Tag Archive | Teague McMurtry

Now That Something New is Over

something new coverNow that Something New is over, a decision must be made. What next? I have so many books to choose from. The number of finished novels is now 75 (at least at the writing of his post. Could be more than that by the time it goes live).

So, the question that needs to be answered is this: What shall I share next? I admit myself in a quandary. Should I share A Novel Romance about Lionel the genius college professor? Or perhaps Mirrored, the sequel to Conduct Unbecoming and The Ninja Tattoo (another Teague McMurtry mystery)? I also have a story set in rural Kentucky in 1939, called Poplar Mountain Mystery. And don’t forget First Love, a young adult romantic suspense set in 1975. I’ll even consider Love, Death & Pizza, a modern murder mystery. I can head down a variety of roads.

Usually, I don’t get much response to a post like this, but I still hold out hope that at least one or two people will tell me what they’d like to read. Below are short blurbs with each title I’ve mentioned. Please leave a note in the comments and let me know which one interests you. Thank you! Dellani

A Novel Romance is set in my city (somewhere up North). It’s about Lionel Pettigrew, a flighty, brilliant college professor, who can’t seem to keep both feet on the ground. Not for lack of trying, he’s just a genius with a serious ADHD problem and a hard core caffeine addiction. When he meets his new research assistant, Arista Lockhart, the bullet train in his brain slows to a more manageable speed and he finds himself falling in love.

Mirrored is another Teague McMurtry mystery, set after Conduct Unbecoming and The Ninja Tattoo. Teague’s cousin Joel is on medical leave from the police force due to a work sustained injury—a man he arrested sliced him on the thigh with a knife. He’s now living in Teague’s old place on Riverside Drive, next to the elderly Millie. When she gets spooked one evening when walking her dog, Joel is concerned—but not half as concerned as Millie’s great-granddaughter, Cora Surray, who has come to live with her great-grandmother. Is it someone from Teague’s past or Joel’s who threatens their safety?

Poplar Mountain Mystery is set in rural Kentucky in 1939. Lucius Henry works for a small boarding school situated on land his great-grandfather leased to them many years ago. His father, shattered by WW I, is an abusive drunk who, not surprisingly, turns up dead. However, it becomes clear that it was no accident. It’s up to Lucius, and his girlfriend, Dorothea Belloit, to discover what’s going on and who’s behind it.

First Love is set in New Mexico in 1975. Madison Reynolds is visiting a small mission church with her Presbyterian youth group. If her on-going battle with another girl, Claire, weren’t enough, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery that threatens her and her friends. Drawn to the minister’s son, Gabriel, Maddie is in a quandary when her friend, Clayton, makes his feelings for her clear. They embark on a dangerous voyage of discovery, determined to find out who is threatening them and why.

The final choice is Love, Death & Pizza, a romantic suspense set in western Nebraska. Owner of Parnell’s Pizza Palace, Brock Parnell is not a man to start a fight, but by his own admission, he’ll surely finish it. Bullied as a teenager, and further harassed as an adult, by Tack Carmichael, Brock isn’t terribly disappointed to find out that Tack’s been killed. He actually does a celebration dance, until the cops come knocking at his door. Offended by their stupidity, Brock endures a late night interrogation by two police detectives, but he has nothing to feel guilty about. He didn’t kill Tack. They don’t believe him, but Assistant District Attorney, Adrianna Hasselhoff, does. However, someone seems very keen to pin Tack’s murder on Brock.

These are your choices, choose well because you’ll be enduring the fruits of your choice for the next however many weeks. I really would appreciate feedback, so please let your choices be known by commenting below. If we get a tie, I’ll draw a name from the hat. ~ Dellani

I Love Dialogue! from The Ninja Tattoo

I love dialogue doodle bannerTeague and Vivica meet under odd circumstances—he runs into her with the door at Dunkin’ Donuts. Needless to say, she’s not very happy until he buys her coffee and flirts unashamedly with her. Soon, they start dating and Teague finds out that her life is full of danger, mostly because her older brother is the head of a dangerous biker gang.

Teague was worried. The man sounded mean, hard. The tone of Vivica’s voice still bothered him. Lying in bed, he got a sudden case of the creeps. He made another circuit of the house, peeping out the edge of the drapes in the living room. With the room dark behind him, the moon reflecting off the water, he thought he saw a person lurking in the shadow of the dock. As he watched, a lighter flared, barely illuminating the figure. It was a man with a shaved head. Teague couldn’t see details from his room. He had the impression that the man was solidly built.

The idea of calling the police flickered through his mind, but he dismissed it. Instead, he got dressed in dark jeans and a black T-shirt. He got his survival knife, attaching it to his gun belt. Next, he got his Glock 22 out of the locked cabinet. He had a license to carry a concealed weapon. That went in a holster opposite the knife. As prepared as he could be, he put on his military boots and left the house by the side door that opened off the utility room. It was concealed by an arched trellis covered in bougainvillea and nearly invisible from the street. Chances were, if someone was watching the front, they were also at the back and the door facing the side street. He doubted they knew that this other side door existed. He’d lived in the house nearly a week before noticing it himself. Leaving it unlocked, he eased through the trellis, the thorns on the bougainvillea grabbing at his clothing and uncovered skin.

Ignoring the stinging wounds, he moved like a shadow through the overgrown side yard down to the street. He knew he’d be exposed crossing the street, but the nearest light was almost a block away. There were deep shadows from the thick water oaks that surrounded his house and the one next door.

Becoming part of the night, he took a circuitous route to the dock next to his, coming at the man from the right rear. His knife was out and across the unprotected throat before the other man knew he was there. Left hand held the knife, right clasped his neck in an unyielding hold.

“Who the fuck are you and why are you watching my house?” His voice a menacing whisper.

The man didn’t move, but Teague felt him tense. He was going to try to get away. The knife blade turned slightly, catching the glimmer of moonlight along the razor sharp edge. It was the only part of the knife that shone. The rest of the blade was a dark, matte finish. An assassin’s knife and Teague knew how to use it.

“Give me a reason,” Teague growled.cropped-the-ninja-tattoo-by-dellani-oakes-200.jpg

The man relaxed. “I’ve got friends,” he murmured.

“I’m sure you do. But you’ll be dead before they can take me out. Keep that firmly in mind. Now talk.”

“Doing what I’m told,” he grunted as Teague’s grip on his neck tightened. “I don’t know.”

He hyperventilated as Teague’s forearm put pressure on his windpipe.

“Swear ta God—I don’t—know!” He gasped as he collapsed on the ground. He wasn’t dead, just unconscious.

Teague went through his pockets looking for identification. He had a driver’s license on him. Teague couldn’t see it clearly in the half light, but caught part of the address. He wasn’t a local. Memorizing the face and as much of the name and address as he could, he put it back. He wondered where the other men were. Had they seen him? Doubtful, or he’d be surrounded.

He took his concealed route back across the street, making his way to his neighbor’s yard. He was up and over the high wooden fence in one smooth movement. Landing lightly on the soft turf behind his garage, he took another watcher by surprise. This one had the time to make a faint noise of alarm before Teague knocked him out.

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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New from Dellani Oakes Conduct Unbecoming – A Teague McMurtry Mystery

 

dellani photo dark 2 super cropDellani Oakes makes her home in Florida, but she grew up in Western Nebraska. Before that, she lived in Tennessee, Ohio, Massachusetts and Texas. After graduating from high school, she added Mississippi. The diverse locations gave her a unique perspective on life. Always a people watcher, Dellani put that talent to use when she became an author.

Bitten by the writing bug early in life, Dellani first pursued poetry as her medium of self-expression. Soon, she moved on the song parodies and then short stories and humorous essays. Once she got to high school, it became apparent that she needed to learn to spell when she got a paper back from her English teacher, “For content: A+. For mechanics: F.” That comment changed her life, forcing her to focus as much on how she said things as well as what she said.

Dellani took up writing full time when her youngest son started kindergarten in 2002. Since then, she has published five books. She has two romantic suspense novels are with Tirgearr Publishing and an historical romance and two sci-fi novels with Second Wind Publishing. She has also contributed to several anthologies, MJ Magazine and shares her unpublished works on her blog.

Because she loves to talk to other authors, Dellani hosts two talk shows a month on Blog Talk Radio. Listen in every second Monday of the month at 4:00 PM Eastern for Dellani’s Tea Time, and every fourth Wednesday, at 4:00 PM Eastern for What’s Write for Me.

Armed with bravado and wonderfully supportive friends and family, Dellani has embarked on a journey of self-publication. Conduct Unbecoming is her first venture into this new, and somewhat scary, world.

Author Interview

Where are you from?

I was born in Tennessee, but have lived in Ohio, Massachusetts, Texas, Nebraska, Mississippi and now live in Florida.

What components, in your opinion, make a great story?

A great story needs good conflict, a discernible opposite of the main characters. This can be in the form of an actual person, entity or group. It can also be some hurdle the hero has to overcome. With good conflict comes good characters. They must be up to the task they’ve been presented with, even if they don’t think so themselves. Despite weaknesses, they manage to rise to the challenge and overcome it. Good plot dynamics also add to the story. No good tale can go straight up to the climax and straight down to the denouement. There have to be levels built, like steps, guiding the reader to the conclusion.

What was the hardest part of the story to write?

It was hard to keep the plot fresh and not do a rehash of The Ninja Tattoo. I didn’t want the characters in hiding, as they were before. However, when I thought of a full on confrontation, the characters stopped me. Two of the bad guys were too formidable and unpredictable for a frontal assault. I would have lost all my main characters and had a slaughter of innocents on my hands. Teague was champing at the bit to take the villain head to head and I couldn’t let him. Amazingly, Jasper, who is even more impetuous than Teague, talked him out of it. After that, I let them decide and I like where they went with the story.

What was the easiest part of the story to write?

The love scenes were the easiest part. I love having people fall in love and bringing them together for the first time is always kind of magical.

Was there much research involved?

Since I had already written a story with similar aspects, there was very little research involved. I did ask an author friend of mine, Seth Bailey, for advice on a rifle for one of the scenes. Though the weapon isn’t specifically named, he gave me some useful information. He also told me a real sniper wouldn’t be seen or miss, which was exactly what I was after.

What do you feel is your biggest strength as a writer?

Dialogue, hands down. I wrote plays in college and that has stayed with me. Info dumps, back story, characterization—all this and more can be portrayed through dialogue.

When your first started writing, did anything about the writing process surprise you?

I didn’t think about how long it would take to get from the beginning to the end. I would get these fabulous ideas and couldn’t type fast enough. What I thought would take an hour to write, often took 2 or 3.

Do you celebrate when you finish a story, and if so, how?

I do celebrate a little. I keep my book files separated by Finished and Unfinished files. When a book is done, I move it from one folder to the other and do a little happy dance. Sometimes, if it’s a been a real bear to finish, I’ll have a glass of wine. I love finishing a book, but once it’s done, the real work—editing—begins. I give myself some down time afterward, before I move on to a new project or begin my first phase of editing.

Do you have a set writing routine?

No. My time is too broken up with errands I have to run, needs of my family (buggers have to eat, after all) and all the Mom and Wife stuff I have to do. I try to get in my office by 10:00 most mornings, and put in time on my various projects. Sometimes, it’s editing, other times it’s setting up my blog posts. Other days, I go on Facebook & promote my books or radio shows. I try to put that off until later in the day, though, because it’s easy to get sucked in.

I write or edit awhile, break for a late lunch, watch reruns on Netflix and relax, before going back to work. I take another break to fix dinner. Sometimes, I stop and watch a movie with my family, then I’m back at my computer until around 1:00 a.m. I often have to make myself go to bed. I’m not usually sleepy, but I can’t allow myself to stay up all night, even though I’d like to.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Always! I have to listen to music. It keeps me going and makes me feel energized. It also serves a more mundane purpose, it provides a screen between me and the outside world. Even in my office, the sounds of the rest of the house annoy and interfere. I’ve learned to filter out and ignore some, but I can’t separate myself from it all. Also, I have constant ringing in my left ear. The doctors can’t do anything about it, so I play music to tone that down.

You’re marooned on a desert island. What’s the one book you’d want with you, and why?

Give me unlimited paper & pens, I’ll write my own. The voices in my head won’t shut up just because I’m not at my computer.

What’s next for you? Can we look forward to a new story in the near future?

I’m always working on something. I have several books that I’ve shared on my blog. I plan to get these ready to self-publish. The one I’m currently sharing on my blog, Bad Fall, is actually a companion novel to Conduct Unbecoming. The main character is mentioned in Conduct Unbecoming, and one of the villains is the same. I am also writing a sequel to Bad Fall, and it’s an extension of both Conduct Unbecoming and Bad Fall. The title is A Matter of Time.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Learn grammar! I realize that makes me sound like an English teacher, which I am, but it’s important. I just finished reading a wonderful book that had a great plot and held my interest, but the author kept hopping from present to past tense. There were times that she switched from first person narrative to third person in the same sentence. It was a little frustrating. Also, PLEASE learn the difference between LAY and LIE and use them right! That bugs the crap out of me. I despair of ever winning that battle, because nearly everyone does it wrong.

What made you decide to venture into self-publishing?

I love my publishers, but they are busy with other authors as well as me. I have books I really want to have published, but can’t get out as soon as I’d like to. I’ve been afraid to do this until many of my friends encouraged me to try it. Thank you Christina Giguere, Karen Vaughan and Ethel Cook-Wilson for convincing me that I could, and should, give it a try.

 

Excerpt from Chapter Six

“You don’t mind sharing with me, do you?” Joel asked Aileen.

“Do you snore?”

“Not that anyone’s ever told me.”

“Joel doesn’t have sleepovers often,” Jasper said. “He wouldn’t know.”

Joel punched Jasper hard in the chest. “Back the fuck off, Waters.”

Vivica interceded once more. “Do you guys need anything?”

“I’ve got a change of clothing in the car,” Joel said, heading outside to get it. He slammed the door behind him.

Jasper watched him leave, jaw working angrily. Vivica had to speak to him again to get his attention.

“I just need a toothbrush and some boxers. I’m good to go.”

“Teague has some new ones here somewhere. They should fit you. Hang on.” She ducked into the master bedroom and brought out a pair of plaid boxers.

Jasper thanked her and went in the bathroom. Vivica and Aileen made the bed while he took a quick shower. Joel still hadn’t come back in. Concerned, Aileen called him, but his phone went to voice mail.

“I’m going to go look for him,” she said.

Vivica nodded and tucked in the blanket. Aileen went outside. She found Joel sitting on the neighborhood dock, gazing at the moon. He looked up when she sat down on another deck chair.

“He really gets under my skin,” he explained. “And I let him. I want to kick myself in the ass.”

“What’s with you two. You seem to hate each other.”

“No. Jasper’s a good guy, he’s just so competitive. I’ve been on the receiving end more times than I’d like. He’s a sore loser, but he’s a worse winner. Problem is, I am too.” He chuckled, shaking his head. “We’re too damn much alike to be friends. The only reason we tolerate each other is because of Teague.”

“He’s always had that effect, hasn’t he? I’ve never seen someone who can bring people together and get the best out of them like he can. God, he had me charmed and in his bed faster than any man I’ve ever met.”

Joel held up his hand, halting her monologue. “I can handle many things. But hearing how good my cousin is at seducing a beautiful woman is not one of them.”

“Jealous?”

“As all hell,” Joel admitted. He stared across the water.

“I can’t imagine you’ve had much trouble along that line,” Aileen said quietly. She scooted closer, shivering.

Joel flung an arm around her, pulling her closer. “I’d loan you my jacket if I had one.”

“This is good. So, you don’t want to know how he seduced me?”

“Nope. Why would I?”

“Because it might work for you too.”

Joel chuckled, rubbing her arm. “There is that. Maybe I’ll find my own way.”

Aileen gazed into his eyes. They looked silver in the moonlight. “How would you go about it?”

“First, I’d take you for a ride in my sexy car.”

She giggled. “And then?”

“Then I’d buy you a cup of coffee and a slice of the best pie in town.”

“Jasper actually did that.”

“Yeah, but I drove you there in my sexy car.”

“True.”

“Then I’d have me a temper tantrum and storm outside like a three year old.”

“Oooh, be still my fluttering heart.”

Joel turned his face to hers, pulling her close. “Then, I reckon I’d get you by the river in the moonlight and hope you let me kiss you.”

Aileen leaned closer. Joel brushed her cheek, touching her lips with his thumb. His lips met hers—warm and soft and full. She shivered against him, but not because she was cold. Joel’s tongue flickered between her lips and she opened them more. He took full advantage, deepening the kiss. Sighing, they scooted closer together. Joel touched Aileen’s cheek, his fingers winding in her hair. Gradually, his hand dropped to her shoulder before drifting down to her breast. Teasing her, he traced circles over her shirt.

The screen door of Vivica’s house screeched, sounding loud in the still night. Joel’s head snapped around.

“You two okay?” Vivica called.

“Yeah. Be right in, Viv.

Sorry,” Joel replied. He stood, giving Aileen a hand up. Her arm slipped around his waist.

“That was a nice kiss. I’d like to continue that sometime.”

Joel sighed. “But I’m guessing not tonight.”

“Not tonight. But soon.”

She started away from him. Joel caught her hand, pulling her back. The kiss was even more powerful when they were standing. His firm body pressed against hers. It felt good to have a man show his interest so definitively. There were no games with Joel. He liked her, he was attracted. She had no intention of bedding a man she’d known less than 12 hours—though it was damned tempting.

“How long did it take my cousin,” he whispered huskily. His breath tickled her neck.

“A week.”

Joel nodded, smirking. Arm slung around her shoulders, he planted a kiss on her cheek, smirking as they walked to the house.

 

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