Archive | December 2017

When Tis Done – Part 21

When Tis Done coverAdele inadvertantly upsets Neil, but after he talks to Claude and Heath, he feels better and calms down. He tells Claude he has a migraine, and the other man heals it for him and realigns his aura.

“How you feeling?” Heath walked up.

“Better.”

“You look better. And your aura isn’t as funky-do as it was.”

“That’s a technical term? Funky-do?”

“It is at my house.”

They sat down and discussed various aspects of the ritual. Soon, the women came out with some of the supplies for the ritual, as well as a platter of sandwiches and stone tankards and a pitcher full of some golden, frothy liquid.

“We found Cliff’s mead stash,” Dora said. “He used to make it for Christmas gifts. We forgot this past Christmas….” She blinked hard, gulping. “But it seemed a proper way to say—goodbye.”

They each got a sandwich and a stone cup. Cynthia and Dora served everyone some mead and they toasted Cliff.

A song came to Neil, something he and Cliff used to sing together. Humming, he found the tune and the words again. He hadn’t thought of it in at least fifteen years. Closing his eyes, he let the music fill him as he thought of his friend. Soon the other voices joined with him. Some sang the words, others hummed, all of them adding to the moment.

His voice caressed the words to the old Lenoard Cohen song, Bird on a Wire. When he got to the first chorus, his friends split into harmony, singing with feeling. He could almost hear the music play as they sang. He could swear he heard guitars, drums and mixed strings and woodwinds. It wasn’t his imagination! There really was music playing, but he didn’t know how it was possible. Not questioning, he finished the song, feeling a great weight lift off his heart.

They stood in silence, even the noises of the woods were still for a snatch of breaths. Opening his eyes, he saw the others doing the same. He hadn’t realized, but they had joined hands as they sang. He stood between Cynthia and Dora. Squeezing their hands, he hung his head, inhaling deeply.

“That was his favorite song,” Dora said, sniffling.

“Mine too,” Neil replied. “We first heard it at a Willie Nelson concert when we were fourteen. We went with our dads. You remember, Dora? You didn’t want to go for some reason.”

“I didn’t feel well. Cramps,” she whispered.

“Glad I didn’t know that then.” He winked. “He was singing with Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard. Hell of a concert. They closed their first set with that song and it spoke to my soul.”

Dora hugged him, laying her head on his shoulder. “Thank you. I needed that.”

The others came over, hugging him. They cleaned up after their meal and got things ready for the ritual. The Outer Circle members had a meal planned for after, to greet Neil and Cynthia as official members.

Neil was nervous. He had no idea what to expect from this ceremony. They had inducted each of the Center Circle members as they reached maturity, but he hadn’t felt like hanging around as he watched his sister take the position he’d hoped to occupy. Now, he was taking it away from her. He sought her out, finding her at the edge of the property in a small meditation circle Cliff had made for her.

“Heya, Baby Sis.”

Dora grinned, tears in her blue eyes. “Hey, yourself.”

“I know this can’t be easy for you. Are you sure this is what you want?”

“I can’t do this without Cliff. Not only that, the Circle needs you and Cynthia now. Even if I wanted to stay, I don’t want another mate and the Circle needs a man and a woman, not two women. Besides, the bond between you strengthens with a marriage bond. It gets stronger when you first make love—don’t have to worry about that one.” She winked at him.

“Does the entire Circle know?”

“Honey, it’s all over you both. I’m happy for you. You’ve been purely miserable for twenty years, both of you. I’ve seen Cynthia go from one man to another. Some stuck long enough for her to hope, but mostly they faded away before they got past the first two or three dates. And you! How many women have warmed your sheets?”

“Not as many as you might think. Mostly friends with benefits, a few that I hoped would fill the hole in my heart, but they weren’t Cynthia.” He picked up a piece of pine straw, braiding the strands before making a loop with it. He tossed it away, but Dora picked it up.

“That needs to go in the fire. Things like that hold power.”

“I’d forgotten.”

She handed it to him and he put it in his pocket.

“Lots to learn. You’re all twenty years ahead of me.”

“I’ll help you. We’ve all been working with Cynthia. She’s quick. You’ll be quicker. You had two of the best teachers in the world helping you prepare.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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This is the last installment of When Tis Done for 2017. I want to take the opportunity to thank you all for joining me on this literary journey as you follow my tales. I wish you Happy New Year and hope you will continue to follow me in 2018. On to greater things! May the New Year be blessed for us all!!

Chaos in a Teacup – Part 3

writemindsauthors

dellani photo dark redThis series of articles were inspired by several author friends who have expressed awe at my organization (rude snort) or have complained about blogging. Since I’m not one to tell the truth, when fabrication will do, I thought I would throw off the veil of misconception, and reveal my less than stellar organization methods, as well as give a few blogging tips.

One major complaint my author friends have is that blogging is tedious and they don’t have the time. Time is a factor, yes, but with a little imagination, you can work out those issues. You need not do it on the day it’s due. Blog Spot and Word Press allow you to post things well in advance. When you have a few minutes, instead of watching Netflix, or chatting on Facebook or Twitter, go to the blog and cut and paste a few quotes. If you have them…

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Excerpt from Minnie and Moe by Dellani

Cereal Authors

character-quotes-imageSince Sidetracked was so dark, I decided to write something light and silly. It started out well enough, but I must have been in a weird mood after my novel, and it took a turn. Not dark, exactly, but a bit murky. Anyway, this is the first couple of pages, before Minnie and Moe took a turn.

Assignment just came in over the wire, sir,” Miss Mona Penny announced.

Excellent! What’s the job?”

A hit on one Moe Chaufroid,” she said, setting a photo by his morning cuppa.

The man was tall, lanky, and singularly unattractive. He wore his limp, black hair slicked back from a too lean, angular face. “What’s the poor bastard done? He looks like an accountant!”

He is an accountant, but a very clever one. In his case, looks are deceiving. He’s been embezzling from a conglomerate – and its owners are…

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When Tis Done – Part 20

When Tis Done coverThe Center Circle takes their meeting to Cynthia’s house. Neil is still a little off balance, with the people he doesn’t know. Adele Beauchamps says something about how unsettling it was to lose Cliff, and Neil loses his temper.

Standing abruptly, Neil dashed into the woods. Voices rose behind him, but only one person followed. He had a sense of who it was before they caught up. Heath put his hand on Neil’s shoulder.

“Obviously, we haven’t all considered the impact of this on you. We threw Cynthia into the breach and now, we’re demanding it of you. You have the right to refuse. But I’m hoping you won’t. I want my friend—my brother—to join us. Not only do I need you here, like the air I breathe, I know your strength will help us all. We’re hanging on by a thread, Neil. It’s slender and frayed. Adele doesn’t mean to offend. She’s trying to express the inexpressible.”

“I guess I owe her an apology.”

“Not at all. It was pretty damn callous of her to say and she knows it. My advice is to put it behind us and move on. If we hold onto every accidental slight, we’ll never get to the place we need to be. We need to be strong to help the kids. There’s a storm coming and we’re not ready. Will you help us?”

“Of course. You know that without asking.”

“But it’s polite to ask. We made a hell of an assumption. You have the right to say no.”

“But if I do, I lose the two most important things in my life—the Circle, and Cynthia. I won’t let her slip through my fingers again. I did that once, and it was the stupidest thing I ever did.”

“Thank you.” Heath gave him a hug. “Let’s figure this shit out. It’s the second most complex ritual I ever saw. The only one worse was what we did last year to summon Luminous Cayce.”

The women were inside having a look at Dora’s herbal supplies, as well as figuring out a meal. The men had started gathering kindling for the fire. They stopped, dusting their hands on their pants.

“I apologize for Adele,” Claude began.

“No need. We got some kinks to work out,” Neil said, forcing a smile. “I haven’t slept well for over a week and I’ve got a migraine from hell.”

Claude washed his hands at an outdoor tap, shaking them until they were dry. “Sit.”

Neil eyed him dubiously. “Why?”

“I’m a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders. I’m also a Healer. So sit.” He pointed to a nearby bench.

Neil sat on it, waiting. Claude shook his hands, praying softly. Miles brought a bucket of water over and poured salt in it. Thanking him with a nod, Claude waved his hands around Neil, looking as if he were pulling things from him, casting whatever it was into the bucket. This continued for several minutes and Neil felt the pain lessen, then recede altogether. Claude finished, smiling. The others had wandered off, leaving them alone.

“Better?”

“Yeah. I feel great! What was that?”

“Pranic healing. It is very effective in realigning the aura. Yours was seriously out of whack—not surprising given what you’ve been through. I would suggest doing this several more times in the next few days. I hear that Marissa is getting very good at it, as is Cynthia.”

“Cynthia provides a different kind of healing,” Neil said quietly, not wanting to share with the entire group.

“We can tell, my friend. It was all over you both. Good. She’s felt at loose ends since taking Cliff’s place. I’m surprised the Circle didn’t call you sooner.”

“I just mustered out, Claude. I couldn’t get back for Cliff’s funeral, or I would have been here already. I signed my final papers a week ago, and the headaches started.”

“How long did you resist the pull to come?”

“I didn’t. I settled my affairs in upstate Washington and hit the road.”

“If it’s any consolation, had you waited, you’d feel a hell of a lot worse. Symptoms?”

“Like what?”

“Tremors? Shivers. Hot flashes. Unexpected rain. Winds coming up for no reason.”

“Those are symptoms?”

“They are for us.”

“All of the above. Hey….” Neil leaned closer. “Did you—glow—your first time with Adele?”

“Glow?” Claude’s brow furrowed. “I don’t think so. Why?”

“Cause we both lit up like luminaria last night.”

“No kidding? I never heard of such a thing, but we don’t usually discuss our private moments. Our wives would kill us.”

“I understand. Normally, I wouldn’t, but it was—everywhere.” He glanced down at his zipper.

“No shit!” Claude lost his professional aplomb for a moment. “I’d say that was a symptom, but I’m not sure what of. And don’t worry. Patient confidentiality.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with M. Pepper Langlinais

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WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 27 from 4:00 to 5:30 Eastern on Blog Talk Radio

(3:00 Central, 2:00 Mountain, 1:00 Pacific)

It’s so hard to believe it’s the last show of 2017! Hanukkah and Christmas are over, we’re gearing up for the New Year, and everyone is anticipating New Year’s Eve – some happily, some not. We’re planning our New Year’s Resolutions, and reviewing how the old year went.

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To help us with that, we’ve invited M. Pepper Langlinais, author of The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller, Manifesting Destiny, The Mystery of the Last Line, Fairytales and Folklore Reimagined, The World Ends at Five, and more – including a new series of Sherlock Holmes stories. She’s been a busy lady since last we spoke.

Manda is one of our favorite people, so I’ve lost track of how many times she’s been on, but that’s okay, because we love having her back.

Join Dellani and Christina, along with Manda, while we talk books, goals, successful and – not so successful, decisions.

Above all, have a HAPPY NEW YEAR (almost) with us, because we intend to have one!

When Tis Done – Part 19

When Tis Done coverThe members of the Center and Inner Circles arrive. The crowd inside makes Neil uneasy, so they take the meeting onto the deck outside.

“Cynthia had her trial by fire,” Maribelle Casey said quietly. “After we lost Cliff…. It’s been hard on all of us. We need you, Neil. All of us are counting on you.”

“Thanks, Maribelle, but that doesn’t help a lot knowing,” Neil laughed nervously. “Hell, I’ve had an entire platoon rely on me for direction, bombs going off, taken heavy fire—and I wasn’t nearly as scared then as I am right now.”

“If I may,” Claude said, stepping forward. “I think that just our Circle needs to spend some time together today. Let’s go to the ritual grounds, get to know one another. We’ll go over the ritual with Neil. The rest of you can go over your parts here. We’ll meet at Cynthia’s house just before moonrise.”

“I think that’s a great idea,” Cynthia said, leaping up. “Don’t you, Myra?”

Neil’s mother was somewhat taken aback. She was used to being in charge with every aspect of their lives. She and David had led their Circle, much as Brian and Jordan led theirs. The Center Circle had always been in flux, though Maribelle and Miles led it more often than not. It was a system that worked for them, but she sensed that the power structure was going to shift.

“Of course,” she agreed rather stiffly. “We’ll see you then.”

“Do you need any food?” Dora asked.

“I’m fully stocked, thank you.”

“If you’re sure, dear.”

“Positive.” She gave Myra a kiss, whispering in her ear. “He needs fewer people, Myra.”

Nodding, the older lady smiled. “You’re right, of course. Thank you, dear.”

Those from the Center Circle headed to Cynthia’s house, on the edge of the swamp. They gathered in her backyard, which had been, until recently, the burial ground of the angry dead from the battle that had taken place in Miracle 300 years ago. With their bones destroyed, their spirits put to rest, it was a verdant green lawn with a stone pit in the middle, large enough for a huge bonfire. Wood was laid, aged and ready to ignite. The men from their circle had set it out as soon as they knew Neil was on the way. There were plenty of benches and logs to sit on. They gathered, sitting quietly for several minutes before Claude spoke once more.

“Better?” he asked Neil.

With a visible shiver, he nodded. “Too many people….”

“You start looking for trouble,” Emmett said. “Even though you know you’re among friends….”

“Something jumped me when I came home from Cynthia’s last night,” Neil said. “This is the first I’ve had a chance to tell anyone.”

“Could you see what?” Cynthia asked.

“No. It could have been a cat or something—felt bigger. Definitely feline, it moved like a cat.”

“Scent?” Nadine Pennybaker asked, leaning forward.

Neil closed his eyes, inhaling deeply as he remembered. Exhaling through his mouth, he waited. “No. All I smelled was the foliage and the damp pine straw.”

The others nodded.

“This makes what we need to do more imperative,” Adele Beauchamps said. “I get a hint of what you encountered, Neil. It’s not dangerous—yet. I’m not sure what it is…. It’s good we’re doing this tonight.”

“What do I need to do?” Neil asked. “I saw some of what y’all did when Dora joined, but I don’t remember much. That was twenty years ago, and I wasn’t a part.”

Dora sniffled, folding her hands in her lap. “We didn’t do anything official with Cynthia, because she got tossed in rather urgently. So, tonight, we make a formal request of the Powers That Be for me to step out of the Circle and you to step in. Do you have the ritual?” she asked Nadine.

“Yes. I found it in Mama’s things. I know there’s a copy in the archives, but Cliff’s system made sense to him, not to me. That’s often the way with Chronicler,” she explained to Neil. “That will be your job.”

“Why?”

“Because it was Cliff’s.”

“But Cynthia came in for Cliff.”

Nadine blinked, clearly puzzled. “I forget we’ve switched genders. I guess it goes to a vote. I don’t know. We’ve never lost….” Her lip trembled, her eyes watering. “Sorry.”

“This is hard for us,” Adele stated in a matter-of-fact tone. “Losing one of our Circle, it’s like losing a limb.”

Neil nodded, his temper flaring. “Look, you seem like real nice people. I grew up with some of you, others I don’t know. And I apologize if what I’m about to say offends anyone—but I’ve lost more than one person I was close to. I’ve damn near died more times than I can count. Cliff was my best friend, like my brother. Dora is my twin sister, and this loss has torn her apart. I can feel it to my soul, and I can see it all around her—something I never saw before. So quit telling me how fucking hard this is for you! This is nothing for you, lady!”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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When Tis Done – Part 18

When Tis Done coverAfter a short chat with Cynthia, Neil finds out that everyone in his Circle will be coming over to practice for a ritual for him to officially take over from Dora. He accidentally offends his mother, making a joke about snake venom and eye of newt. She reminds him that they aren’t witches.

“This is no joking matter, boy.”

He nodded, taking a step back in case she changed her mind about smacking him. His phone beeped. It was a text from Cynthia.

Tell your mom I’m on my way. She left a message when we were talking.

Will do. Can’t wait to see you.

She sent back a picture of herself, making a kiss face at the phone. Okay, getting in the car. Be there shortly.

Cynthia arrived first, followed by the Barretts and Caseys. Several unfamiliar cars pulled up shortly after and people Neil didn’t remember seeing before, got out. They all had young people with them, in their late teens or early twenties. One younger couple arrived, a strikingly beautiful Latina and an aristocratic Creole man. A man and woman, who could only have been the Creole man’s parents, arrived moments later with another couple, who must be hers.

Neil felt overwhelmed. He wanted to hide from all these new people, but was aware he had to get to know them. Cynthia stood beside him, holding his hand, introducing him to everyone. The last to arrive were Marissa and her parents. Despite the fact her father had come around, for the most part, he still balked somewhat at these gatherings. He was very religious and didn’t like Jackie’s crystal gazing, as he called it. She was the most spiritual person Neil had ever met, so Mr. Pennybaker’s attitude rankled with him a little.

They gathered in the den, some of them sitting on the floor, others finding seats on the padded benches along the wall, under the tall windows. Neil stood behind his father’s chair, trying to hide from all the curious eyes. Cynthia stood next to him, giving him encouragement with her words and actions. It was somewhat distracting having her so close, because he could smell her scent. It excited him at a time when he really needed to think of something other than sex. Having a lot of perceptive people in the room, many of whom would know what he was thinking and feeling, was disconcerting at best.

“Don’t hide back there, son. Come on around where I can see you,” his father scolded.

Neil wandered around to lean against the bookshelves, arms folded over his chest, legs crossed at the ankle. He perched on the three inch ledge between bookcases and cabinets below. His paranoia spiked in large groups. Though he knew none of these people would hurt him, it grew increasingly difficult.

“Can we go outside?” Cynthia asked. “We could sit on the deck.”

“It’s so hard for Daddy,” Myra Braxton began.

“I can manage. Just get my wheels.” David motioned for his wheeled walker.

Neil supported him with the help of Claude Beachamps, a doctor from Louisiana.

“It does me good to sit outside,” David said. “Got more room to breathe.” He leaned over to murmur to Neil, “It was Mama’s idea to be inside, but it’s stuffy in that room with so many.”

“Daddy, my skin liked to crawl off my ass,” Neil confided. “Crowds….”

His father wheezed and chuckled. “Get the door, boy.”

“Yes, sir.” He helped his father through the sliding glass door and onto the deck.

Miles had brought up a padded lounge chair and he helped Neil seat David on it. There were more places to sit along the railings of the deck, as there were benches there. There were also two large picnic tables and heavy wooden lawn furniture.

“Now then,” Myra said when they were all settled. “This is our son, Neil. He’s graciously agreed to join the Center Circle, taking our Dora’s place. Some of you haven’t met Neil. He’s been away for twenty years, mostly overseas in the Marines. Newly retired.”

“Me too,” Emmett Sweet said. “But I imagine I salute you.”

“Master Sergeant,” Neil admitted shyly.

“Just a Sergeant here,” Emmett said, saluting Neil. “I didn’t hang in as long as you.”

He was introduced once more to everyone, knowing he wasn’t going to remember names or jobs. A mild panic set in and he closed off again. He wouldn’t sit, rather he stood at the corner of the house, arms and legs crossed as before. The penetrating amber eyes of Claude Beachamps rested on him, flickering away when Neil glared in his direction.

“This is a lot to fathom,” Jackie said, her calming voice easing some of the tension in Neil’s body. “What we’re asking of you seems like so little, but it’s really an awful lot. Normally, a replacement is given more time to acclimate. Our grandparents’ circle had to replace once when my grandfather died. His younger brother stepped in. Unlike with us, they had time to prepare, since Granddad was dying of cancer. We don’t have that luxury, Neil. I’m so sorry. I look at our Circle, and I see a gaping, black hole in our ranks. Our weakness puts our children and our parents at risk. The Center Circle strengthens the Inner one, drawing energy and support from the Outer.”

“It’s bad enough that I’m a wreck,” David said. “But I can still hold my own in a fight.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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