Archive | August 2017

It’s Our 5th Anniversary & We’re Celebrating!

Three Cheers to us! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO US!

Cereal Authors

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I can’t believe it’s been five years!  You know they say for a 5th anniversary you’re supposed to buy wood but the only thing I can think of that a writer would want that’s wooden is maybe a pencil?  Okay, how about a paperweight?  Hey, you know paper is technically made from trees, imagine it, I can be the Oprah of loose leaf paper…

Oprah Meme

Call me crazy but I don’t see anyone getting excited over paper products.  As you see, tradition isn’t very helpful when it comes to a fifth anniversary.  However instead of going on about how lame these gift traditions are, I’d rather explain why we decided to do this blog in the first place…

Once upon a time, a group of authors got together and decided form a collective blog where we shared book excerpts, writing tips, or just plain ranted.  Today, with over 1,100 posts…

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 48

the man who wasnt thereSomething is seriously wrong with Brian. After nearly killing Marissa’s father, he runs off, only to disappear. Dwight finds him perched in a tree like an angry jungle cat. He climbs up after Brian.

“Can’t sit up here all night, my friend. Your lady will be waiting.”

Brian didn’t answer, but his eyes flickered.

“She loves you and you love her. Don’t piss her off by missing your first major date. This is a big one, Brian. Almost as important as prom. If you screw this up, you’ll be still be a virgin at forty.”

Brian didn’t say anything, but he focused on Dwight.

“I know there’s a lot going on inside, mate. More shit than we can possibly imagine, is spinning around in your head. I’d be out of my mind by now. But you’re not out of your mind, you’ve got that spooky shit Rider on your shoulder. And chaotic and weird as your behavior is right at this moment, we need you. So at the risk of getting my lights punched out by a crazy fella in a tree, who seems to think he’s freaking Tarzan, get down. Pull up your boxers and twirl them in a knot because we don’t have time for this shit.”

Shaking his head, Brian gazed at Dwight. Recognition was slow, but eventually dawned. “Why am I in this tree?” he asked as he watched Dwight jump.

“No idea, mate. Come down. You need to get ready to go. And don’t worry, I’ll be there along with your lady love.”

“Thank you,” Brian sighed as he got down. The Caseys stood on the porch, watching the events unfold. “If I get this messed up at the dance, do me a favor.”

“Anything for you, my friend.”

“Punch me,” Brian said. “Right here.” He pointed to his right shoulder. “As hard as you can hit me, just smack the ever loving shit out of me.”

“You sure?”

“Absolutely, undeniably sure. I may try to take your head off,” he cautioned. “But hit me anyway.”

“I will do my best. Do you want me to knock you out?”

Brian thought about that for a moment. “I don’t think you’ll be able to. One hit should do, but feel free to hit me twice if you think the situation warrants it.”

“I shall do as you ask.”

Smirking, Brian shook Dwight’s hand. “Excellent.”

Dressed and ready for the ball, Brian waited for his parents and their guests. He and Dwight were riding with Andre and Louisa. Jordan was catching a ride with her parents and the others were car pooling as well. They parked close together and headed into the community center in pairs.

Chase was already there with Marissa and her family. They met up, trying to be casual, giving the place a subtle recon.

“Everything looks all right,” Jordan said. “How does it feel?”

“Fine, so far,” Brian replied. “Let’s just try to relax and have a good time. How often do I get to take my girl out and show her off?” He winked, spinning Jordan under his arm. “You look beautiful, by the way. In fact, I’d say that you bypass beautiful and go right to stunning.”

Jordan wore a sparkling royal blue halter topped dress with an open back. The skirt circled her ankles, pooling like water. Her shoes were strappy silver sandals with a three inch heel. Even with the extra height, she barely came to Brian’s shoulder. Her thick, walnut colored hair was in a sleek French twist, decorated with four spangled sticks. She told her friends they were really cleverly concealed stilettos. Brian laughed, nuzzling her neck.

“Trust my woman to come armed to a dance.”

“Two are iron, two silver. I thought I should have my bases covered. The sparkles are chips of clear quartz. My necklace and earrings are lapis lazuli.”

“You prepared better than I did,” he confessed. “I’ve just got pockets full of salt and holy water.”

“And a knife strapped to your back as well as your baton,” she replied, feeling under his coat.

Brian laughed, spinning her in a circle. “God, I love you. Don’t make me wait much longer, Jordan.” He buried his face in the curve of her throat.

Dwight clapped him on the shoulder, hard. It wasn’t a punch, but it was designed to get his attention. “Don’t make me hit you, mate.”

“Thanks.”

Jordan and Marissa met up, gushing about the other’s outfit. Louisa and Ginnifer joined in, leaving the boys to their own devices.

“She looks stunning,” Dwight said. “Pity Kiersten couldn’t be here.”

“Yeah, I thought she was coming?”

Dwight hung his head. “I called and asked her not to. Selfish of me, but I can’t let her come. She’s pregnant,” he whispered. “Mum and Dad don’t know. I would never have agreed if I’d had any idea just how formidable a foe we’re fighting.”

“No, man. I get it. Protect your woman.” Brian nodded. “I wish Luminous had, had that choice.”

“Did he say what happened? How Mr. D. possessed him?”

“No. It’s got me worried, Dwight. What if I lose it like he did?”

“You won’t,” Dwight promised. “You’ve got a beautiful woman by your side.”

“So did he.”

“Yeah, but you’ve got me to punch your lights out if you go off.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 47

Miles hears Jordan and Brian arguing. Rather than letting it escalate, he intervenes and tries to explain to Jordan what Brian is going through. He tells them to put their personal feelings aside to deal with later, and focus on what’s probably going to happen that night. They decide to have a picnic by the river.

“You can smooth the ground with a swoosh and can’t control flames to save your life.”

Brian chuckled. “Dirt’s easy. Dirt won’t set my house on fire. I’m comfortable with dirt. Dirt won’t ignite my hair or give me blisters or sizzle my sack.”

Jordan burst out laughing again. “Sizzle my sack,” she giggled.

They had a good time over lunch and spent the better part of an hour playing with the water. Jordan was quiet adept at making water spouts. Brian was good at creating waves. They stopped when they nearly made a couple of kayaks capsize. Brian kept them upright while Jordan got their antics contained. Giggling, they cleared up their mess and went back to the car.

The Harvest Ball was set for 7:00 and Jordan demanded the rest of the afternoon to prepare. Brian, who wasn’t female, had no idea why she had to have so much time.

“I want to be beautiful tonight. Just because we’re going to vanquish a demon doesn’t mean I don’t want to look good.”

Brian brushed her cheek with his thumb. “You look beautiful all the time. You don’t need a fancy hairdo or dress to make me want you.”

His voice dropped to a deep husky range that was completely foreign to him. It made Jordan shiver. His kiss was far more friendly than she wanted. Realizing that this was more than just Brian, she pushed him gently away.

“Another time, when you don’t have an Ethereal Rider, I’d like this attention. Right now, I feel like I’m being spied on.”

Brian understood, but she wasn’t sure the Rider did. Rather than putting him in an uncomfortable position, she went home. He wasn’t overly surprised to see the adults having a meeting without the teenagers.

“We asked Cynthia to take Cliff’s place,” his father told him. “She agreed. Dora has already said she doesn’t want to go back to the house, so Cynthia will have it fixed up and move in.”

“How’s Dora doing?”

“Shaky, but well,” Maribelle said. “We live with the very real knowledge that what we do is extremely dangerous. We knew there would eventually be holes in our ranks.” She sniffled, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.

“What’s the game plan?” Brian asked.

“We don’t want to involve you kids,” Harold said, face grim.

“That’s unavoidable, Mr. Pennybaker. No offense, but you’re down by two. That alone is cause for concern. And I’m the one with the dubious honor of playing host to the Rider. If he is the Peddler, he needs to be around. Whatever’s in that mausoleum wants out.”

“How do you know that?” Harold sneered. “Did you see it in a dream?” The contempt and disbelief in his voice were quite obvious.

Brian gave him a level stare. Mr. Pennybaker shifted nervously as Brian continued to stare, saying nothing. Taking a deep breath, he decided to answer the rude question.

“Remember the part about having the Rider?” He gestured toward his right shoulder. “It knows things which it passes along to me. I don’t want to know them. I don’t want him there, but what can ya do?” A barking laugh left his lips. His eyes didn’t share the joy. “It wants out. It wants to eat our souls. Just for fun, let’s say it starts with yours. Do you have any clue what happens to you when a demon sucks your soul out of your body?”

Mr. Pennybaker said nothing. His body shook and he gasped for breath. Opening and shutting his mouth, he gulped and grimaced, turning red in the face. A vein stuck out in his forehead as his face turned blue. Brian looked on placidly, just a tilt of his head indicated that he was doing anything. Suddenly, Harold Pennybaker collapsed on the coffee table, smacking the wood with his chin.

“How did that feel, Harold?” Brian bent over the prostrate man, face less than two inches from Harold’s ear. “Did it feel like your blood was being sucked out through your pores? Could you feel your spleen heat up, trying to explode? How did you like the fire in your groin or the excruciating pain up and down your spine? Because that!” He poked Harold’s cheek with his index finger. “Was nothing compared to what that demon wants to do—with all of us—including your precious, virginal daughter!”

Brian left suddenly, storming out of the house, slamming the door. Miles and Heath went after him, followed by Meru and Dwight. They rushed out the door, but couldn’t see Brian anywhere. In those few seconds, he’d disappeared. His car sat in the driveway, so he’d gone on foot.

“Where would he go?” Miles asked.

“He might go to our house,” Heath replied.

“Or to Chase’s,” Meru speculated.

“Or neither,” Dwight said, pointing up.

Brian sat in a tree several feet above their heads. He crouched in the thick of the branches, perched like a predator. Miles fetched Claude, hoping that the doctor would have some brilliant idea to get Brian down.

Nothing any of the men said made any difference. Brian refused to come down. Dwight solved the problem by climbing the tree. He sat across from Brian, offering him half a candy bar. Brian took it, nodding his thanks.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes 

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The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 46

the man who wasnt thereBrian sees a lot in his dream about Luminous Cayce. Jordan wants to stay with hiim afterwards, but Brian makes her leave. However, she’s there, waiting for him, while he showers and is waiting for him then he wants to get dressed.

“What the hell, Jordan?” He backed into his bathroom. “Can you please leave? I want to get dressed.”

“Not until we talk.”

“Not with me naked, we’re not.”

She said nothing. Brian peeped around the doorframe and she was still sitting on the bed.

“Come on! Why are you so pissed that I asked you to leave last night?”

“You yelled at me and shoved me away!”

Brian growled, yanking at his slime infested hair. “Don’t you get it?”

“Obviously not. Clearly, I’m not smart enough or capable enough to understand what you want and need, Brian. Forgive me for not being a mind reader.”

“Oh, stuff it!” He crossed the room, looming angrily over her. “Jordan, right now I’ve got this—thing—on my shoulder.” He gestured to the area near his right ear. “Do you know what it is? Cause I don’t. I see you and smell you and want you….” Groaning, he turned away. “This isn’t normal. This isn’t me. This is other worldly. The other night in the living room, I would have done you right there, parents or not, if Andre hadn’t come in. It gets worse every time.

“Then last night, after talking to Luminous, feeling his grief, his anger, it was a thousand times worse! But no, this is about you and how you feel and how it hurts your feelings. For once, Jordan, can you just quit being such a girl and see how this affects me? Just for a second?”

The door opened and his father walked in. He stood in the doorway, watching. “Problem?”

“No,” Brian said quietly. “None.”

“Doesn’t sound like that to me. Sounds like something we need to discuss before tonight. You do remember what tonight is, right? Some big, fancy ball celebrating the end of life as we know it?”

Jordan nodded mutely. Her eyes swam with tears. Her lower lip trembled as she fought for breath.

Miles came in, closing the door behind him. “Go put on some pants, son.”

Brian grabbed some boxers and jeans from his drawer and went back in the bathroom. He could hear his father speaking quietly to Jordan. She mumbled a reply. When Brian came out, she was dry eyed, but her face was puffy and her nose was red.

“God knows, you two have more to contend with than just regular teenage problems,” Miles began. “But we’ve got to work past this—now. We don’t have time for touchy feelies and happy joy-joy thoughts.”

Jordan and Brian smirked.

“Jordan, some of what I have to say may embarrass you, but you’ve got to hear it. Son, everything I say is going to embarrass you.” He didn’t sound the least bit remorseful. “Men are horny,” he explained bluntly. “Pure and simple, no getting away from it. Teenage men in particular, have problems with control. They can’t help it, it’s a fact of life. Teenage men want to get laid—repeatedly. While that’s true of all men, it’s worse when you’re a kid cause you’ve never done it before.

“Whatever this Rider is, with all the goings on, lust levels are going to be at an all time high. Jordan, you can’t even imagine what’s going on in Brian’s body right now. None of us can, we’re not the ones experiencing it. What you can’t do is let your feelings get hurt. Believe and know that he’s trying to protect you and do what he asks—even if he’s not nice about it.” He addressed his son directly. “I know that being polite and well mannered isn’t really in the cards when your nuts are in a knot, but try.” He spread his hands, smiling.

“So kiss and make up, forgive and forget and try to be understanding of one another. After all this shit is over, you can hash all this out and deal with all the warm fuzzies and cold pricklies you want. You can yell, scream fuss—provided it’s nowhere near my sleeping baby and you can sort it out like every other couple on the face of the earth. But right now, you aren’t every other couple. You’re the Dreamer and his future mate. You’re a power couple in ways that no Hollywood movie moguls ever will be. You have to work together, or people die. Are we clear?”

“Yes, sir,” Brian replied.

Jordan nodded. “Yes, sir,” she whispered.

“Good. All that fun stuff out of the way. Give her a kiss.” He waited until Brian kissed Jordan. “Hugs all round.” They exchanged a hug. “Good. Now we can eat breakfast.”

“I’m sorry,” Jordan said.

“Me too. We’ll sort this out, Jordan. Like Dad said.”

“Later.” She hugged him again. “I love you and I’m here to help any way I can.”

“Ditto,” he agreed.

They went down to breakfast and put the argument behind them. Claude didn’t come down until almost noon. He’d gone to bed around 7:00, after watching Brian most of the night.

“I plan to go over my findings today,” he explained. “There’s a lot of data. No reason why you have to be around,” he told Brian.

“It’s been a busy week,” Maribelle said. “You two should go be teenagers for a little while. Hang out with your friends at Sweeties, or go drive out to the river. Have some fun.”

Jordan and Brian felt very much as if the adults were trying to get rid of them. Rather than argue, they decided to take the opportunity to relax. Liking the idea of going to the river, they packed a picnic lunch and drove to a park on the banks of the Mississippi. Quite a few people had the same idea, so it was fairly crowded, except for a rocky overlook that was usually deserted.

Brian led the way. True to tradition, the area was quiet. Most people didn’t like the climb, even though the view was magnificent. They spread a blanket and sat. The ground was lumpy and uneven, but Brian solved that problem with a swish of his hand. Jordan laughed, sitting down on the much more comfortable ground.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Endless Ink Publishing

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Listen Live Wednesday, August 23 from 4 – 6 PM Eastern time

on Blog Talk Radio

Summer’s come to an end and all thoughts turn to school—not! If you’re like me, you want to avoid school books and find something to entertain you. The folks at Endless Ink Publishing House will do just that!

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Wednesday, August 23, we welcome Julian Fernandes, author and publisher at Endless Ink.

Also on board are author Christina DZA Marie, and illustrator John Hawkins.

This is a step into outer space, the future and all things alien. The truth is out there – and even if it’s not, the folks at Endless Ink will make it your reality.

Join us as we blast into the cosmos with the folks at Endless Ink.

Or catch the show at your leisure here!

 

The Man Who Wasn’t There – Part 45

the man who wasnt thereBrian goes into an hypnotic trance before settling in a dream. He looks for, and meets, his ancestor, Luminous Cayce. He claims that Mr. D. somehow possesed him and made him do evil things.

The dream world grew dim. Brian couldn’t sustain his presence there much longer. Luminous reached for him, grasping his hand.

“Find my ring,” he called as Brian faded. “Ask your grandmother—about my ring!” Luminous faded from view. His voice echoed in Brian’s mind as they parted. “My ring!”

Brian woke, groggy and disoriented. Jordan sat beside him on the bed, leaning over him with her hands on his chest. Dr. Meru sat on the end of the bed and Claude held his wrist as he watched the monitors. Brian sat up.

“My ring!” he gasped. “My ring!”

“Brian?” Jordan touched his face.

“Yeah.” His voice sounded strange, so he cleared his throat. “Yeah. How long was I out?”

“An hour,” Claude said, glancing at his watch.

“It felt like five minutes,” Brian said. “I saw Luminous. He said that the Evil possessed him. Somehow, he shook it off, but not until he’d killed someone.” He shuddered, suddenly cold. “Did he do all those things? Was it really his fault?”

“If he was possessed, it wasn’t his fault,” Dr. Meru replied. “But when things go wrong, when people we love die, we will blame ourselves. Because we are men, that is what we do. We swear in our hearts to protect the ones we love. When we fail….” He shook his head slowly.

“When we fail, we don’t see it straight,” Claude replied. “And we will take blame where none exists.”

“He seemed pretty adamant,” Brian said.

“He, would, of course, feel responsible. Imagine if something possessed you. You’d feel as if you were to blame.”

Brian, who know a little bit about being overcome by uncharacteristic urges, nodded. He’d felt the same way after practically mauling Jordan.

“You said something about a ring,” Jordan said. “You repeated it several times.”

“Luminous said something about asking my grandmother for his ring. I have no idea what he’s talking about. I can’t call her in the middle of the night.”

“Ask her in the morning,” Claude suggested.

“He also said we have to replace Cliff as Guardian and he suggested Cynthia.”

“We’ll ask her tomorrow, too,” Jordan said. “Meanwhile….”

“Meanwhile, I need to sleep.”

“I’ll stay with you,” Jordan suggested.

The men exchanged a look. Jordan didn’t see it, but Brian did.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” he said, touching her face gently. “It’s one thing having you in here with Claude and Meru, but not alone.”

“Why not? It’s not a big deal, Brian.”

“Because,” Meru said softly. “It is a very big deal and a distraction neither of you needs just now.”

“Oh, if you think you’re getting lucky, Brian, you’re mistaken!”

He kissed her passionately. The Rider on his shoulder and the experience he’d just had in his dreams had him jazzed on adrenaline. He could feel the heat of her through their clothing and he wanted nothing more than to make love to her. He didn’t care if it was his parents’ house, he wanted her in ways he’d never imagined.

If Claude’s deep blush was any indication, he knew exactly what Brian was thinking. He was a telepath, but he was also a man. “Another time, I would encourage it, Jordan. But I fear that tonight he must decline. I’ll keep an eye on him. I promise to call you if it’s necessary.”

“Go, please,” Brian begged.

“Why are you forcing me to go? I want to stay and take care of you.”

Brian pushed her abruptly away. She nearly toppled off the bed. Standing, he walked to the other side of the room, body rigid, muscles taut. “Because, if you stay, it won’t matter who else is in the room. I’ll take you in a manly fashion whether you want me to or not. And I’d like our first time to be fun, not frightening, and without an audience. So please, go. Just—just go.”

Wiping away angry tears, Jordan left. She slammed the door. Elise started crying. Brian heard her go into the baby’s room, checking on her.

“That went well.” Brian frowned, pacing his room.

“You were honest with her,” Claude said. “Never lose the honesty. One day, she will understand. Perhaps not today.” He winked. “Time for you to sleep, young son,” he told Brian. “I want to keep you connected, please. I would like to compare these readings to those I cataloged before. I’d also like to compare them to your tests from childhood.”

“Fine. But if either of you snore, I’m throwing you out.”

Claude laughed. “I’ll be awake. Meru, do you snore?”

“I have never been told that I do.”

“We’re set,” Brian replied as he turned off the light.

Meru settled once more in his recliner. Claude watched the monitors in the dim light of the room.

Brian woke to the barking of Janus and Zofia. For some reason, they were in the house, creating a terrible din. His head ached, his throat was dry and sore. Dr. Meru was no longer in the recliner and Claude’s instruments were gone, though Brian still wore the stickers and had goo in his hair.

Sitting up hurt. He ached all over as if he’d been in a fight. Groaning, he struggled to the bathroom. He peeled off the stickers and ran his hands through his hair.

“Ech. It’s like snot—or ectoplasm,” he complained.

Four shampoos later, he felt less contaminated, but he was sure some vestiges remained. He stumbled to his room, glad he’d worn his towel, because Jordan sat on the end of his bed, glaring at him.

“What the hell, Jordan?” He backed into his bathroom. “Can you please leave? I want to get dressed.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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That’s Quite a Character – Aileen Griffin from Conduct Unbecoming by Dellani

That's Quite a CharacterAileen Griffin is an interesting character. She was suggested to me by my friend, Aileen Aroma. She loved The Ninja Tattoo and Teague, the hero, so much, she asked to be a character in the second book Conduct Unbecoming. How could I say no? I created Aileen and she jumped into the story, hit the ground at a dead run, and carried events away like a house on fire.

Since her arrival in Conduct Unbecoming, she’s been in at least five more of my books (not yet published). She continues to amaze me with what she does and says. She’s one of the most formidable, capable women who’s ever walked onto my pages.

conduct front cover

Aileen Griffin got off the plane, sunglasses on her head. She walked to the car rental, then to the baggage pickup. Settled in her white Dodge Dart, she turned left onto International Speedway Boulevard, heading to the interstate. Taking the south bound exit, she drove to Edgewater. Hitting the city limits, she called Teague.

“Yes, your majesty?” he answered without saying hello.

“Funny man. You should be on stage.”

“What do you want, Aileen?”

“An update.”

Heaving a sigh, Teague told her what he’d discovered, also mentioning the man on the beach. He didn’t tell her where Nadeya was, but she didn’t even ask if he’d found her yet.

“Please call me with any updates.”

“Sure will.”

“Thanks, Teague.”

“No problem.” He hung up.

Aileen smiled and pressed a few buttons on her phone. A special GPS program had initiated with her call. She knew exactly where he was. Setting the phone in the hands free holder on the dash, she drove confidently to Teague’s location.

The dogs started barking shortly after the four of them sat down to breakfast. Han ran to the door. Leah went to the window. Standing on her hind legs, she examined the outdoors, growling. Han’s hackles rose and he stalked in front of the door uneasily.

A white Dodge Dart pulled up next to Teague’s truck. A trim, well built woman with light brown hair, got out of the car. She scanned the terrain like a soldier, her hands on shapely hips.

Nadeya took Vivica to the office. Jasper and Teague flanked the door, watching the woman’s progress through the narrow windows beside the door. Putting his head in his hand, Teague groaned. Even in jeans and a crop top, he recognized her. He told Jasper to holster his weapon and lock up the dogs.

“It’s Aileen,” he said.

“The ex?” Jasper struggled a moment with Han. Leah came quietly. He put them in the guest room.

“Yeah.” Teague opened the door and went down the front steps. “Let me guess. GPS program on your phone.”

“Handy dandy device, McMurtry. You should try it.” She held her phone up proudly, waving it in front of him.

“I don’t spy on people anymore, Aileen.” He frowned, hands in his pockets. “Why are you here?”

“I took time off to help. Can I come in? I need to pee.”

“Gotta ask the owner. Yo, Jasper!” he called loudly.

His friend came out, dressed in jeans and a tight Black Sabbath T-shirt. He looked fierce.

“The lady needs to pee,” Teague said. “May she come in?”

“You know her well, bro?”

“Dude, I used to sleep with her.”

Jasper nodded. They followed him inside.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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