna feed me some line of bull and quote scriptures.”

“You’ll show some respect, young man! I told him you’d stop by on your way home from school tomorrow.”

Brian knew there was no arguing with her. He could protest all he wanted and she would still have her way. If he dared to come home without reporting to the parish priest, she’d simply drag him down there once he got home. He finished his tea in silence. When he got up to leave, his mother took his hand.

“I’m worried, son. The test results haven’t shown up anything, for which I’m grateful. But something isn’t right.”

Brian hugged his mother, feeling her bones under her baggy clothing. She seemed so small and frail. Her health hadn’t been good since his father left, but her recent worry over her son seemed to have taken even more out of her.

“Don’t be. I’m okay, Mom.” Maybe if he said it often enough, he’d believe it too. “Good night.” He kissed her cheek.

“Sleep well.” She made the sign of the cross on his forehead before kissing his brow.

As he turned out the lamp by the bed, he glanced out the window. A silvery form flitted through the shadows. His eyes took a moment to adjust and by that time, the figure was gone. He wasn’t sure, but he thought it was the dog he’d seen earlier. Somehow, the thought that she was out there made him feel better. Snuggling under the covers, he soon fell asleep.

Brian woke in a panic. Something was terribly wrong. His skin crawled and the hairs on his neck stood at attention. The old house creaked and settled at night, but something else had woken him—a not so normal sound. Shivering in the night chill, he got out of bed. He felt vulnerable in his boxers, so he slipped on a T-shirt and pajama pants. That would keep knife wielding lunatics at bay. His Sponge Bob pants were sure to put the fear of god into them.

An avid fan of horror movies, he armed himself with a bo staff. He’d studied Aikido since he was little. It might not seem like much, but he could put the hurt on someone. Provided that someone was a living, breathing person and not a ghost.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from Savage Heart

Historical Novels by Dellani Oakes

Savage Heart is the much anticipated (and demanded) sequel to my historical romance, Indian Summer. Set in the early summer of 1740, Gabriella and Manuel are now happily (or maybe not so happily) married.

savage heart cover“Señora Enriques is feeling a bit under the weather. I need to check on her.” Manuel moved toward the steps to the house quickly.

“She sounded a might put out to me,” Willem replied, spitting in the dirt as he led the horses away to the barn.

“Yes,” Manuel said softly. “Yes, she was.” He paused on the steps. “Willem, did you hear everything?”

“Entire country heard, I’ll warrant, sir.”

“And you think I’m wrong?”

“Not my business to judge right nor wrong on your decisions, sir. I can agree or not as I choose, makes no difference. But I will say this, that girl loves ye above her own life. If ye go ‘gainst…

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On Sale Today – Come On Down!

Cereal Authors

room 103 front cover

On Sale for .99 cents through July 31st!

Room 103 new romantic suspense from Dellani Oakes

“I think Candy had a little bit of a crush,” Todd confessed.

“I can see why. You were hot as hell.”

“Was? Thanks for that, Miss Houston.”

I chuckled and he smiled. “Still are. Any father would be concerned with you around. You have this—aura of sensuality about you.”

His blue eyes widened. “I do?”

“It’s the casual, I don’t give a shit, I just want to f**k you manner you have.” I waved my hands vaguely, unable to stop the babble that was dribbling from my mouth.

Todd burst out laughing, covering his mouth with his hands to muffle the sound. “That’s unusual. I had no idea I said any of that in silent, secret, sub-text.”

“Maybe it’s just my read of it,” I replied.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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He Thought He Saw – Part One

He Thought He Saw redWind whispered in the trees and dried leaves clattered in its wake. An owl hooted. The hairs on the back of his neck stood at attention. The full moon seemed to follow him as he walked down the road alone. The wind became voices. The leaves, the dry rattle of old bones. The sighing grew louder and Brian was able to pick out words. At least, he thought they were words, but in a language he couldn’t understand.

Increasing his pace, he glanced over his shoulder. Wispy figures gathered in the tree line around the swamp road, moving slowly and steadily toward him. Brian tried to convince himself it was only his imagination, but it felt far too real.

One of the figures approached at a slow, loping run. Brian could hear the heavy, measured footfalls as it lumbered toward him. He completely lost his cool. Roaring loudly, he ran at the figure, dodging away when it grabbed at him. Chilling wind passed as the figure drifted away, dissipating as it headed to the woods on the other side of the road.

Brian ran along the center of the road, frightened by his encounter with the wraith. More of them gathered in the swampy woodland, but no others were bold enough to approach him. Hearing a twig snap to his left, Brian put on a burst of speed. With a cry of fear, he felt a shove at his back and tripped over his own feet. As he fell, he saw the wraiths grow bolder. They moved in unison, swooping toward him. Terrified, Brian lay on his belly, unsure how to combat them.

A solid form burst out of the bushes. A large dog stood over Brian, growling and barking. It took a moment for him to realize that the wraiths halted. Some tried to go a step or two further, but the dog renewed its attack. One by one the ghosts dispersed, melting into the fog once more.

Brian let his breath out slowly. The animal stood over him, but moved aside as he sat up. It was the biggest dog Brian had ever seen, broad through the chest with powerful legs and a ridge of hair down his spine. It looked silver in the moonlight.

Curious, Brian reached slowly toward it, hand out, palm up. The beast’s tongue flicked out, licking his cheek. Her warm breath convinced the boy that the dog was alive and real. She slurped him again, butting his hand so he’d pet her. Laughing, he complied.

“Where did you come from, girl?” Predictably, he got no reply. “Never mind, I’m just glad you’re here.”

He got up, dusting himself off. Leaves stuck to his body, mud caked every inch of him. Twigs and more leaves adorned his closely cropped hair. Getting his bearings, he headed toward home once more. The dog walked with him, her head under his hand. Her tongue lolled and she looked as if she were laughing at his appearance.

“You take a header into a mud puddle and see how good you look.”

The dog barked gleefully. She dashed ahead, sniffed and snorted, before trotting back to his side. She stayed with him until they reached his home. With a yip, she left him, drifting into the woods. The front door fell shut with a comforting bump behind him. Heaving a sigh of relief, Brian locked and bolted the door. He leaned against it, panting. His hands shook and he felt light headed. His heart thumped so hard in his chest, he could hear it in his ears.

He slowly made his way upstairs, wishing his mother were home. Being home alone had never bothered him before, but he felt vulnerable, isolated. Brian hadn’t realized quite how dirty he was until he saw himself in the bathroom mirror. He stripped off his filthy clothing and dropped it on the bottom of the shower. He hoped he could get some of the trash off it before putting it in the laundry.

The water ran black as he washed himself and his clothing. He picked up twigs and leaves as he bathed. Afterward, he scooped up handfuls of debris, dropping it in the garbage. His clothing, he placed in the sink to drain as he dressed. As he lugged the basket of wet clothing downstairs to the basement, he saw what a mess he’d left when he’d come in. The white curtain over the front window was caked with dirt. A muddy trail led up his mother’s clean, wooden steps.

He descended to the basement quickly and tried not to think about his experience in the woods. It still scared him, even though he was safe in his home. He’d never particularly liked the basement and his recent scare made it worse. He threw his clothing into the washer, added soap and took the stairs to the kitchen two at a time.

Cleaning up his mess kept his mind off what had happened. Strange things had been happening to him for weeks, getting weirder and spookier by the minute. At first, he’d passed it off as stress. It was apparent that his stress level had very little to do with the events of the night He’d been coming home from a friend’s house after a Halloween party.

Chase lived on the other side of the tiny, Mississippi town. The quickest way home was to cut through the woods that skirted the swamp. Brian had taken that route on foot or on his bike a million times with no problem. So why was tonight different? Because, tonight something had changed. He couldn’t put a finger on it, would never have been able to explain it in words, but he knew it as surely as he knew his own name.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio What’s Write for Me Welcomes Jake Combs and Rami Ungar

Both Jake and Rami have been on before, and we’re thrilled to have two such talented gentlemen back on the show. I know we’re going to have a great time with lots of laughs, as well as some thrilling and exciting excerpts read by both our guests.

Tune in Wednesday, July 27 at 4 PM Eastern (3 Central, 2 Mountain, 1 Pacific) for What’s Write for Me with Jake and Rami or Listen to the Podcast at your convenience!

Jake CombsJake Combs is the author of Haunted by Shadows, an adventurous fantasy novel.

Rami Ungar

Rami Ungar, author of dark sci-fi stories, Reborn City, The Quiet Game and Daisy.

Christmas in July Trivia Page for Dellani Oakes

Cover by Suzette Vaughn

Cover by Suzette Vaughn

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write. Before that, I made up stories and told them to my mother and anyone else who held still long enough. After my older sister started school, I started making up stories about my friend Snowy Green and our adventures at Rainbow School. I don’t remember them, but my mother does.

Which of your main characters is your favorite? Do you have more than one?

I have so many characters I love, but I have to admit that I fell in love with Kris in Room 103. He’s such a wonderful man who’s loved Marice since they were teenagers. Don’t get me wrong, Marice is kick ass and I love her, but there is something very special about Kris.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find it in the strangest places. I’ve gotten inspiration from a mud puddle before—go figure! For Room 103, it came from several places. Firstly, a conversation with a gentleman who was staying at the same motel I was. He happened to be there for his fortieth high school reunion—which gave me a backdrop (only I changed it to college). I was bored, which isn’t very hard to be in Pittsburg, Kansas, and I needed something to occupy me. And finally, I was walking from the breakfast room to my room and passed a door marked 103. I couldn’t figure out why it was there. It was obviously for the owner’s quarters. Also, I had to ask myself where rooms 101 and 102 were….

What kind of music do you listen to when you write?

It’s easier to say what I won’t listen to: Rap, Club Music and Twangy Country. I had a lot of Classic Rock, Blues, Soul and Southern Rock going when I wrote Room 103. I also like a few Indy Rock musicians, but generally just select songs and not an entire repertoire. I’m very picky about what I listen to. Sometimes, it has to set a particular mood, other times it’s simply background sound to drown out noises.

 

Name a famous author you’ve met, nearly met or wish you’d met.

I was fortunate, when in college, to attend lectures given by several famous authors. I met and conversed with Robin Cook – Coma, Richard Brautigan – Trout Fishing in America, Edward Albee – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. I also saw Harlan Ellison speak. I didn’t get to meet him, though.

Through my radio broadcasts I’ve met so many amazing authors, I can’t even name them all. Probably one of my favorite duos to have on are Janet and Chris Morris because I have been a fan or Janet’s work since 1982. Not only that, they are just super cool.

What is the weirdest thing a character ever did in a book?

My characters have done some strange things. I think the weirdest that one of them ever did, was the villain in New at Love. She was mad at her ex-husband for dating a new woman (even though, she herself, had cheated on him) So she broke into the new girlfriend’s apartment and shaved the cat before taping him (the cat) to the hood of his car. (The cat was okay, though. Don’t worry.)

Who really wrote the book, you or your characters?

My characters always write the book. I take them to a point and then they hop on board the Crazy Train, fire up the engine and take off like a wildcat, running full throttle. I have no control and that’s the way I like it.

How many books have you started and how many have you finished?

Unfair! Why did I ask myself this question? Fortunately, I know the answer, because I recently counted them up. I’ve written a total of 137 novels or novellas. Of those, 90 are finished and 47 are still waiting for their endings. Of the finished novels, 10 of them have been published. These numbers are mind boggling enough for me.)

I set myself a goal to finish a book a month in 2016. I’ve finished off 10 so far. Three were written entirely in the month, the rest were unfinished novels that I finally wound up! I’m pretty excited about that!

What’s the hardest part with writing: the writing of the story or the editing?

For me, the writing is easy and the editing is simply tedious. I do my best to make my first draft as close to a final draft as I can. I mentally edit as I write and read through the prior writing session before beginning a new one. This not only refreshes my memory, it gives me a chance to catch errors. I have to change things as I see them, because otherwise I miss something. I can’t guarantee that I’ll spot the same mistake when I go through the next time.

If Room 103 was made into a movie, which would you choose and who would you cast?

Funny I should ask myself that question…. I like to have an actor or actress in mind for my main characters. It gives me a voice, stance, movement pattern for the character I want to portray.

Cast for Room 103:

Marice Houston – Cote de Pablo

Kris Hood – Jacob Pitts

Todd Englund – Ryan Eggold

Regan Toliver – Gabriel Macht

If your characters had theme songs, what would they be?

Marice’s would be You Might Die Trying by Dave Matthews Band

Kris’ would be I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know – Gary Moore version

For both of them Hold On by Alabama Shakes

What’s your greatest strength as a writer?

Dialogue – hands down. This is what I excel at. I’ve been told my love scenes are good and steamy too. I also think I do well at fight scenes. If all of that is entirely untrue (which I hope it’s not) One can’t fault my grammar. I won’t say it’s flawless, but it’s pretty good! I’m proud of that.

You write some steamy love scenes. Do people ever think that you’re some kind of sex fiend who’s had a really exciting life?

Fairly often. People don’t accost murder mystery authors and ask them how many people they’ve killed, but they will ask romance authors, “Have you really done that? You must have a great sex life!” It’s imagination, folks!

A lot of your characters are career or former military. Have you ever been in the service?

No, though many friends and family members have. I like the military characters because they have skills that the average person doesn’t. Characters, like Teague (The Ninja Tattoo) and Frank (Bad Fall) are self-possessed, confident, unflappable and willing to risk themselves for others. They take protecting the people they care about to another level. They are able to follow through with the promise to keep them safe.

Many of your characters come from large families. Is your family as extensive as theirs?

Not really. I am one of 14 grandchildren on one side and one of 8 on the other. My immediate family consists of me and my older sister. I like the dynamic of the big families. They hold one another dear, embrace eccentricities and don’t take themselves or anyone else too seriously. It also gives me a wealth of minor characters to draw on.

What’s your take on romance novels where the main conflict is between the main characters?

I’m so glad I asked myself this question! I hate them. A little arguing goes a long way. I like my characters to get along and enjoy one anther’s company. If they’re fighting, they aren’t falling in love and having hot love scenes! Not only that, I feel that the conflict should come from outside their relationship. They get stronger because they battled adversity together. I think it makes for a much more interesting and entertaining story dynamic.

© 2016 Dellani Oakes

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Books by Dellani Oakes

Indian Summer – historical

Lone Wolf – futuristic romance

Shakazhan Lone Wolf #2 – futuristic romance

The Maker Lone Wolf #3 – futuristic romance

The Ninja Tattoo – romantic suspense

Conduct Unbecoming – romantic suspense

Under the Western Sky – retro romantic suspense

Undiscovered – romantic suspense

One Night in Daytona Beach – erotic romance

Room 103 – romantic suspense

Introducing He Thought He Saw

First Love is over. It got such a good response, I thought I’d share another of my young adult novels. He Thought He Saw is a step in a different direction for me. I’ve written Young Adult novels First Love coverand I’ve written some with fantasy elements, but this is the first time I ever wrote a Young Adult Fantasy. I wrote this for my NaNoWriMo novel in 2012 – when the world was going to end in December. I got to thinking, What if it was really was going to end, but somehow someone stopped it? This story grew from there. It’s set in my fictitious small town of Miracle, Mississippi, somewhere near Natchez.

The title, He Thought He Saw comes from a poem by Lewis Carroll called The Mad Gardener’s Song.  Honestly, I had to look up the title, because I could remember only this stanza and nothing more:

 

He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four

That stood beside his bed:

He looked again, and found it was

A Bear without a Head.

“Poor thing,” he said, “poor silly thing!

It’s waiting to be fed!”

The story has nothing to do with the poem, except that I borrowed a line from it. And there’s a bear. But shush, no spoilers! He Thought He Saw begins Wednesday, July 27. Look for it every Sunday and Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time here on my blog.

He Thought He Saw red

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