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Give Books for Christmas!

Books make amazing gifts. They’re the kind of thing that keeps on giving since your loved one can return to them again and again. E-books make a marvelous last minute present. Below, I’ve gathered the websites of several of my author friends for you to visit and (I hope) purchase from. Other author friends, please put your links below in the comments.

My book, “Indian Summer”, is an historical romance set in St Augustine, Florida in 1739. It’s available at http://www.secondwindpublishing.com and http://www.amazon.com The novel is available in E-book and Kindle form as well as printed form. My new sci-fi novel, “The Lone Wolf”, is coming soon form Second Wind. ~ Dellani

For William Beck’s great spy thrillers:
http://www.booksbybeck.com/

For the beautiful & moving Paradise Island, Heavenly Journey by Jon Magee
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Paradise-Island-Heavenly-Journey/133686193356313
And Jon’s other amazing book, From Barren Rocks to Living Stones
http://www.facebook.com/pages/From-Barren-Rocks-to-Living-Stones/283465875540

For books by Bethany Warner
bkwriter.blogspot.com

For the work of Olwyn Conrau
http://www.olwynconrau.com/books.html

Visit Karen Vaughn here
http://www.karenvaughan.info/ Karen Vaughn
Find her book, Dead Comic Standing at http://www.amazon.com

For the books & artwork of Mickey Hoffman
http://www.mickeyhoffman.com/

For the funny and poignant, My Bad Tequila by Rico Austin
http://www.amazon.com/My-Bad-Tequila-Rico-Austin/dp/0981978916/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1291941988&sr=1-1

For your copy of Activate Intuition by Jim Wawro
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.activateintuition.com%2F&h=f0ed31wfI6BqSkTJ8l_Yv-1xBaQ

To find the work of Mark David Gerson
http://www.amazon.com/Mark-David Gerson/e/B002CQXFPM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

“From a Child’s Perception” is available at www.authorsden.com/annalfowler Anna Fowler

Susie Schecter http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lifetimes+ago&x=14&y=1
Susie’s website is http://www/. lifetimesago.com

“Indian Summer” excerpt

The following is from my historical novel, “Indian Summer” (available from Second Wind Publishing).  Gabriella Deza, her sisters & younger brother, Marcos, are in St. Augustine, Florida waiting for their parents to come back from Jamaica.  The weather is awful, a storm brewing out over the water.  Suddenly, the sky darkens, hail falls and the sea turns angry & wrathful.  Caught on the way home from church, many of the townspeople seek refuge in the Deza home.

Just as we were sorting ourselves out, there was more pounding at the door. I couldn’t imagine who would have braved such weather. Then Manual, drenched to the skin, hair clinging to his face, burst in!

“The ship!” He managed to gasp. “Your parents’ ship is foundering! They need all able bodied men to come to the wharf immediately. Hurry!”

He left to spread the word. I heard the church bell ringing, calling all men to give aid. The men in the room leapt to their feet. Ana rounded up the servants to help. They gathered stout ropes carrying them to the docks.

Marcos wanted to go help his Mamá, but I insisted he stay home. “A boy of five, though he’s big and strong, can’t go out in this weather! I forbid it. Go to your room, change into a dry nightshirt and get into bed at once.”

“I’m not a baby, Bella! I want to go help Mamá and Papa! I’m strong!”

“Marcos, you would simply get in the way. There is nothing you can do. If you won’t go voluntarily to your room, I shall take you there myself!”

He stuck out his tongue, crossed his arms and plopped on the floor, ready to have a temper tantrum for me. With that, I lifted him, kicking and screaming, into my arms, carried him up to his room and plopped him unceremoniously on the bed. I should have locked the door behind me, but I didn’t have the key. I went down to see to the preparations being made, grabbed my cloak and was ready to run out in the rain when I heard the front door slam.

“Marcos!” I screamed, for I knew it was he. “Marcos! Oh, God, why didn’t I lock his door!?” Dropping my cloak, I ran after him, calling his name.

The rain was so heavy, I soon lost track of him in the storm. I knew he’d be heading to the wharf, so I found my way there as best I could. Once I reached the shore I began to call him. My voice was drowned by the sound of the wind.

“Please,” I begged of the men that I knew. “Will you help me find my brother?”

But all were too busy to listen to a young lady who was too foolish to stay out of the storm. I could see Papa’s ship in the ocean heading toward the wharf, as the waves pounded it on all sides. It looked ready to break apart! I began to pray as I ran looking for my little brother.

“Oh Lord, protect them and help me find my brother!” I repeated over and over as I ran through the crowd, pushing my way in the press of men.

It was then I saw Marcos. He was trying to help deploy ropes. The men on the shore tied off stout hemp lines to the pier and were roping themselves in to wade out into the storm. They formed a life line should the ship break apart. Other men were standing and holding the ropes to bring in the others if they foundered in the waves. No one was watching my brother. They were all too busy with their appointed tasks.

I saw the approaching wave before he did, for he was not looking at the sea. He had turned briefly to implore the men once more to let him help, but none gave him their ear.

“Marcos!” I called, though he couldn’t possibly hear me. “Marcos, behind you!”

The wave moved faster than I could, with all my damp skirts around my legs. I knew I couldn’t reach him and he was going to die. Despite his faults, I realized I dearly loved my little brother. I didn’t want to lose him. I couldn’t even think what his death would do to Papa.

As I ran, I watched the wave build higher. It rose until I could hardly see the top. The ship rode the crest. The men on shore saw the swell approaching. They dropped the ropes, running inland as fast as they could in the wet sand. Several fell and were swept away by the waters. The ropes held them and they were able to pull themselves out of the waves.

Marcos was calling to them. “Where are you going? My mamá is on that ship!”

He hadn’t turned around, distracted by their flight. The ship loomed nearer and the wave grew. I couldn’t reach him through the wet sand and the press of men running against me.

“God, I beg you please save him! I swear I’ll be good to him all my days! Oh, Mother of God, protect him! I promised Papa!”

Lightning flashed across the sky illuminating the beach, lighting Marco’s face like a ghost! It was then he turned and saw the ship as the wave approached him. He froze.

“Marcos!” I screamed, “Marcos run!”

He heard my voice, but he was paralyzed with fear. I ran, screaming for him to move. There was no way he could escape. The water was too deep, its pull stronger than he. The darkness and rain enveloped him, obscuring my view. In the next flash of lightning, I saw the ship looming ever closer and screamed for all I was worth!

Suddenly, another figure appeared on the beach. A man, large and strong, was running toward my brother, a rope around his waist. He came upon Marcos just as the wave broke on the shore, grabbing him securely. He dropped to the ground, tucking the little head against his massive chest, holding my brother with an inhuman strength. He turned his body, taking the brunt of the wave on his back and powerful shoulders. Marcos grasped his
waist just before the wave’s surge covered them.

The ship swerved hard to starboard, hitting the corner of the pier not far away, shuddering to a halt. The water rushed around the ship, up the beach, over my brother and the man. I couldn’t see what happened next, for I had to retreat out of the wave’s reach. The greedy fingers of water clutched my dress, determined to drag me into the fray. Were it not for the aid of the men on shore, who held me fast, I would have been spirited away and surely drowned.

I babbled every prayer I knew, calling on God to help them. Little by little the waves receded and I could move closer, looking for them. I saw the rope tied to the pier, taut with weight, and began to pull. Men from the shore saw me and raced to my side. Together we hauled them in. I feared both were surely drowned. Finally, their sodden forms broke the surface of the waves. I rushed forward, but the men held me back, for the currents were wild and treacherous.

I couldn’t yet see the man’s face, as his back was to me. He clung to Marcos who was very white and still. I felt strong hands grasping me from behind. If it was a scene of death, then it was no fit place for a young lady. A man detached himself from the crowd, pushing his way up to them. I heard James’ clear baritone bite through the wind. “Clear off, you lot! Let me through!”

Wrenching away from the hands holding me, I followed James through the press of men. James got there as the men were lifting them to higher ground, cutting the rope around the man’s waist. His hair hung in black snake like tendrils across his face. I could see little of him or Marcos, but both were pale as death. I couldn’t tell whether or not they breathed. My prayers continued, ceaseless, intense.

“Turn them on their stomachs,” James ordered. “Quickly now, we may still have time! You there!” He yelled at some nearby men. “Get a couple barrels.” They worked without questioning his orders. The authority in James’ voice was unmistakable. Marcos and the man were laid over the sides of barrels. James took their heads, turning them gently to the side.

“Now look,” he said to one of the men. “Do as I do. You take him.” He pointed to the man. “I’ll take the boy.”

He placed his hands on Marcos back and pushed gradually, rolling him up over the side of the barrel as he went. He started slowly and then worked a little faster, but always in the same rhythm. The man copied his movements exactly.

We waited perhaps a minute, but it seemed like a lifetime. First the man and then Marcos gasped, choked and began to vomit up water; gallons of it! They were alive! I ran to James, thanking him, thanking God, and anyone else who would listen. I wanted to grab Marcos into my arms and hold him forever, but James held me gently back.

“Not yet, Miss Gabriella. He must expel the water or he’ll choke to death. Let him be until the retching stops and then you may gently roll him over.” He smiled proudly as I hugged him, kissed his wet cheek and thanked him again.

Our eyes on the two still figures before us, none of us noticed the wind had lessened, the rain and hail ceasing completely. All we could do was watch the scene before us play itself out. As the man stopped retching, strong hands slowly rolled him over. I was too busy helping my brother to notice right away. As I turned to see who it was had saved Marcos’ life, I looked into the dark, smoldering eyes of Manuel!

“You?” I gasped. “Thanks is not enough! Oh, bless you!”

Research, A Writer’s Lifeline

I’ve got research on my mind because I’m writing a sequel to my historical romance, “Indian Summer”.  Although fairly conversant with the time period, new things pop up.  I needed a timeline for the battle I’m going to include in my story.  I could find a few basic facts, but it wasn’t until I came across a website that was of important dates in Georgia history, that I got what I needed.  Strange, since I’m writing something set in Florida.  However, since the attack was led by General Oglethorpe and his troops were stationed in Georgia at the time, I suppose it makes sense.
 
Another fact that presented itself (from the Georgia timeline) was the name of an obscure fort that was attacked prior to the siege of St. Augustine.  Fort Diego?  Where’s that?  Obviously, this led to more questions than I had answers for.  Initial web searches gave me a lot of information on Fort Diego in California (now San Diego), but didn’t help the Florida research at all.  I did a serach for ‘forts in Florida’ and got a list.  Eventually, with a bit of digging, I found it’s location – well, sort of.  It’s now a golf course, but at least I found it! 
 
Each little tidbit made me so proud, I had to read it all to my husband and eldest son this morning.  They were both interested, which was nice.  There’s nothing like sharing these little gems with someone who couldn’t care less.
 
The main problem I have with research is that I have a tendency to get off subject really easily.  I have to force myself to focus and it’s not always easy.  I find some juicy tidbits which are fascinating, though unrelated to my subject.  I often am tempted to follow these leads. 
 
However odious you might find research, being accurate is so very necessary.  Even something not fully related with the story, like the Fort Diego problem, can be necessary background material that I, as the writer, need.

Character Interview with Gabriella Deza of “Indian Summer”

 

 

 

Second Wind: What is your story?

Gabriella: I haven’t much of one yet, I’m only just 15, but what there is of it is told in “Indian Summer.”

SW: Who are you?

G: I am Gabriella Deza, youngest daughter of Governor Ferdinand Deza.

SW: Where and when do you live?

G: I live in the village of St. Augustine, Florida territory. The year is 1739.

SW: Are you the hero of your own story?

G: Me a hero? Heavens, no! That would be Manuel Enriques, my father’s aid du camp and the love of my life.

SW: What is your problem in the story?

G:Quite by chance, I found out a terrible secret. A British spy is trying to overthrow my father, capture the fort and take over the town!

SW: Do you embrace conflict or do you run from it?

G: I’ve never wanted to embrace conflict, but one must face it bravely. Troubles are sent by God to test us. Am I going to argue with Him? I never run when I can fight.

SW: How does the author see you?

G: Headstrong, demure, capable, passionate, honest, loving. I am these things and ever so much more.

SW: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

G: Oh, yes, Dellani Oakes portrayed me very accurately. She seems to have seen into my heart with great alacrity.

SW: What do you think of yourself?

G: I think I am all those things and more. For one so young, my life suddenly became rather complicated.

SW: Do you have a hero?

G: My father, Manuel and Sailfish are my heroes. They are all so brave and noble. Though, in their own way, all men are heroes, don’t you think?

SW: Do you have a goal and why that particular one?

G: My goal is to marry Manuel as soon as possible. I love him more than I can possibly express. I want to be with him forever. He is my own, true love.

SW: What are your achievements?

G: I’m too young to really have many of those. Although I have made Manuel love me and I have done everything I can to help him and my father keep their secrets and save the town.

SW: Do you talk about your achievements or do you keep them to yourself?

G: What need have I to brag? God sees what I have done. If He deems it worthy, than others will hear of it in time. Manual and Papa know what I have achieved. For now, that is all that is important.

SW: Do you have any special strengths?

G: My faith in God is my greatest strength. My faith has seen me through very trying times. I would not be the woman I am without it.

SW: Do you have any special weaknesses?

G: My passion for Manuel is nearly my undoing. All he need do is look at me and I go weak in the knees.

SW: Do you have any skills?

G: I speak English and French in addition to my native Spanish. I ride a horse very well and also drive a buggy as well as any man.

SW: What do you need most in life?

G: I need the wretched spy disposed of so that our town will be saved and I may marry the man I love.

SW: What do you want to be?

G: I want to be a wife and mother, what greater purpose is there for a woman save to go into holy orders?

SW: What do you believe?

G: I believe in God and I believe in the love of Manuel and my family. I also believe in my own abilities to cope with any situation life presents.

SW: What makes you happy?

G: Many things make me happy, but when Manuel kisses me, I can’t think of anything but how happy I am. There is only one thing which would make me happier, and that would be to marry him.

SW: What are you afraid of?

G: I’m terrified of losing Manuel. If he were to die, what would become of us? Papa says only he can save us in this troubled time. If I lost him, I would have no reason to live.

SW: What makes you angry?

G: The fact that wretched spy is trying to kill us all! He is someone we know, a person who pretends to be our friend. He has all but ruined my life. If I had the skills, I would find and slay him myself.

SW: What makes you sad?

G: The loss of my mother makes me sad, as does the death of Manuel’s beloved aunt. Though they are in a better place, I miss them both very much.

SW: What do you regret?

G: That I with all my education, I never learned how to shoot a pistol.

SW: Has anyone ever betrayed you?

G: Yes, the man who spies on us, using our friendship against us. He betrays me, my family and my home. I hope I have a hand in bringing him to justice.

SW: Have you ever failed anyone?

G: I hope not. I will only have failed them if I do not find the spy and send him to God early for judgement.

SW: What was your childhood like?

G: Delightful in so many ways, but also sad because we lost Mama when I was five and Grandmama not long after. However, Papa and his new wife, Clara, have provided a loving home for the four of us. My older sisters, little brother and I have lived in relative comfort our entire lives.

SW: Do you like remembering your childhood?

G: Oh, yes, very much! I have wonderful memories of my childhood.

SW: Who was your first love?

G: My first and only love is Manuel. I never realized how much he loves me nor I him, until he declared his love for me on my birthday. He is the most magnificent man alive and I love him more than my own life.

SW: What is your most prized possession? Why?

G: My peso necklace, because Manuel gave it to me. Though my parents gave me pearls for my birthday, the peso shows Manuel’s love for me. He can’t ask me to marry him, it wouldn’t be proper, but that shows each of us our promise to wed.

SW: What is your favorite scent? Why?

G: Sandalwood., because that is the scent of Manuel’s soap.

SW: What is your favorite color? Why?

G: Apple green, because it was Mama’s favorite as well, and I am most like her of all three of us girls.

SW: What is your favorite music?

G: The flamenco I danced with Manuel.

SW: What is your favorite item of clothing? Why?

G: The apple green dress I wore to my party. It is the first dress I wore that showed everyone I am now a woman. And because Manuel and I danced the entire night together when I wore it.

SW: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

G: I think I’d like the Spanish and the English not to hate one another so much.

SW: What makes you think that change would be for the better?

G: There would be less fighting and conflict in the world.

SW: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

G: Do not think badly of me of saying this, but I would want to be stranded only with Manuel. I can think of no one else with whom I have enough in common to spend any period of time. Only if we were married, of course. Anything else would be scandalous!

SW: How do you envision your future?

G: I see my future happily married to Manuel, having his children and loving him for the rest of my life.

Character Interview with Manuel Enriques of “Indian Summer”

Second Wind: What is your story?

Manuel: My story is still being written, but a portion of it is chronicled in “Indian Summer” by Dellani Oakes.

SW: Who are you?

M: My name is Manuel Hermida Enriques Orejan Sanchez and I am confidential aid to Governor Ferdinand Deza.

SW: Where do you live?

M: I live in the beautiful town of St. Augustine in the Florida territory.

SW: Are you the hero of your own story?

M: What is a hero? A man who does what he must to protect that which he holds dear. I am such a man. If that makes me a hero, then I accept this role gladly.

SW: What is your problem in the story?
M: The problem is that there is a pesky British spy wandering around causing trouble. The beast is wily and sly, but I’ll catch him, have no doubt.

SW: Do you embrace conflict?

M: Conflict is in many forms. If it is in the form of a beautiful woman, I embrace and make love to it. If it is in the form of this annoying little fly speck of a spy, then I spit on it and grind it to dust beneath my heel.

SW: Do you run from conflict?

M: Never! Face conflict proudly and fight it to the death.

SW: How do you see yourself?

M: In my life, I have done many bad things. However, I am trying to change to be worthy of my darling Gabriella.

SW: How do your friends see you?

M: I haven’t many friends, but those are very close. They see me as strong, intelligent, passionate with women, stubborn and capable. How do you see me, cariña?

SW: How do your enemies see you?

M: My enemies never see me. They are dead long before that. If by chance they do catch a glimpse, it is as of the face of death.

SW: How does the author see you?

M: Ah, my beautiful Dellani. If it were not for Gabriella, such stories we would write together! She sees me as romantic, passionate, handsome, slightly dangerous, and very well appointed.

SW: Well appointed?

M: You will have to read my tale to find out what I mean by that.

SW: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

M: As accurately as any woman may know a man’s heart, yes.

SW: What do you think of yourself?

M: I am not a modest man, but even I do not like to brag. I am all that is said of me and more.

SW: Do you have a hero?

M: Yes, my blood brother, Sailfish of the River People. He is the greatest warrior I know and even more brave than I.

SW: Do you have a goal?

M: Indeed I do! I want to catch the spy so that I can marry my beloved Gabriella.

SW: What are your achievements?

M: That is perhaps not a question I should answer here, eh, cariña?

SW: Do you talk about your achievements?

M: As I said, I am not one to brag. What I have achieved is a matter of history. There are things I have done that I would rather forget.

SW: Do you keep your achievements to yourself?

M: Many of them, yes.

SW: But why? Surely your accomplishments are wide ranging and very nearly stuff of

legend.

M: Not all legends have a happy ending. Some things are better left unsaid.

SW: Do you have any special strengths?

M: I am swift, strong, I speak many languages fluently. I can track prey like an Indian and shoot a bow as well as a gun.

SW: Do you have any special weaknesses?

M: Only my love of Gabriella. She makes me weak.

SW: Do you have money troubles?

M: No. Although I like to gamble, I rarely lose. Besides, my parents and aunt left me a great deal of money.

SW: What do you want?

M: I want to marry Gabriella more than anything in the world. Well, there is perhaps one thing I want more than that, but it’s not polite to discuss.

SW: What do you need?

M: I need to catch that wretched spy!

SW: What do you want to be?

M: I am what I want to be. An honorable man who loves a beautiful woman. One day I shall also be a father, that is my greatest ambition.

SW: What do you believe?

M: I believe in God and my strength and abilities.

SW: What makes you happy?

M: Would you like to me say something poetic like a beautiful sunset or the seagulls above the water? I am not poetic man. What makes me happy is very simple, my love for Gabriella. It drives me, moves me to be the best I may be.

SW: What are you afraid of?

M: I am afraid that what I am capable of will one day consume me. And I am terrified that I will lose Gabriella.

SW: What makes you angry?

M: The snake of a spy.

SW: What makes you sad?

M: The loss of my sweet aunt. May she rest in God’s peace.

SW: What do you regret?

M: I regret how I have behaved in my past. That is behind me now.

SW: What is your biggest disappointment?

M: I am most disappointed that I cannot wed Gabriella right away.

SW: What, if anything, haunts you?

M: In a soldiers life, are there not many things to haunt him? What haunts me, cariña, is better left forgotten.

SW: You look sad, have I touched on a painful subject?

M: Among the most painful. I am not proud of many things I had to do. It is between me, God and the dead.

SW: Have you ever failed at anything?

M: So many things, how can I even count them?

SW: Have you ever failed anyone?

M: Not something I wish to discuss. But yes.

SW: Have you ever betrayed anyone?

M: Never on purpose, but accidents happen.

SW: Do you keep your promises?

M: Always. It is a point of honor.

SW: Are you honorable?

M: As much as I am able to be given circumstances.

SW: That sounds like a very cagey answer.

M: And it is the only one you shall get.

SW: Do you have any distinguishing marks?

M: Oh, yes. I am very well appointed.

SW: You would love for me to ask what that means, wouldn’t you?

M: No, I would like you to read the book and find out.

SW: Have you ever killed anyone?

M: I was a soldier, of course I have killed. And nearly been killed more than once.

SW: Who was your first love?

M: My first love was a girl whose father was a garrison soldier. We ran away together, but I deserted her soon after.

SW: Why did you do that?

M: Because I was headstrong and stubborn and scared to death of her father.

SW: Who is your true love?

M: Ah, my beautiful Gabriella is my own true love.

SW: What is the most important thing that ever happened to you? Why?

M: Getting this job with the Governor is the most important. It got me out of my old life and onto a straight path to redemption. It also brought me Gabriella.

SW: Was there a major turning point in your life?

M: The day I realized how much I love Gabriella.

SW: Was there ever a defining moment of your life?

M: The day that Gabriella said she loved me. It was the most important day of my life.

SW: What is your most prized possession? Why?

M: My most prized possession? Must I have just one? Perhaps my pistol. Or my best pair of boots? No, not really, although I am rather fond of these pants.

SW: Oh? Why is that?

(All I get is a sly grin and a slow, wicked wink.)

SW: What is your favorite color? Why?

M: Sapphire blue, because it is the exact shade of Gabriella’s eyes.

SW: If you had the power to change one thing in the world that didn’t affect you personally, what would it be?

M: I would change how much we hate and distrust the British. It would be great for us and the rest of the world to trust one another.

SW: What makes you think that change would be for the better?

M: There would be no wars or conflicts. I would never have to leave Gabriella’s side again.

SW: If you were stranded on a desert island, would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

M: Can you really see me stranded with a man? I’ll only go if Gabriella does.

SW: How do you envision your future?

M: Happily married to my beloved.

“Indian Summer” excerpt from first chapter

The following is an excerpt from “Indian Summer” now available at Second Wind Publishing.


The first rays of sun rose above the ocean, setting the waves afire. I gazed out my window, watching the town of St. Augustine awake. Sounds from the kitchen below blended with the calling of the men on the docks and the soldiers at the fort.
Tradesmen opened shops as women called to one another from their houses. Carpenters and stonecutters continued repairing the walls and buildings after the latest British attack. Seagulls called raucously along the shore waiting for whatever scraps got thrown to them, fighting over the merest, insignificant crumb. All these were comfortable sounds, mingling together into a familiar morning melody.
As my bedroom faces the ocean and hence the rising sun, I wake early, before any of my family, enjoying these last quiet moments. Yawning and stretching deliciously, I dressed and sat at my desk to compose a letter to my grandmother in England. I had not written anything but the date, 15 February, 1739, when the door to my room flew back connecting sharply with the wall, thus announcing the arrival of my little brother, the pest.